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  • Beqanna

    COTY

    Aela -- Year 216

    QOTY

    "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


    [open]  and all the other dreams that we left alone
    #1

    you pour the water —

    She was born with a heart twisted wrong.

    It was a deceitful thing. A hungry thing. It gnashed its teeth and roared in her very blood. It beat its fist against her ribs—a song that she could not ignore, could not drown out. She ached with it, bent to its every terrible want. She did not know how to look her parents in the eye and not give up these secrets. Did not know how to look at her sister and confess (confess, the word screams within her and she smothers it every night and every morning) and so she swallows the bitterness down.

    Down and down and down.

    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.

    A heaviness for a thing so young—a year barely upon her, adulthood just on the cusp of the horizon. She feels the pending weight of it looming before her especially this night, an otherness she can name no more than every other strange want and fear within her. She shifts her growing wings, the darkness of them like an oil spill over the ink of her coat, and sighs, haloed head dipping so that she might brush her lips against the summer grass. Brittle and dry, crackling beneath the weight of her slender hooves.

    Another sigh, a breath caught on her lips, as she glances upward.

    A motion catching her attention.

    The sound of another perhaps.

    The brush of foreign emotion against the very corners of her awareness. 

    Regardless, it is enough to stiffen her spine and loosen her expression, hiding that which lurks below.

    — I would haul the stones

    Reply
    #2

    Even though Runa glows, Nemeon has grown so accustomed to it that he has forgotten entirely the way his twin breaks up the night for him. So when he sees the light tonight he freezes for a moment - thinking the sun has come early. He has never seen it, his eyes turning to stone just whenever it crests the horizon. He’s often thought of venturing to the easternmost part of this continent to see if he can spy the rays of light just for a fraction of a second before everything grows still. But like most plans, this is something that the young colt has not gotten around to.

    He’s captivated by the halo that he sees, once he realizes that it is not the sun. It draws him in, and he soon discovers it is crowning a filly his age.

    Nemeon does not draw very near, mindful of the way that plants wilt around him when he lingers in one place too long. He has not discovered yet that he can have a similar effect on other horses, but he worries about it - enough that it trumps his desire to drift even closer to the source of the light. He is close enough to speak, anyway, and that is good enough.

    Of course, he cannot know that this is an aunt of his, but that wouldn't change the question that comes to his mind - the one he has to ask. His golden eyes are fixed on the halo, not thinking at all about how this might be rude and in conflict with his attempts to politely keep his radioactive blood to himself.

    “Is that sunlight?” Comes his quiet, hopelessly naive voice. He is a boy who only knows a dark, quiet world, illuminated by silver moonlight and little else.



    @baptiste
    don't mind me and this hasty table I'll fix later
    Reply
    #3

    you pour the water —

    She crushes every dark thing that rises in her throat with a swift hand. Wrings the life out of it as she lifts rose gold eyes to her nephew, unbeknownst to her, and studies him in that quiet way of hers. The way that she stills so perfectly so that she can acknowledge all aspects of a stranger—drawing them out before her and pulling them, piece by piece, until she can study the fractions before she comprehends the whole.

    There is nothing to give her away, nothing to speak to the inky rivers of doubt that spread beneath her skin, her face composed into the lines of the devout—beautiful and pious and unfeeling.

    When she does speak, her voice is soft like her mother’s. Quiet and shadowed.

    “It is not,” she cannot bring herself to lie to him, even if she detects the threads of hope that lace through his voice—something she discerns but does not understand. Not yet. An angle of her youthful head, the light of her halo illuminating the softness there, the features not yet defined as they one day will be.

    She wonders why he does not know of sunlight, why he must ask her, and something stirs in her chest. Pity? Perhaps. Curiosity more likely. Perhaps even sadness, a kinship that she cannot name. “I am not made of the sun,” is the only answer she can give him because she doesn’t know how else to tell him what she is indeed made of. The darkness that creeps over her angelic heart. The wrongness of her.

    So she offers him a smile, just the barest curve of lip, and nods her head.

    “My name is Baptiste.”

    — I would haul the stones



    @Nemeon
    Reply
    #4
    NEMEON
    Nemeon’s eyes do not drift down from the halo until the girl says that she is not made of the sun. Only then does he meet her gaze, see the small smile she offers him instead of the answer he had hoped for. Disappointment creeps in, though it is quickly squashed. Of course she wouldn’t be the sun - how could he look at her if she was? He would have turned to stone the moment the light from her halo entered his dark world.

    The grey colt adjusts his leathery wings at his sides and takes a step back, remembering himself now that he is actively trying to think of things other than her halo.

