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Played by Offline Rae [PM] Posts: 85 — Threads: 13
Signos: 0
Inactive Character
#1


Champion. Mateo was a champion. It hardly seemed a fitting title for a man who fought no battles, won no wars. As such, he did not feel fully comfortable with the newly granted title... but surely that would come with time… right?

And– did he really want to be comfortable, anyway? That’s all his life ever was, more or less, and what did he have to show for comfort? No growth, no pride, not a terrible amount of self respect. Comfort gave comfort, but, it would seem, little else.

And the problem with comfort is that it makes itself hard to let go of. So as planets in orbit will remain in orbit until some force veers them off course, Mateo’s path in life was charted entirely based on events set in motion years ago. And oh, what a comfortable path in life it was! 

Until, of course, today.

Anxiety and excitement are not as different as they first seem. Mateo doesn’t know which he is feeling as he leaves the court meeting. And as he walks the streets he knew as well as his own feathers, deep in contemplation on Life and its wildness, he keeps seeing a short black rump and tail just ahead of him, always turning the next corner. It was the new warden, the one he had not seen until just earlier that day. 

He does not think he means to follow. But he does follow, he certainly does. And with every step gained on the warden, Mateo grows more agitated. He could not explain why he was bothered by this man. And this lack of explanation only bothered him more.

(As narrator, I might speculate the short black pegasus felt threatened by another short black pegasus– one now with a higher station. As narrator, I am probably correct, although there is a small chance (1.2%, if the studies are true) that I am wrong.)

Left, left, right, left. They wound through the streets, Mateo slowly gaining on the other stallion, slowly growing more agitated, until he turned the corner and found himself face to face with the one named Andras.

It was not quite like looking in a mirror. But it was eerie enough that Mateo raised his wings instinctively in defense. “Oh!” His voice rang clear and boyish, a stone skipping across the quiet pond of Delumine. With his exclamation, the color orange swirls at the edge of the two stallions’ vision– a silly and oft unwanted magic trick. “Hello Warden.” His voice is not as gentle as it usually is, although the other would not know this. It still has a certain ripe-fruit softness to it. To his great annoyance, Mateo is physically incapable of unkindness. He nods his head deeply, respectful but a little curt. “I’m Mateo.

He bites the inside of his lip as his eyes search the other man's spectacled face. For once in his life, he did not know what else to say.

- - -
@Andras  I wanted to leave it open if Andras turned around to confront Teo, or if they finally stumbled into each other by happenstance <3 also, ugh, please excuse me as I wrestle my muse D:
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Played by Offline Cannon [PM] Posts: 79 — Threads: 13
Signos: 90
Dawn Court Warden
Male [He/Him/His] // 5 [Year 500 Fall] // 14 hh // Hth: 10 — Atk: 10 — Exp: 13 // Active Magic: Arc Flash // Bonded: N/A
#2






Andras Demyan

"All you want to do is dance out of your skin into another song not quite about heroes, but still a song where you can lift your spear and say 'yes' as it flashes."
He sees Mateo, and the way he looks at Andras - which is to say, the way he doesn't; if Andras reacts at all it is only visible in the slight shift in the angle of light bounced off his lenses, as if to dare him. Hurt me, it says. Hit me. please. He cannot tell which he wants more: this trembling voice, the uncomfortable shifting of weight - or that attention turned on him, full of ire and pride.

But before he can start, before he can open his hateful mouth and beg, Ipomoea says, Warden.
Andras' molars squeak as his jaw twitches. The word sounds heavy, and noble - not for savage little shits like Andras, who are either a bleak, grim face or wolfish smiles with sneering lips and too much teeth. 

Thank you, he says, but maybe not out loud, and glances in Mateo's direction before walking back into the morning fog - another pegasus in tow.
For all the parts of him saying yes with a kind of glee he can only describe as unholy, there other parts, unfathomably small crevices that are whispering their worries into the marrow of his bones, his singing blood, that crackling rage that lives under his skin. Even after the meeting the city is quiet except for the clatter of their footsteps and a hushed voice or two that say why? or how? and bend their necks when Andras looks them directly in the eye.

