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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

    [private]  between the lines of fear and blame
    Having spent a good portion of the morning in the sky, the brindled pegasus plans on spending the rest of the day on land. His flight has ended on the island in the center of the island, where the river to the sea splits in half. The mountains loom high to the north and east of him and the thick forest on the western side of the river spreads as far as his eye can see both north and south.

    This is Blue’s favorite part of the island within an island, and he has landed not terribly far from the nest where he spends his nights.

    Since Divest had shown him this place, the blue pegasus has been enchanted. His explorations prior to that had been limited in scope, never wandering far from the shore. But during his first winter, when the sea turned grey and beat at the shore, Blue had come inland. He’s roved quite far from the little bit of the place that the green filly had shown him that day. He hasn’t seen the girl since, though he does look for her now and again. That happens in a place this large, he reasons, especially when it is so empty. But perhaps it is time to change that.

    Blue has let the suggestion of the Fairies ferment for some time. He thinks of it occasionally, tossing it back and forth in his mind. Is it worth it? Are his memories worth recovering whatever else might come? He likes to think that he only has good memories, but that is not true of the last day. The last day he did not remember. Blue shakes his head, and tells himself that today is no day for such dreary reflections. Instead, he turns away from the sea and begins a leisurely walk down the riverbank. His white wings hand loosely from his sides, allowing a cool spring breeze against his still sweat-soaked sides. Blue had pushed himself hard in the sky on his morning flight; he always does. That work shows in the way the muscle beneath his coat flexes with each step, his body taut and well-defined. He’s become a handsome stallion rather than the awkward adolescent he’d been at his arrival two years earlier. The ragged ends of his cream colored, spine-length mane have grown longer, and frequent swims have revealed it to truly be as white as his snowy wings.

    The blue eyes that glance at the world from beneath dark lashes are as bright as sky above. He catches a flicker of movement farther ahead, and turns toward it. There are no predators on the Island Resort; there is no reason to avoid anything. Blue forges ahead.

    It was easy for her to slip away into the quieter parts of the tropical island. With newcomers living on the island now Divest had been drawn to find a quieter place to call her own again. Although, she still isn’t certain why she did, the pastel mare has always loved when visitors came to her home. She surely loved having new faces call the Resort their home too. Maybe all this time, growing up in a land with not many others, had been overwhelming. Divest simply decided it was that, and an excuse to enjoy the quieter parts of the island.

    However, she was beginning to feel isolated spending so much time alone. She loved the quieter parts of the island she made into her new nest, but maybe it was time for a change. After all, it had been quite a long time.

    Divest doesn’t really know how much time has passed in fact. The seasons have come and gone quickly. She remembers seeing the storms brewing out in the open ocean too. Certainly, she has grown herself too. Her once scrawny figure is now that of a graceful silhouette with harmonious proportions that is often to some measure pleasing and beautiful to the eye. Even the softness of her pastel green color and the light silver highlights of her mane and tail were breathtaking to say the least.

    Moving away from the rocky mountain side, the pastel mare makes her way easily across the river. It was natural for her to want to see her favorite place in the Resort. Divest loved the island within the island. The conception was entirely fascinating, and she remembers Vita and Blue being rather impressive of it too. She even remembers the time she imagined it being her own little kingdom. The memory brings a warm smile to her lips and a soft laugh quietly escapes from her too.

    It wasn’t until she heard approaching footsteps that she snaps back to reality. Divest glances around with silver eyes, forgetting she had even crossed the river and was making her way down the riverbank. She looks forward, ears flickering in the same direction, until she spots the familiar silhouette of Blue.

    Her eyes instantly go wide, excitement filling her quickly. Blue certainly had grown into a finely handsome stallion; she thinks for a moment. She takes a step forward towards him, beaming with enthusiasm for a moment; however, Divest stops and pulls herself together. Perhaps it was a bit too eager of her, she decides.

    Turning back to focus on the winged stallion coming closer, Divest decides to close the distance between them too. “Well, hello there!” She calls out, a warm smile spreads naturally across her lips. “The winter storms didn’t sweep you away, huh?” A soft laugh, almost like a sweet song, escapes through her lips after her whimsical words are spoken.

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    There is no path here in this mostly-uninhabited part of the little island and so he forges his way through thick green growth. Winter rains have watered the dense woods at the heart of the Resort, and Blue swears that the vines surely double in size each night. This is not the first time he’s walked along this particular stretch of riverbank though, and he knows that the way will clear not far ahead.

