We defend our lives against a destroyer who would devour all

POSTED: Tue Jan 17, 2017 10:12 pm

723 words. Non-mandatory pack meeting, dated January 16th. Even if you don’t reply, you’re free to assume your character’s presence! (But c’mon, you want those words for SSWM right?)

What was worse? An unfamiliar enemy, or a familiar one thought long dead?

Vesper did not know, but she could not deny the fear and anger that seized her the moment that name slipped past Alistair’s lips: Boreas. It had been years since she’d heard that name in anything but passing stories, a part of Inferni’s long and bloody legacy that only she—she thought—still remembered. Some were touched by the remnants of this war, carrying their parents’ stories or scars of their own from distant places, but only Vesper remembered.

From the borders she traveled to the mansion, barely bothering to see if the ex-Sole followed her still, and slipping past the iron-wrought fences drowned in dead honeysuckle went to the garden. Reaching the stone chairs, Vesper threw her head up to howl—a voice that began as a yapping summons but deepened into a melodic cry that no doubt would evoke memory of the wolves’ calls of retreat. She paid this no mind, only howled until she had to breathe, and waited, pacing tensely around the stone seat until coyotes began to appear.

Many wore questions on their faces, while others looked tired; still, most watched her with expectant and wary eyes, all very aware now that they were at war, and that they would need to heed their Aquila’s speech.

She waited until the garden was full of bodies and then leaped onto the weathered throne, lifting her head to speak.

“An informant”—and if Alistair stood there, she jerked her head in his direction to impress upon her clan that he was under her guard—“has brought news to me of our enemies. We know now who these wolves are.”

Heads lifted. She saw Clover in the crowd, expression that of a determined young soldier, and Covenant with a fist clenched around an old wooden spoon.

“Few of you will remember,” Vesper said, aware once again of how alone she was. She forced herself to speak calmly, the pace of her words measured and weighted; they would need to understand. “Unless you read through our history books, or laid eyes on old pamphlets in our library. But these wolves are an old enemy: Boreas.”

Conrad growled, and Vesper saw her daughter stiffen and look toward a red-furred coyote, one of the newcomers, who stared back at her with clenched jaw.

“More than four years ago, this group came from Zion, where some of you might have blood ties to through Scintilla’s commander Gabriel. They tracked some of Gabriel’s sons to Inferni, and launched attacks on our clan and on our neighbors, Salsola. Together we managed to find their camp and destroy their army. But it seems that some of the survivors, or their kin, have returned. I imagine they want revenge for their fallen comrades.

“The Boreas wolves are soldiers. They are a disciplined group, and they will be led by experienced leaders; they aren’t Cour des Miracles. They are born into a life of war against coyotes, and so that is all they know. I’m sure that they still have intelligence on our borders even if the years have shifted them. It’s apparent they know a lot about us already.”


The organized attack that delved into the heart of Inferni’s forest had not been a fortunate coincidence for the Boreas wolves. She wondered if the survivors still remembered where the mansion lay—or if there was something else at work. Her brow furrowed, but she continued on.

“We are at war with an enemy who remembers and hates us. I can’t emphasize enough how dangerous they are, how careful we must be. Starting tonight, we need to start scouting the surrounding territories and collaborating with Salsola, who are also being targeted again. If we can find them, their camp, we can defeat them again.”

She stopped, a little out of breath from her speech, and leaned on the edge of the stone chair to look at her clan.

There was much more that could be said, but most of her words would need to be saved for her Triumvirate. There were preparations to make, patrols to organize, tactics to discuss—but even now, she remembered how young they all were.

Her heart ached.



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Raze
Luperci
tatter-winged phoenix
cunning linguist

POSTED: Wed Jan 18, 2017 12:13 pm

OOC (+)

Leading his dark horse, he followed. Past the line of skulls and in. She scarcely breathed a word, didn't look back. He hadn't asked permission, he just followed a friend. He was a part of this now. There was blood on his hands.

He led Merlin further in, stopping only when Vesper stopped in front a large ivy-covered facade. She pointed her nose and called for her pack and Alistair stood beside her. He folded his ears in respect for her authority and once the coyotes fell in he took a step back and off to the side. These were not his people and this was not his duty. He had nothing and no one now, a knight without a castle. He was painted black.

