Finished thread  Full Circle (Mercury)
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Sekirei She/Her
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#1
(This post was last modified: August 02, 2018, 06:29:09 PM by Mother Moon.)

At long last, Akutan saw the boulder his grandfather had once occupied before they were all cast to the winds. He watched his family explore the dens they had once lived in. Byakko's slow pawsteps came to a halt before one of them. "I know this tree. This was mine," he said before going in to turn around and lie at the entrance. The scents of their family had long since faded away but things were so familiar, it was like they had never left. Byakko laid his head down and closed his eyes. Akutan saw Sara and Rapture approaching the den once occupied by Starfire and Storm. His beautiful cousin seemed to think twice about occupying it as if she somehow knew that her late aunt had once rested her head there. Akutan slipped away to head towards the river as Ticon took a look around.

"Please be there..." he thought. When he emerged, he took in the sight of the mighty willow tree alongside the river he remembered in his youth. He felt a choking cry strangle in his throat when he found what he came to find. Beneath the boughs, completely intact, were the burial mounds where Silverstream and his stillborn siblings had been buried. The mounds were covered in grass and blue star creepers, small pale-blue flowers. To think the mounds survived not just Asylum's occupation but everything since. Akutan had never given a thought to miracles before but this was definitely a miracle. "Thank the winds... Dad's going to be happy that Silverstream's resting place was undisturbed." he thought. He decided his first act as patriarch since coming home was to raise mounds for his parents and grandparents. Make it a gift to Byakko before the end. 

He was hard at work moving earth for his mother's mound when he heard someone approach. "Welcome to where my siblings are buried as well as the one my uncle loved," he said, not looking back.

(Minor retcon even though I'm probably the only one to remember this detail: when Asylum forced Nardir out, I had written that X destroyed the mounds before making his escape. That no longer happened so the mounds are intact and were prettied up over time as nature repaired itself from the funerals. The idea to cover them in blue star creepers came from the film version of LOTR: The Two Towers where the graves outside Edoras are covered in similar flowers.)


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Mercury She
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#2

The Dark Moon Queen of Nardir                 ☿
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"Being brave means to know something is scary, difficult, and dangerous, and doing it anyway, because the possibility of winning the fight is worth the chance of losing it.
- Emilie Autumn




"Welcome to where my siblings are buried as well as the one my uncle loved,"

"I remember."

Said a formal, silken voice as Mercury stepped up beside him, her eyes on the mounds.  The Dark Queen made a firm, if not imposing figure, but there wasn't aggression in her stance.  She simply stood as she always had, as a warrior did.  Without looking at him, she settled herself into a seated position, still examining the tendrils of flowers that curled around the mossy carins.  She dipped her head, as though she was bowing to the graves that sat before them.  It was a subtle, but very clear gesture.

"I was very fond of your mother, and always held her in high regard."

She turned to look at him, and her eyes reflected the sadness, and a bit of the joy, that Akutan felt.  It was a miracle that anything from their previous time here had survived, but she had found bits of undisturbed history tucked away in the land.  Hidden heirlooms and treasures.  She had been to her parent's tree with Alana, and they had been relieved to find it intact.  She could only imagine that Akutan was feeling the same way about his own family's graveyard.



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#3

"I was very fond of your mother, and always held her in high regard." Mercury said, sitting by him. Akutan finished building the mound for his mother and started on the one for his father. "I know she would've loved to hear that. Mom died with a lot of regrets and a sense of failure. That one time where she failed to react to an attack on Alana, I believe, weighed heavily on her. Aylie, too. And the fight she had with Aunt Raka coming to my defense when we were thrown from this place. She carried a lot of baggage. Still, I think she had more successes than failures. She just got tied up in the things she mucked up in towards the end. I guess that's something she and I had in common. I don't know if she ever made peace with anything but I won't know for sure until I join her when my own time comes." he said.

Once done with the mound for Storm, he started on the one for X. He couldn't wait for the new mounds to grow grass and creepers. "Uncle Byakko told me you and he had a good conversation and then he pointed you in my direction. How can I help the one who got me my life back by bringing us home again?" he asked. His deep voice was lighter than it had ever been and the shift in his demeanor was obvious. He still had that gruff edge he inherited from Storm but it wasn't so bitey now that they had come full circle. Akutan had always believed he was meant to die in the land of his birth and for a while, he wasn't sure that would ever happen. His chances had improved now so he hoped things would stay this way.


