[BROWTOBER] Browtober #9-16
#9 Full Moon (Words: 333) | Wolfsbane
It was a deep and primal urge, one what was far beyond her scope of understanding. She knew of myths of lycanthropy, of people who took on wolf-like appearances under the moon, but she also knew that was not a condition she had. Hers was far more insidious, and far less the sort of playful myth that was told to children this time of year.
Her head raised, eyes fixed on the large, glowing orb high in the sky above her. There was no reason for her to feel drawn to it, and yet she was. Her eyes fluttered slightly, closing before she continued to crane her head backwards. Her lungs drank deep of the cold, crisp night air, and then she let the melody of the wilds take hold of her. A howl escaped her lips, carrying a song of sorrow, of loneliness, of searching. Of longing and hope, of anger and despair. So heavy with emotion was this call that she found as it tapered that other calls had started, ones unfamiliar to her, of monster and beast alike also traversing the darkened wilderness on the night of this full moon.
Perhaps, she thought to herself quietly, she was not as alone as she perceived. She had been this way for as long as she could remember, but it had always kept her from connecting with others. Other browbirds feared her as much as other animals did, as she was not like one or the other. She was something in between, something unknown, something dipped in the void itself and then placed back into the land of the living. But hearing the calls of others, mournful howls breaking the silence of the night sky, she couldn’t help but wonder if somewhere there was a home for her. A home that maybe the moon knew of, and continued to remind her every time it fully crested in the sky.
She would tuck this memory away, holding on for just a bit longer.
#10 Liminal Space (Words: 410) | Shen
It was not as if he hadn’t walked these halls before. These halls were, at one time, his home. He had memories of running through them when he was small, going from room to room looking for his mother, his brother, his sister. Walking through them as he was shepherd from class to class, as his perspective on the world began to shift, as life was no longer filled with beauty and wonder but a certain scorn and resentment sewn from a desire to prove himself. As a gilded cage that kept him from the outside world, that reminded him he was a prince, but a prince with no actual authority, power, or respect.
Now, the halls were empty and barren, the castle largely vacant after the murder of his mother and dispersing of the majority of his family. He had returned to check on his younger brother, now burdened with the throne after he, his brother, and his sister had all fumbled miserably, but doing so had tempted him to walk the grounds and see how he felt after all the time that had passed.
He had expected it to be odd in the face of his own personal growth, but he had not expected it to be so… strange. The silence felt like a pressure around him, an eerie omen, almost as if he was being watched by something of a higher power. Shen wandered slowly, forcing himself further inside despite how he felt, often standing and staring down the long, winding hallways with only the vaguest recollection of what was actually there. A hand lifted, fingers curling into the familiarity of his coat as he continued.
But with the anxiety he also felt, there was still a certain fondness… a certain sadness. So much happened in this place, seeped into the very walls of it. It was a life, but that life felt fading. Some day, people would walk through this place and wonder what happened. They would have no one to ask of such events, and only be able to tell through the signs of life left around to find.
A part of him wanted to change that, to make sure its history would live on, but he knew deep down he didn’t have the heart to truly do it. Time would wash away all that had happened here, left for whispers on the wind or ghosts to share with those brave enough to explore it.
“You did this? Made… all of these?”
The satyr nodded awkwardly, standing in silence as the other bird walked around the room and inspected the objects before them. Everything in the room - save for the floor, the walls, and anything in between said valuables - was made of gold. Shimmering and reflective, with sheens that reflected the light given off from the hearth at the far side of the room. There was a certain beauty to the location, to have a room dimly lit and filled with golden possessions, but there was also something eerie. The longer Leon looked, the more it dawned on him that there were not just objects of gold, such as furniture or books, but also living things. A mouse, a bird, even a kettlecat. Were these carvings, they were immaculate in nature to the real creatures.
“How, exactly, did you make them?”
“By… accident,” Was all that Midas could seem to utter, his eyes quickly moving away from the other Palatine and towards the gloves on his hands. To the average eye, they would simply appear to be normal, leather gloves. Tight enough to fit underneath armor, and finely crafted to look as though they were not simply a patchwork job. But to a more keen eye, especially an eye keen with magic, they would note that these gloves had a certain aura about them.
“Accidents I deeply regret. All of them. But I… I do not know how to turn them back.”
Leon’s brows raised slowly, less in disbelief but more in surprise.
