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    COTY

    Firion -- Year 217

    QOTY

    "She approaches the cave and there is nothing but that anticipation and her ever-present fire inside her. No fear, no flickering echoes of love. It’s all been consumed for now. She is a wildfire contained only by the thin layer of her flesh." --Mazikeen, written by Squirt


    [private]  to your sharp and glorious thorn
    #1

    Slowly, day by day, it felt like Beyza was waking up from the dream that has been life in Ischia. With her three daughters and the assortment of tropical creatures, it had become a welcome respite - one that may be beginning to end. She knew she could not keep the girls there forever, not even magically. If they chose to leave, chose to make their home somewhere else, she could not stop them.

    That didn’t mean she wouldn’t check in with them now and them, mostly just to make sure their father wasn’t causing them any problems. They deserved better than the parents they had received, better than the fact that they had been created to be used.

    Today is a rare day where her mind is elsewhere - particularly on the fact that it has been a while since she’s met anyone new. And longer still since she’s ventured back to the mainland. So she leaves behind her tropical home for the day and discovers that the world is in autumn. The meadow is a pleasant combination of green and gold grass dappled with the brilliant red of the oaks. Dusk is settling over the landscape but she does not pause there in the open. As her body begins to emit a soft white light, she moves into the forest. The memories do not have the same bite here as they once did but this place still holds a little magic for her still. This was where she had first started to question the path she thought she belonged on.

    Ever since Maurtia had first begun to show a troublesome knack for it, Beyza had been practicing with the ability to manipulate bone. Mostly just to unearth remains, seeing what might be buried around Ischia - much to her daughter’s delight. Now she uses it as she slowly wanders, soil and leaf litter shifting in the ground as bones emerge.

    She walks like this for a time, she can no longer remember exactly where she had killed the filly but none of the handful of skulls she unearths belongs to a foal.

    She’s not quite sure why she’s even looking.

    And she should return them to their graves, whoever they are, and maybe she will do that on the way back home. For now she just continues in the twilight woods, leaving a zigzag and haphazard trail of bones behind her.


    B E Y Z A

    artwork by musonart


    @Torryn <3
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    #2
    YOU'RE WALKING IN THE SHADOWS OF YOUR FEAR AND YOU'RE HEADED
    FOR THE GALLOWS SIN AROUND YOUR THROAT AND NO ONE'S NEAR

    He has hidden himself well in the forest, but even things hidden can still be found.

    It was not difficult for him to disappear entirely in the dark, being a creature made of shadow. He has learned how to stand with eyes downcast to partially obscure the red of his eyes, the only things that ever gave him away, but besides that, he was more or less a ghost.

    Somehow though, she still finds him, even if she has not quite realized it yet.

    Her soft glow encroaches upon his darkness, but instead of recoiling from it he becomes curious. Silent, he trails after her—a shadow chasing the light, each of them being the very thing the other could not exist without. He has the advantage of inaudible footsteps, but there is still caution in the way that he follows; never getting too close, never moving too fast, and choosing to stay within the shadows of the trees rather than interrupt the faint twilight that strains through the top of the forest with his dark body.

    Tonight, he is not hungry. Tonight, he is looking only for entertainment, for a way to distract himself from the moments of weakness he had caved into over the autumn—and how badly he did not want to face Despoina.

    “What are the bones for?” he says, still some ways behind her. Far enough away to give him a chance to avoid any kind of power she might be hiding, knowing there was a chance he may have startled her.
    T O R R Y N


    @ Beyza
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    #3

    Beyza is distracted enough by her search that she does not notice she is being followed for a while. Not until just before he speaks, her ears twitching back just a fraction of a second before there is actually sound to hear. She stops in her tracks and turns her head enough to see a shadowy figure. For the space of one single heartbeat, she thinks it is Jamie who has found her. A world of reactions swells within her during that heartbeat before they all fade away like mist as her white gaze slides over the stranger with red eyes. This is not the reaper she knows - but she would not be surprised to discover he is one all the same.

    She glances down to a small collection of ribs she has just unearthed and replies casually. “I’m looking for some particular ones.” And then a frown creases her crystalline features when she looks back into those red eyes. “But I can’t remember where I left them now.” It felt irresponsible of her, not to remember. Killing that filly had been a pivotal moment for Beyza but she can no longer remember which patch of the forest it was where she had eased the disease-rattling breath, or where she had parted the trees just enough so that sunlight could reach that sweat-dampened skin. She couldn’t even remember if it was that dead filly who she saw when she had met Este, or if she had seen her sister in the nameless girl whose bones she has now lost. All she knew was that both had broken her heart, had changed her path.

