Six months had passed since the Carrigan Incident – and life, as it so often does, had returned to what approached normalcy. It had taken Kye months to recover from their experience – their doctors had said it was a miracle they’d survived it at all.

As it was, their tie to their magic seemed deeper, stronger, a phenomenon they simply couldn’t explain. 

New Holland, devastated in the Restoration, had received assistance from across the Eventide League. While the Kingdom’s coffers were deep, some materials simply weren’t available on-world, and with the expulsion of the Ibrea after their plans had fallen apart, the Olesians felt they owed Carrigan some amount of repayment.

So, as the city skyline once more began to climb into the sky, Kye Celan, the Lost Prince of Carrigan, was lost no longer.

Yet, Kye felt… restless. Their stargazing resumed.

The halls felt empty. Petitioners and courtesans, traders and politicians – transient, in the scheme of things. Their portrait was hung in the ancestral gallery, the latest in a line going back millennia, but it wasn’t really them. Their gaze always lingered on Hallek.

Sometimes they still saw blood on the tiles of the throne room. Still heard the sounds of pitched battle in the halls.

Still heard the whispers of the Darksea, and felt the raw horror of the crystal sun.

The Rime Nova had been consumed by Cursa – a weapon from the ancient past obliterated wholly and utterly. Even still, it had left a mark upon the Eventide League – a mark discussed endlessly in tired debates and trite arguments, even as Kye tried – and failed – to appear interested. Hesse was as it always was, an exercise in futility. 

Perhaps they weren’t quite made for this life, after all.

Their proper coronation had been scheduled, rescheduled, and pushed off into the future; a problem Kye didn’t quite see as a problem. They were the Prince, the last in their line – it wasn’t as if any other options were feasible. A regent, perhaps.

…or a steward.

Their dreams were filled with adventure – their time among the stars, seeing new worlds and new places. Carrigan felt hollow without the reassuring presence of their father’s court and the driving forces leading them home. 

They wanted to see the galaxy again on their terms.

So it was, one cold night, that Kye penned a letter. Addressed to the Red Council, an unheard of request – but one they could simply ignore no longer, as they marked the letter with their own seal and handed it off to a palace messenger. A regency, instated by a Prince who wasn’t quite sure the world needed one.

Despite his faults, the Director had offloaded many duties onto the Red Council in exchange for their complacency – and the planetary constitution was quite clear on what the Kingdom could do without one, anyway.

Perhaps their father was right. Time away might do them good.

Gone were their robes – they wore but a tunic, breeches and a cowl against the night chill, drifting through the rebuilding city like a ghost.

Gone was the prestige of recognition – they’d tied their hair back to fit beneath the cowl, carefully plucking all the flowers but one.

Gone was the Prince as they purchased a ticket off of Carrigan, they simply traveled as Kye.

As the ship lifted away into the sky, they watched the Autumn House retreat behind the midnight sky – and smiled.

Gone, for now, but not forgotten.


// endgame

The Restoration was finalized at Tanager. Groups from across the Eventide League, from mercenaries offered contracts to vengeful Olesians to the scattered remnants of the Red Council and Carriganite exiles, many had a vested interest in the fall of Director Jayne Illor – but none more than Kye.

Kye fought for their throne, for their homeworld, and for their fathers, struck down by a tyrant’s ambition and a despot’s desires.

So it was, drifting in the cerulean clouds of the Iris Nebula, that Ulyn sat down with the Prince.

“Our forces are ready to depart as soon as you give the order,” Ulyn said off-handedly, gazing out into the dark.

“I hope I have not doomed us all.” Kye said quietly.

“It is the Director who has attempted to.” Ulyn said, frowning. “On Olesia, I received… disturbing data from an old colleague. Jayne Illor has in his possession a weapon predating the Collaborate, and has likely already tested it multiple times. The Ibrea referred to it as Sunshard, but that’s… likely not what it is called. A stellar deprivation weapon.”

“The crystal suns.” Kye muttered.

“We must assume he will attempt to use it at Carrigan.” Ulyn said sharply, standing. “Which is why we must strike before he has prepared.”

Kye nodded, staring out the vessels drifting in the void beyond the window.

“Give the order, Ulyn. May the future smile upon today.”

Ulyn nodded, and left the room – leaving Kye to their thoughts as the drive began to spin up.

No plan, as it is said, survived contact with the enemy.

Throughout the long thread of history, well-laid plans have met knots – and, as Kye’s armored bulk touched the shattered flagstones of the Autumn House courtyard, this plan seemed to have met an unexpected knot all its own.

Clearly, their actions across the Eventide League had drawn the Director’s attention – mercenaries littered the grounds as the Reforged Guard opened fire, their own weapon kicking against their grip as they shouldered it.

“Lord Celan, please stay down!” One of the guards shouted, planting a solid maglocked palm against their shoulder plate and extending their own shield across it. 

“I shall not allow my guard to take my home back for me!” The Prince shouted back, a grin in their voice. 

Already, two other landing craft had touched down – spilling forth Carriganite rebels and four members of the Easy Blues, power-armored bulk and warform synthframe bodies singing against the sound of battle. As the unprepared mercenaries shifted their aim, trying to keep the push away from the palisade, the Prince saw their chance.

Kye, throwing their rifle aside, drew their blade – and shouted something lost to the cacophony, raising it high over their head. The archaeotech shortsword hummed and pulsed, ancient circuitry glowing a brilliant gold, before igniting a soft yellow.

With a cry of “Retake the House! Leave none standing!”, they charged forward, their guard in their wake.

The push shattered their lines, sending the mercenaries who survived the onslaught reeling as they began to be pushed back into the Autumn House proper – leaving the ancient hallways of baroque opulence marred by battle for the first time in millennia, at the very least.

Kye did not care – this was their birthright, their legacy – they would take it back for their father’s memory, if nothing else. To rule a palace of ash was still to rule, if a tyrant’s head adorned it.

Beyond the palace walls the city itself was embroiled in the conflict – the Carriganite Rebellion was fully awoken, spurred into action by the declaration of the Red Council that the heir had returned, and that the Count Illor was to be removed. Jayne Illor’s guards had attempted to silence the Council, but were met by Ulyn Variss and the House Guard who’d survived. Clearly he was ahead of schedule.

“Lord Celan,” crackled a voice in their helmet as a slash from their blade bisected a House Illor guard, sending his two halves to the floor in a spray of augmetic synthblood.

