Dawn's Cold Light


Take your Serians here to chat or just roam their homeland.
The sun glitters above vast fields ringed by verdant forests to the north, mountains to the south and east, and wide rivers to the west.

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Posting Elemental
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Post Wed Aug 12, 2015 5:46 pm

Dawn's Cold Light

There was no missing her shadow this time, and it sure chaffed her pride.

AuraSidra was still quite young, only just beginning to reach the gangly phase of growing limbs, but she did still have a very well defined sense of herself. She knew quite well who she would trust enough to be in charge of taking care of others; the only one she fully respected was Eternal, as far as bond-mates went. Darroch was good company and she would at least consider his opinion, but there was no way she'd accept a command from him. Even her parents had to allow for logical reasoning - okay, they encouraged it, even scolded her when she failed to question one of their instructions.

But today (well, this morning at any rate) her protective stalker was Thorn. How anyone got the Hermit to actually leave his bat-strewn haunted woods was well beyond her; she hardly ever saw the stallion and knew he kept everyone at far too much of a distance to risk any notion of being responsible for them. And he really wasn't very good at tailing; he hooves weren't whisper soft like Darroch's, nor did he know how to sit perfectly still like her mother or glide on the faintest breath of wind as her father. He tromped around quite blatantly less than nine lengths behind her. The only good thing was that he didn't try any awkward conversation.

AuraSidra, meanwhile, wove her way through the pale dawn light and sniffed curiously at anything that moved. She'd been up early as she was each day, a trait she shared with her mother. The filly rarely knew where she would end up when she entered this strange place, the land of her ancestors, but she often enjoyed finding out. This time she was comfortably north; the air held the hint of a chill and the shadows bit at her where the sun couldn't reach. There was a strange bit of water not far, an odd mix between a swamp and the more familiar icy fjord. She didn't think she was precisely in the Fields any more; she'd probably crossed the Fyn river and wound up somewhere in Wesfyn. The swampy-feeling was the last of the river's claim on the land as she neared the cooler northern waters. She was supposed to stay in the Fields, she knew that, as there were a few unbondeds in the Outlands who were particularly fierce, but it really wasn't her own fault. The water had seemed so much more interesting than those mountains, and it really didn't matter that Caelum had told her of a valley in the lower portions. She wasn't that great at flying yet and she didn't want to go scrambling up a rocky cliff, thank you very much.

Besides all that, the sun was finally coming up in earnest and she could see properly now at the very least. It was flashing dazzlingly off the inlet that allowed a large pocket of the sea to reach between her and the distant corner of the land (wasn't it called Brei?) and her legs were well and truly getting a touch tired from all the walking. Crossing the river had been an adventure in and of itself, especially while she was mostly blinded.

Now she stood with the sea breeze tugging at her mane, her eyes wandering over a strange portion of her homeworld, and began to wonder what consequences might come of such trespass. Rogue Serians weren't the only concerns out here, and it was the Fields that was meant to be a haven for her kind.

----

She didn't know it yet for whatever reason, but Thorn wasn't at all oblivious to how the young filly saw the worlds. It wasn't that she was easy to read; for one so young she had a wonderful grasp of her body language. No, he knew because he knew her kind.

She used to be called Sidhe as a nickname; one of the fae-kin, one who had a strong touch of the broken magic that had helped to create their very species. Now, the others referred to her as The Princess. Just because he kept to his harsh woodland didn't mean he was without resources. After all, one might call his home barren upon first glance, and yet it sustained him and various other lives quite well.

The young thing often would duck her head to look at passing items, but always for a mere instant. It seemed the natural position of her neck was to hold her head high and proud; perhaps it was, considering who her mother was. Her father as well; once so frivolous, the old stallion had become gentle and proud. There was a calmness within him, a quiet enjoyment in small moments. Both he and his Mate were often known to glide silently above their filly while she was allowed to forget about them, regally drifting in her wake.

That wasn't Thorn's style. Thorn wasn't a gentle soul, quiet as he may be. And he wasn't about to let the little princess forget that she wasn't so tough as to explore on her own. Especially when she crossed the great river that marked the edge of the Fields, the great lands that were their haven.

