The Gathering


Take your Serians here to chat or just roam their homeland.
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Posting Elemental
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Post Mon Aug 20, 2012 2:45 am

Re: The Gathering

Flint literally took the panpipes from him.

It was downright strange, for Shiro of all of them, to be off to the side handling the music while the others chattered away. It was high time for him to stop trying to hide off to the side - as soon as Flint found out why his mate was acting that way, of course.

Sushi-

I'm enjoying watching, Shiro said before Flint could get out another word. I can tell by the way you look at me you're worried for me, dearest, and you really are so wonderful for it. It reminds me how lucky I am, to have someone who's so willing to give me all this attention.

He smiled, nuzzled up under his mate's chin, tucking himself close. Flint grinned, as pleased as ever at how sweet and accommodating Shiro could be. He really was one to please others.

Watch more later on, he admonished gently, pulling back to play with the stallion's forelock. Go and say hi.

He was right, of course. But for some reason Shiro was nervous - ah, no, not for some reason.

He knew Flint. He knew that stallion inside and out, knew how to please him, how to snuggle with him. He was comfortable with Flint, and together they had their own rhythm. He wasn't so sure of how to operate with the others - he could do small things, general things that were good for friendly moments, but any true links, any deeper connections? No, there was nothing all that substantial with them. Except for perhaps Sparkle - but Sparkle was not here.

Well, Shiro thought to himself as he looked around, Gotta start somewhere.

He could tell the others clicked well. BlackIce and Frolic would fit together in one way, have one type of comradeship, while Thyme and Eternal would have another one entirely. They knew how to be with one another. Shiro, so easy to get along with as a general rule, had gotten himself stuck in a corner with his own sweet nature. Everyone liked him; and everyone saw him as nothing more or less than a nice fellow.

Well... Everyone except for Caustic. But one did not simply walk up and talk with the warrior. Did they?

But no, he and Caustic had an understanding already, regardless. It was time he set up a real relationship with someone else. Typically, such a thing was exactly what he thrived in. When it came to this he found himself oddly nervous; wanting to get it right, to simply know that kind of link.

It was important to him, and that added pressure. Which made him nervous.

Snorting at himself, somewhat disgusted with his case of the jitters, he chose his target and dove in head first; before he had a chance to think twice about it.

How you feelin', Whippersnapper?

Grinning rather timidly, completely lacking direction on how to proceed, Shiro had stepped towards BlackIce and greeted him with a soft whicker. The old fellow had a rather distant look to his eye as he cropped up a mouthful of grass, having been left momentarily to himself. Momentarily; they were very rarely on their own within this group, short of choosing to be.

Oh, I'm doin alright. Enjoyin' the noise. Makes me feel good, havin a bunch o' young'uns gathered 'round fer such antics.

Don't underestimate yourself, Shiro offered, taking another step closer with a soft expression, you had quite the jig going yourself there, a moment ago.

That got a laugh out of him.

Oh, I did! That was a right hoot, it did. I always feel younger when we sing that one, feel all them years just peelin' right off my soul.

Shiro smiled, nodding his understanding. It wasn't that BlackIce was old - not physically - but he had had a long and hard life. He had aged before his time.

Been keepin' an eye on the Dryad, he said now, giving his tail a very subtle flick in the other stallion's direction, makin' sure he's doin' alright with all this. He hadn't seen many others, you know, since he got here. Been just enjoyin' his home. Relieved to have one, if you ask me. Wasn't sure he was ready for such a Gatherin'.

It reminds you of Before, I'd imagine. Secretly watching after someone.

Oh, yuh, a bit, BlackIce admitted, his voice dropping slightly with a sudden weight, but it's easier to keep an eye out if they don't go an' make a fuss at ya for it.

And when you have others to help out, Shiro offered.

That got a look from the other fellow, one that made Shiro warm inside; he'd gotten his attention now, gotten himself to be really noticed. To be properly seen.

He seems fine from here, he commented idly, tilting an ear towards Thyme and resisting the urge to ask why BlackIce would be concerned - enjoying being home didn't seem anything to worry over to him.

A-Yuh. Would be good for him to talk to Tiger Lily, I think.

It'd bring him a little further outside of things than a talk with Oak Heart might, he agreed. Might help to initiate it.

Got an idea, do ya?

Small one, Shiro admitted, grinning to himself as he fell into beat with the grizzled old stallion who'd been through his fair share of life's adventures. What do you say to me getting just a bit clumsy?

I say, BlackIce grinned, that you might use a lesson in handlin them wings, sonny.

