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  • Beqanna

    version 22: awakening

    COTY

    GHAUL -- Year 209

    QOTY

    "(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


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    I've seen monsters chasing dreams; any
    #1

    IT'S NOT POWER THAT MAKES YOU THE STRONGEST

    She has been dead a long time.

    It hadn’t been a peaceful passing, not the first time; being pushed off of her beloved waterfall hadn’t exactly put her in an accepting frame of mind, and for many decades she’d railed against the unfairness of it, longing to return to  her Kingdom and her family. The relief of having nothing to do but catch up with all of those she’d already lost had been lost on the mare who’d led a warrior’s life, a Queen’s life, and she wasn’t ready to retire to keeping a watchful eye on her descendants, as her parents had urged her to do.

    Instead, somehow, NIkkai had kept more than an eye on her first grandchild - she’d joined Nekana’s consciousness, unable to leave death in body, but guiding her granddaughter to rule two Kingdoms and start a burgeoning family, a legacy to protect the Dazzling Waterfall, in whatever form it took. After that, it had been easier to be dead, when Nekana passed. To step back, and reconnect with all of those they had lost. To watch with some bemusement as she became a great-grandmother, then a great-great grandmother, and onwards. 

    Gradually, it had become easy to become more distanced from life. Her people slowly joined her, and there was a point when her Waterfalls simply ceased to exist; she was one of many who would always keep an eye on their living relatives, but she stopped believing there was anything left for her in the land of the living. There was too much to live for on the other side. 

    But, for her, the veil between life and death had always been a tenuous one. Nikkai had a feeling for that edge, and she is aware when they start messing with it, en mass. Restless, uneasy, she starts to move closer and closer to the border, an eye on the souls that don’t belong. The feeling of dread isn’t strong enough to make her interfere with what they are doing, but it turns her stomach in a bad way. She’s glad to see the last of them returning to their own side and begins to relax, but not everyone has accepted even as far as she has, and the other dead gather around those investigating the veil, and not all of them have good intentions. 

    Most of the dead won’t challenge the guardian, nor the veil - usually once they aren’t recently dead, they give up on that. But the way it’s stretched now, the temptation is apparently too strong. A couple decades ago she might even have been tempted, but now she simply wonders if it’s possible to step between a tidal wave and the beach it’s about to crash against. Unfortunately, she’s too busy watching the equine souls gather, prowling forwards to keep an eye on those most likely looking to instigate trouble, to look out for anything else.

    When the raven touches the edge of the veil, when the world drops out from underneath them, Nikkai is swept along with the frontrunners, and for a few heartbeats darkness and chaos is all she knows. The blackness engulfs her, and for a while she knows nothing. Waking, it’s almost like a dream. Even in the dead of winter, when all but the hardest flowers are dormant, the scent of her childhood home is unmistakeable. The deep carpet of winter-dry grass under her head is soft and salty-sweet, and the horizon as she rolls onto her chest has featured in many of her dreams, even in death. 

    Scrambling to her feet, she takes stock of everything. Somehow, even though she’s been dead probably a century, she knows that this isn’t death. But, the last time she checked, the Pampas didn’t even exist in Beqanna anymore. Uncertain, she walks forward along a dreamily familiar path, and hopes to run into someone who might know what’s going on - because she certainly doesn’t but she has a terrible feeling about it.

    Nikkai

    Reply
    #2

    I don't feel enough for you to cry
    here's a lullaby to close your eyes

    These surroundings were unfamiliar, and were much too bright for Kradle's liking. He had wandered here on pure accident, and had been walking in circles for what felt like hours, trying to find his way out of this rainbow Hell hole and back to the depths of his beloved forest home. The scent of the flowers was overwhelmingly sweet, and their colours were too bright for his taste, their joyful pigments hurting and straining his eyes, which by now were more adapted to duller surroundings and moonlight.

    Frustration began to build in his chest and he started to stomp with each step, giving irritated snorts and twitching more than usual. His ears flicked and swiveled in all different directions in irritation as he leaped from one shadowy spot to another, trying his damnedest to stay out of the sunlight.

    "Of course  you'd get us lost while the sun is rising, you absolute idiot!" The ghosts hissed in his ear angrily, they were just as upset as he was with himself at being lost in such an inconvenient time. Every time the sun flickered onto his inky coat he gave a fearful shriek, panic swelling inside of him as he began to run out of places to hide.

    Finally giving up, he stood under the shade of a disgustingly vibrant tree, panting and shaking with exhaustion. His lips curled in a sour look and his jagged teeth began to push their way out, overlapping each other and forcing their way past his velveteen snout. Kradle didn't bother trying to conceal them, he was far too annoyed to care at this point. Instead he kicked out in anger, bucking and stomping like a foal having a temper tantrum, before finally stomping on the ground and letting out a high pitched otherworldly shriek, announcing his distaste and anger to any nearby ears.

