[m] black yew, white cloud, the horrific complications

POSTED: Thu Jan 16, 2020 1:43 pm

WARNING: This thread contains material exceeding the general board rating of PG-13. It may contain very strong language, drug usage, graphic violence, or graphic sexual content. Reader discretion is advised.

She dreamed again, and woke confused.

Snow fell outside the den, but the den was not Posey's. She rose on stiff legs and shuffled into the cold, dark nose lifted to sniff the air. Snowflakes melted on the tip of her snout when she licked it, but everywhere else it accumulated and piled high, sculpting Winterwynd into something bright and fantastical. Branches glazed in ice trembled overhead, and great dunes piled against stone structures. How pretty, she mused, and wandered down the path, grinning at the sight.

The wind buffeted her and threatened to blow her over sometimes, because her balance wasn't what it used to be – but oh, back in her day she could turn on a dime, chasing hares out in the white wastes! When her haunches gave out and she sank, she forced herself back onto her paws again, driven onward by some strange impulse, like she was walking in a dream.

She'd had such odd dreams lately, though she never quite remembered them. Lyric woke her from fitful sleep sometimes, her stern face soft and almost childish with worry, explaining that Posey had been talking or crying. One time she had scratches on her muzzle, but she didn't say why, and Posey forgot the iron taste in her mouth. She blamed it on insomnia; her sleep had always been difficult, so it made sense that she slept and dreamed deeply when slumber finally welcomed her into enfolding arms.

She meandered out into a field when the wind picked up, great gales sweeping snow across the meadow.

Posey licked her cold nose and squinted, hunkering down. She shivered, though her arctic coat was thicker than most, and tried to recall a warning they spoke in the north about leaving one's den in the blizzard. It had been necessary sometimes, though – and sometimes in the wake of storms one found foxes and rabbits and caribou frozen (on their legs, they'll find you standing, was the proverb), and you could eat if you didn't break your teeth on the frigid meat. Food was terribly important, and famine was nigh impossible to forget. Even well-fed by the Vale, her belly remembered hunger.

I should go back, she thought, but when she turned her head, she couldn't quite make out the village anymore. It looked like the world was wreathed in mist, but she knew that it was the snow, that the earth was white and the sky was white and everything in between was white, too. Everything, except the little noses – two black, one unpigmented pink – that turned up to her expectantly.

What're ya doin' out here, girls? Posey asked in bewilderment, before the trio of puppies opened their mouths like baby birds, no sound coming out. She whimpered, uncertain, ears pinned as she stepped back from the pups, but they toddled on their stubby legs and wagged their stubby tails. The thought occurred to Posey that they shouldn't be that small, and maybe she was dreaming, but when she glanced away into the storm and glanced back again, they were gone.

Instead stood a lone figure – tall, ivory-furred – in the snow, its head lifted and its ears pricked dominantly.

The she-wolf forgot her uncertainty. She dropped her head and licked her lips in appeasement, and followed.

It was so hard to follow through the winds and the deep snow, where the crust gave beneath her and she floundered chest-deep, but she was worried about the consequences. He'd been born in the tundra, and so he walked through the storm, across the ice, like it did not affect him. He used to leave her behind in the beginning, until she trained her legs, chasing after him for fear she would be lost.

But it was impossible now. When did she get so weak? She felt rigid, off-balance, but maybe it was the cold – or maybe she was hungry, was she hungry? She shook herself violently and sprang onward, falling, getting back up, until something old and forgotten burned in her chest.

Ira Prior!

She howled, but the wind howled louder.

Ira, mark me, she growled as she stumbled again, twisting his words. If ya don't come back, yer – yer – yer a coward, Ira!

She couldn't find him anymore. Desperation beat a tattoo against her heart, but everything else felt hollow. Hollow and angry, hungry, demanding that something fill her body and soul. It was a reoccurring dream, but never had it felt so real, never had the cold stung her whiskers like this, never had the pain been so vivid. Strings of drool hung from her panting jaws and froze and broke off, and somewhere overhead the clouds turned dark and sparks crackled across the sky, echoing her growls.

The she-wolf stumbled into a copse of trees where she was shielded from a fraction of the blizzard's might. Wheezing, she set her eyes on a small hill of snow in the center of the clearing, covered in a hundred white-eyed ravens.

She stepped closer. The ravens shattered into feathers that rained around her, slower and softer than the snow. She was afraid, but she began to dig, because she needed to dig, she needed this, something to sate her hunger and to sate an emotion more horrible than that, and her claws at last scratched against icy fur.

