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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

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    [open]  sometimes tension brings us closer
    Myrna has not told anyone about the quest. When she’d woken up, confused and disoriented on the Mountainside, the world around her had been in chaos. The palomino doesn’t know how long the storm had lasted, but she had found her mother and sisters amidst the driving rain, and felt immense relief at the sight of them. She’s not strayed far from them since, but in a world so strange and new as the Brilliant Pampas, there is much to do even within earshot of her family.

    Today she picks her way along the riverbank, every now and then stepping into the water. Her steps are quick when she must do so, for the water is cold. The sun has not yet risen to warm the shallows that she splashes through, and the heat of yesterday had been lost during the star-speckled night.

    Myrna had been awake most of the night, watching those stars.

    She has not slept much since the storm.

    Her left hind foot lands on something sharp in the water. Myrna sucks in a quick breath and looks down. A shake and once over confirms it'll only be a bruise, leaving her free to inspect the water to see what it was she’d come up against, avoiding placing weight on her injured foot. She lowers her head, and the faint glow that emanates from her white horns casts a weak light into the shallow water.

    There - the pointed tine of an elkear antler, broken and mostly buried beneath the mud of the river bank. Myrna reaches toward it, grasping it between the sharp teeth of the canine form she wears. She’ll take it to the den with the fox kits she’d discovered the other day, Myrna thinks, and watch them wrestle with it. For now she tosses it farther up the bank, then takes a better look at her surroundings so as to remember where she stands.

    In the darkness of predawn, most of the world is in shadow. Most of it is sleeping as well, but was that movement? The pale golden wolf becomes still, and a moment later becomes a flaxen palomino mare instead, her grey-blue eyes narrowed as she searches the darkness for what she might have seen.

    so i had done wrong but you put me right
    my judgement burned in the black of night

    Areane hasn’t slept much of late.

    When she closes her eyes, there is the storm that she barely escaped, rattling and raging and driving her to the brink of exhaustion, intent on pushing her past it. The storm has long past but her fatigue has not. She had taken shelter the previous night in a cave, and even when her amethyst eyes had finally closed, the flash of lightning strikes roused her again and again.

    But it hadn’t been another summer squall.

    It had been bright bolts of lighing against her blue-black coat, like she herself might have been a thundercloud.

    (Her skin flickers now, as uncontrollable and as wild as the gale near the Mountain had been. It happens at random, and despite day or night, rain or shine, it continues to happen, much to her dismay.)

    Thankfully, it is a spectacle that is harder to see in the daylight, and as Areane walks, the onyx pegasus only glitters in the early morning sun. Her wings open slightly to shake away the last of her sleep (what little there might have been) from the evening before, and as she makes her way towards the River for a refreshing drink of water before the sweltering summer heat sets in, the young female spies another in her vicinity.

    The stranger is very pale, so much so that Areane almost mistakes her from afar for one of her missing family members: her twin, Starros, or her parents, Tarian and Altissima. But where they all seemed to share a similar shade with the moon or the stars, the coloring on the other mare is different. Slightly golden, a hue that seems akin with the watery daylight beginning to filter through the trees. Knowing that her lack of sleep and her worries of where the rest of her family has gone (as well as Tephra), she means to give her usual perfunctory nod and keep moving, determined to find her own way in this strange new version of Beqanna.

    That familiar glint though, and suddenly it comes; she remembers seeing the paleness of that coat against the dark, bruised color of a thunderhead.

    "I know you,” Areane realizes aloud and then begins to promptly turn around. "You were there. In the storm.”

    @ Viszla
    She peers out into the darkness of predawn, but sees  only the black and almost-black shadows that make up the riverbank and hills beyond. Her twisting ears do not catch the sound of footsteps, and eventually she continues up the river. Myrna is able to keep from thinking of anything terrible for several hours, long enough to feel the air around her begin to warm and the air fill with the sound of birds woken by the sunrise.

    Just past the grove of fruit trees she’d found shortly after their arrival in the Pampas, the palomino sees someone coming near. At first she thinks it Malik, but as they draw nearer she sees that the dark hue of their coats is all this mare and Myrna’s brother had in common.

