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  • Beqanna

    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


    [open quest]  will you fight? or will you perish like a dog?; round III
    #1


    lord, I fashion dark gods too;


    They do as they're told. Though their bodies are not innately made for this task, they are creative, or show enough intelligence to ask him for his help. Of course, he does not always grant precisely what they ask for, but it will get the job done. He watches as the hole deepens, dirt and gravel thrown and displaced in all sorts of ways, storms and shadows and animals and bugs and water itself.
    Time seems to dilate as they move the earth, and even he – the most patient of gods – becomes restless. What if this was for naught? What if he was mistaken, and they would simply dig and dig and find nothing?
    He is so rarely mistaken. He hates the way it tastes in his mouth.
    It’s then that the first one falls.
    It’s a silent fall, and he would not have noticed on primitive senses alone. But he had tethered himself to each of them, and he feels the tug of it, the nothingness – no, the everythingness of it. For the mountain was full of magic.
    And magic, raw like this in its birthplace, is wild and unpredictable.
    And hungry.
    The mountain shudders, and Carnage almost loses his footing. There is a groaning noise, like something wakening. His ears flatten, but he stands his ground. He reaches out to them again. He wants to see.
    At first, it’s only blackness, a void, except even he cannot cast light in this one. Images flicker into view, but different for everyone, and he tries to make sense of it, jumping from each of them, but it keeps changing.
    And then, one by one, they go mad.

    OOC:
    - WHOOPS your character fell into what’s essentially a big old magic pit. Obviously, you can’t do this without consequences. The magic pit first retaliates. You have two choices (or may choose both)
    1. Choose 1 (or more) trait(s) to be “scrambled” – the same thing as the monsters did in the last plotline. The trait might go up a space, might go down a space, might turn into a different same space trait. You can choose expressed and/or carried traits. List these at the end of your post and you’ll learn what happened in the next round.
    2. If you don’t have traits, or don’t want your character’s traits messed with, the magic pit can instead take something from you – an eye, mane, ability to feel love, whatever.
    - Your character is falling, then suspended in darkness and feeling the “scrambling” happen.
    - You then descend into a made-up world. Once again, you have a choice. Your character is transported into either:
    o Their idyllic, perfect world. They’re living in a utopia and they’re all-powerful.
    o Their utter nightmare/hell. Everything is broken and horrible.
    - You don’t need a rhyme or reason for which one they end up in, just do whatever makes sense for your character. Or ask the bot in Discord. Or I’ll flip a coin for you.
    - End with your character dying in whichever world they chose and appearing back on the mountain. If you want, as further evidence of how the magic pit changed you, you may claim a 0-space appearance trait and/or color change – if so, list this at the bottom of your post as well.
    - Replies are due by 11:59 PM CST on Monday, November 29th. Though once again, if the last round isn’t up, you’re good to reply until it is. However, if you are not able to post until late on the 30th or after, please let me know ASAP.

    c a r n a g e

    Reply
    #2
    The sensation of falling sent Tiasa’s stomach flipping around just like her body. She loses a hold on the kelpie shape at some point, which makes her less flexible but the flailing around of her finned tail had only been making things worse.

    And then there’s a worse moment, where the falling stops but doesn’t quite end. There is no ground between her hooves - she isn’t even entirely sure she’s right-side-up or not she is just suspended in the darkness that does not feel empty. It feels like it is pressing in around her - not very unlike the feeling of being underwater. A tingling sensation descends not just on her skin but inside of her body as well.

    Tiasa snorts at the uncomfortable feeling, as though that will make it go away. It intensifies in response, as though chiding her, before releasing and then she descends more slowly. The darkness eases into a world of silvery light. The air glitters around Tiasa and there is soft, pearlescent grass that moves as though the air is water.

    Or maybe she is underneath the ocean?

    She does not have her fins, though her hair moves around - fanning to display the flowers scattered within.

    It’s peaceful and beautiful and incredibly lonely. And just as this thought passes through her mind they arrive. They’re faceless and yet she can see the smiles, sense the adoration radiating from them as they flock forwards from all directions. Tiasa snorts yet again, dancing nervously on the spot, twisting and attempting to see around the veil of deep black as it impaires her vision. There’s no escape, the faceless horses are coming from all directions.

    There is no way for her to avoid them.

    Panic chokes her and the bright, silvery world she’s found herself in seems to intensify. The sheen on the grass is too garish and the glittery light around her is too bright. It stings her eyes as she tries to keep an eye on the approaching crowd.

    They grow in size as they approach her until her head is level with their chests - and though they pause when they get close to where she stands, it has nothing to do with her. Their excitement and their adoration is for each other - friends and family and lovers greeting each other as if after a long time. The roar of their movements fills the air and enhances the colours even more until the bodies around her are little more than silhouettes against a vibrant background.

    The first touch Tiasa feels since she was a young foal with her mother is a rough knee to her stomach as someone pushes past her to press their featureless head towards another and this is quickly followed by a shoulder slamming into her cheek. As she reels from the injustice and disgust, from the pain that is more than just physical, she has to stagger to keep her hooves beneath her. Rumbling, purr-like noises fill the air and the shimmering light as the large creatures greet each other. More knees and legs knock into Tiasa, over and over her skin gets pummelled as she scrambles to find a way out.

    Everywhere she looks there are bodies and they form a sea that churns around her as she remains utterly insignificant among them. Not even worth a glance, the most precious thing that she had been holding onto - that first touch of someone special - taken without care.

