Dawn's Cold Light


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Posting Elemental
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Post Wed Oct 14, 2015 12:12 pm

Re: Dawn's Cold Light

AuraSidra couldn't see it; magic wasn't her talent, not in any significant way. Thorn, however, could sense it since he was still humming on the high of being cleaned out.

Tendrils of magic shimmered lazily in the air, reminding him of water plants. Most of them were wrapped around AuraSidra's head and chest, but not all. Maybe that missing staff they kept talking about would explain the difference - it could be why it wasn't utterly tied to his filly.

Heh. His filly.

Poor little Astarte. She looked so far over her head as she tried to make a different sort of 'hand' spell to grab at the threads that tied the gem. The threads didn't look like they wanted to cooperate either - each tug made the Princess's mouth tighten just a touch. He couldn't begin to imagine how uncomfortable it must be to feel that; but it was working and despite the obstinance of the trinket at first, he saw that they came more willingly as she began to stretch them towards the stranger. The loose threads even began to wave out towards him of their own will.

Once as many as half had been successfully transferred (albeit blindly, as he didn't notice her looking at anything she pulled at) he began to feel an uneasy itch in the back of his skull. Something was bothering him, he simply couldn't place it. There was so much that was beyond him here, so much that was out of his control. How could he hold to the duty of protecting her when he was essentially impotent? Thorn was quite a simple stallion.

Control. That was it. It was still in her lap, yet it was this stranger who would now be feeding it. He didn't like having it that close to her while someone else influenced it.

Ears pinned, he gave a quick glance to Hellion, hoping she might understand. And then he was moving, grabbing up the gem and flinging it through the air to rest at Confetti's hooves. He had to shake his head to free himself of loose threads - they wouldn't all claim a single caster without that staff, which was part of the danger.

No sooner did it land than the winds kicked up again, fierce and biting as the gem took advantage of the semi-tethered status and the Elemental's power. It was just less than half tied to AuraSidra, the threads stretching to reach her. Rather than scared though, he rather thought she looked a touch annoyed.

----

You're rather good at this, she said conversationally as the shell-gem tried to kick up a fit and turn itself loose. I think I figured out how to help a little bit, if that's okay? It feels funny when the ties are pulled out, and it helped me find how to push them away. If I shake them loose, you can reattach them, right?

The sooner that blasted thing stopped trying to cause trouble, the better.

With a flick of her ear she closed her eyes and focused, searching through her chest for a recreation of the strange and unpleasant tugging. After a moment she found a spot that reacted to her internal 'pushes,' biting back a cringe as the tie to the gem slithered out of her soul. Ick.

The sooner this thing was properly anchored, the better off they would all be. She didn't see what damage a little wind storm would do, but it made her friends uncomfortable. And the temper fit just irritated her.

Oh, and before I forget, she added, muttering slightly as she kept her eyes closed in concentration, You know you don't have to keep it, right? If your Dayi is better for making it behave then let him keep it. Though you might offer him the favor of fixing it for him later, if you wanted to. It's really fussy like this.

Then again, for all she knew the stallion could find that to be the most appealing aspect of the trinket. Thorn clearly didn't like it much at all; the moment she felt it loosening its grip on her mind he was flinging it away. She really hoped that she wouldn't be as scared of strange things when she was grown up; that was probably the best part of Confetti. He was the only adult who wasn't scared to death of the strange magic in the little trinket.

What fun was life if you were always scared of dying?

OOC| Sorry for the long wait! >_<
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Post Tue Oct 20, 2015 5:34 pm

Re: Dawn's Cold Light

Astarte had never seen her hands before. She’d known where they were only through constant repetition and Avi’s training of her bodily awareness. But once the spell was cast, there they were. Not full solid things--that would be somewhat unsettling--but long bones of golden light, all the minutiae drawn as accurately as the pages of anatomy she’d studied in Sive’s library. Would it be like this from now on? Though it made it a little easier to catch at the vague tendrils of magic, it might be a distraction, in the future.

What would she do, with all this?

No, best not wonder about it now. She was untangling soul strings and threads of enchantment, and she didn’t want to be tying the wrong knots. AuraSidra seemed uncomfortable enough as it was.

