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Played by Offline rallidae [PM] Posts: 55 — Threads: 16
Signos: 160
Day Court Citizen
Male [he/him/his]  |  9 [Year 498 Fall]  |  15.2 hh  |  Hth: 12 — Atk: 28 — Exp: 29  |    Active Magic: Phoenix Metamorphosis & N/A  |    Bonded: N/A
#1



when our prime has come and gone / and our youth is all but melted / we can listen to this song / so we don't have to accept it


W
hat do you say — to the ones who ask, to the ones you love, and lastly, to the unblinking self — when you are chosen by a god? 

I suppose I should start drafting my answer.

I am Adonai, of House Ieshan: first-born, first-blessing, god-favored. Ask me to tell you how a god speaks and I will say, “Like a reckoning.” Ask me to tell you what a god says and I will whisper, “What you wish most to hear.”

I do not remember the color of Solis’s eyes because I did not look at them when he had summoned me to the base of the dias. Had he whispered my name into my ear? (And you, Adonai. Come here. Sibilant s’s. Gliding i’s.) Had his mouth been sun-hot by my cheek? In moments as fragile as these, you see, you cannot possibly remember everything. You cannot possibly be so greedy. Do you want to remember how it felt, or do you want to remember what you wish you’d felt?

And because we are mortal, we will always choose the second.

* * *

I think—at the very least, I had expected pain. Perhaps it is because I have been drunk on pain for so long that I cannot imagine a world without it. (“How does one know to worship perfect happiness, if one does not first learn misery?” our priests had asked me, when I had been young enough to mistake it for a riddle. “How will one know misery,” I had recited, my eyes bright with silver cleverness, “if one has never felt happy?”) To receive something you were born wanting, born dreaming, as painlessly as a season turns—how strange it is.

* * *

There is a desert below me and a white-moon smile above me, the night like a black ermine stole. I am stumbling on the swallowing sands because, for the first time in a long time, I am drunk not on pain but on life. ‘I am happy,’ I tell myself, the words melding together with ‘because I am chosen.’ I am happy because I am chosen. Because enough of Solterra had chanted my name to the mink-sleek clouds — my name, alone. Cleaved of its Ieshan, cleaved of its nobility. Cleaved of its Firsts and its Gods and its Blessings.

Me, alone.

* * *

I go home first, of course.

* * *

“Where is Pilate?”

The gardener pricks his ears to the house, his eyes perfect spheres on my wings. I had flown here. I think they had forgotten what that looked like. He hesitates, before answering, “Prince Pilate is in the house, Prince Adonai. I will send someone—” But there is no need. “I will find him myself.” A smile forms, now, porcelain between the lips.

I catch glimpses of my reflection in our mirrors as they drift by, pale windows blinking out from storied tapestry. I note with detached interest: my eyes are still of a blue like drowning, yet, with the shadows gone, they are less like the bottom of the river and more like raw lapis in a mine; my hair waves to mid-neck, pale gold, wind tossed; grains of sand rain down as I pass. Shed skin.

Am I better like this? Who can say.

The dragging edge of his spotless white robe lounges in the doorway of his room. I reach it in three swift strides. “Pilate.” The knot of his robe rests on his scaled shoulder, beckoning me to pull him around. I pull—something to touch that is not him. (That would be asking too much of me.) His snakes greet me first, snakes so much like our mother’s they terrify me—he is so much her son he terrifies me. As my breath slows down to even lengths, I wonder: has Pilate ever needed the reassurance of a god’s blessing, when he was born loved by one?

Hours ago I had stood on a sandstone dias. Hours later I stand before a brother made flesh from sand. A shaft of bright light spears in from an open window, painting the dark parts of him gold. He had loved me once.

“You are the first. Can you believe it? Even after—” Even after everything. “You were the first I wanted to tell.”

And I had loved him back.
« r » | @Pilate | adonai's first threads are reserved for pilate exclusively








BRIGHT SPLASH OF BLOOD ON THE FLOOR. ASTONISHING RED.
(All that brightness inside me?)

