[open] you should find another guiding light - Printable Version

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you should find another guiding light - Adriana - 11-15-2022

i never wanted saving, i just wanted to be found --
She knew that for many the flooding of Beqanna had been catastrophic. Her own family, once residents of Tephra, had been displaced by the rising waters, but only because her father refused to live where her mother could not. Varick should have been thriving under these new circumstances—a majority of their homeland now fit for a kelpie, and a majority of their family capable of living in such conditions. But Sabbath was less apt for a life underwater, and so the entire family had been ushered towards the lands that remained above sea level.

It did not take long for Adriana to grow bored of the grass and the trees, especially when rumors began to circulate that yet another unknown kingdom had been revealed, this one alleged to have a tense history with Baltia. 

Despite her curiosity, she had never ventured to either kingdom. As much as she did not want to listen, she could not forget the warnings her parents repeated seemingly endlessly—to not get herself mixed up in the war of two unfamiliar lands, that the dangers they posed were not fully known, and that going to either one of them was entirely too risky.

Glancing back over her shoulder where she knew her parents would be if she could only see them through all the trees she had picked her way through, she releases a soft sigh. That stubborn, reckless streak of hers whispers to her in the back of her mind, lures her to the water’s edge, and it is there that she stands. It is an unnatural shoreline, and in the distance she can just make out the landbridge that had once connected the forest to Tephra—the landbridge that had, before that, been Loess. The thought stirs a knot of unease in the pit of her stomach when she looks back at the forest, and wonders if someday there will be a time that she stands on another flooded shoreline and thinks to herself, and there used to be the forest, and then beyond that the landbridge that used to be Loess that led to what used to be Tephra.

She wonders if Beqanna will just keep flooding until it is gone entirely.

She steps into the frigid water, only up to her knees, and lets the sharp pain of the cold chase those thoughts away, as if by somehow erasing it all from her mind she can keep the future from becoming the present.

this was meant to be short but instead i rambled

RE: you should find another guiding light - assailant - 11-26-2022

i have been bewitched by the sweet song of darkness and the wine of solitude..

PHOTOS BY BisBiswas, MD-Arts

It seems that the two antagonistic countries of Baltia and Stratos are not the only changes to rise from the ‘natural’ catastrophes as of late.

Where, exactly he is, even he is not sure. Though the benefits of his immortality are such that even inadvertent entombment (during yet another previous reshaping of Beqanna’s lands) couldn’t rob him of life, there is no omniscience to go with his life everlasting. Thus, he lays far beneath the crust with no knowledge of time’s passage, let alone the goings-on of his home. Occasionally, additional rumblings cause subsequent shifts in his location, driving him further from Beqanna each time. He begins to wonder if he will ever escape his earthen prison.

Eventually, something cleaves an opening in his resting place (though looking back, he would never know what, how, or why). Though the earth refuses to fully surrender her grip on him, it’s just enough for him to work with. It begins with the smallest of movements in his limbs, which results in gradual displacements of the soil. This time, instead of sinking him deeper into the quagmire, subsequent earthquakes aid his bid for freedom. Until they don’t.

The most recent rending of Beqanna’s gravelly garments wholly breaks open the fissure and he immediately feels relief. The relief is short-lived though, as water begins to rush into the newfound depths. “Well, fuck,” he thinks. His lament is not wholly founded this time; for yes, while the deepening of his now-aquatic trench poses a formidable obstacle, it ends up being the last major player in this series of unfortunate events.

So, he swims for an achingly long time. Long enough for the inches of dust to turn to mud within his lungs. Long enough for the water he slowly rises through to then replace the mud. Were he not so numbed (both mentally and physically), he might wonder how he could manage to continue breathing under such circumstances. At times, he longs to have inherited the magic of his father, which surely would expedite this torturous ride. Alas, no wishes are to be granted along the way.

Though there is no risk of his dying, fatigue still seeps through his body at ever-shortening intervals and there are times that he stops to rest and drift; thus, the dishearteningly long duration of his water-bound flight. Indeed, though he does not realize it, it takes years to climb from the depths of the abyss. At some point, he is dimly aware that he has finally reached waters touched faintly by sunlight, but this soon fades entirely from his mind, as there is still significant distance to cover. Then, so suddenly that it takes him by surprise, his nostrils encounter pure air once more.

