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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

    [private]  just a relic

    Agetta feels as though she is walking on thin ice whenever she moves around in this new Beqanna. She’s constantly holding her breath, waiting to see whether the ground is going to give way beneath her. Either figuratively or literally. It’s hard to accept that there are new kingdoms and new herds and she can’t help but wonder that if the land has changed once, it might do so again.

    But also, she’s been gone for so long she’s afraid of what she might discover in the faces of those around her. Is Anaxarete here, lurking in the shadows and waiting to torment her? Is Commandeer standing in the grasses of the meadow, feeling as lost as she is? Will she see the eyes of a long-dead loved one in a foal that runs past her?

    She accepted a long time ago that she is obsolete unless she assimilates herself into the lives of the younger generations. She knew this years and years ago when she haunted the Gates still, an advisor that no one asked for and no one remembered.

    She has to wonder if she has it in her again to devote herself to a kingdom, to a herd, and all the members within. To do whatever she can to protect them. To start another family and accept that everything she once loved has passed on without her.

    It’s a lot to think about, to be sure, though she’s growing a little tired of thinking. The thoughts swirling around in her mind are no different than the ones that have been there for the last century or so – and she craves something else. She craves connection, even if it’s a fleeting conversation.

    The warm summer evening has fallen around her as she follows the curves of the river, idly following the current to where it leads to the sea.

    headshot by Leah! <3

    open to any!
    " ... but always keep them on a leash."
    The air is cold up here, in spite of the season. It ruffles through his feathers, a cool caress for each of his eight wings. Lightning crackles amongst them, leaping and twisting after one another in an electric chase that has him surging higher with the thrill of it. It has been enough decades that he has forgotten how many, enough memories to fill a dozen lifetimes, but he won’t ever change. The river is merely a dark thread far down below, growing darker as the day falls yet again to night’s insistence. Teeth ground tightly together, he drags his heavy, feathered wings up and forward and then down with a raucous shout. They clash together with a thunderous clap, and suddenly the skies below him are filled with a glorious summer storm. His chest thrills with the birth of it. He waits several minutes as it spreads south; treading air, his breath heavy and heaving in his lungs, a wide grin on his face. He would never grow tired of it, the power that hums in his every fiber.

    When he returns to solid ground, he’s already exchanged the thunderbird’s body for his own, scarred piebald. The riverbank gives a little beneath his hooves, several small rocks dislodged and sent sliding beneath the water’s surface. It is calm and shallow here, the banks stretching away from one another for several hundred yards. Mist beads on the end of his lashes. Rain dampens his back and shoulders as he wades into the river, muzzle dipped low to slake his thirst. He raises his head suddenly in a flash of lightning, scarred pelt crackling with small bits of electricity in answer. Though his fickle shapeshifting has long since been tamed, he finds that the changes do not always go away all at once.

    The rain is warm on his face, a stark contrast to the cool of the river that swirls about his ankles. Mismatched lids, one black, the other white, shutter golden eyes for a breath, nostrils flared, ears flipping forward, back, then forward again. The rain dampens his sense of smell but he can hear her coming. It is several minutes before she meanders into view, lost in thought, screaming for a connection. He is still in the center of the river and he turns in her direction, jaw set in a curious manner. The storm lessens a bit as the darkest clouds shift away on a low rumble. He does not move, save for a shift of weight and a wet flick of his tail. He does not know that she is from a time from before even his father; an enemy of his sometimes-lover, the alluring ice to his flame. Does any of it even matter any more? Do they?

    They say it is the most interesting of characters you meet under the clouds of a warm summer storm,” he says conversationally, when the white mare comes into view. Shaking out his dreaded, knotted mane, he meets her gaze with that wild, youthful grin. “I do not typically put any stock into what ‘they’ say, but, I daresay, it’s already proven true for you.”
    alliance champion, once king, mage

    I don’t even know … bear with me. I want to write so badly but sooo rusty xD

    One moment, Agetta is distracted by the sweet rain and the rumble of the thunder growing distant – watching the thick clouds that clashed a moment before – and the next her attention is drawn into the river by a voice. She pauses her wandering immediately, turning to face him. For a flash of a moment, she searches his piebald face for anything familiar, a string she can cling to, but when there’s nothing there her long-buried instincts kick in and her voice travels over the water towards him. “Do you mean I’ve met an interesting character – or that you have?”

