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    Assailant -- Year 226


    "But the dream, the echo, slips from him as quickly as he had found it and as consciousness comes to him (a slap and not the gentle waves of oceanic tides), it dissolves entirely. His muscles relax as the cold claims him again, as the numbness sets in, and when his grey eyes open, there’s nothing but the faint after burn of a dream often trod and never remembered." --Brigade, written by Laura

    [private]  there's a fire inside you

    It’ll be any day now, she knows. Though some things remain the same - this pregnancy is so different than the others have been for the simple fact that she isn’t alone for it - nor will she be for what follows. There are no life-or-death plans to make, no burning emptiness inside of her leaving her uncaring. Though there is still some uncertainty about Gale’s fate, whether or not they are truly free of the Curse, the peace that has returned to Hyaline helps soothe away those worries most days.

    The arrival of spring has brought a heightened restlessness back to Mazikeen, a state she remembers from both times before. Only this time she is rarely wandering through the woods of her home by herself. Through the cold mountain winter, the warmth Firion’s presence provides goes deeper than the skin.

    But still sometimes this life doesn’t feel quite real, sometimes she worries she does not deserve the happiness that warms her or that she’ll find a way to fracture it - and she remembers how close Gale had come to ending it all, the feelings that had flooded through her when she saw Malik and Myrna die. It is only when she is alone that these thoughts are able to take root, branching and festering through her mind, and they plague her this morning as she wanders. Hoping to come across any familiar face just to have something else to think about.

    As though her thoughts had manifested her, Mazikeen spots Myrna and moves towards her daughter without hesitation. The shadow of Gale’s “visit” still hangs over them, though she does her best to push it aside and think of happier things.

    Mazikeen reaches out with her muzzle to bump a soft greeting against her daughter’s pale skin. “I think you’re going to have two new siblings.” She grins, glancing back at herself. “Or one very big one.”


    @ Viszla
    She is practicing her blossoms, standing beneath the blooming wisteria with a frown of concentration on her pale face. It is hard to get the shape of the petal and she’s been trying for the better part of the morning. Her mother’s arrival is a welcome distraction, and she turns to the Queen with an easy smile.

    That night feels like a dream, and Myrna has done her best to treat it as such. Her mother can protect them, and there is no shortage of warriors in the mountains. Life has continued on much as it always has for the young princess, and she has assumed it would continue to be much the same for the rest of forever as well.

    So to hear that it will change, and change rather significantly, is quite unexpected.

    “A sibling?” She repeats. “Siblings?”

    But she is the youngest!

    Myrna takes a deep breath, and her brow furrows in concentration as she thinks over this development. Yes, her mother’s sides are definitely wider, but she’d thought Mazikeen had been boredom eating during the long mountain winters. But she reminds herself that while her mother does seem impossibly old, she is very far from a crone, and Myrna is old enough to know what it is her mother and Firion get up to even if she prefers to not think of it. 

    At long last, she nods slowly and says: “I mean, I think you should’ve given me more of a heads up so I could get ready, but it’s okay. I’m adaptable.” Her nodding increases in pace until her excitement is clear, thinking of the many things that one might do with siblings.

    “Are they gonna be shifters too?”


    Truthfully, Mazikeen had not thought this would be a surprise. She felt as large as a mountain and she hadn’t tried to conceal anything - but clearly she could have been a little more direct. It is something she knew, or suspected, early in winter and guilt needles her that it is now spring and she is just talking to Myrna about it.

    Will Malik be as surprised? Would he be disappointed?

    Will these children ever get to meet Sickle, or Mazikeen’s still-missing parents?

    She’s grateful for Myrna breaking the silence so she can avoid these thoughts a little longer and a chuckle escapes her at the acceptance and proclaimed adaptability, and then she reaches out to tug softly on her daughter’s mane - overwhelmed by affection.

    “I don’t know.” Mazikeen answers truthfully. “But it doesn’t really matter. I’ll love them even if they aren’t.” The ability to shift does not hold the same weight as it once did. She spends most of her days in her equine form, finally finding comfort and peace in it after limping her way through her quest during the eclipse. There would be some things she’d miss, certainly - it just didn’t define her the way it once had.

    For now, she intends to keep Breach and Sochi’s dream of the pack alive - if a little moderated. But other than that, the ability to shift is just an ability. There are so many other things that are more important.

    She tilts her head, watching Myrna as she asks quietly. “Would you be okay with that, if they aren't?” Mazikeen isn’t really sure what she’s going to do if the girl says ‘no’ but she hopes it won’t come to that. “Even if they can’t shift, they’re going to need their big sister to help them.” A small pause and then a growing smile. “Just like how you had Malik.”


    @ Viszla
    She doesn’t know if her siblings will be shifters, Myrna’s mother admits, and at that the girl frowns. Many of her plans had involved shifting. But what she had told her mother was true, and she is adaptable. Yes, she decides as her so brief frown becomes a nod, yes - she can work with that too. And then her mother is speaking again, telling her that she will love them even if they’re trapped in a single form. Myrna expects no less, and a smile appears once more along the edges of her pale mouth when her mother asks if she’ll be alright.

