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    Assailant -- Year 226


    "But the dream, the echo, slips from him as quickly as he had found it and as consciousness comes to him (a slap and not the gentle waves of oceanic tides), it dissolves entirely. His muscles relax as the cold claims him again, as the numbness sets in, and when his grey eyes open, there’s nothing but the faint after burn of a dream often trod and never remembered." --Brigade, written by Laura

    couldn't stop the ocean leaking in the cracks; demi
    Ruhr often has dreams of the petrified statue beside the water. The dreams are never pleasant ones, but as he often shakes himself awake in terror, at least they are rarely long dreams. The Moon does not speak to him when he dreams of the statue, of the fear on the acolyte’s frozen face, of the way the whole thing had shone like the moon, faintly and eternally.

    Ruhr glows like that now, glows with light.

    Her light. Or is it His?

    The Moon overhead is as slim as a blade of grass, and yet the swaying grasses around him are aglow with light that he emanates. This magic was not a gift from Her, after all. He had taken it at Her behest, but he had paid the price.

    Is paying the price still, as he surveys the still-dark world around him. He shakes his feathered head, as though the action might dislodge the image of the acolyte’s face from his mind.

    The effort only rearranges his colorful mane, crossing the strands of dusky purple with the brighter yellows, twisting the salmon with the rose. Like his wings and the markings along his legs and face, the sunset-colored markings are the only part of him that had not greyed out with time. Once, his body had been indistinguishable from the summer sunset, and now the dapples of his grey coat have nearly faded to white.

    Time, he thinks as he inspects his long-ago injured foreleg. She had promised him time.

    Still, he ages.

    He doubts. He doubts, and yet he glows.

    He tries to close his eyes, to drift back to sleep where at least he does not doubt. But sleep eludes him, as it always does when he wakes from such dreams. Raising his head, the dark- eyed stallion looks at the clear sky overhead, then south to where the sea spreads toward the remnants of Stratos.

    He crouches over his hind legs, and with a leap and several hard flaps of his feathered wings, the bird-like Stratosian is aloft. Within a few heartbeats, he disappears into the dark sky.

    Ruhr lands some time later, his hooves touching down on the dawn-gold sand. His breathing is quick and his hair and feathers are damp with the sweat of physical exertion and his head is wonderfully, peacefully, clear.

    Looking up and down the long beach where they had landed last night, the stallion searches for Demi. She’d chosen this destination, and though he is curious about the Gates he does not intend to venture deeper without the spotted mare.

    Their time in Stratos had been enjoyable to say the least.  Even now, as they land upon a new magical land, I wonder about the past of the sky kingdom.  Ruhr's hesitation to speak of it though made me believe it wasn't as peaceful as it was now.

    My body morphed into the glider of the night upon our leave of Stratos and it does not change even when we land.  Night had fallen and I was content on roasting within the boughs of a Wysteria tree.  The pinkish purple blooms, muted by the dark of the night, complimented the silver cream hue of my form even now.

    Tucked away, my moon shaped face turns to view Ruhr where he comes to rest before my large eyes disappear behind heavy eyelids.


    I had awakened to find hints of dawn beginning to chase away the darkness.  With a few blinks to vanquish the sleep from my eyes, I find Ruhr not where he had been.  It does not surprise me that my winged companion in gone.  He often left in the night.  For what reason I am truly unsure, but he had always returned before the dawn.

    Stretching my speckled wings from my sides, I shake my body awake and descend from my place of rest.  As I glide only a foot or two from the floral dotted meadow my form shifts effortlessly into a trotting equine of cherry and cream.

    My body bends as I continue the two-beat pace, bringing me to face the tree I had just left.  The expanse of ocean is not far and so I decide a walk on a sunrise beach would suffice while I wait for whatever the day was to bring.

    It isn't far down the golden sand shore that I see the tones of his sunset tinted form.  A smile creases my lips as I pick back up my faster pace.  The sea-salt breeze flows through my mane and tail that flies like a banner behind me.

    As I come within a few paces of him I accelerate into a gallop, adjusting my trajectory to pass alongside him.  

    Delicately I tuck my feminine face to my chest.  When I pass him, I toss my head, kicking my forelimbs out in front of me playfully.  I continue a few more paces down the beach waiting to see what he does...
    Legends & Myths

    Appearance: Barn Owl and equine form

    //Avian Shifting-Phoenix Type Immortality\\
    Her appearance will be noted 
    at the end of each reply.
    The sky is pink with sunrise, and a warm morning wind lifts the mane and feathers of his neck. Ruhr raises his head, breathing deeply of the salty air, warm and heavy even this early in the morning, and rich with the scent of countless flowers.