    Kradle
    [Image: 9oEc8Yx.png]
    Reply
    #3
    Accidentally resurrected.

    It would happen to her, if it happened to anyone.

    Starbrow's eyes open on a field of flowers, and she smiles, letting her muzzle drift just above them, letting the petals tickle her nose until she sneezes. She looks much the same as she did that long ago day when she birthed her daughter on the murky beach sand, the same as the day she cracked her head open on the grey rock underfoot. Now, she does not remember that she had a child, does not know that that child has one of her own. The black mare knows only the colorful flowers that surround her, their pollen turning her legs yellow and green as she walks among them. Does she remember being dead? Does she even know that she was dead, and now is not? No, like the moths that flit here and there, she thinks nothing of her Life or her Death, the little black mare cannot tell them apart, would not understand if anyone tried to explain it.

    Starbrow does not understand how she came here, but thinks it unimportant. Here is a lovely place, and that's reason enough. A moment ago she was somewhere else, somewhere grey as a dove's wing, and it was also lovely, but different. There was a ripple and a rush and there was a pounding in her chest, a pain in her lungs as though she'd been holding her breath for years. Perhaps she had been, she was fond of children's games.

    She, too, wears the dreamy smile of someone who does not know what is happening, but unlike Nikkai, her mind is untroubled with trying to discover the why or how of it. She hears footsteps up ahead, dark eyes come to focus on the grey mare, walking cautiously through the late-season blooms, and she calls out to her a bright greeting as she might an old friend.

    Have they met before? It seems possible, and unimportant.

    From a short distance away, her greeting is answered by an angry shriek, and she turns away from the dappled mare to see the haunted stallion trampling the flowers from what little shade remains in the copse he has hidden away in. Her head tilts to one side, bird-like, and she laughs as he scars the ground underfoot, lifting up her own foreleg in mimicry of his angry striking. What is he doing? It looks like fun.

    Starbrow
    Stars and shadows ain't good to see by


    Nikkai Kradle
    Reply
    #4

    IT'S NOT POWER THAT MAKES YOU THE STRONGEST

    The first person Nikkai sets eyes upon now that she’s not-dead is a stranger. The rustle of movement draws her attention, the instincts of a mare who was a warrior in life, and she’s swung her head towards the black mare even before the friendly greeting reaches her. In a tense heartbeat, she’s swung her brown gaze up and down the mare and decided that she isn’t a threat, and also somehow she knows this mare isn’t a relation of her own, or any of her friends.

    The knowledge makes her stomach clench and her head hurt; or perhaps it’s not the knowledge itself but the use of a skill she’d never had before. Something she doesn’t understand, and thus cannot even begin to control. So, it hurts, like when you run a gauntlet or fight a fight your body isn’t ready for. As the mare starts to come her way, she looks around again and notices how dead her childhood home looks in winter without its bright colors, and again before she can really think it through it happens – they’re surrounded by flowers, riotous blooms that carpet the distance between the black mare and herself. The pain in her head is bright and she’s almost sick to her stomach, but the feeling fades quickly to the back of her mind, a lingering ache.

    Both mares’ attention is drawn to the loud, angry movements of the stallion underneath a tree just out of range of her normal awareness. Nikkai pivots neatly that way, moving unconsciously into a fight-ready stance, but that doesn’t hurt. (That is something she has always been capable of doing.) Another moment of silence, a heartbeat of consideration, and she decides he’s not an immediate threat either – just a very annoying sound. The grulla mare trots a few quick steps to bring her closer to both the stallion and the mare (who is - laughing? this earns her a slightly more wary look from Nikkai).

    “Stop that,” she snaps, annoyed at the way his stomping is smashing her newly created flowers (in addition to just the general painful sound of his shrieking voice). But, she is conscious of not knowing why he’s throwing a child’s temper tantrum; perhaps he is as discomfited by his new life as she is? “Are you alright? Do you need help?” she offers in an attempt to gentle the scold, and flicking her gaze to the mare in a way that makes it obvious she’s including her in the conversation. “I’m Nikkai.”

    Nikkai



    Kradle Starbrow
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    #5

    Aodhán
    little fire
    All that is gold does not glitter; not all who wander are lost
    All of a sudden, the Pampas are crowded.

    Wasn’t that how he imagined it should be? The reason to challenge the leading mare, why he thought didn’t so quite enough to attract more residents?

