I cursed the sun

POSTED: Sat Aug 08, 2009 11:59 pm

     A month ago, her scent had begun to fade. That was when he had taken off without a breath to anyone. Ezekiel had run hard and used all the skills he had been taught and gifted with, tracking his sister desperately. He had almost lost her once and would not do so again. Or so the boy had thought, right up until the rain started. Then it had rained; and rained hard. Any hope of tracking his dog-like siblings was lost once the floods had begun. There was no hope for finding her then—all trace of Talitha was washed away in the torrent of water.
     It was still raining. The lanky youth (not fully grown into his frame, especially with the weeks on his own) crossed the southern borders and began to blindly make his way towards the forest. Instinctively he avoided going west or turning east too quickly. No part of the Hydra intended to face her empty room or his father. Not yet. Not with empty hands and nothing to show for his time. Ezekiel coughed loudly and sunk several inches in the muddy field, then struggled and pulled his leg out of the ground. More cautiously now, though moving as quickly as possible, the russet-marked coyote staggered to the tree line.
     Once there, Ezekiel slipped between trees and over rocky ground. He wasn’t sure what he would find for cover, but there had to be something. Sure enough, after about ten minutes, a large hollowed out tree greeted him. Thankful for the lucky find, the scarred boy made his way inside, shook out what water he could from his fur, and sat down. His body posture alone sang of his disgruntled, spinning emotions. The golden-tan coyote shuddered against the cold air and sighed, folding his ears back.

POSTED: Sun Aug 09, 2009 6:32 am

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    The hybrid woman wondered if the rain would ever stop. It had been coming what seemed like daily for weeks now—and even on those rare days that there had not been actual precipitation there were clouds threatening it. Though Kaena had never been bothered by the rain, she had grown extremely tired of it. Even most of the caves that were normally dry had begun to grow moist and damp, and Kaena wondered if maybe the whole world was flooding. The hybrid woman was not so much wandering as she was skulking through the flooded plainsland, her feet sinking into muck the whole way. The weather made some things impossible and others just annoying; heading to ring around the borders again was just one of those things she supposed she had to suck up and deal with.

    The grizzled coyote could not smell much of anything in the drizzle, and the water on the ground made things even more difficult to navigate. The going wasn't terribly slow, but the coyote woman did feel as if she was bogged down in all of this water just like the usually upright grasses of the plainsland, most of them far too waterlogged to stand up on their own. She began close to the coast, and she was perhaps halfway through her swing of the perimeter when she noticed a strange thing. There was a tawny and honey-brown coyote on Inferni's territory; though she did not recognize him, there was immediate and swift familiarity. He moved like her, with the swinging and elongated trot of the coyote, though he seemed to encounter the same minor difficulty she had in traversing their newly founded swamp.

    The silvery coyote trailed him absently, navigating through the wetland as best she could. Some parts were deceptively deep where there had been hollow spots. The coyote lost the stranger for a moment in the trees before a flash of dulled gold through the rain caught her eye, and she discovered his hiding space. There was a hollowed tree in their forest, some forgotten spot that had been used in other times by other unfortunate coyotes—but why, if he belonged here, did he seek out the furthest reaches of their territory? There was little question they were related somehow; her glittering eye peered forward into the dimness of the hollow and she took him in, scarred face and brilliant golden eyes. He had most of the appearance of a coyote, with certain hybridization of his blood. He was too large, too lanky. "You belong here," she said. It was certainly not a question. Even if it were not for their almost certain relation, he had been too casual in crossing their borders and he seemed to know the land too well.

thanks to james for the header image

POSTED: Mon Aug 10, 2009 12:31 pm

     The rain had been all consuming, and overwhelmed all of his senses. So when the scarred cyclops appeared in-front of him, Ezekiel’s hackles rose in a sign of defensive aggression. He did not fear her, though. Fear had been a useless emotion and it did not belong to soldiers. It was her single remaining eye that kept him silent—he recognized the color as his father’s, and in turn his own. Both ears swiveled forward at her gravelly voice, and he tried to recall the stories his father had told him as a child about the woman that had to be his grandmother.
     Even though she did not know him, she knew that Inferni was his place. The boy lifted his voice over the pounding rain. “I left,” he said flatly. “I’m no better then the others.” By this he meant those who had come and gone like tumbleweeds and summer storms. The useless and worthless coyotes that had never deserved to call Inferni their home.

POSTED: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:49 am

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    The rain tumbled from the sky endlessly, pelting the elder woman along her shoulders and her back, soaking her through and through. She was soaked to the core; there was no part of her that was not sodden and dripping with water. She blinked it out of her single eye a few times, but beyond that made no effort to keep dry. It would have been an exercise in futility anyway; there was no way the woman would have been able to make so much as a dent in the amount of water she was covered in. The coyote did not seek shelter, however; if rain kept canines indoors they would quickly starve to death. It wasn't as if they had refrigerators to raid or stockpiles to devour.