“I hope I don’t have to make a habit of it,” she replied softly, her main focus on the weaving at hand. Handling Confetti’s essence was like grasping streams of ice, and though the gem reached for him more easily when pulled away, she still had to join them. Out-of-body frostbite. Was that even a thing? “I should be able to, just--got them.”

It was a touch easier as AuraSidra drew the strands from her soul; Astarte had been a little wary of reaching in for them on her own. She might mess things up horribly so, and it seemed an oddly intimate thing. Much like bonding. Would this affect her bond, when the time came for her to do it? No, again, not the time. She gathered the loosened strands, tethering them so they didn’t whip away as Thorn stepped by her to toss the gem to Confetti. Out of the corner of her eye she saw Hellion’s ears flick down, but only for a moment. She was asking a lot of her khala today--she’d never be able to make it up.

“It is,” she murmured, wrangling the magic into Confetti’s aura. She could see that flustered space where the conduit should be--maybe she could--”I’ll have to work with it, a little more, later.”

The wind picked up. Confetti hadn’t said anything during the process, only left his eyes on her and made her feel like some odd kind of show pony. But this was good, maybe? If she could work under this pressure, perhaps all was not lost. With a sharp jerk, she braided the strands together, joining her dayi’s essence where the gem most needed control. The cold turned sharp and crinkly in her hand, like origami paper--and then the gem was resting, quite contentedly, on the wreath around Confetti’s neck. Had she done that? Well, little matter. At least that trial was over.

--

The wind dropped several degrees, now that the gem had been bound. Well, no matter. Confetti would be on his way. She’d make sure of it.

“You’ve done what you’ve come for,” she said to the preening stallion. “Nothing else here.”

“Quite a lot, actually, but I think you’ll have more fun figuring that out on your own.” The stallion tossed his head, sending the jewel bouncing violently against his skin. Hellion drew back, but it did nothing. “Good job girly. I almost thought you’d fail. Well, I’m not a gambler in any case.”

Too many words, wasted willy-nilly. Hellion simply fixed him with a level glare. He clucked at her. “Don’t get twisted, I’m on my way. Though, I think you should swing by a bit later, when you’re done with the baby-sitting. May need your gift.”

“What gift?”

Confetti grinned, then reared as if to strike. Hellion darted away as the space ripped right by her ear. Lightning from the gem crackled neatly around the tear--in the opening, a field of sparse grass racing thinly over a mountainside. The stallion winked at her as he went through. “Your healing art is woken up now, thanks to little lady blue. Id’s gonna need it, when I’m through.”

The warp closed neatly behind his swishing tail. Astarte was staring at the space where it had been, wonder again painting her features. “...I didn’t think dayi could do that.”

“Doubt he could until just now.” Hellion shook, as if ridding herself of all the blasted magic and whatever shreds of aura the Elemental had left behind. “Good riddance.”


She didn’t really believe him, about the healing--it would be like him, to say the things that kept you hanging on. Nothing felt changed about her, and if she’d had a gift, well, her mistress was not one to let such go unnoticed. If anything, she’d sort it out. For now, she still had a duty to attend to, and thank the fickle gods it seemed to be getting lighter.

“Do we continue down?” Astarte’s attention snapped back to her--gods, the girl could be flighty sometimes. “The beach?”

“Oh, um, the waters may be a little calmer down there, or shallower?” Astarte craned her head about to look to AuraSidra. “What do you think? You were doing pretty well--before. The swimming, I mean.”

Hellion turned her eye to the end of the cove. Beach and sand, a few dark places in the cliff edge that could be caves, the suggestion of a pass leading away from the beach. She’d have to keep her guard up, still, but at least she didn’t have to watch out for the both of the fillies. Thorn seemed somewhat besotted with his charge, but if it let him mind the princess, she wouldn’t complain.


((No problem! <3 ))
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Post Fri Oct 23, 2015 4:37 pm

Re: Dawn's Cold Light

That sounds glorious, AuraSidra said with a small sigh. After all of that, practicing swimming seemed like a very minor thing.

She was changed too, though she couldn't figure out how. She felt older somehow; weary in her soul. Maybe it was just a side effect of having the gem link into her; it probably just took some of her energy for the day. Surely it couldn't be permanent?

Finally getting her legs back under her, she stretched and shook off hard. Being still for such a length of time was entirely alien to her; the results were strange. Her body was used to moving.

