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  • Beqanna


    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

    [open quest]  there's thunder in our hearts - round one

    Something is happening to the lands of Beqanna, and since no one else seems to be doing anything about it - the Cloud Fairy decides to intervene. The fog in Taiga is not particularly dangerous (if everyone moves along at a glacial speed to avoid walking face-first into a giant redwood), but it is concerning when tied together with the lightning and lava in Tephra, and the disgustingly wet event that took Loess and its little friends.

    She has not called to them before but the knowledge of how to is a part of her - so she does. Her summons comes as afternoon begins to shift towards evening, the summer light bright and golden as pinks and reds appear in the sky.

    Not all the clouds are so beautifully painted, though. She is hovering in the air above the mountains, a frown on her pearlescent face as she looks at a strange, spherical storm. The clouds themselves are a dull lifeless grey as they churn, with pale purple lightning flickering among them occasionally. It looks dangerous but she is not worried - the citizens of Beqanna have been through much worse. They are often up for a challenge, and she will be there with them.

    To those that come, she grants a small gift if needed - any without the ability to fly are given it. Whether they choose the wings of birds, insects, sunlight, shadows, or something beyond her imagination they are able to join her in the air where she greets them all with a smile that does little to cover her concern.

    She doesn’t speak, this fairy, but they all hear her anyway. They know that they have come to try to figure out what is happening across Beqanna and to stop it from affecting the other lands.

    They see the storm, and they know where they have to go.

    She leads them - and as they approach the mass of clouds they are told the fee for entry. A nightmare. Something that has haunted them, whether just for a night or all their lives. The darkest dream they have experienced. They will give it away and in exchange they will enter the storm - and be free of that nightmare for the rest of their days.


    Cloud Fairy wants to find out what’s going on in Beqanna (and how to stop it) and she needs your help!

    • Anyone without wings will be temporarily granted them - you can choose any type
    • There is a spherical storm hovering over the mountains, and the Cloud Fairy leads the way to it
    • The door fee is one (1) nightmare, which will be taken from your character and after this quest they’ll have no memory of it (unless you decide for it to come back)
    • End your post with your character entering the storm

    This round will end approximately at midnight on Sunday, June 12th - but you’ll have until I get the second round up to enter!

    This will not be an elimination quest (unless you don’t reply to a round, obviously)

    cause if we don’t leave this town
    we might never make it out --

    He is young, yet he is no stranger to hardship.

    He had been born with a hunger that he did not understand, a pang in his gut that his mother’s milk eventually could not satiate. Eventually his teeth grew sharp and his instincts did too, but all he tasted when he had his fill of meat was guilt.

    And then he watched his home drown beneath the rising waters, watched as Loess disappeared beneath a tide it could not overcome. They were lucky, his family, that they all escaped alive. The luck stopped there, as he went on to see all the ways his family might fall apart. Much like flooding water, it was a slow disaster, the kind you see coming but think you have time to outrun. He watched his twin sister close in on herself, and watched as his father disappeared. He watched as his mother became as distant as one of the stars she used to be, lingering right where they could see but no one could ever quite reach her.

    He was alone when the storm struck Tephra, and alone when the news circulated to him of the fog that had swallowed Taiga.

    He is alone, too, when he responds to the call that leads him to the mountain. Glancing up with navy-blue eyes to where the fairy hovers above them, he is surprised at the wings that unfurl at his sides—they are not like the feathered ones he has seen on most, but rather ones made of moonlight, silver and glowing and nearly transparent.

    He follows her to where she leads them, to where the clouds churn uneasily and lightning flickers erratically. A nightmare is what they ask for, and wryly he thinks to himself how could he ever possibly choose? Eventually he settles on the one that unnerves him the most: the one where he dreams that the predator inside of him morphs into a monster that he cannot control, where wild game no longer satisfies him. When he wakes from the nightmare he is covered in a sheen of sweat, and the memory of the blood he had spilled from his parents and his sisters—staining his stark white mouth and streaked across his chest—greets him every time he closes his eyes for the next several nights.

