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Played by Online Syndicate [PM] Posts: 120 — Threads: 22
Signos: 55
Night Court Champion of Community
Female [She/her/hers] // 9 [Year 495 Winter] // 16.2 hh // Hth: 17 — Atk: 23 — Exp: 28 // Active Magic: Amorphous Transformation // Bonded: N/A
#1

your heart and my heart are very old friends
Boudika does not look like herself.

No, she is wearing the face of someone she once knew and now remembers as if in a dream. Boudika is seal grey, dark at each point and dappled on the shoulders. Her body is so faded it is almost white and her eyes, well, her eyes are the same shifting shade of blue as the deep sea, just beneath the surface, just beneath the light that tries to penetrate and can only go so far. It is a face she loves, or had loved, once—years ago. 

Boudika is in Solterra for the tournaments, or so she says. She participated in a matched fight one morning with a native Solterran; she had not used her magic, and it had ended in a draw. It felt strange fighting in another’s body, and stranger still fighting in one that was meant to be a pacifist. 

Then, of course, Boudika goes to the festival. She does not drink or dance, but watches. Not quite from the shadows, but from the fringes; it feels a little like hunting does. The entire time Boudika is aware she is being followed; her trail is not subtle, and the curiosity—and horror—on his face is so thinly veiled. He, too, remains on the fringes. But his place in society cannot deem he become a shadow; and so he dances occasionally, or laughs when a citizen approaches him. 

But when Boudika peels away into the darker corners of the citadel, she knows he will follow. The game is ancient; cat and mouse; predator and prey. Only, there is no telling who is what in this dance.

The citadel is massive and nothing like Denocte’s. But Boudika knows if she wanders long enough, she will find exactly what she needs. There is an opening onto a patio that hangs off the cliffside, decorated with various hanging plants. More importantly, it faces the ocean to Solterra’s rear. With the wind blowing right, Boudika can even hear the rhythmic crash of waves. It feels, a little, like home might. But the arid desert could never be her home.

She stands there for an indiscriminate amount of time, waiting; but she knows he will find her and when he does, she will be wearing his face from another life Some of us have not forgotten, she thinks, what it was to be tied to Oresziah, and the Khashran, and the black cliffs. Boudika is surprised to feel… anger. She had been so relieved, at first, when the rumours of his survival came to her; and then that relief had become anger.

At last, his footsteps echo across the marbled floors. She can feel the weight of his gaze, as she has always been able to feel it; the weight of stones, of seas, of the entire world. All in a man.

Boudika turns to him, with his forgotten face.

“Orestes,” she greets him, gently. 

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Played by Offline Syndicate [PM] Posts: 116 — Threads: 20
Signos: 60
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)
#2


where have I seen you before?

Aspects of our lives will always haunt us, Orestes has found. The most trivial details become the components of one's own destruction. Those details are found in acts of emotion or desperation, the derailing. They are then revisited daily as transgressions against the self. The moment he had decided, in another life, enough violence was enough and it was far more noble to ask for peace. Was it? Was it? The first time he saw Marisol; the first time he had kissed her, and it had been all wrong, and had nearly ruined them. He remembers prison, and awakening, and his meeting with Avdotya. We have an opening for a Warden. What is a mistake, until it has passed? Until its meaning has met its fruition? For Orestes, it is his failures that haunt him most. They wear the faces of a thousand ghouls and almost every night, he dreams he dies. He dreams they kill him for vengeance, for penance. Orestes's fear is not the death itself; it’s the survivors guilt and how, to survive a tragedy, one must barter away pieces of themselves until they become someone else. 

Am I new man?

It is the question Orestes asks himself, when he first sees the man in the Colosseum. The stranger fights in a way that evokes primordial memories in Orestes; memories of a thousand lives, trapped into one soul. I have fought many times with those who fight as this man does. The dapple grey brandishes a trident, gleaming at the points, and that makes Orestes think of gutted fish, gutted whales, gutted sea-life.

