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your broken crown in shards — Ghastly Woods 
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Played by Grey who has 448 posts.
Inactive No Rank
Sköll Archer
Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.
-- Henry IV, Part II, Act III, Scene I

August 16th; Evening; Partly Cloudy; 68° F/20° C

In the month that Sköll Archer had been separated from his mother, from his pack, from his future kingdom, little good could be said about him. His eyes were no longer calm and collected like liquid silver; rather, they were likened to the storm-filled skies that hung above a turbulent ocean. His teeth stuck out from beneath his black-lined, ivory-furred lips like terrible daggers; his saliva dripped freely from each ivory tip like poison. His breathing was ragged and his fur stuck up in menacing spikes in places where he crawled along the ground and crept up against the trees to avoid detection. There was the possibility of having several wary onlookers here, just hidden behind the twisted tree trunks, but he was primarily concerned with only one. They could stare and gawk and ponder all they had liked; presently, Skoll had not yet been stopped, intercepted, or even spotted on these marked lands.

His stark black tail, likened to that of a spiked club mace, stuck out behind him so that his body seemed much longer than it really was; and, as he crept through the shadows, he moved with such grace that his footsteps were nearly undetectable. One had to be absolutely listening for him, expecting him, waiting for him in order to hear his paws plant into the soft earth, made both rich and rank from the various corpses that littered the ground. Though, the sounds of Deathwatch Beetles, in their timely and rather ominous chirps, did just as well to mask any sound he did make - the crunch of a leaf here, the shuffling of a stone over the dry earth there...

He brought his damp nose to the ground, grinding his molars together as he picked up his scent, the one whose musk primarily covered this part of the Ghastly Woods. It might not have been the trail he was supposed to follow - for Deacon's scent was no longer prominent in the area - but something about it had the yearling in a frenzy. His tunnel vision honed in on a section of forest where he thought he could have seen something tawny through the underbrush and, immediately, he began to stalk his prey. The air was still much too warm and too still, and the darkness of another night was only just beginning to close in; he hoped that his skills in tracking alone would be more than enough to keep him hidden.

The scent left behind from this individual's footfalls exactly matched the one he had tracking for the past several weeks. This was the stench of the wretched, the corrupted head of a pack who dared to steal from one of Relic Lore's strongest and most prominent families. His pale pink tongue poked out from between his bared teeth as he took a number of short and sharp breaths. His stomach should have lurched in his abdomen but, at present, it seemed it wasn't there at all. Sköll Archer had been sent on a mission and he was going to see through to the end of it. There would be no going back home to Willow Ridge until he had done what he had set out for... and the wolves who had stolen Deacon away were going to be given a message to ensure that they would not make the same mistake again.

(This post was last modified: Aug 16, 2014, 08:59 PM by Skoll.)
i'm a dreamer, i'm a man
i'm doing whatever i can to make the bad things go away
Played by Grey who has 258 posts.
Inactive No Rank Deceased
Mapplethorpe

Since Naira and their children had fled to the east, Mapplethorpe was certain now that he was alone. Alone, to see the remains of kingdom become nothing but a memory if the wolves of Willow Ridge ever dared to come. Several times over in his head, in the tongue he had come to know by heart, he had damned Myrrhis for her mistake. Deed or misdeed, it had been her error for putting the pack's safety in jeopardy; and it had cost him his family and well-being.

In the chill of evening when the sun had begun to set and the gentle breeze rendered the Ghastly Woods into a cold, tomb-like place, Mapplethorpe heard it: the distinct, clicking "chirp" of the beetle. A Deathwatch Beetle. He stopped in his tracks to listen for it, willing himself to close his eyes just in case he caught sight of it clinging to the trees somewhere on his right. Counting two brief seconds and the number of chirps it had sounded out, he let out a breath. He hoped beyond all measures that his beloved Naira had not been found... let alone his son and daughter.

Opening his eyes again, he slowly stalked onward. It had all gone to plan, not just his aspirations and the goals he had achieved, but everything. From how he had actually let Nomads Pass fall (into his lap) to winning Naira's heart, from believing that he had proved his mother and father wrong by successfully becoming a fearsome Leader to extending his own bloodline by producing one heir and one heiress. Then, there was this... fully relinquishing his reign by allowing the wolves of Hollowheart Keep to scatter to the winds (granting themselves as possible distractions while his loved ones fled) and offering himself as the ultimate libation for anyone who thought him guilty of the following charges: deceit, thievery, oppression, or rebellion...

Maybe if he had been younger, more prone to innocence than selfishness and wrongdoing, he might have thought himself worthy of going with his little family. He shook his head, a pained expression now apparent on his face. No. They deserved this... He.. deserved this, and he owed it to them. This - his being left behind - was all for them.

