"(souls are not meant to live more than once — death was not meant to be temporary, and she is so sure that every time her heart starts to beat again that irreversible damage is further inflicted)" -- Anonya, written by Colby
He does not sleep, even after the sun’s last rays creep beneath the horizon and plunge them into the depths of night. Castile had issued the orders as soon as Leliana had left their borders. He kept is short and sweet, turning his head to Wolfbane and Ophanim. “Burn them to the ground.” The words echo in his ears as he watches Malone sleep, curled in a ball next to his mother. The stars across their bodies glimmer softly as a reflection of the sky above them. He takes a deep breath and kisses his wife goodbye. The angel boy didn’t have the heart to tell her about the orders and he doesn’t intend to now. She deserves not to worry.
He slinks away and spreads his wings as he picks up into a gallop. Ophanim pumps his wings once, twice and then the ground shrinks beneath his hooves. His gold and ivory body turns ink black so he’s little more than a blur across the night sky. His scales reflect hardly any light as he glides along the warm drafts of air toward Tephra. The angel turned dragon looks over his shoulder to make sure he’s being followed by the others before he tucks his wings, sending him into a dive.
When he’s close enough, his wings snap open to carry him into a lower glide. He feels the warmth gathering in his throat and he takes a deep breath as he reminds himself this is for his children. This is for Starsin. No one can endanger them and go unanswered, he tells himself when he exhales. The power behind his fire breath shakes the limbs of their tropical trees and catches their leaves on fire. Ophanim continues to gather more and more heat, exhaling further with each breath until he hears the trees crackle and burn. He doesn’t have to be graceful or beautiful to destroy their home the way their queen tried to ruin his. He finds some peace in that fact.
He lands next to their stream and breathes his fire across their grasses, stopping only when his lungs heave for breath. Smoke billows from his lips as he folds his membranous wings against his back and searches for the others. Their answer is loud and clear as the torched branches begin to crumble and fall, shaking the ground as their snapping echoes across the kingdom.
She had known that they would likely retaliate. She had known that they wouldn’t let her warning shot go unanswered—but, again, she underestimates the violence that they will fight back with. She feels them as they dive into her home and the hairs down her spine practically stand up end. Her golden eyes burn bright but even she knows she is tired, that she is exhausted. She is powerful but she is just one woman.
And they come breathing one of her biggest weaknesses.
If she was capable of it, she would feel fear but all she feels is the burning star in her chest. She feels that magma flow of fury at their continued insistence to hold onto their cruelty. So she pushes past the fatigue that settles so deeply into her bones and takes flight, her massive red wings carrying her to the center of her home. Her head tips back and her teeth clench as she anchors herself into the power of Tephra.
Her magic releases itself and she cries out—the sound raw and visceral. Shockwaves come out from her in a flash. They ripple throughout Tephra and then arc above her into a golden shield.
But she isn’t strong enough to protect everything.
She isn’t strong enough to keep them completely at bay.
The shield comes between herself and the trio of fire breathing stallions. She does her best to wrap it around every innocent soul within her home, to reach out with her gift to find them all, but it’s too much.
All she can do is shield what she can. All she can do is keep as many of her residents and countrymen safe and as much of Tephra protected from the fire that rains down around them all.
But she can’t save it all.
In the end, she can’t even save herself. The shield in front of her is the thinnest point and she feels the fire lick through it. Her magic curls away from the source of it and she waivers. Her shield splits open before it and she feels it the fire roar through, curling around her legs and up her chest.
She cries out again, but she doesn’t withdraw her power to focus on that.
05-14-2019, 11:23 PM (This post was last modified: 05-14-2019, 11:27 PM by Wolfbane.)
As much as it pained him to go, he was promised someone would find Tiercel and keep him safe. In fact he’d ignored the call at first while daylight still shone, running frantic circles through an endless maze that was once and always his beloved home. Each step he took was one driven by loud, heart-wrenching curses. Each corner he turned and found nothing was false hope that lent him rage and fury. He didn’t care that the ground was like poison in his lungs; they’d grow back. He didn’t care that Leliana’s garden ripped his flesh and drank his blood; he’d pay them all back in double.
