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    version 22: awakening


    Wolfbane -- Year 210


    "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

    [open]  Oh my, so many people.. {Any}
    She knew it was time. She couldn't live alone like this anymore. For so long she had searched for her family ties, old friends of her mother's, anyone that she would already know. She wasn't comfortable with strangers. Oh goodness, no, not at all. But her journey lacked results, and it was time to give it up. There was no other choice. Clearly they had all moved on. Without her. Was she not family? What was she going to do now?

    Her tail flicked nervously. She knew she had to find a protector of some kind, a herd. Safety. Security. She desperately needed them. Her biggest dilemma now was her anxiety. Her whole life, she had always had someone nearby; usually her mother or her mother's closest friend. The friend, Lea, was like family. As a child, she remembered hiding behind her legs quite often when someone unfamiliar came around. Rhae would've been comfortable with even her. Sure, probably still a bit shy and withheld as was her usual demeanor. She truly couldn't help that. But she, too, was lost. Gone away. Perhaps wherever her mother and siblings had gone. Oh, why had they left her behind?

    Rhae huddled in the shadows. She was bunkered right at the edge of the forest and the meadow. Her coat camouflaged her in the half-light with grullo gradients of chocolate-grays and silver, and rich black points.  All that stood between her and the stability she needed was this.. terrifyingly vast, open expanse of meadow. Where anyone and anything could see her bright as day if she stepped out. She could see numbers of others in the area just by glancing around, her eyes catching every movement. No doubt the whites of her eyes were showing. Not out of fear, really. Or was it? .. No, she wasn't afraid. She just really, really, really didn't want to be out there where everyone and their mother could see her. Would many try to come speak with her? The thought nearly made her turn around and leave on the spot!

    And she would, too, if it weren't for the forest behind her being just as dangerous. Creatures stalked viciously under the cover of darkness, attacking at will. Survival of the fittest, and all that. She was fit, but she could only run so fast through a minefield of trees and debris. Not to mention that bit about not being able to run all that great.. thanks to her Scoliosis. She could stand properly, one could hardly notice the slight S-curve to her spine unless looking for it, but walking, or especially running, was a mite of a challenge at times. Not painful, though, just awkward. It always seemed to attract more attention, the LAST thing she wanted!

    Also a wonderful reason to get that protection she needed so badly. Others may be able to fend for themselves, but whether she liked it or not -and she didn't!-, she was forced to rely on others. There was no telling how many close-calls she may have had already and not even realized it! Not to mention that bout with the fur-mouse.. Although, she was tempted to call it more of a rat. Surely, it was too large to be just a mouse.. Her skin crawled just thinking of it again and she shook a chill from her coat. Creepy little critters.

    So, here she was with yet another dreadful problem on her hands: brave the people or brave the beasts? Anxiety gripped her firmly in place. Her eyes bounced to every nearby stranger she spotted. Did any of them look friendly enough? Did any look maybe a little too friendly? Oh dear, perhaps she should leave. But no, the forest was certainly not safe. She had to do this. Once she got to know someone, she'd be safe and comfortable again, she just knew it. Then everything would be ok. She could do this. It'd be easy.

    Before she could hesitate further, she put one foot in front of the other and stepped into the light, a nearly unnoticeable hobble in her gait. Half her body remained in the shade, but she was convinced it was far enough. She'd be seen for certain. But hopefully not by too many. She couldn't bring herself to call out and blatantly attract attention, though..
    No, this was far enough; she'd be noticed.

    (OOC: I imagined her to be really calm and quiet, a tad shy.. maybe used to hiding behind a family member.. but when she realized everyone she knew had gone inactive and there was no one to hide behind she kinda freaked out on me.)


    She was grumpy.

