(See All?) Announcements
527 Users Online
Google, Archer, Bing

in the closet — Kingsfall 
Print · · Subscribe · 0 Loves ·
Played by Ghost who has 211 posts.
Paradise Falls III. Mentor
Finley Lennox
For @Chan, Jethro has been missing for a few days
An hour or so after midnight, few clouds, -29F/-34C

It was late, and so cold that her ragged breaths billowed around her as fog, the tears she sobbed clung frozen to her cheeks. Every time she blinked the ice threatened to hold her eyes shut, but she hardly noticed. As soon as she got close enough to home that she thought someone might be able to hear Finley lifted her muzzle and let out an urgent call for Chan before it garbled off at the end.

She couldn’t get the vision out of her head, she knew Jethro had needed space but when it had been a full day and he had not returned she had followed him. Only to find a bloody scene, the mix of coyote carcass, coyote blood and the blood of her mate all mixed in the snow. She had followed his retreating tracks as far as she could before they had been covered by blowing snow and disappeared. Then she had waited, hoping he would return, but he had not.

She was starting to wonder what was left here for her, if Jethro was gone. Both of her sons gone, her mate now, Colette had died. But, she couldn’t just leave, she had responsibilities here, and if any of them were ever going to be looking for her, this is where they would look.

Played by Cade who has 875 posts.
Paradise Falls I. Leader
Chan Eastfall
Chan had been sleeping outside while the children visited with @Flair when Finley's frantic howl rung out. He started, chest instantly ballooned with anxiety. First he checked on his family, that something catastrophic had not befallen them all as he'd dozed. Once assured they were still safe and that Addy and Mica would not try to follow him, he would scramble to meet with his packmate.

He appeared breathless, eyes searching both her and their surroundings, half-expecting something horrific to have happened to Atara. The girl's scent wasn't even around, though. Last he knew, she'd been out looking for her father too. Had Fin found either of them in peril, or worse? He didn't want to know and be a part of whatever reality had his friend reduced to such a pitiful state, but his mouth and body acted anyway. He snuffled Finley over to further check for harm and clues both as he asked "what happened?", ready to act however was needed to at least try and make a difference.
[Image: 5BdYuOb.png]
Played by Ghost who has 211 posts.
Paradise Falls III. Mentor
Finley Lennox

Chan was quick to answer her call as Finley stood trembling in the wintery air, unable to coax herself to take even a single step closer. Once she crossed the border everything would be real, would be permanent. Out here, in this no man’s land, when she was the only one who knew she could almost convince herself it had been her imagination, a nightmare, a trick of the light. She stood, panting, tears frozen against her cheeks but no longer flowing, as her friend came closer and examined her.

Then he spoke, and her pretend world could be no longer. She inhaled a shuddering breath and croaked, ”I couldn’t find him. But…It looked like he got into a fight with some coyotes, there was a lot of blood and his pawsteps led away from the scene but…I couldn’t track him.” Her green eyes clenched shut and her breaths came hard, racking her thin frame as if she had been through some huge physical exertion.

The mother knew if she opened her eyes that the world would be spinning around her, so she kept them closed, ”Please tell me Atara has returned, I don’t want her to find it.” The whole pack would need to be informed, including her daughter who she would speak with privately first, but she didn’t need to see it. It was too gruesome.

Played by Cade who has 875 posts.
Paradise Falls I. Leader
Chan Eastfall
Damn it, his thoughts growled, jaws clenching with futile frustration. Many more questions now flooded his mind, along with that poisonous hope that maybe he could still do something to help Jethro. Yet, he could only go so far for likely similar reasons to why Finley had given up and turned back home. If he chased after Jet and came back to Flair dead, or something having happened to any of his children, he couldn't...

Fin asked about Atara, and Chan wished he had a better answer than the truth.

"Not that I know of," his voice came quietly and his ears leaned back with sympathy.

"How far did you go, where did it happen at?"

The urge to run and see himself was strong. Jethro was the pack's rock, he couldn't just be gone.
[Image: 5BdYuOb.png]
Played by Ghost who has 211 posts.
Paradise Falls III. Mentor
Finley Lennox

The mother’s eyes squeezed tighter shut and she tilted her head away at his news. Things couldn’t get much worse than this, unless… the only thing she could possibly think of was if she had found Jethro’s body and not the coyote. That would have been much worse, and her stomach churned at the thought and she swallowed the bile that began to climb in her throat. She needed to keep it together.

And Chan had more questions, ”east, a day or so and then I followed his tracks for another day but…with the recent weather the trail was covered.” She had wanted to keep going, but if she ended up lost and unable to get back what would have become of Atara? She would have had nobody, and there was no way she was going to do that to her one thing that remained.

