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Cernunnos
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#1


the moon lies bare, deflowered by force then abandoned


There is great honor found within greater silence - the quiet of a tree is noble, it is grand.  Once upon a limb or two ago, I was something spectacular.  I have seen so many eyes gaze upon me in wonder, in awe, and even disbelief.  I know you.  I have known your mothers and their mothers.  I have sheltered your families for years and provided for all of that which you call your own.  


What few of us who have survived you, have fallen prey to the invaders you introduced into our forests with your carelessness.  We have been quiet for too long, the forests have decided in their dying quietude, that they will finally answer for their lost families.   It first begins with a death, then starts a new life, mine.


I was born strange in the hollows of a one hundred year old cedar, small, white, and frail like the larvae that rend the bark from the flesh of our trees.  The forest called me Duir for first four years of my tellurian life, but when the great horns of my grove began to emerge from my brow - my own grove chose to name me after some pagan story that passenger once whispered in the woods.


 Cernunnos, a horned god.  I am not God, but my horns reminded my family the one in the story.  For this quiet, private grove had never seen horses before, they had all been seeds atop the ground, just like I once was when the Aïranacht walked our rooted paths.  Those had been our mother’s, now shattered and scattered ghosts across our rootbeds.  Their memories had faded just like the color of their sustenance had, no one remembered them, they were now just a part of the earth.


I was once a mother too, two thousand, nine hundred, and seventy-eight winter moons ago, I reached up to draw the stars into my many arms for the first time in my prime.  I breathed in the moon, all her sorrows and her light, sighing in storms and crisp autumn airs.  I cannot remember the last time I tasted silver but it has come to my understanding that the forest wants from me, different things now.


Our final journey is to understand the world which we hold so dear to us.  To understand the rest of all that which we do not know.  To go where our roots can not reach.  We are changed over enough time.  We are born into the world like the others we now share skins with.  Though young and naive and so very stupid like a sapling, what we already know, we still understand.  And this must be instinct, our very keys to survival.


Now I have become something perverse within nature.  Something unruly and indistinct from my beech heritage.  I have seen it in the water, when it rains and puddles form in the grove.  Within those rain slick mirrors, quicksilver and true, I see what has changed within me.  I had unbecome everything I used to always be.  I am no longer an archetype of Time itself but a passenger of it instead. My journey into consciousness has begun - this is the gift of Life after death. 


I am old enough to understand what I know (and I know a few things).  The gravity of my situation has changed substantially, so many other factors have been absorbed into the orbit of my new world.  For five years now, I have honed survival into a considerable skill, still wild and feral as the day the cedar carried me into Viride as a fauna, no longer flora.  







“I say, the air tastes strange to me.”   To the birds, he says.   Two tits twitter, trill, and tip about in their trysts within the spindly branches of his horns, dead leaves flicker in the breeze which musses his mane.  Cernunnos suddenly sneezes and the company ghosts him so quickly he is offended by their anxious nature, a leaf continues to tick-tick-tick-tick-tick against the base of his woody horns and he can hear it echoing in his ears from how hollow the roots are which grow beneath his skin.  The pale flesh shows their veiny reaches between bone and papery striped white bark.  Where Cernunnos sits comfortably in the gilded grove while late afternoon sun angles in underneath the tangles of a thick and elderly oak canopy, he is invisible.


“Do you think a storm is coming soon?”  He looks up, two long thin birch trees sway back from the motion of his head.  Leaves fan and feather out, some come off and glide down-down-down to the ground.  Birds in neighboring branches seem to discuss whatever it is that bothers them about their living perch without much concern over Cern’s questions.  He can look up and spy the sky from the bare patches in the canopy, by the amount of gray reflected in his eyes - a storm brews.  He has felt it coming for days, the cold air sneaking in over the currents of a persistent summer.  But now frost has come twice to him, damn near chilled every leaf off his horn, and caused Misty to go dormant for the winter.  Birds flock him in his sleep in an attempt to grab whatever remains of the mistletoe’s snowy berries before there is none left for the season. 


“I said, do you think a storm is coming soon!”  What is different now is that Cern can no longer hear the words of the birds which used to do so much more than just sing and startle when around him.  Never the less, the apostlebird group, who has grown up in his branches, still returns year after year, and in turn raises its progeny to do so as well.  Unlike all the other visitors that he can no longer rely on for conversation, the apostles trustv im even in their silence.  Something within their presence still soothes him, their inability to communicate with each other verbally does not prohibit Cern’s ability to understand what they want from him - what they need as well.


