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    Wolfbane -- Year 210


    "She presses into him greedily, hungrily, and demands more. She does not know how to be gentle when she is with him—does not know how to quell the aching in her belly, the neediness in her touch. She would devour him whole. She would sacrifice herself completely. She would give and give and give—" --Tabytha, written by Laura

    and underneath the layers, I find myself asking what's left
    a hollowed out form, the skeleton of a ghost, the pitiful echo of what once was
    Rage burns within him, poisoning his every thought, his every move. Rocks tumble in his wake as he ascends the mountain peak, his talons merciless in their grip. Clutched to his sides are his immense wings, fluttering when a cool gale whistles past. Secluding himself provides the outlet and empty space as he revels in this powerful fury, a torrent of flames bursting from the depths of his throat to melt the summit’s snow. The roar that follows reverberates through him, penetrating into the rocks and unseating some from their roost. Another slam of his paw against the mountainside, an irritated flick of his tail, a furious snarl.

    Sochi is gone. Oceane knows. Alciner kidnapped.

    It isn’t such extreme circumstances, but his mind is clouded by primal instincts and by the anger to have been stolen from and disrespected. His possessions slip through his fingers, and there’s no controlling the fire that races through his veins.


    Amid the hurricane in his thoughts, her name arises from the depths, calling for him. His broad skull snakes out, his serpent-like neck arching away from the quartz and granite. Inhaling deeply, he notes the subtle tendril of her scent. It lovingly caresses him even with the air so thin. With it, however, is the unnerving sense of anxiety that spills Castile from the ledge.  

    A thunderous clap echoes as his wings unfurl and buffet the open space beneath him. Altering his route, he finds her in the open hills, his scoping eyes locating her quickly. There’s little to no hesitation in his descent, no meticulous or gentle landing. Alive with frustration and fueled by his primal instincts, Castile’s immense body forcefully alights. His talons gouge the rocky earth and pebbles skitter away frantically. It was a smooth landing, but not at all delicate as he has always practiced.

    Slowly, Castile loses grip of himself.

    Another trumpeting roar batters the air, vibrating nearby eardrums and unsettling nearby coyotes and fennec foxes. They flee from him. Never glancing back as they find shelter elsewhere. But Castile does not offer them his attention, his focus instead sharply trained on Oceane to observe her reaction.

    His scales gleam, pitch obsidian, and his spines that race down his back mirror deep crimson (so much like the blood he has spilt).

    His eyes, though. They are what give him away, still mismatched, and the singular defining feature until his body ripples into his typical piebald. The spines, now bronze, rock with his musculature as he lowers his head to her level, the gold banding over his face handsomely catching the sunlight. ”They’ll pay for taking him,” his voice is hardly more than a growl, a sound of rolling thunder in the distance, ”Our son…” Black smoke coils from his nostrils as his skull lifts to search the far horizon. ”That freak that Clarissa is with…” he bristles, remembering the eyeless boy, but Castile says nothing more, his muscles quivering by the force of his emotions.



    O C E A N E
    Hath in her veins,
    to beat and run,
    the glad indomitable sea,
    the strong white sun.

    Dark and foreboding, the summer sky above Loess promises a deluge of rain ─ and with it, almost certainly, teeth-chattering thunder and lightning. Oceane stands in the middle of it all, her golden eyes closed against the weight of the impending storm, and though she remains grounded she unfurls her wings to feel the errant gale play coyly through her feathers. Inside her, there is nothing ─

    Numb. Cold. Hollow. Forsaken.

    The Loessian Lady is a shell of who she had been the first time she stepped into the foothills; reminiscent of the woman she was on the day she had dragged herself from the confines of Nau-Aib, she is gaunt with skin stretched over the bones of her jaw and sunken eyes, the gleam of her opaline coat dismal at best. Weeks have come and gone without a sign of Alcinder. The canyon she had spent his first few weeks in no longer smells of the boy, and now she can't stand to be there.

    Not until he returns, or until she has found him.

    Lepis had offered her shoulder and her help, and the Cleric's recent absence from Loess tells Oceane that she has followed through with her offer, but even Oceane herself had searched the common lands for her son without result; she cannot forget the red-eyed stallion, though, who had been awash with the same scent that had been left behind after Alcinder's disappearance. He had been bold (too bold) to try to steal away Castile's right-hand, but then again, they had stolen away the King's son already, hadn't they?

    From here, she cannot hear the sound of rocks tumbling from the mountain peak beneath the weight of Castile's talons ─ the terrifying roar and the force of his wings snapping open, however, prompt her amber eyes to do the same and her cold gaze collides with the airborne wyvern. His massive obsidian body is stark against the solid grey of the heavy sky and Oceane's muscles tighten involuntarily as he amends his course to fly in her direction.

    She grows breathless as he nears, struck suddenly by the impossibility of his size and the forcefulness of his commanding aura. She almost gasps, her mouth drawn open in awe to display the first inkling of emotion she has felt since her precious boy had been stolen away, and spooks a few yards back as the dragon's claws crash ruthlessly against the earth. The ground quivers, scared, beneath her.

    He roars again, a mighty, trumpeting, soul-shaking sound and despite the way her body begs to react, with tight muscles and wide eyes, it's the first sound Oceane has heard that truly describes how she feels about Alcinder's absence. And so she revels in it and in the way it vibrates in her core, her turquoise head held high and her iridescent wings thrown open as she faces the extraordinary dragon.

