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Current Novus date and time is

▶ Year || 503
▶ Season || Spring
▶ Temp || 43℉ (8℃) - 70℉ (21℃)
▶ Weather || The weather radar really does seem to be off the charts lately...
I wonder what's going on? (#15-19)

Spotlight

Character of the Season
Pavetta

Member of the Season
Nestle

Thread of the Season
A land of absence
and root and stone


Pair of the Season
Bexley and Acton

Quote of the Season
"And all the while her mind, her blood, her fierce and fearless heart was singing, singing, singing." — Shrike in We're under attack!

see here for nominations


DISCORD

Site Wide Plot - we're under attack!
Random Events — Official Novus Account Signos: 3,625
▶ Played by Staff [pm] Posts: 144 — Threads: 51
▶ Agender [They/Them/Theirs] Hth: ∞ — Atk: ∞ — Exp:
▶ Immortal [Year 501 Spring] Active Magic: All Powerful
▶ 8 hh Bonded: All Creatures
#1

but denocte never backs down from a fight



Slowly, ever so slowly, the flood waters recede, the tide creeping its way back into the ocean. Water is left trapped within the streets of Denocte, but it is dramatically lower now.

But the water doesn’t return to its usual position. 

The waves pull farther and farther back out to sea, revealing the shore line inch by precious inch. Shells, seaweed, crabs, even  stranded fish line the seashore. Off in the distance, the waves continue to recede.

Out in the Area Mountains, the thunderstorms have started. There is no rain, only wind and lightning and thunder ravaging the skies and earth. Trees bend beneath the tempest’s rage, leaves and debris scattering wildly. 

And all at once, the sky is suddenly alive. Flying bodies fill the air, their wings stretched wide and menacingly. Each beast boasts two sets of wings, four tails, transparent skin along their sides… and huge talons. The beat of their wings send powerful winds rippling across the face of the lake, buffeting the horses and nearly knocking down trees.

And anytime someone gets too close… they dive, their claws scraping along skin and hair, threatening to pull you up into the air. ’I don’t even want to know where they’re taking us,’ you think to yourself. 

A group has gathered, the red-haired @Raymond seeming to lead them on. It’s looking like it’s going to be a fight, horses versus thunderbirds… but is it really one you want to be a part of?
 




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Raymond — Night Court Regent Signos: 700
▶ Played by Odeen [PM] Posts: 161 — Threads: 27
▶ Male [He/Him/His] Hth: 22 — Atk: 38 — Exp: 64
▶ 10 [Year 492 Winter] Active Magic: Spell Warding
▶ 15 hh Bonded: Ruth (Tarrasque)
#2
And I heard, as it were, the noise of thunder
One of the four beasts saying,
'Come and see.' and I saw.

***
Believe it or not, Raymond preferred not to tangle with war. There was a reason that he'd never thrown his name down to lead any armies, even doing all that he'd done. He liked to exercise control in all things, to minimize his exposures and exact the greatest result from the least effort and win by any means necessary. Given the opportunity to slay a dragon, the red stallion had chosen to dispatch it by the far less heroic and far more pragmatic route of unseating its king.

He did not belong in the old songs.

This contest with the thunderbirds offered him exactly none of the things he liked. Calliope was here with him on the front line, crackling like an exposed nerve on the outskirts of his every thought, almost cruelly calling him to prove himself in the aftermath of the events that had bound them together and to Denocte. These were monsters - that was her territory, not his.

Joining them in the Court's defense were other horses fueled more by spirit than sense, and if he thought that any one of them could be convinced of the wisdom of reconsidering their zeal he probably would have tried...but that would be pointless.

Raymond knew that the one he cared about most would only leave the battlefield as either a victor or a corpse.

"If you can't kill them, try to ground them," he called to the horses assembled around him, raising his voice above the near-constant peals of thunder, "and don't die". Ruth, too, was nearly upon them now, and the red stallion did not need the bond between them to hear her primal roars as a pair of thunderbirds harried her or feel the heavy snap of her jaws slamming shut just short of a lagging wing.

Lightning crashed overhead, limning the thunderbirds overhead in halos of violent silver. Looking up, he must have caught one wild beast's eye: it shrieked a raucous challenge and dove, talons bared.

The other horses faded into the background as survival became the only thought in Raymond's mind. He spun away, his tail blade tracing a vicious arc and biting deep into one of the creature's wings as its talons opened a neat bloody furrow across his side. Its cry split his ears.