    It is a foolish fear to hold onto, when he has no family to speak of anymore—no one left to hurt.

    He deposits the nightmare without a second thought, and enters the storm.

    -- tiernen.


    Life had always been safe for Illis. She had never known a day without the love and comfort of family and home. She spent her days knowing Lystra would be there, knowing her parents were never far. Then, in a single day, all that had changed.

    The day the fog descended was the day Illis realized her safe and comfortable life may be little more than an illusion.

    She is lucky to have known such simplicity in life. Even luckier still, because even in the unnatural heaviness of the fog, she is able to see more than most. The odd rainbow eyes she had been born with had been of little consequence until the day her forested home had disappeared inside the thick mist. Now, where others can barely see beyond the end of their noses, Illis can see more. Though the fog dampens the red-orange of their body heat, diffusing the edges into a soft glow, she can still see more than her family.

    Illis is a very lucky mare indeed, even if she does not know it.

    The call comes as day begins its inevitable march towards night, though in the perpetual darkness hovering over Taiga, it is difficult to tell. At first, she isn't certain what to make of it, but in the end, curiosity wins out. She hesitates a moment, peering uncertainly over her shoulder in the direction she knows her twin lingers. Then, with a shake of her head, she moves deliberately away. If there is trouble at the end of that mysterious summons, she doesn't want to put Lystra in danger too.

    When the fog finally clears as the Taigan wood thins, Illis is able to spread the feathered wings - as pitch dark and edged with uneven white as her sleek coat - tucked at her sides and leap into the sky. It is a rare pleasure to take to the air. She loses herself so fully into the simple joy of it that she nearly forgets her true purpose. At least, until the mountain looms before her.

    Reminded of her purpose, she makes her way carefully up the mountain until she reaches the source of the call. A faint frown tugs at her lips as she studies the scene before her. The ominous storm rumbling behind the ethereal figure of the fairy draws her attention, and despite hearing no words, she understands why they have been brought here.

    She must enter that storm.

    Though alarm attempts to rise in her heart, Illis shoves it back. Nibbling nervously at her cheek, she stares at the storm for a long moment before straightening and nodding her head decisively. She has never needed to be brave before, but certainly she could be brave today. She hopes.

    Resolutely spreading her wings, she lifts herself from the safety of the earth once more, determined to follow.  Determined to help free her home from the clutches of that unnatural fog. As they near the riotous clouds, Illis closes her eyes. If a nightmare is the price she must pay, she would find her most chilling toll.

    It's not difficult.

    Ever since the fog had blanketed Taiga, she has been plagued by a recurring nightmare. One that leaves her chilled every time she wakes from it. It's a simple dream, but no less terrifying for it. Night after night, she wanders in the endless mist, her colorful sight stripped from her. Even as she desperately calls for her sister, for her mother, for her father, she knows they will not answer. She is trapped in the endless gray, a prisoner of the fog.

    With a shudder, Illis opens her eyes and gives over the nightmare. Payment made, she flies into the storm.


    He hears her, but Blackwell is sure she does not mean to call him. Wrong number, Sweetheart he thinks loudly in her direction, with a careless flick of his sun-bleached tail, and from beneath two crooked halos that ring and whine when their edges clash together, he peers into the red sky. She is there, just in view, her edges fading into the clouds that surround her. What she looks at he cannot tell, hidden by distance and his angle within the Forest's gnarled avenues. The Cloud Fairy herself is, in fact, only noticeable in brief glimpses between the break in the canopy, hidden and revealed in turns by the shivering leaves.

    But there it is again, that sense, that tug, a call to action that begs not to be ignored. There is just enough of his father's father in him that he sets back, reluctant at first to go, to get involved. Let the Fairies and the Magicians and the gods sort out their own affairs, what has it to do with him? But the reluctance wars against righteousness, and a fair amount of vanity. If the woman in the sky with all her softly curling edges wishes to see him so badly, then who is he, after all, to deny her? So at last he shakes off the slumber and the cool shadows that remind him of his missing mother, burning them away with a lick of fire that spreads out from the flickering gold upon his face until it engulfs him completely in an aura of flame. Between one step and the next, he is upon the Mountain's side and the sky has turned heavy and threatening.

