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Played by Offline Syndicate [PM] Posts: 79 — Threads: 14
Signos: 205
Day Court Sovereign
Male [he/his/him] // 5 [Year 500 Spring] // 15.2 hh // Hth: 12 — Atk: 8 — Exp: 19 // Active Magic: Solar Transformation // Bonded: Ariel (Sun Lion)

there is no turning back a reversed name; a reversed curse. i will follow you to the depths of the sea, to the cold caves and caverns where the sun does not shine and iridescence rules.

Today, Orestes looks like a Sovereign. 

The doe-eyed prince, so accustomed to loving the world, wears the face of a warrior-king. His head is high and his mane not the typical windswept, disheveled crown. Today it is ornately braided; it loops down his neck beautifully, orderly. Whatever remains of the half-wild boy in love with the sea… well, the palomino has locked those remnants away. For the first time in all of his lives, and certainly this life, he has washed the sea-salt from his skin. Orestes smells of herbal white sage and desert sagebrush; sweet, heady Indian tobacco; Saguaro cactus and prickly pear jam; the heat of baking sand, smoke, dry wood. 

Orestes smells like the sun baking the dunes; like his city streets; and this is how he walks into Delumine’s capitol, as clean and new as a risen sun. His tattoos glow faintly in the bright midday light; the spring breeze wafts cool and reminiscent of winter beneath a sky that is so blue it burns to look at. He brings the scent of Solterra with him; he brings everything Solterra is. The pride is evident in his expression; the fierce and nearly vindictive survivalism. Ariel walks beside him, a lion that reaches the shoulder of his fifteen hand companion. His head, although not quite level with Orestes, drifts at chest-level. Magnificent and nearly mythical, the Sun Lion appraises the Rapax River over the edge of the Dawn Court’s wall. He has never seen so much water in his life, aside from the sea, and regards it with mild curiosity. 

Orestes has yet to visit the Dawn Court; he is impressed to see the lush greenery outside the district walls, and to admire the spires burgeoning from the Court’s towers. Where Solterra is smooth sandstone and golden stucco, Delumine is brick and mortar, aggressive ivy that deepens the apparent age of the buildings, that brightens everything to emerald. Delumine seems bright, promising, blooming with springtime flowers. Small birds—finches, sparrows, a cardinal or two, perhaps a mockingbird, perhaps more—flutter and sing overhead. Orestes takes his time reaching the capitol building where the Sovereign keeps. Dawn Court citizens occasionally stop to glance curiously at the Solterran and his lion companion; but no one stops him until he reaches the fortress itself and informs the guard, standing watch, that is there to visit with their Sovereign. 

The atmosphere here is different. The humidity burns off his too-hot desert-bright skin. His tattoos twist and glow; the rocks gravitate and fall at his passage. A different Orestes, an Orestes with the sea breeze in his dreams and the memory of a thousand shapes in his soul, would have raised his head to the sky and taken in the beauty of it. He would have admired the differences. Today, however, he looks at them with something close to contempt. Today, however, he sees them as what they are; separation; injustice; an allotment of life's black-ice, unexpected chance or privilege of what-have-you. He sees Delumine's green and river and the sound of songbirds and he thinks, life is so much easier here, for you. But even that hard-edged judgement takes on a note of pride.

And anyways, his path was not so meandering as one might have thought. Although he wandered a little aimlessly through the streets, through the markets, even pausing to listen to an artisan play a lute... all along he has been heading toward the capitol. Orestes's arrival is unexpected, unannounced. But the policy of surprise is one that he sees strengths to, even if it is not diplomatic. It has taken him many months to discern the white-and-bay man who met him in the streets of his city when he was a new Sovereign… well, is he not Delumine’s own? 

The taste has left a bitter one on Orestes’s tongue. He waits patiently at the gate, his eyes following up a twist of ivy that reaches the uppermost spire, a green assault against the sky. Ariel says nothing but stretches long and catlike. Then, in the silence through their bond, thinks:

I don't like the humidity.