    Compared to his darting speed while flying, Ruhr’s pace along the beach is little more than a steady plod. The limp in his right foreleg prevents much speed, but the sand provides sturdy footing as the greying stallion makes his way along the shore.

    The sound of hooves is hard to make out over the crash of waves, but the red and white mare is far easier to see as she makes her way toward him. Having left her while she wore the shape of an owl, Ruhr is unsurprised to find her once more transitioned into a mare. Demi has been chosen by the Moon; her ability to take many forms is proof of that. Having promised to remain at her bidding until she or the Moon released him, the feathered stallion watches her gallop by with the same soft-eyed adoration as always.

    Though he finds the shifter both lovely and kind, there is neither lust nor romance in his sky-colored gaze - only something akin to awe. There is a glowing light about her - perhaps not real, but She allows him to see it - a sign of her Chosen, rara avis.

    “You’re awfully energetic for this early in the morning,” he says with an easy smile, as though there is no sweat drying along his own hide from his pre-dawn flight. He enjoys her playful nature, the brightness with which she seems to view the world.

    “Are you looking forward to seeing your sister?”

    There is a bend to my path, my mismatched eyes now settling on the feathered stallion as I turn.  But instead of continuing on the granulate shores I break into the gentle surf.  The breeze whipped up by the warmth of the sun has not yet causes the waters to be turbulent, so they lap gently at the shoreline in which they stand.

    I pick up a high step trot as I approach him now, a smile clearly painted on my face.  He makes mention of my vivacious antics this morning and I laugh lightly in response.  "I guess I'm just a morning person," I say to him.  Mornings were my favorite time, after the crisp evening under a full moon where my most common form glides silently in the night skies.

    His mention of my sister causes me to come to a gentle walk alongside him, still knee deep in the salty waters.  "Oh yes!" I say with excitement, "If I know anything about my sister I should find her here."  My head lowers to the water, as if beginning my search, but all I can see are the distorted remnants of ocean life beneath the surface.  

    All manners of fish and crustacean drat quickly out of my way so as to not be stepped on.  I begin to think I would have to go much deeper to find my sister in these waters, if she was indeed in these waters.  But she is an aquatic life form so why would she not be here?

    My head lifts, turning to look at Ruhr with questioning eyes but no words are said as I shed my equine form for that of a bird accustomed to the oceanic tides.  I'll be back, I think aloud but I do not elaborate more than that.  The ebony and ivory lifeform from the dreams of my sister slips into the waters.  Only to appear for a quick breath of air before disappearing beneath the surface once again.
    Legends & Myths

    Appearance: Equine form then penguin

    //Avian Shifting-Phoenix Type Immortality\\
    Her appearance will be noted 
    at the end of each reply.
    Most of the birds have gone quiet for the night, but Ruhr makes his way back to the beach accompanied by the soft calls of a whippoorwill and the singing nightingale. Though full, the Moon has fallen below the horizon, and Ruhr walks by starlight, his pace uneven but steady. He can smell the salt on the breeze, growing stronger than the floral meadows he leaves behind.

    Ruhr breathes deeply, raising his greyed head to the empty sky and closing his night black eyes.

    He thinks of the palomino mare, the one who had not really believed him about the Moon. When she, too, grows round and full - then she’ll believe him. Or rather, she’ll know he had been honest. Ruhr does not intend to stay, or to try again to convince her. He had done as the Moon had demanded, the very least he could do to ensure the truth of Her vision.

    If She wants more of him, She will show him.

    Until then, he returns to find Demi. She is the Chosen he had sworn to follow; the one sure and solid thing that he can rely on, about which he does not have to doubt or question.

    Ruhr reaches the beach, but rather than stop at the water, he continues forward. The frothing waves reach his knees, then his shoulders. The water pulls at his light, feathered frame. The Stratosian is a creature meant for the skies, not the sea, and he stops just before the sand falls out from beneath his hooves.

    His wings hang heavy at his sides, and he can feel the danger in the weight of them, how easily they might keep him under were he to fall. He swallows, blinking away the salt spray, feeling the icy tickle of fear and the burst of adrenaline that chases it down his spine.

    Something moves in the water.

