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    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


    She was the kind of person that keeps a parrot. [any]
    #1
    Popinjay was born late in the season, the frost was already beginning to gather on the grass when she opened her eyes to the world. And it was a big world, although she didn’t know it. Then it had seemed very small, only her, and the great warmth of her mother. She had been licked clean until the blood smell had dissipated, and then she began the arduous task of standing.

    It took her her entire life to stand.

    Or anyway, it felt that way. When you’ve only known the world to exist for an hour, a few minutes can certainly seem like your entire life. Mostly because it has been. 

    Now, that time is already fading, dark but warm, the taste of milk on her tongue, the smell of blood and horses strong around her, and the husky nickering of her dam. No detail, only flashes of out of focus memory. She remembers they did not stay there long but soon moved, if slowly, to another area. This area she cannot recall at all except that there were more horses that pushed close around her.

    It is not much to carry with her, this light load of memories, and how she came to be here is a great mystery. She did not remember magic from before, but what rules does magic follow that it cannot have touched her world and stolen her away? She’s alone now, and that is the only detail that comes sharp and clear.

    She is small, even by foal standards, light-boned and delicate, with short ears and large eyes. She is dark, the brown of her coat nearly black, so that the large star on her brow seems to glow in the early morning light. As she borders the edge of the small clearing, she is little more than a slip of shadow, flitting at the treeline, cautious. And then, suddenly, she squeals and bounds forward, springing high and kicking out as though reluctant to remain grounded. There is abandon in her way of running.

    When she reaches the center of everything, Popinjay comes to a noisy halt and thrusts her head high into the air, taking in her surroundings. Have they changed during her dash? Not appreciably. She relaxes, lets her nose dip to a more natural height.

    hm-hm-hmm ta-duh duh dumm

    Sing-song nonsense escapes her lips and she casts about for something to do. A small bit of wood catches her attention and she grabs it between new teeth. It is light and smooth from ages in the water and, like a dog, she shakes her head, twisting her neck to feel the weight of it. 

    THWACK!

    Popinjay drops her toy and leaps away, startled. Eyes widened and focused. A rock! She watches it suspiciously. Just where had that come from? Small nostrils widen, drawing breath, waiting for the rock to move, to show some sign that it could do so. Nothing of the sort happens and, slowly, the filly creeps forward with bent knees, ready to spring back to safety at a moments notice. One step, two steps, three, nothing. She is close enough to touch now and reaches out, pressing her nose against the cool, grainy surface. Still nothing. And then, she licks it.

    It tastes like dirt.
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    #2
    Her belly was growing round with new life once again. The emotions behind this situation had set her back for only a moment. She did not regret finding Raed and conceiving yet another child, it was more the anxiety that ripped through her. She was not as tired with this pregnancy, the plague was not raging through her body anymore. But she still chased around every scenario where this child, like her last, would not survive to see the beauty of the world.

    She had found herself leaving Taiga more frequently with the oncoming winter and her growing belly. Restless. That is what she had become, but the idea of a home waiting for her always calmed those nerves once she had trapsed across the now freezing ground.

    She had no purpose in her journey today. Only that she needed to move. That movement had brought her to a tree lined den. A quiet shelter for those that were young and had nowhere to go. She pulled up short of the den. Her amethyst eyes scanning the well worn area. What a sad thought,that this place of all places was about as worn as the field. Frequented by deserted children or orphaned young.

    The emotions almost became to much but her attention was grabbed quickly by a small dark foal prancing across the opposite side coming to a stop in the middle. Her youthful joy brought a grin to Lethy's face that had not been present in some time.

    She watched in motherly softness as the young girl hum-de-dummed in this simple quiet place. She had to of endured the worlds caullosed hands at some point in her short life already if she were here of all places, but yet she had not let it effect her spirit. Lethy's grin widened as she watched the girl play with a slab of wood and the proceeded to become very startled as she had scooped at a rock with her wood, apparently unknowingly.

    Lethy moved from the broken perimeter of the den. Her golden coat glistened beneath the winters sun, her brown markings and black tresses a delightful contrast. She closed the distance between her and the small girl, very small she noticed quickly. Dirt is not the most delicious meal you could have. a small chuckle escaped her lips as her purple eyes traced over the bay filly stopping to at her large eyes and the bright star planted on her forehead. I am Lethy, what do you call yourself? she asked softly reaching her muzzle towards the small girls forelock, ruffling it lightly, tenderly.

    Her heart exploded in a feeling she could only place as one of a mother. Her mind trailed to the blue buck filly, who was her daughter, she would of very much enjoyed the company of this girl had she lived to see this day she thinks.
    forget me not; but never remember
    Lethy

    Popinjay
    IMG-20190524-092123-677
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    #3

    The dirt sticks to her tongue and leaves a strike of red clay across her nose. She is looking close for bugs hiding in the moss when the golden mare approaches, and does not really notice her at first, absorbed in the task at hand. But there aren’t any insects, no centipedes or roly-polies, they are sleeping away the winter under leaves and logs.

    What fun is that?

    Her nose wrinkles in distaste, and then a voice, soft, motherly, comes from above like bells singing. Popinjay freezes a moment, silent, breaking when lips touch her forelock.

    Tail up!

    Head up!

    Ears back!

