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Private  - my soul is in the sky

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Played by Offline Sunny [PM] Posts: 5 — Threads: 3
Signos: 250
Dusk Court Scholar
Male [He/Him/His] // 9 [Year 495 Summer] // 14.3 hh // Hth: 13 — Atk: 7 — Exp: 10 // Active Magic: N/A // Bonded: N/A

to die upon the hand i love so well

She had pulled up away from his star maps for a moment— a miracle, achieved only through great sacrifice and maximum effort— and dragged him over to a corner of the astrarium to stare, instead, at the people walking by below. She leans languidly on one of the humongous glass windowpanes, a porcelain cup of tea nestled against her shoulder, and lets him observe in silence for a moment. 

They are watching a group of young Sand Czarinas-- second daughters and junior sisters-- as they twitter and bustle about the capital. Dressed in vibrant silks and voluminous layers, they buzz down the concourse between the vast Al Tarazad palatial estate and the outskirts of Al Rasalas land, this edge of which happens to be a zoo.

Atlas is nervous-- Nashira always makes him a little nervous. He's never felt his life to be in danger, but he's been born and bred with a terrible fear of failure, and she is notably difficult to please. His eyes keep flickering back and forth between the group and her deep violet eyes, waiting on glass eggshells for the correction he fears is coming.

The Czarinas suddenly make a half-moon arc across the pathway, pushing some other, lesser beings out of the way, and almost bumble straight into a young Sand Czar. Though he can't hear them, he imagines they hastily squeak out apologies, each tumbling over the other in various ear-piercing octaves, as they contort their bodies into a ridiculous bend. Atlas' face screws up in confusion just as Nashira's mouth shifts into an amused smirk.

"It figures none of them can curtsy worth a damn," she snorts, taking a sip of tea and pushing herself off the window. "Rich women don't need to curtsy. Just another perk of being rich." She steps back from the dome and stands straight. "This is how you curtsy, little one," she instructs. She performs a strange maneuver where she crosses her front legs, bends all four pinions slightly at the knee, and stretches out her long neck, her slightly square-jawed crown turning almost parallel with the ground at full extension.

It looked utterly awful.

"I'm glad we just get to bow," Atlas said, the relief genuinely audible in his voice.

Purple eyes snap up at him in irritation and he wilts.

"Curtsy for me, Atlas,"

"I-- I--," he fumbles, suddenly put on the spot, and manages only to cross his legs and squat rather awkwardly. Nashira laughs and shakes her head, silver forelock covering her eyes.

"Why would I ever need to know this?!" Atlas asks. His tone is less kind than he intends.

Instead of being angry like he expects her to be, Nashira's smile softens. "Because you are not going to be anything like them," she says, unshakable and certain, "but big things often begin somewhere small." She comes over to him and nudges his body with her muzzle-- straights a leg here, corrects his neck there.

Throughout their curtsy practice, Nashira is laughing; never unkind, though, never at Atlas. It is a noise with undercurrents of joy and light, as though she'd just discovered something incredibly amusic.

"The first Sand Czar to know how to curtsy," she says, struggling to hold back giggles. "You truly will be my legacy, little one.

His pride radiates like the sun in waves off his golden pelt.

Mint tea, he remembers. She had been drinking mint tea out of one of Sadal's mother's alabaster cups with the gold filigree around the rim and base. Suddenly the warm desert air smells of sharp mint and it makes his heart hurt.

His hair had been long, then, and he had no true concept of the meaning of her words. He thought she was just poking fun at a pack of bougie girls and their petty, high-class flirting, but it had been so much more. The concept of the curtsy, at the time petulant and silly, carried a heavier weight than he could grasp then; only in his later years, after carrying his own burdens across sea and sand, did this particular lesson make sense.

Sand Czarinas would never have to know how to properly curtsy. Whores would get killed for doing it any less than perfect.

The thought weighs heavy on his already heavy mind, and he busies himself with moving forward to escape the clinging demons of his past. Around him, the Mors shifts and shapes with the wind, tendrils of sand carried on the breeze like a hundred million minuscule beads on a strand of silk the length of infinity, uncoiling here to coil back up there. It is a trick to fool the unwary, a mirage within a mirage; to one unfamiliar with desert travel, the landscape seems to trap them in an endless loop, passing the same sand hillock time and time again. It is enough to be maddening.  

