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Played by Offline RB [PM] Posts: 172 — Threads: 24
Signos: 385
Dusk Court Sovereign
Female [She/Her/Hers] // 6 [Year 498 Fall] // 16 hh // Hth: 18 — Atk: 22 — Exp: 39 // Active Magic: N/A // Bonded: Anselm (Ibizian Hound)
#1






deep calleth unto deep
Marisol has been writing a lot of letters. Or at least more than normal.

She has too many words in her head, too many books that were read and not processed, too many feelings, and now they’re fighting to get out, when she’s still, when she’s moving, all the time. She wants to write. She has to write. It will burn a hole through the inside of her if she doesn’t.

She has been thinking about Asterion, too, more than normal. His dark eyes. How he can’t not love. It reminds her of herself, or how she could be, maybe. But everything looks like him. It might be how the smell of saltwater follows her now, or how when the stars play on Terrastellan cobblestone, they almost make the purple of his skin (and she’s been under the stars a lot more than the sun, recently.) They haven’t seen each other since the meeting Marisol came crashing in on, and the knowledge of that is a bitter tonic against her dry tongue. There have been no apologies, no explanations. She had dragged herself to the hospital burning with fury and came out of it drowned in sorrow, and nowhere in-between had she bothered to speak to him, or Theodosia. Or her cadets, except to tell them it was business as usual. 

They all deserved a little better reception, even from a kelpie. Even from Marisol, whose teeth would not hesitate to eat her own heart. But Asterion… Asterion especially.

She loves him, he must know that. She can’t say it, and he must know that, too.



Asterion,

If I were capable of saying sorry I would say so now, but you know that I’m not, so:

I have much to tell you and I’m sure you have a lot to tell me, in reference to the interrupted meeting or anything else. I figured I would give you a warning beforehand. None of it (on my end) is near to good news. The hospital may have fixed my fever but it did not do much for my countenance. If you see something hair-raising on the streets, fear not, for it is either me or something I am near to killing. 

My heart has a mouth which says: I regret, though I hate to admit it, that I did not come to you sooner, and worse than that, that I have not been kind. You must know I am stubborn as much as I am your sister and these are two circles that overlap perfectly. I would rather kill for you than kill you, which I cannot say for many others.

There is a significant uproar in the Halcyon this weeksand I cannot justify leaving the barracks until everyone is calm. If you have time, please come by. You know we’re civilized. Cirrus is welcome too, though she might find it claustrophobic.

In lieu of a signature, or anything too sickeningly tender, have this, and don’t you dare hold it against me:

If we want the rewards of being loved we must submit to the mortifying ordeal of being known.

I submit.

<3
aimless | kokovi





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Played by Offline Griffin [PM] Posts: 413 — Threads: 43
Signos: 2,568
Inactive Character
#2



asterion,


Her letter frightens him more than any diagnosis that Atreus could give (though what he had given had been brief, the both of them sharing a look that said this can’t be it. Scrapes about her neck, bruises on her shoulders and legs, salt crusting her skin. Nothing more she’d show him).

There were small reassurances: if I were capable of saying sorry, and don’t you dare hold it against me. That is the Marisol he’s familiar with, the one he trusts with his life, even the times they look at one another with deep wounds in their eyes. Two souls made up of similar stuff, working toward the same goals in entirely different ways.

What else, then, will his Commander tell him? What more to be known? It is this he asks himself as he makes his way down the sun-dappled, spring-warmed streets to the barracks. The king carries with him an ancient book, leather worn to gleaming, pages unevenly cut and the bright-dark-bright of virgin bark. He tries not to feel foolish walking into an aerie of warriors bearing such a volume, and mostly fails.

It doesn’t matter much - they ignore him anyway, busy as the bees out in the prairie. A few cadets cast their eyes to him, and all that meet him bow as he passes, but it is clear they are about some other business. The hive is feverish with activity, a livewire of nerves he doesn’t know enough to decipher. But the day is cool and clear, and it smells like spring (like blooming) even over the hay and oats and rich smell of churned-up earth from the sparring fields. He fills his lungs with all of this, and steps into the Commander’s quarters, bracing for - what?

He doesn’t know what he expected, seeing her. It isn’t this; she looks whole and hale, if a little frayed, but when has she ever been relaxed? Their watch hasn’t ended, it seems, since he took the throne for Florentine. Even he is past the point of hoping that will change.