Night fell, his wife bid him to go and the others took up the search for him.
He followed in silence with Ophanim this time, to where Castile gave them orders Wolfbane was ready to follow. Thoughts of red warmed him now as the dragon took shape and then took point, two silent sentries beside him to give Tephra what they had asked for.
Leliana thinks she’s prepared. Everyone knows though: there’s no preparing for this.
In all hell’s glory they streak across Tephra’s borders, Ophanim dipping low and Castile somewhere Bane loses sight of. Firelight strikes up as a thin match and then expands, tendrils out like the branches of a living organism that feasts on green pastures and grows between the two fire-breathers. Wolfbane tries to open his throat and follow suit without success (he will never breath flame again) so he does what comes naturally.
While Leliana screams sweetly in his thoughts and all throughout her Kingdom, the striped pegasus fades to invisibility and coasts low for someone, anyone, to pour his rage onto. Perhaps... a wanderer. An innocent, just like his son.
Yes. YES. As he sheds his cloak of secrecy mid-flight, whirling with all the rage of a frothing animal, he can think of no one more deserving of his hatred.
Refugee of Loess : Member of the Southlands
Jakub I'm down to move this officially to challenges or just discuss how it plays out via discord/DM <3
05-14-2019, 11:45 PM (This post was last modified: 05-14-2019, 11:51 PM by litotes.)
boy what's normal to you? 'cause that sure ain't normal to me.
Luckily for Litotes, he is still within the grasp of Loess when Leliana first strikes. The cremello is settling into a discussion with his daughter when the ground begins to rumble. First there is fear, then there is acceptance, then there is nothing. He leaves Brunhilde to her own capable devices and rushes to where he thinks the three stallions he initially searched for reside.
The plan is simple: burn.
Of course Brunhilde wanted to go, but the Archon forbade her. As much as he would like to see his daughter setting fire to their enemies, he knows that she is far more useful razing the maze with that frightening nonchalance she possesses. And so, when night falls, he gathers his shadows around him and teleports to the border of Sylva and Loess.
Crickets chirp around him, buzzing in that monotonous way creatures do when they have no idea of the catastrophe ahead. Lie’s ears flick back and forth, golden eyes scanning the shadows he drags to his side for any form of life. So far, there is none, and he returns his gaze to the Tephra border. The hardy trees of Sylva are scattered against the tropical flowers on the border. The blues and purples and oranges pop out at him too brightly, so he swathes them in darkness and inches closer to Tephra.
Lie knows exactly what to do. He arrives much faster than the fire-breathers, but still he waits a few moments longer - waits for the signalling flap of their wings. A rush of wind passes over his head, the scent of brimstone passes over his nostrils.
Darkness falls on Tephra.
Every ounce of strength the Archon possesses is thrust headlong into his magic. A wall of shadow wraps around Tephra, then spreads across its land in inky blackness. Litotes focuses, sweat breaks out on the sides of his face, but he sends his power into the faces of every Tephran resident. Yellow-eyed shadow creatures dart and hiss across the landscape, billowy black fog floats just thick enough to make it hard to see.
All the while, Loess lights up Tephra with fire.
Each explosion reflects like fireworks in his eyes. He feels fear for the innocent, but awe for their combined power. When his strength wanes, another flash of his comrades passes in the sky, and he is renewed.
Let them burn blindly in the night.
and if i fall would you know that to do? and if i'm caught up would you stay?
feel free to powerplay any shadow creatures being evil or any shadows at all being evil
She has been avoiding her dragon form for months. Ever since she realized she couldn’t always control it, when she began to notice that being in that form stirred a violence and callousness in her hat she despised, she has done her best to keep true to her equine self.
But she feels the fire before she ever sees it.
It sings to her own fire that she kept locked so tightly inside of her, as she pressed herself backwards into the safety of Tephra’s bramble and foliage, her ice-blue eyes squeezing shut as though she could somehow make it all stop. She could feel her heart hammering in her chest, and her blood pulsating in her ears as the first plumes of smoke reach her nose. When her reptilian eyes fly open, her pupils narrowing to mere slits, she sucks in a sharp breath. She can hear the way the flames crackle as they burn through the trees, and then suddenly the protective shield that Leliana stretches out to all of them. She hardly knows their new queen, but from her vantage point on the outskirts, she can see her approaching the stallions that breathe fire across her homeland.
