Experiments {Silv/Astarte}

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Posting Elemental
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Re: Experiments {Silv/Astarte}

Post by Songhue »

Poems in the sky, Astarte had said, and writings about love. Things to ponder, as she settled into the soft embrace of this place, half dozing in her meditations. She'd never thought of her auroras as special, particularly; they were something that could occur naturally, after all. She could merely touch them, shape them, call them if there was need. But to be of the sun and winds, such a small gift seemed just as natural; it was no talent at all compared to what those with true gifts could manage. Even less when compared to the studious tinkering discovered by Astarte, that ability - the drive, even - to repair, to heal in some way.

But if it was appreciated by this friend, so very dear to her as she was, then she would keep striving to better herself in it. The smooth rendering of OakHeart earlier had been a step towards progress, once she realized that slowly bringing the image to focus helped; the tip about each color bleeding to the next, a conduit to another part of the image, and then slowly refining the truth of it had been priceless.

There were still so many things she needed to learn, so much more to study, before she could begin to see as much as her friend did - and even then, she wouldn't see the same things. Each saw their own truth in the world.

You are welcome to what I may share, she said, answering the notion of reading some of the Books at home, though I can not say how much interest the tomes may have for you. There is one on the Wild Hunt, another on the Essential Need of Balance, another for the Ways the Wind Whispers, one that details The Healer's Cost, just as there's one for A Warrior's Drive, and one on Transcending Realms; a Touchstone for Multidimensional Awareness.

She had read each, of course, and although she couldn't see him, OakHeart was tilting his ear in a dead giveaway that some of the titles were new to him. There were not many works at home; but each had spoken to something inside of her. The Wild Hunt celebrating the savage drive that fueled the seasonal outpouring of predatory magic - nature provided, and nature devoured in equal measures. The Essential Need of Balance had explained that there was a duality to all things, not just the essence of nature, and that each had to be honored to avoid catastrophic consequences. She had spent months upon months exploring the various terrains of her homelands after reading that one - seeing for herself how lava burned and destroyed, only to cool into ash that supplied some of the most fertile soil to be found. She'd spent several long nights talking with Frolic over her experiences with it; that one had thrown herself out of balance, had lost that which was her essential self, and as a result had developed a soul-sickness that had been a struggle to heal from. Now she was off jumping over waterfalls with Torrent.

It seemed strange that there might be another writing which explained a different viewpoint on such things; the very notion sent her head spinning. And with a place like this, with so many writings to argue so many different notions that were seen (by the writer at least) as a truth, it would be almost impossible to discern what was viable from what was speculation. Is this what happened when everyone was allowed to write such works? Imagine if she found a piece written by one of the youngest at home; if she tried to write one herself, even! What few things she knew as an absolute truth would hardly be enough to fill one of the leaves they used; that she was loved, and loved deeply in return; that she strove to better herself and to help those she cared for; that she was not special. She knew that auroras danced in the sky, and that destruction could bring forth a path for renewal, exemplified by the devastation of the spring floods that brought down the waste from winter and prepared the space and food for spring's new growth.

What she didn't know could just as easily fill this entire space; but then, perhaps that was the point of it. If she were to talk to a thousand strangers and ask each one what their basic truths were, she was pretty sure that each would give her a different answer. And she was equally sure that each of those truths would be something she herself would not have thought of, with perhaps the exception of loving and being loved. Love, she was pretty sure, was an essential and universal truth, in all its forms.

Perhaps those romances that were mentioned would make for a good study, with that in mind. She knew there were different kinds of love; she saw it each day, in the different ways her bondkin interacted with their respective mates. In the difference in how they interacted with her, and with their bonded, and with each other. Poems sounded much more interesting, but when it came to understanding and seeing anew a basic tenant of all life; would it be selfish to ask to see works for both? Did she even have a right to read for interest, rather than for the sake of seeing things anew? Or would the poems help her to learn just as much?

So many things to ponder over.

While they are not our works to offer, we can inquire for you, OakHeart said, adding to AuraSidra's offer to share what they could. He followed Astarte as she moved down the isles, leaving the little blue terror to her own thoughts - she meditated daily, and it seemed that this was the time for her to send herself spinning through her own mind for the day. Sometimes when a problem proved especially sticky the best solution was to allow the mind to drift, that a solution might flow to the surface.