    Something large.

    Ruhr is willing to push boundaries, but he is not an idiot. He begins to wade back to shore, emerging to shake himself dry in an impressively large spray of salt water.


    The ocean was as familiar to me as my own emotions.  Turbulent and ever changing but consistent, until now.  Now I have a clarity that eases the burden of the creature that lurks beneath the surface.  Tethered now to the absence of the lunar phases and banished to only the darkest of nights.

    I had yet to return to my water home since arriving back in the kingdom of the Gates.  As my time with the golden mare came to a close, I decided to slip back into the salty waters and soothe my aching bones.  Here within the embrace of the cool liquid I could relieve my joints from the weight of my landform.  Gone are the hindlimbs of the equine, replaced by the delicately finned tail of my aquatic self.  I find my transformation more pronounced now, the magics instilled in me presenting themselves with a change of scales, of hoof and jaw.  Slits along my neck, just behind my mandible, allow me to breathe the waters as if it were air.  Something I had not been able to accomplish before.

    From the setting of the western sun to the setting of the moon I swam.  Venturing as far out as the mysterious Baltian kingdom, and back to the shores of the Gates once again.  I am most at home here in the sea and yet I am drawn to return to the land...

    As I near the shallows, I could sense another lingering within the waters.  Something cumbersome, unlike my lithe aquatic form that was perfectly suited to the sea waters.

    I do not dare approach the stranger, but instead circle wide and bring myself to crawl from the lapping waves a distance off, shifting back my hooved body as the sand brush against my scaled belly.

    With a long flowing stride, I walk down the beach in the direction the other had been.  Even in the dim starlight I can see the muted tones of their body drawing closer to land.  There was a notable stumble in their step, with feathered wings soaked at their sides.  My movement only pauses when I am within speaking distance, not wanting to frighten the stranger.  "Hello there," I say in a kind voice.  Drawing a step closer so that my features may be more discernable in the pale light, my slitted blue eyes look to the winged appendages, "You do know those are meant for flying, not swimming, right?"  My tone is lighthearted, and my face laced with amusement.

    "My name is Deiti.  Are you new to the Gates?" I inquire, attempting to make small talk while awaiting the break of dawn.

    A God's Creation | Carnage X Dynast

    @Ruhr Suprise! xD
    //Equus Kelpus-Immortality\\
    With his attention on the sea, Ruhr does not see the approach of the dark mare. The sound of her footsteps had been swallowed by crashing waves, and he could smell nothing beyond the brine in his nose. At moondown, she is all but invisible, and he is startled out of tucking in his wings by the sound of a voice.

    His head raises up, but he knows he cannot fly - not this drenched. So he freezes, until his black eyes pinpoint the features of another horse. Certainly not Demi, not with those dark features and ebony hair. Beautiful though, with pale eyes whose color he cannot quite discern in the dimness.

    Her voice is kind, and the way she draws attention to his helplessness does not feel like a jab. So he smiles in return, and shakes himself off once more. Enough water leaves him that a few grey feathers stand upright. They’re all askew, of course, as is the rest of him. Not the best first impression, he knows, but he suspects he is as hidden from her by the dark as she from him.

    “There’s no harm in trying,” he replies with a playful smile of his own. “I’ve a Baltian ancestor a few generations back; perhaps I might suddenly show some hidden talent.”

    Though he means it in jest, the words that he speaks remind Ruhr that has has, indeed, recently gained a talent. His light. Not the light of the Moon. Not the light of the moonstone statue.

    He could use that now, and yet…

    Deity’s introduction and subsequent question are met with a polite nod. “I’m Ruhr. And I am only here to visit, I think.” If Demi wishes to stay, then he will as well, but the decision is not his to make.

    @ Deiti

    I note the way he stirs at my sudden appearance.  Had I been in the same circumstance much worse would have happened, I am sure.  The creature always crept up from deep in my chest whenever danger ignited my fight response.  But I retain an even and calm demeanor, ensuring the stranger knows I mean no harm.

    He is quick with his response back to my quip, his tone humored.  "Baltian huh?" I say, my eyes appraising him and his lack of aquatic semblance with a devious grin, "Must have been several generations."

    My introduction is met with his and I put the name to memory, "It is nice to meet you Ruhr.  I am fairly new to the Gates myself."  My head turns to look inland, "It is a decent home and worthy of a visit."  

