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Played by Offline Trixie [PM] Posts: 17 — Threads: 3
Signos: 20
Day Court Citizen
Male [He/Him/His] // 7 [Year 498 Winter] // 16 hh // Hth: 9 — Atk: 11 — Exp: 10 // Active Magic: N/A // Secondary Magic: // Bonded: N/A
#1





☼  ISHAK  ☼
اسحاق

"Well time has a way of throwing it all in your face / The past, she is haunted, the future is laced"




Ruth is lost.


You repeat in your mind that she is lost, not that you have lost her. You were against this plan from the start, against coming to this island of metamorphosis. You wish you had argued with her.


Ruth is gone, and you are in a maze of crystal. It is dreamlike; it is terrific and terrible. In a thousand glittering reflections, your face is reflected back upon itself. The wind whistles through the maze with the same sound of a blade released from its sheath.


Here and there, plants grow. You step carefully around them. You know some old rhymes: leaves of three, beware of me and suchlike, but there is no rhyme for this. Besides, watching your step means you look less at your reflection.


And there is so much of you to avoid looking at.


Here, in the glowing arc of a jagged spire clawing at the sky, you are a youth still. His eyes are bright, and the sands of the desert shift behind him. His mane is unbraided, hair falling every which way. Your mother is behind him, mirror unwrapped and resting against her legs — sea-cliffs and sea-shore reflected in it.


You shudder, and you look away.


There, in a squat crystal dusted with snow, your reflection watches you with dead eyes. He smiles at you, at once resigned and soft. He turns and walks away, and the sight of his torn flank and mangled body sickens you. You catch sight of the inside of his left leg, and there is no sun shining there. You are unsurprised.


You keep pushing forward because somewhere in this nightmare is Ruth.


Another you catches your eye. He smiles at you, bright and lively but something is not quite right with the image. There is something about his smile that you cannot place; it is not one you have felt on your face before. (There’s something disquieting about it.) He tosses his head, beckoning you to look past him.


You sway towards the crystal. It isn’t jagged but blade-edge-smooth. You look past him. Your old mentor is smiling widely as she walks up. She nuzzles his cheek affectionately and ruffles the hair where a braid has come undone. She looks so proud that it hurts. Then, she moves aside so you can see better past them. Then, your heart shatters out of your chest.


Ruth is dead. Her body lies against a wall, a bloody scalpel nearby. Her throat is slit, and her blood is flowing in impossible amounts, a river soaking all their hooves.


Your double presses his nose against the inside of the crystal, and you can almost hear him say, “It isn’t too late to collect, you know.”


You lash out at the crystal, a good strong kick, but not so hard as to shatter it. Somewhere, the real Ruth is in this godforsaken maze. You do not want to add “having to bandage you up” to her to-do list.


The sound of your hooves echoes around you. This island is exhausting. This island would drain even the gods.


Around this corner, there’s a you but gilded. There’s so much gold paint on him you are surprised he isn’t dripping, that it was possible at all for it to dry. He winks at you and cracks open a pomegranate, lifting the husk to shake seeds and pour juice into his mouth. He saunters off into the night. You hate him, this you with apparently more money than sense.


Crosswise of him, there is an opening in the row you have been trapped in. You take it, and though there is still a hundred, a thousand, yous in the prismatic grove, these seem less inclined to interact.


You’ve had enough.


“RUTH!” You yell out, hoping against hope that she can not just hear but find her way to you.


“Ruth, Ruth, Ruth…” the crystals echo back to you.


Directly in front of you winks yet another you. There is a snake twisting in the sands behind him, chasing a desert hare. He looks just like you, but the colors are all wrong. Everything is inverted, and when he points his muzzle at the path to your right, you take the left instead.


Damn it all. You want to go home.





@Ruth | so EXCITED to post this one | “big black car” - gregory alan isakov














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Played by Offline Jeanne [PM] Posts: 48 — Threads: 12
Signos: 215
Day Court Medic
Female [She/Her/Hers] // 5 [Year 500 Winter] // 13.3 hh // Hth: 13 — Atk: 7 — Exp: 19 // Active Magic: N/A // Secondary Magic: // Bonded: N/A
#2








☼  RUTH OF HOUSE IESHAN  ☼
רות

"you know when you become / something it eats you? the teeth / in my hand. the weight of the handle, / the meat separating from the bone."


