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  • Beqanna

    COTY

    Svedka -- Year 212

    QOTY

    “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


    [private]  and to a place I come where nothing shines, tiercel
    #1
    You think I'll be the Dark Sky so you can be the Star?
    I'll Swallow you Whole.
    She had once loved the dark.

    She has spent her life – this life, at least – waiting for it. Because with the dark there came the stars, and with the stars she almost felt alive. Even alone, without Tiercel, she could stare at the stars, could wrap herself in the starlight until it seeped into her veins and her bones, and that slow pulse inside of her chest would find a rhythm all its own. 

    But the dark came, and the stars never did.
    The dark came, and it has not left, and she stands on a rocky ledge, staring as hard as she can into the bruised purple-black sky. She calls to them, tries to pull threads of light through the thickness of the clouds, but it is like reaching for nothing.

    The sky is nothing. It is as dark and hollow as the cavern of her chest, and somewhere inside that endless chamber, there is a thread of panic trying to claw through.

    She turns abruptly from the outlook, descends down the well-worn path. She follows one that is familiar only to her, follows previously traveled steps that lead her back to him. In the weeks that had followed since their first reunion, she found herself going back to him repeatedly, in a way that she never has with anyone. Does she miss him when she is away? She hasn’t figured that out yet, has not been able to discern between emotionally missing him and physically craving him. 

    It does not matter, though, because either way, she goes back to him. She is anchored to him in a way that she cannot shake, and not just for the way her sides have started to grow and swell with his child – anchored in a way that she will never be able to name.

    “Tiercel,” she says once she is close enough, and she does not pause in her approach. She draws herself alongside him and brushes her pale nose against his shoulder. She ignores, for now, the way the warmth of his skin still feels like sparks against her own. Her dark eyes look to the sky, and even in the hollowed, quiet of her voice there is a noticeable confusion that settles there. “The stars. They're gone.” Her white shoulder rests against his, and she notices for the first time that the glow that usually radiated from her had dimmed considerably, and that brings with it a new wave of panic. It’s a dull, steady feeling, like a tide rising to meet the shore – slowly, until it floods her all at once. “I don't know what this means. I don’t...I don't know what to do.”
    Islas


    Tiercel
    Reply
    #2
    stifled the choice and the air in my lungs;
    better not to breathe than to breathe a lie
    His skin hasn’t stopped prickling since the darkness first descended upon them. There is something eerie about the shadows (and though it is difficult to see, he feels as though there are eyes watching his every step) and the emptiness of the sky (where the stars and moon should rest, there is only an open-mouthed abyss), and the sinister gloom makes him nervous. The day had abruptly switched to night and now the night has remained; the interruption of nature’s rhythms leaves him bewildered and as well as uncomfortable.

    Tiercel tries to sleep when he can but the way his skin crawls often leaves him awake, staring into the endless dark that surrounds them. He has finally drifted to sleep when the echo of her feet wakes him. The cave is cut into the mouth of red rock, and though there is no night glow to illuminate it, their home is the safest place he feels in the darkness. He has painted peace on the walls and entrance of the cavern, hoping it will keep their hearts warm and dissuade any beasts of the night to attack them. Despite that thick layer of emotion, Tiercel feels his heart quicken in his chest at the confusion and panic he hears in her spirit and voice.

    Her touch soothes him momentarily, and a heavy wave of exhaustion cascades over his head. Tiercel pulls his eyelids open to meet her empty gaze, feeling the weight of her worry overcome the nasty wound that sleepless nights create. He can never understand her or the ways she can wrap herself in the stars like they are sisters and brothers, yet he knows their importance to her. The distant galaxies are fragments of Islas’s home and they bring her whatever semblance of comfort her unfeeling heart may comprehend.

    Tiercel doesn’t soothe her panic, but he feels it with her — an angry wave that crashes over their heads. His lips find the smooth plane of her cheek, and he presses a brief kiss of encouragement into her skin. “How could they leave?” He cannot grasp the workings of the stars or their counterparts — how some constellations appear in the summer and some in the winter, how they know to shine once the sun dips below the horizon, how they whisper to Islas like tender friends — but he wonders if there is something in her lore, something that might have predicted this unexplainable, endless night.
    tiercel.

