FOLKLORE


Penny Red
#1

It hadn't been that long since she had joined the new pack, only a couple days and pretty much all she had been aware of was the Matriarch was pregnant, couldn't have had them already for all she knew or cared. As much as she liked little babies for their purity and admittedly, cuteness, she really didn't care to weasel her way into the presence of them when she didn't have to. It would cause unneeded attention when a new face walks right into the heart of many wolves she did not know, having only met three Tiamats and one secondary family amongst the travels she had made in the past. She couldn't say they were all that diverse, all fairly distant even the one that was friendly, he gave her nothing beyond a blabbered sentence that made little sense. She didn't actually know any of them. They were all just small dots on a map of her life, though soon perhaps they would grow. Particularly the two males she knew for certain were here, merely because they were basically her assigned assets, tutors until she was a true adult. Ahkoris her primary and she had yet to see his face, somewhat dreading seeing those flower petal eyes. They were lies. Petals were soft while he was the blade of a sharpened sword, elegant; flashy yet deadly.

First she needed the basics, know her ground here now that she had settled a little and try not to make regrettable mistakes that could leave her a loner or even dead if she inflicted their wrath. She was an outsider and they were warriors, at least that was what she had been told but it had already been countered once when she asked it to another. There was more to it than that and she wasn't sure what that meant. If they were warriors, did they not fight? Shed blood of all that oppose them? So far she hadn't seen any such thing, just the calm before the storm that had yet to bring forth enough disaster to do so. Sure the queen sent her to the ground and reopened a wound but if the wound hadn't been there in the first place, she would likely have only left bruised at most.

Her mind racked more and more about the concept of what a warrior was here because obviously she was ill informed on the subject from what she remembered of her birthplace. Perhaps they just had different ideals. She couldn't be sure. What she could be sure of though, was this snow that rolled under her feet and the chill in the air that seeped into her bones. It was far colder than she remembered, too accustomed to the heat of the south now and it showed as she shivered slightly as nails dug into the white powder. Glancing around, she didn't see a blanket of the white substance like she also remembered being here last time, the summer having some small effects on the weather but not enough to adapt in an instant. She need her thicker coat and food to stuff her face with, too bad the last thing she wanted right now was to eat.

Carefully she moved toward the scent she had grown to know the best, steps quickening into a run as she tried to at least get her heart rate up to warm her from under the skin. She felt oddly free despite the circumstances, all her worries of the past not nearly as gripping as they had been which was a pleasant feeling as a whole. There were so many reasons she decided on leaving the other pack, she couldn't deny truly ridding herself of having to look at where her parents died was the main. She couldn't say her depression and anger was gone but it was a touch better, for now. Unfortunately, it was still seeping and coiling still around her heart like a vice. Maybe one day she would rid of it for good.

Her steps slowed and she came to a halt next to a lump of a false-gold pelt in seemingly the middle of nowhere, a confused look slowly covering her face as they appeared to be asleep in the frigid night air. Or dead. Not likely the second one but one could dream things they didn't actually want, right? Without much warning besides her faint paw steps to get closer, she attempted to wake him up by smacking him on the head with a small onyx paw. If he didn't dodge or counter, she would lean down to wrap her teeth over his ear and pull it. She was so nice, she could have done much worse out of how salty she still was toward him.

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"Speaking"

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#2

khepri
all i wanna do is die for you


In his dreams he could hear the sounds of paws... or was that real life. His ears twitched as he slept easily, but then his sleep was interrupted rudely by a rough slap on his head. "OW!" he complained, opening his eyes and blearily looking up at the culprit. It was none other than Sif. He groaned and rolled onto his side, rolling his eyes slightly and throwing his head back onto the ground. "Why..." he whined. "I was having a good dream," he protested. With a heavy sigh, he glanced up into the bright sky that was masked by the trees somewhat. He was still so tired somehow.

