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Played by Offline Syndicate [PM] Posts: 56 — Threads: 14
Signos: 315
Vagabond Soldier
Male [He/his/him] // 9 [Year 496 Fall] // 18 hh // Hth: 10 — Atk: 10 — Exp: 10 // Active Magic: N/A // Bonded: Damascus (Tartarosian Dragon)
#1

we must always be willing to be
more savage than angels
The first statue in the garden looks to Vercingtorix like a death-throe. The head is thrown back, the marble hair whipped into a flurry of forever stilled movement. The teeth, bared in a grimace, do not gleam with the sun or the moon at this hour; the twilight basks the marble in a hazy glow of grey and blue.

There is a part of him that wishes it were curiosity that compels him forward, into the garden paths. There is a part of him that nearly convinces himself it is curiosity, and instead; Vercingtorix finds the thing that compels him is disdain. The marble emblems and nearly magical statues evoke within him the fear of the archaic, the fear of a man who has never known magic as anything save evil. This fear sours in his heart but does not escape his body as fear, no, but as disdain. He goes into the garden because he hates its statues, and refuses to fear them. He goes into the gardens not to admire the intricate foliage, the autumn blooms, or the ivy that seems to shift as if compelled with conscience—

No, Vercingtorix enters follows the trail in order to confront some inner demon, and feed it. The stallion, to him, is the end of the path; it marks the end of everything.

Another man would pause to admire the chrysanthemum and vibrant pansies; to pause and ponder at the celosia (which to him looks like the innards of fish’s gills, fibrous red and naked); or the purple aster, the violet dianthus, the sweet alyssum. Everything seems purple and red, dramatic and deep, envious green. Vercingtorix sees more green in the garden than he has his entire life combined, it feels; and the green is understated by the flowers and the strange statues (of bears, of stags, of pearl-winged doves). His homeland had been barren; rock and grass and the odd, storm-weathering tree.

Vercingtorix stops at a statue of a hippocampus. The eyes are inlaid black opal, gleaming with all the hues of fire. In a ridge down the marble statue’s back protrudes blue celestite crystals that mimic scaling; the belly, too, is covered in moonstones so bright they shine even in the darkness of twilight. A long, fish-like tail is bound with overgrown ivy and somehow the deep green begins to resemble waves in a storm.

He begins to recognise that he is not looking at the statue alone. All evening, other visitors had passed by him within the garden’s pathways. He had found none to be remarkable, until now.

The woman is demure in a way that only women can be. She hangs back and admires the statue, he think—but Vercingtorix is looking over his shoulder at her, now. There is something about her in the twilight that seems to suggest she, too, belongs to this garden; at least temporarily. She is a living statue, her skin taking on the blue note of the fading sky as if it belongs to it. She is thin, and elegant, and swan-like. If Vercingtorix were anyone else, he would admire her as beautiful; but he is not anyone else, and her beauty belies itself to weakness. The charm, to Vercingtorix, is lost. 

He is and will forever be a winter wolf, half-starved, looking for the weakest link. His smile comes unabashed to his face; it is charming, and wide and genuine. Handsome, even, despite the scar that makes it crooked. 

“Beautiful, isn’t it?” Even his voice sounds full of promise and the night’s charm. Even the way he says it seems to suggest, as are you.

Oh, and she is. 

She is beautiful in the way the weakest deer is beautiful, always, to the starved wolf. She is beautiful in a way of survival, and necessity, and—well, all things that are inherently required and, at base, neither evil nor good. At base. She is beautiful as the line between them is beautiful. With her demure thinness, and her skin that takes on the sky, and the way her eyes are upon the gemstone studded hippocampus. 

Vercingtorix sees the sea in her.

And hates her for it. But, as always, his hate manifests as attraction, as a sick mockery of love, of need, because—well,

what is Vercingtorix without his hate to compel him? “Would you care to join me?” And what is there to be seen of his hate, besides his attraction to it? The way his voice lilts, in that foreign accent, and his eyes and posture open to invite her. 

