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Judged  - gonna stick to my guns, like you taught me

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Played by Offline rallidae [PM] Posts: 73 — Threads: 7
Signos: 10
Day Court Scholar
Male [He/Him/His] // 7 [Year 498 Summer] // 17 hh // Hth: 8 — Atk: 12 — Exp: 22 // Active Magic: Dream Illusion // Bonded: N/A
#1

Fight Type: battle
Prize: experience
Contact Made: yep!

Character #1: @Caine
Bonded: no
Magic: yes, dream illusion
Armor: no
Weapons: silver dagger 
Current Health: 8
Current Attack: 12
Current Experience: 13

Character #2: @Seraphina
Bonded: no
Magic: yes, greater telekinesis
Armor: yes, leather and steel fabricated with steel arrow
Weapons: yes, enchanted sword
Current Health: 17
Current Attack: 23
Current Experience: 51






are ye happy? (we are mighty.) are ye happy? (no. art thou?)
In Vectaeryn, they had called a storm fierce enough to rip the sails off a schooner’s mast — torn clean like Abaddon's wings — a goddess’ reckoning.

In Solterra, during the height of the wet season, they called it weather. 

The wet season is not for months and months. Solterra sits at the tail end of autumn, at a time when her seas of sand should stay drier than a sun-baked bone. Few of the Solterrans Caine passes on his way to the Elatus, however, seem particularly bothered about the bizarre arrival of rain. Perhaps, he thinks, they are simply relieved it is not snow. As is he.

The last rays of scarlet dusk sulk into night by the time he steps into the looming mouth of the Colosseum. The storm’s punishing gales have eased into a dreary drizzle, yet its earlier ferocity makes clear that the evening will not be a dry one.

Caine is soaked through to the skin. His hooves clip a wet rhythm along the stone corridor snaking down towards the Colosseum’s sunken, bloodthirsty heart. Water sloughs off him in rivers, though the puddles he leaves in his wake are considerably less substantial than if he had not threaded his inky-black hair into an intricate braid of braids, running the length of his kelpie-slick neck. 

A variation of Fia’s handiwork — which Caine had resolved to replicate, when he realized how efficiently it held his copious lengths of hair. Darned with yarn, not even Solterra’s version of weather can rob it of its stubborn neatness. 

The arena sand holds its shape under his hooves, packed down by the rain. If nothing else, the storm has provided him with good footing. The top of the limestone-hewn behemoth opens up to the sky, and Caine cuts his gaze to the starless black, pensive, before a steady stream of water forces his lashes fluttering closed. 

It is an interesting night for a spar.

Spar. His lips shape the word carefully. He is unfamiliar with it — Agenor had been overly fond of lesson and demonstration, though in practice they were more like euphemisms for punishment. The Garde did not train its assassins to fight. They trained them to avoid engagement, and armed them with just enough combat knowledge to ensure a job would be seen to its bloody end. 

Survival, they left up to the whims of the gods.  

Caine’s eyes squint in the poor light when he spots a silver figure moving wraithlike along the crumbling arena wall. Fia. She is here. He makes his way towards the center of the arena. Enchanted torches, their flames undeterred by the rain, cast wild shadows on the wet sand. Mounted on every other pillar, the torches provide a weak bubble of light that permeates only barely through the gray drizzle. Just enough to see a glinting hoof moments before it finds its mark.

The boy is at once grateful for the hours he has spent stumbling through the alleys half-blind under his shadow cloak.

“Charming weather tonight,” is the greeting he offers Fia when he steps up to her, along with a fleeting smile. Without hesitation, he draws his dagger out from the folds of his wings and drops it to the sand, not allowing his gaze to follow it down. No weapons, as agreed. 

Just hooves and teeth and flesh and bone. 

“By your move, then.” He bows neatly to her before withdrawing to his side of the arena, wings slicked tightly against his sides. Caine flexes his shoulders grimly. The sodden, heavy things will either become his kryptonite or his shields. Soon enough, he will find out.
@Seraphina | "speaks" | notes: nothing like a sudden rain shower to spice things up
rallidae | art





Summary: Caine muses about the terrible weather among other things, and arrives at the Colosseum soaked to the skin. He scans the terrain and considers the various conditions that could affect the spar. He then sees Seraphina, greets her, and moves to his side of the arena to await her move.

Attack Used: 0
Attack(s) Left:
Block Used:
Block(s) Left: 1
Item(s) Used: none

Response Deadline: May 9
Tags: @Seraphina, @sid, @inkbone, @Sparrow, @nestle, @aimless








WE LIVE IN THE FLICKER
but darkness was here yesterday

♠︎ ♤ ♠︎





Played by Offline Jeanne [PM] Posts: 330 — Threads: 61
Signos: 3,855
Day Court Outcast
Female [She/Her/Hers] // Immortal [Year 498 Spring] // 16 hh // Hth: 17 — Atk: 23 — Exp: 72 // Active Magic: Greater Telekinesis // Bonded: Ereshkigal (Demonic Vulture)
#2



LIGHTEN UP BUTTERCUP

GET A HOBBY


It’s raining.

“Rain” is perhaps too mild a word for the hurricanic storm that has enveloped Solterra, but Seraphina is not unaccustomed to Solterra during the rainy season, and it is far better than the blizzard several months prior. With the Elatus’s high walls as shelter, the tumultuous winds and the cold rain are almost tolerable, and, as she steps into one of the arches of the Colosseum, she shakes herself off. It is a pointless gesture, and she knows it; she’ll have to step back out into the rain and the almost overwhelming darkness for the spar. She blinks rain out of her eyelashes, squinting out into the arena. At least the torches near the center are still ablaze. Even a storm of this magnitude seems unable to put out the enchanted flames. (Of course, they are blessed by the sun god’s fire – why would mere rain be capable of stifling their blazes?)

