ten nights of the beast

POSTED: Mon Jul 04, 2011 7:47 pm

2nd july. the waste. private. <3

His thoughts and feelings swayed back and forth with the cool breezes of the summer night. Guilty and uncertain, then indifferent and weary. The darkness was still young and glittering with stars, but his body had not rested since morning, and his mind had not rested in months. Kharma had never had the endurance to be a wanderer. The newness of unfamiliar places and people exhausted him, and he had difficulty quickly processing such experiences into the logical compartments of his mind. He liked too much the comforts of familiarity, but while the rocky shoreline of the Waste one he had walked before, it would never be a place to find comfort.

Moss and sandy weeds had grown into and around the rock. It did not look like a gravestone any longer, camoflouged among the dozens of other broken stones and littered driftwood. His brother was something to be forgotten. There were no happy memories buried with him, only terrible ones, sad ones, empty ones. Kharma remembered best the day he had tried to kill him. Distantly, he wondered how they each might have fared if they had been able to clash again when older. The traveler sat down, as he had years ago, in front of the rock and shed his hood. There was little feeling to be seen in his red eyes, but it was dark -- the moon was only a sliver, the stars were a little shy, and there were no fireflies this close to the sea.

POSTED: Thu Jul 07, 2011 11:29 pm

He's in lupus form, if that is unclear. <3

While it was certain that Ezekiel’s pelt favored the day, with its colors pulled from the sun itself, he was a creature suited for night. His journey northward had been taken mostly at night, when he was least-likely to encounter strangers. Solitude had served him well those long months, as had silence. Inferni’s land was one he knew now by heart, and so his feet traveled without any need for direction or cause for slowness. At night he took on the lupus form as to make travel easier, finding the supplies he oft carried cumbersome for hunting or running as he often did in the witching hours.

The ocean he preferred at day, for it was welcome relief from a cruel sun, and at night he found it a different beast entirely. Riptides and the dark inky depths of forever were frightening, even for a grown man. He feared those unfamiliar waters and so respected them, keeping a healthy distance from the shoreline. However, it was the tangy scent of mint that caused his course to diverge, bringing him down from the plains and towards the unknown.

Having not been present for the death of his uncle, Ezekiel knew little about the area that he neared. Neither his sister nor his father had divulged much, and the Aquila did not desire to ask about such dark tidings. Yet the man he saw at the burial site could have been his ghost, for the vague memories he had of the faceless stranger. Ezekiel halted abruptly, making no effort to hide his presence. If this man was a ghost, he would find out soon enough.

POSTED: Wed Jul 13, 2011 3:52 pm

Rachias probably would have, but Kharma did not bring flowers. Andrezej -- if he lingered as an angry whisper or clung on as a vengeful ghost -- would probably sneer if he did. He was probably sneering anyway, laughing at his sentimental brother, but Kharma could not say that he was there out of respect, or longing, or duty, or anything substantial like that. It didn't matter. He sat at a rock near the sea and little more. Was it really a grave? Who could tell? The waves crashed on the jagged rocks in the distance like they always had, and the quiet moon said nothing. The air was heavy and his chest was tight, but only because it was summer.

It was strange to think about him, dying so young. How would he look now, if he had lived? How would he sound? Would he have changed at all?

No. He would not have. In fact, it was not so hard for the living brother to imagine how the deceased might have appeared. Andre had been larger, though only slightly, in their youth. The difference would be more significant now; the elder would have built up bulk, and the younger had always been made for speed. They were both grey and dark, confident shadows in the night. Kharma had the quiet, perhaps sad, red eyes of their father. Andre had had the fierce yellow eyes of their mother, and by then, he would have the dozen scars of both their parents. And he would be proud of them, of how he had earned them, of the those he had given in return, of the ones that had not survived what he had dealt.

The traveler turned towards the sound of approaching footsteps. Shadows draped over golden fur. He started a little, ears pulling back reflexively; the sturdy silhouette of the stranger reminded him instantly of Gabriel. Having left Inferni's borders, he had hoped not to cross paths with any other members during his visit, least of all the former Aquila. But it was not him, only someone similar, familiar. Kharma had not seen Ezekiel since the fire, since he had been hardly two months old. His lips wanted to tug into a tired smile, but he felt strangely wary. He did not know his nephew any more than his mother had known her youngest son. It was, perhaps, a worse sort of abandonment. Kaena had merely wandered away, been distracted, as far as he could know. Kharma had formally disowned and left behind everything he had ever known. They were strangers in every regard.

