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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


    give me reasons we should be complete
    #1
    YADIGAR
    there’s a hole in my chest but it’s mine, baby, it’s all i got.
    He returns to Pangea triumphant. The dry heat of the desert washes over him despite the winter beyond their borders, a gentle reminder that he belongs here and nowhere else. Yadigar tucks his leathery wings against his back and leaves a long stridden trail of talon marks in his wake as he slips further into the territory. If each kingdom nominated only their best for the alliance, then he had assumed they would be the most worthy of his time. Whether Tarian fulfills this theory remains to be seen.

    Loess has lost its spark despite the inferno we gave it, don’t you think?” he asks over his shoulder. “Neither your queen or her champion came to your aid. We’ll have to stoke the fire in them anew.

    When they reach the towering canyons, the Pangean creature comes to a stop. He turns to face the other male with his chin held high. Though half of his face is marred by gnarled burn scars, his milk-white eye seems to stare infinitely into Tarian. The blind eye gives a faint glow as it swirls through the countless futures the pegasus may live - returning to Loess, remaining in Pangea, or leaving kingdoms entirely. It explores them each in seemingly infinitesimal paths. Yadigar knew knows which one will hold true.

    How will you make use of your time here? Will you learn our ways as an enemy? As a friend? Perhaps you’ll scorn our company entirely,” he wonders aloud. “Regardless, Pangea does not harm its captives so long as they pose no threat to us. You’re free to roam the eastern realm as you see fit.

    Yadigar shifts his weight and observes him, then. His spiked tail floats from left to right, content to be home. He wonders if Breach will allow him to take prisoners as Straia does, once he migrates to the kingdom next year. Maybe he won’t mind either way.

    Tarian
    Reply
    #2

    Tarian is tempted to rip out the milky-white (and only) eye out of Yadigar's skull for his remark about his home. He refrains with a brusque shrug of his shoulder and gives a hardened stare to the desert ahead. "My Queen is the only one left to Loess," he shares with the young dragon-horse, "perhaps she was acting out of sensibility given the previous... relationship between our kingdoms." His first thoughts had been for the opalescent monarch; if she were to be taken captive by Pangea, what would happen to Loess?

    They had no Champion, no Heir. If they were to lose their only remaining Queen, what would happen to the realm that so many winged horses were beginning to call home?

    He had decided that it was better that he - a horse of no important rank or prestige - was taken. There is even a part of Tarian that agrees with yadigar, that the Loessians will have to do something to raise their kingdom above and beyond Ghaul's ashes. There could be an advantage for his year in captivity here. Something to learn and bring back to his people, perhaps? Knowledge could be a weapon and Tarian intended to use (and exhaust) all his options where it concerned the Kingdom of the East.

    When the pair finally come to stand before the canyons of Pangea, Yadigar looks at him with his sole eye. The gray stallion turns his head to glance towards his captor and finds himself captured in a realm of possibility. There are multiple futures for Tarian to find: leaving Beqanna, returning to the nomad lands, returning to Loess, and even finding Paraiso again. There are glimpses of moments with Orani and Altissima, of women he has never known and children he still can't fathom. In some futures, he wears a crown again and in others, Tarian remains a soldier. There is no set future and Yadigar's 'gift' leaves him traveling the paths of many different trails in the years to come.

    When he comes back to the present, he glares sharply at the younger brute. He is reminded of Isakov and anger bristles beneath his scarred, gray coat. Where Tarian currently stands, he learns that he will not be harmed so long as he does not attempt to escape and complies with whatever code the Pangeans keep for their hostages. It makes him wonder if there will be any kind of aid to come from the Southlands. He snorts, dismissing the thought. The South had more important things to worry about than its Alliance contender.

    And Tarian, never being one suited to being idle, snorts and asks: "What would you do if our roles were reversed? I'd prefer to be useful, but not at the expense of my home."

    Reply
    #3
    YADIGAR
    there’s a hole in my chest but it’s mine, baby, it’s all i got.
    He watches Tarian’s reaction to his words and he notes the plethora of microexpressions that he wears as he processes them. His scaled head tilts and he hums softly in thought. Oceane was the only one left? Intriguing. There is a faint smirk etching its way across his face before the pegasus seems to get lost in the endless paths the eye shows him. It promises both greatness and calamity, without any indication as to which is more plausible. Yadigar has learned to never trust its sweet promises.