When Vesper's pointed nose immediately indicated him he looked up and gave a small, uncertain wave. He'd never felt so vulnerable. He felt their eyes, he felt their glares, their looks of confusion and disgust.

These were not his people. This was not his land.

His ears once again pricked at her mention of Salsola and he had to remind himself that he was here for Vesper, his friend. Not the coyotes, never Salsola. But deep down inside his chest his heart thrilled with the call to battle. He felt his fingers flex once again and his blood rise with anticipation.

He felt for Vesper and her Clan. He knew their fear, he knew her pain, the deep ache in her chest. There would be no rest for anyone until their enemy was defeated. And he would help, whomever and however he could.

He had blood on his hands.

Alistair Callow

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Stormie
Luperci SoSuWriMo 2013 Champ! have you ever licked a lamppost in winter...?
I am the Sword
the Light
and the Shield

POSTED: Wed Jan 18, 2017 1:01 pm

OOC: A very long-winded way of saying that Dela is thinking "ohh dear"

IC:
She had come here at a tumultuous time, a time of war. Uncertainty seemed to hang around the Infernian territory, and Dela, keen as she was to remain just another face in the crowd, felt distinctly nervous. She found that she was just what she had wanted to be as clan mates she didn’t know made their way to the gardens in response to the Aquila’s call – a face among many, wary and waiting.

Off to the side was a wolf whose presence Candela could only assume would be explained in due course. Her lemon eyes were shadowed by knitted brows, her fingertips touching together in front of her as Vesper leapt onto the stone chair and began to speak. The wolf offered a wave and Dela’s head tilted a fraction at the awkward gesture. She might have been amused had the information being shared not been so disturbing.

An old vendetta renewed, old threats whispered from new lips. Though Candela was a newcomer to the clan herself, she found the pale hairs at the back of her neck bristling at the thought of the Boreas wolves. Soldiers, Vesper said, and immediately Dela pictured rows of them marching in perfect rhythm. The truth of battle was bound to not be so ordered. Battles were blood and noise and mess. Chaos and terror, and death.

Immediately she wanted to light the plants and see what they told her – but was there a safe space in which to carry out the rite? Inwardly the Coydog cursed herself for not finding her feet sooner, for not having found such a spot already. She had frittered away her time in Inferni so far, avoiding others in an effort to avoid – what? A little embarrassment, a need to ask for help?

In the coming days that would have to change.

[305]

POSTED: Wed Jan 18, 2017 1:45 pm

Lupus | Backdated: Jan 16th | cNPC: Bronx (+507)

Boreas Conflict II.

The pair had been sparring when the Aquila’s melancholy summons had stretched out into the sky. After the raids, it had been clear that Bronx’s fighting skills lacked in the way of discipline. The boy had never been formally taught how to fight, and had only exercised the skill when under attack by someone. Feeling responsible for the kid, Shikoba had taken him aside to help hone some of the Quintus’ wild, random fighting style. Having been shown a few tricks, the coydog male had made remarkable improvement in the days that had passed since the raids.

They trotted towards the mansion together with Shikoba in the lead. While nearly the same in height, Bronx’s bone mass made him look nearly twice the coymutt’s size. Upon arriving, it appeared the Aquila’s meeting was taking place over in the garden, and the two Lupus males wove their way around and took a seat towards the front so that they could see. Their leader had an edge to her that was different from her usual, confident, no-bullshit self. It made Shikoba curious, and Bronx worry.

Given the recent attacks, whatever news she had to say couldn’t have been good.

Once everyone had gathered, she began. It appeared that their enemy—for, no matter how it was spun, there was no way the border harassments and subsequent night raid had been done by a mere group of like-minded loners in the area—had a name, and it appeared that they had a history with the coyotes as well.

Shikoba listened carefully at the Aquila’s words, his face unreadable as ever. He and Dorado had come from a tribe that had their…disagreements with surrounding groups. The hate these wolves had towards Inferni had not surprised him, and the Nizhoni male took the new information for what it was; a known enemy to the clan getting too big for their britches.

Bronx, on the other hand, shuffled his forepaws nervously. He’d never been at war with someone before. In fact, his whole life up until his brother and he had taken their trip east, had been relatively quiet and peaceful. They’d dealt with a few random, spiteful loners back home, but…nothing like this. It made him anxious, and he let out a soft whine.

