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  • Beqanna

    version 22: awakening

    COTY

    OCEANE -- Year 208

    QOTY

    "Because if she had not met him, she knew she would have been searching her whole life for the piece that he filled her heart with." -- Eva, written by Shelbi


    so show me where my armor ends; wolfbane
    #1
    Earlier this afternoon Lepis had asked Marni to watch the triplets and then asked Pteron to watch Marni. The pair of requests will invariably be forgotten. They won’t get up to too much trouble, Lepis thinks; at least her children won’t burn the forest down when they get rowdy. The same cannot be said for their extended family.

    She watches one now, those great reptilian wings unmistakable silhouetted against the sunset

    The hills that spread ahead of her are the same that she has always known, yet as she watches them in the soft light she cannot help but feel somehow misplaced. The emotion is uncomfortable, but she allows it to linger for reasons she doesn’t dwell on. Instead, she busies herself pressing the bend of her yellow wing with a warm navy nose. She’d pulled a muscle there a few days ago and has been resting it lest it grow worse. Each day without flight seems to weigh more heavily than the one before it, and she had internally lamented a time or two that she didn’t share her husband’s and children’s ability to heal so quickly.

    Tonight she’d meant to take flight, but she had paused – wings outstretched – at the sight of the dragon horse. Lepis cannot tell who it is from this distance, but she is not especially interested in doing so. Instead she turns away from the precipice where she’d stood and makes her way on foot toward the hollow scoop in the earth where she knows she will find her husband. As she walks the last of the sunlight slips away to be replaced by the round orange globe of the hunter’s moon. Her pace is quick and sure, the tread of hooves that know the land intimately.

    Wolfbane
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    #2

    The birth of their recent three children had been… excitingly unexpected. That they would have three rather than one, that Lepis would give him two more sons and another daughter to match, that they continued to create something so wholesome in a world so twisted by death and sickness. His wife’s underlying strength to weather even the most horrible of storms never ceases to amaze him. He had promised her fidelity and love, and that promise had manifested itself in their children who undoubtedly would make their own marks in this world.

    But everything isn’t perfect.

    Her quiet acceptance of their situation - Castile taking back leadership - unnerved the striped pegasus. They personally had no reason to worry, as Castile had verbally affirmed their acceptance here and even encouraged his challenge against Vulgaris, but through it all Lepis had stayed primarily out of the way and seemed to haunt the small place they’d carved out for themselves in Loess.

    He didn’t want to push her. He loved her, and knew perfectly well that if she had something to say she would come to him and just say it.

    So she does.

    He enjoys being near her since his return from Nerine. The increasing paranoia of Wyrm’s eventual return kept him close to their fledglings and primarily within the boundaries of Loess itself. Rousing from a light sleep, Bane opens his eyes and shifts from his rest to turn and watch her approach in the dark. “I know that look.” He comforts her quietly, noticing that their children aren’t trailing at her heels. The bold lines of his legs still glint in the reddish-orange light from the moon overhead as he steps forward to embrace her.

    “What’s on your mind?” He questions Lepis, taking the liberty of running his mouth through her mane.

    Refugee of Loess : Member of the Southlands

    Wolfbane



    Lepis
    [Image: Wolfbane2.png][Image: 3bCHvj.png]
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    #3
    The soft light of the full moon colors the shadowed hills with an apricot hue, reminding the dark-eyed mare of the filly she’s seen with Pteron a time or two. She does not know the girl – Wander – but her family seems settled in the Brilliant Pampas. Not the highest born, she thinks, but Pteron is not either – at least not anymore. He’d been the firstborn son of the Southern Empire, and now he is just a foot soldier in the Loessian Army.

    What does that make her, Lepis wonders?

    She does not question the necessity of their flight from Loess after the Plague nor from the Pampas after the threat of Wyrm, but the navy-haired mare has found that she was far more attached to the certainty of her position than she might have imagined. It is not the wielding of power she misses (though there was certainly pleasure in that), but rather the firm foundation with which it had given her.

    Contrary to the informality of so many monarchs, Lepis has always identified herself first as a queen and secondly as an individual. She enjoys the view from the height of the world’s stage, the thrill of moving about the pieces at her whims. Yet despite her newfound safety and return to Loess, she cannot help but feel as though something is missing. How convenient it would have been to be handed Loess on their return, as Wolfbane had intended by placing Vulgaris at the helm.

    Yet her home is now in the hands of a dragon rather than a snake, and her husband seems happy to carve out a new place for himself rather than settle where they’d left off. She has not said anything (she knows how she will likely sound) yet as the months drag on and her children grow older she has grown more and more restless. No magical solution had presented itself; there’s been no slow down in the tumultuous spiral of emotions that she experiences.

    Her thoughts quiet themselves as she presses her face to Bane’s golden chest.

