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    version 22: awakening

    COTY

    LILLIANA -- Year 206

    QOTY

    "There is still something of himself - something of the Wolfbane who would always love her - that rallies against the slime. It says, 'lie in the bed you’ve made'. So he gathers the covers and tucks himself in." -- Wolfbane, written by Calcifer


    with the new moon
    #1

    Oriash

    they promised that dreams can come true

    We he had said, and the word rings in her head every time she takes flight. What a strange thing, to see the world from above, to leave the confines of her self created prison. How strange to realize someone cared enough about her to show her new things, to run off on an adventure with her. The idea of it thrills her, drives her forward to wanting more, to wanting connection and not just illusion. For so long her paintings, her imagination, had been enough. Those things were no longer enough.

    She practices every day. If the day breaks rainy and dreary, she practices. When the sky is chilled, she practices. It doesn’t matter the weather, she flies, growing used to the wings that had for so long just been decoration along her back. Of course, Ori has never truly taken advantage of all she has been given. Horns for battle, wings to own the world, illusions to change the one she lives in. No, Ori has only ever sulked and lurked and painted.

    Today, with the new moon only a few days away, she makes her way to Taiga to find her friend. It feels to strange and so freeing to be the one coming to him. Always he has found her. Always she has been in one place, so very easy to find. Now though, for the first time, she moves with a freedom and joy that she cannot contain. Around her, the world lightens with her mood, despite the gray day that grows grayer still as she approaches the forest. Taiga is not hard to find. She’s made this flight a few times now in her practices, though she has never stopped.

    Today she lands outside the border, knowing it would easier to land without the trees. She was skilled enough to feel comfortable in the sky, but certainly, she was not so skilled as to slip in between the giant redwoods. For a moment she hesitates at the border, knowing she should stop and wait. This is not her land, not really, but she decides instead not to care, to be brave and daring. Besides, it would be easy enough to paint herself out of existence if something terrible happened.

    So the spotted girl makes her way into the forest. The light around her fades, and she makes sure to paint the world around her so that she is rather inconspicuous, though not invisible. After all, she wants to be spotted by Pteron. Though she quickly realizes she has no idea how to find him, not here. Maybe it would have been better to wait on the border and be found, but she doesn’t doubt that someone will find her soon enough. No one abides intruders for long.

    but they forgot that nightmares are dreams too.



    Pteron

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

    Reply
    #2
    The edges of his vision fade out in a symptom Pteron recognizes as belonging to weariness. The rim of darkness is not unfamiliar; he likes the way it blurs away at least a little of the world. Pteron himself is absent in the world, at least as a visible presence. He is instead a pegasus-shaped space through which the mist cannot travel.

    The last time he had been invisible here was to startle his siblings as the finale to a ghost story they were telling. Pteron almost smiles at the memory. A fresh scar twists across his throat, from his left cheek down nearly to his right shoulder, and as he fades back into visibility it seems almost too pink.

    He’d seen her in the trees far ahead: an unmistakeable combination of colors and patterns. The cloying fog holds her scent – red Loessian dust and her own unique aroma – and he trails her with ease. Pteron’s step is light, a careful slide across the thick pine carpet, and when he is just barely out of reach of a good hind-kick, stomps loudly against an exposed redwood root. Meaning to startle her, he stays back with a wicked grin on his face, his olive eyes bright as he searches her face for a reaction.

    Pteron had not remembered his promise until he had seen her, and he knows without looking up that the rising moon will be barely wider than a blade of grass. ”You’re a few days early.” He tells her, the weariness in his expression absent in his amused words. “Fortunately for you though, I happen to be free tonight as well.”

    There is a twinge along his throat

    -- pteron --




    @[oriash]
    Reply
    #3

    Oriash

    they promised that dreams can come true

    She would never know what it’s like to startle a sibling. There’s only one she’s ever met and he was like her, made of dreams and illusions and unreality. There were no tricks she could play on him, and he wasn’t the tricking type anyway. The rest were strangers to her, phantoms that Aegan had conjured so she could at least see her family once. It was the closet she would ever come to having a true family, to knowing what it is like to play with siblings, to sneak up on them at the end of a ghost story.