The isle was narrow, but he rather enjoyed the closeness; Astarte had been much sparser with her touch than either of them, and her reactions to the offered encounters had been mild. He thought she might not have been granted very much experience with such closeness; this gave him an excuse to swing his neck over her back, presumably to take a closer look at the shelves beside her, although he was honestly enjoying the scent of her mane. It was hard to resist the urge to lip at the small hairs, and yet if he really did want to help her become a little more comfortable with such things - which she would need to do, in order to spend much time with them - then he couldn't push her too far, too fast.

And some of the words on the spines of these books - strange, to have strips of leather enclosing the ends of the pages, but efficient in the ability to carve words into them to denote each book - did intrigue him. What, exactly, was a werewolf, and why did it have a woman?

Is it a necessary cost?

The question drew his attention away from The Werewolf's Woman, completely driving out his curiosity about using a term in the possessive in a work about love (was it like The Warrior's Mate? And what did that imply, really?). She was asking after him; he had begun to think her too reserved, and too much AuraSidra's companion, to take much notice of the slender-framed elemental beside her.

Sometimes it can be, he confided, and for a moment he seemed - harder. It was like watching the tender green of a fresh sprout grow into the hardened wood that made a trunk. If a sequence is not properly maintained, correcting the destruction can be a far longer process than ensuring that the waterfall creates a river rather than a lake. A river can shape a landscape; a lake could bury it. He paused, almost as if he wasn't going to say this next admission, but added And everyone in it. Collecting, redistributing, correcting a mistake like that, it takes time, and not everything will be saved. Not only my plants would drown.

If he had to wait the extra half a day to eat, if he didn't get the few moments to rip a few mouthfuls to tide him over until well after his stomach felt as if it was sticking together like so many wet leaves, then he would wait. Those few moments of distraction could make every ounce of difference; and he was still trying to learn how to maintain his work under physical stimulus. He always found the most secluded area, the place where none could find or disturb him, so that he could do what he needed to in peace, but that also meant that he had no one there to help see to his needs, and no one to find him in those instances when he collapsed the moment he could afford to pull his focus away from his elemental influences.

But it is not always necessary, he admitted, and huffed out a breath in self-aimed frustration. Sometimes I simply expect to need to wait. I get used to it, and I begin to fail to recognize those precious moments where I could pause. Or else I get lost in what I strive to create, forget myself entirely, focusing on what my experiment could achieve or what else I have left to complete that I fail to realize exactly how hungry I am, how much I managed to drain myself and need to replenish my energy, until my body forces me to take notice.

He tossed his mane in agitation, and because she was so easy to talk to he admitted what he had yet to vocalize to anyone else. It upsets them, my mother, my bonded, the little Princess who watches my back. And that upsets me. I may not intend to bring them the hurt of worry, but intention is outweighed by results. And the worst part is that they are all so kind about it. I see the hurt in their eyes as they fear for me, and they focus only on helping me. They apologize, as if it is somehow their doing that I failed to remember that there is a physical cost for my work, just as there is a physical cost for running for days without rest.

That is a quote, AuraSidra said from behind him, and he twisted his neck around to see her standing at the end of their isle - although she seemed for all the world to be peering at the various reading options, rather than paying attention to him. A balm for his pride, perhaps. That comparison was within A Healer's Cost. You read that one, then? Then she flashed him a smile and disappeared around the corner, looking at the not-cold not-ice once again; hadn't it moved, somehow, when she touched it earlier?

The smile told him what she was offering. A distraction, as well as a scolding. It wouldn't do to dwell on the problem, or to beat himself up over it. He was trying; for now, that would have to be enough. It was all he could offer. And, wisely, she had shown him that while it was an issue it didn't have to be a big issue, something for him to twist himself up over.

But then, that was the balance in his heart. He didn't dwell on what could be or what had been, not to any significant degree. But the cost was that he would lose himself to the moment far easier than most others. It could be beautiful, to watch him enthralled with joy to such an extent. And it could be heartbreaking, to find him a withered husk, his wings shallow and browned and crackling when they moved, because he simply forgot.

Sometimes, the darker half of balance was really hard to accept.

OOC| I know, right? I'm having a blast with this, and I love how AuraSidra is completely oblivious, in the typical pre-teen way of anyone under double digets. xD

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Re: Experiments {Silv/Astarte}

Post by Silverdust »

Astarte filed the titles away in her mind as they walked—each new to her, though the echoes of their possible subject matters rang familiar. Balance, healing, realm-walking and windcraft, perhaps. The Wild Hunt she’d heard only from fragments Sive had mentioned with affected lightness; the girl didn’t often speak of her sidhe lineage, and there seemed a tacit agreement among her bond family not to ask. But perhaps it was something that would be carried through the Bond, when Astarte took it upon herself. Once the task she’d set herself was done.

