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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


All Welcome - just the color, just the shape;
Amaroq — Night Court Citizen Signos: 535
▶ Played by griffin [PM] Posts: 32 — Threads: 3
▶ Male [He/Him/His] Hth: 10 — Atk: 10 — Exp: 13
▶ 8 [Year 495 Summer] Active Magic: Ice Manipulation
▶ 17 hh Bonded: N/A
#1

in his own country
Death can be kind


He waits within the thrashing sea. 

Amaroq is a shadow in the deeper colors of the night, almost invisible against the whitecaps that race to thrust themselves against the shore. The silver flecks across his withers might be nothing more than moonlight, his pale hair only trailing eelgrass far beneath the surface. 

The hunger in his eyes is the liveliest thing about him. But for it he might be flotsam washed from some distant wreck, unremarkable. Except, that is, for the wrongness of his color, and the frigid sea around him when all the saltwater should be warm with summer. There is no mistaking him in this landscape, as unnatural as a polar bear in a pine forest. That is why he waits well beyond the breakers. 

He has been watching the citadel. Amaroq has never seen anything like it, those sheer walls of bleached stone, set with lanterns like eyes aglow. He has never seen anything like the scale of the docks, the number of horses and the clamor they make. He wonders how soft they are. 

For now they are too many, and he alone, weary and thin from his weeks of swimming. There had been no moonlight when he began; the ice was thin and splintered and the sun did not set for days. Now there are stars above him again, cold as the pinpricks of his eyes, unblinking as he dips below the surface smooth as a seal and vanishes from view. 

It is cool beneath the waves. In the darkness of the summer sea he returns to the island south of the city, where he has made his temporary home. It is thick with silver-barked oak and they watch like sentinels as he steps from the sea, streaming with water, his breath spilling cold silver into the air. His horn juts from his brow like a mast of bone. 

Amaroq paces like a tiger down the shore, his prints crackling into frost and rime on the sand. His tail lashes behind him, and his eyes do not leave the shining city on the distant shore. 




ooc: to any interested he's on the big island south of Denocte here map!

amaroq



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Isra — Night Court Sovereign Signos: 410
▶ Played by nestle [PM] Posts: 246 — Threads: 32
▶ Female [she/her/hers] Hth: 30 — Atk: 30 — Exp: 66
▶ 6 [Year 497 Winter] Active Magic: Transformation
▶ 15.1 hh Bonded: Fable (Sea Dragon)
#2
Isra of the dark surf

"Night poured itself down my throat. Night was my wine and my meat."



This is the first night that Isra has felt brave enough to return to the waves. Perhaps it's the blackness of the sky that soothes her, the way the waves seem flat and icy and nothing like tidal waves. Perhaps it's nothing more than remembering how the sea gave her both new skin and a dragon.

There is no fear in her as she walks past the shore into the gaping blackness of where the world is broken up by the ocean.

Tonight, as she wades out into the shallow water of low tide, Isra feels more like a wild beast of the sea than a unicorn. Each of her steps is nothing more than a whispering song of bone, surf and sand. Her body is nothing more than a place in the night that seems thicker than the shadows and mist floating around her.

The sea feels cool against her skin and all she's happy to replace the sweat of the summer with the salt-water and brine. Fable with his belly already half full of fish starts to hum a low screeching sound (like a songbird who hasn't yet learned to sing). He dances through the darkness as if he's no longer a dragon but a shadow slipping through the almost moonless night.

Find me. He teases, dashing above Isra's head and snapping his tail gently across her back like a crop. Further out another screeching him echoes strangely in the empty silence of the almost revealed sandbar. If you can.

Isra's laughter is bright enough to be a moon when she kicks up her heels and splashes recklessly through the salt-water. Each step makes the water deep and cooler and soon she's swimming like a seal through the waves, her head held as high above the waves as she can manage so she doesn't loose track of Fable's poor song. Surely, she thinks, nothing is foolish enough to challenge a dragon of the sea.

In the darkness she never notices that each molecule of salt that brushes against her skin turns to glittering specks of silver and gold.

Soon the waves calm again and the bottom of the sea slopes upwards instead of down. Fable dives low and nips at her horn (the only part of her that gleams in the little light there is). “Pesky dragon.” The words are too loving to be harsh and they are quickly drowned out by the hiss of sand as she starts to gallop across the island shore.

All she notices is the place where the darkness gathers and seems blacker underneath Fable's wings. She never notices the frosted hoof prints that she's running across or the way something ahead flashes white like a sword.

Isra never notices him at all. Fable does though, and his playing hum turns to a low hiss as he lands between the stallion and the unicorn.

