“He only knows home in his dreams and even those dreams do not mimic large, centuries-old redwoods. Lio doesn't remember the last time he laid his head down and truly felt comfortable.” --Elio, written by Phaetra
11-05-2020, 03:14 PM (This post was last modified: 11-05-2020, 05:11 PM by Nashua.)
stars when you shine, you know how i feel oh freedom is mine
It's difficult for a horse made for the sky to find a place to land in Taiga. The trees have always been to dense. As a youngster, Nashua had learned of a few places where the canopy opened up enough that a gangly, yearling pegasus could crash through. A few years have passed since then and Nashua has grown stockier and thicker.
Unfortunately for him, the spaces that he used to crash through have stayed the same while he has not.
Cursing quietly under his breath, the pegasus makes a sharp turn that uses a winter updraft to propel him further above the northern forest. He soars for a time, searching for a clearing to use as a landing. Nash uses up most of the winter's limited daylight by traveling to the northwestern part of Taiga - where the Pangeans had scorched a few trees - when he is finally able to come down from the clouds. Nashua ruffles his wings in an attempt to shake the winter chill and salt brine from his feathers. Drawing them back in, the flaxen-haired pegasus moves away from the meadow he'd landed in and trots off down a trail that he's known since foalhood.
Hersir of the Isle, Nashua thinks with such a warm flare of pride that it keeps him warm despite the frost in the air. The former Taigan can hardly believe that Leilan would bestow such a title or responsibility upon him but the Dragon King had. He had taken up his duties immediately, eager to show his mentor that he was worthy of the weight that Leilan had placed on his winged shoulders. But those duties keep him away from Taiga longer than he'd planned (or wished) for.
The thought of Noel and their new arrival makes him anxious to find the pale pegasus that he had left beneath the Redwoods a few moons before (the Isle is no place for an expecting mare). His green eyes search through the winter shadows for a glimpse of his flame-marked mother or glowing Yanhua. Others call the Redwoods home, too (the shadow-dwellers, a mare that Yan had mentioned named Borderline). He weaves through the trees, crunching steps that echo through the frozen forest while his golden stripes catch and gleam on the stray strands of sunlight that break through the barren branches above him.
Nashua is so intent on finding anybody that he doesn't notice that the dark wings on his back have vanished.
Though winter had come and my belly was growing, I still found myself finding the old, familiar path back to the area of Taiga that had been burned during the Pangean attack. The little seedlings had turned into saplings slightly taller than myself in many of the areas, and much of that growth had happened recently, thanks to my newfound gift. With practice, I had gotten better and better at regrowing the forest that I now called home, that Yanhua had helped me to understand and love.
As I weave my way through the trees, I prance happily, my hooves lifting easily over the frozen ground. There was an elegance to my movements, almost like I was dancing, as each hoof comes off the ground and flicks up. From the outside, anyone could tell that I am happy, happier than I have been for, well, probably my whole life! I felt whole in Taiga, like I was finally at home, and that home was wonderful and warm and close.
For a moment, I stop to ponder on that happiness, my blue eyes taking in all that surrounds me. The huge, snow tinged trees that surround me seem to close in around me, creating a cozy kind of feeling within me. I take in a deep breath, smelling the familiar, woody scent of the forest. It all felt so good. I close my eyes for a moment, just reveling in this feeling.
The sound of another body moving through the forest along the path that I am on causes me to snap my eyes open. Could it be Yanhua? A thrill of excitement runs through me as I look around toward the sound, but it is not Yanhua. There was a slight disappointment within me, but still, I smile softly at this unfamiliar figure. He was handsome (though not handsome enough for my thoughts to stray away from Yanhua), and what I take the most notice of are the okapi stripes that seem to glow brightly in the dull forest scenery. It reminds me slightly of Yanhua. Come to think of it, he also had the same coloring as Yanhua, and other familiar trademarks that belong to Yanhua.
My eyes brighten, and my smile broadens. This was probably Yanhua’s twin brother than he’s told me about! “Hello!” I say, my voice reflecting the cheery nature that the rest of me expresses. “Are you Nashua?” I ask the question without even thinking about it, then immediately regret it. What if this wasn’t Nashua and I just made an absolute fool out of myself? No matter, what’s been said cannot be unsaid, so I stand as confidently as I can, just waiting for a response.
