these lungs of mine were made to scream and shout

[RO] Asgeir's death and Lyris leaves New Dawn

POSTED: Thu Jan 29, 2015 11:18 pm

Chasing visions of our futures

"Asgeir?" Her voice was soft and questioning, and was full of an emotion odd on her tongue. It was almost excitement, but not the kind that came before a hunt or during battle. This was a different kind of excitement, a tender one- one which filled her veins with curiosity. At her call, a dark head moved in the shadows of the communal den, and Lyris knew that the Elder had heard her call. Carefully, she slipped inside, stepping over stray limbs and tails of her packmates whom had gone to slumber in the sinking light. The den was still more empty than it usually would have been, for many of her pack mates were still recovering or had begun retracting the disease that had been dubbed 'The Orca's Bane'- so the large cave was relatively quiet. But it was a peaceful sound, for there were no wheezing breaths or coughs or cries of the sick. Once Lyris had recovered from her own bout of the illness, she had grown a new appreciation for the large den and its quiet, familiar mood.

At last, the Stryder made it to the back of the den, to where Asgeir usually bedded down. She sat in front of him, then, and extended her neck forward to gently place an item on the ground before him. The fading sunlight that streamed its way inside caught the light in just a way as to highlight the beautiful orange dahlia, which lay on its side, its petals bright but soft, demanding attention in a timid way. Asgeir stared down at the flower, before looking up to the young female. "Lyris..." She shook her head, once. "I know. I found a patch of them out in the territory. They somehow survived the winter. I know it's your favorite color." She didn't need to say what hung in the air between them- that the flower was the exact shade of the man's once-beloved- X'yrin's- fur. Asgeir was silent, and showed no reaction, but Lyris could see the emotion straining to appear on his face. She knew his expression all too well- it was the one she wore when she was trying to hide something of importance. She and the man were almost too alike.

Without a word, the man reached a paw forward and dragged to blossom toward himself, where it lay limp over his foot, before looking back up with wise golden eyes to the youth. In those golden eyes, his strong emotion that was unnamed changed to something far different- it was almost mischevious. "And why, may I ask, are ya pickin' flowers?" Lyris stared at him, before snorting in indignation. "No reason. I just thought it was a special one." He saw right through her. "Naw, you're thinkin' about that Luca kid again." At that, the Stryder glared at him. "Will you drop it? I am not, okay? He's so full of himself and has no sense of responsibility, and the few times I've talked to him all that we've done is argue. Just because I met a nice-looking male my age doesn't mean anything." She snapped, before moving from sitting on her haunches to settling on her stomach, head on her paws to stare ahead at the flower that was draped over Asgeir's paw. "So ya do think he's good-lookin'." Lyris groaned, covering her nose with her paws. "Drop it, Asgeir. Nobody would want me anyway- I'm too cold, and anyone would stare at these scars. I don't want a mate or pups, anyway. Leaves too much room for betrayal, and I certainly don't trust him." She didn't meet his gaze after speaking- instead, she looked off to the side, watching the sunlight progressively fade as the day turned to night. The old man watched her carefully, but did not say anything. Asgeir was perhaps the only one she ever confided anything in, if only for the reason he could understand her better than others, and he had been through his fair share of heartache and pain, as well. Also for the fact that he knew what to say, and was wise, even if he would snap at the word and say it made him feel old. They lay in silence, then, for a while, quietly watching the dark chase out the light, before the man rose his head from his paws and looked at the girl. "Lyris, I want ya to listen to me, and listen closely."

The huntress had begun to nod off, her head settled on her feet, but at his words, she opened an eye, trying to shake off the groggines. "Quit pushin' everyone away. You're so afraid of somethin' goin' wrong that you don't get to experience what went right. I had plenty of heartbreak, with more than enough betrayal." To demonstrate his point, he lifted the flower from his paw with his teeth, gingerly, and instead craned his neck forward to set it before the Warden, who admired the orange blossom in the half-light, understanding. "But I still found ways to love. You're goin' to be sad an' crabby your whole life unless you change somethin'. I know your family is gone, and I know when you tried again, they left you, too. But promise to try again, for me?" Lyris watched him with wide, dark eyes as he spoke. He thought she was wrong- she was a beautiful girl, if only she could see past the scars, which were marks of courage in themselves. After this thought passed, the Stryder lifted her head and picked up the flower, tucking it under her paw tenderly, before turning an eye back to him. "Fine, whatever." She murmured, before dropping her head onto her paws. "Go to sleep, old man." She said, before closing her own eyes. Assuming the man had taken her advice, Lyris began to slip into her own sweet darkness. But just before the waves took her, she heard a soft few words. "Love isn't all fake, Lyris. I love you." But she couldn't ask what he meant, because sleep had already taken her into its gentle arms.

