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Private  - beneath the black moon tonight,

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Played by Offline nestle [PM] Posts: 12 — Threads: 3
Signos: 285
Night Court Youth
Female [she/her/hers] // 0 [Year 503 Winter] // 16 hh // Hth: 10 — Atk: 10 — Exp: 10 // Active Magic: Animation // Bonded: Foras (Wraith Wolf)
#1

avesta
the sun shines low and red across the water,


The moon is a low slung sickle of brightness in the sky. In the blackness around the moon the stars are flicking out patterns of stories too soft for Avesta to hear no matter how hard she listens. Over and over again the blackness refuses to sing to her like the sea does. Somewhere, she knows, there are cresting waves of comets rushing over that empty space. And because she cannot hear the night, or anything but the cacophony of cicadas that drowns out the steady thrum of her heart, Avesta cannot settle.

So the forest cannot settle as it normally does when the owls swoop quick and silently through the trees.

A stone is rolling across the ground like an armadillidiidae between her legs. A cluster of dead pine needles have formed themselves in a dragonfly that hardly makes any sound as it dances around her horn like a small, dreaming planet. A wild-rose is spinning around, and around, and around in dizzy circles (and if Avesta had noticed, she would have wondered how the rose did not fall over and faint).

The woken up forest follows her as faithfully as any pack of hounds as she hurries through the footrest of the mountains. No matter how deeply she goes into the dark canopy her horn never stops pointing like sword at the bare, pale throat of the moon. And if she could wake up that single pillar of bone, Avesta thinks that it would say to the moon, sing to me, sing to me or I will cut you out of the darkness like a disease. But her horn stays nothing more than a sleepy blade of stone and the the moon continues its silence.

And still the rose, the stone, and the pine follow her.

“Are these trees as loud as the glass-tree?” Avesta turns towards her sister and tries not to think that the moon would talk to her twin if could sink low enough through that mire of blackness. She tries not to be jealous; she tries not to hate the forest that will follow silently on, and on, and on without a word. She tries not to fill the silence with more words, because she knows (oh with a terrible knowing) that the trees here might be screaming with loneliness and a hundred other memories they are too young to hold in their bones.

Avesta does not say any of the other words roaring against her throat like rabid lions. She is glad that her body can talk only in sound, and touch, and movement. She is glad that she bones cannot say all the terrible things living in her like sharks hiding themselves in the black sand at the bottom of the sea. Each word she does not share burns, and scars, and slows her steps until she is brushing her shoulder to her twin's. “If we are quick enough we might make it too deep into the mountains for Fable to follow us.” She winks, and runs her nose along the curl of Aspara's check, an encouragement to be wild, to run faster, to do anything to reach the promise of freedom and adventure. Somewhere in the distance she can hear the beat of a dragon's wings and Avesta is not ready to be caught between walls and parents so soon.

She wants to see if she can get close enough to the moon to finally hear it sing (or cut it loose from the black if it refuses). 



@Aspara





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Played by Offline Rae [PM] Posts: 7 — Threads: 1
Signos: 240
Night Court Youth
Female [She/Her/Hers] // 0 [Year 503 Winter] // 16 hh // Hth: 10 — Atk: 10 — Exp: 10 // Active Magic: Psychometry // Bonded: Furfur (Wrait Wolf)
#2


I HEARD THE WHISPERING OF TREES


It was still the very earliest part of her life, their life, and as such theirs was a world of firsts. But Aspara knew already that the mountain, with its deep-rooted trees and ancient stone faces, was a being she loved with her whole entire heart.

The glass tree was full of kindness, and love, and a sorrow so deep it felt like roots. The forest was different. It was older, darker. Patient and impatient. It had so many stories that it didn’t know what it wanted to say first. Is it louder than the forest? “I don’t know.” She is almost breathless with the listening, although her magic was so out of her control that it was less listening and more waiting.

(then, all at once, the forest washes over her: “The river once ran through here– its name is etched into our spines, did you know– in the year of the flood they– ”)

Yes!” Having heard snippets of the forest, Aspara feels as accomplished as if she planted these trees, and all their stories, in that long, turbulent darkness long before birth. “It’s like… papa speaking, compared to all the rest of the court at once!” The sound of her laughter is crisp and pure and bright, so at odds with the dark, hunched mountain.

But she’s being slow, again. She’s getting distracted. Her sister reminds her of their babysitter-captor and she shivers at the sound of his wings beating the cool night air. Then-- oh, how her heart swells at her sister’s silken touch! She will be wild, she will run faster, she will do anything-- anything at all, for Avesta.