Down the beach was, thankfully, a rather short trip and by the time they got to the water again she felt a bit more normal. Her blood flowed freely, warming her limbs and returning the ease and flexibility the young were accustomed to enjoying. She was silent during the walk, not sure what to say, her mind oddly still. It felt as if there were a deep ocean in her and somewhere deep down in the black darkness, strong currents were stirring, rearranging vital parts of who she was. At the moment she had no idea how it would settle; for that matter, she wasn't even certain what was shifting around inside of her. It, like so much today, was entirely new.

Thankfully, she was the type of spirit who not only embraced that which was new, but actively sought it out.

In the meantime there was nothing she could honestly do. This was something she would have to ride out.

Do you know the water-chase game? she asked brightly, perking her ears and giving Astarte a warm smile. We could play while working on swimming, if you want. When the waves come in we run away, and when they go back out we chase them off.

----

It was strange in a way; he had never realized that she was a normal filly. He could see it now, as she stood talking to her friend with the water tickling her hooves. She was so small, so delicate - so normal. And yet she stood with her head high, her back straight, looking for all the world as if nothing could knock her down.

Thorn kept to the same discreet distance as Hellion, watching curiously. He sincerely hoped that nothing else would be found or wind up finding them. The stallion that had just left disturbed him as well; it didn't sound like a typical sparring match was going on, not as far as he was concerned. But then, it may be something entirely different. Serious training, perhaps, or even a reckoning between the two that had been needed. He was in no position to judge; at least Hellion seemed a bit more relaxed, if still watchful.

He knew that part of him pondered such things to avoid other thoughts. He wasn't unaffected by the filly's well-intended meddling either; the stallion had been robbed of the process. He'd missed out on the experience, the lessons picked up along the way. There was no life altering realizations; he was just different.

Thorn would have to learn how to cope with who he was now. Once he figured out exactly who that was supposed to be.

I don't think I've ever been so glad not to be an Elemental, he commented. Looking at the pair of fillies, one hardly yet more than a baby and the other nearly halfway grown, he decided he was glad they were normal in their own extraordinary way. Small talents, little pieces of what they were connected to and meant to do, that was enough for any creature to learn.

Gods knew that he and Hellion certainly had enough to deal with just in being themselves. They didn't need anything else on top of that.

He still rather liked her, he found, but that too was different. She was still beautiful, still held a soft kindness in her face that no expression could hide, and yet there was a coldness in her that burned. The splintered strength of one who was broken. He admired that; letting it make her stronger, rather than ruin her.

Years ago, maybe, they could have raised all kinds of trouble together. Back when they were younger, simpler, and life was one great misadventure after another. Now; now he knew that there would be no mischief making. They had lost such simple innocence.

And that was the difference. The two they guarded, they had it still. It would be lost one day, surely, but for now; for now they found things, fixed things, chased after life. They were normal. And they never thought of what ripples might be made from simple little choices.

He almost couldn't remember what that was like; but he knew that he wouldn't be the one to teach that harsh lesson to either of them.

That must be the duty Hellion kept referring to. Not merely a tie of blood - the duty of those who had lost their youth to protect the ones who still had it.

It hurt his head, to consider such things. It was strange; that morning he had been bitter, selfish, short-sighted. Now - well. He would learn who he had become. In time. Eventually it would stop feeling as if a stranger lived in his head.

It was not something to burden these three with. Later, back in his woods, he could consider such things. For the moment he would stand with Hellion against any harm coming to their fillies.
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Post Wed Nov 04, 2015 1:08 pm

Re: Dawn's Cold Light

“Can’t say that I’ve heard about it, but I’d like to try.” Astarte readied herself at the next pull of the tide, snaking after the swiftly retreating water and then dancing back as the next crest loomed. “Like this?”

Such a simple game, a little like what she’d been doing when Hellion found her earlier. It helped settle her, bank the unease and all the dreadfully important things that had just happened. Was it odd, that they were playing at normalcy so soon? Was it just an attempt to cover things up, and not talk about them? AuraSidra had been silent, on their walk down the beach. It seemed a little uncharacteristic, but Astarte had never been one for talking. She was a listener, one who waited for others to speak first. It seemed the polite thing to do, the easiest thing--but, could it also be a wall? Could one build closeness by simply being polite?

