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    COTY

    Aela -- Year 216

    QOTY

    "So she smiles prettily and steals away when she can. Feels the brutal pounding of others around her with a savagery that she has never comprehended—their emotions so vast, their hearts so wicked. It warps her more than she was already warped. It presses a thumbprint of cruelty into her darkness, shaping her into a thing of shadow, a thing of longing, a thing carved from the darkness between every breath." --Baptiste, written by Laura


    I wait for light like water from the sky;
    #1

    Ilma
    a certain type of silence has filled my voice
    I scream beneath the water
    and make no noise

    To say that everything she did yesterday was unplanned was a lie - there’d been a certain moment, however brief, that she knew she was on a path of no return, that she knew which actions would lead to what - though to experience them was a wholly different matter, and she’d agreed to the choice to move forward very quickly.

    Regret is a thing one cannot know when there’s little to remember at all, and so she dozes on the soft grass near the Tephran border without any troubles on her mind. Sheltered by a few trees that the land has technically in common with Taiga and Sylva, carried by the soft hums of Svedka’s breathing, she dreams lightly - of future times, perhaps, happier moments just like these.

    Come dawn, rays of sunlight creep up on her peripheral vision, though not necessarily from above but from her wings. She has yet to find a way to take some more control over those; so far they wake her each morning with the sunrise, simply by existing when the sun does. The alabaster mare yawns, giving the stallion a once-over, then nestles her head into the crevice of his neck and shoulder. ”Morning, sleepyhead,” she murmurs into his throat, smiling because she knows not many would have said that to him in his lifetime - on their trip he’s been too active at night to not be awake come dawn; in fact she suspects he usually sleeps during the day.

    Ilma pulls her head back reluctantly, blinking against the sun. She gets up much the same way, shaking herself in the morning air and takes a few steps away from the palomino-spotted male - not that she likes to, but there’s things to do today - the same things they had both very willingly pushed back to today.

    The autumn morning is crisp on her skin, but the hot stream they’d found themselves in yesterday had not moved. In fact... snorting, she looks down on the blue-maned stallion. ”I guess that bath needs a do-over now,” she states almost matter-of-factly - if it weren’t for the obviously amused tone in her voice and the twinkle in her eye, of course.

    Joke or not, she is going to bathe, and she doesn’t wait for his response to move towards the water - they smell so obviously of one another, even if they walked into Tephra separated by a whole day it would be clear how they spent last night, exactly.

    will you let me follow you,
    wherever you go… bring me home?

    @[Svedka]
    @[Solace] @[Kagerus] take 2 I guess! Haha
    Any fool knows men and women think differently at times, but the biggest difference is this: men forget, but never forgive; women forgive, but never forget.
    Robert Jordan, Wheel of Time
    Reply
    #2

    let my shadows prove the sunshine

    Daylight finds them even beneath the shelter of a few sparse trees and quickly intends to stir them from sleep. Svedka groans in defiance, long before Ilma’s voice would encourage him further. The feeling of the burning sun on his skin reminds him of his days as a colt - and even then, he hated the Tephran mornings, seeing as the heat made it impossible to sleep in. For a moment, though, he relishes in this in-between; where he is not quite conscious yet not fully asleep, grasping tightly to the strands of sleep. He can feel her beside him, warm and soft, and he does his best to sidle even closer, shouldering his way across the soft earth.

    Svedka knows nothing of regret (not yet, anyway) and is merely happy to sleep his day away without any real thought or reason. He nearly tells Ilma this, that they should just continue to sleep here forever until they absolutely haveto get up, but when her head nestles into the crook of his neck and shoulder while her lilting voice encourages him from his light dozing, he finds himself incapable to argue.

