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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


    The things we take with us (Brennen, Birthing)
    #1

    -Adria-

    Leliana had warned her, hadn’t she? Adria has listened and hoped it wouldn’t come to pass, but when War broke out across Tephra and her warm, golden eyes had turned east there was no denying the truth of it. The next morning, smoke billowed from the Volcano like it always had and silence drenched the shores instead of water.

    She was uncommonly sad about it. Now two kingdoms had felt loss and destruction that would echo into the future. There’d been no call for help and aside from drenching out the fires last night (which a steady rain seemed to do anyways) Adria couldn’t heal and she couldn’t save what was lost. All she could do was make the passage from Tephra to Ischia dry and safe for a band of stragglers who wanted out, and in the early hours she’d seen to it that they made it home safely.

    Serenity came again, bittersweet. Adria felt weary and satisfied enough to turn away from the distant sight of it and head inland towards the safety of freshwater. The gentle, wet leaves stroked her as she passed among them, through them, and her labouring began when they broke to reveal an uncommonly sunny blue pool in the midst of their greenery. Picking her way carefully past the roots seeped into the water, she descended and tried her best to relax.

    Her mother Nyxa had never gone through this experience alone. Hod was always there, the shadow in the ocean beside her, and Adria lamented that she was void of such security. Eva wasn’t fit for this, not yet at least, and the Nereid highly doubted that she would ever seen signs of the child’s father again. Her face contorted and her eyes fluttered closed.

    Not that it was Brennen’s fault. Not that she exactly wanted him there anyways, hollow comfort that he was. But it would’ve been nice.

    Her sides, covered in faint scales, rippled painfully when the first of the two was born. A boy, eager to make his way out of Adria and into the cool water where he most rightfully belonged. She moved to address his needs and saw the dark blue-ish red glint of him, sucking in a breath of mild confusion. He was Kelpie. Not Nereid as she had hoped, but the animal of the sea that devours his prey. Watching him flutter, using her powers to keep him close but not too close, Adria wondered at her still remaining pain until another contraction bent her head in shock.

    A twin. A girl! A… horse.
    A filly colored blue that wriggled to swim but clearly could not. Adria swept around to grab hold of the child, her son edging closer as well, to lift the small blue head and dark navy muzzle out for air. The smaller girl snorted and coughed a breath of pure steam, finding life with the dizzy blink of two crystalline white eyes before her dam pushed her up onto the shore of roots and leaves.

    Oh my love, don't forsake me; Take what the water gave me



    Brennen
    Reply
    #2
    SO GIVE ME HOPE IN THE DARKNESS THAT I WILL SEE THE LIGHT
    'CAUSE OH THAT GAVE ME SUCH A FRIGHT
    Of all his children, Brennen has attended probably about a third of their births. As a general rule, he doesn’t want to intrude where he is not welcome; all of his children were welcomed by him, wanted by him, but when the mothers were little more than casual acquaintances, he tended to give them space in this most intimate of times. But everyone changes, and magic had changed Brennen in many ways – not the least of which was how easy it is to keep track of his brood now, even the unborn.


    Galilee would probably foal late – she often did, perhaps a habit developed when Brennen had lived in the Tundra and having early foals had been hard on everyone. Still, his heart jumps when something tweaks in his magic web, but it’s not the spotted mare who had been his mate for the longest time (he carefully doesn’t think of Scorch now, because that is a wound still raw) but the one he’d met that one night in the pouring rain, the little water-creature who’d been exhausted and in need of his assistance. He’s there in an instant, a thought, but the bay magician hesitates when he realizes where ‘here’ is; he’d left Ischia and pretty much known he couldn’t come back. Not because anyone could stop him from doing so, because most of them couldn’t, but because he’d given a piece of his heart to these islands and to leave them for Nerine was like shutting that part of himself away in some dark hole.


