Experiments {Silv/Astarte}


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Posting Elemental
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Post Fri May 24, 2019 9:10 pm

Re: Experiments {Silv/Astarte}

OakHeart smiled at the swish of her tail, relieved that this young, half grown mare was already so patiently kind. It was more understanding than any single soul deserved to receive; he had been remiss, before, not to attempt to know her, to allow her to be little more than another leaf in a bush. She was gentle enough that it was easy to make excuses about the slight differences in age, or that her friendship was with another, but in truth it was simply that she herself had been easy for him to miss.

And now she offered him help; either with the young one's eminent journey, to aid in watching over any who would attempt to meet the needs of her heart, or in more personal matters, the shortcomings he had which caused him to overextend himself.

He had promised he would only pester her for one more piece, however, and now that he had set the limitation for himself he would abide by it. It meant that whatever she offered for him, he would have to make the most of it; he had only one chance at gleaning her insight now. As kind as her heart was proving to be, he would step cautiously lest he begin to weigh himself as a nuisance for her.

There was only a slight tug in his heart, a minor touch of uncertainty; but easily dismissed and forgotten, a moment later, as he decided that it was not, perhaps, quite so selfish to selfishly ask for help with his own issues, rather than to look after her future options. After all, these bouts of strain did not only impact his life.

He stepped closer as she shifted her ear, close enough for his wing to brush against her side, and took a small risk in pressing his will into the flower while cut off from any other natural source. It wouldn't be so easy or instantaneous to get himself a drink where he stood; but he saw how very still she had kept herself, where his small gifted flower rested.

Allow me, he smiled, and eased the flower into growing, the stem curling around her ear and winding firmly through her mane, twisting itself around to grip a few delicate strands of hair. It would be easy enough to tug free, once she loosened her mane from the plait she had woven it into, but even then it should remain stable until there was need to remove it. I would not have a token of fondness become inconvenient, for then it is but a burden. And to thank you, for your help is invaluable, the little flower should be able to return to earth within a quarter moon.

It was a small trick, a little touch of deception on the plant, to encourage the growth of new roots, the spread of a fresh start to negate the onset of decay. The flower itself was less vital than the plant base, and usually regrown without trouble; reversing that was easy enough, once the process was begun. The only catch he had found so far was that the plant would continually rejuvenate itself, becoming immortal unless he bent his influences over it again. To some extent it was useful; but all things needed to fade, in time, to make way for new growth, stronger seeds, and until now he had never allowed such a thing to last for very long.

He didn't mention the imminent permanence of the little flower - hopefully it was one she found favorable? - leaving it to be a surprise, and perhaps worried on what she might think of such a thing. She was one who repaired, after all, found the little broken things and put them back together again; it was hard to fathom what her view on something that was self-repairing would be.

If you've no such objection, sweet blossom, he added with a bow, and stepped back to consider the shelves around them. What would you recommend for-

He stopped, not entirely sure what to ask. Endurance, perhaps? But he had already stretched his endurance by pushing himself as he did, however unintentionally. Mental acuity, perhaps?

What would you recommend for helping me learn how to split my awareness? he finally said, and gave her a look of such utter helplessness that it was rather pitiable. You saw in our training earlier that our young friend up there knew to exploit physical stimulus to break my influences. That's where it all falls apart for me; keeping my concentration while dealing with my body.

He paused again, seeking the right words, and finally tilted his head towards her in a manner that bespoke sharing a confidence. When I work with nature, I become a part of it. I am more than myself, and my focus exists within my work on a level that is nearly total. Pausing for anything physically vital for my own body breaks that connection, reorients what is primarily vital in myself, and as a result my body is often neglected.

He snorted, uncertain how to begin to address the issue, where to begin trying to mend this weakness. He gets so lost in his element that nothing else exists; including himself.

I can expand until I can sense and touch vast forests, and thanks to your insight earlier I can expand even to becoming attuned to each leaf in that forest, but expanding to include myself eludes me. I can feel the veins of a leaf; the ones within myself are a wholly separate experience, well outside of my influences. The disconnect is too prominent to ignore - at least right now.

He felt so lost when he thought of it. How to connect what was outside of his realm of influence to the total focus of what was his to influence? It felt insurmountably impossible.

--

It took time for her to navigate her way out of her her own mind, but eventually, as the little firefly sparks slipped down to say hello - odd little floating lights that they were, perhaps a greeting from the very toplight she had used to excuse herself - some small awareness returned to her. This truly was a marvelous construction, now that she was able to focus better on truly examining it, and the little lights only added to the wonder.

Glancing around revealed OakHeart standing close with Astarte, and she smiled at the sight, yet another wonder. He was a stallion that made few connections that didn't involve a bush of some kind; to see him making friends, especially with someone as lovely as Astarte was, warmed her heart.

