Not All That is Lost is Gone[Valentine's Quest] - Printable Version

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Not All That is Lost is Gone[Valentine's Quest] - The Erotes - 02-01-2018

The Erotes

You are among the living and yet the dead are not far from reach.  You just cannot see them or hear them, but every now and again you feel them.  Whether it is within the beating of your own heart or in the scenery around you.  You know, somewhere, they are there.  

They are the dew on the grass.  A shimmer of light within the darkness.  The hum of a song upon the wind.  

They are your strength when you are weak.  A beacon of hope. A smile wrapped within your memories.  

Still they have left this world and with it, left you to live out your days.  They may have departed tragically or perhaps they ran out of sand in their hourglass.  Swept away in a blink of an eye. One moment they are here and the next, gone. They drifted away before you could give a proper goodbye(is there ever one though).  Before you could tell them every secret you held dear, every sin you had yet to confess.  This wears on you.  And maybe you had spoke it then(as they shifted from one form to the next), and you only wished to know if they had heard.  What you wouldn't give to know.  To tell them again, face to face.  To touch their skin.  To embrace them one last time...

Well wish it and it shall be.

-The Erotes are kind, mythical beings of old.  They hold the powers of love and affection, happiness, desire even.  They want nothing more than to see their mortals happy.  So you wish it and they appear.  They come in many forms but with only one purpose.  To reunite you with a single loved one from the other side.  This can be anyone you hold within your heart.  A mother, a child, a brother… a lover.  


Your lost loved one will materialize before you in perfect form.  Just as you remembered them, but they will be flawless, without sickness or injury.  Any defect they carried has been lifted.  You will see they are happy.  You can feel them as well and they can hear every word you speak(not to say they hadn't heard it before).  The conditions are; they cannot speak back, they cannot move and you have limited time.  So make every moment count.-

*You can place your character wherever you want them to be.  Maybe they are walking along a beach, staring into the abyss of a starry night.  Maybe they are lost within their own minds thinking of the past.
*You wish to see again a passed loved one.  It can be another BQ character that has passed, a character from their backstory or make something up.
*Your character comes across a deity of The Erotes.  Describe what they look like briefly.  They grant you your wish.  The loved one appears just as described above.  
*Make every moment count because at the end your loved one returns to dust.  As does the deity, vanishing to leave you to your thoughts.
*From there your character can interpret the interaction however they like.  Do they become at ease from a heavied weight lifted? Do they go mad crazy? Do they attempt to hang onto the past in denial? Do they simply weep? Whatever you want! This will be your epic love story ending.  Whether it be tragic or comforting that is up to you.

*Two entries per player (cannot be same character)
*No word limit
*Obviously the loved one must be dead.  If their death was never stated in character that is fine, but they can't magically be alive tomorrow.  It can be a character you believe is dead.
*There is but only one epic tale of love.  Prize- TBD
*Cannot be edited so post wisely
*The rules are simple but if you manage to break them, there may be a personal message from The Erotes to your character. >:]
*Entries close Feb 14th at 11:59PM cst

Questions, PM The Erotes.  This is the one and ONLY chapter.

RE: Not All That is Lost is Gone[Valentine's Quest] - Sabra - 02-01-2018

She awoke, cold and confused, the edge of the dream slipping away faster than she could catch it. It had been a good dream, she thought. Or maybe a sad one. Shaking out her fiery mane, an ache of loss held her close. It was still dark, in the little grove she had claimed as her own, and her young son twitched in a deep dream at her feet. Staring at his slight form for a moment, she tried desperately once more to feel something, anything, for the child. The frown that creased her forehead so frequently these days remained in place. He was a beautiful child, to be sure, dark and pale at once. His fledged wings curled close to his sides, just as she'd hoped. He was beautiful, and perfect (save for that one dead eye), and she felt nothing for him. Maybe that's why she had yet to bring herself to naming him. He still didn't feel like hers to name. This was not to say the boy was neglected. No, she had no problems caring for him. But the attention she paid him was no different than that she would pay to any child under the care of her kingdom. More out of a sense of duty than love, she brushed her lips against his tiny brow.  She wanted to cry, and she frequently did these days, when she knew she was alone. Gazing across the still grove, observing the sleeping bodies of those who chose to stay here, a sense of chaos filled her heart. Cool, calm, collected. Air rushed in and out of flared nostrils, demanding serenity. Sleep had abandoned her, and anxiety begged her to stretch her limbs. After one final glance around her domain, reassuring herself of their safety, the heart-sore queen stole away.

The dark cloaked her somewhat, although the new shimmer bestowed on her coat was evident even in the faint light of a barely-there crescent moon. It felt good to be moving. It would feel be better to be airborn.  Trance-like, she cast out with her mighty wings, breaking into a sudden gallop as they pumped once, twice, thrice... and left the world behind. She felt heavy, even without the weight of her son bearing her to earth. Beating her wings harder, she fought the sluggishness, soaring a mile above the ground. Beqanna faded into a grey and black map, surrounded by inky waters. Bathed in starlight, she found a missing peace. For an hour or more she glided in the thin air. It was bitterly cold, and the wind cut at her face unforgivingly. It was lovely. Mind wandering, it did not clearly tell her when the shadow started following her. Out of the corner of her eye, it flew near, a darker black against the spangled skies. A terse dance began, her against the faceless flier. She felt no fear. Only a kind of annoyance, that her midnight excursion was being interrupted. Gradually, she noticed that the feinting passes the stranger persisted in making had a purpose. She was being driven slowly but surely downward. She made a split second decision, refusing to play this game any longer. The sails of her wings snapped shut, her body making a graceful arc as she fell from the sky head first. Wind dragged tears from her eyes, screaming in her ears. It would be easy, too easy, to not save herself. To simply keep her wings to her flanks, and find a quick end against the rapidly rising earth. The shadowed figure kept pace as she fell, she thought, still lingering just on the edge of her vision. At the very last moment, her wings unfurled. It hurt, the air filling them, jerking her back violently. Without meaning to, her legs collapsed as they impacted the grassy surface. Soundlessly, the shadow alighted beside her. She rose to her feet again, legs shaking, taking in the one she knew had brought her here. Winged like her, it was a pitch-dark woman who now stood facing her. She was beautiful, eyes full of compassion as she took in the winded mare. Sabra took her in, noticing that her shadow was not just black. An aura hung about her, a golden shine, flecks of rosy light adorning her skin. She wanted to be afraid, but couldn't bring herself to be. The was no malice here, no aggression. Just patient silence. 

"What... what do you want?" The gemstone woman asked, her voice low and quiet. A small smile softened the dark mare's face, kindness in her expression. "I was about to ask you the same question, Sabra. I am here to grant you a wish of sorts. There is a regret in your heart, one I think I can help you with." A hundred questions rose to the front of her mind, replaced by a single face. The heart of her sorrows. The reason she had come here, and made so many bad decisions since. It was always her wish, to see him again. Every day, every hour, though she would have denied it to anyone. Anyone except this beautiful being before her. "I miss him. It's my fault he's dead, and I miss him. I wish I could tell him that." She admitted, voice harsh with unshed tears. The dark mare was silent a moment more, before nodding her head slowly. "Yes, I can see that you do. I can grant you time with him. Just until the sun breaks over the sea, and then all will be as before. Remember that." With a solemn face, the lady stepped back, and a great wind rose up from the stillness. Dust flew in Sabra's face, making her flinch and look away. The wind died as suddenly as it had risen, leaving soft stillness. Sneezing grit from her nose, she lifted her head once more. Her heart stuttered as she realized they had been joined by another. 

