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Played by Offline Odeen [PM] Posts: 171 — Threads: 28
Signos: 1,295
Night Court Soldier
Male [He/Him/His] // 11 [Year 492 Winter] // 15 hh // Hth: 22 — Atk: 38 — Exp: 59 // Active Magic: Spell Warding // Bonded: Ruth (Tarrasque)
#1

If Raymond were to say he did not like this place, then one might be forgiven in assuming he liked no place - which wasn't strictly accurate. Sussuro Fields had struck him with their melancholy emptiness, but the vibes he got while investigating the summit were more of a creeping sickness in the gut, cold fish at market just beginning to turn in the late afternoon sun. There was too much rampant magic here. It would undoubtedly attract the wrong sorts, if the magic itself did not already owe its existence to the wrong sort.

Would that he could return to the simpler days, when the greatest concern to consider was the reach of your enemy's blade and the integrity of their aim.

But he would not trade his present life, good or ill, for all the simplicity in the world.

He stood a respectable distance from the unnatural circle of trees, overlooking the summit's verdant oddity and the rest of Veneror Peak's more natural slopes with a guarded eye. The air was thick with anticipation as the time for Things to happen ticked inexorably nearer, and horses from all directions trickled in as though drawn by the call of the deep magics at work.

Even from the southeast.

Interesting.


Raymond.
and at his feet they'll cast their golden crowns
when the man comes around


@Florentine







aut viam inveniam aut faciam





Played by Offline Obsidian [PM] Posts: 360 — Threads: 45
Signos: 0
Missing from Dusk Court
Female [She/Her/Hers] // 6 [Year 498 Spring] // 15 hh // Hth: 20 — Atk: 20 — Exp: 69 // Active Magic: Time Travel // Bonded: N/A
#2

i'm a pretty flower girl
check out my pretty flower curls


She may have been a godless girl, but the magic seared her agnostic soul. The trees, stood tall and ominous all faced inward. They were sages, no, they were shamans at a ritual. They hid the world from their secrets, they hid a god of time from his creation.
 
Around its edge the timeless girl wondered. She moved like a poem. Her every step was a rhythm of chanting magic, words that rippled like a vow. She would get on her knees for no god, but she would walk to the foot of their altar, their throne and drink in their splendor.
 
Words creep along her spine, in her dreams she has heard their voice, in distant times and far-away worlds. Florentine has danced upon the edge of time and stumbled back delirious and wild. It is not just flowers that weave through her hair, but mysteries that hide in the dark between each gilt strand. Memories, lives and secrets all live within her. She is so full of them she wonders if one day she might begin to leak each memory through ragged cracks or burst at once and lose them all.
 
There is no falter in her stride as her limbs peel her from the dark of those sentinel trees. There is no shy twitch of her skin as a wing passes across the door to the trees’ hidden shrine. In the clearing atop the mountain, the air is thin and paltry in her lungs, but it does not slow her as she steps to Raymond with bruised eyes blazing.
 
She has fallen to her death from the edge of time that lay before fate’s holy table. To search for a cat across the twisted magic of Rift did not phase her, no matter what ruins they might find.
 
Floentine steps before her friend and her eyes are near black in the magic-filled shadows. “I did not save Ruth for you to lose hope on her now, Raymond.” His ire, she wishes, was water to sluice off her skin. But it wasn’t. His companion had stolen more than her healing magic the day she knelt and begged Ruth to live.
 
“If you do not want to look for her, fine. But you are not the only one who cares for her.” And with that, with a flash of a silver dagger that has Verenor’s magic seething, she cuts their world into two.




florentine
rocking your pretty flower world






She is clothed with strength and dignity, 
and she laughs without fear of the future 





Played by Offline Odeen [PM] Posts: 171 — Threads: 28
Signos: 1,295
Night Court Soldier
Male [He/Him/His] // 11 [Year 492 Winter] // 15 hh // Hth: 22 — Atk: 38 — Exp: 59 // Active Magic: Spell Warding // Bonded: Ruth (Tarrasque)
#3



Raymond.
and at his feet they'll cast their golden crowns
when the man comes around


Raymond had not properly shared words with the flower maiden since their altercation at the Dusk Court gates nearly two months ago. It was a long time to seethe, a long time to burn, and if he had not been fully consumed with the pursuit of distractions that pointed him away from the still-festering wound at his heart he might have seen fit to appear with more than a perfunctory word once every few weeks.