    He harrumphs in response, a smile pulling at his pink lips while his eyes remain stubbornly closed. It almost appears as if he isn’t going to move, but as Ilma moves from him he grimaces. “Ugh,” he says quite dramatically, nuzzling his head into the ground in defiance, disliking the coolness that fills in the area she once kept warm. She’s talking about baths and getting the day started and, much like the colt he once was, he whines with tiredness. “We look fine,” he grumbles as he stretches his ivory legs out from beneath him, groaning as the tight muscles begin to loosen. His eyes are still closed, however, so there is no way for him to truly know if that was the case.

    Finally, one single blue eye opens and the stallion raises his head. Perhaps its the idea of another swim with her that rouses him from sleep or simply the fact that she is now no longer beside him and seemed completely fine with continuing that distance. He snorts sharply, rolling in one fluid movement onto his back, twisting his spine to grind the dirt into his skin. He huffs, laying there for a moment with his legs curled above him before his eyes glance at her.

    “Alright, alright,” he tells her defeatedly, despite the smile that lingers lazily on his lips. He goes to stand, a fine layer of dust settling across the white and champagne of his skin, smirking devilishly. “You’ll help me reach the places I can’t, yes?” Svedka strides past her, his mouth pressing against her flank, then ribcage, her shoulder, and lastly her cheek, in gentle kisses. Satisfied in his morning greeting, the stallion enters the stream and halts, turning his head over his shoulder to give her a wink.

    svedka




    @[Ilma] @[Solace] @[Kagerus]
    Reply
    #3


    Her days move slower in Tephra. She dreams more, every moment she spends with Iri is dear to her, and she is rarely called on by strangers. Her favorite waking moments are spent among the clouds, teaching Indi to fly, and they make time for it every night, no matter the weather. She wanted him to be a strong flyer, and the preculture nature of his wings meant he would need to practice more than others to be able to manage in any condition. 

    But today, she is happily wasting the morning away with her wife.

    Idly, they follow one of Tephra's many streams, walking slow and talking fast. The conversation switches for light to heavy and back to light with ease, as they discuss whatever comes to mind, and enjoy these moments alone. Their words are getting a little heated as they argue playfully, butting heads over something Solace immediately forgets about when she looks up and sees a face from their past.

    It has been a long time since Solace has seen anyone other than family, she had become very comfortable with her retired lifestyle, and the sight of Ilma catches her off-guard - despite their friendship in years long past.

    It takes gold-splashed mare a moment to realize the stallion standing next to her is Svedka, but when she does, her surprised look quickly changes to a warm smile. Luckily, it seems the two bathers were engrossed in their own conversation, and she hopes that maybe Ilma missed the look she was not careful enough to hide.

    "Tephra is full of old faces these days," she says with a laugh, once the couple have turned to her. With her cerulean feathers held carefully above her back, Solace steps forward to the edge of the creek to greet Ilma before turning her crystalline eyes on Svedka. "How long were you going to keeping her all to yourself, brother?"

    S
    olace
        we're reeling through an endless fall
    we are the ever-living ghost of what once was
    Solghostdoll2

    Reply
    #4
    Kagerus
    { and in my dreams I've kissed your lips a thousand times }

    "Listen, I'm just saying that if it came down to you, me, and Castile in a fight, I would kick Castile's ass way faster than you could and don't try to --"

    The sight of a ghost from our past interrupts our playful banter. All of a sudden the path we trode down with merriment not moments before seems to become burdened, heavy with memories; but the sight of the memories flirting and frisking towards a pool negates that heaviness. While Solace gapes I stutter under my breath. "Ambassador..."

    I fix my face as Solace does hers.

    In step with my beautiful wife, I go to join my brother-in-law and once ambassador and very close friend. Ilma. While Solace greets them both I take a moment to observe the situation, to recall from years past the exact nature of these two's relationship. Thoughts of Ilma's long-ago assault and Svedka's steadfast dodging of any long-term affections both conflict with the visuals I am presented with here, never mind the fact that Ilma disappeared so long ago. When all falls silent, however, I choose to ignore my misgivings, or at least to set them aside for private speculation at a later time.