“Speak,” Kye grunted, slashing the steaming blade through the air to clear it. 

“Commander Variss has touched down on the palatial grounds,” The voice said calmly, finally appearing in the top right of their vision. A number of infomorph posthumans had joined the cause, wreaking havoc among the planetary networks to prevent quick responses to the assault.

“Link him in.”

“Already done.”


“A moment,” came the reply, muted by gunfire. Ahead, one of the Reforged Guard unleashed their magic – the air itself rippled from the heat, a hapless guard igniting like so much kindling.

“I take it the courtyard fell?” Ulyn asked a moment later.

“Easily enough. It seems the Director has pulled his heaviest forces back.”

“Indeed. We’re encountering heavy resistance trying to push to the White Gallery, as well.”

Kye frowned, jogging forward as the fighting moved on – the throne room wasn’t particularly far, but the palace had designed to be defensible. Hopefully the two fronts would make this easier.

“Have some of your men watch the pads. I don’t want that snake slipping by us.”

“Aye,” Ulyn agreed, and cut the channel.

Kye charged ahead, meeting one of the rival guards mid-stride in an attempt to knock it off its feet, only to be met by a charging synthframe-clad guard from the side, both enormous arms raised in an attempt to crush them here and there. Kye managed to bring their blade up in time, but only just.

The blade hissed in protest against the bare metal of the synthframe, even as Kye pulled from the Darksea in spades to will the blade hotter, brighter, but the warform was simply too strong for conventional methods.

With a cry, the holding action failed, sending the Prince sprawling as the warform bellowed a digital war cry, knocking a pair of guards who stepped in to shield them out of the way with contemptuous ease. It began to increase in speed, clearly hoping to simply flatten the reclaimer – but was caught from the side by a flash of gold, sending it off-course and smashing through the wall into an adjoining gallery.

One of the heavy-framed Easy Blues vaulted the low remains of the wall, exomatter gauntlet reconfiguring around their forearm, before sending another shower of golden annihilation raining onto the frame as it bellowed another atonal cry. 

The particles left pitted scars across the synthframe’s body as their negative mass annihilated against normal matter, even as it charged again – meeting the mercenary hand to hand in a shower of sparks and visual distortions.

“Ahead!” The mercenary shouted with a laugh, gauntlet glowing blue-white against their armor as they met blow after blow with a counter. “Onwards!”

Nodding, Kye rushed up the stairs as another titanic blow shook the crumbling wall loose, sealing the fight away.

Glass shattered as Kye entered the royal gallery, a pitched running firefight engulfing the length of the room – some of their own forces had come through the ceiling from another landing craft, catching reinforcing guards by surprise. Unfortunately, they’d been able to recover, and as Kye crossed the outer circuit they were forced to take a few potshots simply to be able to pass. Their comms were alive with shouts and cries, even as the Reforged Guard began to regroup and push into the throne room proper, fighting their way through the ancient halls and past the great Carrigan steelwood doors.

Callister Rhose, steward to the Count Illor and Spymaster of the Carrigan Directorate, attempted to bar the doors – his own weapons singing as he cut through a pair of guards before falling.

Kye slammed into the vast chamber, eyes darting across the vast chamber for any signs of Jayne Illor, and found none.

The room had been more or less stripped bare, their house crest long destroyed and removed – but, as they watched, the throne flickered.

Holite sparks twinkled and flickered in the shimmering air, resolving into the figure of a reclining man – sharp, hawkish features somewhat older than the last time they’d laid eyes on him – and, worryingly, smug.

“Ah! The Lost Prince, I had so wondered when your presence would grace these halls once more.” Jayne Illor crowed, smiling.

“It’s over.” Kye said flatly, blade at the ready.

“A bold declaration, but is it?” 

“The transmission is being bounced,” one of the infomorphs whispered in their ear. “Tracing it. Keep him talking for a few moments more.”

“Where have you fled, traitor?” Kye shouted, pointing the blade accusingly. “Show yourself and surrender and I may show leniency!”

“I’m afraid I’m quite beyond your grasp,” Jayne Illor sneered, steepling his fingers. “You may have your petty kingdom, Prince Celan. I shall have the day.

“What are you saying, you bastard?”

“Ah! The Ibrea have granted me a device that shall shape the League in my image, of course. I believe you’ve seen its handiwork?”

Kye’s blood ran cold. Banne.

“A remarkable piece of pre-Collaborate technology, wondrous. They called it the Rime Nova, a weapon to turn stars to ice.

The Prince took a step closer, starting to reply – but the voice returned, whispering in their ear. “Carrigan low orbit and rising. Two of our vessels have been tasked to intercept, but something… something dropped in beneath the orbital plane.”

“Something?” Kye asked aloud, drawing a grin from the holite figure.

“I believe this is where our stories part,” Jayne Illor smiled, leaning back. “Goodbye, Little Prince. I shall pluck Cursa from the sky as a frigid pearl and leave your world to die.”

With that, the hologram dissolved.

Static washed across the comm, until, with urgency the Prince was unfamiliar hearing, Ulyn broke through.

“…unshard! It’s the weapon!”

Kye turned to their guards, and nodded. Both split away to finish the retaking of the Autumn House, leaving Kye alone before the empty throne.

How hollow it felt, now.

They tapped their ear, gazing through the glass ceiling at the darkening sky. Unnatural lightning flickered through the clouds as the vessel rose away. Debris rained down from on high, flaring as it burned up over the horizon.


“Already touching down at the northern pad. Hurry.”

Sprinting as fast as their armor would allow, they rushed through the devastated halls of the Autumn House into the cold night air of Carrigan, intimately familiar with each passing second. The Farsight was ready to leave as soon as their feet had passed the threshold, rising into the night.

“Catch that ship!” They shouted into their comm as the deck shuddered beneath the thrust of realspace engines spinning up, slicing upwards through the sky as a silver ribbon.

Ahead, the Rime Nova loomed – a black stain on the orange backdrop of space, crawling inexorably towards Carrigan’s star.

The battle around Carrigan was intense – the Ibrea had clearly fallen back to harass pursuit, blossoms of fire and shattered ships settling into a rough ring around the planet as the Farsight slipped through. The vessel itself was much too large to successfully get close to the defended weapon – but a plan had already formed in their mind, one they’d shared to much uproar.

“You surely can’t be expecting us to let you go alone?!” Ulyn was shouting over the comm, tied up planetside.

