— I'll break you a hundred different ways —
He hasn’t been back to Tephra in some time, but he also could not be found in Loess or Pangea. His attachment to Wonder had grown exponentially, and the moment he had felt that link forming, he had left. He had severed all contact so swiftly and so suddenly that the guilt nearly ate him alive. It gnawed at him during the day, and even during the night – when he usually felt almost nothing, when the curse took more than just his flesh. But there was a part of him that knew, that was completely convinced, that Wonder deserved better than what he could offer her. Which was, honestly, absolutely nothing.
For once, he was grounded, walking through the forests of Taiga, and lost in his own sober thoughts. He almost ignores the smell of smoke when it first reaches him. So focused on his own mind, it hadn’t occurred to him that the smell of grass and trees burning was different than the sulfur-like scent that the volcano in Tephra often emitted. But the further he walked, the stronger the scent became, until it was nearly overpowering. Slowly rousing himself back to reality, it is like the curtain is suddenly pulled aside. His pace quickens, as he smothers the panic that rises in his throat. In a matter of strides, he is running, and when he finds a break in the treetops, he spreads his wings and emerges in the sky.
From this vantage point, he can see the shadow that has fully engulfed Tephra. Thicker, more ominous than a mere cloud, and yet it still doesn’t explain the sharp smell of smoke.
He doesn’t hesitate to fly directly through it, but not even he was prepared for the wall of heat and smoke that he was assaulted with. Fire glows from several points in the kingdom, dwarfing the illumination from the volcano. There is one place that seems to be the focal point, where dragons fight and fire spits from their mouths, where two magicians struggle to maintain the shields they have erected; and out of the corner of his eye, he sees Sochi, in her tigress form, brawling with a black panther.
It was complete and utter chaos, and he has to fight every thread of him to not join. He didn’t even have a side to be on, but the smell of blood and the cries of rage and pain cause his pulse to quicken and his mind to steadily begin to escape him. Flashes of the bloodshed in Pangea intrude his memories, and he almost makes a move to land closest to the nucleus of the anarchy.
But then he sees her.
She is so close to the fray, and this is both surprising, and somehow completely not.
There is nothing graceful in the way that he lands. It is rushed, his hooves clattering loudly against the war-torn ground, mud splashing up his legs. Saturated with rain, he doesn’t even flinch as thunder rolls loudly again, but the flash of lightning is enough to alight both of their faces. “Wonder,” Even in the middle of war, his voice is quiet, but with such a force behind it that not even the storm could drown it out. He presses close to her, as though he hadn’t been absent, as though he had ever given her a reason to even trust him. His lips brush near her ear, and even though his voice is soft, the way that he begins to try and push her towards safety leaves no secret to his intention. “You have no business being out here.” He looks to the complete disorder in the distance, and then back to her – back to that beautiful face that has haunted him since the day he had met her. With his shoulder still aligned with hers, as though his larger body could somehow shield her from the fire and destruction, there is finally a crack in his voice; the first sign of any sort of emotion creeping through as he rests his lips against her neck and whispers, “Come with me. Please.”
— and I'll make you remember my face —
repost from what I put in the war thread <3