♦︎♔♦︎

Reply




Played by Offline RB [PM] Posts: 51 — Threads: 3
Signos: 1,095
Day Court Scholar
Male [He/Him/They/Them]  |  8 [Year 499 Fall]  |  15 hh  |  Hth: 11 — Atk: 9 — Exp: 23  |    Active Magic: N/A  |    Bonded: N/A
#2


maybe in this season, drunk and sentimental, i'm willing to admit i love you still. 

M
y brother is king. 

There was a time—as recently as yesterday, or when I woke up this morning in a cold sweat—where the thought of him ruling me was worse than physical pain. I thought it would have killed me. I have spent all my life in his shadow; to see that shadow grow even bigger would have, I thought, been unbearable. All this time and effort wasted being head of house just for him to be head of the country. It was enough to make me sick.

But when he left—really left, when I saw him slink out of the house—all I saw was how small his shadow was underneath the huge arch of the doorway. The height at which the entryway loomed over him made him look like a child. I saw him as he had been: the little boy (but always my big brother) with the lyre, who took naps with me in our sunny courtyard. I remembered suddenly that his eyes were once silver. Watching him from my window, I felt suddenly sick again, my stomach turning, my whole body hot as god-fire for reasons I couldn’t place, until I realized: 

I was afraid. Not afraid of him being chosen. But afraid that he might not come back.
 


My room is cold and gray and dark. I pace it, feeling like a caged animal. I circle the room over and over again like some mockery of Sisyphus, pushing myself into the corners, switching my tail against my legs, taking strides so long they pull at my shoulders until I feel as though my body, held together only by tension, is about to unravel.

Outside my open window, the universe hangs on an invisible string. The night is clean and cool today; I see individual stars freckling its dark cheeks, the white smile of the moon its vibrant centerpiece.

My door is open. When the servants pass, they are so bold as to dart quick glances at me, their faces filled with quiet questions; I hear them whisper to each other once they’re out of sight. I know they must be wondering what is wrong with me—what plagues the unshakable Ieshan.

Even if I were willing to answer them, I am not sure I could bring myself to tell the truth. I stand in front of my gilded mirror and look myself in the eyes. I am handsome, but my face is sallow; the amber in my eyes is washed out by panic; my white robe is bunched around my shoulders, and something about the way it drapes over me like a sheet makes me feel suddenly smaller than ever. 

The truth is: I am a child. I see it now—in the anxious hunch of my posture, the worried line of my mouth. In everything I’ve done for the past two years. In how I’ve acted, like a little boy throwing a tantrum.

The truth is: I am a child, and I miss my big brother.



Pilate.

I am half-asleep. I think at first that I am dreaming. It is late, after all. My brother left long ago; the moon is nearing the horizon now, and the stars are fading back into blackness. After hours of pacing circles in my room, of grinding the tattoo of my hooves into the soft stone floor, I am finally falling into a terrible trance that is not as kind as sleep, but not exactly as cruel as being awake: my eyes drifting closed, my heart a slow drip in my chest.

Pilate. 

My ear flicks. A few of the snakes rise from their sleeping nest against my neck, and slowly, blearily, I myself raise my head. 

Pilate. Something pulls at the knot of my robe, and— 

I jolt awake instantly. My heart pounds in my chest: my body flushes with heat. Suddenly I am horribly and terribly all there in my fire and panic; when I turn to see who it is that has come for me, I almost expect it will be death himself with that scythe and black robe; and there is a sudden heartbreak-pain in my chest, because I know, when I die, it will only be because I am following my brother.

But it is him. Standing in front of me, Solis’ perfect statue. I remember all at once that he is a few inches taller than me; that even in sickness, he is the best of us; his eyes are bright and less blue than they have been in years. There is even a little smile on his funny mouth. And he smells like the outside world. I want to cry.

You are the first, he says. Can you believe it?

I let out the largest breath I have ever held; for a moment my vision goes black with the release of it, and I lose all the weight in my head. He had loved me once.