    There is something about her that is familiar, but she has met so few others outside her mountain home. Perhaps she is a relative of someone Myrna knows, and since she is not interested in knowing anyone else, she is prepared to simply offer a smile and carry on.

    Except the mare, whose dark hide reminds Myrna a little of blue-black butterflies, is staring at her rather intently. MYrna looks up just as the stranger mentions the storm.

    Her first instinct is to deny it. To ignore it, to pretend it hadn’t happened at all, to keep thinking of anything else but the fact that she’d helped to destroy her home.

    But the stranger…No, not a stranger Myrna realizes as she looks closer. That one knows how to fly, Myrna remembers thinking; the feathered wings that carried Areane through the howling winds had not been a gift gained only a few moments earlier.

    “I’m Myrna.” She says, because she has to say something into the too long silence that has now stretched between them. “From Hyaline. Well, I was. I guess from here now.” She has a tendency for the verbose and knows it, so the way that she and the way she draws her lips more tightly closed, drawn in a thin line, has a deliberate air.


    so i had done wrong but you put me right
    my judgement burned in the black of night

    Areane has never been good at smiling and carrying on. She has always either avoided the direct gaze of another, or if she was feeling particularly bold that day, the slender pegasus would peer back, wondering if anyone was going to say anything at all. Sometimes they passed her by with nothing more than a nod, sometimes they might call a greeting, and sometimes it was Areane who broached the silence, wondering why she allowed such moments to build into knots within her slim frame.

    But the world turning upside-down has been a good ice-breaker for the pegasus.

    She has learned that she will either get the chance to ask her questions - if anyone knew anything more of Tephra, if they were familiar with the names of her missing family members - or she will spend all day without seeing another soul. So when the pale palomino glints against the dawn light, Areane doesn’t waste her chance. When she recognizes her, it almost stops the determined pegasus in her tracks.

    "Areane,” she tells Myrna, tilting her her head to look the golden mare over once more (there is something familiar about her, something more than just recognizing her from the Mountain). She is Myrna from Hyaline, the slightly taller mare says. Or was, before the storm. Just as she had been Areane of Tephra, before the storm. Just as she had been Areane of Loess, before the ocean swallowed it whole.

    The few clusters of nearby flowers begin to open their petals in a colorful array befitting the name of the territory that Areane had found herself in. She had been a dutiful daughter of the Southern kingdom; she remembered her lessons on the beautifully flower-fields just as she remembered the description of the eternally autumnal forest known as Sylva.

    It is almost like her companion has more to stay, and perhaps Areane should wait longer for her to speak, but as a few moments pass, she refuses to waste more. "This is the Pampas, isn’t it?” she asks, glancing around one more time as if to confirm that fact. Her brow furrows and the crinkling causes a few of her light blue speckles to emerge from beneath her dark forelock when looks next to Myrna. "I don’t understand,” she goes on to say, "I was from Loess and everything in the South sank. Everything was gone.”

    Beqanna could take and it could give and it could take and give again.
    She knew that.

    However, it was one thing to hear it your entire life, it was another to see it plainly before you; the stories of wars and kingdoms long gone, remembrances of the Reckoning, and even the more recent tales of when the sun stopped shining should have prepared her. But the shock was clearly apparent on her face now as she tried (struggled) to absorb that fact and the confusion grew in her amethyst eyes as the daylight grew brighter. "What is happening?”

    @ Viszla
    The ability to become next-to-nothing in an instant makes avoiding strangers a simple task. Myrna might have become a moth rather than a mare, or even a pale smooth pebble at the bottom of the river. Keeping to the company of those she knows is safest. There is no telling what secrets a stranger might be hiding, even one that seems alright. Myrna knows better than most not to trust someone’s outer appearance as indicative of their strength.

    And yet, Areane looks just like Myrna feels inside, and surely that means something?

    Wavering between speaking and vanishing, the decision is momentarily stayed by Areane’s question about the Pampas. Myrna’s pale eyes turn out to the rolling hills. The south had sunk before her memories begin, and at first, its return had not been something she considered too deeply. It was here, and that was what mattered. It was somewhere that was not sunk beneath the sea, and was not the strange Baltian sea or the floating Stratosian clouds.

