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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

    [private]  oh, if they dusted me for prints

    Elegance had finally been given the one thing that she had always wanted.

    Her freedom.

    She could finally soar from one corner of Beqanna to the other. She could roam as much as she pleased. Her youngest siblings were now of an age that they had started exploring themselves, and yet everytime that Elegance left the Taiga, she got pulled back through some string of guilt. She could never stay away long, even if she wished to. Not when she could see her father struggling with his worry, or the way that her mother reflected it back at him.

    So Elegance would go out to explore the world, and with each trip, she would bring back a story for the siblings and cousins who had chosen to stay within the Taiga.

    It seemed to help a little. Luminesce had stories of her own and the two sisters seemed to enjoy elaborating them together for their younger brother and sister. It was like a contest between them; if Ellie had flown over a mountain, then Lumi had soared over a range. If Ellie climbed the Tephran volcano, then it was Lumi who made it erupt. It was something that, in normal circumstances, would have annoyed Elegance. But the stories they created made their remaining siblings laugh and shriek and it was a welcome distraction to the glaring absence of their brother, Bolder.

    There had been no talk of retrieving him. No discussion on when he was coming home. Only that he had chosen to stay in Hyaline, and they were not to go there.

    The soaring pegasus had almost veered that way, to check on her brother, despite her father's wishes. But the pale female is on another mission today. They had a grandfather out there (and another as well, but Ellie knew better than to mention him to Nashua) and after much discussion with her twin, Elegance had decided to seek him out. A gray pegasus with a steely gaze was what she recalled from her mother's few mentions of him. A sight that might be common across Beqanna expect that her cousins had returned from Cheri's coronation with rumors of not one but two gray pegasi in the Southern kingdom.

    Landing well past the border (and perhaps that is the reckless side of her, the one that doesn't care for kingdom boundaries), Elegance spends the day searching for them both. The first she finds is one with blue eyes and not who she is searching for. The second she finds has his back turned to her and as Ellie comes to a stop, she wishes that she had paid better attention to his name (she's bad at them all - what are the names of her aunt and uncle? Cozumelda? Cassanderian?). "Ishmael?" the young horse calls out, wondering if this was the gray that she was searching for, with a frown and irritated shake of her white wings.


    image credit to insane<3

    for grandpa @ Ashhal <3

    I tried to sell my soul last night
    Funny, he wouldn't even take a bite

    There is something dark and decidedly ugly curled up inside him now. For a time, after he had lost his memories and retrieved them again, he had felt something almost like normalcy. But now, just as quickly as it had come, it had been shredded beyond repair. A blackness had settled in his gut the day he had stolen her memories. The ones in which he had confessed his feelings.

    The ones in which he had confessed to being a fool.

    Now, it eats away at his insides, driving away any sense of self he had gained. He had hoped unleashing it would let it settle, but instead it only made him angrier. Hungrier. And ever more bitter.

    He is still in Loess because it had become as much a place to stay as the forest or river had ever been. There is comfort in the familiarity, in knowing there is a quiet corner here could almost call his own. A place the rest of the residents of this kingdom did not bother to tread often rather than facing the lash of his anger. So long as he left them in peace, they seem content to leave him in peace too.

    A small relief, sour as it is.

    He is not expecting an intrusion today, so when the tap of hooves and rustling of wings tells him someone is behind him, his jaw clenches hard enough to cause a muscle to tick. The name she utters is not his, but when he swings around to tell her there is no fucking Ishmael here, the words grind to a halt in his throat. She is lovely of course, draped in white and gold as she is. Lovely and far too damned familiar.

    “Fucking hell,” he spits out, glaring at her as he turns to face her fully. There is no welcome on his face.

    Despite the similarities at first glance, he’d known immediately she wasn’t her. But it was far too coincidental that she is here. He knows damned well she’s related to her. A sick impulse urges him to ask, but he resists. He’s not quite ready to lance that festering wound yet. “Whoever the hell you’re looking for, it isn’t me,” Ashhal snaps instead, dark eyes hard and unyielding. “Go away.”

    @ Elegance

    Her first thought is that he looks like Luminesce.

    The anger radiating off his face in heated waves makes her think of every argument she has ever had with her twin, and the scowl he wears is matched by a mirror own of her own. Elegance and Luminesce were born nearly identical, and that truth was reflected even in their expressions. As he sharply swings around, the young female steps brazenly forward.

    "Fine," Ellie tells him as she stops directly in front of him. She is greeted by a hard face that holds no warmth, and the adolescent pegasus meets the elder stone for stone. Lumi would have remembered his actual name (she was always the more apt pupil), but her sister isn't here. The way that he stares her down makes her undoubtedly sure that this is the horse she is looking for.

    It's written clearly across his dark face.

    "I don't care what the hell you call yourself," Elegance tells him. Her mind runs through the possibility of other names: Ishbol, Ashbal, Asinine? None of them sound quite right, and it makes her scowl deepen.