So they run, as only they could, with the sea in their hearts and the moon on their backs and the nighttime all over them. As soon as her stride opens up into a sprint down the wild trail her sister blazes, the forest speaks to Aspara again. (“Death– are you listening child?– child– the seeds are dying, child– listen”) A vine reaches out for her touch, and in its excitement it trips the filly. She crashes in a graceless pile of limbs. Another bruise or three she hardly feels. No one would be surprised the next day to see the queen’s daughter, the clumsy one, sporting another skinned knee. It’s only by Calligo’s mercy she hasn’t yet broken a leg. Not that her parents wouldn’t make a huge fuss.

There’s pain, but it doesn’t matter. She’s listening too intently to feel the sting– she isn’t even aware of Avesta helping her up, although of course she she wouldn’t be– her sister’s skin, scent, touch, everything; an extension of her own skin, scent, touch, everything.

(Images she does not understand. A blur of color and scent that evolves into feeling, the glorious feeling of fertile earth on young root-skin, the oldest story this tree knows. Then– Blood seeping into the dirt, turning it to mud, distributed from tree to tree to tree to child– the taste of it metallic in her mouth, like that time she bit her tongue.

Then– finally– A mother’s dying prayer, gifted to the dark canopy swaying overhead like a black ocean. A mother's plea.
)

There’s… children out here, Vesta. They're hurt.” Her voice is full of wonder, as though the words surprise even herself. If escaping Fable and their parents were not enough to motivate her to run, the urgency of the forest was. “We need to help them.” But of course Avesta knows. Of course she’s already running, fearless, wild through the night. Her night. Aspara is two steps behind her, always, calling the way breathlessly as they draw closer and closer to the (dying seeds. “not even sprouts. a waste, a waste. Hurry, child.”)

She can still taste the blood on her tongue.


AND I KNEW I MUST GO DEEPER INTO THE NIGHT


@Avesta  <3






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Played by Offline nestle [PM] Posts: 12 — Threads: 3
Signos: 285
Night Court Youth
Female [she/her/hers] // 0 [Year 503 Winter] // 16 hh // Hth: 10 — Atk: 10 — Exp: 10 // Active Magic: Animation // Bonded: Foras (Wraith Wolf)
#3

avesta
the sun shines low and red across the water,


Aspara's excitement washes over her like a summer tide, wild and warmer than she expected it to be. Part of her can almost imagine all the ancient words of the forest rushing through her too. She wonders what the mountain would make of them then. Would their bones would turn into root and sink deep, deep, deep into the center of the stone? “Are the stories as sad here?” She asks as she slows enough to brush her nose against a tall pine. The bark scratches at her and she begs it to say something, say anything.  But around her the forest is quiet with the night-hush and she can hear only the wind, the bits of earth following her like hounds, and the whisper of their young hooves on dirt and root.

So she runs ahead and tries not to feel the way the trees press in the moment she runs by them, reaching as they always do for her sister. But when the roots trip her sister, like the rugs and the garden and everything else at home, Avesta slows and turns back towards the forest creeping in. All at once she is angry, and vicious, and so like a storm sea. Avesta wants to roar at the forest and tell it to wake up only to bury it deep in some black silence. She wants to yell that - is - enough to the world that is so eager to share stories it cares nothing for the flesh and bone it must break to be heard. But she says none of those things and only stomps at a root as her sister gathers herself back up to stand.

And that is when Avesta knows she'll never love the mountain like she loves the ocean. She inhales and it tastes like crisp forest air instead of brine and salt and freedom. Her young, wild heart aches with more longing than she has ever known.

The stone and the rose smack at her ankles, like roots, and she almost kicks at those bits of living mountain too. But then her sister is telling her that there are children dying somewhere deep in the black her her heart roars at the injustice of it all. So she starts to run again, but this time her hooves are harder against the roots (a warning) and her magic is wild (another warning). Rocks and dead-leaves and shed flowers are following along behind them like a third sister born of the stone instead of the sea.

On and on she runs and each step is more feral and more graceful than the last. Her body is learning the way of the night and the way of flesh, bone and blood. The new lungs in her chest are aching and screaming at her and still she runs in the way her mother has told her to run. Like the world is burning, like you are a ghost, like you are nothing but a unicorn full of fierce magic., her mother would sing to her, that is how you race the wind.

Avesta races the wind all the way to the top of the mountain where the trees have led them.

There is blood on the wind, or at least she thinks it is blood, sharp and metallic. It stings her aching lungs and her young body shivers with some ancient instinct that has been bred true into her. She wants to turn away, and run back to the sea, or the forest, or any place but this mountain stone and ice that hasn't learned to melt.  All around the world smells like death, and she pauses only until she can feel her sister's shoulder brush against hers.

