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Beautifully drawn by Sid (Erasvita@DA)!
Current Novus date and time is
... currently in progress!

 Year || 503
 Season || Winter
 Temp || -10℉ (-23℃) to 55℉ (12℃)
 Weather || Winter has left a blanket of pristine white snow in many parts of Novus. Only Solterra remains mostly untouched by the season's frosted hold, but even the desert may feel a cold breath of wind now and then. With Winter now settled across the continent, dreams of Spring dance in the minds of many.

Spotlight
Character of the Season
Seraphina

Member of the Season
E-cho

Thread of the Season
Coloring outside the lines

Pair of the Season
Moira Asterion

Quote of the Season
"There is something to be said for how soothing habit could be, when one was trying to avoid words they shouldn’t say." — Theodosia in
Cinderblock gardens

see here for nominations


Private - falling in love is hard on the knees
Bexley — Day Court Regent Signos: 55
▶ Played by REDANDBLACK [pm] Posts: 232 — Threads: 27
▶ Female [she/her/hers] Hth: 30 — Atk: 30 — Exp: 52
▶ 6 [Year 497 Spring] Active Magic: Light Manipulation
▶ 15.2 hh Bonded: N/A
#1

b e x l e y
WE LAUGH, & IT PITS THE WORLD AGAINST US.


She is looking for him in the sea of people like a drowning man looks for air underwater - but what else is new?

The desperation she feels like a little knot in her chest is so familiar she almost doesn’t mind it. It’s stupid, it’s embarrassing, she hates it a little, in the half-hearted kind of way someone wants to hate something they need, but it’s hers. That is more than Bexley can say of almost anything. Even Apolonia.

Above her the vaulted ceiling twinkles with a thousand little lights, dark against the brick, like stars; an orchestra playing in the other room filters in through tiny spaces in the wall and the door, easy and quiet. Bexley cannot decide if it is beautiful or terrifying. She stands close to the wall, stalking the corners of the room like a predator, swishing that bright-white tail in uncontained agitation. Maybe it’s the press of bodies, maybe it’s the fact that she doesn’t know any of them. But something gnaws anxiety deep into her stomach.

She wears a mask made of gold and bone, which would be awfully morbid if it didn’t fit her as well it does, literally and metaphorically. The skull of some long-dead thing with sharp teeth, bleached pure white now from soap and sun, lays across the bridge of her face and covers everything but her eyes; the cracks in the bone are repaired with an inlay of gold, so that thing aureate threads go twisting and turning everywhere like a thousand streams criss-crossing a field. It is an almost-perfect mimicry of the circlet around Bexley's throat and the pale white marking that stretches over her face.

Some part of her, as always, begs to be recognized.

The orchestra picks up and the wail of a string instrument pierces through the walls. Bexley thinks she might know the song, but can’t think too much on it; she’s distracted immediately by a familiar flash of orange across the room and fixates on it with an instant grin.


@Acton <3
rallidae


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Acton — Deceased Signos: 0
▶ Played by Griffin [PM] Posts: 155 — Threads: 22
▶ Male [He/Him/His] Hth: 20 — Atk: 20 — Exp: 37
▶ 6 [Year 497 Summer] Active Magic: Illusion
▶ 15.3 hh Bonded: N/A
#2
Acton
these violent delights have violent ends

Acton had never been the kind of man who was good at handling worry.

It wasn’t coded into him to be anxious; when it happened, when that black thick feeling crawled beneath his skin like tar, he tended to look for the nearest distraction. Best to get drunk (or pick fights, or blow shit up) until the feeling passed and the situation resolved itself.

But this was not a normal worry. This was Raum, and Raum had teeth.

For the first time in his cavalier life the magician was too worried to drink, too worried to eat. He wound through the masquerade the same way he would as a Crow, sticking to the shadows, watching all with his banked-fire eyes. Acton did not wear a mask, and the skin of his throat itched where Raum’s claw had caught him and begun to cut.

