NameAhlwyrahd Paxiv
Nickname(s)Ahlwyr
RaceFae
ClassJarda
ProfessionGardener
BirthplaceAustanferd
Age127
GenderMale (he/him)
Sexual Orientationhomosexual
Audsalir ∀50
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the type of figure your eyes inherently glaze right over at: short, unassuming, almost deer-like in the way he holds himself perfectly still when a gaze turns his way. he's the first to say he's a simple man, and it fits- tanned skin wrinkled and freckled by the rays of the sun, neutral tones of browns and greens that seem to take their cues from the natural world around him. short- shorter than many of his contemporaries, five foot something- but not necessarily aware of it. or rather, not trying to compensate for it.

ahlwyr holds himself with a natural sort of confidence, one borne of many years working with his hands and testing out the exact limits of his control. bow-legged, which doesn't help his stature problems, with wide shoulders and a rectangular, boxy body that follows beneath. his power lies in his legs, it seems, and when he walks it is almost always with purpose.

a narrow face, with an almost perpetually downturned lip that sticks out plump beneath an oftentimes unkempt mustache. a mop of dark green hair, carefully slicked back but typically kept on the shorter end of things. the color shifts and dances, the light catching it as it would through the underside of a leaf. his horns stick out, a sharp brown of a different shade than the rest of his body. they're large, taking up much of the space above his head and ensuring he has to duck to enter certain doorways. bright orange-yellow eyes, luminous and reflecting light back to accent the color.

he dresses simply, all things considered- dark, neutral shades that allow him to fade into the background, clothes that are almost always slightly dirty. hands that are well calloused and well used, always encrusted in dirt from a long day of work.  
 
the type of figure your eyes inherently glaze right over at: short, unassuming, almost deer-like in the way he holds himself perfectly still when a gaze turns his way. he's the first to say he's a simple man, and it fits- tanned skin wrinkled and freckled by the rays of the sun, neutral tones of browns and greens that seem to take their cues from the natural world around him. short- shorter than many of his contemporaries, five foot something- but not necessarily aware of it. or rather, not trying to compensate for it.

ahlwyr holds himself with a natural sort of confidence, one borne of many years working with his hands and testing out the exact limits of his control. bow-legged, which doesn't help his stature problems, with wide shoulders and a rectangular, boxy body that follows beneath. his power lies in his legs, it seems, and when he walks it is almost always with purpose.

a narrow face, with an almost perpetually downturned lip that sticks out plump beneath an oftentimes unkempt mustache. a mop of dark green hair, carefully slicked back but typically kept on the shorter end of things. the color shifts and dances, the light catching it as it would through the underside of a leaf. his horns stick out, a sharp brown of a different shade than the rest of his body. they're large, taking up much of the space above his head and ensuring he has to duck to enter certain doorways. bright orange-yellow eyes, luminous and reflecting light back to accent the color.

he dresses simply, all things considered- dark, neutral shades that allow him to fade into the background, clothes that are almost always slightly dirty. hands that are well calloused and well used, always encrusted in dirt from a long day of work.  
bashful. reserved. modest. self-recriminating. quiet.


like a gentle evening, the breeze a soothing balm. a campfire, slowly dancing through the warm sumra air. the quiet voices of those clustered around it, soft against the encroaching call of sleep. as steady on as the seasons: they'll always come, one after the other, and the continuous trek of time is as soothing and reassuring as anything. ahlwyrahd is the march of time, a steady kind of consistency that his peers rely upon. he's as steady on as a centuries-old oak tree, but that consistency can bring with it a certain air of stubborn refusal to bend. and if one does not bend, well, there's the chance for the branch to break. he's set in his ways, after almost a century on his own of doing things a certain way and having no one there to tell him otherwise.

ahlwyrahd is many things- but secretive he is not. he's an open book, should one know what to look for. quiet he may be, but what he does not say aloud he says with the tilt of a head or the twitch of a brow. when he does talk, it's with his whole body, expressive in a way that belies his fervent need to get the point across. his inflection is typically bland and level, only extreme duress changing the tone of his voice- he overcompensates as best he can, determined not to be singled out as strange or different

for all that ahlwyr is a level headed, competent person, he has an inordinate fear of sticking out or being noticed. something about being known by others sets his teeth to grinding. the very idea of raising his voice or causing a scene in public sends him into cold sweats, and often times his inherent need to do the perceived right thing can bring him into direct conflict with that need to keep his head low.  
what if this storm ends?
and i don't see you
as you are now
ever again

the moon hangs low over the world, white light a sharp contrast to the dull glow of the campfire as it spreads out across the hollow, flickering oranges and reds bathing the camp in warmth. it feels insular, almost, this little haven upon the side of the road. it peeks out through the trees, a flash of sand and clay amid the dark of the night. the man from the road turns, then, all smiles and indulgent looks, and whispers "but did you ever hear?" says he, leaning in close like what he's about to say is a secret. "have you ever heard the tale of the fae that haunts these woods?" and there's nothing for it but to listen, fear and awe like the fluttering of an owl's wings in the dark, as he spins the story saccharine sweet.


