A humid breeze pulls at his mane, still drying and stiff with seasalt. The thick white hair runs from between his golden ears, down his neck and across his striped back until it merges with an equally pale tail. His father’s mane, he knows now. Wolfbane. Laughing Sister – Eyas – had given Gale back his name, as well as the opportunity to know his family. It is sometimes still hard to believe, but each sunrise that he watches seems to cement the reality of it. He had asked Divest if she meant to stay in Island Resort her whole life, and since that conversation he has been trying to answer it for himself. Does he mean to stay here forever?
It is a beautiful place, as quiet and restive as Castile had promised. Ruinam, though distant at times, rules with benevolence. There is no danger here, no shadows, no lava. The rainbow of flora and the shadow of the fauna are like nowhere else in Beqanna. A tropical paradise, with blue seas and endless, empty white beaches. Gale opens his eyes on such a beach, where he stands to watch the sunrise. The dawn swim that had soaked his tricolored body still warms his body, and the rapid beat of his heart is still gradually slowing to a resting rate. At his sides, snowy wings are spread wide, their feathers far drier than his white mane. The long feathers at the end rest on the land, and Gale will shake them free of it before he folds them back to his sides. For now he is content to leave them open, soaking up the warm light of the rising sin as readily as the rainbow of flora around him.
Exercise before dawn is something he remembers from his childhood, something that he does not need sound or smell to recall. The feel of his beating wings and galloping legs in the dim light before daybreak are familiar, even if the body with which he does them is not the same as the one in his memories. There are some things that Gale does not understand about his resurrection, and there are some things that he wishes he did not. He had not told Laughing Sister – no, Eyas. Her name is Eyas. He had not told her that he remembers how he died.
He recalls each part of it in excruciating detail, but had focused on the scars on her body and kept that secret even when he’d spilled his others.
Gale cannot burden anyone with that. He can barely carry it himself.
Dawns like this make it easier though. Dawns like this, he is most aware of this idyllic existence he has found on the Island Resort.
Having closed his eyes again to soak in the sun, Gale opens them only at an unexpected sound. He’s not sure what it is, but his electric-blue eyes flick about as rapidly as his near-white ears as he searches for the source. The rest of his body remains unchanged, from his flared wings to the way his navy-streaked sides rise and fall at a relaxed pace. There are no dangers here, and so there is no fear: only pleasant surprises.
phone post sorry!
He'd been singing. With the dolphins. They had beautiful voices, ones he felt like he would never quite measure up to, but that didn't stop him from whistle-humming in answer when the pod showed up just off shore.
"Little cousin", they called him, and he'd figured that was as good a name as any for the bond he shared with the porpoises. They had names, but not ones he could say with his horse voice. It was the song they spoke, and the song he had to speak to be with them. And to sing properly, he had to be swimming. So really, it wasn't his fault that he lost track of the sea bed, had let the island of Ischia bob behind him until it's vivid green and gold melted into the water.
The sea colt dove and danced on the waves as easily as the sleek, grey-bodied family he played with. They laughed at his strange colors, at his funny legs and sometimes clumsy dialect, but that's what dolphins do. They laugh, and took very few things seriously. It wasnt anything cruel or mean spirited, just they didn't find any point in dwelling on the grimmer side of things.
So when the singing turned into giggling, giggling that echoed from all around, he figured it was probably a good idea to pop his head above water and see what the joke was. "Oh."
A wry smile pulled at his lips as he whistled a chiding note to the orbiting pod. They laughed, and splashed, and otherwise made light of the fact that they'd successfully led him all the way from the shoals of Ischia and into the lagoons of the Resort.
"Thanks, thanks a lot," he grumbled good naturedly, smacking the broad flat of his tail against the water to splash the young female currently cackling to his aft. His action only served to make her peals louder than ever, and he could only roll his eyes and smile as the waves carried him further inland. Well. He hadn't had anything planned today, anyway.
Splashing ashore, the half-grown yearling said his goodbyes as the gleaming dolphins leapt in the bay. White, hot sand clung to his wet body wherever it touched, glittering and fine. He'd never been to this isle before, and every step drew his eyes in a new direction. The sand was paler here, the beaches longer. The cries of talkative parrots was notably missing, though, and the jungle didn't look so thick, so wild as the one of his home.
It was only when he came around a taller dune that his feet stopped their explorative motion. "Oh, hi there! Sorry, did I interrupt your nap?"
That was what it looked like, anyway. He'd found someone else on this seemingly unoccupied island, someonev who until very recently, looked like they'd been dozing off in the sun. Cormorant admired the guy's wings. Some of his favorite horses were winged ones and he was starting to take it as a sign of good nature in others.
The boy that comes around the dunes is a stranger; surely Gale would remember markings like that one (not to mention the fin and tail!). He looks like a creature of the sea, and remembering what Ruinam and Divest have said of the residents of their neighboring islands, the boy is probably from Ischia. That alone would have intrigued him, and so he shakes away the apology with a toss of his head.
“Just resting my eyes,”
he tells the boy. “Naps are for the afternoon, when it gets hot.”
A rumble of distant thunder interrupts this statement, and Gale’s electric blue eyes flick toward the far away clouds before amending his previous statement.“Or when it rains, I suppose.”
Spring has come, and with it so do the afternoon storms. Gale rather likes the storms, even if he gets a bit damp beneath the trees. Spring rain is much warmer than autumn rain, after all. When he looks away from the dark sky to the north, he turns his attention back to the boy. Closer now, the white and cream pattern of the younger colt’s coat is more obvious. He is like the sharp-toothed whales, Gale thinks, if they were golden rather than slick black.
