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Home » Search » Roster » Whitepages » Records » Guidebook

Reconciliation and wrangling trees
Trial Siren's Summit 
Zahra
#1
Zahra & Ilham
It was pride that turned angels into devils

Zahra drew a deep, long breath and held it. With a wearily discerning eye, she traced the perimeter of the ridiculously enormous web-net that was strung between the lofty, mist-shrouded canopies of surrounding trees (the ones that they had made certain wouldn’t run away this time…), and nodded slowly. “Ok. I think it’s finished,” she sighed after a small time, turning to offer something of an impatient smile to the black and white stallion still standing by. This was the third time in as many months that she and Ilham had threaded the marvel painstakingly together, and quite frankly, if this next attempt to snare a ‘walking pine’ didn’t work, the cursed pegasus had resigned to the idea that she would just live like a ballooning Velella for the rest of her life.

Stepping carefully across the sodden loam towards a wavering section of the delicate, water-laced structure, she extended the whiskered butt of her nose nearer to receive her beloved companion. Illham stepped eight legs down quickly and ascended to one of her favourite sentry points at the tip of Zahra’s sooty ear.

“I guess, now we wait…”

What had at first felt like a cruel twist of fate, amplifying the bitter hurt suffered since the loss of her family in Helovia, Zahra had come to realise in time that the return of her father - rather, Eleos, had been really a blessing in disguise. It had taken many long, turbulent months to reconcile riled up emotions and conflicting experiences, but through it all, a steady friendship and understanding had formed. By all accounts, it was unexpected, less like the necessary bond between a daughter and her father and more like old comrades who had witnessed the woes of the world together.

Returning to Eleos’s side, Zahra chuckled gently and aimed a soft, affectionate snort toward his gleaming wet skin - but stopped suddenly short to avoid inflating again! It always took such a horribly long time to let down… “Why don’t you ask the Rift for a trial?” she half-joked, stepping away, leading along to the cunning arrangement of (now very dead) branches and previously positioned boulders nearby. She was almost inclined to tempt fate again herself, for there were may talents she craved to master - among them the ability to brainwash and control trees.
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@Eleos
Trial Note: Zahra is trying to catch the Pinus ambulo :P
Eleos
#2

That precarious, time consuming chore had been fascinating to witness – at first. It was soothing; borderline captivating to watch her weave those delicate filaments of silk that (over time) unveiled their complex pattern(s) and whimsically appeal. From the sidelines, encouragement was my only emotional tool remaining -- so she toiled alone. A grand plan was carefully laid, affording no expense toward caution. Then…the woodland abomination(s) tore through her labor as rapidly and easily as jagged stone cleaves into a mirror of water. This happened not once, but twice! Grief was harder to swallow in those days – but in the end, her resilience strengthened my broken hope. Together, we drank the bitter ale of disappointment and frustration.

She gave life to another creation and my filtered emotions coiled tighter in the black pit within me; they sloshed resentfully, a burning liquid of pure wrath. It rose from belly to throat like acid -- hungry for…

Molten irises trace the droplets of water that gleam like tiny hectors along the pure, ivory strands. Brims force an agreeable smile for her sake, "it's beautiful,” the genuine truth. Like the first and second of her craft. I catch sight of that velvet, whiskered muzzle straining forward, reaching to offer/secure comfort – the metallic band along my breast quivers restlessly as the flesh beneath shudders regretfully. Only when she realized the mistake and pulled away did that taunt awareness ease off, "but if this doesn't work," brows constrict – narrowing, creating a gully for wrinkles of inarguable will, "I'm kicking the damn thing to death." That somber regard tugs into a wider, bitter smile…one that revealed my unwillingness to see her toil through this again.

Damp, blackened nostrils swell anxiously. The exhaustion of this place was potent and excellent at unpredictability. The air (this time of year) is thick with godforsaken moisture – a downpour of rain continuously dribbles from the chin of heaven in a relentless wave. It was tolerable...same as the desaturated, flat and unappealing light that hung in the atmosphere like fog over water, "and end up floating above the treeline like you?" The gruff edge of my voice softens – it was no secret that her humor kept me sane, "you say true and I say, no thank you."
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Zahra
#3
Zahra & Ilham
It was pride that turned angels into devils

For a long time, she and Eleos had driven an aimlessly repetitive course between the Rainforest Cliffs, the beach beneath it, and the eerie shadows surrounding the Portal. Through those months, Zahra had unleashed upon the forbearing stallion, the furious, pent-up storm of her emotional torment, long entrenched loneliness and despair surrounding the memories that yet haunted her to the day. Hooves had traipsed endlessly, carving a comfortable and mindless circle, if only for the sake of relieving the frustration wrought below her skin. And her long-suffering companion had followed in staid silence, listening, empathising with only small contribution, for in those early days, the painted orphan had been unreasonable and quite unable to tolerate his broadening perspective.