“I have no choice!” Kye shouted back, already locking spare magazines and their blade to the magnetic locks on their armor and checking the seals. “The ship can be boarded from other points, but I will not lose my Guard this way. Find your own ways in.”

There was silence on the comm.

The Farsight hurtled closer, realspace drives screaming as they redlined – and, as Kye watched the black expanse of the weapon fly beneath, they took a deep breath.

The red lights of the deployment airlock turned green, and with a fist, they hit the button.

The pressurized environment of the airlock exploded forwards, sucking the Prince into the vacuum of space. For a single terrifying moment they tumbled head over heels, the stars and the shrinking starship spinning away, before they managed to find their thruster controls and right themself. Fighting off nausea and adrenaline tremors, the posthuman rocketed forward, their combat armor rated for merely fifteen minutes in hard vacuum. 

Finding an airlock was easy – but they were all welded shut. Even their blade couldn’t make a dent, cooling too quickly in the void of space – until, out of sheer frustration and rage, Kye poured every ounce of energy they could into the plate – liquifying the hull like candle wax, and yanking the cooling material aside in a shower of sparks and steel.

Steeling themself, the Prince slipped inside – and sealed the airlock behind them, the rush of escaping air slowing to a trickle as the alarms sounded.

“I’m sure they noticed my entrance,” Kye muttered, reading their blade – picking a direction, and rushing onwards. Over the comm, they were notified that a few others had made it aboard the Rime Nova as it passed beyond the range of the Restoration. Already, pockets of fighting had broken out – some of which were members of Illor’s own retinue from Carrigan who’d learned of the Director’s goals.

The vessel was enormous, utilizing a tram system for movement between the decks. Kye had managed to board one of the trams, moving forward despite heavy resistance; until, with a lurching stop, the power was cut.

Bullets began to smash against the sides of the tram, exotic conduits casting the station it had stopped within in harsh violet – and, with an explosion of glass, Kye leapt outwards.

Their armor protested as bullets slammed into the kinetic shields, even as the Prince dealt with the first two guards in rapid succession. The third, however, managed to loose a round through their calf plate before the white-gold blade bisected him.

Kye collapsed to the deck, blood spurting from the wound – and tugged their helmet free, screaming in anguish.

Already, the armor had begun to inject heavy painkillers and coagulants, nanorepair systems attempting to repair the artery – but their vision swam, darkening at the edges.

To be so close, their thoughts swam – before, struggling to stay awake despite their heavy eyelids, Kye gave in.

Elsewhere, the four-person infiltration team that had followed the Prince in had broken free of their holding action – intending to shatter the bridge defenses before they arrived. They’d been notified when their vitals had yellow-lined, but their mission came first. None of them were Carriganites, and held a higher loyalty to the Eventide League itself – the weapon had to be stopped first and foremost.

The narrow halls of the hull had opened into vast tunnels, clearly meant for vehicular transit within the vessel – lines with power conduits the size of trees, carrying the vast amounts of energy from the Infraspace Drain Arrays to the weapon systems at the bow. The leader of the infiltration team held up a palm, before gesturing with two fingers, and smashing a fist into their open palm.

The second member of the team nodded, their spider-like frame leaping upwards into the dark to set demolition charges.

The other three continued on. All four were synths – forged for asymmetric warfare, and designed for ship-to-ship sabotage. 

A quartet of guards fell to nanoflechettes and exotic matter annihilation, clearing up their pathway to the forward transit nexus – and, as the tram pulled away, the station it had just left was destroyed.

Kye, groggy, sat up.

A gun was tucked neatly under their chin, the cold metal sending a shock through their system.

“Good morning, Little Prince.” The holder said coldly, staring. They were enormous, obsidian-black and berobed. The only visible part of their body beneath were the glowing red oculi, clicking and whirring as their focus changed.

The room behind came into focus – a vast, open space, a wrap-around bridge window showing the growing expanse of Carrigan’s sun. The bridge.

“I take it our guest has awoken, Karteh?”

Kye tensed. Bastard.

“They have.”

“It takes a certain amount of bravery to board a vessel, Lord Celan. For this, I applaud you. Truly! And to have nearly made it to me, through three dozen guards? Most impressive.”

Hazily, Kye noticed their armor had been stripped away – and their blade was missing.

“I’m afraid your mission is over.”

The Director frowned as his earpiece hummed. His frown deepened as something was said. 

The lights overhead flickered.

“Persistent. No matter. Once the weapon has fired, their wills shall shatter.”

“Sir,” One of the bridge staff said cautiously. “Cursa is within firing distance.”

Jayne Illor began to speak, but Karteh spoke first.

“Charge the subspace manifold system. Begin draining.”

The officer nodded, beginning to work on his console – and the ominous hum, omnipresent since Kye had come aboard, began to grow louder.

Space around the Rime Nova began to distort and crack, a roiling, ebon black effervescence boiling from the ship. The Farsight, engaged with an Ibrean cruiser, was in no position to assist – and the fleet around Carrigan was simply too far away.

“Ancillary systems are waking. The weapon has begun to charge.”

The Director scowled. “Boost their yield. I want it charged as quickly as possible.” 

His earpiece chimed again.

There was a commotion in the hallway, guards shouting orders.

A thud.


Jayne Illor turned to Karteh, and tilted his head towards the door. The light outside began to darken.

The man’s robes began to shift, four spindly metallic blade arms extending from within it – and he took a heavy step towards the door, intent on meeting whomever had decided to so rudely interrupt.

The ceiling blew open, shrapnel and sparks showering anything not armored or shielded. Kye shouted in pain as their cheek was cut, managing to fall out of the way of a larger chunk.

The heavily armored bulk of a multiframe fell through the hole, landing on an ensign with a sickening crunch of shattered bone and pulverized flesh – and it stood a moment later, dripping in the silence.

Karteh was moving in the instant the sound had reached him, blades a whir of silver – but the frame was too heavy, magnetic repulsors lifting it from the deck as it hovered backwards out of reach. 

Using the distraction to their advantage, Kye reached for a guard’s scabbard – drawing the force rapier from it in one smooth movement, and attempting to stand. Electric fire shot through their right leg from the wound, but they forced the pain down, hot blood flowing through their fur.

They sprang forward on their good leg, catching a guard with the blade – and the third infiltrator frame dropped through the hole, spindly arms a blur.

The multiframe was soundly losing to Karteh, his blades simply faster than the combined body could keep up with – and as he landed a heavy blow, it split. The two units that made it up, now fighting on equal footing, began to pick at his defenses – clearly not intending to kill him, but certainly keeping him occupied.