She lingers, for a moment, at the edge of the arena wall, shielded by the overhang. At the other side of the arena, she sees a movement in the blackness and squints against the rain and gloom. She can barely make out the shape of Caine, so she draws forward towards the torches; she can barely make him out until they are both in the vicinity of the flames, and, even then, he might as well be a shadow cast against the wall, save for the brilliant silver of his eyes. They gleam when they catch in the torchlight. He looks darker like this, and, if he didn’t somewhat resemble a drenched cat, she might have been able to see him as the assassin and spy she knows – or should know, but knows without understanding - that he is.

As she moves, she feels a little twitch of nausea; the darkness swirls at the edge of her vision, threatening to overtake it entirely. This is only a friendly spar, but her last battle with Raum runs circles in her head. In her mind’s eye, she still sees herself bleeding out on the Steppe. (Her scars burn at the thought.) She is a soldier, and she has always had some degree of confidence in her abilities, but she still fell to him. This isn’t dangerous. This isn’t a threat. (He is a raven, not a crow.) She isn’t sure if the lurch in her stomach is coming from the persistent memory of her near-death or her smothered, disappearing pride, which demands that she prove that she can still do something right.

The sand feels oddly tight and hard beneath her hooves, packed with rain. She doesn’t like the sensation, but at least it is relatively sturdy ground, in spite of the storm. The arena walls provide some shelter from the wind; it is almost pleasant, if one can forgive the subtle nip of winter and the chill of the rain.

“Charming weather tonight.”

She wonders if it is his first winter in Solterra. “It’s far more charming than the blizzard was,” she says. (Seraphina has never been fond of the cold; even now, with only the barest chill of winter and rain on her coat, she has her teeth gritted so they don’t chatter.) He sheds his dagger (a pretty, ornate thing), and she follows suit, first stripping off her golden scarf, which is all but plastered to her skin, then the rest of her armor, which is heavy and dripping with rain, then her sword and sheath, and finally the steel arrow, which wraps itself neatly in the sopping pile of her scarf. She is grateful, at times like these, for her telekinesis. It is not as showy as some other magics, but it is practical.

Though the rain drips down her lashes and threatens to fall in her eyes, she is somewhat grateful for the way it slicks Caine’s fur, making it silken and glossy as pooled ink; it shines in the flickering firelight, making his void-black form a bit easier to see, even in the cloud-covered night. (She is sure that her ghostly, pale silver is a much easier target.) He is taller than she is, and lean – probably fast, with endurance that is, at the very least, reasonable. She is not sure that he is hard-hitting, however, and he isn’t built bulky enough to take too much damage.

Those wings might be a problem; arguably, they might be even more of a problem because this was a spar, and she couldn’t do anything about them. (In fact, she’ll have to make a dedicated effort to avoid them. While he does have two sets, she suspects that damaging either of him would inhibit him in the air, and, given how delicate his work is – how delicate their work is – it won’t do to harm them.) If she were actually fighting him, she would try to break them immediately, but she doesn’t to give him much more than a few bruises, so she doesn’t spend much time contemplating where his weaknesses might lie.

His long tangles of dark hair are up, and it takes her a moment, in the flickering darkness, to realize she recognizes the style. The sight of her handiwork fills her with a fresh wave of embarrassment, and she narrows her eyes at them for a fraction of a second before returning her stare to his face. “Nice hair, she remarks dryly. She wraps the fingers of her magic around a chunk of the braids and gives them a yank for good measure, though the gesture is not especially sharp.


He draws back, then, with one of those graceful bows. “By your move, then.” She watches him draw back with narrowed eyes, her muscles tensing beneath her as she considers her first move. She would have given it to him, if only to see what he did, and she’d honestly expected him to take it. As it is, she lingers in place a moment. Without her sword or her arrow, her only options are, of course, her teeth and her hooves. Unwilling to actually kick at him yet, therefore exposing herself, she decides to opt for teeth.

“Ever the gentleman, Caine,” she says, the faintest hint of amusement slipping into her tone, then dashes forward, kicking up clumps of wet sand in her wake. He is already near the edge of the arena – if she presses him with an urgent enough assault, she might be able to pin him back against the wall, restricting his range of movement. (Of course, she had his wings to worry about; she doubted that pressing him would prevent him from leaping into the air, likely hitting her in the process, so she hopes that the storm will be sufficient enough to keep him grounded.) She approaches him quickly, all but sprinting; the only thing that reserves her is the weather and the slickness of the sand beneath her hooves, but she is hardly unaccustomed to slippery footing. (Even without the rain, sand is treacherous, and she has walked it for her entire life.)

It does not initially seem like she will stop.

She wants him to feel pressed, as though she is going to barrel right into him; if he does, he might step back, and that might prevent him from being appropriately defensive. Either way, she comes to a skidding stop when she is only a hairsbreadth away from him, her hooves skidding and digging into the sand to pull her to a halt. Without a moment’s pause, her head jerks up, and she lunges for his neck. She does not go for his throat but instead turns her attention to the flesh just below it. There is no real force to her bite, should it find purchase; it is more of a nip than anything, a way to say that I could do more than this if I wanted to, and likely wouldn’t even draw blood.




@Caine || heeeere we go indeed. hi, my name is Jeanne, and I can't write a short reply to you to save my life.

"Speech!" || "Ereshkigal!"





@






Summary: Sera contemplates the weather, spots Caine, takes a good look around & a good look at him to get her bearings, and snarks(?) a little bit. He lets her have the first move, so she rushes him, trying to back him up with a pretty unhindered offensive, and snaps at his neck, a little bit below the throat; it's not really intended to do any damage, though, because it's a spar.

