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I don't wanna be anything other than what I've been trying to be lately — Dead Empress Backwater 
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Played by Ghost who has 636 posts.
Dead Empress Backwater I. Leader
Viorel Valle
For @Vasco
Around noon, Light snow, -18C/0F

It had been eating him alive, even though he had done everything in his power to keep it out of his head. What @”Modesto” had said, not about his mom being a whore, that much Viorel had figured out when she got pregnant with a “friend” who didn’t bother to stick around. It was the fact that maybe his father was not Platon, the brave guardian everyone had said it was, who disappeared on a brave scouting trip and everyone had spent weeks looking for. That he was a splitting image of, that maybe his father was right here right now.

He couldn’t wait any longer, Viorel needed answers. Was Vasco his mom’s closest friend? Or, was there more? Was there even the slightest possibility that he had known his father his whole life and nobody had bothered to tell him? Plodding through the snow, Viorel followed the most recent trail he could find of Vasco’s. He needed to find him now, he needed to know. The father sped up when he thought he saw the light tawny form in the distance, chuffing to try to get his attention, trying not to let the strain be portrayed in his voice.

Played by PuppyThief who has 111 posts.
Lone Wolf No Rank
Vasco Halex
 

It had been six months now, since Vasco had arrived on the Backwater’s borders, more dead than alive. Now, the only remnants of his state were a faint shadow of ribs against his fur, and a serious lag of stamina, though he continued to work on that every day. And yet, Vasco appeared much more troubled than he had back then, a permanent frown creasing his brow and dark bags under his pale eyes.

 

For a brief moment, all had been well. They’d been together again, a family, even a growing family, and with hopes of a future where the ghostly man did not have to hide his feelings from the ones he loved. But just as quickly, it was gone. Xulia, Sita, Andrey, all gone, disappeared just as silently as they had from the Estuary.

 

These were the dark thoughts Vasco were wrestling with on his midday jog, trailing along the winding creek, when Viorel’s call reached his ears. Despite his gloomy state of mind, the pale man couldn’t help from smiling softly as he halted and turned to face his young leader, the last heartstring binding him to this new land. However it was short lived, his frown returning as he studied the tense expression on the lad’s face. “Vi,” He greeted softly, concern and affection both lacing his voice; “Is everything alright?”

.

Thoughts ”Speech”

Played by Ghost who has 636 posts.
Dead Empress Backwater I. Leader
Viorel Valle

The leader might have felt bad seeing Vasco’s smile fade away into concern if his mind had not already been racing. There was not really time for pleasantries, or worrying about everyone’s feelings, after all, who had wondered about their feelings? His and Xulia’s and Andrey’s, when they were kids growing up with no dad, only stories, when they could have had a father all along.

For a long minute Viorel just stared at Vasco, trying to make sense of it all. Normally words did not escape him, he was quite the eloquent speaker who prided himself on being able to rally the troops when needed. In this moment though, he just stared looking over the man in front of him for some indication that he was his father. Some fleck in his eyes, or cowlick on his crown, anything.

Then he just blurt it out, ”Before she left Modesto said you are my father, not Platon.” And then time stood still. Viorel did not say another word, but felt like every muscle in his body seized, even breathing felt like it was a laborious task. Yellow eyes stared into grey expectantly, desperate for some kind of answer.

[Image: s38i5ZS.png]
Played by PuppyThief who has 111 posts.
Lone Wolf No Rank
Vasco Halex
 

The silence stretched uncomfortably as Viorel cam to a halt, seeming to check Vasco all over as if searching for something. Vasco felt himself shrink under that discerning gaze, tail instinctively curling downwards as he worried what was to come. He couldn’t think of anything he might have done to upset the younger wolf – he was finally starting to pull his own weight around here and helping wherever he could – yet it was clear that something was off, and the longer it took Viorel to speak, the more horrific ideas ran through Vasco’s head; Is it the kids? Did something happen to them? Or maybe Sita or Xulia…

 

The otherwise so even-tempered man was about ready to demand that Viorel just spit it out already, when he did just that, the words knocking all thought from Vasco’s head in an instant. Now it was his turn to stare, mouth slightly open in shock, and nothing but white noise ringing between his ears. Many times, he’d imagined telling his children the truth, finally getting to be their father in name as much as in action. But in none of those dreams had they come to him, and certainly never sent by Modesto!

 

Pale tongue slipped out to lick dry lips, grey eyes blinking rapidly, yet never straying from the other wolf’s face; His son’s face. At last, Vasco cleared his throat, though his voice still sounded hoarse as he started: “Modesto…” He cut himself off, coughing again before continuing more clearly: “Your aunt is always sticking her nose in business that has nothing to do with her. She has no idea what she’s talking about!” There was unusual heat in the words, and conviction too, spoken directly to Viorel’s face. Vasco had never liked the judgy old hag, and he knew her only goal was to stir up trouble, as always. There was absolutely no way Modesto could know anything; It was Sita’s secret! She would never have told… But Sita was gone.

