Welcome to Canis Major

a wolf and animal rpg (role-playing game)

Canis is a writing community for play-by-post (forum-based), freeform roleplay set in a fictional dream world in the intrusion fantasy genre. Most characters on Canis are wolves; many play elements are focused around wolves and canids, but the world makes room for a large variety of other animal characters such as dogs, horses, cats, bears, deer, and many, many more.

Our community is focused on flexibility, creativity, and collaboration. That boils down to a few important features:

  • There is no set activity requirement to write, though the game also rewards high activity
  • The setting and plot are member-created and staff-supported
  • Writing is collaborative, and so is our supportive community
  • The game is continuously improved to increase fun and decrease stress

Learn more in our Guidebook!

Shed my skin like a summer snake

Evening Fog
09-15-2022, 05:43 AM
Evening approached, and with it the comforting embrace of fading light. Sunsets felt much shorter where they lived, sinking behind the mountains prematurely where they would have otherwise enjoyed the full event. It was no less beautiful for its swiftness, however, and the sky danced with crimson red and deep purple as the night began to sweep in and put the world to sleep.

Valeska realized she hadn’t spent much time with Sreda lately - lifting her head, she lightly howled her daughter’s name across their home.

Then, nervously, she waited.

There was something unsettling about the girl - and it had little to do with the way she could move like a snake through tall grasses.

There was also a strange aura about her, something peculiar and frightening and ominous - but it had nothing to do with her fascination for corpses and the macabre.

Yet Sreda was still her precious child, and she loved her in spite of the looming spirit of death that hung over her innocent little head like a cloud.


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Misc Skill
09-16-2022, 12:39 AM (This post was last modified: 09-17-2022, 03:22 AM by Sreda. Edited 1 time in total.)

Mother was away from the den. And Mama too.

Sreda, the devilish wisp she was, had decided to be mischievous this evening. Well, really, when wasn't she being mischievous? However, this was different. Like a delicate shadow, she'd drifted into the empty den of her parents ... deep set purple eyes widening as they beheld Mother's pile of delicate treatures. They weren't meant for touching, that much had been explicitly stated. But when Sreda was told not to do something ... something tickled at her belly and told her 'why not?'

And so, she slipped into the den, paws and body covered in mud in some feigned attempt at disguising herself and her scent.

And from the dragon's horde she chose a delicate-looking rib bone. She wasn't sure what kind of creature it was from, but she snuck it up easily between her jaws before exiting the cavern ... muddy pawprints sprawled all over the floor as she scrambled away.

Excitement lit like fire in her veins as she sprinted away, mud and debris falling from her coat as she thrust herself into the foggy midnight.

And then Mama howled.

She nearly froze in her tracks, eyes widening as she nearly flipped over herself in skidding to a halt.

How could she know THAT quickly?

Ugh, it was so annoying growing up in a family of magic wielders.

But, instead of returning in her pawtracks and replacing the bone where she'd found it, she abided to her mama's summon. Mud-covered with her stolen item visibly in tow, she approached her Mama, her mouth a firm line. Emotionless and perfectly apathetic. She drifted through the fog with a newfound grace, completely in her element in the spooky, Halloween-esque dread that held Elysium at night. As she neared her mother, she slowed, placing the rib bone at her paws and looking up at those etheral golden eyes with a reverberating, deviliush purple hue all her own. "привет мама. You called me?"

She didn't smile. Didn't address the stolen goods.

Just blinked.

Covered in mud. But not in regret.

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09-16-2022, 04:25 AM
She squinted through the fog. It had rolled in so quickly, she hardly realized what was happening until the world before her was suddenly covered in a heavy mist as thick as pea soup. Oh, dear. She worried Sreda might lose her way at this rate, but she didn't want to press the child into urgency by howling again. Quick little paws were even quicker to stumble in darkness - especially in these conditions. Her tail thumped the ground idly, almost impatiently like a cat, worry creeping in as time seemed to crawl by.

Perhaps she should go look for -

Valeska jumped.

Something had manifested through the fog in front of her, a filthy, dripping apparition like some godforsaken trench demon come to life. It even held a fucking bone in its mouth, clearly a message of ill portent, and she felt the hair raise up along her spine as a threatening growl began to bubble up in her throat, ready to smite the creature should it suddenly attack. She had never seen anything like it - its strange, slow movements, almost deliberate and familiar, as if the thing knew her.