Since his long journey, he'd been so exhausted that no amount of sleep had been enough. He'd been caring for Nassar, watching out for Sif, and hunting... it all seemed like so much. Khepri remained on his back staring up at the sky. He just wanted to sleep all day, but he knew he couldn't. "Ah, what's up?" he groaned sleepily, his jaws stretching wide in another yawn. He knew he was probably asking for another whack by laying like this in front of her, but he couldn't bring it in himself to get up just yet.
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#3

Nearly as soon as her paw landed on him, an audible groan of displeasure surfaced and his attention wasn't surprisingly turned toward her immediately. Instead he seemed to wallow in his own self pity of being brought back to life, which she found a bit amusing to see him in such a way since it seemed so opposite of how he was on the way here. Well except when she smeared blood on his face, then he was a little more agitated but still lacked the grit to do much about it. In this fashion, dead tired, he was a little more direct in his words as he reprimanded her actions a little more openly and with higher irritation as a whine spread his lips. She watched him roll onto his back carelessly, leaving himself open and everything hanging out for anyone to tear into. An ear twitched as she looked over his sprawled out frame as he issued further complaints to her making him stir from slumber, wondering if he was just an idiot about his choices or if he just trusted her more than he probably should.

The sigh catch her attention as she suddenly felt a need to express the rest of the air out of his lungs, causing the smallest of mischievous grins to nudge at her muzzle. Slowly she circled him with carefully placed paw steps, nub of a tail giving little to any indication of what she was plotting as she rounded to his side just a little below his chest cavity. Head tilted as he stretched as though he was aiming to get up in those seconds but to no avail did he budge from the way he rested on his turtle shell, with which she took advantage. With one swift leap, she jumped onto his chest much like the time in the hollows, exercising the air from his breast as she leaned down so her nose was mere millimeters from his own. "A nicer dream than getting to see my oh so lovely face?" she goaded, not actually finding herself at all appealing to look at. Her reflection in water was ugly and her pelt was nothing but unusual and made her stand out, having yet to meet anyone else that wore a pair of gold wings on their back against a coal backdrop.

Her head tilted and her paws slid a little against his plush fur, causing her to almost smash her head right into his but she managed to catch her balance and pull her head back up a couple inches. Heart raced for a moment at the thought of making a fool of herself after she was the one that pounced on him in the first place but it settle as she readjusted her grip. "You have yet to tell me the rules of this place...I probably should know them by the time I see Nassar and...Ahkoris again," her tone dipped a little on the boy's name. "He'll probably be disappointed I didn't drown in the ocean like he more than likely hoped for."

-PP granted-

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"Speaking"

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#4

khepri
all i wanna do is die for you


He was a fool to leave himself open and though he didn't think she'd hurt him, her pouncing on him by now should not have been a surprise. As the wind was swept out of him he smiled blearily up at her, cough-laughing at her comment as she looked down at him. "Well, nothing's better than that!" he said playfully, a light wheeze entangling his words. As she slid forward, he thought for a moment they'd knock heads, but she caught herself. He pulled his front paws out from beneath her so she might have something better to prop herself on if she was determined to stay here like this. She insisted he had yet to tell her about the Tiamats.

At first it sounded like she wanted her lessons with Ahkoris to go better, but then she mentioned him wishing her dead.

The man blinked. "Certainly you're wrong," he said. He had never had a bad run-in with the man, though he was certainly not... what Khepri would consider friendly. With a family name like 'Tiamat' it was a wonder any of them had a friendly bone in their bodies. He often wondered how he had come to be among them to be honest. Before he had just been born into it, and now it was all he knew so when he'd come here... he'd just given himself over. What else could he do? He didn't know how else to live. He couldn't live with the missionaries, and he couldn't be alone. The man stared up at her, trying to think of a time where Ahkoris could have even met her. "What happened?" he asked softly.
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#5

Despite not having much of a stomach for food, she always did like hunting and killing things, so to feel his ribs flex under her pad was alluring to her even though she had no desire to actually harm him. There were only a limited list of wolves on her to kill list and no one in this pack, as far as she knew, was on that list. A grin spread across her muzzle as he playfully responded to her face jest, leading to her lightly snapping her jaws at his nose as if to tell him she never said he could breath as he wheezed under her weight. With how much he was struggling to breath normally, she expected him to roll her off again but instead she felt him slip his paws out from under her so they weren't in her way, allowing her front paws better stationing along his ventral, so she readjusted atop his chest to sit on him. All her weight now on a single area. It left her unsure what to do as she looked down at the man that almost seemed to enjoy the punishment for leaving her at the boarder, for so long, without a reason of any kind.