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Mercury She
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#4

The Dark Moon Queen of Nardir                 ☿
[Image: divider_by_polarshockka-d8ceg2q.png]

"Being brave means to know something is scary, difficult, and dangerous, and doing it anyway, because the possibility of winning the fight is worth the chance of losing it.
- Emilie Autumn




"I know she would've loved to hear that. Mom died with a lot of regrets and a sense of failure. That one time where she failed to react to an attack on Alana, I believe, weighed heavily on her. Aylie, too. And the fight she had with Aunt Raka coming to my defense when we were thrown from this place. She carried a lot of baggage. Still, I think she had more successes than failures. She just got tied up in the things she mucked up in towards the end. I guess that's something she and I had in common. I don't know if she ever made peace with anything but I won't know for sure until I join her when my own time comes."

"I know the feeling."

Mercury said bitterly. The Queen hung her head, and allowed the future heir of the X clan to see how heavy her crown weighed on her.  As always, she was honest,

"There are many who are now gone... to whom I owe a debt I will now be forever unable to repay."

"Uncle Byakko told me you and he had a good conversation and then he pointed you in my direction. How can I help the one who got me my life back by bringing us home again?"

The Brave Queen sat silently for a long time, staring at the flowers before her.  It was a complicated question, what Akutan asked of her.  It was now her place to direct others, but she was barely directing herself.  She had chosen to bring the pack home because she knew nothing else.  Now they had to rebuild, and she had to bring them together.  It really was too bad she had no idea what what the best way to go about it.  She was barely getting her paws under her.

"Much needs to be done. I believe first and foremost, we should redefine the borders."  She turned to look at him. "I would have you gather those who would join you, and set out on a patrol. Bring word of any dangers we may yet face, and take stock of what you see.  Observe and report, engage only if you must."



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#5

"Much needs to be done. I believe first and foremost, we should redefine the borders. I would have you gather those who would join you, and set out on a patrol. Bring word of any dangers we may yet face, and take stock of what you see. Observe and report, engage only if you must." Mercury said in response to his question. Akutan looked over at her, only briefly pausing in his earthmoving. He then got back to it. "I can definitely do so. We lost this place once and I'd rather not lose it a second time if I can help it. Just say the word and it will be done. It shouldn't take my family long to get settled into our old haunting grounds." he replied. Last time, he had been a pup, unable to do anything about Loath. This time, he was an adult wolf and able to act in the event something happened. Having grown up and lost everything several times over made him a tad possessive, he was loath to admit. At least it didn't extend to his family or packmates. No one liked a possessive person. The newly minted Ursa Major just wanted some actual stability in terms of a home. Getting thrown around as much as he had didn't help matters.

Finishing up Starfire's mound, Akutan got to work on the one for his father, Storm. "How long has it been since we left this place? Seems like it was only yesterday that Mother was rousing me from sleep and we were running for the border." he mused, his voice sounding far away as his memories started playing. He paused in his task again, his face hardening in thought. His ears started flicking around as if hearing things from the past. He quickly came out of his memories and just gave a sigh of acceptance. "I know it's been said before but I feel it's worth saying again. I don't blame you for what we lost back then. You were a good fighter and you tried your best. Loath was just better...probably because he was unhinged. I'd only blame you if you hadn't tried. If anything, I blame myself and I have no reason to. I was just a pup then. I couldn't do anything, just accept that Exile was my life then and find a way to live. Hopefully, the two of us can really start healing." he said.

Finishing up Storm's mound, Akutan had one last mound to build. He saved his grandfather for last. Moving to a new spot, he started digging up earth and building the new mound. "So this mission you want me to spearhead, other than redefining the borders and rooting out potential threats, are there any other objectives I should try to complete?" he asked, getting back to business. Best not to dwell too much on the past.


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#6

The Dark Moon Queen of Nardir                 ☿
[Image: divider_by_polarshockka-d8ceg2q.png]

"Being brave means to know something is scary, difficult, and dangerous, and doing it anyway, because the possibility of winning the fight is worth the chance of losing it.
- Emilie Autumn



"I can definitely do so. We lost this place once and I'd rather not lose it a second time if I can help it. Just say the word and it will be done. It shouldn't take my family long to get settled into our old haunting grounds."