“Forget you, ruddy birds!”  A crack of thunder sounds and Cern is up, moving and shaking with life, graceful and fluid like a leaf on the wind even in his stormy flurry.  Hair flows like spidersilks in the breeze, the leaves stream like schools of fishes in the air, and the branches that carried them bend and sway as the terrulian decides his path.  Cernunnos begins to press forward into the trees but his visage is so overgrown that it is not long until he becomes entangled.  Grumpily, he rakes his head down and shakes the birch free from the low grabbing hands of the oak.  He does not want to be in the dell when the rain starts to fall - and he will creep into the pine for the duration of it all when the weather takes a turn for the worst.  


And it does.  Terribly so.  It is as loud as it is bright.  It is as wet as it is electric.  It is as active as the throes of raging spring rapids.  Only bears can endure a strength like this - Cernunnos has seen it himself.


Thunder grumbles its dispute over the tangling currents of hot and cold winds, lightning takes on the form of his elders as it branches wild and wondrous across the sky.  One strike takes an oak, causing Cern to press deeper into the wood.  The smell of ozone causes a great unrest in the beast and he moves away from it like prey from a predator. The rain soaks through the outermost layers of Viride and begins to make its way into the lower levels with its heavy pour.  The birch-bark stallion can feel the first drops of it down his back.  Soon he is the color of moving water, light, and shadows as the rain soaks him. 


A leonine tail slithers quickly through the trees like some banded alder-beast as he quickens his pace -- wending through familiar trails in the dense copse of unexplored woods.  He knows them well, and has spent his whole live(s) both growing within them, and can use them with his eyes closed if he must.  Tonight is no different, the storm has come upon him quickly.  Even though he knew of its presence days ago, it has still caught him by surprise.  And for once, it has driven him farther from his grove than he has been for quite some time.  Even though the paths remain familiar, his uncertainty rises the same way fear does, cold sets in and his thin-skinned coat cannot stand it.  Hail mercilessly begins to pepper through all the spaces Cern tries to avoid until he finds a cedar, almost as large and as round as he once was, and beneath the vale, a bare and perfectly dry earth.



Ooc: A tree walks alone in the woods …. Not sure why this got so CRAZY.  @Below Zero









Played by Offline Dyzzie [PM] Posts: 87 — Threads: 12
Signos: 40
Dusk Court Entertainer
Female [She/Her/Hers] // 7 [Year 498 Summer] // 15.2 hh // Hth: 13 — Atk: 7 — Exp: 20 // Active Magic: N/A // Bonded: Yukime (Ice Serpent)
#2


B e l o w Z e r o
My soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all around
And one thought crystallizes like an icy blast
Bel's electric cyan eyes seemed to be solidly locked onto the sky above her, watching the billowing clouds with apprehension. Thunderstorm. The word still seemed foreign - echoing in her head as images of the lightning that had alarmed her a few weeks ago crossed her mind. She suspected this one would match in it's ravenous anger. Lightning would criss cross the sky with the power of a thousand eels supercharged, thunder would roll as if the Kraken itself had been transported into the heavens. Not that she thought that was what was really happening in the heavens, not anymore at least. She had had that mistake pointed out to her gently by another when she'd fallen prey to the last thunderstorm to take her by surprise.

That didn't meant the young aquatic equine appreciated the sudden thunderstorms that have appeared to greet the sky with their anger and might. Just a few days since the trauma of the last one, and the sky was brewing with the promise of another. The water vapors trailing from her spine shifted in temperature, colder like the home she'd come from, sinking lower to brush lightly against her hide in a reassuring wrap of welcome and promise. Everything would be okay. She wasn't sure how the vapors had come to evolving into the comfort mechanism they were now - few places required them to take on their more traditional role of regulating her temperature easier, but she was thankful of the moments when it did feel a little less like a new world and a little more like the arctics she had come from. 