Neither of them expected to find anything but birds and sea and sand tonight.




@Amaroq


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Amaroq — Night Court Citizen Signos: 535
▶ Played by griffin [PM] Posts: 32 — Threads: 3
▶ Male [He/Him/His] Hth: 10 — Atk: 10 — Exp: 13
▶ 8 [Year 495 Summer] Active Magic: Ice Manipulation
▶ 17 hh Bonded: N/A
#3

in his own country
Death can be kind


He had intended to hunt, once the little jut of beach grew accustomed to his presence, once the seals chanced to come near shore again.

But his prints hadn’t even been smoothed away by the surf when the screech of a dragon silences the night-birds and scatters the fish. Amaroq turns his ears back, wary, the tip of his long horn trembling like a spear-tip as he looks out across the waves. He sees nothing but the barest impression of light on the water, touching the crests of the water like a blessing. The kelpie begins to turn away again, to melt like snow into the trees, but the bright silver sound of laughter stops him.

Now he is tense as a wolf near a homestead, except for the tail-tip that twists patterns in the sand. Amaroq considers his three choices - the sea and the trees and the ground he stands on - and settles his weight back on his haunches, and watches the unicorn gallop onto the shore.

For a second (a second that at once seizes him, and frees his heart to wild beating) he thinks that she is a kelpie, too. How surely she surges from the sea! How loving is the spray that follows her, and races up the sand that it might touch her!

Of course she is not, and grief and anger mingle and pierce his heart like a shard of glass, a sliver of ice. It is not the first such wound.

None of it passes across his frozen features - not a flicker in his pale eyes, his wolf’s mouth.

The tip of his horn follows the course of the little dragon as it settles between the two unicorns; it dips in greeting or warning or simple acknowledgement at the hiss. The sound is like a crackling fire, like embers doused by the sea. When Amaroq’s gaze lifts from the beast and to its companion, his gaze is cool.y assessing. He waits to be seen by her, and licks his teeth as he does, imagining drinking the saltwater from her skin.

At last his gaze catches hers, and he inclines his head curtly, though his eyes never leave her. “Lady,” he says, in a voice like snow beneath the midnight moon. His accent is thick with frost, sharp and brittle as an icicle. “What city is that, upon the hill?”



@Isra

amaroq



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Isra — Night Court Sovereign Signos: 410
▶ Played by nestle [PM] Posts: 246 — Threads: 32
▶ Female [she/her/hers] Hth: 30 — Atk: 30 — Exp: 66
▶ 6 [Year 497 Winter] Active Magic: Transformation
▶ 15.1 hh Bonded: Fable (Sea Dragon)
#4
Isra who bares her teeth and snarls

“She said you’d come and I swore to eat your heart.”



Isra, at first, sees only a unicorn glimmering like ice in the moonlight. She sees only the whiteness of his tail twisting like a cat's in the sand. The first through that crosses her mind is, oh, I bet he knows how to wield his horn better than I. Her second is, I wonder if it aches sometimes as mine is oft to?. It takes watching to dip of it tracing out the lines of her young dragon to turn all the questions burning on her tongue to dust.

Fable, on the other hand, does not see a unicorn shining like a star in the gloom of the blackness. He sees a bestial nature lurking beneath seal-skin, one that echoes the bits and pieces of the predator laying dormant and quiet under his scales.  There is in his gaze, when he looks at the unicorn who is not-a-unicorn, a challenge befitting an creature that is destined to be the apex-predator of the Novus seas.

But of course he shares nothing of this with Isra. Fable only snakes his head back and forth and tries to shed his tameness like outgrown snake-skin.

The night queen watches him with something near horror in her gaze and she moves closer to press her lips against cool, salted scale. Enough. It's the coldest thing she's ever said to him and that alone chills the feverish challenge in his green eyes.

Isra continues on past him until she's close enough to count the number of dark dapples on the unicorn's skin and the number of times his horn spirals around and around. She smiles and her teeth shine flat and neat in the silver-light. Her own head echoes his slow nod and she's glad as she still remembers the last stallion she met on a dark night for the horn on her brow and the dragon at her back.

But then he speaks before her and she catches the flash on a fang against his lips and all her easiness dissolves like smoke on the wind. The color of her eyes darkens  to something like the bottom of a wave on a new moon.

Isra doesn't need to look to know what city shines bright golden on the hill as if a million stars and fires have gathered into one tiny universe. She refuses to look anywhere but at the curl of his neck and the point of her horn and she's ready, ready, ready. Although she doesn't know what exactly it is that she's ready for).

“Mine.” She almost growls and almost finds it in her regret the cold fury that still lingers in her heart. Almost.

