"(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
Note: She's totally here on the Island and we may have to jump ahead in time a little bit with her current thread timeline (i.e. assume this is taking place after she recuperated in Nerine) but f*ck it here's a post where she sends him something first.
Eyas remembered the laughing time like it was yesterday. Being one of three, and not just on her own all the time… back when she and her womb-brothers woke each morning to a Loess sunrise and fell asleep each night tucked between countless feathers and two pairs of loving wings. Before the ache and the pain there was so much joy and light.
Would he remember what she looked like? Eyas senses him - had sensed him a while ago but fear kept her from going further. Had he known she was there the whole time? Did he miss her like she so desperately missed him?
Wrapped in love and tinted rose-colours she sends him the gift of herself, as others would see her now. It doesn’t matter how far away or how engaged he is, she knows Gale would see the vision of a scrawny, pale, buckskin pegasus standing right in front of him. Scars drag down her shoulder, her black forelock dips characteristically over one eye that glints like obsidian. Eyas smiles to him and the mare fades away, replaced by the wavering image of a little filly.
Herself as a child, his playmate and equal in all things. Knobby-kneed and permanently smirking with her ears tilted gently back. She’s saying something, reaching out for him…
The image of the buckskin pegasus in front of him is flawless. Details that Gale often forgets to include – the casual shifting of the body rather than stillness, the rise and fall of the lungs, her appearance downwind of him, even the way the long hair of her black mane lifts as if buffeted by a faint breeze. It’s a perfect vision, really, and it is only where she happens to appear that gives away the fact that she is not truly there. Blue is standing knee deep in a brackish, low-water swamp, and so is the buckskin mare. But the ripples of his movement pass through her, and the long white stocks on her legs remain pristine.
Blue had stopped moving the moment she appeared. The branch he’d been shaking falls from his teeth but his mouth remains open, headless to the persimmons that slowly bob away. He’d been shaking the fruit loose, knowing that the overripe fruits would sink, the underripe remain on the branch, and the just right snacks would float until he was able to gobble them down.
But he’s not looking at the little orange fruits anymore. He is looking at his sister.
Womb Sister, he calls her, to differentiate from Pied Sister. Though memory has come back to him slowly, it comes always without sound. The brindle stallion has named the family members much as he had named himself, choosing an obvious attribute. Cloud Brother and Womb Brother, Blue-face and Scarred are his parents, though he knows they surely have better names, names that if only he knew he could ask others about.
Even though he knows she is not real, he reaches toward her, barely registering the shift from grown woman to the child he better recalls. He would have known her as a crone, he thinks; he would have known any of them. And then she is gone, and Blue is left standing in the middle of the mangrove, reaching toward something that had never been tangible.
“Sister?” he calls out to the empty shoreline. “Sister?!”
-So deep in my heart that you're really a part of me-
The pain from holding in her breath for too long felt like a sharp knife when Eyas gasped aloud. Sister, he’d called her. What further proof did she need? She’d seen with her own eyes the way Gale had dropped his branch and reached out to touch the air where her magic vision had been only moments ago. It was him, and hearing that word ‘Sister’ after so many years of wishing for it turned Eyas’ world upside down. She felt lightheaded, wobbly as she shuffled through the dark muck of the inland swamp; before she could be sure that this stallion was Gale, before she could really let herself believe it might be true, that her triplet brother might actually be alive… before then she’d tried her best to stay hidden, invisible, and quiet while she more or less stalked him across the island.
But not anymore, what was the point anymore? “I’m right here.” Eyas managed to choke out, finding speech harder than usual as emotion built up in her throat and blurred her eyesight. He might’ve heard her moving before now, had probably heard the feminine, shrill gasp and already he was staring in her direction when Eyas threw off her little see-through trick and decided to appear for real in the flesh. She didn’t care if it startled him, which was made even more obvious by the expression of utter shock on his triplet’s face the closer she came. This was Gale, her long-lost brother and one presumed dead to their world.
Even his pale colors and the soft halo of filtered light bouncing off his iridescent coat made him appear like a ghost to the mare who’d seen much more impossible things. “I… saw you, not long ago.” Eyas told him as she moved, slowing to a wet stop before she could really be called ‘close for comfort’. The little activity around them, humming insects and chirping creatures, all gathered in a swarm over her when she came to rest. The pegasus hen barely noticed them, the way she focused on Gale. “How long have you been here?” She wanted to know, much quieter than before.