She wondered if he knew that was why she was doing this and that was why he stayed put. By how he acted, probably not or he might be a little more on the apologetic side. A paw pressed forward till it slid up along his throat, talons tempted to rake into the vital point. All his vitals were exposed to her right now, it seemed so strange to her how careless he was but it also left her curious about both him and the pack itself. Were all males not born under the Tiamat name like this toward females? Where Astaria was run by two females, equality was at the forefront, males weren't any less than them. The tribe she was born into were mostly that of a hierarchy but with war veterans, the proven strongest wolves, running the show. A monarchy was something new and strange to her and she wasn't so sure she liked the concept. Gender meant nothing, what one could do did.

"Why are you allowing your body to be taken control of? Vulnerable to me?" she murmured, allowing her curiosity to draw to the front of her mind, not paying much attention to his own question. If he was going to avoid talking about what he was supposed to be teaching her, she had no reason to focus on his inquiries about her personal life. She had no desire to explain what had gone on between her and Ahkoris, having only mentioned it to give some form of a hint they had met prior to her joining this place. By the look on his face, she would guess he didn't figure that out. So only out of some courtesy due to how soft and concerned his voice sounded, she raised that same paw that had been on his throat to show the burns that speckled her paws. They weren't old by any means by how pink and faintly raw looking they were but healed enough not to hurt anymore and that was all that mattered. "He stopped me from killing myself in what he called lava then left me to drown in the ocean," she huffed, that being the only thing she was going to give him for what happened.

An ear fell back as she thought about how she would likely be dead if he hadn't called out to her to not end her life, then even went to the depths of trying to help her rid of the pain in the water. Maybe he had cared and she was just too set on paying attention to his outward appearance she had not been paying any attention to his actions, like the way he even went out of his way to go into the water with her. It slowly started to sink in what she had done wrong in accusing him of faking everything just because he didn't express it visually.

"Fuck..." Maybe she truly did owe him a genuine apology.


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"Speaking"

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#6

khepri
all i wanna do is die for you


As she pressed her paw against his throat, he didn't bother to move. She could very well hurt him like this... but he didn't believe that she would.

"Why do you care?" he asked, staring up at her. Why was she so concerned with what others did? Could they not just lay here together and mean well? He wondered what ulterior motive he could have to allow her such a 'dangerous' position over him. He didn't consider her dangerous, at least not to him. It was that simple.

His ears flicked as she talked about lava, burning her paws and Ahkoris apparently helping her survive this ordeal. "Lava?" There must be a volcano here, perhaps it was that tall mountain to the north. He shivered at the thought of ever touching the stuff. Sif's singed pads were evidence enough that it was not something you wanted to mess with. It seemed to him that his pack mate had been trying to help her, more than anything, and she seemed to realize that fact all too late. "It sounds like he was trying to help... maybe at the very least you two can forget whatever else happened and move on," he said.

Khepri drew in a breath. "I'm sure he can teach you more than I can, at least when it comes to fighting, but I can try and explain the way things work here. The Tiamat wolves are militant and as I have always known, run by females. Males are not exactly... lesser, but they are unable to ever lead the pack. The Matriarch, Nassar, will likely pass leadership on to on of her female offspring when the time is right." What would happen she were to not have any female offspring? He wasn't too sure, but he would accept whatever she chose as it wasn't his place to argue. "Missionaries came to our old home and tried to change the way things were, so the Timat wolves left... I assume to preserve their culture. I was lucky to finally find them here. I am not a Tiamat, but I am from the old pack. Though I am not exactly a warrior, I try to provide for the pack in other ways. Everyone is expected to pull their own weight here." He hoped this would explain Ilios to somewhat to her.