It was brighter up here, with the little glow-lights, than near the other windows; that was odd, as the sun set on the ground before sleeping, and if it was the last vestiges of daylight the brightness should be focused towards one side or the other. Glancing at the glow-lights, she whispered Are you keeping the brightness here for me? and fluttered her wings as she spiraled higher to touch one of the 'flowers' with her nose. It felt similarly to the map that shifted on the wall, and yet it was warmer. Somehow it felt more welcoming; but that could easily be her own affinity for light. Eventually she would really have to show her friend the blinding glare of her home, the two suns sparkling off of endless snow and blazing ice lit with special crystals.

It was brighter here than it was near the books. Seeking comfort from the familiar, she lingered a moment longer, trying to figure out how it was that this piece glowed while others slowly dimmed. They didn't need her right now, after all.
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Post Wed May 29, 2019 3:27 pm

Re: Experiments {Silv/Astarte}

((Sorry for the delay! Job applications >_< ))


Again, OakHeart moved closer—a lightning pulse where his wing pressed ever so lightly against her side, the heat that that heralded his touch, like the slow breath of summer. Astarte stood still, as it seemed was her body’s chosen way. In time, it would be easier. In time, in time she would not be such a little fool for this, some cross-wire, confused longing for someone she’d known only the space of an afternoon. Someone promised for more than she could be.

But he was so—kind. Noticing her careful coddling of his flower, whittling his power away on easing her mind.
You will have to learn to be more subtle, she thought to herself, a touch ruefully. She felt the gentle caress of his will move through her hair, becoming the flower’s delicate, grasping roots. His touch would linger, then, even as he moved away—and she must not think of it, so, lest it drive her to distraction. She had promised her help, after all. Anything.

“Thank
you,” she murmured, in reply, feeling the velvet brush of the flower’s anchor as she twitched her ear experimentally. “I’m sorry for making you go through the trouble, especially here when we’re—so removed. But I promise I’ll take care of your gift, the best I can.” After all, Khala Eve had learned to care for the earth, outside of her altar; she could teach her, or at least make sure she didn’t accidentally ruin anything. “My amma’s bond-sister keeps a garden—in a quarter moon, I’ll be sure to bring this little one there.”

A small thing, perhaps, but what else to do but throw her meager ability to the little tasks entrusted to her. A balm, a balance against what loomed in the future—yes, she might think of it that way. And should she fail in that, well, the circle of suffering would be small—as small as she could make it. Though AuraSidra’s words echoed through at the thought:
You will not fail. I will not allow it. Another thread of oath, woven into her own.

And with this mind she listened to OakHeart’s request, his burden, the shape of his power. She could not say she knew the strain he spoke of—not firsthand, not even second, so distant their only Elemental kept himself. But she knew how to work a problem, to ponder it, to turn it on its head and lay it out in her mind’s eyes—lifting each variable to the light as she would any project, any object that asked to be solved.

He was trusting her—said the look in his eyes, said the dropping of any pretense of bravado, the kind one might expect a young stallion to put on. He was giving her, as he had with the flower, something fragile to maintain—and
trusting she would care for it. She would’ve never considered herself worthy, but he had, somehow, made that decision for her. So, it was up to her to return on it.

“A split in awareness,” she considered, aloud, letting her thoughts speak themselves—he had gleaned “conduits” from her earlier musings, though she hadn’t necessarily meant to be enlightening, so she figured letting him hear her might open up more paths of conclusion or connection. “We could try the sections on projection, where you were earlier, for the basic frame—but it seems, hm, more that you are already fracturing your awareness as part of the execution of your gift.”

She reached down, taking up the poetry book and re-shelving it. “Your Elemental area—nature—is incredibly far-reaching, so I would imagine to some degree it necessitates this ‘trade’ in synthesis.” The greater the power, the greater the price—so each new tome and scroll told her. “If you were to impose your ‘self’, your ‘awareness’ upon the system, you risk the upset of balance—though that’s probably old news to you.”

Structures, systems—ecosystems. That’s what it reminded her of. Sive did not have much on the manipulation of vast workings, considering it beyond her, but she had a few theoretical works on biomes, habitats. Enough to seed her land to suit the Bonds who were brought into them. Perhaps there was something there? She nodded to herself. “There might be some basic nature works we can start with, this way.”

She glanced up to check on AuraSidra, seeing her swept up in the rain of lights—the filly could see them, easily, from her vantage, and join them if she desired. In the meantime, she should ask questions, to better her grasp. It was easier to speak freely when there was a purpose in mind, she was discovering. Easier to walk closely, in the press of shelves, lest the stallion wished to keep certain answers in confidence.

“When you become ‘part of it’, how do you consider it?” No, too many elusive pronouns. “I mean, do you consider nature as a—hm—a creature of will, and that you must acquiesce to its influence in order to reach a necessary depth?” Still unclear, but words were difficult sometimes. She sighed. “I suppose I’m asking if you can assign a sort of consciousness to the whole of the thing, though it might be a silly thought. I only can perform my gift if what I tinker with has some—urge, of its own. Some life in its unlife.” She cast a glance backwards, towards the embodied lights flickering in a swarm around AuraSidra. “I figured perhaps nature, too, might have it—I mean, its very essence is alive, I imagine. Though, you would know better than I.”

