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  • Beqanna

    version 22: awakening

    COTY

    OCEANE -- Year 208

    QOTY

    "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


    [private]  do you call yourself a hurricane like me, hestoni
    #1

    and let me crawl inside your veins. I'll build a wall, give you a ball and chain.

    It was a dangerous thing, for her to have spare time.

    There were other things she could – should – have been doing, of course. Like staying up to date on Castile’s plan for Loess and the unrest in Nerine and Taiga; or perhaps paying a visit to Pangea to properly congratulate Anaxarete on her ascension to the throne, since her previous interactions with the shadow-mare was just her dropping an egg off that had hatched an actual pink, fire-breathing, hellspawn. Not the best surprise she had ever received.

    Instead of doing anything politically related, she had chosen to come to the river. It was strange for her to be apart from Ophanim and their family when not absolutely forced to be, but this morning she had awoken with a terrible restlessness that begged for some kind of relief. She blamed it on reaching the later stages of her pregnancy, and she was sure she would regret walking so far from Sylva once it was time to go back.

    For now, she was content to stand along the bank, listening to the rushing of the current. Snow still blanketed the ground, the afternoon sky was dull, and the watery light that spilled through the pale clouds was cold and impersonal where it caressed against her shoulders. Lost in thought, she mindlessly curls her neck to touch her nose against the large scar across her chest, exhaling softly against the pulse of Ophanim’s heart that beat steadily against her ribs. The tight, clenching feeling of homesickness that she feels when she thinks about him is enough to make her decide to head back towards Sylva, but the interruption of another’s thoughts nearby causes her to pause.

    With an inquisitive tilt of her head she follows the stream of thoughts, stepping artfully through the bare copse of trees that grow along the edge of the river. She finds a lone stallion, and that lazy smile has already woven its way across her lips by the time she calls out in the too-sweet, too-lilting lyrics of her voice, “Those are some bitter thoughts you have.” The shadows cast by the trees fall away as she steps closer, though not entirely into his space. Just close enough to look at him better, and to add with a false sense of regret, “Not that I meant to eavesdrop, of course. Just one of the many curses of being a mind reader,” she finishes with a despondent sigh, but the spark in her dark blue eyes likely gives her away. As if someone such as herself could not possibly be fully in control of every power that she wielded, but pretending was one of her favorite pasttimes.

    starsin

    it’s not like me to be so mean. you’re all I wanted.
    ( just let me hold you Like a hostage. )




    Hestoni
    Reply
    #2

    you are miles away but i still feel you

    The grieving process has been torturous for him.

    It might not be over yet — layers of bitterness and grief coat his mind like a thick film. Hestoni has learned to live in the state that Scorch’s betrayal cursed him with. He wakes with a quick jab of pain in his chest (for her hairless skin is not pressed against his in the early morning) but by mid-morning it has turned into disgust (for her hairless skin had been pressed against two other lovers).

    He feels particularly bitter today, standing in the exact place where Scorch had first approached him. The fire that flared on her skin from her anger would have burned the snow that now covers the embankment. If he had the power of fire he would be able to burn the snow away with his anger. And it would be so satisfying. The sound of hooves crunching on snow turns his attention away from his thoughts. A pair of dark blue eyes shine in the shadows but the mare is quickly pushing her way into the lazy winter morning light.

    “They’ve been with me for some time now.” The deep sound of his answer is stern. In all honesty, the dark thoughts that linger around him like a cloud have become familiar and welcomed. The anger is easier to deal with than the sorrow. Brown eyes look out from a bold red face. “It seems Beqanna has become a place of many talents.” It hadn’t always been like that, he reflects. In the time of the Jungle, antlers and fire-breathing and animal-shifting had been rare to find. Now his mind can be read as though he were speaking the words out loud.

    So rather than telling the story that causes his bitter emotions, he shows it to her. Like a movie displayed on a projector, Hestoni begins with meeting Scorch at this very scene (ablaze and passionate from Jungle drama) and progressing through at first discomfort with another and then the endless passion of love for many, many years after. If she is watching, she witnesses the birth of their first set of twins and the nine children that come after. Her eyes might catch upon the sight of a weak, broken daughter soaked by the rain on the Forsaken Valley’s floor, the haze of death thick in her eyes. Starsin might hear Hestoni’s deal with Carnage to bring his wife’s mother back one last time and the ten years he spent serving the magician-god. The ache of their death within the Jungle’s embrace and the joy in their revival.

    With each memory, the swell of emotions Hestoni felt in those moments accompanies it.

    And finally… The plot twist that birthed such thoughts that brought Starsin to him arrives on the screen. The silence of undesired slumber for several years and the awakening in the bitter Nerine cold to find a wife swollen with the weight of a child that does not belong to him. The story of an additional child who also does not belong to him. The scent of others — of romance and nights spent alone — dancing on her skin.

    The retelling of his story is exhausting. The red stallion slowly inhales and his wide chest expands with the air that fills his lungs. He says nothing and his expression is an expanse of natural seriousness (Isnofret had always told him to smile more, so many years ago). His brown eyes find her face, perhaps searching for something. He isn’t sure quite what that is.

    hestoni



    Starsin
    Reply
    #3

    and let me crawl inside your veins. I'll build a wall, give you a ball and chain.

    Starsin was not a stranger to struggle and turmoil, but she would be lying if she said she didn’t prefer witnessing someone else’s life fall apart rather than her own.

    Maybe, at the core of it, it was because misery loved company. There was something comforting in knowing that no one else’s life was perfect; that everyone hit rock bottom and had to claw their way back out.