    Come, she beckons, and wings of sunlight unfurl at his shoulders, stretching out, yearning for flight. The alpine plants at his feet bend hungrily to that golden light, stretching their heads after the sparks that are left in his wake when he leaps, emboldened against his better judgment by curiosity and the promise of a pretty face. Those bright wings carry him to her side.

    Go, she tells him.

    "So soon?" Comes his reply, his voice is roguish and light, but he looks where she silently gestures to the unnatural thundercloud hovering over the mountains, and now his grin evaporates like morning mist under Pangea's unforgiving sun.

    "I should have known," his scoundrel's head shakes, scoffing. Pretty girls are always more trouble than they're worth.

    All it will cost him is a nightmare. Blackwell has only one of those, though it is not truly his. They are bones, all of them. Him, Iska, his mother, his father, the stags in the wood, they are all of them dead and they don't even know it. They go through all the motions of life in the golden meadow of his youth, but it is a lie.

    We are dead, we are dead, his bones are singing, but the shadows string them up like puppets.

    He enters the storm cloud with the sound of Cassian's falling bones clattering in his ears.

    Image by Lark.Bliss

    She has been alone for so long that she almost doesn’t believe the call.

    It comes like a whisper, ushered on the late afternoon breeze that flits between her ears and tousles her forelock.  She turns her nose - that twisted, ugly thing – into it and follows its draw.

    She has nowhere else to be.

    It is warm but no longer hot with the sun dipping towards the horizon as she picks her way through the summer-high grasses.  She does not mind this time of day, truly.  It is easier to breathe the cooler it gets.  And she’s always been fond of the twilight.  She has always loved to watch the stars begin to twinkle and grow brighter against the darkening of the skies.  It gives her hope to know that they shine every night despite the ever-looming black.  It makes her believe that she could shine someday, too.

    The Mountain rises ahead and her knees begin to quake at the sight of it.  She isn’t sure she will be able to follow that sweet voice that has not forgotten her, that has found the wisp of a girl and pulled her from some dusty corner of the world.  She doesn’t want to give up, but how can she climb such a rise?  How can she help someone when she’s never been able to help herself? 

    Then, she feels the strangest sensation.  A tickle, almost, as wings emerge at her sides.  They are delicate things, translucent and lightweight, and they begin to stir immediately.  She is reminded of insects buzzing in the summer haze, lazily dipping in and out of the grass stalks.  So, too, does she begin to stir as she rises into the air and climbs the Mountain air with barely a huff of breath.  It is exhilarating.

    She smiles for the first time since… well, for the first time she can remember.

    But the smile falters when she finds the voice and the others.  There is a storm blackening the sky that should otherwise be starting to fill with stars.  The fairy says that is where they are meant to go, and her knees start to shake for the second time.  Will she risk her life for this, whatever it is?  Will she be battered by the winds and struck down by lightning for someone who had found her?

    She has nobody to miss her.

    So she goes, because maybe she won’t save Beqanna, or whatever it is they are doing.  But maybe she will see it through to the other side and her stars. 

    There is a price to pay, and she starts to quiver again, though this time it is her whole body that shakes.  And it is both a nightmare and her past, in her head and in her heart all at once.  She remembers the memory that has become a nightmare that plagues her most nights on a loop:  

    Mother doesn’t name me.  Mother has tried to feed me, but she says I am deformed, a horror.  I don’t know what it means at first, I only know hunger, the hollow pangs of my stomach.  She says it is my fault I barely get enough to survive.  I don’t understand, I only want to live, only want to eat and to be comforted against my mother’s side.  Mother still doesn’t name me.  She does the best she can, too, but it is clear it is a losing battle.  She becomes frustrated with me.  I don’t blame her, sometimes it is hard to breath, even.  She starts to bite and kick me, and I know this is what I deserve because my mouth doesn’t work as it should.  One day, mother names me.  I am no longer a monster, even if she says it is an ugly name for an ugly girl.  I am Glaw.  But mother walks away from me.  I start to run to her and she runs too.  I can’t keep up, and I see her disappearing into the distance.  I fall and shake and go hungry, but I survive.  I hold onto my name because she has given it to me.