“I had no doubts,” I say softly. “I have always admired you. Do you know that? And Solis cannot possibly be any harder than me to impress.”

I laugh, and it sounds like a lifetime of pain.

I love him still.

@Adonai





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Played by Offline rallidae [PM] Posts: 55 — Threads: 16
Signos: 160
Day Court Citizen
Male [he/him/his]  |  9 [Year 498 Fall]  |  15.2 hh  |  Hth: 12 — Atk: 28 — Exp: 29  |    Active Magic: Phoenix Metamorphosis & N/A  |    Bonded: N/A
#3



i am poppies in the field / red and cold / i am sleeping alone / and / i am light / i am light


I

have snatched my brother away from the vestiges of a troublesome sleep.

When Pilate jerks awake, his face an ashen gleam besides mine, his shock is reflected in my own—my wings snap out as I ease a stride backwards, my pulse a steady hum in my throat. A tube of ink-spotted parchment is knocked in the process from his desk to the floor, rolling to a stop at my hooves. Of the two of us, I have always been the quicker to startle—is it strange, that Pilate is the steadier one? Mine has always been feigned.

For a moment there is no sound but Pilate’s soft breathless pants as he gathers himself up again, spider-webbing cracks melting back into jadeite scales. I make no move towards the disturbed parchment because a servant has already swept in and retrieved it, small as a sparrow, her eyes flashing demurely to mine before she places the sheet on a pile of unopened letters and melts back into the tapestry of the room. The edge of the parchment flutters in the wind blowing in from a window. I make out the first word printed in a slanting hand before looking away, unnerved by the intimacy of reading.

This disturbance, utterly unremarkable, is over in less than a second. Yet the damage has already been done: my eye is pulled from the parchment to the desk to the room: a controlled, manic display of all that is Pilate and holy. I have not stepped inside it since the night of our father’s funeral and my ensuing morning ceremony, my title of ‘First Prince’ swept aside for the more eponymous ‘Head of Ieshan.’ 

To look upon my brother’s room now is to look upon a relic I’d thought sunk to the bottom of the sea.

There is another of his sleek white robes slung over the back of a chair; a saucer of cold tea besides a cameo of our mother on the mantle; books bound in vellum or leather, because he has always been fonder of them than I, scattered on every dusted surface like a cat that has grown bored of its toys. The familiarity of the scene twitches my brow into a ghost of annoyance before I catch myself, flush the words from my mouth (“Untidy as ever, Pilate.”), and shudder back into the present.

I am a statue on a plinth when I tell him that he is the first. The words leave my mouth in a tangle of sounds and the music of unbelieving laughter. Even after everything, the brother who has ruined me is the first, the only. What does that say about me? That I have lost everyone else? That I never had anyone else to begin with?

“I had no doubts,” he says back, his eyes steady in mine. I swallow and turn towards the open window, where the moon hangs thin and sallow; my smile darkens. “I have always admired you. Do you know that? And Solis cannot possibly be any harder than me to impress.”

“I know, Pilate,” I murmur. The elixir is a drug in my veins; it basks the world in the rosy unreality of dream-fugue, and all hurts—past, present, future—gain a diaphanous air of absurdity. “You have always overestimated me.” And then I laugh, because everything is absurd. What he has done to me; what I swore to myself I’d do back. And at the heart of everything, like a jewel in the palm of a hand: our mother, for making us this way. 

My face is bleached bone-white by weak, sallow moonlight. “Were it not for the God’s intervention, you would’ve gotten what you wanted soon enough.” I lean further out the window, until one push is all I need to fall. I turn to him, my eyes near-silver in the light, my spine pressed into the ledge. 

My wing stretches towards him, until it comes to a rest at his cheek. “I was ready to grant you your victory.”

« r » | @Pilate








BRIGHT SPLASH OF BLOOD ON THE FLOOR. ASTONISHING RED.
(All that brightness inside me?)

♦︎♔♦︎

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