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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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    [open]  The sun is waking; Noah, any residents
    #1
    Ilma
    One night I will be the moon
    hanging over you

    One night I will be a star
    follow where you are
    She set herself on a quest, and she cannot, will not, stop with the easy visits. Not that the Pampas would be problematic for her in itself - but it is part of Loess, and she’s not sure if her new self can meet its old self yet - not the part that knew Castile and Lepis. The roan mare who leads the Pampas now, may become a thin line Ilma is not ready to cross - or, she may be as pleasant as stories suggest, and Ilma and she won’t have to talk about political alliances yet, if ever at all.

    Peace is the sense, emotion, she engulfed herself in - forcing herself to calm and possibly affecting anyone who nears her, as well. It is no use thinking of things that can be - unless you’re Ilma, knowing things before they happen.

    And even then, it’s best to face the future calmly, and just keep going. After all, there’s little to change about it; only the way how we react can be altered.

    And besides, it is a pleasantly sunny morning - though still wintery cold - when she arrives. The easiest setting to simply exchange pleasantries.
    Hurry, the sun is waking
    Darling, don't leave me waiting


    Noah
    I won’t actually join Aodhán bc I hate threading with myself but he could be a fly or a snowdrop or something if you want him to know about it
    Any fool knows men and women think differently at times, but the biggest difference is this: men forget, but never forgive; women forgive, but never forget.
    Robert Jordan, Wheel of Time
    Reply
    #2
    The first sign that all is not well outside of her little haven is the sudden influx of visitors. When all is well in the outside world, nobody even remembers the Pampas exists. In those quiet months, it has just been Noah and Noma and Aodhan, with the occasional friendly face every few months. All of that, recently, is changing.

    Spring is barely even a thought in the air, but wildflowers still trail her as she wanders towards the stranger, leaving her daughter asleep warm in a thicket somewhere behind her. Someone has to greet all of these people, and it’s technically her job. Usually, if she dilly-dallies, Aodhan will beat her to it; but today she hasn’t seen him approach yet and so she walks over instead, keeping her dark wings tucked tightly against her sides for warmth.

    “Hello,” she murmurs when she is close enough, smiling just a little. “I’m Noah. What brings you to the Brilliant Pampas?” Even as she stands, calm though normally her heart would be racing at the potential threat. It’s suspicious, though she can’t seem to get her body to respond the way she normally would. She’s glad, in a way she can’t quite pinpoint, that she left Noma behind – at least for now.

    Ilma
    Reply
    #3
    Ilma
    One night I will be the moon
    hanging over you

    One night I will be a star
    follow where you are
    Her timing might have been better - but it might also have been worse. Something is happening in Beqanna, but the dead who have crossed have yet to cause any major changes. Kingdoms are as they were - the difference is that more horses exist knowing of the past, and in itself that is not necessarily a bad thing…. Yet many died a violent death.

    The Brilliant Pampas have not changed since the beginning of the Plague, and Noah has led it peacefully. Back then, Ilma had been part of Hyaline and Silver Cove, and others had visited this dreamy, flowery grassland.

    Nowadays she is of no land in particular, and this leaves her free to do as she pleases - seek out whom she wants and tell them what she thinks will help them. Her ulterior goal, simply to have friends throughout all of Beqanna; ties to everyone.

    Not many would dare to do it; most horses are content with their own kingdom and perhaps a few good neighbours.

    When Noah arrives, the white mare sees no threat, nothing but the peacefulness that Ilma had brought with her. She tones it down a notch, realizing that perhaps the other is more affected by it than she had thought; and also seeing that her own initial nervousness was misplaced. Noah is not Castile, after all. Surely the mare has her own opinions.

    ”I am visiting all the lands. I haven’t found myself able to until recently.” She glances at the flowers. ”It’s as beautiful here as they say it is. Though I think that has something to do with you,” the white mare smiles.

    ”My name is Ilma. I’ve come to the conclusion that we haven’t gotten to know each other back when we should have, and I’d like to remedy that.”
    Hurry, the sun is waking
    Darling, don't leave me waiting


    Noah
    Any fool knows men and women think differently at times, but the biggest difference is this: men forget, but never forgive; women forgive, but never forget.
    Robert Jordan, Wheel of Time
    Reply
    #4
    Somewhere in the introductions, the cloyingly overwhelming sense of peace fades quietly into something gentler, and she takes a deep breath, settling in to listen. The mare offers a complement for the Pampas, and Noah rewards her with a tentative, warm smile. Despite the season, it’s true that the flowers bloom around them as if it’s a totally different time – she can’t quite help herself, and prefers the beauty of her Pampas year-round, even if it does take quite a bit of energy to keep flowers blooming. In the worst of the winter, she’s limited to her own immediate area.

