This RP is part of The Destroyer of Madness.
Synopsis: A meeting between friends turns into a conversation of love, loss, and new beginnings. Along the way some tough questions are asked, the Alpha looking for a way to spare that which she loves most from possible turmoil in the near future.
Characters: Araina & Rumiko
Location: Haven Island - NyxHaven Den
That shroud was still there. Broom in hand, she'd caught herself half-way across the room - staring at it. Undecided about it's future. Did she leave it? It seemed morbid. Though, she couldn't bring herself to take it down, either. Something about it spoke of their trials, ones that were so much older than the ones they were facing now. At least, to her. Miya hadn't been back yet from her nightly search and that left idle hands. Evoked worry. Her conversation with Isadora the night before was more than concerning. If Pars was alive, where the fuck was he? She'd caught nothing of his scent. But in those same woods she'd smelled something else. Something that set her shoulders in a tight coil, plucking at the beast inside. Ruva did not like it, at all. It was brief and underlying, like the echo of a call when no one had opened their mouths. It made it that much more difficult to be away from the mage, but she wasn't far from home. Emeralds stretched from one side of that black cloth to the other and she could almost hear his smartassed voice in her ear, "The fuck you clinging to the past for, Elder?"
Rumiko wasn't sure how long she lingered there. Dark eyes were well adjusted to the dark, an seeing into the den to spot the wolf within took little effort. The nymph wasn't completely sure what the shroud stood for, but she could tell in the way the lycan's eyes moved across it, that it held a deep meaning to her. "Leave it." It was offered quietly from her place in the shadows, just outside the cavern that made the den. "It obviously means something to you." The thoughts came out for lack of anything else to, and she would take a single step out into the pale moonlight, as if she needed to reveal herself for Araina to know whom spoke to her. For once her feet were flat on the ground, heel-less slippers showing the woman for how short she really was. She was back to dressed once again, this time in calf-length, dark grey gown with lace sleeves of a similar hue. Her hair was half tied back behind her head, revealing pointed ears while still covering most of her throat with ebon waves. "You look better."
Araina had been stuck there, in the past. On that evening she'd carried the body the shroud had been wrapped around. To the night on the Eternity. It was in that moment, that Rumiko's voice soft order came and called her back to the now. An uncertain now. She could feel it, niggling at the base of her neck like an errand she forgot to take care of. "It does." Emeralds swung to the nymph then, and the smile that touched her lips was melancholic, "It means family. Loss. Love. All the empty spaces in between waiting to be filled with memories." Coal curls swept freely down her shoulders and though she was still paler than normal and bore her scars, she'd put on weight since the last time they'd seen one another. Life punctuated eyes tinged with worry. But when she lifted a hand, it was steady for Rumiko to grasp if she wished, "So do you. It seems a fresh start agrees with us both." Neither had truly lived without their heart - now they beat once more. The only difference is Araina's had walked around outside of her chest even though it thumped beneath it. "How are you?"
Rumiko took the offered hand, only then daring to cross into the den. It was a place she had always avoided, though more so out of respect than anything more. "Then keep it." It was offered again, that hand given a soft squeeze. That touch wouldn't linger, and the nymph would pull her hand back and rub both together, as if rubbing something into her skin. "That is does." There was a small smile offered there. "I am glad you finally came around to seeing things my way." The smile turned, tugging up in a singular direction for a smirk. "Even if you made me have to scream at you and your hard head." She would not apologize for the heated things she said that day, and if Araina had thought otherwise, she didn't really know the nymph at all.
Araina would consider an apology one of the last things she'd receive over that conversation. She'd needed her ass handed to her, and Rumiko had been the only one who could have done the job the way it needed to be done. As well, she wouldn't have found Miya nearly as fast. " Logic that sound should always be delivered with your particular brand of force." You know, with ghosts from the past and words that dug around in the deepest parts of you to dredge up what you were made of. " Where is he, anyway?" Not that she expected to see him often. It was enough to see the differences in the nymph. She put the broom down in favor of walking toward a mask. It was wooden and dark - had once been worn by another pack member. She'd keep it, if only to remember what madness and the thirst of power could do to a kind heart. "There is something brewing in these woods, Rumi. I'm having difficulty catching it." That alone, worried her.