Snorting in amusement, Shiro made a point to stretch his wings as wide as they could go. Frolic had just taken a step towards the stream that cut through the area, so it was the perfect opportunity - he held his wing out low and promptly tripped the mare, making her stumble straight into Thyme as he turned for a drink.

While everyone else's heads shot up to see what had happened, BlackIce and Shiro faded back behind the crowd and gave themselves congratulatory grins. Partners in protective crime - that was them!

As the others fell back into their own conversations, Frolic and Thyme shook the water off themselves and started talking themselves. Frolic seemed to be rather amused by her clumsiness, thinking she had stumbled over a patch of grass or a stone of some sort. Thyme was gradually loosening up as she talked.

A-yuh, right clumsy of ya lad.

Thank you, Shiro whickered with a half-laugh as he took a mock bow, thank you very much. Find yourself in any other secret adventures as of late, Whippersnapper? I find it hard to believe that you'd so readily retire.

Oh, a few hunting expeditions, here or there, he admitted, and looked at Shiro with a new spark in his eye. It was interest - and companionship. Sneaking passed dangers for rare and delicious treats had become a regular outing for him whenever he left home, not because it was the only way to get to them - his bonded at the least surely could have procured the delicacies - but because it was the only way he would get to them. Life was not tame, and it had not taught him to be so.

And now he had a sweet, if somewhat small, stallion that he could prattle to about all such things as narrow trails that wound under rock slides and dens that showed only a pair of gleaming eyes and the flashing yawn of a fang.

It wasn't about the danger though, or even the challenge. Not for BlackIce. It was about things being difficult - not challenging, not proving himself, but having to try, to struggle a little bit. The sweet reward at the end of the long climb was enough for him - but he firmly believed that if one (or at least, if he) desired something it should be that they had to work for it.

Yes, that was it. He enjoyed the work.

And moreover, he enjoyed those that could simply fall into step with him when it came to reaching his goal.
Last edited by Songhue on Sat Dec 01, 2012 4:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Posting Elemental
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Post Sat Sep 01, 2012 11:14 pm

Re: The Gathering

There was a quietness in her as she looked around.

It had been years since she felt so new.

It was odd for her to be going though this social awkwardness; it hadn't happened since she was a wee filly! But it was undeniable - she didn't fit quite yet. There were already natural groupings, even with but few of them present. It seemed that some quite simply found themselves naturally drifting to certain others to talk, dance or play their music.

But it was more than feeling awkward, more than the stillness of being apart. Eternal was jealous.

Nobody was naturally flocking towards her. Nobody had even shown the slightest amount of awe, although they all stood before her. This was almost blasphemous to think that there could be so much as a possibility of anyone being unimpressed with her.

She was Eternal! She was Rogue. She radiated sheer power; she was even the largest one there. Tarnation, she was even larger than Caelum was by a fair few inches! Not that he was around; still tied up in that sister-realm of Pendar. Flint had mentioned something about a desert and coal, although why the winged wonder might be interested in crumbly black rocks she couldn't imagine.

Ridiculous. That's what this was. They should have at the least come over for a quick talk, even if she wouldn't admit that having them come fawn over her had crossed her mind.

Well, she was tired of being ignored, and she refused to continue to feel apart from events; if they didn't have either the sense or the manners to wander towards her, she would go say hi. Again! She'd already approached a few of them, but she had yet to be approached herself, to be pulled in and made to feel included.

No sooner had the decision been made than she found herself almost nose to nose with Caustic and Flint.

The three of them blinked, each of them surprised that they had all bumped into one another. Nobody was quite sure how it had happened, but everyone was sure of one thing - this was not something that normally happened. Just as there were those that naturally gravitated toward one another there were those that naturally left a respectful amount of space. Flint had once battled with control issues, back when he first bonded; even still, releasing his place as the Senior Serian had been difficult for him when Caustic came. He hadn't quite been able to bring himself to actually say that it was for the best, that Caustic had more of that mettle which made a leader than he himself did; that they would naturally turn to the warrior to handle things rather than the simple desert dweller.

Which was, of course, nothing compared to the gnashing that Caustic had done when Eternal came into the picture. He was stubborn enough to believe that should trouble come he wouldn't turn to this mare, Rogue or not. He could take care of himself; and he could certainly look after his bond-mates whenever they were out together or if trouble found them.

But he couldn't do better than she could; he couldn't even beat her in a fight, much less command that same confidence or control anywhere near that level of power. She was simply better equipped and everyone knew it. Including him, unfortunately.

Great. Now, not only was she not having anyone wander over to be part of her own personal group, she had the two stallions least likely to show her any proper respect right under her nose.

