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Ellis Bleddyn

"'What's the worst that could happen?' she said. I'd say this, honestly. Probably this."

0 · 799 views · located in Pennsylvania

a character in “Bellingstone”, as played by usernamesareadrag

Description

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"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read."
~ Groucho Marx




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FULL NAME

Ellis Lewis Bleddyn - The irony that his last name literally translates to "wolf" is not lost on him.

NICKNAMES

"Ellie or "Lissy" - Ellis has never been particularly fond of nicknames, since most tended to be at least a little teasing. These are only some of the worst culprits.
"Lewis B." - His pen-name when he begrudgingly writes his fiction novels. A bit unimaginative, perhaps, but it's been effective in keeping most people from his true identity.

DATE OF BIRTH

March 7, 1985

AGE

Thirty-Two-Years-Old

OCCUPATION
Author - If you asked him, he'd tell you he's strictly a history writer, specializing in the mythology of Great Britain. He would, of course, be lying.

GENDER
Male

SEXUALITY
Queer -He mostly identifies as homosexual but has known at least two women who have sparked his interest in his 32 years of living.

DIALOGUE COLOR
#607DBA




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PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION
Ellis is not, indeed, the most physically intimidating of men. This is probably a good thing because he's also not the most intimidating personality-wise. Standing at just 5'8, Ellis has dealt with more "fun-sized" comments than he can shake a stick at. His build is a little on the soft side from years spent hidden in front of his computer, although the soft bits seem to be gradually shrinking as his new identity of werewolf begins to sink in. Exercise apparently comes with the territory of being in a pack. Much to his chagrin, his facial features remain rather sweet-faced and round. If he'd ever openly admitted that he was looking forward to becoming a bit rugged as a werewolf, he would be sorely disappointed. If anything, he reminds people more of a chipmunk or mouse than a wolf while in his human form, especially with his crooked but charming smile.
His eyes are dark brown and tend to twinkle when he's in a state of excitement or in the middle of a lecture about historical Ireland. Ellis is a brunette, and his hair is a bit long and shaggy due to the fact that he's never quite gotten around to setting up an appointment at the hair salon. There seems to be a near-constant light scruff on his face, especially when he's in the middle of writing and can't be bothered to shave in the mornings. You can usually tell just how far into the writing process he is by said scruff as well as by the ever-present dark circles under his eyes.
Stylistically, Ellis is a bit eclectic. After a childhood of bullies dictating how he should and should not dress, at thirty-two-years-old he's finally begun to step out of his comfort zone. His wardrobe is littered with odd patterned shirts, warm scarves, and rich colored jackets. That's only on his good days, however. For those days where he needs a bit of comfort or doesn't feel like drawing attention, layered shirts with button-ups in unobtrusive colors live olive and navy blue take over. He tends to stick with long-sleeves, however, given that the bite mark on his upper right shoulder coupled with the claw marks raked down his spine are still relatively red as they scar over, and he finds it absolutely mortifying when people stare.



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PERSONALITY
Ellis is not the most elegant social butterfly to ever grace this Earth. In fact, to even say that he is a social cocoon would probably be stretching it. He's an awkward sort of person, hesitant to speak to others and often nervous that he'll bungle up even the most typical social greeting. He is that person who mentally rehearses his order in case he accidentally misspeaks and has to die of embarrassment. When writing, however, that all melts away. Words are easier to piece together when written on his computer or on paper, which is one of the things that made him so drawn to writing as a career. Behind the screen, behind the page, there's a sort of shield between him and his own anxiety.
In his own way, Ellis is rather charming. He's polite to a fault with only rare exceptions and will often let others talk over him. He's easily excitable on topics that spark his interest, and he's quick to help and support others, even if he doesn't know them particularly well. Even attempts to hide his awkwardness are rather adorable, trying to fend off his own ever-present anxiety with false enthusiasm and jokes that don't always manage to land. In general, he simply endeavors to be the sort of person he feels that he isn't, not realizing that perhaps being nice to people and helping others might make him a bit less terrible than he initially thought.
Above all else, however, Ellis is tired. He's tired of having to try so hard to be something he isn't. He's tired of being alone all of the time. He's tired of adjusting himself to meet the expectations of others. He's been terrified of being himself since he was a child, and here in Bellingstone, it doesn't appear that things are going to change any time soon. There is a certain fury and determination in him, however, that's he's beginning to realize exists. He's learning not to retreat into himself like he did as a child and instead lash back. He's done it rarely in his life, actually pushing back, but that familiar ache is starting to grow inside him again. He might feel a bit bad about it afterwards, but you can't, as his former therapist often told him, let others just do and say as they wish at your expense.


LIKES
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Books and Writing- It should be a surprise to absolutely no one that Ellis has a passion for good books. They've kept him company throughout his entire life and remain some of the most steadfast friends that he's ever made.
Nature - Perhaps the thing that's changed the least for him upon becoming a werewolf. He enjoys the solitude and general energy of being outdoor and often takes long walks when he has the chance.
His Transformation - It's complicated (See Dislikes), but it's not the worst thing that's ever happened to him. At least now he's actively forced to socialize.
Hockey - A bit strange for him, but he enjoys watching hockey matches. As for actually playing it, well, he's not exactly the best at anything involving slamming into others, but he's a rather good ice skater if he does say so himself.
Pastries - What can he say? He's a pastry sort of guy. Croissants, scones, shepherd's pie- put it in a flaky, delicious crust, and he's there to eat it.


DISLIKES
Technology - Emails he can handle. Writing programs he can handle. Music devices he can handle. Further than that and he's completely lost, which leaves him clinging to his old cellphone thats fanciest feature is texting.
Bullies - Okay, to be fair, no one likes bullies. But that's not the case with Ellis. He doesn't hate them, he loathes them. It sparks some of that fury in him to see someone swaggering about, making others feel lesser than they are.
Polenta and Quinoa - He's not exactly sure what it is and is too afraid to ask at this point.
His Transformation - I told you it was complicated. He resents being put into this situation, resents the aching scars on his body, and, above all else, resents the fact that he now feels stuck in a town at the brink of something dramatic that was supposed to be his private getaway.
His Fantasy Series - His children series "All Things Light and Dark" has been a tremendous money-maker and a hit with children and adults alike. He absolutely detests writing it and would far prefer to focus on his historical books based on the Great Britain area and the mythologies of its people.


