Am I cursed?

POSTED: Fri Aug 17, 2012 4:32 am

WC: 818 | thanks for the thread! enjoy some teen angst~<3 I am assuming there is a hayloft??

Hati was troubled of late. His family used to be the core of his motivations, but now they were slipping away from him. His brother had fought him weeks ago, both of them driven to physical blows as their insecurities were laid bare before them. He had not spoken to Skoll since, other than a few stiff acknowledgments at home. The bruises had healed, but the awkwardness had not. Neither of them really knew how to apologize for letting their rivalry push them too far. His sister and father were distant, spending all of their time together patrolling the borders and handling official pack business. Vigilante seemed especially tired lately, worn out but too closed-off to want to talk about it. And his dear mother, his favorite, had been brutally assaulted and was bedridden for her recovery. She was handling the pain well, but it was obvious it would take her a long time to heal; she had been close to death when Amaranth and Kable carried her home that day.

The young adult was stressed by this already, not knowing who to turn to, but to top it off, he had begun to have confusing dreams at night. He knew he was slower than his littermates when it came to a lot of things, and romance was one of them -- his first birthday was just around the corner, but he hadn't the slightest inclination toward girls, not even a crush. His mother suggested subtly that he should look outside the kingdom for someone to spark his interest, but he was a homebody, unwilling to travel outside the borders even now. He wasn't so lonely that he wanted to go seeking a mate, it didn't interest him that much. Girls like Terra and Giselle were pretty, but in the same way moonlight and sunsets were pretty, it didn't make him want to spend more time looking at them. Working at the stables was a far bigger priority, but now he was beginning to question why that was. He had the same dream for several nights in a row, a sweet and stirring romantic dream, but all the more confusing and upsetting once he was awake and remembered who it had been about.

This morning he woke with a start, tumbling from his bed to the floor. For a moment he was panicked until reality filtered through to him. The house was quiet, his siblings and father already off wherever they went during the day. His mother was probably still asleep, resting off her wounds. Frowning, Hati rubbed his bleary eyes, smoothing his mussy mane back from his face out of habit. His cheeks felt oddly warm -- he was blushing, from embarrassment or something else, he couldn't tell. It was that dream again, the one he knew he could never tell anyone about. He quickly rose to his feet, lip trembling with frustration. Everything was going wrong lately, and he didn't know how to put it all back into order. The stables, that was where he felt most comfortable now, where he could lose himself amid the warm scents of hay and horses, cleaning the stalls, carrying water to troughs, all the mundane chores that helped him get out of his head. Hati rushed from the house straight outdoors, not stopping to check on Mother for fear she would notice how upset he was and ask him why. How would she react? Her gentle advice always set him back on track, but this time he was worried she might not have the answer for him.

Walking wasn't fast enough, so Hati began to run, long-legged strides turning the surroundings into a blur. The summer sun was still ascending, the warm air heavy and humid. The horses would be drowsy all day, and would need extra water rations, his mind quickly asserted. He might not get a riding lesson from Alder today, since the horses would rather rest during the heat. The thought was suddenly so depressing to him that his pale eyes began to well with unexpected tears. He tried to scrub them away as quickly as he could -- how shameful, he was an adult now and he was acting like a mewling pup -- but he was already at the barn, and it was too late to hide it. Quickly he clamored up the ladder to the hayloft, hoping no one else was there to see his breakdown. Whatever was making him cry didn't want to let him stop. The sniffling wolfdog curled up behind a small bale of hay, trying to catch his breath and figure out why he was so upset. He used to be so good at concealing his emotions, but they had become so turbulent lately, enough to make him fight his brother, and now apparently enough to make him hide sniveling in a pile of hay for no good reason.

Table by Alli!

POSTED: Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:42 pm

indeed! can Alder coax him out of his hiding place?? :3

Alder had noticed a change in his routine and it had started a few months ago. For some time the Marshal had felt that his days would simply blur together, one right after the other. The same thing day in and day out. He did not mind the work, it was his passion and he loved that he got to wake each morning to care for horses and work with them. It had all changed when the blurring days were interrupted by the stable hand that Alder had acquired. He was grateful for the help that Hati provided, and the canine company that was given changed his routine drastically. But in a positive way.

He found himself waiting for the young Squire, planning lessons for him in the care of the stables or in riding. Indeed Alder had taught many how to ride, but Hati returned again and again to master the technique. The Marshal knew that the other who did not ask for more instruction could ride, but he felt that the midnight pupil would become much more talented in the saddle then the others.

