above treeline

Giant

high school supercorp au. kara struggling to keep her superpowers at bay around the pretty super nerd. kara hasn’t grown into her hero image yet & lena hasn’t grown into her name.

There’s a giant leading me to God knows where
I’ve got news, I’m going my way
Fighting, and I feel I’m getting somewhere
All is right, all is right.

From high atop the water tower on the very edge of town, a shadow sat, pushing up her glasses as they fell slightly down the bridge of her nose. Just below, an entire city stretched out toward the sea, the lights bleeding into it, which then bled into the horizon, into the very sky itself. Down by the boardwalk, someone was throwing away old bread and cotton candy while the gulls gulped them down with contented caws that got lodged in their noses. The smell of the freshly cut, end-of-summer lawns wafted through the night, perfuming the last night of summer break perfectly.

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Shameless Manorian pregnancy fluff (w/ a dash of angst because I can’t help myself)

On request for @empressofalderley 

[Manorian - I Hate Vomiting]

Dorian Havilliard walked into his private chambers after a long, arduous meeting—and was surprised to find Manon lying on their bed. It was half past noon, she was never home during the day.

“Why aren’t you training?” He asked, walking over to the closet.

“I don’t feel well.” Her voice was laced with annoyance.

He removed his coat and stuffier pieces of clothing and then padded over to her. There was an untouched glass of water, a pile of untouched crackers, and a bucket. “I’m sorry. Is there anything I can do to help?”

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Attack The Forest

Cassian Andor/ Reader

Words: 574

Summary: Maybe this time you could take it easy on this typical, “normal” mission. Maybe, if it weren’t for a blaster whose owner rhymes with Bassian.

Prompt: “I can hear you perfectly fine without you screaming in my ear.” for Cassian and Reader

Tagging: @kwaiky, @attentionseekingprincess, @ly–canthrope, @can-t-figure-it-out

Requested by: Anonymous

Author’s note: titled based on the classique filme “attack the block”. though this fic isnt inspired by the movie, after finishing writing this, i thot “this reminds me of that one scene where moses runs w/ the alien on his backpack from those things”. no aliens here; just banthas. also, the two of you pull a luke skywalker


Your first instinct is to run.

The ground begins to rumble and you catch a glimpse of horror on Cassian’s face. You don’t have time to tell him but you both just know what to do.

Run for your useless little lives.

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Winter Shadow - chapter 9

Nothing happens here. Literally, 2,859 words of nothing happening. And not even well written nothing. Sorry. If I can, I’m going to finish this tonight, so you can just skip this chapter and wait for the end (or skip both!).

Masterlist

Even by Quinjet, the flight time between North America and Wakanda was long. The jet was equipped with excellent AI and autopilots, but Natasha and Steve liked to stay at the controls, at least while they were flying over occupied lands. Once the jet was clear of the continent and there was nothing but Atlantic as far as the eye could see, they finally switched to the autopilot and both sat back. Steve continued their earlier conversation, as if there’d barely been a pause; it had been playing in his mind throughout the flight.

“So, you think we can find a way to remove the triggers, really?” They’d had this conversation so many times before, but he needed constant reassurance, that there was hope. Natasha didn’t mind, she could sense how close he was at times to losing faith, was always happy to try and talk him around, help him remain optimistic.

“Someone put those triggers in there. So, there’s got to be a way to get them out. And now we have another tool…” her eyes flicked to the back of the jet, where the Shadow sat, still, lost in a world of her own. “… it could be the thing that helps.”

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anonymous asked:

I was rewatching season 2 and I found interesting that Blue seems to be the only one to get a power bust in her element, Pidge doesnt mention anything like that in Greening the cube or Hunk when he is on earth.

Anonymous said:I mean power boost, sorry

I’d argue Greening The Cube had a pretty obvious indication of the Lion getting a boost from its element. Other times before, we’ve seen the Lions have to take significant time to recover if they’re knocked down and out the way Green was, but, with Ryner and the other Olkari surrounding Green with vines and passing energy into the vines- Green obviously pulled energy from that.

So what it seems to be that’s happening is that the Lions can be recharged faster, or supercharged, by being close to their native element, but, at this point, it would seem to have a couple of limitations. It’s not been discussed in canon, but what I’d guess is, determining factors are:

  • Abundance of said element
  • Proximity of element to the Lion
  • Quality of the element

This would explain perfectly why Lance, far and away, had the biggest observable effect- because he was on an entire planet’s worth of ocean, underwater, and capped by ice. Every conceivable part of Blue was touching water.

Green definitely would’ve had a boost just being on the woodlands of Olkarion, with its massive trees, but much of that fight was above the treeline. When Ryner and her followers go to recharge Green, though- once again, they loop the vines, and, in Ryner’s case, she rests her own hand directly on Green’s surface. It would probably have been a much more dramatic effect if they’d bundled Green in a massive root ball like Pidge found it in.

As far as the Yellow Lion, yeah, Yellow would get a boost any time his feet are on solid ground (a bit like his paladin) but really optimal conditions for Yellow would be being buried alive- which might sound counterproductive except for the part where, in s1e1, it’s shown that Yellow burrows through the ground very easily.