Attack Used: 1
Attack(s) Left: 1
Block Used: 0
Block(s) Left: 1
Item(s) Used:

Response Deadline: 5/10
Tags: @Caine, @sid, @inkbone, @Sparrow, @nestle, @aimless







I'M IN A ROOM MADE OUT OF MIRRORS
and there's no way to escape the violence of a girl against herself


please tag Sera! contact is encouraged, short of violence








Played by Offline rallidae [PM] Posts: 73 — Threads: 7
Signos: 10
Day Court Scholar
Male [He/Him/His] // 7 [Year 498 Summer] // 17 hh // Hth: 8 — Atk: 12 — Exp: 22 // Active Magic: Dream Illusion // Bonded: N/A
#3



and you say that I'm the devil you know and I don't disagree
Caine watches Fia remove her armor and sword — and that fateful silver arrow — with quiet, contemplative interest. Her control over her telekinesis (or lack thereof; a corner of his lip lifts at the memory) has always struck him as peculiar. 

From his less-than-comprehensive observations of her, cobbled together through a course of fleeting rendezvous’ all cloaked by a heavy veil of intrigue, the kind she wields seems far stronger and defter than the sort endowed by Tempus to the citizens of his realm. In Vectaeryn, they had not attached any sort of divine blessing to such a minor magic. Their version of Solterran weather, he muses.

“It’s far more charming than the blizzard was.”

“The blizzard —” Caine snorts, breath streaming from his mouth like curls of bonfire smoke. “Your gods are temperamental,” he finishes, dragging the syllables of temperamental pointedly as he blinks away the beads of water convening on his lashes. And don mortal forms at will. The memory of Solis’ incendiary presence is unpleasant enough to agitate the life back into Caine’s stiffening limbs. 

But he has never dwelled on thoughts of the divine, and tonight is not the night to begin. There is a spar to be seen to, first. So Caine fluffs his drenched wings even when he knows the pointlessness of it — there is a sort of peace to be gleaned from doing the pointless and mundane, is there not? — and begins to turn away towards the hazy suggestion of the sunken wall, before a neat little tug on his mane drags him to a halt.

“Nice hair. He blinks, astonished, before his breath breaks into a chuckle. If she means to unbalance him before the match, then — “I am a quick learner. Especially when the teacher is of such — merit. — he hopes to return the favor.

He concedes to her the first move not because he is a gentleman, but because he has always been far better at reacting than attacking outright. Despite what his occupation may suggest. He sees Fia's lips form the shape of words when he looks over at her, though Caine does not catch them over the crescendo of rain. 

Before he can spend too much time puzzling it over, she makes her move. 

She is a silver smudge in the night, galloping towards him faster than a lightning strike. Adrenaline buzzes down his taut frame and pools in the tips of his rain-drenched feathers as he shifts onto his haunches, tucking them under like a cat readying for a leap. He does not know enough about his opponent to predict what she means to do, so Caine plays his one advantage — his assassin-honed agility — and waits for her to show her hand.

His wings are slick as knives against his sides as he tracks Fia through the downpour, counting her strides to the tick of a silent metronome. There is a certain rhythm to the way a fight unfolds — the intake of breath before a strike, the even trajectory of a well-aimed kick  — and after taking enough knives in the gut, the boy has learned to find that rhythm early on. He knows his weaknesses like the pious know their prayers, and he breathes them to himself as Fia streaks down the waterlogged sand. 

The weight of his wings: they will slow his movements down by precious seconds. (Five strides away.) The lightness of his build: a solid strike will wind him enough to count. (Three strides, now.) His lack of expertise in fighting unarmed: brute strength has never been his fortitude, and —

A stride away, her haunches buckle — and too late does Caine realize that she means to stop. Sand sprays up from her sliding hooves, and he jerks his head to the right to avoid being blinded. He has left enough space between himself and the wall (the worst possible scenario an assassin could get himself into is being cornered like a witless mouse) to shy to either side — but he does not take it. He would not be able to get clear before she reaches him, damn his wings, so when she stretches her neck towards his, he does not pull away.

His jaw clenches when her teeth find purchase on his slick neck, but to his surprise her bite is light, little more than a warning. Caine narrows his eyes at her for a fraction of a second before he lunges upwards into a rear. 

She is shorter than him by a full hand, but she is built sturdier and trained better — if she had been standing steady when he reared, Caine would not have had the strength to push her backwards as he hopes to do. Instead, he counts on her unsteadiness after that dragging halt to make up for what he lacks in strength. 

His back hooves dig into the sand and propel him forwards, his front hooves clawing towards her eyes — until he tucks them neatly in. He has no wish to land a single hoof anywhere near the delicate bones of her face. Instead, he aims to slam his chest into hers, knocking her off-balance and giving him the opportunity to gain ground. 

He also manages to chirp out, “Am I really that delicate looking?” between pants. His mouth curls into a smirk just shy of her ear.
@Seraphina | "speaks" | notes: the real spar is in the witty comebacks
rallidae | art





Summary: Caine responds to Seraphina's snarks with some of his own, and when she makes her move he readies himself by shifting his weight to his haunches. He realizes that she means to stop a second too late, and instead of shying to the side (he suspects that his wings will delay him too much), he takes the brunt of her bite and uses his saved momentum to launch into a rear. He aims to slam into Seraphina's chest and drive her backwards, while also gaining room for himself as he's almost backed up against the wall. Also manages to inject another healthy dose of snark while he's at it.

Attack Used: 1
Attack(s) Left:
Block Used:
Block(s) Left: 1
Item(s) Used: none

Response Deadline: May 13
Tags: @Seraphina, @sid, @inkbone, @Sparrow, @nestle, @aimless








WE LIVE IN THE FLICKER
but darkness was here yesterday

♠︎ ♤ ♠︎





Played by Offline Jeanne [PM] Posts: 330 — Threads: 61
Signos: 3,855
Day Court Outcast
Female [She/Her/Hers] // Immortal [Year 498 Spring] // 16 hh // Hth: 17 — Atk: 23 — Exp: 72 // Active Magic: Greater Telekinesis // Bonded: Ereshkigal (Demonic Vulture)
#4



I SWEAR TO GOD I WASN'T BORN TO FIGHT
maybe just a little bit, enough to make me sick of it


She arches her brow at the tone of his reply. “The blizzard- your gods are temperamental.” Seraphina does not miss the way that Caine’s tone drawls along the word temperamental, drawing it out like the string of a bow.

