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  • Beqanna

    version 22: awakening


    GHAUL -- Year 209


    "(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

    [open]  Everything about me seems to have changed || Any at all ||

    I believe I'd die if I only could

    I sure feel strange, but it sure feels good

    Now the time has come.
    Can you imagine soaring to the highest plateau? Sinking to the furthest depths? Remaking yourself over and over again? Who were you at the beginning, can you remember? When the years fade together and a few days turn into a passing few months, does the end start to feel like the beginning or was the beginning always the end?

    Wolfbane, or who he was in the many months before he committed the atrocity of tyrannicide with Heartfire’s help, has a sliver of his ‘real’ self tucked away in a mind overcome by other personal demons. That very small part of himself wants to be better, to find a cure for an ailment three generations past couldn’t find. But the larger part of himself - the one that terrorized Taiga and shattered a royal marriage with Lepis simply prevents him. It smothers him and drains his will, zaps his energy to fight. He has always been a fighter, and that’s why he assumes such a small part of himself held on this long.

    An old friend has awoken those desires for good. Wishbone had stoked the embers of a dying fire, but in trying to help Wolfbane she’d also given his split personalities a bigger reason to fight harder and dirtier than they’d done before.

    There is a specific someone… his daughter, Eyas. It’s her that he longs to pass these demons off to, or her that he wishes to consume entirely. Her power was rare and untouchable, and she’d been successfully using it to evade himself and many others. She was in part to blame for his slumber: her magic worked through bonded sight and if he slept, then he couldn’t see. So neither could Eyas or Heartfire keep tabs on him.

    But the time has come.
    The chase begins again, and the stallion most would know by color alone flicks his wings aloft to leap into a steady flight directly for the field. They’re both immortal, father and daughter, and so this game is an extended one. Until he can secure more information about her whereabouts Eyas will continue to evade him… but if he can stir chaos in the meantime; if Wolfbane can do worse than tearing apart Lepis’ leadership and their marriage it might be just enough to summon her from the shadows.

    He lands steadily enough. Smooth and calculated without altering his shape, like an animal born to wings and comfortable with their mechanics. His hooves, sparkling blue and toned to a near black, dig into the monochromatic soil and steady a thick body covered in gold and glinting navy stripes. Sunset approaches. He doesn’t long for the company of daytime walkers, but those who feel most at home in the tranquil darkness of a passing winter’s night. Folding his wings back together Wolfbane continues walking on foot, deeper and deeper into the heartlands of the Field in search of some horse who could see his value and use it appropriately.

    For this thread:  Sex: M  ◉  Appearance: Normal  ◉  Mood: Dangerous

    [Image: Wolfbane2.png][Image: 3bCHvj.png]
    i will be brutal
    He has only just returned to the living and his family but he always finds himself roaming Beqanna in search of something interesting. He moves in the dying light of the day from Tephra, along the paths he vaguely recalls. His body is riddled with scars from wars long forgotten, hunts he barely remembers. Sometimes he dreams of his children that he smothered or crushed but their faces are never clear enough to tell them apart. But they are all part of this endless cycle – he kills, he is killed, he is reborn. The wheel has worn down the edges and he hardly knows how to feel remorse for his crimes any more.

    There is only a ravenous loyalty for his favorites, and a ceaseless hunger that churns through his veins.

    When he finds the field, the corners of his lips form a faint smile as he slinks forward. His sage green eyes examine those nearby and admire the plethora of oddities all around. Larva had been one of the early monsters – not the first, of course, but they had recoiled from him the moment he emerged into the world. Now the tide has turned and he is as remarkable as the trees around him while everyone else is either horrendous or devastatingly beautiful.

    Inevitably, his eyes fall on Wolfbane and he finds himself intrigued by not only the color of him but also his markings. Larva’s head tilts curiously as he moves closer for a better look. His old eyes do not see as well as they used to and he has no concern for antiquities such as manners, so he brings himself directly before Wolfbane so as to block his path and get a better look at him.

    Roaming the field so close to night? I used to do that when I was out looking for trouble.” His laugh echoes dry and raspy, but he does not elaborate. “My name is Larva. What sort of ruckus have you come to bring?

