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Author Topic: You Can Catch the Wind  (Read 259 times)

Description: tag; Epiphany

Offline Squall Thrainsson

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You Can Catch the Wind
« on: Jan 08, 18, 06:33:01 PM »
She was too close to the border. Too close to danger.

Glory Glade was supposed to be safe. Was supposed to be about as far from the hoard, from the den of evil, from the sickness and the sorrow, as possible. The Brood shouldn't even know where it was, or that it existed (at least that was what he liked to believe) - and yet it was still far too dangerous for her to be this close to the edge of the warding without protection.

She was too precious for such risks - and seeing her alone, unguarded, surrounded by the thicket of trees that would hide an intruder just as much as they may hide her (and presently hid himself), was enough to make a growl rumble low in his chest. It was a sound that had been rare the last the Lady had known him, despite the nature of his Caste, and one he did well to smother now lest it reveal his presence. No, back then he'd expended a lot of energy smoothing his temper, siphoning it off, so that whenever he did get riled enough that perhaps he'd be a bit undignified he'd be able to cover it, control it.

But.. there was no one else out here. No one to give that bubbling rage to. That burning, electric edge that he seemed to barely balance on - a knife-edge tightrope that he just barely kept himself from falling off.

So he smothered the sound more physically, pressing a hand over his mouth so that his lips were curling against his palm rather than the open air.

Squall Thrainsson was a wilder man these days, living in an exile that was mostly self-imposed, and the woman kneeling by the base of the grandmother willow whose boughs he was presently hiding in was Lady Epiphany. She was lovely, and she was his Queen - and this was the closest he'd allowed himself to get to her since he'd begun haunting the wood surrounding Glory Glade some six months prior. Well, as close as he'd come to her while she was conscious. There was one instance, in the fading summer, where she'd curled up in the moss for a rest and he'd allowed his feet to touch the ground. For just an instant he stood there in the open, a hand half raised to her and his body leaning forward as if he would go to her...

Then she'd stirred and half a breath later he was up in the canopy again, several trees away. She hadn't woken, and he kept the sketch he'd made of her folded and shielded so it wouldn't actually crease, in the breast pocket he'd sown into the inside of his shirt - to keep her beside his heart.

Right now, though, she wasn't sleeping. She was awake, and she was too deep in the wood. She was unguarded and that was dangerous. He knew that she was speaking with the trees, that she was communing with the forest around him, and not a small part of him tightened with mixed worry and hope that maybe, just maybe, the trees would tell her he was here. That maybe they'd passed along all the little things he'd quietly pleaded with them to tell her.

He licked his lips and watched her. Maybe this time, at the very least, they'd listen. Because it was too dangerous here. Because she was so deep in the wood. Unprotected.

A slow breath, and he moved silently in toward the massive trunk of the great grandmother. He pressed his forehead to her rough skin, then let out his breath in a sigh. In a voice so quiet it couldn't hardly be considered even a whisper, he murmured a request.

"Please, Grandmother... tell her to go home. It's too dangerous out here and I... I'd be useless to protect her." His fingers curled around the Purple Dusk he wore about his neck, and the memory of the powerful Green he'd never even had the chance to set flashed through his mind beside that spike of fear that always came with any lingering thought or memory of those monsters who had taken him. Who had tortured him. Who had ruined him. If they attacked Epiphany... would he be able to do anything? Or would his cowardice get the best of him and cause him to freeze in fear - just watching as they destroyed the last bit of light in his world?

Offline Epiphany Estinaria

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Re: You Can Catch the Wind
« Reply #1 on: Jan 09, 18, 04:33:17 AM »
Epiphany fell deeper in love with Glory Glade each passing day. There was still the business of ruling, which she had been trained to do her entire life, sitting at her mother's feet in the throne room of Eddersea as a toddler, being carried on her hip through meetings and caring for the land. Dulcimer had intended her only child to inherit her District when the time came. That was the future Epiphany had see for herself, yet something very different had manifested.

