CV [Twister] - Mystery Mare P1
“So what happened next?” “...that’s it, that’s the end of the story.”“Oh, come on! There has to be more!”“Nope.”“Hmph, unfair.”“How is that unfair?”“...I don’t know, but it just is!” Two voices carried through the breeze, one high-pitched and full of emotion and energy and the other...not so much. Rougher and sounding pretty tired out. Or out of patience. At this point in time, it was probably both. Twister was regretting his decision to keep Himmel along every step of the way. The filly had seemed to forget about her stricken past with each passing moment and seemed more keen on talking his ears off, which were always pinned back to keep her shrill cries at bay. It didn’t help. Himmel had boundless questions about everything: the earth, the sky, the animals, the grass, the water, herself, Twister...if it was imaginable, she would ask away or chatter away like a squirrel. Her presence though, brought life. The multi-colored stallion wouldn’t have admitted it days ago, but despite his longing for a solitary life, he was glad to have some company. Even if this company badgered him from dawn until dusk. Couldn’t her mother have taught her better manners? Though, he supposed, she had done the same with her until her father gave her a reminder. At least, that’s what Twister assumed had happened. She seemed like a good-natured filly; curious and gleeful. Her questions weren’t meant to harm; they were to find information about things she didn’t already know. Which seemed to be everything. “Hey, can I--”“No.”“I didn’t even get to finish!”“Whatever it is, the answer is no.”“That’s unfair too!”Twister had to halt quickly to prevent his front legs from prodding into the roan filly. Dark, brown eyes peered up at him with an annoyed expression, but that expression only brought amusement to his own and a slight smirk. That only seemed to add fuel to the fire and the filly half-reared, little teeth aiming for his muzzle. The stallion threw his head out of her reach and backed up a couple steps before proceeding around her. She attempted this again and only received a nip on her shoulder. “Hey! That hurt!” “It was supposed to. Behave yourself.” “Why?”Twister stifled a sigh and instead focused on what was in front of them. Random clusters of pine trees dotted the open hills while long, swaying grasses bended to the wind. Purple flowers poked out of the stalks in hopes of catching some sunlight. But, it wasn’t the flowers or the grass that had Twister on alert. The faint scent of water drew past his nostrils, which flared in response. Himmel studied the stallion next to her, head tilted in curiosity, drawing it all in. She didn’t have the knowledge yet to pick up on subtle scents like this, but she knew something was nearby. Something exciting. “What is it?” Himmel asked, her little tail flickering behind her, though it gave her no relief from the pesky flies. Twister turned his head to glance at her and then motioned for her to follow. “We’re near one of the vast lakes in the valley. You can’t smell that?” Himmel took a few loud sniffs, but nothing came to mind as to what a lake smelled like. She had never smelt one before, nevermind seen it with her own two eyes. “I don’t smell anything,” she responded with a snort. “What’s it supposed to smell like?” “You’ll know when we get there,” Twister replied with a chuckle, his gait long and smooth, unhurried. They had made enough space between the struggle sight to be sure nothing would follow their trail. Aside from the constant questions, the past day and a half had been un-eventful. He supposed he should be grateful for that. For once, Himmel fell silent. Perhaps she realized something big was approaching. Or rather, they were approaching something big. In wonder, she had rendered herself speechless, though her mind still buzzed with unanswered questions. For the time being, she stuck close to Twister’s side. The stallion had become her sole companion and she had developed a strong bond to him, refusing to leave his side. Her mother would always remind her to stick close or at least in sight, especially out in the open. His coloring still puzzled her. He was almost directly half-white and half-black with his facial features being a mixture of the two. Though it wasn’t pure white, more of a cream color. It was certainly unique. Any bachelors or herds she used to come across with her parents had been mainly solid colors or paints. Certainly nothing like this. ____________________Lifting her muzzle from the cooling water, the dapple grey mare put herself on watch once again. After leaving her cave at dawn, she had traveled back to open land and decided on climbing on the larger hills to gain a vantage point. Her eyes had caught nothing out of the ordinary, though the landscape