    Svedka seems taken with her, so why should I hesitate? (A voice in the back of my mind laughs at this naive placement of trust in the once Heart of Hyaline. He was called the Heart for a reason, after all; we couldn't exactly call him the Brain or the Brawn [hence why we had an ambassador and a general,too]).

    "Ilma!" I exult, ears flicked forward and scarred lips pulling into a grin. "It's been too long." With that, I step forward to offer the mare an embrace...

    [Image: kag]
    dreamweaver
    Reply
    #5

    Ilma
    a certain type of silence has filled my voice
    I scream beneath the water
    and make no noise

    "I've definitely seen you looking better." she counters; besides, there's this itching feeling that she has to hurry up. That said she just likes to mock him and see if he'll move when she continues her walk. A satisfied smile curls her lips where he can't see, when she hears his admittance and subsequent movements. Nevertheless she doesn't stop, easily sliding beneath the surface to refresh herself.

    It's only heartbeats after Svedka - finally - joins her, that she hears the mare's voices. Rounding a corner, they both stop in their tracks and their playful banter, stunned by the fact that she is here.

    She knew of course that they have a shared history, but it's hard on her to know this and actually see it. Both look... it's not that they're unhappy to see her, but if it's a good surprise remains to be seen for a moment. Ambassador? A title, not a name. The white mare doesn't blame them for it, but still, it somewhat hurts - strange how that works, she thinks, that her insecurity about not truly, not really knowing them, makes her doubt herself.

    She moves out of the water quickly, probably much to Svedka's regret, but it's not him she worries about now. It's Solace she meets with a touch of noses and exchange of breath, not unlike she would have done to a complete stranger, but a similarly fitting way to greet an old friend. The cerulean-winged mare is obviously Svedka's sister, which names her Solace, and the other must then be Kagerus. From what she's told, an even older friend, and she shouldn't be surprised if the patched woman steps forward to embrace her.

    And yet, she does. She doesn't pull away (which would, as well, have dumped her back in the water, though that is besides the point), but she doesn't exactly hug back either, much the same thing she had done with Svedka. She softens when the touch prolongs, true, but she shakes her head. "I have..." No memories? Not true, she thinks. She's seen them before, though the setting seems to conflict with what Svedka knew. There's probably a good explanation for her memories of the two mares being here, in Tephra, and being so fragmented that she only sees short images, and doesn't remember anything they ever said to her. "I don't... remember?" Not the word for it but it has to do, "I do have deja vu, a lot. Flashes." she frowns and shakes her head, the look on her face more a pleading one than one of sorrow when she makes contact with the other two mares again. Please have patience while I sort this all out, while I try to understand my weird flashbacks. "If Svedka hadn't found me, I don't know where I'd be." Nowhere, probably. Still wandering around. Someone else might have recognized her - from the looks of it she's just relieved that what he said was true so far, and that it was a friend. Or, perhaps even more than that, but she doesn't want to label them after one night, when she just doesn't know him long enough to tell if this feeling will stay; if he'll stay (though, his sisters seem to keep him around at least). Yet, from what she seems to remember of him, Tephra is his home.

    Whatever happened in Hyaline, it had stayed in Hyaline. For now.

    It's an almost helpless look she glances his way - perhaps he's better at explaining than she is, right now. The air is thick with confusion and tension, exactly the kind she knew would happen, but also knew she could not avoid.

    will you let me follow you,
    wherever you go… bring me home?

    @[Svedka] yours next
    Any fool knows men and women think differently at times, but the biggest difference is this: men forget, but never forgive; women forgive, but never forget.
    Robert Jordan, Wheel of Time
    Reply
    #6

    let my shadows prove the sunshine

    Svedka’s champagne colored ears flick away from Ilma, familiar voices just a breath away. He cannot help the dashing grin that finds the pink of his lips, tossing his head and straightening, completely content with remaining in the quiet stream until his sisters found him and Ilma. The familiar faces of both the antlered Kagerus and his beautiful twin soon come into view and he whinnies to them encouragingly, suddenly very awake than he had been moments ago. He makes a face, wrinkling his nostrils as his blue eyes flash from Ilma and back to his sisters on the soft bank. “Whose ass are we kicking?” Svedka asks curiously and with a devilish smile, only having heard the last piece of Kagerus’ sentence as they came into sight. He quickly laughs, not really caring for an answer - for they all know Svedka is a lover, not a fighter. 