I don’t think you’d get an observable boost from, for example, Blue putting her foot in a puddle, or someone lighting a bunch of soothing candles around Red.

I mean, this raises interesting questions of if Black, as the guardian of Sky, actually has better stats than the other Lions, or if practically she’s much closer in build to Blue, and just is supercharged almost all the time. It’d be interesting to see Black engage an opponent underwater or underground- somewhere that cuts her off from her joint domain of air and space.

(Because thematically, it would be just like Shiro if Black is highly competent in most situations but might have a kind of magic-enforced claustrophobia if she doesn’t have figurative room to breathe)

The whole quality of the element thing is pretty much speculation on my part- I doubt, for example, a sickly, withering forest growing in poor soil would give Green much energy, or that Red could take much from smoky fire burning bad materials. Even in cases of abundance, rootless soil blowing around in the wind wouldn’t do good for Yellow, nor would stagnant, polluted seas help Blue, or choking smog lend power to Black.

This would, now that I’m thinking about it, lend a perfectly sensible explanation to the Lions’ very themed environments- when they went to ground, it was probably not in ideal circumstances. So to recover, they sought out their own elements- Green overgrown with roots, Yellow burrowing beneath the ground, Blue seeking out underground reservoirs. Red and Black were both sealed by others, but while Red could not have had a restful sleep trapped on Sendak’s ship away from any heat source (a sensible move on the empire’s part, as it probably wouldn’t be a good idea to give the temperamental, loyal Lion that served their enemies a bunch of energy, considering she’d probably just use that to blast the hell out of them as soon as she could), Alfor, a little more sympathetically, put Black aboard a spaceship, so her element was near even if she was somewhat separated from it.

I was bored and needed a warmup. Don’t judge me  >.<

Dean slowly looked down at the still warm body of his best friend lying motionless on the ground. He began to reach for his hand but stopped, not wanting to know the pain of Cas not being able to squeeze back.  

“Cas, you’re still out there… right?” The now steady flood of tears made the forceful plea come out as shaky breaths.

Above the treeline sat the bitterly somber Castiel, still not understanding where he went wrong. He had planned every moment. It should have worked. Why does nothing he do ever work.

The colossal eyes of the now towering figure slowly trained on the sobbing Dean. His words could not have been quieter, but they hit likes bullets within Cas’ ears.

“Dean”. Cas began to respond before seeing all of the birds shoot from the trees, panicked by the roaring vibrations.

The small figure slowly looked toward the movement. Looking straight through where Castiel’s eyes would be all he could perceive was a faint glow of light where the angelic being stood. A new rush of tears sprang from Dean’s eyes as a smile slowly grew on his face.

Taking in a deep breath of relief he began to get to his feet, not moving his gaze for a moment. Walking toward the light he held out his hand.

“Hello Sunshine”

screaminggreyunicorn  asked:

So Underfell Sans (the grumpy, cold and agressive version) and the reader get out of the Underground. The night falls, and she convinces him to come with her, and she takes him to a really good spot to see the stars he have never seen before. He have a crush on her and maybe let the cold facade down for once. I don't know if it would make a great story, take liberties if it's too restrictive, but have fun writing this !You're talentend enough to make it works, anyway ! Take care of yourself <3

(aw, thank you so much for your kind words-! never doubt yourself, little snapshots of a world like this always have wonderful promise. i hope you like the little something of what i’ve done here - this one’s shorter, so i won’t put it under a cut. and you take care of yourself too, okay? i can certainly promise - someone really cares about you. <3)

Your toes dug lightly at the edge of the cliffside you had all been gazing over. The sun had now all but set, the distant city already glowing with the lights of the night. The others had quickly separated, not comfortable with the close company right now, but a begrudging promise to meet back here to form a plan to approach the humans lingering in the air.

You took a deep breath, letting the cooling fresh air of the mountainside fill your lungs as your eyes drifted shut. You hadn’t fully realized just how much you missed it, all those months spent in the caves of the Underground filled only with air so stagnant and dank…

“you humans’ve been pretty fuckin’ spoiled.”

A chuckle escaped you as you opened your eyes and turned your head. Sans stood at your side, a scowl on his face, his gold tooth catching the last of the lingering dusk light. Despite his words, his eyelights showed just a measure of softness that you had only caught on the rarest occasion in the Underground.

“Yeah. Seems we take a lot more for granted than we’d ever admit.”

He scoffed, not meeting your gaze, instead continuing to stare out over the mountainside. His arm nearly brushed yours with how close he stood, and you regarded him carefully for another minute, a now well-recognizable flush creeping up your cheeks.

Finally, his gaze flickered to you. “whatcha fuckin’ starin’ at, ya want somethin’ to-”

Your arm looped through his and you turned away, cutting him off as he grunted in surprise.

“C’mon, I wanna show you something.”

You didn’t leave room for argument as you set a steady pace, trying to fight the grin pulling at your face, trying even harder to ignore the excited flutter of your stomach as your plan hatched.

