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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

    [open quest]  a burning star - round 1

    my heart is a lit candle, a forest fire,
    a burning star

    She appears at the base of the mountain without fanfare, though perhaps simply appearing out of nowhere is fanfare enough. There are none there to witness though. None beside the faeries, who likely look down on her from the top of the mountain with disdain. Yet despite that, here she stands, power flowing through her veins like she never knew in her first life. Perhaps dying had its benefits.

    The call rings out throughout Beqanna, searching. She does not seek the already lost, she does not call them to a land long gone, and she does not jolt them awake with a call like a knife. No, she simply calls, for Straia has always had her own methods, has always been a bit different. Even in the way she had died, simply slipping into oblivion, was different from the others.

    Unlike the others, she seeks the living. Not just living, though. Straia seeks those with ambitions, those with drive and desire, those that long for something greater than only themselves. In short, she seeks those like her. And then she waits, waits until all who will answer have arrived before speaking.

    ”Weclome,” she says, voice silky and sultry, amber eyes roaming from one horse to the next. She cares what each of them will offer, who each of them want to be. ”We shall start off easy. Tell me two things. The first, what do you dream of? The second, what are you willing to give up to get it?”

    Simple. Or perhaps not so simple at all.


    This is a writing quest. Creativity, character choices, and character personality will be the deciding factors, though please make sure your posts are readable and your grammar is decent. Straia is a biased judge, and she cares about ambition.

    To begin, describe responding to the call and answering the questions. You can see the other horses around you and hear their answers as well.

    The Rules:
    1. One entry per player.
    2. Please include which land your character is tied/loyal to, or if they are a free agent, as an OOC note.
    3. Eliminations and defects may or may not be a thing...we’ll see. This is your warning.
    4. Posts are due by Friday, March 6th by 8:00am EST.

    Use of mild power playing is allowed; no injuries without permission

    You’re uncontrollable
    and we are unlovable
    She calls, he comes. Perhaps he is just curious, or perhaps he is similar to her; perhaps he is not. Perhaps he is ambitious enough to come, despite knowing he should not ask for more; perhaps he knows that he should not ask for more, should not want for more, and still does. Perhaps she has the only way to get there, at least that he knows of. Perhaps he already knows there is no other way than this one - there are things that one may do, and things that one has long ago decided that perhaps there, there is the line. Perhaps he’s worked too hard to give it up, now.

    Perhaps he’s drawn to her power, her potential, the possibilities that surround her like a magical aura: just like once ice would surround him: ice that he now has become.

    Insects and small burrowers, the smallest survivors of the flames, flee when the dragon moves. Silver and bronze glimmer in the green and blue northern lights when his scaled limbs are stretched, and the colors are reflected by the blue of his eyes and the clear, sharp ice horns atop his head and spine. As his tail sweeps from its former position, icicles, snow drifts and hailstones scatter like little gemstones from a treasure hoard - the nest he’d created for himself was a cold throne of self-made treasure. Ice at its finest, as it should be.

    He might never forgive the fire-bearer for destroying all of it.

    His elongated neck moves like a snake as he shakes his head; then, his silver-scaled legs bury black claws in the ashen ground of the Isle, a three-step move bringing him besides the pile of snow and ice that he’d created.

    The place is nearly empty of life, but its death is only the beginning. A beginning for him, a newly-made dragon, to make something of it. It crosses his mind briefly that the fairies might be against it, that they wanted something else for him, but if that were the case, they shouldn’t have turned his once-friend towards destroying this place. Now, it had been his for the taking, as it should have been long ago, as it should have been a shorter while ago.

    A low, slow rumble from his draconic body is outed, holding the middle of a yawn and a content groan from the stretch. Immediately after, his belly protests his lack of food - another reason he doesn’t think kindly of the other dragon anymore. And yet, he knows he can handle the hunger. Its primal urge drives him to her, in the end, and gives him a clearer head. He gets no joy or contentment from lazing about, from power unused.

    Giant, frost-tipped wings are spread with an ease that might not directly be expected of the male in his new shape, but he had always been bulky and the wings had been tried before. The male just has one problem; he has to trot a few stupid paces before taking to the air, as he is not on a leverage nor near one of any kind. His waggle causes a trembling in the ground, and he can only hope no-one was around to witness it.

