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Played by Offline griffin [PM] Posts: 114 — Threads: 17
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Missing from Dusk Court
Male [He/Him/his] // Immortal [Year 495 Spring] // 15.2 hh // Hth: 12 — Atk: 8 — Exp: 30 // Active Magic: N/A // Bonded: N/A
#1






 
 
 

 
 


Lysander has no love for the desert. 

He is not made for it; he is a thing of brambles and twisting vines, of thick dark loam and the shadows beneath each curl of leaf. He is a god of the forest and the vineyard and his salt is not that of sweat but the sea. He has always worshipped things reborn, things green and growing, and the pleasures that they give. 

But desert is not rich or giving. It is a kind of sacrifice, vast and empty and endless. Each dry expanse cries out for water and Lysander knows they would each be sated with blood. 

It is winter, and so he does not wilt beneath the baleful eye of the sun. A cold wind follows him out of the foothills of the Arma mountains, chases him into the deep red clefts of the canyon. There the shadows overtake him, and turn his burnished gold to something darker, nearly the color of the rock. The walls rise sharp and steep around him, a maze that reminds him of the riftlands - but he knows the monster that waits at the heart of this place, that he is only a thing of flesh and blood (like himself). The wind sings through the canyon spires and it is a mournful sound. 

Yet the darkness in his heart is not born of sorrow or of fear. There is an eagerness in the once-god that has washed its hands in rage, that has clothed itself in retribution. When he closes his eyes in the cool shadow of the rock, he might be in a forest trail with the birds fallen silent around him, listening to a unicorn tell him of revenge. 

Lysander understands, now. Perhaps it means there is no ichor left in him, only blood to salt the ground.

Florentine’s dagger still rests around his neck, a cold silver fist above his heart. Each time it falls against his chest he remembers the touch of her lips, the brush of her feathers, the way they reached for one another with hunger, with desperation. He is glad she hadn’t protested his leaving, hadn’t asked to come, though her acquiescence was unlike her. 

He wonders if he will use it. He wonders what worlds it might cut, what universes it might open within the silver skin of a Ghost. Lysander wonders if his golden, laughing Anthousai would love him any less if he used her knife to serve Death, not Time. 

As sunset turns the rock and sky and shadows themselves to blood around him, he begins, softly, to sing. 






you fester in the daytime hours
boy, you never sleep at night


@Isra






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Played by Offline nestle [PM] Posts: 315 — Threads: 34
Signos: 4,030
Night Court Sovereign
Female [she/her/hers] // 6 [Year 497 Winter] // 15.1 hh // Hth: 50 — Atk: 50 — Exp: 90 // Active Magic: Transformation // Bonded: Fable (Sea Dragon)
#2

Isra who is no longer a doe


The dragon watches Lysander from his crevice high up in the canyon walls. He looks at each tine of bone crowning the stallion and calls it a weapon. Even through he knows that form walking through the dying light, back in a time were he was smaller (and didn't yet know the taste of violence and worry), he still thinks that maybe he shouldn't tell Isra that another name upon her heart has come to see the rot.

Fable doesn't know if she can bear another crack in a heart made for stories but forged now for war. He stays quiet and only rests his head along the stone, watching like a lion who has decided to let fate choose how the world revolves.

It is the soft song echoing through the canyons that makes Isra tilt her head towards the main pathway like a doe who has just heard a wolf. Each note is no more than a whisper but she still thinks that the bloody stone feels alive with the sound of it. She lays her cheek against the stone and is almost surprised when she doesn't feel a heartbeat begging for freedom against her skin.

When the the shadow of the singing stallion stretches out around a corner and Isra sees those tines reaching out towards her like ivy, she sobs. Her heart rattles in her chest just as the canyon stone trembled like organs before a quiet, soft song. She swallows and reminds herself that she's ice and steel now and no longer a doe in a moonlit garden.

