Event  Chapter One, Location Three - Southern Rift
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Canine 9999yo Genderfluid, Tall & Bulky Native 23 posts 0 Honor 99,395 ☪ Staff
#1
Mending the Rift
Fable: Chapter One, Location Three


Volcanic activity never did bother to settle here. With the steaming vents of Vulcanis as a backdrop, the yawning chasm of the Rift that carved across the landscape here appeared to have adopted the sentience of its neighboring lands: soft, heated clouds of mist and steam rise up periodically from the darkness of the Rift, creating a veil between the northern and southern broken halves of Ourania that was impossible to penetrate with the naked eye. It left much of the surrounding landscape a mystery unless one was familiar with it, but even so… 

Like much of the Rift it was teeming with magic here, the very air tingling and alive with it and as time passed, that only heightened. Faint whispers and mused wonderings entered one’s thoughts when they tread close, and along the edge of this particular Rift precipice walked a single, small creature unassuming in all ways but one: a wild hare, leaving a trail of stardust in its wake. 

Welcome to Ourania's first Site Event, and the first of many Fables. It's time we began to explore the Rift and what has healed since the Unfinished War nearly a year ago.

You have 48 hours to respond before the next chapter proceeds. Once a chapter proceeds, the chapter will close to new participation. You are welcome to participate with more than one character, however characters cannot cross-post on other locations. Happy writing!
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Canine 57yo Female, Short & Thin Native 11 posts 0 Honor 61 ☪ Scamander
#2
Tolkïen

Here at the end of all things, the world appeared fractured and bleeding, an open sore to the depths of its sorrows. Ourania had always been a land of a fragile balance, powerful in its wake, and yet, the seasons bore changes not even the greatest of their paragons could command. The grindholds crept in, unperturbed by the will of the great Lords, crafting ruin and fable from their prowess, the air coming alive with the elemental faes just beyond their imagining. Now it seemed there was a greater power, an ever present memory to their failures and their war, the land itself a victim that had bore its mark with quiet pride. What was once more precious had endured, but, for how long? How long would it be until once again the war began, choking on the ash, but, gaining strength with the righteous madness that had begun the cycle so many aeons ago.


It was not long before Tolkien had returned to familiar shores, that she turned her eyes inward, dauntless in facing her, their, mistakes. Lives had been cut short, lives that did not need to end, that shouldn't have ended. As a raven on solemn currents, she had floated amongst the ruins, her feathers dusted with smoke, made ashen and empty in comparison to the lusturous onyx they had always been. The only sound that accompanied her were the trilling whine of cold metal rattling upon itself, a chiming chant to ward off the dead, to clear her path as she stepped foot into the dead places. While the carnage and torn earth had healed, the fields of the front line no longer baring the scent of decay and loss, and so, so much sorrow, there was a lingering prayer on her tongue, the hymns of the long night offering pardon to the fallen soliders who never recieved their burial. 


This, had been the final place Tolkien had seen her family, it had become her greatest strength, and her deepest regret. Perhaps some would have called her a coward, to abandon those who had taken her at arms, and called her sister. But she knew, more then her anger could drive her forward, that no victory would come on these no mans lands. Her body had felt heavy, since first stepping foot upon the edge of the Rift, her cold eyes of quartz seeing nothing but darkness, and the abyss. It came abruptly amongsts the mists, the earth beneath her feet torn clear away, devoured by something great and immense. Through the veil, she could not see the other side. Hesitating, her talons drawing runes in the sand, the Wåhfarer continued on, following the serpent, the keeper of the forbidden fruit. Ahead, she could hear the hissing of water, heated and sulphorous, burning at her senses. 


She found its trail first, a glow of fireflies along the shores of a wide lake, floating, bobbing in and out of sight. Tolkien paused, her pale limbs reaching forth, only to skim through the mists, the lights warped, then, vanished. Looking ahead, the dust trail continued. A vagrant soul, following upon the paths of Tartarus, the white raven hung as a phantom there, at the edge of the world, following the lights as they guided her there upon that place between life and death. To her right, she heard the clatter of stones fall loose from the edge, reigning down into the depths, where their plummet met no end. The dust took shape, slowly, new and vibrant, imprinted as the shape of a hares footsteps. The thought of the lesser creatures gaining magic had never come to fruition in her mind. They were perhaps not any less important in the cycle of this world, yet, they were not given the same care, the same conscious as the Eldar Races. Looking up, the ravens sharp gaze met its own, dark and black, seeing her and yet, passing on as if she was nothing at all. Not something to fear. It did not have the eyes of a common hare.


It bounded away, into the mists.


She followed.

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Equine 3yo Female, Short & Thin Immigrant 5 posts 0 Honor 113 ☪ Kristin
#3
storms make trees take deeper roots
“Ourania, Ourania!”
She is singing in her leaf-quiet murmur; singing to herself out of sheer happiness despite the ravaged wilderness of the land that shapes itself around her. Her pale eyes pick out the signs of struggle here and there, finds the pockmarks of battle and blood that tell a tale that is hard to ignore. Even the air is saturated in such a manner that Sprig can not explain it - she thinks the very air itself is magical.

Her little stick-limbs tap the earth in rapid succession as the ent-child stops her singing, drawn to the very air itself that seems to shiver and spark. Sprig tilts her head to look at well, nothing, with just a little more curiosity than usual. Air doesn’t behave like that, and she attributed it to the steam and the dark of this place she had carelessly stumbled upon. It settled like a shroud, thick and heavy; impossible to penetrate with her pale eyes but the geothermal heat beckoned in crooked fingers of hissing warmth.

The pine-daughter stepped further and more fully into the land; the thin tapered stumps of her legs sank into the tangled skein of roots that she immediately felt an affinity for. She almost cooed to them as if they were her children, until she realized that she did not know this land yet and such childishness might be considered an affront to it. Best not to upset the delicate balance of magic and nature that thrummed here. Sprig was beginning to hear the faintest stirring of voices from the abysmal Rift (to her, it was a great yawning maw of a chasm that felt sentient all on its own) that left her curious as to who and why they beckoned across the distance.

She would have called back to one of those disembodied others if it were not for the hare that shot by her. It trailed stardust at each hop, and she had to blink to make sure she was not imagining this. The hare happened to be followed by a wolf. Curiouser and curiouser! Sprig observed for a moment longer before giving chase too, which had always been a favorite pastime of hers. “Wait!” she cried as she sprang forward in a stilted run, twig-legs a-clatter before amending her precious shout amidst some giggles, “Wait for me!”

Sprig did not fear being alone or left behind, but there was magic stirring and something greater afoot that she longed to be a part of. 
SPRIG

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Canine 1,359 yo Male, Tall & Bulky Immigrant 8 posts 0 Honor 107 ☪ Storm
#4

He had been walking for days, the ache in his paws and wings were harsh. It was strange hunting animals in a land he wasn't accustomed to, keeping his wings hidden the massive male trotted through the area. He could feel the comforting heat in his pads, pausing long enough to inhale the strong scent of water and earth he closed his eye. Blind to all sight, opening his eye he looked around keeping an eye on the land around him. He shifted forward and started walking again, his long legs carrying him quickly over the sopping earth. Sinking in places, he saw steam rising through the ground seeing pools of water. This area was truly beautiful, a small body shot away from him. Stopping he watched a hare speed away, leaving a glowing trail in its wake. 

