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    version 22: awakening


    OCEANE -- Year 208


    "Because if she had not met him, she knew she would have been searching her whole life for the piece that he filled her heart with." -- Eva, written by Shelbi

    [TAKEOVER]  kingdom meeting
    staring at the ceiling in the dark
    same old empty feeling in your heart

    Her task complete, Lepis returns, flying in from the north. She circles the kingdom, though it takes some time, and as it does she sends a wordless command to those she sees and recognizes.

    The air blows cold across Loess. With it comes the sharp smell of salt and water, and the varied scents of the flora that blooms even on this winter morning.

    She lands in the heart of the kingdom, on one of the red sandstone pillars that make up much of the kingdom. Its been nearly a decade since she stood here, but the view is unchanged. The message she had sent “Gather”, and the image of this place, from which the kingdom is addressed, will surely pull in the residents. The residents and no more is her intent, and this first large-scale use of her new ability brings a bright glow of pride. Lepis allows it to remain and shakes out the wind-brushed strands of her dark hair. Her mane falls nearly to her knees and her tail brushes the stone behind her, a rare feat for a wild creature, and one source of her vanity.

    Her expression is serene and patient as she waits for them, certain they will come. There are pressing matters to be discussed, and changes to be made.

    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: kingdom meeting! Lepis used her thought projection to summon the residents and give them a picture of where to meet.

    A L C I N D E R
    i go to seek a great perhaps
    Alcinder, without hesitation, heeds the call of Lepis that rings clear inside his head. He is excited to see the winged woman, and despite the hollow ache he feels in the absence of his mother, he allows himself to feel happiness at the presence of the Loessian Cleric.

    The young boy, only a few months off his first birthday now, makes a game of the call to duty and takes to the skies almost instantaneously. With blue-and-white opal wings flung wind, his lanky body floats atop thermals ─ buffeted on occasion by a wayward breeze, though the trip is mostly smooth ─ as he speeds in the direction of Lepis' location. He had recognized the projection easily, and though Alcinder prefers to spend his time in the northern reaches of Loess, he is familiar with all of his home by now.

    Seeing that no one else has made it yet to Lepis, the colt calls his victory into the air and circles, gliding on spread wings, until finally his small hooves collide with the red rock earth.

    "Aunt Lepis," he grins at her familiar face, feeling soothed by the serenity of her expression, "I've missed you."


    i have slipped the surly bonds of earth
    and danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings
    staring at the ceiling in the dark
    same old empty feeling in your heart

    The gangly blue shape in the sky is unmistakable, and Lepis smiles as Alcinder lands nearby. She is as openly affectionate with him as with her own son, and reaches out to brush the forelock from his grinning face before pulling back with a smile of her own. He is remarkably cheerful for a boy in his position, and she can only assume that such a bright nature came from his mother. If he were more like Castile he’d surely be brooding, sending surly looks North to where his sire vanished or east to where his mother was taken.

    Lepis has certainly done her fair share of looking in those direction, and this morning was the one she’d finally decided she’d done enough looking. The time for action is in the past, but better now than never.

    She reminds herself of that - and of the catastrophe that had accompanied her last descent - and pulls away from the young boy with a determined smile on her formerly serene face.

    “I missed you too, Al,” She tells him, “I’ve missed your mother and father too. Today is the day we finally do something about that.”

    Once more, she looks out over the stone red and snow white kingdom. There are some horses coming nearer, answering the call, but none yet close enough to address. They will all soon know what she has just told the boy: today is the day they stop waiting for Pangea to make the next move, today is the day that Lepis takes up Castile on the offer that he had made in the Taigan woods. Most of what she’d been told in the spring by the pale vagabond had been nonsense, but some of it had been true. She intends to make more of it true today.

    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: i changed the topic of the first post but this is the one she decides it’s a takeover ??

    and let me crawl inside your veins. I'll build a wall, give you a ball and chain.

    She is confused at first by the image of Loess that intrudes her mind, and it takes her a moment to realize it was placed there intentionally. The message somehow contains the voice of Lepis, and that is the only reason she chooses to not ignore it. Loess would always be her home, first and foremost, but her loyalty did not necessarily extend beyond the dirt and stones of the land itself.

