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  • Beqanna

    COTY

    Beyza -- Year 211

    QOTY

    "She kills him because no matter how far she has come from the bitter, angry young girl she had been, she is still Starsin, and if he wants to make her world burn, she will be certain that he burns with it." --Starsin, written by Colby


    [open]  no, really, i ain't even mad anymore [field]
    #1
    I land with the ease of much practice, aided by the flat earth and low autumn grasses of the Field. The seasons here are not the same as those on the Roof of the World, it seems.

    The land is not the same either. A creature born on the steppes, I had chosen the grassland as my destination without conscious thought. (That I had been aided by the magic that is rumored to infuse this Beqanna seems also plausible, though I’d felt none of the prickling sensation that always came when the Luxian Mages of my homeland had wielded their powers.) Strangely, this grassland is not entirely surrounded by distant mountains like those I’d recognize. In the far east it falls away into the sea, and the only mountains are directly north of me. West is hidden by what looks like an endless forest and south is too hilly and hazy to see far. A strange place indeed.

    I yawn uncomfortably and roll my winged shoulders before settling my weight to begin grazing. Though most of my attention is occupied by devouring the long grass, my black-tipped ears turn constantly, and I raise my head at the sound of another’s approach long before they are near enough to talk. Long enough to swallow the last of the autumn bounty. Though I have several immediate thoughts about their appearance, I tamp them down unconsciously. I have been raised better than that, and even in disgrace I mean to keep my manners. So I offer a smile and a polite nod of my head in greeting.
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    #2
    Kukka

    I make my way over to the Field with a mixed feeling; dread, excitement, some sort of fear of the unknown, but knowing I probably am making the right decision. I’ve been told my mother is good at this stuff, or at least she used to be, and that it might come naturally to me. But I am also my father’s daughter, easy enough to be excited, or so I think (my twin sister, who does in fact take after him much more, may disagree).

    The pearly sea-shell chimes softly in my mane, the flowers that we wove into our mane some time ago have withered. If one stray yellow petal still lingers, I haven’t noticed, but I did in fact groom again just before stepping into the Field.

    My wings that carried me here are my most noticeable feature, but I tone them down. Folding them away, mine always disappear, and mother has mentioned it might be a subconscious thing - hers, after all, rise and fall with the sun. At least I have some better semblance of free will when it comes to them - but having had them since birth, I don’t know any better than that they are there when I need them, and are gone when I don’t. My overo patches being blue-rimmed, they appear like traces of clouds on my skin, the white patches hardly different from my cremello base coat. Blue eyes now scan the grassland, already wishing it was still summer.

    I miss the heat of home, but I am on a mission.

    I spot a stranger - a small female, and when I come closer, I find myself surprised to see she is not exactly a horse, but more of a ... donkey. Surely she will share my preference for warmth and sunshine, I think, and besides, she seems harmless enough for my nearly-two-year-old self. Decision made, I make my way over with a sweet, only the tiniest bit of nervous, smile. ”Hello. Can I join you?” I ask politely, then add up with an introduction just in case she thinks I’m rude otherwise. ”My name’s Kukka. I’m from a land called Tephra.”

    Then I wonder if she already knows about the lands, or if she doesn’t and therefore, doesn’t understand a thing I’m saying. My left ear twitches nervously, but I take deep breaths trough my nose in hopes of staying relaxed enough.

    the sun does not shine for a few trees and flowers

    image credit

    xii
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    #3

    There was no point in traveling back to Loess between Alliance rounds. By the time that the pale stallion journeyed that far south, he'd have to turn right back around for his second round. Tarian had decided to spend a few days in the Common Lands. He'd rest his wings and stretch his legs and take the time to rest that he (sorely) needed.

    The latter part was easier said than done.

    Tarian has never been one to stay idle and by the second morning, the pegasus was again calculating a return trip to Loess. If he had only left the morning before, he chastised himself. He was a quick and efficient flyer. It might have sapped him of energy that would be more beneficial to save for his next match but as the second dawn came in the Common Lands, Tarian was tired and irritated with himself for not returning.

    He didn't care to sleep beneath the company of the trees and the Forest was too far to journey. The Meadow offered Tarian no privacy from the strangers who wandered and if he headed towards the River, he might as well fly over the Forest and wing left towards Loess.

    Tarian doesn't particularly like the Field either - all those seeking eyes make the steady pegasus uncomfortable. But since he has no time to return home and he has plenty of it to wait until he faces Mazikeen, the gray pegasus decides he might as well be useful. Grunting, he emerges from the treeline and eyes the grazers that have gathered here. His blue eyes first come to rest on a dark stallion that appears too soft to Tarian; he thinks the brute would be better suited on the banks of Ischia or Islandres for days of lounging and tropical fruits. There is a small mare that he spies on the edges of Field but the creature is so skittish that she is gone by the time he decided to approach. A ghost of a girl he decides would be better suited to that wet bog they call the Taiga.

