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Played by Offline RB [PM] Posts: 187 — Threads: 26
Signos: 460
Dusk Court Sovereign
Female [She/Her/Hers] // 6 [Year 498 Fall] // 16 hh // Hth: 18 — Atk: 22 — Exp: 42 // Active Magic: N/A // Bonded: Anselm (Ibizian Hound)
#1

but when the night has left us
will the spell remain?
“Have a drink, Queen Marisol—“

It is a face covered in a mask of green and gold silk that offers the cup to her. It smells strongly of alcohol and something sweeter than necessary, a thing that is both fruity and spicy. She cannot recognize the face behind the veil. It has eyes that sparkle dangerously, a smile so charming it blinds. But no matter how many names she runs through her mind, the face evades identification. Something loose about the grin. Something strange about the glimmer of excitement. 

“Come on,” says the face. It smiles again.

“No,” Mari insists, “that’s alright—“

But whoever it was has already spun away back into the ring of dancers, and she is left standing in semi-stupor, the mug of cider now trembling in her grasp. 

“Drink, Commander!” comes another voice that she cannot pinpoint.

 How strange this is, she thinks, and takes a shy sip. A roar of approval goes up from the crowd.

For a moment something like disappointment overtakes her. This is not the Terrastella she knows.

This—the courtyard just inside the city walls—this is a different world, a different time, a different dimension—the lanterns have been snuffed out and replaced by bobbing, floating, candles; a conifer festooned with sparkling baubles and red ribbon looms, dangerously, tall over the square; everywhere there is laughter and music, a joyful, dark-tongued slash of whining strings through the warm air, and hooves clattering over the cobblestones, and whispers being exchanged and drinks poured and gifts opened—

It is quite loud. She notices afterward that it is also quite beautiful.

Around the tree, a loose ring of dancers goes round and round in infinite circles. They laugh, they cheer, they sing along. Their jewels and ribbons flash like fire in the darkness. The sound and the movement is infinite, it is all-powerful and overwhelming. They have been at it for hours. Marisol cannot imagine how much it must hurt—not only to keep dancing, but to be excited while doing it. Yet here they are, brighter than ever, bursting with energy. Something in their hearts does not know how to stop being happy.

The Commander watches from the sidelines with poorly concealed interest. She has taken a seat on a plush blanket with Anselm curled up against her back, his broad white head resting on her spine, drifting off into a half-sleep that is every so often interrupted by a new smell or sound that cannot be ignored. The moon lets down a wave of soft white light from overhead. It is a calm scene in their little corner. Sweet, even. 

But Marisol watches the the circle oh-so-intently. With rapt curiosity, the gray irises darkened in focus, like a predator, like a hunting, circling bird, because even in peace it is hard not to be careful, not to analyze. 

The feet moving like a blur. The tossed heads and the swirling hair. The scent of juniper escaping cracked stones. She watches and watches and does not move, observant as a dog over its prized sheep. Something in her heart is unduly proud, unforgivably warm.

Good job, murmurs Anselm.

You enable me, Marisol responds, almost amused, and flicks her tail over the bridge of his nose.

That flick reveals the strangest thing of all: the steel-eyed, stone-skinned Commander has allowed the children of Terrastella to decorate her. The long, dark tail always so carefully kept clean is now braided with thin strips of red and green silk, spotted with carefully-placed pins of lacquered holly leaves, a pretty, festive painting, a hairdressers wildest dream.

Finally, she gives in. Finishes the cider. Lets it muddy her thoughts. Forces herself to relax under the shade of a mistletoe hung from a cobblestone high, high overhead. Breathes in deep—

And suppresses a smile when she realizes the air smells of Solterra.

“Speaking.”
credits





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Played by Offline Syndicate [PM] Posts: 47 — Threads: 8
Signos: 105
Day Court Sovereign
Male [he/his/him] // 4 [Year 500 Spring] // 15.2 hh // Hth: 12 — Atk: 8 — Exp: 17 // Active Magic: Solar Transformation // Bonded: Ariel (Sun Lion)
#2

YOU ARE A GOLDEN THING
IN A HEAVY, HEAVY WORLD

Tonight it is very difficult to conceal the fact he has been wild his whole life. In a civilised world full of dignity, books, and tea he has adapted well. But this does not mean there is not a primordial part of him boxed away, dormant but not extinct. There are too many noises. There are too many people. All his time in the sea has not prepared him for such extravagance, such celebration. His had been a people who had hunted and sung and danced, but their dance was the sinuous movement of dolphins end-over-end, of whales leaping from the surface, of a school of fish that move as a single entity—

This, yes this is a collection of individualistic bodies, sweating despite the cold. There is music and cider and figures wearing masks. Orestes has never seen anything like it; it unsettles him deeply. 

There is also an aspect, however, that intrigues him. An aspect that calls to his wild urges and his wild soul to celebrate the simple, brilliant fact he is alive. There is an aching hunger within him, an emptiness that is full of forgotten memories and dreams. He stares at the celebration but feels other,  feels too far away. Orestes, gild in gold, is at once something that stands apart and an individual the festivities revolve around. Whispers follow him through the crowd, as he takes a cider and edges the circling dancers. 

That’s him, they say.

That’s the Day Court Sovereign.

I heard his name is Orestes.

I hear he’s a foreigner. 

He forgets them. He forgets what they say. Very few have the courage to approach him, and besides, there is only one person in the Court he searches for. 

Orestes is surprised at how difficult it is to find her, at first; and then he is not surprised at all. Just as the frantic nature of the celebration unnerves his wild edges, it must unsettle her disciplinarian ones. When he does see her, he feels a fool for not having noticed her all along; she is at the perfect strategic vantage, capable of seeing everything that occurs within the courtyard at once. 