“So tell me: which of your parents was the fish?”
Gale asks, the edges of his pale eyes narrowing in good humor.
With some relief, the strangely patterned boy noted the older stallion seemed little bothered by his sudden appearance. In fact, the look on his face was something closer to intrigue. Cormorant felt a current of discomfort roll through him at the realization, the sense of being odd in the world. There were many winged horses out there. As far as he knew, there was only one him.
The long manned stallion didn't seem to dwell on his company's oddities too long, or at least not too obviously. The far off thunder drew both of their gazes to where the clouds had begun gathering off shore. Where there was thunder, there was usually lightning. It seemed the sea colt would be staying on the resort a little longer than planned. Mom didn't like it when they went swimming in stormy weather, said all the talent in the seven seas wouldn't save them when the ocean decided to get angry.
Ears flickering uncertainly, he smiled in the stranger's direction. "Looks like nap time is coming up, then."
He observed , nodding towards the wind-whipped clouds soaring overhead. Hopefully the coming rains wouldn't last too long. You could never tell this time of year when a flurry of clouds would last an hour or a week.
The blue tinted stallion's appraisal of the sleek-skinned boy resumed, making his hooves shift warily in the sand. The stallion'snext question is not unexpected, even if he'd never heard it phrased quite that way before. A corner of his mouth quirked. "My mother. My father is the sky. And clearly one got the better of me when I was made."
An easy shrug made his dorsal fin sway, the subject of his parents one easily dealt with as long as things didn't get too deep.
He knew of his father. Had never met him, but Hal had gotten to know him pretty well as a child, and Cormorant had loved to hear whatever details his tiger brother was willing to share. Mom hadn't tried to hide his paternity. It was just that things had gone all sorts of strange so soon after he'd been born, and the winged stallion he'd known his whole life as only a name hadn't been to visit since they're returned from Loess.
He’d not meant to cause the boy concern by pointing out the distant clouds, yet it seems he’s managed to do so. It’s just a bit of rain, he thinks. Surely someone who looks so much like a fish wouldn’t be frightened by a bit of water falling from the sky? Blue is not the type to press other for information, so when the light-colored colt mentions a quickly approaching rest, Gale nods amenably. It wasn’t enough to pull things back quite to a comfortable place though, as the boy shifts beneath Gale’s curious appraisal. His mother is of the sea and his father of the sky, the boy explains, and the brindle pegasus nods as though this explains everything. Does he have siblings, the stallion wonders, are they more of the sky? Best not to pry, he reminds himself when he thinks of the boy’s seemingly cautious nature.
Well, best not to pry about some things.
“Do you swim beneath the waves?”
Gale asks curiously, wondering how far the resemblance to the toothed whales goes. He would like to know what the world looks like down there and is hopeful the boy will answer in the affirmative. If and when he does, Gale has another question to ask of him, as taking the sight of another without permission is surely rude. “Would you let me see what it looks like from your point of view?”
The brindle stallion’s only experience with the water is splashing in the shallows and occasional swims along the shore. He needs the air to breathe, and the few times he’d taken in a breath with too much water had been burning, painful experiences. It burnt his eyes as well, the saltwater did, though the freshwater springs where the island residents get their water is far less abrasive.
It was almost fun, to imagine that he was not a horse conceived of mother and father, but something else entirely. An entity altogether his own, a son of the waves and salt wind, unattached and untethered. It wouldn't be much stranger than the truth.
Mythologies aside, the blue patterned sea colt shrugged at the elder's question. "Yeah, it's easy."
He stated, momentarily forgetting that not all the world was familiar with the ways of he and his family. He was a remarkable blend of his maternal grandparents, destined for a life at sea by their combined powers. Odd, even by islander standards, but blessed by nature. His awkward smile deepened at the next question.
Ma had a trick. One she'd shown him when he was quite young, too young to have any real control over his powers. "Yeah, sure! We just have to get below quick before the water gets too rough."
He kicked up a puff of sand in his excitement to get to the beach again. No one back home was impressed by nereid talents anymore. They were another facet of Ischian life anymore, and it thrilled Cormorant to have the opportunity to show off. Even if what he had in mild might be far different from the brindled stallion's plans.
run away with me--
lost souls and reverie
running wild and running free The answer the boy gives is flippant, but it sounds quite wonderful to Gale. Swimming beneath the sea, able to see as clearly as he can see the colt in front of him? Marvelous.
The boy’s awkwardness grows less intense, and the brindle stallion tilts his head curiously. He’s not especially skilled in conversation, but it seems they’ve managed to get on more solid ground with the request to see from the boy’s point of view. The boy. Gale realizes that he doesn’t know the child’s name.
”I’m Gale,” says the youth, shaking his salt-stiff mane, and stretching. He’d grown warm in the early autumn sun, and a bit stiff as well. If he’s to catch the golden colt before he reaches the sea, he needs to move quickly. Get beneath the water? Gale slides to a stop, splashing a bit in the salty water that froths at his fetlocks.
”Oh I was thinking I would stay up here, above the water.” Gale’s voice is firm, though he tosses a suspicious electric blue glance to the churning water. ”I have a gift,” the stallion explains, ”I can see anything that you see, from your eyes.”
An eagle, black as night, appears overhead. It dives at Gale’s head, hooked beak parted in a silent scream. Its heavy wings make no sound as they beat furiously, black talons reaching for his neck. Then, quick as a blink, it is gone.
”It’s good for other stuff too,” The pale haired youth adds casually, unperturbed by what might have been a little to frightening for a child of Cormorant’s age.