A glass case my fingers would enter

POSTED: Mon Mar 26, 2018 8:59 pm

He reached the door to his father's room and hesitated there, occasionally clearing his throat and making other low noises as he rocked on his feet, knuckles poised before the wood to knock as courtesy. For a long time, he did not follow through with the motion -- paralyzed with anxiety of what he would find on the other side of the wood.

Silvano had lost his hand, his crown, and his wife -- a wife he had betrayed as he'd betrayed Pascal's mother, too. Whispers from Abigail and Skoll and bolder words from Kalypso allowed Pascal to piece together much of what happened. He could only imagine the suffering his family and comrades had gone through; his heart sank again at the thought. He grunted again.

But he was no longer a cowardly child to shy from the frightening Beast on the next page. He had been seen and suffered much. This was just something else he must survive through, and easier perhaps because it was already over. All he could do was mend the pieces, like gluing the broken spine of a book to hold the pages together.

He knew it wouldn't be that easy, but he could try. He had to do something.

The knock seemed to ring out too loud in the narrow hall.

Papa, Pascal said, a child's words in a man's rough, flat voice. I'm home.

the saddest song all caught in the briars

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Raze
Luperci Chandler, Librarian
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POSTED: Mon Apr 02, 2018 7:19 pm

We’re the only ones who know

He stayed in his room that day. It had been a weird night of remembering, forgetting, and remembering again. It was a strange see-saw he lived, though the lucid moments seemed to be slipping away faster and faster as his most recent past began to disappear from his mind with more ease. He could still vividly remember his childhood, but fear was heavy in his heart that it would soon join the more recent ones and torment him with the constant flip flop of memory.

It was getting harder to read his books, he noticed, especially the very long ones that he had never read. Those that he had read in years prior were easier to grasp as those memories remained intact. For now. Cold settled in his stomach so often those days that he wondered what would kill him first, his frequent lapses of memory or the fear and terror of what he might lose.

He had heard the noises in the hall but had disregarded them while his brows furrowed during a particularly challenging passage. Were his eyes going too? Oh, he knew that was the case before. He squinted far more into the distance than he ever did before. Aging was disorienting. At least laying down offered relief from the pain of his joints.

His son called at the door and the former King perked up instantly, setting his book aside and straightening in the bed he once had shared intimately with his last wife. Where was she? How odd.

”Come in, Pascal!” he said with genuine happiness. When his son came in, though, he had an expression of confusion on his face. ”Where are you back from, again? Did you go somewhere?” a hint of worry crept into the man’s voice. ”Did you go alone?” he added hastily.

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POSTED: Thu Apr 12, 2018 6:42 pm

Nothing would have prepared him for what was on the other side of the door.

His father’s voice was cheery. It might have tipped off another that something was wrong, but Pascal gave the altered tone no thought as he stepped into the room. He glanced at his father’s face then quickly grunted and looked away, careful not to glance at the healing stump he knew lay at the end of his arm. Silvano looked so different – so much greyer than before, haggard, and this change frightened Pascal terribly.

The questions made his small ears flatten, and he tugged at an errant curl as he struggled to understand the logic behind them.

“I’m returning from the Outpost. I received your letter – it said you were,” and his flat voice stumbled, “you were in danger. Mistral. When we didn’t receive another letter I came here. Gene is still in Portland to run things.” He dropped his hand, balled it into a fist, realized that Silvano must have forgotten to ask such things.

But what all had he forgotten?

He smothered a whine. He blinked hard a few times then looked straight into his father’s face. With despair, he realized that Abigail and Skoll hadn’t told him about this – about Silvano, about something happening to his mind in addition to his hand and heart.

“Papa.” There was weight in his voice, but it was gentle, patient, solid. “I have the letter. I can show you. Do you want to look at it?”
the saddest song all caught in the briars

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Raze
Luperci Chandler, Librarian
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POSTED: Thu Apr 12, 2018 7:33 pm

We’re the only ones who know

Pascal never looked at his face or met his eyes, which was something very normal for the man. Silvano never took offense to it, for all that he wished the son of his first wife would meet his gaze with all the affection all of his children managed. He knew that it was difficult for this son and did not force it; Shiloh was probably closer to that son of his than he was to him. Even after all the trouble Silvano had allowed to happen for the sake of his son.

Outpost. Right, the outpost. His brows furrowed. He dimly remembered the outpost or the plans for the outpost. It must have gone through, though he struggled to remember Mistral. In fact, he only recalled her brief stay. "I haven't seen Mistral in quite a while," he said thoughtfully, fingers rubbing at his chin as he thought back to when it last was. Probably ages past, she had walked away form the pack and did not come back. "I don't really remember," he added without worry, shrugging. He did not miss the woman's presence.

But the letter was concerning. He did not recall the letter one bit. Silvano nodded. "Please. I don't remember writing any letter, but if you say I did, I must have. Do you have it with you?" he asked, slowly rising from his position, his bones far more reluctant than he thought they would be. He even groaned a little as he straightened.

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POSTED: Thu May 17, 2018 3:51 pm

No, Silvano did not remember. It was clear that wherever he was, whenever he was, it was not the present.

He hesitated. Was it kinder to smile and bow out of the room, let him remain ignorant of the nightmare the Court had become? If he were a less selfish person, Pascal might have done so.

But he needed his papa, and he thought his papa needed him.

“I have it. It’s here.” Pascal dug in the satchel he’d brought with him, bringing out the rolled parchment and smoothing it before his father – drips of ink where the quill lingered in worry over what to say, smears where the words came out rushed, evidence of captivity and distress. Seeing the letter had seized Pascal with fear, and when another did not come…

“Do you remember now, Papa?” the Sadira man asked, and reached for his father’s arm. His fingers pressed gently into the fur, using touch as reassurance that he was there as he knew others did. “I came back. I was afraid for you. Abi and Skoll say it’s over now but I felt like I was needed here.”

