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  • Beqanna

    version 22: awakening


    LILLIANA -- Year 206


    "There is still something of himself - something of the Wolfbane who would always love her - that rallies against the slime. It says, 'lie in the bed you’ve made'. So he gathers the covers and tucks himself in." -- Wolfbane, written by Calcifer

    she drank my past, like the finest of wines; nikkai

    Soul as sweet as blood red jam

    Once she has said goodbye to Rheagor, she doesn't look back. The afterlife would hold and heal him, and she would be back for him. The grey mare was ready to leave, and there was only one way forward. So she thinks of her homelands, the land of the living, with a thoroughness she had never allowed herself when she thought she was never going back.

    Hyaline wavers in her mind's eye and her mouth tightens. The eastern mountains were no longer the bustling sanctuary of her childhood. It hadn't been that place since the plague struck and the residents had fled, since she had slipped across Pangea's border to answer Carnage's call. The memory of  her friends and family filing out, putting the lake at their back, on the run from the end of the world, had driven a stake into the heart of her childhood. She had watched from afar, already infected and partially responsible for the disaster, and that was the last time she had seen most of them. Her vision shifts north, but The Cove had always felt like a temporary home. When she thinks of it she can only remember how broken, empty, and alone she felt as she gave birth to her son there, struggling alone, bathed in silver light. No, The East held more painful memories than good.

    For a moment, she is lost. Her brow furrows and she wonders why it has to be her choice. But as quickly as it had appeared, the thought is driven out. There was no time for selfish self-pity.  Nikkia had asked her to make this choice, and even though she had been used as Carnage's pawn the last time she tangled with a higher power, she wants to trust this warrior-woman who has promised her another chance at life.

    She thinks of Tephra.

    Will thinks of her family's history of service there, Rhaegor's love of the grasslands and lava-streams and Svedka's stories of his and Solace's childhood adventures. She takes a moment to remember the early, intoxicating days of her and Raul's relationship there as the wasted the days away, enjoying each other's company and searching for secret places to explore their love-making. These memories, they feel good, and her spirit lifts.

    With that, her consciousness relaxes, and as her thoughts solidify so does the world around them. The thick air sings with the sounds of spring, and she pulls the warm, salty breeze deep into her lungs.

    After her gruesome, dark days in the afterlife, this was heaven. 

    Tephra was her future.

    [Image: Warlightpageddoll1.png]


    As they make their decisions and start to disappear, back to their own homes, the grulla mare wanders closer, staying respectively back so that the younger mare can say her farewells. When Warlight moves away from the boy, eyes going somewhere else, she moves a little closer, waiting patiently. The first time the tension thickens, she begins to smell fresh mountain air. Flowers, but not like her childhood home. In the back of her mind, she starts to see a deep, clear lake; towering mountains that feel like home.

    But that place never resolves; everything fades back into the pounding sound of death’s waterfall and the river that flows into it. Nikkai blinks and then when the world starts to waver again it’s accompanied by the strange scent of sulfur, and an overwhelming dense heat. They are the last to leave Death, and she is glad to take a deep, clear breath even if the air is unfamiliar.

    She supposes it won’t be that way for long.

    Before anything else, she steps away from Warlight to look around, deep dark eyes lingering on the volcano, the lush grasses, the streams and lava crossing back and forth. She can feel latent magic running underneath her hooves, magic the other magicians in Beqanna have been blocked from using, and her own reinvigorated soul calls out for it. But this flat section of land won’t do at all. Not for what she wants. If she must create something to channel magic, it will be the waterfall that she misses so dearly.

    The magical mare blinks and they’re at the foothills of the volcano instead, and she peers up into the rocky face of the mountainside, the magic swelling inside of her until she simply can’t hold it anymore. From a hundred feet above their heads, water bursts from the sheer side of the volcano, pouring down. When it hits the hard ground it splashes up, creating a massive wave that drenches the two mares before setting into the deep crater it’s created, and then overflows, a new river emerging to flow forward and join the other streams that criss-cross everything.