“Thank you, both of you,” she murmured, again humbled by how easily they opened their world to her. But she was adjusting, slowly, to feeling the privilege of this, rather than the burden. To knowing this was what they wanted, what they chose to do, regardless of what she felt might be owed or deserved. She, too, might be able to fit, to fall in place and step as easily as the work of her heart and lungs. In time. After.

A warmth settled over her back, almost as heavy as a touch. Ah, OakHeart was—just looking. That was all. These stacks were something of a conundrum to Sive, who’d been merely looking to expand the collection on mythos and arch-tales. But the summoning demand hadn’t quite been precise enough in its wording, so among the more classic tales appeared the occasional, well, Astarte wasn’t quite sure what such stories might be called, only they’d belonged to lighter days—days when she’d just been learning to read, and would make Sive laugh by reciting the purple-prosed passages in whatever casting intonation style she was practicing.

But as OakHeart rested there, his face tucked away from her sight though she felt him keenly, it was his response that held her more than the close press of his body. He spoke in a way she was getting used to, the same way AuraSidra did: words that might mean more than her conventional understanding of them, but the architecture clear underneath, like the enchantment of the tower stairs or other delicately crafted spellwork. His powers had settled him with a responsibility, it seemed—the maintenance of the land of his Bonded’s realm? Or perhaps just his own?

“You bend your gift to a purpose, then, that’s—very noble.” Or it would seem so, to her. Dayi Confetti never seemed to use his power for anything but its own sake, and seemed to relish it. She craned her neck back, daring to catch his eye with what she hoped was a genuine smile. “Your Bonded must trust you with much.”

Yet, he went on, suddenly—something she hadn’t expected. Hadn’t expected to be entrusted with this, so new and tenuous, the connection between them. But she listened—to the insecurities, self-prescribed weaknesses, a litany of failures whose whispers had often slipped into her own dark nights. What if she had taken on too much? What if she was not enough? Small-gifted, not-yet-grown, what if she only harmed her family further? What if she brought only more pain—what if she lost herself? But she was the only one. The only one who could.

It was a moment without hesitation, perhaps the first—to reach out after that rough toss of the head and try to quiet it with her touch. Lightly, but it stayed; she let it stay, through the sudden thunder in her chest. “There is time,” she offered, though she wasn’t sure if her words, unwise and distant as she was, would help any. “
There will be time to murder and create, and time for all the works and days of hands…and time yet for a hundred indecisions, and for a hundred visions and revisions.” She smiled, then. “There, that’s part of a poem, one that calls itself a love song. But it helps remind me, we have time. To make ourselves stronger than we are. Better.”

But AuraSidra was there, suddenly, and Astarte should maybe not be standing so close to the stallion, lest she be intruding in some way, on something to be. But the filly was gone again so quickly, she had not time to—ah, well. She could explain, later, perhaps, if it came to that.

“There are some books I could show you, later, on communicating across distance, if it might help ease minds and hearts,” she said instead, brightly, doing her best to disentangle herself from OakHeart and continue on the path. “I thought they might be useful for me, since I haven’t Bonded yet.” She ducked her head again, ruefully. “I suppose I always assumed that such things would be communicated through the Bond.”

But then she supposed there would be no reason for the Silent Song’s singular ability, or necessity for Sive’s kythe casting. She had still so much to learn—but that could wait. “There are more poem collections, this way. We can find something for AuraSidra, together.”

There was a space opening beyond the stacks, another clear reading circle edged not in stone, but high shelves filled with the close, colorful press of leather and paper. Here, the light shone down from a circular skylight, painting a spill of pale roses across the open floor.

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Re: Experiments {Silv/Astarte}

Post by Songhue »

Your Bonded must trust you with much.

So many things happened all at once, but the most significant of them was that phrase. There was a small click in his brain, like stones settling and finally fitting into their proper place, and just as happens with stones that single realization shifting into place began a cascade of others.

Quite suddenly he knew why Greenhorn wasn't a nickname to cringe away from.

He had never realized, before. It was simply what he did; seemingly, it was what he had always done, although he knew it must have begun gradually as he grew. Somewhere along the line, without quite realizing what was happening, OakHeart had become respected.

