by and by, by and by

POSTED: Thu Apr 18, 2013 11:38 pm

read-only #3. this is crap compared to the others. [+1300]

When the summons had come early that morning, Adonis had heeded the call with little hesitation. He'd shaken the sleep from his mind, and fed a strip of meat to Seer, who slumbered in the woods nearest the communal den, before departing. On the borders he found the coywolf, Farran, waiting patiently with a smile on his face. He fell in step beside the younger hybrid who set an easy clip, and they arrived at the camp just as the sun was rising over the distant mountains. The figures of the DeMonte family were sillouetted against the faint light of the new sun, and Adonis lifted his head and nose to inhale the earthy scent of the group. Marcello was dousing the fire with water, and Titan was saddling the horses. As they neared, the sound of rich chords drifted out over the fort. His ears twitched and swiveled forward to join his attentive gaze; his body tense from the unfamiliar noise.

Farran broke off to tend to his own belongings, leaving him standing a bit off from the fire, with eyes on Chehalis and the strange object cradled over his knees. He watched as pale fingers plucked deliberately at the strings, his other hand moving up and down the smooth branch, creating different sounds each time. Adonis said nothing, not wanting to disturb the atmosphere, and instead moved closer to sit before the patriarch as a child would a storyteller. A smile pulled up at the whiskers on the old guardian's white muzzle, and he adjusted his grip. Fluidly he moved from idle plucking, to noises that flowed into a wordless image. Adonis marveled at the sound, his awe clear on his face, as Chehalis played.

The old wolf then began to sing in a gravelly voice not unlike his own, but deeper and more melodic. "Will the circle be unbroken by and by, by and by? Is a better home awaitin' in the sky, in the sky?" He could hear Marcello humming along as he cleaned up the camp, and Titan singing softly as he picked out the horse's hooves. Adonis lost himself in the bittersweet hope that the song inspired in him, and he wondered how Chehalis, who'd lived a feral life much longer than he, could have picked up on this seemingly human talent. He finished with little aplomb, but lent Adonis a wide, misty smile. "Can still teach an old dog new tricks, ah..." He handed the instrument off to Farran who packed it up with the rest of their camp.

He waved his darker son over and grabbed him gently by the arm when Marcello obliged. "My boy wants t'join you. Says it'll be good for him to see the world with someone that isn't family." Adonis was taken back by the reveal, and looked between two sets of eyes; the color was different, but the fire in them identical. "I... of course, of course! New Dawn is in need of healthy young males." Chehalis shook his head and laughed. "I don't doubt that. What pack would turn away a impressionable kid? No, I'm askin' you, Adonis, if you'd be willin' to look out for him for me. Teach him what you know, not what your pack expects of you." He grinned and leaned forward to tap Adonis between the eyes. "You've got so much damn knowledge locked away in that head of yours because y've denied it all these years. So use it for some good. Marcello is eager to practice his Italian; I don't understand why, but he's keen."

Maybe he expected this. Maybe not. But he wasn't, by any means, against the idea of having a ward. It'd been years since Adlyn, and that had been more of a friendship than symbiotic. Marcello had much to offer him, from a perspective Adonis once desired to live. "I am honored, truly. But he is your son, Chehalis. And I cannot guarantee his safety here. This place is nothing like the Salvajes..." Marcello shrugged and Chehalis lent them both, individually, a look. "It doesn't take a genius to figure out where those fresh scars came from, Adonis. You and I both know how dangerous the world is. All I'm askin' you is t'give him a chance. He knows the way home should you two not get on as well as y'have here."

Adonis looked between the two, his ears reclining as he pondered, before switching forward again. He regarded Marcello with a stare, apprasing the feral strengths of the boy; he was more honed than Chehalis had been when the guardian launched his reckless attack against Everto Peak. And Chehalis had been a prime male of four during those grueling months. He met the twin-gray eyes of Marcello, "I will never ask you to chose between myself and your family, and I will never intentionally put your life at risk. But the world here is different than the stories you were told about the Salvajes and Seahawk." He lifted a hand and ran a finger over the circular scar on his shoulder, "I have learned that human practices are not so rare here; many are for good, but others use the knowledge for ill." He sighed, "I am a simple wolf and, given the opportunity, lead a simple life. Knowing this, do you still wish to stay?"

The dark DeMonte took a moment to think, much to Adonis' surprise; clearly he was gifted with his mother's thoughtful nature. And it was only after a considerable time passed did Marcello answer with a firm nod. "Yes, I wish to join you fratello mio." The boy stuck out his hand and Adonis grasped his arm, giving it a firm shake. "It is settled."

Chehalis laughed and pushed up from the knees to stand. He pulled his boy into an embrace. "I'll miss you, eagle scout. Y'be sure to take time and come visit this summer, yeah?" Marcello hugged his father tightly and buried his nose into the fading fur at his ruff, inhaling sharply. Adonis decided it would be a good time to give them some space. He moved towards Farran who extended a pack towards him; Marcello's belongings. He gripped the strap and let it hang from his hand as he waited for the goodbyes to finish. It was likely he wouldn't see Chehalis, or his family, for a long time. Adonis could only hope that this would not be the patriarch's last summer.

Marcello moved away from his father to join Titan in a private conversation, and left the two older wolves. They regarded each other with tight smiles when, suddenly, Adonis moved forward and wrapped his arms around the smaller wolf. The bag bumped against Chehalis' back and Adonis laughed into the scruffy guardian's fur. "Sorry I... I'll miss you. A lot. This, all of this, means so much to me. No one's been this..." Two rough hands came to rest on either side of his face, and he was forced to look into Chehalis' eyes. The gaze that reflected back to him was serious, and full of love. "Marcello's your brother now, and he'll treat you like you deserve if you give him love in return. I only wish I could do more for ya, Adonis. You've saved my life twice now. If you ain't a kindness unto the earth, I don't know what is."

The two parted with a last hug and Adonis watched as Farran swung up onto his horse, and passed the other's lead off to Titan who'd finished up an apparently emotional goodbye with his brother. Chehalis, with a tender kiss to Marcello's forehead as he walked by, swung nimbly up to sit in the saddle. The dark DeMonte boy came to stand beside Adonis; he neglected to mention the tear streaks on the young male's face. Two groups regarded each other for a pregnant moment before Farran nudged his horse into a walk, Chehalis following suit, with Titan walking beside the mounted wolves. They waved goodbye as they departed the camp and, long after they'd exited hearing range, Adonis and Marcello remained to watch the rest of the morning pass them by in a thoughtful silence.


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