If she’d had the time to comment on Novus’s gods, perhaps she would have said that most gods are, or that wasn’t Solis’s doing, or only one of those gods is mine, but, really, she doesn’t know if any of those answers are true, so she keeps her mouth shut. Are gods so temperamental, outside of Novus? The rumors she has heard would suggest that they are, but she’s never actually left the continent, so she doesn’t know. (She’d never thought that she would want to, because Novus is her home, but the land has begun to weigh on her, like a heavy shroud. Something inside of her begs to escape.) She doesn’t think that the blizzard was Solis’s doing, at any rate; why would he have saved them from it, if it had been his creation? (Egotism, her mind answers, or some desire to be worshipped. She can’t quite believe it, though.) Worst of all, she asks herself, as she has so many times before, if Solis is even her god, if he ever has been. She doesn’t know if she cares. She doesn’t know if she believes him. She doesn’t know if it matters, either. God or no god, life goes on.

(She almost died. Would he still have taken her, if her body weren’t burned, if it had been buried beneath that sea of jewel-flowers – or would she have been forced to wander, listless and in-between – or would she have fallen down to somewhere much darker and colder than that, where there was nothing but impassive and empty black? She doesn’t know, and she isn’t sure if that is worse, or the answer.)

He isn’t far enough from her when she jerks his braid to miss his faint exhalation of laughter. “I am a quick learner. Especially when the teacher is of such — merit.” She rolls her eyes at that, but he’s already turned away. She waits.

She doesn’t get him as close to the wall as she would have liked, but she manages to back him up just enough to restrict his movement; her teeth find purchase in the slick curve of his neck. (He didn’t even attempt to jerk away, and, though she wonders why, she does not have time to consider the answer – the weight of his waterlogged feathers does not register.) Out of her peripheral vision, she notes his shift in expression – the slight narrowing of his eyes, as though her light nipping offended him. It might have been enough to make her snicker, but then he lunges, and she doesn’t have much time to contemplate the gesture.

She’s fighting him in close quarters now – so she isn’t especially surprised when he rears. What surprises her is her own reaction.

For a moment, when his hooves seem to be lunging towards her face, Seraphina feels a surge of white-hot adrenaline that threatens to manifest in the form of her telekinesis. She thinks of Raum. She thinks of his hoof, turning to a paw full of sharp, sharp claws, and the sensation – the sound – of her flesh being ripped open. She freezes up. (She has never frozen up before.) Sweat beads her brow, but she feels cold, cold as the grave, her breath curling like fog in the rain-soaked winter air; the only heat is on her cheek, those burning stripes of gold-scar flaring up as though she’d set them ablaze. Her magic pulses to the frantic, fluttering beat of her heart. Begs for release, to throw him back, to get those sharp, kicking dashes of midnight away from her eyes -

but she holds her magic back.

He isn’t actually aiming for her face; of course, he doesn’t actually aim to hurt her, but, in the moment, her panic outweighs her sense of reason. (In a fight, this is never good. She always thought that Viceroy beat the impulse towards fear out of her in favor of self-preservation.) He slams into her, and she stumbles back, losing her balance – the force is enough to bruise, and, more unfortunately, her reaction is so sluggish that her hooves dig awkwardly in the sand. She doesn’t think that the odd shift of her ankle is enough to sprain it, and it is not accompanied by any pain, but the uncomfortable movement is a bit too close for comfort for her.

His lips are right by her ear. “Am I really that delicate looking?” She doesn’t have to see him to know that he is smirking; she can hear the curve of his lips in his tone.

“Yes,” she responds flatly, punctuating with a gasp of breath, then adds, “Yes, you are - and I wouldn’t want to leave a mark.” (There is just a hint of dry humor to her tone.) This wasn’t at all to say that he struck her as especially pitiful; he certainly wasn’t as sturdily built as a soldier, but he was quick and lithe, and that presented a different sort of danger. To put it simply, he was delicate because he was too pretty, because of the largely-scarless lay of his inky black coat and the oft-loose expanses of his hair. If she had to put it into words, she would say that he was far too lovely to have experienced as much violence as she, reasonably, knew that he had – too lovely for something as horrible as a battlefield, and too lovely for so much blood.

She has always had a certain envy for pretty, delicate things; there has never been time for her to be one. Even if it is only on the exterior, she has no desire to damage those fine, unmarred features.

Rather than letting him hold her in position, she surrenders ground, allowing herself to be forced back; it gives her enough space to regain her balance, her limbs straightening. With a bit of space between them, and a bit of composure regained, Seraphina takes the opportunity to rear up, hind hooves digging into the slick sand for stability’s sake; he has a considerable bit of height on her, so she aims more for his chest when she lashes out. Her movements still aren’t especially forceful, the battering press of her hooves more of a gesture than an attack – she aims to bruise, perhaps lay a few cuts on him at the worst, but nothing more substantial.




@Caine || the real spar has to be the snark, because apparently sera is too worried about like, scratching him to actually fight him. as one does.

"Speech!" || "Ereshkigal!"





