I'm alone but I'm alive, you can make me dance

POSTED: Wed Aug 01, 2018 11:34 am

my heart was flawed, i knew my weakness

The morning came, and Nazario had risen with the dawn, subdued but renewed. This was it.

A new beginning.

With an energy he hadn't been able to summon in weeks, months, he shouldered a satchel with his meager goods, and raced off towards the main cavern, and paced. The scent in the air was still fresh from that night, the hurt and the sorrow, but the ash had been scattered, and in its wake, things could grow again, and change.

He waited. He sat, folded his legs under one another, and waited.

It was dreadfully quiet, dreadfully still.

Shafts of light slanted inward through the mouth of the caverns, when he finally thought something was wrong. Nazario knit his brow, left his belongings in the main cavern while others had filtered in, some out - and he pushed up off the stone and dirt floor with the heels of his palms, before he ventured towards Vicira and Redtooth's cave only to be intercepted by the ruddy man with a wild look in his eyes, his face wounded and grief-stricken, where he asked him to take care of Boone and Merari while gripping tight to rosy shoulders. Nazario's heart sank.

"You're the man of the house now Son. I couldn't be more proud of you 'Rio."

"Where are you going?" Nazario had asked, his voice a strangled, quiet thing, when Redtooth had pulled him into a tight, and squeezing embrace, and the del Bosque boy returned it fervently; something warned him, something told him to hold on, and hold on tight, it was too brief, like breathing, like life. Fleeting.

His father had packed light, but Nazario couldn't say good-bye, and simply watched after him as he ran off, when he knew, he knew, what had happened.

No -

Nazario quickened his pace, less with that light energy, more with a desperation, as he continued on towards Vicira's cave.

No.

The little spy whirled around the corner, hands on the stone walls to brace himself as he blindly drank in the sight of nothing. It was empty, and her scent had staled, when he went to scoop up a hide from his parents' bedding that smelled of Redtooth, of Vicira, of little Rhodes still, and that heart squeezed tight, the air left him all at once. The resulting sound was not something he recognized as his own, mournful and rasping as it gripped him by the chest and shook him to his core.

Gone, gone, gone - she had left them, after all, abandoned her loyalists in the night. Abandoned her sons, her daughter, her husband, and the grief overtook Nazario all at once as he crumpled into the pelts and hides, and let the sorrow rake its claws through him for what could've been moments, could've been hours - an eternity, for all he knew. All his patience, saving face, masking the worst of his hurt, went unrewarded, and surfaced within a second, and continued to flood his ears and his eye until it was spent.

Pelt in tow, he dragged it out into the main chamber again, his face smooth as stone, and lips drawn taut as he returned to his belongings, exhaustion etched in his features as he repositioned his goods closer to the mouth of the cavern, where he sat.

And he waited.

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POSTED: Thu Aug 02, 2018 4:50 pm

The last loyalists of Inferni would depart at dawn's light. Merari was not one of them.

With her back to her littermate for comfort, the young coywolf slept through the sunrise and the footfalls muffled in the tunnels. Perhaps she ought have had more trouble sleeping, but her slumber was deep and (for once) dreamless. When she woke, she did not know where she would go, but she knew she would be with Boone – Boone and, perhaps, the other dissatisifed souls who met in the Concrete Jungle that night. Without loyalty and law to chain them, they would make out okay.

She opened her eyes and yawned. The cavern was dry but it stank, and it was dark – no indication of what time it was. Without urgency, Merari got on hands and knees, shook her fur, played with the loose locks that spilled out of her pigtails. Only when she stepped out into the tunnel and saw by the dim light that reached there that she realized. It was morning, and her parents and brother would have left her – left without saying goodbye.

Suddenly angry, Merari stormed out into the main cavern that stank still of ash. When her eyes landed on Nazario she relaxed slightly; they had delayed their departure, she could still say goodbye to him and to her dad. Even if her thoughts were conflicted on the whole ordeal, she didn't want to let them leave without a warm farewell. She knew she would regret it, especially when it wasn't certain when they would meet again.

You sure you've packed everything, Rio? Merari asked, smiling and coming to lean against the wall of the cave mouth. Why aren't you gone? Is Mom out catching as many horses as she can before she goes, or are you waiting on ol' Meemaw, or did you guys want to say goodbye before you –

His expression made her shut her mouth.

POSTED: Thu Aug 02, 2018 5:09 pm

my heart was flawed, i knew my weakness

Someone was approaching, though he made no visible indication that he had heard it.

Merari's chiming voice came to him in a slight haze, took him off guard, though his rosy ears flickered to her to show that he was, in fact listening, and the start in his shoulders had given such away. He couldn't look at her yet - not yet, and his eye skimmed over the tree-hidden horizons, eyelides tightening a little as he tried to pull himself together, tugging his lips forcibly up into a mockery of a smile, something that should look right, to put his sister at ease, before he turned to look at her, but it fell flat shortly after and he let loose a pathetic little peal of laughter. It was hollow and sharp, and he pushed the heel of his palm up against the jutted line beneath his eye as though to rub away an irritation there.