Pinning his ears back he sniffed the air, the scent of another wolf met his nose, a wolf and a horse. Twitching his ears he sank to the ground his wings gathering under the skin, sliding through the slit of flesh on his back as the large feathers lifted. Lifting the slightly bloody feathers above his back he felt the skin immediately mend, his head turned to the sound of steps and he hissed softly. Pushing his wings down and springing forward he soared up into the air, spreading them he glided higher until he saw a white and black shape and soft brown one. His head turned to where he spied the hare run away, flapping his wings he glided after it. Keeping an eye on the wolf and horse following the small prey, his eye flicked to where he saw the hare. He could see a glowing trail of dust behind it, its pale beauty reminding him of the moon. 

A pang hit his heart, the trail of moondust making him remember a female he had once loved. Shaking his horned skull he beat his wings forcing himself to go higher, he wasn't from this world. He was never from the worlds he'd traveled to, but this land. Maybe it would be home to him, watching the hare below was truly fascinating. Banking he pulled in his wings and dropped, the earth rushed towards him as he aimed at a spot the small animal was headed for. He was going to surprise it, he opened his wings lightly to slow his descent. Before landing his heavy paws struck the earth as he dropped before the hare, startling it. 

"What am I doing here..."


 
Table by Centience
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Equine 30yo Male, Tall & Average Immigrant 4 posts 0 Honor 92 ☪ Sparkie
#5
the dead cannot cry out for justice
Belial had always had an affinity for broken things. Scratches and scars; wounds and blood. They were all stories that he could relate to. He could feel their aches in the very marrow of his own bones. He held the faintest respect for things that have been hurt, things that have bled. It was something he understood. This land was no different. It’s cracks and crags spoke to the black beast. Their voice was soothing, and it called him forth. Who was he to deny its calls?

He moves slowly, tendons and muscles protesting almost every step. His body was tired of walking, his wings ached as they hung at his side, useless. A single eye, fiery orange in color, roams the land in front of him. Movement pauses as he spots the others in front of him. Obsidian ears flick back, an unhappy grunt escaping his throat. The stallion couldn’t remember the last time he had been able to enjoy the company of others. In the end they always managed to hurt each other. They always managed to make promises they couldn’t or wouldn’t keep. They all reminded him of the pain they could put each other through.

His body shifts uncomfortably, wings rustling against his back. The beast watches them through his only good eye. He watches as they bound after the rodent, following its shimmering trail. The wooden creature was truly a unique sight and something about her odd appearance drew the stallion closer. He had thought he had seen everything the universe had to offer, but he hadn’t seen anything like her before.

The winged canine stole his attention away from the earthy creature. The sight of the creature in flight caused Belial to grunt once more. A familiar ache spread through the nerves of his own wings. He could still feel what it was like to have the wind beneath them. It was something he would never know again. And so, he stood there, glaring enviously at the wolf. He didn’t even realize how his dark frame must have stuck out in the land around them.


 
BELIAL
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Equine 22yo Female, Tall & Average Immigrant 8 posts 0 Honor 58 ☪ Eris
#6
Some semblance of peace could be found in the skies.

Despite the scent of sulfur and brimstone and the light dusting of grey ash that mottled the mare’s pearlescent coat, Orithia found herself near to contentment. The updrafts were plentiful and the muscles in the mare’s wings thrilled at the activity. Swooping and diving, the maiden’s wings carved invisible patterns through the steam and smoke of the Rift; she was weightless and formless while nestled in the clouds. At that moment, was nothing in the grey expanse of the skies that could wrench her from the heaven’s embrace.

Save for a star speckled hare and it’s entourage of canid and equine.

Invisible brows quirking and tulip ears swiveling forward, Orithia found she could not discern the voices of the Rift from those of the hare’s followers. The whispers and murmurs of what she presumed to be the dead swallowed up by the mighty chasm chased her through the air as she flew closer to the opening, adjusting her course to fly a few heads above the creatures in pursuit. Quickly, she scanned the appearances of those gathered, noting the familiar raven-cloaked canine with a smirk and a half hearted irritation.

To the coattails of the alabaster fiend clung a menagerie of curiosities come to life; a horse made of wood, a wolf graced with wing and horn who had taken flight and followed much like the mare, and an earthbound pegasus who looked to be hewn of coal. Orithia may have had more time to consider the strange gathering of creatures had the horned wolf not dove from the air to land in the hare’s shimmering path. Shoring up her line of flight and buffeting the earth with powerful downstrokes as she hovered, Orithia was not quite ready to give up the advantage of flight just yet.

What would the little creature do when faced with comparative giants?

Better yet, what would the comparative giants do when given the opportunity to exude power over that which was strange and small?



Woooo
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Canine 100yo Female, Short & Thin Native 16 posts 0 Honor 65 ☪ Layla
#7
It was unclear what exactly led her to this place, but it was certainly not an area she usually found herself. Ever since the great war, she avoided the Rift since it brought back too many horrible memories. Corr saw enough of them in her nightmares, she didn't need to see them in the waking world too.

Feeling that it would be safer for Hāsta to be at a distance, she left the bird in a cave tucked away from this place. There was an uneasy feeling in the pit of her stomach as she got closer, but something was drawing her here and she had to follow it. Surely the bird would understand! It was not the first time that Corr followed her intuition.

As she looked at her surroundings, there was a sense of loss. It just all looked so different from the way it used to be before. The world felt more alive when it was full of magic and she had a greater connection with everything around her. She knew what the earth was feeling and could manipulate flora at her will. Back home in Astreas, she practically had her own greenhouse of plants and herbs at her disposal. Now, even with the world reborn after the terrible battle, it was still suffering. This kind of pain would take many years to heal from.

When Corr approached Vulcanis, she could see early plant life beginning to grow again. The air was warm with the steam pools in the distance. It made her fur stand on end, but she knew she would be safe here. Her vulnerability was fire, but hot water would not be a problem, thankfully. What led her here in the first place was the odd collaboration of scents that lingered in the air. It sparked her curiosity enough to follow it and see what all the fuss was about.

Through the mist, she could see several figures, although not all were canine. Suddenly Corr felt a bit uneasy as she wasn't sure what their purpose was for being here. Though, a small creature walking in the distance leaving trails of stars could've been that reason.

"Mind if I join this party? Or is it by invitation only?" she called, putting a little bounce in her step in an attempt to show she was no threat. If any of them thought anyone was a threat at least.

"Anyone know what that thing is?" she asked, gesturing towards where the creature had been walking. It looked somewhat like a rabbit, but it was hard to tell through the mist.

"Speaking."
Art by Erika-Otto ; Table by Layla

have we begun to drift away?
have we learned from our mistakes?
who will be the one to save our destiny?

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Equine 9yo Female, Average & Bulky Native 2 posts 0 Honor 51 ☪ Krys
#8
I'm an apostrophe; I'm just a symbol to remind you that there's more to see.

The air is thick, pressing against her dampened skin and cloaking her with a sheen of perspiration that is neither pleasant nor bothersome. She does not shy away from discomfort; the ache in her bones and the feeling of her skin moving across the muscle and sinew that lay beneath her bold stride are no less than a reminder of her own existence. Her tousled tresses lay across the nape of her neck, cascading like a waterfall across the endless plain of her shoulder – and draped across her forehead lay a single lock, obscuring her vision, clutching to her unseen brow in the humid atmosphere. Still, her steel gaze is set, pupils narrowing across a flicker of stardust – bounding across the fen with a cosmic cloud trailing behind it.

