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Experience Earning  - held to the past, too aware of the pending; [AW]

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Played by Online griffin [PM] Posts: 86 — Threads: 10
Signos: 150
Night Court Entertainer
Male [He/Him/His] // 6 [Year 499 Fall] // 15.3 hh // Hth: 8 — Atk: 12 — Exp: 21 // Active Magic: N/A // Bonded: N/A

the great object of life is sensation -
to feel that we exist, even though in pain

♠︎ ♠︎

It is already full autumn, this high in the Arma mountains. 

The aspens have all turned to shivering gold, the maple leaves are scarlet and falling. August is glad for the bite of the air, despite his summer-thin coat; it forces him awake after his long trek from the city. And he is glad, too, when at last he reaches the little cottage tucked back into the heather, squatting into the hill with a grass roof and weathered gray shingles. 

He knocks, though he doesn’t need to; August knows the old hedge-witch’s birds have told her of his presence. Anyway, Macha has known him since he was a spindle-legged colt. He waits for a moment, watching the birds as they pluck at seeds from the bobbing heads of sunflowers that have begun to spend their splendor, wondering which are her companions. None of them are out of the ordinary - a few goldfinches, a small tittering group of sparrows, a dark-eyed junco scratching at the dirt. Yet it seems to him that when he looks away, a dozen pairs of small black eyes shift onto him. 

“Come in, boy,” calls a voice, as rough and deep-throated as the bark of a century-old oak. The door swings open, and August steps through. 

And out again, a few minutes later, huffing a laugh under his breath. His mother had visited Macha, and her mother before her; he likes to imagine that the witch had been the same even then, her kindness disguised by coarseness, as brusque as she is benevolent. In exchange for the herbs he asked of her (for sleep unburdened by dreams), she’d sent him back out into the woods to gather chaga and reishi mushrooms from their homes on birch and hemlock trees. 

It’s peaceful in the forest, in the warm and slanting sunlight. A breeze rifles through, shivering the dry leaves against one another in a sighing kind of music. Other animals browse among the leaf litter; squirrels scream their disapproval at him, and a trio of deer observe him with their dark eyes, almost alien in their mixture of elegance and strangeness. The reishis are easy to find, bright red arcs growing like shelves on the bark of sleepy hemlocks, and soon his knapsack is heavy with them; the chaga prove more difficult. 

August is making his way through the bracken, toward a copse of birch trees, when a murder of crows begin cawing from the canopy. He pauses, the ferns tickling against his knees, and looks back over his shoulder, as solemn and stately as a stag, gilded by sunlight. 

@open | for anyone! with some EXP earning

Played by Offline REDANDBLACK [PM] Posts: 283 — Threads: 33
Signos: 110
Inactive Character

Bexley does not know anything of witches, or mushrooms, or how to love what is not summer. She only knows that up here it’s cold to the point of hurting and beautiful to the point of brazenness. Like her.

The leaves are all in their red-and-gilded coats. She hasn’t seen colors like this since she was the littlest child, since far, far before she came to Novus: now she berates herself for not remembering how they look like magic when there is none to be found. It’s nice. (What a simple girl you are, she thinks. It’s nice.) The susurrus of the dry grass, the thin, blank sunlight through the trees. It looks one of the pretty oil paintings she’s seen in the halls of the castle. Nice. And strange.

For hardly the first time today, she feels skin-crawlingly out of place. You do not belong here, the birds remind her, singing their nursery songs from up above. (Their eyes are like badly made jewels; unbidden, she thinks of the island.) Bexley does not belong here, she knows, in a place without sand, without blood, without iron. What would she be without those sharp edges? Good girls belong here, the birds remind her. Good. Not gory. She does not belong here in this place that knows good and right from righteous and petty.

It’s all too pretty. It’s all too nice. Too good to be true. Up here the wild air smells like sap and smoke; Bexley’s heart hurts, but a little less sharply.

A black and ochre butterfly is perched on a branch just above her, beating its wings senseless through the thin air. Pretty little bird-thing against the peeling white bark of the birch. He well matches the rich, warm tones of the leaves that come cascading down around them. Now the world is silent. Her muscles beg warmth. The wind refuses.

Bexley tilts her head up toward the butterfly and blows out a soft breath; he doesn’t flinch. “Pretty boy,” she murmurs.

The vibration of her voice makes his gossamer wings tremble just a little. But he does not run. And behind him, where she cannot quite see clearly, there is a flash of white-gold through the trees like a ghost.

No, not a ghost, she chastises herself. No more ghosts. Something inside her roils and turns: danger to the nth degree, a fever so potent it’s something like a drug.

A shy white smile crosses her lips.

To August she says, with a sheepish tone that implies she doesn’t really mean it at all, “We have got to stop meeting like this.”

Played by Online griffin [PM] Posts: 86 — Threads: 10
Signos: 150
Night Court Entertainer
Male [He/Him/His] // 6 [Year 499 Fall] // 15.3 hh // Hth: 8 — Atk: 12 — Exp: 21 // Active Magic: N/A // Bonded: N/A

the great object of life is sensation -
to feel that we exist, even though in pain

♠︎ ♠︎

He’d never been the kind of boy who paid much attention to trees and rocks and pretty things, who appreciated the stillness. His favorite paintings are all of the sea, of wild waves thrashing and the light shining through their crests like a stained-glass window, or if not that than of harbors with their masts and sails like trunks and clouds. August is too fond of the Scarab and Denocte’s eternal midnights, of having options innumerous, whether in music or drink or partners. So whole and simple is his love for it that it’s easy, sometimes, to forget the other side -

how he hates the quiet, when it lingers long enough that his thoughts start to crawl inward. How those moments are the only ones where he can’t seem to see the path forward, like the only path he can’t cut his way through is the thicket of his mind. Better (he has found) to ignore it, to let it grow wild and weedy, and cultivate instead the rest of his life.

A thing easier done when his sleep is dreamless; hence the mushrooms, hence the witch.

Anyway -

August, too, is thinking of the island. Every time a bird sings and the notes are only nature and not music, every time he catches the eye of something watching him and it is not a glint of emerald or garnet, every time the wind moves in the branches and he looks up half-expecting to find a distorted face staring back at him, carved from warped bark with a rotted hollow mouth, his breath feels looser in his lungs.

Until the gold of the day converges to a single vibrant point. As if all the wealth of the grasses and trees has been melted down like idols to make her. Then his heart tightens up, five fingers to a fist, and he thinks I was worried you were dead. There again, those island-thoughts, and he doesn’t even see the butterfly.

But he doesn’t look tense, or out of place, or like he’s surprised at all to see her far from what he imagines her haunts to be. He only ambles up to her, wearing a smile and a sack of fungus, and the leaves shiver down with each breeze (like butterflies) and pretending anything is normal feels impossible.

To her remark he sighs, long-suffering, though a grin is quick to follow. “I agree entirely - I’m never at my best advantage. You should see me in civilized society.” August doesn’t hide the way his gaze skirts over her then, like he’s checking for injury or proof of realness or a sign of why she’s here, in bumfuck nowhere, and not in the desert or in a city or somewhere being properly admired.

Then he steps nearer, all nonchalant, nearly brushing his shoulder against his as he turns to study the birches for a burnt-looking knob of black. When he sees the butterfly his heart stutters.

“Were you there at the end, with the relic?” he asks, still all nonchalance. “I thought I was going to die.” He’s still smiling (strange and soft and honest) when he says it, and it turns mischievous when he looks back down at her, those sky-blue eyes, the sharp features signed by a knife. “I would have had some regrets.”

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