They were all silent for a moment - a tense, awkward moment where nobody quite met anyone else's eye (especially Caustic).

How are you settling?

She blinked, surprised. Flint was looking at her now, his jaw set. He had learned a lot since mating with Shiro; one of the things had been how to swallow his pride. Maybe he wasn't in charge of the well-being of others any longer, but they were still his bondmates and he could still talk to them; or learn how to talk to them. He was used to talking to those in his charge; speaking to a superior, outside of his bonded (who he more saw as a friend than anything, to spare his pride) was far outside his comfort zone. But this would be who he would be looking to for direction should the chance arise, the one that was responsible for helping everyone get back home safely if their bonded weren't around. This was the mare and even the stallion he would rely on. For that, he could swallow his pride.

Well enough, I suppose. It is… a bit odd, perhaps, to no longer be alone, to watch from a distance. I had thought that diving into regaining this bond would be an entirely different experience.

What were you expecting?

It was honest curiosity, so she decided to answer. Even if she would be overseeing this stallion's safety some day, that didn't mean she didn't respect him for his own abilities, in her own way. Of course he didn't measure up to a Rogue, but he was skilled in his own right. If nothing else, he was a valuable ally.

More… She paused, searching for the proper word before plowing ahead, more chaos, I suppose. I had expected a flurry of faces, voices, sensations.

Flint was shaking his head, drawing her attention back to him as he said Couldn't be further from the reality, could it? It's quite a sacred event, to gain a new bondmate, and it's carefully ensured that everyone gets proper attention and adjustment.

She sat with you, Caustic added, asking a question he already knew the answer to, stayed with you while you made your new home into a real home those first few nights?

Yes, she admitted, nodding her head slightly and relaxing a little bit. It was a new thing, for someone to be looking after her in this manner - for that's what this was, looking after her and seeing to her adjustment - but, she found, not entirely unwelcome. It was very nearly what she had just been wishing for. Who would have thought that it would be these two that she found herself with?

I had her nearby, almost a tail flick away, the first few nights. She wrote in something for that first night or two, then she was simply there. After a while she was gone; I hadn't even noticed when she left.

That's her style, Flint confirmed, a bit of a spark lighting in his eye as he relaxed more as well, sticks around just until you're comfortable enough not to miss her presence.

Other than the welcoming ceremony, the dance where your duties are first learned, everything happens on your terms, Caustic continued, the two of them working in tandem now.

When you're open to having a visitor we'll feel it,

we pick up on these things through the land,

you probably noticed that your own senses are hyper-sensitive to the realm

and especially your own personal home.

When that personal home becomes open for visitation you should get a few wandering by.

Who that is depends on a few things, on how welcoming it feels to that particular critter.

Until then, you have all the privacy

and ability to strengthen your claim of mine upon your homeland

that there is. There's simply a sensation that wandering elsewhere would be better,

it almost feels like the realm merely guides you away,

a very gentle and subtle sensation.

So no crowds of new faces coming up to me in groups every day, she said, making sure she properly understood, not even if I'm not home?

Not unless you wish it, Flint confirmed with a nod.

We've all of us been there. We know how that adjustment is needed.

Well, all except for SunDancer.

Path? She was never abandoned?

Never. Lucky mare that she is.

I hear Sparkle was the first to choose her, but nobody worships Shine quite like SunDancer does.

I suppose with so many others who have known what it is to lose a bonded she realizes how lucky she is.

Partly, though part of it has to be that they're simply the sort who would naturally be friends. SunDancer likes to try to chase after Shine's own cubs now and again, like she's their aunt.

When they aren't chasing her, that is.

SunDancer... And everyone calls me Lady. Explain these nicknames?

Shine is touchy about names.

Her proper name isn't even Shine, if you'll recall

Although in this part of the multiverse she goes by Songhue.

It was a name that she got somewhere else, some place that only knew her to be a Fae.

Names have power, according to her. At least proper names.

And it's hard to get a shorthand of Eternal or Path, such as Shine for her.

And we all have to hold to this code of names?

We choose to.

The names are part of us; Sarge here is properly named Flint, but the given name that comes from who he is as a stallion is Sarge.

And Caustic's name which comes from how he is as a stallion is Death. It isn't quite a renaming,

if anything it's simply being given a nickname that describes who you are to everyone.

Well, everyone in the bond-herd.

Lady Eternal does ring a nice bell.

My favorite nickname is Sushi.

Of course it is, he's your mate.

Sushi's special; he's the only one with three nicknames.

Why does he get three??