    Again, my head turns, and my blue eyes settle on his avian features, "I too have family with feathers, believe it or not." By looking at me you'd never have guessed it'd be possible and really it wasn't.  My immediate family, unbeknownst to me, are only distantly related.  "I come from a long line of shifters; bird, fish, and everything in between," it made for interesting family dynamics that was for sure.

    My feminine face tilts slightly as a thought entered my mind, "Why were you in the water?"  Seemed strange for someone like himself to be wading in the ocean this late into the evening.

    A God's Creation | Carnage X Dynast

    //Equus Kelpus-Immortality\\
    She banters with ease, and Ruhr smiles at the thought of truly having Baltian ancestry. His family had not been among the oldest in Stratos, but they were old enough that the thought of watering down their bloodline was intolerable. Ruhr is as much Baltian as he is buttercup, and he knows that she will see that clearly as she looks him over.

    The black mare admits to being new to this place herself, but is happy here, to which he gives an agreeable nod. It seems a nice enough place, what little of it he has seen. And yet he finds himself uneager to look back inland, and instead keeps his night black gaze on her face as she turns to look there.

    There is something about the line of her jaw, the shape of her eye despite the reptilian pupils that look like…He struggles, but only until her next words, the admission of being a shifter, of having bird shifters in the family.

    “You’re Deiti.” He says suddenly, connecting what little he knows of Demi’s sister with the mare in front of him. The words come right before her final question, and there’s still a bright smile of recognition on his face when she asks: why were you in the water?

    The real reason - a futile attempt to wash away the reminder of what he would do for Her - is not for the ears of a stranger, not even if the stranger is the sister of the mare to whom he’s sworn his protection.

    So instead he offers a smile that no longer quite reaches his eyes and says: “Looking for your sister, actually. Have you seen Demi? She was a penguin, last I saw.”

    @ Deiti

    I watch as a sudden spark ignites across his face when I speak of my lineage.  He repeats what he already knows, my name, and I can't help but chuckle.  I am about to jest again at his slowness when he mentions my sister Demi.

    With ears perked forwards I think if I had seen any other forms within the sea before coming onto the beach.  It had been quite dark then, even now as the sun threatens to lighten the skies with a dusky hue, she would have been easy to miss in that form.  With a light shake of my head I reply, "I'm afraid I haven't seen Demi since our parent's death."  It had been a devastating and sudden occurrence, tearing apart their family at the very seams.

    My delicate face softens with sadness as I think of that day, my head turning to the waters now, "I had taken to my sea and her the air that day," I remember it as if it was yesterday.  Their other sister Embark had been left to the land as all three sisters retreated to their given elements to grieve.  Could they really all be back together?

    Suddenly a sense of hope washes over me as I turn back to Ruhr, "Demi is here?  My sister is back?!" Gone are the lines of strife on my face when I think of seeing her again.

    The sun's rays begin to dazzle the morning sky in various shades of gold and red as I turn my dark form to the sea, the waters lapping at my heels.  My slitted eyes look out across the vast blue abyss.  The surface is calm, as it is most mornings, but there is a slight disturbance in the glass like surface.  An upwards rippling effect only caused by movement underneath.  

    My body squares off and steadies on my four hooved limbs with a twitch of my dark tail.  I watch as the ripples begin to form a waved ridge as it begins to break the barrier between sea and sky.  The form isn't large enough to be of my kind, and with no dorsal fin it is unlikely to be a cetacean or fish.  I lean back on my hunches slightly as the black and white creature launches from the water and into the air.  Saltwater sprays against my scaled flesh as the penguin clears over me and simultaneously shifts into the winged form of an owl.

    My head twists, eyes following the silver laced creature as it flies off a short distance then does a circle back.  I can make out the mismatched hues of its eyes and no doubt enters my mind that this is my sister.  A smile -much too large for my face- spreads as my face uplifts to watch the owl approach silently, lowering to the sands and shifting once again.

    This form, of cherry and cream, is the one I remember most.  She retains a trotting speed, an equally large smile on her face.  Deiti!  She calls in excitement as I turn to face her.

    Within moments she is in reach, and I find myself closing the distance, wrapping my neck around hers.  "It has been too long sister," I say simply before I pull away.  "How have you been?  I met your friend here trying to get in touch with his Baltian ancestors," I snicker lightly while I turn to look at Ruhr, a grin tugging at my lips.

    A God's Creation | Carnage X Dynast
    //Equus Kelpus-Immortality\\

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