    All of her senses are overwhelmed. The stench of them floods her flared nostrils and each ragged breath brings in a sickly taste to her mouth.

    It is only when that taste turns sharp and coppery that she realizes she’s bleeding. That the constant pushing and kicking has damaged something inside of her.

    Tiasa falls and the chaos doesn’t even pause for a moment. Instead of being kicked, she is trampled until there is no part of her left unharmed, untouched.

    Her vision begins to go spotty and fade in and out, and there is bliss in that change but it’s the only one she gets.

    The pain is intense and agonizing and it stretches out. Now that she is down and thoroughly trampled, no other blows come. Not even the pearl grass brushes against her side - there is a barrier between her and the entire world. In between long, dark blinks she watches as the shadowy figures move around her with ease.

    All it would take was one well-placed blow to end her agony and she suffers under the weight of the desire for any of them to touch her again and knowing they won’t.

    It feels like it takes eons for her to bleed out and she is acutely aware of every single second.

    Darkness wraps around her again for one blissful second before she is back on the mountain. It takes her eyes a few long blinks to adjust to this light - less intense than that silvery world below but still bright compared to that too-brief moment in peaceful death. Her breathing and heart rate both feel sluggish before they too kick in and she shakes while standing on her perfectly-fine legs, feeling not so much as a bruise along her teal body.

    Confusion is understandable and it seems to be the only thing she is capable of feeling at this moment as her bright eyes try to focus.

    TIASA


    Traits to scramble:
    - nereid mimicry
    - kelpie shifting
    - wings (carried)


    0 space trait:
    jewel-touched
    Reply
    #3
    It felt, at first, like a headlong tumble into nothing. Then nothing became sensations too many and too overwhelming to name. Sensations became everything and magic and she felt awash with it. Buoyed, floating, cradled, falling. It made no difference, she felt embraced and rejected all in the same breath.

    A pause —

    She can feel her hear thudding in her chest; in terror and elation, as if thrilled by the prospect of everything pressing in upon her. Thorax is literally paused in mid-tumble, looking as if she had started to roll on her back with legs akimbo in the air. That’s when she starts to feel weird.

    She doesn’t know how else to explain it except it’s pressure, hard breathing, racing pulse, and frozen animation and something - something, different, changing, unbecoming and becoming all at the same time. Thorax tries to cry out but it is stifled by a thick rush of magic and something else. She has no names for this, any of it.

    The magic cradling her mid-fall dumps her unceremoniously upon a spit of land. It looks like nothing familiar to her because it is not barren or thriving, it just is. She tests her limbs and her limits of strength for a few moments before focusing on the unsettling feeling of disorientation that rights itself into a sense of knowing and familiarity. This place has crags and caves, desert and sun, heat and brightness and all of it harsh and cruel.

    Pangea? she thinks, mildly surprised. This was part of her birthright in some sense that she has never spared much thought to. She sniffs the air but there are no scents here, nothing new or recent, and strangely no old scents too. No piles of poop (hey, even fake ponies shit too!) to mark territorial lines and such, no tracks in the sand and dirt. Not even bones and she remembers there are bones here, in the caverns and the earth itself.

    “Hello?” She ventures boldly but her greeting rings out over emptiness and bounces back as a sad echo off the rock walls. If anything answers, it’s a rockslide and a sad sighing wind that tries to stir her hair but fails, just musses it up a little. The land seems so weak in spirit and life. It occurs to her then to seek the bugs, and she pushes out with that strange manipulative power of hers.

    Only to be greeted by nothing. No insects creep or crawl or fly to her. There is no answering tug or pulse, as if that spark of life for all is dead here. She feels fear then, pushes outward again with breath, thought, and heart. Not even a trickle of blood for all that she’s trying. No power here either. Fear blooms inside her like an ugly algal stain that spreads and seized hold of limbs and flesh.

    Thorax trembles.
    The earth does too. Not in response to her except it might feel slighted at her presence, at the audacity of her being there since it has ridden itself of all things great or small, horse or bug. It’s an earthquake and she cries out, because the earth rocks and rolls under her cloven feet and she has never felt this before. It wasn’t like digging for the pit of magic at the heart of the mountain. This, this was something else!

    She began to run; out of instinct and fear, with no regard towards the direction she ran in. Just a mad headlong dash forward. Thorax knew this was hell; almost more than a simple nightmare or fears of not amounting to much or disappearing. This was a life of non-existence, of nothingness and it spurred her onward. She preferred that eerie tumble into madness and magic to this.

    But wasn’t this part of that?

    She didn’t know any more. This felt too real. Like she had been thrown back up into normal life and off the mountain (or from under it) and into this new frightening life of emptiness. Just land and sky and wind and her, like a small speck of dust in it all. Like an ant! Thorax screamed her terror and frustration but there was no one to hear it. Just the rocks that slid at the sound of her breaking their eons of stillness, and the earth that still quaked underfoot.

    One tremor tripped her and she fell to her knees, scrambling to get back up as rocks rained down all around her. This is it, this is how I die. Alone, in a vast array of nothingness and no one, and she cried as the rest of the rocks pummeled her until blood mixed with tears, and life leaked out from underneath the rockfall and broken bones.

    The moment she blinked last, took her last inhale, and felt her heart finish its last beat… she woke up, hale and shivering atop the mountain. She looked wild; wide eyed and snorting, feeling as changed and strange on the inside as she was sure she looked on the outside. Fearing life as a minuscule forgettable ant easily squashed by the world. She shook herself to rid herself of the thoughts of abandonment, trepidation and inadequacy, and stared straight ahead.