"As much as I understand your eagerness, I require the X Clan to remain at the communal dens in the Mother's Hills." Mercury stated.

There was no room for argument, and the tone in Mercury's voice would make that clear enough.  While she had let the pack search for their old homes, she was keeping track of them.  The old dens were scattered throughout the territory, and the privacy they afforded was not practical for defense.  Until Mercury could be sure that the territory was safe and protected, she could not have everyone so scattered.  She knew it was a hard order, having them so close to where the heart called "home" yet unable to completely return.  Mercury herself had not even visited her own former denning site.  But first and foremost, she must protect them, and that meant keeping them together a while longer.  Akutan's mission was the first step in giving the pack it's freedom.

"We are not as we were. With fewer numbers and the territory yet secured, the pack must stay together."

"How long has it been since we left this place? Seems like it was only yesterday that Mother was rousing me from sleep and we were running for the border. I know it's been said before but I feel it's worth saying again. I don't blame you for what we lost back then. You were a good fighter and you tried your best. Loath was just better...probably because he was unhinged. I'd only blame you if you hadn't tried. If anything, I blame myself and I have no reason to. I was just a pup then. I couldn't do anything, just accept that Exile was my life then and find a way to live. Hopefully, the two of us can really start healing."

Mercury heaved a sigh.  While returning had brought joy and lifted the hearts of her pack, it had also brought the pain of old scars to the surface.  The Dark Moon had been prepared to fight once again for Nardir, but the dead of it was a hard knot twisted in her gut.  The relief she had felt to find their home unoccupied of their invaders both relieved and disturbed her.  Why had they left?  Had it been disease, or famine?  Considering the crumbling stones and mossy logs they had seen, she wondered if it had been Man.

They had seen no sign of humanity on their way into the heart of the territory, but she had kept them to the main trail.  But Nardir was a lot of territory to cover.  The adults would know to avoid Man. Kodiak, who wore a twin of her own collar, may have some success in approaching, but she doubted he would be careless.  If it wasn't safe, she didn't think he'd go.  Still, she made a mental note to check on him after she finished speaking with Akutan.

"I no longer have the luxury of looking back."  Mercury reflected, as much to herself as to him. "Nardir must think of the future, and so must I."

"So this mission you want me to spearhead, other than redefining the borders and rooting out potential threats, are there any other objectives I should try to complete?"

"Bring those with different skill sets in addition to Guards, that they may see what a warrior would not.  I wish to know the talents and faults of those you take with you.  There will be many tasks that will need to be done, and we must attune to each other's strengths and weaknesses in order to accomplish them all."

  She realized this was a personal ritual, and had the good sense to stay out of Akutan's way while he worked. She did not comment nor offer to assist him, but instead spoke of what the pack needed, all the while allowing him to work through his healing.  She could already tell the difference in him, and thought Byakko had too.  The old warrior was a tough one, and she was glad that she could return him to this place, even if it would only be for a short time.  The Pack was sensing his end, in the animalistic way they could, but it did not make it any less painful.  She suspected that Akutan was much like herself, and that work would soothe his heart more than all the pretty words that could be offered.  So instead, she would give him the work he needed.  She had plenty of it for herself now.


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#7
(This post was last modified: June 26, 2018, 07:36:30 PM by Sekirei.)

While Akutan didn't say anything in response to Mercury "requiring" the Clan to stay at the communal dens, he did let a famous Storm scowl fixate on his face and his entire demeanor chilled instantly. It was like the air around him dropped a number of degrees. The old barriers that he had been lowering over time suddenly slammed back into place and he was completely walled off. The complete reversal in his demeanor would be startling. Just like that, his efforts to move on from his past were completely undone. There was always a damn catch whenever something good happened to him. Story of his life. He saw where Mercury was coming from but at the same time, the fact that his family had to relocate this far away from their memorial mounds, den site, and family boulder were didn't seem fair, mainly for Byakko who was getting weaker by the day and would surely come to this place to die. If he couldn't make it here before the end, then that left the remaining adults in the pack the difficulty of moving his dead body here from across the territory. Byakko was the largest and heaviest wolf in the pack. Even with tools like their sleds, finding a way to use them in this familiar yet strange terrain was a logistical nightmare in and of itself. His uncle more than likely didn't have that kind of time. It would be too late when he died to figure out how to get his body here if he didn't get here first. 

