"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
We got older and I should have known that I’d feel colder when I walk alone
As the male rounds another corner, he sighs - the view hasn’t changed one bit.
One might say that Icicle Isle had always had just a single view - cold winds carrying ocean sprays or snow drifts, running over granite and sturdy grass, or in three out of four seasons, snow and ice - but these days it’s all grey and black and steam greeting him.
The forest to the west is burned to black, ashen stakes, providing very little in the name of shelter, and even less in the name of a landmark. The landmarks, where there were many similar ones, now are all gone and reduced to ash, or they are rocks. Rock-with-a-round-dent is only distinguished from rock-with-pointy-end and larger-rock-without-moss by the smallest details.
So Leilan finds his home is not very interesting to most, any more.
And yet there are some who still call this place home. He smells one of them now, passing by crack-that-looks-like-Neverwhere’s-mouth (a relatively straight, if somewhat downward-facing line at the tips; the perfect scowl). The ice-covered stallion stands his ground and raises his nose to the air, testing it for the one who’s close by. A greeting whinny follows, inviting them over.
Not many remain on the Isle. It’s best he finds out who and, more importantly, why they haven’t left.
She lurks quietly, the hound sticking to the darkness of the kingdom. The hound had lived in the Isle, even though she had been banished after her battle with Jesper. Still she refuses, the Isle has been her home....well since forever. Perhaps a little bit of her still hopes that Crevan will return to there home...
The ice covered kingdom was no more...she slipped away for one day and when she returned it was no more than a burnt crisp. She knows it was the dragons, she saw the bastards in the sky, though at the time she hadn't thought much of it.
She wasn't alone....another calls out and she nearly growls. The new home doesn't suit her thick pelt that had learned to cope with the icy home....surely it will thin out...but she already misses her chilly kingdom.
She doesn't bother hiding, the hound peers out from the darkness. She faces an equine she had never met....but she had seen him from the shadows. He is the one who crowned himself the new King, her gaze is hardened as she looks at him. Well well, looky who I stumbled upon. Her lip flinches with annoyance, our new King. She emphasises on the word, king, her head dramatically bowing.
We got older and I should have known that I’d feel colder when I walk alone
It doesn’t take long for her to show, though it isn’t in a shape he expects. Nevertheless, maybe he shouldn’t be surprised - as he stares the hellhound down, he figures the Isle is secretly full of shifters. Ardashir the Great White Elk, Jesper the Arctic Fox, this girl being a Hellhound, Beryl the Lion… and himself, the Ice Dragon.
The way she acts, she likes to think of herself as top of the food chain, he figures. And without his presence, maybe she was. Fact is though, there isn’t much that could beat a dragon; his mere size would top hers easily if he shifted. He hadn’t always been a shifter though; his scales would be on him no matter where he went, accompanied by his strange eyes, his icy breath, and most of all, a set of pointy, predator teeth where one might expect the blunt molars of a grass-eater.
He shows her these, his grin menacingly as the smile does not reach his cold eyes. She’s the challenger, he thinks - he may have been held up in Hyaline at the time, that doesn’t mean he didn’t know - roughly - what was going on. ”New? Oh, Puppy, I founded this Isle long before you discovered it.” His golden-marked tail sweeps idly towards his hocks, staring over her head for a heartbeat as if contemplating something, then settling back on her as if he didn’t notice her over-achieving mannerisms. ”I do like the sound of ‘king’. Perhaps that’s a goal we might achieve later on.” He tilts his head at her. ”Provided you don’t do anything stupid in the meantime. You look a little… what’s the word… overheated.” A word he’d frequently used to describe Loess’ fire dragon, Castile, when the piebald was still right in his mind. But this time he might actually be able to help the overheated ones chill out a little.
He recognizes the way she moves, talks, and looks around. This girl needs something to do, some way to vent her anger at her home being burned, at her chances of being the leader taken away from her. And since he could not do it directly for inciting some weird anti-Isle politics… perhaps there is something they can help one another with.
Again, provided that she doesn’t do anything stupid.
She has never met this 'king', or so he claims it, which is why she finds it ever so interesting that he barges into here during the territories moment of weakness. She takes into note the scales that lace his body, she wonders if he was....a shifter? But she doesn't press in it, and honestly she could care less. She was a lot braver than she should be, and perhaps her heart held a little bit of ice ever since Crevan vanished...
He grins, his teeth are pointy, like canines. A puff of chilly air escaped his maw, and she cocks an eye at him. Did he do it on purpose? Was he sizing her up? Or just trying to instill fear in her? Regardless she just gives a snort, the large hounds gaze not faltering.
He seems instantly amused when she mentions his title, he quickly tells her that he was not new....but what really stuck with her was calling her a puppy. She laughs when he mutters it, was this guy serious? Absently perhaps, I have lived her nearly my whole life....and what about you? She snorts, an equine she has never seen....in years. She may have lived off in a cavern of her own.....segregated from the kingdom...but she lurked, and she knew who lived here.
Although, he ravels her back in and peaks her interest when he mentions we. Again her eye cocks, curious of his thoughts, We? She questions. Overheated? No, I think bold is a more fitting description....what is your plan for...us? Let's be honest....she really only cared about what benefited her. I have lots to give, I am no ones pawn...but a hound can be your best friend...or your worst enemy. She gives a grin of her own, her sharp teeth peaking out at the bottom.
Seizing her up, it is clear to him that the mare-behind-the-hound may be younger than he first anticipated. Or maybe he’s too old - that is a very real possibility. Nodding to himself as she warily eyes him, too, he decides to shrug it off with a short explanation. ”I’m older than I look. You know what, I’ll explain, because I like your boldness.”
“This Isle has been my home since it was created during the Plague. When my wife decided to quit first on being Queen in Nerine, then on Beqanna as a whole, I left it to Jesper. When I returned, I lived in the only other cold place I could find at the time, though I kept checking in on my friend from time to time. It’s possible that you never noticed. The Isle was quiet - I believe you’re the challenger? - and apparently neither Heartfire nor Neverwhere took an interest. I even spent a whole year near the lake and no-one bothered to say anything, though I spoke to Jes and his daughter a few times. Until he was stolen, of course.”
Castile was my friend once… when he lived in Nerine. When he lived on this very Isle. Seems he forgot about that… and since no-one bothered when he burned this Isle to shit, I figured it needed an intervention.”
He grins a little. ”And I can’t help but feel like the whole of Beqanna, having done nothing about that fire dragon, owes us. A lot - but at the very least bare survival. I could use a hound for sure… if she can keep up with a dragon? What do you think?” Was that agreeable to her? She really wasn’t the first to set foot on this Isle, though he had indeed not been actively living here when she arrived - it’s no wonder she hadn’t recognized him, even if he frequently visited. Too bad she never came that far north that she hadn’t found him when he lived there, as that would have more easily settled this. Nevertheless, it’s his disappointment in the last two queens combined with the shitshow that the Loessian king - well, former king if there were any brains left in that testosterone-fuelled desert - had pulled on them, it was high time he took matters into his own hands. Sabrina was invited to help, if she wanted - who knew what would happen if they got recognized as a more formidable force than ever before; surely her stature could only rise from here on.
Her, his, and really everyone else’s, on this Isle, he believes.
In fact, the Burning of Icicle Isle could go down in history as the perfect foundation for a formidable new kingdom, instead of as the only event to be ever talked about - briefly at that.
and I don’t want you to think that I care I never would, I never could again
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