[PRP] Death in the air [Death Take Me/Born of Death]

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[PRP] Death in the air [Death Take Me/Born of Death]

Post by Beejoux »

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It was a cooler day in the swamp, frost had decorated the tips of grasses and leaves in the morning, and though the sun had banished it away, the air was still crisp and cool. Born couldn't see their breath fogging in the air, of the dance of it across the ponds and bogs lining a familiar path. They were blind to the visual splendors of nature, but the rest? The rest they appreciated. The subtle decay of fallen leaves, the lack of growing things and flowers. The bird song was quieter, most departing for warmer weather. The world was dying, freezing, stilling.

Born hummed to themselves, a little smile playing over their muzzle. A mindless little tune playing through their mind. Certainly they weren't paying attention, mind wandering.

They snapped back into focus as their feet sank into something cold, wet, and thick. They gasped, jerked a foot free, and when it came down it sank a little deeper. "Oh.." They tried again, tried to retreat, but without being able to see it was easy to get turned around, to sink deeper into black mud.

They've been calm at first, not fully aware of the potential danger. Now they were not, breathing hard, clearly distressed. Mud clinging to bright fur and brighter hair as they gasped and huffed, trying to pull themselves free.

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[PRP] Death in the air [Death Take Me/Born of Death]

Post by kuropeco »


His father had once told him that in order to be what he wanted to be, he would need to give up other things that could potentially be stopping him. He had not been specific - his father rarely was - but for a long time, Death Take Me had thought that it meant a sort of bartering system, in that he could have exchanged one aspect of his life for another. This was not exactly how things went; as it so happened, what his father had meant was that anything worthwhile often came at the price of sacrifice and to be prepared for that.

Death Take Me had not yet run into any instances in which he would need to sacrifice anything, but he had kept that thought in the back of his mind for many years now. Even now, as he slowly tromped through the brackish grounds at his hooves on his way to a usual spot, he was mulling it over again, turning it over in his thoughts. His father was, at a glance, a very stoic kin, but he was smart and he only said things like that to encourage growth.

Either that, or he had just been in a terrible mood. This was also an option that Death preferred not to think about, because it could very well be true.

A little gasp pulled Death out of his thoughts, and his hooves slowed until he stopped, glancing around. At first, he could see nothing out of the ordinary; but then he heard a splash and another cry, and as he rounded a large, lichen covered tree, he caught sight of a skinny, flailing zikwa slowly sinking into the thick, curling mud currently dragging them away.

For a few seconds, Death stood there, frozen, not entirely sure what to do; he did not, as a general rule, get involved in things. But the zikwa was panicking and steadily sinking further and further with every twisting movement, and he could not just leave them there. Not when he was both bigger and - judging by a quick glance - probably stronger.

When he was right in front of the zikwa, he turned, Death's long, scaled tail slithering around the zikwa's front limb. "Hold on," he muttered, voice low, and if he thought too hard about this, it would be embarrassing. But he tugged, grip secure, and tried to yank the other kin out of the mud.

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[PRP] Death in the air [Death Take Me/Born of Death]

Post by Beejoux »

They were sinking slowly deeper. Less slowly, perhaps, as they struggled. They could feel the cool mud rising over their knees before something new was touching them, curling warm around their leg and pulling. Born stiffened, ears flicking forward and breath stilling to listen intently. A gruff voice met him, reassuring, and the pressure on their leg increased, pulling it up, pulling it out.

"T-thank you," They panted out, trying to help with the extraction anyway they could. How much help that really was was debatable.

As the mystery buck pulled Born felt the mud loosening around their legs. The one caught up by the tail pulled free, and they bent it to keep the tail from slipping away. "Almost. Just a little more."
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[PRP] Death in the air [Death Take Me/Born of Death]

Post by kuropeco »

The mud was thick and unyielding; Death had to secure his hooves firmly in the uneven ground to prevent himself from slipping in as well, his tail curling more tightly around the zikwa's skinny leg. He himself was used to the more unsteady areas of the swamp, having mapped out different places that were safer to roam, though every once in a while his footsteps carried him somewhere he shouldn't be. He'd been at the mercy of this particular mud patch before and knew what it took to get free. All he needed was a little bit of leverage.

Bracing himself, Death yanked, and the zikwa was struggling, clearly trying to help, but the movements were likely making it harder. Death didn't point this out, however, remaining silent as he grit his teeth, concentrating only on getting the other free, using one of his back hooves to dig into the dirt and pull backwards.