The other problem with the idea of communal dens was the fact that it traded border security for pack security, neither was which were mutually exclusive. Even with border patrols, which he needed to start organizing soon, anyone could waltz right in during a lull and get pretty far into the territory before anyone realized what was up. The whole idea didn't make much sense since the pack had the potential to outgrow the communal den site and frankly, wolves needed their own space. Having them spread out across the territory was, in his mind, safer. Threats could be caught faster and it would take time for the resident crows to recognize every wolf that should be here and alert them if an intruder was sighted. The only pups present were Rapture, Beatrice, and Aeneas and Akutan wasn't alone in protecting them. That's why Ticon was around.

He finished the mound for X and sat before the one where his siblings were buried, setting a paw on it as his mind cycled through the fact that his family was being denied their home once more. Their place was under the trees where they had lived, not some cave to the north of them. Nardir was home, to be sure, but this small area with the tree dens, the boulder in the center, the burial mounds, and the willow tree...that was the home Starfire had helped make for the Clan as whole. Byakko wouldn't be happy about this either. Hopefully Mercury could shoulder the disappointment his uncle wasn't going to make a secret of. None in the family had the will or guts to question anything, which was a fatal flaw if there ever was one and hammered home once more just how far they had fallen since Firewing's day, but what could the X Clan do but go along with something they had objections to? Akutan was patriarch. His word was the final call for the rest of his kin, which meant he would also have to shoulder some of his uncle's disappointment as well for not raising those objections. It was a talk Akutan wasn't looking forward to.

"If I may, I propose a compromise because I've come way too far to just give up and given my own history, I simply cannot and will not accept this. I'm only going along with it because it's in the interest of peace but that's as far as it goes. My family lives in the communal den site but if and when the pack gets strong enough, we get to relocate back here to our sacred grounds. This..." he said with a wave of his tail to indicate the area they were in. "Is where we really belong. I don't know if I should feel insulted or disappointed or both. But I do know my uncle didn't bleed for and stick it out with this pack for all these years just to be told we can't live in this area now that we've finally come home. Why did we even bother? All this means is that Loath wins again and we've shown nothing but blind loyalty to broken promises. And I'm pissed about that. His ghost's continued presence in this place...that's on you. I might be making a bigger deal of it than it has to be but, like many in my bloodline, I love too hard and am pretty resistant to a needless change like this arrangement. Accepting this truth about me is the price anyone associated with my bloodline has to pay." he said. It wasn't an argument against the decision. It was a statement of fact and an invocation of his right to speak up. Bottling it up was self-destructive and was detrimental to the pack as a whole because if the pack didn't feel safe enough to air their grievances to their alpha, then it deserved to fall all over again and never revive. The White Demon was the source of all Nardir's past troubles. Everything could be traced back to him and Asylum. 

"If a full return isn't doable, then I propose Byakko be allowed to remain here. Knowing him, he'll come to this willow to die without telling a soul and it would be better for all of us if he didn't have to travel such a far distance and risk him never making it. It isn't right or justifiable to have him trek all the way back to where we're unwillingly setting up shop and he's done enough for this pack. This would be a kindness. I also volunteer to stay with him until the very end so he's not all alone. After that, I give up. All I ask is that you think about it. I don't require an answer right now. I need the time to process this latest setback in an entire life's worth of them..again...more than I need that answer right away. I just know you'll make the right decision to allow my uncle to stay here. I understand why you're making this move but at the same time, the current den arrangement is only going to make to make my slight antisocial bent worse. You can thank my dead father for that. I'm his son, after all." he finished. Akutan was known to hide his hurts and disappointments. The fact he was openly showing both was proof of how much this whole thing just undermined everything he had hoped for and that he finally reached his breaking point. It also had the unfortunate side effect of him questioning his own loyalty. All his life, he had followed Alana because he believed she would make things work out for everyone. He had a feeling that Alana wouldn't have come up with the idea of a communal den site because she knew how important it was for, not just the X Clan, but for all Old Nardirians to reclaim the areas they had previously occupied. 

