You see by the lines on my hands
Dated: August 11, 2011
Location: Interior of Crimson Dreams
Time: Takes place about an hour after the raid thread.

The wolf had found him when he was alone and vulnerable. Claudius, knowing he could never overpower someone so large and who very obviously had more confidence in himself than he did in himself. Claudius didn’t want to die, not when he was only trying to help. But he didn’t like how the wolf had brought him here and promptly tied him up, as if Claudius couldn’t be trusted. Of course Claudius couldn’t be trusted; he was just sad it had come to this.

Shaking, Claudius kept his eyes downcast as he sat on the floor of the house. His hands were tied behind his back and the coarse rope made them itch. The wolf had demanded he shift into optime, and of course Claudius had complied. He only wanted to help.

When the wolf had first approached him with the rope, Claudius’ shaking had immediately commenced. He hadn’t stopped since then.

He was trying so hard not to cry.

How he managed to capture the invading wolf, the young man had no idea. It had been nothing but exhilarating as he stalked the man in the woods, lost as a lamb to slaughter. All for the better of the pack, all for the safety of the Dreamers. If this wolf knew what the invaders wanted, and who they truly were, then Silvano was ready to capture him at a moments notice. This one proved to be nothing like the prey others had hunted in his books, and he reveled in his success. But he wanted to know first if this one would talk. He would do the legwork, for his mother. After all, his books had given him a leg up in torture methods. Unfortunately, but hopefully unnecessary.

After getting the captured wolf to a nearby deserted house, Silvano found himself wondering where to start. He had bound him to a supporting pillar in the house, so chance of escape wasn't likely. But starting the questions, was hard. So many answers needed..

Silvano felt bad, for the way the other wolf was shaking, but he had to. His pack was in danger; it had been attacked. He had to know why. That seemed right. "Why?" asked the mottled male, crouching before his prisoner.

Claudius flinched the moment the other wolf spoke. It was only one word and while Claudius had all the answers, he couldn’t stop shaking. He couldn’t make his mouth form the answers. He couldn’t even say normal words. He couldn’t say a goddamn thing and he was so scared. All he wanted to do was explain it all and tell this wolf to run far away because Maska Ahote was an imposter and soon to be a murderer if the warriors hurt anyone badly enough tonight.

“He-e-e-he-he-huh,” Claudius began, but had to stop. He coughed and coughed and coughed. He couldn’t breathe. The ropes on his wrists were too tight. He was too tired. It was too cold. Everything was too dark in the room and the wolf was too big.

“A-ana-a-a-a-gh-hu-an-na-wa-wa-a-a,” he continued, but found it was even harder this time. It was getting even harder to breathe and he couldn’t even talk. He gasped for air, wondering if this was his first panic attack.

There would be no easy answers here. The captured wolf was shaking, so hard and so wildly, that the Sadira watched him writhing and felt guilt grow. He wished that there was a way to trust him, but he had no idea how to do it when all he got out of him were primal sounds a child learning his first words would give. Silvano rubbed at his neck, ears flat in guilt at the way the other was struggling to breathe. He couldn't have been so rough on him as to cause that. He never really hit him, just tackled him and stopped him from moving. Maybe he had winded him badly?

Sighing, the young man tried to be calm. It was hard, since he did not know what to do. He was no healer and he couldn't leave him here to choke on his own tongue. He had to calm him somehow.

"Calm down..," he said softly, turning is hands upward a bit. "I'm not going to hurt you, so relax. Calm down." Silvano knew he had to loose the other's bindings, but not yet. "I can untie you as soon as you answer a few things for me, but you have to calm down."

It was a Catch 22. He couldn’t calm down unless the bindings were removed and he was allowed out of the house, but he knew that he wouldn’t be allowed to do that until he answered the questions. He felt too sick and nauseated to actually say anything and his stomach churned every time he tried to move, even a fraction of a movement. Just turning his head brought bile up his throat and to his mouth. He felt so incredibly hot and his chest was aching.

“Uh,” he tried, but had to lean his head back against the post when he felt another wave of dizziness overcome him. Just speaking hurt.

He had to calm himself down, but he just didn’t know how.

So he did the only other thing he genuinely excelled at: he began to cry.

He couldn’t cry too much because the entire effort made him ache all over. So he was quiet as he felt the tears roll down his cheeks and tried to take some solace in the familiar feeling. He tried to breathe. Breathe. Breathe. Cry.

Silvano started to feel hopeful as the other man leaned his head back. He thought he was trying to focus, to calm down like he had been asked to do. And when he began to try to speak, the Sadira almost felt his antipation grow excessively. If he talked now, they could both get out of here and get to the Manor for Savina to deal with him.

But then it came crashing down when Claudius started to wail, then sob, then simply cry with tears rolling down his pale face. Silvano stared at him absolutely dismally. He was not very good at dealing with criers, if his time with Giselle had proved anything. He wanted the tears to stop. But that meant appeasing him.

