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  • Beqanna

    COTY

    Assailant -- Year 226

    QOTY

    "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]  lucid dreams like electricity, assailant
    #1

    CASIMIRA

    i’m only whatever you make me

    It is a waiting game now, and thankfully the once-queen has always had patience in abundance. Though she is of course eager to once again bear witness to the glowing volcano on the horizon, it is not enough to make her impatient or irritated — the time will pass regardless. There had been a time when the idea of bringing Tephra back was not even an option; now, thanks to a small group of individuals, it was within reach.

    The meadow has been her chosen place for biding time, partially because it is in close proximity to the Mountain, and also because from here she can stand at the river’s edge and stare in the direction she knows Tephra had once been. It is strange to think that beyond the forest on the other side of the river, shrouded in that mysterious fog, lies a fallen kingdom. She wonders if it will be the same once it rises; did she stay the same after she died? Perhaps outwardly, yes, but something had changed in her that day during the Tephra-Loess war, and being reborn had not reversed it.

    She is lost in quiet contemplation when she hears footsteps, turning to find the winged stallion that had led the party up the mountainside. “Assailant,” she greets him with a reserved yet amicable smile. She has never been one for grand displays of emotion, always quiet and composed; a stark contrast to the control she had once lacked in her dragon form. She liked him, though, even if such a fondness was not always so easily seen in those icy blue eyes; the fact that he was willing to assemble the group that he had would always be enough for her.  “What a pleasant surprise,” she says, tilting her head in a silent gesture to join her.



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    #2

    Assailant

    He is not quite as collected as Casimira is on this day, so he decides to move away from a sleeping Adriana in order to let his anxiety wear a trampled path through the grasses. This type of agitation is largely unprecedented, for he had never really had much to worry about in the past. He does feel the same as Casimira, though, in that he is not necessarily concerned with how long it is taking everyone to complete their tasks (he’s convinced it was sheer luck that he’d been able to collect his piece so quickly); no, he is more concerned with what comes after, should Beqanna smile upon their efforts and fulfill their collective desire.

    Though he believes the reborn lands to be functioning more like herdlands than anything else, he is aware that crowns and royal titles have been bestowed upon the four ruling women. It is not that he has anything against how the hierarchies are constructed in those lands, but it does make him wonder how Tephra’s residents will choose to structure their government. Should they follow suit, he finds himself questioning again how he would fit into a model that he had no experience with.

    Insecurity has never been much of a problem for him, but these days, it seems to hang over him like a persistent rain cloud, threatening to drown him in an ocean of worry and doubt. From the fear of failing to bring back Adriana’s birthplace, to the lingering traces of uncertainty over their relationship in general, to distress that Tephra will rise again but he will not be able to find his niche in its community.

    A grunt of frustration escapes him as he ceases his pacing and looks dejectedly to the horizon, wondering, not for the first time, if any of this will be worth it in the end. Just as he wishes he might have someone to share his thoughts with, someone who might be able to put his mind at ease, he notices movement at the periphery of his sightline.

    He cannot quite tell who else has settled in to cast their attentions across the far-flung expanses, but the ghost-white figure seems familiar, even at a distance. His not-so-subtle need for a willing ear to hear his worries is what drives him to approach without knowing who waits there. When Casimira turns, he finds himself grateful when her smile of recognition unfolds itself.

    “Casimira!” he crows, relief and delight thoroughly coating each syllable of her name; if anyone could quiet his turmoil, surely it would be the former queen. He offers his own polite smile as he says, “Very pleasant indeed. I trust you are getting along well?” He moves accept her invitation, though he is careful to maintain some distance, not only out of respect for Casimira, but also for the fragile newness of his commitment to the young woman that rests nearby.

    He regards the pale mare’s placid expression for a moment, realizing he does not know her well enough to predict how she will respond to his questions. Still, he cannot imagine that she will be quick to dismiss him, so with an optimistic glimmer in his eye, he asks, “Would you mind shining some light on something that’s been bothering me?”

    “I would imagine that everyone would prefer to see Tephra restored to kingdom status when she rises, but I don’t know anything about that kind of life..” His voice cracks slightly as his insecurity suddenly rears up again and dries out his mouth. He hopes that Casimira does not interpret this as an aversion to serving a king or queen, because the truth is that he is worried that he will somehow fail and be forced to leave.

    He unintentionally casts a glance in the direction he had come from, and a rush of emotion causes his throat to constrict further. The idea of either leaving her behind, or worse, asking her to abandon her home to stay with him, consumes him for a lengthy moment. When he eventually finds his voice again, he admits, “I cannot say that I share the love and loyalty that you and the others possess, but I hope to someday, as I care very much for someone that already does. For her sake, I will do anything to secure a promising and safe future for Tephra.”

    He forces his gaze back to Casimira, surprised that he feels no shame or embarrassment at his sentimentality, or in the gentle plea in his voice as he continues, “I suppose I am really just wondering if you have any suggestions on how I might be most helpful to the next leader?”

    All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware

    --Martin Buber

    image by HalwestIV
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    #3

    CASIMIRA

    i’m only whatever you make me

    She has always liked to consider herself to be a good judge of character, and from the first time that she met Assailant, she had liked him. It was not just because he had approached her to ask for help with bringing back Tephra, although that certainly played a role; she would always be inclined to like someone that had her birthland’s best interest in mind. Instead, it is because there is a genuineness about him that is difficult to find. He did not appear to seek the approval of others through intimidation or fear, which was an uncommon trait amongst so many in this place. They were so afraid of being forgotten that they did not seem to care how they were remembered, so long as they were.

    Her smile brightens when he steps alongside of her, grateful for having found someone to pass the time away with. “I’ve been well. Eager to see Tephra again, of course,” she says with a knowing glance. She had little doubt that Assailant would let the quest fail. He did not strike her as the type to give up on things so easily.

    She listens as he asks his questions, nodding and considering before responding. “Kingdom life largely depends on who is leading the kingdom, but for the most part, the goal is only to maintain peace and allow the residents to live their lives.” She knows that is not how they all operate, that some rulers have grander plans, and that living within their borders meant you were expected to contribute either your blood or your brains. For as long as she has been alive, though, Tephra had not been one of those kingdoms. “Tephra has always been made up of mostly families. Magnus and Isle, Leliana and Vulgaris, Nightlock and Wonder, Varick and Sabbath…Savior and I,” she adds the final one with a small smile. “I think the best way to serve Tephra is to continue to protect that aspect of it, so that families may return, or new ones can start.

    She had considered taking up the crown again, though only if it was a necessity. All she truly cared about was seeing to it that Tephra could thrive, and she did not need to be queen in order to do that. And so, purely out of curiosity, she asks him, “have you ever considered leading a kingdom?”



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