Fimbulvetr

Ren

Character OTS

OTS 1
OTS 2

Björn & Lirr

Couple OTS


Open Entering into new promises

#1
       

Ezariel & a l a y a y a

Some summer days are without the languid grace of their season. Some flowers are never beautiful, some sunlight impure. These things bleed together, they become the cast of unwanted memories, they become the fantasies of placated souls – which are neither sunlit nor cast of shadow and moonshine. The twilight hours are the most discreet, the tenderest – they were made of these things, these imperfections, these flaws in the fabric of time. They wrapped them together in dimness and the forgotten magic of the far-seeing eyes. Those eyes which tonight were aware of a kindred creature – a soul with no bias, a mind with no mercy, without the passion of villainy.

He walked, and it was unfamiliar motion. It was so much the same as he had always walked; subtle but decisive, artless and full of solemn aspiration – but it was not the same. There was no tenderness in the touch of his foot to the earth. It was another facet, a new representation of their humanity. The panache of so many creatures, though familiar, was suddenly unrecognizable, an anomaly of skin and shape – a puzzle to be sorted out very carefully. The man who walked now toward the strange new gateway was no stranger to adventure or beginnings. They were more familiar to him than familiarity, but still there was a new hesitation today.

The day was waning, the shadow of the western peaks lengthening toward the East as the sun sank further behind them. The cool dimness of eventide settling in among the heights and valleys. The light was soft, the darkness warm and alive with the last struggle of summer life. Soon even that faded entirely, overcome by a thickening fog.

Alayaya, ever his shadow, was white-gold in the failing sunlight, falling against the long grass and lifting away again – dancing, feather-light at his back and oblivious to the silence that was deepening around him. She was a benign creature, his shadow, traipsing with flippant, artless steps across the wasted world. Her eyes were star-bright, and shone effervescent in the light of all that she didn’t know, brilliant with youth and beloved of ignorance. And though she was young, and carefree, and though the light never faded from her love-kissed eyes she had a sad understanding that only made her simple grace and her smile palpable, acceptable. She was a child exposed, but not corrupted, and she glowed in her singular philosophy.

He stood before this entrance in his silence and his glory, his unspoken dedication, his hidden motive. His stance was that of a man braced against the calamity of the next horizon; the tension in his body superseded only by the calm austerity of his features. His face betrayed skepticism at the corners of the eyes, but otherwise was consumed with the grim sobriety of a newfound insight. He watched the figures in the unfamiliar landscape as the light drained from the sky above him, unwilling as yet to commit himself. Reluctance was in every line of his body; and he felt keenly the weight of his skin.

She touched his hock with her muzzle briefly; the darkness gathering at her neck and her back and throwing starkly into contrast the opalescence of her skin – the velvet of her lips was warmer than the air. Her laughter rippled lightly around him, languidly melodic as it spun in the eddies of the wind. “No one knows.” She reminds him; pressing close in her child’s body and lipping at the lowest strands of his mane. “Shush,” he answers heedlessly, without an ounce of change in his inattention.

She laughs again, and, like a firefly who breaks up the falling darkness, spins away toward the unknown.

He waits only a moment, until the sunlight no longer lights his skin, and follows after into this new beginning.


 
Tag: @[Ezariel]

#2


Tywin Traegur


"Let us save your eye, leder." the healer begged, the trill of her voice grating against the infection settling into the (once considered minor) wound. Tywin's once precious, icy orb had paled. A mottled white, ghostly and consuming, had started to spread along the bottom. It webbed across the abyssal hole of his pupil with a successful mission: marring his once eagle's gaze. Ick had collected along the bottom as well, the lower lid of glacier hue swollen with infection. "It can still be saved." she implored as he cast his indifferent glare at her. Coal threads shifted as his hinds, cascading threads of ink over one another. "You will do as you are instructed."

- - -

Idle hands were the devil's workshop, some said. Tywin simply disliked the monotony of a tepid day. Arrhule had been restored from its precious calamities and there was little for the baron to oversee otherwise. The Tryggr king had been quiet, resolute to remain in his hold with a haunting silence, which meant little decree fell from on high. The days had begun to bleed together, faces seemingly a combination of one another as the eldritch stallion patrolled his home. So he set his sights outward and away. It would feel good to get prying interests off of his back, and perhaps even prove useful. The landslide had taken countless lives throughout Tryggr, and the devastation within Arrhule showcased it with cruel vacancy.

So from his withers did globulous spurts of sanguine pop until his bloodied wings stretched full span. To the sky he shot, letting the currents of Sommar carry the taskless beast wherever it fancied. Today, like so many other days, it brought him back beneath the vast shadow of the Bifrost. Rather than traipse Bjarg and the root bridge by hoof, Tywin was content to soar over the freshly green canopies until the winds grew too great. They forced him down, and the illusion of the ancient timber receding skyward inspired a sensation of belittling. No matter what prowess a mortal may come to possess, was it ever enough to challenge such a mythical marvel such as this tree? Slate hooves slid into the rocky soil betwixt the gargantuan roots and the jarl's visage rose skyward. The billowing gales that swept through the ravine to his back tussled his silken strands, obsidian slivers slipping over the sharp edges of his visage as he remained in a stoic silence of observation.

