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    version 22: awakening


    SOCHI -- Year 207


    "He will inevitably decide that it all fell apart because he had orchestrated it and he will carry the blame like a stone in his chest, too. He will add it to the pile and perhaps, someday when there are enough stones to weigh him down, he will walk into the sea and let them drown him" -- Kensley, written by Savage

    [open]  [Party] anyone;

    nothing is more real than the masks we make

    She doesn’t expect to be so surprised walking through the portal.

    But she is.

    She blinks and she is standing next to the lake, with the shadows curtaining the land beginning to ripple around the edges. She cranes her neck and glances down in the water; it is not her looking back at her. Everything that makes her, well her, has been bled away and she is left as a total stranger.

    Her body is ivory and glows faintly, a milky glow surrounding it. Her mane and tail drape onyx, roping down a neck far more slender than usual. She remains trapped between those dual colors except the liquid gold that paints her legs and the tip of her nose, nearly metallic in its richness and delicacy. When she glances up, her eyes are a rich brown; surprising against the complexity of the rest of her.

    But she remains alone. She walks along the edge of the lake, letting the water wash up against her ivory hooves and smiling down. It is peaceful, to be alone like this, to be cocooned in this body that is hers and yet not hers. The rest of it can fall away and she can be just her, or the her she could be, or the one that nearly was. 

    She breathes in deep and feels the fuchsia and vines and freshwater lake steep into her lungs. She feels it settle into her body and she tips her delicate head back, the richness of her mane and forelock falling away to reveal a petite skull. When her head dips back down again, she sees nothing and no one.

    Perhaps she prefers it that way.

    to show each other who we are


    As he stepped through the portal the exhaustion of the days journey slinked away as he blinked in the view before him. Golden lights flickered around him reflecting off the bronze plate that now garnished his face and his chest. He started off towards the shadow curtain border, ears perked and attentive. His mane and tail hung in metallic, gun metal blue strands against his obsidian hide. Bronze markings raced in rhetorical patterns of triangles and mazed squares from his shoulders to his flank with the same metallic sparkle.

    He made his way to the lake filled with golden globed lights bobbing below the surface. His jaw dropped as he saw his reflection in the silent pool. His body looked fuller, and he looked the image of a worrior. He slowly closed his jaw as he took in the rest of the party event. A soft white glow from another walking in the opposite direction caught his eye. Her beauty enthralled him, his nervous tendencies were replaced by awe and a need to know who she was.

    He picked up his speed as he approached her slowing as he closed the distance standing beside the mare, "Hello, beautiful isn't it?" he said referring to Hyaline in it's current state but never pulling his eyes from hers, she was beautiful indeed


    and out he came, holding his brothers heel

    Tephra inhabitant (Alpha)
    I rise from my scars. nothing hurts me now.

    Leliana rests standing against the pool, her dark eyes studying the curtains and the arch of the flowers that she has planted at the edge of the party. She can see others slowly beginning to trickle in, feeling them as they pass through the portal and turn into someone else by the edges of the lake. She takes care to mask their identity from her though—not wanting to spoil the fun and not wanting to invade on their privacy.

    So she has no idea that the man who approaches is one of her own army.

    Her face is serene as she watches him approach, appreciating the handiwork of her magic in the intricate bronze markings of him. A corner of her mouth lifts into a smile, genial in its delicacy and she dips her head in a greeting. “It is quite a sight,” she answers, her voice—usually so calm and deep, the sound of running water—a nearly breathy whisper, feminine on the edges as it uncurls and blossoms on her tongue.

    “I have not been here as often as I should have,” she admits, feeling that pang that serves as a reminder of just how unprepared she is to serve as Queen, “but it does not take long to be enraptured by it.”

    Her eyes move from the flowers and the shadows back to the stallion, her gaze resting on his face.

    “So, stranger, what do you hope to find in this party?”

    After all, everyone who came here tonight for their own reasons.

    She herself was just not ready to admit to her own. Not yet.


    He listened intently as she spoke her voice penetrating every recess of his mind, a familiar feeling he welcomed entirely to much.

    If only Jakub knew that the beauty that stood before him now was his queen he would not be staring so boldly. Not that Jakub hadn't thought she was as beautiful as the mare infront of him, in fact the truth was his queen was the most beautiful creature he had ever laid eyes on. Her knowledge and the natural regal way she held herself pulled on every string in Jakub's heart.

