if the damned gave you a road map

There wasn't much to gather. Myrika hadn't many more possessions now than she had started with -- there were piteously few resources surrounding this desolate farm, and the hybrid woman hadn't the time to travel, anyway. She had done her part in the upkeep of the place, spending as much time as possible in Tyveni's company. She was the only one of the bunch the tan-shaded coyote could stand. Zemyhot was insufferable, and his mother was, simply put, insane.

Myrika had simply thought Lamyzai a moron until tonight. He had grabbed her by the wrists, put her to the wall, his body against hers and his teeth in her face. She had known his intent then and she knew it now, but she still would not admit it, and thankfully, he had gotten no further than that, as she had wriggled her wrist free and delivered a punch to his face that dazed him for just long enough. Tyveni had saved her then, the woman's mere presence enough to scare her idiot brother away. Myrika had not waited for the other woman to react; too paralyzed and panicking, the hybrid retreated instantly to the barn loft where she and Tyvi slept, her breath coming in gasps and half-sobs that she stifled as well as she could.

There was a rustling noise behind her, and Myrika whirled around, both fists raised with claws out, ready to swipe or tear at whoever it was. The ferocity drained away as quickly as it had come to her when turquoise gaze looked on Tyveni, apology and sympathy both written into the russet-shaded woman's face. Her deep indigo eyes were wide, and she looked at Myrika. “You're leaving?” she said, hope written into that twangy voice. Myrika could only nod, momentarily too afraid that if she spoke she would not be able to keep the sobs from her voice. Her movements had ceased, and she inhaled deeply, attempting to compose herself before addressing the other woman.

“I can't stay here anymore,” she said, slowly and quietly. This home was little more than a mockery in the first place; the tawny yearling had never entertained any notion of remaining here for an extended period of time. It was only Tyveni herself that had kept the cinnamon-tipped hybrid in place so long.“You didn't see --” she started, only to be interrupted by the rust-shaded canine.

“I know,” she said, a sharp sort of sorrow to her own voice, more somber and serious a tone than Tyveni had used before. The aqua-shaded gaze locked onto Tyveni's face, silent demanding written into the Myrika face and body. She took a stunted step toward the other canine and stopped, frozen. She did not need to ask; what had transpired -- was transpiring, had transpired, whatever it was -- between Tyvi and her brother was plainly written on the woman's face.

“Come with me, then,” the cinnamon-tinted canine said. She did not know where to go -- back to Thornloe or forward, onward the way they were supposed to have gone -- but she knew she did not want Tyveni to stay here. “Don't stay here with them,” she said, starting forward again. There was poorly-masked desperation in her voice. Though Myrika did not want to stay, she did not want to leave alone, either. There was a slow, sad smile on the other canine's face, her mouth wrinkling about the shining gold embedded into her face. The sadness in that smile told Myrika the answer before Tyveni spoke it, and her ears folded back nearly flat.

“I can't.” Myrika knew it as well as anyone else that the family depended on her -- useless mother, lazy brother, and stunted-intelligence brother did not an easy life make, and Tyveni was the primary provider for the sorry thing she called family. Some of her duties had been relieved by Myri, of course, but the sienna-haired woman could not remain in this place any more. She would not be able to move without her mace at her side, ready to swing and demolish Lamyzai's face should he venture for her again.

Though her skin still crawled from thoughts of that man, the hybrid woman took several steps forward, her ears still pressed flat into her wavy hair. Her hands reached for Tyvi's, and she pulled them upwards, stammering her words: “Tyvi, I like you. I can't -- I won't let you stay here,” she said, her teal-shaded eyes finally unable to meet the other canine's. Myrika was not so imperceptive as to not notice her own likes and dislikes, and what she found attractive -- universally, it seemed to be women. Tyveni was not only gorgeous, more beauty than Myrika could hope to quanitify, but radiant as well, tough and smart and lovely despite the shit that had spawned her.

