The Restless Heart, The Promised Land

for Athras

POSTED: Thu May 16, 2019 2:09 pm

The sound came like drumbeats through the trees of the Miramichi Valley. The buckskin danced between the trees like a firelight wisp, her ebony tail flared like a banner behind her as her lithe legs beat the ground in delightful staccato. Mounted on top the mare was a red-haired coydog, hoisted above a queer saddle with an unusual pommel designed to be a rest for a large bird. However, with Lirael’s joyful pace, Sabriel would have no part in riding alongside her partner—the golden eagle had given up much earlier, flying off to join another eagle in the sky rather than stay for Lira’s joyride. Her dalliance with the wild male had not gone unnoticed, though Tamlin could hardly judge her for enjoying the company of the avian she had referred to as “very interesting,” for he had spent the majority of his time at camp tending to whatever needs a certain ivory wolf had come up with (assuming, of course, that his chores with Lirael and the rest of camp had been finished).

For Lira’s part, her haphazard ride was the result of a freedom hard-won: after arrival at their new camp, she had been instructed only to rest. When Tamlin had not been on foot, exploring in the employ of his High King and Queen, the Sunwarden had been massaging the horse’s muscles, brushing the tangles from her mane and tail, and bringing her a variety of treats to choose from. Though at first the buckskin had enjoyed the attention and relaxation, she had soon become more vibrant in her disapproval at her ‘captivity’ in camp, and today Tamlin had decided to let her run free. The result had been a scattered run through the wilderness, her pace variable as the horse had stretched her legs however she wanted until her chest heaved and a froth formed at her mouth. Without Tamlin’s instruction, she had turned her own body back to camp, as though realizing her escape from Caledonia had taken more from her than she had realized.

Nevertheless, Tamlin was pleased. Lirael had done well, her body healing with the passage of time, and soon she would be the marvelous horse she had been back in Caledonia. As her hooves came nearer to camp, the drumbeats slowed to a gentle bass, and when the large tent between the trees became visible he dismounted from the horse, all the while murmuring sweet nothings to her. They paused at one of the streams common to the Miramichi, and when they broke into camp Tamlin had been unable to resist glancing around for Fennore, but found her absent. Disappointed though he was, it did make it easier to focus on Lirael’s aftercare. He removed the saddle an accoutrements, brushing down the horse until she was silky and pleased, leaving her to rummage through the foliage for the tastiest bits.

His work done, Tamlin found himself unexpectedly without task. It had been some time since he’d had such free time—especially without Fennore to help her adjust camp to her liking—and so the golden man felt a bit lost. Neither Iomair nor Vodeva were there to assist, and so Tamlin walked past the tent, ruminating on what he’d like to do. In this process, he heard the sound of dagger striking wood, only to see a dark figure sitting on the outskirts of camp, whittling away. A smile crossed the Sunwarden’s face in recognition, and he called out a greeting as he advanced. “Lord Eryn! Good afternoon.”

WC: 588. Dated May 10th :)

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Becky
Luperci

POSTED: Thu May 30, 2019 3:22 pm

(746)

Athras lounged as he sometimes did on a bed of peat, moss, and leaves a new addition he’d labored over in the days before. It was hardly grand, there were no furs to dress it, or warm him should he catch a chill. No roof to keep the rains and winds at bay. But it was his. He had so very little these days it was precious thing, a portion of this makeshift camp that was truly his own to do with as he pleased.

The sweet musk smell of rotting earth and soil slowly began to overcome that of ash in his, now sleek fur. His hair was shining and immaculate, partially pulled back in a half-tail. His pelt was similarly groomed, sleek as a shadow, though not as glossy as it had been. His belly was no longer a raging pit of roiling, burning hunger, but mostly sated. His cheeks were a little less gaunt, his abdomen not quite as hollow. Though the situation was hardly ideal he was slowly but surely learning to make the most of it. However, it was far more work than he’d ever been tasked with and his muscles ached. He had worked hard to learn a blade, but precision and fluidity, speed, hardly lent themselves to strength and substantial bulk. He was a svelte, willowy creature- a cunning rogue swift and silent...not a laborer. Of this point he complained loudly, and often. This was not home, it would never be home. So why did they remain?

He looked with regularity towards the grandest of tents, the dwelling of their king and fading queen. He could see the pain in her eyes glazing her gray-blues. The woman of Lorn and Taur was not faring well. And if he could see it, there was a chance the others could too. Whom Athras had yet to see, at least not for any significant stretch was her...unfaithful husband. Yes, the young Eryn knew a great many things about their handsome king-- things the others would be shocked to hear, he was certain. Those little chestnuts he stored quite selfishly, hoarded to himself and his quicksilver mind for use...at a later date.