    Little did she know, the mountain and the magic had taken more from her than just scrambling her up and killing her in a hell of her own making. It had taken a chunk of her sense of self and left a gaping void in its place. A chasm of apathy that she’d never felt before, to match the fear of emptiness or better to mimic it - to make her feel empty inside. Outwardly, she had changed too: the elbowed antennae of an ant sprouted from atop her head.

    Traits to scramble: (all carried)
    Blight, Goat horns, Invisibility

    0-space appearance trait: antenna
    Reply
    #4


    - ✧ -


    F
    all.

    Fall.

    F

    A

    L

    L

    Elliana can remember, once, tripping over a stone when she had been training with Nicnevin. She remembers it felt almost like slow motion, as if she hung in the air for eternity before ending in a puddle of spidery legs, and girlish laughter on the ground beneath her. The feeling thrums through her once more. A feeling of falling without really falling. Elliana closes her eyes and braces for the impact.

    And then—

    “Mom, wake up!” There is the shifting of another next to her, another, much smaller form. Blue eyes bat open and look down to a smiling face with blue eyes that look so familiar to her own. An ivory heart made of bone burrows into her eyes. What? She questions. “I’m hungry,” the small stranger says with a look of defiance billowing below the surface that is too familiar. Who are you? She asks, narrowing her own gaze in suspicion. This is when the boy moves away from her side and she notices something all too familiar. You look just like Reave. She breathes before she can stop herself. The boy tilts his head, letting a short, blunt blonde mane lean towards the side. “Well yeah, that’s why you named me Reave Jr., Mom” He says, that is all he needs to say to send Elliana spiraling.

    Where was she?
    When was she?

    Elliana stumbles once as she rises to her feet. The child (her son?) takes this as her willingness to follow him, and she sees little choice in the matter. Stunned, she walks though the small wooded area, before another child, this one dark like night and armor made of bone, appears before her. Elliana’s heart leaps as she spots the crescent moon marking on her shoulder, and this child too sports eyes of too blue.

    “Thank goodness you are here! Dad is trying to embarrass me again.” The girl says in a voice that reminds her of her own, but it sounds strange, odd to not hear it coming from her own lips. Like an all too clear echo. If that boy was her son, Elliana is not so oblivious, even in this state of confusion, not to assume that this must be her daughter. Give me a moment, she says because her head is spinning. “Mom, are you okay?” Elliana blinks glacier blues to try to escape the black dots forming in her vision. Please stop, she says in shattered breathes. She cannot bear to hear them calling her that.

    Children, two of them, and clearly with Reave, as indicated by the child’s name and who he was named after. That is the way of life, isn’t it? Find someone to settle down with. And then bare them children, raise those children, watch those children have children, all while growing older and older and older. This is what happens in the fiarytales—and there was a reason these stories were never requested at bedtime but the shadow twinged girl. Elliana pictured adventures, wandering feet (as much as a wandering heart), new faces, new stories to hear and to tell. She pictured wild oceans, daring mountains, secretive forests, and inspiring meadows, begging to be explored. She had never thought of children, had nearly forgotten they existed save for the fact that she was still closer to the age of a child than the age of an adult. But clearly, this is the life now that she owns, children, a union. Never has she felt the feeling of shackles round her ankles.

    But those shackles loosen with some sort of hope that rises through. The of Carnage and his task and the digging and the falling come through. And the magic. The black dots dissipate and she thinks she may finally be seeing clearly. Excuse me, she says to her children, no, no, not her children, they couldn’t be. She rushes off, walking quickly , there had to be a way out.

    And he is before her with blue, blue eyes. Reave, she sputters like she had been drowning. What is going on? She has enough time to smile at him just once before she falls again, but this time, when she glances down, all she see is sharp rocks below.

    It doesn’t hurt—dying, at least not as she had thought. What hurts is coming back as she stands there on strained legs and tired eyes and a flipping stomach on the side of the mountain. And the sigh that comes from her lips tells herself that she would rather be stranded on a mountain top than have to look even once more into the eyes of any who would call her their mother.





    ..but nightmares are dreams too.
    « r »


    Traits
    Feel free to mess with her snowflakes
    (I am not sure if this has updated in the database yet, but she got it in the halloween quest.)

    0-space trait
    Glittering

    Permission granted from Insane via discord to have Elliana and Reave in a joint nightmare/dream.
    Reply
    #5

    i am the mace, the map, the fall and the high

    He’s not sure how long he’s been falling. Time is only given meaning when there is something to count time by, and here there is only darkness and the air as it rushes past him. Neither is he entirely sure when he loses consciousness, or if he has been unconscious the entire time, but when he awakens, it is not in the void.

    He blinks awake to the muted sunlight filtering through trees and a girlish voice whisper-shouting right in his ear. “Daddy!!” she squeals, scrambling backwards with a giggle as Reave heaves himself into a sternal position with a start. The sharp blue of his gaze jumps to a small, dark, still childish face looming over him with a wide grin on her face. He can already see the bone that juts disconcertingly through her ebony skin, blue eyes sparkling with a familiar light.

    Frown creasing his features, Reave stares at her for a moment before asking, “Who are you?” Her shrill giggle and plaintive response of “Daddyyyyyy, you knoooww who I am!” tells him he should know, but he has never had children. Nor does he truly desire them.

    As Reave’s frown only deepens, the girl flounces off with a pout.