    With his choices of possible recruits quickly dwindling, Tarian finally decides to settle on one that atleast has wings. She is small and brown but the pegasus thinks she carries a touch of promise. Somebody else apparently agrees with him because a filly has reached her before Tarian can. He draws his silver wings in and though he considers finding somebody else, he stays his course. The girl appears (and from what he can hear) mild-mannered and somewhat shy and the stallion can't help but sweep a blue-eyed gaze around the Field. Somebody let her come to the Field alone?

    Legado help him. He sighs.

    "Greetings," he calls out to both females. Tarian dips his head in greeting while coming to a stop, waiting to be invited to join the duo. "Tephra?" the stallion asks, watching the girl curiously. Maybe it's the Alliance. Maybe it's because Tarian has not had a real conversation in weeks. The Loessian decides to have some fun and raises his brow. "The kingdom that offers all those sacrifices to their volcano?"

    Though much is taken, much abides; and though we are not now that strength
    which in old days moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are.

    image credit to footybandit

    xii Kukka i couldn't help myself
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    #4
    Like any decently educated citizen of Huanzu, I know that unnatural colors are a sign of devilment. Unlike the average citizen though, my family had been high enough in the Emperor’s favor that an entire choir of Mages chanted their protections over me, and I know that those remain even in my banishment.

    The child’s devilry will not affect me, and I wonder perhaps if she has been cursed to remain as an infant the way my second cousin had been when he’d offended a Mage. Or perhaps she has simply been born the child of a cursed creature, too close still for the generation-thick taint of disgrace to fade from her skin. I had not changed shade upon entering this place, and the relief of that remains a comfort even as the pale child begins to chatter.

    I catch the first part of her greeting, but the rest is harder. Her words are tilted somehow, garbled in an accent that I have never heard before. The tall dappled stallion that arrives soon after has the same strangeness to his words, though the rumbling tones of it are more pleasant than those of the young child. Or perhaps I am already distrusting of this place she is from, this Tephra where sacrifices are thrown into a volcano.

    That certainly sounds like a place of devilry. So perhaps this Kukka is quite powerful after all, for surely the sacrifices give that land great power. I take a steadying breath, but not a touch of it shows on my chestnut brown face.

    “I am Xii.” The introduction is short, embarrassingly so. Stripped of our names and lands and titles, sent to the far ends of the earth for an offense that will mark our family for centuries. Taking the tall but unfortunately small-eared stallion at his word is only polite, but she is eager to learn if she has truly made it to the place she is searching for, or has simply landed in a land of devils.

    “Is this place Beqanna?”
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    #5
    Kukka

    I’m but a yearling, but I am relatively wise for my age. Naivety only gets lost with encounters like these, however, in the moment naivety is my sole response to the joke (of which frankly, the joking part went completely over my head). Shocked and wide eyed, wide-splayed even, I blurt out my surprise. Sacrifices? How can you think that?!” How can anyone! It never even was a rumour that I know of? Did someone say it as a joke? Oh. Maybe he thinks it is funny to tell a new person that some lands have sacrifices? The more I think about it, the more I dislike him and his idea of humour. Of course, the diplomatic response would have been to laugh about it and ask if he made any trips to the volcano lately for his own conjuring, but that is something I only think of when it’s too late. I only hope my genuine shock is not interpret wrongly, but I do catch the mare’s eyes and something tells me this is not good.

    My first trip to the Field is a disaster, with this self-absorbed punk deciding to play a prank on me. I’m never going to be a good diplomat, I think, and my ears sag with a feeling of desperation coming over me. I only lift my head with a friendly smile for the donkey mare when she asks her question, and nod. ”Yes, it is! Welcome, I should say. Where are you from?” I’m curious, and rather desperately interested in the other lands that apparently can be found if one looks hard enough; not in the least because the topic of disgracing my homeland by calling it a satanic, people-sacrificing place, is not a topic I want to continue talking about.

    Here I was thinking this would be a nice, civil conversation, informing another about their choices and inviting them to visit - now, it seems none of that is ever going to happen, and it takes much of my self restraint not to cry and run away from this evil madman and his stupid stories. But that wouldn’t make me a very good diplomat, would it? So I stay, disappointed in this nameless pegasus and in the world, and hope against all odds that at least some of the beginning conversation with Xii might be salvaged.

    the sun does not shine for a few trees and flowers

    image credit

    Tarian
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    #6

    Popinjay loves crowds, and she loves jokes, so this is a natural place for her, this small party in the field. It's rare that the little bay finds her way here, and even more rare that when she does, there are others gathering together like lonely little clouds, but today is a day for different things. Different places, different faces. She strolls near in time to hear the grey stallion announce that Tephra pays tribute to its volcano in the form of sacrifice and his lie tugs her forward more quickly, eager to join his mischief. She nods in firm agreement while the shining filly protests.

    "Yes," the amusement in her voice is well masked, and she turns to the yearling with a serious expression, which is no small task given the rascal laughter in her breast, "You can hardly expect them to tell a child about that sort of thing, can you?"