He knew the Lady, Eternal, was prominent in her influences. He knew that Death itself walked in the form of Caustic, and their Ghost, Plasma, walked lightly, each trailing destruction behind them. He knew that the Princess studied with each of them, knew that the Soldier Hybrid struck the sickened trees during the storms, knew that there were roles to be played, parts to be filled. He hadn't once realized that he was a part of this harmony as well.

She had touched him, he realized belatedly, the observation landing on the tail of his recent epiphany; a soft touch that lingered on his cheek, granted while he lamented his failings, and it had comforted him, eased some of his tension. And then suddenly she seemed to grow tense herself, as the little blue imp spoke of quotes from their tomes. There were a myriad of reasons that could bring such a reaction, and figuring out what it was would be a headache; it'd be best just to ask. The hard part would be discerning what to ask; the simple notion of asking what was wrong would hardly gain him results, as broad as that was. Could she be angry at AuraSidra, perhaps for this event on the beach that he had heard tale of? Or was she merely uncomfortable being close to someone - anyone, in any way - while others were around? He knew that there were some who preferred privacy before they could show tenderness. That seemed the most likely, as he hadn't detected any other tension between them. Nor had he noticed any indication of a desire for the filly to go home, leaving the two of them to wander about without such antics as she was known for.

Shyness didn't seem at all unlikely, given what he had seen of her so far, and yet unless and until they talked about it he couldn't know for sure.

It is good to remember that there is still time to grow in spirit, even after the body has finished its journey, he answered, his words sprouting forth on their own as his mind spun itself in circles. And I suppose I am entrusted with a duty; it is perhaps time that I recognize such a thing.

He kept his gaze on her as she walked into another open area, trying to gauge by her body language rather or not he would somehow be trespassing upon her to ask after the momentary alarm he had sensed. She seemed alright now; but he was like her not long ago, awkwardly in between and all too aware of it. Perhaps it wasn't quite that their younger companion had past by; perhaps he had somehow made her uncomfortable. It was hard to believe that it could have been the proximity to him, not with her offering that small touch of comfort.

It is one of those things which the Bond does not wholly communicate; it is a vague and delicate touch that I share with my Bonded. Only observation can reveal how I am esteemed, and in that matter I have been wholly unobservant.

He sounded almost remiss, and there was a heavy indication of feeling somewhat dazed, but all of that was brushed aside by AuraSidra crying out Careful, lest you crush it!

Blinking in surprise, he raised his hoof to see the delicate red splash of color on the ground. It seemed to be the same as the other bits scattering the space, including the ones behind him - and on his back. It would be delicate work to step between them, at east for someone of his size, but when he shook off to set the red splashes on his back loose something strange happened.

His skin slid under them, shifting around as they remained exactly as they were.

Enamored, AuraSidra put her hoof on the one nearest her, snorting in delighted surprise as it suddenly appeared on top of her knee. She tried it with another one, swishing her tail through the air in an effort to blow the bits of red around, and when they remained as well she squealed with excitement at yet another new discovery. Prancing and giggling, she took off through the open space, playing with the bits of red that flowed over her skin like frozen auroras.

OakHeart smiled at the sight; she would not have such moments of innocence forever.

This is very much what it is like to have a Bond, he observed, turning that smile to Astarte and letting it brighten with inspiration. I know the little terror is happy, and I can share in that happiness to some extent. My Bonded can sense the same with each of us, regardless of where we are; we are tied to her. In the same manner, she feels it when I have pushed too hard and knows that there is a need to find me. It is even possible for her to trace the feel of where I am; rather it is too hot or too wet, or rather my only remaining sensation is exhaustion. She told me that finding me during those times is quite a lot like closing your eyes and walking towards a fire on a chilly night; that it is easier to sense a lack of warmth, rather than the initial touch of heat, but eventually it is possible to be sitting near the comfort it offers.

This is the best magic, AuraSidra giggled, and tossed her mane in vibrant joy. She hadn't heard a word he'd said - too busy, it seemed, enjoying the discoveries of this new place. On the tail of her enthusiasm, still giggling, she trotted to one of the nearby shelves and poked a vibrantly colored book, exceedingly eager to find what hidden treasures were kept within such a wonderful space. A Midsummer Night's Dream, she murmured, and then suddenly grew very, very still as a memory floated to the surface, breaking through the bubbling excitement of her current adventure. This was it, then, what she had sensed earlier; why she had needed to meditate.

The Ghost told me, she said, the words coming slowly, uncertainly, that one day, when all of my time now is hardly more than a dream, he will begin to show me those things he would have me learn. He told me that his Lessons for me are for when I am older, that I am still too young to understand the dreams of the heart.

