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    Atonement (Let Sleeping Dogs Lie)

    Cinnamon Tiefling

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    Atonement (Let Sleeping Dogs Lie)

    Post by Codex on Thu Dec 17, 2015 9:11 pm

    Vida had carried on a successful facade for two decades. She'd spoken of Death with a quiet wisdom and understanding, advising and counseling whenever need rose. She'd done her best to fool everyone - including herself - into thinking she believed that Death was something that she accepted with the grace and ease that she imagined her mother had practiced.

    The truth was a far cry from the lie she forced to the surface.

    Anyone who'd guessed that she'd taken Vetis' loss hard was correct, judging from her outburst and the unsettling silence that followed. Rarely did she speak. Her grasp on her mourning was akin to a youngling's first brush with death: she cried often and the shortness of her temper reached record lows. She willed her shifting to occur more regularly for nothing else than to allow the wilder part of her being to run free for a while.

    In reality, she'd taken for granted her ability to communicate with the dead. She saw their passing as merely a transition - a different form with whom she spoke. It wasn't a far cry from the truth, but it had caused her to take Death lightly. She did not fear it - she still didn't - but there was something different in the loss of Vetis.

    The memory of the last time she'd come close enough to touch him, to look into his eyes and search for sanity, lingered in her mind. She remembered the drops of red that had seeped from the corners of his eyes as he wept, his mind elsewhere, convincing him that she was a mere illusion.

    "You're home," she'd murmured to him as she continuously dabbed away his blood-tainted tears. "You're among the Frost Fang, and I refuse to lose either of you again."

    But you cannot reach out and touch a spirit, not in the same manner, and they cannot touch you without leaving a deathly chill in their wake.

    Vida had tried for many days and weeks to atone for the disturbance she'd created atop the Spirit Rise, having felt her severed connection from the spirits who'd come to her with such ease in the past. She sat before the newly replaced blue flame each day and meditated. Whatever might have passed through her mind as she did, she spoke nothing of it, if she even spoke at all.

    She thought often of her remaining packmates and how once more, their numbers seemed to dwindle. Of those that remained, at least, she trusted three. She had warmed up to Sunthor after he'd bravely proven himself a trustworthy ally. Their beloved Shadow Wolves had returned, and while only one seemed to remain, she quietly treasured his presence. Her right hand occasionally made a subconscious move to grasp at the runestone she'd worn around her neck for many years, only for her to remember she'd given it to Ludo before his clan brother's funeral.

    Her packsister and alpha had also frequently been in her thoughts, especially as Arianna's belly began to swell faster than Vida had thought possible. She couldn't recall smelling the scent of those subtle beginnings of shifts in the state of her body in the several months it usually took for new life to grow within their bodies. Had she overlooked it while they'd fought to cure the blood sickness?

    The thought troubled her often in between those pockets of meditative silence, trying to mend her bond with the friendlier spirits of the Umbra. She feared how Arianna would react if she lost another child; she did not want to see it happen. This became additional motivation to regain her connection to the Umbra: to seek counsel with her mother, and to perhaps understand how her mother had prevented Death from taking what became her only child.

    She barely even uttered a word aloud to Ásbjörn most of the time, often returning to the cave with a glassy, absent look in her eyes that only sharpened into clarity when she looked upon him. She spoke to him in glances, touches, and embraces, often bringing herself nearer to him anytime he welcomed it. Vida could not find the words she wanted to speak, nor did her jaw seem to want to function enough to speak on most days. But whenever she possibly could, she showed her appreciation for him in other ways, whether it meant bringing home and preparing a meal or simply sitting or lying beside him, offering massages if his muscles and joints ached from age or exertion. She would not take him for granted, and when she felt the courage to regularly mingle among her clan again, she would embrace their existence as well.

    Life had become more precious to her again, rather than something she simply viewed as a temporary stage between one state of being and the next.

    In those times while the land was still green, she still struggled to regain the spiritual connection that had become a hallmark of who she was. The seasons changed. The days grew shorter, the green faded, the grass began to dry until it occasionally rustled and crunched softly beneath her footsteps. The air grew colder, and it wasn't until the first few snowflakes of the season fell that she would notice change.

    Twilight was busy blanketing the land in a cold violet glow, small flakes of white beginning to cling to her hair as she sat atop  the Spirit Rise before the blue flame. As she slowly pulled free from her meditation and started to shake the disoriented feeling in her mind, disappointment painted her features. Another day, another failed attempt.

    With a deep frown, Vida pushed herself to a stand and blinked a stray tear of frustration from the corner of her eye, the warmth quickly turning cold on her cheek. She started to walk away, failing to realize that the cold she felt was not entirely from the slow transition that autumn was making toward winter.

    A rush of soft whispers heralded the return of the wolves first, who looked upon the Spirit Walker's back with curiosity, their spectral tails wagging. She still seemed to fail to notice them or the other familiar figure until that familiar voice came to her.

    "Little runt..."

    Vida stopped dead in her tracks, her eyes widening. With a sharp turn on her heel, she pivoted her body to face them and felt her heart leap into her throat. "Mother..."

    Edda lingered near the blue flame with a fond smile. The spirit wolves brushed affectionately past them as they descended from the Rise to begin their patrol Frost Fang Territory as they had so many times before.

    "Why have I not been able to speak to you?" daughter asked mother. Her brows knitted and she moved back toward her with an expression that was both pained and relieved.

    "You weren't ready." The response was plainly stated as Edda's smile widened. "You needed to understand."

    "I already understood..."

    Edda's head shook. "You didn't. Your gift blurred your perception of the divide between your world and mine. You needed to be able to accept Death - truly accept it - before you could consult with us again. But trust me, my love, we have watched you as you struggled to learn this lesson. I knew you would come to terms with it eventually." The look on her face was somber, even apologetic. "You cannot defy Death if it is truly meant to happen."

    "I-..." The Spirit Walker paused and furrowed her brow. "You defied it. You brought me back..."

    "No, love. It wasn't your time." Edda watched the confusion grow on her daughter's face before she continued. "Sometimes, our bodies and our spirits are not working in tandem; they fall out of step with one another. Our bodies are often far weaker and unable to withstand what our spirits normally could help it withstand. These... these are near-death experiences. There are moments you will be able to see this for yourself, should it ever happen."


    "When your body was handed to me, your soul was struggling to stay within it. All you needed was nurturing. Not all spiritual healing requires the supernatural. Sometimes, all it requires is hope and faith in the impossible. The gods come through for us  when we least expect it; they did for you." She looked upon Vida meaningfully. "You do remember what I told you once, don't you? The gods communicate in bafflingly subtle ways. Most of the time, we don't even realize that they're speaking to us."

    A calm silence started to fill the air. The Spirit Walker's despair was quelled, leaving in its wake the inner peace that she'd lost when Death took another of their packmates. And in an unspoken exchange, mother and daughter looked upon each other before Edda dematerialized once more, leaving Vida alone upon the Rise.

    When she came home to Ásbjörn this time, she greeted him as if she hadn't seen him in months.

      Current date/time is Fri Feb 22, 2019 11:10 pm