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Played by Offline Berb [PM] Posts: 20 — Threads: 6
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Day Court Soldier
Female [She/Her/Hers]  |  7 [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 thought she had reached the nadir of her torment.

She thought she had breathed herself full of charnel air. So full, that the first clear inhale she had taken when she finally surfaced alongside Zayir had almost choked her, rejected as a saltwater fish does fresh. Had heard her fill of the faint tattoo of bony digits on old, cracked stone, like so many warpaths from the nether. Had breathed enough errant, wild whispers, like ghosts making home in jewelled, golden sarcophagi, that her voice had become the sole company she kept until it too died. Had paced herself so weary, that she had found respite and rest against the twists of pale bone and the thick wraps of linen that held preserved forms in chilling abeyance. Had wandered down labyrinthine halls of skulls and ribs and vertebrae, did so for so long, that it seemed to her the whole world must be made of skeletons. 

Even now, as she finds purchase on old, familiar ground, she mistakes loose rocks under her feet for the dusty, nauseating crunch of brittle bone and cringes.

(How could ten years feel like a lifetime?

Ten whole years.
)

How could it still cling to her, that old stale air, the osseous redolence, the mummified darkness that held no end but instead an endless looping perdition? One step, she is bathed in radiant Solis’ heat, touching each militant, tight swarth of her misused body, coaxing life where there had been such settled lifelessness. And in the very next, she passes back into the far-beneath, cast like a damnable thing into an abyss of mortal, treacherous creation.

She thought she had reached the nadir, but as it turns out, the untangling is the worst part. The moment when she passes through the market and the smell of horsehair, cardamon, chilli and saffron suddenly cede to the stench of grime and subterranean torpor. She jerks her head around to find she is surrounded on all sides by customers, holding bundles of cinnamon sticks to be inspected and merchants, hawk curios from far-lands; by ruddy, sandstone walls and the harsh, white-hot sunlight that fills each crack and crevice contained. But, in the shadows that same sun casts, between walls and under awnings, shape the eyeless sockets and cryptic eternity of her hell.

She works, in restive, frantic ministrations to untie herself. To shake it loose like hair in the morning, and be free, yet.

Cyrra loses herself, now, in the lurching, red-stone of the canyon. She follows the winding, squeezing and opening paths, and they reek of her walking nightmare in the way they seem like a maze made to keep her alone forever. Except she knows, in her heart, that it’s not a maze but a challenge, and she knows the way to the top like the lines of her own bruised and aching knees. She has tread this quandary before. She has faced the dead ends and the dizzying confusion when you think you’ve lost your way. Because the sedimentary stone walls that rise on either side are so tall that you can no longer see the position of the sun, only a thin line of blue, cloudless sky. 

The Viper Slayer learned the way to the top by leaving white, chalked marks on the intersections and by racing Zayir, until the openings that lead upwards rather than ever onwards revealed themselves to her.

It is just past high noon when she heaves her body up, sweat slicks and froths along her pale groin and neck, her chest expands in rapid, gulping breaths. She could have flown. Of course she could have, but that had always been cheating. The easy way up. This had been a pilgrimage, and she stands now, a qajiid, forged in sun and labour. She sighs and stretches out her ecru wings, light limning the preened feathers, glinting off her damp form. Scorched earth splays out before her in its beauty of rolling dunes and hard, green succulents; the walled city of the Day Court; below it, the unsealed catacombs, being inspected by scholars as if it hadn’t been their misery for a decade prior.

And beyond that, somewhere, the Traitors bask in good Solis’ rays, like snakes.
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@Hälla
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Hälla
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#2


She glows. Her heavy strands of black hair slide /
like serpents over somber, blood-red plush.


The canyon was a Solis-made gift to his people, a chasm ingrained upon the earth, carved from the red stone and the sand, cracking into the bloodless veins deep within the chassis of the desert. The only moisture within its endless, branching basins were the drying decay of lost wanderers, who dared to delve too deep. The fissures within the walls of each tunnel spun tales: machinations of erosion and the rare interference of the elements—or places where the lost, the hungry, had tried to claw free?
 