Her hooves carry her closer, although later she won't recall when she made the choice to keep going. The cave looms dark and endless ahead of them, yawning open like the great maw of a beast. “Is this where the mountain is telling you to go?” She asks just as all the bits of forest that followed them fall dead, and sleeping to the earth.

Avesta does not even notice the sound beneath the fierce, wild roaring of her ocean heart.





@Aspara





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Played by Offline Rae [PM] Posts: 7 — Threads: 1
Signos: 240
Night Court Youth
Female [She/Her/Hers] // 0 [Year 503 Winter] // 16 hh // Hth: 10 — Atk: 10 — Exp: 10 // Active Magic: Psychometry // Bonded: Furfur (Wrait Wolf)
#4


I had many things to learn about sadness.

I knew this because most of the stories I heard were sad. Not just mother’s stories, but the others. The ones told to me by old willow trees, hunched over like they had great secrets to hide (they didn’t, not from me), or the rough-hewn stone streets of home, the ones not studded with moonrock and precious stones. How could I explain to anyone, let alone ‘Vesta, that as far as I can tell, everything is woven of sorrow? Even joy, and love, and laughter. Even the tallest, oldest, proudest of trees has roots that dig deep into soil that is dark, and lush, and full of sadness.

No, I must be wrong. There has to be something more, I’m just not hearing it. I need to listen better. Deeper. I need to empty myself until the stories fill me so pure and clean that the sun shines right through.

I wish I could tell my sister that these stories were not as sad, but they are. It’s a different kind of sadness, and I don’t know how to distinguish it from that of the church-tree so I just say “yes,” because I’ve never lied, I don’t even know if I can. Why would I, even if I wanted to? “They’re just as sad.” I leave it at that because we’re running again, with the summer night huge and endless above us, around us, and my heart on my tongue, and when a wolf howls, somewhere further up the mountain, I don’t think to be afraid. I lift my head to the sky and I howl back, “A-wooo!

I don’t know anything about the way a wolf howls. Not yet. I don't know it's a mourning song.

When I'm done howling at the ripe summer night, I smile just because it feels good to bare my teeth and pretend I’m something more than what I am. I’m still smiling when I fall, although I’m listening too. The mountain MAKES me listen, even if it hurts me. But the pain of the fall does not hurt me as much as the look on Avesta’s face, full of vicious rage, like she’s gone somewhere I can’t follow without losing some part of myself. I press my cheek against hers in gratitude, and apology, and I love you. Needing no words except the ones I can't say. ("come back to me")

It’s hard to keep pace when we’re running again and the mountain is whispering things like the black ink between the stars and my sister’s wild magic is breathing life to little friends that follow. I'm not even thinking of Fable anymore, I'm not running from something but to it, whatever it is, and I'm not fast enough. Why am I never fast enough?

I hear mother’s words, too. I try to feel them in my bones, the way her stories set my whole body on edge, electric. “Run like the world is burning, like you are a ghost, like you are nothing but a unicorn full of fierce magic”

But I never much wanted to race the wind. I just wanted to talk to it.

I know even less about blood than I do about sadness. I don’t know the smell of it, not like this. This is death’s blood, this is a candle snuffed out. This is the way the world works and I know it is but, at the same time, I don’t. My heart is pounding in my head, and I think I can smell my own fear, and it smells a lot like the iron thick in the air.

I would not go into the cave if Avesta was not here. At least, I don’t think I would. But she is, and her shoulder is solid and warm and ALIVE. And we can do anything when we’re together, it’s the one thing I think I know for sure, the one thing more certain than the sunrise itself. “Yes, this is it.” we step further into the darkness. My everything is on edge. “I’m afraid.” I don’t know why I say it out loud– I’m sure she can feel it in the way I tremble. I think I just needed to fill that horrible silence with something other than the smell of blood.

I fall to my knees for the second time tonight when I see them. I think I may some sort of noise– crying or choking or something. I don’t remember. It doesn’t matter. On the hard stone floor before us are wolf pups, smaller than I ever thought wolves can be. Impossibly small, impossibly still. The dying children the mountain told me about.

Dead.

We’re too late.