    The sound of someone else coming closer is audible, and Blue knows it to be a horse, moving unhurried. He doesn’t see the green filly until he steps into the bright sunlight where the bank is widened by thick black sand. Once there, he squints against the sudden light, and is forced to place her first by her voice. Divest, Blue realizes, and smiles before he has fully blinked away the sunstars from his vision. “Hello,” he replies, settling his sharp blue eyes on hers. She is different, Blue realizes. Taller – he doesn’t need to look down so far as he had the last time they’d met. He’d just hit his final adolescent growth spurt that fall day two years past. Now he is a man grown, broad as well as tall. Divest has grown up too, he realizes, her silvery hair falling into her bright eyes in a pastel face. He’s seen that color only one time before, Blue realizes, on the untouched edge of a plant in his mother’s garden.

    The memory is unexpected, but it is a fond one, and only serves to deepen the smile on his expressive face. So does her quip about being blown away buy storms, and he is grinning widely by the time he replies: “They came close a few times, but I managed to hold on.”

    Glancing over at the sparkling river for a moment, Blue soon returns his gaze to the green mare. “What have you been up to lately?” he asks. “I hear there have been some more visitors to the island?”

    The warmth spring sunlight feels refreshing as she stands in front a much taller and broader Blue. Her smile slowly fades into a softer expression, although there are hints of delight tucked in the corners of her gentle smile. With a gentle flick of her ear, the familiar songs of the tropical island fill her with joy once more. She had been away too long from this area of the island—something does not hope to do again.

    Divest had liked hiding away in the northern mountain parts of the Resort. It had been a peaceful retreat, and she never had fully appreciated mountain within her home until recently. She discovered that the mountain offered rather a lot, especially beautiful sites to see almost all the tropical island from above. The best part was perhaps seeing the mainland spread out into the horizon—it felt almost endless.

    When their gaze interlocks, she remembers instantly how bright his eyes had been. In the sunlight, from her view, his eyes sparkled like the ocean on a sunny day. Her smile tugged up a little at that thought.

    A wide grin then spreads across Blue’s face after her display of quick humor. Her smile grows wide as well when he replies back with something amusing as well. “Phew!” She says with a dramatic ton. “I almost thought you wouldn’t have made it.” Divest knew without a doubt Blue wouldn’t likely get lost in the storms that touched their shorelines. She assumed he was a master of escaping such things, especially with the way his wings and muscles that shaped his silhouette.

    “Oh, just making my way back into civilization. I decided to check out the mountain for a while.” Her gaze glances towards the direction of the mountain for a moment. A small part of the mountain tip could be seen from where they stood. “Living here my entire life I never once been up there,” she replies turning her attention back towards the pegasus. Surprisingly, she had always thought it would be difficult to navigate the rocky ridges but with careful coordination she made it work. Although she knows Blue would have no difficulty getting up there.

    When he mentions visitors coming to the Resort, Divest nods her head. “Anyone here to stay, or just coming to bother our little paradise?” She asks with a slight tilt of her head; another amused expression touches her lips again.

    “And what have you been up to, Blue?”

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    He follows her gaze to where the mountain rises above the treeline. It’s a familiar sight, one he often uses to guide himself across the island, but he has not yet explored it. From Divest’s expression, seeing it up close might be worth the effort. It’s taken her some time to do, he infers, and she is just now returning. It makes sense then, that she doesn’t know much more about the newcomers than he does.

    “I imagine they’ll stay at least a little while,” he replies, “Though I didn’t get a chance to ask.” The brindle stallion had not wanted to intrude on the mother and her children.

    The green mare turns the question back to him, asking what he has been up to, and Blue gives her a smile and a half-hearted shrug. “Nothing really,” he answers, unembarrassed by the answer. Flying and swimming and running aren’t much of anything, after all. He’s not been participating in the territory enough to know if there is something else he should be doing, but Ruinam has not sought him out to request anything, so Blue is not concerned.

    “Well,” he pauses after this single word, clearly reconsidering whether to continue. It takes a little moment of quiet, during which he shuffles his wings a little closer to his sides. “I did go to the Mountain. I saw a fairy.” There’s a bit of awe in his voice at the memory of the miniscule creature, glowing and bright and hovering in front of his very nose. “She told me to return and tell her what I have learned of families.” Blue’s gaze, which just now has returned to Divest’s silvery one, is cautiously excited. Is this something worth telling, his expression asks, is it something Divest might be able to help him with?
    New faces on the island intrigued her curiosity a little. It seemed even Blue had no idea who these visitors were either. Perhaps Ruinam had some idea. Most outsiders that came to their hidden paradise were always here to speak to white stallion about some the current events off on the mainland. Ruinam never seemed to eager to get their home meddled into such business, which Divest couldn’t complain about. It all seemed rather complicated to her.

