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Played by Offline Sam [PM] Posts: 58 — Threads: 9
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Dusk Court Youth
Female [She/Her/Hers] // Immortal [Year 505 Winter] // 13.1 hh // Hth: 15 — Atk: 5 — Exp: 15 // Active Magic: Medium // Secondary Magic: // Bonded: Jack (Ring-tailed Lemur)
#1

kissed my penny and threw it in
prayed to keep my soul


O
ne day, a spirit will come to her and brush back that golden blonde hair, and he will tell Elliana about Vercingtorix’s life, the life he will not so openly share with her. He will tell her of his scars, of his pain, of his life. And Elliana, she will listen, and Elliana, she will find him, and Elliana, she will sit beside him and cry the silent tears she has perfected so well. 

The quiet is soothing to her and she holds her breather as though she can will the universe into motion, that she can make something amazing happen, but the day remains quiet. Her mother is at the hospital, Nic is gone somewhere, and Elli was instructed not to stray too far from her mother’s cottage by the sea. So she dances along the cliff sides like her mother before her and her mother before that. Like any child, she is curious- concerned, and always observant of the very pattern and fabric of that entire world around her: and its people. She blinks here and there, listening to birds and crickets, to the rolling waves not far off, and to the strange sound of a murmuring in the worlds’ shadows; but there is no hesitation in her, only bravery and wild intrigue. 

She has never stopped to think about her otherness, never worried that others may find her strange or different. A drum beats and Elliana moves her feet. She is like a ballerina, twirling, skipping, leaping, too far from home, too close to that rocky ledge. 

It is here that she finds him. The edge of a cliff, beside the ocean. 
Just like her mother before her. 

Her dancing stops as she notices him there, like he had been waiting for her. She’s a little more hesitant now, suspicion settling into her bones as her, her mother’s blue eyes narrow. Truthfully, she should be more frightened than she is, but she’s never had any reason to not be brave. Her parents always watched over her, always protected her. There had never been any reason to not feel safe.

“Hello, I am Elliana,” she says. “Are you looking for someone?” She asks, her thin voice gets a little higher at the end but she can’t deny the small tendrils of fear that she feels in the pit of her stomach. She just hears her mother’s voice ringing in her ears, urging her to be kind, to listen when others needed to talk, to be there when others wouldn’t. So she doesn’t run. Her ears flicker and she takes a step to him. There are differences, there is no rain, the ocean does not viciously dance, instead it is quiet in its movement today. This is entirely the same—this is entirely different. But just like her mother before her, she should go, she should not begin what will surely not end, because Elliana is so heartbreakingly her mother’s daughter and is doomed, no matter how brave she is, how fearless, how kind, to repeat some of her mistakes.



@Vercingtorix elliana speaks

elliana

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Played by Offline Syndicate [PM] Posts: 158 — Threads: 30
Signos: 1,035
Vagabond Soldier
Male [He/his/him] // 9 [Year 496 Fall] // 18 hh // Hth: 10 — Atk: 10 — Exp: 10 // Active Magic: N/A // Secondary Magic: // Bonded: Damascus (Tartarosian Dragon)
#2


tell me mother, what I should regret
what I became, or what I did not?
Ino longer know what I am looking for, when I stare at the sea.

It used to be that I glanced out over the waves in search of enemies; for the telltale crest of a mane or the flick of a tail beneath the surface, as quick and flitting as the flash of a silver-scaled fish. I used to obsess over the movement of what teemed beneath the surface, waiting for the impossible monstrosities that would emerge.

In the war I fought, I never feared my enemy. In truth, I did not hate them outside of the hate that war entitles a soldier to. I hated them for killing my friends; I hated them for hurting them; I hated them for scarring generations; I hated them for not leaving us in peace. As a child, my mother told me stories of before, of our heritage. Stories of great ships with white sails, and how we roamed from island to island, from land to land, looting and pillaging and being brave. We were conquerors.

I am a conqueror. If not in action, then in blood. A descendent of men who did nothing but destroy.

When my father was away, fighting, she would sometimes tell me other stories: she would whisper of the magic that imprisoned to the island so that we could not leave to wage small wars elsewhere. She whispered of how we were paying a penance for our past sins, and that one day we would be free of it. But only after we lost who we were.

The water dances in the spring sun; and the breeze, brisk and frigid, brings with it the ocean’s chill. I no longer look for enemies beneath the surface; but sometimes I fantasize about a glimpse of red against the blue, of a teaming mane, of a white face pushing above a white crest of wave. I don’t know what I would do if I saw it. 

I don’t know if I would feel hate, or loss. 

The wondering in and of itself is meaningless. I do not see her. I see nothing but teeming, frothing blue. 

