[m] it was me who was discovered

POSTED: Mon Nov 26, 2018 5:19 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.

Sometimes when Otilie dreamed she could see the pack of coyotes crowded around the blue-eyed man, their war cries deafening as they kicked and screamed. She had stood and done nothing, and because of that fateful day she was certain that the prekliatie had found her.

The curse had been a quiet subtle thing; it had woven its way through her life with destruction and care. She had found Inferni in its dying days, had barely survived a scorching summer and a run in with the man she had forsaken. They were all pieces of her life that had been darkened by her fears – but somehow, she had managed to survive. The winter was cruel and rough, but she returned each night to a warm cave filled with warm bodies – and she appreciated the makeshift family that had been left in Inferni’s ashes.

They had refused to leave, and for some reason Otilie had stayed.

Something had blossomed between the Slovak and the scruffy dog – and it was still warm and new, tentative and soft.

When Otilie rose with the new-dawn she stooped to gently kiss Clover before loping off through the gaping cave mouth in search of food.

She stood upon the threshold for a long moment, blinking her pale eyes at the fresh layer of snow that had been lain overnight. Mist frothed before her muzzle as she sniffed at the cold and fluffed out her mane.

It was a familiar routine. The trio required more food than the territory could offer, and it forced Otilie to wander further and further in an attempt to find a fresh trail through the snow. In her secui form she was bulky against the snow, and she fell into a flat backed coyote lope with narrowed eyes intent on finding something.

She travelled for hours, zig zagging to and fro as the clouds began to part to reveal a tiny smudge of blue.

She changed course twice – following cloven hoof tracks with a hopeful prayer to the old gods that she would return with more than an empty story. She traversed a heavily forested copse of trees that blocked out the sky, and ran along a thin ridge that lead towards-


The sound was like raucous thunder, and for a moment Otilie stood frozen in place, stunned. The bear trap was old and rusted, but the snow had hidden it enough that she hadn’t seen a thing. It was clasped firmly about one of her back legs, its iron teeth exposing cracked bone.

It was only when the pain coursed through her body that she threw back her head and screamed.

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POSTED: Wed Nov 28, 2018 5:57 pm

They had taken his daughter from him. They had taken his daughter from him.

It was on a cheerless and bitter morning (or had it been later?) that they came to them, and Milos remembered how he had held onto his daughter just a little tighter. Had they made any words? Had they told him why? They must have. The Eyes never seemed to run out of breath to preach or chant or lie. But what words were shared, Milos could not recall. He was too distressed, too distraught, too desperate to listen to anything they had to say. He had to keep Daisy safe. He had to keep her safe from their terrible salvation.

He remembered feeling colder than he could ever remember feeling after Daisy's warmth had been carried away by the cold and her cries had faded from the crisp ether. Alone, now, with only the persistent beating of his heart, Milos reaffirmed his promise that he would do anything he had to if it would only keep her safe.

Trudging through places he had never before traveled, the leafless branches of brush and low-hanging trees reached out to run their woody claws over his legs; his thighs; his waist. The land here smelled faintly of ash, which reminded him of the fire that he witnessed consuming his home – his pack. His throat bobbed against itself as he swallowed, running fingers through unkempt hair, and walked on.

There was a woman he had to find, if he wanted to ensure Daisy's safety. And he had to find her.

He had a promise to keep.

With his daughter a valuable hostage, Milos was allowed to move about without the constant supervision previously utilized when they were together. He checked back in with Degaré and Talbot regularly, though, out of fear that his extended absence might trigger the threat that had been firmly established within him.

Daisy's life would become null and void the moment he failed to comply.

In the beginning, Milos entertained fantasies of running; of racing back to where the Eyes held his daughter and saving her from their mercy then returning to Krokar, where their family would breathe a collective sigh of relief. But he knew this for what it was: a fantasy. If he ran, Daisy would be dead long before he found her and he would become a hunted man.

Just like the woman he had to find.

A scream rent the air and Milos swung his head to the sound. His leg carried him toward the horrible sound and when he found the coywolf caught in the trap, his chest tightened.

"Breathe," he told her, stepping from their drab surroundings. Milos eyed her foot and pursed his lips, then looked at her with dimmed orange eyes. With his hands held out disarmingly, he stepping closer. "Goddess," he breathed. "Reckon it's gonna take some effort t' help ya outta this." Crouching at her side, Milos assessed the terrible, rusted contraption with furrowed brows. "Name's Milos," he told her as he looked the trap up and down. "What're ya called?"

He couldn't know for sure until he knew her name.

