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  • Beqanna

    version 22: awakening

    COTY

    GHAUL -- Year 209

    QOTY

    "(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


    [private]  hollow riches
    #1

    boy what's normal to you? 'cause that sure ain't normal to me.

    Leliana’s portal had spit him out in the Forest. The cremello had made the trek through the dense forest, weaving between the dark trunks like a drunkard lost on his way home. Most of the hours he spent attempting to return to Pangea, his eyes were halfway shut and his left paw lame; yet, as he traveled, on the pain began to cease and the exhaustion worse on.

    When he finally fell in a ball on the moss-covered floor of his home, he slept for what felt like a week.

    What actually happens is that he wakes in the afternoon of the next day, sleepy topaz eyes blinking against the glare of the sun clawing its way into his deep cave. He groans and rolls onto his side, stretching his claws out against the stone. A little sliver of light catches the glint of his gaze and illuminates the sweat-dampened strands of his mane. He sighs. The day ahead of him will surely be a chore.

    His fever dream of a trip back to Pangea was spent ruminating on the single most important interaction he had during the war: Dawn screaming at him that he is a traitor. He made a hazy decision then, a choice to face her in the Cove. Whatever she has in store for him, he will roll his shoulders and bear the weight. There is far greater awaiting him on the other side.

    It is twilight by the time he reaches the shores of Silver Cove. The gentle hues of purple and blue and dying orange reflect in his pupils. The Archon peers at his hooves slowly sinking in the black pebbles beneath him - soon the moon will rise and cast its brilliant luminescence upon the sleeping residents of the once-sanctuary.

    Litotes calls out for Dawn, a gentle nicker carried on the wind. His brow furrows, and his mouth hardens. Certainly their next conversation will not be an easy one.

    and if i fall would you know that to do?
    and if i'm caught up would you stay?

    Litotes

    Dawn they need a post war thread
    Reply
    #2

    DAWN

    i just killed off what was left of the optimist in me

    After her brief foray with Caelestra and Vadar upon the beach, Dawn finds her children and collapses into them, sleeping long and deep and without a single trouble – she is with her children and nothing else matters, and her slumber is so deep that it keeps even the lightest of nightmares away.  

    The next evening comes all too soon, and reality hits her like a ton of bricks from the moment she opens her eyes. She clambers to her hooves, grunting past the aches in her muscles, and nudges Nolin to nurse. Once he has finished it is little Athena’s turn, and she sighs as the red filly latches on, swinging her nubby tail in lazy circles. She asks Isilme and Austra after Clayton, but they have not seen him, and the worry in her gut begins to grow deeper and deeper. He is supposed to be her co-ruler – he is supposed to be here with her, helping her to rule and navigate the coming stormy seas.  

    She’s not too sure that she can – or even wants to – do this alone.

    Once the youngest of her brood have finished nursing she turns to leave them, knowing that she has many things to do in the coming days. She has to visit Pangea to talk to Litotes, and Hyaline to speak with Kensa. She’s not too sure that either of them wants anything to do with her, but she has to at least try. The children will be safe with her yearlings – she has to come back later for the four of them, anyways. She will never abandon any of her children, but she knows what she has to do to try and make things right with the other kingdoms.

    Her hooves carry her to the shoreline as the sunlight begins to fade, and she can’t help but look for the place where she almost bled out upon the sands. She had bathed in the ocean before returning to her children, but her coat is still stained dark copper as opposed to its natural gold. What she finds instead is the lion-man, and hears his quiet nicker that floats down the beach to greet her. Raising her head and rolling back her shoulders she approaches him, squashing down the mixture of anger and despair that rises in her throat.

    “Litotes,” she says quietly, formally, as she comes to a stop before him. She doesn’t want to take her eyes from him but she turns her gaze to the sea and the setting sun, and a few moments pass before she looks back to him. “I know you are not here to apologize, and I won’t ask that of you. What I do ask, however, is if you could possibly forgive me?” She has given him no reason to trust her, she knows... but their relationship has deteriorated so much over the past few years. She had tried to apologize for her predecessors’ sins to no avail, and attacking him in Tephra had been in poor taste.

    She knows this now, but she fears that even the biggest apology she could muster is not enough, and she is trying so very hard not to crack under the weight of her own sins.



    litotes
    clean.
    Reply
    #3

    boy what's normal to you? 'cause that sure ain't normal to me.

    When the Queen arrives, she blends into the smooth landscape of the Cove as if she is no more than a boulder wasting away against the tide. Litotes watches her with solemn, contemplative eyes - somehow both brilliantly golden and roiling brown. The shadows deepen beneath the hard lines of his face when he cocks his head a centimeter to continue studying her. She is beautiful, and she belongs here, he thinks. A fierce and beautiful portrait from the cruel tip of her horn to the pale sway of her tail.

    Of course, he is just barely able to note the blood darkening her hide. He remembers her scream, and his bemusement quickly washes away.

