10-10-2019, 02:24 PM (This post was last modified: 10-10-2019, 02:25 PM by Wolfbane.)
If you want to find someone who refuses to be found… if you want to find someone who has the power and steel will to stay hidden… you don’t rely on your own abilities if they fall short of the one you’re looking for. Even gifted the sharpest of noses and the most adept of vision, (short of the dragons) with all the unfailing strength and youth of an immortal, self-healing body, Wolfbane knew he could search for a thousand years and still come up empty-handed. Eyas could be standing directly in front of him and Wolfbane might not know it. She could disguise herself in his eyes, or disappear from thin air altogether.
He would never find her, not without help.
But the help he’d normally seek is beyond reach these days. Heartfire and Lepis were feuding over the north and that discord would seep like tar into every other aspect surrounding Taiga and Nerine. It hung over Bane’s head in the shape of a thunderous cloud, brimming and threatening to burst at any moment.
No… it seemed too unlikely that Heartfire could find Eyas either. The late descendant of his grandmere had the same gift Heartfire loved keeping nearly a secret, and Wolfbane had no idea if such a thing were even possible. Maybe Heartfire’s power could overrule Eyas’, or maybe the two would injure one another, trying to see through double vision. They could tear a hole in reality or something else weird and unexpected.
No… going to Heartfire was much too risky and much too soon.
He knew of one other that might be swayed, and asking Leliana (shit even traveling West might’ve already roused suspicion) would trigger whispers and inquiries, but Bane could only hope and pray that some measure of his connection to Vulgaris might be enough to persuade the strange magician into humoring him with an audience. Or it could get him wiped from existence altogether.
Apparently this is a risk he’s willing to take, since he’s nearing the border of Tephra after having flown a few days southeast. He flapped the wide expanse of his wings and circled briefly, feeling nervous for the first time in months over what he’d planned to do, and then Bane tucked both forelegs underneath his girth and swooped from the clouds to descend on the outer edges of the jungle-like Kingdom. Anyone nearby would’ve seen it - he’s not disguised or trying to be quiet.
He landed with a thudding halt, trotting on fresh legs to work blood through his stiff joints, and swiveled to face the onslaught of tangled forest with deep, heavy breaths. “I come in peace.” He called out, ears forward. “I’m Wolfbane and I’m looking for Leliana?”
It had been quiet for Jakub over the last year, he had not done much aside from mock, trail Tephra's borders, and look for Adria - wherever she may be. The lands had calmed or so it had seemed, Beqanna was tricky in that way though just when everything seemed to be peaceful something great or devastating would arise.
Jakub had spent the year becoming accustomed to his new traits amongst his land, heavy with foliage. Learning the ins and outs of where he could travel easily and where it was more tricky to navigate with his large horns and larger body, though still slender and muscular.
He had grown content once more in Tephra, watching Leliana's work expand and renew. The thoughts of war and the anger he held on to slowly slipping away.
His midnight eyes glinted in the summer sun as he caught the blue sky between a rare opening in the jungle's canopy. He smiled softly as he listened to the nearby toucan squabble nearby. The warmth soaked his black hide in sweat as he made his daily trek along Tephra's border.
It was his favorite time of the day.
Or so he thought. His eyes narrowed and his ears swiveled as he heard something or someone land near by and then proceeded to call out. I come in peace. I'm Wolfbane, and I am looking for Leliana. Jakub's nostrils flared slightly as his ears pinned back for the briefest of moments. This was not a time to fall back into old memories, he thought.
He pulled himself back together before making his way through the Jungle's edge. He pulled out of the border calm and collected as he spotted Wolfbane. Well isn't this a surprise, he said coolly with a small pleasant smile. If he was looking for Leliana Jakub knew she or Vulgaris would be along shortly. I'm sure she will be here soon. Is there anything I can help you with in the meantime? he asked out of courtesy.
and out he came, holding his brothers heel
Wolfbane hope you don't mind, he's been stagnant for to long. I needed to get him out and about.
it's just what happens when your heart goes ablaze
In the aftermath of her meeting with Heartfire, she remains vigilant.