As the days began to blend into one long blur, however, and the baking, irrepressible heat of Scorch softened into the wet season, Zahra’s sheer wall of stubbornness began to give way to a truer personality; perhaps one that even resembled the free-spirited babe that once had been.

Resistance became acceptance. Bitterness lost all discord. Fear and faithlessness became confidence, restored. By all accounts, a fondness for his company had blossomed within like a rose in the garden green. So the reinvigorated daughter of the Gallant and the Starry-Eyed revealed her knowledge so far about the Rift: firstly the blinking smog at the start which leeched magic and stripped power from the veins of the unsuspecting. She explained that his spear now caught fire, whenever she summoned its full length and that the stunning glassy flight feathers newly fringing each of her wings, was the result of the same, hungry shadow - it was not always cruel.

So too had she enlightened him about the quirks of their strange habitat: the mossy rocks in the rainforest that screamed upon contact, seasonal cherries that defied their very understanding of delicious and trees that would walk, if they stood long enough to see. Zahra taught him how to find Malspira along the sandy foot of the cliffs and then teased his sense of logic forward, luring him to paddle beyond the safety of the shore. She’d laughed at his vain attempts to stay afloat, and louder still with unbridled delight as he discovered the unnatural ability to breathe underwater - without the plant’s maturing leaves, she’d informed sternly, they would surely have drowned.

Neither truly enjoyed the single stint out to sea, however, and pottered afterwards at length along the soft salt-licked beach.

But the curse that Zahra had acquired, long before she’d discovered Eleos, quickly became unbearable. After the umpteenth inflation of her body, she ’d convinced the stoic stallion to travel north beside her, into the little-known region of the Western Mists. After much deviation and countless times lost, they’d arrived upon the swampy skirt of Siren’s Summit. The voice which had readily greeted her request for bone-headgear (place for beloved Ilham to thread a web in which to live), had insisted that she find it and craft from the skin of a resident walking pine, something… anything; and too, the instances of ballooning would cease. So it began: the relentless pursuit to ensure the painful tree.

As she paused between two rocks and nudged at the twiggy timber angled over their top, light laughter bubbled in her throat. “I haven’t seen a Velella for months…” she mocked cheerfully, for the creature was an ocean skimmer, sliding above the waves like a bulging sail in the wind; there was no sea around here…

“We can ask for something each,” the mare continued, pressing the matter as she fumbled for the spear that lay on the fragrant soil. Her teeth clasped the curve of its cold metal base and she lifted up her face. “Do it!” she urged around the deceptively short weapon. With a click, it extended and ignited with flames. Zahra threw it awkwardly, frantically, towards the fringe of trees between them and the net. “Fingers crossed!” she shouted after, eyeing each stationary timber narrowly - one of them would run…
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@Eleos
Trial Note: Zahra is trying to catch the Pinus ambulo :P
Eleos
#4

Golden optics harden, their path follows the blazing weapon with detached, unexpressed eagerness. Every strand of muscle is jutting, steeled to react at the slightest trigger. In the months leading to now, my flesh has recovered most of the vigor it lost. Shoulders, breast and haunches are carved from iron;  masculine curves have become attractively square and full.

My heart (forged to withstand pressure) is beating a calm, deft tempo. The fine hairs jutting out from these nostrils sway gently to the pace of every breath. Dripping ears pivot -- constantly adjusting to soak in the surrounding noise with sentinel discipline. 'There'll be water if God wills it.' The rusted verse rings faintly, echoing nostalgically down the halls and vacant rooms.

Nothing is offered toward her invitation to press the subject of trials. She was, in my opinion, overly trusting of those trickster, backhanded voices.