At the least, she did manage to make it seem as if this outing may be slightly interesting. In strange and possibly dangerous areas, he may have a little bit of fun. Maybe he'd get lucky and she'd fall into the glittering water she stopped to stare at; he wouldn't have to be too gentle while dragging her back out, so long as he kept his word and made sure she got back home alive. If they both got sopping wet in chilled water he'd have to run her hard, too, to both dry and warm her.

If this is what happened when he bothered to leave his forest then at the very least the little squirt could do something interesting to make up for it. Thorn wasn't even entirely sure how he'd wound up being the one to make sure she didn't do something stupid enough to get herself killed. Something about how he'd wanted to do some wandering anyway and hadn't a destination in mind... Perhaps a challenge or a good fight, but not a destination. It had seemed logical enough at the time, as if he could have easily just ignored her as they went in the same general direction.

Just his luck that this new filly would prove to be one of those strong personalities that somehow always manage to make things go their way.

Maybe a bear-hog would show up and try to eat her for him. That could be fun.
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Post Sat Aug 29, 2015 10:54 am

Re: Dawn's Cold Light

Under the weak dawnlight Dayi Id and the Elemental had started to the north, and Astarte followed them. It was not a wise thing to do, but she hadn’t done many wise things lately.She found herself becoming--uncharacteristic.

It had started after that grand adventure, the next morning as she sniffed about the prize from the lake. She’d gotten an inkling of what the mirror could be, in the night--it’s shimmering voice had woven through her dreams and she’d woken with the sharp desire to do something. What, she wasn’t exactly sure, but she had an idea, something more than she’d ever attempted before. The mirror was a key--and she called on her hands to reach out to the lock, and--

Nothing.

A sort of fatigue, Sive had called it. Reaching too deep into her magic, without a thought to the boundaries. “It’s not permanent, as long as you don’t strain yourself.” Sive cupped her face, her touch skittish with regret. “I’m sorry young one, I should have warned you, but with everything lately--”

“It’s okay.” And she’d tried to mean it, her heart leaden in her chest. She’d managed without her hands before, but this new project needed them, needed her magic. It gnawed at her, and for the first time in her life she felt caged.

Avi tried to help, to distract. He ran her ragged, set her against Lock and Trite and whoever else had the inclination for a spar and restraint enough from taking it too far. She could feel the leanness setting into her rangy muscles, her body strengthen like a blade on the forge. But it wasn’t enough, only a place to vent the unfamiliar frustration. She could tell she worried her dear ones now, unlike she had before--yet she could not bring herself to stop.

So she tried to be away. Following the more dangerous members of her loose family wasn’t the best way to do so, but she knew they’d go far, to the wastes where there was little chance of someone stumbling into their spars. She hadn’t really been planning to watch their battles--she was not that foolhardy--but it was disconcerting to find herself alone on the other side of the river Still, she supposed it was far enough for her liking. Maybe they’d lost her on purpose. Dayi Id would, anyways; she wasn’t sure if the Elemental would care.

Her trek had been aimless since, forging through brackish bits of marsh and stretches of moorland. The ground here gave oddly beneath her hooves, while the mist left little in the way of landmarks to follow. She was a touch relieved when the swamp gave way to a rocky beach, and glistening waves where she could wash the journey’s mud from her hooves.

--

Astarte hadn’t noticed Hellion, not once in the miles she’d followed her, which was more an indication of the young one’s state of mind than any training the mare had gone through. Usually the girl was as preternaturally perceptive as her mother, but this whole magic thing had struck her deeply. Hellion could empathize. Maybe. But like her, Astarte kept her suffering on the inside where it was hard to tell.

Still, she knew what it was like to want to be alone, which is why she should’ve let the young one go. She wasn’t at the age where she needed a guardian, never truly had even though she’d seemed to like the companionship when she was a little thing. But she was still Hellion’s blood, and Hinote would’ve--well, she couldn’t let her just walk off after Id and Confetti. Either one alone was a walking hazard; both, a death wish. And Astarte knew that, but maybe that uncanny wisdom that kept her out of trouble was tied to her magic. If that was the case, then she needed the help.

It still felt odd, this responsibility. Caring for something she really had no business caring about. They’d never been close, she and Hinote, and then he’d gone and had a kid which had thrown her and then she’d met the kid who’d thrown her even more. And now she found herself tender and protective all over again, fighting herself under her skin. This was not who she was meant to be, but it seemed to be who she was. darn.