She does not trust the quiet that settles over Beqanna or the way that it curls around like smoke. She does not trust it and she feels the tension seep into her bones—some unspoken fear of the future. It leaves her wandering the borders at night. Leaves her getting little sleep as she stands in her grove of plants and trees, closing her eyes and letting her magic seep outward, slipping through the soil of Tephra and finding its way to her borders. It is exhausting work to patrol this way, but it gives her something like peace.
Since acquiring her magic, she does not require as much sleep as she once had, but she still grows tired. She does her best to hide it, uses her gift to keep her body healthy, but she feels the strain of it—no more than when she divides her attention between guarding the borders and being with her children.
Which is where she is at when she feels the pegasus heavily land on the border.
She glances upward, frowning, and feeling something like fear flutter in her heart.
She has never known Wolfbane outside of the war and the way they had clashed during it, and she has never spoken to him ever since they watched his child tumble into the fire, watched Vulgaris fall.
So she is not surprised by the way that her chest constricts.
Still, she doesn’t hide. She opens a portal in a flurry of leaves and petals and steps through. Her wings are red and pressed to her side and her hazel eyes slide to the tense body of Jakub. She remembers the wounds he had suffered as a young boy from Wolfbane and she presses her muzzle to his shoulder as she passes, a comfort as she presses a feeling of peace into him. When she withdraws, she angles her slender head up to the stallion, considering him with her calm features—giving nothing to what lives underneath.
“Wolfbane,” her voice is measured, but not unkind. “What brings you to Tephra?”
The youngest of their brood has proven already to be their most… challenging. She skitters ahead of her father despite his pleas to be patient, to stay beside him. Meraki can hardly hear him over her own laughter as she rushes to her mother’s side, forcing herself under Leliana’s red wing and nuzzling close while Vulgaris comes to stand beside her. He lets a slow sigh slip from his lips while the girl simply grins, her pearlescent coat shimmering around the flowers of her wings and mane. He wonders if she is the karma he has been building up all these years but he turns to face Wolfbane, his smile framed by how tired he is.
He knows the others will not welcome his old friend as warmly as he might but he trusts the canary when he says his intentions are peaceful. Neither of them is terribly keen on lying or faking niceties to get what they want. The Tephran king presses a kiss to his wife’s cheek before stepping forward a little more, his expression still kind and hopeful. Vulgaris wishes their allegiances didn’t seek to rip their friendship apart but now is hardly the time or place to mention such things.
“It’s been far too long, Wolfbane. You haven’t come to join our ranks now, have you?” he says with a short laugh. But they’ve learned the hard way that their lot is too much to keep within one nation. But he notes the way his friend doesn’t seem happy or even bold as he normally does, like there’s some weight lurking in his heart. Vulgaris tilts his head curiously.
“Is everything alright?” he asks, taking another step forward with his brows furrowed. Meraki edges forward to see better around her father’s shoulder, craning her neck to continue staring with those wide green eyes of hers.
In this shook-up, twisted world, I'm gradually growing transparent and vanishing
Don’t look for me; don't look at me
Wolfbane this is so short im sorry. but basically vulgaris is all kinds of conflicted internally because he wants to be amped about seeing bane, but bane seems sad and leli and jakub are side eyeing.
Originally he’d intended to do this - come to Tephra, that is - a long time ago. Back in the early days of his and Lepis’ takeover, Wolfbane considered coming here to confront Leliana and demand the truth about Gale. Heartfire gave himself and his wife little to nothing when she’d intercepted them in Taiga thereafter, concerned with giving his daughter Eyas a cryptic message and an invitation while flat-out keeping the conversation focused on Taiga’s new leaders. And ever since that day, the focus of their entire world seemed to be on the Northern territories.
