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Played by Offline sid [PM] Posts: 369 — Threads: 61
Signos: 585
Dawn Court Sovereign
Male [He/Him/His] // Immortal [Year 497 Winter] // 16 hh // Hth: 50 — Atk: 50 — Exp: 93 // Active Magic: Nature Spirit // Bonded: Rhoeas (Criost Deer)
#1




aware, aware you stalk your prey
with criminal mentality



There was a part of him, as he stalked through the trees in a part of the forest that was dark and overgrown and feral, that thought he understood what it might feel like to be a hunter. And he knows this is not the first time he’s walked a forest looking for gods and monsters and men who take, and take, and take and never stop to consider who they’re taking from, or what they’re taking.

The more he presses his shoulder to a tree and feels nothing but anger instead of growth, the more he thinks that maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to raze it all if it meant finding the culprit.

But Ipomoea was made to save the forest, not destroy it. And even his anger was not enough to turn him into the kind of man he tracked like a hound to a blood scent.

The last forest had been different - he could taste the magic in the air there, and the thick canopy had barely kept the sunlight from breaking in. He had been far from home then, but the magic that ran rampant between the flowers and the vines had made him feel like he was just another part of the wild that claimed the whole island as its own. Despite himself, he had loved it. He had not known it then, but he knows it now because his heart is beating to the same tune, a war drum that has him moving with a too-quick step through the tangled undergrowth.

The branches are clacking their tines together overhead, but there is no sunlight streaming in through the gaps they leave. The clouds are hanging low in the sky, a dark layer that colors everything gray. When Ipomoea lifts his head he can taste the rain, and the lightning, and the thunderstorm that is brewing.

Today only foxglove and hemlock grow in his footprints, and even then sparingly. He doesn’t stop to wonder at the way his magic is changing, or worry about the danger he leaves in a trail behind him. He only walks, weaving a new path that dares someone more dangerous than him to follow along. Selfishly, recklessly, impulsively - he hoped they would.

He cannot see the individual trees he passes. Ipomoea is looking for the blood marking their barks and their leaves, for the tracks of a body being dragged through the brush. Every misshapen root looks to him like a trap, and the more roots that turn out to be only roots make his heart tremble all the harder.

Maybe later he would stop to wonder at the way the anger rose up overnight to consume him. Maybe later he would wonder when the teeth he now clenches tightly together had started to feel more like they belonged to a wolf than him. But today a sob is rising inside of him, and he already knows the beast inside of him will not hesitate to howl when the moon comes out.

Tonight he would sleep in a graveyard and make friends with the ghosts.

And up until the moment he lays his head down to close his eyes, Ipomoea will search the forest from one end to the other. And if the trees refuse to answer him, he will find the answer for himself.



open to anyone.
"Speaking."






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Played by Offline Cannon [PM] Posts: 85 — Threads: 15
Signos: 25
Dawn Court Warden
Male [He/Him/His] // 5 [Year 500 Fall] // 14 hh // Hth: 10 — Atk: 10 — Exp: 13 // Active Magic: Arc Flash // Bonded: N/A
#2

and i was a hand grenade
that never stopped exploding
He knows this storm in the heart of him, knows it like he knows his own brothers. Knows it like he knows his sad-faced mother.

From the canopy, wedged between the last thick branches of a tree far older than their haunted country, Andras sees its fat, dark clouds sagging toward the horizon, sees them light up like a bomb in the gray, rainy sky. He counts the seconds.

One. There is so much to do, always. Ghosts to hunt. Monsters to slay. Fights to fight. He is so tired of dead faces and the rock that sits in him like teeth with their points in his stomach.

Two. No one has seen Andras in weeks. From charts to maps to empty rooms to the dark tangle of the words everything has become a colorless smear. If he is anyone but a machine that hunts and hates he does not know who that is. If he has ever seen anything that is not carefully rendered drawings of mutilated animals it feels so far removed that it must not have happened at all.