"Arik." A disbelieving whisper, and yet there he stood. It was impossible, wonderful. Awful. He was just as she remembered, from his unruly tawny mane, to the lanky grace of his build, right down to the teasing, mocking smile that she knew was solely meant for her. "Oh, Arik! It's really you, isn't it?" She rushed to his side, peppering his face and neck with kisses. She inhaled deeply, drawing in that warm, familiar scent. Like cinnamon and clean sweat, it was entirely him. There was a growing damp place on his shoulder where her tears had soaked in, yet his neck curved over hers still, holding the weeping mare close. They stayed that way for some time and she could feel his own chest rise and fall with silent sobs. Silent. Arik as she'd known him was not naturally silent. She stepped back a moment, realizing this other caveat even before asking it aloud. "You can't talk, can you?" She asked, and his sad little head shake confirmed her wordlessly. She felt like a young girl again, remembering sharply that hellish day two years ago. Her father's face, usually so doting when looking upon his daughter, stormy with a ferocious anger. Arik, prone on the ground, shining eyes gone dim as his life's blood soaked the dust beneath him. She had wept and begged and pleaded with her father, desperate to save him. But it was ineffective. Anything in the world, the old king would have freely given his daughter. Anything except mercy, when he discovered his most trusted guard had "defiled" her. How else could he react, when she had been sworn to an ally of his since she was born? He would not be weak before his enemies. And so he'd had the youth slain, and made Sabra watch. A lesson, he'd said with a hard voice. She knew he was dead, because she had killed him. Dragging herself back to the present, she returned to her lost love's side. It was unbearable, to not touch him while she could. He leaned back into the contact, echoing her need. After a few stuttering breathes, she spoke again. "I'll have to do the speaking then." She commented to herself. All at once, she was afraid. Really afraid, like she hadn't been since leaving her father's land. What could she possibly say, to make this better?

Forming her words carefully, she began. "Arik. I... It's been two years, did you know that?" She asked, reassured as he nodded mutely. "Two years. I left, after... after... I left. Like we were planning to anyway, together. I wish, so much, that we had made it together. You'd love it here. Not so many rules. I'm a queen now. And I... I have a son." Everything was coming out of order, she didn't know what to tell him first. So much had happened. That last bit was struggle though, making her pause to see how he reacted to the news. Her heart broke just a little bit more as he smiled, an ache in his own expression. "I wish he were yours." She whispered, a fresh tear shining as it slipped down her cheek. Arik, sweet Arik, closed the distance between them, kissing the salty moisture from her skin. Letting her know as best as he could that he wasn't angry. Another brief silence fell over her as she gathered her thoughts. With a sigh, she continued. "I've been such an awful bitch since you... since you... died. I just keep fucking up." He scowled at her, looking like he couldn't for the world imagine her acting as she described. She had been sweet then, kind and caring. Some of that was coming back, as she interacting with her kingdom. But that core of regret kept a hardness in her. A sort of rot. Her damp blue eyes fluttered shut as she felt him stroke the length of her neck soothingly. He'd done the same years ago, when she had been upset over far lesser things. 

"Arik. If I come to find you, would you be there?" She spoke in careful rhythm, as if the thought had just occurred to her. In fact, it was something she contemplated regularly. Those games of crashing towards earth, taunting rulers, tempting Death. If it meant she could be with him again... But no. The look he was giving her now was one of a desperate need to be understood. She was not to follow him into the dark. Not before her time. He glanced to her still-thickened torso, the teats hanging flush with milk. His meaning was clear. Her son, little No-Name back home. He needed her yet. And now she was responsible for a whole kingdom of people. She couldn't leave just yet.  She laughed then, surprised that she could. "Arik, what am I supposed to do without you? You've always been the clever one. The brave one. We'd be together if I hadn't held us back." His nose bumped hers, a fierce look in his golden eyes. She wanted to believe it was anger in them, but she knew better. He'd never been able to hold a grudge in life, why should death change that? He forgave her. Or he'd never blamed her to begin with. It was in his face, and his actions. He loved her still. 

"Time's almost up." The dark mare was back from where she'd wandered, had given them privacy. Sure enough, the horizon was tinged with the lightest thread of green. The sun was making his way back, surely as ever. Air caught in her throat, as Sabra spun to face her. "Please, please, I'm begging you. Just a little more time. I'll do anything." Her eyes were a bit wild, betraying the raw emotions the evening had drawn forth. The strange lady only shook her head, a touch of pity on her face. "I told you what this meeting would entail, Sabra. You can't go changing the rules now. It's time to say goodbye." Goodbye. Somehow, she'd never been able to bring herself to that point. The willingness to let go of the past, of him. Her head dropped tiredly. It was time, and she couldn't ignore it anymore. She turned back to the waiting chestnut man. "Thank you for spending this time with me. I wish I could have done better by you. You deserved so much more than what you got. Someone who could have given you a home and a family, a long and happy life. As long as I live, I'll wish things had gone differently." The horizon glowed now, a point brighter than the rest betraying where the sun would soon reveal it's face. In a rush, she finished her hard goodbye. "I will never forget this night, as long as I live. And I will live, because you'd be cross if I came to you early, I just know it." She laughed helplessly as the sun sent it's first rays across the sea. "I will tell my son your story. I love you Arik. Goodbye." She pressed her lips against the warmth of his as daylight flooded the bank they stood on. 

That unnatural wind drove up again, spinning dust and leaves around until she couldn't see or hear. Like a ghost, it vanished once more. It left a lone mare in it's wake. Of the other two who had been her company that night there was no sign. Only her and the knowledge that just maybe, she could live her life well, without guilt. She went home with dawn showing her the way, and kissed her son's head as he slowly woke, not knowing she'd been gone at all. In her lightened heart, she felt the stirrings of new love.

RE: Not All That is Lost is Gone[Valentine's Quest] - takei - 02-04-2018

It starts as it had begun the first time. The wind tosses at his ivory and maroon mane, salted spray tingling on his lips. The rhythm of the ocean sings to him, although the quiet hush of Hyaline had been sweet as he recovered. The mountains with their serene lakes offered him protection in the absence of his sight, but as the sun rose and he finally saw the light of day again, Takei found himself forfeiting the ridges and rivers for his beloved sea.

It is dark again — as it was when the ocean rolled and his grandfather bled from the waves and Beqanna was swept away — but he finds the nighttime soothing. The waves play at his heels, riding onto the shore with foamy curls only to retreat as they touch his fetlocks. Takei tousles with them for a moment, lost in the endless game the ocean plays with the beachfront. It has been a decent amount of time since he’d last visited this exact shoreline, proven by the healed scars on his body and the long, straight horns mounted atop his head.

