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    Reave -- Year 219


    "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

    i'll reach out my hands in the dark - famkee
    Malik had been taught (and remembered) the value of empathy later in life, but tends to forget what he’s learned at personal convenience. Despite his mother’s best efforts, there remains the Curse-taught arrogance, the way that Malik views himself and his closest relations as inherently superior to all others. Aware of this flaw in himself, Malik rarely engages with others outside Hyaline. That’s no longer possible now, of course, and so he searches for his family.

    Is this your home, she asks, and he glances to the woods on either side of the water they stand beside. It’s an unremarkable place, as different from the soaring peaks of Hyaline as a place might be. “It might as well be.”

    ‘There have been some strange things happening’, he had told her, and how minimizing that had been of current events. The whole world is different, is gone. “My home was Hyaline, but it was recently destroyed.” It doesn’t feel real yet, not even as he says it, but the cool detachment on his expression falters as the woman continues to speak, telling him of a lengthy and unsuccessful search for a brother.

    The opportunity to leave has not yet passed, he reminds himself, he can still turn and go and leave her to search for her brother. There’s no need to answer her question. But he does anyway, and later perhaps he will wonder why.

    “My sister, Sickle. I’d heard she would sometimes come to the Forest.” Malik’s not sure why he tells her - Famkee - this. Perhaps because she is a stranger, someone he thinks he might never see again after they part. But then she finally offers her name, and is all of a sudden slightly more than a stranger.

    A curious glow appears in her eyes, and Malik watches as it winds its way up the length of her serrated horn. He’s not seen anything quite like it before, even in this world of wonders, there is a softness to his expression that lasts as long as the light. And then it’s gone, replaced by something more humorous as the thought occurs to him a moment before he speaks.

    “At least all this destruction means that we’ve got fewer places to search.”

    Famkee knows this smell. It welcomes her with open arms of annihilation, the air is stiff with it, death, desolation. Only just arriving, she begins to wonder if she's cursed with cataclysm, she leaves her home desacrated by famine, loss and collapse simply to discover tragedies on the skyline. Winter loses it's grip on the land, and for a moment Famkee looks to the trees still mostly bare, striken in their hibernation, the faintest signs of life budding the extremities of the branches. Spring brings rebirth, a miniscule light on the horizon in the darkness that consumed the continent. 

    She can see it in his face, riddled with uncertainty, disconnected from the world around him. Famkee finds herself frown at his vagueness, "it might as well be." he says as she badly longs for some kind of answer as to why plumes of destruction permiate the breeze nearly burning her nostrils from the inside, why the worry remains imbedded inside the stallions gaze. 

    Hyaline, he finally says coming from his mouth in unfortunate events, Famkee wants to pry, ask what happened but his steady attempts to turn and leave keep being squashed by her questions. She watches him carefully, gaging his reactions thoroughly, she knows he doesnt particularly want to be here, collecting and conveying thoughts that frankly look too fresh, the tragedy ebbs its way onto his features, unsightly on the stallion who would much rather suit a smile. 

    "What happened here?" She says, softly almost under her breath, in fact she's afraid of what he might say, if her brother was here did he survive the decimation, or was he even here at all. Both seem equally as frightening in their insertitude but its only when he reveals he too is searching for a lost sibling does her thumping heart faulter. They have more in common than the mare ever thought possible in these moments, four eyes, four nostrils and eight hooves would certainly cover more terrain, briefly Famkee thinks of positive outlooks of their spontaneous meeting and it battles the cons circling her mind in the background. 

    "Your sister, when did you see her last?" She doesnt know her, nor does Famkee think she cares but maybe if she shows some shred of interest, the stallion could be of use to her in the long run. "My brother, he's my twin. Years ago my home was destroyed by famine and war," She pauses, unsure if she should even be saying any of this, but hopelessness chokes, strangles her fear. "i lost everything, everyone i knew." Her features endure the emotion, failing to waver from numbness to it all, but inside she's lurching at the oppritunity to produce any leads she can, any strings she can pull at.  Her eyes relish the uncertainty bridling her irises with a fiery gold that glows, burning piles of ember. 

    "Looks like I'm meant to relive my nightmares." 

     [Image: EOU990v.png] Famkee [Fahm-key]
    “A storm.” He says. “One so vast it destroyed most of Beqanna. There were other storms before, and the arrival of strangers in the sea. But nothing so big as this.” It is not the most detailed of answers, but Malik knows little else. He’s heard the same stories that all Beqannaian children have, of the world being destroyed and reformed.

