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Played by Offline Obsidian [PM] Posts: 144 — Threads: 16
Signos: 0
Day Court Sovereign
Male [He/Him/His] // 8 [Year 496 Spring] // 16.2 hh // Hth: 7 — Atk: 13 — Exp: 26 // Active Magic: Shapeshifting // Bonded: Legion (Basilisk)

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

“Did you think I wouldn’t find out?” Raum murmurs, his breath, warm and rich with whiskey as it pours like amber across Caine’s cheek. Shadows crawl, they clink like the chains that hang tight about the black’s canon bones. There is no noise in this place, no noise but the fading hum of Raum’s words and the coarse hiss of their breaths.
Slowly Raum’s gaze moves over every inch of the stallion’s face, beside them a letter lies. It is bloodstained and littered in mud. The words are drowning in crimson that still glows wet and fresh.
“I have eyes, Caine.” The King continues, still close, his voice still little more than a murmur. The darkness breathes where they do not. It swells voluminous and clings to the damp of the small, fetid cell.
“More eyes than you could ever know. You are a fool to forget the might of the Crows. Once a Crow, always a Crow.” And the darkness breathes wings upon his spine. The glow ink bright and blue stained. His skull tilts, corvid and wicked. His eyes, usually blue, are black, black, black. Against the silver of him they are dark chasms reaching out to swallow down all that Caine is. Oh, Raum will destroy him, every piece, every tick of his heart and throb of his blood. Every piece of him will know the wrath of a Ghost.
It is cool here, in the darkness of Solterra’s bowels. But Raum does not feel the darkness, nor its cold. His is already scarred, already burnt beyond recognition, beyond feeling. Night is nothing to him, Day is the ruins he dances in and ash is in his mouth and tar is in his blood. Raum’s bones are bleached and his teeth full of sand and grit.
Slowly he blinks, slowly his eyes wander from Caine’s face to his wings, pierced and weighted down, down by iron. Down upon the cold damp stone they hang. Once, Raum might have wondered if it hurt, the feathers around the chains stripped, the bone driven through with an iron ring… but now he simply looks and does not care to know. There is no need – there is no pain that he can feel. His empathy is as ghostly as his title: Ghost. They haunt him, but how can one haunt what is now numb and does not feel?
But Raum is not completely numb. And that is why Caine stands before him, incarcerated, convicted, sentenced. “Fia.” He says softly, like a caress of a blade, of a mallet. “The leader of the Rebellion,” The King concludes. “You played a fool’s game and lost.”
And then a door is opening and torchlight shatters the dank silver darkness of their cell. Raum leans back, and the damp smell rises, cloying in their lungs. A guard moves slowly into the room. “It is time.” And a nod is all that is given as the guard reaches for the prisoner, to drag him out of the darkness and into the blinding light of above.
The small cell resounds with chinking metal. Was it death, rising up from Purgatory to seize them? Raum is a shadow in Caine’s wake, he is the moonshadow that Caine missed in his night within the cell. Did he look to the moon and think of a mad king? A Dictator King? A Savage King? A Ghost King? A Blood King? So many names! Raum is so many things, but now he is but a shadow. He is darkness breathing, a smothering black with eyes that know.
The guard moves before them, a procession of three, but then more guards join, filtering into the parade as they weave through the citadel halls. The grand doors spill open from the atrium and crowds are gathered here to watch, to mourn, to gloat, to enjoy, to fear, to embrace, to breed hatred.
How long is the walk to the central square? How many jibes are thrown, to Caine and to the king? How many grope for them in anger and spit and condemn them with tongues of wicked fire and eyes as hard as blades. They crave death, this crowd but is it Caine’s or is it Raum’s that will slake their thirst? The king is not a vain man, but this time he knows the crowd is baying for him. His blood is precious now, it burns like poison in his veins. Yet he does not flinch at their ire nor their joy. He does not move from their threats.
El Rey is waiting and light glints along the sharpened blade. The guards move to lead Caine to the central spot, to a platform black as obsidian. “Caine!” Raum says, loud enough for the crowd to hear. “You have committed a crime against Solterra’s king. You have worked against the Court you call home. You have endangered lives.” He speaks, with a voice like lead, with eyes like electricity. They vow, to kill ,to burn, to ruin all that Caine is.
Slowly he moves to the shackled man, careful to avoid the tethers that hold his wings down. “You could have endangered my daughter.” Raum murmurs now, for Caine’s ears alone. “You are lucky I will not take your life, your eyes, your tongue or your listening ears.” Slowly, slowly Raum studies him before turning away. “The punishment I have deemed for this convict is to have his wings removed!”
He gives a nod to the looming presence of El Rey before he steps away, off the platform, down into the crowd that screams in raucous disarray. They are animals here, grief-stricken, enraged, excited. They claw at the king as he passes, he sidesteps them and does not slow. As he walks he waits, for the dull thunk of metal upon Obsidian and the twin thuds of feathers and bones.

