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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


    [private]  I will be your sword and shield; Lilliana, birthing
    #1

    cold in the violence after the war
    hope is a fire to keep us warm

    She can feel the creeping hands of death drawing close. She had kept the truth from Lilli, though some part of her had always known she would not endure pregnancy well. It had manifested in her aversion to it before, but some cruel twist of fate had seen fit to plant a child in her anyway. She hadn’t imagined it would result in death, but she knows better now.

    The jagged and broken ends of her horns sway in her vision as she stumbles through the trees of Taiga, breath labored as though she had just run for miles rather than walk the short distance from Nerine’s borders. The bone that never quite stopped growing wraps her ribs in what had once felt like a protective embrace. Now she knows it is the unforgiving clutches of a prison. Once they had been able to flex as ribs should, but she had grown old enough and they large enough to press against the bone of her spine, allowing no give.

    The child grew ever larger inside her, pressing against a body that had no give. So it could grow only one way, and soon even that had not been enough.

    The contractions had started though. She knows it is too soon, but somehow an understanding had been reached. She is too thin, her stomach long ago compressed by the child until she could barely eat enough to sustain it, much less herself. Her heart and lungs had grown weak beneath the strain. Too weak.

    So she seeks Lilli. Though she has no knowledge of the other half of this child’s parentage, she knows beyond doubt Lilli would care for it when she could not. For all that she had never sought motherhood, she does care for it. An ancient instinct that drives her to find the best for it, even if it would cost her everything.

    “Lilli,” she whispers, her voice muffled by the forest. She had to be close, but the child wouldn’t wait. Stumbling into a secluded glen, she crumples to the moss. It takes everything she has not to slip into a slumber she knows would end in death. Every ounce of her willpower is thrown into pushing, until a small, damp bundle slips onto the moss. She struggles against her own weakness, instinct screaming at her to ensure the little bundle breaths.

    She brushes weakly at his small nose and face, until his eyes blink open. For a moment, she could swear it is her mother’s gaze staring at her, but the wet red fur and pale flaxen strands slicked along his crest are most certainly not.

    On a failing, trembling exhale, she mutters “Reave.” Her next inhale is impossibly shallow, even as her eyes slip closed in exhaustion. “You reave.” There is pride wrapped through her rattling breath and sluggish heartbeat as she rests her bone-masked head next to his small, perfect, squirming form.


    Brazen




    lilliana
    Reply
    #2

    THE FEELING WAS ALWAYS TOO MUCH FOR ME /
    IT ALWAYS CAME TOO STRONG /
    I WANTED TO GET IT RIGHT SO BADLY /
    THAT I ALWAYS GOT IT WRONG /

    She kept as close to Brazen as she could all during the winter. It was a harder task to accomplish when Lilliana had two young children to look after as well as a territory but her bone-armored friend was given every spare moment that Lilli could find (and then some more as well).

    But as the autumn faded with falling leaves and the barren branches were replaced with layers of snow, it became obvious that Brazen was carrying a child. What was more obvious was that the mare with stoneskin and bone-plating shouldn't; what Lilliana refused to believe was that Brazen couldn't carry a child.

    They'd figure something out. They would. They had to.
    There was no other alternative. Lilliana simply wouldn't accept it.

    The stench of blood taints her quiet forest. It doesn't take Lilliana long to find the source bleeding out in a lonely glen. A whole life and then another one had painted the snow-covered ground red. Her delicate nostrils flared, taking in the coppery scent before lowering her head to the ground as she approached the pair. Her stride was considering and far too careful. There was trepidation in each step that she took towards Brazen and her newborn, like there was far too much for her to think about.

    A little boy is nestled against moss, protected from the light dusting of snow and he is already wriggling with life. He's come early in the season and yet the little chestnut shows a vitality that could only beckon spring. The colt is already attempting to stand while Brazen continues to lay on the ground.

    Lilliana's mind reflects on the night that Nashua and Yanhua had been born. Brazen had come for her, then. They had laughed and teased softly into the late hours of the night. Her friend had put Lilli's worried mind to rest when she might have otherwise kept herself awake with fear. This birth, though, is so different. There is no laughter. There is no teasing. There is only Lilliana fighting her tears and her worry because she knows that Brazen doesn't need either of those things right now.

    She needs a healer.

    "Brazen," Lilli murmurs gently into her friends red ear. Her eyes are closed and Lilliana hopes to keep her conscious by speaking to her. The most important thing right now is that the Nerinian remains alert. That she stands so her newborn - Reave - can nurse. That she gets up so they can find help. "He's perfect," her friend tells her with a softness that can only be born with motherhood.