Takei senses another presence (the soft crunch of sand underfoot and the break in the waves draws his ears’ attention) on the beach and twists to look behind him. There is no one, at least no sight. But there is a sensation — a tingle of a finger down his spine, the feeling of a breath curling against the fine hairs on his ear, the warmth of a body brushing against his shoulder. For a brief moment, the blood and bone stallion wonders if he will get to return home (or what used to be home; that tranquil island in the middle of a foreign sea, caught among the nest of his friends and the swell of affection).

His thoughts twist toward Orion. The ink and paper stallion lived among the thick frond and dry desert of their island and yet nowhere else. Takei had spent blissful days (how many, he still isn’t sure) swaddled alongside the bulk of his lover’s side. They had bantered among the swell of the waves, kissed beneath the gaze of a thousand stars, and whispered sweet nothings in company with the cooing of tropical birds.

With the memories (which pull at the still-tender strings of his heart) comes a sensation of overwhelming empathy. Takei can feel the emotion drag along the slope of his shoulders and across the bridge of his nose as though it were real and physical. Although the beach is outlined by the shine of the moon’s rays — the foam of the ocean’s waves, the granules of the shoreline underfoot, the surge of the dunes, the sway of the beach grass — the blood and bone man still cannot see any sign of life outside the normal nighttime beach critters.

“Do you miss him?” The word is soft and so barely-there that Takei wonders if it is merely a voice he pulled from the whisper of the salty breeze. He shakes his head, putting it off as just a mere wanton thought of desire plucked from the turmoil of his mind. But it comes again, louder this time. “Do you miss him, Takei?”

More than anything… More than the heat of summer during the bitterness of winter, more than the forest-green of his mother’s eyes, more than the taste of emerald grass when he’s starving. “Yes, of course.” He feels ignorant, answering a question that could be, for all he knows, asked by his own hallucinations. But the wind stills suddenly and the prickles of doubt in his chest are shoved aside.

There, lined by the silver glow of the moon, is a figure among the coiling rush of the waves. He comes ashore as though he were birthed from the sea itself, smelling of salt and brine with his ink and paper locks plastered against the thick curvature of his neck. He steps out of the waves embrace and the sand leaves indentations of his hoofprints, which will soon be washed away when the tide rolls in.

The breath that used to be in Takei’s lungs is gone and there is no air to replace it. “Orion.” It is a song, both heartbroken and reviving. He had thought his lover had been lost as their island had melted away like wax, dripping into an endless abyss of darkness until there was nothing. Yet Orion stood before him, looking very much alive with love in his eyes and blood in his vessels. “I thought you were dead…” Let alone the fact that there was a possibility he wasn’t real at all.

Takei lunges toward the black tobiano, red and white lips trailing along the lines of his lover’s body — the plane of his cheek, the angle of his shoulder, the curve of his back, the muscle of his thigh. Orion looks and feels better than before, as though their time away had given him some sort of secret ability to grow firmer muscle and look like a younger version of himself. For a shattering moment, Takei comes to the realization his lover is dead.

“Takei, we do not have much time.” Orion’s voice soothes Takei for a moment, as they stand chest to chest. The blood and bone stallion steps back to observe his lover’s face, cast in the otherworldly shine of both moon and star. “When the tide rolls in, I will have to leave you.” Takei twists to see that the waves loom closer even now, marking down each minute they have together. He knows there is no need to reconcile with Orion — their time had not been spent in anger at all. But he does need closure; he needs to know that this is the end of a bittersweet adventure.

“I don’t know if the island was real or not, but our love was.” Hazel eyes search deep brown ones. They are puzzle pieces fit together beneath a sky carved from stardust and distant planets. All puzzles must fall apart in order to fit together again, someday. Takei wonders if his personal piece will fall against another puzzle, if it will ever make sense again. “You will find another,” Orion’s voice says, as if to answer the unspoken questions dancing between Takei’s mind and mouth.

They are silent for the most part, watching as the ocean threatens their time. They stand embraced — blood and bone, ink and paper — as stars shoot above their heads with all the quickness of their fierce love for one another. They are a fire; quick to burn and slow to put out. But Takei knows it must be done, although the warmth of his lover’s skin against his does little to encourage those bittersweet thoughts.

When they have inched as far up the shoreline as they can and the waves still lick at their heels, Takei knows he must finally say goodbye. It is an unfamiliar but not entirely unappreciated feeling, looking at Orion’s handsome face and knowing he will never see it again. “You will always be my first love, Orion.” His mouth places a lingering, tearful kiss against the other’s forehead. “Thank you.” As the seafoam touches their feet, the ink and paper stallion melts into the sea as quickly as he had come.

The soft hush gently brushes against Takei’s spine. His heart is in shambles, but there is an underlying sensation of finality and security. He knows for sure now — Orion is gone forever, lost to the mystery of the island and the depths of the ocean. And although a generous piece of his heart will belong to the ink and paper behemoth, there is also still a good portion that will be able to devote itself to someone else, somewhere out there.

“Do not worry, Takei.” The wind (the deity, the empathizer, the magicker) whispers against the tenderness of his heartstrings. Takei does not worry. He watches a shooting star flash across the sky, brilliant and blazing but then gone in a second. The sensation of another looming over his shoulder is gone. He is alone on the beach, with the ripples of the sea tugging at his legs and the currents of the breeze rolling over his shoulders.

Surprisingly, he is content.
watch the mind run far away, way ahead of us

RE: Not All That is Lost is Gone[Valentine's Quest] - Lavendel - 02-10-2018

She has not been here in a year, she had not wanted to come here. Memories of her time with the painted mare clawed at her conscious, begging to be relived. Lamb laid awake at night staring at the canopy above her pale body and dreamed of those she had met during her first year alive. The usual places that she went to calm down simply gave the memories time to scream at her instead of poke her sides. The decision to slip away from Sylva was a quick one. She had run here, petal-shaped ears pinned to her neck as she pushed her lungs past the white fire that gripped them. She did not stop running until she reached the cliff by the sea.

The salty air soothed her fatigued muscles as she collapsed into the ryegrass at her feet. Tired eyes find the horizon beyond the cliff, and the girl begins to cry. Why had nature been so cruel? Surely she hadn't been the only one abandoned in the spring... but oh boy did it feel that way. In the field, she had seen equines twice her age strolling comfortably with their families. How come she couldn't have that? How come she had to be alone?

The memories come then, flying full force at her beating heart. Images flash across her mind in quick bursts, her attention completely taken by the hurt.

The word is a whisper that the wind rips into a million pieces. It is laced with a thousand questions she would never have answered. 

"Good question girl."
The voice crawls out of the sea, scarring the ghost out of the splashed child. Lamb whips her head to the sound, pale blue eyes locking with equally as pale green hues. A silver fox sits not far from her, its bodice faced away from the sea, blocking her view of the white-capped waters beneath. 

Before Lamb could consider speaking the fox stands, shaking damp grass from its shining pelt. 

"Do you wish to see her again? The girl I have sent you dreams of?"
It speaks with the voice of her memories, though the sound is tainted with the harsh water of the ocean below. Somehow, despite the edge, the voice is soothing. 