Ruth-in-the-mirror is watching me. Of all the Ruths that I have encountered, she seems to be the one I see the most often – I think that she might be following me, like a leopard (or, better, a sandwyrm) stalks its prey. Oh, it doesn’t feel terribly insidious at first. Just a disturbance in the sand, something you could mistake for the wind. (She is behind the crystal. She is just a reflection.) And then – the sound, like something sliding. But couldn’t that, too, be the wind? (What does it matter if she smiles,like she sees you? What does it matter if her mouth is full of teeth?) But then-

A snap, and a smattering of blood.

A crown of spires rises from the landscape, uncomfortably reminiscent of teeth. I weave between them, the low clack of my hooves the only reprieve from the unsettling silence of this place. (I cannot even hear the wind.) Ruth-in-the-mirror follows behind me, slipping from spire to spire, reflection to reflection; she brushes past another Ruth, and then another, and slips, briefly, beneath me, like I am standing on the surface of water and she is reflected in the ripples. (When she does, I think I catch a strange copper-tone glimmer to her skin, like-)

I do not think about her stalking. I do not think about the way the crystals are mocking me, damn them; I do not think about the Ruths who smile, or the Ruths who cry at their parents’ funeral, or the Ruths who look bright and beautiful and marble or alabaster, the Ruths who are cut out of some softer, more precious stone. I do not think about the Ruth whose mane cascades down her neck as a mass of snakes, like my brother, or the Ruths with gilded horns and sandstone wings. No, no. I don’t think about them at all.

What I think about instead is that I need to find Ishak. I am not troubled by his absence, of course. I am no bleeding heart, but he is, and he will certainly be-

I’m sure that he will give me hell for this.

There are a few spindly weeds poking up, between the shed-skin of crystal, or glass, or- something. I can’t piece together what it is; for all my family’s wealth, I cannot recognize the material. (It is likely unnatural – like all the rest of this place.) I slip down row after row. They aren’t identical, but they are all nondescript, and, with so many eyes watching me, so many troubled refractions – one for each shard, one for each crack, one for each angle -, I can’t possibly tell where I am going or where I have been.

My attention is captured – briefly – by a Ruth-in-the-mirror. She is lying on the ground, and bleeding from the neck; I recognize the silver glint of my scalpel, and then the shape of an Ishak I don’t look at too closely. But the Ruth-in-the-mirror, the one that is always just a step behind me – that Ruth-in-the-mirror, her lips curl and stretch too far back, and she crouches like a cat, though she shouldn’t be able to, and, somehow, he doesn’t notice her at all-

I look away before I can see the bloodbath.

(I wonder, briefly, if she will devour him. Eat him all the way down to the bone.)

The blood drips past its boundaries; it is still below the crystal, but I see it beneath my hooves. I am no longer sure who it belongs to.

I continue to walk, to pace down different pathways, wondering if she is still following, wondering if they can get out, and wondering what it will mean for me if they do-

I hear Ishak’s voice. Faintly. Calling me. He sounds close, relatively – not too close, and, in this sea of glass, he will still be hard to find. (It could be a siren song; a mimic of his voice, like all those things in the mirror. But I have not heard them speak yet. I know I can’t trust my eyes, some of them are too close, but maybe my ears…)

I press forward, towards what I think is the source of the sound. There are more Ishaks in the mirror as I draw closer, as though the source is nearby-

“Ishak?”

The soft, untroubled cadence of my voice is reflected back to me, as though it is in the mirror, too -  I try not to think about the unnatural way it echoes off the crystals, like a clink.




@Ishak || going to go ahead & toss these up.... so I can go back to owing you Properly || sam sax, "ribs"

















HE FEEDS ME RED MEAT / HE WATCHES THE BLOOD POOL IN MY MOUTH
laughs at my red teeth


please tag Ruth! contact is encouraged, short of violence


Reply




Played by Offline Trixie [PM] Posts: 17 — Threads: 3
Signos: 20
Day Court Citizen
Male [He/Him/His] // 7 [Year 498 Winter] // 16 hh // Hth: 9 — Atk: 11 — Exp: 10 // Active Magic: N/A // Secondary Magic: // Bonded: N/A
#3





☼  ISHAK  ☼
اسحاق

"Well time has a way of throwing it all in your face / The past, she is haunted, the future is laced"




Your name echoes from somewhere, unhurried and unconcerned. If it isn’t Ruth, it is a very good imitation. You try to pin down the direction it is coming from. Hazarding a guess, you turn eastward down a new path.


