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    version 22: awakening


    OCEANE -- Year 208


    "Because if she had not met him, she knew she would have been searching her whole life for the piece that he filled her heart with." -- Eva, written by Shelbi

    they said i did something bad

    i can feel the flames on my lips; crimson blood on my skin

    That he marvels at the death she wields balances the denial that Starlace watches flicker across his face, the scales sliding in his favor and then back to even.

    She could become fond of this one, she thinks; he is rather like Chain. 

    A simple thing, he says, and she regards him with a tilt of her head. Does he mock her? Starlace considers punishing him for it, but she is eager to hear this simple answers and chooses to delay his discipline. For now, at least.

    Envision what it is she would become. Simple.

    The air is thick with blood and gore, they stand atop a mound of bodies, ash and fire cover even the dim light of the sun.

    And then she snaps back, for as much as she might desire infinity she is still bound by some laws. The reminder brings a snarl to her face, a rage that fits better on the feline face that she soon wears. It is dark, like Atrox’s but it seems some of her dapples remain in the form of barely visible rosettes . The roar she emits is not enough to siphon off the bitterness of her denial, so she leaps forward in this delightfully fluid shape, and lands atop Atrox.

    “This nose is better,” she tells him, her whiskered face pressed close to his. The sensations she feels from those whiskers are more intense than her true shape, and a shiver runs down her spine and is released in a twitch of her tail. “I could eat in this form,” she adds, heedless of the way this pleasurable thought causes her clawed feet to knead against his chest. “I want to eat. I’m starving.” Then her claws are gone and she is laughing and purring and bumping her forehead against his, the excitement expressed in a way that comes naturally to this shape, though not her own.

    “I want to kill something,” she laughs. Prowling forward, she peers closely at the shadowy souls with golden eyes. There is no blood in them, she smells, a disappointment. “Something that will scream.”




    hangman hooded, softly swinging; don't close the coffin yet, I'm alive

    He is surprised by her leaping forward at him, but not disappointed by it. He lets himself fall backward with the motion, rolling with her and laying on his back as she stands on his chest. There is a strike of amusement in his yellow eyes and although the souls press forward further, they do not act. He purrs lightly as her claws press into his flesh, his lips pulling into a cavalier smile, whiskers twitching.

    “You will smell significantly more like this,” he smiles, watching as she explores the edges of this new body, as she begins to feel the potential in the heaviness of the paws, the depth of the muscle. “And eating is significantly more enjoyable.” He rolls to his side as she moves away and then lifts.

    At her laughter, his smile grows even further.

    “Then we will kill,” he drawls, low and slow, each word languid on his tongue. He points his gaze north, thinking for a moment, before his vision clears and he focuses on her once more. “I know just the thing.” A step forward, as he thinks of his old Chamber forest when it ran thick with game. There was nothing like hunting amongst the pine and the fog and he feels a twinge in his empty chest at the memory.

    “We will need to go to the forest to find them,” he thinks of everything that he has hunted before—all of the animals that have found their end in the trap of his jaws. Each of them unique, each of them different, but if she was looking for a noisy kill, there were few that rivaled what he had decided upon.

    “The foxes run thick there, but they are wily prey.”

    A laugh, smoky as he moves forward in that direction.

    “I somehow think that we will manage.”

    [Image: atrox.png]

    now be defiant, the lion, give them the fight that will open their eyes


    i can feel the flames on my lips; crimson blood on my skin

    They had not called in the Forest in her day, but she knows the place he means. It had just been the woods near the meadow in the past, but the trees have spread wider now, fed by the fairies and meriting their own name. They’ll hunt foxes, Atrox tells her, and her teeth flash too-white against black lips. They’d never been interesting before, not from a horse’s perspective.

    But it turns out that perspective does change everything.

    Starlace bumps against him roughly, her heavy head knocking against his shoulder as she purrs: “I want to run.”

    And she does, a black shape heading north in the twilight. Perhaps he’ll race her, which she will enjoy for a while before her physique shifts to a slightly smaller cat, once with the stride and momentum to keep her ahead. She’s shifted through a great number of feline shapes by the time they trees of the Forest rise around them, and Starlace has settled into one that she has decided is perfect by the time she draws to a halt. It’s a lynx, with tufted ears and a grey pelt unlike that any real lynx has ever worn. Her own color, right down to the splash of bloody red across her shoulders and the soft brown eyes. Her mouth is half-open, panting with exertion, but her pink nose twitches as she seeks the scent of the prey they’ve come here to hunt.

    In another situation, looking to someone else for guidance would irk her, but Starlace has already admitted to the panther-shifter that this form is new to her. She’ll be better at it with enough practice, she knows, better than him – better than anyone. Death has certainly not damaged a bit of her confidence.

    “Where now?”



    hangman hooded, softly swinging; don't close the coffin yet, I'm alive

    She bumps against him and he growls in response, deep and low in his throat.

    Without another word, the panther rocks back and then pushes forward, the muscles beneath the velvet of his coat stretching and groaning in protest to the sudden request. It feels good though, the brief snap of pain before it relaxes into something more, and he quickly digs in further to press himself—to flatten out and lunge. He has always loved running, loves the way that his body feels when he pushes it to the brink of exhaustion. He snarls into the wind as she pulls ahead, pushing himself further and further.

    Even knowing that there is no chance for him to beat her, not when he watches the way that she blinks through the various forms (a quick learner, he thinks), he does not stop trying. He still throws himself forward, still presses onward, feeling the earth shift beneath his paws and then world around them begin to twist and change as they move through the various lands until they reach the forest.

    When they pause, he is breathing heavily, but his yellow eyes are bright as he turns to her.

    “We hunt,” he says simply, sniffing and turning his attention toward the shadows, everything else fading to black as he picks up that single strand, that single scent, from the rest. Moving forward, forgetting her to some degree, he presses low, belly brushing against the forest. He continues forward, moving downwind of his target, until he can nearly see the individual hairs on its back.

    He smiles and then he lunges, moving like a flash from the shadows to the fox.

    It is quick, his teeth finding its throat, the blood pouring out, the life pooling on the ground as he shakes and snaps it back and forth. The fox screams in protest, clawing at him, but there is not much that can be done. Atrox licks his lips, picking up the prize and returning to Starlace, dropping it at her feet.

    “It is not as satisfying as big prey, and certainly duller than war,” he drawls, “but it will satisfy the itch.”

    He nods toward the belly of the forest.

    “Now it is your turn.”

    [Image: atrox.png]

    now be defiant, the lion, give them the fight that will open their eyes


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