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    version 22: awakening


    OCEANE -- Year 208


    "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

    the best is over and the worst is yet to come ; vul
    like a house on fire we're up in flames; i'd burn here if that's what it takes

    She wakes in the night to blood and pain.

    Groaning, she rolls from her side to her hooves, trying to gather trembling limbs beneath her body to force herself to her feet. She makes it halfway before another contraction washes over her, sending her back down to her knees as she bites through a scream. Throwing out a wing for balance, she tries again, realizing partway through that it is futile – the labor has come on too quickly for her to try and relocate to a quieter part of the kingdom to give birth in.

    She is certain that her family is nearby as she labors throughout the darkest hours of the night, but no one approaches as she groans through contraction after contraction. The bleeding intensifies as the foal positions itself for birth, and a steady stream of smoke furls from her mouth as she pants. She had predicted some weeks ago that this was going to be rough, but she hadn’t a clue then exactly how hard this labor was going to be. For a spell, she even contemplates if this is going to be what finally kills her, after over a decade and a half of life. A child.

    Dawn is starting to break as the foal slides from her womb at last, and she looks upon the colt as well she can in the gathering light, smiling at his small form as she licks him clean. Exhaustion wells behind her eyes and she is tempted to put her head down and drift away, but she fights the urge and nudges his barrel, indicating that it is time for him to try and stand. She doesn’t yet notice how gaunt he is or his sunken eyes, just that he is a perfect son, her first since fiery Flamebrand. Pride swells in her and she goes to push to her hooves,

    – and falls.

    The weakness hits her hard, and suddenly she is so dizzy that she can’t see straight. Groaning once more, she tries to heal herself, but her mind and body are so exhausted that the energy just isn’t there. Eyes falling once more on her son, she reaches across and lays her head against his small body, shivering with a cold that isn’t really there. “We will rest for now, son,” she tells him, voice faint, but the boy whickers softly in response. “The world will still be here in a few hours.”

    With that, her eyes fall shut, and she finds herself beginning to drift.

    vulgaris :|

    " i could be ugly in loving you. filthy and soft-mouthed. wolf-tongued and terrible.
    i could carry my heart in my mouth like a bird dog to you, so gently i wouldn’t leave a mark. "

    It’s only been a few days since he visited Tephra but it already feels like another life to him as he wanders along the borders of Loess. He misses her – her kiss, the smell of her hair when she first wakes up – but he knows that that chapter of his life has come to a close. It drags like a weight behind him and keeps his mind in a fog until he hears the sound of someone struggling. Vulgaris lifts his head, ears upright and swiveling to find the source before he takes off running. When he finds her, tiny son bundled close to her side, he’s surprised at the sight.

    He’d been there for the birth of four of his own children but never anyone else’s. It feels so strange to be present while she cleans her newborn baby and encouraging him to stand up for the first time. So he waits, keeps his distance and watches any movement nearby in case anyone sought to interrupt her first moments with her son. When she settles and whispers so delicately to him, he approaches with his head hung low and steps purposely slow.

    Are.. are you alright? I’m sorry for intruding, I was just..” he begins but he doesn’t know what else to say. It just doesn’t seem right for her to be alone right now. “I’m Vulgaris.

    He recognizes her as one of the healers they had captured and imprisoned. He wonders if an apology is appropriate at a time like this, or ever really. But how could be even begin to explain the depth of his remorse at harming her, someone he doesn’t even know? He swallows nervously and takes a step back as he worries if she has enough space to feel comfortable around him. His gaze inevitably drifts to the newborn as he realizes how sickly the boy seems to be despite his age.
    Cress this is bad bad not good
    like a house on fire we're up in flames; i'd burn here if that's what it takes
    She is just beginning to give in to sleep when the sound of an unfamiliar voice hits her ears, and her eyes snap open, falling upon the gray stallion across the clearing. Gathering what is left of her strength, she clambers to her hooves, eyes narrowing as she takes him in. She has never met the man, but she knows his name before he utters it – Vulgaris – and an anger flows through her so swiftly she feels as though she may faint. This is the man – the viper – who had ruined her friend so easily, and stolen Cress back to Loess when she had finally found freedom.

    She could make a list of all of his grievances, but she simply doesn’t have the energy.

    When she opens her mouth to speak, there is fire there, burning brightly at the back of her throat. Many years ago, she would have swallowed the flames and forced them back down, but today she does nothing of the sort. Let him feel fear as she threatens to soak him in the very thing that had once ruined her. Let him burn, make him sweat... she has not felt this sort of anger in so very long, and she relaxes into it as though it is an old lover.

    “Back away from my son,” she snaps, lowering her head to shoo her boy away from the snake-stallion. Her throat burns from the flames and her voice has gone from deep to raspy as she speaks through the fire, but the threat is very real. “Give me one good reason I shouldn’t melt your scales and turn you to a pile of ash like you deserve.”

    I was finally free, she thinks, anger and despair waging a war inside her tired body. Free to be someone else, somewhere else, until he had set his designs on snatching her back. Forgive her if the only thing she can feel for this man is hatred – she can only see things from her perspective, and doesn’t know that the man before her is as much of a ruin as she is.

    Maybe once, she would have cared that Leliana had so unceremoniously left him behind.



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