    No. Not all crowds are good ones; he agrees on that with the pegasus roan anyway. What he imagined was a bunch of horses treating each other like family, and having children frolic in the flowery fields, or chase the small river to its source. Not… not a stallion looking on the verge of mental breakdown or a bunch of - pardon him - old-looking mares having some sort of reunion.

    And the smell. The smell was not okay.

    Death did not belong in a field of flowers; not even though one of them - he doesn’t know who - seems to have a power similar to Noah’s to revive them, to compromise perhaps for her own smell.

    But what’s he to do about it? He’s only a resident, who by the way was only accepted halfway, as a form of compromise perhaps, since he was deemed too loud.

    This must be terror in Noah’s eyes.

    The white lizard scurries a little closer, but the meeting continues, continues, and voices were irritated and changed tone - perhaps one of them displayed behaviour that was now recognized as something to feel sorry for instead of be angry at. Nevertheless, the whole meeting is weird, so weird.

    The lizard’s head pops out if the flowers when it stands on his hinds, then grows into a miniature dragon; horse-sized. Gold markings on his body appear, then he shifts fully, letting the scales exchange for hair and claws for hooves. Soon there is a white stallion with golden spots, eyeing all four of them warily. ”The Pampas is usually much more quiet than this.” he promptly tells them. The wary look and tone should indicate he is not sure if they’re a threat to his flowery home - or to Noah and her daughter.


    Kradle I think you’re up?
    Reply
    #6

    I don't feel enough for you to cry
    here's a lullaby to close your eyes

    A crowd had begun to form nearby, and it seemed some of them had taken notice of him after his loud announcement. Ears laid flat, he did nothing to conceal his sharp teeth, despite the fact that he had finished stomping around. The stallion's muscles tensed as more equines began to show up. Curved ears swiveled in the direction of the snappy mare, and he cocked his head slightly at her question.

    "Help..." He pondered the question for a moment, wondering if maybe at least one of these strangers could tell him the way out of this vibrant area.

    "I believe I'm lost." His voice was deep, and had a roughness to it akin to a severely sore throat. "I do not come to such places as....this. Do you perhaps know the way to the forest?" His tone was thick with distaste, and it was evident that he was not pleased to be asking for assistance. The mare had offered to help though, and if he wanted to get out of here faster, he would have to swallow his usual pride and accept her offer. He only hoped she would give him simple directions though, rather than question him further, rage still burned in his chest and he was not in any mood to deal with an interrogation. 

    Kradle
    [Image: 9oEc8Yx.png]
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    #7
    Starbrow is not a warrior.

    Most observers probably do not need that pointed out to them, however, because where the grulla is sharp and wary, everything about Starbrow is soft. The brightness of the little black's mare's grin is untarnished by the scolding, though it is not clear, at first, that it is intended mostly - if not only - for the curly-ear stallion. She ignores the strangeness of their situation, her fore-hoof still dangling in the air, petting the tops of the flowers that surround them. She curls her neck, nose dropping so that she can whisper into their petals that they are good and pretty flowers, and she likes them very much.

    If the flowers answer back, it's unlikely that anyone else hears them, and the ebony mare chuckles secretively, before turning again to the mare and stallion. To the stallion and Nikkai.

    "Oh, Nikkai, I like your lines." Lines. She means the mare's scars. An odd compliment, but genuine, Starbrow has no dishonesty in her. Sometimes she forgets, but forgetting is different from lying. The twisted hair of her tail catches in the blooms that awoke around them just before she saw the mouse-grey mare, their petals pulling away and clinging to the witch-knots of her mane.

    But she is ignoring someone! Starbrow looks again the the black-and-white stallion. His markings are strange and glorious. She herself has nothing so fancy, only a wide, smiling, star that shines between her eyes and gives her her name.

    "Starbrow!" 

    Nobody asked her name, but she offers it anyway, to them, to the wind, to the flowers. To the small spotted lizard that watches them so carefully. She reaches out as though she will kiss it right on it's scaled head, but as soon as she does so it becomes Other. Not a lizard. A horse! She squeals, jumping away from the unexpected transition with a slowness that would no doubt make Nikkai apoplectic. Dark ears fall aslant as they catch his words.

    "Are we too loud?" she whispers, head and neck lowering to nearly chest height as though she can make herself quieter by making herself less tall, "Is this better?"