Did she want to build something so deep? AuraSidra was one of her few friends, someone outside the circle of bondeds she’d grown up with. Astarte was the first foal in their midst, something wholly unexpected but necessary. She’d been loved easily and fiercely, and that was almost all she’d known. But friendships weren’t all like that. It was odd--almost as if she could feel the potential for what could grow between her and her friend, but unsure how to put it together. They’d shared adventures. They’d shared this critical moment. But--they were still so polite around each other. It wasn’t unpleasant, quite the contrary, but Astarte wondered if there needed to be more. If she should do more, or ask more?

All the thoughts felt grown-up and foreign. Astarte was well used to being in her own head, but her mind felt like that of a stranger a bit, after all that. Was AuraSidra feeling the same way? If she was, would she tell her?

The cliffs tapered down a bit as they curved around the edge of the cove, the water wearing away arches in the stone. The few trees that were brave enough to strive in the coarse air and chill of the north huddled together on the craggy edges; their roots tangled down, dipping into the salt of the sea. Astarte hadn’t known there were trees like that, ones who could draw nourishment from such harshness. Something worth exploring, perhaps.

“Want to swim over there, check out those hollows?” Astarte squinted, trying to judge the depth of the water. “Looks like it’s shallow enough to practice in, and we could rest on the roots if needs be.”

And it was a quiet place, in eyeshot but not earshot of their guardians. A place where questions could be asked, or answered, or maybe swept away with the tide.

--

Maybe it was becoming a habit, this ending up on beaches with stallions. Hellion sincerely hoped not. The memories of Spindle were hard enough to deal with, and she didn’t need more. Though this was very different than that had been, and Thorn was everything that Spindle was not. But she’d only spoken to him once, really--and then what? She’d disappeared on her mistress’ whims and he wasn’t a bold thing to pursue her--it was why she’d been drawn to him, perhaps. He’d been rebonded, she’d heard on the wind. He wouldn’t likely remember her, and it was probably for the best. No more attachments.

Astarte always dragged her into places she didn’t want to be, into things she shouldn’t have the capacity to feel. It had never been clearer just how much of a failure she was--the girl had been the final nail in the coffin for that perfect soldier ideal. Now Hellion didn’t know what the hell she was supposed to be or if it was even worth figuring it out. She gave herself missions when her mistress left her with none, and found, to her chagrin, they often involved some form of protection. Hero complex, like Web had always said. Blast.

‘I don’t think I’ve ever been so glad not to be an Elemental.’

Hellion snorted softly. “His power is not unwelcome. We deal with what we are given.”

Mistress adored Confetti. Maybe that was part of what irked her, to see what was wanted and realize, again, that she could never be that. He was an element of chaos though, and sometimes she felt like the only one to see that. But they needed him now, what with Avalir and Brittle missing. He’d filled their spots in his own hazardous way. If Id couldn’t stand then he very well couldn’t savage anyone in a sudden bout of madness, and Sive had an anchor to steady her soul, though the strain of it wore her thin in other ways. Astarte, of course, was oblivious to the precarious edge they were all dancing on. Hellion planned to keep it this way. They all did, save the Elemental.

She could feel Thorn’s eyes, flicking between her and the girls at play. His gaze was just as disconcerting as before, but Hellion had always been on edge around males. Her experiences with stallions were few and often cruel, but she knew how to handle the type by now. She’d assumed that Thorn would be no different. But after that whole ‘healing’ thing, well, he was looking to her for something, reaching out with some kind of camaraderie. Did he think them kindred souls, of some sort? A bond forged in the fires of mutual babysitting. But no, she was being deliberately obtuse. What they’d gone through was something that set its claws in, dragged people together.

Hellion shifted, made a small, irritated sound between her teeth, but continued to keep her eyes on Astarte. That was why she was here. She really didn’t need--couldn’t afford--any further bonds.


((My turn to apologize for the delays :( Also for the general weirdness of characterization >_< ))
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Post Sun Nov 08, 2015 3:56 pm

Re: Dawn's Cold Light

They did look interesting, those odd little roots. It was almost like caves, yet it wasn't - they were far too open.

A flash of a smile and she lunged at the receding wave, letting it lift and carry her until it faded back into the great expanse of the ocean. When the next came charging in she bucked back towards land, letting it push her along and feeling the heavy drag as it tried to yank her back. As her hooves dug in, she glanced at Astarte once more - she'd shifted sideways with her waves and now stood a good two lengths closer to the funny little root-caves. It did look shallow and... Comforting.