    She’d say she misses it, but it’s hard to miss something you’ve never known. Instead, the truer thing would be to say she longs for the experience, wonders what it would have been like to grow up at the youngest in a gaggle of siblings, with her parents around or even perhaps still on the throne. Being a princess was not the goal, but knowing where to find her parents, tethered by a crown, would have been a joy.

    There is a shuffling noise around her, but it simply sounds like the wind in the trees and she pays it no mind. Ori is not a trained warrior (though perhaps she could be), and she has no mind for sneaking. The loud stomps vibrates in her bones and she reacts as any prey animal, four feet leaving the ground as she leaps sideways and halfway around. Instinct takes over and she throws up an illusion, a monstrous shadow made of claws and teeth and impossible size, blocking her from view.

    It is not unlike the monster that Darkling had surprised her with no longer ago. What is it with boys and surprises? Though she’d been amused them and she is now, once she realizes it is only Pteron behind her. Her heart slows slightly, and the illusion disappears, and there’s a grin on her face that betrays her, “Well that’s one way to greet a friend,” she says with whatever sass she can muster, which in this moment is not much.

    He tells her she is early, which admittedly she knows but the trees of Sylva beckoned (and perhaps the lure of her friend) and so she’d found herself here regardless. “You’ve unleashed a monster in encouraging me to fly, Pteron,” she says, still with a grin on her face. There are so few friends in her life and she loves the ease that comes with his company.

    The grin fades when her eyes land on the scar though, a fresh pink thing stark against his white coat. Ori takes a step forward, reaching out her muzzle as if to touch the scar before thinking better of it and withdrawing. “What happened?” It is both a question and a demand, the sort of question that doesn’t allow room not to be answered. Sometimes she doesn’t pry, but she cares too much for her only true friend not to know what’s been going on in his life, not to know what or who did such a thing to him.

    but they forgot that nightmares are dreams too.



    Pteron

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

    Reply
    #4
    Pteron had not looked for her during his last journey south, and seeing her standing alone among the redwoods reminds him of that. He should have; she deserves that. Some part of him knows that they are no longer children, yet he cannot quite forget the way she always brightened at his arrival and the answering lightness in his chest at hers. It is still there, he finds, even if another part of him shies away from the hulking creature that she throws into the air.

    “You’re getting faster with those,” the pegasus admires, but it is clear from the side-eye his gives the shadowy teeth that he is not displeased to see it recede into the fog. At her admonition for his greeting, Pteron simply grins and tells her that “I had to make sure you were on your toes for our adventure” as though there are dangers in the north beyond more snow than is reasonable. Her mention of a monster elicits a grin and a shrug: he might be responsible, but he is not abashed, his face says. Oriash had all but clipped her own wings, and knowing that she has finally spread them creates a warm sense of pride. She’d have flown eventually, the tobiano knows, but that he had helped – even just with encouragement – is the source of the overexaggerated preening he does at her jestful attempt at blame.

    “You’re welcome,” Pteron responds with a cocky tilt of his head and a prideful look down his long blue nose. He’d been about to add something more, it seems, but the way he moves has brought his healing scar into her line of sight, and the playful phrase dies on his tongue. What happened, she demands to know, and a quick seize of fear tightens in his belly. There is no time to come up with a clever lie, and even if there were Pteron is not sure that he could lie to Oriash. Not when she has only ever been honest with him.

    “It’s nothing,” he finally tells her, “just a reminder that I was too foolish for my own good. See, it’s already fading.” The pegasus takes a step closer, and indeed the raw red of it is already fading to a soft pink. In a few hours it will be gone entirely, the burnt hair replaced with fresh new growth. Pteron hopes that his reluctance to be entirely forthcoming is enough to stop her from prying farther, to stop her from doing the mental mathematics and discovering that a wound still visible on his quickly-regenerating body had been quite recently inflicted.

