HELOVIA || The Way to the Sun
[O] One Life [Open/ Kaj, Kahlua] - Printable Version

+- HELOVIA || The Way to the Sun (http://helovia.com)
+-- Forum: Out of Character (http://helovia.com/forumdisplay.php?fid=1)
+--- Forum: Archives (http://helovia.com/forumdisplay.php?fid=11)
+--- Thread: [O] One Life [Open/ Kaj, Kahlua] (/showthread.php?tid=15682)

One Life [Open/ Kaj, Kahlua] - Thor - 09-18-2014

Age was one of the many things that had come and gone since I’d last parted the veil between myself and Helovia. Everything I had seen and done had been hidden away in an alternate world that was certainly nothing worth repeating. So many days had passed… so many shaded days spent apologizing, drowning, losing myself… I was not foolish enough to think that I did not exist in a cloud of darkness so deep and all-consuming that I would somehow miraculously recover some years later. Yet, I knew that my heart could no longer resist the urge to return and that seemed to be one of the more pressing matters I’d faced of late. To say that I had left in a sudden fit of cowardice could probably be described as completely accurate, but with so many moments of pain, of remembrance, of tender submission between who I was and who I am now, I no longer believe in the fear that forced me from the World’s Edge- my home.

My memory is but an empty room now, filled with hazy faces and ultimately frightening circumstances that I wasn’t sure I’d ever want to call upon again. But I knew that upon facing the line between my restlessness and my desire to taste the briny air of the Edge. However, Helovia provided me another strange discomfort as I braced myself upon its borders, questioning everything that had led me once again to the threshold of all I had once believed to be my downfall. I paced and rumbled like a lion along the outer forest, all the while painfully battling the instinct to run once again to the shadows that had offered me solace and grim company during my days alone. Alone… utterly alone.

It was frightful. It was destruction. My destruction. I knew that I’d strayed from all the things I’d built in order to obtain the future I’d once imagined as glorious and immortal. But of course mortality had shown its face, her smile twisted into a fierce grin that resembled reality. I’d lost the battle against life just as Tamira did so long ago and had she remained with me as a reminder of the many moments I’d wasted worrying over anything and everything that was not my own duty as a Leader to the Edge. Now I was nothing, a mere outcast in the eyes of the many new faces I was sure I’d encounter flourishing within the lands I had once claimed as mine. It was frightening. It was heart-wrenching. My pain was insurmountable.

It took all of the strength I had to lift a single chipped hoof across the line and into the land I knew could bring me fortune or pain. I hesitated there for what felt like an eternity before finally heaving a deep sigh and continuing on, head down. I prayed that I did not come across a single familiar face because I was no longer the King that any of those that could even remember would recall. The life of a rogue was a rough one. My bones had come to strengthen under the barren, dry terrain I’d learned to traverse after my departure. However, unlike Helovia, the wilds knew naught of sustaining me. I ate when I could and sheltered myself from the unknown until I was finally comfortable enough to search for grazing grounds once again. There wasn’t much free time to think and perhaps that’s why I preferred the life of a vagabond. But it was lonely. I missed so many faces and yet feared them and how they would react upon my return. Would they shun me? Would they accept me? Could I even return now that I knew I would return without entitlement, without my land to call my own?

It took a half day to once again find myself at the doorstep of everything I’d ever known. This home, this power over my heart, and most of all, the one thing that drove me from my self-imposed isolation had been tempting me for some time now. It had called to me in my dreams and even in my waking moments. I could recall many images of the regal Mirage and I wondered then if she was still sitting on the throne. However, I was terrified to face her… I was afraid that I’d let her down… Yet, I was afraid of nothing. I had survived so many cold, lonely nights. Surely if there was something in this life that was meant to kill me, it would have been the loneliness I’d experienced in the woods those long nights. I had lived life hadn’t I? I had embraced love, mourned death, suffered loneliness, and now… I had faced my every fear. I had returned.

My voice lifted. It carried with it all the sorrow I’d seen. It burdened the heft of my past kingship, my happiness… it carried all I had ever been upon the many notes that sounded almost song-like. Find me again. Welcome this soul as friend and brother, as I once was. My legs trembled with nerves and though I knew I was still an imposing beast, I was not what I once was at my prime. My ribs told stories of hunger and my hips echoed their tales as they shifted beneath a pelt of dim, dusted, rust. The sheen that had once caught the sunlight upon my neck and rump in the wild, knotted weaving of my youth had greyed with age and though still handsome, I was not the image of a King. I’d learned to wear my cape well- I was but a wanderer once again.

