maybe i'm just tired

POSTED: Wed Nov 06, 2013 11:36 am

"And then you have to be ready to block, like this," Skoll said, and a large white hand went for his throat at a snail's pace. Easily, Pascal took a step back and reached out to grab that hand mid-strike -- before Skoll's fingers entwined with his clamped down around his own hand, causing the Seigneur to struggle a bit, attempting to jerk away from the contact. "Grabbing is risky because I can still get you," the Knight explained gently.

Pascal growled, a slightly more guttural rendition of the hum he used to calm himself; his throat rattled with it, and he jerked out of Skoll's grasp. "So what do I do," he asked, flat, and the big yellow wolfdog gestured for him to get back into the stance he'd shown him earlier. Although he explained the techniques, the use of his own arm as shield for blows, the parts of his body he could risk deflecting an attacker's claws with, it was quickly growing frustrating for Pascal. He flattened his ears sharply against his head and gave Skoll's chest a shove when the wolfdog came in close. His hands shook.

Skoll coughed, but grinned. "Good, like that," he praised. "Maybe we can do that faster?"

"Sure," he muttered, and then a paw shot out at him, and he let out a screech and dropped to the ground, immediately forgetting whatever Skoll had taught him. And then Skoll laughed, which he himself had taught Pascal might not be well-meaning. Face burning, Pascal shrieked up at him. "That isn't funny!"

The Haskel man's face changed, and he crouched down to the yearling's level. "I'm sorry," he murmured. Pascal didn't know whether he sounded genuinely sorry or not; he could never tell. He continued to pin his ears and huddle, mismatched eyes flicking upward sharply when Skoll tried to reach out to pat him. "I'm -- yeah. It's okay, you'll get it," Skoll stammered.

"I won't." Pascal hurled the words at him. "I won't. I don't like you touching me and I don't like being like -- like this," he yelped, and drew his knees up. He stuffed his nose against them, and fought with the emotions broiling in his belly. He was frustrated, and he was mad at Skoll, and he didn't know what to do with that. Shutting his eyes tightly, he started to rock himself.
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POSTED: Wed Nov 06, 2013 11:55 am

all this time I was finding myself,
and I didn't know I was lost


This was, by and large, Linden’s least favorite place to practice.

It was the purpose of it, of course, but that meant he was forced to be around other people. They were distracting; it often broken through his concentration when people felt the need to ask him questions or try and engage in conversation. Sometimes, though, it was easier than damaging his arrowheads against trees. Besides that, he felt guilty, sometimes, at shooting something living for sport.

He had seen the two arrive, but paid them little mind. Skoll was tow-headed and rash, but he was a Knight of the Court and brother to the queen. If anyone was meant to be trusted with the current King’s son, Linden expected it to be him.

So he went about with his archery, focusing on his breathing, focusing on the target and what it meant. He did not shoot with his eye.

He shot with his heart.

Every arrow struck the central, stained part of the target as he fired. It was his speed that Linden really focused on now—his accuracy was undeniable—but one arrow was not always enough.

A sharp scream shattered his concentration, and his last arrow flew wide, striking the edge of the target with a dull twump. Linden’s hackles bristled.

He left the bow behind and hurried towards the source. With fast steps he soon came upon the scene; Pascal, on the ground, and Skoll standing above him and looking for all parts guilty.

Skoll! Linden barked, and hurried into the ring. “What happened?” It was an accusation, and an open one at that. His eyes were burning and though his face was carefully even, the prickly red fur along his spine betrayed his open anger.

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POSTED: Wed Nov 06, 2013 12:15 pm

"I'M A KNIGHT AND I'M TALLER THAN YOU, LINDEN"

Pascal rocked and hummed, an attempt to block out all external stimuli such as Skoll's quiet, faltering apologies. The Knight was clearly at a loss of what to do, but the brown wolf didn't look up until he heard another voice that hadn't been speaking previously. The sharpness of the tone made him bury his head deeper against arms folded horizontally across his knees, but he recognized Linden's scent and was curious. He lifted one elbow to peer through the gap between his arms.

Linden did not look mad, but Pascal knew he was. He understood this from the electricity in the air, the danger, the sense that came as his eye took in bristling hair and burning eyes, even as the cues passed his conscious mind. His ears remained flat and most of his face buried, however. He didn't think he could talk right now, with the overwhelming emotion pouring through him.