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Rift Presence
#5

It was quiet. Lonely even. There wasn't anyone around to watch. They liked to watch the creatures lurking around. But no the bad ones. Not the Rift ones. They were scary and mean and they liked to chase them. They didn't like to be chased. So they hid quietly, blending among the vegetation that wasn't alive and hoping that something would happen.

And then it did. Two creatures approached, talking and beginning to fiddle with someone. In this light the Pine didn't see what it was they were doing, but the fact that someone was there to keep them company was a comfort. So they watched the two, the way the one with black patches moved delicately with a certain grace they admired. They were almost soothed, ready to fall asleep to the sounds of their voices lulling them into bliss.

Until the smell of smoke and the crackle of fire breached the tranquility. Out of instinct the being was moving; running with utter terror at the thought of being burned alive. So they ran with purpose, scrambling to avoid the once peaceful beings they trusted. Yet as they took the shorter route to avoid them, they ran into something sticky and strong. At once they were tangled, struggling and panicking and uncertain about what was happening.

Soon the Tree was completely entangled, struggling and looking at them petrified. Was this how they were going to die?

the Rift
simply explode


@Zahra
» Presence of the Rift «


Zahra
#6
Zahra & Ilham
It was pride that turned angels into devils

To her delight, and right on cue, the forest erupted with the frantic movement of the very creature they were hunting. The sinus ambulo was a fearsome looking creature, but Zahra was unfazed as springing knees carried her along behind.

She has seen enough of them by now to understand that they were passive, so as it collided with the lovely web she and Ilham had created she barrelled on towards it with a widening grin upon her maw. “Yes!" She cried aloud, bursting at the seams with relief, and glance thither to engage the more sedate expression of the stallion. “You have to somehow hold it down," she insisted, summoning both his strength and stubbornness to aid, and while it struggled helplessly ensured upon the saturated earth she circled to examine it.

It was still the most peculiar beast she could say she’d ever crossed paths with. The others of its type all looked similar, though the shrubbery that sprouted near each joint varied in density and shape (not enough that she could recall whether they’d tried to catch this one before). Its pointed, branch-like limbs flailed about precariously and Zahra worked hard to avoid each harrowed swing, dodging and pivoting with the glassy fringe of flight feathers flared to help her balance. Baldness spanned the ugly length of its face - so to the lower extremities and the cone-like structure of its poll. The discerning-eyed mare assessed it all carefully, before deciding at last -

“I don’t think we need to kill it!"

There was enough of it available to merely strip a slice free, and with a contemplative sigh, her thoughts embarked on that next journey. Trusting that Eleos was committed to lending help, she swerved sharply to catch the trailing end of the web as it slithered by. Breaking into a hasty trot, she proceeded to circle the creature and bind it’s flailing limbs (if she were able), into a neat pyramid in the air - chances were it would be easier to wound if it lay stranded upon its back.
“talk"
Image

@Eleos
Eleos
#7

Tangerine careens, flashing hypnotically within the assortment of vine, needle and twig. Her weapon produces a vicious, abnormal blaze. But that display of light and energy was nothing but a farce; it’s foe -the tinder- wasn't ever in any danger of catching. Everything, down to the underside of the giant fern stalks, is saturated, dripping with perspiration. Lashes dribble, their curtains widen fractionally. The irises seem detached, nonchalant as they rove the spread of timber before us; below these golden toes the soil trembles fractionally and one of five evergreens suddenly dithers to life. Branches sway, a drizzle of water and needle scatter in the wake of their frantic effort to escape!

Patched limbs jolt into action, rapidly aiming to tail their progression with quick, hungry steps. My neck flexes inward, arching, oiled with reserves of power. Lips slip ajar, their corners become resentful as enmity rolls over my expression like waves crashing upon the sand. Her triumphant cry resounds, a thunderclap of joyous expectation. Mud and decay splash against these ivory heels, soiling the damp fur. Ears disappear into soaked tendrils – muffling that destructive noise and panic.