    His eyes keep slipping upwards, though he doesn’t mean for it to happen.

    With a squeeze of those wings, his golden eyes are back down to her gaze, when he offers “Nemeon. I’m Nemeon.” And then, belatedly, he realizes how odd his question must have been and he quickly tries to fill up the silence with more words. “I’ve never seen the sun, I’ve always wondered what it’s like.” His sister has explained it to him so often she's grown tired of every time he's asked, but every description feels unsatisfactory. He just knows it creates a world of warmth and gold and not the silvery, shadow world he is trapped within.


    @baptiste
    Nemeon is radioactive
    Those that touch him may experience metallic taste, nosebleed, nausea, headache, hair loss and/or skin lesions.
    Symptoms become worse with prolonged exposure and onset is accelerated when exposed to his blood.
    Reply
    #5

    you pour the water —

    His disappointment cleaves through her, even if she cannot understand it. There is something in the way that he fidgets and steps away, the pregnant silence that follows. Something that is too akin to what she feels when she examines herself—the disappointment at the lack of light that greets her. Oh, how she knows how he feels, how it agonizes her to know that there is nothing but darkness to meet her face.

    But she is young still and naive and even hopeful, despite all the things telling her otherwise.

    So she doesn’t turn and run away.

    She merely lifts her face to his and nods when he offers her name. Then frowns at his confession, pity rising to meet her self-loathing and fear. “Does the sun not shine kindly on you?” she asks and her voice is still soft, perhaps even kind for him—for this boy who can only see darkness and mourns it.

    How it must feel to never know the sun’s warmth.

    Or even its blistering heat.

    “I often choose night over day,” she offers him a truth in exchange for his own, although hers feels flimsy in comparison—something about it nearly self-righteous even though she does not yet know the truth of him. “I find the evening hours to be more…” she searches for the word for a moment, frowning as she tries to discern the correct wording for how the evening makes her feel, “home.”

    — I would haul the stones



    @Nemeon
    Reply
    #6
    NEMEON
    Nemeon isn’t sure why, but he smiles at her question. It is streaked with sadness but it is a smile all the same. He’s never had the chance to tell someone before - his mother and sister both found out when he did. “It does not shine on me at all, not while I wake. When the sun crests the horizon, I will turn to stone. Every day. And I will not wake until it is gone from the sky.” He even envies the stone skin that crawls over him in the morning because it has felt the warmth of the sun. Sometimes, if he’s caught in the open, he has felt the remnants of the summer sun lingering when he returns to flesh.

    All of these are just echoes of the thing that is kept from him, though, much like Baptiste’s halo. Tiny glimpses into that strange world of the waking.

    His dark ears twitch at the sound of her soft voice as she continues, admitting that she prefers the time he is trapped in and then his gaze drifts away from the filly for a moment. Glancing around at the quiet area around them. There aren’t many others close by, moving with the same slow pace Nemeon has come to expect. A few golden fireflies blink in and out of existence nearby.

    And Baptiste matches with the night so well, he thinks it makes sense that she feels like it is her home.

    “I hope I can be that comfortable with it one day.” Nemeon admits quietly, finally bringing his gaze back to her and attempting a smile that is a little less mournful. He’s not yet come to learn that maybe he matches the night too, that maybe it is better that it is his cage. If he were free to wander beneath the sun - how many would he hurt?


    @baptiste
    Nemeon is radioactive
    Those that touch him may experience metallic taste, nosebleed, nausea, headache, hair loss and/or skin lesions.
    Symptoms become worse with prolonged exposure and onset is accelerated when exposed to his blood.
    Reply
    #7

    you pour the water —

    There is something in his sadness that rolls a bell in her own mind, something that comes uninvited. In time, she would learn that it is the consequence of leaving herself too open—inviting in all of the emotions around her until she drowns in it—but she does not yet know the expanse of her own abilities. Of these curses the don a halo and dare call themself a gift. She just knows that her own heart aches in a way that is compounded, a heaviness that does not call itself her own, and her eyes darken with it.

    “That is tragic,” she says simply, not necessarily offering pity, but not denying him the truth of his own existence. She does not yet know how to offer hope in the face of such sorrow—to alleviate what he knows is true. So she doesn’t. She just sits in the darkness with him, offering companionship instead.

    Curiosity, however, also exists there—weaving amongst her sadness. A bright light there. “Do you change to stone in whatever position you are when the light touches you?” Perhaps it is rude to pry into such a sensitive subject, but the youth have little grace with such things, and Baptiste is no exception.

    “Do you know what is happening around you when you are stone?”