At first, this row seems eerily empty. As you step further in and your eyes flick from facet to plane to cracked facade, you begin to notice the bodies. All of them are ones you know. There is the man from house Kamau, and there is his master of arms. (They are both more broken than you left them.) There is a guard, splattered in paint, that you almost hadn’t gotten away from. (He’d been alive when you saw him last.) And there— Motion.


Another doppelganger is rendered before you. He moves like a flipbook, all half-finished sketches when he’s caught still. In turns, he is both art and real, half of one and neither of both. In the lines that overlay him, you recognize your own flourishes. When he opens his mouth, there are too many, too sharp teeth. He follows you with the same ease you slip through a crowd. You try not to look at him too long.


You try not to think about him, about them, about divergent paths. You try hardest not to think about which of these are others and which are might-bes. There is knowledge here, in this grove, but there is no price you’d happily pay for it. There is no price you’d begrudgingly pay, either. You’ve always been an ounce of prevention type, but the gnawing unease at the base of your neck has you wondering if staying here too long would leave you with the sanity to use any of it. And that’s if you can even decipher the damned symbolism.


The further you go, the more the plants seem to struggle to grow. That life seems to be having difficulty finding a way in this maze is bothersome, but you are more concerned about your own wayfinding. If nothing else, perhaps follow the plants can be your means of finding a path back out.


Eventually, there are Ruths populating the mirror worlds in number. Your shadow slips away then, his eye visibly caught by a Ruth with bloody hooves. When he doesn’t return, you let out a breath you didn’t know you were holding.


The Ruths in these shattered prisms are as often the focus as they are part of the background. You already feel less tense. If Ruth weren’t around to be reflected, then you are sure she would remain a secondary character of the mirror world. (If Ruth weren’t around to be reflected, if something had happened to Ruth, you are sure these damned crystals would find a way to taunt you with it.)


A soft-eyed Ruth smiles at you, her crown of flowering vines just barely avoiding slipping off her head. The smile meets her eyes. She presses her muzzle up against the inside of the crystal, and you grit your teeth. A girl that smiles like that wouldn’t be Ruth. When you do not step closer, she beckons at your reflections instead.


You move on.


The inverted you walks out of a crowd when you next come to a dead-end junction. This time his red coat bears a series of designs you remember being painted the winter all Solterra froze over. There is a Ruth with him now, but seeing her in reverse is not quite so jarring as seeing yourself. When she points her head to the left, you go right.


You squint into the refracted gleam. There’s a shape that looks almost solid, and your heart rises on a tide of hope.


“Ruth?” you call, again.





@Ruth | Ishak and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day | “big black car” - gregory alan isakov














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Played by Offline Jeanne [PM] Posts: 48 — Threads: 12
Signos: 215
Day Court Medic
Female [She/Her/Hers] // 5 [Year 500 Winter] // 13.3 hh // Hth: 13 — Atk: 7 — Exp: 19 // Active Magic: N/A // Secondary Magic: // Bonded: N/A
#4








☼  RUTH OF HOUSE IESHAN  ☼
רות

"you know when you become / something it eats you? the teeth / in my hand. the weight of the handle, / the meat separating from the bone."



I wonder, as the landscape grows sharper and more unnatural, where I am going – if there is some jagged epicenter to this, which draws everything towards it like the gravitational pull of a dead star. Indeed, the world seems harsher wherever I step, more unnatural. The sea has been out of sight since long before I found myself separated from Ishak, but, closer to the coast (I think; it is so hard to tell where I am and far worse to try and decide where anything else is, relative to me or otherwise), there had been sprigs of greenery and other small, tentative signs of life. Up to a certain point that I passed only moments ago – I think – there had still been persistent scraps of weeds poking up between the shards.

Now, there is nothing but shard. Beneath my hooves, there is a particularly long and unhindered piece, void of the blemishes that mark most of its counterparts. I stare up at myself, unable to shake the feeling of standing on a frozen lake (an impossibility, in Solterra), if the ice could reflect my face back to me. It is almost more unnerving to see the reflection mimic me, like a proper mirror, than it is to see it take on a life of its own; most of the other reflections did, after all.

“Ruth?” He is somewhere nearby, if I can hear him.

The further I go, the more Ishaks I see. At some point, I cross from one shard to the next, and the reflection seems to disappear entirely behind me; for some reason, it makes my teeth grind. I wonder if I am getting close. Surely, for there to be more Ishaks, Ishak himself must be nearby – light can bounce from surface to surface, if it is properly reflective, but it cannot be cast without a source.

