"(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
He makes his way down the mountain carefully, the Fairy's words running through his mind again and again on an endless loop. I will take away your gourd shifting, she had said. Just like that, a flick of an ear, a wing, a tail, the twitch of her ethereal nose, she was gone and... well, and he presumed the shifting, too, was gone. He did not want to think that she might have been lying, that she had played a trick on him.
I will take away your gourd shifting.What was left? A normal life stretches ahead of the green boy, one free of that panic, that fear, the suspicion that creased his brow and made him purse his lips, that made him shrink away from others the way his sire does. The sun shines brightly on Florian, picking his way down the mountain and finding footing again in the lush meadow. Warmth and relief loosen muscles he did not know were held tight and his head lowers slightly on a relaxed neck, the sunset pink and orange curls of his hock length tail waving loose. The yearling snorts and shakes, throwing tension from his body and then, with a tentative grin on his dark lips and laughter in his claret-red eyes, he bounds deeper into the grassy field, bucking and filling the early autumn air with joyful squealing.
I will take away your gourd shifting.
For the first time ever, he is free to revel in heightened emotion without fear and happiness swells his chest near to bursting.
The meadow, and any common land really, still attracts the Ischian shifter, even if it is colder on the mainland. He’d easily change himself into something with longer fur - suddenly remembering the strange encounter with a bear shifter, he wonders if he’ll ever meet her again - but he chooses to only manipulate his natural fur into a wintery coat. Perhaps his hair is a little too long now, but he could care little about his looks - always able to change it.
It is in fact the look of another, a young stallion, that makes the mostly-white stallion perk his ears. The young man seems jubilant in his ways, walking around with almost a spring in his step, and the green-eyed baroque lifts his head and perks his ears, watching the oddly colored colt buck and rear through the meadow. Curious, but with a grin on his face, the white spotted male follows him a while, then calls to him to catch his attention. ”Hi there! What got you so happy today? Or should I say who?”
At first, the voice settles on him and all the old fears rise like bile in his throat, but then he remembers, and Florian turns to the stallion with shining eyes. Freedom makes him over-bold and he follows the turn of his head, redirects his steps to come closer to the shaggy white stallion with an effervescent smile. Small ears press forward, wine-colored eyes searching the stranger's face eagerly.
"Fairies!" he replies to the other's question. Freedom from an affliction, he might continue, but the thought threatens to pop the bubble of happiness in his chest, a memory of darkness and forgetting that he would, quite fittingly, prefer to forget. The boy has already resolved to never speak of the trouble again - except to find his father and tell him what he has learned. Freedom can be attained upon the Mountain. It does not occur to him that the stallion before him might ask what task he has been set to, or what he had been tasked with gain his boon, because, of course, he has no frame of reference. The Fairies have been generous to him, he does not stop to think that to others they may not be. Instead, he tilts his green head to one side, the short locks of his young mane flopping childishly from one side to the other.
The fairies - he hasn't met those in a while. Fae were more fickle than fire, he was told, and dangerous in their ideas of games and challenges of mortal souls. He had, of course, ignored all that talk. For a boy roughly the striped colt's age, no, younger even - they were every bit the attraction they made themselves to be.
Aodhán had never gone up to the mountain for a quest for himself; his questions would not be easily answered, and besides, did he still have any at this point? Maybe just the one everyone always has. Why?
Why bother at all with the mortals below, were they just bored, he would wonder - and then he would stop wondering, because the world was made of pretty things, and he wasn't one to hold grudges. Why they had needed his sister for to make a cure against such a plague, he wasn't sure - nor why the Cure did more than just heal a sickness. He also remembered getting caught by a sand monster - or just quicksand, he realized in retrospect. It was a game of give and take. "So, you finished your quest?" he asks the brindled colt curiously - it's not like Aodhán really is bothered if the young male before him hadn't - sometimes things just happened. Laconic, he tilts his head at the younger man and smiles when he answers the question. "I have. Prettiest blue in the whole world if I ever saw one." But he would never see her again, he knew - the Resort was just what it was, right now, and it needed no fairy to watch out for it.
And so, he shrugs. No matter the outcome, it was all well and good. "I'm Aodhán, by the way."
Florian's mood could best be described as incandescent and he barely pauses to ask the stallion about the Fairies. He nods eagerly in agreement when Aodhan says his Fairy had been pretty - indeed she was lovely. She had not been blue, though, but small and white with a mane and tail of braided wisteria blossoms in miniature. A different one, perhaps - is it madder to assume that there is more than one, or that there is not and that Beqanna is ruled by one entity that takes hundreds of forms? The question threatens to dim his brightness with a new curiosity, so he pushes it away for now, and grins again at the stallion before him, flashing white teeth with a childish laugh, his young voice still pitched high.
"I wasn't given a quest," and this does give him pause, his head tipping slightly left as he considers it because he knows that this is not usually the way, "I went to ask for a way to protect myself, and instead she took away my reason for needing protection."
This statement makes him feel very brave, despite the way his youth is written across his body, and he arches his neck, shifting his weight forward to puff out his chest. A family curse wiped away, something that lurked in his blood, his father's blood, plucked out, is it any wonder he is so happy? Perhaps he should be more cautious, perhaps he should be suspicious, certainly, others might mistrust the generosity of a creature known to be tricky and fickle, but the colt is a creature of good faith
"My dad's lived with our curse for years," the boy dances in place, dropping the proud stance of just moments before, "I can't wait to tell him that the Fairies can just fix it. Easy as blinking!" He stops his jigging to peer up at Aodhan with one ear turned back curiously, " I did think it would be harder than that, but she was so nice."
And then the boy shrugs it away, "Aodhan. My name is Florian. Why did you go to the Mountain? Did you have a curse, too?"
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