There was astonishment in the russet canine's face, her deep blue eyes widening, her hands drawn suddenly away. “Myri,” she said, a sharp desperation to her voice. “I'm not,” she said, her voice choking on the word. “I don't--” she started, shaking her head to emphasize it. She stopped as Myrika turned away, falling silent as the Myrika quickly finished stuffing what little she owned into a few medium-sized bags made of hide. The woman's head was firmly down, her eyes locked to the ground, half-pushing past Tyveni as she moved to escape the suddenly claustrophobic loft. She barely stopped to take her own riding gear, more grabbing it as she walked out as quickly as possible.

Now, as the tawny woman made her way outside of the barn and into the warm night air, she could not keep the tears away, though they were thankfully silent. Leaning against the rickety fence, the woman called softly to Eira, a particular pitch of cry she had taught the horse herself. The steely gray horse quickly meandered over, and Myrika laid her hand against the horse's neck, attempting a smile through all the sadness and panic of the night at the sight of the animal that had gotten her into all this damn trouble in the first place. She walked to the gate and the horse followed her out quite happily. The hybrid had the horse saddled and ready in a matter of minutes. She did not hesitate to heel the roan horse into a gallop, and she leaned down into the thick, natural mane of the mare, inhaling her scent and allowing the hair and wind to whip the tears from her face.

The tawny-hued coyote yawned, her lips drawn tight against her pearly-white teeth. Her turquoise eyes half-lidded as she did, and when she leveled them back at Thamur, he was staring at her with an amused expression, his large, chipped coyote ears pricked forward. “Boring you?” he asked, leaning back against the wall. There was not enough room for chairs in the one-room shack they had taken up as their home, and most of the time, both of them sat on the floor near the door, listening to the winter wind gnawing at the outsides of the cabin. It had been in poor shape prior to Myrika finding it, and poorer shape still until Thamur had happened along time. He was the one who told her to find mud with a high clay content and caulk the chinks in the wall -- certainly not a long-term solution, but one that would work for their purposes. Neither considered this a permanent home; it was simply a place to weather out the winter for both of them.

“Yes,” she snapped, punctuating the statement with an impish grin. “Stop talking, you're boring me to death.” There was clear sarcasm in her voice, and the quiet laughter that erupted from Thamur suggested an understanding ease between the pair, despite their clear age difference. Myrika was young, only a quarter of the old coyote's age, and yet they seemed to understand each other quite well. Thamur had never given the cinnamon-hinted hybrid a reason to suspect an ulterior motive of him, unlike the Zemyhot and his brother -- they had quickly educated Myrika in the ways of the world and the ways of men in particular. Were it not for the kindness of the old coyote, the Pacrel brothers might have made a lasting impression on the coyote.

“Well, after I lived in the mountains, I went south again, back toward my homeland. Didn't go all the way back, of course,” Thamur said, shaking his head slowly. Myrika nodded, understanding why -- there was nothing for him to return to. “Came across a wolf pack, but they didn't think much of me. Coyote blood and all,” he said. This time, rather than nodding, a strange expression came to the woman's face, and she set down the raccoon hides her fingers deftly worked upon. She was nowhere near as skilled as Thamur with the needle, but she was learning -- with his help, of course. “Why?” she asked, clearly not understanding -- she had been raised with wolves, nearly as a wolf. Though she knew she was a coyote, the deeper differences in species were lost to Myrika, having been raised quite near to a friendly wolf pack that did not seem to notice or care that she was, in fact, more coyote than wolf.

Thamur's look was one of confusion for a moment, and then a warm smile spread across his face. He, too, set down the project he was in the process of working on -- some much larger, more grand thing than Myrika's simple pouch -- and leaned forward. “Some say coyotes and wolves shouldn't mix, and some hold those prejudices rather close to their hearts,” he said. “Be glad you ain't encountered none of that, yet, love,” he said, laughing and returning to his work. Myrika asked no further questions of him, though her bluish eyes still focused on him, regarding his face and then his fingers, watching the quick deftness that he worked the bone needle. His warm, raspy voice continued on the story, though Myrika did not pay as close attention as she should have -- her mind still worked at what he had just shared with her, considering this and what it meant. She trusted he would not lie to her, and she made a mental note to ask him of these things later.

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