In the Woods with Nothing to Say

[p] - Milos

POSTED: Wed Apr 03, 2019 3:47 pm

Walker finished brushing Lady down and put a blanket over her. While spring had arrived, the nights were still cold here, and without a stable, the blanket was essential. Walker knew he should be excited, that him and Milos together was all he’d wanted for a long time, but the southerner felt trepidation whenever he looked at Milos. His brother shouldn’t be here, his mind had been broken, again. The last thing Walker wanted was to regain his mum only to lose Milos. How had everything become so complicated? There should be jokes and easy conversation, but the pair had remained silent for most of the day, each trapped in their own thoughts. Once again a place Walker had thought would become home had been torn away from him, and on top of that, a Luperci that he’d loved…The southerner shook his head and trudged back to the fire he’d banked. Milos sat with his back to a tree, his eyes half closed. Walker said nothing, just began to cook a meal for the two of them. There was no smile on the steel eyed luperci’s face, just a frown of concentration.

The stew cooking over the fire, Walker sat down and unfurled the piece of paper, looking at the scratches and notations on it. As he looked at it Sladjana’s face swam into his mind’s eye. Her warm and comforting Embraces, her gentle words and her calming manner. No matter how cruel or how horrible the situation on the estate became, she had felt like a rock. Walker had tied his soul, perhaps foolishly, to three people, Chaska, Milos and Sladjana. Somehow, one by one, his sire had managed to separate him from all of them, and Walker’s world had crumbled. Finally, he had found Milos once again, and his heart had nearly burst. Now he could almost taste Sladjana’s closeness, but he was also scared that his eagerness would make him do something rash or stupid. Now there was another concern. Milos’ haunted expression and quiet mumbles in his sleep. His brother had suffered and should be with his real family, not dragged on something like this, but here they were. His gaze rose up and Walker looked back at Milos.
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Wolfdog
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Draiko
Community Soul Luperci

POSTED: Sun Apr 07, 2019 9:52 pm

They had walked far from St. John's Chokehold, where the Shoal had set up camp for many months now, and the silence stretched long and taught between them all the while. Lost in his thoughts and in his memories, Milos had been nearly catatonic. It had only been a few weeks between his return and his departure and, in that short span of time, so awfully much had been revealed: Krokar was destroyed, Willow had returned, Logan had left, Bramble had become a grown man, Eliza had changed in some way he couldn't quite identify.

And then there were his revelations: he was cautious, he was uneasy, he was altogether paranoid.. There were times where he felt immensely happy, and yet trembled with the fear of retribution; where he listened intently to the story of a loved one, and yet felt drawn toward the imaginary sounds of an intruder; where he knew he was safe at home, and yet believed he was a danger to everyone he knew.

There seemed to be no escape from his thoughts.

Sitting with his back against the cold, hard, rough surface of a tree, Milos lowered his eyelids and stared out into the dimming atmosphere while Walker moved about around him. Flickering with a cheerfulness that the aging Parhelion had felt less frequently in recent times, the fire drew his eyes to its dance. Degaré had had a flame not unlike this one, that night they shared after Otilie's torturous death, and Milos' mind was lost to those memories for a long time until the smell of the stew shifted something from within.

Blinking, he flickered his eyes from the flames to the figure nearby and found that his brother was watching him. Milos looked quickly away, embarrassed, and cleared his throat. "Smells good," he said, lifting his eyes again to his brother's face. He let the silence stretch between them a while before Milos lifted his hands and combed his fingers through his greying mane slowly. "Kodi," he began, his tortured mind telling him now was the best time to bring this up. ""M sorry, Kodi. Ya had a good place'n Krokar'n now it's gone."

Slowly, Milos lowered his head into his hands. Gone. "Bad luck's what I outta be." Staring at his feet, the fallen Captain breathed in the late winter air and was silent for a while. "Maybe I shoudn't've come." Maybe, he though bitterly, he should have walked into the sea and disappeared beneath the waves. What was he doing here?

[WC — 431]


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

POSTED: Sat Apr 20, 2019 6:03 pm

As Milos broke the silence the two had both lived in for the last couple of nights, Walker didn’t look up. Instead he kept his eyes on the paper, folding it up neatly and placing it back into his pocket, before drawing his gaze back up towards his brother.

”Well ain’ y’ full o’ self-pity o’er there.” Walker said, his tone not unkind, the easy grin appearing on his lips. ”Y’ claimin’ it’s y’ fault Krokar got gone? ‘cause that sounds pretty big headed o’ y’.”

Walker watched his brother for a moment, seeing the grey that had crept into his pelt, and wondering when that had happened. Life had changed so much, what had happened to all those years?