    Climbing to his feet, Reave takes a steadying look around him. Closing his eyes, he reaches for his sight - any of them - only to find them gone. Gone! For a moment, he can only stand there, dumbfounded. He has his armor still, why not his sight? Another desperate search finds nothing again, and Reave is forced to shove his welling panic back down. He has never before been without his gifts, and now, when he needs them most, they are simply gone.

    It doesn’t take long for his usual ferocious determination to swell and replace the rising tide of desperation. Stepping down the path the girl had taken, Reave follows it until he reaches the familiar cliffs of Nerine and finds himself in the most pastoral scene he has ever had the misfortune of witnessing. Elliana with two children clamoring at her feet. A boy, the very image of him when he’d been young, and a girl as black as shadow with a moon on her shoulder. The same girl who had claimed him as father.

    Something wrenches inside his chest as understanding fills him. Eyes filling with dawning horror, he lifts them to meet Elliana’s gaze. It does not take his abilities to see the matching dread in hers. And then she is rushing towards him, trying as desperately as he to determine what is happening. Reave can only shake his head and step back, suddenly alarmed at the thought of touching her. It had never bothered him before, but now, with two children who are so clearly theirs - the idyllic picture of a family he had never sought - he finds himself uncomfortable with even the thought.

    But he shouldn’t have moved. She had rushed towards him with such despairing alacrity that she doesn’t seem to notice the cliff before she tumbles over the side. “Elliana!” Her name is ripped from his throat as he tries to correct his mistake - tries to reach her in time - but he is too late.

    When he reaches the edge and looks down, it is to find her lying broken on the rocks below, blood leaching into the sand and dribbling across stone. Blood had never bothered him before, but it had never been her blood.

    The shouts of the children behind him fall on deaf ears. Neither does he notice when they race to his side to peer down at their mother’s shattered form. The cries of alarm mutate into sobs of despair as they crush themselves against his side. He’s not certain how long he stares at her, but a strange numbness is creeping through his chest when he finally pulls himself away. A good father would comfort his children. A good man would grieve the woman who had clearly been their mother. He is neither.

    Instead he tries to flee, ignoring the confused calls of the children.

    But he is trapped. Every time he tries to make his way through the trees to the south, he finds himself right back here, the forlorn little faces of his son and daughter peering mournfully at him. Following the cliffs or the beach only offers the same result.

    He is trapped.

    Only then does he finally begin to understand how fortunate Elliana had been to find death so quickly. The days pass and the children overcome their despondency. They do not seem to notice his withdrawn stare or brusque answers. There is a moment (only a heartbeat of time) where he nearly finds humor when he learns their names. Reave Jr and Liana. Someone somewhere has a cruel imagination.

    It might have been weeks or perhaps only days when he too considers following Elliana over the cliff, but the children’s shrill cries of alarm any time he dares even approach the precipice as they hastily insert their small bodies between him and danger prevent him from seeking that solace. But even in his boredom and despair, Reave isn’t certain he could truly take his own life.

    It is only when he notices his armor has begun growing again that he knows true fear. It grows far faster than it ever has (or perhaps time has simply lost all meaning when each day is as monotonous as the last), but what should have taken years to grow is already beginning to hamper his movements. By the time it has begun to overlap enough that he can hardly move, the children have grown. He sees them less and less until they stop coming altogether.

    At first he had barely noticed, but now, as the armor begins to lock into place, his breath grows as short as the days grow long and tedious. It’s only then that he notices the children are no longer there to break the monotony. Only then that he knows the true depths of his nightmare. When the day finally comes he can no longer draw enough breath to sustain himself, he knows his first hint of joy in ages. Death has never looked so sweet.

    reave



    Traits to scramble:
    Empathic Echoes (non-genetic), Immortality (carried - he also has active, genetic immortality, but I'd like to leave that one alone), Telepathic Bond (carried)

    For his 0-space trait, I'd like to give him carvings on his armor

    Permission for Samm for Reave/Elliana's joint nightmare
    Reply
    #6
    -

    She does not land.
    She only awakens.
    Opens her eyes to crushing darkness.

    A black so deep that not even the sun that orbits her golden head throws any light.
    She can feel it like a physical thing.
    It presses in from all sides, hungry.

    (It reminds her of the Eclipse.
    The whole world plunged into shadow.
    But there is no sun here.
    No light that struggles against the darkness.
    Only the small sun that belongs to her.
    And it makes no effort to illuminate the darkness.)

    There are things that lurk, she can sense them.
    Things that watch.
    Things that are adept to the total blackness here.
    Hungry things.
    Savage things.

    (Is it fear that twitches in her gut?
    No.
    No, it cannot be.
    She does not fear Death.
    Has she already died?
    She does not recognize this as the Afterlife.
    But so many things have changed and she with them.)

    Mother.
    The voice slithers up out of the darkness.
    It is not one she recognizes, but then how could she?
    She did not stay long enough to hear him speak.
    She had looked at him and called him Larva.
    And then she had gone.

    (Had she thought about him?
    The child she had abandoned?
    The thing she had set loose upon the world?
    It is hard to tell now.
    These memories no longer belong to her.)

    She hears him still but cannot see him.
    Even when he presses close.
    (Is it dark or is she blind?)

    Child,” she says.
    And he touches her and she knows.
    She is blind.
    This is what the falling cost her.
    (Perhaps it is a blessing.
    For she cannot see the way their faces are distorted.
    She cannot see the sick disfigurement.)