    Winging himself to the Mountain base, he is the first to arrive. His dragon shape is too large, but he doesn’t feel very horse-like at the moment; he does not feel it enough to allow a shift back. His dragon-shifting had been spontaneous, inspired by another dragon’s challenge, and being the only dragon left on the Isle, he had been happy with his shape so far. Too happy to think about how the change actually worked, too content and too lazy to think about mastering the ability in full.

    He lands and causes a mild tremor as his claws dig into the earth. The folding of his wings make grasses and smaller plants sway in a newly whipped up stream of air, but the ice-attuned male has no eye for the tiny things that move.

    Eyeing power-radiating mare on the ground, the ice dragon curls his tail around his body in a cat-like manner, unblinking while he moves. He lays down on the ground; ambition can be paired with caution, at least when in the face of someone more powerful. His eye level is still higher than the mare’s, but now they can and will see eye to eye.

    Heartbeats pass, and the grass he previously landed in stops swaying.

    ”I haven’t dreamt in a while, but I do have a wish.” His voice rumbles low through the place, carrying far, but he doesn’t really mind. ”If I had my way, I would be the king in the north, and rule over ice and more,” the states. He lifts his head a little, knowing fully well that he could accomplish it, however many millennia it might take. Presently though, he might need more able bodies. An army, or simply a guard, depending on how easily others could be swayed. Diplomats who might threaten the outside world with something that actually exists. Allies perhaps, if those could be trusted with leaving his lands alone, though probably not. All those things, he does not have. Not yet. A trickle of her power might just do the trick.

    ”I might be persuaded to give away a certain daughter of mine, or if you rather desire, the ability to create them.”

    He could offer her more than that; a position as queen or a set of his memories if she was the sentimental type, and even both - she probably knows she can ask for such things, but he doesn’t want to give her everything, and certainly won’t offer to give her all in the first round of negotiation. He knows he has the means, eventually, to outlive all those around him, and take what they leave behind when they are done for.

    Time and death give the opportunity for growth, after all.

    But with those comes uncertainty, and at the very moment, he only knows for sure that her way could be much, much quicker, and much more satisfying for the both of them.

    and I don’t want you to think that I care
    I never would, I never
    could again
    no. 7 | ice forged in fire

    Leilan is loyal to (Un)Icicle Isle.

    He would give away: Yuki (whom I play), like as a slave or to kill or whatever else (though I liked teasing Ratty with the idea of him giving Beryl away so I didn’t name her specifically) or his ability to have daughters at all (a defect that could be something like a reduced fertility as in if it rolls to be a girl they’d be stillborn, or only one breeding per calendar year might work and they’re always male, idk), and/or something more if she wants to ask it.
    Feel free to twist his giving away his daughter into actually severing their ties magically (in the database), and/or taking away his memories of her.
    Ratty, fee free to have Beryl panic and cause a drama later on after this quest
    Two things I know I can make: pretty kids, and people mad.

    Tiasa had not made herself known to others in a long time. What felt like a long time to the two year old, anyway, who had not yet the experience to know what long meant. After realizing she disliked the idle sunny life of the Ischians, she had left. There had been no need to say her farewells, she was not leaving behind anyone who would miss or who might miss her. Except her mother, of course, and the teal daughter returned to her side now.

    But mostly, she had been on her own - something that suited her well. She ran wild, skirting the usual gathering places of horses - of which, Tiasa was sure, she was not one. She was something more, something better. A higher life form. Not a goddess, but only not yet a goddess. It was in her future to be divine.

    Why else would she be so beautiful?

    On the cusp of adulthood she hears the call and she answers it. Her ambitions are not so traditional - she does not need a kingdom. She has no desire to be contained within borders, at least not for long.

    When she arrives, she scopes out the others gathered but dismisses them from her mind easily enough. Her pink and blue gaze remains focused on the bay tobiano, the one they all gather around. Her teal body is scaled and gleaming, sea glass crowned head held high when she takes her turn to speak in a melodic voice. “I dream of being worshiped.” She sums it up simply. Not loved, though it was part of it - Tiasa wanted the power that came from being in the hearts of others. Of holding their souls in her grasp, of the freedom to call upon them whenever she wished but not being bound to them at all.