”Y’ don’ need to be sorry Milos, ah told y’ before, e’eryone leaves. Ah learned that a long time ago. Ah am sorry that y’ and y’ family lost y’ home though. Y’ got it good Milos, y’ have a new family, one that loves y’ and will always be there for y’, I’ve seen the way that fiery Liz looks at y’.”

Walker stood up, squatting by the fire, and tasting the stew, before scooping some into a couple of improvised bowls. He came over and sat down beside Milos, holding out one of them.

”If it makes y’ feel any better.” Walker paused, wondering if he should really reveal what he was about to say, but with a snorted sigh, he continued ”Ah spent all those years wishin’ to be shot o’ the estate, and when ah finally got out, ah’ve spent all ma time wishin’ah’d never left.”

Walker shrugged as though it wasn’t a big deal, taking a mouthful of stew he paused for a moment, but as he swallowed he continued.

”If y’ wanna go back Milos, ah ain’t gonna think any less o’ y’. Y’ got a family waitin’ back home, an’ ah don’ wanna be the one who tore that apart, not even for a little bit. Before y’ go though, would y’ tell me…What happened t’ y’ after Krokar?”

Walker had always been good at getting information out of people. It was how he operated, dealing in knowledge. However, trying those tricks on Milos seemed a horrible invasion, so the southerner had opted for the direct approach.
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Draiko
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POSTED: Sat May 04, 2019 9:59 pm

"Folk relied on me," he replied quietly, his eyes still on his toes. "An' I wasn't there." Flashes of that dreadful night flickered behind his eyes like lightning: Daisy's crumpled body when Degaré slammed into her; masks illuminated in the glow of flames; the ominous chorus of chanting; smells of fire and fear and frenzy. Milos closed his eyes and drew in a gasp of breath sharply.

If he had known then how much worse it would get, would he have taken a greater stand while Krokar burned? Would it have mattered?

E'eryone leaves. Milos looked up quickly, something strange and misplaced pinching at his face. Anger? Frustration? Injustice? Shame? Regret? It was impossible for the man himself to identify what emotion rippled in his chest when he said, "It wasn't m' choice." Not this time. But as the agitation cooled and the gloom returned, doubt latched onto his thoughts again with tenacity. Except that it was, wasn't it? He had chosen Daisy's life over the lives of his pack members.

In his moment of paternal responsibility, the needs of the one – his beloved little girl – outweighed the needs of the many.

Walker was right: he had left.

It was the snorted sigh that drew Milos back out of his thoughts and into the present day. "Ya wish you were back there?" he asked with gently furrowed brows, confusion and curiosity in his eyes.

But then Walker had carried on like he hadn't just said something crazy and Milos was momentarily distracted. "No," he said at length, glancing at the flames. "They're out there, waitin'. Watchin'. Best I stay away." His voice was growing distant as he stared unblinkingly at the rhythm of the fire.

It was a long time before Milos spoke again. "Things were okay for a while," he began, the firelight licking his greying face. "'Til they took Daisy away from me. Didn't know... Didn't know where she was'r what they were doin' t' her, but they said she'd be okay." He felt a ripple of anxiety shudder down his body. "Jus' had t' do as they said."

And so his story came out, all at once in a frenzied sort of way, as though the words had been dying to see the light of day for ages, but had been held back and locked away. "Lookin' for someone," he said. "Degaré'n Talbot were." Milos tried to say her name but it came out as a pained whine and he fell silent again for several beats. Giving up, he cleared his throat and continued. "A... a woman. Made me help 'em. And then I founder 'er."

Milos was trembling gently by this point, his eyes still fixed on the flickering fire. "She'd got 'er leg trapped. And I-I... She trusted me." Bringing his hands to his head, the fallen Captain clutched at his mane with his fingers. "Daisy..." he breathed. "I had Daisy t' think 'bout. They'd kill 'er. They'd... So I called for 'em, Degaré'n Talbot, an' they came."

A violent tremor rippled through his body. "I tried t' stop 'im, I tried t'– but they... I..." The look of betrayal on Otilie's face that last time she looked at him flashed in his mind and Milos choked on a sob. "Made me watch." He could imagine feeling Talbot's cruel claws digging into his scalp again as he held his head in place. "Had to watch. A long time." This last sentence was almost a whisper.

"Otilie," he managed at last, finally lifting his tearful eyes to Walker's face. "Her name was Otilie."