    Mother.
    A second voice.
    And she does not recognize this one any better than the first.
    Because she did not live long enough to ever hear him speak.
    He is another thing she set loose upon the world.

    This is not the Afterlife, she realizes.
    This is a reckoning.

    She exhales.
    (Breathing still, she thinks.
    She must not be dead, not yet.
    But she can feel the promise of it squirming in the darkness.)

    Boy,” she says.
    And she waits then.
    Waits for this child to touch her, too.
    But he does not come close enough.
    She has already given her life for him once.

    The girls do not come.
    Only the boys.
    (Had she loved the girls better?
    Had she taken greater care of them?)

    She does not smell the fire.
    She cannot see it.
    And it is no ordinary fire.
    It burns hotter, brighter. 
    It is vicious as it scorches the earth.
    It leaves nothing but a path of devastation in its wake.

    Why?
    A third son asks.
    Mother, why?
    There is a desperation in his voice.
    She turns her face in his direction.

    A better mother might have apologized.
    Might have said, ‘please forgive me, I didn’t know any better.’
    But Bible did know better, she always has.
    She made the decision to leave them.
    (Save for the one who had eaten his way from her womb.
    Although, if he had let her live, she’d certainly have left him, too.)

    This is hell: having to answer for her sins.
    She sucks in a sharp breath and the crush of darkness tightens around her ribs.
    Surely she will suffocate.

    Stop this,” she says.
    But she has never been their mother.
    She has no authority over them.

    Mother, please.
    She cannot distinguish between the voices now.
    And the fire draws ever nearer.
    And she is oblivious, blind.
    The fire burns so hot that it leaves no smell. 
    As if even the atoms have been obliterated.

    Mother.
    Mother.
    Mother!

    The fire takes the first son.
    And then the second.

    The anguished screams sink their teeth into her psyche.
    The agony. The total, bone-deep terror.
    And the fear, finally, seeps into her chest.
    Because she cannot see what it is that takes them.

    Her nostrils flare as the fire takes the third son.
    Mother!
    But she was never equipped to save them.
    She was not even equipped to love them.

    The fire takes the fourth son and then.
    And then it takes her, too.
    A fire so fierce, so deadly hot, that it melts her from the bottom up.
    The gold gives way.
    She had thought herself indestructible.
    But she has been wrong so many times before.

    She opens her mouth to cry out.
    But the heat melts her cheeks, her lips.
    Her eyes.

    It is worse than any death that ever came before it.
    The pain is incredible.
    Inescapable.

    She tries to run but the legs are already gone, reduced to a molten puddle.
    The chest collapses and her heart seizes, shuddering once and then going still.
    And then she is gone.

    Here rests Bible.
    She who could not make right all of her wrongs.

    Until.
    Until the body returns.
    Until she sucks in a sharp, world-swallowing gasp of air and scrambles to her feet.
    But the world is still dark.
    Dark, dark, dark.
    She has returned to the Mountain but she has no way of knowing this.

    Her heart slams out a frantic pulse and she turns her head this way and that.
    No one calls out for her.
    So she calls out instead, “child?

    ever since i heard the howlin' wind
    i didn't need to go where a bible went



    traits to scramble!
    horn, wings, immortality—all carried

    the pit also took her sight oop

    claiming the 0-space jewel touched!
    Reply
    #7
    T U M U L T
    He is falling, and somehow through the chaos he thinks how odd that he has now fallen twice in the span of hours—he, with his wings, who rarely falls at all.

    The falling is different this time, though. He cannot see the ground rushing at him, and he feels more than just the force of plunging through the air. He feels trapped in the dark, with no sense of which direction his body is moving or if it is even moving at all. There is the feeling of being pulled apart and put back together, of cells splitting and reforming, and they shape themselves back into something that is both him and not him.

    He does not remember hitting the ground.

    When his eyes open he is disoriented, but the way he is resting against the damp carpet of needles on the forest floor suggests he had not fallen to the earth but instead had only fallen asleep. He remembers the mountain and the gray stallion, but it feels like a dream, or a memory long since watered down by time. When the fog of sleep fully dissipates he does not find his mind to be any clearer, but he is afraid to look too closely at the events that have transpired — the mountain, the digging, the falling, and the awakening.

    It was either reality or he was going mad, and he is not sure which is worse.

    Lifting his head he can see that he is beneath the boughs of a tall evergreen tree, its branches heavy and saturated with rain. The clouds above him are a bruised storm-purple, and all around him thunder rumbles and booms. He stands, his own storm-cloud wings humming with a lightning-like electricity, and without a second thought he takes flight, heading straight into the storm.

    It is like this everyday.
    Every morning the sun struggles to shine through the reckless gray of the clouds, outlining them in a molten silver until they manage to devour any light it manages to shed.
    Every afternoon the skies become a chorus of thunder and rain, brightened by the occasional streaks of lightning.
    The nights are starless, but the lightning itself is made of stardust—electric and glittering, sending showers of star-sparks to the ground, clinging to the grass and the leaves of the trees like dew.

    He learned that he could control them now, the storms. He could amplify the thunder and lessen the rain, he could conjure a tornado and never lose control. Once he had requested gale-force winds simply to test the strength of the trees and see how far they might bend until they broke, but he found that doing this once was enough. His storms were not meant to be destructive. They were chaos but they were beautiful, and it was never his intention to bring damage to this seemingly perfect world he had been dropped into.

    He is not the only one here, but mostly he keeps to himself. Perhaps that is why he was never able to discern if this was a dream or reality—he had never had anyone to begin with.

