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Played by Online Berb [PM] Posts: 15 — Threads: 5
Signos: 150
Day Court Solider
Female [She/Her/Hers] // 6 [Year 499 Fall] // 15.1 hh // Hth: 9 — Atk: 11 — Exp: 10 // Active Magic: N/A // Bonded: N/A
#1

You wrap your name tight around my ribs
And keep me warm. I was born for you.
Above, below, by you, by you surrounded.
She tumbles through the dark. 

(So dark. Gods. It’s so, so dark.

From one flickering, eidolic pool of oily lamplight to the next, in lurching, hitched steps. Every couple of minutes, she throws herself against a rough stone wall or cracked marble sculpture to breath. To breath. For the first time in… ilinaa el’ariiff—forever—she breaths. She breaths in dust and bone and centuries-old air. She breaths out a viperous coil of sputtered curse words, each more vibrant and inventive than the next.

‘A-a-arjun! St-t-top right t-t-here y-y-you S-Solis-d-d-damned f-f-fiend!’

It echoes. 

It tells Cyrra just how big their tiny hell had really been all along. 

She sucks in air and turns to squint into the charnel void—

‘D-d-don’t’t you m-m-move. Y-you’ll p-p-pay f-for w-what you’ve d-d-done.’

The Viper Slayer does not flinch at what she sees, though it turns her stomach. Her nostrils clench tightly, ears pinning back tight against her crest, against the mess of dusty hair and burnished copper rings. Her eyes narrow in venomous distrust, muscles coiled like serpent-things, tight under the pale horsehair and grime. He is thin, each bone making itself known in lewd detail below the paper-thin russet of his dull pelt. He shakes, each and every restive inch of him. The spaces around his eyes are uncomfortably sunken, shaded in dark, bruise-purple, hemming a wide, demented gaze.

(I know you… Solis help me… I know you, brother.)

He stumbles closer, breaching the sill of flame-light. His breath is rank. It smells like mothballs and rot. He looks diseased. Why does he look diseased; why can’t he see who she is and is not. Cyrra snorts and straights herself, a Herculean labour itself, her shoulders and knees aching from disuse. At that moment, her hard, searching eyes finally catch the violent glint of rust-worn iron in the light, a proffered promise left between them. Her breath slows. Her heart quickens. Her eyes fall on him, lips twitching. “Step away…” 

His lips quiver.

He’s crying. Tears trail down his gaunt cheeks as he takes a step closer, the rusted dagger coming to press against her pale throat just above the twisted copper of her neckpiece. ‘T-t-the Arete w-w-ill h-h-av-v-e their r-r-revenge y-y-you b-bast-t-tard t-traitor!’

She swallows. The tip of the blade digs into the bulge as she does, drawing blood down her throat. “Don’t do this...” But she can see. She can see it in his eyes, the way they waver between here and there—between this and the next. The price he has paid for his—their—nemesis’ treachery has been grave. She watches as his thighs twitch, eyes pass to the place where his blade kisses her flesh open.

She yanks the dagger, less gracefully than she is used to, from his telekinetic grasp and plunges it into his left eye until the hilt meets the brow bone. He shudders and heaves forward as the Arete pulls it loose and steps back, his body collapsing at her feet. 

Silence.

Dark.

(Halim. That’s it. Your name was Halim.)

She stares into that stygian depth, blood spattered hot and thick across her chest and forearms. She lets the dagger go absently. It clatters to the ground beside Halim and the nauseating, metallic twang echoes into eternity.
ENFANIR | BERB






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Played by Offline Syndicate [PM] Posts: 19 — Threads: 2
Signos: 575
Day Court Solider
Male [He/his/him] // 6 [Year 499 Summer] // 16 hh // Hth: 7 — Atk: 13 — Exp: 11 // Active Magic: N/A // Bonded: N/A
#2


Zayir, who will never admit to having felt fear, fears the night. He fears the judgement of the cool stars and Caligo’s silver eye, too bright, always, whether it is winking or wide. The moon unnerves him and it bleaches from him the golden colour at the tips of his wings; bathed in moonlight, Zayir is silver and cold. 

