The ashes just look pretty on your eyes

POSTED: Tue Jan 17, 2017 4:41 pm

391 words. Dated the 14th.

The world around her was cold and distinct, thrown into sharp relief by the heightened senses of someone who could no longer deny that they were at war. Frost bit her fingertips as she brushed a hand along the rough texture of limestone, her feet wandering with her restless mind. The earth was hard—too hard to dig. She found herself fixating on that single detail.

She knew when the attacks had become reality for her. Scouting, she had seen the evidence of tampered skulls and missing horses; and she’d also seen the wounds that her comrades bore, limping home after mysterious wolves attacked them. And yet, disgusted with her mother’s paranoia, she’d denied that the patterns pointed to a greater threat.

It wasn’t until she heard Diego praying over a funeral pyre and smelled burnt hair and heard Covenant weeping that she realized this was something more terrible than she could have accounted for.

The D’Neville Mansion residents were the most shaken from the attacks, and waking to an empty kitchen had not helped them. Builders and archers began to reinforce the stands in the forest and take up cold vigil there, and even Vicira had stood with them though she didn’t know how to draw a bowstring. She noticed Covenant around the village more and more, heard her one night insistent that Kennedy take a safer route on his next patrol. She avoided her mother’s gaze when they crossed paths, bothered still by the anger and panic there, even knowing now that it was completely justified.

Her senses were sharp, her mind hyperaware of the tension in her clanmates, and all Vicira longed for was the fog.

It was the stink of brine and promise of isolation that brought her to the seaside cliffs, but it was the odor of cannabis that set her gait into a trot, her nostrils flared and her eyes widened from their weary expression into a look of near-desperation. When she saw the white coywolf settled with a joint, overlooking the water, she did not heed the other’s exhausted demeanor and approached boldly.

Her remark was meant to be the entitled and demanding sort of question that few coyotes bothered to deny, but it came out like a tired plea.

“Can I have a drag?”
their lips the secret kept, if in ashes the fire-seed slept

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POSTED: Wed Jan 18, 2017 10:02 am

Dove didn't know how half the names affected by the midnight raid, but the horror weighed on her just the same. Inferni wasn't safe. The world outside Inferni wasn't safe. What Dove had seen as a world painted in the red of roses and autumn leaves had become a landscape of blood, and she hadn't stopped shaking in days.

If it were possible for her to withdraw further into herself in self-preservation efforts, she had. For the first time since Saffron's death she had watched as River Lark threw up his arms and gave up, at wits' end trying to figure out how to ease Dove from the knot of anxiety she'd curled herself into. He was just as shaken by the violence the world outside Juniper Peace was capable of, but River could process it. Could learn from it.

Dove reached a point of shock over and over without progression, like a rock thrown against a wall that would not break. There was no processing.

In jars taken from home was a small amount left of her father's marijuana crop, saved for a special occasion and now wasted between her lips to numb her mind. It did not bring back her appetite. It did not bring a smile or laughter. But it blessed the Reverie with a placid emptiness, an exhausted state of stasis in which no emotion passed, and she spent it grateful by the sea in isolation.

Dove wondered what she would do if Saffron washed up on shore. She cried for a time. Shivered in winter winds mixed with gusts from the sea, smoked, and cried.

When a young woman happened upon her, the tears had long since dried. But Dove leapt to her feet, golden eyes bewildered by the darker gray pelt, the dark saddle, the splash of red across the nose. Mint?

Realization and resignment set in slowly. Defeated, Dove sank back down to the rocks.

"Yeah," she mumbled. She rubbed at her eyes and held out the joint. "Here."

Last edited by Dove Reverie on Thu Feb 02, 2017 11:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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POSTED: Tue Jan 31, 2017 8:14 pm

The coywolf got to her feet at once, but as Vicira raised hands in weary appeasement settled back down. When she held out the joint, Vici took it without thanks and sat down beside her, breathing in the smoke, letting it roll from her parted mouth as she stared at the sea. She let her eyes fall shut a moment.

One more drag.

Then, at last: Thanks. I needed that. She handed the blunt back and dropped her head into her hand, long fingers grasping at dark hair near the roots. Again, she was silent for a time; the relaxation was instantaneous, suspiciously so, but she'd known for a long time that her need for the thing was as psychosomatic as anything.

Glazed blue eyes flicked to the younger coyote, taking in snow-white fur and streaked hair, landing on the strip of red on her muzzle. You a cousin or something, she said, thumbing the Chaos Star pendant, but it wasn't much of a question.

I'm Vicira Tears.

their lips the secret kept, if in ashes the fire-seed slept

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POSTED: Wed Feb 01, 2017 12:52 pm

When the joint left her fingers, her grasp on time loosened like a severed string in her hand. Her mind filled with thoughts of Mint, of Gust, of their ruined relationship, of the relationships she had ruined. Anxiety had gotten the best of Dove, then beaten down and reigned victorious over that of Mint: The sensitive, meek little sister who only wanted her family to stay together after world-shattering tragedy.