Regardless, he did not expect the young mare to alight like an eagle before him, wings mantled and eyes ablaze with the intensity of her fury. He backed away a few steps, eyeing her sidelong as one might a wild bison snorting a challenge, debating whether his next move should be stupid or insane because there was no exit to be had.

He didn't want to fight her.

But he had no answer for the rebuke she offered in lieu of a greeting, no clever quip or heavy dose of sensibility to swat down her zealous fervor. More importantly, he had no time.

I did not save Ruth for you to lose hope on her now, Raymond.

The words stung, and he pursed his lips on a defiantly-raised head, tail-tip twitching its uselessness like a metronome until she drew a dagger of her own. Instinctively he squared off into a ready stance, blade arching high, before the dagger made its wicked cut -

- not at him, but at the space between them, opening a bright wound in the fabric of reality as he had seen only in the most unstable parts of the riftlands. This time he leapt away, toward Florentine, his expression an uncertain grimace. The portal bloomed like an ugly flower and writhed in the air before them before stabilizing with a gust of dusty, fetid wind. On the other side a grey waste of an ancient civilization lay across an empty field before them, all crumbled towers and half-standing parapets adorned with poles from which the flags had long, long ago rotted away, leaving the remains to jut like bristling spines over the carcass of a million shattered lives. The sky was yellow with dust, that world's sun a pale ember peering through the gloom. If ever a poet had described purgatory, Raymond was sure that would be it.

The girl was mad.

"You can't do this, Flora! She's gone. Don't kill yourself for a memory."

But as quickly as she had opened the portal, Florentine stepped through. And Raymond, unwilling to let the girl die for nothing, followed after with the taste of bile rising in his throat.




@Florentine







aut viam inveniam aut faciam





Played by Offline Obsidian [PM] Posts: 360 — Threads: 45
Signos: 0
Missing from Dusk Court
Female [She/Her/Hers] // 6 [Year 498 Spring] // 15 hh // Hth: 20 — Atk: 20 — Exp: 69 // Active Magic: Time Travel // Bonded: N/A
#4

i'm a pretty flower girl
check out my pretty flower curls

There is no space in her to worry about how he falls into his warrior stance. She pays no heed to the violent twitching of his tail. If she had she might have made him aware of how feline Ruth has helped him become. It is a twitch Florentine felt as life returned beneath fading skin when her magic seized Ruth from the clutches of death.
 
The cut is violent and fast, it allows no time for grace or thought. The worlds split open the window binding them tight. The Rift rages in the spaces between these worlds she has opened. She lifts her chin to its fetid magic, she lets the stale wind of this new world blow the hair from her face. Before this gaping maw fate’s girl stands bold and proud and utterly, utterly fearless.
 
Raymond’s words are whispers against the roar of solar winds in her ears; the window ripples with heat and furious magic. She closes her eyes and feels the power, the instability of her magic. Her dagger glints, wild and destructive, at her breast. This is who Florentine is. This is the girl who came before she was born and, with grace and free abandon, Dusk’s queen steps into the land of ruins.
 
Wild grasses bend around her limbs, yellowed with age and parched of water. This savage world sends a thrill through her heart – her being- for it is nothing she has seen before. Threads of old flags – clawed apart or rotted by time – hang limply from their poles. Crumbling parapets keep straining for the sky, but seem to fall like broken soldiers pulled apart.
 
The air is dust, and it pushes and pulls, abrading everything. Defensive and powerful it throws dust against her golden skin but Florentine stands firm against its savage friction. Even the roar of the window at her back does not bring a tremble or a twitch from her gilt body. This girl is alive, destiny clasping her with divine hands. Verenor stands tall behind her, Tempus’ doors shut tight.
 
Florentine smiles, feeling Raymond come to stand beside her. “Welcome to my life.” She says with an untamed smile, with a thrill of her heart that has missed this savage touch of fate. The time-traveller craves the danger of these new worlds. She craves their beauty and their savagery too.
 
