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Experience Earning  - Even if the stars are blind... [open]

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Played by Offline Firefly [PM] Posts: 31 — Threads: 6
Signos: 100
Night Court Magician
Male [He/Him/His] // 9 [Year 495 Winter] // 18.1 hh // Hth: 10 — Atk: 10 — Exp: 22 // Active Magic: Dream Walking // Bonded: Noctua (Barn Owl)
#1

azrael
 
Summer was nearing its end, with nights growing a bit cooler and leaves beginning to turn colors, albeit a bit early.  It was a sign, he feared, that this winter would be a cold one.  Thinking of it, Azrael shivers and looks to the heavens for a sign, but only muddled clouds meet his gaze, hovering over the stars and muting the sallow moonlight.  On his mountains, he might have seen the sky more clearly, but tonight the star-scryer did not stand on their ridges.  Instead, he is exploring Denocte more, walking alone on the shored of the mirrored Vitreus Lake, and letting his mind wander over all which had come to pass.
 
If he was alone too long with his thoughts, Azrael began to feel more than he cared to.  He remembered the fateful night where his world came crashing down, when he’d turned to brave one last look at his smoldering home and seen nothing but madness and destruction.  Even with the knowing that it would come, it didn’t dull the pain.  More than the beauty of the emerald-green grasses and snowcapped hills, there was the loss of his brothers and sisters – each Star an integral part of the People. 
 
At night, when he closed his eyes, Azrael could remember the tortured looks on their faces as they prayed to the stars for salvation.  Even as the priestesses had urged them to leave, he remembered their stubbornness as they stood awaiting death, certain that deliverance would come – this obstinacy driving them to a fiery end.  The memory was enough to have tears stinging at the edges of his eyes as he turns to brush them against his shoulder… for no tears would bring them back, and no memory – however powerful – would wake the dead.
 
With a sigh, he stops his wandering and stands at the water’s edge, staring at the way the clouds hovered on its crystalline surface.  It is a strange thing, seeing the water mirror-still, and yet it is soothing to the stallion as he gazes across the upturned sky, stilling his mind and letting the peace of this place wash over him.  In that moment, he closes his eyes, breathing in the night air and absorbing the sounds of nature around him.
 
His star-glow frame casts a turquoise light in the darkness, beckoning the curious closer.  One was close enough for him to hear now, and the shed-star flicks an ear toward the approaching creature, taking notice even though the stranger maintains a quiet sort of presence.  Azrael’s turquoise eyes blink open, and he turns to regard the other, quiet for a moment before offering a simple greeting. 
 
“Good evening.”  His voice is as smooth as the surface of the lake, with just as many layers of depth.  “It is a shame, that the stars hide in the darkness tonight…”
 
 
“Speaking.”
credits


All welcome - working on earning experience by learning about character histories if anyone wants to join





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Played by Online Berb [PM] Posts: 9 — Threads: 1
Signos: 170
Vagabond Scholar
Female [She/Her/Hers] // 7 [Year 497 Winter] // 15.3 hh // Hth: 13 — Atk: 7 — Exp: 11 // Active Magic: // Bonded:
#2

Sleep does not elude her.

She casts it off. Ousts it from the weary borders of her bones, the sore territories of her body. It is an army at her shores – invasive and gathering as a great, toothed, angry mass on the softened, drowsy edges of brow and lash. It bears grim arms of barbed memory, this Sleep – dream-spears, splitting open the soft underbelly of her girlhood, revealing, like spilt innards, the nightmarish revelries of that darkness which has dogged her since. Darkness, by any other name; by shapeless, fathomless cruelty that gnaws and consumes flesh from bones and continents from existence… 

(Be gone.

She shakes herself. The metal fixtures and chains of her harness chime; in its leather loop, her bronze telescope shifts and thumps gently against her ribs. Long, silver-white strands of hair catch on clasps and buckles and the perk of her fluted ears; that one, ever-wayward piece of forelock falls down in front of her blue eyes. She purses her lips and blows it away, letting it settle to the side across her cheek. The balm of late-summer parts itself, allows space for a gentle night-chill to pass over her hip and throat, down the pale-lavender curve of spine.