"Speech." ||  @Sereia 

rip up their flesh and reveal them to be nothing but the dreamy, worldess haze of lavender and godhood with your virtue shredding teeth. do not weep when their wings thrash. do not be surprised when there are nothing but ghosts in their heart.
CREDITS|| Avis






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Played by Offline Obsidian [PM] Posts: 35 — Threads: 6
Signos: 90
Dawn Court Merchant
Female [She/her/hers] // 5 [Year 500 Winter] // 15 hh // Hth: 10 — Atk: 10 — Exp: 19 // Active Magic: N/A // Bonded: N/A
#2

Sereia


She wades through the shadows between the lit lamps. She steps from golden circle of light to golden circle of light and stops only when she reaches the next statue. Each one has siad something to her. Some were quiet as they spoke and yet others cried out their messages, loud, loud into the night. Their voices so loud it turned her veins to marble, it sent shivers rocking through her nerves. 


The night marks her different. It watches the Delumine girl and lays moonlight along her golden spine. It bathes her in silver as she stops to study each and every statue. The darkness lapped at her slim ankles. Its touch was as cool as the sea. But this night, she banishes the sea from her body. She bathed in the river until all the salt was gone from her skin. Then she bathed in honey and milk until the salt of her turned sweet.


Upon her face she applied makeup down along her cheeks until her smile was made smaller, more normal. She vowed to not smile this night, except for the smallest one, a barest hint. She is not far from a vow of silence either - anything to hide her too-wide smile. Sereia would hunt a magician down if ever she heard one might be able to rid her of the monstrous beast within her.


Her hair washed. She lets it curl about her face and down the smooth column of ehr throat. Where every part of her is too-thin, too-angular, her hair is thick and curled. From its gnarls she removed every trinket of the sea until just the pearls and meadow flowers remain. Only once she has erased every part of the kelpie from her body does she think herself ready.


She walks amidst the statues, watching the moonlight play across the many coloured stones. The first… oh the first. She can nearly hear its scream, she can nearly feel how it might thrash between her jaws. Sereia has killed many like this, feeling their bodies fight, hearing their screams, their screams…


A shiver sets her bones trembling and quietly she moves on, away, away from the horrors of her past. The kelpie wanders past statue upon statue. Each is beautiful, each resonates within her but none, none reach into her breast and clasps her soul as the hippocampus does. It is black, black as ebony. Its scales are silver moonstone and the moonlight baptises it. The statue watches her with eyes set rigid, she feels teeth along her spine across her throat. Her kelpie stirs, fierce and wicked. It presses against her skin, feline and wicked. In the girl’s ears is a siren song of laughter. Her kelpie sings like a storm, she breathes like the tide. She would make Sereia dance with her terrible ocean song.


She makes to move, after too long standing, but the man in front of her turns. He is as gilded as she. Sereia is as quiet as a doe. Already the honey upon her lips is mixing with the salt of her skin. All this night is turning into contradictions. She does not know that before her a hunter, a hater of kelpie’s stands. He beckons her closer, his voice like satin. Into his net (does he know he cast one out when he stood and welcomed her in?) the kelpie falls. 


For all her makeup, for all her efforts to rid the sea from her body, her soul. He sees past it all. Yet she knows nothing about how he tastes the sea, hears its call within his ears. Slowly she steps up until she is level with him. Beneath the veil of her hair she gazes up to him. Up through lashes thick with wicked, dark kohl. There is something wild about her, it is there in her too-slim body, in the way her feral hunger battles across every inch of her sunset skin. 


He might hate her, hate all that she stands for. But can he ever hate her more than she hates herself? “It is wicked.” She declares of the statue, of her kelpie, as moonlight dances maliciously across the statue’s ebony skin. 


