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Morrighan
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#1

some women fear the fire
some simply become it

If it hadn't been for Maeve's big adorable puppy dog eyes, Morrighan wouldn't have set even one foot onto the island. Especially if she had known what kind of dark magic had overcome it. The last time she had been here, it had been a forest of grass with reverse magic. She figured it would be great for Maeve since there would be no way her fire could come through and scare the girl. Plus, the way it seemed like a jungle would have made Maeve's jaw drop.

But no, instead it's like a monster took hold of the lands and vomited up a bunch of bones and guts.

By the time they had realized just how dangerous it had become, they became separated. Morrighan has been wandering in a panic trying to find her, calling for her every so often, but so far she's had no luck. Thankfully, it seems her fire does work here, but as much as she wants to set the entire place in a blaze, she knows that will only drive Maeve farther away.

The Regent feels guilty for bringing her daughter here and if anything happens to her, she will never forgive herself. She will also fight to avenge whoever dared to touch Maeve and won't rest until they're dead. As much as she likes a good fight, she truly hopes it won't have to get to that point and the girl is just lost. She's likely just hiding somewhere and trying to block out all the horrible, terrifying images of this place. The trauma she must be going through...

Morr has been wandering the streets of these strange markets for a few minutes now. It seems like an abandoned city, only the merchants left all their wares out for the taking. Part of her wants to take a closer look and steal a weapon or two, but the more logical part of her is saying it's a trap. What better way to get to your victims by luring them in with shiny things? She prays to Caligo that Maeve didn't fall into such a trap.

She feels her frustration boiling over and launches a fire ball at one of the shop doors. It doesn't erupt into flames as lovely as she was hoping, but it still does a good amount of damage. She wants to scream until her lungs give out.

Morr stops at a shop with witch balls hanging in front of the windows. They're made of glass in varying colors and the twine is wrapped around them in intricate patterns. Somehow, the glass reflects the strange lighting back at her and she can't decide if it's beautiful or menacing. Then she notices a shape move in the reflection and she whirls around to see someone she recognizes.

There were a good number of horses she would've much rather seen than Thana. Maeve, obviously was one, but she would've even rather seen Moira than this weird creature that calls themselves a horse.

"You again?!" she calls out as the mare approaches. The last time they had met, Morr asked if she lived on the island and she can't recall if she got a straight response. Either way, it can't be a coincidence that they're meeting again. "I find it a little suspicious that I'm running into you here again." Her patience is wearing thin, definitely too thin to be dealing with this woman.

Morrighan shakes her head, trying desperately not to throw more fireballs in the air. "Whatever, I have more important things to deal with. Have you seen a girl? And don't try anything, I'm not in the mood," she warns, unsure if she should expect much help from her anyway. Unfortunately, Thana is the only other horse she's met here so far and the only possible hope she has.

"Speaking."


@Thana









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Thana
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#2


There are a million confessions lingering in the belly of the cave. Each is tucked away in the bones of the shops with their gaping jaw-doors and their windows glittering like eyes in the face of a corpse. Thana can read them all. To her they whisper of suffering, and of dead wishes in fire bellies gone cold, and about monsters who wear upon their brows the false forest crowns of behemoths.

She walks with certainty through the whispering jaw-doors and the stones that tremble beneath her hooves like insects instead of stones. Magic follows in her shadow and each stone flips belly up like a dead fish flopping in want of air as she passes over them. And her eyes do not look down to linger on the belly-up things or on the shop wailing for salvation somewhere past her shoulder.

The only place she looks is ahead, towards the castle, where she can feel the city begging her for something her magic understands more than she does.

Perhaps it is why her eyes pass over Morrigan at first as nothing more than another sort of secret waiting to be unmade with shining eyes and door-gaping jaws. Her stride does not pause, or linger, or do more than fall heavy as the eyelids in the cavern crown, when the mare bellows toward her. And when she turns her head, slowly (so slowly that she must be unnatural), she almost regrets that it is to the mare with her empty threats and a heart roaring in her painted chest.

Thana smiles at the sound of her brashness as much as her magic starts to froth with hungry spit at the lingering scent of soot. Light gathers in her horn when she tilts her head like a hawk instead of a unicorn. Behind them every string holding the glass orbs in the window frays and turns to dust. The wailing store stutters at the sound of them falling (and maybe at the glimmering that shifts over Thana’s eyes when she looks at the shards of glass that have fallen point up).

