The way a crow shook down on me the dust of snow

POSTED: Sun Dec 17, 2017 9:24 pm

Snow had fallen for the past few nights — but it was the sort of near-intangible snow that made the plains glisten with frost that melted at midday or the moment a warm body crossed over it. It was only on this fourth morning that Vesper emerged from the caverns to find a thin sheet of it blanketing the meadow outside the yawning mouth. Not much had collected, and her paws easily kicked it free to reveal brown grass, but it was a very real touch of winter.

The former Aquila stared at the alien landscape in silent contemplation for some time, the wind ruffling her shaggy fur and causing her skinny body to shake. Pawprints already led from the cavern in a wide trail, spiraling off into the focused march of scouts, or the small and happy ramblings of playing puppies. There was a patch of bare grass where someone had bedded down to eat something, and Vesper sniffed this area thoroughly before discerning that there weren’t any scraps — not even bones to chew for marrow.

She shivered again, violently. At least the cold numbed her leg.


Inferni
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Raze
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POSTED: Tue Dec 26, 2017 9:58 pm

They resettled quickly out of necessity, but also because the Clan adapted with the same speed as their ancestors. What might have destroyed a wolf pack had not been enough to eradicate the coyotes.

Inferni survived this fire as it had those before it. They were a people touched by the flame and even now, after all that they had lost, soot and ash streaked the scouts and the familiar faces he passed. His own son (though no longer the only, as he had been when Omar passed) had taken to painting his face and chest when he went out, and the smell of smoke clung to him every so often in a way fresh and lingering in a manner unlike his streaked fur.

Jethro worked hard enough, Antioch supposed, and indeed would summon him later to continue such a thing. He felt better knowing what his children were doing, and keeping his boy in sight sounded like the only way to do so. Scout was busy enough relearning the patterns of patrol (and fighting with the rest of the ravens whom he thought slacking in this affair) and could not be in two places at once.

The Bellator stretched in the mouth of the cave, then stepped out into the daylight. It was crisp, and his nose tingled as he sucked down cold air.

Ahead of him, a familiar figure lingered. Antioch approached her directly and sniffed at what she had been investigating. His brows quirked as he looked back at Vesper, and though he didn't speak any question aloud his curiosity was obvious.


I'm just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood
Inferni
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Mel
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(better keep your head)

POSTED: Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:35 pm

[194]

Quiet as he was, Antioch’s presence was a difficult one to miss. A lanky but tough yearling when he joined Inferni, he’d since filled out and matured into an intimidating presence: tall, broad, healthy, with all the seriousness of other red-eyed kin that Vesper remembered from past wars.

He sniffed at the patch of barren grass and looked at her. Rather than answer him in any meaningful way, Vesper averted her gaze and muttered a noncommittal “pah.”

She limped a couple yards away and pretended that meandering was all she intended; she wouldn’t admit to sniffing around for scraps, though age and hunger made her a skinny thing these days. Vesper might have counseled Vicira against settling Inferni in these old burned lands, but she'd known that the location was symbolic and befitting a clan led once again by its oldest bloodline; therefore, she couldn’t complain about the lack of prey.

She didn’t want Antioch to pity her either, she who had been his superior until a month ago.

Instead, she dredged up small talk as she sniffed casually at the wind. “How is the little one?”


Inferni
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Raze
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POSTED: Wed Jan 17, 2018 1:50 pm

[WC: 261]

There was much to be said for the promise to which he kept. His parents had told him that as long as he did his duty God would watch out for him. They had further urged all of them to go to Inferni, and to serve it. He never questioned why they did not go back, but each season that passed made him think less and less about his parents. Now a father himself, Antioch was quite involved in seeing that his own bloodline endure.

Especially now that he recognized how uncertain this survival was.

He watched Vesper silently. There were lines in her body that had not been there before – not scars (though these were a crossroads of sacrifice against her skin) but instead the places where muscle had shrunk and changed how she looked. Certainly she was not old yet, but Vesper's injury had stolen proper mobility from her. She was no longer capable of leading them for this reason alone. In the history book his wife tended to like it was a holy thing, the story of his father's grandfather giving up his role following a landslide set a precedence.

It was because they had enemies that these things mattered. As long as coyotes had existed, competitive predators had sought to undo them.

Healthy, as God wills it, he said carefully, unwilling to risk his young son's life until these early, dangerous months were over. His mother won't leave him alone, though, so I don't think we have anything to worry about. You're always welcome to visit.


I'm just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood
Inferni
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Mel
Luperci Multiple Co-Ranks Mate to Versace Level III Immunes Chaos Star
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(better keep your head)

POSTED: Thu Jan 25, 2018 6:51 pm

[228] mother in law feel sorry for yourself edition He could maybe offer some alternatives/actual usefulness now that she isn't leader and able-bodied maybe?? :D

Vesper glanced over her shoulder at Antioch, unable to keep faint disdain from flickering across her face at mention of his god. After all, what did God will? If he was all-powerful and all-knowing, then he had willed the death of Antioch's first son and the destruction of everything the clan had known. The mercy of another squalling babe was too little, too late.

But she had grown out of arguing against others' faith. Without it, she knew that some souls lost purpose. She'd finally stopped thinking of those souls as weak, thinking about the weak hopes she'd clung to over the past years.

The dream of a good future, of the smiles of loved ones, in the face of terrible opposition and pain -- that was on equal footing with any god.