    And then he poses a question of his own. If Loess managed to take him as her captive, what would he do? What a splendid notion. No one had ever dared to reach for him here, in the shadow of his father’s crown. But now Ghaul is gone and he has taken the role of the family patriarch for himself.

    I would meet your queen and learn her intentions for her home. Then I would identify her weaknesses and plan how to tear it all apart at the seams,” he admits callously. “Pangea exists to test the boundaries of this world and fortify whatever it finds worthy.

    He steps closer, then, turning his head so the mottled flesh of his missing eye faces Tarian now.

    I was born weak and soft-scaled, you see. My sister tore out my only good eye and so I learned to see in other ways. My survival relied entirely on my ability to adapt.

    Yadigar remembers how his father had held his face in his iron talons and cauterized the weeping wound. He painted the desert’s red dust in his blood and left him there to sob into the night. It had been cruel, but it had made him a greater hunter, and taught him he could survive even the trials that made him beg for death.

    Is that would you’d like to do, Tarian? Meet Straia and see if you can find where she bruises the best?

    Tarian
    Reply
    #4

    It would seem that for all Yadigar is (unfortunately) scaled and dragonborn, he shares a similar mind with Tarian. The silver pegasus had started to formulate that a plan that he might find a way to be useful to both the Pangeans and Loessians. So long as Pangea didn't intend to use him as a tool against his home, Tarian wasn't averse to finding a way to turn his captivity into a benefit for the Southlands. And knowledge, in its own way, was a weapon.

    What he learned here - now - could be used against Pangea, should the need arise (if history was any indicator, there would be).

    "Tell me, yadigar," asks the older stallion, truly curious. "What makes you think Pangea the best judge for Beqanna?" That statement had piqued the pegasus's interest. Clearly, the Kingdom of the East believed it because they had blazed 'judgement' on Loess, and supposedly, Nerine and Taiga. How had a den of dragons become the jurors for the Land of the Sunrise?

    "What gods," he wonders, "gave this blessing?"

    He doesn't mean to condone or ridicule. The winged stallion was raised with the belief that they were always watched by their ancestors. So long as they never forgot their roots and looked for guidance in the winds and gales, they could never be lead astray. But Tarian, who had been an Heir and who once had a whole realm intended for him, had learned otherwise. His 'gods' had blown through his home, taken what they had wanted, and left the others to aimlessly wander the realms not overtaken by the mists that seemed to claim so many worlds.

    Tarian has always believed that his fate will be entirely of his own making - no divine help needed - and at this moment, the fate he'd like to accomplish is returning to Loess no worse than he left it and acquiring information about the land that had left so many horses whispering about what really existed in that wild country. The buckskin takes another step closer to Tarian and he studies the stud, observing that there was no eye to get lost in on this side of his slashed face. An eye that the other horse has learned to make do without and learned other ways to see. Interesting.

    He can't imagine any of his siblings attempting to maim him - Liam was far too lazy and Kildare too sweet - but he does recognize the advice behind the words; Tarian of Paraiso and then Beyond and then Liridon and now Beqanna knows all too well the importance of adapting. He even laughs callously at the word, a chortle of laughter that shouldn't have a place in this conversation.

    "I would learn where you all bruise," he explains honestly. His sense of duty and a want to keep Loess safe is his most obvious wound. What is Yadigar's?

    Reply
    #5
    YADIGAR
    there’s a hole in my chest but it’s mine, baby, it’s all i got.
    Yadigar watches him and there is nothing of the kind, gentle child he had been so many years ago. Every scar and heartbreak had carved another piece of him away until he was just a makeshift substitute of his father before him. He knows this and he despises it, yet he does nothing to outgrow the shadow he is left in. Tarian questions him and he gives a light shrug of his broad shoulders, his wings flexing slightly at the movement.

    We are no one’s judge but our own,” he begins as he tries to piece together his thoughts. “There are no gods watching over us here, Tarian. There is only us and our will to survive. You and I must choose to live or die each day we rise from our sleep.

    And maybe he wishes there was a god he could cry to. Wouldn’t it be grand, to know someone out there would spare a moment of their time and divine power to hear his sad little prayer? But he doesn’t allow himself to dream, anymore. He crushes the idea and shifts his weight as he realizes he’s hungry. Yadigar will have to hunt soon, but he doesn’t want to leave any of his captive’s questions unanswered. Perhaps he could tag along, then? Could he stomach the gore and the slaughter or would he avert his eyes?

