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Mercury She
From Queen to Dog and Back Again
Nardir
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#21

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




Raka gave Mercury a regal nod, and the Dark Queen returned it in kind. It was not their fallen crowns that had earned Mercury's respect. No, it was the years of dutiful service, even when they were barely holding together. Byakko and Raka had taught her, mentored her, given her inspiration. She was the Queen she was because of their lessons.

"I thank you, and Nardir thanks you, for the loyalty, courage and wisdom you have brought us. Shine forever, my friends. Merry meet, merry part, and merry meet agsin."

Shimmah came forward with her offering of moonstones, "To guide the Ascending Star Children."

Mercury gave the girl a somber smile as Arik took the stones from her.

"Thank you, Shimmah, for bringing the moonstones. Everyone gathered here today is to take one for themselves."

The younger girls came forward, curling into Raka's embrace like welps still in the den. Mercury wished for the freedom of that comfort, but for the sake of their honor, she did not move to ask for it.  Instead she stood tall and proud, flanked by Kastra and Kodiak. Only they would be able to feel her tension as she held her emotions in check. Adolph wept openly, while Buckshot tended to the children to give Sara some space.

Ayliyra's arrival was unexpected, but Mercury was pleased she had made an appearance. Death was the final line, and it was up to Aylie on whether she would dwell on hate or love. By accepting Raka's embrace, perhaps peace would be brought by this last exchange.

When all had assembled. Arik locked eyes with her.  She saw the bow of his head, and subtly cocked her own. She was a bit surprised to see him. Then he gave a speech, and the words hummed through her. It was like he was quoting a memory, the words were so familiar. Yet she could not remember where before she had heard them. And then, his purpose fufilled, Arik shrank from center stage 

"You did well."
 
She would whisper to him as he passed her, keeping her voice quiet so as not to disturb the others.



[Image: divider_by_polarshockka-d8ceg2q.png]





         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

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Sekirei She/Her
Resident Changling
Nardir
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Location: Toledo














#22

Aylie's appearance was nothing short of a surprise for Byakko. He just watched from his place on the ground as she came forward with words for them alone. "Thank you, for everything you gave me. I'm..sorry things did not turn out different". the girl said. She sounded sincere but the doubt he had of it being so would stay with him. "I'll admit that I didn't think you'd care if I was here or not, Aylie. After all, you made your position regarding clan and pack pretty clear to us. That you would fall in line only when it suited you and you see yourself above accountability. So, the Clan withdrew from you as a result. We don't respect those who don't show respect in kind. You have your reasons for being what you are, we know, but that doesn't excuse anything that happened." Byakko said. He sounded far more tired than disappointed. Even Aylie would pick up on the fact he was too far gone to express disappointment and was only making his final impression of past events known before it was too late. 

"If nothing else, know that I am sorry we failed you. We tried to steer you right but we came to accept defeat as time went on. What you do from here on out in regards to the pack is on you. Just know that continuing on this path you've chosen for yourself will only hold you back and I want nothing more than for you to succeed. I accept your apology but you have a lot to atone for with the rest of them. I will be watching." he said, his gold eyes closing. He knew he sounded preachy but in the end, everything he said was the truth. It was Aylie's choice to either take his wisdom and apply it or leave it to rot somewhere in her heart. 

When Aylie stepped back, Byakko let his eyes roam up to meet Adolph's. He couldn't help but let a small, sad smile cross his maw. "Thank you, old friend. It's hard knowing you're older than I am but I'm the one taking the final journey before you. Sorry...to leave you." he said. He had a feeling that Adolph wasn't long for the world himself but he still was much older than Byakko was, or even X when he was still alive. It was almost funny in a sad way that he was watching wolves younger than him dying before him.

Schimmah's moonstones and Arik's little speech made the oldster feel fuzzy and warm inside. He knew he could count on Akutan or Sara to thank them both for him. Mercury then approached. "I thank you, and Nardir thanks you, for the loyalty, courage and wisdom you have brought us. Shine forever, my friends. Merry meet, merry part, and merry meet again." she said. Byakko took a deep breath and let it out slowly, a smile crinkling his maw. "And it was an honor to serve and live alongside you, young one. I know you and this one here..." he said, indicating his slightly catatonic nephew, "Had some trouble when we first arrived here but I have faith the two of you will be able to overcome anything once you know each other better. I have no worries on that front. Learn from each other. Until next we meet...in the Afterworld." he said. 

