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  • Beqanna

    version 22: awakening


    OCEANE -- Year 208


    "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

    and underneath the layers, I find myself asking what's left
    a hollowed out form, the skeleton of a ghost, the pitiful echo of what once was
    It's over.

    Sylva is behind him now as Castile returns to Loess with another battle wound facetiously carved into his flank. It burns with movement, but the blood has since clotted. It’s another trophy to add, another tale of his life.

    As he presses into the warm embrace of Loess, he calls to those still within its family. They are a thriving group made stronger by their prowess and connections. What Wolfbane and Vulgaris helped to create has been continued through Castile as he grips tightly on a life of chaos and excitement. Beqanna, the sleeping giant, has awakened. Their purpose has been fulfilled once more, and while there is an end in sight, it is not yet within reach.

    Once they’ve congregated, Castile joins them with a steady and controlled landing. His mismatched eyes dance across their faces as he acknowledges each one of them respectively. ”It’s over,” he echoes his traveling thoughts. ”The war with Tephra has ended, and Sylva has been taken from the traitors. I held my promise that they would pay for their betrayal.” A lopsided grin stretches across his lips while his draconic wings gingerly fold against his sides. He considers Loess’ achievements and those of their friends. ”That leaves Sylva without a leader. If you’re interested, and supremely loyal to Loess, speak now. I do not want another traitor in our midst.” Another pause, another glance, another opportunity.

    ”Secondly, I would like to announce Wolfbane as our new Champion. He has also recently taken over Taiga with Lepis at his side. Our connections are spreading across Beqanna, but we will always have enemies that are threatened by our strength,” a mischievous gleam sets his eyes ablaze, ”so we are obviously doing something right.”

    While he has their attention, holds it, Castile seizes the moment to extend explorative options for those standing restlessly in the kingdom. ”Would anyone be interested in making a couple visits to other lands? I’ve not heard or seen much from the Pampas, Icicle Island, Ischia, Island Resort, Silver Cove. While I’m not looking for a fight, we can let it be known that no one can stand in our way if we decide otherwise. We won’t bend to the whims of anyone outside of Loess. If anyone tries to openly stand against us, they will be dealt with just as Sylva and Tephra were.” Castile bristles at the memory and rakes through the agitation that still festers far beneath his composed surface. There was no defined winner in the war as both lands were tampered with, but he still finds glory in the destruction they caused in the volcanic kingdom. ”I’m more interested in whatever information you can get – who is leading, who are their closest friends and connections, etc.” Blinking and observing them all, he contemplates further instruction or matters of importance. Seeing as everything has been addressed, Castile cocks a back leg and rolls his shoulders. ”The floor is open to anyone wanting to add something.” 



    they promised that dreams can come true

    It is strange to come at his call. It is strange, truthfully, to be old enough to even bother. She is not grown, not entirely, but the gap between childhood and adulthood is rapidly closing. Not that she feels like it. In her mind, she is still a tiny little thing, all fuzz and gangly legs, with her head in the clouds. Some of that is no longer true (the fuzz is gone, her legs and lithe and almost well-sized to her body), though her head remains in the clouds. The clouds, the world of her making, whatever you want to call it, it’s all the same in the end. Reality is a construct Ori does not, and likely will not, entirely grasp. Her control on her power is good, when she is trying to use it, and with more practice and time she would be masterful. Illusions are funny things though, and they creep up on her like shadows, unbidden but not necessarily unwanted.

    Some part of her doesn’t mind the blurred line between reality and illusion. This is all she knows though, the world of her own making, and it is beautiful. The winter winds are chilly, but she brightens the area around her, creating light where there is otherwise only the gray sky of winter. The change is subtle but pleasant, something you would certainly notice if looking for it but otherwise might miss entirely. The effect is designed to simply ward off the gloom of winter and nothing more, but sometimes the small and subtle things are the most effective. The best lies are made up of mostly truths, after all.

    Ori makes her way to Castile slowly, in no particular rush because these things still have little to do with her, though she has decided that she ought to participate in life. Or at least, she was going to attempt to participate. How this actually panned out for her was yet to be determined. Others gather around her, some of the faces familiar, though most are not. Ori has spent some time getting to know the others, though certainly not enough time. Perhaps she would make an effort to change that, though perhaps not. More often than not her illusions were her usual companions.