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FEARS
Remaining alone - He has a few friends who he isn't exactly close to, his family is barely in the picture because they live so far away, and don't even get him started on his nonexistent romantic life. He fears his own social anxiety and how it may lead to him never falling in love, never finding that niche for him to belong in.
Small, Tight-Nit Communities - Ellis never said that he made any sense. It's not the partnership he fears so much as the thought that once he's actually found a place to belong, they'll all realize how awful he is, and he'll be left alone once more.
Angry Werewolves - Something definitely lingering from the trauma of his own bite, he's left with a horrified chill just thinking of flashing, sharp teeth and the angry snarls that accompany that particular vision. He submits quite quickly as a wolf, but is left distant and shaken post-transformation if he ever has to.[/left]





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BIOGRAPHY
It all began when he was born in a small town in the middle of East Tennessee. This was his first mistake. A small, awkward child who had the audacity to enjoy Star Trek and read Tolkien made for an easy target. His life was hard in the way that the lives of all outsiders in small-knit communities are, mingling between being ignored and being given far too much attention. Ellis had always preferred the former over the latter. He learned to shrink into himself, to hide what made him happy for the sake of not providing his tormentors more material than they already had. His style was dumbed down to plaid and blue-jeans with the occasional shirt tied to whatever everyone was talking about. He attended football games, staring vacantly from the stands and occasionally remembering to cheer. His parents worried about him, but recognized that there wasn't much they could do apart from support him and provide him with what he needed at home- a safe space that involved Jean-Luc Picard, wizards, and a reminder that not everyone was quite as closed minded as the people outside their door.

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He continued growing up, as children do, and things didn't exactly get better. Instead, things changed. An English teacher, Mr. Roberts, managed to get Ellis started on writing short stories in Middle School. They weren't particularly good, but Mr. Roberts saw something in them and kept encouraging Ellis to keep improving and writing. In his Freshman year of high school, Matthew Cable surprised Ellis with a kiss behind the bleachers before Matthew the day Matthew had to move. It had been a moment of revelation because Ellis hadn't even realized that kissing boys had been an option until that moment. During Junior year, Ellis punched out the football team's running back for turning Mary Musick down in a particularly loud and disgusting fashion. He'd gotten suspended but had later realized that he'd learned a rather disturbing lesson when said running back was apparently tremendously humiliated in his social circle because someone like Ellis had managed to take him in a fight. Mary had brought Ellis brownies that she'd made to thank him.
By the time Ellis moved away to college, he'd at least learned to accept parts of himself. He knew he wanted to be a writer, so he continued to write. He submitted short stories to magazines and sometimes got in. He worked in the Writing Center, improving papers and helping to grade the punctuation and grammar for the English department. He kept improving his writing, but not necessarily himself.
In an ideal world, his insecurities and self-doubt inspired by his years of pretending would have been shed away in the light of a more enlightened world outside of Small Town, U.S.A.. He would find his place in college, would fall in love, would learn to be self-assured and happy in his own skin. This is not an ideal world. People, Ellis learned, were also awful outside of his hometown. The guards stayed up, and he learned to adapt. Small town hick was a bad disguise here, but he realized if he dressed blandly enough, if he spoke just enough in class, if he kept acting just so, he'd be fine. He graduated with a Creative Writing and History double major and, surprisingly, a literary agent interested in his writing.
His first book, a treatise on the fairies of Ireland and their evolution in Irish literature, was published after college and met with little fanfare, but he continued to write. More short stories got accepted, all odd little fictional pieces. Eventually he got a new agent, oddly enough the same Mary Musick, now Mary Carter, from high school who pointed out that he needed something with a little more "punch" to get noticed (both had giggled endlessly and embarrassingly at the pun). So, on a lark, he wrote a book about a lonely little girl who accidentally made friends with the King of the Fairies. Mary had liked it and sent it on to a publisher under a pen-name at Ellis' insistence. After all, why would a serious writer want to be associated with a children's book?
Neither expected what happened next. To say that the book was successful would be like saying fire is hot or (human) blood is red. Requests for a sequel came out, and Ellis begrudgingly complied. And then complied again. He realized too late that the book he'd mindlessly written was becoming a series and a world-wide phenomenon.
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At 32 years of age, Ellis had promised Mary that he'd write the series' fourth installment if she would agree to do two things; let him write his next historical mythology book and allow him to take a retreat to a little town where he wouldn't be bothered. He'd chosen Bellingstone on a lark after hearing something about an excellent diner. He'd later regret that decision.
On his first night at Bellingstone, he'd taken a walk in the woods. The full moon had made it all seem so inviting, so bright that he didn't even bother to bring his flashlight. This was the second biggest mistake of his life (besides, of course, simply being born). Halfway through his walk, he'd literally stumbled upon a freshly killed doe, a large, bleeding gash still oozing on its stomach leaving a large pool of blood and entrails on the ground. Ellis had come out of the encounter coated with more blood than he'd ever wanted to even think about and had turned around to go home. Or at least he tried. A wolf, a giant wolf with glistening teeth and a howl to match tackled him from behind, one claw slicing through the thin material of his shirt and raking down his back while those terrible teeth burrowed into the meat of his shoulder. Ellis had screamed and flailed and somehow, somehow the wolf let go.
Ellis didn't stop to think about how he'd survived. He made his way back home as fast as he could, half limping and half running and never once looking behind. He'd called 911 as soon as he was out of the woods. Things happened so fast from there, too fast for Ellis to accurately remember. The next thing he knew, a man with a killer smile and a motorcycle had arrived at his house and ushered him to that very excellent diner that had made Ellis choose Bellingstone in the first place. The diner had been excellent, and, honestly, an attractive man with a motorcycle taking him anywhere wasn't the worst thing that could have happened. The revelation that he had been turned into a werewolf and was being brought into the Bellingstone pack was much less pleasant in comparison.



MISCELLANEOUS
-A skilled cellist
-The worst artist you will ever meet. Please never ask him to draw a circle. It's in everyone's best interest.
-His Southern accent, which he's successfully managed to quash when speaking with others, rears its ugly head when he's upset or angry.
-Still doesn't know who is responsible for making him a werewolf. It's something that bothers him immensely and always lingers at the back of his mind.

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So begins...

Ellis Bleddyn's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Albrecht Wolff Character Portrait: Junsoo Moon Character Portrait: Poppy Clarke Character Portrait: Ellis Bleddyn
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~*~*~*~
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”…all she can see is a sea of stars in front of her. Just an eerie sort of blackness, you know? And there’s a faint music swirling up from somewhere in the depths of it all, along with some amorphous blobs she can’t quite make out. And that’s how chapter eight will end. Is that alright?”