    Wearing the crown did not grant immunity from the star-mare’s sharp opinions and nefarious nature. Regardless of remaining in Sylva most of the time — as she had promised to do, since Loess struggled with loyal territory leaders in the past — that didn’t stop her from having some opinions over the direction Loess was headed. Having to trade back Ripley (a situation the kingdom never should have been in to begin with) and shed the blood of that other Pangean monstrosity right on Loess soil was really all the ammunition she needed.

    She arrives at the place Lepis had designated, and she greets the mare with a slight but genuine smile. The dark blue of her eyes casts a cursory glance at the colt, but she does not delve into his mind yet to find out anything about him. Instead her gaze settles on the dun mare, before commenting drly, “Please tell me we’re here to discuss the downhill spiral of this kingdom.” 


    it’s not like me to be so mean. you’re all I wanted.
    ( just let me hold you Like a hostage. )

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

    The dark woman that arrives next receives a smile as well, though not the familial embrace with which Lepis had greeted Alcinder. What the dun mare owes to the grey is different than loyalty, but it is no less tangible in the hollow places of her heart. Were it not for Starsin, some secrets might have remained in the dark. Lepis does not like the dark.

    It has been some time since she has seen the other woman, but Lepis knows that she had served as Castile’s advisor in the past. How long in the past, she wonders to herself, though the question remains unspoken. While there is certainly an amount of leniency granted to a dragon and a king when it comes to their whims, Starsin’s pointed remark about a downward spiral indicate that Lepis is not the only one who has realized exactly how far the descent has led them. Lepis’ smile of greeting, which had faded, twists up again for just a moment before she speaks,

    “Something better than that,” the dun mare answers. “How to reverse it.”

    If others have gathered, she addresses them too, her blue-grey eyes turning from one to the other to gauge reaction even as she speaks. It would be simpler to project an aura of trust to them, to ensure they feel deep loyalty, devotion and even patriotism. Instead, she allows them their own reactions, confident that they’ll feel those things even without force.

    “In Castile’s absence, I will be taking over command of Loess.” A announcement, one that she does not hesitate after making. “Two mares have been murdered, Lady Oceane has been stolen, and I’ve not been able to find the pink Loessian who keeps taunting the Pangeans.” Lepis does not know Rebelle’s name, but she is more than familiar with the scent of the red-eyed beast that had tried to steal her and who had successfully taken Oceane. “Has anyone seen her? Or have any insight into other things that need remediation?” Lepis would rather have a long list of things to improve than an incomplete one, despite the daunting tasks that she already faces.

    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
    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
    There is a voice on the wind, one of command. It stirs Castile from a deep slumber, his body coiled in the shadows of a mountain cave. Lepis is so deeply embedded in his memories that even as his grasp on sanity loosens, he remembers her. Much else, however, is fading behind an abysmal black hole.

    He recalls announcing to Ilma who is to be his successor should he spiral irreversibly into a draconic lifestyle. It isn’t Lepis, and yet she beckons them all with enough feverish purpose that within a few heartbeats, Castile is airborne.

    The flight is brief, expedited by the tone in which Lepis has set. By the time he joins them, the ground groaning beneath his weight, there is already Alcinder and Starsin heeding the call. A sobering glance finds the boy, a tenderness easing the sharp ridges of the dragon’s face as he reaches down to gingerly nudge him. ”My son,” the words are hardly more than a rumbling growl, but there is adoration threaded in the statement nonetheless. The others are spared such niceties. Towering above each of them, struggling to sift through what is right and wrong, who is what, and why, Castile adopts a piercing stare that unyieldingly holds the remaining females. A primal hiss drips past his lips as they peel back in his internal struggle.

    It has only been in the previous months that Pangea has extended their aggression toward Loess, the reasons unbeknownst to him. Prior to that, Loess has thrived beneath his reign and yet they squabble as though…

    No, stop.