All that to say, his feelings were complicated when his gaze finally caught the bright blue of Bexley’s. For once her grin did not make his heart jump like a souped-up engine below the hood, hungry for the starting line, but he tried to match it all the same, and at once shifted course to meet her. In the same movement he altered his gait, too - no more back-alley glide but the kind of swagger he was known for, like nothing in the world was wrong. Like he was already three sheets in and ready for more.

In the space between seeing her and reaching her his heart tripped over and over itself, and his mind replayed every warning Raum had given him about Bexley and what he’d do to her. They had been nothing, they had been idle threats. But that was before.

The music was swelling when they met, and he ghosted his lips across the bridge of her mask, still wearing that grin (like a mask of his own). “Goldilocks,” he said grandly, “you could stop a man’s heart, looking like that.” Any eyes on them had moved on, by now, and did not see (or thought nothing, if they did) when he reached just behind her mask, for the shell of her ear, and dropped his voice to a lover’s whisper. “We might have a problem.”





@Bexley





Reply
Bexley — Day Court Regent Signos: 55
▶ Played by REDANDBLACK [pm] Posts: 232 — Threads: 27
▶ Female [she/her/hers] Hth: 30 — Atk: 30 — Exp: 52
▶ 6 [Year 497 Spring] Active Magic: Light Manipulation
▶ 15.2 hh Bonded: N/A
#3

b e x l e y
KISS THE BOYS AND MAKE THEM DIE




Oh, foolish girl. She should have known better than to think anything good could come of a night like this.

Denocte has never treated her well. This will not be any different. When Bexley hears the coarse ringing of a flute in her ears, when she watches Acton cross the room in so many overconfident steps, she is not sure whether the sickness sitting in the pit of her stomach is love or want or apprehension or just deja vu, throwing her like a rag doll through ripples of time to the night they met and the warmth of his breath following her hip and the way the stars made their cries against the sky, the same way candles flutter against the dark ceiling now.

And yet some part of her still hopes, with all the fantastical yearning of a child, that she will escape this unscathed.

Foolish girl she is, but not so foolish that she does not notice the ersatz way he smiles, how his stride changes pattern halfway across the floor. Not so stupid that she does not raise her head and watch him with blue-blue eyes sharp and too suspicious. Her heart knocks, canorous and ragged, against the inside of her throat.

She does not shiver when his lips brush the line of her cheek, though God knows it takes effort to keep that wanton gut reaction from rolling all the way up her spine. Music blows to a head in the air around them. Coked-out, tenuous, struggling to keep her breath and her posture and the spasm of her pulse in check, she is almost relieved to hear the soft noise of the words that follow - we might have a problem - because it means that the terror she feels is, for once, justified.

Bexley cuts her gaze at him sideways, lowers her lashes, sets her jaw in a soft line. She pauses for half a moment. A problem, she repeats, pacific, and the low timber of her voice in almost lost in the swell of noise and breath and body that surrounds them. But her gaze never moves from his, dark and fervent.

Then she smiles - hellish, wishbone, utterly intrepid - and blows a cool breath over the curve of his spine. When do we not? Her teeth scrape a gentle half moon against his shoulder; her voice drops to a murmur. What kind of problem.


@Acton <3
rallidae


Reply
Acton — Deceased Signos: 0
▶ Played by Griffin [PM] Posts: 155 — Threads: 22
▶ Male [He/Him/His] Hth: 20 — Atk: 20 — Exp: 37
▶ 6 [Year 497 Summer] Active Magic: Illusion
▶ 15.3 hh Bonded: N/A
#4
Acton
these violent delights have violent ends

Gods bless her for how well she knew him, and how much they were the same; foolish and fearless and ready to fight.

No small wonder, really, that they had nearly killed each other. They both had been born with kerosene instead of blood, and with matchstick hearts and tempers shorter than a fuse. It was not much of a stretch to look at Bexley Briar and picture her setting the city alight (again) on his behalf - and oh, Acton loved her for it.

A shame that love had never been enough for anything.

She knew him for a liar from their very first meeting (a summer night like this, bonfire-smudged, midnight-dark) and it is no surprise to him that she saw through him now. His show was more for others’ benefit, an audience whose eyes weren’t even on him but might turn, any moment, with a flash of blue.