This morning in Bellingstone found Ellis pacing the floors of his kitchen, bare feet plodding a repetitious path over the linoleum. He had a tendency to walk when he spoke on the phone, too anxious as a person and too enthusiastic about what he was saying to even consider standing still.

He was speaking into his old cellphone, one so ancient in the fast terms of modern technology that it probably predated even the dated flip phone, his tone soft and tired but lined with sparks of excitement. In his other hand he held a cup of iced tea, sickeningly sweet in a way that only a true Southerner could stand to enjoy, which he gestured with enthusiastically and sporadically.

“I don’t know, Ellis. Is it alright?” the voice on the other end of the line hummed almost instantly, more teasing than critical. “Isn’t that a bit too weird? Will people really like that?”

“Weird?” Ellis sounded wounded, despite the tone. The tea in his glass sloshed around as he slumped against his refrigerator. It was a bit dramatic as far as gestures go, but it's not like anyone was there to judge him for it. “Really? I… Well, I thought it was a bit weird, sure, but maybe… God, Mary, if I cut that part, I’m going to have to change the book’s ending, and-”

Thick, warm laughter erupted from his phone, and his pitiful frown turned into a scowl. Oh, right. He'd forgotten who he was speaking to. When having a conversation with Mary Carter, you had to understand that there was always a target on your back for her teasing, sharp words.

“Oh, ha, ha, Mary. Laugh it up. Gonna give me a heart attack one of these days.”

“Oh, don’t be like that. You know better than to say things like ‘is that alright’ to me, like you’re not a published author. Stop pretending you're not brilliant, idiot,” Mary replied fondly. Ellis wasn't quite sure how she came under the impression that he wasn't a hapless idiot because, in all reality, he was. He was a self-conscious weirdo about everything he did. Honestly, sometimes he was anxious about his own breathing, wondering if it was too loud in public or over the phone. Take that general anxiety and multiply it by about hundred, and you were left with how he felt about his own writing. He was still waiting for the other shoe to drop and for the world to figure out that he was a hack. There was no other way to explain his good luck and success other than as a cruel practical joke by some deity (with his luck it was probably one of the asshole gods too, like Loki or Hera).

"You've made some good progress though, Ellis. Especially after everything." Her tone dropped down, suddenly worried and sympathetic. "How are you really feeling Ellis? Is there anything I can do for you?"

How was Ellis feeling? Confused, conflicted, angry, sad, desperate, tired... A whole menagerie of unpleasant emotions on top of the dull ache and occasional sharp sting that knitted itself through his shoulder and back at the most inopportune moments. But he couldn't say that, couldn't get into anything even nearing the truth. He'd fed Mary and anyone else who asked a story about a wildcat attack, and they believed it well enough. Why wouldn't they? Bizarre things tended to follow Ellis like a plague. It was no more difficult to believe than the time he'd gotten trapped in a wall trying to get a squirrel out of his house or when a lamb had tried to pick a fight with him.

That a mountain lion had been near a small town and eager to harass Ellis was easier to believe than the reality, anyways, although it had been all he could do to keep Mary and his parents from taking Bellingstone by storm to drag off their wayward writer. He couldn't see any of them right now, no matter how desperate he was for some familiar company. Everything was still too new, and it was all he could do to adjust on his own without the pressure of over-doting friends and family. It honestly made him uncomfortable when people worried about him too much. It wasn't that he didn't understand the desire because he worried about himself all of the time. It was just a bit unsettling that people actually cared enough.

"You could let me take a break to work on my chapter on kelpies," Ellis said, trying to force his tired voice into something light-hearted. No need to make Mary even more worried than she was. "In fact, the book that I've been trying to find- you know, The Water People? The one that's been out of print since 1850? Bellingstone's library actually has a copy. God knows how, but they do. I'll be stopping by later today to take a look at it." Or maybe it wasn't too terribly amazing. That they had a copy of an old book was hardly the most surprising thing about a library run by a vampire and what Ellis had been reliably told was a witch-thing (not that he'd ever call her that. He was far from hip to the lingo of the magical world).

"You're going out? On your own? Are you sure you're feeling alright?" Mary laughed.

"Honestly, Mary. I can be social if I want. In fact, if you must know, I may be seeing some acquaintances of mine later," Ellis said loftily. He knew he was laying it on a bit thick, but Mary seemed far too amused by the idea of him willingly socializing to go back to her concerned questions.

"Is it the dishy diner guy? Please tell me it's the dishy diner guy."

Ellis rolled his eyes. "I said Axel was handsome once, Mary. Once. When I was drugged out on painkillers and God knows what else. Besides, the man's got half the town running after his tail-" he snorted a little at his own secret pun, "and he's not exactly my type."

"And what is your type, then?" asked Mary.

"Well, someone I'm certain isn't completely straight, for one." The two burst into laughter, finally back to a more companionable conversation. Smooth, Ellis. He deserved an award for that crafty misdirection. He couldn't tell her his other objections, anyways. It's a bit difficult to explain dynamics like Alpha Wolves and Pack Leaders when one can't even bring up the whole werewolf thing.

"But, no. I was... Actually considering popping in to see Junsoo- the one who stuck around to help me when I first got hurt- at work. He, uh, said I had an open invitation, and I don't want to disappoint him. And then, ah, maybe texting the girl I met in the classics section. Poppy? I know we've only known each other for a few weeks, but after everything that's happening around here, I guess... Well, I mean to say-"

"That's sweet that you're worried about her. I'm sure she'd appreciate you checking in, even if it's just a text." Ellis could practically feel her approval over the phone.

"You don't think it would be too weird? Like I'm sticking my nose into someone else's business?" asked Ellis, biting his bottom lip. He wasn't exactly the best at socializing, but Poppy had been one of the few people outside of the Pack who'd bothered speaking with him so far, even with everything that had happened to her recently.

"Sweetie, if anyone thought that, you'd be better off not being friends with them anyways."

There was a moment of contented silence before Ellis heard a knocking on Mary's side of the phone followed by a muffled conversation.

"Oh, sorry, Ellis," Mary said after a moment. "Pete's summoning me for brunch. He sends his love, by the way."

"Sure he does." Despite the sarcasm dripping from his words, Ellis was sure Pete- practical, sweet Pete who kept both with wife Mary and adopted problem-friend Ellis in check when their combined idiosyncrasies threatened to burn the world around them- had actually said that verbatim. He was just that kind of guy. "And tell him I send mine."

"Will do. Enjoy your day of nerdlyness and socializing, you dork."

