Summer has finally arrived! The sun has melted the snows in the north and the southern territories are beginning to grow uncomfortably hot and dry. Pups are being born and life seems to finally be getting back to normal after the cure for the disease was found. But how long will it last?
The cure has been found! Wolves on Anikira are recovering from the disease and life is moving forward with the promise of pups in many packs. And yet darkness looms on the horizon, daring the creatures of Anikira to relax and allow themselves to get comfortable once more.
Joints creaked and muscles shook as Valdis made her way through the land she had come to call home in the direst of times, the land that had taken her in and offered her salvation. In the wake of the fire, which felt like a dream these days, Miera had been a safe haven. Here, she had revived Aesir after it had faced extinction. Here, she had raised and lost pups, fallen in and out of love. She still missed the friends she’d lost along the way: Baard, Hel and Heimdall, Jotun. They had shared some of the worst experiences of her life with her, and that was a bond that wasn’t easily dismissed. She missed her errant children, too: Ingrid and Vali. All her children were her pride and joy, and it hurt to remember that she may have outlived some of them. It was the not knowing that hurt the most. She could only mourn their involvement in her life.
A cold wind cut right through her old bones, and she shivered in response, bracing herself against the harsh blows. Valdis had always appreciated that Miera was a hard land. It bred hardy wolves. The pack was better of for it, of that she had no doubt, but in her old age, it proved more difficult to navigate. Valdis would never complain of it aloud, but she had accepted now that she was not the young, strapping wolf she had once been.
Valdis came to halt near the Path of Enathu, partly out of exhaustion and partly out of nostalgia. This was the easiest way to cross from the mainland to Miera, but Valdis doubted now that she would survive a trip to the mainland. It was a strange feeling, to be so useless. She hated that she relied so much on the care of others, and sometimes wished she had died fighting like she had always imagined. It was a slow, pitiful death to die of old age. There was no dignity in it.
[attr="class","text"]Most of the time, it seemed that Raynor was the one following Sköll, but today - it was oddly different. Sköll was slowly following behind Raynor, who was moving ahead of him, still staying within eye sight of the large wolf pup. The pair were inseparable, more than he was with his sister, Hatí. The young wolf could feel that something was very different in his mother. His odd eyes watched her closely every time she was near them. She wouldn't speak very much and she was slower to stand than he remembered her before. He wished that he could understand why things were this way, but it was hard. Of course he would be told "you are too young" or something along those lines. It didn't really matter. He loved his parents dearly - equally. Sköll prayed to the Gods daily, hoping that they would hear his call and understand the wishes he had for his family. Raynor was moving through the lands, sniffing everything he could while keeping a not-so-steady pace. He would run a little, then stop and smell something for so long that Sköll would have the opportunity to catch up.
When they came across the scent of mother, Raynor was the first to greet her. His large body barreled towards her. He almost crashed into her as he shouted, "mom!" Instead, the bear tumbled and rolled onto his side. His brown eyes stared up at Valdís as his ears slid back against his head as he had watched his siblings do when they got in trouble as well. At first, Sköll was worried that his mother would have gotten harmed by the large and clumsy bear - but it wasn't so. He quickened his pace regardless, making his way to face them both. "Mother, are you alright?" He asked, making sure this the nit-wit of a bear had not harmed her in his foolishness. How many times had he instructed the Ursa to be more careful and not to charge the ones we love? Raynor knew that he was not the favorite child of the Hilmir. That was obvious to him. But he had hoped that by now, she would realize that he loved her like a mother - not having recalled his own species before Volsungs saved his life.
Sköll gave a respectful bow of his head to his mother and moved to nuzzle his head beneath her chin as a sign of respect and love for the one who brought him into this world. He gave a delicate lick to her chin and stepped back. "What brings you out here?" She was the Hilmir and could go where she wanted, but lately she had been sticking close to the den - to their direct home. He had wanted to see her up and wandering, so when she was now - he should have handled it better. He could hear the concern in his father's voice when they spoke, and he could see it in his eyes.
The harsh winds carried a pair of familiar scents upon them, one far more welcome than the other. Turning away from the snowy peaks of mountains that bordered the Oriens, Valdis saw that damn bear barrelling toward her. Her reflexes were not what they once were, so all she could do was growl in warning as Raynor narrowly avoided crashing into her side. To make things worse, it appeared he still insisted on calling her his mother, despite the fact that she was not. “Did I carry you in my womb for two moons, bear?” she demanded. Skoll appeared soon after, and she huffed a weary, irritable exhale.
When asked if she was alright, Valdis’ expression softened a little, touched by her son’s concern. “Yes, ástin mín, I am unharmed.” At his little signs of affection, Valdis smiled, returning it with a gentle nudge of her nose against his and a flick of her tongue against his maw. It was so good to see him. He had grown so much in the short time it had been since she’d last seen him -- but perhaps it had been longer than she thought. Valdis was loathe to admit it, but her keen memory was not what it was. A wrinkle of concern appeared on her forehead at the confusion she felt, but she did not want Skoll to be worried.
Despite his slight retreat, Valdis followed him into his space and seated herself beside him. “Come, keep your old mother warm,” she requested, hoping he would oblige her. Pups tended to grow out of cuddles faster than a mother was happy about. They always wanted to grow up so quickly, but Valdis wanted them to stay pups forever sometimes. “I was reminiscing about when I first came back to Anikira,” she said, in answer to his question, her eyes falling back on the mainland as she lay her head on her son’s shoulder. “It was a long time ago now. Before I had even met your father, before Vali and Eira… Did I ever tell you about Africa, Skoll?” Valdis thought she hadn’t, but these days, she could not be sure.
Warily, she turned to see what the bear had occupied himself with. While she had no affectionate nuzzles for him, she could not object to his presence because it would upset her son, whom she loved dearly. Valdis doubted she would ever find it in her heart to like the beast, but she supposed she would have to tolerate it, for Skoll. Perhaps Raynor would prove his worth to her someday. Not wanting to offend her son by ignoring the bear, she forced herself to say, “You may join us if you wish, bear.” Valdis did not even know if he wanted to join their huddle, but she could not deny that he looked very soft and comfortable, and the day was very bitter.
Wearily, she let her head fall heavier against Skoll’s shoulder, growing tired of her own antagonism. It was an exhausting state.
Word count: 504 Notes: get wreckt Raynor Tags:Sköll
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Jaidah is one of the albinos on the site, a brand new character brought to life by a brand new player. It is interesting to see how such a pure looking being could be wrapped up in the angsty claws that is Irkalla! We will definitely be staying in-tune with this character to see just what heights Bird is able to take her!
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