**IMPORTANT NOTE:** anyone is welcome to respond in this thread as if their character is in the crowd and have reactions and feelings to what is occurring, but please note that this is specifically a thread for El Rey and Caine and they will reply to each other but may or may not include your char in it according to their own discretion.** 
@el rey @Caine 

[Image: x341oLX.png]

You're one microscopic cog

in his catastrophic plan


Played by Offline rallidae [PM] Posts: 64 — Threads: 6
Signos: 310
Day Court Scholar
Male [He/Him/His] // 6 [Year 498 Summer] // 17 hh // Hth: 8 — Atk: 12 — Exp: 20 // Active Magic: Dream Illusion // Bonded: N/A

TW: Caine's disassociated response to pain, along with a brief, glossed-over mention of intercourse

After great pain, a formal feeling comes –
The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs –
The stiff Heart questions ‘was it He, that bore,’
And ‘Yesterday, or Centuries before’?

The first to go is always time.

How much of it has passed, since he was caught and chained down with enough iron to equip a cavalry? The comparison, barely hyperbolic, drags a feverish smile from Caine's lips. How rich Solterra still is in its ore! Enough for an army twice the current one's size, filled with the puppets of ruined men they fed just enough to worship the benevolence of Loyalty.

Focusing his eyes, Caine lolls his head towards the slivered window, staked evenly through with iron bars, high above the damp stone walls of his cell. The blades of his withers ache from bearing the weight of his nailed down wings through the night(s). He flexes them every hour, or so, to keep them from stiffening. (If the guards had kindly granted his demands for a clock, "Can't you take one down from the kitchens when you bring my meals?" [a joke within a joke; they never brought him meals] "Saints knows the cook never heeds it," he could've kept to a precise schedule.)

Ah, he thinks, with wry affection. My wings. 

His dear, double devil wings have, since their nailing, settled into a needly numbness after trembling themselves mad under the spikes of pain emanating from the sections of crushed hollow bone. He finds their numbness deplorable. It leaves him with nothing to fight off. Sighing, he rests his head against the cool stone and gives himself back to the kingdom of sleep.

When he wakes, slouched against the bars of the cell with his left wing soaked in fresh blood from tearing open his wound, Raum is there. And his bloodless mouth is moving.

"Did you think I wouldn't find out?" Eventually, we are all found out. Time is always the enemy, King Crow. But Caine's lips remain contemptuously, laconically sealed.

"I have eyes, Caine." With the proof staring back at him, Caine simply nods. 

And as Raum speaks, and speaks, he fixates his eyes on the bridge of the man's muzzle, to make him believe he is listening. Then, when the facade is secured, Caine dives soundlessly into the depths of memory. 

Agenor had used chains in the beginning, when Caine—or simply, Boy, as  the silver eyed child hadn't yet encountered the book he'd use to choose a name that tasted right upon his tongue—hadn't yet nulled his reactions to pain. For his master's safety, as he maintained the web of interlocking spells around the Boy, his limbs were bound to prevent sudden movements that would undoubtedly wreck the warlock's concentration. As the Boy grew older and his bones lengthened as well as toughened, the chains were no longer necessary. Like all living creatures learned to do since the dawn of time, he acclimated. 