“hey, ya don’t have to try ‘n pull my arm off,” Sans grumbled as he followed suit, surprisingly raising little other issue with your sudden insistence. His words were more than a little half-hearted, and you glanced at him from the half-step lead you had as you made your way up a lightly-worn path, venturing a little further yet up the mountain.

“What if I need a hand though? Gotta have a little help to show you this,” you shot back at him, your blush rising.

His eyesockets widened for a split moment before his grin - his real grin, something you could only ever pull out of him in the rarest circumstances previously - spread across his face. It still hinted of danger and dark promises, but in a way that sent the excitement bubbling in you into more of a frenzy.

“if ya’ve got a bone to pick with someone, sure,” he replied without missing a further beat, his cocky and mischievous look suiting him far too well. “it’d be humerus. i think tibia the source of another human’s fuckin’ shock and awe would be pretty satisfying-”

You laughed openly at his heavy wordplay as you pulled him above the treeline once again, a clearing of soft grass and late summer flowers tickling your calves as you whirled around to face him again. You pressed close, your free arm shifting so you could grip his upper arm with a brightening smile. His grin faltered for just a moment as his cheekbones stained a softly glowing crimson.

“The only one I want awed right now is you, Sans,” you whispered. You were so close now that his hips brushed against yours, that you swore you could feel the electric energy of his blush. It took everything in you to not throw caution to the wind and close the last of the distance between your faces.

Sans managed to find his words again, his voice going a little raw with how low and quiet it dipped. “w-what’re ya talkin’ about, sweetheart-”

You squeezed his arm one last time before spinning him away from you, away from the upwards slope of the mountain, back over the view you now stood over - and under.

Sans went completely still as he caught sight of the crystal-clear night stretching over him, the dim lights of the city far to your side now not able to drown out the glittering expanse of stars and the cloudy edges of the galaxy itself shining above you.

You remained quiet as you took in the view for a moment, relief and joy swelling in you as in this still moment away from the others, away from the demands, from the excitement - you finally let yourself realize that you were free.

And… more importantly… that he was free with you.

Your face tilted once again as you looked towards Sans, shifting gently so you could stand at his side, your arms still entwined. Your breath left you as you caught sight of his face.

Red streaks of liquid magic were streaming from the corner of his eyesockets, his face upturned towards the open sky with a vulnerable, matching openness you had never seen before.

Chest constricting painfully, you couldn’t find any words. You didn’t think you wanted to, really, as the wetness built at your own eyes.

Sans shifted at last, only the barest of movements as the arm you held moved and his hand caught yours. His fingers intertwined with yours, gripping just a little too tight.

You returned his grip as you carefully, slowly leaned against him, your face turning back up towards the sky as well.

