POSTED: Fri Dec 07, 2007 8:34 am

Faolin had offered to take him to see Rachias if he wanted. And he did want to go, it was just... If there were any words at all to describe the weird feeling in his stomach, he didn't know them yet. He still didn't understand why his sister had been so adamant on the whole issue of their father. None of their brothers and sisters had a father, no matter what litter they were from, so why did it matter so much? Was it just because he was there? He didn't know enough about his siblings' sires to know whether or not they were all still around, but if theirs were, then why not? Then again, maybe it was why so many of their family was missing. From what he'd been told, there were supposed to be even more of them hanging around.

The cooridors of the house were quiet and calm. He didn't know or particularly care where Andre was (perhaps it was a little cruel, but all encounters with his brother were unpleasant so wasn't it a good thing that he wasn't around?) and Faolin wasn't home at the moment for one reason or another. It was moments like these that he wished he could see his sister, but whatever Faolin had said about the distance, it would never be close enough. By the time he got there or she got there, the feeling would be gone and it just wouldn't be the same.

So he was stalking through the hallways, pretending he was actually any good at hunting. He had tried a few times to go after seagulls but had never been quick enough. Crabs he had learned to avoid the pincers of, but he could never crack them open anyway. And as much as he still thought the ocean was beautiful, he never wandered close enough to even try fishing. There were probably rats and rabbits on the fringes of the territories where the green crept in again, but he had never been awfully adventurous to begin with and it was even less exciting alone.

His eldest brother's reading chair loomed in the distance and he crawled flat against the wooden floor towards it. Arkham didn't think much about what he was doing; another side effect of being bored out of his mind, perhaps. It was a big red armchair, tattered and frayed on the sides, but a very comfortable-looking thing all the same. The grey pup crept to one side of it and looked up at the armrest above him, wagging his tail mischeviously. He wasn't normally a troublemaker; indeed, he usually avoided it if he could... maybe it was just something about today. It was snowing outside and cold everywhere and everyone just seemed so busy. He leapt up like a cat, pulling himself quickly onto the armrest before immediately launching himself onto his brother. Shark attack!!

POSTED: Fri Dec 07, 2007 8:48 am

indent Of all the things men did to escape life, reading was one of them. Gabriel had done many; drugs, drink, sex. This was the least active of the four, and the only one in which he could loose himself in another life. That was in part why he read fiction—it gave him a chance to separate himself from the day-to-day monotony of life. With his feet curled up and his tail hanging to the floor, he was quite comfortable. One hand supported his head, the other held the dog-eared, tattered book open. He had found it here and only picked it up recently—Different Seasons. The first story had been of about four boys finding a dead body. The second, the one he was currently reading, was about a young man discovering his next door neighbor was an infamous war criminal.
indent 'He felt like the sorcerer’s apprentice, who had brought the brooms to life but who had not possessed enough wit to stop them once they got started. The old man living in genteel poverty was gone. Dussander was here. Then his fear was replaced with a tingling sense of power.' “Shark attack!” The noise startled Gabriel from his reading, made him jump nearly out of his skin, made him let out a barking yelp of surprise. Without thinking, his traitor hands shot out and struck at the object flying towards him.

POSTED: Fri Dec 07, 2007 8:58 am

Part of him probably knew what he was getting himself into. In fact, most of him probably did. His brother had never come off as a particularly playful person -- always serious and capable, Arkham had yet to see him do anything he considered fun or silly. Of course, the pup himself usually didn't do anything of the sort either. He spent his days rooting through their sandy territory looking for bones and other things that might be buried under their feet. Or else he was wandering the length of the beach, beyond the areas Inferni had claimed and sometimes into the city, where there were so many things to explore though he was sometimes scared he would be accidentally locked in a closet or trapped in a dark and lonely hole where no one would ever find him again. Fun and silly activities were for his sister to pursue, but she wasn't there.