She sighs, casting her gaze across the mimic-sky that sits like an earthbound miniature of itself upon the pitch water. Shifting sable-black and charcoal-grey furl and unfurl. In one arrested, rapturous breath the vast obscurity rends, revealing clutches of soft starlight, before knitting back together again. (Shame.) She blinks upwards at the formlessness of that coy night, throwing across its naked, bright form mantles of dusky cloud. 

“Tomorrow. perhaps,” she whispers. To herself. To the bronze telescope that settles, disappointed,  against her warm skin, its burnished curves blooming in the argent moonlight. To her own restlessness that fends off Sleep, that holds it at a bay with a single, sliver-thin determination to make sense of this new sky. These new stars and their new formations. That fossilized light, ancient and solemn, arranged like uncharted countries above.

Stella shifts, pressing her silver hooves into the soft, giving earth, and moves on. She carves her slow, elegant protestation across a land equally as enigmatic, tracing the softly lapping edges of the lakeshore. In the distance, broad oaks glower in silent stands; clutches of white lilies repose on the mirror-like darkness. These earthly things remind her of Kyrr, of gathering in woven baskets and lilting giggles. It hurts, clasps her heart like a vice and squeezes, finds anger and resentment and sadness nestled as a pit of snakes in her gut. With a quick, jolting movement she jerks her gaze to the side, finding there a soft, turquoise glow. 

Her brows come together, head tilting curiously. Cautious, quiet, Stellanor inches towards the blue-green as it forms and takes shapes and makes from disembodied brightness a man.

Good evening.

She stops, her white lashes lifting as she takes in the sidereal make of him – night writ across his body, as ice and snow and boreal northness seems to be on her own. She releases a reverential breath, Aurōrae,” the romantic, whispered tones of her native tongue. Her navy-blue eyes fixing on his own, I know your light, she thinks, with a sad hitch in her heartbeat, but instead, she nods her head, that wayward piece of forelock falling across her face – blown away hastily – “shy,” she agrees, “they are want to keep their secrets tonight.” She does not blame them. 

Motionless, like a doll made of ivory and the soft blush of purplish shade, enveloped in night and his strange sky-glow, she finds her voice once more, her name, below leagues of stilled tongue and months, perhaps, of fearful solitude. I’m Stellanor.”







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Played by Offline Firefly [PM] Posts: 31 — Threads: 6
Signos: 100
Night Court Magician
Male [He/Him/His] // 9 [Year 495 Winter] // 18.1 hh // Hth: 10 — Atk: 10 — Exp: 22 // Active Magic: Dream Walking // Bonded: Noctua (Barn Owl)
#3

azrael

He regards the stranger with a warm turquoise gaze, drawing in the look of her, pale in the darkness and seeming to shine despite the lack of moon-glow.  The summer night was chilly, but beside the stillness of the lake, it seems a bit warmer, and he relishes in the last bits of summer – so different from his mountain home.  Beside him, a long staff rests nestled against his side, fringed with silver and glittering stones which culminate in a webbed dreamcatcher at its head.  It is not nearly as practical as the leather she wears, his eyes falling appreciatingly over the telescope with unabashed curiosity.

“The mountains offer a clearer view.” he nods toward her accoutrements.  “What do you see – on nights where the stars more bravely show their face?”  Did she see what he did, when she gazed on the heavens through her magnifying glass?  Azrael imagined she would know each constellation by name, memorizing their patterns and reading their secrets.  Though she didn’t have the appearance of the People, he had no doubt that the stars chose others to know them too.

He hadn’t seen her around Denocte before, but then, that didn’t mean much… Azrael was generally a solitary creature, and many could say the same about him.  Still, he thinks he would have remembered such a face – pale as the moonlight.  He offers the mare a knowing smile, finding kinship in the fellow star-watcher from her telescope alone, wanting to know more.

“Well met – I am Azrael.”  

For a moment, the two stand quietly beside one another on the shores of the midnight lake, comfortable in the darkness as if they were born to wear night’s shadows.  “What brings you to Denocte?  Did you come for the festival?”  

