"There is still something of himself - something of the Wolfbane who would always love her - that rallies against the slime. It says, 'lie in the bed you’ve made'. So he gathers the covers and tucks himself in." -- Wolfbane, written by Calcifer
11-01-2019, 09:03 PM (This post was last modified: 11-03-2019, 02:02 PM by Beryl.)
This darkness is different. It is like a soft static, a buzzing tone whining in her ears, she loses herself in it, becomes light, becomes nothing. The icy saltwater that felt so heavy in her lungs evaporates. Or, maybe it doesn't, but she doesn't care about it anymore. There is a spreading warmth crawling over her skin like honey. She opens her eyes and the light is red and blue and gold and green, shining and effervescent. Her mother draws near, gentle and so full of love that white light emanates from the cracks between her black patches.
But her eyes are yellow.
Mama's eyes are not yellow! Beryl thinks, indignantly, and suddenly the world breaks apart. Suddenly, she begins to choke and the warmth that spread over her turns to flames and ice. Suddenly, the wind bites at her soft foal coat, slicing through it to the wet, red, skin. There is salt and blood on her lips and water gushing in an endless stream from her nostrils, puddling beneath her where she lies on the frozen ground. The wind is howling and her fur is freezing, coughs and sobs and shivers wracking her small body. Her eyes do not open easily, lashes crusted with ice, and she tucks her nose against her chest for warmth, finding none. She wants to go back to the dream of dying, to that warm place. She'll forgive her mother's yellow eyes, this time. It's okay. Yellow is a fine color.
But she can't get back there. There is nothing but ice and pain and a strange numbness that settles in her legs. Her neck feels limp and tired, too tired to lift her head any longer, but she struggles to do so, weaving. Her body shivers involuntarily, trying in vain to warm itself, and she is so exhausted, but her ears twist at the sound of footsteps crunching in the snow. Someone is coming. Or something. The filly shudders and lets her heavy head fall against the hard ground, curled ears pinning to her poll as she tries to disappear. Though she is shaded by the boughs of an evergreen pregnant with snow, her breath rasps too loud in her ears, her heart pounding like a woodpecker knocking on a hollow tree, she is sure she has been heard. Brown eyes shut tight, unwilling to watch Death find her, unable to run from it.
The shadows creep forward, yellow-eyed and without consistent shape. Some are merely wisps, others are strange, tentacled things. One resembles the alien-horses that hunt the canyons of Pangea. They are all silent and undulating, merging together then separating again with an extra head, a third eye. They are the kind of monsters that a child would think of and they surround the tree, staring and sinister sentries.
Litotes x Mehendi
@ [Leilan] I don't know what I am doing, but here I am to fulfill your quest requirements. It took me all day.
The familiarity of Icicle Isle is easy for the male to adapt to; he’s lived here before, feeling that it was the place where he belonged, though in retrospect he wasn’t sure about the timing. Now, Ice Fairy had sent him back up here again, perhaps because she felt the same, perhaps because she was similarly tied to this place as well.
Or, perhaps she hadn’t really told him to go here specifically - that had been his own decision; mostly because he felt that simply returning to his lair in Hyaline wouldn’t quite be the same thing, not a challenge, to fulfill the quest she’d sent him on. A quest of self-re-discovery, if he was honest with himself.
He remembers pulling Sabra down, at her request, but still. He’d tried to take care of her as well as he could, afterwards, ‘storing’ her body in a safe place, not to be eaten by predators nor to rot away; stored her in a cold cavern as high up a Hyaline mountain as he could. There, she - or her body - would safely wait for her return to the living world.
He’d made a shelter out of ice, an igloo of sorts if a human would see it to give it a name, not too far from the heart-shaped lake up north. The wind otherwise, is blowing around freely and unforgivingly. It’s icy breath announces death to those who don’t find shelter in the winter season, taking the young, the old, and the weak to feed the predators of the Isle. Frankly, he’s one of those - if the opportunity arises.