The years she had spent carrying her mother's rule on her young shoulders while Dulcimer slept the longest sleep, separated from her daughter no matter how many hours Epiphany sang her throat raw calling her back to her body, had carved their marks into the young Queen's soul. She had matured much quicker than had ever been intended. And after it all came crashing down, Epiphany stood alone, an orphan with no family, a Dea al Mon Queen who wore the Red.

She had come to Glory Glade in Allure's stead, her former mentor now ruling all of Devinos. Devastated and heart sick, the people of Glory Glade, many refugees seeking safe harbor themselves, had embraced their young Queen, the unusual girl with eyes green like ivy instead of the common Dea al Mon blue, whose tongue whispered words in the old tongue and whose spirit danced with the trees and plants in a kind of sacred communion. Here she had found purpose that was hers alone, no longer simply a younger version of her mother. Slowly, she was finding her own way.

As long as she remained within the security lines of the village, she was able to wander at her leisure. There was a sense of freedom she had never known in being able to move about without an escort. She could always ask Tarn to come with her if she wanted one, or even Savior. And if she wanted company, she knew a trio of sisters who would happily follow her at all times if she allowed it and did not seek her own solitude at times. She was not lonely as she had been before Tarn had embraced her and claimed her as an unofficial member of his family, but she still was not complete, neither fully healed nor fully surrounded the way a Queen needs.

At the edge of the warding she sat on the moss covered ground, dressed in a black dress that left her shoulders bare. Ivy clung to her neck, holding her uncut Red Jewel close to her chest. Once a temporary solution, Epiphany found she held no desire to have her Jewel cut and set, at least not right now. She had grown to love the feel of winding ivy clinging to both her and her Jewel.

She had come to this spot several days in a row. She could feel a presence near by, but hadn't been able to lure it out into the open. The trees were stubbornly refusing to tell her what she sought, beyond that she was in no danger here. The young Queen sighed bemusedly, before resorting to a more direct path. "I know you're there. Why do you lurk? Show yourself to me, tree spirit," she called. When no tree spirit suddenly appeared, she tried again, mirth ringing in her voice. "Ancient one? Horned divinity? Great god of mist, moss, and mushrooms!"   




Offline Squall Thrainsson

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Re: You Can Catch the Wind
« Reply #2 on: Jan 09, 18, 09:51:32 AM »
One of Squall's favorite of all his drawings and sketches of his Queen was a more artistic rendering that had her clothed in living greenery. Vines and leaves, flower petals spun straight from their stems to weave about her collar, a crown of baby's breath and star lilies twining through her hair... and at the center of it all a broach of ivy that tenderly hugged her throat and clung to the lightly defined dips of her collarbone. Nestled there, right in the center, her Red. It wasn't colored, of course, but Squall had shaded it, had tried to capture the way the light seemed to be coming not from the glare of the sun but from the fire in the witch's heart it shielded.

When he'd first seen that she wore the Red he'd been in awe but he hadn't been surprised. Epiphany had always been strong. She'd always had it in her to wear the dark and powerful Red - to master a full Descent into the depth of her potential.

And yet... it had also worried him. Such a dark Jewel... it could put a target on her back in so many different ways. From the monsters... but also from within. Squall was not so far removed that he'd forgotten what Court Life was like, what people's motivations could push them to do for status, for power, for some misguided notion that they were doing what was needed, what was "right".

Which was exactly why she shouldn't be traipsing around here all by herself! He didn't care how close to the village she technically was.

The young Warlord Prince had to swallow another growl at the thought, but he managed and instead refocused his attention at the young Queen below him. She was looking about the trees and speaking, but not how she normally talked to the  greenery.

'...tree spirit. Ancient one? Horned divinity? Great god of mist, moss, and mushrooms!'