There’s a shady patch in the shallower part of the bog, a place that he hadn’t paid much attention to during his hunt for breakfast. He does not, because a noise has just come from there. Blue did not hear it quite in time to identify the origin, but he doesn’t need to. By the time he’s turned about toward it, a visible Eyas is wading toward him.
She looks like the last projection: the adult and not the child.
‘I’m right here,’ she says when she stops her slog through the murky water. Blue does not stop, sloshing forward so that he might presses his muzzle against Eyas. ‘Proof’ he thinks, the usual end to their games of See-and-Seek.
So close, the details that had been blurred or imperfect in the vision are impossible to miss. The scars were real, deep and clear and surely painful, so Blue focuses instead on those glittering black eyes. He’d called her beetle-eyes once, he recalls suddenly. Had she laughed? He cannot remember the reaction – only that it had happened. Even the shortest memory is treasured, and Gale’s tremulous expression grows more substantial, a hopefulness as golden base of his brindled coat.
“Who am I?” he asks, his voice hardly a whisper. It doesn’t need to be, so close do they stand. He says this just as she asks her own question: how long has he been here?
“Almost two years.” The boy answers immediately. “Ever since I woke up in the Field. Do you…Do you know me? I remember only some things. More all the time though.” Surely she can give him the answers, his expression says. Surely the memories he has been having are real.
-So deep in my heart that you're really a part of me-
Knee-deep in the muck of a quiet island wouldn’t have been Eyas first choice for a dead sibling reunion. This bog stank, even if it did yield fruit for munching on, and her nose and skin felt oily from the fog of swamp gas. Why would Gale come here? Not only that but who would stay on an island like this? There was the constant hum of flies to keep you company, but not much else. And yet there he was: her twin and blood brother, Gale. Alive, for better or worse and hiding out this entire time on the Resort. None of it made sense to Eyas.
She shook her head briefly and backed away from his touch, at first. Just a half-step back, dragging the murky water along with her. The reaction was knee-jerk; she wanted to touch Gale, of course. Eyas had longed to embrace him and cry tears of relief instead of ugly tears. It was just… having not been touched in so long (at least not tenderly) the thought of affection gave Blue’s sister mixed anxiety.
“Breathe,” The little pony mare commanded herself and she regained that half-step again, pushing ahead to bump her sibling’s pale nose with the smudged black lines of her own. She did breathe then, deeply, and closed her eyes for a second or two while the reality settled in.
“What?!” Her shock was obvious, but internal. Eyas blinked and drew away from Gale, concern etched into the sharp lines of her face at his first question. She was so unprepared to answer such an obvious thing that she stayed dumbfounded for a minute or two afterwards, allowing Blue the time to fill her in on his past years living here. Then he repeated himself, more or less, asking her questions that should’ve already been common knowledge to him. “How come you called me sister, but you’re asking me who you are?” Eyas’s voice fell flat.
“Only some things? You only remember some things?” She couldn’t help it, suspicion clouded her judgement and the proof of her sight. “What things?”
She pulls away from him and he freezes. Hey had always embraced in the memories he has: the three of them had been packed too tightly in the womb to be anything but close. He doubts himself, not for the first time, but then she comes back and he returns to the limbo of knowing and not-knowing where to so often floats.
“There’s no sound,” He tries to explain, “No sound in my memories. No smells, either.” There’s no reason for that, none that he knows at least. The intricate workings of both magic and the self-regenerating brain stem are far beyond Blue’s understanding; why two senses remained missing despite the perfect clarity of his vision. It’s why he’s made up names for them
“And…and I…” The words have only ever existed in his mind before: releasing them into air makes it real. “I was afraid everyone would be gone.”
“I didn’t know how long it had been, and I didn’t know where to look. What if… what if you were all a hundred years dead and all I found was your graves?” What if I found you and all it meant is that I am just as alone as I feared I was? He can’t say that last, even though he wants to, can’t admit to being afraid. It seems that some lessons – like pride – do not require sound to be remembered. He was afraid, and he had let it make him a coward. Even the fairies had known it, and yet he’s shut himself from them as well, acting as though they had not granted him a task. They hadn’t given him an answer, he’s argued with himself; why give him a task when they could have just given him answers?
He has let his eyes fall to the water, and he brings them up to meet her black ones.
