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Bing, Archer, Google, Adelard

like a dream where your feet won’t run — Paradise Falls 
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Played by van who has 125 posts.
Paradise Falls XIV. Subordinate
Riven River ???
It had been a couple of days since Riv had been allowed in by Chan, and he decided he’d done enough tiptoeing around. He had been hesitating, unsure if Adelard would even want to see him in the first place - he had come into his new home uninvited, after all, and it had been a long time since they’d seen one another. He might have an entirely new group of friends, an entirely new life that Riven might be barging into.

It wasn’t his intention to interfere. Truly, he hadn’t even thought it through much before coming here. It was presumptuous of him to assume that Adelard would be just as excited to see Riven as Riven was to see Adelard.

And this wasn’t even considering the reaction to his appearance. He looked different now - drastically so. Riven wasn’t particularly vain, but he was aware that he wasn’t nearly as appealing to look at anymore.

But waiting around dwelling on the what ifs was getting him nowhere. At the end of the day, he’d rather know than not, and if Adelard sent him away, then he would accept that. But he needed to approach him first, much as it made him feel like he was about to throw up.

The sun had long since set - the former leader had always been a night owl, Riven recalled, - and the forest was quiet and still. The healer paced around a bit, wearing a small trench into the snow, before he steeled himself and tilted his head back, howl low and seeking out one wolf in particular.

@Adelard

The healer was anxious, waiting on his arrival. His heart was in his throat, choking him. His body was trembling, his tail was low, but he kept his head up, peering through the trees in search of a familiar shape.
(This post was last modified: Apr 13, 2024, 03:27 AM by Riven.)
Played by Greyer who has 239 posts.
Paradise Falls IX. Subordinate
Adelard Gerau
Having become a simple creature in the frozen months, Adelard found it easy to exist in solitude. When he wasn't tailing Isla or stalking her recent paths, he was outside a small cavern well away from the pack's den. Other times, he was deep in the valley, proving he was being on his best behavior, tending to caches. However, it was common knowledge that wherever Isla was, the dark-furred guard was bound to be close by. All it took was a bark or the slightest hint of her discomfort to summon him.

Tonight, Adelard had the idea to sleep when Isla slept instead of standing guard over her 'til morning. He had been curled up against her side, nestling his chin into her shoulder in an attempt to sleep, when he heard a call. A familiar one.

His eyes blinked open wide, and he looked around before nibbling at the base of one of Isla's ears. A wordless promise that told her he would return shortly. He peeled away from her and set out into the night. His eyes squinted with suspicion as he used his nose to pinpoint the healer's position. He kept canting his head to one side as he walked, his mind wondering if it really was who he thought was asking for him.

When he finally came to a bit of snow where the younger wolf had paced, he, too, found himself trembling. As he turned about and stepped around a large redwood, he saw what he thought had been impossible. A slight man made up of a mess of characteristic blond fur. As far as Adelard knew, he was easy to place. Unmistakably one-of-a-kind...

"Riven?"

He stepped into the open, golden eyes taking in everything that was the wolf Adelard had once found a long time ago. Never mind that the tip of his tail was missing or that the right side of his pelt had been split by a long scar... All he needed was a glimpse of those blue eyes... but, he couldn't contain himself. Before he even knew it, he was pressed up against Riven's side. He buried his face in the field of flaxen fur that made up Riven's neck at a loss for words. For the first time in months, he felt tears fall from the corners of his eyes.
heat stroke, bring the fire
ADELARD GERAU
black smoke, I take it higher
Played by van who has 125 posts.
Paradise Falls XIV. Subordinate
Riven River ???
Waiting, for whatever reason, almost felt as torturous as all the months that he’d traveled, seeking his home and his friends. It felt as though it took ages, but in reality must have only been a short time, before a familiar figure weaved its way into his vision. Older, yes, but largely unchanged.

Riven?

His heart caught in his throat and for a moment, the healer could do nothing but stare. It no longer mattered what he looked like or how different either of them might be now, because an intense wave of reliefpainjoyhurtexcitement washed over him all at once. It was one of the most conflicting emotions Riven had ever experienced, and also one of the best.

The smaller man met Adelard halfway, drawn in like a magnet, and may have connected a bit too hard, but it didn’t matter. He buried his face deep into the dark fur on the side of the other man’s neck, tears welling in his own eyes. His ear was flat to his skull, his tail low and wagging, soft-pitched whines escaping him on every breath.

