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Played by Offline griffin [PM] Posts: 114 — Threads: 17
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Inactive Character
#1

lysander




He finds her again in the forest. 

This time there is no white winter storm, no monster behind a veil of clouds and lightning. This time there is no blood on birch-leaves, no ribs pressed against roots, no taste of copper and iron on his tongue or tight feel of pain in his lungs. 

This time he knows he stands within one of Isra’s stories. 

Oh, it is lovely and strange, and he welcomes these things into his heart with a feeling soft and heavy as sorrow. Against his breast rests a silver dagger, twined with vines; he knows he will not wear it much longer. It seems to know, too - the way it kisses cold against his skin like it remembers the taste of his blood, the way it seems almost to hum as though eager to be used again. 

But not yet. It is early evening, the sun still bright across the plains below. Here in the mountains, it is not quite dark; the last rays of light are caught and tangled in the boughs of the trees. The pass looks nothing like what he remembers. Instead it has become a labyrinth. 

Lysander makes his way beneath the summer branches and the murmur of green leaves. He strolls past gardens of gilt and gold, clearings where flowers nod their heads in a riot of color, past fountains and carvings and hedges. From somewhere out of sight there is the sound of music, the delicate soprano of a flute. He does not need to close his eyes to feel like he is caught in a memory of home; the smile that rises to his mouth is unbidden and true. 

It is tucked into a quiet corner that he finds her, a bower of trailing vines and dusk-colored flowers. The summer sunlight is all golden, and it dapples her as it might the surface of the sea, glancing brightest at all off her horn. 

“Queen Isra,” he says, and his smile curls into a grin. She looks far different than the flighty, fragile story-teller who had not wanted to meet his eye at a festival a year ago - different, even, than the unicorn who had bound his words and whispered him another story more recently still. Lysander does not hesitate when he closes the space between them, or touches his muzzle to her shoulder in greeting. When his glance passes over the chain wrapped around her leg, he is almost surprised - but perhaps more queens should wear reminders of what they had survived. “You have woven such a story tonight.”





@Isra








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Played by Offline nestle [PM] Posts: 330 — Threads: 35
Signos: 3,105
Night Court Sovereign
Female [she/her/hers] // Immortal [Year 497 Winter] // 15.1 hh // Hth: 50 — Atk: 50 — Exp: 90 // Active Magic: Transformation // Bonded: Fable (Sea Dragon)
#2

Isra who is golden not brown

"a thousand birds falling from a thousand oaks, over and over.”



Isra should feel like she's hiding, tucked away in a bright corner of the gardens while the rest of her court sleeps off the proclivities of the night. The golden heat on her skin should feel strange after all the hours she's lived by moonlight and star-maps, with brine and dragons instead of rolling fields and dandelions seeds floating on a breeze. Everything about this quiet corner with only bird-song and cicadas to keep her company should feel not-quite-right.

But she's doesn't feel uneasy at all. She doesn't feel hunted or taste the low, acid hum of rage in her belly. Isra only tastes sunshine and pollen. Even Fable is content to sleep in a ray of sunshine that makes his scales seem as shining as the surface of a calm, spring sea.

A antlered stallion breaks through the archway of ivy and flowers and Isra suddenly knows why today the daylight and golden-light seems like a haven instead of a place where night dies. Love has made her love the sunlight.

“Lysander.” She whispers from where her lips are pressed against a large, upturned leaf that looks a little like ivy and a lot like something of another world. With the warm brush of air from her lungs the leave turns gilded and gold-leaf and it catches on the sunlight in a way that her horn never could. It's golden instead of black and soft rainbow tones glitter around it where the last of mornings dew lingers in a thin humidity around them.

Fable, lifts his head to watch the stallion, his green eyes sharp as a sword. But when he reaches out and feel the slow bloom of joy and shyness running like wine through Isra he merely closes his eyes and goes back to sleep.

There are more words bubbling on her lips but they waiver like weak rain in a breeze when Lysander brushes her nose against her shoulder. It's a moment before she can get them back. She blinks slowly and tells herself, I should be used to this by now, Eik has taught me. (but it still feels so strange in the sunlight, hotter).