AuraSidra was serious about wanting to swim, but each pull of the tide unnerved her. Part of it was the very real possibility of being pulled out to tide; her limbs were sturdy for her size, but she was still so small. So young. She hadn't really been challenged physically before, short of her romping and rambling adventures. It was new, and while thrilling; it made her realize her own limits in a way she'd not had to face before.

What's more, that incessant tug echoed the sensation deep in her mind. It had moved from a strange undercurrent shifting the basis of her inner terrain to a disturbing sort of straining. This wasn't a gentle sliding; things were going to break before they settled.

She'd never been scared before, not truly. Never felt in over her head, or inadequate; only that she could do more. This was her first time knowing that she had reached her limit and that more was needed; if it was adequate at all, it was a close thing.

She didn't have the words for it yet, but she was discovering one of the first lessons of growing up; she wasn't invincible. It wasn't guaranteed to all work out and be alright. Life wasn't one great adventure because danger was real.

Another wave, letting her float towards the deeper waters; another push back to land, a hard drag against her frail legs. Closer still to the root-caves. A more incessant tugging, deep in her chest now. A quick glance, checking on Astarte, making sure she was there. It was a comfort, not to be alone.

When it finally happened - when that shifting tug finally snapped the part it was straining against - the little filly would understand what fear really was.

She didn't know that, didn't think of what could be coming in the wake of such an odd experience. She just leaped through the waves, turning to check on her friend, hoping Astarte was doing better than she herself was. She was older, smarter, stronger; she even had her own small spells. AuraSidra hadn't ever worked with magic, not really, not beyond the most basic of concepts. Surely Astarte wasn't impacted by a silly little gem.

Surely her new friend didn't hate her now, for all of this?

The roots were there, just a leap away. The symbol of sanctuary. Calm waters, at last.

----

She had a point, the gem-bright mare. We all deal with what we're given; if not the burden of mastering such forces as Elemental magic, then other such problems. There was more though, things she wouldn't say; or perhaps couldn't. A stiff jaw, a muffled sound; obvious discontentment.

He wasn't sure what it could be a reaction to; perhaps she was insulted on her bond-mate's behalf. Perhaps she didn't like the way the young ones were pouncing at the waves. Perhaps is was none of these things; he couldn't know and it wasn't his right to ask.

One thing he could tell; she was trying very hard to be distant. Even casual socialization seemed to intimidate her in some fashion. She was certainly fighting against any sort of... Of anything, really.

He thought he understood. He was pretty easily overwhelmed, at least socially. It was hard for him to meet others, hard for him to make friends; he wasn't very good at reaching out. But there was a difference between being awkward and actively resisting.

He wasn't sensing nerves; he was sensing anger, tension even.

Hellion, he murmured, flicking his ears towards her, Whatever it is you're dealing with, I'll not add to it. I expect nothing from you.

With that, he turned and walked further up the beach, though he paused after a few steps and looked back at her. You should know; you're beautiful, and even in passing it's clear you're stronger for what you've been put through. You don't need anyone.

A flash of a smile and he left her to it, wandering over to a sparse patch of rough grass where sand and soil mingled. His back was to her, ears cocked towards the fillies while he grazed, listening for squeals of danger. They were oddly quiet - odd for AuraSidra, at any rate. If ever there was a filly full of life and noise it was her, but she attacked the waves with a solemnity that belied the exuberant leaps.

For all his preoccupation with trying to figure out how to handle being around others, he hadn't been remiss in his duties. His Princess hadn't left the shallows, hadn't tried any laps or practiced letting her hooves leave the sand for longer than a glide along a wave. She was avoiding it, procrastinating, drifting; it worried him. But he was Thorn and had no idea how to handle it or what to do. If she needed help - real help - maybe she would ask. If nothing else, if she got in trouble with the ocean, he knew she would call out. In the meantime, he could use a snack.

It was looking as if this particular adventure had hit everyone hard.

Magic. Bah.

