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    version 22: awakening


    Wolfbane -- Year 210


    "She presses into him greedily, hungrily, and demands more. She does not know how to be gentle when she is with him—does not know how to quell the aching in her belly, the neediness in her touch. She would devour him whole. She would sacrifice herself completely. She would give and give and give—" --Tabytha, written by Laura

    they all go into the dark; ALL

    and lord, I fashion dark gods too;

    Later, when asked about the catalyst of the events, they will never be able to pinpoint one moment.
    It was Pangea’s first creation, when the dark god made the land from sick magic and defiance.
    It was the years Pangea spent underwater, inhabited by god-knows what, growing sicker by the day.
    It was when the stupid, heroic, mad horses obeyed the dark god, went to Pangea, bled themselves dry to raise it up, to defy Beqanna once more.
    It was when the boy with pestilence’s seal crossed Pangea’s shores.
    It was when the golden magician died, her magic spilling, sinking into the earth.

    All of this, none of this. The catalyst didn’t matter, in the end. What matters is what happened, after.

    It’s so perfect that Carnage half-wishes he’d planned it, so he could take credit. He didn’t even know of Rhonen’s existence, when he first wandered onto Pangea, but then the dark god saw the seal, touched the boy’s bones, felt the awful sickness within him, one borne from other worlds, in another quest. This is entertaining enough, and he is already formulating ways to best utilize this when the golden magician is slain near Pangea’s own heart.
    (He almost takes the magic for himself, claims it. But he needs no more magic. So he lets it sink into the earth, enrich the sickness already incubating in Pangea.)
    Pestilence. Magic. All stewing in an already sick land.
    Like he said – perfect.

    He could do it himself, of course, the boy would fall easily. But he prefers a crowd. Prefers Pangea to be packed, so that they may be saturated in what will come.
    So instead, he sends out a vision. A message.
    There is a boy, he says, in Pangea.
    The image: a chestnut stallion with a seal on his chest. Conquest. Pestilence.
    A plague, a plague upon both your houses.
    He’s dangerous, he continues, if allowed to live, he will bring ruin to us all.
    And will they trust his word? Some will. Enough will. He is sure of it.
    And even if they don’t, so many of them just want to watch the world burn, and burn it will.
    He broadcasts the image again. Rhonen, standing unsuspecting in Pangea.
    Beneath his hooves, Harmonia’s old, dead magic thrums. Festering in the earth.
    Find Rhonen. Kill him. Save us.
    Again, louder.

    Carnage sent out a Beqanna-wide vision and message to Beqanna, showing Rhonen in Pangea, imploring your horse to kill him. If you want to participate, reply here with your horse tracking Rhonen and attacking him. Do not claim you got the killing blow, we want everyone to converge on him.

    This is a site-wide event, not a quest, so there’s no rounds or prizes.

    This thread will be locked on October 28th at 5:00 PM CST, so if you want to reply, please do so before then.

    c a r n a g e


    there are wolves in my head and their howling
    there was a garden of evil in the palm of my hand

    The disease has not left yet.

    She feels it rattling in her bones. She rises with it each day, the disease that seeps beneath her skin, the blood that flecks the corner of her mouth, the weakness that causes her youthful limbs to tremble. She wonders if she will ever feel well again. She wonders if she is destined to live with this forever. If she is to spend her days shaking, coughing, her vision blurring and going spotty. It breeds a rage in her that she had not previously had. It takes the core of her and makes it sharper, harder. She becomes angry.

    The hunger that had woken in her at the depth of the ocean does not abide. It simply morphs, changes her. She is not the star-eyed youth of her childhood anymore. She is not meek, mild—and she is done trying to apologize for what she is. She is done trying to pretend that she does not possess a predator’s hunger. She is done trying to pretend that she does not long for that thick copper to coat her lips, slip down her throat.

    Perhaps it is why she does not startle when her vision is taken over, again.

    She doesn’t fight it this time, although it causes her fury to bloom in her like a rose. Fury at Carnage for starting it all. Fury for her part in escalating it. Fury at this disease that rattles in her and now spreads.

    Fury at this boy for causing it.

    She rises to her feet and shifts, for the first time since she’s been back from Pangea, the tiger form feeling right and yet wholly wrong. The last time she’d been like this, she’d changed. She had become different. She had become herself, she thinks. She will not apologize for how she has adapted to changing circumstances. How she has grown. The world is harsh and she simply needs to be harsh to survive it.