She looked at them, these two closest friends of hers, and her eyes filled with a fumbling sense of confusion as she asked Would the dreams of the heart be love? She had brushed it off at the time, gleaning little more than that she would be working with him as well, eventually; now she was beginning to sense that there were things she hadn't understood.

In this case, yes, OakHeart answered, and the smile he gave her was one to mark another sign of her growth. I would imagine that his intent is to be a bit more thorough than to simply have you read. But your Lessons have already increased as you grew; his will be no exception.

And here I had been thinking that you were dense for failing to see that you stand at the side of our Bonded, easing her burdens, AuraSidra grumbled, kicking a hoof in a self-effacing manner. Maybe we always miss what others think of as obvious.

It was an apology, after a fashion, an acknowledgment that she had judged him unfairly and without properly understanding his position. She could understand missing something that was laid directly under your nose, now. It had happened to her, after all, as she missed the clear warning that there was a stallion waiting for her to finish growing up.

I am quite certain that I do not ease any of her work, OakHeart countered dryly, and snorted at the sarcastic scowl she shot him by way of answer. He rolled his eyes, knowing full well when there was simply no use in arguing with her, and found himself shaking his head as he turned back to Astarte to explain.

She - our Bonded - can be thought of like myself, like an elemental. She sees the lines of creation, what she calls a Tapestry, and can work with those invisible bonds that make reality as it is, that base component that tells a tree that it is a tree, or rather or not a fire has dragon magic in it. She makes the mate-bonds of her kind, maintains the bonds that all of her kind share - ones quite similar to and yet more than what a Circle has, only it is throughout an entire species - and cares for the health of the realm, encouraging life where it is needed by altering the base essence, these lines that make up reality. I place a spark of life to encourage what is needed, wherever she tells me to - she turns it into a new reality. I do not do enough to ease her work.

She makes mate-bonds? AuraSidra asked with a touch more curiosity than he was strictly comfortable with. I mean, she makes them separately from the rest of it? Is it her job to find the missing mate and link them together, to help them find each other?

Uhm, OakHeart answered, eloquent as ever.

She must have the best love stories! She could help me get ready for what the Ghost wants to teach me!

Uhm, OakHeart repeated, and glanced at Astarte in mild panic. Was that little blue terror honestly turning even this into a battle she had to prepare for? This? Really?

Uhm, he said once more, and then, desperate for a distraction Astarte already knows some love stories, right? Maybe she could tell you how they start; how the creatures in them get ready for it all?

He looked at her with the clear floundering of someone who had no idea what he was doing - after all, he had never read such a tale - and found himself pleading You told me about one poem that had something of love in it, and something of growing even still, with time enough. Can you find something for her, something from some secret corner of your heart that helped to shape you into becoming as you are, the sweetest of blossoms?
Last edited by Songhue on Wed May 22, 2019 4:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Experiments {Silv/Astarte}

Post by Silverdust »

In his reply, in the slight easing of his manner and carriage, she saw some relief—and she was glad of it, glad if any part of her played any part at all. She’d not noticed, however, any change in her own bodily language, or how easily the stallion noted its minutiae with the same care as she’d given his. Astarte had never been the focus of such attention, nor would she have considered that such careful observation would be wasted on her.

“A vague and delicate touch,” she mused, moving just to the side so the stallion might pass her, step into the circle of light. There was some unmoored note in his words, one that left her trying to make some sort of steady anchor of their conversation. “Amma tells me Sive holds her Bond lightest, out of the three sisters. I wonder if ours will feel similar, perhaps a—”


She startled, a little, despite herself—but soon grinned as she saw the cause of the filly’s caution and glee. Of course, AuraSidra would adore the skylight, a shadow imitation of her auroras, but in her delight and scampering she breathed new life into the still colors. The petals turned rich purple on the blue of her coat, orange and umber against the yellows and greens. Astarte craned her neck up. “The light comes through there,” she indicated, flicking her free ear—she’d dare not dislodge her gifted flower. “The pattern changes, with the seasons or sunlight, we’re not quite sure—and it holds light, sometimes, after the sun has set.”

Another thing that Sive had brought into being without full knowledge of its nature—but safe. Safe enough that if AuraSidra were to fly up to examine the glass more closely, Astarte would not dissuade her. This was her
home, she realized, suddenly. All these walls and rooms, made in the expression of her Bond-to-be’s craft, her soul—and open to her. It had always been open to her. Perhaps this is what the two had meant, when they spoke of the heart made into shelter.