Rumiko's lips pursed slightly for the question, "I can never be too certain. Sometimes it is like I can feel him close, though my eyes do not see him." A subtle rise and fall of her shoulders came then, "He is a busy man." Not to busy to make time for her though, which might be why the woman did not seem so down about it. "He likes you." It was offered softly, and the thought that Ezra cared enough to aid the empath, with out her having to beg for it, meant the world. Those last words drew a frown from the woman, and her hands found themselves twisting around one another again, "What do you mean?" Rumi spent most of her time in the Underworld or the Aether lately, she hadn't paid much mind to the woods around her church.
Araina grinned then, and the quip quick and dry, "Voyeur." She could only imagine exactly how busy Justice could be, and her smile might warm, just a tad for the compliment. "I can say, that I'm fond of him as well. If for no other reason than the peace about you when you speak of him." And in general, as of now. It meant more than she could say, that the chaotic nature of her past had not followed her here. A great deal of it was attributed to him, she knew, but the nymph had found some of the lost strength she'd allowed to be taken in loss. It was difficult to live life only in blows. Fingertips stretched over the surface of the wooden idol before she took it and placed it on a shelf a few inches from the shroud. It would be good to remember them. If she was to rebuild the pack, roots were necessary. "I've heard tell of a beast. The likes of which I've never encountered." Considering how close they were to the church, she should've checked, "He's attacked twice already. Both times, was barely phased with counter attacks." Sifting through her thoughts on it, she settled with, "He's off. Something about him is not right." Whether it was age or mental state, she did not know.
Rumiko bit her lower lip as Araina spoke, her eyes downcast to the cavern floor beneath them like a shy child. The toe of her slipper pressed into the earthen floor, twisting slightly as she tried to reign in those flutters she was still growing accustomed to. "Everything is so... easy, with him." It was the first time she had spoken of what she and Justice had started, outside of each other. It caused her heart to quicken, though whether it was nerves or excitement was not clear. "I do not worry that I will anger him, he actually listens to me when I speak." It was something she was not accustomed to, but was growing to like all the more. The mention of a beast did little to quell those feelings in her chest, though it did add others to the mix. "Are you sure it is not just a rogue?" Wolf, she'd meant. "With everything disheveled, maybe one made their way here, and is vying for attention?"
Araina would turn then and face a woman closer to her than her own sister. Where Miya was her anchor; her rock - Rumiko was a beacon of safety and trust. Something the nymph might have scoffed at not so long ago. The permission to touch the spirit of another, to enter into the most intrinsic of places and be regarded as friend and not foe - it was not something the empath found often. The Queen of Darkness would ever be welcome in this place of memories. Each small indication of change drew her attention, from the captured lip to the butterflies with a tilted head and tucked in smile, one barely contained for it's softness, "Being understood and respected is something I've always wanted for you." Quiet gratitude brought her fist up to her mouth to press against a smile, and perhaps keep teasing words to a minimum, "Does the ease frighten you?" It very well could, she knew. It was hard to trust in something simple when hard was all you knew. Fingertips twisted the ring on her finger briefly. Not her own, but the multi-colored one she'd taken from the dresser. "How have you reconciled your oath?" The mention of a rogue brought her wanderings back on focus and an image of the youth splashed into awareness, " I've only met one rogue so far, and though she does enjoy attention I doubt she is the cause of the echoes." Isadora was more a pup than a rogue.