"If you two are okay with it, I'll visit," Vesper said. She would want to see her newest grandchild grow, of course, but she did not want Versace to feel crowded, or for some curse to be put on the puppy when he was still yet too young for his survival to be guaranteed.

Walking back around and grimacing as her practically-dead hind paw dragged some hard earth under the snow, Vesper muttered mostly to herself: "Your god knows I don't have anything else to do these days."


Inferni
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POSTED: Sat Jan 27, 2018 1:56 pm

[WC: 301] oh no 2serious5me

He loved God, but God was a vindictive bastard sometimes.

There was much to be said for the trials of faith and the suffering endured. People could not escape sin so easily, despite all the sacrifices made to save them. Antioch could not simplify the things which he believed, for they were complex and hard to rationalize. He believed, and that was all there was to it, but part of what he put faith in violence being part of the solution.

Sacrifices needed to be made. When he was reassured that the Clan was thriving once more, when the war became a lingering memory of what they had needed to learn, he would make certain that the blood spilled by his kin and kind was repaid in full.

God had many faces. Not all of them were kind.

Hm, he grunted throatily, staring at Vesper with that same flat expression. As I understand it, you remain a Ravenmaster, and now seems like an important time to make sure those birds are doing their jobs properly. This was not to say he dismissed Conrad's contributions, but with the problems the dogs in the city were giving them and the need to travel further to hunt, the able-bodied among them were run far and wide.

Beyond that, he went on, sounding very serious. That book my wife almost died for needs to record the truth while there are those who can still speak on it. The wars we've fought need remembered. Even the one we lost, he said lowly. Too many people died to let it be forgotten.

No one wanted to talk about loosing, but they had, and if they did not learn from this they would risk the same thing again.

They could not trust wolves, and this was the truth.


I'm just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood
Inferni
Bellator III
User avatar
Mel
Luperci Multiple Co-Ranks Mate to Versace Level III Immunes Chaos Star
KARMA POLICE
(better keep your head)

POSTED: Fri Feb 02, 2018 9:05 pm

The male grunted and stared at her. His loyalty was written in the diagonal scars over one of those burning red eyes; it was a face that Vesper trusted, especially now that she knew she had no choice but to trust in others. More than ever now, her very survival was in the hands of those around her. It was a humbling thing, but infuriating too for a female whose independence had been a point of great pride.

Antioch spoke no-nonsense, mentioning the ravens, and Vesper looked away. She had no intention of abandoning her birds, even though the loss of Stark hit her anew with each molted black feather, every clever caw.

“It’s a ragtag group that’s followed us,” she murmured, though not without some affection. Many of the wild birds remained behind, swooping circles over Inferni’s lands in hopes of offal that was no longer so easily offered up. Several decent scouts had died or been scared away by the Salsolan’s arrows. The most loyal of the unpaired birds seemed to be the youngest, the ones she had practically raised within the flock, and while this new land was a great curiosity to them not many had the discipline to effectively patrol and protect it.

Despite her great show of discontent, her mind was already working: lessons, drills, treats if she could find any in this damn place.

When Antioch mentioned the book, the war, the dead, Vesper looked at him directly again. She nodded. Her tongue felt heavy in her mouth, but then, quietly, she managed: “Would that no one else make my mistake.”

An apology. Omar was dead because of her, as much as the Salsolans and God’s will.

She looked old and tired again. She shivered.


Inferni
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Raze
Luperci Multiple Co-ranks Rex III SoSuWriMo 2012 - 2017 Champion!
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POSTED: Tue Feb 06, 2018 6:38 pm

dog huggssss

It wasn't your fault, he told her at once.

Antioch believed in many things, God most of all, but he had seen the process of the war for what it was – the necessary severing of a poisonous place.

They drew first blood, Vesper, the Bellator reminded her seriously. He knew Virue had been hurt, and he knew enough of the coydog to know he was as threatening as a baby goat. Whoever had attacked him had not done so in self-defense. Salsolans lied. They stole. They worshiped dark powers and stole freedom from the weak. Antioch considered reminding her of all this, but he believed she already knew it too. It had not been Vesper who allied them with devils. They wanted the war. They wanted to destroy us like the other wolves have tried.

He let that last word linger, then approached his former leader and leaned his big side against her bony body.

My children still need you. So does Versace. We all do.


I'm just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood
Inferni
Bellator III
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Mel
Luperci Multiple Co-Ranks Mate to Versace Level III Immunes Chaos Star
KARMA POLICE
(better keep your head)

POSTED: Mon Feb 12, 2018 8:01 pm

:') we can end this and go spelunking

"It wasn't your fault."

Vesper squeezed her eyes shut tight. His words were immediate, somber, genuine in their delivery and explanation, and it hit her hard. Weeks of blame, from herself and from others in those grieved looks, singed faces, had taken their toll. Absolvement from one man who mattered -- the father of a boy who died because of her retaliation -- stirred her to tears.

He strode over to her and pressed into her side, and Vesper turned her head to bury her muzzle into his sable fur.

Okay, the old woman said. It was as close to acceptance as Antioch would receive from her. Her voice trembled (though her body did less, tucked against his warm fur), and she hated her weakness. I need you all, too.



Inferni
Evocati III
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Raze
Luperci Multiple Co-ranks Rex III SoSuWriMo 2012 - 2017 Champion!
tatter-winged phoenix
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