the earth don't give a damn if you're lost

POSTED: Sun Nov 26, 2017 5:14 pm

Dove found herself staring long and hard at the wooden dummies, imagining coyote soldiers branded with ash. She watched them rise and fall in her mind. She watched them both mourn and celebrate, and observed herself as no more than a detached witness to their war.

Her mind wandered to warmer days spent training with Basilio, before his disappearance never explained to Dove in full. Had his presence persisted through to the war, she might have been adequate for combat. The arrow that buried itself in the shoulder of one traitorous Salsolan she considered nothing more than a lucky shot, for she had practiced to replicate it with little success since. Yet, Infernians as untrained as herself had marched into battle. She was a coward, one who could not bear even to remain in their midst while the war waged on in her stead, by other people. When she could have at the very least supported them from home, she deserted them.

Salvador had said this was the right thing to do. Was it?

Gossamer sniffed and pushed at the stakes suspending the wooden dolls, uncertain what to make of these soft and lifeless crafts in shape of living creatures. Observing him, she wondered if he thought them dead, or knew yet how to differentiate the dead from the unliving. She wished she did not have to wonder such things about him, for Gossamer had seen far too much for his days, and every topic attempted felt both too young and too old for one at his stage in life. Conversation was impossible, and their companionship was most preferable when silent on both sides.

They weren’t family, after all, just as she had been direct family to none in the clan. She posed as his mother. He posed as nothing at all.

“The wind’s died down,” Dove said to him from a window, though she had never made it so clear why they had ducked into the cabin in the first place. “We should get going, Gossamer.”

He looked at her, silent, then stood on his hinds and bounced his forepaws against the wobbling stake of one of the dummies.

“Come on, Goss.” He ignored her. “Goss. Gossamer. Ask!”

Alarmed by the spike in her tone, his ears and tail tucked and he huddled against the ground. She collected him—he was getting big, fast—and embraced him tight.

“Sorry,” she mumbled.

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Lin
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POSTED: Sun Nov 26, 2017 6:40 pm

The scent of a coyote on Court grounds had not gone unnoticed by Skoll, who set about posturing and following the scent with his usual feral swagger and distrustful sneering. Rumor had it that a little white coyote had come to the pack fresh from Inferni, and it was not difficult for Skoll to imagine a spy stealing away into their midst. The war with the fire clan could hardly have been called a war in hindsight, for they had lost no one and nothing but some land and pride, but despite its distance Skoll took personal offense to anything that reminded him of Liir and his missing eye.

The newcomer was not an easy one to find, however. She'd suspiciously hidden herself away, or something, because despite aggressive searching Skoll had yet to come across her.

He was sure it was sheer luck that he later picked up the scent near one of his usual haunts. Hulking in his seven-foot-tall Optime form, his claws carelessly unsheathed and his hair wind-tousled, the werewolf stalked onto the training grounds. When he spotted a blur of white fur, he approached. Drawing his head up, his ears tall and his expression an arrogant and charmless smile, he opened his mouth to greet her with all the callousness a supposed-newcomer deserved.

What's a 'yo--

He saw the puppy huddled in her arms. He squinted. Uhh, the little guy okay? he asked, and pushed his hand through his shaggy hair, stymied with the loss of his aggressive momentum. He looked like a wolf pup, mostly -- maybe a little coyote. She didn't look that coyote either, with her odd black-and-white fur. Puzzling over her reasons for being here, Skoll formed a hypothesis and cast her an awkward grimace. Iiiiis he yours?


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POSTED: Wed Dec 06, 2017 7:13 pm

With some certainty this “Gossamer” would adopt some of her severity to strangers, by exposure but primarily by his own experience. In his short months the boy had been traded between several pairs of arms; by loving parents first, then by slave, by brother, by enemy, and by stranger each in turn.

Dove spun on the man with the boy cradled tight against her chest, her shoulder between their visitor and the child who had already seen too much. Though unsettled by the tone his guardian had taken, Gossamer peeked over her shoulder not afraid, not curious, but alert. If but for a glimpse they might have resembled one another for the mother and child they were not, for Dove and Gossamer alike regarding the arrogant golden sun in their midst with all the bitter reception of a cold and early winter dusk.

