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Private  - take the long way home--

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Played by Offline Jeanne [PM] Posts: 19 — Threads: 7
Signos: 320
Dusk Court Soldier
Female [She/Her/Hers] // 2 [Year 503 Fall] // 17 hh // Hth: 8 — Atk: 12 — Exp: 10 // Active Magic: N/A // Bonded: N/A

to cast aside the weight of facts and maybe even to float a little above this difficult world.

I have never, ever seen a city – before now.

There are buildings, in the Gold, scattered sporadically among the trees. Temples, and the occasional barracks, and some houses, though they aren’t really necessary. They are never too tall, and they are never too large; we wouldn’t dare to interrupt the trees, so we are limited in where and how we can build. They are always modest and rarely beautiful, even the temples. (I have been told that the temples of outsiders tend to be grander – that they use them to pay tribute to things called “gods.” We have no gods, and our temples are nothing more than housing for the priestesses and sites for the rituals.) The most splendid temple in the very deepest part of the woods, which houses the high priestess and the royal family, is still modest.

Every building that composes Terrastella’s capitol seems to me a thousand times more fantastic than anything from my homeland.

I know that I am coming up on the city when the dirt path that I have been following gives way to cobbled grey stone. It reminds me, somehow, of the sea, or the dark grey clouds that gather before what I now know is a storm. (Today, the sun is blinding bright; it helps to keep the chill at bay, to my relief. Winter has barely begun, and I have been assured that it will get much, much colder. I am beginning to think that I am ill-prepared for it.) It is wet – everything in Terrastella seems to be wet, most of the time – and coated with moss, in places, and I find it somehow charming. The paths at home are simple dirt, kneaded down and kept kempt by constant travel.

I practically prance onto the path, exaggerating my movements just to hear the way that my hooves clatter against the stone. The click is pleasant and rhythmic, and it puts a perpetual spring – nearly a dance – in my step.

I cross a hill – and then I can see the polished spire in the distance, gleaming in the sunlight. To me, it seems to reach up impossibly high. The rest of the citadel stretches out around it, and the city. I cannot make out many of the details of it, from such a distance, but I can tell that it is beautiful; the faint outlines of ornate carvings and stained-glass windows stick out to me even where I stand. I have to stand there, for a moment, my hooves frozen (and not from the chill) to the grey stones and my jaw likely hanging open with such exuberance that it likely looks unhinged. I can’t bring myself to move, and I blink a sudden scald of hot tears – made hotter still by the weather – out of my eyes.

I had heard about cities, on occasion, but never much. Just enough to know that they were “a collection of buildings,” which I could, most certainly, not imagine. It is less shocking than the ocean because I expect it, and it is less shocking than the sky because I have seen a building before, but it is no less overwhelming.

All of the parts of me that are frozen come rushing out at once, and I spring into a run – racing, as it were, towards the city gates.

The moments that follow pass in a teeth-jittering blur. The city is so much bigger up close; everything is so much bigger up close, and, even if I crane my neck, once I have drawn close enough to the city walls, I cannot see the top of the tower. I somehow manage to stammer my way into the city – the guards grin at my expression, and they ask me where I’m from, and if I’ve ever been somewhere like this before, even though I’m sure that they can tell I haven’t. I answer, but, as soon as I’m past the gate, I find that I can’t recall what I said. (It must have been a nervous mess; I would likely blush to recall it.)

The streets are crowded with early morning bustle. I dart among the figures, weaving my way through crowds wide-eyed and trying not to stumble over anyone (or be stumbled over myself) in the process, even as I want to stop and stare at everything I pass. I smell perfume, flowers, pastries, sea salt, woodfire, and a hundred things, easily, that I don’t recognize. I pass buildings with balconies where people are out at work, and buildings with glass walls in the front that display various wares, from beautiful clothing to jewels to weapons and armor – there are so many shops here, and so many things for sale. Street vendors tempt me with offers, and I am mostly clever enough to avoid them, but I trade a few of my feathers and a strand of my hair for a few golden trinkets with intricate designs, which I wind around one of my horns.

A magician preforms tricks on a street-corner, pulling paper dolls that dance as though they’re alive out of a hat; and maybe they are alive, or maybe they are just “alive” in the way that I was alive as a sword. It is so hard to tell. He catches my eye as I pass, and he winks, and I grin, tossing my head; my chestnut curls cascade down my neck, across my shoulders, tangle loosely about my legs. Oh, I have so much to do - my people are counting on me to find the heir, who could well be here, but my head and my heart are so full of something massive and overwhelming and near-bloom that I can barely even force myself to think about that now. I want to turn the city over and look at it from every angle, to pick apart each unwelcoming alleyway and dazzling shopfront, to stare at every mural I see painted on a wall until I have burned the image into my eyes enough for fifty more lifetimes.

I can never bring myself to stay still for long enough to do that, of course. I tell myself that I will have time for it later, even though I know that I won’t.

I duck – finally – into a relatively large building that I am told is a library. I don’t want to, although I am excited to see the collection; the temples held scrolls, but never many. I trot up the stairs and through the doors, and a smiling woman greets me at the desk. (I very nearly forget my manners and don’t greet her back, because I can see the books and scrolls behind her – and there are so many, more than I knew existed in the whole entire world. How could any one place hold so many tomes?)

The woman informs me that there are several more floors, and a basement. I can barely fathom it.

I step past the entryway, and into the shelves – and almost immediately I stop, my knees going weak, and I stare out at the rows upon rows of them, and all the treasures they hold within.

“Oh,” I say, softly, mostly to myself; and I don’t even know where to start. (Probably, anything would work. I need to know if I can read the language, first, but I am hardly thinking of that now-)

@Liatris || she'll have to see Dawn's library, sometime; her head will probably explode || "nocturne," cesare pavese



if you doubt, it becomes sand trickling through skeletal fingers.

please tag Nic! contact is encouraged, short of violence


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