That is how he stands: silver and cold. He is before the entrance of the catacombs with torches burning. It is here he gazes into the black abyss and the black abyss gazes back; it fill him with an unnamable, inescapable dread.

And yet that dread, attached to it, is a hollow kind of longing. It is the same ghostly sense of leaving a battle alive, of emerging intact and somehow whole. Once the tragedy, the violence, has touched you—you can never be untouched. But in that is a sort of elation. 

Zayir, having emerged from the catacombs, is a survivor. So why, then, does he stand so diligently each night? Why does he pray before the entrance each day, as Solis arcs across Solterra’s sandstone walls and then dips beyond the end of the world?

Tonight, Zayir stands watch. Tonight, Zayir tries not to fill the pull into the deep, the dark, that tells him, come back, come back an dream. 

He bites the inside of his cheek until it bleeds. He stamps his hoof; stretches his wings. And his mind turns on itself with a vibrant, sharp memory. Why are you here? he asks himself, and like a whip the reasoning comes.

”Son, where is Cyrra?”

Zorif—Zayir’s father, although he rarely thinks him of that, as anything besides
sir, qayid alharb, Captain—asks the questions. Demands, in fact, the question. Zayir doesn’t know—they had been out in Elatus, practicing desert navigation. Zayir had thought it was a competition—he had thought they were meant to compete, to race, to see who was better.

“Zayir,” this time qayid alharb says it sharply. “Where is Cyrra?” 

“I—I… I don’t know. I thought it was a contest, qayid. I thought—“

“You thought? No, Zayir. Warriors—no, no, mere plebes… You don’t think, you follow. You listen, to what you are told.” Zorif did not often raise his voice, but he did now. The other stallions dark eyes, usually so stoic, so somber, came alight with an inner fire Zayir had never seen. “And the most important thing, in any exercise no matter how competitive… the most important thing is personnel accountability. No go out and find her. She is
qiteat alruwh, a piece of soul. A comrade, forever—you do not lose her, you don’t compete to the point of putting yourselves in danger. To you, she is rafiq, she is companion. Now go. Don’t come back—never come back—until you find her.” 

———

The earthquake had awoken him, and several other Arete. But not enough. Nowhere near enough. He haunts the entrance of the catacombs waiting; hoping; praying.  The names of the missing are engraved in his mind as if he, himself, is their headstone. As if he, himself, is their monument. They seem to emerge more and more slowly or are found dead.

Halim. 

Abdul. 

Farrah.

Dina.

Rajiya. 
Sekhmet.

Nefertiti. 

Cyrra.

Cyrra. 

Cyrra?


It has become a nightly ritual as Zakariah’s curse is broken. Zayir hears the voice. He descends into the catacombs to answer the maddened call; already he has held the bleeding, decayed bodies of too many of his friends. Already their time in the catacombs has sent so many to madness and those who have emerged have done so touched, forever changed. He would be a liar if he were not relieved Cairo had already appeared; the man who—

And Zayir stops himself. 

There is one more whom his heart bleeds for. One more whom he must… he must know their fate. And it is with creeping apprehension that his journeys deeper, and deeper into the catacombs. From this distances the screams are disjointed; he cannot understand the maddened speech. When it stops, suddenly, Zayir is alarmed. He brandishes the torch forward, lighting the way, and begins to trot. 

What alarms him more is the telltale echo of a blade in the dark.

No, no, no. Had it been another suicide? Another manic, broken mind unable to come to terms with their reality? Lost to the eternity Zakariah had created? Arjun had led them into? 

“No, no, no.” It is a broken, strangled whisper at his lips. When he comes around a final bend and illuminates the darkness with the torch, Zayir is so shocked he drops it. 

The flame burns at his feet. Shadows dance across his chest and face and then the haunted express of the mare across from him.

Qiteat alruwh. 

Rafiq.


“Cyrra.” 

At her feet Halim lays dead, the dagger between them. It lay still trembling from the fall, and where it’s blade quivers it points towards Zayir. He watches the blood pool and thinks, 

Halim had always been of strong mind—how… how is it him? How is he dead? 

