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Ishak
Day Court Citizen
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Age:

7 [Year 498 Winter]

Gender:

Male

Pronouns:

He/Him/His

Orientation:

Unknown

Breed:

Akhal Teke X

Height:

16 hh

Health:

9

Attack:

11

Experience:

10
Offline

Last Visit:

10-07-2020, 08:23 AM

Joined:

08-11-2020
Signos: 665 (Donate)
Total Posts: 16 (Find All Posts)
Total Threads: 3 (Find All Threads)







☼ ISHAK ☼

اسحاق

"Some say a man is made out of mud / A poor man’s made out of muscle and blood / Muscle and blood, skin and bones"



If anyone asks, you first saw your face reflected in the flat of a blade. If anyone asks twice, you first saw your face in your mother’s mirror.

It was an ancient thing, her mirror. Most of the time it was wrapped in protective cloth. When dawn was brought forth, stretching over the dunes, she would unwind it and sit you down. She would sigh at the sight of your red mane and begin the process of braiding it anew. Or she would angle it just so, so that you could braid your own with halting motions. Or, if you had been an especially good foal, she would let you practice on hers.

The last morning you saw your mother, she ran a brush through your mane and set your braids in place. When you fidgeted and turned from the mirror, she brought your face back around with a gentle nudge.

“Sweetheart, you’ve eyes like a broken piece of the sky,” your mother muses. She had been like that, prone to whimsy.

Your father indulged her, “Like the horizon in winter.”

You meet your mother’s matching eyes in the mirror, for the very last time.

(If anyone asks, your mane is styled the way it is for no good reason and not because you never had the heart to stray too far from the last style she gave you.)

--

Much of the art that adorns your body is fleeting, even now that you can regularly afford permeance. It is not just the recognizability or price that you have been avoiding, but you truly do enjoy changing paints. A trained eye trained upon you, however, would notice that from the front shoulder on down little changes.

“You sure you don’t want this somewhere more...visible?” the tattoo artist asks.

Nestled among the already established loops and whorls, the sun takes shape just above your knee. It is on the inside of your left leg. It is not particularly large either, but you rather like the symbolism of it slotting neatly into your life upon your limb.

You smile. “Absolutely not.”

All done up in whites and reds, you smile later when you catch sight of yourself in a mirror. The tattoos and paints alike contrast well with the dark brown of your coat. Sunlight catches on your golden cuff (a gift from Ruth), the three earrings lining up your right ear, and the smattering of beads in your braids.

You’d given the artist free reign with the temporary paint, and the patterns above your front hooves have been painted to the height of your back socks. At your front right and back left there is a matching ring of red — to even them out amusingly enough. Your lack of symmetry seems to have been found offensive.

You turn, the better to see your own shoulder. The scar interrupting the tattoo is old now, almost a part of it at this point. (Further back along your flank is your souvenir from...meeting Ruth. Even her skills couldn’t leave you blemishless.) There’s irony in that shoulder scar, slicing across the tattoo you’d gotten in memory of your mentor a mere month after you had gotten it and she had died.

Above it is a line you think of as the desert, that your parents would have called the horizon. It wraps down falling into the whorl of memory of your mentor. Every inch bears some significance.

Not every inch is always seen, however; you’ve been known to obscure the designs with temporary paint. Your story is for you, and it would be a shame to add another almost death to the pattern because someone unfortunate recognized them.













☼ ISHAK ☼

اسحاق

”Stuck inside a cycle of opinions / Where there's two clear ways / And I always take the easy one / And I'm always left with the taste in my mouth / I will do better in the morning"



Your name is Ishak. When you were younger, you loved the sound of it — of shock. But, as you have aged, you have learned the value of the background. You have never quite become one with the paint upon the walls, but you have learned how to be ignored like it.

It would be easier to say that you did not learn it, not to this level, but that the Ieshans never spare much notice to those beneath them. You find it amusing to blend in among the servants, to relay gossip back to Ruth. Not that Ruth cares about the gossip, but gossiping is a hard habit to break. You would know.