“Lysander.” She calls out and it sounds like another note of that song she's not singing. No matter how hard she swallows down that crack, crack of her softness she cannot make his name sound like winter on her tongue. All the vowels of it taste too much like sunlight and gold. It feels like she has grass and clover stuck between her teeth.

Isra thinks of Eik and she almost wants to join him in singing to the blood-red rock.

But then she looks at the blade swinging at his neck like a gavel. It seems to her that it glints a warning in each shine of dead light on the point of it. Isra tosses her head towards him so that each of their weapons might look at each other and say, if nothing else, we are together in this.

She smiles and she wonders if he knows enough of her to see all the ways that her teeth shine sharp instead of dull. “Have you come to me with a song of war on your lips?” Once she would have laughed at the thought of him laying offerings of violence at her hooves. Once she would have laid offerings of golden petals at his altar.

Once they were only a unicorn and a stag slumbering in the thicket.

Now Isra isn't sure what they are.



"the sound of my name humming haikus in heaven’s mouth."



@Lysander





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Played by Offline griffin [PM] Posts: 114 — Threads: 17
Signos: 0
Missing from Dusk Court
Male [He/Him/his] // Immortal [Year 495 Spring] // 15.2 hh // Hth: 12 — Atk: 8 — Exp: 30 // Active Magic: N/A // Bonded: N/A
#3






 
 
 

 
 


Lysander is too wise to be surprised when he rounds one more lonely corner and finds Isra before him.

Still, it doesn't keep his heart from stumbling or a smile as fierce and quick and crooked as lightning from carving itself across his mouth. He wonders if it means anything, that they keep running across one another’s paths every time there is a kind of danger. Lysander wonders which one of them is bleeding this time, and which is needing saved.

They are dangerous thoughts for a man who has always thought of Fate as a girl of gold with flowers in her hair and a knife to carve up time itself, and it is with reluctance - almost guilt - that he pushes them away. Instead he runs his gaze along the queen, searching for wounds, for blood, for chains other than the one she has always worn. He is just as unsurprised and just as grateful-glad to have found her whole (as little as whole could mean, these days) as to have found her at all.

Isra makes no attempt to touch him as she stands between deep canyons, alongside rocks that she could make into castles with only a thought. And Lysander strays no nearer her, even as his skin remembers being gently bound in strips of birch-bark and painted with salve, and his tongue remembers the taste of a medicine that could so easily turn to poison. All it took was a little too much.

“I came to tell you the ending of the story,” he says, and the smile he wears then is that of an old, sly fox, with silver growing in his ruff. “When the monster came, as the monsters always come, the girl used her terrible, beautiful gifts to save her people.” For a long moment his eyes old hers, steady and dark, until a wind rattles through the canyon like it might through a graveyard and he at last looks away.

But not for long. At her question he turns back, quick enough to catch a smile that never would belong to a slave or a girl whose only wish was to drown. An answering grin curls like a vine on his own lips, and there is something wicked in it, something hungry, and all the sadness and remorse in him sinks to the sea-floor to wither and bleach.

“I don’t intend to make you stitch me up again. But I will sing any song you ask of me.” Lysander lets the statement be a question, too, and his gaze as he regards her is a green as deep and dappled as sunlight on ferns. It promises that he would fight for her, would sing a song of war and paint his tines in poison like a Grecian prince. He has never been a god of battles, but he is no stranger to killing.

Lysander wonders if the slave who is a storyteller who is a queen who is a sword is here for the same purpose as he -

to make a Ghost bleed until it dies.





you fester in the daytime hours
boy, you never sleep at night


@Isra






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Played by Offline nestle [PM] Posts: 315 — Threads: 34
Signos: 4,030
Night Court Sovereign
Female [she/her/hers] // 6 [Year 497 Winter] // 15.1 hh // Hth: 50 — Atk: 50 — Exp: 90 // Active Magic: Transformation // Bonded: Fable (Sea Dragon)
#4

Isra and the deadly garden


Isra does not know what she expected to hear the moment his song gave way to word. All she knows is that she did not think to want the shape of a ending falling from his soot-stained lips. Stories seem like beasts for the thicket and the mountains. They do not belong trapped between walls of bedrock and shadows that stretch like mighty beasts around them. But here Lysander is, with a story she never wanted to end on his tongue and endless space between them.