That's when he felt a breeze, finally. His eyes went to where the Reaper was standing and his heart swelled with joy at seeing his mother, sister, and Storm there. There was also a wolf there he didn't recognize but knew it had to be Sakima. His smile was full of love for the ones who went before. Silverstream would be waiting on the other side of the Deadlands. Firewing, who he hadn't seen since he was a yearling, was radiant and his sister's bearing was that of a she-wolf at peace. Both of them were in their physical prime, even. He felt almost eager to have all the burdens of his life be taken off his back and if his family looked like that, there was a chance the ruination of his face would left be left behind with his body. 

He then looked down at Sara who was looking up at him. Rapture had since retreated to where Buckshot and Ticon were sitting. "Never change, my beautiful Sarajevo, light of my heart. Even if others ridicule or verbally attack you for your path in life, never lose sight of who you are." he said. Sara gave a small smile through her tears and curled back into his chest again, closing her eyes. Akutan slowly got to his paws. It seemed like every action he took manifested as physical agony because it showed on his face. "Forgive me, Dad. I'm sorry for everything." he rasped. Byakko just smiled back. "There's nothing for me to forgive, Akutan. All you have to do is forgive yourself. The rest will fall into place once you do. The Clan is yours now. Lead well." he said. His nephew nodded and backed away to join Ticon, his entire body visibly weighed down.

The Black Wolf watched the proceedings with interest. He had borne witness to all kinds of rituals various packs and individuals had when it came to death. Nardir's were interesting and it would ensure a clean break when he came forward to do his job. He recalled Lindras didn't bury their dead until a few hours had passed. It was mostly to avoid premature burial but the more ceremonial aspect was to let the bodies feel the wind one last time before being committed to the earth. He didn't see Byakko or Raka getting buried right away after he cleaved the souls from their bodies. No one, no matter where they hailed, would want to risk premature burial. Existing outside Time, the Reaper would have their souls in seconds but from the perspective of the living, it would be much slower.

"It's almost time, Byakko. The tethers keeping you on that side are almost gone and once they are, I will reap your soul and your time stops forever. Are you prepared?" he asked. "As prepared as I ever will be. Will it hurt?" the Fringe asked. "You're dying of old age, the most painless way a mortal can. Be assured that you'll just be falling asleep on your side and waking up here on mine. You won't even notice when I take action." came the response.

For the first time since Byakko had acknowledged his presence, the Reaper moved to stand where Akutan had once laid. "You still have some time left, friend. Make peace with your inner self and free yourself from your burdens." he said. Reaping souls was as simple as taking a hold of a wolf by the scruff of the neck and pulling it out. Nice and easy with no damage done to it. No, that came later, should the soul deserve righteous jugdment. Byakko's life had its share of mistakes but none fit the definition of a crime in any sense and he had lived a useful life. He was set up for great success in the Endless Hunt.

As he stood over Byakko and Raka, he felt a sudden spike of anxiety. But not from them, though. His bicolored eyes shifted down to Sara who was (from his perspective) looking right at him but seeing nothing all the same. It seemed her natural compassion and sensitive soul was setting off warning bells that someone or something she couldn't see was close by. His was an ambiguous presence, intangible and completely forgettable. One would say he was the gut feeling many beings had when something seemed off for no discernable reason. He knew she'd write it off as dreading the inevitable but it had the side effect of making his newfound affection for her grow.


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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Firebright She/her
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#23

Vienna heard Hakan’s call and followed silently behind the procession, but right at the last moment felt her throat close up and her eyes sting with tears. She darted into the woods and melted into the shadows, letting out her sadness as quiet sobs. She had been gone so long, barely been around, and now her daddy and mama were leaving. She wished she’d never left, she wished she’d stayed with her family. They were always most important, but she didn’t realize it then. She buried her muzzle into her shoulder as the hot tears seemed through her eyelids, her heart breaking with all her regrets. She was an awful daughter, an awful sister, an awful packmate. Always late, vanishing Vienna.

But this was no time to sit here and cry in the trees while her parents passed to the next world. Rubbing her face as dry as she could (but it was still obvious she’d been crying), Vienna melted out of the shadows and went to her family. She bumped her father’s forehead with her own and whispered in a quiet, hoarse voice, “I’m sorry daddy, for missing so much. I missed you always. I love you.” She would then nuzzle into him for a wolfish hug before nuzzling into her mother’s neck.

“You’re going too?” Though normally as stoic as her mother generally appeared, Vienna was unable to keep her face blank like she usually did. Her maroon eyes were watery and she looked at her sister with a sad look. She didn’t know what to say. She wished she’d had more time with them. Why hadn’t she stayed? She didn’t really pay much attention to anyone else around, but she did notice the little blue wolf who was cuddled in her mother’s paws. Vienna felt a sort of protectiveness over her. She was so little and with mother leaving, maybe she would need someone to be there for her. She was sort of a stranger, like Vienna essentially was. Vienna decided that she would keep an eye on the little blue wolf for her mama.