"привет мама."

She froze. The demon dared suggest she was its mother?! Blasphemy in the eyes of the Five! She opened her mouth to snarl -

"You called me?"


Valeska deflated visibly, fur settling back into its usual disheveled shape. Sreda. Honestly, she should have known.

Staring curiously, she reached out a paw toward her mud-monster of a daughter, gently wiping some of the grime away from her eyes so that she could better see the wolf pup beneath it all. “What on earth did you do?” she asked, impressed with how thoroughly she had managed to coat herself. “You are filthy! Goodness gracious - and what is that?”
The High Priestess took a closer look at the rib bone she had dropped, giving it an idle sniff as to its origin.

Oh, no.

“Sreda, darling - were you in Amaranth's things?” she asked suspiciously, leaning in to give her child a hard look. “Because I am certain she has told you not to rummage in her... collection.”

Clearing her throat, she sat up straight again. “Anyway, I just wanted to spend time with you, моя маленькая тень. It is not often we are alone together. What would you like to do?”

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09-17-2022, 04:02 AM (This post was last modified: 09-28-2022, 05:25 AM by Sreda. Edited 1 time in total.)
Mama seemed ... startled. No- she was angry. No- she was relieved. Sreda continued to stare without emotion as she watched her mother go between at least seventeen different emotions in three seconds. Sreda was a patient thing, really, and curious. If nothing else, Sreda was observant, and she had already begun to notice the way that different wolves reacted to her. Mama was often startled, but Mother seemed ambivalent and unphased. Dimitri was more like Mama, Cissa more like Mother.

Alder was his own category.

Mama called her filthy, then. A motherly paw came to swipe away her mud.

Sreda blinked, her deep amethyst eyes unyielding.

"Thank you," she said plainly, wondering ambivalently why she wasn't in trouble yet. "- and what is that?" Ah. "Sreda, darling - were you in Amaranth's things?" If she'd had more concern, she would have sighed. But she'd been caught — justice would need to be brought to the villain. That was the way the world worked. "Mama," she started diligently, her eyes drifting to look at the bone. "I think you know what happened." Eyes drifted back up to Valeska. She knew what she'd done, and yet there was no fear of the repercussions. "Am I to be punished?" There was no sorrow in the way she asked it, simply curious. If she were to be punished, she hoped it would be creative, at least. The mud was beginning to dry on her fur, cracking like leather as bits of ebony fur shot upward in awkward cowlicks.

What a cute trench monster she was.

Mama asked her then what she would like to do. She wanted to ... spend time with her. Her маленькая тень.

The fog began to roll in. What a perfectly dreadful evening.

"Well, Dimitri and Alder and I like to play 'Hunt the Monster.' I'm the Monster." (Obviously.) "Violet and I are practicing ghoulish screams. She needs work." She started her list of activities in no particular order, listing them like facts. One by one. Secretly, she was wondering what kind of games her mothers liked to play. And then she looked up, her ears pressing forward with a bit of subdued excitement as she remembered her favorite game: "Oh. Auntie and I play 'Dissection' sometimes." She lifted a paw then, watching as the mud dried and cracked and withered away. She thought about the way mud was similar to blood. Sticky and thick at first, but then it would dry and stick in your fur. Annoying, really. She put her paw down, and it seemed to disappear into the mist.

And then she looked at Mama again. "Do you like any games like that?"

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09-20-2022, 03:37 AM
It was a talent, how easily Sreda could disarm her.

Without the slightest emotional inflection in her tone, she took the wind right out of her sails with just a few terse words.

"I think you know what happened."

Valeska opened her mouth to reprimand such an attitude from her own daughter, but closed it again quickly, unsure of what exactly she would want to say in the first place. 'How dare you be so self-aware?' 'Try a little harder to hide your sins?' 'At least pretend to be a normal child for one day?'

"Am I to be punished?"

Gods. This wasn't fair at all.

“No - not this time -” Also, she needed to figure out what on earth she could do to punish the girl without her somehow finding it even more fun. “Just, be mindful of your Mother's things. Her reaction I am certain would be much more severe.”

Would it, though? Sreda gazed at her with expressionless eyes, purple pits devoid of any feeling or humanity. It was as if she was looking right through her.