And perhaps this is why Ipomoea said the word. Perhaps it because Andras is unapologetic and savage. Perhaps it is because of the singing hate. He doesn't know. He's not sure he wants to.

Andras cuts through the city with the practiced grace of a bird in flight and the clenched teeth of a dog waiting for the other shoe to drop. It is only when he reaches the steps of a small, two-story inn at the edge of the city center, already rumbling with the clank and drone of cooking and cleaning, that he turns to look across at the Court with its pale stone and its flower boxes hung in the window -- but instead he sees Mateo.
Figures.
Andras tucks his wings tight against his side, as if to steel himself. Now even Mateo calls him Warden and Andras isn't sure if the hot prickling of his skin is shame or anger - or some unfortunate blend of both.

Either way, the look the warden gives the champion is withering. "Andras," he corrects, "It's a pleasure."

And it isn't, and it's obvious it isn't, really, but here they are on the steps of the inn nonetheless. 
"And you're our champion of community," Andras says, with a voice that sounds as stiff as he looks, "so you're here to... what? Commune? With me? I doubt that'll be fun for you."



@Mateo




they made you into a weapon
and told you to find peace.





Played by Offline Rae [PM] Posts: 85 — Threads: 13
Signos: 0
Inactive Character
#3


Well shit, Andras doesn’t look too happy to see Mateo either. There are little weeds forcing their way through the cracks in the stones and when he says “it’s a pleasure” Mateo swears he can sense them withering.

The hawk-eyed pegasus has never really been disliked before. It comes as an extremely unwelcome shock. He frowns. Somehow, he manages to look handsome even with that ridiculous, childish look on his features.

Oh don’t worry, I have a very low standard for fun.” The quip is out of his mouth before his own brain can register the words. Just-- heart-- throat-- mouth. Thoughtless as breathing. “Or so I’m told.” He adds with a grin that is so genuine it hurts a little.

And then he remembers that he’s jealous. No, not jealous, that’s unbecoming. We take it back.

And then he remembers that he’s threatened. No wait, not threatened either. Erm, agitated, that’s it.

And then he remembers that he's agitated, quite rightfully so... not at any one or thing in particular, of course. Just a general, run of the mill agitation that the other pegasus brings upon himself. For of course, this was all Andras’ fault, all this insecurity and uncertainty brewing like indigestion in his stomach.

The charming smile wavers like a spinning top that’s lost its momentum.

And then, as tops are want to do, it falls.

Good gods,” he thinks suddenly, with a sinking feeling. “I want this fucking guy to like me, don’t I.

Mateo shakes his head, with no explanation. “Are you lost?” he asks suddenly, and the question does not know if it wants to be asked with genuine concern or as a snide insult. It comes out as a bit of both. He finds himself biting his lip, hard, before saying "I mean-- I'm sorry-- I don't know what I mean."

"Want to get a drink with me?"

Oh oh oh, we are a very confused boy.

- - -
@Andras
i d e k
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Played by Offline Cannon [PM] Posts: 79 — Threads: 13
Signos: 90
Dawn Court Warden
Male [He/Him/His] // 5 [Year 500 Fall] // 14 hh // Hth: 10 — Atk: 10 — Exp: 13 // Active Magic: Arc Flash // Bonded: N/A
#4






Andras Demyan

"All you want to do is dance out of your skin into another song not quite about heroes, but still a song where you can lift your spear and say 'yes' as it flashes."
Don't worry, Mateo says, and Andras takes off his glasses, rubbing them against the wrist of one night-dark wing. Breathe in (quietly, deeply, as if this statement has stolen something from him) and breathe out (louder this time, a sharp sigh, a tired sigh - and this has already made him so tired).
It's fine. This is fine.
Everything is fine.

