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.)
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?"
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 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.
07-30-2016, 09:40 PM
(This post was last modified: 07-30-2016, 09:44 PM by Rhae.)