i can feel the flames on my lips; crimson blood on my skin
They break and bleed and battle while the red earth of the Plains grows damp with blood and gore.
Starlace, somewhere in the middle of it all, is finally satisfied. She lets the battles play out, smiling fondly at her favorites, and casting her glance away from those who are less than she’d hoped. They do not see this, of course; the gray mare is intangible as well as omnipresent. Some are inexperienced, others well-practiced, but she does not care about strength or skill or elegance. She cares about winning, about victory. She cannot fight a war with dead soldiers.
In a blink, they are all assembled again, whole and unharmed, wearing the accoutrement they had chosen from the stones. They see each other for the first time, a motley bunch of horse flesh, and they will see her too.
Starlace steps out from between the pillars and opens her mouth to speak.
What she’d meant to say will remain a mystery. So will exactly what happened that moonless night, when Starlace was there and then suddenly was not. The horses who participated in the quest remain where she has put them, in the real Plains, with no stones and only the scent of stale blood on the springtime wind. They will go home, confused, aching from phantom injuries, and perhaps they will someday understand what has occurred.
Or perhaps they won’t.
Thank you everyone for participating! All the posts were wonderful and made for seriously tough judging.
• Something will soon appear in Pangea, drawn by the violence and battle-skill of its residents Ripley and Anaxarete
• Each quest participant may keep the trait that they chose from the Stones in addition to their current traits
• Since Lucrezia and Oriash chose traits they already had, they may give any type of wings or horn(s) to a character of their choice
• Traits are genetic; assuming proper trait spaces