an equine & cervidae rpg
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Novus closed 10/31/2022, after The Gentle Exodus
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508 [Year ]









15.2 hh





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06-19-2022, 11:04 AM




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“grief is a house where no one can protect you.” - Jandy Nelson

“You should have seen me before I died, trust me, I am way better looking now,” I say to some girl in a Night Court bar. She scoffs at me. They don’t know about the rumors here on the ends of Novus like they do in Dawn and Day. “No, really,” I tell her. “Death does something to a guy, cant you tell?”

She thinks I am lying. Fair, I would say, because I usually am. But not about this. I have the same stark white hair Valary had, the second time she died. They say it looked like fresh fallen snow as it scattered across her pillow in her sick bed. It is because I have seen it, death, seen it there, underneath that god forsaken house (only god forsaken because I don’t think Oriens would ever step foot in it.)

The angles of my face are more dangerous, sharper, like glass, that could cut you with a glance. An arrogant smile curls on my handsome lips. Someone once told me that my smile, my grin, made me look cruel.

That hurt my feelings.

“They will tell stories, Marco,” Elias scolds me. “Then let them,” I say, staring back at him. Perhaps it is me and me alone that finds the strength and resolve to stand up to our family’s eldest son, my older brother. Vasily never would, the coward, and the girls had always been too meek, too quiet. “Embrace it, Elias,” I yelled at him as I see Vasily watching from the shadows just beyond Elias’s shoulder. “Name it what it is, and let those stories breathe,” I say and push past him, knocking into his shoulder. I stop beside Vasily, maybe he had been hoping I wouldn’t notice him. I have dead eyes, they are silver, like tombstones, like the windowpanes when storms roll outside them, I wonder if they terrify him. I hope they do. I stare at him for too long, long enough to let Elias look back at me, at us both, and I met his gaze over my shoulder and find purchase in that blood red stare of his. “You know things don’t stay dead in this house—including secrets.”

Grandmother rarely spoke to me, maybe she did before, before everything. (Before the killing, before the dragging, before the burying.) She told me once while she held my face up to her own, “You are handsome, just like the others.” And then she dropped it, let my gaze and shatter like china. “But you already knew that, didn't you?”

“Yes,” I answered her, maybe a year later, as I raise a drink with a pretty red-haired boy with me. He has blue eyes. They’re nice. “What are we saying yes to?” He asks me, though still raising his drink. “That I am handsome—and I know it.” He laughs. I laugh. He drinks. And I do too—behind the bar, my fangs against his neck. I pull away and he stares at me still, with those blue eyes. “You really are,” he says in awe. I smile and think, I know, as his body slumps to the ground.

You cant see the scar anymore, but sometimes I can still feel it. Where she dug her horn into my throat. The same horn I hold upon that bone mask of mine. Elias, Vasily, not even Lotte, they have no idea I went back for her, and destroyed her.

“life always begins and ends in a bloody muddle, womb to tomb, just one big mess, a can of worms left to rot in the sun.” - James Crumley

Dead things are restless.
They are hungry.

I am no different.

“You’re pretty,” I tell him, and it is true. I always find pretty things in Solterra, maybe it is the way the sand clings to them, makes them glitter. He’s blonde, how cliche, but I enjoy it none the less. He blushes at the compliment and I like the way the blood rushes inside him.

He doesn't scream.
I kind of wish he would have.

I am gone before the body hits the floor.

Predators need little but what they crave. And I, I am a simple man.

“You resist what is rightfully ours,” I seethe at Elias. I am home less and less, and when I am, it seems all we do is fight. I find solace only when I sit in Lotte’s room and I let her brush my hair and braid it as she so enjoys. She fetches me tea and cookies, enjoys doting on me, I think she does it so I will not leave again, but even she knows I hate this house more than I love her. “And what is ours, Marco?” My brother asks me because he always forgets that I am not Vasily and I am not afraid to say the truth. “The bloodlust, the hunger, the feeding. It is our birthright, our inheritance, as much as the fortune and the house is, maybe more so,” I shout and go close to him, lowering my voice. “So for god’s sake, Elias—take it.”

