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  • Beqanna

    version 22: awakening


    GHAUL -- Year 209


    "(souls are not meant to live more than once — death was not meant to be temporary, and she is so sure that every time her heart starts to beat again that irreversible damage is further inflicted)" -- Anonya, written by Colby

    [mature]  Sidewalk scenes and black limousines (Any)
    Eyas ran scared and never looked back. Skipping out on Taiga and weathering a most brutal Winter in Icicle Isle had been a nightmare, pure living hell on Beqanna. Go to Jesper, help him with your visions, she’d thought and a good idea it’d been at the time. But one small flick of action reacted in a way Eyas hadn’t expected, and the visions had come without warning or without reason afterwards. A domino effect of sights and flashing lights, each more god awful than the last.

    A newborn left out to freeze, and freeze it did. Its skin turned black from frostbite and its eyes shut forever against the world. Tiny limbs stuck together as animals wandered near to nibble or tear at the frozen flesh. A hunk of dead meat; carrion for the birds that she was forced to watch again and again.

    Eyas stopped eating and sleep evaded her. Between sights of rapists and murderers, there was wanton sex - visions of one horse being fucked by endless suitors through a progession of time. Sometimes raw and sometimes with love, but in those visions (for a moment or two) Eyas felt the heat between her own legs and almost sensed the heavy weight of another horse on top of her, though it was only a phantom sort of feeling.

    And then the visions got darker the feelings got more intense:
    She could see herself being trampled underneath hooves, and then she could feel her ribs crack, or her eyeball bursting out from the socket when a well-placed blow shattered her cheekbone.

    It was cyclical - these feelings and visions just seemed to loop endlessly while Eyas remained paralyzed and nearly lifeless from the perpetual onslaught of magic. She withered away in the barren iceland’s and prayed that it would stop, but above all prayed that death would come before her father. The very idea of Wolfbane finding her and bringing her home made Eyas nauseous and absolutely terrified.

    Why? She saw through his eyes, that’s why. And lately, when he did slip unannounced into her vision, she could nearly feel what he was feeling and she hated it. It was sickening; something alien. Whatever had taken over dad’s body since Gale’s death was not her father anymore, and what he felt when his thoughts centered on her whereabouts (as they often did in the beginning) was not from a place of fatherly concern.

    So she shivered and ached, starved and often cried herself into a slumberlerless stupor all without dying, and when the first rays of warm spring came to brush against her ragged, overgrown coat, Eyas breathed a shaky gasp of rattling air and reasoned that she must be immortal. Any creature who was not would have perished in the snow long ago. She couldn’t pass away, then. It was something she’d hoped for many times. Eyas would go on living regardless, and that meant staying hidden in the isle was out of the question.

    She must move, or be discovered.
    Somehow the weakling manages to find the shore, and then somehow she manages to scramble back to Taiga, and then somehow over the span of days she makes her way around the edge of her mother’s kingdom, her vision switching from reality over to her father’s eyes so that she can keep tabs on how close he’s getting. It was while looking for him that she stumbled, blinded by her own power, into the engulfing waters of a freezing river that swept her listless body under the current and then - only then - did she succumb to a blackness so dark that she figured she must’ve died.

    Eyas fell unconscious and gulped down gallons of water into her lungs before the River spat her back out again: nothing but a limp tangle of matted hair and bony skin that bobbed to the surface before floating to rest on the rocky shore.

    tl;dr: Eyas has been hiding out in a daze on Icicle Isle but after realizing she can't die, decided to try and leave. She stumbled into the river and was swept downstream, where she's currently unconscious on the shore. And very dirty. And very thin.

    Open to any!
    " ... but always keep them on a leash."
    He had succumbed to the darkness on many an occasion. Sometimes it was cold, an icy grasp that left him breathless and wide-eyed. Most times, though, it was fire, white hot and searing. Consume him, cradle him … never keeping him for very long, it always spat him back out. Sometimes in pieces. Always broken.

    The little otter skitters along the riverbank, dark brown and sinuous. The rocks on the riverbank are a scattered mass, some slippery with moss, all interspersed with bits of driftwood and secrets. The bones of a trout tucked between two jagged bits of stone gives him pause, but after a brief inspection, he bounds along. The shallows are cold here, churned up from the rapids just upriver. They foam where it meets solid ground, and he chases several bubbles round before he notices it. Though it matches the color and angles of its surroundings, it is still clearly living. Or, was not so long ago. Curious.

