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  • Beqanna

    COTY

    Jamie -- Year 213

    QOTY

    “"I don’t know how to do this,” she says. What she actually means is I’m sorry, but she doesn’t know how to apologize either." --Titanya, written by Mirage


    [open]  buried it where bones are buried
    #1

    that day even the sun was afraid of you and the weight you carried

    He does not expect to survive. Not when his soul was so shattered. His body so fractured. Even if he had managed to live through the trials placed before the group, he had thought he would come back a husk of himself—too broken beyond repair to live. He had thought, at best, that he would see the rising of the sun and take his last, rattling breath, content to know that he had played his part in seeing it happen.

    But that is not what happens.

    The light blazes so brightly, too bright, and he has to drop his eyes because he finds that he cannot stare at it directly. He has to swallow hard and the light comes back to him, settles into his bones and then becomes a living thing at his side. And then, perhaps strangest of all, he feels the curse drain from him—as though siphoning off of him in response to the magic that now surges through his veins.

    This magic that is a counterweight to the light.

    A shadow created by it.

    But magic all the very same.

    Magic that knits him back together. That pulls his flesh taut. Magic that chases the sickness and hollowness from him, but magic that also restores his memories—bringing them into painful clarity. He remembers every night since the beginning. The hunger and loneliness. The pain he’d felt and that he had inflicted. He remembers each detail in vivid reality and it is tattooed upon his subconscious.

    His magic wraps around it, sinks into it, and he becomes that pain.

    His magic becomes that pain too.

    The hours that follow are a blur for him. Hours of finding himself and recreating himself. Hours of learning the way to breathe again, blinking against the sun and taking joy in it even as some vital piece of himself now recoils from it. He wonders if he will ever look into the day again and feel nothing but unfettered joy—if he would feel that pure radiance that he is sure so many feel across Beqanna today.

    Instead he feels something skittering along his subconscious and he pulls away. Wraps himself in a thin cloak of darkness as he retreats into the shadows, that half-formed companion trailing in his wake. And it’s there that he rests, his golden eyes vibrant and half-closed, some sort of hum in the back of his throat that doesn’t falter as the magic sings off of him in waves, crashing against him and then rescinding.

    It’s only when night comes that he opens them fully, not noticing the faint glow that comes off of him when the moonlight peeks through the trees. Not noticing when the shadows stir around him or when the wind slows and lazily winds up his golden legs. He feels alive, he realizes, in a way that he has never felt before—certainly not during the night—and when his lips pull back, his predator teeth gleam.

    so you saluted every ghost you've ever prayed to and then buried it where bones are buried

    Reply
    #2

    can’t stop staring at those ocean eyes. 


    Sabal isn’t a fan of the forest. It’s too confining – too far from the water for her to ever really be comfortable. She tries to stay near enough to the river to hear the comforting rush of water over the rocks, but soon the river is nothing but a whisper.  The dark of night is almost a comfort now – the return of the light had both been a relief and had been…abrasive. And this coming from the kelpie who loved nothing more than baking herself on the shore of the lake had certainly come as a surprise. So she’d immediately retreated to the comfort of the water until dusk had come.  And then she set out towards the mountain in an attempt to find the answers that had escaped her since she had fallen.
     
    But there was nothing to be found, so she continued downriver, eventually emerging into the forest – abandoning the comfort of the water as the familiar darkness of night unfolded across Beqanna. She wandered, not knowing what she was looking for.  Until she saw a familiar figure.  She immediately narrowed her gaze upon him – for he too had obviously been changed by the mountain but not in the way that she had.
     