She is not alone; there are wolves pursuing, ever the hunter, and she can hardly withhold her sneer. The wolves know nothing of nature and consequence; foolish and foolhardy – too prepared to make an innocent, unsuspecting life a fickle meal to fill their vast and empty gullets. It is not their necessity for flesh that leaves her mouth dry with distaste; one must eat after all – and all things in nature have their place, and their purpose – but it is their voraciousness – their inability to see the potential of life (even in a small, inconsequential hare cloaked in stardust) or the self-restraint to resist tormenting it into an early and shallow grave.

Her legs carry her closer, and a clacking of wood wrenches her attention away from the wolves. Bounding after the hare, precariously close to the carnivorous creatures following it, an unusual equine forged of woodland sap and moss piques her interest. Her sneer becomes a flickering simper of amusement, pulling at the corner of her mouth, as her dark gray gaze is cast to a tall and towering figure standing still – watching, just as she had, to see the scene unfold as it would. Her smirk soon fades, leaving a grim and hardened line across her mouth, while the hefty steel of her stare focuses on the hare and the hare alone.

Magic, she establishes to herself. Magic, not unlike the magic of old – the magic that once lived in the trembling ground and the magnetism of the air. The magic of a world gone by.

Anyone know what that thing is? an unassuming wolf inquires, and not even she can say for certain. Should it be old magic, it could be anything, sheathed in a façade of innocence to lure the unsuspecting ever closer to it.

For a moment, her gaze flashes to Belial, and his stoic, unmoving stance –
”Come; surely you are curious, too.”

With a toss of her neck, she rids herself of the pesky lock that once lay across her eyes, as it becomes one again with her mane. Her stride carries her closer to the wolves and a lone, boldly inquisitive horse, and closer to the hare – closer to the wonder of it.

ROWAN
I'm a catastrophe.
mentioned: Belial, Corrdelia, Sprig
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Equine 22yo Female, Tall & Bulky Immigrant 6 posts 0 Honor 105 ☪ Neptune
#9

THERE IS SOMETHING UGLY INSIDE OF YOU

     Azar had wandered very far, carrying herself to lands she didn't know. So, she let her mind wander back to the things she did. The memories were ugly and vivid, but they were somehow comforting as the grey, herculean gladiator picked her way across the landscape. Visions of a blinding sun, the splatter of crimson, and the feeling burning sand swarmed her mind's eye, all tugging upon her thoughts. It was a bad place that she had fled from, but it was the only place she had known. This new land was in no way familiar and left Azar constantly guessing about what is to come. At least as a fighter, even if she had constantly had her life at  risk, there was a sense of predictability. Perhaps that was the ugly part of Azar's heart - the part that found comfort in the routine of slaughter. 

     The air in the land around the little gladiator hummed with heat and life, something that had certainly caught her attention. While certainly not the most peaceful place or most plentiful as far as vegetation, there was a sense of excited energy that shook the very air. It was enough to cause the mare's steps to quicken a tad, pushing forward. It wasn't long at all before the sound of distant voices caught her ears, taking form as a cacophony of noise that piqued Azar's interest. It had been a good length of time since her last interaction with another creature, and despite the uncertainty that curled around her heart, Azar decided to move towards the voices.

     It wasn't long at all before the odd group of creatures had entered her field of view. A roughly even mix of equines and canines, slightly in the equines favor. They all seemed to be clustered around something. The gladiator figured that whatever it was, it ought to be interesting. Such an assortment of creatures, and certainly this many, didn't come together for nothing. Something ought to be happening, and there was a small childish curiosity that nestled itself into the back of Azar's mind. shoving her forward into a slow jog. 

     After a few more moments, Azar stopped once she deemed that she was close enough to see the subject of wonder through half-lidded eyes. The creatures all seemed to intent on getting as close as possible to it, making it a tad harder to see. With a small stretch of the neck, Azar was able to spot the small rabbit - delicate enough to be crushed yet strong enough to race across the land in a blink of an eye. Dark, grey ears were shoved forward in curiosity when the small stars caught the gladiator's eyes. "Magic ", her mind had hissed as she watched the small creature. While curiosity and wonder left her heart fluttering, Azar's exterior remained neutral. A calloused expression graced her features, leaving no tell of her curiosity despite the small movements to get a slightly better view. 

     With a bit of willpower, Azar tugged her stare away from the odd rabbit and shifted it across the faces of those before her. All but one of the creatures were strangers. The only one who Azar had been able to recognize was the pale pegasus who claimed the sky. Their last meeting was...interesting, to say the least. Azar briefly wondered to herself that if she were to talk to her again, if she would be met with a similar tone as before.

     A small snort left Azar's nose as she shifted her attention back to the rabbit and those who had taken to getting rather close to it. Whether it ends in chase or the snapping of a neck, it ought to be rather interesting with this many creatures. 

words - 625
 
 
MADE BY MINNIE OF BTN
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Canine 9999yo Genderfluid, Tall & Bulky Native 23 posts 0 Honor 99,395 ☪ Staff
#10
With each quiet, loping step the guide looses starstuff from its dense fur, littering constellations across the yawning lip of the misty Rift. Suspended in a balmy galaxy of shifting vapour, they undergo a whole lifespan in mere seconds. At once gesturing, come-hithers in the strange, murmuring gloom, and then, collapsing in on themselves and fading to dreary grey.

They are beacons! Celestial breadcrumbs! Drawing wanderers to fathomless, starry depths just as their venerable brothers, high above, draw men at sea homeward.

Every now and then, it settles back upon its gay little cottontail and sniffs the air, long ears cocking front-to-back, side-to-side. It hears each and everyone one of them as they come into orbit, for it is a good hearer, indeed—

Whether observantly or in song. (Corvine-witch, thing of sap stories,) It welcomes, @Tolkien and @Sprig with a haughty sniff.

@Naervon, who chooses a swift and starling descent that causes the hare to flatten low to the ground, a billow of stardust providing the cover it needs to scramble around the wolf, grunting and thumping in aristocratic indignance. (That, it shall not quickly forget!)

@Orithia, @Belial and @Azar —who wait, at distance or aloft, wondering what fate, writ by claw and hoof, has in store for the guide. It, in turn, wonders—with a twitch of nose—if it is their true nature to simply… spectate.

@Rowan, who draws close, her curiosity tingling down its spine. @Corrdelia, to whom it turns, brown, button eyes, unblinking, as if to say ‘it is not obvious?’

It pays them no more heed, turning to continue its path;
Through the splays of steam, it can be discerned (by those of discerning nature) that the cosmic hare is searching. Sniffing through low-lying vegetation. Nudging stones over with its nose and examining the warm, rocky loam below, tip-tapping with long claws before tilting its head to listen intently to the vibrations. Over and over: it taps the earth with a paw, tilts its head, ears still and keen…

This time, lowering to better hear through the soft soughing of aural voices. (Do they quiet down, too, as if answering an appeal to hush? It seems so.)
Suddenly, its head snaps up, nose twitching furiously, and in one, fluid motion it angles to face the Rift, and begins to dig. Joining the shifting vapours with a thick cloud of stardust, dirt, rocks, hurdled heedlessly, and even mineral sands, bright against the grey. So thick is the upheaval, so fierce the projectiles!, that the hare slips from sight for a moment.

