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Nicnevin
Dusk Court Soldier
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Age:

2 [Year 503 Fall]

Gender:

Female

Pronouns:

She/Her/Hers

Orientation:

Bisexual

Breed:

Warmblood/Draft Mutt X

Height:

17 hh

Health:

8

Attack:

12

Experience:

10
Offline

Last Visit:

1 hour ago

Joined:

07-19-2020
Signos: 315 (Donate)
Total Posts: 18 (Find All Posts)
Total Threads: 7 (Find All Threads)



reference



Nicnevin is autumnal.

She is coated primarily in earthy tones – dusky charcoals along her back that pale to honey-brown, flecked with a gold like spreading embers or summer fireflies along her chest and stomach. She boasts a pair of uneven, pale socks on her front legs, the sharpest departure from her otherwise-dusky palette, and all four of her hooves trail faint feathering. Her mane and tail are long and generally unkempt; they fall about her in thick chestnut waves, sometimes interrupted by half-fallen braids and half-hearted attempts to domesticate their wild inclinations. Her tail is usually bound by a thin gold crown of leaves, twined with charms, to give it some semblance of neatness. A pair of spiraling ram horns sprout from the skin behind her barely-tufted ears, the same deep charcoal as much of the rest of her at the base, but pale as flaxen at the tips. They are rather small and blunt and have little practical use; she adorns them often with thin golden chains and charms.

Nicnevin’s eyes are odd – the left is bright gold, and the right is a striking cherry-red. Between them is her most distinct marking; the golden oak leaf is incredibly deliberate and detailed, run through with veins of darker fur, and, to a casual passer-by, it might appear to be some strange tattoo, rather than a marking she was born with. Among her people, the golden leaf was perceived as a sign of her fate. As such, Nicnevin has great pride in it, and she keeps it visible at all times.

In her relative youth, Nicnevin is leggy, with a suggestion that she will eventually grow quite tall; her wings will always be expansive, but as a girl they are nearly disproportionate. She is lanky and slim in a way that is ill-fitting of her noble carriage, but, with time and considerable effort, she will grow into an elegant and well-muscled creature as an adult. Nicnevin is quiet by nature, but, when she does speak, her voice is soft, melodic, and surprisingly high – even as she ages, it never quite matches her imposing height or occupation.



A TACITURN CREATURE who rarely speaks unless spoken to – Nicnevin is not precisely enigmatic. In fact, she is almost unbearably honest, and blunt to a fault. Although she tends towards the quiet, she is not particularly evasive, and any honest effort to converse with her will find her quite warm and rather open, though often somewhat oblivious. At first glance, she seems particularly mature for a girl of her age, with a formal manner of speech and manners that are, at least in theory, impeccable. She is disciplined, and, when given a task, diligent and wholehearted in her efforts to complete it. She is surprisingly learned, and she can quote quite easily from philosophers and authors, though none that would be known to the outside world. She is generally obedient and generally composed – but, to her chagrin, she hides a ferocious temper that can be quite easy to provoke and particularly vicious. She is quiet, but her tongue can be rather sharp.

Although her demeanor is chivalrous and formal, Nicnevin is hardly sensitive. She adheres entirely to the cultural norms and ideology of her people, and she seems to have little interest in changing her behavior; her goal, after all, is ultimately to return home. She does not truly understand tragedy, nor death, nor permanence. In a certain sense, she can’t. She has died before, and she has witnessed death before, but she has always been shielded from the blunt of it – and so with every other tragedy of her lives. Even the change of the seasons is foreign to her nature, the way that understands the world. Nicnevin will express curiosity and even wonder at the strange things she might encounter in the new world that she has been dropped into, but she remains firmly set in her beliefs. She is a creature of absolute certainty - Nicnevin is not prone to hesitation or excessive consideration (or, perhaps, consideration at all), and, when left unsupervised, she is prone to fearless (or reckless) behavior. She is quite a proud thing, too, and she has considerable (and perhaps misplaced) confidence in her own skills and prowess. In this case, her past lives are more of a hindrance than a benefit; she often fails to recognize the differences in her skills and emotional state in her current life, as compared to her past lives.