    That the source of his injury is not only jealous but shares a home with Oriash keeps him from getting too close in his effort to show her. So instead he throws his head in a tight circle, attempting to demonstrate that the pink line is painless. And for the most part it is; the fire had burned quick and clean

    “Now,” he says, the firmness of his tone drawing an end to their previous topic even while a growing smile suggests he has not been entirely subdued by it. (And hopes the same is true for Oriash, even if she has not gotten the detailed answer she might have wanted). “Are you going to show me what you have learned about flying since I last saw you, or will I have to beg?” It feels a little unfair, the flirtatious smile that he gives her. It is not that he wouldn’t flirt with her in any other circumstances (he does so as easily as he breathes, after all), but using it as a distraction feels…slimy. Effective though, he hopes, and manages to quash the guilt with an expectant expression and an anticipatory raise of his brows.

    Oriash

    -- pteron --

    Reply
    #5

    Oriash

    they promised that dreams can come true

    You’re getting faster with those, he says, and she can’t help but grin at the compliment. It’s easier on instinct, honestly, calling forth the first thing that comes to mind. “I stole the idea,” she admits, thinking of Darkling. “Apparently boys like to startle me lately,” she adds. It’s a shame none of them were actually flirting. Pteron flirts, yes, but not in any way other than the same kind of way as one breathes. He just does. She’s not a fool, and she’s figured that little bit out. There was some potential for heartbreak if Ori was a fool, but instead she finds herself just thankful for his friendship. Good friends, it seems, aren’t easy to come by.

    Something changes though when she brings up the scar, and for a blink he ceases to be the Petron she knows, curling in on himself to protect some secret he does not want her to know. She wants to respect his privacy, knows that though they may be friends they were not that close. It wasn’t as if either one of them had divulged their deepest, darkest secrets before. She had no reason to think he would do so now, and yet….

    And yet it stings anyway.

    It is fading, she assures herself at her words, noting how it is only pink. Granted it seemed to be fading  before her very eyes, though Ori has never much trusted her eyes and nor is she one to pry, so he’s lucky. She lets it drop and tries to push it from her mind, though her eyes flit back to it once anyway. Her mind flits back to it more, the way you cannot help but poke at a wound that hurts. It hurts, and she finds herself prodding at the internal sting.

    He changes the topic and she lets him, though the tone of his voice has nothing to do with it. Ori didn’t come here to argue, she came here to fly with her friend. “It might be really fun to watch you beg, except I want to show off.” She grins slightly, knowing her skills are hardly going to be as good as his but it would be showing off as compared to before. Before she was like a child in the sky, and now? Now she felt fearless and brave and like someone new.

    “I’m not so good as to fly through these trees though. Anywhere with a little more space we can go?” To be fair, she highly doubts anyone could fly through the trees as there simply wasn’t enough space for wings. The trees are dense and oppressive here, though the landscape is a pretty thing. She finds she prefers the open spaces of Loess and the Cove though, and not even because she was born with the ability to fly, but simply because she loves to see the world around her. The trees feel a little bit like a cage.

    but they forgot that nightmares are dreams too.



    @[pteron]

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

    Reply
    #6
    finger trips across my cheek----------------
    ----------------kiss me until i can't speak


    Boys like to startle her, Ori tells him with a smile. Pteron would frown if he didn’t want to ruin the moment. It’s all well and good if he startles her, the stallion thinks, but it’s not right that others do. Who has been jumping out at her lately, Pteron wonders, and will he need to intervene? The emotions that idea summons is a tangle of protectiveness and pride; she is not only his (slightly smaller) friend, but also his responsibility to keep safe as a Southern soldier. Oriash is closer to him than any of his sisters (Marni too transient, Eyas to bound with her twin, Celina too young), and he thinks of her that way as well.