Rumiko did not know if she had ever told Araina just how far the faith and trust went. Whether she knew it or not, the empath had been the first and only being to have ever dabbled within the nymphs mind on the scale in which she had. Had been the only one allowed into those deepest, darkest of places. "It does." Frighten her. "And yet it does not at the very same time." It felt right, if she had to put a word on it. Like it was supposed to be easy, rather than what she had been through before. The question of her oath had a breath caught, held for a moment longer than might seem comfortable. Rumiko knew her ring rested on the hand of the druid, it was noticed the moment she'd arrived, though she'd made no mention of it. A hard swallow came she dark eyes rose to find emeralds and her hands clasped before her. "He has been gone for a very long time. If he could have returned, if he had wanted to, he would have." But she knew. Ezrael had told her what he had found about the Gods, what had happened to them that lead to the shifting of time. At least, part of what had happened. "I made my peace in the temple." It was all she would offer on that matter. The nymph had made it a point to stay out of pack affairs, and though she would offer guidance when asked, she would stick to that choice. "It sounds like you should gather your forces." Whatever was left of the pack, she'd meant. "A hunt may be due."
Araina had been in that position once. Cerinii had been a spot in her life with many different hues. Many different shades of black and white. "Fear can sometimes make things more valuable." Or ruin them. The darker shades were the ones she remembered the most. It far eclipsed the light. But there had been just enough of them to lure an insecure wolf desperately looking for a place to belong. Between the avian and Yasmine, she was kept well to her place. At least, until an order was given she'd had to refuse. Her sister had never forgiven her for it - and the course it had started her life on gave way to the straight, proud shoulders of the wolf before her. As well as the ring on her finger. "I am proud of you." Not for moving on, because that held it's own set of challenges and was not always happy, "You have always been worth far more than what you chase, Rumiko." The nymph wouldn't miss that edge of frustration, but it didn't stick. There was no need for it anymore. She settled on one of the stone outcroppings along the wall that resembled a bench and crossed her feet at the ankles, "I have already spoken to my wife. And Mahri." Those were her forces, thus far. "I intend to make my way around the island. Find more." Before a hunt. At least, that hunt. "Most of the pack is gone." It was the soul of Haven. Or had been. "I intend to revive it."
Rumiko's gaze dropped once more for those words. She wanted to believe those words, to believe that she was worth more. For most of her life she had been told otherwise, been held down or held back. Told to be quiet, that her opinion didn't matter, that she didn't matter. She'd believed t for the longest time, and it had often guided her actions and choices. Often to her own detriment. Now? Now she wasn't chasing. She hadn't needed to. It had come to her, freely and unexpected. Rumi cherished it all the more for that alone. The mention of Mahri drew her gaze back up, and the nymph would focus there rather than her past and current relationships. "I am glad she has decided to stay." She might be Diiroehn's sister, but she'd been granted a soft spot in the woman's heart either way. "I am sorry to hear about your family." The pack. She understood how much that meant to a wolf. The thought of reviving it earned a dip of her head, "There are many here. Though it might be worth it to look elsewhere. For elder ones." Most in Haven were youth of the old pack.
Emeralds narrowed briefly as sanguine disengaged, but she wouldn't chase either. You couldn't browbeat another into a sense of self-worth. You could only continue to bolster and encourage. Rumiko had already begun walking the path to something better and that allowed the return of a smile, slight as it was. "You matter more than you could know, love." That was the last of it, and she merged with the new vein of conversation, to the former beta, "As am I. I do not know if she will join us again." She'd been hurt so much last time. But Mahri was a loyal wolf, and they loved each other in much the same way as she regarded the woman before her. "But, she will lend her protection if nothing else." It made her feel better to know that. To have the wolf beside her and know that she was safe. The condolences brought her gaze back to the shroud for a moment and her feet shifted restlessly on the moss-covered floor. " I want to find as many as I can." For most, they would never catch the thread of uncertainty in the former Elder's voice as she spoke of her plans, and even fewer would know why. This was a massive undertaking for a mutt. Shaking her head free of those thoughts, she asked quietly, "I want to send Miya away, until we figure out the threat. With the children." It wasn't a productive thought. The elfess would never leave. "I will protect her. All of them." To her last breath. "But, I wanted to ask you. What ways are there to ensure that the soul survives?"