    Tears spring from the corners of her eyes as she releases the memory-nightmare.  She would have given anything to forget what she has just lost, and she feels weightless without it.  Glaw turns into the storm with a new set to her shoulders. 


    Myrna has never known the Southern Lands as anything but stories. The fields of wildflowers, the red rock hills, the fiery forest: they are as unreal to her as the Forbidden Dale and the Chamber of Secrets. Places that were, but are no longer, places where families had lived and no longer did.

    Was her home safe?

    The worry has plagued her as a child, often in the back of her mind. But her mother wouldn’t let that happen. Someone would stop it: Firion, or the Angels, or even Malik or Bolder. Someone would keep the danger from Hyaline, and from Myrna.

    News of the storm in Tephra had cracked that childlike certainty, and the fog in Taiga split it open.

    They are not safe. No one is.

    Someone must do something, and when Myrna jolts awake, eyes wide, she knows who that someone has to be.

    She swallows that lump that rises in her pale throat, and shakes her horned head to fully rouse herself. The sky overhead is just starting to shift to evening, and the warmth of the thin Hyaline summer sun has begun to fade. Myrna closes her eyes, and long hair appears, followed by a pair of feathered wings that are as milk pale as the rest of her coat.

    The storm over the Mountain is her destination, and as she takes to the sky, she wonders if her mother and brother had felt this same bright spark of excitement and fear when they had followed the guidance of the fairies. She will ask them later. After.

    When she arrives and more is asked of her, she does not hesitate.

    Despite her fear of losing Hyaline, there is one nightmare - one night - that has always loomed above the rest, dwarfing the rest the way the Mountain does its surrounding hills. It’s the night her father had returned. The night that he’d killed her, and she’d had to watch the way her mother’s face as she fell to the rocky earth.

    There is no falling today, not with her wings strong with the summer air, not even as she heads directly into the heart of the magical storm. Her heart is beating rapidly, and her blue eyes are wide, but there is determination in her pale face, and she finds strength in thinking of her purpose.

    It often made Tarian – her father – press his lips into a thin line, and though the gray pegasus never once voiced his disapproval, Areane could see the way that he didn’t particularly relish the thought that his daughter was a storm-seeker. There were other, more practical, ways to spend her time, according to the former Champion of Loess.

    Areane heard her father, and some small part of her even understood his misgivings about the way she went cloud-chasing and her thrill at the chance to soar through lightning strikes and thunderclaps. It wasn’t going to bring Loess back, or bring her any closer to discovering what had happened to those missing, like her cousin, the Last Queen.

    They were things beyond what the young pegasi could control. And perhaps that was why Areane was beginning to love way the storms that suddenly blew in from the sea that would wail and churn and rattle their way through Tephra, seeming to shake everything but the volcano (well, up until recently). Even that had awakened in the face of all the changes happening across Beqanna.

    First, there had been the sinking of her home. The storms in Tephra that she had grown to love. And now there were murmurs of a fog so dense in Taiga that those who wandered in were struggling to find their way out. She had meant to go herself, to see with her own amethyst eyes what was happening in the North and eventually venture her way to Hyaline, to see (or even wait) what might ensue there.

    But on a day that fades beautifully – a sunset so vivid on the Tephran coast that it keeps the young wanderer still longer than she might have otherwise been – Areane turns her head to see something darkening that is not the coming night. It is a storm, swirling in an odd manner, over the peak of the Mountain. Her father’s thin line of disapproval comes into her mind, followed by her mother’s worry, and even the memory of Starros’ seems to tell her to stay; but with a quick unfurling, the winged mare takes to the sky and flies, hurrying herself towards the storm.