My True Creepy Story

There were always old stories told by my mom about the aliens she believed she had been abducted by in childhood. She remembered being in a hazy room on a table with something being forced down her throat while she was unable to move.
Later, while she pregnant with me, my dad was stationed in Las Vegas at Nellis AFB. They lived in a trailer park near the desert. One night my dad was on base and my mom fell asleep on her bed which took up the whole room, and had a door to the outside practically touching it. She had locked it with a hook and eye from the inside. She was startled awake by a loud bang, and found herself turned completely around the opposite direction from which she had gone to sleep with her feet on the pillow, looking up at the hook, swinging loose from its eye, as if the door had just been slammed shut.
She had many reproductive problems, and when she had her hysterectomy her uterus was covered in surgical scars even though she had not had any surgeries.
I grew up with these stories, which she clearly believed. I was always skeptical, until the night I was doing dishes and looked out the window to see a huge, cigar shaped craft with blinking lights all around it hovering above the treeline. I remember thinking ‘What the hell?!’ I had just started dishes and wasn’t even halfway done. The next thing I knew, I woke up standing in front of the sink, dishes finished…25 minutes after I started. It scared me a lot, and it was so frightening to think about the realistic possibility of alien abduction and not remembering what happened during that time.
My mom gave me a book when my oldest son was about 2 years old. It was called ‘Intruders,’ based on the true life research of many unconnected people who had experienced alien abduction. The similarity in all of their accounts plus the suggestion that abduction passes down through families made me scoop up my child and insist that he sleep in my bed while I stayed awake as long as I could to make sure nothing happened to him for about a month.
Shortly after that I moved to Oklahoma. It was stressful and I wasn’t worried about the aliens too much because my marriage was terrible and then the divorce process was even worse.
About 7 months after my ex husband left, I had met a man. It was a crazy relationship from the start, but it was just a few months in when we started noticing these ‘things’ in the sky. They looked like police cars flashing among the stars. We would sit on the front porch with coffee and watch them move around, come into the formation of a pentagon, then disappear one by one. It was the dawning of the age of the internet, limited to AOL forums. Others had seen them too. The boards were alive with speculation. They had to be in our atmosphere, someone theorized, because at times they would stay in the same place for hours as the constellations moved behind them.
I became pregnant with my daughter at about this time, even though I wasn’t aware of it yet. My own reproductive problems were such that I had not even menstruated for seven months.
One night, my boyfriend and I were asleep in bed. It wasn’t unusual to hear the police helicopter overhead, as that part of town was a bit sketchy. I remember hearing this massively loud noise, and waking up to realize that there was bright blue light coming in the window. At first I thought it was a helicopter. But then it dawned on me that the roar was constant, not buffeting like a helicopter. And that light…normally my neighbor’s amber porch light would shine in the window but that blue was definitely out of place. I remember looking over at my boyfriend, thinking ‘how can he be sleeping through that horrible noise?!’
I don’t remember anything after that until I woke up in the morning. I laid there and thought about it…as my little son was down the hall, I would have never in a million years gone back to bed without seeing what was hovering over the house. Never. I rushed in to check on him- he was sleeping peacefully, and my heart was relieved. Until my boyfriend woke up, and said to me ‘how in the world did you sleep through that helicopter last night!? It sounded like a freight train!’
I was shaken but I did not say anything, even though I was very worried about it, because it was similar to accounts in the ‘Intruders’ book.
A month later I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. I saw the blinking objects in the sky less and less, and tried to forget about it.
After my daughter was born, and the relationship with her father was over, I moved into an apartment. My daughter was about 6 months old at the time. I was walking past the living room windows and noticed a bright, blinking, familiar object in the sky. I happened to have my son’s telescope, so I set it up to see if I could get a good look at it. I could not seem to focus on it… I tried focusing on other stars, the moon…I was able to easily focus clearly on them. I went back and continued to try and focus on the blinking object, which was stock still and not moving. Every time I would almost get it focused, it would blur. Suddenly I realized that it looked a lot like a heat signature…the thought began to occur to me that maybe it was the heat from an exhaust vent in something much larger that was cloaked or camouflaged to resemble the stars and night sky. This thought terrified me, especially because it seemed so close.
I was glad my daughter’s crib was in my bedroom…with doors locked and blinds shut we went to bed. I did lay awake thinking about it for awhile. At some point I fell asleep, only to wake up in what was probably sleep paralysis and hopefully a hallucination…because coming in the window, holding my baby daughter in its arms was a huge figure. It had on a black uniform, and an unusually large round face with lights blinking in computer type lines. It had thick black hair that looked like wild electrical cords. I tried to scream, but I could not make any sound come out. I frantically struggled against my paralyzed body, trying to get up and get to my baby. The thing gently put her in the crib, then looked directly at me, putting a black gloved finger to where it’s mouth should have been, saying ‘Shhh…’ but not physically….I was hearing it telepathically in my mind. It walked back out through my second floor window which now had the blinds open. Not just open, but pulled by the string all the way up to the top.
After it was gone, I continued to struggle against the paralysis. Finally, it was if I just snapped out of it. I scrambled to the side of my daughter’s crib, frantically checking her for anything wrong. She seemed sleepy, but normal temp and pink skin…she looked none the wiser. I don’t think I slept well for more than a year.
I have not ever tried to dig deeper into what those blinking lights in the night sky are. I have never again tried to get a closer look. I still see them sometimes, blinking innocuously, like they want me to acknowledge them, or invite them into my consciousness. I never have again, because I believe that whatever it was took a great interest in my baby directly after I took an interest in it. There will always be that fear, right under the surface, that they have been taking us all along, whenever they want, and we just have no recollection of it.

flickr

ECUADORIAN HILLSTAR Male Oreotrochilus chimborazo on Volcán Cotopaxi in Northern Ecuador. 2002 Hummingbird Photo by Peter Wendelken. by Peter W. Wendelken
Via Flickr:
ECUADORIAN HILLSTAR Male Oreotrochilus chimborazo. A male Ecuadorian Hillstar was found perching on top of Chuquiragua plants above treeline in the paramo of Volcán Cotopaxi in northern Ecuador on October 3, 2002. The Ecuadorian Hillstar belongs to the family Trochilidae and is a high altitude hummingbird whose geographic range is restricted almost exclusively to Ecuador. The flowers of the Chuquiragua plant are a major food source for the Ecuadorian Hillstar. No Flash - I never use flash! Un macho del colibrí Estrella de Páramo Ecuatoriana Oreotrochilus chimborazo se halló posandose sobre unas plantas de Chuquiragua en el páramo por encima del nivel de los árboles en las faldas del Volcán Cotopaxi en el norte de Ecuador. Las flores de la Chuquiragua son una fuente muy importante de nectar para Oreotrochilus chimborazo. For OPTIMAL DETAILED VIEWING of this Ecuadorian Hillstar male, VIEW AT THE GIANT SIZE (1459 x 1000) using this direct Flickr link: www.flickr.com/photos/neotropical_birds_mayan_ruins/34517…TO SEE MORE THAN 50 SPECIES OF HUMMINGBIRDS PLEASE VISIT MY HUMMINGBIRD ALBUM (SET) AT www.flickr.com/photos/neotropical_birds_mayan_ruins/sets/….