She raised her head slowly, dual sets of eyes taking in the cloud migration, attempting to read the thunderstorm like she could a snowstorm - those had been easy, watch the sky lighten to a near white and monitor how close that dense whiteness was above you, keep an eye out for curtains of white in the distance that may hint at a blizzard approaching. Wind could increase that potential - easy. This however . . . the storm was moving quickly - she could see that in the angry clouds above her as the migrated closer and closer to her. She sighed - aware she needed to locate some shelter before the worse of it set in, aware that this wasn't the type of storm to be caught out in.

The first crack of thunder still had her jumping, her fin flaring high atop her back even as frilled ears pinned faintly. Her muzzle twisted down and she picked up her pace, searching for a suitable shelter from what ever the rainstorm would bring. The heavens opened before she saw the first tree. She had been visiting in Delumine, searching out the forest she had heard about - curious if it would be similar to the kelp forest  beneath the waves, wanting to see what a land-forest was like. Seeing the cropping of trees ahead was like a blessing as the rain pelted her hide, darkening the blues of her pelt and merging them with the creamy white of the base color. Her gaze traveled to the sky, still too light to be a proper storm, but it was darkening, and likely to be darker still with in the forest.

She stood briefly on the outer edges of the forest, wondering if it smart to trust the trees to shelter when the lightning would come. The first prick of ice against her hide had her deciding for herself. Her vapors instantly warmed, rising higher above her as they did so, softening the hail as it peppered her back until it hit her with slush and ice instead of the ice by itself. The blubber that protected her from the cold waters of the arctic assisted keeping the hail from doing more than skin-deep damage, but it didn't stop the mare from wincing when as she was struck. She dove among the trees, her pacing kicking up as she weaved between the trunks, dunking low beneath the lower-hanging limbs and careful to keep her fin folded flat against her back, least it be caught on something. The dorsal, while fairly flexible was still made of a rigid material, and folding it so close was always a touch uncomfortable, but at this time, it felt like the wiser option.

Above her, through the canopy of trees, with barren patches from leaf fall, the hail continued to descent, slowing among the interlocking branches and the foliage, catching the shards in the heated water vapors so more slush than ice rained down on the aquatic creature, a reprieve Bel was relieved for. Thunder rolled still, while lightning lit up the sky in an arc of zig-zaging electricity that seemed to stretch from horizon to horizon. Bel's head lowered as she headed deeper, and deeper. She didn't see the creature ahead - though could you blame her as he blended in with the trees, his coat patterned of bark, the limb of a tree substituted for horns. She never saw him beyond being another splash of tree in with the others. So as she moved around a trunk, and he himself moved on his path, it seemed their paths would cross as Bel ran straight into him.

The shock was enough to startle the half-sea creature, as her hooves stumbled her backwards, the water vapors surrounding her pitching lowering and hanging closer to the mare as she stared up at the walking tree. A walking tree?! Why was a tree walking. It wasn't until lightning flashed and silhoutted the larger stallion that she began to make sense of the situation. A horse . . . that looked like a tree? Not that she could talk - her own pelt patterned mimicked the hues of the water, blending her into the oceans so that predators were less likely to notice her. But a horse that was a tree, well that was something new. Bel blamed her next moment of rudeness on the shock; "There are trees . . . growing from your head." Her statement was blunt with shock, as she stared up at the creature, and then a sharp piece of hail brought her out of her shock with a wince and flinch, and instantly those vapors were rising again as they heated up and met the hail, turning it to slush before they could hit mare. The water droplet produced by the vapors hung around her, and in relation, the stallion now in her company.

Stallion, right, she needed to apologize, "Oh Starfish! I'm so sorry!  . . . For running into you, and . . . my bluntness. I didn't really see you, you kind of blend into the trees and all." She said, her expression earnest, both sets of cyan eyes opened wide, hoping he'd understand and forgive her, "I'm not usually so careless! So, how about we just consider it water in the current, and forget about my blunder, yeah? Are you trying to escape the storm too?" Another crack of thunder rolled, as if laughing at her attempts, and her frilled ears flattened slightly, her fluked tail swaying nervously, suddenly wishing she could find a good size lake to dive into - even if she preferred salt-water when she could find it.

