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Played by Offline 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.
Cyrra gulps down the last of the mulled wine and lets the bronze cup clatter to the ground.

The world swims.

The world is warm and heady.

No. 

It’s cold. 

She curls into herself, folding over the newly cleaned straw of her bed in the inn she had taken up long-term residence in since awakening from the catacombs and being rescued from the stygian depths by Zayir. Downstairs, lute music trills under the overtones of The Duneworm Inn’s rambunctious patrons. Laughter and yelling; a festal, lively, seething sound that has been her lullaby for the past few weeks or so.

It soothes her. 

It reminds her she is not alone.

Except, up here, she is.

Up here she is all alone. And cold, though her body, from throat to knee, is held in the quietive hands of alcoholic reverie, rocking like mother’s hips in the womb to some semblance of sleep—the only reliable form of sleep she has found yet. (Umma and Big-Spear would be scandalized.). Her stark, swimming blue eyes flutter shut, lashes touching the high, august line of cheekbone, both nestling against the abrasive rub of straw. Her breath, spiced and slightly sour, becomes even in time. Deep and rhythmic as she marches like an intrepid pilgrim backwards. Or forwards. 

Or neither, for the dream-world has not longitude nor latitude, but is a place without limitation.

And yet… 



The darkness is lit by the oily flames of soot-black braziers, spaced in long, even intervals. Enough, that the path ahead seems certain, but the margins around and between are full of the looming, growing dread of unknown. Unknown for some. Too familiar to her. She takes a stiff, militant step forward. The clack of her hoof on the old stone echoes. She squints up, but she cannot see the ceiling, for they are vaulted high, and though they are festooned with the images of Gods and souls in search of Gods—once painted but now flaking bare and dulled—nobody could possibly see the storied carvings in the pitch darkness.

The stale smell of that crypt’s foul air fills her nostrils, blots out any residual perfume of fermented fruit and horsehair. “Hell beacons, come,” she mutters, and the way the charnel silence eats her words makes her stomach lurch. The Viper Slayer gives her head a sharp shake and walks, the tips of her crackled hooves dragging along the dusty stone floor—tshhhh-clack, tshhhh-clack—as she begins her tireless shift.

(It feels like forever.

Another ten years went by, before
you appear.)

Cyrra is not used to another in this place, and so, at first, she mistakes the form for another spectre haunting. She acknowledges it with narrowed eye and a curt snort, but then the world of her mind’s own making begins to crack and split at the seams around the visitor. She stops, her head held high, chin tucked towards her chest, in proud, guarded distrust. “How did you get here?” she demands, her voice is iron and venom, aching. 

Perhaps it is not the visitor who reveals the weaknesses in her mind-prison willingly, but by simply being, extends to Cyrra the possibility that this hell is not as real as it seems.

Perhaps, the visitor does not see it like this, but to Cyrra’s hard gaze, the faintest trace of sunlight halos the lucid stranger.
I hope this works! Feel free to powerplay the setting of course! @Dune
ENFANIR | BERB






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Played by Offline Rae [PM] Posts: 33 — Threads: 4
Signos: 470
Day Court Merchant
Male [He/His] // 4 [Year 501 Spring] // 15 hh // Hth: 8 — Atk: 12 — Exp: 10 // Active Magic: Dream Walking // Bonded: N/A
#2

JUST AS LITTLE IS SEEN IN PURE LIGHT AS IN PURE DARKNESS

At first it was exhilarating. A different dream every night, a different dreamer. He swam in foreign seas, water warm as sunlight, and flew through the stardust of far-flung galaxies. He was a sunflower seed in a sea of bent orange, and a silver cloud in a cobalt sky. Once they just sat beneath a gnarled tree, him and the dreamer, and let an ancient breeze pass them by.

Sometimes he fought-- sometimes he died-- sometimes he fell in love or straight through the fabric of the dream and into the dark, desolate expanses of the mind. There were tears, and laughter, and many miles of silence. Endless new sights, scents, smells, all his for the sensing.

Night after night he dipped into his magic, and like any other drug there were side effects. Most days he could hardly keep his eyes open, he was so spent from the dreaming. And for a while, he managed. The work he did typically did not require much attention-- pulling carts back and forth across the city, tilling lavish, sprawling gardens in the high quarter, other things he could practically do with his eyes closed. But it was festival season and he was expected to work all of them, so for at least a few nights he needed sleep. Proper sleep.

Of course, the gods would not give him that.

