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▶ Year || 503
▶ Season || Fall
▶ Temp || 35℉ (℃) - 69℉ (℃)
▶ Weather || Summer's iron grip has slowly faded into the gentler Fall embrace. The morning dew frosts over in the early morning hours and melts by the time the sun hits high in the sky. Many of the trees have traded their lush, vivid green for a more suitable array of red and orange hues. But don't blink, for Winter's cold embrace is fast upon Fall's heels.

Spotlight

Character of the Season
Theodosia

Member of the Season
Nestle

Thread of the Season
r.i.p. to my youth;

Pair of the Season
Atreus and Fiona

Quote of the Season
"Are there lines she's crossing? Should she toe them or touch them with a pole and stay away wholly? But to avoid such a storm he offers, such a taste of life; to withhold herself from the chance to taste starlight, to love satin and silk and swallow pomegranate seeds not yet offered... She should be stronger." — Moira in
Small as a wish in a well

see here for nominations


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Private - r.i.p. to my youth;
Acton — Night Court Citizen Signos: 1,530
▶ Played by Griffin [PM] Posts: 154 — Threads: 22
▶ Male [He/Him/His] Hth: 20 — Atk: 20 — Exp: 37
▶ 6 [Year 497 Summer] Active Magic: Illusion
▶ 15.3 hh Bonded: N/A
#1
Acton
these violent delights have violent ends
 

There was blood in the air and for once Acton did not welcome it. 

Oh, how familiar was the spark beneath his skin, like a storm on the horizon. The buckskin felt electric, kinetic; for the first time in a long time even his magic couldn’t sit still, and his markings shifted like a magician’s trick. To look at him was to look at a black mask with molten eyes, a smile that could hardly be called a smile at all. 

But there was no one looking as he made his way out of the city, the smoke of midnight bonfires still on his skin. He was a dampened flame as he walked, half-hidden beneath a clouded sky. The City of Stars had no such light tonight, and that was well enough, for Acton was back on Crow business. 

He had not yet untangled his barbed-wire thoughts after hearing about Raum’s latest sin. Acton could not decide if he was surprised, could not decide if he was angry, could not decide if he was disappointed or sickly proud or most of all afraid. The territory of thoughts was never one he walked well; that was always a strength of the Ghost. But surely, surely, his brother had not truly meant to kill Isra. (And if he had? Oh, Acton can not yet consider it.) 

As he walked in the silent darkness, his memory carried him away, another meeting with his brother-Crow on a mountain. That day on the peak had been the beginning of this long and twisting story, when Raum was a spy in the Sun God’s court and Acton was always starving for trouble. The buckskin never thought he would be the one to finally have his fill of blood. 

Despite the tang of pine, the thick sweet summer-smell of the mountain as he climbed, the taste on his tongue was only bitter. His eyes sparked at every movement, his ears shifted for each sound, but even so some dark part of his heart was eager to see his quicksilver brother again. And when the hillside turned to brambles and stones, when a copse of birch trees pale as dead faces in the night signaled he was nearing the cave (always a cave, he and his brother’s business) there was no denying the wolf’s-joy that lived in him, too. 

So it was he stepped into what had once been a stronghold, a hideaway, a home. He did not see Raum, but he did not need to, to know he wasn’t alone; he knew what it felt like, to be watched by the Ghost. 

“Has your hatred finally outweighed your sense, brother?” he asked - and how strange it felt, for he sounded more like Raum in that moment than himself. “Or is there something you’re not telling me?” 

Acton was not the praying sort, and oh, that was well - for he did not know what he would pray for, in that moment. Blameless hands, or bloody ones.



@Raum let's get ready to rumbbbbbbllllllle





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Raum — Night Court Outcast Signos: 515
▶ Played by Obsidian [PM] Posts: 70 — Threads: 8
▶ Male [He/Him/His] Hth: 7 — Atk: 13 — Exp: 10
▶ 7 [Year 496 Spring] Active Magic: Shapeshifting
▶ 16.2 hh Bonded: N/A
#2
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
 

He can still taste her. Blood upon his lips, deep within the cuts from sharp, sharp fangs. But those fangs are long gone, for now Raum stands as equid as he has ever been. There is no part of him that is a weapon now. His daggers are daisies, long ago fallen to rot upon the earth. His abdomen is scratched from wild, metal flowers.
 