The child wasn't sure if he really had a chance to get a glimpse of Gabriel from an almost-birdeye's view before the hand hit him like a baseball bat and sent him flying across the living room. The weight difference was phenominal between them as the elder brother was much older and shifted and thus Arkham smacked against the far bookshelf with considerable force. Several books came crashing down with him, but the structure itself was rooted in place well enough that it remained in place. It was probably a very lucky thing too for the weight of the entire shelf might have killed him. His body ached horribly, especially the side and the forepaw he had landed on. Maybe it was broken, but his head was spinning too much for him to be able to concentrate on any particular pain too long. Owww... He shook his head, but that only made him even more dizzy.

POSTED: Fri Dec 07, 2007 9:05 am

indent Gabriel didn’t often play—he had to maintain an image for the clan, of course. On top of that, no one ever really wanted to play. The closest he had come to recently was sparring, but that wasn’t so much fun as it was a task. When he was a boy, he had played games, usually with Baneesh. Their last game, though, had ended in tragedy. There was only the memory of blood, the sound of flesh and muscle being torn, the sick laughter and the cruel eyes. Run. All he could do was run.
indent The fluttering in his chest remained even as he began to realize who he had just struck. Dropping the book and getting to his feet quickly, Gabriel moved across the room in three steps and dropped down to his hands and knees, picking a book off of the small canine under it. Grinning apologetically, the scarred hybrid looked down to his brother, amused despite the incident. “Jesus, you scared me. Are you okay?”

POSTED: Fri Dec 07, 2007 9:18 am

Gabriel was a looming mountain in the distance at first, but only moments later, he was much clearer and closer. Arkham blinked a few more times, still trying to clear his head, but smiled automatically when he saw that, much to his relief, his brother seemed more amused than angry. I got'cha good, di'in I? He shifted slightly to look at the mess of books around him and then wiggled his forepaw a little. Sharp pain shot up from his elbow to his wrist, but being a little bit stubborn, he tried to get up anyway. His ribs ached and his other legs were all sore, but he almost got himself standing okay before the fact that he wasn't using one of his legs threw him off balance and he opted to just sit instead. M'okay, he said a little uncertainly, This one kinda hurts though.

Blue-shifting-red eyes looked up at the other hybrid when suddenly something caught his eye. A fresh wound; he could smell it all of a sudden too. What's that? he wondered, almost completely forgetting his own injuries. The pup had always figured the lands to be somewhat safe; after all, he had never had any real trouble. No one had yet to jump out of the bushes and tried to kill him or kidnap him or any number of other horrible things his imagination said they might do. He attributed it to the fact that Gabriel was intimidating and no one wanted to mess with his family, but all of that security was put on the line with the apparent wound on his brother's arm.

POSTED: Fri Dec 07, 2007 9:36 am

indent “Yeah, you did,” Gabriel admitted, pushing a chunk of his hair from his face. Shifting so he was off his palms, the doggish hybrid watched his brother attempt to stand, favor one leg over the other, and instead just sit. Before he had a chance to offer to examine it, Arkham pointed out the obviously fresh bite on his left arm. Frowning, he sighed and looked down to his arm. “It’s nothing,” he said quickly.
indent “Let me see your arm,” he asked, extending his right hand. While he was no medical genius, there was enough field medicine in his background that he would be able to figure out if something serious was wrong. He doubted it, but it would probably make his brother feel better.

POSTED: Fri Dec 07, 2007 9:44 am

He had never broken anything before, but now that his head was a little bit clearer, it was easier to tell that the pain wasn't excruciating or anything and he would expect that if some piece of the inner structure that made up the frame of his body were to be broken, it would hurt a lot more. The pup extended his foreleg obediantly and winced a little at the little pulses of pain, but otherwise was still busy staring at the red teeth marks on the arm that wasn't being offered to him. Dih m'dad do that to you? he blurted without thinking. And really, he had no idea why he asked because he wasn't really even sure if that was a plausible conclusion.

Gabriel obviously didn't like the guy but had never given more of a reason than that "he [was] dangerous" and though that had suited him fine a month or two ago, Arkham was now more curious. If he was really that dangerous, then surely Faolin would have objected more vehemently at the idea that his sister was now staying with him right? Did Gabriel know already that Rachias had gone? If he knew that their father was dangerous then why would he let her? Or had it all just been a cryptic lie fed to them for one reason or another? The pup didn't think he would be horribly upset if that were the case as long as it was a good reason. Rachias is staying with him, he added in a quieter voice. Is he really that dangerous?