It's a challenge for her to swallow down that fury and pretend that she's not a wolf baring her teeth at at bear. It costs her but she manages to blink back a little of the darkness in her gaze. “That city is mine.” The sand around her hooves evens out and turns to glass blacker than space. When she takes a step closer it groans and cracks in strange spiraling shapes that fill with pearl dust. “Who are you?”  And at last she finally manages to sound civil by reminding herself that she's not a weapon of war (no matter how much she's starting to crave it when faced with fanged creatures).




@Amaroq


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Amaroq — Night Court Citizen Signos: 535
▶ Played by griffin [PM] Posts: 32 — Threads: 3
▶ Male [He/Him/His] Hth: 10 — Atk: 10 — Exp: 13
▶ 8 [Year 495 Summer] Active Magic: Ice Manipulation
▶ 17 hh Bonded: N/A
#5

in his own country
Death can be kind


There is a moment, as the unicorn mare’s attention is turned on her little dragon and the dragon’s is turned on him, that Amaroq grins.

It is a private thing, a secret thing, a grin between two predators - ah, but it says I am the bigger of us. There are teeth in that grin, and they glisten like bleached coral beneath a full moon, like starlight on ice. But it is gone by the time she looks at him again, once she has quieted her pet.

He is surprised when she nears. It has been long and long since he was approached by one of the land-horses, and again his heartbeat trips, wondering, wondering - ah, but he quiets it, he coats it with ice. She is not like him; it is clear when she comes near enough that he can smell her beneath the salt of the sea she wears like perfume. All the while his expression is remote, his mouth a path carved through a glacier, his eyes two chips of ice.

He does not meet her smile with his own - either his real one or the one he wears for the benefit of horses who do not understand the saltwater in his blood or the need for copper-taste on his tongue. Amaroq does not take his eyes from her, now, and so he sees when she catches the glimpse of his fangs, and drinks like clear water the way her face changes, the way her body shifts like wind on water.

Mine, she says, and this time Amaroq does smile, and surprises himself in the doing of it. It is the ferocity of her voice that coaxed it from him, the way she said it like a she-wolf defending her cub, and his tail stills its leonine swaying. “Yours?” he says, and lets his gaze stray to the city over her shoulder, shining like a beacon, like a dare, like a warning. “It looks very lovely, from here.” He still wears a smile, though it has gone thin - but his attention snaps back to her when what had been sand cracks below her feet.

Slowly, slowly, he lifts his gaze from the black glass shattered below her, cut patterns like a witch’s divining, up and up from the chain wound round her leg to the sea-colored scales to her fierce eyes.

His smile is gone by the time he meets that gaze again, and he is only a unicorn colored like a seal, far from home and alone. “I am a traveler,” he says softly, and tilts his head so that his horn is no longer pointing toward her, but toward the sea and the stars as though mapping out his path. “I am a refugee,” he adds in a voice lower still, and glances away as though ashamed. “My name is Amaroq.” He gives it to her as though it is all he has -

and hopes she comes nearer, and nearer yet, this unicorn who has a city on a hill.



@Isra

amaroq



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Isra — Night Court Sovereign Signos: 410
▶ Played by nestle [PM] Posts: 246 — Threads: 32
▶ Female [she/her/hers] Hth: 30 — Atk: 30 — Exp: 66
▶ 6 [Year 497 Winter] Active Magic: Transformation
▶ 15.1 hh Bonded: Fable (Sea Dragon)
#6
Isra who counts teeth like pearls

“I perceive that you have a cruel heart, my child. It lies within your breast like a smoldering blade, hissing steam at me.”  



If his horn had swung, like a divining rod,  towards anything else but her city on the hill Isra would have smiled to watch it shine like moon-stone instead of bone. Instead she watched it swing and something in her heart swings with it before clanging like an anvil instead her rib-cage. It sinks like rage in her marrow, a stone through oil.

A month ago she would have echoed the swing of his horn with her own. She would have whispered to him what constellations would have lead him up to those bonfires and gemstone streets. Isra would have brushed her lips to his cheek and said on a single inhale, you are home.

If she were to lift up her horn like a weapon instead of a map, it would not have stung a month ago.

She almost has it in her to lament the black coil of hate and caution in her heart, almost swallows down her acid of rage and steps closer to him. Fable though, saw the smile Isra missed and he knew what it meant. Not for long, the dragon says in the silent way of ocean monsters and Isra, hearing it cocks her head like a seal and wonders. She wonders of beasts and dragon and unicorns who call themselves refugees.