Mercury, by contrast, wasn't doing much to inspire that same loyalty (just the opposite, in fact) in the dark wolf who had to shoulder the burden of breaking this news to his family and he wondered if everything they had gone through to get back to the Old Forest was even worth it. True, he didn't deny that Mercury had done them all good by bringing them home and he was still grateful for that but not making a full return left him, and the Clan by extension, in a limbo he wasn't sure he could handle. This was just a betrayal of everything he had lived for. This wasn't a matter of the past or future, which was neither here nor there. They could still look to the future without upending everything the Old Nardirians had loved about living here, which included their old den sites. This would've been a different story if he hadn't be born in the Old Forest to start with. Sara was better equipped to handle this because she didn't have the emotional ties the way he or her father did. It was like the Old Nardirians who had stuck with the pack this long...didn't even matter. That's not how things were done. Nardir might as well have been left behind in the crater and some new pack came to live in the Old Forest.

Letting Byakko stay in the family den site with Akutan as his companion was the very least the Dark Queen could do. Even she had a heart to see that Akutan's compromise was in the pack's best interest as well as Byakko's. Still, even if the compromise was accepted, Mercury and Akutan would both have to take responsibility for Byakko's disappointment in them both for the X Clan not being allowed to remain in their haunting grounds on a more permanent basis. Akutan had the added misfortune knowing that was how his uncle was going to die: disappointed in the wolf he saw as a son and disappointment in the new alpha for being just like those who drove them from their forest in the first place because she wasn't letting them make a fully-realized return. There really was no justice in this world. There was no way Mercury didn't see this coming. She had to have known this wasn't going to go over well at all and she had to know about the ramifications of this call.

"Anytime I'm not on patrol, doing some other task during the day, at a meeting, or with the rest of my family away from the communal dens, you'll find me right here. Until we get our right to live wherever we choose back in full, my Clan isn't home yet. That's how it's going to be. We'll do our jobs and operate as we always have but the inherent gap that has always existed between Nardir and the X Clan has just gotten bigger. If your idea is a permanent fixture, then the Clan stays in partial Exile until it's overturned down the road. We wanted to return to our den site when it was clear we were being brought home and we were so close. Once again, we've had yet another barrier thrown in our faces by having our right to choose our living space taken away again. Unacceptable. We're done being jerked around. It's not enough just coming here from time to time. We've spent a lot of time thinking we were going to live here again so you can understand the frustation I'm feeling on behalf on my family dead or alive." he said. His last statement was just as ironclad as Mercury's wish for the Clan to break with true Nardirian tradition. In all other lands they had occupied, living wherever they chose within the boundaries had never changed. It made no sense to change that now. They were no more unstable here than they had been in those other lands. 

He had said his piece and listened to the other mission parameters without much to say. The gist was he needed some other wolves from the new Guilds and figure out strengths and weaknesses. It seemed like the mission itself was partly a scouting mission and a survey. He was confident before but the bombshell he had just been given just shot it down to hell and his motivation also took a hit. He just nodded to show he listened and understood but he really had nothing more to say. Right now, he wanted to be alone with his thoughts and just grieve. He had completely given up on everything and it showed. The only upside was that this wasn't enough to completely break ties with the pack as a whole. Akutan was spiteful but not that spiteful. He just had nothing to believe in anymore. Just a faint hope that perhaps a fully-realized return would be possible. Just being back in the Old Forest was a good start. 

Far as he was concerned, Mercury still had a good professional relationship with both himself and the Clan but she blew her chance at a personal friendship because she forgot the two eldest Clan members among them had been dreaming of this day for a long time, only to be presented with yet another obstacle. Only time will tell if that could ever be reversed.


If Roman Reigns has millions of fans, I am one of them. If Roman Reigns has only one fan, that is me. If Roman Reigns has no fans, I'm no longer in the world.

