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all the king's horses and all the king's men — Dead Empress Backwater 
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Played by Cade who has 861 posts.
Paradise Falls I. Leader
Chan Eastfall
Backdated to several hours after Nash delivered news of Sephrina's death. Chan has brought her corpse along with Auburn, but Aub will have left before Chan howls. This thread will become AW to DEB eventually, but is currently private just for @Viorel.

It had been difficult, tiring and time consuming to carry the rigid corpse. There was nothing dignified about the journey, but it would be more than worth it. The alternative, of her parents not getting their chance at even this semblance of a goodbye, was one Chan had refused to accept. That wasn't to mean he was in any way eager to reach the dark forest. He'd known this would be hard, but after catching Nash on his way back through, the look on his face and the claims he said Viorel had made?

Chan was fairly certain he was walking into a worst-case scenario, but he could think of one way to try and make use of it. To at least make this better for everyone else.

They set her down in the snow together when they reached a familiar tree line, and took a moment to breathe. Things had been so different the last they'd been here together, everyone oblivious to this turn that fate would take. Chan checked Sephrina over a final time, ensuring her fur was in place, her eyes were still closed and her limbs tucked in natural positions. In this way, except for the marks upon her leg, she almost looked as though she'd passed in her sleep, contentedly curled up.

It was still a sickening sight. He didn't want to do this, didn't want to be here but he wouldn't put it off any longer. Auburn was given a wolfish hug and then pushed away, instructed to start back now. Chan would catch up. It had already been too much to ask his son to make this journey with him, no matter it having been at Aub's insistence.

When Chan was sure the younger wolf was gone as asked, he tilted back his skull and called. There was no message other than a somber announcement of his presence. Surely no more would be needed.
(This post was last modified: Apr 14, 2023, 12:40 AM by Viorel.)
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Played by Ghost who has 624 posts.
Dead Empress Backwater I. Leader
Viorel Valle

There was too much to process for the Valle man. Just a few hours ago he had been relishing in having a little more freedom with all the children and then Nash had been here… Now he, now everything was just too much. He felt like he was in a state of shock, like a thick cloud had settled down around him and he was just trying to move through the fog. If he could just get through it then maybe he could wake up from this dream, because it had to be a dream right?

Viorel moved towards the sound of the call without thinking, his footsteps slow and heavy as if each paw weighed a thousand pounds. By the time he reached Chan it had been several minutes longer than what would have been appropriate for a leader to answer a summons. He stood there, staring at the man, just blinking silently for a long time. Then his eyes finally focused on the body of his daughter, curled beneath a tree as if she were sleeping.

A broken sob escaped from the dark leader. He pushed past Chan without saying a word to rush to her side. He draped himself overtop of her, grooming the soft fur near her ears as if she was a child who wasn’t feeling well. He whispered, ”It’s going to be okay, it’s going to be okay.” Over and over as if that would somehow make it better.

[Image: s38i5ZS.png]
Played by Cade who has 861 posts.
Paradise Falls I. Leader
Chan Eastfall
Chan had hoped to see two faces emerge, that Vanadis was finally returned and that the two could be there for each other and their children together through this loss. Viorel came alone instead, and Chan was left to wish she was just a little further behind...

The eyes that looked upon him were painful to meet, and under that heavy gaze Chan almost felt himself crumple. He side-stepped, motioned with his muzzle without a word to where the girl lay, a smudge of black amongst otherwise-pristine snow. Then that moment of tension broke lose and he hunched his shoulders while his ears pressed down against his skull. Viorel's every sound tore at his heart as deeply as talons, and it bled grief that had nothing to do with the Backwater's stolen daughter.

He grit his fangs and closed his eyes tight, fighting back against the memories and emotions that threatened to suffocate him completely. It took tensing every muscle until pain shot through his jaws, spots appeared on the backs of his lids and lactic acid flooded his body. Then a deep, tired resignation settled over him.

Chan simply waited. There was nothing on this Earth that could move him to interrupt Viorel's grief.
[Image: 5BdYuOb.png]
Played by Ghost who has 624 posts.
Dead Empress Backwater I. Leader
Viorel Valle

So long passed that Viorel did not even know how much time it had been. It could have been minutes or hours, days even, though realistically it was probably more than an hour or so. He groomed her, nudged her face, whispered to her, anything to make it seem like this was normal and she was just going to wake up. He pointedly did not look down towards her leg after the first glance, if he didn’t look he could pretend it wasn’t there and that everything was just fine.

Eventually he became aware that Chan was standing there and that he couldn’t go on any further. He sighed, a deep emotion from the depths of his chest and licked his daughter’s forehead one more time. Looking back at the other man the anger that he had felt towards Nash returned, though slightly more tempered. The logical part of him was aware that this was just a freak accident and the mountain wolves couldn’t have prevented it. But, a larger part of Viorel needed to have someone to blame and for now it would be them.

Standing up as composed as he could manage he looked over the tawny wolf behind him with hatred in his eyes. Flaring his nostrils he tried to keep his voice cool, ”Thank you for returning her. Now leave. And don’t you or anyone else from the Cove ever come back here.” He meant what he had said earlier, and maybe one day he would grow to regret this, but for now this was what he needed.

[Image: s38i5ZS.png]
Played by Cade who has 861 posts.
Paradise Falls I. Leader
Chan Eastfall
Chan had needed the time to better be able to handle what would come next, but it was still a unique kind of torture to be present for another father's loss. The end of it wasn't anymore pleasant. Viorel at last addressed him, his words confirming Nash's. Chan swallowed, turned to face the other, and felt his muscles lock with anxiety. This was possibly stupid of him, maybe it would even make it all worse, maybe it wouldn't do anything at all but hurt Viorel more in this moment. Still, he had to try.