Sushi started as a joke,

just like how Spark-leeee started as a joke,

but it wound up sticking. It's sort of the affectionate pet name that Flint has for him.

Then there's Shiro, which, like Shine, is the shorthand for his given name, Shiro Suisei.

But his actual nickname is Romeo - apparently it means a great and dramatic lover.

No, I think it's that it's a name of a great and dramatic lover. Darroch has two as well, though.

He grew into a new nickname though.

Back in the day he was the little Green Horn

He ain't so little or green any more.

Oh, he's very green, Flint joked, and got a smirk and a nudge from Caustic. None of them thought anything of it - they had all completely relaxed.

Not like that. So now the literal meaning of his name, Oak-Heart, is his nickname. It rather suits him.

How did Firefly and Romeo get their joke-names?

Romeo's is simply that the second half of his name sounds like Sushi if you say it just right, which is apparently a type of food made from raw fish. The irony was too much for us. The great lover, named for raw fish!

Firefly got his from Romeo. They were just messing around,

and Firefly was talking about how happeh Romeo is,

almost unnaturally so, but then he does like stallions,

And Romeo teased back that while he may be happeh Firely is Spark-leeee!

But nobody can sing-song it as well as Romeo can.

I think they both stuck because it's a lot like Shine for the bonded, only as a joke.

Romeo did point out, though, that Firefly's so very Spark-leeee! that they even named him Sparkle.

That probably helped a lot with making it stick.

And on they talked, a new bond forming between the three; one of mutual respect for each individual's strength, and one of having welcomed a bondmate. Now, it was as if they were all on the upper level of seniority; of them, Eternal would still be the one they looked to for instructions, should they be needed. But any wounded pride or threat of superiority was swiftly disappearing; they were all natural leaders. They could all respect that, could set aside their pride and take instruction from another - for no reason other than that they respected this stronger Serian for who they were.

Eternal didn't feel set apart any more. She felt that these were the creatures which made up her home.

And she felt she would do anything within her vastly superior powers for them.
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Posting Elemental
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Post Mon Oct 01, 2012 11:58 pm

Re: The Gathering

It was hard not to be bitter. But he managed it, he walked the line. He didn't have a choice. His bonded was cruel that way.

It wasn't an option, to cross that line. He wasn't sure if she would actually kick him out, but he was sure of one thing - to cross into that place where he was sharing himself with true evil would make it so that he would not be allowed in her realm. It had no place in her lands. He knew it beyond a doubt, because there had been a few times where that darkness had slipped into his heart and he found himself locked outside his home. He hadn't felt her, either, when he looked, when he went to ask - okay, demand - entry. And he always felt her.

If he let it consume him in earnest, would she completely abandon him? Would it be worse than being locked out, if he pushed it too far? That was too high of a price. If he wished for a life of solitude, if he was willing to be weakened that way, he would have given up on bonding again.

So he held off that bitterness, kept hold of his sense of honor. He could be as bleak and dominant as he wanted, but he had no choice other than to hold to that sense of honor.

But he wanted to be bitter. They were all so freaking happy. It was disgusting, really. And Oak-Heart, that fool thought he had a hard time of it because of a negligent father. He'd found all he needed in a dad, so he missed nothing. He was allowed out of his home realm frequently, even while growing - no being stuck with only the local company. He had a mother that adored him. He'd grown up with an attentive bonded, one that was constantly nurturing the bonds between all of them. Of course the idiot was happy. But his easy confidence and the steady, if low, thrum of his joy was the most abrasive of all. He was so secure in his blasted little world, wandering around to discover what sort of stallion he was on his own without anything to trouble him.

Oh, yes, it was very hard not to be bitter.

Not that she left him to it. If he was caustic then she was soothing; even as he struggled to trample the jealousy he felt something cool and shimmery brush over his mind. Her presence, as always, drifting through him for a mere moment - light and far from intrusive.

Fine. Fine. The youngling stallion still had it better than he realized, still didn't have to deal with his over-abundance of energy with no one around to kill (he could direct his own excess into messing with his element), but okay. He didn't have it so rough, himself. He wasn't the easiest creature to get along with, but she got him, at least, this new bonded. She knew how to kick his butt and force him to respect her as a leader, to trust himself under her care. He wasn't stuck with nothing more than local company, either. He'd gotten out and about, a fair little bit, and mostly smirked over the ones he had met. He was the sort that either made someone highly uncomfortable or else made them want to fight. He didn't even hope for a fight any more; it was amusing to watch others squirm.

Except that wasn't what his muscles were telling him right now.