Valeska squirmed.

As the strange, unsettling creature she somehow birthed rattled off her list of favorite activities, the silver wolf felt her expression grow more and more concerned. Monster games - ghoulish screams - something about testing the velocity of live versus inanimate objects thrown from a high point - she cringed inwardly, wondering how she had failed as a parent. She would have been grateful for Amaranth at this particular moment, feeling confident she would know exactly how to handle the situation, but alas, it was only the two of them now.

And then - the first glimmer of emotion.

Valeska leaned in, all worries fading away in an instant, eager to hear what particular game Sreda found joy in.

"Oh. Auntie and I play 'Dissection' sometimes."

“You WHAT?”

As quickly as she had leaned in, now she peeled suddenly away, her entire body bent backwards at an angle as if she were fighting against a hurricane. What the hell was Harper teaching her? Sreda was disturbed enough, what made her think 'dissection' was an appropriate game for a child?! She would have to talk with her sister about this - about what started this horrible activity, and more to the point, what they were dissecting.

Stifling her reaction, knowing that scolding her would do absolutely nothing in this scenario, she forced a stiff grin and swallowed the enormous lump in her throat begging her to scream.

“That's... so... nice,” she lied, absolutely blatantly, bold beneath the watchful eyes of the Five themselves, and she did not give a flying fuck about it because surely they could see what she was dealing with. Valeska gathered herself up, all nerves and unspoken rage and desperate confusion. Her robotic smile shifted only marginally, and she allowed a softness to creep into her eyes as she tried to relax.

“I like different sorts of things. Organizing parties, meeting strangers, hunting caribou - one game your Mother and I like to play is called 'gleaming', and it involves reading one's past, present, or future,” she explained, feeling this would be an avenue of great interest to Sreda. “You gather small trinkets and imbue them with your sense of self, and the person reading your fortune can tell you what they see. It is like a vision.”


“Also, I like to tell stories. Stories are how we relate most to others, and they also allow us to learn wonderful -” she switched gears. She had to appeal to her audience. “- horrible things.”

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09-24-2022, 08:54 PM (This post was last modified: 09-28-2022, 05:25 AM by Sreda. Edited 1 time in total.)
As Sreda listed games, Mama's face shifted into something that appeared rather painful, her lips twisting up and her face cramping. Sreda took this as a good sign and continued rattling things off until a grand climax of — “You WHAT?” Sreda finished her sentence, stopping then and settling her gaze back upon Mama.

"Dissection," she repeated slowly, wondering if Mama hadn't heard her right. She was ruefully unabashed in her admission. Of course, she wasn't aware at the time that it would get her Auntie in trouble, but perhaps Harper was just as good at avoiding punishment as the little shadow was. “That's... so... nice,” her mother went on through gritted teeth. And Sreda offered something of a smile in return, trying to mirror her mother's pained face.

It was wonderfully awkward.

Valeska began to then list her own set of activities, which varied rather greatly from Sreda's, but the girl listened with curious intent nonetheless. Questions began to form in her small brain, cogs turning.

What was a party?
 When would she be allowed to meet strangers and hunt caribou?
  Could she 'gleam'?

These were all things that she wasn't allowed to do yet, all because she was too small. She'd have to prove her power in other ways. "Gleaming," she repeated, the word foreign on her tongue. "Do you summon things?" Like the undead? Like demons? Oh! Did you gleam over a grave and wait for something to pop up!? Sreda shifted upon her paws, eyes unrevealing ... her inner thoughts remained disguised as she wagged her muddy tail once against the ground.

Valeska continued: “Also, I like to tell stories. Stories are how we relate most to others, and they also allow us to learn wonderful — horrible things.”

There it was. A spark of interest behind Sreda's empty amethyst gaze. "What kinds of things?" She shifted again, back and forward upon her muddy paws and seemingly vibrating closer and closer to Valeska. Drifting through the fog to settle beside her Mama for storytime.

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Content Warning
09-28-2022, 04:13 AM (This post was last modified: 09-28-2022, 04:15 AM by Valeska. Edited 2 times in total.)
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09-28-2022, 04:47 AM (This post was last modified: 10-01-2022, 04:40 AM by Sreda. Edited 4 times in total.)
And as quickly as Sreda had surprised Mama ...
  ... Mama had surprised Sreda.