    But he made a promise to Tephra and Magnus to protect, and that included his Queen. Making his feeling be known, especially to himself he knew may hinder that promise. What kind of Queen would want someone who has not made something of himself yet anyways?

    The mare before him, though regal as she seemed was not his queen, or so he thought. Talking would hurt noone.

    So, stranger, what do you hope to find in this party? she said gaze causing more of a stir in him than she probably realized.

    His breath caught in his throat for a moment as he watched her, his eyes steady as bronze flecks seemed to move in sedated, lazy patterns. "I came in hope to make new aquantences. I've never been one for idle conversation though." he admitted offering an apologetic smile, "I had yet to visit Hyaline, I did not know what to expect when whispers of a party started circulating.. I was not expecting to meet someone so... breathtaking" Jakub had never intended to be so bold, was it she that was so intoxicating?


    and out he came, holding his brothers heel

    Tephra inhabitant (Alpha)
    V u l g a r i S
    In a hundred different lives, in a thousand different universes, he would find his way back to her in even the darkest night. She is his true north and he comes circling back to her as he steps through the portal into Hyaline. Gone are the sharp teeth and ragged scales, replaced now by shimmering silver tufts of feathers mingled into his mane and tail. His hooves are exchanged for talons, which he curiously clacks together as he admires the claws. These appendages could rend prey better than any fangs he’d worn in his lifetime.

    But when he lifts his head, someone else is already speaking to Leliana. His ears turn forward and the breeze carries their scents toward him just as he draws closer to the pair. Vulgaris tilts his head as the boy utters the last few words, calling his wife breath taking. Leliana is so much more than that, he knows. She is the source for the thousand suns of his heart and the center of his entire universe. Beside her, he is a grain of sand, useless and somehow precious in her palm because she has made it so. A flicker of rage rises like bile in the back of his throat as he comes to stand beside her, tall and depthless black beside her shimmering white. The silver feathers glint and tremble in his locks with the slightest wind.

    What an honor it must be, then, to have an audience with someone so divine as Leliana,” he observes as their shoulders press together. In the afterlife, touching her skin had felt like a memory within a dream. Now she is warm and real against his touch. He would withstand so many lifetimes for this, he thinks we his gaze falls across Jakub fully now. He bites back his fury, reminds himself that the people of Tephra don’t know that his soul is intertwined with hers. His sage green eyes watch the stranger. Teeth grit together. “I am Vulgaris, who are you?

    His eyes roam across the boy and his armor, the blue strands of his mane. Vulgaris doesn’t recognize him from the war but it makes little difference to someone like him either way. He keeps his bloodlust reined in for Leli’s sake these days, keeps them locked up tight on the top shelf of his soul. Maybe some day violence will call his name again. Maybe he’ll answer it without a second thought. But this is a party and her happiness take the forefront of his priorities today.
    In this shook-up, twisted world, I'm gradually growing transparent and vanishing
    Don’t look for me; don't look at me
    leliana Jakub

    Leliana may not know who the boy is—could, if she wanted to—but heart is a fortified thing. It is a scarred and bruised and battered thing that has experienced too much loss in her relatively short life. She has loved two men with her whole heart, given her all to them, and felt that love turn to poison on her tongue. She had felt the dagger of it slip between her ribs. She had felt it tear her apart.

    After watching Vulgaris fall into the mouth of the volcano, swept away by the magma, she had not thought she would ever recover. She had felt the pieces of her calcify and harden, the destruction in the aftermath of it washing away the shores of the rest of her life. But love had brought him back from the afterlife. Love had given them a second chance—a third, a fourth—and she glories in it.

    Her smile is kind as she regards Jakub, her laugh breathy. “Oh, I don’t know about that,” she says with a dip of her head, but before she can engage further, she sees another approaching out of the corner of her eye. This—this she does not need magic to decipher. Her heart leaps into her throat regardless of the disguise that he wears and her brown eyes soften as she looks to him, seeing through the facade.

