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    version 22: awakening


    Wolfbane -- Year 210


    "She presses into him greedily, hungrily, and demands more. She does not know how to be gentle when she is with him—does not know how to quell the aching in her belly, the neediness in her touch. She would devour him whole. She would sacrifice herself completely. She would give and give and give—" --Tabytha, written by Laura

    | Let the moment break you, Beyza/Caledonia |
    Every day that the sun rose and set without Lilliana returning to Taiga was another day Yanhua spent waiting for her, fruitlessly. “Not fruitlessly.” He told himself, wading through the ferns on one side of Taiga’s kingswood and winding his way up a short incline to more level ground, where a green carpet of moss covered an impressively large, felled redwood. “Brazen comes and goes. Aunt Elaina keeps you company. Nash helps you practice with your horns.” The leggy chestnut colt named off the things he’d been doing to keep himself busy, trying his best to fight off an approaching wave of bitter depression. It was evening and the air around him was so thick it could choke a horse. He trailed alongside the horizontal trunk, dwarfed completely by the shadow it cast over him, and breathed in a deep sigh full of fog and the smell of rich, wet earth.

    Usually the peace induced from a quiet walk alone was all it took to put him back into the right state of mind. He’d give Elaina or Nashua a little farewell and with a flip of his uselessly short tail, be off into the wood to find his center again. But neither the quiet hum of the redwood forest nor the effort he put into gathering his silver linings seemed to be doing the trick today.

    To him, it felt like the entire world was shattered and changing. He was beginning to lose hope of ever seeing his mother again, and trying as he had been to stay positive, he was starting to harbor an undeserved bitterness against his twin, Nashua, for escaping Taiga and taking off on adventures.

    “It’s like he doesn’t even care!” Yan’s silent thoughts burst out of his mouth, mirroring his unresolved anger at having to lose his mother so early and so unfairly. The chestnut yearling could feel his little tail working overtime, flogging his hindquarters as if brought to life by his emotional outburst. He trod along until he came to a ragged hole (perhaps made by some native bear, or maybe carved out by a gifted horse) looming like a dark, mysterious doorway into the hollowed out tree, and then without pausing he slipped inside.

    In the dark within, his mane and that same little tuft of hair between his hind legs lit up with a start, illuminating the dry innards of the grandfather redwood so that he could see all that surrounded him. From within, the wood looked as if it had been carved into some intricate, swirling design, but Yanhua knew it was just the leavings of many a wood-worm coming and going over the years. He followed their little paths with his rich, blue eyes and went further into the heart of the ancient cypress, his hooves thudding a dull echo of noise.

    In here he could be himself, feel anything he wanted to without fear of exposure, so he did. Yan let his proud head drop low and he slowed to a stop, closing his eyes and letting his ears come to rest lifelessly by his cheeks. With another deep sigh, the young stallion whispered out, “I wish you would come home, mother. Where you belong.”

    Beyza caledonia in no particular order! <3 You get a sad boi, and you get a sad boi!

    there's a voice that pulls me stumbling through a symphony
    and the less of it I need, the more I get

    Caledonia’s life had started so quietly—so dark. It’s difficult to try and think back on it now. Difficult to even remember the darkness. How she had never truly seen anything for the first few years. How her entire world had been cast in the shadows and she had been left to follow the sounds, the scents.

    Then, the death. The accident.

    The moment she had come into contact with that toxin and felt her flesh bubble and begin to melt away. How it had felt to feel life breathed back into her lungs by her very sister—and, with it, her sight.

    It should be enough to leave her nothing but overjoyed—and she is, on most days, nothing but grateful—but it also brings with it a certain clarity about the dangers of the world. It is difficult to turn an eye to it when she can see things so clearly now. When she had felt the very hazards on the tip of her tongue.

    All of it leaves her a little withdrawn. A little shy. Cautious about where she chooses to interact and why.

    (Except when it concerns her sister—she would follow Beyza to the ends of the earth, if need be.)

    And it makes her more likely to spend her hours as the dove. The world may not be less dangerous for such small prey, but she finds comfort that few avian predators stalk these skies and it is so much easier to go undetected when she remains so little. So that is how she travels today. Her small wings flap as she navigates each passing breeze and she looks down to see her sister below, her eyes brightening.

    It is only when she hears the boy talk to himself that she alters her coarse.

    She coos lightly, communicating as best she can to her sister, and then angles downward. Her heart twists as she catches the final whispers and she lands, then shifts. When she straightens, its in the white body she knows nearly as well—although not nearly as brilliantly pale as her sister. Her dual-colored eyes settle on Yanhua and she contemplates answering his whisper before she decides the kind thing to do is pretend that she didn’t to hear it at all. So, instead, she just gives a shy smile and tucks her wings in close.

    “Hello there.”