Asterion is grateful for what small mercies fall his way. But his eyes are still cautious, soft as evening darkness against her gaze of slate, and he does not drop them even when he nods. “Commander Marisol,” he greets, unwilling to drop either part of what has been her name for years - they are both too vital to lose. Something about saying them settles his heart, just a little, enough to loosen his mouth into a smile that’s almost sheepish when he passes her the book. “I brought you something.”

The title, sparse of flourish but bold and dark, reads Hymns of Gloaming: The Poetry of Vespera’s Creation. It came from the small, private library that passed into the hands of each sovereign, and as he gives it to her he looks away and thinks the infinite meadows of heaven. “You’ll have to tell me whether it’s any good. I have no ear for poetry.” (He has learned that there are many ways to tell someone you love them. This way, neither of them need be embarrassed.)

But both of them know why he came, and he straightens as he turns his gaze back to her, the warrior who also bleeds the black ink of poems. His smile has passed, his brow is furrowed like a field of clouds, but he thinks of the scar she gave him, a silvery thread along his side, and decides there is nothing worse they can give each other than that brief glimpse of death.

“First,” he says with the steadiness of a king and the softness of a friend, “tell me all you can of what happened that day. After, you can fill me in on this…Prudence…and what it means for us.”


king of dusk.




@Marisol
rallidae





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Played by Offline RB [PM] Posts: 172 — Threads: 24
Signos: 385
Dusk Court Sovereign
Female [She/Her/Hers] // 6 [Year 498 Fall] // 16 hh // Hth: 18 — Atk: 22 — Exp: 39 // Active Magic: N/A // Bonded: Anselm (Ibizian Hound)
#3






deep calleth unto deep

Every loch has its monster, and Terrastella is no different.


The myths she’d heard of the things like her varied in origin from the ocean to Tinea: though Mari herself is made from saltwater, she knows better than to think she is the only one to be turned, or the only kind. Now she realizes that there are plenty of them under the waves and in the swamp water. Waiting with their pretty eyes and sharp teeth. Waiting to wreak havoc. But she is not like them, no, she is and isn’t—bloodthirsty, sharp, sure, but still trained. Good dog. Better suited than anyone to stop them. When she thinks of him (Amaroq, motherfucker) it sparks a rage in her that floods like a wave into every knot and crevice, and she knows, deep in her heart of hearts, that this is her next duty. 

Next, she reminds herself, not yet.

It is warm today, but she can’t know that. She hasn’t been outside yet. It’s unusual, but so are the circumstances, all things considered. The only indication that the night has even passed is the grayish, goldish light that weeps through the windows and onto her desk, which is entirely covered in research, papers, diagrams: it seems as though hours have passed in which Marisol plows through pages and pages without any recompense, and the frustration is starting to catch up with her. The usual coolness in her eyes is slowly fading into desperation, and she grinds her jaw as she walks the office in forever-circles—when cadets pass her open door they do so with their heads bowed and eyes turned away, whispering, maybe, but not loud enough for her to hear. Smart kids.

Only one dares to look in.

His name is Felix. Lucky. (At least theoretically—she’s never seen him win a fight, but he’s also never broken a bone, so.) He’s a dark and scrawny thing, and Marisol has always been fond of the underdog, so she holds her tongue when he pokes his fine-boned head in and instead merely looks at him with a gaze that says your time is limited. He clears his throat. Mari raises an eyebrow. “Commander—“ the brow lowers. “King Asterion is here.” 

Marisol’s heart picks up in her chest. It rolls over and over and over itself like a body down a hill, like gravity has a fist on her, like something she cannot even hope to stope and she is only silent for a moment before saying in a voice like thunder, eerily cold, “Get out.” Felix flees, and for a moment she stands in the office perfectly still, nauseated by the electric-fast beat of her pulse and how she can’t seem to curb it. The smell of churning dirt and straw make her stomach clench. (She wants the ocean, the salt, the wind, but—no, no, no.) Bang-bang-bang-bang goes her stubborn heart against her tongue.

(What a waste! All those years of training ruined by a single set of teeth. She was supposed to be a martial, a machine; more importantly she was built to withstand bruising, and somehow she has failed, and now even the simple things are difficult.) After a minute, she’s found a leash for her breath. It settles deep in her chest. She closes her eyes and inhales deeply, holds, exhales; her head is a little light, her sight a little black; it is nothing mortal.