This Ishak (unnaturally tall and distorted, stretched out on a too-thin but expansive shard) has far too sweet a smile pressed across his lips (it makes my skin crawl – and gives me the strangest feeling that I am about to take a knife to the ribs) and that Ishak (contained in such a small bit of crystal that I barely notice him among the cascade of other Ruths and Ishaks) has the wrong color of eyes, and those Ishaks (spread out across a spiderweb of cracks) coalesce to form some stitched-together and monstrous imitation of Ishak, each bit and piece that composes his form ripped off from a different Ishak. A Ruth with pale pink blossoms strewn into her mane stares at me with eyes that I recognize, rarely, as my own, and she nods me deeper into the strange expanse of the labyrinth.

Standing amidst a garden of shards is an Ishak. He has more depth to him – more substance. I stand yards away from him, surrounded by the leak of my own reflection. I look him over with a professional eye, analyzing his build, his lack of distortion, the scars on his shoulder and his flank, the cuff that I gave to him. The way he braids his hair. The way he composes himself; the way he would compose himself in this place.

His eyes are on me.

“Ishak?” I press forward, tentatively, through the shattered fisheye of crystal shards. “Is that you?” I approach him, sending ripples of mirror-Ruths cascading out as far as the eye can see; but I am not looking at them, although I can feel their eyes on the back of my neck. I hope that the one with teeth is not among them. (I can see her in my mind’s eye, bloodstained jaws dripping flecks of skin and entrails – more like a snake than I could ever hope to be.)

I finally stop and stare right into the eyes of the Ishak; of my Ishak. (They are shattered ice-blue, like they should be, and they look just as they should.) “You’re- the real one, aren’t you?” My tone suggests far more uncertainty than I actually feel.

Slowly – but not quite hesitantly -, I touch my muzzle to the curve of his shoulder, just to feel if he is flesh and blood, not some stone-crafted mimic.






@Ishak || she...................poke. || sam sax, "ribs"

















HE FEEDS ME RED MEAT / HE WATCHES THE BLOOD POOL IN MY MOUTH
laughs at my red teeth


please tag Ruth! contact is encouraged, short of violence


Reply




Played by Offline Trixie [PM] Posts: 17 — Threads: 3
Signos: 20
Day Court Citizen
Male [He/Him/His] // 7 [Year 498 Winter] // 16 hh // Hth: 9 — Atk: 11 — Exp: 10 // Active Magic: N/A // Secondary Magic: // Bonded: N/A
#5





☼  ISHAK  ☼
اسحاق

"Well time has a way of throwing it all in your face / The past, she is haunted, the future is laced"




At first, there is no response forthcoming to your call.


It is a long moment in which you stand, hooves on gleaming shards. The jagged grove you’ve stopped in reminds you more of a maw than anything green. The crystal shards here claw against the sky, taller even than you. To your left, there is a thin and winding path that would take you even deeper. In curved and gleaming arcs, the spires seem to twist together as your eyes follow down them.


You look away.


To your right is the gap you thought you saw Ruth through. Slightly to the left of that, not quite ahead of you, is a proper opening for a path.


You take a deep breath, let it fill your lungs and sit there. You exhale. You were born for desert sands, for the shift in terrain and you remind yourself of this. This maze is nothing but the shift. You tell that to yourself the same way you told yourself you have not lost Ruth; she is merely not here.


You train your eyes on that opening, and your patience is rewarded.


Emerging from it, now, is Ruth. Stone and bone and living blood, Ruth. She stands there in the entrance, gold eyes sweeping over you. You watch the light breaking over her, the wash of reflected, refracted sunlight on her coat. The play of sunlight is something the crystals never seem to get quite right.


She steps towards you, “Ishak? Is that you?” You watch her approach, tentative in a way you’ve never seen her. How many versions of you, of herself, has she had to see that she’d rather not? How many versions of herself had bloodied hooves, had lives that lived up to the Ieshans’ fiction of a snake? How many versions of yourself left her dead and how many instead stand with her?


(Over her head, you can see your flipbook-self again. He’s in rough charcoal; he’s in vivid color. He’s in a spiderweb of cracks, of a thousand pieces of you making up him. He’s bloodied now, but you know somehow it isn’t his. From the shadows, bloodied-hooves Ruth trots out. She smiles with too many, bloody teeth. He doesn’t turn away from her, and you give him credit for that, at least.)