The Whiplash noticed the kid’s downward spiral and unfocused gaze as he overthought about the whole situation. Shikoba reached over and nipped one of Bronx’s ginormous ears, bringing the Quintus out of whatever fearful thoughts he might have had. The darkly-furred Infernian let his golden eyes snap to Shikoba with a startled look of annoyance. The coymutt merely smirked and shouldered the younger male.

Ya’ ain’t got nothin’ to worry about, kid. You’re safe with us.

The clan would get through it. The Aquila herself had said it. The clan had won against them before, there was no doubt in Shikoba’s mind that they couldn’t do it again.

Shikoba Whiplash


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Songbird

Break me down

POSTED: Fri Jan 20, 2017 3:09 am

(334) Just Izual thinking about murder and stuff...

There was much happening these days in Inferni. And as it seemed, the forests outside of his pack weren’t safe anymore – and it wasn’t because of him.

A yap called out into the sky, and all he had to do was look out the window to see the Aquila calling forth a meeting from the plant-covered stone outside. Izual huffed from the window, wondering if he could just stand there and listen or did he really have to go all the way down there just to listen for five minutes?

Figuring that he and Vesper already had a not-so-great relationship, Izual banked on going down there just for five minutes anyway, just to look like he cared and not make his pack image look worse. The Massacre man snorted, but left his room in the mansion anyway, and descended the stairs.

When he got to the yard, there had already been quite a few of his pack mates gathered, and Izual looked around for the horse or cloud that they had flown in on. He had only seen a few bodies leaving the mansion as he was, but not this many.

He settled towards the back of the crowd, crossing his arms over his chest, and watched Vesper speak with a loss of breath. His orange eyes studied her, and then studied the blank loner beside her atop his horse. She spoke of Wolves – Prodigal will be in his glory – targeting Inferni and Salsola. They were trained soldiers, very dangerous. They wanted to kill Infernians.

He wanted to kill them.

A grin eased onto his lips as he thought of the torture he would enact upon them. And why would it make him happy? Because it would be accepted. He’d be torturing the enemy, everyone’s enemy, so he would not be shunned for it. One tooth poked from his narrow muzzle, but he ducked his head so the bulk of his pack mates didn’t see him smiling like a maniac during a grave announcement.

I looked through your frame
Izual Massacre
and watched death go by
Loners
DEAD
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Sammiie
Luperci
LET OUT THE BEAST

POSTED: Sat Jan 21, 2017 12:08 pm

OOC:

Just Virue thinking the exact opposite of Izual xD

[421]

IC:

It was a time of struggle for the typically optimistic Virue. Lives seemed to grapple for time all around him; what with Inferni at war, and Rialu’s struggles, which he had quickly made his own.

Virue was tired, and miserable despite his best efforts. This was on account of his lack of sleep. His knee seemed to fire complaint the worst at night when he curled up to sleep, and even when it was silent, his sleep schedule was non-existent due to the interruptions from previous nights.

He made his way over to the mansion after hearing the call—dreary-eyed and sore—knowing Vesper was on the other end, and that she would have something to say. Virue didn't bother with running there, as he didn't have enough energy to try.

When Virue arrived, there was already a mass of clan mates gathered to hear what the Aquila had to say. Searching the crowd, he found Rialu standing in her usual way: arms folded, red eyes passing judgement, her face unimpressed. She looked lonely, and Virue suspected it had been this way since she'd left her home, wherever that was. Virue decided to stand beside her, in an attempt to reach out to her once again. Later her head tilted downward, and upon noticing him, she scowled down at him and quickly stepped in front of him and blocked his view. “Can you move please?” The small hybrid asked in a hush. No answer, and in the end, he finally did what she wanted and moved away instead.