Against the steely brume of the ever-present clouds the behemoth seemed monolithic, divine. A vague halo of silver light accented the silhouette lost in the blur of skyward clouds, encasing the evangelical tree with sanctified light. It was taunting, almost insulting. How many times had he been here now? Explored beneath the weight of such a natural marvel and felt the cold, constricting shadows slip over his back? There was little to show for these journeys save two things: his presence and success within the Valley and the eyepatch drawn along his left eye. It was finely made, an artisan construction with a faint brocade fabric pulled along the domed surface. It hid the poultice slathered eye below it with a finesse and sophistication Tywin refused to squander. Despite the heat of the summer weather the stud felt a seeping cold pulling in his chest. Did he come all this way to glare defiantly at the trickster who had broken his sight? No.

Through the consuming shadows he slipped, twin, spiraling lights of red casting ghostly ambient light at his hooves as he walked. Like a phantom he quietly navigated the subterranean labyrinth with the aura of a commanding officer. Despite the near silence of his step it demanded the world around him bid its will and attention; he was the alpha and omega, a speaker whose words could cull cities. Every supple muscle that slipped over his baroque frame seemed to push and pull the very air around him into subjugation. How long would he walk? It was uncertain. The tunnels opened before him, a piercing golden light filtering from an open crevice above (though wouldn't rings of tree be there?), showering the cathedral-like space of hallow space in a pale glow. Tywin waltzed towards the center but his gaze remained upwards, examining the intricate braiding in the roots of various sizes; some where thin like branches while others were robust. They all stretched upwards, naturally pulling ones gaze to the spotlight above. Columns of roots fell from the darkened heights, 'windows' open in their loose twist. Here he stopped, let his crimson lights die, let the damp shoulders where his bloodied wings had been dry.

Until he heard hoof steps.

W C: 782
T A G: Ezariel and Alayaya
M U S E: 5/5
O O C: whoops don't mind me
powerplay allowed
within reasonable limits!

Tag: @[Tywin]

#3
       

Ezariel & a l a y a y a

Ezariel’s footsteps echoed in the passageways. Sometimes muffled in looser earth or louder on exposed stones. Sometimes reverberating in the living way of hollow wood. An even, unbreaking tempo. Alayaya had been fascinated with the symbols etched on the wood, pausing every few feet as though to read what she could certainly not read. Ezariel had moved slowly himself at first, impressed by the age and majesty of the tree, trying to imagine the world it was guarding. At first, he tried to navigate in a more or less straight line, toward the heart and then through seemed the simplest. However, the way was not accommodating to such simplicities; the more he tried to keep track of the turns and bends, the more there seemed to be. When he had turned back at one point to revisit a choice in direction, he found the passageway behind soon became too small to pass through. Alayaya, slipping lithely ahead of him, seemed to fit quite easily. “I can’t go that way,” he said patiently, gray eyes studying the coarse walls, and the faint filtered light they had left behind. She had laughed, golden notes in liquid melody; “you must go where you must” she replied with perfect certainty, and spun away from the one-way tunnel, deferring the choice of direction again to him.

They had entered into Fimbulvetr without knowledge of it. For all his travelling, and for all his father’s endless geopolitical teachings, he knew nothing about this realm. This was what had drawn him here – so he shrugged off his attempt to control their direction and embraced the unknown. Suddenly, he found the passageways became, in themselves, a pleasant destination. Ezariel had always been drawn to history, and Bifrost had this in spades. Its age was a palpable thing; there were eons in the stone remnants they passed over, in the grainy texture of massive roots, even in the delicate braids that crept in places from above them, like the threads of tapestries unravelling and unfinished, of which they could see only a part. Like a cathedral, but with power that was more visceral and tangible, bridging the earth and the sky as it bridged Fimbulvetr from the rest of the world.

It was something unnatural about Alayaya; how she always found the sun. She seemed to conjure sunlight where there should be none. Case in point: in a semi-underground labyrinth set beneath a mythically ominous tree. Undeniably, the passage had been steadily lightening for the past hundred yards, and he was fairly certain there was just a slight bend between them and some sort of skylight. Alayaya’s stride had been gradually brightening as the tunnel did. Her enthusiasm for the labyrinth had only lasted an hour or so in the dark. She was bored, and she had been bored for a few hours now as they wended their way deeper into the maze of passageways. For such a spirited child she was surprisingly resigned in her boredom; there were never tantrums, there was no painfully irritating attention-seeking. In the dark and the quiet she seemed to fade from the spotlight in a way that would have been impossible to imagine if you met her in full sun.

