In the Backdrop

POSTED: Thu Aug 20, 2009 6:52 am ... -mab_t.png); background-position: bottom center; background-repeat: no-repeat;">
Dated September 2, 2009 if that is okay with you?
She is at the boarders near ethereal eclipse, if that is okay. Lupus form; pups are not with her.

The heavens thundered, and the skies of days grew dark and dim for the gathered clouds. The rain fell, a soft whispering melody of the earth. The waters sighed as they fed the thirsty earth and hungry rivers, and the world reveled. Thunder sounded again—distant this time, quiet, a whisper, silent. The warmth of summer, however, was not diminished. The air was thick with humidity, carrying well the drowning scents that would soon disperse as the thunder did. And the rain fell, softly and gently as if to bring a warning for later times. The rain was louder than the silence, and yet it was the silence. It was the sound of beautiful solitude, a thing that her soul could only remember. Like the soft sigh of winter, it was a thing she had relinquished with the bearing of these children. It was strange to her to have been given a seed by Onus to bear. Indeed, she had lain with him, but to bear children was not something that she had desired. And yet, she did not regret their bearing, their whelping, and their nurturing. It was as much a gift from him as it was a gift from the gods. While a warrior should not bear life as she had, she was grateful that the twins had been wrought of light and not dark. And understanding peace and cherishing life, she cared for them completely and in silence.

The fluid movements of the black fae had returned, filling her form like a celestial light that shone from those white orbs. The rain was beautiful and took her breath away. Rain, and falling snow, never ceased to take her breath away. A sigh was released, given to the symphony of the dreary, weeping world. But the scents of prey were now diluted, and so her hunt for fresh meat was unyielding. She returned to the felled deer of the prior day, a meal she had hunted with the white fae called Urma. The unfinished contents remained still, eaten marginally by the birds. The black fae paused, the warrior’s orbs turning to the wet earth. There were tracks there of many birds, of crows, and of a raven too. She considered them for a long moment. A Raven. Swiftly, her senses moved about the glade, and yet she found that she was a lone—a brief moment of solitude. Cwmfen was discontent with that answer, but she accepted what the forest had given her. Silently, she returned to the meat, devouring her fill with soft growls of her delight. The meet of deer was like no other meet, just as the flesh of fish was as no other flesh. And when she was satisfied, she did not return to her den, moving as a shadow.

The pups were already a moon old, and they were safer upon their own. She would not leave them for long, but she felt compelled to follow that Raven’s call. Was it but an echo? At times, it was difficult for the Raven Dreamer to discern what was Real and what was Dream, but it was as it should be for Dreamers to be aware of both worlds in that acute, peculiar way. At long last, she found herself upon the Dahlian boarders. The white orbs drank in the landscape that seemed to flow with life that would soon die with the coming of autumn. Pausing, she listened to the sound of the world dying, and yet it was not a somber melody. It was bright still, tranquil and flowing, for death was not eternal. Nothing was eternal save for Time itself, for even the gods could fade from existence. The woad-marked fae took a step forward, silently and toward the boarder. There was a sudden movement—her own movement—as she side stepped with strange calm and fluidity. The woad bound ears lifted at the sound of the sudden, metallic snap, and the metal jaws lay closed at her side. She considered them as if the primal wolf expected those jaws to leap alive once more. But there was nothing save the stillness of her body and the lifelessness of the metal.

POSTED: Fri Sep 04, 2009 3:06 pm

     Like the wolves of Dahlia de Mai, Ezekiel had become accustomed to the metal traps that so often reared their heads. Once he had nearly got his leg taken off, and once was enough. Since then he had walked softly and kept his eyes open. This was in no small part due to the fact that his patterns were becoming nearly regular; he found wolves at nearly every turn and had to make himself remarkably scarce. It irritated him he had still not seen her, but he supposed that the reason for that was more legitimate then not. For whatever else he was, Zeke was no fool and knew better than to cross the Dahlian line to look for her.
     Friend or not, he had no doubt Cwmfen would abide by her duties. Which, he was pleased to find, she was doing currently. The scent washed towards him over the cool air and like a child his tail began to wag furiously behind him. Trotting forward, he made himself obvious and began looking for the woad-painted woman. Had he been bolder he might have called for her, but he did not trust the borders of the territory that much. Instead he used his body and caused a small ruckus as he advanced, amber eyes looking for any sort of movement.