    The mare introduces herself, and expresses an interest in…becoming friends, maybe? The little roan mare ducks her head a moment, shy, but then glances back at Ilma through bright green eyes, considering. “I’m not the most interesting company,” she murmurs, not sure how else to phrase ‘painfully shy and full of mistrust’, “But I am happy to try to get to know you better. I could use more friends.”

    Noah is far from politically motivated – she has only ever followed her heart in stewarding the Pampas, and she steers clear of anything that might become political until she absolutely cannot anymore. But she is also loyal – to those few she has let into her heart. And one of those loyalties is to Castile, her King but also one of her few friends. If she knew there was any bad blood between this stranger and Loess, she might rethink her hesitant smile, but how could she know? So she does smile, and says, “I can show you around, if you like? It’s not at its best in the winter, but the Pampas is lovely all the time.”

    Ilma
    Reply
    #5
    Ilma
    One night I will be the moon
    hanging over you

    One night I will be a star
    follow where you are
    Ilma isn’t easily fooled - Noah, as she stands before her, is much stronger than she lets on. Perhaps her personality is what stops her from using any of it to her advantage, perhaps she is more careful with a child (the filly’s scent on her skin is enough, if future-visions about the mare teaching her daughter aren’t). The white mare however, needs nothing from Noah presently, and neither does Noah need anything from her in the moment.

    Except, perhaps, pleasant company, and a moment to stand still before the world will try to sweep them off their feet.

    Castile heeding his dragon part too much in Ilma’s opinion, and disregarding their friendship earlier, after all has nothing to do with Ilma’s own wish to befriend as many horses in the world as possible; the ultimate goal to unite and ally in peace, far away on the horizon, and possibly never to be reached. But as long as she tries, she has a reason to live.

    All in all, Noah’s murmurs are easily brushed aside by the sun-winged mare. ”Please, don’t sell yourself short. You’ve achieved more than many would probably give you credit for.” In fact, Noah might be the most successful horse she knows: a pleasant, peaceful home, undisturbed, a family on her own, however small. How could she call herself uninteresting?

    ”I’d love to,” the Andalusian mare agrees; both on the tour as well as the idea of becoming friends. Perhaps, she thinks, she can hear Noah’s side of being allied to Loess, and perhaps it’s not so bad here. At any rate, she wants to know what the mare is like, and possibly they can become friends, because friends is what Ilma really needs. Friends who, if she asked, perhaps would at least try to avoid hurting her other friends.

    She is far from it. But it is a nice thought.
    Hurry, the sun is waking
    Darling, don't leave me waiting


    Noah
    Any fool knows men and women think differently at times, but the biggest difference is this: men forget, but never forgive; women forgive, but never forget.
    Robert Jordan, Wheel of Time
    Reply
    #6

    that's all there is

    The thought of showing her home off to an appreciative audience is not a stressful one. She turns slightly, keeping her wings folded across her side so they can walk together, her posture inviting Ilma to join her. Keeping her pace reasonable for talking, the little roan mare sets off across the wide meadow, the flowers blooming around them and trailing behind, to last until the dead of night overwhelms them with cold. Her path is intended to take them to the tallest hill; not by any means more than a hill, but it’s the best vantage point to take a look at the whole territory. “Most of our home is just the flower fields,” she offers, trailing her nose in the tallest of the winter-hardy grass around her legs. “This isn’t the best time of year to enjoy them, you’ll have to come back to visit again,” a quick, shy smile before she looks forward again. They pass under the wide, low boughs of an evergreen tree and she touches that too, the lichen growing in the shade of its sheltering embrace greening under her caress.

    “I never had a home before I came here,” she offers as they crest the little hill and look across the rolling field, cut by a clear running stream and dotted with shelter trees. “But it still feels like a dreamland to me.” Looking across her home motion to one side draws her eye to the form of her daughter, chasing invisible quarry across the field, and she can’t help but smile again, nickering a little to see if Noma will change direction and come to join them. In the meantime, she looks to the other mare. “Where are you from?” She isn’t sure she’ll know if Ilma says, having never lived outside of her Pampas and having traveled very little outside of Loess and the Pampas, but a conversation between friends involves exchange of information.

    noah



    Ilma this is SO late but hey...it’s winter again....? :| sorry
    Reply
    #7

    Ilma
    And there's a lesson waiting to be learned
    the firestarters always get the burns
    and the good guys never get the girl

    Sturdy winter grass crunches beneath their hooves as they walk, but Ilma finds the sound and accompanying smell soothing enough. The white mare follows the shy-sounding roan, noticing the winter flowers and the evergreen tree livening up where Noah touches them. She confirms to herself that Noah gives herself far too little credit, but then again, that’s just the roan mare’s nature. Not something that needs to change in any way.

