The light and dark are still in me

POSTED: Thu Jun 14, 2018 8:40 am

She had heard the news from Luath and the words had been like daggers to her heart.

Fionnlagh and Elle were gone.

There was something sincere in the way the cat spoke of the twins' departure, but still Ailie had to see it for herself. So she had staggered and stumbled to the Ruins of Tog, where she had been told her children had set up residence, and sniffed out their modest little house.

And then she had beat at the door and listened to the knocks as they echoed within the empty house. With each second that stretched into minutes, Ailie grew more desperate. Without caring about the consequences, she opened the door and let herself in. "Fionny?" she howled. "Ellie?" But only silence and a barren house greeted her.

Her children were gone.

In a last-ditch attempt to prove Luath wrong, to show that her children had simply stepped out for a short time and would surely be back, Ailie swallowed her fears of the pack's horses and checked the pasture for the ornery appaloosa she had named Spruis. She had heard from Hazel that Elle had taken a liking to the mare and, not too long ago, had acquired her from the pack in a trade deal.

Scanning the pasture with restless eyes, Ailie tried in vain to find the appaloosa mare. She was gone. Elle was gone. Fionny was gone.

Lua had spoken the truth. The weight of this revelation cowed Ailie and, sinking to her knees in front of the pasture, the curly-coated woman wept.

OOC: backdated dumb self-thread with more crying and sadness and self-pity, oh my~!

[WC — 263]


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Mandi
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POSTED: Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:03 am

Delightfully plump and sufficiently fluffy, Daisy trailed after him as he started for Aster's Fields. It seemed that no amount of bribery or trickery could keep the grey, splotched youngster from following after him so, in the end, Milos had given in and let her join him. As long as she stayed out of the pastures – a condition that he repetitively drilled into her head the entire way from Fiskebyn to the fields – then she would be safe. And, with any luck, Hazel would be around to help keep an eye on her as well.

As it turned out, there was someone else in Aster's Fields but it wasn't Hazel.

"Ailie?" Milos called out as Daisy romped ahead, eager to greet another pack mate. She was crumpled to her knees in front of the pastures that housed he mares and geldings, something that was odd already. But when she turned to look behind her, golden eyes misty and dull, the Quartermaster felt a creeping sensation of dread climb into his heart. "What's wrong?" he asked her as he approached.

As though feeling the sad aura surrounding the curly-coated Greenhorn, Daisy crouched and neared Ailie slowly, her fluffy tail wagging low behind her as she climbed into the woman's lap. Milos glanced disapprovingly at his daughter but the effect that her presence seemed to have on Ailie caused the look to soften. "Ailie," he said softly when she didn't respond. He crouched down slowly. "What's th' matter?"

[WC — 254]


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Wolfdog
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Mandi
Moderator Luperci Mate to Eliza but you'd become my candle in the dark Little Bandit
can you pull down the dawn?

POSTED: Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:27 am

For what felt like a long time, Ailie sat on her knees in the grass and bowed her shoulders forward, face in her hands as she cried. The light seemed to dim and the world closed in around her. She no longer cared where she was though, to their credit, the horses seemed completely uninterested in the woman anyway. A few of them had lifted their wedge-shaped heads and regarded her with curious, dark eyes, only to resume their lazy grazing habits without further investigation.

She was completely immersed in her own despair.

The greatest question she had was, quite simply, why? Why had they left and not told her. Had Finlay known? Ailie thought that unlikely, knowing what she had learned from him about their children. They had grown resentful, it seemed, angry. Unpleasantly, her mind evoked the memory of that night she had confronted Elle. There had been such hurt in her daughter's eyes, such disgust. Was that why now, after Ailie had returned, they decided to leave?

Was she so disgusting to them that they couldn't stand to share the same space?

A voice, familiar and close, cut through her distressing thoughts and drew her head around. With mournful eyes, Ailie looked at Milos then lowered them to watch his daughter bound ahead of him toward her. She held her breath and did not respond to his question, half-expecting this child, too, to avoid her with disgust.

But when Daisy clambered into her lap, Ailie wrapped her arms around the fluffy child's plump body and cried into her soft fur. She could feel the child wriggling against her hug, eager to get at her face and lick away her tears. When Milos spoke again, his voice was nearer and softer and, sniffling, Ailie drew her face away from Daisy's ruff and looked at him sadly. "It's Fionny and Ellie," she whined. "Ah... Ah think tha' they left. They're gone."

[WC — 330]


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Mandi
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POSTED: Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:45 am

At first, Daisy seemed completely unsure precisely what to do with this woman – a stranger, for all she knew of her. But something about the sounds she was making, and the smell of her pain and sadness, encouraged the youth to wriggle free enough to lick at her face. She tried to get at her eyes or her nose or her chin, tasting salty tears and wanting them to stop. She didn't particularly like being restrained in the woman's arms, however, and was pleased when she loosened her grip and lifted her head away from her fur.