Like in all her dreams and in one distant, cold memory, Posey sucked in a sob and prayed for God to forgive her.

She sank her teeth into her husband's frigid corpse.

942

Backdated to sometime during the 11th.


Mistfell Vale
DEAD
User avatar
Raze
Luperci With Great Distinction

POSTED: Thu Jan 16, 2020 7:33 pm

[WC: 745]

Some deep instinct – or perhaps something as simple as chance – had kept Bennett close to home. His father had sensed it too, and though he no longer had the authority to order his son around, urged him to stay within the Vale.

When the rain began, Bennett knew they had both been right. Though he had made an attempt to go outdoors, by the time he had done so the ground was already slick. After one awful, embarrassing fall, the wolfdog had scampered indoors for shelter. While Linden pretended not to notice his son's haggard fur, he had provided a towel and said he would make them breakfast.

Though he felt like a child, seated there next to the fire and cleaning off his damp fur, Bennett found himself glad for the excuse for respite. His freedom and independence were important to him, but he remained dependent on others. This coexistence allowed all of them – his little family, their animals, even Mistfell Vale itself – to endure against the greater, harsher elements of the natural world.

All day it rained.

Then the real cold came.

Bennett felt it in his room, high in the alcove he had insisted upon taking the moment he been capable of walking properly on two legs. While he had taken to amusing himself by throwing little knives at the wall, his fingers began to get clumsy and his nose stung a little more than it ought to indoors. Their cabin was by no means weatherproof, though Linden had worked diligently to repair it. Less interested in hard labor, Bennett had helped only when directly asked.

Heat did rise from the fireplace, but the damp weather and growing wind leeched this away. The rain had turned to snow by now. Bennett crawled under his blankets and bedding to warm up, and soon after dozed. He woke several times in the night, as was normal for him. Outside the snow continued to pile up, and slowly, it insulated the cabin.

By the morning, the whole world was coated in white.

It was still snowing too.

When they did not find the horses close, and when they did not respond to their calls, the pair decided to look for them. It would be better if they could get the little herd all in one place, especially with the drifts building up. If the snow got too deep, the animals could risk dying of exposure.

Against Linden's better judgment, the pair split up. Bennett was small and had to trample in places he could not pass, though he was lithe enough to find the easiest routes as he went. The snow was cumbersome and stuck to his exposed fur. He was never so grateful as to the layers of clothing than he was now, though the outer garment was getting damp.

When shouting became impossible to hear over the wind they resorted to howling.

Once the whiteout began, it was hard to hear anything at all.

Using his hands to keep his hood over his face, Bennett bent his back to the wind and sought the nearest glimmer of shelter. Brush and trees sprang up from all around him, though the light had faded considerably now that the snow was falling so heavily. It was so pure white against everything else that the sight of it seemed to hurt his eyes.

He almost didn't see her, though he heard the commotion from the ravens. They were a ghastly sight, lingering in trees that had bent into strange, disturbing angles. The ones which had not been yet buried under the weight of the ice and snow were starting to rock high in their boughs.

The blizzard felt tremendous, but something greater was still coming.

What Bennett saw and what Posey thought she had seen were two drastically different things. The old woman (looking so terribly frail and feeble to him as he himself aged and began to feel the measure of time) was struggling to yank the frigid, half-plucked remains of what looked like it might have been a deer or something equally large.

Hey! He barked, raising his voice to be heard over the wind. His bright fur and bright blue shirt – darkening more and more as it absorbed the snow – made him easy to see as he got closer.

What are you doing out here? You shouldn't be out in this! Bennett called, closing the distance between them.


« ∙ when the wind blows, the grass bends ∙ »
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User avatar
Mel
Luperci Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness.
anger is a gift
dig two graves
live free or die
sasāra
bodhi

POSTED: Thu Jan 16, 2020 8:07 pm

Her dull teeth scraped against frozen flesh, her tongue lapping for even a taste of the nutrients she needed. Above her, the ravens watched, leaning eagerly on their ice-encased perches – open the carcass, open the carcass. They guided her, black against the snowscape, like holes punched into the world, always clever things that seemed at times like spirits.

The handful that hunched in the bent, broken pines were miserable and few, feathers bedraggled and wings weary. They were not the hundreds in her mind's eye, the ones that blurred in the snow, dark ghosts leading her into temptation.

Open the carcass!

She growled against the wet, rotten fur and fastened her teeth in. She leaned back and tugged with desperate shakes of her head.