She was rambling, again. Ah well, dignity had been good while it had lasted.

--

More lights began to fall, like rain, only to arrest their downward drop and float delicately back up—they burned more brightly whenever they passed the filly, seeming to attune themselves to her affinity. Only a few detached, bobbing their way to trace her companion’s passage through the shelves. There was no answer to her question, at least no spoken one. Instead, the glass brightened, dripped more motes in a thick cloud. The roses seemed to burn.

Gradually, all along the walls, the windows also started to glow.
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Posting Elemental
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Post Sun Jun 09, 2019 10:55 am

Re: Experiments {Silv/Astarte}

OOC| I'm so - SO - sorry! >_<

BIC| The roses burned, the light gleamed, and she laughed, spiraling through the glimmering display in an aerial dance of joy. She knew a small bit about the magic to shape lights, not only from her auroras, but also through the play of her Bonded. She felt the familiar tug of magic shaping the rising glow, and reveled in the familiar buzz across her skin.

Something heavy and sticky released in her chest, bursting free with the simple laugh of sheer appreciation, the enjoyment of something that gave comfort. She felt herself again, less weighed by the strange cloud of uncertainty that had suffocated her mind, and the relief was so great that she laughed again.

She had been trained from birth how to think - how to use her mind to her advantage, each new Lesson honing her natural inclinations into something that could better serve her, challenging her to see what some may miss. None had taught her about emotions - they were hers alone. It was no wonder that she felt lost and adrift when presented with something so insurmountably new that it left the lack of preparation raw and shamefully obvious. The closest she had ever come to processing her emotions was mastering fear. After the insecurities that she had discovered when faced with powers she had no hope of surviving she had honed the art of maintaining clarity through terror, discovered how to climb above the swell of fear rather than drown in it.

It was the relief given through the laugh that made her suddenly realize that the only creature to ever offer some kind of input with such concepts had been her father. Let her rest, beloved, he would say, and insist even against AuraSidra's own declarations that she had no need for a break. You must take the time to laugh, my little one. That's enough for now; let's see if your ermines are in here, hm?

Laughter - simple joy - was what realigned her soul, for good or for ill.

Spiraling around once more let her catch the briefest of glimpses of the pair walking the aisles, and she realized something anew as she saw them conferring so closely. She had done it again - received a shock that had been difficult to process and retreated, hiding from the alien and uncertain notions that her brain refused to wrap itself around, and in the process removing herself from her companions. It was something she had slowly begun to notice in herself, and a trait she would have to break. The Lady Eternal had cautioned that she must be aware of her weaknesses, for being blind to her own imperfections did not mean that an enemy would share such a lack of vision.

As it stood, tripping her up with something she was unable to process would be enough to give anyone an upper hand. Someone need only to toss out a notion she would get stuck on - something as simple and inaccurate as claiming that she was evil - and her mind would stumble, refusing to process anything at all while it struggled with the distraction. The wars that had scattered the magic throughout this realm may have been an evil, but would that make anything which was created by or sustained by such magic pulses evil as well? Would she even be able to recognize such a thing in herself?

She would have to seek out the Rogue Lady, to ask for a new kind of training. The very thought of what such sessions could entail made AuraSidra cringe, causing her to sink a good foot in the air as the glow-lights swirled around her. It would be no small amount of stress upon her, but it would also be worth it.

She was, perhaps, still running from this strange new revelation in how raw her emotional knowledge was. To throw herself into a new task, a new training, was paramount to hiding within her icy home until she felt capable of beginning to address the trouble - worse, it was a distraction, not even capable of being called an attempt to gather herself, to prepare.

But what could she do with emotion? She felt. That was all she knew. How could she impose knowledge, much less order, to the joy that filled her with warmth when she saw her two friends conspiring, growing closer as they grew to know one another as she knew them?

Besides, it was the Ghost who had promised to begin giving her Lessons. He had told her she was not old enough, not yet ready for what he would teach her, and if he truly did intend to teach her on such a subject - then perhaps a distraction was truly the best thing, while she waited.

It was easy to justify, certainly. But she was good at that - she could reason her way around most things. It was what she had been taught, to seek each angle, to find the opportunities.

Flitting this way and that across the bright windows cast broken pieces of light dancing across the floor beneath her, an aurora on the ground itself, catching her eye as she considered where she might find the Lady and how best to explain her request. It was Eternal, always Eternal, who taught her the most. The small orbs that rained around her, keeping her company, almost seemed a part of her dance as she carefully fluttered her way between and around them, ever respectful of their presence.

With such an enchantment she wouldn't be able to tell how much time had past, especially as each of the windows was now joining with the burning glow that eased the tight ache in her head from struggling to see. The lines of strain around her eyes were erased, changing the effect of her expressions, granting a vitality to her gaze once more, but such a thing would not last if the sun had begun to set here.