    ’til I'm swept up by the shape of all the centuries
    like an echo in the chambers of my chest

    [Image: cale.png]
    and the words she aches to hear pour through my canyon
    and they're singing in the caverns of my limbs

    Beyza could watch Cale fly as a dove all day - the way the sunlight catches on the soft white wings as the graceful body moves through the air is just so captivating. Although she and her sister are both white, Beyza often feels that they are on two sides of the spectrum - Caledonia is warmth and sunlight while Beyza is winter and chill. Even the soft white glowing that often surrounds Beyza is a cold light more akin to the stars than the sun.

    As always when she is near her sister, Beyza wears a pair of white wings - a mostly unconscious desire to have one more thing that ties her to her beautiful gold-and-blue eyed twin. Now they are folded gently at her sides as she wanders without much purpose until she hears a coo from Caledonia that breaks into her aimless thoughts. Beyza follows the dove’s course without hesitation until she sees a sorrel boy, talking to himself.

    She comes to stand beside her now-horse twin. While Caledonia chooses a more polite approach, Beyza doesn’t feel any such reservations about not commenting on the whisper she had only just managed to catch as they approached. Her voice is light and curious, though, which might take some of the bluntness out of the question. “Where’s your mother gone to?” Although Agetta does sometimes wander - and has been a little more distant than usual lately - Beyza can’t imagine ever misplacing either of their parents. It is that thought that prompts her to follow up with something a little nicer - “Can we help?”

    B E Y Z A

    artwork by musonart

    After Yanhua had spoken his heart’s desire nothing happened. Silence, profound and infinitely deep, swallowed up his words. He waited hopefully; he lowered his ears even further and thought himself incredibly stupid for doing that much. Only the sound of some bird broke past his self-loathing, and Yan offered the noise a flicker of his attention. When the noise turned into a soft whisper, much louder, then he turned to look.

    In the clearing stood a filly. Well… He thought at first, looking her over, adolescent. She was small, but then again everything Yan turned to face seemed to be shrinking around him. He slid one hind leg away from the other, and pivoted with a swish of his short golden tail to grin sheepishly back at Caledonia. Great, He thought on his earlier frustration, clamming up when the stranger leveled him with her mismatched gaze, this is what I get for not being satisfied with my lot in life.

    Wish not to be alone and the fates give you a really unexpected guest at the worst possible moment. Yanhua swallowed. The forest shook her leaves at the wind and beside the first mare, another appeared. Similar, yet not the same. He blinked and felt the entire world shift sideways, opened his eyes to see Nashua standing alone in the exact spot Beyza stood now, blinked again and the world spun once more. When he opened his eyes, two whole blinks of a second later, the scene was as it should be. The Night stars and the Day clouds - the twin mares, just like he and Nash - were waiting for his answer.

    “Um… hi. And I’m not sure.” He spoke casually, working hard to choke down his embarrassment. One witness was bad enough. Two?! I take it back. I want to be alone. You can make the earth swallow me up any time, now. “She’s in Pangea.” He shrugged, tilting his horns in thought. “I’m slow. It’s a long walk. Politics. No one tells me anything. The bearded yearling listed off his problems one-by-one. He figured since they asked and were confident enough to point out the obvious anyways… might as well be blunt himself.

    “You tell me. Can you help?” He blinked his smooth blue eyes, straightened his shoulders and asked Beyza. Then, softer “Because if not, we shouldn’t dwell on her. I’d rather we talk about something else.” to caledonia.

    I have glass in my throat when I sing about what an almost love it could've been

    She always felt the most content when her sister was by her side and now was no different. She settles instantly when she feels the weight of Beyza near her—finding the deep comfort settle into her bones. It’s an immediate relief and she nearly sighs as she leans into Beyza, finding the cool of her spread across her side. Pleased, she brings her dual-colored gaze back to the bearded yearling, watching him curiously.

    Caledonia is not surprised when Beyza broaches the subject much easier than she had—but, then again, her sister always the more bold of the two of them. Beyza jumped into situations with as much ease as Caledonia had reservations, so perhaps it was not surprising at all that her boldness calmed her nerves.

    “We live in Pangea,” she offers with a brighter smile. Her wings fluff over her back and then settle together. “They never tell me anything about politics either.” This spoken quieter, almost like a secret between the two of them. She purposefully focuses on only her exclusion in the moment. She doesn’t know exactly what is disclosed to Beyza or not, but she would not be surprised if she knew more. Who would not want to share such things with her twin? She couldn’t begrudge them if they did.

    Another shrug, a delicate rolling of her shoulders. “We could maybe accompany you if you want to go Pangea,” she softens each word, wishing she could take away whatever hurt the boy. “But if you’d rather not, then I am sure that we could find something that would take your mind off of it.”

    She looks to Beyza, searching her sister’s face to see if she has any ideas.


    [Image: cale.png]
    and the words she aches to hear pour through my canyon
    and they're singing in the caverns of my limbs

    The white girl listens, surprised that this boy’s mother would be in Pangea. She wonders if she’s met her - and is vaguely aware that there has been a captive there but her curiosity and focus have been elsewhere so she did not pay much attention. Now she wishes she had, so she could offer some words of support to this bearded boy. She only knows the ache she would feel if she were separated from either of her parents, and it softens her unblinking gaze.