    Castile begins to speak, and her ears prick in his direction, trying to follow what he’s talking about. The war is familiar enough, though she was on the outskirts of it, it is impossible to forget the maze and the two foals who were hurt by it. It is impossible to forget how it burned around them. The rest she doesn’t understand. Politics she’s had no part in. Politics that maybe, one day, she would care about. Today was not quite that day.

    Her interest perks at the mention of the Cove though. Some part of her wanted to see the place again. Why? She didn’t know. Curiosity, mostly. Was Kagerus still there, tucked into the place Ori had left her long ago? Or, unlike Solace, did Kagerus simply not care enough to come find her youngest child? “I can go to the Cove, if you’d like.” she says, adding nothing else. She may be new to this, but she’s not entirely stupid. It would not be strange for her to return to her birth home asking questions. After all, why shouldn’t she care about the place of her birth? It may not be her forever home, but it was her start.

    but they forgot that nightmares are dreams too.

    Use of mild power playing is allowed; no injuries without permission


    i'm a geyser, feel it bubbling from below
    hear it call, hear it call, hear it call to me, constantly

    Castile has presented her with an opportunity and the little flame barely has the clarity to grab hold of it. The Loessian sun reflects in her eyes when she lurches upward from the patch of grass she is chewing on. Her king’s call is unmistakable; still, she merely shrugs her shoulders and continues to absently munch on food she does not actually want. Whatever he has to say she is sure she can glean from the murmurs of the dispersing crowd.

    Curiosity killed the cat, some would say, and Brunhilde is nothing if not unnaturally feline. With an irritable sigh, she unfurls the flame wings that have finally finished their growth. They are strange against the air, intangible and yet still begging to lift her into the wind. She frowns, casting suspicious eyes onto the crackling appendages. A few months ago, she may have taken to the sky immediately; now, she wonders if a leap into the air is even worth it. The ground has yet to fail her.

    Still, the woman sighs and tucks herself into the reassurance of her companion. Khal steps from the shadows with begrudging approval and agrees to follow her from below. If you fall, I can’t save you, though, he quips then sprints in the direction of Cas’ summoning.

    Brunhilde runs and launches herself into the sky like she has seen so many other pegasus do. The dual fires unfurl from her sides and shakily lift her above the canopy. Initially, it is frightening, but she quickly finds that she moves too quickly for her butterflies, and that pleases her. Her landing is a stumble, but luckily she arrives just before the dragon king, ushering all attention away from her clattering. Khal, though, lies down next to her with a snicker. Hildy just rolls her eyes and settles into the meeting.

    When Castile finishes, she wants to jump down his throat with some snarky comment about her father. Not for any real or furious reason, but mostly to stake her claim on the East, and to make her connections known. Instead, the wayward daughter of past-queens speaks first. The little flame finds the blue leopard markings with a sharp gaze, lips pressing together in a thoughtful frown. Interesting.

    “I can accompany her,” the woman adds, pressing her way forward to stand at Ori’s side. She casts a sly glance in the girl’s direction before addressing Cas once again. “Though I am certain you know my father will not allow one of his territories to stand against you, and him.” Perhaps a little too bold and a little too vague, but Hildy has never been one to elaborate.

    and hear the harmony only when it's harming me
    it's not real, it's not real, it's not real enough


    tagging Oriash because brun mentions her

    Brigade manages to keep himself in Loess, staying true to his word and his bargain, although his hold within the kingdom is tenuous. He doesn’t know where he wants to go and what he wants to do, but he knows that the longer he stays here, the more he feels the storm building in his chest. It manifests itself in strange ways. He grows more and more agitated, lashing out at those who deserve it the least and not feeling nearly as bad about the tears that he causes on their cheeks as he should.

    Still, he made a deal and for all of his faults, his word is not completely worthless.

    So despite the internal war he wages, he stays.

    He stays and when the draconic King calls them together, even though he bristles, he still comes—eventually. His pace is slow and his handsome face carved from stone when he arrives near the back, only one ear cocked toward Castile and listening, his antlered head almost partially turned away.

    It belies the interest that he actually has in the conversation.

    For the most part, he remains still, impassive, and when the dragon talks about dealing with Tephra, he keeps himself held back, his lip pulling back slightly from his teeth, stormy eyes lighting. But the faint growl, entirely wolfish in nature, dies in the back of his throat and he forces himself to remain calm.

