Disaster has struck!
It's peaceful, the crags and seeing Cvijet again. I never thought she would return to Moladian. In fact, I figured she'd be reunited with her father long before I'd ever see her again. She was rather close to him. I wouldn't expect it any other way. He was her father, after all, and I was just the wolf who broke his heart. I can't take that back but the past is the past and the least I can do is be a friend to her now that we've met again. Cvijet closes her eyes briefly and when she re-opens them, I offer her another warm smile. I'm sure she notices my aging but it doesn't bother me. The pain reminds me that I'm still alive and breathing, still ready to face another day. I could try any number of remedies and herbs to reduce the swelling and make my life more comfortable but then I would be numb to everything life has to offer. How can I enjoy the beauty of it if I can't enjoy the hardships I've worked so hard to earn? My bones may scratch against each other but that's because I once ran so much that I stripped them of their cushioning cartilage. I felt the wind in my fur and it was amazing. I could never wish to forget that so I think of that every time my joints ache. I think of how I've lived.
She smiles back but I note that her eyes still hold a sadness, a sadness to which I don't know the reason or the cure for. I can tell her question is in jest but she offers a look of embarrassment after. I smirk in return.
"Perhaps, but all good wings must retire at some point in life. Mine are not clipped, just faded."
When I ask about the name she mentioned, Soumraku, I guess I should have expected some sort of distaste. She has teh good manners to try to cov er it but I look down to allow her to do so, my own shame pure as the daylight now rising over the horizon. A lot of wolves came through Saw Tooth, so many that pledged loyalty and one way or another, they were lost to me. There was a soldier whose name I can no longer remember who loved me more than that of an alpha but I couldn't return the sentiment. He died right by the stream and I was there for it, my heart breaking even as he breathed his last because even then I could not give him the words he wanted to hear because I wouldn't mean them. There was another female who loved a brother, twins who came to Saw Tooth. She was my loyal beta for quite some time and mutilated her own legs in her grief when the brother she loved died. The other brother left soon after, still grieving over his twin. So many faces and yet I can remember the subtle things, like their smells and their ambitions, their hopes and dreams, and yet my aging mind cannot apparently keep track of the one thing that defines them, their names.
When she winces, I flinch as if I've been slapped, feeling bad for Soumraku. If I could see her face, I would probably know her but the name is lost on me. When she speaks again, I politely meet her gaze once more, my ears listening attentively even after the awkward silence we just had. She tells me that she reunited with Holo and I smile, genuinely happy that they get along so well. As she goes on, mentioning a skeleton, my face falters, lips drooping into a concerned scowl as my ears flick back. Once she mentions the legs, I'm already back peddling back, almost forgetting that I'm on a steep cliff. When my back foot slides to the edge, I gasp and have to catch myself, stumbling to the side as tears reach my eyes.
It's a whisper pushed out into a sharp outtake of air, my eyes misting over as I shake my head and look away, not wanting her to see me like this. My voice is rough and rattling.
"I thought he...I thought he had left Moladian, found happiness somewhere. He looked so happy the last time I saw him. So whole, so complete. I didn't...I'm sorry. I didn't know."
I look up, meeting her gaze again. There is nothing but genuine shock and sadness in my eyes as I search her features, somehow wanting her to believe this much. Even if she chooses to hate me the rest of her life, I at least don't want her to doubt that I did love her father. That I did still care for him. Even if we weren't together, I couldn't just take back the memories we made. I wouldn't, even if I could. They are too precious, as are all the memories of my life. The pages of my book. Cvijet's own head has lowered now, probably giving me time to grieve. I appreciate it but I have a feeling she needs the comfort more. He was blood to her, a father. Her father. I search for the words.
"Cvijet, if you ever need anything...if you do now. Just say it and its yours. I am so sorry for your loss."