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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]  Not All That Glitters is Gold[Jack and Phoebus]


    At everyone's concurrence with the plan the peacock gowned mare heads east, Jack on one side, Phoebus on the other.  She expects there to be some awkwardness and so she tries to conjure up some conversation for the trek to the water border.  Her eye fixes on Jack as she tells him that Phoebus had been born in Tephra many years ago and that his father had died when he was very young.  That she had actually went to go find him when his father had returned from a diplomatic visit but couldn't find him anywhere.  When she returned, she found Rou had died and she had been looking for Phoebus ever since.  That that is why she was on the beach when Jack came across her.  She figured if she was on the beach she would find him one day, on his last day.  Of course, he never showed and now she knew why...

    Her gaze then shifts to Phoebus with a smile as her stride continues.  To lighten the mood of the situation she jokes, "Well at least I found one missing child today." 

    She wants to ask him where he has been all these years.  What he has done in his life and if he was happy.  She had missed so much of his life, and she wonders if she was partially to blame.  But she doesn't inquire further, not here, not now.  They would have time to catch up later.

    Lowering her head slightly, her navy eyes turn to the saturated ground.  It had rained not too long ago, and the dirt was easily impressable.  They should be able to see tracks if anyone has been this way recently...

    Not all that glitters is gold

    @Jack in the Box 
    There would be four sets of tracks if anyone wants to pick up on that part Wink
    //Healing-Peacock Wings(flightless)\\
    Phoebus was not much of a conversationalist. 

    Decades of solitude would do that to you. His ears shift uncomfortably as he walks beside his mother, eyes landing on Jack every once in a while but always quickly darting back to his mother. Phoebus listens as his mother explains what happened before his disappearance, and how she had waited on the beach for him. Death was inevitable for many, and the boy of fire could not help but feel his heart break as he realized how his mother had waited, how she had searched, how she had never forgotten him. Phoebus swallows the lump in his throat, simply nodding in agreement at his mother's recounting. 

    "Well, at least I found one missing child today." Aurora jests, and Phoebus lets out an awkward chuckle. He still hadn't fully processed the fact that he had siblings, especially ones so young. He wanted to ask his mother about them, but instead he walks quietly beside her, eyes darting around as they came towards Pangea's eastern border. 

    Phoebus's eyes look forward on the path, and he is quick to notice the hoof-prints in the freshly muddied dirt. He trots ahead of the group, noticing four sets of tracks - two smaller, like that of foals, and two larger. 

    "Mom...Jack...look here." Phoebus lowers his armored head, flares his nostrils, and breathes in the scents deeply. The first smell he catches is rotten like decomposing flesh - he grimaces, heart racing. The two other scents are much like his own - smoke and cedar. The last scent is not as potent as the other three - it is a subtle mildew. "Zain had help." The boy of fire concurs, looking back towards his mother and Jack. 

    @Jack in the Box 
    @ AuroraElis
    Jack walks beside Aurora, periodically glancing over to Phoebus, not sure if he can trust him. As far as stallions go, few can be trusted. Zain has proven that time and time again.

    As they walk east, Jack listens intently to Aurora explaining Phoebus’ life story. How his father left and died when she tried to find him again. He can’t help but feel jealousy as she continues the story. Yes, sure Aurora is his now, but what if another stallion comes by and whisks her off her hooves.

    The memory vividly plays in Jack’s mind, him lonely and sad walking along the beach when he saw her. He was captivated when he first met her and still is to this day. He wasn’t the smartest and was sheltered in his previous life, but he has learned the way of the “wild” horse. He can thank Aurora for everything he has improved.

    As he reminisces, he turns his head and nuzzles into Aurora, smiling and thankful he found her, not knowing what his life would have been like otherwise. Without the twins or Amenadiel.

    His ears flick towards Phoebus who has caught a scent, more like scents. When it is mentioned that Zain had help, Jack’s ears pin back, snorting angrily. “We need to find them!” He lowers his head, sniffing the ground as the smell of decomposing flesh fills his nostrils. The smell is overwhelming. He begins to trot off, head to the ground following the trail for a while before the trail suddenly stops. He paws angrily, whipping his head up. “That motherfucker!”

    @ AuroraElis


    It isn't long into their travels east that a trail is picked up.  Phoebus is the first to discover the tracks in the soft soil.  She was no tracker, no hunter or no adventurer, so she takes his word that there are more than just three trails here.

