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    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

    [private]  breaking like the waves down on the coastline; larke
    breaking like the waves down on the coastline
    breaking like the wine-stained glass that held my drink

    When she first came to Ischia with Adria, the tropical island had been a serenity. It was a simple life that gave her the opportunity to find her footing in the world with the help of her adoptive mother. Living most of her life at the time in the sea had made her skeptical of others, but she always had a burning curiosity to learn about those that lived and flourished on the dryland.
    Adria had shown her the world was so much more than she imagined—she learned she was not the only nereid alive and that the dryland life wasn’t so bad either. More than anything though, Adria gave her the most valuable gifts of all that anyone could give. She gave her a loving home and family. It changed and made every part of her life even better.
    She is no longer that young seahorse Adria found by the open river that flowed into the sea, now she is a breathtaking young mare fully grown. The world is simply her oyster now. Every opportunity to achieve anything she wants in life is open to her if she truly wanted it. However, the only thing Eva has ever wanted was a simple life with the peace and quiet.
    The serenity of Ischia she first discovered is not truly there anymore. Eva knows it was too hopeful thinking that their island home would always be safe and sound. The world changes and she knew their home would have to change with it too. Adria had come to her with concerns for the change in leadership that the new King of Tephra had made to their home—it was heartbreaking to see her life changing so fast.
    However, Eva knew what she had to do. It was not just for her though. It was for all Ischia and her loved ones.
    Eva searched across the seashore of Ischia. The sandy beach she looked upon for a moment did not feel like home. Perhaps it was because of the troublesome news she received that weighed heavily on her heart right now. Ischia was everything to her ever since she first came here with Adria, but knowing someone came here and took it felt like a sharp, dull knife stabbed into her heart.
    She could not have. Would not have it. Ischia wouldn’t either.
    The purple nereid only had a name and description given to her by Adria to find the new appointed leader. However, it was the distant scent of Tephra that led her to finding the leader. A grey mare who was no doubt young—perhaps only a couple years younger than Eva. She was beautiful no doubt either with white wisteria flowers in her mane and an elegant long horn. The purple seahorse couldn’t help herself but smile in awe at seeing the young mare.
    Eva couldn’t help but wonder if the appearance of the young mare matched her personality. There was only one way to find out, though. She makes her way towards the new leader. Her strides are paced evenly and unhurried. Ischia was not endangered entirely yet so there was no rush. As she comes closer to the mare, she wears a warm and welcoming smile.
    “Hello.” She greets warmly to the young mare. Her smile grows just a little wider across her soft lips as she meets the gaze of the mare head on now. Eva stops a couple of paces away from the mare. “Are you larke?” Her head tilts to the right for a moment and then straightens again.


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    carried by the current of the morning
    miles below the surface of the dawn

    Larke is still not certain what to make of the path that now lies before her.

    Her father has never asked a favor of her before—in fact, it is difficult to imagine him in need of anything—and she knows in her heart that she would never be able to deny him, never turn her cheek. But she also is old enough now (young though she may be) that she knows this will not be easy. She has heard her father’s stories enough to know that lands do not take kindly to strangers and her healer’s heart aches with the idea that she will be seen as an intruder, as a dictator, as anything but the kind, shy girl that she is.

    Still, she reminds steady in her commitment to Vulgaris and Tephra.

    Quietly, she walks along the beaches, getting to know the land and wondering why her mother always looked toward it with something like pain in her eyes. Puzzled, but unable to find the answer, she simply continues walking until she is caught by the mare who approaches her. She is unlike anything that Larke has ever seen—bright and as beautiful as Ischia itself and Larke feels her heart swell in her chest with something like awe when she looks at her. Suddenly shy, she dips her head at the question.

    “Yes,” she says, her voice steady despite the nerves. When she glances back up her, sage green eyes are clear and there is a small smile that tips the edges of her velvet lips—something sweet and gentle that barely blooms. “I have not yet been able to meet many who live here.” There is regret clear in her voice, an apology for something that isn’t sure she knows how to name. “Have you lived here for long?”

    It feels like a silly question to ask (none have lived here for as a little as Larke), but she asks it regardless.

    this is not the place that I was born in
    but it doesn't mean it's not the place where I belong


    Eva - you're an angel for waiting. thank you. <33
    Her life had never held any uncertainty until the recent changes of Ischia. It perhaps was the first time she felt unsettled about the future of her life and her two children. A part of her quickly yearned to find a solution to the unexpected alteration. Despite the disquieting current events, Eva quickly wanted to find a solution before a revolution would happen. Their small island family might be peaceful; however, such surge of power over their home did not settle well with them all.

    But when Eva looks upon the grey flower mare, she doesn’t see one that hungers for power or a heart of a dictatorship. There appears to be a quiet soul beneath the elegant beauty that Larke is. She is simply a young, and like any mother, Eva yearns to help be a guide to Larke now. Perhaps it was the same way Adria had felt when she found her at the river that day.