    She takes a deep breath, inhaling his familiar smell, laced once more with the dust from the hills. It hadn’t been quite right in the Pampas and in the Beyond, but here – at home – everything settles as it should. When she pulls away she is smiling, both in contentment and in amusement at how easily he can read her.

    “I don’t know what to do with myself,” Lepis admits with a smile that is almost bittersweet. “It doesn’t feel right to be without responsibility, but I’ve no interest in following someone else’s orders.”

    Wolfbane
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    #4

    His head lifts, adjusting itself to the shape of his wife’s face when she burrows into his chest for comfort. Wordlessly he shares in her concerns, knowing that the security of their life before this one has been overturned in favor of new leadership. But it wasn’t by choice (she must understand) and if Wolfbane could have things his way, he would turn back time in order to set everything right again. There is remorse inside of him, mixed with a determination to make things as good as he can while he still has that freedom. It’s why he continues to try and make something of himself here; for Lepis he would move mountains.

    Rising up from his sides, the folded bend of his wings edge forward and slide underneath her own. Wolfbane places the knobby, soft radiale bones on either side of her weary shoulders and rolls them methodically, hoping to soothe her unspoken tension by way of a gentle massage. When she pulls back they fall away, Bane tilts his head and tries to mirror her smile in the soft dark.

    “I know what you mean.” He admits. There’s no fear of being open-hearted in her presence. “If it were anyone but Castile… ” The stallion mutters, trying to suppress his rising frustration. He flicks his eyes away from her and the hopelessness she feels, sending his gaze out across the lowlands of their home which seem mystical and quiet in the light of the Hunter moon, and searches for an answer that doesn’t come.

    “I don’t know why Vulgaris did it, but the past no longer matters. I felt that taking action against him was right - justified even.” Her mate admits coolly, feeling the stiff ridge of hair along his neck undulate from a passing breeze. Lovingly, he returns from that faraway place in his mind and focuses again on the silver lines of her face. How many nights had they spent together now? It still doesn’t seem like enough. “If I can take away your worries tell me how, Lepis. I would do it in heartbeat.”

    His mouth twists down and lowers to her forehead, simultaneously kissing and breathing her familiar skin before his eyes close altogether. I would swim the oceans and fly the heavens, if it meant your happiness Bane thinks.

    Refugee of Loess : Member of the Southlands

    Wolfbane



    Lepis
    [Image: Wolfbane2.png][Image: 3bCHvj.png]
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    #5
    His ability to speak her thoughts aloud is but one of the myriad of reasons she adores him. Wolfbane knows what weighs on her without any elaboration, names the obstacle to her happiness as though she’d voice it herself. The single barrier is an insurmountable one – not because they cannot defeat it, but rather because even thinking of doing so somehow feels wrong. If it were anyone else, the answer would be as simple as breathing. Defeat and demolish, as peaceful or as violent as necessary.

    The two of them have never worked together in such a way, but as Lepis traces the soft skin of his shoulder with her blue lips, she knows that they could. They could and he would: for her. For himself as well though, and that thrills her nearly as much as his devotion. She’d pull back to look at him were his face not etched within her mind, and instead she smiles wordlessly into the warmth of his chest for a moment longer. Lepis is not certain why Fate has placed Wolfbane in her life or given him cause to care for her, but she knows better than to probe too hard. He is and that is enough, and so she does her best to be worthy of the good fortune.

    “You won’t find argument from me,” she tells him with a kiss to his neck. “Loess could not hope for a fiercer champion.” The hilly kingdom is as fortunate as she that Wolfbane had chosen to throw his lot with them. There is little of her first husband that Lepis is grateful for, but Arthas had been wise enough to place her home in Wolfbane’s hands, and that is his greatest redeeming feature for the dun mare.

    The night has crept toward them as they embraced, and with it the colder winds. They are sheltered here in their little hollow, and Lepis knows that their time alone is drawing short. The children will be returning to the roost as the last sun fingers of orange light release their hold on the west.

    “I’ve thought of leaving.” She says, and while the admission is uncharacteristic of the loyal pegasus, it is also the logical progression to solving her own unhappiness. “Of making a new home. Not a forever home, just an until one.” Until what she does not say, but she does not doubt he knows: Until Loess is theirs again.

    “My grandmother took Sylva for Castile’s mother,” Lepis says, a bit of history from the dawn of the Nerinian Empire. It has long since crumbled, but the possibility of something similar appeals to Lepis. Similar, but not quite the same. “Perhaps it’s time for the South to expand.” The thought brightens her expression, and now she does pull away. She wants to see his reaction, to read him as easily as he can.