When the woman had first returned, met by his own mate, Milos had given her some time to get herself resettled before checking in with her. He knew now the full story of what had happened to Ailie and his son during their trading trip, and of what hardships she had faced during her time away from Krokar, and couldn't help but feel sympathy for her. Though Bramble had been hurt and traumatized while under her care, he had survived and Milos was a forgiving man. Besides that, nobody deserved what she had endured.

Or continued to endure.

Frowning at the news, Milos shook his head. "What d'ya mean 'gone'? Gone for good? As in, they left Krokar?" he asked, a growing sense of disappointment and unhappiness toward his niece and nephew filling his heart. "When?"

Forgiving as he was, Milos was still an imperfect man and this, he felt, would take some time to forgive.

[WC — 257]


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Wolfdog
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Mandi
Moderator Luperci Mate to Eliza but you'd become my candle in the dark Little Bandit
can you pull down the dawn?

POSTED: Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:56 am

Ailie loosened her grip around Daisy's plump body and let her tumble away from her, hating the absence of her warmth against her. But the puppy stayed near her, licking and nibbling at her fingers and toes. Her golden eyes dropped away from Milos' face, an expression of which she saw there that she couldn't remember ever seeing before. Instead, she turned her attention to the fluffy girl and allowed the distraction to start healing her wounded heart.

She sniffed. "Ah dinnae knaa," she admitted unhappily. "Lua told me jus' teday. Ah... Ah din't believe her, so Ah went te th' Ruins bu' they weren't there. Their hoouse was empty – ne even a pelt left ahint." Ailie blew out a shuddering breath and glanced at the horses. "An' Spruis is gone, too. Ah thought meybe if she were still here, theore was a chance."

Ailie lifted a hand away from Daisy's prickly teeth and rubbed at her eyes. Then, slowly, she looked back into Milos face and tried to put on a brave smile. "Bu' Ah dinnae think theore is one ne more. Ah think tha' they're gone." Her smile was sad and broken. "An' Ah think it was me who chased them awey."

Letting her eyes fall back down to Daisy, Ailie wiggled her fingers and let the youth lick and nibble and nose at her hand.

[WC — 234]


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Mandi
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POSTED: Thu Jun 14, 2018 10:17 am

As Ailie glanced away from his frowning face, the disappointment there deeply obvious, Milos listened to the broken woman as she spoke. Luath, the mischievous little calico offspring of his friend, Meerclar. Could she just be stirring up trouble? He wouldn't put it past her, though he knew the cat to be more adept at physical misconduct than at mind games. He shifted his sunny eyes to the horse pasture ahead, scanning the horses for any evidence of Spruis. "Could be they're jus' off on a trip," he suggested, ever the optimist.

It was unusual that their house should be devoid of any belongings, however. Milos tapped a single finger against his chin, thoughtful and silent. And they hadn't mentioned a word of any trip to him.

Granted, if they had left Krokar for parts unknown, that hadn't been something that had reached his ears, either. Disappointment continued to swirl in his heart. He had hoped that he was getting somewhere with Elle, that their time together during their most recent hunting trip south had struck a chord of understanding and compassion in her. But if she and Fionnlagh had left the pack, it would seem that it had done nothing.

Milos met Ailie's eyes again when she looked at him, and the frown shifted to sympathy. He sighed. "Don't let them get ya down, Ailie. How's 'bout ya talk t' Fin, see if he knows anythin', an' I'll ask around also." He watched as Daisy continued to play with the woman's hands and smiled. "If ya want a distraction, I'll let ya take that ruffian off m' hands," he said through a chuckle. "But don't feel like ya need to. Reckon I could put her t' good use somewhere."

[WC — 301]


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Wolfdog
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Mandi
Moderator Luperci Mate to Eliza but you'd become my candle in the dark Little Bandit
can you pull down the dawn?

POSTED: Thu Jun 14, 2018 10:32 am

Ailie said nothing in response to the Quartermaster's optimism, though it had sparked a tiny ember of hope in her heart. That was possible, wasn't it? That they had taken Spruis and loaded up all their belongings and set out to trade them for other goods? And that they would be back in due time, perhaps even with the intention of mending the frayed bonds of their relationship.

Cautiously, the curly-coated Greenhorn allowed her spirits to be lifted, if only a little.

"Aye," she agreed, nodding. "Aye, Ah'll talk te Fin." Though she had thought it unlikely they would have told him anything, hearing it suggested by Milos encouraged her to at least try. "Ah thank ye, Milos." She looked at him again and couldn't help but mirror the smile that she saw on his face.

As the conversation drifted to Daisy, Ailie wiggled her fingers more dramatically and thought that the distraction that the youth had been providing her was actually quite therapeutic. "Ah could watch her fer ye," she said, feeling cheered not only by the idea of pupsitting, but also by the knowledge that Milos still trusted her with his children. "Ah promise te keep jus' te Fiskebyn. De ye wan' te see if yer uncail Fin is hoome?" she asked the child, who yapped back at her a resounding "Yes!".

Leaving Milos to his chores, Ailie and Daisy returned to the safety of Fiskebyn.

[WC — 243]


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Mandi
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