Foggy breath hung over the tall grass, a haze settling over the world just before dawn, dampening the earth with dew. Sounds were muffled, distant bird cries faint, a gentle chorus of frog song setting the tone. It was this magical morning that a young woman, dressed in a thin knee length dress and barefoot with hair hanging wild about her shoulders, walked from the dirt path into the untamed clearing. Wildflowers waved in greeting, the breeze stirring petals and hair alike, though the mist pretended not to notice. In her hand, there was a rope, trailing behind her and attached to a large black head. Saleos, the Eqillion, followed her, mane flowing like a sail, proud neck arched as he pranced. Common though he was born to, uncommon was his beauty, his flowing grace, the ease with which he lifted and moved his legs, as if he were dancing across the earth itself. Though careful not to get too close to the human lest he step on her, he was close enough to touch, and from time to time, the woman found her hand reaching out, caressing the silky mane. Brushed to perfection just this morning, in fact, by none other than herself.
"Come, quickly, Saleos. I don't think we were followed."
The Equillion belonged to a man named Ashe, and while the Equillion seemed to like the girl well enough to follow without protest, he was not hers. It was obvious in the way he walked; he glanced around, almost nervous, for he was rarely off the farm's land. But also in the way she moved; in a hurry, as one might be when possessing something not their own. They were in the thick of a forest now, alone and hidden. Public though it was, early morning saw people in beds or struggling to get up with the aid of bean juice, not traversing through unkempt weeds and grasses. Jinx was safe, for now, with her precious - if stolen - cargo.
The woman had slowed and come to a stop in the clearing, with Saleos prancing to the right to pass her. When she didn't move, and the slightest tug on the rope caught his attention, he turned and went in a semi circle around her, hooves lifted high on strong, powerful legs. He let loose a whinny, joyful yet still cautious. There were no answers to his call, and he flicked his ears this way and this, concerned at the silence greeting him. There was always an answer, back home...
Her voice broke the heavy silence left behind once his call had died down, calming the twitching ears for a few seconds before he took to prancing again, moving in a complete circle around her stationary form. She spun in place, the rope between them and stretched. Feathers on his feet collected dew, spraying into the air with the droplets kicked up from the blades of grass, crunching as the cloven hooves broke stems under their massive weight. He tossed his regal head, mane waving and trailing behind. Jinx watched him, amazed and breathless. He slowly picked up speed, working himself up, and a trot turned into a canter. The soft thrum of his hooves, beating a rhythm into the dirt, reached her heart and thumped like a second in her chest. She was not new to Equillion, not at all. She had her own, a mare named Dune, whom she loved dearly. Dune had nothing on the stallion, unfortunately, for he was the most gorgeous of Ashe's Equillion, and her employer was rich beyond her belief. He could afford the best the Labs had to offer. Some may think him plain, for he didn't have wings or pretty designs that glowed in the dark, and he didn't breathe fire. But he was perfect, to her.
Around and around the stallion went, tethered as he was. Muscles bunched and stretched, neck arched to show off, hooves picked up carefully and set down in the same manner. His long tail glided through the air behind him, sometimes drooping to drag through the grasses, coming back up with a flick and sending water skyward. He would be well soaked by the time the sun actually rose, and perhaps they would dry off in its warm rays together, for her legs were dripping as well. She could feel the tickle as droplets ran down the backs of her calves and resisted brushing them away, for fear of disturbing this dance.
Saleos could run forever, she was beginning to understand. She, meanwhile, would spin and spin and spin and become dizzy, before he gave in. So she clucked her tongue for his attention and brought her body lower, bending at the knee. "Easy," she said, calm but firm, unwavering. "Easy, handsome boy, easy..."
At first, it seemed he wasn't listening to her. He wanted nothing to do with what she was asking, and kicked up his heels. He'd worked himself up into a tizzy, around and around, trapped and in a strange land. Yet, Jinx saw an ear twitched in her direction.
Though she'd worked with the stallion every day for a couple of years now, it was only brushing and turn out, feeding and mucking, She trusted him, along with many others, with her life, knowing the gentle creatures would never harm her if they could in any way help it. Yet out here, she was on unfamiliar ground. The stallion was slowing, taking his time, his nerves causing him to twitch and his skin to shiver. Ears flicked this way - was that a hidden predator? - and that way - what was that sound? He, too, trusted his friend, but he hadn't expected to be brought to a place like this.
As his panic subsided, he began to listen to the woman, one ear fixed inward to catch every word. Slowly, he dropped to a trot, then to a prance, and soon he was walking. Tail swishing, his energy leaving through that means and leaving his legs alone, he dropped again to a halt, standing stock still, save for the tail. He snorted long and loud, tossing his head and pawing the ground, kicking up dirt and severed leaves. Jinx seized her opportunity to go to him, murmuring softly and reaching out with a gentle hand to touch his neck.
