Fimbulvetr

Ren

Character OTS

OTS 1
OTS 2

Björn & Lirr

Couple OTS


Open Ready for that morning light

#1

The flames roared, louder than seemed possible or necessary. Burying the pounding hoofbeats, but not the screams or the high-pitched, terrified keening. The heat was like a physical thing weighing him down. It pushed him back, prodding his eyes and nose and ears. He couldn’t wade through it, couldn’t see through it, and all he could smell was ash and hair and the awful, sweet aroma of burning flesh. He felt he was being pulled away from himself. The sensations were just as real and unsurmountable but they were also somehow less real. Happening to someone else, somewhere else, imagined, impossible.

He couldn’t go through so he tried to go around, sprinting along the fire’s edge, jumping blindly over debris and failing to dodge the whip like plumes that reached from the inferno. He ran for hours, until the sun had risen, until his lungs burned as much as his skin, until he found the edge of the blaze. Then he rounded it, and sprinted again. Sprinted back on the other side of the wall. Saved the shattering of an ankle by sheer luck or else some unseen divine intervention. The landscape was unrecognizable; the trees were ominous black posts, ash covering the ground in drifts, and hanging in the air like snow, filtering sunlight. He spent the next two days searching; pausing neither to eat (there was nothing still alive to eat, anyway), nor to drink; the water in the streams ran black and gray, as though it too was mourning the land it had passed through. Two days trying to recognize landmarks that were gone, or blackened and buried in ash. Two days of painful, jolting recognition of people he had known, cared for, led, or defended. Two days of numb, grim, determination until he found what he had been searching for but hoping not to find. Every minute of the days had been like a sliver of reprieve.
They’re not here, they got away, they’re not here, they got away. It was like a mantra, and it was the only thought he had for two days. When the mantra stopped the silence was more deafening than the fire had ever been. More deafening than anything he had ever heard.

There was no white left in Sage’s brilliant hide, just blackened leather fused to flesh. The eyelids had burnt away and Sage’s beautiful, warm brown eyes were gone too. And yet, it was her. She was where she should have been. At home, with their children.

---

Ezariel jerked awake, though he barely moved he was immediately at 100% alertness, the relaxed position of his sleep now belying the tension beneath every inch of his skin. His senses took in the surroundings and the quiet of pre-dawn while his mind scrambled to re-establish where he was in time and space and restore the continuum of the internal narrative that structures conscious life. His memory clung to him thickly but indistinctly; covering the present so that he had to drag it back to the forefront of his mind. Like a dream, though, it faded from attention before he could examine it – leaving only the impression and the mood - the smell of wood smoke and the familiar agony.

He let out a slow breath as he recognized the landscape and the events of the last few days fell back into place to explain where and why he was at this moment. He turned automatically to locate Alayaya, who slept on unconcerned, barely a body length away. Ezariel stretched, trying to release those suddenly tensed muscles, but, wide awake, he knew there was no relaxing back into sleep now. He let his gaze hang on Alayaya. There is a certain serenity in watching a child at rest, brought on by the revelation of their fragile innocence in contrast to their waking chaos. During the day Alayaya shone so brightly; in personality even more than in colour, that it was hard to rest your full attention on her for long. It was also easy to forget how small she was, how fragile.

The sky was deepest dark, there would be a few hours until the sun challenged the horizon. There were no stars. Yesterday had been overcast and that veil remained drawn over the night sky. The air had a pleasant crisp of fall about it. They had fallen asleep together at the edge of the treeline, and evergreen boughs murmured softly overhead in the faint breeze. The smell of pine and still water seemed like a fresh insult, but he recognized the reverse causation in his countertransference and pushed aside his discomfort. A place was just a place. It could be many things, and represent many more, but he could decide that it was simply a place and put the rest away.

The clouded gray of his iris was like smoke against clear glass, constant but ever shifting, unpredictable but contained. The bay stallion considered the sleeping filly for a moment, checking in with his senses, with their surroundings. After a moment he slipped away, moved a dozen feet beyond the trees toward the water. He lets his feet sink into the dampened earth. The mud pulls him downward, a welcome grounding in their new reality, a mild discomfort which was almost soothing in place of troubled sleep. He turned his gaze out over the lake, toward the opposite bank, though it was distracted before it reached the shore, caught somewhere in the middle distance between present and past.  