Gods, Dove had messed up.

The joint made its way back, but Dove stared at violent dance of smoke in the ocean winds and pulled from it only once. The two women sat together, a silent yin and yan, an image from a broken mirror just as Dove and Mint had been. In time, the Reverie handed the drug back and hugged her knees.

"Finish it," she mumbled. "I don't care. Maybe it'll fix whatever's wrong for you."

Vicira Tears, she introduced herself. Dove remembered the name in passing but no context. Vicira motioned to the stripe of red across her nose, and only then did the coincidence occur fully to Dove.

"You mean Lykoi? Yeah. My dad. He wanted us to go by Reverie, though. I'm Dove." She glanced with weary eyes to the many-pointed pendant acknowledged around the young woman's neck and drew her brows. "Am I supposed to know what that is?"

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POSTED: Thu Feb 02, 2017 11:35 pm

The joint was passed back, the girl hugging knees and insisting that Vicira finish it. The grey coywolf stared at the ember end of the thing, then uttered a dry creak of a laugh at the thought it could fix anything. Everything was too broken for that, but she needed it anyway, and didn’t make the girl say it twice. She held the thing between her teeth and stared at the sea.

The girl named herself Dove then looked at the pendant at Vicira’s neck, and Vici pulled the cigarette away from her lips to look down at it. “Yes,” she answered, taking another pull. The thing was mostly spent by this point, but she held it until it threatened to burn fingertips. “Did your dad not keep the Chaos Star? Most Lykois have the tattoo. But if he didn’t name you Lykoi maybe not.”

She saw no problem with this. Theirs was a bloody heritage plagued with madness and sin as much as pride and strength. Some shunned their legacy, and others carried the name but had no idea about Inferni. There were enough Lykois running around under various names and allegiances, anyway; one less didn’t matter.

“Fucked up time for you to arrive,” Vicira said, and hissed softly when the joint finally singed her fingers. She flicked it off into the snow at the edge of the cliff. “You been okay? I mean, hurt or anything?” She managed to summon concern and sympathy, relaxed enough now that it didn’t overwhelm her.
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POSTED: Tue Feb 07, 2017 8:01 pm

Dove shook her head slowly, mystified. "'Chaos star'? I... don't think my dad has any tattoos. I've never seen that thing before."

She paused, brows pulling. "I remember him saying his grandmother was the matriarch of the family. That would make me fourth generation. Other than rumors, that's... all I've really known about Dad's side of the family before now. He didn't like to talk about it."

Dove leaned back, her contemplative look fading back into resigned weariness. She watched the stub of the joint disappear into the snow, another instance of her past life vanishing before her eyes. Numb, her Lykoi-gold eyes raised to the coastline and she shrugged.

"I don't know. I guess so. Some asshole tore up my brother's face real good. Can I just ask, like—" her hands seized up, "—how is everyone around here so ready for all of this? It's like, it's like this kind of thing happens around here all the time. People attacking for no apparent reason. Bloodshed."

"I learned the bow for hunting, not for shooting people." She ran her hands through her long, streaked hair. "I don't get it. I don't get it."

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POSTED: Tue Feb 14, 2017 11:32 pm

Vicira smoked and thought to explain that Kaena originated and kept the image, but when Dove explained that her father didn’t like to speak of family and that mention of the Lykoi progenitor was brief, she realized it would not be helpful in the least. Again, perhaps she shouldn’t have been so surprised that one would shun their past, but it was clear that she had taken her birth in Inferni for granted in these matters.

“Her name was Kaena Lykoi,” the coywolf offered instead. “The Chaos Star is just a family symbol. Like I said, a lot of us have it tattooed, and you might find it painted on various places in the territory.” The skulls, most notably, bore this mark beneath stains of weather and bird droppings, but the chapel had it emblazoned on one of its walls, too. “Who’s your dad? If you don’t mind me asking.”

Whoever he was, he might have been fortunate to abandon ties to Inferni, as it had left his offspring in a warzone. Dove asked how the clan could be so nonchalant about the violence and explained that she wasn’t a warrior, and Vicira frowned at her, glassy eyes softened.

“It’s our heritage,” she said, and shrugged. “Most of us are used to the violence in one form or another. Even those who weren’t born here, they’re drawn to Inferni because they lost families or faced persecution, and wanted a sanctuary. It’s just… this place doesn’t promise safety or peace, but it promises kinship, clanmates who look out for each other.”

She fiddled with the wooden pendant again, more nervously. “I was born during peacetime, but even then… there are fucked up people in this world. And sometimes you have to fight and kill to survive them, and that’s that.”