When the sound of claw against clay subsides and the haze settles, what is revealed is an impossibly wide, chasmal burrow, the starry hare sitting at the mouth, facing those who have joined it.
On closer inspection, the burrow slopes gently, and, logic holds that at this angle, it will end either dead or in a wide, gaping exit facing the sickening abyss of the Rift’s inside face—and sure death beyond. But it is passable by all. The canines will have no problem, the equines may need to duck and take it slow. And, it will not lead to sure death—at least, not by tumbling to the bottom of the Rift )provided, there is a bottom).

It appears to be an ordinary, dirt tunnel, spindly curls of root poking through here and there; the farther down one descends, the more complete and utter the darkness will become, in absence of a self or magic-derived light source.

After a moment of rest, the hare takes to its feet, gives a vigorous shake, and with a soft woosh, splits into two.
With not a wink nor glimpse shared between the two, one turns tail and hops past the lip of the burrow, it’s glowing deposits lighting the tunnel...

The second waits, scratching its ear lazily and loping around, nibbling the hardy, growth that feeds off the mineral-rich earth. With each second that passes, the murmuring seems to get louder, crowded and harried. Those that step towards the burrow will notice a blissful quiet within, those who have already entered will know it, for the only sound in that strange passageway in the soft thud of hoof and paw, and the strangest echoes, now and then, like whispers caught in the nooks and crannies. And, of course, shattering what feels like a millennia of well-kept silence, the exchanges between the followers.

Outside, the Rift-things plead. And command. And bargain, and though they are but sound, they seem to grow dense. Formlessness, taking on a tangibility that slips across skin and mind, until, they become too much. They break away from themselves, and for a moment, silence, and then a single, collected voice rings inside everyone left on the surface: “Follow the stars, all, or be taken by darkness, to the last.”

The surface-hare shifts then lets out a shrill, fearful scream, eyes growing wide and hollow and in seconds, it trails stardust no more, but a strange undulating, gaseous blackness that hisses and spits and what it touches, it consumes whole, giving cold, dark life the musings around it.


This chapter of the site event is now closed to all new participation; only those currently present may partake. The Rift has stirred and with it, magic abounds: you're being beckoned into the Rift itself... but will you heed it?

All participants have 72 hours to reply before the chapter proceeds.
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Canine 57yo Female, Short & Thin Native 11 posts 0 Honor 61 ☪ Scamander
#11
Tolkïen

The hunt was a ritual, a part of her soul that delved deeper then faith and history. It was a part of her all wolves shared, a whisper of their truer selves. Some, may call them barbaric, some, may call them cruel, yet, they had never doubted themselves to be anything other then predator, hunter, killer. Tolkien had never glimpsed her prey as it faded, and felt remorse for its loss, for to die by her teeth was to feed her hunger, feed her kin, and give them strength to face their coming enemies. To hesitate was to fail, and to fail, was to go hungry. The raven could only sneer at Equus as they shared barbed, ignorant words. What did they know of mercy, when they never bothered to turn their eyes before the ground they tread? Yet, this was no hunt to sate her needs, her instinct, but one of the mind, curious to the oddity that raced ahead. It was something that whispered of more, a taunt to a memory she could not quite remember. The inner most part of her knew, there would be no killing this hare, those eyes... were something more.


The pacing was one she was used too, her phantom steps agile along the steep ledges, unconcerned with her lack of sight in the mists. Soon, as the sun rose higher, the veil would evaporate, leaving behind the russet soils of the valley and the depths of the endless Rift. Content, she depended upon her senses, of her ears, pounding with the steady drum of her enduring heart, and of whispers of the wind, drawn over the edge, and the feel as it was rejected. Wolves, were long distant runners, keeping pace for days as they marched to war, as they tracked and hunted the chosen sacrifice. In many ways, her kind were fighters long before this war. To be afraid was to perish. To be hesitate was to fail in their own most fundamental of tasks. The raven glided, her cold, crimson eyes inked red with the dyes of Laceleaf, enemalized and heated to a shine, its golden, unblinking lids reflecting even now. It was a great burden she bore, to feel the warm embrace of the furs, the stiff, daggered feathers shifting with each motion of her crown. Rhak'sa, fearless, magnificent Rhak'sa, she who had waged war upon the monsters of the lands, the titans who roved, massive and cruel. To fell a hundred foes, and yet, to die of a broken heart. Tolkien, would not meet such a fate, her deepest self hidden behind a field of mercilous rage and distrust.


When the first joined in the hunt, her eyes had merely passed over it, believing the creature to be nothing more than a gnarled, twisted tree, bent and abused at the edge of the Rift. Yet, as she passed, its voice called out, the pale eyes turning to mirror the image of the walking tree, an ent, an Equus. Molten anger flared beneath her breast, leaving the woman striken, a low, seething snarl passing her lips. Part of her wished to turn, to confront the pursurer, daring to chase her, regardless of the fact it may have been the hare that had drawn their eyes. Yet, that part of her that had clung on to the intrigue, that mystery, kept moving, picking up her stride, effortlessly keeping up with the hare as it darted about, searching, looking, perhaps for a way beyond her grasp. No... her mind reminder her this was no ordinary prey. This was made truth, when it slipped beneath the grasp of reaching paws and teeth, a fellow canid trailing black feathers in its bid to end the trail. Occuring right before her, Tolkien leaped, her paws hitting his shoulder and back as she launched herself over him. "Watch it!"


That momentary pause, seconds stretched from her change in course, was enough to give the little beast a head start, and ahead, she caught a flash of its white tail, as it bore into the ground. Jolting from her position, the raven cleared the stretch, until she came upon its little burrow, and with a heave, she tore after it, her lancing, ivory talons tearing around the rim of the hole, making it large enough for her to squeeze in. It was... not what she expected. Her paws hit the ground as she moved into the den, the space large enough for her to stand fully. There was little to be seen, except, for a lone, hare. Even as she steps forward, its body gives a jerk, and suddenly, two sit before her, their completely mirror images, one, moving deeper into the cavern, the second, darting around her legs and vanishing out into the burning sphere behind her. Rose quartz tracks him, a low, ponderous sound. falling from her lips. "What an intriguing thing you are," she mused, drawing closer, only to pause as words warbled in the air, crisp as if uttered directly into her ear. Tolkien enveloped their meaning, the faintest shift beneath the cloak of Rhak'sa giving way her ears curious movement. Stars... there was only one source of stars now, tracing the seams of stardust amongst the this rabbits foot, as well as... she looks behind her, catching the fading trail left behind by the other. Surely though, the other was a decoy, a distraction to hide something here, and for that she remained, edging further into the darkness, following the quite lapines movements silent, stalking steps.

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Equine 22yo Female, Tall & Average Immigrant 8 posts 0 Honor 58 ☪ Eris
#12
The longer she hovers, the more creatures arrive, though the dove cannot spare her attention to the newcomers, as more and more apparent was becoming the sickening pull within her chest.

It was as if there was a tether about her heart, tugging her toward the celestial hare, and refuting all possibilities of resistance from the mare. Orithia had been exposed to the sickly sweet temptation of magic before, had felt the tantalizing yank of ambition toward that unseen power - but the forces that the rabbit exuded were more than that. It was a demand to the mare’s entire makeup, a direction that pulled at her very bones and influenced each beat of that bruised heart. Truly, the sensation was overwhelming and the alabaster pegasus felt as if her mind had strayed from itself.