The sharp bark was lost in the wind. She did not see the boy approaching, despite his bold coloration, so fixated was she on her meal. If she had seen him sooner, she might not have been startled, and she might not have reacted.

When he appeared at her shoulder, his shadow cast on her carcass, the old she-wolf whirled and snapped at him.

Equally caught off-guard, Bennett didn't jerk back quickly enough. She bit him on the arm, then released him in a second, her hazy eyes wide. At once, she hunkered down against the snow and began to whimper and shake, and when she glanced back at the carcass she began to cry.

244

Mistfell Vale
DEAD
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Raze
Luperci With Great Distinction

POSTED: Thu Jan 16, 2020 8:33 pm

[WC: 309]

He didn't think she could move so fast.

It happened before he had time to really understand what he had done wrong. By then it was too late – by then she had already bitten him.

Any other day, he would have been wearing the bracers. They were meant to stop things like this from happening. There hadn't been a reason for them, he had thought, not when all they were going to do was find the horses and get them back home.

Bennett yelped, high an awful, a braying scream that shook them both. The reaction was in part because of the pain, and in part because she frightened him.

No one had ever really hurt him, and though her old teeth hadn't been able to tear through his clothing, his arm throbbed with a hot ache. It was so out of place in the snow that he was certain she had punctured his skin.

The whole ordeal lasted only a few awful seconds. In the end it was Posey who was sobbing, great awful sounds that made Bennett want to throw up. He felt paralyzed. What had happened? What the hell was wrong with her?

Adrenaline and endorphins pushed him through the shock. Practicality and rationality seized him, overcoming the deeper hurt of such an unexpected, violent betrayal.

Hey, hey, he barked, trying to control the high pitch edging into his voice. Hey please don't! I'm okay, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to scare you, I thought you heard me! Hey come on, please Grandma Posey, it's okay, I'm okay, Bennett babbled, squeezing his arm tight with his hand and wishing he had worn the stupid bracers. Come on, we gotta go, it's freezing, he urged her, though he had not moved from where he had recoiled to. Please, you can't stay out here, it's not safe.


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avatar art: lin | signature art: despi

User avatar
Mel
Luperci Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness.
anger is a gift
dig two graves
live free or die
sasāra
bodhi

POSTED: Thu Jan 16, 2020 10:45 pm

Monster. She was a monster.

Recoiling from the sensation of something living between her teeth, from the awful cry of someone she was meant to protect, Posey crouched low in the snow and sobbed weakly. Shame turned the cold meat in her stomach sour, rotten, until her gorge threatened to rise and choke her. She thought about quiet little Tora helping her through the rain, about Skadi and her brothers' present for her, about Pipaluk laughing warmly through her stories.

She deserved none of it.

Mother, monster.

She curled inward on herself, bushy tail tucked close to her heaving belly, limbs crumpling beneath her. She tried to tuck herself into a shivering ball, though Bennett was talking at her, rapid reassurances and pleas, and she sniffled. She tried to listen to him, she wanted to believe him, but –

Over his shoulder stood the girls, no longer puppies but grown she-wolves with ivory coats all but lost in the snow. Rosebay, squeezing shut her eyes and pressing her pink nose into Harebell's pelt as if she could hide from the sight; Harebell's legs shaking so hard they threatened to collapse beneath her; and Asphodel, the oldest, the only one who could look her in the eye, so Posey could see the hatred and disgust there.

She opened her mouth to speak the apologies again, but no sound came out, as if her body knew better than to waste her breath.

They would turn away. They always turned away, and she chased them begging until her paw pads cracked and bled in the cold.

But they lingered, and Asphodel did not avert her gaze.

Bennett implored her one last time, and with great, aching effort Posey uncurled. She rose on wobbling, skinny legs, then all but staggered into him, pressing her face into his chest and weeping.

I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry.

317

Mistfell Vale
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Raze
Luperci With Great Distinction

POSTED: Sat Jan 18, 2020 4:44 pm

[WC: 850]

His arm throbbed with that hot, painful hurt. How deep had she gotten him? It had been so brief, but oh did it feel bad.

He couldn't stop his fingers from trembling, even though he reached for her with his uninjured arm.

No, I scared you, I get it, he said. That had surely been the cause. With all of the danger lurking beyond their borders, many of their packmates had begun living on edge. Even Bennett had taken to carrying a sword (thought not today, no, not the bracers either and all of this could have been avoided).