“What kind of magic could you possibly have to turn not only the inanimate, but the animate, to gold…?”
A certain unease filled the air along with the silence that followed. But slowly, Midas lifted his gloves, undoing the strings on either before gently sliding them off. Beneath the gloves were hands, but unlike normal hands, these ones were completely coated in gold. Leon’s confusion continued to grow as he watched Midas flex his fingers and then curl them into a fist, as if to display how odd it truly was.
“A curse. A curse that turns everything I touched to enchanted gold. And a curse I’m looking to break.”
#12 Something Sweet (Words: 311) | Masika
“I’ll take one of that! And that! And that! And two of those, please? And oh! That one looks gooooood! Can I get one of that too?”
The satyr looked towards the baked goods behind the glass with eyes the size of saucers, bouncing up and down quickly on her legs as her tail flicked with excitement behind her. She pressed her hands to the glass, and then her face, almost as if somehow this would allow her to get closer faster. The worker, exasperated as they looked, just nodded along slowly, pausing before actually starting to put the pastries into a box as if to make sure she wasn’t going to ask for anything else. Enthusiasm for desserts was normal, but he hadn’t seen someone this excited in quite a while.
“Will that be all for you?” He said, setting the box on the counter and pushing it towards her so she could inspect them. And Masika, excited as she was, quickly slid along the glass to the space where the box was and reached. Before any more words could be exchanged she shoved it into her mouth, eating it like an animal who had not eaten anything in days. Crumbs landed on the counter, on the floor, on her fur, and jelly smeared on her hands as she looked up at the baker with an increased twinkling in her eyes that was more intimidating than endearing.
“That. Was. AMAZING. You mean I can have MORE?!”
Her jittering had increased in speed, and preemptively the baker pulled the box back, his ears flattening with concern.
“You can have as… many as you can pay for. That’s how this works. It’s a bakery.”
“Wait… I have to pay?”
The two stared at each other for an extended period before the browbird pinched his temple and let out a slow, exasperated sigh.
“Scary? You call this scary?”
A laugh escaped Khalon as he leaned back further onto the couch, legs propped up on the table in front of him and hands folded behind his head. Beside him sat a very grumpy Lazarus, bundled up in a blanket with a bowl of popcorn. He was trying to watch the movie, but a certain someone wouldn’t shut up about it.
“I’ve seen plenty of scarier things! Besides, all these characters just keep walking into the Killer’s traps! Have none of them heard Wendy’s warnings? She has plenty of guides about how to avoid a killer. Or rather, The Killer.”
“Khalon, if you don’t shut up.” His tone was sharp, hand lifting to turn up the volume on the movie for the fourth time.
The screen continued to play out the scene in the movie, of some unsuspecting person returning to the house of their childhood to uncover dark secrets, only to be met with the one who had caused it all and also been created by those dark secrets. Khalon huffed, tail flicking in an irritated fashion as the main character, once again, wandered down a dark hallway with The Killer waiting at the end of it.
“Look, all I’m saying is you’d think by now she’d be smart enough to not come alone. Or. I don’t know. Get the electricity fixed in the house before doing something like this-”
Khalon’s grumbling was cut short as the music shifted sharply, and loudly, in response to the Killer not having actually been at the end of the hallway, but in the room beside them. It was a noise so sudden that, despite his general composure, Khalon jumped very, very slightly.
“So. What was that about this movie not even being scary?” A sneer spread on his face as he looked towards the other, already noticing how Khalon was revving up to argue that no, he had not actually been scared, and that it had just been reflexes! No matter what he said, however, Laz would not let it go.
Red coated his spear, his hands, the ground. Everything around him was red, dimmed by the shadow of night and only visible in the increasing glow of the flickering candlelight forming around him. His breathing was quick and sharp, chest clenched painfully as he turned his head back and forth quickly with wide, terrified eyes. No, this isn't how it was supposed to go. This wasn’t, he didn’t-
Words were said to him, but he couldn’t understand. His ears lifted for a moment, straining to understand a language that he had been able to speak only moments ago. That same red, it was rising inside of him, pounding in his ears. Pounding, pounding, like the ticking of a clock.
The ring of fire was closing in, now. Blurry faces and strange distorted sounds of voices saying things he didn’t know. They were looking. Inspecting his work, his misdeed. Slowly, Neo looked down at his own hands, at what they were looking at. In his hands was a head, detached from body, with empty, hollow eyes peering back at him. It made his blood run cold.