Rumiko was learning more and more to appreciate herself. To love herself. She would get there, in time. Talk of the once beta not joining the pack had a brow lofting then, "No? Even with the other gone?" She had never paid too much attention to Rho, had never cared one way or another for the man. "Is it wise for a pack wolf to leave and live on their own?" It was an honest question, and with it she would be moving to claim a seat next to the empath on that rock ledge. "It is good to know she will stand along side, if not with." It left that option open for the black. Dark eyes closed, the nymph drawing on her gifts to search, to scan the closer of the isles as far as she could reach. "Most are here." Lycans. "Though there are others thrown sporadic." She could not sense a cluster of them, as if there were no other packs. The confession had Rumi's head snapping to the side, her gaze narrowing on the druid. "After just getting her back, you would try to send her off? For what? Some story of something in the forest?" Her head shook, "You are getting over worked for something you do not even know anything about. Surely if there was something ominous coming, there would be more shockwaves, more carnage." One felled knight and scared girl did not an crisis make. "If you wish to gather a new pack, then do so for yourself, your children. Not for whispers." Clearly the Nymph saw no issue with a wild beast in the forest; isn't that where they lived anyway? The last question gave her pause, and the woman was on her feet and walking away from Araina then, though not to leave. She attempted to hide that sudden spike in her emotions, the unease that came with what she feared that particular question could and would lead to. "There are a few." Her words might have been a bit terse, there.
Araina growled once, low and soft at the accusation, " No, I would not. Even if she would go, I am too selfish to let her." Just because she wanted to, did not mean she was going to. But, her wife would understand. She'd tried to send her away once, too. "I am strongest with her at my side." That was undeniable. But, what she wouldn't let go of, was that nagging feeling deep inside. If there was one thing she excelled at - it was seeing through to the heart of things. And though she had no proof besides the stories of her two new friends and what she gained from the forest floor, she would trust it. "You may think I'm looking far into something that isn't there but let me ask you. Have I been wrong yet?" She'd known before it had take root, of the corruption in Gwen. She'd known that Rumiko needed the healing she had. The only things she was terrible at seeing, were those of herself. How others viewed her. Her own choices. Her gut instincts? Those she trusted. " I am not gathering a pack for the idea of carnage. In fact, I hope to be wrong." She idly spun that ring on her finger as she worked her way through her thoughts, "There are so many here, who need those connections. Most wolves are not meant to be rogues. If I can provide that family for them; that safety. Why shouldn't I?" Strays, again. It pulled at her as nothing else did. It was a need she knew could be filled. "Mahri will not live on her own. Phury will be with her, and we will make sure they are protected. I've offered her a role as Sentinel. To take Miya's place." Truth be told, she didn't think the former beta would turn her down. But it would soon be seen. Emeralds snapped up to the retreating feet and she sat up straighter for it, head tilting curiously, "Could you explain them to me? Or at least why you felt the need for distance all of a sudden?" It wasn't hurt in her voice. Mostly confusion.
Rumiko did not know or understand the inner workings of a pack other than there was an alpha, beta and everyone else. She had never cared much to learn, and that interest, though important to Araina, would not start now. Her head dipped along with the idea of starting a pack for the many, and it was an honorable thing for sure. If there was any who would make a good leader for the strays, it was the empath that could make sure they all felt as if they belonged. Her mind was more so focused on the subject of souls, and the nymphs fingers laced together in an effort to keep them from fisting at her sides. "Because what you ask about is dangerous, and life altering. There is no easy path in the ways of bonding a soul." She had only ever done it as a punishment, not that she'd told such to Araina. "One bound, it is nearly impossible to unbind." Brows knit in the canter for a moment as she tied to figure out how best to explain something she had never tried to before. "Maybe... maybe you should tell me what it is you are trying to accomplish first, it might help narrow down the options." And give her time to think.