Once more her stride does not falter as she moves past the mare, because to stop here in the city with her spitting magic frothing in her belly means death. “You are still hunted instead of hunter if you cannot find a mere girl.” The walls echo her voice back to the raging mare as if each syllable and sound of it is too heavy to hold between all the sorrowful wood and bones. Thana smiles as a monster in winter does at the echoing chime.

She smiles and does not look back at those gleaming glass shards across the jaw-door. Her hooves continue to fall like distant thunder, distant war on a horizon mere horses do not know the name of.

Thana does not stop because the demands of the hunted are nothing more than whippoorwills in the dark ferociousness of her storm.




"Death hath no dominion"




@Morrighan









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Morrighan
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#3

some women fear the fire
some simply become it

Just as Morrighan told Thana not to try anything, she does anyway. She can tell by the way she tilts her head and her horn glows. When she follows the woman's gaze, all the witch balls come down in one loud crash within seconds. Morr steps away from the mess and looks back at Thana with narrowed eyes.

"Well that was unnecessary," she says dryly and rolls her eyes. She really didn't have the time for this bullshit. Her patience only gets thinner when Thana makes her remark and avoids giving any helpful information. They both have their magic here clearly, so maybe it's time that she show what she's really capable of.

When the unicorn starts walking away, Morr follows. She's not letting her get away that easily. "You didn't answer my question. Have you seen a girl? Small, looks like me?" Her tone is more demanding than inquisitive, but it's mostly to hide the desperation she feels deep down too. She just wants to find her daughter already so she can get the hell out of here.

Of course, there's always the chance too that Thana is hiding something and that's why she doesn't feel like talking. "Or are you the one keeping her from me?" Morr's eyes narrow and she moves so she's in front of the woman now. She attempts to block her path and then conjures fire at her feet at last. Slowly, it grows larger but stays along her body for now. It starts to wrap around her legs like vines and the fiery tendrils almost seem to reach out to consume the air between the mares.

As if on cue, Bram returns from his own search to join Morrighan by her side (at a safe distance, of course, he doesn't feel like being barbequed today). He's not exactly sure what's going on, but watches the unicorn closely. Naturally, he's suspicious of anyone that his companion doesn't trust.

"Speaking."


@Thana









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Thana
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#4


Thana, who is always on the noose curl of being monster or blackness, needs so little to set her to swinging. Sometimes it takes no more than a tendril of smoke slipping down her throat like fermented fruit. Sometimes it takes more than that: a warcry, a gaze that settles too long upon her own, a whisper of wolf tongue and tooth upon the air.

And sometimes Thana just wants to swing, and swing, and swing.

She’s swinging now when Morrighan gathers her own pyre against her skin and lifts her gaze to Thana as if she’s not the Eldritch horror in the wolf pack. Her hooves are hanging over the blackness at the bottom of the noose and she tucks her knees to her chest in preparation for the leap into the darkness (she does not fall, she never falls).

“What need do I have of girls, mare?” Thana leaps with a smile until it’s blackness and smoke pouring in through the cracks of her snarling teeth. Her tailblade comes to rest beside her shoulder and the sickle curl of it shines like the eyes of a predator in the moonlight. A crow cries somewhere in the darkness of her magic and a dragon answers back in a trill muted by the sickness in his throat. And it’s not a unicorn, or a regent, or a thing made that steps closer towards the mare and all her holy, righteous fire.

It’s a monster of the Rift, an eye come down from the stone ceiling, a horror unfurled from the belly of a unicorn, that steps close enough to feel her hair singe in the heat. The horror wants to laugh, the eye wants to rupture, and the monster wants to lay her teeth against a throat of fire until she transforms to dragon.

“You are mistaken if you think the agony of burning will keep your heart free from the tip of my horn.” In the monster’s mouth her teeth spit and froth disease with each syllable of language. She inhales the smoke and embers moving about her head like flies. With a sigh they go down smooth as glass shards

Eligos, just Eligos, steps out from the shadows and lays his eyes upon the wolf. The dust at his feet trembles and becomes a pack of hounds with seven eyes and seven mouths upon each of their heads. He is no forest creature trained to come at a call of smoke. He is no tame thing at all.