Why does his heart beat so wildly at the mere sight of her? Why does he feel sudden underprepared? His mouth is dry, and all the things he had thought to say—political matters, her court, his court—do not find their way to his lips. Orestes goes to make his way toward her, but is sidelined by several dancing bodies—a heavily decorated woman throws a wreath of pine, decorated in brilliant reds, around his neck. He shakes his head but does not dislodge the new decoration. 

Eventually—despite the obstacles of many moving bodies, smelling of cinnamon, spices, cider—he finds his way to her, through the crowd. And already he is doing that very thing that will one day get him in trouble, that will one day condemn him—he is speaking from his heart, and says, “They are beautiful.” Orestes approaches from the side. He stands still for a moment, staring across her Court, and for the first time truly looks. The beauty of it nearly takes him. The beauty of it nearly breaks his heart. When Orestes glances at her again (or for the first time, truly, with no distraction) his expression still carries the love he feels for the vivacious life around them. 

Marisol nearly takes his breath away. Orestes would never have thought to see her so festive, with an intricately braided tail—and thinks again how illy prepared he is. He smells so much of the sand, the sun—and perhaps, forever, the sea—and his mane hangs long and wild about his face. Orestes is windswept and nearly feral, and his beating heart does nothing but make him glow brilliant gold, as if with blush. It takes him a moment to realise that the beauty she exudes is not from the decorations; it is from her happiness. 

Perhaps it is that, which emboldens him. “But be careful, Queen Marisol.” His eyes are as alight as the sea in the sun. “Your Court has sabotaged you… you are sitting beneath mistletoe.” 

Why is his voice so breathless when he says it? He tries to disguise the fact with a lighthearted laugh, but the sound comes a little too late, is a little too soft. 

"SO EDEN SANK TO GRIEF

SO DAWN GOES DOWN TO DAY

NOTHING GOLD CAN STAY"
CREDITS






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Played by Offline RB [PM] Posts: 187 — Threads: 26
Signos: 460
Dusk Court Sovereign
Female [She/Her/Hers] // 6 [Year 498 Fall] // 16 hh // Hth: 18 — Atk: 22 — Exp: 42 // Active Magic: N/A // Bonded: Anselm (Ibizian Hound)
#3

but when the night has left us
will the spell remain?

She is surprised to see him. Happily so, but still surprised.

And for a moment she thinks she is dreaming, because he looks like a dream. Orestes is too beautiful to really belong. In the strange purples and silvers of Terrastella’s night, he burns a bright gold completely foreign to this place. He would stand out even if the sun were out and the windows unshuttered, even if the lanterns had remained lit; in this kind of gloaming, though it should be impossible, he still manages to glitter in a bold mirage, his edges gilded, his hair wild, pretty in a way that does not shy away from being close to feral.

Behind him the dancers are still laughing and howling and spinning. The crowd around them watches for just a second before turning away, not quite as bold as they’d like to think they are. 

Marisol heaves in a slow breath. The scent of him hits her like a wave—sun-baked sand, and salt, and something better than perfume. The warmth of pleasure in her chest grows stronger as she sees that around his neck, lovelier than any jewelry, is a tightly braided wreath of pine branches spotted with red. Poinsettias, maybe. “You look nice,” she says. It is strange to say and stranger to hear; she says it without her usual scientific measurements, without weights, and the timber of her voice is newly dark, unusually casual.

But he does. There’s no denying it. Mari is not a liar; that has never been one of her many faults.

Wind blows cold through the battlements and lets a low moan into the courtyard. It rattles the flags and the darkened lanterns; it spins the baubles on the conifer. They are beautiful, he says, and she wants to tell him, you are too.

But she does not. Instead she blinks, slow and calm. Lets her smile deepen into a kind of half-moon which flashes too bright against the darkness of her skin. It fades a little when she hears his warning—your court has sabotaged you—because, for a moment, she takes him seriously.

Too seriously. Her heart picks up speed, a frantic protest in the throat; her skin runs a little too hot for comfort; then he finishes his sentence, and Marisol feels a cyclone of embarrassment form in her chest when she looks up and sees that there is, indeed, a bough of mistletoe above her head. A whoosh of flustered breath escapes without warning.

Heat crawls down her cheeks, shoulders, neck. It feels almost like electricity. Her pulse is still beating fast, but now—the fault of something else. 

Mari flashes a meek smile. She says, half-laughing: “I suppose they think they’re looking out for me. Maybe they would feel better if they had a king, too.”

Oh, you foolish girl—how could she say that? it is not the kind of thing she would say, not at all, and yet she has said it, in a voice so soft and so earnest it does not even sound like her own—she sounds like a girl, like someone who is not, for once, hiding her wants. It is shame, then, that burns in her chest. It is shyness that twists up her tongue.

But tonight, of all nights, no one will notice. They are all too busy with their own lovers and villains and dance partners. They are too entranced with the sparkling lights, the crimson ribbons, the smell of spice and alcohol thick in the warm air. Tonight—well.

They have already been swept up into Terrastella’s rowdiest celebration. What rule is left to break?

Marisol gently shakes Anselm’s head from its resting spot on her spine and climbs, almost gracefully, to her feet. She swishes her tail absentmindedly behind her; strangely frivolous for a decorated warrior, it becomes a rolling wave of slick black hair slashed with red, green, glitter, gold. All at once the cider seems to rush into her head.

The Commander’s gaze meets the king’s, and it is dark, dark, darker than it should be even in this lack-of-light. Mari measures an inhale. Then an exhale. 

“Come.” 

In a gesture more unrestrained than the world has seen from her in years, she tugs gently at the leaves of Orestes’ wreath and draws him closer, closer, closer.