The third frame crouched near Kye, faceless steel plate regarding them.

“Designate CELAN. You are injured.”

“I’m aware.” 


With lightning fast speed and unerring accuracy, a medical hypo was jammed directly into their leg – causing them to scream in pain, which quickly subsided. Already, it began to ache less – something which only worsened their tunnel vision on the man panicking on the command dais as his exit was blocked.

Space beyond the bridge was darker yet, the golden expanse of the star now a pale yellow.

“We have to stop the charge sequence!” Kye told the infiltrator, who nodded.

“Conduit 6B.” It said simply – and the deck rocked.

The lights on the bridge flickered again, before cutting to harsh red – and the polarity on the forward windows cut completely, harsh direct sunlight spilling in.

The vessel began to list, gravity worsening – and the two frames struck a vital blow as Karteh lost his footing, red vitality spinning away in low gravity. He certainly wasn’t down, though, retaining his bearings and renewing his assault.

The frame regarded Kye. “Tertiary operational status has been reclassified as expended. Vessel is adrift.”

The Prince wasn’t quite sure what that meant. “Thank you.”

Immediate concern closed, their attention turned to the man stalking their way – a familiar golden blade clutched in their shaking hands, fury coloring their face in the harsh red light.

“I’ll handle this.” They said simply, waving the synthframe away.

“I was this close.” Jayne Illor said quietly, rage seeping through. “This. CLOSE. YOUR WORLD IN MY PALM. Bleeding. A stepping stone for this whole-damned League!”

The slash came so suddenly Kye barely had time to react – their blade meeting the Carriganite blade with a resounding clash of steel, and then shattering – the force behind the Director’s blow utterly rending the rapier. 

Kye threw themself backwards just in time for it to sail through their underclothes, turning the pale white shirt into so many ribbons.

Blood dripped to the floor.

“I’ll have your life for this, you vermin.” Director Illor hissed.

One of the frames fell to Karteh, who shattered it utterly – scattering its remains across the bridge. The remaining frame of the duo paused for only an instant, before doubling it’s efforts.

Kye, despair beginning to creep in as even their protector was pulled away by an attempted attack on the Prince by a pair of guards, began to pull on the Darksea once more – but whatever the ship had done to charge had weakened the veil.

The usual cool, honey-thick creep of magic felt… wrong. Slimy.

It coiled around their soul like tar, dripping and flowing towards their fingers like a landslide – even as their hands began to shake, their eyes rolling back, they couldn’t stop what was coming. It was as if they were trying to dam the ocean, even small cracks were too huge to handle.

The Director drew the blade back, intent on severing the head of the Lost Prince – and was suddenly cast in white, searing light.

Pure energy leapt from the Prince to the Director’s body, setting Kye’s fur alight – and drowning out the screams of agony from both, flowing through the posthuman like a living capacitor. Whatever limiting factors prevented mages from pulling on the Darksea had been removed by the draining effect of the Rime Nova, and both paid a terrible, terrible price.

As suddenly as it had started, it was over.

Kye, arms burned black and charred, collapsed to the deck, their eyes a brilliant white and smoking.

Jayne Illor, Count of Olesia and Director of Carrigan, Kingmaker and traitor, was ash scattered to the stars.

The Carriganite blade, resonant to the Tides, glowed a brilliant orange as it hissed and sputtered against the red-hot deck.

The Rime Nova shuddered as another explosion rocked the vast vessel, superstructure groaning under increased gravitic pressure. The bridge crew had fled when the fight started. None would survive this. Karteh lay bleeding, prone beneath the remaining drone.

It had begun to fall into the star.

“Primary.” The remaining multiframe infiltrator said, urgency creeping into its voice. “Recovery limit is approximately four minutes thirty six seconds distant. Recommend breach.”

The tall, spindly unit regarded the smoking body on the floor. An expense of energy like that likely killed it. 

The decision took a microsecond.

Clasping a rebreather over the posthuman’s face and making sure the helmet enclosed the ears, its mind was made up.

Striding to the vast exoglass window, the synth curled its fingers into a fist. The first punch sent cracks a few inches.

The second sent cracks six feet.

The third began to whistle, atmosphere rushing through the gaps.

“Brace.” It said, glancing at the second frame and down at the still form of the Prince.

The last punch shattered the window, sucking the corpses and the screaming form of Karteh of Lusa into the open void – and, with almost passive disinterest, the two synthframes disengaged their magnetic soles.

“Package recovered.” Primary announced over an open comm, receiving a handshake in return.

It looked to Secondary, intending to tight-beam directional thrust orders, but the second synthframe had been shattered by stray debris.

No matter. 

Checking the Prince for signs of decompression and finding none, the synth marked its mission as complete as the star grew brighter, their path a wide orbit.

Kye awoke to birdsong and wind.

Slowly, carefully, they cracked an eye open – searing sunlight making them blink. They were laying on soft grass – they could feel it against their fur, green with the sweet smell of summer heavy on the breeze. Tree leaves overhead dappled the light in a way they’d never seen, before. 

Slowly, they sat up. They were in a forest by a small stream – and, as they looked around, beat up as they were, they saw a familiar face, dipping a hand into the water.


The figure looked up, and smiled.


Right there, that very moment, they began to cry – blood seeping from their damaged tear ducts and running red rivulets down their cheeks, staining the fur.

“I- I thi… I think I’ve avenged you,” Kye finally managed to sputter, the weight of the last few years feeling like a lifetime.

“You have.” Hallek said quietly, crouching next to the crying prince.

“Was it worth it?” He asked after a moment. 

“No.” Kye said, very small. 

“That was the lesson I was never able to teach.” Hallek said, giving the smaller rabbit a slight squeeze. “Sometimes no matter what we do, we lose. There’s no happy ending. There’s no curtain call and we’re not played off. It just… ends. There’s finality to it. That, is how life’s greatest adventures usually close.”

Kye, realizing what was being said, stayed silent.

“It is, as Rhys would call it, “filler.”, The elder posthuman chuckled, staring up at the blue sky.

“Am… am I dead?” Kye managed after a few moments of silence.

“No. At least, not yet, I suppose.” Hallek shrugged. “You certainly came close. But not today.”

Kye, having so many questions to ask – so much advice they needed – started, but Hallek raised a hand. “All will come to you in time, Kye. Trust me. It did to me, and my father, and his father before him. You will do fine, and when the time comes the path you choose is yours, and yours alone. Remember that.”