    A goddess climbing from her watery home to seek attention only when it suited her.

    As for what she would give up? “It is not I who will give up something, but them.” Their souls, their hearts, their fealty in such ways as she wished. Tiasa, full of the vigor and pride of youth, did not believe power over others required a sacrifice at all - if you did it right.


    art by dozymare

    Tiasa is a free agent!
    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
    How is it that a thread already connects him to her? Even as her voice rings across Beqanna’s expanse, Castile is aware who called it. There’s a gravitational pull toward her because, oddly enough, they share similar ideations. Straia, however, has conquered so much while Castile has only just scratched the surface.

    Somehow, she understands him.
    And her voice lures him from the jaded summit in Loess.

    Still a victim of the Wysteria Faerie, he arrives in his draconic form. Dried blood on his tail flakes away during his brief flight, his left wing ripped at the innermost corner. These are the repercussions of his blind rage, but he nonetheless wears them as trophies. To be unscarred – untouched – is to not have lived or defended life. Old lacerations spider web across him, but their prominence is more notable as a horse than dragon. The memories are there, hanging by threads, as he soars among the clouds during a brisk winter day.

    Kilgare. Sabra. Ivar. Beryl. Ruinam.

    Each of them hold claims on his body now, marking him and playing a role in his life’s tale. They’ve helped to mold him, from adolescence to adulthood, from prince to king. Yet still, he is not deterred. Yet still, Castile’s life continues with unwritten chapters ahead.

    Straia is aware of his ambitions, but that doesn’t entirely mean that she will offer herself to him so easily. Nothing so sweet and succulent comes without effort.

    Like a bee to honey, Castile finds her at the base of the Mountain. A mischievous gleam rises to his mismatched eyes as his immense body lands in front of her. His talons gouge the soil underneath, unsettling rocks and trembling the ground underneath. There are already others here, and he regards them with mild curiosity, his eyes lingering on Leilan for another moment longer. They are both draconic, standing here with an amassing crowd. A low growl rattles through him, a noise that trembles the nearby tree branches. Birds take flight and animals skitter away.

    Stop. It’s Leilan. Focus.
    (Competition. A threat. An enemy)

    Corded muscles contract in readiness, but Castile’s finer judgment weakly intervenes and settles the tension stiffening his body. Slowly, his wings fold to his sides. His scales ripple to their natural piebald pattern, and the gold band appears across his face. He says nothing to Leilan or the girl. There’s a thoughtful hesitation before Castile inclines his massive head to look down at Straia. In her silence, there is expectation from them all. Steadying his mismatched eyes on her, he considers the question although it is one they have once discussed. A toothy grin peels back his lips briefly, but he makes no indication that they’ve met.

    ”Power,” he proclaims, ”and greatness.” But you know this, he doesn’t say, as their eyes fleetingly lock. A long pause follows as he considers his ideals, diving into his thoughts and sifting through what is draconic and what is truly him. ”I feel… hindered,” because he wanted more than just Loess. He craves an empire in the palm of his hand, power to achieve greatness and to have his name etched forever in the history books. A legacy will follow in pursuit, he imagines. First comes first, and for it, there is a price. They once discussed the cost of such novelties, and Castile contemplates this with a fine-toothed comb.

    My heart, he nearly offers her, but it isn’t in a romantic way as she may (unwillingly) take it. Such a bothersome thing it is, and it has only fed him grief year after year.
    My soul, he considers, but then he would no longer truly be himself on the inside.
    My life, but then he would have no control of himself, nothing to individualize himself as. Or, he realizes, he would be dead and unable to reach any of his goals or ambitions.

    Either way, Castile would be a slave to his ambitions, but aren’t they all? Isn’t this what she requests of them? To give her monumental leverage and to consider the heavy price?

    Black smoke pools from his nostrils as his thoughts jump back and forth from one idea to another.

    We will build you an empire and we will tear down your enemies, she once said. In return, be prepared to have everything taken from you.