Time moved differently at home, she knew that. Sunset here did not mean sunset there; home moved slower, granted a quieter pocket in the great golden sea of time. It was a good thing, but in this case not quite so important - while it was dangerous to travel after dark through the wildlands, stumbling unawares through the beasts and kindred creatures that sometimes roamed freely and sometimes held hidden places of their own, she had made friends with the dark hounds of shadow that were bonded to her own Bonded's mate. Or, more accurately, she had taken such a walk and had the creatures of darkness come upon her; once she had made herself known, declared herself as bound to her Bonded, they had more or less taken to following her around at night. Having OakHeart walk with her would grant him their protection, as well.

If it had begun to set here, however, she began to worry if she had overstayed her welcome - and a portion of it spent with a spinning mind that could no longer process what lay in front of her nose. She would have to apologize to Astarte, at the very least, as well as thank her - but hopefully, she might still be granted the ability to see this special workshop before she truly wore out her friend's patience, though the desire was tucked deep into her heart of hearts and would bide if it had to.

Her training would come later; for now, she needed to see what it was that occupied someone so important to her, and to perhaps find a way to help. In love, if not from simple thanks for showing them such wonders, and for revealing so much to the little Princess herself, as she always seemed to do when they came together.

Will you stay with me for a moment? she asked, casting her gaze around the little lights that had so comforted her. I would like to see this place properly, whilst I may do so without blinding them.

One more look around, one where she could really see the details that had eluded her before - little things such as the true shapes and spectrum within the glass above her. Colored pieces she had seen, but vaguely, shadowed as they had been before.

Then she would apologize for being such a complicated burden.

----

A promise to place his little gift safe within a garden brought a smile, a twitch of an ear - he would not have thought that such a flower would garner a special place, and certainly not a piece of nature that someone took the care to tend to. It would probably disappear there, if there were many of such plants that were cared for. Perhaps he could thank her for her help, summon a little natural crystal to decorate the petals, grant her something truly special-

But, no. He had reached for the feel of moisture and dust that was found in nearly any atmosphere, automatically touching upon the pieces that were his to command, but such a thing took no effort and had no effect before he released the awareness. It had been nothing more than a stretch, but still he felt a touch chagrined about it. It was clear as she spoke, continuing her suppositions, that his area of influence held little importance for her.

She spoke of systems, of books to glean the insight of other minds from, of a collective consciousness. She knew of wonders he had not dreamed, walked in a place he had never thought to imagine, and he had thought that a simple jewel-rimmed flower might please her in exchange for such efforts as she had already shown, was still showing? No, that would be no gift for her, not in truth - it would be a way of expressing his thanks, perhaps, and certainly could be seen as a way of showing off if she were of such a mindset of him. But a true gift, a true token of his thanks, should focus upon her.

She was clever, this young mare, he had to admit. There was a certain insight to her words, a willingness to understand, and even as he pondered the problem of how to appease his need to thank her properly as his mother had taught him to do, he found himself turning over her phrases.

The concept of fully imposing himself, of truly becoming the plants and granting himself a kind of avatar outside of his body, had not truly occurred to him before. There were of course a few problems with such an idea, the first being that he would still need to maintain connection with his physical body; the alternative was vague to him, making him think of a hollowed and rotten log that had lost the heart of the tree long ago. Another was that if he truly became a plant, then once he left it the plant would suffer the same fate, its life force having been tied to his own. To use nature in such a way as to knowingly cause it damage - the very idea made him shudder. At the utmost he might consider how it could be used when discovering strange and hostile realms, places that perhaps couldn't support his physical form, but even then such a thing would only be done upon the request of his Bonded; and even that only because he trusted that she would never ask such a thing of him lightly. The need would truly have to be dire before she broke such an unspoken agreement.

He followed her as she walked, remaining silent as he listened, considering rather or not she had already made such realizations for herself. She did speak of the balance; there was a good chance. It had not been anything he had consciously accounted for, unfortunately, and had always simply been a natural aspect of his gift, the balance that was touching the life of the realm with his own will.

And then again, wisdom in her words, her musings turning towards that very notion - the life of the realm. He smiled as she tried to refine her question, understanding that such a thing was new territory for her, and he found himself excited to show her the way to navigate the strange path.

Such is certainly true at home, he agreed, and his gaze became wistful as he added I know of a certain tree I am quite eager to show you, in regards to the consciousness of the realm.

It was quite the sight, and lay deep in the center of his grove; a great and ancient oak, hidden and dwarfed by towering redwoods, and within the branches of this guarded tree lay the network of the entire realm, a living representation of the rivers of magic that pulsed throughout the heart of the land. It was his own special place, and sacred to him.

At home, my Bonded's species retreats into the land once they fade; I can feel them there, the remains of their consciousness. There is a lake with a single small island in it which will tickle you, and it always reaches out in greeting to my Bonded's mate. There are trees that sing, and a mountain that laughs. There is a river that changes shape, the shores of it wandering the land as much as the water within does. To touch upon the land there is to bring myself into the soul of another life.