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Kimster Eh
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#24
(This post was last modified: October 03, 2018, 07:20:51 PM by Kimster.)

Aylie stepped forward and Raka admired how she had grown. Her step was more confident, and her eyes showed intelligence and a certain cold calculation that Raka approved of. The young wolfess stepped close, and whispered for their ears alone:

"Thank you, for everything you gave me. I'm..sorry things did not turn out different"

Byakko said his bit, and though Raka didn't agree with some of what he said, neither did she want to quibble with him about it. Now was not the time. For her part, she gave a soft, brief nuzzle to Aylie's shoulder and whispered back:

"It's allright. Thank you for coming, and though I, too, wished we'd become closer, know that I am proud that you've become a strong wolfess with a good heart." she smiled as Aylie cuddled up to her and felt her tail swing over to reach Byakko. Then Adolph came forward and pressed his head against hers, saying how he loved them and will miss them. She grinned and couldn't resist nuzzling him as well - dying seems to have eradicated her defensive wall of no touching.

"Thank you dear friend, for all you've done. I shall miss you too."

Raka nodded in gratitude at the noble words Mercury spoke, and wondered if she should beckon the girl closer. So she gave a subtle tilt to her head, an invitation should she wish to come in, but giving her the freedom to refuse. Raka would understand either way. Now suddenly Arik stepped forwards, Raka did remember him vaguely though she didn't know him that well. He stood taller and as he spoke he seemed to glow from within. His beautiful words settled around the assembled, and Raka's heart swelled with gratitude. To have been given such a magnificent send off!

And then - oh then! - Vienna came. Her daughter, her beautiful daughter all grown up. Raka stared at her, drinking in every line, every curl of fur. Again she wished that they'd spent more time together, but time can't rewind.

“You’re going too?”  her voice asked, small like she'd been when she was afraid as a pup. Raka smiled and beckoned her closer, murmering: "Yes, sweetling, I am. Oh I'm so happy you're here, I'm so, so very glad you could come, and that I remember you. I love you with all my heart, dearest." Schrimmah peeked out from under her long bangs at Vienna, and felt that she could feel safe with this one. Though bigger than her, she didn't fill the space like most wolves did. Raka added, in a low voice pitched so just Vienna would hear: "Vienna, this is Schimmah, a foundling. For my last wish, I would that you may keep an eye out for her. She's very young and unsure, and needs a big sister."

A breeze sprang up, drawing Raka's gaze towards the dark spectre. She recognised the forms of Starfire and Storm, and she smiled. 

"Don't keep us waiting too long," she murmered to Byakko.

Raka, the dark wolfess, priestess of death, laid down her head on her paws. Her pearlescent orbs dimmed.

Her soul joyously fled to join the assembled. For a moment her soft laugh echoed on the breeze.
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Sekirei She/Her
Resident Changling
Nardir
*****
Posts: 127
Pronouns: She/Her
Location: Toledo














#25
(This post was last modified: October 04, 2018, 05:13:22 PM by Sekirei.)

Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aa25ZdYCNLA

Byakko smiled when Vienna came into view. “I’m sorry daddy, for missing so much. I missed you always. I love you.” she said, bumping foreheads with him. "It's okay, Vie. You and your sisters had your own paths to follow and while they weren't always side-by-side with mine, I never once felt like you abandoned us. If you see Georgia and Noelle, tell them we love them and we'll meet again someday. This isn't forever. Whether your future lies with Nardir or some other pack, it's your life. Live well." he assured her. Vienna then spoke to her mother and Raka asked her to watch after Schimmah for her. When the breeze blew for the first time, Raka let her silver eyes wander to where the Gatekeeper was standing and it was obvious she saw who Byakko had seen. "Don't keep us waiting too long," she murmured. Byakko watched as her eyes dimmed and her breathing slowed to a stop.


The Black Wolf saw the threads holding Raka's soul in were frayed to the point where he could, at last, act. He shifted to bring his jaws down to her ruff and gently pulled. Raka's soul came free easily as her mortal body ceased breathing. Pulling her to her paws, seeing her restored to her physical prime and any scars completely erased, the Black Wolf nodded approvingly. "Welcome to eternity, High Queen of Annora. I can tell you'll have easy passage through my domain but all the same, prepare yourself. I will be digging through all your skeletons, life successes, failures, and secrets, thus determining your worth and success in the Endless Hunt. You can hide nothing from me." he said. 

