(19:38:41) Cinnema had wandered off, happily to get out of the area because fuck bitches. They were being weird and she really wanted nothing to do with whatever sort of love/hate fest was going on at the den. What strange people. Fucking weird. She wished to get to know the other people who were in the pack but GOD DAMN they were weird and she was quite frankly not in the mood to be making nice with anyone right now. Not while her love was missing and everyone was being weird, nope nope. So instead she'd gone off on her own and decided, for some stupid reason, to hunt! Because that's smart! Of course she didn't manage to get anything, because she's hurt anyway. So maybe that was a good thing. But upon returning, with head low out of pure irritation, eyes caught Vad beating the shit out of a tree. Well geez. "That didn't go well, I take it?" she called out with sarcasm lacing her voice. Not that she'd get too close, nah. She was content to keep a distance and sit upon tired legs, few licks to her chest
(19:45:30) Nida was asleep, and stirred in between jerks, feeling hot and uncomfortable. She could hear the voices akin to insects nagging at her ears, frequenting flutters as the burly woman's eyes burst open. Her legs drug from beneath her like an reanimated corpse long since finding use of its locomotion. Breathing was labored, theatrically hard, and even rugged. The unimaginable pain started low and radiate up to her belly and around her lower back, tensing intermittenly, as she make way for the den without forethought. Inside, she'd sidle close to a corner and hunker down quietly, legs splayed away from her swollen, ready to burst belly, with her head pressed to smush into the ground. It was like a charley horse, and only growing worse.
(19:56:30) Vadimir got his mouth beaten up, but it was thetree that got the most harsh treatment. Sap, bark and timber all lay in splinters, a gash the size of his own head formed upon the trunk. And it still wasn't enough. It still just wasn't enough. Cinn's voice interrupting turbulent thoughts had Tsar jerking to see her approaching. Expression soured even more and he fought back a nasty-asty retort. Keep it cool, Vad. Now isn't the time to lose your head... more than you already have. "Not in ze mood." He was not okay with how he felt right then. Angry, out of control, vulnerable... hurt. Confused. Nothing he wanted to be. "Und vot vere you doink, eh? Looks like you lozt a fight vith a shrub." Wow, real mature Vad. But he didn't care. He didn't do anything wrong. Smug had overreacted, and he was branded as the badguy. Just... fuck life.
(20:06:51) Cinnema ears flicked forward and then back, not minding the response. Tail swung lazily behind her ass, low, as it only was if no one else in the pack was around. The Tsars, she submitted to. No one else, not even her sister. Even though she came in near second. Slight squinty eyed look as he commented on her appearance, and she curled her lip a little. "A failed hunt. No big deal." It happens, right? A moment of continually grooming the fur uponher chest, before she looked up end really eyed him. Concern flicking over her face and slight despair. Slight. "Vad, are you alright?" She wouldn't forgive herself if something happened to him too. He wasn't her favorite of the two, but hell she did care. Head lowered and she would attempt to take steps forward, muzzle outstretched to lick a bit of blood from the side of his mouth. Just gentle and understanding, knowing the feelings that were under the surface because of Drak's disappearance, were something they shared. Sigh. Stress.
(20:16:35) Nida screwed up her face, doing her best to keep to the silence and endure through the pain. She need not the undue attention of Vad whom she'd seen before a gain of access to the den's security. Alas, the pain grew progressively worse, when the uterus began to tigthen. Her first contraction. A bloodcurdling scream left her sprawled agape mouth, legs began to feebly thrash with little strength found in each. The muscles began to harden and contract. Again, and again and again. Nida used the rocks as beams of support once she settled on the cushion of a thigh, the other lifted for leeway of head to slip between. Nothing there. Spasms of pain shot at the lumbar region, causing her to reluctantly tear away from her rear end. " Get the fuck in here!" she hollered, each syllable an octave or two higher than the last.