However, I knew that while my body projected my hardships for all to see, my eyes still danced with a fire that I knew would never die. As they surveyed all that I’d left behind, I smiled. It was such a queer feeling that smile… My lips felt as though they were stretched and cracked and yet there was an echo of a feeling that made it all feel natural. I was home. I was HOME!

I was home…

RE: One Life [Open/ Kaj, Kahlua] - Kahlua - 09-19-2014

Having taken a trip to the sky island once again, checked things at the tent, and otherwise occupied her time, the queen made time to return to her Edge homeland once again. She moved with purpose across the land, her glass basket settled daintily in her mouth. On the bottom, there were a variety of orange and purple feathers, a gray one, a mechanical scorpion that clicked and whirred and a music box that was silent for the time being. On her withers, his forelimbs stretched up onto her neck and his head between her ears enjoying the breeze, Khan rode with her. His claws were tightly entangled in her mane.

She had only known him a moment, but all of her apprehension about love and letting him into her mind was gone. She had tried to shield herself, tried to protect herself, but there had been no rhyme or reason to her worries. Kaj had been correct all along- she had been foolish and frightened, unreasonable in her desires to avoid loving him for fear of a past that had been filled with cruelty in the name of love. She went to the Edge now to find him, as he was not on the island, to tell him, to reveal what she had come to learn through only weeks of interaction with the little feathered beast that rode on her back.

As she crossed the shattered glass border, bouncy trot carrying her lightly through the small and large fragments of deranged glass, she actually smiled to be back in her homeland. She had been worrying so much about troubles and weights on her shoulders but she had finally found that there could be a lightness to these. She only needed to find her king, to face him, to tell him. So she searched, and searched, and the day grew long and still she wandered the Edge, periodically calling her king’s name, Khan’s draconian song occasionally adding to the call. But the Stormbringer was nowhere to be seen. At least not for the moment.

But Kahlua’s mind was relieved of her worry about Kaj’s strange disappearance when a call rang out from the border. Frowning at having to interrupt her search, the painted woman gathered her basket and moved back towards the glass wall. In fact, as she reached the crumbling structure and noticed who stood just beyond, she nearly dropped her basket on the ground as her mouth opened in shock. Slowly she settled it on the ground, to save it from cracking, but other than this deliberate motion the queen was amazingly quiet and still.

Her head, riding a high as it had been, suddenly crashed back to earth. Almost without thought, her ears went back upon her head. She had worked so hard for this queendom, was almost coming to accept herself as leader and accept her responsibilities as necessarily, was ready to accept a life of love with her king, and here he had come back to take it all from her? Had he come back just a week or two in the past she would have gladly handed it over to him, bowed down to him and let him steal the troubles from her shoulders, but now? Now she could not.

“Thor?” her voice came, but the soprano sound was almost cold- quite unlike the doting, sing-song tones he would have known. Sensing his bonded’s disquiet, the feathered dragon jumped from the Sunshower’s back, scampering to stand in front of her, young though he was. As he did so, he accidentally scurried across the button that made her music box play. The beautiful song was usually calming to her, but now it only sounded eerily out of place as its happy melody cut through the tension that stood between her and the draft beast across the border.

@[Thor]- do you want to be tagged every time? Glad to see you back!!

Here Comes The Sun
Schwartze @ Da

RE: One Life [Open/ Kaj, Kahlua] - Thor - 09-19-2014

The autumn air felt cool against my face but it tasted of salt and the impending winter. I knew that once the cold of Frostfall fell over the Edge, the roaring of the waves against the cliff would cause the frozen breeze to send a biting chill down my spine. I had missed the sea almost as much as I’d missed all those familiar faces. Ultimately my former fortitude looked unchanged aside from sporadic slabs of glass littering the borders alongside the Edge. In many ways the shattered glass reminded me of my plight; we both needed repair and I knew that neither would find as much without the efforts of the family we had failed to protect. Had I come sooner, would I have found the remnants of my home so damaged? It made me wonder where my loyalties truly lie and that in itself pulled at my heart until a soft ache thudded faintly against my breast. I could not help but feel so small standing here like some strange newcomer, foreign to the eyes that would soon befall me. However, I could not run anymore from myself and this part of my heart. I had loved so strongly all that the Edge stood for and whether or not I returned its King, I would return all the same. I would serve its purpose as I once had with just as much faith and determination. After all, I hadn’t forgotten the animal I’d discovered within myself in the wilds.