“It is even lovelier in the center of it.” Each word is as much a warning as each of his words is a slow glacier moving through a black sea. Isra does step closer and she's unsure if it's the soft bloom of doubt in her heart, or the way his gaze looks deeper than any sea she knows, that makes her steps bold instead of cautious.

Or maybe it's just the way the sand around her hooves turns to oil and wire and the way a dragon takes to the skies before her in a spray of salt and sand.

Isra is learning that she can be dangerous too.

There is something that suggests, when she brings their noses close enough to touch and speaks, that she wants to count his teeth (so that she might remember the number she'll have to pluck out). “Where is it that you are a refugee from Amaroq?” When her eyes flash and when Fable roars it's easy to wonder if she is as much a story-teller as he is a traveler.

These days it's easy to feel like a unicorn if not a queen.




@Amaroq


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Amaroq — Night Court Citizen Signos: 535
▶ Played by griffin [PM] Posts: 32 — Threads: 3
▶ Male [He/Him/His] Hth: 10 — Atk: 10 — Exp: 13
▶ 8 [Year 495 Summer] Active Magic: Ice Manipulation
▶ 17 hh Bonded: N/A
#7

in his own country
Death can be kind


“I am not sure than anything is ever as lovely close up,” he answers softly, and his voice is like virgin snow beneath a full moon.

Ah, but perhaps it is not true - at least not for this unicorn-queen. For now she is near enough to touch, and though there is no doubt that she is not as he, now he can see the gleam of scales across her belly, now he can see all the colors of his beloved sea in the shifting blue of her eyes. Even her chain makes its own soft music, this close, rustling like a ship’s anchor through the fog.

He inhales her scent, faint though it is beneath the salt and summer sea on her skin - he wonders what she smells of him. Does she know what he is, has she seen another like him? Amaroq does not mind being called a monster, especially if he is not the only one.

When her question comes he smiles, aware of the way she has not given her own name or the name of her city.

“Far enough that I do not recognize some of these stars. My world is one of ice and snow and sea. Before I fled I had not seen trees since I was a child.” The honesty costs him nothing, but still his heart feels pierced by a shard of ice, crooked and sharp as an old dagger; his eyes are pale and empty as the moon.

If it were not for her dragon and the way it watches, the way it roars, the way it can move between sea and sky - if it were not for these things Amaroq would make her like him. It would not take much; they are so near the sea, after all, and her throat so near his teeth (near enough he could see other marks there, if he knew enough to look). She is bold, she is cunning. She is foolish, too, with how near she stands, near enough he looms over her, near enough it would be nothing to seize her, take her into the waves, baptize her and watch her rise reborn.

She could be queen of more than a city, then.

Oh, he wants to put lips to skin, teeth to leaping pulse - but Amaroq steps away. He makes himself a shyer thing than he is, a wary and tail-tucked wolf; he wears his weariness like a cloak. “Does your city welcome the lost, unicorn?”

It does not matter what she says - he knows it can hold only slaughter for such as him.



@Isra

amaroq



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Isra — Night Court Sovereign Signos: 410
▶ Played by nestle [PM] Posts: 246 — Threads: 32
▶ Female [she/her/hers] Hth: 30 — Atk: 30 — Exp: 66
▶ 6 [Year 497 Winter] Active Magic: Transformation
▶ 15.1 hh Bonded: Fable (Sea Dragon)
#8
Isra of the black ink

“We are like islands in the sea, separate on the surface but connected in the deep.”  



“You only say that because you have never seen Denocte with a bonfire at your back and the moon overhead.” Her retort is sharp as a wolf baying at the moon, hot compared to all the snow of him. Isra can't help but sigh and think how wonderful it is to feel fierceness instead of sadness.

If she knew he was thinking of dragging her between the waves she would have turned every ounce of sand at his hooves into metal bars. She could have caged him like a sick lion. But of course he steps back like a shy thing and Isra forgets all about his fangs and Fable's rage.

She wants to close this fresh distance between them and remake the cracks in his gaze with steel and petals instead of ice and snow. There is a part of her that wants to fill the space between them with the names of every constellation above them. Ink boils up insider her and puddles behind her teeth. She aches with the ocean of words and stories that want to flow out of her like a tide.

Bring him by way of the sea. Fable says as he swoops low enough to to drag his tail through the waves like a sword. He lingers there, poised in the breeze like a hummingbird. Each of his eyes flashes like a slow moving storm. He feels colder than the bottom of the sea (he's worried), but he knows the sea belongs this him more than it belongs to any unicorn who thinks himself a shark.

Isra, hears only the word home that Fable doesn't say. She only feels the stories and the ink and the need to paint out maps made of stars instead of lines. So she decides to walk back towards the sea and she tosses her horn into a sliver of moonlight. The lights of the city dance on the tip of her horn as if they live only by her magic.