Asterion enters.

Commander Marisol, he says, and before he can continue she says “Asterion,” in a rush of breath that speaks only of relief and dives to meet him; she presses her head against his shoulder and unfurls a wing across his back. For what seems like a very long time, perhaps the longest minute of her life, she merely stands there, melting into the first embrace she has felt in quite a while, feeling the beat of his heart in her ear, the warmth of his skin and the icy-cold fear that settles like a glacier in her stomach. Something in her begs to panic. (It won’t change, she tells herself, and sobs a little, nothing has to change—) And it doesn’t have to be true. She just has to believe it for long enough not to cry.

Finally she steps back, and once again: Commander, staunch and sure-footed. It lasts for the barest second, just until she sees the title of the book.

Marisol stares. Her eyes are wide and blank. Hymns of Gloaming—it has not a title she has ever seen or heard of, and that in itself concerns her. How rare is this thing? How many riches have been traded for it? And why should she be worthy of it? She realizes with a start it must be from the Sovereign’s library, so secret even the Halcyon don’t have access to it. “I can’t accept this,” she says—but the sound is blithe, and her eyes linger on the embossed title like she’s reading a gravestone, loving and reverent.

There is a brief joy that fills her. It is buoyant and electric, and she thinks that maybe this is what is to have magic inside you: a soft, nervous smile pulls at her lips, and as she opens her mouth to thank him, or to offer a verse, a prayer, something that she can already tell would shake with emotion, he speaks instead, and Marisol freezes.

(It has to be done. It has to be done.)

She swallows and returns to the place behind her desk. Placed in an awkward but obviously curated constellation on the dark wood are two cups and a steaming copper pot filled with butter tea; the smell of cinnamon and anise waft from the place where its lid is not screwed on quite correctly, and Marisol nods toward it in an invitation. (She knows she cannot drink it until after she’s told him, at least. She feels sick enough already.)

“That day—“

I could make you so much more—

Marisol clears her throat with a little gasp.

A used pair of wings—

She hears the ocean roaring in her ears and the wind and the silk of his voice —feels again how her heart begged to live and was not allowed—the way the salt seeped into her skin when she drowned, when she died, she was dead, she should have been dead, and oh it was cold—

“That day,” she starts again, with more voracity. “I went to the ocean.” Her voice is trembling slightly. (You went to the ocean, and you died.) “I met a man there. For the second time.”

She does not even remember the first time, now, only that it happened. It is the lightest in a pool of horrible memories. And besides, the first meeting is not the one that matters.

“I died.” Bitter and easy. Wait—back up. She has never been this ineloquent, ever, and it makes her feel more vulnerable than anything else. She hates stumbling on her words. Hates backtracking. Hates not knowing what to say. But here they are, and what is she to do? “We talked, a little. It was nothing… of note.” Of course it was of note. But nothing Asterion needs to know, nothing that is important now. She shudders: “And he showed me his teeth—“

Her eyes darken. Her breathing stops for a moment.

I knew they existed, but I didn’t believe it. Until I saw it. The teeth and the gills, the, um… the ice followed him, sort of. I don’t know how to explain it. He—I—“ She tilts her head upward, and in the dark space just under her jaw is a ring of healing bites like a necklace, and oh God, she says, please tell him not to hate me. Tears are building inside her mouth, behind her eyes. She bats them back furiously. It is like a little drowning, like another death, and haven't there been enough: “I drowned. And then I didn’t, I don’t know, I still don’t understand. And I don’t know… how much time I lost, underwater. I just came up. And you were there. Like…”

She doesn’t want to say it.

“Like I needed.”


<3
aimless | kokovi





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Played by Offline Griffin [PM] Posts: 413 — Threads: 43
Signos: 2,568
Inactive Character
#4



asterion,


Something has changed - must have changed - for the way that she embraces him before his shadow can finish falling across the scuffed wooden floor.

For a moment he is taut, startled, but as soon as her wing folds over his back he loosens into her, cheek against the arch of her neck, heart to heart and skin to skin. The throb of her heart makes him think of the ocean against the rocks when the tide comes in, insistent and steady. He hadn’t realized how strung tight with worry he was until his breath comes out in a rush and his muscles relax beneath the arch of her snow-down wing. He says nothing, thinks nothing but the brief relief of this is something survivable and does not yet wonder why she stills smells so strongly of brine, of salt, of copper.