She sighed, lingering in the leftover mist that skirted border between the marsh and sea. Astarte seemed content meander in and out of the water, charging the waves every once in awhile. She looked a bit like a filly again, which was good, possibly. Maybe it meant her mind was off all that other stuff. Hellion scanned the horizon. Always be on guard, especially out here. But there seemed to be nothing there, except--she could make out a small blue figure on the far edge of the shore. Another serian? So far out here?

Well, she’d have to see what was their intent. She’d fight for the girl, if need be, but for some reason she was pretty sure she wouldn’t have to. She hoped she was right.


((Sorry this took so long >_< ))
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Post Tue Sep 01, 2015 2:59 pm

Re: Dawn's Cold Light

She wondered in a vague sort of half-conscientious way how many Eternal Sun alters actually mated with those of the Sacred Sea. There was another she knew who could appreciate the light dancing on the flashing waves; of course, he was a bit more obsessive about it than she was. Or at least that's what she believed; she never detoured specifically for the sake of water. And ice glittered so much better than the oceans did. Maybe Arctic Winds and Eternal Sun were an even better pairing. It certainly worked for her parents anyway, and she loved seeing the world sparkle so brilliantly.

Of course it was a bit odd for someone who was still growing into her legs to consider such things, but that notion never occurred to her.

There was a sea breeze - there almost always was - and it held a touch of bite, for being so far north. The sand was a new and odd texture to her hooves, but she could forgive the world of that small trespass.

Brilliant as the sun flashed on the water, it was still a bit dim for her vision. The sand didn't do much to reflect the light and there was but a single great star hanging in the sky. To comfort herself she turned her senses farther afield; the way the sky tore through space, leaving a wake of wind to dance between the stars that hung heavy in the sky. With a small nudge the distant stirring flickered to life, painting ribbons over the sky. Another nudge and the ribbons coalesced into shapes; she wound up creeping herself out with a huge pair of blood-toned eyes. With some effort she could make the illusion reach down farther and appear to be right next to her, but it was just a trick of the light. The reactions were still far distant; only Caelum, her sky elemental, would be able to alter a pocket near the earth to mimic the feel of what was at the sky's edge.

At least playing with her minor talent still managed to comfort her. She wasn't afraid, exactly. It was more that she was restless, almost depressed in a way. She'd gone wandering, and while it'd been entertaining enough she felt as if she had yet to find anything to make it all worthwhile. Tromping over miles of river, using her filigree wings to swim where she had to, squelching through the border marshlands - all for what? To find a far-distant sea where the wind ripped her mane across her eyes.

Once the explosive joy of new discovery had satisfied her thirst for trouble. Apparently as she grew, so did her need for danger.

Well if the land wasn't interesting, and if setting her soul to fly amid the sky-colors wasn't sufficient to satisfy her, naturally the only recourse left was the water. Right?

----

He really hated that thing with the sky-colors, for the simple fact that there seemed to be no use for it at all. Her name may mean Wind Star, but it shouldn't matter; what good did it do her to make flashes of color flick across the sky? A rather useless talent. It wasn't as if it was a proper illusion, or even one that could seem close-by. At least their bonded's light illusions seemed in danger of tangling in the very hooves, making them shy backward.

Not much else of interest was happening either, at least until she started charging at the water. At almost the same time he sensed more than he saw odd flashes of color much closer to where they stood than what the little filly could manage.

The knowledge of there being a right thing to do chafed at him to the point of anger; if he were to do the proper thing he would round up the filly and make certain she stayed safely by his side while he investigated the potential threat. It was quite nearly an obligation.

Forget that.

With a toss of his neck he trotted the last few steps forward and flung the young thing into the chilled waters, a large smirk of self-satisfaction curving over his face as she let out a high-pitched squeal of alarm. By the time she made it back to shore he was already halfway to the spot of brilliant color; it was a creature of some sort, he could tell that much. It also didn't belong here, no more than he did; his own red and gold tones did nothing at all to hide him. One of them had a rather striking purple mane. The other was a strange orange little blur.

No sooner did he begin to realize what he was looking at than the indignant squealing that had been trailing him slammed directly into his legs.