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#7

Molten metal stared back down at the goldenrods that insisted on looking up at her, probing her with a question she thought felt held no purpose as it echoed quietly along the rims of her ears. "I don't care...I simply find it strange you don't have a functioning instinct in that head of yours. You can't possibly trust me when you don't even know me," she growled faintly, ears pinned as she truly did think of hurting him to prove a point. However, instead, she jumped off him and put distance between them, trying to calm down such violent thoughts. Part of the reason she was even here was because of what she did to her own guardian. She could swear she could still taste that iron on her tongue, feel that primal tick that urged to come out at the seams as gruesome visuals entered her head. She fell to that darkness before, she didn't want to do it again. They were away from the caverns, away from the dangers she faced in her early youth that shaped her into the creature she was now.

So why was she still thinking about it? The blood, the rotting, flesh and skin melting as it decomposed. Why does it always have to be so vivid as if happening right in front of me? The nightmares are less frequent, it should be going away! Her teeth gritted as she hushed away the thoughts, trying to focus heavily on the present. Taking in a breath, she silenced the pounding in her head and turned back around to look at the caramel male, expression going vacant as it had many times around others, she had been failing to do that around him as she constantly let her emotions take over.

The subject matter on the lava didn't help when thinking about why she was willing to allow the liquid stone to engulf her. Depression was a devouring mistress and it kept her in its grasp far tighter and longer than she ever thought it would, making her crave an end the other had stopped her from along the dead beach. She didn't respond to the single worded question, merely staring at him like he was an idiot for repeating it since she felt it obvious she had no want to elaborate upon it. She did take into consideration that he was more so asking where they had been but answering that wouldn't change anything, wouldn't help him navigate the land any better. The substance glowed like that of the sun, he wouldn't be able to miss it if he came across it. Once again as he spoke on the situation, she remained silent as she had just figured that out now but the last bit did hit her some, causing her gaze to shift away from him. Could it be put behind them or would she actually feel his wrath this time when they met face to face? He had stilled it last time but what would prevent him from doing so when she now nested in his own palace?

Swiftly her focus was returned to him, a burning in her breast becoming evident but now it wasn't rage. She didn't know what it was as she listened intently to what he had to say about the Tiamat wolves and for the most part it was stuff the matriarch had recited a season ago when she had asked for information. He did answer one question she had without her having to address it herself, about male positioning but she found it strange none the less. To be of equal among the pack but not able to gain a higher rank was a contradiction at its finest. "So not equal at all...inferior from birth no matter how hard they train and loyal they stand," she muttered, starting to think it strange there were males that would even bother staying in the pack, especially born within the main family, forever stuck beneath their sisters and perhaps even their own children.

Then came actual new information about what had happened with the pack prior to it forming here and it hit her in a less than brilliant light. "A simple gospel ruined a pack of warriors?" her voice almost cracked from the swirling confusion that played in her head. She knew there was more to the Tiamats than them being warriors from Ahkoris chastising her for asking if that was what he was but she didn't understand how religion would effect them so heavily that the main branch couldn't keep their hold or push out the undesired. There was only one thing that made sense in her head, they turned everyone against the regime, her guess being that of the males primarily turning on the matriarch.

"Why...did you stay loyal? Return to them...serve her?" she uttered softer, though still scrutinizing.


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"Speaking"

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#8

khepri
all i wanna do is die for you


"I do trust you. If you wanted to hurt me, you would have done so by now... or maybe you will later. I can't stop that so why worry about it?" he said softly, looking up in to the thick tree canopy. She seemed somewhat irritated with him and he couldn't place why. He had been honest with her since they'd met and all he wanted to do was help her. Sif seemed good at rejecting help.