He had, perhaps, gotten a little carried away in his recounting, but... Well. It could never be said that he did not hold a passion for his talent.

The question of all places holding such an awareness, however, was quite vexing for him. She was correct that it was all alive, regardless, and there was a certain awareness to each plant - a knowledge of the changes of seasons, of damage taken or growth impeded, of the very position of the sun. He could share in that basic awareness and feel the sun from within the leaves - but it was not quite so complex as that which he felt from his home in Slïth'creûn, the land of sunlit shadows within the realm of Enchantra.

Beyond that... Perhaps. There is a life, and a certain awareness, but it as if there is something missing; as if there is no soul within. Vitality, most certainly, and perhaps some form of consciousness, but it is an empty one. No, that wasn't quite the right word. Empty implied that it could be filled, that he could perhaps step into the space himself, but that was highly inaccurate. It could be crushed out, but not filled. It is, he began, and tossed his short mane as he struggled to put such a feeling into words, to phrase it in a manner she might be able to work with. It is old wood, he finally concluded, and nodded, feeling that a better starting point. The way that it feels, this small life within each little plant, it feels the same to me as old wood is physically. Wood that has died feels brittle, absorbent in a way, but the water is not soaked into the wood for nutrients as it had while alive; it flows into it, fills the small gaps that once held life, and flows back out, doing little more than saturating it for a short time.

Yes. That was better.

He had moved closer again without realizing it, stepping up beside her as they walked the shelves, and he found himself gazing upon the flower peeking out from around her ear. AuraSidra would have an idea on what to do, he was sure; she was observant in ways that eluded him. But she was still elsewhere, and of no help to him now.

Pray forgive my fumbling, sweet blossom, he told her, and sighed with a touch of hopelessness. Somewhere along the line that had become his nickname for her - his young blossom. I have hardly spoken sense, a poor repayment for your kind efforts. I give my word I will try to do a better job of it, should you still deign to indulge me.

He had grown comfortable at some point, as well; comfortable enough not to move away again, to treat her as if she were another he had grown with, and someone he had spent his life admiring out respect of her wisdom. He was still charming in his own way; but he was, perhaps, a bit less extravagant than before, his mother's influences slowly fading to reveal to own unique core. However polite he strove to be, he himself did not make quite such a show of it as she did with those he felt close to, whereas Path was consistent in her doting mannerisms.
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Post Wed Jun 19, 2019 6:04 pm

Re: Experiments {Silv/Astarte}

He was patient with her, through her fumblings and across the divide between their gifts—for that, she was grateful. But, she chided herself, did you really expect him to be anything else? He had grown up with AuraSidra, been brought into her deepest confidence and possible affections—Astarte shouldn’t really find herself surprised that OakHeart was perfectly gracious, perfectly elegant, perfectly—

Stop it, silly thing—he’s asking for your help, and this train of thought has nothing to do with it. But he was not altogether focused on their conversation, either. She had enough of Amma to occasionally sense such small departures, though not enough to necessarily know their root. Not boredom or dismissal, of course, so probably just some natural split in attention—an affirmation, in some ways, of what she’d figured of his ability. They were alike in this, she realized, with a small flush of warmth. Their minds working over multiple patterns at once—as he thought of, well, whatever occupied the parallel track to their talk, she too kept an eye on AuraSidra’s cavorting, the dance of the lights in response, the windows flushing brighter than the red swell of afternoon. The library had never shown her such displays—but, then again, she’d never had need of them.

“Then I would be pleased to meet this—spirit,” she answered, noting the distant reverence in the stallion’s eyes—she’d offer a courtly bow, if they weren’t moving. “It would be an honor for me.”

An honor, indeed, to move through the land as he did—to feel it
alive as he did. She knew of a shadow of , such things, perhaps, as she’d walked through the tower storerooms, in the first bloom of her gift. The whispering potential, the need and joy of being heard, felt, chosen—the knowledge that it was in her power to do so. To help, to heal. What it must be like, to hear the very land speak with such intimacy—what privilege, and what weight.

Though, perhaps, it might be something unique to his lands, his Bonded—a species that became the land as they passed. It rang vaguely familiar to her, but in the way of fairy stories: her reading had her follow the inorganic more than the organic, and so she’d not studied much of other species or cultures. Perhaps Sive would know; she would have much to ask later. From OakHeart’s words, then, it was not every piece of nature that responded in this sense. There seemed to be some rudimentary hierarchy, differing levels of awareness and influence.

“It sounds very complicated,” she offered, as he drew near, again. The light from the windows was magnifying, casting high-noon shadows across the shelves—and heat with it. She could no longer tell if it was simply the room or the same wayward rush of her pulse. “What you do, that is. But no, I get that it’s hard to explain—I should apologize for asking the difficult questions. I thought they might help me understand, a little.”