He blinked, then coughed a soft laugh - and didn't fully register what he was doing until he was slipping soundlessly down the tree, moving fluidly from branch to branch until his feet touched the ground. Toe to heel, then grounded. He froze the instant he realized what he'd done - but by then he was too late. He was behind her, but she would turn in a moment and he didn't have the time to flee. Even if he tried... she would see it. She would chase, he just knew she would. And the only two ways to go were back to the village or out into the wood.

So he took a slow breath, letting the sound touch the air, actively stirring it.

"Ah come on Lady.. you know I don't even like mushrooms." There was a roughness to his voice. It was a bit deeper, yes, to match the shift in his appearance - as he'd gotten taller, broader, and had filled out more in the chest. But the voice wasn't just rough from a new timbre. It was also because he typically didn't speak much, out here all on his own. Sometimes he'd narrate, or have conversations with the squirrels. And some days, some weeks, he wouldn't even speak at all.

Offline Epiphany Estinaria

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Re: You Can Catch the Wind
« Reply #3 on: Jan 11, 18, 07:50:14 AM »
She heard him as much as she felt him. Something familiar and yet unknown, calling to the deepest parts of her. When he spoke, it was with a voice she had not heard before but which held echoes of a young man she had known, a Purple Dusk Warlord Prince with charcoal stained fingertips and devotion ever dancing in his eyes. Epiphany's heart sped and the Red Jewel resting in the bed of ivy at her throat flared to life. As the trees had promised, there was no danger that she could feel, no sick twisting of Craft.

Instead, memory pulled at the corners of her mind, bringing roaring to life the sense of loss that had settled about her like an ever present shadow. It pained her to even consider that it might be really him, that somehow he had survived and returned to her after all this time. But felt so familiar, so much like...   

"Squall," she whispered, as she turned and confirmed her closely held suspicions. Her eyes captured every detail of him. He had grown taller, his shoulders broader. His face had matured into that of a young man with no remaining traces of his boyishness. His words though were still playful, still seeking to make his Queen smile, whether it was instinct or intent she neither knew nor cared. He was alive and he was here in Glory Glade. 

Returned to her from the depths of Hell, or so she assumed for what else could have kept him from his Queen? She closed the distance between them and reached for him, wrapping her arms around his neck, straining to reach for the height he had gained. She held him against her, whether he returned the embrace or not as something knotted began to ease in her chest. So long had the ache been there she nearly didn't know how to breathe without it anymore. Her first breath was shallow, the second a deep, gasping sob. Tightening her hold on him, she held him close. "I thought lost you."

So overwhelming was the moment of reunification that Epiphany missed the tell tale signs of his brokenness, of the ache that accompanied the lone Purple Dusk Jewel which should have been accompanied by the darker Green.




Offline Squall Thrainsson

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Re: You Can Catch the Wind
« Reply #4 on: Jan 11, 18, 05:12:23 PM »
A breath of a whisper escaped her lips the moment before she turned. He shouldn't have been able to catch it, but the wind perhaps wanted him to hear - wanted him to know that she knew him instantly, perhaps before he had even spoken.

'Squall...'

The name, his name, on her lips caused a pull and an ache in his chest that he should have been expecting. It called to him, it dragged him forward one step, then another - like the gravity of tide to the ever luminous moon.

That's what Epiphany was to him. She was his moon. Calling him closer, drawing him nearer, shining with a magnificent and mysterious beauty reflected from the sun of her soul. How had he ever managed to keep his distance these long months? How had he ever managed to stay chained to the trees, fleeing each instance that suggested her attention?

Mere moments later she closed the distance and her arms went around him. His own responded instinctively, instantly, wrapping around her and pulling her close. They were stronger arms than they'd been before, tighter and more honed. Their hold was firm, strong, and unyielding. He was a stone giant to her frame, a hard and protective force that would shield her as much as he would covet her. Which he did.

He pulled her closer, and he trembled.

