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Why else
are we here
if not to live with
passion for 

Everything is white.

The entire forest is covered in a layer of hoarfrost. Orestes has never seen anything like it, and as they trek deeper into the forest he maintains, for the most part, a reverent silence. The day is early enough the sun has barely crested the distant, unseen horizon; the forest remains shadowed and cold, even as the sky paints itself in the colour of Sweet-Brier roses. It is nearly entirely silent; save for the crystalline tinkle of the creek, still unfound. 

Orestes glances back occasionally, to ensure Marisol is following. The sun continues to rise and as it does, the desert king’s tattoos begin to glow the molten gold they are known for. This sight is nothing compared to the hoarfrost; wind through the treetops dislodges particles, white and glistening. The rising sun catches them in orbit, and the silent forest takes on an ethereal, magic quality. Orestes can hear their breathing; intimate whoofs of air, that cloud like fog; even their footfalls are relatively silent as they progress up, up, up, following still the sound of the stream. They walk through drifting hoarfrost, lit to gold, and Orestes feels as though they walk among the stars. The cold does not reach him and there in his eyes there is a mischievous, clandestine promise; Orestes glances at Marisol as though they are conspirators and in the morning light they have discovered an untellable secret. 

They walk until the sun has risen and the hoarfrost as settled; the forest remains perfectly white, however, and the creek reminds undiscoverable because of the fact it runs beneath a sheet of ice. At last Orestes settles in a very small clearing—it can barely be considered such—where the creek once ran in a small waterfall through the rocks. Now it is frozen, and brilliant, and it makes him think of poetry and how everything will reawaken in the springtime.

It is now and only now that Orestes sets down the pack he had been carrying across his shoulders. He draws from it several pieces of dry tender and lights a fire. Nearby, Orestes sets down a tarp and a blanket above it, to protect them from the snow. Finally, Orestes produces a bottle of wine and a various assortment of cheeses, breads, and fruits from the pack. It is clear there the pack is not yet emptied; however, he pulls out only one more item.

Then, with an impish glint to his eye, comes a bouquet of celosia, zinnias, bells of Ireland, with accents of Queen Anne’s lace. He happened to know a florist capable of growing flowers from nothing, and he presents them now with a decorative flourish. Orestes rises for a moment, only to uncover from a nearby alcove a snow-covered tarp, beneath which is a stack of pre-staged wood, dry enough to tend the fire. 

It begins to blaze and at last, with utter shyness, Orestes says: “I wanted to…” he stammers for a moment. It was much more eloquent in his mind. Orestes had thought of everything he wanted to say as they had walked to the location he’d chosen and… everything he thought now escapes him. His silence is filled by the tinkle of the water beneath the ice; the quiet wind through the trembling, frost-covered pines; his breathAfter a long and self-conscious pause he settles on: “I wanted to share an experience neither of us has had before.” 

For a moment he is struck with a fear that, perhaps, she has had this type of experience before… and it would cheapen this moment. Orestes is taken aback at how mortal the thought is, how… vulnerable. It is something he has never thought before. 

What Orestes does not even realise is in all the time they have been walking, he has not thought of his Court, and more significantly—

He has not thought of the sea. 

Of course, good things can never last; and from his peripheral he sees Ariel drift, ghostlike, through the trees. The lion's gaze, although impassive, feels as leaden as Atlas's burden. There is disapproval there, and Orestes knows the lion believes his time better-spent attending to duties in Solterra. Yet, Ariel says nothing. He merely leaps atop a fallen tree and settles, the snow sizzling from the luminous heat of his fur. 

Orestes only dwells on his companion's presence for a moment, before redirecting his attention to Marisol; if anything, the lion's arrival diminishes some of the tension the desert king feels. It is not often that Orestes is nervous when discussing emotions; but today, today... He wants it to be perfect, and knows that things rarely are.

@Marisol || “Speaking.”