    The stallion finds Solace’s eyes - so familiar and comforting when he looks into them - his grin softening into a gentle smile, warmth smoothing the edges of his face as she greets Ilma. “I’m entitled to my secrets, sweet sister,” he remarks with a tender chuckle, stepping forward to lip affectionately at her frosted forelock. He then turns to greet Kagerus as well, brushing his mouth fondly in a quick kiss to her dark cheek. 

    Svedka’s bright gaze turns to Ilma, becoming dark for a moment with concern. He watches her carefully, as always, gauging her reactions and ensuring that the moments ahead would not add any more stress to her. He steps closer as the confusion flickers over her pale face, silent but with an encouraging touch of his nose to hers. “I don’t know what happened,” he tells his sisters honestly, his warm gaze on Ilma for a moment longer before he sighs softly, turning towards the couple. “I don’t know if she was cursed, or if there was an accident. I’ve tried to help her remember, but again, it’s all broken up and in pieces.”

    Thoughtfully he purses his lips, wondering if the waterfall or Kagerus herself could string the pieces back together and put back what had been shattered. “The safest place would be here, with us,” he muses quietly, offering Ilma a soft smile. Perhaps her memories would come back and perhaps they wouldn’t. Either way, he knew that himself and both Kagerus and Solace would create a space for her that could feel like home, eventually. 

    svedka




    @[Solace]
    Reply
    #7



    As Svedka reminds her that his secrets are his own, Solace gives a light laugh of agreement. When it came to love and lovers, his secrets were plentiful, but she felt no need to pry into his affairs. It had always been an unspoken understanding between them since their adolescence, an understanding she was content to uphold. But as moves to greet Kagerus, Solace's gaze returns to the white mare, and the reunion takes on a more serious air.

    What Ilma has to say is concerning, and far different than what Solace had been expecting. The sounds of bird-song and gently moving water fade away and Solace nods as Ilma speaks, marveling at how lucky they were that Svedka the one to find her. She didn't want to think of the other possibilities.

    Svedka's explanation fills in the gaps, but Solace's brow remains furrowed. "Tephra is a quiet, safe place for, for now," she agrees. But it was a fickle world they lived in, and Solace would not want to be stuck in Ilma's situation.  "But there must be something else we can try if time alone does not seem to be enough."

    And there was still the mystery of how Ilma lost her memories in the first place. But Solace doubts questioning her on the topic will be of any use. Ilma seemed to be just as confused as they were.

    "Maybe a trip to the mountain would help... or, Kagerus," she turns to look back to her wife, "Do you think in the dreamscape you could find her old memories?" Solace's voice is unsure but hopeful. Both options had potential, but the choice would be Ilma's. The mountain was a dangerous place, and Kagerus had the scars to prove that. But Ilma's situation was one that may be worth the risk.

    "Ilma we will help however you need us to."

    S
    olace
        we're reeling through an endless fall
    we are the ever-living ghost of what once was


    @[Kagerus]
    Solghostdoll2

    Reply
    #8
    Kagerus
    { and in my dreams I've kissed your lips a thousand times }

    Where I expected a warm, welcoming embrace, I instead receive the stiff and tentative toleration of a relative stranger; Ilma's figure folds not around me but instead accepts my touch as if it could not be avoided. Noting that, I cut the embrace short well ahead of time, stepping back such that the gesture more resembles a chest bump than anything intimate.

    Maybe she --
    No, I correct myself, not allowing myself to believe that somewhere along the way I fell out of Ilma's favour. Something else must be going on.