I hear myself say "No." I think I say it again, and again. It becomes just another thing I don't remember. We're too late and it's my fault, I slowed us down, and the crumpled bodies are so small, so very small, and so very still. I look to my sister as though she has an answer, because she always has an answer. I show her my helpless, broken heart, because she always knows how to piece it back together.

a s p a r a


@Avesta pardon my experimentations <3






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Played by Offline nestle [PM] Posts: 12 — Threads: 3
Signos: 285
Night Court Youth
Female [she/her/hers] // 0 [Year 503 Winter] // 16 hh // Hth: 10 — Atk: 10 — Exp: 10 // Active Magic: Animation // Bonded: Foras (Wraith Wolf)
#5

avesta
the sun shines low and red across the water,


Later, much later, when the smell of blood isn't thick on her tongue like the wine she stole a sip of once, she might wonder--

She might wonder if this is how girls become warriors. Or maybe it's how young things learn to hunger, lament, and rage like ancient gods older than the stone rising around them bones. Or maybe it's the moment she might discover that she wants to remake the world like the sea remakes the shore each time the tide comes calling.

Now she only tastes the blood and injustice. The air is cool and tainted in her lungs and everything in her rails against the way the metal sting of it doesn't feel like brine. When she steps deeper into the belly of the darkness, with her sister the only heat against her skin (it feels like a fever of winter), her hooves sink into something that feels thicker and deeper than stone should feel. A shiver creeps down her spine like ivy, like roots, like a sickness she'll never be rid of. Somewhere, all the bits of her that are nothing but a young girl, shake between the cage the parts of her that are all ocean-wildness have made. And if she was a nothing but a young girl, a princess-- she would turn back.

But Avesta is more sea than girl, more star than mortal, more feral than tame. So she steps closer, and deeper, into the black. Her horn shines in what little moonlight there is this far into the belly of the mountain. It points north, deeper into the dark, a small knife held against the throat of darkness in warning. “We never have to be afraid when we are together.” She tells her twin, even though her own skin feels cold with something that almost feels like terror.

Aspara falls to the ground before she can even put together the gore before her. There is blood and small piles of soft white strewn among it. Avesta struggles to read the pattern to understand what she's looking at. Surely it is more than something horrible that her wild heart is trying not to hold. She inhales and it's metal. But beneath that there is the musk of something wild, like daises forgotten and left out in a downpour. It smells 'other' like Fable, but also like the darkness between the bonfires.

Wolves. They are wolves. Or were wolves. She steps closer to the bodies, away from Aspara. The girl part of her wants to curl against her twin and cry, and sob until her eyes are deserts. But the magic in her blood is digging into her marrow and urging her to do something. Or maybe it's really saying become

Avesta surrenders to it with a sigh--

Her horn aches when she touches it to the fur two dying pups tangled together (this close she can see how frailly they are breathing, almost-dead but not). Beneath her skin her blood feels like fire, like something desperately trying to come out. “Wake up.” This close she can feel the hearts of the wolves. They are both weak enough to be a leaf in the wild, or a bit of glass in the garden. “Wake up!” She screams and bellows like a dragon at the pup, and at the mountain who did not lead them on quick enough. Blood starts to leak from her nose and her legs start to tremble like weeds. Stars dance in the black blooming in the corners of her vision.

She collapses into the blood. But when she brushes her nose against the two pups (leaving pink streaks across their white fur) she can feel their hearts beating stronger than they were before.

Maybe they were not too late after-all.





@Aspara





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Played by Offline Rae [PM] Posts: 7 — Threads: 1
Signos: 240
Night Court Youth
Female [She/Her/Hers] // 0 [Year 503 Winter] // 16 hh // Hth: 10 — Atk: 10 — Exp: 10 // Active Magic: Psychometry // Bonded: Furfur (Wrait Wolf)
#6


"This is the story of two sisters."

The earth whispers to me--

"This is the story of two sisters dreamed up of salt water and magic and love. The howl of the wolf called to the ancient wonder in their bones. With the whisper of the forest it brought them up the rocky mountain-- but-- they were too late. they-- you-- you're too late you're too late

you're too late"

I'm too late. It is the only story the stones tell me now and they say it over and over like I don't already know. I imagine the words sinking into my skin in dark, leathery letters, not unlike papa's scars. My failure, marked for all the world to see and wonder and cringe at the sight of: toolatetoolatetoolate.

Too slow, too weak, too stupid. I'm staring at the soft white shapes on the ground, I'm breathing deep the still air of death. It's heartbreaking. And it's... and I'm angry. I’m molten. I’m magic and rage and a dark spiral of bone twisting around itself like a sword that can’t make up its mind what to pierce.

“Wake up.” Sister says it like– like not a question. And I feel. I feel like a book being opened and leafed through by the wind. Like my heart is standing at attention, listening, quivering with intention.