E Z A R I E L - ready for the morning light

power-play allowed, with all reasonableness
Tag: @[Ezariel]

#2
Lumina
Lumina’s pupil-less, celadon eyes stared across the lake, taking in everything and nothing all in the same. The night sky caused no reflections in the clear lake – it seemed more like a bottomless pit of darkness in the early-morning hours. As her vision clung to the hollowness of the lake, her mind began to stir as memories that had settled were agitated and resurfaced. She remembered her father and his words to her long ago – “go and make your life your own.” But as she considered the time she’d spent in life, could she really say she’d even bothered to try? Had she at least attempted to make life her own, or had she sequestered herself away in a hollow, away from anyone who could have helped her start anew? Maras would have been disappointed.

A sigh left her maw as she began to wander around the lake, her lithe legs stretching before her and bringing her dutifully to no place in particular. The evening air was brisk and refreshing, and although she’d had trouble sleeping earlier, she now felt more relaxed and at ease. The darkness made travel more cumbersome than usual, and she stepped carefully to retain her surefooted grasp on the earth below. The terrain undulated wildly, rising and falling even along the lake haphazardly as small streams and waterways forcefully carved their own routes to the lake. After some time, she noticed something moving nearby, and she halted immediately at the sudden change. She’d imagined herself alone in this wilderness, but clearly, that was incorrect. After a few moments, the figure walked closer to her, which she could tell only by small movements until it stopped nearby. It was too dark to discern colors or genders, but the other seemed to be only slightly larger than herself. At first glance, he seemed quite subdued in contrast to her bright hues and unusual accents. Her ears listened to the familiar sound of squishing mud as his hooves squashed against the earth, and despite the darkness, she believed she saw the equine turn and look towards the lake.  

Finding herself in a perceived awkward situation, she decided to speak up and let her presence be known. ”Um… hello there.” She felt as though she was disrupting a personal moment for the other equine, but perhaps they needed the company as much as she did. Even if conversation was unwelcome or unwanted, she often found it nice just to stand in the presence of another in silence and revel in the fact that she was not alone.

Ezariel
Speech."
Tag: @[Lumina]

#3

Ezariel just stopped himself from jumping at the sound of Lumina’s voice. It was a rare night indeed that the bay stallion was so divorced from his surroundings. That he could have been so distracted as to fail to notice Lumina’s movement along the shore in his direction suggested he was not wearing his baggage as well as he had thought he was. Nonetheless, the bay stallion had spent his life corralling and subverting his own instincts and emotions, and he took charge of his surprise. Of course, surprise was called for, and he played it out. His head jerked around toward the noise, and he sucked in a breath of cold, humid air. As he fixed his attention on the form in front of him he let out the breath in a shaky rumble of laughter, it was a warm, inviting sound. He was laughing at his own surprise, and inviting her to share the joke at his expense.

His eyes arrested a striking figure, now that he could see her. Her colouring was a pleasant and distinctive green, accented by the white markings like lightning. Adding to the impression that she had materialized from the night, Lumina appeared to be as much of the darkness as a formed, living thing. The dark in her coat along her back, at her mane and tail, was indistinguishable from the darkness around them without careful focus. It was the brightness of her eyes that made her appear surreal, standing on the beach where, for all he had been aware, she had not existed a moment ago.

“Hello yourself.” He spoke softly; the preceding stillness was still very much apparent, and apart from the gentle lapping of water at the shore there was little ambient noise tonight. Volume was unnecessary for clarity, given the quiet of the world around them. He took a few steps nearer in the wake of his speech, choosing a more comfortable distance for conversation, but respecting a generous distance. He had a practiced ease in social convention. His personality was not loud, but there was a quiet self-reliance that leant a sense of comfortable ease with the unknown. As he reached her he dipped his head in an almost arcanely formal greeting, which he carried with the natural grace of a million previous repetitions.

“I’m sorry; I didn’t see you there – I was in my own world.”

At rest the lines of Ezariel’s face are carefully drawn, but he is not conscious of them. They are neither distancing nor welcoming, settled by patience and natural propensity toward the solemn, but well adapted to the approachable smile he was wearing now. ”I’m surprised to see anyone else awake so late or,” he paused, glancing eastward and amended ”early.” The bay of his hide, plain relative to the mare’s own colouring, was nevertheless deep and warm, picking up its fair share of the darkness in the air. He let his gaze settle lightly on Lumina, picking its way deftly across her features before settling in her own. ”My name is Ezariel.” he offered, the rich baritone betraying no unfamiliarity with the moniker Alayaya had only recently bestowed on him.




E Z A R I E L - ready for the morning light
Lumina - sorry it took so long to get back to you!

power-play allowed, with all reasonableness
Tag: @[Ezariel]

#4
Lumina
Lumina hadn't meant to startle him, and perhaps she didn't even realize that her small figure could be imposing at any hour. However, despite her best efforts to approach him peacefully, he was understandably leery of any figure approaching at such a late hour. When he inhaled sharply, she felt her muscles tense up as her flight reflex triggered, but before she could engage her haunches and move, a gentle chuckle escaped his maw. She relaxed suddenly, letting her own gust of air escape her nostrils in a deep sigh of relief. His rumbling laughter, although quiet and subdued, was a relaxing sound. She laughed along with him; although he had been surprised, she was perhaps more frightened by his reaction than he had been of her in the first place.