Vicira dropped it and sighed. “It’s so cynical, but I… I can’t think of the alternative. Be hardened against it so you can’t enjoy anything, or be ignorant of it so you’re caught off guard when it hits you?”
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POSTED: Sat Feb 18, 2017 5:38 pm

Vaguely Dove recognized the symbol through sightings around the territory, but assumed it was an Infernian symbol or a mark of the people that walked these lands before them. But as Vicira explained it, the star declared one Lykoi, and moreso than a spot of red across the muzzle could. She'd known her father to be negligent of his bloodline, but to what length had he avoided who he was?

"His name is Micah." She looked down. "Do you know him? I assume my family's been pretty far for at least a couple of years."

The Reverie absorbed Vicira's adaptation of the violent world with a stoic silence and a slow-rising dread. She had not been sheltered, per se, as Micah saw to that plainly with his stories of the outside world and intent to teach. She'd known danger and bloodshed existed. She'd seen mental illness at its best and its worst, and knew the capabilities of just cause. But Glancing at Vicira's star, Dove realized the Lykoi knew these lessons most of all. It was not that they were needlessly bloodthirsty, or as unpredictable as they were numerous. It was that they were forged as a bloodline in the flames of a world more tumultuous than the naive Dove could have imagined. The star symbolized that mutual suffering. Kinship. Baptism by fire.

"It's kind of hard to get my head around." Dove leaned back, staring into the sea. "My pack moved too much to cause a lot of trouble. We talked it through when there was any. Seeing all this, how naive some of the people back home are... I don't know if I should go back. It almost sounds more dangerous to be there than here."

The more she thought about it, the more nauseous her stomach became. She glanced at Vicira. "Is family really all that's kept you here? Kept all of you here?"

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POSTED: Mon Mar 06, 2017 10:50 am

OOC: Would you mind if we wrapped this up within the next couple of posts? <3

IC:

"Micah,"
echoed Vicira, and nodded. "He was one of my mother's friends. Seemed like a real nice guy."

She knew little else about him, unfortunately. She'd been barely older than Dove when the pepper-furred man had joined and departed Inferni, though back then she had liked him well enough. She'd been softer then, untouched by war and loss -- not the same woman who could so calmly speak of the disasters that touched Inferni now, not by any means.

The innocent either hardened, or died.

She nodded at the white coywolf's remark about her nomadic pack. Bowing out of conflicts was one way to avoid them, but -- "I think Inferni is too proud to do that." They were the oldest pack in the region, and hadn't moved territory even when wolves crowded it, threatening their peace. Between foolhardiness and cowardice, Vicira wasn't sure what was worse, but she understood the power of tradition and history well. She would rather have pride in something than let it all be taken from her.

But regardless, Dove's question was difficult to answer. She frowned and looked out at the ocean. "The Lykoi family itself is too large and widespread to be one's only loyalty; our blood runs in traitors. But I wouldn't abandon my brothers, or my horses, or my friends. If I have children I wouldn't abandon them, either." She, too, might have felt nauseous at the thought if the herb hadn't calmed her stomach along with her shaky nerves.

"Nothing really keeps any of us here, nothing magical. Coyotes come and go all the time, sometimes multiple times. Even Aquilas abandon the clan. They usually do."

She paused and wrinkled her nose. "I'm sorry. I dunno if that actually answered your question." She rubbed a thumb across a tense brow. "I guess something else that keeps us together is that most of us don't belong anywhere else. We aren't wolves who can trade one pack for another at a whim. Inferni is for us; there's nowhere else like it."
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POSTED: Tue Mar 14, 2017 1:52 pm

Dove admired that the Regulus spoke from the heart, even at length. Vicira possessed a burning passion for her birthplace, with points of pride and disappoint drawing natural valleys in her tone and cadence. How funny it was that Mint and Vicira at a glance looked so much alike, yet while Mint was shaped from leaves and feathers, Vicira was forged equally beautiful but in embers and smoke.

Dove wondered if it was a staple of the Lykoi to be kindled by pride. Dove realized, in that moment, she had nothing at hand in her life she called herself proud of. Juniper Peace, in all its artistic glory and liberation, had since been dashed in her mind naive and defenseless.

Beside the Regulus so interwoven into the fabric of Inferni and whose blood the Reverie shared, Dove still felt impeccably alone.

"You answered it," the girl acknowledged, her eyes at sea. "Inferni is enduring. That's what you're saying. If everything were to fall apart—leaders, betrayers, war, whatever—the clan would still be here. Right?"

Breathing in seaswept winds as it picked up her hair, Dove stood and dusted her clothes. She pictured her father side-by-side with the tattered Vesper, walking as friends as Vicira implied. In a way she could not explain, the image disturbed her deeply.

"I should go. Thank you for... all this." Her face read soft but she did not smile. "It's more helpful than you know."

Dove bowed her head politely, and given the dismissal, went quiet on her way.

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