    Her head lifts and points toward Pangea, toward this boy who carries the root of her worst fears.

    She cannot allow him to spread this further.

    She cannot allow it to touch her mother, to touch Castile, to touch Daye.

    To touch the seed of life that now rests in her belly, just a whisper of it.

    Her lips pull back to reveal her canines and she digs her paws into the ground, shooting herself forward. She runs, despite the pain of aching muscles and rasping lungs. She runs through brush and over fallen trees. She runs even though the blood slips from her mouth to stain the cream of her fur. She runs even when her body protests and all she wants to do is find a place to rest her head, to forget all of this.

    She runs until she breaches the godforsaken boundary of Pangea, her heart shuddering in her chest.

    She runs until she sees him, his chest marked.

    He looks innocent, she thinks, but she cannot allow herself to dwell on such things—not now. So she lets it bleed away and he becomes just a target. Nothing but the root of the root and the bud of the bud.

    Once more, lips peel back and she roars, the sound deceptively powerful for how weak she feels.

    She pays no mind to who else has heeded the call.

    She simply launches at him, claws outstretched, swiping at whatever piece of him she can grasp.

    (If allowed to live, he will bring ruin to us all.)


    She is already there.

    now I'm broken and bleeding, I’ll never find my way

    stranger in this land
    [Image: sochi.png]

    I was less than graceful, I was not kind
    be out watching other lovers lose their spine


    Dreaming, always dreaming: the whispers ever present and lingering like some unholy song that could not be shaken from her mind. ‘Mother!’ one screams, its shrill voice slicing through every synapse and nerve- it does not cease. ‘Mother! You drowned us all, killed us all! You condemned us to death, and where are we not? Where are you?’ she blinks, the voice still maddened and howling and all her mind in chaos and upheaval. ‘Come back to us Mother, come back to the Element. We need you, you promised us!’ the latter is so loud that her eyes widen and Yidhra finds herself torn asunder by visions of black clouds and electricity pounding into the earth. Tornadoes of fire and water, and hail like boulders- storms of unimaginable power and fury, and in their winds screaming the same voices. She sees the obsidian like surface of a stone, of a pulsating rock whose form shifts and becomes equine and wolf and all things.

    It approaches her and takes form, it becomes like her but not: masculine and strange, a shadow whose voice projects an image and a command, and Yidhra finds herself lost in the moment. Familiar but not, and for a moment she opens her mouth and whispers: “My child, my children- I abandoned you; but I will heed these words.”

    Haunted and smiling, she feels the dream receding and feels the cold grasp of reality once again as all the world begins to take form. Trees soaked in salt water and covered in algae, barnacles festering the rocks and all the bones of rotting and great leviathans spread across the land. She smells decay, and hears the dying cries of whales and sharks alike- hears the shifting wet sand and soil: her every attention turning suddenly to the company she stood nearest to. Greens and browns, were sparsely painted among grey and blue, among the corls whose polyps had created a labyrinthine expanse of anemone and more, and Yidhra noted Rhonen before her with the same unfamiliar mannerisms she had maintained throughout their talk.

    “The Element,” she continues to speak to Noah and Rhonen alike. “It was a land where the residents were gifted with powers over the Elements. I remember parts of it, pieces- I remember that there were great cataclysms and devastations that blackened and broke the land. The Stone, it gave power, and then it took the powers; but I remember… ah, I remember.”

    Her eyes narrow, teal and strange, body shifting as she took a tentative step forward. “I called Elemmírë, the Imperious and the Primordium, I was both a great Warrior and an Oracle- gifted with callings and powers over the Earth itself. I remember the Stone, when it burrowed a Shard inside of me and the corruption began… I was it’s Mother, and I abandoned it when the whole of the element was sunken beneath sea. Thousands of years I have lived and hundreds of deaths I have known. I am eternal; I am Yidhra.”

    That moment is when the tides change, when she hears the sound of hooves or paws and she feels the rush of something passing through the thin veil of air around them. The bones of the leviathans ache and began to groan aloud as a rib tumbles and breaks upon the earth. The appears and she cannot unsee the orange and cream: the stripes and muscles well beneath the fur and skin. Its claws reach out and doesn’t know whose blood she smells, her own so bitterly choking from her nostrils and lungs… or Rhonen’s fresh from the claws.