    There was a gentle sort of teasing to her voice, those deep blue eyes brightening with a touch of laughter. She actually wasn’t sure what he had meant to say, whether it was a compliment for herself or a brag about himself. Considering he was standing in the middle of a river for no apparent reason she supposed the scales tipped a little more in his favour making him more interesting. Certainly, if she had caught the show when he had shifted from lightning bird to stallion there would be no contest.

    But she supposed it didn’t really matter what he had meant. She couldn’t believe how incredible it felt to hear someone else speak to her, how pathetically whole it made her feel to look at someone who was looking right back at her.

    It made her feel less of a ghost, as though this simple reaction had already given her some weight and presence again and made her less invisible in this shifting, strange landscape.

    These were, of course, thoughts she would never share. It was ridiculous, she knew, to be so affected by the presence of a stranger – but her gratitude nonetheless made her smile soft and her voice sweet as she stood there in the rain. “Regardless, I am glad ‘they’ have proven right for once.” Her midnight-blue gaze shifts momentarily, watching the ripples caused on the moving current, before it focuses once again on his golden gaze. “Are you enjoying the water?”

    headshot by Leah! <3

    Set I'M SO EXCITED YOU REPLIED <33 so excited that I marked the thread as private so I can be greedy
    " ... but always keep them on a leash."
    At the teasing in her voice, his grin widens and he laughs -  a pleasant rumbling sound. He stretches his nose out, flicking it up before rolling his shoulders and shaking out his coat. He had gone from one form to another for so long now, he had nearly forgotten what it was like to wear his own skin. Beqanna had moved on without him - without them. He wonders if they will find a place in this new world, or if they are meant to dwell in the past forever. Somber thoughts for a such as he. He shakes his head again, as if the mere motion will clear the musings away. When she expresses her gratitude for the workings of ‘they’, he dips his head for a drink of cold river water, watching her.

    She tilts her head away, gaze tracing the predictable movements of the ripples on the water’s surface. He raises his head, water dripping from his chin as he slurps and swallows, wondering where her mind has gone in the moment. Just as he, she is not from the now; but this Set does not pluck from her mind. He makes no move, in fact, to violate the white mare’s privacy with his magic. Or, at least attempt to. Beqanna was far more populated with magical beings than it had been in his youth. It's a sense about her. He smacks his lips together in response to her question and smiles again. “Tastes like beaver piss and is as cold as the Chamber’s heart.” He wades toward the side of the river that the white mare is on, his skin contracting and rippling beneath his scar-pocked hide. When he reaches the leaf-littered shore, the storm lessens, the skies grumbling one last time. A breathe later and the rains end, the sounds of the forest returning, quiet at first.

    A conversational distance away, his golden eyes ask for her attention again. He, too, finds a sort of relief in the moment of connection, a stranger she may be. His muzzle wrinkles. “Set.” A slight incline of his head accompanying the introduction. His eyes do not leave hers, conscious of any reaction she may have. “I’ve not seen you in the common lands before,” he says after a beat, a statement, not a question. The woods are alive with thousands of creatures even as summer has begun its descent into the decay of autumn. He can feel them; every heartbeat, every life. Every death.
    alliance champion, once king, mage

    Agetta OMG I suck at getting replies up but I'm pumped for this meeting <33

    The laughter that her teasing calls forth brings a brighter smile to her expression, warm and delighted. His laughter is pleasant in her ears, not least because she’s missed these simple interactions – the small joys.

    And then, moments later, the response her question gets is so surprising, so blunt and crass, that Agetta cannot help but laugh herself. It’s a short burst, light and warm and it fades just as quickly because the sound of her laugh surprises her just as much as his response.

    It has been a long time since she has laughed.

    She shifts a little as he emerges from the river, though there’s plenty of room on the bank of the river she does not need to make more for him. She’s momentarily distracted by the easing of the storm, curious but not immediately connecting it to him. But the weather isn’t as interesting as the dual-faced stallion now standing near her.

    The name he gives tickles something at the back of her mind – a name she should know, but she has forgotten. She searches his face, eyes clouded over with confusion briefly, as she tries to dig into her memories but she comes up empty. This certainly troubles her, of course, but she forces herself not to worry about it. After all, she has lived for nearly a century and a half (including a brief visit to the land of the dead) – she is bound to forget names here and there.

    So the confusion ebbs and fades away, back into the depths of her mind. “Agetta.” She offers in response, dipping her white head a little as she does. 

    She does not expect to have her name recognized any more. That time faded away long, long ago.