(20:29:30) Vadimir managed a humorless chuckle when she explained the reason for her bedraggled appearance. Well, he couldn't blame her. "At leazt you vere more productive zen I." He groused ruefully, averting his gaze. Vad almost felt like taking a note out of Cinn's book, strolling into the den to be alone. Nom some shrooms and have some tripped out dreams. He wasn't expecting Cinn to come forth, or display affection. And he certainly wasn't prepared for her question. (HEY that rhymed) "....." Silence enveloped him for a long while. He didn't know how to articulate what he was feeling. He just felt so... confused. "It vazn't my fault," Snowy behemoth would finally let words slip past his teeth, grievance and avoiding air clear on every inch of his person. After a brief pause he'd turn toward her, nose pressing into her cheek. His stare was intense, probing, as if he searched for some hidden gem within her concerned guise. "Cinn.." Vocals became hesitant, unsure, but he remained sturdy and forged a path previously left unpaved. "You love Drak, don't you?" It was a silly, redundant question. More of a formality than an legitimate query. "He'z hurt you, before... in here." He'd prod her chest with his snout. "Vhen... vhen doez it..." Looking down momentarily, he clearly struggled to find the right words, before eyes returned to the Queen. "Vhen doez it stop?" And not seconds after Vad dropped the bomb, Nida's hoarse screams flung themselves like vengeful spirits from the den to reak havoc on his eardrums. Vad had never been there for Cinn's birth, nor any other. So naturally, hearing such a thing. He instantly assumed the worst. Healing wounds be damned, he sprinted toward the den with utter abandon to his physical state, blood streaming behind him as his wounds cracked more.
(20:52:22) Cinnema shrugged that statement off. There was nothing wrong with letting off a little steam by tearing up a tree. She'd done it once! Once.. Lick applied, eyes would watch his as he hesitated, glancing away after only a moment. Cuz staring is rude.. Until he spoke up and it had her turning back to him, ears pricked. What wasn't his fault? She was so confused as to what it was he was referring to, but she realized that he was in no state to elaborate. (look I can rhyme too.) So she didn't ask, and wouldn't press unless he wanted to say anything else. Though, it surprised her when he came over, returning affection with his own. Wait, what? She stilled there, forgetting manners and just staring now. THIS WAS GETTING WEIRD FOR HER. Insert shallow nervous breathing. "Y-yes.." she said, responding to the question that probably wasn't even necessary.. Then being poked on her chest. She was so concerned and confused and within moments she would be beginning to shake. She waited patiently for him to get his words out, so vunerable for once because he was. She nearly broke when he asked that question, hopeless and not knowing what the answer could be. She was lost, before Nida's scream reached her ears and she stood bolt upright. Everything flashed out of her mind, pushed away by thoughts of her pregnant friend. NICE TIMING. As Vad raced to the den, she was quick behind him, few pains from her stomach in protest but she didn't care. She needed to be in the den, by Nida's side, as she had promised. Growling at Vad wherever he would pause, a warning, she slowed as she entered the den with eyes looking round for dark pelt. Nose locating her easily and the queen was at her side in a moment. Muzzle went to feel at her stomach, green eyes flashing at her. "I'm here, it's alright. You'll be fine, dear, breathe through it." Reasurring words for someone who wasn't sure how to assist in a birth, but she was about to learn!
(21:11:43) Nida ceded a deep guttural sound, another contraction ensued and her bulging stomach moving like smooth ripple, deep beneath the girth on this she-wolf. Her feeble whine was twisted and thickened by the characteristic growl of discomfort, and accompanied here and there with panting. Her timing was marvelous. Ta! She acknowledge the footfalls coming her way, relief instantly met, though soon overrun with fear and jealousy, with head raised idolently to the Tsar. Her lips curled back not knowing what purpose he had other than to pester and stress her further than she already is. She remained as she was, sitting upright, eyeing him down with an odd stirring of anger and wrath she was ready to vent upon him. Regardless if punishment would be long and agonizing, it'd be worth the trouble. The inkling of comfort overshadows the mistrust seeing Cinn swift in her handling. Thank god. Her teeth gnashed, the contraction lasting a hair, as a bulge swelled out from her orfice and out into the open. The first. Nida was quick to curl around it, licking at the sac filled with piss and shit and fluid, to nibble at the umbilical cord.