    “You were there, right? At the mountain. In the other group,”  The braver group, or maybe just the more foolish. The group she’d have gladly stood with if she hadn’t been so single-minded in bringing back the goddamn sun. Regardless, her group had failed. And that failure had shattered her last goddamn nerve so she’d spent the last few days (Or weeks?  Who the hell knew) moping at the bottom of Hyaline’s lake.  Until restlessness (and one very-annoying and able to shift again best friend) spurned her to the surface. So here she was – wandering around on rarely used legs – still glowing faintly even though she had come back…different. Some of the more ghost-like qualities had faded, but the intangibility remained.  And it did not suit her.  But it sounded pathetic admitting out loud she missed being touched when most of Beqanna had much bigger issues to contend with.
     
    “Did you do it?” she asks, plainly.  She’s always been direct – but this was forward even for her.  Perhaps he doesn’t want to talk about it. But honestly, Sabal doesn’t care. She wants to know what the hell happened after she fell from the mountain.  Call her what you would, but she didn’t mind being called nosy – not now.  (Not ever, honestly.) Obviously someone did it, because the darkness had finally abated.  He was the first person she’d seen that she recognized from that first night who’d gone with the others.  There were probably better ways to go about getting this information – polite introductions and all that and maybe some degree of buttering up considering that the experience had been mildly traumatic for her, she didn’t even really take time to consider it could have been 10 times worse for him.  If he didn’t want to talk, fine. But she’d never forgive herself if she didn’t ask.

    s a b a l .
    manip by squirt
    Reply
    #3

    Help me out before I drown
    Save me now before I give up


    Running into Hourglass has shaken him. To meet another girl of glass (how, how could there be more than one, so fragile, so easy to break) so soon after returning to these lands. He hadn’t been ready, not as ready as he had thought. The ghosts still haunt the darkest recesses of his mind, just waiting for a trigger. What she had provoked hadn’t been a mere tug, no, it had been a violent yanking of his entire self. The pieces that he had so carefully and painful glued back together were still so brittle, as if made out of the same glittering material that encased that aching place in his chest. It would be a lie to say that leaving that encounter hadn’t sent a few fragments loose, that the screams of a long dead (alternate reality) Adaline were still echoing in the back of his ears.

    The forest had always been dark and before (in those long ago times) he would have avoided its darkness and shadows. However, with the lights turned back on and the infinite night vanquished, he finds himself feeling a little too warm, the sun a little too bright. After living in the gloom for so long (drowning in the murkiness of his own mind for too long), he’s not as frightened by what shadows hold anymore. The coolness of the greenwood is a welcome change to the summer nights in the open, the polar bear within him stretching with approval. When the sun had returned, that explosion of light that had nearly blinded his good eye and taken the last of his sight, there had been a strange warmth that had seeped into the exposed cracks of him. The brands that marked his body throbbing with an unnatural warmth, bringing him back to that moment in time when each had been made. Burning, pulsing, cauterized wounds. He hadn’t expected the eerie bluish glow that emitted from each (that ravaged X that marked the lost treasure of his true heart, the constellation on his right flank that marked the beast he had become). The glow from his chest in the expanding moonlight had first caught his attention, some awkward adjusting of his reflection near the meadow’s many creeks had satisfied his curiosity to the brand on his blind side. The pain had faded by the next morning. It was a part of him now. Just as the bear was. Just as the scars, both seen and hidden, were.

    Those brands glow brightly now in the enclosing darkness of the forest but he can see that he’s not the one glowing the brightest. The golden man glows with a different sort of pulse and he pauses, uncertain for a moment. Curiosity gets the better of him, it’s the spots along his body that draws him in. He had known jaguar spots like that once. Magnus had once summarized some of his family’s history and lineage. Something to do with jungle cats that seemed to run in parts of the family. He had briefly met a niece of his father’s years ago, she had held some spots like those that speckle the grounded man before him. Before he can really say or do anything, another comes forward, an ethereal female who speaks to him with familiarity. The gold flecks in his good eye glint against the various shades and tones of glows as he familiarizes himself with her features. Thankfully she’s not made of glass despite the shimmer of her wings and body. He’s not sure he could handle another one (these glass girls might make him shatter faster then they ever will). She talks of the Mountain (god how he hates that damned forsaken place) and something that sounds like a quest. Something to do with the eliminated darkness.