@Vercingtorix


 

She wore her hope like a crown,
an unspoken soliloquy of dreams

~ Ariana







Reply




Played by Offline Syndicate [PM] Posts: 56 — Threads: 14
Signos: 315
Vagabond Soldier
Male [He/his/him] // 9 [Year 496 Fall] // 18 hh // Hth: 10 — Atk: 10 — Exp: 10 // Active Magic: N/A // Bonded: Damascus (Tartarosian Dragon)
#3

we must always be willing to be
more savage than angels

The woman does not reply with words. She is gilded in trinkets, in pearls and wildflowers. Through her thick hair she appraises him, a nymph through the tangles of the wild. Vercingtorix does not know yet—no, not quite—that she is the very thing he hunts. He only suspects in the otherness her beauty, her wickedly veiled eyes, that too-slim body and the primitive essence beneath the surface. He feels he is staring at what equines once were instead of what they are; as if he is staring at mythology evoked, a goddess brought to earth or an angel fallen.

It is wicked, she says at last, and even her voice is a song.

But it is a song that awakens a deep relief within him; it combats his feelings of inadequacy and lostness, of uncertainty and fear. Deep beneath the surface, beneath his conscious recognition of what she is, exists the hunter that has known from the dawn of time the difference between predator and prey, hunter and hunted. The careful pinpricking of hairs which, at the moment, seems unexplainable. Vercingtorix smiles a slow, smooth smile; a smile like caramel, sweet and flowing, deep and warm.

“Beautiful things usually are.” Vercingtorix comments. “Does that mean you aren’t fond of water horses?” 

There are many other names for them. But this is the ambiguous one he uses, beneath the stars, swathed in a garden of mystery and promise. This is the one he uses as he asks himself, and what are you?

She wonders if he could hate her more than she hates herself. Perhaps she will find his hatred is his essence; it is woven into every fibre of his soul, ever cell of his flesh. He is a prisoner to it, an advocate of it, until the hatred feels as strong as love and replaces whatever love may have been.

"Vercingtorix," he had said, with the guise falling away; the magic sloughing like a dead skin. “I love you.” But the person who had said his name and confessed their love was not the same; somewhere the guise of masculinity disappeared and Bondike became Boudika before him. “But I have to tell you the truth—“

He gestures toward the deeper garden. “There are many more statues, if you find this one too… wicked.” Vercingtorix suggests, his voice kind. 

"Speech." ||  @Sereia 

rip up their flesh and reveal them to be nothing but the dreamy, worldess haze of lavender and godhood with your virtue shredding teeth. do not weep when their wings thrash. do not be surprised when there are nothing but ghosts in their heart.
CREDITS|| Avis






Reply




Played by Offline Obsidian [PM] Posts: 35 — Threads: 6
Signos: 90
Dawn Court Merchant
Female [She/her/hers] // 5 [Year 500 Winter] // 15 hh // Hth: 10 — Atk: 10 — Exp: 19 // Active Magic: N/A // Bonded: N/A
#4

Sereia


Beautiful things usually are. 


Sereia turns to him. Watching him beneath the soft curls of her hair. She had spent the night touching it. Marvelling at how it dried soft and not sticky-dry with salt. The girl does not touch it now, though she longs to. For tonight she lets herself dream of what it is to be a landlocked woman. With a mouth full of blunt teeth than a jaw full of daggers. 


Beautiful things usually are. 


No, she feels more beautiful tonight pretending she is not a kelpie than she does when she lets the monster within her rise up. The silks covering her too-thin body do nothing to hide her angles, though they do manage at least to soften them. Yes, she feels more beautiful now than she normally does.


“You think they are beautiful?” The girl asks, more a nereid than a monster of the ocean. Is that why he was stood before it for so long? He is quiet, she cannot read him, but she tries. She lets her gaze trickle over every part of his face. Like the fingers of the blind learning a face for the first time. She longs to learn him, to understand his quietude better. He is like the window of blue sky amidst a storm. She is sure, if she flew to him, that window might close and the storm surround her. Yet instinct pulls her in nonetheless. 


His own question sides along her spine with a shiver. It slips up her neck and presses itself ominously into her ears. How could she say yes when all her family are from the sea? She loves her sisters, gods she would die for them. She cannot let a lie tangle itself upon her tongue. Yet, it is not a whole lie, for she does not like herself, the monster that slumbers in her core.