She skipped ahead of him as they approached the corner, her eyes alight with discovery and a shared secret – like they were about to find a trove of treasure, and not just a wayward sunbeam. Her innocence and her sudden vibrancy were juxtaposed to the solemn quiet they had been keeping only a moment ago. Ezariel caught the forward swivel of Alayaya’s ears almost before she herself noticed it. Too late to call her back, though, and she slipped briefly out of sight. He lengthened his stride, only a few steps behind her, and tried not to focus on the smell of fresh blood slowly wafting towards him as he rounded the bend.

Alayaya had stopped, her head tipped inquisitively toward the tall, dark, bleeding figure across their path. Ezariel took in the stallion, lit irregularly by the light from the gaps overhead the brighter markings of his face fell into stark relief. The blood slowly coagulating as it traced down his sides helped to highlight the brighter of the accents on his skin. There was a sense of monumental and austere duty in the other man’s posture and expression, one that brooked no distraction or compromise. Ezariel wondered if that was the man, or simply the markings making their impression. There was something disturbingly familiar about it, though he could not put his finger on why.

He came to a stop, just behind a smiling Alayaya, who stood before this impressive presence dressed in the lightness of youth and undimmed innocence. The blue eyes, depthless but shining with an unpronounced emotion, trained unabashed on Tywin’s sculpted, ordered features and their complex paint. Ezariel was less impressive, less imposing than she, who had no meaning and no future, no past and only whim, only fortune, only faith. He had an ordinary height and build, and he carried himself with an introspective self-assurance that came nowhere near pride. He was barely worth notice in the glow of Alayaya’s brilliant attention. There was a calm, firm attention in his eyes as he spoke (Alayaya, whose soul needed no words, whose heart was loud and clarion in the fugue of thought to which we fall inevitably victim, had said nothing). “Hello,” He offered, with the ritual friendliness and forced enthusiasm of strangers meeting on the road. A tone that did not fit with his appearance, quite apparently overacted to the careful observer.

“Allow me to introduce Alayaya,” the filly seemed deaf to the voice of her companion, for she continued to watch without expression, silent and ebullient, “and myself, I am called Ezariel. We… have no idea where we are.” There was a wry humility in the end of his sentence that invited exposition, but whose lightness was not captured in the evenness of his gaze.


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

#4


Tywin Traegur

A bright child had emerged from the darkness. She was wrapped in golden thread that seemed to enhance the beauty of the filtering light above. Buttery cream locks cascaded in foalish tufts along her crest and there was a refinement to her small stature that spoke of a future beauty. Not immediately did he turn to her when she emerged, but only upon her approach when she had eventually decided to skitter to a halt. Blue eyes with depths to rival the sea peered back at the singular optic of cerulean that turned to face her, accentuated and exaggerated by the dark strokes of coal that separated it from the glacier tear stain markings running along his chiseled jowl. Once his vision pricked from the small girl, her aura intoxicating with innocence and whimsy, and spied the male that strode behind with a haphazard quickness.

He was not unlike Tywin. There were wrinkles and etchings in his visage that spoke of years that the stranger had seen. The depth of his bay rivaled the slate hues intermixing with a faint beige undertone on Tywin's own pelt, but this stallion's spoke of warmer hues: mahogany, umber. There was a baroque nature to his confirmation but a lightness to the masculine jaunt of his visage - perhaps a dainty mother or father, Tywin wasn't one to consider the latter odd. Without haste Tywin straightened himself, turning towards them with his broad chest and lifted carriage. Unlike many studs, the Jarl of Arrhule's body weight didn't sink into tired fetlocks. There seemed to be almost a ghostly weightlessness to the proper way in which he showcased himself. Every movement was in a way fluid, politely hushed, but spoke of a weight that was hidden well. He was aware that the angle made the brocade eyepatch clearly visible, especially with the broken lay of his forelock as it parted about the delicate dome, but he wasn't concerned that it would be a distraction.

"Good day," Tywin immediately responded to the deep bay stallion, Ezariel's, greeting. His tone was smokey with just a sprinkle of gravel that belayed his own age. His striking sapphire eye hid beneath a half-mast lid, but rather than seeming exhausted or irritated the depth of the lid seemed natural, invoking no real emotion at all. The typical followed next: their names and the confirmation they were in fact lost. A quick, disguised test of the air easily approved their story. Their scents hadn't been masked by the peculiar smell of the Valley. But Tywin offered a fraction of a nod, his silken forelock swaying. "It isn't uncommon here. The Bifrost is a peculiar specimen. There are theories that it finds pleasure in the confusion of the souls lost within." For a moment Tywin tore his gaze away, swept it through the impressive room with its spiraling root columns and intricately braided walls. Swiftly he turned back to them, gaze flicking between the two before settling upon the older of the two. Daughter? Sister? Ward? The possibilities were endless.