    Though troubled by these thoughts, Beyza packages them away - unwilling to deal with them or allow them to cause so much as a frown on her face. “Are you responsible for any of these?” She asks, turning more completely to greet him. Her tone is much the same one she’d used to ask about a name or a home - nothing but curiosity.


    B E Y Z A

    artwork by musonart


    @Torryn
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    #4
    YOU'RE WALKING IN THE SHADOWS OF YOUR FEAR AND YOU'RE HEADED
    FOR THE GALLOWS, SIN AROUND YOUR THROAT AND NO ONE'S NEAR

    “You’ve collected so many bones you can’t keep track?” the question is asked with a shadow of mirth, something so faint that it might have almost been lost in the darkness that swallows him whole. He has stepped closer now, emerging from the pitch-black so that his soft, undefined edges are able to take more of a shape in the diluted light that seeps through the cracks of the trees. She had not been startled or made uneasy at the sight of him, which he can only take to mean she possesses some kind of power that she knows she could use against him.

    It is enough to inspire caution in him, but not enough to turn him away. He was not, after all, interested in trying to glean anything from her.

    Not tonight, at least.

    His vibrant eyes turn from her strikingly white face back to the bones that litter the ground at their feet, his shadowed head tilting at an angle to suggest that he is mulling over her question. “No, no I don’t think any of those are my doing,” he muses thoughtfully, before deciding to offer her a shred of honesty. “My type of hunting doesn’t leave behind bones.”
    T O R R Y N


    @ Beyza
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    #5

    Despite the macabre conversation topic, a smile grows in Beyza’s pale eyes at the question about her bone collection. Her laughter is not exactly bright, but it is brighter than that shadowy hint of amusement coming from him. “Would it surprise you if I said yes?” She debates for a moment letting that be the impression of her that he keeps, but in the end she is honest. “But no. It’s just that many things have happened since and most of these woods look the same once you’re out of them for a while.” She had once known the exact spot, could feel the energy or maybe it was the ghost of the girl.

    Could Maurtia have found her if Beyza had thought to bring her daughter? This didn’t seem exactly light a mother-daughter bonding moment.

    But certainly good enough to share with a stranger. Her unblinking gaze watches him as he looks down to the bones on the ground, and her already-present curiosity increases at his response to her question. For a moment, she forgets her hunt and focuses entirely on him. For now, Beyza does not take the same care to remember to blink or breathe, to be anything other than utterly still.

    The opportunity for her to pretend to be ordinary had disappeared when he had discovered the trail of unearthed bones, she’s pretty sure.

    “What type of hunting doesn’t leave behind bones?”

    B E Y Z A

    artwork by musonart


    @Torryn
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    #6
    YOU'RE WALKING IN THE SHADOWS OF YOUR FEAR AND YOU'RE HEADED
    FOR THE GALLOWS, SIN AROUND YOUR THROAT AND NO ONE'S NEAR

    She is a curious creature, and he is glad to have stumbled across her. He didn’t often choose to interact with many others, though it was mostly out of guilt; he knew he only wanted them for one thing, and while the shadows may have entirely overcome his body and his bones, there was still the heart of the blue roan boy born in Taiga beneath it all.

    He knew what he did was wrong.
    He knows that if most of them had any idea what he did to them they would likely feel violated, attacked, and he can’t say he blames them.

    This seemingly last thread that his conscience clung to didn’t stop him, but it did cause him to exercise more caution and be as discreet about it as possible.

    He studies her a little more carefully after she gives her answer. He wants to ask her why she was looking for a set of bones in the first place, but something tells him it is a more personal answer than he wants to hear. And since he is not in the hunting mood, her sorrow, grief, or regret would serve him no purpose, and so he decides against it. “I know these woods pretty well, if you need help,” is what he offers her instead. He isn’t sure if he would actually be of any use in this regard, but it would at least serve as the distraction he was looking for.

    The way she goes still does not go unnoticed by him, and her unblinking stare is matched by his own. Somewhere beneath the shadows there are pinpricks of agitation threatening to form as her silence leaves room for his own conclusions, assuming that she is about to judge him in one way or another. Then again, she is the one searching the forest for skeletons, so perhaps they are equally matched in their sins. “I don’t need their blood or meat,” he answers her, tone level and even, nearly indifferent, “just emotions.”
    T O R R Y N


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