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a man of three fears — Bramble Falls 
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Played by Grey who has 234 posts.
Lone Wolf I. Subordinate
Niles Archer Lyall
June 29th; Nearing midnight; Broken Clouds; 59° F, 15° C

By now, Niles had finally figured out that being a father must have been hard work. Over the past year, he had taken it upon himself to groom and raise Kasai into a wolf fittingly named Chimera and the foundling who still went by the nickname of Mouse. When the Lyall had met them, they were gangly and insecure - quintessential yearlings at their very best. The three of them were something like a band-of-bachelors; the shadowy trace of a semi-functioning wolf pack, perhaps, if Niles was going to stand by himself and his still-budding paternal side. If anything, he was simply proud of how far they had come, even if their familial packs were seemingly no more.

It had taken some time for Niles to get Chimera to stop heckling Mouse for the hundredth time that evening, but in the end the two of boys managed to settle down. Mouse had tucked tail and curled up along the side of some moss-covered roots and Chimera finally relented after a bit of jaw-sparring and some authoritative growling on the Lyall's part. As Niles saw it, so long as the two heathens behaved and did as their superior had requested, he was more than capable of enjoying the "night off" and stretching his legs without either of the boys in tow.

His muddied paws traversed the foot of the mountainside, led blindly in the night by the whisper of waterfalls. Eventually, the waxing gibbous moon shone its rays through the broken cloud cover to show the lone wolf a secret Relic Lore kept only for the adventurous. A sweeping cascade of water leapt from the highest reaches of the Mountain of Dire to reach down into a shallow pool at the forest's edge. The pond's rippling surface twinkled and glittered like the stars themselves; and, for the first time in a very long time, Niles looked skyward and didn't miss Castel at all. Instead, he wondered if she would have approved of who he had become in her absence.
Played by Ghost who has 79 posts.
Oak Tree Bend II. Yearling
Mabel Donata

It had been years. Years that blended together and seemed to stretch onto forever all at once and the ground felt like home and incredibly wrong at the same time. After her father’s passing Mabel had hung around the mountain for only long enough that her lungs had healed and then she had left in the middle of the night. In retrospect it was probably the coward’s way out, to leave her family and friends and just well, leave. She didn’t know if they had sent anyone looking for her, or how long it had taken them to notice that she was no longer there. Was her mother even alive? Was the pack that had once healed her and housed her after that tragic fire still around? Thriving? Struggling?

Mabel didn’t want to find out, it had been too long and the life she had made up for everyone in her head painted too pretty a picture to shatter it with truth.

After leaving the mountain the then yearling had chased the eastern morning sun for weeks before finally satisfying her wandering paws. Mabel had had a decent life since then, she had joined a young pack that had only five other members besides her. Using her natural talents made her an easy pick to be the pack’s scout and she had mostly kept her head down. Once upon a time she had been driven by ambition and jealousy and since then life had humbled her at every turn. It was easier to blend in, do your job and serve the community and try not to let anyone too close, but not hold them far enough away to be considered aloof.

Shortly after her third birthday Mabel had developed an unsettling feeling that she couldn’t describe or seem to shake no matter how hard she tried. Finally, she bid the young pack goodbye, she would miss their familiar faces to be sure, but it certainly didn’t break her heart to leave them behind. Maybe she would see them again, but, maybe she wouldn’t. If she were being honest with herself the Donata woman knew deep down where she was heading as soon as she left the pack behind and yet she was still surprised to hit familiar territory. Still, she gave the mountain and the Edge a wide berth, unready and unwilling to shatter her perfect daydream of everyone’s happy lives.

It was dark, the night made darker by the clouds that mostly filtered the moonlight, and the dense foliage that blocked what little light the clouds let through. It was still early enough in the summer that nights were cool even on the most scorching of days. The pale lady had been mostly nocturnal in her travels, trying to avoid the daylight and the ghosts that it seemed to bring, spectres that were even worse than the beaming sun.

The trees and stone serpent gave way to a silvery falls and suddenly even the night was haunted. It was as if her mother danced in the shining water, her silver fur and blue eyes taunting her and judging her from the roaring foam. Mabel squeezed her eyes shut, she knew well enough that none of this was real, so why was her heart pounding and her mouth dry? It was the sound of approaching pawsteps that broke her frozen fear, at least enough that she could open her chocolate coloured eyes. Mabel still stood stalk still, barely daring to breath as she watched the stranger look up to the sky. It seemed she wasn’t the only one who was being haunted tonight.