And Eternal saw it. He could tell by the look in her eyes.

Well. Crap. If anyone could give him a workout it would be a Rogue.

I call a challenge upon the first event! she bellowed, her voice switching from the chimes of a lady to silver tones laced with power. Everyone grew utterly still.

Caustic, our own Lord Death. To me. Let us see what our warrior is made of; let us spar as only we can.

Crap. He did not like to lose. Except he heard that small, delicate voice, that one that whispered of the magics of Others that belonged to his bonded floating through his mind. You haven't lost, yet.

Hmmm.

A challenge given and accepted! Come, Lady, and let us play.

And the darkness in his heart loosened with a sigh of relief that seemed to say finally. There was a smirk on his lips as they closed, a flame in his eye - a flame of shadows. Oh, yes. It was about time something other than all this simple comfort prevailed. There was more to life. There was pain and work and suffering and-

Death. 'Tis a name well-earned.

And the fight began.
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Posting Elemental
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Post Mon Oct 08, 2012 11:34 pm

Re: The Gathering

They closed, the warrior and the rogue, and the others gathered in a wide ring. Had this been a proper battle a deathly silence would have befallen - such challenges and the resulting battles were not unheard of, although they were much rarer than facing off with their bonded for a proper scolding. Being put in their place by their bonded didn't seem to bother them or have such weight to it as being put there by one of their bondmates. Proper challenges could potentially change the dynamics of the whole group.

This was an event, however, so there was no great meaning behind it other than a good hard bout of sparring. The talk continued, even escalated as the two bodies came together and dashed apart once again, shouts over who would win or moves made filling the air.

They jostled each other in the circle - either to see better or good-natured nudges being traded as they challenged the outcome. Path's name was mentioned more than once - she had taken to having quite the reputation for holding no tolerance for rude or disrespectful behavior and would even challenge someone on behalf of another if it was someone who wouldn't be able to properly defend themselves in a true fight. Not all of them were made for these things; some simply needed protecting. She had left more than one bruise on Breeze's hide, especially, as his jokes and accents would cross a line into becoming a bit harsh. He learned rather quickly after one particular match that mocking the way a bondmate spoke was severely off limits - especially if he was mocking Path herself.

The comparisons to her fluid, dance-like fighting style flew, some of them favorable, others less so. Caustic moved with a certain grace of his own, a sleek, coiled power sliding in under your radar to strike at a weak point. This wasn't a proper match, much less a true hunt, so he never went for a death blow - and with Eternal's knowledge of his deadly basilisk gaze he would have had to, much as she avoided his eyes - but he frequently landed a shallow scratch or a hit that would lead to being a sore muscle later on.

Eternal was an entirely different matter. Path was light, fluid and long - built as a dancer, with muscle enough to be a challenge to almost anyone. Eternal was heavy, thick and held all the power of the stars within her - there was nothing light to her step, and yet there was no clumsy bluntness in her movements either. Her steps weren't heavy, her blows were far from sloppy. If anything, where Path danced and Caustic dripped efficiency, Eternal radiated control. Not a single inch of muscle went to waste.

The speculations ran from there - how each would have paired against Path, and then on to others.

Death and Sarge would be an interestin' battle, BlackIce noted, only for Thyme to yell Bah, if Sarge were to pair off I'd see him against the Soldier! Forget about Sarge, Soldier and Oak-Heart would make the best show, Frolic countered with a smirk in her eye and a filly's playful challenge trumpeting in her voice, only for Shiro to hiss Ohhh, she'll feel that one in the morning and bring them all back to focus as Flint added Strike left, he favors his left!

It was quite a bit of fun all the way around, but the absence of the others was felt. What Nova would say, the jokes Breeze would crack, the lilting drawl of Tribe as she crooned her honey-soaked words in the melee were all noted at some point or another. Thorn would have been pulled out of himself, eager to spar next, for if there was one thing he liked best it was to move until his muscles ached. Even Sign would have enjoyed fussing over their injuries and doing her special brand of healing magic and herbal fixtures - all while being one of the most ruthless in commentary. She could heal almost anything - egging them to do more and hold back less was her trade mark in these festive sparrings, something that everyone found endearing and most found surprising.

Darroch was the quietest one during the entire match, although far from uninterested. He was learning. He knew very little of the physical realm, having spent a very large majority of his life within his own mind and the elemental talents therein. Hybrid had taught him a few light basics, but he was nowhere near the fighter that the scaled green stallion could be.