Finally, she found a little bit of resolve and she opened her eyes, taking a deep breath to steady herself. Looking back to Chan she asked, ”Is Flair any better? We need somebody to lead us.” And they both knew that as second it was her job if Jethro and Flair couldn’t. She didn’t want it, didn’t want the responsibility or even think she would be any good at it. But, it was her role and her duty to take on and she didn’t want to let everyone else down.

Played by Cade who has 875 posts.
Paradise Falls I. Leader
Chan Eastfall
Too far. Chan had mixed feelings upon hearing it, but he didn't display any of it, just a consistent demeanor of concern. He wanted to offer to help her look for Atara then, as it seemed all he was capable of doing to help, but Fin spoke again. His response was rapid and firm, perhaps more so than he'd intended.

"No."

Already he was dreading the impact this would have on his partner and her chances at recovering, he certainly wasn't about to entertain expectations that she try to push through her symptoms for the good of anyone else. He watched Finley then, perfectly aware of the position that was putting her in. What he didn't know was how she truly felt about it.

"Do you want to?"
(This post was last modified: Jan 24, 2024, 12:43 AM by Chan.)
[Image: 5BdYuOb.png]
Played by Ghost who has 211 posts.
Paradise Falls III. Mentor
Finley Lennox

She was a little taken aback by the force in Chan’s tone but managed to not show it, other than a single blink in surprise. She knew how much he cared for Flair and how much loss they both had suffered, it should not be a shock that he felt extra protective now that she was recovering. Then came another question that she was dreading. Did she want to. She was quick to answer, ”No,” and was astonished at her own honesty, normally she was able to keep these things under wraps.

Which was why she followed up with a more guarded - though still truthful - ”But I am willing to, until Flair is fully ready to return to her rightful place.” If that was what the pack needed from her then she would do it, though she hoped that her time as ruler would not last very long. She had never thought of herself as much of a leader, and doubted the other members of the pack did either. But, she could be a placeholder if need be, keep things afloat and the status quo until a more fitting leader was able and willing to take over.

Her thoughts went back to Atara, ”Do you know whereabouts my daughter was looking? I’ll need to rest a few hours but then I will go find her.” This was a conversation they should have in private.

Played by Cade who has 875 posts.
Paradise Falls I. Leader
Chan Eastfall
No. The moment she said it, Chan thought he knew what that meant. His lungs threatened to seize with a natural aversion, but but both reason and Finley's words following were able to chase away the feeling, almost entirely. Empathy continued to pull at his features, for he wouldn't want to be in her prints either, and yet he also knew his answer would be no different. They each had far more than their own comfort to consider.

"Yeah, she let me know before she left. I'll send Marigold now, okay?"

Of course if Mar couldn't find Atara for any reason, he would be quick to alert Finley no matter how deep her sleep. Her daughter was a well-behaved and considerate child, but of course this was a strange and disturbing occurrence, not just a regular venture out into the woods... He wanted to go himself to look for her too, just as he did the girl's father. His heart nearly felt as though it were physically pulling him out into the wilderness where Jet might just be waiting and hoping for someone to find him. His brain wouldn't let him. It knew such a choice could very well come down to choosing them over Flair and his own children. The world had been more cruel than that before, and could never be taught to change.

"Fin," a second to consider his words (or was it hesitation?), "you know, you're an amazing mother. Being a leader, it's the same skillset. And, I'm here for you guys, okay? If you ever need me to step up, I will."

Chan had never wanted to lead again, but he also couldn't imagine ever simply standing by and watching the others drown. He could manage, if that was what was needed, and it wouldn't be something that would call him to sacrifice care for Flair.
[Image: 5BdYuOb.png]
Played by Ghost who has 211 posts.
Paradise Falls III. Mentor
Finley Lennox
This is Finley's exit so we're good to fade with you.

Finley nodded once in response to Chan’s question, it was probably better that she had some time to compose herself before seeing Atara anyways. Her daughter didn’t need to see her falling apart like this, not when more bad news was coming. She almost moved to go back towards the territory when Chan’s voice stopped her.

Her eyes began to feel misty again until she sniffed it back, ”Thank you Chan, I appreciate having your support.” That was the right thing to say, though she wanted to retort that she wasn’t an amazing mother, case in point being her sons being gone. But, she had already let the real answer out once in this conversation, and she wasn’t going to do it again so soon.

Her whole body felt heavy and she realized just how fatigued she really was. The mother doubted she would have more than a fitful sleep, but it seemed almost impossible to keep her eyes open. She bid Chan a quick goodbye and went to find the den she shared with Atara and get at least a couple hours of rest.

Played by Cade who has 875 posts.
Paradise Falls I. Leader
Chan Eastfall
Chan watched her go, waiting for solitude before letting out a breath of relief that she had not immediately taken him up on his offer. He would howl out for his eldest then, and while he waited for her to find him, the aging wolf had much to think about.

Mainly, how to break the news to his own partner.

/Fade
[Image: 5BdYuOb.png]