He said it like a prayer and she believed him like he was speaking gospel, whispered his name while they laid their sins out bare for no one but the stars to judge. They loved one another with everything they had, but in the end that had not been enough. He was betrothed to someone else, after all, and he couldn’t stand to tarnish the reputation of the empire his own mother had worked so hard to build. Once he told her that he would be going back, that he could only meet with her in private from that point on—that publicly, he would never be hers, she fled and never looked back. Love be damned. Despite what her more primitive instincts told her, despite the fact that by nature she should be okay with what he was doing and he was still hers, she couldn’t stand to see him with his would-be Queen or hear his mother dote over them any longer.
She never told him she was pregnant; in fact, she never saw his face again. Her travels led her to the furthest reaches of the world, to a place not even his General of a mother would dare to travel, and she felt some sort of small pride in that. That she was doing things even they could not. Overcoming the fear of a place they’d only ever heard about from elders, the lost faces whose names had long since faded from the world they only spoke about in hushed voices. A place whose name held such weight she saw the elders shudder in fear at its very mention.
It was told to children at bedtime to scare them, sure, but she knew it was real all the same. By the time she reached its fabled shores, she was due to soon give birth to her own child; she spent her time in the shadows, hiding from the others, surprised at how most of them resembled the horses from her own home and then the others who had powers she couldn’t even begin to fathom. She wondered, and worried, what her own child might be like.
Would it have her horns? Its father’s wings? Both?
Would it look like her or bare his spots?
The wintry days seemed to stretch on forever here, but finally, the gray clouds parted and the world breathed a collective sigh of relief as the snow melted and the leaves returned. She’d never seen such green grass before, so many colorful and magnificent flowers. And finally, towards the end, when the days felt more like summer than spring, she gave birth to her daughter and her heart started to ache all over again. She looked just like him, she even had his wings, though her eyes and horns she had most certainly gotten from her mother.
“Nereza,” she named her, smiling—though her gold eyes shimmered with unshed tears. It was her grandmother’s name, though her child would never know that she was named after a foreign Queen. Never know that her mother had named her it out of spite, nor that the name was prophetic, in a way—’Nereza,’darkness.
It is not certain where it must go, only that it must keep running if it wants to stay alive. It flits through the trees, screaming silently—though the monsters behind it surely seem to hear it. Its little wings beat rapidly, its heart thundering against its ribs; it kicks off the bark with its tiny hooves, leaving a wake of sparks and smoke as if someone had tried to strike flint.
“Nope, nope, nopesies!” It bounces from tree to tree, dodging the monsters as they leap for it, attracted by the light emanating from its little body—taunted by it.
It should not exist, after all.
Its light needs to be snuffed out.
One of them roar, cleaving a tree in half with its jagged claws. It catches the pixie, barely, with one sharp tip. But for a creature so small? The wound is fatal. Perhaps not instantly, no, but enough that the monsters cease their chase and allow the creature to weakly flutter off into the forest to die. Its flickering pleases them, knowing that its light will be snuffed out soon. They turn, heading back out into the abyss.
Shortly before she turned a year old, Nereza’s mother succumbed to an unknown illness. There was nothing to be done after the fever set in. She became weak, paralyzed, and began talking out of her head; something about kings, and queens, and the like. Nereza stayed with her mother, comforting her, promising to be good and to do her very best to stay that way even until the bitter end. When she stopped breathing, the fairies came and took her body away. The Beach, they said.
Nereza isn’t sure where that is, but she’d liked to find it one day. Of course, whenever the light comes back. It’s probably full of quiet old ghosts who would like someone to pay them a visit and she would definitely love to go pay her mother her respects. The spotted filly ponders this, and more, as she picks her way through a thick patch of woods. The wood turns into a forest, and while she at first fears that she is lost, she supposes that one must have a home in order to be lost and she doesn’t have one of those in the first place.
It’s been some months since her mother died, since the darkness came, and despite all this? It has never occurred to her that she might want to find some place to seek shelter. Nope. So long as she can fill her belly and find somewhere to lay her head when sleep wants to come claim her, she feels perfectly content to remain a nomad.
She sighs, pulling her wings in close once she feels a thorn scrape warningly against her legs. It doesn’t break the skin, but it leaves an itch that she wants to scratch so badly that it makes her eyes water. Whatever the plant is that the thorns are protecting, it makes her sneeze and the sound causes a soft ‘oh!’ to come from the underbrush nearby.
That’s when she notices it.
A flickering light that seems to be waning.
She cocks her head, sucking in a deep breath to try and smell whatever it is that might be holding such a rare commodity. All that does is cause her to suck in a bunch of pollen, however, and she sneezes even louder.
“Stops doing that, stupid!”
“HEY. Don’t call me names, whatever you—”
It pokes its head out from under the moss, glaring at her, though it can only keep the hateful look up for so long before it starts coughing and from its little lips spew spatters of florescent pink blood.
Nereza, suddenly scared for the little creature, steps closer and drops her head to sniff around at it. “Are you okay?”
“No, idiot giant,” it mutters, laying its head back down and closing its eyes.
Though most of it is obscured by moss and leaf litter, Nereza can see the bright blood pooling around its glowing body. At first, she tries to bite back her tears, but the more she tries to do that, the harder it seems to do. They start streaming down her face, down her neck. “I-I don’t know you, but I don’t want you to die,” she manages, though her voice wavers. “You… y-you can come with me, you c-can be my new f-f-friend.”
It opens its eyes, squinting against the dark to make out the horse’s face. The pixie’s expression, though pained, suddenly softens when it realizes it is dealing with a child. “Why’s are you alone?”
“I’ve always been alone,” Nereza admits, her ears slowly laying back against her head. It's only a half lie, sort of. Her mother was never coming back and she didn't see an end to her lonesome travels in sight.
The pixie studies her face, sighing, though the gesture causes it to have another coughing fit. It wouldn’t last much longer, not like this, but it could give her a gift—sort of. It would most certainly make her a target for whatever evil beings had caused the eclipse, but maybe… maybe it would help her find some friends. Maybe she could draw them in with her light.
If nothing else, it would certainly make her strong.
‘Or cause her to meet an early demise,’ the pixie thinks, though its thoughts are muddled and it grows increasingly hard to breathe.
“Giant idiot, leansy down heres, please,” the pixie beckons, shakingly holding its own little nose out for her to touch.
Nereza, just a child, naive and stupid, unaware of what the pixie is about to do, leans down and softly touches her nose to the little creature.
It immediately bursts, splattering her whole body with its florescent pink blood. She screams, and screams, and screams, bolting off through the forest as the pink fluid, seemingly having a mind of its own, spreads itself across her entire body. She doesn’t notice when the pink fluid vanishes, doesn’t notice when she begins to glow.
But they certainly do.
Auto Quest for the 0-space trait ‘Glowing.’ The white of her coat, her white horns, the white hairs of her mane/tail, the white spots on her black stockings, and the white of her wings now emit a soft glow.