[M] the kings need a victory, so they sent me

mandatory pack meeting

POSTED: Mon Jan 01, 2018 4:46 pm

WARNING: This thread contains material exceeding the general board rating of PG-13. It may contain very strong language, drug usage, graphic violence, or graphic sexual content. Reader discretion is advised.

On the coldest day of winter yet, Mistral de l’Or returned to Her Kingdom with the fallen king in tow. It was a day of wind and flurries, and the sun was no more than a blurry light behind a sheet of clouds.

She instructed Chaska and his men to alert the people and become acquainted with the territory while she spoke with her subjects, and the mercenaries scattered to the wind. She nodded her head at her bodyguard, who shoved forward the silent and brooding king, and together the three marched on Cour des Miracles: Mistral, proud and small and head held high; Achilles, indifferent and wearied; and Silvano, broken and pale, his remaining hand lingering at its partner’s bandaged stump.

A pup lagged behind them, her tail and ears tucked. Mistral neither bound nor regarded her, for if the child strayed from her new Queen and her disgraced grandfather, Mistral did not care.

She made the King call out for those the mercenaries did not gather, for a proper Queen never raised her voice. She stood atop the wall of the Jardins de Rêves and looked down upon them when they came, and she did not take pleasure in their shock or early retaliation. It was Silvano’s fault that she had to save her kingdom so violently, and it was Silvano’s fault that his people would recoil and gossip and suffer. They would understand the necessity of the situation soon enough. They would sympathize. They would thank her. They would love her.

There was a kick from within the telltale curve of her belly. As if prompted, the young woman stepped forward from her bodyguard and the former king, dusted snow from the fence between she and her subjects below, and lay there her hands.

“Courtiers,” she said, reciting the words she had practiced a thousand times over the years. “My name is Mistral de l’Or, granddaughter to the first King, Jacquez Trouillefou. From this day forward, I serve as Queen of Cour des Miracles.”

She gestured to Silvano. “This man, this sorry excuse for a king, has wronged you. He has stolen the throne from the Court’s royal family, and insisted to replace it with his own. He has allowed your pack to stagnate and fight pointless wars. He surrounds himself with a council biased by blood and false reknown. Under his rule, he has left you and your loved ones defenseless. Even the gods themselves rejected him as king and cast fire from the sky not miles away to ruin him, but he did not falter. He put you at risk against their wrath.

“For years I have watched all of these things unwind, but no more. Under his rule, Silvano Sadira would burn my grandfather’s kingdom to the ground. In order to faciliate the change needed to save Cour des Miracles, extreme measures must be taken. Thanks to your King, our pack was given no option other than this.”

She folded her hands atop the fence. “I understand many of you are confused and concerned. Rest assured, I have brought with me many individuals to assist in the restoration of my kingdom. You will be their wards. You will treat them with respect. You will help them. Retaliate against them, and know you will face certain punishment worse even than your king.”

“Nothing,” said Mistral, grave, “nothing will get between me and the success of Cour des Miracles.”

“In time, the reasons for these changes will become clear. I stand here before you today for the best interests of my and my grandfather’s kingdom. Know that if you resist, you interrupt progress. You stall a beautiful future of your home. You contribute to the rot that the false King Sadira introduced into what was once a glorious, thriving pack.”

She smiled, patient and refined. “Courtiers, I am proud to serve you as Queen. I am proud to have the opportunity to restore this kingdom to what it once was. Speak with me. Cooperate with me. Teach me, and I will teach you. Together, Cour des Miracles will shed its worn and dying skin, and be reborn into a new era of wealth and prosperity.”

Mistral caught the eyes of many—of Linden, of Skoll, of Shiloh—and then stepped back, her hands folded atop her protruding belly, and she looked across Her People with a prideful smile.

Mistral's moving in (ICly only, of course)! This is a mandatory CdM pack meeting. Please allow both Gen and Rat to reply first, and then everyone can have at it with no particular post order. We'll close it up when it seems appropriate. Rated as mature as a general precaution.