    Her mother, bless her heart, was such a loving, doting, protective mother. Her mother was everything a daughter would dream of having in a mother. Her mother kept her warm during the chilly nights, taught her how to cool off in the nearby stream during the scorching days. Her mother cleaned her feathers and groomed her coat and nuzzled her every chance she got. Her mother taught her how to run and how to hide and how to graze (why anyone would voluntarily eat grass over milk though, she had yet to fathom). From the day she was born (aka not that long ago), her mother had provided anything and everything she could ever desire while keeping a careful watch. In summary, her mother’s doting love was suffocating.

    So it was with glee that the dark colored filly snuck away this quiet summer morning as her mother grazed. It was no easy feat… she knew she had to be stealthy. Step by step, she pretended to graze, or at least nibble, at the blades beneath her little hooves. Her gaze, however, was steady on her mother, watching for any sign of her mother’s suspicion. Luckily, none came. Step by step, she continued to drift, slowing increasing the distance between herself and the steel gray mare. Finally, she leisurely rounded the base of some large trees that marked the beginning of the forest and their massive boulder friends and breathed a sigh of relief.

    Delightedly, she kicked up her heels in a little prancing dance. Free at last!

    But then she noticed that she was not alone.

    Quieting down suddenly, she pricked both ears forward in alarm and gave a little snort. Luckily, her gaze befell not a vicious mountain lion or hungry wolf, but another horse. Older than her, perhaps her mother’s age (but then again, to a little girl, everyone older seemed her mother’s age), and colored fairly like her mother.

    Comforted by this strange mix of both novelty and familiarity, she found herself wandering closer to the quiet mare. The mare didn’t seem dangerous, she noted glady as she approached. “Hello?” she whinnied as she neared, her voice high-pitched and curious, but her eyes glowing with pride at finally discovering something new for herself.


    Time slugged on as she stood waiting, watching for anyone to approach. Mere seconds slowed to minutes. She had only been visible for a short time, but it felt like ages in her vulnerable state. Needles seemed to pinprick her skin, as if she could feel all the eyes on her even though there were none -none she could see, anyway.

    She realized she would need something to say when someone stopped by. It would be good to make a positive first impression. Something like.. Good day, stranger, how do you do? No no, that wasn't right. She pulled herself to her tallest height and cleared her throat. "So nice to meet you on this fine day.." That didn't sound quite right either.

    She huffed in frustration. She only had to be here long enough to find someone she could care for, someone that may be able to put up with her as an added shadow. Not many someone's though, if she were honest with herself. Rhae always preferred very few deep connections rather than butterfly-shallow friendships, flitting from one to the next without feeling any different.

    "Hello?" came a sudden little voice. Rhae nearly leapt out of her skin, startled out of her silent ramblings. Her eyes fell on not an older mare as she expected in these parts, but on a young child.

    "Good light, you're a quiet one, arent you!" she exclaimed, desperately trying to steady her heartbeat back to a normal pace. She paused to look the filly over. Soft light hair contrasted beautifully over a smooth dark coat. Lovely little wings bunched at her sides like a swift sparrow.

    Well this little mite wouldn't be protecting her any time soon. not unless she could startle the beasts to an early grave, a fate she herself nearly missed out on apparently. Rhae glanced around for the missing mother, for she certainly seemed a bit young to be on her own. She would have to approach the topic gently though, young ones could be so touchy with such things as their independence.

    "I apologize for startling so quickly, I hadn't realized I was so unobservant! Everyone must notice such a lovely young lady, and here I nearly missed you!" She smiled. It wasn't all too long ago she had been the same age; she still had yet to take a mate, in fact.
    "Do you live in this meadow?"


    She too startled at the older mare’s alarm. Her eyes widened and quickly she jumped back, losing a couple small feathers in the rush. Too young and too sheltered, she had never been exposed to even the concept of fright, and the grullo mare’s response quite took her off guard. She tensed her little muscles, ready to spin around and sprint back to her mother if needed (begrudgingly, of course – she could already see the scolding to accompany), but kept her gaze fixated on the mare.