For now, the Eryn’s ears harkened to the restless sounds of his brother’s freckled stallion. Hasufel stirred from grazing at the percussive sound of hoofbeats. Athras looked up to see the well-groomed buckskin of the red-headed scout, and made a note to ask the man to tend to Hasufel in much the same way. He had to borrow the brush he’d used to groom himself, and in the same vein had nothing with which to care for the stallion. Though the soot had faded now he was not as grand as he had been, nor as steady. And almost entirely without tack. With bitterness Athras recalled the burning ache of riding bare back the great many miles between Caledonia and here. Never again, he promised himself, though it would be some time before their raggedy company established much in the way of trade.

Looking back to his work, Athras chipped away at a fallen branch for a man as devout as he would never dream of taking from the trees themselves. Over the afternoon it had taken faint shape. He’d since carved away the excess to reveal the makings of some four-legged creature. It’s face and legs were undetailed, and there was a long and wide protrusion sprouting forth from what looked to be it’s head. He would not use his dagger for the wood would dull it’s otherwise razor edge and had borrowed from camp a small crude knife. While not the prettiest thing it served it’s purpose, becoming an implement of grace in the half-shadow’s hands. He scarcely looked up when his name was called as he guided the blade’s edge around the head’s protrusions, discarding a chunk of wood as he shaped it to his will.

The scout’s voice was only vaguely familiar, but Athras knew his lineage. When the eagle-bearer closed the gap between them only then did Athras’s frosted cerulean gaze part from his work. “Ah, Anor, is it. Yes, I knew your brother.” He extended a robed arm to usher him closer. “Come, sit with me. There’s much to discuss.” There was little in the Eryn's speech to suggest his offer was anything less than a command, albeit a benevolent one. He smiled warmly, his teeth white and glistening against dark fur.

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Stormie
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POSTED: Sun Jun 02, 2019 1:06 pm

When going off their appearances only, Katoa and Tamlin had been so similar as to be difficult to tell apart (with the exception of one youthful morning when Katoa had experimented with chopping his hair short). Especially after the passing of their parents, they had spent much of their time together—Katoa laughing in the lead, Tamlin smiling pleasantly as his shadow. They had terrorized the Caledonian countryside with Katoa’s pranks, disappearing into the trees when caught by the local farmers. There had been few places Tamlin hadn’t followed his eldest brother. As it stood, there had been only one location where the Sunwarden had been hesitant—the Caledonian court.

The outfits, the political intrigue, and the courtesans had been enough to scare him away. Katoa had been unafraid of such things, with a far more capable tongue than Tamlin’s, and had often gone to events. It had kept him in the company of men like Athras Eryn. On occasion, when Katoa had pestered him or when he had been feeling brave, he had seen the man at court. Though he had never spared words for Tamlin (what reason would he have had, when Tamlin stood silent in the background?) he had seen the man laugh with Katoa before, the two of them often speaking to the fairer ladies at events.

When Athras mentioned Katoa, Tamlin felt torn between a smile at the recognition, and the grimace that often accompanied the reminder that never again would he see his mirror image. He settled for a dip of his jaw, his words respectfully sad. “Katoa spoke fondly of you. May Valleui’s rays warm him even in death.” Athras was a man of Taur, was he not? They had brought their Gods with them when they fled. It was nice to believe that their Pantheon would survive.

If Tamlin minded being commanded, he gave no indication of it, merely nodding his head and sitting with the man easily. He fell easily to the silence that permeated his life, though his eyes were sharp upon Athras’s work, admiring the details of its limbs. He thought of inquiring what it would become, but decided instead to let Athras guide their conversation as he desired.

WC: 370

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Becky
Luperci

POSTED: Thu Jun 13, 2019 3:06 pm

(311)

Short post, but I believe the content more than makes up for it! :D

His hands continued their task, chipping away at the idol and breathing new life into dead wood. He greeted the archer by his surname only, as neither of them were overtly familiar. Athras had been much better acquainted with Katoa, a bright and cheerful man and elder son. His mention was posed as a statement, invoking sentiment and familiarity. It disguised the question he did not wish to ask, a truth he suspected but had yet to confirm. Tamlin obliged.