As one of our quarry drives into the trap - my pace quickens fractionally; ebon shutters narrow upon the demon with singular purpose. Kill it. Kill the abomination – drive the evil from it! Hindquarters quiver expectantly, victoriously. Her words ring out, faintly I hear them, but these jaws are already in motion to secure and maim. Spittle flies into the air – my target is one of the flailing extensions. At the same moment of grappling, my right foreleg curls up, sticky and wet. It flashes ahead and forcefully down, intent to smash whatever portion of this tangled abomination it could without mercy. The one remaining wing flares minimally from the cool sheath it resides -- haunches are rocking, locked to absorb impact if the fiend was to overpower me.

image credit
Rift Presence
#8

Utter chaos ensued once they were ensnared. Panic engulfed their entire being, suffocating their rationale as they continued to aimlessly thrash. In their state of terror they failed to see the girl begin to approach, the adrenaline roaring through their being making them unable to hear her words. There was no order, simply disarray that sent the creature sprawling.

As it began to lose balance the other was making his way towards them, an look in his eye that meant only to harm. As much as they tried they could not escape the grasp of his jaws on one of their branches, and with a shrill screech on instinct they fought back. A large, club-like branch came smashing down upon the brute's shoulder, giving the Pine the chance to release themselves before crashing to the forest floor.

The web was being wrapped around them now, causing more shrieks to escape the being. They were so stricken with fear that nothing could soothe them now, convince them that this was okay. Frantically looking between the two they continued to struggle, hoping to the Gods that they would kill them quickly.

the Rift
simply explode


@Zahra
» Presence of the Rift «


Zahra
#9
Zahra & Ilham
It was pride that turned angels into devils

The sequence of events which rapidly followed the creature’s entrapment, was not nearly as straightforward  and merciful as Zahra had anticipated. To her surprise, and  disbelief, the stallion whose prudent  nature had lured back her affection, launched forward with gnashing ivories unsheathed, aiming also a savage blow simultaneously towards the frightened creature’s limbs. The smile she wore, gleaming and triumphant, dimmed instantly and a stunned frown swiftly pulled down the black corners of her mouth. “Eleos!?…” she cried out, thinking that perhaps her previous suggestion of leniency, had failed to reach his ears.

The walking pine was not altogether helpless, however, as it struggled and writhed within the sturdy strands of the web. Dense timber appeared all at once to swing clear of its bind, and it fell down again promptly with  deliberate force, upon the shoulder of her collared companion. Zahra screamed desperately, though the words intended were lost amid the tangle of her panic, and at once she centred herself to called upon the power she’d been gifted at birth.

Like a thing born from nightmares, a tawny coloured army ant broke through the surface of the saturated soil before her. Behind it, arrived more, and more, spewing from the hole like a seething, endless golden snake. Save him!… her thoughts commanded quickly, urging the insects to attack the strange looking creature. Then there were thousands, perhaps millions, bearing down to feast upon the flesh of the webbed Pinus ambulo. It might have been easier to be a balloon, Ilham commented unhelpfully from her ear-top, prompting Zahra to recall the point of her task. Her heart leapt into her throat: I need the skin! DON’T WRECK ITS SKIN!

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@Eleos
Magic used: (Offensive) Can summon and control a swarm of insects
Eleos
#10

Cleaved unevenly through the center of himself - the two halves slip apart, squalling like newborns. Each became a separate identity; brothers, dual forces of opposing mentality and morals. One is a hero; the gracious spirit of a man born for democracy and triumph. The other is simply - wrath, hatred. Undiluted bitterness, condensed and midwifed from a lifetime of pain and personal anguish.

Her scream rings distantly, like wind through a tunnel. Ears twitch, remaining in their damp, wispy nest. Wild optics sharply divert aside, attempting to catch sight of the individual who'd spoken.

The weight of that vivid branch came bearing down; striking with sickening accuracy. Bruised meat instantly beings to sob uncontrollably; the pain hits in a fevered rush and summons a squeal of agony from my dislodged jaw. Ivories become steel-like as the pain lashes furiously and ribbons of heat pulse from the place of impact. I snap again, aiming to latch upon the branch once more. Irises glint darkly, their center is molten with savage intent.

Sleek, ebon muscles bulge, straining. Patched hindquarters backpedal, taking quick, purposeful steps in reverse. The sheer ferocity of my effort is clear indication that the limb was to be torn off completely; or at least stretched beyond reach, restricting movement and preventing further opportunity to inflict damage. Soiled forefeet dig into the traitorous mud, clinging for purchase. So mindlessly with this intoxicity...I don't notice the mound of biting ants rising from the cusp of the festered, soupy earth.
image credit