    Moving closer, he chirrups loudly, the sound turning up at the end in question. The body remains still. Its back is to him and contemplates a moment before slipping forward. A ragged, filthy mane extends along … her … back, the jut of her ribs and hips painfully obvious, even under her wretched coat. The smell of death lingers on the fringes of his senses but … he pads over the thin neck and jumps onto her shoulder, using his thick tail to steady himself as he balances on a prominent scapula. Splashing into the water that is pooling around her forelegs (tossed so carelessly onshore), he moves up to her head, wrinkling his nose against the smell and studying her features. None he recognizes, but that is no surprise. He’s been gone a long time.

    Not dead, he thinks. With remarkably dexterous paws, he peels the nearest eyelids open, tilting his head until he’s uncomfortably close. Wake up!, he shouts, but he’s otter-Set, not Set-Set. Loud, nonsensical chattering. He smacks a small, impatient paw against her cheek before sitting up to check their surroundings.
    alliance champion, once king, mage
    A nearly-dead body couldn’t come back without a little effort, first. A mere mortal’s light would’ve long been snuffed out, but Eyas (being of the immortal variety type soul) had to travel a nearly endless road to reach it. Unlike her sire and brothers, Eyas lacked the innate power to simply heal herself and spring back into action; her remaining sparks felt the gusty breath of Otter-Set’s slap and they burst into the tiniest of flames again.

    Underneath Set’s sturdy, brown paws, Eyas convulsed a bit. Her stomach - engorged with water - clenched and shifted her legs with a jerk.

    Life came back to Eyas slowly, and she felt a separate and very important part of herself being dragged back from a curious place. The instant before her eyes flared open and water came gushing out of her sinuses, the still-young pegasus mare felt an awareness about her spirit, about how it felt like she’d been wandering of her own free will through the darkness, and she clung to that for a moment until the pain of heaving riverwater back into the river wiped that awareness clean.

    She blinked quietly through her black forelock, the only part of her odd mane that grew out to a normal length, and felt her skin sagging around her face and body from the added weight of water. Around them it might’ve been summer, but being severely malnourished and half-crazed left Eyas shivering anyways. One of her wings still lay sodden and limp in the water, glinting now and then when the blue sections hit light. Is this… real? She questioned herself, sucking in a jagged breath of pure fire.

    Was it?

    She looked around, scanning the river and banks beyond it, peering through the thicket of forest opposite them both and then to her right and down the pebble beach. She saw Set, only noticing him now when moments before he’d been the creature smacking her. Weakened, she was powerless to resist the sudden and undoubtedly offensive intrusion into his sight; her gift had complete control in the moment. It could feel like a rough shove or a clawing grasp of magic, but it didn’t seek to steal or alter - only nose about. Against Set’s own magic it could fall short… but there was enough sense in Eyas to know that her gift wouldn’t waste it’s time looking into some common river otter's sight.

    “Oh Gods -” She rasped with an aching throat and ironically dry tongue, “- I, I’m so sorry.” The matted girl croaked to Otter-Set, knowing that he wasn’t an otter and knowing that he probably knew that she knew… ugh. What a mess. The visions were always a convoluted mess, giving her more problems than solutions.

    “You sho - should go.” She stammered, rolling her sinfully black gaze away from the creature and into the roots of nearby cattails. “It’s not safe to... I’m not safe. If you -” And she coughed, rattling the wind through her lungs with such a violent seizure that her entire body heaved as if it might collapse again, “- can’t stay. Just go.”
    She was tired. Talking had taken it out of her; the greediness of her manipulation zapped what reserve energy she’d used to reanimate herself. If the stranger inside the Otter skin chose to stay, he could expect more of her ‘prodding’ so to speak. “Please go.” The mare whispered, lowering her dark-pointed face into the muck.