Before he could recover enough to make a second swing, the thunderbird continued past and drew itself up unsteadily under the power of three good wings, fighting to regain the high ground. Blood poured freely from the otherwise superficial wound that had been meant to carry him aloft and dash him across the court parapets. Even in her bloodwrath Ruth reacted to his pain, snarling with redoubled rage as she thrashed with long, siegebreaking arms.

Thus was the battle joined.
***

Raymond
And at his feet they'll cast their golden crowns
When the man comes around.


@Calliope for direct mention



aut viam inveniam aut faciam


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Calliope — Night Court Warrior Signos: 260
▶ Played by Nestle [PM] Posts: 69 — Threads: 5
▶ Female [She/Her/Hers] Hth: 8 — Atk: 12 — Exp: 19
▶ 6 [Year 497 Spring] Active Magic: Lightning Manipulation
▶ 16.2 hh Bonded: N/A
#3
Calliope
'The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red '


Calliope doesn't think of survival when the reckoning of the thunderbirds comes to call due some debt they will have to take from the very marrow of her bones before she'll give it. Only rage comes to mind, only that still fury that falls across her vision like snow and makes the entire world seem as if it slumbers before the violence of her thoughts.

She's too calm before the monsters, still enough to be stone as they come closer and closer and her tail flicks at her back slower,

and slower,

and slower.

The world crawls before her and each beat of wing through the storm is slower than a blink of her eyes and she breathes with the roar of thunder and hunger and all the terrible things in all the worlds. Everything feels frozen and the world feels like a memory of the Rift when time let go its hold on reality and let things move at whatever pace they wanted.

Then Ruth roars and the air around her feels sharp with the smell of Raymond's blood as a beast dives with wide open claws for the red stallion and Calliope simply explodes. She bursts into a supernova of reckless violence and blood-lust and there is not a thing but death that will stop her from chewing at the membranes of the bird's wings as a lion gnaws on meat and bone.

Her horn is a battle cry and as it cuts through the air and her scream is louder than all the death-knells any monster has ever been able to cry. Every inch of her screams come, come, come and her horn sighs out bleed, bleed, bleed as it slashes at he belly of a beast that tries to lower down upon her with claws that are so much smaller than a dragon's claws.

They bleed together, Calliope and that demon of a bird and its blood tastes like rot when she licks it from her lips and smiles to feel the slice of a talon sting across her neck. She's more alive than she's ever been in Novus, a galaxy of retribution and hunger and madness.

Calliope doesn't care about grounding them. She only cares of death and it's only death that will find either her or the birds this night. The night feels like oblivion, the dark space between the stars and the moon where the air is too thin to breath and she thinks perhaps that she can take survival from the lungs of the beasts as she takes everything from the dark places.

Above her the bird circles back and blood falls from it like rain and it runs in small rivulets down her face and makes a river when it drips down her neck and across her wounds. She smiles and beckons again with her horn, taunting it with the way that weapon shines like sharp steel in a flash of lightning that makes gruesome both her and that circling, circling bird.

No, grounding them doesn't matter. Only death will placate the beast that's risen inside her with that first taste of rotten blood on her tongue.

And as another bolt of lightning flashes it might look to the gods like two beasts, two monsters, two demons have risen from the bowels of the deep dark to see who will take the mortal realm.









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Shrike — Day Court Warrior Signos: 210
▶ Played by griffin [pm] Posts: 21 — Threads: 3
▶ Female [She/Her/Hers] Hth: 9 — Atk: 11 — Exp: 16
▶ 6 [Year 496 Summer] Active Magic: N/A
▶ 15.3 hh Bonded: N/A
#4


Her visit with the Davke mare had left her no more settled in her mind, but it had given her a few ideas – namely the varied uses of weapons. All the while back from the desert she had walked, bearing a stick, looking like a mad fool but learning the limits and intricacies of her telekinesis. (She had thought that magic a foolish thing at first – how horses used it to tie braids, and weave flower crowns, and make tea. But indeed there were other things it was also suited for.)

When she returned to the Night Court, she found there were weapons aplenty to be had in the decimated remnants of Denocte.

First there was the wave, a thing only to be survived. How many more plagues remained was anyone’s guess, but the coming of the thunderbirds – that was a different sort of struggle. One she knew well, one that sent her war-drum heart to pounding, her blood running hot and joyously to meet.

This more than anything had the feel of a nightmare born from the riftlands.

Now she hefted a flail, an ugly, rusted thing that surely hadn’t been used in decades. It would serve its court today, she thought grimly, as her dark-eyed gaze flicked between Raymond and Calliope and the birds that flocked overhead, numerous and noisy as starlings.