"I'm sorry, I don't normally have the manners of a Pufferfish. My name is Below Zero, but call me Bel. You wouldn't happen to know of a place to hide out from this weather would you? You seem to fit into the forest far better than I would - so I imagine you must know it far better than I would as well." She added with a bit of an awkward laugh, her hooves lightly prancing against the ground, even as the vapors continued to melt the hail in the surrounding area into softer, more slushy versions of it, as it warmed the air around them, twisting and twirling as the heated waters rose steadily higher from her back. The Water-Horse and the Living Tree, who'd have imagined such a potentially symbiotic meeting in the making. She kept her cyan eyes on the male, hoping for his assistance, even as another flash of lightning lit the sky, and the thunder echoed around them. Bel was really beginning to hate this weather.

"Speech"
Thoughts
@Cernunnos
Notes:: Poor Bel does NOT appear to enjoy thunderstorms, and of course she can't NOT speak with out water-related sayings xP I've been waiting to use the 'water in the current' line for a bit now!





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Cernunnos
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#3


the moon lies bare, deflowered by force then abandoned

Wind whips and rages as a great storm moves through the otherwise placid territory.  Even though the storm’s reach can hardly make it down into the thicker parts of the forest where Bel and Cern are hiding, it can still berate them with pine cones and branches.  It scatters needles and seeds and leaves from the tops which are being battered by the eye which looms above them.  He would blame it on the Gods, but he knows better than that — their ire is much worse than this, and they will move mountains when provoked, not treetops.

He wants to say so much but a peel of thunder takes his lionlike gusto and makes a kitten out of it.  Cern’s horns rattle and click, a reverberation from shivering in his bones.  “Not to be a real stick in the mud, we are safer under this tree.”  Cern’s orange eyes are as wide and round as Halloween pumpkins in the dark, and the great oak is reduced to timber and fatwood.  Underneath the dense canopies, the wind makes breezeways out of the path.   

Lightning strikes so close, it licks a dead tree not too far off the path which lead him to here and paints it neon.  Instinctively he drops his head as the underneath of the forest illuminates xerox white with bright light.  The two of them shuffle closer underneath the dense protection of a fir tree whose trunk is so thick around and sculpted that together they can find some solace against the chilly winter wind.  

Comfortably cradled within the protective embrace of a three hundred year old forest giant as put the birch bark boy to ease, now, Cern can talk.

“I am Cer—”  think again, thunder growls again, the stallion wilts when lightning promptly follows, “--, Cernunnos.  It is good to meet you.   May I branch out and ask, where are you from Bel?”  Even in a torrential storm such as this, he cannot ignore the steam rising and pooling around her (around them, really) or the cool, amphibiousness of her skin which is pressed against his dry, papery, birch-like skin.  The two of them smell like cedar and salt together, the land finally meets the sea.




@Below Zero  sicker than a dog, but I wanted to get my puns on.  Still working on getting more in there.  i am also working on different tenses/pov's









Played by Offline Dyzzie [PM] Posts: 87 — Threads: 12
Signos: 40
Dusk Court Entertainer
Female [She/Her/Hers] // 7 [Year 498 Summer] // 15.2 hh // Hth: 13 — Atk: 7 — Exp: 20 // Active Magic: N/A // Bonded: Yukime (Ice Serpent)
#4


B e l o w Z e r o
My soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all around
And one thought crystallizes like an icy blast
The heavens were angry, the rain striking hard and frozen that could welt an innocent caught in it's tyrant reign. The skies cackled with the sounds of the rolling thunder, and lightning flashed like spells hurled through darkness. Bel hated every moment. What was wrong with a good blizzard where the hardest thing was the wind pelting snowflakes at you? A white out where the world was as white as the icebergs that floated on the frozen sea. What was wrong with frigid temperatures that didn't freeze the rain as it fell. She never missed the arctic more than when the rain fell in angry waves, while the sky waged war upon itself. Fall and it's abundance of this weather was not her favorite period of the year.

It was luck to come across another, even if she hadn't been able to pick him out from the trees at the time. Not that she could blame him for his appearance, her herself had a tendency to blend into the waves beneath the sea - no matter how you looked at her, her markings meant to mimic the blues of the water, down to the way light filtered through it. So she'd be startled when she'd first seen him, even as she sheltered against the storm beneath the pine cones and branches. The storm wages a war, and she and the stallion of the trees were but innocents caught in it's anger. More violent than the sea when the waves battle with the air, and the oceans turn dark with the storm capturing the sun.