"Epiphany..." Even his voice shook and cracked and he buried his face into her hair, against her neck, gasping softly at the flood of her scent. Her scent. A quiet rumble of a growl, possessive, desperate, drowning, starved, echoed in his chest and he had to force himself to relax his hold on her - afraid he might accidentally hurt her. Deep breaths followed, slow and steady. He was reacquainting himself, steadying himself, letting himself remember her and be at peace. It wasn't a dream, it wasn't a wish. It was her. Real, in his arms. He never wanted to let go.

...but I've failed her... I don't deserve her..

His throat tightened and he let his embrace fall, his hands instead running down her arms to take her hands as he looked away.

"I'm sorry," he said quietly in that stranger's voice. "I... I'm so sorry... By the time I found my way back I.. I couldn't..." He shook his head then took a sharp shaky breath and gave her a weak but present smile. "It doesn't matter. I'm sorry it took me so long."

Offline Epiphany Estinaria

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Re: You Can Catch the Wind
« Reply #5 on: Jan 22, 18, 07:19:06 PM »
Squall pulled her closer and her heart soared. She buried her head against his chest, desperate to feel his heart beat against her cheek. She needed the reassurance that he was alive, that he was really here and not just a figment of an aching and overly vivid imagination. When he tightened his arms on her further she responded in kind, feeling as his entire form trembled against her. He was solid like the tree they stood next to, no longer a boy on the verge of manhood but bearing a man's body in truth, the hard muscles of his back unyielding beneath her touch.

He pulled away from her and Epiphany's heart lurched forward in her chest as if to follow. His hands eased down her arms and settled in her own. She gripped his hands fiercely, unwilling to even let him as far away from her as he had already pulled. Whatever caused this distance that he was creating between them, she did not care for it and would not allow him to leave her so easily, not when he had just suddenly appeared in her life once again.

His words rushed forth in apologies she did not need. He offered her a small smile and tears welled in her eyes, shimmering against the forest green of them. The Queen released his hands to reached for his neck and the back of his head. She pulled his face down to hers and pressed kisses along his cheeks before reaching his forehead. She kissed his forehead and did not let go, did not move, holding him still against her for long moments beneath the gentle sigh of the willow tree they stood beneath.

"You came back to me," she said, when she finally released his skin from her lips. "I thought you were gone, truly gone, forever gone, and you came back." Tears spilled down her cheeks as she peered into his eyes, refusing to let him go or have him pull from her again. For a moment, it was painfully clear how young she still was, despite ruling her own village, despite the Red Jewel that rested against her chest in its bed of ivy. "So much has changed, Squall. I need you. Please say you won't leave again. Please."   





Offline Squall Thrainsson

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Re: You Can Catch the Wind
« Reply #6 on: Jan 23, 18, 07:41:51 PM »
'You came back to me...'

Guilt sank like a stone to the pit of his stomach, a cold and unforgiving weight that dragged his gaze down and away from hers. He'd hurt her. By staying away, he hurt her. And a part of him had known it, had known how she must have worried, how she must have feared for him. And now, coming back after all this time - how she must have felt.. abandoned by him. He was supposed to be there for her. That was his purpose. Nothing had ever been truer to him since even before he had met her. He wanted to serve, he wanted to be useful. He needed to be there to support her, to lift her up and protect her and.. and to be the cause of smiles, not tears.

Look what he had done.

His heart tightened and it took a lot of effort for him to bully his gaze back up to her face. He had to look. He had to see that pain he'd caused just by not being here. The moment he'd found her again he should have gone right to her side and tried to make it right. But.. he hadn't. And looking back... he knew, he knew he'd be that same coward all over again.

The thought had a sound something like a growl but far too soft rumbling in the back of his throat. The distant scream of an animal, caged and frightened at the bottom of his soul, deep in the blackness.

'I need you. Please say you won't leave again.

Please.'