the perfect halo
of gold hair and lightning
sets you off against
the planet's last dance

there's no way to mark the beginning. there's the end, sure, you know that well enough- the crack of a shot in the dark, a body pressed tight to yours as blood seeps from between trembling fingers. the end is the end, and you can delineate your life as when you had him and when you lost him. but knowing when it all started? well, that's a touch trickier.

maybe it began on a crisp falla day. maybe it began when you first took hold of your mother's hand, when she pressed her face close up to you and said there's something to be said for mother nature, you know, like she was telling you a secret that you were still too young to get. when people ask- rare, that, rare that anyone would want to know, would get close enough and comfortable enough to think themselves worthy of your history- you like to say it began with a dragon because that's just the way of things, now isn't it? where there is magic there was once a dragon. and so-

it began with a dragon

when you are still young, fresh faced to the world and just feeling the velvet on your horns peel, that constant itch that had driven you to irritability, snapping at all and sundry that had turned to you- when you are young, and foolish, you like to imagine what the dragon that your mother fought was like. when you asked she always smiled that fae smile of hers, vicious and eldritch with secrets you weren't privy to, quicksilver even as she'd dip her chin and shake her head at you. foolish boy she would say, amused all over again. so you dream of him: a ferocious beast. the same color as you, all browns and greens because that is nature and so are you. its gaze would be knowing, a thousand-yard stare that meant it had seen all the world had to offer and found it wanting. and horns, like yours, great branching things that were honed to points and twisted and turned as endlessly as time. its scales were like oak leaves, great jagged things with no discernible rhyme or reason to how many points and jagged edges they had. they would change color like the leaves would with the season, and in falla the dragon would be resplendent in orange and gold and brown, and for all that your kind and the dragons didn't get along, you liked to think you would be cut of the same mold.

you were you because of his death, after all. the world was cyclical, this much you knew, and so when you imagined his voice he sounded like you and when you imagined his temperament he would laugh just the same as you and smile just the same as you and hide away from the knowing stares of your mother's compatriots just the same as you. you were the dragon and the dragon was you- you were young and foolish and you thought it so, and so it was.

your mother does not disavow you of this, too amused by the way your bare feet make the world open up around you, the way the trees of your home listen to the things you say and keep your confidence, secrets for just the two of you. she sees in you the good of the world, the future that was promised. this is the last job we'll take with the gang she said every time, and every time you believed her. yours was a simple outfit- they were fiercely loyal to your mother, sure, but they looked at you with disappointed eyes. saw your horns and nothing more, for all that they loved your mother and for all that she loved you. a cobbled together family, all disparate parts that hated one another but hated the outside world more. that was the way of their world, all you knew in your youth. you knew your mother's indulgent smiles and you knew the disgust of her peers

just for a minute
the silver forked sky
lit you up like a star
that i will follow
now it's found us
like i have found you
i don't want to run
just overwhelm me

your life is simple. you rise with the sun and you keep lookout for the gang and you hone your skills like you do the points of your horns. where you walk the forest blossoms out, resplendent and alive with the glory of your love. you feel the churning consciousness of the austenferd forests, the way their eons old trees speak of ages long past and the people that walk beneath their branches. you learn to hunt, and how to keep yourself hidden, and how to become invisible before the eyes of those tasked to care for you. you raise yourself up, slowly, slowly, from the pack pup to a man grown.

and then, when you are sixty seven, you meet him

he's glorious, he is- the opposite of you in almost every way. easy to smile and easier to laugh. open, always quick to discuss an issue, to speak about his feelings. he lights up the forest whereas you fade into the wayside. he's beautiful, is what he is, and you watch him taciturn and unsure as he's slowly brought into the fold. he doesn't pay you any mind, at first, doesn't seem to notice you watching. just smiles at your mother when she gives him a job and turns to the others to get on with it. those first few months you watch him settle in, watch him and watch him and then watch some more. the trees tell you he hunts smart- respects the forest, thanks the earth for every meal. you don't know what to feel, about the stranger. you don't much trust your own gang, not near as far as you can throw them, and an unknown variable does not make things easier. but your mother trusts him, and you trust her, so you grin and bear it. you exist to serve her, it feels some days, and if that means letting the newcomer settle then so be it. it's not the worst price you've had to pay. you forget him fast, amid the chaos of moving camps and doing jobs.

and then one day he's there, smiling sweet at you, batting his eyes cause he wants something. say no you think, when you look at him. some terrified part of you balks at being thrown off guard again. but you say yes. you tag along on his dumb shit job, silent muscle as he squabbles with some gang or other. he's good at squirreling the information he wants out of them, and faster still at asking you to dispatch them after the fact. and then he turns to you, gaze cast over his shoulder and smile wide, and you-

and you think the strange feeling in your chest just might be a heart attack

you dance around each other for months, after that. you run and he chases. you hide and he finds you. he talks and you listen, always, fascinated despite yourself. you haven't the foggiest what he sees in you, the bastard child of their gang leader. you know what the others say of you- that your mother laid with that dragon she killed, tried to weasel the magic out of it by laying with it before realizing a dragon had to die to pass on the magic it held. they say the horns are a sign of that, little pointed looks and hissed, distasteful rebukes whenever you walk away. you know that's what they say- and still he sticks around, smiles sweet and slow like honey at you. you don't rightly get it, his fascination with you. you're too scared to put your feelings to words, too scared to do anything other than nervously orbit him, equal parts in love and distant.

