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    version 22: awakening


    GHAUL -- Year 209


    "(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

    [open]  walking heavy to the beat of a broken drum; any


    It grows older, and in this, more dangerous. Its body lengthens, its skills sharpen. It was born with the desire to hunt, to rend flesh, but now it has practiced these things. Now it knows how to stalk, how to kill quickly.
    It knows these things because this is the blueprint it was born with. Its nature, even. Red in tooth and claw.
    But there are other things, thoughts that rise up and away from the reptilian seat of its brain. It knows that there is a kinship, however frayed, to the other creatures around it. That it, while foreign, is not entirely so.
    Sometimes, it tries to speak, and the words are labored. Its mouth was meant for other languages, ones mostly lost. But it practices, alone, where it cannot be overheard. It shapes the syllables of its name. Its descriptor.
    Creature. You are Creature.
    It feels a pull. A homing instinct, the way birds migrate south for the winter. But this pull isn’t so clean, it is undecipherable. Though perhaps to the birds, the pull of the south is undecipherable as well. Perhaps there is some reason there, a reason that lurks behind the rough comprehension of its alien mind.
    Whatever the reason, it is back in the thick of this land, its birthplace. It is back and all around it smells of meat, but it does not hunt. Instead, it stands, and watches as they move, and perhaps behind its flat gaze there is a flicker of something more.

    and what rough beast, its hour come ‘round at last
    slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?


    It is like walking through a fever dream.
    The shadows here make her dim, rob her of her glittering. She refracts no light, sheds no rainbows here. The glass hide is smooth, cool. And she smiles quietly to herself as she goes, careful, picking her way across roots and stumps. Hazards capable of shattering her should she let them.

    There is a kind of seriousness here that she has never worn before. A silent reverence, an appreciation for the dangers here. Dangers she has never encountered before. She is young, Clementia, though her age is gauged by the water streaming down her sides. A steady drip when she emerged from her mother’s womb turned to a river now. Not capable of lending her flight yet, but an indication that she is older now than she was then.

    She catches sight of him through the darkness. Such a peculiar thing. Kickstarts her heart. But she feels no fear as she sinks closer, a victim of her intrigue. Those galaxy eyes narrow in concentration when she stops several paces away. She has never seen anything like him.

    She draws in a steady breath, tilts her head like fine china. Moves a little closer still, so horribly oblivious to the depths of danger here. “What are you?” A rude thing to ask, certainly, but the voice is so dreamy, lyrical, that it would be almost impossible to perceive it that way.

    be still, my foolish heart
    don't ruin this for me
    C  L  E  M  E  N  T  I  A



    It takes her in. She is strange in different ways than it, wet and glossy and beneath the glint of her skin it sees strange things. It senses a delicacy about her too, the way things like it are wont to sense the injured or otherwise easy prey. But it does not act on such notions (though there is a moment, a breath, where its muscles tighten without conscious thought). But it was taught, from a young age, to be careful in its hunting. It was that horses who appear normal – or even frail – can harbor great magics, things that would backfire and destroy it in a heartbeat. And so, it only watches, and listens to her question.

    What are you?
    This question has been asked to it before. And there are answers, words that drift in its mind like detritus on a river - alien, monster - but it does not say these words. It thinks. It tries.
    What are you?
    It parses the question, word by painstaking word. What. Are. You.
    It thinks of what the pack calls it, sometimes. It gives her this.
    “Cree…cher…” it says, laboring in the words, trying to say its name. Creature.
    As good an explanation as any.

    and what rough beast, its hour come ‘round at last
    slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?


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