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the path you can’t undo
[continuation] late spring, late morning, sunny; with poet

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Josalyn Vedi Madison
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Josalyn’s eyes had not lifted once while they walked, though the shocked distance in them focused into bleary numbness the further they walked from where they were intercepted by the stranger. She wanted to fathom why it had happened. How, despite being such a minor transgression, it magnified everything she’d been pushing away. It drove the thought of unwantedness deeper in her head, and she tried desperately to fix on something else, or to forgive it for simply not knowing or being in a bad mood. She wanted this to be the good day Poet had promised. But it was hard, even to look up at him, to see how he was handling it or hope he could break her from her gloom. But she just couldn’t. She stared down at the grass, holding her breath like she was waiting for something to end. It was a ringing in her ears.

If there was something she felt beside stupefaction, it was anger. To be able to relate to her friend on a profound level, and to witness the very thing that weighed them both down. In the flesh. Knowing that he was good, that he didn’t deserve it. She might have, but as far as she was concerned - or knew - Poet had done no wrong. She didn’t know if the absence referred to was the one he took before they reunited or the one spent helping her, but both reasons she understood. How could that guy be so ignorant? How could he be so… harmful?

Poet had done so much for her. She wished she could have done as much to protect him. So, in a sense, that anger turned back in on herself. For not doing more. For being paralyzed. Weak, not good enough, again.

Her pace slowed.


Dec 20, 2017 07:08 PM

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182885
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Poet Serethi Erin
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Embarrassment was all he felt as they retreated from their encounter with Apollo. Embarrassment for the way he spoke to Poet in front of Jos and embarrassment for the fact he’d run away from it again instead of tackling it head-on. He kept telling himself it would’ve ended differently if Jos hadn’t been there to watch uncomfortably from the sidelines.

Maybe he’d find Apollo again. Maybe Apollo would find Poet first. Or maybe neither of these things would happen.

Silence choked the air surrounding them as they walked back down the rise, heading to an unknown destination. Poet felt unwanted everywhere, except for where Atlas and Josalyn were. He wasn’t sure how Josalyn was feeling or what she was thinking, but the presence of the silence told him enough.

When Jos slowed her walk, Poet barely registered it. It wasn’t until he was a couple of steps ahead that he noticed she’d slumped behind and he stopped, but didn’t turn around to face her. His head hung off his shoulders, succumbing to the weakness that disallowed him full control of it. Josalyn didn’t know the whole story about his sister and he hoped he hadn’t struck any nerves when mentioning his sibling bitterly to Apollo.

After some time he blinked away a few thoughts enough to speak. “I’m sorry…for what happened back there,” was all he said. Always apologizing for things he knew weren’t necessarily his fault. Always apologizing on behalf of others. Always apologizing when he couldn’t think of anything else to say. He was surprised he wasn’t sick of hearing those words come out of his mouth by now.


Dec 20, 2017 07:20 PM — Post #1

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182888
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Josalyn Vedi Madison
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She could have walked on staring wordlessly at the ground for the rest of her life, and she knew it. It was tempting. But another part of her wanted to end this. The angry part of her that manifested after she found her mental footing wanted to frown, outrage at Poet about what the stranger said, call the stranger a terrible name. (Was that the worst she could do? Probably.) Knowing that Poet had been hurt by it, he must have been. How could one not be?

So she had stopped. And after a few steps, he stopped too, and she expected him to turn and come back to her, but he didn’t. He apologized.

That was enough to warrant a glance up in his direction, finally. To see him standing ahead of her with his shoulders sagging, looking about as sad as her. Her ears laid back, and the natural instinct to help came flooding her chest. Even stronger than the helplessness that rendered her numb. The impulse was undeniable, the ache of sympathy she felt for anyone downtrodden or hurt. She was rooted, for the moment, but the need nibbled on her bones.

“You used to be good enough, before,” she sighed quietly. “Before things changed. And now you’re trying to be good enough again. But you just keep… doing something wrong. You can’t quite get it anymore. And it starts to feel like they get tired of you watching you try.”

Maybe it was what he felt too. It was hard to put it into words. The right words. She was worried she’d make the very same mistake she spoke of, shedding her gaze to the grass. Worried that his expression would twist and he’d want nothing to do with her too. But she couldn’t let it paralyze her - not when she wanted so badly to help. So, after a moment’s passing fear, she sought him out and took a step closer, gradually pulling herself up to his side.


Dec 20, 2017 07:49 PM — Post #2

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[ Edited: Dec 20, 2017 08:10 PM by Josalyn ]
182898
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Poet Serethi Erin
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There was likely nothing he could say now to make anything better. It was hard to help lift someone else’s spirit when his own had been shot through the neck. Apollo’s words cut deep, but what cut deeper was knowing he was right.