Skoll's posture changed in immediate response to the accusation, however. He straightened, his curled tail flagging behind him, his ears erect where they'd been awkwardly fanned out in his attempts to comfort the prince. He was a Knight and certainly ranked higher than the bristling Seigneur. This was a threat to his position, the instinctual voice inside him growled, and his shame was momentarily forgotten.

"Nothing happened," the wolfdog growled. His tone was soft, though, not a direct threat; neither was his posture, though he made sure to tower over the slimmer red hybrid. "I was trying to teach him," he added, and green eyes flicked down to the curled-up Pascal. He had the grace to look ashamed in that moment, at least, even if his voice suggested he'd done nothing wrong.

Pascal was just as upset at the negativity between the two men as he was at the negativity within himself, and so he mumbled something, and finally lifted his head to say it again, clearly. "I'm okay." He rested his chin on his arms but didn't look at Skoll. "I'm just no good," he explained, and Skoll huffed quietly.
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POSTED: Wed Nov 06, 2013 12:26 pm

all this time I was finding myself,
and I didn't know I was lost


In his heart, Linden knew that Skoll had done something. He did not know what—if he had struck him too hard, or merely frightened him—but he understood that Pascal was not entirely right. This disability, to his primitive mind, did not matter. One did not need to be clever in order to survive. One did not need to assimilate into society in order to function within in.

What Linden did not like was the idea of someone in his pack—and someone who was supposed to be responsible for that pack—harming its members.

Equally quiet, Linden’s scowl darkened.

“You should learn to control yourself,” Linden warned Skoll, and turned his back to him. The motion was entirely intentional. Princess was his mother; if she had taught him anything, it was the art of tactful social cruelty. Nothing he had done was openly challenging to Skoll, but it was disrespectful.

The stiffness in his shoulders gave that away. Linden wanted Skoll to understand that whatever he had done was unacceptable, rank or not. He extended his white hand, long bangs spilling over his ears, to Pascal.

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POSTED: Wed Nov 06, 2013 12:38 pm

Pascal did not understand the subtle social implications of what Linden had done; all he knew was that the wolf had turned toward him. It seemed to have a different effect on Skoll, whose nostrils flared even as Linden reached down for Pascal.

Mismatched eyes stared at that white hand, not wanting to touch it, although he understood that the intention was a good one. He remembered his manners and mumbled, "I'm okay thank you" before rocking himself, this time with purpose, so that he could set his hand to the side and get his legs underneath him. He stood up and folded his arms across his chest tightly, watching Linden, and then Skoll, blankly.

There was the thought of violence in Skoll's body, though there was no current outlet. The white chess piece had made the first move, but it was only to be rude to the black, and Skoll knew that if he did something stupid, it would be his fault. He flared his nostrils again, boarish, and the fingers of one hand curled and uncurled.

"I know how to control myself."

Pascal glanced back at Skoll after a moment of staring at the ground. The phrase seemed, for him, to come out of nowhere -- Skoll had waited, deliberately, to calm himself before answering Linden's admonishment. More uncomfortable than before, if less acutely overwhelmed, Pascal dropped his eyes to the ground again.
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POSTED: Wed Nov 06, 2013 12:53 pm

all this time I was finding myself,
and I didn't know I was lost


Though his offer was denied, Linden rose gracefully, coming to his full height. Unlike the broad, bullish wolfdog, his body was sleek and controlled, like a hunting falcon. His amber eyes turned to Skoll directly, as if forgetting Pascal was even present. He had not, of course—and that was the point.

Linden’s body gave no sign of discomfort, though he had not missed the indications of the balled fist. In a hand-to-hand fight, it would be Skoll with the advantage. He was a Brawler, after all, and relied on his size and his muscle in such combat. Weight alone could win a fight, especially the way that Skoll threw himself into battle.

“If you did,” Linden said, unabashed. “You’d be able to teach properly.”

His weight shifted from one foot to the other, and his eyes narrowed a little. Pascal was no longer whining, but his body language was confusing and worrisome to Linden and only furthered his suspicions that Skoll had hurt him during their “training”.

