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    Aela -- Year 216


    "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

    [private]  i'd like to make myself believe


    some say I should learn to cry but I only learned how to fight
    and I know everything must die but nothing fades like the light

    The sky is pastel, streaked in colors and stars, dotted by the fluffiest, most peaceful clouds. Sitting on a distant bed of white is curled speck of red, so small that Elio almost thinks it isn't him.

    "Lannister?" the stallion whispers into the cotton candy breeze, looking handsome and open as his mane lifts and flutters around his face.

    Lannister: a gift, a force, a magic. A boy that stuck with him from the dream world to the real world, and then back again. The sweetest creation a stranger could offer him: Lannister. Elio will never forget what Catcher did for him, will never forget the dream-weaver's thoughtfulness as she granted him a heavenly son.

    There's been healing in their few meetings, mostly in the way that Lio has been able to laugh freely and wildly. The boy has a quick wit for a newly created creature--a keen mind eager to learn and grow and understand. The stallion longs to bring him down to Beqanna, to show him how the earth twinkles differently than their dreams. There's only so much Lannister can pull from Elio's mind--there's so much for him to learn, to see, to feel.

    Even in their dream world, they cannot have it all: Lannister young and uneducated, with whimsy and naivety comes feebleness and fear.

    While Elio does his best to keep his son safe and happy, there's only so much he can do for a trapped mind.

    "Dad?" Lio suddenly hears, and his ears perk happily. The little red dot hopes from cloud to cloud until it becomes a fully formed boy, faded gold stripes and all.

    "Son," the stallion murmurs, tucking the boy into his side for a warm embrace.

    "I've missed you."

    don't reply to this please i'm going to be talking to myself.
    elio is just hiding out in tephra while he spends all day sleeping so he can be with his son.
    also this is technically in a timeline from months ago because i'm slow.
    [Image: elio-by-dozymare-ddo34i6.png]

    The boy stumbles even as he floats, tripping on the clouds without thinking he has the power to make them just intangible enough for a light bounce.

    Nothing else matters, though, when Elio arrives. Lannister can't always find him so when he does, he scrambles with the kind of excitement only a child may express.

    He is a little, red ball of energy as he flings himself into his father's arms. "Dad!" he cries, boyish voice flying up and down in sweet excitement. "I missed you. Where have you been? Did you do anything cool? Or see any cool animals? What kind of--"

    "Lannister!" Elio cries with a laugh, blinking clear eyes down at his eager dream-son. The boy draws back with a blissful, ignorant smile. The gold on his face lights up as Lan draws miniature stars from the pastel sky around them. They blink, blink, blink and spin up and around his ears to find little circles around Elio's eyes. An innocent, lopsided grin lifts the colt's mouth.

    "C'mon, Dad, I wanna knoooow," he pleads, rubbing his head into Elio's chest before dashing off into the swirling colors of the sky. Suddenly, the clouds melt and the pair are falling. The stallion's stomach drops but he is used to son's tricks by now, opting to tuck his legs and merely plummet. Lannister is dropping just beneath him, back to the approaching ground and face lit up in an excited grin.

    The jungle soil is soft and buoyant when they hit the ground. Trees that weren't there moments before now grow taller and taller around them. Lio can tell Lan is tugging out his memories of Tephra, the little offerings of knowledge and experience he gathers just for him.

    Tall ferns and flowers of every color sprout around them, the growth coming to a sudden halt when a parrot settles curiously on Lannister's shoulder.

    "So cool, Dad . . . Show me more," the boy murmurs.



    some say I should learn to cry but I only learned how to fight
    and I know everything must die but nothing fades like the light

    "Okay . . ." Elio murmur, wiggling his back in the goofiest way a horse can so his side is cuddled against his son's.

    Around them, the world blooms.

    To their left, flowers of all colors of the rainbow sprout up, matching Lannister's delighted giggles in beauty. Every kind of parrot flutters around them, perching in high branches peering down at them with dark, gleaming eyes. Ferns as large as boulders spread a few feet in front of their pedaling back legs. Palms as old and as sturdy as Taiga's redwoods circle around their little clearing. Dangling a paw from a low-hanging branch ahead of them, a docile and sleepy panther struggles to keep its eyes open.

    All the while, Elio can't take his eyes off of his enraptured son. His mouth is lifted with the distant awe of a parent so proud they can't contain the bubbling in their chest.

    "Did I do a good job?" Lio whispers, mouth lifting even wider when Lannister flips on his side to rest his head on his father's stomach.

    "Yes!" the boy yells, short and sweet as his gaze continues to study all the things he's never seen before.

    "What do you do when we're not together, Dad?" Lan whispers, shifting his muzzle so he's facing Elio's head as it rests against the soft ground. "Do you have any other sons? Do I have more family?"

    Lio's heart swells and pounds with so much pain and love that at first, all he can muster is a simple closing of his eyes. He sighs into the ache, not a sound of disappointment but one of resignation and sudden exhaustion.

    "You do have family, Lan. So much family, but no, you don't have any brothers," Elio murmurs, unsure of how to detail how his days are so dull when he's not searching for new things to show his son.

    "When I'm not with you, I'm always looking for you in everything I see. So I can make sure I remember all the things I know you'd want to know, so I can dream in all the colors and creatures you want to control. I don't know what I'm doing other than that, Lan. You're the most important thing in my life."

    [Image: elio-by-dozymare-ddo34i6.png]

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