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    version 22: awakening


    GHAUL -- Year 209


    "(souls are not meant to live more than once — death was not meant to be temporary, and she is so sure that every time her heart starts to beat again that irreversible damage is further inflicted)" -- Anonya, written by Colby

    something wicked this way comes - Ophanim & Ciara

    A N A X A R E T E.

    Anaxarete had not forgotten.

    Time meant little to one who had already seen over 100 years. She knew that there was little that truly required any urgency.  Plus, she knew that young ones didn’t often come into their true power until they were of age. Such was the case for most of her children, at least.  She was curious, however, to see how Ophanim had coped with raising the child. He’d been in such a state last time they’d met. Not that she cared at all for his well being. No, Anaxerete was interested in the child and the potential she’d felt beneath the surface of the egg that incubated her.

    The shadow-mare cares little for formalities and has no respect for the borders of these new kingdoms. Once upon a time she’d been a diplomat - she’d been bound by rules and protocol and expectation. Not any more. There was nothing that bound her now. So she simply appeared in the center of Sylva in a swirl of shadow and darkness. The shadows did not disappear as she emerged from them, instead they wound around her like sentient smoke.

    With so little open space in Sylva, she is aware that her presence may not be immediately known. “Ophanim,” she says, both aloud and mentally - ensuring he would hear her no matter what.  “Come, Ophanim. Bring me my daughter...” Her voice is cold, but insistent.  This is not an optional request.  And with that, she waits, resting a hind leg as the smoky shadows continue to weave themselves around her cold body.

    queen of the shadows.

    There are few things he fears in this world. They are mostly intangible things like his wife or children being harmed, or being separated from them again. But he feels something like fear and unease when he watches Ciara and the way her glowing mouth eagerly devours anything that comes too close. His breath shudders as she smiles up at him, blood smeared across her lips and up her cheek as she laughs. She always laughs when he scolds her or begs her not to misbehave. Ophanim sighs when she drops the fawn leg with a light thud. The angel boy has mostly given up on getting her not to hunt here in Sylva.

    But she notices her mother before he does and he follows her gaze into the shadows without a word. Her sunshine wings spread wide, dim little things here in the shade, and she slips forward as he hears her call. The woman had terrified him, but he never admitted such a thing to anyone. Ophanim fears what would become of their daughter in her care and so he is quick to follow behind her. Ciara folds her wings over her pastel pink back and tilts her head curiously as she watches the gray woman. The angel boy swallows nervously but his shimmering golden body doesn’t arm itself with scales just yet.

    Why are you here?” he asks, edging closer to their child who keeps her bright pink gaze on her mother. The girl’s smile never fades, illuminated by the glow of her fangs and tongue as she watches Anaxarete excitedly. Something about the woman unsettles father and so she feels drawn to the woman.

    I’m Ciara. Who are you?” she says a little too loud around that charming grin. Her halo, like her father’s, orbits her lovely head slowly and promises a kindness she does not possess. Ophanim almost wishes she wasn’t so beautiful. He almost wishes Starsin was here to spit insults and explode another tree or two. Her heart stirs quietly in his chest, a flower of jealousy and rage blooming easily within him in her stead.
    you could drown in those eyes, i said.

    A N A X A R E T E.

    They come quickly.
    She knew they would.

    But it is the girl that answers the call excitedly, and the cold woman’s icy gaze falls upon the angelic creature that is anything but.  Her gaze remains on the girl, but she speaks directly to her father. “Is it not obvious?” she asks, pointedly.  “Did you think I would leave my daughter with you forever?” she adds, with a humorless laugh.  She did have to give him credit, the girl was magnificent. A creature of extremes - sunshine all wrapped up in darkness.  It is only then that her icy snaps to the angel. Her eyes narrow ever so slightly as she speaks directly into his mind.

    ”I would have thought you’d be eager to get rid of her. Do not think because I’ve been absent means that I am ignorant, Ophanim.”  She knows. She always knows. She also knows that Ciara will thrive under her care - surely Ophanim could understand that.  She holds his gaze for another beat before returning her attention to the girl.

    “Ciara, I’m your mother. And I’ve come to take you home - take you home where you can hunt and grow into whatever it is you want to be,” she says, her gaze never wavering from the girl.  Anaxarete, unlike most mothers, does not care what it is that the girl wishes to become. A martyr or a monster - it matters little to her. But it is clear that the girl is gifted, and it would be such a pity for such a thing to be wasted and hidden away.

    “Pangea awaits,” she said, offering the girl freedom from the thick woods that had been her home.

    queen of the shadows.


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