Lamb can only nod, had there been a reason for the dreams? Had the figure that haunted her wished to tell her something?

"Please...Please." She whispers to the fox as it nears her its ears perked in mild interest. It nods and moves to sit beside her, the fluff of its tail resting over her curled forelegs. 

"I grant you only a few moments Lavendel, I can only do so much."
The fox's voice fades as the winds increase. The earth shifts and bits of it rise and mold with flying bits of color.

Standing before her is a filly (as she had once been, small and innocent) the child is jet black, with kind auburn eyes. The girl smiles but makes no move to walk towards an awestruck Lamb.

Lamb does not wait, she stands quickly ignoring the gentle slip of the fox's tail over her legs as she does so. 

"Maria." Lamb speaks, this is her first strong vocalization in days. She had a feeling it may be the last as well. Her heart is constricted with hurt at the sight of her friend. It had been so long... so long...


"Don't stray too far girls!"
Lamb hears her mother call from not far off, her voice carried with an air of warning. The girl beside her breaks into a fit of giggles, Lamb following suit. They laugh for what feels like years before the ebony child reaches forward to gently nip at Lamb's shoulder. 

"Hey! That hurt!"
Lamb smiles returning the nip before jetting into the trees. 

"You're it, Maria!"
She shouts over her shoulder as she runs, laughing gaily. Maria joins in the chase soon after, smiling widely. The girls switch off who's 'it' multiple times before the sun begins to set and they have to begin the trek back towards their mothers. As they walk they speak in breathless voices.

"I so won."
Maria pants, dark ears pinned to her sweat soaked neck. Lamb scoffs jokingly and shakes her head.

The girls bump foreheads in mock play as their mothers come into view. 

"I have been calling you for hours... did you hear nothing I told you?"
Faible growls, snatching Lamb away from an equally as frightened Maria. Judging from the looks of her mother's expression, Maria was in quite the heap of trouble as well.  That night she was sent to sleep early. 
"Wake up Lamb! Wake up!"

It is her mother that is screaming at her, her mother who is pushing her eagerly to her feet. The splashed girl's eyes open quickly at the commotion, hear ears pinned in fear at her mother's tone. Before her mother could explain Lamb heard it, the screaming of Maria and the cries of her mother mixed with the muffled growling of wolves. The quick glance between her mother's hind legs is the last glance she would get of her childhood friend. Maria lay only yards behind Lamb, her dark coat washed a milky red in the moonlight. 

Lamb screams out to her as her mother forces her into the woodlands. She runs despite the want to go help her friend. She runs because her mother makes her... because she is afraid.
It would be years before Lamb would realize why her mother had wanted her to stay close. Wolves were dangerous creatures who cared not what they destroyed. 


Lamb is pulled from her mind when the fox clicks its tongue indicating that her time with Maria was short.

"Can she speak to me?"
Lamb speaks, her eyes locked on the honey hue of her friend's doe eyes. 

"No, nor can she move Lamb, but trust me that she can hear you."
The fox replies sullenly, its voice high pitched and whining. Lamb nods in reply starring off into the horizon behind Maria.

"Im sorry that I ran.... I was afraid. Please understand I was afraid."
Her words are laced with hurt and it pleads for forgiveness. She turns her eyes back to the tired gaze before her. Mixed within the warm hues lays a sorrow that mirrors Lamb's. It is all Lamb needs to see.

"Your time is short Lamb, use it wisely.."
The fox warns from behind the two. A tear rolls down the ivory planes of her face as she reaches forward to brush her muzzle against Maria's poll. She lingers there for a moment, allowing the tears to stain the soft fur of Maria's face. 

"I was afraid."
When she pulls away Maria is gone. 

As she turns to whisper her thanks to the fox she finds that once more she is alone, accompanied only by the hurt of her past. Though the weight of her life had not subsided it had become easier to carry. Perhaps seeing her friend as she had met her (unscathed by the cruelness done to her) had been the medicine she needed. For now, the memory of the splashed girls first friend moved to the back of her mind, made room for the days to come. 

"Thank you."
Distantly she hears the ebony angel's voice cooing softly in her mind repeating a mantra that lulled Lamb's mind as she turned to head back to Sylva.
'For there is no need'

RE: Not All That is Lost is Gone[Valentine's Quest] - Starlin - 02-11-2018

The day begins like any other. Stalin greets the rising sun with a line of sweat already streaking down her young face. The rapid thud of her heartbeat echoes in her ears, and when she finally slows to a stop in the grey sand she can feel it pulsing through her narrow legs.

Exercise makes a body strong. Stalin wants to be strong. The strongest.

Her routine is as set as the granite of her homeland, and she knows these cliffs as well as she knows the length of her own dun nose. That is how she knows something is wrong, because there is something along the shore that does not belong.

It shimmers, casting a soft light onto the sand that is already beginning to brighten with the dawn. This is not sunlight, Starlin knows. It is something else, something other. The dun mare goes closer (she is her mother’s daughter in so many ways), and finds that the light grows smaller the closer she gets.

No, smaller isn’t the right word. It becomes denser, more compact.

By the time she reaches it, the light is in the form of a equine, but it is so very bright that Starlin cannot look directly at it. as she has drawn closer, the constant crash of the waves on th shore have become quieter too, so that even as she feels the surf slide and retreat against her hooves it does not make a sound.

She wonders for the space between heartbeats, if perhaps this is the ghost of Nerine’s cave-dweller, of the protector of Sylva, of the father of kelpies. But course it isn’t, her rational mind says, but oh by all the gods does she wish that it were.

In the blink of an eye, it is.

Nine words.

That’s it, that’s all he’d ever given her.

Nine words and her very existence.

Her father looks exactly like she remembers him. Tall, strong, with eyes as stormy grey as her own. Or, at least he looks like she thinks she remembers him. The details are blurry still, even with him standing directly in front of. For a moment he has a sloping profile like Lochwood’s and the next he is as roman-nosed as a grecian statue. This does not disturb Starlin; it only adds to the dream-like sense of this entire experience.

Stillwater says nothing. His lips do not move, the firm line of his mouth never falters. He turns his head a bit, but that might just be to get the rising sun out of his eyes.

”Hi Daddy,” Starlin says, and while she’s surprised at the childish source of her voice, she is not embaressed.

The dark figure turns back toward her, and his head tilts as though he is not quite sure she has spoken.

”It’s me, Starlin.” As soon as she says it, she wonders if he even knows who she is. They’d met that single time and he’d known her immediately, the same way she’d known him. And while Starlin is no longer a gawky child, she is unmistakable. A darker mirror of her mother, free of the golden bangles, with sea-salt crusted permanently in her dark mane. Of course he knows her.

”You left us.” There’s no accusation in the words, no blame. She does not know what life with a father would have been like, ands has never been anything less than happy even without one.

”Mother cried.” Short snippets of voice, none of them having any more effect on the dark figure than the last. At that one, he does react, a shifting of weight, a tensing of muscle that her warrior’s eyes recognize. But that is all.