The silver woman pulled her daughter in, hugging the vibrating demon close as she spun a credulous tale. Sreda remembered things her Mama had told her ... and began to patch things together in her devious and juvenile mind. It was a wonderous and fantastical story that Sreda would title in her own mind:

The Tale of the Birth of the Five.

Valeska would first tell the birth of Houtu. The deity of Earth — of new life and the grace of birth. Spring. Nature. Life renewed. She was always presented as the mother goddess, the most pure and the most willing to correct wrongs. She was purity and perfection.

And yet, according to her Mama, Houtu was born out of demons. Houtu had to be exercised of her evils ... she'd been born of fire and blood and the sputum of Hell. And Houtu, with justice, would best the demon that had tried to commandeer her spirit. And that spirit would be reborn as none other than her brother: @Dimitri .

Was Dimitri an exercised demon? A goddess reborn as a mortal boy?
Was he the leader of them all? (Psh, please.)

If he was no longer a god(dess), that meant he could bleed, just like the rest of them.

"Who next, Mama?" she asked ambivalently, and yet her eyes would beg, beg, beg for more.

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Content Warning
09-28-2022, 05:39 AM
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10-01-2022, 04:40 AM (This post was last modified: 10-01-2022, 04:40 AM by Sreda.)
The story would continue, Valeska's posture and pose growing more hunched and intimidating — but Sreda did not shrink away. No, instead, her eyes widened at the mention of blood, horror, lighting, eldritch terror! Valeska swooped and spun, paws flailing, stomping, and shaking the earth in violent recreation of the Birth of the Five. The birth of demons, gods, and terrors of overwhelming and unthinkable proportions.

Sreda was enraptured, to say the least.

The child was pulled in close, not flinching at the snaps and snarls, but pulsating as her heart rate accelerated.

It was wonderful. It was disturbing.
 She could hear the tentacled demon shriek.

The birth of Rhys. A monster and diety of fighting and fire. Heat and summer. Sreda had heard the stories of valor that derived from Rhys — she was prayed to during the season of battle, for power and strength. It was only right that Violet should be possessed by such a surging demonic force. It all clicked in Sreda's head; everything made sense. Dimitri was a martyr, a reborn leader of the gods. Violet was a screaming, tentacled monster.

And yet none of them knew.
 Only Sreda knew.

"She must never know her true origins, or the beast will awaken to terrorize the land once more."
   What a dangerous and terrible power her Mama had given her.

Sreda's eyes shimmered dangerously, excitement threatening to break through the normal veil of apathy that consumed her.

“You, however, my darling... You came into this world unlike any other.”

Sreda blinked once. Twice. Three times. The silence overwhelmed them. These stories ... about her siblings ... they explained so much. Perhaps her Mama had been witholding secrets about Sreda, too. Perhaps there was a secret power that she had. Or a secret origin. Maybe she was cursed!

She couldn't say anything. Her now hungry eyes let Mama know that she was ready to hear the truth. She wanted to know it all.

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10-18-2022, 04:10 PM
Yes. The child had been successfully lured in, finally paying attention to her parent, listening to the words that came out of her mouth. This was quite possibly the very first time Sreda had regarded her with more than a cursory glance as she went about her way.

Valeska remembered all too vividly the terror of her emergence into the world. The sickening fear that gripped her insides, the absolute stillness of her breath - and Sreda's lifeless form.

It was the perfect material to work with.

“We received you from the land of the dead,” she whispered ominously. The statement was allowed to hang in the cold air between them for several moments, letting it sink in further for dramatic effect.

“You came without a sound, utterly still,” Valeska continued, her voice dropping several octaves to convey the intensity of the experience. “No breath of life stirred within your tiny body, and neither weeping nor wailing could reach your soul from where it lay in the world beyond. The Five had taken you for themselves.”

She remembered the panic - the dread. How tears had flowed freely down her cheeks, spilling onto the fur rug beneath her like shimmering diamonds compressed into grief.

“I begged for the gods to return you to me. Countless, incomprehensible prayers, desperately pleading with the Five to fill your hollow vessel with life once more - I could not understand why they would steal you from me before you had even arrived,” she lamented, lifting her eyes to the clouded sky overhead. “I suspect it was that you knew too much. Saw too much. Wise beyond your years, you wield powerful knowledge, too great for any one mortal to possess.”