"Enjoy your brunch, you basic white girl."

Ellis hung up first, fighting back a yawn. He hadn't slept much last night, too busy trying to play catch-up on his books to even consider taking a break to sleep. It was a bit ironic, honestly, that he'd come to Bellingstone for a bit of peace and quiet while he wrote and had wound up spending most of his time licking his own wounds (metaphorically, of course. Well, at least in his human form) and trying to even vaguely comprehend the reality that many of the people around him, including himself, weren't quite human. Or human at all, in some cases.

His eyes darted over to the clock above his kitchen table, and a dull sort of anxiety settled in his stomach. Should he leave the house today? He didn't have to, technically. He had enough food to survive another day holed away in his home, and it wasn't like his library book was going to go anywhere. Plus, he'd never actually told Junsoo (always Junsoo to Ellis who still felt like he didn't know him well enough to start throwing around nicknames) that he'd visit, and Poppy surely had other things to worry about. Not to mention the fact that there was no Pack meeting that he knew of...

No. He wouldn't fall into that trap again. Whether he liked it or not, Bellingstone was his home for the time being, at least until his rental period was up and he got used to the whole werewolf thing, and goodness knows how long that would take. He should at least attempt to be polite, even if that meant stepping out of his comfort zone.

With all of the determination he could muster, he finished his tea and wandered into his bedroom to get ready. Today was a comfort day, he realized, bypassing the interestingly patterned scarves and shirts in favor of broken-in jeans and a soft gray t-shirt. He hesitated for a moment, eying his bedroom mirror before pulling on an olive green jacket. While it wasn't a cold day, he could still see the raw, red scarring poking out from his sleeve, an aching, menacing reminder. He couldn't, he just couldn't-

Ellis took a wobbly breath, slipping on his shoes and running a hand through his hair. Good enough. It wasn't like he had anyone to impress (besides, his mind unhelpfully supplied, everybody he saw). If he thought about it anymore, he might not leave the house after all.

The nice thing about Bellingstone was that it was possible to walk just about anywhere you wanted to go if you had a bit of time, and the Escape Bar and Grill was no exception, even if Ellis had only been there once or twice before. The town itself was lovely too, scenic in a way that had Ellis a bit homesick for his mountainous hometown. Well, the nature bit, not the people bit. At least in Bellingstone he had a fifty-fifty chance of not being recognized as that one guy who got attacked by a wild animal on his first night in town.

That being said, fifty-fifty still wasn't the best odds. He pulled out his phone, more to pretend to be busy and avoid conversation with others wandering about the town today. Ellis hesitated for a moment before pulling up his text menu. Poppy had insisted on exchanging phone numbers with him the second time they'd met, and they'd had a smattering of conversations over the past month, fluctuating with certain events that had rocked their respective lives. He'd never been quite sure if it was a misguided attempt at kindness or an actual desire to speak with him that had prompted her to actually pursue a conversation with him.

Well, he had already come this far. He might as well...

Hello, Poppy. It's Ellis. I just wanted to see how you were.


He typed every word out in a slow, painstaking way, more to do with his technological ineptitude than his mounting hesitation. He paused for a moment before adding-

Sorry if I'm bothering you


-just for good measure. He hit send and immediately tucked his phone away. It was easier not to dwell on the reply that may or may not come if he wasn't keeping an eye on his phone. It was at that moment that Ellis noticed that he wasn't the only person on the sidewalk.

His first thought was that he felt like a huge tit because here was Poppy right now, out and about and apparently about ten feet from him since he'd sent the text. Talk about poor timing on his part. Was it too late to run and hope she hadn't spotted him? To pretend he hadn't seen her? Likely, honestly. Very, very likely.

However, she wasn't the only person who caught his eye.

Why was everyone in Bellingstone so damn attractive? That was Ellis's second thought when he spotted the giant of a man speaking with Poppy. Honestly, the man was somehow making jogging attire look good, a feat that Ellis had thought nigh impossible. It was like watching models converse, or at least models who had interesting things to say.

His third thought, however, was something more akin to, "What on Earth is that smell?"

His nostrils flared, and his steps faltered for a brief moment, eyes darting over to the jogger. That wasn’t a scent that he’d been expecting.

It was rather embarrassing, in Ellis’s opinion, that of all of the senses that could have started to sharpen first, it had to have been his sense of smell. Maybe he’d been dreaming too big when he’d hoped for night vision or superior hearing, and the punishment for his hubris was having to wear a medical mask for at least a week, too overwhelmed by even the softest of scents to breathe without any sort of barrier. It had been a sad day indeed when he had had to put all of his scented candles out in his shed, their once comforting scents sickening for a time as he adjusted to his new sense of self.

He’d adjusted, in the end, and differentiating smells was easier for him now. For example, in Eliss’s mind vampires generally tended to smell a little clinical, very clean with a sharp tang of iron. Werewolves, on the other hand, smelled more like the Earth, all dirt and fallen leaves as undertones to whatever other perfumes or colognes they had on. That’s what he was smelling right now, from this stranger, and that was odd indeed.

Ellis hadn’t heard about any werewolves outside of the Pack (and it was always Pack with a capital P in his mind) in Bellingstone, and, alright, he was new, but Axel had been pretty clear that he was the local Alpha Male and had failed to mention any lone wolves roaming nearby, and…

Oh, God, he was staring at the man. Ellis’s face flushed red in embarrassment. He tried to alleviate his own inherent awkwardness with a polite smile towards the unidentified werewolf, failed when it turned into a slightly pleasant grimace, and promptly picked up his pace, attempting to pass by. Haha, pay no attention to the weird man who didn't know how to function. Oh, God, why had he left home today again?

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Albrecht Wolff Character Portrait: Poppy Clarke Character Portrait: Ellis Bleddyn
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ALBRECHT WOLFF
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Bellingstone Streets
#735a75

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As Albrecht made his way down the streets, he increased his speed slightly, worrying that his little show of casually jogging past on one of the town's busier days looked too staged. Either way, he hadn't gathered anyone's attention yet. Likely, the news had just broken or was on the verge of breaking - which meant as far as many of the citizens knew, Al hadn't even returned. He could imagine them gossiping among themselves, murmuring of his return like some prodigal son. No one had ever said Albrecht was humble.

He was caught up in overthinking his actions when a woman stepped out onto the sidewalk, directly into his path. The two of them collided with a sharp exclamation from Al. The majority of the force came from him, a running man of some two hundred pounds, as he barged into her. And so, it seemed natural that he make an attempt to right her. He reached out, seizing her upper arms in his hands as he came to a halt.