"That's my brave boy," She crooned to him, rubbing her hand along his thick, muscular neck, and down to his shoulder, then up to his withers. Saleos's skin twitched and shivered under her touch, and he remained standing. He craned his neck around to nudge her shoulder with his nose, inhaling her scent and letting it out with a deep sigh. This was the person who cared for him every day, even though Ashe visited him throughout and fed him treats. This was the person who forked hay over his stall door in the morning, and filled his water bucket in the afternoon. He was safe, she was safe. He nudged her harder, appreciating her presence.
Jinx couldn't help but smile, relieved to have gotten him under control once again. She shortened the rope in their closeness, ensuring a stray hoof wouldn't step on it accidentally, while also making sure the loops didn't surround her hand. How terrible would it be if he bolted and the rope caught her hand, dragging her through the dewy knee high grass? No thank you.
Relaxing, and hoping he would too, she slowly began to draw circles on his neck near his mane, murmuring soft and sweet nothings to him. It was possibly the beginning to a song, and possibly nonsense; Saleos found himself listening either way.
As it would turn out, it was indeed part of a song, and the murmuring had turned into humming, which turned into soft words. Jinx wasn't great at many things around these parts, for none of her natural talents had a foothold in a place such as this, but singing and dancing were two of her favorite past times. They also happened to be the two things she was the best at, even better than she was at working with Equillion. She had, silly enough, dreamed that Saleos felt the same way about her that she did for him, and together they would dance through the misty field, one mind and soul, spirits united. That was her goal when it came to bonding with her pets, be it Dune or Selkie or now Saleos. Unfortunately, this was real life, and Saleos had his own plans.
"The wind was a torrent of darkness, Among the gusty trees. The moon was a ghostly galleon, Tossed upon the cloudy seas.."
Saleos found himself listening to the tone of her voice, the beautiful way she strung the words together. It wasn't her normal voice, but something different, and enchanting. She kept a rhythm like hoofbeats, only softer. His blue eyes blinked, watching her, his attention hers.
His body stilled as he listened, even the twitching of his skin, save for fending off nasty flies and other biting insects. Thankfully, there weren't many out here at this time of day, still cool and chilly rather than hot, which served to keep the blood suckers at bay. He nuzzled against her gently, letting out a soft sigh as she raised her free hand to stroke his forelock and forehead, scratching the flat part of his skull underneath. Most Equillion had a horn there, even if it was a nub, but Saleos was lacking. Jinx found that appealing, moreso than having a bump there with no purpose. Pure Equillion horns were magical and sought after, but a Common horn, she could do without.
"The road was a ribbon of moonlight, Over the purple moor, When the highwayman came riding- Riding, riding... The highwayman came riding, Up to the old inn door..."
The song itself was one her mom had sung to her, passed down through their little traveling company. It was a beautiful love song with a tragic ending, such as beautiful tales tended to be. Jinx hoped her own life could be as beautiful, if she had to go through tragedy. How terrible would it be to simply have the tragic, without the wonderful?
Riku: Oh how perfect! I woke up wanting to post (unexpected, but yay) and saw I had a reply. <3 Meant to be.
May 26, 2020 6:40:43 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: I really, really love all the updates that have come~! <3
May 24, 2020 2:12:37 GMT -6
Fiera Ferella: np!!! I hope y'all like it!
May 23, 2020 13:45:06 GMT -6
Riku: What an awesome update, staff! Thanks for that! <3
May 23, 2020 12:06:52 GMT -6
Jack: All have been found!
May 23, 2020 9:53:27 GMT -6
Jack: Might want to be on the lookout for anything... odd
May 22, 2020 23:51:22 GMT -6
Fiera Ferella: Yeah it’s definitely a coincidence but wow did it work out well for us! XD
May 22, 2020 6:43:27 GMT -6
Silver: I'm pretty sure that was just a coincidence, but it sure feels lucky!
May 22, 2020 2:07:09 GMT -6
Riku: So did you guys make this hosting switch perfectly RIGHT before pb broke? >.< Thaz crazy. It’s a huge relief and I’m very glad we’ve come to this. <3
May 22, 2020 1:41:01 GMT -6
Fiera Ferella: It’s free up to a certain number of GB, which we haven’t hit yet.
May 21, 2020 6:46:33 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: Is the site that is going to be used to host all those images also the type you'd need to pay for? (definitely noticed the broken images yeah. Photobucket feels like it is standing on its last legs. X3 )
May 21, 2020 0:13:57 GMT -6
Morgan: I'm just kinda nervous about them going down before things get moved over completely. It's prolly nothing to be worried about though. :3
May 20, 2020 22:13:15 GMT -6
Fiera Ferella: Thank goodness we're moving out of there? XD
May 20, 2020 21:59:22 GMT -6
Renathan: Ugh, photobucket has the images broke again. x3
May 20, 2020 21:18:53 GMT -6