    And so on the day that he dies, he is alone. It is not an eventful death—nothing like being struck by lightning and sent through a dark vortex. It is peaceful, or at least as peaceful as dying can be. He thinks many years have passed, feels as though he has lived a long life, and so he welcomes it.

    Before the last breath shudders from his lungs he sends a bolt of lightning up to the clouds one last time, and he is gone before its light has faded from the sky.

    Just as before, he does not remember falling.
    He does not remember the sensation of dying.
    He does not remember waking up.

    He stands there on the mountain as if he had never left, storm-cloud wings dripping at his sides, and the only sign of change is the lightning-effect that flickers periodically across his skin.
    CAN YOU TELL ME, WILL I BREAK OR WILL I BEND?


    - please mess with his storm creation
    - he would like to claim lightning as his 0-space appearance trait (according to the definition it's limited to flashing across the skin so im assuming it counts as appearance lmao)
    Reply
    #8
    BRUNHILDE
    I BET ON LOSING DOGS
    You’re still falling, aren’t you? The vicious whisper of your father’s voice caresses your ears; but you do not open your eyes. You do not rage against your fate. You paint a pretty picture: back to the consuming darkness, legs bent gracefully in the air, face serene as your lovely mane trails around you like so many comets.

    A lone butterfly clings to the gentle dip at the center of your chest. You can feel it there, tiny legs tickling your flesh even as the wind around you begs to be your body’s only sensation. You know that in time it, too, will flutter away from you. And you will be alone in this darkness, no lingering remnant of what you present to the world save for the sunset fire of your skin.

    This is true madness, is it not? Accepting this neverending descent as your hell, the inevitable tumble your life was meant to end in.

    It ends.

    The darkness, the inertia, the perpetual floating of your gut—all of it is replaced by green grass beneath your hooves, a gentle wind upon your face, and the sweet smell of summer time plums.

    You open your ears and find yourself watching the swaying trees of your childhood home. Awash in the bright, cool glow of a Hyalinian summer, the grove you once slept and played in looks like pure heaven. You look around expectantly, the magic of this utopia almost immediately wiping away the memories of what you just endured. Where there was once terror and suffering, new memories surface.

    — — — — —

    The laughing, lovely face of your mother stares at you as you mumble to yourself about how grumpy your father was this morning. He had a late night patrolling and was too tired to go hunting for ripe plums like the pair of you do most mornings. You’re a young woman but you still love those peaceful dawns with your content patriarch.

    “He’ll make it up to you tomorrow,” Kensa answers with a laugh, nudging your shoulder lovingly. You shrug and smile back, begrudgingly acknowledging how right she is. You turn your face into her neck and close your eyes. She smells like pine needles, cypress, and home. The pair of you stroll off through the tall trees, gossiping amongst yourselves.

    — — — — — 

    When the memory fades, your eyes blink at the open space of the creek bound meadow. Before you stands the pale visage of your father, silvery muzzle glittering in a large smile.

    “You’re late, Hildy,” Litotes calls, trotting to your side. You smile and press a kiss to his cheek, somehow knowing exactly what you’re late for. “Happy birthday, darling,” he murmurs.

    Around you, the shadows of Hyaline cast outward as a summer sunset splashes hues of orange and red and purple on your home. Fireflies twinkle in and out of the bushes and trees and flowers. You’re grinning like a little girl, legs kicking up in an expectant, wild prance. Your father leads you patiently, occasionally glancing back to murmur something exciting about the gathering they’re throwing you.

    You both find your family waiting in the hollow where you all rest. Kensa, Kelynen, and two smaller, boyish faces grinning widely. Before them is a lovely stockpile of berries and plums.

    “Happy birthday, Brun!” yells one of the twin boys. You smile back, heart settling into the rhythm of the celebration. You light a small pile of logs gathering into a circle of stones. Warmth and light crackles around you.

    A swift movement catches your eye. You turn your head suddenly, just in time to have your cheek smacked by a pair of eager lips.

    “Sorry I’m late,” a gruff, wild voice murmurs into your ear. The woman nips at your neck before stepping toward the two boys, both now squealing. “Look what I brought you two from Tephra!” she answers their squeals as she pulls two lovely peacock feathers from her mane. The twins ooh and ahh as she turns back to you, stormy eyes twinkling playfully.

    Vastra.
    — — — — — 

    You remember the first time you met so vividly.

    (This world is so different from the one you’ve forgotten. There is no heartache or confusion, no harsh greetings. You fell in love with ease.)

    “What are you doing?” calls a poised, haughty cat. 

    You jerk your head up, quickly slamming your fiery wings to your side in embarrassment.

    “Trying,” you answer with a defiant lift of your chin.

    Vastra tilts her head, cheeky smirk curling her lips. She changes then, feline form morphing into a dusty pegasus. She approaches confidently, eyes never straying from your face.

    “Want me to teach you?” she asks.

    Your heart races. You smile, cheeks warming with a flush; but that proud chin doesn’t waver as you answer.

    “Please.”

    — — — — — 

    The dusk fades into night as you curl into your lover’s side. You’re content.

    This is how your days pass. From lovers to mothers, you have children. Your brothers grow up, raise lovely families of their own. Your father and mother gray. When they pass, you bury them on the dark shores of the Cove.

    You have never known madness.

    — — — — — 

    On yet another birthday (you’ve lost count), your bones creak. Vastra left you a few years ago, the dusky color of her skin fading to a pale gray before she went peacefully in her sleep. You think of her as your younger siblings and countless offspring recreate your favorite birthday. You smile and laugh, but you can feel your power fading.