His body desperately needs rest, but he thrashes and flails just enough to keep his muzzle above the water as his lungs violently expel their contents. As he greedily sucks in the appropriate replacement, he realizes that he is also becoming more buoyant with every breath. His body is finally granted respite as it slowly equilibrates to life at the surface and he becomes content to drift along the with the lazy currents.

Again, there is no telling how much time passes as he bobs and whirls in the waves, but land eventually peeks through the horizon. Landmarks become somewhat distinguishable before true awareness returns to his brain. Intrigued by this and what seems to be a horse-shaped figure, he now begins to actively propel himself in the water. As he draws nearer to the shore, he finds himself wondering whether or not he’s made it back home.

The figure turns out to be Adriana, standing at the water’s edge, and she is what raises the question in his mind. There is no denying that she cuts a lovely silhouette into the landscape, but her outward appearance is startling to him, as it is unlike anything he’d previously encountered in Beqanna. At the time of his disappearance, wings and horns were more common than rare, but he had never seen wings of water, nor these unnatural colors. He cocks his head inquisitively as he emerges from the water near (but not too near) where she stands.

“What is this place?” His voice is rough and quiet from disuse and he is genuinely surprised that it works at all. In contrast to Adriana’s beauty, he stands quite unkempt before her. Tufts of hair create unsightly clumps throughout his water-darkened coat and his mane and tail are quite tangled with strands of seaweed and other ocean debris. Though not as sinewy and virile as in his (much) younger years, he still carries himself quite grandly and hints of his natural handsomeness still linger in his appearance. Something flits across his face as he realizes that his manner is brusque and may not be well-received. He dips his head slightly and adds, “Pardon, I am called Assailant. And you are…?”


they taste like bliss

RE: you should find another guiding light - Adriana - 12-05-2022

i never wanted saving, i just wanted to be found --
If not for her family she might have been at least a little alarmed at seeing a horse depart from the sea. Beqanna was full of wonderful magics, but it still didn’t make living in the water normal. Until the arrival of Baltia, it was her family—her grandfather Ivar to be precise, and his extensive kelpie brood—that made up the bulk of those with an affinity for water in some fashion, meaning encountering someone not related to her that was a kelpie or water-related in some way was somewhat of a rarity.

And so it is not because he comes from the sea that she regards him with a guarded kind of suspicion, but rather, she finds herself wondering who he is—a relative, or a Baltian outsider, and it would be a lie to say that her pulse does not quicken just a bit at the prospect that he could be the second one.

She could not go to Baltia (she could, she reminds herself, she just doesn’t because she is a good daughter, mindful of her parents’ feelings and wishes), but perhaps Baltia had come to her.

But as he makes his way onto the shore she quickly denotes that he is not, in fact, a water horse. Truthfully, his body seems to reject the element entirely, and instead she marvels at the fact that he did not drown, thinks that perhaps the water is not hungry enough today. He is tired, though, so clearly the sea had had her fun, much in the same way a cat might toy with its prey; tossing it around until it died of exhaustion and fear, or the cat grew bored, or both.

They are staring at each other, and she is aware of this. She is used to being stared at, the light that reflects off the water of her wings usually catching their attention, and the unnatural beauty that came with being a kelpie often kept it. Their beauty was a strange thing—not the soft, ethereal beauty that many aspired to be, but instead something sharper, something dangerous. Beautiful in the way poisonous plants could be, vibrant but toxic. 

She stares at him, unashamed, because she is still trying to place where this handsome but disheveled man had come from, and how he had survived something he clearly was not fit for.

She hears his question but there is an unnaturally long silence that fills the space between them, and the way her bright blue eyes lock with his and a ghost of a smile flirts with the line of her lips you might think she finds the potential awkwardness of it humorous. “Beqanna,” she finally answers him, and she relinquishes her name faster than her previous answer. “And my name is Adriana.” She had taken several steps forward as she spoke, and without asking she reaches to pull a strand of seaweed from the tangles of his mane, and she comments idly, “It’s a miracle you’re not dead.”


RE: you should find another guiding light - assailant - 12-11-2022

i have been bewitched by the sweet song of darkness and the wine of solitude..
PHOTOS BY BisBiswas, MD-Arts


So, he has returned to his birthplace. His eyes take on a contemplative glaze as he chews on the numerous changes that his home has undergone. Though he does not quite realize it yet, he will be hard-pressed to find a familiar feature within Beqanna’s boundaries, what with the current sogginess of her lands. And the people.. how they have changed as well!