She gives Raymond one wide, magic-drunk look and then she is gone. Florentine is pushing through the open grasses, lumpy from war and hiding metal weapons that lie like fossils deep, deep in the ground. History is below her, the past before her and the Rift’s savage magic behind her. the Rift gave her this power, it gave her the gift to heal Ruth and now Flora would use both to steal her back.




florentine
rocking your pretty flower world






She is clothed with strength and dignity, 
and she laughs without fear of the future 





Played by Offline Odeen [PM] Posts: 171 — Threads: 28
Signos: 1,295
Night Court Soldier
Male [He/Him/His] // 11 [Year 492 Winter] // 15 hh // Hth: 22 — Atk: 38 — Exp: 59 // Active Magic: Spell Warding // Bonded: Ruth (Tarrasque)
#5

Welcome to my life, she said.

Raymond snorted his offense at the dust assailing his lungs and the sound thudded dully in the dead air. Sharp, brittle grasses bristled like a forest of little spears before them, parched and begging for a spark, a perfect complement to the grisly quills lining what parapets remained standing along the ruined walls. Stones as large as horses lay rent asunder in massive piles of rubble that may as well have been their own rocky hillsides, but for the towers jutting defiantly out of the wreckage and what a good squint would tell him were the crumbling bones of this once proud fortress' defenders.

Even the breeze groaned around them like the dying sighs of an ancient, tortured behemoth.

"There's no life here, Florentine."

His voice affected a nearly funereal somberness. Everything about this place was heavy, from the countless souls utterly spent on these crounds centuries hence to the dust of a battle that refused to settle. This was dead land, cursed land. The red stallion stepped gingerly through the spear grass, half expecting some implement of war armed a thousand years hence to trigger and snap at him from the overgrowth.

What he found was far worse than a rusty steel trap.

Not far from where they had landed was a wide, shallow pit in the ground, made nearly invisible by the onset of time as vegetation and erosion crept in from the edges. Raymond's eye might have passed over it completely, were it not for the gentle slope of the field before them, leading the eye inexorably back to the shattered ruin before them. There were other such indentations, shaped with such regularity as to set his teeth on edge, and it was around the third sweeping look that he realized exactly what his eyes were seeing.

Deep claw-like gouges rent what few sections of the walls remained standing, and the destruction of the fortress fell in line with the ancient furrows as though the opposing army simply swept straight through in a wave of wanton destruction, slaughtering everything in their wake. Or...these were tracks.

"Flora," he said out of the side of his mouth, grey eyes transfixed upon the massive animal track, nearly struck dumb by the enormity of what he imagined, "it's not safe here."


Raymond.
and at his feet they'll cast their golden crowns
when the man comes around


@Florentine







aut viam inveniam aut faciam





Played by Offline Obsidian [PM] Posts: 360 — Threads: 45
Signos: 0
Missing from Dusk Court
Female [She/Her/Hers] // 6 [Year 498 Spring] // 15 hh // Hth: 20 — Atk: 20 — Exp: 69 // Active Magic: Time Travel // Bonded: N/A
#6

i'm a pretty flower girl
check out my pretty flower curls

This world is fierce.
 
The fortress’ parapets had met violent ends. Stone had been blown apart and pieces lay scattered all around. Buildings are charred skeletons of what they once were. Even the grasses are the rough and sharp ends of spears. This land remembers war and it will not forget it.
 
It sees to it that the travellers will remember too.
 
Should there not been a moment of fear? A sliver of unease trickling down her spine at the hostility this land hisses at them? Clouds of dusty air, red and angry, blow through Florentine’s window and back into Novus. She watches the dust swirl as if suddenly worried by the new world. It clumped together, span and was blown from sight by Verenor’s mighty breath.
 
When the gilt girl looks back, Raymond is stood over a small step. Curiosity has her moving to him. Here, Florentine is but a trinket of gold drifting across a barren wasteland of dust and ravaging time. The ground falls away at her hooves. It falls a foot deep and in its bed, grasses grow, long and wild. From a distance, Florentine might have never known the trench lay here.
 