was certainly stunning under the bright sunlight. A mixture of green grasses, the blue sky, rocky features, rolling hills and open fields, and various plants and undergrowth. There were many features that reminded her of her homeland, but at the same time, many did not. Little by little, she was learning by her senses. What caused different scents, how they carried with the wind and dropped when it became still. What were specific colors of flowers and plants? How the ground felt underhoof along different terrains. It would take much time to feel comfortable living here, but she didn’t have a choice. This was a new home. Kestrel had come across this large expanse of water, nothing like she’s ever seen before. Soft, rolling waves lapped at the rocky, sandy shoreline. Many hoofprints covered the area, turning most of the shallows into thick mud until you could properly stand further out. The spring breeze felt much lighter here and she could see all the way around it unless a group of trees sheltered someone or something. Various other creatures had some visiting for a drink since she arrived: mostly deer, alone or in groups. Fawns splashed around in the smaller pools before their mothers herded them back into the safety of the trees. Large raptors dove from the sky, picking out fish with ease before settling on the top-most branches of the closest tree. Smaller birds flew back and forth until they dove for their food, while others simply bobbed along with the calm waves. There were equines too, mostly herds she avoided. The random wandered exchanged a simple nod of understanding before taking their fill and leaving. Kestrel did notice a few give her strange looks, which she pointedly ignored. If they thought she looked strange, then they could only imagine what they looked like to her. For the most part, it was peaceful and she simply stood there, watching herd dynamics play out before her eyes. Mares getting herded, foals romping, bachelors sparring, and stallions keeping watch. The familiar pang of loneliness settled into her heart but Kestrel swiftly threw it aside with a snap of her tail and a stomp of her back hoof. However, as the sun grew higher in the sky, Kestrel realized she was becoming more and more exhausted, and not because of the heat. It wasn’t hot out, it was comfortable. A sheen of sweat began to appear along her flanks and chest as her breathing became a bit more unstable. What was happening? In a moment of panic, she quickly headed to the nearest shady spot, though it offered little relief from her symptoms. By the time high noon had come and passed, her condition had not improved. Every so often she would sneeze, almost loud enough to scare herself. Was she sick? A flicker of annoyance appeared in her eyes. “Great, a new land and the first thing that greets me is something contagious.” ____________________“Wow! This is huge!” Himmel’s voice rang out across the water as her front hooves just barely missed sinking into the mud. Brown eyes took in the waterscape, wide with wonder and surprise. She hadn’t expected it to be so large! Though to a smaller filly like herself, it would be much larger than the adults. Twister had barely glanced around, only to spot any close danger or other horses before lowering his head for a drink. The stallion wasn’t too impressed by the landscape, he had only needed water afterall. “Try to keep your voice low,” Twister reminded Himmel, who had begun prancing back and forth in the soft sand, amazed at the tracks she was leaving in her wake. The only acknowledgement he received was a flick of her tail. The filly was busying herself in sniffing anything that she walked over. The mud, the rocks, the water, plants, dragonflies. The little flying creatures seemed to be especially mesmerizing and she romped around as she attempted to chase it. Twister lifted his muzzle from the water, his watchful gaze on Himmel as she played. It was a relief to see her this way after her traumatic experience. Some fun wouldn’t kill her, but it would do no harm to be cautious. “Himmel!” He called again, this time with purpose. “Don’t stray too far!” Himmel let the dragonfly be and he settled on a blade of grass a little ways off. Twister noticed they were almost alone. Most herds came and went in the morning and dusk, but as the heat would grow, more would show up to cool off in the waters. Aside from a couple stray bachelors, nothing struck the stallion as suspicious. At least, not until a sharp whinny snapped him to attention. Ears cupped forward, Twister strained his eyes to see into a patch of shadows cast by a group of smaller pines along the shoreline. It’s branches extended out over the water, leaning precariously, but still standing strong, It was the perfect hideout from the heat or simply to have a