    And he smiles, but even without his pointed teeth, there is little kindness behind the expression. There is only a dark kind of interest growing within him.
    Wolfbane he doesn't know how to make friends without it also sounding threatening, but he is 100% trying to be nice.

    if you do not have shadows,
     you are not in the light

    The red trees crowd her in the same way her mother used to, with intention to protect and shadow. She has grown into her own beautiful shell, filling out the awkward length of limbs and the abnormal size of her head to all evenly come together in a well-sculpted female frame. She is tall but still there is a naivety that still reveals her youth, perhaps her lack of life experience or maybe her deep love for still frolicking aimlessly in the ocean. After all, she had only just turned two.

    It seems customary to miss family on occasions you once shared, but the feeling that grief leaves in the pit of her stomach makes Ruthless feel uncomfortable altogether. As if any negative emotion just trickles a slow-dripping queasiness until she is able to move and distract herself. Oh, our poor golden child, already avoiding unhappy feelings and replacing them with a band-aid until she is forced to feel the wound once more.

    So, she moves. She moves faster from the shaded safety of the redwoods and carries herself at a high lope for what feels like hours. She runs, she flies, she takes turns weaving in the air through the tops of trees, and dodging fallen logs and rodent-dug holes when giving her wings a break. Her stamina even surprises herself. It’s amazing what the body is able to do when it’s running from something.

    It’s a shame she cannot run from the nightmares in her mind.

    She finds herself in the field, confused partially but also somewhat relieved that the thick scent of redwood trees and ocean salt is long behind her. Any other day, she would find the redwoods soothing. But today, when Brine is a consistent grey cloud hanging over the golden filly’s pearly-cream forelock, it just didn’t feel right.

    The sun begins to set, and part of her is worried. Worried because hopefully Aten and Kalil hadn’t noticed her absence, would they wonder? Would they notice? Worried because perhaps Brine hadn’t done well at Nerine at all, and maybe she is here. Would she smell her? Would she come to see her? It almost seems too much for our newly christened two year old to tell, so as a form of security she tightens charcoal wings into her yellow side and begins the descent down a rolling hill to the field floor.

    Her pace tightens as unfamiliar masculine scents waft into her flared nostrils, stopping for a moment to inhale the deep scents and send out a firing snort into the silence. They were far off, probably too far to hear her. For a moment, relief washes over her.

    And then, suddenly, realization.

    She is in the field, where diplomats recruit for kingdom numbers.

    Finally, the opportunity to try her hand at diplomacy!

    The paranoia set in from her mother quickly vanishes as she hastily trots through the openness of the field until her eyes make out the appearance of shadows off in the distance. It’s hard for her eyes to adjust, but as she carries herself closer the silhouettes of black turn into something more colourful and unique. One stallion, matching in colour to herself aside from his stark lines of blue, with wings still settling from flight. Another--who appears far more mature and Ruthless hesitates to think elderly--blocking his path.

    An aggressive approach. She likes it. Unfortunately, our golden child hasn’t really seen recruitment beyond what Aten demonstrated a year ago in this very field… So, in her defense, anything could look good.

    Being more outgoing in temperament, our little Ruth approaches the stallions as if she isn’t coming upon what could two very, dangerous evils in the dark. Perhaps even the very evils that her mother whispered about. The very evils that her mother hid Ruth from for so long, until of course… Until that day. The day when Ruth decided her life could not be dictated by irrational fear of her shadowy mother.

    “Hello,” she says as she approaches the stallions, coming towards the palomino’s shoulder with caution, the same caution Eurwen and Lilliana had offered her mother so many months ago. “Trouble comes in the form of light, too. You must be wary of those brave enough to do dangerous things with the exposure of sun on their back, you know.”

    It is only mere coincidence that she is able to capture the words of the grey male as he speaks, though being young and having been surrounded by practically silence her first year she had excellent hearing.

    Is it inappropriate to barge in on others conversations without permission?

    A pause, and then, “I am Ruthless. I live in Taiga,” just in case.



    She’s never been here before, never really had the interest or the inclination. But she fancies that it would be nice to show up to her new home with a hostess gift for that clever dappled mare who helped spin her and her family into the monsters they are today.

    It is difficult to eye the bodies present and consider their potential as living entities rather than their potential as a filling snack. She is, vaguely, aware that Anaxarete has made a command that no one in Pangea should be harmed and she is curious about whether that commitment has settled on her yet. And where the boundaries of Pangea lie. The picture of caverns and rocks does not fit this field so she feels as though she is safe in wondering what those here might taste like.