He still sulked in the recesses of my mind, prodding me whenever possible to hold whatever ground I could stand on. He was a ruthless imitation of myself and though I felt no reason to call upon him here in the comfort of my home, I knew that he waited in the deep, eagerly anticipating the moment I once again whispered his name. However, all thoughts of his existence vanished upon seeing a painted figure in the distance. Recognition seemed to reach into my clouded thoughts and pull name after name from the endless well until I was finally able to hazily agree that this vision of beauty was indeed a mare I’d once known as Kahlua. Fragmented pieces of memory came together and I could suddenly recall meeting the young Lady long ago in the Threshold. I had invited her home with me, to this very beginning she ought to know well. I glanced to the crystal basket she carried between her jowls. It was a beautiful craft that must have taken weeks to complete… At some point I knew that she had been an apprentice under Lace, but I was unsure of where she had ended up. As she lowered her head to place the glass artistry at her feet, I couldn’t find it within myself to look away. It was so pristine in comparison to the broken wall that I almost laughed at the crude comparison of myself now and who I was before I disappeared.

When I brought my eyes back to the carrier of the fine basket, I couldn’t help but feel suddenly confused. She stood there, stilled by what appeared to be shock as she tore through my excitement with her apprehension. My name was a bare syllable upon her tongue and it came in on what sounded like a hushed breath. For a moment I was stunned. Had I been so forgotten that my return would strike these souls into speechlessness? Shock my family into shy acceptance? Had I been wrong to come back? The hurt welled up from within so strong and so fast that I felt the light that had been building since my homecoming was all but extinguished. I felt my resolve fading and weakening its hold on my being and finally, I let the cold cradle me once again in her arms.

He returned with me.

Kahlua’s voice fell flat before us and the strange tune in which she sung my name felt somewhat cool. Her eyes did not appear to see me, or perhaps she did not want to see me standing here at the doorstep of the Edge. But why? I took a moment to process this queer situation before nodding slowly. “I must be.” I had gone, but I had come back. Surely that meant something to her and when she did not step aside to let me pass through the fragile wall, I huffed slightly. I glanced past her a time or two in hopes that I would catch sight of Mirage parting the mists to greet me. But she never came. “Mirage… where is she? It’s important I speak with her.” From what I’d come to know of the little shadow mare, she only left the Edge on important business. I wondered what had happened that she would find it in herself to step away from her throne. Fixing my eyes back on the painted Lady, I waited for explanation. I refused to wear my emotions on my sleeve and instead gazed through her, still wistfully hoping to catch a sight of my Queen.

OOC | No, you don’t have to tag me and thanks! I can’t wait to get this thread rolling!

RE: One Life [Open/ Kaj, Kahlua] - Kahlua - 09-19-2014

The Sunshower tried to assess her emotions as she watched this stranger across the border, this face she hadn’t seen in months and seasons, but grasp as she might at straws with descriptors, she could not find one that fit. Angry? No, that wasn’t exactly right. She was happy to see him, in her own right. Glad, then? But that was wrong too, because there was no joy in her that could bring a smile to her face. Worried? Maybe, but she knew Kaj would protect her should this beast ever turn on her and attempt to become a usurper. Sad? No, that was wrong too.

The straw she kept trying to find was nowhere to be seen, nowhere to be found, but perhaps it was more a thought than an emotion that was troubling her. The return of the winged draft brought thoughts and memories of the Dragon Heart, whom Kahlua had seen in her ferocious gold-scaled form. Kaj or not, there would be no fending off the midnight queen when she returned to the Edge. The crown that had been granted to her by the very Moon Goddess herself would be stolen, a coup raised from beneath her hooves and she powerless to stop it. Kahlua rarely thought things forward in time, but this was a future she could see with great clarity.

Still, the queen could not help but notice the way his eyes lingered on her basket, the little thing she had made for herself so long ago. There were some scuffs here and there where, in her more jubilant moments, she had accidentally scuffed it against a tree or a branch, but it had held together well and there were no cracks to divide the solidified mist. While she waited for a response, she lowered her nose to blow gently across the back of the feathered blue, to reassure him in this moment that there was no need for concern. A draconian gurgle escaped from his lips as he spread his wings, preparing for the arrival of the black mare he had seen in the Sunshower’s mind.