She glances at the odd male who looks like part of the forest, a king that looks at home with in his palace of trees. She sees in him what others see when she's part of the waves, a creature dictated and part of the biome that created them. He is the stallion of the trees, just as she's the maiden of the sea. His horns draw her attention as they seem to rattle and click, like branches in the wind, like a ship on the waves. She tilts her head at his phrasing - stick in the mud? And ponders if it's similar a phrase as 'trash in the current' or perhaps 'beached whale?' But he does state it is safe beneath the tree. Her gaze draws up, meeting his halloween orange eyes with her own clear water cyan before her gaze draws up to the trees that shelter them.

Lightning strikes across the sky, threading electricity through the many dark storm clouds, before it suddenly veers off path and is at a dead tree. She shies away from the sudden abundance of light, and seems to move closer to the unfamiliar stallion - a pillar of strength similar to the trees that have stood the test of time around them. "Not to be a beached whale, but the sky eels, er . . . lightning seems to feed off of the trees we're sheltering under." She retorts, though her voice betrays her fears, seeming to waver with the flow of a current. Nervous and influenced by the elements around her.

The male speaks then, his speech broken briefly before the storm, but his name is still given. Cernunnos. She's quiet as he asks where she comes from, and the corners of her muzzle stretch slightly, emphasizing the slightly longer than normal lines of her muzzle, hinting at the width it can be opened to when hunting for small fish. She glances up at him, her cyan eyes curious, "Cernunnos." She repeats his name briefly, tilting her head curiously at him, "You have a . . . powerful name." She briefly wonders if it has a deeper meaning, as her own people tended to name their own - names that derive from where they come from, names that would offer them the strength of the harsh elements they made home, "I come from the sea, but my people come from the stars." It's a casual comment, her gaze briefly trailing from the direction of the ocean (a place she can seem to know how to find no matter how far inland she was) before meeting the heavens as if peering through the clouds themselves, to the planet of oceans where her people once swam freely - defending themselves from a vastly different sort of predators.

Her vapors slowly turn cooler, gentler, no longer required to melt the threatening hail, and hang lower around her (and in return Cernunnos). The shift of temperature is welcome, the aquatic mare appreciating the more familiar touch of cold to her pelt. It settles the last of her nerves and allows her to draw comfort from the stallion beside her. It also allows her attention to be directed back towards him, and his tree-kinship. Even his pelt, where it is pressed against her cooler one seems dry, tree-like. She glances at him, and her words take a more honest approach, less like her riddles she usually answers inquiries of her origins, "The arctic waters, I lived in the arctic waters of the north. Snow, ice, freezing temperatures, that sort of thing." Anyone listening would focus on the waters aspect, her aquatic appearance, even as it was a vast difference to those siren-horses, the kelpies and the like who preyed on those of the land.

"What about you? I'm no blind guppy, so pardon me for pointing out the obvious, but . . . you seem more tree than horse." It's phrased like an observation, but there is a question buried in the statement. "When do you think the storm will let up? It's angrier than the Kraken when you make a jest about it's size." She added, partially speaking from experience. Her attention has returned to the sky, flinching as another roll of thunder echoes around them, limbs treading the air as if to keep herself afloat in the fear wishing to drag her down. She did not appreciate the storm, but at least the company was interesting enough, a polar opposite to who she was. The King of the Forest and the Maiden of the Sea. Perhaps the storm was merely the catalyst to their meeting, the meeting of land and sea.

"Speech"
Thoughts
@Cernunnos
Notes:: Oh gracious -- how I love this <3





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Cernunnos
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#5


the moon lies bare, deflowered by force then abandoned

I answer none of her questions.  I humor no part of her curious poking.  I respond to nothing but the storm rattling on up above.  The thunder is moving away, the lightning strikes are growing farther and farther apart, and we are no longer in danger of being berated by ice.  Bel remains tucked in against me and I cannot bring myself to understand what this sensation is of being so close to something else that is living. 


Do not get me wrong, I have felt others before, against me; bears clawing my skin apart,  birds picking away at my bark.  Squirrels and deers having a field day stripping my branches of their tender green leaves both fresh and dry.  Winter makes a meal out of me, if I seem distracted it is because I am.  It is only when the silence grows longer and longer that I realize something .. my fish out of water is waiting for my response.

You seem more like a tree than a horse.  