    For example, does the winged stallion taste like a bird or like a horse? What of his companion? She caught a snake once in her life and it nearly constricted her neck before she bit off its head.

    The effort was barely worth the meal, but she enjoys trying new things. Never know when you might discover a new favourite, after all.

    (I know Larva doesn’t have his snakiness but damn did I not want to delete that once it was written so YOLO)

    Fortunately for herself, the impulse to leap into the conversation teeth-first is one that is easily squashed. She is different from her mother, after all, though she wears a similar skin.

    A mare joins the trio and this Monster-hybrid almost turns around. She’s not entirely sure she’s prepared for a group conversation. Giving up, however tempting and smart it may be, had never been her strong suit. She followed her instincts out of Beqanna into a world of boring wonders, and then followed them right back. Her instincts are all she has, and they still encourage her to join in.

    Her eyes are cold, but that’s hardly her fault. They are a monster’s eyes and they do not portray emotion well - so she relies on her coarse voice to demonstrate her curiosity. “Are you looking for somewhere to cause trouble?” Everyone is focusing their questions on the striped bird so she does as well, though she would not mind if any of the others answered her question as well. She doesn't quite understand that they might be here on behalf of other lands because she has not paused to give the fact that there even are other lands any consideration.

    There is room in Pangea for all.


    There is a sense of dread in the pit of her soul. It had loomed earlier in the day when Lilliana had gone seeking the golden child - Brine's daughter - and found the scent of her faint on the Taigan wind. It's natural for fillies that age to wander, she knows. It's the nature of adolescents to want to echo thunder with their hooves and to chase wayward breezes. At that age, it's perfectly normal to feel all the beginnings of wanderlust without any of the mastery of it.

    But the girl she comes seeking is not normal. She is not just any other girl. Lilliana had made a promise to Brine - sweet, gentle Brine who often looked over her shoulder as if whatever fears she was running from would eventually find her - and it is something she intends to see kept. No harm will come to filly while she remains in Taiga.

    What of the girl, then, when she is out of it?

    That sense of dread she carries spills into her veins as she breaks free from the shadowy binds of the treeline. She's been to the Field before and has even recruited for Taiga here. Lilliana has been to the Field a few times but there is always this: a sense of apprehension that comes from feeling like the world is watching. A quiet exhale and the copper mare pushes herself forward, trying to think of all the things she would say to Ruth when she did find her. If she was here trying to recruit for the Taiga, that was certainly an admirable thing and due praise. However, however... there would be other things to say. Things like that trips to Field are best done at daybreak because when else is hope brightest than at the beginning of a new day?

    And besides, it allows time to observe and learn. Taiga's borders are open to everyone (or so Lilliana tells herself), whatever had lurked in the forest the previous winter is behind them and her home is safe. Coming to the Field to recruit is best done at the beginning of the day because it allows one to learn about the groups of horses who gather - mares with foals do well for Taiga. Young, bachelor stallions might be another good fit if they can curb the need to kick up their heels and put that energy towards diplomacy or soldiering instead. Families that only want the peace and privacy that such a dense forest can provide. In her mind, all are welcome but certain types seem to suit the Redwoods better than others.

    Taiga has enough shadows. 
    (Flames, she sometimes imagines she feels flickering from beneath the bark.)
    No need to bring one back from the Field.

    The chestnut mare walks by the few groups, weaving through the bands of horses that come together for their own various reasons: some clamor together for warmth, some seek companionship against the coming night, some speak in hushed whispers (of what, she wonders? Plagues and wars like she and Neverwhere had once teased when they were new?). Whatever their reasons are, they keep them to themselves and Lilliana walks past them after casting a glance for gold, searching for a glimpse of warmth in the depth of winter. A palomino horse might be seen as ordinary by Beqanna standards but surely a winged palomino would stand out?

    It's the west, she thinks. She's walking towards it and it obscures everything. What little light remains almost blinds her and she is about to change her trajectory when-

    "I am Ruthless. I live in Taiga."