Perhaps it is ironic that Adriana’s outward appearance should captivate him so.. her kelpie kind might not exist as they are without him, for he is some sort of great grandsire to Ivar. Of course, he would never know that, for he was hardly an attentive father. Then again, Demise was one of his favorite partners, so he might actually recognize Letha’s name, should it ever come up in conversation.

His reverie is broken quickly by her subtle movements. He feels the whispering graze of her breath as she reaches for his mane. He has never been one for sentimentality or overt displays of affection (or displays of any emotions, really), but he admits to himself that he finds this younger creature to be quite intoxicating. It has been such an unbearably long time since he’d spoken to another living soul, let alone felt the touch of a woman, yet he remains externally stoic as she makes her small attempt to tidy his mane.

A small smirk plays at the corners of his lips. “I suppose that some would consider it a miracle, Adriana.” In the past, it had never dawned on him that his lifespan far exceeded that of a normal horse, but he is now quite aware of his own immortality. An eternity beneath the earth’s crust tends to bring that kind of thing to the forefront of the mind. “It seems that I only gained eternal life from my father. The magic would have made things easier, but at least my body can go without its necessities.. like air.”

Indeed, as he speaks, a burning sensation rampages through his lungs much like a greasefire on an open kitchen range. He means to ask a question but finds his next breath smothered by the internal fire in his chest. His neck extends and his head bobs accordingly as he impolitely coughs and hacks for several minutes. Once recovered, he meets Adriana’s eyes again. “I’ll say though, mother nature tried her best.."

A distinct spark glimmers in his dark brown eyes. Much as her pernicious beauty recommends the use of caution in her presence, so too does this look suggest an underlying menace, or perhaps just arrogance. However, it is fleeting and his usual charm returns easily. He continues in closing the gap between them and lightly touches his lips to her shoulder then casts his gaze across the landscape as he speaks again, “Perhaps you can tell me how my home has come to be this way? I must have been gone for a very long time, since I certainly do not remember things being so… wet..”


they taste like bliss


RE: you should find another guiding light - Adriana - 01-02-2023

i never wanted saving, i just wanted to be found --
From the corner of her eye she had watched him when she touched him, and while she is looking to see if he reacts, it’s not for the reason most would expect.

She has seen the way the touch of a kelpie can have a strange effect on others, almost spellbinding.
She has seen her father demonstrate the way his tactile hypnosis works, though after noticing the way his young daughter seemed a bit too interested in the idea of being able to control someone he had warned her it was not something to be used lightly.

Unfortunately for her—and fortunately for the rest of the world—she had not inherited the ability to hypnotize, though for the longest time she had convinced herself that perhaps it was just taking awhile to show itself. It’s why she cannot stop herself from trying, though she wonders if she would even know what it felt like? Would she feel some kind of magnetic pull, some kind of invisible thread connecting her that told her she now had some kind of power over them?

As it is, neither the stallion nor herself feels anything at her touch, it would seem.
If she is disappointed by this it does not show on her face, her vibrant blue eyes still watching him, her lips still shaped into a delicate smile. “Water and lungs tend to disagree with one another,” she says, unhelpful, as he coughs up the remnants of the sea that had settled there. That is one power she had been born with; the ability to breathe underwater.

It had its merits, but if she was being honest she’d prefer to be able to hypnotize.

He closes the space between them and she cannot help but to inwardly smile with a certain kind of satisfaction, liking to think that she had somehow drawn him back in. But other than casting him a sidelong glance when he touches her shoulder, the frost-covered scales warming beneath his touch, she does nothing to indicate that she had noticed, and instead follows his gaze out to the water as she answers his question. “A chain reaction of things, it seems. It started first with an earthquake, which caused the southern lands to flood and also revealed a hidden underwater land called Baltia.” The details on what had caused the earthquake were still murky to her—some claimed Carnage had caused it when he demanded a group dig into the mountain’s core, but, since Adriana was not there to witness anything, she leaves that out.

“Other strange things started happening, like a lightning storm in Tephra that destroyed part of the kingdom, and then not long after there was a massive storm that took out all of the lands save for the Pampas, and leaving us with what you see now, as well as the discovery of yet another kingdom in the sky called Stratos.” She does not realize that the names Tephra and the Pampas might not mean anything to him. Depending on how long he had been gone, Tephra may not have existed yet, and the Brilliant Pampas in the time long ago had been only a herdland. “It’s a rather inconvenient set-up for those of you with lungs that reject water, I suppose.”