How unexpected then, that the familiar stranger moves as the waves do.

Orestes cannot help it. He follows the man, throughout the day. They go from the tournament to the market; from the market to the festival, late at night, where they do not dance but only observe. Orestes sees the man's face reflected in finely gilded Solterran’s mirrors, and despite trying to ignore his presence, Orestes finds the stranger's eyes are drawn to him again and again. Where they meet in those mirrors, the stallion’s eyes are the exact same shade of blue as his own. But where his are sad, the other man’s are fierce.

He is talking to some noble when, from his peripheral, the seal-grey stranger walks towards a dimly lit corridor, branching off from the main celebration. 

Orestes excuses himself; the draw is irresistible, like planets in orbit. 

Or perhaps he is only a meteor, caught in someone else’s gravity.

Either way, he pursues doggedly. This has to end now. He must understand why they are there, haunting him; why they seem so familiar—and then he is struck through with a fear so great, it nearly immobilises him.

Is this the dream? 

The dream where, each night, he dies? 

In the dream, it is not the death that terrifies him. 

It is the fact he survived. He lived. (The death would have been a gift, a soft way to go to sleep with his sins). Isntead, day by day the magnitude of that is eaten away at by his Solterran magic, by his new god, by his new destiny. If I know them, I won’t even remember it. But Orestes goes anyway. He follows, and follows, until they are deep within the citadel and utterly alone. 

And then, he confronts: 

all the words are on his tongue, accusations. 

Who are you?

What do you want

Why are you following me? 

But when Orestes rounds the corner and sees the stallion backlit by the Solterran coast—the very same sea Orestes awoke on, when he arrived—whatever he might have said is robbed from him.

Orestes

It is Ariel, the keeper of his memories, who shares one with him now—through their bond Ariel pushes the image of himself, yes, himself and it is the exact image of the man who stands before him. The stranger's mane is tousled by the wind; almost-flaxen. His expression is devoid of life; hollowed, like the sea at night. A pale reflection. 

Orestes has no words. The shock outweighs his doubt, his trepidation, even his understanding.

Orestes steels himself, but barely. “Yes. And who are you?” 

Oh, if only he could see outside his body. If only he could see the meeting for what it was; his two selves stand across from one another, silhouetted by the ocean as it crashes in the distance. The sky is full of stars and a crescent moon and in the darkness of the night his tattoos glow cool silver, nearly to match the grey of the stallion across from him, dark of face, dappled as if in his creation the design was an afterthought of the mother sea. Those eyes pierce straight through him. And, strangely, he knows the answer before they reply.

But the name he knows—or knew once—is one he no longer remembers. And so he cannot say it. He can only wait. 

"Orestes." ||  "Ariel." || This thread is solely for development for Orestes and Bou <3 long overdue but kind of unavoidable at this point. 

in a dream
a thousand years ago
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Played by Online Syndicate [PM] Posts: 120 — Threads: 22
Signos: 55
Night Court Champion of Community
Female [She/her/hers] // 9 [Year 495 Winter] // 16.2 hh // Hth: 17 — Atk: 23 — Exp: 28 // Active Magic: Amorphous Transformation // Bonded: N/A
#3

your heart and my heart are very old friends

Everything she had heard of him is true. The way he is a burnished gold, a palomino so bright he can hardly be considered such. His scars are exactly as she remembers, but now they are filled with an inner luminescence, a glow that is from within and without. They are cool silver in the night, without his god’s blessing. They look more like tattoos rather than burnings, metal seared into his flesh to bind his Soul. His expression is aghast; ravaged; he stares at her like a man condemned, but Boudika cannot blame him. The past does come back to haunt. When she had heard of Vercingtorix in Novus, well, it had gutted her as deftly as any knife. It had almost made her wish she was dead.

But Boudika wasn’t. And she measures Orestes with her eyes when he says, calmly: Yes. And who are you?