Things were becoming very real, very fast. People would die. It made him feel awful, imagining some of the faces that he saw as he looked around, would gather their last breaths in a pool of blood. All at the notion of some ridiculous cause—and at the work of naive fanatics. Virue's thoughts twisted and turned, trying to find a clear way to justify the disastrous acts of cruelty that these beings were capable of. Everything boiled down to one undying fact; that violence was beloved in a disturbing way, maybe not for some, but for many. How could anyone explain all the violence which plagued life, pushing it off balance and sending it to teeter about helplessly upon it's simple good. Sure, there was life and death, both arbitrary and viewed differently by all. But violence—Virue believed—was the common factor; the middleman which sailed the boat into the black so-to-speak. Death wasn't so awful, death just watched from the shoreline. They destroy each other.
gotta gotta be down because I want it all

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Daniel
Luperci
light and match
TWO GULPS

POSTED: Sat Jan 21, 2017 10:50 pm

Lis started. Her head had dipped again. She blinked wearily at the waves and rubbed her tired eyes. Her rear hurt from perching on the driftwood for so long. One gray ear flicked as the lullaby of the ocean called to her. Singing to her. Each crashing wave like a sweet note that pulled at her dreams. How she wanted too. Lis's lids began to drop again and she let loose a tremendous yawn. One hand reached up and absentmindedly began to fiddle with the ends of her hair. Her head rocked slowly back in forth in time with the waves and the world slowly began to fade.

She hadn't slept well. Not since her first shift. Maybe not even before that. Every time she let sleep take her she could see Vesper's injured form or her father walking forever into the distance. Nightmares plagued her. But the recent events were making it so much worse. Wolves were terrorizing the pack and she had no idea why. Lis didn't talk to the others much, so she knew even less. Just that there were attacks.

Vesper's howl woke Lis with a start. She half fell off the log, suddenly wide awake. A meeting? Lis listened to the howl for a moment before standing to brush herself off. By the time she had arrived, a large group had already gathered. Lis hung at the back and held herself in her arms. She glanced about nervously as horrible scenarios ran through her head. Vesper's announcement really didn't help. Lis curled in on herself. Her tail wrapped around her legs.

This is the devil's work. she thought. As a Sciens it was her job to scout the boarder. Now they were supposed to go farther? The very thought made her tremble. Her breath quickened and she shook her head. She had never left the pack. Not properly. But those lands were filled with sinners. With monsters. A flash of fur and red passed through her mind and Lis's grip on her arms tightened. She started to rock back and forth and the world seemed to swirl. I can't do this.
Avi by Shade

POSTED: Sun Jan 22, 2017 3:07 am

    An entanglement of present and past found a way to tear asunder his grip on reality. The virulent attacks had seemingly driven a stake through the heart of Inferni, only adding to the feeling of anxiety and fear. This sensation of being hunted by some unknown force was enough to drive even those most centred canine insane, and even one who had seen it all before was not immune to its effects. The former mercenary had found his world taking the very shape of one he had left so long ago, a world where the divide between black and white morality never seemed so blurred. The Blackwater son had never doubted his conviction to join Inferni, and on the night of the full moon attacks, the ashen male hoped he had shown his loyalty to the Clan. But at what cost? In every conflict, there was an inevitable cost, be it injury both physical or mentally, relationships, and to the point of extreme; death. Could there then be such a thing as victory, when the price of conflict might even be considered too high? How there even be a put a price on life? Was it really that simple? In the mind of the man from Chesapeake Bay, he had reached a basic premise: to defend those he had now called his friends, no matter the cost.

    Cypher had been tending to his wounds, most of which weren’t too bad save for where that arrow had caught him on the shoulder, when the call went out. The former Guild member had cursed his inability to dodge the weapon and was now dealing with the repercussions still days later. With a soft sigh, the charcoal and ivory pelted coymutt walked slowly to where everyone had begun to gather. He saw some familiar faces in the crowd, while others yet were unknown to him. The was one in particular that caused a frown to form on his handsome face. A male, with honey coloured fur and sun-baked eyes, standing just beyond where Vesper positioned herself. There was something in the manner in which the stranger held himself that suggested perhaps a sense of unease, though Cypher couldn’t be entirely certain, his mind still flickering to and fro between reality and thought. As the Aquila began however, the former mercenary’s mind focused sharply, and his ears perked attentively to listen to the words that had to be said.

