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poise and poison — Dead Empress Backwater 
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Played by Greyer who has 48 posts.
Dead Empress Backwater VII. Yearling
Oleander Valle
March 15th; Early evening; Rain clouds; 48° F, 9° C

It was one thing when a weird 'stink' started filtering through the Backwater wolves' lands. When it came to accepting that he was the only one left of his litter, Oleander was wholly upset. He had taken the tidbit of news on the chin, even if it wasn't an actual 'misfortune' to endure. Of Clover's three cubs, he remained.

This single thought was what brought him out to the Backwater and out along the Creek. At first, he wore his broken-heartedness as if it had been woven into his pelt. A quick dip in the stream would not be enough to wash it all away.

Adolescence reared its ugly head in his direction as he stared down at his own reflection. Still thawing from Spring's arrival, Heartleaf Creek offered many low flow areas to glare into. It was all too perfect. He showed his teeth and made his fur stand on end.

Who was going to help him build nests in the long grasses? Who was going to play with him in the berry bush mazes? Who was going to sleep next to him in the den now when Mama was away?

He was inconsolable.

A forepaw swiped at the water, distorting the unrecognizable white beast. When the flow of the stream continued, Oleander's attention snagged on a flicker of white. White that did not belong to him. He turned around, eyes wide as they fell upon a cluster of white flowers. The blooms were easily a couple of days old. Some parts of it had yet to even open.

The near-yearling turned smug. If his sisters were gone, that meant he had his mother's attention for himself... and, if he brought these flowers to her, he would be the sole recipient of her praise.

Yes. This would be perfect.

For the better part of the afternoon, he gathered the water-dropwort by the stalks. His paws snapped them from the ground. His practiced jaws held them softly to not bruise any part of it. Stem after stem, he carried them... right into his mother's herb den.
they say pray it away, i swear,
OLEANDER VALLE
that I'll never be a saint, no way
Played by Flywolf who has 233 posts.
Dead Empress Backwater VI. Yearling
Archer Valle

Archer Valle


Archer had been spending quite a bit of time with Clover learning the ways of healing, even with his trip up the mountain. There was a lot to remember, and even though Archer knew he was smart sometimes he wondered how he'd ever be able to retain it all. Still he kept with it, and even when they didn't have lessons he'd stop by the herb den to go through them and quiz himself so he could rattle off everything to her the next time Clover taught him.

Today was one such day; he'd been bored and needed to occupy his mind. Having his sisters gone was weird, but at least they knew where they were. At least they weren't alone, and some day they might come back. Not that he'd spent a lot of time with either of them; he'd barely ever seen Violet around once they got old enough to wander about. He wondered if she ever regretted leaving so young.

Archer was nowhere near as upset as Oleander, however, and when he saw the other boy dragging dropwort into the medicine den, being gentle was far from his mind.

"Hey!" he shouted, speeding up to try to block his half brother's path. "What do you think you're doing?"

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Played by Greyer who has 48 posts.
Dead Empress Backwater VII. Yearling
Oleander Valle
Oleander was ready to straighten his loot and pile it high in the center of the den when a voice rang out.

"Hey!"

In fact, he didn't even have time to see what was going on before his vision was nothing but a dark wall of black and grey. The clump of blossoms dropped from his mouth as Archer asked, "What do you think you're doing?" Oleander's muzzle scrunched up and his eyes immediately sought those of his half-brother's. Muddied paws stepped to one side, squishing the flower into the dirt. Its tiny white petals and fragile stems crumpled, no longer perfect. He glared at Archer with a flash of his still-white teeth, "What's it to ya?!" He did not appreciate the interruption.
(This post was last modified: Apr 05, 2022, 08:33 PM by Oleander.)
they say pray it away, i swear,
OLEANDER VALLE
that I'll never be a saint, no way
Played by Flywolf who has 233 posts.
Dead Empress Backwater VI. Yearling
Archer Valle

Archer Valle


Archer hadn't spent much time with his half brother since they were little, which was perhaps an oversight if Oleander was going to be doing this. Was he really so lonely with his sisters gone that he was trying to poison the rest of them?

Archer returned the flash of teeth, no more than a quick lift of the lip. "Are you trying to get someone killed?" he asked. He wasn't sure if Oleander knew dropwort was poisonous or not, but he'd never thought of his brother as naive or stupid. Maybe things had changed in the past few months while Archer had been busy learning about healing and visiting the mountain. He still didn't understand.

He decided to give his brother the benefit of the doubt, just this once. "This is poisonous," he said.

[Image: lMcNvW.png]
Played by Greyer who has 48 posts.
Dead Empress Backwater VII. Yearling
Oleander Valle
"Are you trying to get someone killed?" Archer's pointed question did nothing but dig sharp thorns into his chest. If that hadn't been enough, the dark boy's next string of words did Oleander in, "This is poisonous."

He had come to know what dropwort was. Mama had told him. He knew... Otherwise, he wouldn't have gathered them all with a true botanist's grace.