    She squeals and strikes at the ground with a small forehoof, crouching low for a moment before leaping away. Up, up! There is higher ground available, boulders that have rolled together and gathered a millenia of soil, leaves, moss. Nimbly, more or less, she finds her way to the top of the nearest of these, and there she fixes dark eyes on the mare who calls herself Lethy, sides puffing and tail flipped up and over, the hairs curling against her haunches. The small rise of earth and stone puts her closer to eye level, nearly above it. It’s safer, up high, and with an unreasonable quickness, her attitude changes, bright again.

    “Popinjay!” she shouts

    That was probably not loud enough.

    “Pop-Pop-Pop POPJay!”

    With each syllable she twists her neck, emphatically turning her head side to side, with a final crowhop at the very endest of ends, little feet clattering rhythmically.

    "Do you have snacks?"

    Popinjay
    .........
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    #4
    She pulled up softly as the tiny bay jumped and skittered away to higher ground. She followed quietly staying on the ground below her. Her large purple eyes watched in fascination as the girl bounded and twisted about her demeanor changing swiftly between guarded to excited yelling her name in broken chatter.

    Popinjay she repeated back as she asked for snacks, Hmm, I'm sure I can find some. Lethy turned back towards the pond where they had just been. The snow was fresh and soft, the water not yet frozen  by the season. She went there to the waters edge, not far from the mud and dirt that now traced the girls face. She laughed to herself as she pawed at the snow. Large green blades of grass that had been folded down by the recent snowfall spring up as she cleared the snow. Here, try these. I also know of a rather large berry bush that skirts my homes borders in Taiga... If you'd like you could go there with me. There's lots to explore between here and there. she said cocking her head back at the small girl, Popinjay.
    forget me not; but never remember
    Lethy

    Popinjay
    IMG-20190524-092123-677
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    #5

    Delighted, Popinjay jumps back down to earth, landing in an ungainly pile of limbs that seem to knot together before falling away from each other and lifting her back into the air. That was a big jump! She is very brave! Arching her neck, the filly prances chin to chest as she follows Lethy dutifully. She had said there would be snacks. Who doesn’t like snacks? While the grass is being unearthed, Popinjay stops, large eyes glittering and ears so forward they might fall off. After a few strokes of Lethy’s hoof, the greenery springs up from underneath like a Jack-In-The-Box. That looks like fun. Mimicking the mare’s movement, Popinjay begins digging as well, through snow, through grass, through dirt. More dirt! The ground is less frozen here than where she came from or she could never accomplish it. Again, she presses her nose into the soil. Paw-paw-press-snort! Paw-paw-press-snort! She has completely forgotten the purpose until Lethy reminds her, and, tail flapping merrily, she chews rigorously on the fibrous grass listening to the Tale of Large Barry Bushes.

    Should she know who that is?

    It’s a short tale, anyway, which is just as well, because Popinjay’s attention span is also very short today. Forgetting that they are here to eat - was she ever even hungry? - she drops lightly to earth, legs folded neatly beneath her and a mouthful of half-chewed grass held shredded and wet between small teeth, frayed ends dangling forlornly from her lips.

    “Ah blah-bah-beh! Mleh!”

    Tossing her muzzle up and down, she opens her mouth, fat pink tongue shoving the remaining grass out in wads that hit the ground, her knees, the rocks. She does not look to see if they hit Lethy, but the end of Barry’s story comes with an offer to go see him and it draws her back.

    ”Yes, yes! I want to go meet Barry Bushes!”

    Popinjay
    .........


    if you'd like to continue this elsewhere, I'm game Smile
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    #6
    Innocents

    When had she stopped being innocent, young, and carefree? It was such a beautiful thing to not know the cruelty of the world. She had been that way once, but not for long. A tale of "Barry Bushes" she could tell, but it was not a happy one. It was a story of her innocence dissipating in a matter of seconds.

    She had been fascinated by a "Barry Bush" once when she had not been much older than Popinjay. It had distracted her from her surroundings, skirting a thick woods. Her parents had been wrapped in a tender moment between themselves while she played. The playing did not last long, however, as a large beast (a beast she  cannot remember) emerged from the woods with intentions of ending not just her innocents but her life all together.  Her parents had seen and tried to save her. They had given their lives that day to protect hers.

    She ran and ran until she couldn't run anymore, when she woke up she couldn't remember much of anything. A new scar decorated her muzzle and that berry bush ran circles in her mind, until another mother - not her mother but another mother none the less - found her and took her in.

    That was the day her innocents had left her. But she would not tell Popinjay this story, not yet anyways.

    She laughed softly and shook her head as she watched the young girl dig, eat, and drop to the ground. A tender smile curled on her lips as she proceeded to spit the chewed remains hitting anything in close proximity, including her own legs. Her enthusiastic response made Lethy's heart swell, she simply wanted to be there for the young girl left to her own devices like her "mother" had been for her.

    Come on then, it's quite a journey. Tell me while we walk, what is your favorite thing to do? Lethy motioned Popinjay to follow beside her as she left the den, leaving the sullen home of deserted souls behind while taking one full of life and opportunities home with her.
    forget me not; but never remember
    Lethy

    Popinjay I will try to get a starter up on Taiga soon.  *I apologize in advance, I suck at starters.
    IMG-20190524-092123-677
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