"He will inevitably decide that it all fell apart because he had orchestrated it and he will carry the blame like a stone in his chest, too. He will add it to the pile and perhaps, someday when there are enough stones to weigh him down, he will walk into the sea and let them drown him" -- Kensley, written by Savage
03-21-2020, 09:15 PM (This post was last modified: 03-21-2020, 09:15 PM by Brennen.)
so give me hope in the darkness that I will see the light 'cause oh that gave me such a fright
For the last few weeks, the magician had been sticking close to Nerine, despite his ever-growing berth. It’s painfully obvious that he’s pregnant and that might curtail his desire to enter any physical conflicts, but he could have defended the Kingdom by magic had the need arisen. He’d even caught himself nesting on Nerine’s shores several times, but stopped himself from ever completing a hideaway here; his home (real home) is on his island with Nihlus, and when he feels the first rolling pain of birthing he is home in an instant, to introduce their daughter first to his lover.
But as soon as she’s steady on her feet, bonded with both of her fathers, he whisks them back to the shoreline Kingdom, the danger still a steady undercurrent of possibility. Nihlus had sleepily murmured for him to leave her, but Brennen is aware that he’s the nursing parent and babies eat a lot. Plus, with all of the pregnant mares in Nerine this winter, Lhoire is more likely to find playmates here than on their quiet island. So he strides along the coast, looking for any familiar faces, with the bright filly whirling around him in excited circles.
The contrast is high – at first glance you might not even think she’s Brennen’s. Where he is red and dark, bay into deep black wings, the filly is bright chestnut with her other father’s strangely marked legs. The only thing she shares with Brennen is her gold eyes, and the white star on her forehead. She strays a little far for his comfort and the magician lets out an impatient noise, a wordless summons that brings the girl running back, tucking herself under his inky black wing to nurse.
He sighs, but the relaxed quiet of his body reveals the lie – he’s pretty happy with this situation. If he hadn’t chosen it, it surely would have been a different issue but since he’s simply proving a point to his mate and never intends to go through this again, it’s bearable. Next time either Nihlus will carry their children, or Brennen is going to create some sort of magic egg. Or possible recruit a surrogate. Pregnancy wasn’t the worst experience in Brennen’s life but it certainly wasn’t one of his favorites.
but I will hold, as long as you like just promise me we'll be alright
Of course, he doesn't argue much more than that as Brennen rouses Lhoire and bids her leave her daddy's warm flank. Something about birthing and raising twins as a stay-at-home mom makes Nihlus feel a little less guilty about snagging an extra sleep in or two these days; while Brennen absolutely has the harder job in terms of civics, championing, and just general political batshittery, Nihlus has the equally difficult job of being on his best behaviour for his lover.
Anyway, a few hours pass before Nihlus awakens. The faint glow of his blue eyes permeate through the underbrush as he stretches and rolls. Making his way to his hooves, he notes that the clouds overcast the sky and trap their little island in semi-darkness. Nih snorts, pleased to be greeted by such weather. He sets off at a trot towards the shores of Heim and then into the tropical depths of the small channel to the main body of Ischia. There, he summons some water droplets from the pregnant clouds overhead and spins them about. Three foals (two older) and two stallions circle liquidly above his head then burst into a million rabbits. The water ripples with the broad-chested chuckles which result therefrom.
Ah, land now. After a brusque shake off, Nihlus sends his weight back and leaps forth into a canter (for the drama, of course!). Eastward bound, then north, he follows his hooves - and his nose - towards the land claimed by the Amazons. No, for real, that's still how he associates Nerine; he learned that much like two decades ago and then stopped caring. Besides Brennen's business of course. Nihlus obviously pays attention to all that (no really, he does, he would listen to anything Brennen had to say to him... Sometimes with more lust than actual information encoding, but hey).
The Nerinian border comes and goes beneath the Warlander's barch-lined legs. A small army of droplets from Ischia accompany him, merry to bounce alongside. On occasion the droplets form lewd symbols and other hilarities but, when the cute round butts of his lover and his daughter surface on the rock-strewn horizon, such antics cease.
Instead, he sends the droplets to twinkle and refract the light around the heads of his beloved family at the exact moment that he bursts between the two. In rabbit form.
"Ah!" He exlaims, performing a seamless shift back into his formidable equine form. "To what do I owe the pleasure of such fine company?" The rascally grin of his lips presses first to Lhoire's tiny, perfect ear, and then to the underside of Brennen's jaw down to his lips. He nibbles there for a moment, hoping some Nerinian diplomats are watching. With a purr, the stallion straightens (though he flicks his tail around Brennen's hind legs) and takes a deep breath.