But the black mare never came, except as a word on Thor’s lips, following several impatient glances over her shoulder. It only strengthened her resolve to remain rooted in place. “I don’t know where she is. I haven’t known for a year.” When the mists had come last winter, enveloping them all in their embrace, Mirage had disappeared. Kahlua was not so naïve as to think her former queen dead, but she could not be in Helovia anymore or the Moon Goddess would not have chosen the painted woman to lead, she was certain. “I’m queen now,” she said, her voice becoming somewhat softer, because she was not meant to play the hardened warrior. “Anything you need to say, you can say to me.” Was this the queen finally stepping, really stepping, into her royal shoes?

He had been kind to her so long ago when they had first met, taking her in when he hadn't had to, but she had come to learn that past niceties did not prevent present crimes. She was learning from her mistakes and she was trying not to let him become another one.

Here Comes The Sun
Schwartze @ Da

RE: One Life [Open/ Kaj, Kahlua] - Thor - 09-19-2014

When I had thought that the Fall air breathed new life into me, I had been wrong. When I had thought that my home was only a few steps away from becoming just that… I stood corrected. When I had thought that Mirage would find a way to heal the fragmented, stony bits of my heart, I was wildly disappointed to hear otherwise. The ache in my chest bloomed with fire, burning my lungs and robbing me of my essence. It rocked my soul with such ferocity that I wasn’t sure how long my legs would be able to stand beneath me. Instead, I turned away, my eyes seeking something… anything that would distract the awful pain that ripped through my body. My shoulders sagged, finally hinting at the toll I had suffered in the wilds. My head fell, finally showcasing the fool that had let death keep him from himself. But it was all for naught. This Lady, this painted stranger was the one I was to call my Queen- there was no doubt in that. With a sullen nod, I bowed before her despite the burning I felt in my legs at the demeaning fashion in which I fell.

When I straightened once more, my eyes held hers with an intensity that I was unsure could even be my own. I looked within those cerulean eyes and hoped to find something there that I could put my faith in. I stepped closer, allowing my heft to create a thundering acoustic song upon the hardening ground. “Queen?” I seemed to be testing the word out on my tongue as I gazed at her, still searching her face with a grave expression of doubt... I’d had no trouble letting go this time. There was nothing left inside that wasn’t already broken and I let him in with little resistance. “And Mirage… is gone.” I glanced past her once again, hoping that this would all be one huge joke, a prank played upon the deceitful. However, Mirage did not appear against my silent, desperate wishes. I turned, fully now, on my hocks intending to gaze up and down the wall in search of her despite the sinking realization that she would never appear within these walls again. I paced a small line before this imposter, turning tight circles until I locked my gaze on her once again- this time with determination.

And what knowledge have you on her plans to rule this land? Who deemed you fit?” I tried to bite back the words but they came without consequence; I could not render them quiet. My emotions warred inside my head, rolling back and forth between confusion, anger, and sadness. She was gone. I couldn’t blame this innocent for Mirage’s departure and yet I could blame no one else in that moment. The tension that coiled within my muscles seemed to string me so tight that my back felt as if a rod had straightened me into a statuesque sculpture of my own creation. I had chiseled my neck into submission until I was unsure how long I could survive in this rigid state of pure destruction. I didn’t know where to go from here; my world had been completely ripped apart from the seams. “Do you understand what shoes you fill here? What duties?” I seemed to prey on her soft resolve as she stood before me, my eyes finally resting on her in question as they would a disobedient child. I tried on many occasions to reign in my desire to interrogate her until she finally told me where Mirage had retired to, but the pure shock I had witnessed upon her seeing me had been enough to convince me.

Mirage was truly gone.

Forgive me Kahlua.” The words seemed to grind from between my teeth like a weed that I had foolishly grabbed alongside some meadow grass. But how could she ever understand? I refused to believe that this youthful girl could ever come to understand my plight. “I had come in hopes of finding refuge within these walls… as you know they were once my own.” With the truth finally hanging between us like a silent threat, I finally relented. I had not come in search of war, I had come in search of comfort and repair… but she had stolen that from me, my Queen. Mirage had gone and only the Gods would know why. The shadow mare had given up on me as well. “I just can’t believe she’s gone.” I couldn’t help the tremble in my voice as I stared beyond to the cliff’s edge seeking out the soothing melody of the waves. Surely they would hear me as I stood so close and yet so far away from everything I had ever known. I feared the future and where I might end my road and that was a thing that strangled my soul into a pain so deep and irreversible that I was sure I’d never recover from this.