RE: you should find another guiding light - assailant - 01-19-2023

i have been bewitched by the sweet song of darkness and the wine of solitude..
PHOTOS BY BisBiswas, MD-Arts

The words churn so violently in his head that, were it possible, smoke would roll from his ears as his eyes become unfocused once more. He was certain that the earthquake she mentioned was the very same that had released him from his underground imprisonment, but aside from that, there were no threads of familiarity in the words that fell from her lips. Several vague memories would have surfaced, had she mentioned Carnage aloud, as his first stint as king of the Valley was during Assailant’s youth. “It seems that I’ve been away much longer than I realized.” His head tilts again, though in a manner that suggests his attempt to dredge up recollections of what existed hundreds of years ago, rather than inquisitive tilt from before.

“I recognize none of these names.. I only ever knew herdlands, such as Volcanic Village. And of course, the lands of kings and queens.. the Chamber of Evil was my ruling kingdom.” Ruling kingdom, indeed. He had never bothered with the politics of Beqanna, preferring the simpler life of a band stallion and only remained within the ‘evil’ subdivisions because that was where he’d been raised. Truthfully, in yesteryears and into the present, he might be considered more of a neutral soul. His innate, generalized indifference manifested in actions that were neither overly affectionate nor horrifically abusive. Despite his apathetic tendencies, he captured the devotion of several lovely ladies with his guileless charisma and thus regarded himself as a man of accomplishment for that time.

He sighs audibly as he considers that this may no longer be the normal way of life in Beqanna. From what he gathers from Adriana’s explanations, only governed lands remain, and this frustrates him. He’d never cared much for fending off other stallions (and much to his own satisfaction, had only been challenged infrequently), so the thought of entering combat to serve another’s ambitions is quite rankling. And then she brings up the unveiling of two entirely unknown kingdoms, which elicits another sigh.

He mindlessly maneuvers as he speaks, eventually pressing himself closely alongside her as he falls to reminiscing silently. Perhaps it is the heat rising within his being, but he finally notices the coolness of her skin.. no, of her scales. This leads him to draw back to study her wings more intently and then it clicks into place alongside her comment about being an air-breather. “Yes, quite inconvenient and undesirable, especially considering my recent adventure under the sea.” Another subtle, wry smirk forms as his eyes move back to her face. “But I suppose it’s no trouble for someone like you.. so then, have you stolen any sly glimpses of.. Baltia, was it?”


they taste like bliss


RE: you should find another guiding light - Adriana - 02-28-2023

i never wanted saving, i just wanted to be found --
He seems perturbed by the information she delivers him, which she cannot help but be a little amused by. She is far younger than him—not that he gives the appearance of being old, thanks to his immortality, but it is evident they were born in different eras—and she has never known the older kingdoms that everyone was so fond of. She has relatives that would remember places such as the Chamber, Valley, and Dale, but for the most part it is only stories of the newer kingdoms that she grew up on. The Tephra-Loess war, the shifters of Hyaline, and the blighted land that was Carnage’s Pangea. They had each woven their own tapestry of stories, ushering in new kings and queens and bloodlines, new traditions and reputations.

And they all sat now beneath the sea, and only time would tell if they had left as indelible a mark as the old lands had.

“Well, I suppose it doesn’t matter that you’ve never heard of them, since they’re gone now,” she says rather dismissively, though her somewhat casual words betray the discontent she actually feels. It would be a lie to say that she does not miss Tephra; how could she not? She had been born there, as had all of her siblings. It was the first, and so far only place, that she had truly known as home. “Not that what we’ve been left with is an improvement.” They are lucky there is anything left at all, she knows this, and she knows too that she should be grateful that navigating the water is not as difficult for her as it might be for some.

But she misses the way it used to be.

She misses the variety in terrain and the vastness of the land; the forest and canyons, the rivers and dales. She misses how the very strangeness of this place would lure in outsiders and they had no choice but to stay, enraptured by her magic and longing to find a way to land themselves as a name in her history.

She knows no other land besides Beqanna, but she knows it is a unique place.
Always changing, always dying like a phoenix only to rise again from its own ashes.
She hopes that this time the ashes have come in the form of water, and that a new Beqanna will find a way to rebuild from this disaster.

