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  • Beqanna

    COTY

    Reave -- Year 219

    QOTY

    "She did not wake up one day healed, she was simply moving and she realized that somewhere along the way grief had stopped stabbing her every motion. It’s a strange feeling. She is lighter and heavier at once. She doesn’t know what to do with the time that’s opened before her, what to do without wounds to claw open." --Cordis, written by Cassi


    [open]  it was an honest mistake;
    #1
    "& i don't care for your sweet scent or,

    the way you want me more than i want you"


    It will be a fresh start, this time. 

    For all she knows, she could have been lost in the familiar bloom of autumn trees for weeks, or had it been months? She isn’t quite sure how long she had been gone, only that a recurring vision crept into her dreams (slowly, at first, then all at once). The steady drum of waves became so vivid she could feel it even as she wakes, like lightning moving through cabled veins. 

     
    It should not come as a surprise that something, inevitably, would draw her back in. The mare’s body is only beginning to feel the signs of age – a couple of years, perhaps, gone in the blink of an eye- though her body would not outwardly indicate much change. Slight of build and benign by nature, she is betrayed only by a subdued tranquility that enshrouds her silver body as it glides through (through, seemingly, not beneath) the moonlight. Still, there is a softness in her features that implies a certain level of innocence, or is it naivety? 
     
    While others grew consumed with the toils of war, politics, and arguably the edge of madness, she remains altogether untethered. That is not to say she is entirely unaware – she too has seen time come and pass, she too is a survivor of sorts. Simply, she has never gotten entangled, never gotten too close to have anything she could one day lose. So here she remains. 

     Here, on the outskirts of conflagration. Here, where she is safe, if not uniquely ambivalent to her own circumstance. 

     
    A steady procession of delicate steps brings her to the bank of the river at last. As she lowers her face to the water, a plume of silver and black forelock falls into her eyes. Soundless, she will be easily overlooked, mistaken perhaps for a deer. She’s gotten used to it by now. 
     
    She is little more than an afterthought, a ghost in the machine.  



    -- ethenia. --

    it was an honest mistake
    Reply
    #2
    lend me your hand and we’ll conquer them all --

    Over the past several years (he has lost count, and does not care to find it again) he has drifted, wayward as he has always been. There has never been anything to anchor him to any one place; not a heart or a kingdom, not his family (scattered to the winds though they were) nor any sort of acquaintance.

    He has never been good at staying, and so he never stayed.

    But Beqanna, stalwart as she is, had never left. She changed—sometimes subtly, but oftentimes suddenly in a way that demanded attention—but she never crumbled, and she did not seem to mind the unmoored stallion that did nothing to help or hinder her. He watched them lose magic and gain it back, watched kingdoms dissolved and new ones rise, but none of it had ever meant much to him. Strange, perhaps, for a boy born to a once king (now disappeared) and a once queen (now an angel, and who’s happenings he cannot possibly keep up with), but they could all fall into the sea and he likely would not notice, would instead only find some new forest to haunt.

    And so while he does not notice or pay attention to much, he notices her.
    And while he does not remember many from days long lost, he remembers her.

    He watches her, noticing first the way she moves beneath moonlight, and he is reminded of a time before magic ran rampant as it does now. How back then there were some that simply seemed to be magic without actually having it, the kind that could capture your attention and keep it.

    He had been a young boy then, stupid and naive in many ways, but he had never been easily enchanted; not quite the way he was with her.

    There is a part of him that thinks of turning away. To let her be in her quiet and her solitude, because she had always struck him as the kind of creature better off left alone, unsullied by the world.

    But he is also selfish and far too curious, and he follows the moonlit path that leads to her. The darkness of the shadows fall away, peeled back to reveal a once dark dapple gray now turned mostly silver, but with impossibly dark eyes that have never changed. He does not intrude on her space entirely, but he makes it known that he is approaching her, a nearly invisible request for her attention. “I remember you,” his voice sounds coarse even to his own ears since he did not see reason to speak much, but there is the barest hint of a smile that almost softens the roughness of it. He almost says her name but his tongue gets stuck on it, recoiling from the familiarity of it, and so instead he only comments idly, “You’ve been gone a long time.”

    -- but lend me your heart and i’ll just let you fall
    eadoin.




    @Ethenia
    Reply
    #3
    "i don't care for your sweet scent or,

    the way you want me more than i want you"


    Fear is not something she is familiar with. It is simply not in her blood. A similar notion would linger, from time to time, fleeting glimpses of what she could be. It was a flame dancing just behind a black curtain. Never to touch, never to burn. Still, it is enough to temper the cold, the wasteland she wonders if she has become. So it is not quite fear that she feels when a gust of wind trembles past her, heavy with the scent of the other. Were she built for any reasonable longevity, she would have learned better by now. After all, this is not a place for fairytales or happy endings.  While she is feral, yes—to the extent of the wildflowers tangled in her hair, a degree more unkempt than before—her body has not grown tough like the wilderness she has tucked herself into. This makes her vulnerable, and the only question is whether she does not know, or no longer minds. Too willowy to be among horses, not slim enough to assimilate into a colony of deer. 