"Please, if you just say your name I can untie you!" he said, pleading with the bound wolf.

Cladius could hear the wolf pleading with him, but he knew if he lost his concentration, his heart would start racing again and he would start panicking again. He would need to take his time, even if it took him five or ten minutes. He didn’t think he could do it any faster. Just thinking about fixing himself made the panic come back again, as he worried about whether he could actually do it, if he was strong enough, and if he could even breathe. These thoughts spiralled again, and Claudius gasped for air. He took one big, long, shaky breath and then held it in. He took another and then another.

He tried to breathe more consistently so that he would stop freaking out. For the next five minutes, he concentrated on breathing and nothing else. Then when the panic started to come back, he squashed it by thinking about plants and trees and all the different kinds there were. Mulberries. Bird berries. Making dyes. If he could think about things he knew, then maybe he’d feel confident enough to breathe well, too.

Five more minutes. Then another five. He tried to relax his arms, but felt them shaking, still. He could breathe better, but his chest still hurt and his hands wouldn’t stop shaking. His leg even twitched irritably.

When he thought he was ready, he took a deep breath and said: “Cuh-c-c-c-cu-c-lau-au-dius A-aa-ah…stoh…n.”

The captured wolf heard him. He started to struggle with his breathing; it got more and more controlled but then spiraled back down into something more akin to panic. It was a long processes. Made longer by the fact that Silvano was watching this all happen before him. He crouched in silence, watching the expressions on the other wolf's face shift from panic and fear and a range of others. But, lord, was it tedious. Silvano tried hard not to look bored by the time it took for this wolf to calm down. It was, unfortunately, necessary to wait if he wanted to hear anything. Even more so if he wanted him to live and not fall to a heart attack.

Eyes still shut, the other wolf gave him an answer and the Sadira breathed a sigh of relief. "Thank you," he said simply, as he looped around the pole to untie the bindings. The knot was simple for him to undo, but for Claudius it would have been harder; it would tighten because of the angle he pulled at it from. "Claudius Aston? Was that right?"

Silvano let the bindings fall and he moved around the sitting wolf. "You won't run if I keep your arms untied?" He was skeptical about this one. But he was so little of a threat with his shaking and panicking. Why was he sent on this mission?

The wolf took his ability to breath as incentive to properly begin the questioning. However, this was not until he loosened the knots on Claudius’ wrists. Claudius sagged in relief, but instantly regretted it when he was mowed over by a wave of nausea. He struggled to keep his food down – just barely – before he settled into a completely still, but slightly more comfortable position.

He grunted in reply when the wolf asked him if he would run off. Of course he wouldn’t; he could barely turn his head without feeling like someone was throwing his stomach into his brain and bouncing it around like a ball. He wasn’t going anywhere.

He wasn’t sure if he could speak, so he kept silent, waiting for the wolf to ask him the real questions.

Of course he wouldn't run. He didn't even seem terribly capable of standing up on his own. Silvano hoped that whatever made him feel that way would pass so that the walk to the Manor would be less unbearable. Claudius had to go willingly after all. Well. No, no he didn't, but force clearly was not going to work on him at all. It just made him a big blob of gibbering pudding unfit for much more than flopping around.

Silvano waited for the other to quiet and still before he crouched before him, coiling the rope between his dark hands. Then, emerald eyes focused hard on the pale invader. If he could even be called something part of an invasion, even an aggressive action.

"Who attacked us? Why?" Better start there. From the basics he could dig deeper. If the wolf didn't pass out on the floor, of course.

Claudius realized from the wolf’s question that while the AniWayans from the old tribe had been in AniWaya, here, for a few weeks, they wouldn’t necessarily smell of it. He had gotten used to their far-away scent, but the fact remained that many of the wolves who had participated in the raid were from the old tribe and followed the old ways. They had the old scent.

Claudius watched as the wolf took the rope and looped it into a circle. His hands moved enviously quickly and he didn’t flinch, twitch, or shake once. Claudius wanted to reach out and touch his hands to see what it was like, and so he shifted one hand slightly. When he didn’t feel nauseous, he continued the motion and held his hand out toward the other wolf, clawing in the air uselessly. He stared up at his captor, his eyes wide, as he wondered how to respond. Preferably without his stutter, but that was unlikely.

“A-a-a-…ni-wa-a-a-awa…” he replied. “Th…th…ey… a-a-a-re n-o-o-ot n-n-nor-ma-a-al… f-f-f-rom th-e-e-e-eee-ee o-old t-tr-tr-i-ibe. Th-e-e-e-y re-e-e-epla-a-aced Da-wa-wa-wa… re…” Nothing was going right.