    Yidhra is quick however, to move and to allow the powerful hindquarter to uncurl their ancient muscle and strength. Lunging forward she drives herself between Noah and Rhonen, looking to the girl and shouting: “Run, child.” perhaps a sparing moment of maternal concern; but only in that second, for its Rhonen who she fixates on: her body turning quickly and suddenly as without fear or hesitation she throws her weight back and rears- tall and lanky the muscle ripples beneath her skeletal frame and her forelegs bend towards one another in an almost ‘v’ shape. Kicking forward and up she seeks to strike Rhonen’s skull- particularly his eyes and cheek, to injure and concuss if possible; but its not as simple as one strike, no- one leg is followed by the other and she is not hesitating laugh, to allow malicious and cold bellows to leave her. 


    Officials Full permission for consequences and blowback as a result of her attacks/participation.
    He comes.

    Of course he does, slithering out of the canyon shadows like a rabid animal; the corners of his mouth full of froth and the putrid stink of decaying flesh. He isn’t rabid though, and it only makes him worse for it. His was a disease he’d welcomed into his body, cradled and nurtured, grown lovingly into adulthood. So, of course he comes, reeking of death, not because his father beckons him but because his sickness had lead him to seek out Rhonen’s flesh anyways.

    It doesn’t matter to him if the boy is guilt, or if he is innocent. It only matters to watch the blood boil over in his veins. It doesn’t matter to him if this is someone’s child, someone who was born into the world to be loved. It only matters to see the mud suck him under, to fill his lungs with earth until they collapse or break apart from the pressure - to see pieces of them infiltrate the cavity of his chest. It only matters to salvage the eyes, unseeing, for the birds and the flies to have their way with.


    So, when he finds him he conjures the rain to make the ground slick and wet. It would suck at his heels, and splay his legs if he tried to run. Then he adds the heat, degree by degree by degree; first a frothy sweat, next a racing heart and panic, until the blood was hot and the flesh would sizzle and burn and the air would fill with the sweet, grotesque aroma of burning hair and cooked fat that he had come to worship. He pays no mind to the others, their madness only adds to the imagery he devours whole like a starving snake.

    And if he changes his mind, they are only extra bodies to slay.

    And so, he made the Gods themselves bend at the knee.


    I've never loved a darker blue than the darkness I have known in you

    She does not have the same reaction to the vision as others.

    Her belly does not clench with hunger but fear. Her throat closes up as she sees him, his solemn face, his serious eyes, and she remembers the hours pressed together, tucked away from the rain, sharing secrets and easing the pain of the other. It had not been a romantic love, but it had been love that she had felt for him in those moments. He had soothed a wound that had spread wide and deep below the surface, had been a quiet in the storm of her life, and she would always love him for it, always carry it with her.

    She feels wild with the fear now, although it does not show on her face, never breaches the calmness of her eyes. She turns to Adna, her daughter growing so rapidly now, who looks at her with confusion, her brows drawing together and mouth pinched in thought. “You need to stay here, Adna.” Her voice is steady and she thanks the heavens for it because she feels anything but inside. “I need you to promise me.” Adna considers protesting, even opens her mouth to do so, but she closes it just as quickly and nods.

    “That’s my girl,” Leliana whispers, drawing her daughter to her chest and pressing a kiss to her scaled forehead. “Stay here and stay safe. If you need help, call for Magnus. I love you.”

    And then she turns, heart pounding in her chest.

    Her wings unfurl by her side, switching from the serpentine form she favors these days to the crimson dragon and she begins to run, her body launching forward. The wings beat powerfully, once, twice, and then she is lifted into the air, the dirt beneath her dispelled and swirling in her absence.

    She flies faster than she ever has in the past, urged forward by the fear and the echo of her memory. She can see him right before her eyes and the terror is caught in her throat. She continues to tease even more speed out of her wings until her body, still weakened by her battle to keep Warrick’s disease at bay, protests from the exertion. But she can’t be weak now. She can’t afford to think of it.

    She can only surge forward through the currents of air as they swirl around her.

    She is soaked when she finally lands on the outskirts of Pangea, the horses already beginning to make their way in, answering the call of some dark god. She lifts her hazel eyes to the sky, swallowing back the panic that swells in her, praying that her daughter listens and stays within the boundaries of Loess.

    Without further hesitation, she makes her way further into the kingdom, doing her best to avoid the others, sticking to whatever shelter she can find. When she sees Rhonen, already under attack, she cries out, lurching forward and catching herself against a thin, brittle tree. Without thinking, she grasps for whatever power she has within her, letting it pool in her palms before she sends it shooting forward toward him.

