FOLKLORE


[ PM ] Contaminated
#1

Lachlan O'Conaill


and we're always gonna be contaminated

Lachlan lingered in the clearing that led to the dark caverns he and his ilk called home. For once he did not want to disappear into the darkness and face them. He didn't know how to keep it together. The long walk back had left him wanting to fall apart, but he didn't... know how to do that either. So he just stared into the darkness blankly. He knew somewhere, she was still there. That woman had followed him back, but he wasn't sure if she had followed him the whole way or ended up leaving him behind. He had stopped paying attention after a while.

The man slowly sat down after moving towards a small grove of trees, not wanting to be seen immediately by someone.

He caught sight of Anais out of the corner of his eye ad sighed. Why had she even come here at all? Didn't she hate him after everything that he'd done to her?

If she had known him for longer than this, she might have noticed there was something wrong with him. She might have noticed the look in his eye -- the fact that he had never appeared so broken, so lost... so sad. But she didn't know him. At all. "Why did you come?" he asked. What did she want from him? He was not Galadriel, that much was painfully obvious.

So why was she here? She had fought so hard to get away from him and now she'd followed him home willingly.
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#2

anaïs
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Claimed, Anaïs thinks with a bemused scoff as she stands in a large cavern, he actually had the gall to take the caves. At first, she could not fathom why he would when the tunnels were probably the worst place in Cyrileth, save for perhaps the Volcano. After hearing of just what exactly his 'Underworld' is, however, she had reconsidered. To be a haven for heinous individuals and serve as their escape from the lawful world, it might actually be perfect.

The former inhabitants of this place have left no trace of their existence, having apparently deserted it long before Lachlan's taking. Ash's face flashes briefly when she stares at slickened walls and luminescent marine flora. Their scent has been almost completely wiped from the caves, the only remnants most likely a figment of her own imagination. She does not know where they had gone and despite some curiosity, she finds herself not caring as much as she would have thought. They had not been friends, she owed them no loyalty and care.

She follows Lachlan's scent a little further deeper, grimacing as she feels the familar chill shudder through her. Before, she would have left immediately, turning heel and walking back into the light but today, there are other reasons, far more personal reasons and she suspects that she experience the dark much more often in the coming months.

Lachlan appears before her, shrouded almost fittingly in the dimly-lit surrounds. He produces a different presence to what Ash had; where they had been something sinister and synthetic, his is more encompassing and dare she think it, maybe even a little more comforting. Snorting lightly, she tells herself it must be the ties that he holds with Galadriel that keeps her grounded in his company. Despite the ease, she has not forgotten what he tried to do, nor of his temperament.

He asks why she has come and her answer lies on the tip of her tongue. She opens and closes her mouth as she tries to form the words. Her heart still aches and she struggles to come to terms with what had happened amidst the poppies. He had said...

Sapphires staring into amber, she swallows and says, "You said you would find who did it." Her gaze lowers as she blinks away wetness, her voice almost cracking as it lowers to a whisper. "Did you mean it?"
warm honey that soothes your soul
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#3

Lachlan O'Conaill


and we're always gonna be contaminated

"Yes," he said coldly. He would find out what happened to his brother. He wondered if that meant she would stay until then. The man sighed as he leaned against the stone wall and he glanced towards the pines in the distance.

He didn't know what exactly had happened, but if another wolf had murdered his brother...

Lachlan's gaze shifted back to Anaïs and he looked at her. The sadness in her pale blue eyes, the bits of dirt still clinging to her golden fur. It was all a reminder he wasn't sure he wanted lingering around and yet he found he could not tell her to go away. In fact... "Come here,"

He said, his voice softer than it ever had been while speaking to her. He was well aware she would probably tell him to fuck off, but he didn't really care.

If she would not come to him, he would go to her. But of course, he was not going to let her know that. Whatever was going on in her head, he knew she could still run at any moment, and he didn't want her to run. Honestly, he wasn't sure what he wanted. All he knew was the rottenness that he felt and the fact that he wanted that to go away.
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#4

anaïs
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The confirmation echoes, piercing through the fear that shrouds her thoughts, clearing away the cloud of uncertainty. Relief and doubt amalgamate together as her breathing catches in her throat. In that moment, she is so inexplicably happy that he intends to keep his word. A thrilled smile flickers upon her lips as she thinks of giving Galadriel peace for his death. When they find the culprit, they can—

She freezes. They. Her smile slips when she remembers that it is Lachlan she is speaking to. Happiness fading from her face, her gaze grows concerned, hesitant.

