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3 [Year 503 Fall]








kathiawari / holsteiner


16 hh







Last Visit:

01-24-2021, 04:23 PM


Signos: 0 (Donate)
Total Posts: 2 (Find All Posts)
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s t o l a s

Jorah tells me that when my sister saw me for the first time, she refused to call me anything but a worm for months.

He says this loudly to me with drawn-out relish, watching Sisi’s soft-toffee curls from the corner of his eye. Waiting for her laugh to cut open gashes in my skin. I hunch down in my seat and wonder if I should tell him that she still calls me worm, and that I don’t mind it, because I know she means it as endearment.

There are crueller things to call someone weak and small and illegitimate like me, and I have heard them all. Sometimes, in the span of a day.

Sisi glances up from her book, her eyes like winter sleet, and Jorah’s grin widens — but instead of laughter a string of profanities (in Solterran — she isn’t fluent at all in the language but she knows every linguistic curse the sun god ever made, I think) spills like fire from her lips because she has added a sprig of rosemary in place of thyme and the potion is angering, angering, angering.

Gasping, I grab the flask and throw it out the open window just as it explodes in a spray of glass and black smoke.

“Thyme has soft rounded leaves,” I say to her sternly, after my breath comes back to me, “while rosemary is all needles.” Sisi’s laugh comes like a burst of dazzling light. I flush in embarrassment and slide back behind the safety of my books.

“Like you and me, little worm,” she says, and I watch with (secret) relish when Jorah’s eyes blink slowly. And then I blink, because when I shrink back my tower of books have been stolen right from under me.

“Where — ”

Jorah’s soft grunt is all the answer I need. Sisi has taken her books and mine and dumped them all in a stack on him, who quakes under the monstrous weight. He mutters something under his breath but I know it is only for show; I know he would do anything for her, like a salivating dog. Sometimes, I consider telling him to give up.

But cruelty has always been Sisi’s pleasure, and I do not wish to take anything more from her.

“Run along, Jorah. Because you wouldn’t shut up, my potion is ruined,” Sisi says, her voice like honeyed acid, “and us Silvas have far more important things to ruin.” I sigh when she drags me after her, but like Jorah's it is only for show.

If I may only thank my sister for one thing, it is for never leaving me behind.

* * *

s i t r i

When Calanthe passes me in the limestone halls, she looks from the white snip on my nose to the white star on my head to the sharp winter grey of my eyes and stops, as if she is bracing herself, before air hisses hot from her nostrils and her ruby gaze settles upon the sparrow’s wings twitching lazily as a cat’s tail behind my ears.

My wings are the exact color and sheen and flex of her own. I think them my own mini parody.

Mother,” I drawl, my voice as guttural as hers, and the girls gathered like songbirds around me giggle delicately into the covers of their books. Calanthe's painted lips twist down into a sneer. She steps past me without a word, her hair done up in thick black coils.

Yet I do not let her pass so easily. Not without whispering softly into her ear:

“Father’s tastes turn younger and younger every year, and you, my lady, do not.”

If there is one thing I will thank my father for, it is for tossing to me the tongue of a jackal.

* * *

Queen Marisol’s daughter asks me if the lacing patterning my back is scars. I consider lying to her — yes, dear Hilde, and they hurt me every night — before she fixes me in place with wide-eyed concern and I snort, my tongue gliding across dull teeth instead of fangs, and say to her truthfully, “No. Just aberrations.”

My mouth is full of pins as I braid my unruly flaxen curls into rigid plaits that would last through a war. Gunhilde's hair, as she hovers by my open door, is loose and tumbling past her pale shoulders. I beckon her into my room and watch her through the mirror, before stabbing one last pin through my mane and slinking to her side with a smile both wary and dreadfully indulgent.

“The usual today, øjesten?” I say, before gliding my touch through her snow-white hair.

If there is one thing I will thank Stolas for, it is for teaching me the soft, hushed language of angels.

I was not born pretty enough to one day become my father’s asset, and if there is one thing I will thank Calanthe for it is that: for birthing me perfectly ordinary-looking, and not a drop more.

If I was born beautiful, Father would treat me differently. I know this with as much certainty as I know that Stolas is favoured because he is both a boy and blessed. In the Silvas, being born blessed is much more important than being born a boy, but to our father, who follows the old ways, and stamps down upon any who holds them in contempt, the two weigh practically the same.

I am a girl and I am not blessed. I did not even have the grace to be born beautiful, and therefore useful. To be one day dressed up like a doll and marched in front of an audience of cruel-mouthed rich boys before one of them is chosen for me (the cruelest) and marriage closes me up like a coffin around a corpse. My father would gain alliances, and grandsons, and money. This, he would tell himself, would make up for the costs depleted over the years to keep me.

