[BROWTOBER] Browtober #1-8
#1 Ink (Words: 425) | Aventus
It had been a long, fruitful year. A year filled with more hope and inspiration than he had ever felt in his lifetime; a year filled with a happiness new and unlike anything he had ever experienced. His gratitude knew no bounds, and he made sure to remind himself of that with each passing day. But today was different, different in a way that the ancient found himself pulled back to a place integral to his roots.
A chill had set in the air, one that foretold not of a foreboding event, but the changing of seasons. Summer was slipping away into fall, where the trees transformed in a vibrant array of warm colors despite the fact warmth was ebbing. The weather of sweaters and scarves, of warm drinks and spices. The City of Ink was no different, having been dressed up and decorated with festivities and excitement towards the coming of Candleblight. Still, their celebrations were different from Candletown, with a focus more towards paying homage to the God of Ink and the sanctity the city had given them.
At one time, this place had served as a home for Aventus. It had been a safe haven away from the rest of the world when he had escaped New Centuary, when he was lost and in a terrible, toxic mindspace. It had been a dark time for him, one of resentment, hatred and spite, and yet even with his emotions and confusion he had been taken in with open arms. Silent as the God always was, he had always felt that his whispers were answered.
Aventus paused, his seemingly aimless walk having stopped him in front of a statue in one of the many weaving and twisting centers of the city. He looked up to the figure, remembering a time where he had once stood here before, a time where he had felt like a completely different person from who he was today. His hands gripped the parchment between his fingers gently, eyes only pulling away to look down at the message neatly written in ink along the surface. There was no need to read it - the God of Ink knew all secrets, as he knew what was written with his own fount. So he stepped forward, bowing deeply and graciously, a wordless thank you mouthed before he tied the scroll shut and set it at the steps.
The wind picked up for a moment, as if in acknowledgement. Beside his scroll laid many others, messages only for the God of Ink to see.
“There’s so many of them! Look!”
A laughter like music echoed out across the field as she ran, frolicking without a care in the world through the long stalks of wheat towards a more level section of the field. It was a warm day, just at the cusp of summer and fall where the air was cool enough not to be suffocating but the sun kept it pleasant. Masika wasn’t sure where she was, other than the fact this was some kind of farm with a pumpkin patch attached to it, but the thought hardly mattered to her - she saw what she wanted, and she was going to get it.
“Are you sure we should be here…?!” Leon shouted after her as he struggled to keep up, despite the fact there was a large pair of wings on his back. Were one spectating, they could guess from his words that he was trying his best to avoid being seen. “This isn’t our farm after all!”
“But they’re all right here! I don’t see a sign saying I can’t go in!”
Masika paused as she got to a wooden fence, eyes widening as she looked beyond it to the field of pumpkins, squash and gourds. They were all over, as far as the eye could see, with all assortment of colors, shapes and sizes. She had seen a pumpkin here and there before, but nothing like this. And since it was new and exciting, she had to go in! There was a moment where she inhaled deep, hands gripping the wooden planks before her before she hoisted herself up and tumbled to the other side. There was a loud thud and ‘oof!’ as she fell, but soon she was back up on her feet, and even sooner she was running farther in to touch any and all of the pumpkins she could.
The sky was alight with candles and lanterns, colors standing out against the stark black of night. Like every year before it, Candletown was thriving with life as the fall carnival festivities kicked off with a bang. For most, this was exciting and fun, but for Neo, it was quite the opposite.
Only recently had the browbird felt comfortable enough to return to the town, and despite working through his own issues (somewhat), it still put him on edge. The only thing that kept him from ducking out and bailing on the carnival was the small browbird beside him, who had laced their fingers with his in an attempt both to keep him close and to ease his nervousness.
“See? Nothing’s happening!” His voice was soft, comforting, familiar, and a side glance made Neo notice that the Hiros was staring right at him. “I mean, there are a lot of people, but there’s also a lot of neat things to do! And a lot of - Neo! Look over there! There’s apples!”
Neo avoided showing a slight grimace, though even if he did, the other was looking away from him and tugging him another direction. Focusing on Ouro seemed to help take the edge off, at least in the sense that it caused him to focus less on everything around him, though his ears still flicked and his tail swatted as if showing the true nature of his mood.
“Ouro, those apples are for the apple bobbing contest. I don’t think you can just take them.”
“Contest?! Wow, that sounds so fun! What is apple bobbing?”
He looked back at Neo innocently, a sweet smile on his face, and the browbird could only sigh as he caved in and… begrudgingly began to explain what an apple bobbing contest was.
This was going to be a long evening.
A silence fell over the pair as their arms folded around him, his face now nestled in the softness of a feathered chest more comfortable than any pillow he had ever slept on. His eyes fluttered shut, a long exhale escaping him as he focused on their scent and closeness, of their warm embrace. Even with the snow billowing outside and lack of words, with the impending uncertainty around them, the other browbird made him feel safe. Made him feel like he was home.
The warmth was mutually beneficial, as Mycelia also found themself comforted by his closeness, their hold protective as it was slightly possessive. Fingers smoothed through Adyn’s hair, curling into it slightly almost as if to pet him as they kept him close. A small hum escaped them as they did so, eyes lifting off of the larger browbird before them to look out towards the entrance of the cave that they were trapped in for the time being. The wind howled a low, mournful song, snow starting to pile at the entrance as it blew past. To some, this might have been a frightening situation, but to the one who seemed born of snow (or at least, found in it), the blizzard outside was like rain on a cozy day inside of the house.
“If I fall asleep, will you wake me once the storm passes?” Adyn mumbled, less in desire for a genuine answer and more so that he could hear Mycelia’s voice so close. He could feel their gentle touch combing his hair once more, rubbing behind an ear and causing him to tilt his head despite himself.