Scrutiny like that meant Gale’s early death fell behind more current, pressing issues. Now he was knocking on the enemies fictitious door with hopes of finding another child gone awry… possibly dead.
Bane swallowed down his anxiety and lifted his chin in the direction which Jakub would appear, shivering the fine hair covering his nose and twitching both golden ears like a bat until his chaperone arrived. “Polite of you, but no.” The brusque, colorful pegasus replied. He sounded amused at Jakub, but his expression never softened. Both hazel eyes were cut from clear glass and both stared through Jakub to where the jungle warped and fluttered.
He would’ve said more, had Leliana not come striding out from the swirling debris of her jungle portal to join the black minotaur guard. Instead he watched them touch and thought of the brief interaction between his Lilli and that Neverwhere mare.
“Leliana, Vulgaris.” Their guest went through the motions, speaking between a half-cocked grin when the last unexpected (and even more unexpectedly welcome) horse had arrived at their small gathering. For appearance sake Wolfbane laughed at his old friends joke, nearly as desperate as Vulgaris looked to slip back into their forgotten wisecracks, but away from Taiga and staring into the face of someone who'd been more than just a companion to him (who might understand Bane’s situation more than he realized) wore down the Commandant’s stoic mask.
Vulgaris, Leliana, probably even Jakub could tell where Wolfbane’s eyes had gone tense around the edges. His grin tightened; he glanced to where a young face peered out at him from behind the safety of Vulgaris’ legs and said, “Not alright, but it could be better.” The grin around his teeth softened for the filly - she reminded him of Elio. He shifted and turned once again towards the trio, eyeing all three with a heavy frown, “Things could also get much worse.”
Pointedly, Wolfbane looked at Vulgaris last. He was willing to speak with both Leliana and her husband openly, would even begrudgingly allow Jakub to stay and listen since fate seemed fit to toss the horned beast at him everywhere he turned, but what he had to say and the requests he felt driven to ask… these weren’t discussions for the likes of innocent children. Silence descended, awkward and empty. Bane looked down at where Meraki had been a moment before and wondered, “I hope I haven’t come at a bad time?”
10-15-2019, 10:03 AM (This post was last modified: 10-15-2019, 10:03 AM by Jakub.)
Jakub’s midnight eyes cocked sidewards at the pegasus and then nodded understandably as he declined his offer to help. The man that he had encountered years ago at the battle, seemed as if life had started to catch up to him, wearing him down little by little but Jakub would only ponder on these things, never really putting much concern towards the man who had broken him in battle and who had tried to break many more innocents.
Before he could say anything further or in this case not say anything at all, just stand in awkward, weighted silence Leliana appeared. Her presence had always been a pleasant one for Jakub. He turned towards her as she pressed her muzzle to his bulky shoulder, and he smiled gratefully as a warmth of peace filled his body allowing his muscles to unknot and his stance to relax. He would forever appreciate her for the way she cared for others, a stark contrast between the two present before him. Leli was kind, and Wolfbane uncaring, or was he?
As Vulgaris and his rulers youngest joined the trio Jakub could sense a change in the immediate atmosphere. He could see how Vulgaris attempted to warm the welcome party to Wolfbane, presenting himself as if the two were still old friends even though the circumstances at hand must have changed their relationship to some degree in the slightest. His midnight eyes watched the two exchange words and noticed years of age, worry, and stress place themselves upon the warriors in front of him. He watched the cautiousness Wolfbane administered in the presence of a child, and he scrunched his nose slightly as the feeling of, respect, creep to his heart. But that was all he was here for right now, was to watch and listen and to help in any way that he could.
it's just what happens when your heart goes ablaze
Leliana feels her heart swell in her chest when her husband joins them and the youngest of their brood comes to slip underneath her wing. The magician pulls her close, leaning down to ruffle her forelock and press a kiss to the sweep of her brow. “Hello angel,” she murmurs, although in her heart she knows that her daughter is not the innocent bloom that some of her children have grown into.