POSTED: Sat Sep 05, 2009 12:49 pm ... -mab_t.png); background-position: bottom center; background-repeat: no-repeat;">

She had not seen such things often, nor had she seen such things in action before. They had a celerity, the warrior decided, and a power to break and crush any unfortunate enough to fall within the metal jaws. But, while these jaws lay within the earth, they did not belong to the earth. The Adonis had heard that such things had been placed upon their boarders by one of lavender scent, and she had not entirely believed that such jaws could exist. Yet, seeing them now, she knew that they did. But they were not alive and would only require caution to avoid misfortune. Her mind had considered the possibility that Svara had been responsible for such a thing; the warrior remembered their last encounter, the loud scent of the flower upon the other. And yet, as she saw these jaws, she did not think that such a thing characterized the red-hued girl. Perhaps, when she would be able to continue upon her duty, she would investigate the matter deeply.

The woad-banded ears swiveled, lifting to catch the deliberate rustle that sounded near the boarders. She heard him first, and then she smelled him. "Ezekiel." The soft melody called his name, rising on the air like the seed to be sewn within the earth. The white orbs lifted, finding the golden form of the Inferni Prince emerging from the trees and foliage. Her voice had perhaps held a faint not of surprise, for surely she would not have thought to find him at the Dahlian boarders. And while she should have been wary, she knew that Ezekiel was no enemy of her. The woad-marked warrior took a single step forward, dipping her maw in respectful greeting. The golden boy was of an enemy pack, but, at least for that moment, he was not an enemy. It could be said that a gladness moved through her, flickering there in her eyes like a faint, distant light. She had not seen the boy in many moons, had not sparred nor trained with him for perhaps longer. Once more, the black fae became keenly aware of the extent to which she had been idle.

Proud and humble. She stood there, yet neither amiably nor belligerently, her posture elegantly erected, the woad tipped tail waving once in its lifted state as if she were thoughtful. "What are you doing here?" It was a query that left her tongue at every such encounter. It was a simple question, and yet it was the answer that mattered. It was the answer that would reveal much beyond the mere words that would be spoken. Trouble was trouble. Hostility was hostility. She would deal with such situations regardless of the perpetrator and the relationship that was held with them. The Adonis did not discriminate between situations, and she could easily place that line before her without regret, without entirely understanding that, in this society, such dutiful action was not without consequence of the personal relationship. She had seen it once, regretted it once, but once was enough and she knew that, with Onus, such a thing would likely not happen again. Of course, she did not rule out the possibility of it happening, unable to think in such absolutes. She did not wish for that rift to be rendered once more, but what would happen, would happen. And what would fix, would fix. Already, love, it seemed, had made them inseparable—at least in soul.

POSTED: Tue Sep 08, 2009 5:58 pm

     The sound of her voice summoned him to her like a falcon to its master. He saw her not soon after, and approached with no hesitation, returning her greeting with his own. Yet, as he advanced, he stopped just outside of the border to her home. Such a thing was not meant for him to cross, and he knew to do so was to break treaties drawn in blood. A smile turned the corners of his mouth, causing the scars over his left eye to crinkle with the motion. Even though they had been with him for so many months, and he often overlooked their presence, small motions like that smile reminded him he had been so ruined. The path of the soldier had been one that had nearly taken his life. He had been lucky to survive. The scars on his face reminded him of this daily.
     “I came to see you,” he explained simply. “I was worried.” A noise behind the pair caused the coyote to turn his head, but after a moment or two of silence he dismissed it. Amber eyes focused back on the woad-painted woman, and the smile on his face turned into a smirk, causing one eye to narrow slightly. “One of your packmates told me you had children,” he added, a mild amount of amusement in his tone. After all, it seemed unexpected—especially given the beast that had been following her for so long.

POSTED: Thu Sep 10, 2009 12:33 pm ... -mab_t.png); background-position: bottom center; background-repeat: no-repeat;">
Sorry about the wait!

The words that were spoken by the golden coyote did not suggest hostility, nor did it hold mendacious intent. The warrior listened to his voice, to his breathing, to the world about him, and she could hear it. She had sensed upon their last meeting a tentative darkness caused, perhaps, by the attack of the crow wolf, or perhaps by other events of which she was not a part. And the woad-bound ears lifted as if hearing something more, or as f she tried to hear something more. She listened for what the silence would say, but the silence was often limited by the will of the other to give such a thing. Her own silence gave very little. Her eyes gave very little. Content that he would not cause trouble with Dahlia, at least within her presence, the Raven Warrior stepped forth to surpass the limits of the boarder. But she did not recline, preferring to stand within the quiet song of the woods.