Of course. It was a light voice, like wind chimes knocking against one another in a language he could not actually understand. But even without knowing, the Palatine felt as if he had. A small nod was the only response he gave before he found himself lulled into slumber’s embrace.
#5 The Hunt (Words: 269) | Wolf
He had hoped they wouldn’t run. That they would listen to his words and heed them, accepting of a fate that was unable to be changed. Wishful thinking, that had been. Wishful thinking it always was, from once he appeared, from when they looked upon his visage with confusion, and then a growing fear and terror. Oh, how they pleaded with him. How they begged him, how they made promises through stammering and tears. And, when all else failed, they did what they always did - run or fight.
Today, it was run. He shuddered, the fur rising up on the back of his neck as he could feel something overtaking him. An urge beyond him, one that he had no choice but to give in and obey. Bones cracked as his form began to shift, claws extending, teeth growing, a monstrous snarl ripping through the core of his being that felt loud enough to shake the earth.
The story could only end one way. There was no re-writing this, and even as his prey often tried, it never worked. Slowly the halv leaned forward, palms flat on the ground and claws digging into the earth as he flexed his muscles. His head raised, nostrils flaring as he breathed in deep of the cold, crisp night air. Eyes opened and peered forward, staring at a bright, white thread that wove itself through the woods, glowing and visible to his eyes, and his eyes alone. And then, in a flash of movement he raced forward, an excitement welling in his chest as he gave into instinct.
The Wolf’s hunt had begun.
#6 Found Footage (Words: 315) | King
Darker into the woods the scene continued, camera shaking as whoever was holding it seemed to grow either colder, or more nervous. A browbird walked before them, visible in the night camera lighting, crest flickering as they continued on about how close they were getting, how it wasn’t much farther now, that they had seen Him here, doing unspeakable acts. About how many views they could get if they were able to post it online, or even how Elsinon might thank them personally for bringing such vile deeds to her attention.
“Are you sure we should be doing this… I mean… W-what if WE end up like that next?” The voice came from close to the camera, clearly from the person carrying it.
“SHHH,” the browbird said sharply, turning to look towards the other with a hand to their lips. “Don’t be so loud… If he’s here, he’s bound to pick up on the smallest of sounds… you’ve heard about how powerful he is.”
“Yeah, but… if he’s that powerful, then why are we going to him? I really don’t think this is-”
The camera jerked sharply, a large crashing sound heard in the distance, and the scene whipped around quickly to look into another direction. In the darkness of the footage, a vague figure could be seen between the endless rows of dark fir trees, snow swirling before them. They were tall, cloaked in shadows, with a circular ring with thorns branching off of it floating above their head. The only thing that could be picked up clearly were their eyes, glowing a bright shade of red.
A scream before the camera is abruptly shaken and forced to the side, landing in the snow with a thud and starting to skip. It continued to flicker for a few moments before cutting out completely, most likely due to the exterior sustaining some kind of damage.
#7 Secrets (Words: 300) | Fevi
There was a thoughtful hum as Fevi looked at the engravings before her, a hand raising and gently brushing against the metallic surface. It had taken her some time to find this place, from obscure, barely legible maps to venturing across countless planets and talking to numerous people. Truthfully, she hadn’t quite known what to expect. It wasn’t greed that had taken her on this venture, but rather her own curiosity and a strong need to sate it. What could this all mean? What was this place, whispered to her in dreams from a voice she couldn’t recognize, hinting at something sealed away from the rest of the world?
Truthfully, she had never considered herself one for secrets. Her family had had a plethora of their own, all of them turning into some form of pain or grief for her and her siblings. Secrets, while sometimes harmless, had come to have a negative connotation for her. Even her own, such as refusing to share her family lineage to others, made her feel as though somehow she was not being honest despite it very rarely having any relevance to whatever conversations she might have been having.
A sigh escaped her as she reached into her back, pulling out nearly a dozen small, carefully carved gem coins. The door before her, with the sigil of some kind of great beast, gazed down at her silently, somberly, hands outstretched with claws missing in the shape of the very jewels she possessed. Slowly Fevi began to lock them into place, one by one, and when the last one was placed the door answered with a loud and hollow ‘click’.
And Fevi, impatient and eager to know what was on the other side, pressed her hands on the door and began to push them inwards.
#8 In the Shadows (Words: 296) | Khalon
For many, the unknown was unnerving, even frightening. For Khalon, it was a familiar, comforting feeling, a place he found respite and refuge. With ease he slipped into the shadows, like a hand into a glove, closing his eyes and opening them again once he was fully submerged.
In a way, it felt like being in water. At least to him. There was a resounding silence, but it wasn’t deafening. It felt muffled, like hands cupped over his ears, a darkness that swathed him close like a snug sweater, or another’s embrace. A part of him wondered what it was like for others - did the shadows respond to them like they did for him? Or did they act differently, look differently?
He looked upwards, watching where threads of shadows weaved and reached like threads of a spider’s web. The closer he got, the more he could see what he was looking into. Sometimes it was a thought - simply imagining a place, and he was there. Other times, he felt almost as if he was in a game, clipping beneath the map and looking around until he found a place he wanted to resurface. Travels that would have taken hours or days could be completed in mere seconds, like waking up from a dream and back into the waking world.
Slowly he reached up, pushing a hand through one opening and climbing out until he was perched atop a rooftop in New Centuary. Below him, life moved on, from the sound of cars and ships to the lights thrumming and glowing against the dark sky of night. It was his gift - his blessing. His own little corner of the world, where he could silently watch the world around him from the shadows without being noticed at all.
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