    Wolfbane
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    #6

    He was so confused, before her. Chasing the dragon’s tail through Nerine that never wanted to be caught and coming home to her, always to her. Every time Lepis touches him those memories burn bright to remind him where his center lies. Here in Loess, with her. Always with her. She had been the key to unlocking those hidden parts of himself time and time again, and when Ilma had taken her away hadn’t he recognized then just how much she meant? He would’ve cast this whole place into hell to bring her back, but Lepis came home of her own design and since that day Wolfbane had let her light settle into those places he’d reserved for one and only one woman.

    His shadowy mouth grins at the touch of her lips against his neck. Perhaps Vulgaris (and maybe even a part of Castile) would disagree, however they knew him for his honor to kin and if they didn’t, then soon enough they would. The lands outside these had been his playthings, their inhabitants chess pieces, but the day he’d returned from looking for Wishbone he’d pledged to live his life for this Kingdom and he’d meant it - in whatever shape or form best suited that need.

    Their nest does well to shield them from winter in this place and still he draws closer to her, down to the darkening shape of her withers where he can breath warmly into the crook of her wing. He listens, twisting his ears sharply at her suggestion of leaving. 
    What’s this?

    Blue ink against buff-colored dun, his nose rises along the ever-lovely curve of her neck without losing touch until she pulls away again. The way she words her request is careful; his wife has given this plenty of thought. She reminds him of how precisely intertwined their family is to Castile’s, how a thing like that could continue to be beneficial in the years to come. Silently, Bane won’t disagree. “Sylva?” He questions her - just this once. He measures her for even the slightest hint of doubt and then draws back from that with only the look of her luminous face in his eyes.

    “Perhaps it is.” He admits, smirking. “We’ll go to Castile in the morning… he has the authority to replace Sinner and Mary without bloodshed or violence. Unless you’d prefer it that way.” Her mate shrugs, content with either idea.

    Refugee of Loess : Member of the Southlands

    Wolfbane



    Lepis
    [Image: Wolfbane2.png][Image: 3bCHvj.png]
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    #7
    “Not Sylva,” she replies, a verbal confirmation of the questioning doubt in her husband’s eyes. “I’d rather Castile burn it to the ground.”

    There is a stoniness in her grey eyes deeper than the shade of them, and a flicker of rage for the briefest of moments. Her refusal to grant the denizens of the forest respite from the Plague has become a thing of the past, but the ire of the dun mare has not faded. Years have passed since her captivity in the woods, but the fiery woods still illuminate her dreams. They are not nightmares, at least not anymore, but they are not scarce.

    “I’ve never traveled,” she says, as though this somehow fits into the conversation they’d been having. “I think I’d like to visit the Taiga.”

    The dun mare has been few places, but she had loved her mother’s stories of the redwood forests as a child. Heda had called the place home, once, and Lepis imagines that she must miss it from time to time. It’s a quiet place, she knows. Unassuming and ignored by the rest of Beqanna, the foggy forest still occupies a rather strategic location. The place is appealing in several ways, and the dark-eyed mare glances up at Wolfbane with fire replacing the somber stoniness of her gaze.

    “Let’s take the children,” she adds, stretching up to place a kiss on the blue slope of his cheek. There are changes coming, but as she looks at him she doesn't doubt they can weather them.

    Wolfbane
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    #8

    There it is; he laughs openly at the idea of Sylva burning. Much more to her taste, her husband thinks. In the dark he can nearly feel her unrest at his mention of the red-gold woods; he doesn’t need to look in her eyes for him to understand the sincerity behind what she says. Sylva itself had been nothing but an opportunity - its physical value to him was worthless in the grand scheme of things. The unrest between Loess and her neighbor was always a palpable sore since the Plague, something better disbanded before it turned sour.

    But he wasn’t capable of making those changes; not yet.

    Taiga, Lepis breathes. The word turns something inside of him that is neither questionable nor wholly acceptable. It’s a foreign land for sure, quiet every time he passes over it on northward journeys but still a land grasped firmly in the hand of a Kingdom he’s well-associated with.

    Something about it stirs a memory inside of him relating to his father, but it drifts away steadily at the touch of her kiss and the command in her tone. “Yes ma'am.” Bane laughs, quietly. The tenor of his voice is warm and inviting, stirred by their fevered touches and the way she comes alive in his embrace.

    It strikes him, marveling at her, that perhaps this is a new endeavour he should support her in. After all, what has he done that Lepis herself couldn’t possibly do ten times better? The trojanesque stallion’s grin is lost to the oncoming night. Yes, changes are advancing uninvited but this change - supporting Lepis and her claim, supporting their family in this move as she directs it - will be one that they can control together like they always have.

    “I love you.” He tells her endlessly, and that’s all he needs to say anymore.

    Refugee of Loess : Member of the Southlands

    Wolfbane



    Lepis
    [Image: Wolfbane2.png][Image: 3bCHvj.png]
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