    ”I certainly would like to. I’ve been here once before, but I must admit I didn’t get the chance to look around much. I’d joined the group searching for the first spring flowers, to help find a cure to the plague.” she tells the mare, more for conversation-making than that she wants to imply anything. Sometimes, she thinks, it’s easier to have a conversation that steers away from politics than to try and find, and put, meaning in every sentence that is outed.

    Following the winged mare uphill, Ilma looks at the creek and sparse trees with a smile. Some of the valleys in Hyaline were just like that - a few lonely trees, flowers blooming (albeit not as much), grassy hills. Colder, for sure, and the creek is not the same as the large clear lake, but still. It’s peaceful. Had she been looking for a home to settle and never look back, this might just be it.

    ”Hyaline.” leaves her mouth when Noah asks, then she shakes her head. ”Not anymore, but the Hyaline when it was a sanctuary, and a place for the young to grow. When Solace ruled it.” She can’t be sure if Noah knows about the Hyaline as it was before. ”Before the shifting of lands and the plague. Now, I wander the world, and try to heal what I could not when I was tied to a certain kingdom.”

    She eyes Noah sideways. ”Although I sometimes wonder if I should not just give it up, and pretend the world and politics don’t exist. Let wars and kings rage as they come and go.” She smiles sadly, thinking of how Castile would reject her every advice before she’d even outed it at the time. Seemingly already knowing what she would say or do, not bothering to ask. Lepis, leading in a similar way - making choices she thought were for the best, disregarding the fact that there might be a third option.

    Was it still worth it, rowing against the stream?

    and shooting stars cannot fix the world


    Noah have some inner ramblings and a sad ilma, apparently (:
    Any fool knows men and women think differently at times, but the biggest difference is this: men forget, but never forgive; women forgive, but never forget.
    Robert Jordan, Wheel of Time
    Reply
    #8
    Over time, Noah has managed to distance herself from the sharpest of her grief. Distance from the event numbs it, blurs it, and she has other things to think about. But when it hits, it’s an overwhelming wave and it feels as if she is drowning. The triggers are fewer and farther between, now, but the pale mare manages one quite unknowingly.

    Ilma’s voice is friendly and pleasant, and she mentions the plague without giving the event much thought at all, but it brings Noah to a grinding halt, static filling her mind. It buries her, images of the single worst day of her life flashing across her mind; she puts one foot in front of the other without even knowing what she is doing, surfacing only briefly to pose the question about where the other mare is from, blinking to try and stay focused, but when the word plague is used again, she has to look away and she steps away.

    Vaguely, she is aware that her breathing is uneven, her body trembling ever so faintly. The little roan isn’t quite sure how to proceed – while she is no stranger to the panic and the grief, this is the first time is has happened in a situation where it would be difficult for her to just up and leave. “If you do nothing,” she manages to say, “If you let it happen; are you as bad as the perpetrators?” Her voice, though still almost inaudibly quiet, is accusing here, in a way she didn’t intend. That is the anguish speaking.

    “I’m sorry. I…” Snapping isn’t in her nature. Already, Noah wants to take it back. She doesn’t lift her face to Ilma’s, darting only the briefest glance before turning away, looking out over her Pampas. A part of her still wants to flee this discussion, and retreat to lick her wounds; but she holds fast, the thinnest wire of determination where others might have a spine of iron. “Rhonen was my father.” Another glance, fleeting, to see if Ilma recognizes the name without context. Was she one who saw the vision? One who chose to act upon it, or one who ignored it? That is a question Noah will never ask of anyone, because she cannot bear their answers. Too many had chosen to do as the evil magician bade them. “When they murdered him, it gave Carnage what he needed to set loose the plague. He was disconnected from politics. We were wanderers, never settling, never getting involved. They used us for destruction anyway.” Us, because little lonely Noah had been drawn to the first quest, to his pleas for help, and Rhonen would not have been in Pangea to be murdered if Noah had not led him there herself, unknowing.