A soft smile touched the woad-bound maw, illuminating the quiet lips. Conor, too, had come to visit. It was a peculiar thing to the warrior. But it seemed as if the golden coyote did not come without a why or a reason. Slightly, imperceptibly, the black fae’s head tilted in question. "What was troubling you, Ezekiel?" The voice was quiet as it sang upon the quiet air with tones of silver and chords of gold. His words implied that he no longer was, but she wondered still what it was that caused such worry, and what it was that moved him to seek her. The noise in the distance caused the woad-banded aurals to adjust, but she retained that tranquility, seemingly unconcerned with that sound in the distance. She listened too and found that the disturbance had receded into the distance. The amber eyes found her once more, but her eyes had never left him.

Those white, tranquil orbs were impassive as he spoke that additional statement, unable to understand quite that amusement that emerged within his voice, upon his maw. It was most certainly not spoken as a question. The mild curiosity of the warrior wondered at the giver of such news. "I do," the soft, Caledonian lilt replied simply. She was reminded once more of the time that had passed since she had last seen the golden boy—four moons, perhaps, or even five? At times it was difficult for the black fae to pinpoint exact dates. For a wolf, such dates were irrelevant, and only the event, in the end, was significant. That was not to say that she lost the order of her life’s happenings but that time, ever flowing, changing, and yet constant, was an irrelevant factor within her mind. That discrete gaze was unchanging, and yet beneath was the warmth of one alive, of one who spoke to a familiar creature. "There are two," the soft melody continued. "They are twins, but they are not the same." No, the confusion lay somewhere deeper.

POSTED: Mon Sep 14, 2009 5:13 pm

     The terrible things that came to him in dreams were not her concern. Ezekiel knew terror, and he knew fear. He had not yet killed another. The chance had come, but it was not his to take. He knew that this was the final test for a soldier; to know his enemy by bathing in his blood. Certainly that day would come soon. Deep in his heat he sensed the need, the terrible thing that had passed from father to son over four generations of their family. It was inevitability. To have two clans born of blood and fire join with the sickness of his mother’s blood (and oh he knew this, for his uncle proved such daily) was much like a time bomb. Both he and his sister would suffer for it. Lord knew they had suffered enough all ready.
     That was why his eyes burned with that terrible fire, even though he felt no ill towards her. One day they would perhaps meet as equals. Perhaps he would know her as a warrior, as he desired to do so. Perhaps she would grant him her mark, as her father had. Perhaps he would do the same to her, and know that they had met as equals. It would be glorious. For months now, the threat of his own mortality had become a fading thing. “I knew you intended to go after him,” he said, not needing to name the demon. “I hadn’t heard from you.” He had thought she might have died, as he thought with his sister. But as his thoughts about Talitha had changed, so had his assumptions in regards to the woad-banded warrior.
     Two children, even though they were different—the curious statement meant something, but what it was he did not know. Puzzled, his head cocked slightly to the side, something he had been doing since he was a child. He was smiling, despite his narrowed eyes and the nearly suspicious glint in them. “Different then,” the coyote mused, whiskers turning up as he spoke. “Like the sun and the moon?”

POSTED: Wed Sep 16, 2009 2:44 pm ... -mab_t.png); background-position: bottom center; background-repeat: no-repeat;">
Sorry for the wait!

The white orbs considered the boy, her expression unmoved and impassive. Her eyes seemed to glow in the half-light of the woods as she lingered in the silence. "I sought him," the quiet alto confirmed, "but I had sought another and, having found the other, had already battled when I found him." The wounds that Brennt had savaged upon her had made her body slow, had made it cold in the rain as it had washed away the blood that flowed so freely from her. Her encounter with the crow-wolf had been met with battle, but the battle had been brief. It had been a defeat rendered swiftly, and for her weakness she had been subdued, unable to ward the inevitable mounting of that utter blackness upon her soul. Save for that branded ‘darkness’, her father had not physically marked his daughter. "I knew defeat," the melody continued with open admittance, "but he is dead." And his remains, she had seen briefly upon her departure from Onus’ abode, had been burned with a purging fire. And yet the spirit of the crow wolf was not purged and lingered in the air of existence, coming to her in the waking hours with a whisper of a touch that thrilled the warrior’s soul as it should not. The mar upon her soul, created with her own conception, drew darkness into her soul like a sweet elixir.

"You should not be troubled by my death," the alto voice sang with light tones, and she spoke as if Death had already claimed her. "Death will come for me when it shall. It is preordained." It is inevitable. Because the woad warrior so easily was able to remove herself, to distance herself, from life, she did not understand the concern that others had with the death of a friend or a close one. Indeed, the black fae felt the desire to preserve life, and she felt it keenly with Onus and her Twins, but she would be able to persist even if they were taken from her. Sadness would crash upon her soul like the waves of the eternal sea, and the light of her soul would be dimmed, but she could persist because she must, because it was ordained that she would persist until Death would come for her. But she and Onus were warriors, and Death was always hungrily upon their heels. The Twins already knew the taste of the practices of war, for they watched their mother as she practiced in the glade. They were protected by Cwmfen and Onus, and they were protected by the boarders of the pack. Death would come less eagerly for them.