    While it comes as a kind surprise that she offers an apology, another little portion of his heart still hardens. He may bring hardships upon himself, but he can no longer take apologies. Too many in too few days - they now fall hollow on jaded ears.

    Litotes clears his throat and turns to stare pensively into the twinkling sky. Stars now dot the dark purple, tiny blips that remind the Archon of just how small he can be (so impossibly, numbingly small). He thinks he will fade into the sky like the glistening specks above - the weight of his desires will drift from his tense shoulders, the shackles will fall from his legs, the wounds that reopen all on their own will finally heal. He clears his throat again: not nervous, but almost mourning.

    “Dawn,” he finally murmurs, eyes earnest when they fall on the queen. “I am not sure you need to apologize. You were only fierce in upholding your beliefs.” While he hardly knows the extent of her ideas, he is well-acquainted with her good-seeking behavior. It only made sense that she would side with the Tephrans. Unfortunately for them both, they seem to reside on opposite sides of the universe, and Litotes cannot seem to rid himself of the bitter taste of their differences on the back of his throat.

    “I -” he pauses, “I did not come here to discuss what transpired between the three of us.” The mention of Kensa flashes bloody across his mind. “I want the seat of power in the East to be moved to Pangea. I have wanted it since I was held captive in Loess. I do not want to take you from the throne of the Cove. If you do not agree, then -” he sighs now, “- then this is my formal challenge. I thought it only right to discuss this with you face-to-face.”

    and if i fall would you know that to do?
    and if i'm caught up would you stay?

    Litotes

    Dawn
    Reply
    #4

    DAWN

    i just killed off what was left of the optimist in me

    She had known this was coming, but it still stings.

    Her first thought is to give in – she has fought this mental battle for far too long already, and the thoughts of a physical battle at this moment in time exhausts her in ways that she cannot put into words. He would make an excellent king, of that she is sure, but the thought still gives her pause. She has not even had a full season yet herself to make herself into a queen; does he not want to even give her a chance to prove herself to the east first? If she had learned anything at all from her dam, it was that giving up and giving in is never an option.

    So she stands a little taller, looking him over with a growing intensity. They are not so different in stature, though she is heavier and more draft-like, and perhaps a few inches taller. He has his abilities – she has hers. She is not terribly confident in her own abilities – her only attempt at fighting had been injuring poor Kensa in Tephra – but she knows that she would be a poor queen indeed if she were to give in so quickly to his demands. She is a lot of things – young, naïve, painfully optimistic – but she is no fool.

    “I understand,” she says quietly, brown eyes meeting his yellow-gold. “However, I do not plan to give up my hard work so easily.” With a sigh – their conversation seems full of them – she turns towards the ocean, taking several steps into the shallow waves before coming to a halt. Wistfully, she looks back to her old friend, chuckling humorlessly before continuing. “What a pair we’ve become. We would both lay down our lives for the East, but for completely different reasons. And to think we met right here, on this beach, not so long ago.”

    She returns her gaze to the setting sun, knowing that he’ll still be able to hear her. “Shall we negotiate the terms of our battle, then? If I am to win, I have no desire to remove you from your position in Pangea. But” – and she turns to him now, her hooves splashing in the cold water – “could we turn this into a fair fight? If I am to lose, I want to do so honorably – as a horse. I’m afraid we both know that with your new magic, you would terribly outclass me on the battlefield. If it is your wish to battle with it I will not deny you, but I want this to be a fair, honest fight between to noble warriors who only want the best for the East.”

    She doesn’t have much hope that he will agree, but the least she can do is try. It seems her days of pacifism are long done, whether she wants them to be or not.



    litotes
    Reply
    #5

    boy what's normal to you? 'cause that sure ain't normal to me.

    There is a strange tranquility that permeates from Litotes. Where before there was tension and sadness, now an odd understanding vibrates along his skin. I never hated you, he thinks, wishing that Dawn could read his thoughts and know what drove him to this. There is no spite, and though once it was hot and angry and burbling up his throat, it now only settles like hardened magma upon his chest.

    Whatever it is that dragged him from his place in Pangea, whatever it is that has led him by a dangling hook, whatever ugly and seething monster burrowed into his heart - it did not matter. None of it matters, he thinks. Memories of his time on the Mountain, of his breath catching in his throat just as Kensa sips her cure: they rush to the forefront of his mind. Nothing matters, in such an ugly and cruel way, and all the two of them can do is make the world as right as they possibly can while they are here.

    Apathy is for the weak, the Archon thinks, and I have dwelled in it for far too long.

    “Dawn,” Lie begins, voice breaking off at the end of her name. “Those are terms I can agree to, though I would not be quick to assume my shadows are anymore powerful than your magic.” There is a bitter sincerity and an underlying sadness to his admittance. He feels shell shocked, powerless. His ears ring as if he has just struggled to his feet after a bomb set off.

    He feels -
    hollow.
    The last few years have been so meaningless.