”I wanted…I wanted to ask...” She struggles to find the words. How can she say it? The dun mare takes in a breath to exhale with the words and then…

He’s gone.

The sound of waves replaces the ghostly image of her father, and Starlin lets out a long sigh.

There aren’t simple words for the way she feels: disappointed yet unsurprised. Underwhelmed and simultaneously frustrated. Another sigh, a shake of her head at the folly of magics she has never understood - will never understand - and the piebald turns to trot down the beach, her morning exercises delayed but not forgotten.

RE: Not All That is Lost is Gone[Valentine's Quest] - Kylin - 02-13-2018

html code by Toli, design idea based on "Dovev" by Laura

There is my mind, there is my heart.
”Don’t wait for me.”

He had told her to not wait for him. It were the last words the human – she just knows the two legged things are called humans, but how the knowledge had come to her, she doesn’t – version of Kharon had whispered to her. If anything, seeing her brother, or an image of him, had only made her grief more. Kylin now knows that he isn’t coming back to her.

Ever since, she has been a wreck. Endless streams of tears plagued her, never allowing her to momentarily forget him. It almost was as if she had been cursed by one or another, and thus Kharon haunts her thoughts day and night. He is the only thing on her mind, even pushing thoughts of basic needs out of her thoughts. Her coat is dull, dirty too, and her mane and tail all tangled and knotted up. Most prominent of all is the loss of weight, with her ribs now slightly showing. And it wasn’t due to lack of food; Ischia offered plenty.

Her dull gaze stares ahead into the nothingness of the sea. Somewhere after she’d magically been spit back into Beqanna she had wandered across the sea to one of the smaller isles, in search of some privacy. One might say it is a good thing she ended up back in Ischia, but in reality, it wouldn’t have mattered to Kylin. Kharon isn’t here, and right now her twin brother is the only thing that matters. She doesn’t notice the soft breeze, or the salty scent it carries with it. In front of her the waves roll onto the beach, but the spot she’d settled was sun warmed and was safe from the water except for the stormiest high tides. It’s a comfortable spot to lie down and sunbathe, but Kylin doesn’t have attention for it.

”I’m not coming back.”

She would swear that she heard him say it, and that it is not her mind playing a cruel game with her. Kylin does not attempt to fight her tears, and sobs get pulled from her lips. It doesn’t matter that her throat is sore and her eyes irritated and dry, the lavender and white girl simply cannot stop the endless crying. The tears simply keep welling up in her eyes, and it isn’t the first time that his name spills from her lips between the hiccups.

Over and over Kylin repeats his name, and the soft whisper becomes a chanting in its own way. With her hazel eyes clouded by tears she first doesn’t notice the mysterious mist. It shouldn’t be here, the wind should’ve blown it away, and yet, it is. And in the very center a silhouette.

The Goddess is beautiful in her plain way. Pale coat and golden blonde mane and tail, a clear contrast with the dark of her eyes. Slowly she treats forward and at her side appears a child. She is Epona, the Goddess of fertility, the Goddess of horses. And she has heard and acknowledged Kylin’s heartbreak.

For a moment their gazes simply link, the sight offers Kylin the distraction she so desperately needs. Then slowly the Goddess’ lips curl up, though the happiness doesn’t chase away the sad look in her eyes. ”Here, child, come and say your goodbyes.” That’s all explanation she offers Kylin, before she steps back in the mist to overlook the short reunion between siblings. Once so close, and now they couldn’t have been further apart.

Out of the corner of her hazel eyes she notices movement. Mist partially clouds her view, but nevertheless she witnesses how slowly but surely another form materializes. Even before the mist is blown away by the breeze, she recognizes him. ”Kharon.” His name comes from her lip as a whisper, the muscles of her throat tightening as more tears and sobs break free. ”Kharon!”

Kylin doesn’t know how fast to move, no moment of hesitation on her mind. First here forelegs push her half way up from the ground, then her hind rises too. Her lips curl up and her eyes sparkle with both tears and happiness. Kharon is back! Or isn’t he? ”Kharon?!” she exclaims again, just as loud as the previous time, but with clear confusion in her voice now. She’s questioning him, questioning the lack of response, and once again she doesn’t get one. Like she’s invisible to him.

”Kharon, please” she whispers, tears rolling down her cheeks as she takes a couple of steps towards where he stands on the beach. The breeze makes his lavender mane and tail gently sway, and his sides move with each breath. Then, finally, Kharon moves his head and looks in her way. ”Oh please, please take me with you. Kharon, don’t leave me alone. I don’t want to be alone.” Right then and there Kylin knows she means it. Life has brought her nothing but grief, everything and everybody had left her behind. Both their parents, their sister, even uncle Reilly and Badden. Kharon had been one of the first to disappear, but now her only friend had also left her. It wouldn’t be hard for her to give it up, in favour of being with him.

But, again, Kharon doesn’t response. He is looking at her, and yet, at the same time, it is as if he stares right through her. Couldn’t he see her? Though she saw nothing that indicated him being blind. In fact, Kharon had never looked better. Looked so much better than her, and the realisation hits Kylin hard in the face; she’s unworthy of him. ”Kharon please, please, I won’t be a bother, I’ll just quietly-“

It is almost if her voice echoes between them, but in fact it just dies in the silence. Together with her words, Kharon crumbles to dust. ”No, no, no! Don’t leave me!” she cries loudly, her voice shrill and hoarse. He doesn’t listen, had he heard a word of what she’d said? Even if he had, it doesn’t stop him from disappearing. To the right, Epona – and her child – crumble to dust too, leaving Kylin behind in a state of mind that was even worse than before they had come to visit her.

”Your place is not with him, child. Say your goodbyes, your life is still ahead of you.”

Heartbroken she does, her voice but a whisper from her lips. ”Goodbye, Kharon.” I love you.

RE: Not All That is Lost is Gone[Valentine's Quest] - Hestia - 02-13-2018

Heavy lays the crown; it always has, always will doubly so for those that bear it alone. Most who accept it don’t know exactly what it entails. They believe they can change things instantly. When the strain comes, and oh it will come, they shatter under the weight; broken from trying to force change that doesn’t want to happen. Was that what Fennick had felt? Had he felt a failure as a king, father, lover? Is that why he disappeared from Beqanna with their children?

As dreadful as her life has been, she knows she wouldn’t change a thing. Not for anything, those few years of bliss made an eternity of misery and solitude worth it. No one is around, for the first time since accepting the burden she is alone; the queen can breathe, maybe even think. Walter reminded her of what it feels like to have the support, the bond, of another; the feeling scratches, gnawing away at her until she must consider thoughts she had long before locked away, sealed and the key thrown out. Even if it was just make-believe, for one night she felt… normal. Such an odd word, when has she ever been completely normal? Fennick, you idiot! venom seeps through the words puncturing her little mind drift. Yes, dear Fennick made her feel as normal as normal goes for a drifter’s soul. Hestia can’t help but wonder how it is that she came to be here without love, without family, utterly alone in a world she doesn’t know. It matters not, she can’t take another, not when there is a possibility that he is still out there. Immortality, what a curse it is. Many drift in and out of her life, some faintly remembered in a blur of time. In a blink of an eye they are all gone, leaving her with nothing. She blinks away the sting by looking to the sea for any form of consolation. I wish you were here with me Fennick, the whispered words are carried far from her taking her request across the ocean. When they are lost to her ears something begins glimmering in the distance, steadily coming closer dipping in and out of the waves. Silver reflect against the moonlight with each dip.