Still, she loves her all the same.
She laughs, light and soft, as her daughter slips away as easily as she had arrived. She leans into her husband for a second, pressing a kiss to his cheek before turning attention back to the man at their border. She does not trust him. She can’t stop the small fear that thrums in the back of her throat and the memories of him bearing down on her home. But she trusts Vulgaris and she sees how desperately he wants this to go well so she turns a cheek to such fears, to such concerns, and does her best to relax.
For a moment, she follows the direction of his gaze to their daughter.
She nods, almost to herself, before she reaches over. “Lovely, I have a task for you.” Her eyes glitter as she spins up a rabbit made of vines and flowers. The animal stands up, sniffing the air, before turning and begins hopping in the opposite direction—faster than any usual bunny could move—with a trail of flowers in its wake. Laughing, she nods. “It appears our beloved rabbit has escaped. Can you catch him?”
It is an innocent game, like a million games she concocts for her children.
But it should be one to keep their youngest distracted at least for a few moments.
Once she is content that Meraki is safe and a good enough distance away, she turns back, settling slightly so that she can focus her hazel eyes on the stallion. She says nothing, simply waiting for him to continue.
It’s hard for someone like Vulgaris to make friends. He’s always been too serious, too quick to judge others and dismiss them as weak or irrelevant to his needs. These flaws have improved since he met Leliana, but he still lacks any sort of outgoing personality or charisma to facilitate friendships. But he and Wolfbane had been friends from the start. Their brotherhood had come easily and naturally, perhaps because they are so much alike in many regards. But he doesn’t dwell on these things. Instead, he simply observes.
Things could also get much worse, he says.
His right brow twitches with concern but he’s careful to keep his body language mute until Leliana distracts Meraki. Despite lacking any serpentine or draconic qualities like her siblings, the girl is a natural at the chase when she takes off after the little artificial rabbit. He watches her little tree bark legs carry her in a surprisingly graceful gallop and his lips hold a whisper of a smile until she is out of sight. Her distant giggling soothes his heart, but only a fraction of it.
“She’ll be occupied for days, with that game,” he says as his smile fades and he turns to look at Wolfbane. “So what brings you to the gardens? How can we help?”
His sage green eyes are concerned but patient with his brow furrowed. Was Tephra to be the latest sanctuary for others to turn to? It has only been a few days since Litotes arrived with concerns of his own. Though, the worries bound three of the kingdoms together, then. He silently hopes there isn’t more of a mess connecting them all, but he is also grateful that he’s come to earn some trust from those he has betrayed. Maybe he wasn’t such a monster after all.
In this shook-up, twisted world, I'm gradually growing transparent and vanishing
Don’t look for me; don't look at me
10-18-2019, 09:06 PM (This post was last modified: 10-21-2019, 12:00 AM by Wolfbane.)
A rabbit chase was more than fitting, considering the circumstances Wolfbane found himself in. He waited and watched, fascinated, when the vines and leafy vegetation curled together like a living thing, weaving into themselves to build a faux rabbit that Meraki was suddenly bounding after. The soft patter of her hoofbeats faded away, leaving the four elder horses alone for the moment and Bane took a deep breath. The words came quickly, smoothly - he’d been thinking them over for a while now since coming home again.
“Remember in Loess,” He sighed, “the last time we really spoke? Our other children - my triplets and your Chronos - played together, and you told me that Leliana was intending to destroy us…” The pegasus drifted off, understanding that while it might be a bit uncomfortable for Leliana to hear the past dredged up, the purpose behind it was necessary, “You told me that you were my friend and brother, Vulgaris. Then and always.”
Wolfbane quieted, and where he fell silent the sounds of Leliana’s garden filled the void. High screeches and the distant sound of water dripping over leaves; every now and then the swish of their tails or the shifting squelch of heavy hooves on damp soil.