And so she understood, at least a little, as she turned to OakHeart, let the bright press of his words and smile wash over her. “So, you’re all woven together through your Bond, able to sense glimmers of what others are feeling.” She let out a soft sigh—not quite wistful, not quite rue. “It sounds…complete. No, maybe that’s not the right word? Full?” She laughed at herself. “That sounds worse.”

Not unlike what she had imagined—but softer, perhaps. Not the grudging clarity of Reticent’s gift, nor the open vein of Dayi Avalir’s—or, what it used to be, rather. But she stood apart from them, still, and maybe that’s why it was all so hard right now. She could know only what she observed, what she asked after, what she stated—or trust them to read her, deeply, in a way only really Amma knew how to do. But that was valuable, too, perhaps: only from the outside, could she see the whole of the thing. See the obvious. It was where she needed to be, to do what must be done.

This is what she’d been missing—these conversations, these little words sliding and unlocking like the most unpredictable of puzzle boxes. As they learned, so did she: about herself, but, more importantly, about them.
I could learn them forever, it seems. She walked over to where AuraSidra stood, suddenly pensive at the title she’d found. As long as they’d allow me.

“At least some form of love, yes,” she offered, reeling through her memories to recall if she’d heard the title of ‘Ghost’ before—but, no, she was sure she hadn’t. She knew their Bond herd was larger than Sive’s and Sanguine’s combined, perhaps, so maybe this was a member she’d not yet been told of, or one who’d joined after their last meeting. “Is the Ghost another you are considering for your Circle?”

She left the question open to the both of them, this project seeming to hinge on their joint effort. A brother of sorts, to OakHeart, she imagined—if she used her own birth Circle as a model—or perhaps a rival, to follow their tradition of challenge? She, perhaps, was then to play the Helena to AuraSidra’s Hermia, as in the drama her friend had nosed out. What she followed of their Bonded’s powers and nature, such promise of betrothal did not surprise her—only the fact that she was included in the arrangement. But she was, so she would do her best to—

Oh. Well. It seemed that best was demanded much more quickly than she’d imagined—but it was OakHeart’s pleading eyes that begged it of her, and she was finding there was little she’d not do for them. “I,” she started, stopped—if the filly’s questions tripped up his silver-tongue, she was undoubtedly worse off. “I think—it doesn’t seem much like something you prepare for…”

She scanned the shelves, the narratives flashing through her head. “There is a start, though, as with most things.” There, that poetry book, there might be something there. She reached up. “Sometimes it seems there’s a moment, a flash of awareness, like lightning. Sometimes, it’s a slow thing that grows over time, one that is recognized and learned rather than—struck.” She nosed through a few pages, letting the book fall open on a familiar line.
“My vegetable love shall grow vaster than empires and more slow.”

It was the slow loves that moved her more—maybe because that was the love that had given birth to her, though she knew not the whole of its story. The quickening in the blood, the forge-heat of the heart, the shock of nerves, they were not for her. They only marked some passing fantasy that belonged to someone who might rightly call herself “the sweetest of blossoms”—though the stallion was kind in saying so. She shot him a quick smile, a nod of thanks, as she flipped further into the book. “Sive says that she finds poetry and spellwork kindred, in how they use language to speak intent, to the truth of a thing without naming it.” She looked for verses with flowers, with nature, things she might imagine OakHeart could speak, and speak well, make truer in his intimate knowledge of his gift. “Maybe a little like those lines of creation your bonded works. Ah, here.”

The rose petal light fell over the page, and she read as clearly, as lyrically as she could remember how:

"I don’t love you as if you were a rose of salt, topaz,
or arrow of carnations that propagate fire:
I love you as one loves certain obscure things,
secretly, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that doesn’t bloom but carries
the light of those flowers, hidden, within itself,
and thanks to your love the tight aroma that arose
from the earth lives dimly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where,
I love you directly without problems or pride:
I love you like this because I don’t know any other way to love,
except in this form in which I am not nor are you,
so close that your hand upon my chest is mine,
so close that your eyes close with my dreams."

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Re: Experiments {Silv/Astarte}

Post by Songhue »

OakHeart smiled as she read, his expression slowly softening into something that was misty eyed and entirely sappy. AuraSidra, however, looked to be concentrating with all her might, her face screwed up with effort. There was a joke in there about looking constipated, if he'd felt inclined to tease, but she was so sincere in her effort that he just didn't have it in him.