    His dark gaze turns back to the golden one as the other continues to pry on whatever had happened but Ledger himself is silent. He’s taking in the shadows that seem to curl around the male, the way his body seems to respond to the wind that breezes suddenly though the trees on an otherwise still and silent night. He does not flinch at the exposed predator teeth. Instead, he is thoughtful. The bear within him is also thoughtful. There is something about the golden man that he recognizes. Not by his face, no, he is absolutely a stranger and unknown to him. It’s in his body posture, it’s the glint in his eyes, the fracturing one goes through when parts of you are taken and something else is forced to take its place. It’s when like recognizes like, he knows the taste of magic now, it burns like acid on his tongue. How often it had broken his bones, tore his flesh, and devoured every secret thought, emotion, and memory he had ever had. The residue it leaves behind. ”Give him a moment.” He finally says to her, a quiet murmur but the roughness of his mostly unused voice sounds loud in this place. He knows what happens when one pushes too hard, when you come back broken and you’re still trying to sort out what parts of you belong and what parts of you have been lost. It doesn’t fix itself overnight…if it can ever be fixed at all.

    Ledger
    I just want to treat you better



    Sabal firion
    Reply
    #4

    that day even the sun was afraid of you and the weight you carried

    He hadn’t been in his right mind during most of the quest so, save his mother, the other participants are lost on him. He doesn’t remember their faces and although there is certainly a way that he could leverage his new power to learn them, he finds he doesn’t have an appetite for it. He has no real desire to revisit that trip to the underworld—those hours spent trying to battle the curse to be useful enough to save them all. But he doesn’t need that recognition to spark his interest as the kelpie woman approaches him.

    Firion finds that he can nearly smell the saltwater on her, and he smiles wolfish in her direction.

    “It sounds like you knew that I was,” he quips, feeling the memories of it tugging at him, sliding beneath the surface of him like a strain—a reminder that just the right move would result in pain. That same recognition pulls him further from the shadows, unable to face the truth of his new magic just yet. The curse with a different face. A power pulling from a well of darkness he would never outrun—not now.

    Before he can answer her second question though, his attention is caught by the stallion who approaches. There’s something that sparks in his mind, something in the back of his mind that responds to the particular angles of Ledger’s face. His father never spoke of Magnus—not after…not after all that had happened—but Firion’s magic responds to the familial bond. Not enough to rise to his actual consciousness (his father’s earlier escapades were certainly too numerous to make him aware of his every half-sibling, let alone every niece of nephew) but enough that he stares perhaps a second longer.

    Shaking the obtrusive feeling, he notes the way that his companion winds around his legs, taking on the shadowy form of a jaguar—misting on the edges and blurring where it leans against him. “I have had all the moments I could possibly ever need,” he replies, voice just a touch darker, roughened on the edges as he rolls his spotted shoulders. Turning his golden gaze back to the mare, he frowns for a second.

    “I don’t know how much I did,” an honest answer, for once, from him.

    His eyes flick up to the moon that peeks through the clouds, setting that golden glow on him.

    “But the darkness is temporary this time.”

    For everyone but him, he thinks, but this goes unsaid.

    so you saluted every ghost you've ever prayed to and then buried it where bones are buried




    Sabal
    Reply
    #5

    can’t stop staring at those ocean eyes. 


    “I had my suspicions,” she says, simply, though a smirk floats across her lips. The monsters and the mountain had chewed hers and the others up and spit them back out. Quite literally. But the others, they hadn’t reappeared. So she was intelligent enough to put the pieces together, even though she had no idea what had transpired after…well…after.  That and he appeared, well, solid. Lucky bastard.