Cour des Miracles
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POSTED: Mon Jan 01, 2018 5:00 pm

We’re the only ones who know

Queen in exile. King in captivity. The King was a man who had been bested by a woman who considered herself a true born queen of the Court. Silvano disagreed with all his heart but no words had swayed her. He had been caught unawares and forced to march. His tail did not tuck between his legs in submission, but the Sadira looked tired and worn. His skin felt clammy and his arm ached enough to dull his perception of everything around him.

They told him to walk, so he walked. Mistral told him to howl, so he howled. He was kept back by a pair of hands, though the tall man towered over Mistral who stood in the forefront. His eyes, usually vivid and bright, were dull emeralds that were in dire need of a good polishing. They were cast to the ground, hearing his granddaughter's babble, and reassured that even as he suffered, his family need naught suffer with him. Ajax had been returned, he had been assured, but it was some kind of mockery, he knew. What they did with him, he was unsure, so he had to hope that there was a grain of honor in Mistral.

False King. Mishandling. Her insults he had heard in the days of his confinement. They ripped through his mind when she removed his hand and he faced nothing but uncertainty. Her words kept him company and strangled his heart as his throne was torn from him. He had always been King of the Court, or had been long enough that his very essence was tinged with the identifier.

Who was Silvano without the metaphorical crown upon his head? He shivered as a breeze tore through him. His pelt would have kept it all out, but the chill into his injuries was hard to ignore, and he clutched the makeshift bandaging to keep the heat in. It was not bleeding profusely, so he figured at least he was not about to drop dead.

Small miracles, he thought dryly.

His family came. His friends. He met the frantic gaze of those he could, lingering on his wife's blues. He nearly whined at her expression but a tightening hand on his arm silenced any noise before it could be uttered. His eyes shifted to his daughter, his first, and then to a younger one, whose anger was barely contained in her bland expression; her eyes were fuming and ready to burst into flame.

Silvano stared at the back of Mistral's head, feeling his own head rise a little at the onslaught of her accusations. But they dropped again, unable to look at his subjects in the eyes any longer.

The King no longer, still captive. The self-imposed exile a Queen.

The world was topsy-turvy.

This is a mandatory thread! Failure to participate will have repercussions down the road c;

Now, I've learned it's better living in the moment. Enjoy youth, cause it doesn't last.

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Cour des Miracles
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Luperci Equites Mate to Shiloh
Knight Errant
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R E N A G O N • S O U L
Literary Liar

POSTED: Mon Jan 01, 2018 5:27 pm

OOC: Don't mind me I'm just screaming.

The chill in the air had crept into the Hotel where Abigail cradled her son, watching him with tired eyes and a furrowed brow. Nothing had been right since the pups had been taken and things had only gone further wrong since. Abi longed for a decent nights sleep, for warmth and comfort she didn’t dare seek in any of her family. They, too, were suffering in Silvano’s absence.

She thought she had fallen asleep when she heard the call. It was unmistakeably her Father’s voice, but it was different: beleaguered, and more fatigued than Abigail had ever heard it.

The woman got to her feet, wrapped Ajax in a fur and made her way down the Hotel steps with her ears pinned back and her brow still creased in to a deep frown. She knew that despite it being Silvano’s voice, things were not going back to normal. There was at least one piece of the King missing and perhaps things would never be normal again.

The howl had been a summons and Abigail would come. She would always answer her Father’s summons.

Abigail didn’t look at anyone she passed, though the people standing around seemed to be all facing and moving in one direction. She felt her pulse racing, her pads sweating as she held tight to the bundle of furs swamping her son. Ajax was whimpering, and Abigail kissed his brow as she pushed her way to the front of the gathering.