His vision finds the heat signals of lemmings, hares and other sorts of things easily; but his molten orange gaze - the color adaption betraying heat vision - today finds another sort of shape. He approaches easily, his large build ploughing through snow and ice quickly. The bush is one of few, most perished in the cold of the season, but it is the sturdy kind that will stay here all winter, to bloom again come spring.
Switching back, he is barely in time to finally see the shadows that he wouldn’t have picked up on with pure heat vision; stopping in his tracks, the frosted-over male snorts. A horse after all; no, a foal. Yet colder than they should be.
He rounds the bush, pushing through the shadows as if they don’t exist - he knows his mother’s twilight ability, knows they are only made of light as long as the user isn’t so strong, or not intent on attacking. And this looks like a freezing foal. ”Where’d you come from?” he says - simply because he needs to say something, and only hoping that his horse-like behaviour is enough not to scare the child away. A quick vision change - ice blue to molten orange, and back to blue in the same blink - reveals no predators, yet not a mother-shaped heat source either.
As he edges closer, intent on sharing what little heat his own body holds, he wonders silently if the fairy might have foreseen this child.
and I don’t want you to think that I care I never would, I never could again
no. 7 | ice forged in fire
something of a sort. he can adopt her if you want?
Two things I know I can make: pretty kids, and people mad.
11-03-2019, 01:54 PM (This post was last modified: 11-03-2019, 02:04 PM by Beryl.)
The sound of footsteps grows nearer, then pauses in a moment of indecision. The shadows flare up ahead of the stallion, wrapping around him, but Beryl is too weak and too new to this power to put any strength behind their attacks. The yellow-eyed creatures simply cling to the frosty, scaled roan like bits of dark cloud, cool to the touch like stepping out of the sun and into shade, but unable to stop his advance.
When he speaks, his voice, though confused and not particularly inviting, is also not openly hostile or threatening and the filly risks opening one eye nearly sealed shut with frost. Her eyelashes are heavy with salt and ice, but the eyelid flutters open - and even that is effort now, weak as she is - and a warm brown eye rolls, then focuses on him as he comes into view around the branches.
He is huge, much larger than the few horses she had met in the Meadow, heavily muscled and strangely scaled, but horse-like enough that she does not fear him the way she did so instinctively the black creatures in the canyon. She opens her other eye and meets his blue gaze, head still low, and greets him with a characteristically submissive chewing gesture. She does not answer his question - though it was rhetorical, of course - finding herself too frightened to speak, too exhausted, and her throat too raw with salt and sobbing for her voice to be more than a rasp.
Besides, it would be impossible to answer, she does not know how she got here.
The shadows still cling to him like smoke and it might make her laugh if it didn't underscore her helplessness, but they fade at last when it becomes apparent he does not mean to harm her. She attempts to stand on feet she cannot feel and stumbles, falling into the stallion even as he steps in to shelter her. Her breath crackles in her chest. Standing brings on a fit of coughing that wracks her body as though to crack her ribs, trying to expel the last of the water from beleaguered lungs. It leaves a thin trickle of pinkish fluid dripping down her muzzle and the whites of her eyes bloodshot. With a shudder, Beryl leans into him, even the small bit of heat the icy stallion has to share a relief to her wet and shivering frame. One forehoof knuckles over and she barely notices, her attempts to fix it clumsy and slow. Everything is clumsy and slow, her brow crumpled with concentration as she attempts to right herself, every muscle tight and complaining and her thoughts glacial, but she finally stands - half crouches, really - propped against his shoulder, and glances up with pleading eyes.
She doesn't want to die today, but the golden filly is not very far from that final shore.
Litotes x Mehendi
Messed up my tags like a dummy lol. He certainly can! She has nowhere else to go and might just follow Leilan around even if he doesn't
He’d told himself not to attach himself to anyone any more. No more horses would enter the circle of family and friends (whom he, in rare cases, also saw as a form of family), the ones that deserved looking after, the ones that needed protection, all long gone. His children were old enough - the ones he knew, the ones from before leaving and returning - and any others he may or may not have sired more recently, those had mothers to help them fend for themselves.