The horror inhales again and when she speaks again it’s with smoke spiraling outward from her teeth. “And if you do not move I will not relent until you are dead or we are dead.” With a smile she waits, because this game is one she knows well. Eligos steps closer to the wolf and his pack of hounds with seven eyes, and seven mouths, on their seven heads spit dust to the ground when snarl.

They have played this game many, many times. And they never lost and never relented.




"Death hath no dominion"




@Morrighan









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Morrighan
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#5

some women fear the fire
some simply become it

It should've been the smell of death from the mare that stopped Morrighan from testing her further. It should've been just the look of this place that told her not to test anyone or anything lest she get eaten alive. It should've been the crazed look in Thana's eyes as she got closer, no longer a horse but a monster, that told her to run.

But no, Morrighan is too stubborn for that.

She thinks back to the island from before and how her magic had been reversed. Instead of fire at her feet, it had been water. For Thana, she had conjured flowers along the ground. Here, it's clear what her true magic is and it's only fitting for the way the island is now. Maybe she's claimed she doesn't live here, but she seems to be in her natural state here. It's almost as if she created this new island or perhaps it created her.

The Regent is afraid, but she does not show it. Truly, she doesn't know if Thana has Maeve or why she would want her. However, as a creature of death, it would make sense that she'd want to consume everything in her path and spit out its bones. Morrighan wants to prove herself this time since she couldn't the first time. She didn't have her fire or Bram then, but she does now.

"I'm not afraid of your ugly horn," she spits the lie while the unicorn in front of her is frothing like a rabid beast. In a way, Morr is hungry for something too- the thrill of battle and her fire destroying as much as it can in its path. She looks Thana straight in her eyes as if to say "try me, bitch".

But she didn't need to say anything to initiate the challenge. The unicorn's bonded creature is by her side, but suddenly he is not the only one. A pack of hounds unlike any she's ever seen before appear out of dust and shadows. Beside Morrighan, Bram tenses and looks up at her with concern in his eyes.

Well, shit.

Still, she doesn't feel like there's any turning back now as it would surely show her weakness. If Maeve is truly in danger, she needed to try and save her and she couldn't let this woman scare her away from that. Even if she was once again badly outnumbered. Bram is also pissed at Morr for making him go through with this, but he will (reluctantly).

There is no response out of the Regent when she aims a fireball towards the pack of hounds while Bram is running towards them. He lunges at one, aiming for its neck to try and bring it to the ground. Then she charges towards Thana, fury flaring in her two-colored eyes. She aims her fire at the woman's face in an attempt to blind her so that she might be able to get a kick or bite in from the side.

Besides the adrenaline, all she can think about is Maeve and it's what fuels her in battle now. If she fails, she hopes she won't fail Maeve too.

"Speaking."


@Thana









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Thana
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#6


Tame things, even tame things with magic in their blood, will always fight as things born to be mere shards of an army fight. There is discord in their very creation, cells dividing over and over again as they collide and race towards death. Even the songs of their hearts, stumbling in their chests with love, and fear, and a hundred other emotions she can only name a few of, are made to be fleeting as their bones.

Immortality, and magic, cannot take the tameness from them.

But Thana can, and will, and she is made to rejoice in the devouring of it.

The death in her marrow, the magic created to devour the things that bend to law and crown, is rejoicing now. She had expected the mare to move, to step aside as a fawn steps into the forest at the first rumble of the thunder. And the mare, this mockery of a savage thing, is a frail fawn in the reflection of all the true savagery of death, of Thana. .

Eligos does not waiver from his path towards the wolf’s throat as fire returns his pack to dust that waters the stone with hate enough to raise another army (soon, soon, soon). His own tail is singed in the fire-ball, but he (with one lone seven-eyed creature at his side) does not pause to lament the loss of fur and scale. The wrath in his blood, his hunger that is gaping and hollow enough to devour almost as much as Thana, is too furious and molten to stop now.

He is too impatient to even snarl as he leaps for the jugular of the wolf. His mouth waters for the forests and mountains that surely live in the flavor of the wolf. For too long he has satiated himself on stags, and rabbits, and foxes. It ends, he thinks in images as all monsters do (a rib cage open to catch the moonlight, a tongue lolling on a emerald carpet in the center of the city), now.

And Thana answers him with images, for she too thinks as monsters do: a necklace running down the star-blood river like a log caught in a current, a spine hung from a lamp-post like a garland of beads and holly berries, a knee glimmering in the eye-light like a fat ruby.

