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Home » Search » Roster » Whitepages » Records » FAQ » Guidebook

In This Broken Kingdom
Open Mangrove Tidepools 
Seiji the Hopebringer
#1

The ocean roars, but it is not the water he knows. Away from the trees he follows its voice, until at last like a dreaming field it unfolds: iron grey and gallant white, writhing on the rocks. Below the bald faces of implacable cliffs, above a snarl of mangrove trees, Seiji is little more than a shadow. He scours the sea with dark eyes, and something in him aches to gaze upon it. If - but he shakes his head, as if to shake away the thought, and smiles to himself, his dark eyes narrowing.

He is alone.

The trees reach eager branches toward his flanks. Whispers on his skin: creaking laughter, secrets reeking of salt and darkness. What do mangroves know? They speak in the soft, patient voices of trees. Ugly trees, perhaps, but Seiji pauses at the roots of one and his liquid gaze turns up, up, to glimpse shards of sky beyond. He leans forward inch by inch until his breath pools on the bark: a whisper, a secret of his own. What do mangroves know? A moment ago, he spied the silver scales of a little fish in one of the tidal pools. Ergo: soft bones clutched somewhere in the darkness of these roots. Do mangroves speak of death? If they did, what would they say?

Breath tainted with salt pours in and out of his lungs. The fishes moving under him; the ocean roaring in its bed. What mangroves know, they cannot say. He nods to the tree, a little knowing and a little foolish, and skips away. His hooves like music on the rocks: jump, jump, jump. Muscle standing out beneath the black skin with each landing. The false wing on his side ripples, dreaming of flight the way the mangroves dream of dead fish, and he is a radiant thing in the twilight realm at the edge of the tide. In his wake: the facet of hope, a miniature sun, his own shooting star.

Hop, hop, hop.

He clings to the ridges of rock separating the pools. Vies with the trees for purchase, but never jostles them. He is too graceful for that. Remembering, long ago, a game like this: hooves light upon the shore, laughing voices calling out. He avoids the water now as then, each leap bringing him nearer the body of the sea. The pools grow; he slips. The shock of the cold. The silver glimmer of the water splashing up, droplets glimmering in a stray sunbeam. Through Seiji’s body a tremor of surprise; still, again. His head turns slowly as he scans the pools. I lose.

img by Tildae @ flickr
Rixen the Vine King
#2
RIXEN
i have late night conversations with the moon;

The mist coated my lungs, in the soothing way that tangy ocean air could. A gentle breeze whipped my mane in a tangled flurry of white strands, intertwined with the slightest accent of black near my withers. There I stood, on the cliffside, overlooking the deep blue water that stretched endlessly on, disappearing into the horizon. What was it that lay at the end of the thin line where the pale blue sky gently kissed the darker hues of the ocean? Perhaps it was a new, undiscovered land. Perhaps it was one that I was familiar with. Or perhaps - perhaps there was nothing at all. I’d never know whether there was a point at which the world fell away or if the sea stretched on into eternity.

And of course, each time I ventured to the Mangrove Tidepools, these same thoughts wound up circulating through the complex vortex that was my mind. But like yin pairs with yang, with said similarities there was also something that wasn’t quite the same - someone. I spotted him, or at least a shape that appeared to be a stallion, not too far from where I stood. The shape was close enough that I could see he was a horse, but not so close that I could call out to him. Although I wasn’t sure I would have, even if our relative positions on the rocks allowed for it. It was difficult to be heard above the crashing waves and the gusty breeze, even if one shouted at the top of their lungs. There was enough distance between us that I was unsure whether he could see me. He was not a stallion (presumably) that I had seen before. That, and he looked to be busy enough examining the twisted old Mangroves and the natural bowl-like shapes in the rocks that, when filled with water from the high tides, could house tiny fluorescent fish that I liked to come to study on occasion. If anything, the ocean's presence could cure all bad moods. The waves could wipe away all worries. In a way, being here grounded my soul.