[Image: mabel_by_becuffin-dbafpqz.png]
Played by Staff who has 4,576 posts.
A young fawn has gotten separated from its herd. Hunt Opportunity, +8 Health
Played by Grey who has 234 posts.
Lone Wolf I. Subordinate
Niles Archer Lyall
For only a moment's time, all Niles did was regard the stars. Some twinkled while others seemed to tug the clouds over their patch of sky to hide themselves from view. Either way, nothing spoke to him - not the trees, not the wind, not even the stones nor the summer nocturnal creatures chattering about in the night. He shrugged to himself, rolling his shoulders and leveling his head.

One deep sigh and he cast a wistful gaze across the rapids and the forest beyond it. It was hard to miss the ghostly figure that had appeared before him. From where he stood, she glowed... almost radiant, even beneath the diffused moonbeams. He stole a full glimpse into her wide eyes before realization dawned on him. She had probably been watching him for a good while.

His first instinct was to be embarrassed. Waves of heat rolled from the back of his neck and raked down his shoulders and spine. His large ears fell back and his eyes instantly dropped to the place where the ghostly woman stood. "Sorry," he barked out, his eyes now looking to the quivering surface for something better to say. Somewhere near him, a small fawn stumbled away after apprehending its mistake in veering away from its night-roaming mother. All Niles was presently concerned about was how much of vulnerability he had shown and how much of it the stranger had seen. "Didn't realize this spot was already taken."
[Image: grey-autumn2014sigNILES.png]
we can say goodbye, just head home, but if we're going to be alone
Chimera is currently traveling with Niles and may hop into this IC thread!
Played by Ghost who has 79 posts.
Oak Tree Bend II. Yearling
Mabel Donata

Seeing the dark coloured stranger stare at the stars with a look of melancholy painted across his features was oddly hypnotizing. It was like seeing her soul reflected in a still pond but in a different body, the body of someone she had never met. Had she been younger she probably would have boldly strolled in and barked some demand for respect, but that was before these lands had taken so much from her. Even back east she had more confidence than how she felt now.

When she had arrived everything had felt like a dream, but now seeing another wolf across the pond made her realize that this had all been a mistake. Coming back here was like walking willingly back into a curse, it was as obvious as the emptiness that was left in her heart, and the questions in the silver eyes of the stranger. She wasn’t the only one that the Lore had stolen from. By the time it had spit her out last time she was homeless, her father was dead, and she had almost been scorched alive herself.

Had she even blinked this whole time? Jesus. She needed to get it together. If her head was stuck in this vortex it would not be hard to lose the only thing she had left, her mind. His words were like a knife cutting through the night, or at least the fog that she had been in. Suddenly she was aware of the ethereal wailing of a fawn, it’s cries making the whole encounter even more haunted. How many ghosts can be around one pond at once? How many had she seen, and how many were still lurking in the dark?

Finally blinking her eyes felt dry like sandpaper. Maybe she still had some of her mother’s bold blood left because she still hadn’t looked away, and the urge hadn’t even come. Her face was emotionless and her voice almost completely flat as she answered, ”It isn’t.” And nothing else. She had planned on slipping away into the woods, but her paws didn’t move, not yet.

[Image: mabel_by_becuffin-dbafpqz.png]
Played by Grey who has 234 posts.
Lone Wolf I. Subordinate
Niles Archer Lyall
Two simple words left her tongue. That was it. Two words to convey to him that the shimmering sight that made up Bramble Falls and its silvery rapids was not hers, or perhaps anyone else's. When he felt like he had managed enough courage and recovered from the last of his hot flashes, he fluttered his gaze upwards. He started at the water's surface, then moved to the rocky edges of the pool before raking up her limbs.

He stopped at her moon-white forearms, swallowing once as one whiskered brow drew a crease smack dab in the middle of his forehead. As far as he could tell, she was not familiar to him. The absence of willows in the area suggested to him that the woman was not one of Ravenna's or even Sven's daughters; but, so much time had passed since Niles had even seen his family that he lacked the confidence to recognize them by scent or characteristic physical traits. Hell, he hadn't even thought to peg Mouse as a Lyall - his cousin of sorts for crying out loud! - even with his mask and all...

"Are you... alone?" his tone was hesitant. It probably was not the best question to ask right from the start, but he made an attempt to round out the keenness of it. "I jus'... want to make sure you're... all right." After all, he was not about to try and take woman figuratively under his wing and call it a night (pretty much like how the yearlings Chimera and Mouse had come into his care). A lump formed in his throat at the sudden thought that she still had family left somewhere around here. "My friends and I are settled nearby if you're-" There was a tinge of sadness to the end of his sentence and he couldn't explain why, "looking for some company to keep."
[Image: grey-autumn2014sigNILES.png]
we can say goodbye, just head home, but if we're going to be alone
Chimera is currently traveling with Niles and may hop into this IC thread!
Played by Ghost who has 79 posts.
Oak Tree Bend II. Yearling
Mabel Donata

The man hadn’t looked up to meet her unwavering gaze, and part of her was desperately wishing he would. Mabel had convinced herself that the second those grey eyes met her chocolate ones that it would shock her out of the nightmare and she would wake up back east. Because none of this could be real, could it? She couldn’t really be standing at the base of the stone giant that had been so magnetic to her mother, and though realistically she knew it wasn’t true Mabel felt like it had also stolen her father.