An ear flicked towards Josalyn, but the things she said had Poet taking a minute to wonder if she was directing the words at him. His brain wasn’t wired correctly in that moment to try and navigate through the secrecy of the meaning she was trying to convey. Air filled his lungs dramatically before a sigh billowed out from them.

“My sister lost her memory,” he said suddenly, still not turning his head to face her with eyes instead glued to the ground. Get ready for a history lesson you didn’t ask for, Josalyn.

“Growing up, we were inseparable. Our natal pack was militaristic and I was trained in fighting until bloodied and broken, literally. Sometimes I’d even pass out for a day or two until I came to again.” His body seemed to respond to the words and mental images and collapsed into a sit. “But Kytes was always there to heal me or just keep me company - cheer me up when I was made to feel like I wasn’t good enough. We’d been through literally everything together. We were all each other had.” Tears began welling up, but he fought them back before they had a chance to drip. “Nobody else took us seriously. We joked too much. One day I was banished by my own dad, because I was trying to protect my sister from one of his prized soldiers. From…unspeakable acts I don’t really want to go into detail of.” He swallowed a hard lump in his throat. “Kytes was told that if she left to try and find me, soldiers would be sent after her to kill her.” Even still he couldn’t imagine why they’d cared so much about them leaving together when they were both hated the most anyway. It probably had something to do with Kytes being the most skilled healer they had. The best medicinal trainer.

“I left and came here. At some point, I caught her scent and tried to find her.” Another sigh and the threat of tears became more real. “And when I did find her, it turns out she’d gotten amnesia.” He thought back to hearing the news, at the time hoping it wasn’t true and that she’d remember him at all - even if it took a few moments to recognize him. “She didn’t remember me.” A couple of tears rolled, but he blinked them away. “Even her name was changed, to “Mari”. I couldn’t…handle losing the closest thing to me. So I said things and ran. I looked back so many times, but I never acted on it.” Atlas, Apollo, Inigo…they all had let him leave though Poet knew they didn’t like it. Valentina, being the blunt wolf she was, told him exactly how she felt.

Maybe it was an earful, so much so that Josalyn maybe didn’t listen to all of what he said. He just thought it was necessary to tell her so she knew where he was coming from. His sister was alive, but also not all at the same time.


Dec 20, 2017 08:14 PM — Post #3

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182906
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Josalyn Vedi Madison
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He didn’t much look at her, or even acknowledge her attempt to reach out. What she received instead was an explanation. But she listened. Silently, watching him build the story, reclining to his haunches, as if defeated by it. Josalyn kept on her feet, but didn’t press closer, not wanting to disrupt the story.

It was precious. It was part of what it took to help. Even beneath shrouds of darkness, her instinct for empathy urged her to patiently absorb his words and try to work a remedy out of them. A few times she wanted to zone out, feeling the tug of her own brooding, reminders of her own fractures, but she’d stabilize herself a couple seconds later. Poet was important to her. The least she could do was try.

Then her focus honed as she began to see tears. He had spoken a few times of his sister, but she didn’t know the extent to which their relationship was broken. Until now. As he spoke of being not just rejected, but completely forgotten. Going from being the most important person in one’s life to… a speck of dust among thousands of other specks of dust, merely watching the world pass by with no permission to join in. She changed her name to Mari.

It didn’t strike her at first.

When he finished, she finally sat next to him. The long seconds she spent in silence were only pensive.

“You were hurt,” she sympathized. “Nobody expects the kind of pain that comes when you’re unable to have something that’s right in front of you. So… close.”

He’d been robbed of his sister. Her brow furrowed slightly as she thought of her own losses, and the Evergreen Wolves, and the woman named Mari she might have spoken to once, or twice, before she left. Mari, who left with Rufus and their family.

“What would you have said to her? If things were different. If she remembered.”

She didn’t care about what he did say. Those words didn’t matter anymore. They had already been spoken and done their damage. But there was a chance at reparation in the words he wanted to say. Had he ever gotten a chance to say what he wanted to say to Kytes, and not Mari? To hear them up in the air, not just locked inside his heart?


Dec 20, 2017 08:41 PM — Post #4

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182909
Name Player
Poet Serethi Erin
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Nothing was said at first. But when she sat next to him, the auras surrounding their bodies clashed and he felt her proximity immediately. When she did speak, he turned his head to look at her.