“Perhaps,” she says, turning from her golden leaf to meet his gaze. “But I have no words to tell today. Only flowers and art and I'm not sure it's all the same.”  And on the last of her words, when she leans a little further into the space around Lysander the sun shifts across her scales and she looks like a sea that has, against all odds, caught aflame.


@Lysander







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Played by Offline griffin [PM] Posts: 114 — Threads: 17
Signos: 0
Inactive Character
#3

lysander



There might have been sorrow, were it not for the weight of the dagger against his chest, the cool kiss of it against his warm summer skin. There might have been regret, were it not for the memory of the music and the wind, the way it twines its fingers in his hair and tugs him away, away, to the land of his youth.

Oh, there is not time to wonder at the what-ifs, or just what feeling stirs in his heart to look at the unicorn. There are adventures ahead, and they are already beating in his blood. They feel a little like ichor, a little like summer wine.

And so his name on her lips only draws his smile wider, creases the dark green of his eyes. His gaze moves from the wonder of her (those eyes that hold the ocean, that horn that spirals to pierce heaven, the scales that glimmer with an undersea wish) and to the magic she makes even now. Only briefly does it touch on her dragon, much the color of her scales, and Lysander raises a brow at the sight of the little creature, amusement coloring his expression like sunlight.

“Oh,” he says, his voice curling the same way his grin does, “I think that they are much the same.” When he reaches forward to touch his nose to the leaf (a blush of gold, warmer than he would have thought) the dagger swings forward, casting its shadow over the ground. He wonders again how she feels about the chain wound round her leg - if it is an anchor or if it is a key. “If I were to keep this,” he asks softly, and his forelock spills between his arching antlers as he looks up at her, “would it stay just as you made it?”




@Isra








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Played by Offline nestle [PM] Posts: 330 — Threads: 35
Signos: 3,105
Night Court Sovereign
Female [she/her/hers] // Immortal [Year 497 Winter] // 15.1 hh // Hth: 50 — Atk: 50 — Exp: 90 // Active Magic: Transformation // Bonded: Fable (Sea Dragon)
#4

Isra who could shape the world

“I have to do it myself. That's what a Queen does. She saves herself.”



Something in the brightness of his eyes and the way his tines glare brighter than the sun when he smiles, shatters something in her heart. Isra's not sure if it's the faint ache of her throat or the ache in her heart that makes the shadows below her belly seem darker than black. Either way she aches to watch the joy dance in his gaze like a wild animal just let loose from a cage.

It was easier to know him when he was dying and there was blood between them instead of smiles.

Isra knows she'll never feel so bright with adventure (only fury makes her glow now). But she tries to match his smile and pretend that something white and lively is sparking in the dark blue corners of her eyes. “Hopefully in all the ways that count.” Both art and words can burn she thinks, both can die.

Fable lifts his head from his patch of sunlight and adds If either burn I will put them out. Drops of salt-water drip from between his teeth. Isra almost sighs with the sweetness of smelling brine mixed with the floral perfume of a hundred different flowers.

There is only the softness that deepens her false smile to hint that the dragon and the unicorn share something between them that is deeper than all the oceans in the universe. Isra's not yet ready to share with the world how much she loves a young dragon that might turn into a monster.

She wants to ask him about his blade and about Florentine, who loves him and wanted more magic than Isra had to give. Instead she only watches him brush his muzzle to her golden coated leaf with that dead ache in her throat. Barely does she manage to whisper, “it would stay that way forever.”

And for the first time Isra realizes that she kills everything she changes even as she remakes it into something brighter than she could ever be.


@Lysander







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Played by Offline griffin [PM] Posts: 114 — Threads: 17
Signos: 0
Inactive Character
#5

lysander



In this light, gilded with gold and vivid as paint, the unicorn’s skin is almost the color of blood. Lysander wonders nothing of that, but he does not miss the way her smile does not reach her eyes, the way the shine there is almost a gleam of pain.