So, in his Bonded’s land, there was a sense of consciousness—outside of it, a dry form, elemental in nature. Like a system moving without intent, a simple being. “I wonder,” she said, as they drew into a gap between rows, ventured into a smaller side span. “If it is then not more of a question of drawing back, rather than pushing deeper? Are there parts of your task that you could entrust to nature’s own rhythms, to what it knows to do in its essence?” She echoed his sigh, her piecemeal questioning leaving her feeling all the more the inept student. “Though I suppose that depends on me knowing what it is exactly that you do. I’m sorry.”

She could feel his eyes against the side of her face, but she had no hair left loose to shake into a veil. She was open, illuminated as the lights began to gather like dust on the eaves and shelves. Nothing to hide whatever blush stole its way across her features, whatever her face made do with itself under such scrutiny—disarming though his words were. She wished herself—as she had many times in the past hour—someone better, someone charming, someone worthy.

--

Wordless, again, the lights acquiesced to the filly’s wish. They clustered close, a few even deigning to circle her brow, near her eyes—a shimmering halo that might cast a sharp radiance across her field of vision. A small party branched off, slipping into the nearby glass, causing sections to flare and flicker in a jaunty display.

An attempt at “play”, perhaps, from a space that had never been asked to do so—but could not resist a call to.
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Post Wed Jul 03, 2019 8:13 am

Re: Experiments {Silv/Astarte}

Oh, sweet blossom, worry not over such things, as it is I who should be able to explain better, OakHeart told her, a touch of tenderness intermingling with a hint of concern as the tones in her face shifted and brightened. The warmth in here was growing, and he felt it was somehow to blame on their little Princess, off cavorting with magical lights - not a surprise, but hardly appropriate at the time. Was the heat perhaps beginning to bother Astarte? If she grew too flushed, too warm, he would have to make certain to accommodate a need for some respite from the glowing influences of the lightplay that warmed everything around them, both physically and visually.

She had been familiar with the desert blossoms before, which would at least indicate that she would have a higher tolerance for such things than some others, and yet still he made a note to keep track of how warm she became. Even the strongest could wilt under harsh enough conditions. Luckily, the brightest concentration of light seemed to be elsewhere, which eased at least some of the strain.

He followed her as he watched, keeping a careful note of how flustered she appeared, and perked his ears as he saw the familiar layout that awaited around the next set of shelves. Just enough time, then, to give this one last attempt. Hopefully he would manage well enough to inspire an answer, and yet he felt something turning over in his mind already. The concept of stepping back, of exerting less control was interesting, but he would have to figure out how, exactly, he could do that. His focus was so singularly on the results he sought that it would be a difficult adjustment to reconfigure his thought processes - how to encourage it, rather than guiding it himself.

What I do is but a part of the work, he explained, and flexed his wings as they stepped through the momentary gap. Expressing something that he had never thought to put to words was proving to be quite fun, affording him a chance to study something anew that had always simply been.

Our time at home is long; a single winter there can last a full year in the time frame of other realms. Even still, this last winter was particularly deep, and extremely slow to release her hold. Once the thaw finally began, the work began with it.

There are others there, the Ki'kaulin - I suppose the closest translation might be Thunder Horses, although that is still a vast oversimplification - and they coordinate the floods, the great storms that wash away the dead or dying to give room and nutrients for fresh growth. I gather the first of them, bring the water as a bondkin of mine - the Skywalker, Caelum - creates the perfect atmosphere for a real ripping storm. Once we have it started, the Ki'kaulin take over, chasing it wherever it has to go; of course, that is usually everywhere.
He smiled at the thought, remembering the young foals as they gallivanted and pranced in the sky, the flickers from their hooves mere sparks compared to the lightning that crashed from their parents' steps.

Another, the Soldier, follows and uses lightning to strike at those things that need scattered - giant rotting logs, better used if spread by his blast, or large stones that dam the flow of the floods and would serve better as a new riverbed. Death and the Ghost dance with burning fire, leveling and revitalizing those places that had overgrown previously, leaving the strongest of the plants to make it through a little singed and soggy. Yet it is my Bonded who does the most, with some aid from the Lady, the only Rogue among my bondkin, he continued, and paused for a moment as he looked at her again, swiveling his ears forward curiously. I cannot say what it is to be without such a Bond - it is all I have ever known. Nor could I claim to understand what it is that has you hesitating to seal such for yourself, nor even have right to pry into such reasons; should you trust me with such truths in time, I would be honored, but until then sweet blossom I will try my utmost to explain.

A breath moved between them, a collecting of his thoughts as he attempted to focus himself on this singular task; this much, at least, he would give her.

My Bonded feels to me like a cool autumn breeze under the touch of warm sunlight. Those moments when you feel the sun dancing on your skin, warm and tingling and almost drowsy in the gentle play, as your forelock tickles your ears and fairy dust sparkles in the bright beams; she feels like that. The same kind of gentle, absent awareness of the sun on your skin and your hair over your ears, the sort you hardly notice until it fades away for the cool touch of night. Except it never fades with her. She blankets me with a general sense of her presence within me, linked through our bond.