----

One second she's jumping in the shallows, and the next she's floundering in an effort to find the surface. She couldn't very well just walk in the water, that was much too direct. She could bounce back and forth though; much more like flying, at least at her stage of learning. She could hop and glide; there was no instant take off. And then it seemed she was flying after all, except for the little detail of landing face-first in water that was just barely deep enough to keep her from twisting onto her neck.

You great she gasped, sputtering as the choppy water tried to swallow her up again, Spiked Maybe she should stop fumbling before she began to yell? Colic-riddled knave!

Snorting heavily, she cleared the salt and sea out of her nose and hop-bucked back onto shore, screeching indignantly as he wandered away. How dare he, the cur! She never asked him along. It was just a suggestion, a mere idea, randomly tossed out! She couldn't even remember who said it. Nobody honestly asked him to come along; but she'd sprout extra eyes before she let him saunter away now.

You hollow-horned, bow-legged, mangey lout! Which obviously wasn't true, his copper-red coat gleamed quite nicely over smooth muscle. Jackal! That was a low and dirty trick, you coward! Getting dunked was one thing, but she didn't appreciate the impromptu 'flying lesson' that had left the world spinning. That hadn't been playing.

Stop ignoring me!

And the next thing she knew she'd tangled herself in his legs and they were both sprawled over the sand.

Gods Below, Hermit, I can't swim well! she squeaked, kicking wildly in an effort to disentangle her legs as panic began to mount from being trapped. What's your problem, anyway? I've left ye alone! There's no need to try and drown me!

----

The little twerp had to complicate things, didn't she? So much for just walking up; the squirt just announced their presence to anything with ears. And then the kicking and the screeching, tangling them up worse; ugh. With a few very deliberate motions he managed to get to his feet again just as she claimed being a weak swimmer. Oops. So was he, to be fair, so he did at least understand not having much of a water affinity. He couldn't even justify it, really; it'd just been lashing out.

You didn't drown, so stop squawking about it, he smirked.

He'd gotten far enough by now that it was clear it was another pair of Serians - and while they could certainly be dangerous, the threat wasn't severe. A mother and filly, perhaps, who chose to remain Unbonded; unless she was a Rogue they would be fine.

Want another one? he called, and bumped AuraSidra in their general direction. He wasn't entirely certain himself rather he was half-teasing or not. He just... Really didn't want to love this little creature. It was easier to keep her at a distance, to keep her angry, so she wouldn't love him and make him want to protect her.

----

Of all the undignified insults! Being offered up like she was little more than a scrap of honey. That was it. She was done being nice.

Lifting her head, she gave him a look of such absolute coldness that the derisive smirk froze and cracked, leaving him standing stock-still. She was a quarter his size, but the personality she brought to bear made him feel small; she could see it in his eyes.

Go home if you wish it, Thorn. I have no need of you.

And I never shall, she thought, turning her back on him to step towards these strangers; who were still but blurred suggestions of a shape to her eyes.

If nothing else, she had learned something already; it was time to get serious about swimming. She really wasn't that comfortable in the water and while she would never be truly great, she could at least minimize it as a weakness. She also turned over the kinds of anger she'd passed through; the one that left her screaming and lashing out did no good, not to make an impression on him and certainly not to soothe her. Now, however; now she was no longer shaken up, and it seemed to make him take at least a bit of notice. Perhaps that what's Momma did; she controlled the first sort of anger until it became the second. Momma never had to shout, never threw a fit. She could just look at a creature... And Poppa, well, Poppa didn't seem to get angry at all. Not even while he stomped on something's head.

Ho there! she called, tossing her mane in the wind as the shapes began to look at least slightly familiar. Besides, there was no way of just sneaking closer to find out what was going on first, not after all that commotion. She figured if it was going to try and eat her then it wouldn't make any difference at all rather or not she said hi first. Do you know aught of swimming? And if it wasn't going to eat her, maybe she could get in that practice. The waves were bigger than she was, and it was a little intimidating to look at; that was really what she was warming up to when she was first charging at the water, if she was to be honest to herself. Maybe a companion with the adventure would give her the extra courage she needed.

----

If you drown yourself, Thorn reflected, making her flick an ear back at him, I'll have to kick you to get you to breathe again. I don't suppose you find this idea pleasing?

