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one family under the sun — Dead Empress Backwater 
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Played by Cade who has 499 posts.
Dead Empress Backwater II. Leader
Eros Valle
For @Oleander only.

After speaking with Rochus, Eros had visited @Clover, ensuring that she was still well taken care of, doing his part to help stave off the boredom she likely felt being cooped up. Between all of her children and other loved ones, she was tended to amply. He looked over their stores and chased out a mouse trying to hide from the cold, almost managing to crush it betwixt his teeth but missing just barely. Then he stepped back into the wintry sunlight, shook out his fur, and lifted his nose to scent for his brother.

This was always the best place to start for that. He'd half-hoped Ollie would drop in while he'd been visiting, but perhaps it was better to have this conversation privately. Eros honestly wasn't sure what to expect from his sibling, especially given they'd never really had a deep conversation before. Maybe it would be easy and simple, maybe he'd hit a nerve he couldn't have known existed. Like always, the days-older Valle would hope for the best.

Maybe they could even close a little distance. Eros had never understood why it existed in the first place...
Played by Greyer who has 134 posts.
Dead Empress Backwater V. Medic
Oleander Valle
Oleander carried on about his day as he normally did. Scavenge breakfast, do some border traversing, check on Clover. He counted the caches and began to make his way back over towards the Infirmary. There was a little hop in his step and a small wag in his tail.

The closer he came to the Infirmary, though, the more he realized he wouldn’t be there alone. Eros had come by; and, after the cougar incident, he wasn’t exactly sure what he would walk into. His head and tail lowered. His steps slowed and when he came around a nearby tree, he spotted his brother. A low woof was offered as a greeting, not wanting to bother those in the Infirmary. He stole a glimpse at Eros’ side before returning his gaze to the ground, “Everything all right?”
they say pray it away, i swear,
OLEANDER VALLE
that I'll never be a saint, no way
Played by Cade who has 499 posts.
Dead Empress Backwater II. Leader
Eros Valle
There he was. Eros' eyes lifted to spot his sibling, a small smile forming on his lips and tail waving low in greeting.

"Hey, O," he returned, thankful he hadn't needed to look far to track him down. There was a lot he had to tend to these days, leaving him with little extra time. He couldn't much afford to be frivolous with it.

"It's all good. I wanted to talk to you, though."

He'd spoken to Viorel about it first, not assuming that there wasn't already a plan. The answer had seemed to be that Oleander was still exploring. Had he discovered anything?

"How comfortable are you with helping cover for Ma?"
Played by Greyer who has 134 posts.
Dead Empress Backwater V. Medic
Oleander Valle
"Hey, O," the greeting set Oleander's tail into a low wag. Everything was fine, but Eros had wanted a word. "How comfortable are you with helping cover for Ma?"

The ashen Valle eyed the entrance to the Infirmary, taken aback. Him? Cover for Clover? One side of his mouth pulled downward while his left ear turned to the side. His head tilted in thought. When it righted again, he looked at his brother, a wince contorted his face. "Just fine," his tone was flat and his ears pulled back. "I'm more... knowledgable with... other plants."

His lips closed in a straight line across his maw, his eyes remaining fixed on his brother's shoulder. In the time while Archer and Eros were honing their skills, Oleander had been busy in his solitude. Enduring seasons of little blisters on his front paw pads, fighting bouts of dizziness, wasting hours watching rabbits consume dark berries, and spending months with mushroom spores in his coat... These days, he found it easy to avoid contact with unfavorable florae. Most plants by winter's arrival were frozen and wilted. Though, that didn't mean he wasn't still curious or still looking for them.

"But," he began again after a moment's pause. "If you need me to, I'm able."
they say pray it away, i swear,
OLEANDER VALLE
that I'll never be a saint, no way
Played by Cade who has 499 posts.
Dead Empress Backwater II. Leader
Eros Valle
Eros had expected his brother to respond more positively. There was a lot he didn't rightly know about Oleander, and plenty that he'd assumed. Still, this was why he was asking instead of making the decision on his own. He knew there was plenty inside his sibling that he had not gotten the chance the see yet.

O was agreeable, but his face still said it all. Eros couldn't help a small, amused smile at that.

"How about we find something you feel great about, yeah?"

Yes, they needed a second medic. Eros was managing though, and while injured their mother was far from ready to retire. There was time to find and train someone else. He wanted the others to feel happy in their role the way he was. But did Oleander know yet what his dream was?
Played by Greyer who has 134 posts.
Dead Empress Backwater V. Medic
Oleander Valle
Oleander caught his brother's small smile. Unlike Archer, he had considered his knowledge as something other than dangerous. Oleander only hoped it was useful; bedside manners were not his best suit but he had them. Rather, he was more concerned that the pack lacked quiet defenses against infiltrators. It was easier, he thought, to get rid of unsavory rogues with poison instead of spilled blood.

