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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

    [private]  all my sins need holy water, ashhal
    “I know when you go
    down all your darkest roads
    I would have followed all the way
    to the graveyard.”
    She is in the dark again, and she hates how easily she adapts to it.

    He is again the last thing she saw, and she knows – hopes – that he will again be the first thing. He had touched her cheek before she left, with a promise of returning. He had to have known she would cling to that, and despite everything that tells her not to, she trusts him. She trusts him in the most obscure, intangible way possible – in a way that she couldn't describe if she wanted.

    It is different this time, though. Different because the sockets do not have a chance to heal, different because somehow this dark seems infinitely darker. The skin that edges the rocks remain irritated, constantly burning, and throbbing. It did not help that the rocks occasionally morphed; to ruby or emerald, onyx and marble. With every change, it sent a sharp, shooting pain clear down her spine, the kind that made her grit her teeth. 

    She used to heal it when the pain became too much until she realized without the pain of that, it left an opening for an entirely different kind of pain. That without the ache of her injuries all she could focus on was what had happened in Hyaline. She hated how every night it was Atrox's voice that haunted her; she hated that she could not stop replaying everything that had happened, that it made pretending to be okay sleeping next to Illum impossible.

    She cannot recall the last time she was so entirely broken that not even reckless romance was enough to distract her.

    After the birth of the twins she began to steal away for more and more moments of solitude. She always returned to Taiga, and was never gone for days at a time, but it was not uncommon for her to disappear for hours in the day. She was thankful that Illum was an attentive father; that she did not have to worry about their girls, though anyone that has ever met her would know that wouldn't stop her. 

    She was too good at running away from things to stop now. Not once she finally had something to actually run from, even if every part of her wants to run back towards it, back to Hyaline, back to him.

    The day is lingering into evening, and she only knows because she can feel the way the temperature drops. It had been an unusually warm spring day, and she is standing on a familiar knoll. She knows, without having to see, that the horizon would be beginning to pale. That the sun was low, that beginning of a sunset was promised in the sky. The cool air causes her to tremble, and she brings her pale wings closer to her sides.

    It's the sound of footfalls nearby that causes her to turn her head (a habit that she never broke, not even the last time), the wind stirring the pristine white of her forelock to reveal a single piece of obsidian where an eye should have been. She does not say anything, but lets the silence hang between herself and the stranger, letting them decide if they will fill it.


    I tried to sell my soul last night
    Funny, he wouldn't even take a bite

    He's used to being alone, but lately it had felt particularly hollow. It's easy to ignore, but only because he'd been doing it his entire damn life. And this was sure as hell one of those things he did not want to examine too closely. That's one can of worms that should never be opened.

    Never mind the fact the lid had started to get quite rusty lately.

    As with everything else in his life lately (or at least for the past century), today is spent in another pit of yawning aimlessness. Time has basically lost all fucking meaning, so what the hell is one more day in the grand scheme of things?

    It might have gone down as simply another in an endless round had he not seen her as the sun began to sink over the western horizon. He might pretend otherwise, but he'd damned well recognize her anywhere. And had the sun not glinted off her lovely features just so, he might have disappeared again with her none the wiser (he has no doubt that he is the last horse she'd want to see, especially after she'd started playing house).

    But the sun does glint, and something not quite right catches his eye. He hesitates for a moment before muttering an expletive under his breath. Hell, she already knew he had no compunction about being an ass anyway. So he closes the distance with his usual swagger.

    He stops abruptly when he realizes why it is she'd seemed to look different in a way he hadn't been able to immediately pinpoint. "Fucking hell," he blurts out rather thoughtlessly. Eyes narrowing, he stares at her stone filled sockets for a long moment before adding, "What, not enough compliments on how your eyes shone like jewels, so you had to get real ones?"


    ── and i was never sure whether you were the lighthouse or the storm ──
    She has so many ghosts, and she recognizes the voice of this one immediately. The familiar sound of it makes her want to withdraw further inside of herself, to some place where she does not remember being left in a seaside cave, where she had never been allowed to invent some imaginary future of what might have been. He had been the beginning of several reminders that she will not find love where it does not want to be found.

    He was a ghost she had almost effectively buried, and with a new pain so bright and fresh within her chest it had been easy to think he was left in the past. Her thoughts were consumed by other things as of late, enough so that she is surprised by the very presence of him. Where had they left off? She felt like maybe he was angry at her, but her mind was an endless fog, the details lost somewhere within it.

    He was another scar branded across her heart, but one that at least does not burn at the sudden appearance of him.

    There is a part of her, though, that wonders what he wants. Wonders why he is here, wonders why no one seems to get tired of playing the same game with her over and over. There is a moment, so fleeting and brief, that she thinks she might finally witness a subdued version of him. That maybe that strange shift in their dynamic and the time apart would inspire a change in him, that he might offer a glimpse of what she had been asking for before.The moment is chased away by his coarse greeting, and she stifles the exasperated sigh she longs to exhale.

    “Ashhal,” is all she says, her voice light, but nearly hollow sounding. “No one has ever complimented my eyes in any fashion, so I don’t expect that to change now.” There is a peculiar dullness to her voice, and something that could be called fatigue. She turns her head away from him, the wind pulling the silk strands of her hair like a gossamer curtain over the obsidian that glints in her sockets.

    “Where did you go?” She asks him, plainly, this newfound numbness lending her an odd sort of strength and the ability to simply appear to not care what his answer was.


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