Ah this Crow is silver, spattered with red. He is the worst the earth has to offer.
 
Within the dark, he waits, as still as the night that hangs around him. The cave in which he stands is cold and clammy as death, but oh he does not care, not even when the mid summer breeze, chilled by the night, comes crying past its opening. Raum knows that Acton will come, for he knows his brother well, for they are bound by more than blood he has come to know. A corvid spirit lingers between them and oh it is something binding, something tethering. Yet lately the bond that ties has been fraying and who was the Crow with the beak full of rope threads?
 
The mountain is a corpse about its Ghost – not even it dares its heart to beat with a monster such as Raum so close. It has long ago fallen silent of dragon cries, and lost any colour or life that once made it beautiful. Is it any wonder, then, that this is where Raum hides? Now this mountain keeps his secret close - it is as silent as the grave and serious with its pale eyes that watch Acton ascend.
 
Acton is the stranger here. He is a spark of orange upon a mountain of barren silver and greys. Shadows flare like crow wings and are gone in the blink of an eye. They crawl like serpents and vanish as eyes settle upon them. In silence they stalk Acton up the mountainous trail, rocks skipping and tumbling away beneath his feet.
 
Acton is the only sound here. And a solitary ear twists atop the Ghost’s skull as his brother presses close, close, closer. Then, Acton is there, framed by silver light and adorned in shadows in the mouth of their cave. But not even the darkness can hide the bright of the Magician, the scars that glow bright and bold. Raum wonders what Isra’s scars will be, deep and bright and beautiful, or jagged, ugly and lurid. But oh, if he even cared one way or another – wouldn’t that be a blessing?
 
He says nothing to his brother. Acton was always speak first, and will until his dying breath, of that Raum is sure. Raum is ever the silent one, content to watch, to hiss only the smallest goodbye, if that, in a dying man’s ear. But Acton is not dying and still Raum does not care to spare him a word.
 
And ah, there it comes! Acton’s speech flares like a spark in the dead of night. It illuminates shadows, and the smoke that is Raum’s soul, there for a moment, enough to believe it existed, before it vanishes into nothingness.
 
No words come in reply to his brother’s first question, but the darkness of the cave shifts – fingers trailing idly along the wall as Raum steps forward. “When have you ever questioned my motives before, brother?” he asks at last, slow and soft as silk. Those words are a noose tightening, dread filling like a blade released from its scabbard.
 
Raum steps out from that shrouding dark. He is mercury pouring forward, poisonous and lethal, to glitter in the liminal light of the cave.  He sets blue eyes upon Acton and they are enough to drown the fire of his brother’s coat, enough to turn all to ash and smoke. “There is always reason behind hatred. Why do you think I did this, Acton?” And oh those words are no less harsh. They do not rise in ire or frustration. They dare his fellow Crow, they lay a gauntlet at his feet and throughout it all Raum is a statue, silver and still as ice.  Who dares to judge his actions? Who dares…
 
“Blood has been spilled and it was just and right.”


@Acton I am rumbling! Can you feel it?!
[Image: x341oLX.png]

You're one microscopic cog

in his catastrophic plan


Reply
Acton — Night Court Citizen Signos: 1,530
▶ Played by Griffin [PM] Posts: 154 — Threads: 22
▶ Male [He/Him/His] Hth: 20 — Atk: 20 — Exp: 37
▶ 6 [Year 497 Summer] Active Magic: Illusion
▶ 15.3 hh Bonded: N/A
#3
Acton
these violent delights have violent ends
 

For a terrible moment, Acton thought that Raum would not say anything at all.

That had always been the surest sign of where things stood; like a shark, the Ghost was most dangerous when silent. That is how he did his killing, not with the flash and glamour of the magician. It was why they made such a good pair; if they were a sliver more similar they would have killed each other long ago.

But that did not answer the question of why he was afraid in the first place. Not that one shouldn’t be, around Raum; even Acton could recognize that was the only intelligent way to feel. Maybe that was why he could never quite manage it. Now though - ah, something had changed, when he learned that Raum had tasted his new queen’s blood. Whether it was a fracture or a break, well…that was why Acton had come.

So he was relieved to hear the voice, not echoing despite the stone walls of the cave, and blew out a breath that eased a little tension he hadn’t known he carried. The moonlight finally caught Raum as he stepped forward, and trailed like fingers along his skin. It made Acton wonder how the man had ever survived so long in the court of the Sun; it was clear it was the moon that loved him.

