no one is the savior they would like to be

POSTED: Fri Jan 03, 2014 10:59 pm

1008 words. I'm writing this read-only just to figure out some stuff; it sucks and I'd normally keep this to myself, but I'm posting it anyway because words. :B Dated vaguely between when I NPC'd Shiloh and the present. Warning: this post is boring as shit and full of badly-written "introspection" and summarized events.

Sangi’lak was gone now, and Shiloh might have howled joy at the world if this long-time-coming event had not been followed by disaster after disaster.

Claws lashed out at her, and she brought her wrist up quickly to deflect the blow. She threw her weight forward, unafraid now of the proximity, and the arm she’d thrust forward snaked close to a scarred cheek. Her own nails slid into their sheaths, only barely brushing along the sneering dead tissue.

Careful!—she pulled away, quick, from the snapping teeth. Her pretty face wrinkled into a feral snarl, one that made her opponent lower his ears. She snarled again, rumbling with the growl, as she lashed out once more—one-two, like a cat. She was a proud she-wolf, a guardian before she was a real warrior. She was mother, protector.

She’d failed, though. Carya, Rúni, Aspen, whoever else had ventured forth from the safety of Vinátta’s borders and met the devils there.

Wilson had reassured her that she could have done nothing—that there were other capable Vináttans, even higher-ranked and held responsible, and that there was sheer bad luck, too. It was not her fault that she had fallen ill. She’d barely been able to leave her home to train, to patrol, even to hunt. The puppies had spent a lot of time with Jérôme in those days, carefully kept away from the illness.

Despite her best efforts, Dreyma caught the sickness, too—and her days of recovery were spent tending to her eldest. The girl was better now, and stronger than ever, finally of shifting age and ready to turn any day now. Meanwhile, the twins remained vibrant, Abigail adventurous and beautiful and Alessan with a mind for story and detail. She had her family.

Others had their families, too, even new ones—Colibri with Niernan, and Ascher by that Sangi’lak she-wolf. Shiloh would have been angry at that latter if she didn’t think about their own conception, a forbidden mating between Stormbringer and a Dawnrunner—and if the puppies weren’t so damn cute. She’d spent as much time as she could cooing at them, and watching them to let their wet-nurse Colibri and the father in question rest.

But, all in all, this left little time for Shiloh to actually train. She felt like she was losing her edge, even after her sparring session with Vesper had unlocked something chaotic and powerful from her.

Jérôme, the poor fool, had offered to spar with her to help.

He was on the ground in an instant, yelping. Shiloh dove down on top of him, stretching his arms over his and pressing her nose to his neck, growling. Her jaws parted, a warning breath hot against his jugular.

“You win,” the timberwolf coughed, and she was off him again. She brushed her hands along her white fur, grimacing. It was all tousled and nasty.

“Gods, Shiloh.” Jérôme stood, shaking his head. “Are you sure you aren’t mad at me?” he tried to jest, though the tilt of his ears made the question genuine.

Shiloh shook her head, and her blue eyes darted over him. He was just as messy as she was, covered in dirt and twigs, and probably carrying bruises, too. He wasn’t as skilled a fighter as her, especially not in Optime, but he’d insisted on helping regardless. She wouldn’t want to bother her cousin the Ríkr for a lowly sparring-match, either. She thought she was a little sour about that promotion.

“I’m not mad. I think you’re done, though,” she said, and reached down to help him to his feet. His hand lingered on hers a bit too long, and he stepped back and flattened his ears. She tried not to look at him as she reached back, drawing the leather string from her hair and letting it cascade, curly and gold, across her shoulders.

“Your king might grow mad, to see you all scratched up,” Jérôme pointed out. She glanced at him, and his tail moved to between his legs. “Sorry.”

Shiloh shook her head and didn’t further acknowledge him. Usually the Moineau male was more subtle than that, but his blood must have been up from the fighting. That Jérôme had feelings for her was something all of Vinátta had to know by now, though she’d tried to be clear that it was going nowhere. Half a year, a year ago—then she might have entertained the idea. But Silvano was a deeper in her heart, despite her conflicted feelings, and pushing out anyone else who might want to take root there.

“Go hunt,” she told the Frjáls, half-suggestion and half-command. He needed to let off steam in a way that wouldn’t upset him. “I’ll gather the kids and meet you for dinner.”

He dipped his head and jogged off, a little happier. Shiloh knew that their rather domestic living situation wasn’t making it any easier on Jérôme, and she felt bad about that—but what else could she do? The children adored him, even Wilson acknowledged that he was useful to have around, and she couldn’t deal with everything herself. Though her co-rank was that of a pup-sitter, it was different dealing with her own kids for prolonged periods of time. Motherhood was a gift, but it came at the price of rest and sanity, much as she didn’t want to trade the love of her children for anything in the world.

She huffed softly, able to feel the shiver of her muscles, not yet used to this strain again. She’d have to eat and rest and take up the dusk patrol, and then tomorrow she’d rise early and work harder than before.

She needed to channel this frustration into something.
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