RE: One Life [Open/ Kaj, Kahlua] - Kaj - 09-20-2014


The desert journey had been fruitful, but in it there had been a hollowness, a realization that time had truly passed. Onni was absent, her place taken up by another as a healer, and the stag had been oblivious to the magnitude of the absence he felt in such a profound way until it became apparent to him that she was missing. A friendly face that did not stir up emotions that confused the foreign King would have been a blessed change, but it was not to be. Fiore's company had been pleasant, in ways Kaj was more than grateful for. Without the quiet fortitude of his companion, Kaj likely would have lingered for far too long in the wilds of Helovia, seeking the peace of mind that was ever evasive in recent seasons. Conflict seemed an ineradicable companion, infesting the once-sacred confines of the King's mindspace, traveling alongside him with a mocking grin and vapid eyes deeper and blacker than the sorrows plaguing him. Even still he lingered in the dwindled trees outside the Edge, nigh dreading his return; not because he was lacking in any desire when it came to love for the crown he held claim to, but because Kahlua was sure to be held within due to their agreement prior to his journey to the sands of the south.

His approach couldn't have been more timely, regardless, for the boundaries had been traversed by the weary King though he kept a more relative distance from the shattered skeleton of the wall. A broad form, distantly familiar, stood toe to toe with his Queen on the borders, their voices permeating the air as Kaj stood in silent fortitude on the sidelines. Listening, awaiting what Kahlua had to say, appraising the changes she displayed since he had first gone absent. Thor, his mind idly supplied, barely a whisper. They had battled together, been promoted together though to different positions. Once upon a time, it was the Gentle Heart who had been King. WeyrLeader, in fact. But as the title had changed with time, so had the one who occupied the position.

And that was his Queen Thor was preying upon.

Golden giant strode forward, eyes glittering in detached shades of azure, intercepting, blocking the snap of words with a quiet look of disapproval. Thor was still a long-lost brother, after all, but his words were unwarranted. A deep rumble pervaded the air before his words followed alongside the sound of his lyrics, wings perched in a readied manner. A warning and nothing more. Protective as he stepped between the two, pausing purposefully before moving to Kahlua's side. A united front. "Please control your grief, Thor, and mind your tongue. Kahlua is undeserving of such accusations." Though the words are stern, the deliverance is understanding, coated in soft sympathy but bordering a thick line of disapproval. Apologies come in time, as Kaj had anticipated. Thor's title, the Gentle Heart, did not come without purpose after all. It held a resonating truth, and the stance of the pale King softened as the apparent grief on Thor's rugged features tugged on heartstrings, reminding Kaj of the hole Mirage had left in his own heart.

Stepping forward as the deep voice dwindled into nothingness, Kaj offered pale muzzle to the fallen leader he had once fought beside, trained with, struggled with. Though they had never established a brotherhood like the one he held with Destrier, the bond they shared was still prominent, and having to reprimand the older - when had he aged so much? It seemed unreal... - soldier was difficult. Hoping the other brute would accept his touch, Kaj's vocal rumbled out for Thor's ears only, soft and empathetic. "You have been missed, brother. We have all mourned Mirage's disappearance...but the Edge will always be your home." Though it had been phrased towards the painted lass behind him, Kaj knew he could never turn away Thor, especially not after he had learned of the disappearance of the shadow mare from Helovia.

"If you wish, it would lift my heart to have you among us once more, Gentle Heart." Sincere beryl eyes sought the distraught visage of his brother, sharing with him the memory of Mirage, the agony of losing her. Kaj doubted he would ever recover from such an absence, would ever cease feeling the ache of her removal. In such a way, Thor would never be alone in how he felt.


RE: One Life [Open/ Kaj, Kahlua] - Kahlua - 09-21-2014

Were she smarter, she might have thought the pegasus’ bow to be mocking or disdainful, the way he fell to his knees before her nothing more than a sham. But mocking or not, the queen held her head high and watched him commit himself to the task. Her steady gaze remained upon him, head held level, eyes dropping down. The frost drake below watched, wings still spread, stance still protective, as the last sounds of her music box drifted off. The foreboding end to the song was matched by the foreboding look in the king emeritus’ eyes; yet, the queen stood strong. She would not be bullied in her own home by some stranger she had once called friend. So while he looked, while he paced, while he tested her right to call herself queen, she watched him with silent determination. If this was her test, she would pass. She could be strong, given the chance, she only had to have a cause she could rally behind. This was certainly one of them.

So when his hateful words finally came, biting against her, she hardly even flinched. Old habits die hard, of course, and the shimmer of a growing tear began to rest on the corner of her eye- but she would not cry. Or, at least, she told herself she wouldn’t. And, in fact, his words found an anger in her that she did not remember she possessed. Perhaps it was because he had known her when she had just arrived, when she had still claimed some of the personality she had been given in Satan’s cathedral in Avalon as her own. But two years had seen her grow and change, the darkness that had been instilled within her from a young age had dissolved. But perhaps there were flickers of the strength and callousness she had known back then still hiding within her, since her mouth opened, ready to snap back at him in aggression. How dare he come here and open his mouth so freely.