    Or at least he had, until he admits to himself that a bit of the offense he’d taken at the idea of someone else startling her was that it was another boy and his mind had immediately place the unknown strangers as rivals. It was a little embarrassing, if he is honest with himself, and he is grateful that his spotted companion does not have the ability to read his thoughts. She’d have laughed, Pteron suspects, or worse been offended. But probably laugh, he decides, amused by the idea that he’d thought there was a possibility of romance between the two of them. Pteron knows he is a flirt – has been told so more than once – and that it might cause troubles for him in the future. He has always been quite sure that Oriash knows that his true intentions, and is sure that if he ever pressed too far she would rebuff him. He trusts the antlered mare implicitly, and never doubts that she does the same

    If she’d known that, perhaps his refusal to answer might have stung less. He cannot tell anyone, but if he could, she would be the one he told.

    Pteron realizes this just as she glances away from the burn a second time. His breath catches in his throat, and he coughs the words down as she speaks up, telling him that she wants to show off. Yes, yes, that is good. A distraction, and one he has been looking forward to for quite some time. Oriash mentions the trees, and Pteron casts his olive gaze up at them with a faint frown. They do inhibit flight, and the idea that they are something like a cage has occurred to Pteron more than once. This is not a place made for creatures of the open sky. As a result though, flying Pteron knows the nearest clearings, and leads her toward one with a playful kick of his heels. The cantering pace he keeps is safe along this well-traveled path; he’d not risk Oriash through the root-heavy forest, not in the night.

    He breaks into the meadow and his pace becomes a gallop leading to a single extraordinary leap that launches him into the sky. The broad white wings that flare out pump rapidly several times, and then the pegagsus is soaring over the treetops at the far end of the meadow and circling back toward her. The noise of his flight is all but soundless, and the slow speed at which he circles overhead is further evidence of the resemblance of his plumage to those of an owl. Pteron’s wings are not built for speed like his mother nor agility like his father: instead he wears wings capable of silence. They are the perfect compliment to his invisibility, which he dons as he soars overhead. His position is only identifiable by his voice, which calls down:

    “Now you can pretend you don’t have an audience!” he jests, the laughter audible behind his words. “Now come on, and show me what you’ve got!”

    @[oriash]

    -- pteron --

    Reply
    #7

    Oriash

    they promised that dreams can come true

    If she could read thoughts, the truth is there might have been more potential for hurt. Feelings are confusing, fickle things. Ori is sensible enough to compartmentalize, to understand that her and Pteron are and will never be more than friends, but to feel a flicker of what seems like jealousy would make her wonder. It would make her wonder and it would let her heart paint scenes that should never be painted. The truth is probably simple enough that Ori simply likes Pteron for the way he treats her, which is to say that to him, she is not invisible. To him, she is something. There is nothing more to it, but that is so very much to an invisible girl that it could become too easily tangled given a reason.

    It is best not given a reason.

    Perhaps that he won’t tell her the cause of the scar is a good thing. It reminds her heart of the borders that her brain so easily knows. Funny how feelings can mess everything up, how they tangle and twist around you until you don’t understand them at all. It is vastly easier to be invisible, she thinks, though she cannot go back to that life. She does not want it anymore.

    They both latch on to the distraction perhaps too easily, but it is why she is here, after all. To see him, to show him what she has learned, as a little sister would to any big brother. For that is their relationship, a big brother and a little sister. It is a relationship she does not mind, having no real family. Aegean, who she has only met once, so he almost counts but not quite. Little does she know that Pteron sees her true brother more than she does (though likely she would love to know the truth of them).

    Pteron takes off, leading them at an easy but enjoyable pace. It is a beautiful, crisp night, and she finds herself feeling shockingly free as she darts through the trees on Pteron’s heels. He is easy to follow, a ghost in the night leading her to a new adventure. He is always leading her to a new adventure, and she will never be able to properly thank him, she suspects, for all he has given her. She wonders if he even understands the depth of what he has done for her.

    The trees clear and he moves faster. Following, her legs fly, all four off the ground at once and she laughs slightly as he leaps into the sky. She is a step behind him, wings unfurling from their place against her side as she launches herself into the air. With a few powerful strokes, she is airborne. They soar over the tops of the trees of the place he calls home, and from this vantage, she finds it far more beautiful. Autumn spreads out before her, tinted blue-black with the blanket of night. Suddenly, he disappears, and she can only track him by the teasing voice that cuts through the silence.