 

With a sigh, Vasco finally let his gaze loose from Viorel’s, turning his muzzle down a little; “Your mother is the only one who knows for sure.”

.

Thoughts ”Speech”

Played by Ghost who has 636 posts.
Dead Empress Backwater I. Leader
Viorel Valle

For a long time they were in a standoff, two men - maybe father and son - staring at each other, neither daring to move. Viorel said nothing, even as Vasco finally moved to lick his lips and blink, it felt like he had become frozen to the ground. Seconds ticked on as blood rushed through his ears with every heartbeat. Waiting on the answers he had been seeking his whole life.

Modesto

Yeah Aunt Modesto, that old bitch. Had to go and run her mouth because Viorel had talked badly about his own mother and siblings, who she had then gone on to insult herself so…really what was the problem? He knew what the problem was, the problem was this wasn’t the Estuary and she as an advisor was not a council. That did not change the fact that she had blown up like a geyser with too much pressure behind it.

There was anger in Vasco’s hoarse voice, and Viorel continued to stare at him, searching for answers. The words he were given felt like puzzle pieces that did not quite fit together, it didn’t answer what he had said, but it didn’t not answer either. Lifting his chin as if in an act of defiance he responded indignantly, ”Are you saying it was a lie? Or are you saying that it’s true you could be my father?” He couldn’t say both, they both could not be true at one time.

Either Modesto was a liar, or Vasco had known this whole time that he might have been Viorel’s father and he had said nothing.

[Image: s38i5ZS.png]
Played by PuppyThief who has 111 posts.
Lone Wolf No Rank
Vasco Halex
 

The tension was so thick, he could feel it weigh on his shoulders, bronzed ears flattened back against his skull. He’d never wanted this, never thought it would come to a confrontation in this way, and certainly, he’d always imagined Sita would be there when they finally told; When she told…! It had always been her secret, her decision. He’d backed her up, because he felt she was in her right, as their mother, and because he loved her. Abut now she was gone, for all he knew out chasing her new beau, leaving her children behind. He’d never thought she could do such a thing.

 

The fire in Viorel’s voice brough grey eyes back up to see his defiant face, the glow in those golden eyes – the ones everyone had always compared to Platon’s. Vasco wanted to whine but suppressed it, fighting to keep from cowering before the younger wolf, his alpha, his son. Could he really keep living this lie? Letting Sita’s whims control him even when she was long gone? If he could bring himself to seize this chance, he might finally have what he always wanted, to be their father in name as well as actions. Sita isn’t here anymore, she can’t keep controlling me!

 

Clearing his throat, Vasco pushed himself to straighten up, meeting Viorel’s gaze. “It’s true,” he said levelly, breathing deeply through his nose to try and calm his racing heart; “Sita always insisted Platon was your father, but it could just as well be me.

.

Thoughts ”Speech”

Played by Ghost who has 636 posts.
Dead Empress Backwater I. Leader
Viorel Valle

It seemed like every statement that was passing between the two of them was met with long silences as they each tried to process. Viorel stared on, waiting for some kind of sign as to what was going on in Vasco’s head. It took a few moments but eventually the older man straightened, and the leader felt a flicker of anger in his heart. Maybe Modesto had gotten into his head, but for a split second he thought of it as a challenge to his authority.

But, Viorel had been trying to get his Aunt out of his mind, not letting her control his actions, so he smothered it. Other than his eyes narrowing almost like a minor twitch, he kept the emotion mostly buried. This time there was no long drawn out silence, the dark man was quick to quip back, ”So you knew this whole time it could have been you, and you said nothing.” How could he do such a thing, years had gone by!

He tore his eyes away from the man who may be his father, and Viorel began to pace. Back and forth, back and forth, making sharp agitated turns before pacing again. His tail quivered behind him in annoyance and confusion, ”How could you do this? You let us grow up without a father when you were there all along. You let my children grow up without a grandfather who was living with them their whole lives!” He wasn’t sure which made him more angry.

He whirled back around, ”And now she’s gone! Disappeared without a word, probably off chasing Azra and leaving all of her kids behind! One isn’t even a year old!” That was not Vasco’s fault Viorel knew, but he was angry about it all the same. Maybe his mother really was a whore.