(21:28:11) Zodiak had taken it upon himself to gather much needed rest, along with forced recouperation with his stick meathod. It seemed to be helping to restore muscles to much needed usefullness. This is where he was now, just off the edge of the courtyard pacing up and down the length of it all with rather large stick in tow. Eyes hadn't noticed nida shift into the den but ears did pick up the sound. The blood curtling cries that sent lightning through his spine. Hackles rose and head quickly twisted towards it all. --nida....-- After moment's pause he'd burst forth like a stallion at the gates of the kentucky derby, hauling ass across the courtyard with jaws clenched tightly around his stick and series of whines boring into it to vent the pain in his side. The sight of vad entering the den only fuield his efforts and he picked up more speed, kicking up dust and flying into the den. WHOWATWHERESTHEFIRE?!!!! Body was more than likely to half slam against vads side as he rushed in, including the stubbed ends of the stick he carried. That all depended on where the tsar was but zod didn't stop until sights were on nida and he stood in the middle of the den. Jaw parted slowly and stick fell to the ground, eyes settling on the straining female as the first glimpse of what he'd created was forced from her. For a moment he was stunned at what he saw...it was...surreal. Shaking his head he slowly crept towards her, keeping a small distance as nose extended to sniff at imaginary bubble around the pup. Gaze would shift to nida, hard stare given as muted growl rumbled in his chest. Guard mode: ACTIVATED!
(21:52:14) Yusef had been scarce at the den for a long while now. Ever since he'd missed the initial fight with the bear, that sinking, creeping feeling of worthlessness had begun to invade the corners of his mind again, reaching out their little black claws to dig themselves into his surprisingly fragile psyche and leaving him sinking deeper and deeper into a pit of self-loathing. To deal with this, he'd gone off and tried to do things on his own--he'd killed the bear cubs and brought them back, and he had--perhaps against the wishes of others--gone off alone in an attempt to find Drak. The less he found, the worse he felt. He could not bother Vadimir with his issues, nor Cin. Nor Zod or Nida, or even Megas, because now he was gone. Cortes thought him nothing, and so why bother with the spaniard? No. Yusef was alone in a crowd. His reappearance was still haggard-- his coat mottled and messy, his wounds finally scabbed over and healed to a point where they were difficult to be seen yet they still lingered beneath his fur. His leg still ached when he put weight on it. He had not walked straight since, and now he had a stiff-legged limp, for his right forepaw would not properly bend. But still...still... He wandered into the courtyard with a badger in his jaws--those mean ass little bastards-- but maybe this was him attempting to work through it himself. Like father like son. That is to say, he was doing a terrible job of it. He was fully prepared to drop the carcass and leave again, but there was commotion! SO MANY THINGS! He finally wandered towards the den..what was that SMELL? The screaming! Did someone else die? WERE they dying?!
(22:07:17) Patriarch's little body wiggled within an empty space. Floating and weightless. His mind was blank, nothing coming in, nothing going out. He was essentially, a blank canvas. It was peaceful, floating about in space. An abyss he had come to know as home. It was his heaven, and he appreciated the warmth that constantly surrounded him. Though his eyes weren't open, he was hyper aware of his home. However...something...something seemed amiss. His home was changing. Something within his abyss was not right. He felt the beginnings of what seemed like an earth quake, HIS earth. Convulsions of his mother, brought his own world flinging toward chaos. He was not pleased. If he could have whined, he would, but unfortunately air was not yet introduced. Instead he kicked, fighting against the unwanted motion of his mother's womb. Paws jerked against his encased world, limbs thrashing slightly on instinct, and body writhed against the other bubbles that were considered neighbors. Mouth opened slightly, almost as if saying 'WTF' but not really. He merely gaped in displeasure.
(22:12:49) Vadimir was first inside the den, and he was shocked at what he saw. "Nida--" Before he could fully form the question, Cinn's warning growl had him jerking 'round to look at her quizzically. What was that for?! He shifted to the opening, though he didn't fully retreat. Not yet, at least. "Vot iz vrong vith her?" When Cinn spoke of breathing, and he saw the contractions, writhing, widening and swollen vagina... OH. Was his expression. Fucking. Oh. Vadimir took a step back, unsure of what even to say or how to react. These were... she was... ears pinned to his skull and he uttered a growl, gaze flitting to Nida at her vehement vibe. Great, someone else who hated him when he was only trying to do the right thing. The right-fucked-up-thing, but the right thing! Or so he told himself. Zod dashing into the den and knocking into him was met with a yelping snarl of surprise, eyes shutting tight momentarily as wounds twinged. "I vouldn't do zat if I vere--" He'd begin, trying to warn the newtime father. Cinn had growled at him. HIM. So one could only imagine what service she'd dish out to Zod. Yusef's appearance had Vadimir's head cocking to the side. When was the last time he'd seen his son? Why did he look like he'd been in the fight with the bear, but he knew he hadn't? "Yus, vot... vhere have you been?" It could definitely be said Vadimir had missed the adolescent's absence. Mostly cause shit had been so cray the past month or so. But now his mind was a-buzz with questions, none of which he felt were prudent to ask now. So he'd return sights to Nida, verily keeping his distance as she pooped out delicious, succulent little burritos. Gah.