The first of them fell like a star, a flurry of too many wings and tails. It was a strange blur of color with its transparent skin, its muscles flexing and veins running blue beneath; Shrike watched with her own blood roaring in her ears as it arced to meet Raymond, and Calliope ran to assist him.

And then watching was not enough. Like any other flock more birds followed the first, falling down on those gathered with a din that drowns out the world. Shrike screamed out her challenge, a roar that sounded almost ursine; the first opened beak that swept to meet her was met by the iron spikes of the flail. The collision of the two made a sickening, satisfying crunch, and Shrike was spattered with hot blood.

Oh, how she missed her bear-skin then, wide paws with long claws and jaws to crush and tear! But she made do with hooves and flail, ears pinned and lips peeled back from her teeth. There was no sky, no ground, no courts, no gods; only those she fought, and those she fought beside. The hot stink of blood, hers and theirs and the world’s, and she struck at wings and was struck in turn by claws and beaks.

And all the while her mind, her blood, her fierce and fearless heart was singing, singing, singing.




don't do much these days
keep the wolves at bay


@Raymond @Calliope @Random Events


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Pavetta — Dawn Court Emissary Signos: 1,965
▶ Played by Pres [PM] Posts: 50 — Threads: 8
▶ Female [She/Her/Hers] Hth: 7 — Atk: 13 — Exp: 22
▶ 4 [Year 499 Spring] Active Magic: N/A
▶ 15 hh Bonded: N/A
#5


p a v e t t a - - -


Witnessing the return of the Sun God left Pavetta deeply disturbed.

He had been crude, arrogant, and unkind. Why had she thought these gods would be any different than those of the Rift? It had been foolish of her to hope otherwise. She had left the Summit after Solis had spurned her and some of the others. She did not feel anger--only deep disappointment. Why would a god spurn those new to his realm? Why would he shame those with lack of knowledge? Why would he not try harder to earn the faith of "his" people?

Whatever his motive, Solis did not have her faith, respect, or her allegiance.

A war was brewing. She did not know of what kind, particularly. A divine war, perhaps. At least now Pavetta knew what side she was on--how could she have even questioned everything she learned in the Rift? It was naught but a game to the gods. And why wouldnt it be? When your actions didn't have consequences and you could do as you please?

Her journey to the Night Court was pleasant and undisturbed. She met a few wandering travelers on the road and they chatted for an hour or so round a fire in the evening with drink and laughter. Conversation turned serious when they spoke of the new Sovereign elected after Reichnebach's disappearance. She thought of those she had met in Night Court--Acton, Raymond, Calliope. How did they fair in the change? What did they think of the events at the Summit and the return of long forgotten gods? If any in this land had wisdom to share, it was they. After she would return to Dawn Court and perhaps then she would have news for Somnus and Ipomoea. After all, she was the new Emissary.

The next morning she set out. Rain peppered her silver skin and the wind tangled her rose hair. The storm was more intense than she had anticipated. The air felt heavy--oppressive. Not at all what she remembered about the Night Court. Her pace quickened, cloven hooves navigating the terrain nimbly. A flash of light--a tree ahead of her exploded. She shied away and began to run. She was flighty by nature--her lifetime in the Rift had taught her that if she was fast, she might live. If she was curious and stuck around to investigate, she might not.

Screams?

Thunder, lightning, more screams. She could see glimpses of hideous transparent creatures diving through the air. An earth-shattering roar. What's happening? Raymond, Calliope, a painted mare she did not know...they were all fighting, slashing, clawing. A colossal creature...

It was not exactly the reception she was expecting. A creature swooped at her, talons extended, glittering in the flash of lightning. She braced herself and the creature's wing tore on her sharp horn. It screeched and fell to the ground where she made quick work of it, trampling it with her cloven hooves.
 
a pearl in pigshit, a diamond on the finger of a rotting corpse,
creature in whom nothing, but nothing, remains of an elven woman ---



ALL THE WAYS I GOT TO KNOW
YOUR PRETTY FACE AND ELECTRIC SOUL



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Raymond — Night Court Regent Signos: 700
▶ Played by Odeen [PM] Posts: 161 — Threads: 27
▶ Male [He/Him/His] Hth: 22 — Atk: 38 — Exp: 64
▶ 10 [Year 492 Winter] Active Magic: Spell Warding
▶ 15 hh Bonded: Ruth (Tarrasque)
#6
Rock of ages, rock of ages
Still rolling, keep rolling

***
Hail, hail, the gang's all here. Shrike and Pavetta joined the fray with all the weight of allies bursting onto a pitched battlefield - because that's what they were. A thunderbird buzzed him from behind as he paused long enough to mark their arrival, missing his neck only by the barest margin of luck. Enraged, he heaved his tail blade at the dark shape as it flew overhead, hilting the weapon to the bone in its thigh.