“And then I went to Loess and she was there: Mother? And she was…not happy to see me.” He can say that now, as though he did not weep the entire way back to the Island Resort. “Did I…did I do something? I don’t remember.” Sounding like a broken record, he thinks, but despite the suspicion in his sister’s eyes he isn’t ready to give up yet. He might not like the answer, Blue knows, but at least he’ll finally have it.
-So deep in my heart that you're really a part of me-
"Of course there’s no sound,” Eyas thought, and then right afterwards she thought about tsking her kid brother in exactly the same way she always had before he’d gotten himself killed. But just as her tongue rose to press against the back of her flat teeth Eyas stopped herself. She forced the reprimand back down her throat and took a moment to look - really look at Gale and see him for what he was, not what he had been to her. That little bit of perspective helped; suddenly everything he was telling her made more sense.
He was Gale. There was no doubt in her mind anymore. But he also… wasn’t? What Eyas saw was fear and what she heard when he spoke was confusion. There’s the peaceful tranquility of the swamp and the feel of thick water soaking her to the bone, and the delicate buckskin pony has nothing to offer him by way of support except to touch her mouth against his cheek. “Quiet now, shhh.” His twin does her best to soothe him, understanding his fears as her own. She had borne witness to his grave, and the memory was one she purposefully bound in darkness far away from her present thoughts.
When she retracted from the light gesture, Eyas met the piercing blue of an ice storm, and felt a queer shiver run the length of her back as her brother described his strange encounter with their dam, Lepis. Again Eyas screwed her face up, but she paused and the soft twinkle of light in her voidless eyes flashed. Without moving her physical body, Eyas left Gale standing in the muck of the Resort so that she could open her third eye to the vision he’d described. “Yuck. What a mess.” She responded shortly, coming back with the soft flutter of her raven’s black eyelashes. Her face softened in a way that it hadn’t in years, and Eyas beamed at Gale. “You didn’t do anything wrong, understand me?” The mare looked up to her sibling, the one who’d been so small and so lovely that now towered over her.
She’d never felt such ferocity in her breast, never understood the force behind a mother’s love or felt the desire to protect something before. Looking up into her kid brother’s face changed all of that. “Oh Gale,” She paused, “that’s your name - Gale. Mine is Eyas. The rest we can figure out together.” She smiled. “Should we start with your beginning? You said you woke up in the Field?”
If there had been verbal lessons in how to use thire gift, he’d forgotten them. There hadn’t been, of course, the two of them had discovered things together, sharing and laughing and playing with the other’s sight as often as they did the rest of their families. Blue is quite sure that the walking cactus with a peacock’s head that he remembers chasing them down had been a trick of this sister in front of him, and as he feels the soft brush of her magic against him (like the sensation of his own eyes opening and closing, soft as her eyelashes) he is sure of it. A mess, she summarizes his traumatic experience with their mother, and it startles a laugh out of him. “A mess, he repeats, and marvels that the encounter he has so recently wept over can so easily turn to laughter. It is her reassurance that does that, Blue knows, because while he doesn’t know the name of this girl-now-woman in front of him, he is as sure she will not lie to him as he is sure he has wings.
Gale. That is his name. It fits that shape his family’s mouths had made, that word he couldn’t quite puzzle out. He repeats it a few times to himself, first quietly and then once aloud.
“Gale. I had been going by Blue.”
Start with the beginning, she suggests, and so he does.
“Near the Field,” he amends, “in the Common Lands, by the river. I think I was awake before that, but it’s…hazy?” Spring rains had sunk into the red soil of his grave, and the roots of the flowers Noah had planted there grew ever deeper. They’d touched him, long and grasping, just a little bit at a time. Not enough at first, and yet by the time he’d risen the boy had to shake them off. A true grave would have nourished the flowers for years; instead he’d left the place a muddy crater. He remembers climbing, struggling, staggering, but none of the memories are truly clear until he’d woken up by the river.
“I didn’t feel lost, then, not really. Just…confused?” He hadn’t known there was anything to miss, any place he belonged to even be lost from. There was simply a fog, too dense to penetrate, and he did not (at least then) feel any need to try. “There was a blue mare in the Field, and she looked lost too. But she wasn’t, not in the way I was. Her name was Oceane. And two stallions, one of whom said this place had peace and quiet. That sounded better than the adventure that Oceane wanted, so she followed him – Castle? – and I came here with Ruinam.” So concludes his tale of coming to Island Resort, and that might have been the end of his tale entirely had visions not eventually begun to emerge from that presumably impenetrable fog.