OOC| No worries! It was a wonderful post, and I completely get having some off-kilter bondeds, lol. I hope everything's okay! :) <3
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Post Wed Nov 18, 2015 2:45 pm

Re: Dawn's Cold Light

There was something calming about the waves, their single-minded attempts to push and drag. Astarte was taller than her young friend, enough so that the water didn’t swallow up so much of her with each swell. Her trial lay not in managing her movements as much as watching AuraSidra figure out her own way and not giving in to the urge to help. She smiled each time the girl turned to look for her, feeling that same bloom of warmth ease the chill of the water.

For her, walking in the surf was more or less a balancing act, bracing her legs opposite to the force of the water, or moving with it as necessary. Mechanics and flow, the fulcrum of her body against the lure of the ocean. She admired that deep expanse, now with a bit more trepidation--the deep waters held so many things. Like Sive’s storerooms, but infinitely more vast, and dangerous. And Avi had grown up beside such a monstrous neighbor; that explained a few things. But aside from him, none of her bonded showed much interest in the sea; there was no one born of Sacred Sea amongst them.

AuraSidra had found her own ingenious way of navigating the pull, using her small body and vital energy to her advantage. A different method, but no less effective than Astarte’s own. Physically, then, she seemed okay. But there was something in the filly’s eyes, when Astarte caught them. Something like shadows, flickering behind the brightness. Questions, doubts, maybe. Astarte didn’t know if she had the words to assuage them, or if it was even her place. But AuraSidra was looking to her, so perhaps?

They were coming close to the roots and hollows. While the water was shallow, the pulls became more erratic as the water washed in from beyond the cliff and tugged from the open sea. It may prove to be a good challenge--AuraSidra did seem like she wouldn’t want things to be easy on her. But--maybe it would be too much, too soon? Astarte used the next lull in the waves to splash by the filly and take up a place in the mouth of a large hollow. This way, maybe she could be a barrier, in case one of the errant tides tried to sweep the smaller filly away. She hoped that wouldn’t be the case. The tide rushed in again, clamoring about her legs and lapping at her chest.

“Should be a good place, here?” She nudged at a few of the roots, found them springy yet strong. Khala was standing out at the water’s edge; Astarte flicked her tail up like a banner, hoping her guardian would read it as saying they were all good.

At least, she hoped. “Um, AuraSidra, you are--alright, after all this?” Astarte blushed at the prying words, hoped her friend would read concern, not condescension. “You look ok, but, I just want to be sure.”

--

They would go out there by the cliffs, make things difficult for her. But she had signed up for this, hadn’t she? No one to blame but her own instincts, the wayward impulses of her half-dead heart. But maybe it was better to be on her toes. Kept her mind still.

‘I expect nothing from you.’

It would have been perfect if Thorn had left it at that. She expected nothing from him either, just for him to keep an eye on his princess so she could keep an eye on her charge. For a moment, she’d been relieved--it seemed they were on the same page. But then the next bit came and mucked things up. All the assumptions, ‘beautiful’ leading the way. Now the old anger roiled in her like the storm building up in the distance.

But at least the stallion had the sense to sod off and do his own thing. To be fair, he probably hadn’t known the impact of his words, and Hellion knew well enough that her silence was often a double-edged thing. Most didn’t know where her scars lay, and she preferred that. There was just the constant possibility of someone saying something stupid. And stallions often said stupid things around mares. Sometimes she wished she’d been born a male.

Well, but then there was Avalir, and really that was where the whole ‘beautiful’ thing stemmed from. She wasn’t sure if it was scorn exactly, or jealousy. Just something else she was always measured up in, and found lacking. Yet the word was thrown around so easily, like she should be grateful she was fair enough to look at in a passing glance. Like her life would be any easier if she looked like the back end of a mountain troll, or if her strength might be more or less were that the case. Like he knew anything about her at all.

The thoughts weren’t making much sense, but it was always like that with the ire. She could keep it at bay as long as she watched the fillies, enough so that it would, in time, ebb away with the tide. Hopefully Thorn would continue obliviously munching away somewhere behind her. She didn’t think she was at the snapping age anymore--gods, that would be mental.

This was why she avoided people.

A distant rumble of thunder somewhere over the plains. Hellion flicked an ear toward the ragged edge of darkening sky. Probably Confetti, pulling out all the stops with his new toy. Well, as long as he stayed over there and away from Astarte. She caught the casual flick of the girl’s tail against the far cove.

Well, as long as she was alright, Hellion could manage. This day would be long, she could already feel it.


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