    Islas
    Reply
    #3
    You think I'll be the Dark Sky so you can be the Star?
    I'll Swallow you Whole.
    The curtain of peace that he has hung over the cave seeps into her skin, like a balm across the panic that the absence of the stars had created. The hollowness inside of her has been sporadic as of late, and she does not know whether to blame it on the darkness or if it is a side-effect of pregnancy.

    She just knows that suddenly she doesn’t feel quite so empty. The seemingly infinite abyss is now broken up with bursts of emotion, and it’s beginning to wear on nerves she never realized she had.

    The emotions that he crafts, though — the peace and the calm painted on the walls  — overrides the panic, and when he presses his lips to her cheek she releases a tense breath from her chest. She turns her aubergine eyes to his, as always transfixed by the blue and the depth of them; the multitudes of emotions that can flash across them in a span of seconds. “I don’t know,” she says in a way that is oddly despondent for her — another one of those sporadic waves of emotion crashing against her ribs. “Stars move, but not the way you — we — do.” She falters in the middle, unsure anymore of what she is — as if she had ever been sure.

    The remnants of stardust that held her together felt as though they were fading, just as choked by the shadows as the stars in the sky.

    “When I reach out it feels like there’s a...wall. Or a barrier.” There is a silence then, the air around them still full of the faded sound of her voice on the rock walls. Her gaze drifts to the opening of the cave, to where the darkness seems to grow darker (her glow, though considerably dimmer than before, still radiated a faint light) and heavier. “Have you seen them?” She asks when her face turns back to his. “The things that the darkness brought, I mean.”
    Islas
    Reply
    #4
    stifled the choice and the air in my lungs;
    better not to breathe than to breathe a lie
    Her answer is not what he had been hoping for, and a frown pulls his navy lips downward. It would have made things easier if Islas had explained the absence of the daylight and starlight and moonlight. He could have handled the pressing darkness if she could have reassured him that it would end one day, that the sun would warm their backs and bring color to their eyes again. But she can’t tell him these things; though he is grateful for her honesty, Tiercel feels fear squirm into a tightly-coiled knot in the pit of his stomach.

    Her emotions temporarily draw his attention away from the clamoring voices of his own. Islas’s void — her feelings as hollow and empty as the sky above them — had drawn him in all those years ago. Yet as her pale sides begin to swell as their child grows, Tiercel can sense the flickering of her emotions from within that darkness. She is like the beginning of a stained-glass window set into an echoing, lonely cathedral. When the sun shines on the colors it casts faintly-glowing shapes against the stone walls to bring life, but a cloudy day brings only shadows and bitter cold.

    He wonders if his consistent presence has stirred her awake, a metaphorical hand of feeling stirring the mixing bowl of her soul until the hidden colors of emotion bring themselves to the surface. Or is it the child growing within her? Does it push against her insides until she is forced to experience the mosaic of sentiments that must have lain dormant from deep within? Tiercel’s eyes find the shadows in hers, where the purple fades into darkness that mirrors their world. Perhaps the endless night has coaxed the feelings from her. Have the absence of the stars pulled humanity into her cold chest?

    But as he looks into her gaze and as his peripherals catch the faint glow of her skin, Tiercel is certain that this starless dark is not good for Islas. Could she fade away, as the stars have? Concern nestles its prickling head against fear, and Tiercel’s blue eyes flash with these emotions and more.

    She is asking him about the things, whatever they may be. The creatures that he hears, the clatter of claws on rock and the snarl of teeth and drool in the shadows. His gaze finds the darkness, which seems to press closer to them with Islas’s starglow keeping their tight, nervous faces illuminated. Shifting his weight to pull her closer to his side, Tiercel takes what manufactured peace he can and drapes a heavier layer across their home. It doesn’t scare the darkness from their ankles, but he feels slightly more settled beneath its weight.