--

You stare out the window at the sky. More snow. You slipped out into the courtyard earlier to nose at it, even as the wind whipped around you. You went out when the sun was no longer shining; you did not want to be another fool complaining to Ruth of snow blindness.

You are fortunate. You have known this already, known this because you continue to live. Now, your fortune includes being shut in here instead of lost amid sand and snow. You have been here for some time now, but not so long that servants’ conversations always continue when you enter the room.

You are something of an enigma to them. You who have held a scalpel to Ruth’s throat and come out the other side a bodyguard-shadow. Personally, you find it both amusing and frustrating.

One of the maids, Hadja you think, breezes by on her way towards Miriam’s room. Another maid comes from the other direction, carrying a bucket. It is full of water, likely for a bath, and she is struggling with it.

You step away from the window and smile charmingly, “May I help you with that?”

“Oh! Yes, please!” she smiles back at you, seemingly frazzled, “I’m Najwa.” She’s younger than you, with a blithe manner, but she seems sensible. Easier to befriend than the manservant that helped you into the eldest Kamau’s home.

You walk with her, stabilizing the bucket, and you talk with her. You learn that several maids think Miriam’s hair is difficult to work with, that the sharp divide between Adonai and Pilate has even servants taking sides, that Hagar’s painting tutor thinks she has potential, and that young Corradh favors figs and candied pears. The lady of the house, Keturah, is suspiciously absent from Najwa’s comments and speculations. You are unsurprised — she is a common topic to be cut short by your entrance.

As you turn a corner, Najwa looks at you speculatively and drops her voice. “Did you hear about Solis appearing? You had, in fact. You had not been there; you had been convincing a frostbitten filly to stay still for Ruth. That Solis’s appearance echoes around the Ieshan household isn’t exactly surprising.

You affect shock, “No! Tell me all about it.”

Her description mostly washes over you as it isn’t anything you haven’t heard before. As the two of you slow to her destination, she turns to you and says, “So what do you think?”

You replay what she says and try to come up with what you think she wants to hear. “Solis’s rays can banish any chill; we’ll be fine.” She smiles at you, thanks you for your help, and you turn to walk back the way you came.

Left alone with your thoughts, you conclude your honest answer would probably sound more like this: even if you were to worship the weather, flash floods would still exist. The gods are forces of nature before they are anything else.

--

You have told this story once and you will tell it again. It goes like this: you were young, new to assassin-ing, and you knew you could draw. You were high on a successful impersonation of a bard, of the jangle of golden tips in your bag, of a crowd that was happy to hear you sing.

You thought this time you might try an artist; the rich like their portraiture and you would have ample time to slit his throat. If you were really lucky, you’d have ample time to get away, too. Who would come looking for a man meant to be alone with his artist?

As miscalculations go, it was rather severe. It turned out like this: you can’t paint for the life of you.

--

You balance yarrow on your nose.

“That wasn’t the first time you woke,” Ruth says, eyes trained on you. “I think it was the third or fourth, actually.”

“Is that so?” you say, mildly. “With your tableside manner, I can’t imagine there was much small talk.”

Ruth is still staring, “You attempted to murder me, once — with the scalpel.” You grimace, slightly. Ruth knows you well enough that there isn’t any point in pretending you want to have this conversation.

“Very daring of me,” you say, still mild, still noncommittal. At the end of the day, Ruth won’t mind. You will.

--

You could own a mirror nicer than your mother ever did, now, if you wanted to. Ruth would be happy to pay for one if you asked. You keep the frameless one you bought with your own signos anyway.

You look into the mirror. You are not exactly one for introspection. You aren’t one for being extropected, either. You are aware it isn’t one of your most flattering qualities — evasiveness. You lie, too. Oh, not nearly as often, but you do.

You’ve a strong cynical bent. A streak of fatalism, as your mother would have put it. You wish you were more like her, with her inclination for romanticism. If she were here to see you grown, as you are now, you think she’d smile and say you were just like your father. You’re not sure how apt the comparison is. In your memory, he’s stoic and indulgent in turns.