When I encountered a stranger, particularly one I’d never seen before, my natural inclination was to coax that unfamiliarity to change its ways - to transform an unknown face into a familiar one. The process required no magic. A smile and a warm ‘hello’ was all that was needed to pierce that invisible barrier between strangers that, if left undisturbed, would only serve as a reminder of what might have been. This day was no different. And so, summoning up my usual cheerfulness, I descended the rocks where I stood above the tidepools, my hooves maintaining their pleasant spring while still being mindful when placing each step. Reflected in my movements was a gladness to see that it wasn't just me and the tranquilizing waves crashing vigorously against the jagged shore. Whoever the stranger was, he wasn't alone now.

Neither was I.  

"Talk."

he tells me about the sun
and I tell him about you.


img
{Image: untitled_drawing_by_indelyde-dceus9t.png}
Vynter the Hopebringer
#3
He had woken up this morning, and something had felt different about him. He had thankfully managed to regain his hearing, but that had been a few weeks ago. What he had really wanted to change hadn't, and he had been rather melancholy about it as the days went on and nothing about his wings changed. Except when he stood up today and stretched two awkwardly large wings spread out wide from behind. At once he whipped his skull around to look, only for his eyes to grow to the size of saucers. He attempted to flap them both, gingerly, and when they both moved simultaneously a soft gasp left his lips. Without thinking he began to turn in a circle to get a closer look, and after a full rotation he stopped, studying them with great awe.

He didn't think that it would happen; ever really; but it had. He had done it, just when he was beginning to think the Trial had simply been a fluke. Letting a soft smile cross his features he stretched one forward for him to touch, nosing it tenderly and reveling in the softness of his own feathers. They were much darker at the ends than near his back; the same smoky grullo tone as the patches on his back but with dark bars along the ends. He was enthralled, overjoyed, and there was only one thing to do when you get your first set of wings.

-----

He had wasted no time in going to the Tidepools, simply because he knew that there would be enough rocks and even a small breeze that could help him with his wing strength. He had practically skipped the entire way, attempting to flap the unused muscles in order to stretch and prepare himself. He found that despite the wings being larger for his body, he walked with much more balance than when he had one. It was as if the whole alignment of his body had changed, and he would stride with great confidence along the way. What the boy failed to notice was the entire journey there was a gentle, bright smile across his ivory maw.

Before he knew it he had arrived at his destination. The birds cried out, and the smell of salt was comforting to him. It reminded him of the Edge every time he saw it. Letting his eyes flutter close for a moment he embraced the feeling of nostalgia; still moving and easily not noticing the two men in front of him. Just before he opened his eyes he wound up walking right into Rixen; causing him to jolt back and to fall flat on his buttocks. He blinked, then shook his head and looked around for the source of his falling. After a moment of brief staring, it registered who was right before him; and that once happy and bright expression turned into an uncertain neutrality.

It was him. The man who had intentionally hurt his feelings with his rude question about his wing. He swallowed hard, still having not moved from his sitting position. His wings were slightly splayed at this point, drooping enough that it could look like there was only one. Yet he paid no mind to this, only stared with guarded eyes at the man that had made him have an emotional breakdown.

Vynter
My will is a sword that cuts down anything in my way


@Seiji @Rixen
Seiji the Hopebringer
#4

Not alone; not for long. Something the color of seafoam moves on the rocks above. Or something the color of gulls, maybe. Seiji's dark eyes turn to drink it in with interest. The elegant spring of its step. The slow progress down to the pools. It approaches him, he suspects. Reflected in the liquid darkness of his eyes is the creature in miniature, the friendly prick of its ears. Seiji feels no fear.

His eyes lift to the pronged horns rising above the creature’s brow. In silence (as ever) Seiji counts them, one, two, three… Like a deer, he thinks, charmed. But then - a quick glance at the nearest thicket of trees - he wonders. Like branches? Naked curiosity blooms in his eyes and his head tilts, his game momentarily forgotten. A mangrove spirit? A god of this place? Seiji moves to meet its approach, though neither of them speaks. He wonders if it can. In place of words, his own swan’s neck bends down, down in a graceful nod, though his knee never follows the motion through. When he lifts his head once more, he is smiling. Smiling, in the brilliant black of his eyes. The expression softens his otherwise predatory features. Like light shining from the gentle soul within.

