The garden of Eden burned in the night

[p. Skoll]

POSTED: Wed May 23, 2018 8:30 pm

His mother was dead. Now his father was dead, too. Alessan did not know what to think. All he knew was that even his lackadasical attitude was not going to save him from the imminent sadness that would come when the numbness worked its way out of his body. It was without a doubt a horrible time and he could not have imagined such a rough year. Winter ended with his mother's murder. Spring ended with the passing of his father. It was a better death than their mother had, but his shame felt like a reason for his untimely end. Or was it timely?

Ever since the Winter of Tarnished Gold ended and their new Queen took over, things were at least quiet, but there was a simmering anger beneath the surface that did not want to rock the boat. They seemed resigned and no one had been murdered in the quiet of the night. It was an improvement, but not by much.

Alessan was not one for the cups. He made the stuff that went into the cups and so he did not often imbibe of his own stock. However, the occasion warranted a drink and he broke out one of his better vintages of the least sour grapes he had and curled himself atop a grassy knoll on a hill overlooking his growing vineyard. His legs were pulled up to him and he drank straight from the bottle as he watched the sky turn pretty pink with the imminent sunset. It was too beautiful and he felt too numb to appreciate a damned thing.

ALESSAN STORMBRINGER
And I cannot decipher between the thrill and the fear. I want to stop but I like it too much to let it stop here

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voice from the past
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such faraway reflections
a Thousand Confessions
The soul yearns for honor

POSTED: Fri May 25, 2018 11:17 pm

This latest loss should have sent him spiraling again. He should have contemplated mortality on a stony precipice, or broken his claws on the training dummies, or morosely paraded the kingdom wading in grief. But he didn’t – perhaps because he didn’t have time with the new pups around, perhaps because he was beginning to feel numb, or perhaps because this felt like a mercy.

Silvano seemed to have died a while ago, not long after Shiloh.

His confusion upset them all, but his lucidity was almost worse: when he became aware of all he had forgotten, or remembered his pain anew. Many times Skoll watched light spark and die in those emerald eyes. The result was that he had already, in a way, grieved for his friend.

The sorrow struck him now and again, but it was a healthy sorrow. When he left the caverns (where he had taken to sleeping like a guard dog outside his children’s den), Dreyma said nothing even when he headed into the sunset. He tilted his head and squinted at the last bright rays, snorting to keep gnats at bay. The ground was still warm, and he indulged in the feeling of all four paws striking it as he wandered the hillsides, soaking in that last drop of gold.

His nostrils flared again when he smelled wine on the breeze, and as Skoll crested another hill he saw the vintner himself. He climbed up the knoll that Alessan was seated on, shaking some dust from his coat and stretching once he reached the man’s side.

“Bonsoir,” Skoll greeted, his smile sad.
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POSTED: Tue Jun 12, 2018 8:13 pm

Alessan did not know how to feel. There was no way to understand, either, no one to ask. How was he supposed to feel to be an orphan at the age of five? He was a grown man and yet he felt like he wanted to thrown a tantrum like a petulant child, despite being a relatively collected person since youth. He wanted to throw a true fit and cry over the unfairness of having lost both mother and father within half a year, having seen both of their bodies returned to the earth.

He felt nothing because it was easier than figuring out what he ought to feel. He drank his drink and swallowed the burn as though it were gasoline, knowing that it was a sort of fuel to keep his numbness going despite the displeasing taste and texture. He wanted nothing to do with his brain at that moment. He wanted nothing to do with the creeping sadness and the horrible guilt that they could have done something to prevent it.

Alessan refused to believe that it was simply his father's time to go.

The figure came, unnoticed, and yet the Stormbringer did not react to the greeting beyond looking up at him through bloodshot eyes.

"Hello Skoll," he said simply, without any of the cheer that he normally would have. "I'd offer you a drink.. so here, here's a drink," he added, jutting out the bottle without thinking if the man even wanted it or even could take it with four paws instead of a pair of hands.

ALESSAN STORMBRINGER
And I cannot decipher between the thrill and the fear. I want to stop but I like it too much to let it stop here

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voice from the past
from those conflicted nights
such faraway reflections
a Thousand Confessions
The soul yearns for honor

POSTED: Fri Jun 15, 2018 3:49 am

Reddened eyes peered back at him, and Alessan greeted him dully. It seemed that, while Skoll endured his friend's death well enough (as well as one could), others still coped in unhealthy ways. Not that Skoll could lecture Al on drinking. It was a natural response, to want to make oneself numb to the pain, if only for long enough to process it. He sighed, sadly, and when Alessan stiffly held the bottle out to him smiled. A drink sounds good. Un instant.

Any other time Skoll would have joked about whether Alessan was prepared to pour the wine directly into his mouth, or hold him like a baby -- but he wasn't feeling it now. He began to shift, a practiced process that only took a couple of minutes, and took the bottle immediately once he had hands to hold it properly. As his bones and muscle settled, his golden hair touching his shoulders, Skoll took a swig and licked his lips.