    Once upon a time, I bruised easily. I cared deeply for every life,” he explains, though he doesn’t know why. “Now I care only for the taste of blood on my tongue. Maybe you can find a way to take even that from me.

    And he prays that Tarian does.

    Tarian
    Reply
    #6

    Tarian thinks he has never been gentle.

    Even as a youth, he had been born with a crown precariously weighted on his brow and a sense of duty that weighted his steps. When most foals his age had been playing and romping, Tarian had been shadowing his grandfather or his father or his uncle. He learned the patrol routes of Paraiso instead of chasing the wind like his twin and plethora of cousins; he learned to recite the names of his long-dead ancestors like prayers instead of trying to learn the names of pretty girls like Liam had.

    (If there had ever been anything gentle about Tarian, it had bled out of him alongside his slain parents.)

    His blue eyes trace over the ravines and canyons of Pangea. They study the red walls that loom around them and rise to the mountains of Hyaline that stand guard in the distance. They had no legends? No fables? It was an odd thought to the silver stallion, grandson of an acclaimed storyteller and a Guardian. Maybe the Pangeans took all the free space afforded them - the places where myths and stories might have laid the bedrocks for something else - and filled them with whatever they pleased.

    That it was just as yadigar said.
    There is only us and our will to survive.

    The gray pegasus settles his pale wings again, feeling a phantom wind stirring his feathers. These ideals are oddly freeing to a man who has always shackled himself with responsibility. An ear flicks toward the dragon stallion as he speaks; this is the answer to the question that Tarian had asked. These are the things he wanted to know. He had hoped to learn something that he could take back to Loess, something he might share with Lady Oceane to help the South.

    "Ah," Tarian says, not wanting to undertstand. Not wanting to, but he does. He thinks of Isakov and how he had almost ripped out the throat of the boy for borrowing the shape of star. Of how he looked within Tarian and ripped from him the shimmer of someone that he still clung tightly to. "So it takes the blood of another to make you feel alive?" The older stallion asks.

    He doesn't crave blood or carnage. He doesn't even enjoy killing (though his trade sometimes requires it). But he can recognize, and acknowledge, that there is a thrill in the godlike power of claiming a life. The gray stallion has gotten a high from it; he has looked down on his enemies as the life left their eyes and felt the proud (frantic) beating of his heart as it proclaimed him victor, conqueror, warmonger, alive.

    That, in the black moments after, reminded him: he was Tarian who should have been King, who should have been the Shield, who should have been-

    And now is Tarian the Captive.

    Snorting, he asks: "And if I could take that from you, what then? Do you think you could come to care for the taste of something else?"

    Reply
    #7
    YADIGAR
    there’s a hole in my chest but it’s mine, baby, it’s all i got.
    From the moment his mother laid her three treasured eggs, there were expectations for Yadigar. He was supposed to be poised and powerful and, above all else, prepared to make sacrifices. Those things had seemed so easy at first. He learned to fly as well as any other. He grew stronger than his siblings. He even gave up his free time for his father’s lessons. And, fool that he was, he thought all this was enough. Then Ghaul asked for more. Then, more.

    Finally, he asked for everything that Yadigar had left.

    He laughs gently, and the sound is hollow when Tarian asks if the killing makes him feel alive. That couldn’t be further from the truth. But how do you tell someone that you are hollowed out on the inside and the only hurt you can soothe anymore is the hunger? His captive will never know the curse of losing all your warmth and love for others. There is a typhoon raging inside him and he can’t feel the faintest breeze of it beneath his skin.

    No. There is nothing of me that is alive,” he finally says. “I was a less than a year old when I took my first life. I killed a woman who did me no wrong. She only existed in the wrong place, wrong time.

    And he remembers Cress as vividly as the day she died. She was one of the last things he ever saw with that beautiful golden eye.

    I can no longer satisfy any other urges. I cannot love, or hate. I cannot feel the pain of losing my loved ones. I can only eat.” He steps closer then, to where he imagines his milk-white eye is facing Tarian very closely. “When I kill now, there is neither remorse nor a thrill. There is only a quiet in my mind before the noise comes rushing back.