It was Caustic who lost - and it was Darroch who saw it coming. He had learned to read others equally as well as hybrid could, so he saw the moment that Eternal figured out how Caustic worked in a fight. She knew the move he would make and intercepted it in such a way as to leave him sweating and panting on his side, his eyes rolling back to look at her as she kept one hoof planted firmly on his rib cage and pinned him. It was her experience, not her power, that won for her - a fact that they could all appreciate, however begrudgingly for some.

If they had seen it. They had expected her to win; Darroch was the only one who had captured the moment the battle had been decided.

Weighing his options, he looked around as Caustic and Eternal congratulated each other and those who were a bit more knowledgeable checked over the minor injuries. Challenging Eternal for a match while this event still ran wouldn't exactly be in proper manners, as she was already sweating from her earlier set - if word ever got back to his mother he would be missing half the fur on his hide by the time she let him be. But Flint... That could be interesting. The silver stallion had remained notably mellow throughout the morning.

My turn, he declared, his rich voice as impressive as ever as it rang deep and velvety. His mother adored his voice - when he was irritated it deepened to the point of nearly holding the growl hidden within Hybrid's sizzling speech, and she loved hearing her own rich baritone lowered and popping with power whenever he spoke. She'd never heard a voice as deep as his.

Against whom?

Sarge, he quipped, and with that stepped into the ring amid a faint murmur of surprise.

He was the youngest and would always be seen as such. At times it left him feeling somewhat left out - they saw him as grown, but he wasn't yet a proper stallion and that fact was reflected in their eyes. This should change that, to some extent.

After all, he knew how to watch - he was equal to Hybrid there, and Hybrid was even better than Flint. He had some of his mother's grace, some of his father's talents, and all of his poppa's teachings on his side.

As the circle tightened again it was anticipation, not surprise, that laced the air. They expected this to be good.

With a smirk, Darroch moved to close with Flint and begin their sparring, determined to put on a show they wouldn't soon forget. He saw his smirk returned as they drew closer and grinned all the wider - the silver stallion wasn't looking at him as the youngest any more and certainly not as a foal. The look in those blazing red eyes was one that a rival was given; the same look that anyone else would see, although with a touch more amusement. He planned on enjoying this fight.

Good. So did Darroch.
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Post Thu Oct 11, 2012 5:27 pm

Re: The Gathering

It was about time the lad challenged him. Oh, maybe not earnestly, but Flint knew what was going on. He was growing up, had to prove himself. And it had always felt to him that when the time came for that, he'd choose Flint.

It made sense to him. In order of who they relied on, now that Darroch was more than a mere foal, the lad was next in line within the current group. After Flint, Path became responsible - except she was off shmoozing with her boy toy. After her came Nova, but Nova was being restless and exploring. Hybrid would take over next - but he was getting friendly with darkness. Not that he had asked anyone along with him for them to know - the nitwit had just wandered off on his own. It was only through his link to their bonded that anyone knew for certain he hadn't simply gone off and died. Flint would have a bone to pick with him about that when he got back - Soldiers don't just up and leave that way, not without reporting to their Sarge. They've made new friends since they came to this place, this new bonded, but they still came together. Flint would always be his Sarge.

Regardless, with the three of them out of commission for the moment the next in line was young Darroch. The lad wouldn't dream of challenging Hybrid to prove himself - it was close contention anyway, but Hybrid was just a little more powerful than the earthen elemental. Nova had gained so much respect from Darroch that he almost seemed afraid of her, and he wouldn't even think of crossing his mother. But Flint was not only worthy of a challenge (more so than, say, Shiro would be), he simply fit the role. Thorn fit the role as well, sharing certain aspects of personality with the desert-dwelling silver stallion, and would have been a safer choice; Thorn didn't have that sense of presence about him to underscore his inner fire. But Thorn was off who-knew-where doing who-knew-what. That he was finally out of those old haunted woods was good enough for most of them; he could be taking a high dive off a cliff for all they were aware of. He was a bit of an adrenaline junkie, making Breeze's love for the rush of flying high seem tame in comparison.

Yeah, Flint was the one to challenge. More than being the logical choice it felt right - he had the heart of a fighter, the sort that would understand. It was that understanding that brought the little spark of respect in his eye as they closed with each other; the knowledge that the lad was proving himself.

He wouldn't hold back because of it, wouldn't disrespect it in that way. And Darroch knew it. His own respect for his opponent ratcheted up another notch.

They were cheering again, hoots and calls and wagers being shouted this way and that, but neither of them were aware of it this time; not the way they had been while watching before. Darroch was focused entirely on the stallion he was dealing with, searching for that moment of clarity he had seen in Eternal; Flint was lost within the action of sparring.