Since Summerfest had been underway for some time, the aurora-tinged stallion assumed that all of the strangers had come to browse their market wares and taste the mead and cakes.  It wasn’t really his style, though Azrael would admit to meeting more than one memorable creature under the guise of the festival.  

Perhaps it is his uncharacteristic desire for companionship that draws him from the mountains again tonight.  Company was just what the stallion needed – for the solitude of his mountain home allowed him too much time alone with his memories.  He needed new beginnings – it was time to step away from the demons of his past and embrace the hope for what came next.


“Speaking.”
credits


@Stellanor





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Played by Online Berb [PM] Posts: 9 — Threads: 1
Signos: 170
Vagabond Scholar
Female [She/Her/Hers] // 7 [Year 497 Winter] // 15.3 hh // Hth: 13 — Atk: 7 — Exp: 11 // Active Magic: // Bonded:
#4

She smiles a soft, appreciative smile, swiveling her head to gaze out past the black water and the shadowed stands of mighty oak, to where the faintest of mountain’s spire might be seen, perhaps, if it were not so dark and distant. 

She knows mountains, holds them in reverent closeness to her breast. 

They are hearth and home; the granite and ice frontiers of all she has ever held dear in her life. Her eyelids flutter shut for a second, long enough to picture the Crux, cleaving the hinterlands of her girlhood in two; grasping in protective custodianship the kingdom of Iskvik and the Vale of Flor. She sees herself as a girl and Kyrr is with her, of course. They gather yarrow and cinquefoil in leather satchels and Kyrr tells her all about them as they meander into a blooming fade. Then, the stone spine of Edana’s northern range that had reached like a hundred ancient, craggy sentinels for miles, guarding the rest of the realm from that which festered in the Outlands. She wanders the quiet, lamplit streets of Isdel, the moony summits and starlight-splayed valleys peak from above the halo of sandstone walls… 

Then, they are gone – ground down to dust and ash – and she tries to set aside the fathomless expanse of time and space that separates them from her, now. “Thank you,” there is sincerity in her voice, a naked acknowledgement of his knowing glance to her instruments. She lets out a soft sigh, turning pale face to the cloaked sky, “order, direction, home,” she returns her gaze to him. Matris Aurem, Patris Decursus, Flumen...” 

There is a quiet moment. A realignment. A gathering of composure, her eyes shift downward, her smile turning apologetic. “Sorry, I lose myself. I see home. Though, these skies are new to me. The constellations shift; some of them I cannot see at all, anymore.” Gone, lost to hemispheres to which she shall never return.

“Azrael,” she repeats, nodding, taking in the reprieve of still darkness. ‘What brings you to Denocte?’ she cannot hide the small, thankful raise of brow, as she knows, at long last, what to call where she is. Or, at least, part of it. Her head tilts curiously at the mention of a festival – this conjures not entirely unpleasant slips of memory, of Morthalion and Isdel’s theatres, open-air markets, trysts on streets. “Well, I must be honest, I did not know I was in Denocte until just now, nor of any festival,” she lets out a soft peel of laughter, “feels less strange, already.” A relief; a flood of questions she contains in the demure, tranquil turn of cheek and brush of lash against cheekbone. 

“Where you born here in this land, in Denocte?” she shifts her weight, trying to imagine him being born of earthly things, of flesh rather than of star-stuff.

It seems absurd.
Hover for transaltions!
@Azrael







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Played by Offline Firefly [PM] Posts: 31 — Threads: 6
Signos: 100
Night Court Magician
Male [He/Him/His] // 9 [Year 495 Winter] // 18.1 hh // Hth: 10 — Atk: 10 — Exp: 22 // Active Magic: Dream Walking // Bonded: Noctua (Barn Owl)
#5

azrael

There is an easiness to the way the stranger speaks of her stars, and it is something which pulls at his heart.  For Azrael knows what it is to love the sky, to feel drawn away into the heavens, to know each star by name.  He cannot imagine a world where the skies are dark, and so it is little wonder that he lives in Caligo’s cradle.  Denocte was not his home – and yet, it was… for it was Caligo’s kingdom, and the People had worshipped Caligo long before they knew of her mortal kingdom.  They had followed her teachings and cried over the wars she waged with the sun, relishing in the stars she brought to their mountain home each and every night.