It was his standard greeting/warning to any and all souls. Many came to their deaths carrying secrets but his duty as Gatekeeper came with many perks, including revealing those secrets. No soul had ever gotten past him with a secret kept from him. After all, once dead, a mortal had no reason to keep them. Either the living discovered those secrets after the fact or they never found out at all. The Black Wolf knew all. He then stood by, waiting for the last few threads of Byakko's tethers to weaken further.


Byakko had half-expected Sara to wail at hearing her mother passing right behind her but the white wolf had gone completely limp in his arms, her gorgeous blue eyes staring out into nothingness and tears rolling down. Only her shuddering body gave any indication she was still breathing. He looked at his mate's body and took a deep breath. Using the last of his strength, Byakko reached out with his nose to press against her cheek. His eyes started dimming but he closed them, his maw stretching out into a smile. "Farewell, friends. It was...an honor. May we hunt together...on the other side." he said. His breathing soon slowed to a stop.

Sara listened as her father's heartbeat faded into nothingness. Her face then scrunched up and she mourned. Akutan was stiff-legged as his strength threatened to fail and send him crashing to the ground. But he remained steadfast on his paws, his head below his shoulders and his ears pinned. Rapture whined up at him, tears spilling from her own eyes before she just sat down with her head hung. Ticon's sad eyes looked around at the crowd, doubtless seeing not a dry eye. It hit him finally just how much Byakko had meant to each of them in turn, even though a few of their number hadn't had the sort of bond he had with his own family or Mercury. He had been a mainstay in the pack ever since he arrived. Hanging his own head, Ticon made a promise to himself to do whatever it took to see the Clan grow stronger. It was doubtless what X would've wanted and it was what Byakko desired to the very end.


The Black Wolf repeated the process on Byakko as he did on Raka. He pulled the soul from its body and there he stood on this side of eternity. Like Raka, he was also back in his physical prime and his left face bore no sign of the ruination that had been with him since he was four. Byakko looked up at the Gatekeeper. "Welcome to eternity, Crown Prince of Lindras and Stalwart Cornerstone of Nardir. I can tell you'll have easy passage through my domain but all the same, prepare yourself. I will be digging through all your skeletons, life successes, failures, and secrets, thus determining your worth and success in the Endless Hunt. You can hide nothing from me." he said. Byakko just bowed his head in reverence before the Black Wolf nodded at their other company to approach.

"Welcome home, my son." Firewing said, approaching. "I'm not there just yet. Still have to pass the test." Byakko said with an awkward smirk. Starfire came up then. "We've been waiting for this day a long time. I'm sorry I had to leave you the way I did." she said. Byakko just rubbed his neck to theirs before looking down at his physical body. He then lowered his head towards his daughters, feeling some pain at not being able to comfort them and knowing they would never hear him. "Be strong, little ones. We'll meet again soon. And you will always feel my presence when the wind blows." he said.

The Black Wolf's eyes glowed and a rip in time and space opened. "It is time. Once you cross this threshold, you will be in my domain. There, you will face judgment. After that...the Afterworld awaits." he said. He stepped away from the time-space rip to await his new charges. Byakko took one last look at his family and friends. It wouldn't be too long before he was racing around in the wind, checking on them from time to time. With a joyous smile with only a hint of sadness, Byakko turned and walked into the Deadlands. Firewing and Starfire followed.


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
From Queen to Dog and Back Again
Nardir
*****
Posts: 76
Pronouns: She















All Accounts Posts: 453
#26

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




Raka inclined her head, a subtle invitation.  Mercury hesitated a moment, warring with herself over what would be considered proper and what she wanted.  So much time lost, for her and Raka.  The dark wolfess was dear to the Dark Moon, dearer than she had ever mentioned. Mercury found herself breaking decorum to step forward, her head bending to press her forehead against the dying queen's.  They shared a breath, eyes closed and heads bent. Anything left went beyond speech. Then Mercury stepped away, withdrawing into herself and assuming a royal countenance.

"Farewell, friends. It was...an honor. May we hunt together...on the other side."

All too soon they were gone, a whisper of Raka left on the wind, Byakko's farewell.  Mercury shifted her weight, and her shoulder pressed against Kodiak's.  She stared straight ahead, neither looking at him or at Kastra. Those assembled would give the families a moment to grieve. Then, quietly, The Dark Queen walked forward, picked up a blue moonstone, and set it upon Raka's brow.  The stone glowed softly in the sun, cascading different colors as the light struck it.  Then she turned away, walking past the X Clan, between Kastra and Kodiak, and away from the Mounds, disappearing down the trail and out of sight.