But she was saved from doing something stupid, something childish and spontaneous, with the arrival of her king. Oh, that very king she had been seeking when she came back to the Edge… what joy that she had found him, but now was not the time to reopen old wounds and try to repair the damage that had settled there. Her words could wait.

As Kaj strode between then, Khan scuttled backwards from his hooves, gurgling out some draconian caw at the beast who dare to try and trample him. Kahlua did nothing to quiet him, upholding her history of inattentive mother, so the chattering went on for a few moments as Kaj spoke and moved to stand beside her. But still the queen was silent, weighing new words as Thor offered apologies to an angry outburst. But how could she not forgive him? She was certain there were times she had burst with emotion only to immediately regret what she had said. She tipped her nose to him, but did not go so far as to extend a muzzle like Kaj. She had been attacked, her feelings hurt, and though she may happily call him friend again in time, she was still a mass of confusion and fright in the moment.

“It doesn’t matter who deemed me fit,” she said then when all of the males had finished speaking, not willing to let Thor’s angry questions go unanswered. This time, she did not shuffle closer to Kaj and turn her muzzle to pull strength from him. She had her own and she would use it. “My herd, my king,” she inclined her muzzle just slightly towards Kaj, “deem me fit now, and that is enough.” How to say the next part without hurting him? She doubted she could, though she would try, but she felt in her heart that she needed to show her superiority to him now so that he would not rise up against her in the future. “I think I understand better than you what shoes and duties I fill here. I know the weights of this position as much as you must have felt them, and we must be somewhat the same in that we ran from them when they became too much, but I’m different than you in one aspect.” She paused a moment, just a breath, the rub of her companion against her leg her strength his time as she finished. “I come back.”

Her ears rose from her head then, the tear that had dared to form shrinking away. She was regal in the morning light, her head held high and her body strong, the queen the moon goddess might have imagined Kahlua to be when the Lady of the Night had named the Sunshower to this position. “As Kaj says, you are welcome to join us, the Edge is your home as much as it is mine, but you would do well to remember that our plans for the herd are not, and do not have to be, Mirage’s plans for the herd. I am not her, and don’t dare to try to be her, but I am capable… just as she was.” And with that the queen fell silent, a sigh drifting from her lips, which dared to turn up into a smile. The effort to be strong, to defend herself, her home, her king, her leadership, had taxed her even in only the few moments she had been speaking, and she just wanted to be herself again. Slowly, she dared to reach out her nose, to offer it to Thor in a show of kindness, a show of welcoming, if he would accept it after she had responded so strongly to his demands. And then, cautiously, she stepped back, allowing him passage into the Edge if he would wish it. His home, if he wanted it.

Here Comes The Sun
Schwartze @ Da

RE: One Life [Open/ Kaj, Kahlua] - Thor - 09-22-2014

It was almost surreal, the way that Kaj now carried himself. I could recall the way I once held my head just a bit higher, my shoulders shifted forward, my neck in a perfect arch…. Kingship had a way of making you face so many things and with that came a change in demeanor. I couldn’t help but feel as though it suited the Golden Knight, my dear friend and brother, Kaj. In fact, even as he threw himself between Kahlua and myself, I couldn’t find it within my heart to be angered by such a natural reaction. How could I blame him for wearing responsibility like a second skin? I sure as hell hadn’t been able to. But the obvious walls between us seemed to sear through my chest like Hades’ arrow, halting just before it burned through my ribs and causing my heart to throb with an ache so deep I was unsure if I could bring myself to greet him. His stern gaze was enough to make me nod in apology as I slowly became aware of the knowledge of how weak I’d become. I’d lost so much- Tamira, Mirage… my daughter. I had failed so many and ultimately forgotten myself. It was time to wear the sackcloth and ashes; it was time to redeem myself. “I am sorry to you both, but I must say my peace.” I looked to Kahlua, knowing that she would need to hear this. I had seen so much in her already- the uncertainty had overwhelmed her only moments ago, but Kaj made her strong.