    Her quest to find Larke is quickly completed as she meets the green gaze of the horned mare. Eva’s soft smile grows a bit further at the confirmation from Larke. The grey mare is warm and greets her with a small smile that is shy, but quickly she catches the hint of regret in Larke’s next words.

    The purple mare’s smile lifts even more this time. Her face is filled with forgiveness as she looks upon Larke—she had a heavy heart when searching for the young leader, but now it feels lighter. “There is quite a bit of us here, so don’t trouble yourself so much on that.” Her tone is warm and forbearing considering the events that she cannot imagine Larke has faced since coming here.

    “I’m Eva by the way,” she says with a dip of her purple head slightly. “Ischia has been my home for quiet some time now.” She pauses for a moment realizing it feels almost decades ago. “I wasn’t born here, but Adria found me on the outskirts of the mainland and became my adopted mother. She brought me here to live on Ischia when I was nearing my first year.” It was a simple meeting that changed every part of her life.

    Eva wonders what life Larke might have had. She only knows that the young mare comes from Tephra, and living the life with parents as rulers seemed quite different from what her life would in Ischia. “I have never been to Tephra before. What is it like?”

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    carried by the current of the morning
    miles below the surface of the dawn

    Larke is not sure what she expects to find when Eva begins talking, but she is pleased when the mare is warm and pleasant. She instantly relaxes, trusting the mare the color of deep sunsets with an innate trust that comes easily to her kind heart. Larke has no reason to believe that another would try to trick her or would be deceptive in anyway and so she eases into the conversation, her face unguarded and warm.

    “I look forward to meeting everyone,” she says softly, enthusiasm buried in the layers of shy and quiet. “Eva, it is so nice to meet you,” her smile tips the edges of her lips up as the flowers cascade down her shoulders and she rolls them, releasing the tension that has continued to buil up between them.

    She listens as the mare tells her of her life story, finding herself imagining what it would be like to grow up on the island. Would it have been different than Tephra—especially the land so ravaged by war? “She sounds lovely,” it’s an honest statement and Larke finds that she wishes she could have gotten to know the mare better. If only the circumstances were not what they were. If only—

    But Larke has never been one to become trapped by such statements and she lets it slide into the air with her next exhale, refocusing on the mare’s face once more. “It is beautiful,” she brightens at the thought of her childhood home. “It was charred for so long but my mother and her friend Isilya have been working so hard to regrow it and they have become…enthusiastic.” She laughs, lightly, the sound like chimes.

    “Eva, I have a favor to ask of you,” she frowns slightly, feeling a rush of embarrassment swell in her chest. “I’ve never lead anything before, and I’m just now getting to know Ischia more.” She drops her head a little before glancing back up again. “Would you—would you mind co-leading with me?”

    this is not the place that I was born in
    but it doesn't mean it's not the place where I belong


    She had come here expecting to find someone who would dismiss her conversation. Instead, the purple nereid finds someone with a soft soul. There is kindness in @[Larke]’s eyes with warm and pleasantries in her smile and words too. It was quite the opposite, but it was only another blessing for Eva to be thankful for in these changing times.

    The purple nereid smiles with appreciation at Larke’s comment. Eva would very much have liked for her adoptive mother to be here. It would have lifted up her spirits even more to know that Adria’s position was being filled by someone who Eva was beginning to see that was kind and caring. Someone who would rule Ischia with a good heart like Adria wanted.

    When Larke speaks about the volcanic kingdom, she listens carefully. The grey mare mentions the land being charred for so long, which brings the memory of war to her mind. Eva cannot help but wonder what such disastrous would be like in her own home. She had never personally been in a war or seen a disaster, but from the stories she has been told it was something the nereid wanted to avoid at all cost. The devastation was surely unbearable.

    Her smile widens more at the sound of Larke’s laugh. “Tephra sounds like it is in good hands then consider the trails your home and family have encountered.” Eva can only hope Tephra will be fruitful and so will their tropical home.

    The nereid’s eyes soften a little as she watches the warm expression from the other mare fade slightly. Her ears flicker forward, listening for what sort of favor Larke could ever ask of her. Truthfully, Eva would do anything to help Larke feel more comfortable in her new home and for Ischia too.

    But she did not expect such a request from Larke. It almost seemed too good to be true to what she just heard from the grey mare. Eva is silent for a couple of breathes. But she is truly sure she did not mishear what Larke had just asked her.

    Instantly, her smile returns and reaches to the very corners of her cheeks. It is perhaps the purest and most genuine smile the nereid has ever had before. “It would be an honor to rule beside you, Larke.” What more could she ever ask for? It was an answer all of her prayers.
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