And so, "Hello" was all he could say.

POSTED: Tue Jul 19, 2011 5:19 am

bad post is bad :(

There had never been a significant loss in Ezekiel’s life; he had not suffered death as other living souls had. The third child his parents had created had never known life. While Talitha had vanished many times over, she always came home. She was not dead. She was sometimes barely living, of course. Yet there were reasons for these things, that sensible part of his brain so often reflected on. Talitha had suffered in ways he would never know. A dead man had wounded her so terribly that she sought comfort in any male that would bend to her wills—all of them more unworthy than the last.

Two strangers regarded each other in the dark, both shadows of their fathers. Ezekiel relaxed slightly at the familiar red gaze. It was similar to his sister’s, if only slightly. He was less welcoming to the voice, recalling the lore of devils and demons who spoke with cherub’s tones while they twirled dark magic under cape and cowl. Still, he was not a child any longer—he was the Aquila, and it was his duty to see what this stranger was doing on their land.

Several well placed steps carried him down towards the rocky beach. He found the scent of mint heavy in the air. Perhaps this man was some sort of talking ghost. “What are you doing here?” Ezekiel asked, though there was no malice in his tone.

POSTED: Tue Jul 19, 2011 3:13 pm

Pah! Your posts are never bad. <3

Though it contradicted his actions, Kharma often wished that things could have been different. These were idle fantasties, he knew, as for things to have been sufficiently different required too many variables to change. He could reflect on his own decisions, but in the end, far too many factors had always lay outside of his control -- outside of anyone's control. The world had a cruel sense of humor, and for all his romantic ideas about goodness and free will, the red-eyed shadow had dwelled too long on the idea that the poison was in their blood. There would always be war, and treachery, and sin, and madness.

He could have just as easily turned out like Andre. They had the same blood, the same upbringing -- what had really set them apart? Luck and chance, that was all. And Kharma thus believed that his life was only one of denial and delay. Maybe someday, his real name would catch up to him again, and he would commit some crime worthy of a Lykoi. The probability seemed high, regardless of the morals he held, regardless of the distance he'd put between the rocky cesspool.

"Thinking," he said. "Remembering. Saying goodbye, I think, for the last time." His voice was soft. His voice had always been soft, but maybe only because Andre's had not been. Yin and yang, but only by chance. Lifting his gaze from the rock to look Ezekiel in the eye, he could not say that he saw madness there. But that did not mean it was not there. Their fathers gazed through, and their pasts were there -- perhaps sleeping -- but there. "It's been a long time, Ezekiel. We both grew up so fast."

POSTED: Wed Jul 27, 2011 8:48 pm

I don't think Zeke really ever met Arkham. <<; Tell me if I'm wrong.

One cannot escape fate simply by running away. Gabriel had tried. Ezekiel had tried. In a way, all of those bound to the eight-pointed star and the place made from fire and bone were called back. What made them unique, as it had made men unique, was the most terrible gift of free-will. One could turn a blind eye to heaven and ignore the grace of God. One could abandon all hope and bury themselves in a lie. One could destroy their own world and do so laughing—it was this gift that made men go mad. Control was needed. Anarchy and free-will served only discord and did so willingly.

For now, at least, there was no madness in the boy. He had been lucky so far. His suffering would come in time, when the curse unfolded. No ambition or dreams of heaven made him mad, though. No inherited blood made him mad (though it was most certainly there, waiting to grow). Ezekiel was not Gabriel, though.

The memories were hazy, for the memories of children often are. Ezekiel slowed and sat on his haunches, staring at the stranger who was not a stranger, eyes gleaming in the starlight. “Who are you?”

POSTED: Wed Jul 27, 2011 9:20 pm

Since Arkham still lived in Inferni when Ezekiel was born and lived in the same house, I'm assuming they'd met, if briefly. It's not an issue if Zeke doesn't remember though since he was so young.

There had always been stories of curses in the valley. He had been ignorant as a child, having been content to confine himself to Inferni and to ignore the rest of the world. Rachias had been the curious one, and she had inherited the history book penned by their father. Clouded Tears had had their alpha's curse, though it appeared that the pattern of members leaving and returning had existed there too. By blood or by bond alone, their kind relied on one another in this way, and it was difficult to escape the sense of family, the sense of belonging, the sense of home. It seemed superficial in a way, but that didn't really matter.