    Stranger things transpire still.

    Areane flies and flies, to find herself greeted by others who wait to enter the squall. It is no normal storm, or so she (and others) are told by a Fairy who waits to escort them in. It’s an adventure in the making for the young pegasus, and perhaps if she was a more cautious soul, her excitement wouldn’t be as perceptible between her increasingly rapid wingbeats or the way that her eyes light up at the mention of a fee. A nightmare, says the lovely being who seems to be made entirely up of clouds and their shimmer when the sunlight hits just right.

    The thought of sharing her worst nightmare – the one she still has from time to time – makes her feel vulnerable. It feels like opening a part of her soul, but as she takes one more look at the swirling clouds before them, Areane decides that she doesn’t mind parting with it. It is a dream of black water, rising and rising and rising. It swallows everything, and leaves nothing behind but a small filly who cries out for her parents and her brother.

    Despite her cries, no answer comes and she is left alone, adrift, with no family and no home and nowhere to go.

    The dream dissipates, and Areane blinks away her remaining fear. She is glad to be rid of it. Lightning suddenly strikes; giving a strong flap of her dark wings before tucking them neatly against her slim sides, she then dives into the storm.


    I’ll worship like a dog at the shrine of your lies
    tell you my sins so you can sharpen your knife

    He's been here before.
    Perhaps something links him here. He has been pulled into unreality, again and again – as a toy, as a slave, as a thing hunted – and he doesn’t know why. He heals, or thinks he does, and he sometimes forgets what the weight of chains on his ankles felt like, or how, long ago, he’d lost himself to other worlds.

    He knows there’s changes in Beqanna. But Beqanna has always changed. Sleaze is old enough to have seen many of them, crumbling mountains and lands sunk and drawn back, plague and monster and darkness. The fog, the land beneath the sea, none of these are of much importance to him.
    So why does he come?
    He walks here without know why. He has not been chained, the way he had before, but his feet move without listening to his body. He feels a strange sensation as his skin ripples, as wings unfurl where there were once none. They are a dark, iridescent purple, matching his body, and they feel strangely heavy on his back.
    Surely these can’t carry me, he thinks, shifting them across his back.
    He looks at the fairy. Tries to speak.
    I don’t know why I’m here, he wants to say.
    Send me home, he wants to say.

    Where is home? What is home? Sleaze is alone again, his child gone, Isakov gone. Sleaze will always end up alone.
    The wings flex on his back, like living things meant for flight, and flight only.
    They can’t carry me. I will fall and I will be hurt, or die.
    How many times has he died, in those unrealities? Teeth and laughter, a knife carving a name into his belly, a fire, a monster.
    The fairy looks at the storm. Of course there’s a storm. Dark horizons and the taste of thunder in the air. And he will go, because-
    Because why?
    Because right now the reality is he’s alone. The reality is the wings can’t carry him.
    But there’s other worlds. Unrealities.
    The wings twitch at his side. A gust of wind ruffles his feathers.
    Because maybe, somewhere else, he can fly. Maybe, somewhere else, he won’t be alone.

    Payment, says the fairy, and asks for a nightmare. Sleaze would laugh if he could talk. If he wasn’t so heavy. It seems, sometimes, like all his dreams are nightmares.
    How to choose?
    “I dream of him,” Sleaze says – oh, so now he can speak, “I dream of him as he first came to me, in the river. How he looked at me kindly. How he became everything I wanted – this was his nature – and then he did not have to become, did not have to pretend, because he was everything I wanted.”
    Why is that a nightmare? asks the fairy.
    “Because he is gone,” says Sleaze, “and I am alone.”

    The wings begin to move at his sides. They pump harder, and his hooves leave the ground, and then he is flying, the mountain growing smaller behind him, and a draft of wind catches, lifts him higher, a smile catching on his lips as he is carried into the storm.



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