    They need only wait it out.
    He’s sure of that.

    He will be less sure later.

    In the meantime, he continues the same search for Sickle that he had before the destruction. Single minded focus, and he glances up to meet Famkee’s gaze as she asks how long it has been.

    “I’ve lost track,” he answers, “Years.”

    Her home had been destroyed as well, she says, through war and famine rather than natural disasters. Now she’s come to find her twin in another destroyed world, having lost everyone and everything else. The sheer hopelessness of it strikes him, and Malik makes no effort to amend her assessment of her current position.

    Though he seeks Sickle, he knows where the rest of his family is. Not in Hyaline, where they should be, but safe nonetheless. What would it be like to have nothing, to be entirely without family? It’s a rather chilling thought, one that reminds him of how Sickle must feel.

    The similarities between his missing sister and this mare have moved beyond coincidental. Though Malik does not hold the same belief in Fate that his ancestors had feels inconsequential in this moment. For what else could this be but Fate, guiding him toward this stranger with a story so like his own? He can’t walk away anymore, not now that he’s acknowledged this.

    “Would you like help finding your brother? My mother is… ” he trails off, realizing the inaccuracy of hat he’d been about to say. “She was Queen of Hyaline, and well connected. Perhaps, or someone she knows, has heard of your brother.”

    He speaks of a cyclone, ripping through the soul of the land and eating it in front of all who remained. It makes sense to her now, the way the forest looked anyways, trees cracked and split in half by the force of the gusts, the air still, too quiet in its eerie silence."strangers of the sea" makes her blink owlishly, the glint of curiosity germinating behind golden eyes. Her previous life was quite xenophobic, frigid in their ways, that if you were crowned with a horn you were superior to all other species. Finned, winged or hornless were below her, but no amount of hammered ideals or morals could convince her that she was above anyone, that she was special. After all, how special could they be, her family, slaughtered just like everyone else. She's only here because she managed to escape, cowardice or not, she's here to relive it all. Despite being a warrior herself, fighting her way through the carnage like she was trained to do, nothing could've prepared her for the genocide that disposed of all that she knew. This destruction of this new land, rather shouldn't come to a surprise to the mare, but yet she's still in disbelief of the disasters that follow her. She opens her delicate lips to ask what strangers crawled from the waves, but before she can he's matching her defeat in locating his sibling, though surprisingly he doesn't lose face, maybe he's just as numb but Famkee doubts he'll ever understand what she's seen, done, or didn't do. 

    "I'm sorry." She says simply, ruffling the edge on the word that want's to poison it. "It seems we have more in common than i thought." She smirks softly, juvenile in the way it forms across her mouth. "You'd think being a twin i'd have some sort of connection to him, wether his heart still beats or not. Sometimes i want to know," She pauses, long ebony tail swishing between her back legs. "Sometimes i don't." The dilemma they share, has her revealing more than she ever thought to a stranger, but Famkee is beginning to care less and less as she shares his company. What she is shocked about is the help he offers her, the stallion parallel with her on the path of distance suddenly closes the gap. But is it false? She tries to search for the answer in his eyes, body language. His mother, a queen. She wants to roll her pretty eyes inside her skull, she manages to keep them forward, but the snort that escapes her maw is audible. She wants it to make sense, name him arrogant, dull, mind full of pompous shit but he certainly hides it well, she thinks. Sure, he's reserved he has that right but somethings fishy, off with his assistance. She takes a step forward, extending her muzzle his way in incredulity. "Why would you want to help me?     
    Let it all go, see what stays

     [Image: EOU990v.png] Famkee [Fahm-key]
    The golden mare voices his thoughts, acknowledging their commonalities. He’d called Sickle his sister, and never clarified that she was his twin as well. The depth of the coincidence. “A connection would be convenient,” he agrees, “Sometimes twins here are born with it, a magical connection, but Sickle and I were not.”

    The Sickle he remembers would have offered help. She is no longer the child he remembers, and surely life alone has changed her. But she had been the kinder one from the beginning. And that had been before Malik’s second childhood, raised by a Cursed father and a mother that was more of a predator than parent.

