The Hartt of Darkness

AW+ (Day Returns)

POSTED: Mon Dec 02, 2019 6:47 pm

A gentle dusting of snowflakes fluttered from the heavenly clouds above and powdered the loping canine’s coat. Throughout her journey home the weather had been erratic at best, bipolar at worst; one moment it was so sunny and clear that the brightness forced her to squint her eyes, the next the sky was dim and gray and shedding rain and sleet. For the most part the weather didn’t bother her since her dense coat kept the dark skin beneath well protected from the elements. After all, it wasn’t the rain, snow, or wind that caused the bone-deep chill Day suffered…

The chill set in the moment her gold-ringed ears heard the news. There was no avoiding it, the outpost had been abuzz with the news of another Cavalier’s death. What’s happening? the small wolf wondered as she pushed her way into the gossiping crowd. Death in Casa, was all she heard, and just then the harbinger of death took flight – a raven – and Day knew that another pillar of the family had fallen.

Despite inclement weather, Day packed nothing. She merely shifted down into her Secui form as a grievous howl burbled from her maw and an inexorable chill clutched her heart. Survival was what the wolf was made for, evolved for, and leaving all possessions behind, the ghostly werewolf set off for home.

And now it stretched out before her – the lands of Casa di Cavalieri. A little to still, a little too cold, a little too empty for such a homecoming. Of course, off in the distance the occasional puff of smoke could be seen dappling the sky, likely spilling from a chimney above a hearth fire, or perhaps the bonfire around which the various encampments gathered. As her golden eyes skimmed the darkening skyline she knew that none of these were the fire that she yearned to find. No, that fire had been extinguished.

A whimper of pain escaped her throat – or her soul, one of the two – as she forced herself to swallow in spite of her dry throat. She didn’t call, didn’t sing to her packmates to announce her return… Day doubted she could sing for all the meat in the world right now. Instead, she simply strode forth on overlong Secui legs to the place she sensed her father would be…

Her paws knew the way even before her bleary eyes caught sight of the gray stones peeking through the smattering of snow. The wolfess’s breath caught in her throat as she peered down at the freshly-disturbed stones. A paw swept gently across the earth – how could it be so settled… this soon? Not a few weeks prior, her father trod this soil. And now… stillness… and now, the flood.

Grief washed over the Husshowl youth and she crumpled to the ground, pawing at the soil beneath which her father and mother were entombed. A mournful wail escaped her throat though she was not aware that the sound emanated from her own body. As she writhed and clawed at the damp and snow-spackled earth the form of her paws began to change, toes elongating into fingers, back lengthening as the short C-shaped puzzle of vertebrae became a long, snaking, S-shaped spine unique to bipeds. Her mane lengthened around her neck and dripped down over her shoulders to hide her face and conceal her tears from the world. Though Day was full-grown, by the end of the transformation her small Optime visage was that of an orphaned child, sobbing pitifully on her parents’ grave.

Casa di Cavalieri
Second Cadet
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Casa di Cavalieri