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Played by Offline Syndicate [PM] Posts: 62 — Threads: 10
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Night Court Entertainer
Female [She/her/hers] // 8 [Year 495 Winter] // 16.2 hh // Hth: 7 — Atk: 13 — Exp: 10 // Active Magic: N/A // Bonded: N/A

There is something very strange about approaching the castle for the first time with the intent of entering. Her hoof-steps sound too loud, resounding in the garden, clicking off the moonstone-struck cobblestones. Boudika feels small. 

The closet thing Oresziah had to a castle had been the Old Town, a collection of three or four buildings with two stories and dark, large stone architecture. There had been a library, and a Great Hall for occasions of state and politics. Boudika knows her sentence had been decided in the flame-lit alcoves of the Great Hall, with a number of stallions standing her judges and executioners, men she had served with and for, men she had known her entire life. 

However, the Great Hall was only a shadow of the Night Court’s castle. The keep is grand, but not in the way that the Great Hall had been grand. The Great Hall of her old life was dark, very dark, and abandoned by the gods that had once imbued it with magic—the stones had risen as though cutting at the sky, savage, glorious. An affront. A challenge. Defiance, in the form of architecture that did not bow.

 In contrast, the Night Court cuts a sharp silhouette, but not an unfriendly one. The warmth of firelight flickers along the stone from large torches, and flocks of small dragons take flight from the ramparts. The castle is the silent and watchful vigil of the Court itself; the solemn guardian that rises above the other buildings to stand protective watch. There are small intricacies that bely the building as Isra’s own; rubies where there ought to be flowers and beds of gleaming copper where there ought to be grass. Boudika walks into the magic, bare of all belongings save her trident. It is all she has

There are pearls on trees and crystalline formations budding from the roots where they rise and bump along the surface of the earth. A pathway weaves toward the entrance, with stones shined to the iridescence of nacre—or perhaps it is nacre? The path leads through tangles of night jasmine and evening primrose. There are moonflowers and gardenia Augusta and Japanese wisteria, blooming in the languid summer heat, and Boudika walks through the flowers as though she herself has bloomed from them. The scents—sweet, summertime—show her a world she has never known. 

There are trees with leaves that glint the colours of ammolite, gleaming like dragon-scales in the firelight. Boudika marvels at them, and their heavy fruits. She has never seen the castle look the same twice, even from a distance, and tonight is no exception. There are fireflies and luna moths, and a dusting of stars far, far above. In these tender, quiet moments, as she steels her courage… Boudika thinks of everything Caligo is. She thinks of the stories she has been told of a kind goddess, a fierce goddess, and she marvels at the land that worships a woman of darkness. She thinks of what Caligo’s siblings had feared, that the darkness over which she resided would consume her, and Boudika wonders if some kind of darkness had threatened her in the same way.

Boudika contemplates the goddess’ anguish, how she launched her world into years of night and turmoil. How her pain was so great, it afflicted all of Novus. Boudika thinks of how it was only for the wellbeing of her brothers—the very ones who caused her such great pain—that she agreed to end that everlasting night. 

It terrifies her to take another step. 

To do it, means she is letting go.

The night is silent around her. The weight of her trident is familiar, and comforting—but the thing she faces is not. It is the acceptance that she can never go back. To take another step, to reach the door of the great castle… means Boudika must acknowledge that she has moved on, that there will be no turning back toward her old life. This is it. She is staring forward. 

It is to say: Orestes is gone.

It is to say: I will never go home.

It is to say: This is my future.

And Boudika’s future, stretching out in front of her—with her new obligations, with her new community, her new family—is overwhelming. It is too much. It is unbelievable. This is never where she expected to be. No… she was meant to be in Oresziah… a captain, or a major, and now… she is in a world of magic and monsters and men she had never imagined, never even contemplated. But you never belonged there, a thought whispers to her. And it sounds like Orestes, as though he is beside her again, whispering through the bars of their shared prison. You were never meant to spend a lifetime caged. A lifetime in a lie. You were meant to be so much more. 

He’s right.

Boudika takes another step forward. And another. 

Then she is pushing open the castle doors, and stepping inside. 

"Speaking." @Isra


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