    Starbrow
    Stars and shadows ain't good to see by


    Nikkai
    Reply
    #8

    IT'S NOT POWER THAT MAKES YOU THE STRONGEST

    She wants to spend time with the daydreamy mare, who smiles so prettily and reaches down to smell the flowers. The grulla mare even drags her suspicious gaze away from the stallion to give her a little smile of her own, though she’s not certain what exactly the compliment is for – it doesn’t even occur to her that she might have carried her scars back from Death, and she tends to forget their existence anyway. Still… “Thank you,” she says gently, and turns back to the loud creature. Before the angry young man has a chance to reply, the trio becomes a foursome. There’s a lizard, then a very large lizard, then a horse standing there, his face uncertain.

    Starbrow is jumping away almost comically slowly; the warrior-mare would be freaking out if she didn’t have some sort of rogue magic guiding her that tells her he pronbably isn’t a threat. Nikkai turns a long, assessing glance at the stallion, assuming he is a resident by the way he speaks of the Pampas. She wants to respond, question him about what it has become, but the black stallion has calmed somewhat and begun to speak, and there’s Starbrow to think of. Reaching out, she brushes her nose briefly against the mare’s shoulder in an attempt to offer comfort, even keeping an ear on the younger man. He asks the way to the Forest, but this is not a place that she is familiar with.

    It didn’t exist when she lived the first time; and certainly she doesn’t know her way around the New Beqanna. “I don’t think you’re being too loud,” she tells the black mare, and catches the newcomer’s green eyes over her back as if daring him to say otherwise. “I also don’t know the way to the Forest. I only know the Pampas, because the world has reshaped itself since last I was…here. Perhaps this young man can give you directions, so you can stop disturbing the peace here.” She turns expectant brown eyes on the appaloosa. She’d rather spend time making sure that he is taking care of her homeland, but something about Kradle still keeps her tense and uneasy.

    Nikkai



    Starbrow Aodhan Kradle
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    #9

    Aodhán
    little fire
    All that is gold does not glitter; not all who wander are lost
    Still a little uneasy, the spotted male looks from one to the other. Though the other stallion present doesn’t seem to be remotely fitting in the Pampas, the mares kind of do. But they smell weird - at least, the mares, he thinks? Nostrils flare a little when he looks from one to the other, the question marks practically visible in his eyes.

    Yet when the black mare asks if she’s too loud, his eyes gleam amused, as they do when he looks back up to see the other mare look at him when she says she doesn’t think the younger mare is too loud - a subtle shake of his head indicates he didn’t think it was her who was being too loud. ”I’m Aodhán,” he tells Starbrow, since she was the only one to actually introduce herself to him - Starbrow also named the other mare Nikkai, so that seems settled to him. He has a lot of questions for her, for them - but there is a more immediate problem in the form of someone who clearly doesn’t want to be here at all.

    He turns to the salt and pepper stallion, seeing that the male sounds the most aggressive and definitely like someone that Noah wouldn’t want near her daughter. ”The Forest would be straight to the east. If you reach the shore, go along it - north and east from here out, south-east later - until you get to the River’s mouth or any other place you might recognize. I’m sure you can find it from there.” Aodhán hesitates for a moment, if the other male might find it on his own or if perhaps his distaste for the Pampas might mean he would rather destroy parts of it along the way - ”I’ll go with you if you think that’s necessary.” he decides.

    He glances at the other mares, a question in his eyes, but he knows he can’t ask them why they have this mixed smell of dead-body and life-horse among them. Have they been hanging out at the Beach for such a long time? Then why are they suddenly here?

    It makes no sense, but the world never really does, to him.

    One thing at a time then - first let’s see what the painted stallion wants to do.


    @[Kradle
    Reply
    #10

    I don't feel enough for you to cry
    here's a lullaby to close your eyes

    Kradle's ears perked as he listened closely to the other stallion and tried his best to memorize it. Kradle cared more about being back in the forest than he did causing any fights or lingering for the over protective lizard. Unfortunately for him though, he had no choice but to linger for the time being; however, he was going to linger elsewhere, as far away from these strangers as possible. The grulla mare was the only one of the lot that at least smelled tolerable. The others smelled too heavily of life, and part of him want to sink his teeth into them, to shred their annoying throat apart, but returning home was his main priority. 

    "Thank you, I appreciate your clear directions. I will linger on the border in the shade until night comes, you see I can't travel much during the day, I feel very...ill. I will make my leave as soon as the sun sets, rest assured I have no plans of returning to this colourful Hell." He snarled at the end of his sentence, and did not wait for the other stallion to reply before sprinting away, jumping from shadow to shadow, strides well practiced as he weaved his way away from the group. He was glad to finally be away from the company of strangers, long social interactions made him uneasy and he would much rather be in the forest having a chatter with the badger.

    Kradle


    [OOC: Kradle is dipping, I'm putting him away for now until I get more muse for him. Sorry to leave early <3]
    [Image: 9oEc8Yx.png]
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