Hail the Roman Empire. Hail the Guy. Roman Reigns fan for life.
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Mercury She
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#8

The Dark Moon Queen of Nardir                 ☿
[Image: divider_by_polarshockka-d8ceg2q.png]

"Being brave means to know something is scary, difficult, and dangerous, and doing it anyway, because the possibility of winning the fight is worth the chance of losing it.
- Emilie Autumn




While Mercury was a wolf of few words, Akutan had certainly found his.  He began cordially enough, but it quickly became a cascade of blame and insults.  The Dark Moon's eyes narrowed, and her own relaxed expression hardened. Akutan began to throw a tantrum like a child, demanding things with no thought to the consequences.  Instead of thinking of the safety of the pack, and how things must be done step by step, he wanted instant gratification.  Well so did everyone else.  So did she.  But Nardir wasn't going to magically become what it was overnight.  They had to be cautious.  The decision to hold the pack together while she sent Akutan on his mission had been a difficult one to make, but her training as a warrior and a tactician had made it the obvious choice.  Spreading the pack too thin gave them no defense, and with so many of the younger members unfamiliar with the territory, they would be hard pressed to come to another's aid.  Not to mentioin the perils of the land itself.

Oh, the irony.  Where Ayliyra had always beat Alana with the fact that she was not Mercury, now Akutan used the same cane to mentally berate his new Queen.  And it was true, Mercury was not Alana.  A harsh truth that the pack was going to have to learn.  While Alana had been the pretty princess and lofty queen, Mercury had been down in the dirt, fighting and working the day to day.  Did Akutan not remember that Byakko was also her mentor?  True, she had not yet called a council meeting to explain her plan, but they had barely set foot home.  When they all returned in the evening, she intended to tell them what she was doing.  First, she had wanted to let the pack slake their curiosity.  To give them the gift of knowing what had survived their absence.  And this was how she was going to be repaid.  Well, Akutan was about to learn that the Bright Moon was no longer in sway, and the Dark Moon was a very, very different kind of ruler.

"You forget yourself!"

Mercury snapped, rising from her seated position, her tail coming up and her lips pulling back from her teeth. She took a step forward, bearing down on him.  While he was just as tall, she was heavier, and her muscles rippled underneath her dark coat. The jagged scar on her chest was starkly visible, a constant reminder of the injury that had almost killed her, and the defeat that had come with it.  Akutan may have had a rough time in the territories where he grew up, but he forgot that it was Mercury who knew the greater pain.  What did he, who only knew this place through stories, feel in comparison to one who had known this land, and had been the instrument to it's loss?  Akutan assumed much if he thought that Mercury's pain was not at least as great as his.

"You were barely a whelp out of the den when this place was lost, and you know nothing of what dangers are here!"

She snarled in frustration, glaring at him with eyes that had been as tranquil as the lake, and now glittered hard and icy.  The pack didn't trust her, not after her being gone for so long.  She knew that, understood that it would be so when Alana asked her to take the crown.  But she had, because she knew the pack could survive, together.  She would do what she had to to make that happen.  Even if they had to hate her, she would see them safe.

"You would instead have them scattered, disappearing into the unknown and unfamiliar, while the Elders who walked these trails are too tired or injured to do so."

Selfish.  Absolutely selfish.  He was still a boy, still an inexperienced youth.  He though his life had been hard?  Mercury's world had been ripped apart.  Her parents gone much too young, her siblings lost.  Her only famliy left was Kasta, whom she had only just met.  Akutan was surrounded by his family, and yet he would put them in such peril.  Selfish!

"The border must be secured. Patrols will be sent to discover the land's new and existing dangers, returning with reports until further instructed. The pups, elderly and infirm WILL remain protected at the communal dens."

She shot him a withering look that could slice through him.  She was no longer the scared girl who had faced a monster in the ring.  This time, she was the monster.

"But perhaps I should choose a different Captain to oversee this mission."

She would defend Nardir, against itself if she had to.  Let them hate her, they would be safe.


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         Profile ☿ played by EhwazAzi

I found solace in the strangest place
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Sekirei She/Her
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Nardir
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#9
(This post was last modified: June 28, 2018, 01:04:02 PM by Sekirei.)

Akutan's mental gears ground to a halt as it became clearer to him that he had misunderstood. He kept his back to Mercury but his pale greens raised to look up sightlessly at the willow tree. Then...he started laughing. It wasn't a laugh that indicated humor. That much was obvious. It sounded like self-deprecation with a slight psychotic edge but managed to refrain itself from sounding like he was insane. It was like a dam broke and Akutan was releasing everything he had been bottling up for the past few years.

