The Gathering

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Posting Elemental
Posting Elemental

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Post Sat Jul 27, 2013 7:16 pm

Re: The Gathering

Eternal stood upon a boulder, watching others appear in the distance. Much had passed; she stood now with an unmistakable sparkle in her eye, that strength particular to leaders. While the herd gathered she took the opportunity to order her thoughts.

They had agreed on a game of treasure hunt, when all had last gathered. They'd scattered and soon excited calls had rung out across the field, cries of discovery and surprise.

And then Kri', their Thunder Horse friend, had been recalled.

Someone new had come to their realm, a presence that required attention. When she didn't return after a few minutes Breeze had gone to check on things; only to discover that time had been compressed back home. In those few hours, their realm had gone through several weeks.

They'd broken their Gathering when he got back with the news, each of them returning home to see this newcomer and check on the welfare of the realm. Most of them had been abandoned before and kept an active eye on their homes now. Having been homeless, they had no wish to ignore potential harm and repeat the experience, even with a bonded to help.

That newcomer had led to another. Then another and again another, the last with young twins. Through all the adjustments and growth in their family and realm, time continued to compress. Within weeks, years passed.

Now, Kri' was pregnant, time had stabilized, and they'd all lent support when the world shuddered through a glancing blow. There had been a battle, mild by the standard of what some had already lived through, but enough to change the original newcomer. He was less innocent after.

Now that they were again returning, Eternal reflected that balancing years into weeks had changed some here, as well. Frolic seemed calmer; the tense, ready energy between her and Caustic had settled into an easy respect. Darroch seemed to have mellowed as well, in that he was less explosive in his energies. Even Breeze seemed to have grown in some way; he had always looked at Nova with affection, yet now his gaze was tempered with a quiet strength. "You are mine," this look said, "and I will keep and cherish you." He had a strength and solidity beyond wanting to be enough for the mare; life was more than an easy game. Seeing the Thunder Horse pregnant, watching as that untouchable figure adjusted along with her stallion suitor had impacted him most of all.

It had impacted her as well. She was firmly established as ruling mare among them and had again grown comfortable with her followers. That was how she thought of it, as it was her duty to keep her bondmates safe while their bonded was absent. The adjustment period had passed; the rogue was returned to her full glory.

She'd done it before, been the leader, the strong one, the magical warrior. Few, if any, could hope to match her. Fewer still would compare for all she had seen. They didn't get old, her kind, but they marked passing years. They knew the changes of time and how easily they could be left behind if they didn't adapt fast enough.

Now they came before her, all passed occupations abandoned; those she presided over. It was a severe sense of deja'vu that settled over her shoulders. For a moment it all pressed close, the stress of living years within weeks straining her perception. So many years, so many changes, so much power setting her apart, placing her as lead mare. And so much that never seemed to change, until the faces blurred together.

Taking a breath, she carefully looked into each face. Caustic. Flint. Path. Nova. Hybrid. Darroch. BlackIce. Caelum. Frolic. Sparkle. Tribe. Thyme. Breeze. Sign. Thorn. Shiro. Each looked back at her. Her gaze lingered overlong on Thorn, the stallion that was least reliable. Shiro was a follower; he knew how to take orders. But Thorn, he was kept to the fringes of the herd by his own choices. He suffered from chronic apathy and held a hard edge of anger even in his joy. He'd take care of none but himself. Everythin was to be challenged or spurned.

This, however, wasn't something he struggled with. He kept the world at a distance, including his bondherd. It was just his way. The lack of loyalty and ignorance to his own potential discomforted her.

She would protect and support the others, but she would watch Thorn.

For now, however, she declaired that they would due best to rest. Before any bonding events were resumed they had to settle themselves; a few still hummed with tension from their strenuous activities.

Together, they curled on the grass, closed their eyes and took comfort from the presence of one another.

Eternal remained on the boulder, keeping watch over them. Nothing would surprise them while she kept guard; she gave them the peace needed to relax.

She would wait until later.
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Posting Elemental
Posting Elemental

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Post Thu Aug 01, 2013 7:39 pm

Re: The Gathering

They decompressed until they felt themselves again, however long that took. Eternal waited with what seemed to be endless patience until Caustic stepped onto the boulder to head their Gathering and give her a chance to unwind herself. Tension still leaked from her, yet there was a heavy sense of relief overlaying it. She was glad it was her turn.