“Speaking.”
credits





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Played by Offline Syndicate [PM] Posts: 47 — Threads: 8
Signos: 105
Day Court Sovereign
Male [he/his/him] // 4 [Year 500 Spring] // 15.2 hh // Hth: 12 — Atk: 8 — Exp: 17 // Active Magic: Solar Transformation // Bonded: Ariel (Sun Lion)
#4

YOU ARE A GOLDEN THING
IN A HEAVY, HEAVY WORLD


The reality is too often different from the expectation, the want. There is a part of him, full of uncertainty, that expects the disappointment of the actualisation of their meeting. Orestes would be lying to himself if he thought, for even a moment, he had not been looking forward to their encounter. He would be a fool to say the only reason he was there was to attend the Terrastella’s winter festivities and make a political appearance. 

Orestes, however, is not disappointed. 

No.

The air fills his lungs crisp and sharp and he is reminded of all the life inside him, chiming with the bright expectation of a bell. 

No, he is not disappointed.

Dancers pass his flank with iridescent ribbon streamers, and Marisol’s expression transitions from surprise to pleasure, soft and unapparent. Perhaps he even imagines it. Perhaps it is not there at all—

And children are laughing somewhere, with hot chocolate steaming in their grasps, the tinkle of chimes that dance and jangle in their long manes. She says—

You look nice and 

his heart stops.

Orestes smiles and it is the pure, bright expression of a young boy taken pleasantly aback by a gift bestowed upon him. Then he feels a fool for not complimenting her first—but does he have to?

Does it not show in his eyes, in the way they do not simply look at her, but threaten to consume? Does it not show in the way he fights the urge to let them linger at that curve of the neck that, on another woman, might appear fragile—but on her is strong, and still somehow delicate? Does it not show in the way he takes careful note of her braided tail, and thinks, not for the first time, there is something poetic in how she smells of leather and dust and sea-salt—always a warrior? 

Does it not show in the way he is nearly breathless, his face bright with something that is not the glow of his magic, saying softly, “Thank you.” 

If he were not so captivated with the way she makes him feel, he might have noticed her slight hesitation and the way the tension leaves her in a sharp exhalation. Is she blushing? Is she as taken aback as he is? I suppose they think they’re looking out for me. Maybe they would feel better if they had a king, too. 

He thinks of many things in that moment and settles on a smile that is a little harder, a little more mischievous. It is not the smile of the sun prince but of what he once had been—an amorphous creature, unconfined by any laws, in love with the feral hunt. He asks, “And would you feel better, if you had a king?” There is a moment in the silence that follows, and in that moment—

In that moment, he wants to add: but you do not need a king. But it would be doing her an injustice. He notices the way her voice is soft, and Orestes would not be surprised if it is a tone she has never heard in her voice before. The hard, mischievous edge is abruptly replaced by something softer, something gossamer, the whisper of a breath shared in candlelight—this is a shape he does not know so well, any longer, soft and smooth as still water. 

Orestes came with a ruse of political propositions. He came to discuss trade, events, how to grow the relationship between their courts—

but when she stands he is so distracted by the elegant strength of her legs, the bright flash of one white heel, that those thoughts are undone. Any other day, he would have asked about her slender white hound, or the affairs of her court, or her books or blackberries or, or the cliffs of Terrastella, what it feels like to fly —

anything, anything.

His eyes are caught up in the tinsel and glare of the festival, the brilliant  candlelight, the sound of the dancers. His eyes are caught up in the beautiful braid, the thick darkness of her hair, the way her eyes are the colour of pooled ink and there is something roiling within him, something he has never felt in such a capacity.

Have you ever seen the see in a storm?

The way it breaks against rocks, against itself? The way it is gunmetal and sleek, turbulent water? The dark pit of the unfathomable, untameable? Those are his eyes, looking at her, wondering at everything she is and all he does not know. 

Always his heart has been an easy thing. Always it has come so naturally, with no weight; nearly flippantly. It had been easy for him to love his people, Solterra—but this is different, and he does not know why, or if it only that the song she sings is one he hopes to answer, to finish, the resolve.

What does it feel like? the mahogany mare had asked in the desert.

He had said, an unfinished poem and here, this moment, 

is it the final line? 

Come.

When Marisol says it, it feels as if he never died. It feels as if there is only tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, and a thousand more after that. 

She tugs at the leaves of the wreath, she pulls him close. He wishes, briefly, they were swimming and there was water between them instead of air. Then, he might not feel so drawn to the heat of her chest. Then, he might not be so distracted by the soft—so soft—feel of her skin. 

Orestes voice is feather-light but somehow heavy, heavy, heavy. “How close?” He is close enough his lips are at the small of her ear, nearly touching, nearly touching… he inhales her, sea-salt and steel and something soft and warm, something like leather. He is close enough that he knows he wants more. 

He wishes it were the cider in him that made him so bold. 

But it is only him.

It is only Orestes, who says in a voice husky with want:

”I have another poem for you, Commander, Queen. Marisol.” He thinks of what it would feel like to undo the braid in her tail. Orestes recites, roughly: "It is by Rilke:

I want to unfold.
I don’t want to stay folded anywhere,
because where I am folded, there I am a lie.
and I want my grasp of things to be
true before you. I want to describe myself
like a painting that I looked at
closely for a long time,
like a saying that I finally understood,
like the pitcher I use every day,
like the face of my mother,
like a ship
that carried me
through the wildest storm of all.” 

The wildest storm of all… It takes everything with him to draw back just enough to see her eyes. It takes everything within him to not kiss her then and there. 

“Could I ask you for a dance? Or... or...” 

Orestes wants to show her the sea and everything that is dark and wild within it, but does she not know? There is a voice within him, a prince’s voice, the voice of all he has ever known, saying, you could show her more. He could show her, he could show her—

And Orestes's tongue is tied with all the things he would like to, and all the things he would like to learn. 