Not the smartest move.

Inertia carried the storm crow forward, dragging Raymond stumbling with it by the tail until his counterweight made the beast plow headfirst into the ground with a sickening crack! It was enough to drag an incredulous laugh from his throat as he untangled blade and limb from the beast's twitching body, but the sound came without a smile. In fact, none of the red stallion's devil-may-care demeanor had made it this far into the battle. His eyes flashed like iron, his muscles twitched like tripwires waiting to spring. What remained of him was raw and animalistic, acting and reaction with singular unfeeling intensity.

The air prickled with a swelling burst of ozone, setting Raymond's hackles on end. Overhead, one of the thunderbirds that had borne witness to the fall of its comrade flared its wing and churned the stormy air with an unearthly shriek.

Raymond looked up, gritted his teeth -

His vision burst with white-hot light as a jagged finger of lightning arced down from the clouds and ricocheted off his skin like a bullet and struck the thunderbird in the chest. As it faltered, a titanic pair of jaws reached forward and plucked the stunned bird out of the air by its still-outstretched wing, tossing it far, far aside with a single careless shake. Ruth was finally there. Raymond sagged briefly in her shadow as he gathered himself against the shock of reflecting the lightning blast, but he knew he did not have the luxury of time.

Marked now by the signs of a battle properly joined, Raymond steeled himself and leapt forward to join Calliope. If he could not protect her from her own recklessness, he would kill with her, and give the thunderbirds such an end that they could scarcely hope to forget. At long last all of the monster hunters were joined as one in glorious combat, and with an opponent worthy of songs.
***

Raymond
And at his feet they'll cast their golden crowns
When the man comes around.


@Calliope @Shrike @Pavetta



aut viam inveniam aut faciam


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Calliope — Night Court Warrior Signos: 260
▶ Played by Nestle [PM] Posts: 69 — Threads: 5
▶ Female [She/Her/Hers] Hth: 8 — Atk: 12 — Exp: 19
▶ 6 [Year 497 Spring] Active Magic: Lightning Manipulation
▶ 16.2 hh Bonded: N/A
#7
Calliope
“It looked as if a night of dark intent was coming, and not only a night, an age. Someone had better be prepared for rage...”


The raging storm feels like a pale echo of what rages inside Calliope. She's ice and fire, electricity and sharp steel and she's alive, alive, alive. Each circle of the bird brings a torrent of anticipation rising like another tidal wave inside her. Each twist of that deadly beak as it snaps and clashes maker her smile darker and darker and until it's a lion that watches the Thunderbird and it seems strange that it's horse-teeth that flash in the bolts and not fangs.

Finally it dives down, talons first and Calliope lunges into the air to meet it, lamenting for a moment that it's a horn and not lion jaws that she sinks deep into whatever monstrous flesh she can reach. But the bird still bleeds and she bleeds and it matters not what creatures they are but enemies.

And Calliope has always relished in the blood of her foes, smiled to lick it from her lips. She's happy to bleed, to suffer as long as it means that 'they' bleed and suffer more.

The bird though is clever, perhaps more so because it's life might flash like the storm and surely it knows that it will die here(or they will die) and there is nothing left to find anywhere in this place but death. As she rises up to meet the belly on the beast the claws scrape violently at her back. Calliope screams in rage, pain is a distant thing in the throes of war.

She screams and bleeds and something rises up inside her like a lion of magic and she sneers a feral grin to feel the hiss of the storm not above her but inside the chambers of her heart. The storm overhead stars to feels like a twin to her fury and the bolts start to strike as straight and true as her horn and her justice.

The reaper of the Rift has returned.

Calliope sparks like a live-wire and the thunder roars between the bolts of lightning and the beast gives up the battle when her horn guts it and all the pieces of it spill out like a river into the sea. But where the pieces hit her it's not blood that coats her but lightning, it sparks down her her spine and traces the rivulets of her blood like it's not fluid but metal. Her eyes are no longer blue but white, white-hot and brighter than the core of the sun.