    Glancing to his left wing, Castile edges toward his conclusion. It tickles the edge of his tongue and flirts with his lips. He has lost Sochi, and he has resigned his control of Loess. There are sediments of joy sprinkled in his path, but the two greatest things, he destroyed. Drawing in a breath, he looks at Straia once more. With his neck proudly arched and an untamed ferocity burning in his eyes, he finally says, ”Everything. I offer you everything of me and what I have.” His heart, his soul, his body, his broken love - every fragment that makes him whole.


    He is for Loess

    if you do not have shadows,
    you are not in the light

    Our golden light is worn.

    Her dark wings pull closely to her sides, honey cream hues illuminate under the rays of sun that play peekaboo between tree branches. She has been wandering for days now, contemplating what she has seen. That’s all she can rely on now: sight.

    Because what she felt, and what she witnessed was different that day. The crisp-aged two year-old had been well versed in the art of surrendering, her mother had taught her well. There was something more disappointing though when you found confidence in someone only to watch them be like everyone else.

    Lilliana—even though Ruthless would always love her, deep down—let her down that day.

    And now, she walks with a slug in her step. A whisper of insecurity looms like a heavy-weighted blanket of snow after a storm; numbing, hollow.

    Had her mind not temporarily stilled, she may have not heard the call that ran through naked branches with the wind. A distinct, omniscient call that rakes into the mind of Ruthless and pulls her back to reality.

    To today.

    Her stride is calculated and cautious, though a taunt of curiosity wiggles in front of her; like a cat black-eyed with a twitching tail shivering at the unfamiliar toy dangling within the grasp of its claws.

    She doesn’t realize the distance she has travelled until the soft ache of her coronet band glows a red heat—a temporary reminder of Wolfbane—as if to scream at her to spur.

    This is your chance

    It is the tobiano mare that Ruthless lays eyes on first, finding her heart lurch towards the stranger as if instantly connected. The connection pulls her willingly, hardly a string needed to guide the young mare to the presence of the apocalyptic mare.

    The air is eerily tranquil as Ruthless gingerly finds her place beside two others. As more arrive, she gets lost in analyzing the various builds and colours, wondering where they had come from and why they had decided to explore.


    The strange mare’s voice hums, and is it a wonder why our sun-kissed Ruth stands like an addicted servant? For the first time maybe ever, someone wanted to know what she wanted.

    Her greatest, most desired dream.

    And yet her voice is muted by the imposing question that felt like an unachievable fare to heaven. A very clear inquire, what are you willing to give up?

    The roan stallion speaks first, and Ruthless succumbs to the invisible pressure threatening her to speak; a glow of anxiety washes up her throat.

    There is nothing she has to give up, Ruthless realizes. Almost nothing of value, nothing at all. Nothing except her mother, and Lilliana. Kalil perhaps could count, though she doesn’t hold him that high in her books—she doesn’t wish to, it’ll hurt more in the end.

    No, she has nothing.

    But is that true?

    Her mind swirls around the faces that have followed her journey in life, a play by play of compassion and happiness all inhaling her naivety and ignorance before darkness follows—a sizzling colour of blood burning the preserved memories, leaving a tint of reality.

    Her dream is easy, that she has rehearsed for—well, her whole life. She had spent hours hidden in the emerald blades of grass while Brine would eat, thinking of what she would be when the world became safe.

    Ruthless hadn’t learned yet that the world doesn’t become safe, but you learn how to make yourself safer.

    She knows what she wants to say [about what she would give up]. It rises and falls in the back of her throat like a soft bouncing ball, floating up and falling back. It’s almost soothing, this type of control. Our once light-minded filly missed that control.

    Naivety. Ignorance.

    It dawns on her the time is now, or never. She isn’t sure if she is the last to speak, or if a few stragglers had also bit their tongue in contemplation. Either way, silence had just began to fall and now is her time to control yet another thing she can.

    Her future.

    “I am Ruthless,” she begins with her voice slightly shook, taking a mediocre step forward to not get lost in the bodies of equines.

    “I want to protect the—” her voice falls, is she being too quiet? “—I want to protect the horses who cannot protect themselves. I will one day have a safe haven for the wounded and scarred.”