He does not want to worry for her, the storyteller-queen who looks like she has a barb in her heart. The old god was never any kind of savior, and anyway, Isra is not his to save.

Yet his chest feels tight for a moment, as though wound with strips of birch-bark, and his heartbeat stumbles as though fed foxglove. For that it is almost a blessing when the dragon lifts its head, and when Lysander looks toward it he looses a breath between his teeth and reminds himself they each have their own stories to live.

From there it is nothing to turn to the leaf. As her whisper reaches him in a voice dry as dead leaves rustling together he studies the thing she has made, and wonders what else she has already changed with a touch. “Good,” he answers softly, and meets her gaze again. “Some beautiful things should remain.” And then Lysander takes it gently in his teeth, winds it carefully into the unruly curls of his mane. It glints like the gold it is against the darkness of his hair; it flashes the colors of the sunset when he lifts his head again. The dagger swings against his chest, pressing cold silver like a palm against his heart.

For now he pays it no mind.

And then beneath the dappled shadows of the trees he closes the distance between them, and presses his lips to the thin skin above her eye. Almost he touches her horn; perhaps it is intentional that he avoids it, the way it points like an accusation. She smells the same way she did while he lay bleeding against the roots - of salt and brine, of jasmine and royal fern. He thinks of her at the festival, and in the mountains beneath the hanging moon; he thinks of her in a castle and in a cave as a storm raged outside.

“Have you ever been wholly happy, Isra?” His voice is gentle, a whisper of leaves across her back. And for the first time in all the years he has been in Novus, he wishes fiercely he possessed his magic still - that for all she has given he might have something to offer in return.



@Isra








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Played by Offline nestle [PM] Posts: 330 — Threads: 35
Signos: 3,105
Night Court Sovereign
Female [she/her/hers] // Immortal [Year 497 Winter] // 15.1 hh // Hth: 50 — Atk: 50 — Exp: 90 // Active Magic: Transformation // Bonded: Fable (Sea Dragon)
#6

Isra with aching lungs

“Promise to give me a kiss on my brow when I am dead. --I shall feel it."



On each inhale she can taste wood-fern and flowers, smoke and salt. The flavors burn in her lungs like embers and for a moment she trembles with the pain, like a fresh wound that has no blood to bleed. She wonders at it then, this shiver in her heart like a crack through porcelain. She wonders that she can feel it all.

When she blinks and blots out the shine of the sunlight on his antlers with blackness, she buries the ache, the hurt, the thought that in another world without knives and magic and ichor her pain wouldn't have been pain at all. It could have been joy, a bloom instead of a barb.

Then she remembers the sunshine, the grit of sand and clover between her teeth and she inhales again. This time she tastes only summer, only heat and humidity. But when she speaks and feels brave enough to look against at the sun glinting on his bone crown there is a little of that sadness and suffering left. “What will be left when only the beautiful things remain?” Each of the words hangs in that place between their skin, and their hea,t and the things she will never say, like vines of ivy that dream of being snakes.

Fable rises pulled by those cracked strings of sorrow and love, blooms and barbs. He presses his nose against Isra's belly so that there is Lysander, and there is a dragon, and Isra is between them like a shadow made of scale. Because the dragon knows, just like Isra knows, that there is a reason she aches.

Goodbyes are never easy.

“I have been happy twice in my life.” She whispers because shadows made of scale can only whisper like smoke dissipating into the night. She thinks of the deep dark of the sea and of Eik and his bouquet of clover because both of those things are loud enough to silence that chime of goodbye that rings in her like a cracked bell.

“Lysander.” Her nose burns when she turns to tuck it against his shoulder and her ribs creak under her skin when she pulls away from him and moves closer to Fable. Between them her horn gathers sunlight like this antlers. Soon it's a pillar of gold upon her brown instead of dark, black bone. “Will you tell me a story before you go?”

She doesn't ask when she'll see him again, doesn't want to know. But she can't help but think that because she saved his life that she might have some claim to the answer.