“Or whatever you would like.” There is something brief, nearly innocent, in the flash of Orestes's teeth when he smiles. "Let me do something for you, Marisol."

Let me take the burden from your shoulders, he wants to say, but does not. Let me give you the gift, just for a night, of no burning duty. 

Perhaps someone is looking.

Perhaps someone sees them, standing so close.

Solterra and Terrastella. Day and Dusk. The sun, and the soft comings of night. 
"SO EDEN SANK TO GRIEF

SO DAWN GOES DOWN TO DAY

NOTHING GOLD CAN STAY"
CREDITS






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Played by Offline RB [PM] Posts: 187 — Threads: 26
Signos: 460
Dusk Court Sovereign
Female [She/Her/Hers] // 6 [Year 498 Fall] // 16 hh // Hth: 18 — Atk: 22 — Exp: 42 // Active Magic: N/A // Bonded: Anselm (Ibizian Hound)
#5

but when the night has left us
will the spell remain?
He looks wild.

He looks the way Marisol feels when she is by the ocean, when the wind and the salt and the sweet, dark songs of birds combine in her chest to make a feeling like a cyclone. He looks the way it feels to strike a spear right in the heart of something. He looks like the rolling of the sea caught in a god-stricken storm, the white waves of his hair  so much like the foam spit up into the sky. Like a whole symphony played on one violin. Like bloodlust, and the revelation of teeth made for more than smiling.

Like (and it pains her to say so) flying.

He wears the expression of a boy—bright, exuberant, innocent. The smile that flashes over his face when he says thank you makes Mari’s heart skip in her chest like it has only just learned how to fall. Her body trills like a plucked string. 

She would do anything, she thinks, to see that expression again. (Daily would be ideal.)

All at once, the square seems far too warm, far too crowded. The bodies press in from every side; Marisol’s skin starts to burn, burn, burn, as if she is in the desert again, as if the sun is still out. Her breath is strained with the effort of not-wanting. But this not-wanting—it’s not working. Not at all. Still her muscles are tensed with apprehension. Still her throat is tight, and a little too dry. Still she feels as though she could be rocked from standing by the slightest breeze, and oh, the threat is only growing stronger: the dancers have broken from their circle to weave through the crowd, and they are brushing up against her with their ribbons and their laughter, and Marisol wants to fall.

She almost stumbles. It is not the kind of thing a soldier should do, and especially not a Commander. Two children rush by, bumping her legs like waves against the sand. Now the music is swelling, a dense, rich symphony in a major key. The notes in staccato bang around in her head like a drum. Tinsel glitters like glass where it’s strung over the walls, bright as gold, loud as the sun, and Marisol doesn’t know where to look. Briefly she feels like magpie, unable to choose between the gild of Orestes’ skin and the sheer volume of the courtyard’s decor.

“And would you feel better, if you had a king?” 

Marisol’s eyes find his and they are dark like iron. They shine with glittering gravity; they are too heavy to look away from, and too warm, and too intent; there is not a thing in the world that could possess her to turn away. She blinks at him in a way that is somewhere between slow and feline.

And she says nothing in response. She only grins, crooked and charming.

When she climbs to her feet she does not miss the way his eyes catch the bright flash of white on her back leg. Briefly, she is worried. Sharply her heart drops to her stomach and writhes there like a snake. 

Her mother had said, this is a sign. The midwife had said she will be unlucky (and was she wrong?). Neither of her parents had a speck of white of them, and Marisol had been born dipped in cream on one foot, her own proverbial Achilles’ heel; she was born to be a warrior, expected to be invincible, and as a child the thing had caused her so much grief that when she first joined the Unit she had gone to great lengths to make sure the then-Commander did not see it.

Terrastella could be a terribly superstitious place. 

Now she does not spend so much time hiding it, but it is part of the reason she wears her cuff—part of the reason, too, that her tail is so much longer than her mane. But it is glaringly obvious in this dim light, a pearl against the mud of her coat. Marisol watches him watching it. She confesses, unsteadily, “My family said it was bad luck.”

It is a thing she has never, ever, mentioned to someone else.

But the thought flies from her brain when he steps close. There is no attempt to resist. There is no real hesitation. One gentle tug at the braided leaves and they are so close that Marisol can feel the warmth he radiates, the soft movement of his hair, the rolling of his muscles—she shudders at the ghost of his breath across her neck, the way it grazes her ear (which flickers wildly despite itself). A sharp inhale. A breath so deep it makes her dizzy (or maybe that’s something else). 

“As close as you want.” It is a murmur, inaudible if he were not standing so close. And something in her is living, or it is dying, and the difference is negligible if it even exists; she feels light-headed, light-chested, barely conscious, and the noise of the world coming into sharper and sharper relief—the music, the blurred speech—the poem that Orestes recites, which makes her heart soar high she completely loses track of it.

I want my grasp of things to be true before you.

A ship that carried me through the wildest storm of all.

A ship that carried me.

A ship that carried me—

Marisol starts. He is looking at her—really looking, in a way she does not think she has been looked at in quite a long time. From here, she can see the innocent flash of his teeth. She can see the pale curl of his lashes, and the gentle curves of white hair like so much sea-foam, and the way the dim light catches on his tattoos like foil, like molten gold. 

He is beautiful. But he must know that. 

Marisol is not a dancer. She does not usually have time for such frivolity. But oh, how can she refuse him, this boy with the bright smile and kind eyes? And maybe fighting is like a dance. Maybe it will come easy to her, the quick steps and the elegant turns. 

For the first time, though, something coming easy might not matter.

She smiles at him, nearly shy. “Yes,” Mari says, and her eyes almost sparkle, “but not here.”