For the first time she starts to think of all the things war is not, instead of all the things war is. She thought of it as a beginning to the rest of her life (with Eik, with Moira, with Marisol, with Denocte). And if she thought about it as the end of Raum, she only told herself it was the beginning of peace.

Now she knows, looking at him, that war is an end. The end of stories because they've all been drowned in ink thicker and wetter than blood. She thinks it's the end of magic as something beautiful inside her, instead of something dangerous and deadly. Isra thinks of war as the end of this, of her, of hope, of dreams full of things that should-not-be.

She still has a smile on her lips when she tilts her head towards him like a sparrow at a fox low beneath a tree. Inside she wants to look away, towards anything but the ending that is already between them. But there is no getting past that last page hanging between them like a shadow thick enough to choke her. “Of course she did.” She says and she wonders if she is as beautiful as she is terrible.

Bits of stone around her turn to emeralds shaped like ivy. Amethyst petals replace dust and they form themselves into cold, hard blooms of nightshade. The world around her grows lovely and horrible. Each stone glints along her skin like a weapon, blade of light waiting for the cut.

“Sing me a song then.” Isra stays where is is, leaning against her garden of stone and death. The distance still looms between them, like war she did not want but one she will take anyway. “Sing me a song by which a girl with terrible magic might go to war.”

Because Isra, and her magic that kills everything she makes beautiful, is going to war. And when she's done there will not be a body left by which a ghost might bleed.


“Do you remember? Do you remember the world before the poison?”



@Lysander





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Played by Offline griffin [PM] Posts: 114 — Threads: 17
Signos: 0
Missing from Dusk Court
Male [He/Him/his] // Immortal [Year 495 Spring] // 15.2 hh // Hth: 12 — Atk: 8 — Exp: 30 // Active Magic: N/A // Bonded: N/A
#5






 
 
 

 
 


Lysander knows that wars are not an ending.

For a god they are only trivialities, a competition for praise and honor and a thousand offerings of smoke and grain and blood. For man - ah, for man, he thinks that war must be glory. It is a name shouted down the generations, passed on to babies with honor and with hope. It is a reminder of the fragility of life, of even kingdoms. War teaches the survivors to hold their loved ones a little tighter, to be grateful for the fields they plow and sow and reap, for every small comfort of home.

The antlered stallion still cares little for Novus’s citizens, a thousand faces with names he’ll never learn. He takes a gods’ view of them, and they are nothing but chaff to him, for all that he belongs among them. But for Isra - for Florentine - for even himself -

It would be a lie to say that Lysander is not eager to learn a new perspective of bloodshed.

He is not sorry for giving her the ending she hadn’t wanted; it would have been an easy enough promise to keep, when he was supposed to be a world away beneath a wine-sweet summer sun with the ocean a blue jewel before him. Instead they stand between red walls, and a fragile golden leaf taps and spins in the breeze against the bare bone of his antler, and the wind is still whistling though his own voice has died.

Lysander is not sure he believes in endings at all (not knowing Florentine, not with her time-thirsty dagger around his own neck). And the unicorn who has already been reborn beneath the waves must know that they are nothing.

Oh, he has always been too curious; once again his interest leads him forward, closing up the distance she would not until they are only a breath apart. The rock blooms into color, a winter desert garden, all improbable, and there is a line of laughter curled across Lysander’s dark mouth. “You’re giving us away,” he says softly, but there is something sharper than humor in the green glint of his eyes, bolder and softer and stranger than the emeralds born of clay. He wonders if the bit of gold wound around his tine misses being a living leaf, and whether the unicorn misses the world before she was a queen.