This, he would tell himself, would make up for the losses he'd sustained to keep Calanthe.

If there is any title that will look better on me than ‘bastard’ (on Stolas it merely looks shameful; on me, it is a devil on the shoulder that smiles back with fangs) it is surely ‘Calanthe’s Failure.’ Calanthe birthed me a girl, wholly plain, sinfully unblessed; took one look at me, moaned in despair, and handed me squalling to the nearest wet nurse. How she had ruined her waistline to bear me, she had howled, before lining her red-run eyes with kohl and screaming for her hems to be dusted with diamonds.

To distract, I suppose, from the scent of failure. I like to believe that even as a spot in her stomach, I had already begun ruining her. Like a spore of amanita phalloides.

I was raised with the hunting hounds and the battleroom boys and the discarded once-greats of Foster. None dared to strike me because I had blood in my mouth and Silva in my blood. I bit like a wolfling when approached, and bared my teeth when Father tried to pick me up one day and look at me.

I writhed in his grasp, no taller than his knee, and when he touched my hair to appraise it (as fair as his and Stolas’s) I screamed that I would cut it all off, and my brother’s too, if he told me it was beautiful. He set me down laughing, the sound booming and cruel, before remarking that at the very least I had the tongue of a jackal.

Nurse watched frightfully from the hall, Stolas hidden in her shadow, and I knew Father had said it loud enough so my brother would hear.

After Father had gone, Stolas crawled up to my shoulder and whispered, “Will you really cut off all of my hair?”

I stared at him wordlessly, before pinning him to the floor and snarling in his soft, trembling ear:

“Did you hear him call it beautiful? To Father, we are hideous. And if you know what’s good for you, little Stolas, you will know to make yourself worse.”

“He is ugly. Look at how he squirms! Calanthe will not like that.”

“He is not ugly, Sisi. All infants look like him. And he is not clean yet.” Nurse lifts my brother away before I can nip his cheek to silence his tiny squalls. I glare after him as Nurse leaves the room, probably to clean him up to present to Calanthe, who will take one look at him and wave him away before he can even cry. Nurse will bring him back before the hour is out, and then I can nip his cheeks all I want.

“Is that really your brother?” I feel a tug on my leg and hiss as Jorah drags me down to the floor. He does not get the best of me for long. Before he gets another breath in I wriggle out from under him and bite down hard on his neck. He screeches, and strikes at me with his hoof. I duck it easily enough.

“No. He is a wriggling worm.” To speak, I have sacrificed my hold on Jorah, yet I still have him trapped beneath me and sit serenely like a queen on his chest. He glares up at me and yanks at a piece of my hair, but only because I allow him to. “You bite like a rabid dog,” he whines. Sometimes I cannot believe he is older than me. He is not very much faster, or bigger, or smarter.

“Sisi, release Jorah and come for your bath.” Nurse has come back without my brother. I see this and frown. Perhaps Calanthe is still deciding if she wants to keep him or not.

“Has Calanthe named him?” I ask, my voice stony as Jorah struggles beneath me. Nurse looks down at him and sighs. I know that she is thinking she has raised quite a useless son.

“She is your mother, Sitri. You must not call her by name.” Nurse tries her hardest with me because she thinks that if I am one day reformed, Calanthe will start paying attention to me, and then I will stop bothering Nurse and her only son Jorah. “And you know that she cannot name him, as he is a boy. Your father will name him when he comes.”

At mention of my father, I stiffen. Jorah takes this chance to shake me off, before sulking away to the kitchens like a chagrined alley cat. I watch him go and feel (just a bit) guilty when I see the ring of neat teeth marks decorating his neck.

“He may be a boy but he is not legitimate.”

I watch carefully as Nurse struggles to hide her surprise at me knowing about legitimacy at my age. I am brash and vicious, but I know when to hide in the draperies and listen like a spider in the eaves. Nurse bites her lip before she sets down the wooden washbasin she’d carried in instead of my brother, and beckons me over to her. I obey, running to her side before burying my face in her hair.

“He may not be, but he is a boy.” There is something hard in Nurse’s voice. Hard, and tired, and sad. “And—”

The world is dark and quiet in Nurse’s soft embrace. Jorah does not know how lucky he is, I think sourly, to be born useless yet loved.

“—your brother has been blessed.”

I stop breathing. The world is no longer dark and quiet but the thump of my heartbeat ricocheting like Calanthe’s staccato waltzes as a hawk throws itself against the bone-cage of my ribs.

My squalling infant brother is blessed. That is why Calanthe has not waved him away. Nurse strokes my wild, frizzy hair hesitantly and the softness of her touch makes me want to scream.

I bite down on my tongue before the first tear can fall like surrender from my eyes.