Her eyes fell on Silvano first; it was difficult for them not to given her Father’s height. He looked pale. Broken. As if he’d been overtaken, swallowed by Winter itself. His eyes, when they finally met his first daughter’s, were dull, and Abigail could only gape at him. She was careful not to look at the stump which had once joined to a hand.

Her gaze shifted. Her stomach lurched when she saw Mistral.


Diminutive Mistral, who she had never truly taken seriously, had been the threat all along. The woman cradled a rounded belly and Abigail’s eyes were green fire when they rested on her. Any Motherly camaraderie she might’ve felt was absent. More than absent, if Abigail felt a flicker of it she ripped it out of her own heart. She could have no sympathy nor empathy for this brat in Queen’s clothing.

Mistral spoke – words which Abi was sure were well practised and possibly even pretty. But Abigail saw no beauty in her or her poisonous words.

She watched her Father and saw that he had given up. In the absence of Silvano’s strength Abigail found her own lacking.

She could have stepped forward. She could have ripped the bitch’s head off and stopped any more filth pouring out of her mouth – but she wouldn’t give Mistral the satisfaction of being a martyr. She wouldn’t give Mistral the satisfaction of forcing her child to see her become a murderer.

Besides, a soft dove grey shape was streaking across the Jardins, tail tucked and ears folded.

“Cicely!” the Grand-Duchessa whined. Abigail dropped to one knee and opened the arm which wasn’t hooked around Ajax’s middle. She wasn’t going to risk losing him again. She wasn’t going to risk losing either of her children ever again.

It dawned on her that perhaps they were the reason for Silvano’s silence.

Cicely licked Abigail’s face and she knew tears had stained her cheeks. Whether they were relief or anger or bitter hatred Abi didn’t know. The world was upside down and all she could do was hold her children to her.


Let me light up the sky, light it up for you

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Luperci Mate to Kira
misuse of imagination

POSTED: Mon Jan 01, 2018 8:54 pm

Frozen air pressed in all around her, penetrating through her thick pelt enough for her to feel the chill. The edges of her eartips, lost years ago to frostbite, ached and burned. She opened and closed the hand of one arm slowly and ignored the cold in her toes. She had her staff in the other hand, the rough haft clenched so tightly between her fingers that her knuckles jutted sharp and dangerous and her palm had gone numb.

In her eyes, there was fire.

When she had heard her father's call, the sound of it tired and ragged to her rounded ears, Thyri ran. In the days since the disappearance of Cicely and Ajax, followed by King Silvano's persistent absence, the wheaten Chevalier had increased her presence along the borderline exponentially. Her patrols were never particularly prosperous but neither had they proved altogether unfavorable. So Thyri carried on patrolling, scouring the borders with a sharp nose and a determined heart. Because to Thyri — and to many loyal to the King and their Grand-duchessa — as long as Cicely and her father were still out there and not in the heart of Cour des Miracles where they belonged, few things felt right.

It was on one of these tireless patrols that her father's voice slipped into Thyri's ears, breaking the winter silence and stealing away her breath.

So she ran. She ran hard and she did not stop until the forest began to thicken, dark arboreal skeletons raising their spindly, barren branches to an unforgiving sky. When at last she reached Jardins de Rêves, there were already others of the Court surrounding the stone meeting place. Thyri slowed, puffing clouds from an open mouth. Her rib cage expanded and fell, expanded and fell, sucking air so cold that it hurt her throat and burned her lungs.

But her eyes never left the wall.

Her father was there, pale and unwell, alongside a woman Thyri could not remember ever seeing before. She was plump, or was that just her body shape and thick fur? It didn't matter, the Dawnbringer decided with an imperceptible shake of her head. She started forward through the crowd, intending to get to her father's side, but was stopped when the woman atop the wall of the Jardins de Rêves began to speak.

And the longer the woman spoke, the hotter the fire in Thyri's eyes burned.