In the cacophony of the music and the dancing and the voices and the drink they are nothing, just two more bodies, disguised gold. Acton, even this close to her, does not note her terror - it has always looked so much like her rage or her want, and both of those things he knew well.

He couldn’t help but smile when she spoke, even now. Even with pricks like a ruby necklace dried to scabs across his neck, with his sides scraped from a cold cave wall (the both of these disguised by his own illusion-magic). Acton even laughed, when she said when do we not. “So pragmatic,” he answered, light as though this was any other conversation. The scrape of her teeth grounded him; he pressed a shoulder against her chest, watched the way the candlelight glazed the edges of her bone mask in red.

“It’s Raum,” he said, breathing the name out like a swear. And then a new worry blossoms like an inkstain in his heart (how can it hold so many? it isn’t made for it; surely it will burst) and he felt his spine tense, even as he fought to keep anything but pleasure from his face. “Is Apolonia here?”

Surely Raum wouldn’t. Not when he was after bigger prizes, dearer blood.

But the memory of the cave is still too close, and it is too easy to picture his body there, crumpled like cinders, dried ashes after the fire has been fed.




@Bexley





Reply
Bexley — Day Court Regent Signos: 55
▶ Played by REDANDBLACK [pm] Posts: 232 — Threads: 27
▶ Female [she/her/hers] Hth: 30 — Atk: 30 — Exp: 52
▶ 6 [Year 497 Spring] Active Magic: Light Manipulation
▶ 15.2 hh Bonded: N/A
#5

b e x l e y
KISS THE BOYS AND MAKE THEM DIE

She loves him, when she sees him. And even when she can’t. And there is nothing purer than that.

Even in this room that glitters with soft light and fills with the smell of incense and sings with the warmth of music, there is nothing that can tear her eyes from him, from the straight line of his jaw, from the fossil-amber of his eyes, and even when he speaks she is utterly devoted to the shapes his mouth makes around every syllable. It makes her bones ache, how much she loves him. How much she would do for him.

And how none of it matters more than a knife.

Bexley watches the way his scars ride the curve of his neck, and she wants to smile but can’t, not through the way her heart begs to die from its spot deep in her chest. And still he does not know. He never has to know. If she could not know, she would choose that, too. So she cannot blame him for it.

The press of their shoulders together is the only thing that feels faintly normal, the only thing that keeps her from floating up, up, up, like a ghost. The beat of his heart is so strong and so sure that she can feel it through the spaces where their skin connects, and her pulse falls in with his as easy as ever, a dance it knows perfectly well by now. She lays the flat of her cheek against his neck and sighs, and in the darkness her breath makes a little fire. It could be magic, or it could just be her. As if there has ever been much of a difference.

A little sun winks in and out of existence above them. Bexley tilts her head up and blinks at it, swirling stupidly against the ceiling, and names it in her head. Never out loud. Yes, she says softly. Somewhere - and even her, stubborn girl, sharp-toothed thing, feels a little flicker of guilt that somewhere is the only word she has to offer him in a time like this.

None of her has ever been enough, not really.

@Acton <3
rallidae


Reply
Acton — Deceased Signos: 0
▶ Played by Griffin [PM] Posts: 155 — Threads: 22
▶ Male [He/Him/His] Hth: 20 — Atk: 20 — Exp: 37
▶ 6 [Year 497 Summer] Active Magic: Illusion
▶ 15.3 hh Bonded: N/A
#6
Acton
these violent delights have violent ends

Somewhere, she says-

well, he couldn’t help but laugh at that. Neither of them were fit to be parents, maybe - neither fit for anything but colliding again and again with each other like stars, leaving wreckage in their wake.

Or maybe that was just their glory days.  

“I hope I haven’t fucked up your life too badly, Bexley Briar,” he said in a voice that was almost-but-not-quite a whisper, and pressed a kiss to the skin above her nose (so near the streak of scar he’d put there, though that and the rest of her face is hidden by that bone-and-gold mask). For a moment it was enough to take his cunning, hunting gaze from the party-goers and let it rest on her, brighter than it had been.