    But the twins in Adria’s womb are stirring more and more and so he presses forward, hanging back only from entering the actual pool with her – that would be far too familiar for almost-strangers. He holds his breath when the boy emerges first, marveling at the colt’s bright colors the shape of his tail; enraptured even as he holds his breath until the boy starts moving around in the water, breathing easily. The filly isn’t finned or scaled and he can barely hold himself back from leaping forward to pull her from the crystalline waters, but their mother has it handled, dragging the foal to safety in the shallows. “They’re beautiful,” he turns amber eyes on her, checking her for injury in one long glance, but she seems fine. Exhausted, but fine.


    The filly is safe on the bank and he reaches down to inhale her unique scent, ruffling her damp mane with his breath, but the boy is still submerged, just the impression of bright eyes in the deeper water, watching them. “Come out of there, young man,” he says firmly, ready to pull him onto the bank for a closer look by magic if he has to, but after a heartbeat’s hesitation the colt acquiesces, trading tail for legs as he scrambles onto the bank. Even now, minutes old, he feels half-feral to Brennen. The stallion turns a wry smile to the mare, “I think we have our work cut out for us with this one.” Still, he lips at the boy’s mane the same as he did with his daughter, pride filling him. “Did you have names in mind?”


    BUT I WILL HOLD AS LONG AS YOU LIKE
    JUST PROMISE ME WE'LL BE ALRIGHT
    Brennen


    Adria
    Reply
    #3

    -Adria-

    Strangers.
    If she could read minds (believe me, she’s more than glad she cannot) Adria would mull over the irony of that statement as applied to herself and Brennen’s relationship, neither wholly agreeing or disagreeing. Their coupling had been brief but not harsh; she remembers cradling against him and very much wanting him. They know nothing of each other aside from names and an affinity towards water, but Brennen has taken the most intimate part of herself and so Adria cannot consider him a stranger anymore.

    Lifting her head and finding the warm expression of eyes so similar to hers, she understands that he is the father of their children regardless, so she pushes past the initial surprise of him appearing and smiles on her face, not in her heart, at his compliment.

    He’s here for the children after all. Looking at him in the shaded light of day, seeing the range of dark scars and watching the dismissive attitude of his presence, the Nereid he’d impregnated can’t fool herself into thinking that the two might be compatible on any other level than base desire -  at least for now. Her genteel nature recoils from the way he commands their son (Hod had always been more quiet and steadfast, secure in his dominance without assertion) but she bites her lip and watches the boy go.

    Hovering, she shadows the still-bent filly who peers between her parents with a somewhat aged expression. Wise beyond her years, her mother might’ve said. Personally, Adria is doubtful of the way he uses the word “we” when conversation tilts toward Brennen’s further involvement with the twins, but to acquiesce him in the moment she replies, “I’m ashamed to admit I had my heart set on a filly only.”

    Her mouth quirks in a whispery smile, aloof and yet lovely. “Ionia, for the girl.” She murmurs in a breath over her daughter, kissing what could be the beginnings of a faint star on the babe’s forehead. Her power rises and so does she, lifting without movement from the rippling pool until her hooves plant themselves firmly on the surface of the water. “Please… I would be more than grateful if you chose our son’s name.”

    Dripping, she sweeps past her youngest and her mate into the solidity of the tropical forest, heavy with milk and nickering for the two to come eat. The kelpie rushes forward, ravenous, and to her shock Adria nearly rejects the advance with a snap. It’s only the grace of her better nature that wins and keeps her from doing it, though both ears seem impervious and flick back. When Ionia follows suit she relaxes, chiding herself before giving up her attentions to Brennen.

    “I’m,” She pauses, careful “honestly glad you decided to come.”
    It wasn’t hard to find a truth to give, when she looked for one.
    “Though I wonder what you envision for the future concerning us.” The new mother speculates aloud, obviously including their children.

    Oh my love, don't forsake me; Take what the water gave me



    Brennen
    Reply
    #4
    SO GIVE ME HOPE IN THE DARKNESS THAT I WILL SEE THE LIGHT
    'CAUSE OH THAT GAVE ME SUCH A FRIGHT
    There is a tense feeling in the air, and he is not oblivious to it. But he would never casually invade another’s mind to find out why, so he supposes he’ll have to hope they grow more comfortable with each other as time passes. He’s not ready for a new romance; he’s still a little lost over Scorch, but he always feels a deep affection for the mothers of his children, even if their relationships never proceed beyond the platonic and the physical.