    They can feel it, too. The sadness is deep in their eyes.

    They know when you curl up next to the bonfire, it will be the last time you do.

    And so after a night of stories and laughter, you do just that. Your bones ache as you rest your head close to the warmth. Your children curl around you and you breath so deeply that when the end comes, it just feels like taking another breath.

    — — — — — 

    You’re gasping for air when you look up, when your eyes find the midnight earth beneath you and the joke in the Dark God’s face.

    No,” you whisper.


    traits to scramble:
    fire mimicry (expressed)
    lion shifting (unexpressed)

    0-space trait: fire halo
    Reply
    #9
    She has never fallen before, but it feels a lot like time in fast forward, like sinking miles beneath the waves in seconds instead of minutes. The weightlessness is something she is familiar with, but the upheaval of her insides fluttering on wings that try to burst out of her chest is something entirely new and entirely unpleasant, and for a moment she is dizzy with it, senseless. There is nothing to see but the dark, nothing to hear but the sound of her own racing heart and the air rushing past. There is no hint of ocean spray on her lips, no water to billow against those dark, delicate legs. For a long while she feels like what she imagines a star must feel, alone and bright and entirely solitary, suspended in a dark that reaches from one corner of the universe to the next. This universe of hers is much smaller, she is sure, but it makes no difference when you are the only thing that fills it.

    At some point she realizes by the way there are no wings inside her chest that she isn’t falling anymore. There is a physical stillness that should make her feel steady again, but in the stillness she finds only a kind of precariousness that wraps itself like cold fingers around the pale of her neck. It makes her strain against the dark to see with eyes that are too wide and too bright and too blue for a place more black than night or space. A place even darker than when the sun hid from the day. But there is nothing here except a sense of foreboding, a winding beneath her skin that runs deeper than muscle, deeper than bone, deeper than the DNA she is built upon. It is an unraveling inside her that she can only see in her periphery, an awareness of the pieces of her that are being unmade and remade, the parts of her that are changing.

    She can feel the magic of the mountain tugging at something intangible deep inside her, something that frays her at all the edges and leaves her wishing she hadn’t come. Something in her is being changed, rewritten, parts she would have never willingly given up. She feels foolish for thinking that she might come here and take from the mountain and expect it not to take something in return.

    She feels hurt, furious, that her father isn’t here too.
    That he is not the kind of man to jump in beside her.
    That he is not man at all, not mortal or earthly.

    He is more than that, and none of what he is belongs to her.

    ***

    Hers is a world that builds itself around this kernel of pain she hides inside her chest, like a kind of scar tissue meant to wall off this tiny seed so capable of growing into her unbecoming. It grows as if to protect her from the truths that live beyond, from realities with edges as sharp as any steel blade. She will be safe for as long as it holds her within, safe until the effort of containing her draws cracks and fissures wide enough for her to see out of, to catch glimpses and memories and moments of the things she left behind. It will be wonderful, this walling off of a cancer inside her chest, wonderful until the magic runs out and abandons her as everyone but her mother (except in death) has done before.

    She will be safe until she isn’t, but this new world is so gentle when it reaches up to take her that she does not remember to be afraid.

    She does not remember anything.

    When she opens her eyes again it is because, even beneath the waves, the light of morning paints the lid of each eye a gold too warm to ignore. She is home with her family - a mate and their children, not many, but enough for her heart to feel full - and it doesn’t feel like a strangeness to be curled at the side of someone who greets her with lips pressed to her neck. She realizes she has a hundred memories just like this one, of pale glass green eyes set in a delicate face full of mischief and affection, of smiles and laughter and the curve of lips she finds quite beautiful. There are entire years worth of these memories, an entire collection that she rifles through now because, for some reason she cannot name, something grips her heart in a way that makes her afraid she’ll forget all this.

    But there is no reason to fear that. There is no pain in her life but that which makes these good moments brighter. Fuller. She thinks more broadly of her family - not her siblings because all of them are irrelevant, none of them are like Alleria, creatures who wake beneath the sea, whose face and voice is enough to make even the wind bend to her whimsy. She thinks instead of her mother, perfect and beautiful and ever present, and there is no blight of a death to darken the memory. She thinks of her father, decidedly, perhaps with some bias, who is less perfect and less present but still admires who his daughter has become and her prowess in this world beneath the sky, beneath the sea. This place where light fractures like broken glass and the pieces spin through currents that tangle at the silk strands of a pale white mane as if even they cannot resist the pull of her.

    She is siren, not selkie, not bound to a skin that she must physically leave behind, and this is right too. This Alleria cannot fathom a world where what she is is something wholly apart from who she is. Beneath the waves she has fins and gills and shells in her hair, and when she climbs to that odd world above to see her mother and her father, those pieces melt away and hide inside of her so that she is the flawless mimicry of both of them. Not God, not Archangel, but still perfect.

    She does not keep track of the number of days that pass after this one, nor does she keep track of the way her family expands, the way time finally starts to age her skin and her face and trace faint wrinkles at the corners of her mouth and eyes from too much time spent laughing with her mate, Lore. She only knows that this life has been good to her, that time was kind instead of cruel, that their children and their grandchildren thrive in this place beneath the sea. She knows that she is happy, that anything less than this would not have been enough. It is why she does not worry or regret when death comes to find her in old age, why there is peace inside her chest when she closes her eyes and sighs out the last of her life with Lore still pressed to her side. Always there, and perhaps the most perfect part of both of them - Alleria can admit this to herself with a smile now - now that she is part of the ephemera.