    The tawny coyote spoke, and the elder woman smiled at him faintly, her coal lips curving as best they could through the scars crossing her muzzle. She shook her gray head firmly, her ears at half-mast through the rain. "You came back," she said, simply enough. The hybrid could hold no grudge against wanderers; sometimes life threw a wrench into the cogs. Kaena knew this better than any creature; she had been alive a long time and she had never seemed to remain anywhere for a terribly long time. She had always returned here, but the longest she'd been here consecutively had probably been about two years, perhaps just a touch more. "That's what matters," the woman offered. It was true—leaving wasn't such a big deal if you came back.

    There were too many others which had not returned, too many who were mere passing ghosts in Inferni's history. Kaena could not have named even a fraction of them; in her long, long life she had seen too many pass through their ranks briefly. There was a difference, though—most of them did not come back. There were a choice few which left and returned, and in Kaena's mind that spoke volumes. It was strange that she did not hold initial departure against coyotes who chose to wander, but then again, Kaena herself had the shoddy record to bear. The hybrid woman peered at the younger canine again, interest flaring across her scarred features. "Kaena," she said, introducing herself the shorter way. It wasn't often necessary to deploy the surname within Inferni's territory; she had never known any other Kaena inside its borders or outside of them, for that matter.

POSTED: Tue Aug 11, 2009 3:50 pm

This is short, sorry. :[
     Her reasoning was simple—much like his father’s. Perhaps she was the one he had learned that from, that simple way of speaking, of explaining things. Only late at night, when he had been healing from the broken rib, did something seem different in his normally short-spoken father. Then, Gabriel had gone on at length about peculiar things; God, science, the whole of their genetic makeup in regards to what they were. It had been enough to make him nearly mad.
     At her name, Ezekiel’s ears turned forward and his eyes widened only slightly. “Ezekiel. You’re my grandmother,” he said instantly, intent on establishing that familiar connection. “I’ve heard about you.”

POSTED: Wed Aug 12, 2009 12:39 am

It's okay! Short posts for a fast thread? :D

    However accustomed the grizzled hybrid had grown to the rain, its presence was growing less and less tolerable. She longed for the hot days of summer; it seemed this whole season would be wet and soggy. The hybrid woman refused to allow the weather to creep into her spirits; she knew it would pass just as certainly as everything else in the world. Dwelling on the weather or allowing it to interfere with her daily life simply wouldn't do. There was nothing she could change about it. The tawny hybrid spoke, and the woman was pleased to know she was correct in assuming their relation. Canine faces and features were just as varied and different as human ones, but there were the similarities in his features, her own ghost reflected back in his face.

    The coyote woman smiled, shuffling closer to the entrance of the hollow. There wasn't much room where the tawny coyote had crouched, but the tree itself provided enough shelter for the woman and kept her head and shoulders out of the rain. "You are Gabriel's child?" she asked. The names were similar enough, though Gabriel had only spoken of a daughter. He had not mentioned a son, but the creamy hybrid looked enough like the Aquila. She smiled when he mentioned having heard of her, her head bobbing slightly. Her children had done a good job of propagating her name to her progeny, though surely most of them had not expected her to return. "Oh? What have you heard?" she asked, settling down to her haunches as she peered at him. She was interested to know what others had said about her in the past, thinking she was dead—it was a morbid curiosity, to be certain. No one ever said everything would be good, but the hybrid was just as prepared for ill thoughts as she was praise.

POSTED: Wed Aug 12, 2009 1:16 pm

     There were only a few things that announced the relationship between the two prominently—the roan streak over the muzzle, and the unique eyes that were entirely Lykoi. No part of the de le Poer line carried yellow eyes. In fact, the remaining de le Poer’s in North America were as a whole ignorant to the truth of the flawed eyes. At this point, they all carried that wicked scarlet—except Ryan’s daughter, but that seemed like a fluke. After all, both of her parents had red eyes. Kaena had given her eyes to his father; Ezekiel could tell that in an instant.
     He nodded in response to her first question, and attempted to move his body and allow her more access out of the rain. There was barely enough space for Ezekiel, who was slightly larger then the average male coyote. Doggishly, he cocked his head slightly at the second inquiry. “Only that you led Inferni before my father,” he began. “And were a terror to those who stood in your way. I wasn’t here long enough to hear much else—my dad sent us off when we were kids, during the war.”