@Lysander







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Played by Offline griffin [PM] Posts: 114 — Threads: 17
Signos: 0
Inactive Character
#7

lysander



It is quiet in this secret garden she has helped shape; no other horse has yet wandered this far. There is only the birdsong, only the wind, only the drifting strings of music like echoes from another world, one just a sigh or a shadow away.

When Lysander looks around him, he sees only beautiful things.

“Some would say the end of all things,” he answers, and his smile is a crooked thing then, the smile a fox wears as it watches the hounds far below. Oh, Lysander knows better than most (but not so well as some) that there is no ending, not when there are so many worlds, not when they tangle and weave and eat each other up again and again and again.

When his gaze finds hers - caught on the tines of his antlers - he sees the sorrow there and it ripples in his own heart, soft rings that drift in and not out. But Lysander also remembers the first time she had looked upon his crown of pale bone, the fear that had been in her eyes, the way her glance had evaded his like a hunted dove. Sorrow, he thinks, is a better thing than fear. And when he studies the dragon as it comes alongside her - surely a thing out of stories, born of sky and sea and myth - his heart aches for her a little less.

If Isra finds herself alone, it will only because she chooses it.

It is a small comfort, but he is wise enough to know no good has ever come from worrying for a unicorn. For a moment there is only the crickets and the frogs and the sound of each of their breathing, a once-god and two myths, and yet he feels more real than anything. Even when she numbers her happinesses (so few!) the last of his smile does not die away any more than the last of the sunlight.

“When I see you again we will find you a third,” he says, and his eyes catch hers with the promise (not only of the happiness, but of the return). “If you have not had that and more by then.” And oh, he wishes it for her, as much as he ever wished anything for the girls that came to him hungry and wanting when he was a laughing god in a dark wood. In his own way he had loved them all, had taken them under his crooked care - but Isra is not the same. When he is with Isra it is easy to forget which of them has lived a hundred lives, and easy to remember that if it weren’t for her he would not have this one.

The way she says her name is only another reminder. When she steps away from him the summer air feels cooler than it ought against his side and he closes his teeth on the word stay.

“You may regret it,” he says instead, and grins sidelong at her before turning to find a place to bed down beneath the trailing vines. “I do not tell them half so skillfully as you.” The air is thick and slow and golden, scented with roses and with jasmine, and his glance finds her then with an invitation. But whether she joins him or no, folded like a foal beneath a bower of leaves, he breathes deeply of the evening and begins.

“Once,” he says with his green eyes laughing, “there was a girl who was blessed with magic. But she did not see it as a blessing but a curse, for though she could bring things green and growing from the soil, they were dangerous things: bright oleander and pale hemlock, foxglove and manchineel.” When he closes his eyes he can see the girl, fretful and lovely, her eyes like windows that looked out on lashing rain. “She feared her gifts and the injury they could cause, and she cast herself from her village that she might protect them from her magic. Oh, how she prayed that one morning she might bloom primroses and not poison ivy! But every wish for narcissus turned instead to nightshade. Soon she vowed not to use her magic at all, for surely no good could come of it.”

It is Isra he looks to then, the queen with her burdensome crown, and her magic that might turn all things lovely and cold and still. He thinks of his own magic, his own long years, spiraling back centuries of blood and wine and rich black earth.

“I have never seen much use in regret,” he says then, but he feels suddenly too mortal, too fragile, and wonders at the difference between blood of iron and blood of gold.





@Isra so long, so awful








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Played by Offline nestle [PM] Posts: 330 — Threads: 35
Signos: 3,105
Night Court Sovereign
Female [she/her/hers] // Immortal [Year 497 Winter] // 15.1 hh // Hth: 50 — Atk: 50 — Exp: 90 // Active Magic: Transformation // Bonded: Fable (Sea Dragon)
#8

Isra who cannot say a word

“and if the moon walks out, the sky will understand;"



Oh!