    And sure enough, the explanation comes. Bit by bit, as though to exemplify just how the memory loss impacts not just Ilma in general but also Ilma in the exact present moment. A jolt of emotion runs rampant across my face to know that the formative memories of our friendship belong to me alone now, useless there until such time that either she regains her memory or we start a friendship anew. Grief, I would call it. I grieve the loss of my dearest friend's memories.

    Svedka chimes in with his own interpretation of the situation at hand, stating at last that Ilma would be safest here. "Yes," I agree, looking from the stallion to the mare. "Here is best." Despite not knowing the leadership or political climate of Tephra whatsoever (by conscious choice, of course), so far our family has been allowed to live her without a single quibble. It reminds me much of the Hyaline of Solace's youth.

    Do you think in the dreamscape you could find her old memories?

    "Well, it wouldn't be too hard, considering a number of those memories are mine, too," I allow, mulling the idea over with a tilt of my scarred face. "It certainly would be worth trying before heading to the mountain. Though, by the looks of things," and here I offer Svedka a scathing, prudish glower (one that is made in jest... halfly, anyway,) "you haven't been exactly racing to return to what may once have been normal. And, to be honest, I do not begrudge you that."

    "So, if you would like to try that at any time, Ilma, please feel free to approach me."
    I offer a widespread smile. "Until then, I am just happy for us four to be here... Who would have thought. Hyaline's once-council together again.."

    [Image: kag]
    dreamweaver
    Reply
    #9

    Ilma
    a certain type of silence has filled my voice
    I scream beneath the water
    and make no noise

    The friendship I have been told was there, was old, and existed naturally, was strange to find in the gazes of two mares I hardly know. Still, there is a resonance with them, in a way that runs as deep as whatever it was I had felt with Svedka. Entitled to my secrets, he says, and there’s a small smile on my face for his choice of words, though the conflict of one-and-a-thousand feelings in my eyes must be visible. I did that - we did that - but now I do not have a name for what he is to me, afraid that choosing the wrong one will end badly for us both. How little I knew of him, I had felt certain that he spoke truth, that we knew eachother, and had he told me last night was no our first I would have believed it.

    In Solace’s eyes however, I find a spark of surprise, though not one that says this is completely against my or our character. In Solace’s eyes I find the kind of security I’ve been looking for - it is the kind of surprise that is about timing, and then the smile of knowing that follows is the subtle encouragement I need to be sure about my choices.

    Kagerus’ subtly quick retreat is of a similar nature - when I look at her, she is hurt for a moment that I haven’t returned the gesture so eagerly, but thankfully a different kind of hurt takes its place with my... with Svedka’s explanation really, because mine was horrible. I nod when both mares agree that this is the safest place to be, as if I -or they- might not have agreed with Svedka otherwise. I keep my comment to myself as I look between them... when the blue-winged mare starts about a mountain and about dreams. I twist my head towards the antlered mare, and chuckle a bit when she says I haven’t returned to what has been normal. ”I may not have... or maybe I did. You are my family.” The latter comes out much rawer than the first, as the words force themselves out. My throat seems raw as if the forced words were more or less a cough, but when I blink and swallow, nothing else is left from what I said, and I hardly remember that I did.

    Instead, I focus on Kagerus and her offer, her mentioning of Hyaline, and I nod. ”Perhaps we should try the dreams. I have a bad feeling about this mountain of yours - no offence,” I add towards Solace. ”It’s probably just the feeling.” And still I can’t shake the ominous cloud that darkens my every vision of the mountain. As if my memories of it, or of Hyaline, might not be good any more? I don’t know, but know I am safe here with them, and I should just stay.

    And why not? Everything seems perfect here.

    will you let me follow you,
    wherever you go… bring me home?

    @[Svedka]
    Any fool knows men and women think differently at times, but the biggest difference is this: men forget, but never forgive; women forgive, but never forget.
    Robert Jordan, Wheel of Time
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