It comes, more elegant in its aura than any creature has a right to be. Silvery fish eyes pierce through the black mare’s heart seeking the wish she spoke.  The woman stands before Hestia with water running off her body almost as if it comes out of her. The white iridescent membranes clinging to her skin sprouting from her shoulders, elbows, fingers toes, and ears. Coral wraps around her head in a crown formation, and the gills slash across either side of the creature’s neck. Maybe she looks beautiful in her own kingdom under the water, but here on land, she looks abhorrent and unnatural in the worst ways. Her hair is filmy white, with the ribbing of fins lying against her spine. She parts her mouth revealing two sets of teeth, with prominent fangs. I will allow you to speak to your deceased loved one until the tide takes him from you once more. The mares heart jolts, who could this thing be referring to. Then she sees HIM rising out of the waves, magnificent as ever with his mane hanging lush and fetlocks feathering around his hooves. Terrifying and beautiful, his wings spread from his shoulders large and filled with the strength of a king. She licks her lips unable to breath. He stands there before her in all his glory consuming her body and soul just as he had the first time she had seen him.

She feels so small and delicate when near him, but he always, always knew what to say to make her relax. Her gentle giant; always so terrible and menacing until he opened his mouth. Hesitantly, afraid he’ll disappear, she takes a step closer to him. Fennick, its barely audible. The tears come unbidden spilling into the ocean as she takes one step after another; bringing herself closer to the lover who stole her very being and her immortality along with it. What happened?, she lets out her breathe when she is standing next to him pressing herself against him, taking in his earthy scent. A mix of pine, and Valley, and… home. Yes he is… was her home. What need is there for words when all they need is one another? He is her anchor, it’s him and him alone that could make her settle into one place; taking her mind from the politics, wars, and affairs of the world. With him she was content in letting others do the work. Can you speak? He shakes his head as her lips traverse the map of his body as it had years ago when she learned what it meant to truly be a female. Two hearts melding for the first time, hesitant in the face of the unknown. Creating new life and understanding what it means to become one. First for her, first for him, nervous and shy it was a quiet night beautiful in its purity.

FennickHestiaI don’t knshhh my love
Warmth shudders up her spine as he discovers places she hadn’t even considered possible. The heat building, and building until electricity sends her into a world she could never have comprehended before.

She takes a moment breathing him in, feeling his wings cocoon her, keeping her safe from the world outside of theirs, the memory taking her back to times when things were simple. For this one moment she is back in the Valley without a care in the world, their children… Its this thought that has her pulling away from him. Were you murdered? she doesn’t want to ask, doesn’t want to know. But she must, their children, what if they are dead too. He shakes his head looking to the waves in shame. Suspicion spikes, are they alive? there is no need to name who, there is no one else she could be asking about. His nod sends a flood of relief through her. The children are alive, Kryten, Iona, they are out there… somewhere. Something isn’t right though, he is not looking at her. His guilt is so apparent… how could he know the children are alive… unless… You left them?! He doesn’t indicate anything, refusing to look at her, no nod, no words, no violent shake of his great head. It speaks louder than if he had done anything, icy revulsion seeps through her body. Shattering her soul, out of all the things she had imagined, this, was the one she refused to believe. He abandoned their children, he was not murdered, he left of his own volition. Her lover, her better half; betrayed, she takes steps away from him. Backing out of the waves leaving him unable to chase after her. He looks to her now, desperate for their moments together, his wings drifting off her body even as he tries to keep the touch lingering as long as she is close enough. The connection they shared is severed in the moment of loathing. His eyes, those eyes she lost herself in so many times before. They beg her to come back to him, and she almost does, but her lower lip begins to quiver, the pain written on her face. Divided between her love for him, and her love for her children. You left them… how could you?! They were just babies. The words are whispered, broken, and creating a gap between them that grows larger with each syllable she says.

The silence is deadly, she thought she had been without a soul. Hated, and despised herself for years over travesties she had committed. She had blamed herself for leaving their kingdom and family vulnerable. Thought how many times that if she had only stayed in the kingdom that day. How many times had she doubted herself, second guessed every decision she had ever made. He had given her hope that she could be better. Yet the most tragic horror in her life was not committed by herself; instead the one she had given her immortality for. After years spent searching, she had started to blame Fennick a little as well as herself after all he was king. If he had just waited… the seed had been planted, and as each year passed without word, Hestia found herself nurturing that bitter seed. Now it blooms transforming into vines that strangle her soul, its thorns re-opening the scabs that he had healed, quelling any desire she had for a fairytale reunion. No, a fairytale ending would be impossible, if she could ever admit it, then she would know that it had never been possible to begin with. Each moment that he refuses to look at her has the vines winding its way around her heart tighter, choking out all the good he had done in her life. She remembers what it was like before he had come into her life. Power, respect, strength, sisterhood, wisdom and eternity to keep the Amazons on the right path… you are the reason the Amazon’s despise men! Even quiet, the words hold all the malice she had ever held back out of her conviction that diplomacy, words, hope could win in the end. Innocently she had thought him to be different. Thought him worthy, determined to show the warrior women that love could be a beautiful thing. That men could be more than just a means for progeny. Now, the scales fall from her eyes, and she sees. She understands the core of every Amazonian queen that ever existed.

Most had thought her different from other Amazonian women; she had been balanced; with the mindset of true equality; hoping to bridge the gap between genders. Now she watches as her love burns to ash before her eyes. People wonder how villains are created? This, right here, right now; this is the birthplace of darkness. What had been a joyful reunion of purity and bliss a moment ago; becomes something much different. Much more sinister; Hestia’s jaw sets, her head elevates itself. No more would she be considered ‘kept’. What words to say? They never needed words before, why should they now? He can’t look at her, and she can’t bring back the warm spark that once burned so bright for him. Are there any words that can do anything after something like this? While a memory of the warmth still glimmers, she says the words that had been burning in her mind since she had died Thank you. He’d shown her more of the world in those few years, than she had learned in an eternity on her own.

How ironic; her death made her realize her love for him, and his death made her realize how perverse a joke that love really was. He gave her love, he took her love. They found happiness, and at least she still finds herself capable of gratitude of that. Green eyes glare daggers at the broken beast trapped by the waves of Nerine.  Shackled to the sandy floor, he has no power over her, other than what she gives him. Now she knows that, where previously she felt small and delicate. Now she feels a strength taking its place. No longer is she his little consort, she is her own queen. The sea nymph, in all its terrible glory comes back standing there waiting for the last moments of the gift to pass. The smallest part of her still wants to run to him, cry, kiss, and dive under the waves to disappear from this place and forget the heart break. The little girl full of hope still clings to the remnants of what had been. Hestia knows better than to snuff that child out, but she does tuck it away, safe in some dark corner where it can not get in the way.