Hello. I am Elliana. 

I am broken abruptly from my reprieve. If the wind were not so loud upon the cliffside, I might have heard her approach. Instead, I turn to look over my shoulder. Her head barely reaches above the long, yellowed grass. She is as gold as it, if not brighter in the sunshine. Are you looking for someone? 

It strikes me as uncanny that she asks the very question that I do not want to answer.

I should lie. Perhaps it is her uncanniness that makes it difficult to do so. Perhaps it is her likeness to her mother which, in its own way, is unsettling. “Yes.” I say, quite simply, on the exact precipice where Elena had once found me in the storm. “But he isn’t here. He will never be here again.” 

Because he had never existed in the way I thought he had. And this hard fact, lodged in my breast, fills me with a hatred for the world so sharp I can hardly breathe. 



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Played by Offline Sam [PM] Posts: 58 — Threads: 9
Signos: 285
Dusk Court Youth
Female [She/Her/Hers] // Immortal [Year 505 Winter] // 13.1 hh // Hth: 15 — Atk: 5 — Exp: 15 // Active Magic: Medium // Secondary Magic: // Bonded: Jack (Ring-tailed Lemur)
#3

kissed my penny and threw it in
prayed to keep my soul


S
he was too young to know all the ways her mother’s heart was broken, and too young to know that Elena was afraid her sorrow was going to bleed all over her daughter. So she just thought her mother must be tired at moments when she looks out at the sea, and she just believes her to have other things on her mind when she looks at Elliana with something in her eyes that she cannot quite place. Elliana is no empath like her mother, and therefore she cannot feel any of her guilt.

There is the melancholy song of some winter bird back for spring in the distance.

Maybe, to someone else’s ears, it might have been an omen.

She watches him, turned away from her, with her own kind of quiet curiosity, and then he turns to her and she thinks she has seen his face before, or maybe it was just one that she has been told about during those night time whispers. Yes. He says and she smiles faintly, decides she likes the depth in his voice, the way it is smooth and sharp like mountain air. His words though, are far to weighted to sit properly on her slim, young shoulders.

She doesn't understand what is happening, although there is a part of her that desperately wants to. She tries to put the puzzle pieces together that were made for someone much older than herself—for someone who had significantly more mental capacity than she. There is a part of her that almost gives up, breaking it apart and throwing it on the floor, and another part of her that keeps at it, fingers working the knot, picking at it slowly, hoping that it will unwind before her. “I’m sorry, I don't know what I am supposed to say,” she admits to him, a poor response, she believes, but she is honest at least. Her stomach churns slightly, and she frowns at him, that pretty face distorted with confusion.

She tilts her head to the side, small ears perking and then swiveling amongst the fluff of her mane and forelock. “Did you try looking for them behind the big boulders?” She asks, innocent. “That’s where I found Nic one time during hide and go seek,” she offers the simple, childish solution. “Or are they…” she doesn't know how to finish it. Death is such a normal thing for her, has been since she was born, but she knows when she speaks of it to others, they shudder and stare. “If they are—I could talk to them for you.”



@Vercingtorix elliana speaks

elliana

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Played by Offline Syndicate [PM] Posts: 158 — Threads: 30
Signos: 1,035
Vagabond Soldier
Male [He/his/him] // 9 [Year 496 Fall] // 18 hh // Hth: 10 — Atk: 10 — Exp: 10 // Active Magic: N/A // Secondary Magic: // Bonded: Damascus (Tartarosian Dragon)
#4


when all the ships have turned to ash
i will be left unharmed, alone
It takes me longer than it should to place her. The memory emerges nearly unbidden: the girl I glimpsed at the Solterran party with Elena.

Her daughter

It seems nearly a lifetime ago when Elena admitted to me, by the sea, that she was pregnant and we agreed to never promise one another anything. I cannot understand the depths of such sadness; the desperation Elena had expressed. I cannot understand how that sentiment became this young girl with eyes that are too-blue and a serious, pretty face that reminds me of her mother’s. 

I’m sorry, I don’t know what I am supposed to say. 

“You don’t have to,” I reply, more softly than I intend. It does not suit me, this softness; but I find that I cannot talk to her in any other way. How could she reply properly? How could she understand the grief of loss, and not only loss as is normal, such as death or tragedy—but the loss that is self-imposed? 

All my jagged anger, my hatred at the world; it transforms into something uncertain. She is frowning, and I find that I do not want to make her frown—but cannot think of words that might alter the expression. Did you try looking for them behind the big boulders?

In all my life, I have never experienced this kind of childish innocence. 