“Only when they stopped making sense to me,” he returned, and his voice was not a whisper. It was flint and steel, a bite of flame that sought to catch. For once he was not smiling; for once his gaze was hard to read. The buckskin did not flinch or withdraw before unspooling quicksilver or drown in ice-blue eyes. The thing inside him was too molten, his skin always bright and hot as breathed-on coals.

Outside the wind moaned beyond the entrance, and clouds like field-furrows drifted past. Within, for a moment, there was only their breathing.

It wasn’t until Raum spoke of hatred Acton twisted a dark ear back, and he almost snorted in response. This was nothing like the war with Day, and all the blood between them; Isra had not earned what she had paid. Not after all the had done to help rebuild, and that as a stranger, after their own king had been the one to begin tearing Denocte down.

“She has not betrayed us or Night,” he said, and closed another step between them. That alone had been enough for him, but Acton could not forget the devotion in his brother he had always seen as curious; Raum had always been the pious Crow. So he swallowed, and added, “Caligo chose her.”




@Raum





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Raum — Night Court Outcast Signos: 515
▶ Played by Obsidian [PM] Posts: 70 — Threads: 8
▶ Male [He/Him/His] Hth: 7 — Atk: 13 — Exp: 10
▶ 7 [Year 496 Spring] Active Magic: Shapeshifting
▶ 16.2 hh Bonded: N/A
#4
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
 

“Has she not?”
 
The question arrives like death, cold and fetid upon the walls around which it echoes. While that voice of death is soft, Raum’s gaze is the weapon that delivers it. His eyes are the sting of electricity, the flood of water in lungs.
 
The Crow makes no move, not when he stands beneath the liquid light of the moon as it tumbles in the cave’s open mouth. He stands as an instrument of death might – quiet, ready, awaiting use.
 
An ear twists atop Acton’s skull, bright like a spark. “And when have things ever needed to make sense to you?” Raum asks his brother – the Magician who was always more reckless. A corvid tilt of his head, a glimmer of black pearl eyes, and Raum observes softly, “She has made you soft.”
 
And there is no praise in those words. Neither are the designed to punish. Oh no, Raum sees a weakness where there never was before. “Are you abandoning the Crows?” Raum asks again with a voice like lead and satin. Soft as gossamer in its tone, as resounding as a death knell with its words.
 
Was this it? The moment the Crows fell apart, the moment the murder was done.
 
Calligo chose her.
 
Still Raum does not move. Still he does not flinch. Even as his mind recalls the way his goddess peeled herself from her statue to stand before him as flesh and bone, he does not stir. Except to blink and it is a slow, slow blink – night passing to light and back again.
 
“I do not have to agree with all that my goddess does.” And oh there is something so dangerous here. A darkness, a terrifying lack of fear that has Raum standing fast beneath the chance of his goddess’ wrath. His heart is a steady drum beat – he does not fear Calligo, not any more. Love, yes, but not fear. If the Night Goddess set herself upon his punishment, it would be met with impassivity for, as Raum watches his brother (and his weaknesses), he knows there is little left for him here.
 
To lose Acton, is to be left with nothing.
 
And still Raum does not flinch, nor his heart twinge.
 
“Have you come here for Isra’s sake, or mine?” A quicksilver gaze settles like poison upon the fellow Crow. There is no ignorance in that poison gaze, he knows why Acton is here but what he does not know is where his brother’s alliances lean.


@Acton I am rumbling! Can you feel it?!
[Image: x341oLX.png]

You're one microscopic cog

in his catastrophic plan


Reply
Acton — Night Court Citizen Signos: 1,530
▶ Played by Griffin [PM] Posts: 154 — Threads: 22
▶ Male [He/Him/His] Hth: 20 — Atk: 20 — Exp: 37
▶ 6 [Year 497 Summer] Active Magic: Illusion
▶ 15.3 hh Bonded: N/A
#5
Acton
these violent delights have violent ends
 

“She was not the one who crumbled Denocte.” Acton met that stare, blue and cold and faraway as a circle of sky from the bottom of a well. His own was its opposite, though just as sure; it was ice and not fire but both felt like burning. How long since he had stood so close to his brother? Strange, now, to look at the smooth silver of his skin and wonder how such a man of moonlight could ever survive in Solterra.