The Commander picks up two new drinks, steaming cinnamon and tea, and a plate of figs split like flowers, nuts and honey in the center. And she pulls him away from the courtyard.

There are more private places for two people to dance.

“Speaking.”
credits





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Played by Offline Syndicate [PM] Posts: 47 — Threads: 8
Signos: 105
Day Court Sovereign
Male [he/his/him] // 4 [Year 500 Spring] // 15.2 hh // Hth: 12 — Atk: 8 — Exp: 17 // Active Magic: Solar Transformation // Bonded: Ariel (Sun Lion)
#6

YOU ARE A GOLDEN THING
IN A HEAVY, HEAVY WORLD


Marisol does not answer his question with words, and Orestes does not even believe he had expected her to. But her heavy eyes are answer enough; a silent communion exists within the iron-weighted expression of her gaze, in her slow and steady blink, her charming smirk. Orestes thinks of wolves beneath a winter moon; he thinks of the bright flash of their teeth and lolling tongues, and how they bring down the great stag only with the brightness of their eyes to speak.

Yes. It is a fierce image; bloody and strange. The capacity for violence; the hard intimacy of the hunt; the difficult to read expression of a thing at once beautiful, and tragic. 

Marisol says, then, My family says it was bad luck. Orestes is taken aback; he did not even realise the staring could have been the glance of the superstitious. 

“They were fools.” Orestes cannot help the bluntness, whetted like a blade. “It is beautiful.” Perhaps he is so dismissive of the superstition because he believes, instead, strongly in fate. In the preconceived plan that everything, even as it happens, had been thought of long ago. He softens his voice. “My people called marks like yours angel’s kisses, where you’ve been touched by—“ 

He doesn’t finish. Perhaps it is the noise. Perhaps it is the way everything except Marisol appears to blur and change and shift, a bright and exceptional display of vivacious colour. There is an almost-hunger to the celebration, an almost aching, as if the very heart of Terrastella throbs beneath their hooves. 

It is daring. As close as you want. Does she not know? Does she not feel the way he burns, the way even as she says it his mouth drops just a bit lower, just low enough that when he speaks again he touches the small of her ear and brushes her neck, near her short-cropped mane. Orestes is too attuned to her to not notice the way his breath makes her shudder; and there is a part of him, perhaps a little wicked, that delights in it. 

He feels on the precipice of wilderness, even in the crowd—and he wants to take her with him, to a place where they could simply be. The heat of bodies all around remind him nearly of his own people, in the sea, when they swam together. His next blink is languid, and the carefully erected borders of his self-control seem now to blur, to fade. Orestes did not realise how heavy his own burdens have felt until now. Orestes did not realise how alone he has been, until she smiles at him with a familiar shyness. Yes, but not here. 

She could take him anywhere, in that moment, with the way that she looks at him as if surprised, as if a light has turned on inside her, a flame lit. Orestes wants to peel back the layers of Queen, Commander, Halcyon, Dusk, until there is nothing but Marisol. He wants to ask, and ask, and ask—and give, and give, and give, until he is not Sovereign, Prince, Day, but only Orestes, Orestes Orestes. 

He follows her, close, close, close. Touching, Shoulder to shoulder, flank to flank. He cannot help himself. He nips playfully at her ear, swift and gentle. There is a mischievous light in expression that underplays the severity of mere moments prior; and a part of him, boyish, trembles with both uncertainty and want. 

Another part of him, larger, more mature, warns against every step further into the corridors of Terrastella. It tells him he is a Sovereign, and such a position has no room for fancy, for romance. 

The wildness in his blood is louder. The need, for just a moment, to feel like someone worthy of something so pure and kind as this.

“Tell me,” and again he is breathless, and his mind thinks of all the ways he knows how to dance. Orestes must think of anything else, and so he asks:  “What is it like to fly?”

Those memories of another life are already gone, where with a thought his amorphous body might have become a gull, a sea eagle, a sandpiper. His heart is too full in this moment to recognise the sadness of it; his heart is too full, nearly with bursting, at the possibility of asking her not only this, but everything, everything, everything.

Orestes does not know where she leads him, but they pass through hallways with flickering torches and on and on into the building. Terrastella seems, to him, cool and blue in contrast to Solterra’s brilliant sandstone and arid heat. There is a chill in the air that only enters the desert at night and he feels it creep along the nape of his neck despite the way his body, his magic, radiates heat. He looks at her; it is a seeking look, a piercing look. There is a moment, with that coldness in him and the warmth of her against his side, when he feels the aching in his heart quell. Just for a heartbeat. Just for a breath. He is simply there, in the moment, discovering what it means to be a man instead of a Soul-keeper, a Prince, a King. 

Orestes says, very earnestly: “Walking with you tonight is the first time I have not felt alone in this new land.” At once there is something sad and happy in his expression. "Thank you for that, Marisol." I don't know if I deserve it. 

"SO EDEN SANK TO GRIEF

SO DAWN GOES DOWN TO DAY

NOTHING GOLD CAN STAY"
CREDITS






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Played by Offline RB [PM] Posts: 187 — Threads: 26
Signos: 460
Dusk Court Sovereign
Female [She/Her/Hers] // 6 [Year 498 Fall] // 16 hh // Hth: 18 — Atk: 22 — Exp: 42 // Active Magic: N/A // Bonded: Anselm (Ibizian Hound)
#7

but when the night has left us
will the spell remain?


Marisol does not know where she is taking him. Nor is she really sure what will happen when they get there, wherever there is; she only knows that she wants to go there, wants to do that, whatever is meant to happen. She only knows that the thing that buzzes like the sweet song of honeybees in her chest is more insistent than the parts of her, leatherbound, which whisper insistently of duty and Dusk and your people, Marisol. Think of your people.