He presses into her and she does not move away, finding that she enjoys the sensation of her frosted scales melting beneath his warmth. There is a strange sensation that races up the ridge of her spine, and this time instead of pretending she had not noticed his touch she fixes him with a coy stare, her lovely head tipping to the side with a coquettish smile. “You’ve been gone so long that you crave the touch of a woman, even if she is cold?” The words are spoken with the lilt of a laugh but she still does not shift away, settling in instead to enjoy this unexpected company that she has found.

“No,” she says with a plaintive sigh and a slight roll of her vibrant eyes. “My parents are…protective. And they said that since we don’t know why Baltia and Stratos are at war that I should stay away.” It sounds childish to say such a thing out loud; she is, after all, an adult. But loving families were a rarity in this place, and she had been lucky enough to be born into one. As much as she loathed it at times, her parents’ warnings—specifically her father’s—echoed in her mind every time she considered going to Baltia. “I think my father thinks they’d try to keep me there. As a prisoner, or souvenir. He loves worst-case scenarios.” From what she has gathered, Baltia did not care about much outside of its war with Stratos; Beqanna was just an unfortunate bystander.

“Where will you go, Assailant? If the Pampas does not entice you, will you haunt the common lands instead?”


RE: you should find another guiding light - assailant - 03-14-2023

No evil dooms us hopelessly, except the evil we love and desire to continue in, and make no effort to escape from.--George Eliot
image by rob-joseph

There is the barest trace of longing tinting her words, despite her attempt at nonchalance. He is ever the quiet observer and, even with his lack of magic, has learned to pluck unspoken words from another’s mind as easily as a hair from the head. Or, perhaps it is the fact that though they may be miles apart in generation, they have commonality in the simple fact that the homes that they once knew have been laid to waste. He nods briefly, assenting to the statement that dismisses the unfamiliar names of the places she’d mentioned, but the movement quickly turns to one of disagreement. “That’s one way to look at it. Lovely is the rose in bloom, blushed with her own vitality, but sometimes there is beauty in the ruin as well.” And he speaks truthfully. He may have no affinity for water at the moment, but even its overwhelming abundance still lends itself to create a pleasant aesthetic that is largely masked by the bitterness and pain of loss. As he casts his gaze to the water again, drops scatter high and far as the waves kick up their heels playfully, creating sprays that glitter enticingly beneath the dwindling light. For a moment, he loses himself in altered topography, wondering what other revisions lay ahead of them and if assimilation will be any easier when the time comes.

He is pulled back by the purr of her voice before he can wander too far along the serpentine path his thoughts create. The chortle that bursts from his mouth is certainly the loudest noise he’s made in their brief time together. A red-blooded sparkle dances in his eyes in response to the kittenish glow in hers. He winks slyly, brought back to his days as a mischievous colt that enjoys a bit of shameless flirting. “I won’t say that it was wrong or right, but my heyday was a simpler and far more primeval time, and, perhaps it may paint me as a bit of a troglodyte to say this, but I’ll never not crave the touch of a woman.. no matter how cold. And you know, even winter’s thickest frost eventually yields to the temperance of spring..”

The contentment steals over him as freely as it does Adriana, but it does not last as long as he would have preferred. He listens attentively to her reasons, not quite understanding the intent behind her parents’ strictness. Then again, he was one of the many that had not been born to a loving family, nor had he gone out of his way to raise his own. Still, he does understand the idea of avoiding war. “Discordant nations are not exactly vacationing grounds, so I suppose I can see why a protective father wouldn’t want his pretty little girl wandering into their midsts..” He pauses, for he knows the type that her father was trying to keep her from crossing paths with. But then she throws a question to him that gives him reason for a greater pause. Where will he go?

”I’m not sure. I am like a stranger in my own home. It may be time to do some exploring to reacquaint myself with this place..” ...and myself. In truth, it’s not just that he is unfamiliar with his surroundings, it is also that he doesn’t feel as though he even knows himself anymore. Perhaps it is due to the prolonged isolation he had recently escaped, or that he feels left behind in the apparent magical advancements of the world, or maybe it is the dawning realization that he is no longer content with purposelessness. His eye wanders from her to the horizon yet again and he unconsciously moves toward the tree line. He feels a brief urge to ask her to join his travels, but he is not sure it is wise. As keen as he is to continue spending his time with her, he does not see the point in laying the temptation of possible betrayal of her familial bonds at her feet simply because he has none of his own. ”I will eventually return to this place, though.” He hopes that she will see this for what he intends.. an open invitation to meet him here again, to pick up their companionship where he will be leaving it.