It had been some time, soon after the beetles began to tick and tap to one another, when he finally heard the sound he had been wanting to hear. Well, he thought he had heard it: that all too familiar sound of an unwelcome footstep and the forest debris (rodent bones? twigs? brittle leaves of autumns past?) that crunched beneath its weight.

The Leader stopped then, straightening himself as much as he was physically able. "I've been expecting you," he said, his tone surprisingly even despite the terrible rhythm his heart had recently adopted. "No doubt you've waited until I was alone to appear..."

Played by Grey who has 448 posts.
Inactive No Rank
Sköll Archer
Skoll rolls a d10 and gets a 10. His attack is a hit.
Skoll rolls a d6 and gets a 1. He does 2 damage.
Skoll: 32/32
Mapplethorpe: 17/19


Sköll's steps mimicked that of his target and it disappointed him when he saw those silver-touched ears perk and twitch as they both stopped along their paths. "I've been expecting you," the man spoke, his accented voice hinting that he was well-practiced in another dialect or tongue. "No doubt you've waited until I was alone to appear..." It stroked the Archer's fur the wrong way; for him, having to learn one language and the wordless conventions that came with it, had been a challenge. A growl threatened to spill from his throat and lift into the air but he was able to contain it. There was no use in getting angry and having his way with the cub-abductor this soon. The floor was still open for him to make his stand, to speak his piece, and figuratively keep the ball on his side of the court.

His mother had taught him more than enough when it came to handling a powerful subject; and, granted that his skills were especially honed for more intellectual things rather than physical, the dark prince was going to have to find away to talk and reorient himself into a more favorable position. Coming at the tawny man from the back would do him no good.

Hot air fumed from his nostrils and with wary steps, he walked in a wide circle around his prey, tail in the air as though he owned the ground he walked upon. He came to a stop as he was able to see the side of Mapplethorpe's face, then darted into the cover of a dense hedge to his right. Obscurity would be the first card he would play. His identity, at the current moment, was his most prized asset, especially if the man claimed to have been expecting him.

He teased the old Advisor, staring at him through a large gap in the hedge just long enough so that when their eyes finally locked, Sköll had to quickly look away. Whispering back, he ducked beneath a branch decorated with several shoots and leaves, "You don't know who I am."

i'm a dreamer, i'm a man
i'm doing whatever i can to make the bad things go away
Played by Grey who has 258 posts.
Inactive No Rank Deceased
Mapplethorpe
Mapplethorpe rolls a d10 and gets a 10. His attack is a hit.
Mapplethorpe rolls a d6 and gets a 6. He does 10 damage.
Skoll: 22/32
Mapplethorpe: 17/19


Had Mapplethorpe been a fearful man, an individual who was driven by terror, he might have tried to make a run for it. He wasn't, and didn't. In fact, he welcomed it... waited patiently for the attack, the fatal injury, the killing blow... It didn't come. Instead, he caught his stalker's movements from the corner of his eye. Even in the imminent arrival of twilight, he caught it: the stark black fur, the spindly legs, and willowy build.

Rhysis.

Mapplethorpe's eyes closed and he breathed out quietly; what was supposed to be a simple puff of air came out in a raspy, uncertain exhale. The Deathwatch Beetles continued their chatter, but the Leader's ears were much too focused on what Rhysis had to say once he had ducked into the cover of a dense shrub nearby. His golden eyes rounded on the cluster of black hawthorn, his whole body turning with uneven steps as he stared, unsure of what to make of the strange phrase, "You don't know who I am."

"Of c-course I do," he stuttered, immediately regretting the words as soon as he had uttered them. "What else is new? I knew you would come crawling back." He swallowed hard, he had considered a number of ways to go, but it had been a long while since he had taken this - the reappearance of his mate's former lover - into consideration. "Maybe not like this, but I've expect you to show sooner or later." He dared to let a smug grin appear on his thin face, thinking that he had regained the upper hand.

"I'll do you a favor," he stated, "and tell you, first-hand, that she's gone and she's taken our children with her. She never loved you... I've sent her away; you won't ever find her."

Well-paced steps, cushioned by the thick forest floor, brought him slowly around the hedge. Lo and behold, there he was, standing with his shoulder framed perfectly within a gap in the branches as he moved. Mapplethorpe struck, sinking his teeth into a good portion of that thick black fur. Perhaps Rhysis would give up the game, knowing that he had gotten himself into quite a prickly spot. Once his hit had landed, he stumbled back, shuffling across the few bones that littered the floor as his joints protested against the quickness of his movements. He could taste the metallic tang of blood on his tongue. Hopefully his message came across, loud and clear.