Elatus was a gift to Solterra. But so, too, was it a wordless threat, and an undertaking of misery, to the outsiders that dared to trek it.
 
Hälla was within and without of either identity, and the mindless litany of her woeful daydreams had guided her toward the great fissures, heedless of what danger would find her there.
 
Her heart beat to the drums of separate songs. A stuttering staccato, rhythmless, careening through the works of what symphonies it recalled.
 
The first told her of hot stone beneath her soles, where her body would lay upon sediment each night, waking to the needle-sharp bed of desert. Where her scarred limbs would unwind themselves from the dust and the grit, her dapples inlaid with gemstone adornments of rock; of heat. Where the dark and light of her hair spilled, unbound, into the tawny ashes of crushed stone and burnt, crippled earth.
 
In that life, she had mapped the body of the desert as intimately as her own, until they breathed in endless tandem—until the blood that fed her brimstone heart sang of sand, and sunshine, and flame.
 
The second song spoke of another maze. A forest. One that turned on and on upon itself, into a directionless twist of landmarks and faces; where no matter how far she ran, the same surroundings unfurled. Curtains drawn back to reveal an inescapable nightmare, where each turn lead her to the same, inexplicable destination.
 
Gurgling water, the groan of a bullfrog. The sightless eyes of twin monuments, erected in the honor of cruel and faceless gods. A sloping prairie of birch, where the wind kissed her skin; where her body hit the ground again, again, again. Where her mouth tasted of blood, and her lovelorn heart sampled flavors of brokenness; where she feared, and trembled, and hated—
 
Neither life spoke to her in tongues she wished to heed. And so, she swallowed them, as the desert would its prey, and she marched onward, toward the cusp of the world.
 
Or at least, to the deep scars that dug in to the belly of the barren dunes, heedless of the would be life that might have, could have, fought to fruition. The canyons were wasted; as she was wasted. The chasms were broken; as she, perhaps, was.
 
She would not think of that either. The catacombs had not broken her—she would not allow memory to, either.
 
But the dappled woman, in all her dun-hued garb of grit and sediment, did not dare step into one of the sloping tunnels that descended from the lip of the chasm. The winding tunnels whispered promises into the flutes of her pinned, aching ears, but there was not a wish in the world that they could grant her.
 
Her heart possessed a key. And if she dared to step towards her stairway to remembrance, she knew she would find her unlocking.
 
And so, she would not.
 

 
How long she stood there (the desert soaking her in golden light, threatening to set the embers of her destructive appetites aflame), she could not say. Her eyes were sightless as she peered over the lip of the canyon, her belly empty, her mind silent.
 
Only the wind spoke to her. The wind, and the resonating cacophony of hooves. One after another; a step for a step. Two, three, four— a clatter of light-footed determination, as somewhere, within the tunnels, a soul climbed free of hell.
 
She never called to them. The Hawthorne woman did not utter a sound.
 
She waited. A pinprick of shadow amid the light. She waited.
 
 
The canyon’s victor did not impress her, heaving a tawny haired body from the heart of the canyons. And yet still, she was tempted—to heed the irresistible calling to step closer, to map the dangerous ledge upon which she stood, to tight rope the precarious, crackling stone as she idly made her way nearer. Purpose was written upon her eyes, but what it was she sought, she could not dare to say.
 
She did not wish to remember, and yet, coming closer—fixing her hoary eyes upon the dun skin of this gold throated stranger—
 
Hello? her heart breathed.
No, her mind hissed.
 
There was no preamble to her approach, only the directionless ghosting of a wraith. As she had wanted from Avallac’h, all she could covet from this stranger was a distraction.
 
“Why,” was all she said, at first. Her words were inflectionless, her throat hoarse. “What in there could tempt you so much?”
 
Nothing, she already knew. Nothing, save for pride.