Maybe they do.

“Would you like to find out?” She offers instead of answering him simply. A single hoof rests in the water and her chain jingles finely with a shiver as the water cools the last of summer's heat from her skin. Still something in her gaze looks like black ink and something else in her eyes looks like violence.

Tonight there could be more than one monster of the sea.




@Amaroq


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Amaroq — Night Court Citizen Signos: 535
▶ Played by griffin [PM] Posts: 32 — Threads: 3
▶ Male [He/Him/His] Hth: 10 — Atk: 10 — Exp: 13
▶ 8 [Year 495 Summer] Active Magic: Ice Manipulation
▶ 17 hh Bonded: N/A
#9

in his own country
Death can be kind


Amaroq smiles at her words, but it is a close-lipped thing, for if not it would be little more than a baring of teeth. There is a flicker in his eyes at the word bonfire like a spark all its own - one pale enough to be ice, one that promises no burning but endless, aching cold. “Perhaps,” he allows, like a wolf at the suggestion it might like grass.

There is something in the way she watches him - ah, but the kelpie keeps his gaze averted, lest she read something there that should not be in the eyes of a man so lost and alone. Instead he studies the dragon, and he sees him now not for what he is (so young, his teeth uncut) but for what he will become, the way a wolf will regard a polar bear - a grudging sort of respect.

Her offer draws his attention away again; he watches her walk across the sand that has become not-sand beneath her feet, watches the waves try and fail to wash her prints away. Strange, he thinks, and the ice grows a little firmer beneath his own hooves, and crawls along his horn like a vine.

For a long moment he doesn’t answer her, only lets the water fill the silence, hushing them both. Shhhh, it says, shhhhh, in foam and salt, and Amaroq wonders if her dragon would be so nimble below the waves as above. He wonders if this unicorn-queen can change the water, too, to suit her needs - perhaps she could turn brine to blood, kelp to chains.

Is that not more monstrous than he? He only hunts to live, after all - why should this queen remake the world to suit her?

“Yes,” he says softly, for he would like to find out, the hunger for knowledge the same low sharpness in his belly as the hunger for meet. But it is an answer to a different question than the one she asked. “But not yet.”

His stare is almost a challenge, the way it meets hers with such boldness, such immovable ice - to see her standing in the waves, his sea, the element that carried him here. But then he dips his head with all the somber dignity of a king, and turns to fade away into the darkness and the sharp smell of pine, a pale ghost soon swallowed by the deep shadow of the trees. Only the frost in his footsteps remains, and then that, too is gone.



@Isra

amaroq



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Isra — Night Court Sovereign Signos: 410
▶ Played by nestle [PM] Posts: 246 — Threads: 32
▶ Female [she/her/hers] Hth: 30 — Atk: 30 — Exp: 66
▶ 6 [Year 497 Winter] Active Magic: Transformation
▶ 15.1 hh Bonded: Fable (Sea Dragon)
#10
Isra who understood a manticore

“We never see other people anyway, only the monsters we make of them.”  



It takes her a moment to figure out what is it that makes her shiver while she watches him. Her heart trembles like a caught butterfly, frantic and tender winged. Each of her bones feels full of snow and winter, instead of blood, runs through her veins. There is a storm inside her, of fear and she's not sure why when the wind sings around her horn in the same way it sings around his.

But when frost spirals up his horn like ivy she understands what it is that makes her wish her skin was made of steel.

Now do you see what I see? Fable asks her and something in her heart breaks when she replies, Yes. Isra wants to blame him for that spiral of ice and the strangeness of him that makes her think of a a story she read once. The story was of a manitcore who loved a girl who spit up pearls even while she devoured all the men who came singing at the girl's window.

Isra can't remember if the story was about greed, or love, or something she has not learned to understand.

She's still waiting for him to join her by the water, and it startles her to realize that he's dissolving into the darkness like soot. Part of her wants to call out, like a girl who opens her mouth so that pearls like pour out. She wants to sing him a song that promises there is is winter in her blood too.

Fable wants the stallion to come back so that he might understand how the sea could change the two of them. Neither know exactly why they ache to watch the stallion go. Strange, the dragon says int the current between them and Isra silently agrees. They do not have a word what it is that feels strange and wrong tonight.

But they are worried.

Isra walks back into the waves to return to her city on the hill. Do not forget him Fable. I want to know the moment he crosses into our city. And when she starts to swim the kelp and weeds that tangle around her legs stay nothing more than kelp and brine.

There are no pearls falling from her fierce smile when she spits out salt-water from her lungs.




@Amaroq


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