    His next words are not a question but she responds to them anyway – her dark eyes focused on his golden ones, curious about whether or not he’s a ghost from the past like her or if he’s part of this new Beqanna. She’s suspects the former, fueled by the small flicker of recognition at his name, though it is based on precious little else. Maybe simply because everyone else she has met recently is old like her and she comes to expect it, like they're all being called back for some purpose. “No, I don’t suppose you would have. I’m newly returned, it’s been a long time since I’ve walked these common lands. Not since the land was shaped differently and different kingdoms were in power.”

    headshot by Leah! <3

    " ... but always keep them on a leash."
    Her name sparks no sense of familiarity when she speaks it. He does not dwell long on whether or not it is because she came before him, or if he is simply just too self-involved to remember the name of someone who did not belong to him. He tilts his head, shaking the water from his coat with a low, appreciative groan. “Seems like Beqanna has coaxed a lot of us back.”

    Sticking his front legs out, he bends down and bows back, the stretch more feline than equine, eliciting another gratified sound from his mouth. He straightens, turning his attention to idly browse on the autumn-dead vegetation clinging to the bank. It’s bitter and water-logged on his tongue, but he has a hard time standing still. Perhaps it’s the multitude of creatures that exist just beneath his pied skin, but likely it’s a habit from long ago, before Beqanna had changed him. Born without magic, in a kingdom without magic … it’s been a long time since he was the wild, golden-eyed son of the Chamber, favored heir to their bloody queen. A long time, indeed. One corner of his mouth quirks upward in a ghost of a smile when he looks back to Agetta. His eyes, though, dance with the mischief that is their natural state.

    “We would have been enemies, back then,” he says, sidling closer. “The Chamber, the Gates …” The names of the long-ago kingdoms are chalk on his tongue and he goes quiet in retrospection. There had been a time when nothing and no one but the Chamber and his family mattered. One of the worst things about immortality is knowing that everything will come to an end eventually … except for you. His red roan little darling, the sweet curve of her hip, warm eyes that held a cunning intelligence that only one other had rivaled. The coal-colored mare who had defied decades of strife between their kingdoms to love the boy that he once was (and often still is). The battles, the wars, the secrets and subterfuge … the brief lulls when peace existed between kingdoms. They had all come and gone, slipped past past he and she -- those who remained timeless, but not unchanged. Far from unchanged.

    Realizing that he’s not been present for an awkward length of time (not caring, you see, but realizing nonetheless), he blinks several times before looking down again to meet her gaze. “Would you go back, Agetta? If you could, would you put us all back … then?” His question comes suddenly, direct, bright eyes curious. He would. He would go back, if he could. When he had first come, drawn to his home even as the plague had crept from shore to shore, he had thought it would be easy enough to pick up where he had left off. It just had not felt … right, though. Would it now?
    alliance champion, once king, mage


    The stallion before her is fascinating, Agetta can’t really help but just watch him as he moves because the way he moves is not entirely equine, and – like his name – it tickles something in the back of her memory. But, if she could see that memory, she’d know that she was thinking of another dark stallion who could shift into a black panther. She’s been in a feline shape enough to recognize the stretch when she sees it, however, and a small quirk of a smile lights up her expression for a moment. She hasn’t known many other shifters – just Atrox, and he is hardly a friend.

    She remains rooted to her spot when Set sidles closer, and if she had eyebrows they might be raised. She does not feel intimidated (though, she probably should) – but her curiosity about this pied stranger certainly is growing.

    Agetta can’t say that she particularly minds the closeness. It feels... nice to have someone's attention. However fleeting, however shallow and temporary their conversation may end up being.

    When Set lapses into silence, she doesn’t notice. The pale mare is too busy wondering whether the Gates was something he had mentioned by chance or if her connection to that land was obvious. She had given her life for that kingdom once, and then had claimed a second life to return for it too. Even though it is gone, she imagines that it is etched into her skin like a tattoo.

    Her first gut reaction to his question is a “Yes.” And it’s breathed quietly. But once she has longer than a heartbeat to think about it, she shakes her head at her own selfishness. “No, I don’t think I would.” Her midnight gaze shifts from him, looking out across the river, looking at the strange landscape around them. “I felt like a ghost then too, once the generations moved on without me.” Perhaps she could have tried harder to be a part of that future. It’s just another on her list of failures.

    Finally, her gaze focuses on him again and there’s a sad smile in those eyes now. “It was worse to stand in my home and feel like I did not belong than it is to stand here and feel like a relic of a forgotten past.”

    headshot by Leah! <3

    His head cocks, curiousy, at her initial answer. The affirmation hangs in the air, riding the brief silence that follows her gut response, but before he can answer she gives a brief shake of her head and contradicts herself. He doesn’t think she is capricious by nature. (He is, after all, an excellent judge of character, and like always recognizes like). No … she thinks better of her response, of voicing the yearning that he feels, to go back to when Beqanna made sense. His gaze shifts with hers, drifting out across the dark, quiet waters.