    Hearing what Blue had been up to doesn’t exactly surprise her at first. It was easy to fall into the habits of simply doing nothing when you lived on an island like this. Divest loved it for a long time, but she remembers growing rather anxious and longed to speak to another. That’s when she had left the Resort for the first time and had met a rather interesting stallion by the name of Leilan. Even if he tried to scare her half to death of wanting to find danger and adventure on the mainland. It had been all fun and games apparently, but truthfully could have scared any other foal half to death.

    “So, you have adjusted well to the island life then,” the green pastel mare replies with satisfaction. There truly wasn’t really more to that than living on the tropical island. The Resort was a peaceful place, at least to her knowledge lately it was Ruinam’s idea to stay out of everyone else’s troubles. Divest decided not to bother with politics and such then.

    At the sound of his next word and then a pause, Divest flicks her silver long tail, sweeping against the hocks of her hindlegs. A pastel ear flickered curiously towards the brindle stallion. When Blue mentioned fairies, her lips tugged a little into a soft concerned smile. Fickle little creatures, she thinks as her conversation about fairies with Leilan comes back to her.

    Blue seemed to have an entirely different encounter though. He seemed astonished by the fairies that lived on the Mountain. Perhaps the fairies were not all too fickle like her mother and Leilan had said before. Then again, she couldn’t say much since she had never been to the Mountain and seen one herself. She only knew what she was told and who knows if those stories had been about selfish desires that were sought out.

    What did Blue want from the fairies though?

    Divest cannot help but wonder. Her thoughts are scattered, trying to figure out what the brindle stallion would ever want. Blue didn’t appear to be selfish in gaining power. Then she concludes suddenly why he would go to the Mountain. His memory, she thinks firmly.

    When Blue’s gaze returns to her own silver gaze, her smile grows a little. “So, you did do something.” Divest puts him emphasis on the last word and then a soft chime of laughter escapes from her. “What about families?” She asks curiously, finding herself eager suddenly to help answer the quest the fairies sent Blue on. “I could tell you about my family if that helps.” However, she realizes it wasn’t a lot considering how other families might be. Maybe it could be enough for whatever Blue was seeking from the fairies.

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    Divest’s assessment of his lackadaisical behavior brings a smile to the brindle stallion’s face; that the island life is one of extreme relaxation is what had lured him here in the first place. Castile might have been trying to steer him away from Ruinam’s little paradise, but a life of peace and quiet is exactly what Blue had needed. The lack of political intrigue suits the young stallion just fine. Their distance from the rest of Beqanna is measured in more than the span of waves between the resort and the mainland.

    The pastel mare seems amused by his reluctance to add a visit to the Mountain as a something and the soft chime of her laughter is nearly reminiscent of the fairy. He would like to hear it again, he realizes, to see her smile and make her laugh. That she is so eager to help strengthens his desire, and Blue feels his own smile growing as well, despite the topic of their conversation. That he can smile and talk about family is another benefit of his time on the Island Resort, he thinks, and perhaps of being near Divest.

    “I think it would,” he tells her. “I am going to try and find out more about my own family, but I think hearing about your family would help too. Then I can tell the fairy about your family, and not just mine.” Just in case I cannot find mind, he doesn’t add, though the worry remains in the back of his mind. The fear that they are gone – long dead or worse – always lingers. That had kept him from the Mountain for these years, and from Loess as well once he had identified the kingdom in his blurry memories.

    Something had changed in Blue. He smiles now when he talks about the loss of his memory, and the family he supposedly had. It had not been like this before Divest remembers. Blue had at first seemed reluctant to speak about the matter when they had first met. Divest might have been much younger and naïve back then, but she knew how it felt to be left by your supposed family.

    Everything was okay now though. She was content with where she was now. Blue even seemed to feel more happier about his own situation. Divest still could not imagine what it would be like to lose her memories or only have bits and pieces of her life. It was too chaotic, and she wasn’t even sure how Blue had handled it all this time. Perhaps that is why she feels admiration for the brindle stallion—after all he has been through, he still wears a smile.