She stops directly in front of you, and you lower your head to meet her eyes better. “You’re—  the real one, aren’t you?” You don’t like the hesitant note to her voice. Slowly, deliberately, she presses her muzzle to your shoulder.


For the first time since you’ve been alone in this maze, you feel like something of substance. Just existing here is still draining, but you feel less like it is trying to devour you, bit by bit. It’s been a lonely walk to get here, and it’ll be a long one to get out.


Gently, you start to braid a piece of Ruth’s mane in the three-fold pattern you first learned as a foal. It’s a nice moment to exist in, but you do have more pressing concerns.


“How about we go home?” you ask, voice soft. You finish the braid with a twist that will hold it only as long as Ruth does nothing that moves it much. Which includes walking, so not long at all.


“And I’m so sorry to say it, but if you haven’t found those plants you wanted to sample, I’m vetoing looking around longer for them.” You look up, consideringly, “You have any thoughts on which way back?”


The wind howls through the crystals, but no longer does it sound like the whistle of a blade or the scrape against a sheath. It sounds like the wind in the night, hollowing out the dunes. It sounds like home.





@Ruth | he…..snark | “big black car” - gregory alan isakov














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Played by Offline Jeanne [PM] Posts: 48 — Threads: 12
Signos: 215
Day Court Medic
Female [She/Her/Hers] // 5 [Year 500 Winter] // 13.3 hh // Hth: 13 — Atk: 7 — Exp: 19 // Active Magic: N/A // Secondary Magic: // Bonded: N/A
#6








☼  RUTH OF HOUSE IESHAN  ☼
רות

"you know when you become / something it eats you? the teeth / in my hand. the weight of the handle, / the meat separating from the bone."



My muzzle presses down on skin, not stone – but I knew that even before I touched him. (I would know his eyes, I think, anywhere; in this world or the next.) He seems to be shivering, somewhat, beneath my touch. It is cold, especially here, especially near the sea winds (my breath fogs, and so does his), but I do not think that it is the cold that makes his skin quiver and twitch where I touch him. I stay there, a moment, not sure what I am feeling (not sure I am feeling anything much). I feel him twine my hair into a loose braid. It won’t keep; I can tell from the way he is pulling the strands, how he isn’t holding them taut or weaving them tight. It won’t keep at all, so there’s no real point to the gesture, but he does it sometimes when he’s nervous – to hair or ropes or string. Whatever he can find.

How about we go home? His voice is hushed. I raise my head, slowly, brushing away from his skin, and I turn my stare on him. (I have to crane my neck to meet his eyes, this close.)

I blink at him, faintly surprised. “Are you scared of this place, Ishak?” I’m not. I’m not even sure that I’m unnerved by it, not really – not in the way that I should be, when I see myself with scales and blood on my teeth, or when I see myself dead with a scalpel in my throat. They’re only images. They aren’t real. (Or: even if they are real, they’re on the other side of those crystals.) But, then, Ishak has always worried more than I have. He says that my lack of caution is dangerous, and he cites his near-successful attempt to assassinate me as evidence. I say that caution is useless without good reason.

The island is magic. Magic does not have to be good or evil – magic, in general, just is. It is like a sandwyrm in the sand. You might be able to pass it without trouble; you might stumble over it, and it might bite you for it. (I mean – that is my experience with magicians.) However, startling in the face of a sandwyrm will bring you trouble, even if it is not feeling especially hungry. Fear is blood in the water.

And I’m so sorry to say it, but if you haven’t found those plants you wanted to sample, I’m vetoing looking around longer for them. I ignore his tone, and, instead, I think that I would have plucked some of those weeds on the way if I’d known that he’d want to head back as soon as I’d found him. I suppose that it is logical that Ishak would hate this place. I don’t care enough about those other-Ruths, who are not me, to be too bothered by them (but I am never too bothered by anything), but Ishak has never seemed quite-

comfortable with himself.

(It’s why getting him to admit to almost anything is like pulling a child’s teeth.)

You have any thoughts on which way back? he asks, then, and I pause a moment, considering my answer carefully.