(Still the earth whispers, but slower now, “you’re… too…”)

“Wake up!” She screams and my heart is squeezed by the fist of the mountain. At the edge of my vision pebbles float lazily like dust-motes in a band of forest-sliced sunlight. Sister grabs reality, twists it like a scrap of silk, folds it into something beautiful, something better.

I’m there when she falls down. I don’t know how, I guess I scrambled forward to lean my pale shoulder against her. All that matters is we’re together now, in the heart of the scent of blood and death, and from this close I can see the pups in excruciating detail. Their fur is thick and baby-soft (the closest thing I know to compare it to is the softness of the ducklings we found at the lake one day) but beneath its plushness I can see a staircase of ribs. More skeleton than flesh.

And that’s when I notice a little heartbeat. Hesitant at first. Shy, like I’ve been told I am. But growing stronger. “’Vesta, it's… he's alive!” I lean forward, gently wrap my neck around one of the tiny bodies. It’s so cold to the touch, like it didn’t have the energy to shiver. Only then I look at my sister and see a trail of blood running down her nose.

She only just told me that we never have to be afraid when we’re together, but when I see her like that I’m terrified, and there’s no way I would ever not be. She is everything to me. Without her I would be… well I don’t know. Lost to the wind, I guess. Nothing more than a handful of leaves. “Are you okay?” I frown, but don’t move my head from where it is. Suddenly I wish mama and fable and papa were here, but I don’t say this out loud. They would know what to do. They would know what to say.

The mountain has stopped speaking to me, but a pleased sort of silence fills my bones. Like we did something right. Like Avesta did something right. There is another flutter of movement. A second pup. “You saved them.” My voice quivers with awe– I hate how weak it sounds– and breaks into soft laughter. “You did it, Avesta. That was amazing.” The cub curls into my neck as the gravity of the situation begins to fall down around me. “They need food.” It goes unspoken, as I glance to the mouth of the cave, we need Fable.

But I'm not quite ready to leave yet, not with Avesta bleeding and the infant cold as a river rock against my cheek and the heaviness in my bones that fills the spaces magic usually does.

a s p a r a


@Avesta






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Played by Offline nestle [PM] Posts: 12 — Threads: 3
Signos: 285
Night Court Youth
Female [she/her/hers] // 0 [Year 503 Winter] // 16 hh // Hth: 10 — Atk: 10 — Exp: 10 // Active Magic: Animation // Bonded: Foras (Wraith Wolf)
#7

avesta
the sun shines low and red across the water,


This feels nothing like the first time she used her magic. Then it at all be dream-stuff and whispers shared between her and Aspara as they pulled blankets over their heads until the moonlight was pale and cloudy and the white around their eyes bright. It was like a itch under her skin when she first looked down at the small wooden carvings her father made for them (thinking of it now she can't remember of it was the dragon laying between them or the lion). The itch told her that the world was only slumbering and waiting for her.

The first time her magic felt like a game. The way she could breathe life into the wood and command those small eyes to blink and those tiny legs to dance across a pillow seemed only like a clever little trick her blood knew. And if had made her any more tired than she already was she never noticed because it was bedtime at all and exhalation can do wicked things.

But this feels like war, like dying, like her bones are trying to make a map across the surface of her skin. If this is magic how can her mother ever bare it and still understand how to smile? Her lips pull back at the taste of blood that's all sea and nothing of winter. Her lungs heave and it feels like she's still running, running, running up the mountain determined to beat the wind and whatever whispers her twin hears. And she tries so hard to answer Avesta, she really does, but in the end all that comes out is something like a whimper as she learns her weight against the comfort that she's known forever.

It's only the touch of a small nose against her ankle that rouses her from this map of pain. His nose is colder than the lake at winter, colder than Fable's skin when he sings them to sleep with the song of the sea. But she can feel the touch of the wolf's nose deeper than just skin, it feels like that small almost-dead pup is tracing pathways down her soul. Avesta shivers but this time it has nothing to do with terror or the blood in the air.

It has everything do with with fate.

“What do you think they eat?” She asks as she curls her nose around the wolf's body trying to give him what little warmth she has left to give. It feels like wrapping around a glacier that hides in it the bones of the earth. It feels like home.

Avesta closes her eyes and licks her lips and it all seems tainted with salted blood and sharp twinges of pain. “Let me rest for just a moment”, she says into that white, hardly breathing wolf. “And then--” She never manages to finish whatever it was she was about to say. All she can see the blackness of exhaustion. In that empty place, that's almost sleep, there are the small hardly formed images of the wolf's thoughts. And even in the darkness her weary heart knows that now there is all the time in the world.

They'll never be too late again.




@Aspara





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