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6 [Year 498 Winter]










16.2 hh







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Yesterday, 11:01 AM


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" And the first rude sketch that the world has seen was joy to his mighty heart, Till the Devil whispered behind the leaves, 'It's pretty, but is it art?' ― Rudyard Kipling"

-- -- --
Capella once teased him for his good looks; it embarrassed Lyr, as he has never seen himself as particularly attractive. Instead, when Lyr sees his reflection or mirror image, he believes that there is something nearly sickly about his appearance. The pallor tone of his colouring and the bright redness of his eyes betrays him as something far from the earthen home he was raised in, in the fields of Delumine. Lyr sunburns easily, a misfortune that leaves him more comfortable in dark, cool areas. This is due to the fact the stallion is predominately white, with pinkish skin. The only thing that offsets his pigmentation are the dark grey markings—an extensive frame overo, if that—tipping his ears, the back of his neck, and one leg. Both his mane and tail are interwoven with this grey colouring, and when healthy and well-fed, there is a nearly metallic sheen his hair. Every leg is decorated with primitive white striping, a shade or two paler than the base of his coat.

For as long as Lyr can remember, there has been something other about him, something nearly predatory. There is a certain effeminate sharpness to his features; his face does not possess the bold angles of a man’s strong jaw or prominent brow, but the delicate and arcing lines of a cat or wolf. When it comes to his breeding, Lyr is very clearly an athletic horse, with straight lines and a narrow, dry face. His eyes are direct, pointed, and the colour of fresh blood. Lyr is extremely self-conscious about this feature, and finds his eyes to be rather hideous; Lyr struggles to maintain eye-contact for extended period of times, and often has a down-cast or flickering gaze.

His build is neither sizeable nor slender, but some mediocre in-between. He is tall at 16.2 hands, with a high neck, level croup, long and powerful shoulders, and strong hindquarters. There is a certain litheness to him, and a thinness that is not preferable. Although athletic, there is a certain utilitarianism to his build and stature. Lyr has no excess; no frivolous movements or showy gait. Everything he does is direct, purposeful, intense—except for, perhaps, his struggle to maintain eye-contact.

In part, this must come from his mother’s side of the family. His mother had been a Gealach kelpie from the Dathuil herd—and so, Lyr is half Gealach. This has never manifested in a hunger for flesh, but an insatiable attraction toward the sea, and a lupine intensity. Although Lyr himself does not see it, he possesses a nearly otherworldly beauty when he squares his shoulders and looks at life directly. His hair is luscious, beautiful, and long—long enough to entangle and drown in, even. His features are unique and handsome, so long as he does not advert his gaze and speak so softly he can barely be heard. If Lyr were more confident and less self-conscious, the radiant beauty of the Gealach would undoubtedly show through. As it is, there is something ethereal and alabaster, something inhuman and metallic. Lyr is nearly statuesque; made more so by his unemotional expressions.

The great tragedy of Lyr is, perhaps, his inability to recognise his own natural appearance and embrace it. Instead, he hides behind locks of hanging mane and cloaks to hide his pale skin.

"One must shed the bad taste of wanting to agree with many. "Good" is no longer good when one's neighbour mouths it. And how should there be a "common good"! The term contradicts itself: whatever can be common always has little value. In the end it must be as it is and always has been: great things remain for the great, abysses for the profound, nuances and shudders for the refined, and, in brief, all that is rare for the rare. ― Friedrich Nietzsche"

-- -- --
Noncommittal - Logical - Endearingly Awkward - Deliberate - Kind - Brilliant - Precise - Polite/Gentlemanly - Humble

Unemotional/apathetic - Concise - Introverted - Tormented Genius - Lawful Evil - Bitter/resentful - Agnostic