Speech, @Cyrra
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Played by Offline Berb [PM] Posts: 20 — Threads: 6
Signos: 0
Day Court Soldier
Female [She/Her/Hers]  |  7 [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.
Charnel abyss hints on the scarred stranger-woman, like slips of ghosts clinging to the wind-woven lengths of her hair. 

Even if she has forsaken them. Even if she has consigned them to a forgotten realm; a place of thick, sucking quicksand, swallowing deep into the guts of her being, the delicate and unlovely bones of her memory. In Cyrra’s arrogance and shared misery, The Viper Slayer thinks she can see it, see it all. Like a wreath of darkness slipping through the cracks around the stranger’s marred, militant form, flashing with tongues of endless, stygian halls and eyeless monuments. Those cracked and eroded marble iconography, eaten away at by time until their featureless faces could have been anyone. 

Any one of her brothers or sister; any one of her many vanquished foes, coming stone-alive to avenge the hilt-depth of scimitar in their stomach or throat. 

Her eyes narrow, brows knitting together in a hard, bitter recognition.

(You know her.

You also
forget her.)

Cyrra shakes her head, watching with wary, severe blue eyes as the woman crosses the lurching rim of red stone, the precarious edge that they haunt with their memories—(with and without). She lets out a short, curt snort. A beware a stay back a who are you… Resigning to the idea that the sepulchral aura had simply been a figment of her own mind-prison, loosed demons of treachery, old as time and as arcane as whatever had come before.



(You follow.

You were not a follower. Are not.

But you did, anyway. You followed the Alkhiana, in a formation of your Arete comrades—Zayir. Halim. Cairo…—each seduced into a tomb of your own keeping; a unique lie spun from his lips to your ears.

What had he told you? 

What had Arjun promised, with breath hot and slightly sour—and had you only known…
)



She breathes deep, the sun drying slick, piquant sweat on the twitching, aching coils of her body; she squares herself, pale wings held out to the sun, the scant breeze—baking and desiccant—dissipating the heat stored between the tidy rows of misused feathers.

Her heart begins to slow. Begins to find its rhythm from the sun-baked ground, up; from the unflappable, vast expanse of hateful, beautiful waste around them. She had never forgotten her kinship to the dunes. That, the decade of personal hell, had not taken from her, though it had worked restless to take everything else around it.

It is knit into her soul, so apart of her that to unfurl it would be to steal the crux of her very essence. Would be to leave her loveless, hateless, sexless, bloodless and insensate, a barbed husk.

‘Why.’

Her bronzed lip twitches, ears roving from alert prick to testing the edges of her wild mane, peeling back against the curl of bronze encircling the base of the left.

‘What in there could tempt you so much?’

Cyrra considers for a quiet, still, tense moment, the woman—known and unknown—and the question. But the answer is patently obvious to her; like the lines of her muzzle, how they match the boundary planes, telling the story of centuries. Millenia. Of God’s hands and mortal triumph. 

“Release.” The word is terse, iron around the edges, offered with no whimsy or cordiality, but with a promise and an offering and a tight, covetous grasp.

Her gaze wanders out, back across the desert as she contemplates whether or not it had worked as she had intended—as she had hoped. But this is a process, though she has never been patient, rather inclined to seek quick gratification. This cannot be undone in one harrowing climb, in one breathless kiss with the stark line between heaven and hell. 

“What up here did you hope you would find?” Her eyes return, narrowing, searching, appraising.

(You know her.)

  

(You can recall how it had happened, from your perspective, at least—

Which is that darkness had eaten them up, one by one. But not their voices. Those lingered like tattoos in the air; like bruises, growing at first more vibrant in the echoing dark and then… faint.

Faint and then, gone.

And you had called their names.

Zayir, above all—
Halim—
Cairo—
...—

But they never called back, because each of you were death, stranded in your own sarcophagus, a thousand leagues under the sand.
)
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@Hälla
ENFANIR | BERB






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