Chasing Constellations

Chasing Constellations

A path shrouded in darkness but guided by the stars. || Zodiac Themes || Full

1,364 readers have visited this universe since maccotango created it.

Introduction

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With great power comes great responsibility, and it was the denizens of Capella who were witness to that power gone corrupt. It was in the Age of Chaos that the abuse of magic was rampant until two individuals sought an end to the madness.

With a last spell, magic finally disappeared from the lands, the guiding light of the Crystal Seal leading them to a time of peace. To this day, bards still sing of the heroic tale of Namae and his companion Ewan as they traversed the war-torn land to save humans from themselves. When their story came to an end, another legend was born; those of the Tala, students of the heroes and the chosen few who could channel the power of the Crystal to unlock the forbidden arts.

Eons passed, kingdoms rose and fell, but the Tala remained. Under their watchful gaze peace reigned. They answered to no one but the Crystal and Ophiuchus, the singular authority of the Tala who has existed since the Crystal's conception. As the tales go, he is the only one who can truly hear its voice, relaying its messages to those who can wield its power.

But peace never lasts and the case does not differ in the land of Capella. Trouble brew beneath the surface, despite how tranquil everything appeared. The illusion was finally broken at Briela's swift invasion of the nomad lands between it and Faye, enroaching on the latter country's borders as Briela expanded its territory. There was no warning or sign; everyone, normal citizen and Tala alike, awoke to the news that Briela was ready to invade Faye at a moment's notice.

When the nation refused to heed the Crystal's State's order to stand down, Faye prepared its own arms and openly declared war. The Tala's threat that involvement with the war would forsake their protection stopped any attempt to assist the small kingdom. With heavy hearts, Astraea and Eunomia recalled the troops they'd sent to aid Faye's battle.

The war began, and it was a seemingly one-sided fight as Faye lost battle after battle, eventually retreating into its capital's walls in a final stand against Briela's onslaught. But when all hope seemed lost, the Tala came, pushing the Brielan army back with powers that no human could ever compare to. Finally, Briela admitted defeat, setting down their arms and headed home. The Tala's feats were a grim reminder to all that any who dared disrupt the peace would be justly taken care of.

Just as all seemed to seemed to settle and order was restored, the earth shook and the sky turned red. To the southwest, a bright light shone and when it disappeared, a massive crater had taken the place of the capital of Faye. In that single moment, the country of Faye suddenly lost its head and heart, thousands of lives gone, along with two of the Tala they called their heroes.

Capella was in chaos; uncaring of the consequences, Astraea charged, quickly subjugating Briela's weakened forces as they sought answers for Faye. Meanwhile, monsters roamed the lands, animals once docile attacking humans on sight. People looked to the Tala for guidance, but even they seemed panicked, and for good reason. In the aftermath of the explosion, the Crystal's once perfect form was marred with a crack, the color around it slowly deepening into black. Long-rejected candidates still can't summon their weapon, but they feel the resurgence of magic within. Worst of all, Ophiuchus, leader of the Tala, has fallen ill, leaving him bedridden and unable to guide them when they need him most.

In these times of darkness and chaos, heroes are forged and their abilities tested. Will the Tala prove their worth as legends equal to Namae and Ewan, or are they simply lesser heroes, riding on the coattails of their ancestors?


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              Use the code found in the application/reserves thread. Take note that applications are not first come, first serve. After approval, you have three days to submit a WIP at least, and then a week for the final profile. Failure to submit the WIP will result in your spot being lost. I'm a bit of a hardass when it comes to being a GM. c':

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maccotango

The Story So Far... Write a Post » as written by 9 authors

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ruan Quants Character Portrait: Zuko Dostoevskii Character Portrait: Concepta Mor Character Portrait: Drauni Ilum Character Portrait: Iana Steinfield Character Portrait: Deion Crux Character Portrait: Oriel Enki Character Portrait: Lukas Tierkreis Character Portrait: Alexios Esther Character Portrait: Lynia Verstalt Character Portrait: Reaver Mor Character Portrait: Nora Castellanos

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start

A week has passed since the explosion at Altair and the introduction of the two new Tala. Capella’s chaos continues, but it has considerably grown less hectic in comparison to before. If there was a perfect time to take action, it would be now.