Her father said nothing. In fact, nobody said anything until her sister's voice rang high and clear in the winter air all around them. It was only then that Thyri took her eyes from Mistral and Silvano and the scene playing out before them, watching and Abigail dropped to her knees and scooped her daughter up into her arms. Their family was reunited again. Except for Myrkr, the entirety of the Sadira-Stormbringer family would be here to witness the fall of their father's kingdom.

Thyri breathed and flicked pale jade eyes back upon the usurper — their new Queen.

She would never — never — kneel to a woman who kidnapped children and used them as leverage to sit upon a her father's throne. Somehow, by some grace of Odin, Thyri managed to keep the snarl from her throat and the wrinkles from her lips. It would do no good, not now and not here, to revolt. She ripped her eyes from Mistral and Silvano again, taking note of the woman's many mercenaries, and breathed in again.

She would fight, she vowed silently, boring a look of rage at Mistral again, but not now.


Reblin watched the scene unfold across the meeting place from Thyri, his pale eyes filled with innocence and confusion. Had Silvano truly deceived them all? He studied her — this kind, queenly woman who held herself with confidence and poise. Where King Silvano appeared wholly wolf, Queen Mistral looked much more doggish in appearance. When Rebel first joined the Court, it was told to him how, in the early days of its creation, it had been something of a safe haven for dogs and dog hybrids.

Why, then, was a wolf ruling the Court?

This question had not plagued Reblin's mind often but it was a curiosity he harbored loosely. Now, though... The wolfdog frowned, reminded of it again with a newfound power it had never had before. Mistral's explanation made sense, he thought. If never for a wolf usurping the throne, why then would someone more doggish not be the ruler?

Watching, Reblin's felt confusion muddy all the clarity he thought he knew and felt as his own loyalties began to shift.

OOC: aw HELL nah

[WC — 780]

New Caledonia
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Mate to Merlin Apothecary I Ægishjálmr: Helm of Awe
trouble is a friend
holy branches

POSTED: Mon Jan 01, 2018 11:56 pm

It was difficult to enjoy the subtle beauty of life in the absence of her father and niblings, and so when the call of the King rang out over the Court, Serena dropped what it was she had been cleaning and sprinted across the snow like a beautiful winter spirit aflight in the wind. She was ebullient, thrilled, bubbling over with joy at the idea that her family was whole again. These emotions died like cold embers in her stomach when she came upon the gathering that had been called. Others had already arrived, and the dark-furred Marino observed with golden-green eyes filled with confusion as a stranger claimed her father's place. It was an aggressive thing, this small, grey woman who stood before them, offering prosperity in return for servitude.

Her ears flattened, burying in the growing strands of her inky tresses, and her heart felt as if it weighed as much as a house in her chest; it threatened to pull free from her ribcage, to dance across the snow and run away from her. What was happening? Silvano was clearly there, clearly okay, so who was this stranger claiming he had no right to be their leader? He'd done it for as long as she had known, not that she had been so old. She didn't know these names that were spoken of. She didn't know this woman.

Winter suddenly felt much colder than it had in the past, and lost some of its luster.

[wc: 254]
Avatar © Gen. Signature Doodle © Raze.

POSTED: Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:12 pm


A stranger approached Skoll, interrupting his hunt — because for all the searching he had done in vain for the King and lost children, he could not do so at the cost of starvation — and the big wolfdog nearly attacked them on sight.

Qui diable êtes-vous?” was spat from parted, toothy jaws as he squared up to the mercenary, but a handful of words were dropped that made Skoll stiffen.

As if on cue, Silvano’s howl — long, weakened — echoed over the plains. Skoll stared at the stranger on his land for a few heartbeats more, then turned and ran for his King’s cry. His paws beat the ground in a quick rhythm, each contraction of muscles and scrape of claws on frozen earth a chant of denial: No no no.