He took the prince’s hand in his, and placed his other over it.

“Remember me. I have one last thing to ask you.”

Hallek smiled.

“I just need you to promise me you’ll wake up.”

Kye’s world shattered. They squeezed their eyes shut, wanting for all the stars in the sky to stay right there forever, but…

“-aking up! Get the surgeon!”

Kye opened their eyes, to little more than hazy gray shapes. The smell of medical supplies and ionized air stung at their nose, mixed with the stench of burned fur and seared skin. 

A figure leaned over them, darkening the scene – before, after a warning of brightness, the bandages were carefully removed.

It was a large and open hospital room – packed with equipment and with an open window, a bright winter’s day shining in from outside.

“Welcome back to the land of the living, my Lord,” The doctor said after a moment, taking the smallest of bows.

“Please,” Kye croaked, their throat parched. 

“Call me Kye.”



The bridge of the Farsight was largely empty apart from two figures, staring out at the stars.

Rembrandt, the pilot, glanced up. “Something on your mind? You look like you’re about to cry.”

“I’m… nervous.” Kye said, after a moment.


“Olesia is his homeworld, Kye. He has ties running back there decades before you were even born. He’ll be fine.”

The Prince sighed, running a palm through their hair, before nodding, once. The Farsight was currently cruising on sublight until it was far enough from Olesia to jump – which, due to the world’s lower mass than Carrigan, wasn’t very far at all.

As the ship’s pilot, Rembrandt got a more intimate view of the Prince than the guards did – and right now, they were terrified. Ulyn Variss was practically the thing holding their world together after the Exile, but he was a tough bastard – he’d be fine.

“So where are we headed next?” Kye suddenly asked, changing the topic.

“The wake we captured in the Heart was a directional one,” Rembrandt began, swiping their screen upwards so the contents resolved in midair from the mesh. A star map, highlighted with an estimated path based on systems in the direction the wake faced.

“Three systems of interest within a 90% margin, one of which could be marked off immediately as being openly hostile to the Directorate – that’s Avan, by the way, we’re not welcome there either – so that leaves… these two. Gyra, and Banne.”

Kye thought back to what they knew of the Eventide League. Gyra they knew nearly nothing of, but Banne was a name they recognized. 

“That’s the breadbasket, right? My father preferred Banne imports to all others in the League.”

“Bingo. Gyra’s a backwater industrial system, but Banne is a vital food production center… and a tempting target.”

They shared a glance.

“Get us underway as soon as you’re clear,” The Prince affirmed, hoping the sinking feeling in their stomach wasn’t a portent. “I want to be there as soon as possible.”

“Aye, Captain. Spinning up the drive.”

The journey of sixty lightyears took nearly a day and a half, but soon enough Kye was once more on the bridge of the Farsight, peering out into the pale nothing that was the Tides.

“Transition in five… four… three…”

The crew braced as the ship shuddered – and the void parted. A moon filled their view, airless and dead.

“… Rembrandt, this isn’t Banne.”

“…There’s no way we drifted that far,” The pilot began, checking their instruments – and shouting in alarm as multiple contacts began to fill in on the sensor map. A veritable fleet was on the far side of the world, escorting… something.

Killing the active systems and keeping the bare minimums alive, the Farsight began to drift – the quiet ambience of the ship the only sound as the strange vessels prowled about in the far distance.

“Can we get closer to Banne with maneuvering thrust? I want to see what’s going on down there.” Kye asked, eyes on the screen.

“Plotting a course now. Shouldn’t take too long.”

The ship shuddered as the control thrusters began to fire, shifting their ragged orbit into one carrying the vessel across the far side of the moon.

The sun rose as the vessel drifted, and instantly Kye’s stomach dropped. Where warm sunlight once shone, cold, sterile light remained. They didn’t need to get closer to know what had happened.

The vessel’s orbit took it closer. The strange ships were leaving, now – jumping away, their job complete. Banne rose in the forward observation window, and the crew collectively gasped.

Gone was the world of verdant greens and blue seas. Where once crop fields and agricultural arcologies coated the world from pole to pole, now only barren ice remained – feet of water vapor and particulates, an atmosphere flash-frozen. Cities preserved as if in amber.

A world, dead.

“This…” Kye began, but found they couldn’t quite manage the words. The rings in the Heart had been horrific, but there’d been no hard numbers, no expedition. Banne was a world of billions.

“Captain, huge signature. It’s making for the jump line.”

Kye found their composure. “Show me.”

It was… monstrous.

Kilometers long, the dark shape glided across the void away from the frozen sun, black effervescence still leaking from it like ichor from a wound. Reality recoiled from it, as if spacetime itself had been wounded by the use.

With the flash of a transit, the behemoth was gone – and the system’s map was empty.

“Give me readings on that… thing. On Banne. The star. I want every piece of information you can find me, and I want it now.

The bridge crew sprung into action as Kye crossed the room, placing a palm against the window. An expanse of ice stretched to the sloping curve of the planet’s horizon. How many had seen it coming? Had the star’s death been instant?

“…I’m getting a signal?”

Kye blinked.

“From the ship?”

“From the surface. Weak, but it’s there.”

The planet loomed below, silent.

“Patch it through.”

“Aye, Captain. Audio only.”

“—k, sta– your —nce!” The broadcast was choppy and awash with static. Clearly the antenna array it was traveling through had issues.

Kye glanced over, receiving only a shrug from the comms officer. The officer tapped a few things, before nodding.

“This is the League vessel Farsight, responding to your broadcast. Are you in need of assistance?”

The reply was static.

“I am going down there.” The Prince said simply, more command than query. 

“You cannot be serious. What if it’s a trap?”

“A trap left behind on a dead world when the ships could have done the work easier in half the time?”

“…I’ll admit, that is a fair point.”

Kye offered little else, turning and heading off.

Banne was… dead.

A wasteland of frigid ice and bare ruin stretched in every direction as the pinnace set down. Joined by a trio of guards, Kye ventured forth into the flash-frozen landscape, their suit helpfully notifying them the surface temperature was nearly absolute zero.

“Comms quiet,” one of the guards muttered, flipping through the bands. “Just the beacon signal. About four hundred meters that way, and down.”

He pointed, singling out a shelter half-buried in ice. It looked surprisingly airtight, a blessing.

“I want that airlock open.” Kye said suddenly. “Get whoever is in there aboard the pinnace, I don’t care how.

