FOLKLORE


[ P ] Look What You're Doing To Me
#1
The burned brightly in the sky, but it's hot rays could not reach him here in this dark canyon. He had followed the river into the darkness, and tread the shallows in an attempt to keep cool. Eventually, he reached a portion where the river split to create a small island. He looked off into the distance, noting the chasm kept going for quite a ways. It twisted in a way that he could not yet see the end, and the river kept on winding down it. His nose twitched and he decided to stop here and slipped out of the shallow river and onto the decently sized island. He looked around, noting the area. There were high cliff walls on one side, then on the other side past the river the walls were not as steep, but still climbing them would be quite the task. There, he assumed the pathways led up to the scrub-lands where herds traveled. If he had to guess, by the scent falling on the wind, the cliff side was the Poppy Meadows. It was unreachable from here.

His ear flicked as he surveyed the area curiously. The more he explored Cyrileth, the more he thought about where he should settle. He could not roam forever, for more reasons than one.

Maybe this place would be a good place. There was plenty of prey atop the Earth's Edge, and plenty of water sources. This chasm provided plenty of shelter from the elements and from other wolves and predators... it seemed fairly ideal, though he would have to inspect it further before truly deciding. Violet eyes narrowed as he sunk into a laying position. His walk through the river had tired him and he hadn't realized it until he'd stopped.

However, the sound of claws clicking against stone caught his attention and his ears perked, along with his tired eyes. He blinked and looked to see a dark shadow appearing around the bend he'd come from not too long ago.


@Renner
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#2
sins and virtues...

Brother.

The word had such a twisted meaning in the Coax family. To some degree, it evoked feelings of love and loyalty. More than that, however, it demanded a surge of responsibility and duty. Since birth, Evander and Renner had served as their brother's keepers. Each had sacrificed a better, easier life for the jagged edges of Sinclair's future. With no sanding stone to smooth the violet-eyed man into something softer, they had used their flesh and blood to shield others from him.

In the end, they had failed.

More than one life had been soured by Sinclair—but more than one life had chosen to be. Not one of those around the alpha had been a victim. Even he had made a choice to stay in order to ease his conscious and quiet this inexplicable sense of duty that kept him near. To paint himself as a prisoner was to lie not only to others but to himself.

"Faina was right," Renner sighed as he stared down at his brother. Ebon' paws poised upon stone and golden eyes searched the black and russet furs that cloaked his brother. This was indeed his brother. Time and distance had not changed him or left him unrecognizable.

"You're here too."

"..."
...drip like gold down my skin
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#3
He sat upon the islet in silence, waiting for his follower to come into view. His expression was of mild surprise when Renner's was the face that appeared.

Sinclair had not entirely expected to see his brothers again, though he had also not written them off. They had always been the types to stand by his side... as much as they fought, they were still brothers. It seemed Renner was not all that surprised to see him here, either. "I am," he said.

So Renner and Faina had reconnected... his lips twitched, but his expression remained more or less impassive. Before Lye had died, before they all ended up here things had been very different. All of that felt like a lifetime ago, and sometimes he felt like he could hardly remember any of it. "You and Faina?" he asked. His face was unreadable, his tone plain. His own meeting with Faina had not gone well, but he admitted only to himself that he missed her and wished to see her again. He had reacted coldly to seeing her, after everything, and perhaps that had been wrong of him.

Things were different now, and he hoped that meant they were also better.

"It seems we cannot be apart. My children are here, too. I've spoken with all but Thea, though I'm sure she's lurking here somewhere..." he murmured. A moment passed, and he felt he had to ask him. "Is Evander... with you?"


@Renner
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#4
sins and virtues...

"You and Faina?"

Sinclair's voice held a note of curiosity that, largely, did not match his expression. The man appeared plain, his question as idle as one about the weather. Renner, to his credit, only allowed a pained smile to touch his lips. "On poor terms," he offered with a small sigh. The two had separated before the fall of Carthage but only barely. Their relationship had struggled to withstand suspicion, jealousy, and pride. While the pair had fit together at a fundamental level, circumstance had left them bitter and estranged. "Was your reunion with her any warmer?" Golden eyes glossed over his brother and, while he spoke casually, his gaze did linger. Though he had no intention of reconnecting with the she-wolf, a part of him could not wholly let go. He still wanted to know—to confirm—what had driven a wedge between them all those months ago.

At the mention of Sinclair's children, Renner's ears perked. "They must be close to grown now," he breathed with faint surprise. When last he had seen them, they had not quite been yearlings.

When Sinclair mentioned Evander, Renner's brow furrowed. "No." They had been together for a time but circumstances had led to their separation.

"..."
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#5
"On poor terms," he admitted. At this, Sinclair's expression finally changed. "It seems we have something in common, then." His voice was apologetic, but he was surprised to hear whatever happened between them had not yet been mended. At first he had not been happy about their relationship, but those were different times.

