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  • Beqanna

    version 22: awakening

    COTY

    GHAUL -- Year 209

    QOTY

    "(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


    I don’t like most people, but I especially dislike you [Wolfbane]
    #1

    Midday comes as Neverwhere crosses the border into Taiga, already the trees are tall and thick enough to blink out the sun, but the towering forest is bright with bird song. The redwood kings are awesome, but she does not have time to take in their wonder, and the dappled colt skipping at her heels is so small that even the ferns are enormous to him. He trips and gambols through the undergrowth, crying out occasionally when it becomes too dense and tangles his legs. The white-faced mare is trying to move quickly and without notice, and neither his small outbursts nor the way he splinters into two noisy colts when he is surprised, or startled, or angry, are conducive to her plan.

    She presses forward stubbornly and he somehow keeps up, though his thin sides heave with the effort and his awkward, long, legs grow tired, and sooner rather than later she is forced to stop when he stumbles even over bare ground. With one last glance northwards and an exasperated sigh, she turns back to the boy panting in the soft, loamy earth. She comes to stand over him, pink muzzle running the small length of his body, and though he is weary, he is undamaged from the hard pace.

    Her ears flick back and her expression sours. Last year she found Amarine alone and brought her home this same way and the girl never faltered, but she had been older, and probably she had been sensitive to that unforgiving place in Neverwhere’s heart that makes her consider killing the boy resting peacefully at her feet. She had, after all, considered the same with the jewel-eyed filly, though there had been more reason then than she can summon now. What she considers now is that the shadows in Taiga are never as empty as they seem, they are alive and watching, and it makes her skin jump to think about. Her teeth, bared briefly, snap together and she lifts her head, ears pinning flat as she casts about for anyone who may be watching.

    Someone is.

    She can feel the weight of their gaze.

    Image by Ratty


    Wolfbane this is happening before she gets back to Nerine because time is an illusion
    Reply
    #2

    I believe I'd die if I only could

    I sure feel strange, but it sure feels good

    He’d not expected Neverwhere to survive their encounter, much less produce offspring from it, but where there’s a will there always seems to be a way, and eventually the news of Nerine’s Queen disappearing had quickly been replaced (by his insider informant) with news of her possible survival. Ghaul’s visit to the rocky Kingdom had set his nerves on edge, and Wolfbane had left as soon as he possibly could to gauge the situation for himself. Perhaps, if he were quick enough, he could remedy the mistake he’d made in leaving it all behind to chance.

    Under the cover of night he fled Pangea, crawling and skimming his way past the Hyaline mountain range. He took no rest; it was unnecessary since he’d been well-fed and rested in the barren lands. There was only the drive of acute curiosity and anxious disappointment to fuel him, but both lit a flame under his ass and kept him steadily moving northward until day broke and the kingswood loomed ahead in all its dark, mysterious wonder. Taiga breathed in the light surrounding it and exhaled shadows and fog, which only helped the manipulator on his journey for the truth.

    And, lucky him, the truth was hindered by her own foal, leaving their scent everywhere. He came across it with such a shock that for a moment, Bane was rendered completely motionless. He stared at the bark and the ferns around him, dripping with fresh spring dew, and marveled at the scent of what he and Neverwhere had created out of such a violent interaction. Without the need of seeing them at all, he knew immediately that she’d whelped him a son, and that the colt was healthy. “Incredible.” He whispered breathily. Magnificent, Lupei thought pleasantly.

    The curse was eager to find a new host, as madness quickly befell the horse it afflicted in its final stages, and here the chances of finding that host had been expanded overnight. Perhaps… perhaps he need not return to Loess at all, then? He knew what waited for him there, but the longing to see what foal he and Lepis had produced suddenly waned with this new information. He must find the boy - quickly.

    Bane shifted, rising up from the hazy forest floor in a flurry of activity as his legs and body grew smaller. His wings adjusted likewise, and his face contorted itself into that of a falcon. A shimmer of light echoed over his skin, and the transformation was complete: he looked exactly like Turul, Aten’s companion animal that he’d seen often, and the indistinguishable lookalike flapped a moment or two before rising and shooting off into the wood after Never and their foal. Inevitably, he located them where the pair had stopped for a minute’s rest, and he settled noisily onto a thick bough that overstretched the two horses.

    Hearing the disturbance, or possibly just feeling the pressure of Wolfbane’s intense, unnatural stare, Neverwhere’s head rose and her teeth snapped together in warning. If he could've, Bane would have smiled, but he only rose and swooped down from the branch to land on one much more close. There he waited, shuffling his curved talons and ruffling his feathers before bobbing his little head in a curious fashion.