When Leliana’s shield breaks, Casimira shifts without thinking.
She erupts from the brush, her white scales glinting and reflecting with orange flames as her dragon-wings spread, thrusting herself into the sky. Her sight is locked on the stallions, and without hesitation she flies in between them and Leliana. She can feel the fire as it licks across her, and even though her scales are thick and rough, it does not take long for the persistent flames to burn into her flesh. Snaking her giant head towards them, she does not explode with her own fire – not yet. She snaps at whoever is closest with her massive jaws, her teeth flashing and sharp, and she is relentless as she drives them back. She does not notice as the sky around them darkens into an impossible, endless night – she does not notice that stallion that pulls what could be every shadow in Beqanna to his aid. Around her, the sky is bright, flashing with the fire that the dragons spit back and forth at each other, her own throat hot and smoldering with each torch of flame that she emits.
I didn't know if anyone else was showing up with Ophie that had fire, so, I just pretended like there might be.
A quiver of power shook the grounds of Tephra as Jakub took towards the shoreline, fire licking at his heels. He gathered as many vulnerable Tephrans as he could, urging them to follow. Already so many were injured, death and pain mixing with the sulfuric smell of the surrounding flames. "Fire to water, follow me to the shores if you can not fight. Help anyone you can to the shorelines. If you stand with your Queen and are more than able, find a way to bring these beasts to the ground. Let's douse out their flames and make them eat their own fire. Their belly will feel the horror they bring here today!" his voice bellowed out across the scattered group.
His queen, the center of their home, was exhausting every once of her magic to hold the flying beasts at bay. The beasts that were torching the ground they walked on and the trees they found solace under. The heat of his burning kingdom scorching his back as he ran, beads of sweat slicking his black coat.
Jakub's attention was focused everywhere and anywhere all at once. His hooves slipped effortlessly into the cool shoreline stopping just as suddenly. Turning towards Tephra he took in the damage that was spreading. His eyes scanned the sky, watching momentarily, thinking of anything he could do to bring these fire breathers to their level. But no not all fire breathers Jakub witnesses, as one striped pegasus opens his mouth to follow his companions and nothing comes out. Just as quickly the pegasus dives to the ground disappearing as he goes, straight toward the innocent and vulnerable that Jakub had gathers on the shores close to water away from the roaring flames. "Prepare yourself, find any strength you have to defend your home. I will fight along side you, what ever it takes. We are Tephra, hold strong to your land. Use her to your advantage. We did not chose to find peace within her Volcanic heart to fall mercy to these flames that threaten her existence."
Jakub turns his attention to the sky watching the shadows pull and twist with movement of beasts and flames. Pinning his ears he charges from the water, kicking up cool water to settle along his hide, a last attempt of protection against the flames he charges into. As he charges towards the one pegasus who threatens the innocent. The raging fires reflecting the anger he felt in his midnight eyes. Not today.
and underneath the layers, I find myself asking what's left a hollowed out form, the skeleton of a ghost, the pitiful echo of what once was
And so, it begins.
It was a looming knowledge that Castile embraced. He did not fear. He did not tremble. He waited.
Sitting upon his throne, with a crown crookedly – arrogantly – cocked on his brow, Castile steps from the mouth of his mountain cave. Chaos breaks across Loess, and he hears Leliana’s voice resonate through the kingdom, brimming with fury. A smug grin tugs at the corner of his mouth and his eyes flash mischievously. Silly, impulsive girl, he thinks. She arrives and channels her rage, sprouting trees and brush and thorns from nothingness. Vegetative towers erupt from the flatlands of Loess and consume the rolling hills and sentinel cacti. Castile’s gaze intensifies to scrutinize her work – the labor of a newly-crowned Queen and magician – before regarding his family with a curt nod. They know. All of Loess knows. They were poking the sleeping bear, and now it is awake.
They’ve already accomplished one of their goals.
Castile’s piebald skin flickers into the beige and brown of the rocky mountain harboring him and his family, like camouflage. Nayl, Reia, and Cyprin say nothing as the king slips away into the veiled shadows.