    Her ears immediately prick forward to the sound. Winds, she thinks as relief immediately spreads through her. Ruth. In the group of horses ahead? There is a shadowed mass in front of her - a rather large and imposing stallion who obstructs her gaze so that all she sees is the faint outline of gold in the dying embers of sunset. Ruth is on the other side of him, she assumes, realizing that the filly is facing him as Lilliana goes to move around him. Another stranger approaches as she does - someone who asks, "Are you looking for somewhere to cause trouble?" (If Lilliana could see this one better, she might notice the wild and wonderful similarities that she has always admired in Velkan. For now, there is only a slight tug of sympathy for the newcomer who has attracted the attention of so many - how overwhelming this place can be.)

    A half-smile curves against the edges of her dark mouth as she comes into view from behind the gray with a trademark quip, "Has the winter made you all so restless?" Or something else, she doesn't add. The question is for all of them - this group of souls that gathers when it seems the rest of Beqanna would rather (or should) be slumbering the bitter season away - but her blue eyes go first to Ruth, needing to see for herself that the girl is alright. The gold before her pools like daylight before it dawns into something else entirely.



    light me up, i will blaze
    like a soul you have saved

    [Image: sTAi2f.png]

    I believe I'd die if I only could

    I sure feel strange, but it sure feels good

    Inevitably the hollow sound of clopping from a distance caught Bane’s attention. It was a heavier tread and coming in rapidly - without even turning his ears back Wolfbane could sense which side Larva favored, how lengthy his stride was. One normal breath told him what his eyes were missing, since the beefy pegasus wasn’t inclined to turn and look. A male was following, rapidly pursuing him. His flesh smelled faintly like rot. Like an elder stallion, or one horse masquerading as such. (If anyone had learned not to judge a book by its cover, it was Wolfbane.)

    In spite of that he’s come to the Field for a reason and Larva, though the scar-riddled horses' name won’t be spoken until later, is a stallion bold enough to intercept and even cut Bane off from his nightly stroll.
    That annoying interruption stops Bane from merely shoving his way callously past the stranger at first glance.

    If this one had enough ball sacks and death wishes to do something like that to a horse they'd never met before, then Wolfbane was willing to sacrifice an infinite few moments of his own time to humor the grandfatherly character with a smile at his questions and concerns. “He mistakes us,” One voice coos prettily in his tangled thoughts, “we don’t intend ruckus, do we? We seek to bring balance.” They agree simultaneously. Wolfbane only compels himself to memorizing Larva’s face, silently. No wisp of breath curls past his lips and aside from the occasional jerk of his eyes, the manipulator is incredibly quiet behind his eerily wide grin.

    And then he moves in one fluid motion, a figurine bursting into sudden life with the angling of his forehand and the sharp turn of his head. He seems like an animated doll, ears pointed into the coming darkness and nostrils flared for a second or two, waiting on something.

    Female. Pegasus - he can hear the faint brush of her feathers as they tug against one another. Her youth is as apparent as Larva’s age and were Ruthless not immediately interrupted by the shuffling sound of yet more horses coming into the fray, she would’ve earned herself a loud, rough burst of laughter in her face. “Strike one and two,” He thinks of her and her unearned boldness. Before her age Wolfbane was leading a quiet country into a now fearsome Kingdomship; what does Ruth have but her nerves and a tongue that would lead her into inevitable trouble? Nothing.

    He reasons she’s old enough now to learn an incredibly valuable lesson on sticking one’s nose and opinion where they’re least appreciated.

    Holding that idea, Wolfbane turns again- tugged alive by the strings of a puppeteer and moving a body in ways that do not seem natural -back upon itself to glance over a shoulder and address the final questions - first Fiorina and then-

    "Then there’s lilliana." His own thoughts surprise him before quieting again. “Strike three.” A whisper echoes in his mind. Lilliana… someone from his past. Some horse who knew him and knew him well. It broke a rule. Wolfbane would lament if he were physically capable of it, but he is focused and certain about why he’s come here so his next step is calculated. He ignores those gathered around, huddled on all sides of him, in order to swing his body (the edge of his wings dance close to Larva and Ruth’s faces, near enough for a brushing if they choose not to move away) around so that he can gather the sight of his mistress here, unexpectedly, in the Field. “Lilliana,” Bane’s voice finally rings out in the waiting silence, “don't be shy… please.” One wing unfurls, out toward Fiorina as much as possible without disturbing the alien-like equine.