This one's good, he said, handing the bottle back. You're kinda an artist, you know? He paused, wondered what one should say, decided testing the waters was too risky. Do you want me to stick around, bud? He reached to give Alessan's shoulder a squeeze. I can go if you wanna drink alone, but that shit's sad. Plus I don't want you to roll down this hill. He stretched his legs and pushed his hind claws against the earth, settling lazily in the grass. Because I've been here. This exact hill. I know because there's a thornbush at the bottom of it.

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POSTED: Sun Jun 17, 2018 11:58 am

He ignored Skoll shifting, but kept the bottle of wine sticking out in his grip. He wanted to finish the bottle in one happy, merciful go, but it was not fair to offer the drink and then down it the next second. Even the knowledge that the man was shifting near him did not make him turn his gaze to the event, even if it was always an interesting visual treat. And Skoll was hardly bad looking, it would have been a double treat.

The praise fell upon hollow ears. Alessan merely grunted in acknowledgement as he accepted the bottle back into his willing hands.

"I lived beneath a hill once, I won't roll down it, but I would like to see how I like the thorn bush," he said flatly with a vestige of his usual humor. He did not push the man away, accepting the squeeze to his shoulder, relishing the comfort of another human being that wasn't his family. His blooded siblings all knew the pain he felt and it felt like weak solace from them, for they were all suffering. Skoll, though, was his father's friend. It meant something else coming from him.

"I don't get it. I don't get how he just.. wasted away and no one saw it." There was so much bitterness in his voice as he put the bottle to his mouth and drank way too much in one go, feeling drops down the sides of his maw. He took a deep breath when he surfaced, offering it back to Skoll. "It's not fucking fair to us," he added, as though mad that his father somehow chose to die.

ALESSAN STORMBRINGER
And I cannot decipher between the thrill and the fear. I want to stop but I like it too much to let it stop here

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voice from the past
from those conflicted nights
such faraway reflections
a Thousand Confessions
The soul yearns for honor

POSTED: Sun Jun 24, 2018 8:46 pm

“A thorn bush would probably feel better than all” – Skoll gestured to encompass their grief – “this.”

The deep scratch of brambles could not quite compare to loss, but in a way they were very alike. Fresh, the wound stung and smarted like fire constantly, and sometimes it festered with infection. Even when it healed over and one thought it was over, the wound might tear open. Sometimes it took no more than another scratch.

Skoll shrugged and took the bottle back, holding its contents up to the setting sun with a glisten of deep purple through fogged glass. “No, most of us saw it, I think,” he said, knocking back a smaller gulp and finding that there was very little left. He twirled the last dregs thoughtfully in the bottom, then set it on the grass. “We just couldn’t do anything about it,” he said with a snort that left tiny glistening drops of moisture on his whiskers. He wiped this with the back of a wrist.

Perhaps in the end the physical toll on Silvano’s body could be delayed. He hadn’t eaten as much, yes, and perhaps a skilled healer could keep tabs on the ailing man – but was it fair to prolong that? Anyone could tell that he had been moving slower even before Shiloh’s death. Giants were not made to live long lives, it seemed.

“Reminds me of my dad,” Skoll added. He wriggled his fingers into the grass; gnats stirred, and the earth was warm. “But he didn’t even try, in the end, other than whatever things he said to Lottie. Silvano tried, I think. Or he wanted to. I don’t know.”
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POSTED: Mon Jun 25, 2018 7:24 pm

Alessan shrugged slightly, mostly because he couldn't help but agree with Skoll. Anything would feel better than sadness, especially a wound of the body; that would at least be distracting enough.

"I'd like to think he tried, whenever he was remembering right, but it just came so fast and he was remembering less and less often," he said, letting the words fall off his tongue in a slurred jumble. It was hard to process his feelings as he had always been one to address them for others, but never within himself. He preferred to avoid complicated feelings and much more liked to move on to something else to keep the darkness at bay.

There was nothing to move onto from that moment. Both parents were dead, where else had he to go?

"What was Vigilante like?" asked the man, not a youth, not an elder, just a man in the middle of his own grief. It seemed a safer subject than the loss of his father to whatever demon had stolen away his memories. He wondered if any of them were liable to fall to the same thing, much the way Pascal and Myrkr seemed to suffer from similar afflictions of varying strength. The connection was the dead Sadira, but Alessan did not understand it, it was too complicated, too advanced for a simple vintner to worry over.

ALESSAN STORMBRINGER
And I cannot decipher between the thrill and the fear. I want to stop but I like it too much to let it stop here

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voice from the past
from those conflicted nights
such faraway reflections
a Thousand Confessions
The soul yearns for honor

POSTED: Sun Jul 08, 2018 8:05 pm

OOC: we can wrap up this crust :>

IC:

What was Vigilante like?

“I barely remember,” Skoll said with a mirthless laugh. “And I’m probably not the right person to ask in any case. When I was a puppy, I saw him as this great, infallible hero – and when I was young and bitter, all I saw were his flaws. He became little more than a ghost in the end.”

He plucked at blades of grass at his side, knowing that the hill they sat upon was probably older than all of them put together.

“But that’s how it goes,” the man continued thoughtfully. “A child never knows who their parents really are, because they see them as parents instead of people. It’s not until we’re older that we understand, and by then it’s too late.”
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