All those thoughts, all those images, push her through the sting of fire as it runs along her shoulder blade when she dodges. The smoke of her singed skin spirals into her nose, her lungs, and it is nothing more than another reason to feast, another drop of hunger in the abyss of her. Thana snarls where Eligos does not. She dissolves down, down, down, into a tangle of rotten magic, and flesh made, and blood black and thick as oil.

And then, like a star dying, Thana implodes not into light but into a violence so terrible that to call it violence is to call a garnet a river-stone.

She does not try to bite, and kick, but to devour. Her teeth do not try to wound but to tear asunder. Thana does not care for victory. All she wants is the unmaking of the fire, of the cells colliding inside Morrighan that make her a thing too tame to survive. The skin on her shoulder aches in a way that screams instead of bellows and Thana wants to cool it in blood instead of water.

And so, as a true savage thing does, Thana settles down into the agony of the unmaking of a mare with a determination that would make any shard of an army weep to behold it.





"Death hath no dominion"




@Morrighan









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Morrighan
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#7

some women fear the fire
some simply become it

This is not a horse. Morrighan isn't even sure if Thana is a real being. She is a creature of horror and dead things who thirsts for blood and chaos. She knows only this darkness and it's not too long after that the Regent realizes how much of a mistake she's made.

All she can feel is the pain shooting up her legs, or maybe it's her shoulder. The woman's bite feels worse than anything she's felt before. It feels like she's taken all the blood and replaced it with fire and now Morrighan is burning from the inside. She's losing focus.

There is the smell of singed fur and skin. She can hear Bram yelp as Thana's creature grabs hold of him. He is scrabbling to break free, if anything just to be able to breathe right again. For a moment, Morrighan is caught frozen in Thana's grip and it feels like this is it. This is what it's like to die and have your soul sucked out of you. There is no beautiful light shining down for you to walk through and it feels the most alone than she's ever been.

She thinks of Maeve.

Using what little strength she has left, Morr kicks Thana away to be free of her grip. "Enough," she demands, only there is no confidence here. This had been (or really, she is) a complete and utter failure. Once again, she is not able to beat this woman at her games.

Bram is barely able to get free, but finally manages to. There is blood dripping down his body, matching just how battered Morrighan is herself. As much as she hates to do this, it's for their own good. She's not ready to die today.

There are many things she wants to say, or to scream, but she doesn't. She pushes Bram away from whatever Thana's creature is so they can get the hell out of here.

And she doesn't look back.

"Speaking."


@Thana welp, Morr hates herself now but she's out









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Thana
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#8


All it takes is a taste, a single drop of life and fire mixed, for the cavern to become a graveyard in her mind. Gone is the impression of stores around them, where they lingered out the outskirts of Thana’s thoughts. The screaming in the distance is nothing more than some horrendous hound baying in the center of the city. The weeping and wailing becomes laments for all the things she’ll never allow Morrighan to be again.

Enough, the mare says when Thana tries to dig her bones free from the jail of her painted skin.

Thana does not answer because her mouth is too full of blood and fire to shape any sound but hunger. But every black drop of her magic says, in a sonnet racing through her bones, nothing will ever be enough. And it will not.

Perhaps she is too lost to the hunger to feel the push of the mare as she shakes free from the imploding violence of a star. Perhaps she is too lost in that taste of gore to hear the snarl of Eligos as he makes to follow the wolf when she free. In her blood her magic, her wrath, bellows and brays and begs her to ignore the feel of char crusting her mangled skin.

And at first Thana’s heart leaps in her chest with the desperate urge to follow the mare to the ends of this earth if she means finishing the war she did not start (and she will not end it but consume it). Eligos presses his nose to the burns on her shoulder, hard enough that a unicorn who is not Thana might have sobbed. In his mouth, when he snarls, she can taste the echo of blood and forest in the air.

Morrighan and her wolf can run, and careen through the city like slivers of wind until they find the child they lost. They can run, and run, and run, until the horizon swallows them up and spits out birds to soar further away than that.

Thana follows them as they head towards the center of the city. The tail of blood rots and turns to black mold when her shadows falls across it. And Thana does not run, does not need to run, for it seems every eye in the city that sits outside a skull walks with her.

Running will not save them now-- nothing will.




"Death hath no dominion"




@Morrighan










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