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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

    the heaviness in my heart belongs to gravity; kensley

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

    She doesn’t know how to interpret his silence.

    Doesn’t know the first thing about the pain that he carries with him or the gravity of the situation that clings to his shoulders. He doesn’t answer her question and that strikes her as odd for a moment but then he asks about her mother and that brightens her expression just a little—turns her eyes upward.

    “My mother is named Leliana,” she offers before she shakes her head, sending tendrils of her black hair flying. “But she wasn’t born in the Chamber. She was born on the Mountain when Beqanna was changing.” She frowns, trying to remember the names her mother has told her. “It was her mother who lived in the Chamber before that. I think her name was Victra?” Another roll of her shoulders.

    “My mother used to tell me that we were descendants of Atrox and Twinge.”

    The names are clumsy on her tongue—difficult for her in their strangeness, despite the fact that she had seen a glimpse of the black panther during the war on Tephra and then never since. “I’m sorry. I wish that I knew more.” She frowns, studying him, wishing she had what he needed. “My uncle,” a pause as she laughs, “well, not really my uncle, but his name is Magnus and he knows a lot more about the old Beqanna than I could. He lives on Tephra if you wanted to talk to someone about it.”

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


    i took the poison praying you'd feel it, too
    i wrapped my neck and prayed that you'd feel the noose

    Her expression brightens and he thinks she must love her mother.
    He wonders if this is important. If it matters. If it should matter.

    He does not know the first name she offers, her mother’s. Relief surges through him and there, in the corner of his mouth, is another glimmer of some sad, secret smile because she had not said Anaxarete. And what would he have done if she had? Despite how fiercely he had loved her and the softness they had shared, Anaxarete had never belonged to him and he had raised their daughter alone.

    The second name she offers, her grandmother’s, is also unfamiliar. He had lived in the Chamber years before his home had undergone its radical and fantastical transformation. He does know the names Atrox and Twinge. And when she mentions her uncle, Magnus, he nods.

    I remember them,” he muses. “Atrox, Twinge, and Magnus.” A happier time, he thinks. When his own family had been within reach. When he’d gone to the Chamber to save his sister from the darkness she’d fallen into. When he’d been in love. When he’d been good and kind and patient.

    I’m very old,” he says. And then, after a moment, a tired smile. He wonders how he’ll live with all of the sadness. He imagines it dripping out of his pores, pooling in the dirt at his feet. He imagines it seeping into the skin of anyone foolish enough to try and touch him.

    shattered son of jarris and plumeria

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

    If she knew his question, she would be able to tell him how desperately she loves her mother.

    How she worships her.

    How she wants nothing more than to grow into the grace that her mother has achieved, to be able to find time to care for her home and her family. Of course, she does not know all that goes into what her mother shows to the world. She does not know the exhaustion that plagues her mom, even with her newfound magic to keep it bay. She does not know about the pain that she has felt throughout the years and the way that she still carries those nightmares between her teeth and tucked behind her breastbone.

    No, she does not know these things.

    She just knows the gentle kiss of her mother against her brow and the flowers that bloom around her.

    And it is these things that soothe her as she smiles at the stallion before her, confused and more than a little uncertain about where she stands and what she should do. “I saw Atrox recently,” she blurts out because she isn’t sure what else to say. “There was a war, in our home. He was fighting.” It had been an exhilarating thing to witness, but she does not miss the war or the pain that was brought along with it.

    She frowns at what he says next. “You do not look so old,” she muses before she shrugs.

    “But Magnus and Atrox do not look so old either. Perhaps I am not such a good judge of age."

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


    i took the poison praying you'd feel it, too
    i wrapped my neck and prayed that you'd feel the noose

    He wonders about the war but does not know how to ask about it.
    He wonders who else was involved.
    Foolishly, he wonders about Kennice.
    About his mother and father.
    And then the rest of his siblings.

    And the heartbeat catches when he thinks about Keiran. His nostrils flare as the breath turns thin and he has to look away. He nods absently and studies the mottled turf underfoot.

    He glances up when she speaks again, the corner of his mouth quirking in a placid smile as he lifts his head. “I suspect we all suffer the same ailment,” he muses. There, another twinge in the hollow cavern of his chest. Because it is new for him, a gift he had not deserved. A gift he’d stolen from his sister as he’d kissed her head, swallowed her blood, felt the life drain out of her and into him. “There’s no sense in aging when you’re not dying, I guess.” But that does not mean he has not lived several lifetimes or that he’d felt as if his own mortality had rapidly been catching up to him when he’d gone to visit Keiran.

    He circles back because he cannot help it. Because he is perhaps more curious about his home – or what has become of it – than he’d realized. He’s seen war, certainly. But the Kensley of old had been passive and kind. He had not fought, watching from the sidelines instead as war ravaged the world he knew. It turns his stomach to think of it now.

    What was the war fought over?” he asks.

    shattered son of jarris and plumeria

    I said our hearts know deeper seasons than our memories

    To be honest, Larke has little understanding of what sparked the war.

    She was barely born by the time that it had started and her mother had always shielded her from the worst of it. She didn’t know about the way her mother’s mind had been fractured by the magic or the way that her father’s memory had been erased and how he had kick-started a capturing of healers, including her mother. How the scars of such actions had ripped open wounds and led to such a painful event.

    So, for a moment, she just stands there, her brow furrowing.

    “I honestly am not sure,” she finally answers, even though it feels foolish to admit. Her cheeks grow warm and she would blush if she was able—would blush to know that she is a leader of a territory and yet has little to no understanding of the current political climate. How foolish of a young girl she is.

    Still, she rolls her shoulders, looking up from beneath her forelock. “What a silly answer.”

    She laughs, to fill the silence, before her memory catches on what he had said before.

    Curious, and more than a little interested, she studies his face. “So you’re immortal?” It is a strange idea to a girl so painfully mortal. She knows that her father has been around for years, and Magnus has come into immortality, and her mother now has a magic that acts as a kind of immortality, but it feels strange.

    “Is it strange to think that you might never die?”


    i took the poison praying you'd feel it, too
    i wrapped my neck and prayed that you'd feel the noose

    There is nothing silly about her answer.
    He rolls his own shoulders in a kind of shrug, shakes his head.

    It’s not silly,” he says, even. She laughs but he does not. The most he can offer is a faint stirring in the furthest corners of his mouth. “There is nothing silly about being honest.

    He shouldn’t have mentioned it, he realizes. He shackles himself with the blame when she circles back to an off-handed remark that had turned his stomach but he had thought little of. It had been a brief lapse in judgment, his attempt at explaining how he could look young even at his age. His considerable age.

    She calls them back to her and he cannot fault her for it, but his nostrils flare and his heart lurches and he swallows thickly. Because the gift is not his to hold, because it had belonged to his sister and he does not understand the magic that took it from her veins and put it in his. She should be here still, he thinks, and he’d gladly forfeit the promise of forever to have her back.

    Yes,” he murmurs and a faint nod follows as he turns away his gaze. As if he might hide the storm clouds that pass across his face. As if he can hide the colossal hurt that rises up to swallow him whole. And she had vanquished the exhaustion and the aching in his muscles with her own magic, but he can feel them creeping in again. Because they have less to do with exertion and more to do with grief.

    He considers her question a long time, staring blankly toward the horizon. At long last, he clears his throat and rolls his shoulders again. He knows perhaps too well that, despite the gift (or curse, maybe, in this instance), you can still die.

    It’s a fairly recent development,” he admits, “I haven’t had a lot of time to dwell on it.

    shattered son of jarris and plumeria

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