Because Rue's mother is so clear in my mind, and I really felt like drawing her, too.
NOTE: The Liver chestnut is not an 'existing' fawnling - she was never won in auction and any resemblance to existing designs by =Ehetere are coincidental. This is just how I imagine her to be.
Rue describes her in this image - [link] - as "a pretty doe, if not one of the highly sought. She had a rich pelt of red-brown; large eyes, dark as the sky turned when the sun fell from it and an elegant curtain from her tail that was streaked with both black night and sunlight gold".
In laymens terms - she's sooty liver chestnut. Based on Rue's genes, I figure hers would be these: ee/Aa/StySty/Ff/Fwfw. To get Rue, her father would have to be a chestnut and cream carrier. Palomino/Buckskin/Grulla dad and Chesnut mom. (double dilution dad would have guaranteed a Pali foal, but I'm not fond of them, so Rue was a lucky 50% chance ^^.
In my eyes her mother was always a very delicate spirit and would have had a 'lost princess' feel to her - with a long mane and tail, always with braids and beads, shells or feathers found there, thanks to the wildlife that have an affinity for her.
Autumn, Year 752 of the New Age Windborne, Blackfoot sound - water's edge
4 years ago
The wind was stronger today. The voices trapped in it sang of changing tides as they called up leaves from the earth to dance in their wake.
Rue darted nimbly between two gum trees and followed the faint humming from the shrub until she bounded out into the daylight. It was not until the dappled shade of Gumtree Hollow was left nearly two tails behind her that Rue slid herself to a hurried stop, though the wind swirled past her, taking leaves out towards the coast like the sea sirens took their victims from the beach. She had run off again.
She turned tail and hastened back to the trees, slipping gratefully into their sanctuary. She retraced her footsteps, following the light, nectarine scent that a passing breeze left behind. It took her a few moments to locate her mother.
The doe's dark pelt shone, even in the green dappled light, her tail curtain cast out across the rugged path as she browsed the low-lying brush. A silver-grey sugar glider was sat nearby - snacking on the sap beneath the bark of a tree. Rue was now nearly three months old, and strong enough to leave the glen for longer each day, accompanying her mother as she foraged around the south of the island. Seeing the wildlife stop at random to look at Mother, or follow her for a ways was not uncommon. This sugar glider was a frequent companion; her name was Myrna.
Mother looked up, ears turning as Rue raced up to her. Her night-sky eyes were soft, though as Rue scurried between her legs.
'I'm sorry,' Rue cooed quietly. 'I forgot'.
Mother nudged her tenderly. 'You are getting older, Rusalka. Winter is nearly here, and once it is over, you will not need me so much any more; not to survive - just to guide. You must not forget these lessons; they will keep you safe...but you can leave my sight for a short time, Little Selkie."
'What's that? What's that?' Myrna interrupted, her voice a hectic chatter of sugar overdose as usual. 'Already? Growing up fast, aren't you, Roo?' Myrna always pronounced her name with a lot of oooos on the end. Mother said it was the sugar talking.
'No,' Rue answered decisively, shaking her head so her ears flopped. 'I still feel quite small'.
'You feel small?' Myrna asked, licking her little paws of left over sap. 'What about me?'
Mother brayed in laughter and Rue snorted.
'Myrna,' Mother whickered. 'You need not be so sensitive. You may be small, but you live at the height of birds, something few of our friends can do.'
And just like that, Mother always knew what to say. Myrna looked mollified as she returned to her tree sap. In fact, she was appeased enough to reach down from her branch with a paw of sticky sap held out. 'Try some, Roo. Better than all that...foliage' she chirped the word like it was an insult to her to be looking at the lingering vegetation on the ground below. 'Might make you see double for a bit or think you could take on a wombat in a log shearing contest, though'.
Rue wrinkled her nose at the heady smell of the gooey sap. 'That sounds healthy,' she said.
Myrna took no offence, bringing her paw to her mouth and proceeding to lick it clean. Mother sighed, though.
'The koalas have been teaching you sarcasm, haven't they, Rue?' she asked.
As it happened, Koalas were very sarcastic and cynical, and Rue did find them to be fascinating.
Despite sounding exasperated, Mother's dark eyes glittered with mirth. 'What shall I do with you? Or them?'.
But before Rue could answer, or Myrna could reach for her next helping of Sap, there was a disturbance in the brush.