    “I haven’t seen them, but I hear them.” Tiercel’s mouth finds her face again, where he traces the line of her jaw. “But I’ll protect you with my life if it comes to it.” She — of galaxies and emptiness and simplicity — and their child — a faceless, nameless infant nestled in the arms of her womb — are worth it to him. And even though he had scratched jagged lines through his family’s names on his heart, Tiercel wonders if he is beginning to understand what they had meant to each other.

    Ever so gently, he places a trail of kisses from the curve of her ear down the pale slope of her throat. “I’m worried about you, Islas… How are you feeling?”
    tiercel.

    Islas
    Reply
    #5
    You think I'll be the Dark Sky so you can be the Star?
    I'll Swallow you Whole.
    She has wondered the same things as him—has tried to understand where this sudden flood of emotions has come from. His presence has always stirred something inside of her; it was what had drawn her to him in the first place.

    It used to feel clearer, though; a singular, stark emotion contrasted against the void, teaching her in flashes what anger and happiness and everything in between felt like. She could pick each one out easily, each one like a bright light in the dark.

    She isn’t sure what has changed, though she has an idea.
    She isn’t sure if it was being so close to him for extended periods of time, if maybe his own emotions had planted themselves inside of her and started to bloom all on their own. That maybe he had ingrained a piece of himself that her darkness could not touch.

    It’s what she had assumed at first, at least, until their child began to grow. Until she could feel them moving and pressing against her sides, bringing with it flashes of unexplained feeling.

    The emotions that she feels are often more chaotic than what she has grown accustomed to from him; they come in waves, overwhelming and all-consuming. Some of them are pleasant, like the sudden surges of love and warmth, feelings of tranquility and peace that shed light even in this dark. But like the tide it brings with it something new not long after— anxiety and dread consuming it all, until her heart and her mind race and she wishes she could feel nothing again.

    Right now, though, her emotions feel steady. His peace on the walls and the simple sureness of him next to her seems to keep the fluctuating emotions in check, and she finds herself shifting closer at the feel of his lips on her jaw. Something in what he says stirs a rare feeling of guilt in her chest, and she finds that she doesn’t like the bitterness of it in her throat or the way it fills the entirety of her ribcage. “I know Loess isn’t where you want to be,” she tells him, and she reaches to gently press her lips to the groove of his throat, moving until her nose follows the strong arch of his neck. “But thank you for staying.”

    Because she would not have wanted to navigate this alone, and she realizes in this moment that he did not need to be here with her.

    Her pale skin trembles at the warmth of his kiss against it, and again she marvels at the fact that she feels anything at all. That each one still feels like sparks inside of her veins, and though she has never imagined anyone else touching her—or anyone at all, until him—she thinks that no one else could stir from the depths the emotion that he does.

    “I’m okay, mostly,” she tells him, her face resting against the strands of his mane. She does not tell him that without the stars she feels entirely unmoored; that maybe this is why she has anchored herself so securely to him. She does not say that with each passing day in this dark something inside her feels like it is weakening, that sometimes when he is not here to ignite something else she feels a lead-like exhaustion in her bones. “I think our child is like you, though,” she says with a small smile that is lost in the dark and his hair, but her words are still spoken in the shape of it, “I feel things even when you aren’t around.”
    Islas


    Tiercel
    um I lost power literally the very second I finished this post and my cell service is very spotty so I am just posting it and hopefully it's fine lmao
    Reply
    #6
    stifled the choice and the air in my lungs;
    better not to breathe than to breathe a lie
    Her touch leaves a trail of heat that feels like a wildfire on his skin. Tiercel is burning under the low simmer of her pale nose, and this sensation drives the rest of his fatigue from his bones. Just like Islas, he is surprised at the way her touch awakens him. He has seen girls before, watching the way they move and laugh, but he hadn’t touched one until Islas. While he had been nervous at first, their mouths and bodies find each other now as if they have been together for a long time. He can’t say he’s wholly memorized the angles and curves of her body, but Tiercel knows she feels familiar to him.

    He feels both alive and tranquil while she rests beside him. “I don’t mind it here, actually,” he admits quietly. Tiercel had wondered if staying in Loess too long would bring back memories he has tried to forget. He had come here for reasons he couldn’t entirely untangle, and the irony is not lost on him that his first child might grow up among the red rock as well. While he might’ve left if it weren’t for Islas, he doesn’t regret the amount of time he has spent here. With the darkness, it feels like one of the safest places in Beqanna. “I’m happy here with you.”