11-06-2020, 04:51 PM (This post was last modified: 11-06-2020, 07:11 PM by Nashua.)
stars when you shine, you know how i feel oh freedom is mine
He sees the gleaming white of her hide through the trees and for a brief instant, Nashua had thought it was Noel. Something leaped in his chest as he turned towards the pale form approaching him and the chestnut pegasus (albeit with invisibility-cloaked wings) approached the other horse eagerly. No wings are adorning the sides of the mare who emerges through the shadows of the Redwoods. Nash catches his disappointment in time before it reflects on his handsome face and smiles at the Taigan that comes forward.
Nashua doesn't miss the slight swell of her stomach and it brightens something in him. He may not reside in Taiga anymore but it would always be his home. The knowledge that the Redwoods would have another generation of foals laughing beneath these giants gladdened him. His own child could have a playmate, he realizes. It reflects in the smile that he offers the white mare - a milder one of the version that he normally wears - as the chestnut stallion dips his head in greeting towards her.
"You caught me," he teases back in reply. Nashua closes the space between them, curious as to why she would know his name but he wouldn't know hers. Unless, he muses, this is the mare that Lilliana had brought back from the Field and the one that Yanhua had mentioned during their last meeting. "Unfortunately I don't know your name." His flaxen tail whipped between his golden-striped hind legs. (He has a growing inclination but he'll wait to hear it from her first.) Nash directs his head back towards the trail that he had been traveling down, "perhaps you could remedy that while we walk?"
The pegasus takes a few steps before looking back to Borderline, "I'm was hoping to find Lilliana or my brother, Yanhua." Nashua explains, "both can be a little... difficult to locate at times." The smile on the chestnut stallion broadens at that. How many times had Yan said something smart and then used his intangibility to avoid Nash's 'brotherly' retaliation? It's one of the many memories he has of growing up in Taiga; one of the happier ones to outweigh the troubled ones that he keeps stored away.
Lilliana just had a habit of avoiding the world when she didn't want to be found.
"Forgive me for being presumptuous, but your new to this forest?" He asks as a born-and-bred Northerner. Even if this isn't Borderline, the North was a small population. They were a group wary of outsiders after the usurping of Aten, the reign of terror that Wolfbane had wrought, and the Pangean attack. The lovely face of his companion is new for the Hersir. It doesn't hurt to know what brings a soul to the Northern forest and it certainly won't hurt his responsibilities to the Freyr to know about those who dwell in the kingdom of the Dragon King.
11-16-2020, 02:07 PM (This post was last modified: 11-16-2020, 02:07 PM by Yanhua.)
I got extra feelings
What was greater than glory? Family, Yanhua thought. The Alliance and its brilliance of magic had faded away when the news came: Borderline was pregnant. Yanhua of Taiga had known that she was most likely not the only recipient of that gift either, and later that night his thoughts had strayed to Amarine. The butterfly mare was smiling her dark grin right behind his eyes before he closed them for sleep. However, it was with Borderline that he stayed. The tall stallion had invited his longtime friend to travel down from Nerine should the inevitable come to pass and she find herself suddenly stricken with a case of pregnancy too, but any mention of such hadn’t reached his ears, so he watched his mate grow and helped her along with the gift of reviving their homeland.
Borderline was adept with her ability to manipulate and revive the greener things of the earth, and Yanhua was often enraptured enough just to watch her practice for hours on end. He hardly noticed time passing until the announcement of his loss came, which he shrugged away with a bittersweet smile. He’d heard of Balto in the first round and wished him well in future endeavors. Yan himself had very little to prove and much more to learn, personally.
Now the season was stretching into Spring again, Borderline’s girth was as large as Yanhua thought it could possibly get, and their once-burnt woodlands hardly seemed affected by what had happened only a year or so ago. Flora revival could do wondrous things, and Yanhua himself was thrilled to know that his soon-to-arrive foal would grow alongside the saplings their mother had helped bring to life.