He likes the way she smiles at his question, the subtle laugh in her voice.  It mirrored his own nonchalance at the festival, though he quickly fills in the blanks.  “The lands were at war for some time, the borders closed to outsiders… but now, summer comes and Denocte is alive with celebration once more.  Peace has come to Novus – and I can think of no better reason to celebrate.”  He pauses, offering her a knowing smile.  “Despite the motive, festivals aren’t really my thing… too much noise and bustle.  Still, there is much to see – dancers, baubles, and indulgences.”

He focuses back on the mirrored lake, spying peeking bits of moonlight which ripple the surface, bringing him more peace than a party ever could.  It was quiet here, away from the din of celebration.  And in the silence, Azrael could be left alone with his thoughts and his stars.  “I am not from Denocte – not originally.  The People come from a place which has no name, somewhere far beyond Denocte’s mountains.  For generations, we lived in this place, worshiping the stars and following Caligo’s religion…”

Pausing, the stallion chews at his lips, obviously uncomfortable at the memories which came next.  “We came to Denocte only when our land was destroyed, fire raining down from the breath of dragons, as it had been foretold.  So this is home now.  There are no remnants of the place where the shed-stars once lived – only ash and memories.”  And the bodies of those who had defied the gods, he thought, but the memory of the fallen should not be tarnished by his own bitterness.

With a sigh, his turquoise eyes brighten once more as he pushes away the pains of the past, reliving them far too often in recent weeks.  They were coming up on the anniversary of when the caravan had come.  For it had been during the time when Cassiopeia and Lacerta watched the mountains – during the time when trees had washed with reds and golds. With summer days growing shorter, it was only a matter of time before the nightmare would hit full force, Azrael's dreams growing more vivid with every passing day.

He clears his throat. “You are not from here either.  Your dialect is lovely and foreign – what about your homeland, Stellanor?  Tell me about your stars.”


“Speaking.”
credits


@Stellanor





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Played by Online Berb [PM] Posts: 9 — Threads: 1
Signos: 170
Vagabond Scholar
Female [She/Her/Hers] // 7 [Year 497 Winter] // 15.3 hh // Hth: 13 — Atk: 7 — Exp: 11 // Active Magic: // Bonded:
#6

War.

That darkness – which by many names goes and with many mouths, speaks – is also familiar to her. Severed in two by a spine of fire and smoke, blood and rebel yells, Nordlys had ached and wailed for a generation. The Mother and Father had wept, as their children carved arrowheads from the flesh of their proffered Eden; had watered their blooms with blood and fed their roots with each other’s flesh-sacrifices. She had been but a babe, watching the skies to the south bloat with heavy clouds of black wafting off the Heartwood’s battlefields. It is hazy, a dreamlike thing, figments of a child’s mind made softer and more romantic than it really was. 

Than it ever is. 

She knows better, now. Knows the keen bite of fire, the pang of split flesh; the smell of blood when it meets oily cobblestones, like petrichor, but metallic and all wrong. As a girl she had seen men and women come home less-than – missing parts of themselves, of skin and bone and being. 

And now she, too, is fragmentary.

Stella nods her commiseration. She ebbs and flows, tethers and untethers, at the will of something beyond herself – above her. She had so loved her visits to Morthalion, her walks around Isdel, but these things took from her much more than they gave. So when she had slaked herself on the pools of curiosity and culture, she retreated. Retreated to places that could not be mapped or triangulated. High, lonely places – the eyries of stars and granite. “I will have to stop by, if only to remind myself how wide the earthly world is, again.”

She quiets, watches him glance with those bright, venerable eyes, across the black plain of unwrinkled water. When he speaks of his own past, with an ache perhaps to return, or maybe, just an ache for the days when he could just return to his home. That comfortable, warm, womblike constant, it waits for me beyond this bend; above this crest, this earth. She presses her eyes shut and stifles loose tears against her white lashline. Stillness, silence, a funereal moment passes, wherein they have found each other – homeless, errant stars – adrift. 