Mother was on high alert, her ears swivelling to the noise as she spun around, Nudging Rue into the shadow of the tree. Rue remembered the lessons and flattened herself to the ground by the large roots, peering out onto the path with wide, wary eyes. Dangers in Windborne were mostly from the high-flying birds with large talons or snakes and spiders that could strike fast with devastating toxins, but this noise couldn't have been that. It had been too loud - too large...
About Mother's size, actually...
And with that thought, a stag stepped out of the brush the far side of the path. He was a little bigger than Mother's mere 9.2 height (Myrna had once said they measured height using a complicated system which involved several acacia leaves, two living trees, a fair bit of spider silk and an actual snake skin, but Rue couldn't be sure she was telling the truth). The stag was lighter, too - it was hard to get much darker than Mother - his pelt was gold like the summer sun as it shone through the canopy and richly dappled still lighter.
He froze as he spotted Mother, who also appeared shocked and in that moment something small hit him right on the head.
Myrna cackled like a deranged Kookaburra and whisked herself off through the trees, throwing her remaining armful of nut husks behind her. The stag ducked to avoid another that was on a collision course with his nose.
'You're trespassing,' Mother bawled stonily. Rue looked at her in surprise; she'd never heard her mother sound so...harsh.
The stag didn't appear to have noticed. 'Alkhana?'
Rue knew that was Mother's name, but having been kept away from the herd, she'd never heard another fawn use it before. The Kingdom creatures used it on occasion, but mostly they preferred her company in silence - something Rue still didn't fully understand.
The stag didn't move towards them, and after a moment, his eyes dimmed of their recognition. 'I do not intend to stay. But there are others - a small pack passing close by. I would move south until the sun falls and return then.'
Rue recognised this as a warning, and so - apparently - did Mother. The stag hesitated momentarily, then leapt away leaving the Hollow silent but for the humming of the breeze and the sound of birds high above.
'Come, Rusalka,' she called, turning from the path. 'There is a place I meant to show you soon. It may as well be today; we have time yet.'
Rue lifted herself from the shrub, shaking off the brittle copper leaves that had already died, but been left behind when the wind took their cousins. 'Where are we going?'
Mother was walking away, her tail flicking idly behind her, braids swinging. 'You'll soon see.'
They seemed to walk for a long time, but Rue had not lost her zest for adventure, so she found no time to complain or question - too busy watching the earth change around them.
And then a beautiful sight spread ahead.
A rich blue, glittering expanse of water. It was huge - bigger than anything Rue had seen in her short life, except maybe the sky. It reached from just paces ahead of them, where it frothed white as it touched the tiny sandy embankment, and spread seamlessly to touch the sky far off. And there - right at the back and half shrouded in sea mist, was a miniature floating world.
'Where are we?' Rue breathed, eyes wide.
'This,' Mother replied, looking back at her from where she'd stepped up to the frothing edge of the water. 'Is Blackfoot Sound'.
Rue approached numbly, nearly tripping on her own tail. Mother looked at her seriously.
'Listen to me, Rue. The world is not this one Kingdom. Its far more. We're cut off up here, it's true, but I never want you to feel trapped. The Sea Sirens I told you stories about? They were stories told to me when I was young but they cannot dwell here - not between these islands. One day you may want to leave-'
'No,' Rue interrupted, bleating out in anxiousness. 'I don't want to leave you!'
Mother's eyes were soft as she replied, 'Not now, but you won't always feel that way. I just don't want you to fear these waters. I don't want fear to stop you living as you want to live.'
'So I must be fearless?' Rue asked, confused.
The tide was coming in, the water rushed up to their hooves, soaking into the sand and tugging on Rue's legs like it was begging her to fall back out with it. Mother's feathering caught in the water and floated out, seeking freedom without her consent.
'Everyone fears something, Little Selkie. And so shall you. But being fearless is about not allowing those fears to control you. Every fawn dies, Rusalka, but many die without ever truly living; I don't want you to be one of them.'
Rue took a deep breath. The nectar smell of the wind was lost out here, overpowered by sea salt and bitter coarse grasses. 'Were you one, Mother?'
Mother sighed and looked out across the water. Rue almost thought her laid back, happy mother looked saddened, even lost. It unsettled something deep inside Rue.
'I was once,' She finally responded, her low whicker almost whisked right away in the Shhhhhhhhh shhhhhhhh of the sea; a lullabye for the falling sun. 'But then I had my adventure, and now I have you. One day you will have your own.'