Her eyes fall for the ground as she considers. “There are water horses that I love.” Sereia says slowly. “But some I wish to banish.” Now her voice is more acrid, more agonised. Her eyes close tight, her brows pressed together as if her stomach twists with the agony of bearing her awful monster within.


He offers her a respite and she takes it as she turns from the gold of him, the curve of his wicked horns, black as death’s scythe. That maybe should have been her first warning. Yet Sereia does not heed it, for what, to her, could be more dangerous, more awful than the monster within herself?


Sereia smiles that lovely small smile and at last looks away from him and the ebony hippocampus. “Please.” Nimble as an elf, she steps away from the statue and down the path he indicates. “Will you show me your favourite?” She asks him, ‘Unless the waterhorse was it?”


@Vercingtorix


 

She wore her hope like a crown,
an unspoken soliloquy of dreams

~ Ariana







Reply




Played by Offline Syndicate [PM] Posts: 56 — Threads: 14
Signos: 315
Vagabond Soldier
Male [He/his/him] // 9 [Year 496 Fall] // 18 hh // Hth: 10 — Atk: 10 — Exp: 10 // Active Magic: N/A // Bonded: Damascus (Tartarosian Dragon)
#5

we must always be willing to be
more savage than angels
You think they are beautiful?

Vercingtorix cannot help the secretive smile that flits, briefly, across his face. The entire effect is like a small cloud passing over the sun on an otherwise cloudless day; mysterious, vague, there and then gone so quickly it seems imagined. It is a private smile. A private knowing. 

Of course they are beautiful.

Their beauty comes from the thing that dooms all men. Their own obsession with the things that can kill them; with sharp blades and tigresses and women’s wily smiles. She is staring at him as if she will see the smile; as if she will see all the dark knowing beneath his turquoise eyes, semi-haunted, but mostly jewel-bright and beautiful.

Beautiful.

That word again.

“Tigers are beautiful, are they not?” The analogy brings to mind Bondike’s unforgivable flank stripes; the red against the black, psuedo-melanistic, strange. 

There are water horses that I love. But some I wish to banish. The way she says it bespeaks of intimate familiarity. Her eyes are tortured. Vercingtorix feels as if he is not looking at a real woman, but a tragic figure walked straight from mythology, as brutal and inexplicably elegant as a wounded deer. 


“How do you decide,” he says, softly. “Which to love, and which to banish?” 

The question, too, makes him think of Bondike.

Boudika.

One and the same.

But Torix’s emotions do not surface; he smiles cooly, as if politely ignoring the agonised tone of her voice. He turns away from the water horse as if it does not require a certain wrenching of his attention, a delicate severing of passions. He tears his eyes away from it easily, as if—

As if he is not obsessed.

As if he is not as agonised as her voice had been. 

But he heeds her request. Vercingtorix begins to lead her deeper into the garden. There is a moment when he comes to an issue: to lie, or to tell the truth. He is uncertain which he would rather do. It would be easy—flippant, even—to choose a statue and weave some elaborate, poetic tale as to why he loves it, the most. 

Instead, he decides to be earnest. The journey is short, a weaving path through foliage heavy with flowers and fruit. The garden is so green it seems to throb with its own essence, its own heartbeat. The statue Vercingtorix stops at is understated and sad, in a somber kind of way. It is a black marble stallion, adorned with a lion’s skin made up of bronze foiling. The entire thing is luminous and dark all at once, reflecting light with the absoluteness of polished stone. There is a sword at the stallion’s feet, and the lion’s skinned head is bejewelled with topaz eyes.

“I suppose this is it,” Vercingtorix admits, appraising the statue. The warrior’s head is downcast, his ears pinned tight against his skull. The marble seems alive, as if a breath away from stepping into life. “It seems more honest than the rest.” 