While she settled herself again, the others milled about. Some wandered off entirely; Thorn had left a mare unconscious, Darroch wanted to catch up on all the chances he'd been missing (whatever they may be), Flint just didn't feel like hanging around and of course Shiro was right on his heels. Sign tried to duck out and was loudly denied, but Caelum went off to find quality time with his foals - no matter how grown they would always be his foals. He hadn't gotten good time with Rose yet and he wanted to finish catching up with Coal. Hybrid surprised them all by staying, as did Thyme.

Eternal wound up cracking an eye open as Thorn passed; one day soon, he'd have a reckoning coming.

Then she was allowing herself to drift as Caustic's cold, corroded voice called the Gathering to order. As was usual, he had no need to raise his voice to be heard; the chatter instantly died out.
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Posting Elemental
Posting Elemental

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Post Mon Aug 05, 2013 10:47 pm

Re: The Gathering

They had begun to move on to how to resume their Gathering by the time Eternal roused herself. When she did, Caustic took the chance to wander away; a few looks were slanted his way when Frolic followed, but it was having BlackIce join them that garnered real surprise.

The others... well, they needed to reconnect after everything. Whatever that was about could wait.

So Eternal stood up and got things started.
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Posting Elemental
Posting Elemental

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Post Fri Oct 04, 2013 12:29 am

Re: The Gathering

OOC| Technically, Thorn is still off with Bite. Maybe. Unless that winds up dropped. Anyway. This is just a personal aside for my personal self-RP thing, for all the little moments they have together. So. Yeah. It only happens when things are quiet.

BIC| While everyone milled about and prepared to start their Gathering up properly again, there was a lot of coming and going. Some wandered off instantly and other stayed, only to wander off later on as a few returned; it was normal. Eternal had stood to prepare for a new event; and then wound up leaving herself, as a few others returned. For the moment they were simply talking, some of them sharing where they'd just been and others dealing in more personal matters.

For some - or, in all honesty for most - there was a visible twitch as they felt bonds finalize within them, binding them to Circles. Thorn saw the very pregnant, - make that dangerously pregnant - Nova twitch with the others. She, in turn, caught his eye as he looked.

Giving her mate a quick brush with her nose, the small mare motioned with her head and led the spiked stallion towards the edge of the group. For a moment they shared a weighted silence.

We weren't close, Thorn. Not really.

Close enough. I was bound to you when the twins were born. The Circle bears your name, still.

It was an accident, Thorn. I won't say it meant nothing, because there was something between all of us once. Even if it wasn't more than sharing the need to have a Circle. I wouldn't have gone on my own.

What sort of accident breaks that bond? he asked, a hard note of bitterness weaving into his voice. I was abandoned as well. I lost everything, just like you. All that was left was the Circle. But I guess it wasn't enough for you.

He expected silence to follow such a statement, especially from the reserved little mare who was so much a foreigner, a starburst fallen to ground. He'd forgotten how she'd grown since they'd rebonded; how they both had.

He got a quick reminder as she got right up in his face, her nose just reaching over his muzzle as she glared up at him. She didn't yell, but there was a heavy intensity as she said I will not be held back by what once was, nor shall I allow you to give such an insult. Once we were circlemates - once. But no more. You were told it was an accident, and so it was. I have no reason to justify or explain myself to you, Hermit, and it would be wise to remember that.

That very nearly shut him up. Almost.

You might not have reason to explain yourself to me now, Glimmer, but you did leave. Accident or not, the tie was broken. And now you move on, as if none of it ever happened.

It happened, she sighed, of course it did. But I hardly remember it, old friend. None of them mean anything to me, certainly not as they should. They're strangers. I love Breeze. He's a steady stallion, someone I can rely on; he'll always be there to support me, always fight beside me, always try to find just a little more grass or berries so that we're not hungry even in the driest summer. He makes me laugh, he cares for me, he looks after and respects me. He knows how to soothe a smile from me and make my day just a little less intense.

Flicking her tail, she looked over to the stallion in question and let her gaze wander towards others; the stallions that she'd bound herself to, hopefully for all time. Horsefeathers and the Soldier are like brothers; they'll never be apart, not if they can help it. They're both adventurers, and my mate is called Horsefeathers for a reason; he's shown me so many new things regarding flying games that I've had to reevaluate everything. The Soldier and Sarge came here together; and only the loyal Soldier stood by Sarge while he mastered his rage. They' won't part. Sarge adores the Lover, everyone knows that; that white stallion would follow him to the ends of creation. And he's loved for it. And more than that, Hermit, I love each of them as well. They mean something to me. Whatever we once had...

It doesn't. Heaving a sigh, Thorn nodded with evident reluctance and said I know they do. You've had a deep respect for Sarge since you met, and you're fiercely protective of the Lover. You and the Hermit are known for your long, strange conversations together. You love them, and you won't leave them any more than they'd leave each other; or you.