He’s blinking dumbly, hardly aware of where he is when the iron of the dreamer’s voice slides harmlessly over his skin. “How did you get here?

First he looks at the mare, coiled like a snake, proud, fierce and, perhaps he reaches too far, a little lonely, and he thinks to himself “dangerous, that one.” Then he turns to look behind him, as if there might be an answer hidden between marble columns and shadow. There isn’t. He turns back to the dreamer with a shrug. “You left the door open.” The words are faintly accusational, tongue lingering on the you with a cheekiness he would never exhibit in the waking world.

The bay glances at the cavern around him, taking in the chipped columns, flaking paint, dusty floor. It smells like absence-- like stale time-- and soot. All he wanted tonight was restful sleep... Instead he’s caught in someone’s dream, and it’s not even a pleasant one. He sighs heavily.

Nice place.” Well aren’t we a tart little cherry tonight? “What terrible thing did you do to end up here?” As he peers into the darkness above, the halo of light around him grows brighter, brighter, brighter until he sees the outline of the vaulted ceiling. Escape would not be so easy as growing wings and flying away. He sighs again, twice as heavy as before, and the light around him quickly dims.


D U N E







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Played by Offline 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.
(You’ve dreamed this dream before.

You are always going backwards.

You are always stepping into a series of grave hallways that do not proceed, but revert, circulate; loop back on to each other, rucked and disobedient to any waking laws of physics or space.

You march. You patrol your ossuary, looking for the cracks in the illusion. 

But it isn’t an illusion. 

You are living it again. You are entombed until something—the screech of a hawk at hunt, a peel of laughter from the tavern below, a knock at the door from the keep, looking for the week’s deposit—wakes you, undoes the stitches of that arcane, devilish rune.

Except, you are always alone—
)



She eyes him with keen, hard suspicion.

Nobody has ever joined her here. She has called and called out, until her throat is raw and the taste of blood on her lips tells her she can call out no more. She has looked, searching for a single soul with breath and life and biology, just enough to let her know this place—this dream, this mimic-hell—lives. A moth, drawn to the oily braziers. A bat, hanging upon a curved and cracked piece of moulding. But silence always answers, with dry throat and swollen language, thick and incoherent. 

This place is sterile, salted earth. An untended garden, gone to seed.

So when he comes, limned in light, an answer to a timeless, desperate question, she wonders if he might not be another of Zakariah’s eidolons; a thing made of brutal betrayal and time-bending allurement. Her lips twitch and pull back from her teeth in a scowl, tail flicking in tense irritation against the cold, tight curves of her haunches, waiting for him—it—to answer for himself.

‘You left the door open.’

A low, warning grumbling spills from her bronze lips, eye narrowing. “Had someone only told me there was a door,” she breaths, sardonic and tired as she watches him take in the catacombs as they had been for her. As they had been for her, for a decade, punishment for flying too close to the sun. For reflecting fierce pride into the eyes of jealous contempt.

At least, that’s how she sees it.
Zolin and his cadre surely saw it otherwise.

Bastards all.

Cyrra snorts, a short, sharp exhale of breath, mordant and vaguely amused. The Viper Slayer takes a step forward, peering to her right down a hallway lined with bones and urns, the corner lit dimly with lamplight, but utter darkness prevails down the length until, perhaps twenty paces in, where another lit fire licks at the uninviting black, throwing spectral shadow puppets across the floor. 

“Most kind,” she considers the fork at which they stand, before turning her eyes back to him, to the strange, outside light that wreaths his form, her ears catching the question with distinct distraction. “I made a king pout,” she mutters—unable and frankly unwilling to hide the disdain spat into the last word—she shifts her weight, running her tongue across her dry lips.

Then, that light, that balefire, fades around him and her face falls, ears drooping to the side, corners of her lips coming to a frown. Alqarf,” she sighs and picks up the resigned mien of her body, putting it back together in straight, uniform, militant posture. She looks him in the eyes, disappointment and annoyance colouring each word, “I thought you… knew the way out. Or… were the way out, or... something.” 

Cyrra shakes her head, and brushes past him, eyeing the corner, but continuing the way she had been going. That is, no way at all, really. “Keep up, I promise, there is nothing beyond me here.” 
She, uh, warms up, I swear - @Dune
hover for translation
ENFANIR | BERB






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Played by Offline Rae [PM] Posts: 33 — Threads: 4
Signos: 470
Day Court Merchant
Male [He/His] // 4 [Year 501 Spring] // 15 hh // Hth: 8 — Atk: 12 — Exp: 10 // Active Magic: Dream Walking // Bonded: N/A
#4

JUST AS LITTLE IS SEEN IN PURE LIGHT AS IN PURE DARKNESS

Had someone only told me there was a door.

