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Open Halyven 
Rixen the Vine King
#21
Rixen
Rise and rise again until lambs become lions;
How I first came to the Rift went something like this: I had been wandering in a land which was familiar to me, a meadow if I recall correctly. A gentle whisper, that of the Rift, lured me forward, and before long my body was consumed by total darkness, perhaps that of a deep, magic-induced sleep. Somehow I must have fallen many body-lengths to the ground to get here, for I awoke on my back, covered in scrapes and bruises. Colliding with the earth at such a speed had knocked every wisp of air from my lungs, and for a moment I lay there struggling to inhale, to exhale, to do anything. That's how I felt now, trying to remember how to breathe, unable to speak, hardly able to believe what was happening in both the best and worst of ways. 

At Hope’s blessing of our herd, I was initially overcome by awe and excitement at the prospect of a home and family. A wave of warmth rushed through my body as Kiada congratulated us with a smile like a bright ray of sunshine that left my skin sunburnt. Only moments after my lips closed around the last words expressing my gratitude at being chosen to lead this new herd alongside Roscorro, however, there were horses already turning to leave. As I watched them go, I clamped my teeth tightly together in attempt to hide any sound that wanted to escape from my mouth; my heart sank. 

First was Valkyrie, a mare who I had not known for a long time, but was nevertheless sad to see go. She was upfront about her distaste for myself and Roscorro being chosen as the new leaders of Halyven. The cream-colored girl said nothing, but her expression said it all. My eye caught her mutter something under her breath, but it was the mare’s cold gaze through which one could see the vexing of her soul. A frown graced her velvet lips, hiding her clenched jaw, presumably the result of her effort to remain silent. Her supple form exuded an animosity that was like acid - burning, slicing, potent. The swelling of veins waiting to explode, the anger-driven rushing of blood could almost be felt in the damp air as Valkyrie stormed away into the gloom with no more than a flick of her tail as a goodbye. 

The second was the stranger, whose shiny coat had a velvet quality that reminded me of a raven’s ink stained plumage, I’d met at the Mangrove Tidepools not too long ago. He did not say a word - he hadn’t spoken this entire time, or as long as I’d known him, hence the reason his name remained unknown. His time among us was fleeting; he simply fled, flew, as if the wing tattoo that marked his hide like a constellation in the night sky was indeed swiftly beating, carrying him far, far away. 

Away from Halyven. 

Away from us

I knew he was trying to go silently, without interrupting the joy of the moment, but that was no matter. We all noticed. There was an empty void where he had been standing, one that could not be filled. I wanted to call after him, to tell him to stop and that we wanted him there- we needed him there. The herd depended on it. There would be no herd if everyone took their leave, a reality that dawned on me with the black stallion’s departure, and this lead me to wonder if more horses would follow in his path. Hopefully not many of them. 

It was silly of me to overlook the notion that herd life was not suited for everyone, at least not yet. Yet somehow, I had. Following suit was K’yarie, who simply stated before departing that she was all Valkyrie had. Whatever that meant. What about the herd? I did not agree with the justification, but did not move forward to stop her. My hooves held fast to the ground, unable to move as the starry mare slipped away after the fuming pegasus. No one had expected this to happen - not me, not Waker, not Roscorro, not Kiada. I could feel it in my chest - it could be seen in their faces. The turn of events was incomprehensible. This was something we could ill afford, and yet somehow it still managed to happen. But how? Why? The question echoed through my mind, bouncing back into the center of the void each time it hit a wall as if it would never be shaken. Waker was right. Things were not supposed to happen this way. The meeting had been born like the sweet melody of a gentle rain, full of promise, freshness and newness to come. Now it sat like a pool of stagnant water, waiting to be drained away. If anything, it was a disappointing and worrisome beginning to everything I’d dreamed of for so long.

Roscorro seemed to know that we could not dwell on their departure. I felt his kindly gaze resting on me and looked up, recasting my face into one of conviction, erasing the crestfallen expression that belonged to a stallion my age but not to a herd leader. Knowing there were still many things that needed to be established, I pushed my uncertainties aside and cleared my throat. "There is a secluded area of the city that would be an ideal place to settle down in. Most of the surrounding walls are still in tact, which would provide just the right amount of shelter, combined with plenty of open space for a herd of our size. I would say there is even enough room to accommodate many more, perhaps in the future." Hopefully my voice was not as shaky as I felt, even as I tried to offer Roscorro an approving nod of my antlered head. "A greenhouse would be a wise idea as well." Rather than suggesting anything more, I fell silent, unsure what else to say as I tried to make sense of it all. My eyes kept wandering, mouth pursed but slightly open and loose, like something might have wanted to come out. But nothing did. 

"TALK HERE"

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Waker
#22
You're just standing there—staring into the blackness, into the mouth of the rainy dark, but it doesn't spit any of them back in your face. There's no flash of the pale girl's cold eyes, no sign of K'yarie's softly glowing orbs, no hint of movement belonging to the stranger; there's nothing but the rain.

And it hurts.

It is a blow you hadn't been bracing for, a possibility you hadn't even considered: that they would choose to leave. Why should they? A herd meant safety, a herd meant a future, a herd meant family and friends. You have lost yours, in a land you doubt you can ever find again, and the idea that anyone would willingly walk away from it caught you by surprise.

You've always known everyone's different, driven by different things, haunted by different demons, but never has that knowledge tasted so bitter. You swallow. You won't leave, but you don't feel like going back to the circle of fire-light. You want to drift away into the heavy rain, to beat your wings against it, to fall—sickeningly, maddeningly, daringly—with the rain and break your death-sentence descent at the last moment.

You want to feel something other than this confused sense of loss and betrayal.

Roscorro looms next to you in the darkness, his muzzle touching your shoulder. He tries to comfort you, to make sense of what has just transpired, but you're just slowly shaking your head. You don't want to be sensible and forgiving.

But you bury that want—that need—too. "I'm staying," you reassure him, but your voice is rough, and had you said the words faster, they would've sounded like a snap. It's unlike you, but it's only natural that you change after what you've been through.

You don't like it, though. You cast a last glance into the darkness, before following the dragon back to the little shelter. You step into it, but you keep your eyes and head low, turned aside; your wings drop open, brushing against the stone floor. You barely hear the words they speak, your ears turned back. You're not capable of being hopeful, constructive, of moving on from what just happened.

The shit's piling up too high within you; if you don't start digging through it soon, it'll all come down on your head.

But not now. You blink desolately at the floor, letting them decide where to go, what to do. You'll follow, and you'll come around, but for now, you're just a shadow.

[ maybe get this wrapped up? :x sorry if you were waiting for me D; ]