    Another deep breath. It feels hard to inhale, the tightness of her throat leaving her to linger in silence for a second or two. It’s true, she had nothing to offer to give up. Nothing fancy, or rare. She had a mother, black and blue with a matted black mane and tail. A mother who had raised her through fear and threat, maybe unintentionally but the consequences real.

    Her lack of strength, her lack of confidence, her fear in magic…

    The list grew with every flashback that comes to fruition. Brine had been an awful mother. She had left her to find her own way. She had abandoned her. But what kind of monster would give up their own mother?

    The kind who didn’t have a mother?

    Perhaps the same could be applied, here. All things considered.

    The name rises from her throat, lifted with surge and force. She chokes it back, and then “I would give up my mother.”

    Even her mother wouldn’t tether her to the ground to watch her dreams float away into the abyss. If Ruthless didn’t have her mother, she had no one. And if she had no one, she had everything to gain.


    Ruthless is dedicated to Taiga Smile

    The first time that she had answered a call such as this, it had been to the dark god. She wore the ragged tattoo across her chest as a symbol of that forced obedience. It doesn’t hurt—it’s just a reminder, after all—but sometimes she wakes in the middle of the night and swears she can feel that visceral sensation of her own claws ripping into her chest, tearing it apart, so that her heart could come rolling out of it.

    She knows well that such things require this kind of sacrifice from her.

    They have required tearing herself apart and then forcing her to construct herself anew with the scraps. This kind of self-destructive cycle has become part of her, has followed her outside of these quests, and she no longer fights it. Doesn’t fight the way she rips out the good in her life by the roots and starts over. Forces herself to find peace in the reconstruction, in the giving up of things she believed to matter.

    She is in the throes of such a cycle when she answers the call. Her shoulders are square and her silver eyes clear when she walks into the group, black mane roping over her neck. For a second, her gaze slips to the dragon amongst them and she feels a painful twist that causes her to scowl. With a flexing of the muscle in her jaw, she turns her gaze back to the painted mare and keeps them trained.

    She doesn’t reply right away and instead stands quietly, her mouth pressed together and her mercurial gaze unwavering. Of what does she dream? She dreams of the hunt—of the rush of adrenaline when she locks onto prey and springs, of that feeling before impact, of the satisfaction when teeth sink into flesh. She dreams of freedom—of being free to do as she wished without the bindings of politics or rules or the trappings of relationships. She dreams of a world where she was, truly, the final say. A world where she was not subject to the whims of others—whether it be her mother, Carnage, Castile, or other.

    “I don’t dream much,” she confesses, her husky voice tripping on the edge of raspy, the hint of a smile teasing at the corner of a serious mouth, “but when I do, I dream of the kind of power that allows me to be the author of the natural law.” She is silent for a moment longer, just a breath, before she rolls a shoulder. “There is not much that I would not give for such freedom,” a soft noise in the back of her throat as she thinks of everything that she has sacrificed in the past, the things ripped from her.

    “But if you must have specifics, I would sever my very self in half to achieve it.”

    For a second, her body ripples orange and ivory and black. She knows Straia does not need her magic to know that Sochi is a woman split into two—and a woman who more often preferred the lifestyle afforded to her when she stalked as a tigress than living as prey. It was engrained Sochi’s very DNA. Being able to shift into her second form was as essential to her as breathing—and yet. And yet.

    She finds resolve as her jaw sets and her gaze remains locked on the mare.

    For this kind of power, this kind of freedom, she would give it up. She would.

    she said a war ain't a war before both sides bleed

    Sochi is a free agent and is not affiliated to any land.
    [Image: sochi.png]

    I was less than graceful, I was not kind
    be out watching other lovers lose their spine

    staring at the ceiling in the dark
    same old empty feeling in your heart

    This is not the first summons Lepis has felt from the Mountain, but it is the first to truly reach her. How she hears it she cannot say; it is with something more than her ears. Is this how her voice sounds to others, she wonders, on those rare occasions she puts her thoughts into a stranger’s mind?

    She considers not answering, but once she identifies the reason behind that desire, she heads toward the Mountain. She had considered not answering for the very reason she had heard the call, and the dun mare’s sense of ambition is so closely tied to her narcissism that answering to someone else feels like submission. This was the Mountain though, she reminds herself as she takes to the sky; answering the call of Fates and the Fairies is not the same capitulating to mortals.

