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    Aela -- Year 216


    "So she smiles prettily and steals away when she can. Feels the brutal pounding of others around her with a savagery that she has never comprehended—their emotions so vast, their hearts so wicked. It warps her more than she was already warped. It presses a thumbprint of cruelty into her darkness, shaping her into a thing of shadow, a thing of longing, a thing carved from the darkness between every breath." --Baptiste, written by Laura

    always running for the thrill of it
    Last year, Helion had been enchanted by winter - for all of a week. After that everything being cold and grey and the sun feeling weak with it’s light just wasn’t fun anymore. He radiated a little more heat than the average horse, but there were still some days when the wind picked up. And it didn’t stop him from constantly getting bamboozled by sunny days that ended up being the coldest.

    This year, he’s not too pleased as the days begin to grow shorter. He likes summer the best, of course, because it’s warm and lighter for longer. The cold doesn’t really suit Cressida very well either he’s pretty sure so when winter rolls around, even with its long nights, it feels like they’re both getting ripped off.

    Today is still early in the season but the glowing gold yearling had been on the move when some large flakes begin to fall from the sky. He stops, immediately forgetting whatever he had been moving to in the first place. No matter how much he scowls at them, though, they keep falling and he spreads his wings like that will help keep them away from him.

    Dancing around to dodge the flakes also does not work, and Helion’s forgotten to check to see if anyone is witnessing his movements when he stops and glares up at the grey sky and whispers “I thought I told you not to show up here again.”


    the harder the rain, honey, the sweeter the sun

    Goodbye, my loves.
    Isere hadn’t understood it then, her mothers’ sacrifice. She’d pressed against her sister’s side, gold to gold, silently watching as their mothers stepped through the veil and into another realm. They hadn’t turned around, she remembers noticing.
    She’d looked over at her sister, searching her face for help explaining the knot in her throat, but, finding nothing, swallowed the uncomfortable feeling. She’d stood next to her sister — together but alone — and waited, though for what, neither was quite sure.
    And then, there was light.
    It had burst through the trees suddenly, spreading across the sky and throughout Beqanna. Animals came out of their hiding places, basking in their new warmth; the flowers, once turning their heads to Isere, desperate for her light, now opened up to the sun. She had been born in the darkness, had only ever known the glow of her own light, and yet was oddly comforted knowing that the rest of the world could glow too.
    The sisters parted ways, knowing somehow that they could always find each other again.

    Isere hardly ever thinks of that day, years ago, but the winters always bring back an emptiness she’d felt for the first time then. She’s able to keep warm during the long nights and cold days, but it’s a superficial kind of warmth, not quite reaching deep into her bones like the summer does.
    She’s wandering the meadow, specifically not looking for company until she comes up behind a golden winged boy — the first she’s ever seen who looked like her. He radiates warmth, dancing around to avoid the lightly falling snow, and though he’s clearly unhappy, he brings Isere joy.
    “You’ll have to let me know if that works sometime,” she says with a smile as he quietly threatens the snow. “I’m Isere.”

    Helion had thought it was just him and the snow, but a voice behind him quickly brings him back into reality and he jumps a little where he stands - those shiny gold wings of his flaring out even more before he carefully folds them and laughs softly, as much at himself as her words. “It’s bound to happen once, right? This is a pretty weird place, maybe the snow is sentient sometimes.” Stranger things have certainly happened.

    Though he’d certainly feel bad about the flakes he’s caught in his mouth if that were ever true...

    He then finally turns around to greet Isere properly, his grin brightening into obvious delight as Helion’s wide silver eyes take in the glowing girl. “I’m Helion.” And then right on the heels of what manners he remembers “Are you a sun too?” He had to admit that she looked more the part than he did. Which was not necessarily a bad thing - it was much harder to admire your own beauty than it was that of someone else.

    He tilts his horned head to the side, regarding her, and that delight just cannot seem to fade. Not even when he notices snow start to collect in her luminescent mane or feel the patter that means some are melting against his warm skin.

    Helion looks up for a brief moment, humour working its way into his already bright voice. “If you are, I bet if the two of us thought really hard, or asked very nicely, the snow would stop.”

    the harder the rain, honey, the sweeter the sun

    As she stands still, watching him, the snow begins to collect on her body. Most of it melts on her back, too exposed to the heat of her skin, but some of it lingers, hanging precariously, ready to jump ship at any moment. She looks down — first at his feet, and then her own, noticing that the warmth of her and Helion together had made the ground turn to slush, exposing the patches of dead grass.

    When he turns to her, grinning brightly, she takes a moment to study his face. His silver eyes are soft, kind. Inviting. His smile warms her chilled bones. He’s golden, like her, but so different. His wings and horns are fascinating, and she finds herself especially jealous of his shiny wings — massive and expanding before folding at his sides.

    “A sun,” she considers quietly, tilting her head, ears pricked toward him. Is it odd she’d never considered what she could be? Why she was different from her mothers and sister, why the light followed her every step, the flowers turned their heads towards her? It baffles her that this boy is so confident, that he knows who he is. Isere had never thought of herself as insecure, but she also wasn’t inquisitive. It had never crossed her mind to think of herself at all.
    “Maybe,” she decides, a sly grin spreading across her face. “I’m brighter than you, though. Maybe I’m the sun,” she says, teasingly, “you should ask me very nicely and see.”


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