“I’m so glad-“ he began, only to halt midsentence, interrupted by a choked sob that shook his entire frame. I’m so glad to see you, and I’m so glad you’re still here, and I’m so glad you aren’t angry. Being turned away was likely a slim chance, he knew, but the fear had still been there, eating at the back of his mind. To return and be welcomed like this mended that fear, soothing him immediately. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d been comforted and embraced like this. It had been years at this point, and Riven had always needed this type of physical contact. He hadn’t realized how much he’d needed it until now.

He wanted to talk, to explain things, but the words came out stilted and garbled with choked-off sobs and whimpers that he might’ve been embarrassed about under any other circumstances. “I went back to…” he tried, sucking in a deep breath. “And everyone… no one was… I didn’t know what to do.” He whined again and nuzzled deeper into Adelard’s fur, voice half-muffled. “I’m so… so glad you’re okay.” The others might not be here, might’ve set out on other paths, but to know that just one of his companions were alive and well and right here with him… Riven was unbelievably grateful. After returning to the Chasm and finding it void of life, this was more than he could’ve hoped for.
Played by Greyer who has 239 posts.
Paradise Falls IX. Subordinate
Adelard Gerau
The words came, mere bits and pieces of what Riven had wanted to say. But, Adelard somehow knew...

"I'm so glad-" to see you.

"I know," he breathed, nuzzling Riven as they both quaked and trembled.

"I went back to..." find the Chasm empty.

"I know," Adelard repeated, voice pained but hushed as he grit his teeth. It had been inevitable. Once members had started striking out on their own, getting lost, or looking for those who had gone missing... the pack had been set up to disperse. Adelard could only blame himself, but now he accepted all that had happened. Took responsibility in his shortcomings and cut away the parts of him that had failed as a Leader.

“And everyone…" Riven continued, whimpering and finding himself cut off with sobs, "no one was… I didn’t know what to do.”

"It's okay," he slowly opened his eyes, focusing on the stretch of blond pelt before him. A sniffle escaped him in attempt to collect himself. "Everything's okay now." Something inside him seemed to settle. Almost like a domestic cat perching contentedly on a sunny windowsill.

After some time he broke away from the embrace, his heartstrings tugging with the motion. Adelard no longer remembered what had happened when he realized Riven was missing. The only thing he knew was that he missed him. "I'm going to take care of you," gold eyes met blue in the twilight. "I'm- I'm so happy you're here."
heat stroke, bring the fire
ADELARD GERAU
black smoke, I take it higher
Played by van who has 125 posts.
Paradise Falls XIV. Subordinate
Riven River ???
For years, the idea of returning to the Chasm and settling back in with his friends had been the one thing that kept Riven from giving up. Coming back to an empty home had been so devastating that he’d felt the loss like a physical wound. Even when Riven had spent all that time separated from them, he’d never actually felt fully alone until that moment, and it had shaken him to the core. The moment Adelard had pressed into him had felt like coming home, Chasm or no, and Riven felt the missing parts of himself stitching themselves back together.

He absorbed the freely offered comfort like a sponge, greedy and halfway desperate for the reassurance. He’d dreamed about this ever since he’d blinked in and out of consciousness in that strange place, imagining that one day he might have this again. For the first time in a long, long time, it really did feel like everything was okay.

Adelard pulled back and Riven leaned forward a bit, his body instinctively protesting the distance before his brain had caught up all the way. But he refrained from supergluing himself to his companion’s side and held still, instead letting himself study the other man’s face.

I’m going to take care of you.

A soft chuff of wet laughter escaped him, still not quite able to stem the tears that rolled down his cheeks. Happy tears, of course, and more of them than he’d cried in ages. “Isn’t that my job?” he jested lightly with a soft smile, warmth blooming in his chest like the sun coming out from behind the clouds. Adelard’s eyes had always had a way of doing that to him, but he was surprised to feel it even now.

“I’m so happy you’re here,” he echoed, the trembling in his body finally ebbing just a bit. “You have no idea how much I’ve missed you. I came back as soon as I could, but it was...” He pressed his ear back to his skull and finally glanced off, a hint of guilt gnawing at him. “I’m so sorry. Please know I didn’t want to leave.” It had certainly not been of his own accord, and he’d come back as soon as he could manage, but so much time had passed and he’d missed so much. From the way he’d been welcomed back, he didn’t believe Adelard held any contempt for him, but he wanted to apologize regardless.
Played by Greyer who has 239 posts.
Paradise Falls IX. Subordinate
Adelard Gerau
Riven laughed, "Isn't that my job?" Even in the dark and the bit of gloom that still lingered around Adelard like a shroud, the healer was a ray of sunlight. "I'm so happy you're here." Adelard had been missed and Riven had done all he could to return.