    Brennen doesn’t have to try and read her mind to read the body language when he orders the colt out of the water, but he chooses to ignore it. It’s another thing that will resolve itself if they get to know each other better - he’s raised enough children to be pretty comfortable in his parenting methods. Yes, he’s often firm – but he’s in their corner to the end of the world.


    Adria names the filly, and the bay stallion looks again at the girl with a swell of peaceful joy, memorizing the face and the feel of his youngest child. She doesn’t have a name picked for the colt, and he considers, watching the boy as he darts towards his mother, faster than most foals at such an incredibly tender age. “Luath,” he says, and it settles and feels right around them. He follows the trio further away from the water and into the trees, looking upwards towards the chattering voices of the parrots overhead. He’d left his parrot, the one who had followed him from Ischia to Nerine, behind when he appeared – his friend didn’t particularly like to teleport.


    There’s a peaceful lull as the twins nurse for the first time, and she tentatively airs her concerns into it. Brennen inhales, considers, and focuses for a moment entirely on the little red mare, his amber eyes gentle in a way that contradicts his solemn face. “I would like to be involved,” he drawls, voice low enough that she’ll have to listen on purpose. “But you are their mother, and you did all of the hard work so far. You have a life here, in Ischia, and I have responsibilities in Nerine, but I can be here as much as you’ll let me. I don’t want to make you uncomfortable, or your life harder. I never want that. But I love them already.” His bright eyes flick back to the twins before returning to her face. “I would move mountains for them.”


    BUT I WILL HOLD AS LONG AS YOU LIKE
    JUST PROMISE ME WE'LL BE ALRIGHT
    Brennen


    Adria
    Reply
    #5

    -Adria-

    Plucking their son’s name like an overripe fruit, Brennen presents it aloud and Adria smirkingly agrees that it suits the youngster. Luath was more than adequate, having been firstborn and immediately knowing his kelpie shape before any other. His mother, looking sideways upon the blue-red rump half buried underneath her, imagines that he must’ve been swimming around inside of her like that. But Ionia, where does she fit into the puzzle of Adria’s lineage?

    The Nereid’s mind dwells on the puff of smoke that was her daughter’s first breath, rousing memories of another dark stallion: the soothing tenor of a rough, fiery voice and the smell of ash.

    She quiets those fragmented, blissful hours because they seem all the more disproportionate with Brennen so close by. It was unbecoming to compare the two right now. Clearly, one was here and the other was not.

    The bay’s reply draws her gaze up and out, searching until they trip into his softened eyes and decide to stay there for a while. He’s got her listening, hooked for a moment as she studies the high brow and the narrow nose, the quirk of his dark lips and how all the elements of his face come together to make a more than fetching catch. Adria sighs herself, knowing Brennen to be a good type of horse in a world filled with so many bad types, so she answers, “Our desires are not unlike one another, then.”

    “I was born and raised here, family is important to me. Above everything our children deserve to see us as a working unit… if nothing else.” She swallows, a bit of her vulnerability peeking out between the cracks, “And with Ionia being of the land, my time may end up being split unevenly between the two. I will need your help.” The seamare admits.

    A tentative, appreciative smile looms over her like a warm light. “I know Nerine is an obligation you cannot abandon, but it would be a lie to say I did not want you here often.”

    Softly, she breaks away from the twins and trails closer to their father. As she lifts her comely chin the waves of her mane tumble down along her neck and rest, cascading, across the small of her back. He’s not so tall that she can’t manage to press a buoyant, delicate kiss against the rough brown of his cheek, and afterwards she pulls as gently away again towards the teeming jungle.

    “Can you stay for a while longer?” Adria wants to know, accepting the way Ionia comes to curl around her chest for affection. “I need rest and I don’t doubt that Ionia needs a nap… but Luath,” She says knowingly, looking from the boy and back to his father, “needs to be introduced to his true home.”

    Oh my love, don't forsake me; Take what the water gave me



    Brennen
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