    Ethenia slowly lifts her head from the rushing water, shifts her weight from one leg to another, and exhales. She tilts her head only a few degrees before the shadows of his silhouette collide with her line of sight. A dream, is this a dream? There is familiarity in the stallion, but he is paler than she remembers. From where she stands, the clear silver moonlight creates the illusion of a soft halo around him. Is he an angel, then? She remembers the stories she was told as a child; not all angels are good omens, and so he could be the angel of death, come finally to take her away. A cruel trick of light played by the gods (though she stopped searching for them long ago). 
     
    Angels and demons, dreams within dreams; who is she to decide what is real and what is not? Her isolation has both given her sight and made her blind. She is riddled with dreams and nightmares so vivid she can hardly tell when she is waking and when she is not. Her dreams clash against what she sees in the day, align and clash and align all over again. Waves breaking against the shores of what sanity she has left. To be sure, she is no prophet; she is not festooned with any true magic (her family cast her out for the suspicion). Still, she always felt as if there were a divide between them, a bridge that could not be gapped. A breathing sentinel from the afterlife, gasping through from the other side.
     
    His voice almost startles her, for the angels and ghosts in her dreams rarely spoke out against their oath of silence. ”You remember me…” she repeats quietly to herself, considering for a moment. But how, how could he remember her if he were not real? If he were angel, demon, ghost? Has he collected her before and brought her back to life? Is that when this chaos in her mind began? She does not recall going between realms, but is that a memory that could be held? “From this world, or another?” She poses the question genuinely, the slow curiosity of conversation returning after the embers had long lost their light. And in spite of all familiarity in the darkness of his eyes, she decides that yes, this must be a dream. It is this conviction that stills her heart, that steadies her uncertainty. 
     
    “If this is a trick, tell me what you will have with me. Tell me what you have come for. Your eyes are the same but you are not. The words unfurl in a trill voice, somewhat wavering but soft, still, in her defeat. She does not recognize him as the dappled grey stallion she once touched. Somewhere along the way, it became easier for her to believe in hallucinations, in visions, in ghosts (she thinks she might be one herself).
     
     For it was her dreams that held her when the world could not.


    -- ethenia. --

    it was an honest mistake




    @Eadoin
    Reply
    #4
    lend me your hand and we’ll conquer them all --

    He cannot read what is flashing through her mind, but he can see the way emotions ripple across her face like waves. He did not expect her to remember him, did not think himself to be anything worth remembering, but he cannot deny that something twists inside of him when it first appears as though she does not. Of course, she had little reason to remember him, didn’t she? Even back then, when most of them did not boast of magic or anything of the like, there was not much to set him apart from anyone. He was quiet and withdrawn, preferring to watch rather than engage. He did not insert himself into politics or drama and he lived an uneventful life, and he did not mind it, for the most part.

    Being forgotten was a risk that he took, but it did not make it taste any less bitter on his tongue.

    Eventually he realizes that what he took as her not recognizing him is closer to suspicion, and he wonders how different he looks in her eyes. He knows that his coat has lightened, far more silver than the steel gray it had been when he was younger. He is sure the lines of his face have hardened over time, that perhaps he looked wilder after spending so much time away from the rest of the world—a pale mane tangled in knots that lays against his neck, a body that is spider-webbed with scars from simply surviving. “This world,” he answers her in a voice that has now softened, and he casts his gaze around them with a short, rough-sounding laugh. “Or what is left of it.”

    He watches her carefully, wondering again at how she can appear so untouched by time. How his memory had managed to preserve her almost perfectly after all these years when so many others were tarnished by the passing of time. “I don’t want anything from you,” he says honestly, because he never had. The fact that he had ever touched her, even once, still did not seem real, and now after so many years he begins to wonder if his longing had fabricated it all. He could never ask her for anything beyond that—would never dream of thinking she owed him anything more. “I am the same as I have always been, though perhaps more adrift than I was even back then. But from you, Ethenia, I would never ask of anything.”

    And then, unable to stop himself because she is more unmoored than even him, he asks her, “Where do you go when you are gone?”

    -- but lend me your heart and i’ll just let you fall
    eadoin.