“Oh horse ..”  Because I forgot what animal I had become when I died the last time, "I forgot that is what we call ourselves.  Hn,"  My eyes seek out the distance ahead of us.  I know these woods.  I know the other animals that live in them as well and they aren’t the best company once the sun begins to set.  We have the afternoon to decide what we will do now that the storm is running out on us.  Slowly, surely, more and more silently, the growling element moves westward leaving us in the alpenglow of its wake. 

“Well climb my limbs or follow me. I believe it is passing like a breeze.”  Perhaps the land and sea could work together, I wonder.

Immediately we are making our way through the soggy underword of dead branches.  The snags tugging my head don’t hurt anymore because the branches snap or just tangle with the foliage.  I have grown used to fighting for room in the dense copse of my home. The disease has reduced the virility of my tips anyway and so they just break.  Trees were not meant for moving much, healthy or not.  It is  only in the wind where we can sway and thrash in place, occasionally losing a limb in the process if we are too old, too sick, and have grown brittle in our years of fighting disease deep in our piths.  

“If you come from the stars, whyever would you want to leave such a place?  I come from here, and our whole lives are spent reaching for the one star that belongs to us.   Once we touch one, it is believed that we become a part of the universe- we transcend our rootbeds and our eldergrowth.  We are made to finally understand everything.”   And what I mean by that is we become mortal, then we live, and officially die.  I look up at the sky but it is daytime and there are no stars.  “Not so long ago, when our world began to start shaking, I touched a star with my leaves.  They weren't big ones or small ones, pointy ones or round ones, but they were green ones, healthy ones.  That was the night of my uprooting.”  I do not know how to talk to a person.  I never learned how. My words were disjointed and heavy.  I didn't seem to understand the art of Ease.  But I also really don't care enough for the living at this point, for it was their disease that brought on my untimely demise. 

I lead her through the dell, another patch of pine, deeper and deeper in we go.  I humor her with stories about all the birds I've ever known - and there are many.  I think my favorite story is about the apostlebirds, "No matter where I go, they always come back, every year.  That nest there in my branches is theirs.  When it rains, I get muddy.  They aren't very good at nest building, but they get better every year."  In the light, it is clear that some mud has streamed down a part of my hair - I really don't care about that though.  We keep walking.

The language of the forest sounds like wind, nothing like the grunting noises the living make to communicate with one another.  I have had years and years and years to master the art of grunting along with them to get my point across, trees have a lot of insight and that you can always depend on.  All those years spying on travelers slipping through the wood beneath our boughs, silent as shadows they may be, but their secrets are o u r s. Viride has given back to me, with what little magic needed to be spared, a body of birch and wicker to break the silence.  I am here to give back to the forest what so many others have taken from it!

And, despite the natural self-loathing I feel for being hosted in a body that needs to eat green to survive, I know it is all for the betterment of Viride.  I exist only to communicate my message.  My life is short.  My time is limited and I can count it by the hundreds of legs crawling around beneath my skin, I can feel the spiders weaving graves in my hair.  The mistletoe creeps carefully, cautiously through the winnows of downy cotton white hair.  Insects both toxic and benign to me, nest in the sere papery layers of beautiful rot. I try to think of my mission to distract myself from the sounds of dying.  I only know what it is to grow, not die.  What Tempus must think of a breather such as I?  


Communication is key, one horse at a time, and I must keep searching until I find the one who can heal this pain.  Even in this corporeal form, I am not immune.  With this skin and these horns, and all the light that makes the mistletoe grow, I am being eaten alive by the same plague that brought Duir down so long ago. 

“I died here.”  I say with reverence.  We take a pathway which opens up into the hazy light of the stormy afternoon.  Birds begin to pick up where they left off.  They skip through the trees overhead as I embark on the beginning of my spiritual journey, expecting Bel to follow simply because she seems so curious.  In speaking the uninvited truth of my being here, I have removed my soul and replaced it with ere mysticism.  “Here.”  

And so we stop.

There seems to be nothing here, if one were to be looking for hair and bones they would find nothing, and there are large rocks that should be skulls or shoulders or hips -- none of the sticks are bones either -- just pieces of trees brought down by the quick and violent storm.  These things are my bones, and we have come to think so little of green branches removed from their mother.  Young seeds that will never be sewn.  Birdsong lessens the harshness of my words, “I have never left this forest.”  All around us are ancient elders.  Winter may have stilled them on the surface, but they are filled with such vibrance and gold on the inside!  How they speak to me.  Welcome home Duir, they say, and to them I can only wish my time here brief enough so that I may become an oak again, one day.   