    For the first time since she slipped back across the border from Death to Life, she doesn’t feel like her head is about to explode from the pressure of the strange magic. She turns to the brown and white mare, putting the waterfall behind her so she doesn’t have to look at it for a moment because it isn’t quite her waterfall, and that’s painful. “Where are we?” she asks at last, because she has no idea. The only place she’s been in the ‘New Beqanna’ is her own childhood home of the Brilliant Pampas, and she knows nothing about the other lands.



    Soul as sweet as blood red jam

    Warlight's connection with the magic of Beqanna was, by comparison, small. In her dreams, she could step from one place to another quicker than the wind but just as invisible, but during her waking moments, she had been more inclined to use whatever strength her physical body held.

    Which had not been much, on the last day, although it had been enough to make sure her killer followed her into the afterlife. But now, as she steps back into the living world, she can feel that her limbs and lungs are strong. She has the urge to gallop like a child across the open grassland, but the weight of her newfound responsibility keeps her grounded.

    Suddenly, they are traveling by magic, moving in much the same way she did in her dreams travel. Her body solidifies once again and she follows the grulla mare's gaze to see deep fractures open in the side of the volcano and a waterfall rush towards them. The antlered girl blinks and flattens her ears, but she holds her ground as the wall of water breaks at their feet.

    The magician wields the kind of power that would have left her speechless two years ago, but now even the fact that she is standing here is a feat of deep magic.

    She was getting too used to never being surprised.

    "Tephra," she answers, her gemstone eyes locking onto those of her companion. "My grandfather bargained with Carnage to protect this place from the Plague, it was where my brother chose to live..." But her thought feels incomplete and her lips press together as she suddenly realizes she has no current information to add... that she isn't even sure if Nikkia knows about the plague.

    They had both been dead, after all.

    "You can call me Will, by the way," she adds, shaking her neck to release the tension that has invariably built up there, and displacing the wet fingers of her inky-black mane from her neck. But the impulse if brief and when she looks back her expression is curious and eager. "What do you need from me?"



    The last time she was in the land of the living, she had no powers whatsoever. The little gray mare had carved her place out in the world through sweat and grit and determination, and a little bit of blood; but she had done most of her fighting in defense of herself and her home, and she doesn’t regret the violence as a necessary step to keep others safe. Her power is new and unwieldy, and she doesn’t particularly like it, but the waterfall had been easy. The magic had been pushing, demanding, and envisioning the waterfall from home into this new place had been no sort of hardship. She can still sort of feel the magic thrumming beneath her skin (she supposes she’s a creature of magic now, and it will stay with her until the end of her second life) but it’s not drowning her anymore.

    The clear breath she is able to take feels new – as if her lungs haven’t filled in ages. Maybe they haven’t.

    The mare beside her introduces herself, and Nikkai meets her eyes and manages a smile now, feeling much more like a mortal again. “Nikkai,” she responds, because she can’t remember whether she’d introduced herself to them, in Death, and she wouldn’t have expected anyone to remember in that stress even if she had. “I died long before any of these lands even existed,” she says quietly, looking away over the landscape. “But I was given this magic to bring back to Beqanna, and if it cannot return to the Falls it needed a new home.” she hasn’t answered the question yet, she knows, but it wasn’t exactly as straightforward as they might like it to be. “As long as I live again, the magic in the waterfall is linked to me. But when I pass, it will remain in the waterfall, and for now that waterfall is Tephra’s.”

    “For now, what I need is an introduction to this place and it’s people. I admired the way you handled the challenges we faced in Death, and I think the magic I carry will be a good fit for this land you have chosen, but I suppose we should make sure,” there’s a little bit of a laugh there, a slight tilt of her head, that acknowledges the fact that perhaps two who have been so recently dead should fact-check before turning over some sort of wild magic to a land full of people. “My gift is a peaceful one. The water of the waterfall will increase fertility of the residents here, and it has healing properties. It will even be able to make healers out of the residents, temporarily.”

    As for the future? Well, Nikkai isn’t sure what it holds for either of them.


    Warlight *hides* Sorry I'm the slowest!!!

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