Close by Ruth rattles the earth and yet it feels pale to the thunder of magic that rumbles in her bones when turns and sees Shrike and Pavetta joining the battle. How she rages then! To see the blood running down Shrike and the bird lashed to death beneath Pavetta's hooves sparks something wilder than before inside her.

And she turns and watches Raymond dragged behind one, the lightning reflect off his skin and Ruth toss the bird like a stone something else rises, rises, rise from the sea of her fury. They will all die, Calliope vows then to leave not a single bird alive to see another day. It dances in ripples of light through her eyes as she turns to Raymond and waits for the others to find their way through the battlefield to her side.

“I will have them all.” She growls and sounds nothing like a unicorn should sound. She sounds like a storm, like the reaper of monsters, the storm that knows nothing of mercy. Her eyes flash, flash, flash and she almost looks mad with all the blood-lust running through her.

The next bird doesn't get close enough to strike as a bolt of lighting pierces it through the chest. It doesn't even get to scream out a death-knell but the thunder almost sounds like one as the clouds gather a little darker over her head.



@Raymond @Shrike @Pavetta





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Shrike — Day Court Warrior Signos: 210
▶ Played by griffin [pm] Posts: 21 — Threads: 3
▶ Female [She/Her/Hers] Hth: 9 — Atk: 11 — Exp: 16
▶ 6 [Year 496 Summer] Active Magic: N/A
▶ 15.3 hh Bonded: N/A
#8


Here in the thunder and roar of battle, the fury and the blood, it did not matter where they were.

They might have been in Ravos, land of half-tamed gods that made crooked deals with the mortals they ruled; they might have been in the riftlands, where the only god was magic and time was diseased. Monsters crawled from every crack in the earth, there – monsters like this.

All she knew (other than each swing of her weapon, each scream of her throat, each lash of her hooves) was that Calliope fought beside her, and Raymond before her, and that this was the home she’d chosen.

Lightning cracked across the sky, making everything stark and without shadow, and the rumble that followed then was not only thunder. With another bird down and dying at her feet, Shrike turned to see what caused the rumble of the earth beneath her, and was met with a walking hillock of a beast - for a moment her pounding heart stuttered in her chest until it went to Raymond’s side, aiding him.

She had time then for a glance at Calliope, lit with more than battle-passion and righteous fury, and the paint had time only to grin and lick her bloodied teeth, her weapon half-forgotten, lowering at her side –

Shrike paid for her momentary pause. The sound of it hidden in the cacophony, a thunderbird swept down behind her, and she only turned at the sudden gust created by its wings. It was too late; before she could heft her weapon again its talons seized her by hair and hide. Her hooves scraped first ground and then air as she screamed her black and crimson rage; no amount of struggling let her strike its transparent belly, where veins ran blue and organs pulsed just out of reach. The flail lay out of reach on the ground, which receded slowly as the bird struggled with her thrashing weight.

Oh, how she longed for her magic then! Another bolt of lightning (unicorn or sky? She could not tell) split the world as Shrike rose with the laboring bird, first only a few feet above the ground but further with each second.




don't do much these days
keep the wolves at bay


@Raymond @Calliope @Pavetta someone save Shrike D:


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Calliope — Night Court Warrior Signos: 260
▶ Played by Nestle [PM] Posts: 69 — Threads: 5
▶ Female [She/Her/Hers] Hth: 8 — Atk: 12 — Exp: 19
▶ 6 [Year 497 Spring] Active Magic: Lightning Manipulation
▶ 16.2 hh Bonded: N/A
#9
Calliope
“Such indeed was her image, that neither could Shakespeare describe, nor Hogarth paint, nor Clive act, a fury in higher perfection.”


Mercy. The word slips away from her like ice before the flames of hell when the monster dives for Shrike.

Mercy. It dissolves to dust and nightmares when the beast beats upwards and tries to take with it one of the most violent parts of her soul.

Mercy. It's gone when Shrike screams her rage and the beast still beats upwards heedless that it takes with it the prophecy of its own death, the death of its kind.

Violence rises up in the wake of the memory of mercy, of forgiveness, peace. Hate and rage and lightning fill her up now. They gather in super-novas of blood-lust just below her skin and her soul screams for vengeance, for a holocaust of these creatures, for the eradication of all of them. The bits of her hate gather and pool like the blackness over her head and bits of the storm are no longer the bird's but hers (just as all their blood and bones will belong to Calliope).