Araina knew very little about what she asked. At the moment it was a mere brush of thought, and while it was not why she wanted to see Rumiko - she was a safe person to ask. Had it been another the druid likely wouldn't have said a word. " I want to make sure, that should this be as serious as I think it could be, that one of us survives." There was no way that the empath could know what she was asking. The severity of it nor what it entailed. In her way of thinking, she was only considering keeping the elfess alive at all costs. " I thought maybe if I could tie her to something that might be less fallible, I would worry much less in battle for her safety." Doubtful, but it was worth a shot. " Our children need a parent. And given the choice, I would choose her. Every time." It would not be mistaken for weakness or pessimism. No, the firm intention was there, to be there right alongside the mage. The tell-tale flicker of obsidian might lend a slight glance into true intentions. This question was fueled more so by Ruva than the empath. The wolf had been bound herself - kept away from her mate. The survival of her other half was the most important thing. Where Araina would spend time considering the ramifications of what she asked, Ruva was a bit more impulsive and focused, "What are the risks?"
Rumiko's fingers twisted within themselves, her nerves more obvious in that single act than in what the empath might feel rolling off her. "I do not think that would accomplish the goal you are aiming for." Teeth pinched the inside of her cheek as she thought over how best to phrase her words. "To do what you ask, you would need an item of sturdy making. Something not easily destroyed, or something easily hidden. The binding itself is an easy thing." For her it was, anyway. "As I said, once bound it is exceedingly difficult to unbind." Hands released, only to tent her hands and bounce finger tips off one another as she started to pace, trying to keep her thoughts in line. "Say you choose a ring. And I bind her soul to it. If she dies, if her body is destroyed, she will be trapped within the item until it is placed upon another." Dark eyes found emerald then, "A soul needs a living body. Once attached to a new host, she would then have to overthrow the current one, or merge with it." Merging was never easy, and had unforeseen complications all it's own. "If, and I do stress the word if, she wins and takes the body, she has, in a sense, committed murder." Body snatching was a messy thing. "And that is not the end." Her gaze fell once more, if only because she wasn't sure how much the lycan knew. "Said ring, or object, would be a Phylactery. If destroyed, on a new host or not, so too would be the bound."
By the middle of the explanation, the empath was settled with her feet flat on the floor, one hand raking through the carelessly long curls that brushed the stone beneath. It wasn't merely her words, but the sheer discomfort of the nymph that truly spoke to her. As well as the process she would have to take - that Miya would have to undergo - in order to stay. They had a ring, but could she ask such a thing of the mage? Instead of being allowed to press forward into a place of peace she would be stuck in a battle that even still, might not be able to be won. And in a body that was not her own. That her children and her wife would not recognize. When emeralds met her own, the decision was already made and clearly expressed in the downward slide of eyes, "I couldn't make that choice for her." She wouldn't. Further more, she was fairly certain of what the answer would be had she asked. Neither of them could stand to be tied down. That was not what marriage was. She was bound, yes, but with the freedom of choice in her heart and the trust that the decisions she made would keep her wife safe. "Thank you, for explaining it to me. I wish for extra protection for her. Not a prison." A sigh left her as she rose and she dusted the back of her leathers. She still needed to sweep. But, darkness had fallen and now she was beginning to grow anxious for home. "I need to check on them." Her children, especially with Miya out of the house. "I will see you soon, yes?"
Rumiko had not even spoken the worst of it, but she was glad she did not need to. There was a visible relax in her shoulders as that decision was announced and a dip of her head came in understanding. "I think..." Should she? "I think you do not give her enough credit." That thing Araina was married to. "Look at all she has survived. What she has endured. Vampirism, dragons, lycanthropy, death, loss." Rumi knew more about the mage than she let on, it would seem. "I do not think the fates would push you two together as they have, to tear you apart now." It was all she would offer before bending at the waist in a half bow. "You know how to find me." She would keep the alpha no longer, and just like that she was gone.