    The Taigan finally stops and uses her nose to guide the flaxen-haired colt as he attempts to rise. Turning her attention back to his mother, Lilliana says in a voice as steady as Brazen's wobbling newborn, "We need you to get up."

    light of love - florence + the machine
    image credit to footybandit

    [img=0x0]https://img.nickpic.host/Fy9vrj.png[/img]
    Reply
    #3

    cold in the violence after the war
    hope is a fire to keep us warm

    Her voice reaches her, muffled, as though it had traveled across a great distance. It stirs what little fight she has left, the need to comfort and protect almost enough to stay the hands of death. Her eyelids flutter as she tries to lift her head, but she doesn’t have the strength. She can faintly hear the sounds of her son stirring, attempting to rise, of Lilli’s encouragement, distorted and distant.

    She reaches for her, as though she could somehow share, without words, that she would always be here for her. It doesn’t feel like a lie, even though it must be. Her breath has grown too heavy in her lungs. Too hard and thick to draw in. Even as her last breath shudders out, flames begin to lick her skin. But she clings with stubborn tenacity, even now. Almost as though summoned by instinct, stone ripples across her skin, dampening the flame. Snuffing it out until her curled figure is frozen and lifeless. A prison of stone and bone, warring with the inevitable.

    ----

    Reave mama had called him. Reave.

    His vision, vision that should have been new and bleary, is sharp and clear. He can see her face, bone-masked and beautifully fearsome, even with her eyes closed. He knows something is terribly wrong. Everything tells him to rise, so that maybe she will rise. If she did, everything would be alright. He knew it.

    The other woman comes, grief and worry and fear a blaze across her. He knows her. Deep inside, her knows her, kin calling kin. He rises for her too. To show strength and bravery. Because she needed it as much as sleeping mama did.

    But it’s not enough. Somehow, it’s not enough. Even as he wobbles on his feet, he can feel the distant exhale as Brazen breathes her last. The flames are brief, quickly snuffed out as he stares at her. In a rush, he crumples forward, falling against her unforgiving side. She doesn’t move, her skin refusing to flex beneath his touch. After a moment, he looks up at his other mama, bewildered confusion filling his wide blue gaze.


    Brazen




    lilliana
    Reply
    #4

    THE FEELING WAS ALWAYS TOO MUCH FOR ME /
    IT ALWAYS CAME TOO STRONG /
    I WANTED TO GET IT RIGHT SO BADLY /
    THAT I ALWAYS GOT IT WRONG /

    Lilliana has seen (and known) Death before, but never this close.

    She had barely been a year old the first time it greeted her. It took the shape of a man - white and sparkling like new-fallen snow. It had horns and it smiled. When she had been too afraid to run, when she knew that she couldn't leave Elena, she had looked behind her and saw it there as well in the eyes of her parents. The only thing that would have stopped them from killing the demon was Death itself. She saw it glowing, burning, blazing - in Elena, who seemed so desperate to throw herself on a flaming pyre of her reckless courage.

    (How many times has she borrowed that torchlight courage? She clutches at what remains of the embers even now.)

    And then she had come to know a second time, through the weight of her father's blue eyes. She came to learn about how Death took another shape - the same one that nearly killed her and Elena that day - and murdered her aunts and a cousin while her father looked on, powerless to stop it. Powerless while Death took another shape - that of a dragon - and it took everything about the Summer line (their warmth, their golden coats, their blue-sky eyes) into a frozen point aimed at her father's chest. It wasn't until Lilliana was older that she learned that her sire - Valerio, war hero of Windskeep - had died there. That she would learn it was an Immortal who brought him back from the knowledge that they gained from centuries of watching the candles of lives flicker out. (Is that how she will use her Immortality?)

    Death came in the shape of other ways. Here in Beqanna, Lilliana has learned that there are million little ways to die while still breathing. She has learned what is to draw a breath and resent it, like in this moment. It feels like sacrilege that this ability comes to her so naturally while Brazen staggers for it under the weight of her bone armor. Lilliana is still clinging to hope while her friend clings to life, dragging out breath after breath. Get up, Lilli thinks fervently. Get up, get up, get up. She repeats the thoughts over and over again like a prayer some forgotten god might remember.

    Eventually, just like the vision that Warden shared with her, the shallowed breathing stops. The stoneskin side stills. There is nothing left but a shell that is filled with echoes of a soul that Lilliana has loved. The chestnut wants to be like the little boy who has curled around his birth mother and lay down with them both. Death will never come for her but she thinks - desperately, almost feverishly - that if she lays down here where it has been, it might come back for her, too.

    Because of Reave, she has no more time to consider Death. He is looking up at her - looking so much like Brazen that breathing does hurt - and she is already tearing herself apart, trying to find the piece of her that he needs. Lilliana casts a grief-stricken glance at his mother before looking to the little tobiano and lowering her head, to encourage him to stand again. "Up, love." she says gravely, the heavy emotions in her chest straining her voice as she tries to force them back down.

    light of love - florence + the machine
    image credit to footybandit

    [img=0x0]https://img.nickpic.host/Fy9vrj.png[/img]
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