Played by Offline RB [PM] Posts: 277 — Threads: 28
Signos: 180
Dusk Court Soldier
Female [She/Her/Hers]  |  8 [Year 498 Fall]  |  16 hh  |  Hth: 26 — Atk: 34 — Exp: 56  |    Active Magic: N/A  |    Bonded: Anselm (Ibizian Hound)


still i dream myself bloodied
my body swallowed
my body grass-stained & longing for the treeline
to reveal something green. 

Everything is white.

Marisol feels utterly out of place. At least Orestes shines, at least he is bright and smiling: at least he doesn’t make a black hole against the snow. She is his awful opposite. She sucks the light in. She pours like water over the snowbanks, not quite any color but instead the absence of it. She is a shadow against the glittering ground, and that shadow is all too aware of its own darkness. Nearly to the point of hating it.

Everything is bright but her, it feels like.

His tattoos are catching the light. Against the winking snow, they seem to move, shift, and ripple, as though they are only just being drawn; as if they are molten gold being poured into its mold or hammered into shape for the first time. The kind of beautiful he is makes her teeth hurt. The kind of beautiful he is outshines everything else, and she is doing anything but looking away from him, because what else is there to marvel at? The sun is rising, the sky is washed in oranges and pinks. On the snow, the light curls back into itself, makes its own lake over a field of frost, a lake that can’t hold its shape or color for more than a fleeting moment before everything fails, everything changes, everything falls apart.

Mari knows he won’t think of it this way. She knows he is not ripping at the seams, the way she is right now, or always is.

He meets her eyes. They are lit from within with mischievous white fire; the curl of his lips is as perfectly made as any other part of him, a thing found only in nature. He meets her eyes. His eyelashes are spiked with little particles of frost. His hair is a whirlwind around him, a cloud, frozen in place by little rivers of ice that crack and shed when the curls move around his shoulders. She does not see the snow flurrying above their heads. She does not see the way the sun turns it to gold; she does not see the birds flitting from branch to branch; she does not see the silver frost on the pinecones, on the evergreen branches, on anything but him and him and him. She cannot look at anything but him and him and him.

It hurts to smile, but she does it anyway. 

Anselm touches the back of her leg. His nose is cold and wet, and in her mind, he is complaining about the frigid weather. My paws are frozen, he whines. Marisol inhales, sighs, and watches her breath pool in the air in one large, glittering cloud. She doesn’t bother responding. Her throat is filled with acid; her jaw is aching. Nothing pleasant could come out of a mouth like that.

Suddenly they have stopped. She notices only because, in her distraction, she bumps right into Orestes. Her shoulder collides with his flank; she blinks once, startled, eyes flashing in the white light, and finds that they are standing together in a little clearing surrounded by towering trees, scaly with panes of ice, and defined in one corner by a little waterfall frozen mid-rush. 

For a moment—just a heartbeat—her breath escapes her.

She doesn't know where to look. It's all vying for her attention too desperately and too close to one another. She doesn't know where to look: at the artfully preserved crashing of what was once water; at the fire that bursts into existence just past that suddenly-revealed basket of food, and the way it turns Orestes into sunlight; at the boyish grin he flashes her, at the bursting bouquet he holds out, full of flowers she can't name anything of except their color—bright red, pale green, sparks of white. It comes crashing into her all at once, a too-high wave, a tornado-force wind; her mouth falls. She stares.

Marisol wants to say, or maybe scream: you don't know me.

She wants to gasp, choke, and insist: I am not already weak for you.

She wants to say: I know you can't love me. Nobody can.

But life is so, so short, and she is dying already, and what's the use in anything but loving? She wants to run, back away, turn a blind eye, but she can't. Or won't. Or does it matter? 

She wants to say all these terrible things and wear them like armor because they are true, or if not, then at least they are hard to disprove. Instead she reaches out. Instead she presses her forehead into his neck. Instead, Mari says, in a voice softer than soft, "Do you know you are gold inside and out?"


[Image: ddg6quy-9d15dab5-339c-4b09-8b57-20a99fda...jvUop12efQ]

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