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  • Beqanna

    version 22: awakening


    LILLIANA -- Year 206


    "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

    i'll never be your chosen one: lilliana
    stifled the choice and the air in my lungs;
    better not to breathe than to breathe a lie
    It is in the moments between sunset and twilight that the daytime heat finally begins to fade.

    The cicadas quiet their chirping, the birds begin to settle down for the night, and Tiercel makes his way toward the winding river. He’s spent the majority of the day in the shade of the deciduous forest, just like most of the other locals of the River. All of the wildlife seemed to feel as fatigued as he did in the summer heat… Each hare, squirrel, and fox that snuck past his spot between a maple tree and a huckleberry bush seemed to move sluggishly and paid him little mind.

    As the final rays of the sun slip under the horizon, Tiercel reaches the rounded bend of the river. Despite his best efforts, his gold-and-blue body is darkened with perspiration. Simply standing in the shade of the maple tree had caused sweat to build in the corners of his body and he almost shudders at the thought of rinsing the day away in the coolness of the water. He drops his navy mouth toward the water, gulping down a few mouthfuls. The water looks mysterious as the twilight grows, darkening to a shadowy color. Tiercel can barely make out the shapes of silver-bodied fish flitting through the depths.

    The coolness of the evening is beginning to settle across the forest, but it doesn’t stop Tiercel from stepping into the shallows. The river wraps its cool arms around his cannon bones like a gentle caress and he sighs at the relief it brings. Sweet, sweet relief. The emotion radiates out of him as fiercely as the sun had during the day, only his relief feels tender and cool like the river on his feet. Tiercel steps into the river until it is up to his chest, coating his body in cool serenity.

    The dunskin dips his navy face under the water for a moment, only to spray the water upward. Droplets sprinkle across his head and shoulders, falling like softened particles of glass. Feeling calm, Tiercel remains in the river with his cerulean eyes closed, enjoying the way the river tugs at his heels and the coolness swaddles him. The shadows of the forest creep behind him, growing longer and stronger as twilight melts into dusk.

    It's funny how a moving body of water becomes an anchor.

    It's funny how the River becomes the very thing that Lilliana tethers her soul too. She comes here again and again. She comes seeking laughter where it trickles gentle and soft over the river-run rocks. She comes seeking strength and certainty where the rapids run strongest. She comes seeking the right direction when the River turns another entirely.

    She comes again and again - like any reverent apostle.

    The heat of the day means nothing. Sunbeams don't radiate beneath the shade she takes shelter under. The humidity might be suffocating for others but she knows this heat - its bred in her blood and melded in her bones. Paradise might have fallen but the wind in her blood sings with this kind of weather (remember and know, it hums). A fire-bright coat that is far too sleek in the depth of winter revels instead in the warmth of summer.

    She should be back in Taiga. The last rays of sunlight are dwindling and have turned to nothing but a fine veil of gold and shadow in this forest. What had sought the solace of shade emerges now, called to life with the witching hour that will soon be upon them. In the haze of dying light, Lilliana moves past through the brush. She walks through these trails that she knows better than any part of her soul and makes her way down the riverbank. The River here is serene. The bend of it only slight, not yet hampered by the ever-demanding pull that is Beqanna.

    Her front legs fall to the embrace of the current and the lone front sock becomes submerged against the dark water. Tranquility washes over her with each step she makes into the River, not caring about the murk and shadow that come to claim the fading day. For a moment, she only knows this sense of peace that she has found. The River doesn't rage or cry or intone here. It only invites and she lets herself flow into it, lets the water drift past her with the quietest of caresses. (It's easy to pretend for a moment, that she is back in the home of her youth. That the familiar feeling this River creates tells her that she can go back to the Willow and find her family waiting for her. That she can turn a corner and come to their favorite spot where the flowers would be waiting - that in a dreamscape where Kagerus had given her the power to create whole universes and constellations,  Lilliana had only recreated that precious bend where she and Elaina had dreamt of their own galaxies.)

    She wades in a little deeper and closes her eyes, inhaling the fresh scent of running water and pristine pine.

    When her eyes open, the chestnut mare lowers her dark muzzle and drinks, deeply. She might not have felt the heat of the day but her body recognizes the need for hydration. It seeks that clean sensation of water as it ripples down her throat and when her head rises, she realizes she isn't alone. A shadowed form stands not far away and sends a message in the form of a shower of droplets that rain down on him and his part of the River.

    Lilliana can't help herself - she laughs. It's only when she looks past the shadows does she realize that it isn't one on his face.

    It's a mask.


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