8

#TravelTuesday along Colorado’s Alpine Loop National Backcountry Byway with Guest Photographer Bob Wick!

Southwest Colorado’s Alpine Loop National Backcountry Byway provides access to some of the most spectacular scenery anywhere in the Rockies.  Here, jagged peaks up to 14,000 feet in elevation rise above rushing streams and wildflower filled meadows.  My favorite time to photograph here is in mid-late July when the wildflowers reach their peak.  Another amazing time is late September when the aspen turn the mountainsides golden.

Heading west from Lake City, make sure to stop at Cataract Gulch.  The trail here is a somewhat arduous but very rewarding climb along a forest clad stream plunging over rocks and falls.  Even a short hike up part of the trail offers great scenery and photo opportunities.

A few miles further West, the American Basin in Handies Peak Wilderness Study Area has a plethora of wildflowers including fields of Colorado’s state flower, the columbine.  You can scale 14,000 foot Handies Peak with a long non-technical but demanding day hike.  Stop by alpine Sloan Lake along the way with its turquoise waters and alpine flowers.  Photo tip: I try to photograph wildflowers in the morning before it gets windy.  I also get low; shooting from the same height, or even looking up from below taller flowers as it provides a fresh and interesting perspective.  Use a very small aperture (F-16) to keep both the flowers and distant landscape features in focus.

You’ll need four-wheel drive to reach the higher passes on the Alpine Loop which top-out above treeline at over 12,800 feet on Engineer Pass.  Just to the west of this pass is the ghost town of Animas Forks, at 11,200 feet.  The restored log cabins offer excellent photo subjects.  The surrounding communities of Lake City, Silverton and Ouray offer a variety of services including jeep rentals.  Photo tip: When photographing at high elevations around light colored rock or patches of snow, your camera’s light meter can be tricked into underexposing the image – set your camera to snow/beach mode or overexpose by one or two stops to get the correct exposure.

Check out our @esri Colorado Alpine Loop multimedia storymap-journal for more stunning photos, videos, helpful links and maps of the area: mypubliclands.tumblr.com/traveltuesdaycoloradoalpineloop.

Wandering Hearts (9/?)

Fandom: Frozen AU. Set after shipwreck but before coronation day. 17th Century.
Pairing: Kristanna (Kristoff/Anna)
Rating: M (this part is not really awful, all things considered, but the story as a whole is meant for adult audiences)
A/N
: this universe just keeps growing.

 not even close to proof read.

[ part one ] [ part two ] [ part three ] [ part four ] [ part five ] [ part six ] [ part seven ] [ part eight ] [ part nine] [ part ten ]

She had not thought this through. The instinct to protect had outweighed rational thinking. Where she had meant to help, however, is quickly proving to be the opposite. She looks to Bjarg with supplication but he does not meet her gaze. His attentions are focused on the men leaning their strength and weight against the perimeter of his sleigh, taking into account the worth of each one.

She notices that his gaze lingers just that much longer on the black-haired brother from the woods. Does he regret not dispatching him the way he had his companions? Did she? Despite the thickness of her cloak and the warmth of the scarf around her head, a shiver runs down her spine and she thinks of blood.

“This is my wife and the one this man attacked alongside his brothers.”

The leader of the band of men, a man built like an ox with thick gray whiskers cutting irregular lines down his portly cheeks, scans them both with steely eyes. Her throat tightens under his examination but she tries her best not to shrink from his gaze.

“She is nary one of us.” His eyes linger up her though it is clear his words are not directed towards her. “From where’s she hale?”

Bjarg looks at her now. The sharp sadness in his eyes cuts her to the quick. It has been all too easy to ignore these glaring holes in her history, in his, when it had just been the two of them all too happy to ignore their pasts but now…. She cannot help him. She still is ill adept at lying, but she wishes more now than ever to be able to end this charade. She senses, however, that the revelation of her true identity will do nothing to aid their current situation.

Still his gaze compels her. She sees in them a wasteland of wounds her silence has wrought. Her lips tremble to speak, but nothing comes out. She shakes her head, the slightest of motions, and sees understanding overtake his features.

Not here.

“She belongs with me now.”

From the group’s expressions she can tell that Bjarg’s answer did little to ease them in their fervor.

“Ragi outed you’d taken a wife a bit back.” The gray-whiskered man’s mustache twitches as he speaks. “None of us quite believed him. I dinna wager many of us quite believe it yet. Have ye witnesses of yer binding?”

The tendons on Bjarg’s neck swell and bunch as he shakes his head.

“We had no time nor means to see to it properly.”

His words send a ripple of dark murmurs through the men. Their eyes spark at this and lay on her the fire of condemnation. While she may not understand the specifics, she does grasp the general implication made by Bjarg’s denial. Heat rushes up her neck to her cheeks as she realizes what the men around her must think of her now. Their leers told her just what they were thinking.

“Ya killed my brothers for yer whore!” The small dark man, his unkempt hair and beard making him seem all the more ferocious, swipes a hand at her from his place at the edge of the sleigh bed.