Tephra’s volcano juts from the horizon as he soars excitedly northwest. He sees the others – Wolfbane and Ophanim – also take flight just as they’ve agreed. There’s no need to speak. They fly in silence, already with the plans settled and in commencement.
Just as they hoped, Leliana has abandoned her home.
A blood-curdling roar pierces the night sky as Castile’s body transitions from horse to dragon. A flash of lightning in the clouds glimmers off his scales as they ripple into an obsidian base, his spines a scarlet red. The other men descend and set the world on fire.
Their bodies illuminate, briefly, by the inferno set ablaze to the kingdom until Litotes cloaks them in darkness. Flames spill from Castile’s muzzle when he dives and burns another hundred yards of Tephra’s soil and trees. There is shouting below as the Tephrans either flee or prepare to defend their volcanic home. Merciless, just as Leliana was toward Loess, Castile expels another plume of fire across the land as he soars through, his beating wings sounding like claps of thunder.
Smoke swirls into his nostrils and feeds his adrenaline like fuel. On an updraft, Castile lifts himself with hardly any thrusts of his wings. A fluid bank sits him high above to observe the damage ailing the landscape. Up here, he can see the void of darkness and the speck of Litotes beneath, crafting and manipulating it. The others are trapped within the shadows, extending fingers of fire across anything and everything they can reach. Another roar erupts as Castile shifts and drives back down upon seeing Leliana’s return and the barricade she supplies in attempt to preserve the second half of her home. So much of it is already in shambles – blackened and scorched - , but she stands defiantly even as her shield weakens nearest to her. A sweep past brings a wave of fire from Castile’s mouth, threatening to exhaust her efforts before he pivots and disappears back into the shadows for another loop.
When he emerges this time, however, he does not target Leliana or her barrier.
His eyes – darting to and fro – find the opposing dragon as he suddenly breaches through Litote’s umbrage. There is minimal time as he darts toward her, pivoting his body so that, hopefully, his talons and body can slam against her at the last moment. Wings, scales, and teeth clash while all around them, a fire relentlessly blazes. Leliana is temporarily forgotten as Castile’s own battle rages on in an effort to bring down and destroy the foreign dragon.
He was born with a golden heart and eyes unclouded. Justice found a home within him and he nurtured it into a pristine, white-hot fury that always lapped up any darkness it could find. Maleficar licks sins from his fingers only to find that each meal leaves him more ravenous than before. It’s no wonder he’s drawn to the rumbling in the west as Leliana’s maze rises from the ground and the fires sweep across Tephra. He stands on the borders of her kingdom, flames reflecting in his black eyes as he pauses, briefly, to consider his own methods.
And then he runs.
The witch isn’t built for speed and his heavy steps announce his arrival long before he’s visible to most of them but he has no time for stealth or illusions. The fire paints his black body a dark orange as he gathers ash in his mouth, careful to avoid the embers smoldering beneath his hooves. He moves as quickly as he can but the smoke burns his eyes until tears run abundant down his cheeks. The broad-shouldered boy dodges falling branches and dueling monsters in a frenzied zigzag pattern. Finally, Maleficar breaks through the tree line and finds himself at the bank of Tephra’s spring. He spits his mouthful of ash as his tears pour into the little potion. But every good spell requires some measure of sacrifice, he knows, so he lifts his leg to his mouth and bites down.
He bites until he tastes the tang of copper and holds his wound over the ash and tears, letting his blood drip down into the mixture. His teeth grit at the pain and he briefly wonders why this part never gets any easier. But then, it wouldn’t be much of a sacrifice, would it?
He’s quickly satisfied with his blood loss, and so he stomps a hoof into the mix. The moment he crushes his potion, a streak of lightning brightens the sky for a fleeting moment. He can see Castile and Casimira silhouetted against the sky while Leliana’s golden shield dims and brightens according to her strength. A clap of thunder booms overhead and he breathes a slow sigh of relief when the first fat raindrop lands on his face. Within seconds, the clouds darken to match Litotes’ shadows and unleash their storm over Tephra, drenching the warriors and residents alike.