    Like Kukka, Poppy's wings come and go as she pleases, and, for now, she does not wear them, slipping between the bulky middles of the winged ones with practiced ease. "And they've got witches hiding among their trees."

    Pepper the lies with a pinch of the truth. Her attention pulls back from young Kukka as she affirms that this place is, indeed, Beqanna, and away from the stoic, nameless, stallion, to Xii with a bright flash of grinning teeth.

    "You have the longest ears I've ever seen"

    Image by Tekke-Draws


    muahahahhaha
    Tarian
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    #7

    He doesn't have time to answer the cream-colored girl. An ear flicks back and the pegasus turns his head to see the approach of a small, bay woman. Tarian is mildly surprised that someone was willing to play along with this little charade and there is a flicker of mild amusement in his eyes before he turns his head towards Xii and Kukka.

    How could he think that? It takes everything in him not to grin. He can feel the smile itching on the corners of his dark lips but Tarian has had a decade of schooling himself and keeping his emotions in check. "I doubt there is much left afterward to tell anything," the stallion quips back rather darkly.

    There is a small gnawing sense of guilt in the back of his mind for the filly. The joke will end soon enough but there may be a lesson for the girl to find. She is entirely too bright in the literal, shining sense of the word. If the worst thing she encounters on her first diplomatic mission is Tarian, he considers himself a gentler introduction to how the outside world could be. There were far worse things in Beqanna (and the outside realms) to stumble upon than him.

    The interest on his face when he looks back to the bay mare is genuine and a wry smile curves on his lips. "I had not heard about the witches," Tarian says to this newfound compatriot. He knew Tephra as the land of the sleeping volcano and that of the most inhabitants seemed to keep to themselves. It was a quiet country. He hasn't traveled extensively in Beqanna and decides to share the wild rumors he's heard with the trio with a roguish smile. "What about the sea monsters in Ischia? The ghosts haunting the North?"

    Looking to the long-eared mare, his smaller ones prick attentively while he considers something. He still thinks that she shows potential for Loess - (her wings certainly help that decision) - and so instead of telling Xii his name, Tarian asks: "has something sent you searching for it?"

    The dragons that attacked Loess are still burning fresh in his mind. If she was fleeing trouble, he'd rather not bring it home.

    Though much is taken, much abides; and though we are not now that strength
    which in old days moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are.

    image credit to footybandit

    xii
    Reply
    #8
    The bewitched child seems stunned by the mention of sacrifices, and I wonder if I have made a misstep. Assuming her older than her shape like my unfortunate cousin, I’d not bothered to consider her actual age. Now I do look more carefully at her, attempting to peer through the layers of her ethereal appearance with a sharp chestnut gaze. Old enough to no longer need a nursemaid, but not a mare fully grown, I decide. Do they shield their young from full knowledge, I wonder, or perhaps her kind are considered too delicate to know? It is a puzzle within a puzzle, and I am ever more uncertain of finding a place here. It is the first, I find, as the brown mare enters the conversation between myself and the stallion. Though her shoulders are bare and her tail embarrassingly thick, I find the merriment in her eyes reminiscent of my sister’s and the smallest bit of unease disappears

    Protocol dictates that once welcomed I must stay, but does protocol exist in Beqanna? Could it be they have different protocols, even, different things considered polite or strange or unwelcome? I smooth my face, imagining a serene blue sky, and smile back at Kukka from a land called Tephra.

    “I am from the Empire at the Roof of the World, and the First Herd of the Huanzu.” I watch her face for a sign of recognition, then glance at the seal brown mare and then grey stallion. I notice the similarities they share, those short ears, those long manes and full tails, not to mention their height. Even young Kukka is already taller than I. It is an unfamiliar feeling – this being the loveliest in a group – but it does nothing to assuage my nerves. Those grow ever tighter, as the brown mare mentions witches and the stallion talks of sea monsters and ghosts.

    I do not doubt such things exist here, having heard tales of this mythical place, but to hear the residents speak so lightly of them?

    A strange place indeed.

    The grey stallion, who has still given his name, asks if I had been searching for Beqanna, and for this at least I do have an answer.

    “I am looking for a home,” I tell him, “A place that might make use of my skills as a herbalist and midwife. I am no longer needed in the Empire, but had heard Beqanna is a civilized place where I might ply my trade.” Civilized, I think, but still wild. The first Emperor had earned his seat by bridling the wild magics at the Roof of the World; clearly Beqanna had no such leader to reign in their devilry. I wait, hoping that the two adults might know of some place I might look, and am pleasantly surprised by the glowing compliment from the mare with the merry eyes.

    “Thank you,” I reply, “Yours are quite nice as well.” They’re long enough for her to hear, anyway, even if I’ve seen marmots more impressive. It never hurts to be kind, I hear my Auntie’s voice, and it never hurts to listen long than you think you need to.

    @[Kukka] @[Popinjay] @[Tarian]
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