“Are you flirting with me?” She asks, her eyes were violet, I remember. I shrug with a roll of my shoulders in the way that always infuriated my grandmother. “I’ve heard the rumors about your family,” she says and plays with the snowy locks of my hair. “That we are monsters?” I ask. “That you’re cursed,” she says. She wants answers, and the only way I would give them to her is through the vein in her neck.

Elias and I have always been the greatest of chess partners. We’ve had stalemates more often that either of us have actually won. When we are not fighting, and when I am home, which is so so rare these days, we go to the study and play. Vasily and even Lotte often come to watch us. We say more in that silence than we ever say by arguing. “Check,” I say and my stone eyes turn to his of ruby red. He makes another move and I hear Vasily’s sharp intake of air. He knows, he has learned enough about the game from watching us all these years. I say nothing, neither does he. I just grin, and topple my king over. “Good game, brother,” and I say. It is a moment of peace—we are brothers, truly brothers.

I love a party. Let me be clear here, I love a good party. Such as one thrown by the Ieshans in Day Court, or by the Fosters in Dusk. When I go to a party, I want champagne, I want the best of food, and I want gorgeous girls with their hair braided, and pretty boys with wine kissed lips. I am a predator, I love a chase, I love the reward of the capture. Oh, and the feeding, I love the feeding. There is no better hunting ground than a party makes.

“Vasily,” I look to my younger brother, we meet at Court, he has accompanied my brother to town, always, but I have managed to catch him alone in the shop. “I’ll be staying at Court for some time,” I tell him. “I won’t be returning home this winter.” His gaze dips downwards. “Stop that,” I say sternly, I am usually not so stern, that is Elias, not me. Quickly, I grin, I would not be Elias, never Elias. “Don’t stay in that house all winter long. One of the nobles is allowing me to stay at an inn at Court, come for a night. We can play checkers, read some novels,” I say and plant a kiss on his cheek. I see Elias making a final purchase and I am gone before he can see me leave. I’ll be gone all winter, but I cannot stay gone forever, I will return to that house come spring. I always return to it, we all do. That house is stronger than any of us.

I am not angry.

I am hungry.

I am restless.

I am dead.

“Your family's never in your past. You carry it around with you everywhere.” - M.L. Stedman

I think Elias hates me as much as he loves me. He loves me because I am his brother, the one after him (the heir and the spare we used to joke, even if it was true.) He hates me because he knew me before—

Before the unicorn.
Before my body dragging on the ground.
Before the burying below that house—our house.

He knew the Marco before, and I think he keeps searching for him. No, I know he does, because I can see it in his eyes as he scans my face, looking for a familiar smile I can no longer conjure, trying to dig up a certain childish gleam in my eyes, searching for the Marco that laughed like there was no hunger because there wasn't.

I kept painting blood over my face whenever I poured it down my throat, hoping he would stop searching, stop finding pieces, stop digging. But he kept going. So I found a skull inside the unicorn, the one who killed the first Marco, slid it over my face. I woke Elias in the middle of the night and asked him if he recognized me now.

Vasily cannot offer the same hate that Elias does. Vasily loves me, as little brothers are supposed to. I know this because it is the same way I feel about Elias. But Vasily doesn't know me. I died around the time he was born, and from then on I wasn't home often. He would grow an inch between my visits home. Still he loves me, easier than Elias loves me. That is because Vasily only knows this me—he has no choice but to love this Marco.

The three of us are brothers after all.

