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    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


    child and prisoner
    #1

    they promised that dreams can come true

    She finds herself strangely content here, in a land where she knows no one but the King who stole her away in the dead of night. Why? It’s hard to say. It’s not as if she’s gotten to know anyone here or found herself welcomed with open arms. Yet, she recalls the way Castile looked at her when he realized what she could do, the way he actually paid attention as if she were something more than a nuisance. Which was unfair, she knows, because Dawn never considered her such that she could tell, but it still felt like it sometimes. Maybe the truth was that the Cove would always simply hold the cloud of her parents betrayal and so anywhere would feel more welcoming than there.

    She has spent much of her time working on her power, though her mothers still trail her on a regular basis. They are not with her today, thankfully, though one occasion one of them flickers in and out of sight. Maybe she’s gaining some control, or maybe she’s still just reeling from the fact that her actual mother had come back. Solace, the one she’d honestly never expected to see again, had found her. It threw a bit of a monkey wrench in the bitterness she’d been feeding off of since they’d left her in the first place, though still, they’d left her.

    Today she decides to wander, to see what surprises Loess has up its sleeve without her painting over the canvas again and again. Small illusions trail her though, afterthoughts that she can’t quite control. They are harmless things, merely extra pops of color, friendly wildlife – the things of a little girls dream. Ori doesn’t paint nightmares, having already sorted out that giving someone the thing they love is far more painful. Letting them know it’s there but not truly there…well, she knows what it feels like. Her power does this to her regularly, presenting to her the parents she’d only wished she’d had.

    Life teems around her, this place more active than she remembers even the Cove being. Yet somehow, Ori remains invisible, enjoying rather than engaging. She is not, however, invisible. That is a thing she has not yet mastered. The particularly of creating invisibility are still beyond her, though she understands that it will involve creating a more fluid illusion of landscape than she has yet begun to practice. One day though. Perhaps tomorrow. Today, she simply uses her status as child and prisoner to remain unseen.  

    Oriash

    but they forgot that nightmares are dreams too



    kahzie
    Reply
    #2
    At the sound of light steps, Pteron glances up with a frown. He had told his siblings not to follow him but it sounds as though they hadn’t listened. This doesn't surprise him – they rarely listen – but it does throw a wrench in his plans for the afternoon.

    But the girl he scowls at from over his white shoulder is neither of his sisters, and the crease between his brows curves to something much less off-putting and far more curious. Pteron knows who she is despite having never seen her; Castile had stolen away a noble girl from the Silver Cove and this is surely her. Her golden coat and blue markings obscure much of the resemblance, but Pteron has seen a pair of antlers like that only once before, on a young stallion that he is certain must be her brother. Hers are smaller than Aegean’s had been, and the dun colt wonders how the amethyst-eyed boy’s might have grown since their last meeting. Aegean had been sure they’d rival his mother’s one day; perhaps this girl’s will as well.

    “You’re the girl from the Silver Cove.” He says in greeting, with certainty in his voice at first, followed by a question “Oriash?”

    By now he has turned about, his afternoon quest tabled for a moment. Halfway through an effort to turn his wings invisible, he stands looking somewhat lopsided – one blue and gold wing tucked to his side, and the other a feathered joint that fades into visual noise that only vaguely resembles a wing. He’s been trying to turns parts of himself invisible for a few days now, and had been relsihing this chance away from his siblings and duties to make a concentrated effort. Yet he finds that he does not mind being distracted by this not-quite- a-stranger, if only because he is curious.

    “I’m Pteron,” he adds after a moment, just as a nearby deer disappears. Pteron startles, his posture straightening as his olive eyes seek out the deer that is suddenly nowhere to be found. “Did you see that?” he asks, uncertain if he should be concerned. Castile had not mentioned wildlife might be a threat, but surely father would have told him if there were other invisible creatures in Loess. “That deer just...vanished.”

    Oriash
    Reply
    #3

    they promised that dreams can come true

    She is strangely famous for a girl with dead parents that largely keeps to herself. The concept still baffles her, honestly, that she could be valuable in a sense, though she’s understands that she is a little more than a piece in a game she does not play. The unfairness of it should bother her, perhaps, but it doesn’t. The truth is she finds some benefit in it. Without her fame, she’d still be wallowing in self-pity on the beaches of the Cove in a place she did not belong. Whether or not she belonged in Loess was unclear to her still, but she knew enough now to know that she liked it better here than her own birth home. Little had changed from one to the next – she didn’t suddenly become someone new or better – but still, she found herself more comfortable.