    Luckily though, she saw that the other figure immediately calmed and began to address her. What look of surprise might have been plastered on her little face quickly was washed off by a delighted grin. She liked being praised, and it was sure nice receiving compliments from someone other than her mother. She had assumed her mother was rather biased, so she never took those fully to heart. But this lady had no reason to lie… right?

    “So sorry ma’am,” she responded as a small blush began to heat her cheeks. She was slowly realizing that perhaps she herself may have been to blame for the mare’s shock. “I’m hiding from my mama… she sees and hears everything so I hadta be super quiet.” She grinned even larger. Somehow, sharing her secret with someone else brought even more joy to her heart. It was like having a partner in crime! Even if the new best friend feeling was more than likely only one sided.

    The young filly then watched as the mare began to smile as well, which certainly put her further at ease. She gave a quick glance behind her. Satisfied that no angry mother was charging up, she pranced forward again. Happily, she cozied up to the silver mare, brushing her small head against the mare’s side and chest. Having never met anyone aside from her mother yet, she had yet to learn about strangers’ personal bubbles… for better or worse.

    “You’re real soft!” she whinnied as she nuzzled her new friend. Her small eyes peeked upward, her little ears at attention as she took in the mare’s next question. “I suppose so…” she began, her interest caught. “I’d never been anywheres else?” But her mind was already racing… there were other places to live? Whoa. Surely her friend would know! “Have you been to other places?”


    Rhae smiled warmly at the filly's admission of mischief, sneaking away from her mother. She dropped her head to match the girl's height, glancing around with shifty eyes.
    "Well," she lowered her voice conspiratorially, "if she finds us, we shall just tell her you were helping me! That would most certainly keep you out of trouble, I should think!"

    Her heart felt lighter spending time with this little one, and she forgot all her problems for the moment. The girl was so gentle and joyful, and the mare let her worries about her own mother and her homelessness slip away.

    She watched as the child advanced on her and swept her miniature head across Rhae's body. Her eyes widened in alarm and her body instinctively stiffened. She quickly glanced around, her ears flicking back then forth and every which way in uncertainty. But surprisingly the show of affection involuntarily made her wonder an unwanted question: would she make a good mummy one day? And that thought brought her back to the girl, her gaze worried, then softened. She supposed she wasn't naturally a very affection type of person, but she'd need to learn to be if she were ever to have children of her own.

    Rhae forced the tension in her muscles to dissipate as much as she could manage, hoping her reaction had gone unnoticed, though she couldn't seem to be rid of all of it with her natural tendency to be on edge. She was able, though, to bring her muzzle to a small cheek and give it a light huff, stirring the girl's scent for memory. If they were to part this day, at least she would remember the girl who surprised her at every turn and gave her the gift of momentary joy.

    "I haven't been very many places, I suppose," she answered. "Mostly I just followed my mum and her best friend around areas much like these. I have searched for her a long while but it appears they have moved on without me, so it's just me now." She smiled sadly.

    She was growing a little more comfortable, and didn't seem to fidget quite as much. A light chat with this judgemental-free filly friend was just what she needed, she was beginning to realize. There was no pressure to impress, sound intelligent, or look pretty. Being in these parts often felt like she was interviewing for different jobs, always trying to say the right things and act the right way to earn her place. But here with.. Oh my, she hadn't even asked her name yet!

    "Oh!" her eyes widened, "Forgive me, my manners seem to have run off without me! I am Rhae."


    With glee, the dark colored child received the mare’s offer of what she deemed was a rock solid alibi. Her little tush of a tail brushed over the top of her hindquarters, and had she been a puppy rather than a filly, would have wagged to and fro quite happily. Her mother would surely understand that she had to help all her friends! Now, explaining how she actually came to have a new friend… that was a task for later.

    However, not long after, she felt the sudden tensing of the mare against her own skin. Perplexed, she froze as well, her own small muscles mimicking the tenseness of the mare. For a moment, she wondered if she had done anything wrong. She had no clue what, but what else could explain the mare’s response?