@






Summary: Sera thinks about religion and rolls her eyes a bit. She successfully nibbles at him a bit, but he's right about her being off-balance, and he manages to catch her off-guard by going for the face before he drops down a bit. Cue Raum flashbacks for the millionth time lately. Lads, I'm starting to think she's traumatized. She freezes up in panic, so his assault both manages to give him a bit of ground and gives her a few good bruises, because she doesn't really react; she ends up stumbling awkwardly, but, fortunately, not awkwardly enough to hurt herself. She tells him that yes, he does actually look that delicate, then spends about a paragraph thinking about how much of a pretty pretty l'oreal hair model he is. She proceeds to give him a bit of space, then she rears up, and she paws him in the chest. As though she is absolutely determined to hurt his pride or w/e, she still doesn't put that much effort into kicking him, going for a few bruises or a couple of very superficial cuts instead.

Attack Used: 1
Attack(s) Left: 0
Block Used: 0
Block(s) Left: 1
Item(s) Used:

Response Deadline: 5/18 (discussed with Ralli, because finals for us both)
Tags: @Caine, @sid, @inkbone, @Sparrow, @nestle, @aimless







I'M IN A ROOM MADE OUT OF MIRRORS
and there's no way to escape the violence of a girl against herself


please tag Sera! contact is encouraged, short of violence








Played by Offline rallidae [PM] Posts: 73 — Threads: 7
Signos: 10
Day Court Scholar
Male [He/Him/His] // 7 [Year 498 Summer] // 17 hh // Hth: 8 — Atk: 12 — Exp: 22 // Active Magic: Dream Illusion // Bonded: N/A
#5



they want to see us, want to see us alone
For the flicker of a second, just before Caine pulls his lashing hooves back towards his elbows, something shifts.

It is so slight that, at first, he thinks he is mistaken. There is rain blurring his eyes and sand stinging his cheeks but, when he blinks them away and looks again, he sees it etched on her as clearly as glyphs on a clay tablet. 

Fear. Or — something close to it. He is not enough of an expert in reading emotions to be sure, but it is not Fia’s expression that hints it to him at all. It is — the stillness that settles over her like a shroud, her sudden suspension in slow-shifting space — that Caine recognizes and, somehow inexplicably, understands. 

He has not known Fia for long. Not long, no, but long enough. Long enough for him to think, rather foolishly (like a soft-eyed, sweet-dimpled boy) that they may be similar. 

His eyes drag over her scar like fingers dancing across the keys of a piano. His hooves tuck back under him. He rams into her chest.

“Yes,” she says. “Yes, you are - and I wouldn’t want to leave a mark.” Her voice breaks a bit in the middle, when he sends her sliding backwards. His eyes stare into hers — the blue one is as blue as sapphires even in this light — and he wears his smirk like a medallion.

A puff of air escapes Caine’s lips when his hooves slam down into the wet sand, just to the left of her silver form. The force of his landing sends sparks up his cannon bones that gather in his knees and unsteady them like he had unsteadied her. He pants into the sand, his breath crystallizing into clouds. He watches her from the corner of his eye: righting herself, drawing her limbs back under her like a dancer landing a leap. Her recovery is swift, though he expects nothing less. He will be swifter. 

She is a rearing silhouette under the torches and the pouring, pouring rain. Quickly, in a burst of inspiration, Caine wrenches both of his right wings open and throws his weight towards their waterlogged mass. If his wings are so adamant on being a burden, then he will twist their burden back into advantage.

He manages to shy to the right of her pawing hooves — aiming straight for his chest — by half a hair, maybe less, and grits his teeth when they scrape down on his left shoulder. Like her bite, the pain (specifically, the lack of it) is enough to elicit another withering smile from him. 

“Should I count that as a mark?”

He does not wait for an answer. As swift as a viper, Caine sinks down into his ankles and snaps his neck to the left, towards her exposed side, just as her hooves touch back against the ground. Before his teeth make contact, he wrenches his neck higher and higher, until his back ankles twist in the sand to bear the bending of his spine. A sharp little pain snakes up the right one, and vaguely he wonders if he has sprained it. 

A small sacrifice. He ignores it wholeheartedly.

His teeth clamp down on the white hair at the point of Fia’s withers, and Caine does not relax his hold until he spins the rest of his body around to join him. His shoulder presses parallel to hers, and his sides heave as he finds his breath. 

“I did have scars, you know. They were just… removed.” The addition of wings, the removal of scars. Caine is nothing more than a patchwork of magic and blood and crumbling bits of boy.

“Back there, you —” Caine pauses, wondering if he should go on. The rain answers for him, muffling his voice and washing the hesitation away. “For a moment, you weren't here.”
@Seraphina | "speaks" | notes: behold, caine hesitating over his words for the first time in the span of this spar
rallidae | art





Summary: Caine manages to dodge Seraphina's hooves by letting the weight of his extended right wings give him the extra momentum he needs to spring to the right. He then pauses for breath before snapping his neck to the left when she lands from her rear, clamping his teeth down on her withers. His bite is meant more to hold her down than to wound, and he sprains his back ankle a little bending himself that far to the left. He brings himself parallel to Seraphina, lets go, and says some meaningful things.

Attack Used: 2
Attack(s) Left:
Block Used:
Block(s) Left: 0
Item(s) Used: none

Response Deadline: May 21
Tags: @Seraphina, @sid, @inkbone, @Sparrow, @nestle, @aimless








WE LIVE IN THE FLICKER
but darkness was here yesterday

♠︎ ♤ ♠︎





Played by Offline Jeanne [PM] Posts: 330 — Threads: 61
Signos: 3,855
Day Court Outcast
Female [She/Her/Hers] // Immortal [Year 498 Spring] // 16 hh // Hth: 17 — Atk: 23 — Exp: 72 // Active Magic: Greater Telekinesis // Bonded: Ereshkigal (Demonic Vulture)
#6



THEY'RE WAITING & HOPING I'M NOT ENOUGH


Seraphina does not like to fight.