* * *

When she woke the next morning, it was late. Perhaps noon, and the female couldn't help but wonder why she'd had no nightmares. Rarely did her sleep go uninterrupted by the terrors. But she wasn't complaining. Slowly, she rose, and stretched, noticing the den was empty besides her and Asgeir. All of their pack mates must have already left on their duties. Lyris picked up the orange dahlia, which still lay on the ground, now slightly more wilted than before, and tucked the blossom against the man's foot, before turning to leave. Just then, she remembered the vague comment the night before, and turned. "Asgeir, what did you say last night?" She remembered, of course- that wasn't something she was likely to forget anytime soon. Her real question was what he meant. But Asgeir didn't reply.

That was her first clue. The Elder was a very light sleeper, and usually whenever a word was passed, he'd open an eye, as if he had been listening the whole time. And she'd even asked him a direct question- but he hadn't moved. "Asgeir?" She changed her course from heading outside to return back to the man, nudging him lightly against the throat. Nothing. Not even a breathe. "Asgeir." Came the name, but this time strung tight with worry. Had he fallen ill? Maybe he was just dreaming deeply. But her heart understood what death looked like, but just refused to believe. For a long moment, she just stared at her only true friend and companion- her true friend and companion, who wasn't breathing. In a sudden panic that closed up her throat, Lyris lurched forward and shoved the man's chest with her nose, hard. "Asgeir, please get up." He didn't respond. Again, she shoved, harder this time- almost violently. "Asgeir, you stupid old man, you promised you wouldn't leave me!" Her pleas became shouts, and she screamed the last sentence. She screamed at the dead Elder, she screamed at the sun, she screamed at the earth, she screamed at the trees, and she screamed at herself. Her cries became so painful and loud that they turned into howls, broken but beautiful. Howls that threaded through the forest and were sent over the territory that she had thought was her home- howls of grief. Eventually, when she could howl no more, she turned to dry, heaving sobs that racked her thin body, which dropped to the ground in front of the man. Lyris shoved her nose into his fur, and she cried. It was on that day that dared to be so beautiful that her heart broke again. She wasn't sure how long it could keep beating.

* * *

She hadn't let anyone help bury him.

She didn't care that he was a 'member of the pack'. He'd never liked this place, anyway- he'd only come for her. She didn't care when they protested, told her that it was impractical since the ground was frozen solid. It may be frozen, but it didn't stop her from digging until her fingers bled. She didn't care when they assembled, all to say one fake or useless word or goodbye after another. None of them loved him, or cared for him. That was what she had done- she had been his sole friend in a world that was dead and gone to him. When she did start caring was when the ground had been packed over his cold, limp body, and she knew she would never see his dark, mischievous eyes again. That was when she had ran into the forest that she had grown to hate, and when she had torn up the entire patch of orange dahlias. She didn't leave a single one- they didn't deserve to keep growing, one after the other, when the rest of them only had one life. She lay the flowers in a cluster over his grave, and she had bowed her head and glared at the dirt, hoping fervently that something beautiful could grow here, over his old and tired body. She hoped fervently that he could see his first love, Karina, again. And he hoped that he would be able to find X'yrin, and she would say she was sorry. She hoped, fervently, many things for him and this place, until the sun sunk. That was her last night in New Dawn.

* * *

She placed the flower on the border, atop a cold, flat-top rock. It was the first dahlia, the one she had picked and given to the man once known as Peregrine Ceston. It was a splash of bright, beautiful color against the forest that was blanketed in white, and it stood, petals wilting and splayed, as a final word. Lyris shouldered her quiver and pulled her bow over her chest, taking one last look at the packlands. Then she lifted her head, and she howled, bright and clear, for all to hear. It was her goodbye- there was nobody here she cared about enough to speak to. The one she really wanted to talk to was dead and already in the ground.

Once her howl had faded into simple memories, Lyris crouched before the dahlia and stroked one of its bright petals with a soft finger. "This is me, keeping my promise, old man. For you." And then she stood and vanished into the forest. Her journey was first to Vinátta, to retrieve her horse, and then onto Casa di Cavalieri, where she hoped she could forge something that Asgeir would be proud of.

Asgeir's death and Lyris's departure~ Death took place on morning of the 28th, and Lyris left the morning of the 29th | [wc — 1974] template by hilli
Lyris Stryder
Casa di Cavalieri
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Luperci Mate to Luca Stable Master The Brotherhood: Master of Tooth and Claw 2013, 2015 SoSuWriMo Champ! Stryder
princess cut from marble
smoother than a storm
these scars that mark my body?

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