In your memory is the only place they live now. And maybe you’re more like your mother than you think. You trail your eyes along your tattoos and the braids in your mane. Your father would call you sentimental in that tone he had, when he wasn't sure whether he was going to be indulgent or stoic yet.

If anyone were to ask, you don’t really know what kind of man you are. You think you are trying to be better, to scrabble up from what you were. You wouldn’t ever say you were evil or cruel, but you certainly wouldn’t call being an assassin good. Mostly, you did what you were told.

You aren’t certain you’ve changed all that much.















☼ ISHAK ☼

اسحاق

"Run in an alleyway / Through a dead end street / Murdering promises / That I just can't keep / We could sing pretty melodies / On the unmade bed / Slow-dancing to a silhouette / Cause I ain't dead yet"



Some say they are born of things — desert dust or ocean cliffs, silks and precious stones. You have heard it bandied about, whispered behind curtains. You doubt it. The rich do not have to test their every gold coin, their every truth for falsity.

Regardless.

You are born of flesh and bone, born in the desert sands. The first breath you take leaves sand in your mouth. The taste stays with you all of your days.

--

“Stone?” you say to Ruth. It is not the first time you have asked her this, but this time you press a bit further. “Surely, you have some thoughts on the kind of stone?”

Ruth grits her jaw. Irritation perhaps, or something else. “Nothing special,” she says. You would think that is a lie, but it is how she is. You would say that any stone that made her is special. You do not say it.

Ruth does not hesitate when she continues, “You know the stone that makes up the cliffs? The ones that border the sea? I think-” She breaks off, and you think that it is impossible to know the components of one’s birth. Parents or otherwise. “I think I was made of that.”

You slide next to her. This time you pass her the yarrow before she can ask. “Stone soaked in the lifeblood of the desert. Interesting.”

Ruth glances at you, suspicion in her eyes. It would be hurtful, you supposed, to anyone else, but you are long used to glances of that kind. She says, tone flat, “Saltwater is of little use to desert creatures.”

This is true, but you know all water to be deadly.

--

You do not speak of your youth. You do not speak of where a flash flood soaked desert sands and left you lonely and lost. You do not speak of it. Vividly, though, it lies in your memory. It is tender as a bruise and twice as painful to the touch.

(You remember trailing your parents as they brought their wares from the desert sands to the city streets. You grew up a desert colt, but you had seen the city under Zolin’s rule. You remember water suddenly where there had been none before. Your parents had said to you as a foal, “If you are lost, we will find you in the city. The desert will kill you for standing still, so find us in the city.” You went to the city. You remember the city on fire. You had hoped to never see it so twice.)

Those days are dust, however, swept aside by everything else you have been. And you have been many things. The first thing you were was a student, in how to build immunity to poison and slip a knife between the ribs. Since then, you have sang and drawn and danced and lied, all in service to the knife.

It would be wrong to say you were raised by those who taught you, but it is certainly fair to say they were the last family you had. Clear as summer skies, you can remember your first mentor. You remember the arc of an apple she slipped from a market stall, how it sailed over the shade canopies. You remember how she sailed over a cliff, hooves slipping on wet stone.

(Did she fall? Was she pushed? You’ve never known, but you’ve suspected. You completed her last contract despite the heightened security. As the nobleman’s body cooled, you killed his head guard out of spite. Later, you spent hours cleaning the blood from your hooves. It dried and it stuck and it stuck and it stuck.)

Your mentor had often made contracts on her own, without an intermediary. She did still work with one, from time to time. It is good that she did, because you do not possess whatever quality she did. He takes a larger cut from your price than she ever did, but you grin and bear it. You grin and bear a lot of things.

--

You will be dead, if there is anything left for you to be. There is a table under you, and you are somewhat certain that this is not the first time you have woken up. You cannot fathom waking up again.

It is not all that surprising. You know full well that wind moves luck like it does the dunes — as likely to bury you as anything else. Assassins tend towards shorter lifespans.