    An agitated flick of his tail is the only indication of what treads through his barbaric thoughts. Betrayal, he muses, but he has experienced such things more than once in his life that now it is near comical. Change was necessary, thus a new face to guide them, but they shy from it in the hours that Oceane spends locked away in the confines of Pangea. Rather than take her back, they already press for replacement. A deep exhalation thickens the air above him with a cloud of blackened smoke as he regards Lepis with conflicting emotions of confusion, disappointment, and surprise. She had refused to lead alongside him when the opportunity was offered on a plate to her; perhaps, she has been a snake in the grass, biding her time for a moment such as this. To a degree, he cannot fault her, but his eyes nonetheless narrow in mistrust of them all. Corded muscles tangle and knot underneath his scales, preparing for what may come.

    If ever you come near I'll hold up high a mirror
    Ophanim had every intention of simply remaining at home with the children while his wife attended whatever meeting there was, but Malone had been too angry to simply sit and wait for whatever news there may be. Now, he walks alongside his eldest son and he listens carefully as the golden star boy vents his rage. Where had they been when Alcinder had been taken captive? Why did no one come for them except Starsin? Did no one care that he or the younger boy were gone? These questions tumble carelessly from his lips and the angel nods gently in understanding. He wants to make excuses for them or explain but it seems it would do little good to quell the inferno.

    Your mother and I tore your captor apart and Starsin got you home. I know it was awful, but you’re with us now,” he says softly before gently bumping Malone’s cheek with his nose. But the boy only sighs in agitation and nods. “I know. I just don’t.. Why stir the pot when we were captives?”

    But Ophanim has no answers. He frowns and takes his place beside his wife, letting his shoulder lean lightly on hers as she speaks. All the tension makes him nervous while Malone snorts at her words in agreement.

    The angel boy winces when Lepis mentions the women murdered yet he remains silent. He has grown more and more gentle with time and he prefers to avoid drawing any attention to himself. Their firstborn, however, steps forward and clears his throat. It’s evident by the scowl on his face that he is angry enough as it is. His eye remains discolored from his encounter with the Pangeans with the corner of his lip recovering in an unsightly shade of burgundy.

    “I support your bid for the crown so long as we end this bullshit between Loess and Pangea. They thrive on chaos and we’ve done nothing but earned their aggressions,” he says, his tone biting and coarse. The other kingdoms are nothing to them but toys to be poked and prodded, all except Tephra who swore allegiance to the monsters. Ophanim swallows nervously and looks to Starsin, his brows furrowed in concern. The eastern kingdom taught their child rage when they had been so careful to bring him up right. His heart twists in his wife’s chest and breaks itself in two.
    Lord, I could never show you anything as beautiful as you.
    staring at the ceiling in the dark
    same old empty feeling in your heart

    The clap of wings causes the dun to raise her head. Castile, still a dragon, wings his way toward them.

    Lepis neither hides nor manufactures the surprise that flashes across her face at his arrival. Where has he been, she wonders, and why has he returned?

    He greets Alcinder affectionately, but she receives only flashing teeth and a hiss from between them. This is what Ilma had meant, Lepis decides, when she had said that Castile might lose himself to the dragon. He is fortunate then, that he has Lepis to pick up the pieces, has Lepis to ensure that their leadership remains free. Castile cannot know the tension between Lepis and his messenger, but only losing his mind to the beast would explain why he is unable to understand that she has done what is best for Loess by ignoring his plan for succession. A civilized mind would surely know that allowing Pangea to capture their queen is akin to capitulation; crowning her while she is captive would have been the peak of insanity.

    When he is himself again, he will understand.

    For now, she returns his hiss with a frown of her own, but does not back away. She is small and mortal, but she is brave.

    She doesn’t recognize the younger man that has come to stand beside Starsin while Lepis locked eyes with the dragon, but he looks enough like the older one that she assumes he must be their son. He seems bolder than his father, and Lepis’ blue-grey gaze lingers on the healing injuries. Remnants of captivity, she thinks, more reasons to have acted sooner. She cannot change the past, she reminds herself, and she nods in agreement with his words.

    “We will,” she replies, for she is not as fond of chaos as her predecessor. It has a time and a place, and now - with family and friends at risk – is neither.

    “In the meantime, avoid anything that might further provoke Pangea – or the other lands. When Loess is powerful again” (for it will be, the certainty in her voice says, it will be the most powerful), “We will gather again, and discuss moving farther forward.” With that, she means to end the gathering, eager to move on to actions to support her claims, and efforts to restore Loess to the glory it held for years.

    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

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