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POSTED: Sun Nov 17, 2013 10:45 am

Skoll's lip twitched at the red-furred man's response, but his green eyes darted to Pascal, and he said nothing. The younger prince stared back at the ground, rocking his weight from one leg to the other. He didn't think he could be taught any of this, and he didn't like to think that it was Skoll's fault, either. The Knight had saved his life, hadn't he? Wasn't he the most capable?

He glanced up again as the yellow werewolf looked at Linden, instinctively hunching his head and flattening his ears out to the side as Skoll drew himself up tall again, his ears pricked. "Why don't we see who'd be the best suited for teaching?" he asked, his voice a deep rumble -- but calm, still. There was less violence in his posture, nothing that frightened Pascal -- at least not on the instinctual level that he understood. He missed the faint narrowing of Skoll's eyes and the little quirk of his mouth -- cocky, challenging.
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POSTED: Sun Nov 17, 2013 11:02 am

all this time I was finding myself,
and I didn't know I was lost


There was no outward change on his face—no visible reaction to what he so clearly saw as a challenge. Skoll knew he was larger, and (likely) stronger. Fighting him would be a matter of fighting someone who, for all base and purposes, was meant to represent the greater good of the pack.

He was a knight. He should be given the respect that a knight deserves.

Yet Linden’s goldenrod eyes narrowed, slightly, and his ears flicked up in response. Slowly, carefully, Linden gave a small nod. He did not return the smile. This wasn’t a matter for laughter; a lesson needed to be taught here, though it was not one Linden was eager to teach. It could cost him everything—Skoll could easily turn her sister against him and never allow Linden to claim rank next to his father.

That would destroy him, he thought.

Yet still, it was the right path and he could not turn away.

“Very well,” Linden answered, and his whiskers curled. “If that is an order, Sir.”

His voice was dry. He could respect the man’s rank even if he held little of the same for the wolfdog, and tried to do just that. He wanted to know his faith in his leaders was justified, and now, before him, was shining proof that this was not the case.

Linden was worried he was about to see this through and be changed for it.

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POSTED: Fri Nov 22, 2013 5:31 pm



Linden nodded, and agreed verbally. That was all that Pascal caught from the exchange.

He missed the intricacies, the words needling into Skoll, a respectful honorific meant to burn in the Knight's ears. He watched as Skoll's expression shifted, smoothly, from one thing into another, and then the big yellow wolfdog smiled and shrugged. His shoulders were broad, and the green of his tattoo glinted in the light of the thing it symbolized.

Pascal wanted to go curl up again until he made himself so small he disappeared.

"You can choose a weapon," Skoll offered -- graciously, though Pascal knew that Skoll fought the best without one. He'd been all muscle and fangs and claws when he plucked Belmonte off his father and dug him into the earth, jaws sinking around the dog's neck. He still bore the scars -- a tattered ear, and an odd bunching at the fur of his throat.

The Seigneur twitched his ears down and began to back away, though he did not run and flee like he wanted to. He was afraid of what would happen if he did.
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POSTED: Sat Nov 23, 2013 10:09 am

all this time I was finding myself,
and I didn't know I was lost


If he were a dishonest man, Linden would have surely agreed to fight without weapons. It was what Skoll was best at, and everyone knew this—it would almost certainly guarantee that the Knight would win. This sort of act, this lie, would served only to keep order in this society of theirs. It would reinforce the theory in Pascal, and shake from him any sense of real truth in the world.

Dully, instinctively, and in every sense of his conscious comprehension, Linden could not allow this.

Egotism did not suit idols, and Linden wanted to make that point very clear. He was not one to encourage what most certainly was the bravery and brashness of youth mistaken for comprehension. Skoll was talented, and he was inventive in his methods (which Linden had been watching for a very, very long time), but that did not (in Linden’s opinion) make him a Knight.

“I will use my sword,” Linden said, because he was an honest man.

It was the weapon he fought his best at, and though he had never made a point to showcase this talent, it was evidenced by the lines of his body and the way in which he so readily spoke of it. He wore the sword and often used a shield, even though he did not carry one. A Knight could carry a shield, and he was not yet a Knight. Still, Linden had built himself as to make this a superior skill (as aided by his father), though it was his archery that he most readily showcased to the pack.

He remembered the war, even if the world had moved on.

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