Come back with me, our house is this way, he said. Which way exactly he did not know, but Bennett was certain he could make his way back. This was not that far – a mile, maybe less. Once he found familiar landmarks and signals tied around the trees, he could figure out where he was.

Bennett led her away from the frozen corpse, and the scrawny birds descended in a flurry. The snow had become a squall and battered at his back. When it became nessecary, Bennett would hoist Posey up as best he could – a ridiculous sight given his size – and help keep her moving. Not stopping seemed to be the only course of action that made sense.

When they reached a higher rise, Bennett called for his father again.

Miraculously, he heard Linden's howl.

They followed the sound of this through the snow. Bennett was exhausted by the time he finally saw the line of the fence and the smell of wood-smoke from the cabin ahead. He saw the door open and the great shadow his father cast against the light from within.

Linden hurried out to help them, and once they were all indoors all but barricaded the entrance by means of a sturdy wood lock and old horse blanket to block out the cold around the bottom.

Here, just sit down, yeah right there's good, Bennett was coaxing Posey. His arm had started to really hurt, and it was hard for him to keep his voice (and his hands) steady.

Go change, Linden told his son. Get your clothes drying.

I will, but dad, I gotta talk to you.

Hearing the change in Bennett's tone, Linden ushered him away into his private quarters.

The cabin had a stone foundation but a raised wooden floor. The innards of it had been made of wood, save the fireplace and the two entrances. The stone extended into the kitchen area. There had been no running water when it had been built, and the design of it reflected this age. Much of the wood had been replaced since they began living in the building, and plenty of the space was still undergoing remodeling.

Linden's room was spacious and mostly empty. He had plenty of supplies stowed within, however, and when Bennett began explaining what had happened sought out his aid kit.

I thought she heard me, I really did, she was acting real strange. I didn't expect it, and I don't know, she just, well, she bit me. Bennett let out a high, strange little laugh.

She bit you? Where? Let me see.

On my arm, I didn't look at it yet—,

That's fine. Come on, take your clothes off. They need to dry anyway.

The process took longer than Bennett would have liked. It really hurt to expose the wound to the air, and once he did he was horrified by what they saw.

While Posey's teeth had not broken through his clothing, his skin had not been quite so strong. Pieces of it had been torn, leaving gouges where blood seeped up and pooled. They looked worse than they felt, but seeing the bite mark left Bennet feeling queasy.

Linden didn't say too much about it. He cleaned the area and wrapped it up for Bennett, who stood there in silence and wrestled with all the feelings he did not express.

Did you find the horses?

I did.

Where were they?

They weren't that far from here. I got them back by the cover.

Are they okay?

For now.

The blizzard was just beginning. It certainly seemed that way, at least. How the horses would endure was yet to be determined – they lacked a proper shelter, and would need to endure the elements with only an A-frame style stall large enough for them to hide within. Still, this lacked a door. They had no way to be fully out of the cold.

Bennett couldn't think too much about that. His arm still hurt.

When they were done, Linden came back out first.

Are you warming up? I'll get you something to drink. Just stay there, don't you worry about anything, he tried to reassure the older woman.

Having changed into another looser-fitting shirt, Bennett followed after his father. He made an effort to cover his arm, though he was certain she would want to ask about it. His whole demeanor felt off kilter. Bennett could not shake how deeply disturbed the wound had left him.


« ∙ when the wind blows, the grass bends ∙ »
avatar art: lin | signature art: despi

User avatar
Mel
Luperci Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness.
anger is a gift
dig two graves
live free or die
sasāra
bodhi

POSTED: Wed Jan 22, 2020 7:25 pm

Bennett led her away from the copse and the corpse. Posey shut off every thought that wasn't follow, her limbs shuffling after him of their own accord. It was slow and laborious, especially where the snow was deep, but sometimes the boy wrapped his arm around her and pulled her out of the drifts where she stumbled. Everything around them was white, white landscape and white sky and white noise as the wind screamed in her ears.

Then a howl, then a cabin, then they were inside. The door shut, and suddenly everything was so quiet it was loud.

She settled down in front of the fireplace, shivering.

When the men left she did not quite notice, but Linden's voice managed to draw her out from her own head. Her ears twitched, but her haunches collapsed back to the floor when he bade her stay. Melted snow dripped from her fur, and she gave herself a little shake, scattering the droplets; some hissed in the hearth. It was very warm in here, warmer than her den.

Slowly her senses opened up, accepted new stimuli. The heat helped, and the sound of people moving about their home. She could almost pretend that nothing had happened – almost.