There is an artistry to it, and she can appreciate that, but she does not like to fight. If the world had been kinder to little Solterran girls or Solterran soldiers or Solterran Emissaries or Solterran Queens, she would never have become a warrior, or she would have at least grown out of it. She’d always hoped that she could find a more peaceful place in the world and become more of a scholar or a diplomat instead; Seraphina had hardly been a wide-eyed idealist when she’d come into her role, but she’d always believed that the seemingly-perpetual cruelty and violence of the desert kingdom she called her home was simply the result of too little motivation to change it, not some fact of nature. She’d always believed that it could be better.

She wonders, now.

His right wings – great, dark things, always larger than she seems to remember - flare out as she lunges towards him, and he seems to throw his weight behind them, jerking him shy of her hooves. (It is dark, and he is dark, and it is raining; she can only be so sure of how he moves.) They still scrape his left shoulder, but she has put no heart into the gesture, and she can judge from his (wither) expression that he recognizes it. His lips curl up, but she can’t quite say that he’s smiling.

“Should I count that as a mark?” She might have offered up some response if he’d given her the time. (He thinks that he is very clever, does he?) He does not.

Just as she drops back to the ground, hooves barely grazing the wet sand, he lunges.

She has just enough time to brace herself, shifting her weight in preparation for whatever he intends to throw at her; she might have moved, if she’d had the time, or used her telekinesis to throw him in a more serious battle, but she barely has enough time to think through her reaction, and this spar is hardly serious. (She notes just how sharply he twists to the left – it occurs to her later that the motion must have been dreadfully awkward, but, for now, her attention is on other things.) Her hooves sink into the sand, and she holds herself steady just as his teeth sink into her withers. In spite of the pressure it exerts upon her, the bite is barely strong enough to break her skin, and she realizes that his intent is to hold her in place, not injure her.

His grip on her shoulder remains until he pulls himself parallel to her, and, irritated as she is by the pressure bearing down on her shoulders and the sting of his teeth dug into her skin, she doesn’t attempt to break out of his hold until he lets her go.

“Should I count that as a mark?” she retorts, her voice stuttering with exertion. There is a cold mingling of sweat and rain dripping trails down her skin, and her breath feels like it is catching in her lungs. She is more than vaguely aware of the press of his shoulder against her own, his presence – shaking with heaving breaths – at her side. If she were younger, she probably would have stepped aside. Now, she stays still, strangely comforted by the gesture; if nothing else, it feels warm.

“I did have scars, you know. They were just… removed.” His voice breaks the silence, muffled by the rain.

She isn’t sure that she wants to think through the implications of that statement. Who removed them? Why did they remove them? How did you get them in the first place? She assumes that it is at least partially occupational, but she has noticed that he shies away from speaking too much of himself, leaving her with bits and pieces of a history that she can’t quite pull together. Seraphina is curious, but she doesn’t push – she knows that leaves her at a disadvantage, given just how much she told him of herself in their very first meeting, but she knows that there are some lines that should not be crossed, particularly with people you barely know.

“Even if that’s so,” she says, simply, eyeing the untouched ebony of his coat, “I still don’t see why I should try to give you any more.” Seraphina doesn’t want to hurt a friend in any way that matters; there are plenty of people in the world who would be more than willing to. She is long past thinking of a scar as a glorious thing, of the material remnants of battle as some symbol of survival. They are only a sign of damage done, and she’s tired of them. She wants to look at the world and see something other than the cracks running through it.

“Back there, you-“ He cuts himself off, and she wonders why. (He’s never been reluctant to speak his mind in the past.) “For a moment, you weren't here.” She stiffens in what is almost a wince, and it takes her a moment to decide what she wants to say. She finally opts for honesty, or something like it – there are things about those scars that Fia can’t explain to him. (That isn’t her story to tell.) She can give him something close to the truth, though, dig down to the meaning. The details are secondary, or so she tries to assure herself.

(Seraphina has never liked lying. She has never even liked hiding things.)

“When I was…given these scars,” she admits, her voice dipping to something low and quiet, “I almost bled out. It was the first time I felt that I…” She hesitates, and, when she answers, she doesn’t think that her answer is exactly what she means to say. “…I cared if I lived or died.” A moment of weakness, she thinks briefly, a hesitation that could have gotten her killed in a real fight – not that it should matter. She is Solterran. She is a soldier – and it would be her greatest honor to die defending her country. She doesn’t think that she has the words to explain the gold-plated scars, though. She doesn’t even know if there are words for it. All she knows is that

she

just

froze,

and she can’t let it happen again. Fear is as good as death on the battlefield, and she doesn’t have a good reason to fear death anyways.

(It isn’t death that Seraphina is afraid of. It wasn’t death that she feared, when some irrational, impulsive part of her expected his hooves to turn to claws and rake open her gold-scarred face – no, it is the idea of watching the world end again that turned her blood cold, the prospect of discovering what can still be stolen from her.)

“We shouldn’t linger,” she says, giving him a gentle nudge and striding forward, towards the rain-swept darkness of the desert.





@Caine || ralli, we've finished a thread

"Speech!" || "Ereshkigal!"





@






Summary: Sera doesn't really avoid his attack or block it properly, and instead just allows him to bite her and hold her in place; she does brace herself a bit so she doesn't get thrown off balance or injured, which is sort of a block, I guess, in a manner of speaking. She makes a snarky remark, and then a few more honest remarks before leaving.

Attack Used: 1
Attack(s) Left: 0
Block Used: 1
Block(s) Left: 0
Item(s) Used:

Response Deadline: fin.
Tags: @Caine, @sid, @inkbone, @Sparrow, @nestle, @aimless







I'M IN A ROOM MADE OUT OF MIRRORS
and there's no way to escape the violence of a girl against herself


please tag Sera! contact is encouraged, short of violence








Played by Offline rallidae [PM] Posts: 73 — Threads: 7
Signos: 10
Day Court Scholar
Male [He/Him/His] // 7 [Year 498 Summer] // 17 hh // Hth: 8 — Atk: 12 — Exp: 22 // Active Magic: Dream Illusion // Bonded: N/A
#7



I got my knuckles bruised by a lady in black
The spar is over. 