The severity of my expression, the hardness, lessens. The corner of my mouth twitches; not quite a smile, but something other than a somber, straight line. “I have not, but perhaps that’s what I’ll try next time—“ 

Or are they… if they are—I could talk to them for you.

This, I do not expect. In fact, it is one of the few times in recent memory that I find myself completely taken aback. I clear my throat. “You could?”

If only they were dead.



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Played by Offline Sam [PM] Posts: 58 — Threads: 9
Signos: 285
Dusk Court Youth
Female [She/Her/Hers] // Immortal [Year 505 Winter] // 13.1 hh // Hth: 15 — Atk: 5 — Exp: 15 // Active Magic: Medium // Secondary Magic: // Bonded: Jack (Ring-tailed Lemur)
#5

kissed my penny and threw it in
prayed to keep my soul


M
aybe she will look back on this day and wonder what she was doing approaching a man on a cliff side. Especially this man, on this cliff side. But maybe she will not think about this day at all, and never wonder anything. But regardless, the next time they meet, Elli will have grown to be older and to be wiser too, but she still will not too old and not too wise. This is not the last time they will meet.

Elli is a quiet girl and she grows shy beneath his presence, smiling just to herself as she watches him carefully. She believes the look he wears is one she had seen in a ghost before. Longing, for something beyond their reaching, they would have to stretch into the past to get it. And it is a look that draws Elliana in. It is a look that makes her think he knew a lot about living like a ghost.

“Okay.” She is easily placated. That will change with time when she learns more about what she wants and what she may have to do to get it. She watches the toughness of his expression, but Elli is not so easily deterred. “Next time?” She questions him, taking a step forward, closer to him. If she were human she would have reached out a tiny hand and tried to place it within his own. “Why don’t we start searching today?” She asks him, head tilting, those blonde locks falling delicately to the side.

Elli rolls her shoulders in response, she was born with the dead speaking in her ears, it is not so strange nor surprising to her. “Sure, but only when it gets dark.” She says and tilts that head again, looking at him with big, blue satellite dish eyes. Only when it gets dark. Only when the shadows come out. That is when the voices start. “Come on, let’s look for your friend.” She skips off as if the dead were not snapping at her ankles.



@Vercingtorix elliana speaks

elliana

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Played by Offline Syndicate [PM] Posts: 158 — Threads: 30
Signos: 1,035
Vagabond Soldier
Male [He/his/him] // 9 [Year 496 Fall] // 18 hh // Hth: 10 — Atk: 10 — Exp: 10 // Active Magic: N/A // Secondary Magic: // Bonded: Damascus (Tartarosian Dragon)
#6


when all the ships have turned to ash
i will be left unharmed, alone
Next time? Why don’t we start searching today? 

I do not expect it. I do not expect the way she draws toward me, rather than away—and I suppose that comes from a lifetime away from children, from not truly understanding them. Our society kept them, largely, separate. At a certain age boys were sent to the academy. Girls, sometimes, were sent to private school to become nurses or maids—but otherwise they were kept quietly at home, keeping house, ensuring when we went to war nothing fell apart. 

By her age, responsibility had been forced upon all of us. Be seen and not heard. Do not distract the adults. A girl her age would never, under any circumstances, approach a man of my stature. Much less make such personal inquiries.

(I wonder, then, if it is strange that I answered them). 

She does not leave room for an argument, however, and I follow her closely as she steps away, to search for my friend who we will not find. 

“What do they say to you?” I ask. The silence between myself and others does not usually make me uncomfortable. But between myself and a child? It seems to echo. It seems to resound. My thoughts grow too loud, and again and again I think of how much easier it would have been had one of us—Bondike or I—been killed.

If I had died? If I had died, no one would have ever known her secret. She would have never been sentence do death through banishment. If I had died, he—she—might have been happy. 

That is a difficult things to come to terms with; and harder still, to think of, when this young girl says she can speak to the dead. I make a grand gesture of searching through the tall grass and around stones; but my soul feels pitted. It feels gutted like a fruit. I also try not to think of how this girl's life has begun with a lie. A tremendous, unforgivable lie. "Does your mother know you are here?" I ask, quietly. I do not confess that I know her. 




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Played by Offline Sam [PM] Posts: 58 — Threads: 9
Signos: 285
Dusk Court Youth
Female [She/Her/Hers] // Immortal [Year 505 Winter] // 13.1 hh // Hth: 15 — Atk: 5 — Exp: 15 // Active Magic: Medium // Secondary Magic: // Bonded: Jack (Ring-tailed Lemur)
#7

kissed my penny and threw it in
prayed to keep my soul


I
f he told her about the children in his homeland, she might have asked why?
Maybe.