    She was just about to pull herself back when the mare touched her cheek tenderly. Giving a small snort, she quickly relegated her confusion to her own imagination and leaned into the mare’s soft touch, rather enjoying the feeling.

    But then the older mare began to speak and it is with partial shock and partial sadness that the filly listens. The concept of being deserted by a mother horrified the child, and for a moment she was plagued with guilt at deserting her own mother (if only for a short while).

    Luckily, the sorrow in her eyes was short-lived, replaced quickly by a glint of happy realization. “You can share my mama with me!” the young girl blissfully exclaimed, overjoyed at her own wisdom. “I’ve always wanted a big sister!” By now, her grin was wide, plastered from cheek to cheek, as she thought about all the joys of having a constant sibling.

    She glanced about, and for a brief moment, hoped that her steel gray mother would be rounding a bend to welcome her sister into their home. Seeing no such figure, she instead took the opportunity to enlighten her new family member into the idiosyncrasies of their mother. “Mama’s real strange though… She’ll try to make you eat grass…” the filly whispered surreptitiously, her eyes darting about constantly to make sure their mother was not within earshot.

    Their secret-sharing session was short-lived, however, as the mare (wisely) began a more useful dialog. Names! “Rhae,”, the filly repeated, more to herself than to the grullo mare. She liked the elegance of the word, and the gentle way it rolled off her tongue. And, as she noted with slight envy, far easier to say than her own. “Mama calls me Louisiane…” she then began, a mischievous glint in her dark pupils. “…when I’m in trouble, that is.” She thought for a moment and decided against explaining how often that actually was. “Otherwise, she’ll call me Annie,”


    With every minute, Rhae's self-confidence gradually glowed a little brighter. She'd never be the outgoing social butterfly type, and she was more than glad of it. But this spooked little mare was only a shell of how she would normally behave. She was a skittish hare ever since her mother and friends, her security, left her. In her own element, she was more like.. a coyote. Watchful. Cautious. Shy. Perhaps exactly like a coyote, actually. They're very family-oriented creatures and can get loud and upbeat when they're together. On their own, they're extra careful and quiet, skittish. She could certainly relate to that.

    Comparing herself to them gave her a small boost of self-confidence. They are predators, afterall, even though not the most dangerous or largest. She found it odd, though, that a helpless little filly could bring out her more secure side. Perhaps she could sense the strong mare she would one day become, and found comfort in her presence. And so beautifully expressive, too. Even now her face would fall at Rhae's sadness, and shine in their shared happiness. It made her feel more connected with the girl.

    Like a spark to dry timber, the dark filly brightened again. Clearly excited about something, her eyes glittered in glee. Rhae couldn't help the smile that inched across her face, catching the girl's mood like a steady virus. You can share my mama with me! And just like that, the happiness was swiped from her face, replaced with uncertainty. The little one's voice grew distant as Rhae lost herself in thought. Did she just take advantage of an innocent child? What kind of person does that? Had she unwittingly manipulated this lovely little girl into inviting her home, with her sad eyes and her sad stories?

    Her self-assuredness slipped away along with the bit of self-confidence she had found. Once again stiff and hesitant, she couldn't seem to look her companion in the eye, her eyes darting every which way trying to find something to anchor to.
    "I don't know..", she mumbled uncertainly. What were the chances the girl's mother and whatever other family and herd she had would even accept her in, a total stranger? A very dependent stranger, even. One who couldn't help fight off predators or attackers. Couldn't run from them very well either. Even if she glued herself to the filly's side, she wouldn't be able to protect her if it was ever needed no matter how badly she may want to. She'd be nothing but a burden.

    She felt good around her though. Happy. Almost like she had her family back, but newer. Did she really want to chance losing this opportunity? How long would it take for another offer to come along? But an offer from a child is hardly an offer at all. Would her mother really take her in? There were so many doubts clouding her mind and a heaviness gradually built within her chest. The sound of her name on the girl's lips brought her attention back. Rhae forced a smile, hoping it would relieve some of the tension within her. Louisiane, the girl had said. Such a perfect name for her. Annie.