    “I do want them to be shifters, but it’ll be okay if they aren’t. I guess I’d just have to be extra helpful if they’re stuck as horses though.” Helpful like Malik had been, she thinks.

    The thought of her brother reminds her that she has not seen him in some time. He has been keeping mostly to the mountains since…everything, and Myrna is in no hurry to climb the snowy peaks to convince him otherwise. But new siblings might, she thinks. It is certainly an exciting thought for her, and her blue gaze returns to her mother from where it had wandered up the white-capped mountains for a brief moment.

    “Are they gonna have matching names too?” She asks curiously. “Or maybe after Firion?” There’s probably lots of good names like Firion, Myrna thinks. And then, not that her mother had asked but being presumptive in the way she often is, adds: “I don’t want to name them though, like Malik did. He picked a good one but that is too much pressure for me.”


    It is so easy to find a smile when she is with Myrna - it has been ever since she was small. In her she hears the Gale she had met in the Alliance, the one she had spent that day in Islandres with. This comparison hurts, a hooked claw in her heart, but it doesn’t diminish the joy she gets from spending time with her daughter - or the joy that someone created in fire and darkness could be so filled with light.

    She bumps her muzzle against her daughter’s cheek with affection as Myrna states how she’ll have to be extra helpful if the twins are stuck as horses. “You’re going to be such a good big sister.” And there is no doubt in her at all that this is the truth.

    Her grin grows a little more at the next question and then a small laugh escapes her when Myrna tells her she doesn’t want to name them. “That’s okay, you don’t have to name them. We haven’t decided on names yet. Maybe one will match Firion and one will match Sickle.” As it always does when she talks about that missing daughter, Mazikeen’s smile turns sad. She fights against it, hating the idea of Myrna collecting memories of a haunted mother instead of a smiling one.

    The absence of Sickle is a solid weight in her stomach which reminds her that as happy as she is there are still shadows that can’t be ignored. A missing daughter, the unknown fate of Gale.

    If he is not dead, if there is a time when he returns, there will be two more ways for him to shatter her.

    Mazikeen shakes away these thoughts, and the memory of Malik and Myrna bleeding on the ground, and then blatantly changes the subject. “Have you tried any new shifts lately?”


    @ Viszla
    Myrna leans into her mother’s touch, smiling contently as she pictures her unborn sibling. Would they be spotted like Firion? Pale like herself and Mazikeen? You’re going to be such a good big sister, Myrna hears, and the words feel warm in her ears and heart.

    “I’ll try.” She promises, and giggles in relief at finding out she’s not expected to pick a name. She is feeling quite content when she hears her mother’s voice change. She does not need to look up to know that Mazikeen’s smile will be fading, and instead just leans against her a little more firmly for a moment, and easily accepts the change of subject.

    “I did a pine tree yesterday, but it was on accident. I was trying to be a pine cone so a squirrel might carry me up a tree but then I got distracted.” She is prone to dreaming and distractions, much like the father she has never had, and this will come as no surprise to her mother.

    Myrna’s ability to shift has been slow to blossom, but the farther she pushes herself the fewer limits she has found. Long winter nights with nothing to do but practice have made her much quicker at her favorite shapes of goat and wolf and dragon. Nonsentient objects are more difficult, so she intersperses those studies with changing small bits of herself.

    As she thinks of it, the blue and orange flowers of her mane become instead a fuschia so bright they seem to glow. Her horns reflect the cheery shade, and she focuses intently until the tips become a pair of miniature white-branched trees, leaved in a matching shade of fuschia.

    Myrna cannot hold them long, and when they fade she looks to her mother, certain that she will be impressed.


    Myrna leans against her, offering quiet support, and happiness eats away at the distress that had risen up. Though she feels guilty that her daughter has learned to comfort her, she cannot help but love the compassion and kindness that has somehow taken root in the young girl’s heart.

    A delighted laugh escapes her when Myrna answers the question about shifting - revealing that she had turned into a pine tree. Mazikeen can’t help but think of the one they had burned - but she’s also so impressed by the fact that her daughter turned into a tree, and amused at the reason why she had been trying to turn into a pine cone.

    Mazikeen then watches with obvious delight as Myrna’s flowers and horns begin to change - branching into tree-like shapes. She reaches out, brushing just the tip of her nose against one of the small branches before it disappeared.

    “You’re so talented.” She tells her daughter with obvious awe. “I never knew it was possible to shift into anything other than an animal until you taught me, you know.” Her imagination only stretched so far. Her ability to shift seemed to be able to fill in the blanks when she didn't even know the name of the animal she wanted, or if she just wanted something big it could produce one she had never even seen before.

    “Maybe if I turn into a pine cone you can carry me around when I get too big to walk.” Her orange eyes shine with laughter at the thought.


    @ Viszla

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