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#1

Anteros had become familiar with the Pine Forest, so much so he had almost forgot there was life outside of it that was nearly as familiar. The Red Wood was what he had come to know first, where he and Kylar had bonded their friendship two times over, and where he had stayed most of his nights before he left. Upon his return things had not been so pleasant, fire—something else he knew all too well, had engulfed the woods and turned them into nothing. Just like it had to his previous home. Perhaps fire was his mark, his curse to anything he had grown bonded with—if that was the case he feared the future of the Pines. Though he was not often a man of emotion, and more one with a literal look on the world, he would sometimes believe his destiny was not one that the "gods" looked brightly upon. Perhaps that was why... maybe due to the fact he did not bow his head, or pledge his life those above him that things for him sometimes seemed so unfortunate.

He dismissed the though with a sharp huff, rendering it to the back of his mind until it lingered no more. If they wished to test him so be it, he still would not bend or break. Large paws kicked up the turf beneath them, he was almost amazed that the forest had yet to grow back. A graveyard that he could not imagine anyone calling home. This was a good thing for then they would not have neighbors, no one to step within the Pines by accident.

Coming to a halt he stood within the middle of the forest, audits flicked forward atop his ebon' crown while he listening to the lacking sounds of life. Golden eyes looked among the forest as he festered in his own silence, for now.

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@Lucian
For all the lost sheep there is
The Sanctuary
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#2
Lucian Fritz
the traveler

Lucian didn't know why he was in the red woods again. Did he enjoy the smell of burnt bark? Come to taste the ash as he wandered forth? He couldn't think of an answer, and instead walked the edges of the red woods while thinking on how he'd bring himself before both Kylar and Anteros. Somehow, he teased the idea that they'd meet by accident, much like how he met Aurelia while walking this same forest. It was almost symbolic to start something new within a dead forest, but he didn't dare to deign the thought. He wasn't one for symbolism. It was a coincidence, much like everything else that happened. Life was unpredictable that way, and he'd learn to ride the waves - even if it continued to throw him into the rocks along the shore.

It wouldn't be so harsh to meet them by accident either. It would finally end his procrastination and throw him into the thorns. As painful as it might be, he'd endure it. It wasn't his intention to sit on something for so long, and it was likely his reason to even being here, as if daring to test the edges of the border between the red woods and the pine forest. At least it was easy to be alone here, as the woods had long been snuffed of life by the fires that razed it to the ground.

Or so he thought. If not for the direction he came, he would not have noticed the stranger that sat alone. His coat could have blended well with the ash, but his yellow eyes were a hard contrast to the lack of color. Lucian had to debate for a moment whether to approach him, but he stood in front of the stranger and was likely seen already. It'd have been awkward to turn around, so he continued to approach him.

He became increasingly more aware of the features that marred the ashen stranger's expression. Was it disappointment, or something else? Frustration, perhaps? "You don't look so amused." He grinned devilishly. Lucian tried to appear welcoming, but his tease could be interpreted as less amicable than what he was going for. There were so many ways to react, and only a few that would flicker interest for him. He always skipped the typical greeting. 'Hello' was a sure way to guide oneself into boring dialogue.

Lucian sat a comfortable distance away from the stranger, allowing scarlet eyes to meet the golden. How would the stranger regard him? He wondered quietly.

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#3

The sound of another caused a single audit to flick forth atop his crown, golden eyes were matched with the blazing optics of a stranger who now sat before him. For a moment he they looked familiar, reminding him of his companion's striking gaze. Just as quickly at the thought came, however, it left as the man spoke, causing the ebon' brute's brows to furrow slightly. “Have you come to change that then?" There was nothing to amuse him in the forest, there was nothing but a lack of life and a memory of what once stood. The man was odd if he thought anything here was worth being amused over. “Perhaps you are easy to please," he added, his gaze lingering as he took a look around the Red Wood. His expression was never changing, his voice often monotone. Maybe if that man had simply heard him speak he would not have made such an assumption. “Who might you be?" Too close to home, that much was certain—as he did not expect anyone to be traveling these woods when they had nothing to offer.

Lips formed a solid line, no further words leaving them though his eyes refused to leave his company. Again his golden gaze trailed back to the man's eyes, his mind unable to let go of the familiarity it seemed. The only other wolf he knew with a gaze almost similar was his mother, but even then it held more of an orange tint rather then a red. Not only that, but the man's color as well—hinted with only a dark brown to match. “Hmm," he hummed, though he remained still he carefully observed the man in the following silence.


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@Lucian
For all the lost sheep there is
The Sanctuary
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#4
Lucian Fritz
the traveler

A curious brow raised itself as he regarded the stranger and his mannerism. He didn't entirely admit to not wanting company so Lucian stayed where he was and could attempt to converse, so long as the other allowed it. The wolf before him was one of the few that could tout actually being taller than himself, though it hardly mattered. Height made little difference with Lucian, recalling how ferocious lithe creature could be at times. Karliah had been small too. A sudden pang of grief gnawed at him but he quickly let it go.