And then she steps back, and they are once again Commander and King. But the fear that had been snared in his throat like jetsam is gone.

Marisol claims she can’t accept the book, but his dark gaze has swallowed up the way she looked at it, and he knows it will see more love and care than it would on his own shelf, joined by a dozen other slim titles, nothing but an artifact of fading ink (he should read them some day, he knows, but - life always intervenes). As she goes behind her desk he sets the volume there, softly, and then he prepares to listen.

Asterion smiles at her offer of tea, inhales the sweet curling steam, but he can no more drink it now than he could swallow saltwater. Instead he waits, neck softly arched, dark ears forward, trying to keep his gaze from wandering the angles and curves of her body to search for damage. He would rather watch her expression, or nothing at all but the whorls and patterns in the dark wood of her desk, sigils ancient and incomprehensible. It is a strange comfort to know there is meaning somewhere in those markings, if only to the tree.

And then she begins. And Asterion finds that he is unprepared.

I went to the ocean. I met a man there.

I died.


The king’s head jerks up like a thing flayed, and his eyes are the eyes of an animal caught. Asterion shakes his head, scattering his forelock across the star on his brow. Died - but here she stands, whole. He had felt her heart beat against him, felt her breath stir the hair of his coat. He does not interrupt, though he wants to - but anything he might say would be superfluous, empty words, shock and sound. Instead he bites his tongue, and waits.

And he showed me his teeth-

He remembers asking her, on a morning just after dawn when the shoreline was still shrouded by mist and the sea breathed like a great beast just out of sight, whether she had ever seen a kelpie. Now the thought of his wonder and wanting scalds and shames him.

Oh, and he is angry. It begins even before she shows him the marks (he does not need to touch them like Thomas to believe) and like everything it manifests in water: silver limns his eyes, wells in his throat. More than either it churns deep in him, the magic rising, a wrathful sea. Asterion thinks I will drain the ocean and find him. He thinks I will drown him from the inside. He thinks We could make him suffer-

But Marisol, his Commander and confidant, is still speaking. Her own voice is choked, her own eyes glassy mirrors, and he hopes that what horror she might see in his own she knows is not for what she’s become but what has been done to her. Forced on her. And you were there, she says, and he braces himself for blame (already he’s weighing himself with it, that old sin of inaction familiar as a friend). What she gives him is worse.

“No,” he says, with another shake of his head, and his voice is hoarse and insistent. “I wasn’t there like you needed, I should have been-” Been what? Cirrus would tell him he can’t be everywhere, can’t be expected to take responsibility for every wrong done in the borders of his court. Can’t take the blame for choices and circumstance and random awful chance. But it is all too wrong to absolve himself. Still, he does not say he is sorry, not that she was alone, not for what happened. It would be empty and hollow and no use to either of them.

“No,” he repeats, gentler now, and reaches across the desk to touch her cheek. “But I’m here now. For whatever you need.” When he swallows he finds the lump in his throat is gone. The king pauses, and searches out her gaze to hold with his own. “When we find him, do you wish to decide his fate?”


king of dusk.




@Marisol
rallidae





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Played by Offline RB [PM] Posts: 172 — Threads: 24
Signos: 385
Dusk Court Sovereign
Female [She/Her/Hers] // 6 [Year 498 Fall] // 16 hh // Hth: 18 — Atk: 22 — Exp: 39 // Active Magic: N/A // Bonded: Anselm (Ibizian Hound)
#5






deep calleth unto deep

The way he flinches puts fear into her every nerve. Her blood runs ice cold, the breath slams out of her lungs; every inch of her body pinpricks with dread, she clenches her jaw until blood coats her tongue; her mercury-dark eyes fix on Asterion’s, and all they do is worry, worry, worry. She cannot know she looks girlish, in this light. The tear-stained lashes. The uncontrollable quiver of her lip. How she cannot quite meet Asterion’s gaze, even as he tries to make her. But for the first time in many years she feels like a child again, and that alone makes her want to howl in rage.