    Vesper sounded tired, at least to the Sciens’ ears. Her syntax seemingly laden with battle weary prose. Her initial speech began with an introduction of sorts to stranger, who had apparently been an informant. The Inferni leader’s manner suggested that this stranger was her responsibility as such, an extension of grace had been extended to him. Cypher flicked his ears, taking note that some outsider had details pertinent to the attacks that Inferni had suffered, and the ashen coyote hybrid pondered if there were other strangers beyond the pack boundary who might also have further information to offer. But as Vesper continued, the Blackwater son began to realise that the situation was a lot worse than he had initially realise. These attacks weren’t by some nameless foe, but one that Inferni had faced before. Cypher shivered as the notion of blood supremacy was echoed again, something which the former Guild member had hoped never to encounter again in his lifetime.

    These Boreas wolves sounded like a threat which would have to be taken seriously. They didn’t come across as being some petty group of rogues with their own vain agenda, but a group with military structure, taking action not on a whim but as a tactical assault. Such a notion did not bode well for Inferni for though Cypher recalled what Anna had said to him the day he joined – that Inferni liked to have its fighters – the dark furred ‘yote mongrel couldn’t help but picture the few canines he’d actually gotten to know since joining, some of which didn’t have the appearance of being particularly adept at the art of combat. The Blackwater son’s heart ached with worry, and for a moment, his stoic expression fractured, revealing a look of concern and angst flutter across his features. Even just the mere thought of one of these canines being hurt in some unnecessary fashion made the former Guild member consider finding these Boreas wolves on his own and striking each, and every one of them down. Cypher couldn’t bear the thought of his fellow Infernians having to deal with blood on their hands, not when some of them seemed so naïve and bright. There would be casualties in this conflict, that night raid had proved that in startling regard. But the man from Chesapeake Bay didn’t wish to see those he considered his friends to sacrifice their own morality for this cause.

    Cypher brought his mind back to the present, reigning in his contemplations for another time when he would be alone and not surrounded by others. The ashen male realised that Vesper had begun to give out further instructions, specifically for how to prepare for the days ahead. The former mercenary had no knowledge of Sasola so figured he would not be of much use in that regard. However, since joining Inferni, Cypher had begun to ensure he knew the lay of the land within the nth degree. Routine patrols had lead him to become rather accustomed to the coyote territory, and by now, the Sciens considered that he knew most paths almost by instinct. If perhaps he could then extend such skills when it came to his tracking ability, perhaps he might be able to aid in searching and finding out exactly where these Boreas wolves had laid claim. While the former Guild member didn’t like to linger too much on his past, he was also beginning to consider that perhaps his time as a mercenary might be useful in way of connections and tactics. But Cypher was still aware that he was rather new to the Clan, and as such, didn’t have the authority to do anything of his own accord just yet. No, for the time being he needed to take heed to Vesper’s warnings, and give aid any way he could. It would of course help if he could heal faster, for a wounded soldier wasn’t of much good to anyone at any rate.

      Word Count: 1064
      Form: Optime
      OOC: tldr; angst, worry, pain, stuff.
what have i become, my sweetest friend

everyone i know, goes away in the end

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Pi
Luperci Tracker
walking in the dark

POSTED: Sun Jan 22, 2017 11:10 am

785 words. Above the break is a dumb flashback because word counts, damnit! Essentially, this entire post is useless and can be skipped. ;D

“Vesper, what’s that necklace for?”

The light agouti coywolf trotting ahead of the young dog turned her head, the beads around her throat rattling softly with the motion. Characteristically, a scarred brow lifted in an expectant question: what did Clover mean, what was it for?

Never had the Outsider felt ashamed for asking questions, though. She challenged the orders and beliefs of her new clanmates constantly, and sometimes she was rewarded; other times, teeth flashed and spit struck the ground in passing. But Vesper was one of the coyotes who rewarded the girl, a mother-in-law of sorts: someone who’d taken her in under her wing without questioning her breed, without even questioning her past. She always raised that left brow, but she always answered her in the end, after making her think.

“I mean, I never see you without it. Cartier’s got something like it he holds sometimes, and I was just wondering—is it a talisman or something? Where’d you get it from?”

The old coyote slowed. Clover plodded beside her, tail waving low. The world around them was frosted, dead leaves slick under their paws, and Clover looked forward to the coming winter; she would prove herself worthy of the clan’s acceptance through the bountiful season. Already she snuffled for deer tracks and rabbit scent as the Aquila seemed distracted.

“It’s just a thing,” Vesper replied, but she did not sound wholly genuine. When Clover’s bright brown eyes peered up at her, she elaborated, giving her head a little shake that sent the beads rattling again. “It’s called a rosary. Cartier uses it to pray to his god; most Luperci who wear this thing do. Hail Mary, or something.”