It turned out, as contact was established, to be a small gathering of colonial militia and civilians – around a hundred strong, survivors of the cataclysmic event that had struck Banne. Luckily, they possessed a number of exposure suits – and soon enough the first loads of rescues were being ferried into orbit.

Kye, though, had a different interest.

“Tell me of the ship,” They were saying, speaking to the captain of the guard, Anton Hull. “Did they land here? Who were they?”

“I know little of their actions, Lord Celan,” The guard sighed, salt and pepper hair falling over his face. “I was simply warned by the orbital command office that strange vessels had slipped in beneath the command and control altitude and began destroying communication satellites. Next thing we knew that behemoth had hit Banne, and there was little we could do but grab who we could.”

“Did you see it fire? What happened?”

“It blackened the sky. It was hard to… to observe. Difficult to explain.”

“Please attempt to do so, for our sake. We intend to stop it.”

“Stop it? Are you mad?”

“Quite. But that’s beside the point.”

The guard sighed. “It reminded me of a transition point, only… larger. If I’d have to wager, it’s pulling on the Tides – but I’m no scientist, and my opinion’s as good as dust, there.”

Kye nodded, as if placated. “I see. Thank you for the information, and I personally assure you your people will be welcomed aboard my vessel.”

With that, they bowed, and turned away.

Their thoughts were whirling. A weapon that drew upon the Tides for energy? The star’s readings had more or less revealed it was a resonance weapon of some description, and now they had the source of the energy used – but… how? A relic from the Collaborate? Older?

Who were the mysterious escorts? 

The thoughts followed them back to their ship, and further still – even as the Reforged Guard scattered across the Eventide League, seeking repaid favors and interested parties, Kye sat in their study, watching the stars.

They felt as if they had half of the puzzle – this was clearly tied to the Director, somehow. But how?

It stayed with them into the night, just out of reach.

ESCAPE (commission)

a commission for radiocabel!

“I’ll have his head for this.”

“Yeah, yeah. Move along your highness, you’re not special in the Icebox. Nobody is.”

Roughly, the guards shoved them further along the ice-crusted gangway – giving Kye their last glimpses of the world beyond iron walls. 

Hyelon was a prison moon of the Compact – a relic of cycles past, marred by ancient ash and frigid skies. It was where the worst of the worst from across Compact space were kept, and… due to being in the wrong place at the wrong time, political prisoners as well. The prison was constructed into the side of a crevasse, sheltered from the bone-stripping frigid winds that blew across most of the exposed surface above. Temperatures outside of the climate controlled complex hovered just around -90C – a perfect barrier to escapes.

The rabbit was hustled through the depths of the prison, regal demeanour replaced with something more closely approaching a coiled viper. Every guard they saw, complicit in the schemes of the Compact, was as good as dead – but all that was forgotten when a familiar face glared back at the them from the bars of their new home.

“Well, well. It seems my aim faltered.”

“As did mine, you misbegotten bastard. I should have killed you when I had the chance.”

“That’s certainly no way to speak to your cellmate,” Maddie purred as the guards slid away, watching them go.

“I do not intent to stay for very long.”

“Perhaps this is one matter we can agree on.” Maddie frowned. “I trust you’ve not become a legendary raider of the Spur in the year we’ve been apart, Lord Celan? Surely you’re here for a visit.

“I am not sharing my business with a traitor.”

“We have naught but time, as I’m sure you’re well aware. While not an olive branch, I simply wish to ensure I’m not pondering escaping a prison with a criminal.”

The glare the Prince gave could have frozen stars.

“I shall take that as a “perhaps”, then.”

“An assassin helping their quarry escape sounds rather far fetched, does it not?”

Maddie sighed. “You are no longer my quarry. My failure to produce you led to… complications. And if you would listen for a moment, I would be happy to explain?”

While still visibly furious, the rabbit took a seat – what little of one there was in the bare monocrete cell. 

“While I personally would have enjoyed seeing the light bleed from your eyes, I no longer have… incentive, to do so. At least, for the moment. I’m to understand you’ve escaped prisons in the past?”

Kye frowned. “Perhaps, but not with assassins. Where are you going with this?”

“I’ve been here for nearly six months, and the schedule is regular. Shipments come in every two weeks, and depart on the third. Mostly supplies for the guards – foodstuffs, rations, stims. The freighters are automated. No crew.”

The white-furred rabbit flashed a grin. “No witnesses.”

“And the hundreds of guards in the Icebox? On Hyelon?”

Maddie simply grinned. 

“…Alright, fine. What are my assurances this plan won’t get us killed, though? How are we supposed to get to the freighter in the first place?”

Maddie pointed out of the small cell at the hallway. “Assassins memorize routes. I know the way, and… let’s just say a few guards gave their lives for the information, hm?”

Kye glared. As much as they wished to the end life of the assassin – as much as they wished to kill them with their bare hands for what they’d done, they… needed their help. 

Begrudgingly, Kye nodded. “Fine. Most of my magic is dampened by this damn device, but I should be able to help… some. When does the freighter arrive?”

Maddie shrugged. “Three days.”


To the surprise of Kye (and Maddie, but they weren’t telling), the plan’s first stages were executed without a hitch. The first guard had been dispatched as silently as could reasonably be, his keys and biopass lifted. The hallways were byzantine but navigable with the aid of the card and Maddie’s memory – and what few items needed to be grabbed off of guards or out of offices were easily obtained with Kye’s limited gravitic attraction.

The problems arose when the freighter landed not on the internal pad, where the others before had – but above, exposed to the wind.

Hyelon required hazcon suits to even think about going outside during a storm – and the racks were empty.

“Well what now?” Kye exclaimed in frustration, staring at the other rabbit with barely hidden fury. “All this for nothing?”

“I… I can’t believe–”

The airlock warning sounded, alerting them of a cycle.

Both dove out of the way, just in time for a pair of guards in the suits they needed to enter carrying crates of rations and medical supplies.

“Phew. Why do we always get the shitty courier duty?” The first guard, a deer, grumbled – his partner trying to shake feeling back into his paws even through the gloves, walking slightly out into the hallway. “I mean, aren’t there nearly two hundred of us here? Why us? Is everyone else just busy?”

The deer trailed off as there was no reply, and turned to see the hallway empty.

On cue, they felt a heavy object hit them from behind – and their world went dark just in time to catch a glimpse of glowing white flowers and furious purple eyes.