    Islas admits to being okay, yet worry still eats away at the dun-and-navy stallion. Again, his thoughts turn toward the absence of the stars. Islas’s face against his neck is comforting, but he can’t help but wonder if she feels tired beyond what is normal for pregnancy. Tiercel’s pale eyes turn toward the yawning mouth of the cave while his mind questions if the endless swathe of darkness is contributing to the softer glow of his fallen star. Does she feel as weary and fading as he perceives her to be?

    His gaze quickly returns to her when she mentions their child. Her comment brings a swift smile to his normally stoic face. It also makes him nervous, the potential that their child may inherit the ocean of emotions that roil within him. Tiercel isn’t as good of an emotion-wielder as his mother had been, and he is sure he will never reach that level of skill, but he hopes he knows enough to teach his child. “The little one is already practicing,” he says with another, softer smile.

    Tiercel pauses from kissing her skin, but he keeps his dark navy muzzle close to her while he shifts to trace a path to her swollen side. He blows a soft, warm breath across the rising curvature of Islas’s ivory belly. “Be gentle to your mother, little one. She is taking good care of you.” Love, an emotion that is perhaps the most fickle for Tiercel, swells in his chest and gently washes over the pair — no, the three — of them. The man presses a kiss into Islas’s side before moving back toward her face. “I should take better care of you,” he admits. She is fading, and he cannot merely watch it happen. “I’m going to find the stars for you, Islas.”
    tiercel.

    Islas
    Reply
    #7
    You think I'll be the Dark Sky so you can be the Star?
    I'll Swallow you Whole.
    When he says that he is happy here, with her, she is surprised at the feeling that floods her. It feels like relief, like a weight she had not realized was suddenly lifted from her chest. It had not occurred to her in the beginning that he likely had no intention of staying in Loess, and once the idea had struck her that he was only staying on her behalf it had become impossible to shake loose. The longer the flood of emotions coursed through her, the more the idea of keeping him here—a place he had always avoided—had begun to bother her.

    How selfish this newfound emotional, mortal part of her could be, though; to hear him say that he did not mind being here, to know that she did not have to give him up back to the wilds quite yet.

    To know, even further past the darkness and the hollowness of her chest, that even eaten alive by guilt she would have been reluctant to let him go regardless.

    She was not accustomed to caring—or even noticing—if someone was near. Over the course of the years her path has crossed with many, but no one’s presence has had such a profound impact as Tiercel.

    She doesn’t believe in fate; doesn’t believe in the magic of the universe that many try to plant into ordinary happenings. But she does often wonder if it meant anything at all that her star had chosen to fall directly in his path.

    Her response does not come in words, though, but instead is spoken in the uncoiling of her muscles and the release of a small sigh against his shoulder. The feel of his mouth pressed into her side, and the rush of love that pours from him and into her compounds with her own turmoil of emotion, and she tilts her pale head just enough to regard him with her purple-black eyes. Her face, usually so unreadable, and almost marble-like, is suddenly alive with all of the things that keep flashing through her; the amazement that this is the same boy she had met in the meadow so many years ago, and the realization that he, and the life they had created together, had given her something after all of these years to anchor her to earth.

    “You already take care of me, Tiercel,” she reassures him with another press of her lips into the slope of his shoulder, even though he gives voice to the worries that already exist inside of her. She knows the longer the stars are gone the weaker she feels, and there may have been a time when she would not have cared what happened to her (how often had she wondered, after all, if dying was the trick to get back to the sky?), but over the course of the last few months, everything had changed. She had something to live for, now, a purpose to her existence beyond being a fallen star.

    She does not tell him that she does not think he will find the stars; she does not say that she doesn’t think he should go out into this dark searching for things that are lost in a way that not even she can find them, even though she speaks their language. She does not raise her doubts at all, and instead, she presses closer to his side, and tells him in a way that suggests he cannot change her mind, “If you go anywhere, then I’m going with you.”
    Islas


    Tiercel
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