    For this thread:  Sex: M  ◉  Appearance: Gyrfalcon  ◉  Mood: Curious



    Neverwhere time doesn't exist in Beqanna.
    [Image: Wolfbane2.png][Image: 3bCHvj.png]
    Reply
    #3

    Something winged swoops by her, and nearly as quickly, she bites at the air behind it, almost surprised to find herself without a single feather between her teeth. Although she knows Aten has a companion animal, she is not nearly so familiar with Turul that she could recognize him today or without the champagne stallion nearby. It seems unlikely that the gyrfalcon here  is that companion, but even if it were, and even if she had  caught those black-and-white checked feathers, she would not have apologized for the plucking. He should know better than to fly so close, she would have explained drily, and now he does.

    The hypothetical situation gets her nowhere, but it reflects her continued sense of unease. Nothing about her softens to find the bird resting harmlessly on a nearby branch, posing no obvious threat. Nothing about her settles or accepts it for what it is. Beqanna has not made her less distrustful, not when horses can be birds and fish and trees. Not when they can be shadows and ghosts, and any number of seemingly innocuous things, so she sneers at the creature in full knowledge that it may simply be a raptor resting between flights.

    And if it isn’t?

    She doesn't know that it is Wolfbane, of course. It could be anybody. The knowledge of it makes her bristle.

    The colt is dreaming, now. His eyes twitch and he kicks out with a still-soft hoof, striking Neverwhere’s forehooves with a clatter that draws her attention away from the bird and back to her son. There is a distinct coldness in her that she suspects is not the norm, that she knows from watching the way Eurwen and Lilliana reach out and share small moments with their own children is not the way she is supposed to feel. The dappled mare is unsure if this is due to the nature of the boy’s conception, or if it is just the way she feels about foals – any foal, even her own. She has never felt the urge or desire to bear or raise children, and perhaps the reason for that disinterest is everything that holds her back from being affectionate towards the tobacco-and-gold boy snuffling at her feet with dirt clinging to his whiskers.

    Though her ears follow every rustle of the gyrfalcon’s movement, every rustle of feather, her head drops low again to brush against the colt, seeking to quiet the gymnastics he performs in his sleep. She wonders if she would have let Lepis do as she had threatened. “I wonder if you would have just healed yourself if Lepis pushed you over the edge of one of those red towers,” she whispers softly into the warm, plush, down of his newborn wings. She thinks that she might have let it happen. And that she probably should have.

    Image by Ratty


    Wolfbane
    Reply
    #4

    I believe I'd die if I only could

    I sure feel strange, but it sure feels good

    Their colt (what a strange thing to think!) was blessedly asleep, ignorant to the world and his coming into it as Wolfbane was to Neverwhere’s agitation. He’d wanted her dead in the first place, and the fact that she’d survived the mauling and given birth to a son afterwards was the only reason she was left standing undisturbed right now, even if her wicked bite roused the side of him that he felt very little control over. Bane breathed as deeply as he could manage for a bird and clenched onto his branch until he knew he’d leave deep gouges. As badly as he wanted to take a claw or two to her eyes, he’d have to bear it for a moment longer if he wanted a clear and undisturbed view of the dappled boy.

    The little body twitched, and his father marveled at the golden colors playing over his skin from the movement. Underneath the earthy tint of his coat, there were intricate ringlets of molten light that shimmered like his own blue markings. His mane and tail were pale - paler than the twins Lilliana had bore him - but he suspected both might darken with time. His favorite, though, were the fine set of wings (real ones, not the useless spots shaped like wings that Never wore around) that draped so delicately over his back.

    Bane had always been the prideful sort when it came to his brood, and the source of the pride was in his legacy of creating a near army of pegasi that would fill the heavens with all sorts of brilliant colors. This colt seemed no different; his lineage would never be shrouded in uncertain doubt.

    “If he hadn’t, you and Lepis would’ve been quick to follow him.” The threatening voice erupted suddenly out of the bird, startled into speech by Never’s whispered confession. How dare she? Had those two harpy’s plotted together, then? “Plotted against you, yes,” Wyrm encouraged him, riling the falcon through twisted thoughts, “as if it were their place, or their right.”

    The feathers along his back stuck out at nearly every angle. He looked three times his normal size, and the shade of his round pupils had darkened to bloodred.

    “Neverwhere.” Wolfbane hissed through his beak, “I see you refuse to learn from your mistakes.”