    He knows what it is like to feel like a ghost. To be a ghost. Though he’s not experienced death, he has known what comes after - at least, in those realms that Niklas occasionally accessed. A demon for a son often has its perks. Though he is not sure the task of raising the hollow-eyed creature had been a fair trade for his sporadic forays into the underworld ...

    He digresses. Bright gold-colored eyes flick to meet hers once again. The deep blue of a winter’s night just before she slips to black, they hold a still sadness that he can understand on a visceral level. He holds her there, letting the last bit of her introspection fade into the night around them as he unabashedly examines her. She is a shifter. He can feel it now, now that he’s taken a moment to examine what had drawn him to her in the first place. He smirks then, mischief clinging to the corner of his mouth. “So what now, Agetta? Do you have a plan for your immediate future? Besides - ” he jerks his chin in an exaggerated motion, eyes dancing wildly, “- lurking in the common lands feeling sorry for yourself.” No mention that that is exactly what he himself has been doing for the past who knows how many years.


    His question brings a short, humourless laugh to her lips but it fades into a genuine smile as she nods her head, admitting that he had more or less exactly on the money. Because, well, how can she deny that was exactly what she was doing? Self-pity was an easy fall back for when she did not have anything else to occupy her mind. She didn’t really know what else to do to fill up her time now that everything was just a little foreign enough to make her feel uncomfortable. It’s not the first time she’s tried to think about what her plan is, but certainly the first time she’s been asked by someone else.

    There’s something in the way he smirks, though, that makes her not reply with a ramble of her honest thoughts, as she is prone to do. Although there is nothing close to the wild mischief in his golden eyes, there is undeniably a cautious spark of something in her own gaze. Perhaps she should be too old to be captivated by a mischievous smirk, but it’s good to experience something that is not a ghost of a feeling.

    Her tone is mock-serious when she replies, although she does speak the truth. “That was exactly my plan for the rest of the day.” The rest of the year, probably. And more afterwards until something sparked a change in her routine of haunting the echoes of her old life.

    A quirk of a smile at the corner of her own mouth comes when she brushes those thoughts aside and follows her curiosity down the rabbit hole. Her head tilts a little to the side as she keeps her gaze focused on his. “But I would be open to moving my schedule around, if you had something in mind.”

    Although she does not currently believe she is in danger in any way, just having a bit of fun, if she paused to think about it she would wonder how far she might travel to chase the feeling of being alive.

    Farther than she ever has before, certainly. Whether she knows it or not.

    headshot by Leah! <3

    He twists his head, laughter rumbling in his throat and spilling out. It is a pleasant sound in its honesty, his brows raised in amusement. The blue of her eyes is a dark color he’s only seen a time or two, in the depths of the ocean where the sunlight only just barely reaches. He had not gone any deeper than that - the memory of that time he had nearly drowned makes his withers itch. He finds it decidedly more difficult to tear his gaze away from hers than it is to banish the memory, though. Hers matches the ocean not only in color, but in depth, in secrets - in lifetimes. Love, hate, life, death. Pain, one of life’s linking constants. He could lose himself, perusing thousands upon thousands of experiences … Snorting, he breaks the odd moment by turning away with a click of his tongue. He clears his throat and just like that, he is full of brash merriment. “Always, lovely Agetta.” He winks.

    In the shutter of a blink, Set shoves at her with his magic. It’s not really an aggressive shove; just enough to flood her system, to encourage her body to change. At nearly the same time, he changes with a rousing whoop that echoes off the surrounding trees. From scar-pocked piebald stallion to glossy, mud-brown mustelid, Mink-Set whirls with a “catch me if you can” left hanging in his wake. Child-ish, perhaps, but he is no longer one to worry about the boundaries and constraints of what is done and what is not done. A far cry from the royal prodigy of his youth, he’s mastered the art of doing as he pleases, when he pleases. Skittering over a moss-covered rock and under a bit of driftwood, Mink-Set angles away and races headlong into the rain-drenched woods. A rabbit startles from the underbrush. There is a split second that primal nature threatens to override the part of the mink that is still-Set, the flash of a garbled scream and brown fur stained dark, but a shake of his head clears the mind and he dashes on, listening for any sounds that might hint that Agetta chose to join him.


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