He finds he can’t articulate what he wishes to say. He nods again, more shallowly, and gestures with his nose toward the nearest trees. And back to the stranger, above the stranger, indicating the intricately tined horns. And a slight tilt of the head. His tail flicks once behind him, perhaps an expression of embarrassment. You understand? He thinks. But he doesn’t know.

Now something else moves - something not the sea. Not a bird, either - not quite. Seiji’s long neck retracts; his body recoils, preparing in an instant to flee. But no need. The newest thing is small. Just a child. A child, alone…. Seiji peers across the pools once more, searching for a mother and finding none. As if there are no mothers here. As if the monsters drop their young like eggs and leave them to the world. His heart aches at the thought.

Unless… the two are related, somehow?

Seiji blinks at the horned man again, inquiring. He thinks, no. Impossible. They’re far too different in appearance, the child with feathers and the man without. The fear in the child’s eyes…. Seiji blinks at the boy again, concerned. He moves a little forward. Hesitates. His muzzle outstretched, ears pricked. I am friendly, his posture says. I won’t hurt you. Though his eyes stray toward the feathered edge of a wing.

img by Tildae @ flickr
Rixen the Vine King
#5
RIXEN
i have late night conversations with the moon;

As I made my way toward the midnight-hued figure I wondered whether he was from this place. Few horses I met were from around here. Most of them were like me: they’d wound up here somehow amidst the chaos of their daily lives, without much of a notion why or how. Or, they’d been ripped into the Rift by that god called Kisamoa. Although, having briefly met the man, he did not strike me as much of a god. Just a very strange, beastly looking creature harboring ghastly features  I’d never seen on a horse, not even one in my homeland. 

Before my thoughts could wander further, a grey mass of fur and feathers bumped straight into my hindquarters. He came out of nowhere, shoving me slightly sideways. As he had been walking when we collided, the impact upon contact was not a large one. At least it wasn’t for me. The difference in size between us sent the child reeling backward, so that he was sitting straight up on his hindquarters. I blinked down at him, curious as to who he was. Strangely enough, I could see that the grey colt only had one wing upon his back. Didn’t most pegasi have two? The one’s I’d seen had two wings, anyway. He looked oddly familiar, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t quite place what his name was, or where I’d seen him before. When my green gaze touched his blue one, he gave me a sort of biting glare. I didn’t understand what for, though, because he was the one who’d run into me and not the other way around.

Maybe the other horse had noticed me on the rocks by now, but I did not yet turn my gaze in his direction to see if he did. Temporarily forgetting about the other stranger standing a little distance away, I lowered my antlered head so that I could properly apologize. "Sorry, little one, I didn’t see you there. Do you have parents? Perhaps you shouldn’t be wandering out by the tidepools alone. The tide’s known to be unpredictable at this time of year." I reached out with my pinkish muzzle to help, aiming to nudge the child back to his feet. I did this despite the look he’d given me moments earlier. It was my nature to try to help anyone in need of it, even when my kindness was not reciprocated. That was no matter - I expected nothing in return. 

Lifting my head again, I noticed that indeed, we had been noticed. The stranger had taken a few cautious steps in out direction. By now it was more than a few; the gap between us had closed and he now stood relatively close to us. His expression was kind, but interlaced within his forward-perked ears and outstretched muzzle, there seemed to be a slight bit of hesitation. I didn’t blame him. In the Rift, it was impossible to tell who was friend and who was foe, not at first glance. At present, the water stretching before us was gentle, the sunlight reflecting off its surface like orange paint on a blue canvas. The water was clean and soft. Gentle. If I hadn't once been a victim of a sea storm, I would have believed the facade. The water was powerful, with enough force to destroy and rival the land. 

Then again, the most innocent faces were the deadliest.

The older of the two strangers had not said anything yet, only communicating in small nods, perhaps because he was skeptical of me. That was no matter, though. I did not mind being the first to speak. "Greetings, my name is Rixen. I am from no particular place in the Rift. And you are?" I began by giving him my name, curious to know what he was doing at the Tidepools. I'd never seen him before. 

"Talk."

he tells me about the sun
and I tell him about you.


img


@Vynter @Seiji <3

Rixen doesn't recognize Vynter because of his visual agnosia.
{Image: untitled_drawing_by_indelyde-dceus9t.png}