His expression fell once again, at the mention of his children, and he shrugged. "They are." It was strange, to think them all grown. When he looked at them, he still saw children. Incapable of making decisions for themselves, for the most part. Sinclair had only been good at one thing -- keeping them alive. He had not failed in that respect as a father. The rest of it was a different story.

It seemed their smaller brother had not accompanied Renner, and Sinclair did not bother to ask him why. Evander had always been the fairest of them all in disposition. Maybe he'd finally given up. Renner probably should have done the same, honestly.

The shadow lifted himself up and moved towards the other man, not bothering to hop over the small river that separated them, but instead wading through it with ease. He didn't mind the water; despite the shade in this trench, the heat was still heavy in the air around them. "A lot has happened since..." he trailed off, not willing to list his failings yet again. His ears flicked as his gaze shifted from Renner's face. The sigh that fell from his lips was heavy. "Are you staying? I plan on... starting over here. I..." Usually he was not at a loss for words around his family. He was always resolute in his decisions and confident he would be accepted. He had to be, they were family after all. That was part of the deal. Wasn't it?

Then why was it so hard to tell him that...

"I've found someone new."

The man's gaze had returned to his brother, resting tentatively upon his face. He would be the first among his family to hear the news, strangely enough.


@Renner
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#6
sins and virtues...

Sinclair’s comment struck Renner as odd.

While he and his brother had never been on great terms, they had learn to coexist in a stilted, awkward fashion. Sinclair played the role of alpha and Renner served as a dutiful subordinate. Little affection was traded between them for simply being in one another’s presence was often all they could muster. As such, the apology that echoed in Sinclair’s voice felt alien. Even the mention of commonality caused Renner’s head to tilt, a furrow forming in his brow. The confusion, however, did not last long.

“I suppose so,” the man offered with a small shrug.

Had Sinclair and Faina failed to reunite due to Faina’s spite? Had she just wanted to prove to Renner that “nothing” lurked between her and the russet-hued brother? Renner exhaled softly. He might have prodded Sinclair further if not for a lack of energy.

Mention of the children caused Renner to nod. The full force of surprise had yet to hit him, however. Once he saw one of the children, he imagined the feeling of vertigo would hit.

A lot had happened.

Renner considered his brother quietly, allowing the old alpha space to speak. It seemed that words were failing him, however, and the topics jumped haphazardly. That said, Sinclair needed no explanation for his behavior. Lye’s death had struck them all in a way that made speaking about her painful.

Was he staying?

Sucking in a breath, Renner glanced around the gully that they’d found themselves in. The air in Cyrileth was crisp but the land did not pull on him in any particular way. Still, his family was here and no other region would have a hold on him. He didn’t intend to go home, so—“I think so.” Until something caused him to go, he’d settle.

Sinclair’s reason, however, was different. Golden eyes widened as Sinclair revealed the true tether to this land: someone new. After witnessing the man’s obsession over Lye, it was hard to believe that another could enter Sinclair’s blackened heart. It felt… wrong… almost.

Renner’s expression stiffened but he did not speak out against his brother. He’d learned the value of silence during his time in Carthage.

“Will you find happiness with her?” The final words that left his mouth were ones he had not expected. In the end, however, they were fitting. Though Sinclair and Lye had been bonded in a way that was desperate, he had never seen the pair as “happy”. If anything, they’d been ravaged by stress, depression, and the woes of life.

"..."
...drip like gold down my skin
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#7
Talk of Faina faded quickly, though she did not drift far from Sinclair's mind. He would have to find her soon... it wasn't often he felt the need to apologize for his actions, but after some thought he felt his reaction unnecessary.

It was strange, but he felt relief when he heard his brother say he was staying, and was that a smile on those dark lips?

Renner's final question caused a long silence between them. "Happy?" he said after a while, as if he did not know the meaning of the word. It seemed like such an odd thing to ask. Had he not been happy with Lye before everything had been ripped away from him? "I don't know," he said. He couldn't tell the future, but for now he felt content and when he got to see Faun he felt like he could call that happy. "I would like you to meet her sometime. She is so different..." he glanced away a moment before allowing his gaze to return to Renner's. "She makes me feel..." he paused once again, and then decided to leave it at that. She had a strange way of just making him feel.

"What about you?" he asked, his brow raising. With everything that had happened, the past often blurred for him and he couldn't be sure if he remembered right.


@Renner
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#8
sins and virtues...