"I'm so sorry miss, I -" They spoke at the same time, his hands still on her arms as he sputtered at a mile a minute. But then he finally got a good look at her, the curly hair, hazel eyes, and he realized all at once that he had run into - "Poppy Clarke."

Al's hands fell to his sides as she worked on hanging up the phone. He met her gaze, though he looked her over a fair amount as well, as if he hadn't really expected to see someone he had known. There was a moment of silence after her call ended in which Albrecht simply looked back at her, unsure if he should make some sort of first move or leave it to her. Eventually, she did fill in the silent space with a flurry of words that rushed out nervously. Al listened, beaming back at her, even though he certainly could hear an upset note in her voice initially.

"Good, good. I've been good," he replied, trying his best to look down at her without making it so obvious - although, he didn't really have much of a choice given the foot in height difference between the two of them. "I - uh, 'ran away' to attend college, go to law school. Now I'm here I guess." He punctuated his words with air quotes but suddenly wished he hadn't - it seemed too harsh given the fact that they hadn't spoken in years.

He paused for a moment, crossing his arms over his chest as he thought of something more to say. And then it dawned on him that he'd forgotten the most pressing of conversation topics.

"I was...so sorry to hear about your dad, Poppy," he said softly, his grin faltering now. "I suppose you've heard of my candidacy now. I-I can't possibly hope to live up to his legacy." An awkward silence fell then, for Albrecht hadn't a clue how to continue. But it was at that moment that the scent of a werewolf washed over him.

It was a new scent - that much he knew within a heartbeat. It was much softer and less overpowering than most of the werewolves he'd met in his life. In fact, it reminded him vaguely of his brother's scent when Axel had been in the midst of puberty, struggling to establish himself as a force in the pack. But this certainly was not Axel.

"Good morning," he greeted in a chipper manner, shooting a smile at the other werewolf as he looked his way. "I don't believe we've met before - I'm Albrecht Wolff." Trying not to edge Poppy out of the conversation, he twisted his torso to extend a hand in Ellis's direction. "It's a pleasure to meet you."

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Character Portrait: Albrecht Wolff Character Portrait: Poppy Clarke Character Portrait: Ellis Bleddyn
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_____ T H EXA R T I S T _____

Outfit: Link Here
Location: Bellingstone Streets
Dialogue Color ✦ #E8ADAA
Thought Color ✧ #985D5A



Andre had said plenty of times over the course of their childhood that Poppy had the tendency to be dramatic. Verbally, she could identify more with impulsive, from a rational standpoint that is. Dramatic made it seem like her antics or actions were not justified in light of whatever the situation at large had been. It made her feelings from those times seem trivial, as if he were dismissing them by casting them off as just another Poppy being "extra" for no damn reason. Except this time...she felt extra and she didn't even bother to hide the wince that came from Albrecht using her words, "ran away." She couldn't even really take in his condolences for her own blunder left a sour taste in her mouth. However, Poppy swallowed it in favor of mustering out a, "Thanks." Which obviously wasn't enough. Nowhere near after that foolishness. So, she quickly added to it:

"I-I-I mean...I'm glad you're doing good. Honestly. And I'm sure Bellingstone would be lucky to have one of their own taking over such an integral position within the community." She made sure to say that part with as much earnestly as she could muster. Albrecht and Poppy may have not ever been really close at any point in the past, but she could never say that she fully disliked him. He wasn't her favorite Wolff sibling back in the day, but that was a result of a personal bias on her part, not due to any actions taken by the older Wolff sibling. Luckily, the full length of time that would have transpired between them and formulated an awkward silence that would have made Poppy babble on and on until she found some reason to excuse herself or Albrecht just got tired of the same antics he probably remembered from her formative years, Ellis came as a distraction. Poppy wasn't even aware that he had text her before his arrival. So focused on what she had been doing and in the middle of a phone conversation, she hadn't even surmised that anyone but Andre would be texting her. And even if he was, he knew to call if it was an actual emergency. Yet and still, despite having no knowledge of her new friend trying to contact her a few moments ago, Poppy didn't hesitate to beam at him, relief in her gaze. "Ellis! Hey!" She probably should have allowed him to introduce himself, but considering how much she really hated the situation she was currently involved in, Poppy didn't see the problem. Plus, in moments like these, she couldn't help but fill the silence, even when she didn't want to. "Yeah, Albrecht Wolff meet Ellis Bleddyn. Ellis, this is Albrecht. He, uh, used to live here awhile back and went away for school. He's Axel's brother, actually."

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Character Portrait: Albrecht Wolff Character Portrait: Poppy Clarke Character Portrait: Ellis Bleddyn
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No such luck. Not that Ellis had every expected much of that. He’d long since learned to live his life as someone perpetually waiting for the other shoe to drop. Oh, it might not be tomorrow, and it might not even be next month, but he had always been comfortable with the fact that no matter what was happening, things would eventually go terribly, terribly wrong. It’s probably why he hadn’t been more surprised at being mauled by an actual werewolf. After all, life had been going far too well for him at that point, so of course something absolutely ridiculous and awful just had to follow.

"Hey, Poppy. It's good to see you."

He meant it, for once, real warmth filling the typical platitude. If it had just been Poppy, Ellis would have been fine. She'd managed to worm her way into his good graces from their first meeting less than a month ago, and had since become the inspiration of true smiles and Ellis not actually feeling the need to run or fill any silences. This smiling stranger, however, was a different story, all easy charm and bold charisma for a first impression, something that Ellis was immediately terrified of.

Knowing that his escape from social interaction had been cut short and seeing no other option, Ellis went for his only defense. He plastered on what Mary had once fondly called his “politician smile”, a grin that very evidently showed that he was actively trying to be personable. It was just one of those things he’d had to learn how to do over the years, figuring that it was impolite to just stare like a deer in the headlights at the impossibility of a stranger actually wanting to speak with him about something not book or business related.

Well, perhaps not too much of a stranger anymore. Albrecht Wolff. Ellis blinked for a moment before taking his hand in a firm grip (he’d read once that a firm handshake made a good first impression and had adopted it as law for lack of other evidence).

Another Wolff in Bellingstone? It wasn’t that Ellis was terribly surprised that there were other Wolffs around here. Axel hadn’t exactly given him a rundown on anything other than the town’s basic past, glossing over the nitty-gritty of the old Wolff family tree. A cousin perhaps? Distant relative? An unrelated werewolf who’d felt the need to go somewhere where his last name could be appreciated? He couldn’t ask, of course, with Poppy standing right here and Ellis still not being certain how taboo it was to bring up something like being a supernatural creature with someone you don’t know.