Her sarcasm brings a grin, bright but fleeting. One had the sense that joy was not allowed here. And although the seeds of it may sprout in the cracks in the stone, there was no point in taking root. Nothing here was allowed but-- not quiet pain, it was something else-- but nothing at all.

A long exhale. “Kings.” He rolls his eyes, thinking of Orestes and Ipomoea, then not just kings but nobility in general, fickle and frail as spun sugar. Something about having everything you could ever ask for, it made one rot from the inside out.

And how they made the world go round, these rotten apples. Dune personally could not scrape by without the nobility. The old families, established as stone… he tended their gardens, hauled their many imports from the docks, scribed the letters they dictated with his precise, meticulous penmanship. He knows he should be grateful--

(Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth)

But he’s not.

(Blessed still are the strong, for the meek accept their collars.)

At the heart of the matter, Dune is just ashamed... he wonders if it isn’t better to be a starving beggar than a leech fat with rotten blood. But mostly he tries not to feel anything at all-- there’s too much there to untangle, none of it good, and moreover feeling has never put food on the table. He found to maintain sanity it was a constant balancing act: one had to hope for something better, yet one must also accept their place in life. Lean too much into either and you would be lost to disappointment or despair. And he was too much of a survivor for foolish waysides such as those.

Dune shakes his head, tries not to think of his stomach-- which clenches in the dream as though it were empty. It’s not, it hasn’t been in a long time, but starvation, like imprisonment, is not very easily forgotten. The body remembers long after the mind thinks it has found its peace.

Was it worth it?” The question is sincere. Rationally, (and he is a very rational creature, despite the whimsy of his magic) he thinks the answer is “no”. But he is not sure. This is, after all, a dream, and dreams breed strange truths-- especially when there are shadows.

Speaking of strange truths-- oh no, he’s not the door, although he knows why she might think so. Some night his magic will be strong enough to rip this world apart with the shrug of a shoulder, then sewn back together with the blink of an eye. But not tonight. Likely not for many nights. Tonight the dreamer is not just the door, but the lock; the key too. She is the architect and the guard and the prisoner. She is the crumbling walls and the scent of stale time and all the rest of it. He pities her-- not initially but later, when the light from his forehead that illuminates the ceiling finally fades and the hope in her eyes (the thing with feathers, someone once said) the brilliant, white-fire hope in her eyes, it fades to black.

She straightens, stiffens, and his pity melts away into something almost like resentment. All the freedom, all the power, locked behind walls of her own construction. Gods damn these dreamers and their issues. “Alqarf,” he mimics with sour enthusiasm, like it’s a stupid toast-- to good health or new friends or wandering the bleak expanse of the mind’s prison-- and when she brushes past him he does not immediately follow. He simply looks at all her sharp lines and rigid posture. It carries through even into the way she walks, like starched linens, like someone shoved a stick up somewhere dark. Or maybe it’s just militaristic, he wonders with a thoughtful frown. Picking apart his dreamer and putting her in a box. Or, multiple boxes.

Eventually he trails behind her, but never too far. Dune was a good listener, and anyway the dreamer was far more interesting than her prison. “Where would you rather be right now?” There is a hint of a dare on his tongue. A challenge-- surely she’s not the kind to say no to one of those. “If you could be anywhere in the world?” Perhaps she could take them there, if she focused on it well enough. He has no idea how any of this works, but it's as good a shot as any.

Strutting noisily through her dreams, he almost forgets “I don’t do this. I don’t speak. Not in real life.

Almost.

D U N E


@Cyrra <3





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Played by Offline 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.
She lifts her brows sardonically (or, is it wistfully—mercifully, he’ll never know for the way shadow mars the language of her facial features to gibberish) at the word Kings

In many ways, she was moulded to be a kings-woman from birth. 

A guard and a tool—a weapon, extended; thrust and cutting. And so she did. And so she did time and time again. Whether it was her trusty scimitar shedding the stuffing a of training dummies in the Colosseum or piercing between the ribs of an enemy of Soleterra or Leisha. She thrust. And she cut. She loosed souls to the afterlife with light, elegant archs of sun-glistening bronze. And she did it under the banner of a King (and a Queen; especially a Queen) and that was meant, perhaps, to go on for eternity. To go on as long as the kingsline bled into its bloated and gilt river of eminence.