A soft smile moved across the warrior’s maw as she nodded. The twins were certainly different, and yet they were the same. The black fae knew very little of what her body had undergone, of the bearing of life and of its birthing. But she supposed that the similarity between the two pups had caused her confusion, had rendered her ability to sense them individually within her into silence. Two and yet one. Their souls shone brightly as one, held by different shapes and different bodies. The woad-banded ears lifted at the sounding of the boy’s voice, and there was no hesitation as she responded to the golden coyote. "Like the Moon and the Night," the soft song sang with a silent susurrus. They were both creatures from the night. The light of the Sun was warm, but it was not the Golden Orb that had graced their birth. They were different, perhaps as the Sun and the Moon were, but they were also the same. They were from the same Night. One was bright, the other dark—a dichotomous existence.

POSTED: Wed Sep 16, 2009 11:02 pm

     Twice she had battled since he had seen her last, and once she had lost. It seemed that such a thing was destined, given that the demon she had battled with was more than a mortal. Even though the truth of this thing was unknown to the boy, he understood very clearly that what he had fought—what had nearly killed him—was something more. Still, the news of the beast’s death made a wicked smile grace his face, turning it wicked. It was the smile of his grandfather, whom he had never known. Like his eyes, which had come from a woman who by all rights should have been dead, Ezekiel was made up of ghosts.
     “I do not fear death,” he reassured her, knowing that such a thing was true. He had seen it once. What he had feared was abandonment, as his mother had done to him twice over. That perhaps she had left him behind and forgotten the promise they had made to one another. The promise, he reminded himself, he would need to cast aside. Even though his sister was gone, he knew she still lived. He intended to find her.
     That was why he had come, truly. And here he sat, listening to her speak of the children he would not see for a long time. Despite the shadow of wickedness in his eyes, they were soft. “I hope to meet them someday,” he began, then hesitated.

POSTED: Thu Sep 17, 2009 1:26 pm ... -mab_t.png); background-position: bottom center; background-repeat: no-repeat;">

The black fae saw the wicked glint within the golden boy’s eyes. The white orbs held the golden gaze, a mild curiosity moving across her eyes. She wondered at that wickedness, wondered if he had allowed it to taint his soul. She remembered.... She remembered when they had first met. His soul had been pure, and he had been civil, well raised. The black warrior had not departed from the younger Ezekiel’s side, and instead they had created a relationship of mentor and disciple. That relationship had caused the golden boy to suffer at her father’s jaws. They had not met often since then to practice. Then she had been confined within the Dahlian boarders by the wounds that marred her own body and by the burden of life that she had carried within her. And now, seeing him, she knew that something was different. It was expected, for surely no creature remained constant, and if consistency was held, then Death had gripped the soul. But the change, the wickedness, within the Inferni Prince was different. Should she continue to train with him, the warrior would observe the manner of his soul and discern whether she would or not. Regardless of skill, not all creatures were meant to be within the circle of war.

A soft smile moved across her maw at his assuring words. She did not think that he could fear Death. Warrior did not fear death, and Soldiers and Knights did not either. "You do not fear Death," the soft melody confirmed with an imperceptible nod. There was a brief silence before she spoke again. "And what of existence after Death?" The woad-marked fae did not forget the religious piety of Gabriel de le Poer. The black fae was familiar with such religion only through occasional observation, but she did not doubt that Ezekiel had been raised beneath the hand of that single, Christian deity. She knew of their judgment, of their hell and their heaven, and of their purgatory too. Ezekiel may not fear Death, but did he fear the judgment that followed?

The wickedness in the boy’s eyes were not yet cruel, but soft still as the coming twilight. Would he allow them to harden? The woad warrior expected that he was strong enough, that he had been trained enough, but also that he himself could recognize his own Self. The woad bound ears lifted at his words, catching the silence and the nature of that silence. She, too, allowed the silence to persist for a moment longer, listening to where his voice had been and where the forest now filled that place. "You will meet them someday," the alto melody sang in reply. She felt, then, his hesitation within the air. The Raven Dreamer was silent then, as if expecting him to speak, but, when silence ensued, the black fae said, "You are leaving now...?" His words implied that he would not stay, and the warrior did not know when he expected that ‘someday’ to be. The question hung in the air with the lightness of an autumn seed, needing only for the other to grasp it.

