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    Svedka -- Year 212


    “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

    I kid you not // Any
    Rey trotted cheerfully away from his mother, excited to finally be on the adventure Cheri had started without him. Amarine looked on ruefully, wishing that her son had been just a bit more broken up to be away from her for the first real time. The nut brown colt paused, catching the faint traces of his mother's feelings on the edge of his own. 

    One quick kiss goodbye later, he was really ready to start his day. Cheri was supposed to be here, and he was sure he'd find her eventually, but the boy wasn't in much of a hurry. Not when there were strangers here, faces and stories he didn't know. Not yet, anyway. 

    The energy that had carried him so quickly from his mother's side faded as he realized the downside to not knowing anyone. Squealing voices carried on the air, other children in their pairs and trios already knowing what games to play and who was It. It was overwhelming. It didn't help that it was kind of hard to tell the difference between the voices happening now and the ones from Before. 

    Ghosts of games past lingered in the land. Ripples of excitement saturated the place, along with subtle hints of loneliness and jealousy. Some were older than others, and most were so layered he couldn't tell them apart. It was hurting his head to try. Or maybe that was his horns pushing against his skull. That was hard to tell too. 

    Eyes screwed up in concentration, he took a moment to work on his breathing. "Meditation", dad called it, or "finding your center", like mom said. Either way, he needed a few breaths to settle his spinning mind, and alleviate the chaos that young people feel. He didn't want to stand here and sort it out all day. That wouldn't be an adventure. That would be homework. 

    Head swimming slightly, the caprine colt switched his focus to the other children, looking for someonethat didn't seem too overwhelming to talk to. When a likely looking figure appeared, he made his way over with a cheesy grin on his face. "Hiya!" He chirped, tail waggling eagerly behind him. "I'm Reynard, who're you?" Greeting, introduction, expectation. Yup, that should do it. He didn't think he'd forgotten anything important about meeting someone new.
    Meraxes loves his twins, but it is obvious to anyone observing him that the stallion was not ready for children. Almost daily he brings them to the Playground ("To run off some of that energy," he says), and to young Shrykos, it is a bit distressing. The young drake yearns for his family's company, and even though most days Meleys plays with him, he has a hard time making friends with his frightening appearance. It is especially hard when he strikes out on his own, and this morning Meleys had complained of a tummy ache. Meraxes had taken one look at her and sent the little dragon back to bed, and Shrykos had rolled his eyes and set off for the Playground alone.

    When he is alone, he likes to practice his stalking - he is more dragon than his father and sister, and sometimes the ache in his belly is only placated when steaming hot blood drips down his throat. He has only taken down smaller prey so far - mostly rabbits and large rodents, but once he had managed to pin a doe to the ground by her neck and watch as the life faded from her eyes. That night he had feasted and had flown back to Loess with the corpse clutched in his talons, crowing in delight as he laid it at Meraxes's feet.

    His eyes find the strange boy from a distance, and his head tips to the side as he watches him nervously skirt the other playgroups. The boy has a goofy smile on his face as he approaches, and Shrykos is frozen with curiosity as his eyes take in the boy's - Reynard's - cloven hooves, small horn nubs, and floppy ears.

    Reynard asks for his name, but Shrykos is still motionless as his reptilian eyes trace those weird ears over and over again. "What are you?" he rasps after an awkwardly long pause, wanting to reach forward to nibble on one of Reynard's ears, but knowing that it would be unforgivably impolite to do so. "You smell... like prey?"

    Finally, his attention span wavers and he meets Reynard's eyes, head still slightly tipped in confusion. "I'm Shrykos," he finally responds, reaching forward with one taloned foot to politely tap his new companion on the leg. It is a weird ritual, he knows, but it is something he has done with Meleys since they were born.

    He's going to run off this new friend of his, he can already tell.

    Reynard um.. he's weird
    The Monsters mess with his mood color changing pls
    The pause between his hello and the other boy's response is just long enough to tip Rey off that he might have gone about this wrong. The questions that follow make him swallow a bit hard, but he's already here so he'll see where it goes. 

    "I'm a colt," he answered, a little perplexed. His head tipped to one side, that ear swayed a bit beneath his face. He certainly wasn't any less strange than this guy, with his sharp edges and staring eyes. Her straightened his neck again, inquisitive. "What's 'prey'?" He asked after a beat, having lived a very plant-based life thus far. 

    Finally, they got to the other boy's name, which shouldn't have been as hard to get to as it had been. Oh well. Shyrkos. It was unlike any name he'd ever heard before, like he'd been named by a falcon instead of by a horse. Still, who was he to judge. It was a simple enough thing to return the little hoof tap to the strange guy's leg. 

    The chestnut's stomach grumbled a bit, and he found himself regretting being too excited to eat this morning. "Do they keep some kind of snacks around here?" He asked, hoping he didn't have to wait until his parents returned. That would be a long time to be hungry. But maybe Shyrkos knew this place better than he did. 

    @[shyrkos] The Monsters please mess with his Light Wings!
    shrykos your mood color changing has mutated into frozen heart.

    Reynard your light/blessed wings have mutated into stars.

    You're both welcome.

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