With an unpleasant slurping noise, the zikwa pulled free at last. It was a sudden movement, and Death stumbled a little, his hooves scrambling to find purchase so that he didn't trip, sliding beneath him in an attempt to keep him upright. It was ungainly, and his tail loosened and then came free from around the zikwa's own leg, but he managed not to fall.

Taking a small breath, Death turned around to face the zikwa. For a moment he said nothing, and then, in a low, even voice, "Are you all right?"
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[PRP] Death in the air [Death Take Me/Born of Death]

Post by Beejoux »

Born came free with a squelchy popping noise, and they stumbled as their hooves met more solid ground. A few awkward strides before they allowed themselves to drop to the ground before they accidently walked right into another mud patch. Born knew these paths, had walked them many times before, but they'd gotten turned around somehow, lost their bearings. The Zik stayed down, muddy legs folded beneath them, and took a few moments to collect themselves, ears flicking, nose working to scent the air. Trying to orientate themselves again.

At the new buck's voice their ear flicked, head turning in Death's direction. "I'm alright. Thank you, I don't think I would have gotten out of that on my own." They would have become one with the swamp, bones planted in the mud to be food for plants and fungus. It wasn't the worst thought, all things die, returning to the earth, but Born wasn't quite ready to meet the end of their cycle. Not if they could help it, at least.

"What's your name?" Their tone was soft now, calmer, airy. "I'm Born of Death.
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[PRP] Death in the air [Death Take Me/Born of Death]

Post by kuropeco »

The zikwa was a scrawny thing, nothing more than skin and bones, really. Vibrantly blue hair hung in limp, long tendrils around a narrow face, and, like many zikwa, there seemed to be a lack of eyes underneath. Death gave a slow once over, his own eyes holding very little, if any, trace of emotion in them as he contemplated the situation. He wasn't used to having to interact with anyone, least of all zikwa; he mostly kept to himself, squirreled away in some quieter part of the swamp where he could study and focus on the growing patterns of various morels and not have to actually say a word out loud, let alone two.

Still, he couldn't just leave someone in distress. The zikwa had mud running up thin legs, some of it caked over dainty hooves, but the tone of voice was grateful, something light caught within it. Death was somewhat curious in spite of everything.

"Perhaps," he agreed, with a slight incline of his head. "I came by at the right time, it seems."

He contemplated whether to give his own name, which wasn't done very often, and then said, "Death Take Me. Named after my father."
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[PRP] Death in the air [Death Take Me/Born of Death]

Post by Beejoux »

At the kimeti's name Born's ears flicked forward, a little smile playing over what could be seen of their features. "That is a wonderful name." It sounded like a plea for mercy, the want for relief and the peaceful serenity that came with returning to the earth. That little smile quirked a little brighter. "Not too soon though, I hope." Death meant very little, if you did not get the chance to first experience life.

The little zikwa shifted, moving to rise up on spendly legs, and only wobbled a little on mud caked hooves before finding their balance again. They felt heavy, restricted. They imagined they must have looked quite a mess.

"I don't suppose you know where there's some safe, clean water around here? I would very much like to rid myself of this mud." The feel of it drying into a clinging mass was enough to make Born's skin crawl.
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[PRP] Death in the air [Death Take Me/Born of Death]

Post by kuropeco »

No one had ever told him that his name was wonderful before. Death was a little skeptical of it, mostly because he was used to the seriousness of having such a weighty thing put upon him (his father had done it out of pride, he had said, because he was his only son and so it was a great honor to carry his name). The idea that someone thought it was anything but somber made him vaguely flustered, unsure of how to deal with it, so he set it aside for the time being and merely said, in a quiet voice, "Thank you."

Maybe it was because the zikwa had a similar name. "No, not too soon," Death added. "I'd really rather not. Too many things to do."

His tail slithered along the ground behind him, bits of mud flaking off. The zikwa - Born - looked much the same, though in a worse state, thin legs caked in ooze. Death gave a small nod and then, "A bit away from here."

There was a slight pause. He wasn't used to this. "Did...did you want me to take you there?" Death asked uncertainly. "I can walk you there."
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[PRP] Death in the air [Death Take Me/Born of Death]

Post by Beejoux »

"You're welcome," they said cordially, nodding with a sweet little smile.