He could lie, and tell Merari he just didn't have the heart to go. That was, in a way, partly true.

"She left without any of us," he instead spoke, plenty of gravel in his voice, and he tried to clear his throat, swallowing thickly as he went to go stand. Any of that faux-mirth dwindled out, dying coals. There was ash on his tongue.

"Dad went after her."

It was hard to summon his words, and he crossed his arms over his chest and slumped against the opposite wall, looking down to his belongings, feeling weak, before he realized he was shaking. He pushed his palm against his face again, trying to hold himself together, push the pieces back into their slots. When that failed he carded his fingers roughly through his hair, and huffed out desperate little breaths between his teeth in more hollow sounds that could've been frustrated, distressed laughter that died as quickly as they started.

"... She's... Not gonna come back."

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POSTED: Thu Aug 02, 2018 7:07 pm

Nazario uttered a short, hollow bark of laughter and rubbed at his eye. Merari flattened her ears and dropped her hand from the stony wall. Her fingers played instead with one of her braids, her teeth pressed sharply against her tongue to quell her questions.

Rio answered her soon enough.

What? Merari said. Her eyes widened, and she padded closer to him, settling down on the earthen floor. Her posture was uncomfortable, her racing heart telling her fight or flight, and she looked like she would be ready to spring up at any moment. Her hair stood on end, her mouth gaping open as Nazario elaborated with more dry, breathy sounds. Vicira was gone – she left them behind and he didn't think she was coming back.

Why would she just leave? the girl asked, her claws gripping the knees she'd drawn up to her skinny chest. Why would she go without Dad, without you? Some part of her granted that Vicira could abandon her and Boone, the children that had never measured up quite like Rio, who had, after all, intended to desert her first. The thought was a pang in her chest, but it was a small spark compared to the angry ball of heat that rose at Nazario's abandonment, at Redtooth's. Because Red and Rio – they were always there for her, unquestioningly and unconditionally loyal, she loved them, why would she leave?

That – that – that, she said, teeth snapping, knees knocking. That bitch, came out as a distressed sound, too late to take back. What, she – she lets the clan suffer like this and, and, she don't even stay for you? She got up, restless, aware that tears threatened to run down the wrinkles in her snarling snout. That ain't right!

POSTED: Sat Aug 04, 2018 7:50 pm

my heart was flawed, i knew my weakness

"Dunno. Probably couldn't take the guilt," he answered in a hush, the somber look returning as he scanned the horizon as he swallowed his pride, his hubris. "Shoulda joined up with you an' Boone. What was I thinking?"

There was a beat of silence as he fixed his face. "Qué una idea estúpido."

The quiet-breathed phrase died on his tongue and he jumped a little at Rari's outburst, and he looked to her, gaping and startled. Her teeth were bared in a gnarled grimace, snarling and pointed in her thin, skinny features, and he merely gawped like a trout a second while she had her momentary explosion.

"Hey now, hey now," he said in an easy, scratching tone while she pushed up to her feet and he removed himself from the wall. Hands reached out to hold Rari's arms to quell the trembling anger that shook down to her palms, and he pulled her into a hug, attempting to hold the two of them together, attempting to shelter and level the two of them out. "Don't say that; she didn't intend for any of this to happen."

His voice was tight, though, beneath the thin and strained lines he agreed, though he would not admit it so - her vanishing was a crippling blow that he could not understand as anything other than guilt and spite, and as such he tried to look for some kind of source that either he or Redtooth must've done to turn Vicira away, only to come up empty.

"This is bullshit."

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POSTED: Mon Aug 27, 2018 11:35 am

OOC: I think we can fade this out/wrap this up? <3 It old and I slow.

IC:

Soothing her like he might an agitated horse, with gentle hands and easy words, Nazario tried to calm her rage. Her teeth clenched, and she tensed up as he pulled her into an embrace. Her hands settled on his sides, but she was more bracing herself than hugging him back. Like an enraged hog, she did not want to be restricted, held tight -- and she writhed her way out of his grasp with a growl.

"She meant for this," she said, gesturing at him, his packed bag. Pressing her fingertips to her eye corners to suppress tears, Merari uttered a last huff and threw a glare at the cavern floor. Sooty pawprints passed this way; were any of them Vicira's?

"It is bullshit," she agreed fiercely, then looked at Nazario again -- the loyal son. Then, by way of apology, she stepped closer to him and reached to take his hand, squeezing it. Soft as her fingers were, her blue eyes remained hard. "But you still have us, okay? It's not too late to go with us. We can... we can wait a few days, for Dad, but I -- I ain't ever gonna leave you."

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