The half-shadow’s ears fell in reverence of the dead. He heeded the Menel’s eulogy with solemn regard, and tacked on his own. “And may he be returned to Nanin’s green earth where life springs eternal.” He’d stopped his carving to give the dead his due and now caressed the raw wood with his thumb. “A shame. I was fond of him, too.” Time had yet to heal the wounds, and none among them could give number to the unclaimed dead.

Athras’s thumb continued to trace the curvature of the idol’s spine until with a soft hiss his finger withdrew. A splinter’s tip protruded from the finger pad. He worried at it with tooth and claw, until at last he pulled it free. The dark pad beaded with a small drop of shining crimson and rather than bring it to his mouth— as a great many would— Athras smeared it upon the idol. He even smiled, as if this had been a very fine thing.

He was pleased to hear the rustle of leaf litter as the scout sat down, and thrilled to once again be in the company of such propriety. “I’ve much more important things to discuss with you, of course, but indulge me a moment?” The frosted cyan of his inquisitive gaze took in Tamlin’s emerald green with intent and purpose. He searched his face, “have you never bedded a woman before, Tamlin?”

Last edited by Athras Eryn on Thu Jun 13, 2019 9:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Stormie
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POSTED: Thu Jun 13, 2019 9:27 pm

Athras was no stranger to spoken prayer, and Tamlin considered his words a beautiful tribute. The smile he offered Eryn said as much, his head dipped low in gratitude. “He spoke well of you. Many of his courtside stories involved you,” Tamlin’s look then was a bit more knowing, though well-intentioned: it was nice to focus on happier memories of Katoa, rather than his blue blood in the moonlight. Surely, Katoa had spared him the worst of his and Athras’s antics (if not for his own privacy than to avoid Tamlin’s shocked expressions) but he had shared had involved a lot of laughter. It made him feel closer to his brother, to interact with a man he had liked.

As he watched, Athras pricked a finger on a wood shard. He wondered if it was polite or insulting to offer assistance on such a thing, but before he could resolve his internal debate Athras had already claimed the prize from his fingertip, anointing his creation with his bloodletting. Was it a Taur principle? Tamlin felt ignorant, then, of their beliefs; he had never paid attention to such things as a youth, other than the basics. Perhaps Athras would teach him someday.

Lord Eryn requested an indulgence, and Tamlin had nodded his assent out of habit, only to find his face blanching in horror at the actual query. “I, uh,” he stammered out, clearly caught off guard, the paleness of his face quickly replaced with a blazing blush. “Have I what?” He repeated the question, though he had heard it clear; it bought him a few seconds to consider what it was that he had just been asked, and how exactly he was to reply. Perhaps that was answer enough for the Taur man, but Tamlin did his best to swallow down the poignant anxiety that curdled in his throat. “W… why do you ask, precisely?” His face mirrored the colors of his hair, his tenor voice unusually high as he responded, strangled by sheer awkwardness.

He sat unusually straight, wondering what exactly Katoa had mentioned about him, feeling all of a sudden hideously transparent.

WC: 354

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Becky
Luperci

POSTED: Tue Jun 18, 2019 3:10 pm

(349)

A bright merry laugh slipped from the Eryn’s lips at the mention of time’s past: happy memories of young men and their singular pursuits. Singular for Katoa- for the most part- as the Sunwarden’s brother had a fondness for women above all, save a few exceptions. But as swift as the laughter had come it was replaced by sobriety and stillness. He thought of a time when Katoa had been his, for just a little while.

“Ahhh,” Athras sighed with a soft wistful smile. “Happier times.” He rested a hand briefly upon Tamlin’s shoulder for comfort as they shared the burden of unspeakable loss.

A keen side glance noted with interest and pride as Tamlin looked on the idol spell-bound and curious. He said nothing and tucked the idol tenderly behind him, another day, perhaps. Then his eyes lit with mirth and intent as the scout stumbled over his words. Oh, how it pained him to witness. Athras knew he should probably end Tamlin’s suffering, spare him before he embarrassed himself, but Athras was not a good or kindly man.

Tamlin continued to stammer and splutter in delectable anguish, as Athras looked on, a wicked gleam flashing in his cyan eyes. He waved his hand lazily to usher Tamlin into silence. “Forgive me, that was cruel.” He said without even a hint of sincerity. “It’s so painfully obvious, I needn’t have asked.”

Athras gave a long and theatrical sigh, “oh, Tamlin. Dear, dear Tamlin, what am I to do with you?” He tutted. “It’s no wonder she has you wrapped around her little finger.” He shook his head, ears shifting as he cast his gaze about camp. “It’s almost sickening to watch the two of you. Those doe-eyes, the way you follow her around like a lost puppy, obeying her every command— ugh!” His narrow and delicate features contorted with disgust. He leaned back into the earthen bed, fingers to his temple as his eyes briefly closed.