    Set let me know if anything needs changing; she basically tried to force a peep into his vision
    " ... but always keep them on a leash."
    The seemingly broken body underneath his paws shifts and ripples, drawing his attention back ‘round. He stretches out a paw to pat her cheek again, sensing life rising to the surface, when suddenly she clenches, limbs jerking wildly. She is going to blow! Hastily he leaps back into the shallows, chastising her with high-pitched chucks that tumble over one another into a stream of river otter curses. No matter it is he to blame, at least in partial, for her sudden Lazarus-rise; the river regurgitation he could have done without. The cold water stirs and roils about his ankles, disturbed again by her violent thrashing and heaving. When he thinks he is probably a safe distance away, while still being close enough to investigate, he turns to face her again.

    She makes no motion to stand but takes in her surroundings. Blinking slowly, taking in her surroundings before she finally notices him. It has been so long since he’s done more than hunt and sleep in the sun, leaping from form to form with the whim of his will. At times, great, powerful creatures but, more often than not it was the simpler creatures like this otter that carry him. The sudden shove of magic catches him off-guard, setting off a chain reaction somewhere in his chest. It burns in every pit and hollow of his DNA, urging marrow and bone and flesh to change - to revert.

    Her apology distracts him from the creeping feeling of invasion and the burn it instigated. He cocks his head to the side when she begs he leave, swiping at the corner of his mouth with a water-logged paw when she turns from him. It's then the burning sensation flares and a change takes place. With a surge and a tear, sleek brown fur gives way to a pied, scar-marked hide. Bones crack and tremor, a soft breath amidst the forceful change. His uneven, knotted mane falls haphazardly to one side and the other; that mischievous golden gaze only partially hidden by his forelock. Set yawns and stretches in a feline manner, cracking joints restored. “You know,” he starts, and stops again to clear his throat of its huskiness, moving back around in front of her. Lowering his head, he tugs at her forelock, the velvet of his muzzle drifting down her sodden, cold-wracked frame in the barest of touches, unbothered by her obvious distress. His touch pauses at her wings, iridescent in the light when the forest allows it.

    Retreating again, his eyes narrow thoughtfully, mismatched ears flicking forward and then back as he studies her. She will not find him so easily accessible now. “I’ll forgive your transgression,” he finally says, lips spread in a wide grin, one that meets his eyes. “You’re weak, dying maybe,” he continues, nonchalant, eyes shifting to the forest surrounding and then back to her. Shifting his weight, he takes a breath. His exhalation will warm her entirely, wring the damp and cold from her body, if she so chooses. “What makes you think you’re a danger to me?”
    alliance champion, once king, mage
    It’s not the River that pops and splinters behind her, but Eyas knew that. Her chin and lower cheeks felt cold, lying there in the wet mud of the watery banks, and she didn’t move to look at Set while he changed from one animal to the next. Not even when he sighed before speaking - a tone that sounded weathered, nearly comforting. Fatherly. Set had a voice that could put her at ease.

    When the crunching sound of gravel and sand to her right meant he was walking, then she looked: Eyas could see the same riverbank mud caked over the black hair that covered his hooves. He stank of the wild and what lived in it, and when his teeth grasped her forelock (the only long part of her otherwise fjord-like mane) Eyas’ head rose with them, sucking free from wet clay and leaving clumps dangling from the furry hair covering her face and neck.

    Her nose flared and the young mare breathed evenly, trying not to let the discomfort of a stranger’s touch unnerve her too much. For long months she’d been isolated by choice, but if Set could touch her this way it meant her reality was certain and this was not a vision. She turned to listen while he spoke, curving her neck and peering queerly at the shape of his odd facial marking, the lower half of her own face obscured by the bent crook of her wing as she withdrew it from his lips and the water.

    “Not what I think; what I know.” She corrected him softly at first, barely above a whisper. Her eyes, the same night-black ones that turned away from him earlier, stared at the baroque stallion with a curious determination now. “Death rejected us both and look what happened. You’re much too old and I’ve seen far too much for us to be sitting here, playing twenty questions, Set.” Eyas breathed his name, blinking against the warm gust of air.

    “I’m tired.” The mare sighed, letting the brief display of hard-headedness flicker out of her. She drooped again, visibly exhausted and looking every bit a world-weary ancient rather than the flowering three-year-old she was. “I can’t trust that you’ll help me if I ask - I can’t trust you.”