    Another question to follow the first before her attention is snagged with his admission. This time, her own sad smile rises to greet his own. “I never said it was comfortable for me,” she rolls a slender shoulder, her soft face dipping a little, the light of the halo still illuminating it. “But home does not always mean what you think it means.” Comfort was not something she was familiar with either. Not in this sense. She chose the night, but was she comfortable with the darkness of it? The darkness of her soul?

    She wasn’t sure.

    She hoped she wasn’t.

    (She feared she might be.)

    — I would haul the stones



    @Nemeon
    Reply
    #8
    NEMEON
    Tragic seems like a good word to use for his situation, Nemeon can’t really argue with that - though privately he would never use such a strong word. No matter how sad it made him, being trapped in the darkness, there was an instinct to not let it weigh on anyone else as much as it weighed on him. It didn’t occur to him yet to keep it a secret to avoid such things - because, whatever it meant, it was still his truth and she had asked.

    Her first question about it is an easy one to answer. “Yes, my sister and I sometimes make a game of it.” Nemeon brightens a little at this thought. They had quickly learned that any pose that took his two front legs off of the ground may look dramatic when he was a statue, but was often followed by some bruises and once a bad sprain when the sun went down again.

    The second question causes the smile in his golden eyes to fade away and he has nothing but a simple “No.” for an answer for her.

    It is worse than sleeping, because nothing will rouse him. He’s already forgotten that first night, waking up to a distressed mother and sister that had thought him dead. He does feel rested afterwards - often extremely so, which works out well because that leaves him awake enough to spend his nights exploring and attempting to fill them up with as much life as he possibly can.

    A confused frown darkens his expression when Baptiste corrects his assumption that she was more comfortable in the night and it’s his turn to ask something “Why do you choose it if it’s not comfortable?”



    @baptiste
    Nemeon is radioactive
    Those that touch him may experience metallic taste, nosebleed, nausea, headache, hair loss and/or skin lesions.
    Symptoms become worse with prolonged exposure and onset is accelerated when exposed to his blood.
    Reply
    #9

    you pour the water —

    Baptiste only knows how to engage with the sad things, the tragic things—the things that call her name even though she knows she should avoid them. So she is disappointed when he doesn’t speak more to the shadows surrounding his situation and then feels a warm flush of shame that she should want that. That she should hunger for something so dark, so bleak, and something that he would surely want to avoid.

    She didn’t know how to be different.

    So she chastises herself and re-focuses her efforts on finding the silver lining, giving him a wane smile at the idea of turning it into a game. “That sounds…” her voice dies off as she tries to find the right word for a game that is centered on him turning to stone before she settles on a sad one of “fun.” But he is equally dismissive and quiet of her second question and she tries to shrug off the shame that settles in her belly.

    Instead she shakes the dust from her coat, setting her dark wings over her back and bringing her gaze back up to him. “Does one choose the thing that is chosen for you?” she returns his question with one of her own, knowing that she has brought the conversation to this with her own choice of words. “I choose it because I know in my heart that it’s meant for me and I for it,” her mouth turns downward.

    “But that doesn’t mean that I don’t wish it was different.”

    A soft laugh in the back of her throat.

    “I’m sorry, I know I’m not making much sense. I don’t understand it myself most days.”

    — I would haul the stones



    @Nemeon
    Reply
    #10
    NEMEON
    The game that Nemeon and his sister play with his stone-turning is not fun but he needs to believe that it is. So he gives the haloed Baptiste a smile as if to say ‘yes it is’ even if it’s a lie. Even if it’s a game they had to start to play because reality was so depressing, because it was better than the days where Nemeon tried to run away from the sun and was caught in mid-stride with an expression of absolute fear. Because even though it may never be actually fun for him, at least if he pretends otherwise his family does not have to look at his horror and pain frozen on his face for the entirety of a day before he animates again.

    Not yet experienced enough to realize she might prefer to talk about him for the same reasons he prefers to focus on her, Nemeon watches Baptiste as she answers his question. He tilts his head curiously at her soft laugh, as she tries to brush off what she had just said.

    “I think it makes sense.” He offers in a quiet, sincere voice. “The night was chosen for us both and we both wish it was different.” Though he does not understand why she thinks she is made for the night. Why anyone who could walk beneath the sun would choose differently, even if it did not feel like a choice.

    Still, there is a new sense of comradery that rises in his heart at the idea that there might be someone else caught up in the darkness like him. Or, close enough to like how he is for there to be some common ground.



    @baptiste
    Nemeon is radioactive
    Those that touch him may experience metallic taste, nosebleed, nausea, headache, hair loss and/or skin lesions.
    Symptoms become worse with prolonged exposure and onset is accelerated when exposed to his blood.
    Reply




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