She bites her lips, taking in the enormity of his question. The vastness, the leagues of time, water, space, foreverness. Oblivion. “No,” she confirms, smiling sadly, “my home, too, is no more. Taken by the void.” It is bitter as ash in her mouth, “Nordlys. That was its name, when it was at all, that is. I was born in the far north, under wide stars and the septentrionalium luminum, northern lights. I grew up there, occasionally visiting the capitol city with my father. I mapped the northern hemisphere—” she turns, lipping open the cap of a cylindrical, leather holder, secured fast to her harness by a loop and fixture. Gently, she coaxes out a sheet of weathered, but well-kept, parchment that hovers in the air between them, unfurling with her mind’s eye.

It is old, textured, mottled pale-caramel calf-skin, upon which a circular chart, in slightly faded black ink, is quartered and marked with numbers and sketches of birds and animals around its perimeter. Within it are hundred of dots, many connected by thin lines and illuminations – here, a lion’s head with mane traced in constellation lines. Patris Decursus, the Father’s Mane. She glances over it all with pride and adoration, half her life’s work, a map of extinct skies. ”These are my stars. Some of them. There is also Edana, to which I fled when Nordlys was overcome by darkness’ creatures...” She motions to the lion’s face, marked with swirls and hatching, “The Father’s Mane – well, that is the name I gave it – I saw the face of my god, of Cosmos, in the way His star’s arranged themselves.” Her lip traces the paper from the Mane to the River, the Mother’s Ear, to the Tine and Betrayer’s Horn… 

She pulls back, eyes trailing to him, “why was your home destroyed?” she asks, quiet and wistful, and in between each heavy word is a plea, an appeal to make sense of senselessness.







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Played by Offline Firefly [PM] Posts: 31 — Threads: 6
Signos: 100
Night Court Magician
Male [He/Him/His] // 9 [Year 495 Winter] // 18.1 hh // Hth: 10 — Atk: 10 — Exp: 22 // Active Magic: Dream Walking // Bonded: Noctua (Barn Owl)
#7

azrael

“War seldom has a why… or at least not one that I could find."  Azrael sighed deeply, pacing back and forth on the soft loam of shoreline, gnawing his lip as he considers the very question he’d wondered about so many times before.  “The priestesses who watched the stars made mention of the end of days, spoke with certainty that Cailgo would lead us from our mountains to her earthly home.”  His voice is a whisper now, his turquoise eyes clouding with something darker – grief, still raw despite the passing of time.  

“Not everyone listened to them, too proud to believe that we could fall.  They stood there – faces turned to the heavens, defiant as they watched the fire rain down, certain that the stars would save us.”  His gaze turned to her star-map as he offers a reassuring smile – as much for himself as for her.  “Stars were never meant to be our saviors – they merely guide us and leave the choices to man.

There was a time when I thought the lore simple stories for childs play, but I have found great comfort in tracking the constellations.  There’s just something about the way they remain unchanging, even when the earth falls to ruin and chaos.  Perhaps on another night – a clearer night – you could show me how you write the stars?  I have never been taught to use instruments, only intuition."


When he thinks of her story, Azrael can almost imagine a proud father sitting by firelight, teaching his daughter to trace the starpaths and name the constellations.  It was clear in the way that she touched the map, tenderly and with great care, that he recognizes the poignancy of her memory.  His voice is gentle as he questions the pale mare.

“Are you alone now?”

He didn’t mean for it to sound ominous, but the star-shed wore genuine concern for the stranger as he wondered of her family’s fate.  War was rarely kind.  In his own case, there were only a handful of shed-stars who had made it off of the mountain.  Some had come to Denocte and taken up roles as entertainers like himself – reading the stars and the cards.  Others had become merchants here, imbuing baubles with star fire and weaving tales of magic to gullible buyers.  But too many had gone, turning their back on Caligo for abandoning the people, turning from her lands and spreading to the four winds.  What was once a proud people was left to the few now, and only they could carry on the traditions of old, keeping Caligo’s stories alive through their memories.  

He was alone, in many senses of the word – but unlike so many of the others, Azrael had resigned himself to move forward instead of looking back.  It would have been too easy for him to lose himself in the stars, praying for the retribution which would never come.  Praying for all that was lost to be reborn like the night which shifts to day…

“Speaking.”
credits

@Stellanor





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