This, to some degree, was not necessarily a lie or an exaggeration of the truth. Sreda remained forever unreadable with a stare that could pierce the very foundations of the earth in its intensity - and a frightening gift when it came to reading others.

The child understood far more than she let on or even knew what to do with.

“If it was not for Olive, our friend and ally to the north, you would have been lost forever,” Valeska stated firmly. The white sylph had attended her delivery at the High Priestess's wavering request, and it had turned out to be a necessary precaution. If she had not been present... a wave of nausea overtook her momentarily, then, but she rallied to continue her tale.

“Through her efforts coupled with medicinal and spiritual knowledge, she was able to wrest your soul from the greedy grasp of the gods,” she said, gazing levelly into Sreda's amethyst pools. “Houtu, our Sacred All-Mother, relented and allowed your spirit safe passage to the mortal realm - for a price.”

Shit. She had to come up with something good. What would make sense, what would fit her daughter's situation...

Ah. Valeska remembered all of the six-foot-deep, wolf-sized holes that had recently begun popping up around Fate's Respite now that the dark child was big enough to dig with some proficiency.

“Your soul shall be cursed to always long for the dead and the cold and the dark - to return to that from which you came.”

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11-02-2022, 03:10 AM
Cue Sreda's miniature god-complex.

Mama continued, the story pouring from her lips like a crimson ichor. Thick, metallic, delicious. And Sreda drank deeply, sustained in the deepest recesses of her dark soul as the words of lore poured over her in tumultuous waves.

What the demonic little child did not know, though, was that it was time for her own story to be told. And it was the closest, she suspected, she had felt to feeling something more powerful. Something rattled deep within her as her lost past escaped through the gates of her Mama's lips.

It was her story. The story of Nivia — the deity of cold winter. Of silence.
 Of death. Of darkness.
  And the peace that came with it.

Valeska spared no detail, those wicked golden eyes flashing with an intent that Sreda had never expected to see from Mama (Mother, maybe, but never Mama). Large silver paws swept over the air, spreading cold as fresh as a winter's snow as Sreda's soul fluttered, awaiting every. Gory. Detail. The details of her very own death and resurrection. Of her ultimate ascension into the land of the living after a delicate dance through the playground of the dead.

She was more than a god, then, wasn't she?

Sreda tried her damndest to rack her brain for memories of her time on The Other Side ... but she was cursed in her lack of memory, at least for now. Perhaps, with time, these things would reveal themselves to her. After all, Valeska said that Sreda was born with knowledge beyond her years. And maybe it would take years to remember everything.

Sreda would have scoffed — could have smirked, perhaps.

But those emotions were for cocky, lesser beings.

Sreda remained intent upon her Mama, eyes a dark, electric purple.
  She stored the name "Olive" in her memory banks.

“Houtu, our Sacred All-Mother, relented and allowed your spirit safe passage to the mortal realm - for a price.”

Sreda blinked. A price?

“Your soul shall be cursed to always long for the dead and the cold and the dark - to return to that from which you came.”

Sreda digested the words, blinking slowly as the static and adrenaline pooled within the depths of her chest.

"I don't feel cursed, Mama," she told her mother freely, after a moment of static-filled silence. Her tufted ears pressed forward, and the softest hints of a smile played at the edges of her dark lips. It was true — Sreda did not feel cursed in the slightest. In fact, she felt ... enlightened. Emboldened, even. "Don't all souls seek the same thing?" Or was it just Sreda? It seemed so obvious. Why didn't anyone else understand that death was ultimate? Finite? The same in the beginning as it is in the end.

Dark comfort.

And then Sreda huffed. "I interrupted," she added quickly, matter-of-factly, zipping her lips because she knew... there were still two more gods, and two more children, to uncloak the mysteries of.

And the little wolf was far-beyond invested in it now.
 She wanted to know all of her family's secrets.

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11-05-2022, 01:22 AM
Oh thank god.

She liked it.