    It is a fool’s errand.

    It is an impossible task.

    But she cannot do anything but what she does. The golden light of her healing reaches for the red stallion, working its way through his body, knitting together whatever flays apart, staunching whatever wounds open up. Her knees threaten to buckle, the onslaught of it more than she can keep up with, and sweat beads her forehead, but she clings with white-knuckles to consciousness, fighting to keep him alive.

    like fire weeping from a cedar tree, know that my love would burn with me

    [Image: avatar-1975.gif]
    the heaviness in my heart belongs to gravity
    all that we have amassed sits before us, shattered into ash
    Cress is asleep when the vision comes, but even her most terrifying nightmares don’t compare to the cadence of the Dark God’s voice. She jerks awake immediately as the chestnut stallion’s image burns its way into her mind, climbing to her hooves in jerky movements. Oh, no. She’s seen what Carnage can do—the dragon on her chest marks her as one of his victims, after all—and if Carnage says the man is dangerous... no. He should have known better to broadcast this announcement into her head; she will do anything in her power to stop this from coming to fruition.

    Find Rhonen, the Dark God’s voice whispers in her mind—in all of their minds—and Cress growls low in her throat, her fire threatening to burn its way out of her mouth. Kill him, the Dark God pleads and Cress stretches her enormous wings, preparing to leap into the sky. Save us, and now she is airborne, winging her way towards the compulsion the Dark God has broadcasted, only for a different reason than so many of them. She will not kill an innocent soul, especially if it is Carnage imploring them to do so. She knows the evil that he is capable of, and she will not stand for it.

    Where Leliana is wild with fear, Cress is wild with anger as she alights near the other winged healer, who seems to be doing all she can to hold herself back from running towards the red stallion who is already under attack. Cress stumbles through the muck towards her, touching her golden nose to the woman’s shoulder to let her know that she is there without (hopefully) breaking her concentration. “Do not use all of your strength,” she warns Leliana. “The Dark God is merciless and more will come. I will do everything in my power to help you; please, conserve your strength.”

    Hopeful that her words have gotten across, Cress too turns her attention towards Rhonen, cringing as the mob relentlessly attacks. How easily they can be swayed to attack another at the whim of a God, all because the evil magician told them he deserved to die. Cress does not know either of them—Rhonen or Leliana, that is—but she will do everything she can do help, damn the consequences. Closing her eyes, she feels her own healing well up inside of her, and she pushes it out—towards Rhonen.

    She will not let him die.
    oxytocin x kindling

    My corrupt nature is empty of grace.
    He has always led a simple life, bothering no one and keeping entirely to himself for so many years. His sisters left Beqanna long ago but he opted to remain. Their mothers had always promised that they were made for greatness. Perhaps Malefica or Maleficente, but not him. A day with his raven friend and a nice hat were all he needed to be happy in this life. And now the leaves have begun to change to his favorite shade of orange. He lifts his chin and breathes deep the smell of autumn. The cold breeze brushes his forelock from his young face while he smiles with his eyes closed.

    But then the message reaches him and yanks him roughly from his perfect day.
    His hazel eyes open suddenly and his smile rots to a frown.

    The message commands him and the first flicker of anger takes root in him. It grows from embers to a roaring flame as he bids his feathered companion farewell with a polite nod of his head. Then he runs, wind against his back, until the group comes into view. They have already gathered and begun their assault against their target while others try to simply keep him alive. But no one is fighting for Rhonen, he realizes.

    Maleficar is not a warrior and he’s certainly not built for speed but his long strides carry him as quickly as they can. One is declaring her titles and her triumphs while the others wordlessly attack. The witch opens his mouth and gathers the rain drops on his tongue for a moment. He inhales deep and holds his breath until all his power gathers in his lungs. When he finally exhales, a jet of water bursts from his lips and he aims it at the offenders. His strength is only at its greatest when his sisters are with him but he gives it all he has despite the handicap.

    His breath only lasts so long, though, and he must stop to catch his breath. Some of the rain remains in his mouth still and he’s quick to release it a few moments later. This time a thick mist rolls forth, hopefully lowering visibility enough to buy the defensive group some time. When his lungs have emptied what breath they have once more, he chokes out a simple command.