I can feel fluctuations to some degree or another, if I pay attention. For the most part it would be a difference in a breeze that tickles your hair or fully plays with it, or the difference between sunlight that tingles and sunlight that presses warmth deep into your muscles. Once the storms have run, once we have begun the process, she starts her portion of the work, and I can feel that; it reminds me of sunlight filtering through water, amplified and refracted, with a persistent current rather than a playful breeze. She-


He stopped, cutting off the words he had almost uttered, knowing well what sort of ear-splitting lecture he would receive upon coming home - for surely AuraSidra could hear them well enough and would betray his mistake, hoping only to help him to learn. She brings life, he had nearly declared, although he knew better. It was a flaw in his mindset, and one that would have to be addressed soon; had already been addressed, to some extent. But it was hard to release the hero-worship that the young held for their idols, their parents, their teachers.

She... Heals, he said instead, his words slow and cautious. He was trying, bless his heart, to take their lesson of limiting his admiration of others to respect and embrace it. If he viewed anyone as more than that it placed himself beneath them, removed the respect he should have in himself. He had to remember that he was fairly impressive and could easily be viewed by some young colt in the same manner as he had once viewed his elders; and that he would also guide that colt into holding himself into higher esteem, so as to compare with the one he held in such idolatry.

It was a long Lesson to learn.

Take a tree, he began again, and tilted his ears with consideration, picturing it perfectly in his mind as he had seen it not more than a moon ago. This tree is weak and injured after such a deep winter, and some of the branches have been sacrificed for the sake of survival; but it still remains hale enough to survive the great floods, and it still holds life in enough of it that it will be able to recover. But the dead parts have begun to rot, and this rot cannot be allowed to carry into healthy flesh, for what is natural within dead wood and encourages nutrients for the land is easily turned into a plague within living trees.

When I heal his tree, I encourage new growth to sprout, to sever the damaged pieces from the rest of the tree. The damaged limb falls off and becomes food for the health of the very tree it came from, and the tree moves on. When my bonded heals this tree, the tree has never been injured at all. She takes the essence of it, the concept of what it should be, and repairs it; there are no irregularities within the rings of the trunk, no twisted or foreshortened limbs, no tender discolorations from parts that were grown to be hundreds of years old without having weathered hundreds of years of sun and rain. She heals. And she does this everywhere. I do not know how far her range is, but it vastly beyond the area that I am capable of influencing.

While she does this - while I feel her through our bond and throughout the land, working on that which needs her help - I make corrections. One of my bondkin, AuraSidra's mother, known as Glimmer, has sway over a land that is exceptionally arid, and yet the ground is dirt rather than sand - dry, but not a desert. There is a river that runs through the heart of this land, although it branches off so many times that most would mistake it for many small streams. There are also some rather unique trees that gorge on the water of the floods, retaining it throughout the long summer. Normally, they act as a corrective system on their own, keeping the flooding river from devolving into a swamp as the water shreds at the boundaries of land, but this time there was too much damage. The late thaw had given extra time for ice and snow to accumulate, and the land had already begun to flood even before the great storms rolled through. It would become a swamp for a time, rather than having a moment of puddles that eventually dried under the two suns. Once the swamp dried, the structure of the land would be changed, the river shortened from corroded banks breaking the stream, the burst of blossoms quickly drowned. The trees were feasting, of course, but they alone were not enough to keep the ground from crumbling under the onslaught.

Deepening or widening the river would be a temporary corrective solution, allowing the banks to retain more of the water. However, widening it too drastically would encroach upon the habitat of the land; not everything was river, and many things needed to maneuver around the rush of water. There were a few trade routes that some of the creatures used while passing through her home, pathways that were respected as they always stopped to offer the little Princess and her family the first pick of their goods; rare fruits, sparkling stones, and hoards of sweet honey were brought throughout the realm, and all of it began with the passage of these routes, with the visit to Glimmer. I could not dare to press the boundaries of such a pathway; widening would, at best, require the travel to include wading their prizes across uncertain banks. Deepening the river would not only be more difficult to achieve, but endanger the next cycle. This level of flood was a singularity; perhaps next winter would be a mild one, and quicker to release her hold. Were the river made too deep, the water would barely reach the tops of the banks - countless problems would arise from that, and the effects of a drought would quickly set in.

I ended up sprouting more of those trees, the ones that held reservoirs of rain and drank up the worst of the tides. They had to be carefully placed, located in areas where they would be able to drink in the future, and just as carefully spaced, allowing enough room that neither would be in danger of directly competing with any others; and yet still close enough to achieve the immediate results. Normally, these guys take eons to grow; over 10 seasons, in my home, and 10 years or more in the timeline of other realms. They need a ton of water as they grow, too; which was a definite plus, as they helped to drink up the excess just by being brought to a sturdy size. Growing a whole sprout is different from growing a new limb to heal a tree, and it takes more out of me - sometimes I wonder if the energy they use to speed through their growth is not eaten out of me.