He is a man who carries the shadows of Galadriel's visage, the last of his kin as far as she is aware. For all the devotion that she had for his brother, should he not have the same qualities that made it so? Unlikely, she supposes, his previous actions had spoken lengths to how far he is willing to stretch his morals. Someone like that... She finds it difficult to place complete faith into his hands.

But faith is really all one can have, she thinks, especially in a land such as Cyrileth. A belief in something—the stars, friends, family—to keep the body moving, the mind working. She has none for the skies, no friends to hold dear and she had just buried the only one whom she had wished to have been her family.

And through the pitifulness of it all, here stands her last reminder. In just a single year, she had lost the one dearest to her heart, found him and then he slipped right through her fingers right as she had thought to touch him.

Looking at Lachlan, her lip wobbles when she realises it. He is all she has.

When he tells her, beckons her to go to him, she finds herself moving. Her heart is wavering, she knows that her resilient front is crumbling with each step towards the dark. But what else could she do? Run and go back to aimless wandering? She has enough self-respect to know that there is so much more she could do with her life.

She is now close enough to scent him properly, muzzles mere centimetres away from touching. Peering into his amber eyes earnestly, she breathes out, voice hushed in their close proximity. "Will you promise?"

It's a hopeful question, but here, she can see him and if he says yes...
warm honey that soothes your soul
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#5

Lachlan O'Conaill


and we're always gonna be contaminated

She smiles.

The expression is beautiful on her and it captivates him for as long as it lasts.

It fades away quickly, and sadness once again consumers her. She stares at him for a while and he is not sure what she is thinking. Maybe she is thinking she has made a mistake, because that is what he is thinking. When placed next to Galadriel it is easy to see they are not the same. Is she thinking he is good enough? His jaw clenches as he stares at her.

Does he want to be good enough?

Lachlan watches her as she begins to move towards him; he half expected her to disobey and run into the dark pine forest beyond the clearing.

She stops, so very close to him that he can feel her breath on his cheek. He can't remember the last time he felt like this before. That familiar wave of warmth and embarrassment that hit you when a pretty girl came too close and you didn't quite know what to do with her. He knew what to do. He knew what he wanted to do... but now he felt like if he touched her, he might break her.

"I promise," he whispered.

A part of him wanted to break her.

He slowly stands up, lingering over her smaller figure, gaze fixated on her face. Maybe he's making another mistake when he leans in close, but he doesn't care.
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#6

anaïs
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Dim light that manages to shine through cracks in cave walls casts a halo over Lachlan's dark head. The glow bleeds a little onto his face, illuminating the contours of his cheeks, of his brow and temple. It lightens the hue of his fur and for a moment, she thinks she sees Galadriel.

Her heart skips a beat and she surges forward, but then he speaks and it isn't the voice she is used to hearing. It causes her to falter and she blinks. A sharper face and the radiance of amber resin are suddenly telling; this is someone else.

Oh.

Her head tilts downwards to her chest, unable to look at Lachlan any longer. She hears his confirmation and accepts it with downcast eyes, managing to feel gratified beneath the turmoil. Here at least, she thinks with dull mirth, she had managed to scrounge up an ally—although their loyalties to each other are undoubtedly fragile. She is surprised, however, that he had agreed so readily. She had expected him to bargain, to ask something in return but none of that had been requested.

It unsettles her. Did he choose not to say anything, keeping all of his cards to himself until the right time? Or does he really intend to do this simply because of this feeble, makeshift 'promise'? She is too scared to ask, too afraid that she might force him to make a impossible demand of her.

He moves and she startles in response, gaze flickering up to him. He is suddenly so much closer and she can only stand there frozen. Eyes blown wide, she can feel his breath upon her lips, scorching warmth flooding her cheeks as he draws nearer. He wants to—The realisation has her turning her head swiftly, feeling him graze her cheek with a soft touch.

