it will not steal your substance

POSTED: Mon Nov 12, 2018 10:55 am

He had not believed it, at first. He had not believed it until he saw his father's reaction, and saw that it was true, and then he had realized a new sensation.

It was the first time Oberyn Haskel had felt fear in his life, and the sensation was like possession. Cold and sudden was the drop in his belly, and from this his lungs began to grasp for air. His toes went cold. His limbs trembled. Old and horrible instinctive, ancestral whispers began to warn him of the unfathomable danger out in this large world.

Unabashedly, he had become hysterical.

The puppy ki-yi's went on until he could barely breathe, and then he had cried and cried hard. When he had finally collapsed, he had cried himself to sleep where he fell.

And in the morning, when he woke and did not find his sister next to him, Oberyn's sorrow compounded onto itself. From his heart woke a sudden and intense fury the likes of which he had never felt. Caught in the pendulum swing of grief's display, he had sprung up with his fur all on end and eyes blazing.

His father, already awake (perhaps never slept) was out in the cold dark morning when Oberyn found him.

Papa, he said, and swallowed the hesitation that made his voice crack. I want to go look too!

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POSTED: Tue Nov 20, 2018 12:05 pm

Taken. His daughter, taken.

When Skoll heard the news, he acted predictably. His sunny face darkened into an intense thundercloud, and he snarled and raged and demanded answers. Ignoring the words and warnings of others, he galloped out into the wild and only returned after the trail went cold when he thought of his son. He did not want to leave Oberyn alone, despite the assurance from others (like Galilee) that they would watch over him. Reluctantly, he prowled around his home instead. He had to think.

Thinking was terrible. His daughter was taken. A puppy, whisked away by an enemy – the parallels to his past made Skoll sick. Remembering those tiny, emaciated bodies, he retched and gasped and wiped his face in the frosty dew.

He still smelled of this when Oberyn found him, of stress and aggression and acrid fear too. The white of his good eye gleamed as he glanced toward the boy, whose voice cracked and whose same-color eyes shone with desperation and determination. The big wolfdog dropped his head to sniff and nuzzle the puppy, leaning his broad head against the growing frame.

Okay, the father said. Let's go.

It would be dangerous to bring the child, but more dangerous for Oberyn to get ideas to go alone. Skoll would not let this become one of his regrets.

He shifted smaller into his Lupus form, and found this way he did not dwarf his son as much as he remembered. Secui was for speed, power, rage – but they would need endurance and patience now. They could not stop searching; they could not afford to. He turned and headed for the kidnapping site, knowing he would remember the trail from there, even if its odor had faded. He hoped the dew could have captured it in the earth, and that perhaps he would find something he had previously missed.

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POSTED: Wed Nov 21, 2018 2:41 pm

His father stunk of things Oberyn did not like. They were as foreign as the feelings within him, but Skoll was still his caregiver and despite what he was now forced to consider Oberyn trusted him.

It was easier to stick to his father's side now when everything else seemed so fearful. The others could watch him, certainly – he had his elder sister still, and Mottle, and more, but it was Skoll who had long been his protector and Skoll who alone could undo this terrible injustice.

At least, that was what Oberyn found himself thinking. He was thinking about more than that too, and as they went along the silence was uninterrupted for what felt like an age. It didn't feel right to break it, and indeed the normally talkative boy was notably silent until they broke their tireless lope to better find clues along the trail.

She's ok, right? He asked quietly. All of his earlier bravado had become tempered by the realization of things like distance and time as they applied to his sister's abduction.

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POSTED: Thu Dec 06, 2018 6:30 am

He was aware that this would mark a great turning point for his son. Tragedies happened to everyone, and henceforth life would be divided into “befores” and “afters,” like it had for Skoll. He thought he might understand this better than most. He, his friends’ children, the Court itself — theirs were chaptered stories.

For better or for worse, Oberyn and Issola’s lives were changed. He could only pray that Issola had an “after.”

He sniffed at a mark previously missed, some ways off the trail, but the scent of a young male dog told him little — only that the accomplice, whose presence he’d smelled at the kidnapping site, too — had scaled a tree, perhaps to watch for pursuants. So faint as to be nonexistent was his daughter’s scent among the mingled smells; they must have carried her rather than make her walk along. He growled softly to himself.

Oberyn broke the silence with a question, and the wolfdog’s green eye flicked toward him. He replied plainly. “I think so. They took her. If they wanted to kill her, they would have already. But they took her with them.”

He realized after a beat that, perhaps, this had not been the right thing to say. Darkness lingered on his scarred, weathered face as he averted his gaze. There was no point in speaking false comforts now.

His son’s world was different.
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POSTED: Sat Dec 08, 2018 1:03 pm

The thought struck him like a rolling wave. Oberyn swayed in its wake, but his feet found the ground.

His sister was not dead, his father meant to say. The image of it flashed in Oberyn's mind. It stayed there, burned in his thoughts, and as they lingered in silence he wondered what surely the implication of collateral and murder could be. Issola might have lived because her life was valuable to the men who had taken her.

Would they keep her alive, though? And for how long?

What would they do to her during that time?

What could he have done?

Beyond the scope of his ability to act, more and more conscious of his limitations, Oberyn began to feel very small.

Papa why would God let something bad like this happen to us? He's supposed to look out for us, isn't He? The boy blurted out, gasping for air. His earlier hysterics seemed frightfully close, like the wind before a storm. The fair air was not enough to calm him, though it rushed back into his lungs. The smell of the forest stuck to it, lingered in his nose and on his tongue. It seemed unfamiliar and strange and overwhelming.

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