The morning was no different, another hot summer day. He stood beside the young stallion, one of the many the Court owned as a communal steed. The air was far too heavy for hard work, and he had already hauled the morning water. The heaviest of work completed he resided to something a bit more pleasurable then mucking and carrying. The horse was tied out under the sun just below the loft's doorway and the wolf stood among a few hefty buckets of water and held a soft bristled brush.

The horse was enjoying the bath, a hearty scrub that took up the dirt that had been caught but it’s short thick coat. Alder found himself drenched from his hands to his elbows, but the water was cool and fresh from the nearby stream. He smiled, petting the horse’s neck as he worked the brush over the horse’s hide. Taking up the bucket Alder poured the last clean bit of water in it over the back of the stallion. Perhaps protesting the shower the horse nickered and whipped his long mane to rid it of the sopping feeling, spraying Alder instead.

The Marshal raised a black tinted arm up to cover his face, but could only give a deep rumbling laugh at his predicament.

POSTED: Sun Sep 09, 2012 7:42 am

WC: 411 | eep I am such a slowpoke! my apologies~~

Hati felt better having escaped from his household and the gloom that pervaded every corner of it. Dreams were dreams, he could leave their nonsense behind when he slipped out of bed. But even that simple relief brought a new wave of guilt; to be a good son, shouldn't he be at his mother's side while she recovered? He gritted his teeth, scrubbing at the tears that had sprung unbidden to his eyes. He just wanted Ayita to be all right again. The healing process took too long, and it was wearing everyone thin. He couldn't talk to Skoll about it, because they were not on speaking terms, nor could he approach his father. It was lonely at home. All he had to look forward to was the stables. This place was everything to him, the herd like a second family that never put pressure on him. And Alder... Alder made him want to try harder every day, made even the simplest lessons feel like a victory. He wished he could spend all his time here and never have to face the stress outside.

Gradually the sniffling subsided, as he was calmed by the sweet hay scent around him. Crying wasn't going to make his problems go away, even if it was cathartic. Hati slowly uncurled his body, resting his chin wearily on the hay bale. He didn't want to think about anything else anymore, he couldn't handle it. He would just take his time here today, unwind, and -- was that laughter? Dark ears perked forward, catching the unmistakable rumble of Alder's timbre. Hati felt a quick flutter of nerves, and he compulsively smoothed back his mane, picking the loose bits of straw from his pelt. It was hard to break the self-conscious habits, even if their work here was often dirty. Were his eyes puffy? He would be mortified to be caught crying by Alder. If the Marshall was nearby, it was lucky Hati's arrival had gone unnoticed.

Slowly, quietly, he slunk down the ladder, peering around the stables for his teacher. The morning air was already heavy with humidity, and all the barn doors were open to promote some sort of circulation. In the bright summer sunlight he could see the shapes of horse and master just outside. Alder's good mood was magnetic. Hati padded toward the pair, hopeful that he would be greeted with a smile just for him. That would make today worth waking up for.

Table by Alli!

POSTED: Mon Sep 10, 2012 1:23 pm

:)

Alder refused to be the last one splashed. He took a rag and drenched it so that he could whip water at the horse. The stallion nickered and once more shook his mane to send more water flying at the wolf. This time Alder took the defensive and stepped back with hands and arms attempting to cover his body. It was useless, and he threw the rag back into the bucket and shook his own shortly cut mane out. When he turned, he found the slighter and shorter Squire approaching. Alder gave the male a grin, and offered a wave. Hati! Come help me rinse this horse off, he’s being such trouble. It was a bit of an exaggeration, the horse would simply not be drenched and splashed but the Marshal was growing a bit too tired to deal with it all himself.

Blue eyes watched the other male for a moment or two and then figured out that he was fairly later then usual. Alder was far from strict, and he had never found the need to be with such a willing volunteer that he got out of Hati. It was simply odd that the midnight furred wolf had taken him time to show up for chores and training, and he wondered if there was something to be worried about.

Rather then pry Alder picked up the rag that he had tossed and handed it to the younger Courtier. Better watch out, or you’ll be in the same mess I am. Alder spoke with a wink as he reach out to give Hati the old rag, then pointed to the extra bucket of water. Alder moved to the side to the horse, and gave him a scratch, Now behave. he commanded jokingly before glancing back at Hati with a smile.