I couldn’t stand it if you hated me, she wants to tell him, but of course he knows. She’s never thought of him as truly foolish—a little too much of a dreamer, far too much an idealist, but not stupid. He would be within his rights as a person to fear her. Within his rights as a king to strip her of her title and throw her to the wolves. Within his rights as a child of God to hate her. And anyway her begging won’t make a difference. If he hates her, he hates her, and what can she do about it?

(I deserve it, thinks Marisol bitterly, and swipes the salt from her gums, and clenches her shoulders. Tenses her chest. Tries to still her heart, even as it threatens to burst. The office suddenly seems far too small for the two of them; she should not be allowed so close to someone not yet sick, sinner that she is.)

The air is so thick she can’t quite breathe. Each inhale grates against her lungs, the tender inside of her mouth. It hurts to feel the silence spread like wings between them; each passing second rings in her ears like a scream, and she blinks furiously as he shakes his head in—it must be disgust. Marisol closes her eyes. She pulls her head to her chest. But even with the world dark, she can feel Asterion’s eyes on her, burning into her forehead. Can feel the weight of his judgement like something holy, pulling on both sides of her neck.

But still he reaches for her. 

Marisol’s lashes flutter; her body stiffens in surprise, as if waiting to receive a blow, but of course it never comes, and as the seconds pass her eyes blink open. Oh. Asterion smells like home. Like sweet grass and upturned earth and old books splitting their spines open. Like a return to normalcy. Gods willing. Breath is sweet in her lungs again, and her heart not so terribly tight—when Marisol breathes it is almost a laugh, so relieved it sounds and feels euphoric. 

The moment passes as soon as it comes. And then she is somber again, eyes meeting his dark and serious. I will find him, she says coolly. No need to waste Terrastella’s army on one wretch of a fish. Although if you’d ever wanted to learn how to hunt—

And she smiles, wolfish, too-sharp and yet all herself.

Now’s the best time, in more ways than one.

The Commander reaches for one of many ancient-spined books on her shelf. This particular volume is so old and well-worn that the letters have come clean off the title, leaving only a T here, a P there; rivulets crack open the dark leather and split them into islands; Marisol wastes no time in cracking it open to a page marked with a splendid strip of blue silk, embroidered in gold. A faded ink drawing of a splendid set of armor coasts over the parchment, shining in places with pockmarked silver.

She pushes it toward him.


<3
aimless | kokovi





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Played by Offline Griffin [PM] Posts: 413 — Threads: 43
Signos: 2,568
Inactive Character
#6



asterion,


I will find him, she says, and there is nothing so easy as to believe her. It’s as certain as the slate in her gaze, the strength in her shoulders, all those muscles knotted with tension. Asterion nods, once, careful. And the look that passes between them then promises that he will help her, if she needs him - if she needs the bay drained, the tide pulled back, the sea to spit out the criminal like a rotten tooth.

“I’m always ready to learn,” he says, and at the sight of her grin (new teeth, white and sharp, but all Marisol, no less belonging to her than the spear leaning against the wall) the king smiles, too, bold and dark as the cliffside the waves dash themselves against.

And then, as she turns away (to reach for another ancient volume, as though they might trade books) he lets his breath out in a long rush, and closes his eyes tight for half a heartbeat, and reaches at last for the tea.

As he pours it into two cups, as the comforting smell of cinnamon and anise fills the air and Marisol pushes the tome between them, it is Isorath he thinks of.

Isorath, that errant regent, who had taught the bay to read (or at least begun his lessons). It had been there, in his comfortable and gleaming-clean quarters, that Asterion had first had tea, had first sat (awkwardly) on a cushion, had first looked at the swarm of black marks on a page like twigs and branches and thought they might mean something. How strangely turned the tides of time; no part of the king would have guessed at the way things had unfolded, each turn and shock, each day bright and dim, leading him here.

He wonders, as he looks from the Commander’s face down to the weathered page, where time and choice will lead them next. But that, he thinks, is the game - there is no knowing.

There upon the page is a set of armor. The king’s brow furrows, crinkling the edges of the star beneath his black and tousled forelock. He can see nothing special about it, beyond its clear age and intricacy; even he, more dove than hawk and no child of civilization besides, can appreciate the workmanship of it, the strength in each hammered plate. And oh, it is beautiful, as much art as weapon. The site of it, even lifeless on a yellowed page, sparks a thousand questions in him; when Asterion looks up, meeting her eyes (older now, wiser in ways he’ll never know, ways that cost blood and breath) he begins with only one.