    The please was tacked on for Lilli's sake alone. The demand behind his ‘request’, however, is clear. He hoped she would acquiesce without a fight; there wasn’t any need for dramatics…

    He’ll give her a moment to decide. A moment where he turns back to appraise Ruth’s reaction and the holographic tint of his predator eyes flashes in the shadowy dark. “I came here because I wanted to.” Bane sneers through a tight jaw, alternating his focus between Larva and Fiorina with the quick tilt of one brow and the other. Were they animals or slaves? Did they kneel before a master? Were chaos and evil their god? “Pathetic,” His thoughts hiss, “freedom is the one true God here.” “I do exactly what I want, whenever it pleases me.” He motions toward the lone girl in between the two wayfarer's and he wonders if their thoughts honestly align with his.

    Between them it was three against one; two if Lilliana chose poorly. The right recruiter could bring home three new bodies. The wrong one? Leave worse than empty-hoofed. “I wouldn’t let her get away.” He challenges they old gray stallion and the arcane-looking black mare, intending that Ruth should not be allowed to fly off. He would honestly hate to leave Lilliana here if he had to go chase Ruthless down but, if necessity called for it Bane would.

    If he had to, he thought as he looked back to gauge where Lilliana was headed, he would leave the mare who’d tossed fear back into his face right here with two unknowns and go claw Ruthless out of the sky. But it didn’t need to be that way. Lilli could walk to him quietly and he would keep her safe, always safe at his side. And Ruthless might follow example, and Larva or Fiorina (maybe even both?) would embrace what Wolfbane was implying.

    There was never any need for them to go separate ways. They could all leave the Field together and they could all get what they came here for, no? “It’s me, Wolfbane.” He says loudly enough, the skin over his shimmering face twinkling like so many vivid stars in a velvet black universe when he smiles at Lilliana. Sweet, soft Lilli. His Lilli. “Come here and let’s all discuss what comes next, yeah?”

    For this thread:  Sex: M  ◉  Appearance: Normal  ◉  Mood: Dangerous

    ooc: sorry if you get like, 7 notification messages because I keep editing this
    [Image: Wolfbane2.png][Image: 3bCHvj.png]
    i will be brutal
    His pale green eyes watch Wolfbane’s face twist and contort to show his displeasure, making the old man smile. But before the pegasus can answer another face emerges to interrupt. His ears swivel back and lay flat. Larva has never been good at hiding his emotions, especially the negative ones. She lectures them and a snort huffs from his nostrils as he watches her, clearly unamused.

    You must be wary of your tongue. It betrays you,” he replies bluntly before Fiorina arrives onto the scene. He has known many monsters but he is pleasantly surprised at the strange armor that protects her form. This one clearly isn’t one of his but his fondness for the grotesque is reborn just the same when she speaks. Something deep in the molten core of him stirs at the words but he chokes it back just for now. This isn’t the time to go collecting every shiny little thing he finds during his outing. There had been enough of that in other lives long past, hadn’t there?

    But just as he grows comfortable once more, yet another stranger emerges, this time from behind him. He looks over his shoulder at her when she speaks but he makes no immediate reply. Instead, he returns his attention to Wolfbane. Larva tolerates the way Bane’s wing skirts against his chest but he remains still. The only movement at all is a slight arch of his brow that quickly settles once more. The serpent is old enough to know the stench of a curse. This one would not do well around his brood, but he could stay and jest a while.

    Spring is full of easier hunts, and also more interesting ones.” He shrugs a pale, scarred shoulder, unconcerned with whether Ruthless gets away or not. Back before his teeth were dull, he used to love finding mother’s nesting before an inevitable birth. They fought the hardest and bled the most, he found. Not to mention the wailing cries of their bodies being discovered. Even now, his spine shivers at the memory of it. “ Being dead for so very long has made me quite restless.. Lilliana.

    And his gaze turns back to her now, using the name the first stranger had spoken toward her.

    What about you? The cold driving you to a stranger’s warmth?

    And then he laughs, but the sound is dry and lacks all joy.
    Ruthless sorry he's super mean and cranky. just call him ugly.

    if you do not have shadows,
     you are not in the light

    Their assumptions weigh down across her shoulders with inevitable strength, and she feels confused. Why does she care what they think? Part of her believes she doesn’t, the naive part. The side of her that has starved, and spent nights wondering if she would wake in the morning. It coaxes her with soft, kind thoughts; it’s okay, not everyone will like you.