"Hello yourself." His voice softly flitted through the air, making the general stillness of the night that much more apparent; Little effort was required for meaningful conversation on an evening like this. A gentle smile came to her features as she processed his words, and she found the 'yourself' that he added to his greeting both unusual and charming. He stepped slightly closer, and although it seemed unnecessary for effective communication between them, she didn't mind the distance he settled into. Despite the darkness, she noticed a familiar gesture of greeting, one she'd seen her father give countless times before. Although not all equines bowed, it seemed to be the polite thing to do in her mind.

She listened intently as he spoke, the look of genuine interest in her eyes contrasting the general lack of emotions in his own, but the lighting was such that she would never have known. "I'm terribly sorry if I frightened you. I wouldn't expect anyone to be awake if I were you, either." She wondered his own reasons for roving through world at this time of night, but she imagined that all insomniacs were spun from a similar thread. This was a time of day reserved for those without a choice, for those who suffered from nightmares and anxious thoughts. Or perhaps he was just an unusually persistent night owl.

"Ezariel? That's a nice name. Mine is Lumina." She gently bowed her head, the dim light reflecting off the streaks of white on her cheeks. When she returned to her upright position, she kept her gaze on his eyes, trying to discern any thoughts that waited within them. "Could you not sleep? I certainly couldn't..." Her words seemed to trail off, a rare note of uncertainty and sorrow flavoring her speech. However, she kept a dim smile on her face, perhaps out of habit more than any other reason.

Speech."

Ezariel
No worries at all! <3
Tag: @[Lumina]

#5

Nothing about Lumina was threatening. Nothing about Lumina was even self-assured, particularly in the dark and unfamiliar moment they were sharing. Lumina, like an alpine meadow-flower, radiated a kind of vulnerability that was dangerous for someone who walked alone at night. They had stood together only moments, but Ezariel could see the timidity and inexperience plainly in the sea-foam frame with its taut nervous lines, and how easily they were smoothed by a friendly smile and a non-threatening posture. The released tension in her laughter added a sharpened pitch to the gentleness of the sound. Underscoring how close to the surface that fight-or-flight feeling really was.

Ezariel had age and (boundless) experience to teach him his limits and his strengths with clear precision. He had little to fear from the darkness, and little more to fear from the living things that walked within it. His momentary surprise, resolved, leaves no evidence of fear in face of the situation. The tools at his disposal had never failed him, and when they did – such things will come to all of us, eventually. Lumina, though, is young. More than young, she is naïve – youth and inexperience together create a purity of spirit that is hard to hide even if she were trying to do so, which she was not. The authenticity, as much as the naivete was instantly endearing, it was the kind of character that would be bound to provoke a protective reaction from many in her future.

“Thank you, Lumina – it seems that we both have had apt namers.” His attention, though not his gaze, swung back to where Alayaya was sleeping in the tree-line. She had christened him with this one – and with several previous monikers – but it felt just as real a name as any other, and was given with as much sincerity of intent.

He watched her attentively, cocking his head slightly at the change in tone as her words drifted off, wondering with a sort of paternal curiosity what could so trouble the sleep of such a one as Lumina. It didn’t seem to be apprehension of the unknown that lingered in her voice there, it didn’t have the same flavor as the fear she had shown a moment ago. Gray eyes searched her pupilless ones as he smiled, letting something of the sadness he had grappled with since waking creep back into his expression. “No, in fact. Someone I lost seems to be keeping me awake tonight.” He paused, and the smile flexed a little more firmly; a reassurance that his melancholy was well in hand. The low baritone was warm as he continued; “At least, in a way, she’s still with me. It’s not the worst reason to be without sleep.” The memories were always more intrusive when there were others around, when there was companionship to remind him about how it had been. They would settle, eventually, which was a melancholy thought on its own.

“I hope there’s nothing too sinister keeping you from sleep tonight?” It was an unassuming invitation, asked as much as a question as it was expressed sincerely in hope - designed to let her keep or share as much as she might need to. Insomniacs have a shared experience, the intrusion of the unfinished aspects of life into what should be rest. Restless, unfinished, it keeps them awake alone or together. But it can rarely be finished alone.




E Z A R I E L - ready for the morning light
Lumina
OOC: Love her, what a sweetheart.

power-play allowed, with all reasonableness
Tag: @[Ezariel]