Today he slept late, up all night from a round or two of border patrol, and he only awoke when the absence of sound and Borderline’s warmth against his side became too obvious to ignore. Yanhua pushed past the thick curtain of vines covering his and Borderline’s little home in the hillside, picking up a slow-moving trot that lengthened into a rolling canter as he set off to explore Taiga and find his companion.
“She couldn’t have gone very far.” He soothed his nerves with a smile, popping over a fallen trunk half-sunken into the forest floor. His assumptions proved correct: a mingling of voices caught his attention and Yanhua slowed down, digging his cloven hooves into the soil while he turned to face the noise. He waited with an open mind until a few echoes reverberated through his thoughts like flashes of familiar photos in a cherished album, then fluttered his lashes over a pair of blue eyes before setting off in the direction of Borderline and Nashua. Both gave him familiar echoes whenever he wasn’t in the vicinity to physically see them, depending on their respective moods. For Borderline it was hoofprints in the snow, a vivid memory of happiness and equal measures nervous excitement. Our first meeting, Yan knew as he trotted along. Nashua’s was a fluttering dove, more complicated in its intricate emotions but a pleasant symbol of hope nonetheless.
“What a pleasant surprise!” Yanhua spoke up as he drew nearer to them and stopped, happening on the pair with a wicked but loveable grin. “My wayward brother out escorting my pregnant bride. Tsk tsk, Nash.” Yan teased mercilessly as he strode into full view. Borderline looked small and dainty beside him when he came to her side, planting a fervent kiss on her pale brow. “I was always afraid of this moment.” He chuckled good-heartedly and looked up at Nashua again, horns curving over his neck and ears upright.
As Nashua moves in closer, I can see the resemblance even more. Him and his brother have very similar facial structures and their fur is almost the same hue. I smile softly at him, almost nervous to be meeting the brother that Yanhua had told me so much about. I laugh as he says that he doesn’t know my name and suggests that I could remedy that. As we turn to walk together down the trail, I bob my head and speak up. “I am Borderline. It is a pleasure to meet you, Nashua. Yanhua has told me many things about you!”
I smile reminiscently when he mentions that Yanhua and Lilliana could be a little hard to locate at times. I could definitely attest to that. I hadn’t seen Lilliana since she had invited me back to her home, and Yanhua was always disappearing, which was a little disconcerting to me. “You’re telling me!” I joke. “Right now, I’m not sure where either of them are, but I’m sure we can find one or the other. I’ll accompany you while you look for them.”
As we walk, the stallion makes small talk. “I am new here. Well, kind of. I’ve been here probably a year now, but I guess that’s new, considering you and Yanhua were both born and raised here.” I laugh, a soft sound against the crisp spring air.
Just then, the sound of hooves breaks my concentration, and I look up just in time to see Yanhua appear from between the trees. A thrill runs through me, the same thrill that runs through me every time I see my mate. I smile broadly for him as he comes closer to places a kiss on my cheek. I lean into the kiss ever so slightly and give him a soft nuzzle in return. “You are the pleasant surprise, m’love,” I whisper. I shift away from Nashua so that we are all standing kind of facing one another. “Why so afraid, m’love? Worried I’ll charm your wayward brother as I charmed you?”
11-29-2020, 01:35 PM (This post was last modified: 11-29-2020, 01:38 PM by Nashua.)
stars when you shine, you know how i feel oh freedom is mine
"Likewise," Nashua says in her direction and gives his slender head a dip in polite greeting. "All good things, I hope?" the young pegasus asks and the smile he gives her is one that he hopes is inviting, that she is welcome to make herself comfortable alongside him as they walk through Taiga. "Not that I ever did anything wrong," Nash teases in that way only a sibling could; in the way that implied there were plenty of foalhood stories about the nonsense that he and Yanhua (well, mostly Nashua) got themselves into.
But it makes Nashua curious to learn more about this newest Taigan. Where has she come from? Did she have siblings? What stories did she have to tell from her youth?
At the mention of his mother and Yanhua, he sobers a little. "Oh, I have no doubt." The chestnut states. They might be difficult to find at times but Nashua whole-heartedly believes they are never far from Taiga. Lilliana would never leave it (atleast not willingly), he thought. And as for Yan, well, his brother has been the one mooring that Nash has had throughout his life.