    While her twin offers options, Beyza remains in her own thoughts a little while longer. She is suddenly reminded of her own limitations when it comes to her powers. Although they appear to be rather limitless in theory, there’s so much she has not practiced yet. So though she wishes she could boldly offer to teleport all three of them to Pangea right that moment, she knows it’s not safe. Not when she is still occasionally leaving parts of herself behind when she is only moving herself.

    But at least she can provide a bit of a distraction. Use her magic on a smaller scale. Her attention finally narrows back down to their little trio, and she offers what is a small but hopefully kind smile. “It’s up to you. We can go with you to Pangea now or…” She trails off for a moment, her eyes wandering to their surroundings. The height of the trees inspires her, sparking an idea. “We can play a game?”

    There’s a delicate sort of fear in her voice as she wonders whether this line of thought is stupid and childish but before she can think too much about it she does something she knows she can do and shifts into a bird. She’s a sparrow - but her feathers and eyes remain the same bright white of her horse-self. She swoops around her twin and then the boy before hovering in the air between them. “What would you like to be?” She asks him - though the question is open for Caledonia as well. If her twin wanted to try on a new shape, who was Beyza to begrudge her?

    B E Y Z A

    artwork by musonart



    Yanhua could hardly believe they were both from Pangea. He flicked his ears forward, hearing the word, but he couldn’t comprehend it. The version of Pangea he’d painted in his own head had been red-slashed gore, set to the backdrop of a dusty wasteland. He’d expected monsters of all kinds... but not these two. Not the dainty, kind strangers he was talking to right now. The twin mares embodied everything he associated with what appeared good, and for a second the different thoughts he has - that they look and act harmless, but they come from a place preconceived as evil - unraveled the tight bindings of his narrow, youthful mind. Yanhua was biased against them, and he felt momentarily ashamed because of it.

    “No,” He spoke up quietly, “thank you.”

    He felt undeserving of the offer to walk him all the way back to the eastern Kingdom, and quickly declined. When he was lost in Taiga as a younger colt, Lilliana would just tell him to wait where he was, that she would find him. Every single time she did. Now it felt only right that he should continue to wait; Yan still held out hope she’d come back. He wanted to be here when that happened. “A game?” He asked uncertainly, then bent his head to nip a fly resting on his shoulder.

    When he looked up again, the opposite twin was just finishing her shift. Yanhua frowned. He followed the twisting, beautiful bird as she fluttered and jerked his head aside when she looped around him, snorting. The earlier suspicions he’d just gotten over suddenly flooded back again. In all his life he’d only met one other shapeshifter (Serabi had fooled him), and that experience is one he won't soon forget.

    “I prefer the body I was born in.” Yanhua answered the hovering creature, making it clear that his interest in the other twin’s game was none at all. He turned his coppery cheek away from them and stared out for a moment into the hazy green redwoods, quietly contemplating. Fearing that the first twin - the one who’d interrupted him originally - might shift too, Yan chose not to look and watch for a second time. A sparrow was harmless, but he didn’t care what form they took.

    Mindless magic for the sake of being able to do it unnerved him. For their kindness he wouldn’t hold it against them, but for himself it was a game too dark to play at.

    After a few moments of listening, Yan looked back. “Don’t mind me - I’m touchy. I’ll get over it.” He smiled briefly. Dully. “But now I admit: I feel inclined to ask what you’re doing here.”

    I GOT | Extra | FEELINGS


    I have glass in my throat when I sing about what an almost love it could've been

    She smiles at her sister, watching her tentatively propose the game and then shift so easily. It reminds her of the dove that lives within her, but so much more. In all things, her sister was so much more than her. She watches in awe, not catching the boy’s suspicion until she hears him declining the offer. The words are sharper than she would have guessed, and she turns her dual-colored gaze back to him, curious.

    The dove’s wings that had been beating so swiftly against her chest just a moment before, preparing to shift and meet her sister in the air, die down in disappointment, in a shame that she is not sure that she understands. Her gaze is wounded and defensive of her sister in the same breath.

    “It’s still your body,” her voice is gentle, laced with confusion.

    Why was he acting like Beyza had offered him poison?

    She looks back to her twin, trying to read her expression to see if she understood. But unlike Beyza, she has no gift of seeing below the surface and she remains puzzled and uncertain. She rolls her shoulders again, a delicate motion to convey her acceptance. “But if you’d prefer to not play, that’s okay, too.”

    Perhaps Beyza and her could take a turn at this game later, when it was just the two of them.

    Perhaps she could become a butterfly. Something small and light and free.

    “It’s okay,” she assures him, even though she is not certain that is. Not certain at all about the interaction any longer. “If you want to talk about it, we can,” she is sure she will be rebuffed, but she offers regardless. “We are just wandering.” She wonders why she feels like she has to explain themselves, like she has to defend their time here when moments before it had felt like some grand adventure.

    “Are we not supposed to be here?”

    [Image: cale.png]
    and the words she aches to hear pour through my canyon
    and they're singing in the caverns of my limbs

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