    Or so Lepis tells herself.

    At the base of the mountain she lands, graceful despite her sturdy frame, and approaches the Summoner on foot. Lepis is not alone in hearing the call, it seems, and her blue-grey eyes skim across the assembled horses. None elicit a change in the serene blue-and-gold planes of her face, though wisdom keeps her on the opposite side of the gathering as the two dragons.

    When their summoner speaks, Lepis’ blue ears flick toward her, followed shortly after by her full attention. The last time she had come to the Mountain she had flown away without hearing a word; this experience is already different. They are starting off easy, the piebald tells them, and Lepis does not disguise her reaction when the two questions are anything but.

    Lepis knows that success is not found by those who readily show their hand, yet around her the others answer freely.

    Ambition, the call had whispered, but Lepis has seen enough of the world (and herself) to know how easily it can be mistaken for greed.

    Their answers are proof of that. Power, Position, Worship. All but the black-winged roan, whose quivering introduction at last evokes a change in Lepis’ expression. Something almost fond slips across her face, a recognition of her own desires in a younger creature. Some of her desires, at least; no one else could want everything quite like Lepis does. 

    The girl will give up her mother, she says, echoing the same uneven exchanges that the rest of them present to Straia.

    This for that, that for this. Lepis, unskilled in complex magics but a self-appointed expert in bargains, finds them all lacking.

    “Peace.” She says when the rest have fallen quiet, a single word to encompass the fathomless depths of her desire. Peace within herself, within her family, within her kingdom, within her world. Peace that only she can achieve, for she alone in Beqanna seems determined to have it. And what would she give up for it? Something equal, the only counterweight worthy of it.

    “And for it: peace.”

    staring at the bottom of your glass--
    hoping one day you’ll make a dream last

    but dreams come slow and they go so fast

    ooc: lepis is loyal to loess
    The years and destinations had dragged on, the images blurring and the memories becoming just as difficult to pick apart.  Their recollection was imperceptible at its best, and impossible at its worst.  And after awhile she had stopped caring to remember them entirely, letting the days and faces to bleed together and slip between the cracks of indifference and apathy.  Those cracks had grown wider and more cavernous as the days went, and she’d lost something more than memories to its gaping mouth along the way, greater even than that of a family near forgotten and the sense of self she’d once known and would never recover.  But she hadn’t realized it fully - not yet.  Not until a call to the heart reeled her back from Beqanna’s purlieus, chaining her to where her life first started with little more than a silent whim, back to the place that hadn’t so much as crossed her mind twice in recent past. 

    The call drags her towards the heart of her homeland , and into the clutch of a solitary woman.  She stood alone on a plain of insignificance, emanating some type of energy that felt like anything was possible or nothing at all.  Oisin might’ve thought herself insane then, to come face to face with a mare who’d not yet spoken a single syllable, drawn by some unheard call, but looked upon her as though the arrival of the gold maned woman had been divinely expected.  But it’s that feeling in understanding that settles the clench in her gut, and she knows she’s right where she needs to be.

    She’s not paying much attention to the others as they gather and answer and offer.  They’re quick to reply, but it takes her a moment to clear out the brambles and foggy thoughts holding her tongue captive.  When she does answer, her voice is slight but clear,  and her dark eyes grasp for the attention of the painted mare. ”I dream of having a dream.  I don’t know what I want anymore.”  the steadiness of her voice quakes and falters underneath the weight of the truth, but she can be a contrary woman, and she takes a step forward as though she is unaffected.   “I want a direction and a goal, beyond what a kingdom could offer me.  I’m tired of wandering.  Fuck, I’m tired of just existing.”

    What could she give?

    Oisin considers her freedom, but that’s an obvious choice, something she’d lose in a sense anyway if she’d tie herself to a purpose.  She had nothing obvious to give, so she dives a little deeper, a little further, and pushes into her slumbering creativity.  ”Take my heart, my soul, my sight, my hearing.    Or all of it if you’re so inclined. “   It was all valuable to her, all things she’s not sure she could live without if one were taken away, let alone all of them.  Life would get harder, tasks more difficult, but she would find a way past the obstacles.  She would find a way to become better for it, greater even.  It would be a challenge, but she would be ready.