    Rhae's smile was genuine now, though not as lighthearted as it had been before. She didn't think the odds of finding someone to accept her were that high. She believed she had lasted so long before because she had been family. Even a stallion needing brood mares wouldn't be very taken with her Scoliosis once he took notice of it. She may as well start here and if she was turned away she'd just have to try again elsewhere. She could do that, right?

    "Well.. Do you really think your mother will allow it?" she said hopefully. "I have a bit of a bad back, so I'm afraid I'm more trouble than help.. But I could try really hard to be useful?" She was naturally pretty watchful. Observant. She could help spy for dangers.. Or perhaps babysit the little ones? Surely she wasn't completely useless, she just had to find something she could do.


    As the uncertainty took over the grullo mare, the smile on the dark filly’s lips faltered as well. Her heart began accelerating. Her cheeks heated with nervous anxiety. Her gaze though followed the mare’s, unfortunately catching the reluctance of the older mare’s gaze to meet.

    Did she say something wrong? Was she too forward?

    Oh dear, she must have been too forward.

    More warmth shot to the filly’s face in humiliation as she dropped her gaze to the ground.

    The mare then added her verbal hesitation, and the filly thought for a moment. The offer was already given; it would be rude to take it back, no matter how embarrassing it was in hindsight, and besides… the worst Rhae could say was no?

    Luckily, Rhae’s next comments placated the filly’s growing internal angst… at least a little. She peeked back up at the older female, catching the return of the mare’s smile. Her heartbeat calmed just a bit as she matched the mare’s smile. Maybe she wasn’t entirely out of line with her offer? Although… she’d definitely have to make note to herself not to be so bold next time.

    The dark filly paused for one moment more, willing her heart to calm even further before she spoke. “I’m sure mama will!” she confidently stated soon after. “Let’s go find her!” she exclaimed, her giddiness quickly returning as she turned towards where she last left her mother.

    “Although…” she began again after a moment, turning her head to look back at Rhae. Her voice was slightly more apprehensive now. “…we don’t actually have a real home.” She had distantly seen other children with their vast amounts of siblings and heard them speaking of their ocean-front properties and grand mountain retreats. Ashamed at their own meager slice of the communal meadow, she hoped they wouldn’t disappoint her new sister. “I probably should have admitted that earlier.” She dipped her head in shame, although deep down, she hoped the mare would still join them.


    Rhae watched, amused at the girl's various expressions playing across her face. Annie's eyes came alive again as she exclaimed they'd go see her mother now. Rhae was still nervous about meeting her and wasn't sure she'd be accepted. But there was also this odd tranquil feeling taking over her bit by bit. Like she was finding herself again. Her soft gaze locked onto her new friend and she smiled warmly at her. She moved in close, near enough to touch her, and prepared to follow her every step.

    There was a gradual shift within her, so gradual she hadn't realized it was happening, until -click- and it was in place. This was it. This was her home. Right here with this filly, or wherever Annie would take them, so long as Rhae had her close by. With this revelation, came a steady calmness, a peace. She was no longer on edge and panicked. She was herself again. Reserved and quiet, but so calm. A slow smile stretched across her face. Content. Happy. It felt right, like the universe had finally lined up where it was supposed to be.

    They paused as Annie spoke again, ..we don't actually have a real home. I probably should have admitted that earlier. And her little head lowered, sad or shameful. But Rhae felt good now. She felt like she was home again. She found her little missing piece in an unexpected way, in an unexpected person. And, she thought, even if the girl's herd or family didn't take her in, she didn't think she'd leave Annie's side. Annie was precious, and she'd be a strong independent mare someday. She had a good heart, and Rhae was irresistibly drawn to it. Even though she was so little now, Rhae felt safe at her side. More than safe, she felt strong too. Like a guardian. And she closed her eyes and dipped her head as Annie had, then gently rested her muzzle against her neck.