Snorting, he looked away as if his next question was of no consequence. What did happen? With this accident, while you were unbonded.

Nova smirked at him; she knew his antics too well. Still, she played along, for the old days if nothing else.

A freak storm, she said, her voice oddly blank. Thorn smirked back at her; he knew her antics as well. The same ones that have been ripping up our world for time out of mind. Some of the magic hit me in a backlash and things just... Severed.

They shared another silence, contemplating what wasn't said - her terror, the uncertainty that she could survive something that could so casually cut such a bond. Nova wouldn't speak of such things, though. Life was rough. You didn't cry about it.

It's all rather ridiculous, you know, he said after a minute. These Circles. You know it won't happen again.

I know. We're...


Yes. Appreciated. She hasn't allowed any to enter our realm since Eternal, although there's been opportunity. So none of us gets "lost in the crowd."

I heard the Soldier went wandering those yet to find homes with her; she visits them, even if she won't let herself do more. He's said to have a new crush.

What about that other mare, the one he's mooned after for years?

I think that's the problem; it's been too long. He still admires and respects her, though.

He's been lonely for a while. I wonder if he'll ever find himself one of those extravagant mares to take him as mate.

I wonder if Sarge and his Lover will find anyone that can fit their special relationship, myself. They are... Far from average. But then, we once thought the same of Horsefeathers; and look how he's grown with you.

Nova grinned, looking back at her mate once again. One day, perhaps. She'd never imagined that being the only one to look down her nose at him would challenge him into growing up. Perhaps there were more things left in life she couldn't yet imagine. If her winged wonder could change from one that ran from everything by hiding behind empty humor and refusing to reveal anything about himself, then perhaps there was hope for the rest.

I wish you well, Thorn said as she began to turn away, Honestly. I do.

You don't remember either, do you? How it was before... The others.


Then I wish you well, old friend. I hope you find them again some day; reforge the old ties.

They locked eyes and shared a nod, and for that moment the two of them were in perfect understanding.

Then Nova hoisted her over-large, round-as-an-acorn belly back to her mate and smiled as he nuzzled her neck and tucked her under his wing.

The Hermit watched until it felt as if a bitter thorn twisted within his own heart. Then, with a sigh, he released the pain of jealousy and smiled to himself, genuinely glad for the joy of his bondmate. After feeling like an outsider for so much of her life, she finally belonged.

Now he was truly alone; the last one not to 'fit' with others. The satisfaction this brought was as bitter as poison.
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Posting Elemental
Posting Elemental

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Post Tue Oct 08, 2013 1:00 pm

Re: The Gathering

OOC| Again... It's quiet, and they're wandering in and out, so there's a lot of popping by for just a moment before leaving again. Because I have no idea if any of these stalled threads are actually dropped or not. Blah.

BIC| Path, Sparkle and Sign traded a look as Nova and Thorn broke apart. They knew, through the shared link of bondmate; Circles had been finalized. Spoken of in idle meetings, gathered in quiet, unofficial ways they were nonetheless proper Circles. And they knew, every single one, that any further encounters would be official and in the open; any petitioners to join after these core groups were established would have to formally address the whole of the Circles that existed.

How things change, Path murmured, and Sparkle shared a smile with Sign at the comment.

I was bonded to another, when our Circle was first forming.

I didn't have the faintest idea how to hold the meeting, Sparkle laughed, and the other two joined him as Sign added You still don't!

Ye've grown, so, Path said after a moment, giving the stallion a fond nudge. Ye've the ability now to head the Circle proper; to call a meeting for judgement of a petitioner.

And you, Sign added with a smile, her eyes sweeping the golden mare's lithe dancer body, No young maiden waiting to be swept off her feet now, are you? A mother proper, with a true mate that helps you sustain your family.

And what of you, little miss? No longer as timid, even hollering at Caustic, so I hear tell of. And learning to depend on bondmates, gaining courage from our sort of love. You aren't waiting for a knight to rescue you any more.

Yet nary can it be said that all such changes were for the better, Path rumbled, and heaved a sigh when Sparkle looked confused. Dart.

That name was enough to close his face into a hard mask of anger. The rage that boiled in his eyes was enough to have Eternal herself stop and take notice of him. For those that knew him well it was an expression that didn't suit him at all; to Sign, it shouldn't have even been possible.

You've learned hate, Sign whispered. But, true to Sparkle's claim that she'd grown, she didn't cower from him. If anything she moved closer, seeking to comfort.

