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    COTY

    Wolfbane -- Year 210

    QOTY

    "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


    Wolves, and stars, and snow
    #1



    Wherewolf does not know why they are so far north, but the quick teeth of his mama keep his mouth shut as they travel, trotting quickly along the northwestern ridges where he imagines the burned wreck of Leilan's kingdom sits in the midst of the grey sea. He cannot see it through the storm, through the low clouds and the wicked, wild, waves, and the fog and mist and rain that drift between him and Neverwhere and the island, yet he knows it is there, shrouded, he imagines, by Magic, by Fairies. His mother has told him repeatedly that it is simply the weather and nothing to do with any whim of the Fae, but he is sure she's wrong about that.

    He is sure that she is wrong about whatever has her scouting the ridges, too (he cannot know that this is nothing more than his mother's usual wanderlust, the weather lends it an importance it does not deserve.) A cold front has moved in and despite in being summer, as the day progresses, the rain turns to wet snow that splats against the earth like seagull droppings on the bare rock, and that pierces through the warmth of his downy foal coat. Without thinking, he lifts his small wings and shakes the gathering ice away, and the jostling of his left limb makes him gasp and jerk it back tightly to his side. It doesn't hurt, but something makes him wince and lay his little ears flat into the pale, curling locks of his mane.

    "Mama, where are we going? Are we going to see Leilan? Can we go see Leilan? He promised to show me the roaring boar, Alice."

    Neverwhere's ears are buried as deep into her mane as it is possible for them to be, due equally to the turn of the weather and the boy's line of questioning. Really, it's a wonder that they've come so far and this is the first time he's piped up, the poor weather had kept him quiet, but she saw the way he pulled his wing back against himself, the way he hugs himself with it protectively, acting on a memory he was too young to remember, and she supposes he is trying to distract himself with something other than the strange thoughts that make him frown and twist his usually bright expression into something resembling to her own, but she is slow to reply.

    The dappled colt is used to his mother's reticence when it comes to his questions - to anyone's questions - so he waits, but it is not without a certain impatience. How long will Alice be roaring? Leilan mentioned the sight to him at least two weeks ago and if they wait much longer, she's liable to be too hoarse to even oink by the time he gets there.

    "Mama? When can we go?"

    She stops abruptly and Woolly sucks back, suddenly aware that he is well within biting range, but she simply turns her clouded gaze on him - and not for the first time, he finds himself wondering how she sees so sharply instead of paying attention to what she is saying.

    "... or I'll throw you in it!"

    He manages to appear suitably admonished despite having missed her actual threat, and Neverwhere takes up her trail again as the clouds above slowly begin to break apart. Bright eyes watch longingly for a hint of the Isle through the seafog until the dark shape of his dam recedes, disappearing behind a rocky ridge. He can hear her hooves pause, grinding against rock, as she waits just out of sight for him to catch up.

    Wherewolf

    Image colored by Ratty

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    #2



    Tornados from a butterfly's wing


    Velvet black and embedded with sky bright gems, Amarine had taken to the moors of Nerine that day. There was a restlessness in her bones. A vibrating need to keep moving, when her stomach churned. A shock of electric teal mane puffed across her neck in the wind she'd never been able to shake. Knots of blue that tugged her onward. 

    She scanned the horizon repeatedly. There was something coming, she knew it, but couldn't say what. Just that there was a heaviness in the air that dogged her like an incoming thunderstorm. The lingering mist wasn't helping anything either. Everywhere were vacant shapes and shadows that teased her mind with images of hungry beasts just out of sight. 

    She had almost decided to give up the day as a bad job, even this early, and to escape to the rugged shelter of the cave she'd been living in. Back to bed. She had turned to face homeward when a thread of something touched her mind. Was it scent, or feeling? Danger, or anger. 

    Her lips pressed tight against each other as motion followed the vague sensation. Whirls of mist around a dark figure emerging from the vale. 

    Ama doubted her eyes. Blinked harder, and saw the figure resolve into a face she remembered. Bald and ornery and missing from these cliffs for far too long. 

    Like a shot from a gun, her nimble hooves careened the pony girl over tussocks of grass and runs of skree until she arrived huffing and puffing before the taller woman. "Neverwhere!" She cried, dancing on her hind legs in wonder. When her forelegs dropped back to earth, she pressed close to the mare, wuffling muzzle inhaling the woman's scent. It was her alright. 

    "Where have you been! Everyone's been looking for you, and no one has told me what's been going on, not even after aunt Lilli was taken, but I know everyone has been scared and angry and then that horrible dragon man showed up and said he'd been sent to find you, but I don't think he was really interested in it," she paused for breath, inhaling the scent of the mare who was not her mother, but the closest thing she'd found to one. 

    Her eyes were liquid stone, glossy with emotions that for once overruled the ones of those around her. "I thought we'd- I'd, lost you." It was a bigger display of feelings than she'd thought she'd get away with, but it couldn't be helped. Relief, all consuming relief had flooded her, and the sensation rippled around her in an unbound bubble. 

    Until the sun broke through the clouds overhead, and caught on flecks of gold in the shadow at Neverwhere's hip. Ama froze, eyes riveted to the little shape she'd only just noticed. "What-" she said, voice suddenly low and measured where it had been lightning quick moments before. "What is that?" The click of her teeth snapping against one another underlined the question.