Valeska released the tension from her muscles, a relieved smile creeping up the corners of her mouth. Sreda was the most difficult of her children to please on all fronts - truthfully, it was also difficult to tell when she was pleased, so neutral and empty was her expression at all times. Nothing normal ever satisfied her; neither beautiful scenery nor delicious food, not the sound of songbirds or even a clear sky. In fact, she preferred storms. She liked her songbirds dead. She wanted a scene of blood and bones and ten thousand acres of rot, and somehow the gods had decided that here was the best place for the little demon-child.

It didn't make any sense, but this was her lot in the end.

As Sreda continued to absorb the enormous falsehood that was apparently her birth, the shadows around them seemed to suddenly swell in size and dance around them. It was difficult to say if it was the shifting of the trees against the moonlight, as there was no wind, but something unsettling now stirred within the vicinity, and Valeska felt a cold chill run up her spine. Darkness leapt and cavorted around them, twisting into strange shapes with sharp eyes and wicked smiles as the girl became more and more invested in the story.

As Valeska watched nervously, eyes wide in disbelief, she blinked and the shadows surrounding them had seemingly - vanished.

The clearing as as it had been before. Just the two of them, mother and child. The strange feeling in her chest was gone.

She looked at Sreda, wondering if she'd just hallucinated the whole thing.

"I don't feel cursed, Mama."

Of course not.

"Don't all souls seek the same thing?"

No, they didn't.

“Cursed is a strong word,” Valeska amended, “We shall say - bidden.”

Astonishingly, macabre as she was, Sreda then apologized for interrupting (how could someone so frightening have such pleasant manners? At least she'd done something right as a parent), and allowed Valeska to continue her story.

The High Priestess ahem-hummed, sitting back on her haunches once more, and thus began the tale of her fourth child. She hadn't realized what an undertaking this was going to be, but she was locked in now, and the expectations of an innocent-ish girl were at stake.

“@Narcissa came to us much less somberly,” she began, thinking it was time for a slightly more cheerful story. Narcissa was the golden child, after all, and it wouldn't make sense for her to arrive as some frothing many-tentacled beast or a dead kid from the underworld. It would have been a disservice.

“As I lay next to the three of you, dried tears staining my cheeks, I could not rouse myself from my sorrow,” she said dramatically, languishing back upon the earth for effect. “I knew there were yet two to come, and I could not bear the thought of another loss - the stress, the anguish alone would have slain me. I was exhausted, but soon the pains would return.”

Propping herself up on a forelimb, Valeska remained in a reclining position, showcasing how utterly spent she had been at the time. It was important for a child to have visuals to work with, after all.

“Return they did!” she gasped suddenly, flinging herself fully along the ground, writhing and mussing up her fur in the process. “Oh, gods, I thought it would never end! But then Olive - may the Five bless her - told me of a golden flower that could cure all pain. She left swiftly, a great wind sweeping after her, and hours passed as I lay suffering - waiting - hoping -”

Valeska suddenly stilled herself.

“This flower was so rare, so special, and so difficult to collect that Olive could not speak to me of where she had found it. Only that the journey had been perilous, and she nearly lost her own life in the process of delivering it to me, so pure and noble was this Priestess.” That, in fact, wasn't far from the truth at all. The Duskguard woman was a saint in all regards, and Valeska believed she would have probably done the same thing if the scenario had actually occurred. “Yet she was an experienced midwife, and knew the pain of labor - it was her calling, her purpose that day that compelled her.”

Poor Sreda, she thought. She wondered what kind of consequences this nonsense might have on her psyche later on, but there was no avenue for retreat.

“She placed the flower betwixt my paws, and I closed my eyes to breathe deeply,” Valeska continued, performing the same action. “I consumed one of its fragile golden petals, my eyes still shut, and suddenly the pain was gone.”

Impossible, of course. There was no flower on this or any other earth that could erase pain in an instant.

“When I opened them once more - your sister, Narcissa, lay in its place,” she said with an air of mystery, staring down at her own paws as if it had truly happened, trying to bring the right amount of amazement to her expression for her audience. “Golden and pure as the morning sun, she came sleeping lightly and at peace. It was as if the flower had taken my pain and used it to create life - a second chance.”

Sreda no doubt hated this particular story, except for the bits where Valeska was squirming around in the dirt simulating agony, but she'd gotten three really nice, really grim tales of childbirth in the most horrible, mythical fashion, and her mother frankly needed a break from all of the terror.


One pup remained...

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