If she could indeed think straight, she might listen to them. They are the voices of her cadets and her regime, her healers and her soldiers, Asterion and Rannveig; they are the voices of the people she has been sworn to since birth, the voices of everyone she has ever loved, here within these walls. 

And they are all drowned out by the vicious thing that is rising in her chest and sharpening the points of her teeth.

She does not realize that she is changing until it is far too late to rein in. But Vespera has blessed the world (and now Mari) with a darkness that manages to coat the sawtooth curve of her lips, which dampens the blackness that has begun to crawl into the brightest part of her eye, the way the pupil grows bloated like the belly of a wolf: but it cannot hide the way her pulse begins to beat far faster than it needs to, and the sudden chill that rushes through her veins as fast as a river turns to ice; and something in her is rising, oil to the surface of water if oil were black, black, black.

It hurts like a broken bone: aching, pulsating, insisting. In her stomach it curls and gnashes teeth as sharp as its host’s. Every part of her vibrates with the pain of a plucked string.

I want to love him, says the terrible pain, in a voice almost like begging. And Marisol does not respond.

They are sweeping down her streets with the grace of a wave meeting the shore, how all the droplets of water crash into each other so gently. Shoulder against shoulder. Hip against hip. Flame trembles like a pulse in the lanterns on the walls. When the Commander does manage to catch a decent breath, the air is heavy with the smell of smoke and burning spice. Now the world is dark in the way of something evil and tempting, a viscous kind of dark, just heavy enough to wade through; Marisol thinks that she would be happy anywhere inside this darkness, at least with him at her side. The shine of his tattoos and the blue of his eyes are light enough themselves.

Where are we going? She has to decide, sometime soon; the citadel, the center of the city, is rising up in front of them with increasing nearness. Perhaps the barracks, perhaps the church. There are many god-blessed places to go. 

But then he touches her, the swift, soft clip of teeth against the edge of her ear, and for all Marisol’s training she thinks she may very well fall, weak as a newborn fawn tossed over by an open palm of wind. The feeling of it is overwhelming, inescapable: it is a kind of white heat that runs all the way down her spine and back up again until it seems that it will overtake every inch of her, this giddiness, which is something between desire and fear: Marisol’s muscles tighten until she can hardly breathe, until she is almost a moving statue, and still the feeling resonates in every cell. Her lashes flicker weakly, not quite a blink. 

It is hard to hear over the roar of blood in her ears. It is hard to see through the thin film of silvery-red forming in the corners of her vision. It is hard to move forward, having to push against a blooming to desire to kiss him right here, right now. 

Marisol leads them into the silent foyer of the castle, and Orestes asks, what is it like to fly? 

The Commander stops.

Someone has decorated her citadel. Here there is also a tall conifer, decked in baubles and ribbons, a magically glowing star fixed at the top. Braided wreaths of pine branches line the walls. There are vases of poinsettias, carefully stacked string instruments in a corner, a platter of buttery cookies and teacups; on that table she sets down their drinks and the plate from the courtyard, which lets out a dim clink as the porcelain meets the wood. 

“Quiet,” she responds, "and cold, in a good way. Like the freedom of running, but much, much more. It is beautiful. It makes you feel… very small. I think that is a good thing.”

And when he thanks her, Marisol’s heart only beats faster, and harder, and hurts a little more. When she meets his eyes, hers are almost tragic, brimming with something that wants to say I could give you so much more but doesn’t. Instead, she murmurs: "Of course, Orestes.”

To say it is my pleasure does not even cross her mind. It must be obvious.

The room is dim, silent and still, and some part of it feels like magic, the kind Mari has always been somewhat jealous of. They are standing face to face, seemingly the only people in the world, and if she is scared there is no telling, not through the warm darkness of her eyes and sincerity of her expression.

Marisol tilts her head, steps forward. Is this dancing—? Carefully, shyly, she touches her muzzle to a white curl and draws it down, down, down, over the rough curve of his neck to the rise of the shoulder, then the dip of the spine; now they are standing chest to chest and she rasps her teeth, soft as the beating wings of a butterfly, against his hip.

Her heart is beating so fast she can't hear it anymore, and oh, they are so alone.

“Speaking.”
credits





[Image: ddg6quy-9d15dab5-339c-4b09-8b57-20a99fda...jvUop12efQ]

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Played by Offline Syndicate [PM] Posts: 47 — Threads: 8
Signos: 105
Day Court Sovereign
Male [he/his/him] // 4 [Year 500 Spring] // 15.2 hh // Hth: 12 — Atk: 8 — Exp: 17 // Active Magic: Solar Transformation // Bonded: Ariel (Sun Lion)
#8

YOU ARE A GOLDEN THING
IN A HEAVY, HEAVY WORLD

Orestes cannot remember the last time he felt young; he was born old, always with the weight of something unbearable upon him. The word rings in his mind. Chosen, chosen, chosen. His entire life he had been chosen to bear the hurts of others, and most days Orestes did not mind—it was a privilege. But in the darkness of Terrastella, in the soft blue light of the setting sun and the embrace of night, he feels not only young but hopeful. It is a warmth in his chest, an exploding star. It is flowers blooming in spring, and the flight of a bird, and the strange electricity that exists between them. It is there, everywhere his flesh touches hers; it is there in the way none of it feels like flesh, but the resonate call of life, life, life, something animated and pure, rushing as swift and sweet as a mountain brook.

The castle is unlike anything he has ever seen; the customs are strange to him, and he marvels at the conifer, adorned with strange  and flashy tinsels. The festive brightness of the poinsettias delights him as it might a child; and when she sets down the porcelain he starts, so enraptured with the scene. 

Everything is torch-light soft. The hard edges he has grown accustomed to in Solterra are less sharp; Quiet, and cold, in a good way. Like the freedom of running, but much, much more. It is beautiful. It makes you feel… very small. I think that is a good thing. 