Until there came a king unworthy of it.

Until there came a king, too jealous of their—

They had flown too close to the sun, you see. Touched a god and were found unworthy of it. Were found too lowly to bask in that comfort and divinity; too mortal and far too delicate for that kind of heat. Were held like paragons against the sandy breast of a sun-realm—or so they were told—but were flesh and blood and bone. And mind, too prone to trust and too wanting of their own reprisals. It meant something different to each of them, but each of them thought they had found what they needed to hear on the Traitor’s tongue and look where it had got them.

Look where it had got them.

’Was it worth it?’ She chews her lip, eyes searching methodically in the darkness for that which she knows is not there—a way out; her brothers and sisters in arms; Zayir; Big-Spear and Umma; release; death, life—a strange pantomime, for even she knows that this is a dream. A fleeting thing, a twisted and perverse flight of fancy. She has to wonder what her subconscious is hoping to get out of this charade. Was it closure? Was it understanding? She understood it perfectly well. “ Worth it? Hmph. I regret almost everything about what landed me in this hell,” she mutters, low and bitter—words not meant to be said, but kept. “But I never miss a chance for the enemy to show its face.” And show its face it had.

Faces.

Bastards.


So, indeed, they march on in the unhallow and stagnant—deathly, sickly, nauseatingly stagnant—halls of her very own mind-prison! See here, the bones that festoon the dusty corners of this stone mausoleum. There, the urns that hold the ashes of some thousand-year-old-forgotten. A gawping, abeyant—somewhat-equine, more or less—figure, wrapped tightly in yellowed linen and smelling of something deeply unpleasant and alchemical. A crystalline sarcophagus upon a stone plinth; gilt and jewelled and it matters not what kind of pull the dead inside once had, for nobody gives a rat’s shit about them anymore. 

Speaking of rats—there are none.

Small mercies.

She listens, and breaths a stifled and secret sigh of relief when he finally follows. Traitorous chimaera or no, he’s better company than her own thoughts. And besides, she knows how this story arch goes:


First, she is here. Just is. What comes before is far-away and irrelevant to what comes next;

Then, she screams. She screams for her Arete comrades. She screams for Zayir. She screams for her mother and father. She screams in pain and anger and those throes go on for days.

And then, she becomes silent, because nothing answers back but the corrupt reverb of her own voice. And besides, her throat begins to ache.

Then, she searches. She marches. She patrols, endlessly, through these labyrinthine halls until she thinks she finally remembers her way around—

And then, she mind begins to unravel. She is thirsty. Her voice feels like purple claws in her mouth. Her brain is like carnation-red silk, soft and sanguine. Her feet leave tattoos of holy-women, bare-breasted and semi-alive on the pearly floor.

Stone talks with mouths like many fingertips.
Sand washes the soft cotton memories of babes.
The sun touches endless crystalline nests.


The last chapter is the real damnation.

When he offers his challenge, she huffs irritably under her breath, a tone that says, ‘face it, we have been consigned to darkness—get comfortable’ but she supposes it costs her nothing to play along. Her eyes waver to the glints of dull gold and bronze that the firelight catches—urns and tithes—losing their characteristic focus. Is it the bight of the Oasis, where her and Zayir played and argued? The gardens of Lady Arisetta, where she tumbled and bruised her knees as a girl (Umma would kiss the scrapes and tell her to harden up in the same breath)? Those all seemed too personal. Too close. So instead, she fishes for memories of her young adulthood, spent abroad.

The world around her seems stiff. Resistant. It rebels against her brain, growing darker, fires sputtering and hissing clear consternation—but along the stale air comes the faintest whiff of jasmine and pomegranate; ale and wine. Her brows knit together as she turns a corner, instinctively, though she cannot, on thinking back, recall if that passageway has ever been there before... 

She glances back at Dune, eyeing the make and measure of him, like a general would their rows upon rows of soldiers. In time, she snorts softly and dispenses with the reticence, “You do not feel like anything I would come up with,” her deep, hard eyes narrow for a second, examining the curves and valleys of him, of this lucid walker. She tries to picture some man or woman she might have bedded, or killed; someone she may have run into on the streets. Something to elicit such a powerful and life-like reimagining. 

But he does not ring a bell. 

“I cannot imagine you would want to be in here with me so. Grave mistake, was it?” They wander on, but as they do, the redolence of some far-away kingdom grows stronger, and in the echoing halls of her dreams, the sound of chatter and laughter and clinking earthware hum like ghosts.
ENFANIR | BERB






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