Everything trembles in her when she watches him bed down in the ticket with flowers hanging around him. He looks like something made of everything rich in the world, that will forever hold a sacred place on an altar made of amethyst. Each inch of him looks like it would be heavy to hold, like swimming through the sea with a horn of stone spiraling out from her brow.

When she cants her head towards him and feels the old wounds sting, Isra thinks that she is not strong enough to carry anything through this world. She wonders if Eik finds her heavy and drowning; she wonders how he can bare to hold up all their sadness and not shatter.

Isra wants to stop Lysander then, open her mouth and swallow the story pouring from his. Could her magic change words too, turn sound to song, song to flakes of gold falling across their skin like snow? Her fragile legs carry her closer to him, like the wind carries a feather closer and closer to a cliff. The words of the girl make something in her rise, sharp and violent in her chest (like a church tree made of glass). Still she's tugged along by the look in his eyes that whispers, come to me.

Fable walks in her wake, over blades of grass turned to poison ivy. The boughs above them turn to blooms of nightshade. Berries red as blood, instead of soft green leaves, catch the sunlight like rubies. Each of her steps changes something bright and healthy into a horror. If she noticed her heart would have turned to ash and rubble in her chest.

Isra doesn't want to me a monster. But each day the differences between her and a beast are becoming fewer and fewer.

Can Lysander see the dark potential in her magic? Can he see the black shards of terror floating in the blue sea of her eyes? Can he see? Can he see? It hurts her to think that the world is quickly seeing how terrible she might become.

(but if it helps her hunt down Raum like a lion, Isra doesn't think she'd mind being a monster).

With a garden of horrors at her back she joins him, but it's not to bed down in that empty space he left for her. She comes closer to press her nose against his lips. It's a touch that should be cold and cruel but she struggles to make it anything but sad and warm. “Don't tell me what happened to her.” The words come out as a caress, hanging in the small space between them like flakes of gold the wind hasn't carried away yet.

She turns then and all her bones feel like rusted metal in her skin when she refuses to look back at him, resting like a noble hind in the copse. The sunlight would hang on his like a crown and the greenery would look like silk. Isra doesn't want that image to find her when she dreams tonight.

Each of her steps carries her further away than the last and Fable follows her as faithfully as any shadow in the noontime. Isra doesn't want to say goodbye.

She wants a story between them. Always. Always and forever.




@Lysander







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Played by Offline griffin [PM] Posts: 114 — Threads: 17
Signos: 0
Inactive Character
#9

lysander




He sees.

Lysander watches as her magic works behind her, as she becomes the girl in the story. He wonders if she intends it - wonders if she’d known she could do it at all. He had thought her magic did not deal with living cells, and the leaf of gold flutters against his neck, bright against the dark fall of his hair.

He smiles as she comes to him like Persephone through the gates and down from spring, but he does not feel like Death. There is life around them, coursing in them both, like a hare too quick for any fox or hawk to hope to catch. In a way her magic is the same strange kind as Florentine’s: she can always undo what she must.

It is the kind of a gift a once-god might be jealous of.

But there is no jealousy in him as she bends down toward him, her hollow spiraling horn lowering as though she might touch it to his shoulder and proclaim him hers (oh, and is there not a part of him that wishes she would?)

Instead she gives him half a kiss, and his breath catches in his throat not so differently as it had when a kelpie’s jaws had caught his side - not so differently as when a crow’s blade caught him, too. He does not understand why his heart aches then, not when they are both so close to happy.

When he breathes again it is to inhale her words, as if he could swallow them and carry their memory close to his heart. But he does not agree - not when there is sorrow hanging in her eyes like the last of his words hang with the story-girl sorry and weeping. Yet Lysander only lets her go, still folded like a fawn in the evening grass, and oh she does not look back at him (she is wiser than Orpheus; what might he tell her, if she turned?) but his gaze is a cool press against her.

“She saves them all,” he says as she fades like a story, but it is soft, maybe too soft to carry - tender as the wind that stirs the nightshade.

But even if she doesn’t hear, Lysander prays she knows. She is a storyteller, after all, and her heart keeps every ending.




@Isra <3








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