Her heart is beating heavily and her expression is conflicted, wavering between anger and confusion. She quickly steps back and inhales loudly as she recollects herself. He doesn't get to do that, he has no right to. Fury bubbles in her chest and a snarl curls upon her lips. Shaking her head, she growls, "No. That isn't a part of the deal."

After he keeps his promise, he can ask for anything, but none of her body and soul. Those, alone, she will maintain untouched.
warm honey that soothes your soul
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#7

Lachlan O'Conaill


and we're always gonna be contaminated

Is she surprised that he would accept so readily? Galadriel was his brother, and her... what?

He realizes whatever they were was more than this as her rejection burns him to his core. He has never been one to take no for an answer.

"No. That isn't a part of the deal."

"No."

He moves closer, his breath hitching as his own rage begins to build. "I hate that word," he murmurs.

He could show her how much he hates it; he could show her that she couldn't say no to him... but somehow he finds himself letting it go. Though irritation lingers, he exhales heavily and he turns away from her before slumping onto the ground.

He didn't care what she did, or where she went...

Lachlan has never been so lost for words, or emotion. If he had not just found his brother dead, she would be facing a very different man. He stares into nothingness and falls silent, his eyes narrowing slightly as he wonders if he should disappear into the darkness and find someone else to spend his time with. Would any of those lost souls care for him the way she cared for his brother?
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#8

anaïs
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The air shifts when she smells his ire beginning to build at her refusal. Lips pressed tightly together, she holds her ground as Lachlan advances upon her. Staring up at him defiantly, she pays no mind to his threat. This time, she will not allow him the opportunity.

She waits for him to do something, to act but he seems to hesitate before stopping altogether. The fight leaves him as quickly as it had risen and he deflates, falling to the floor. Stunned, she is momentarily taken aback by his sudden surrender, her mind immediately wondering if he is just faking it to gain an advantage.

Staring at him with bemusement, they fall into silence when she does not know how to respond. Seeing him vulnerable is strange, in comparison to the brutish, rogue-like manner in which he always seemed to carry himself. The parallel natures he displays throw her off-guard and she wavers.

It is a rare occasion, she remarks silently, that she is the one standing above him, looking down upon him. It's not as thrilling as stories would tell of being triumphant over someone who has always been the stronger one. She feels rather hollow, in fact, for how jarring the turn of events had been. This is not submission. It is acceptance.

His downcast form burns into her retinas, the look all too familiar for it had been her mere days ago. Stepping forward, she slowly raises a paw, pausing briefly as she wonders if it is worth doing a thing such as comforting to him of all people.

Yes, she reasons with herself, it might be.

Bringing her hand down to touch him gently on the head, she presses down a little. "You might as well get used to it." She says, her words soft but firm. Her voice lessens again to the whisper-like level she had before as she continues. "I will stay, however. To maintain the promise."

It's a gamble. She had known from the moment she had stepped foot in the caves. Frankly, she couldn't even begin to tell if she had made the right choice, but the die had been cast and she will see the bet through to the end.

-end thread for Anaïs-

warm honey that soothes your soul
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#9

Lachlan O'Conaill


and we're always gonna be contaminated

The man didn't stir as he felt her touch; he knew better than to misread it in this moment. "You might as well get used to it." He huffed, from where she was she probably couldn't see him rolling his eyes. "I will stay, however. To maintain the promise." "Fine," he said. It was clear the conversation was done. He shifted away from her, pulling from her touch and tucking his muzzle beneath his tail. He didn't want to talk anymore. He just wanted to sleep.

Until he'd laid down he hadn't realized just how exhausted he was. He had traveled a long way, just to find something he hadn't wanted to find. The physical toll had been enough, not to mention the emotional one. He still wasn't sure how to process it all and it wasn't like there was anyone here to help him. So he decided to just... sleep it off. Maybe he'd feel better in the morning.

Sleep was hard to come by, his mind was full and he couldn't remember the last time that had happened to him. Lachlan was not a complex man. He hate, he slept, he had a little fun, rinse and repeat. This was new territory for him and though he was tired, his dark eyes remained open and all he could do was stare into the darkness in silence.

Exit Lachlan
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