    ...Amarine





    Wherewolf
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    #3



    Hooves ring on the granite underfoot, followed closely by a voice that bounces brightly off the walls of the cliffs around them. Ama. Neverwhere's sort-of-daughter is suddenly plunging herself against the mare's broadside, pressing close and tracing her shape with her dark nose and her queer eyes as if to convince herself that what she sees and feels is real. The bald-faced mare remains still and stoic for a moment, then presses the side of her muzzle against Amarine's with a whuffling breath of greeting, her ears flickering beneath the torrent of words.

    "I... did not mean to go anywhere," It's not the whole truth, not the entire story, but it is sincere. She had not meant to leave, and she still does not know where she had been headed in the delirium of fever and shock and loss of blood, "but I got lucky and found friends."

    Friends, she thinks, that may not wish to be found themselves. She does not mention Pteron or Aegean or the forest. Instead she pulls slightly away to catch the yearling's gaze with her own, stern and frowning.

    "Which dragon man? When?" Her life has been too full of dragons, but only one troubles her, and him because he is not a dragon at all, though he may take its shape. Only one that she has told never to return. She can't think why any of the others might have come looking for her. What could they have wanted? Perhaps she is wrong, they each trouble her, but some more than others. One part of that trouble comes around the corner, drawn by the sound of a young stranger, though for a moment he holds back, bright eyes taking in the sight of the girl that clings to his mother and the reciprocal gentleness with which the silvered mare greets her speaks - however subtly - to an affection that sparks jealousy in his heart.

    What is that? the boy thinks, What are you?

    "That is my son. Wherewolf." His mother says after a pause, a soft strangulation still lingering in her voice when she says the words. Wherewolf stomps his way forward, small ears flicking back as he pulls in close to his mother, wedging himself between her and the girl. He, of anyone, should know the graces of his mother are hard to come by, and he isn't about to try sharing those few soft touches and quiet moments with whoever this black and bejeweled yearling thinks she is. The brush of his short silver tail snaps and flips over his back, thin neck curling back so he can squeal and toss his head.

    So wrapped up is he in warning Amarine away that he does not see the amusement in his mother's clouded eyes, nor the way her ears flatten when she nips at his haunch in reprimand. His squeal turns to protest and the gold-dappled boy jumps away, turning invisible suddenly to nurse his wounded pride where no-one can see the pout on his face. Neverwhere scoffs at the dramatics - she is certain he does not get that from her - and turns back to Ama.

    "Ama, tell me what happened while I was gone."

    Unseen, but not unheard, Woolly sulkily sneaks close again.

    Wherewolf

    Image colored by Ratty



    Amarine ok, this is mostly Nev but I wanted to use wooly's html because he's adorable lmao
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    #4



    Tornados from a butterfly's wing


    Ama's head spun with it all. Neverwhere was back and that was good, but she'd missed so much and the midnight girl didn't know where to start to catch her up. She was back, but she wasn't alone, and the metallic dappled boy seemed quick to stake his own claim on the bald faced mare. Ama's mouth pinched ruefully, heart tugging with her own taste of jealousy. She may have Neverwhere's hard won affections. But the colt could call her Mother. 

    That wasn't the point though. 

    Eyeing the colt unhappily, the gemstone girl turned back to the bay mare. Tail flicking behind her, she met the woman's clouded gaze and began her report. "A stallion named Ghaul came here looking for you in the winter, said he was sent by aunt Lilli and also looking for a monster. A weird mare was also there but I don't think she was with him but she wanted to be. Aunt Wen talked to them for a bit and then they went on their ways, the weird scaly mare wasn't happy that the dragon stallion was looking for the monster. Aunt Wen probably knows more..." She ended, wishing she'd paid closer attention to what they'd been saying, instead of what they'd been feeling. 

    Speaking of which. 

    The little burnished colt was nearby. She could hear him sniffling, and feel the scorn and envy radiating from his invisible form. She frowned in his direction. "I'm not sure how I feel about you either, but pouting isn't going to make things better." She grumbled at seemingly nothing. From some dark corner of her heart, it occurred to the pony girl that she could make him like her. Love her, even. Just as quickly, she swallowed the urge down, heartsick. No, that wouldn't do at all.

    ...Amarine






    Wherewolf
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    #5



    "Ghaul was here?" Her voice is sharp, pinched in a way it usually isn't. Ghaul-- or Wolfbane? But surely Amarine would have known if Ghaul was not who he had said. She has a way of knowing, something that has as clearly marked her no natural-born child of Neverwhere as the crystal eyes and the tornadoes. Nothing about the little pony-girl is much like the mare gruff, shrewish, insensitive.

    No, perhaps that isn't entirely true, because Neverwhere has heard that sharp tongue wag when she is among her friends.

    One ear follows the sulky colt in his invisible world, huffing into the air somewhere behind her as he tries desperately to gain her attention. The ploy does not work, the Nerinian queen otherwise ignores him fully. The boy tries again, whuffing loudly, but his mother steadfastly ignores him. Instead, she moves closer to the small yearling and, unseen, he pins his smalls ears at them both. The girl is right though.

    "I'm not pouting!" He doesn't see Neverwhere roll her eyes. He hears her snort but not her whispered warning to Ama to watch her back. Unlike Neverwhere who came upon her power quite by accident and leaves it largely unpracticed, the bits of magic woven into Wherewolf's flesh are as natural to him as breath, the invisibility, the healing, the duplication - though he can only summon one to Neverwhere's five.

    But one is enough when the quarry is so focused on the jealous heart of an invisible boy. From behind, hard, flat teeth tugging hard at the bright strands of her tail.

    Wherewolf

    Image colored by Ratty



    Amarine
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