POSTED: Fri Dec 07, 2007 9:56 am

indent It only took him a few moments to asses that his brother was indeed completely fine. Just because it hurt didn’t mean anything terrible had happened, but he had to check. If there was a problem, it was best to treat it rather then let it sit. Of course, the moment he let go of the leg his brother cut in with an accusation. A strange darkness crept into Gabriel’s eyes, making them darken to the point that their color nearly changed.
indent For a long time afterwards, Gabriel was silent. “No, he didn’t,” he said lowly. “It was the leader of Storm.” That explained the wound, and would also serve as a subtle warning. Lifting one hand and rubbing the back of his neck, Gabriel shifted his legs and settled onto his haunches. “Well,” he began, thinking of how to phrase things. “I don’t think he’ll hurt her. You see, your dad isn’t…well, he isn’t always himself. Sometimes he becomes a different person.” Letting out another sigh, he leaned back and propped himself up on his elbows, regarding his brother quietly.

POSTED: Fri Dec 07, 2007 10:18 am

The abrupt change in mood was not difficult to detect. Children were more preceptive of moods than most people realized and the shift in his brother's eyes was also evident to him. Both of his ears perked forward attentatively then and he listened carefully to everything that was being said to him. The fact that it had been a member of Storm -- the leader, no less -- that had attacked Gabriel surprised him greatly. He had met more than one stranger from the pack and both had been particularly kind to him, despite the fact that they had both been wolves. Storm? he wondered then, I didn't know Storm was bad. The words sounded so silly on his tongue though; perhaps it was just because bad seemed like such a childish word. Phasma was nice, he added quietly, feeling a little foolish but still a little confused about where all the packs stood in relation to Inferni.

The explanation Gabriel gave of his father only furthered his confusion. Arkham had heard the phrase before -- "not being yourself" was not such an uncommon thing. Everyone had their off days, right? Hell, he had just done something that was atypical of him, but that didn't mean anything bad, right? What do you mean? More elaboration was needed, but he did find himself feeling a little comforted at the fact that Gabriel did not seem to think Rachias was in any horrible danger (or at least, he was pretending to think that).

POSTED: Fri Dec 07, 2007 10:36 am

indent Rolling his tongue behind his teeth, Gabriel tasted tobacco and realized he again felt the urge to smoke. He did not do so in the house, out of respect for the other people who lived there, and didn’t particularly enjoy the stench becoming overwhelming. It was just something he had to do, something he liked to do, something that gave him an excuse to walk away from whatever it was bothering him at the time. “Storm isn’t bad. Some of the people there are,” he corrected gently. “Phasma is okay.”
indent Not that he had taken the time to get to know her, but still. Cocking his head doggishly, the hybrid bit his lower lip, revealing ivory fangs, and then spoke. “It’s complicated. You’ll know whether or not he’s himself—he’ll grin a lot. If he does that, you stay away from him.” The seriousness of his warning was not in vain. His eyes were clear, sharp, cold. They changed slightly as he shifted away from the topic. “If you’re in Clouded Tears when that happens, find your sister or my father.” Gabriel did not doubt Ahren would protect Kaena’s children—if anything, he owed it to them. “He’s about as big as I am, with red eyes and a yellow mark on his chest. His name is Ahren.”

POSTED: Fri Dec 07, 2007 10:45 am

He supposed it was common sense that would say that the individuals of a pack or clan did not necessarily represent the whole, even if they were supposed to. The only brother of his own litter was the example that jumped at him immediately -- Andre seemed so different from the rest of them (then again, Arkham didn't know Samael that well and had never really met Hybrid) and the child thought that if Andre were to represent Inferni anywhere, then people would get a very, very bad impression. And there was assurance that the dark woman he had met was still okay, so it was probably just this leader person he would need to watch out for. But then, if the leader was the bad person, why would Phasma follow him?