"Tywin Traegur, Jarl of Arrhule," he offered the slight cock in his visage slowly transitioning to the opposite side. The inky tresses of his forelock slipped across his face to hang upon the other side. A few stray threads clung to his eyelashes desperately, his lid instinctively trying to blink them away before his telekinetic touch reached out and plucked them from their snare. "You'll have to forgive the smell and stains," he commented idly, gesturing with a small hitch of his nape back towards his shoulders, "Some magic is clean, others are not." But as swiftly as he had brought attention to the sanguine trails along his shoulders Tywin released the topic and let it fade into the darkened shadows and passages he/d left behind. "Have you been wandering long?" Despite the labyrinth around them and the seeming endless choices and decisions one had to make before ultimately finding a path out, the eldritch male seemed calm. He did know something they didn't, after all. A way out, and that the tree never kept the same paths for long.

W C: 689
T A G: Ezariel and Alayaya
M U S E: 4.5/5
O O C: ...
powerplay allowed
within reasonable limits!

Tag: @[Tywin]

#5
       

Ezariel & a l a y a y a


Ezariel gave an understanding nod as Tywin spoke, glancing around himself at the structured tunnels of the Bifrost’s roots. Solemn, still, stony in their vigilance and yet mischievously misleading, much as he had suspected. It confirmed his earlier awe. “I can see why.” Gravity is a theory too, after all.

Tywin was giving them a better look at their welcome wagon, drawing himself across the path and into the indirect light which was all that was left after Alayaya had soaked up the rest. Ezariel appraised with the practice of his age and his long experience in the navigation of unstable political landscapes. Tywin’s was certainly an unmistakable presence. Ezariel took in the eye and its covered brother, the blood drying on the shoulder and the spines that emerged, threatening and simply anatomical somehow at the same time. This would be a man well accustomed to attention; for the vision of him demanded it, and he would never have had the option of anonymity. It would be good practice for the scrutiny of a crown. There was a tastefully stated drama in Tywin’s mannerisms that complemented the tone of his physicality. His rank suited his presentation, and Ezariel appreciated the poetry of Tywin’s powerful presence in a powerful role.

Alayaya’s attention seemed fixated. The dizzyingly limitless irises had taken in the same figure but it was as yet hard to say what she was thinking. As Tywin turned more toward her, her eyes were drawn slowly over to the feature that was not innate, but added later – the patch. Her thoughts, somewhere in that limitless blue, inscrutable but so focused that the whole of the rest of her remained still. As though paused, with her head titled curiously and her left fore almost in motion. The bay, on the other hand, had subtly changed his posture after Tywin’s introduction, turning slightly toward the filly, in a way that put him on the same side of the tunnel centre as Tywin.

It would take no more than a casual inquiry to determine that their relationship to one another was unlikely biological. Yet Alayaya’s obvious confidence and comfort in Ezariel’s presence suggested a parental relationship (and even a healthy one, at that).

Alayaya had now returned to her usual animation. She did this as she did most things, with an unusually calculated grace for a filly of her apparent age. She released the eye patch from her seized imagination. She seemed, at once, utterly unimpressed by the somewhat menacing presentation of Tywin. Instead, she took an overly apparent interest in everything he said. She pouted her lips in concentration, deepening the quizzical tilt of her dial a little too much, a childish exaggeration. The halo of golden curls fell across her forehead as she deepened the tile, covering one of her eyes in a way that mirrored their new companion.

Ezariel responded to Tywin’s extended pleasantry as he was expected to do – there was a familiar, and important formality to such niceties, and much could be learned in playing through the action. In politics, and, most especially monarchies, hiding the truth in a way that made it visible was a long and trusted tradition. The enlightened could hear the meaning through the words, and the rest just enjoyed polite conversation. Ezariel responded swiftly; “No longer than expected. And, please, do not apologize...” He answered, making deferential light of their long journey and the potential discomfort; somewhat in contrast to their apparently familial relationship he did not include Alayaya by word or glance in his statement. He would have played further on Tywin’s reference, but then – with a sympathetic, understanding tone ironically reminiscent of a parent trying to take a child’s imaginary problems seriously, “Did you have to kill someone?” There was not a single ounce of irony in her hushed voice. The unbreaking, focused contact she made with his eyes (well, eye, she did only focus on the one that was left) was pure in its overstated empathy, brimming the way only children can with the sincerity of its’ shared emotion.

The bay stallion recognized the cue to feel either amusement or exasperation. He thought he was leaning more toward exasperation. He was resigned to Alayaya’s childish directness and her flights of dramatic fancy, but he had not had much practice sharing her company with strangers. That being said, it was also nice that her attention was directed somewhere new.


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

#6


Tywin Traegur


A single cerulean orb studied the fascination in the girl while her guardian's idle comment spilled. Her curiosity was the picture example of childhood; enraptured by seemingly monotonous things, driven to formulate incredible novels around their meaning or birth. Where had the blood stains upon his shoulders sprouted? Were they his own, or another? And the eyepatch... stories from youth spoke of pirates wearing them. Did he seem at all applicable to a jolly roger's role? Tepidly he wondered just what kind of concoctions she was brewing up beneath her crown of buttery curls, but ultimately shifted his attention away long enough to keep the conversation with Ezariel cordial, if not formal. A shadow of a smile graced his face, one that was perhaps practiced in the surface of water to ensure its natural appearance. If someone didn't look hard enough, or the lighting was any dimmer than where they stood in the oculus of golden light, it could have been overlooked entirely. "Consider yourselves lucky", he stated, tone bordering monotonous but with delicate yet strong inflections that spoke of a man whose words were more powerful than a sword. "Not many get this far, or out, unscathed."