She was staring silently again. And yet, it didn’t seem like this stranger was enraged by this as she or her mother would have been all those years ago. Intimidated maybe, but not upset. Everything about this whole encounter had been odd. She nodded once at his question, still not convinced that any of this was actually real. Was she alright? She supposed physically she was fine, a little tired from her travels, but mentally clearly she was running herself ragged.

Raising a single eyebrow slightly, a gesture she hadn’t done in years and had completely forgotten she could even do. Mabel certainly wasn’t opposed to giving herself an excuse to avoid searching out her mother. She had come here “by accident” with “no real purpose” but standing here with the rapids foaming in front of her she knew she would need to find Aponi eventually. But, she wasn’t ready for that yet.

Was she really going to agree to travel with this total stranger and his supposed friend? Probably. But Mabel had learned to play her cards close to her chest. Lowering her brow she felt a strange expression cross her face, was that the ghost of a smile? ”I don’t even know your name.” The wisp of a grin was gone before the words had even finished, it had felt foreign. Sure, she had faked many smiles out east, but this one felt kind of… real? This place was seriously going to do her in. ”Mabel Donata.” It wasn’t a full sentence, but saying it here in the lore awoke something in her belly. The Donata woman had come home.

[Image: mabel_by_becuffin-dbafpqz.png]
Played by Grey who has 234 posts.
Lone Wolf I. Subordinate
Niles Archer Lyall
"I don’t even know your name," she replied. Niles felt himself grimace from within, the reaction surfacing for a fleeting moment on his face in a wince that flashed his teeth. However, the awkwardness rolled over him as quickly as it had hit him as soon as she offered him her name. Mabel Donata.

To both his relief and dismay, her name was not one he recognized or found familiar. Not even in the slightest. Unless... that one bloke from Atonement Arbor in the farthest reaches of the northeast was related to her...

He shook his head so quickly that it seemed like he was merely twitching from the neck up, shaking away an invisible gnat away from his face. Fenru and his family were but a faded memory from several seasons ago; their one spring thaw together was simply a short-lived relief for a couple of roaming bachelors. No, for Mabel, here, to be related was simply impossible.

Niles suddenly found himself smiling back at her, even if he was really half-laughing at himself. "Names don't mean anything," he told her, wholly oblivious that he was echoing what his lost beloved had told him so long ago. "But, I'm Niles." As some sort of friendly gesture, he briefly met her eyes then respectfully dropped them as he took a couple steps closer to her part of the pond.

"Niles Lyall," he clarified. His posture had eased up a bit and he searched her face now for what emotion waited for him as he presented more pieces of himself for her to consider, keep, or discard. "I was born here many seasons ago, but have never been here before. I knew what I was searching for for, but I didn't think I'd find someone like you. Someone... new."
[Image: grey-autumn2014sigNILES.png]
we can say goodbye, just head home, but if we're going to be alone
Chimera is currently traveling with Niles and may hop into this IC thread!
Played by Ghost who has 79 posts.
Oak Tree Bend II. Yearling
Mabel Donata

The grimace and twitch were completely lost on Mabel who had finally looked away from the man and back towards the falls. Her eyes were scanning the foam and mist for any sign of the apparition of her mother that had originally frozen her in this place. There was nothing there now except crashing water and rocks, no silver wolf creeping along or blue eyes peering out from the depths of the pool. A shudder went down her spine at the thought of having somehow stumbled on her mother’s bloated body in the water. How ironic would that have been, her father scorched and her mother drowned.

Chocolate coloured eyes flicked back towards him in amusement, shaking her head with a smirk, ”You must not be from around here.” Oh, how wrong she was, not that the name Lyall meant anything to her, despite generations of history. ”In the Lore, names mean everything.” Or at least they had, last time she had been in these parts. Growing up as a mix of Aquila and Donata blood meant everything to her family, it had been almost infamous and now it seemed like the reputations had gone up in smoke when the Bend did.

Her original statement was proven almost immediately false when Niles said he was born here. Raising a single eyebrow at the statement Mabel answered, ”Someone like me? I’m not new I’ve just been…” What had she been really? Hiding? Forgetting? After a brief pause she settled on, ”Away.”

She didn’t care what he was searching for, as long as she got to delay what she had originally come for. That was enough for her for now. ”Okay, lead the way to these friends of yours Lyall.”

[Image: mabel_by_becuffin-dbafpqz.png]