Adelard's head merely shook, his tail beginning to pick up a slow, low wag at his heels. "Don't be sorry," he sniffed. "Don't be sorry." Almost like a magnet, he came to embrace his companion like before, one more set of tears falling unbidden. "Things have changed so much, I thought-" His throat felt tight; his chest morphed into a cage of butterflies. "I thought I'd never see you again."

A small pause as he grew still, wondering now what his next move would be. What his life would look like come morning...

He and Isla had a chemistry that spoke on a primal level, where he, the subordinate, obeyed her as his superior. Since that fateful night of entangling himself with her, he waited and wondered. He lobbied for her attention, what affection she could spare. He did as he was asked and kept mostly to himself. In the months of anticipating the birth of Isla's litter, he settled. Chan had a point, and Chan was right. Adelard, a widower and father to two grown litters, was much too old for her. A bit too 'May-December.'

But, with Riven...

As Riven had felt himself becoming whole, Adelard felt alive in the deepest parts of his inner self. As though he had only just realized that he was not only some sort of guard or Isla's overgrown pet. "Isla led me here," he revealed. "I lost... I lost everyone and I had to make a choice." He rested his temple to Riven's side, already steeling himself, "After Woya died, I thought I'd go with her." His ears lowered in an uncomfortable wince. "Our daughters and sons were already gone, one of them I left to take care of his youngest sister." Gods, little Brielle... If he ever lived long enough to see her again, he hoped one day he would set things right. "I wasn't myself, but then here you are... and it feels like... home."
heat stroke, bring the fire
ADELARD GERAU
black smoke, I take it higher
Played by van who has 125 posts.
Paradise Falls XIV. Subordinate
Riven River ???
Adelard pressed back into his side and a low, happy whine escaped Riven’s throat. After so much time apart, he didn’t know if he could bear to be apart for any longer than absolutely necessary. He nosed gently along the nape of Adelard’s neck, ruffling the dark fur there and simply basking in the closeness. His friend had dismissed his apologies and started crying again, and the twist of pain that sent through Riven’s chest made him wonder if hearts really could break.

“I’m here, now…,” he soothed, hoping his own voice wasn’t shaking too badly. It made a hypocrite out of himself, because he hadn’t been able to stop crying this entire time. “There was nothing that could’ve kept me from coming back.” There was a conviction behind his words, then - he’d never been more determined to do anything than come home. To everyone, of course, but Adelard… well, it was no secret that he had been special to the healer.

Riven had no way of knowing all that had actually changed. He’d been gone for so long that anything could’ve happened, really. Births, deaths, joy, loss… there was so much he’d missed. If he thought about it too hard, the possibilities made his head spin. There was little he could do but listen as Adelard began to explain - shattered fragments of information that Riven could piece together.

He flinched bodily at the news of Woya’s death. Questions arose immediately, but none he’d voice. What had happened? Was it preventable? If Riven had been there, to do his job, would he have been able to change the outcome? Guilt and grief turned his stomach and tightened his throat, and the next tears that stained his fur were from sorrow.

And the two of them had children, but they were all gone, too. Dead or just wandered off, Riven didn’t know. Woya and Adelard would make a great pair of parents, he thought idly, something between warmth and pain festering in his chest. Nothing close to jealousy, but rather a mourning of all the time lost, the people lost, and all the things he hadn’t gotten to see. A whole half of a lifetime…

“I’m sorry. Woya…” he began, but stopped. There were no words he could say that would make any of this better, so instead, the healer turned his head and nuzzled deep into dark fur, wrapping as much of his body around his companion’s larger frame as he could manage. He swallowed past the lump in his throat to speak again. “I’m glad you didn’t.” …go with her. It likely wouldn’t bring Adelard any real comfort, but Riven needed him to know. He’d spend the rest of his life grateful for that fact.

And then there was Isla… Riven wasn’t sure what to make of that situation, but it didn’t matter in that moment. He wouldn’t pry - if Adelard wanted to explain, then he would.

I wasn't myself, but then here you are... and it feels like... home.

Suddenly, Riven was three years younger, his heart fluttering in his chest and heat rising to his cheeks. He hadn’t forgotten how he felt for Adelard, necessarily, but it hadn’t been his highest priority for a while now. Suddenly feeling the effects of his affection for his friend was surprising, but not unwelcome. In spite of everything else, this had been completely unchanged.

He wanted to be good - to ask if he was interfering with anything between Adelard and anyone else, to make sure he wasn’t going to cause a problem, but Riven couldn’t find it in himself to voice the question.