But the game wasn't entirely lost. The umber male didn't refuse information but curtained that which he did not want to share. Omitting facts wasn't the same as lying, and didn't assign the label of mistrust, but those who were also employed such manners could spot it in conversation. There was a shift, an obvious one, in the starburst eye of blue that studied Ezariel, as minute movements cast his observation across the stallion's face. For a moment, he thought that this must be the closest, organic experience he'd ever have that mimicked similarly to himself. Though, not long into the considerations were they interrupted. Did you have to kill someone? Tywin's visage slipped back to the girl, a quick and fluid movement that was both hasty but graceful, and studied the childish over exaggeration of her character. That phantom of a smile broadened, genuinely amused but her question, but the growth was staggeringly small in comparison to any average equine. If anything else, it displayed his absolute rule over himself, his own emotions, and mentality. A forelimb rose and plotted into the ground closer to her, drawing him into a lean that hovered him several inches away from her, much like any elder attempting to educate a child. "Not yet," he answered honestly, a hidden truth and half truth rolled into one, decipherable in a fascinating amount of ways.

His grin broadened again, a visual punctuation to his answer, as he held that lingering baby blue stare of hers. It wasn't until the equated time it was improper to stare any longer that he drew back up and returned to the elder of the pair. There was a moment he lingered on the precipice of complimenting the child Ezariel had brought into the Bifrost, but the words die in his mind before he chances freeing them. Rather the grin returns to his natural, thin homage and it is obvious he is unperturbed by the otherwise strange question. "Endearing", he commented lowly with a cursory glance back towards the small girl. Tywin wondered what it was like to travel with a child, especially one so blindly courageous with her voice and obvious inspections. Was Ezariel as bemused by her as Tywin? Didn't seem the time, nor place, to inquire. His harks swiveled as the faint tremor shook his appendages, the tell-tale sign it was time to move. Finally he drew away from them, looking off around the sanctum of a room but his gaze knowingly looked through. Somewhere, the tree was changing. And things had just gotten so interesting...

His singular optic snapped back to the guardian, the polished politician not entirely smudged from existence but submerged just below the surface of gravity. "Your travels aren't over yet - we should keep moving." Ezariel seemed perceptive enough to have noticed the quake and Tywin didn't doubt that the youth was sensitive to even the smallest of earthly tremors with an easily enamored aura such as hers. "Come, there is no going back. Only forward, into the Valley." Several calculated steps drew him back from the two to provide ample space to pivot around, his features dimming into the murk of shadow as he slipped away. The opposite of an unveiling. For a moment the tree stilled and the muffled thud of his hooves on the packed loam flooring betrayed his passage only, but sanguine light burst once against from his hooves. The ethereal spirals of garnet light spiraled around his forelimbs in ghostly twin flames, ever moving, ever spinning, and providing just enough light to keep Tywin - and the others - from walking into an abyss.

W C: 803
T A G: Ezariel and Alayaya
M U S E: 5/5
O O C: :eyes:
powerplay allowed
within reasonable limits!

Tag: @[Tywin]

#7
       

Ezariel & a l a y a y a


Alayaya’s fixed, earnest attention betrayed only fascinated interest. She waited on Tywin’s answer with bated breath. The tone of his response was less reassuring than the words, which in themselves were potentially off-putting. Ezariel certainly heard the potential truths. It was not a threat, exactly, but it was not idly that Tywin introduced the probability of bloodshed in his future, either. Unlike their new acquaintance, Alayaya’s expressions were rarely subtle or subdued. She had a reflexive inclination to exaggerate, trying on emotions and feeling out their depths. The blue eyes fluttered closed and her bated breath came out in a rush of relief. She smiled up at the darker stallion, almost conspiratorially. Alayaya appeared dramatically relieved by the answer he chose. (Relieved by the negative, surely? There was something a little too conspiratorial in the corners of her lips. Ezariel felt a chill of uncertainty about the child’s sympathies which he filed away for later consideration).

Her body language changed immediately also, the unnaturally still tension was banished, and she resumed an untroubled languid motion, stepping nearer to Tywin’s form without leaning too far from the sun. A rather poetic gesture, the bay reflected objectively. Ezariel let a wry smile creep into his face momentarily at Tywin’s pronouncement, recalling a dozen such moments as the one unfolding. “Endearing is one word for it.” Alayaya appeared unabashed by the sardonic tone. With a child’s selective attention, she was simply deaf to the part of the conversation that held no interest for her.