But the shock of Halim’s death is nothing compared to the sudden, welling hope in his chest. He says it tentatively, uncertain. The blade is bright in the torchlight. His eyes are drawn to it with fearful apprehension. Solis, no. From the distance, he could not tell if it were Cyrra’s manic voice or Halim’s. 

“Cyrra.” He repeats her name, speaking slowly. “It’s—it’s over. The curse, it’s been broken.” 

It’s ten years later. 

Nothing is the same. 

"Speaks" || @Cyrra

glory, glory, what a helluva way to die
glory, glory what a helluva way to die
CREDITS






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Played by Online Berb [PM] Posts: 15 — Threads: 5
Signos: 150
Day Court Solider
Female [She/Her/Hers] // 6 [Year 499 Fall] // 15.1 hh // Hth: 9 — Atk: 11 — Exp: 10 // Active Magic: N/A // Bonded: N/A
#3

You wrap your name tight around my ribs
And keep me warm. I was born for you.
Above, below, by you, by you surrounded.
(I looked for you in the dark—

I thought I had heard your laughter once, echoing off the vault of this arcane charnel house. Your voice was a balefire in the funereal black; a lit pyre on the cliffs of some bygone continent that we had once shared in. Delighted in. Made ours through the steady ministrations of our mischief and play and petty arguments. I tried to find you, I tried to follow that sound; held hope, like cradling the last flame of the last fire against my chest. 

I called your name.

I called your name until my throat was raw and I could taste blood in my mouth and every fine, level line of me was worn! 

And at one point, I was mad that you couldn’t hear me. I howled and wailed and threaded curses like a weaver fashioning fine silk. You know me. But then, I knew. I knew that I screamed your name into the void and that it was all for nought.

Because, Zayir, Gods, he made this hell a severance.

Each our own personal grave.

Then I called your name into the dark just to hear it—
)





The darkness consumes everything. 

Her, for a moment, as she contemplates the hot stick of blood on her chest, not for the first time, but as if it were. Absently, she thinks about the punishments for taking the life of a brother. Like running her fingers down the pulpy parchment of their oaths and their codes, tracing the grave consequences of her actions in tight, ornamental script. The ordained law of them all, proffered by the hands of Solis himself, to make sure they never broke rank.

Quiaal

Murderer.

The rusted blade glints like an answer at her feet—

‘Cyrra.’

She had never heard her own name in the dark, save for all the times she had whispered it into the stagnant air; rounding out each syllable, touching her tongue to her teeth with each consonant. Somewhere along the way, she had forgotten it. Had shed it, too, with all the other things that had made her Cyrra. Her brow knits together, wearied gaze shifting to the torch fire and the pale form behind it, emblazoned against the black. Etched in dancing, splaying light is all the known and long-forgotten architecture and geometry that she had mapped so many years ago.

She swallows hard.

(How can a throat be this dry?)

“I...” Cyrra blinks, holds herself together because when everything else has been shook loose and buried, it’s all she will ever have left. The regimented, militant command of her wasted, aching, tormented body. “Gods, Z-Zayir… he—” she shakes her head slowly, pinches her cracked lip between her teeth and takes a shuddering breath. She had felt as Halim had—understands, all too heavily in her bones, that it could have been her. Was her. Knows the impossibly wide, mad gaze like a kin; the demented comportment of one who has taken on the damnable silence and made it their paradise of old stone and rotten offerings. 

Accepted the ivory twists of bones and the eyeless sockets as their new Gods.

Traces endless, cyclical prayers to them in dust and in coils of sacrificial memory.

She doesn’t ask how long it has been, because for her, it has been forever and that means too much to bear. That Big-Spear and Umma, Zorif and everyone she had played with and terrorized in the citadel and streets… “Solis help us… Zayir… they’re all dead, aren’t they?” She steps around the still mass of Halim on unsteady feet. Sahiiq, how did you… you are... I looked for you. For so long.” she reaches out into the dark between them, the coldness that becomes invaded space by their body heat. “How long have you been awake? Who else have you found?”