Three. Below him is a forest that stinks of fear and death and blood. Another season has passed. There is no more red snow, just red dirt. There is no more ice to cool the rage in him. There is no more anything but fatigue and anger.

Four. The storm's pressure breaks over the canopy, the crackling of thunder that drums in his bones, spreading through him in a way that does not seem entirely holy. He has been a storm all his life but he did not know what it meant until it woke up inside him and bathed him in hissing blue light. Before the rumbling has stopped there is another branch of light arching its way toward the peaks, one that glints off the lens of his glasses. The leaves rattle with fat raindrops.

Below him there is a sound: the beat of hooves, soft but not soft enough to be secretive, slow but not slow enough to be sly. Andras looks and sees Ipomoea, tracking through the woods with boulders on his back. He recognizes that look, a long-suffering andger that he has worn since his birth and surely since the dawn of winter.

"Storm's here, Po." he says, and his magic punctuates the statement with a crackle of its own that rolls of his skin like toy thunder. "Find anything?"

He must look like a beast, leering down from the treetops. He feels like a beast. Sometimes he wonders how he can be anything but.

@Ipomoea




they made you into a weapon
and told you to find peace.

Reply




Played by Offline sid [PM] Posts: 369 — Threads: 61
Signos: 585
Dawn Court Sovereign
Male [He/Him/His] // Immortal [Year 497 Winter] // 16 hh // Hth: 50 — Atk: 50 — Exp: 93 // Active Magic: Nature Spirit // Bonded: Rhoeas (Criost Deer)
#3




aware, aware you stalk your prey
with criminal mentality



For a while he walks alone, and if it weren’t for the stillness of the forest it may have been like any other walk in the woods. If it weren’t for the clouds turning his own mood gray, he might have been able to pretend that the silence was easy, companionable. That there wasn’t another kind of storm brewing, both between the trees and somewhere between his heartbeats.

The roar of thunder in the distance is getting louder, and closer; every time Ipomoea lifts his head towards the sky he expects to see it weeping, expects to feel the raindrops falling like ice against his face and back. He used to wish for rain to water the earth, to make the forget-me-nots and the primroses unfurl their petals with a sigh. Now it seems more like an omen, every cloud, every flash of lightning a premonition; it sends a tremble down the back of his spine, one that has nothing to do with fear and everything to do with anticipation. Somewhere a part of him is still telling him to be brave each time his wings flutter; and it only makes his heart beat faster as if to say I already am.

He’s following a set of hoof prints leading through the forest when he hears the pegasus. He glances up only when the shadow falls across his path, a darkness deeper than anything he might find in the woods.

”Find anything?”

He watches the electricity rumble across Andras’ skin, feels the flash of heat through the space that separates them. Andras hangs like judgement in the sky, and not for the first time Ipomoea wonders if anyone had ever looked at himself and seen something like reckoning written across his skin.

He doesn’t say anything.

Ipomoea only steps to the side, so that Andras, too, might see the hoof prints he has been walking beside. And he doesn’t have to explain what the bright red shining from the middle of every few means.

The sight of it, bared to what little light makes its way through the canopy, oil-slick against the forest soil, makes his own stomach begin to churn. So he watches Andras instead, wondering what sort of rage he might see there.

“It’s not old,” he says. His voice is far too quiet, far too hollow to belong to the Ipomoea of old; but there are only gods and monsters in Viride today, and even he isn’t sure which one he would rather be.



@Andras
"Speaking."






Reply




Played by Offline Cannon [PM] Posts: 85 — Threads: 15
Signos: 25
Dawn Court Warden
Male [He/Him/His] // 5 [Year 500 Fall] // 14 hh // Hth: 10 — Atk: 10 — Exp: 13 // Active Magic: Arc Flash // Bonded: N/A
#4



Far away the water drip, drip, drips from the fat black clouds and Andras hears its voice deep in him, booming. Inside he is booming, too, the kind of voice that aches out of him like a wobbling guitar string and sinks down the old tree to the forest floor where Ipomoea stands, saying nothing, just tipping back his head to squint into the treetops, smeared in forks of blue light.