At her muttered comment, Khepri raised a brow. He had no interest nor intention to lead anything. "I don't really see it that way... but I've lived like this my whole life," he said. To him, this was normal and the way things should be. His ears flicked uncomfortably at her mention of the missionaries. He cringed lightly and then finally shifted onto his side, pausing a moment to let her get her bearings enough so that she could stand or slide off him rather than be toppled to the ground. He always felt great discomfort talking about his past and this time was no different. He was not a dweller. "They were more than that," he said, his voice going quiet with dread. "I followed because this is the only way of life I've ever known and I couldn't stay there. I just couldn't," he told her. His gaze was pained as he shifted away, hunching a bit as he sat up. It was clear he didn't want to talk about them. "Is there anything else about Ilios you want to know?" Wasting time crying about his past would help neither of them.
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#9

An ear turned to him as she listened to what he had to say to her retort, her lack of confidence in his verdict only increasing by the moment with each word that slicked off his tongue and rattled her ear drums. It bothered her with how one second her could be serious, the next a goofball and then other times completely dismissive of reality even when it was sticking its teeth into one's leg. Why bother with it now, the question was simple enough and put up not immediate red flags but it made her question his mind more and more, how deprived she felt it was at this point for someone that spoke of terrible turmoil that had affected everyone's life that came here from their previous pack. How could he so easily, on purpose, lackadaisical beyond possibly even Cailan's bounds. Her eyes widened as she kept her gaze away from him before her jaw clenched tightly, thinking of someone she hadn't thought about in some time now as a single entity.

Father. No she didn't see Khepri as a parental figure by any means but the personalities were there, the lack of self preservation was there, happiness was all that mattered to both. Though she had to say he lacked the energy her father had, he seemed dead as a rock half the time and it made her huff silently to herself. She had always accept her mother's stricter personality as mandatory for a woman but now she was realizing it was a balancing game, they need each other to balance out the flaws. At least, that is what she was starting to think, completely ignoring the simple fact her parents just love one another all because they were so different.

Once again he started to speak, carrying with it unspecified answers to her questions and shifting so he wasn't any longer on his back. She had long since removed herself from atop him and therefore had no balancing act to follow. Though despite how he avoided being detailed, for once wanting them, she took in the pain and exhaustion in his voice and it got her attention far more than anything he actually said. With hesitation she got up and moved back toward him, head lower than her shoulders as she took slow steady steps to shut out the distance. He was her friend, even if she was having issues swallowing that pill, she could not ignore the desire to care about and for him no matter how much she resisted.

"I...hailed from far north, well past whatever this place is called...as far as I recall we had been searching for new hunting grounds. At least that is what móðir told me. My parents were both slaughtered by thieves in the caverns south of here ," she breathed, stopping a step behind him as she looked over the hues of his pelt. "When the leaves start to turn color and a chill takes the south...it will mark a full season cycle since it happened and since I last saw anyone in my natal pack," she drew her gaze down toward the ground as her voice croaked just a little. An eye for an eye. Or rather, painful history for painful history, not knowing what else to do besides the obvious. If he would allow her, she'd proceed forward and nest against his side.

"-sorry." she whispered, trying her hardest to stabilize herself from her thoughts moments ago, all the while offering the bit of sympathy she could spare. There were things she could be asking but honestly she didn't think he was the one she should be asking.


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"Speaking"

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#10

khepri
all i wanna do is die for you


Khepri looked up when she began to move towards him. His ears flicked as she began to tell him about how her family had traveled from further north and how her parents had been killed by theives in the caves down south. His skin began to crawl just thinking about it. He had never been further south than the floodplains, where he had met Sif. He surely did not want to go anywhere dangerous.

As she nestled against him, he looked down at her and sighed. She apologized and he felt the need to reciprocate. "Me too."

He brushed his tongue across the top of her head, between her ears, in an attempt to comfort her. He wished he could have been there to help, to stop the tragedies she'd gone through, but they had not known each other then. To think he would actually be able to fight off thieves was another far cry from the truth. He probably would have ended up like her parents to be quite honest. "You are here now, safe with me and Ilios," he said. Though he was not warrior material, he would try his best not to let anything happen to her... she was a part of his pack now and his loyalties extended to her as well. "We haven't known each other long, but I do care about you. I hope you know that," he said softly.

"How about I show you the rest of the territory? We can make a day of it," he offered. She probably hadn't explored it too deeply yet, it could be a fun way to keep them from their sorrows.


Exit Khepri
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