That distant, strangled sound grew and broke free into a low, dark snarl as he pulled her sharply toward him and surrounded her once more with his arms. His face was pressed down, into her hair, angled to take in her scent, to drown himself in it. The sound hadn't stopped - not even when he spoke, making the words that he offered sound mangled and wild.

"I'm not going anywhere. You're mine. Mine. I'll be here. I'll protect you. Or die trying."

Like he should have all along.

Offline Epiphany Estinaria

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Re: You Can Catch the Wind
« Reply #7 on: Feb 19, 18, 04:18:00 AM »
Epiphany's lost Warlord Prince pulled her to him, his arms embracing her tightly. That feeling of home washed over her, the feeling that only seemed to call to her when she was with the males she trusted. More than a place, it was the very essence of what existed between them, Queen and Warlord Prince, allowing her to ease in some way that she never seemed quite able to do on her own and grew only worse around people that were not her people. It wasn't just the bond. Tarn and his daughters had certainly grown to feel like hers. Or perhaps she felt like theirs. Kin, not by blood, and not by Darkness intended bond, but kin all the same.

But with Squall, the bond between them sung in the sound of the growl that was released from his throat, guttural and filled with instinct, sung further in the soft sigh she made as her arms rose to encircle the back of his neck. He had grown so much she could hardly comprehend it, having to reach up for him. His muscular arms enfolded her easily, pressing her tight against him as he buried his face in her hair. Epiphany was content to stay like that for as long as he wished.

"Yes, yours," she breathed, smiling as she said so.

She believed him without question. He would stay by her side. He would sacrifice his life if it meant hers could be preserved. He would protect her with everything he had. Her beautiful lost Warlord Prince come home to her at last. She breathed in his scent even as he did hers, the sharp awareness of his caste, his Purple Dusk Birthright, his... She stilled in his arms. She hadn't noticed at first, so shocked and overwhelmed with joy to simply see him again. She had dismissed it. Maybe he just hadn't had his Offering yet. But no, here with him, this close, there was no mistaking it.

Her precious Squall had returned to her broken.

Fresh tears spilled from her eyes as the depth of the realization reached her in full. "Squall," she whispered, tightening her arms even more around him, nearly lifting herself off the ground with her efforts to be even closer to him. "I'm so sorry." She didn't ask for an explanation. If he wanted to share his pain and loss with her he would. It was not hers to pry into what had happened to him while he was lost to her. So many things had happened in that time. He would tell her, or he wouldn't, in his own time.




Offline Squall Thrainsson

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Re: You Can Catch the Wind
« Reply #8 on: Feb 26, 18, 02:12:06 PM »
He would never let her go. Even if he wanted to, he wasn’t sure it was within his power - if his will would win in a battle against his need and instinct.

For now, at least, that was not a way he needed to stymie. She was here, in his arms, and there was no reason for the embrace to falter or part. They were still reminding themselves of each other, still waiting for the world to steady beneath their feet.

Bit by bit, muscle by muscle, he relaxed around her. With each breath he took in more of her scent, let it fill his lungs and infused through the rest of his body until the feel of her hummed in his fingertips. He was not the only one breathing deeply, though.

She stilled. A tension rose around her. He could smell it in the shift of her scent, feel it in the quiver of her body. Her arms tightened around him and he responded in kind, his heartbeat thudding against his ribs as he wondered breathlessly if she knew. Did she know? Could she sense it..? His failure.. his ineptitude. His lacking… Did she know?

’Squall.. I’m so sorry.’

She knew.

His arms tightened around her further and he buried his face against her neck. Hiding, like somehow if she couldn’t see his eyes and he couldn’t see hers then maybe he could erase that knowledge between them. Erase the pain between them. Erase… the last year and a half to where he was whole and young and happy and innocent again. Before he had failed her.

He tried three times before he managed to speak - and when he did it was against her throat, his words tight and quiet and muffled.