[WC — 534]

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Luperci Mate to Eliza but you'd become my candle in the dark
the sun still rises
even through the rain

POSTED: Tue Jan 01, 2019 2:29 pm

Otilie had never felt pain that blocked out everything. It bloomed within her like a flame, twisting and turning against her bones as if she had been caught in a snare. Instinct took over all rational thought, and Otilie bucked and wheeled as if she were a wild thing. The sounds that filled the clearing shot up through the mist like frightened birds – wheeling ferally about a throat that was stained red.

Blood seeped from her wound to stain the snow.

It swirled and spat like a manic cursive across a fresh page, the crimson twisting and turning in bright arcs around her. Her teeth ground together, her dark lips twitching as she released another curdling scream. She wanted the sound to tear the world asunder – to set her aching leg free so that she can run and run and –


The word had her frozen in time, the rattling of her breath echoing through her empty skull in the rasping way that metal scraped against stone. The chain that held the trap in place rattled as a tremble rocked her body, and it took everything in Otilie not to snarl at the man with the pale nose and warm eyes. The sound that left her was keening and slow, her name a whisper beneath pin-prick eyes.

For a moment she forgot herself to the pain. She was a coyote, a proud Terchovan – but beyond that her name evaded her.

When it came it was with a cracking sound as the trap tightened about her leg.

”Otilie.” She coughed and felt her mouth go warm, ”I am Otilie.”

She waved her name like a flag and allowed herself a moment of stillness that had her glassy eyes roving across the thin man who stood before her. In different circumstances she would have noticed the haggard way his fur stuck up around his ears, or the tired lines that sprouted around his eyes like vines.

Milos, his name was Milos.

Milos. Milos would save her from this place.

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POSTED: Tue Jan 01, 2019 7:54 pm

A familiar iciness clutched Milos' heart with enough force to trap the breath in his lungs. Should'a been someone else, he thought through the pervasive and terrible ringing in his ears. "Lovely name," he said instead, the look in his warm eyes betraying a peculiar sadness. Anyone else.

But what good would that have done him? What good would it have done Daisy? Stiff and still, Milos stared through the trapped woman at an imminent future where death was guaranteed. Whirling and swirling like a January blizzard, his thoughts raced and his emotions warred.

Otilie had done nothing to him; she deserved no punishment or betrayal or misfortune. To help her, to free her and return her life back into the Goddess' fair hands... that would be the righteous path. Milos' sunny eyes sunk down to the rough, rusted chain that held Otilie fast to this cold and dark wood. Chinks and cracks were evident on its corroded surface. The thin wolfdog ran a calloused index finger along the hard and heartless surface of the ancient metal.

He could try to break her free. If the metal wouldn't give, the flesh and bones of her toes would. The pain would be great, there would be no doubt of that, but she had a greater chance of surviving with a disfigured foot than if she did if she stayed where she was.

Frozen air filled his aching lungs and his eyes disappeared behind darkness. So arid was his mouth and throat that it was impossible to swallow. A choice had to be made and Milos had run out of the right to make his own the day that Krokar had burned.

All he had left now was a promise to keep.

"En't able t' free ya, not on my own," he said thickly, unable to meet Otilie's eyes. He cleared his throat unsuccessfully. "Got... friends, though, who can help." Friends. What a cruel joke. Milos wondered if it was normal to feel as though his chest were being squashed slowly beneath the weight of a bull, or if the Goddess was only killing him. He tried to smile, but it was strained and tight. "Jus'... en't got th' strength in me." He gestured vaguely to his thin frame and unkempt fur, hoping he looked as ill in body as he felt in spirit.

Before he tilted his head back and cried hoarsely for his captors, Milos met Otilie's eyes at last and, rising painfully in the surface of their molten hue, there was torment and there was apology.

Nothing would be okay now, but at least Daisy would live.

[WC — 444 ]

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Luperci Mate to Eliza but you'd become my candle in the dark
the sun still rises
even through the rain

POSTED: Tue Jan 01, 2019 8:42 pm

[WC: 532]

His meditation was patience.

It was a difficult word to rationalize when the end of the world was nigh. Degaré had come to accept this with greater ease than he might have before the cougar attack. To look upon death and know what awaited them all filled him with dire purpose. Omni and the people of the Watchtower gave him a cause. Fate rewarded him.

Today, nearing four years to that fateful encounter, Degaré finally caught up with the woman he felt responsible for this terrible misfortune in his life.

He had been laying in the dappled shade cast by the branches a leaf-bare tree, still and solitary. Talbot was not far. Degaré could hear him traipsing around, talking to himself and making marks where some call commanded. They did this every few hours. It helped Degaré to rest, though his sickness seemed to wane as if by good fortune. Food was easier to find with three people hunting. They were learning the land better, figuring out what trails led where and what might be found along the road.