He said "I love you" in a whole bunch of different ways, but I do not understand how a creature would prepare for such a state.

OakHeart glanced at Astarte, feeling rather out of his depth, but did his best to help this young heart understand.

When our Bonded is with her mate - just the two of them, with no other soul to be found - you can sense it, correct?

Yes... she said slowly, recognizing when she was being led to an answer and determined not to get lost along the way.

Have you ever wondered why you can sense that the clearest, when we normally receive little more than knowledge of her presence; that she is there, bound to us?

I had always thought that it was a desire to share good things with us, she admitted, and frowned when he shook his head.

She is the most relaxed in those moments. It is the difference between the wind trying to dash through trees, or being given full freedom over an open field. That is why you sense more. Can you put what you feel from her into words?

Peace, she said instantly, and tilted her ears, casting around in an effort to analyze what she had never taken particular notice of before. Joy. Belonging. Safety. Definitely safety. And... Something too-full, like on the beach. But softer. Like - like it could burst from your bones and spill out, as a river that has grown too full after a hard rain.

Keep that in your mind, that moment you can sense from her, and read it again, he offered, and smiled when she ducked her nose back towards the book. Slowly, her look of tense concentration softened, until a single tear slipped off the end of her nose as she lifted her head again. She understood it now, as she linked the words of the poem with the gentle impression she gleaned from her Bonded, each one a reference for the other.

So that is what love is, she whispered, and found OakHeart standing next to her, nearly pinning her between him and Astarte, almost as if he sought to comfort her.

It is a kind of love, he agreed, and her eyes looked too large as she looked at each of them, too lost within this new reality.

Could the Ghost make me feel this way? she asked, and for some reason she seemed to be directing the question primarily towards Astarte.

I think he will have to, if he wishes to win your favor, OakHeart answered, and in an effort to put that little spark of fire back in her eye added conspiratorially And I think that he shall have to work twice as hard, now that you understand his intent.

Are you calling me difficult? she asked, and a little of that lost, too-large look faded from her gaze. Only a little, but it was a start. Sadly, it was also all he could do.

Of course not, Princess, he answered with the utmost dignity, and gave her a gentle nudge, smiling when she nuzzled him in return.

Would you choose another? he asked Astarte, and gave her a smile that shared this moment between the three of them, as if they had somehow sealed a bond together. Just one more of your favorites, he promised, although I would happily listen to your beautiful recitations until even the waterfalls ran empty.

I am going to look at this light which paints colors, AuraSidra declared, and completely missed the surprised look that OakHeart gave her back as she slid out from between them.

What of preparing for your Ghost? he asked, and failed to recognize that he had already begun referring to the stallion as hers.

If this is his intent, then I have nothing to prepare for, she answered, and tilted her head back to squint up at the skylight, trying to hide the vulnerability that remained in her gaze; she knew it would be there, because she felt it still. Astarte was right about that; you are so brilliant that way, Astarte, and I am lucky to know someone who can show me such hidden things. He is the one that will have to work.

With that, she spread her wings and climbed upward, circling the beautiful rendering above their heads, although she didn't see the glowing treasure before her nose. That sort of feeling - she had known there were different ways of loving and being loved, different realities to the couples that surrounded her, but she had only ever felt such a thing through the link with her Bonded. Did her parents know such a thing together, she wondered? Was there such a gentle sense of belonging that they felt as if they had unified into a single being? They had to love each other; that much was hard to miss, if nothing else. But she had never realized that such a thing could go beyond the fondness she felt for those she cared for.

Would she ever know such a feeling for herself? It was so alien, so new that it set her adrift in a world she no longer understood.

She could only watch those around her for examples of love, but she would never truly know what it was they shared. And her own experience with it was long in coming - she was far from grown. There were still so many things for her to learn, so many new Lessons to shape how she saw the worlds she past through; perhaps it would be best to run from this, for now. To immerse herself in other experiences, and forget that she had ever learned the truth of what real love was.

OakHeart watched her circling, and sighed. The little one had been given a lot to think about lately; she would disappear for a while, once they got back home, retreat into her frozen landscape to absorb all that already happened.

Turning back towards Astarte he looked at her, and realized he had begun to defer to her as he said What shall we do, sweet blossom, while our Princess satisfies her restless urges?

What now? his gaze asked, his wings fluttering uncertainly, a small part of him perturbed with AuraSidra for wandering off so frequently. Restless youth or not, there was a certain point to basic manners that demanded she stop flitting back and forth and keep to the company that was so cherished.