    Perhaps the comfort simply came without the specter of her real parents hanging over her (their illusions, however, followed her everywhere). It was enough to get out from beneath their shadow, as much as she could ever get out from beneath the shadow of two mares that she looked so very much like. She wore her parents on her sleeve, and would never be anything but their daughter first and foremost in first impressions.

    You’re the girl from Silver Cove, comes a voice, and she isn’t startled by the fact he knows but rather by the fact he’s paying her any mind at all. Most everyone ignores her, and she leaves it like that, making no effort to be noticed. Yet this boy simply greets her, and she does her best to offer him a small smile. It is unpracticed, but not false, at the very least. “Ori is fine,” she offers, preferring the simple one syllable to the mouthful that is her true name.

    He’s turned to face her at this point, and she can’t help but chuckle slightly at the lopsided, semi-invisible wings. It’s a good attempt, and she certainly doesn’t judge uncontrolled powers (hers had a mind of their own, regularly), but still the sight is amusing. She’s about to offer to ‘help’, wondering if she could manage the illusion on a small part of someone’s body more easily than she could her entire self, when he introduces herself.

    “Nice to meet you,” she says, because for all the time she spends apart it is nice to truly meet someone that isn’t trying to steal her or protect her. Her attention diverts from her various, rather unconscious illusions to the boy and suddenly he startles. She too does the same, looking in his direction but seeing nothing. When his comment comes, she can only laugh again having startled at her own damn power. They were a pair, it seemed. “Oh, that’s me. Probably, anyway.”

    Sometimes she is never entirely sure if things are of her own making or something else entirely, but usually she assumes it’s her. The deer comes back, standing between the pair of them, curious and interested as it steps hesitantly toward Pteron, reaching a nose out in curiosity. Ori watches impassively, as if she’s not the one creating half of the scene that now unfolds, but she is concentrating on only what’s happening between the deer and the boy in order to make it happen at all. Otherwise….well otherwise, she has absolutely no idea what that deer might do.

    Oriash

    but they forgot that nightmares are dreams too



    Pteron
    Reply
    #4
    “Ori.” He repeats, finding that the nickname she prefers feels somehow more fitting for the girl in front of him. Ori sounds lighter and younger, lacking the noble weight of her full name, much in the way that saying a name without titles does. Pteron nods, and there is something that might be a smile on his face for just a moment. It grows stronger, brightening his olive eyes as he watches her take in the incomplete product of his trials with invisibility. The dun pegasus knows how silly they must look, and he has never been uncomfortable playing the clown, so he considers her chuckle at his wings progress on their acquaintance.

    “It’s nice to meet you too,” is the polite response, and he wonders why he’d not sought her out before. He’s always loved hearing stories from others, especially because he loves retelling them to the triplets.

    Oh. That is why he hadn’t been as social, why he’d been keeping mostly to himself. Wordlessly, his face falls, but it is just after she looks away toward the deer. Though the smoke in the air has long since faded, the frequent spring showers often bring with them the scent of charred wood and scorched earth. It is a reminder of the maze, of the war, of the loss of his smallest brother. Pteron might have lingered in sadness for an uncomfortably long time, but instead he is saved from grief-stricken introspection by the reappearance and subsequent approach of the vanishing deer from a moment ago.

    “Oh,” again, this time said aloud in wonder as the doe draws nearer. “How are you doing that?” He asks Ori, though his gaze never leaves the deer. “Can I touch it?” He hardly remembers to ask and pauses just before contact. Pteron thinks he can feel the warm breath from the creature’s damp black nose and see each of the fine hairs that line its curiously swiveling ears. He’s never been this close to a deer before, at least not an adult. The fawns are much more docile, and Pteron found them lying still and motionless in the tall grass of the Brillaint Pampas nearly every day last spring. It’s smaller than he anticipated and much more fragile looking.