The cliffs abound; he can hear the ocean swell and crash. For a moment his chest tightens with anxiety. Scorch, murmurs the insecure voice in his mind. Grandmother. He loved her. When Nih trips on a loose rock, the thoughts vanish and he returns to his usual self.
"What's the mission today, boss?" Nih teases, recollections of a certain outing to the Falls practically being broadcasted from his mind to the magician's. "This apprentice's diplomat skills need some fine tuning, or so I've heard."
SO GIVE ME HOPE IN THE DARKNESS THAT I WILL SEE THE LIGHT 'CAUSE OH THAT GAVE ME SUCH A FRIGHT
He is always vaguely aware of his lover. Nihlus is a brilliant spot in his magic net, a constant pulse of life in the back of his mind. He is aware of all the net catches, of each of his descendants and descendant’s descendants, but the ones with whom he shares an emotional connection are brighter and stronger. The magician knows when Nihlus stirs awake, when he leaves home, and when he approaches the shores of Nerine. But of course their young daughter has no idea that her papa approaches, so Brennen says nothing.
Even on this dreary day, water droplets do not normally go up and around and sideways, and the bay lifts his gaze to smile at the first sign of impending chaos, and then shifts almost imperceptibly to brace Lhoire as she shrieks, startled and then delighted, and nearly topples over as the bunny passes quickly beneath their feet and then shifts again to horse form. The filly pushes off of Brennen and pretty much bashes into her other parent in her enthusiasm. “Papa, papa, how did you get here? Did you fly? Did you swim? Are we really fine company?” The bay magician is impressed at the deft way his lover manages to press a kiss to their daughter’s head without getting accidentally headbutted in the process, and he murmurs that admiration in Nihlus’ ear as his husband turns his physical affection Brennen’s direction.
With anyone else, Brennen would have hesitated before engaging in such a blatant physical display of affection, engaging in only a brief touch or embrace before pulling away in public. For Nihlus, though, he has made changes. Perhaps with time he has mellowed, decided to care less about what others think. Perhaps his boy’s utter disregard for anything even approaching the faintest whiff of propriety has worn him down. Perhaps his relationship with Nihlus is different – stronger? – than he relationships of before. Most likely, it is some combination of the three. Instead of pulling away, the magician leans into Nihlus’ touch, returns the sweet touch for a moment but following it with a playful nip as his lover pulls away slightly, surveying the landscape of Nerine out of bright blue eyes. Their son had inherited those eyes, even though both of their daughters had Brennen’s amber gaze. He has a hard time looking out over Nerine when he can stare at Nihlus and Lhoire instead.
He also doesn’t disabuse their youngest of the idea that possibly her Papa can fly – she still has all the wonder of the very young and he won’t take that from her early. “Is this one of your feathers?” She’s surfaced from the rocks with a feather clutched in her teeth, white in contrast to Brennen’s inky black, at the same time as Nihlus stiffens beside him, and her shamelessly takes advantage of an opportunity to be child-free for a few moments. “If it is Papa’s, he’ll need quite a few more than that. See if you can find them?” It sends her scampering off across the rocks, and he turns to the man at his side, eyes searching as he surge of feelings towards Nih - concern affection reassurance love question. He won’t pry into what worries his lover might be choosing to keep from him, but he will make certain always that he is available to listen if that changes.
But the boy seems determined to think of something else, if the memory he pushes back at Brennen is any indication. Brennen recalls the trip as well as Nihlus does – though his feelings about the whole matter are quite different with time, distance, and affection for the cause of his massive headache at the time. In the memory, it’s quite clear that Brennen had been at the end of his tether, annoyed and exasperated at being saddled with a young wanna-be diplomat who seemed determined to make the situation worse; now it just brings a huge surge of affection for his younger husband as he nips lightly at the side of Nih’s neck and teases drily, “Lucky for you, I’ve suddenly developed infinitely more patience and skill for sheparding bratty apprentice diplomats.” He follows the playful pinch of teeth with a caress and a kiss, laying his head along Nih’s warm back and glancing briefly to make sure their daughter’s attention is still safely occupied by searching for feathers before he nips and then caresses a few places infinitely more personal.
When he finally does draw back, laughter in his bright eyes, not even the worries about Nerine can dampen the joy Nihlus’ mere presence brings him. He is pleased to play with Nih, to tease, but he also knows that whatever his lover pretends, time had matured him, too, since that mission to the Falls for the Tundra. “I am still their Champion,” he saids, referring to Nerine, “And nothing feels quite settled. I am worried that the skirmishes with Loess will turn out to be something more dangerous. I don’t really know their current Queen, either, not enough to predict what she will do. And I need to make sure that Loess did not harm Jesper – I was too pregnant to risk facing off against Castile when he was taken, and I feel terrible for leaving him there.” His grandson had been captured and tortured once before– if Loess had not treated him kindly, now that Lhoire is safely outside of his body, there will be hell for someone to pay. He shares all of these concerns with his partner, appreciating the listening ear even if Nihlus often becomes quite bored of the world outside their trysting.