His muscles moved, his body reacted, he observed the style and skill level of Darroch and thought him a fine young stallion, if not yet quite fully grown into those lanky legs. Every step shifted him subtly, as if he still stood on his multi-hued sands. It was kept a fair fight, with the youngling keeping a lid on his magic. There was a difference between manipulating nature and sensing her, however; more than once he made a move specifically deigned to drive Flint into a dip in the land, forcing the older stallion to back off for a moment as he regained his balance.

Flint had to admit that the little one - for even nearly grown the elemental was smaller than him - was a fair fighter. The grace of his mother, the teachings of his poppa and the skill of his father all combined to make a beautifully efficient sparring partner. The lad knew how to melt away from where he'd been moments before, just as he knew how to strike with the most impact. Flint quite possibly had a cracked rib; Darroch more than likely had a chip in his shoulder. They were circling just short of the deadly blows used in a true challenge, and they had identical looks of pleasure on their faces.

He was sweating - Flint's silvery hide glistened and darkened into a near gray as his sides rose and fell in a rapid beat. They seemed to be nearly evenly matched; approval radiated off every inch. This was a fine young stallion, to give him such a run at it. He had learned well.

And Darroch didn't let it go to his head - he still watched the older stallion cautiously, still knew that he was fighting well out of his league. He was making Flint work, but he wasn't underestimating him for it either.

And that's when the moment of clarity struck him. Flint moved to close again and, for that one instant, Darroch knew what he would do. He'd spent the entire event trying to figure his way into Flint's head, to see what might give him that last crucial sliver of an advantage - he finally managed it.

Within seconds Flint's attack had been countered and used in such a spectacularly convoluted way that it was hard to follow with the eye - and it left the silver stallion flipped flat on his back, his legs sticking straight in the air as Darroch stood directly over him, a leg planted firmly on each side.

They went wild; the youngling used it as a cover to duck his head to mumble in Flint's ear You sink into the fight - you move with familiarity, with the speed of battle. Once I figured that out, I mirrored it - and countered it. I had to fight as you do, borrow that experience. In a sense, you defeated yourself.

It was important to him, for Flint to know that. Important that he know he had only been bested by his own ability to fight as if he stood outside himself. It was an absolutely beautiful moment of disconnect; Darroch had never felt anything quite like it before. He already had ideas on ways he could use it for his nature magic.

Stepping back, he watched Flint roll to his feet and gave his shoulder a friendly bump; they were both grinning again. Nobody was mistaken in thinking that this signified anything other than this youngling becoming a true stallion; had it been a proper challenge, had Flint been absolutely ruthless, there would be no question as to who the victor would be even with elemental magic being used.

There was chatter, too many voices to listen to as they all talked about what a great fight it'd been. Comments about Flint's shifting, heavy fighting style; compliments for the winning move; congratulations and half-serious statements about avoiding any true conflicts with the pair all whirled about their heads.

Flint was only half listening. As soon as he had broken from his young sparring partner, his true partner had been by his side. Shiro nuzzled in close under the big stallion's chin, a croon in his voice as he murmured. It hadn't been a true challenge so he'd been able to sit back and enjoy the show - to revel in the beauty and power of his stud. But he'd fall apart if anything serious were to happen, that was clear now. Nothing bad was allowed to happen to his desert flower.

The sweet, admiring murmurs made Flint's heart swell. His little stallion was so soft and sweet, so absolutely compliant in every way. It was good to be needed.

BlackIce and Thyme were performing the medical necessities, the only other Serians calm amid the group at this point. The air was charged with excitement and joy, a truly festive setting as they settled fully into the events of their Gathering. It was a great beginning.
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Posting Elemental
Posting Elemental

Posts: 2486

Joined: Fri Mar 18, 2005 9:50 am

Location: Utah

Post Sun Nov 04, 2012 9:39 pm

Re: The Gathering

Roll of Thunder hear my cry, come to me; I touch the sky.

The words echoed through the charged air, weaving themselves around the boom of thunder. Considering the sky was clear it would seem rather out of place, if you didn't know Kri'Kahli.

They did, however, so all it elicited from the group was a communal whinny. The shrill greeting tore over even the shuddering booms; a moment later the mare trotted into their number, her hooves touching earth as she passed Eternal.

Eternal gave the usual half-smile in greeting. She liked their realm guardian as well as any other, but part of her itched whenever the thunder horse appeared. Even as a rogue it was beyond her ability to run through the sky. For that matter, the sky elemental among them had to rely on wings! Not that Caelum as present at the moment. Still tied up in Pendar, the realm of Vineda and her bondeds.