Great as Raum’s other skills were, the most dangerous of them (more dangerous, even, than his lovingly-honed blade) was his resolve. Where Acton was a flame that flickered and leapt and drifted with the wind, hungry for anything at reach, Raum was determined as a glacier.

Acton could only hope that his mind was not made up.

At Raum’s insult the buckskin lifted his teeth in a skull’s sort of grin. He could not disagree, not with his hands so dirty with soot and sin, not with the way he’d always gloried in their work. It was not until the Ghost said soft that Acton’s gaze flicked back, sharp.

“You're the one who asked if I was shedding my feathers, Raum. I didn't think this was the something new you had in mind.” Left unsaid was what he saw as the bloody beating heart of the matter, the thing that had started the fracture: the Crows abandoned us.  

Maybe that was all the story came down to. Orphans abandoned and clinging to what family they could. In the dark of the cave Acton thought about meeting Isra on the docks, as alone and hungry as he had once been; he thought of Isra as he’d left her in her rooms, and the space between the two memories.

“Oh, pious brother,” he said, and for the first time tonight his smile was true (and leering, too, just a little). “I knew there was a little heretic in you.” When Raum did not move (of course, his cold stone, his glacier ice) Acton stepped forward, his footsteps quiet as ones from a very different cave, a very different day. It was then that he caught the scent of blood, a copper separate and darker than the dank mineral smell of the cave; his eyes fell to the cuts along Raum’s sides, to the missing daggers that were almost obscene in their absence.

His brows rose in surprise, but not as great as it might have been - sharp in his memory is Isra in her castle, clothed in rage. Isra who could turn wood to silk to gravestone.

“I'm not so sure she needs me,” he said, lifting his gaze again to Raum’s, and his smile has gone crooked and strange. The words were spoken mockingly, but the truth of them struck him like a fist. Acton tossed his head, disguising his unease, summoning again his gunpowder grin. “You’re the one hidden away in a cave, bleeding and skulking.”




@Raum





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Raum — Night Court Outcast Signos: 515
▶ Played by Obsidian [PM] Posts: 70 — Threads: 8
▶ Male [He/Him/His] Hth: 7 — Atk: 13 — Exp: 10
▶ 7 [Year 496 Spring] Active Magic: Shapeshifting
▶ 16.2 hh Bonded: N/A
#6
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
 

She was not the one who crumbled Denocte. Those words rattle through the cave and Denocte crumbles a little more as rocks skitter from the rough-hewn walls.
 
Raum does not deny those words. In one thing Acton is right. “No.” He agrees with a voice as ragged as those rattling rocks. “Denocte was crippled long before Isra came to the throne.” Those blue eyes flare, a spark, a droplet falling in the darkness. “But she is soft. She makes our home a fantasy.” And it is no compliment. Even as the word soft falls from his tongue, he counts all the ways that she is not. All the blood that still drips from his torso, the way his skin is ragged and broken by her sharp, sharp magic.
 
But as such thoughts fill his mind, a rage like vipers twisting and riled, tangles in his gut. It turns his blood to electricity, his skin to the blackest of night. Gone is the silver of him, black are the shadows that crawl across his skin.
 
Oh his ire is pitch, is it coal ready to burn with flames bright and hungry. Heretic adds to his list of sins and inside, somewhere, in that pious heart of his something flinches. It cuts and it bleeds and it heals, not with clotted blood and fresh laid skin. No, it heals with steel and claws and teeth.
 
His eye close, for a beat too long, a moment more that betrays his hurt. Inside, somewhere, a nerve still flares and feels, raw and ragged. But when those eyes open…
 
Oh.
 
It is a terrible thing. The blue is gone, for there is light in that. His eyes are nothingness. They are a void and they fix empty and wide upon Acton. More echoes of words stalk about them like ghosts of the dead. But Raum is no longer wracked with grief (if he ever was).
 
In silence, wearing the meaning of Acton’s final words like a shroud, he sets those swallowing eyes upon his friends twisted smile.
 
And then he moves.
 
A wing flares from his side, ill-formed and ragged. It is a mockery of the Crow who bears it – it is his soul – wrongly made, bitty and tatty. But it is well formed in the claw upon its tip. That wing reaches to press upon his brother’s throat, its claw to hook about the tender skin of his throat. He pushes forward, for in this cave of theirs, there are many places to corral one’s prey.
 