    But the other side of her--the side with a brain that overthought and a heart that pumped too quick--she does care. She cares as her skin warms in a flush of embarrassment, her stomach churning and twisting in a way she has never felt before. An uncomfortable pressure that spreads all the way down and falls deep into her pasterns.

    The kind of pressure that reminds her how fragile she is.

    And her final side--a side she would never let on to--is angry. While her stomach pulses and her brain spins, she feels her heart peel apart layer by layer, leaving a surface so raw and angry she can feel blood boiling as it trickles through each and every vein. Mad because she did nothing wrong than be young, be female, and be present. A tongue has no bones, but can start wars or end them. Just because you’re big and strong doesn’t mean anything..., she doesn’t say this, though. Their assumptions in her tongue leaves her quiet; quiet because she acknowledges there is nothing she can say.

    Arrogance is the camouflage of insecurity, whether they care to admit it or not.

    Or, at least, this is what she tells herself as she mulls silently.

    What happens next is peculiar, and our golden child had never seen such a show. He is magical in the most terrifying way, as his wings stretch out to tickle at the whiskers hanging from her milk-white muzzle as if a cat taunting it’s prey. More uneasiness settles upon her, we aren’t welcome here… Not with these horses, not now.

    It’s how his voice curls around Lilliana’s name like a suffocating feather boa with the potential to tighten if she doesn’t play nicely. On the outside, a fluffiness plethora of feathers and fun, but with awful intentions clinging to every movement and sway. Our little golden child fights an internal battle of fight or flight, with no winner coming out on top but our perfectly framed palomino filly still standing motionless.

    Ruthless has never feared the dark before, in fact she searched for it often. Her mother, after all, is the epitome of blackness. Her aura is black, her lifeless eyes are black, her wings are black, and her coat is the most perfect mix of midnight blue and charcoal that Ruth can almost see the stars dot her flank. And now? She longs for the sun to hang wild in the open blue sky, light shimmering down and highlighting every inch of flesh and bone with all of the field to bear witness.

    Our little child’s face says it all, I think I should go… But yet, staring at the -red chestnut mare with desperate plea in her eyes--a desperation that is both unsuiting and alarming--Ruth cannot bring herself to say the words.

    She is frightened.

    And Lillianna is too.



    By the time another mare shows up right when she does, Fiorina is second-guessing whether she wants to be in this group. It is an awful lot of equines, most of them rather plain looking. She cannot remember the last time she stood among so many others and, she’s amazed to find out, she does not like that she’s not the focus of everyone’s attention.

    She is by far the most interesting of this group so far.

    One, she thinks, seems to agree with her and a lazy smile and wink is given to the dappled stallion before ears catch the chestnut’s question. Restless is a good word for it.  “And hungry.” Fiorina replies softly, though it’s whispered more to herself than anyone else.

    Her eyes are keen and can see much, but whatever play is being acted out in front of she’s only seeing half of it and so she is confused.

    Or perhaps it is just that she’s not paying attention?

    Regardless, the winged stallion moves and a small warning snarl escapes from Fiorina out of instinct when his wing draws close. It does not touch, but she thinks for a moment how she would like to sink her canine teeth into it. That bladed tail jerks restlessly behind her - other than that, though, she does not move. She watches, half-hoping that the cause for this little drama will reveal itself and half-hoping that this entire tableau will just fall away and she can move on. Perhaps explore the dappled stallion a little more.

    She’s only half listening when the stallion that they’ve gathered around speaks, possibly answering her question? Possibly giving her the answer she approves of? She does vaguely sort of catch the command about making sure the winged mare doesn’t get away and snorts a little. If the mare wanted to run, Fiorina wasn’t going to stop her. She might even help her escape just for the chaos of it all and because half of her brain that is paying attention isn’t sure she likes being commanded.

    Fiorina forces herself to focus a little more, like she’s coming awake from a small nap. The two sides of her that are constantly at war tugging her in different directions but underneath the armoured plates of her body, she can feel her skin like it’s humming. She should despise the winged mare for not standing up for herself, not showing strength in the face of this bully,

    It’s rather annoying that she doesn’t.