“N-no… I… It was a monster, a demon, you… You guys saw what I did… I was only trying to help, I was…”
The voices grew louder, one in particular, shouting something. But he couldn’t understand. None of it made any sense. He looked around again, frantically, before looking down once more. Below him wasn’t a monster - it was a satyr, and an extremely large and monstrous looking one at that. How was he supposed to have known satyr could be centaurs?
The air was rapidly moving in and out of his throat now and he dropped what he was holding, hands lifting to grip his neck as he desperately tried to get more air. It was sinking in what he had done now, that this wasn’t a monster, but an innocent person, and that he had. No. He didn’t. He couldn’t. He was supposed to be a hero, not a monster.
He could feel himself scream, but he couldn’t hear it. And he turned, running towards the woods, pushing and shoving through the ring of people around him until he was scrambling off into the night.
Two hands grasped carefully at the candle held between them, the flickering of the flame moving with a gentle ebb and flow despite the lack of wind around him. All around her were rows of candles, set up in a beautiful arrangement beneath the starwood tree of Candletown. It was a commonly traversed location, for sentimental and touristing reasons, which meant that a large majority of the time there were crowds or groups of people around. Neo had never been one for such things, so he bided his time, waiting until the early hours of twilight before creeping out to stand underneath it.
The tree was, in itself, a grand display of testament and resilience to all the events that had taken place in candletown. It was magnificent not only for its size, but its unnatural color for a starwood tree. Like many others, Neo felt it best to pay his respects here, this time to a certain hero who sacrificed himself for the town.
“I uh. I’ve never done something like this before… sorry if I’m. Uh. Doing it wrong. Somehow.” His ears folded, an unease setting about him that was entirely self inflicted. The silence of night remained as so, but the air was warm and inviting.
“It’s just. Been a long time since I came here, and. Uh. A lot has changed… not really here, but. With me. With… myself and. How I feel about you. Rhismet.”
There was a sudden gentle breeze at the mention of his name, and Neo’s fur stood up on end as a shudder ran down his spine. He closed his eyes firmly, exhaling, before regathering his composure and looking up towards the tree.
“I don’t know if you’re there. If you’re listening. But if you are. I… I’m sorry. I’m sorry for my anger towards you, for how I blamed you, for how I… Resented you. For so long. I’m sorry. I’m really, really sorry.”
His head dipped downwards, both in respect and his own shame. The silence continued, but suddenly the wind picked up, almost aggressively, causing Neo to look up quickly and notice that all of the candles around him had gone out. A fear clutched his chest, hands cradling the flame in his hands with more care, until, miraculously, all the candles flickered back to life, one by one. And, for the first time since he had stood in that spot, he felt as though Rhismet was responding back in kind, for the flames seemed to burn brighter and hotter than they had when he had approached.
A weight lifted from his shoulders, and with it, a lightness in his heart.
#16 Homemade (Words: 288) | Fevi
“Don’t move - it will only make it worse.”
Her hands worked diligently, calloused and rough from years of manual labor. A warm mist flowed into the room from the hot springs outside, and from the ambient soft cloudlike wisps of the dreamscape that surrounded the pair. It was not often that Fevi brought outsiders to her hot spring in the dreams, but this traveler had been injured by some sort of creature during her ventures and she felt that, being it was within her power, she needed to aid them.
It was a simple serum, one she had made by hand for generations, with different herbs, beeswax, oil and the like. All of it she grew on her own, and harvested from her own supplies. Once mixed well, she gently scooped some with her fingers and moved over to the traveler, one hand pushing back his fur to reveal the claw marks across his side before her other hand gently spread the mixture over it. She could feel him tense, taking a sharp inhale, but she continued, brows furrowed and attention focused.
It was thick, slathering over the wound like a paste. Despite everything she had mixed in, it had a sort of light, sweet aroma, and she nodded to herself and stepped back once finished.
“You’ll need rest,” She said pointedly, hands already busy collecting her things. “Stay here, and sleep. When you’re feeling better, allow you a dip in the springs. It will require a fresh coat of my homemade salve on it afterwards, however.”
Fevi didn’t even know if the other was listening, for no response was given, but that was fine with her. She had plenty more work to do, and if that meant he was actually resting then so be it.
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