“They made me descend… I somehow got away but… when I went into Rut.. I.. I’m not sure how it happened…” His voice was so rough - from disuse and the emotion of the quiet confession. “When I came out of it, it was broken… I’d worn he Green. For barely a few months. Then it was gone. And it feels like a chunk of my soul has been shattered.” It was more words than he’d spoken in well over a year. “How can I support you when I’m not whole, E?” he asked, and there was a deep, echoing sorrow there.

Offline Epiphany Estinaria

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Re: You Can Catch the Wind
« Reply #9 on: Mar 19, 18, 06:55:32 PM »
His arms tightened around her. Squall buried his face against her and she pulled him tighter against her still. How long had it been since she had held him last? It was a silly question. Epiphany knew. She knew the months, weeks, and days. If she thought about it hard enough, her number obsessed mind could likely figure out even the hours. She was not one to insist on her males or her Court remaining at her side endlessly. She knew they had lives of their own, things to do more than just be near her. But she honestly wasn't sure how long it would be before she would comfortably allow Squall out of her sight again.

His words were filled with an aching sadness. She wanted to wrap around him even further, as if her limbs could grow deep into the fertile earth and hold him with strong roots and hardened bark. Squall could be the heart wood to her fierce forest, protected within, never again vulnerable to what could harm him from the outside.

Epiphany flooded him with her Touch. She could hear the way his voice strained at every syllable. She was quiet, refusing to interrupt the words he offered. Pale fingers ran through his hair, soothing him with each pass. "You are a Warlord Prince of the Wood, and you are bound to me. Neither of those things are altered by what Jewels you do, or don't, wear."

She tilted his head to look at her. Eyes the color of the brightest Spring leaves gazed lovingly into his. "You do not need your Green to hold me or walk through these woods with me. You do not need it to listen to me and support me in learning how to rule on my own, without the shadow of my mother. I do not mean to diminish its loss and if you need to mourn, I will be here for you however I can. But you do not need it to be mine,  Squall."

She smiled at him then before pressing a soft kiss to his cheek.




Offline Squall Thrainsson

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Re: You Can Catch the Wind
« Reply #10 on: Apr 05, 18, 10:50:42 AM »
He could drown in her.
Fill his lungs, his veins, each and every pore with her.
Every synapse and nerve, every bone and joint and muscle flexing with the energy of her.

Her Touch draped over him like a cloak of peace. It swam through him in a current of light, of forgiveness. His breath was replaced with the wind of her assurance - and for a moment he knew absolutely nothing but the symphony of her. Of his Queen. Of his Epiphany.

His arms tightened around her and his throat tightened - unwilling to let out a sigh lest he lose some of her on the exhale. Instead he sucked in more, gasping quietly as he trembled against her. He could feel her fingers gently stroking through his hair - which had gotten long and shaggy, disheveled in a way he never would have allowed Before. When her words touched him he wasn’t sure if he was hearing them on the physical plane, the mental, the spiritual, or all of the above. Perhaps she was speaking to him aloud, mind to mind, and along the bond that gave her a direct line to his very soul all at the same time. He didn’t know if that was possible - he didn’t care.

Their gazes met and he didn’t remember opening his eyes or pulling away enough to see her - but there he was.

’…you do not need it to be mine, Squall.’

His heart tightened, then shuddered - as if it was breaking - when she pressed a kiss to his cheek, the press ricocheting to the hard aching of his chest. No, not breaking, breaking free. Like he was being released from a prison - rescued and pulled back into her arms. Returned home after being captive for too… too long.

He shuddered, the tremor a quake that took him from shoulders to toes, and his voice was like gravel when he spoke again.

“Again.. Please… Say my name again. Call me yours… again..?” It should have been a child’s plea. The words were small words, timid ones. They were the words of boy needing to be held and comforted, to be brought home.

But there was a desperation woven within them as well that was not that of a child but of a wounded beast. There was a demand in them as well. The demand of a Warlord Prince that wanted - that needed the invitation to come home. That needed to be called, to be summoned by his Queen.

 

 

anything