How an extraordinary man can guise himself so easily as nothing save mediocre is a mystery. At first, there is very little that appears atypical about Lyr. In fact, aside from his striking appearance, he is often easy to miss or forget. Lyr is soft-spoken and deliberate; he always chooses his words carefully, and rarely speaks with excessive flare or emotion. Lyr ensures his expression remains politely interested, but never more invested than what is due by social etiquette. The only attribute that suggests this behaviour does not reveal his true intention is Lyr’s absolute intensity. He is not easily distracted, and listens to others with a nearly overbearing attentiveness. Despite his noncommittal conversational abilities and a penchant for redirecting conversation away from himself and toward others, Lyr is secretly a brilliant man. He is a voracious reader and avid learner. His memory is exceptional, and names and faces stay with him more easily than one might expect. Lyr’s deliberate nature is borderline obsessive; everything in his life has a place, to include his expression and gestures, and Lyr is both immaculately clean and insanely precise in speech, dress, and conversation. An oddity of him is the fact he takes notes of nearly everyone he meets; this includes their name, gestures, and expressions.

In part, this is because Lyr is painfully introverted, and social interaction (especially with multiple people) causes him great distress. He attempts to overcome this weakness of character by ignoring his emotions. Despite this, he is At its worst, his introversion causes him to be quieter than usual, sometimes short, and nearly claustrophobic. He becomes unnerved and attempts to disengage from the situation. Typically, his demeanour is endearingly awkward rather than off-putting. He is earnest, hardworking, and to the point; if anything, he gives the impression of a humble, quiet man. At his best, Lyr can even be borderline charismatic; after all, he has an uncanny ability to remember things about others, as though he is genuinely invested in their lives. There is something just disarming enough about his awkwardness and something just genuine enough about his kindness that he often leaves a good impression.

However, he is not so simple as to describe him as ordinary with an extraordinary memory and social introversion. Lyr is multifaceted and dynamic; there is something innately intense and borderline fascinating about his quietness, his passive nature, and penchant for kindness. While these things may be misleading, they are still genuine. To describe Lyr as “evil” is too black and white. On one hand, there is nothing evil about him. On the other, he possesses the pragmatic apathy of a natural killer. There is something necessary about Lyr; there is something unavoidable.

What makes Lyr dangerous is how he perceives himself. Lyr truly believes he is the deliverance of the ignorance of the world. For now, he bides his time. But with the utter conviction of a madman, he believes the Solar Courts of Novus must fall. With the complete and aggressive belief of the religiously righteous—or condemned—Lyr believes the time for the gods is ending, and the time for men is just beginning. He is resentful of the solar deities—save Vespera, although he worships her with reverent fear—and does not trust them, or the values they instil in the Courts. Lyr believes they limit the full potential for Novus’s inhabitants and, at their core, their intentions are cruel and baseless.

In this regard, he possesses the pragmatic logic of a chess player. Lyr is patient—but he believes, truly believes the time is coming—and fully intends to sow discontent in the hearts of Novus. Lyr believes this is the necessary culling of the fold. A necessary evil; the evil of a wolf on the hunt; the evil of a lion killing the weak buffalo calf; the way the cold of winter will freeze a bird to a bough, or starve the elk in the woods, or turn even fear into a secondary feeling. Lyr may appear mad in this regard; but there is a sort of tormented genius, not quite beyond redemption, to his agnostic bitterness toward the world around him. After many years, Lyr has alienated himself and his hopes and fears for the future; he sees nothing beyond revenge for his sister’s death at the hands of his foolish parents and a merciless god.

At his core, he cares deeply and passionately about the well-beings of others. He loves the world that he is in. But there is something broken within Lyr, something that takes the shape of a wounded animal cornered in his heart.

"Alexander and Caesar have had this in common: to be loved and wept by the conquered, and to perish by the hands of their own countrymen. Such men have no country; they belong to the world. ― Jules Michelet"

-- -- --
I was raised in Delumine. Perhaps there is a part of me, tender and naive, that will always love it. Now the sound of the Rapax and the spirals of the capital cast a shadow over me that is at once inexplicable and utterly melancholy. The same sites that gave me such joy in my youth have become impregnated with leaden agony. The impenetrable and ardent Viride arrives in my dreams in images of dappled sunlight through endless kaleidoscope leaves, and the melodic whisper of the wind through the swaying branches wakes me to endless recollections of my definitive past. The scent of the deciduous leaves has never left me and the old smell of earth-rot permeates my life as if I were grown from the soil of my homeland.

