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    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

    hello my old heart, villanelle

    I guess I've got a taste for poison; I've given up on ever being well
    I keep mining the horizon, digging for lies I've yet to tell

    Perhaps it is dangerous to be so soft.
    But she can make the flowers dance just by smiling at them.
    And how could she be anything but soft with eyes that bright?

    She has spent the first year of her life tucked away someplace safe and warm. Sometimes she swears she can see the glow when she presses herself against her mother. How deliriously happy it makes her to love and know that she is loved in return. Loved so fiercely that she can see it.

    She has not wanted to leave that warmth, not knowing that she carries it with her. She has spent days testing it – straying further and further from her mother’s side simply to see when the heat in the center of her chest might fade. But it never does and she calls back to her mother that she’ll be back as she takes to the woods.

    And when the darkness closes around her and quickens her pulse, tightens a vise of fear around her throat, she makes the trees sway and dance, she makes the flowers uproot themselves to follow alongside her. She finds peace in these things, refuses to acknowledge that they would not be enough to protect her should she encounter danger. But she delights in the way they follow her, as if propelled simply by their love of her rather than the sliver of magic in her heart.

    She has never been to the Playground, but she knows the way. She tips back her head in breathless wonder as she watches the faeries flit overhead, watching the children as they play. The trees behind her go still and the flowers plunge their roots back into the ground as she crosses into the clearing and she casts a mournful glance over her shoulder at them. They had been with her only a short time but she has loved them and considered them friends.

    She will make new friends, she thinks, as she ventures into the center of the clearing and turns in one slow, bright-eyed circle.


    heartbreak is a warm sensation
    when the only feeling that you know is fear

    When mother tells her not to do something, she does the exact opposite. Sochi has her limitations, even if they are few and far between—Villanelle knows that sneaking away from Loess is one of them. The mischievous grin that curves the filly’s lips as she quietly trails from her parents’ dragon den is deceivingly sweet. The elegant sculpt of her blue and black head makes her look like a fallen angel, deceptive but in that fabled way that makes one forget she is so.

    That sneaky grin only widens when the scent of the Loessian border fades into the strong scent of the Forest.

    The trunks of the trees are tight and damp as Nell weaves between. Exhilaration floods her chest when the supple leaves of low hanging branches brush against her sides. Various ferns and creeping vines tickle her legs and trip at her hooves. Her sharp eyes catch each scampering shrew and startled bird as they whisk away from her (perhaps these predatory behaviors she has learned from her father will harm her in the future . . . but as a child she lets them run wild).

    The Forest passes quickly—quicker than the girl would like, but the Meadow and the promise of the Playground offers new adventures. Her long, gangly legs trot purposefully over colorful wildflowers and tall yellow grass.

    Villanelle falls into a sort of haze as she travels, only coming out it when the startling buzz of a watchful fae passes her left ear. She comes to a halt, silver eyes settling on the fairies above and then suddenly on the retreating body of another filly.

    “Hey!” she yells, voice commanding and deep. She canters after Lovewell as she spins in a circle. “What are you doing? Are you going somewhere?”


    I guess I've got a taste for poison; I've given up on ever being well
    I keep mining the horizon, digging for lies I've yet to tell

    How stunning, the way the heart blooms and bursts.
    She feels like there are wildflowers caught in her throat.
    This is an unbridled joy unlike anything she’s ever felt before.
    Even brighter and bolder than the absolutely delight she’d felt when she learned that she could make the flowers and the trees and the grass dance.
    Because the sun shines here and it warms her to the darkest corner of her chest when she turns her face up to it.

    She hears the shouting but she has no way of knowing it’s directed at her. So, she goes on spinning in her slow circle and allows her laughter to swell up big and bright in her chest. She lets it swallow her whole.

    She turns in another circle and then stops short when she notices another filly, striking both in color and presence. Her head swims as it anticipates another slow circuit and she blinks herself back into some kind of equilibrium. She conjures up a kind of breathless smile, tilting her fine head a fraction as she considers the filly’s questions.

    I’m not going anywhere,” she says with a voice like honey, “I’m staying right here.” It comes out sounding like a promise and the smile remains.

    I was trying to see everything at once, but I’ve just made myself dizzy.

    She glances over her shoulder at the edge of the Playground behind her then shifts her focus back to the filly standing before her.

    I’m Lovewell,” she says, though the girl didn’t ask. “What’s your name?


    heartbreak is a warm sensation
    when the only feeling that you know is fear

    From the moment she was born, Villanelle was a beautiful creature. Her silver eyes flash like an unworn ring, the blue of her hide shimmers beneath even the softest of lights, the ebony of her markings outlining the blue in such a way that it looks like a night sky. Her smile is gorgeous and devilish, like the charming curl of a rosy-cheeked toddler’s hair. Her parents are terribly adept at creating the marvelous and the dangerous—Nell being the perfect combination of the two.

    That beauty is a poison, though—one that teaches the filly hate like no child should know.

    She supposes the girl before is just as beautiful as she, but the edges of her eyes soften at her childish smile. A wandering thought of Why can’t I be like that? drills a throbbing behind her eyes, and she lets that envy turn into something vicious.

    “Well maybe you should go somewhere else.” This she slides in between the sentences Lovewell floats in Nell’s direction. Her voice calm and her gaze level, she cocks her head with a sly smile. She thinks it would be satisfying to send this girl away, but then she realizes she does not know what she would do in this big meadow all by herself—a strange loneliness creeps up her throat.

    “My name is Villanelle,” she replies, cocking her head to the right and sliding a darkly playful gaze over Lovewell’s sides. Her hooves leave little u-shaped impressions in the dirt when she steps closer to the swirl-covered filly. Where she settles her left hoof impatiently digs a small hole into the earth.

    “Why are you named that?” she murmurs, then stretches her muzzle to brush against Lovewell’s in an instinctive greeting.


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