(22:26:39) Cinnema was focused upon her friend's side, but she was also hyperaware of everything going on. Everyone showing up and shoving their way in the den, crowding them, giving the newborns no space at all. Head would turn to Vad in time to see his confused expression, her own eyes staring at him as if almost pleading but not sorry for trying to warn him off. Just, not right now. Please? Okay. And the births began, one lil babe born into the world and promptly nudged by mother. Without delay Cin reached in to nip the sack, breaking it and allowing the pup to breathe before she scooped it up and nudged it toward Nida's teats. "Clean it," she'd say, before it registered that there was another presence there beside her and crowding the births. With a low growl, despite whatever the hell the new father was doing. She turned and aimed to snap down on his muzzle with harsh teeth, eyes flaring with protective instinct fueled by the smell of birth. BACK THE FUK UP. She didn't care who he was or why he was near, he just needed to give them some god damn space. Air for the babes to breathee. Yusef wasn't noticed either but for the fact his scent was present and Vad was speaking to him. It only mattered that there were people too close and she was chomping on Zod. She'd release after a moment of staring him straight in the eyes, only turning away if he backed up. Then attention would return to her friend's ass, rubbing chin against her thigh as she did, ready to recieve and assist the next burrito to flop into the world. IF everyone complied. If not she'd likely go batshit on their asses.
(22:43:32) Nida's tongue was steady over the teensy form of life, legs sprawling as it rasped its first gurgled cries. She balked as another contraction hit her, and a pressure was felt against her back like an ache, before resuming. She kept Vad in her peripheral when she could and was no longer fussed over the pain or veiling her first-born. And then there was another. She did not see Zod until her head reared and the pup was nudged by aunty Cin. Inside, she felt an ample kick, causing unrest to build within her character, and a deep snarl to rumble deep within the woman's chest. A twinge of jealousy hiked into the inflection. Although she could not do much from her position as another breached into the world, Nida would be damned to not multitask. Though not intensely with Cin there. She licked and pulled the second born to her teat to cleanse, then the third, and fourth. Came out like pellets, they did. Her eyes snarrow at the noise of a third voice she hadn't heard before, and braces close to children instinctively. She was so depleted, and yet there were more contractions. Fuuu.
Zodiak was facinated by the scene. All thoughts and dreams were real now; small pups physical in the world instead of shadowed ideas lurking in nida's belly. Awestruck as gaze was set on the first to enter the world, he was oblivious to cin's assault on him. Teeth clamped over his muzzle, triggering exagerated yelp that trailed into a growl as she sought to dicipline him. Who did she think she was??? These were HIS KIDS! HIS winkey made these, not hers! Upon his release from her jaws he'd make a quick snap to sharply nip her nose with offended bark before limbs shuffled back to remove himself as requested. Slowly he'd take steps back, sights still focused on the event that took place. Not watching where he was going, side would brush against vad and he quickly turned on him to mouth at his muzzle; a hint of excitement in his actions before quickly turning to focus back on nida. He wanted so badly to be with her. He promised her he'd be here for her. Groan, women were confusing.
(23:09:28) Yusef's expression was horrifically hollow and haunted. He'd helped Tibie 'swim' yesterday but that was the most he'd done in a while. "..Around." he replied to Vad in a tired voice. He peered over his shoulder just to see what was going on, but quickly decided it wasn't going to be anything really interesting..Besides, everybody was biting and snapping and he just wasn't in the mood. He blinked slowly, before dropping his Badger meal at the mouth of the den--perhaps for Nida when she was done-- and then slowly turned and made his way back out into the courtyard, where he did his initial plan, flopping down into the dirt.