Not even the salt of the sea takes it from me.

My mother used to write poetry of how Oriens must have mixed a thousand incomprehensible shades of green—emerald, jade, chartreuse, olive, sage, evergreen, more, more, more—to create the foliage that decorates the forested countryside. She sang me lullabies of the Eira, and the Rapax sweeping away the unruly and unlucky. I have always had a touch of madness; she has always told me it came from her. My mother was a Gealach kelpie from the Dathuil herd; my father somehow courted her, and convinced her to join him on the land far from the sea. There may have been magic or gods involved; I do not know. But the story always reminds me of Thetis and Peleus. The sea’s madness has touched her, and though she ignores its call, I inherited all the violent wrath. She was and still is poetic, and wild, and unknown. My mother was a tragedy in her own right, and perhaps I fell a little too in love with the idea of her melodrama; the way she would stare at full moons and awaken at night, keening for the sea.

My father was a stern and pious man, a monk for Oriens who practiced his priesthood both within and outside our home. Perhaps my mother and us children were the one great deed of his life, as though by serving us he might have made his full service to Oriens. Although neither unaffectionate nor unsentimental, he was largely unexpressive, and the days of my boyhood were busied with countless hours attempting to gain a sign of his approval. Now and again he would grant me a smile, or an affectionate clap on the back. There was nothing quite like seeing the edges of his eyes wrinkle with a smile that—because of his pious nature—never quite reached his lips. It was enough to see the crowfeet hinting at pride when I whittled a particularly clever toy, or some tale of my good behaviour reached him from the townspeople.

Then there is Capella. His singular joy. The light of his life.

Capella, in her own way, was the light of all our lives. My father called her “our guiding star.” She was younger than me by a year but possessed a patient wisdom uncommon for youth. She had a penchant for braiding flowers in her mane—and in anyone else’s, who would let her. Her talent lay in befriending anyone and everyone who crossed her path, the wallflowers and princes alike. Capella, herself, lived with the vivaciousness of springtime flowers. Quick to bloom, beautiful to admire, and wild enough to leave the rest of the world just a little bit enchanted. Capella was a poetic girl, lovely and kind, with a heart like Oriens’ blossoming sky. She—lucky girl—inherited only my mother’s artistic and free nature, none of her violence of unpredictability, and there was a homeliness about her that she inherited utterly from our father.

In contrast, I was forever the missing piece. I fit ruggedly with the rest of my family. I do not know why. Some of us are simply born to struggle with such things since infancy. I did not possess the easy charm the rest of my family wielded absentmindedly; in my mother’s easy poetry, my father’s pious nature, or my sister’s whimsical beauty. I combined those things and became darkly troubled. I was the angsty son that could not yet discern his passion or direction in life. I devoutly worshiped the gods; longed to be more capable of a warrior; and wrote, but never as eloquently as my mother or sister. My father preached knowledge and not violence; but I was a poor study with a quick temper, and the two things did not constitute me becoming my father’s prodigal son.

Despite my deep respect and love for my father, we rarely agreed on anything and my mother constantly tried to mediate us. As I grew, I felt a real and crushing pressure to follow in my father’s footsteps. He was well respected man in our community and I loved him with a deepness that bordered on pain as I knew—at least I know now—that I would never be the son he wanted me to be. He hid his disappointment well, but it was always present when I responded more sharply than I meant, or said the wrong thing, or stumbled in my prayers. It was there when Capella eclipsed me in her radiant devotion, empathy, and easy wit.

Nothing ever came to easily to me.