    Did he even know their mother's name?

    "You are the one I'm looking for." The Taigan continues to explain, and her white wings settle uneasily against her slender sides. "I have questions for you," she tells him and matches his flinty stare with the storming sea of her own as she angrily lifts her elegant head. "And I'm not leaving until I get them."


    image credit to insane<3

    @ Ashhal

    I tried to sell my soul last night
    Funny, he wouldn't even take a bite

    Though he had denied it when Ryatah pressed, Ashhal had known the newborn pegasus trapped in the cave with he and her mother had been his. It had been cruel of him to deny her, but it would have been far crueler to accept her as his, no matter that they shared blood. He is not a good man and he would be an even shittier father.

    Better they never know him than try to paint him into something he could never be.

    He is not remembering that at the moment however. Had not yet managed to connect the dots between this gilded intruder and that distant memory. Instead, as he peers at the stubborn features of the young woman before him, he only sees the similarities between her and the angel he had been trying so hard to forget. Her daughter perhaps?

    His lip curls at the thought. He’s met far too damned many mares sporting the dubious honor of that title.

    If it weren’t him she was being so fucking persistent in trying to badger, he might have admired her stubborn audacity. Might have found the scowl twisting her lips and lifted chin humorous. Instead he’s annoyed.

    He bristles when she insists he is the one she’s looking for, demanding he answer questions. He’s not sure if it’s true or not, but right now, he doesn’t particularly care. Wings lifting aggressively, he advances a couple steps. He’s not certain he could intimidate her, but that wouldn’t stop him from trying. “I don’t have any fucking answers for you,” he growls, expression darkening to a dangerous degree. “You’ll leave disappointed.” He pauses, then adds, “Or bruised and disappointed. Your choice.”

    @ Elegance

    His wings flare in warning, and so Elegance widens her own, only feeling them slightly fall back when the larger stallion takes a few aggressive paces towards her. Though she might falter there, the stern stare that she gives Ashhal never does. Her blue-green eyes remain fixed on him, and Elegance refuses to let them look away from the darker pegasus. Even as his expression darkens into something dangerous, the only thing that happens is her fireflies begin to flutter increasingly about.

    Like the heart that had begun to race in her chest.

    But letting this brute intimidate her now would get her nowhere, and she would get nothing for her efforts.

    (There is nothing Elegance hates more than failing, and she can already imagine Luminesce's face saying that she had told her so.) That approaching their grandfather - Ashhal, Ishmael, Azazel - whatever he wanted to call himself, would do no good. Allowing her twin to be right is not something that Ellie would easily acquiesce to, and that thought inspires the young mare to take a step forward, flaring her own pale nostrils in irritation.

    "Oh, I'm not leaving." She tells the larger beast, and her eyes flash dangerously, a warning. "Harm a single hair on my hide, and you'll have an entire kingdom hunting your head." Elegance says with a hard edge to her light voice. Perhaps there were perks to having a King as your father, even if there were several drawbacks. But if this is an entitlement granted to her through her sire's rule, she will gladly use it now.

    "Plus," she finally says, not realizing the tone she took was the one she used with Lumi when she needed her twin to cover for her prolonged absences. The way her want became another's. "The quicker you help me, the faster I can leave."


    image credit to insane<3

    @ Ashhal

    I tried to sell my soul last night
    Funny, he wouldn't even take a bite

    There is satisfaction in the way her wings flare briefly only to wilt in the face of his aggression. Much to his annoyance however, she does not retreat. He is momentarily distracted by the swarm of glowing insects fluttering in an increasingly chaotic dance around her, but he forces his attention back to her with a ferocious scowl.

    Despite her aggravating determination, Ashhal does not ease back. If she wanted a stand-off, he would damned well give her one. She’s in his fucking space after all, and he has a hell of a lot more practice at this than she does.

    It’s not often Ashhal finds himself wishing his appearance were something more intimidating than a pale pegasus with a faint spattering of dapples and a vaguely fearsome countenance, but today is one of those days. Especially when the vicious scowl he levels at her does little more than make her notch her chin up in response. A part of him is fully prepared to launch himself at her if he must.

    Her declaration about not harming a single hair does little to assuage that desire. Contrary to the designs of her obvious ploy, it only serves to draw a darkly amused snort from him. “Do you really think,” he begins, taking another menacing step closer, dark eyes glittering, “that your pitiful fucking threats are going to work on me?” His lip curls, expression hard. “I welcome them to try.”

    The logical part of him knows he should not cause an inter-kingdom dispute because she’s an annoying piece of baggage. The feral part of him doesn’t care.

    He doesn’t flinch from her gaze. It isn’t until later that he realizes he should have. A frown pulls at his mouth as she continues, her words beginning to make a strange sort of sense. The part of him that was ready to attack pulls back as he continues to stare, her suggestion drawing viscerally on him.

    “Fine,” he snaps finally, the word pulled reluctantly from his lips before he can stop it.

    @ Elegance

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