BUT I WILL HOLD AS LONG AS YOU LIKE JUST PROMISE ME WE'LL BE ALRIGHT
03-25-2020, 04:19 PM (This post was last modified: 03-25-2020, 04:19 PM by Nihlus.)
To hear his daughter's ebullient laughter is to hear the choirs of heaven. Lhoire assaults Nihlus with questions as he materializes between mother-father and daughter. A deep chuckle reverberates through the stallion's chest and into the tiny filly as he draws her into a hug. "Why, the finest! And don't let anyone tell you differently, sweet girl." To her other questions, Nihlus only winks.
Brennen's caress and sweep whispers send Nih leaning into his touch with complete abandon. Despite the clouds, he swears that they could be bathing in sunlight by way of the warmth he feels.
Is this one of your feathers?
The child's innocent question catches Nihlus off his game, thoughts of confusing insecurity and jealousy having taken him by surprise. He had saved Scorch from the afterlife decades ago, only to fall in love with the man she broke her life-long marriage with many years later. Though he and his grandmother haven't been even remotely in touch, he can remember her hideous (yet familiar and warm) figure. After all, he'd grown up visiting her as a youth (not as a child due to Noori and Scorch's frigid relationship). Alas...
concern affection reassurance love question
Feelings of the above likeness wash over Nihlus like a hit of oxygen to his deprived lungs. For a moment he considers confiding in his lover, a firm knowledge that he would be well received pervading through him; but with Lhoire scrambling over the rocky hills nearby, he figures that that ought to be a conversation for later. As such, he deflects, and Brennen obliges him. Patience, kindness, and understanding become the magician. Those qualities may well be why Nihlus has softened - and grown in character and heart - since becoming his. After all, he'd had his own prior trysts, too. Thoughts of Nuage and their twin daughters come unbidden but quickly depart. He finds a home in Brennen whereas he'd only found an unstable passion in Nuage.
Plus, by the time he's leaning into Brennen's embraces again, he's being kissed and poked in a number of sensual places, and you're crazy if you think the stud can juggle any more than exactly only that in his mind as the teasing continues. "Brat!" He hisses through his teeth (enclosed as they are by a smile poorly disguised as an angry snarl). Nih almost forgets to hold himself back - ahem - in the heat of the moment and is, at last, only reminded to have some restraint by the resurfacing of his daughter some dozen meters away. "I'll get you back for that," comes his mutter, low and uninhibitedly sexual. The laughter in Brennen's eyes as he pulls away reflects in Nih's as a raw need and a promise for later fulfilment of this little tease show.
Minutes pass as they stand watch over their darling daughter and the sexual tension subsides. Bren's weight against Nih's taller shoulder indicates the beginning of his monologue. Blinking, Nih looks to the other and swivels his ears to his words, a chest radiant with a calm concern. When Brennen's lips still, Nih presses his nose to the slope of the other's jaw.
"Queens will come and go," Nih allows some moments later as he draws back, eyes shifting to Lhoire. "But family is forever. And that includes ours... Jesper would understand." He'd met the young stallion upon a number of occasions and thus feels secure in this assertion. "That being said, I think he would also appreciate intervention now that it is possible. If you'd like, I can go and check on his well being in the coming days. An apolitical fixture such as myself ought not warrant much attention." A pang in his chest reveals his mutual concern for Jesper's health; the political landscape of Beqanna did so tend to violence. Though Nihlus often clings to an air of ignorance (being a well-trained stay at home mom these days), he cannot pretend that the world is always a nice place to be.
He shivers, turns, and runs the side of his face along the sinewy muscles of his Arabian counter part's neck. "I love you," he murmurs, much more reserved in his verbal displays of affection than his physical. "And all that you do for the people you love does not go unnoticed." A smirk marks his final phrase, genuine though it may be. "I hope to be like you, when I grow up, my love."
so give me hope in the darkness that I will see the light 'cause oh that gave me such a fright
The problem with being a child’s primary caretaker is that…well, there isn’t much of an excuse to hand them back and go off and do other things. Despite his rather large number of children, it has been a while since Brennen has truly been the primary caretaker in any situation – there are children he has raised on his own, but most of his youngest children have been still in possession of their mothers, upon whom most of the work of primary parent had fallen. It hasn’t much affected him before, these limitations, but he hasn’t ever before had quite the…active physical relationship with past lovers as he has with Nihlus.