    Oriash
    Reply
    #5

    they promised that dreams can come true

    She has never thought of her full name as noble at all, though in some other version of her life she would have been a princess and perhaps she would have preferred Oriash. Princess Oriash. It was a laughable notion to the half-orphan prisoner that she was now. Laughable because she cannot imagine being that girl and she has no interest in being that girl. She would have, perhaps, liked to simply be raised with her family around her, to lose the title of orphan and prisoner. She dreams of it as other children dream of castles and princes, but she doesn’t necessarily want it. After all, who would she have been then?

    Not the girl she has become, and it’s hard to imagine being anyone but yourself.

    The boy before her smiles, kindly, and she finds herself smiling back. It’s an unpracticed, underused thing on her face, but she tries. It’s strange to her to simply be conversing with another child, to be playing (in a sense, anyway), to be doing something other than being used by adults that won’t clue her in on the details. For this, he seems to quietly nestle into a special place in her heart without trying and without knowing.

    “I’m not totally sure,” she admits. “I just think about, and it appears. It’s easy to make it appear, but it’s harder to get smells or solidity and things like that right. You can try touching it, though I’m not sure I’ve mastered that piece.” The deer is solid, but she’s not sure she’s got the feel of its coat quite right or if the muscles will ripple and move as they should. It’s easiest to trick the eye, harder to trick the other senses. She finds herself curious to see what he feels though. She never can quite test for herself, too aware of what she’s creating in those moments to feel anything but failure.

    Oriash

    but they forgot that nightmares are dreams too

    Reply
    #6
    Ever so slowly, Pteron reaches out.

    The soft-eyed deer remains perfectly still, even when the stallion’s muzzle brushes against its damp nose. When he feels it – impossibly tangible – he draws back sharply in excitement, his blue ears pricking and liveliness animating in his features.

    “It felt real!” He exclaims, unperturbed by the minute details that Ori might not have perfected. He is no expert in the texture nor musculature of deer and as far as Pteron is concerned the girl is a master of her craft. “That’s incredible!”

    Pteron has seen a great many magical workings, but this is by far the most entertaining he has encountered.

    “Can you make anything?” He asks, recalling the other wildlife he’d assumed had simply disappeared into the grass, and even the pair of mares that often lingered near Oriash when he had seen her from a distance. “My brother and sister can make me see anything, but it doesn’t ever feel real. Eyas is really good at it but Gale...” He stops abruptly.

    Carried away by his own amusement and distracted by the novelty of Ori’s magic, Pteron had allowed himself to forget. His olive eyes lose their sparkle and the excited prick of his blue ears swivel instead into the pale tangle of his mane. Pteron swallows down the pain with a dose of happiness (just like Mother had taught them), and a moment later offers her a small smile to replace the sudden blankness on his face. “Sorry,” he says, “Sorry. I forgot sometimes, that he’s gone.”

    Oriash
    Reply
    #7

    they promised that dreams can come true

    Something like excitement tickles at her mind as she watches him. The deer, of course, should not stand so perfectly still and she makes a mental note to work on that, but still, he reaction is almost delightful. Ori is so thrilled when he exclaims that is felt real, that a true smile crosses her face. Testing her own illusions is hard, at least when she knows that’s what she’s doing. Many of her illusions come unbidden and those feel real – so, so real – but she rarely touches them. Touch gives it away for her, because at the touch they simply feel like her. After all, they are, an extension of her own mind coupled with an ability to manipulate the minds of others.

    “I have to know what it looks like,” or feels like, depending on what she’s trying to create. The idea of being able to create illusions of pain or happiness has crossed her mind, and she suspects that the skill is not out of reach, but she hasn’t quite sorted out how and she didn’t necessarily want to go testing it on strangers and screw them up. The deer disappears, and in its place she paints Castile, who for some reason is the thing that comes to mind. Captor and savoir, it is not shocking that she thinks of him easily enough, though she’s never seem him again since he stole her away in the dead of night.

    She lets the illusion go entirely, leaving blank space there instead. Well, never blank, of course, the world itself its own canvas. Could she paint it away entirely, leaving nothing but darkness or light behind? For now, she doesn’t try, but looks to Pteron, waiting for his request, though the topic of conversation changes instead. He throws out names she does not know, and then halts as the name Gale comes to his lips. Ori stays silent, letting him work through it in the time he needs.