She yelps, but has nowhere to retreat even as his fingers brush the billowing fabric of her skirt. Bjarg is on his feet in an instant, his hand on the his rondel.

“Men who act as wild beasts are treated thusly.” He towers above the rest from his place in the sleigh though it is clear his height would surpass most of them without the aid. “I admit only that I have reason for regret, but I would not change a single step I have taken.”

She wants to move closer to Bjarg. She wants to draw from his surety and strength, but she does not dare move. Her position in the center of the sleigh bed is as fortified a hold as she can hope in these circumstances. She does, however, recall the weight and bite of the blade in her pocket and finds the handle of it in her gloved hand.

“There is nary a sound reason to take the lives of men aside protecting what belongs to ya.” Gray Whiskers says and the men nod in agreement. “But this jente is a stranger to us and our land. She is nary yer blood by birth or rite. Any defense of her goes against our code. We canna let the dead rest on yer word solely.”

He does not speak to excite passion, but his words provoke it regardless. She can see the brutal energy remounting in their eyes and whatever their ways or codes are she knows that the situation she finds herself in with Bjarg are well outside of their protection. Her hand tightens on her dagger, ready, and she looks to Bjarg for a signal of what to do to against find him looking anywhere but her.

His dark eyes, often so warm when engaging hers, surveys the men with cool efficiency she has only seen from him when he has resolved himself past the stress of any given moment to a place of surreal calm. It is the look she has seen all too many times when she has made a mess of things with her impulsivity. It is the look that tells her that he will do his all to make everything right again though it may not be an easy road.

Her stomach tightens.

“You find my word alone to be wanting.” Bjarg’s tone is measured. “Though I have done nothing to deserve your doubt nor a single action beyond what you would do to protect a single sow in your pens.”

A few of the men fidget but Gray Whiskers remains resolute, but there is a softness in his tone that almost sounds apologetic. “Blood shed without a blood bond is no small thing, mǫgr.”

Bjarg nods and sets his jaw. His eyes go to the small dark man, Gunnar Bjarg had called him, fingers tightening on his rondel. If looks could kill then both men would fall dead in that instant.

“Then prepare the hollow and summon who you will for if what code demands is blood for blood and witnesses to abide - then you shall have both at first light tomorrow.” He looks back at her then and her heart stops at the intensity of it. “But if any so much as harm a hair on her head before then know that there is no code that will keep you safe from me.”

…..

They do not allow her to remain with him. Bjarg had assured her that this is expected given the circumstances and the code, but she is still uncertain exactly what the code entails. She recalls that bleak conversation in the sleigh before departing towards Arendelle, of Bjarg promising to explain to her the rules of these woods, but she could never have imagined needing to know them this quickly. She never imagined any of this.

She is taken from the sleigh bed (always kept a safe distance from Gunnar and his dark glare) and put astride the back of a dun fjord horse led by Gray Whiskers as Bjarg is led by two others in his sleigh in what she assumes is the direction of his cabin. Gunnar is left in the care of the other men. His black eyes shoot daggers the entire time, but she cannot focus on him. Her eyes are too busy trying to keep Bjarg in her sights, but he is gone all too soon.

They have been apart many times before, but never like this.

“Have ye any kin about meyla?” Gray Whiskers asks, but she barely hears him. Her heart hammers too hard.

She shakes her head unable to find her voice as her eyes remain focused on the place where Bjarg had disappeared. He has to come back. He promised to protect her. Her can not just leave her here now.

“No? Then ye will be safe enough in my home till the rites are seen through. My wife will prepare ye as best she can in the time.”

He starts to lead the horse the opposite direction of where Bjarg had disappeared and she balks.

“Wait!” How can she be safe without him?

He stops. She feels his gaze on her hard and curious at the same time.

“What be the trouble? Ye need something?”

She needs Bjarg.

She swallows hard and scans the woods for one last glimpse of him. She finds nothing, and has the sinking feeling in her gut that this is the end. This is the last time she sees him. Her eyes burn at the thought. She can barely entertain the idea, but her mind presses the issue.

There is nothing she can do yet, but through the haze of panic she realizes that opportunity may present itself yet. She thinks of Gray Whiskers and the home has offered for the night. She has run from home, or whatever her present semblance of the idea had been, before this night more than once. Surely she can do the same again.

Her head aches as she shakes it once more. She will not allow some unknown rite to control her future anymore then she will allow it to control Bjarg’s.

“Very well then.” Gray Whiskers says in the interim. “Off to home then.”

…..

It is not a long ride to where Gray Whiskers calls home. The sun has barely changed positions in the afternoon sky by the time smoke from a chimney is visible above the treeline.

She has never thought herself much one for silence. She has never once considered that anything outside of Bjarg’s silence would be useful, but for every passing step of the horse beneath her she is thankful that her guide remains reticent. She has, after all, still not learned the art of deception. She has also noted that in the brief time she has been exposed to those other then her rock that their speech has been rougher than that she has been exposed to in the castle or Bjarg’s home. Surely even speaking will give her away as something different so she makes a silent pledge to bite her tongue.