"Complicated" was the excuse that came instead of elaboration, but pictures came to his mind of a madly grinning face and a monster that was out to get him. How's he when he's himself? he wondered, N' who's he when he's not? The entire concept confused him greatly, but if the rest was even more complicated, then maybe it was a good thing that Gabriel had decided to skip a more in depth explanation. The mention of the other's father surprised him further though and it showed on his face. Your dad's there too? Why are both of them so far away?

POSTED: Fri Dec 07, 2007 10:55 am

indent “Quiet. Kind of sad,” he added, not sure if the word ‘depression’ was yet in the younger boy’s vocabulary. Shrugging a little, he lay onto his back, staring up at the ceiling. They were lucky this place had been built so well. Had it not been, the plaster might have been falling down now. It wasn’t perfect in here, but it was all right. Good enough for mongrels like them. “I don’t know who he is otherwise. Some kind of monster.”
indent Flicking an ear at the next questions, the dark-faced male took a moment to consider the reasoning. “Well, my dad’s been gone for a while. I don’t know why, or why he came back. And my dad is a wolf so he can’t live here.” Shrugging, he continued. “Your dad leads that pack, so he kind of has to stay there. It’s not that far away. When you’re bigger you’ll be able to walk there faster then if you did now.”

POSTED: Fri Dec 07, 2007 11:03 am

Why is he sad? The questions were all coming automatically as soon as new information was presented to him. Part of him felt a little bad for firing so many of them off and he could only imagine he was being some sort of pest, but Gabriel kept answering them and he was kind of excited he was getting to learn so much in one day. So maybe the shark attack really hadn't been such a stupid idea after all. For some reason, he had a hard time picturing his father as a very sad person -- perhaps it was just because for the glimpses he had caught of him, he had always seemed cheerful; he had always been grinning. But if that was the monster half of him, then why had that been the half that they had seen the most? And the side that their mother seemed to have favored?

Those were the questions he kept to himself though partially because he understood that even Gabriel didn't know everything and those were probably among the things only Kaena could answer. I di'n't know he was a leader too, Arkham said, cocking his head a little as his brother lay down, Why can't wolves n' coyotes live together?

POSTED: Fri Dec 07, 2007 11:12 am

indent Gabriel turned his head so he could meet his brother’s eyes. They were just starting to show their true color—blood red, seeping out from the pupil. Children often bear their parent’s eyes; it was true for Gabriel, and it would be true for his brother as well. Mother and father could look out without being there. Perhaps one reason that eyes took after those people was so the wielder never had to see that part of them. “I don’t know,” he said shortly. He didn’t. He knew he would always be sad as long as God wasn’t in his heart, but he would not press religion on children yet.
indentThat question held twofold. He didn’t know the answer to that either. Still, he tried to explain. “People can’t get along. They see we’re different and they fear us or hate us for it. They think they’re better or we’re worse, or whatever. Even if a few are good, most of them are bad.” After a long pause, he spoke lowly. “Wolves killed my brother and sister. One nearly killed me.”

POSTED: Fri Dec 07, 2007 11:21 am

Prejudice was not something he understood very well yet, if only because he had yet to see it for himself, not counting the fact that Andre had made it known that he wanted very much to eat wolves. But he understood to an extent the reasoning that seemed to be behind it all -- different could very easily be interperted as bad and besides that, it was easy to be afraid of what was different because you weren't used to it. And then it was easy to want to hurt or destroy what you didn't understand. Maybe it wasn't so hard to imagine after all, but it was sad in a way that even a child could see the simple solution. All people had to do was give each other a chance, but they would never get to that point if the wall was already there. It was too easy.

Arkham was quiet when the deaths were explained to him. He had known that most of Gabriel's siblings were scattered and had left Inferni, but no one had ever told him that some were dead. He didn't really know what to say to that. He looked down instead, staring at his hurt arm even though there were no marks to show that anything was wrong. Why? was all he could ask, but he knew there probably wasn't a straight answer to that one. My dad is a coyote, isn't he? How come he's leading a wolf pack then?

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