Andras wonders if anyone sees him and thinks of a beacon. Andras wonders if anyone sees him and thinks anything of him at all.

The Warden tips his own head down and his body chases it, dark wings unfolding to float him toward the base of the old, creaking tree, where everything is sharp: the petrichor, the low branches, the old ferns, the lines of the king's face. Andras knows if he touched that frown he would bleed himself out.

(Andras wonders what Ipomoea looks like, wrapped in rage. He thinks this is close.  He knows this is not close enough.)

Ipomoea steps to the side and Andras sees the tracks, deep-set and clean. The clay is wet and soft from the spring melt and the curve of each print is black against the red-brown of the wet, dead leaves that surround them.

Tracks, Andras thinks. Always tracks. Tracks in the woods steeped in blood and the stench of money. He doesn't smile--and they, two boys in the woods with matching, grim frowns--look more alike than I think either would like to admit. The Warden looks up at his king and sizzles as an arc of electricity tiptoes from his brow to the base of his neck.

"No, it doesn't look that way." he agrees, with a sort of measured stillness that is uncharacteristic. His eyes linger for a second longer, just long enough to ask--something, though he isn't sure what, before Andras folds his wings over his back and ducks into the overgrowth, following the trail.

He has seen gods. He has seen monsters. He does not want either.
let this whole town hear your knuckles crack





they made you into a weapon
and told you to find peace.

Reply




Played by Offline sid [PM] Posts: 369 — Threads: 61
Signos: 585
Dawn Court Sovereign
Male [He/Him/His] // Immortal [Year 497 Winter] // 16 hh // Hth: 50 — Atk: 50 — Exp: 93 // Active Magic: Nature Spirit // Bonded: Rhoeas (Criost Deer)
#5




aware, aware you stalk your prey
with criminal mentality



The entire forest seems to tremble, each time the distant clouds crash with thunder, and the electricity flashes across both the sky and the Warden’s skin. Andras is like the storm, he thinks; and for just a minute Ipomoea lets himself resent him for that.

The trees are whispering to each other as their branches shake, and once he would have shaken alongside them. But today he only stands, and he stares, and even when his heart is racing he does not flinch, or quiver, or look away from all the ugly parts of the forest. And only now that there was a reason to feel afraid, and when he thinks the forest would not save him if a monster were to try to cut out his heart, only now has he outgrow his fear of the dark. And he doesn’t do anything but wonder how many trees he uproot before all the beasts of the woods were exposed.

Today he doesn’t feel much like a king. Kings shouldn’t be allowed to be so angry, or so helpless; all this rage, and he is not strong enough to wield it.

Maybe that’s why he left his crown of flowers on the path here, lisianthus and buttercups and yarrow and dahlias left in a scattered trail behind him, picked and tossed one by one. Now the wind blows them apart, and the rain begins to wash them further away, and a bramblebear tramples them under foot.

The wind from Andras’ wings sweeps over him, but it is not strong enough to blow him away, as much as he wishes it might have. So Ipomoea only turns and, with his heart beating out a song of rage inside of him, follows the pegasus deeper into the forest. He can fit his entire hoof within the tracks; and so he lengthens his stride and tries to think of what it feels like to be a murderer. And he wonders what the poacher would have been thinking, when he walked this same forest path (because the tracks made it obvious: he did not run from the storm or from his pursuer; he walked. And that makes it all the worse.)

”Andras,” he breaks the silence, but he does not lift his eyes from the ground, not even when the first drop of rain falls like an omen against his back. He swallows, the air tasting like iron and rotten things. ”Why do you think it’s taken so long?”

He dares a quick glance, but only one, at those blue-gray eyes that look so much like another storm cloud. And while his mind is racing, and the leaves are screaming out a thousand reasons, he does not voice his own thoughts, not yet. Because his own suspicions make him feel like he’s gone mad, or desperate, or both.