Rue wasn't sure she understood, but then Mother shook her head, and when she looked back at her, the Night-sky eyes were glittering with their usual joy and content. She strode into the water, tail held aloft so only the tips of the long curtain could scatter ripples across the still surging surf. Her hooves had disappeared completely, leaving rainbow splashes in their wake.
'Now,' she said. 'we have time, Let me teach you about the Sea.'
This would be a fun lesson.
Well...this was a really interesting and fun story to write. I'm thinking I need to try going for a fawnling that looks like Alkhana, because the more I wrote this, the more I'm thinking her own history could affect Rue's future, and there's only so much I can write/draw when Rue's mom isn't technically a character.
But until then - hopefully there were a few hints in here about both Alkhana's past, and where Rue's adventures could wind her up in the present time. I've pretty much got Rue's plot worked out now, so it's just going to be a case of deciding on the little adventures and getting it written up/drawn. And does anyone else like her Mother? Or is that just me?
As for the picture - that was fun, too. I've wanted to draw Alkhana for a little while (since she's so clear in my head), and I also wanted to make it clear that Rue, in four years time, isn't exactly running away- her mother encouraged her to 'find herself'.
I'm not great with water, but I like how it came out, even if it's not detailed. And I think Mum's head is a little off in it's position, but other than that, I'm pretty happy ^^
Taken several hours in total. Art and characters copyright to *Tattered-Dreams Fawnlings copyright to =Ehetere Do not take, copy, edit,redistribute or manipulate.
Rue's mother is so pretty <3 The waves, curls and braids in her hair indeed really do add to the 'princess' feeling. The nice, light colors you've used in the BG don't distract to much from the main characters, it's a very nice pic to look at I also love how you've portrayed Alkhana, so wise and with an [yet?] unknown history, It would be awesome if you'd be able to get her as an officially existing character ^,^
Thank you so much I'm glad you like it, and that Alkhana's design gives off the vibe I was going for ^^
Yes, she does come off as a little wise, though I don't see her as being very old. Her history will come out to some extent through Rue's adventure, because they weave together a little, but for all the bits of her story that don't relate to Rue, I'll have to see what the group says about her first. I would love to have her as an official character, so I'm glad I'm not alone there ^^
''Everyone fears something, Little Selkie. And so shall you. But being fearless is about not allowing those fears to control you. Every fawn dies, Rusalka, but many die without ever truly living; I don't want you to be one of them.''
And thank you - her mum has a bit of experience with living to the fullest and with the way Rue's story progresses later on, she'll have gotten her ideas about life from early on ^^ I do like to throw in these random inspirational bits XD
OH MY GOOOODNESS, Rusalka did really get her beauty from her kind mother, LOOK AT THEM! ;A; Liver chestnuts are the best The story was so exciting and fun to read, it will make me crave for more stories And it was really fun when I started listening to soundtrack while reading, it made me feel more and more worried about Rue's mother as the dramatic music played in the background xDD (this -> [link] and [link] <- this)
I definitely have a soft spot for liver chestnuts, and I'm glad you like the both of them I did enjoy writing this little story a lot, too - and I do have more planned soon.
Interesting that you're worried for Alkhana, though - I think you're the first to say that - and if I can ever get her officially, I'm hoping to fill in her own backstory before she had Rue ^^ Really nice music, too! Thanks for the links
Haha me too Liver chestnut, smoky blacks and dapples, OMNOMNOM! And why wouldn't I adore them?! They are so cute together, mother and daughter Haha, good good~ It will satisfy my hunger, yesss~ òvó
Well... Well... She suddenly turned to serious and worried me! I think I reacted a bit like Rue, haha. I hope you can get her officially, I will spam fan-art of her, YESH! It would be so exciting to see a little glimpse from Alkhana and how it affected Rue's childhood and the inherited bauble! I'm glad you liked the soundtrack as well, it was really epic when Alkhana started to speak more seriously and the dramatic part started XD
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`anmari has been spreading her infectious positivity throughout our community for over 6 years. Throughout this time Ana has been at the core of all things devious, passionately developing an eclectic gallery, helping organise devmeets, participating in chat events and also recently completed dedicating her time as a Community Volunteer. We are absolutely delighted to bestow the Deviousness Award for May 2013 to `anmari, congratulations! Read More