    For this thread:  Sex: M  ◉  Appearance: Gyrfalcon  ◉  Mood: Dangerous



    Neverwhere
    [Image: Wolfbane2.png][Image: 3bCHvj.png]
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    #5

    A familiar voice hisses through the bird’s beak and perhaps his sharp raptor eyes will see the way her scowl twists into a smirk instead. She is remembering how much she loves it when she is right, when her suspicions prove to be correct. She only tsks into the colt’s wing, the soft down tickling her nose and lips as his dreams soften and his kicking legs still.

    “You’re getting so predictable, Wolfbane.”

    She cannot, of course, hear the voices in his head that incite him to that red-hazed rage, but she can hear the angry shuffling sound of feathers, and she can tell he has not come down from his tree yet, so she does not bother to turn her eye to him. The mare treads a thin line. Her feet have always been careful on such paths, but her spirit is reckless and contrary. She will not be led.

    Does she refuse to learn from her mistakes? Perhaps it depends on which mistakes it is that he refers to. Her knife-sharp grin turns wicked and for the briefest moment she lets her gaze find his – just a flash, a challenge – then whip-fast it turns down again to the sleeping colt. Bared teeth grab the boy at the base of his young wing and his blue-green eyes fly open in surprise, wrenched from his dreams by the crushing grip. He screeches when the white faced mare rears up suddenly, her neck curled with the weight of him held dangling by the wing, hard knees bruising his soft ribs. Neverwhere shakes her head, swinging the screaming colt roughly in the air until she feels a dull POP - the gold-dappled colt cries more sharply when the wing is dislocated – and then she drops him to the earth again in a tangle of limbs, one wing flapping and the other hanging useless. The boy grunts when he hits the ground, his screams turning to whispered moans as he thrashes in the black Taigan soil.

    “I’ll kill him. I’ll kill him in a second if you come near me again. Before you can stop me. Before his healing can kick in - if he even has it.” Her cloudy eyes are cold when her gaze falls back to the whimpering, writhing foal at her feet, her ears laced back and small brown feathers sticking wetly at the corners of her mouth. There’s no sign that he does, in fact, have the ability - though she suspects that if he did not, she would be dead already. The light in the clearing flickers around mother and son and then suddenly there are three mares, exact copies of the dappled Nerinian Queen in a circle around the boy, their hard, slate-grey hooves too close to the boy for comfort. One of them paws, leaving a deep indentation in the soil where a moment ago the colt’s head had lain on an outstretched neck.

    Lepis may have wondered whether she could kill a child, but Neverwhere does not.

    One of the duplicates speaks.

    "I've been thinking about calling him Log. It was the stupidest name I could come up with."

    Image by Ratty


    Wolfbane
    Reply
    #6

    I believe I'd die if I only could

    I sure feel strange, but it sure feels good

    Neverwhere reminds me of someone, The regal-looking falcon thought, glancing down at her ugly pink sneer from above. She was so defiant and sure of herself, willing to push boundaries and whatever lengths it took to try and make him suffer. To some horses her temperament appeared as valiant. To Wolfbane, Never was reckless. She flashed the wild shifter a look that could kill and turned, violently, back to their colt to snap him up in her teeth.

    Wolfbane gripped his perch and refused to move, refused to blink. He watched her pick the helpless youngling up and didn’t twitch at all when their son screeched out in pain. Instead he witnessed how the young colt’s eyes flew open, took his time to memorize the fear and terror written out over their baby’s confused face, and cemented the dull popping noise of the colt's wing being dislocated from his shoulder forever in his thoughts. He focused, and when Queen Neverwhere of Nerine had finished her tantrum and thrown the young horse into the dirt again, he listened while she threatened him.

    Just a weak imitation of Heartfire. Wyrm’s thoughts drifted lazily through wolfbane’s mind, and the gyrfalcon blinked. He titled his speckled head and asked her, “What’s the point in a name?” Bane shrugged. If she was going to kill it, Neverwhere was certainly taking her time about it. She divided herself into mirror triplets, three versions of the same mare, all surrounding the foal either as an intimidation tactic or (as the shape-shifter liked to think) added protection. But nothing happened. She didn't smash their son's head into a pulp, or try to torture him a bit more. She just... stood there. Far off a bird’s cry rang through the trees, and the whitish falcon shuffled a few steps.

    “You’re not fit to mother. A shame,” He paused, frowning down where the golden-dappled colt whimpered, “he’s incredible for surviving so much.”

    “But you’re more a threat to him than I am.” He sighed, shrugging both wings. He knew that soon enough Never would have her way and he’d be stuck in a sticky situation, and more than ever Wolfbane wanted to be able to recall the exact moment Neverwhere went from a Queen to a murderer.