Gone was the rage and defiance that had been such comforting partners through the pale viper’s years, leaving behind only an ardent curiosity that demanded to be quenched with understanding. Without the buffer of her own broiling anger to shield the lass from her own reality, the mare felt all at once empty and serene. Had this been what she was missing? This sensation of surety and stability?

Unthinking, Orithia cradled the sentiment against that blazing warmth within her rib cage, trying to impress the tranquility upon her soul. Despite her best efforts, the pegasus knew well enough that the sensation was temporary; she was not meant to reap the benefits of a peaceful existence, it was not her lot in life and it never would be. The realization was bittersweet and cast the atmosphere in an air of melancholy.

There wasn’t time to dwell against the female’s impendingly dreary future, for the hare had began to dig.

Doggedly the creature tunneled, stone and dirt flinging about its ethereal form until Orithia could scarcely see the mammal. When the dust cleared, the mare found herself staring into the gaping maw of a cave. Invisible brows lowered over coral eyes as she took in the roughly hewn entrance, the cramped walls, the lack of space beneath the crushing weight of the earth, and realized that she had no real choice in the matter; the insistent tug about her heart would not relent, no matter the maiden’s aversion to cramped spaces. Fluttering her pale feathers and dropping lightly to the earth, the desert rose folded wings as tightly to her sides as she could manage and took a breath. Curling her lip as the raven-clad wolf slunk into the cave before her, the mare ducked her head and ventured within.

What met her was chaos. Dirt walls pressed in from all sides and dangling roots grasped at her with gnarled fingers. The hare had split in two, and the murmurs from the Rift had grown more insistent, rising from a babbling brook to a crashing symphony. The white furred canid may have spoken, Orithia thought she recognized the husky voice, but the words themselves were quickly drowned out by the rising cacophony that surrounded the pair. Suddenly, the various voices combined into a singular roar, seemingly speaking directly into the maiden’s skull.

“Follow the stars, all, or be taken by darkness, to the last.”

The end of the summons was punctuated by the agonized screams of the first hare and the obsidian plumes of Void bursting from it’s back. Orithia blinked slowly, considering the turn that the day had taken before heeding the voice’s warning and carefully following her canine adversary toward the still-shimmering hare. Catching up to the pale shewolf, the equine murmured a question, her curiosity overtaking the old enmity for the time being, “Have any experience with this, pup?”




@Tolkien is spoken to
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Equine 3yo Female, Short & Thin Immigrant 5 posts 0 Honor 113 ☪ Kristin
#13
storms make trees take deeper roots
Sprig feels like a flightless bird the way she skips and pirouettes over the earth in chase of the stardust-shedding hare and the mysterious wolf. She is oblivious to the histories here; of strife and battle that has occurred amongst canine and equine. The signs pockmark the land, that much she has seen but in the wake of tail-twitches and stardust… they are an afterthought, tucked away for speculation some other time.

The ent-child paused but once in her odd stride; to cast her pale eyes upward at the sound of massive pinions slicing through the air. Her step faltered as she stared in awe at the wolf in the air as he attempted to land in front of it. She wondered how the two wolves would react, knowing of but not assuming they belonged to the same pack. How would the hare take this affront to its merry chase?

She wasn’t to know yet; - a stallion, black and big, blotted out the light and she felt his burning gaze upon her bark-skin. Her head turned to him, in acknowledgment, as she continued the chase. Sprig gave him a spritely wink before her attention returned to the dust shimmering in the air and about their legs. She took a moment to twirl in it, until more wingbeats caught her attention and diverted it from the hare.

Pale and hovering; Sprig stares at her - she has never seen so many that could take to the skies at a moment’s notice. The pine-daughter was not envious, just astonished and appreciative in her gawking. Only the tallest and oldest of the grandmother-sequoias could make as grand a claim of touching the clouds as the pegasean wolf or mare could. “Cloud-dancers!” she hails them with a piney flourish of her head, ferns bobbing amidst the infant tree-boles disguised as antlers there.

Sprig plunges ever onward, undeterred for much longer. The hare is captivating, as all hares can be. She knows, because she has spent her sapling-hood doing just that! Giving chase to twitching tails and bright eyes, following little foot-thumps and fast hops. Only no hare has ever shed stardust in its wake, or spun magic from its mere presence amongst such sad (but beautiful!) mortals.

A dark wolf comes, calls out permission to join and Sprig beams back an invitation to do so with a bright barky smile. “A hare!” she responds happily, because no one else has spoken up or seems to care enough to do so. “Join us!” she cries, loud enough for all of them to hear her branch-groan of a shout. The more the merrier! So more come, as they are wont to do.

She gives them open looks of happiness; it is a veritable forest of differences in personalities and shapes, even down to the colors of the fur that all of them but her wear. Triple-horned and shifty-dark, she spares that one a longer than necessary glance followed by another childish wink and grin. The forest-sprite delights in the swelling of their ranks; in the way that they flow like water over the land after the hare (after magic and more!), running and running.

Mist and starstuff spin around them, making galaxies of their passing in sinuous undulations of their stream of conscious and form. Sprig observes it sniff the air and swivel its ears; it occurs to her then, that it might be searching for something and all of them, are but afterthoughts in it’s head. The hare gives a sniff of haughtiness that she smiles back at - it didn’t have to acknowledge them at all. She though, is honored that it has.

It stops and the long column of creatures is sure to stop with it, or so she assumes as her own pace falters. Sprig looks on in interest; one thump, then quiet and patience. Her patience is practiced, as only her eyes move between the hare’s fervent excavation and the rest of them. Confusion and appreciation mingle on the crags of her face as she looks on —

The hare splits in two.
Magic is rampant amongst them, rift-made or not.

The spindly curls of root enchant her and she longs to submerse herself in them. Minute clumps of dirt crumble, and she is reminded of her beginning as a seed nestled deep in the earth. Instinctively Sprig leans towards the burrow-mouth, intrigued and enchanted. The quiet beckons behind the hare; she doesn’t even take notice of the first hare and the noxious Void-leak coming from it, or it’s shrill scream of fear.

It all pales in comparison to the burrow-mouth and the dark beyond the replicated hare; others go into the dark, and the ent-child follows. Not because of the wisdom imparted to them to follow the stars, but because of her own organic makeup that croons to root and dirt.

Sprig trails the wolf and the mare, a dreamy smile on her lips. 
SPRIG

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Canine 100yo Female, Short & Thin Native 16 posts 0 Honor 65 ☪ Layla
#14
Following just behind Corrdelia were two other equines- a black and white mare with sharp looking spikes on its face and a dappled mare with striking eyes. They did not seem too amused at the gathering here either, making the crow witch feel rather small. Then a cheerful voice made her turn her head and her gaze was met with the young tree equine. She seemed excited about the gathering here and the fact that a hare was bringing them together.

"Why thank you, tree child," Corr replied, smiling warmly. "Odd for a hare to be spending time here, but that's no ordinary hare now, is it?"

No, it surely was not. When the mist cleared a bit more, she was able to see that it was made up of stardust, even leaving trails behind it. This was other-wordly, a child of the universe, brought down by the Gods themselves. It had to be a sign.

"Quick, quick, quick… what do hares mean? They are vulnerable and anxious, but clever and creative. Hmmm…" she muttered to herself.

Corr became so lost in thought, she did not see the hare begin to dig until bits of debris hit her head and got into her eyes. "Whoa!"