(23:26:39) Thrift knew nothing of the world from inside her mother's womb. She was content, there, in the quiet and the dark. The others around her moving and squirming occasionally, but not bothering her too much. She liked her roommates and this lovely home. Until everything was changing so suddenly, and others went missing. Wtf? Then she was next, leaving a scowling brother behind. Not that she registered that. The light was amazing, bright, confusing. She didn't know how to feel about it, but the moment she entered and was touched she let out a squeal. It was a cruelty! That she was moved around and abused upon entering this new space. Helpless limbs flailed about and nose tried to discern what was going on, now quiet. So many scents, but mostly, that of her mother. Instinctually, she knew, she should be safe there. Being pressed toward warmth, she identified the scent of milk and wiggled toward teats. Little mouth nommed at one with caution but soon with determination. Clinging to it and life.
(23:45:10) Vadimir stared blankly at Yusef, unsure of how to respond. Though he really wasn't given much time, seeing as the babies were being spit out like a popcorn popper. Mmm... he was getting more and more hungry. But he'd keep a respectful distance, allow the scene to unfold. Zod's presence wasn't noted until Vad suddenly found himself getting nommed on. Head and neck would shake and tug until Zod released, forepaws rising to flail at the first time dad like WTF BRUH. But when the puppies came, and all grew quiet. Vadimir would inhale, eyes set and body limbered and at the ready. He'd caught Cinn's pleading look. He'd done as she'd asked. But he couldn't go back on his word, and he wasn't about to. "Zod, Nida." Name's rung out like a solemn death toll of a lonely church bell, and he awaited to get their attention. "You know vot comez next. Chooze vich you vish to keep, und hand ze rezt over to me und Cinn." Short and to the point. Initially he only had intended to share the babies with Drak. but his time with Cinn, coupled with Drak's absence. Had wisened him to respect the woman not as a toy, as he'd done initially. But a sister in arms (that he occasionally boned) and the Queen of Vechnyy. He knew their reactions would be less than stellar. Hell, he was probably the only parent who'd willingly toss his children out. Only reason he hadn't was because of Cinn, and because the tykes had proved themselves useful. Well, the one's who'd survived anyway. Should Cinn show surprise toward his command, he'd briefly summerise the situation for her. Zod bumped uglies with Nida, which usually ain't bad. But he did it while she was in heat, which was a big nono. Zod refused initial punishment, spar ensued, got my cherry popped oops. Nida's punishment, and by extension Zods. Was to only have half the litter survive, if not more. THERE. That about sums it up! Though his mind was made up, Vadimir would wait patiently, his countanence one of impassive stoicism. It had to be done, and he was gonna do it. With or without their blessing.
(23:54:42) Cinnema growled low when Zod snapped back at her, earning the nip on her nose, but he did back off. And for now that was all she could do, but later. OHOHO later he was in for it. Sure, his peen had made these babes, but she could put an end to his lineage SO EASILY. Surely he knew that. But she didn't wish to, turning focus again and instead to the little bullets coming out of Nida. She nodded almost approvingly as the new mother took to caring for the furballs, offering her own tongue as assistance to help get them breathing and functioning. Little smile as they squirmed and went right where they belonged, right up against Nida's stomach and to the nursing game. Woot. Go little burritos. And the two that were left to come, as well. Ears perked and her head flicked around to spy Vad as he cleared his throat and adressed the parents. Before the red apendages were pinned to the back of her head. You, what? She stepped closer to Nida with cold stare at him, almost standing over the woman, but paused. When he went to explain himself. Well, she was caught. Head lowered and eyes blinked slowly, never leaving his gaze, but she stepped away with tail slung low. She couldn't do anything, she would not question what he had already told them. Because why trust an alpha that didn't go by his word? She understood. But giving the kids to her.. She wasn't so sure about that. Her head raised again, shoulders shaking out fur. Stand up and deal with it. It was punishment and that was final, obviously. If she had known before that this would be the outcome for something that was against the rules, maybe she would've been more distanced. Further away. But since she hadn't and Nida had even asked her to help birth the damn things, she wouldn't be willing to eat any of the kids. Unless they were forced down her throat. All this through her mind as eyes remained locked on Vad, just calm.. And pushing back the confusion that came with looking at him now.