    But he remains where he is. He waits with his head lowered and ears pinned against his head.
    His mothers always promised he was made for greatness.
    raul & santana
    fire cannot kill a dragon

    There's a sickness in my bones. I can feel it seeping into my skin from the putrid air, filling my lungs with ice and glass. My flanks have dulled from golden brown into something closer resembling the murk around me. Shadows still linger in the corners of my vision. They whisper horrible things. Things about death, and damnation. About blood and sacrifice and the end of all things. 

    These are things I have become familiar with recently. My safe, secure world has grown larger, and darker with it. Blood stains my lips and throat where it was torn by the dark magic that brought me here. If I could wash it away, I would, but the water here is vile. Thick black mats of moss stretch over the widespread pools, choking on the stinking water beneath. I think I've gotten so lost that I found hell. 

    Sleeping and waking seem to make little difference. It's always dark here. Always caught somewhere between dusk and dawn. And always, the feeling of being watched. I can hear them out there in the dark, stumbling around like animated corpses. Maybe that's all they are, dead bodies walking a dead land. Maybe I'm dead too, and just don't know it yet. Dull lichens keep me alive, filling my belly with brassy dust. I think I want to be dead. 

    My eyes drip shut again, as they do sometimes. Never for long, or deep, but they do. When the eerie howling quiets and the glinting eyes look away. That's when I can sleep. Tonight, I hear his voice. Not so unusual anymore. I often hear the Voice of Carnage in my dreams, demanding I sacrifice so much more than I can bear. Tonight though, it's different. Not a flashback to the events that brought me here, but a new call. An open invitation to take down a violent murderer. Why not? If my family still lives somewhere, I'll not stand by and let them be killed anyway. A faint voice at the back of my head is trying to get my attention. It wants me to think of something... my eyes open again, and the thought is lost. All that remains is a mission. 

    He's not hard to find. Like a map in my mind I seem to know the way by instinct. My brain is buzzing in my skull, shadows keeping pace as we near him. He's a simple looking beast, fuss free chestnut and already at the heart of a chaotic band. I watch a moment, seeing a mass of bodies surround him with mixed intentions. I wade in with vacant emotions. If he lives or dies, it doesn't matter much to me. But I will strike my blow, the same as before. 

    A patchwork of cloaks surrounds me, light filtering from one, blood shining on another. I don't bother to ask who's blood it is. He doesn't look like the answering questions kind of guy anyhow. So intent on each other are they that I pass through untouched. They don't care about me anymore than I care about them. It's all about the wild eyed man in the middle. A handful of the others seek to protect him, shielding him with their bodies. One uses strange magic and blows torrents of water at the incomers. I feel nothing. I am nothing. My face does not betray my intent, and soon I stand beside him. Protecting his flank, maybe. The shadows flicker in the mist. Coal bright eyes wink at me beguilingly. I nod to them, to myself, face still bland as I snake my neck aside, and sink teeth into where a fleshy shoulder should be. 

    Maybe I'll wake up soon. Home, and safe and I'll tell mother and Santana all about my strange nightmares. 

    Terror strikes her through vivid nightmares.  She awakes in a frothy sweat, sienna pelt stained an almost black.  The whites of her eyes are illuminated by the moonlight that stretches below the thick jungle canopy of Tephra.  The fleshy muscle within her chest presses hard against her ribcage in a quick, rhythmic succession.  If she hadn't screamed aloud, she would have been shocked.  The images, the command had been all too vivid.  Her father, in a land she is sure she has seen before.  A voice telling her he must be found, must die...

    Her eyes shift about her surroundings. It is here she has lived for years.  In the solitary depths of the tropical flora she has created to shield herself from the outside world.  The once ambitious mare, to right her wrongs, has chosen to exile herself from a world she could not save.  And now that world calls to her.  To kill someone she barely even knows, but knows in her heart he cannot be all that the voice claims.  She must find him.  Save him.


    Standing quickly on white booted limbs, she follows an intuition.  Something pulling deep within her to the very place she had seen in these images.  Its grey washed sands and barren cliffs rising to allow a weak stream to flow through the canyon below.  Upon this perch she searches the basin, looking for signs of life.  She is as sure as her heart beats that he is here.

    From the west she spots movement.  A lone equine racing across the sands as if purpose has found them too.  She watches for only a moment before she is too following along the upper cliffside -an eye trained on the being below and another on her chosen path.  The air here causes her to choke.  It is dry and the stench of death clings heavily around her.  The thickness was exhausting her to slow to a two-beat pace, but she didn't need to go much farther before she finds a gathering and the horse she had followed slowing to join them...