In fact, he really hadn’t done so well with Yuki at the time, in retrospect. Sure, it probably had been better than staying with her mom, seeing as how the woman hadn’t had much of a spine and the girl clearly did - an ice dragon trait probably, or just one of the many things that no descendant of his mother’s ever could lack.
But the girl is near dying, all alone, hungry and cold and most of all, nearly frozen to death. He may have let ice creep up his heart and bloom all over it, but this… he thinks he was due a little defrosting - slowly, carefully - like Ice fairy had set him up to.
Then why does it feel like she shatters that wall of ice so easily?
She stands; a miracle on its own, though perhaps any foal’s first impulse. The way they survive the world when they’re young is to be able to run from danger within hours, even if their dam doesn’t make it. She can’t speak, but her pleading dark eyes are enough for him to mimic - the original chocolate showing briefly as their gazes meet - then wrap his strong neck around her as much as he can, lifting her back into a standing position when she keeps stumbling.
There is a moment of insecurity - what to do with such a tiny foal? - but he decides that her first need is shelter and warmth, something he can hardly offer out here. ”We’re gonna need to move a bit, okay?” he murmurs, a breath into her neck following in an attempt to warm her just a bit. Her scent is mostly ice at this point, though something recognizable is faintly mixed in, as well. It is the scent of a feline predator, though at this point his mind is too much focused on getting her to a shelter and helping her warm up, to really focus his mind on it.
Blue eyes scan the horizon, and find the path with the least wind, between the wind-blown dunes of snow and where most of the way he’s her barrier against the icy wind. It’s not much, but the movement and shielding, as well as the support and occasional corrections to help keep her on her feet, might just be enough.
and I don’t want you to think that I care I never would, I never could again
11-03-2019, 10:04 PM (This post was last modified: 11-03-2019, 10:09 PM by Beryl.)
There's a long moment where maybe it seems like she is too far gone to understand him, because she only looks at him and blinks so slowly, the effort of lifting her eyelids again wearying. The cold makes her stupid and his words slide past her ears like oil over water, but then there is a hardening around her eye, determination setting her lips into a firm line, and, as if to make a show of her willingness, she takes an urgent step forward, placing her foot too hard and stumbling once again. The filly grunts softly when her knees scrape the frozen ground, and the jostling causes another, shorter, bout of coughing, but she rises and looks back up at him, taking strength from what she perceives as his confidence and not at all catching that moment of concern and insecurity.
If he says they must move, then they must - and she must be able to - because with all the honesty of childhood, she trusts that he would not tell her to do something she that she was not capable of doing. His breath is warm on her neck for a moment, though it fades and leaves a strange cooling sensation when he draws away. She attempts a nicker in response but there is no sound, only hoarse breath and fluttering nostrils, and then she falls dutifully in place beside him, each step strained and slow. Though he and the banked snow block the worst of the wind, even moving does little to warm her, with so little warmth for her sluggish blood to spread, and she must occasionally lean against his broad shoulder or be nudged upright when her feet have misplaced themselves again.
How far they have travelled, and how far they have yet to go, she cannot say. Every step feels like a mile and Beryl falls into a the slow, careful, rhythm of it, through the burning pain of the cold that chaps every inch of her and the ice the weighs down her tail. She cannot feel her ears and worries to herself that perhaps she left them under the pine boughs, but it's too late to turn around and gather them back up. She vaguely wonders if she will ever feel her feet again, but is glad to know that at least they are still there when she glances down at them.
Confused thoughts flicker through her mind and occasionally she forget whose side she walks beside until her brown eyes fall on frosty scales and not a soft, piebald shoulder. It makes her heart lurch, makes her inhale sharply with a sob, and she presses her small muzzle into the hollow space where the stallion's barrel and shoulder meet, seeking comfort in this intimate space while tears track icy streaks down her cheeks.