Already, they were looking onward, to what came next. They had succeeded. Omni was with them.

It was a curious thing that Milos had been spared. Perhaps there was some purpose to the sealing of a fate beyond his own. The way of the many-faced god was beyond Degaré's understanding. After today, he would no longer think to question this path of destruction they were upon.

The wolf rose to his feet fluidly. By the time he had shifted to his Secui form, Talbot had returned. Roused by the urgency of the summons, his pale eyes were wide and his trembling fingers betrayed his feelings. Degaré didn't care. He was owed this. Talbot could not deny him his destiny.

When he found them, the stench of blood and fear was palpable in the air. His lips split to allow his tongue to taste the wind. Slowly, with great restraint, Degaré stepped into the old trail where a trap from the old-world had seen fit to do the bidding of a new, ever-more powerful god. Talbot was wearing his mask, but Degaré went bare faced.

She deserved to see what had happened to him – what she was responsible for. The scars along the right side of his face were thick and deep. They had twisted his face horribly, and his eye was a ruined thing. A remnant of the dead-world, a reminder of what waited ahead of them. He hoped she could see what was coming.

I knew I would find you, he said, pacing ever-closer to where the poor woman was restrained.

Talbot stepped nearer to Milos and with one hand seized his wrist.

Omni sees all, Captain, the red dog purred into his ear. His grip tightened painfully. Behind the mask he was smiling, eager, excited for what horrors awaited them. The true believers are rewarded. You serve the will of Omni, like us all.

Do you remember me? Degaré demanded of Otilie, his eyes widening as he stared at her. The fur along his body began to bristle. He looked manic. Do you remember who I am, you stupid bitch?

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POSTED: Tue Jan 01, 2019 9:55 pm

Otilie had heard the debate once, a long time ago before she had given pieces of her heart to the fluffy bow-eared dog – debate between the old gods and the new. There were flashes of white at the edges of her vison – brilliant alabasters and porcelains that grew like feathers and distorted the soft-spoken man’s edges. His face was rent with such sadness that it bade Otilie pause, though she struggled and pulled against the bone-biting trap that still lay embedded deep within her skin.

It was perhaps a remnant from the old gods. A lesson left behind for her to pray over and learn from. Everything was white – the snow, her bone, even the feathers in her hair – but her eyes kept creeping back to the trap’s toothy maw. Milos came closer, and it took everything in her not to strain away from his rough-looking hands. They trailed over the rusted chain that held the thing to the earth, his brows pulled together in consternation.

”I want out.” She clicked her teeth, supporting all of her weight on her three good legs, ”Please – do something.”

”Prosím.” All of a sudden she wanted to touch him, to have him understand that the warmth she was feeling was throbbing to the timing of her heart beat. Blood ran in tiny rivulets down her leg and she thought very much that they appeared like tears. His warbling call bade her to wait in impatient silence, her haunches trembling as a light snow began to fall.

When the call faded away into nothing she prayed silently.

It was only when the face appeared through the trees that she realized her prayers would be futile.

There were no old gods, no new gods, no deities.

There was only Degare. Only that milky blue eye and the admonishing sheen of his perfectly pointy teeth. Each time his dark lips moved Otilie felt herself pulling back sharply on the chain – completely ignorant of the pain that shot through her. She trembled now all over, and a keening wail had begun deep down in her throat.

This was a godless place.

<”How-How could I forget.”> His words hit her as if she had been struck in the face, and she winced beneath the power of his voice. <”Please help me.”>

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POSTED: Tue Jan 01, 2019 11:33 pm

She reminded him of a little bird, in a way, and a painful fissure stretched its way across the bottom of his heart when he lowered his head and took in the terrible sight of that rusted metal chain. Little birds weren't meant to be earthbound. Little birds weren't meant to be trapped. Little birds were meant to be free.


His molten eyes traveled up the length of the chain to where the trap's hateful teeth had buried themselves into to the fur and the flesh and the tendons and the bones of her delicate foot. Crimson beads of blood had risen up from broken vessels and spilled over like a thick, lethargic waterfall, making rivulets of scarlet down and down and down to pool in the ivory snow below. The copper tang stuck to the inside of his nostrils like tar.

Sucking the frost into his lungs, Milos closed his eyes and bit down on his tongue to keep from crying out. She was alive and she was warm and she was hopeful – a woman with a beating heart and a bright future and a beautiful story to see through to its beautiful end. She was somebody's daughter, just as Daisy was. She had a mother who had cared for her, and a father who had kept her safe. What if she was a mother herself? What if she had little ones to keep safe, too?