“My first memory was you,” he tells her, “Trying to catch you in the sky, but just when I did you were gone, and I looked down and you were on the ground by…” He trails off, having at first grown brighter at the memory, and now somber at the realization that he cannot name the brother who she’d stood beside while laughing at him in the sky. “By a brother.” A brother, he says, because he knows he has two of them. Two sisters, too, but Eyas (he still likes Laughing Sister, and will struggle with her given name for some time) had been his favorite. She was his playmate, his friend, his other half. There were no emotions that came with his memories, but he knew.
“I missed you,” he tells her, his voice soft. “I wasn’t really sure you were real or alive but I missed you.” his eyes glitter like hers now, unshed tears adding depth to his too-blue eyes, and he takes just the very slightest step forward. “Could I have a hug?”
-So deep in my heart that you're really a part of me-
Eyas had a brother named Blue. A grown brother - like the other brothers she had; often seen but never spoken to. His name was Blue and he was from Island Resort, which was a weird thought for her to process. Maybe as weird as the thought of your name not really being your name. Blue looked the same as Gale and Eyas was pretty determined to continue calling him that out loud, nodding her sooty head pleasantly as he corrected her. But hearing his story… picturing it with alarming clarity and realness too; hearing his story was hearing Blue tell it.
She listened and twisted her legs through the water in search of higher ground, wondering how long she’d keep the fact that her buried sibling had zombied himself out from a Loess gravesite a secret. In general, she also wondered how long it would be until he traced the maze of his memories backwards and figured out how he’d ended up there in the first place. I could show him, she knew and kept quietly hidden to herself, turning her cheek to give Blue a quick, encouraging grin.
Instead, after Blue concluded the tale of his time in the Field, Eyas interjected, “Yep. You weren’t far from the commons when we lost you.” While she moved, shaking a bit of the damp from her skin. “Also, Castle knows Mother, or ‘Lepis’. Mother’s name is Lepis.”
On dry land again she gave her wings a flick and a light spray of droplets sprinkled off them. Funny her brother had chosen Ruinam instead of her mother’s uncle-by-name. If he had, they’d all be in Loess or Taiga. Castile probably hadn’t recognized her brother then. Eyas cracked a grin, turning to face the blue brindle pegasus and when she did it caught her off guard. The sight of him standing just out of reach and lost in thought was still a bit surreal. It would take some time, she realized, for the reality to settle in for her as well. “I missed you in ways I thought were impossible.” Her voice cracked. She understood.
“You can have all the hugs I’ve been saving up for you. Come ‘ere.” Eyas beckoned him to take a few more steps and join her with the quirk of her black mouth, failing to tell him the amount was an infinite supply. He’d figure it out in time. “I can stay as long as you like.” She promised quickly, before he could swoop in and be crushed by the neck she’d extended in anticipation of a long overdue embrace.
They both avoid the topic of his death, neither aware of the care with which the other skirts it. It was one of the first things that Blue Gale had remembered, and he does his best to bury the memory as Eyas moves past him. She climbs onto dryer land, leaving the dampness of the bog behind her, and Blue Gale does the same, leaving his half-finished meal behind. Something else will find it, he thinks, the fish or the birds, and there is no shortage of food on the Island Resort.
Eyas tells him that the black pied stallion he had met knew their mother, and for a time, Gale is quiet, thinking. What if he’d just asked? Would he have spent these years in solitude? Yes, he reminds himself, because he hadn’t a name to give him, and on that day in the field he’d had no memories save his last. Nothing would have changed. He swallows and looks up, just in time to see Eyas has turned back toward him. Though his own wings are still wet and his blue legs thick with mud, he doesn’t hesitate, moving forward as soon as she verbalizes permission.
He wraps his neck over hers (aware, for just a moment, that they are no longer of a height), and pulls her tightly against him. She smells like the sea and the bog, but buried beneath it is something he remembers, some nameless and perpetually recognizable aroma. She smells like home, even if home is not a place. Rubbing his brindled face against her shoulder, he cannot help but feel the ridges of the scars he had avoided earlier. Does he continue to do so, he wonders? What has his sister been doing during the years he has spent in paradise? It is all too clear that it was not nearly as peaceful as his time.
“When you go,” he says softly, not releasing her as a clear indication he is in no hurry for that, “Where will it be to? To Mom and Dad?”
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