His pale face darkened further and his eyes glossed over. He had not missed the sight of his brother's teeth. "As I said," his tone was cold and stony, now tinged with acid. His brows rose in nonchalance. Against a sharpshooter like Archer, a glass cannon like him would have no advantage. "What's it to ya?"

Perhaps he should have done this a lot earlier. Made poisoning his sibling look like an accident. Having one less age-mate seemed like an ideal way to soak up the attention he so sorely sought. Most especially if Archer was going to talk to him like that...
(This post was last modified: Jun 09, 2022, 08:41 AM by Oleander.)
they say pray it away, i swear,
OLEANDER VALLE
that I'll never be a saint, no way
Played by Flywolf who has 233 posts.
Dead Empress Backwater VI. Yearling
Archer Valle

Archer Valle


Archer wanted to trust his half brother wouldn't hurt anyone on purpose, he really did, but Oleander's venomous response did nothing to sooth his concern. He gritted his teeth and tried to take a calming breath. He had to remind himself that Oleander was the only member of his litter still in the pack; his sisters had both left them.

"I only want to keep everyone safe," Archer said with forced calm. "Why are you bringing it here?" He was still trying to give Oleander a chance to tell him he didn't know what the dropwort was, that he didn't know it could kill one of them. He didn't seem to have poisoned himself with it, which was both encouraging and worrying. If he'd intentionally been careful, and not just lucky, it meant he knew what he was doing. Archer wasn't sure he wanted to know what that was, in that case.

[Image: lMcNvW.png]
Played by Greyer who has 48 posts.
Dead Empress Backwater VII. Yearling
Oleander Valle
What Archer was doing was not unnatural. Especially for a pack wolf. He was protecting his family and asking why his brother had brought such a poisonous thing home. What Oleander heard and saw was absolute offense and resentment. Archer wouldn't understand.

The white-furred Valle shrugged. It was probably best to keep things succinct and to the point. There was no use in wasting any more of his breath.

"It's useful," he hissed, tail waving high at his back. If Archer was going to have an issue with that, then Oleander was going to make certain that it wasn't his problem. "If Mama doesn't want it, she'll remove it herself."
they say pray it away, i swear,
OLEANDER VALLE
that I'll never be a saint, no way
Played by Flywolf who has 233 posts.
Dead Empress Backwater VI. Yearling
Archer Valle

Archer Valle


The fur at Archer's nape prickled as Oleander continued to show utter lack of concern for his family's safety. Something wasn't right here; if it had been an accident, wouldn't his half-brother be apologizing, offering to take the dangerous herb away from their family's supply? A low growl rumbled in the back of his throat, his own tail raising in response to his brother's display. The middle of the medicine den wasn't an idea place for a scrap and he wouldn't initiate one, but he wouldn't back down, either. Not when someone could die because Oleander refused to admit he was wrong. "Useful for what?" Archer asked. His eyes narrowed. He was on the verge of a very dangerous accusation but managed to swallow it down. Even now he wanted to believe Oleander only had the best of intentions.

[Image: lMcNvW.png]
Played by Greyer who has 48 posts.
Dead Empress Backwater VII. Yearling
Oleander Valle
Oleander found his sway of authority mirrored, countered without missing a beat. His nose wrinkled in annoyance. In the gathering darkness of the den, he half-wondered if his vexation would be missed. Just in case, he stepped forward, coming nose to nose with his darker brother, "What if someone meant harm to us? Managed to worm their way into our ranks?"

He forced himself to keep his cool. Again, the ghost-white whiskers on his pale brow rose and leveled out. He hoped now that Archer could see what he was getting at. With poison at Clover's disposal - or even Viorel's or Vanadis' - who knew what potential power they could figuratively hold? The wary wrong-doer or double-crosser ought to think twice... lest they unknowingly find their share of a pack kill laced with herbs.

"It's useful," he reiterated, his tone darkening further. His gaze never left those narrowed gray irises. "Now get out of my way."
they say pray it away, i swear,
OLEANDER VALLE
that I'll never be a saint, no way
Played by Flywolf who has 233 posts.
Dead Empress Backwater VI. Yearling
Archer Valle

Archer Valle


Archer's eyes narrowed further as Oleander stepped into his space rather than backing down. Still, he had an explanation for the dropwort's use - so he did know it was dangerous. Archer scoffed. "Da would just kick them out," he said. "He won't let anyone harm us. We don't need poison." That Oleander thought killing someone with herbs was something their Da would do... it twisted his gut up.

Then his half-brother's tone darkened further and Archer's fur continued to fluff. He didn't like this tone, didn't like this challenge. He didn't like the way Oleander was behaving. It was suspicious. The tension in the den was palpable. Archer thought long and hard, letting the silence stretch. Some day... but not this day. At his heart, Archer was not a fighter, and he certainly didn't want to fight his brother. "Fine," he snapped. "Fine. But if someone accidentally uses it and gets sick or dies, it's on you." He sniffed and shoved past his half brother. Unless stopped, he would leave the space and go find Clo to warn her about the danger in their midst.

Exit unless stopped

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