Oh, Goddess, what had he done?

"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry." The words bubbled out of his lips suddenly, raw and unplanned. Milos ran the fingers of a hand through his unkempt mane and then held the palm of his calloused hand against his head. Where the sharp angle of his dark elbow pierced the frozen air, it was obvious he was trembling.

But there was no time now to undo the moves that had been set in motion, no time to right his wrong, no time to plan out an alternate outcome. In what had felt like an instant, Degaré was there and Talbot – masked and energized – was with him. Without wanting to, Milos turned his eyes away from his captors and looked into Otilie's narrow face. Within her eyes – those warm and pristine blue eyes – there was a fear so powerful and raw that it was almost visceral.

Something had wrapped itself around his wrist and it took Milos a moment to understand that it was pain he was feeling. He sucked in a sharp breath, tearing his eyes away from Otilie's face to look onto Talbot's intricate mask. Milos stared wide-eyed at the russet coydog, his face contorted in anguish.

"Please," he tried to say, his lips moving without sound. Milos twisted his head to look at Degaré and Otilie again. "Please," he repeated, managing to coax the words from his throat this time. "Degaré, ya en't..." He winced against Talbot's grip. "This en't right. Ya know this en't right." Did he? Milos prayed to the Goddess that he did. "She don't deserve this."

[WC — 520]

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Luperci Mate to Eliza but you'd become my candle in the dark
the sun still rises
even through the rain

POSTED: Wed Jan 02, 2019 12:58 am

[WC: 735]

If she was desperate enough, he wondered, would she chew her leg off to get free? Would she risk dying to escape him? Maybe if she had been left alone long enough, she could have managed to get away. That wouldn't matter. Things would be ending here, now, finally. She had run out of luck, after all these years.

He stared at her with wide, hateful eyes. With only one seeing, it was a gaze divided by this half-life. Degaré hated Otilie Novak more than he had hated anything in his whole life and here she was, put forth to him and presented in what certainly was a gift. Omni favored him. His sacrifices were worth something.

The old gods had abandoned them back in Terchová. When the blood had stopped flowing, the gods had left. By the time it started again, no one was left to answer their calls. No one had answered him until he had been far from his place of birth and from the people who had pretended to care about him.

Frozen in place, Degaré didn't hear Milos' words at first. He was too fixated on Otilie's sniveling, pathetic expression.

He turned slowly, stiffly, until his good eye found the dark wolfdog's face.

What did you say? Degaré asked quietly. His lip twitched. You think you know about me, do you? I tell you what she did, his voice rose, increasing as the frenzy grew. She and her friends, they mobbed me – they cost me everything. This is right, you trulo. Everything I'm doing is right!

He snarled, and sprung forward as if he meant to bite. Talbot was holding tightly onto Milos, meaning to hurt him. His free hand snatched up a chunk of the man's too-long hair, twisting tightly. From the way he stepped back, it seemed as if he wasn't sure what Degaré truly meant to do. He certainly shoved Milos in front of himself as if meaning to use the captive as a shield.

Degaré's charge was a feigned, half-lived thing. He spun, bristling, and advanced on the frantic woman. I'll show you! The wolf shouted, and with one massive paw bowled the trapped coyote over. She was screaming again. Someone might hear her. Degaré didn't care. This was all Omni's will, and so far, the many-faced-god had been most merciful to its followers.

He bared his teeth, pinning Otilie under his considerable weight.

Make him look, Talbot! Make him watch! You look too, you zajebana kurva! Degaré bellowed. His head shot forward, driving his slashing teeth down near her belly, towards the soft and easily-wounded places around her hips and thighs. His bites punctured her skin over and over, but they were snapping things and he released her with intention. Over and over again he did this, and when she tried to kick him away he seized her ankle and shook it until she was screaming, screaming, and he released and found a better hold and bit and crushed the bone until he heard it crack beneath the force of his jaw.

Panting, the wolf dripped foamy saliva on the ground. He rushed for one of her arms and took this in his mouth, and with wicked inspiration yanked as hard as he could, pulling and pulling against the resistance her body put up.

He made certain she lived for all of this.

Degaré was quite aware of just how much abuse a body could take.

We're the chosen few, Talbot was urging Milos. The overwhelming violence and terrible energy was infectious, and it reverberated through his body. It's our duty to ensure the message is heard and understood. We have the right to deliver the message. Do you see? Do you hear what we are saying?