    The newcomer was not someone she recognized, putting her immediately on guard.  She immediately narrows her gaze as he speaks, because if there’s anything Sabal hates its being spoken down to. Whether or not that was his intention is irrelevant at this point because Sabal’s big on react first, think second. “Who do you think you are, his keeper?” she snapped, showing a mouthful of pointed kelpie teeth. Sabal might look like a fairy princess, but she could just as easily clamp her jaws around this rude ass stallion’s throat and give him a tour of the bottom of the river. Underestimating her would be the first and last mistake someone would ever make.

    Her eyes flick back over to the gold stallion, and she uses the moment to compose herself – and to use his statement as reassurance that she can continue her conversation.

    “You did enough,” she said, sincerely.  She didn’t need the details, honestly. He’d made it out the other side alive. That was enough. He was enough. She’s also fully aware that this conversation is probably more for her than for him. At least she has that iota of awareness floating around in her head, but that definitely wasn’t enough to stop her.  That was quintessentially Sabal. A little selfish, a little selfless and a whole lot of stubborn to keep things interesting.

    “You succeeded where I failed.  Thank you for that, at least.” Part of her desperately wants to reach out and touch him. She’d always been a physical creature. Maybe it was just a kelpie thing. But Its obvious to anyone with eyes (and again, she’d established long ago that hers were for more than just decoration) that he’d been through some sort of hell on that mountain. Sabal hadn’t spoken to anyone about her own experience, so all she wants to do is offer him that comfort – a brush of flesh across skin. But she can’t even do that, because it had been taken from her by her failure. 

    “I don’t mind the darkness, but I did miss the sun.” And it was true. She wasn’t sure if she’d become accustomed to the dark or if it’d grown on her. Or maybe if the part of her that had always had an affinity for the darkness just felt more apart of her now than it had before.

    She’s quiet for a moment, her gaze flickering between the pair. “I’m Sabal, by the way.”


    s a b a l .
    manip by squirt


    Ledger firion
    Reply
    #6

    Help me out before I drown
    Save me now before I give up


    The darker tone of the golden stallion isn’t missed and Ledger is not offended although he is still concerned. How many times had his words been lined with sharp edges when he had been spit out of the Mountain again and again? As they regard each other, taking in the way the wisps of shadow follow the jungle cat as it weaves between his legs, he simply gives a shrug of a nod in understanding even as the acidic taste of magic lingers in his mouth. Even as the bear within him pokes between his ribs, recognizing that there is something in the air that is familiar, something to do with where it came from. He won’t push, he doesn’t know him enough to pry. However he is curious and so he continues to linger.

    It’s the mare that manages to flare his temper. It flickers in the dark depths of his gold flecked eye, glinting molten for a moment as she snaps and shows her teeth. In response he slowly looks to her, a low growl rumbling from deep in his chest and tickling the back of his throat. A growl that couldn’t possibly be made by a horse. As he does so, the brand across his flank seems to glow a little brighter. It’s a predators eye that looks at her and is gone as quickly as it comes. A warning, that he was also not what he seemed to be and a reminder that her outburst was far from necessary. He had been far from rude but that could change if needed.

    Curved ears swivel back towards the male as he speaks. “You did enough” says the female and he cannot help but agree with her, nodding slightly again in consensus. Whatever had happened, whatever they had done, the sun was back and the monsters were at bay. For now. She speaks of the darkness and the sun but he is still inspecting the shadow creature that prowls around its master. Sabal, the snappy one, gives her name and he has no reason to not offer his own. “Ledger.” He rasps quietly again before finally giving into his curiosity. “Was that a gift?" Even as he asks he can feel his features darken slightly although his tone is calm and thoughtful, knowing too well what kind of gifts one could walk away with from the summit… Or beneath it. Despite the moment of friction between them, he glances at Sabal as well. “What did you have to do this time?” It’s hard for him to distinguish that sometimes bad things happened without a Dark God to pull the strings but if the Mountain and magic were involved he can’t help but assume the worse.


    Ledger



    Sabal firion
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