@Andras
"Speaking."






Reply




Played by Offline Cannon [PM] Posts: 85 — Threads: 15
Signos: 25
Dawn Court Warden
Male [He/Him/His] // 5 [Year 500 Fall] // 14 hh // Hth: 10 — Atk: 10 — Exp: 13 // Active Magic: Arc Flash // Bonded: N/A
#6



His king asks him why? and though he has asked, late at night, bruised by his magic and smothered by a body-wide ache, he does not know the answer.

Ipomoea tracks step by step, the curved edge of each hoof nestled up to the rim of every deep-set print. Andras is so tired of the fear and the loathing that he pretends not to see the red flash of the king's eyes when he speaks, or the strange hunch of his shoulders, or the stiff line of his back. Everyone is afraid. Everyone is tired, and angry, and hurt. Andras clenches his teeth like it will keep him alive, like he has a white-knuckled grip on a cliff's edge with nothing but blood and dark water below.

It feels strangely like flying. It shouldn't. But it does.
His king asks him, why? and Andras looks sideways through the rain that drums its fingers on his back. Without the shield of his lenses he worries Ipomoea will see all that raw anger and fear and and the bone-deep sting of exhaustion on Andras' face as plainly as it is written on his.

And that unnerves him.
He isn't sure why.

Andras looks ahead, and down, following the king's feathered heels through the mud and brush. "I don't know, incompetence?" he suggests, unfolding his wings just to fold them again, laying each in a neat tuck over his back. His king asks him why and Andras hears his heart skip, hears for the first time the way the rain had grown quiet like it was waiting for an answer, hears each tree hold its breath. 

He looks, sideways again, at the king and his tracks and he does not pause to worry about all the ragged parts of him that it shows. "But that's not your opinion, apparently."

The trees are still holding their breath. The storm-rumble is closer than ever, shaking the canopy with its voice. Suddenly Andras knows this storm like he knows his own name. Suddenly he knows the tense flash of Po's eye, the worn lines of his face. "I guess there... isn't a reason." He shuffles his wings again. They throw sparks when they touch. The thing is unthinkable. Impossible. He is buzzing so loud he feels it. Incompetence isn't the answer. They have been walking for months, tramping through tall green fern and thick blackberry bushes, from one dark corner of Viride to the next. If it were just them--and it isn't--that alone should count for something, shouldn't it?

There should be more than tracks, more than the smell of rain and blood and rot.  
"Maybe--" but, no. Unthinkable. Impossible. Or maybe he wants it to be.
let this whole town hear your knuckles crack

@Ipomoea




they made you into a weapon
and told you to find peace.

Reply




Played by Offline sid [PM] Posts: 369 — Threads: 61
Signos: 585
Dawn Court Sovereign
Male [He/Him/His] // Immortal [Year 497 Winter] // 16 hh // Hth: 50 — Atk: 50 — Exp: 93 // Active Magic: Nature Spirit // Bonded: Rhoeas (Criost Deer)
#7




aware, aware you stalk your prey
with criminal mentality



The rain is slanting sideways against his face when he looks up, its raindrops small and sharp and cold. Not for the first time, he wonders if the fire of his blood, of his anger, will be enough to keep the frost away.

And if it isn’t, would the forest at least shelter his body?

Despite the rain running in rivulets down his brow, he lifts his eyes enough to look at his Warden. Ipomoea doesn’t have to wonder if it’s only the storm cloud-darkness or the electric brightness that makes the edges of his jaw look so sharp. He knows it’s neither. He knows it’s the anger, and the worry, and the bone-deep ache that has eaten away at Andras from the inside-out. He knows it because he feels it, too. Their necks carry the same curve, like the spine of a bow stretched back so tightly it almost snaps.