But rather than resent her, Capella’s gifts allowed us both to shine. She always had an ability to bring out the best in me, and diffuse whatever tension I brought to the family. With Capella, my hard edges were always worn smooth. I was quicker to smile and less quick to take affront to my father’s rigid standards. In one small comment or action, she was capable of bringing us all to hysterical laughter. She made my father more of a man and less of a monk; in her he saw the purpose of all that the gods had created.

Capella had a particular gift, to see no one the same; instead, she saw everyone as they were, right to the quick of them, and refused to let them pretend to be anything else. In me, she saw what I could not and my father never did; that I wanted so badly to be enough; to be knowledgeable, kind, and diplomatic. Once she even managed to wrench from me my secret and childish hope to one day become Delumine’s Emissary, or Regent, and help bring prosperity to our Court and our God.

Those memories belong to a different lifetime.

Those memories belong to another man, who is locked away in a secret chamber of my heart. There is a poet my mother loved, who was unlike anything my mother ever wrote. He was unlike anything my family believed in, but she would recite him to me a little sadly, a little softly. “There’s a bluebird in my heart, that wants to get out, but I’m too tough for him, I say, stay in there, I’m not going to let anyone see you.”

It’s a little like that.

Capella was my bluebird.

— — —

When it became clear I would never become a priest—perhaps I was too unfocused, too harsh, too critical—I decided to occupy myself with the people of Delumine’s most identifiable trait: their ravenous quest for knowledge. I had always been a homebody, reclusive and introverted, but as a young man I decided to venture to Denocte. While there, I was convinced by a man who looked like a character from a fable to board his vessel and become a part of his crew.

I was gone for three years. That was more of my life than I had spent at home.

Perhaps one day I will share his name.

Perhaps one day I will share the journey.

But today is not that day.

What I will share is simple:

We went North, beyond what I had believed to be the hottest reaches of our continent. We sailed and sailed until the sea became frozen and icebergs loomed above us as floating, haunted mountains. The North was—is—a wild country. But then there are countries that go untouched, where it is night for half the year and day for only three months. There are countries beyond the farthest reaches of what I believed possible, in lands where the sun never sets and other nations where the sun never rises. We sailed beyond the solar deities, into a land of devils and archangels, of monsters and men, where there were no kind gods; only the fallen.

Only men, arrogant and certain of our powers.

Only men, eager to conquer what cannot be conquered. I am not sure what restlessness possessed the rest of the crew to go. For myself, it was pure and simple; misguided information. I had been told I voyaged with a group of adventurers, entrepreneurs, and researches. What I received instead was a half-mad captain on a quest for immortality and wealth. He sought to channel the magic legends of the far north; he harvested monster’s blood and bone in hopes of creating a concoction that would make him greater than himself.

I only know that each night of endless dark I continued to pray to the gods of my homeland, hoping to again see the dawn. I only know that with each wild raid by unknown enemies, and attacks by hidden leviathans, I survived through sheer will and the knowledge I was fated to return home.

Not many of us came back. But I did; despite the singing of sirens; despite the way the ocean touched me and never let me go, and demigods visited my bed as I slept, and faeries gave me dreams as lucid as though I were awake. I returned, through the fire and the cold, the men and the monsters, to a country that I barely recognized.

— — —

Delumine was as I had remembered it; perhaps even more poignant. The soil smelled richer to me upon my return; the sky brighter; the grass so vibrant it stung my eyes. I had not felt soft soil in eons, and for it to cave softly beneath my weight had become an unfamiliarity. I had been exchanging letters with my family throughout the years, and they met me in Solterra when my cursed vessel took me home. Capella was there, having outgrown her youthful thinness. She was a slender but elegant girl, with expressive eyes and dark lashes. She was exuberant in her greeting of me; my father was more reserved; my mother wept.

They took me home.

I supposed it was naive of me to believe it would all be as it had been. My memories of home had become rose-tinted; I believed it would be better than it ever had, and the quiet normalcy of Delumine was something I craved. People were astonished to hear my reserved and melancholy account of my travels; my father chastised me for being melodramatic with my details, and so I began to refrain from telling them. It was Capella and Capella alone who heard my nightmares and would come to comfort me at night, whispering: “I believe everything you say, you know?”