    ► Powerplay Me : Injury (mild) : Powers (any)
    " ... but always keep them on a leash."
    He nearly misses her response, quiet as it is. Dipping his head, it twists in a way that is not equine but looks natural for him nonetheless. He cannot remember the last time he was himself. Though the magic followed him from creature to creature, it always seemed dampened. Now, though, now it floods every cell of his immortal body. Were he a lesser being, he might wince at the sudden onslaught, but he no more than flicks an ear. Muscle and bone have not yet forgotten lessons well learned (in pounds of flesh and pints of blood) in the mountains of the Chamber. Shifting his weight, he lips absently at the water’s surface. When she breathes his name, he wears an expression much accustomed to schooling itself in such a way that it does not give away the thoughts that lie beneath. She had caught a glimpse from the inside, a feat accomplished by few, fewer still once he had won the Alliance. Even in another animal’s skin, he was still him, and it is nothing to keep those less powerful than he (of which there are few) out of his mind.

    If not a mindreader, than what? Not a goddess, not a mage .. His brow furrows in contemplation.

    As he looks on, she slumps, exhaustion once again lining the gaunt hollows of her young frame. He laughs then, a throaty chuckle that is not meant to mock. The sodden mess of a world-weary mare holds just enough intrigue and fire that he does not turn and disappeared back into the forest behind him - he does not wipe the memory of the particularly handsome otter she had met when she’d washed ashore. “You’re right not to trust me, darling,” he replies as he wades back toward her, golden eyes dancing. Ignoring her voiced and obvious misgivings, he nudges her hindquarters, “... but idling on a cold riverbank - or on Icicle Isle - feeling sorry for yourself and hoping for a death that will never come is … boring,” he continues, minimizing the adversity she’d faced with his typical dismissiveness. It’s a gentle push meant to encourage her to stand, but his impatience is legendary, and it is only a breath later that he reaches down to bite her, a move not intended to hurt (badly), only to drive her to her feet. “Come now, let’s find something to eat, shall we?” It’s poised as a question, and his tone does not change from its boyish levity, but he leaves little room for disagreement.
    alliance champion, once king, mage

    Eyas hardly knows herself enough to answer his unspoken questions. Not a goddess, no. Not a mage… not exactly. Sorceress more or less, if they were technical about things like that. Her gifts combined were not as all-encompassing as Set’s, leaving Eyas bristling at his mention of icicle isle and her time spent there, the audacity of his statement and the nonchalant attitude he gives toward her predicament. Though when considered he was giving her a proverbial taste of her own medicine, and she humbled herself at the thought nearly immediately, wiping a sour look off her sullen face.

    Her magic was arcane in nature and dealt with impressive levels of learned knowledge, giving her instantaneous, private information if she could glean secrets from her chosen subject. These were not toys to be played with or kept at bay. Beqanna resisted magical interference, likewise interfering with those who attempted to resist.

    Set understood those facts if she didn’t, and the maturing pegasus should consider herself lucky to be given a modicum of his attention. Her graceful, inbred nature of being raised a noblemare in a kingdom setting kept her tongue between her teeth and everything but her ears from twitching back at his rough encouragement to get her up from the soggy riverbanks. “Easily said for someone who’s lived a thousand lifetimes.” Eyas grunted softly, uncurling her legs in the muddy waters lapping along the shore.

    “This one’s my first.” She straightened out her stiff joints and sodden wings, dripping cold water from tangled hair that hung under her belly, “It’s been a fucking shitshow lately.” The girl spread her legs like a newborn foal, shaking excess river muck off and stumbling back a step or so. The sudden action made her dizzy, reminding her of just how weak she was. “I am hungry…” The drowned little rat lamented, following the admittance with a soft gurgling through an empty gut.

    “...but no more games. If I go with you,” Eyas huffed the overlong strands of tangled forelock away from her glistening, black-fire eyes, “I want some insight only you could give. I want to see inside of myself — I want to see my own magic, what it’s made of.” She demanded, refusing to take a step further. Waterlogged and scrawny, she couldn’t have been a very imposing sort of picture standing on the rocky edge of the winter river, but the determination from before continued to flare inside of her all the same.

    Set had said it himself - feeling sorry for being given a rare gift was boring. It was time that changed.