She knows how magic changes. She understands how it saturates the pores and can make someone become other, beyond themselves and whatever they had been. Perhaps that had happened to him, when the sea forsake him. Perhaps that had happened to him, when the Sun God saw something of promise in his fragile soul and so breathed new life into the Prince of a Thousand Tides. As she thinks it, she repeats: “Prince Orestesiahzrah’Zanrekiah’reta’Mournansuin." His full name. The name given to him by his people. The name she pronounces fluently, effortlessly. It is unclear if Boudika is answering his question, or simply repeating his name.

He is staring hard, as if trying to discern something past her skin. Boudika, after holding his gaze, glances out to the sea.

The sea—always, always back to the sea. Where life begins. Where it is so swiftly taken. Where the world repeats itself, again and again, a rebirth, a resurrection, a condemning. All things come from the sea; and all water leads itself back.

Except, perhaps, for him.

He follows her gaze out to the waves as they crash against the Solterran coast, all sand. The dunes meet the water and where they meet is a colliding of two very different, barren worlds. It is a little like that, Boudika thinks, between them now. All of this time of anticipation, all of her searching, Amaroq’s words resurfaced—and I would help you—seem to pale in comparison to the moment, the actualisation of her want.

She had never expected to find him. And she had never, ever anticipated the rumours that surrounded his being; that he was the Sovereign of a desert kingdom, made barren with tyranny and dissent.

But the woman who began to look for him, and the woman who found him, are two very different people.

“There is a land far away where the Old Gods reign.” Her voice, even, seems to belong to the distant gust of coastal wind. “And in this land there are a people who have warred, and warred, and warred. They could not have been more opposite, these people. One, patriarchal, almost agnostic. The other, matriarchal and devout to the mother sea. They were at war because the foreigners who colonised the island could not leave, because of a magic keeping them there. The magic of the natives, the Khashran.” Her voice cradles the word. Khashran.

She had participated in the genocide against them. She had ended it, even, when she had followed Orestes and Vercingtorix from the cliffside to save one of them.

The memories belong, it feels, to a girl. Young, naive, adventurous. Someone who had known pain, and suffering, but as a type of fairytale. The adventure-novel of soldiers. The poetry of warriors. All of it was so romantic and yet she stands here with a regret so enormous it cannot be quantified.

“The Last Prince of the people, the one who carried the Souls of all the rest and all their memories, came one day to ask for peace. They had been at war so long, all the other Princes were dead or forgotten. I think he cared the most. My father before me had Bound a Prince; and his father before him. It had become a kind of family tradition, irrevocable and necessary. But the Prince I bound, the Prince of the Thousand Tides, the Prince of the Lost People, the Last Prince—he was the most beautiful thing I have ever destroyed.” Somewhere, the story—meant to be pragmatic, distanced—is lost in the actuality, is lost in the myth. What begins as a fairytale ends with a confession.

As she had been speaking, Boudika sheds her magic skin as one does a cloak—Orestes’s old colours drain away until, standing before him, was only Boudika with her stretched jaw. How could she ever say, I became what I once killed or do you see, I regret it?

When Boudika looks at him again, wrenching her gaze from the water on the horizon, it is to say: “You made me love the sea.”

Perhaps she had always loved it. Perhaps it has always been in her woman’s blood, when the first settlers were forced to breed with Khashran women to keep their lines going. Perhaps it had always been in her blood.

But looking at him now, she is filled with such strange devotion and remorse: she knows he is not who he had been. How could he be, mortal, Soul Bound, his people taken from him when he had begged for peace and they had refused? Her eyes are wet. What he had given to her was uneven, and unfair. He had given her herself when she had deserved his condemnation, his hatred, his disdain. It is in your nature.

“It sings to me at night, and it says you are no longer a part of her.” Then: “I am Boudika. And I fall asleep every night to the memory of a sinking ship, beside you, and the way when the waves engulfed me I did not feel fear. I only heard the song of the sea.”

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