    Everyone’s stories, though they took different paths, seemed to resemble one another somehow. He offered his to her readily, which was such a rare thing – usually she had to hunt and pry, or flip through useless thoughts until she found something worth keeping. His had all the usual components, and they even matched hers, in a way; love and infidelity, with a twist of Carnage thrown in. Hers had a different ending, though, and maybe that was why she no longer harbored that dark bitterness and anger like she used to. Rock bottom for her and Ophanim had only meant they had been remade and forged back together stronger than before, but it appears the stallion before her cannot say the same.

    She may not be angry or bitter anymore, but it still didn’t change who she was at her core. His thoughts should have stirred empathy, or maybe even something like pity, but instead she felt absolutely nothing.

    Instead she just sighs after she has taken it all in, tilting her delicate head and blinking her dark blue eyes. “Well, that was quite the...story. Would you consider it a romance, or a tragedy? Little bit of both, maybe?” Her laugh comes as a purr, her star-dappled body slipping closer to him. She has always been foolishly unafraid, but ever since she discovered she could shatter anything and anyone one with a mere bat of her eyelashes, her sense of invincibility seemed to have increased tenfold. She doesn’t think he is the kind to try something, but she’s been wrong before, and so the smile she offers him is sweet enough, there is something sharp hidden in its corners. “My name is Starsin. Does the tragic hero have a name?”

    starsin

    it’s not like me to be so mean. you’re all I wanted.
    ( just let me hold you Like a hostage. )



    Hestoni
    Reply
    #4

    you are miles away but i still feel you

    Hestoni doesn’t look for pity in her eyes. In fact, revealing his story to her like a Hallmark drama is more for his own benefit rather than hers. There’s a pleasant sensation that happens when you spill the secrets you have kept for years, he reflects. It feels satisfying and freeing. The chestnut hasn’t ever truly had someone to talk to besides Scorch. His friends are few and far between — had his wife been abusive and overly protective over him? He didn’t think so at the time… He had been perfectly happy to spend his days in the wilderness of the Jungle, playing games with his children while his wife handled the business of being a queen. Perhaps it was destiny for their relationship to follow that path: a manservant and his queen.

    Regardless of the psychology of his broken marriage, Hestoni feels like a weight has been lifted from his shoulders after telling the mare his story. Her comments don’t faze him; sarcasm is something he is familiar with. You have to have iron skin to spend decades with Scorch. Although this gray mare seems to be a softer version, she reminds him of his ex-wife. It almost brings a smile to his red lips.

    She is moving closer to him now, but Hestoni doesn’t make any moves toward her. She looks young — younger than him — but the chestnut has always been a noble character. He’s never considered himself one of the slippery males who sneak through the darkness to prey on travelers. Even if he did have those tendencies toward violence, the state of his heart doesn’t warrant any desires. Besides, this new world of Beqanna allows many opportunities for hidden talents.

    Her closeness does reveal something he hadn’t noticed in the shadows — a scar cuts the gray hair on her chest. Though his dark eyes move toward the blemish now illuminated by the lazy morning light, Hestoni doesn’t say anything about it. He has his own markings (the most obvious is a deep, jagged scar across his right knee that looks only a few years old), and each of them comes with its own story. Instead, his gaze finds her own. “Hestoni,” he says simply. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Starsin.” He’s always been rigid in his old-fashioned ways and he has no plans on stopping that now, even while the world modernizes around him.

    “You look like you have a place to call home.” There’s a certain attitude surrounding horses belonging to lands. It’s something he’s noticed throughout the years; it’s different from the tell-tale scents of whatever place they call home. It’s more like a comfortable look in their eye, like the common lands of Beqanna are a vacation and they know that soon they will return to the familiarity of their own bed. “Where are you from? I know very little of this Beqanna.”

    hestoni



    Starsin
    Reply
    #5

    and let me crawl inside your veins. I'll build a wall, give you a ball and chain.

    She hears the name Scorch in his mind, and while her name – and his, for that matter – do not ring with familiarity, perhaps she would make the connection someday. That the man before her, and the woman that starred in his memories, were the grandparents to Ophanim. But as it stands, she has never heard their names before, and truthfully she doubts if Ophie even knows who they are. She knew hardly any of her family – there was some names, but not many, since her mother had not exactly been the maternal sort. Family in itself was an entirely foreign concept to her; it didn’t exist outside of Ophanim and their children, as far as she was concerned.

    His eyes catch the scar on her chest, and even if she had not caught the way his gaze diverted, she heard the thought in his mind anyway – a question that he maybe never meant to ask or think, but one that she answers still, “Carnage performed heart surgery on me.” It was an improvement, in her opinion. Ophanim’s heart was far kinder than her own, and there was something reassuring in knowing that it beat safely within the walls of her chest. She could feel it when it flinched when she did something that hurt him, just as he had the misfortune of feeling every twinge of jealousy that came from hers.

    “I live in Sylva,” and this time when she speaks some of her facade has dropped, or at least, her words are not as honey-thick as they had been previously. She was never entirely genuine with strangers, but she has stopped being altogether fake, at least for now. “It’s a territory of Loess, the southern kingdom.” He says he does not know much of this Beqanna, but she is not exactly sure what he does know. She could give him a history lesson, but she wasn’t really the type. Even then, she was relatively young, having been born just before the plague. He likely knew more of Beqanna – even this current one – than she did. “You could come to Sylva, if you want.”

    starsin

    it’s not like me to be so mean. you’re all I wanted.
    ( just let me hold you Like a hostage. )



    Hestoni
    Reply




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