[P] castrophany so immense it could be heard far away in space
The Ruins
#1
The pattern of his nights had begun to change. A large portion of this was, no doubt, because he had begun living with Elphaba full time. While his routine had been somewhat erratic before, now they found themselves forced to plan out what felt like every portion of every day. The work never left because they always circled back to it. Even after they had sex, it would somehow be brought up – the things they needed to do, or could be doing. Each day Elphaba became more and more worried about her flat belly, and occasionally whispered things under her breath O'Riley could not make out. He caught her talking to no one sometimes, but she never explained herself.

While he might have gone on patrol, she had convinced him to stay warm indoors. The rain and storm had proven a pleasing backdrop to their lovemaking, and he had dozed off in the aftermath. By the time they freed themselves and cleaned up, he was ready to properly sleep.

That was when the alarmed howl rose. Startled by both its proximity and fright, O'Riley wasted little time going to investigate. He left Elphaba behind and plunged out into the cold rain, noting with great disgust that it was starting to sleet.

In the frantic few minutes that followed, he called back and narrowed down the source of the first summons. He realized soon enough his destination, but in the dark, it was impossible to see the truth of the matter.

A tree loomed ahead of him, all bushy pine needles and sweet-smell. It laid where it had fallen, toppled onto its side and directly centered in the old cabin.

Much of the structure was demolished. Portions of it remained standing, but it was hard to see without light. The damage looked unreal. Soaked nearly to his thick undercoat, O'Riley stared at the sight. A woman – younger than him, her long hair clinging to her body – scrambled over and wrung her hands.

“I can't find her!” The former-servant cried. She looked hysterical.

The smaller (but still considerably large) shape of the lynx was digging frantically at a section of rubble. Seeing this, O'Riley hurried to join him. The cat hissed at him, but from how wide-eyed he was, the wolf was surprised this was all the more he did.

Together, they dug. And together, to their shock, they found her.

Backdated to November 14th, directly following this thread.
[+ 4]
Ordinary morality is only for ordinary people.
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#2
Salvia Eternity was in a state of shock.

This was, of course, entirely understandable. She had gone to bed listening to the rain, and woken to it pouring down on her head – but it had been the noise which woke her first, truly, that great crash which had sounded like the end of the world.

It was not the first time she had seen such a catastrophe. When she was younger, a star had fallen from the sky. Even so, there was nothing to compare to the sound of an ancient pine tree rushing down with all its weight to crush whatever lay beneath. That had been, in this case, her home. The moment the tree had struck it the force had blown through the old wood, splintering weakened beams and bringing the strongest down in solid units. All around her, wood and glass and stone had shook and tumbled and sought to bury itself.

She had almost been buried too. Somehow, the collapsing wood had managed to fall in such a way that it buckled an old shelving unit, which had toppled and formed a support against the rest of what came down. The branches of the tree touched but did not crush her. Bruised and scraped as she was, Salvia was alive and – miraculously – unharmed.

That did not mean she was safe yet, however. Her body, soaked by the cold rain, could no longer contend with the stress and fatigue left in its wake. She shivered violently all over as the noise from overhead (a loud and horrendous yowling) quieted and became replaced by wood and earth moving. By the time she could see them, she was eager to be freed.

O'Riley helped her out, using more force than he ought to for what might have been an injured woman, but she was grateful to be hoisted into his strong arms. Abendrot pressed against her legs hard, and the men maneuvered her to where the hysterical young woman was still sobbing.

[+ 3]
#3
There was a cabin on the other side of the scrawny treeline, and it was here that they eventually came to rest. While the family which had previously lived here were long gone, there were items left behind that helped them get a fire started. Grievous stayed behind while O'Riley went to inform Elphaba about what had happened.

Afterwards, he spent time gathering supplies. Warmth and food, Grievous had said. She had been asking about her horses when O'Riley left, and he agreed to have someone sent out to look for them once they were certain she was all right. He had hurried out before she could argue, and was glad for the decision. It was snowing properly now, though starting to die down. That meant ice, and a cold, cold night ahead of them.

He returned later with the most vital of goods, at which point it became apparent that the crisis had spurred the Serf-girl into motion. She was moving from one part of the house to the next, so focused that she didn't even look up when O'Riley passed her. Ignoring her presence entirely, he unloaded the supplies and checked in with Grievous.

Miraculous had been the word he used when he described how lucky the women were to escape with only minor injuries. The tone of Grievous' voice perturbed O'Riley greatly, though he showed no sign of it. He chose to leave the women in his cousin's care: he'd inform the necessary channels as to the nature of what had occurred, send someone out to find the horses, and relieve Grievous of his watch by the following afternoon.

By then, things seemed all right. It was quiet in the cabin, which had warmed considerably between the animals inside and the roaring fire.

A tall man stepped out into the cold dark alone. He lingered just long enough to transform – shrinking from one monstrous shape into another – before bounding off into the night.
Ordinary morality is only for ordinary people.
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