when ventra comes and the world falls silent, you think your unease just another facet of the season changing. when the leaves die it's a restless churning under your skin, something stirring but dying before it can be realized as a full thought or feeling. you don't know until the chamirral are swarming camp just how wrong you are. with the moon barely-there in the dark of the night and your arms wrapped around his waist and your face buried in the crook of his solid shoulder. the snow is damp and cold on your bare knees as you clutch him to your chest, as you feel the trickle of blood on your hands where you press them to his stomach.

as your life burns up into smoke and the people you love die.

what if this storm ends?
and leaves us nothing
except a memory
a distant echo

after that, ventra comes to stay. the world is dead, empty, the life that you had known buried and gone. your mother, your lover, your gang- they're dead or scattered, and you're left alone in the yawning empty recesses of the forests to tend your wounds and find a way to live again. the trees don't talk anymore. the ground no longer fills with blossoming flowers and rippling vines when you walk. you are a dead man treading water, left to yourself in the impenetrable endalauss with little more to your name than your mother's revolver and the ratty bandana he'd thrust into your hand in the dead of the night.

you're still you- but you no longer know who that is. for decades you had shaped yourself as the shadow of your mother, the antithesis of your lover. and now you have nothing to hold yourself against. you are formless, the leftovers of a dragon long dead and a family in ruins, and there's not a damn thing you can do about any of it. what was the point of magic, if it could not protect the ones you loved? if it could not ensure their safety? you oscillate between bitterness and a vast emptiness and a vicious, self-consuming anger- and when finally your rage and your grief cool the cold of ventra has left and the early buds of spretta have passed you by.

you start small. you take up odd jobs, here and there. slowly remind yourself of how to talk to strangers again, how to grin and make yourself look useful, make yourself seem alive. it's while you re-acclimatize yourself to the waking world again that you are summoned to moonflower chateau. the mistress there looks for someone magically inclined to tend to the garden- and, well, you are more than capable of making things grow where once they refused. you tend the grounds as once you did your broken pride, and as time passes and the seasons change you slowly become the man you had once been.

but do you even know what you are looking for? is the only way to find it to lose yourself along the way? some days are better than others, but of late there's that ages-old itch, the one of your youth when your horns had but first grown- and you find it harder and harder to ignore the call for vengeance, the call for blood. you are but a base-born, tainted fae after all. there's little for it but to give in to the way of nature.

i want pinned down
i want unsettled
rattle cage after cage
until my blood boils
i want to see you
as you are now
every single day
that i am living
painted in flames
all peeling thunder
be the lightning in me
that strikes relentless

the stranger from the road's smile doesn't abate the entire time he regales you. it's an interesting story, you're sure- but you haven't lived in these woods for many years, now. the trees welcome you back, sure, all friendly whispers and brushing touches. but this isn't your home, not anymore. you think your home had always been in the arms of the man you'd loved. without him, the forest was... just a forest. is that so? you say to the man, when he finishes his tale. this very forest? you ask, brows rising. his smile turns knowing, his gaze conspiratorial, but in the morning you don't remember what the conclusion to his story had been.

maybe it's for the best, that way.  
 
a heart that thrums the same beat as the earth below- like placing one's ear to the ground, feeling the roots of the world's trees stretching far and wide, the world revolving and changing and living. a connection as old as time immemorial, taken from the earth first by a dragon and then again by his mother. it's a heady thing, feeling and knowing the natural world around him, knowing the exact amount of strands of grass in a field and what's stood above it as one might know one's toes. a distant thing, far-off knowledge that one must focus their attentions on to really grasp. one doesn't consciously think about using their toes- and, in the same way, he does not consciously think about the way he knows that the copse of trees a few meters off hides a man and his horse, or how a herd of cattle graze on the same grass that has hosted them for decades.

the blessing of the earth doesn't necessarily manifest in helpful ways, however. the constant deluge of information can be grating or distracting at the worst of times. and the constant trailing ivy and fauna that grows beneath his feet? well, embarrassing, is what it is. the ground upon which he walks is flushed with life, great microcosms springing up from whence he just stood and then dying out again, life given and taken all in the span of a single footstep. it makes him dreadfully easy to track, all things considered.

it's a small price to pay, however, when one considers what he can do with the plants of this world. with the flick of a wrist and a softly worded plea he can bend the plants to his will. can ask them to strike out at a fleeing back or entangle feet on the run. can send the leaves like razors through the air, a deluge without end.

but as the plants suffer, so too does he- where he stays the plants flourish, but should he find himself in blight or famine stricken lands he's just as likely to feel the pain of the drooping branches and dying wheat. what the earth feels, ahlwyrahd feels, and the connection can sometimes feel as a fist gripped too-tight around his rib cage.  
one bloodied bandana, carefully folded and tucked to the hollow of his chest, right beneath his shirt.