    The incredulity in her tone is justified, and it’s Malik’s turn to snort, his of amusement rather than…whatever Famkee’s had been. She is difficult to read, even for someone of his amount of practice, but at least her disbelief of his offer of help is clear. Famkee, on the other hand, has managed to pin him rather accurately as a former prince, though the cause of his behaviors are not his station. He’s not dull, but arrogant and occasionally even pompous are certainly apt. He doesn’t answer immediately, and instead there is a pause as his eyes follow the formerly golden trail up the length of her serrated horn.

    “My sister would have, I think.” He says when he meets her eyes again. That’s the simplest answer, and it is true. It is not the complete truth though, and for the sake of Fate, just to be safe, he chooses to be honest. “And I thought you might be willing to return the favor. It sounds like you know how to take care of yourself, and the more feet running, the shorter the hunt.” It doesn’t occur to Malik that the old adage might not be as clear to others as to his shifting family.

    Never did Famkee think she'd be in this situation, nor was she prepared for it. It's almost silly, one coincidence after another that she begins to believe that he's making it up. Suspicion raises a brow, breathing uneven as it punches her breast in jabs of mistrust. He's just trying to get in your head, manipulate you, carve out your worries and spread them on the table for all to see. You've already done that, he'll take advantage of you. She isn't sure what to think, what thoughts to cling to or who to rely. She doesnt even know him, yet he brings so much grounding, one that pulls her from the clouds and back to reality. She wonders if she likes it, her hooves on the ground, touching on an issue long since buried, now blooming at the surface in hopes of finally being resolved, finally having an answer. Something she's wanted for years at her disposal and yet, she's afraid. Mortified would be an understatement. "I'm having a hard time believing you." She says without the emotion that begs to warp her face in disbelief. "All of these similarities between us only makes me question your sincerity." She continues with as monotone of a voice she can muster behind velvet lips, golden eyes peeling back the layers of the stallions gaze. "Forgive me for my skepticism, but faith hasn't been a friend to me. It's easier to believe you're just bullshitting me for ulterior motives."Her stubbornness sours her soul, it bleeds through her eyes, and sometimes the mare wonders if she likes being miserable. It's comfortable, laying her a soft bed in familiarity, safety and most importantly it feels like home. Something she embraces, clutches onto for dear life because it's all she's had being on her own left alone with her mind's cancerous sentiments. "My sister would have, i think." The black stallion reveals, and for a moment she wants to smile. Her brother was just as caustic, if not more than Famkee. If it were up to them, she's sure they wouldn't need another soul or horse alike ever again. She knows he's looking for her but would he go out of his way for a stranger? Would she? 

    The soft breeze ruffles the tendrils of her mane, the tips brushing the well muscled skin of her shoulder, tickling the dapples that adorn her chest. The sun that peeks it's way through the canopy almost makes her golden pelt glow, such a beautiful contrast from the stud, blacker than the soil that lies beneath his hooves. Fervent eyes spark aflame, the radiance turning what's left of her golden iris into crackling fiery jewels. He assumes her interest would be spiked by a trade off, subtly complementing her solitary survival. Her word vomit is too acidic to stop as it climbs up her throat. "Say you're right. I help you, and if i don't find him." She pauses, the silence is long, dreary. "You're of royal blood, what could you offer me."   
    Let it all go, see what stays

    sorry for the delay D:
     [Image: EOU990v.png] Famkee [Fahm-key]
    ‘I’m having a hard time believing you.’ She says.

    Despite the flatness of her tone and stillness of expression, Malik smiles. Of course she’s struggling. Strangers to these strangest of lands find many things difficult to believe, and even Malik knows that this coincidence is odd even for Beqanna. He is content to credit Fate - whose hand has guided his family for generations - but Famkee has no reason at all.

    So while smiling he is also shrugging his shoulders, acknowledging to the golden mare both that she makes a solid point, and that he’s no better explanation. “That would make more sense,” he agrees, “And I’ve no way to prove I’m telling the truth.” The choice of whether to believe or not is hers, and since he is (at least this time) without ulterior motive, he’s no intention of further convincing her. Doing so, pressuring her to believe him, would probably only backfire anyway.

    The mare meeting his gaze with hard golden-and-brown eyes does not seem the type to give in to pressure. If he tried, she’s probably just leave. So instead he waits, turning his dark face up to the breeze as it rises. The cool wind ruffles the iridescent feathers along his neck, and tugs at his mane and tail.

    When the sun breaks, he glances back at Famkee. She’s been illuminated by the winter light, and her golden pelt is brighter even than the watery sunlight. The brilliant jewels of her eyes have settled on him again, and though he cannot know what she intends to say, something about her seems settled - more determined than a moment ago.