So he sat there. Staring at Josalyn as a sudden fire blazed through his body, searing his system as he hung onto every word she spoke, as it began to recognize its missing part in the shape of her. The longer he allowed his thoughts to deepen, the greater the burn. Though instead of creating an onset of pain, it brought a wealth of warmth and comfort to the parts of his heart he once thought to be no longer habitable; never to be brought to life again.

What was she doing to him?

She talked, but he could only reminisce as he stared at her with eyes roving over every detail of her face. She used to be a yearling he’d trained with years ago. His medicinal sensei, for lack of a better term. His snark-mouthed bubbly friend who mirrored all of his quips with her own. Always pressing their boundaries with each other.

But now she was the one who pulled his strings, and he was just beginning to realize it. The one responsible for the bleeding warmth melting through the once icy confines of his chest. The losses he’d endured, the guilt and regret that haunted him every second of every day. In this moment, it all seemed to be cushioned even if only a little.

Because she was there. Exhibiting her selflessness, having stuck by him despite the unfortunate occurrences they’d endured together. Speaking to him with that voice he found caused his stomach to flip and lungs to beg for air.

And she had no idea that every breath she took, every laugh that bubbled from her stomach, every tiny touch made, sent an electrifying pulse coursing through his veins. He wanted to tell her how he felt, but it was fear that always held him back.

What if she didn’t feel the same? That he was a friend and nothing more. What if she was repulsed by the idea?

All the thoughts and realization hit his brain in a matter of seconds, leaving a blank expression in their wake as he stood staring at her. Suddenly he felt his throat tighten and heat rush his face in mild panic.

‘What would you have said to her?’ He zoned back in.

And all he said was, “Words couldn’t have expressed the love and happiness I would’ve felt,” as he locked eyes with her before sporting a forced, awkward grin.


Dec 20, 2017 08:59 PM — Post #5

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[ Edited: Dec 20, 2017 09:02 PM by Poet ]
182988
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Josalyn Vedi Madison
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There were a hundred more things she could have said to Orion and Solomon. And Dalus, and Darin, and Cree. And Zehnai. To everyone that she had lost. It was hard to think that they were gone for certain - some of them she wanted to believe she’d see again, but given her luck, chances were that even if she did it wouldn’t be permanent. Or they’d want nothing to do with her. She just wished she could have one more chance to say those things.

To tell them how much she loved them. How much she missed them. To breathe them in again and feel them close to her. It was weeks ago since she found Orion and rubbed against his fur, relieved that her brother was alive and just there. What she wouldn’t give to live that moment again.

Poet’s answer summed up those feelings perfectly. She supposed it didn’t have to be words, even though closure was so much more attainable with something made real. But if he was satisfied with just the thought of those feelings, then she wouldn’t press it.

She met his awkward smile and tried to give him one in return. It couldn’t last long.

She still had to tell him. And Mari’s name beamed up at her through all the rest. She wanted to think maybe it wasn’t the same wolf, but misfortune told her it would be. Of course it would be. She held her breath a moment longer and knew she wouldn’t find out if she didn’t say it. Besides. It would be cruel to keep it from him. He had to know, too.

“They left the valley,” she finally said. “The Evergreen Wolves. Most of them. Solomon… went with them. With Rufus and his family. Rufus and… Mari.”

Josalyn swallowed but kept her eyes on him. Desperate to know what he’d think. If it was the same Mari as his sister. If he would feel just as much pain, if he wanted her to leave, if he needed to mourn again. She didn’t want him to have to be alone again. Anymore.


Dec 21, 2017 11:22 AM — Post #6

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183025
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Poet Serethi Erin
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He found it amusing when she tried to smile back at him, because she didn’t know the reason behind the awkwardness of his grin. As soon as he saw the corners of her mouth begrudgingly tug up, his gaze averted back in front of him before he could feel another wave of heat rush to his cheeks.

‘They left the valley’. Apparently multiple wolves from the Evergreens, Mari included. That certainly explained why he thought he caught her scent here and there, but never actually saw her anywhere. Blue blinked lower, lazily, as he pondered what this meant. He could feel Josalyn’s eyes on him, but he didn’t move to meet them. Instead, he started chewing o his lip.

“Kytes was my sister. I never knew Mari.” Surprisingly, his tone was calm, but it was only the truth he spoke. As much as he wanted to try and help Mari recover Kytes’ memories, maybe it was for the better that he’d never get that chance. After all, he was pretty sure her man friend with her at the time wanted to kill him. Was that Rufus? He still couldn’t remember.

Gulping down another throat lump, he rose to his feet as if ready to metaphorically walk away from all that had happened. He wouldn’t leave the valley again, but he no longer wished to linger on things he couldn’t do anything about.