    For a girl who was largely raised by herself, she understand compassion. Perhaps because she understands what it’s like to simply hurt, to let that hurt turn into emptiness with no other way to cope. He seems to swallow down the pain instead, though she wonders if either coping method is the right one. Maybe it was okay to simply hurt. Sometimes, she simply hurt. In those moments, the shadows of her power crept out from her, unbidden and uncontrolled, emotion made visible like an aura. “Tell me about Gale,” she offers, voice quiet but her intention clear. The air shimmers nearby, waiting to paint. She doesn’t know if it’s better or worse, that momentary glimpse, but she offers it. The choice is still his.

    Oriash

    but they forgot that nightmares are dreams too



    Pteron
    Reply
    #8
    The deer ahead of him grows larger, turning from soft brown to a familiar contrast of black and white. Castile, tall and proud, and then nothing. Pteron tilts his head and his olive eyes trail through the empty space between them in silence for a long while. He thinks of Gale, how his last memories of the boy are of a child that is now much younger than his remaining siblings. He smiles, but it is bittersweet – has that much time passed already?

    The flowers that had grown over the little grave had been put there by magic just after the burial, but he realizes as he takes a deep breath of the autumn air, that six months have passed and they’d have covered it naturally by now as well. It is strange, and he is grateful for the distraction that Ori provides in the something that shimmers in the air beside them. Its not until he looks at it and then back at her that Pteron understands what she is asking – what she is offering.

    He can see Gale again? Well, not really Gale, but something almost like him.

    It is not something he’d have come up with on his own, and for a quiet moment he wonders about Oriash. He knows who she is, but it is only her most public identity. She offers to help him despite knowing just as much about Pteron, and the blue edged pegasus feels a soft sort of warmth grow in his chest. He smiles, and this time it is not bitter – only sweet.

    “He was almost a yearling,” He tells the illusionist. “He had wings, and his coat was like mine, but with blue ripples, like shadows in the grass.” Pteron does’nt know the word for brindle. They weren’t stripes quite like Father’s, he thinks, and that reminds him: “His mane was blue, and it went all the way down his back, just like my Dad’s.”

    Oriash
    Reply
    #9

    they promised that dreams can come true

    He might be, in some small way, the first horse she’s encountered who can begin to the see the edges of her beneath her public identity. Ori’s entire life, and through it her worth, have been defined by her parents, by their status and therefore the chaos that disrupting her life could cause. So many remark on her appearance and her parentage in meeting here. Even Petron had (though nicer, simply pointing out Silver Cove), something she doesn’t fault him for but something she always notices. Ori notices so little about the real world, but this she is keenly attuned to. Her life has been defined by this so deftly and definitively that she cannot miss it now.

    Yet, she notices to the way he smiles at her in this moment, the air shimmering beside them. Realization dawns across his face and he seems genuinely pleased at the offer, and she can’t help but give him a small smile back. Her heart, despite her life, had not entirely hardened. In truth, she’s not sure it’s kind either, but rather simply is, in the way Ori simply is. Neither kind nor cruel, neither black nor white.

    He begins to describe, and she paints as he speaks. Gale comes into view slowly, a small thing like her, young and fuzzy with legs too long and ears too big. There’s no color yet, but wings form, like a pencil sketch before the actual paint. She pauses for a moment as Pteron describes the color, then goes back to painting, first replicating Pteron himself and then adding blue ripples, imagining the way grass blows in the wind and deepening the hue of the blue in such a way as to be reminiscent of what he describes. She looks back at Pteron then, waiting for confirmation if this piece is correct, uncertain that she has quite gotten it down and happy to correct as necessary.

    He adds another comment, and she doesn’t know who his father is, but she turns the boys mane blue while more hair crops up down the length of the illusions back. She turns back to Pteron again, a question in her eyes, waiting to see if she’d gotten it right. The illusions stands still, but she wants to breathe life into it, to let him move as if alive again, even if only for the moment. She can, and will, but it seems appropriate to first make sure that the illusion is correct.

    Oriash

    but they forgot that nightmares are dreams too



    Pteron sorry, Ori apparently doesn't talk much

    Use of mild power playing is allowed; no injuries without permission

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