    At her request, his soft smile from earlier returns, this time quicker and accompanied by an amused chuckle.
    What’s in it for her, she’s asked; the same thing Malik thinks he would have if their situations were reversed. He knows his own value, and knows now that Famkee knows her own worth as well. This only confirms his earlier suspicion: she would be a good set of feet to add to the hunt.

    “Formerly royal,” replies, emphasizing the first word. “The world has changed since I was a Prince.” He has little to offer save his own help, and knows it. “I don’t have much to offer beyond a place to rest your head in the Pampas, and a permanent home if…” he trails off into silence, but continues with only the briefest of pauses, pushing his own concern to the back of his mind “when. When Hyaline is recovered from the sea.”

    Now it’s my turn to apologize for the major delay D:
    Each breath the mare takes is crisp, the forest trees offering their end of the bargain, she takes advantage of this oxygen swelling her breast in deep calculated motions. Even this doesn't feel like enough, it burns even, the air scorching and Famkee wants to panic. She shoves it down though, just like everything else as the stallion before her can only smile at her reluctance to their coincidences. She's continually baffled at how he shrugs it off, like this is something that normally happens for him. She refuses to accept fate, an ugly disfigured shadow that loomed over both of their heads. It's immovable, cemented there mocking her like she's to get use to the feeling. She tries to avoid it and listen to his reply, though this hopefulness lingering makes the mare anxious, her hooves shuffle the dried leaves, tail swishing against the skin of her sooty back legs. 'Ive no way to prove I'm telling the truth.' He's relaxed, almost excessive in his leisure. Famkee doesn't know whether to submit to his ease, or stiffen under it's wing. She says nothing, only a sort of nod confirming that she indeed doesn't trust him, and at least he understands the gravity it holds on her shoulders. Though as he continues to respond, his smile never fades and Famkee thinks despite her hesitancy, he wears it well. She notices the glance he gives her pelt, illuminating in the soft rays the canopy allows to grace her with, dancing as the delicate wind blows the colors across her back. She isn't sure if the wind gives her a chill up the base of her spine or the stallions gaze, lingering on places. 'Formally royal' is what really spikes her attention and makes her slowly forget, ears swiveled forwards, even a step closer, her legs having a mind of their own wanting more. 

    So this cyclone really did destroy these lands. Despite the grin Malik still sports, Famkee sees through it, golden eyes venturing into places maybe even he doesn't know he reveals. She can see the loss, hopelessness, and for a moment she wants to dive right into the depth of his eyes differing in their color. Reminds her of herself, tangled in misfortune. Only Malik hides it with a smile, a glint in his eye that Famkee isn't sure she could conjure. A former Prince, a lost sibling, a lost homeland. She wonders if any or all of these events coincided with his dethroning. She wants to pity him, or the mountain sides that have suffered the carnage, but the mare has no sympathy for the ocean, the waves who stole from her. "The sea is a hungry thing." Famkee recalls with brief closing of her eyes, how the waves took her mother from her those years ago. It's her way of agreeing, taking another bolder step forwards, her horn knocking loosely hanging branches and the dew they held tricking down the length to her face. It's as if she's crying, the water staining her brighter golden, darker streaks. Theres a slight wince in her brow but nothing more as she continues, soft is her voice. "Malik." His name comes from her velvet lips, there it is, hope, fate, whatever the damned thing might be, breaking through the walls and showing it's blasted face. After all, what else does she have to lose. "Lead the way."
    Let it all go, see what stays

     [Image: EOU990v.png] Famkee [Fahm-key]
    Though Malik knows better than most how to make himself unseen, there are some things that he cannot hide. No measure of shapeshifting can disguise the desolation behind his charismatic smile, not from someone in whom the same desolation churns. One cannot witness their own reflection without allowing their mirror image to observe them in turn.

    It is not a comfortable feeling: being truly seen.

    He is grateful when she breaks their gaze, and for once the reminder of the ravenous sea is not unwelcome. It gives him something more tangible to focus on, and he’s thinking of the waves when he turns back to see the tear-like dew on her cheeks. The smile that had faded from his dark lips returns at the sound of his name, but he does not slip entirely back into the charade.

    The hand of Fate on their meeting is too heavy to ignore for long, so as he begins to lead the way toward the Brilliant Pampas, he says: “Would you tell me more of your brother?” He needs to know what he is looking for, after all.

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