“What do you want to do now?” He asked with what seemed like all the exhaustion in the world.


Dec 21, 2017 02:08 PM — Post #7

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183095
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Josalyn Vedi Madison
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Josalyn tried to decipher every subtle movement in his face as he received the news. She watched his eyes lower, the roll of his lip against his teeth, she could see it processing. Wanting to be closer and protect him from whatever wave of emotion might take him next. The floodgates had opened, she saw it; however rare it seemed to be for Poet to fracture, she witnessed it herself, and she was bracing herself to support him better than last time.

But, instead of an upheaval, he simply accepted it. He’d never known Mari.

How easy it was to wipe something so damaging away. Just like that, he distinguished the sister he lost from a stranger who left. One was a ghost, and the other was just that - a stranger. Maybe if Orion had not accepted her return, she would have been like that.

She could understand it. The lack of desire to be bogged down by it any longer. Her eyes fell as he lifted to his feet, and she found herself unwilling to move quite yet. The decision was so clean, so final. Since she’d arrived, she tried to find a reason not to mull over her losses and just enjoy having someone with her, but it was hard to separate from the spirit of her brother looming just out of reach, unwilling to take her in yet not allowing her to leave. She was still too tender. But having to face that stranger and be strong for Poet allowed her to harden again, reclaiming at least a brittle integument. A foundation upon which she could realize what she needed to do to survive.

“Heal,” she answered, looking back up at him. And she rose to stand next to him, finding it in herself to smile again. A little softer, a little more sincere. She needed to recover from this. And she needed to find her purpose again; to repair, to love. She needed to heal - in every sense of the word.

Josalyn drifted closer, touching her shoulder to his.

“You still need to show me around the Rise. If you’re feeling up to it,” Josalyn suggested gently, the smile persisting.


Dec 21, 2017 08:19 PM — Post #8

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183196
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Poet Serethi Erin
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It was always funny how, despite one’s own will and wishes, life tends to redirect the course of fate. When Poet set out to find his sister while gathering herbs, life threw in a Dalus and a Josalyn to deter him. When he’d finally reached the boundaries of where she was suspected to live, she’d apparently left before he even had a chance to search there for her.

When he thought he’d never find himself feeling for someone else after Valentina, here was yet another curveball existing right next to him. Smiling up at him. Sending certain tingles to course down his spine and land in the pit of his stomach.

Poet smiled back, this time the gesture reaching his eyes. Healing sounded nice and he wholeheartedly agreed, but knew it was easier said than done. Regardless, he nodded in acknowledgement of her words. It was easier to try when one had support.

A small snort of a laugh shot through his nose at the fact she still wanted a tour of the rise, even after their unexpectedly unpleasant encounter with Apollo. “I can’t promise we won’t run into any of my other big fans,” he mused, sarcastic. The only ones he was concerned about were Inigo and Athena, but he also wasn’t sure if either of them had been around. It took him this long to stumble upon Apollo and he’d caught his scent stronger than any of the others’.


Dec 22, 2017 10:45 AM — Post #9

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Josalyn Vedi Madison
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Oh, that even got a laugh out of him. Well, Josalyn hadn’t intended to make a joke out of it. It was hard for her to… put her words… and thoughts… into anything joke-worthy at the moment. But hearing him laugh lifted her spirits all the same.

“I’m sure I have just as many,” she answered, tearing her eyes from him just long enough to flick them northward, in the direction of the Evergreens. Wondering if Alina ever knew who she was. If Alina was angry she hadn’t stayed to help. If she felt like Josalyn had abandoned them. Or if… Josalyn had ever mattered at all to them.

Then she thought of Orion and Solomon and Dalus again. Everyone else she disappointed. And Goliad, who had his own reasons to hate her.

But thinking of everyone else, at this point, only rekindled that small anger she felt for the stranger that confronted Poet. A spark of injustice.

She maintained her small smile and took a step forward. Whether or not she was ready to, she wanted to leave it all behind. Move on. And this was how she would start.


Dec 23, 2017 09:49 PM — Post #10

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183913
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Poet Serethi Erin
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Poet shrugged at her with a small smile. “I guess we’re just a pair of misfits, then.” It was mostly a joke, but there was still a bit of truth to it.

He watched as she started an attempt to walk away and he followed suit without hesitation. Truthfully, he wasn’t sure where to take her again. Perhaps he could try taking her up the rise one more time and hope that if anybody came upon them then at least they’d more welcoming.

There wasn’t really any other place to show her. It all more or less looked the same.

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Dec 26, 2017 02:04 PM — Post #11

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