[RO] morning took the reins from the rider
[self reflection]
Wayne's self reflection thread before his Brotherhood Oath. Dated July 31st.
After all this time, Wayne McCoy had finally made his decision to join the Brotherhood of Casa di Cavalieri.

One might have wondered why it had taken him so long to come to this perhaps inevitable step in his life. He was the famous stablemaster of the pack, and he had been one of the founding members. He had watched as the pack grew, watched as several others took their Oaths before the leadership. He had remained in the pack after the departure of the love of his life. He had been there throughout it all, silent, humble, working constantly to make a small difference.

The quiet cowboy from New Mexico hadn’t ever thought that he might become a knight. He worked, he did his duty, he trained and cared for the horses—but at his heart, he still didn’t think that he was anything particularly special. Self doubt came to him, suddenly, cripplingly, when he settled down in his bed and found the little blanket he’d offered Dixie-May when she’d come to stay, after her return. He’d clutched that blanket and he’d cried, because he hadn’t been able to save her, and his closest friends had been driven away from him after they’d helped him at his worst times.

Dixie was gone again, disappeared without a word. Sebastian had returned from the trip up north, but they hadn’t spoken since their argument, since the words stuck in Wayne’s throat. Hadley was probably dead, and the rest of the pack were friendly strangers.

He knew that he needed to make a change. He’d wept the last of his sorrow and self-pity and straightened up, and put on his hat, and made his decision, his decision to be worth something.

Dusk had fallen now, and Wayne was perched on the back of his trusted steed, the stocky mare he’d had ever since he was a child old enough to ride a horse. He whispered softly in Gypsy’s mane of his love for her, clinging to the warmth of her neck, until the sound of the hot springs reached him and he dismounted. He kissed her soft nose and left her there, taking the walk to the mine—where the caves ran, long and deep, but for a brilliant purple vein overhead. He took the dagger and struck a piece of that fluorite from the surrounding mineral. He clutched the gemstone in his hand, and walked back to the surface, to where the waning crescent moon hung overhead, reflected in the warm pools.

The mongrel settled down by the water, inhaling the scent of the summer night, listening to crickets and to the soft sounds of his horse grazing nearby. He took comfort in that, and with the fluorite still gripped in his hand bowed his head and reflected on all he’d done.

He tried to start from the beginning of his memories, of his giddy love for the pretty white wolfdog, of the issues he had fitting in with the warriors of the pack. But this good memory diverged, and he found his hand lifting to clutch the wedding band he’d wanted to give to the female, a last chance to save their relationship before she’d gone away. He held it tight, and remembered just how low he’d fallen, how dark of a place he’d gone to after she was gone. He’d hated himself, and grown to hate her, and when she returned for those brief days, scarred, a mother, afraid—well, the hate fell back to him again.

His palm hurt, and he looked down to see blood trickling from the pad, where his tight grip on the sharp-edged gemstone had cut into his skin. He frowned and smeared the blood on the rocks by the hot pools, and then cleaned his hand in the water. He had a lot of reasons to hate himself, and damned if he was going to fix it all just by swearing an Oath he should have sworn a long time ago, if he was worth anything as a man and a Cavalieri.

His concentration was broken, his self-reflection shattered in the silence, until he remembered what had pulled him back from that brink of darkness. Or who.

Wayne McCoy sat by that quiet pool and thought, shaken by fear of the future and desperation to prove himself worthy for once in his life. He was lost in his mind until Gypsy stepped up beside him and nudged him on the shoulder with a quiet nicker. She’d always known more than she let on, the man thought, and pulled himself onto her back, and steered her to the Fort where the Brotherhood Ceremony would take place.


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