“Jehan said you didn’t believe in nothin’,”
said Clover. “He was relieved.”

Lips peeled back to show yellowed teeth, but it was in a crowing laugh. Behind a muzzle nicked with old scars and peppered with lighter hair, Vesper’s icy blue eyes were lively and young still, especially when she laughed at the girl.

“Yeah, I can see that.” Her smile faded, and at once so too did the energy. She turned away and began to pace down the trail again, stopping occasionally to mark trees like a male. She seemed wrapped up in her thoughts a moment more, but finally spoke again. “I use it to pray a little, too. To remind myself, I guess. Each bead, it belongs to someone, you know?”

Clover shook her head and wriggled free from a bramble, bringing half the tendrilous plant with it.

“I mean—I use it like that. One’s for Cartier, one’s for Stark, for Vicira and Myrika,” she said, and the last two names made her voice dip down. Clover hadn’t known the significance of what happened the last pack meeting, but she looked down, at least until: “One’s for you.” She glanced up, and the woman smiled at her, toothy and fierce, and Clover’s tail wagged.

“But I do that to remind me,” Vesper finished. “Of everyone that’s important, and of everyone I’ve hurt to keep them safe.” She paused again. “I ripped it from the neck of a dead man in a war,” she said, and Clover stared.

A year later, she would understand.



And so when Vesper stood upon that stone seat, it was not the first time that Clover had heard of the Boreas. She knew little of its historical significance, as the comrades that Vesper named in her stories—Myrika, Ithiel, Zana, Ezekiel—had long since departed from the clan. But she knew, at least, that a dead Boreas man had gifted Vesper that rosary round her neck.

And that her name was one of those beads. She glanced around her, brow furrowed, and reasoned that most of the clan’s names hung there, a constant reminder of what the Aquila had to fight for.

She lifted her head, baring teeth, determined to fight. If the past year had taught her anything, it was that her place in Inferni was still rocky—but she would still kill its enemies, treat its wounds. She could do that.

She looked at the crowd again, seeing the haggard face of the grieving Covenant, and of tired Harosheth leaning against a wall, and Jehan at the mansion’s back door looking frightened and regretful. And doubt struck her, and the memory of her youth seemed torn from her, and she remembered Oriole’s hurts and the healing scratch down her shoulder and fought to keep that proud glare.

“We stand together,” Clover woofed, and looked up at her leader.

Vesper only looked sad.

I can feel the thunder that's breaking in your heart
I can see through the scars inside you
Del Cenere Gang
El Probado
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Raze
oderint dum metuant You have to love yourself a fire
cave canem
unconditional loyalty

POSTED: Mon Jan 23, 2017 2:25 pm

The threats to their home were real, and now, they were named.

Antioch and his family, standing among the assembled clan, listened to these words with different levels of understanding. Having familiarized himself with Inferni's past, Antioch recognized the name and its implications. These were wolves who had sought to destroy his family – Gabriel de le Poer was his father's grandfather, was the catalyst behind the original events – and bring ruin to his home. His wife recalled all the things she had read and became stiff. Hatred of that sort did not evaporate over years, and to imagine it returned meant that this had only made this greater and more terrible.

The tawny-sable coyote wondered too about the knowledge their enemies had possessed. It was more than boldness which had driven them deep into the territories.

He heard Versace let out a long, shaky breath, and knew the loss of Maddox was still very raw to her.

Despite this, Antioch thought that there was something to be said for allowing a foreign wolf into their land, even under Vesper's protection. He disliked this idea of collaboration, and felt threatened by it. It felt different than the presence of halfbreeds and dogs in their Clan, and his lingering gaze suggested he felt as much. The wolf did not belong here.

Still, their enemies were many, and they were well armed and well prepared. It was enough to err on caution.

Yeah, Omar yapped, looking up at the Aquila, thinking it best to echo Clover's voice.

As if spurred by this, Antioch raised his voice: Don't go anywhere alone, he said, thinking this might seem obvious. Not even on a horse, or with a raven. If there were enough of them to attack us like they did, there's more of them out there.


I'm just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood
signature art by Songbird
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DEAD
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Mel
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