POSTED: Thu Sep 17, 2009 8:45 pm

     After death there were other worlds. Ezekiel knew that earthly things were temporary, and that the just would be rewarded. In the aftermath of a final fall all would be confronted by that decision. No doubt many would fall. But in his world, there was no place for those who did not believe. They became the things that made him up—ghosts, these long dead memories—and they would not be allowed to rest. The dead man in his smile was no different than her father. Both lived on through the children that they had sired; both had made themselves immortal.
     That was why he smiled so certainly at her now. “In my world the wicked are punished, and the just are saved.” A choir of angels may not come to his side, but he believed they were real. Cwmfen, in his eyes, was one of them. She had saved him from the demon that was her father. This was why he trusted her; and trust was something that the coyote did not grant easily.
     She picked up on what he had not said, and the golden boy smiled softly. Even that trace of cruelty faded from his eyes—like a shadow passing from the sun. “I’m going to find my sister,” he explained firmly. “I owe her that much.”

POSTED: Fri Sep 18, 2009 2:45 pm ... -mab_t.png); background-position: bottom center; background-repeat: no-repeat;">

What was spoken by the golden coyote reminded her of Onus. And yet, for her lover, such a thing did not come after death but in life. An imperceptible nod was given. It was as it should be, she supposed. It was not unlike her own beliefs, although she believed that the manner of salvation and punishment were different. The shades of those that remained upon earth, unable to return to eternal rest in the halls of those long past, was what awaited those that held ill intent within them. It made her wary that Corvus had been killed and was dead, for would his spirit not linger upon the earth? She had felt his black touch in the hours of waking, so real as to incite a response within her that was just as black. Her soul required a purging to clear away the black soot that touched her soul like inescapable tar, but her body needed but a moon of patience, and her Dreams called for such a thing also.

And so it was revealed to her that Ezekiel was leaving, and that it was not a simple departure but a farewell. The black fae did not know if they would meet again, but she supposed that such a thing would occur, for she had promised him that, someday, he would meet her children. The black fae did not lie, and she did not believe that Fate or the Morrigan would move her to lie also. One day, he would return, and he would meet them. When that was and whether she would still exist physical upon his return was not known, for she made no promise in that respect and would not make such a promise. A soft smile moved danced upon her maw as the moonlight and the sunlight dances upon the surface of a calm, forest pool. She did not move to stop him from leaving, nor did she offer words that indicated that she would miss his presence. It seemed as if his path would take him in his search for his sister, and she would not stop him. "Then you must go," the soft melody replied once the silence had grown still. And the Raven Dreamer believed that he had been trained enough to survive. It was understood that she was not his only trainer.

The black fae moved forward, closing the distance between them. The fluidity of the sinew beneath the woad-marked coat grew still when she could feel the warmth of his breath upon her maw. The wolf extended her muzzle, brushing him lightly upon the shoulder, her touch as the memory of a Dream, or the shade of one passed that had come hauntingly. It was the greeting that she had made when they had first met, a greeting of trust, her throat exposed and vulnerable for the moments of that touch. She held that touch for a moment longer before lifting it from him, her paws caring her back as the distance was made once more. "Ge cruaidh sgarachdainn, cha robh dithis gun dealachadh." The alto melody sang in the language of her place of birth as the tranquility moved like light through those white eyes. This parting was not difficult, but the words were offered nevertheless regardless of the language. She knew that the golden boy did not hear the songs of words and the world as she did, but it was what she could offer him. "May you find her," she sang formally, and dipped her woad bound maw.

POSTED: Mon Sep 21, 2009 5:00 pm

     There was no question, no argument, nothing but that ever tranquil voice that sang him blessings. Again, as they had the first time, she gave her neck and he returned the motion. They were both warriors in their own right, and this was their version of the long-ancient handshake. Tristan had shown him the proper way when he had trained under his guide. Ezekiel had been trained by a trio, and this holy trinity had set the foundation for him. Now it was his responsibility to grow on his own.
     Once more they separated, and Ezekiel’s eyes remained steadfast on her face. That raven’s song left her and carried into his soul, words he did not understand, but the meaning held all the same. He knew that he would miss her, for the coyote was still a boy, and he still longed for companionship. He missed all those that had touched his life. Now, though, he had a purpose. If he did not find Talitha he would not consider this a failure, as it had been before. Still, he understood he had to try. That was all he could do. “Thank you,” he said, and dropped his head lower then she had to him. Then he lifted his neck, turned, and walked away from the borders of Dahlia de Mai.

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