He has yet to see the use in regret.

Still he does not touch her, instead bending away from her new creations with a breath of a laugh still on his lips. “I’ve yet to find your magic terrible.” The curl of his dark hair, the gleam of his burnished coat, the fern-green of his eyes: all of them wonder what, oh what, she would make of them. What transformation would she give to a mortal god, a man still learning how near death he walks? Someday, someday, he might yet ask.

Today he only regards her, a brow arched, noting for the first time how the color of her eyes so reflects the blue of his childhood sea. How far he has come, he thinks; how many bones will he see bleached in this desert, as he witnessed in the riftlands when all the sand ate up the water and he sheltered in a cage of whale-ribs with Flora?

“One man’s death does not make a war.” Steady, steady is his gaze on her, knowing the magic that runs like a live wire beneath her skin the way that violence lives now beneath his own. “And one man’s death is all I need.”



you fester in the daytime hours
boy, you never sleep at night


@Isra






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Played by Offline nestle [PM] Posts: 315 — Threads: 34
Signos: 4,030
Night Court Sovereign
Female [she/her/hers] // 6 [Year 497 Winter] // 15.1 hh // Hth: 50 — Atk: 50 — Exp: 90 // Active Magic: Transformation // Bonded: Fable (Sea Dragon)
#6

Isra and the ruby scythe


Her soul is not moving in the same way it once did. It's moving like a snake, like a lion in the tall grass, like a shark beneath the waves. It's moving in a million different ways and each is more different than the last. Isra's soul hurts and aches as it stretches out inside her bones.

Lysander, with his forest eyes and his coat that sun loves so, is making her remember all the ways her soul used to move. She counts the lashes curling lushly back from his eyelids and she wants to forget all the ways the world is lovely and sometimes kind. Because if she cannot forget she will not be able to become the monster. She's afraid that if she doesn't remember how to be hard and winter cold that she want will want to turn away and forget all about killing.

Magic moves with her when she pulls her body and her soul back from the shelter of him. She lets her magic make something wicked of her smile, something sharp enough to cut. It feels like the smile on her lips is making her bleed in all the places the world cannot see. “Let them find us then.” Her voice is weaker than the dangerous thing between her lips.

A ray of sun catches on her horn, it gleams gold even when Isra thinks her horn should only gleam ruby red now. Rocks tug at her tail when she presses against the wall. Her smile flickers, and fades, and winks out like a dead star. “You're wrong to think it's not terrible.” She corrects him but there is no pride in her voice, only sorrow and a hollow acceptance of all the ways in which she is becoming as terrible as any god.

Isra blinks because her soul moves wrong, wrong, wrong, when she looks at the sun shining bright on his tines.

She opens her eyes and tries to bury her soul.

The wall at her back to turns to a wall of swords. Some are sharp and thin, or long and chipped. Others are curved like wheat-scythes made of ruby instead of steel. There is a dagger of diamond shining beside an hammer made of quartz. Everything on that wall is made to be as beautiful as it horrible and dangerous. Isra does not smile when she turns to look at it. Fable does not roar righteously when the watches the world turn around his distant unicorn. Together they are only accepting of the ways in which violence has made them become as fiery and full of purpose as any phoenix.

“What will you do if it takes more than one man's death?” She does not turn back to look at Lysander. Her gaze is still hanging on the terrible thing her magic has made. And if there is a pearl of saltwater growing fat in the corner of one eye she does not want him to see. “What if it takes a hundred deaths? Would you call it a war then?” Even as she asks it, she knows the answer. A blade trembles and falls from the wall to the sand caught in her shadow. It falls as if the desert has rejected her magic, or as if a god has given her the blessing to becoming something awful and monstrous.

Isra does not pick up the blade, but her soul wants her too.