    It doesn’t take long for him to spot her in turn and when he arrives at her side, she glows all the brighter for it, almond eyes peering up. She laughs again, the voice that is not her own ringing like silver bells. She reaches out and nips at the corner of his mouth playfully. “Easy, love,” she whispers against the velvet of his skin, feeling that familiar zing of nerves up her spine as she retracts to look at Jakub.

    “Well, he has gone and spoiled the fun, hasn’t he?” She teases her husband as she looks back down, feeling radiant. She had not been certain she would ever feel joy again; she would feel guilty for it later, perhaps, while watching the ash blow across the parts of Tephra still ruined, but she cannot bring herself to do it now. Instead, she just smiles. “There is no need to give up your identity, should you wish to play the game.” Her shoulder settles into the familiar curve of Vulgaris’. “Not everyone need be so blunt.”

    it's only you and me there until the darkness calls
    let's face the dawn together; we'll brave whatever comes

    Jakub vulgaris

    Jakub watches her as she gives a breathy response and a laugh that holds and tickles the air before her attention is pulled from their conversation. Another stallion joins them pulling close to her in familiarity what and honor then, to have and audience with someone as divine as Leliana.

    Jakub didn't know what to expect in conversation from this stallion. He had assumed maybe it was just a man who had been bolder than he, given courage to do out of the ordinary things when the feathers had adorned his hide and talons sprung from his hooves. These words, however, had swirled inside Jakub's head to the point where he was nearly dizzy with confusion.

    This mare infront of him was in fact hes Queen, conversation had in fact hurt someone, and now he would mentally retreat like a dog with its tail between his legs.

    Jakub's composure did not break , like he was sure it would. Nor did his attention leave Leliana's face but only for a minute as the stallion introduced himself as Vulgaris and asked Jakub who he was.

    Leliana pulled close to Vulgaris and Jakub's heart ached against his will. He knew nothing could come from this encounter as soon as Vulgaris had disclosed that she was in fact Leliana. With his attention now returned to Leliana he could see the joy and untethered love in every crevous of her beautiful being.

    Jakub nodded as Leliana explained there was no need to disclose his identity, maybe that would be for the best no harm done. He didn't want to leave on a note of self pity though.

    Turning to a near by arch of blood red daisies he gently lipped and plucked a single bloom. His long, lean neck dipped to place the flower at Lelianas feet, a small placeholder for when he left. A symbol of his loyalty and willingness to serve.

    As he retreated his midnight blue, bronze flecked eyes lingered for only a minute, "My queen " he said gently with a nod of his head. "Pleasure to meet you, Vulgaris" he said pulling himself to his full height, the flecks in his eyes slowing to a stand still as he took in the stallion before turning and moving on.

    He had a job to do for Leliana and this party had only gotten in the way. He made his way back towards the portal stopping under the entry arch that could of only been made by Leliana herself, a small smile tangled his lips as he peered back towards the pair, her flowers reflecting across his bronze armour. He stepped through and was gone.


    and out he came, holding his brothers heel

    I love parties lmao
    Tephra inhabitant (Alpha)
    V u l g a r i S
    He notices the echoes of her old self as they mingle with her new self in that humble way she shies from his compliment. The sound of her voice, so kind and so warm, sets his heart on fire as he revels in it. At the touch of her lips to his, his ink black skin ripples and turns to flickering reds and oranges as though he were a flame. The silver feathers turn gold and almost hum with their new warmth, ignited by her love and her touch alone. He’s surprised but he is drawn from even this when she speaks again. Easy, love, she tells him, and he obeys as easily as breathing.

    His eyes remain that familiar sage green as he watches Jakub but keeps one ear turned in Leliana’s direction. The customs of this world rear their head within him even in the middle of this masquerade but he doesn’t mind revealing who he is. Being mysterious has never been his forte. But being as blunt as he is helped him to win Leliana’s heart so he isn’t too concerned over it even as she teases him.

    As Jakub plucks the flower from the ground and rests it on the ground as a humble offering, Vulgaris tilts his head in a curious bird-like manner. Then he abruptly bids farewell to them both and he turns his head, still bright and glowing like embers in a well fed fire, to face his wife once more.

    I’m sorry for intruding,” he mumbles softly against the corner of her jaw as he kisses at her skin. It feels like a millennium has passed since he got to press his lips to her face even though it’s only been a couple weeks. Or maybe a month. Time passes differently in the afterlife and he’s not even certain how old his body is anymore. It feels younger and older all at once but maybe he’s just forgotten what it’s like to inhabit this vessel of his.