(00:16:16) Nida still felt the undulation come and go in intervals, but nothing more occuring than that. She observed the males crowding at the den's yawning mouth, and away respectfully from the children and herself. A frown graced her blunt muzzle to Vad's beckoning for attention, and her heart sank as he reminded her of the very thing she dreaded. Though when Cin came to the rescue and played hero, she instantly felt safe, secure. However, her face fell a few inches soon as she stepped down and abided what was right. But the truth of the matter is .. was it ethical? Nida adjusted, moving in such a way she curled defensively around the children she had, but yet in no condition to fight back. " Wait," she'd breathed, eyes on his face but never in the eye. " Just .. have two of them now .. Let .." She took a tremulous gulp of something heavy - wassat her heart now?- as she continued, " let the others fight for their keep.." Like Cinn had .. Whom she knew had no honest in the matter at hand. Nida stilled for a moment as her sides writhed and muscles contract against her uterus again. Hnng. God, she's going to be hella hungry after this calms. " I won't .. I won't .. " pride made it all the more difficult to cough it up, but here it is: " I won't stand in your way .." Nida's eyes pry away from Vad to steal a glimpse toward Zod and Cinn, and then the floor. She kept her silence.
(00:30:12) Zodiaks tail swayed happily. He was bummed out that he couldn't be closer, comforting nida, but glad he was here for the event. Eye gazed in wonder towards her as she performed natures miracle and kicked straight into mother mode. He felt a warmth in his chest, a burning love and desire to protect each and every one of them, including nida. His pack was all important to him, and all his family... but this... this was blood. This was love and struggle and passion all wrapped together in tiny wiggling packages. Tail swayed even more at the thought; He was a DAD now. Squeeel!! This was better than he ever expected. How could drak and vad not been so thrilled over their own? Oh all the things he could teach them, all the fun spars and games they could play together! Utter bliss! Cloud nine was torn from the heavens when vad spoke. All the rainbows and butterflies turned to dark clouds and rain with a touch of thunder and lightning. Air flowed quietly from him in a sigh, already feeling the ache in his heart. HOW?! How could he just... choose?! They were all so precious...so perfect... His head lowered, Dulled amber eye gazing toward her. This was the part he hoped to avoid... even though they'd agreed to it, it wasn't like they had been given much of a choice. Nida's words were spoke with a heavy heart, and zods sank even lower. Head would twist from lowered position toward vad, amber eye pleading into his own for anything; SOMETHING. Please bro...not this...not now... When nida was on the ground, he'd slowly move to her, desparate, drawn out, whine escaping him at half distance. Head dropped to her level and he sunk to her, body embracing into her as head pressed deep into her neck fur as another whine escaped him. I'm sorry.... I did this... But he'd make it easier... he wouldn't make her choose. Cautiously, he rose, stepping over her head to access tucked chilldren. He took a moment to look upon them, to take in earliest memories of them. Somber look would be cast to cin, the lights faded from his eye. With a sigh he'd turn to the pups and gently nose through them, carefully picking up two. He turned from nida, not daring to look to her in this moment as he slowly approached vad with lowered head. Nearing him, lips would curl to bare fangs around delicately held pups, low growl vibrating before he paused, sofly placing them on the ground. Eye locked with vadis and he'd speak softly, almost abscent voice, "not here...Don't make her watch you steal the life she ...--" he cut off, fighting a whine, his heart was breaking. "...she only just created..." the whine broke, mournful for the life he was about to lose... not only from the pups, but from nida and himself. this would kill them inside, he could already feel it. "...please..." reluctantly he took a step back, waiting for vads response, nose lowered to take in the remaining scents of his offspring.