Played by Staff who has 4,723 posts.
A lynx has left behind the remains of a deer. +5 Health
Played by Grey who has 448 posts.
Inactive No Rank
Sköll Archer
Skoll rolls a d10 and gets a 8. His attack is a hit.
Skoll rolls a d6 and gets a 1. He does 2 damage.
Skoll: 22/32
Mapplethorpe: 15/19


The man retorted, countering him with a bunch gibberish that Sköll eagerly lapped up. The scent of deer teased at his nostrils as he listened, gathering every bit of information as to twist them so that he could feed them back to the old man. He took note of the man moving about the hedge but what Sköll had not taken note of was where his target had moved off to. He had been much too busy, entranced by the words the Leader had chosen. So he had sent someone away - his mate, the young Archer assumed - and Sköll, whoever he was in the brute's possibly frail and failing mind, would never be able to find them.

He heard the footfalls too late somewhere behind him and before Sköll knew it, he flinched and jerked, crashing forward through the thorny branches and bright purple berries, exposing himself. From the pain that radiated through him, starting from his right shoulder, he could tell that the man's incisors had pierced the skin and he winced as he hobbled to stare at the Leader. An ugly scowl wrinkled his muzzle and he openly growled at his opponent now, teeth bared and eyes narrowed.

"I saw your daughter," he bluffed, logically picking the 'gentler' sex in order to get the exact response he wanted from the man. "Such a dainty, sweet, little thing..." His tongue slithered out from between his front teeth, wondering just how gullible the head of Hollowheart Keep was. Sköll had always been known to tip the scales in his favor by only the use of his words. Come closer, he dared, using his body language to invite the brute in. "I could've snatched her up, mousy fur and all, if I hadn't been so keen on finding you first."

i'm a dreamer, i'm a man
i'm doing whatever i can to make the bad things go away
Played by Grey who has 258 posts.
Inactive No Rank Deceased
Mapplethorpe
Mapplethorpe rolls a d10 and gets a 2. His attack is a hit.
Mapplethorpe rolls a d6 and gets a 2. He does 6 damage.
Skoll: 16/32
Mapplethorpe: 15/19


Success... He had finally given Rhysis a decent wound; it wasn't fatal but it was a start. For months, he had hungered to taste the Aquila's blood, to see the bastard king finally fall. What partially stumbled out of the black hawthorn branches, however, was not Rhysis at all. It was a youth - a yearling well within his adolescent days - whose initial response had him facing Mapplethorpe with a threatening glare and a venomous growl. The Leader braced himself, stepping back as to anchor his feet to the ground. The boy did not attack though and what he said instead made his heart sink.

Asphodel... his mind cried. "You didn't!" he barked, shaking his head as the yearling's sweet-toned words placed a bad taste in his mouth. A quick scan and sniff of the swarthy fiend confirmed that he had been well-played and he immediately withdrew, especially after he realized that Asphodel's milk-laced scent was not even present in the potpourri that mingled around his opponent. "You didn't," he repeated, this time the words coming out as though he were absolutely confident that his daughter had not come to any harm.

Everything about the boy welcomed him closer, and Mapplethorpe seized the opportunity. He asked for it, he would get it. Paying no heed to the ache and arthritis that plagued his joints, he lunged forward. The poor, nearly-limited range in his elbows had him falling short and instead of aiming for Sköll's neck, he clasped his jaws on a bony elbow, the closest one - Sköll's right. Maybe without much use in his whole right arm, the boy would see that he had made a mistake in trying to start a fight with Naira's equal.

In the few seconds he had in this delicate dance, he landed sorely on his left forearm, his shoulder coming into contact with the ground as he looked up into a whirl of pale, ghostly eyes and midnight-black fur that was a dark as the encroaching shadows themselves.

Played by Grey who has 448 posts.
Inactive No Rank
Sköll Archer
Skoll rolls a d10 and gets a 8. His attack is a hit.
Skoll rolls a d6 and gets a 6. He does 7 damage.
Skoll: 16/32
Mapplethorpe: 8/19


The old coot obliged, even after Sköll had failed to fully persuade the man he had come in contact with or seen his daughter. What happened next came in a matter of milliseconds. The Leader came at him, jowls open and teeth bared, what Sköll had overestimated was how quickly Mapplethorpe could move. The prince tensed, anticipating a nasty bite to his throat (at which point he was so certain that he had made a grave mistake in playing his next trick: overconfidence). The attack landed a bit lower, though, and Sköll let out a choked yelp as he felt the same set of teeth snap at his right elbow. His face twisted in pain, and only when the older man had let go could he think straight.

Mapplethorpe was on the ground then, and the Archer made for a counter-attack. With his own lips drawn up to expose his off-white teeth, he bore down on the tawny monarch. He decided to prolong the suffering of his opponent though and instead of honing in on the Leader's jugular, he launched himself at the space just between his neck and shoulder, pressing his right paw forcefully down on the side of Mapplethorpe's snapping muzzle. His tail lifted to arch over the small of his back.