Images of her children, growing up without loving parents, lost in this world, keep her rooted in her resolve. I loved you Fennick, but you left my children defenseless… the male that did that, that male is not the Fennick I loved. I don't know who you are, but you are not my Fennick. She would find her children, they are not dead. There is still hope for them. She looks to Fennick, the waves just moments away from taking him from her forever. Thank you, at least now I know, she states to the nymph, goddess, whatever it is. It slowly nods its head acknowledging her words. Maybe a small piece of her words is directed to Fennick as well, she can let go of him now. No more need to worry or heap on the guilt. No more need to shy away from finding companionship, power, or responsibility. He gave her the love she never understood, children she never thought she wanted, and the brokenness to comprehend the need for the Amazonian kingdom. Their love, while it had been true, pure and beautiful found its end. It played the role it was meant to, and as always Beqanna gives, and Beqanna takes. Always knowing exactly what it is that will make them into something more. The water pulls back in the tide; while he came glorious and proud he leaves her disintegrating into sea foam that leaves with the tide. She doesn’t say anything, she spills no more tears, she just looks to where the remnants of the stallion’s sea foam linger with a quiet smile on her face. I’ll find you my children, I swear it.

RE: Not All That is Lost is Gone[Valentine's Quest] - Heartfire - 02-14-2018

It has been ages since she has thought so far back. Since memories of a time both distant and nearly forgotten have assailed her. She does not know what has brought them back now, what has reminded of a love lost and long gone. Her heart might ache occasionally (both for a more recent loss and for one lost to the dusts of time), but it is easy to ignore. She has never allowed her heart to hold sway over her head.

But today, those memories refuse to be dampened. For a moment, she is tempted to bring a vision of him forth. But it would serve no purpose. She might wish to see him once more, to see a face both familiar and foreign, but she does not wish the heartache it would invariably bring.

All these years, and it still has the power to hurt. She had been a child then, youthful and impressionable and foolishly in love. But she had spent a lifetime with him, grown old and gray before being ripped away, placed back into a life she had not asked for. It is an experience that had taught her well. She had learned that, in the end, love will never serve you as well as your own mind and will.

Still, it does not stop her from wishing to see his face just once more.

For a moment, there is only the sound of waves crashing against the cliff at her feet, the feel of the wind riffling her dark mane and gently caressing her mottled skin. Between one crash and the next, a being materializes before her. For a moment, the blue and white mare simply stares at the creature, the dusky, almost immaterial skin, the faintly glowing golden glimmer, eyes as kind as they are unreadable, and broad, outstretched wings that block out the star-sprinkled night sky. Inhaling, she can detect the faintest trace of lilacs before the being melts away, leaving behind a figure as familiar as it is achingly beautiful.

Heartfire stares, unable to draw her gaze from the man before her. The golden-brown hair, the fine features etched with the lines of a life well lived, the faint curve of familiar lips, the love and happiness shining from his amber eyes are just the same as she had remembered. Releasing a breath she hadn’t realized she was holding, she takes a step forward before halting abruptly. He would never recognize her like this. She is not the girl he remembers. She is most definitely not the same woman. Pain and anger had carved away all the softness and laughter. She had become hard, unforgiving. Almost cruel, in a way. Even if he could see past the unfamiliar form, he would never recognize the soul that lay beneath.

An apology dies on her lips as she continues staring at him, haunted by that soulful gaze. She couldn’t apologize for her life, for continuing after he was gone. She wouldn’t apologize for who she had become. The regret that had stirred only a moment before dies within her breast as understanding washes through her.

He had been her past, but he is not her future. Her mind had realized this long ago, but only now can her heart truly accept.

“I loved you, once,” she whispers to his kind, smiling face. He doesn’t respond, but she hadn’t expected him to. Another heartbeat later, he begins to fade into the ether as she watches. Finally, barely audibly, she murmurs, “Goodbye.”

For a long time afterwards, she simply stares into the empty space where he had been, feeling her heart crumbling inside her chest. It is because of him that she had believed in love. Because of him, hope had always remained inside her breast. Now there is simply nothing. Only knowledge. Knowledge and understanding and a welling determination.

He had released her, freed her from a prison she hadn’t even known she had placed herself in. And as the pieces of her soul knit back together, she knows her own limitations have altered, shifted. Her life could begin once more, truly.

I see your sins


and I want to set them free.

For reference:

RE: Not All That is Lost is Gone[Valentine's Quest] - Kagerus - 02-14-2018

Out with the golden we sew, and the lower past that crawls.
Now, to the doorway you run, to the girl that's not lost.
I have been dreaming of her; of the auburn queen, marked by the leopard: a peaceful leader among countless warriors. Kagerou, grandmother, a name with no face, a concept with no reality. My subconscious is delirious in its need for her, to see her, to imagine her as she rightly existed, guided only by the snippets of information offered to me by Kavi as a child. For it is after her image that I shape myself, she is my model: in every way I aspire to be her equal, her legacy, her continuation. Rightly so, considering that I am her namesake.

It is more than subconscious, I know.

The mountains of Hyaline are sound beneath my hooves, and I am cloaked in their thin, dissipating air. It is early morning, or perhaps late night - but the fog, thick and insistent here, is illuminated by the glow of the not-so-far-off moon. Like white shadows the clouds surround me, rendering me ethereal: there, and not.

Kagerou... How I wish to have known you. My heart's wish.

"She knows, child." A voice, motherly, a sound I never knew as a child and which to my ears still sounds foreign. My legs stop their thoughtless wandering and my eyes, the same tone of nutmeg as hers, flash about in search of the speaker. "And she wishes the same."

Parting the fog, a small creature emerges. She - for that must be the gender of something with a voice as motherly as hers - is human, a figure I know from previous dreams, previous magical wanderings - my mind's eye goes to the prince, his kingdom, how we danced. But Francis holds no place in my heart now, and I cast him aside. This woman commands my attention now: she knows of Kagerou: there are answers to be had.

I step forward, nostrils flaring, keen and eager and wanting. How she knows my tongue, I cannot say; but her words are kind, affectionate. My trust is hers and hers alone.

"I was named after her." It is not a question; it's barely a statement. A thought, materialized. When I step closer yet again, the fairy (for that must be her true nature; bones too delicate, eyes too wide) reaches and places the palm of her cool, pale hand on the flat of my mottled forehead. I close my eyes. Breathe in her scent. There is magic here, but it is not my own: I am not dreaming, or at least, I am not in control of this dream. And for once, the powerlessness does not scare me. The fairy will protect me.

"Open your eyes, Kagerus. It's not me you wished to know."

The weight of her hand departs. Its absence leaves me chilled, nervous; but I do as she instructs. Eyes, opened. To see as they will: to partake of the gift given unto me.


Her name is barely a whisper on my tongue, a sound more like the wind than spoken word. She is before me now, cloaked in the fog, hooves planted firmly on the mountain - as real to me as I am to myself.

I feel my breath escape with no intention of returning.