"Speech." ||  @Sereia 

rip up their flesh and reveal them to be nothing but the dreamy, worldess haze of lavender and godhood with your virtue shredding teeth. do not weep when their wings thrash. do not be surprised when there are nothing but ghosts in their heart.
CREDITS|| Avis






Reply




Played by Offline Obsidian [PM] Posts: 35 — Threads: 6
Signos: 90
Dawn Court Merchant
Female [She/her/hers] // 5 [Year 500 Winter] // 15 hh // Hth: 10 — Atk: 10 — Exp: 19 // Active Magic: N/A // Bonded: N/A
#6

Sereia


“Yes.” She says without a moment of hesitation. Her eyes close and she can see a pair of golden eyes and a body of sunset orange cut through with elegant bending stripes. It stalks feral and hungry, its beauty in its power. It was made to hunt and to kill, like Sereia herself. They even share the same colour eyes. But a tiger does not know the cost of eating meat. It does not know the horror it inflicts. It eats to survive. 


She knows better. It is why her sides are too slim, her body too angular. Her stomach is famished, only meat can sustain her and she would rather die than eat again but… always her kelpie ensures it will survive. Always she pushes it to the point of near death and it drags them bath through a bath of meat and blood.


Heavy, dark lashes close over the blooming hurt in her gaze. “I might like to be a tiger.” Sereia muses as if she is caught up in a dream world where she can say anything and it will never escape because it is only her, and sometimes Dune. Her smile is small, high upon her fantastical dream. “To just do what it takes to survive.” Her head tips to him, her eyes seeking his through the shadows and the twinking glow of torchlight. She holds him there, her grasp delicate, until he turns and leads her along the meandering path.


The swan-girl follows him her small feet into his. She looks and wonders what it might be to just be normal. She keeps her distance from him, always. He moves as if he has no fear in the world. Sereia drinks up his mood, his quiet casual calm. She does not taste the underlying bitterness - a fatal flaw, a twist of something impure. Who could hate her more than herself? She does not taste bitterness, see the darkness in his gaze, the twist of his lips, the way he wonders, wonders. If you knew the truth, you could never loathe her more than she loathes herself, Torix.


How does she choose? Who should be banished? “I guess, the truth is that I would banish them all if I could, I just love some too much…” Her heart catches in her chest. Pain shoots through her neck and her throat closes on her confession. Sereia swallows and closes her eyes, still trailing him. She taps in to the music, into the twinge that twists its way through her veins. “Love changes things.” Though she is behind him and many shadows lie between them, her whispered words are for his ears alone. They reach him, just as quietly, softly, tentatively and painfully spoken as when they left her lips.


She hears him stop and her eyes at last flit open and set themselves upon his favourite statue. Her gaze trails from the bejeweled dagger lain at its feet, up and up its long, muscled limbs to where bronze foil meets ebony stone. The horse is leonine, brave and savage, beautiful and feral. A shiver rocks its way down the kelpie’s spine. Sereia feels the monster roll within her, stretch languidly and purr against the bars of her ribs. 


How she wishes she had never opened her eyes… Slowly she breathes and turns to gaze at him. He is still drinking in the statue, so she takes him in in turn. Every sip of his skin is as gold as her, the hue of his eyes akin the warmest seas, the curve of his horns as lethal as scythes. He is beautiful in that savage way. Upon her tongue, the taste of sweet and salty. “It is beautiful.” Sereia murmurs, of him, of the statue. Her blood surges salt through her veins and as her heart surges faster, she can hear the roar of the ocean in her ears. “Honest.” She breathes his reason back to him. Something within her twinges. When is she ever honest? Her whole life is a lie, anything to escape her true nature. “How is this more honest than the water horse before?” Then, softer, quieter, a lambs bleat from a lion’s maw, “Why is honesty important to you?”



@Vercingtorix


 

She wore her hope like a crown,
an unspoken soliloquy of dreams

~ Ariana







Reply




Played by Offline Syndicate [PM] Posts: 56 — Threads: 14
Signos: 315
Vagabond Soldier
Male [He/his/him] // 9 [Year 496 Fall] // 18 hh // Hth: 10 — Atk: 10 — Exp: 10 // Active Magic: N/A // Bonded: Damascus (Tartarosian Dragon)
#7

we must always be willing to be
more savage than angels
Sereia, is your monster awakening? Languid as a great and terrible cat, armed with teeth and claws? 