POSTED: Fri Aug 14, 2009 10:00 am

     Kaena had inherited those brilliant yellow-gold eyes from her father. They were his belying coyote feature—otherwise the sable man would have passed for a wolf entirely. Many of the greater Lykoi wolf family carried that trait, brilliant golden yellow eyes which spoke strongly of the heavy coyote influence which had once tainted the family. But it seemed hybridization was unavoidable; after all, Kaena had not discriminated much in her choice of lovers over the years, as much as she proclaimed to hate wolves. She had taken at least three whole-blooded wolf lovers, if not more—and if Gabriel and his litter were not evidence enough of her ventures with wolfkind, nothing was.

     The hybrid scooted forward a bit with his move backward and smiled, an eerie thing across her gnarled features but friendly nonetheless. She appreciated the gesture, and listened eagerly, that smile broadening as the coyote spoke. "All true," the cloud-colored woman stated, pride evident in her raspy voice. There was no point in denying a legacy she had fought hard for—after all, even if she tried, the evidence was blatant enough, emblazoned on her face by the teeth of countless wolves. "Your father is a smart man," the woman said in response, her golden eye again roving the tawny male, delighted to know another of her progeny.

     "War is not a place for children." She approved heartily of this decision and was infinitely glad that when she had waged her war her children were already adults, capable of fighting for themselves. The hybrid wondered if she would have been smart enough to do the same for her own children momentarily, hoping it would have occurred to her they were safer elsewhere. She recalled Zarah's children and how Storm had housed them for a time; though it had been impossible to forcibly extract them from the pack. She remembered trying with Kesho, and though she remembered Layla Xyl's face, the coyote woman had heard nothing of that spawn of Yasu Zarah for many, many years.
Table by Mel

POSTED: Fri Aug 14, 2009 6:46 pm

     The history of the Lykoi family was one that Ezekiel only knew as far back as the woman before him. Gabriel had not explained anything further—and likely, did not know. Even his father’s past was one that seemed shrouded in the fog of war. A few of the scars had stories that he knew, but many did not. Still, in spite of this (or perhaps because of it), Ezekiel had taken up the helm and the spear of Inferni proudly. The fact that two of his teachers had been wolves did not cast doubt upon his loyalty. Tristan was partially coyote, and Cwmfen was accepted by his father. This fact pleased him; he no longer found the need to hide her presence. Not that he had seen the woad-painted warrior in months, but still.
     His grandmother’s approval of Gabriel’s decision made a terrible shadow cross Ezekiel’s face—it warped him into a vicious monster, scarred eye turning his exterior brutal and savage. “He should have done a better job at protecting Talitha then. I should have done a better job at protecting her.” When she had run off with Faolin, Ezekiel had been helpless to stop her. The same thing occurred again, and it made anger boil in his chest and make a low growl rumble from there.

POSTED: Sat Aug 15, 2009 4:56 am

    The coyote woman remained still, watching the anger flash across the tawny coyote's face momentarily, listening to that deep rumbling. There was no fear in her glittering eye; she was aware the anger was likely directed at the situation and only partially at the grizzled female herself for broaching the obviously sore subject. The name did not ring a bell to the hybrid woman, but she assumed Talitha was the name of his sister—the sister who had left with Corona, if she remembered what Gabriel had said upon first crossing into the new Inferni's territory. She held this name at the back of her throat for a moment before swallowing it, committing it forever to memory. If she was gone, would she return? The silvery canine paused, some undefinable emotion brewing there before disappearing again beneath the forced neutrality, given to the grizzled woman's features by the knotty tissue crossing her face.

    There was a moment given to thought before Kaena responded, contemplation apparent on her features. "Is she dead?" she asked, though she was almost positive the answer was a resounding no. Gabriel would have thought to mention something like that—unless, of course, he had no knowledge of such an event occurring. Perhaps this was why the straw-colored hybrid was keeping to the edges of Inferni's territory; he did not want to be the one to deliver such a blow to his father. The hybrid had never met either of her second eldest son's children prior to this moment, but she was intimately familiar with the confusion and distress of sorrow, having experienced it at numerous points throughout her life. The hybrid woman was hardly indifferent to whatever inner turmoil the younger coyote might have been experiencing, but for the moment she remained reserved and observant, that glittering sun-yellow eye focused on her grandson.

POSTED: Sat Aug 15, 2009 2:32 pm

     The anger in his body laced through his blood like acid. He hated the fact he was so useless—he had not been able to save himself, nor save his sister. Now she had left him once more, without saying goodbye, without saying anything. Kaena’s question brought a sudden sobering thought to his mind though, one that struck him like ice-water. The thought startled him enough that his entire demeanor changed; no more was he all spit and vinegar, but now the same confused young boy he had been not that long ago.
     “N..no, I…I don’t think so,” he stammered, realizing suddenly that it was entirely possible. She could be dead and none of them would ever know. His stomach twisted and a low whine escaped his muzzle. The weakness he now felt was dwarfed by the need to hide the way he felt from a woman who was still very much a stranger to him. “I think she went to find our mother,” Ezekiel tried to explain, amber eyes staring into the scarred face before him. “I tried to find her, but I lost her scent in the rain.” He hesitated, and folded his ears back, the desperation now terribly thick in his voice. “God, I hope she isn’t dead.”