    His attention is caught momentarily by the two women who speaks, finding that he recognizes the latter, but his gaze quickly returns to Castile. He composes himself, making sure that his voice is neutral. “If there’s a need of extra support in Sylva, I can go.” Not to lead—he certainly did not fit the bill of supremely loyal to Loess—but it would be good for him to get out of this self-made prison and into a new environment that did not reek quite so strongly of his own cowardice and his own failure.

    Maybe he could find peace in the autumn kingdom. Maybe.


    when I was a man I thought it ended when I knew love's perfect ache
    but my peace has always depended on all the ashes in my wake


    and let me crawl inside your veins. I'll build a wall, give you a ball and chain.

    For once, things are relatively quiet.

    Maybe not in her mind, and certainly not in the furthest corner of her heart where she hid every hurt and every uncertainty, but Loess, at the very least, had been quiet. The dust and ash from the war had settled, and even though Sylva’s betrayal had been another match to the fire, that part was not her battle to fight. She was hardly surprised to learn that Castile had been victorious, and the news brought a satisfied but nearly invisible smile to her face. Even if, by some chance, Sinner had won, he still would have lost. The residents of Loess never would have been loyal to him; he would have been fighting a losing battle every miserable day.

    She is not the first to heed Castile’s call, but she only spares a brief glance to those that were already here; just a flicker of her intense blue eyes as she takes in each of them, and a quick flip of their thoughts. The daughter of the once-Queens, the daughter of Litotes and Kensa – and maybe her gaze lands on her just a little longer – and then some disgruntled boy that she can’t recall having seen. There is a flash of suspicion, wondering why someone would hide in the depths of the kingdom but still respond to a call, but she decides this isn’t the time or place for an interrogation.

    Castile asks if anyone is interested in taking Sylva, and there is a part of her that almost says yes. But there is a larger part of her that doesn’t like the idea of leaving Loess; the only home she has ever really had, the only piece of rock and dirt she has ever found a reason to anchor herself to. It was also not something she had discussed with Ophanim, and so there is a hesitation before she says, “If no one else steps up to handle Sylva, I can do it. Temporarily.” She knows, at the very least, that Castile would not doubt her loyalty, but she also isn’t sure if she could break away from Loess long enough to stay there permanently. If anything, she could be trusted to find a suitable replacement. “I’ll also visit Ischia.”


    it’s not like me to be so mean. you’re all I wanted.
    ( just let me hold you Like a hostage. )

    and underneath the layers, I find myself asking what's left
    a hollowed out form, the skeleton of a ghost, the pitiful echo of what once was
    Slowly, they begin to assemble.

    Their numbers are stretching across multiple lands. He cannot expect everyone to be here, not anymore, but he is still pleased nonetheless with those that present themselves. Their eyes reach out to him and observe how he stands and how he addresses them with the undergoing changes. Their interests wax and wane with each sliver of information until Castile’s lips purse shut and he opens the discussion for anyone and everyone.

    He is patient for them as his curiosity climbs higher and higher. Their faces, contemplative and stern, look away from him for a brief while before turning back with answers, ideas, and offers.

    ”Yes, Oriash and Brunhilde, go to the Cove and see what all has changed there,” his heart hammers at the idea of sending the children (always children in his eyes). Ori more so considering that has been her home. The Cove was her birthplace, her house of memories. ”Come back as soon as you can,” his voice softens subtly for them, almost in a paternal manner until they dismiss themselves from the group to attack their first mission.

    Next, is Brigade and Starsin.

    Admittedly, Castile is surprised – but also relieved – to see the stallion still among them, still upholding his promise. Despite the manner of his stay, he grits his teeth and presses on dutifully. Castile nods to the man, a quick bob, before flashing his eyes to his advisor. An upward tilt of his head betrays his surprise and relief. Surely, he can trust her. ”Starsin, Sylva is yours until you deem someone trustworthy enough to succeed you. You can take someone as a co-leader if you want, whether that is Ophanim, Sochi, or someone else that you find suitable… Just let me know.” Because he refuses to be unaware of Loess’ territory. To be oblivious is to be week and disjointed.

    With a glance to Brigade then back, he adds, ”And take Brigade. He deserves a place in the army, I think.” A feeble grin softens the harsh edges of his face, but it disappears quickly. ”There’s a bridge between Loess and Sylva still. Come and go as you please, but keep me updated. I’ll occasionally check in, too.” It would be unlike him to sit on the sidelines, inactive and uninvolved in his home’s activities.

    With them addressed, he focuses on what group remains. ”Anyone else? Anyone willing to visit some of the other lands?”


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