He had the upper hand now. At least, so long as he kept his hold and kept the Leader's nose to the ground.

He bit down hard, feeling the warm liquid - Mapplethorpe's blood combined with his saliva - seep from his mouth and saturate his victim's fur. Trembling he fought to keep a hold, waiting ever so patiently for his pack's enemy to bleed out or verbally admit defeat. You deserve this, he hissed. This was your doing. No one else's. You deserve this death... Stop fighting.

i'm a dreamer, i'm a man
i'm doing whatever i can to make the bad things go away
Played by Grey who has 258 posts.
Inactive No Rank Deceased
Mapplethorpe
Mapplethorpe rolls a d10 and gets a 2. His attack is a hit.
Mapplethorpe rolls a d6 and gets a 1. He does 5 damage.
Skoll: 11/32
Mapplethorpe: 8/19


Mapplethorpe was pinned. With the troublemaker's forepaw keeping his head to the ground and the youth's still-sharp teeth deep into a good portion of his neck, the Leader cried out. He squirmed and writhed, what pain was being added on top of his existing aches and agony caused by aging muscles and overworked nerves could have been considered nothing if it weren't for the blood that was seeping from the worsening wound. Through half-closed eyes and a sense of vision that was threatening to throw him into a world of blurred shapes that would soon become eternal darkness, he held still just long enough to feel Sköll's tension in his arm relax. Only then was he able to lift his head. The adrenaline rush and his need for survival, wrought by the innate inclination of his body's fight or flight response, gave him just enough energy to react.

Now that he was free he angled himself upwards, snapping his teeth once again on the thin skin that covered the boy's left forearm. He would have been able to aim higher if it weren't for the painful hold the lad still had on his neck. Foiled, the Leader continued to struggle; reaching for whatever he could grab within his reach. If he was going to try and take this renegade down, he was going to do it as his final deed. Even if he believed Sköll hadn't had the chance to touch even the smallest tuft of fur on his daughter's head, he was going to make sure that after his death, if all this eventually came to it, the yearling would not even be given the opportunity.

"Who sent you?" he grunted, continuing his attempts to wriggle free. "We sent the boy back." His mouth opened to express the pain that cancelled out the whimpers he normally would have made. A grimace settled on his silver-touched face, "Your vengeance will prove nothing. Let me go." A strained growl sputtered from his throat. "It is not me that you want."

Played by Grey who has 448 posts.
Inactive No Rank
Sköll Archer
Skoll rolls a d10 and gets a 6. His attack is a hit.
Skoll rolls a d6 and gets a 6. He does 7 damage.
Skoll: 11/32
Mapplethorpe: 1/19


For a man beyond his years of service or the prime of his life, Sköll was impressed. Though he regretted the moment he had lost his hold on Mapplethorpe's snout, he was too focused on keeping his hold on the man's neck to even yelp or bay. Asriel had nipped him much harder than that before... Breathing hard and keeping a death grip on his opponent's neck, he increased the pressure in his jaw, biting down so that his teeth dug down even further. He wouldn't allow any sort of interrogation get to him. Not after all that Angier had told and reminded him.

"Head north," the Lyall had said. "You either find Deacon or ya find who's respons'ble for all of this an' you make sure it doesn't 'appen again. Do what ya have to, but come back in one piece after you finish what you've been sent out t' do. Now, go..." And, go, the prince did... Weeks of pre-meditated tactics had all amounted to this very moment with his eye teeth deep in Mapplethorpe's neck. Gray eyes wide and ears receptive to all that the falling king had to say, he clenched his jaw, wondering what reaction he would receive.

At this point, it did not matter anymore whether or not they had returned his baby brother. This act of retribution was his gold - no, silver-toned - ticket into his mother's everlasting favor, for ridding Relic Lore of a power that was audacious and dauntless enough as to steal another pack's lifeblood. No matter how much Mapplethorpe pleaded and tried to reason and convince him that he, himself, was not the soul he was supposed to take, Sköll was going to do it. He had watched the old man for weeks, listening in on his conversations, watching his mannerisms, taking notes of his weaknesses as they emerged one by one... For all he knew, Mapplethorpe could have been the one to order such a offensive endeavor. Perhaps taking Deacon had all been in vain; instead of proving that the wolves of Hollowheart Keep were a force to be reckoned with, it had ultimately showed that the pack's weakest member had been their Leader all along.

If Mapplethorpe tried to continue on, the Archer hoped that he wouldn't, not through the pain that would be caused by the tactical grinding of his teeth and a violent shake of his stream-lined head...

i'm a dreamer, i'm a man
i'm doing whatever i can to make the bad things go away