He didn't get any more of an answer than having her ears press flat for a moment, but he also got no argument. It was as close as he would - or could - come to cautioning her to be careful, regardless. At least he didn't want to lash out at her now; in fact, he'd seen something in her that impressed him enough to be at least a little bit curious. Maybe it was what made the others call her The Princess; maybe it was something else entirely. Rather or not he got to kick her around to get the water out of her lungs, he would still take an interest now. And he rather wondered if these strangers - for strangers they were indeed, for he could almost clearly make out their faces now - had even the slightest chance of keeping up with her.

But no, perhaps he did know what it was; perhaps it was there in the tilt of her head, the tenseness in her neck and spine. This filly reflected parts of himself; she knew how to be distant, how to cut someone off. She'd just done it to him, hadn't she? This one knew how to be prickly; he could respect that. She didn't need to save the world. She didn't need others to like her, either.

There was something hard in there, something that wasn't at all kind and nurturing. Something that survived.

Survival was something Thorn understood.

OOC| Sorry it's so long! It's why it took a few days, had to find more than a couple hours before work to squeeze it into!
Last edited by Songhue on Tue Sep 08, 2015 1:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post Mon Sep 07, 2015 8:52 pm

Re: Dawn's Cold Light

The sky was on fire--that was new. Astarte paused, craning her neck up to catch the lights rippling over the sky. She knew she’d come north, but she hadn’t thought it was far enough for auroras, nor did she believe they often appeared in the morning sky. At least, Sive’s books said as much. The library had become another refuge, filled with spaces in which to forget herself. Auroras had been some of the first things she’d read about, inspired by AuraSidra’s excited explanations. Half the tomes spoke of the “Dance of Spirits” and signs from the gods, while the other half explained solar winds and magnetospheric plasma. Neither managed to convey the magic of her young friend’s explanation.

A pair of lurid red eyes glowered down at her. That was definitely not standard aurora behavior, but the sudden drag of the deep tide about her legs reminded her that this wasn’t the safest place to consider the sky. She readied herself, waiting for that weightless moment as the waves shifted, then leapt back to the shoreline. The sand was wet and skittish beneath her hooves, but she still managed decent landing. Avi would be proud.

She shook herself, looked up, and saw Hellion.

--

Another figure had wandered in, little ways from the blue one. Hellion strayed from the mist’s veil in order to get a better look, and that’s when the sky lit up. The suddenness was a bit startling, but the lights were nothing new. Sometimes her mistress grew tired of her night sky, and though she wouldn’t deign to have the sun rise in her land, sometimes she’d steal a wind or two to splash across the stars. She’d had them going a whole month once, until Web mentioned that it was playing merry hell with Hellion’s sleep patterns. The lights had gone, but there was a new edge to her mistress’ smirk, delight in a new thread to pull. At least she was more amused than anything else.

That was neither here nor there, though, because that new one looked like a fighter--even from this distance she could make out the crest of wicked spines. She tensed as it came to that small blue blur and--

Launched her--for that squeal reached a decidedly high pitch she’d never heard from any male--into the surf. She winced despite herself. Neither party looked related. Did she just witness some kind of assault? Or someone worse with kids than her? Never mind, Spiky was walking towards them and she needed to get Astarte now.

She turned and almost ran right over her niece. The girl’s face was eerily blank, and Hellion found herself biting back the urge to apologize. For what? Not letting her wander off and get killed? She flattened her ears and sighed. It was easier when she’d been little. “Couldn’t let you go alone. Not with them.”

A beat, and a smile broke over Astarte’s face. “Thank you, khala.”

Thrown again. The girl saw to the heart of things, just like her mother. It unsettled Hellion--Astarte traipsing into the mess beneath her skin, and making it seem like there was something worthy in there. Like Spindle’d tried to do, long ago. No. Shouldn’t think about that. She huffed quietly, looked up to see little blue make it out of the waves and make a beeline toward Spiky. “We should go. Looks like trouble.”

Astarte followed her gaze, giggled as the pair collapsed into a tangle of limbs. “Trouble, maybe. But I know her--AuraSidra’s my friend.”

With that she headed down the beach. Hellion followed warily, as she’d probably always do--this girl was not good for her.