    @Ethenia
    Reply
    #5
    "i don't care for your sweet scent or,

    the way you want me more than i want you"


    Though angels and demons have little history of being honest, Ethenia believes him when he says he is from this world. After all, her eyes have deceived her before. Who is to say she is not confusing her reality for dreams, as she does her dreams for reality? All that he presents speaks of warning: no familiar face had found her twice in the past; she is a string of brief, fleeting encounters with no long-drawn goodbyes. She was forgotten, over and over—or perhaps a part of her did not want to be found.

    And yet here he is, standing before her, asking nothing of her. For a moment she hesitates, considers (again) if this could be a trap, and ultimately decides that it does not matter if it is. Ethenia hazards a delicate step toward him. She extends her long neck, stretching to the length just so her velvet nose may brush against his. It takes but a moment before she quickly withdraws the butterfly-light touch, as if static electricity shocked her backwards a measure. He is here, he is real, she reassures herself, or she would not be able to feel or smell him. A sigh of relief spreads through her as she considers his question. ”I have been…everywhere. And nowhere, at the same time, I suppose.” she pauses, faint spiderwebs of concern creep across her brow, “I see many places but I cannot feel them. I still do not understand how that can be.” 

    It is more than she has spoken aloud in years, she thinks. Where has she been? Where does she go? How could she explain that she loses herself over and over, and even she can no longer find herself? It is far more than he has asked. 

    She turns her head downward, forelock spilling into her eyes almost shamefully, and admits”I thought you were an angel, or a ghost.” Ethenia looks across the river, water rushing in the background. She wonders for a moment where it would take her, if she were apart of those rushing waters. How far could it go? Probably not far enough to outrun the things she knows she cannot. Eadoin is no angel, or demon; no, she has yet to learn that sometimes demons are inside of us (angels are, too). 

    She looks up to find his eyes, (here, present, but also miles away.) “What of you? Where have you gone, to heaven and back? The stars have taken the darkness from your coat.”  She changes the subject, watching him curiously, blinks as the open canvas of innocence returns and the heaviness of uncertainty washes away once again.


    -- ethenia. --

    it was an honest mistake

    @Eadoin
    Reply
    #6
    lend me your hand and we’ll conquer them all --

    He finds himself going incredibly still when she reaches for him, holding a breath inside his lungs and willing his heart to stop beating lest the steady thrum startles her back into the moonlight she had seemingly come from. His jaw tightens as he resists the urge to reach for her in return, but instead his gaze only holds fast to hers as he remains rooted to where he stands, nearly statuesque save for the silver strands of mane that ripple in the evening breeze.

    She pulls away, and though there is a flicker of what might be disappointment in his eyes it is easily shielded by the natural darkness of them, and the way that his features always tended to be a little too stoic. He is not sure where he had learned that from, the art of keeping himself locked away, but it was a thing he had perfected over the years, and all the time in his self-inflicted solitude had done nothing to weaken it.

    Despite it, he has never been able to entirely hide his fascination with her; she was ethereal and enigmatic without trying to be. He longs to ask her what she means by the places she can see but cannot feel, but somehow the question feels too personal, as if he is asking her to share her dreams. It wasn’t as if they had ever really known each other, even back then.

    Neither of them were the type to lay themselves bare, but he would be a fool to pretend that he would not tell her absolutely anything she ever wanted to know.

    “I’m hardly an angel,” he tells her with an amused quirk of his lip. “But sometimes I feel like I could be a ghost.” Forgotten. Mostly invisible. The world constantly moving and turning despite the way he seems to stay in one spot.

    “I have been here,” his eyes once more sweep their surroundings, taking in the familiar hills and the silhouette of trees that scrape at a star-dusted sky. “They don’t let things like me into heaven,” he says with another short laugh. He doesn’t mean that he is bad—all things considered, he has never brought harm to anyone, as far as he knows. But he is nothing special. Nothing extraordinary. The thought of someone like him existing in a place so clearly designed for someone like her was unfathomable. “I think just Time stole the darkness.”

    The clouds begin to stir up above, weakening the moonlight and shrouding the two of them in a silk-like dark. To him, it feels like a warning—like without the moonlight and the stars she is going to disappear back to whatever celestial world she had come from, and his time with her was growing limited. “Are you going to stay?”

    -- but lend me your heart and i’ll just let you fall
    eadoin.




    @Ethenia
    Reply
    #7
    "i don't care for your sweet scent or,

    the way you want me more than i want you"


    While they are both wanderers, there is something strikingly resolute about the stallion that she does not recognize in herself. It is his stoicism, perhaps, that gives her the sense that he is centered—he seems sure of himself, unwavering. Where she is a wayward wisp of light, he is calm, steadfast. An anchor in the storm. The faint breeze might fold her into herself and carry her away. And perhaps it has, perhaps the light of the moon has consumed her and returned her to the ground, night after night. How else did she end up here? Sometimes, she cannot recall how she came to be, or where she was before.