A step forward, nearer, longing. Father did her no justice with his descriptions. He did not speak of the way her cheekbones curve to meet her loving, warm nutmeg eyes, nor of the way her leopard tattoos seem to come to life with each inhale, with each expansion of her deep set Arabian ribs. He missed the infinitely important details of how her ebony mane sweeps down the muscled sinews of her neck, or the way her spine is straight, elegant, regal. I am caught, trapped, ensnared by her presence: it radiates calmness, peace, a sense of security so profound that my every trepidation melts away. 

I smile; cry; the emotions are mixing, but yes, I am happy. Too great a sensation to adequately explain.

I step forward, draw her to me. In these moments I know we need no words; her neck around mine, warm and pulsing with a life, a passion, immeasurable. We are the same hue. The same height. The same eyes. The same name. The same - and although I do not know it, I too will die for having had a child, like her; though I will die at my first, not my fourth.

But I do not know of these sad things yet. There is only the fog, the fairy, and the fervent need to memorize each other before time runs out. For surely, it will. Surely, she will not grace the curve of my body for long; Kagerou, grandmother, her presence here will soon vanish. I sense it in my bones. Bones so, so like hers.

I draw away, intending to speak, and her voiceless mouth catches the underside of my right eye. I am confused for a moment, but then smile through the tears, eyes fixated on her tattoos. "Yes, those, I've always had them." The three leopard spots below my right eye shimmer and dance in the presence of their origin, rejoicing, remembering. "I am yours, built in your image; I want to make you proud." She nods; tears are gracing her own high-set cheekbones.

She doesn't have to say it, for me to know it. I am proud of you. And I love you.

"I love you, grandma, and I think of you every day." The fairy is by my side again, one cool hand on my shoulder, the other on Kagerou's. "Time, Kag. I'm sorry." She speaks to both of us, to both Kags, and we both nod, our movements in sync as well as our hearts. Our gazes meet for one more moment, and it is enough: as their figures dissolve into the fog, moist and particular, an understanding passes between grandmother and granddaughter.

An understanding of each other, to the core of our beings.

And as the fog drifts around me, I sense her spirit in every watery mote: and not for the first time, I am struck by the realization that, no matter what, she is with me. She has always been with me. Will always be with me.

My journey back down the mountain is contented, peaceful, reverent of her: for now, in my dreams, I will see her as she truly was in her prime. I will see her... Again, and again, and again.

I smile.
sweet nothing

To be clear: "I am proud of you. And I love you." Is Kagerus's thoughts, she's imagining that that's what Kagerou said based off of the look they exchanged. There was no communication Smile

RE: Not All That is Lost is Gone[Valentine's Quest] - Scorch - 02-14-2018


She is in their thicket when it happens.

Theirs, though it can't possibly be so; the lands were upturned, destroyed, remade. The small clearing in the dense Jungle underbrush where Scorch raised each of her children is no longer - and yet, as she stands, eyes closed and breath even, an unmistakable scent washes over her. She smiles; an ugly sight, but he would not think so.

"Hey, baby," she says to the scent, though to her knowledge, only the wind can hear her useless musings. "I wish you were really here."

"He is."

Her massive frame jolts at the hard-spoken words, masculine and powerful. A tangible spear of light is aimed at the creature's exposed jugular, shadows curling around his ankles to chain him to the spot; but the man waves his hand impatiently and brushes her magic aside as if it is powerless.

And indeed, in his wake, it is.

Scorch's molten eyes take in the sight of the creature with more than a slight skepticism: he is the same breed as the Trickster Loki from her youth, the one who commanded her to fight the dragon, and who left her screaming and burning, but also magically sighted. But when she steps forward, ears flattened to her hairless skull, she can see that the deity is not Loki. Still, she bares her teeth.

"Leave me be," she snarls. Ever the impulsive brat; for a moment, she swears that someone behind her chuckles. "I don't have any hair left for you to steal from me."

The man is smiling now, shaking his head. "Scorch, look behind you before I lose my patience." When the mare only squints her eyes at him, he gestures largely with his arms, waving her away. "Go on! You've been working hard for your keep here in reality. Consider this a reward."

At those strange and somehow intrusive words, Scorch sends the ugly two-legged a final glare before slowly wheeling around.

"Hestoni!" His name is the first thing on her mind in the morning, and the last word on her lips at night as she prays. His image is beside her at every moment, his every thought present in her mind: but until now, he has remained physically separate. Until now, she has lived every day of her second life without knowing his touch. His embrace. His love.

She rams into him with nary a thought, much as she had in life, as well as in death: they had spent many years together on the beach, but life had had different plans for the fiery woman. His warm chestnut-red fur mingles with her scars, his lips are pressing at every square inch of skin they can reach, his breath hot, heavy, beautiful upon her. And in return, she too kisses, devotes, worships him: the warrior queen rendered a silly, love-sick girl at his presence.

"Oh Toni, baby, husband, I love you so much." There are tears in her eyes - gods, will she ever learn not to wear her emotions on her sleeves? - and a euphoric grin on her mutilated lips. He is nodding frantically at her words, clearly unable to speak, but the motion is enough: he is enough: enough.

The mare pulls away, kissing as she goes, until they are nose to nose: still touching, but far enough that she can gauge his reactions to her next words. "I adopted another daughter, Philomena." Hestoni nods, smiles, joy overriding his titanic features. "You would love her, you were always a sucker for the girls." Her tone is playful, but at the last her face screws up, an attempt not to cry: a failure. But he understands; and he smiles; and he is crying too.

"I'm sorry I left you behind." He is shaking his head now, reaching for her though his hooves cannot move, pulling her quaking form to his chest as he always had when she got like this. Just a girl, marred by fire, by insecurities, by the need for reassurance, touch, and love. Just a girl who loved him madly, and who loves him madly, and who fully intends to rejoin him again someday; and forevermore afterwards.

"I know, I know, you understand. And I love you for it." She pulls him tighter, attempts to memorize his figure's every feature, though she had never forgotten in the first place. "But just remember that I'm your girl, always your girl and no one else's. And no matter what, I will find my way back to you - or, if that fails, I will find a way to bring you back to me." Her laughter is a gurgle of sobs, but he laughs too. A hearty sound. Full, deep, as broad as his powerful ribs.

Silence overtakes them, then. The minutes stretch on as the lovers fall asleep in their well-worn embrace, the grooves of each other rejoicing at having found that which marked them so deeply, so profoundly. An immovable sense of peace serenades them to sleep, to a restfulness so complete that neither will wake up sad.

He is her rock.
She is his fire.
Together, they are in love: and that. That is enough.

Her eyes flutter open as a hand brushes her shoulders. The man, smiling more kindly than she remembers, eyes puffy with tears, stands. Wordless, but with too much meaning.

"Thank you," the mare murmurs. "Thank you."

Closing her eyes, she nestles into Hestoni one last time.
"Ti amo mio titano."

When she wakes up hours later, Scorch is alone, but not in the same way as before. Deep inside of her chest, something has been restored: a piece of her heart refurbished and renewed. The final part of her soul returned from the world of the dead.

"Hey, baby," she says to the wind.

The leaves rustle in the trees above their thicket.


Once Khaleesi of the Amazon Jungle