The pair travels for a time - winding through hoof trails that he has known since birth - past the large ferns, underneath a low-lying branch, through a chapel of Redwoods untouched by the fires. Nashua listens with an ear kept in Borderline's direction as she tells him that she was born in another land (and how the explorer in his soul jumps at that; he wants to soar headlong into a conversation about where she comes from, what she has seen, what worlds and realms she has known) but he schools himself with the patience that he has practicing of late. His pace quickens as he fights back the questions but he lets the young mare share what she wishes and offers a friendly smile when she finishes, "well, welcome to the North then."
It's a silly joke since she's already been here for a year. But he hopes she'll accept his welcome all the same, as late as it is.
The sound of a familiar voice cuts between their conversation and Nashua's grin broadens, becoming a mirror of his brother's. He watches the lovers greet each other and as the brothers fall into their familial banter, he grins down to fine-boned Borderline. "I think he was afraid you would learn who the handsome twin is," Nash replies. His green eyes flicked up to Yan's with an impish glint. A blink and the rest of the striped pegasus followed his already invisible wings. He was no longer there.
"Better?" he asked. Now Yanhua could be the handsome twin, since Nashua was nowhere to be seen.
12-01-2020, 02:30 PM (This post was last modified: 12-01-2020, 02:31 PM by Yanhua.)
I got extra feelings
With so much to see and so little time to see it all, Yanhua was ecstatic that his pegasus brother had taken some of that time to come and visit this little corner of Beqanna. He knew that if Nash could somehow manage to keep awake all hours of the day, he would - just to use them for exploration or Isle-related errands. How or where his twin had gotten the energy, Yanhua never knew. Sometimes just the thought of flying here and there exhausted Yan, but every now and then he wondered; what would it really be like to see the world from Nashua’s vantage point? What would it feel like to finally see the great red giants become small? Of one thing he was sure: Nashua would be the first to know and the only teacher Yan would accept if he ever managed to figure out how to grow a pair of wings.
“Not better! Not at all! Now you two are conspiring against me. And you- ” Yanhua jerked his bearded chin towards his brother's last known spot, frowning with his eyes but smiling anyways, “ -had to go and expose my greatest insecurity.”
Yan’s head moved slowly from side-to-side, a weary shake despite his youthful looks.
“Some twin you make.” He grumbled pleasantly.
Despite the jokes, Yanhua was truly glad they were all together. He stepped in stride with Borderline, not one to ruin a gathering and not one to care where their journey led them. It was true that he’d been sparse lately, though he hadn’t heard Borderline mention as much to his brother, but the fact remained and he felt a twinge of self-guilt at not being here to immediately greet Nash with Borderline, where he rightfully belonged. Lately, Yan had been slipping into Nerine and back again to visit with Amarine in hopes of convincing the gem-studded mare to give up the ghosts of her childhood there in favor of a future here, in Taiga, with him.
This was a secret he’d been keeping from Borderline; he knew well enough how his younger mate might take to the news, and that was to say she’d hate it. She’d probably hate him as well, but unfortunately there was no turning back from the permanency of having covered Amarine in the spring - something Yan and Ama were almost certain would now produce a foal. However, instead of coming clean Yanhua had opted to wait for better timing, which (sadly for Yan) had yet to reveal itself.
He really couldn’t do it now, could he? On the way south from Nerine he’d convinced himself to break the news as soon as he got home and saw Borderline, but how could he have expected Nash to drop in? So here he was, pretending like everything was fine, kissing Borderline’s cheek and making sly jokes while inside he sank underneath his guilt. The pale blond chestnut glanced at his wife’s growing belly and bit back his self-loathing with a grin. I’ll tell her later, he promised himself, unaware that later wouldn’t come.
“Borderline, you’ll have to forgive my invisible sidekick. I think he fell from a high branch one too many times as a colt.” Yan laughed, purposefully loud since he couldn’t see where Nash had gotten away to. “You should ask him about Icicle Isle and his job there - then you and I can walk the rest of the way in comfortable silence.”