When it finally died down, the dark wolf looked down at the mound where his siblings were buried, an unseen smile on his face. Even if Mercury stayed mad at him for laughing, he honestly didn't care if she was. For some strange reason, it actually felt...good to be railed on. He hadn't had that happen since that long ago argument with Aylie. For some reason, it was better that it was Mercury this time around. Let her stay mad if she wished. She would hopefully come to realize someday that she had actually done him a favor. "Damn, did I blow it. I never realized until now that I actually needed that. It's just that you made it sound like we couldn't remain here even after we resettle and you doubted the more than capable adults in my family of being able to protect our young and old here. I guess I jumped to conclusions without fully thinking things through. After all, a leader who doubts the strength of the pack as a whole is a weak leader all around but Nardir and the one who leads it is anything but. Okay...this one's on me. I suppose we'll just have to earn our place back. It'll be better that way. I can handle that and I will do whatever it takes to reclaim what is ours. Whether or not you accept them, I offer my deepest apologies. It's not like me to not think things through" he said. It was like he was talking to both himself and her in his words. His tone was light and thoughtful and gone was the confrontational edge. Already the gears were turning.

He looked slightly over his shoulder at the Dark Queen. "You make some valid points...except where my connection to this place is concerned. I concede the point that I was only a pup at the time but that doesn't mean I wasn't adversely affected by the loss all the same. You weren't around most of my formative time so you didn't see what the compounding losses of my grandfather and parents did to me on top of losing the only home I had known at the time. Hell, Sara's seen me at my absolute worst and she refuses to tell anyone what happened that time because the two of us were on our own together. Even the rest of my family doesn't know what happened. When Sarajevo...pure, beautiful, too-kind-for-her-own-good Sarajevo...refuses to speak of my darkest hour, then it was that bad. I don't deserve her as a cousin but she's stayed at my side through it all." he said, his voice still thoughtful and neutral. He wasn't blaming Mercury for underestimating the effects both the Exile and the resulting deaths had on his psyche. He was just putting it out there for her to contemplate on if she desired. 

Akutan let his forelegs slide down so the small mound of his siblings lay between them. He put his nose to the flowers covering it and sighed. A small silence filled the air as he continued digesting things and making future plans. "If you want to find someone else to spearhead the mission, I'll step aside. I'm still willing to take on the task if you still think I'm the best wolf for the job. Any reparations you wish me to pay, I'll do without question. I just want this whole thing to stay between the two of us. My family doesn't need to know and neither does the pack. The quicker we move past this, the better it will be for us in the long run." he said. With a heavy sigh, the young patriarch let his head come to rest on the mound itself. Even though he had never known his dead siblings, he still felt the connection they had had when they were still in the womb.

"Speaking now as the patriarch, I'll take the family to the communal area but it remains our hope to see us return to our sacred grounds here once the entire Old Forest is completely secured. Danger is inherent no matter where we are. We understand this truth and we've been risking it ever since my mother arrived here years ago to find a place to belong. We know we can't completely go back but we wish for this place to be where we make our home once more. The Clan can't abide Loath tainting this place longer than necessary." he said. It was an admission of the Clan's willingness to go along with things for the time being but also an admission that his goals remained completely unchanged. The family den site, their boulder, the burial mounds, and the willow tree had to be reclaimed in full in order for Loath to be completely exorcised.

"Still, I have a good feeling about things moving forward. Again, I apologize for letting you down and I'm ready to make things right." 


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Mercury She
From Queen to Dog and Back Again
Nardir
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#10

 The Dark Moon Queen of Nardir                 ☿
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"Being brave means to know something is scary, difficult, and dangerous, and doing it anyway, because the possibility of winning the fight is worth the chance of losing it.
- Emilie Autumn




Akutan began laughing hysterically, and Mercury's eyes narrowed.  What on earth was he on about?  His back was to her, and now he was quivering as the laughter wracked him.  Oh, Moon, she wanted to hit him. 

 "Damn, did I blow it. [...] Whether or not you accept them, I offer my deepest apologies. It's not like me to not think things through."