"If you're incapable of sealing the deal," he said slowly, "please please please come to me. It's painful watching you flail about."

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Stormie
Luperci

POSTED: Tue Jun 18, 2019 5:02 pm

He had thought the worst of the embarrassment behind him, for how could it be worse? Oh, he had underestimated Athras’s sour tongue indeed; from the subject at hand, it could have been by virtue of his… well, virtue, to be so naïve! The shadowy palettes that colored Athras’s fur shimmered gently as his hand demanded a silence Tamlin was only too eager to give, for speaking caused the lump in his throat to ache ever so painfully, but the respite was short-lived. Athras spoke again, and Tamlin thought he might know what dying felt like, so great was his shame.

How could he respond? He couldn’t deny it, for appalling though it was in the way that Athras described it, it was only the truth he told. Katoa had tried to convince him to speak with ladies at Court, or at least summon a Heartward to warm his bed. Multiple times, in fact, had his aurelian brother endeavored to this: Tamlin had always declined, whether it be with flat-out refusal or a lying excuse. Katoa hadn’t understood then, and his brother had been the man to know him best… it would be pointless to try and explain it to Athras as well.

So he could only sit, listening to the tirade Athras pronounced, punctuating it with despairing sighs and guttural disappointments. If there’d been length to his bobtail it might have drooped, and his ears certainly fell back at this chiding, which only seemed to worsen. There was no question to the she that Athras referenced, for there was only one woman that Tamlin followed (unless Vodeva had need of him). Had Athras insulted the woman, he might have turned Tamlin’s shame to the heat of anger, but the Half-Shadow seemed too wise to do so. In fact, just when the golden Anor was considering digging his own grave to escape the conversation, he ended it with an odd offer.

Tamlin tilted his head to look at him for the first time since the diatribe had begun. For several seconds, it seemed as though he was going to say nothing at all—perhaps he would sit there, shamefaced, until he had petrified. Finally, his jaw slid open, only to close again. The action was repeated a few times, attempting to select the proper syllables to speak. “Fennore…” He was lucky to have already been scarlet, as not to let on how much more he would have turned pink to say her name, “…is my dearest friend.” A pause, a deep breath. “That is all. She does not see me… as more than that.”

It would have been pointless to deny that he did not wish that were different, and so he did not bother. Athras would have seen through the lie easily.

“Though it is true I have… no talent… for speaking to women.” His hindpaw scratched mindless patterns into the dirt, as though it would help him. His hands clenched into curved claws, tapping on his legs. He thought of Katoa, and how he would have loved to have seen him happy beside a woman. “If you would teach me, I would listen.” He spoke the words soft enough that Athras might have had to strain to listen to them, for Lord Eryn had been quite competent at browbeating the confidence from him.

WC: 555

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Becky
Luperci

POSTED: Thu Jun 20, 2019 10:55 pm

(419)

*whistles innocently*

He could not even utter her name without flushing! Athras watched Tamlin’s lips open and close, once, twice, and again. It was as if language had lost him, and left him gaping for it’s absence. Athras frowned. While it was true Fennore was a woman of ample...ambition, Athras couldn’t see the appeal. She spoke often and loudly of how she believed the world worked, without actually knowing a word of what she was talking about. She tread heavily upon custom and culture, disobeyed their long-standing etiquette, and displayed none of the deference a woman of her station should. And worse, she had invoked his ire one too many times, a dangerous thing. The half-shadow was not named lightly, and his threat still held true. She would do well to watch her back.

“Because you haven’t the guts to tell her.” He surmised, reading in between the lines, and judging his statements based upon past interactions. Did he think they did not notice the two of them stealing away in the early hours with horse or bow, nor hear the simpering endearments passed from one to the other. “So I’ve noticed.”

The Eryn lord’s ears twitched to the whisper-soft plea of the Sunwarden’s, and for a moment he was tempted to pry the words from him again, but louder this time. Ultimately, he thought better of it, and his gaze sharpened in turn. He knew precisely what to do.

Athras leaned forward, drawing Tamlin’s attention with the motion. Their eyes met, deep emerald green and cool cyan, there he locked him in a gaze cool and collected with intent, a predatory stare that sought to trap his attention and keep it solely fixed on him. He took Tamlin’s hands within his own, a gentle hold that no doubt soothed the claws back into their soft pads. Athras held him there for a long lingering moment, in which his fingers stroked the back of the man’s hands in a tender caress. “If you cannot tell her how you feel, tell me instead.” His voice was soft as velvet, or the distant thunder of a summer storm. It rumbled pleasantly in his throat as he hummed contentedly. Any trace of disdain had all but melted away from his darkly handsome face.