"Pain, as with all emotions, is merely a creation of the brain," stated a wrinkled journal he'd found stuffed beneath a floorboard in Agenor's study. "And as with all creations, it can be controlled. Over the years, the most effective method I have found is so simple it seems a farce. Here it is: take your brain away. (I do not mean physically, but perhaps it would help for you to think of it that way. Curiously, imagined actions often elicit the same effects as real ones.) Take it away, to the night you first bedded your beautiful wife. Focus on her face, how it morphs. Focus on your breath, how it catches. Inhale the scent of the roses she'd picked that morning, glazed with dew, and placed in a crystal vase by the silk canopy... For the more innocent among us, grasp upon another memory equally potent. Equally visceral. Distraction is a channel the Saints have blessed our minds with for precisely this use..." 

The Boy hadn't had a lover, so the description didn't move him and his cheeks remained bloodless. He didn't have memories he considered quite visceral enough, either, so after some experimentation, he made do with an alteration.

He imagined himself shut inside a metal box just big enough for all his limbs—and his two pairs of wings, later on—to fold up into, like a telescope. There was nothing around the box. No sound, no light, no life. But there was padding inside of it, black as cinders and softer than goosedown. He didn't need to breathe in the box, nor to eat or drink or relieve himself. Nothing outside knew of him inside, so nothing, you see, could hurt him. One by one, he discarded his sense of: Time (the first to go, always), Memory, and Self. The world had forgotten him; tucked inside the box, he would never be bothered. Inscribed into the side of the box was a single word, manifesting in steadily improving handwriting every time it was summoned: Mortem. Death.

When Caine opens his eyes again, it is to a blinding brightness. Tears stream from his eyes, rewetting the dried blood and giving him the appearance of crying it. He must've drifted off in the middle of Raum's speech. Keep a man from his food for day(s), he thinks, and you cannot expect him to play the role of both A. Starving Man and B. Responsive Listener.

The sudden exposure to sunlight disorientates Caine so much that it is not until the guards throw him onto the jutting platform, a slab of bone-white marble (to better show the blood, he'd realize later) that he notices the crowd. Faces—jeering, snarling, drooling, faces—surround him like a swarm of Bacchants, mouths twisting into hornet's stingers. 

Raum's voice once again cuts through the haze of his mind. 

“Caine!” he caws. The crowd roars in answer. “You have committed a crime against Solterra’s king. You have worked against the Court you call home. You have endangered lives... You could have endangered my daughter.” Caine's brows knit, the only expression he has managed to conjure thus far, when the king bends down to his ear and murmurs of Sabine. The little fairy.

“The punishment I have deemed for this convict is to have his wings removed!” Silence, before a howl of approval, or disappointment, or a savage mix of both, erupts from the stands. Had they expected more? A head, perhaps?

Blinking, Caine looks to his wings. Looks down at the bloody pulp of black feathers and exposed bone and the invisible net of black magic tying it all together. Disgusting, he muses, with a shred of savagery. He feels the sudden urge to laugh, then, and he wonders: Why shouldn't I? What more do I have to lose? (Your life, he imagines Fia saying. Ah. But I have never cherished that, he answers her, sadly.) When Raum turns to leave, the convicted, bloodstained spy laughs.

He turns the curve of his dark throat to the sun, lets the weight of his oily hair drag his head an extra notch backwards. He laughs, and he laughs, red mouth slit wide and convulsing, until he pushes it all out of him like expelling a parasite.

He closes his mouth, spits blood onto the pristine white marble platform, and screams: 

“Long live Seraphina!”

@El Rey @Raum
again, this is open for any character to reply to with their reactions!

but darkness was here yesterday

♠︎ ♤ ♠︎


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