Ahead, in the haze of winter and mist, lies a monolith of a tree that is sudden, and severe, and sobering.  It is so large, so old, so covered with life and death and the moment of renewal (it seemed to glow like a Mother), that it becomes a universe of its own.  It is sacred. 

Blistered bark splits and spills a new life from it - a life separate but still a part of me.  All these years later, and all the roots that dug deep and wound their way through and through and through, still grasp for the last nutrients they can have.  I can feel the strife beneath my feet.  I know, that they know, that it is for naught.  That the nutrients will never reach the silent heart of the felled great beast.  Mosses and ferns, bushes and brambles, creeping vine, peppits and poppits, and even a great cedar which grows red and vulgar right out of the thickest part of the oakwood have used my rotting corpse to thrive.  The cedar's own living, breathing, roots wrap and weave through the intricate woody structures that the first of me spent centuries building.  Just as I died here, I was born here too.  

Carpets of bark have simply flaked away, easy to do when there is no inner bark to protect the cambium from disease.  The naked parts are blue-white with strange alien crop circles where larvae from the invading leafcutters have laid their eggs and have allowed for them to eat their way through the fleshy inner layers.  I can feel my heart still at some of the damage that still remains like scars on my soul.  The deep red slash in my chest aches as a painful reminder that while I am alive, I am also dying quickly, quietly, and regardless of any care I will receive of the horses.  The same poison rests in my bones.  I hear it at night, crawling around beneath my skin. 

"This forest is sick.  Viride is rotting."






@Below Zero  ooc: here's a plate full of words in no particular order at all. <3









Played by Offline Dyzzie [PM] Posts: 87 — Threads: 12
Signos: 40
Dusk Court Entertainer
Female [She/Her/Hers] // 7 [Year 498 Summer] // 15.2 hh // Hth: 13 — Atk: 7 — Exp: 20 // Active Magic: N/A // Bonded: Yukime (Ice Serpent)
#6


B e l o w Z e r o
My soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all around
And one thought crystallizes like an icy blast
The mare looked to the sky, accepting the odd male's silence for the time being, glad to have someone to merely weather out the storm with. She stayed against his side, her cool skin pressed against the dryness of his own, but she's relieved to see the thunder rolling less, the lightning strikes slowly decreasing in their frequency. She stayed close however, her eyes never leaving the sky as the storm started to roll out. These thunderstorms held no fondness in her heart, and as long as the thunder rolled, even at a distance she felt unnerved by it. She still knew little about the male, however, her gaze once more turning to him as the rain seemed to slow to a gentle fall that was far more welcoming in dampening her skin, her own vapors now hanging lower as their temperature shifted to the cooler degrees she preferred.

Her gaze swept over the unique horse - near as unique as she, and a faintly amused smile touched her slightly scaled muzzle at his words as he murmured about forgetting the term of their species being called horse. For a moment she is surprised he grouped himself with her in the 'we;' having expected he to try to identify elsewhere with his behaviors. His gaze moves out however, not responding otherwise and she starts to grow used to the momentary silence between them, accepting it and quietly enjoying the peacefulness that company brought along with the lessening of the storm above. He speaks suddenly - and she blinks briefly in confusion at the beginning of his sentence - climb his limbs? For a brief second her eyes were widened, as if reading more into that then he might be familiar with. Had he just . . . no, likely it was a miscommunication - what beast would be so . . . forthright with . . . such an offer.

She quickly wrote the entire sentence out of her memory focusing on the Follow me, her gaze drifting up as she nodded to his assessment of the storm leaving, "Yes," She agreed softly, watching the clouds continue to draw the darker hues further from their location, "I believe you're right." She turned towards him, allowing him to lead her through the woods he knew like she might know the waters. Her steps were cautious as she carefully flattened her fins down, working hard to keep herself from getting caught on any of the branches around them, even if the male had less concerns. Fins tear easily, and by his reaction to the tangling of foliage it cause him less pain to snap a branch then for her to rip a fin.