His jaws moved, but at first no sounds came out. Then he was finally able to say it.

"It was me, Vi. Nash and Oksana had specifically asked me to take over watching her. I let her get too far ahead of me. The Cove is ousting me for it."

If he could absorb Viorel's anger, if he was separate from the Cove, maybe the Backwater leader wouldn't condemn the entirety of the pack. They could be unified in blaming Chan for this mishap. Or at least... Chan could naively hope.
[Image: 5BdYuOb.png]
Played by Ghost who has 624 posts.
Dead Empress Backwater I. Leader
Viorel Valle

The father let out a shaky breath through his nose while Chan spoke, trying to stay present and grounded. It was hard, what with his head swimming with emotion and so much information coming so quickly. He grit his teeth and felt hot all over, clenching his eyes shut by the time that the other man had finished talking. He turned his muzzle ever so slightly away as salt coloured lips curled revealing yellowed fangs underneath.

He had no idea that Chan was lying, had no reason to think he was or doubt him, but it didn’t make him feel any better about it. He groaned, ”And you’re the one who let Isla run away?” His voice was strained, harsh and coarse as if it were physically painful for him to be having this conversation. He still couldn’t look up, couldn’t open his eyes, ”You let me lose both my daughters?” The accusations were clear, and there was no sign of disbelief but Viorel couldn’t decide if Chan being kicked out was enough punishment. He had expected Nash and Oksana to be closely involved, as he had been, and they had passed the duty on to someone who they trusted but failed. Wasn’t this also on them? He couldn’t tell.

[Image: s38i5ZS.png]
Played by Cade who has 861 posts.
Paradise Falls I. Leader
Chan Eastfall
Every logical portion of his mind told Chan to put distance between himself and those fangs, to shut his mouth and scram before he dug the hole too deep. This was the choice he had made, however, and he would not run from it. The Eastfall held his ground, daring to face whatever punishment Viorel would see fit to dole out. He was never a proponent of violence, but Chan could easily understand the desire, especially in a moment such as this. He would never be able to say he wouldn't have torn into the wolf who had attacked Flair if he had been present for the scuffle.

Something like tears burned at the rims of his mismatched eyes as the other pressed, but nothing ever fell. He'd already cried about this, and so many other things over the last year, to the point that his body couldn't manage anymore. Besides, his hurt was merely a side effect. This was about the Valle family. Chan focused on recalling those blurred moments, discerning what he'd witnessed from the haze to give as much truth as was possible inside of this misdirection.

"She saw Sephrina go under and ran. I went straight into the water, I didn't, I couldn't-," words began to fail him as the memory rose up, as much as he wanted to give a clear narrative for Viorel to latch onto. It had been time-sensitive chaos, and he'd only been one wolf. Chan's voice began to break.

"I tried."
(This post was last modified: Mar 13, 2023, 12:52 AM by Chan.)
[Image: 5BdYuOb.png]
Played by Ghost who has 624 posts.
Dead Empress Backwater I. Leader
Viorel Valle
Viorel is calling for the other Backwater wolves, please let Chan post once more first. @Clover @Vasco @Rochus @Vayko @Reade @Archer @Oleander @Asmund @Kateri @Sharlee all members available are expected to respond. Next round will be posted March 24th.

The tears came again, hot and fast down the leader’s face and he had no shame about allowing the other man to see. After all, he was the one standing here claiming to have caused them. Claiming to have caused all of this. He inhaled sharply after a long minute of silence and for him that broke the curse of the emotional tsunami he had been dealing with. The thin thread he had been holding onto that had been stopping him from tearing Chan apart broke.

But instead of lurching forward, he fell deep back into the fog that had been holding him before. He blinked slowly a time or two and his feature’s smoothed as he slipped into the sweet relief of dissociation, Finally he spoke, ”Well. You had better go find her. If you return Isla safely then maybe we will consider forgiving any of you for what you have done.” He blinked again once more, ”Now I asked you to leave. We have a burial to start thanks to you.” He stared at him, waiting for him to turn away and not ready to accept any other outcome.

Once Chan had left, Viorel lifted his head to the sky and called for the Backwater wolves; he would need help carrying Sephrina back to the resting place of their other dearly departed. Sephrina deserved to be with Katna, and Walleye and Inger, with her family.

(This post was last modified: Mar 16, 2023, 03:23 PM by Viorel.)
[Image: s38i5ZS.png]
Played by Cade who has 861 posts.
Paradise Falls I. Leader
Chan Eastfall
Silence met that crackling claim. Chan watched Viorel with apprehension, wondered if he was expecting something more from him, and shifted under the dead weight of his burning gaze. What eventually came was likely the best he could hope for, and a perfectly reasonable demand. Even if it was one Chan feared he wouldn't be able to meet. He nodded, swallowed, and whispered "I'm sorry," before doing exactly as he'd been instructed to. The Eastfall backed away and then turned and disappeared back into the darkness of the forest.
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Played by Cade who has 101 posts.
Dead Empress Backwater IX. Subordinate
Asmund Ingerssen Valle
Asmund didn't know what to make with the howls that kept sounding across the Backwater, but he recognized Viorel's voice and the wrongness of it was worse than any of the others. He wanted to go to the man as expected, to do something to help, but that fear that controlled so much of his life had too great a grip on him. Something awful had happened and Asmund could not bring himself to face it. He struggled in his hiding place, shifting and contemplating and willing for himself to exit and go with the rest of the pack but unable to ever actually do so.

It wouldn't be until the sun was high into the sky and the worst of it all was clearly over that the almost-teenager would be able to dare sneaking into the open. He'd find Viorel as quickly as he could and if allowed, curl up quietly against his side. This was all he could do.

az's only post unless someone like drags him out lol