“I’ve thought about nothing but coming home for years, now…” he began. “And… we might not have the Chasm anymore,” even though the admittance sent another spike of pain through his chest, “but this feels… you feel like home to me, too. If you want me to…” He shook his head, cutting himself off and switching gears. I don’t want to leave you. So, please… can I stay? I want to stay.” He’d squeezed his eyes shut, heart hammering hard behind his ribs. From what he’d said, Riven didn’t think Adelard would outright cast him away, but he needed to hear it. Needed to know that this wasn’t something only he wanted.

please don’t feel pressured to match length this post got away from me ^_^’
(This post was last modified: May 18, 2024, 02:23 PM by Riven.)
Played by Greyer who has 239 posts.
Paradise Falls IX. Subordinate
Adelard Gerau
The touch and intimacy was reciprocated as Riven grazed his nose along Adelard's neck. “I’ve thought about nothing but coming home for years, now…” he started. To hear that he shared the sentiment Adelard took a breath to steady himself. After everything he had been through since leaving the Chasm, this was all he could have ever asked for. This moment, here, with Riven.

His gaze focused on the forest, ever vigilant about the world around him. Most especially when he had his guard lowered and his heart out in the open. His ears twitched as he heard Riven declare that he didn't want to leave him, then ask if he could stay.

He moved forward with a low growl, his side pressed against his until he rounded Riven's other side. Now facing the same way, he combed his teeth along his amant's temple. "I've no authority here," he murmured, "but I'm not one to chase out an important member of the pack. There're cubs on the way. Of course we'll be needing your expertise." A slight pause came and went as he second-guessed what he had said. "I mean 'we' as in the pack... but, Isla and one other, Hazelnut, I'm sure would welcome your help."

His lips drew into a straight line as his thoughts drew back to Isla. He had to return to his 'post' soon, lest someone disturb the woman he vowed to safeguard. "Come back to the caves with me," he invited, his teeth grooming his subordinate's brow. "Settle down for the night... and, maybe tell me some stories of all that you've seen while you were away?"

Like a big playful cub, he stretched down into a play bow, tail waving in a lazy lilt. Please, a trill escaped his throat like the call of a small kitten.
heat stroke, bring the fire
ADELARD GERAU
black smoke, I take it higher
Played by van who has 125 posts.
Paradise Falls XIV. Subordinate
Riven River ???
Riven held still except for a low, wagging tail as Adelard rounded to his other side, little prickles of warmth under his fur at each new spot the older man reached. He wasn’t sure he’d ever experienced anything quite like this - if he remembered correctly, they’d talked about their feelings before, a long time ago, but Riv had hardly been ready for anything more than that back then, just approaching his second year and still not as comfortable with himself as he needed to be.

If nothing else, the passing years had given him some time to become more comfortable with the things about himself that he couldn’t change.

Oh, that was right. Adelard wasn’t the leader here at all - he’d have to go and run it by Chan eventually. It did help to know that his friend wouldn’t chase him off himself, though, but the prospect of joining a pack that he hadn’t helped make was daunting. He didn’t really know anyone, and would have to integrate himself in over time.

“Chan was kind enough to let me stay for the time being, but I’ll talk to him about joining permanently. I’d be happy to help where I can,” he said with a smile, a soft rumble settling in his throat. Pups were on the way soon - someone named Hazelnut, and Isla was mentioned again. Maybe that was the very reason she’d brought Adelard there in the first place, he thought idly, and wasn’t quite sure how he felt about the possibility. Not out of some type of envy, but rather the fact that Adelard was standing here, pressed into his side and grooming him while he could be with someone else.

But he hadn’t said that he had a mate, so perhaps the situation was different than Riven had first assumed. He was too relieved, too tired, and too swept up in emotion to worry about that right now. It sounded like a future Riven issue, but he was confident that Adelard wouldn’t be with him like this right now if he had any true commitments.

He was invited back to the caves to rest, and Riven’s shoulders sagged a little, realizing just how tired he really was. Nothing in the world sounded better than curling up into dark fur and hiding away from the rest of the world for a while. A light laugh pealed from his lips at the little display Adelard showed, and his tail waved like a little banner behind him. He was a little too sore to mimic the older man, but he did walk over to nibble at one of his ears, eyes bright.

“Let’s go,” he urged, and would follow where Adelard led, eager to both share stories and have somewhere warm and safe to sleep. He’d only share the better parts of what had happened for now - the places where he’d been sidetracked on his journey, the wolves he’d met, and the strange creatures that had helped him when he’d been injured before.