He caught up with Dreyma and Galilee on the way to the gardens. They fell into line together, the adults exchanging a grim glance while Lee slunk beside her father with her head low and ears pressed down. As they neared the stone walls, able to smell others of the Court gathering, Skoll paused and muttered to Drey. “Be careful going in, and keep an eye on her. I’m going to shift.” He would feel better on two legs, with more mass. Dreyma nodded and whispered to Lee, herding the girl away.

Pushing his hair out of his face once he’d shifted, Skoll looked up at another’s approach — Shiloh, her blue eyes wide. The diplomat looked uncharacteristically tousled, her dress wrinkled and her hair pulled up into a slightly messy ponytail. She had her staff in hand. Skoll felt better for that. Together, they walked into the gardens.

A voice, familiar in its confident yapping if smoother with age and practice, rose above the crowd, and Skoll immediately bared his teeth and growled.

They spotted Silvano then. One of Shiloh’s hands jumped to Skoll’s elbow. She squeezed at his arm and stared up at her injured husband with open despair for a second, as Skoll bristled with shock. He barely felt her touch, barely felt the earth beneath his feet. He rocked, and found that Shiloh was no longer there — she was striding forward through the crowd as Mistral spoke, unobtrusive and graceful in her steps, her ears back and her face expressionless. Skoll, finding Drey and Lee safe in the crowd (his girl’s eyes wide and watering in surprise, Dreyma baring her teeth too), stalked after her.

As Mimi concluded her little speech and they neared the front of the congregation, Skoll spoke. His voice was booming, a deep and commanding bark edged with the danger of a wolf’s growling. “What makes you think any of us will follow you?” He planted his feet and stared at her, hands balled into fists. His ears and tail were lifted, his one eye blazing in anger before it flickered to Silvano. “What the fuck did you do to him? I should kill you where you stand, you arrogant little cu—”

This time he did feel Shiloh’s touch. Her hand pressed to his tattooed shoulder, and he could feel the edge of her claws betraying her fury, though her mature voice was tranquil.

“Mistral.” Shiloh spoke evenly, as if she were addressing one of her children. “You will not find cooperation here, among people you don’t know, people you have already wronged. It isn’t worth it. It will be better if you leave now.”

“I’m not letting this bitch leave alive,”
Skoll snarled. “Silvano! Say something!”

Why wouldn't he say something?


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Luperci heliophagy You Tried: A Reward for Doing the Thing SoSuWriMo 2012 - 2020 Champion!
devour the sun
tarnished prince

POSTED: Wed Jan 03, 2018 1:12 am

Every Man Wears a Symbol, And I Know I Have Mine

He'd heard hushed rumours, but hadn't been to dedicated in delving for more information or clarification. He had his own business to worry over and would allow others their own without his involvement unless it was something particularly thrilling.
There was gossip of an absent king, but the Seigneur could count on one hand how many times he'd interacted with Silvano personally. It didn't seem outrageous to think the leader had reserved time for himself, especially as the nights grew colder. Basil himself had decided to stay indoors more often, to catch up on his reading and minor handiwork around his home.

A howl called for the community, and the Butler male was afraid he could keep himself from this drama no longer. The so-called missing King had summoned them, it was undoubtedly familiar from previous events, so whatever issuehad risen seemed an issue no more; their leader was back, why waste time celebrating?

He sighed heavily and gathered his coat, merely draping it over his shoulders as it served as extra comfort from the chill, not a thing of necessity for the blessed mongrel.

So what if the King hadactually been missing? It'd always been a belief of the mutt to live as equals (if he couldn't rule himself), without authority pressing rules and regulations that were often for their benefit. While Basil hardly thought Silvano was a malevolent head of the Court, he was an official nonetheless, and aside from title, there was no reason for the superiority.

It was a rebellious and jealous drive that instigated his sour attitude of the whole charade, but until he was someone in the Court, it was only trouble no to cooperate.
He'd lived long enough as a loner to fear returning to a solitary life on dangerous neutral ground.