Orestes glances at him side-long and almost, almost smiles. 

"Speaking." || @Ipomoea


Played by Offline sid [PM] Posts: 313 — Threads: 52
Signos: 205
Dawn Court Sovereign
Male [He/Him/His] // 7 [Year 497 Winter] // 16 hh // Hth: 50 — Atk: 50 — Exp: 90 // Active Magic: Nature Spirit // Bonded: Rhoeas (Criost Deer)

flowers grow back
even after they have been stepped on

The grass betrayed Orestes’ presence. The message had surged on ahead of him, a shiver of wind racing through the meadow and bending the poppies on their long, thin stalks. A single red petal tore loose, crimson and unsettling bright in the sunlight. It spiraled on through the air, twirling perhaps unseen around the Sovereign’s legs before the breeze snatched it up, and up, and away. Only then did it flee, like a bleeding, desperate thing, leaping from current to current until it arrived, at last, in the citadel.

Ipomoea caught it in midair, the edges of it trembling as if it wanted nothing more than to escape him.

Solterra is coming, the petal quivered in his grasp, He is coming. There was no need to ask who.

He let the petal go with a frown, and in an instant it was whirling away over the mossy stone walls. For a moment he stood there, quiet and still. The grass twined like snakes around his fetlocks, his mane lifting in the breeze, the same breeze that had carried the petal selfishly into the distance now trying to carry his thoughts along with it. ”Red,” he muttered to himself, looking up into the sky as the petal whipped through the courtyard and out of sight, ”why is the messenger always red?”

It was a brisk day, one in which he still could feel a touch of winter in the wind’s caress. And the red of the petal only reminds him of the red hiding in the forest, and the way blood looked against snow and freshly sprouted leaves. Even when the birds in the court are singing of life and hope and love, and the strains of a lute is tying all their melodies together like the heralding of spring - still Ipomoea is thinking of death and dead things and a court that sleeps too often, and far too soundly, for his liking. 

He takes his time, rolling up the map he had been studying into a tight reel, hiding the many red X’s that had been scrawled across the expanse of Viride. He folds Emersyn’s report next, and a part of him is thankful for the interruption; the Emissary had always been rather thorough, and her descriptions of the most recent kills had not spared him any of the gory details. With memories of his first and last meeting with the Solterran Sovereign drifting like desert ghosts through his mind, Ipomoea tucks his documents against one shoulder, then turns and retraces his steps through the gardens.

”What other lives have you lived, desert-born, since the desert has forgotten you?” Orestes’ voice whispers again through his ears, a different rendition of the same question that snuck its way back into his dreams whenever he thought he’d finally forgotten. His legs feel heavy, as if they’ve been filled with sand; as if the desert were still dragging him down. By the time he enters the courtyard, beyond which the other Sovereign waits like a miniature sun beside the open gates, his mouth has gone as dry as the Mors. And only one thought is left to wander like something lost and lonely in his mind, If the desert has forgotten me -

- why does it keep finding me?

”King Orestes,” he has to force the dryness from his voice, lifting his head until the words sound more like spring flowers than shadows in a canyon. ”Please, the gates are always open for a reason, my hearth is your’s.”

He’s remembering the bread Orestes had offered him in the market square, and the prickly pear jam, and the ghosts that had taken the empty seats at their table. But he’s become good at pretending, since taking his crown - so despite the hollowness in his chest, despite the ache, he smiles. And he doesn’t comment on all the ways Orestes is the same, and different, than the last time he saw him; or the way the smell of the sea has been replaced by the smell of sage and desert sands, or how he thinks the sea had suited him better.

“To what do I owe the pleasure of your visit? I would have sent a runner out, had I known to expect you; would you allow me to take their place, and offer a tour of my home?” It feels wrong, to play the servant to a foreign king, a king of the home he had forsaken, a king he does not recognize; it makes something almost-feral come slowly awake inside of him, and all it thinks is, Only one of us is desert-born.



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