I had blood on my lips for my first kiss. It was a boy, a Dawn Court entertainer. He danced, danced for just me is what he told me. I think it was a lie, but I didn't care. It happened in the house, of course it happened in the house. I convinced him to come, despite the rumors, despite the stories, or maybe it was because of them. “Can we see the tombs?” He asked me, sticking close against my shoulder. His pulse was racing. “If you want to be buried inside them,” I said and smiled, I kissed his neck and he laughed. I buried my teeth into his neck and drank. “Do you—want to be buried?” I asked him as his eyes hung open wide with shock. He shook his head and stared down at my lips painted ruby red. And I kissed him square on the mouth, and he kissed me back, I could feel it in the way he stole my breath with just his lips.

I dropped him off outside Elias’s office, held a rag to his neck. “Keep the pressure on,” I told him and wiped my mouth against a clean area of his neck. I knocked three times, two short, one long, left him there.

The first bloody kiss—and not the last. Much to Elias’s both disappointment and fear.

Vasily was the sensitive one, Elias, the smart one, Lotte and Hanna the only girls, and me, I was the one who was molded for sport. The Maskes. It is an old Dawn tradition. The fighters each wear masks of their own choosing, stemming from when the battles used to only end in another’s death, this way, no one would ever truly be blamed for the death of their competitor. My parents enrolled me in martial arts, to channel my energy, before I quickly became involved in the Maskes and their fighting.

I learned and I grew, realized The Maskes were less of a fight and more of a dance. It was not about beating your opponent to a bloody disaster, but precise strikes here and here and there and there. It is as much of an art as painting or sculpting. Takes as much scholarly effort as writing and reading. The development of your character, their story, is as creative as any poet, any writer, any painter.

I cant remember anything, or hardly anything, before that time. There is a portrait of our family hanging, before the girls were born. Elias stands beside father, eyes glowing even in a portrait, Vasily beside mother, clinging closely to her, and I stand in the middle, the middle brother, always. Our hair is neatly done, we stand up tall and proper. None of us are smiling. They told me when I woke up, the first thing I did was grin.

Ossa Unicornis. That is my fighting name. Unicorn Skeleton. It took some time to develop the character. But when I reached into that unicorn that killed me and pulled out their skull, I knew this was who I needed to be. And so I pull that mask down time and time again and enter the ring—ready.

It’s an old memory that I harbor, because they are so few. I was outside, playing ball in our large backyard, when I saw the bricks of our home out of place, sticking out at strange angles. “Mother,” I asked when I ran back inside. “The house, it’s falling apart,” I said with such urgency. Mother did not look up from her book. “Oh? Is it, dear? I hadn't noticed.”

Lotte. She waits for me to come home and, to what I know is her disappointment, is fewer and fewer these days. She was waiting there, on that long front porch when I walked up. I still had Solterra sand in the corner of one eye. She doesn't run to me, just waits on that porch with wide, expectant eyes. I kiss the top of her head when I approach. She doesn't say anything, she’s stopped asking how long I’ll be home for—it’s just better not to think about it.

[This final portion was written by the lovely, Cannon <3]
We are not cursed, and if we are it no longer matters. I doubt it mattered to begin with.

Elias hates the rumors. He’d never say so, but he does. I think more than his sense of responsibility to his family, more than his sense of responsibility to his precious Vasily, he feels responsible for the people of Delumine. I tell him it isn’t his job. They have a king, I tell him. They have a king and our regent probably made the house the way it is in the first place.

“In fact,” I chide, “maybe the regent is Valary Dvorak, back from the grave.”

“That’s not funny.” Elias says.

“It’s a little funny.”

I ask him to forgive and forget, as rumors go. I am so tired of the sternness, and the silence, and the gloom that hangs over our heads. When he agrees it is not because he wants to be free but because he knows, if they speak of the house they will fear the house, and if they fear the house they will stay far away from it.

All of us are hungry, Elias. All of us are blood-drunk. Your house is not the monster.

We are the monsters. I intend to act like one.

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Mutation: Blood drinking and consuming.

Played by:

Sam (PM Player)


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