    For this thread:  Sex: M  ◉  Appearance: Gyrfalcon  ◉  Mood: Dangerous



    Neverwhere
    [Image: Wolfbane2.png][Image: 3bCHvj.png]
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    #7
    He calls her an unfit mother and the dappled mare laughs, a rough sound, dulled by the fog and forest. That is very likely true. In any case, she has no intention of arguing the point while standing over a frail, injured, newborn colt scrabbling the soft dirt with tender hooves in an attempt to upright himself, wincing at the pressure on his bruised ribs. Bright blue-green eyes are dulled by pain and confusion, unable to focus on the bird in the tree when they slide over its speckled breast. For half a second, the blurry shape of a second colt flickers into sight within the ring of duplicates, but it is weak and phases out again. He's too disoriented to carry the magic for long.

    Neverwhere might argue Wolfbane's assertion that she is a greater danger to the boy than he is - there are worse things than death - but she does not do this either. Rather she at last turns away from the colt to watch the supernatural stillness of the raptor on the branch, with an expression of bored condescension.

    "That is exactly my point, I'm so glad you understand. It's going to make this so much easier."

    She pauses to turn back to the colt, head dropping low to brush the downy fuzz that covers his dislocated wing, much as she had before. This time, only her breath disturbs the young feathers, laying them flat with a warm gust of air. The boy responds with a pained nicker, reaching out to touch his nose to hers and chewing the air with toothless jaws. He's so small, so young, that he is driven more by instinct than memory, even of something that happened bare minutes ago.

    "The point of a name, Wolfbane, is it makes it personal, doesn't it?" With her head lowered, one of the duplicates takes watch, fixing its gaze on the bird in silence, while the original mare touches her scarred lips to gold-dappled boy's perfect, velveteen, muzzle, hushing the soft clacking, "So, I'll call him Wherewolf."

    Wherewolf. She already knows the looks she will get from others for that name, and has already decided she will ignore them completely.

    "You will not come near me again, or he dies. You will not come to Nerine again or I will have Brennen snatch you up and then Wherewolf will die. Is that clear enough?"

    Neverwhere
    This is the table equivalent of pajamas


    Wolfbane
    Reply
    #8

    I believe I'd die if I only could

    I sure feel strange, but it sure feels good

    Tilting his little avian head, Bane considered Neverwhere’s obtuseness and screeched a burst of laughter when she spoke again. Of course he understood! Hadn’t he literally just explained it? “Lah, but she’s a thick-headed one.” Lupei spat out a thought. It surprised him little that she felt the need to reiterate someone else’s opinion of her back to them, (annoying) but he was interested enough to sit and wait for her to come to another sort of conclusion, or tell-all, or little evening show. He had time, infinite amounts of it … for now.

    Truth be told he was eager to see if she’d follow through on killing their innocent colt. He leaned in as she went down to nose the youngling, half expecting that at any moment her hoof would come out of nowhere to bash his little head in like a ripe melon. But, to his boredom, she did not. She didn’t do anything at all, except comfort the poor thing she’d injured about five minutes ago.

    Then, adding insult to injury, she went and did the opposite of his earlier suggestion: she actually named it. And of all words to pick! A combination of theirs - Where and Wolf. If a bird could frown, it would, but Bane couldn’t do much except blink his round eyes and shake his small head. She had no right and no claim to his blood lineage, and as Wolfbane stared down upon the bastard he’d sired on the most revolting of mares he thought of his ancestors rolling in their graves.

    “You cannot stop me. No one can.” He told her assuredly, then continued, “Rest assured I won’t come for him. Not the mistake who would be best forgotten, and I pray to the Gods he knows that truth every day of his life: that he would be better off dead, always. He’s nothing but a resilient stain, Neverwhere.”

    He had others, many others to choose from. “Better stock from better lines.” Lupei hissed in his mind. “What’s clear is that you’ll get your way. I disown the boy; kill him, love him, do whatever you like while you still have the Nerinian crown,” He smiled knowingly, smugly, “who cares? I don’t.” The falcon ducked his head and flared his wings. With a final look of contempt at them both - the horse who’d escaped inevitable death and the shitstain come of it - Bane lifted himself up and off the branch, flapping swiftly away toward the shelter of Taiga’s evergreen canopy.

    For this thread:  Sex: M  ◉  Appearance: Gyrfalcon  ◉  Mood: Dangerous



    Neverwhere
    [Image: Wolfbane2.png][Image: 3bCHvj.png]
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