"Perfect." he says. He isn't typically sarcastic - in fact Andras tends to lean toward heartbreakingly blunt, - so it falls out of him like a sour note. He can practically hear the brassy sound of the word hitting the ground and bouncing down the shallow stairs. Above the sun is rising, around the fog has thinned, and with it Andras' polite smile has thinned, too.

(I wouldn't blame Mateo, for turning and leaving. I wouldn't blame Mateo for the angry itch that palms his heart. It's like pulling teeth, talking to Andras. It has to be. I cannot imagine a world in which it isn't.

I wish I could say he wasn't always like this. I wish I could paint a picture of some happier time with the cool wind of spring and the sun on his back, with his brothers in the dirt. I wish we could point to some single, defining moment, the a-ha that bent Andras into what he is - but he is not touched by tragedy, is not traumatized by circumstance, is not hateful because he was wronged but because he is wrong, there in the heart of him.

Not evil, maybe, and not malicious--god no--but he is one prolonged snarl and it's possible he will be until he dies.)

The warden watches Mateo work through a series of attempts at being chipper, but also watches as each smile eventually fades into some obscure but beautiful frown. And, in spite of himself, in spite of everything and everyone, he is charmed--though he would never admit it.

Are you lost? Mateo asks, and Andras looks from him, to the sign overhead denoting the name of the inn (The Leaning Tree, painted in looping font - a little on the nose, but what isn't in Delumine) then back to Mateo. He doesn't like this inn as much as the library, would rather have the dark and the candles and the ringing silence, but it is in fact the inn he'd been staying at since he followed the king to the city. Somewhere over their heads is a room stuffed with pillows and pens and scraps of fabric he uses to clean his glasses. 

"Sure," he says. It's his turn to smile this time, and it isn't manic, or mean-spirited, or sarcastic though the statement in itself is decidedly untrue. "I'm probably lost."

But then, wonder of wonders, sin of sins, Mateo says 'want to get a drink with me' as if it's all he has to say, as if it just falls out of him before he notices. This is when Andras untucks his wings, face drawn into some expression of vague discomfort. "Yeah, let's do that. I'll buy."


@Mateo




they made you into a weapon
and told you to find peace.





Played by Offline Rae [PM] Posts: 85 — Threads: 13
Signos: 0
Inactive Character
#5


Andras takes off his glasses and Mateo looks away. It seemed leery, to be looking at the man without the twin panes of glass separating them. He looks at the inn they stand before, he looks at the way its sign swings lazily in the gentle morning breeze, he looks down at his own feet, dark and small and remarkably clean. And when the other man sighs so heavily, so suddenly, Mateo looks at his face with alarm.

Was he dying?

Perfect,” Andras says, probably not dying.

As stupid as it sounds, Mateo had forgotten it was morning. It didn’t feel like a time of fresh beginnings, even with new titles slung unseen across their shoulders. It felt too much like dusk, as the two stallions stood there in painful charade of conversation. Dusk that wanted to be midnight-- black moon, black feathers. Words would surely come easier in that velvet darkness.

But the day grows brighter around them, not darker, and to Mateo's surprise Andras accepts the offer to get a drink, which seems so wholly unconscionable at this hour that the black pegasus-- the one without glasses-- just sort of stares for a moment in untrusting disbelief.

Okay.” He says finally, with a shrug like he’s made up his mind about something, or maybe changed it. “I know a place that should be open soon.” He leads them down the stone street. A somewhat awkward silence sits between them, interrupted only by the clatter of hoofsteps. After a few turns they descend a narrow staircase under a sign that reads “The Pen and Chain,” into a basement.

A dark basement. It takes a few minutes for his eyes to adjust to the windowless room, but it doesn’t matter- he could navigate this place with his eyes closed. The floor is mostly open space, interrupted occasionally by mounds of cushions-- some of them worn and ragged, others bright and new, all soft, plush, and clean-- and clusters of fat yellow candles.