    Yadigar knows he does not kill Tarian because it would be troublesome for the other Pangeans. Otherwise, he could snap the captive’s neck and chew his entrails to fight the boredom off a while. Then he’d sleep soundly, without dreams or nightmares to bother him.

    Tarian
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    #8

    Yadigar's empty laughter raked over the coals of a dimming fire in his silver chest. It wasn't as he suspected - it wasn't the killing that made the taller stallion feel alive. He didn't need to see the hot (vibrant) lifeblood pouring out of another to remind him that he was still a living vessel; Tarian had thought the buckskin might need to see the life draining out of someone else to fill himself up.

    But no.
    There is nothing left of Yadigar that is still alive and Tarian blinks carefully, using storing that information somewhere inside his burning soul. Tarian has always liked control. Tarian has always liked order. Everything in its place, everything in its time. He had thought that was why he fell into a life of soldiering. Within the ranks, he got his order. As he rose through them, he found himself in a place to command (a role he had been groomed for since birth, like yadigar) and so through his commissions, he gained control of his life again.

    He'd learned from a young age that there is no order on a battlefield but Tarian learned how to channel his rage, how to feed his anger into the fight. (Paraiso should have never fallen. He should have never found himself conscripted into armies and legions that weren't his. He should have never been forced to take up causes that weren't his own. But that fury he bridled, he could unleash it in the wild moments of the fight. Tarian hadn't been able to fight in the cause that would change the course of his life and so many others - just a boy, the prince is just a child, they murmured - and every opponent he has faced since, Tarian has fought like they could be Cazador or Frostbane, like this would be the fight to change the course of everything.)

    What does one who claims to be a husk have in common with another who is just a spark away from a blaze?

    "Isn't that almost always the tale?" Tarian asks, disgruntled by the truth he pieces together in his mind, the place he always comes back to. The wrong place, wrong time. If he had only been a little older. If he had only been more experienced. If only -

    Tarian frowns and the lines deepen around his dark mouth. He sounded melancholy. He rolls his shoulders and decides to make better use of his time among the canyons, to make the most of his... host while he still had his undivided attention. The milky-white of his sole eye probed at the pegasus who wondered, "so then tell me about Pangea." If Yardigar is not alive, is there something that stirs in this place instead? His blue eyes settle squarely on the draconic beast as he glances up. There is a part of Tarian that still loves the fight - yearns for it even - but his stoic side leans in, giving weight to that order that has carried him through life as well as his wings have. Straightening, he cuts to the point.

    "I would like to be an asset to my kingdom. And there is, perhaps, an opportunity here. But I would hear your thoughts on this: how can I help Pangea?"

    Reply
    #9
    YADIGAR
    there’s a hole in my chest but it’s mine, baby, it’s all i got.
    Yadigar cares little for control or order - these things are unheard of in Pangea, where chaos alone reigns supreme. The only certainty they have ever been dealt is their unspoken bond with one another. Their confidence in their family gives them confidence in themselves, makes them certain even when they are alone or stolen away to another kingdom. He cannot explain the strength that the desert heat and the merciless upbringing have forged in him.

    When Tarian says that it’s always the wrong place at the wrong time, he gives no answer. Ghaul died precisely where he was meant to, no matter how much it destroyed his children. There was nothing left for him outside the fire. It was the final lesson he gave his eldest son and he will not forgive him for it, even if his heart finds a way to break itself free of its frozen prison.

    He turns his scaled head when Tarian asks about Pangea. What is there to say? What words could ever describe his home?

    Pangea was born of spite and murdered in spite. She sank beneath the ocean waves for decades and returned with a cancer festering in her heart,” he answers, citing the old stories passed along from Anaxarete to Ghaul, from Ghaul to Yadigar. “There is something unnamed in these canyons but it has called us all here. It takes whatever weakness it finds and breaks it, rebuilds it into something that can withstand the world outside these borders.

    Yadigar watches him as he speaks once more, offering his assistance to the lawless territory. A silence settles in as the monster thinks on it for a moment. He shifts his great weight and turns the opportunity over in his hands before answering.

    Pangea wants for nothing. The only help you can provide is to lay down and die so that the youngest of our numbers don’t waste energy hunting,” he says at last. There is nothing unkind to his tone, despite the harsh words he chooses. He shares only a grim truth.

    Tarian
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