How long has she been awake? How long had she paced the endless dark of the catacombs until she realized that they were a labyrinth of her own keeping? A contained thing, as Zakariah’s treacherous magic settled as dust in the cracks, those old and those newly opened by the earthquake.

Anger seethes, spits like a viper in his chest and her lip twitches. Her breath comes in hard, steady heaves that wrack her pale form, “Curse...” she echoes, and perhaps for the first time, the magnitude of treachery wrought by the Turncoats blooms in full vivid disgust like a garden in her soul. “Tell me they aren’t still out there, Zayir.” Her hard, hoarse voice is a demand, the sound of a whetstone slipping over iron. 
Hover for translation
@Zayir
ENFANIR | BERB






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Played by Offline Syndicate [PM] Posts: 19 — Threads: 2
Signos: 575
Day Court Solider
Male [He/his/him] // 6 [Year 499 Summer] // 16 hh // Hth: 7 — Atk: 13 — Exp: 11 // Active Magic: N/A // Bonded: N/A
#4



”I…" her voice breaks the darkness as once’s face breaks the water at a baptism. "Gods, Z-Zayir… he—“

The silence that stretches after her comment takes on the shape of magnanimity, of absolutism, of something larger-than-life. It is the oppression of their condemnation; their imprisonment; their lost years. Zayir’s mouth is dry. He thinks of how he would like to be anywhere else; anywhere except this moment, where the feral look in her eyes expresses everything that writhes within himself. 

“I know.” And he does. He knows the madness; he has danced with it in this same dark tomb. He has laid in a crypt next to the creeping insanity of endless time; a death like life, or a life like death. He knows, as the blood pools wide enough around the corpse that it touches his ichor-gold hooves. Solis help us… Zayir… they’re all dead, aren’t they? He knows of whom she speaks; he had not allowed himself to grieve it until he had found her, dead or alive, and when she says it it is like a dam breaking. The floodwaters of grief rage in his heart; heavily, Zayir says, “Yes. They’re all dead.” 

I looked for you.

Zayir thinks, and I failed you. The thought does not emerge pragmatic, but swathed in rage. He wishes briefly, furiously, her blade had found him rather than Halim.

But he deserved a heavier sentence for allowing this to happen.

The only way to respond to her awakening is with hard facts, Zayir decides. It is the only way to keep his own emotions at bay, even as they circle, scenting the blood in the water. 

“I have only been awake for a few days… so far, it’s only myself, Hälla, Cairo and Sobec.” The names are dust on his lips; too dry. He finds, when he speaks them aloud rather than recounting them in memory, they are too few. They had been halfway to a regiment when they were entombed; enough of them to overthrow Zolin, had they been deft enough, had subservience not been instilled in them as fucking infants

He clears his throat. The only way he can regard her in this place where he died is with apathy and clear eyes; he tries to remove himself, tries to quell the elations he is alive with the fact so many remain undiscovered. 

“We haven’t found them yet.” Zayir admits; he steps closer. They have never been a pair for intimate touches, for comradeship borne close; but Zayir now offers the brush of his shoulder, a strained gesture that suggests the tumultuous conflict he feels beneath. He would like to admit, But it doesn’t matter. It was me. It was my fault. I should have seen it— 

Doing so seems selfish in this dark moment. So Zayir does not. He holds his tongue and says instead, “But I suspect they were entombed with us. They were too powerful, and too hard to turn to pawns. Zolin would not have kept them alive. They are either dead or within the catacombs.” He looks beyond her shoulder to where the light of the torch does not reach. The flames are spitting on the dirt below and so Zayir reaches out with his telepathy to brandish the torch again. He feels the chill of millennium pressing up his spine; the ghosts not only of their war but countless wars before. He thinks of the crystal sarcophagus he dreamt, the runic inscriptions, caskets and mummies and beasts immortalised in gold and crystal. Those were all things he dreamt within the catacombs, and a creeping and sick curiosity arises in him. Were they real?

Instead of asking, he looks to Cyrra. He has positioned himself very intentionally, blocking the body of Halim from view. His voice is soft when he says, “Would you like me to lead you out?” Only those who know him well will be able to discern the way his voice is thick with tears unshed. 

