Molting makes the colt more anxious than usual, though it is a very small area of his body that is going through the process, only the softer contour feathers that gather along his front legs and the few across his chest. He does not have the full feathering or the wings of some of the other residents of the land. He has seen them, seen more of them, following his mother across Beqanna, and their unusual shapes and behaviors have done little to warm his heart to their ways. He begins to understand why Hippogryph avoids them.
A down feather drifts through the air, black as charred paper floating on the updrafts of a flame. The colt's amber eye follows until he loses sight of it among some crows that have gathered to feast on his latest kill, an unwary groundhog. The creature was large and had fought back, more tenacious than the screaming rabbits he took at first, and there is a bloodied bite on one scaled foreleg to prove it. Ultimately, the weight and talons of the six month old colt had prevailed, and now the rest of the carcass feeds the crows. Quick to catch wind of an easy meal, the flock is rarely far from where-ever the dark mare and her odd colt roam - at least within the common lands. The occasional vulture makes its appearance as well, and, once, a red-brown eagle, who made off with the whole buffet, much to the consternation of the rest of the diners.
No eagles today, however, the crows bicker and hop and bite, glossy black wings shining, almost iridescent, in the bright sunlight. Their feathers are as dark as the mare grazing nearby in a patch of wild morning glories.
"Mama," he hisses to her, plucking the strings of her devotion to him. She should not be eating those, they always make her a bit funny. Funnier, he thinks. His voice is a scratchy, garbled, breath, and the words butchered as he tries to mimic sounds without the lips to make them. "No. Flowers, Mama. Stop," but she doesn't seem to hear him, so pulls his beak from its place within the feathers of his breast, searching for the sore, itching pinfeathers that poke and tweak when he moves. He stands up with a stretch and presses against the mare's ebony side, rubbing against her like a cat and then pausing to preen the round curve of her jawline with a deft touch of that sharp, curved, beak. He lets his breath roll slowly from small nostrils until it becomes almost a purr and Hippogryph stops her grazing to return the favor, yellowed teeth clipping roughly against Dreamscar's greying withers.
She is easily distracted, the crows begin to squabble and set her to staring, her pupils dilated with the toxin of the flowers, and bloodshot from his constant exploitation of his magic. They might be hard for anyone else to look at for very long, but the salt-and-pepper colt has no such difficulties. This is what love does, and he should know, as thick as he's laid it on her. Once upon a time, that might have been argued as a defensive measure, simply what he had done by instinct in order to survive when his mother had been ready to crush him under heavy hooves, but now? Now, he no longer paradoxically needs his potential killer in order to survive, but he has a poor imagination and cannot fathom a life without her well in his taloned grasp.
She loves me too much to want that, anyway, he thinks, casually ignoring that she only loves him at all because he has made her do so. He follows her mostly-vacant gaze back to the clamoring crows. What has set them off?
image by Reitro
The adventure of exploring continues, Altissima feeling a little thrill about spending these first few days on her own. It feels very grown up even though she’s just a year old. Still, that’s old enough – and, besides, she’s not on her own. Winter, her snowy owl companion, is almost constantly with her. Swooping around overhead or hunting nearby.
Today, Winter is acting a little strange. She can smell blood on the air and she wants to investigate – but she’s not sure Altissima should go as well. The filly, however, stubbornly will follow the owl wherever she goes. After all, she’s got nothing else better to do. In the bright sunshine, the pair almost glow. Winter with her bright white feathers and Altissima with just enough blue tint to her coat to make her look pastel in the light.
They come across the scene, though the filly is watching her companion and not where her own hooves are taking her. The owl sees the crows and veers away – uninterested in becoming a scavenger. Her hunting has been too successful for her to lower herself to such measures.
Altissima skids to a stop as the owl leaves – her gaze first landing on the crows as they peck at the leftovers of something and. as she's wrinkling her nose at the sight, she notices the pair of horses nearby. Or… the colt is... horse-like? The shock of seeing something not-totally-horse when she wasn’t expecting it causes her to jump a little bit and her wings, previously invisible, pop into existence at her sides and flap in indignation a couple times before they fold against her.
Blue eyes shift to violet as they widen at the sight in front of her. She’s rooted to the spot, and though there’s a rush of fear that is making her small heart race, the curiosity she feels outweighs it. That curiosity keeps her from removing herself from this little tableau she has stumbled into and encourages her to speak a few quiet words.
After all, she reasons to herself, everyone looks a little different… right? There's certainly no cause to link the carnage the crows are enjoying with the strange looking colt.
hope you don't mind me tossing her in!!
The owl catches his eye. It's a weird time of day for an owl to be out flying, and that is, perhaps, what is upsetting the crows. They are not friends, owls and crows, with the heavier raptor being a predator and regular raider of nests. The flock lifts and re-settles, a few wheeling away as though to give chase with harsh cries, and Dreamscar loses sight of them between the trees, so he does not know if they find the silent white flier.