“No,” I whisper softly, the hawk that has become my heart screeching to the skies its fury. “He is a worm.”

* * *


I crash through the thick growths of bracken that sprout from the rich black silt our estate sits upon. Nothing else grows where the green bracken rules. The gardeners grumble about the wildness of the outer lands every morning as if they are going to do something about it, except that they never do because there is no money to be earned from such an ordeal, and our gardeners are some of the haughtiest in Novus.

So the bracken stays and the gardeners groan and my brother takes to disappearing regularly into its rippling, leafy depths. When I am not so angry about being sent off to fetch him, I pity him. It is the only place he can go where none but me will disturb him.

“Stolas, come out before I grow tired of you!”

A soft voice drifts out from the ferns tickling my ankles. “I am here.” I kick away the trembling leaves and sink down to sit besides him in the dirt. “And you are always tired of me, Sisi.” I shrug, before pulling out the wooden practice sword I had stolen and twirling it absently about as I think of what to say. He is not exactly wrong.

“Jorah told me that the new apprentices take turns tormenting you.” Stolas echoes my shrug, his pale eyes drifting wonderingly towards my sword before he sinks back down inside himself. “It is because you are too good and they feel threatened,” I say acridly, and he flinches. “You are the youngest in your class. And you are small, and weak, and your heart is as soft as a mushroom!”

He laughs, and my lips tug into a momentary smile. I do not make a habit of doing so, lest my brother begins to suspect that I am truly very fond of him.

“Calanthe does nothing?” Hearing our mother’s name stiffens us both. His voice is careful when he peers sideways at me and mutters, “She doesn’t care. You know she’s no eye for details.”

“Gadding, preening, goading. That is all Calanthe can do. And Father sits by and lets her, because he is afraid of her tattling to his wife. I am thinking of running away.” Stolas’s snort cuts into a harsh silence as I drop this bomb carelessly into his lap.

“You’re — what?” My angelic brother knows me better than anyone else in the world. He knows that I may not be serious before I say something but that once I do, my tongue curling behind my teeth so that my words come out as a growl, I have every intention of doing exactly as I say.

“To join the Halcyons. I will make them have me.” His eyes go to the wings flexing sleepily above my head and when he says nothing but a sad, quiet “oh,” I make a noise in my throat that sounds like a wolf’s growl and a girl’s sniffle, all at once.

“Beg me to stay, little Stolas. Beg me to stay and gut the apprentices that trouble you.” I slash my sword through the air, humming as it sings.

“Like rabbits,” I add, grinning when his eyes widen and flick suspiciously towards my mouth and sword.

Hesitantly he reaches for the hilt and I pass it to him. I show him my teeth so he sees they are not bloodied. He shrugs, again, and I knock roughly into his shoulder. His solidness surprises me. “You are not happy here,” he says finally, testing the heft of the blade in his grasp. “And — I know what Mother said about marrying you off to that Foster boy with the cruel smile, when you come of age.” I straighten myself and choke down a bitter laugh. How long has he known this?

“Except that I would eat him for supper after our wedding, and Calanthe would dust off her sword and gut me herself.” I forget, often, that our mother had once been a renowned Halcyon cadet until she’d grown tired of being praised for only one thing, and claimed the handsome, young, and wedded heir of Silva as her next conquest.

“I won’t beg you to stay, Sisi.” A buzzard bursts out from the underbrush and lands on my leg. Stolas, with a heart as easily crushed as a mushroom, presses into me, holding in a startled shudder. There are so many things my brother is frightened of that I have to drive away, like swatting flies from a carcass. I lift my hoof and crush the bug, sneering down at him. He swallows. “But will you really gut the apprentices for me?”

Stolas yelps as I pounce onto his back without warning, wildcat-spry, stilling for only a second before rolling off and landing neatly in the flattened bracken. A gold choker clasps around his slender neck where none had been before, carved with wings and snarling wolves.

“Already done, little worm. Now come!” I turn on my hooves, stalking back through the bracken towards all that we hate and more. The food is warm, though, and some company warmer — and we are still young heirs and heiresses.

“Supper awaits us.”

Active & Parvus Magic

Passive Magic

Bonded & Pets

Armor, Outfit, and Accessories

  • gold nose ring

  • though she rarely paints it on, her Halcyon warpaint is done with a thin brush dipped in liquid gold (stolen from her mother's room, along with various other things, when she had run away)

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Played by:

rallidae (PM Player)


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Staff Log

Saved incentives/prizes: None

08/20/20 Character app accepted, Dusk Court soldier. +20 signso for visual ref. -INKBONE
08/20/20 +6EXP for Rallidae being a member for 2 years (Nov 2017). -INKBONE
01/16/21 Moved to inactive from Dusk Court Soldier per member request. -INKBONE