The hate gathers and gathers and gathers and soon Calliope is a black-hole of fury and when she screams the clouds above her head are alive with light. Her vision narrows and she only sees that marked beast, only sees the pulse of its organs and the rage in the flailing of Shrike. Everything is else is black nothingness. Her universe begins with the monster carrying away her sister and it ends on the way she can already taste the blue storm-blood of the bird on her tongue.

Above the storm coagulates like heated ore, heavy and thick enough to drown. Blood leaks from Calliope's nose and the capillaries of her eyes burst until her gaze is only lightning and blood, lightning and blood. The strain of the storm only inspires her, only quickens her unicorn hooves to chase down that bird that will suffer, will die, will regret that it took from her idea of mercy.

Her hooves quicken more and the bird still flies and the storm still gathers in cracks of lightning and roars of thunder. And for a moment the monster pauses, feeling perhaps the weight and fury of this new storm and knowing that it belongs to a monster greater than it, that it belongs to Calliope.

When it falters, when its heart beats that one final throb and Calliope screams that one final cry to war the storm explodes and the supernova of hate in her bones explodes and the world around them is white, white, violent white. And all Calliope can think as her vision fades to black, black, black when the white fades and the storm dies is that she would die a million times and kill a million monsters to save Shrike from loosing a single drop of blood.

Then there only the blackness, broken up by the electricity in her blood that stutters into her heart as her magic begs it to beat again. Just a few more times, her magic whispers to her, if only to smile at the memory of that too bold bird falling in a death spiral to the ground when the storm struck it straight and true through the heart.

Over and over her magic chants to her and Calliope's heart thrums weakly driven on by hate and fury and rage alone.

But oh! Oh! The flesh is weaker than the heart and the world remains dark and empty but for the thready beat of her heart.



@Raymond @Shrike @Pavetta





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Shrike — Day Court Warrior Signos: 210
▶ Played by griffin [pm] Posts: 21 — Threads: 3
▶ Female [She/Her/Hers] Hth: 9 — Atk: 11 — Exp: 16
▶ 6 [Year 496 Summer] Active Magic: N/A
▶ 15.3 hh Bonded: N/A
#10


Of course it is Calliope that saved her.

As far as Shrike had known, whatever ill fate had carried them to Novus had stripped them each of their magic; she knew the bear no longer slumbered in her bones, knew the earth whispered to her no more. All her veins were empty of anything but blood.

But the moment that lightning struck she knew it could be nothing but the magic of the black unicorn.

There was thunder and frenzy and then there was nothing but light, light like there hadn’t been since the very birth of the world. It was peaceful in the way a supernova was peaceful, and she thought she could perhaps live in that moment where she could see nothing and hear nothing and feel nothing -

and then the bird let her go, and she fell.

There was a moment where it all came flooding back, the pain and the noise of it, a cacophony. Thunder rumbled near enough overhead to shake her bones even as she plunged downward, but there was not enough time to wonder if she would die (again, another mercy at the hands of Calliope) before she hit the cold froth of the lake with a great splash.

It was cold enough to act like its own kind of shock, and Shrike fought to the surface with her head ringing, and when she first found air she sucked in greedily before catching her bearings. Somewhere behind her the thunderbird was starting to sink, feathers dragging ripples in the water, but the paint thought nothing of it or its brethren when she saw the dark shape collapsed not far up the shore.

Like a drowned thing come to life she surged from the waters of the lake, her wounds forgotten even as they bled dark trails in her wake. The storm, too was forgotten (for what lightning, what thunder, could match the rage and promise she had already seen?), and she did not spare a glance for anything but the black unicorn except to check the sky was clear above her.

And then she was standing above her lion-heart, wondering if this is what it had been like when Calliope looked down at her own broken body. Gently, tenderly, Shrike lowered her muzzle to touch it to the blood at the unicorn’s eyes, her nostrils, her mouth. It bloomed new markings on her lips and nose, darker even than her own, and she prayed for that valiant heart to keep beating. Oh, that she could lend it some of the fierce and fervent beating of her own!

And Shrike realized then that she could never be so brave or merciful as Calliope; there was no cell in her that could strike a killing blow against her shield sister. Not as long as her breath still whispered from her lips, not as long as her body was unbroken, however bloody.

“Live,” she whispered, and her voice was rough and almost savage in the unicorn’s ear. Before she could say more, a shriek made her lift her head, and she flattened her ears and tilted her head to the dark and roiling sky, defying the birds to swoop down on the two of them and blood and water coursed from her hide.

Let them come. Shrike had faith in no gods, only the strength of Calliope’s will.  



don't do much these days
keep the wolves at bay


@Raymond @Calliope @Pavetta


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