It was in a matter of seconds that the hare had dug up a burrow leading down into the Rift. The shaman woman blinked, completely astounded at the sight. What could this mean? Where could this path lead? There had always been strange energy about the Rift, but she had never considered what could be down there. Apparently, now was their chance to find out.

Suddenly, the hare split in two, with its clone jumping down into the tunnel and the original stayed still, eerily waiting for something. It was obvious what they were meant to do, but there was no telling what potential danger was waiting for them on the other side. One wolf and one equine did not spend much time contemplating this situation and followed the hare-clone down into the ground.

Corr turned to her tree child friend who also made her way towards the tunnel without a word. The she-wolf took a few steps forward to follow when the noise filled her ears. It was like rushing water, only they were inaudible voices and they sounded insistent. Their tone and pace made her heart race and her head spin. Now the hare that had stayed was freaking out and screaming. An unknown voice spoke, "Follow the stars, all, or be taken by darkness, to the last." What was that supposed to mean?

Nope! I'm all set with this, she thought as she immediately picked up the pace and made her way down the burrow. Whatever was happening out there was too much for her to stick around any longer. Perhaps following the crowd wasn't a good idea either, but something told her this truly was a sign. The starry hare was a guide to something and it had to have meaning. This she was feeling sure of, so much so that it gave her that strong gut feeling that she couldn't ignore. Everything happens for a reason.

Roots poked through the earth as she continued on, tugging at her feathers a bit and she let out a quiet "Ow". Voices from further ahead echoed along the tunnel walls, but the sound from above had become so muffled, it was as if the world had ended outside.

What did the wanderers have in store?

"Speaking."
Art by Erika-Otto ; Table by Layla


(@Sprig is spoken to)

have we begun to drift away?
have we learned from our mistakes?
who will be the one to save our destiny?

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Canine 1,359 yo Male, Tall & Bulky Immigrant 8 posts 0 Honor 107 ☪ Storm
#15

The hare scrambled out of the way of his paws and ran away, turning to look at it he felt weight touch his shoulders and leap off him. Snarling he watched a white body with a black feather thing on it soar over him, ears pinned back he hissed and charged after the wolf. It's cry of watch it singing in his ears, trotting quickly he bound after the hare and the wolf. The sounds of others came to his ears, not truly caring what they did he picked up the pace. Slowing down he watched the small animal begin to dig in the ground, while it dug he took this time to look around.

Single eye took in the tree horse, his ears lifting in curiosity. Head angled to look at the white female, the black scarred male, and the brown spotted female. Narrowing his eye he felt his hackles raise, a few more arrived and by this time he wanted to set them all on fire. The overlapping voices that spoke up were annoying him, he swung his head back and his jaw dropped. The hare had dug a wide burrow, it was deep. Drawing closer his ears lifted forward more, straining against his head. It then split in two, a sharp bark of alarm had him turning to dart away. Watching one of them hop off to graze he crept closer to hole and not wasting time crawled in, keeping his normally large body slim was hard. Large paws carrying him into the den, he wanted to get as far as he could away from the others. Rising up slowly he mainly kept his large body in a half crouch.

"What am I doing here..."


 
Table by Centience


OOC: im so sorry this is short
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Equine 22yo Female, Tall & Bulky Immigrant 6 posts 0 Honor 105 ☪ Neptune
#16

THERE IS SOMETHING UGLY INSIDE OF YOU

     There was absolutely no question that magic hissed through the jagged earth that rested before Azar. It was another thing to see a rabbit split in two with such ease. Any sort of reservation the little gladiator may have held in her heart was gone as one of the rabbits had begun to dig into the cracked earth. There was no hesitation, only decisiveness, as Azar stepped forward, ears alert and eyes cautious. Azar's attention had honed in on the dust that billowed from the earth as if it were a spirit itself, finally being released from some sort of prison. When the earth had settled and the small creature had finished their work, it was very brief, but Azar couldn't hide a look of startled surprise on her face. The gaping maw of the tunnel before them was wide enough to accommodate both canine and equine. If anything, the development of this new passage only intensified her curiosity and solidified her desire to continue with this odd group. Not a single word had been spoken between her and another creature yet, but none had offered any sign of aggression or displeasure either.

     They all seemed to be content to follow this creature down into it's burrow save for a few anxious glances and nervous shifting. Surely many of the creatures were not comfortable with being below the dirt and Azar was no exception. After watching the first few move forward, trailing after this odd rabbit, Azar pushed forward. The first step into the darkness sent a shiver down her spine. It was quiet, far too quiet down in this pit to offer any sense of comfort. Worries bloomed in her heart like wildflowers, bright and plentiful. They were unreasonable and unwelcome, yet there they were. With a small tug of her lips into a frown, the little gladiator did her best to stuff down the bothersome flowers and to press on. She was in uncharted territory and was far too cramped to find solace in the thought of an easy escape. It didn't take long for her fears to shift to the others. Not fear of them per say, simply rather a worry that they might run into trouble in this magic-sodden tunnel and Azar knew that even if she did not know a single creature here, it would be near instinctual to put herself before any danger to protect others. It was both a curse and a blessing. Oh how she wished she was a coward. Someone who knew how to run. Someone who knew better than to stick her nose in places it ought to not be... yet here she was, making her way down the rabbit hole with a sense that she should be nowhere else. 
 
 
MADE BY MINNIE OF BTN
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Canine 9999yo Genderfluid, Tall & Bulky Native 23 posts 0 Honor 99,395 ☪ Staff
#17
It lopes ever onwards, swiftness implying nary a moment to waste.
And, indeed, there is not —

It does not offer a glance over its slender, sidereal shoulder, for it knows intimately each being that passes through the threshold of its home. Can feel them, impressing upon the sturdy, dirt-and-root walls of its kingdom beneath, the very make and weave of their wounded and exquisite souls.

Theirs are the hare’s to hold—theirs are the hare’s the guide.

Whether stirred by curiosity; an unknowable but undeniable impulse; or a rebuke to its ill-begotten likeness—(whose discordant shrieks fade mercifully as they plunge further into the tunnel system)—each and every last one is welcome. Each and every last one has embarked upon a path that binds them, like stars strung along in constellation, to an errant current of time.

It sighs.
Such a heavy weight to be summoned to bear.

After a time of anxious bounding—all involved getting the feeling of gently, but surely, spiraling downward—the hare diminishes pace. The harried, furious voices above, by this time, have been silenced by distance. The air here is still, with the sharp, mineral scent of rock. How the hare ever managed such a feat of architecture will hereby, and forever, remain a mystery;

The burrow widens lavishly until all present can pass easily; two horses side-by-side, and more. Wide bands of sedimentary rock replace the dirt walls, adorned here and there with clusters of quartz glinting dully in the starlight. Underfoot, the dirt, too, turns to stone, covered by a thick carpet of moss, clutches of five-petalled flowers in shades of blush grow here and there along the perimeter—Deathblossom, natives and those familiar with native flora, will know—so strangely out of place in a world bereft of sun and soil. Now, rather than die sudden, implosive deaths, the small star formations that loose from the hare’s pelt nestle in the green footing, setting a trail permanently aglow, golden and glittering.