Athras’s eyes narrowed ever-so-slightly, his head tilting just-so. “Your braid is unraveling. Here, allow me.” He tipped his chin to coax Tamlin into turning, and should he do so began to unbind and unravel the loosening coil of his hair.

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Stormie
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POSTED: Mon Jun 24, 2019 2:57 pm

The insult stung, and Tamlin’s ego, minor as it was, flared up to defend itself. No man wished to be called a coward, and so fresh from their war-struck home Tamlin thought he could describe at least a few occasions in which he had been far from gutless. Unfortunately, on the precise subject the Half-Shadow remarked upon, it was true that he hadn’t been as courageous as he could have... There had been many moments where he had gazed upon their Moonwraith and lapsed to silence. The vigor he had roused to argue the point deflated again. It wasn’t worth it. Both he and Athras had survived the same devastation to their homeland, and that hadn’t been where his comrade had needled him.

As it turned out, Athras had far more sinister ideas in mind.

When first Lord Eryn had pursued the meeting of their gaze, Tamlin had returned it in perplexity. There had been an intensity of purpose in it, though to what end was still a mystery. As Athras took his hands covetously, Tamlin felt the curve of his back straighten, and his eyes took on a glint not dissimilar to suspicion. To hear Fennore tell it, the Half-Shadow was as affectionate as a cactus. Yet here he sat, the pads of his fingertips swirling over the back of his hand, his face some approximation of cloying. When he spoke next, Tamlin could finally hazard a guess at the game he was playing. His eyes widened, and the corner of his lips twitched apprehensively.

Discomfort boiled under his skin as the Taur man continued, his fingers sweeping through his hair like Fennore’s had done a thousand times. He had always found hers comforting, but Eryn’s moved like spiders down the lengths of it. For a second, he was shocked mute, letting Athras have his way—as it was, his unease only soared until a high-pitched laugh spread his jaws, and he felt the dark fingers at his scalp ensnare and pull as he abruptly stood up, wincing more from the awkwardness than from the pain. “Ah, very funny, Athras,” he blathered, feeling the capillaries dilate hotly in his cheeks. He stood there, looking anywhere but down at Athras where he sat, sorting the tangles in his hair just to have something to do with his hands. Once accomplished, he pointed a finger at Athras, an odd smile twisting his lips. “Did, uh, did Katoa teach you that one?” Another tinny chortle, the Luperci clearly embarrassed as he fidgeted.

WC: 420

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Becky
Luperci

POSTED: Tue Jul 02, 2019 3:38 pm

()

Tamlin stiffened momentarily as if to refute his observation to ultimately relax beneath the Eryn’s gaze. Athras watched this with mixed interest, mirth, and...reproval, prepared to reprimand if he said something out of line. Of course he wasn’t commenting on the man’s martial prowess, that was far beside the point. Not a single Caledonian could claim that their hands were entirely clean; blood had stained the forest floor, the plain, the riverbank, the mountain. They were all touched by the horrors of war. This was another matter far removed. But no less revolting, for Athras, at least.

Tamlin stiffened again as Athras’s hands gently encased his own. His lips twitched tremulous as the half-shadow bade him to turn. His fingers worked deftly, dexterously unweaving the blazing red hair. It ripped through his fingers as with a laugh Tamlin shot up. Athras’s brow quirked, his hands returning to his sides. He didn’t laugh and made no expression of mirth. “Teach me? Hardly.” His tongue ran absent-mindedly over his teeth and pearly fangs.

“You asked for my help.” He reminded Tamlin in a hard voice. “I gave it. If you don’t want to learn, that’s on you.” He spoke clearly, crisply enunciating every syllable that passed his lips. “If it’s of any consolation to you, Tamlin Anor. I’m not interested.” When he looked up his gaze was sharp, his command less benign. “Now, sit back down. I’m not finished with you.”

Should the scout hesitate, Athras placed his hands in front of him, “don’t worry. I’ll be keeping my hands to myself, since it disturbs you so.” He gestured sharply with his head, urging Tamlin to hurry up.

"Now, would you like to try again— verbally this time. Or would you prefer we change the subject?" He put the choice in Tamlin's hands, allowing his temper to cool. He had, after all, been quite sincere.

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Stormie
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