His winter rains are cold and they sting against his skin but he feels a smile spread across his face despite the chill. The wind of his storm pushes his damp forelock from his face as he turns to watch them fight. Maleficar hopes the dragons are grounded by the tumultuous winds but he doesn’t hold his breath on it.
It had been quiet....too quiet, whispers of a war made there way around beqanna. But no solid proof was ever presented. Mary found herself within the protection of Sylva, attempting to keep her wild wolf child under control, but controlling any blood from Sinner was a task in its own.
It didn't take long for her head to shoot towards Tephra, the smell of smoke and blazing flames could be seen from within Sylva, maybe even all of Beqanna. No... she whispers to herself, she quickly nipped at her canine son Stay here, do not leave! Her tone was harsh and she quickly bolted towards Tephra without a second glance.
SINNER , she hollers for her partner as she whipped through her cherished home. ITS TIME , she yells as she breaks past the border of her home. Her legs carried her as fast as they could, and perhaps it would have been faster had she not just given birth.
As she nears Tephra the smoke grew thick and fire was everywhere, she was weaving in and out from the flames that only grow stronger. Her eyes grow wide and she finds herself launching over a flaming branch, just barely clearing it.
As she breaks into Tephra she can see the equines all around, everywhere, lighting fire to the Tephran home. She feels for the new ruler, who did not claim and alliance with Sylva but Mary surely knows that she would take it now.
She is comforted by knowing Sinner is near, she can smell him, and together they are an unstoppable pair. They will be coming out from the silence, there dislike for Loess officially known. But she didn't fear it, Sylva is and always was the stronger kingdom. Castile grew his dragon army and finds himself to be immortal to any outside attacks, but water can put out his fire.
Her eyes spot Castile, and she instantly knows the mare he is going after is the new queen. With the last bit of energy she bolts faster than before, finding herself beside the queen. CASTILE , she nearly roars out to the king and anyone nearby could hear her as well. Call your damn minions off, you have done enough damage. Her ears were pinned and she finds herself blocking the Tephran queen from any further attacks. She was making a statement, and there was no coming back from it. Sylva stands with Tephra, lets not make this war bigger than it has to be. Her gaze was harsh, and her stance was solid.
He watches as the queen throws her shield over half of Tephra, observes as it weakens and allows his fire to cloak her. Ophanim can smell her skin burning but he feels no victory as he watches her burn along with her home. Behind him, he can hear Wolfbane clashing with Jakub and he feels his breath shudder from his lungs as the adrenaline makes his legs tremble. Fight or flight? He turns his head to watch the blanket of shadows darken the kingdom, ushering in the little monsters with their gleaming eyes. The angel boy decides he doesn’t care much for Litotes’ creations but he doesn’t do anything about them.
For a moment, he watches the ivory dragon burst through the canopy and into the air to tangle with Castile. He considers taking flight once more, even spreads his wings and takes a step forward until the clouds gather overhead. He isn’t a strong enough flyer to navigate himself in a storm like this, he thinks with bitter disappointment until a stranger comes running into the fray. He can barely hear her over the thunder and the rain but he sees the way she positions herself near the floating magician. Her eyes are trained on Castile in the sky and so he tucks his wings, then he begins to run.
With the fires put out and the clouds snuffing out any starlight, only the occasional lightning strike illuminates his ink black body. The sound of his hooves is hushed by the torrential downpour over them but he manages not to slip in the mud by stepping only in the grassier areas. Ophanim doesn’t bother to slow down from a full gallop as he spreads his jaws wide, sharp teeth gleaming as he aims his bite for her throat. Her barking orders are nothing but yelps from a dying breed. She is only a dog to be put down, to him.
Whether he manages to sink his teeth into her or not, his movement is quick before he leaps back, massive wings beating to hurry him away from his target in case she wanted to kick at him.
“Kneel or you will be made to kneel,” he commands above the rain and thunder, wings still splayed out in a display of his strength. His black scales shine silver as a bolt of lightning illuminates him. Ophanim eyes her legs, imagining them snapping in his jaws as he waits for her to surrender. Would he be able to stop if he attacked her again? Would he want to devour her whole? His new hunger sends a shiver up his spine as he licks his teeth.
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