    Have you brought the twins and Linnea here with you since the volcano?” His voice is soft and he does his best to be gentle, only curious where their brood has gone to now. He assumes Sabbath is still trailing Adna in Loess with her newborns while Malca remains fiercely independent.
    In this shook-up, twisted world, I'm gradually growing transparent and vanishing
    Don’t look for me; don't look at me


    There is pieces of Leliana that want to peek behind the curtain. That want to unveil the identity of the man who looks at her with such strange kindness and sadness in his eyes. She drops her eyes when he puts the flower at her feet, a soft frown creasing her brow, fluttering in her chest. But before she can say anything further, or ask him to stay, he is gone, and she is drawn back into the embrace of her husband.

    The strange ache she feels in her chest quiets when she looks into the familiar safe of his eyes, when she tips her head up to accept his touch, to revel in the feel of being near him again. “You never need to apologize to me,” she says quietly, angling her head to catch him, to linger on the strange silkiness of his coat—the way that he feels so different beneath her touch and yet so similar all the same.

    “I think we have spent enough time apart, don’t you?”

    There is a light in her eyes that is entirely her own, pieces of her that shine through the body that she wears. As if in response, the chocolate brown of her eyes fade to reveal hazel—flecks of gold and green that are familiar, even against the snow other coat. Her golden lips reach out to skim along the curve of his neck, the curve of his jaw, and she wonders if she would ever get enough of him. If she would ever feel sated again. It’s been so long since they have had a quiet moment like this—time to themselves.

    “They are safe,” she whispers into him as she takes a step back. “The twins and Linnea are in the restored parts of Tephra.” She has not yet been able to bring it all back; there are pieces that rest as a graveyard, covered in grey and char, but there are other pieces that are nearly back to their original condition, places where you can pretend the war did not even come to their shores. “Sabbath and Adna are both in Loess still and Malca is,” her voice trails off, a faint smile curving the corner of her mouth, “being free.”

    But as much as she loves their family (and she does, she does), she doesn’t want to focus on them.

    She wants to focus on him and her face softens as she traces the angles of his alien features.

    “I have missed you, Vulgaris,” his name is honey on her tongue. “More than I could ever say.”

    it's only you and me there until the darkness calls
    let's face the dawn together; we'll brave whatever comes

    [Image: avatar-1975.gif]
    the heaviness in my heart belongs to gravity
    V u l g a r i S
    He nearly laughs when she says he never needs to apologize to her but he manages to only smile. It’s a beautiful lie, as he has so much to answer for in his life. Yet they let all the old mistakes and tribulations die with him that day when the lava devoured him whole. The fires cleansed him of his sins but he carries the burden of them in his chest even now, slowly learning to forgive himself long after she already has. Her kindness and her love make him feel whole again against her touch. The sensation of his lips to his face is entirely new and comforting without the scales to separate them anymore.

    He slowly nods when she explains that each of their babies are safe in their own secluded parts of the world. Vulgaris sighs gently at the relief and closes his eyes for a moment as a small weight feels lifted from his shoulders. Even if it took another thousand lives, he wants to build a world safe for them to live in. He wants to find a way to heal their broken hearts and protect them from all the violence this world wants to bring for their doorstep. But now he is only a man, stripped of his strength and left as plain as the day he was born.

    How could he keep them safe, like this?

    We won’t be apart anymore. I’ll tell Loess my goodbyes and I’ll stay in Tephra with you from now on,” he promises as his lips find her temple once more. “But I have to find a way to guard you all. I don’t know how to live if I’m not protecting my family.

    His brows furrow and he finds himself chewing at the inside of his lip with these strange dull teeth. They don’t prick and poison the way he’s used to; they are entirely foreign in his mouth. But he doesn’t want for fangs or an armored body any longer after finally shedding the awful curse of his bloodline. No, he wants a blessing instead, something beautiful to make him worthy to stand beside his wife. Vulgaris looks back at her, admires the soft hazel of her eyes as the corner of his lips forms a light smile.

    I just want to spend eternity with you.
    In this shook-up, twisted world, I'm gradually growing transparent and vanishing
    Don’t look for me; don't look at me


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