    ► Powerplay Me : Injury (mild) : Powers (any)
    He has already turned away from her, picking his way over bits of river debris, when she makes her demands, all the determination she can muster trembling in the distance between them. He pauses, a foreleg hovering a moment before being placed carefully back down. A breath. The hard features of his mismatched face pull back in a severe smile, eyes rolling in their sockets as he turns to face her again, a matching roll to his shoulders. Unearthly gold meets grave bravado. “If it pleases,” he concedes on the heels of a devilish wink.

    It no longer takes conscious thought to use his magic. Time and the ever-changing face of Beqanna had given it cause to shift and evolve – weaknesses where there had been none (and not just him, the reckoning had changed them all). But here, in the wild bits of the country, he is king.

    Brazenly he reaches inside her. He tempers the strength of the flow of magic so as not to overpower her in her weakened state, but he can’t say it won’t hurt. Though he makes no move toward her physically, he draws her along with him, easing toward the edges of her soul; that other-plane, visceral part of the body where the power always dwells. A growl trembles at the base of his throat when he sees it, shuddering and lashing out. It probes at his defenses, eager for another glimpse of the world from his eyes, but its efforts this time are fruitless. He beckons her to it and eases back to himself. If you won’t control it, it will control you, he whispers into her head as he draws back. It was a lesson he had learned the hard way himself, his shifting once out of his control.

    “Cunning will nearly always trump force,” he says aloud, referring to her previous, albeit accidental, invasion into his Otter’s-mind. Shaking out his mane, he makes it easier for her sliding a door open just wide enough for her to slip through, if she can control herself well enough. “Stalk your prey, slip in and out unnoticed before they realize you’ve been there.” His eyes catch on the jut of her ribs, her filthy wings. “Though, you should really fucking eat something first,” he muses.

    Always, always had Eyas looked into others. Seen past their veil, as she liked to call it. Their memories persay, more than that really because she can see a clarity that sometimes evades even the memory-holder. Her whole life she hadn’t known anything different, since Gale had grown with her in their mother’s womb and come out into this world as her equal, sharing and taking from her as equally as she had shared and taken from him. But to have this stranger; to have Set not only look into her but force Eyas' head around and come with was… incredible.

    The invisible grasp of his power is sudden, yet Eyas welcomes it like the student she truly is. He seems decisive and knowledgeable in his actions and she admires this quietly to herself, knowing that everything she thinks or feels will likewise be understood by him. He becomes the puppeteer, marionetting her spirit towards the dwelling place of her inborn power and Eyas goes willingly, accepting the pain that comes with it in order to better understand herself.

    As souls, she cannot say that existence feels differently from this perspective but seeing Set like this, untethered and what she would describe as a “raw” formation of himself, is enlightening to the young pupil. Were she anything of an expert on spirits or the manifestation of them, she would judge this Set based on what she sees from their plane of magic and not any physical form he chose to shape-shift into: This Set is actually quite lovely to her, quite mysterious and much less imposing.

    But then she turns to where he beckons, observing the coils of her own essence and the strange, magical threads woven through it. Her immortality looks like a bronze core in an otherwise white light, shielded prettily by something see-through. My invisibility! She would laugh if she could, but Eyas looks on. When her vision aligns with what Set growls at, she understands: the writhing, chaotic power makes her uneasy as well. The magician gives her warning which Eyas heeds nervously, taking a final look at something else unexplainable before they return to their fleshy bodies.

    “Like a thief in the night.” The pegasus hen mutters through a dry mouth, holding still a moment longer to memorize the lesson he’s implanted. Feel the connection, she focuses on the door, easing it open and gazing into his eyes, cunning trumps force. Regardless, the manipulative grasp finds nothing; Set’s already put up defenses. It’s practice only, and it works. She smirks. “Curse the Gods I fucking heard ya the first time. Let’s go.”

    Sagging, the limp and tired mare moved to join her instructor at a comfortable distance. He could lead and she would follow willingly. “Hey but there was something else back there.” Eyas changed her tone to a contemplative hum, “Like a mist or something, it was black. Did you see it? Is that… normal?” She worried briefly. Was it a black mark? She wondered, like a sin or wrongdoing on her soul?

    It never occurred to Eyas that something more sinister would find root in her life.

    Set Thank you for bearing with me through all her boring self-discovery stuff and Set is the #1 teacher in all of Beqanna.
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