quick rest and Himmel had begun to explore. Trees were familiar to the young filly, after all, though perhaps not when they spoke back. A dappled form shifted and Himmel frantically high-tailed it back to Twister, skidding to a halt and looking back with a mixture of fear and curiosity. A sneeze erupted from the shadows and Twister snorted in surprise while Himmel’s fear dissipated. “Hello?” She asked, taking a couple bold steps forward. “Anyone there?” There was another shuffle and a few snapping leaves and twigs before the figure moved into an area they could better see what it was. And it wasn’t what it was, it was who it was. Another horse, obvious from the frame, stood staring back at them, though it didn’t seem pleased to be discovered. Another sneeze shook its head and traveling through its neck and a muttered curse followed. A mare, though Twister had never seen one like this. He’s come across sturdy looking mares and stallions, but this mare seemed...different. More compact, with thicker muscles and additional feathering along the fetlocks. As the mare shifted again, he noticed a thicker mane and tail, though it didn’t seem tangled or rough, but smooth and flowing. Who was this mare? Himmel, finally making the connection, trotted forward, eager to have a new friend, but not realizing the potential danger. “Hey, I won’t bite you! Who are you? What are you doing hiding in the trees? Do you know what water is called? Twister called it a lake…” Twister expected the mare to be overwhelmed by the amount of questions, though unless she was a mother in her time, perhaps she was used to it and would simply answer back. But, this dappled stranger had other plans. As Himmel crossed some invisible line, still yapping, the mare rushed forward, teeth bared, ears pinned. Quick as a snake, she launched at the filly who only at the last second realized what had happened and with a squeal, ducked to the side to avoid being bitten. It was at this moment the mare left the shade of the trees and Twister could finally see her markings up close. She was a beautiful dapple gray, covering her from head to hoof. Her mane and tail were stark in contrast and flowed naturally with her movements.Like Himmel, her eyes were brown, but shone with a ferocity that he hadn’t seen in a long time. Twister reacted like any stallion would when protecting a foal. He lunged forward to meet the mare, but he only intended on stopping her charge, not attacking her. He was sure she would back off. What he didn’t expect, for the third time, was how she kept coming, her eyes now locked onto his frame instead of the filly. It seemed he was simply a replacement and to avoid being bitten, he quickly whirled around on his hindquarters and kicked his back legs up to her face. The mare dug into the ground, finally slowing to a stop, tossing her head to avoid his counter-attack. When the dust settled, the trio were left in a stand-off, the mare’s eyes flickering first to the filly and then to Twister, not seeming impressed by either of them. Her tail snapped from side to side in annoyance. It was Himmel that broke the silence once again. “I’ve never seen a horse like you before, what are you?” Despite her frame hidden partially behind Twister, her face still tilted upward to watch the dapple grey mare, who only rolled her eyes in response, giving a huff. “What am I?” She muttered to herself, repeating the question in mockery. “I’m a horse, what else would I possibly be?” She didn’t seem to take into account the filly’s amazed expression and instead glared at Twister. “I see you haven’t taught her any manners. Not surprising coming from a stallion.” The jab was said with no hesitation and almost no expression. It did have a dark edge to it, though. Twister didn’t know if he should be offended or not, but it was then he noticed the ragged breathing and the random sneezes and sniffles. The mare looked healthy and strong on the outside, but there were subtle signs of a sickness, probably a mild cold. Not uncommon for spring. Perhaps that was adding to her annoyance? Before Twister responded, Himmel broke through once again, this time coming to stand just before the mare. Brown eyes met brown, both staring at each other with annoyance. “That wasn’t very nice, Twister is the best horse around! We saved me from that bush I was stuck in and he brought me to this pretty lake! Who are you to tell him who he is?” The outburst left both adults speechless, though Twister seemed more surprised by the mare’s reaction. Instead of snapping back, a throaty laugh bubbled to the surface. The stallion rolled his head and gave a huff, feeling all danger pass as quickly as it had come. Turning away from the two, he waded back into the cool water, ears flickered back to pick up their conversation.Mares.