    The strangers, from their strange worlds, she has avoided most of all.

    Perhaps if she hadn’t, she might have a better answer for Areane.

    “I dunno.”

    Having introduced herself, Myrna no longer feels capable of disappearing, but she dislikes the long silence that stretches after the announcement of her ignorance.

    “This happened before, right? Well, stuff like this?” It feels better to be talking, she finds, because then she’s not thinking. “It’s gotta be magic, yeah? That’s why everything is. Except even the magicians don’t seem to know what happened either. Maybe it’s…” She trails off, realizing that she’s simply been thinking aloud, and that her thinking has led her right back where she hadn’t wanted to be.

    “Maybe it’s something that happened during the storm. Did…did we do it?”


    so i had done wrong but you put me right
    my judgement burned in the black of night

    Areane’s mind reels as they stand there, a thousand thoughts that just keep spinning out of control, as if she was caught in the Mountain storm all over again.

    She knows what she sees. The dawning light of day is making it clear enough for the young pegasus to piece together that this land with its lavish fields of wildflowers and lush meadows is the Pampas. She would recognize just as clearly if the autumn forest were before her instead, dressed in all its blazing colors. But there is still a look of disbelief lingering in her amethyst eyes, and there is a raise to her speckled brow that signals her shock.

    The young mare beside her isn’t a Loessian, she learns. Myrna has no knowledge of where they are standing, only that it does, and the blue-sheened pegasus feels her wings wrapping tighter around her slim sides. It’s a familiar, comforting feeling as the feathers graze gently against Areane’s dark frame. A habit that she has done since she was a filly, and the looming presence of so much unfamiliarity surrounding them makes her feel small again.

    Fighting against it, she asks her newfound companion, "I’ve heard stories.” She murmurs. "Sometimes I used to think my father had made them up to keep my brother and I close to home.” Loess, she means. Realizing that she has begun to ramble, Areane takes a deep breath and tries to better focus on the questions that Myrna had asked. "We were born after the Endless Night, and he always said that it could happen again. But it had something to do with the Alliance, and the power that came from the Mountain.” Her lips press together, because there was more to that tale, but Areane couldn’t recall all of it. It hadn't been about Loess, and she likely hadn't paid attention. "It was said to have warped, somehow."

    There was the Endless Night, the various wars that seemed to pop up every generation or so (though those never seemed to be driven by magic, only mortals), the Reckoning that stripped Beqanna of magicks and territories. Could the same thing be happening again?

    Remembering the tale about the Alliance might have proved useful now, because when Myrna asks her if what happened during the storm was something they might have created, the winged mare isn’t sure. "I don’t know,” Areane answers plainly. There is something rueful in the look that she gives the pale palomino. "Do you think there might be answers to be found back at the Mountain?”

    @ Viszla
    She watches the lightning dance across Areane’s blue-black hide. It looks different than it does on her own pale body, reflected by the starry mare’s glittering coat, and Myrna wonders if Areane had sparked like this before the Storm.

    Myrna hadn’t. The comforting glowing light her body had once emitted had been transformed by the power  inside the tornado, and the Shadows of her nightmares manifest beside her, warped into existence by the same dark powers that had stolen away Craft and Anatomy’s gift to her.

    Areane speaks of stories, and Myrna thinks they are probably the same ones her mother had told her. Stories of magic and power, and of the Endless Night that had covered the world before Myrna had been born. The thought of it happening again hadn’t occurred to her, and Myrna’s brow furrows as she turns her blue-grey eyes back to Areane’s.

    The other mare is as lost as Myrna is, it seems. The frown becomes a rueful smile, and a shrug of her pale shoulders. 

    “What would answers even look like?” The hopelessness seeps into her voice despite efforts otherwise, but she does manage to keep it from her face. “I thought about seeing if the Baltians knew anything, but they say there’s bad magic in the new lands.” Magic that warps what is known, that changes the mind and body.

    Myrna has had more than enough changes of late, and is not eager for more.


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