I could not find dysfunction in love and it was something I could see so clearly now. Perhaps my return had been too much for her to handle while settling into what it meant to wear the crown, but Kaj gave her reason to stand up and that alone made my lips turn ever so slightly. I had missed that look in her cerulean eyes... “I feel as though I need to address the obvious because my return could mean a plethora of things for you both, the first being that I come seeking leadership once again… in which I do not. However, your Queen did not welcome me with such open arms and I can only assume she thought I meant to threaten her position.” I could not help but glance towards the painted Lady with a look of severe sincerity. She had not witnessed the many months I’d spent in the wilds with only my own thoughts to keep me company. I’d obviously lost touch with common mannerisms. “I didn’t come back to condemn the only place I’ve ever called home, so I would hope that you could understand my surprise to find out that everything has changed… drastically.” I wasn’t sure how to react when Kaj leaned forward with his muzzle extended to my own; it was entirely new and yet entirely familiar all at once. I gazed at him for a moment until I felt it borderline offensive before I finally reached my slender snout towards him in friendly submission. His kindness felt so alien after so much time alone that it was strange to feel so elated by a simply touch.

I wasn’t sure what they saw in me now, though I doubted it was much. I’d not only lost my sanity to the wilds and the isolation, but I’d also lost much of my bodily mass. My height and stature were still decidedly recognizable, but my bones and my skin and my entire being felt old and worn far beyond my years. Would the whole of Helovia even recognize me for who I used to be? In some ways I hoped they would forget me and my rule over the Edge. I had failed. There was no point in remembering that- not now and not ever. Turning to Kaj with a heavy mist in my eyes that suggested my halfhearted daydreaming, I dropped my gaze in acceptance. These faces were too kind, too deserving of better…. Kaj and Kahlua were apt Leaders in my eyes. They had picked up the Edge when its past had decided to flee. They had connected the pieces and put what was broken back together again. “But, in spite of all that has happened for each and every one of us, I would like to once again call these walls my home. They have sheltered me from hurt and deceit and they have given me life and a family. Without this place, without these familiar faces… I am nothing.” My heart seemed to sing with the words and perhaps tears followed in their path, but I cared little for their admission of defeat. No matter how much I had to convince myself that I was not a coward for coming back or for needing those who made the World’s Edge home, I was just happy to here- to be back.

Of course I knew that I would have to face opposition in many different forms, but Kahlua had been the first to demonstrate the height of my failures. Her words sailed across the air, tracing a path to my heart with razor-like precision until she cut through the flesh into the guilt weighing heavy on my mind. But I was not so unfeeling to admit that it didn't cut deep. I respected the painted mare immensely and though I knew that I would have to face her anger towards my misdeeds eventually, I’d assumed that her arrows wouldn’t be so direct. My eyes rested on her for what felt like an eternity before she finally quieted, her stance transforming over the duration of her speech until she was finally standing upright. I glanced down to her feet where her once prattling companion finally rested silently and smiled. A beautiful creature it was… rivalling the mare herself in confidence and determination in what I would call a perfect match. Softly, I raised my eyes to Kahlua, hoping that she would find the fire within them that I had tended to even in the cold of seclusion. I had once served Mirage in such a fashion as I now planned to serve this painted Lady and her King; my heart, my resolve, and my strength were now hers. Though Kahlua had finally fit her feet into the shoes I’d questioned only moments ago, I had found a Leader in her that had been elusive to me until now.

My Queen-” When I finally lifted my face towards her, I noticed not only a softness in her eyes but also a fortitude that I had not witnessed before. She would be a fine Leader with practice and while I had hoped that my return was not what had rendered such, I was glad that I had been able to bring out a side of her that she had so long needed to see. “-you are indeed as capable as any and I would hope that you would accept me not only as part of your family but as your protector. Mirage would be proud…” Though the shadow mare’s name seemed to sting my tongue upon arrival, I could not be more swayed and distracted by any two individuals who had come together to keep one land united. It had taken much of myself to accept so much change, but how could I demean my family? After all, they had stepped up when I had chosen to back down.

With that, I reached out my muzzle purposefully to connect with the one mare who had been strong enough to follow in the footsetps of Mirage the Dragonheart.