    Her silver eyes beam with delight when he tells her that she might be able to help. The pastel mare had wanted to help Blue since she first heard about his problem. If she could do anything, just a little bit, then she felt it could make all the difference for him.

    “I do hope you find out more,” she says with a sincere tone. If you don’t then you can always be my family, she thinks without saying as it might be too forward to say now.

    With a nod of her head, her smile fades just a little into a content expression. “I don’t really know my family well. My mother, Mary, says that most of my family is spread out all over Beqanna after her and my dad called Sinner lost their leadership positions. I never met him before. She came to bring me here to have a safe place to grow up. I guess she has known Ruinam for a long time. I sort of consider him to be my uncle.” She pauses for a moment, remembering that she had been left in the care of Ruinam. Her mother had visited less and less over the months after she was weaned. “My mother started to go to Loess. I guess she has friends there and then she stopped coming around until she came back to give birth to my sister. I don’t even know if she’s around anymore. Even my sister seemed to disappear too.” She laughs softly at it all now. It seemed extremely sad to tell, but she finds herself no longer feeling that way anymore.

    “It’s alright though.” There is no sense of doubt in her next words. “I found my silver lining right here in the Resort.” She glances away from the winged brindle for a moment, looking towards the beauty of her home. It was all she needed—at least for now until she decided she wanted more. Letting out a sigh of contentment, Divest meets Blue’s gaze once more. “I hope you find your silver lining soon.” Blue deserved it; she knew he would find it.

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    Her sincerity warms the smile he already wears; she sounds as hopeful to find out more about his story as Blue himself. That he will soon know more than he’d ever hoped is an unknown, though surely if it were not it would add even more brightness to this conversation. As it is, he is happy to hear about Divest’s family. He’d asked her at their first meeting if Ruinam was her father, but she’d denied it, naming only her mother instead.

    Mary is her mother, he remembers, and Sinner her father. The two names are not familiar. His memories lack sound, as visions always do, and if had heard those names in the past they are no longer with him. Her family was scattered after the loss of power, he learns, and Divest had been brought here to grow up. Blue cannot think of a safer place than the quiet and unassuming resort, and thinks Divest’s mother had been wise to choose this place.

    Loess, she says, and Blue remembers the name on the lips of the piebald stallion. Does Mary know Castile, he wonders? Has she left her daughter here in favor of the company of dragons? It seems a strange choice, but no stranger than the disappearance of a sister that Divest mentions. At that, Blue frowns despite the soft laugh of his companion. She seems to brush off the absence of her family with little concern, the very opposite of Blue who thinks he might do anything to find them. If only he had proof they were alive at all.

    “I think every day here has a silver lining,” he tells her, choosing the laughter that she has rather than the sadness of an absent mother and sister. “I will be forever grateful to Ruinam for inviting me here.”

    “Do you think you’ll live here forever?” Blue asks, curious despite himself.
    It was easier for her to brush away things from the past. Divest seemingly appears to have grown immune to the fact that her mother had left her here. Some would say her own mother had abandoned her, and maybe that was what had happened.
    Maybe her mother never really wanted her.
    The easiest way to get rid of her was leaving her on an island she couldn’t escape. Leaving her in the hands of someone who would actually care for her. Maybe even love her too when her mother certainly could not.
    It was easier to think of a story why her mother had left her all these years alone. Divest could never really understand what was so charming about the mountain hills of Loess. Just dragons and something else she cannot quite remember.
    Through it all though she wears a smile now. Perhaps it was only a façade that became easier over the years. Her feelings on the matter only deepened eventually fading to the point where she felt nothing for the matter.
    Divest was happy to know that Blue found a silver lining every day in the Resort. Maybe that is why she stayed all these years within the Resort. If she could choose to feel anything about it all, she wanted to be happy most of all. The Resort gave her that feeling of happiness, the silver lining she always needed the most in those quite moments of being alone.
    “I’m glad you did,” she says genuinely.
    When he asks her if she will always live within the Resort, she falls silent for a moment. Divest cannot grasp the idea of ever leaving. This had become her tropical paradise, her sanctuary, the silver lining of her life. Why would I ever want to leave this? She thinks, but she cannot help but wonder what the world is like outside the quiet paradise she calls home.
    “I don’t know really,” she tells him truthfully. “I don’t have any reason to leave this place. Maybe someday something will call me elsewhere.” The pastel mare wonders what sort of adventures would call her away. “I suppose for now I’ll be just be here until something does,” she adds finalizing her answers on the question. The future was uncertain, but she finds it to be a bright one ahead.

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