Caine listens to the blood rushing in his ears and tests his weight on his hind leg. It is just a bit tender, apt to heal by the next evening, and not deserving of a limp. The prognosis satisfies him. Rain drums lightly against his spine, and for the first time that night, Caine is glad for it. 

His heart beats a staccato rhythm in his chest, though it takes only a few breaths to steady it again. The spar had been almost — pleasant. Quietly, Caine thinks how strange it is to find himself at the end of a fight, unscathed. With nothing but his thoughts to fill his mind, instead of the high whine, like a sparrow’s trill, that his magic liked to bestow as a parting gift.

He feels the rise and fall of Fia’s ribs against his as she gathers her breath, and smiles when he hears the quip curl crossly into her voice.

“Should I count that as a mark?”

“No. I wouldn't dare.” As he speaks, he straightens his neck out from the severe angle he had wrenched it in and, without drawing away, rests the crook of it over the top of her damp mane. 

She doesn’t move, and neither does he. Fatigue locks them both safely away in worlds of their own, and the seconds pass like seasons. 

Vaguely, almost languidly, Caine looks up when the rain stops dripping from the leaky sky. He waits as Fia stills, ruminating over his admission. 

“Even if that’s so, I still don’t see why I should try to give you any more.”

He is quiet, for a moment. Why she insists on sparing him from wounds intrigues him as much as it puzzles him. Unable to come up with an answer, Caine draws away (he hadn’t rested against her for more than a few seconds, though it had felt longer than that) and tightens his smile. 

“You are very noble.” The solemnity of his voice surprises him. Unadorned, it sounds hollow, like the ringing of cutlery against an empty chalice. More than that; it sounds — wrong. Like a forest that lacks birdsong, or a baby that refuses to cry.

Absently he runs his gaze over her expanse of rain-darkened silver, searching for blooms of crimson. “When I was…given these scars, I almost bled out. It was the first time I felt that I… I cared whether I lived or died.”

To linger on the doors of death. To see your blood anoint the earth. A question forms in Caine’s mind: do you think death is kind? but does not make it to his lips. He does not need to ask. He has seen the answer refracted in dreams and pleading eyes enough times.

He lashes his dripping tail against his legs thoughtfully.

“Whenever you’d like, I’ll set his eyes aflame again. As many times as it takes for you to immortalize it — so that the next time you see him, you can tell him what beautiful eyes he has.” 

Flames flicker cheerfully across Caine's eyes. He dowses them before they can catch.

“We shouldn’t linger.” Nodding, he picks out the familiar moonlight silver of his dagger in the spot he'd placed it, blade down in the sand. When they reach it, he dusts it off and slides it back into its sheath along his wing joint.

The weight of it eases him. He hadn’t realized how much he had missed it.
@Seraphina | "speaks" | notes: WE FINISHED ♡ thank you for a spectacular battle thread!!
rallidae | art








WE LIVE IN THE FLICKER
but darkness was here yesterday

♠︎ ♤ ♠︎





Played by Offline inkbone [PM] Posts: 67 — Threads: 0
Signos: 3,705
Administrator
#8

CAINE vs SERAPHINA


@Caine- Total: 83/100
OFFENSIVE: Creativity: 25/30, Realism: 24/25
DEFENSIVE: Creativity: 13/15, Realism:  10/15
WRITING: Creativity: 4/5, Realism: 3/5, Mechanics: 4/5
BEGINNING STATS: Exp 13, Health 8, Attack 12 (Not used in battle, per character agrement -> magic: dream illusion + weapon: silver dagger)

Creativity: originality, imagination, and attention to detail.
Realism: mechanics and whether you accurately reflect your health and attack
Overall writing: creativity, realism, and writing mechanics (spelling, grammar, punctuation, run-on sentences, etc.) 

  • FIRST POST (intro)
    • This post paints a lovely comparison of the past to the present - Caine's homeworld to the one he inhabits now. Overall, this post laid out the atmospehere in an excellent sense! Interesting choice, too, to fight in the midst of a downpour ;)

  • SECOND POST
    • Defensive: From the initial phrasing in Sera's post, I read it as she's not quite *that* far away from Caine when she starts her initial 'attack'... so Caine's seemingly prolonged wait read a little odd. It's hard to tell who is at "fault" for this one - you for misjudging the distance, or Jeanne for actually misrepresenting it in her last post. However seeing him mentally fumble in reaction to his timing of Sera's attack was both good and bad - not something I would expect of an assassin, but not necessarily bad as it shows his mental train of thought.
    • Offensive: I LOVED his offensive reaction! Yes he may have fumbled the timing to manage a clean get away from her bite/nip, but attempting to go chest-to-chest to knock her off balance
    • Mechanics: Breaking the ".. reacting than attacking outright. Despite what his occupation may suggest." sentence seemed like an odd break to me. I did appreciate the sentence(s), though, as it gave a nice glimpse into what his strengths and weaknesses are (which are realistic for his profession).
    • Notes: The snarky "Am I really that delicate looking?" comment definitely gives way to the type of relationship they have. I'm always a fan of sassy banter ;D

  • THIRD POST
    • Defensive: Once gain, the use of a disadvantage (sopping wet, heavy wings) to his advantage makes a massive difference in both the outcome and creativity of the dodge. Quick thinking; I'd honestly expect nothing less of Caine!
    • Offensive: This 'attack' felt like lackluster in comparison to the momentum of his dodge, in both writing and realism.. and one thing I caution you to avoid is perceived powerplaying. While I know both you and Jeanne's writing style well enough to know it wasn't meant as such - since you're both responsible and considerate of one another and others - the "his teeth clamp down on the white hair" could have been easily interpreted as such to an unfamiliar party.
    • Mechanics: I thought this post was very well written, grammatically and in regards to physical mechanics! His seemingly withering/snarky indignation at her soft blows is wonderful, too.. as well as his genuine concern for Sera's freezing hesitation/fear that he witnessed.