“A body can only deliver up the truth its bones know, Its blood, which is its history.”



@Lysander





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Played by Offline griffin [PM] Posts: 114 — Threads: 17
Signos: 0
Missing from Dusk Court
Male [He/Him/his] // Immortal [Year 495 Spring] // 15.2 hh // Hth: 12 — Atk: 8 — Exp: 30 // Active Magic: N/A // Bonded: N/A
#7






 
 
 

 
 

Lysander has never thought himself in possession of a soul. No god is: they are all unending, they need no unseen piece of them to be enduring. Perhaps in a way they are all soul, and too much power — but he thinks instead that all the essence of things like him (like what he used to be) is on the outside, and within is as hollow as a doll.

That is why they can never change. Not in the way of mortals, and not in the way of Isra.

She is changing again when she smiles like a scythe. He wonders how many would fall before that blade like wheat, how much she could gather. It is almost impossible to think she is the same unicorn that would not meet his eye, surrounded by children with a tale on her tongue. Only when his eyes trace her scales and the chain rusted there does he remember that this is not the first time she’s been reborn.

Or perhaps this is who she was meant to be in the beginning.

You’re wrong she says and when Lysander glances up he thinks he is. But not because of her magic - because the way her smile falls makes him wonder if she hasn’t changed as much as he believed. His own smile does not fade away; it curls black and thin on his dark muzzle. “Nothing I’ve seen in this world is what I’d consider terrible.” He thinks, with a twist of an ear, of the riftlands with their starving, sick magic. Of lands being unmade like a crone pulling apart a ball of wool, so slowly you could feel it. These monsters were tame in comparison.

And then, as though tugging from his thoughts, Isra remakes the wall behind her.

The antlered man steps by to watch it happen, and his sharp green gaze devours it like bread, like wine. Oh, but it is nothing like the feral, chaotic magic of the rift; there is still order in it, and sense, and beauty. They are both staring at it, swallowing it down, one bitter and one sweet. Only at her second question do his eyes move to her, until they drop to the sword that tumbles to her feet. He waits for her to pick it up; when she does not he steps nearer, until his shadow joins hers, until he could touch the chain still wound with seaweed like a crown.

“And you’re wrong to think it will take a hundred deaths.” Lysander bends to consider the weapon, taking care not to touch her with his antlers; but for a moment his mouth hovers near her scales, long enough that the warm breath he sighs fogs them like a spell. The sword is sapphire, as blue as the unnatural brush along her belly, gleaming like a god’s-pool. It looks like a thing that might drink and drink. He comes near enough to fog it, too, with his breathing. At last he touches it, and is surprised to find it cold.

And then he lifts his head to her, and catches her gaze like he might once have snared a doe, when he was a young and wild thing and everything a game of pursuit. “I think both of us have what weapons we need, Isra.” His heartbeat is an easy thing beneath the silver dagger.



you fester in the daytime hours
boy, you never sleep at night


@Isra






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Played by Offline nestle [PM] Posts: 315 — Threads: 34
Signos: 4,030
Night Court Sovereign
Female [she/her/hers] // 6 [Year 497 Winter] // 15.1 hh // Hth: 50 — Atk: 50 — Exp: 90 // Active Magic: Transformation // Bonded: Fable (Sea Dragon)
#8

Isra the tower coming down


Lysander is too close, his breath too warm. He's breaching all her sharp edges and the hard wall she's locked herself away in. For days now Isra has told herself she's the dragon in the tower instead of the maiden. She's convinced herself that the ivy and wire growing thorns around her heart are not a cage but protection. There is nothing, no cruel thing, she has not told herself that is only mortar, only survival, only the fate of the world.

Yet she trembles when he breathes patterns of heat across her scales. She trembles like she's not the dragon, or the maiden, but the entire tower built on a mountain of mud instead of stone. Isra is coming down; she's falling apart. She could count the moments he pauses by her belly in heartbeat, in the war-drum song that sounds like it's summoning butterflies instead of armies.