(00:58:57) Vadimir continued to stand there, resolute and dispassionate. What else could he be at this pivotal moment? These canines, who he'd reluctantly formed bonds with. Were now being antagonized. And unlike the boar, or the bear. He could not rescue them. He could not save them from himself. To do so required more understanding of his innermost depths than he currently possessed. But in that moment. In the solitary confines of his innermost being. He silently grieved. He grieved for the pain, grieved for the loss they were to endure. Grieved for his own loss, for he was beginning to believe. Cold, harsh, and cruel as it was. That perhaps... perhaps Drak wouldn't return. The level of suffering blossoming in his chest was crippling, dire. He felt like he might colapse, fall prey to the one thing he'd never known how to master; his feelings. He wanted to be understood, he wanted to be acknowledged. But how could he make them see something he himself couldn't recognize, much less understand? He was forever trapped within a specific mold, a cut-out square. And he was destined to always be confined within it's walls, with nothing but his own regrets and anger to torment him every waking hour of his life. Even if the possibility of returning to his old ways were possible, he wouldn't. It'd serve no purpose now. No meaning. And that was it... he had no meaning here. He was the Tsar, he was Vadimir. He was cold, vicious, uncompromising, and vile. Anything else that existed within. Shunned, ignored, boxed away never to be utilized, or see the light of day. The cracks that appeared in his psyche, the seeping slew of warmth, kindness, consideration. They'd eventually be forced to close once more, or he'd find himself killed in the act of forwarding them to the outside. Either way you sliced it, he was doomed. Doomed to a painful, lonely, bereft existence. All because the tender-hearted child within had been abused until he'd become unrecognizable. But oh well. Why cry over spilled milk? Attentions shifted back to the present as he heard Nida's plea, his jaw muscles knotting as he scowled. "I zought I made it perfectly clear zat only two of zem vere allowed to live." Tone was forbidding, glacial. But after a heavy pause, wherein he'd snatch a quick glance toward Cinn. He'd give a stiff shake of his head, teeth bared and chest heaving. "Zis iz a punishment, not a friendly trade. You aren't vithin right to decide the zeverity of your penance..... however," Tongue would flick out, running over his lips. "Zince Cinn vaz given zis lenience vonce, und our crimez vere identical. I vill accept zis. If zey pupz fail to zhow zeir merit, zey are put to ze slaughter, juzt like ze rezt." And that was the best he could do. The most he could manage. Despite himself, he smiled. When did he ever figure that he'd reckon the day he felt inhibition towards getting what he wanted? Vad waited while Zod picked out two of the whelps and brought them forth. His growl and show of teeth were met with a blink of eyes, nothing else. When the pups were placed at his feet, and Zod placed that god awful longing stare his way. Vad bounded over the pupplings, forepaws aimed at Zod's while bared teeth sought to enclose around his face or neck. Intention was to see him downed, and if he succeeded. Tsar would immediately release whatever hold he'd managed, though skull remained close as he drifted snout to the male's one intact ear. And there, he'd whisper three words. Three simple, honest, humble words. He was obsolete trash anywhay, so what did it matter if he really said what he felt now? Vadimir no longer feared that showing these inner depths would cause some sort of horrific backlash. They wouldn't change anything. Fragile dreams before a harsh, logical strewn gael. They would never mean anything, whether he let them be known or not. This he felt to be the truth. And perhaps, it was. Once words were imparted, Vad removed himself from Zod, turning back to the tiny pupplets. He watched them squirm and cry out for warmth, for the loving tenderness of their mother. Vad wouldn't give any sign that he'd heard Zod's request, but rather he'd gently pick up the bundles of fluff and exit the den without another word. Once outside he'd notice Yusef was gone. One more nail into the coffin it goes... perhaps, if he couldn't be there to rescue his brother. Perhaps he could do something for his son? Little hope resonated at the thought, but perhaps... maybe. He'd follow the trail left by the youngster, aiming to run into him, if he hadn't already gotten too far. And then he'd... invite him to dinner. D'YEH LIKE FRESH BORN PUPPIES??