His words bring her out of her thoughts, and she pauses at his question. Why leave such a please. Her mind flashes to the horror in the eyes of the elder as they whispered stories of what the green glow meant, of the virus that would consume and kill all in it's path - that nothing had been spared. Those left behind, already tainted by it's deadly grasp. She turns her attention instead onto his story: a story of reaching to a star that was theirs, that touching it would welcome them to become part of the universe. She listened quietly, having to agree that it sounded like a lovely thing to reach towards, though when he spoke of touching such a star, she glanced at him in surprise - that it had been the night of his uprooting. So he was a tree? She didn't have a response right away from him, instead thinking his words over, as he led her deeper into the forest - trusting him for the moment not to lead the water-inclined mare astray.

"So you are a tree, then? Or . . . where? You'll have to excuse my confusion, that revelation has me feeling a touch out of water. How . . . did you . . . become a horse then?" She asked, her voice slightly halting as if she weren't sure what way to ask the question, "You'll have to excuse my confusion, this is a little out of my depth, like I'm trying to make polar caps out of ice cubes." She apologized, offering the unique male a smile - still not speaking of why the Treaders had left their world behind - and instead allowed herself to listen to his stories. Her eyes sparkled with curiosity and delight at each tale he spun, the cyan orbs sparkling like sunlight upon the clear ocean, being told of so many birds she'd never imagined, much less seen.

The Apostlebirds seemed to be his pride though, as he mentioned the nest in his branches. She paused in their walking, trying to peer up at the limbs atop his crown, "Nest? In your branches? You'll have to excuse me for asking, but you're a touch taller than I am . . . well more than a touch really - would you be willing to lower your head so I can actually see the . . . branches? Are they really branches, or do they just look like it? If they are, how do you keep them alive? They would have to be alive - right?" He speaks again, of rain bringing him mud, and as she glances up, she does see such mud straying down his hair, and she reaches out to it curiously, her nose touching against the mud, snorting slightly at it. What an odd horse . . . tree . . . . what an odd male.

They kept walking though, deeper into the forest, into areas the aquatic mare never imagined seeing. The trees seemed to grow larger than life around her, towering above her like giants, limbs as long as the kraken's tentacles. They seemed so full of life. She watched the different patterns of parks, of leaves as they passed by the silent giants. She touches her muzzle against the bark of a tree, and glances back at the stallion, reminded of the odd texture of his skin, "I've never seen so many trees in one place!" She admitted in awe, before smiling at the stallion, "They remind me of fish schooling together, in tight clusters that can lean on one another when necessary." She stated, thinking of the way the schooling fish could join together to chase off the predators or confuse them. Did trees work together to withstand storms in a similar way?

His next words had her turning towards him sharply eyes wide as her breath caught in her throat. Died? He takes her through another path which soon opens up, and she follows quietly as he brought her to a place, stopping and telling her here. She doesn't know what she's looking for as she searches the ground, not seeing much beyond large rocks, sticks and pieces of trees taken down. De-rooted, died. This was where he was felled. Her gaze turned up towards him when he spoke of having never left the forest, and she tilted her head quietly to look at him. He seemed so sad at that moment, sobered and distant - more so than what she'd seen so far.

Her gaze moves over the area before he spoke of the forest being sick, of it rotting and her gaze turns sharply towards him, watching him for a moment before speaking softly, "And you? Do you share the sickness?" She asked quietly. Her gaze shifts, first in the direction of the ocean before up to the heavens above, "You asked, why my people left the stars, the planet we came from . . . " She glanced at him briefly, "A virus claimed our planet. Every plant, animal, tree and fish were treated the same - all eager prey by the glowing death. I only know the stories from the elders, We were lucky - we had escaped before the virus could reach us - we had been helping with a project, we hadn't been in the water for a while, where the virus spread. Not all of our Pod made it off the planet . . . And we can never return. The virus has destroyed our home . . . ." It was the first time she'd admitted it as real, the first time she'd done more then ponder on the stories she grew up with.

Her gaze turned towards the stallion, "My people had no choice but to abandon a dying planet . . . perhaps you are braver than they were for staying among the trees." She told him after a moment, before stepping away to look at some of the damage her eyes were now noticing. "What is wrong with the forest, Cernunnos? Can it be saved?"

"Speech"
Thoughts
@Cernunnos
Notes:: Not too many puns this time, this has gotten oddly serious - but I can't help but love it!





[Image: i-jTNwWx8.png]






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