    She stops beside him, worry in her deep navy eyes.  Their father said he would come back for them one day, and the coincidence of both Jack and her being gone that morning when he did return, was too much.  She snorts, "He planned this!  He's been watching us this whole time."  Her finely featured face shakes slowly in disbelief.  They had thought they were safe here, but nowhere was safe from Zain.

    Tears moisten her eyes as she thinks of the worst.  Were they hurt?  Were they scared?  Or worse, dead?  Her heart could not bear to out live another child.  Diavoli had been a hard enough and she didn't even get a chance to know him.  Not even her healing magic could save the underdeveloped foal.  In her grieving thoughts she leans against Phoebus, not caring he was covered in burning plates. His warmth was soothing, even if it did burn slightly.

    Soon Jack is worked up into a fit of anger.  Her immediate thoughts go to just months before when his rage had been so out of control.  She is about to reach her muzzle to him in attempt to calm him, but he takes off at a trot for some distance before stopping and shouting something into the air.

    Her gaze shifts to her son before she lunges forward into a canter, soon coming to a stand near Jack, "What is it, Jack?"  Her eyes search his face for answers; the babbling water of the Dale boundary sits not more than a few yards away.

    Not all that glitters is gold

    //Healing-Peacock Wings(flightless)\\
    Anger turns to sadness as Jack feels like he has failed the twins to keep them safe. He lowers his head, sighing sadly. “I’m sorry I couldn’t keep them safe from… him… Of course he has henchmen doing his bidding for him. No telling what they could do…” he stops, not wanting to even consider the possibilities of danger the twins could be in. A shudder runs through his body as a chill rips through the air.

    He looks at his reflection in the shimmering waters below as he collects his thoughts and calms down, taking a few deep breaths. “He just makes me so mad. And it scares me that Escence thinks he’s so great. Vic I’m sure is worried and scared. He knows what..who Zain is. It makes me mad that he is always watching us, where we are never safe,”

    He reaches his muzzle towards Aurora’s neck, the smell of her always calms him down. “Let’s keep going, we don’t want to waste daylight. It will be much harder in the dark,” He continues onward, keeping an eye out for any sign of the twins. They arrive at the border of Pangea, not long before sundown. “Let’s find a place to settle in before we continue. A place we can meet back up if we all get separated,”

    @ AuroraElis @Phoebus
    Phoebus lets out a heavy sigh as he watches his mother's eyes well with tears. When she leans upon him, he moves his head to nuzzle her cheek. His heart swells feeling his mother's delicate touch again, and he can't help but acknowledge that the last time they had embraced, he was much shorter than her. She had wrapped her neck around him, pulled him to her chest, probably over something silly - now it was he that comforted her. "He's smart, but we're not to be underestimated. We will find him, and the twins." Phoebus reassures as Aurora pulls away from his warmth, cantering towards a furious Jack. Phoebus isn't much for dramatics, but he understands Jack's rage. It is a feeling he knows all too well - the anger that boils up inside him when you're just too late, when you're helpless and hopeless. He doesn't know Jack well, but he empathizes with him.

    He makes no rush to follow them, allowing his mother and Jack to have their time to process what has happened. However, he does allow himself to point his ear forward, listening in on their conversation. He knew he'd been gone for so long...all he wanted to do was help his mother and make up for what he had put her through. 

    Phoebus takes note of Jack's words. It seemed that the colt - his brother - was smart enough to realize this Zain character was not to be trusted. Perhaps he would be smart enough to protect his - their - sister. Phoebus does let out a sarcastic snort at the idea that anywhere in this land was safe. Everything here was fickle, and to be naive enough to think imaginary borders kept horses safe was laughable. Phoebus doesn't say anything though, only nods at Jack's suggestion of moving towards the Pangean border. 

    Night falls upon them quickly, but they reach the border before the stars fully overtake the night sky. Phoebus wants to proceed, his armor illuminating their pathway, but he stops when Jack mentions finding a common meeting ground. The boy of fire looks to the worn pathway, then back to his mother and Jack. There wasn't much around but rocks and Phoebus was getting antsy. The longer they waited, the further Zain could take the twins away. Phoebus looks around until he finds a single, lonely dogwood about a yard off the pathway. "There," He says, moving towards it. "The only tree for miles, I'd think. We can meet here if something happens." 