Kharma did know how to answer the new Aquila. There was the name he had been born with -- this name his nephew would recognize, but it was an identity he had long since rejected in hopes that that rejection would be enough. There was the name he had since adopted, the name his daughters knew to be the truth, and which he wished truly was. There ways of answering "who" without names, certainly, but in the end, they only described what names implied more efficiently.

"A memory," he said tentatively, "You won't see me again after tonight, so it doesn't matter much." He did not want to lie to Ezekiel. It was silly of him, really. He contradicted himself in so many ways.

POSTED: Sat Jul 30, 2011 5:09 am

Yeah, I thought that was the case. :) Sorry this is so short.

There was something so desperately familiar about the stranger. He was dark coated and had red eyes, but they were not the same as Talitha’s eyes. It was so strange to him that the color of things could be alike and yet they could contain different things. Souls, perhaps. Someone had told him that once. It might have been a book, for he had read so many and the facts and fiction all blurred into one. Philosophy and religion were cousins, alike and forever at odds—Ezekiel had filled his head with words as much as he had filled his soul with the savage places of the world.

So that part of him understood what the ghost-stranger meant, and that part of him smiled a smile that did not meet his eyes. There was too much forest in him to become a scholar. “I should know you,” the young man said, though he did not rise to meet him. The smell of mint overpowered all other things; trying to break through that would do little. “You look familiar. You look like a Lykoi.” Samael had red eyes. Maybe that was who this man resembled.

POSTED: Sat Jul 30, 2011 7:30 pm

He had wondered before why Rachias had been the only one given their father's name. Perhaps it had been clear, even at birth, that she had been different and special. Or perhaps those traits had grown out of that name, out of her desire to learn more about it and where it had come from. Her heritage was still undeniably Lykoi, of course, as his was, as their brother's was (and their strange, lost sister as well), but the significance of a name... well, it was something to note, at least. Kharma looked like a Lykoi because he was one in blood -- but in name, no longer. There was significance in this, even if it was futile or childish. These were the things he chose for himself.

The traveler turned back to the stone. "My brother," he said, gesturing. "Your father and his sister killed him here." He did not know if Ezekiel had been there at the time. Indeed, he had never actually had the courage to visit the clan then, to confront Gabriel. In the end, that had happened by chance, and he had been too content to walk away. "He deserved it," he added, sounding like the sea. There had never been any pleasant memories associated with Andrezej, and suddenly, Kharma forgot why he had decided to come. He was wandering, but he did not know how to wander.

POSTED: Sun Jul 31, 2011 4:22 pm

This man was no ghost. He was not even a memory, only a stranger whom shared his blood and knew of the blemish within it. The blame did not live simply with his grandmother, though; the faults of fathers are so often passed down to their sons. So too, it seemed, came the burden of blood. Ezekiel’s eyes turned vicious at the mention of the dead thing that had once been his uncle, hating him still. Andrezej had infected Talitha, body and soul, and she continued to rot despite everything Ezekiel had done for her. Alaine was right about him—he was no healer.

“He raped my sister,” the Aquila said coldly. There was terrible hate within his heart. Hate that it had not been he who had slaughtered the beast, hate that he had never found his sister when she was oh-so-close. Some nights he hated himself for these things. Philosophy couldn’t save him, though, for the world was cruel and what became of the pnemua mattered little. God knew his own. Of this, Ezekiel had no doubt.

POSTED: Sun Jul 31, 2011 4:54 pm

Understanding why was something he had given up on, somewhere along the way. His brothers had all done terrible things, unspeakable things. Gabriel's justification had been no justification at all, nothing tangible, and nothing that Kharma could ever believe in. He supposed it would be similar for the others, for Samael and for Andrezej, and for the brothers he had never met -- they all saw and felt and believed in things that he could not see or feel or find reason in, and so he stood apart from them, a stranger. He closed his eyes briefly. "I know," he said. "I would have probably tried to kill him too, if I had been there." As a child, he had suspected somehow that he and Andre would really kill each other one day -- his brother always tried to, even before their teeth were sharp. In the end, Gabriel and Corona gotten to him first, and it didn't really matter.

Andre was a smear in the sand, to be hidden and forgotten. There was nothing under the rock worth remembering. He didn't know why he had come.