The starlight splays their shadows against the walls strangely, and reveals, from dark’s grip the tunnel’s eldritch interned —

Cast in a muted, astral flush, bones line the mossy path, like marble temples in ruin—columns of ribcages, jawbone friezes. Deathblossoms, winding up through empty sockets—skulls, like so many watchful, cracked vases. Equine and canine. The hare tiptoes now, stopping every so often to sniff and sit. Museum and mausoleum, each of the travelers are filled with stories as they pass by the remains. Spoken in hushed tongues—of war, of the smell of aura and blood, the choking of smoke and the tolling of bells; and un-war, kith and kin, home and hearth. Perhaps some of the present know these tales; lullabies their mothers, too, sang them to sleep with? Glimpses of the past, the sundered and the sacrificed.

Those who know, too well, the bruised and bloodied history of this land will know that none are more than nine months departed.


Is it a somber procession? Oppressive? Maddening? Those watchful, boney eyes oversee them as they march on, down in a spiral which gets tighter and tighter until the mossy passage levels off and comes to a wide, open atrium, the stone walls here are carved with alcoves, within which skulls—canine and equine—sit in thoughtful silence. In the center of the open chamber is a large slab of stone—an altar, it would seem, for around it lay offerings of bloom and light: lavender, whitelace, and deathblossom; lichen set afire with starry glow and beeswax candles, flames licking softly.

And then, upon the altar, a figure appears. The visitation is shapeless, at first, for the corporeal world is no longer theirs. Soft, fluxing; a silvery mist that offers the faintest, remote glow. A billow, and then, carving itself out from the formlessness, She is definitively canine, though her visage remains obscured by the banditry of time and the frailty of worship. Her’s is a bygone, fractured voice, but its power is not lessened by the softness, such that one might feel the need to move closer, cock an ear better to hear what she has to say. If anything, the way she is leaned into only magnifies her command.

“Death must beget life, for otherwise, it is… in vain ‒”

All around them, upon the stone face of the atrium, a scene is projected—(from Her? From them? From the bones and offerings and lights lit for remembrance?)—bones, nestled against the delirious edge of the rift. Dark, impossibly so, for it is the event horizon—a place of no return. But round it, things grow. Hardy, resilient things; soft, beautiful things. From the skinned and hollowed homes of old bones, trees grow; animals return, finding perch and purchase in the roots and boughs. In the ashy earth, cottontails dig burrows and copulate. Against the blush and brightness of a setting sun, a group emerges—against their breasts they clutch clay figurines and the strangely found knowledge that they have been guided. They have been chosen, and they have been tasked.

“You have seen what has been done,” she whispers softly, sadly, “and what has been done can never be undone. But what will be, that is known by none but the Fates, and charted only by you. Ourania is in your hands, she is yours to restore—or you will be hers to claim, again and again.” She falls quiet—She, Nexus, who bears breast to the sky and sows the seeds—and nods. The hare lopes quietly towards her, touching noses with the goddess briefly, before curling up at the foot of her stone altar. The stardust fades, revealing a tiny, tawny creature, in her god-made glory. Her black-brown eyes flutter shut and from her body the flesh and fur wane until she is but a delicate skeleton again.

A grim reminder that nothing in Ourania escaped the hubris and violence of the schism.

Nexus, too, is gone, and behind her a doorway appears, letting in a blinding, golden light. It leads, somehow—(for, indeed, the hare was a clever architect)—to a dirt tunnel that slopes gently upwards to the surface of the Vulcanis again.

Waiting for them, in a small semicircle, are figurines of a hare at rest, shaped from clay.


Because everyone—@Tolkien, @Sprig, @Naervon, @Orithia, @Corrdelia, @Azar; as well as @Rowan and @Belial, who may still join—followed the hare underground, everyone has been shown a vision. What is theirs to guide and to build, however they see fit, so long as they will bear the consequences.

The Rift demands restoration, or, perhaps, it will demand blood again. The time is nearing, once again, to gather and sew the seeds of development. Once the other Site Event threads have neared completion, a Final Chapter thread will be created for further participation in the event’s conclusion.

Everyone will receive a “Hare Totem”, using it can call upon the spirit of the hare, who may provide a guiding light in dark places.

Please respond in a timely manner to continue your character's presence. An announcement will be made with the Final Chapter thread!
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Canine 100yo Female, Short & Thin Native 16 posts 0 Honor 65 ☪ Layla
#18
They descended into the dark unknown, and for all Corr knew, they were heading to hell. If that were the case, it would be a real shame considering how deadly fire was to her body, but well… I guess that's one way to learn your lesson and never trust a hare.

Thankfully, there was no scent of smoke or burning up ahead, only the earth and rock surrounding them. Eventually the path widened and became a lot sturdier. She could feel the coolness beneath her paws as she stepped over larger rocks sitting within the dirt. They began to cover the tunnel walls, creating a fascinating display of colors among the various flora. Some clusters of quartz jutted out and the faint sparkle drew Corrdelia in. She'd regret it if she didn't try to salvage one of these beautiful specimens. She didn't pay attention to see if anyone was walking closely behind her when she stopped and began digging. Her eye was on a small piece since that would likely be the only size she could carry back with her at a long distance. When she did manage to unearth it, she quickly stuffed it between the vines that were wrapped around her tail and hoped that would be enough to keep it secure for now.

Onward she went, having fallen slightly behind the group ahead. There now appeared to be a golden glittering path likely set down by the mystical hare, so it at least made it easier to catch back up to everyone. However, the awe she once felt quickly disappeared. It was as if they had stepped into another world and all the life had been sucked away. Although there were still some flowers growing in the ground, they grew between bones and skulls. It was a graveyard, dark and twisted, and it made Corrdelia's skin crawl. She didn't need her magic to feel the energy in this place - there simply was none. This was a place of nightmares. It was not a place to honor the dead and the good memories had with loved ones… this was a reminder of what had happened in the war and the mistakes that were made. The stench of death still lingered in the air.

When they reached the end of the tunnel, the area opened up to a strange atrium. There were stone walls with carvings and an altar in the center. Seeing the small open flames was enough to make the crow witch slink back. It was hard to tell if this room was intended to be menacing, but it felt that way with the presence of fire. Corr stood further behind some of the others so as to keep as much distance as possible from the flames.

Something moved and spoke to them - a spectre? She did not seem to be a troubled soul, but her words were not exactly bright and cheery. It seemed to be a warning.

Then they were shown the vision and as much as Corrdelia wanted to look away, she could not. The scenes were unbearable and certainly like her own nightmares. They were reminders of the events she relived each day unless she managed to distract herself. But then, the scene changed to a world born anew. It didn't look exactly like how things used to be, but it was close enough. Oh, how she longed for those days again when the world was alive and fluttering with magic.

The spectre's words - or perhaps she was more than just a spectre - brought shivers down her spine. However, it only proved Corr's intuition to be right. The hare had been a sign of something important and it had led them all to this place. Although it could use some better decor, it was ancient and sacred. They had been chosen with a great task and it was imperative that they listened if they wanted their world to be restored again. That was all she had ever dreamed of anyway, but she just lacked the means to do it. Maybe now finally they could mend Ourania and bring it back to life.

Just as quickly as she had appeared, the spectre was gone. A doorway had opened, revealing a bright light leading to another tunnel. Was this their exit? Somehow she was surprised, but then again she wasn't sure what a spectre would want with all these mortal beings in the room.

But what truly caught her eye were the figurines set in a semicircle, reminding her of the sliver of the moon. They were shaped like a sleeping hare and made out of brown clay. It was a token from the spirits, perhaps, and certainly not one she would be leaving without. This was all part of something bigger and Corr didn't plan on missing out, especially if it was for the greater good.