    @ AuroraElis 
    @Jack in the Box


    She arrives at Jack's side and it doesn't take long for him to lay all his fears bare.  They are the same ones she toils over mentally now.  Her dished face hangs low in sadness, the anger having washed away as Jack nuzzles her.

    When Phoebus joins them they devise a plan to continue on towards Pangea and investigate further.

    Jack recommends to find a place to reconvene in case they should get separated.  She nods in agreement then looks to Phoebus.  He is quick to find a distinct landmark, remnants of a time when the dead kingdom supported life.

    Darkness envelops them soon enough.  She comes to a stand near the dogwood, looking out across the pitch black, straining to see any sign of the twins. They wouldn't be hard to miss in the dark, not with their orange glow. “We should continue searching now while it's dark.  With their bright flames they will be hard to miss,” she is unaware that Vic no longer carries the bright orange glow he once had.  And it's not like she'll be able to sleep tonight anyhow.

    She is about to head deeper into the lands when a noise, one of fast paced hoofbeats, can be heard from where they had come from.  Anxiety rises within her, a quickening of her heart beat as she thinks of just what kind of monster was lurking in the shadows.  “Shhh… What's that?”  She freezes to listen, caramel ears swiveling anxiously on top her head.

    The sound of hoofbeats stop abruptly.  There is no hint of orange or red glow, a tell tale sign of the twins or Zain being the culprit of the noise.  She turns to look at Phoebus, then Jack, a deafening silence filling the atmosphere around them.  

    Then out of nowhere a familiar figure looks and a voice speaks out.  Vic's masked face lights an eerie orange from the reflected glow of Phoebus armor.

    Mother?  Jack?  Is that you?

    Her heart sinks back into her chest in the best way possible.  Relief washing over her like a summer rain after a long drought.  Tears begin trailing down her cheeks as she rushes to him, embracing him tightly to her breast.  He felt bigger, stronger, than before.  No longer the gangly foal that had nearly died at birth.

    After several minutes she pulls away, backing up a step or two to look him over.  "What happened to your flames?  To your glow?  Are you alright?  Did he do this to you?"  There are a million questions she wants to ask but ensuring he is ok was all she can think of at the moment.

    Not all that glitters is gold

    //Healing-Peacock Wings(flightless)\\
    Escence & Eviction
    ~Twin Flame~

    He watched them fade into a heat mirage -his father and sister- unsure of what to do.  If he defied his father the risk of his, their, safety was imminent.  He knew his father better than to think he had empathy for his children.  That his threats would be empty and were only meant to scare them into submission.

    With a snort of frustration, and stomp of his hoof, he turns towards the western border.  About to head south, as instructed, he picks up a scent of lake.  The earthy scent of cedar and fresh water is all too familiar and he feels he must be near the Dale.  An idea sparks in his mind, he'd return home to inform his family what had happened, surely they were worried. 

    His masked face, laced in a sickly black glow, looks to see no sign of his sister in the distance.  So with a determined mindset he turns back to the border, lunging into a gallop and finding the edge of the barren kingdom. 

    He tries his best to jump from cover to cover undetected, in case his father had eyes on the lookout.  The vegetation is scarce and his dark glow does nothing but make him stick out each time there is an opening.  He pauses at each patch of barren land, surveying the area before moving on.  Laying low, he moves with a lanky stride to the next patch of brush and bramble.

    Halfway there, to where he knows the river crossing to the Dale would be, dusk has taken hold and finally the darkness does him a kindness.  He slips from the meager cover and again takes to a fast gallop.  At this rate he'd be home in no time.

    When he reaches the northern border he stops, turning to look back into the wasteland to see if he could see or hear anyone following him.  His pale ears swivel as he listens intensely for any hint of life.

    It isn't a sound that alerts him to someone in the night, but a soft orange glow.  His eyes, having lost their usual eerie whiteness, look to see if he can make out the identity of the individual.  It wasn't as solid as his sister's fire, but like a patchwork of orange over a large frame.  He considers continuing on into the Dale, but like a moth to a flame he is drawn to the other.

    He softens his steps, drawing closer with caution.  His black eyes remain fixed on the faint glow, watching it brighten as he nears.  Only when he notices a shimmer off another does he realize there is more than one being here.  His heartbeat races, stopping dead in his tracks, staring at not one, or two, but three others.