She has been watching during these quiet moments trailing through the woods, trying to get her bearings. She thinks about the map that had returned to Bjarg’s chest before their trip to Arendelle and she wishes she had kept it. It would have improved her chances of successful escape a hundred fold, or at least she tells herself that. She pushes the memories of the last time she escaped into the woods with a map into the back of her mind.

She cannot be mindful of her failure now or it will make her too afraid to accomplish what she must.

They break through a thick copse into a clearing where a log cabin, bigger than Bjarg’s, sits. Her spine stiffens at the sight of it. Whatever shield of silence that had erected itself around her during the journey is soon to be smashed. She can feel it.

“Ya need help down then, meyla?” Gray Whiskers’ voice snaps her from her own thoughts.

She looks down at him from where he stands with the reins in hand, gray eyes peering at her curiously. She shakes her head, not yet trusting her voice, and grabs a fistful of mane to help her slide to the ground.

Her landing is not graceful, but she stays on her feet. Gray Whiskers does not move to aid her. She is equally grateful and put out. She straightens her skirt and tries to not look anything like how she feels.

“Ya can wait fer me by the door. Dunna go in afore I put up Jorunn. Ya will be big enough a shock without ya tramping in unannounced.” Gray Whiskers nods towards the house and he is off to put up the horse before she can say a word to object.

She watches him go for a moment. He favors his left leg and it gives him a strange, stilted gait that she can tell he tries to hide as much as he can. She had not noticed as he had walked alongside her this past mile. He carried his round form proudly, but now she sees it plainly. When he makes it to what she assumes is their small barn, she looks at the door of the home she will enter soon. Her heart pounds at the idea.

She can run now. There is at least an hour of daylight left. With Gray Whiskers’ limp and the head start she could stand a chance. She can run back over the tracks in the snow that they left coming in she he can not trace her. She can run back to where she had been taken from Bjarg and follow the sleigh track. She can fall on her knees and tell him everything and ask him to run with her.

And they would. They would run and hide and start again and it would be all she has hoped for these long lonely years. That is - unless it was not. What if she told him the truth and he rejected her? He has built a life here in these woods and to ask him to leave it is presumptuous at best. Can she do it? Can she bring herself to say the words that will put them both at such risk?

Will he even believe her?  She looks at her shabby clothes and work worn hands and barely believes her royal pedigree herself. She knows she is crazy to think anyone else will believe it, even Bjarg.

But still she had to try. Did she not? She cannot leave their fates up to the strange code of these dark woods.

She runs. The snow and her skirts hinder her as much as her shaking legs slow her pace. She gets about twenty yards before a deft woosh buzzes past her ear followed by a solid thud. She freezes as her eyes follow the noise to where an arrow jitters from its place in the trunk of a nearby tree. Her heart leaps to her throat at the sight and she whirls to find the source.

Gray Whiskers approaches her. His stilted gait grows more pronounced when put under the strain of speed. Any gentleness that had lived in his expression before now is replaced with a paternal sternness that makes her think that perhaps he would beat her with a switch the way she had heard was done to insolent children of simple birth. The recollection inspires the idea to run all over again, but the bow and arrow at his side make a convincing argument to stay put.

“Ya best not get any fool headed notions in that fair head of yours.” He says as he nears. “I am obliged to deliver ya to the hollow on the morrow on my honor and ya best bet I will see it done.”

He is close enough now that she considers the weight of her blade in her pocket and wonders with trembling knees what kind of blow it would take to sink a man of this size to her mercy. He is not as tall as Bjarg but his shoulders, and most every other part of him, is wider. Is her blade even long enough to penetrate anything of value? She feels sick.

He is close enough to touch her now but steps past her instead. One thick hand wraps around the base of the arrow and he twists and pulls it from the trunk with stunning fluidity. The arrow pops loose with as little effort as she would employee removing mushrooms from soft ground.

This display assures her that despite his limp, this man is fully capable.

He turns back to her and meets her gaze. “Now turn yerself back around jente. I have chores that will nary do themselves.”

…..

The first thing she thinks upon entering the cabin is that it is warm. The warmth is different than the damp heat of the cave. It is smoky and thick, but inviting nonetheless after hours in the cold. It is only after the temperature has registered that the rest of it falls into place.

The door leads into a common area larger than the one she shares with Bjarg. There are two cots covered with pelts and woven wares on one wall which remind her of the place she has slept for the last few months. There is another door on the back wall, but it is shut. Shelves on the walls hold a meager assortment of dishes and utensils. Roots and herbs hang from the rafters suspending the sod roof the same way they had in Bjarg’s home. A fire pit lives in the center of the room with a large kettle hovering over the well stoked flames. Standing by the black cauldron is a woman who rivals Gray Whiskers in girth. Her small eyes crowded by ruddy cheeks flash at the sight of her coming through the door.

“How now, Sigfrid! Who’s this?”

Gray Whiskers, apparently named Sigfrid, pushes her to the side to go beside the mountainous woman.