Raum is close, close close to that gunpower smile. He does not need to lower those abyss eyes to know how it curls, how it hides the toss of his brother’s head and the rapid beat of his heart.
 
“Is this it then, brother?” Raum breathes as soft as death, and gentle as a feather. It is familiar to be here, so close, so intimate with his friend. That tattered wing presses tighter yet as something slips loose, a monster, a fire, a chaos raging within the dark silence of the Ghost’s body. “You put her before your brother. I warned you against Bexley Briar. Your feathers have been shedding for some time. Your last has just fallen, Acton.”
 
And then Raum smiles.


@Acton 
[Image: x341oLX.png]

You're one microscopic cog

in his catastrophic plan


Reply
Acton — Night Court Citizen Signos: 1,530
▶ Played by Griffin [PM] Posts: 154 — Threads: 22
▶ Male [He/Him/His] Hth: 20 — Atk: 20 — Exp: 37
▶ 6 [Year 497 Summer] Active Magic: Illusion
▶ 15.3 hh Bonded: N/A
#7
Acton
these violent delights have violent ends
 

When those eyes closed, extinguishing that burning blue, Acton thought he might have succeeded (even as Raum’s silver turned to shadow-black, even as he melted further into the dark of the cave). He blew out a breath, felt something like guilt simmering beneath the adrenaline-burn of his skin. He was about ready to agree with Raum, for he knew in his soot-black heart that the silver stallion was right. He was softer. He was softer and he didn’t know if it was wrong or not, no matter how strange it felt. The buckskin even opened his mouth to say so, and leaned forward -

but then Raum’s eyes flickered open again.

Acton had always wondered (less like a scholar, and more like a little brother who enjoyed pushing buttons) what would happen if he ever succeeding in goading Raum too far. On some level he had considered it impossible; the Ghost had always been unflappable, too cool and distant to be barbed by Acton’s joking. And why should they ever reach the edge? They loved one another. There were a hundred bodies dead between them. They were brothers.

So when that cold, curved claw pressed against his throat, for a heartbeat Acton did not believe it.

But it was hard to argue with a knife to your throat - harder still when it was one wielded by Denote’s Ghost. Especially when it wasn’t really a knife at all, but a literal extension of Raum himself.

At first he was nothing but wide eyes, caught off-guard for one of the first times in his life. What an awful feeling that was - worse than anger, worse than pain. He swallowed and it felt sharp against the bob of his throat. After that he was only ears, listening and still as Raum spoke. In the cold arms of the cave his voice was like velvet, wrapping around him, an embrace. Acton could still feel the warmth of the summer night as his back; what breeze could reach him twined his tail as though trying to tug him away.

Acton did not like the idea of running - but he minded it less than the idea of dying. And there was no reason written in the empty blue of his brother’s eyes. There was, too, the memory of Isra and her terrible wrath; how much greater must Raum’s be? It had been burning for so long.

Slowly, slowly, Denocte’s erstwhile magician drew a breath.

“All this time,” he said, and felt that claw prick against the soft skin of his throat, a vampire kiss. He could feel the blood beading, slick and warm and coppery in the dank of the cave, and thought Isra and I will have matching necklaces. “All this time and I thought I was the mad one.”

And then Acton set the cave alight.

Or rather, he filled it with the illusion of an explosion, all the smoke and smell and black choking feel of it, blinding eyes and choking throats. Ricocheting off the walls was a terrible roar, not so different from the sound in a canyon-cave in a desert long ago. Thick, foul-smelling smoke curled between them so that Acton could not see the white tip of his nose.

Lucky thing he didn’t need to. From that first shattering noise he was already wheeling, back and away, expecting Raum to falter for a moment and no more.

He nearly failed; one small miscalculation and he was scraping his shoulder and his ribs against the side of the cave, leaving skin and hair and blood on the stone like an offering. Billowing black spilled out from the mouth of it behind him, rising into the air, and there was a part of him that gloried in it for oh! it didn’t look like an illusion at all.

But Raum would know that just as well as he, and so there was no time to watch his work. There was only time to run, and so Acton did, knowing the devil might be on his heels, and even if he wasn’t tonight he always, always, would be until one or the other of them was dead.

And for once there was no burning in his veins, no bright joy that came from living in its purest form. There was only sorrow like an empty hole in his chest, and the strain of his heart and lungs and sinews as he ran like a rabbit from the man who’d known him best.





@Raum





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