    She breathed in deep and let it out slowly. Home. "I don't mind, Annie. I think everything will work out," she said softly. Rhae brushed against her neck a moment more, then pulled back, her glittering eyes happy and finally at peace. A darkening doubt clouded her eyes briefly as her gaze caught on Annie's wings. One day, she'd fly. And Rhae wouldn't be able to follow her anymore. She wasn't sure she'd be able to keep up if she ran, either. Her defect didn't pain her at all, and it wasn't all that noticeable when she was running, but she still didn't think she'd be able to stay close. Rhae brushed the thought away; she'd cross that bridge when she came to it. She certainly wouldn't allow herself to hold the girl back from her own abilities. She'd just have to learn to let her go. But that wasn't a concern right now.

    She smiled again and continued in the direction Annie had been going. "How far was your mother, do you think?" Will she accept me? That one doubt still haunted her. But as long as Annie was happy to have Rhae with her, then she'd find a way to stay with her too.


    when i feel lost..  i'll search the skies for you



    A feeling of comfort washed over the dark filly as she felt the mare’s muzzle against her neck. Something about her new sister was strangely soothing, and the older mare’s serenity complemented the excitable filly well. Louisiane pushed her muzzle into Rhae’s neck as well, breathing in the mare’s scent deeply once again. By the time she withdrew her snout from the silver, a happy smile had returned to her lips.

    Luckily, she did not catch Rhae’s gaze as it fell on her wings and darkened. Rather, her excitement level had begun to rise again (little kids way too excitable, aren’t they?) and she kicked up her heels in giddiness. “She should be just ‘round this rock!” he squealed, leading the way.

    As she rounded the boulder, she realized her error… fast.

    There sure stood her mother. And the absolute distress that was visible on her mother’s normally warm face was fast turning into sheer fury.

    Whoopsy daisy.

    “Mama,” she cooed, her voice as sugary sweet as she could make it. “I found a sister! Her name’s Rhae! She’s super nice! Can she join us? Please? Please? Purdy please?” She figured if she took control of the conversation first, maybe she could prevent any outlash. Besides, she only had to last until Rhae rounded the corner too… there’d be no way her mother would scold her in front of another… right?

    Fortunately, she knew her mother too well, and steel-colored mare’s rage melted into a mixture of shock and confusion.

    “Rhae?” Chalmette found herself repeating, rather perplexed at her daughter’s unexpected outcry. She knew her daughter was a headstrong, independent girl, so she quite expected the growing child to begin venturing out to explore. To bring back a sister though… that was unanticipated. She wondered for a moment if this Rhae was just an imaginary friend, or perhaps a bird or some other small creature she had befriended.

    Not so, she quickly learned, as she spied the grullo mare. Her jaw dropped slightly, a wave of mortification washing over her. What crazy antics had Louisiane been up to? How much did she inconvenience this poor, innocent mare?

    Her gaze briefly glanced over the approaching mare, lingering for a moment on the mare’s unique defect. However, in the grand scheme of strange traits she had seen in this Beqanna land, such a thing wasn’t too abnormal, and her gaze continued until it met the other mare’s.

    “This is Rhae!” she heard her daughter exclaim as she continued to watch the nearing mare. Meanwhile, Louisiane rushed back to the grullo mare and placed herself right next to Rhae.

    A small smile crept across Chalmette’s lips, both in friendliness and in embarrassment at her daughter. “Rhae… it’s a pleasure to meet you. I’m so truly sorry for any convenience Louisane may have caused you,” she stammered, still wondering how Louisiane had exactly come to the conclusion of “I found a sister”. The poor mare probably had her own family to return to, and she couldn’t imagine how annoying her daughter must have been! “I’m Chalmette… Louisiane’s mother.”



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