Orestes smiles. It is a sad, but knowing, type of smile. “I would like to fly very much, I think. That is what the sea used to feel like to me…” He trails off, because now is not the time for such reminiscing. Although honest, Orestes is surprised at how easily the admission slips from his tongue; he is surprised that is so easy to bare such a vulnerable, intimate piece of himself.

He wonders if she realises what a large piece of him, it is. 

Of course, Orestes.

When Marisol says it, Orestes knows that she does. 

The food and drinks are forgotten; the brilliance of the conifer, no longer of concern; it is only her. 

Orestes looks at her; and he does so with a feeling in his heart as if he is plunging, again, into the deep of the sea. The part of him that suffers, the part of him that bears the weight of Solterra and his past both, is small and silent. There is just a thing like a soul sighing; there is just a finality of yes, yes, yes as she moves to press against one white curl, then his neck, shoulder, the small of his spine—

he can feel her heartbeat as if it is his own. 

He cannot tell her how much the vulnerability she offers means. Orestes does not have words; he holds it against him with all the tenderness one would a bird. Her breath makes chills down his spine. Orestes curls his head and neck around her own, a near embrace, and steps forward to make her step back. “Like this.” And his voice is dark; his voice is the whisper of sheets against sheets; the sound of a page turning against itself. Yet, there is a part of him still hesitant, still halting; the idea that too much, too soon, you are a sovereign and so is she, the sun, the sun, you have no right to feel this way

And then Orestes presses two steps forward, and draws one step back. He entices her to a dance, with glittering, sea-deep eyes. 

A heartbeat between them, birdlike. He wonders if she can feel the way he just-so-slightly shakes. He leads her with the press of his body; the strong curve of his neck, the pressure of a leg here, or there. Orestes marvels at how she responds, how the dance is sinuous, nearly like battle—but softer, gentler. Orestes wonders if this is close to what it feels like to fly. For a moment Orestes moves forward, his shoulder against hers, and leads her into a flourishing spin. There are small, intimate touches—curious, polite, the touch of his muzzle along the arching curve of her neck, his cheek against hers—brief, so brief—or a brush of his lips, just so, along her shoulder.

Orestes does not know how long they dance; long enough that he does not feel like a Sovereign, only a man, drunk on the idea of possibility. He does not know how long the magic light from the conifer twinkles upon them; or how long the poinsettias watch. He only knows that for a moment, poignant and eternal, the weight of the world is not upon his shoulders. 

Only this one thing, right here; only this beautiful girl. 

And at last he pulls away; at last he pulls away. 

But not too far; just far enough to look her in the eyes. Just far enough to say, “Marisol,” breathless, and 

and think of how his heart is in exquisite pain, 

a sort of aching, longingly; 

like looking at a sunset,

or running along the border

of the sea and land. 

“Mari.” 

Not Commander. Not Queen. Please, let me show you

how to be just a person, just alive.
 

And then, full of daring,

thinking of what it feels 

like to fly, 

he kisses her. 

@Marisol || "speech"
"SO EDEN SANK TO GRIEF

SO DAWN GOES DOWN TO DAY

NOTHING GOLD CAN STAY"
CREDITS






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Played by Offline RB [PM] Posts: 187 — Threads: 26
Signos: 460
Dusk Court Sovereign
Female [She/Her/Hers] // 6 [Year 498 Fall] // 16 hh // Hth: 18 — Atk: 22 — Exp: 42 // Active Magic: N/A // Bonded: Anselm (Ibizian Hound)
#9

but when the night has left us
will the spell remain?

The strange sadness of an empty castle sets into her like rain. It is cold and pale; it runs a ghostly finger down the length of each bone. Where are her people? Why do they not call for her? Marisol’s insides are flooded with a bright, buzzing warmth, a perfect thrill of excitement, but in the back of her mind there is a gnawing kind of darkness—a thing that says watch out, watch out, watch out.

But then they are dancing, and—

She cannot think of anything else.

She cannot think of anything but this: how to bend when Orestes asks it of her with the wordless pressure of a pushing muscle. How to let her head bend into the curve of his neck. How to dance, and how not to be distracted. The steps—a little sway side to side. A full stride forward, then back. The warmth of his skin is somewhere between biology and magic; when he presses his cheek to hers, when his lips skate her shoulder, it burns like nothing Marisol has ever felt before, and she has walked through plenty of fires. 

A shudder, a sigh. Mari rests her forehead in the flat slope of his shoulder, her cheek against the side of his neck. Their dance has begun to slow; she is pliable with sleepiness as she rests her weight against his, satisfied, nearly relaxed. The braided tail swishes absentmindedly.  Now the air is half-pine, half-sand, a mix of the things she thinks she might be capable of loving, and she has to swallow the urge to cry, mostly out of relief. It feels—it feels—

It does not feel like anything she knows, and that is the beauty of it.

She wants to say something. Something, anything, that will matter. Thank you. I missed you. I’m glad you showed up. But any of this—all of it—is a fool’s errand, for he must know—and if he doesn’t, it is still not something Marisol can put into words. For all the time she spends reading, it is a skill that will forever evade her.

But there is something in the back of her mind—a phrase, a quote, something very nearly like the thing that she knows will never submit to being written. She is trying very hard to remember. But this is all so very distracting: the pressure of his chest against hers, the clicking of hooves over the tile—the sound of breathing, of heartbeats, of something unfolding.

It comes rushing back to her. “Do you know the excerpt,” Mari murmurs—it starts as a rumble, a kind of earthquake in the place her lips meet his skin, then fades as she draws back to look at him—“‘Not one gesture of y—“

He kisses her.

It is an impossible feeling.