Born's ear twitched at the sound of that slithering tail brushing against the ground, against leaves and twigs. A rasping whisper of a sound that seemed hold the smaller kin's attention as they tried to puzzle out the source of it. Their head lifted though, as Death spoke again to answer their question. A bit away, it didn't sound too far. They scented the air, trying to smell the fresh water, to pinpoint which direction they'd need to go to find it.

Then an offer, and the zikwa perked up. "Oh, really? That would be wonderful." They'd be safer if someone walked with them, wouldn't run the risk of getting lost. "If it's not an imposition. I don't want to be any trouble." Mud cracked, pieces off it starting to flack off from high up on their body.
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[PRP] Death in the air [Death Take Me/Born of Death]

Post by kuropeco »

He was so unfamiliar with this sort of thing. His father had done his best to prepare him for the outside world as best he could, but Death had always been a quieter, more secluded sort of kin and hadn't really felt a pressing need to go out and make friends in the same way as others did. He knew the basics of conversation, but the actual logistics seemed awkward at best.

"It's not a problem," said Death, and began to walk, waiting a moment for the zikwa to fall into step with him. He went parallel to the swampy water, making sure to steer clear of it as best he could.

"What, um." There was a slight pause. Death said, painfully slowly, "What were you doing out there, anyway?"
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[PRP] Death in the air [Death Take Me/Born of Death]

Post by Beejoux »

"You are very kind." Born flicked an ear as Death started walking slowly, moving quickly to fall in step with the bigger kin. Trusting him to lead them along the safest course towards clean water. More trust than was perhaps wise to lay in the hooves of someone they'd just met, but Born didn't always have the choice not to be trusting.

They made a soft hum at the question, head tilting to better listen. "It's silly. I like to wander." exploration probably wasn't something blind kin did with frequency. Or perhaps it was? Born wasn't entirely certain, but they could see why one would choose not to take that sort of a risk for something so frivolous. They'd landed themself in trouble before. "Everywhere I go smells different than the places I've been. You just never know what you'll find."
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[PRP] Death in the air [Death Take Me/Born of Death]

Post by kuropeco »

He'd never been called kind before. It took him aback, and for a moment, he was silent as he tried to figure out how to acknowledge this without seeming self-serving. In the end, Death came to the conclusion that he would simply nod and move on, even if that nod couldn't be seen. Maybe Born would hear the displacement of air and understand, anyway.

He didn't know how good the other's hearing was, at least. Death said, somewhat curiously in spite of himself, "It's not that silly. I wander too. Have you wandered anywhere interesting?"

His hooves were sinking slowly into the earth beneath them, but at least they weren't in the mud anymore.
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[PRP] Death in the air [Death Take Me/Born of Death]

Post by Beejoux »

Born blind, the petite Zik's remaining senses had developed to compensate. They couldn't hear the displacement of air, but they knew where Death was in relation to themself, and their head turned as he moved, ears perked and listening. Picking up on the curiosity in that soft base. Born smiled at the buck's response and following question, pleased. "Many things, many places."

They tilted their head, mud covered tail flicking. "Most recently I found a cave." He paused thoughtfully. "I think it was a cave, it smelled like one. There was water running through it in a babble, and creatures loving inside. Plants growing."

They hummed to themself, flank twitching under the clinging mud. "Have you found anything interesting in your wanders?"
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[PRP] Death in the air [Death Take Me/Born of Death]

Post by kuropeco »

Born wasn't exactly the quiet sort, but the zikwa was a softer kind of creature nonetheless. Death found himself studying the other kin with a furrowed brow, wondering why it was that the other seemed perfectly content being led along by a sullen, silent kimeti such as himself; perhaps Born wasn't biased in the way that others were, but it still seemed unlikely anyone would willingly choose to be around Death. He wasn't exactly well known for his friendliness - or even well known at all.

Maybe the zikwa was merely being polite. This was most likely the case, Death determined, as they plodded along together. "What sort of plants?" he asked, and his voice felt a little rusty, as though he'd forgotten how to use it. "I like plants."

It sounded a bit silly when he said it like that. Death added, grateful the other couldn't see his blush, "I've not gone into a cave yet. I'd like to find one. Last time I went wandering, I found a tree that was taller than any I'd ever seen before. It felt as though it reached above the mountains. I tried to go around it, but there were too many trees and I couldn't see how thick it was."
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