It’s hard to make himself pull away from his lover; it tests even his patience and control. The younger stallion objects to Brennen’s terminology but the magician is quite sure it’s accurate, especially for younger Nihlus of the past, and so he simply laughs and quirks a smile at the growled threat. “Promises…” he teases, but forces himself to pull away and not follow through when their daughter glances back at them. It reminds him, briefly, why he has chosen to keep Lhoire somewhat close to Nerine. There are other children here, several of them, and he knows it can be lonely for her at home on the island. It’s nice for Bren and Nih, of course, and he’s sure it will once more be their heaven when their youngest is a little more independent.
They breathe quietly together for a moment before Brennen speaks, and he knows his partner is listening when he responds thoughtfully. He knows, too, that Jesper will understand (even if he did get hurt, he will probably understand) but that didn’t make the choice any less difficult. He can feel Jesper, too, across his net and he knows his grandson isn’t in any immediate danger, but still… “I would appreciate that,” he says quietly, knowing that Nihlus checking in on Jesper would be much less threatening under any circumstances than Brennen showing up, especially if he loses his temper. Not that he’s above a good temper tantrum, and it’s definitely in his arsenal to lose his shit if it’s called for, but sending in the sweet-and-innocent looking bystander before the angry magician is as good a plan as any.
If it doesn’t work, it’s not like he can’t be plan B. It’s been a while since he threw a major fit. He can leave Lhoire with her older siblings and be in Loess or anywhere else before they could truly hurt Jesper.
He leans into his lover’s side again, taking some actual comfort in being physically smaller than his counterpart. Despite his larger-than-life reputation and tenacious fighting ability, he is not particularly tall nor large. He listens to Nihlus’ quiet words with an open heart that fills with the affirmation, and turns away from idly watching Lhoire to press his face into Nihlus’ shoulder for a moment. “I love you too,” he drawls, voice just loud enough to be audible. There’s another rush of his feelings that wash over both of them – the words are important, but he finds that being able to express himself in a variety of ways makes it easier to prove his intentions. “If it’s all the same, though, I’d rather you keep growing up to be you,” he says, “I think one of me is probably enough.” Without the emotions that wash between them, it would seem flippant, or teasing; certainly there is an element of that, but it’s something deeper than that. He appreciates and loves Nihlus for who he is, and he wouldn’t change anything.
but I will hold, as long as you like just promise me we'll be alright
Brennen's soft-spoken acceptance of Nihlus' offer lessens the weight balanced across both their shoulders. A warm twist in his gut reminds Nih that luck found its way to him when Brennen chose to love and, more importantly, trust him. His mouth mouth finds its way to Brennen's crown as he considers this, basking for some time in the warmth of a faithful and fulfilling relationship. No matter whether Brennen chose to see others while the two of them made a home on Heim, Nihlus felt the intimacy of his lover like a weighted cloak upon his back, keeping him safe and careful when he would otherwise be reckless. A strange image, to be sure, but a good one.
He plans to see Jesper as soon as he can. Within this moon cycle, with luck; given that such time had already passed, Nih can't afford to wait much longer. Despite having never sworn into the brotherhood back when he'd been a royal pain-in-the-ass Tundra dweller, some remnant of that brotherliness yet became him when he considered his and his husband's cohorts.
"In that case, lover, I will grow as big and strong as I can." The place where he'd been grooming Brennen with an idle gnaw of his teeth receives a firm kiss as Nihlus straightens, a grin stretching his countenance. "The better to protect you with, my little." His tail snaps at the other's rump. "You'd be surprised how many monsters I fend off so that you can get your beauty sleep. And my, how it's paid off," Nih leers, eyes glinting even more than their glow usually allows. "You get more beautiful every single morning."
Just then, Lhoire comes galloping from yonder hills with a stifled whinny. Nih perks his ears at the approaching tempest, chuckles amassed at the gates of his lips. With sides a-shudder, Lhoire halts before her fathers and sends her weight back such that she may angle her teeny-tiny face to the earth to facilitate the spitting-out of her prizes. When she straightens, Nihlus throws his head back in a mirthful guffaw. There on the Nerinian highline, between two Ischian men and their daughter, sits a pile of feathers so large that Nihlus fears his daughter had resorted to murder in her attempt to re-feather her wingless father.
"Lho, I don't even want to know where you got that many feathers," he chuckled in delight, bumping the filly with his nose to send her stumbling with glee. "I think daddy'd better sleep with one eye open if you're so intent on your mission. He'll wake up one day and be plucked bald!" Nih tosses his smile in Brennen's direction, thoughts of politics and queens and skirmishes forgotten for a moment. Perhaps, in the end, the fun they all have together represents the true reason why Brennen chooses to love the undeserving, underwhelming Nih. But these thoughts, too, fall by the wayside as, standing abreast with laughter, the little family thrives. The good times warranted the abandonment of worries.
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