The hybrid said his goodbyes to Ophelia and had headed toward the gathering with little delay, despite his stubborn view. The sooner he got there, the sooner whatever he was being gathered for would come to and end and the sooner he could return to his abode and stick his nose back into the yellowed, dog-eared pages of his current read.

As he arrived, though, the male noticed visible tension mucking up the air, making it difficult to swallow. There were no joyous faces, aside from a grinning stranger standing before a broken King.
Basil chewed his lip nervously, a hand reaching into his jacket pocket to retrieve his emerald rosary while he listened to the intruder speak to the nervous crowd.
While he was unsure of the validity of her claims, the threats backed by a party of roguish goons was enough to display how serious her intentions were.
This was not like the stories he made up while living unaffiliated in Halifax to impress visitors.
This was something very real.

Basil was known to care little for anything that didn't directly involve him, but this was something that would surely alter life in the Court significantly.
For the few we did consider himself close to and cared for, he was scared.
And for himself, he was scared.

His grip tightened on the rosary as he paid careful attention to the words of the unfamiliar female before him. An instant swell of hatred started in his belly, as he could feel nothing but anger toward anybody who elicited such anxiety from him and those he did hold dear. The Seigneur looked around hastily for his youngest sisters, as well as Ramona and Abigail. There were others he would worry for, but he was more certain they could fend for themselves.

The mongrel's attention was returned to the usurper at her mention of gods and disaster brought by 'their' will.
It was a sure way to inform the Catholic of her ruthless hunger for power, as she claimed to understand the power of the 'gods' and dared to use these claims to her advantage.
It was a mockery to his practice, and he wouldn't stand for it.

Though there was little he could to when it came to raw physical power, and he was still a relative nobody in the Court, it was decided then that while Basil absolutely loathed getting himself included into these pack movements, he'd had enough of others trying to overshadow him.
"Well this trollop jus' won't do." He muttered, wrapping his rosary around his wrist before crossing his arms over his chest.
He was invested now.

-- (740)

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POSTED: Wed Jan 03, 2018 3:34 am

Odalis wandered the gardens absently, inspecting the rough stone that marked the edges of the temple. The yard was filled with frozen rows of dirt that glittered as she passed. There were large conifers ringed in silvery frost, and ferns that lay unfurled against the frigid morning light. Odalis was robed in her thickest cloak, the fur lined collar pinned at her throat by one of her mother’s pins. It was a shiny opal – and it glittered at her throat like a beacon.

She did not yet feel like a Courtier, but her new title felt befitting. She had risen to a Chevallier and the name on her lips filled her with a certain measure of pride. Akantha would have been proud to know that her daughter held some of the same ambition. Sapient had been a place dedicated to the betterment of their species – and Odalis had poured over their Library as a child, carefully planning her Metier, carefully seeking out her Area of Study.

Something in her mother had changed soon after her litter had found their legs – the golden woman had become a shadow of her former self, a quiet bitter thing that found solace in her journals.

Odalis had brought them with her to Nova Scotia, and the tombs were carefully hidden beneath the wooden frame of her bed. They contained the stories of this place, and one of them had blank pages that would soon be filled with her own neat cursive. Akantha had taken note of everything during her travels, and there was mention of beauty. Krokar had glittering lakes and crevaces, Salsola the beauty of its savage people, and Sapient its stores of knowledge and wealth. There were others too that had faded into non-existence – the ebb and flow of the world eating them away.

The Court was comprised of a great many beautiful things, and each of these Odalis coveted against her heart.

When the call came it warbled strangely upon the frigid mountain air – and the newly appointed Chevalier stood stock still, mist rising from the corners of her mouth. It was Silvanos voice, but there was something in it that the girl did not recognize. She took a moment to smooth her hair and straighten her skirts before setting off in the direction of the kings call.