“Well now it’s my turn.” Wolfbane said, casting a look of shadowed concern on all three faces: Leliana, Jakub, and Vulgaris.
“Lepis… Castile. Myself, even, for being blind enough and trusting enough. Now I could be a pawn for them - I’m supposed to Champion Loess, not watch her crumble to dust. Lepis and Heartfire have me wedged somewhere between them, both pissed and assuming I’ve gone rogue.” The stallion huffed, ears dipping. “And maybe I have.”
For a moment or two he took a breath, listened if they had to say anything at all. Jakub was getting a show at least: in the span of two minutes Wolfbane had regurgitated years worth of backstory. And of all things Bane was here without Lepis’ or Castile’s knowledge, not that it really mattered anymore. His head rose and he peered instinctively at Leliana, the other two males forgotten for a brief moment while Bane cleared his mind, curious and willing to let her peer inside.
“There’s a dangerous force changing me.” He admitted, and the way he said it meant more than just his feelings, “I don’t fully understand it yet, but I fight it. And everything that feels true, honest, and just inside of me fights against what’s unraveling around me.” The horse tried his best to explain, wondering if perhaps Leliana could untangle the strings. He doesn’t doubt that she can sense the few shackles remaining, the last vestiges of his old soul, trying their best to contain something more sinister. It’s a curse. He admitted to himself, finally. You thought were stronger than fate, Bane, and you’re paying the price.
“I promised Aten that I would keep his family safe. I promised Loess that I would give my life for her. And I promised to love Lepis.” The long-winded explanation began winding down. He intended to keep all three promises, and of all three Bane knew that loving Lepis right now meant to hurt her - possibly forever. “I know what happened in Nerine. I came here to ask you for time, Vulgaris. To ask Tephra and Nerine, whoever else may have an interest in whatever is brewing between the North and South, for time. She was my closest friend Vul - Leli; she’s the mother of our children. Let me deal with Lepis and bring Taiga to heel for the sake of peace.”
Stopping there might’ve been sufficient, but then Bane remembers exactly what Lepis had conferred to him about her meeting with his grandmere, and somehow the words, “Castile will never be swayed. If chaos falls on Loess you can expect me there - for Loess and Loess alone.” spilled like trickling shards of glass off his tongue.
Let the dragon devour the meal he’s made for himself.
The quiet has always been disconcerting to Jakub. Nothing good had ever come from resting in a place between unrest and peace. Beqanna had sat stagnant for to long and he had been right to question it. Something had been brewing in the changing seasons. An untamed part of Jakub had grown restless as of late, trailing borders and testing boundaries of his traits. Preparations for a break in that unpredictable quietness.
Jakub's eyes watched as Leli poured her magic into Tephra pulling from it a child's play toy. A distraction for young Meraki, an innocent creation to keep innocent minds away from pressing matters. He found himself impressed, even though by now he should be used to her abilities. His fondness did not detract from the matter at hand however and he stood guarded, features hard as stone as he listened.
His eyes darted to Leliana for only a moment as Wolfbane trudged up the past, a wayward muscle constricting his jaw. Memories noone wanted to repeat. He could see the Taiga commandant struggle through his speech. An uncomfortable feeling of understanding flickered across Jakub's eyes. Wolfbane's promises spilled out onto the table infront of him in all his vulnerability. Of all his promises the one he made to Aten struck the heaviest, a promise he too would keep for his dear friend.
Jakub did not know what had happened in Nerine, but he could see the pleading request of Wolfbane's with perfect clarity. His eyes shifted to Vulgaris as Wolfbane ended. His loyalty to Loess an echoing oath amongst the quiet garden. It took all of Jakub's willpower to stand ideally by and let Vulgaris make decisions that could potentially hold the future of Beqanna, and more importantly Tephra, within them.
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