Maybe not.

She might have asked if he was one of these boys, and if he reminded her of any girls.
Maybe.

Probably.

Elli peers up at the sky as she begins to walk, so sure he would follow her (is it arrogance? Or childhood ignorance? Are both sinful?). The clouds roll overhead, but the day is still bright and the sky still blue. A serene grin stretches across her lips as she blinks blue eyes, they sweep under long, innocent lashes.

When he asks his question, she turns to him, her gaze sharpens a little, blue eyes bright beneath the gentle sweep of blonde forelock (she looks like her mother here, it is in the way her jaw is set, like it may tilt into either a smile or a frown, just waiting for the right words). She twists to look up at him for a moment, searching his face before dropping her gaze to the ground, humming in her throat as she thinks. “Regrets, mostly,” she says quietly, frowning a little as she looks out, the sun warming her face. This is one of those moments, it sits there as a burden between the blades of her shoulders, that she sounds and looks far older, far wiser, than she is. The dead have done this to her, but Elli does not know a world without them, they gave her life, and so she takes it as any child does when they do not know any better—in stride.

So maybe that answers the earlier question.

Not arrogance, just petulant ignorance.

Her frown deepens as she glances up again, trying to find an answer to a problem she didn’t even understand in his bright gaze. “Things they wanted to say but never could,” she says to him, looks away, shrugs, but she dares to look up at him one more time out of the corner of her blue eye. She takes a deep breath, trying to unwrap all the pieces of a question she has never been asked before. “I think you find your moment of clarity—after.” Only after.

Does your mother know you are here? Somehow this question seems harder than the last one. “Yes,” she says, not sure if it is a lie. “We don’t live far,” she reassures. She shifts quickly, to get the attention off of herself. “If I find your friend, does that mean we get to be friends?” Because she does not know him, but she knows enough that she does not wish to let him go just yet.



@Vercingtorix elliana speaks

elliana

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Played by Offline Syndicate [PM] Posts: 158 — Threads: 30
Signos: 1,035
Vagabond Soldier
Male [He/his/him] // 9 [Year 496 Fall] // 18 hh // Hth: 10 — Atk: 10 — Exp: 10 // Active Magic: N/A // Secondary Magic: // Bonded: Damascus (Tartarosian Dragon)
#8


when all the ships have turned to ash
i will be left unharmed, alone
Regrets, mostly

That is what the dead speak of, then? I am not surprised. It is what the living sleep with. It is what plagues us when we are alone, when we are silent. It is what plagued me on this cliffside before she appeared; and they are what will return to me, when she leaves. 

I say nothing, because there is nothing to say to her truth. The truth, which should be bitter, sounds only matter-of-fact from the young girl’s mouth. Her eyes are so clear, I think; so free of the weight that this magic will carry, one day. I nearly warn her. The dead, they speak to you now—but you do not know them. 

Wait, until it is your mother. Wait, until it is your father. Wait, until your friends clamor for your ear. She is so young, and death seems so far, even when strangers find her with their regrets. Perhaps I am overthinking—overstepping…and yet… 

Things they wanted to say but never could. I think you find your moment of clarity—after. 

She is direct, and then shy, in her glances. I glance down at her, as we wade through the tall grass. I can hear the sea, still; and I can feel it in the humidity. “Or the courage.” 

We are cowards when we live. 

Yes. We don’t live far. I nod, wondering—will Elena find us? I nearly hope for it. I am too severe for children. I know the longer I spend with her, the more likely I am to say something too harsh, to inappropriate. If I find your friend, does that mean we get to be friends? 

I am taken aback by the question. I had been distracted, looking for a way out of the encounter—but when she asks, with such genuineness, I cannot help but allow my attention to snap back to her. She is looking at me, again. She is looking at me with blue eyes that are too serious for such a young face.

“We can be friends either way, Elliana.” I offer her a smile. It is sadder and smaller than I mean for it to be. “The friendship isn’t in the bargain. It’s in that you stayed to help me look.” 




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Played by Offline Sam [PM] Posts: 58 — Threads: 9
Signos: 285
Dusk Court Youth
Female [She/Her/Hers] // Immortal [Year 505 Winter] // 13.1 hh // Hth: 15 — Atk: 5 — Exp: 15 // Active Magic: Medium // Secondary Magic: // Bonded: Jack (Ring-tailed Lemur)
#9

kissed my penny and threw it in
prayed to keep my soul


S
he thinks about him in the silence, and maybe she should be thinking about his friend they were to find, but she can only think about him, him, him.

He is confusing and interesting and she decides right here and now that they are going to be friends and it doesn't really matter that he is so different from any of her other friends (a little older, a little more serious, a little taller) but none of that matters because he is her friend.