    Fiorina shifts where she is standing so that she is closer to the little mare. A small, possibly too-subtle attempt to add a sliver of emotional support. A hunter knows a fellow hunter and so she does not speak the thoughts she wants to - encouraging this fledgling to fly away - because her mind has finally caught up to the threat behind the command that had been given.

    Truthfully, she doesn't comprehend her own reasons for this small show of support. Perhaps she is just caving to the part of her that will always crave violence and this action may provide her a path to some bloodshed? She's not giving it much thought even in this very moment.

    No words at all come from this monster, her sharp eyes moving between the striped stallion and this Lilliana. Whatever comes next is balanced on her chestnut shoulders.


    The moment hovers in silence.

    A film of silver mist escapes from the lone flare of her dark nostrils, physical proof that he chases the very air from her lungs. Her blue eyes are considering him from where she stands, piercing through the darkness as she takes (drinks) in the sight of him. That quip, that half-curved smile? It all fades in the last glinting rays of winter sun, a few shards of light that contain no real warmth. Not that Lilliana can feel anyways - something in her has suddenly become chilled to her very core.

    Or perhaps she is burning.
    (Flame or frost, she knows that they both can burn.)

    His voice breaks the silence. Wolfbane says her name and she can't help it - the first step she takes is an unconscious one. Larva speaks of seeking a strangers' warmth and that startles Lilliana as she looks to him, a spell momentarily broken. Something is wrong, she knows. Something is terribly wrong and she would look back to Wolfbane if the massive gray stallion hadn't asked her a question. If he hadn't mentioned Death. "Dead?" she asks, not perturbed but the chestnut is puzzled by his implication. "You've been to the Otherworld?" While he looks aged, his eyes are not dull to this life (though his teeth might be). If the scene before her had not played out so quickly - if Wolfbane hadn't proceeded with his rather dazzling display and flare of alabaster feathers  - Lilliana might have even inquired what a journey back to the realm of living entailed. (Is it like being born? she might have asked.)

    But as it is, Wolfbane unfurls a lone white wing towards Fiorina. There is no missing the command behind that swift motion. Something about the lean mare becomes immediately guarded though none of them can know why - no horse here (apart from one) can know that she is remembering another time when that same wing unfurled. That day it had been an invitation, when the word Taiga had still been unknown one and its Redwoods a mystery. Lilliana's eyes do something similar as they had that day - they trace the pale outline of his outstretched wing in the last glinting rays of light as the world grows dark and cold. Her gaze comes to rest on the space where his command implies for a heavy moment and then they raise to Wolfbane, reflecting a shattering of questions that she can't hide. 

    His command reflects the very landscape around them. In the dead of winter, Wolfbane exposes the bare bones of a story that Lilliana would rather keep buried. It's a chapter in her story that she keeps closely tucked away in her chest, tangled and knotted around that heart of hers.

    He undoes it in a matter of moments.
    He unravels everything with a few words.
    Twists it all undone with a ring of insanity.

    Even lingering at the brink of it, even as she is walking towards it, its the look on Ruth's face that hastens her pace. The girl is looking to Lilliana, this sweet golden pegasus who had reminded her so much of Elena in their first meeting, and the chestnut mare is answering her silent plea by coming closer. But where her cousin once taunted Fear ('Come and get me,' she had dared), Ruth is pleading with the darkness. Lilliana hears it, as chiming as any bell, as clear as Wolfbane's command had been.

    The only reason she stops is that she sees the shift of the armored-mare behind Ruthless. She positions herself just slightly closer, a barely perceptible span of space that she encloses between herself and the winged filly. It only takes her a moment to realize that the threat is not to the child. And Lilliana, who still dreams of the Deserts and remembers the life leaving Craft's eyes, who can still hear the break of bones and has felt the fading of a pulse against a dying sun, turns to look up at Wolfbane who has suddenly become so close. Who smiles at her and says his name like she could have ever forgotten it.

    The part of her that is recoiling at that memory seeks to prevent another one from playing out now.

    "Ruth is my ward," she says. "Thank you for finding her for me." 

    And because it is him, because this is Wolfbane and he has never made sense at all since that day he descended from the sky, there it is - the barest outline of a smile against the coming night.


    light me up, i will blaze
    like a soul you have saved

    [Image: sTAi2f.png]

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