A fireplace weakly putters away on the far wall. The air smells of cedar, beeswax, and… old paper. For along each wall are recessed bookshelves crammed to overflowing. Hundreds and hundreds of books and scrolls, completely unorganized, clearly well loved. A large sign above the fireplace reads

“TAKE A BOOK,
LEAVE A BOOK.
(OR TWO)”

Scribbled below it in small angry red letters- “AND A DAMN TIP WHILE YOU’RE AT IT”

Mateo goes to his favorite corner, nudges a massive green cushion against the wall, and delicately folds himself into its soft, worn curves. He catches the barkeep’s eye (no easy task, she had her nose buried in a novel) and gestures her over with a charming smile. "Will you bring us two Hemmingways, love?" She sighs heavily, clearly uncharmed. His attention turns back to Andras, whose reaction to the place he carefully observes. Nothing bothered Mateo more than taking someone someplace they did not like.

(Of course, this is not true: there were a lot of things that bothered him more, he just wasn’t thinking of them at the moment. “Wherever you go, there you are--” applied not just to the man but his troubles, too. At least it did for this man.)

So.” He clears his throat. Candlelight flickers hypnotically in those glasses, like some kind of sleight of hand. The blue-grey eyes behind them are solid, and pained, and Mateo smiles like none of it matters. Like he isn’t witheringly envious and covetous and I-don’t-know about the new Warden. It was a lot to be feeling about someone he had only just met, but luckily the barkeep buys him just a few more minutes before the awkward conversation must continue. Her name is Bronte-- a perfect name for an employee of a literary-themed bar-- and he had hit on her so many times she approaches warily and leaves quickly. She leaves two fragrant, steaming mugs at the feet of the two stallions. “To… new responsibilities.” He floats the mug lazily in the air in a toast. The word responsibilities sits flatly between them. He flushes, embarrassed and strangely self conscious, and drinks deeply.

- - -
@Andras
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Played by Offline Cannon [PM] Posts: 79 — Threads: 13
Signos: 90
Dawn Court Warden
Male [He/Him/His] // 5 [Year 500 Fall] // 14 hh // Hth: 10 — Atk: 10 — Exp: 13 // Active Magic: Arc Flash // Bonded: N/A
#6






Andras Demyan

"All you want to do is dance out of your skin into another song not quite about heroes, but still a song where you can lift your spear and say 'yes' as it flashes."
Mateo stares at him in stunned silence. Andras smiles, one of those smiles that would be a grimace if it were deeper, with the ridges at the edge--and it is either because of the look on Mateo's face, or in spite of it, and I cannot guess as to which.

Andras watches him screw his face back into position, straighten his posture and say, okay.
He echoes, "Okay," he echoes, and gestures down the street with one wing extended, the other folded across his chest. "After you," Andras says before following Mateo back into the quiet city streets as the sun rises over their backs, burning the fog away from each building.

There are many things he considers asking, but doesn't (and Andras does not typically withold his opinion, so this is either a special treat or an unfortunate plot twist). Most of them start with why and a few of them end with this? us? a drink? Andras has not stopped to consider the early morning night or the standards of civilization and he does not stop to consider a single thing until the path they travel drops down a dark, narrow staircase, made even darker in the long morning shadow. If he stops it is only for a moment. If he says anything at all, it is not words, just uncomfortable stammering before he, begrudgingly, follows Mateo down.

Andras holds the door open with a wing as he steps over the threshold, into a room that looks at once very empty and very cluttered--and a few different things happen at the same time.

One, the part of him that is always thinking of the library, of its swooping curves and its clean lines and its rooms upon rooms of bookshelves neatly stacked full of lovingly kept and obsessively curated tomes, scrolls--this part of him starts screaming, some high-pitched keening at the shelves of books, some of them vertical, some stacked four-or-five-high on their sides, most of them worn and stuffed haphazardly into place (and I say haphazardly because Andras would say haphazardly, whether they are placed that way or not).