"Speaks" || @Cyrra

down into the folly, you took my hand
past the thistle and the red elm
CREDITS






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Played by Online Berb [PM] Posts: 15 — Threads: 5
Signos: 150
Day Court Solider
Female [She/Her/Hers] // 6 [Year 499 Fall] // 15.1 hh // Hth: 9 — Atk: 11 — Exp: 10 // Active Magic: N/A // Bonded: N/A
#5

You wrap your name tight around my ribs
And keep me warm. I was born for you.
Above, below, by you, by you surrounded.
Dead.

But she knew that already, has convened with the dead down here for too long not to have developed some bond with that ceremony, with that transference from one end to the next. Perhaps, she held felt it, like a shiver down her spine or the livewire of shock across the ever-weakening formation of her bones. One for each, for Umma, and Big-Spear and Zorif; for each of them as they made their own procession across the great above. (Had Big-Spear summoned a Rayir for Umma—to oversee her final breath, to bleed her one last time upon the sands, to cut the stilled heart from her body, below the open sky and sun, and read the portentous way it pooled. 

Or, had Umma been the one to wish Big-Spear to Solis’ side, in the end?) 

So, her tight body is wracked by a single, lurching sob, as she lays them to rest, finally.

Anger mixes, bitter and acid, with sadness. It turns to ash in her mouth.

How much had they taken from her? From them?

From them all?

Her breath becomes ragged again, heaving, throbbing. Pounding. She blinks and reels, steadies against the blood-spattered stone wall, grinding her teeth together. But he knows her too well. He grasps her frail hand and leads her down more fruitful paths than those paved in reprisal and gilt rage.

She nods, almost absent, as he speaks—

She searches within herself for their names, all of their names, in rows upon rows as she inspects them. The straight, tight, scarred, coiled lines of them; their well-sharpened weapons and the glint edges of their armour and shields. She eyes each; eyes herself, in that same military-tight stance, like a statue. Like a machine. Like a war-thing, coughed out from some violent and blood-red forge. Halla. Cairo Sobec. But when she reaches Halim, jaw tight and square, eyes hard and resolute and gods, Solis, damn me to hell, blood curls from the cup of his swart ear, like a snake traipsing the mortal curve of his trembling cheekbone.

“Gods,” she mutters again. No. it isn’t enough.

It’ll never be enough. One lost—one Halim—was enough, the margins were dark and listless beyond that single death (by ones own hands.)

Perhaps she recognizes the guilt in his eyes. If she does she recoils from it. Not physically, exchanging his brush with a soft, acquiescing sigh. But she rebuffs it, with strength, in the way she turns her eyes from him moments later, quells its kin in her own breast. Could any of us have known? Maybe? Probably? 

Irrelevant.

“Fucking fools,” she hisses, finding not nearly as much joy as she thought she might at the idea that they, too, may have made their own tombs. It was too nauseatingly perfidious; too grossly weak-minded. She shakes her head, “we have to find them,” her eyes draw between Zayir’s pale, gilded legs, to the lifeless gawp of Halim, cringing, “because I want—need—to coax answers from their—,” she squeezes her eyes shut, stifles animus taken form in curse words she hadn’t thought of in a decade, “their lips.” She snorts lightly, and with her own telepathy, lifts the blade from their feet, before sticking Zayir with a knowing look.

‘Would you like me to lead you out?’ She nods, hissing against the ache in her knees, as she pushes past him, to stand over the crumpled mass. Da'mayiit,” she whispers, knowing full well she hasn’t the time, space, or tools to do this properly, she sinks the blade between his ribs—trying deliberately to keep her gaze from the gash where his eye should be, failing—avoiding the spires of protective bone as she knew far too adeptly how. Plunging until it could go no further, until she was as close to the heart as she could hope to get, and with a twist to make room, she pulls it back carefully, cradling the blood on the flat of the blade.

“Get me the hell out of here, Zayir.” Anguish. Anger. And yes, fear.
Hover for translation
@Zayir
ENFANIR | BERB






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