It required a good twenty of such sprouts to come forth. By the end of it, I was quite proficient in how to encourage the spread of their branches and the grip of their roots. The branches spread short and wide, like a bird's wing, seeking the most sunlight; the roots dangle deeply, twisting with stone and moisture, drinking deeply while they can. I could trace the growth of each leaf, feel the stretch of soft sprouts harden into sturdy wood, and watched the green of life drip into existence.


He smiled as he spoke, and reached without realizing it to the flower braided into Astarte's hair. The blossom split, another sprouting beside it - and just as with the trees, the stem was short, the petals wider than the offshoot branch, gently brushing against the original as they unfurled. A second sprouted, and then a third, and each held a slightly different color, a slight alteration in how each petal was rimmed, as every latent gene was brought to the surface and each possible mutation was given shape.

The branches for the blossoms twisted down the main stem, adding heft and allowing it the strength to bear such a multi-tipped flower as it had become; and small crystals dripped from the edges, in place of the leaves that sprouted on the trees he spoke of, glittering little prisms dangling from the tips of petals and brushing across the top of her ear.

The very tips of his wings darkened as the flower gave one last little shiver, the previously dainty roots spreading wider through her mane, the few leaves that had been easily overlooked before reaching up to peek a tip between the petals, as a questing branch would do. He felt tired and wasn't sure as to why, too distracted by her face to notice his innocuous little present. When he shifted his wings again there was a faint dryness to the rustle they made, indicating they had begun to wilt and brown at the corners; he was thirsty. It was sudden, but not unusual for him; he often found himself beset by such spells with no apparent reason.

I was also quite drained from focusing on them for three moonturns without rest; AuraSidra was the first one to find me, once our Bonded gave the alert to seek me out. It hit her pretty hard, I think. She still likes to think that the creatures she admires are invincible; it is a difficult lesson to learn that this is no more than the viewpoints of a filly, with no hold in reality.

His smile was sad, and a bit whimsical. He understood quite well what it was she was facing; he was still struggling with it himself, to some extent.

Even still, I believe you are correct in the consideration that perhaps I push too much of the desired results, at times, he conceded, and gave a thoughtful tilt to his head. Ever the clever one, sweet blossom. I know that there were other instances where I might have tried to find a way to do exactly such a thing. If I were to crack the land deep beneath and allow the ground to naturally fall in, for instance; in those moments I could save myself much strain when reshaping a landscape. Other than allowing for physics to aid me, however, I am uncertain how to begin to grant suggestions to allow Nature to aid me - for if the trees I prompted had a desire to speed through their natural growth, it would have certainly been an asset. Where might you direct me for such a concept - and where might I find a small drink of water up here, if such is of no trouble for you?

---

The not-ice held images - a map of the library, ones that shifted and 'spoke' in the manner of writing, reacting to her touch. It was fascinating, and she looked at every section, taking special interest in the place that she had touched previously. She spoke to the lights as she discovered this place in truth, not thinking it odd that her new friends were magical little suns.

Enchantment, she read, and giggled as if sharing a secret joke with the little lights. What a wonder, for such a place to hold the written musings of creatures on what enchantment might be. It is quite akin to the concept of a tree housing a working of how to tend Nature, without the talents of an elemental.

Theories of Mind sounded deeply intriguing - but again, she felt hesitant. It would be a delicate thing, to read through another's suppositions without knowing them, without a base outlines of how they viewed their reality. She had a new respect for the few Books she had managed to read at home - and a new desire to see if there were more, if she might read in order to learn as OakHeart had suggested. Those workings she trusted, for she knew and trusted the authors. To absorb ideas from strangers that were presented as facts - that could be dangerous. She would have to learn to think critically, first. Another new Lesson to focus on.

The lights danced around her head like a crown, the windows blossomed with burning joy, and she drifted to the sitting area near the entrance, still keeping her hooves off the ground. She could see it now in a manner she hadn't before; and suddenly, she realized what the strange pieces were with carved holes set high off the ground. Some of them sat apart, with small pieces of wood next to them, and others were tucked right up against the larger displays. She had seen her Bonded once, in a two-legs form, sit upon an old log exactly as she could imagine her sitting upon these pieces with missing sections in them.

It is a sitting area, she said with absolute wonder, and looked to the lights that danced about her flittering form. This whole place is designed for just sitting. Do creatures often sit to read, then? How brilliantly comfortable!

Another flutter of wings and she was winding through shelves, beaming at all the varying styles of books. Just the sizes, the colors and bindings and density was enough of a variety to cause her amusement; previously it had all smooshed together, the edges of their form hidden from her.

Then she was back to the map, laughing in delight at the sweet chiming sounds it gave whenever she touched upon a new area, finding the directions she needed to get to what really mattered. There had to be something that could relate to Astarte's workshop, something that was frequented by her friend in her efforts with her projects. Maybe AuraSidra would get lucky and find some hidden answer that her so-clever friend had somehow overlooked. It was doubtful - Astarte was brilliant. But she could try, at the least, and make this small effort to put the wonders she had been shown today to good use.
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