"I just don't allow the negativity spoil my day," he said as matter-of-fact, "Do you need someone to amuse you? I met a gal out west of here - very peculiar sort of woman. Maybe she'd oblige, if I'm not enough?" He teased and winked, though he hardly thought the stranger would even deign the suggestion. He was a very serious fellow. It was possible nothing was festering, just that they simply lived with the expression - or lack thereof. Lucian found it a boring way to live, though still innocuous. He wouldn't judge too harshly.

"Just another stranger within a dead forest, like you. But if you truly need to know, it's Lucian." His head tilted slightly and his scarlet eyes never left the stranger's stoic gaze. "And yours?" He could only assume the conversation would remain short. Some just couldn't bother to offer Lucian much in chat so he lead the conversation. He would try, at least, to find something relatable to chat about. Or attempt something a little more extreme to add the edge he needed to feel satisfied.

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#5

Negativity?

He pondered what the man said, but if only for a moment seeing as there was nothing to be negative about. Despite his lack of emotions he was actually content, things were moving forward and were certainly more positive then not. He was about to speak, but his company took it upon himself to do it first, offering a woman to satisfy this desire for amusement. The top of his muzzle wrinkled, still not amused. “I'll pass," Anteros was not so daft, and at this point the silence seemed more amusing then anything else. Finally the conversation turned to something more useful, and he was provided with a name. One he was not familiar with.

“Anteros," he responded back—willing to give that much at least. “If you are not familiar with the lands I can provide you with more fruitful information, perhaps a place better suited for you then here. " Golden orbs settled on the man's features once more. If only he knew that knowing Lucian was in fact need-to-know information, but the most important detail was the one he did not know.


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@Lucian
For all the lost sheep there is
The Sanctuary
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#6
Lucian Fritz
the traveler

"Anteros?!" There hadn't been much of a pause after the ashen wolf had spoken, Lucian was quick to respond to the name provided. So he was that lucky, or unfortunate, to have quickly met the very wolf he'd inevitably have to find. By the reaction Anteros had given, however, when Lucian had introduced himself was guess enough that nobody had spoken of the golden fox that was he. Kylar had never mentioned him? Aurelia never spoke about him? It was strange to not have at least been heard of. Lucian was the kind of wolf that reveled in a reputation, whether good or bad. So when he spoke out Anteros' name, there was quite a bit of surprise attached. His eyes and ears rose, and he appeared stunned, though he quickly recovered with yet another wide grin.

"Ah! Must be my lucky day, then. I just so happened to be looking for you. Although I didn't expect to find you here. " That had very much been the truth of it. Lucian hadn't expected to find him so soon, especially when he was avoiding it. However, now that he was here, and that his name was not recognized, he continued forth unhindered by guilt.

"To clarify, was that an invitation? Just to be sure. This suitable place... it wouldn't by chance have two wolves with the names Kylar and Aurelia, would it?" He questioned Anteros with a look of eagerness present in his expression. His smile was partial. He still couldn't quite decide if this was a good or bad thing but his optimism leaned it towards the positive of it. It was done and over with, the easy part.

All that was left, then, was the unfinished business involving Kylar. If he could win Aurelia'a approval, and Anteros, it would make that confrontation much easier. Was horrible of him to assume the worst? He had always given other's the benefit of the doubt. Why would Kylar be any different? That question was there but he knew the answer. Because if he was in her position, he couldn't find any reason for forgiveness. It tore at him, but he would try, at the very least.

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#7

'Anteros?'

The ebon' man looked at him, nodding his head subtly with confusion. It seemed there was something his company knew that perhaps he did, for he was rather suprised by this new found information. Golden eyes watched the man, never faltering, for now he was more invested in his company.

Ah! Must be my lucky day, then. I just so happened to be looking for you. Although I didn't expect to find you here.

His head lifted slightly, curious as to why he was being sought out. Perhaps it was the news of Sanctuary, and if that had been the case it would make sense as to why they crossed paths in the red wood. He was headed in the right direction, though Anteros was ready to send him back from the way he came. He inhaled deeply, sharing no words with the brute as he watched him, the curiosity from his company seemed to be growing with every second. In the slight pause Anteros went to speak, but Lucian had gotten to it first.

It wouldn't by chance have two wolves with the names Kylar and Aurelia, would it?

Eyes narrowed, but it didn't take the gears in his mind long to churn and for an immediate response to form on his tongue. "Kylar's brother, and Aurelia's father," he stood erect, “your relevance has not been quite a positive factor. I have heard of the misfortune you bring to those who share your blood." He stepped closer to the man, golden eyes narrowed, “I don't believe you to be worthy of such titles, or their company," he was irritated, and for once his expression was different. “Perhaps you should go, I am feeling generous." His voice was stern, as was his expression.


“Anteros,"

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@Lucian
For all the lost sheep there is
The Sanctuary
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#8
Lucian Fritz
the traveler

So he did know. Crazy he didn't bother to remember the name until he mentioned the two of them. If only he'd been so lucky, but now he was forced to be confrontational. Nothing would ever be easy for him. So how would he handle it? Take it patiently or, or follow Anteros' instructions and leave? If only he was capable of being compliant, or following instructions.