[Image: s38i5ZS.png]
Played by PuppyThief who has 111 posts.
Lone Wolf No Rank
Vasco Halex
 

He wasn’t sure what he had expected; A joyous embrace, maybe tears. But they were far beyond that point, and Viorel certainly didn’t seem ready to happily accept the truth. Still, his anger hurt! Vasco flinched at the harshness of the words, instinctively lowering his head, though he managed to keep his tail from slipping between his legs. He would not cower in front of his own son – Viorel was in his right to be angry, but Vasco would answer him honestly and openly. He wasn’t proud of having kept this secret, but he’d done what he thought was best.

 

Grey eyes trailed the dark boy as he paced, every turn making the smaller wolf twitch slightly. Vasco wanted to speak, but he didn’t want to make the situation worse, and waited to see what Viorel’s next move would be. Perked ears jerked with every word out of the boy’s mouth, a soft frown gradually deepening between silver brows. Finally Vasco couldn’t hold back anymore, speaking softly at first as he answered: “It wasn’t my choice to make.” Though low, his voice was firm, strengthening as he looked to meet his son’s eyes; “I was there, I figured that was the most important part! I looked after you, taught you, cared for you. I was your father in everything but name!” He paused to take a deep breath, sighing before her continued: “Sita wanted to preserve Platon’s memory, this seemed like the best option.”

 

It pained him to say it. He’d thought that getting rid of the pompous bastard would solve everything, leave the floor open for him and Sita to make it official. But instead, she had insisted on keeping it secret, even after a month, when she was clearly showing, she’d insisted on waiting on her mate’s return, claiming the pups were his. Vasco had felt sick to his stomach, but what could he do? He’d loved her, he still did, despite everything, so he went along, always expecting that one day she’d be ready to admit the truth; But I was wrong…! Viorel’s final words echoed as much, making the older wolf cringe visibly. Shoulders droopy, he gave and at last, letting his eyes drop to his paws. “We were wrong, I was wrong,” he admitted dejectedly, glancing back up at his son; “I’m sorry Viorel. She made her choice, and I made mine. It’s here, if you’ll still have me.”

.

Thoughts ”Speech”

Played by Ghost who has 636 posts.
Dead Empress Backwater I. Leader
Viorel Valle

Viorel was taken aback when Vasco spoke, saying that it was not his choice that nobody had told him. A myriad of emotions flit across his features, anger, confusion, disbelief, hurt, and all the way through again. It was enough to make his ears flatten against his skull and to pause his pacing paws and make him think. He opened his mouth to speak more than once and then closed it.

Finally Viorel closed his eyes and looked away, ”It was still your choice to go along with her. My mother clearly does not know how to make decisions for herself.” Look what she had done since getting here, and apparently look what she had done while back at the coast. How had he trusted her to be doing the right thing? Sighing he let something out that he had been holding onto for so long, ”Maybe you were always there, but I have spent my whole life trying to live up to to Platon. He could do no wrong because he wasn’t even there. Died in battle, or on a quest. Smart, strong, leader, Perfect Platon. How could I ever live up to that?” And maybe he had never even had to.

Turning back to look at Vasco, the once angry eyes were now just full of pain. He looked over the man now, the man he looked nothing like, and then let his own eyes drop down the the snow. There was still anger there, but it was only to try to protect himself from the fear and hurt that he already felt. ”Of course we want you to stay. But, you need to be honest. And, you need to tell my children who you really are to them, their grandfather.” Viorel took a step back.

He was too deep in his own head, ”I need some time, I need to think.” And then without waiting to see what else could be said, he turned and left. This was too much.

[Image: s38i5ZS.png]
Played by PuppyThief who has 111 posts.
Lone Wolf No Rank
Vasco Halex
 

Vasco watched with ears folded tentatively back, as the rush of emotions crossed his son’s face. The pale man was ready for another lash out, another flogging that he so openly deserved. But instead, when Viorel finally spoke, he seemed dejected, his words making it clear how he felt about both his parents’ failings.

 

The father could only nod, a grimace of both hurt and concession crossing his features. There was no denying it, that Sita had definitively proved her disloyalty, not just in love but to her own family; Our children! He would need more time himself, to mourn the loss of his love, but as he told his son, he’d made his own choice and it was the opposite of hers. Now, he needed to make up for the mistakes he’d made, while blinded by her spell.

 

Viorel’s admittance made his heart ache all the more, making it painfully clear that his decision had not considered the best for the children, but only for Sita. He wanted to reach out, to bridge that gap now, and offer the boy the fatherly approval he so longed for. But the obvious hurt in the young man’s eyes held him back. It was far too soon, he realized, these were wounds that would take time to heal. But he was given the second chance, ears perking up lightly at the demand. “Of course,” He replied softly, giving his head a determined nod. He would love nothing more.

 

As he watched his son walk away, there was a stubborn set to his mouth, grey eyes like steel. He would not disappoint him again, so he swore.

FADE

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Thoughts ”Speech”