“Little more bloody than I prefer, but good hit.” Maddie was grinning, tugging their stolen suit on – shaking the gloves to slip their fingers in.

Kye, disrobing the concussed deer, dragged him into the hallway and left him there. Once the suits were on and securely checked, it was time for the last hurdle.

The freighter.

The door opened. Bitter wind howled inside, ripping at anything unprotected – and the two escapees braved the storm, the landing lights of the interstellar craft shining through the storm.

It was, unfortunately, not unmanned – a guard detail of around ten stood around the landing site overseeing a pair of loaders hefting crates – and Maddie’s plan of sneaking failed almost immediately, proximity sensors tripping when their biosignatures didn’t match authorized personnel.

Maddie leapt into action, blade singing through the blizzard – but Kye, trying to yank a blade over with their suppressed magic, took a round to the neck and spun away.

By sheer chance, the metal round had not found the flesh it sought. The shards of the dampener swirled away in slow motion, caught in the wind – and the might of the Darksea poured through their veins, howling for blood and justice.

Black fire erupted across the pad as the Prince voiced their displeasure, erasing the few guards remaining after Maddie’s spinning assault. Already, the whine of the ship’s engines was rising – clearly someone had made it aboard and was trying to make a getaway.

“No time to waste!” Maddie shouted, pointing. “On the ship, now!”

Wordlessly, Kye followed – their palms wreathed in notlight, ready to leap away at a moment’s notice.

Four more guards died in the trip to the freighter’s bridge, and the Captain’s gurgles marked the end of his final voyage.

Soon enough, the freighter had lifted off with new cargo aboard, and the prince and the assassin once again found themselves at odds.

Gone was the scared, unsure swordsman, though – Kye was powerful.

Besides. Maddie didn’t have a contract.

“Course is set for Holmen,” Maddie said after a few moments, the dark blue giving way to stars beyond the freighter’s windows. “We part ways there.”

“A shame,” Kye muttered sarcastically. “We make such a team.”

“Don’t tell me you’re finally tired of prison breaks?” Maddie grinned, crossing their arms. “But yes, I agree. When next we meet it will be as foes, yet I must admit… it was enjoyable, Lord Celan. You fight well.”

Kye rolled their eyes.

“Mention this to no one. It remains between us, until the other falls.”

“A fair deal.” Maddie grinned wider, offering a paw – and with a shake, the two parted to find their own areas of the ship until the autopilot made port, the soft whoosh of a transition into the Tides washing over them.

Instant Decorations (commission)

a commission for ehksidian!

The box was… pretty plain, if she was honest. 

Not that Xena was complaining, of course – a gift was a gift, even if generic brown paper and a twine bow didn’t exactly scream “effort”, to her. No return label, either.

Oh, well. Maybe it was like… jelly of the month, or something? A gift that keeps on giving.

Looks more like a bag lunch.

Still, as she carries the little brown box in from the rainy day outside, she was curious – after all, any package timed to arrive on her birthday had to be something special, at the very least, right? Surely?

Tearing the paper and removing the twine was easy, but that didn’t… quite explain the box underneath. Party Time?

There was a note there, but she was so focused on figuring out the box she simply sat aside, completely ignoring the large “PLEASE READ FIRST” scribbled on the back in urgent red ink.

The box was… 

…empty. Completely empty, aside from a weird sparkly glitter coating everything inside, some of which was thrown into the air by the force of her opening, tickling her nose.

Phew. Who sends an empty box as a birthday gift?!

Xena, fuming, picked up the card – and frowned.

“Party in a box? What the hell does that mean?”

Her question, funnily enough, was answered – loudly, and immediately.

Instantly, a loud hissing reached her ears – the sound of a balloon slipped over a helium tank, a cold, filling sensation sweeping across her tummy. The drakkai only had time to utter a bewildered “WHAT” before her tummy began to swell and stretch, scales giving way to an expanse of soft, pliable rubber. It was soft to the touch, squeaking beneath her claws – and for a moment there was silence, almost comically quiet.

Just a moment, though. The hissing returned, twice as loud.

Fortunately, or maybe unfortunately, she wasn’t growing, exactly. While the changes were more or less proportional, she felt her clothes start to bunch and bag, but there was no way

As she tried to press on her tummy, hoping to squish it elsewhere, her tail began to shrink down – softening, losing definition as she began to round out. A brand new balloon knot tipped the end, and as she hurriedly tried to read the note (which, she now noticed, said very plainly not to open facing yourself), a long orange ribbon snaked to the floor from it. As she watched, her claws began to feel oddly flat – and, to her bewilderment and confusion, fell apart into a little pile of Xena-print napkins.

That, unfortunately, was the least of her worries – ribbons and decorations began to pop up here and there, conveniently drakkai themed and colored. Clearly magic was at work here, and it was decorating a party with her.

Xena was beginning to feel a bit full as her clothes grew baggier, tummy swelling into her clothes even as her arms and legs receded into her shirt and shorts – a bad sign, if she’d ever seen one. Her hair, usually long and fluffy, felt oddly scratchy – and as the swelling continued, slowly slid away as so much confetti – scattering the table, and floor, and… everywhere, really.

“S-Stop, damnit!” The drakkai protested, flailing for the table – and slipping completely out of her shorts, which fell to the ground with a thud of dropped fabric. Worryingly, she wasn’t touching the floor anymore with her claws.

…more worryingly, she couldn’t feel her claws – and a glance downwards only showed an increasingly generic ovoid shape, like… a party balloon. One of a few, now scattering the ceiling. She couldn’t see them, really, but had a sinking feeling she knew exactly what was on them.

Party in a box. Duh.

Cursing her bad luck, the drakkai began to shrink further as her midsection began to round out, slipping through the neck of her shirt and dragging the ribbon along with her! It was a slow, gradual rise – clearly she only just now held enough helium to be buoyant, not that it really made her feel any better. She was a dragon, not… a toy! Usually. Mostly? Verdict was out, on that one.

The pressure continued to build inside as the hissing grew louder, her face feeling as if it was being flattened with a rolling pin – until, gradually, everything went dark.

…the next thing she knew, she could see. It was an oddly fixed view, roughly in her “middle” – but it gave her a fine view of the front door for… however long she floated there. It was a bit hard to tell, but if she had to guess it was at least a few hours – as, a little before six, the first guest arrived. First knocking, and a confused grunt as the door swung open, clearly not shut completely before she’d opened the box.