POSTED: Sun Sep 30, 2012 11:32 am

WC: 456 | slowww. ;n;

The stablemaster and his subject appeared to be playing, splashing each other with water under the heat of the sun. Then Alder turned and smiled for him, the warmth of the greeting uplifting his sensitive protege. Hati was filled with a rare, giddy lightness that sent his tail waving freely behind him. He jogged the last few paces, eager to close the distance between them and start his chores. It was like night and day, his previous gloom dissipated by the sunny smile; later he would remember it to remind himself that everything was going to be all right. He smiled shyly in return, running a hand self-consciously through his dark mane and hoping he did not look overly foolish. "Sorry I'm late, I... I overslept," he murmured his honest apology, omitting the embarrassing details. Everyone needed to cry from time to time, but it still felt wrong to give in to the urge.

Obediently he accepted the washrag and bucket, taking a moment to absorb the scene before him. The spirited young stallion had mud embedded in his coat, but Alder had already used the brush to loosen the worst of it. Hati hesitantly reached out his hand to pat the horse in greeting, and was rewarded with a toss of the mane and subsequent spatter of cool water across his face. Hati snorted, ears falling back in surprise, before he chuckled in amusement. "You've got nowhere to go, monsieur, might as well enjoy the attention," he crooned, hoping to calm the steed with his tone, as he began rubbing the slick horsehide with the rag. He would use the bucket once the horse settled down. It felt easier to talk to the horses now, interact with them directly and perceive their needs, compared to the days when he would rather watch them from afar. It took a long time, but Hati was gaining his confidence thanks to the steady stable work.

"Alder, have you... heard the news about Ayita, my mother?" he asked softly, not looking up from his diligent efforts. He swallowed, struggling to keep his expression light and neutral. It had been more than a week, but she did not seem any better. It was hard to be patient when she was so obviously suffering. Hati shook his head, trying to focus on the task before him. He came to the stables to forget his troubles, not dwell on them. He owed Alder his undivided attention, so that he could one day stand tall and shoulder an equal share of the tasks and upkeep. So far he had not regretted his choice to train here, but he wondered sometimes if Alder thought he was worth his time... He knew others learned faster.

Table by Alli!

POSTED: Tue Oct 09, 2012 4:18 pm

sorry for the wait, and short!

Hati accepted the invitation to assist in grooming the horse, and Alder just smiled at his actions. There was little that penetrated the even flow of peace, training and chores that occurred throughout the stables and track. Alder was often stuck in the regular pace so much so that he missed out on the happenings beyond it, and his small cabin. When Hati spoke of his mother Alder looked up from his work, his expression falling from the placid grin to something that held much more questioning. No, I haven't. He watched the other male with a sincere concern, his hands slowing and finally pausing as he waited for Hati to reply. Had she been hurt? it wasn't easy for the male to simply assume the worse of a situation, but there was something in the blue and black toned wolf that caused him think that it there was no cause to celebrate.

Ayita was not one that Alder would say he was close with, but she was the mate of their King, a long standing member of the pack as well as the mother of one of his closest friends. Alder did not have many, and since Hati had begun apprenticing for him and coming to the stables so often they had grown quite friendly. If something was upsetting him, Alder wished to know what it was and how he could help.

POSTED: Wed Oct 10, 2012 6:51 am

WC: 425 | I still love you. <3! Always take as long as you need~

Alder was a man of few words, and Hati appreciated that about him. Besides, that happy smile said more than any words could, and his heart was still fluttering so quickly! Sometimes Hati worried too much, and perceived judgement where there was none; but most days, it was calming to be around such a steady presence. Alder was his teacher, a role model or even hero, and he did not have to say anything so long as he did not mind his apprentice's obvious adoration. Their routine of chores and lessons gave him so much to look forward to, especially on days like this when he could barely stave off the malaise.

The stablemaster was not privy to the news that overwrought his family, and Hati grew somber as he delivered it. "About a week ago, someone hurt her... it's serious. It will take her such a long time to heal, to walk again..." His voice trailed off into a hoarse whisper, and he could not bring himself to continue with further words. It was beyond him why anyone would be driven to such cruelty. As much as he abhorred violence, the thought of retribution was one that lingered. No wonder his father and brother were searching for the assailant -- they were warriors, and could actually follow through with such plans. Steadily he rubbed with the rag, pale eyes watchful to follow the grain of the fur, taking care to circle every whorl where it changed direction.