"There is poison in the blood," he said. "This place makes it worse, somehow. Samael tried once to rape my sister. Perhaps he succeeded with others." And yet, Kharma did not know if he actually hated his brothers. They had betrayed him, yes, and the name "Lykoi" shamed him, but the distance and the time had numbed him to those feelings. Their crimes were buried under the rock with Andrezej, and though their bodies lived still, he had not seen them in years. He had erected mental graves for them. He had no desire to see them again. But he wondered, if the madness was really in their heritage, how much blame could be placed on the individuals? If all that separated his only full-blooded brother and himself was a coin flip, how much could Andre really be blamed? It was something wicked in their bodies and their minds, but they had not placed it there.

POSTED: Sun Jul 31, 2011 5:13 pm

A pair of eyes that belonged to his father watched the dark-coated stranger with curiosity and mild anger. What gave the lot of them the right to abandon home? Why had it taken him, of all people, to hold together a legacy of brutality and savagery? Ezekiel was not cut out for the job. Someone else should have taken this place. He was not his father’s son—he belonged to the forest and the beasts and the dark-winged birds.

Samael was a plague forgotten by Ezekiel, who had not seen him since before he abandoned his post for the final time. His lips pulled away from his teeth in a smile-snarl and curled his whiskers up to his nose. A wolf lived in him still. “It’s a vicious circle,” he explained plainly. “It’s not this place—it’s the fact that when we’re with our family we turn cannibal. I think I knew that, before,” the young coyote added, his voice trailing off.

The smile-snarl faded, and hurt and all those unwelcomed feelings he identified as weak burned in his chest. Ezekiel’s ears turned back. “What’s your name?” He asked again, suddenly desperate to know.

POSTED: Sun Jul 31, 2011 5:29 pm

If he had come back to this place to find that Inferni had been destroyed in some war, or had otherwise dissolved, he did not think that he would feel anything in particular. A stranger had told him once that the clan had been tamer once, whilst under the rule of coyotes outside the family. Lykoi was the poison after all, and the spawn continued to spawn, and the disease lived on perpetually. Even he was guilty of this, perhaps doubly, for the sins commited with his sister -- that was his share of the madness, he supposed, of the hypocrisy, even if he tried to justify it with love. Though they remained blissfully ignorant, his daughters had a double dose of the poison. He could only hope that they would stay away from this place. Proximity may be the catalyst after all, and he was sure that Inferni would destroy them, as it had so many before.

"There is nothing binding you here," the stranger said. "If the madness is lessened, then perhaps that is for the best. There is no reason to perpetuate the cycle." Kharma did not hate the members of his family. He did not hate his mother, or Gabriel, or Andrezej, or even Samael, most likely. But he hated what they were collectively. Murderers, rapists, madmen, wild things without boundaries or morals -- feared and hated by others, feared and hated by themselves. "Kharma Asylum," he told his nephew. It was not a lie. It was not the truth, but it was not a lie. There were enough Lykois in the world.

POSTED: Tue Aug 02, 2011 3:16 pm

This stranger—Kharma—he spoke of the things that bound Ezekiel as if they might simply be cast away. He knew little. So few of them did, he had come to realize. No one, certainly, would understand the ties that bound him to his russet sister. Fewer still understood that he would need to suffer in order to be cleansed. Demons lived within them all. This was the truth.

“I won’t abandon my sister,” he explained. “Without me, Inferni would fall apart.” Pride, oh perhaps. Something that he had once known and since forgotten; his father had known that devil, and his father had said those words before. Inferni was weak without an even-headed leader. Halo would destroy them in her grief and her envy. Perhaps this was hell.

“If you’re right, and it is all in the blood, then we’ve been doomed since birth.”

POSTED: Tue Aug 02, 2011 4:19 pm

Family was what kept them alive, it seemed, while simultaneously destroying them slowly. He had never known his father well, but that made it easy to remember the few things that others had told him. Anyone that looked at him could have seen that Laruku had not been happy leading Clouded Tears, but Gabriel had told him that the pack had been his family's, and that he "fell into that cycle," and that was that. He supposed his half-brother had been the same way then, and now his son, as well.

They loved their family and their clan while knowing full well that they were all diseased. Kharma understood this. In truth, he was not so different in that regard, but while he loved them, they were no longer his family. His family was small and scattered. It did not fester here. It did not threaten to consume itself. Perhaps he was selfish.

"Take her with you," he said. It was what he had done. It was what Gabriel himself had told him to do. "Perhaps Inferni needs to fall apart." Kharma stood slowly and looked at the sea. It reminded him of death. "If we are doomed, then we needn't stay here to wait out our sentences. "

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