And – as much as she would like to deny it, Nicnevin is a still young. She possesses memories of her previous lives, but she is not any of the people that she has been before; she is Nicnevin. Her polite speech and philosophy are precocious at best and arrogant at worst, and her calm demeanor is quick to crumble under the weight of her still-undisciplined temper and sometimes tempestuous emotions, to her immense frustration. She is young and, in spite of her past lives, Nicnevin is sheltered. The outside world is to her alien, utterly unfamiliar, largely incomprehensible – it is blinding and brilliant and intriguing, but she knows nothing of it.





I WAS A SWORD, ONCE.

Among my people, there was a saying: never waste a good death. I do not remember how it feels to die, but I know that it must have been honorable, because my bones became the hilt of a sword. I remember the sing of the metal. Each pulsing blow. How it feels to rend open flesh, organs, veins. To carve them. The taste of blood spattered on my edges. Does that seem to you a horrible thing? It was not. Would it be horrible to be a stone on the bank of a river, or a tree growing in the darkest depths of the wood? It would not. It would only be natural. I was a sword, once, and the handle of a bow, and the tip of a spear, and the head of an arrow. It was no horror.

When we die, we are born anew, but not always as the same people, and not always as the same creature. My sister became a beautiful owl, my mother a dappled forest cat, my father a great oak tree – and I was given the greatest honor of a knight. Even in death, I could still serve, passed from knight to knight until one of my wielders fell in battle. I was forgotten, buried beneath gnarled roots and creeping moss, buried like a corpse amidst earthworms and beetles and centipedes until I crumbled, finally, to dust.

This was no horror. It might have been, were I still a knight – were I still a woman. But I was a sword, and, for a sword, there is no such thing as horror.

It was no horror.

--

My third life began with ceremonial wine.

I did not remember my first, at the time. There was afterbirth, and there was ceremonial wine, which is always more bitter than sweet. I did not remember my first life for many years, but the priestesses could see it – etched across the margins of my soul.

They knew, then, that it was my fate to be a knight.

We train our knights from childhood, among woven branches and temple stairways. I have never had the magical talent for a priestess, but both occupations are religious; one is the voice, and one is the blade, and I have always been better at cutting. I did not spend much of my time among my second blood-family. I was never taken from them – knighthood is not optional, but neither is it solitary. Still. I could not look at them and avoid thoughts of my cat-skinned mother, or my father still growing in a gold-lined grove, or my sister, who found me as a girl in the form of an owl. We were not parent and child. We were gateway and emergence, fissure and spill. They thought it an honor to birth a reborn knight, though I would never, in my heart, be the blood of their blood.

They had a newborn soul, eventually. I was happy for them – a new life is always precious, most of all when it is truly new. She never called me sister, and neither did I do the same. She was flaxen-haired and green of eyes, but I rarely saw them, for she always dipped her head to me as I passed. There was no warmth between us, nothing like the love I felt for my first sister, but I cared for her, in my own way. I am sure that she felt the same; I am sure that she felt it when I recited scripture and taught her the proper way to notch a bow.

My homeland is golden and perpetually autumnal. The forest is ever-waning, but it never succumbs to winter’s chill; nor does it warm to summer, nor green to spring. I have heard a few stories of other seasons and other lands from the few travelers who have been allowed into our wood and from the pages of books, but I have never seen them, and I have always, to tell you the truth, found them impossible to imagine. But neither have I longed for them. I have always been content with the life that I have led. I love my homeland with all my heart – more than enough to keep me from growing too curious about the world outside of the wood.