Ezariel felt himself warming to Tywin. It was unusual for Ezariel to form early opinions, and he was acutely aware that he should not. He was also (perhaps pleasantly?) surprised to find himself inclined to keep the other man’s company. Ezariel had been loath to integrate for… a long time. He and Alayaya had briefly passed through other civilized places, but they had never been disposed to stay. He had grown accustomed to their secluded, nomad’s lifestyle. He had lost faith in finding purpose and integrity among his peers. Tywin was a novelty.

The bay’s thoughts were distracted by the ground moving, but it was Tywin’s reaction he attended to – he did not look lightly on the fact that the one-eyed Jarl emoted the urgency of movement. Nor, of course, had Ezariel taken lightly the warning about the Bifrost’s undependable nature. The bay understood immediately that he should be more concerned than he might have been by the tremor. Alayaya tapped her feet in a candid dance, taking her cue to motion from the moving ground beneath them, but she showed no outward concern for her safety.  Ezariel attended Tywin’s words, nodding his understanding, unpretentiously adapting to the role of follower.

Tywin bid them follow him forward into Fimbulvetr, a combination of purpose and prudence, given the changeable attitude of their bridge path. Ezariel wondered if Tywin would sense that, aside from the practical need to move forward, he was asking them to make a choice. Ezariel felt that choice quite keenly, as he felt them all, unnaturally aware of the cascading consequences of pivotal choices, no matter how small they seem. Like moving through a dense web in the dark, every tug could have consequences close at hand or far afield in time or space. Most of us appreciate the threads when they are large – we know that marriages, contracts, ascensions and the like events have consequences, and we sense some of the tension from those threads when making them. Ezariel felt the threads always, in all things, with every right and left turn, every spoken word, every unspoken one.

Alayaya stepped ahead with her left foot, and turned to look at Ezariel, her steady endless gaze pulling him on with promise and reassurance. As unforgettable as it was, looking into that stare was always like seeing it for the first time. The crack in the roots above was shrinking, but Alayaya glowed yet more brightly as the darkness closed around her. Singular, pure, untouched by doubt and second thoughts. Untouched by consequences. She turned, fluid golden grace, and slipped from her sunbeam, seamlessly moving into the darkness of Tywin’s wake.

Ezariel was not of a character to be persuaded by other people’s desires. It was not Alayaya’s interest or eagerness that moved him to choose. He trusted his instinct; born of situation, first impressions and Alayaya’s impressions, of experience and recognition of good luck, and this was what moved him. He trusted himself. And he knew that, consequences or not, choices must always be made.  

He pointed himself in the direction of Tywin’s echoing steps, and just as he stepped forward the faint, ruby-red glow appeared at the forelimbs of the umber stallion. Alayaya responded with shrill delight, speeding forward from behind the towering, mottled form. The passageways seemed somehow to allow for Alayaya, wherever she chose to be, and she careened alongside him, chasing the faint glow. Tywin’s long stride required an energetic trot for Alayaya to match it, but she seemed to have an unflagging supply of brimming, giddy, energy. Ezariel closed the small distance, putting himself comfortably in range of the convenient light but far enough to avoid the impression of hovering.

“Does Fimbulvetr have many kingdoms?” Ezariel asked, partly to fill the time in transit, partly… well the rest was obvious. He would need a little exposition.

“Are we going to where you live?” She had a voice that was like sweetened sun in the dark.

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

#8


Tywin Traegur

Alayaya continued to prove an unfathomable ray of sunshine in the deepest depths of darkness. While grave, sanguine highlights danced along what moisture lay in this subterranean labyrinth and painted a sinister picture she seemed entirely unabashed. The garnet danced along her pelt, at times pinking where the gold was strong enough to wash out the otherwise nefarious hue. Idly Tywin watched her, muzzle pricking his sliver of a smile time and time again as the filly seemed to dance within the light. A trained ear turned instinctively to the hurried strides of Ezariel and commended them both for their otherwise unquestioning bravery.

Some may call it trust - trust in Tywin to not lead them astray - but ultimately they were still strangers as much as their company brought him a reflective content. And while the youth may not understand the consequences to her otherwise rash decisions, her guardian was a thoughtful man, just as Tywin was. The Jarl suspected that the bay did not make his choices lightly, and even the briefest of pauses were filled with ruminating scenarios. But ultimately, all three of them were progressing through the consuming darkness while around them the Bifrost settled into its shift.

Upon inspection, some roots that Tywin’s ruby light touched slithered through the packed sod. Their movements were dragged, as if pulled through not just dirt but molasses, slowing until eventually the nightmarish effect ceased and the tunnels echoed with dull, almost pained, groans. “It has stopped, for now.” Tywin announced cooly as his strides continued forward in clipped but encompassing steps. The pace he settled for did not speak of urgency or alarm, but was far from relaxed. Determined, commanding, if not insightful. It was the pace of an individual with a mission to be executed, and he indeed had a task at hand: get them out of here before the Bifrost decided to take his other eye.