    OOC: Oisin is tied to Nerine.
    The lion creeps in, following the mingling reptilian scents laced with ice and fire. She follows the scent of her father, and the scent of the interloper that burnt the Isle to rock, but she does not know where they are leading her. She did not hear the call, she is not ambitious enough to have been drawn here alone by a beckoning voice on the wind as the others have, and so it is that she arrives late and it seems that they have begun to answer. She has missed the question, hiding among the golden grass and grey rocks of the Mountain's base, and her curled ears flick curiously to her dragon-father as if she might discern what it was from his answer.

    King in the North, he says, and she huffs softly, but then he offers to give up his daughter and her world stops. Does he have other daughters? Does he mean her? Fear freezes in her belly and it makes her snarl as she pulls out of her hiding places. The anger she felt when the black and red dragon attacked her home burns across her skin and she has no time to consider if there is a misunderstanding. She steps forward, rashly, sparing a moment to growl at the dark dragon that still bears her scratches on his wing, and forgets to listen to anyone else. The young lion stalks towards the painted mare, stepping away from the gathered crowd, putting space between herself and them.

    "I dream of my Mother. Every night, black and white and beautiful, watching over me in the Meadow. And I dream of icy water and drowning and fear. I don't want to be scared anymore." She pauses, flicking an ear back to the frost dragon that would give away a daughter, to the others that would throw away their loved ones, trample them beneath hoof and claw. She is one of those loved ones lost to their ambitions.

    "I don't want to have to depend on anyone, and I would sacrifice my innocence for it."

    She'd have to, she supposes.

    Litotes x Mehendi

    Beryl is playing as a free agent cuz she's mad at Leilan
    A dark-tipped ear flicks to the sound.

    It isn’t a call he knows. It is a horse he knows and yet the irritation that flickers across his ebony face is genuine. Kildare has had a lifetime of commands and coming to Beqanna had meant leaving that life behind him. The lines of his dark mouth pull down and he scowls before dropping his head again, fully intending to lull himself back into sleep.

    It is the shifting form of the adolescent girl next to me that keeps him awake.

    ”Da?” Lora asks, ”Did you hear that?”
    The filly reaches out and tugs at the loose strands of his mane, trying to get his attention.

    Kildare sighs and opens his eyes, lifting his head to smile fondly at his only child. ”I did, Love.” He nudges her and encourages her to drift back asleep, to take a hold of that chance while the dawn hasn’t broken yet. ”Stay here,” he murmurs. She will be safe enough in her mothers’ kingdom (at least as safe as one can be in a kingdom with dragons and aliens but he thinks that Mary affords her some protection). ”I’ll be back soon,” the dark stallion says with a smile.

    He can’t know what kind of call he is answering; Kildare has never had anything to do with the Mountain. (But would he really have turned around if he knew the magics and myths revolving around that place?)

    It is light by the time he reaches the base of the Mountain. The black stallion hadn’t been gifted like his other siblings with the gift of wings and so he walks, a feat that takes a few hours from the south of Loess. When he reaches the base of the Mountain, there are others answering a call of ambitions and desires. Of things that might be in reach and things that might not be attainable without the use of magic.

    What does he dream of?

    Kildare pauses at that - his dreams have always been erratic and shifting scenes. There has been little sense to them. But he is as corruptible as the rest of them, there is something he wants. Something he wants back, a hole in his DNA that Beqanna demanded of him for his entrance into the land.

    His green eyes meet the amber ones of Straia, ”To have my magic returned to me. I could control the winds once.” There is more that he can add - that he was the one of the most skilled airbenders of his bloodline, that his power was traced to Legado himself.

    And Beqanna had stripped him of it.

    But what does Kildare, who has no power or position or prestige, have to offer?

    He can’t even keep his promises.

    ”I would give you my loyalty.” To her, to her Gods, to whatever she desired, he would give it. Let it be her - this Magician - who chooses where that goes.

    For now, there is the only waiting.

    Kildare is loyal to Loess!

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