Before Ellis could reply to Albrecht, Poppy had already stepped in and quickly took over the conversation. That, Ellis thought, was rather kind of her. If only all of his social interactions with strangers could be taken over by others, his life would be a much easier burden to bear.

In most people that thought would be dripping with sarcasm, but as Ellis let Albrecht’s hand go, he felt nothing but a relief and fondness for Poppy’s intervention, which was the effect Poppy generally had on him throughout their young friendship. Besides, Ellis could tell that Poppy was a bit put-off at the moment, a little more scattered than usual, and who was he to judge someone for talking a bit too much to overcompensate for an awkward situation? That was probably tactic number three in his own social-anxiety playbook.

She also provided a bit more information than Ellis had expected. Axel’s brother? Now that was a surprise. Ellis didn’t see it, not at first, but it was best to make a good impression if only so he didn’t terribly embarrass his pack-leader (and, more importantly, probably friend) in front of someone as important as his brother.

“What Poppy said. Nice to meet you,” he added once Poppy had finished and then, for lack of any other planned statement, babbled on with, “Axel's brother, huh? I, uh… Your brother’s very nice. Makes a… Makes a mean stack of pancakes.”

Which was true, even if Ellis had stumbled over the compliment. About Axel, certainly, since he’d been as kind as one could want, easing Ellis into his new circumstances as slowly and patiently as he could manage. Also about his food. The diner had been as good as he’d been promised, and Ellis visited as often as he felt up to seeing the rest of the Bellingstone Pack. It wasn’t that he didn’t like them, it was just… Sometimes it was too much of a reminder, and sometimes the soft attentiveness of members like Junsoo and the firmer and, to put it kindly, strict words of others like Sydney (she certainly wasn’t the Alpha Female for nothing) could be a bit much as well. He was making an effort, though, even if he was often convinced he’d be better off as a hermit.

There was a brief silence before Ellis spoke again, more because he felt like he should than any real desire to carry on with small talk. That and excusing himself from Albrecht to continue on his merry way probably meant leaving Poppy behind, and, honestly, she didn’t seem comfortable enough with Albrecht at the moment to make Ellis feel alright with that.

“I didn’t know that people really left Bellingstone.” He paused briefly, face shifting in a mild panic as he realized the implication and hurriedly made to correct it.

“That is, sorry… Not that people get stuck here or anything. I’m not saying it’s bad to stay here forever. I mean, it’s a lovely town, of course. Especially the library. But I’ve just met a lot of people who’ve stuck around or, I guess, just showed up. Like me.”

He shifted uncomfortably, absently adjusting his jacket to further cover the slowly healing scars, even if they weren’t peeking out. He took a breath and tried for a more relaxed smile. It partially succeeded, smoothing out his face and making it more pleasant and charming as opposed to anxious and worried.

“So, ah, what brings you back here, then? Not that you have to tell me. Just, ah… Well,” he trailed off with what he hoped appeared to be an amiable nonchalance.

Of course he hadn’t heard any of the gossip, and, even if he had, it wouldn’t have occurred to him why half of the things that were currently happening in Bellingstone were so dramatic. Without the context of past hierarchies and events and contention and hatred and love, it was all rather normal small town ordeals. Brother returns after six years, past relationships coming to light, and so on, and so on.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Albrecht Wolff Character Portrait: Poppy Clarke Character Portrait: Ellis Bleddyn Character Portrait: Adelaide Renuex
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#, as written by la.lune
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Location - Bellingstone Streets
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As Adelaide continued on her walk, she kept her eyes peeled for anyone the woman had known for a fact had been in town around the time of the Mayor's murder. Perhaps, Adelaide mulls over in her mind, I should go and visit Andre - see how he's handling everything. However, before the sheriff headed off to Escape - where she figured Andre would be, as Oscar was out campaigning and they needed someone to hold down the fort - Adelaide pulls out her phone to an incoming text from her deputy, it read:

From: Mark
Interesting news. I know you told us to keep an eye out for that Albrecht Wolff guy. Turns out I've just seen him around town. Want me to pull him in for questioning?

The look of shock on Adelaide's face was more than she could hope to hide. Taking a deep breath, Adelaide composes herself before shooting back a response,

To: Mark
That's okay Mark. I'm in town right now, you head back to the station and I'll see if I can't get a word with him.

Feeling bad for changing her plans, despite Andre not having a clue Adelaide was coming to visit him anyway, she decides to send him a text instead whilst her phone was in her hand.

To: Andre
Hey, just checking in with you, hope you're doing okay x

She wasn't entirely sure what to say to him - she'd already sent Andre and Poppy her condolences, and she was sure that he didn't need a constant reminder of his father's passing. Instead, the woman decides that perhaps just asking him how he is would suffice. Granted Andre certainly wasn't Adelaide's closest friend in town, but he was her oldest, having attended school together Adelaide didn't take a friendship that had lasted so long lightly. They may have fallen out of touch during her more reckless years, but Adelaide would always have the upmost respect and care for Andre - as she would his little sister. Poppy was a sweet girl, even if Adelaide couldn't say they had ever been exactly friends, she had known the girl too long to not care about her wellbeing.

Making her way along Bellingstone's streets with more of a sense of purpose than before, Adelaide keeps her eyes peeled for Al. What was she really planning on doing when she caught up with him? It'd been six years since they'd spoken - in fact, perhaps more. Ever since Al and Sydney got together, Adelaide's heart broke a little and she really couldn't face talking to, or ever seeing, her old friend.

Times had changed, however, and Adelaide had a job to do. She couldn't deny that it was suspicious Al and returned so soon after the Mayor's death. Maybe he'd been in the town for longer than she'd known, perhaps the rumours about him being in Bellingstone for a whole year before now were more than just rumours. Adelaide didn't know, and as the Sheriff of the town, it was her job to keep everyone safe which meant she couldn't afford to not know these things. Her father would've never let this happen, he was always on the ball and knew about all the goings on in town. Which was part of the reason he was so beloved by everyone.

Shaking these thoughts of inferiority out of her mind, Adelaide once again focuses on the task at hand. As she heads toward Poppy's apartment was. It is there that she catches sight of three figures, one belonging to the previously mentioned Poppy herself, another to a not so familiar face that she took for the relatively new resident, Ellis, and the third - Albrecht. Suddenly unsure about her approach, Adelaide debates whether to go and interrupt their conversations or not.