Fear became a sweet taste upon the air as she follows the blood-red stallion’s gaze. Ah, she sees it now, more indents in the grass, just the same as theirs. They are large and patterned; a monster’s step.
 
With a breath and a boldness she should not possess, Florentine slowly descends into the imprint, her muzzle low. The grasses do not smell as grasses should, they are bitter and coarse – as if they remember blood and grief and terror. Angry stems of rough grasses, sharp and resistant, scratch at her face - but when has Florentine ever easily relented?
 
Above the smell of sand and acidic, old grass, there is something different. Oh it is rust and it is musty and it is gone as fast as she first smells it. This world wants it’s secrets kept tight and with a sigh Florentine lifts her head to watch Raymond as he speaks.
 
He is not studying her, nor the print she stands within, but stares down the hillside. Obediently Florentine turns to follow his gaze. The meadow falls away in a rolling descent towards the broken ramparts and there she too sees the deep gouges. It was not war that brought ruin here, but a violent monster, in whose footprint she stands.
 
Her chin lifts, her gaze rising into the clouds of crimson dust. She cannot see a sun, nor a moon, there is nothing but misting red. The girl waits for a shadow to loom from the dark and for a moment feels the absence of a black unicorn.
 
A sudden gust of wind has her turning; A twist of fate bringing a hoof to chink against something old. The flower girl pauses, her eyes lowering to a metal that gleams, unnatural and keen. Oh it is so keen to be found!  Her muzzle brushes it and that smell of rust and dusty-time returns.
 
“Raymond…” The time traveller whispers for, from the dirt, she prizes a delicate, flat-linked band of tarnished silver. A gem falls with it, dirty and old. A crack, deep and ugly, rends the gem in two.
 
Slowly the collar lifts to dangle between the girl and the crimson warrior, before she pushes it to him. There are no words, for what could be said at a moment like this? Wild, seized by ragged hope, Florentine turns from the collar and looks for more.
 
But what else would be found after a thousand years? Again the Rift had left them a clue and it is this: there is more to come, for good and for bad.

@Raymond
florentine
rocking your pretty flower world






She is clothed with strength and dignity, 
and she laughs without fear of the future 





Played by Offline Odeen [PM] Posts: 171 — Threads: 28
Signos: 1,295
Night Court Soldier
Male [He/Him/His] // 11 [Year 492 Winter] // 15 hh // Hth: 22 — Atk: 38 — Exp: 59 // Active Magic: Spell Warding // Bonded: Ruth (Tarrasque)
#7


What Florentine found there in the dirt chilled him more deeply than the enormity of what befell this lost kingdom.

At first his eyes did not want to see, and he looked past the tarnished and dirt-caked mass she lifted before her eyes to the ruin beyond, but the near-silent insistence of her whisper and the need with which she offered him the item made him risk a second look.

The trinket was badly tarnished and caked with a thousand years of weather and grime, but in a flash of existential horror he recognized it as clearly as if it were still lying atop a treasure hoard in the bowels of a ghost ship sailing a sea of sand and dead whalesong. He recognized its simple elegance, the delicate loop of each link in the chain. He recognized the cracked sapphires that glinted dully like glassy, dead eyes, the enchantment within them long broken. The red stallion hesitantly extended his head to nose the dusty artifact.

It was Ruth's collar.

But it was a thousand years old.

Raymond recoiled. His knees felt oddly watery and disobedient beneath him. The tumult in his chest warred between anger and fresh grief, that he should be given this physical reminder that once the kitten had been a palpable thing with a neck and heart and mind of her own, that no cat could ever hope to live a thousand years even if whatever had the power to exhaust the collar's protective enchantment hadn't simply killed her outright. They may as well begin hunting for her bones, assuming the behemoth's impossible footfall had not rendered them down to dust.

Perhaps she was still clinging to the collar now, then.

Raymond took a step back, batting the trinket away with the flat of his tail blade. It bounced once in the brittle grass and lay still. His ears had flattened to his skull as though it were a threat, a viper poised to strike - and, in a way, it was.

Florentine had already abandoned the collar in search of something else, some other echo to renew her childish hopes. He lunged forward, blocking her with his body and stamping his hoof hard enough to make his bones ring from the impact.