    Eadoin is still despite her curious touch, and for a time she continues to question whether he is real. He is unmoved, as far as her eye can see. Ethenia has not known true sadness before as anything more than an abstract concept, but she imagined that it would taste something like this. “I think I know what you mean, feeling like a ghost,” she begins. “How could we tell if we were?” she pauses, considering. “I cannot remember anything before this. Sometimes I cannot remember much of this world, either. Maybe it does not matter if we are.”

    The moonlight wanes behind rolling clouds, darkening the night further. Ethenia’s silver body shudders slightly, not quite fearful, but a measure less comfortable than before. Somehow, she always felt safer in the moonlight. As if it was the only place she ever belonged. “If heaven would not accept you, I would not be welcomed either.” She says decisively, though she has little evidence to support the feeling.

    When he asks if she will stay, Ethenia looks upward to meet his eyes once more. Although he is a shield guarding himself vigilantly, he does see her, and at once, she realizes this. She can feel it, the way a child is seen for the first time, and then does not know who she is unless someone else tells her. 

    ”Perhaps we could be ghosts together, for a while,” she suggests quietly, a thread of uncharacteristic shyness weaving through her voice. “I… have never had a true home.” It is a question, but she does not know where to begin.



    -- ethenia. --

    it was an honest mistake

    @Eadoin
    Reply
    #8

    Her statement that heaven would not welcome her evokes a short sound from his chest, something almost like a laugh though it is more of disbelief than any kind of real humor. “If heaven did not let you in it would only be out of jealousy,” he says with a surety that leaves no room for argument. There is nothing that she could tell him that would make him believe otherwise; nothing she could ever say that could dim the light he sees her in, or the dream-like haze where memories of her lived.

    When he had asked her if she had planned on staying he had been steeling himself for her answer. He had been prepared for a sad sort of smile and a shake of her head, to be reminded that things like moons and stars don’t stay and cannot be kept. And he would have accepted it, would have nodded in understanding, because she had never really been his, and he had always found a way to be okay with that.

    It’s why when she suggests they stay together—for a while, not forever, he reminds himself—that a look of surprise breaks past the guarded, stoic expression he always wore. It twists at something in his chest and he forces himself to nod his head once, bridaling the strange emotions that he can never find the name for so that his voice is level when he says, “Of course.” Yet before he can stop himself he has stepped forward, closing the distance between them and reaching to touch his muzzle against the top of her neck. He lingers there for what he is sure is several heartbeats too long, and when he draws back it is not entirely, remaining close enough that she could still hear the lowered tone of his voice when he asks her, “Where do you want to go?” He himself has never really lived anywhere; he had been born in the now non-existent valley, and had tried living in his father’s tundra, but it had not lasted. These new lands he has passed through but never stayed, but for her, he will show her anywhere. “Mountain or forest, ocean or snow…we can go wherever you want.”
    — LEND ME YOUR HAND AND WE'LL CONQUER THEM ALL,
    BUT LEND ME YOUR HEART AND I'LL JUST LET YOU FALL —


    @Ethenia
    Reply
    #9
    "i don't care for your sweet scent or,
    the way you want me more than i want you"

    Ethenia no longer wants to be a slow dreamer, watching the world grow around her.  The way he looks at her has left her naked, shuddering inside but resisting against it. The scale had always been tipped too violently—balance did not exist in her world. It causes her to tremble, not from fear. From something still unnamed. When he reaches out, she holds her breath. She does not betray the voice inside that begs her to close the gap further. Once, she had given this part of herself away freely, unashamed and unafraid. It made no difference in the end. She would be no less alone. A part of her wants to shy away, to keep him (herself) at bay, to remain safe from the pain of knowing this touch, electric and serene, and one day being unable to have it. After all, at times it had been a relief to be alone, to have nothing to lose.

    Ethenia stops breathing so he won’t, wondering if she will crumble beneath the weight of this new temperance. What little continence she has is simply not enough. Even when she is sure he will slip away (as all good things do), he remains. And though she is sure she is not asleep, she couldn’t possibly be awake. Here, he has found her: in the space between dreaming and awake. Perhaps here, is where they could stay.

    A slow exhale escapes her chest, and she closes her eyes until he withdraws. It is all she can do not to press farther into him. “North, maybe,” it does not matter where they go, she decides, but does not say. She turns away, glancing to the water, to the shadows on the other side. She has seen so little of Beqanna she would not know where to begin.  “I want to see it all,”  a step is taken toward the riverbank. “Let’s go as far as we can,” for a moment, she swears she has wings, ”Until we find somewhere we can’t bear to leave,” she says simply, as though the solution was right there all along. Whether such a place exists, she does not know. Then again, it’s not really a place she is looking for. Not really.



    -- ethenia. --
    it was an honest mistake




    @Eadoin
    Reply




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