There’s only a little bit of peace in knowing that today they are but two sides of the same coin, that today with the storm turning the two of them the same shade of grey, it is only their wings that set them apart. His own tremble now, wrapping themselves tightly about his fetlocks. And despite the cold creeping down the sovereign’s spine, despite the pounding of his heart that sounds more and more like a wardrum with each passing day, Ipomoea almost smiles.

He says nothing at first, as Andras begins to speak. But the words are there in the way he purses his lips, in the way his hooves sink like stones into the sodden earth. He disagrees with every step, every breath - because how could it be an accident? he wants to scream. How could this be so random as chance when it’s all so clearly planned? - but he says none of this.

Ipomoea only casts his eyes sharply back at the pegasus when his voice trails off, and leaves a thousand other things left unsaid. His own imagination fills in the blanks.

"Maybe…" he echoes, as the sky and earth rumble.

But he isn’t patient enough to hold back his questions.

"How is Emersyn doing?" he watches Andras’ face, waits for his reaction. "I know you two have spent time together in the library, going over the maps."



The rain is ruining the tracks, so he slows. His steps move him slowly closer, inch by inch, to Andras.

"Is she -" for a moment he struggles to find the right words, to voice his suspicions without making it sound like he had no choice but to turn on his own people now. "- doing alright, with all of this?” It’s the last thing he wants to think, or so he tells himself.

But the brightness of her eyes is as clear as the lightning streaks flashing behind his eyes, the excitement in her voice as she drew another bloody X on the map echoing again and again in his ears.





@Andras
"Speaking."






Reply




Played by Offline Cannon [PM] Posts: 85 — Threads: 15
Signos: 25
Dawn Court Warden
Male [He/Him/His] // 5 [Year 500 Fall] // 14 hh // Hth: 10 — Atk: 10 — Exp: 13 // Active Magic: Arc Flash // Bonded: N/A
#8



--Unthinkable. Impossible.
But he knows it when the king turns his head. Knows it when it lands like a spear in his chest and Andras has to gulp stormwind to keep from suffocating. Maybe, he echoes, a sound punctuated by the nearing crack of thunder, the percussive slap of raindrops on their backs and their heads and and their forest.

Po asks how is Emersyn? and stares at him the way Andras stares: searching, for something. And it is never something good.

The rain is falling in fast, heavy drops now that the storm has rolled into Delumine. Andras stares at Ipomeoa with incredulity-- at first he is mad, an anger that bursts red behind his eyes, anger that swells in his chest and comes out as lightning when he breathes. "You're kidding." says the warden, as his forelock stick to his face-- but Andras looks at him, a man haunted, a man that is tired and angry and filled with the same bone-deep ache, and he knows.

"...You're not kidding." It sounds loud when he says it, like the storm takes his voice and rumbles along. "She seems fine." He looks to his king like a question, but he knows the answer. It doesn't quite hit him the way it should, more of a dull knocking on Andras' walls. Shock? he wonders. Andras looks at himself and Ipomoea and sees their baggy eyes, sees the dull coats, and look of almost suffocating frustration. Andras thinks of Emersyn-- poised, serious, patient. She seems fine.

And that's the problem, isn't it?
"What are you going to do?"
let this whole town hear your knuckles crack
@Ipomoea




they made you into a weapon
and told you to find peace.

Reply




Played by Offline sid [PM] Posts: 369 — Threads: 61
Signos: 585
Dawn Court Sovereign
Male [He/Him/His] // Immortal [Year 497 Winter] // 16 hh // Hth: 50 — Atk: 50 — Exp: 93 // Active Magic: Nature Spirit // Bonded: Rhoeas (Criost Deer)
#9




aware, aware you stalk your prey
with criminal mentality



Oh, how he wishes his own anger could manifest as lightning and thunder wrapped around his body, so that his looks might match the storm inside of him at last. Maybe if he could let it out with a rumble and a bang, with a flash of lightning echoing across his face, maybe then he wouldn’t feel as though he were drowning in the flood waters he struggles now to hold back.