She scrabbled over a final hillock and came upon the lot of them – the mercenary queen who stood atop the wall, her golden locks of hair braided in two long cords which hung over her thick shoulders. Mistral was pretty in a way, short and thick around the waist – unadorned save for the pristine sea-glass green of her eyes. She did not recognize the woman, but as she came closer it seemed that others in the crowd were gazing upon her with recognition. Not a soul was warm toward her, and Silvano kneeled beside her, his eyes downcast – his arms cradled before him.

He appeared broken and dirty, with tufts of hair standing askew along the nape of his neck, the thick curls of his hair lank against a tepid forehead. It was apparent that he had been wounded, for there was a bandage around the end of his arm, and one dark hand held it delicately as if to shield it from the gaze of the many Courtiers. There were so many sounds; gasps, cries, and the low rumble of discontent – but Odalis was silent, her long ears pricked forward.

Odalis raised a hand to her lips as children were reunited with their mother – and as Mistral began her first speech.

It appeared that the Court had a history which her mother had never anticipated – the throne was disputed, and now Odalis was here in the middle of it. The Court had been meant to be safe and now there were mercenaries, a king missing his hand, and broken crowns lain before her.

She listened in silence as other spoke up, adding their voices to the speech that saw the Court behold a new Queen.

She was too new to speak – too frightened to throw her words into the space that stood between the broken-hearted Courtiers at their King.

Odalis felt her hand trembling against her breast with uncertainty and fear, the pin at her throat all at once feeling too tight and too small. The cold wind seemed to awaken some of the wolves and Skoll shouted, his booming voice frightening and rough – and then there was Shiloh, the wife of the king – whose voice held its own authority and weight, but Odalis watched as Mistral did nothing but smile upon them all.

Sudden movement had her gaze falling to the side of the wall, and she gasped at the dark figure who materialized there – his long thin fingers tapping against the black and silver of his tunic.

He had seen her, and she watched as he ran his tongue over the end of his too thin muzzle.

Disgusted she forced herself to gaze up at Mistral – into those eyes that were so crystal clear and bright.

There was power there, and as the woman glanced at her she felt herself flinch.


did we light too many matches?
turn ourselves into these ashes?
Indentured Servant
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straight through the smoke

POSTED: Wed Jan 03, 2018 12:07 pm

[WC: 379]

Gaia was not ignorant to the goings-on that her elders would not talk about with her, but she felt as if she horribly lacked the proper vision to understand clearly. Her mother and elder siblings were distracted, the foreign woman who shadowed her father was more irritable than usual, and everywhere a sense of unease seemed to fester. It felt like waiting for a storm to land.

So her father's voice, when it called, seemed like a beacon. Eager to see him, to wash away her doubts, Gaia had hurried towards the summons.

There were so many people she did not know there, waiting for them, and though she had never thought to warrant caution in her own home intuition warned her of this now. The strangers did not look friendly, nor did the fat, fluffy dog trumpeting over them.

And her father, oh there was her father but he was hurt and he looked old as she had never imagined him being—

The woman spoke, good and proper, and Gaia's eyes widened with each passing phrase. She had heard of the first king, Jacquez, and the recognition of the woman called Mistral confirmed her claim. The rest of it fell upon her with awful hurt. That was her father the little dog was talking about, and each accusation was a lash against her family. This wasn't right, and certainly the rest of the Kingdom understood this too.

All the threats seemed very real, seeing Silvano as he was.

And when Mistral finished, a peculiar and muted breath passed and Gaia felt her resolve weaken.

She looked around for someone, anyone else to rally against this shift, but though there was anger and confusion she saw other things too.

Skoll's booming voice was expected, as was her mother's objection, but the rest of the King's council said nothing. The Majordomo was staring so intently ahead that even when his taller, shaggy-dog companion bent to whisper something in his ear he did not move. Gaia looked beyond them and saw Cassidy, seated on her horse, glowering with malcontent.

There was no rebellion that day, and fear reached Gaia's heart. She felt unable to bear it and sought out her sister, whose dark hand she grasped so tightly her own ached.

