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    version 22: awakening


    SOCHI -- Year 207


    "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

    On demandé pas le Lune // Nev, Any
    Once it had been made clear that she would not be left behind in the den, the fluffy filly had marched without complaint after the rugged mare who'd found her. It was a long walk, through the types of land she'd never imagined. She wasn't offered assistance, or many rests, and she figured she wouldn't get them if she asked. Or worse, she'd simply be left behind. So she bit her lip when the going for rough, and marched on. 

    She had to take twice as many steps to cover the same amount of ground as the taller mare, which left very little room for anything else but thinking about putting one dainty hoof in front of the other, over an over. Over and over until the horizon broke into a strange other landscape. A tiny gasp puffed from her lips to fog on the crisp morning air, her legs coming to a sudden halt as the world resolved around her. It was beautiful.

    Ancient monuments of stone and skree spread before them, the towers of crackling earth jaw dropping in their majesty. And the wind! It lifted her tufted mane and tail with its persistent fingers as she looked up at her new guardian in awe. 


    He is supposed to be napping.

    His copper mother had turned her back for a moment - talking and laughing softly with his aunt Brazen - and Nashua had peeked over a gray Nerinian boulder to determine that. His mother wasn't looking and when she had murmured to him and his twin to rest, his wings hadn't wanted to settle against his sides. His legs wouldn't lay still. Nashua had even laid his head down and tried to close his green eyes but the day was too bright.

    Why should he sleep when the world was so obviously awake?

    (Nash had tried to wake his twin but his flaxen brother remained out of reach. Each time he tried to brush him, the actual substance of Yanhua evaded him.)

    The little boy huffs his disapproval and looks down the hill, glancing back one last time to make sure his mother doesn't see him moving between the boulders and highland grass. She and his aunt are talking of something that he can't hear and his youthful ears fixate instead on a sound coming from the other side of one of the Northern monoliths. The winged colt glances around the stone quickly - just long enough to spy a girl about his age who shimmers intriguingly - and Nash jumps from behind the rock. His fledgling wings flare to instigate her in play like he has seen the herons do - only to realize he is staring up at the reserved face of his aunt Neverwhere. 

    His green eyes round and he swallows, tucking his auburn wings back. "Uh," he says, "I thought you were a rock."

    Neverwhere Amarine

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    She does not speak much on the trek north, it is long for a foal so young, and her pace is slower than usual, though it still pushes the filly beyond, perhaps, what she might prefer. This is not the leisurely tour that the mare took once with Heartfire, visiting notable sights and drinking in all that was new, but there will be so much time for the child to see those things, and there will be less time, once they leave the care of the Fairies in the Den, to find her a suitable place to rest and eat, so she bids the buzzing bits of light farewell with pinned ears and a shake of her head and presses on steadily. When at last they cross into that place where the mighty trees of Taiga fall away and the Nerinian cliffs loom above like sea-hardened giants, she allows the girl her moment of pause, of awe, but she is searching the cliffs for danger, as she searched the redwoods, as she searched the foothills, and as she searched autumnal forest, wary and scowling into sun and shadow alike. Her bear cub ears lean forward, trembling as they strain to pick up every bit of sound that whips around the odd little pair.

    She is, therefore, unsurprised when Lilli's colt leaps out at them. Her ears flatten, lost in the sea of her mane, and her scarred, pink face becomes a snarl, snaking out to grab one flared wing between yellowed teeth, pressing into flesh hard enough to hold him firmly in place, but not to harm him unless he struggles. When he falls still again, Neverwhere releases the wing, drawing her head high with a disapproving glare as he pulls both wings close to his small body.

    "I am not." She says, her voice a snarl, but the anger fades quickly, as if blown away by the wild wind. She does not hear Lilliana nearby, nor smell her, but so many things can hide between the rush of air and the roar of the sea. Her eye softens (her heart is still a growl, but that is a different matter entirely and no fault of Nashua's,) "Where is your mother?"

    Her nose falls from it's furious height to shove against the dark filly's rump, pushing her - almost gently - closer to the colt.

    "Go play, Child. I will see to finding you something to eat."

    Amarine squeaked, loudly, when the small figure of another foal came barreling out of nowhere towards them, only to have a wing caught by the irritable looking mare who'd brought her here. Her instinct was to shuffle and hide behind the sturdy woman, but that chance was not offered before she found herself being pushed forward. More into the open. Exactly where she didn't want to be. 

    "Nonononono," she mumbled, pushing back toward the brown mare's side. She'd only just been found! She didn't want to be abandoned again, not so soon! The black velvet surface of her face pressed behind the mare's foreleg, hiding from the jumpy boy's line of sight. She didn't want to play. She was tired and hungry and making friends was exactly the last thing on her list of things she wanted to do right now. One tiny hoof came down against the stony ground with a surprisingly sharp tap. 

    She snuck a glance back to the little winged boy, absolutely certain that if she got left here, she wouldn't be found again. It was an instinctive fear, one she didn't know how to abate. Only that it was all she knew so far, and that she trusted the big, warm mare beside her far more than she trusted any little foal who wanted to pounce on her. 

    Neverwhere Nashua

    His ears flick back at the swift (and unjustified) action of the dappled mare as her yellow teeth plant themselves firmly against his downy feathers. Nashua doesn't struggle. He isn't given a chance to even object at this treatment before he hears a voice coming from behind him.

    "A little gamey for your taste, I think," says the lyrical voice at his back. Mama, the little boy realizes. When he turns his hopeful face up to his mother, her blue eyes glance down with an expression that says he is very much in trouble.

    Yan had probably told her where he had gone.

    When Neverwhere releases him, Nashua turns and slides underneath the barrel of his mother. Neverwhere and her harsh teeth won't be able to reach him there. The copper colt ducks his head and presses his wings firmly against his sides as he slips beneath her. She smells of fresh milk and his stomach protests its hunger. He reaches to satisfy it before his curiosity distracts him. The filly cries a word - his mothers' favorite - and Nashua peeks his crimson head around her other side. He glances from the black and teal girl back to the capricious form of the Nerinian queen. Was that... was that what she was called? 

    His youthful ears perk up and the winged boy takes an inquisitive step away from his mother as he looks back up at the silver mare. "Is that her name?"

    and for every king that died
    they would crown another

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