No one helped me, Degaré was snarling again, circling the sobbing woman. Pinkish, bloody spit fell from his mouth. His muzzle was stained with it. I ought to take you apart piece by piece. I ought to sever your head from your body and bury it where the sun will never find your face.

See how merciful we were, in freeing your people? It could have been like this. We only want to save you from what's coming.

Say you're sorry, the wolf demanded, standing over Otilie's bleeding body. Beg me again to help you. Renounce your false beliefs and beg my god to show you mercy.

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POSTED: Wed Jan 02, 2019 4:03 pm

Somehow, she knew that the moment he saw her that her life had run its natural course.

The curse had followed her for most of her life – a dark shadow of a thing that had ignored her prayers and sullied most good things in her life. As Degare Ravencroft glared at her she panted, her breath escaping her lungs in short bursts that left her bereft and light headed. He layered his anger upon her word by careful word and the weight of it almost brought her to her knees.

But she could not kneel – for that would mean she had given up; that Vesper and Clover would never know what had become of her.

She strained against the tether with a yelp, ignoring the bones that twisted and cracked as she attempted to pull herself free. Even on three legs she could run, though Talbot was grinning at her – the bloody red of his face pulled sardonically upward as he pulled on Milos and forced him to watch. Degare was snarling and snapping, the milky eye unfocused and glossy like a freshly frozen lake.

The first strike had her toppling over – her body rolling through the bloody snow.

It was futile now. The hulking brute weighed her down and pressed her to the earth so firmly that she felt her ribs groan with protest. <”You can’t do this.”> Her mother tongue felt wrong in her mouth, but it brought comfort – though she realized the warmth that flooded her was not from comfort or welcome – but instead from the fresh wounds his teeth tore into her skin. <”I’m sorry. You must believe-“

She couldn’t finish. He wouldn’t listen.

She struggled again, a final prayer whispered to a silent god. They had abandoned her – but she still promised herself to them, wished that they had found her sooner, that they would watch over Clover and Vesper and what was left of Infernis far flung Coyote Clan. She swore Degare was laughing, his broad muzzle blood stained and caked with pieces of her.

She was able to make eye contact with Milos only once.

How could you.

And then it was over – the life stripped from her as if she had never had it to begin with.

The feathers that usually danced and twitched in her long mane were thick and heavily red, and as a breeze trickled past nothing moved, nothing breathed.

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POSTED: Wed Jan 02, 2019 6:41 pm

Fleeting as a falling star, what dismal hope Milos clutched onto as he tried appealing to Degaré crumbled into glittering flakes and blew away with the breath of the frozen winter wind. His ears fell – submissive, pleading – but there was an endless emptiness in the place where his optimism once lived. As the beast rounded on him, the sharp angles of his teeth and the broad strength of his body and the awful gleam in that single sightless eye filling his field of vision, Milos shrunk and his thoughts were no longer on Otilie's well-being.

With a snarl, suddenly Degaré was upon him. He managed a clipped gasp before Talbot, his sharp fingers already digging into his flesh, clawed at his scalp and found purchase in the knot of hair he gripped. "Ah!" he grunted sharply, his voice caught somewhere between terror and torment, and pulled his free arm up to his vulnerable torso in a futile attempt at defense. "You're right! You're right Igotitwrong!" he howled, squeezing his eyes closed while he waited for the red-hot pain of teeth buried within flesh to ignite his senses. "Please!"

It was for a different soul that he begged now.

"Yes," he whimpered when the pain didn't come. "Show me." Screaming erupted and Milos opened his eyes and there, beneath the weight of Degaré's massive body, Otilie suffered. He did not want to be shown. He did not want to watch. He tasted bile at the back of his throat and he wanted to be sick.

But Talbot held him fast, his cruel fingers sharp and bony and unyielding. No! screamed his heart as Otilie's life spilled from her veins and painted the snow scarlet. He nodded without wanting to. "Yes." It was barely a whisper, harsh and thick on his tongue. And, in that moment, their eyes met and Milos wondered how he could possibly still be alive when his soul was so thoroughly dead.

I'm so sorry.

But there was no apologizing for this. How could there be? She was dying. He was going to kill her and then he would never be forgiven.

He was damned.

"M-merciful, yes," Milos croaked while he was forced to watch as a woman was robbed of her life. The smell of blood was so thick and so pervasive that he felt certain he could taste it. "So m-merciful." After a while, it became impossible for the wolfdog to look away and so he stared, eyes wide and jaw set, and tried in vain to wake himself from whatever new and terrible nightmare his mind had concocted.

But sometimes, nightmares lurked within reality.

[WC — 450]

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Luperci Mate to Eliza but you'd become my candle in the dark
the sun still rises
even through the rain

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