    His flight is slow but silent, and it makes him harder to find. “If I crash into you it not my fault,” she complains, though she is not actually concerned. She is here to show him her flying abilities, and yet she cannot help herself. The stars move closer, chasing one another across the sky as she climbs higher, leaving the trees Taiga behind. She moves at an easy pace, weaving through the stars that she has painted across the sky at a place they can reach. It is a simple show of flight, her wings nothing impressive, though she has found they are particularly good at one thing.

    The stars stop and she dives, picking up speed with wings bent backward slightly to allow it. It took her awhile to pick up the nerve to try it. At first, she’d pulled out of the dive a million miles above the ground, but like her illusions, Ori kept practicing. It got easier. She got braver. Now, it looks as if she’s about to crash into the trees when she suddenly pulls out of the dive and launches herself back into the air. She flys lazily back toward the meadow, pulling a couple of stars along with her absent mindedly. “Good enough to go adventuring?”

    but they forgot that nightmares are dreams too.



    Pteron

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

    Reply
    #8
    finger trips across my cheek----------------
    ----------------kiss me until i can't speak

    As it always has, the feel of the wind against his face and beneath his wings washes away his worries. That it is but a temporary reprieve makes it all the sweeter, and when Pteron laughs at her warning it is without the tight band of discomfort that has bound him for months. He appears again, still chuckling, and watches with visible admiration as Oriash begins a vertical climb in the air.

    There are no drafts this low to the ground, so he circles beneath her with steady beats of his pale wings, waiting for whatever stunt he is sure she is about to pull.

    He worries despite himself, the same concern that had gripped him when Celina decided to show him her regeneration by throwing herself off a cliff or Elio by flying too close to the trees. Concern for a sibling, a sibling that is now diving toward the ground at breakneck speed. Pteron is suddenly grateful for the wind to carry his voice away, for he gasps just before she pulls up from her dive – certain he is about to see her broken in the treetops.

    But instead she catches herself, rising from a broken dive that Pteron is quite certain he couldn’t perform himself, and he whoops loudly in praise as she soars lazily back toward him. The grin on his face is bright, and the “Eh, you’re alright,” that comes with casual shrug of his shoulders is clearly untrue. He realizes, belatedly, that she has pulled a few stars along with her, and for a moment his smile falters.

    It lasts only a moment though, and he sees golden wings and blue leopard spots rather than pure and glowing white, and Pteron returns to himself, and to the adventure that he had promised her so long ago.

    “Shall we race to the Icicle Island?” He asks with a shake of his blue-maned head as he turns to the north. “Loser has to eat a mouthful of snow.”

    Rather than wait for her to agree, Pteron races ahead, and his laughter rings out behind him.

    -- pteron --



    Oriash
    Reply
    #9

    Oriash

    they promised that dreams can come true

    She laughs at his response, pretending to be unimpressed though she can tell he is. Still, she plays along, pretending to pout and swatting at him with a wing tip briefly. And then his smile falters, if only for an instant, and she wants to know why. There are things he doesn’t tell her, she knows. And maybe they aren’t her business but she wants them to be. She wants him to tell her, she wants to be the one he can confide in.

    She’s not sure why this is so important to her. Maybe simply because she is, in truth, her only real friend. How sad. Ori did not make friends easily, but he had been there for her most of her life. He’d pushed her when she hadn’t even known she’d needed the push and she wants to be there for him.

    But instead he hides the truth, keeps it tucked beneath a wing and too tight for her to find. Instead he suggests a race to Icicle Island, and before she can agree or disagree he is threatening that the loser has to eat snow and taking off. There is no chance to think more on it, no chance to ask him to trust her.

    Like she always does, she shrugs it off. Like she always does, she is complacent and quiet. She takes off, glad in this moment he is a slower flier, hoping it’ll give her the chance to catch up.

    ***
    Pteron Do you want to start a new thread for them in Icicle Isle in the near future?

    but they forgot that nightmares are dreams too.

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

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