"That's enough."

The swordsman's voice did not shake. It was low and hard, turned to steel with unhappy resolve. The voice of a horse who had sold the secrets of his people for vengeance and cut down crooked soldiers like dogs. It was not Raymond as Florentine had ever known him, or likely ever would, but it brooked no argument and rang with the sort of feral savagery that might have enchanted even the wild Calliope.

"Whatever you're hoping to find decayed centuries ago. There is nothing here now but the restless dead." A fell breeze blew and the grass rattled like shaken spears. By some miracle of willpower, he bit back the accusation of the pain that her misplaced optimism had caused. "You must attend the summit meeting," he finished instead. His eyes were grey awls boring into her skin.


Raymond.
"he's an outlaw loose and runnin'," came the whisper from each lip
"and he's here to do some business with the big iron on his hip."


@Florentine







aut viam inveniam aut faciam





Played by Offline Obsidian [PM] Posts: 360 — Threads: 45
Signos: 0
Missing from Dusk Court
Female [She/Her/Hers] // 6 [Year 498 Spring] // 15 hh // Hth: 20 — Atk: 20 — Exp: 69 // Active Magic: Time Travel // Bonded: N/A
#8

FLORENTINE

always one decision away from a totally different life
-- ♕ --




The trinket hangs, glittering – even through dirt and grime and a thousand years worth of wear. Deftly, his scythe-tipped tail knocks the collar away, the air hissing with the song of his blade. A moment too late Florentine recoils. The trinket is gone, cast back into the dirt from which she found it.
 
The rush of blood in her veins is the thrum of a beehive – fast and full of wings. She had already begun looking though, full of the chances of finding something more. Yet his fury is sharper than the blade he carries and it cuts her far deeper. His hoof hits the dirt with a thump that resonates through her slim chest.
 
Ears fall to her skull as her gaze holds his. Florentine does not cower beneath his warriors stance, but her heart does fret within its cage of bone and sinew.  Her eyes fall to the discarded trinket as it lies pitiful and forgotten among the sparse grass. She could ask her blade to go back to then, to when the collar was first broken and its wearer divested of their gem. Yet his words of the summit ring true – she should go.
 
With anger seething in her veins, Florentine rises from the footprint. In a stare of purple and citrine she shackles Raymond, as strong as steel. “Fine. But do not think to come to me when your loss becomes too much.” In silence she snatches the collar from its earthen tomb and turns for the window. She keeps the silver trinket for another day, another time. “You had best leave quickly, the window will not stay open long once I have passed back through it.”
 
With that the flower girl is gone and not even a petal remains to fall to fossils in this land of ghosts and bones.










@Raymond |    | notes: Fin <3
rallidae






She is clothed with strength and dignity, 
and she laughs without fear of the future 





Played by Offline Odeen [PM] Posts: 171 — Threads: 28
Signos: 1,295
Night Court Soldier
Male [He/Him/His] // 11 [Year 492 Winter] // 15 hh // Hth: 22 — Atk: 38 — Exp: 59 // Active Magic: Spell Warding // Bonded: Ruth (Tarrasque)
#9


Raymond.
and at his feet they'll cast their golden crowns
when the man comes around



Raymond did not intend to come to her to lament his loss. He had not intended to think about his loss after the initial shock passed, in fact. He was not a sentimental creature; he didn't need reassurance or support, because both of those were in short supply when you were your only friend and enemy within a ten mile radius.

Having won the contest of wills at last, the red stallion stood in silence as Florentine seethed openly at him. A brief flash of indignation stole through his breast as she snatched up the collar that once belonged to him - to Ruth - but he did not fight her for it.

It was junk, like this broken jaw of a world.

The flower maiden passed through the portal in a wink of bitter light, and for just a moment he was left alone with the ruins. He glanced out over the demolished fortress, bristling with the quills of long-forgotten flags, and at the hazy outlines of talons wandering off into the distance. The air was heavy with pain.

Raymond blinked.

Snorting, he turned and in a single fluid motion accompanied Florentine through the portal, leaving this forgotten realm to its lonely decay.


[Exuent stage left, pursued by bear.]







aut viam inveniam aut faciam






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