I give Nashua a sly grin when he asks if all the things Yanhua had told me were good things. “A few things, maybe.” My sly smiles turns into a playful grin. It wasn’t true, of course. Many of the things Yan had told me about his brother were good things, or silly things that foals get up to, which I don’t really count as being bad. Still, it was fun to jest, and so I did as we moved through the forest together.
As we travel and talk, the scenery changes little. Every once in a while, a fern brushes across the path so that my legs brush against it lightly. Once upon a time, the sensation might have frightened me, but I had wandered these trails for a year, now, so I had long since become familiar with the sensation. While we walk, I keep my attention trained mostly on him, ducking low-hanging branches and navigating the path as if I had known these lands my whole life. What can I say? I’d spent a good portion of that year wandering Taiga, waiting for Yanhua to return from whatever adventures he was off on.
I take note of the interest he takes when I mention that I am from a different land. I smile, mostly to myself, but am surprised when he does not pursue the subject, and instead welcomes me to the North. I laugh, a delicate sound that hangs in the cool air around us. “Well, thank you, but unfortunately, I think Yanhua beat you to that one.” I give his shoulder a little nudge with my shoulder as we continue down the path, just as Yanhua greets us.
It doesn’t take long for Nashua to start in on the brotherly heckling. “Oh, who’s to say I think either of you are handsome?” I grin up at the boys, a twinkle in my eye. My face would have softened into a warm smile, but instead it contorts into something between surprise and bewilderment as Nashua disappears. Yanhua, however, seems relatively unfazed by his brother’s disappearance, and heckles right back while I stand there now looking confused. I quickly wipe the confusion off my face, though, and laugh when Yan says that his brother has revealed his greatest insecurity.
When Yan excuses his brother’s invisibility, I grin playfully. “Fell? Or did you pull his tail?” I bump my shoulder into his shoulder playfully and smile warmly up at him. I certainly had missed this time with him, and I was starting to grow suspect of his constant journeys away from home, but that didn’t show as bantered back and forth. “Oh? Would that be comfortable silence? Because I think he could easily talk our ear off.”
12-05-2020, 09:30 PM (This post was last modified: 12-05-2020, 09:34 PM by lilliana.)
stars when you shine, you know how i feel oh freedom is mine
Since the ability is a new one and something that Nashua is still figuring out, his invisibility flickers in and out until the gold-striped pegasus comes back into view. His grin is tugged towards one-side, lopsided and amused by Yanhua's gesture. The expression is playful but Nash can't hide the fondness brightening his green eyes; it was almost impossible for Nashua to hide any emotion from Yan.
He's never wanted to, anyway.
"Who else would have put up with your shenanigans?" Nash teases, knowing full well it was often him that got into trouble. If Yanhua ever found any, it was most likely because Nashua had led them both there.
"If I did, it was only because you chased me up them with those," the chestnut says with a nod towards his twin's proud horns. The striped stallion settles his feathers comfortably along his sides as the trio settles into a grouping that allows enough room to weave and wind through the Taigan woods. He glances off from one of the trails, hoping to catch sight of his original purpose for being here.
Noel was here, somewhere (or so he hoped).
One copper ear flicks towards Borderline as she mentions that she thinks he could easily continue talking. About some things, sure. Conversation was something that he found as easy as flying. But there was a knot that he was attempting to untangle in the pit of his stomach. The impending birth of his own child(ren) was leaving him uneasy. Whatever emotions lurk beneath Yan's blue eyes, the taller stallion does a good job of keeping them at bay. Nashua has no idea of his brother's predicament (and if he did, what could he say? Their parentage is a lesson in itself for Nash); "Oh, it's terribly exciting," Nashua tells Borderline with a friendly grin and looks down to his brother's mate again. "But if you'll both excuse me," he glances between the two, "but I was hoping to find... someone."
Nash lifts his head to an upcoming crossroad in their hoof trail and inclines his head in the opposite direction, an indication of where he meant to go. "Borderline, it was nice to meet you." He winks, teasing her again before nodding to Yan. They'd talk later, he assumes.
And with that, the young pegasus turned down the parting path to try and find Noel.
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