"Mother did give me a task, though... she said while she was recovering, I was to ride her mare Asagi. She's not my horse, but for now, she is under my care..." He smiled weakly, glancing to Alder for his reaction. It was a silver lining, something positive to take away from the misfortune. He had been too shy to ask for Asagi's reins during his earliest riding lessons, but now he had full permission and it could mean good things for the aspiring stablehand. He looked away and swallowed, though, feeling guilty for finding an upside to his mother's suffering. He lifted the bucket, slowly overturning it to rinse the grime from the handsome stallion's hide. The horse pranced in place, hooves stamping energetically, but its bath was soon complete. Empty bucket in hand, Hati looked questioningly to Alder, waiting for the next step. Did he mean to dry him with a blanket, or let him into the pasture so the warm sun could do the work? He would do whatever the stablemaster required of him.

Table by Alli!

POSTED: Thu Oct 18, 2012 3:18 pm

<3!!

Alder only grew more serious and concerned as Hati spoke. Though Ayita was not formally a friend of his, they were still family simply because they were pack. Knowing that she had been hurt made him angry, but mostly saddened the tall male. Who had done such a thing? He wondered, but remained silent as he allowed Hati to explain fully. Was there someone that was seeking revenge? Someone to settle the score and teach them that to harm a Courtier was a punishable offense? The Marshal was not looking to be the one that rode out to battle, but him imagined that Hati’s father would be searching for the beast that had hurt his mate. He was the King after all. I’m so sorry to hear that. Alder spoke, knowing that his words would be fairly useless. I hope she makes a full recovery. He added, thinking optimistically but his tone was still respectful of the serious situation. Hati must be feeling so helpless, and angry. Just as Alder had when his dam had been taken during the AniWayan colfict.

Asagi is a good mare, steady and strong. I can help with her, if you need it. I wish I could help more. The last few words ended in a frown, looking away from the male as Alder picked up the tattered larger fabric he used to dry a horse. If they didn’t the stallion would just fun off to rub his wet pelt in the grass. He handed one to Hati, and began with the horse’s head. If he were a healer, or a better hunter perhaps there would be something that he could do for his mother. But if what she needed was rest then she would need her children’s care and vigil. You have really pulled your weight around here lately. But if you need to stay with her, you know I’ll always understand. I can handle things here. He looked back at the smaller darker wolf, his lips moving to curve into a small smile.

POSTED: Thu Oct 25, 2012 6:28 pm

WC: 543 | The end? :)

The Marshal listened somberly before offering his genuine condolences. "I'm certain she'll be fine, it will just take time," Hati reassured Alder in a more confident tone, though he was really trying to convince himself. Ayita was ever optimistic, but she wasn't healing as quickly as her family expected, and it was worrying them all. He did not stop to consider that it could simply be age. She was over seven years old now, and it would be increasingly difficult for anyone to rebound from such trauma. He did not see his mother in such terms -- she was a constant presence, the heart of his home, something he needed and could not do without. He sighed heavily, grateful at least for Alder's understanding. He felt better having shared the news with his teacher, even if there was nothing they could do to fix it.

"Thank you, I... I appreciate that. I've known Asagi since I was small, but I can't say we've ever interacted much; I must be a stranger to her. It could take some work," he explained with a wistful smile. There was nothing more he could do for his mother right now, especially since the disturbing sight of her injuries made him feel so ill. He did not have the constitution to be a medic like his elder siblings Liam and Amaranth. The childish need to cry rose in him again, but he pressed it down with a clenched jaw; it was not an appropriate response, and he did not want to embarrass himself and lose respect in Alder's eyes. What was wrong with him lately? So emotional, so overly sensitive. He quietly accepted the ragged fabric and began rubbing down the stallion's withers, gentle despite the depth of his inner turmoil. The repetitive movement had a calming effect. Everything about the stables was calming.

After a moment, Alder spoke again. Hati was still staring at his hands and the horse's back, but after a moment he looked up with ears perked, surprised at what he heard. "I don't know... I mean, if that will be necessary. I... might prefer to spend more time here, just... to focus on the positive..." Was that selfish of him? He thought reproachfully that it might be, but Alder was smiling again, and it was making him say things without thinking them over first. Hati loved his mother unabashedly more than anyone else, but seeing her sorry condition made him so upset. Guilt, helplessness, pressure, loneliness. Alder made it go away. How strange to think it was his packmate with this ability, albeit his only friend.

What was it that made him upset this morning, anyway? Something about the stirring dream, but it slipped below his conscious mind and now he couldn't quite remember. That was for the best, he decided. Alder helped him forget all of that turbulence and focus on simple tasks that brought him peace. He stepped back and viewed the stallion, warm hide free of water or mud. The horse could be sent to the paddock to graze, and they could move on to their next task. Hati silently wished they would never run out of things to do together, because it would mean he never had to leave.

Table by Alli!

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