RE: One Life [Open/ Kaj, Kahlua] - Kaj - 09-26-2014


Kaj withheld a snrot of surprise and a jump of hoof upon noticing Khan. He had not known Kahlua had bonded, and briefly a sense of bitterness settled upon him like a cloak. Why had Kahlua not shared with him that she had found, or won, an egg? But there were more important matters at hand, old ghosts come to life standing before him, the honor of his Queen to defend. Though it seemed she was not in need of such, if the bite of her words and the proud tilt of her crown was any indication. A terse nod was allowed to Thor to speak his sentiments, though an innate wariness lingered in the crystallized cerulean of his eyes as Kaj awaited what the behemoth thought he had to shake from his chest like a fresh dusting of snow after a noon nap. "Of course. We are bonded old, speak freely." Foreign tongue did not always translate well into Helovian dialect, but the intention was the same. Discernible at least. A twitch of the jaw on the soldier's face was the only giveaway that Thor's words held any needles. None held any personal indication of Kaj, focusing wholly upon Kahlua through most of his sympathies, and the King nodded along every once in a while to show he was attentively listening and respecting the beast's words. "An understandable fear and reaction, from you both. It is over, let forgiveness come in however long it takes. There are better topics to move on to."

Hesitation was something Kaj had anticipated. Helovians seemed ever reluctant to engage in touch and physical companionship, platonic it may be. In the end, as he had also suspected, Thor gave in and their muzzles met in a firm embrace. Kaj greedily inhaled his air, the scent clicking into place like a missing jigsaw piece, a lock's chambers finally unwinding with the proper key. Memories of dark eyes and kind smiles, lengthy patrols and robust laughter shared between the three stallions. Bowing their heads to Mirage, shared smiles and secret jokes, sympathetic eyes after a particularly harrowing spar. Older times. Kaj wished he could make a blanket of that scent, wrap himself in it forever and forget his sorrows and worries. But times had changed, seasons had shifted and passed in numerous amounts since Thor had ruled. Such a wish was impossible to grant, and foolish to desire. And so Kaj pulled away.

"No, broer. Even without us, you are Thor, the Gentle Heart. First and foremost. But we welcome you with old love in our hearts. These walls are forever yours." Whether Kahlua agreed or disagreed, Kaj would push the subject. Thor was his once brother-in-arms, he had taken orders from him and once sworn to protect him. It seemed fate had deemed the roles to now be reversed. Pride was fierce in Kaj's breast as Kahlua took the floor, with a fire he hadn't seen in her before. He was rather...awestruck. And plainly showing it on his face, shocked as he was. A grin melted onto his lips, azure gems nearly glowing with the emotion. Had she changed in his brief journey to the sands of the south? What had changed her to this beautiful flame? Sure, Kaj had suspected it lay within her grasp, but he had never anticipated her reaching out and claiming it as her own.

Leaving the two to their patching up, he merely looked on, a guardian, and observed. How much had changed in the short time since he'd been gone?


RE: One Life [Open/ Kaj, Kahlua] - Kahlua - 09-28-2014

So many words, emotions, feelings; dredged up by the return of the king emeritus, by the present king, by Khan at her feet ‘protecting’ her. But she was finding her strength, and even though her emotions must have been written sincerely upon her face (for Thor echoed them truly enough when he claimed she was worried about her throne), she felt at peace with herself and with this newfound bravery that had settled into her bones. Was it that she was growing older and her priorities were changing? Whatever the case, she hoped that age would not take away the light-heartedness that had saved her after so many nightmare-filled midnights. It was the only part of her that she really knew, really loved, and that she really felt set her apart from the blackness that marred her past.

The gentle accent of her king at her side, struggling for words that likely didn’t translate as well as he wanted them to, gave her peace from her ponderings though, and she let the men speak their words back and forth. Kaj almost seemed to know just want to say to calm the mood when her childish emotions rose high and steered her down a strange path. The Sunshower’s eyes danced between then, and when she was bored they danced to the sky or the trees or to Khan who had settled into a more peaceful, but still guarded, position between her hooves. Periodically, he would ruffle his feathers, as if to remind the others he was still there, but he seemed to understand the sort of truce that had been achieved between the trio.

But truly, Kahlua was glad when the tension was gone. To hear Thor call her queen without animosity, to hear Kaj say that he would be welcomed into the land, Kahlua smiled. The touch of Thor’s muzzle upon her own was like sealing the package; to have him home felt right. It felt… normal. And normal was really what she had been looking for, for so long. “I hope she would be proud,” Kahlua decided on at last, in reference to Mirage. The idea of the blackened queen still left the painted woman uneasy, but she could let that rest for now. “The Edge will always welcome you,” she added then, echoing Kaj’s sentiments. “Now go, rest; you must be tired after your journey. I’d love to hear all about it, when you feel up to it.” And she genuinely did want to know, but Thor certainly deserved rest as well.

Stepping back, nudging Khan along with her, she gave Thor room to pass through the shattered remains of the wall and into the Edge.

Here Comes The Sun
Schwartze @ Da