He glances down at her, and she thinks, she would like to find him again. And it would not matter if he hides or he wanders far, far away from herm because she was going to find him—

eventually.
Just as soon as she can sneak away again, because she thinks her mother may not like her meeting strange men on cliff sides. Because mother’s do not want children following in foot steps that are far too close to ledges, with far to long of falls waiting for them below.

She likes to think she is so different than her mother, but has no idea about the man that so intricately connects them.

“Or the courage,” she says, agrees. Then she giggles (because death is so far away, and she is too young for courage, she can only hold childish ignorance in her heart) and focuses on what he is saying because it seems incredibly important. But too soon she grows stoic with realization. “So will you hate me when I have to go?” she says hesitantly before lifting her chin a little higher to look into his eyes. Her heart hurt a little in her chest and she is surprised by the sensation but doesn’t say anything. It doesn’t seem like the right time to tell him that. Instead she just gives him a grin, the sadness disappearing as he grows a little playful.

“I won’t ever hate you,” she promises, her voice like a spring primrose, she sounds like her mother, or a little girl trying to be so much more grown up. “I won't even ever forget about you,” she says, her voice a little quieter. She reaches up and plants a kiss on his jaw. “You won’t forget about me, right?” Her mother may not be one for promises, but Elliana is not her mother.

She swings her head back and forth, dropping back into that childish impression of her mother’s  elegant voice. “You can be my secret friend, just for me,” she says, another grin back at him, she blinks, thinking nothing of the fact that little girls shouldn't have such big secrets such as him. “My mom is almost home,” she says. “I have to go,” she says. “Sorry I can’t help you look anymore,” she apologizes before settling into a trot back to her mother’s cottage where Nic would be waiting for her.

She turns back around one last time. “Remember, shhhh, we’re secrets.”

Secrets.



@Vercingtorix elliana speaks

elliana

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Played by Offline Syndicate [PM] Posts: 158 — Threads: 30
Signos: 1,035
Vagabond Soldier
Male [He/his/him] // 9 [Year 496 Fall] // 18 hh // Hth: 10 — Atk: 10 — Exp: 10 // Active Magic: N/A // Secondary Magic: // Bonded: Damascus (Tartarosian Dragon)
#10


when all the ships have turned to ash
i will be left unharmed, alone
If I could hear her thoughts—and perhaps, in a way, I can see them in the way that she looks up at me—I might tell her I am a poor friend. Children, even the most stoic, cannot entirely hide the depth of their eyes, the want there for whatever it is they seek to grasp. If I were a stronger man, I might turn away. I might be cruel now rather than in the future, to save her the pain of knowing me. But I cannot. In part, because of her mother and the way Elena’s eyes stare at me through her daughter’s face. 

Or the courage, she says, and in her voice the severity of men’s cowardice is lessoned. She laughs and I cannot help the way my lips twitch into a smile. “I will not hate you,” I say quietly, but just as seriously as her concern deserves. I swore her mother I would never make promises: but now I say, “I promise.” 

I ought to have waited, I realize, when she delivers one herself. I won’t ever hate you. 

The words take me aback. I do not expect them; and I know I do not deserve them. Yet, there is nothing I can say and when she continues to kill me softly I can only smile. Her words are a reminder of how undeserving of these sentiments I am. I won’t even ever forget about you. You won’t forget about me, right? 

She is small, and quiet, and the kiss against my cheek is as innocent as a butterfly’s wing. I do not smile now. No. My eyes find her, and they are to somber; they are too serious. “You’ve made it impossible,” I say and then smile, to lesson the severity. (I think again of how this is the moment: this is the moment to say something short, and insensitive, and to turn away. And yet I cannot; even as I understand my own nature, I understand my weakness). I do not have the courage. 

“I won’t forget you. We’ll be the best secret friends,” I promise, with a smile. It strikes me in that moment how unalike Elena she seems; how bold and innocent and strangely serious. It strikes me, as well, that her entire life is a lie.

Her entire life. 

“It was a pleasure, Elliana. I’ll keep the secret if you do.” I wink and turn away. I do not continue to search, after her absence. I only find myself wondering what Boudika would have thought of her, would have thought of me. 

There was once, before everything went awry, Bondike had said: You aren’t your father. You deserve happiness—and, well. If you were to have children, you would never treat them like he treated you. 

No, I think. I would be even more cowardly. I would not be able to raise them and still ache for their presence in my life. I cannot remember the last time I had a conversation with something—someone—so innocent. It feels like breaking the surface of the water for air.

I did not find who I was looking for. But I certainly found something else. 





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