And, in truth, he only cares so much. The birds are nothing to him, individually, they are only of interest to him in that they are a common fixture, and occasionally serve as a sort of early warning system. Crows are territorial and curious, and little escapes their notice. Dreamscar is not curious. He grows increasingly reclusive and anxious, a hard knot sitting uneasily in his belly. He turns to his dam who has gone back to chewing the trumpet-shaped flowers on their climbing vines and shakes his head irritably.
He snaps his beak at her hindquarters, catching the soft meat of one leg with the sharp point of his bill. It is sharper than would be natural for a bird - but of course, he is not a bird - and a thin streak of blood blooms across the delicate skin inside her thigh. The black mare squeals but lurches out of the patch of morning glories into more suitable fare. She gives no further sign that she even notices the wet stain that slowly seeps down her leg. The colt does not join her in the hollow he has pushed her off into, but stands near the top of the small hill and looks to the crows as a clamor rises from them again. He wonders if the owl is back, but instead it is a young horse - older than him, but no adult, long in places that should be short, and too short in places that should be long. A yearling. She speaks and he responds with a hiss.
Amber eyes stare flatly in a way distinctly designed to send her on her way. It is a habit of the Others to always appear where they are not wanted. Which, really, is anywhere he and Hippogryph happen to be. Sometimes they try to speak to his dam, the adults, mostly, and he does not appreciate
their advances, guards the crow-black mare with fierce jealousy against their intrusion. But the younger ones, they are usually more interested in him, though he cannot fathom why, does not recognize their desire to play.
He shakes his head again with the same move-along threat that his mother ignored, although the pale yearling filly is too far away to bother with the following lunge and bite. The dull black feathers on his chest lay flat and tight to his body in response to the encroaching threat of the yearling and his unnatural crouch deepens, if only slightly, ready to lunge or flee as necessary.
Is it a demand? A question? His voice is a scratchy croak and has little inflection to make the meaning clear.
image by Reitro
His reactions was so far from what Altissima had been expecting that she does not know what to do. Her eyes, unknown to her, shift colours to match the amber of his own now that her initial surprise has faded into confusion. What was she supposed to respond to his ‘what’ with? Or that crouch of his. She is wary of him, but not frightened. She hasn’t learned fear yet – it’s just the ghost of an emotion for her.
Maybe today will be the day she discovers it.
She hugs herself with her wings, pressing them tightly to her sides. They can disappear and reappear, but Altissima has not yet learned how to do that on command, but she’s a little thankful for the extra layer they provide in this exact moment.
Winter, her owl companion, is keeping watch but from the branches nearby – her large golden eyes trained on the strange beaked boy, not missing the line of blood down the black mare’s flank as she shuffled on.
“Uh…” The pale filly spoke, rather eloquently.
“I just…” What did she want? She wanted to edge closer – simply because she was getting the impression that she shouldn’t. She could feel her fascination and curiosity beginning to swell. “Do you want me to go?”
Little does she know, him telling her to go will only make her want to stay more.
10-26-2019, 10:44 PM
(This post was last modified: 10-27-2019, 08:48 AM by Dreamscar.
Edit Reason: funsies
He hasn't quite mastered all the words it would take to tell her what he wants, or even that he wants her to go, so instead he hisses and rakes the ground in front of him with sharp claws. But even as he tosses his beaked head and encourages her to go, he is reaching out, he is always reaching out, always testing the boundaries of his magic. It is interesting that The Others rarely react as strongly to it as his dam has, but she was always supposed to love him. It is not his fault that she didn't, but he has forgiven her the transgression. It couldn't be helped then, but it has been amended
The black stallion had not reacted very strongly, but... Well. Dreamscar would prefer not to remember that particular incident. It certainly had not gone in his favor and he had nearly lost everything to simple terror. Foolish. Anyway, he had been much younger, has had more practice since then. But, even now, that same anxiety seizes him and his feathered chest shivers faintly, amber eyes narrowing slightly as he waits for the extended finger of magic to brush against her, to see how or if she will change. She will not be such a threat, then, he thinks, despite her larger size and greater age. But perhaps she is not so completely alone because the snowy owl has returned and he knows, as a predator does, that it is watching and aware.
Perhaps a thread for it, too?
He considers this, unsure how it will affect the bird, unsure if he can control so many, and a predator above them all. Perhaps it should be no different, but he has only targeted herbivores up until now, and maybe it doesn't work on carnivores at all? Still, there is no love-loss between owls and eagles and something avian in him shrieks at the sight of this enemy watching him.
It is all well and good to stalk his crows, they are nothing, scavengers and opportunists, but for it to observe him unsettles him. Raider of nestlings. He is hardly more than a nestling.
Yes, then, the owl too.
, he thinks, turning amber eyes back to the filly who leans toward him even as she asks him if she should go, I will crush it, if I can catch it.
Carnage x Hippogryph
oh dear. I guess he doesn't like owls.