But as soon as she was around the bend, she broke into a run.  She extended her stride, legs pumping, the impact of her paws pounding in equal intensity to her heart.  She ran away.  Away from the Mounds, from the pack, and from the newest, freshest wound upon her heart. She had thought that Kodiak would be a brace, but how could she tell him what she had lost?  It was clear he didn't know.  There were not enough words to explain.  Kastra would probably assume the ritual was over, and, observations and duty taken care of, go back to his own devices.  She hoped he wouldn't come to seek her.  She needed time to compose herself before she could take up the mantle again.  Right now, she couldn't stand to be Queen.

She flew down a track, running a trail that was not yet back in use, following old memories rather than the sights before her.  She took turns wildly, blindly, her decisions made by her paws rather than her head.  She could pretend the burn in her chest was from the exercise.  The tears in her eyes were because of the wind.  The sound that came out of her mouth was merely a gasp for breath.  Mercury fled down the paths and down the years, running from memories she never got to have, and those that were already gone.



[Image: divider_by_polarshockka-d8ceg2q.png]





         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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Charley She/Her
Nardir
Nardir
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Posts: 164
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Location: in the woods














#27

Was sorta hoping that you'd stay...

Kyra :: Hakan :: Arik



Kyra watched as Arik made his speech then run away and she didn't know what to think. She started to turn away, walking this time, back to the dens. She didn't want to be near... when they... died. It felt too weird. And she was upset that Akutan had just... left without her. And she didn't want to lose her favorite uncle. And she couldn't help it any more, the hot angry tears finally overcame the panic and confusion and made her feet numb as she found herself running away again, her tears blurring her vision, her nose stuffed with emotions. This was all just too fucking much.

[Image: GtUMglM.png]

The old healer watched, he had hoped to be useful but here he was standing as if another spectator. And he was. Hakan felt his chest tighten. Suddenly he felt those dusty grey points on his brown pelt as if they were tingling, reminding him of his own time coming, closer than his own youth was now. They seemed so tranquil, welcoming death as if it were an old friend.

Hakan had many regrets, and he didn't want to be this close to finding out what those regrets would cost him on the other side. He looked around at... the grown men and women gathered, once children, once youths, now fully grown and soon, the next generation would fill their shoes. He wished Firebright was next to him now.

It then grew too quiet as Rakka then Byakko... left. Squeezing his eyes tight and letting his nose fall the tears streamed down and he felt his body grow heavy. He thought he would have been able to welcome this next stage of his own life stoically, but Hakan was not the stoic type. He was the warm and emotional type. Instinctually he pulled his feet to move, pushing his legs to make their way forward. Blindly he found the growing cold body of his best friend and pushed his face into it. He was gone, he was gone, he was gone. There was literally nothing there except the husk of what was. The scarred half face of The General was at peace and relaxed, as if he had simply gone to sleep.

It was a while before Hakan could muster the strength to pull away. Surely the throng would have thinned by now and the others would have said their peace and started to leave. He felt weak and exhausted, though he had only sat with his face buried into Byakko's body for a while. He didn't even know how long. There was a quiet stillness to him as he pulled away finally. Sitting up he looked over their bodies as if committing the image of their peaceful passing to his memory. Allowing himself to grieve and breathing a rhythm to himself of letting them go.

Finally, he looked up and away and found Sara and Akutan, Shimmah and Vienna. His own daughter was absent. He looked again at the black and white bodies and back to the "children" still here.

"Though you are grown, and some of you have families of your own, I am here for you. I am yours as much you want me. I can guide you, and mentor you, and I will love you all as much as my own, as well as I can." He said quietly yet sincerely. He approached Stoic Akutan and touched his shoulder briefly with his nose. He went to Beautiful Sara and touched her forehead gently with his nose. He did the same to Bright Shimmah, and dipped his head to respectfully touch Vibrant Vienna on her shoulder, acknowledging that though they may be relationally strangers he was including her if she would have him. If Stubborn Aylie were present he also touched her forehead if she let him.

With a shaky inward breath, and deep slow release, he took a beautiful moonstone, but instead of laying it a top Byakko's head he gave the body one last nose touch and would take the stone for himself, feeling it more apropos to remind himself of this beautiful ceremony and perhaps a guiding light to let allow Byakko and Raka to visit him from the Other side. At least, thats what he told himself as he quietly padded away down the trail, to place the stone in his own den.



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