He sighed - heavily, dramatically. His eyes narrowed and his brow furrowed. The grin had long left his expression and now he was left looking at Anteros with a cold glare.
Many emotions seemed to dance around him. Anteros couldn't have felt his frustration or even his anger. He couldn't understand why Lucian was here now. He might have made mistakes, but he wasn't about to be robbed from attempting to mend the relationships he was well aware of breaking. And he wasn't about to be belittled by someone who knew nothing of him. So when Anteros approached him, he stood tall and evenly matched his stature. He wasn't intimidated by his bravado.

"Thankfully, I don't give a shit about titles or relevance, nor your generosity. I'm not here for your permission, Anteros." He stated. It wasn't expressed with anger - but it was harsh, and wrought with emotion.

"So forgive me for deciding for you, but I think I'll stay." He never gave room for Anteros' opinion on it, and he wouldn't allow Anteros to speak until he said what he needed to. "If Kylar doesn't want me around, that's her choice, not yours. If Aurelia didn't want me around, I'd leave her be so she wouldn't be burdened by my company. But she's already made her choice, and I'm here to inform you of it." It didn't matter, really, whether he'd be allowed to step foot in the pine forest or not. Lucian would stick around, even if he had to be at the borders to do it. And now he'd have to see if Anteros would follow through on that little threat of his.
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#9

Thankfully, I don't give a shit about titles or relevance, nor your generosity. I'm not here for your permission, Anteros.

Subtle laughter bubbled in the mans chest, slowly trickling from his lips as his golden glare narrowed at Lucian. He did not expect the man to budge, certainly one who left his daughter and pushed his own sister into a herd to perish did not follow rules. Anteros knew this before he spewed such venom, before his steps brought him closer to Lucian—and when the man before him puffed up, well, the ebon' brute took it as a challenge. It took a lot to anger him, even more to infuriate, but there would be no denying he was certainly annoyed. For him to laugh was not amusement, no, it was an idle fire beginning to brew within the very pit of his core. Slowly it would burn quicker, until the inferno took him over. It was more credit then he could give his bloodline as they were much more hothead, though Anteros did not follow their tactics.

So he had found Aurelia after all? Anteros was not such an ignorant man to deny him the right to see them—if they so wished it, and according to Lucian he had settled his debt with Aurelia. While he cared for Kylar's niece, he was not so concerned about her then he was for Kylar. Any father could run from their duties, but for a brother, Kylar's own blood to leave her for dead. Well, that was unforgivable in his book.

Anteros knew Kylar well enough to know she would not wish the same for Lucian, while he was not sure she would forgive him he contemplated the options of how to deal with the man in his head. All in all he knew there would be repercussions, for the last time he dealt with something in Kylar's honor it did not end well.

If Kylar doesn't want me around, that's her choice, not yours.

“You're right," he responded back to the earlier text after a moments silence. “It is her choice, and I will not strip that from her, but you will not find her through the Pine Forest. I don't need to tell you what will happen if so, I'm sure." He could careless about the consequences then, as this was fair warning. “You stated I was who you were looking for, if it was to find Kylar then I can assure you this meeting is over. Though I don't care much for any other business inquires you may have." His expression remained stoic, his eyes cold despite the warm color that graced them. It seemed they would only have the company of one another now, as Anteros was too stubborn to leave and Lucian's admittance to remain seemed concrete as well.


“speech,"

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@Lucian
For all the lost sheep there is
The Sanctuary
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#10
Lucian Fritz
the traveler

To his surprise, Anteros didn't attack him. A small relief was felt but he didn't even think to allow Anteros to see it. His crimson eyes continued to glare into the yellow, neither one of them conceding. Lucian's blood boiled but his heart was racing with adrenaline. He wondered just how harshly Kylar had said of the situation between them, but by that reaction it was harsh enough to illicit Anteros' cold front. How much of it, if any, had been an exaggeration of the tale?

"So I guess that invitation is renounced then - by reputation. I wanted to see you for your blessing, an attempt to join your pack and right the wrongs that I've done. Can you blame me for trying?"Lucian didn't need Anteros' blessing and he wasn't going to try and get it. He wasn't here to please the alpha and so he wouldn't bother with it anymore. His tail flicked annoyingly, but held high with the aggression that continued, "The pine forest is your inevitable destination, I don't have to continue looking if I know where she'll be. This will be a fair warning. I'll be around those borders for awhile - an innocuous presence." He grinned with white pearls showing but it didn't stick. Lucian hadn't meant to be threatening but he didn't take kindly to Anteros' reaction. He was incredibly stubborn - abrasive too, though he didn't always want to be.

He really didn't have much more to offer Anteros than that, so if he left then that would have been it. Perhaps in the future the two of them could concede and let bygones be bygones. It was easy for Lucian, but it wouldn't be for the remaining party members. There was one thing he appreciated Anteros for, and that was the care he gave to both Kylar and Aurelia. Lucian was highly jealous of it, but it was his own fault and held no blame to Anteros.

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