It was Ezariel’s question that confirmed their cordiality, and - for once - Tywin was grateful that the chore of maintaining conversation was not entirely upon him. Alayaya spoke quickly with a follow up inquiry, one more pointed and less encompassing. Little changes evolved on the eldritch stallion’s visage as he gave them both cursory glances. “Slidr River Valley consists of three Houses - the locals chosen term for kingdoms.” His gaze shifted from the golden girl and to her guardian with a silent affirmation of whose question would be answered first. “I am of House Tryggr, and precede over a hold adjacent to the sovereign king, but there is also House Vromme and House Ambrosius.” inky threads flicked along his hinds, the ossein spines along the dock of his tail shifting with almost surprising maneuverability.

Tywin kept his pace steady through his explanation, having turned back to the path at hand while his words echoed through joining tunnels. Coming to a crossroads he recognized he slipped back to his previous course without hesitation, quietly grateful that this much had not changed. “As for where you’re going,” the baron began, electing for a more delicate approach to the filly’s query, “It is not my choice to make for you, but if the both of you-“ he shifted a cursory glance back despite the eyepatch concealing Ezariel entirely “-decide to you'd like to go there, you are welcome, of course.” He paused, reasserting himself forward as his naturally dominant strides carried them through an arch. Walls suddenly fell away, only momentarily visible as they turned sharply ninety degrees away. Motes of dust gleamed red as they hung suspended over the drop offs to both sides of their path, but despite the perilous nature of it’s suspension it seemed unrelenting. Tywin’s stride paused only briefly - slowing as his next step enacted - as he tossed his one good eye to the side to better peer into the abyss.

“Careful now,” he bid, voice dulled by the expanse in which they entered.

W C: 645
T A G: Ezariel and Alayaya
M U S E: 5/5
V O I C E: Mads Mikkelson
O O C: fixed a GLARING ERROR sorry about that


powerplay allowed
within reasonable limits!

Tag: @[Tywin]

#9
       

Ezariel & a l a y a y a


Although Tywin walked ahead of him and, therefore, could not observe him, Ezariel paid no less attention to the set of his face or the posture he adopted. Ezariel inhabited his role entirely, and left nothing to chance that could be controlled by skill or will. There was an unnaturally relaxed attitude to his lengthy stride behind Tywin, a level of comfort that seemed almost reckless given their immediate surroundings. As all things, it had a purpose; in this case it made the poignant point that Ezariel entrusted their safe passage to Tywin’s judgement (a trust that was easier to place than it might seem – Ezariel’s logic often overcame emotion, and Tywin had clearly been through this trial before). It also made a point of his ability to betray no stress when stress would be expected. He was, in fact, making a choice that revealed more to his companion than one of barely-contained panic would have. He should be expected to fear for his safety in the unknown, but a measured pace despite the rear and more vulnerable position created an impression of bravery – or reckless self-confidence, perhaps – which was at its essence a construct. The construct was, in fact, the point. How Tywin responded to it was the point. Ezariel never lessened or widened the distance between himself and the garishly-lit, painted umber figure before him. Regardless of the shifting ground underneath or the walls alongside. Regardless of the voice, or Alayaya’s terrifyingly inattentive, playful pattern of movement alongside and at times almost beneath the larger stallion.

Ezariel listened attentively all the while, committing the words casually to a new page in his memory. “We are grateful for your rescue, Tywin, Jarl of Arrhule, and honoured by your time which, I'm sure, could be better spent.”

How much effort Alayaya was putting into her portrayal of herself today was a mystery. Her lightheartedness was so sincere as to be nauseating, but the graceful, faultless placement of her steps upon the shifting ground was suspiciously capable. She never endangered herself or the stallion she wove alongside, as she chased the garnet glow at his ankles. She never stumbled, faltered, shied, or balked as the walls shifted or closed or the roots tangled underfoot. She giggled, in fact, each time she caught the light and it bathed her, each time her step landed fully in the pocket of the ruby glow. The careless happiness of youth and unmet consequence. The fearless abandon that suggested she knew she would be safe and need not concern herself with trivial mortality.

“We want to see the cold rocks, and the winter trees, and hear the wind!” Alayaya paid no heed to Ezariel’s participation in the conversation, instilling her will on the pair of them as was typically her wont. They could both smell the granite and the metallic tang that mountain wind imparted, Ezariel recognized those things once the smell of the blood faded. Of course, Alayaya had never spent any time on a mountain before.  Ezariel smiled, seemingly at her earnestness, and shared a glance and a shrug with Tywin in the wake of her pronouncement, as if to say, you pick your battles.