    “I . . .” Litotes hisses, gritting his teeth together. The last remnants of the dying sun blind him. Water splashes cold against his hocks. His hooves slowly sink into the sand. Grounded, he thinks, I need to remain here for once.

    “I remember when we were children,” he starts, stumbling over his words as if his tongue is a child tumbling down a hill. “There was a party - I don’t think you were there - but that is besides the point -” he stops, attempting desperately to gather his thoughts. “I remember, Dawn,” he murmurs on a sigh, solemn eyes reflecting the twilight. “That party was the happiest time of my life, I think. There are joys to who I am today - children, companionship, even love - but never again will I feel carefree. And now,” he laughs, a startling noise that is half of a choke and half of a cry, “I don’t feel anything. I don’t even want to take your crown from you. There has been so much riding on me since my time in Loess, the only thing I could truly bear was my need to prove to every ingrate that doubted me that I could do it.”

    Do what? Not even I know.
    He tries to think but those two sentences merely echo.

    “I don’t want this, Dawn,” he whispers with a shake of his head. His lifts his gaze to find her eyes. “I don’t want to do this alone anymore.” The cremello swallows back the pain that beats at the back of his eyes, swallows his cursed pride. Again he laughs inappropriately, feeling ridiculous in his vulnerability. Litotes straightens and draws in a deep breathe, muscles relaxing into a regal stand.

    “You are different now, so vastly different from the girl I met on the beach. The East, too - so much fiercer than before. I admire your growth and the irresistible call of this land. Now, I only ask of you a co-ruling,” he pauses, attempts to fight any overwhelming emotion. “We both have personal allies on opposite sides of Beqanna. I have no designs on chaos, and together we may be able to protect the land we have both sacrificed so much for. My relationship with Loess is complicated, and while I do have those there I care for, my allegiance is only to myself and my home.

    “I want to lead, Dawn, but I am tired of the violence.”

    and if i fall would you know that to do?
    and if i'm caught up would you stay?

    Litotes

    Dawn
    Reply
    #6

    DAWN

    i just killed off what was left of the optimist in me

    Would it be easier to give in? To just give the man what he wants – control of the East? She knows he is a good man – he will be a good king, and with any hope he will be a just one as well. He is tranquil, standing before her, despite the storm raging in her own mind. He is calm and poised; he knows what he wants and he is here to take it, no matter what it costs them. He has been a good man, to her and to Kensa and the children and all of his allies and friends. Her opinion of him is one that is too complicated to put to words, but she doesn’t hate him – she could never hate him.

    He speaks again, and she looks to him with eyes full of concern as his voice breaks over her name. He agrees to her terms easily enough but it is as if she can see something breaking in him – his words are terse but there is no anger there, only a vast emptiness in his eyes that shocks her to her core.

    Does he realize? Does he know how it feels to feel so empty? To have spent so much time proving yourself, over and over and over again – for nothing?

    The story tumbles from his lips and she smiles, wondering what such a party must have been like for the children of Hyaline. She pictures younger versions of Sunny, of Lie, of Kensa, of Clay, of everyone, laughing and playing and tumbling over the chaos of being too young to understand love but old enough to understand desire. Was it then, before she officially turned her allegiances to Hyaline, that Sunny fell in love with Chryseis? Did Lie and Kensa fall head over heels then, or was it later, when they took the seat of Hyaline together at the bidding of Kagerus and Solace?

    She remembers the hundreds of hours that she had spent with Sunny, exploring every inch of Beqanna they could get their hooves on without trespassing into kingdoms or risking the rage of an older, grumpier horse. She wonders how long it has been since she, herself, has felt that carefree.

    Way too long.

    “Rhaegor and I... we used to spend hours together, just playing and exploring. We had secret nicknames, because I met him when we were just babies and he couldn’t speak at all. We grew up together – nearly every moment he wasn’t in Hyaline, we were together. Somewhere along the way, I fell in love. It was pure, and innocent, and I didn’t realize until he left for Tephra the strength of my emotions. Now? I have my girls and my son, but nothing has given me the joy that racing through the meadow at midnight with my best friend did. So,” she finishes, close to tears but unwilling to let them fall, “you are not alone, my dear friend. And you have nothing, nothing left to prove.”

    I don’t want this, Dawn, he whispers, and she swallows hard. I don’t want to do this alone anymore. A weak smile finds her lips as their eyes lock, and she wants to step closer and embrace him – but she doesn’t think he would accept it, not now. He laughs, a surprisingly vulnerable act, and she has to hold her own emotions in check as he draws himself up and proposes something she had not expected at all.

    She waits until he finishes before she so much as moves, letting out the breath she hadn’t even realized she was holding. “I accept your offer,” she tells him, breathless and once again finding tears in her eyes unbidden. “I want the East to be strong and I know you will be an excellent king. You’ve fought for it your entire life, after all.” A wan smile is offered before she continues. “Would you still want the seat of power moved to Pangea, or would you prefer making a home here, in the Cove? It seems we have much more ahead of us to discuss.”



    litotes
    clean.
    Reply




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