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Played by Offline 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

tell me about the dream where we pull the bodies out of the lake and dress them in warm clothes again, how it was late, and no one could sleep, the horses running until they forget that they are horses. it's not like a tree where the roots have to end somewhere, it's more like a song on a policeman's radio, how we rolled up the carpet so we could dance and the days were bright red, and every time we kissed there was another apple to slice into pieces. look at the light through the windowpanes. that means it's noon, that means we're inconsolable. 

The night is full of a wild, primordial energy. The smell of hard cider and mead permeates the air, along with the ever-present woodsmoke and incense characteristic of Denocte's cityscape. The night is alive with festivities; jack-o'-lanterns sneer from household alcoves; lanterns gleam from balconies and some, made of paper, drift up in a celebratory kind of way toward the stars. The streets are heavy with it; with the vivacious life of the city Boudika loves. The effect is nearly intoxicating as children run, fully costumed, through the streets and adults, too, peer between the flames of bonfires in grotesque or intricate masks. Boudika chooses this place to offset the severity of their last several encounters; and, more importantly, the festival is so full of smoke, incense, and the odour of festivities that the sea seems (for the moment at least) a very distant memory. Yet as she walks side-by-side with him, her mind is drawn inexplicably to one of her first memories of Novus. 

It had been when she was still searching for Orestes, staring out at Terminus sea—before Amaroq, Isra, Tenebrae, anyone and she had thought, the sea is the only thing I’ve ever feared. Tonight, it is different. Tonight, she is a nothing but a girl, and the sea is where she goes to make her bones not ache and her body weightless. There is no trident at her side; no kelpie guise; no ocean to flee into. There is only her skin and her restless legs and her soul too large for her body to hold, screaming, screaming, screaming—

She is afraid. Not of the sea, no, but of the man beside her. They walk so close through the crowd that their shoulders brush; that he is able to bend his lips a little to whisper something in her ear that is lost before Boudika can register it. There are a hundred incomprehensible shapes clashing within her, the instincts of a plethora of animals; and she cannot listen to any of their voices. No. Not tonight. Not after every one of their meetings have ended with blood shed—

Not because she fears he will harm her—no, at this point Boudika is uncertain if he even could—but because… well, there is an atypical flush to her cheeks and a girlish brightness to her expression. The setting illuminates it; transforms her girlishness into something faelike, and nearly wicked. Boudika's excitement is thinly veiled; and her nervousness is even less thinly veiled but, instead, simmers just beneath the surface of her composure. Boudika glances around readily; the crowd; to him; the moonstones engrained in the streets; an alleyway; a horse with a painted face; children in streaming, silken costumes; small terrestrial dragons spitting flames as if in laughter. The sights are endless, and nearly overwhelming, and before she can help herself she is pulling Tenebrae along with her into a narrow, dark alleyway. The light and noise is muffled between the two buildings and they are forced to be pressed so, so close. It is nearly impossible to distinguish who's breath is who's; and then they are out of the alley and beyond, into a much quieter alcove. 

There is a fountain, sparkling, crystalline. It sings into a night full of stars and smoke and magic. Boudika is instantaneously breathless; earlier in the night, the small garden courtyard belonged to a restaurant. But so late in the evening it is left quietly abandoned, with only the fountain to chime in the dark. There are lights strung across the archways and open courtyard; reflecting as the stars do in the trembling, flowing water. 

Abruptly, and with little tact, Boudika admits: “I’ve never done anything like this before.” Her voice is loud in the quiet place, nearly abrasive. But it is the truth. 

A romantic excursion, shared between two people. No, Boudika has never come close to experiencing such a thing—at best, they consisted of stolen moments between herself and Vercingtorix before she told him the truth of herself. It had been when Boudika had nursed him back to health after his fall from the cliffside—when she had read to him, and brought gifts and updates on the affairs of the state. And that—well, that had not been like this, with stars and lanterns and all the potential for something gentle, and meaningful, and kind. 

 Yet, Tenebrae’s admission of being a monk is still fresh in her mind; it makes Boudika weary. This is, perhaps, the most like a girl he has ever seen her. Her hair is uncharacteristically well-kept, free of gnarls or seaweed tangles. Even the garish stretch of her mouth—with the help of her magic—has returned to the semblance of a normal equine’s. And, with a bit of irony, there are roses tucked behind her ear. With all that she knows now, Boudika feels almost sinful. Her costume is not ornate; in fact, it is hardly a costume at all. Boudika is wearing the golden warrior paint of her people; arcane; tribal; specific. There are lions painted on her haunches and her hair is braided with bright, metallic ribbons. Her tail, too, is full of bells and ribbons. Her horns are painted gold and everywhere it gleams, and gleams, and gleams. She finds that, with the excitement of the crowd, her breath comes more quickly than she had expected; she looks at Tenebrae in the stillness, and measures him with hungry eyes.

They are a girl's eyes; not a kelpie's. They are eyes that hunger for a different kind of flesh 

And in that sinfulness, there is an aggressive, unfamiliar appeal. It is the kind of adrenaline that belongs to the hunt, the fight, the climb. Boudika cannot help it when she leans tentatively close, surprised at how shy she is without the sea. She can smell him; clean sweat; Denocte’s woodsmoke and juniper; the clean, fresh scent of the spring where the monk’s dwell. Boudika abruptly presses her nose into the nape of his neck and inhales. The gesture is almost primordial; not quite claiming, but… there is an edge to it that disguises her girlish shyness. 

Boudika hates herself for thinking it, but Tenebrae almost, almost smells like home.

“I—“ and then she laughs aloud. “I don’t know how to act around you when we aren’t trying to kill each other.” The admission is delivered humorously, but still; there is an edge of truth to it. Yet, the idea of violence is almost relieving in comparison to the hurt he could bestow. Boudika, the water-horse, is not fragile. But the girl beneath, the girl who has waited an entire life for love; well, that is a different matter entirely.

Boudika steels herself; she steps away from him, several steps back, until the fountain is behind her and he stands silhouetted by the alley they walked through. Her heart catches and she hates herself for it. Her heart catches, and she is afraid. Somehow, Boudika moves past it. She begins, "Tenebrae... did you know, when I first came to Novus, I swore away violence?" Once she is past the introduction, Boudika feels her courage rally. She flicks her head just so, and the ribbons cascade in a metallic ripple to cover half her face. "I was done with being a warrior. Instead, I became a dancer." Those early memories of Novus are welled with a loneliness like a black hole; but there is also a fierce independence within them, a becoming. Boudika doesn't realise it until know, but she has almost missed performing.

Quietly, in a voice that belongs to bedrooms, closed doors, warm sheets, Boudika says: "Would you like to watch?" It is in that moment Boudika understands there is more than one way to be hungry.

And oh, when she looks at him: her eyes consume. 

"Speech." || @Tenebrae
tell me how all this, and love too, will ruin us
these, our bodies, possessed by light


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