And you learned fear, Sparkle said to Path, the words hard and biting as he caught a flash of uncertainty flicker deep in the golden mare's red eyes.

Yon dolphins began my troubles, Path rumbled irritably, it was merely sealed whence my second trip to the water also proved troublesome.

Both involved bondeds of Kyra, Sign murmured, a look of reluctance crossing her features as she voiced what was slowly coming together in her mind, The rude dolphin's were friends of Peace, and then Dart...

Amber tried defending him, though he abuses her unforgivably, Sparkle bit out, If it wasn't for her, I would think we'd be best to avoid the whole bondherd.

And ye best not forget the lady Tundra, Path added with a pointed glance in Caelum's direction, Her mate yon skywalker Storm claims she holds a gentle disposition, both friendly and fiercely strong.

At least she had, when they were last together. Time can change things.

Heaving a sigh, Sparkle looked at the little blue mare and thought to himself that she knew that better than anyone; given enough time and a few special bondmates, she'd outgrown her need for her mate. If he returned she'd allow that a romance might be rebuilt, but for the moment...

You know what our bonded would say, Sparkle said, finally releasing the hard expression.

Of what would she speak? Path asked, tilting her head slightly.

About change, I guess. She'd say it's neither good or bad, simply that some things must be destroyed for others to be created.

Yes, but I wasn't thinking of that. You know what she'd say about these changes in particular?

'Twould suit her that it be obscure in some manner, Path said with a wry twist to her mouth, Yon creature is complicated, indeed.

Not this time. She'd say that even if all the change can't be called good, all of it can be learned from. And now that we have a culprit for much of our troubles, we can destroy him next time we find him.

I think you added in that last part, Sign laughed, and Sparkle joined her with a dry Well, maybe. Still, I have learned about myself through it, and I've learned that Amber and I can handle trouble between us.

And nary before hath I been so tested on my own strength of courage, Path nodded.

I'm harder than I once was, Sign admitted, her eyes going out of focus for a moment, but I have learned that it doesn't change who I am. Not really, deep inside.

Look at us, Sparkle smiled, the first to bond in a Circle.

Much hath changed indeed since then, my friend.

And yet, it seems nothing has. Not really.

I wonder how things will change for them, Sparkle mused, looking at the Serians who were still wearing varying expressions as they adjusted to feeling their new bonds lock in place.
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Posting Elemental
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Post Sat Oct 19, 2013 11:07 pm

Re: The Gathering

A collective shudder ran through the crowd, leaving every last creature stone-still. Not an ear or a tail flicked for several long, tense minutes.

She'd shifted - they'd felt it. They always feel it, the smooth transition from one part of what she was to another. It was nearly like having a different bonded. This time, she'd shifted into her Unknown - the term they thought up to label her feral form. None had seen her in this form before, but they all felt it quite distinctly.

None moved as if to leave; none would rush to her. They didn't take care of her, not ever. She cared for them. If anything, the best way they helped her was by letting her take care of them. She would help them clear their homes from the debris of the yearly rains, would sit with them if they needed a companion, would defend them and even command them when it came to keeping their home realm safe. And she listened, understood - always.

She had others that would defend, listen and understand - her Clan, her family. Just as she was ever watchful over them.

The sensation rippled through each of them all the same, making hair stand on end and nostrils flair wide. As they adjusted, shaking themselves off as their most wild and base instincts settled back into place under the civility of personalities, Sparkle in particular kept a far-off look to his eye.

Nobody asked; he was lost in thought and memory, and none presumed to intrude.

He'd known though, way back when, yet he hadn't realized. He'd been afraid of the darkness, afraid of feeling, of memory, of everything. So she'd sat with him, night after night. A small, fluffy, cuddly white cat would curl between his shoulders or against his ribs or in the dip on his back. There wasn't any overt affection, no snuggling or petting; she'd simply lay with him, calm and watchful, purring in time to his breathing. Sometimes they spoke; sometimes he'd just brush his chin over her head. When he did she'd lick his nose in return, the purring growing for a minute.

There shouldn't have been anything remotely reassuring about a bit of fluff for a cat. She was a match for him most of the time; fresh, eager, relearning everything as she made a new start and shook the fog from her mind. A quiet bit of feline was much the same, merely a scuttering leaf away from a pounce.

Yet her presence had steadied him.

He'd known, even back then, in the deepest parts of himself - the deepest level of their bond. He knew she'd take care of him, that there was something he could count on.

She wasn't quite so gentle and eager any more, at least not to his mind.

Things certainly do change.

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