I don’t tell Ishak that I don’t think we’ll find our way out of this maze of mirrors unless the island wants us to. I don’t tell him that it isn’t a matter of finding the way – that, through all of my searching, I had paid attention to each careful path I followed, and that, on the occasion that I drew back in the way I came, I found the landscape altered. “Well, maybe,” I say, and draw back from him, looking across the crystalline shards and settling my gaze on the way that looks most familiar. “It’s hard to tell, but – that way, I think.” And I am precise by nature.

Honestly – what suggests to me that it is the right way is the little trail of blood splashed across the crystals, forming a path, I assume, towards the other-Ruth, the one with sharp, sharp teeth. I don’t tell Ishak that, either.





@Ishak || drag him I guess || sam sax, "ribs"

















HE FEEDS ME RED MEAT / HE WATCHES THE BLOOD POOL IN MY MOUTH
laughs at my red teeth


please tag Ruth! contact is encouraged, short of violence


Reply




Played by Offline Trixie [PM] Posts: 17 — Threads: 3
Signos: 20
Day Court Citizen
Male [He/Him/His] // 7 [Year 498 Winter] // 16 hh // Hth: 9 — Atk: 11 — Exp: 10 // Active Magic: N/A // Secondary Magic: // Bonded: N/A
#7





☼  ISHAK  ☼
اسحاق

"Well time has a way of throwing it all in your face / The past, she is haunted, the future is laced"




“Are you scared of this place, Ishak?” Ruth asks. She blinked at you, in the moment before she did. It gives away that she isn’t scared, but you knew that already. Which brings you back to her question: are you?

Are you?

This terrible and terrific island, this place of change, this place of magic, this place? Does it strike fear in you? Does it make your heart beat faster and your stomach churn and your skin sweat and unease bite at your neck?

Well, no.

The island is innocent. You cannot take the island to court, the same way you cannot take a snake. It means no malice in its actions— in its bite.

You aren’t afraid of the bite in this metaphor, by the way. There is nothing here that can hurt you on its own, you think, though uncertainly. All the images it shows you are safely encapsulated from you, with crystal as delineated borders. You do not expect them to do you harm.

The venom, though? You who were a mithridatist for years?

You fear the venom down to your bones.

And in this metaphor, by the way, this is where it breaks down. It’s not like the images are actively doing anything to you, no sorcery influencing you. It’s just an image, at the end of the day.

It’s more like an allergy, like an overreaction to something harmless. (The placebo effect, maybe, if you wanted to keep in line with your first metaphor. You think it should hurt and so it does, even if you would be otherwise immune.)

Are you scared of this place?

Well, no. (It’s you you’re afraid of.)

This place just makes you angry. This place just reminds you of all the things you could see be seeing in your own mirror. All the things that, most days, you shove down somewhere there is no light to shine on them. This place is doing its damndest to reflect the sunlight down anyway.

This place shows you a day where there was no city guard in the hospital. This place shows you your mentor breathing. This place shows you Ruth failing to put you back together. This place shows you all the rotten pieces of you.

You don’t answer Ruth, in the end. You don’t lie to Ruth. You evade, you previcate, you exaggerate, and you understate. You don’t outright lie to Ruth. And in this instance, all of the above would feel like a lie.

You roll on forward with a snappy remark, trying to drag something in this cursed place back to your comfort zone. When Ruth doesn’t deign to respond, you move forward with the most pressing matter.

“Well, maybe,” she responds and pulls away from you, turning away to look around you. (The paths have shifted you think, entrances and exits moving around you. Once again, you hope this island doesn’t have the capacity to want to keep you lost.) “It’s hard to tell, but – that way, I think.”

There’s blood on the ground— inside the crystals— down the path Ruth gestures at. You grimace at it, some fresh new vision to torment you surely forthcoming. But you do your best to wipe the expression away quickly.

“If I had a rope, or yarn, I think I’d tie a line to you. Try not to get separated from me this time?” You are not feeling particularly equitable towards Ruth at the moment. You’ll get over it; even if you could stay mad at her for long, you wouldn’t want to. This isn’t her fault, beyond suggesting to come here in the first place. You think a day or two is a reasonable length of time to be mad about that. Maybe three.

You redo another braid in Ruth’s hair even as you spoke. Quick, efficient, and tight enough to stay. It’ll keep the hair out of her eyes. You tie it off with a tie from your own mane, letting that braid fall loose at the end. It’ll fall apart entirely by the time you leave this place, you’re sure.

“Shall we then?” you say and step towards the path.