New Caledonia
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A new day, a new way
and new eyes to see the dawn

POSTED: Wed Jan 03, 2018 2:01 pm

Hirsch had stolen herself away within her small cabin near the shores, hiding from the cold that came, not from winter alone, but from the Courtier's solemness. The King had been missing for days now, and the shift in atmosphere was practically palpable. She did not know of the King nearly as well, or as fondly as her pack mates, yet shared in their tenseness, finding herself pacing around her home now. She had been attempting to keep herself occupied the past few days, unease having been manifesting itself as boredom and restlessness, mixing dirt into a sculpt-able clay, or whittling small sticks she found about, but with little relief.

This was her new home, she had barely lived here, and already the aires of tragedy and tumult had seeped in. She had searched so long for a safe haven, but now a missing King had left her even more unsure of her future in the pack than she had been without one. She was still low ranked, and rather anxious around the others, and she hadn't yet steeled herself to truly make waves and make herself known within the Court. At that thought, she suddenly hardened with an intense determination, knowing she had to choose this home and dive into it, never flee or wander again. Even in the absence of her King, the newcomer decided she would do anything she could for her Court.

Soon, though, she stopped in her tracks, the wooden floors ceasing to creak under her weight. A broken howl had sliced through the winter air, and reverberated through the court, carrying an uncanny energy with it like that she had never seen. She was somewhat unfamiliar with the voice, but knew the message instantly. It was the King. His voice was not of a man triumphantly, or even thankfully, returning home. This was quickly losing any traces of a sense of being alive, though howling alone told her the poor sap was still living. She quickly snatched her ratty grey woolen cloak and burst through her door, into the bite of the winter cold, seeking out the sources of the pathetic sounding howl.

And she soon found it, as well as a great gathering of her pack mates, staring in the direction of their lost King. He looked shattered as he stood next to a shorter, plumper grey female. Hirsch studied him, as she slowly picked her way through the growing crowd, towards the only person she knew, the only person who might have answers for her. Silvano was slumped, despite his height, his entire countenance seemingly drooping and limp, much like the curls that the dark female had seen so lively before. His eyes betrayed him, blunting demonstrating their lack of life entirely, the Court's King was practically nothing more than a corpse with a beating heart. The female beside him, however, was holy fire incarnate, her soul burning with some kind of self-appointed righteousness that Hirsch could not even begin to pick apart or understand. The other Courtiers looked upon her with recognition, and in that recognition, they betrayed their disgust.

Anger had started to well within her, and her determination to find Abigail grew steadily, as she attempted to move through the crowd. However, Abi's call stopped her, and she watched a young pup dash into her mother's arms. This was their moment, and she dared not interrupt a reunion between mother and child. Her silvery eyes flashed back towards the grey she-wolf that stood before them, as the newcomer began some long winded speech about her being the rightful heiress to the throne. The Court was founded as a haven for dogs, and while it made sense that this dog-like woman would be the heir, her methods and her opponent cast more than a shadow of doubt within the young wolf. The Sadiras did not seem the evil kind, and this woman, wreathed in passion like flames had done so much sinister damage, that even if her cause were pure, Hirsch would never bow to her. A slow, soft growl began to betray the dark youngster's emotions.

Her attention cut from the woman before her as she heard Skoll's uproarious protests, and her heart swelled. This was her home now, and she would not be claimed like a poor subordinate trophy. She was not going to submit to such evil, such malice, such wrongdoing. She supported Skoll's outburst wholeheartedly, and she would find some way to aid if there was uprising. She did not know how to aid in combat, but she'd fight if she had to. Her nearly puppyish passion growing her anger and fear into something far beyond what it should have been in that moment, she stood and seethed. She would do what she could now, already having set herself against this new she-wolf, refusing to ever call her Queen, and she prepared herself for what she knew would inevitably become an extraordinarily long winter.

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