    Is this what friends do? She is fairly sure that Lepis knows her story, Bane and Castile as well, but she has never discussed it with them. They lived through the plague together, and so she had never needed to explain herself to them. This is new ground she is covering, extending this trust, but it feels…if not right, exactly, then ok. “I am a healer by nature, too; though I cannot heal wounds, only disease. The Pampas has been a sanctuary since the plague hit, a safe place, but I cannot afford to pretend the political world around me does not exist.” Finally, finally she can lift her hazel eyes upwards, seeking her companion’s face. This recent history is less painful for her, easier to speak of. “When I claimed this herdland, intending it to be a quiet sanctuary, I would not have been able to defend it without the support of a stronger land. Loess and its leaders have always protected and sheltered me, upholding my claim here. The first leaders of Sylva were the opposite – they wanted to take advantage of me, and they were dangerous.”

    Noah smiles gently when she speaks of Loess, her bonds to its Kings (recent past and current) warm and strong, but there are shadows in her eyes when she remembers Sylva’s rulers. “I do not wish to wage war, and Castile would never ask it of me. He continues to shelter us, though my little land does little for Loess. I give him nothing but my loyalty, and my friendship, though I would help him in any way I could.” She knows nothing about Ilma’s possible history with her friends, because she rarely leaves the Pampas and when she does, she isn’t exactly a social butterfly. “I learned that you are never really uninvolved, so I’d rather try to steer my own involvement.”
    NOAH
    that's all there is
    the most loveliest of tables by jassal
    manip by devin | stock credits: @szmigieldesign at unsplash.com
    madishmade, darkbeforedawn23, xxtgxxstock, cactuskim, madetobeunique @ deviantart.com


    Ilma <3
    Reply
    #9

    Ilma
    And there's a lesson waiting to be learned
    the firestarters always get the burns
    and the good guys never get the girl

    The Plague, to Ilma, is history - an event, though tragic, that marks time as much as wars, lands changing, or a volcano erupting. She knows the most horses did not like to remember it; but she had never responded to Carnage’s call of violence (she was a mare of peace, it was not for her), and had not known Rhonen. There was simply no way to know Noah as his daughter. No way to know how much mentioning this particular history would affect her.

    When Noah sharply responds that onlookers who know, and don’t act against it, are to blame as well, Ilma is surprised by her tone but she herds the words. She’s about to say that the roan mare is right about that - it is, in the end, what had inspired her pilgrimage in the first place and she would perhaps be wrong to give it up.

    Noah continues before she can say so, and then the pieces fall together, and Ilma can see the bigger picture as Noah explains further.

    Ilma lets her companion speak without interrupting. Only when she finishes talking, the white mare’s amber gaze fastens on Noah’s with a certainty. ”To Carnage, we’re all puppets. It would not have mattered if your father were a king or a nomad, Noah. He only used his ability. Only if everybody in the world had refused his call, which is unlikely, he might have lived. And be chased, probably.” There is nothing, nothing that could have prevented his death. There is no way for Noah to blame herself for the sickness, and she should definitely stop it.

    ”We all did what we could. You created a safe haven, as much as we did in the East. Be proud that you succeeded in what I could not.” Her tone has an underlying sharpness too, but the bitterness clearly is not directed at Noah, as Ilma stares in the distance when she says it. And Noah had succeeded where Ilma had not, even if the events leading to it were not the same. For Castile had not offered her sanctuary or protection until after he’d helped her down from her throne. Had not blinked when his new friend returned to her with hatred and revenge on his mind to undermine his other, older friend. Had not considered the effect of stealing a child from Ilma’s highest ranking diplomat, right from under her nose while the white mare had not yet had time to adjust to being crowned.

    ”Castile was my friend once, too.” she tells the mare softly. It’s her greatest secret for any of his residents and territories, except Lepis who had been there, once, when they met. And why not tell them? She still wants him to be her friend, she thinks. After all that happened in that one year when she took the crown of his neighbouring kingdom, she can’t drop him as a friend. And yet every step she had taken, he took two steps in the other direction.

    She doesn’t speak up and talk behind his back because she does not want to undermine his rule, his friendships, his life. Because she knows how that feels, and she wouldn’t wish that upon her worst enemy. Let alone a friend.

    and shooting stars cannot fix the world


    Noah Oh breakthrough, I think
    Any fool knows men and women think differently at times, but the biggest difference is this: men forget, but never forgive; women forgive, but never forget.
    Robert Jordan, Wheel of Time
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