A woman hovers over you, scalpel working. Your eyes follow it lazily, incapable of any stronger glance. You have the distinct impression that this should be threatening, but several moments pass before you are aware you have likely pressed that very blade to her neck.

Likely. Possibly. Everything is hazy. You think of the first time you saw fog hanging low, and you think this is what it is like to be fog.

“So, Princess, why are you saving me?”

Perhaps, she’s an angel. You’ve heard they exist, sometime before you were on this table. Sometime when you could keep more than three thoughts in a straight line. You do not think it’s all that likely if you are honest. Who would choose that? Who in this world has enough goodness or what have you to be an angel?

A sheltered rich girl, knee-deep in your guts. A girl you were sent to kill, though, arguably, it hasn’t been worth the effort. It’s certainly something else.

She ignores you, working steadily. You cannot fathom waking up again. You cannot fathom being anything other than dead or worse when this is over, so you try again.

“Why?”

She sighs, and you dredge up some amusement at that. “It doesn’t matter to me if you live or die — you’re useful either way. That’s all.”

Huh. Honesty. You think you like it. You don’t think it for very long, of course, because the siren call of oblivion lulls you away.

--

How long have you known Ruth? It is immaterial. (It is three years.) It is the rest of your life.

--

You meet Ruth’s mother once. That is not to say you didn’t see her in the house, but you meet her only once. You don’t think most ever get to meet the woman, really.

(You could say twice, if you count being borne before her, mostly dead, by guards. You have little recollection of what was said beyond an admonishment not to stain the rugs. It fit what you knew of the woman.)

You stand next to Ruth, mouth still full of clever arguments. You don’t know if you’ll be expected to speak, so you rehearse what you have convinced Ruth with already. There had been a city guard there to impale you that day, but that there had been at all was an aberration from the norm. You carved Ruth’s schedule into yourself long before you held a blade to her throat. Daily, she travels alone to and from the hospital, to and fro anywhere she wishes to go.

If she were any one of her siblings, she would be followed by an entourage. By well-wishers and guards and hanger-ons and lovers and friends and schemers. It is why it would have cost so much more for you to kill one of them. It is why it would have cost you so much more.

One trusted guard would be enough to make the difference for Ruth. If, that is, she can trust you. You think she can, eventually. It would make you more useful if she did.

“Mother,” Ruth begins, “I’d like to hire this man as a guard.”

Lady Keturah’s gaze drifts up slowly, and it doesn’t rest on you long. It lingers on Ruth a little longer.

She agrees without argument, only instructing Ruth to talk to the steward. You set your jaw and say nothing.

You had expected to have to fight for your life, when you’d hatched this scheme to live. You had expected that your status as her daughter’s would-be killer to spell your doom, if you’re truly honest. You wonder if she even cares that Ruth almost died.

You follow Ruth out of the room, and you think about how it only takes a little gilding for someone to forget the base is rotten wood.

--

The sun rises. Its long rays stretch out across the sand, across the city. The wind picks up, and you taste sand.

You are facing the future incarnate, that eternal symbolism.

If anyone asks, you love the dawn. You love possibility. You’d give them your best glass-half-full answer.

If anyone asks twice, and they won’t because who wants an honest answer to how are you? or what do you see in your future?, you’d repeat yourself slower and with more feeling. Maybe admit to actually fearing change, a little bit, because vulnerability is a hit with any crowd.

No one asks, and you can admit to yourself you feel an ill wind blowing.







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appearance quote :: "sixteen tons" | tennessee ernie ford
personality quote :: "better in the morning" | birdtalker
personality quote :: "hellfire" | barns courtney



21 - definitely not two horses in a trench coat

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08/13/20 Character application accepted, Day court citizen. -INKBONE
9/30/20 +20 signos for visual reference on profile - GRIFFIN
9/30/20 + 40 signos for completing TID 5402 and TID 5382 - GRIFFIN
10/10/20 +100 signos for winning 505 Winter spotlight nomination: Pair, with Ruth. -INKBONE