Seeing the fog of confusion in his father’s emerald eyes, he knew it was the right decision.
the saddest song all caught in the briars

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Raze
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POSTED: Thu May 17, 2018 6:22 pm

We’re the only ones who know

He took the letter out of his son's hand and looked over it a brief moment. There was a shaky hand, but it was his hand that had written it. It was dark and it was foreboding, though he was definitely struggling to recall when he had written it. His brows furrowed as his son continued to speak, but the words were lost to him as he swallowed the words he had penned. He knew he was forgetting, but he was forgetting more than he thought or even remembered.

"I.. wrote this," he said dumbly, raising his eyes up from the paper to his son, who looked much older than he remembered the boy looking. No, it was no boy that stood before him, but someone who had long been a man. The lines between his eyes tightened as his ears flicked back in a telltale sign of hurt. The words in the letter did not ring a bell, not at that moment and he did not understand how he could forget how awful the contents were.

"So.. so do you know why I wrote it?" asked the Sadira man, rubbing at the scar on his chest as he moved his hand with the paper back to his son, surprised at the touch that his son had given him. Pascal had always been adverse to touch and it did not go past him that something was wrong enough to warrant such a thing.

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POSTED: Thu May 17, 2018 7:06 pm

Whatever key would unlock the memory of the disastrous events, these written words were not it.

Pascal grunted and smoothed his free hand over his mouth, angry that the others had not prepared him for this – or had they not known either? The hand remained clamped over his muzzle as Silvano looked to him for answers Pas did not possess. His response was clipped and sluggish, spoken through white fingers that slowly peeled away when he realized he had muffled his voice.

“I was told Mistral usurped you by force, held hostages. That was when the letter was sent – when you did not know whether you would make it out alive.” His jaw clenched, a muscle jumping in his cheek. “I was told after that the pack finally overthrew her, but not before… not before people died.”

Silvano’s own wife. Did he know she was gone? Did he know that she existed, had borne him children? Or did he think Giselle was outside this dark room?

A small, childish spark of fear caught in his chest, and he moved a second hand to his father’s. He squeezed; the pressure was all he had of him. A body that proved this was not a nightmare, a cruel joke, even if the mind trapped inside it couldn’t tell the difference anymore.

“How can I help you?”
the saddest song all caught in the briars

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Raze
Luperci Chandler, Librarian
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POSTED: Thu May 17, 2018 7:13 pm

We’re the only ones who know

Silvano looked distantly through his son, as though trying to recall exactly what had prompted him to write such a fearful and horrifying letter to his son. What on earth had driven him to such a thing? Why was he unable to remember exactly what it was? He could still pull forth the exactly plots of the various books he had read in the past, though which was the very last that he had read was something beyond him, he realized.

"Mistral did that?" he asked, raising an arm that was not there and feeling his stomach sink beyond his gut. He wanted to throw up from the anxious bubbles in his belly, but there was nothing to void. "Oh, she must have don this," he said, as though musing thoughtfully. He touched the absent hand, humming to himself as though now understanding. He had wondered why it ached with phantom sensation.

But died? Who died?

"Wait, Pascal, who died?" asked the former King suddenly, feeling the second hand touch him just as he reached out with his remaining limb to squeeze the man's shoulder. "Who was it that died? Not Skoll? Not your siblings, right?" he added, looking fervently around.

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POSTED: Thu May 17, 2018 7:30 pm

He avoided looking at it all this time, but Silvano became cognizant of it: the stump at the end of his arm. Change was always so frightening to Pascal, who in youth had needed his routines and who even now balked at the new until he could psych himself up – and this great, physical change was as frightening as the lack of memory behind Silvano’s eyes. When it reached for him, he tensed up. His hands squeezed tighter, and he could feel the fur and wasting muscle and ligaments under his palms.

“Sh-” He began, and while his voice was flat as ever, it came out louder than he meant it to. “Shiloh. Shiloh is dead.”

And there it was – he had to confront it, and now he had to confront it with a confused man. A whine hitched up in his throat, and he dropped his hands away from his father when this became too much. His fingers scratched up at his throat, and he blinked several times. The flash of white bobbed when he swallowed.

“O-our Shiloh,” Pascal said. His eyes were wet. It was as much an admission of love as he could ever give, and his stepmother was not there to hear it.
the saddest song all caught in the briars

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Raze
Luperci Chandler, Librarian
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POSTED: Thu May 17, 2018 8:07 pm

We’re the only ones who know

Shiloh. Shiloh was dead. His heart skipped a beat as his brain furiously tried to put together the memories again, as though the synapses had been pulled asunder and needed to be restitched every time he wanted to access a thought. His hand tightened momentarily before he let go of his son, seeing the panic and the sadness in his boy's eyes. Pascal, who had his mother leave him, only to be substituted by another woman, who mothered his half-siblings. That he loved her was clear to see, but it only tore another rend in the former King's heart as his memory sluggishly returned.

He turned from his son and sat down heavily into the couch, hearing it creak in great protest to the thinning man's still bulky frame. A great heaving sigh escaped him, rattling out as though from a smoker's lungs.

"That's right. Mistral killed Shiloh." His eye shut against the grim reality he found himself returning to, unbidden and unwelcome. Perhaps, it was a relief to exist in a different time while moving in the present. The pain of the real world was harsh, breaking his heart in two yet again. How often would he be forced to remember his guilt, his shame, his loss, and his pain?

"I'm tired, Pascal. I forgot before. I remember that. I think.. who was it that reminded me last?" His voice was small. "I'm very tired." He felt cold.

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