POSTED: Sun Aug 16, 2009 8:34 am

    The monochrome canine observed again as his features shifted, the anger swiftly replaced by something else far more vulnerable. She wanted to move for him then and reach her fingers out to touch him and comfort him in that instant, though she had neither the form nor the room to do so. Her still-wet sable ears pricked forward to catch the sound of his voice, lower and softer now that the fury had swiftly deflated from the tawny hybrid's features. Kaena understood the folly Talitha chased better than most would have—after all, it was not so long ago she had abandoned her larger family, her youngest children in quest of a girl who had only turned her back when the grizzled hybrid had needed her. If nothing else, it was a brutal reminder to the lesson Kaena had learned when she was still very young, and a new corollary to accompany it: in the end, all she had was herself. No one could be trusted entirely—even those she held dearest to her. They were all given to falter, and the grizzled hybrid knew that in spite of her devotion to the Lykoi family she had founded here, she was no exception to this.

    Her features showed remorse for having asked the question so bluntly, but the grizzled woman knew no other way. She was not given to tiptoe around many subjects, and she was generally not inclined to speaking at length about much of anything. But here, speech welled from her, low and purposeful. The cloudy hybrid knew better than anyone that there was no mantra she might repeat to absolve him of responsibility, nor any phrase she could utter to dilute his pain, but here was distress in one of her own, and the silvery canine was compelled to try to improve his mood. "All of us have wandered at one point or another, I think. Your sister was crafted from the same flesh and blood as you. She's strong," the coyote offered, inclining her head just a millimeter toward the straw-colored hybrid. "I don't think she is dead, either. If both of us think so, she is alive," the coyote said, the last part stated almost matter-of-factly. The grizzled canine needn't have met Talitha to know she was a strong creature. It was a rare display of faith from the gray hybrid; she did not believe in much, but there was strong faith in her family.
Table by James

POSTED: Wed Aug 19, 2009 3:12 pm

     Though Fatin had served as his surrogate mother (and indeed, he considered her to be just that), the touch and comfort of such a thing had been long-gone from his life. Still, he remained as calm as he was able and listened to her words. It seemed that the woman had experienced this sort of thing before, and for this reason, he believed her. Though there was no reason he would automatically trust the woman, it was instinct that allowed him to realize she would not harm him.
     Despite the doubt that lingered, Ezekiel managed to smile faintly. God would watch over her as long as he believed that He would. They all had guardian angels—his had been the woad-painted woman that lived with the demon. Stranger things had happened, he supposed. “Yeah,” he said, and then added: “Yeah. She’ll be okay.” Lifting his head, he stared into the scarred woman’s face and found that they shared similar traits—the eyes and roan streak, especially. “You don’t look anything like my dad,” he said half-heartedly, wondering if any of her children had taken the peculiar coat pattern that she had.

POSTED: Thu Aug 20, 2009 2:05 am

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    The coyote woman was placated by her own sentiment; she honestly believed those descended of her were different and stronger than the other average canines she had encountered throughout her life. They were stronger, they were more powerful—they were hybrids, canines who had not so much selectively bred with their own kind, but instead had taken mates of many different breeds. At present, the youngest generation of Lykoi was much like Ezekiel—strong, with the traits of all of his ancestors present in his blood. He had strength of a wolf, cunning of a coyote, and the social abilities of a dog. They were a different breed entirely, with the strengths of their different ancestors combined.

    The hybrid woman offered him a smile and a nod, hoping the statement was geniune. She did not know it in her heart, no—but there was a feeling in her bones which told her her breed was strong, and they were not so easily extinguished. "She will return, I'm sure of it," she added, her voice assured in her position. The tawny coyote commented on her appearance, and how vividly different she looked. The hybrid smiled, knowing it was true—of all her children, only one had bore her appearance. Maeryn had been a younger, lighter version of Kaena—indeed, the only real difference between the two of them had been their scars.

    The hybrid woman shook her head. "Only one of my children looked like me," she said, speaking of Maeryn in the past tense—she certainly was. The child had died more than five years ago, and she was almost ancient history now. "But even you and I share features," the coyote asked, noting the coppery splash tracing his muzzle. They were made from the same mold, crafted from the same flesh—her blood flowed in his veins, and that was enough for Kaena. They did not need to look anything alike—Jael certainly looked nothing like her, and she had accepted him readily.
OOC Ending: Kaena and Ezekiel chat for a short while longer, learn a bit about each other, and then part ways. :D

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