“The ice man has gone and got himself a mind to take a wife with no kin.”

“And what in Thor’s thunder does that have to do with us?”

“We’re to take her to the hollow on the dawn and must prepare her for it.”

The woman scoffs. “Ya mean I must prepare her. And I suppose I am to believe that this slip of a thing is what had the others pounding down our door like wild beasts.”

“Aye. She be part of it.”

The woman casts her a look of disdain and snorts. “Ya men always get yerselves all twisted ‘round the second a pretty face appears.”

“Mind yerself, Ketil. Ya know as well as I do this there is more afoot than a fair face. The code demands blood and blood it’ll have.” Sigfrid patted his wife’s thick shoulder before heading towards the door where she still stood. “Now give each other no trouble. I’ve spent such time sorting out all these fool problems today that I’ll be lucky ta finish half me chores afore sundown. I am in no mind to tend the petty woes of women the rest of this day.”

With that, and a stern look to both women, he leaves.

The shutting of the door makes her jump as she stands under the scrutiny of the formidable woman of the house. She squirms.

“There are no hand outs here so ya might as well get ta work.” Ketil thrusts the large stick she had been using to stir the liquid in the pot in Anna’s direction.

She hesitates, but Ketil shakes the handle in her direction indicating impatience and Anna moves. She discards her mittens. Her free hands go first to the fastener of her cloak which she rest on the ground by the door and then to the knot of the scarf around her chin. The moment her hair is free she hears a gasp and looks up to see Ketil’s small eyes bulge. She touches her face, her hair, self consciously.

“Where now did ya say ya were comin’ from?” It is not recognition that flares in the Ketil’s eyes, but the look there sets Anna’s heart galloping regardless.

She tugs on one of her braids and looks at her feet.

“N - Nowhere.” She wishes she could lie, wishes she could tell the truth.

“Nowhere? Hmph! And yer kin? Where be they?” Ketil circles the pot, coming nearer while still gripping the large handle, and Anna fights the urge to throw open the door and bolt.

“Dead.” At least that is true.

“All of them?”

“All that cared for me.” True again and though the words come easily they still sting to say.

Ketil’s pudgy face screws up with suspicion. Anna can feel the inadequacy of her answers from the tip of her head to her toes and though she shed her winter garments she feels beads of sweat build on her hairline.

“Ya got a name, jente?” Ketil glares down her round, stubby nose and Anna blushes scarlet.

She does not know what to say. She never knows what to say. Oh what she wouldn’t give for Bjarg to burst in the door and sweep her away from this place.

At the thought of Bjarg: “H - he calls me Logi.”

The sound of Ketil’s caustic laugh cuts her with surprise. “Logi is it? Fer yer hair, no doubt. Well then ya best get ta stirring there Logi. For if I’m to finish my ale and prepare ya for the hollow then we nary have a moment to waste.”

Anna takes the handle, careful to keep her skirts away from the stoked fire, and stirs. She focuses on the burning of her arms instead of the burning in her eyes and thinks of Bjarg.

She thinks of where he might be. She thinks of what he might be doing. She wonders if he had cooperated with the men who had gone with him or if he had attempted to rebel as she had. If he had rebelled, had he succeeded? Did he know where she was? Would he come for her?

Most of all she thinks of what the dawn will bring and just what price she has made Bjarg pay this time for her foolishness.

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the-beastly-kings  asked:

Grimlock muttered a curse as they continued their trek through the forest after filling up on energon from that energon fall Silverbolt showed them to. "It's not much further." the young pup announced

Blackfire was relieved by that. Having been grounded for so long was making her angsty. At least the temple or whatever was above the treeline. It was no replacement for her damaged wing but at least she’d be higher up than where she was now.

anonymous asked:

finish this sentence: i w-

aited all night for the light to shine from above.  The night air was piercing and all I had to warm me was the distant stars, perfectly displayed above the treeline. 

The chopper was supposed to be here by now.  Where were they?  I had completed my mission, radioed in, but there was no sign of my rescue. 

I crouched down into the mud and made myself slightly more comfortable.  I wanted to make my way to cover, but I dared not move away from the pickup location.  If I was to be rescued at all, I was to be rescued here.

I pulled my black jacket around my neck and strapped my legs to my chest.  The mud was cold and almost frozen.  I could feel my hands stiffening. 

I reached for my gun and checked the chamber.  I was down to my last three bullets.  As I tossed it in between my hands, a shiver went up my spine.  This was my gun and I had used those bullets.  It was a blatant reality that hit me hard.  Here, all alone in a remote field, everything became so much more clear.  My eyes teared from the cold but I knew that that was not the only reason.  I wasn’t a soldier—I never wanted to be.

In front of me, maybe 300 meters ahead at the treeline, shone four or five lights.  I pushed myself further down into the stiff mud and grasped my pistol.  Where were they?  They can’t leave me like this. 

Soon I could make out their sounds.  The rampage of the human foot onto a field of thorns and caked mud, the growling of a dog as it tracks.

I stared above at the stars, and for a moment they seemed to shine just for me.