So, too, is Vercingtorix. 

So, too, does the beast within him stretch as if in preparation of exercise; an imperceptible tightening of his muscles, of his mental acuity. As they speak of tigers, there is something unspoken between them: 

The hunter must always be more savage the hunted.

The hunter must possess no mercy, no hesitation. The hunter only trumps the hunted on a basis of skill. Vercingtorix does not know yet what he is hunting; but the suspicion is there, blossoming in the same slow, methodic way that flowers do.

He feels more awake, more alive, than he has any other time in Novus.

He feels younger, more vibrant, as if the world is now shaded in a thousand colours and before everything had been black, and grey, and white. 

I might like to be a tiger,” Sereia confesses. Vercingtorix smiles a polite, somewhat amused smile. He is looking into her eyes, and the beauty of them is striking; there is nothing soft about her, he decides in that moment. Nothing demure, or gentle, or smoothed. Her eyes are too bright. The weight they carry too heavy, no matter how delicately it may land. He agrees however, when he says: “It would certainly make life a little simpler.” 

I guess the truth is that I would banish them all, if I could. I just love some too much… Love changes things. The words sound secretive, shared in confession. He stores it away as he builds, deliberately, a collection of knowledge on her. She has not outright confessed to being a kelpie; but she holds some intimate knowledge of them.

But, Vercingtorix had learned in Inebu-Hedij he must always confirm beyond a shadow of the doubt. He had gutted a dock-boy like a fish one night, under the assumption he had been a water-horse.

That blood still stains him, he thinks, more darkly than the rest. 

So Vercingtorix bides his time. He bides his time and tries not to allow her sensitive confession, the way it is shared with a certain gravity… he tries not to allow her to soften him. But before he can help himself, he confesses in the same tone: “The man I loved more than any other was killed by a water horse.” 

It is true, and it is a lie. 

Perhaps that is why he can say it; a half-truth. Vercingtorix closes his eyes and tries not to think of a flanked side; the mischievous flick of a leonine tail against his cheek; running, and running, and running, and eyes bright as rubies. 

But they are before his favourite statue.

Vercingtorix is wondering if he has shared too much; opened too fully. 

It is beautiful. 

That word. 

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.

Vercingtorix doesn’t see beauty, not here, not in this. He sees duty; obligation; the weight of Atlas. 

He sees: a youth gone by, in service.

He sees: immortalisation, eternity, a hero, a hero, a hero. 

There is no such thing. 

Vercingtorix turns to measure her with his eyes; and as she had held him delicately in her gaze, he holds her delicately now. There is a softening to his face; something almost like vulnerability. 

“Because,” he says at last. “This statue bears an expression of sadness. The other one didn’t. It seemed proud.” 

He pauses. It is a difficult thing to articulate. 

“But,” he says. “Perhaps that is for what you said; it was wicked. Perhaps they’re both honest, in their own ways.” 

He pauses for a long time, then, simply assessing her. Vercingtorix knows he has held her gaze longer than is polite; then is acceptable. But he almost wonders if she will glance away. “Honesty is… all we have.” The truth. The power in it.

The lie, gilded there.

Vercingtorix believes it.

It doesn’t mean, however, he lives by it. He knows now—in his own mind, more than any other man—that he has nothing left. 


The monster in Torix does not have teeth and claws.

The monster in Torix is void as a black hole, as encompassing as an abyss. The monster in Torix is hunger without base, without substance; hunger that burns and runs and tears, fathomless as a wendigo's desire. Insatiable. 


"Speech." ||  @Sereia 

rip up their flesh and reveal them to be nothing but the dreamy, worldess haze of lavender and godhood with your virtue shredding teeth. do not weep when their wings thrash. do not be surprised when there are nothing but ghosts in their heart.
CREDITS|| Avis






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