Inwardly rolling her eyes at herself, Adelaide chides herself for immediately becoming a nervous schoolgirl again, and begins the short walk over to the trio. Tuning in on their chattering, Adelaide picks up bits and pieces - it seems Poppy is perhaps even more nervous than Adelaide with her babbling, and Ellis was just introducing himself to Al.

Clearing her throat ever so slightly, Adelaide places a slightly strained smile on her face as she says, "Morning Poppy," The younger girl being who Adelaide knew the best, or at least had the best relationship with, the older woman took her for her in. Turning her gaze to Ellis, she smiles again, "You must be Ellis, I don't believe we've met yet," keeping her eyes solely on him, Adelaide continues, "I'm Adelaide Renuex, Bellingstone's Sheriff." It's not until she has greeted both Poppy and Ellis that Adelaide finally turns to look Albrecht in the eyes. "This is a surprise," Is all she can muster to begin with, before continuing, "It's nice to see you Albrecht." She couldn't decide whether she in fact meant the words she said or not, but Adelaide delivered them with at least a little sincerity.

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Character Portrait: Albrecht Wolff Character Portrait: Poppy Clarke Character Portrait: Ellis Bleddyn Character Portrait: Adelaide Renuex
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ALBRECHT WOLFF
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Bellingstone Streets
#735a75

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He could tell that his condolences hadn't gone over as well as he had hoped, but he supposed that was what he deserved for waiting so long. It was foolish to have done so, he realized now, for the support of the Clarke siblings would have meant a great deal to his campaign. Jeez, aren't you joyful today. He couldn't help but mentally reprimand himself for that - certainly, he wouldn't gain any support if he kept this mentality up.

"Thank you, Poppy. That means...that means a lot." He spoke a bit too quickly, the credibility of his words falling flat. Thank God Ellis showed up when he did.

"Ellis, huh? It's nice to see a new face in Bellingstone, Ellis." He held the younger man's hand for a moment longer than he might have normally, taking a moment to look him over. "You know Axel then?" Al slowly released the other werewolf's hand, his smile broadening slightly as if at the mention of his baby brother. "He's a good kid - I miss him. Honestly, I can't wait to see him." Al gave a soft chuff of laughter following the comment about the pancakes - whether he was laughing at the nostalgia the memory recalled or the way Ellis stumbled over his words or something else was anyone's guess.

He looked back at Poppy, figuring she would resume their conversation once again, but then Ellis spoke again. Albrecht had hardly met the man, and yet he already had a read on him. The nervous, submissive aura he was giving off was hitting Al like a train. He could only imagine the poor guy hadn't established himself in the pack. Albrecht found himself wondering if Axel had stayed with the pack these years. Of course, the idea of Axel being Alpha never even crossed Al's mind. The Axel Wolff he had known since childhood was not born to lead. What a shock he would face, in that case.

"They leave, they come back," he replied, crossing his arms loosely over his chest. "Don't worry - I know what you mean. She's got a charm about her, doesn't she?" His eyes narrowed slightly, inquisitively. "Bellingstone finds a way of dragging you in." He knew he couldn't ask Ellis for his story - not in front of Poppy at least. Another scent, further away this time, began to reach him on the breeze - a scent he hadn't caught in years. Of course, he hadn't been here in years, but this was a significant person. Adelaide, he recalled.

So lost was he in thought that he almost lost Ellis's question. "Huh? Oh, it just seemed right. Getting back to my roots and all." He turned as Adelaide began to address the other members of his rag-tag party of sorts.

"It's certainly nice to see you as well, Addie," he replied, beaming back at her. He considered reaching out to embrace her, but Al quickly quelled that urge when he took note of the strained smile she wore. "Or is it Sheriff from me?" God, he hated this damn witch hunt of sorts. At least Ellis didn't seem to understand the importance of his return in the grand scheme of things. And so, he turned back to face the anxious werewolf.

"I don't suppose you'd want to take me over to the diner to see AJ?" he asked, choosing to use Axel's childhood nickname, a long dead artifact, to reference his brother. As if the nickname might prove he deserved to see the brother he abandoned years ago. But, then again, he had always been distant from Axel in an emotional sense. "I figure I ought to say hi or something." Reluctantly, he faced the two women. "Of course, I'd love to catch up with the two of you - we could grab coffee or something at the diner?"

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Character Portrait: Albrecht Wolff Character Portrait: Poppy Clarke Character Portrait: Ellis Bleddyn Character Portrait: Adelaide Renuex
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Oh, oh, oh, and didn’t things always happen at once? Ellis was beginning to believe that someone had put a sign on his back saying something like, “Talk to me!” or “Be my friend” or, more likely than not, “This guy is not good at conversations, so, if you’d like a good laugh, see what happens if you talk to him.” Okay, maybe a little bit of an exaggeration (a little bit), but the point stood that this was the most people he’d met in Bellingstone at once barring, well, “the incident”. This also continued the trend of all of them looking like models which simply wasn’t fair.

Adelaide was certainly beautiful, somehow giving off an air of confident femininity mixed with something a little rougher, a little darker. He couldn’t say that he was surprised to hear that she was the sheriff, but he had to stop himself from inhaling deeply to try to figure out what, if anything outside of mortal, she was. Snorting up someone’s scent was hardly a good first impression.

“It’s nice to meet you, ma’am. Er, Sheriff, I mean.” He’d never been good with authority figures. They always made him nervous in a vague sort of way, like teachers calling on you the one time you don’t have your homework or security guards at the airport giving you the special patdown for no discernable reason.

“Yes. I’m Ellis. I’m an author. I… Yes.” There was a slip right there. He'd been a bit secretive about his occupation to the residents of Bellingstone, even before the incident, but now it was slipping out because, well, he was still suffering from diarrhea of the mouth courtesy of not being prepared for social interaction this morning. But perhaps it was fine. She had moved on already, and wasn’t that something of a relief? He glanced at Poppy, pulling an amusingly distressed face for half a moment before Albrecht had one again caught his attention.

And that really was sweet that he missed his brother. As an only child, Ellis could only imagine that sort of bond between family members, especially ones separated for a few years. Maybe this was all going to work out okay. Albrecht, Ellis realized, was someone born to speak, all smooth words and easy answers to any question thrown his way. A born lawyer, perhaps, or maybe a politician. Ellis might not be particularly good with people, but he was certainly an observer of humanity.