And what brings such a number of you together? You don't see enough of each other at home?

A Gathering-

Though we might ask the same of you-

Lovely as it is to see you wandering about-

It is a bit odd to see you here, of all places-

Especially if you knew not a whit of what we'd be up to-

Though you're more than welcome to stay-

Or to do whatever else may please you, for that matter-

Which Event would our esteemed guardian suggest?

Yup. This was a Gathering.

Kri'Kahli, known by many other names, whickered in amusement before letting out a snort. She answered in a voice that sounded far too similar to their Bonded's for the resemblance to be missed - the difference was noticeable, but subtle. While Songhue spoke as whispering wind, Kri'Kahli spoke with the wind of a storm. When she was angry the low snarl of thunder would underscore her words.

She wasn't angry at the moment, so no thunder rolled around her words as she said I come to collect Glimmer and Horsefeathers. The Bonded has appeared to them for the moment, accompanying them until they have me beside them.

You could bring them here, Frolic offered, flicking her ear as she took a step closer to the realm guardian. It's unusual to require others. Joining the Gathering will give extra support.

Why is interference even required, Eternal asked with a mild scowl, From what I have seen and heard our bonded does not meddle, although she watches constantly.

There seems to be someone there that she wishes to shield them from.

Dart, Shiro said - a little too quickly. She warned me of him rather expressly. I've been given instructions to avoid him at all times.

There was a moment's quiet before Eternal said I disapprove. She dictates who we may interact with?

I've heard of this one, Caustic murmured, and I have to admit that it isn't quite that bad, Lady. There are all kinds within our group and all kinds within these lands. She has no restrictions outside this one Serian.

I have had dealings with him. It was he and a pair of dolphins that gave me my terror of deep water.

Blinking, everyone lifted their heads and looked South as Path wandered up to him with the light-hooved step of a dancer. Darroch was even mildly surprised - he'd felt another moving around through his connection with the plants but had not been properly listening. He hadn't known it was his mother.

He is a bully, Path rumbled, her deep voice resonating with disapproval, to put it quite simply. In more honest terms, he is a villainous, doghearted moldwarp.

Erm...?

A craven, earth-vexing giglet. No? Hmmm. He is a puny, idle-headed lout. A venomed, flap-mouthed scut.

He is a jerk, Darroch translated, making every attempt to quail his amusement at the baffled looks the others were exchanging. Worse than rude, he enjoys tormenting and degrading others. Shine is quite adamantly against bullying and makes it clear that we have no reason to accept such harassment from anyone.

Glimmer and Horsefeathers want to wander and explore, right? Invite them here to wander with us. Our next Gathering Event hasn't been chosen yet, so bring them here. Join us!

Watching over the bond-mates is one thing, Whippersnapper, yet these are not my lands to linger in. I know our bonded has already flown off from the pair and another is needed in her place; if that should be you lot then all the better. I needn't linger myself.

Nonsense. Thy doth wander as far and free as we ourselves do, else we go stir crazy. Ye can stay - Thou art as much family as any of the rest of us, and so belong here by all such rights. Do not think to insult our invitation with refusal, Madam, else we take it personally.

Take it personally and whoop her behind for it, in Path's case.

I had thought you were with your mate and lover, Kri'Kahli countered, narrowing her gaze. She really didn't like being backed into a corner.

He doth wander again, yet we set up places to meet frequently. Perhaps the next time our son ma accompany me. For now, however, 'tis thyself who might chance to wander from home and be with thy kinsmen; if only by name.

Well. Drat. She should have known better than to try and best Pah.

Alright, Sundancer, alright. I'll fetch them presently and we shall away. Meet you back here?

We'll be here. Now go!

And she went. As she turned and stepped into the sky once more, she left the group charged ever higher; others due to join and talk of a bully buzzed from ear to ear, with no short amount of questions for Path regarding how she was doing with her Mate. They sensed a change in her, but few had the ability to feel more than a tickling hint through their shared bond; only Darroch knew how to read her well enough for the full answer. And he certainly wasn't talking. If he told them her business he'd be more concerned with growing back his own hide rather than growing the life around him!

Nova might get more answers than they were managing in those moments of waiting, however. The two mares were surprisingly close - or perhaps it wasn't all that surprising. They were both strong, beautiful - and unique in thought. They both began as outsiders and worshiped the sun.

Presently, they began discussing the next event. Things would start again upon the arrival of the others - perhaps with friends, if Rush accompanied them, perhaps not. What did they want next - dancing, races, acrobatics? There were so many choices!
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