"How about we find something you feel great about, yeah?"

"Sure," he answered without even a second thought. "That'd be nice actually." His eyes fell to Eros' paws again, the tiniest of smirks gracing his pale face at last. "When I came back home, Dad did not give me any direction for anything. He jus' said to come home." A soft inhale and an equally quiet sigh, "It'd be nice to know what good I can do. Whatever you need, I'm willing. Just name it and I'm there."
they say pray it away, i swear,
OLEANDER VALLE
that I'll never be a saint, no way
Played by Cade who has 499 posts.
Dead Empress Backwater II. Leader
Eros Valle
'He jus' said to come home.'

Eros' smile softened. That sounded like Dad, alright. His thoughts drifted to @Archer briefly, those familiar pangs of guilt, hurt and worry blooming in his chest as he wondered where he and Ally were now.

'It'd be nice to know what good I can do.'

His attention returned to the brother that stood in front of him, brows tilting with a measure of fondness and sympathy both.

'Whatever you need, I'm willing. Just name it and I'm there.'

"I know it," he answered Oleander's declaration warmly.

"After all, you didn't need a role to take on that cat, right?"

Roles were important, but they didn't define any one wolf's worth. His sibling was an asset already, regardless of whether or not he had direction.

"Nothing wrong with just being you. The rest'll come along, yeah?"
Played by Greyer who has 134 posts.
Dead Empress Backwater V. Medic
Oleander Valle
"I know it," Eros replied. "After all, you didn't need a role to take on that cat, right?"

To this, Oleander couldn't help but give his brother a full smile. To look him in the face and acknowledge the recognition. What sliver of connection he thought he had severed long ago had survived. Or, rather, it was re-established with mere words, stronger than before. Tenfold. Where Archer had brushed him the wrong way, Eros encouraged, building him up. His decision to reconnect with family was proving a fruitful attempt thus far.

"Nothing wrong with just being you. The rest'll come along, yeah?"

"Yeah," he echoed with a nod. A little chuckle, "At least, I hope so. Waited long enough..." His tail set back into its easy sway. "But, yeah, no, I can take over for Clover." He added, not meaning to be all flip-floppy with the whole ordeal. His Leader had made a request of him and, true to his nature, he stepped up to the plate. "Just... There isn't a lot I can do right now since the frost's taken everything." It might've been obvious and Eros might not have needed to hear it, but it was only an observation on Oleander's part. "I can see what's left of the stores," he offered. The piles of dead leaf confetti from when he last checked flickered behind his eyes. He thought it was a sad collection, but it was still useful and that was all that mattered. "But, until she's better, I can't do much until the spring thaw."

Another pause and a curious but subtle tilt of his head, "Was... that all you wanted to talk about?"
they say pray it away, i swear,
OLEANDER VALLE
that I'll never be a saint, no way
Played by Cade who has 499 posts.
Dead Empress Backwater II. Leader
Eros Valle
Eros wasn't sure he'd ever seen Ollie so sunny, certainly not since becoming teens. It made his tail wag, and caused a warmth in his chest. He'd always wanted a closer relationship with his half-siblings, maybe that was finally starting? A silver lining amongst the dark clouds of loss and injury.

"Of course," he acknowledged. Even if O just acted as Clover's paws and watched over what they did have, it would be an immense help. He didn't expect Ma to be down too long, anyways. Even if her leg proved stubborn to heal, she was more so in her determination to always be of help.

"Yes. Thank you, Ollie. I really appreciate it. If you burn out or find something else, just talk with me or Dad, yeah?"

He certainly didn't want Oleander to feel trapped by duty.

"I'mma go let him know, unless you'd prefer to?" his paws moved, tilting him toward an exit.
Played by Greyer who has 134 posts.
Dead Empress Backwater V. Medic
Oleander Valle
So, that was it. Eros had needed someone to continue in Clover's stead. As simple as it was, Oleander thought it nice to feel needed, even if only for a temporary 'task.' "I really, appreciate it," the Leader had said, continuing further to let him know that he was not tied to it all. "If you burn out or find something else, just talk with me or Dad, yeah?"

"Sure thing... Sure." Another nod of his ashen head. "Thank you."

"I'mma go let him know, unless you'd prefer to?"

"I can go," a more confident smirk of a smile. "You've enough in your daily rounds as is." Oleander's thoughts went to the few places he knew he could find Viorel at this hour. As Eros moved, so did Oleander, shifting his paws to point himself toward the pack den. "If there's anything more, y'know where to find me." Golden eyes met peach-hued irises, a silent note of understanding. If there was nothing else, he would respectfully take his leave...
they say pray it away, i swear,
OLEANDER VALLE
that I'll never be a saint, no way