Silvano saw the other wolf's hands reach out, claws and all, but he did not jerk his hand away. He was definitely not afraid of this creature, pitiful as he as. He felt guilt most of all, for the way that things had to go for them both. Silvano wanted to be a hero but he did not want to torment a weak wolf like this. He even felt bad for thinking of him in such a negative way. But it was hard not to, the way he stuttered every single word he uttered to the point of being almost undistinguishable.

Claudius looked at him at last, eyes open and right at him. Silvano gave him a weak, encouraging smile. Maybe he would fear less and trust him more. He himself was having a small problem trusting him, but he certainly did not fear him at all.

But as he started talking with that constant stutter, Silvano shut his eyes as he listened. It helped him to focus and to sort the words. Half of it was hard to descern. However, he figured he had the gist of it.

"Aniwaya? Aniwaya attacked us?" he asked in genuine surprise. Features adorned in his shock, Silvano stared confused at the captured wolf. "Who isn't normal? Who replaced.. Is he the leader?" Frustrated but trying hard not to show it. Silvano laid a calm but firm hand on the other male's arm. "I need you to try to be clear. I need to know."

He smiled at him. Claudius was being held hostage in a house with his hands tied and this wolf smiled at him, as if he was right and that everything here was right. Claudius felt himself grow angry and he felt his gums pull back to reveal his teeth.

“D-d-d-d-o-o-on’t… smile… a-a-t m-m-me,” he demanded. He flinched wildly when the wolf set his hand on his arm. He jerked back suddenly in his bonds. “A-a-a-and no. And yes. It… it… it’s not… th-th-e-e-e rea-a-al A-A-Ani-Wa-a-a-aya. Bad AniWayans… came… de-po-o-o-sed our lea-de-e-e-r.” Angry, again: “I t-t-t-t-tri-i-i-i-ed t-o-o-o wa-a-a-rn… b-b-b-b-u-u-ut you… ff-f-f-ound… me… a-a-and t-t-t-tied… me… up.”

Silvano stared blankly at the wolf, suddenly impressed with his outburst. He jerked away from him, and he calmly moved his hand back to rest on his thigh. His smile slipped. Clearly that had done nothing but inflame the other wolf's emotions. He was glad for that; Claudius spoke more clearly now, more focused as well. It was what he needed to know and that was all. He wanted to smile again, broadly, and tell him that it couldn't have been so hard to just answer. But he was not about to have him spasm out because he got angry.

"Bad Aniwayans came and disposed your leader.. I guess that's understandable enough." However, the loophole in all of this was glaring as the angry look Claudius had given him. "Why would they want to invade them? We haven't done anything to them. What do they want from us?"

Silvano ignored the last bit of his words. How could he have known that he was there to warn them? An honest mistake in a moment of war.

Claudius glared when the wolf as he moved away. Good. He didn’t like males and he especially didn’t like that sort of physical contact. He knew that since this wolf was a male, just like him, that he would treat him poorly and therefore he didn’t want to be touched, period.

The wolf spoke again and Claudius redoubled his efforts with his glare. It sounded as though the wolf was making light of this entire situation. This was serious! Maybe Claudius was just used to the rigid formality of AniWaya, but this boy didn’t seem to grasp the gravity of the situation, perhaps because Claudius hadn’t explained it well.

“Li-li-i-a-a-na,” he replied. “Sh-sh-sh-e-e fled… An… fled… w-w-with her… mate,” he replied, just barely choking out the word mate. Why did she had to be with someone else? He looked away for a moment and then looked back up at the wolf. “They… have… chil-dr-dr-dr-en. Th-e-e-e lead…er… wants… th-th-e pups.” He didn’t know why; just that was what he wanted.

Anu had brought a family of five into the lands after they had arrived on the borders in the middle of the night. Savina had been informed and Silvano had heard of their arrival. Though, he did not seek them out to find out who they were. That was their business and if his mother saw fit to let them stay, he would not pry. But running from Aniwaya had to have been a serious thing, especially if they had been so valuable so as to force the tribe to get them back.

"She fled," he repeated simply, wondering why, wishing desperately to know why. But he did not know, nor did he ask why. But with the stumbling wolf's next words, Silvano felt the confusion grow. Puppies? He wanted the puppies? To raise them and brainwash them? That was all he could think of. But if they were young enough to still be with their mother all the time, separating them would not be wise.

"So they came, attacked us, tried to kill some of us, for a set of puppies from a runaway?" That seemed extreme to a fault. "Puppies? Not even the fact that Liliana trains horses?"

He shook. He shook immensely as the wolf questioned him, suddenly unable to restrain himself. He was remembering being tied up tighter and that memory was making it very hard to focus. And worse of all, he didn’t want to focus and he no longer wanted to help this wolf. He just wanted to go home.

“Ghh,” he replied incoherently. He couldn’t think. He couldn’t speak. “I wa-a-a-ant to… go… now,” he stated, staring at his captor plaintively.

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