The thought of meeting Sinclair’s new woman both piqued his interest and made him wary. He had looked into Lye’s sunken eyes and seen what his brother’s love could do—though perhaps that was unfair. Renner had not known Lye before she had appeared as Sinclair’s captive queen, her fur befitting of the snow that choked their kingdom. Though lacking in vivaciousness, the woman had slowly slipped away, fading as though morning mist. Her countenance had grown more somber until the thought of a smile on her lips had seemed… innately wrong. Lye’s very essence had been one of sorrow, and that sadness had cut so very deep.

Sinclair promised that this new paramour was different, and the man’s voice even held a hint of excitement.

Did that mean change for his brother? Or, in a few years, would this damsel become just another broken doll?

Carefully tucking his misgivings away, Renner nodded. “Where do you live? I will meet her whenever is best.” Golden eyes lingered upon his brother, his expression purposefully indifferent. Inwardly, however, he wondered what the woman made him feel. Whole? Happy? Content? Such were words he might have used with Faina had circumstance not soured their relationship.

When Sinclair asked about him, Renner could not help but feel a tad surprised. His brother had never held much interest in him—save for when he’d run the risk of “stealing” Faina away. Their relationship had been strained for enough years that this plain curiosity felt odd. Still, Renner answered. “Will I find happiness here?” His head canted to the side. “Or with Faina?”

Renner considered waiting for his brother’s response but, instead, sucked in a breath and continued on. “I don’t know either but I have a guess. I will be as happy here as I was in the Mythic Forest.” He shrugged. “And with Faina… those bridges were burned. She says she holds no feelings for you but—” His gaze was heavy upon his brother. Old wounds wept blackened blood. “—I know what I saw and what I felt. Call it love or lust, but there was tension there.”


"..."
...drip like gold down my skin
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#9
"I've been staying here, in this chasm near the falls," he said. So far it had suited him well and until he found something better or decided to take something better... he figured he would stay. His ears flicked at Renner's question and Sinclair stayed quiet, assuming there would be more to it than that. The relationship they shared at not always been a good one, in fact more often then not, the brothers found themselves at odds.

It wasn't until he made mention of he and Faina, that his violet gaze shifted rather uncomfortably. He had never admitted to hating their relationship at first, because he felt that Renner was trying to steal everything from him.

Though Faina had never been anything more than a close friend to him, he could not deny Renner's assumptions. He felt shame that others had noticed. Had Lye? He had never actually acted on it, and he never would have so long as Lye lived he had been loyal to her... but... "you're not wrong..." he murmured. The weight of his words felt heavy in his throat, but there was no reason to lie. "Nothing ever happened, and I don't know about her, but when we fought... it's hard to explain," he said, his voice soft. He didn't expect Renner to understand what he meant, but at least maybe he would find comfort in knowing that nothing happened and that he was not crazy.

"I'm sorry."

Sinclair looked down, unable to meet his gaze. He had been wrong and he was not one to often admit that. Without him in the way, could Renner and Faina have been happy? Maybe. Or, maybe not. Who could have predicted what would have happened?


@Renner
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#10
sins and virtues...

Idly, Renner cast another glance at the chasm that surrounded them. His ears perked and, with more effort, he strove to find beauty here. There was none of the majesty of the mythic forest but the heat was far less sweltering here. He disliked the roar of the waterfall in the distance but, otherwise, there was shade and the scent of prey. It was not an awful place to settle and, all in all, he could see a future here.

A future… He swiped his tongue along his lips. Once, he had been so certain in what the future held. He would have two sons with Faina and raise them within Carthage. His life as a simple man within the pack would continue without complaint until, at some point, he would retire alongside his wife. In the twilight years, he would watch Monarch or Calder claim Sinclair’s throne. Ideally, one of his sons would follow in Faina’s footsteps and serve as a beta.

Now, none of that would happen. It was all so bittersweet.

“You’re not wrong.”

Dark ears perked and a small shiver wound down Renner’s spine. He returned his stare to Sinclair’s face and the muscles jumped within his jaw. Renner stiffened as both relief and rage flooded his veins. For a moment, he was dizzy. All he had ever needed to hear was that he had been right—yet hearing it now made him furious. Though Renner had always clung to his own convictions, he had never wanted to be right.

A sharp breath filled the man’s nostrils as he tried to force some semblance of calm.

And then he truly looked at Sinclair.

The man’s head was held low, his gaze shielded from view. An apology lingered in the air and silence soon followed.

After several deep breaths, Renner swallowed. He nodded his head stiffly before stepping forward. One step and then another… until he was close enough to touch his brother. “Thank you for your honesty.” Though his gaze was mixture of pain and relief, he did feel as though a weight had been lifted from his shoulder. Slowly, he extended his muzzle. He paused, howevering above his brother’s brow. Then, steeling his nerves, he brushed the fur upon his brother’s crown.

No matter the past, no matter Renner’s suspicions, they were brothers. Sinclair was all that Renner had.


"..."
...drip like gold down my skin
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