@Ruth | Ishak be like: well no, but actually yes | “big black car” - gregory alan isakov














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Played by Offline Jeanne [PM] Posts: 48 — Threads: 12
Signos: 215
Day Court Medic
Female [She/Her/Hers] // 5 [Year 500 Winter] // 13.3 hh // Hth: 13 — Atk: 7 — Exp: 19 // Active Magic: N/A // Secondary Magic: // Bonded: N/A
#8








☼  RUTH OF HOUSE IESHAN  ☼
רות

"you know when you become / something it eats you? the teeth / in my hand. the weight of the handle, / the meat separating from the bone."


If it were up to me, I think that I would stay here a while longer.

It’s hard to say why. I don’t like the reflections; I am not interested enough in magic to much care about why they are doing the things that they are doing, either. This far into the island, there aren’t any plants growing in the crystal-covered soil, and, even along the shore, the remaining weeds were ragged and useless. Even if I wanted to bring them back with me, they were so sickly and weak that I doubted they would survive the trip back to Solterra.

I don’t like the reflections, much, either. I don’t like the Ruths-in-the-mirror; I don’t like the ones with sharp teeth, or the ones with scales, or the ones that smile prettily and innocently in a way that I can’t. I don’t like the ones that weep, because I can’t do that honestly, and I don’t like the ones that glare at me, because I don’t think they have the right. I don’t like the ones that show my siblings – in one state or another – because, lately, I don’t want to think of them at all – least of all how things could have been, or, worse, how things might still be. I don’t care for the Other-Ishaks, too. I probably mind them less than Ishak, knowing him, but I don’t like them, chiefly because they aren’t Ishak, at least as I know him.

(I loathe to think that there are parts of Ishak that I don’t know, things that he won’t tell me or show me. You should not ask me why; I don’t know why. And the fact of the matter is that I know that Ishak knows far more about me than I know about him. There is little I can do to convince him to talk about himself, and even less to assure that he is being honest when he answers.)

Ishak doesn’t answer my question at all. I can’t see the answer to my question written across his face, either, though I’d like to think that I could make a good guess at what it would be, if he were willing to verbalize it. I know that I shouldn’t, but I let him get away with his silence. It isn’t because I care. I can’t. Still, I have enough interpersonal skills – barely – to know that I shouldn’t press him any further when he is already so stressed.

When I gesture towards the path, Ishak grimaces. The expression does not linger on his lips for long, but it lingers long enough for me to notice it. I take it that he has seen the blood; there wasn’t much hiding it anyways. I wonder what he expects to find at the end of it. I wonder what I expect to find at the end of it – him, with one sharp object or another, leaned over a corpse, or the me-with-teeth, a devourer?

(I can understand my toothy, bloodied reflection where I doubt that Ishak can empathize with his. Perhaps that is why I would like to stay a while longer. All of her hunger, all of her emptiness – I feel it, too. But no blood and bone will fill me where I am starved. It would only make me sicker.)

“If I had a rope, or yarn, I think I’d tie a line to you. Try not to get separated from me this time?” Ishak is annoyed with me. It isn’t hard to tell. It isn’t rare, either – but it still troubles me in a way that few things do. (Not, of course, because he is upset. Because it is trouble for me. Because I like to be liked by him. Does that make sense? I think that I enjoy the attention.)

He twines my hair – already fallen – into another braid. This one is stronger, and meant to last at least a little while; he plucks one of the beads from his mane and holds it with it, and I look, for a moment, at the fleck of red curled into the stone-brown of my hair, like a fleck of blood. I don’t linger on the comparison for long.

I walk back, then, and right up to him – and I don’t stop moving until I am right at his side, close enough to brush against his shoulder. Close enough to feel his skin against mine. “Is this good enough for you?” I’ll have to walk quicker than usual to keep up with him, but it is probably worth it. It will do me no good to get separated from him again; we aren’t alone on this island, and, even if we were, it would worry Ishak, and, though I am not – cannot be – troubled by that, I try not to do it on principle.

“Shall we?” he says, and starts walking. I fall into step at his side, though I linger closer to his flank than his shoulders.

“If you insist,” I say, only mostly apathetic.