Take for instance the interaction between the Sheriff and Albrecht. A little cold, a little strained, and all of it stained with that same odd hesitance that had tinged Albrecht’s conversation with Poppy. There was something there he wasn’t quite getting, something underlying everything.

But then Albrecht was asking to go to the diner, even if it took Ellis a moment to realize AJ was Axel because AJ just seemed so… so childish in comparison to Axel. Axel with his motorcycle and cool looks and status as Bellingstone’s unrefuted Alpha.

“No, absolutely. I can… I can definitely do that. I’m sure he’ll be excited to see you.” Even as he said it, his eyes were on Poppy again, his life preserver in this uncertain sea of social interaction.

Yes, please come along with us, he mentally begged before, on the realization that Poppy was a lot of things but probably not a mind reader, slowly starting his way towards the diner. Slowly, of course, in case another conversation popped up or, worse, if someone else decided to join them. At best they’d be on their merry way to see a family reunited. At worst Ellis would be halfway out of there by the time anyone noticed he had left, and maybe that wasn’t such an awful thing after all.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Albrecht Wolff Character Portrait: Sydney Green Character Portrait: Poppy Clarke Character Portrait: Ellis Bleddyn Character Portrait: Adelaide Renuex
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_____ T H EXA R T I S T _____

Outfit: Link Here
Location: Bellingstone Streets
Dialogue Color ✦ #E8ADAA
Thought Color ✧ #985D5A




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Had anyone else joined the conversation, Poppy would have found a way to skip the fuck out of dodge and try again elsewhere. Somewhere far, far, far from here with Albrecht and even Adelaide, with whom Poppy had more pleasant memories and perceptions. She wouldn't go so far as to say that she and Albrecht had a definite past or anything of that nature, but not being close with someone - combined with the fact that your ex happened to be their little brother who didn't exactly have the greatest opinion of them, even if you guys never talked about said sibling often - and having to interact with them after so long was tiresome. Especially because despite their geographical location, Bellingstone citizens had a firm grasp on what everyone else knew to be Southern hospitality. Everyone wanted to be kind and almost doting to an extent, always helpful, always there - even when they were actually sneering down their noses or just trying to be nosy. And considering Poppy's newfound courageousness as it came to her social life - note the word new because it was still relevant - it didn't mean that she was particularly elated to be in their present situation. Having Ellis involved now didn't help matters at all.

Because Poppy knew that this was going to go one of two ways: she was either going to a.) wind up going to the diner and being inadvertently involved in a sibling spat that honestly didn't even sound like it was going to be pretty even from a distant standpoint, or b.) abandon Ellis to be dragged on to the diner and be inadvertently involved in a sibling spat that honestly didn't even sound like it was going to be pretty even from a distant standpoint. And Poppy was a lot of things, but she wasn't exactly petty nor cruel. So, when Ellis turned to her big, pleading dark eyes, she realized that there was no way she could just leave him to whatever his fate was going to be. She felt herself relaxing her frame - more like, slumping, really but she had had etiquette classes and she couldn't exactly say that she slumped in any way without thinking of Mrs. Levesque and that blasted ruler! - and painting on a softer smile, mostly for Ellis' benefit than either Adelaide or Albrecht's. She also didn't hesitate to whip out her cell phone as she spoke and looped her arm with Ellis', typing out a warning text after she finished speaking."Y-yeah, sure. I was planning on seeing Syd anyway today."

To: Syd
Trouble's coming n im so sorry

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Axel Wolff Character Portrait: Junsoo Moon Character Portrait: Sydney Green Character Portrait: Ellis Bleddyn Character Portrait: Johanna Collins Character Portrait: Payton Wright
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AXEL WOLFF
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Felix's Diner
#235744

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This shit was the kind of shit that made Axel wish he had skipped this shit hole years ago, before Al even thought to hit the road and leave him behind. He had never been one for pep talks and words of reassurance, but more often than not, his job as Alpha forced him into scenarios in which the only thing to do was talk it out like a high school counselor or something.

Sydney grabbed his forearm and pulled him away from the counter, holding him close enough that he knew something was horribly wrong. Axel's throat bobbed slightly in response, and for a moment, Sydney might have caught concern in his gaze. He hated this game of not knowing, for he couldn't help but worry if something had happened to one of his own wolves. Axel couldn't help but worry about Ellis, poor Ellis, and if he had managed to get himself into something. Perhaps he ought to call the pack in, have them check in with him lest shit hit the fan without him knowing.

But Johanna managed to clear the air in her perfectly timed arrival, catching Axel's attention as Sydney looked back to her phone.

"Hey, Jo," he started, walking towards the younger wolf. "No one's hurt, Sydney just got a text from June, and she's checking i-" Axel was speaking quickly, too quickly, probably, and so he almost missed it as Sydney spoke up again. Until, of course, he caught his brother's name.

The idea of Albrecht returning to Bellingstone was comical. Or, rather, it had been comical that morning when he first heard the rumors. But now? Axel was familiar with the way rumors spread through Bellingstone, but they had always been rumors of little importance. Albrecht's disappearance had rocked Bellingstone - and while rumors of his return had certainly sprouted during his early departure, it would have been like telling an old joke to spread a rumor like that now. Unless it had some sort of basis in truth.

As he processed the possibility of Al actually returning, Axel clenched his jaw slightly, wringing the dish rag in his hands slightly, and then more violently. Axel blinked quickly all of a sudden, forcing himself into the present. The pack needed him, now more than ever. And jeez, didn't that thought just nauseate him ever so slightly?

"If...if Albrecht is back," he started softly, leaning on the counter so that he could keep Johanna and Sydney close. "Nothing changes. He's still the asshole he was - there isn't a place for him in this pack." But, looking over at Sydney for a moment, he knew exactly what she meant. She wasn't worried about the structure of the pack, about keeping Al away - after all of these years, she still missed the bastard. Axel couldn't help but exhale sharply as she left to carry the boxes into the back. It was a relief Johanna broke the pressing silence.

"I couldn't even begin to think of why he'd show up now." He leaned on his elbows, still clenching the rag between his hands. "He's up to something - I don't care what it is, but I don't want him anywhere near this town - let alone the pack...or Sydney."

He straightened up once more as Sydney returned to the space behind the counter. The diner seemed packed now, and a sense of claustrophobia was weighing on him. By the door, Ivan gave him a slight wave, and Axel returned it half-heartedly.

"I need to call a meeting. Now." Axel was pulling out his phone as he spoke, punching a hurried message out to the group.

To: The Pack
i've heard the rumors. we need to talk. diner ASAP.