Her hazy eyes roamed until they settled on Bennett, and she whined again. Are you okay, cherub?

224

Mistfell Vale
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Raze
Luperci With Great Distinction

POSTED: Sat Jan 25, 2020 5:28 pm

[WC: 300]

He didn't volunteer to show her his arm, but he smiled – hesitantly, at first – before approaching the old woman.

Yeah, I'm okay Grandma Posey, he reassured her, wagging his shaggy tail. Appeasing the old woman seemed important. Bennett wasn't sure what had happened out there, but something had been terribly wrong. There was such a ferocious savagery in the she wolf that it had startled him. Having only known her as kindly and gentle (she had been firm when needed, but never cruel) what had happened struck him as vastly wrong.

Still, he could lie. That he was good at.

You didn't even rip my shirt, he said. Though this was meant to tease her, he imagined she wouldn't entirely buy his casual behavior. The way his expression soon fell suggested as much. He didn't have near enough energy to keep up the act.

The fire felt warm against his back. It illuminated pieces of his hair – a mixture of the ginger and snowy white that made up a large part of his pelt.

Finally, feeling safe in his own home, Bennett settled down on a nearby cushion. He wanted to see to it that things were resolved, and he was fairly certain the smells coming from further within the building were that of foodstuffs being gathered.

While they waited for Linden to return, the storm raged on outside. Snow continued to fall, piling up in great quantity. It muffled the sound of the world around them, though the cabin's distance from the larger neighborhood afforded it a level of privacy and (general) peace.

Lulled into comfort, Bennett's exhaustion struck him in waves. His restless mind and mouth conspired against him.

Why where you out there? He asked. The question came out sounding sharper than he intended.


« ∙ when the wind blows, the grass bends ∙ »
avatar art: lin | signature art: despi

User avatar
Mel
Luperci Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness.
anger is a gift
dig two graves
live free or die
sasāra
bodhi

POSTED: Fri Jan 31, 2020 11:37 pm

292 words

His fluffy tail wagged, the white tip catching her eye, as Bennett assured her that he was okay, that her reactionary snap hadn’t hurt him too badly. She tried to glance at his sleeve to see if he was telling true, but she didn’t call him out on it, even as the smile faded from his foxish face. Another time, she might have joked with him — “well these old teeth ain’t what they used t’ be, all that gnawin’ bones ’ll do that to ya” — but she didn’t have the energy to pretend, either.

Posey pretended a lot. It drained most folk, to wear a mask no matter how it grinned and dazzled, but it was a necessity to protect her from her own despair.

How long ago had she started pretending?

The question caught her off guard, she too lulled by the warmth of the hearth, the quiet of the cabin filling with the aroma of cooking food. She winced at the tone, like a guilty pup chastised by its parent rather than the aged denmother she was. Her hazy eyes dropped to her paws, her brow furrowed with confusion.

“To tell ya the truth, I ain’t a clue,” Posey confessed. Whatever had roused her from her sleep was a mystery, although — “Maybe I thought I was dreaming.”

She fell silent again for several seconds, then said,

“I saw my husband. I was following him. Following Ira.”

Clear as anything, clearer than a white wolf in a snowstorm should be to aging eyes, she had seen him standing there in the snow.

Seen him — when she’d seen him, and her parents had told her this fine man was to be her husband, that was when.
Last edited by Posey Prior on Thu Mar 05, 2020 8:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Mistfell Vale
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Raze
Luperci With Great Distinction

POSTED: Mon Feb 24, 2020 10:50 pm

After a beat, Bennett said: Grandma Posey, he couldn't have been there.

He was struggling with this new, strange story. All the things this old woman had ever told him – about the fields in the tundra during summer, about her and her children chasing vast herds of a number so great he could not believe it – and the name of her husband had come up.

Bennett knew he was dead.

More importantly, he did not believe in ghosts and further did not think a ghost could travel quite so far, if they were real.

The young man – feeling very much like a boy – was never quite so glad to have his father appear in the room. He had brought a watery tea whose scent was so faint Bennett couldn't quite narrow it down. He mumbled a thanks to Linden while the older wolf sat and joined them.

Do you think you were sleepwalking? Linden asked Posey after she had her fill to drink. Do you remember what you saw him doing?


« ∙ when the wind blows, the grass bends ∙ »
avatar art: lin | signature art: despi

User avatar
Mel
Luperci Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness.
anger is a gift
dig two graves
live free or die
sasāra
bodhi

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