At least their daughter carried a weapon. Acton had never asked if she knew how to use it, but it felt like a safe assumption anyway. Probably she had been born with it strapped to her hip, like Athena sprang from Zeus (he could imagine it, anyway - he hadn’t been there for the birth. Hadn’t been there for anything important, he was beginning to understand, but everyone knew you couldn’t serve two loves. One always had to be a little underfed).

Maybe it was just the scent of her, all sand and fire with coals too hot to smoke, that put him just a little more at ease. Maybe it was the way he could spot nothing more false than the lies the partygoers wore, their masks and clothes and pinned-up hair. But in any case the buckskin blew out a breath, and thought he isn’t here.

Of course that just meant he was somewhere else.

The fucked-up thing (well, one of) was the way his heart did a little pitter-patter, a little somersault, at the thought of the hunt. Acton had always loved a challenge - otherwise he would never have applied himself at anything, love or cards or fistfights - and wasn’t this, in some way, the greatest one of all? But the magician tried to pretend otherwise, tried to pretend it was fear and worry and not the adrenaline that always came with another Crow mission.

At least it made him feel more like himself.

“I’m gonna go check on a couple things,” he said, all casual, as though he hadn’t just told her (well, sort of) that his best friend might be going renegade, that he might have a new target for that knife he so loved. “Keep an eye out for him - I don’t know if he’ll try anything here but he attacked Isra a couple nights ago.”

He did not want to step away; that’s what he told himself, that’s what he believed, even as he could feel prickly anticipation like champagne bubbles in his bloodstream, heady but sharp. Acton was ready to step out into the night, the summer air cloudy with bonfire smoke, thick with incense.

But when he looked back at her, deadly and gorgeous in the strange and changing light, he almost stayed.

“O will be fine,” he said, not knowing who he was reassuring. “But maybe if you see her tell her to keep her eyes open. Don’t talk to strange men, yada yada.” A smile at that; telling their daughter to be careful would be like telling a wolverine to look out, or a harpy eagle. “I’ll see you soon,” he promised, and turned away.




@Bexley





Reply
Bexley — Day Court Regent Signos: 55
▶ Played by REDANDBLACK [pm] Posts: 232 — Threads: 27
▶ Female [she/her/hers] Hth: 30 — Atk: 30 — Exp: 52
▶ 6 [Year 497 Spring] Active Magic: Light Manipulation
▶ 15.2 hh Bonded: N/A
#7

b e x l e y
KISS THE BOYS AND MAKE THEM DIE



Oh, you have, Bexley raps back with no semblance of humor, the words citrus-bitter in her mouth. The blue of her eyes simmers a little, though God knows if it’s the low light, or the ire, or the poison in her bloodstream, and it does not seem to even matter, now. Fucked it up beyond repair. She flashes a little waning smile at him and does not flinch when he kisses the soft skin of her nose, though some part of her aches to turn away from it. Anyway, she’d never been good at listening. Never will be, she thinks, even in motherhood.

She would feel badly about it if Apolonia hadn’t been born fully-weaponed (at least seemingly), if their daughter hadn’t been blooming with rage since the moment she tasted desert air, if she hadn’t picked up a knife and used it as artfully as a violin bow when her legs were still too spindly to carry her far. If she hadn’t been born like that - masterful in anger, and yet somehow utterly cold - then Bexley would feel bad about it, but as it is, O is stronger and sharper and smarter than either of her parents. Bex’s involvement would only have restricted her.

So she is surprised, almost, to hear Acton warn even O to watch out. That is the only thing, of all the fears he’s given to her, that makes her skin start to really tingle - the thought of a funeral, the knowledge that if O dies, she will, too. As much from grief as from ineptitude. Alright, she answers, surprisingly stable. In the faint and changing light, Acton’s skin turns from gold to copper and back again, and she brushes her lips against the place where it stretches tight over his hip with something like reverence, as if he is worthy of a prayer. Good luck -

And I love you, she wants to say, but doesn’t.

@Acton <3
rallidae


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