Two, another part of him is well aware of the dark, and the warmth in spite of the small fire trying its best to fill the space. This is the part of him that follows Mateo in what can only be described as rapt silence, thankful for the light obfuscating off his lenses so, though his back is turned anyway, the other cannot see Andras staring -- at Mateo, or the bookshelves, or the pillow that Andras folds himself onto after Mateo does the same. This part of him pulls his mouth into a thin smile. This part of him thanks the bartender even as she is all but jogging away.

Three, Andras thinks oh no, for what seems like no reason, over and over again, first as a single voice and then as a chorus singing a hymn to day drinking and his questionable life choices. He decides, Fine. We're doing this.

When the barkeep--Bronte,--drops the mugs before them, Andras picks his up and levels that stormcloud gaze on Mateo's, grinning like some wolf. "To friendship, such as it is," he adds, clinking the drinks together before knocking half of his back in one long gulp. Andras sets his drink bak down, adjuts his feathers, and says, as if he had been meaning to say it all along (and he hadn't), "You're going to do great."


@Mateo




they made you into a weapon
and told you to find peace.





Played by Offline Rae [PM] Posts: 85 — Threads: 13
Signos: 0
Inactive Character
#7


Mateo wishes he could see the other man’s reaction. As they walk down the narrow staircase. As they enter the room with its dry paper and soft cushions and haphazard coziness. As they make their way to a table. Mateo thought the chaos of it was beautiful. Each time he entered, this place was different. It felt like something magic.

He knew, of course, that it technically wasn’t magic that shuffled this room around. It was the clientele, everyone coming and picking things up in one place and putting them down in another. But the end result was-- how to say it-- it was the intersection of a hundred different lives. Everything in its place because someone put it there, for whatever reason. And next time, everything would be in a different place.

He wishes he could see the other man’s reaction, but he doesn’t dare turn to look. With awkward politeness they settle into a quiet corner (one of several; they were all quiet corners at this hour) and drinks are summoned and then it is just Mateo and Andras and their heavy thoughts. Looking at each other, not so different from looking in a mirror. They could be brothers.

Then Mateo says “to new responsibilities” and Andras says “to friendship, such as it is,

Friendship.

Is… is that what this is? Friendship?

That word makes him hesitate. This… open wound of a feeling sits more like jealousy, and dislike, and (although he can’t quite admit it to himself-)... attraction? The pit of his stomach, already sunken, sinks further. But the other man is smiling. He smiles the way a wolf does, like it just wants to see the expression on your face as you look at its teeth.

Mateo looks at his teeth. Then, with nothing more than a nod, he drinks long and deep.

You’re going to do great.” The boy’s eyes almost begin to water. All the soot in here, from the fireplace and the candles and most of all his magic run amuck, which twists and turns the sound of Andras’ voice into tendrils of apple smoke. He blinks three times fast and the illusion is gone.

Th-thanks,” he says, that old stutter resurfacing just for this moment as if to say “no, he isn’t. Look at him, he can’t even talk right.” He frowns (more of a pout), realizes he’s frowning, and smiles again all in the span of several seconds. “You are too.” The words are crystalline with something akin to the wholehearted belief of a child. He was a man of faith, and quick to believe in things on nothing more than the strong feeling that they were worth believing in.

Even if he dearly, desperately, did not want to.

God worked in mysterious ways.

Mateo downs the rest of his drink. Too quick. His smile grows slanted as the world loses its harsh edges. “I want...” There were too many things he wanted, and they jostled for his attention like hungry kittens. Drinking at this hour didn't help, either. He was a happy and attention-deficit drunk. “...I want to know... what your favorite book is.” He leans in a little hungry, an eager gleam in his eye. Ready to burn the day away.

- - -
@Andras hmmm so I'm thinking we could fade out here? or in the next few posts? <3
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