--

AuraSidra’s grasp on language seemed to have improved mightily, or at least creatively. Astarte wondered if it had truly been that long since their last adventure, or if perhaps time moved differently between their lands? It was not uncommon, between realms, Sive had mentioned. Sometimes the wanderer would disappear for a few days, and come back wearing a year’s travel on her skin. She hadn’t left in moons though, probably wouldn’t until Avalir returned.

If I bond to her, I will not make her worry, Astarte promised herself. She’d started making these small vows, lately. The rhythms pleased her, the cause-and-effect following the thoughts she had when she was putting together one of her projects: if I...then this. Comforting, and small balm for the anxiety. At least she could keep thinking the same way, so when she finally could build again, her mind would not be rusty. Oil the gears, keep the clockwork going.

The drama was growing louder as they neared, and then it stopped, abruptly, with the filly’s imperious dismissal. She had grown, no question. Her regal carriage was a far cry from what Astarte remembered--a playful foal, swinging upside down from a tree branch. But then, could you know all sides of a soul from just one adventure?

But the seeds had been there, the way the filly was so sure of herself, how she moved through the world as if it had shaped itself for her own amusement. Bolder that Astarte had ever been. She quickened her pace to a canter, calling out over the low roar of the waves. “Hello, AuraSidra! It’s been awhile!”

She took no offense at not being recognized immediately. Her friend was still drenched from the waves, and the seawater was not kind to the eyes. Hellion had caught up, and was gauging the stallion at AuraSidra’s back. Astarte could sense her vague chagrin at being assumed to be a mother, but it was the easy connection to make, what with her hovering.

“Avi taught me to swim, yes.” She looked at the dragging waves, cresting a little higher each time. “Lakes and rivers, mostly, but I’ve not much practice with the wilder waters. By the way, this is my blood-khala--my aunt--Hellion.”

She wasn’t sure if she should broach the frigid air between AuraSidra and her current companion--Thorn, she’d heard her call him. Best to let the filly take the lead there, though she shot him a quick nod and small smile. Amma had taught her to be polite to her elders, initially, at least. Hellion, of course, did nothing; her khala was really not the best with people.


((No problem! It was a good read :D ))
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Post Tue Sep 08, 2015 5:06 pm

Re: Dawn's Cold Light

Gods below, Astarte! she squealed, and properly fell on her face as she both attempted to launch herself onto her friend and stop dead in her tracks at the same time. Sputtering around a mouthful of sand she carefully backed away a few steps, lowered her head, and shook off as hard as she could. Stinging seawater splattered out of her mane and cleared her eyes, and clumps of damp sand sprinkled all around.

It's great to see you again, she laughed, and turned a sparkling smile to Hellion as she stepped closer again. Merrily met, Madam Hellion. Astarte told me a new term last time we played - erm, getting into "trouble"? she said, casting an uncertain glance at her friend. Would it cause this trouble for us to see if we can swim and find some lost-things for her under the waters?

I still get to kick you if you drown, Thorn noted mildly, Except that you're too stubborn to.

Oh, this is Thorn, AuraSidra added, making the stallion flick an ear as she turned back to Astarte. He didn't miss the fact that she still hadn't so much as looked in his direction. He's good at fighting, if we find a monster we have trouble with. Challenges help him to feel something.

That gave him a start - she wasn't supposed to know that. Nobody was supposed to know that, outside his bonded, and only then because he couldn't do anything to stop her.

AuraSidra shifted slightly, just shy of prancing in place. She so wanted to catch up! There were so many things to ask, and swimming to practice at, and treasures to find in the water to help her friend put it all together, and if she got lucky she could even find a monster or a portal or some other adventure.

----

He didn't want to see it, the way she tried so hard to subdue the excited young energy that was natural to a filly her age. She was getting bigger, holding her head a bit higher, but she was undoubtedly itching to shoot off like she'd just sat on a porcupine. The young'un was simply getting a bit better at trying to hide it.

He didn't want to know that, or see the difference in her face as she looked at Astarte, or notice that Hellion's face looked soft and sweet even when she was stoically silent - she could skewer him easily, but there was a softness all the same - and he absolutely didn't want to know that Astarte was going to be gorgeous when she finished growing. What business was it of his to see that there was a kind echo in a mare's eyes, or the echo of what a filly could be by how she carried herself?