@Ishak || wanted to finish this for you Tonight - happy first day of classes? || sam sax, "ribs"

















HE FEEDS ME RED MEAT / HE WATCHES THE BLOOD POOL IN MY MOUTH
laughs at my red teeth


please tag Ruth! contact is encouraged, short of violence


Reply




Played by Offline Trixie [PM] Posts: 17 — Threads: 3
Signos: 20
Day Court Citizen
Male [He/Him/His] // 7 [Year 498 Winter] // 16 hh // Hth: 9 — Atk: 11 — Exp: 10 // Active Magic: N/A // Secondary Magic: // Bonded: N/A
#9





☼  ISHAK  ☼
اسحاق

"Well time has a way of throwing it all in your face / The past, she is haunted, the future is laced"




Ruth sweeps in close against you, and you are the slightest bit surprised. For all you invade her space regularly, she is not precisely prone to initiating contact. She stays at your flank even as you step forward, even as you say, “Shall we?”


(Is this good enough for you? she asked and you’re almost tempted to ask what’s gotten into you?)


”If you insist,” she says.


You don’t bother to affirm, already stepping towards the bloodied passage. For every step you take, Ruth takes more. Your hooves only clatter only on crystal, syncopated with the rhythm of Ruth’s gait.


You are not sure how long it will take to wind your way out of this maze, how many more times it might shift around you, how many more reflections will watch you. It doesn’t matter. Every step towards Solterra is surer than the last.


(There is still blood under, inside, the crystal. The strike of your hooves may ring clear against it but it is still there. If you were to tell the story of this island, you’d drip honeyed words over it until it was gone. You won’t.)


Eventually, the crystal underhoof thins and shatters. Then, it is gone altogether. You stand on the shore. You breathe deeply, long and slow. You breathe deeply, because you want to gulp in air. You want a wind to hit your face that tastes of sand. Just a little longer, a little further. You don’t have the travel time memorized, but you turn your head towards home. It’s too bright for stars, no sign of The Scorpion’s Throat or any of the Leaves of the Oasis Tree. It’s too bright, but you know where to look anyway.


(Behind you, in the last and closest crystal, your reflection watches you leave.)





@Ruth | this closer…took longer than it should. so much longer. and is bleh. | “big black car” - gregory alan isakov














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Played by Offline Jeanne [PM] Posts: 48 — Threads: 12
Signos: 215
Day Court Medic
Female [She/Her/Hers] // 5 [Year 500 Winter] // 13.3 hh // Hth: 13 — Atk: 7 — Exp: 19 // Active Magic: N/A // Secondary Magic: // Bonded: N/A
#10








☼  RUTH OF HOUSE IESHAN  ☼
רות

"you know when you become / something it eats you? the teeth / in my hand. the weight of the handle, / the meat separating from the bone."


With my shoulder pressed to him, I can feel his shock, though it does not much show on his face; the faint twitch of skin that suggests that he is surprised by my sudden proximity. I don’t feel any need to explain it. We are always close, and, generally speaking, that is his fault and not mine.

I drift away quickly, when he begins to walk - but I am never far. For once, however, he does not follow at my heels; I follow at his.

I trail after him as he walks down the bloodstained path through the mirror-laden landscape, and, when my reflection tries to catch my eye, I do not look at her. I do not look at any of them - none of the other Ishaks, and none of the other Ruths. I can feel them, though. Perhaps it is a symptom of my household that I can always feel it, when I am being watched, even before I have caught the eye of the watcher. Being an Ieshan means being seen, although I am by far the least noticeable of my siblings.

There is a way, however, that the reflection that has been following me hungrily, blood and gore dribbling in thick streams from her jaws, seems to sing to me. I think that it is because we are both wanting, both quietly starving - but she has found a cure for it that is not mine, a separate hunger to be quenched.

Some part of me does not want to leave until I understand it. Some part of me wonders if it is even a cure at all, or if it is simply another kind of disease - and, before we leave the island, I find myself tossing a glance over my shoulder at the Ruth covered in a kind of blood that is not mine, dirtied in the way that even a surgeon would never be; and I look into her eyes.

Her pupils are reptilian. Like a snake’s. When her lips twitch, they possess the barest suggestion of pale, hollow fangs. I nearly recoil at the sight, and it is not out of fear.

When we return to Solterra, beneath a constellation-stricken sky, when I have walked through the gates into the capitol, into the manor doors, into my room; when I have locked the door and laid down on my bed, and when there is almost nothing but me and the bare dark, I am still thinking of her eyes.





@Ishak || look at us, Finishing Threads || sam sax, "ribs"

















HE FEEDS ME RED MEAT / HE WATCHES THE BLOOD POOL IN MY MOUTH
laughs at my red teeth


please tag Ruth! contact is encouraged, short of violence


Reply





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