(01:30:39) Cinnema avoided her gaze contacting with anyone else in these moments, locked as she was on only Vad's stare. Frozen and moving only to the beat of her heart as she wished it were the other brother she was looking at. Even as Zodiak whimpered and pleaded and even looked to her once or twice she refused to meet any other eyes for worry she'd snap and crumble. They hadn't told her about the fact that Vad had promised to take some of the children, made it that much harder in the fact that she had protected them a moment ago but now was forsaking them. Leaving them to their fates as was dictated to the one Tsar. It was his fault, Zod's! Really, how could it not be, that everyone was on a roller coaster of emotion and this was so heartbreaking? The miracle of the birth only turned sour by the fact he'd disobeyed. Broken a rule. And was paying for it. But truthfully, she couldn't think like that or blame him. Not without her morals and thoughts being torn apart again to be questioned and reshaped, again and again. This was perhaps her problem. Attachments that only ended up tearing her apart inside to leave space for her to curl into herself and close off. Every time! Why did she continue to do this to herself? Vad was right, perhaps. When does it end? She didn't know.. As the children were moved and placed below the white male's feet, the offering of the rest left to fight it out accepted. She wondered, staring at him. What went on at his core. How he could nearly bare his feelings to her not a little while ago and now he was stoic and fulfilling what he'd promised to do. Why had he even done that? For what purpose? To let someone, even one person, see that? She had wanted.. to find out what he meant.. What did it matter, if it didn't in the end? So still and silent as everything happened, and then Vad disappeared from the den. She didn't even look at the others as she chose to go after him, whilst also giving the new family time to be alone, to celebrate and grieve. With slow steps she left the den, shaking her head and releasing a breathe she hadn't thought she was holding.. Except, when she looked, he was already gone from her sight with the forsaken children in tow. A cold feeling in her chest.. Loss. She was lost. All this was too confusing for her, and even as she'd chosen to seek some sort of company or, god forbid, comfort, in Vadimir, he had disappeared without a care for her. And Drakov was in no way shape or form here for her. Not that she assumed he ever would have been. He simply wasn't the type. And he obviously hadn't cared if he had been so quick to leave them. With empty eyes she turned to the rocks of the den, moving toward them and curling herself tightly in between some to where she felt cut off from the rest of the world. There, this was what she had.. Curled into a ball with tail draped over her nose, ears pinned to her head and eyes screwed shut. She wondered if, despite even Hadlee and Nida.. Cinnema somehow had nothing here without Drakov. Or nothing at all, if he cared so little for her devotion.
(01:50:47) Zodiak felt like a shell... one that housed his family, only, he wasn't doing a good job at it. He was hurting them, he was hurting himself. No. No more self loathing.. Nida needed him, he could only imagine how she was feeling inside. His seed planted the offspring, but she gave life to them. They were losing two...but the others would need them to be strong, to fight to make them worthy of life. Drak and vad had lost children, those they had worked to make strong. Zod wanted his to live like Yusef and Dermo. To be strong as he was in this moment, handing off loved ones to protect the rest. The two hero pups would never be forgotten for their death secures future for the rest. Blurred vision gave light to two writhing pups, now placed at tsars feet. His own pleas were met with violence, but he did not fight it. Body crumbled beneath vad, fetal position assumed as limbs curled up and tail hugged his belly; a level of submission he'd never given any of them. He was broken beyond anything he'd ever felt. A dark cloud pulling him from his once happy peaceful self. But yet, a ray of light in whispered words. Eye widened and body froze. He doubted what he heard but knew damn well he heard it. Another whine escaped him as face pressed against the tsars, cheek to cheek. An understanding and mutual feelings. He didn't hate vadi, no, this was his fault...He couldn't say the same for nida, hell, she prob hated both of them. He wouldn't blame her. As vad departed, children in tow, zod felt a tug at his heart. A line that strung from heart to heart; father to offspring. It pulled him forward several paces until finally snapping when vad dissapeared outside the den. Heavy exhale of air was given, his breath shaky. Short glance was given to check on nida, he was sure she was done. Lowering to a sit, neck would stretch forward, muzzle splitting to release his mournful cry. Soft, yet loud howls that echoed off the den walls, trailing beyond it's confides to drift among the trees with the spirits of his young ones. He'd howl for as long as he could take it, before retreating to his mate, curling up to groom her and help her mourn.
(02:02:26) Vadimir turned to see exit the den, before curling up outside of it. He felt a moment of indecision, but at Zod's lonely, anguished cry, he knew it was better to keep walking. Cinn was suffering enough. They all were. The least he could do, if not be a good-hearted person. Was to be the villain, so she didn't have to. Be the woe, so they could form stronger together. Broken, unethical, and illogical though it were, this was his most sincerest form of selflessness. It was the best he could do... and he only hoped it would be enough.