She poised as if ready to flee, and did not relax though the man’s swagger melted at the sight of the child in her arms. “He’s fine,” she snapped with a sound made sincere by insult, “and yes, he’s mine. Obviously. What do you want?”

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POSTED: Sun Dec 17, 2017 11:21 pm

Not one, but both cool and tense stares affixed on the man when he approached — and Skoll, already caught off-guard by the puppy’s mere presence, frowned harder and dragged claws through his tangled golden hair. He even began to take a step back, conscious enough of his intimidating stature (he often took full advantage of it) that he should ease back as to not frighten a child and woman-from-the-wilds.

But she did not balk at him. Instead, she snapped back, her tongue barbed, and Skoll narrowed his eye and began to puff back up again.

“Put your teeth away, newbie,”
he grumbled at her. He looked at the puppy again, then took a breath to steady his tone. “I’m just trying to give you a warm welcome, make sure everything was going okay. Christ, how bad was it in Inferni?” He began to scowl again, aware he was treading near dark subjects, but he could hardly help himself.

“I’m… Skoll. The military tier head.” He looked at the pup, tried to smile. “Hi.” His eye kept flicking back and forth, and while his tail was curled dominantly the rest of his posture waffled between irritated and uncomfortable. The result was spiked fur and darting eye and a voice barely restrained. He was an equal-opportunity insulter, but — ugh, why did the kid have to be here, why did he have to have a stupid cute face?

“I was just… surprised,” he said, making it plain he had other vocabulary in mind, “to see a coyote join up with us. We don’t get many here.”

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POSTED: Fri Dec 29, 2017 3:11 pm

She did not apologize, but consciously reined back the bite in her voice and eyes when it was requested of her. “Bad enough,” she mumbled. “Another stupid war. This time with traitors.”

The Reverie could have sworn she felt a twinge in the scar down her cheek, bald and healed and as tender as her feelings surrounding its cause.

“Oh, you’re Skoll,” she said, tilting her head, thinning her eyes. “I thought the King said you were behaving. Well. I’m Dove, this is Gossamer.” They mirrored one another, each with their own contribution to the mutual abrasiveness, though it would be until later reflection that Dove would realize she had once again overreacted as she was so prone to doing.

She studied him as he explained himself. “Not coyote. Person. I’m just a person. Why does everything have to be about wolves and dogs and coyotes?” The people of Juniper Peace would hate these lands, every inch of it. “I had to get Gossamer away from the stupid war. It was too dangerous. Salsola’s full of crazy people.”

She looked at Ask. Ask looked back at her.

Dove moved on. “Why did the King say that about you?”

all the colors mix together to gray
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Lin
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POSTED: Mon Jan 15, 2018 3:49 pm

[238]

Another war, more traitors. Thinking of Marlowe, Skoll reasoned that coyotes didn't have any real loyalty in them; they weren't biologically inclined toward the strong ties that bonded wolves and dogs. He maintained his frown at this as if he were not incredibly surprised, folding his arms.

His claws dug into fur when the girl, Dove, looked at him through narrowed eyes -- but he said nothing, only flashed another awkward smile at Gossamer that went unacknowledged.

"This is a better place," Skoll said, but evenly, without his usual smugness. "We have allies we can trust. The kid will be safer here than in Inferni." That was all the compassion he allowed before he rolled his broad shoulders and pointed out, "Inferni was the first to make it all about wolves and dogs and coyotes. They started our last war. Me, I just see patterns. And coyotes don't usually come here, and if they do, they usually stray away again."

Skoll looked down at her with a smirk. "Because I make it a habit to beat up bad coyotes who have done bad things and I'm unashamed of it, so I got a reputation," he said, censoring himself with the practice of a single father who'd slipped up a few times in the past. "But you don't seem bad, so yeah, I'm behaving. No reason not to. Even if you're prickly."

TOP OF THE WORLD, BOTTOM OF THE OCEAN
THEY BUILT YOU UP AND BROKE YOU DOWN AGAIN
SO NOW YOU HOPE TO BEAT THE SURF IN

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Raze
Luperci heliophagy You Tried: A Reward for Doing the Thing SoSuWriMo 2012 - 2020 Champion!
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