Hopefully, the gentle soul that had been kind enough to expand their world wouldn't mind too much.

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Re: Experiments {Silv/Astarte}

Post by Silverdust »

It had been a while since she’d read a poem aloud, and it still felt like a small magic—the weighted pause, the change in the air, the small catch in time as she shook herself free of the paper and ink and looked up, grinning, at her friends. Aura Sidra had the most—interesting?—look on her face, but some instinct in her told her that laughing at such genuine expression of effort might hurt the filly’s pride. She caught OakHeart’s glance over the girl’s head, shrugged a little helplessly at thought of “preparation”; she’d missed his tender, dreamy gaze entirely, so caught up she’d been in the reading.

But again, it seemed the stallion knew well what young friend needed—despite their shared looks of confusion. Astarte took a step back, nosing the book toward the filly as OakHeart contextualized its flowery lines in a way that rang clear and true in their world. She had little to offer, here, unbonded and inexperienced in, well, most of the workings of the heart—at least, her own. The love she knew of her birth circle was true, but complicated in a way she wouldn’t wish on AuraSidra. Not for a first experience, in any case.

But that was not her choice to make, really. She could only offer comfort, here, a touchstone at the Princess’ side, her warmth in solidarity with Oak Heart’s gentle presence. She met that wide-eyed wonder, the question that asked more than she could promise—
"Could the Ghost make me feel this way?"

“If you wish it so,” she offered, on the tail of OakHeart’s lighthearted assurances, smiling to herself at the easy exchanges fondness between the pair. “The balance of the heart is twofold—none given, none received.”

It was a line she remembered from her research, suited more for the manipulations of those elements than their natural course, but worth keeping in mind. They had a way of speaking about this Ghost that made her think of a contest of wills rather than a courtship, but she knew little of what lay in the fatelines of her friend—only she was sure of the filly’s innate ability to shape them as she saw fit. It was that certainty she saw mirrored in OakHeart’s smile, a thread—however light—woven between them.

She bowed, slightly, at AuraSidra’s parting words, an expression of fealty that might seem awkward for friendship—but she was discovering that this bond refused to be defined by convention. All their actions played off of each other, a series of intricate exchanges that some outside stranger would find hard to predict or articulate. But it was true, and fitted to them. Astarte would have it no other way. “If I am brilliant, then it is because you find me so.” She watched the filly fly up, and her heart lightened and ached to see that wing whole, working as it was meant to.

"What shall we do, sweet blossom?"

There was a trace of uneasiness about the stallion—she wondered if their being alone weighed him, or perhaps the talk of the Ghost had put him out of sorts? The traditional social niceties had never played much part in her upbringing, so she minded not AuraSidra’s odd departures or deviations—she never demanded much of anyone, content to merely be around, acknowledged, accepted by those she loved. So, the discomfort must be rooted elsewhere.

She smiled, flicked a light, reassuring tap with her tail. “There are more poems,” she said, nosing through the book. “This one, ‘Every Day You Play’, seems to be a very ode to our young friend.” She shot him a sideways smile. “If one means to win her favor, in time.”

Of course, she didn’t know this mysterious other stallion—but she knew what she saw move between her enchanting friends, and it seemed a fertile ground for such a love to grow. She’d tend it as she did her own projects, if she might. She indicated the span of shelves. “I can help, here, if you wish, or if there’s anything else—” she flicked an ear behind her, again, carefully moving around her ornament. “To help with your work, or to help you with the strain, anything.” The word felt oddly strange on her tongue, clumsy and yet she meant it more than anything she had in a long while. “Anything.”

She still owed them her workshop, as well. She owed them so much.


As AuraSidra circled the high window, she might notice how the light that came down was bright as the high sun, whereas the windows below darkened with late-afternoon shadows. The image of the roses remained unchanging, a bouquet of twelve, their shades of red just different enough to be told apart. Their petals spiraled against a sunset gold field of abstract whorls and spheres.

Gradually, a touch of that light gathered and fell like a droplet upon the filly’s crown. Pyr, shed of their flame-like essence—now they were merely a ball of light, glowing with the contained bioluminescence one might find in fireflies or glow worms. Better for the books, perhaps. They bounced and dipped down AuraSidra’s mane and back, landing over the curve of her rump and peering down to the pair below.

They’d lost the most telling signal of whatever emotion they possessed, but they nevertheless managed to look watchful. Wary, even.

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