When they emerged onto the bridge itself, Ezariel nearly regretted his stoic guise, as the sight was an impressive phenomenon he would have happily openly admired. He slowed his steps in time with Tywin’s, attending to the drop on either side perfunctorily. With the experience of someone who was accomplished in physical feats, and the iron logic that prohibits irrational fear. Alayaya was less constrained, as Tywin’s caution registered. Now there was fear. She skittered almost to a stop as the walls fell away, having failed to notice the changing light as they approached, too caught up in her game of follow-the-footlights. She danced sideways, until her little frame contacted Tywin’s larger one, and she stuck to him, her blue eyes wide and enraptured by the edge of the span, she pushed the fullness of her little weight against the Jarl’s like she was clinging to the safety rail, curling her neck and pressing her cheek to his ribs.

Ezariel saw the way that her golden coat picked up the sticky, drying blood form the other stallion’s hide. It gave the bay stallion an unpleasant chill. Alayaya had come to him, in the beginning, painted in others’ blood. There was no need for this moment to recall that one, except that he had long put off examining it. In fact, the last time she had been bloody there had been no fear at all. If he were the type to heed omens, he might have marked this one as portentous. Here he did break with stoicism, moving slightly forward and to the left, walking along the edge of the span only a handbreadth behind the filly, a parent’s watchful eye on the unpredictable little form – ready to prevent catastrophe. Tywin would almost certainly be capable of this responsibility himself, of course, but that did not deter a paternal instinct to control the danger.

As they moved forward, Ezariel picked up the thread of the conversation. “Are these Houses generally on… peaceable terms with one another?” The question underneath being, of course, are we about to choose sides?

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

#10


Tywin Traegur

Fear didn’t just have aromatic tells but almost haptic ones. As the walls fell around them in some twisted version of a grandiose entry, the filly’s aura swiftly changed. If Tywin weren’t such a master of his own senses perhaps he wouldn’t have felt the air buzzed, wouldn’t have paid attention to the way it tightened along his side with a humming tension. Fear. Pensively he wondered when the last he felt fear – real fear, not trepidation or that false sense of foresight when you knew something was wrong. He wondered if he ever felt fear like Alayaya experienced now, her skittering hooves closing the ground she’d lost at his side until she’d plastered to his barrel. A hark swiveled in her direction, the angle to sharp to adjust his line of sight and see her, but his visage shifted instinctively – as if to toss a cursory glance back at her beneath the fabric of the eye covering.

She was expected to be afraid in the face of the unknown. Tywin and Ezariel, however, continued to fill the void with patterned auditory stimuli that only changed with the echoing clap backs. They had to remain stoic in the face of potential danger even in that cold trickle of fear did crawl along their spine. If they lost their head, surely it’d have consequences for the filly. So without held breath nor unease the Jarl continued, a font of knowledge (that, of course, he deemed necessary). He spoke at Alayaya, but projected his voice to encompass the guardian as well. While the story may be majestic and enthralling for the child, it was littered with important geographical details any resolute elder may find useful in their decisions. “There are plenty of cold rocks in the Valley. It is not unlike a bowl – mountains surround the continent in a protective outer shell to keep everyone within safe from intruders.” It was a harsh environment, one not meant for fools who think they can traverse it without caution. “The North, Ambrosius, is close enough to Tryggr’s lonely mountain that when its mists part you can see the snowy peaks and winter trees even in spring time.” Translation? It’s fucking cold in the North, but the West is secluded.

“And the winds…” Tywin paused dramatically, taking a stab that the child would find it captivating, “They howl through Arrhule every night – sometimes like wolves but other times like a chorus, sweeping in from the seas that surround us and down from the high mountains with crisp air.” Slidr River Valley can be both beautiful but deadly. Tywin shifted, tossing his good eye off into the darkness and the abyss, but the cerulean orb had a chance to sneak a glimpse of the bay that came nearly abreast them as he left his rear position. For a moment they walked in silence, their steps tarried out of self preservation. Tywin had the mind to send the motes of light forward, to see where the bridge finally would end, but judging from how the echos reverberated from the walls there wasn’t much longer now. His harks pricked when Ezariel offered his own query, one far less theatrical than Alayaya’s, which deemed a far less dramatic response. “In old times with old crowns, perhaps not.” He had heard the tales of Ambrosius and Tryggr’s deep, loathing hatred. How an Ambrosius queen had bathed away Tryggr with her suffocating waters. “But in my nearly three years there has been but one minor dispute, but even that was long ago now.”

Finally the first glare of sanguine light glinted off of root structure walls again, and an archway opened before them that bid welcome from the otherwise precarious bridge. When the distance seemed short enough, and with her flanked by two larger males, Tywin sent the garnet lights forward. They twisted playfully around one another before hovering over the hard dirt path, shifting back and forth as if anticipating a chase. A buffet of air seemed to blow at the inky threads of Tywin’s forelock, bringing with it that crisp mountain air. When his hooves struck ground and the walls erected themselves around them once again, his pace pricked with further haste, less careful. Nearly out now…

W C: 708
T A G: Ezariel and Alayaya
M U S E: 4.5/5
V O I C E: Mads Mikkelson
O O C: tapered out there at the end but still happy -w-


powerplay allowed
within reasonable limits!

Tag: @[Tywin]