    Her bright eyes turn to the center of the masses, finding a chestnut amongst them. "No!" She chokes from her unused vocals.  Panic fills her mind and without thought she has crested the edge of the cliff and begun a sharp descent.  Hooves scrape along sand and stone, causing sliding of the earth below her.  Rocks loosen and begin to trail her steep path, threatening to consume her.  A plume of dust forms around her but her forward movement does not stop.  When her hooves hit the flatter terrain, she is quick to leap forwards and away from the landslide behind her.

    She only looks forward, eyes trained on the faint form of a chestnut that she believes to be her father.  With each stride she nears, his form becomes more clear. "Dad!" She calls to him in a pleading voice.  Others attack him, using physical means and magic alike. "No! Stop!" She pleads again, trying to fight her way into the crowd.  It is no use, there are too many and she is too weak.  A snort erupts from her nares but the sound is quickly cut off by a voice that comes behind her...

    Mother.  So nice of you to join us

    She turns sharply to see an image so horrific it couldn't possibly be real.  His eyes, as red as his fathers.  "Zain?" the question forms but a mother knows her own child -even if it had been years since she last saw him.  His body was not what she remembers.  It is battered, flesh hangs from bone that she can clearly see.  "W...What happened to you?  What are you doing here??" More questions come but honestly, she was afraid of the answers.

    I have found my purpose Mother.  To serve the dark God.  I need your help Mother...

    The wickedness that becomes his face causes her to gasp.  She stumbles back, bumping into another.  Her attention diverts for only a second, but that is all he needs.  Her body crumbles to the sickened earth of Pangea.  Her health whisked away in a mere moment.  The struggles and triumphs of her life, gone, instantaneously. 

    Thank you Mother. 

    Earth to Earth, Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust.

    It wasn’t the first time he’d heard another’s voice in his mind. Rayelle had sometimes spoken to him that way. Yet where hers had been a gentle presence among his thoughts, silvery and soft, this voice was violent and forceful. It raked through him with insidious intent, and Leander blinked at the vision of the chestnut whom he did not know, but whose name he was surprised to recognize.


    He remembered his father telling him of his second cousin’s sudden disappearance as a weanling – how the family had searched for Rhonen, desperate to find him – how they’d never seen him again. The winged stallion had no idea what might have become of him since. Perhaps this relative of his really was a danger, as the voice had said; but the way it had commanded the kill, the way it had demanded bloodshed without cause or explanation disturbed him enough to spur him into flight.

    The vision led him to Pangea, though Leander knew nothing of the place. He observed that it was rank and wet, and there was a smell to the air that put him on edge as he soared nearer the mountain. There were others, too; both below and in the skies, and so the palomino overo simply followed in the wake of a dragon-winged mare. It wasn’t too long before she dove earthward. Leander angled his flight pattern and took a steep turn, wheeling as he looked down from on high.

    What he saw was chaos.

    In the middle of the fray was the target – a chestnut who appeared the opposite of dangerous – and yet already there were those who tore at him senselessly; drones obeying a bodiless voice who spoke without reason or mercy. It angered Leander to see it, knowing a member of his family was being attacked by dozens of strangers who didn’t even pause to think beyond their own morbid thirst for the man’s blood. He also saw that there were a few who seemed to be defending him, and immediately he swerves to alight next to two pegasi among them: Leliana, whom he’d followed, and Cress, the mare beside her.

    Taking pause to evaluate the unfolding situation, he heard some of Cress’ words to the dragon-winged mare who was shaking with effort, a golden light exuding from her toward Rhonen. His brown eyes catch sight of a stallion releasing a jetstream against the onslaught, while a mare was pushing past bodies and screaming for them to stop, screaming for her father. It is her cries that drive Leander to action – galloping a few strides, he leapt, wings spread wide as he used the updrafts caused by the overheated air to climb swiftly into the sky.

    Leander was no warrior, but he had a noble heart – so when he saw a sickly figure approaching the mare who had cried out, he tucked his wings close to speed to her defense. He plummeted downward with the intent of at least bowling Zain over with his bodyweight before regaining his footing upon the mudtorn ground. His skin beaded with sweat in the sweltering heat as he twisted to see where Rhonen was amidst the barrage, unaware that the mare he had hoped to defend had suddenly crumbled to the earth behind him.

    take a bullet to the heart just to keep you safe; like a dream in my arms but i’m wide awake

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