Instead, all he has are the beginnings of wildflowers fighting to bloom in his hoof prints. Wildflowers that are washed away by the wind and rain before their petals get even a chance to unfurl.

He meets Andras’ gaze evenly, waiting for the flurry of emotions to slow their race through his eyes. Raindrops roll down his face like tears, but Ipomoea makes no move to wipe them away. The storm was crying for him, letting lose all the tears that he refused to show.

“I’m not,” he confirms, surprisingly even himself with the calmness of his voice. Because inside, Ipomoea is falling apart. Piece by piece the wind is tearing him open, exposing bones, and roots, and all the things he would rather keep hidden, all the parts of him that belong more to the harshness of the desert than to the beauty of Delumine. He can feel the flood waters inside of him beginning to rage, consuming him, drowning him, stripping him down to the darkest parts of himself until all he can do is lay down beneath the torrent of his rage. And even then, it’s not enough; even then the waters continue to rise. It’s only a matter of time before the dam inside of him breaks beneath it.

There’s a part of him that knows it’s not true anger cresting the waves, but only the grief he has disguised as anger. But caught in the riptide of his emotions, there is no line drawn where the sadness ends and his outrage begins. They have only ever looked and felt the same.

Because Emersyn is fine.

And Ipomoea is not. Andras is not. All of Delumine is worn down to their bones except for its emissary. And Ipomoea, hurt, resentful, betrayed Ipomoea, does not understand it. Nor can he forgive her for it.

What will you do? the pegasus asks him. And Ipomoea can only say -

“I don’t know.”

Another crack of lightning illuminates Viride, the strike lingering dangerously close to the two stallions. And this time, Ipomoea trembles with the earth.





@Andras
"Speaking."






Reply




Played by Offline Cannon [PM] Posts: 85 — Threads: 15
Signos: 25
Dawn Court Warden
Male [He/Him/His] // 5 [Year 500 Fall] // 14 hh // Hth: 10 — Atk: 10 — Exp: 13 // Active Magic: Arc Flash // Bonded: N/A
#10



He's watching his king fall to pieces--in a surprisingly subtle way, helped along by the fact that Andras is seeing just red, and black, and electric blue. He's watching his king fall apart but he doesn't know it, cant quite see the sad slope of his shoulders or the cruel merging of fear and anger and bottomless grief. Maybe that's for the best.

Because Andras is only anger, once the shock gives way. He turns from the cold shine of black steel to a furnace belching smoke and lightning, a mechanical whine rising higher and higher over the oncoming roll of thunder. Maybe it should worry him that he doesn't question. Maybe it should worry him that Ipomoea lays down in the floodwater but Andras dives in headfirst. Maybe it should worry him that for just a second he is as loud as the storm overhead, rumbling and rumbling and rumbling.

But he would never have done a thing different. Andras would never have made a move if it were not to look Ipomoea in the eyes and believe him. He would have led himself to the guillotine, if Po had asked.

Such is the way of dogs. Slobbering, savagery, gnashing teeth-- and obedience.

"You should decide." he suggests, or begs, or howls. Rain is falling in sheets now, soaking into the skin and sliding in fat drops off the watertight cup of his wings. When he looks down at the tracks, their clumped ridges softening, their grooves filling with muddy water, it looks more like a road than a deer track. Suddenly his magic is hungry, and wild, and though he is hot, hot, hot he is just lucid enough to know that's a tragedy waiting to happen.

You should decide, he had told the king. Andras' eyes lift from the ground to Ipomoea's face, again. His own is as dark as the dead of winter, and sharp like the blade of a knife. You should decide. "Because I know what I'd do."

Because he knows what he'd do. Blood, and thunder, and delicious catharsis.
Andras is silent for a long moment, trying to break the surface of all his magic and rage. "As your Warden," he asks, trying not to sound like he's choking, though he is--"what would you have of me?"

He hopes, he hopes, he hopes--
let this whole town hear your knuckles crack
@Ipomoea




they made you into a weapon
and told you to find peace.

Reply




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