Besides. I know that it is much crueler, there. Every few years, foreign invaders will find their way to the edge of the wood and try to burn it down; I do not know if it is jealousy or desperation, but I have heard that they believe that they can find the secret to immortality somewhere in the woods. They misunderstand us, and I have always found it pitiful.

How could a soul pass and remain gone? Death is a mere transference, pure energy moved from one place to another. But simply knowing that you have lived before is not immortality. Even if you have lived more than one life, there is no guarantee that you will retain memories of your past lives. Even if you are reborn, you are not reborn as the same creature, living the same life. That would be immortality, living one life forever – and we are not immortal.

(Neither do we fear death. That does not mean we never grieve it, because you will never be the same twice, but we do not grieve it tenderly.)

My days passed in a haze. I was trained by the blade; stumbling and careless in my youth, but blindingly precise as my memories returned. I studied scripture and listened to the prayers of the priestesses; they anointed my brow with honey and thyme and gold dust from crushed roots before I went into battle for the first time, and wine and rosemary every time after that. My girlhood was simple and largely disciplined, but I still enjoyed it. I found time to go dancing in firefly-laden groves during each festival of the year, and to sneak out pastries from the kitchen, and to find friends and lovers from all walks of life. I had lived before – but something about the world still felt wonderfully new, though my homeland had changed little.

In my first life, I was our green knight – the venerated leader of our order. I had risen to the rank from a common family, with no prior lives to consult; it was grueling, but I was proud and ambitious, and I desired it more than anything. I was the blade of our king and the guardian of our high priestess, and, when I was not in battle, I spent my days in their company. They were my greatest friends and allies; had my own death not come long before theirs, I would have liked to know what they became in death, so that I might see them once more.

That grief and longing is the possession of a different person. Still – I like to imagine that, if we meet again, even if we are different, we will recognize each other, and there will be warmth between us again.

I sought to regain my position after I was knighted for the second time, but I died long before I could attain my previous rank, burned to ash by some man with tongues of flame and sharp, sharp teeth. He fell with me. I remember a tangle of limbs, my sword through his breast, his snow-white coat stained red.

--

When I died, I was many things.

I was a firefly, for a moment, then the gust of wind that blew it away; I was a tree and then a branch and then a crumbling leaf; I was morning dew, dribbling off the edge of a blade of grass; I was a vine, slowly strangling a tree. I was nothing for long.

--

Once, I was a pale horse, adorned in emerald armor – once, I was a sword; once, I was the pale gold that clings to the edge of the horizon between night and dawn, dead in my youth; once, I was morning dew, a gust of wind, a fallen leaf, a coiling vine.

In my most recent incarnation, I am like the forest: clothed in autumn leaves.

The passage was abrupt. Although I had been so many things between my death-by-fire and my newest lifetime, they felt like they had come and passed in little more than a moment.

I was born from a priestess; they are never meant to have children. They did it to pull me back.

I was trained as a knight, again, and told even from my earliest memories that I had been chosen for a necessary, important task – the gold leaf on my forehead was proof of that. My memories returned quickly, and I eagerly awaited the day that I would be told the details of my fated quest.

At the start of my second year, the priestesses called me into the heart of the temple.

The heir to the throne had been stolen at birth – kidnapped by outsiders and taken away from the kingdom, away from the woods, away from their heritage. Who knew what terrible things had been done to them? They could only say with certainty that the heir was alive. It was my task to venture out, into the outside world, and find them to bring them home.

I had never wanted to leave. But – I remembered my old friend, the king, and I nodded my agreement. I would find the heir and return home with them, whatever arduous struggle and sacrifice it might require.

The priestesses nodded. They gave me their blessings, and, abruptly, their farewells. They whispered magic, meant to send me somewhere far, far away to begin my search - somewhere near the last place they’d sensed the heir.

The world was gold. I felt like light.

And then, I found myself tumbling into a landscape unlike anything I had ever seen.

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I'm Jeanne - 21 & living in the USA. Perpetually rusty.

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