Still, she follows him unquestioningly, trusting that he is leading her to safety though, she suspects, not back to her mother. He couldn't possibly know the mare or where to find her, and though deep in the dark recesses of her mind she knows that she could maybe, possibly, find her dam again, could ask the shadows to find and take her back, her desire to return is trumped by her fear of stepping into that dark space. Or, perhaps, not of the darkness so much as the strangeness that seems to lie beyond it. Monsters that hunt, oceans that swallow, and the unforgiving winds of this last place that she landed. Where might she end up, if she went in again? What might she find waiting for her when she found the light again?
She shudders, but not from cold, this time, and the shadow of an ice-glazed rock along their path opens it's yellow eyes. It reaches out, pulls away from the thing that cast it to twist up one golden foreleg like a dusky snake climbing a tree, then lingers there in silence. Beryl does not seem to notice but presses on, hoping that, soon, the stallion - her savior, really - will tell her that it is time to rest.
Odds are she won’t make it. The thought crosses his mind more than once - basically each time that she stumbles and he has to catch her so she doesn’t fall into the wet snows. It seems forever until they get there; he wishes he had something to carry her with, but thinks that if he tried and his teeth scraped her, then she would surely die from the cold and loss of hot (or at this point, slightly warm-ish) blood and nutrients. He doesn’t risk it, and so, there’s nothing to do but shelter her a bit and take her to his home.
She doesn’t seem to notice where they are going, but he does. They reach the rocks he’d built his ice walls in between and on top, and he leads her inside in the same way he lead her through the snow. A corner is where she’ll end up; no wind, no snow, just rocks and ice walls surrounding her, as well as a makeshift ice roof. It’s pre-made, but he checks it once again as he ushers her to lay there.
His own thick scales are cold, but less so on his belly. So he lies next to her, knowing it’s not much, but mostly he’s afraid that to leave her alone might mean she passes on silently if he’s not here to wake her up. Winter is no season for such a small child; especially not a wet one, and especially not without shelter on the northern half of Icicle Isle, of all places.
Perhaps if she wakes again he’ll be able to tackle the issue of food - but it’s not a priority right now. He can’t be in two places at once.
and I don’t want you to think that I care I never would, I never could again
When her eyes had fluttered open after that first shivering night on the Isle, there was a half a second where Beryl did not remember the events of the previous day, but that was only in the first confused moments of waking, and there was no confusing the frosty scaled side of the stallion that had pulled her out of the snowbanks with the soft and warm patchwork of her dam. She remembered everything in a rush that left her stunned and silent, eyes too large as they traced the heavy-boned lines of the roan from her place curled tight against his belly inside the ice dome. The wind howled outside the creche he had built - and how he had built it was beyond her, but a lesser concern in her mind. When he had seen her awake, he had introduced himself - Leilan - and tried to get her name, but her voice was too hoarse and barely understandable, a rasping whisper. She sounded like the voice that had whispered in her ear in the shadows. Like leaves and smoke. Leilan had led her on an expedition to find bitter grasses buried beneath the snow, and she had attempted awkwardly to mimic the great sweeps of his forelegs as he pawed ice and snow easily aside, but her pinkish hooves barely made a dent in the never-ending whiteness of it all. There would not be enough food here of any kind, and so, to the mainland.
The idea of swimming the very channel that she had nearly drowned in filled her with immeasurable dread, but the roan was already stepping into the water. Unprepared and unwilling to be alone, Beryl had screwed up her courage and followed him into the icy water, small teeth holding tight to his tail. She barely swam, tugged along by the stallion's strength and surrounded, if anyone had cared to see, by darkness and shifting yellow eyes holding her aloft in the water. Her own eyes are shut tight and her breath short and quick, but the darkness holds her aloft in the water no matter the depth or cresting of wild waves. In this manner, she survives the crossing, and when they reach the far shore, she is barely even wet.
Litotes x Mehendi
Leilan since they've gone to the mainland, this is sort of a "to be continued" in Anatomy's post
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