But Atlas had trekked through deserts farther and wider than this one. His homeland was one gigantic desert continent, something only discoverable by crossing it from sea to sea on foot. Zukai, the kingdom of his birth, was a cream-colored jewel amidst dunes of spun gold, and the sapphire sea to the northeast. All that was south and west was hot, unforgiving desert, with poison oasis', lions, dragons, serpents, and the bones of his loved ones.

A high cliff of red sandstone cuts an uneven square out of the crystal blue morning sky. The early sun is pale and not as angry as it would be at its zenith. The heat washing across his face and back, the rub of sand on his hooves and hocks, it is all familiar. It somberly calms him, saddens and revitalizes him at the same time. It is in his self-sacrificial nature to suffer, and the desert is a known evil. It is a challenge and a well-worn path all in one.

There is not a correct word or phrase for what drew him out of the safety of his Terrastella bunkhouse and out into the Solterran wilds; some would call it a wanderlust, but he had never entertained the itch for travel and exploration. More likely the somewhat comfortable living he had etched out for himself caused his heart to overflow with guilt and shame, and so he drove himself out of civilization and out into the hot, merciless desert where the dry air and burning ground were his old friends. In some sick way, he took comfort in knowing his death would amount to nothing, out here-- no panic, no stress, no confusion, no rot, or smell, or clean up effort. His bones would simply sink beneath the sand until they, too, were threaded with the wind.

He paused between two large dunes to contemplate the ground beneath him, to wonder how many graves the hillocks covered. How many hard-fought battles with the shifting sand to reach the harder-packed earth far, far beneath them had been attempted, and lost, or won-- Atlas' strength lasted for two. By the third, he was too exhausted to cry and, though it ate him up inside, he had to settle for just covering the remains with the golden dust of the desert.

A motion in the sand to his right caught his attention, and he tilted his head to see. A small viper, undulating its serpentine body, rose from its cool place beneath the surface and hissed at him, rattling its scales in a threat display. Get away, it told him, tread not on me!  

Atlas did not fear snakes, especially not small ones, and though he knew they were quick-quick over sand, they were not wolves and did not give chase. Comfortably out of striking range, he swung his rear end round to face the creature, and curtsied.

"There, Shira," he said, as he rose, feeling the warmth of his skin beneath the remnants of her ragged cloak. "A perfect curtsy, in the sand, to a snake. Bet you've never done that before." His tone was boyish with a hint of daring, knowing full well she had done so, and much more.

Oh, he missed Nashira. He wondered if she'd be proud of who he was, and how far he had come.

@Avdotya | flashback | atlas | atlas talks to a snake


Played by Offline Kay [PM] Posts: 104 — Threads: 11
Signos: 320
Day Court Outcast
Female [She/Her/Hers] // Immortal [Year 494 Summer] // 15.1 hh // Hth: 15 — Atk: 25 — Exp: 48 // Active Magic: Earth // Bonded: Feliks (Borzoi)

fearless child,
feral girl, tell me what it's like to burn.
Her mind is teeming, it is fraught with wild fury and a desire to satisfy the hunger that is swelling within her. The image of Makeda’s dead body has not strayed from the viper; the way her hair looked coarse and unkempt, the way her skin hugged every bone in her body, the way her eyes - once lively and bright - had gone dull and left picked apart by fattened vultures. Avdotya remembers every detail as she marches from Elatus towards the dying Capitol, but it is not Raum she seeks - his throat she already knows is Seraphina’s to cut and bleed dry. Instead she yearns to find what is dearest to the king, to find it and then whisper into his ear as he lay dying that nothing he loves in this world is safe. Death will not be his release, for it is total and utter helplessness that she intends to plant within him before his last breath is drawn.

Those thoughts run heavy in the mare’s head while she trots steadily up a rolling dune. She stops only as she reaches its crest, caught by the obscure sight of a golden man performing some sort of delicate maneuver before a rattling serpent, announcing gods knew what to the wind. A look of distaste befalls the features of her desert-dusted face. Foolishness was not something she often harboured patience for.

”Snakes do not care for your...” she pauses, recalling for a moment what he had called it, ”curtsies.” The word may as well have been spat from her mouth, for it even tasted awful upon her tongue. She descends the dune, closer to him and the serpent that continues to hiss its displeasure with their presence. Her spear is secure in her mind’s grip, ready to bore its way through its skull should it decide to strike. She watches it, yet speaks to him. ”This is how you wait for death?”

With Raum at Solterra’s head, waiting for death was all any of them could do.

table by sunny | image by Krystallizedart @ dA | for novus use only

You shall find that pretty rose vines are just as lovely
when they wrap tight around your limbs and shatter your bones.


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