This is why he kept to his haunted woods; he saw too much when he came out, and it was much safer not to see. Safer not to care.

You just worry about finding something to entertain me, he said with his best attempt at cold apathy. It was supposed to sound at least a bit threatening, indicating that he might find his entertainment elsewhere. It might have worked, had she not seen straight through him.

Worried you might have to think for a minute if you don't get to stomp on something's head?

You could always volunteer your own skull, he said acerbically.

And you could stop trying to run away. I hope you conduct yourself as appropriate company for Madam Hellion. Ready to see what we can find, Astarte?

She never looked at him, the blasted little princess.
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Post Wed Sep 09, 2015 9:46 pm

Re: Dawn's Cold Light

The laugh bubbled out of her, sparked anew by AuraSidra’s exuberance. It was easy to be around her, joyous to be remembered and accepted--like a useful thing, a part locked into a proper place. Astarte dodged the sudden spray as her friend shook off, her eyes dancing to Hellion to see how she’d hold under the filly’s social ease. She felt a touch of worry: AuraSidra shone brightly, and khala was used to shadows.

'erm, getting into trouble?'

She caught that uncertain glance--still a wonder that her friend lived so freely, a touch of awe that concepts so familiar to her would be so foreign to the other. Then again, the filly’s talk of cosmic winds and dancing lights were equally unfathomable. “I don’t think that is what I’ll be in trouble for, if any.”

She might get a talking to from Avi, not for wandering alone but for her intended trajectory. But Hellion was here, an unexpected boon, though she knew things were sometimes awkward between the two. She wondered if that was how all siblings were. Hellion, in the mean time, snorted softly and shifted her gaze to Astarte, then the shore. “Do as you wish, I’ve no dissent.”

It seemed that Thorn was still not forgiven. Intriguing, to see an adult handled so dispassionately, AuraSidra wielding her words to cut to the quick. Astarte could never bring herself to address an elder with such casual dismissal--but then again, none of her dear ones had ever given her cause to. Regardless, probably better to leave the broken bits, come back later. “Khala can hold her own as well, my avi said. Though, I would hope what monsters come can be turned away gently.”

Another huff from Hellion. She knew the mare had lived a hard life, and found her niece’s optimism naive--but that’s why she needed her, she supposed. Why the brief anger at being intruded upon was outweighed and overcome by the relief that she wasn’t alone. Yet none of that camaraderie was apparent between AuraSidra and her prickly guardian, though something was off behind the cold countenance, the mocking words. Well, he hadn’t liked AuraSidra’s intrusion--Astarte would think no further on it.

She could see her friend was eager to go, so she turned her face upshore, trotting into the breeze. “Yes, shall we see if there’s a cove, with calmer waters? There seems to be only swamp where we came from.”

--

So, Astarte had made a friend. Thank gods. Hellion hadn’t expected someone so--energetic, but then she and Mist were hardly similar. Maybe that was the root of friendships. But what did she know, with her extensive experience of one decent relationship in the entirety of her spartan life. Still, there were things the girls shared. That uncanny perception, for one. AuraSidra used hers more deliberately, perhaps. Left that stallion in a twist.

She hadn’t liked how he’d looked at her. He had eyes like Cedar, jaded and all too knowing, reminding her how much of a failure she was at dissembling her emotions, at building masks and walls. Reminding her that it would always be there, that treacherous weakness, waiting to bring her down.

Well, at least he didn’t dwell on whatever he saw. Too busy trying to get back at AuraSidra, and failing. The girl was something. Astarte might prove to be a challenge someday, should she pick up any of that majesty.

‘I hope you conduct yourself as appropriate company for Madam Hellion.’

She needed none of that, whatever Thorn may interpret it to mean. No need, no desire for any of those get-to-know-you games. But maybe he’d guessed that already; most did within the first moments. She moved to follow Astarte down the beach, brushing by the stallion with a terse murmur. “I keep to mine, that’s all.”

The northlands were harsh--they all knew it. Hellion’s bloodbound duty was Astarte, and she was stubborn when it came to following orders, self-imposed or otherwise. The princess was not her concern if life was on the line; she felt it fair to let her guardian know, lest he misinterpret whatever he’d seemed to see in her before.
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