“Um. Xena?” A familiar voice rang out. “Hey?”

No reply. Not for lack of trying, of course.

The rabbit glanced over, clearly recognizing the box open on the table – then down at the clothes, and with a weary realization, up, at the drakkai-print balloons bobbing on the ceiling. The expression was almost comical, a mix of “should’ve known” and “this again.” Clearly in the habit of sending these boxes.

“…You realize I wrote instructions for a reason, right? The big red “please read” didn’t strike you as important? Honestly, why does nobody ever read the card…”

Muttering something about “it’s like they all WANT to get changed,” the rabbit plopped down at the table.

“Should change back at the end of the night, but uh. Open it away from yourself next time, okay?”

Beep Beep (commission)

a commission for aurapuffs!

It was a cold, cold evening – as December evenings often are. Snow was falling beyond the frosted glass of the bedroom’s window, lit faintly by the bedside lamp, and as far as Aura was concerned it could stay out there! He was cozy, all snuggled up under three blankets and a duvet, as comfy and tucked in as a plushie fox could be.

Still, though, for whatever reason he couldn’t make that final leap. His eyes were droopy, he were all cozied up and warm, but tonight sleep simply wasn’t coming to him like it should’ve.

Oh, well.

He laid there a while, watching the snow – before, finally, turning the lamp off.

Ten minutes passed. Then an hour. Then an hour and a half, the brightly lit LEDs of the alarm clock framing the “1:30” in harsh relief against the streetlight-lit dark.


“C’monnnnn,” Aura groaned, sitting up. What’s the point of being all sleepy beepy if you can’t go-to-sleepy, anyway?

Sitting there in the dark, the plushie fox plopped back down on the bed – sinking in beneath the sheets and blankets, letting the warmth of his pillowy bastion against the cold creep in. One of the blankets was even wool, he thought sleepily. Like a sheep. Heh. Beep beep.

The plushie fox could hardly even really focus on anything else, seeing as there wasn’t really much to focus on. Squeaky sheep were just… the best. He dozily thought about how nice being all puffy and wooly would be. Wouldn’t need to worry about the cold then, would he? A built-in pillow and mattress!

Aura began to feel nice and soft, the faint sensation of swelling the best trick of his imagination it’d played yet. He could almost picture it – huge, oversized squeaky hooves squishing into a beach ball of a white fluffy squeaky sheep, blush plastered to its cheeks. Yeah, that’d be the stuff.

Heh. Sheep counting helps with sleep, doesn’t it? Let’s see… 1…. 2…

Before he even got to three, it was over – and the plushie was falling asleep.

…only to suddenly be back in his bed.

It happened so quickly the fox wasn’t really even sure if they’d actually fallen asleep, but what happened next couldn’t have happened anywhere else – a faint, distant hissing reached his ears.

It sounded… like a balloon being blown up, complete with the breaths between, and as Aura watched, surprised, his blankets began to slide away, revealing an expanse of expanding, squeaky white rubber.


The blanket, finally not having enough friction against the swelling tummy, fell aside – and Aura got a good glimpse of his puffy paws, swelling and stretching and squeaking over into toyish approximations of black squeaky sheep hooves.

This HAD to be a dream. Couldn’t be anything else!

Pressing his paws to his tummy, the fox pushed – effortlessly squishing in, and with a loud POOMPH his handpaws followed suit, squeaking over before his very eyes. He wiggled them and rubbed them together, delighting in the feeling of stretchy, swelling rubber.

“G-Gosh!” The fox giggled, cheeks rosy.

He could still see his puffy hooves for the moment, a good gauge of how big he was – but, as he began to swell sideways and up, the fox started to find it a bit tougher. Not that he really minded, of course, it felt…

…well, great. To be big, and squeaky, and sheep-y, who wouldn’t wanna spend the holiday season as a baa-lloon? Nobody, that’s who.

He squished his hooves into his swelling squeaky tummy again, hoping to change a little faster. His wish was answered by a loud puff, midsection swelling against his neck and head like a neck pillow – and, to his delight, his hooves disappeared over his tummy’s horizon, squishing into the rest of him as his arms began to follow suit. If he listened closely, he could hear the muffled squeaks of trying to wiggle them echoing through his tummy.


The squeaks and squirks practically filled the room as he kept swelling, echoing off the walls and through him, right up into his chest and hollowing-out snout.

He’d never had a dream like this before, but what a place to start! He’d have to have pizza before bedtime more often if this was the result he got…

Aura woke up in his bed. No swelling sheep fluff, no squeaks. Just the dark, the snow lightly falling outside, and the alarm clock.



Just a dream. Ugh.

Lifting the pillow and fluffing it a little, the fox laid back down – thoughts of sheep still spinning through his mind. Okay, where was I? 3? 4. 5…


Aura’s eyes snapped open, just in time for his snout to swell outwards, ballooning into a baa-llooning snout, printed grin and oversized overfilled squeaky rubber taking up a good quarter of his vision. He couldn’t see past his round, squishy white tummy, but he knew somewhere down there were an enormous pair of black squeaky hooves, easily the size of his pillow.

“B-Baa?” Aura giggled, even as his wool began to swell out around his head…

He glanced over, dreamily, spotting the clock. 1:45.


Aura woke… up?

All that filled his vision was an expanse of white, and the faintest light of the streetlights outside. Snow?


He wobbled, trying to do anything more than wiggle his arms in futility, and received little more than a symphony of squeaks for his troubles. G-Good. Perfect!

He’d have sighed in content, but… having a squeaky sheep snout doesn’t make that easy.

Oh, well.

He was so comfy, so full, so squeaky-sheepy that he felt as if he’d be able to doze off right then and there – and the thought of counting sheep made him giggle, again. Well. One, clearly.

Aura woke up just as his alarm went off at 7:00, on the dot. The sun had just risen, shining bright and cheery through the winter wonderland outside.

Wow, that was the best sleep I’ve had in years! Aura thought to himself, opening his eyes – greeted with a snowdrift. Wait, no. That’s my tummy.

His huge… balloon sheep tummy, massive squeaky black hooves faintly visible through it in the morning light.

“M-Mmph,” The squeaky sheep managed in realization. He had to still be dreaming, right? All he had to do was… was fall back asleep, right? Easy. Easy peasy, even.

The squeaky sheep shut his eyes, trying to will back the sheer comfy feeling he’d felt before, but… he was simply too full, too well rested.

He’d have to try again tonight, it seemed.

…was that hissing…?