    When finally his resounding roar fades to an echo and he has lowered his magnificent reptilian head to her, Oceane takes in Castile's familiar mismatched eyes and the way his scales ripple from obsidian to piebald. Even in the low light of the impending storm, his reptilian armor gleams as the gilded band appears across his large nose.

    His growling voice makes her hair stand on end.

    Our son. A shiver.

    Oceane watches the black smoke that curls from his flared nostrils, unsure what to say that he hasn't. Unsure how to express what she feels when only his dragon's roar can do that. At the mention of Clarissa, the pegasi's gaze flicks back to the mismatched eyes of the wyvern who looks beyond her and to the horizon. "You know who took him ─ who tried to take Lepis?" she asks, her eyes hardening.

    "Castile," she says forcefully, and waits until she has his mismatched reptilian gaze and full attention. When she does, when their eyes have connected, her own amber pair beg one thing ("I am no soldier," she had told him in the past) of the dragon before her:

    "You will kill them. Kill them and bring our son back."


    neamrel / thedayofshadow
    i must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
    and all i ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by

    ∙ minor powerplaying & injuries permitted ∙
    ∙ please tag in all responses ∙
    and underneath the layers, I find myself asking what's left
    a hollowed out form, the skeleton of a ghost, the pitiful echo of what once was
    Oceane is a riptide, drawing Castile’s fury into her belly, digesting it, embracing it. She peers up at him with hardened eyes and with a wild heart. The swirling wind from underneath his wings whips past, tousling her locks to match the ferocity of her soul. Their child is gone, their precious Alcinder, and beneath their rage lies an unbearable hurt that he is precariously in the grasp of brainless minions. They dance in the shadows like cowards, preying on children in their hunt for unrest.

    Surely, they will pay.

    Castile knows of them, has memorized Clarissa’s freakish consort, and has drawn in the scent of the other plundering boy. Their smells thread into Castile’s anger, triggering emotional responses that he cannot rein in. He wants to rip them, to spill their blood across the Loessian canyons and hurl their corpses into the sea where they will be lost for eternity. They assume themselves safe, freed from repercussions as they cower beneath the shadows of their Queen. A funny thing it is, but Castile does not exhibit signs of the humor found in the image. Impassive, except for the malicious gleam in his eyes, the draconic king lowers his head to Oceane’s height. His stained teeth stare at her as a low rumble crawls the length of his body. ”Yes,” he says curtly as his memory reflects on them, ”I will find him.” Because it has been him that seeks the same victims with a one-tracked mind.

    Shifting his weight – rocks crumble away and down the hill – Castile circles her. Nose to the tip his tail, he rings around Oceane as though shielding her from the outside world. ”I’m sorry,” he murmurs into the stillness between them, his gaze leveling onto her and just barely softening as his thoughts – his true self – rises within him. ”Again, a child of mine goes missing,” first it was Niklas, and now Alcinder. Though he tries to be a father, the world seemingly enjoys stressing him and pulling him from his life’s goals.

    Even now, he thought he had it all with Sochi, but temptation steered him from her arms and into Oceane’s.



    O C E A N E

    Thunder continues to growl overhead as if incited by the rage that flickers through the hearts and minds of the pegasi and the dragon that sit beneath the grey aerial blanket. From the silvered storm clouds comes a periodic splash of rain; not enough to warrant her attention as the mighty dragon before her lands powerfully against the earth, blasting her with the air from beneath his outstretched wings, but enough that her opalescent coat shows the dark spots of its landing places. It clings to her lavender mane and tail and flattens the tresses against her neck, disregarded.

    Castile lowers his great draconic head to her height and takes her command without hesitation or surprise. Yes, he says, when she demands he spills the blood of those she now considers not just Loess', but her own, enemies.

    Yes, devoid of uncertainty. Oceane realizes then why he had been so apprehensive to show her the beast that lay within him; she, herself, had told the King of Loess that she was not a Soldier. She was not meant for the battlefield. But here he stands, juxtaposed to her, knowing without a doubt that he can and would (and probably already had) take a life beneath the weight of those great claws, teeth, and sinew. Her breath catches at the thought but instead of fear, she feels invigorated.

    That he would do that for their son...

    When the beast circles her, creating a massive shield out of the mountain of his body, Oceane moves closer to his reptilian head. She pulls her wings to her sides and lowers her opalescent body to the rocky earth to lay near Castile's orange eye. His apology, while appreciated, is unexpected ─ it loosens the tense muscles at her shoulders and turns her distraught face into something more forgiving. "Having a child with a well-known King is not free of its own unique dangers," she says by way of dismissal. Alcinder's disappearance cannot be placed solidly on either of their backs (though, if she were to tell him the truth, she would place all of the blame on her own winged shoulders), though her ear does twitch curiously at his final statement. She allows herself the gift of unraveling it, if only to keep her mind busy while it strains to worry incessantly, overpoweringly, about Alcinder.

    "Again?" Oceane questions, though the inquiry is far from accusatory.

    Sochi comes to mind and deposits acid in her stomach. She wonders if the tigress had come to find Castile the day that she had birthed Alcinder in the Forest, though considers it more likely that the woman had simply disappeared into the wilds of Beqanna. She wonders what Castile had thought when he found out the two women learned of each other. The queries lingers on Oceane's lips, fueled by her nosiness, but it's in her mind that the questions stay.

    It's not her place, after all.

    She and the Dragon King had never discussed the future of their connection.

    Hath in her veins, to beat and run,
    the glad indomitable sea,
    the strong white sun
    n | t
    i must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
    and all i ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by

    ∙ minor powerplaying & injuries permitted ∙
    ∙ please tag in all responses ∙

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