“What does it mean for us once found?”


king of dusk.




@Marisol
rallidae





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Played by Offline RB [PM] Posts: 172 — Threads: 24
Signos: 385
Dusk Court Sovereign
Female [She/Her/Hers] // 6 [Year 498 Fall] // 16 hh // Hth: 18 — Atk: 22 — Exp: 39 // Active Magic: N/A // Bonded: Anselm (Ibizian Hound)
#7






deep calleth unto deep

Marisol is relieved to see the tea being poured. It is the suggestion of a return to normalcy, the thick smell of salted cream and deep-black cinnamon, the soft expression on Asterion’s face. It is a scene she has witnessed nearly every day, drinking the broth in the dusty light of her office, though not often with company; the list of people she would tolerate interrupting her routine like this is small and only growing smaller, but then again Dusk’s king has always had a strange hold on her. She inhales, and the sharp, spicy scent of anise tickles against her nostrils.

A plume of dust rises from the pages of the book as she splays it open against the deck. It has gone untouched for far too long, and it has not helped the weathering of time, the spine of the tome cracked with age, its pages snakeskinned from so many years pressed into the back of the shelf. Even upside down the pattern of ink is recognizable. Marisol has seen it on posters, in dreams, tattooed on the back of her eyelids; she wonders with an aching heart what magic might overcome her if she were to find it in person. It’s not quite imaginable. It might kill her on the spot. It might send her into a trance she can’t quite wake up from. If it is found—when it is found—she might not be able to look at it with anything more than a cornered gaze, for fear of being burned, and what a tragedy that would be, to fall in love without being able to sink your teeth into the thing?

She swallows hard and watches Asterion watch the page. Nervousness rises in her like a little white fire. Her throat is hot and dry as the Mors. When their eyes meet it is not without some measure of urgency; Marisol can feel that her trepidation is obvious, flickering in her dark eyes as obvious as moonshine and lantern-light, but she does not quite have the capacity to be ashamed of it at the moment. “Everything,” she answers, and her voice trembles like a too-taut string. “Prudence has been missing for decades, and the Halcyon records… imply that it bears a blessing from Vespera herself.”

She turns the page. The next sheaf of yellowed paper contains a muddled zebra-print of words written in a woefully antique hand, nearly impossible to read in full coherence. Only a few words stand out in any clearness, and they’re things the Halcyon has gathered already—first warrior, opal, lifelong shield. “Novus has been discordant, recently, to say the least. Though we have withstood it so far, we cannot isolate ourselves from this—drama forever. Recovering the armor would make the Unit stronger than it has been in any of our lifetimes, and I cannot help but think…” she pauses, and her gaze darkens momentarily. “That if there were ever a time Terrastella was in need of an army, it would be now.”

She doesn’t want to say that they’re fucked without it, or that Asterion would be a fool to think that they could not dive into this conflict, whether it is now or next year. Their continent has never been a peaceful one; with a tyrant on the throne of their most volatile nation, violence is nearly a guarantee. She doesn’t want to say it because it is an admission of terror. She doesn’t want to say it because the dark, stony gleam of her eyes has said enough already, and she does not think either of them can bear any more anger today.


<3





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Played by Offline Griffin [PM] Posts: 413 — Threads: 43
Signos: 2,568
Inactive Character
#8



asterion,


For once Asterion doesn’t think on how strange it is to find himself here, closed up in an office of wood and walls of stone, pouring over a book whose pages once belonged something alive. The king is intent, and curious, and for the moment shares none of his Commander’s nervousness - perhaps he is too ignorant for it. He had never considered, before Novus, that lack of knowledge might sometimes be a gift.

But then she says Everything, and he can see the flicker in her eyes like lightning far out across the sea.

“A blessing,” he echoes softly, and though he can’t help the arch of one brow he says nothing more. They have never seen quite eye to eye on the court’s patron goddess (an understatement), though some days he feels that’s for the best. Someone ought to be pious, and the Dusk King knows by now that it will never be him.

He leans back at the turning of the page, takes a long sip of tea that courses warm down his throat like a little piece of sunlight or summer. In silence he listens to her counsel, all thoughts he’s had himself, gathering like stormclouds. Asterion knows what lion prowls the desert, how it paces ever nearer their door; perhaps, as he’d confessed to Israfel, he should have acted already. Neutrality was no excuse against such horrors as the rumors from Solterra spoke of, much less the sins acted on Denocte.