When she pulls away she tells herself it's because she wants to be a dragon again. What she doesn't tell herself is that she's remembering a greedy girl who wanted the world, and a gray stallion that makes her wants to drown and never surface. Her gaze grows hot, almost angry, although her eyes don't hold the hardness of it well. Sea eyes are made to be wild, to consume. They are not made to hold fire, but she tries, oh she tries.

She doesn't talk about the fact that there are more evil monsters in the world than Raum. Part of her isn't ready to admit it.

“You are more a fool than I thought Lysander.” Isra tries to keep the tremble out of her voice, the way that she can still feel his breath crawling up her belly like moss. She tries not to feel the urge to tuck her nose into his cheek and forget that the world around them is suffering and that she has made a wall of weapons instead of beauty. It fails.

She steps closer and touches her nose to his cheek so that she wont have to look at that doe-catching glare in his eyes. “It will take more than tines, and horns, and a little bit of cunning.” Fable leaps from the canyon wall. His shadow when he swoops down above them blots out the sun. Everything is black and tainted with the faint sting of brine. Isra smiles and swallows down the memory of the sea.

“You should go home Lysander. I met someone with love in her eyes when she mentioned you.” She nips at his cheek and it's not as gentle as it should be. When she pulls away all of her body strains and rails like a lion against the way her heart is saying goodbye over and over again. Maybe it has to so that she'll believe it.

Isra turns and walks away. Her dragon leads the way and there is an entire ocean of hunger in his bones.

And the beat of her heart feels anything but easy.

“but I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness,”  



@Lysander





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Played by Offline griffin [PM] Posts: 114 — Threads: 17
Signos: 0
Missing from Dusk Court
Male [He/Him/his] // Immortal [Year 495 Spring] // 15.2 hh // Hth: 12 — Atk: 8 — Exp: 30 // Active Magic: N/A // Bonded: N/A
#9






 
 
 

 
 

When she calls him a fool he almost stiffens, almost curls his black lips, and he remembers another unicorn who had looked at him with judgement in her eyes and said his bones were hollow. Instead he smiles, easy, amiable, and does not lean away when she touches his cheek. He can feel the golden leaf, life caught up and made beautiful in death, tapping against the bone of his antler as it twists with motion, with a breath of wind.

“Impressive, considering you found me bleeding out below a tree,” he says, and his voice is as cool as moonlight on leaves in the dark heart of an explored jungle. Now they are both guarded, he thinks - maybe it is for the best, maybe she needs her walls to do what must be done.

But as she speaks to him he does not meet her eye, either, instead watching the dragon descend upon them. His bones echo the trembling of its passing even as his gaze follows Fable’s flight, and he thinks of all the heroes who were ever sent to slay a dragon. It is strange, to smell the tang of the sea here in the midst of a dry and dying land. “Good thing you have more, then. Like him.”

Something in him stutters and then flares up, a guttering candle, when she alludes to Florentine, when she tells him to go home. He had been so alive that night, a tangle of wine and nerves and need, and when he had told the golden girl of his plans she had made no move to stop him, and he had loved her more for it. The nip Isra lays on his cheek stings; now, for a moment, he does show his teeth, whether or not she sees it as she turns away.

Lysander speaks to her retreating back, the fallen sword still in his shadow, the jagged, newborn wall at his back. “Love is the reason I’m here. Is it not the same for you?” His eyes do not challenge her fire; they are cool, assessing, green as an emerald snake wound about a branch, watching the doe pass below, wondering if the girl in the garden will take and eat the fruit. If there is hurt there, if there is something more complicated yet, it is hidden in that look.

When she leaves he does not follow, and the desert sand glitters with all the scattered rainbow light from a wall of beautiful weapons. But Lysander does not go home.


you fester in the daytime hours
boy, you never sleep at night


@Isra






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