[WC — 618]


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

POSTED: Thu May 16, 2019 11:07 am

Walker sat silently, his gaze watching as his brother told his story. It was halting and filled with an agonised emotion, but at least the former captain had forgotten Walker’s previous words. The southerner’s gaze remained kind and patient, there was no judgement in his eyes, what right did he have to do that? Besides, Walker loved his brother too much to think that the older male was anything but kind. Of course, he could ignore Milos’ words and just explain that everybody leaves was a statement of fact, not a seeking of blame attribution.

How many times had Walker let other’s talk? How many times had he held them, kissed them, until they spilled their secrets, all the while whispering reassuring words of comfort, or condolence? How many times had he played the understanding friend. As he watched Milos, his mind heard the story and presented him with exactly the right words to say. How to hold Milos, how to handle him, and it made the southerner sick. Without his clever words though, and well practised routines, he was flying blind. Walker watched as his brother’s ears drooped, the grief in Milos face, and the unconscious washing of his hands. Walker took a deep breathing, letting it out slowly, before he began to speak.

”Y’ know Mils, y’ problem is y’ heart’s too big. Y’ve been put int’ more impossible positions than many folk are in a lifetime. Y’ made the choices y’ knew were right, for you an’ y’ family. Ain’ know blood on y’ hands that weren’t put there by those who took y’ and threatened Daisy. O’course, ain’ really much ah can say t’ convince y’ otherwise, y’re a stubborn ass. F’r what it’s worth, ah don’ think any less o’ y’, an’ I reckon the memory o’ what happened is ‘nough to keep y’ awake at night, without y’ beatin’ y’self up about it as well.”

Walker had rejected all of his clever words, and his speech sounded clumsy and amateurish to his ears, but he was pretty sure it was genuine, his own words, not trained banter.

Once again the southerner fell silent, a story of his own coming to mind. A game of cards, a young cocky shit, not a bad person, just at the wrong table, when Walker had wanted something. Walker’s quick hands had slipped something to the unknowing youth, it was quickly found by the other players. Walker could still see the youth’s broken form, eyes open, bleeding into the dirt, but the southerner had got what he needed, and that night had managed to comfort someone else, while his mind never stopped seeing the life he’d helped to end.

”There’re monsters in this world” Walker said, thinking of himself as he spoke of Milos’s kidnappers. ”Don’ deserve t’ be part o’ this world. They see love an’ replace it with hate, or know jus’ how to exploit it.”

For the first time in a long while, the face of that dead youth flashed up in his mind once again. There had been no one there to grieve over him, no parents, or siblings, just a youth trying to make it, and look tough.

”We all need t’ make choices Milos, weren’t it mum that said, we jus’ gotta hope we make more o’ the kind we can live with, and chalk up the rest as experience. Reckon if y’ don’ let go o’ some o’ those choices, them grey streaks gonna take over completely.”

Walker felt himself falling back into the clever mimic, even the smile made a brief appearance as he spoke.

”ah love y’ Milos, y’ family loves y’, and they’re alive ‘cause o’ y’. None o’ that is gonna change.”
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Wolfdog
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Draiko
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POSTED: Fri May 17, 2019 11:50 am

It felt to Milos like a long time after the final notes of Otilie's name were carried away into the surrounding night before the silence was broken again by Walker's deep sigh. Unblinkingly, the fallen Captain listened as his brother's voice spilled out of his mouth and offered words of genuine reassurance. There was no clever banter or playful gibes hidden within those words, and Milos felt a chiming from deep within the intricate webs of trauma and shame that suggested to him how important this moment was. For Walker; no, for Kodiak.

His brother had built a wall around his heart to protect it from enduring any more pain and heartache it had already experienced so many years ago. Walker had become Kodiak's bodyguard; a suit of armor his brother wore to keep everyone at arms length and to prevent the penetration of attachment. That distant chiming from deep within made Milos wonder if this was a turning point for Kodi.

Milos remained silent, listening and wondering and feeling all the while Kodiak continued to talk – about monsters, about choices, about love. He considered their mother's words – the woman who had taken them in during their darkest moment and embraced them as her children – and felt something shift gently within him. It was this woman they were going to rescue. Of this choice at least, Milos felt certain it was right.

"Reckon you're right," he conceded quietly. "How's 'bout you, Kodi?" he asked softly, finally tearing his eyes away from the fire to glance into his brother's face. The dancing of the firelight flickered within sunny eyes that were shimmering with emotion. "What choices've you made ya still gotta let go?" Milos thought that there was still an awful lot about his brother he still didn't know, and now, with just the two of them sharing a journey to rescue their adoptive mother, felt like the best time to find out.

[WC — 332]


The Shoal
Bullhead
User avatar
Mandi
Luperci Mate to Eliza but you'd become my candle in the dark
the sun still rises
even through the rain

Sticks and Stones