“You’re right, Commander.” There is an edge to his voice, a hardness he can’t keep out when he thinks of the former Crow, the silver King. “I trust you, Theodosia and Israfel can see to it we’re as prepared as we can be, whatever comes. And in the meantime…we should be smuggling in supplies, if we can. Or smuggling out the suffering.” His sigh, then, speaks more eloquently than his words; of his worry, of his frustration, of the anger that is slowly, slowly, coming to the surface like some monster shouldering up from the seabed. “I’ll help search. And when it is found, then…well, you and I will talk of war.” It is not so hard as he thought it might be, to hold her gaze then.

And that is well, for Asterion is not finished. “That is not all Terrastella is in need of. For too long we’ve been without upper ranks. Marisol…there is no one I trust more to protect and serve this court than you. Even when your opinions go against my own.” The shadow of a grin crosses his mouth, then, there and gone again like a magician’s trick. “Maybe especially then. Would you serve Terrastella as her Regent? You could keep your title as Commander, and delegate your duties as you see fit.” He doesn’t dare to think, as he watches her expression then as though he’s studying the dark waters of divining bowl; he barely dares to breathe. The king had come today with that question waiting in him like a locked box, even guessing at the change in her. And maybe it would be too much - maybe he should be easier on her, after all that had happened -

“I understand,” he adds, voice soft again, curling gentle as the steam from the tea. “if you need some time. But it is as you say. Novus will not wait for us to prepare, and I owe it to make sure the court will survive in good hands, come what may.” And if he thinks of Raum then, and the secret in his heart (I could kill him, my magic is strong enough, I could end this) it does not show.


king of dusk.




@Marisol <3 <3
rallidae





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Played by Offline RB [PM] Posts: 172 — Threads: 24
Signos: 385
Dusk Court Sovereign
Female [She/Her/Hers] // 6 [Year 498 Fall] // 16 hh // Hth: 18 — Atk: 22 — Exp: 39 // Active Magic: N/A // Bonded: Anselm (Ibizian Hound)
#9








deep calleth unto deep


Marisol tries not to notice the way Asterion smiles when she says blessing, like it’s some kind of inside joke. Like she’s not totally serious. There are so many decades of proof that she must be buried somewhere—Cleopatra’s notes, old leather bound tomes hiding in their library, Cicero for that matter—and even the evidence they do have points to a blessing so powerful it’s worth killing for. A sigma of all Vespera’s power and all the favors She might have bestowed on them, if they were decent enough to ask for it. They cannot afford to throw that all away. (And if Asterion doesn’t appreciate whatever magic clings to that shield, well, there is still some use for all of them in a thicker kind of skin.)

“If you approve,” she responds quietly, “Then the Unit and I may visit Solterra, do what we can. At least if we can spare the bodies.” The image of Susurro flashes through her head, the carpet of outspread wings, the undue graves, the belly-rolled headstones, and her eyes close briefly. There aren’t many of them to waste in the first place; Senna and Elif, god bless them, hardly count for cadets. She sighs and rubs her cheek against her shoulder, trying to scratch an itch that won’t quite subside, and there is a moment as her vision blurs that the office is calm-silent and Marisol thinks they might have found peace.

The room smells of dust and stale sunlight, of cinnamon and warm black tea; Marisol almost wishes that they wouldn’t talk at all. She is exhausted. Even the thought of another long-winded conversation has her heartbeat slowing. She hasn’t really been able to sleep since the first clue showed up—there’s far too much noise, far too many complications, and every time she closes her eyes she thinks of something else to worry about. The questions never stop. Maybe if Asterion were here, she could sleep more soundly. Maybe if he kept watch she would feel comfortable enough to really doze off for the first time in days. Maybe if he stayed—

When he speaks, Marisol thinks she might be dying.

The salt, the blood, the growing pains are getting to her. Or the sleep deprivation is finally kicking in. She must be hallucinating. Regent. Her teeth are crowding her mouth even more so than usual, every sharp point digging into her lips and tongue. Each breath feels tighter and tighter, and in the moment that Marisol’s eyes meet Asterion’s—slate gaze blown comically wide with shock—she’s not sure the oxygen is doing its job at all. She tries hard to steel her expression, though she can’t quite tell if it’s working. How long has he been waiting to ask? How little had she expected to hear it? Sometimes Marisol thinks she is hardly even Terrastellan for her cold heart and sharp eyes. Wouldn’t Israfel, Rhone, Florentine, be better than she?

