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    version 22: awakening


    LILLIANA -- Year 206


    "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

    [private]  made in the middle of the madness; brigade
    we were golden. we were fire. we were magic.

    The birth of this child was neither the easiest nor the most difficult.  There wethings Kensa thought would make it hard but in the moment she only had room for the work and the pain. Once again she had sought out a place of solitude, though this year she did not retreat from Hyaline’s winter. She was alone, groaning on the frozen black earth. Only the lightest dusting of snow lay beneath the massive spruce where she labored. It’s trunk was at her back and needles stick in her mane when she curled in on herself, bearing down. It was a cold and messy business, spiritual, raw, lonely until it wasn’t.

    She calls the girl Aloy.

    It is a few days before Kensa can bring herself to leave Hyaline with her newborn. She lets herself be selfish with those several-dozen hours. This daughter (like her eldest) will probably never be as tame as her brothers, and this time is priceless.

    Aloy trips along over the snow-strewn leaves ahead of her mother. She doesn’t know where she is going but listens, she has learned to listen to her dam behind her and alter her path according to the sound of Kensa’s tread. Her mother is never far off, but lets her go on ahead knowingly. She too once had to be first.
    Aloy had been born with only buttons before her small ears but today she sports the forward arched horns of a young ibex, black above her irregular, gold crowned blaze. Like that same horned creature she crow hops through Sylva’s leafy carpet, her downy wings raised out from her sides.

    This long adventure has made her confident and the filly easily gets too far ahead. Kensa calls out to her, not entirely sure about visiting here, but the infant is oblivious and trots through dusty snow and crunchy leaves with abandon until she sets eyes on a stranger. One ear looks for her mother but the other is trained on him, and she is cautious, tense. Eyes of green (just now a strange silver-green, like lambs-ear or sage) are fixed on him with a savage curiosity that looks a great deal more like a predatory stare. Aloy settles her wings at her sides, unpracticed so that the red down and golden pin feathers must be awkwardly readjusted to comfort. She is a bright and beautiful child, even her awkwardness is muted by her loveliness. His antlers draw her attention. “I’m—”

    “Aloy.” Kensa says, her voice carries but though the girl looks back, she knows she is not being called away. Kensa’s cannot miss that her daughter’s horns have become small four-pointed versions of her father’s noble crown. Though the mimicry is dear that is not where she is looking. Kensa’s chest is tight, and she remembers why she never told him. Not because she didn’t want him to know. Not because she didn’t want to share that joy with him. “This is Aloy, Brigade.” Her muzzle brushes against the child’s back, reassuring herself, steadying herself. Raising her head her gemstone eye find his stormy ones carefully, “Yours.” She knows in that instant that she has made a mistake, he should have known before now. 


    He wasn’t sure why things between them felt more confusing than they ever had.

    He wasn’t sure what he had done to break it or ruin it but he knows in his heart that somehow he has. Somehow he has managed to mangle it before it even got a chance to grow. It leaves him with an ache in his gut and stones in his chest that he struggles to breathe around. It leaves him wandering Sylva with more and more questions every day, his gaze turning toward Hyaline and then dropping to the ground.

    She had been so quick to leave him that morning.

    He was hardly going to force his company on her.

    So he isn’t sure how to react when he sees her walking toward him, least of all when he sees that she has a small child by her side—small and fierce and beautiful. Something hits him in the chest and it feels like he’s lost his breath so he does the only thing that he knows how: he grows still. Very still. His wings tighten around his sides and his antlered head lifts just slightly, mouth pressing together in a thin line.

    She approaches and he doesn’t say anything.

    Instead his eyes just grow more fierce, burn brighter, the light in them keen.

    For a second, he studies his daughter with that fevered intensity, feeling his chest tie into knots and his heart lodge in his throat. He has a daughter, he thinks. He has a daughter and he didn’t even know. He has a daughter and he’s expected to not completely ruin this one. To not completely botch this thing.

    When he finally does look away from her, he looks up to Kensa.

    The silence is long and tense and he struggles to breathe.

    When he does finally manage to speak, it is only one word:



    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

    we were golden. we were fire. we were magic.

    It’s hard to recall the feeling that made her leave him, and she knows that it cannot make any sense to Brigade, her going or her coming back now. It still might not if she could show him the inside of her head, especially since the birth of this perfect girl has erased the regret from the tangled pathways that lead to her creation.

    Kensa has not forgotten—perhaps just carefully clenched in her fist—what it is to be pinned beneath his gaze. Her heart rails against her chest, her mind creating a dozen new fears. He is going to reject the girl and Kensa knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that she’ll tear him apart before she permits it. He is going to break both of their hearts, and she will ruin something in the child when she fails to be strong. He is going to… Mine? Her fears grow silent, pushed back by the longing that creeps down her spine and up the back of her neck...but he’s only asking about the girl.

    “Yes. Your daughter.” Her voice steadier than she expects it to be. “She favors you a great deal.”

    Aloy is not content to be talked over. The child tosses her small head and her green eyes darken irritably. “What does that mean?” Kensa purses her lips, though this isn’t exactly what she was implying the annoyance on the girls face is so like an expression of her fathers that Kensa would almost be amused—but she finds that the bristling personality is much more attractive to her in Brigade than in Aloy.


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