    A scent comes to him on the breeze, laced with that of smoke and cedar.  It is sweet and gentle, like a bed of lavender.  His eyes close as he drinks it in, a smile appearing on his face for the first time in days. There is another familiar scent there too.

    His eyes open as the words slip from his lips,  “Mother?  Jack?  Is that you?”

    She rushes to him with tears of joy, embracing him.  Her gentle warmth is a welcome reprieve.  He wished it'd last forever, but soon she pulls.  

    The questions begin, he looks to Jack with a greeting smile.  Then to the stranger whose glow had been a beacon to bringing him here.  The question lingers in his mind of who they were but he doesn't have a moment to ask before he's reassuring his mother.  "I'm ok really," he says as confidently as possible given the situation.  "He has Escence though and has demanded I go someplace called the Gates.  If I don't he's promised to harm me and I wouldn't put it past him to hurt anyone that interferes,"  his gaze shifts between those gathered.  "I was coming home to let you know.  I figured you'd be worried," he wasn't wrong that was for sure.  

    There wasn't time to tell them about the fairies hand in his appearance or all of what happened, but he hoped that was enough to ease their minds.  "I must go, before he realizes I didn't go straight there.  I won't put my sister in danger," he says before turning away from the group.

    His bit : )
    *He is carrying(unknown to him) some blight sickness from Pangea.  Anyone who touches him may become ill(unintentionally of course)*
    //Fire Mimicry-Healing\\
    Fire Mimicry- Glowing, Small Flames, Fire Aura
    **His fire mimicry trait colors are now black instead of orange**
    Current condition: disease carrier(blight)
    They had agreed to Jack’s recommendation of finding a landmark as their home base. Phoebus immediately finds a lone dogwood, the only one for miles. They all agree and head on their way to save Escence and Eviction.

    Aurora mentions that it should be relatively easy to find them in the darkness that is quickly enveloping them. Jack’s new halo gently lights up their path, although that could be dangerous if Zain and his henchmen are around. It isn’t a few minutes later as they stop and hear crunching of brush nearby.

    Mom? Jack? Jack looks up, swiveling his head around to find Eviction standing before them. He looks different and before he could realize why, Aurora jumps in and holds him close against her body. After a few moments, she unloads question after question on the colt. Vic interrupts, spewing information on where he and his sister have been, and no surprise there, Zain is behind all of it. He mentions the Gates. Jack perks his ears and looks to him as Vic turns away and begins towards his destination. “Vic! Wait! I’ll go with you,” he says, trotting towards him. “Better two of us than you alone,”

    @ AuroraElis @ Eviction @Phoebus
    Just as they had found a meeting place, just as they were discussing their forward march into Pangea to find the twins, a soft voice emerges from the darkened horizon. 

    "Mom? Jack? Is that you?" 

    Phoebus breathes a sigh of relief, observing his mother and Jack as they comfort the young colt. It doesn't feel right to interfere in such an intimate moment, even if Eviction is his brother...even if this is their first time meeting. Aurora asks several questions, and Vic answers them, reassuring their mother that everything was okay. When he explains that Escense is still with Zain and that he was being sent to the Gates, Phoebus perks his ears up. It was obvious why Zain was separating them - Vic seemed to understand his father was not to be trusted, but their naive sister desired a relationship, and separating the two was crucial to whatever nefarious plan Zain had in store. Jack suggests going with Vic to the Gates, and Phoebus nods in agreement. 

    "Good idea, Jack," He says, eyes never leaving his brother. "It's best he's not left alone. I'm not sure what Zain is planning, but it can't be good." The boy of fire takes a few steps forward, smiling at the colt. "My name is Phoebus. It's nice to meet you..." He hesitates. Perhaps telling Vic of their familial ties would be better another time. Instead, he bows his head. "...I'm sure I'll be seeing you soon." He leaves this somewhat cryptic message hanging in the air, looking back to his mother and then over to Jack. "I will head into Pangea and find Escense. It isn't safe for mo-...Aurora...to go alone, so we can go together." He looks back down to Vic, a reassuring smile appearing over his lips. "We will find her and bring her home safe." Phoebus turns from Jack and Eviction, walking towards his mother, towards the Pangean border where his little sister lie. 

    @ AuroraElis @ Eviction @Jack in the Box

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