    Except when she opens her eyes again, it is to the discovery that the place she left behind was the only heaven she should have expected. This place, this mountain, these faces around her all equally dazed, they draw everything back to her in crystal clarity until this insurmountable loss feels just like a very distant memory of falling.

    She is like a star.
    Alone and entirely solitary, suspended forever in the dark that lives inside her chest.

    alleria

    pull me back to shore, i'll never reach my place




    please scramble her selkie shapeshifting and her carried infrared vision!
    claiming seashells (like the flower trait) for a 0 space trait

    thank you cassi!
    Reply
    #10
    Wherewolf falls with the broken earth skittering and scattering around him. He falls into darkness without a word, without a startled exclamation or a worried breath. He knows what it is to fall, he knows the white starburst of his body striking the ground, knows the sound that it makes, heavy and dense, sometimes cracking, sometimes splitting open. Falling is about the only thing Wherewolf has ever been very good at, the only thing he ever practiced, and so he slices through the darkness with his wings tucked tight against his sides, forelegs curled to his chest.

    There's no wind in this fall, though. There's no rush of air whistling in his ears or across his wings, and there's no light to shine on the ancient rock walls. Occasionally a bit of the ground he broke pings against his skin as it falls or floats alongside him, gaining an impossible amount of momentum for something so small traveling at roughly the same speed as he does himself.

    Another bit of rock flicks sharply against his nose, startling him in the dark and the stallion jerks his head back sharply. The movement rocks him back slightly - though it makes no discernable difference - makes him flare his wings in surprise - just a touch as if there were a breeze to catch. The pressure of the Mountain slips between his wings and his skin like long black fingers in that moment of surprise and yanks the limbs open wide. That old panic blooms bright in his breast like a blood-red flower and Wherewolf bellows as the fingers burrow into his feathers and his flesh and pull until the joints are popping.

    He's moving, now, but he isn't falling. Wordless but far from silent, the dappled stallion thrashes in that void, striking at Nothing with his hooves, tearing at Oblivion with his wicked fangs, his voice a wretched, ragged, scream that echoes up through the caverns. A familiar whine begins in his ears but he does not notice at first, too lost to that native horror, the wicked helplessness of being swung about by his wing.

    Obscurity, however, does not swing him about like a fox kit with a scrap of deer hide. Instead, it stretches him to breaking, and as it does, the whine builds up in his head so slowly that he does not hear it at all until the blood is pouring from his ears again, from his nostrils and his mouth and his eyes, and then it grows even louder and Neverwhere's son screams not from panic but pain and his thrashing grows more frantic. He tries to reach his ears with his forelegs but can't reach with his wings pulled taut like a cross. Still, the whine grows louder. It becomes a howl of rage and betrayal, and rips seams into his skin; into his lungs and his heart until pieces of him spill out like a red river from his burst belly and the wings are torn from his back like a fly in the hands of a child. Bone and skin and gore and two broken wings find the Mountain's mysterious heart, but Wherewolf? He is not there.

    He's standing in a gilded meadow, sea breeze rustling in the stiff bristles of his upright mane. He's standing whole and hale and unscarred, bathed in the eternal golden hour of the afterlife. There's a sense of peace in his bones like he's come home at last to the place he has sought a thousand times over and never could reach. The air smells of salt and heather and pinesap, and there's a smile on his lips that bears none of his usual cruelty. Even when Neverwhere steps out of a shiver in the air to find him, he cannot find his anger or his hatred, only looks at her with the bright curiosity that she killed in him years ago. It makes him look younger, that light-heartedness, and though in this glorious place he finds it hard to summon an emotion like Regret, he can see the mistakes he has made.

    "I'm sorry," he says to his mother, his voice low and sincere, stretching his muzzle out in her favored greeting. Neverwhere, grown, here, not trapped in that weak child's body as she is every time she returns, tips her head to one side and is silent for what seems like an eternity, but, at last, she speaks.

    "It's beautiful here. Peaceful." She turns away to gaze out at Wherewolf's Heaven. He waits, patiently. He can feel that she has more to say. When she' turns to him again, she's smiling a crooked little smile.

    "The Fairies haven't taken your healing."

    He's startled by her response, doesn't understand her meaning until a strange uneasiness fills his heart.

    "You'll never reach Peace. We just wanted you to know."

    Pain races through every piece of his errant soul. Somewhere, on the Mountain floor, the infinitesimal shreds of him knit themselves together again, and the golden glow of Happiness and Peace that alight so beautifully across his mother's chocolate skin grow dull and gray and are lost to Death's fog, and then, to screaming.

    It's him. He's screaming.

    And then he isn't. Then he is standing on the Mountainside again and the sun gives light to the carnage of his skin, to the swaths of livid scars and the dislocated wings that drag uselessly as snapped tendon and muscle reform. Every inch of him is the color of dried blood and rock dust. His mouth is torn into an ugly scowl and one canine tooth is fractured, its unhealed edge cutting fresh wounds into his lower lip. He glowers and he casts his green eyes about for the grey God, ready to raze the Mountain to the ground. Neverwhere's words ring in his ears.

    If he cannot have Peace, he will have Revenge.
    Image by Stardae


    Scramble:
    [DUPLICATION]
    [INVISIBILITY]
    [carnivore]

    0-space
    [SHADOWS]
    Reply




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