"Well, you heard the woman. Better take these before you all leave- they seem important!" Corr exclaimed before heading towards the clay figures.

She inched closer, gently picking up one figurine in her mouth, keeping an eye on the flickering of the small candles. Her body trembled slightly, but they did not give off enough heat to truly harm her at this distance.

"Speaking."
Art by Erika-Otto ; Table by Layla

have we begun to drift away?
have we learned from our mistakes?
who will be the one to save our destiny?

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Canine 1,359 yo Male, Tall & Bulky Immigrant 8 posts 0 Honor 107 ☪ Storm
#19

The first one in, he moved quickly and hard frightened slightly by the voices that screamed. Moving fast he wound his way through the tunnel, going down. The sounds of the others following him were loud, shaking his head it felt like they were trying to get into his head. Licking his jaw he moved slowly soon the tunnel grew larger, rising up a bit more to his full height he shook himself. Long tail lifting to curl and hold up halfway over his body, glancing over his shoulder his good eye took in the faces behind him. Now there was room for them almost all to fully fit, sighing he turned and followed the hare. 

The path was wide, comfortable with the ability to breathe a bit more. His single eye swept over the tunnels, admiring the colors and plants. Taking in that this structure must have been here for years, if not longer. He had a feeling that the hare had opened up the entrance to this tunnel, the lingering chill of death seemed to creep up from the tunnel further. He felt some comfort, an inkling of what he had once also wielded. Yet his had been far different, stronger. 

Leading them into a room that forced him to pause, creeping forward he walked till he stood before one of the columns. Staring at the bones and the plants that grew from them, tempted to touch them yet not doing that out of fear. Ears lifting hard he stared at the bones, at the skulls that whispered and showed him what happened before. He was starting to piece together what happened here, frowning he turned to ask the others what happened yet they were already past the chamber. Growling he ran after them, getting the feeling he was more than being watched. 

Entering the chamber that appeared at the end of the other room he watched the alter with keen eyes, a movement made his gaze snape towards it. Tall audits lifting hard as he shoulder is way closer, drawn to the small like of strange power. Ears straining to catch her words, he felt a wave of sadness in his gut. Hesitating he turned to look at the others, before turning his eye back to the spectre. A former goddess, inclining his head to her in respect he had a feeling someone didn't notice what she once was. He did, knew it the moment he saw her spectre, tail twitching and lowering he watched. Her words cramming into his mind, eager to hear what was said. When all was said, the hare moved to the altar. Laying down, and frailing. The ghost was gone, in her place was a bright light, and on the altar were totems.

"Well, you heard the woman. Better take these before you all leave- they seem important!"

"Obviously its important." he muttered. Walking forward he stepped up to the altar taking one of the totems, carefully holding it in his jaws he turned. Nodding at the wolves and horses there he lifted up on his paws and jumped over the altar, his large body carrying clear over the Totems. Paws hitting the ground he ran for the opening, he felt like he should put much distance between him and the area. Yet there was a part of him that wanted him to stay, paws beating the ground he ran quickly.


 
Table by Centience
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Canine 57yo Female, Short & Thin Native 11 posts 0 Honor 61 ☪ Scamander
#20
Tolkïen

The earth retained its secrets, a whisper of what had been, and what could be again. Life unfurled upon the surface as a canvas of every color, every element, the caress of the green lady, the ire of the ocean lord, the laughter of playful zephyr twins and stern, smith who's hands were scarred and bore all the memories of each of his creations. Yet, it was in the deepest of places that the heart of Ourania remained, buried in the depths of shadow and soil and stone. Deeper into the wold she delved, following in the path of starlight and an unassuming guide, a hare that would have been nothing more then a tempting morsel in her travels. Yet, she refrained from drawing too close, perhaps wary they may simply vanish, a shower of glittering sand to fade into the corners of this tomb they transversed. Tolkien knew the scent of death well, the cold that lingered, where the soul no longer dwelt. It was strange, it was, unnatural, to find bones here in careful placement, honor given to the skull and its sightless, empty sockets. There was little light here, none truly, with the exception of the trail that harried them along, casting the pale blossoms and bleached bones into a shine of incandescence, matching the purity of her own feeble, albino flesh. Eyes of rose quartz seemed to bleed crimson in the dim light, harsh with each sweeping glance. There was a lingering opression here, a memory of the violence, the war, her ears ringing with the cries of the warriors, their bodies broken and torn into viciously. Tolkien could remember that day, the one she had fought for as long as she had been alive, a solider before she had ever been anything else.


Perhaps it was true that she hated her people, her clan, calling her weak, a promise to the end. Maybe they were right. The wolves of her kind had been fading since the fall of the gods, drawn to their doom in the hopelessness of knowing they had failed their purpose. She knew their names, knew their great triumphs, even though she herself had never seen a god. The ruins of the Pantheon were but one of the fleeting memories of their existence, but, in some ways, they had been all she knew. They, the long dead gods, gave her a purpose where before she would have had a meaningless life. Rhak'sa, the raven, the chosen of the goddess of the night, had been said to have gained her strength through them, warring against the creatures that would have been an end to Ourania. Tolkien wanted to be more then her ancestor, to write her own story, yet, she gave homage to the tales that had given her courage, that had fed her anger and set her path and forged her into what she had become.


Each step drew them deeper into the dark, her ears catching the sounds of movement behind her, whispering voices, until one familiar tone allowed the phantom to meet her fell kin. The wraithe of a equine, her body pale even now in the darkness, her wings folded, useless, in the narrow space. "The Gods were dead long before before my birth. I have never heard their call before." Yet, she knew the stories, she remembered the great heroes summoned by the gods in the beginning, when everything was young and their children needed purpose. The thought that the gods had never truly vanished slowly came to fruition, yet, Tolkien dismissed the thought, delving after the guide, to keep away from the others who advanced into the deep. Until, they upon a secret place.


Talons marked her place as the raven fell silent, gazing upon the primordial alter, its surface etched and worn. The flames licked into the darkness, casting their shadows, even as a phantom seemed to come to life amongst smoke, fire, and phantom light. When the wolf took form, Tolkien paused, her mind painting an image of one she had always heard, but, had never truly seen. Images of the war, of the wolves and equus who had perished, marked in this illusion of doubt and pressing darkness. Tolkien gazed upon a sight of a face she knew in the mirror, looking away, feeling the anger build. He had perished then... Part of her had known, from that moment she chose to abandon their party, leaving them to the fate of a battle that would have no end. The pains were too raw, too new yet.


To restore, or to face further despair. The raven knew, there were few and rare of beings who truly yearned for the end of conflict, at least, any who would make a move to do so. There was too much history, to much hatred to simply forgive. If the Gods sought to change the world, they should have turned their commands upon another being, one, who had not had a part in their destruction. Her thoughts chased after the fading visage, even as the other's moved forward, claiming their clay totems, a token of the divine. Part of her, would have left it behind, angry at the thought of accepting something that could control her in some way, could tie her to a decision she did not wish to make. Yet, it was a item of obvious magic, and that alone, made it worth something. At the very least, Uriel could use it as another of his interests. Striding forward, she plucked one of the huddled figurines from the alter, her unnatural dexterous grasp turning the object carefully, examining it in the light. She seemed a lustful bird after a precious item, weighing its worth, measuring whether it should be added to her hoard.

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