Marisol inhales sharply, leans back just a little. Her heart clenches like a fist. Oh, Asterion… the softness of his eyes, the quiet curl of his lips still makes her think of a child, and yet he is hardly a boy-king anymore. He has seen too much for anyone to retain with complete innocence. And Marisol knows first hand what he has been through, what they have been through together; he has always done his best as Dusk’s ruler, never mind his unique capacity at times to irk her. Would she be failing him, if she said no?

Would she be proving Amaroq right?

“I…” For the first time, Marisol wishes her office were more cluttered. She could use something to hide behind. The blood is rising in her cheeks, and she’s almost sure it’s managed to push through the darkness of her skin. “I’ve been told the only straight line for the living is from one duty to the next. If you’re—absurd enough still to trust me—“ And here she smiles, just a little, so he knows she’s not entirely serious. “Then I suppose that makes it my duty to accept.” 

She measures out a careful, deep inhale. “It would be a privilege, Asterion. But—how does this work, how do I start? I do not know how well I’d do. I have not been anything but Commander in…”

Forever. 

“Years.”

<3

aimless | kokovi





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Played by Offline Griffin [PM] Posts: 413 — Threads: 43
Signos: 2,568
Inactive Character
#10



asterion,


Somehow, in the time that has passed, the world that has withered and bloomed, the deaths and the births and the growing-pains between, Asterion has almost found peace with their patron goddess.

Or at least with the idea that there is no getting rid of her, that Vespera is as tied to the court as the cliffs or the castle. He has not prayed, since that long-ago day when he climbed with younger muscles to the peak and asked for guidance. But maybe it isn’t a bad thing, to have some kind of faith, any hope to cling to. Otherwise it is too easy to be swept away in any stream.

Their eyes meet at that word - bodies - and he doesn’t flinch the way he might have once, when he was young and green, before he had seen death, no grand and heroic thing but only figures in the mud, bodies carried off by the current. Their eyes tell the same stories, then, shadowed by shared memories. At first he only nods, then adds, “I approve.”

For a moment they both settle back, then, before he does his asking, before he offers to her the weight he’s been yoked beneath (and oh, what mingled guilt and relief comes then, to share his burden on shoulders already curved beneath great weight). If only he had Eik’s power, or could know what she wanted - someone to watch as she slept, some to give her, for a moment, peace -

but neither of them are practiced enough at asking for what they need.

When the question registers, when her breathing holds, the king shifts forward, as if he might have to catch her across the desk. But of course (of course) she straightens again, steadies herself, steel and slate, strong as the cliffs that stand and stand against the crashing sea.

At her smile the fist that holds his heart tight loosens, just a little. And when he breathes in, deep and slow, once more the office smells of tea and old wood and dusty ancient books, and a little of the ocean, never far outside the door.

“I think we both know how absurd I can be.” He dares a smile, then, and more - he leans forward, touches his nose roughly to her cheek, so near those hidden teeth. “Thank you, Marisol.”

It’s impossible, not to hear her fears and think of his own, when Florentine had asked him the same thing. And oh, Marisol is far more suited than he had been, feral boy whose hair was only ever combed by the wind, who had never seen a building, never led a people, never spoken to a group of more than three. She was born for such things, and he had stumbled through. There are no doubts in him when he regards her again with the desk and the book between them.

“You begin as I did, with grace and guidance. The position is more subdued than you might think. You speak for me when I am not present, you act in my stead should I be unavailable.” A pause, another memory that brushes up against him like the froth of a wave on a long-ago day on the beach. “And together we’ll try to keep each other young.”

Somebody passes by out in the hall, shod hooves ringing against the floorboards; it feels like another world, outside her weathered door. There is never enough time, he thinks, to process things fully - and maybe that’s a blessing, too.

“We can begin practicing now,” he says then, and catches her eye. The smile he wears is soft as beaten leather, and a little wry, but it does not fade from his face as he nods. “Tell me, Regent, how I can best serve us - you - in the search for Prudence, and in your…change.”


king of dusk.




@Marisol <3 they make me happy
rallidae





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