When I began to preach that not all knowledge is good, my father’s judgement became more rigid than ever before. My opinions contradicted the ethos of not only our Court and our family, but—unforgivably—our god; my mother was aghast at my admission that there are some things men should be spared knowing and when pressed for details of what these things were, I found myself wordless and untranslatable.

The alienation I had hoped to escape by embracing my Delumine heritage through learning and experiencing became magnified by my return. The only thing I began to feel was alienated. I became well-known as the boy who feared good knowledge, and the sympathy I had expected to receive over my toils was absent; I spent more and more time alone, wandering the forest. Occasionally Capella would accompany me, but she was often preoccupied with various suitors and her own ambitions to become the Champion of Community. She worked a full-time job in the markets to assist with our mother’s ailing health and my father, after my return, threw himself into his work.

If I knew then the things I knew now, perhaps I would not have felt so alienated. Perhaps my resentment would not have grown, and grown, and grown. I have spent many days examining my past and my experiences; I have spent hours journaling and cross-examining my older writing, attempting to understand the things that have made me become the way I am today. I think it was their unerring faith; their belief that knowledge is good, and powerful, and always better than ignorance. In all my studying I found a quote, one that has consumed me: “The end of man is knowledge, but there is one thing he can't know. He can't know whether knowledge will save him or kill him. He will be killed, all right, but he can't know whether he is killed because of the knowledge which he has got or because of the knowledge which he hasn't got and which if he had it, would save him.”

That is what broke inside me, when I went North. The end of man is knowledge, and I learned everything I could about the contents of our souls. Perhaps the most of mine.

I still believe things may have been different if Capella had not grown ill with some mysterious ailment. I still believe we may have overcome our differences and learned to be a family. At that point, I had begun to work for Delumine’s military as a soldier. There was nothing else in Delumine I was interested in at that point; I was aghast at the idea of pursuing scholarship after my reception when I had returned home. Medicine had never interested me and I would regret that for many years, as Capella’s ailment became untreatable. At first, we went to the doctors of Delumine; and then to Terrastella. But when both of them admitted that her disease could only be treated by a very rare root, they said they could not help. They had been unable to harvest any of the resource for years, and feared it might be extinct. They each warned us her ailment was terminal unless she received the proper treatment.

My parents, believing the medical path lost, began to pray. My father, mostly. I at first insisted we find the medicine; I demanded we scour the countryside searching. My father would have none of it. Perhaps I will one day have the emotional agency to look back at those fights and forgive him as a flawed man; but I doubt it. He was foolish; feverish; preaching that Oriens would save her, she was cherished by the gods, and in days I would be apologising for my foolishness.

Oriens did not save her. No one did.

The only way to bear the burden of my own self-deprecation is by hating everything more. First I turned on my father. Then my mother. Then Oriens. Then the rest of the gods, who I saw now were no different than the demigods and monsters I encountered up North; apathetic, indifferent to their suffering kingdoms. Solterra and Solis. Delumine and Oriens. Denocte and Caligo. Tempus, and the entire notion of Time. The only god I did not turn from was Vespera. They were the people who helped my sister the most; I left Delumine to join Terrastella and the Dusk Court, and while I hold on to my frayed beliefs in the form of Vespara, I find my faith in better things wavering every day.

There is something deeply wrong in the root of Novus.

I intend to right it, so there are no more Capella’s who die at the pointed stake of their father’s worthless prayers. So that there are no more tyrants, or fickle gods, or children who grow up believing they are not good enough for their Court’s ideals.

I know that, today, no one will understand. But in ten years they might; and in twenty Novus will be a better place.

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"When the Man waked up he said, ‘What is Wild Dog doing here?’ And the Woman said, ‘His name is not Wild Dog any more, but the First Friend, because he will be our friend for always and always and always.' —Rudyard Kipling "

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