Marisol’s heart stops; it leaves her chest, bright and sharp as an electric shock; a shiver hits her, then a second; heat coils in every muscle, in every cell; for a moment Anselm bursts into her head to ask if she’s alright, his voice in her brain warped with worry, but she cannot respond, cannot think, only leans back and blinks, dazed, stunned, fearful, at Solterra’s king.

She swallows with inane difficulty. 

“You—you—“ 

It is impossible to hear over the roar of blood in her ears, impossible to feel anything but the sudden sickness in her stomach, the taste of iron sitting soft against her teeth. Marisol does not know what to say, what to do, what to think; all her words have left her, all her sensibilities, too.

“Orestes,” she says softly, in a voice that almost (actually) trembles with pain, “I think your people will begin missing you soon.”

Mari winds her own green ribbon around the prince’s neck, and gives him a swift kiss, and turns to go.

“Speaking.”
credits





[Image: ddg6quy-9d15dab5-339c-4b09-8b57-20a99fda...jvUop12efQ]

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Played by Offline Syndicate [PM] Posts: 47 — Threads: 8
Signos: 105
Day Court Sovereign
Male [he/his/him] // 4 [Year 500 Spring] // 15.2 hh // Hth: 12 — Atk: 8 — Exp: 17 // Active Magic: Solar Transformation // Bonded: Ariel (Sun Lion)
#10

YOU ARE A GOLDEN THING
IN A HEAVY, HEAVY WORLD


Orestes’s entire life has been one endless sprint down a dark corridor toward something good, something lighted, something golden—

And always it stretches further, further, further away. So close he can see it, at times. Close enough to touch, to taunt him into belief that for once it is his, and he may hold happiness in his grasp, in his heart. 

Then, he opens his eyes again; then, he realises it is gone. 

No one gestures of y— 

Another unfinished poem. The joy he feels for a moment is impenetrable; it is a star exploding behind his closed lids. The soft feeling of security, of acceptance, of an end to the echo that is his own loneliness. He feels fiercely mortal and is gladdened by it; the electric heat between them, the endless heartbeats—

Then she pulls away. 

He is reeling. 

The feeling that builds within him is as if he’s stepped off a ledge; his stomach is in his throat; his heart is beating between his ears, loud, so loud. Can she hear it?

It is the look she gives him, that reminds him he is not meant for such soft, gossamer privileges. His stomach drops again; Orestes's blood feels cool, cool, cool, and the passion of a moment prior is replaced by sudden, terrible resolve. He knows this look

Dazed. Stunned. Fearful.

He withdraws—and he hates himself for it, but there are pebbles trembling at his feet; his tattoos are glowing, glowing, glowing more brightly than the heart of a fire, than a welded sword. He feels hot. He feels burning, and his voice is hoarse, “Marisol.” 

It is the look she gives him, fleeting, the look of a woman already half-gone that reminds him he is not meant for anything except for the ache, ache, ache of duty.

And is this not your punishment? 

To think you could escape it?
 

He remembers Solterra’s burning lion. 

Sit. Sit, and remember you are ash. 

Her voice is full of pain—the same pain in his heart, or a different kind? He wants to ask but cannot bear it. He had pushed too far, had stepped to close; had been something, he was not meant to be. (Happy? A man, a mortal? A dancer instead of a Prince?) 

I think your people will begin missing you soon. 

Perhaps that would have been enough. Perhaps that would have been bearable. 

But it is not when she winds the green ribbon about his throat and kisses him, soft and as brief as the flutter of a butterfly’s wings. 

Somewhere, distantly, he can hear the party. The high jubilation of the celebration in the voices of her Court, where he does not belong. His magic is weak so far from his desert home; and the light that radiated from him in happiness turns cool and silver in his sorrow. He pauses, a thousand things on his mouth—a poem, any poem—but no thought manages to survive long enough to be said. 

Orestes watches her go.

He watches her go as he 

has watched everything leave him; 

with the same inevitability of sand through clenched fingers, of water through cracks, of something whole escaping something broken.

If he were another man he might have been full of anger; of confusion; disbelief. If he were another man, the rejection would have been a shard in his chest. If he were another man, he would shout an apology to chase her as she turned fro him. If he were another man, he would pursue her, would quote more poetry, would... be something other than he was. (And how he wishes he could.) 

But Orestes only ventures to the table where she set their drinks; he throws both of them back and, with her no longer in sight, turns to walk down the same corridor they had just journeyed through. 

Perhaps it is because he has loved so many wild things in his life that he is able to let her go. Perhaps it is because he knows, in the same way he has always known his fate, the he is only meant to hold the heart’s of others. Anger wells within him, sharp and unforgiving; but it is anger at himself, anger at his own stupidity. 

He had thought—

He had thought, for just a moment—

He had thought he could do something for himself. The words resonate within him as he is buffeted by the dancing crowd, as he pushes his way through the mass of celebrating bodies toward the exit, and further, further, until he is trotting through the dark streets of Terrastella and out, out, out into the prairie beyond, searching for the stars to lead him home. 

But the night is cloudy and cold. Orestes’ breath comes quickly and for a moment he does not know which way to go. There is so much—there is so much—

Why would you think, for even a moment, that you deserved those moments? 

Orestes thinks of the feeling as they danced; two entities of a whole, complimenting, emphasising, becoming. 

But now, Orestes is alone. And his mind is painted with the expression on Marisol's face, and a dozen others, when he fell short of what they had needed. The green ribbon feels warm and condemning about his throat; but it is with one more breath that he resolves himself to be, again, a Prince. As old, and full, and sad as the sea. 

He begins to trot toward Solterra. 

@Marisol || "speech"
"SO EDEN SANK TO GRIEF

SO DAWN GOES DOWN TO DAY

NOTHING GOLD CAN STAY"
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