"We all have much to learn about each other."

Mercury said, neither accepting nor refusing his apology.  And then he began to talk again.  She came to stand beside him while he monologued, but frankly, she wasn't all that interested.  She'd forgotten how long-winded an X could be.  Byakko would often get side tracked with tales of glory when he was teaching her to hunt. She respected and honored the long histories of Nardir, but mostly, she let history be history.  When he mentioned his dark time, then immediately said how it ws never talked about, Mercury lifted a brow.  It was like he was almost asking for her to ask about it.  Well, he could get used to disappointment.  She wasn't opening that floodgate.  She was still irked, after all.

"Byakko yet lives. You are patriarch of nothing." She stated. "And you have much yet to learn."

She turned and walked away from him, leaving him to his mounds and his daydreams.  Idealistic, romantic, and foolish.  Still just an untested boy.  Akutan thought he could make demands for his clan, that he could stand as her equal.  That was not the case.  The little lordling would know that.  She was not her sister, and while the Gentle Queen had been swayed and swept away by the vortex of power around her, the Dark Queen was not.  Mercury would tame this wild heart, and bring him properly to heel.  He may be responsible for guiding his family, but she guided the pack, and no bloodline was above the pack.  He would learn, and he would serve, or he would learn the harder way.

"Prove what you do know.  Lead the mission.  Fail me, and there will not be a second chance." She ordered, and then she was gone.



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         Profile ☿ played by EhwazAzi

I found solace in the strangest place
Way in the back of my mind
I saw my life in a stranger's face
And it was mine

vixxie's codes

[Image: ruvbfa_by_ehwazazi-dcfe5qt.png]

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Sekirei She/Her
Resident Changling
Nardir
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#11

Akutan just listened without another word. Denying his role as family patriarch did nothing to change the fact that he was. It was up to the current clan head when they were succeeded and by whom. Byakko had made his choice to step down and Akutan was the oldest in his generation. The position defaulted to him just as it would default to Rapture when her time came. At this point, the Ursa Major figured he would have to prove his unofficial role as clan head by doing, really, nothing different. It wasn't necessary for the pack at large to accept him as such, just as it wasn't necessary for them to accept Ticon's chosen role as a knight to the Clan. It was a family tradition they decided to keep so they never forgot where they had come from. Ticon chose the role he had in the family out of a sense of responsibility, which later turned into loyalty.

When she was gone, Akutan looked up at the sky through the trees. He knew Mercury was likely speaking out of anger for his gross misinterpretation behind her move but she had a point all the same. He could acknowledge that. Both of them had something to prove, truth be told. As such, he was surprisingly not offended at all. So they would work together and independently to do just that. Things were rocky right now, as was natural with the huge move they had just made. With this being a homecoming for him personally, he hadn't quite gotten his mind to slow down. He filed the end of his encounter with Merc under things best brushed under the rug. His end game hadn't changed but he had to recalculate things to achieve the result he was aiming for, in regards to both the pack and his family. He'd prove himself reliable but it was ultimately up to others to decide if he managed that. No use worrying about it. He had to do his best and he would. 

All Akutan wanted was to reclaim the Old Forest, bring his family back to their sacred grounds, and finally exorcise the spirit of Loath who had managed to influence him all his life. So, time to get to work and make it happen. Taking a deep breath, he stood up. "It won't be much longer now, Mom. Give me guidance and help me grow. After all, what sort of role model would I be to the pups?" he thought. He turned and headed back towards the den site, running calculations as he went and the sour note he and Mercury left on already forgotten. If she brought it up at a later time when cooler heads were involved, it would be water under the log as far as he was concerned. He was done letting the past rule him. He had wasted enough time doing that when he was younger. He was home and he had a job to do. He still made a mental note to change his approach the next time something got lost in translation because that was where things went south. He also started formulating his own explanation to Byakko as to why they were being corralled in the Mother Hills for the time being. Perhaps his uncle would see more clearly than he had.


If Roman Reigns has millions of fans, I am one of them. If Roman Reigns has only one fan, that is me. If Roman Reigns has no fans, I'm no longer in the world.

Hail the Roman Empire. Hail the Guy. Roman Reigns fan for life.
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