  • FINAL POST (exit)
    • This was a good closure to an awesome spar!







@Seraphina - Total: 81/100
OFFENSIVE: Creativity: 23/30, Realism:  23/25
DEFENSIVE: Creativity: 13/15, Realism: 13/15
WRITING: Creativity: 4/5, Realism: 3/5, Mechanics:  2/5
BEGINNING STATS: Exp 51, Health 17, Attack 23 (Not used in battle, per character agrement -> magic: greater telekinesis + weapon: enchanted sword + armor: leather/steel with steel arrow)

Creativity: originality, imagination, and attention to detail.
Realism: mechanics and whether you accurately reflect your health and attack
Overall writing: creativity, realism, and writing mechanics (spelling, grammar, punctuation, run-on sentences, etc.) 

  • FIRST POST
    • Defensive: While this post didn't have any typically defensive moves, such as a dodge, it did include her evaluation of Caine. Reading how Sera tensed up when Caine bowed and moved back seems fitting for her character.
    • Offensive: I really liked reading how she considered her options, weighed them against Caine's winged advantages. The idea to try and pin him back against the wall is an interesting one, although I find it most appealing in that it read almost as a "mock charge."
    • Mechanics: Your post, as all your others, reads like a gorgeous story. However you did start with a sentence or two that read a little weird to me, but not innately wrong - particly the "'Rain' is perhalps..." sentence. It seemed to be a little cumbersome on the tongue. Likewise, the "though the rain drips down her lashes and threatens" was a little bit of a run on that could have been more easily read if cut up properly. And while appropriate, the word 'rain' was used quite a bit; a synonym or comprable word would have helped it sound less repetitive. This, along with some other words/phrases like "she can barely make", took a point or two off of the writing score due to their repetitive use.
    • Notes: I *loved* reading Sera's almost knee-jerk reaction to the flashbacks of her battle with Raum. It really made her character come more alive in this post, and put her development out there in all its raw glory! That and her hilarious reaction to his familiar braidwork makes her character seem that much more three dimensional.

  • SECOND POST
    • Defensive: Once again, reading how the traumatic past affects her in the present is refreshing to read. It's a league away from the usually compose soldier that many expect Sera to be, but that's what characte development is all about.
    • Offensive: So I'm torn about this one.. I fully understand her stumble in regards to his onslaught, however it seems a little odd/off that she would have the distance/space to actually rear up afterwards? It may just be how I'm reading it, but I feel like Caine would have too much forward momentum for the distance between them not to be lost. However upon reading Caine's next post, I did have my confusion cleared up!
    • Mechanics: This post was a little comma-heavy, but overall better on the front of run-on sentences. It read well and listening to the duality in her personality - from the raw pain of her previous defeat and near-death to the snarky relationship that her and Caine share - is always a good read.
    • Notes: "Too worried about like, scratching him to actually fight him" is FAR too true, lmao

  • THIRD/FINAL POST (exit)
    • Defensive: Not much in the way of defenses in this post, but that's okay! I honestly wouldn't classify Sera's bracing as a block, but given that it seemed pretty readily apparent that Caine's "bite" attack wasn't very aggressive ... it doesn't seem unrealistic for her not to fight back.
    • Offensive: Nothing offensive in this post, since all attacks were already used.
    • Mechanics: A few little typos here and there, like "(wither) expression" instead of "(withering) expression," but nothing major! Overall this was an incredibly emotional post - out of all the ones in this thread, I'd say the most emotional. There's a lot of vulnerability in her words, her actions, her past and present... I'll never be sick of reading Sera's character develop and blossom into what it has become today.
    • Notes: I really love the dynamic between Sera and Caine. 'Nough said ♥





Closing Remarks: Overall this was a really close spar! And even if there was no menace or aggression behind the attacks - from either party, really - this thread felt like an exploration into the characters that both Sera and Caine have become. And I'll never get tired of seeing them together and am convinced I'll ship them to the ends of the earth ♥ 






        






Played by Offline inkbone [PM] Posts: 67 — Threads: 0
Signos: 3,705
Administrator
#9

DICE ROLL

Battles will temporarily only take 1 staff member to judge until all of staff have time again, so onto the dice roll! ♥


@Caine:
83 (battle total) + 20 (HTH + ATK) = 103
103 * 1.13 (13 EXP) = 117 (rounded up)

@Seraphina
81 (battle total) + 40 (HTH + ATK) = 121
121 * 1.51 (51 EXP) = 183 (rounded up)

117 + 183 = 300
1-117 = CAINE, 118-300 = SERAPHINA

#1: 81 (Caine)
#2: 59 (Caine)
#3: 240 (Seraphina)
#4: 8 (Caine)
#5: 245 (Seraphina)

Proof of dice roll can be found in the Discord channel #contests, at 11:25p EST on 07/14/19.
@Caine wins!



All damage taken in the thread is still applicable and cannot be retconned!



[ Completed thread for Signos ]
@Seraphina already claimed as completed for signos
+25 to @Caine

[ Participate in a Battle or Challenge ]
@Caine already claimed for EXP on 6/30/19
+1 EXP to @Seraphina

[ Win a Battle ]
+1 additional EXP to @Caine

[ TOTAL EXP GAINS ]
+2 EXP (between the 6/30 redemption and today's win) to @Caine
+1 EXP to @Seraphina

Both characters official experience and signos has been updated to reflect these changes, so there's no need to post in the Updates threads!
In addition each character has been awarded +200 extra signos for how long this battle took to judge. We sincerely apologize and thank you both for you patience. ♥

This thread is now locked and been archived.






        







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