The Tala are all gathered within the Monastery, idling around as they waited for their next move. A meeting starts in ten minutes at the round table that would decide which courses of action to take. Ophiuchus’ absence was a sore blow to their decision-making, but now was not the time to dwell on that. Continuing being indecisive wouldn’t heal him, or bring Leo and Gemini back.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Concepta Mor Character Portrait: Lukas Tierkreis

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The Observatory didn’t get many visitors. Though everyone’s welcome to come by, people were rare to visit. Understandable though, as one had to climb up a daunting number of steps to reach the top. Tthat was exactly how Lukas managed to turn the public space into a retreat for himself and others. It was an area where one could think without worry or distraction.

Golden eyes stared blankly as he groggily woke up from his nap. Overhead, the ceiling reflected the same sky that it covered, making it appear as if there was no roof there in the first place. His sleepy voice felt loud in the peaceful harmony of the room, but the matter was important. “Concepta, when is the meeting?” Forcing himself into a sitting position, he stifled the yawn that threatened to break through. Over the years he’d accumulated a number of things to decorate the once-empty space, the futon and cushions on the floor chief of them. There was a tower of unreturned books stacked against the wall, and a half-finished chess game just beside it. Lukas was fairly certain if he kept this up he could probably live here instead of his room.

He couldn't remember where he’d placed his personal computer, and a cursory search of his surroundings didn’t reveal its location. At the very least, his shard remained slung around his neck in a pendant. “Have you seen my watch? I can’t remember where I put it.” Though he wasn’t sure where exactly Gemini was, he was rather certain she was within earshot. Tala tended make their presence known unless they made a conscious effort to do the opposite.

“Never mind, found it.” Upon standing, he located the small device just outside the mat. In one smooth movement he bent down and strapped it on. He ran fingers through his blond hair in an effort to tame the bedhead that had no doubt occurred during his short nap. Soft violin strings resounded in his ears when a familiar head of purple hair came into view. “You don’t happen to have or see a mirror around…?”


Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Concepta Mor Character Portrait: Lukas Tierkreis

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Silence permeated the room, only the soft breathing and slight movements of the two in the observatory acting in contrast to the silence. With the knowledge they would be meeting soon the girl sat herself down on the floor in the corner of the room, idling on her phone. No desire to mingle with Tala outside of Lu stirred within her, even Oriel or her brother seemed like work. Even if she couldn't bring herself to be real with Lu, she felt more relaxed and comfortable around him. Conserving energy to withstand an entire meeting with these people would require some of that tasty relaxation. Her elder in the room had been sleeping for a good while, his slumber not bothering her in the slightest, she had plenty to read on her phone. The reading material was not novels, but scripts to plays and movies.

Concepta was engrossed into what she was reading, so much so that when she heard her name spoken it took good willpower to not squeal and jump out of her skin. Placing a hand on her heart, the small girl exhaled harshly before checking her phone for the time. "Ten minutes till the meeting Captain," her words were orderly and flat, the tone of her voice deepened to come closer to a male member of the military. Her own words however had given her cause to rise, thankfully Lu had woken up as hadn't asked the time she'd never have noticed it tick by. She observed him scan the room in a search for his watch, which as quickly as he asked for help he found.

Placing a hand on the ground, the purple haired girl pushed herself off the floor. Despite there being cushions around she had a habit of ignoring them and sitting in the corner. Interlacing her fingers, Concepta stretched her arms into the air, the rest of her body following until she stood on the tips of her toes. A soft noise came from the girl during the stretch, and a puff of air escaped her when she released it.

Spotting the blonde man run his fingers through his messy hair, Concepta blushed a little unable to properly control her reaction to how cute that was. "M-Mirror? No reports on a sighting of a mirror Captain. Don't think we have one in this base." Not that she would really know, her relations to the observatory was through Lu. If not for him she would never bother to traverse the sodding stairs leading to it. So she never brought any of her things up here, or taken much of an inventory.

The meeting was soon, and while the youth was aware she should hurry over there, the thought only made her stomach sink. Why did the other Tala have to be so scary?! "I wouldn't want to leave you unguarded Captain, I'll wait to escort you to the meeting." It was rather obvious who would be escorting who, but she couldn't abandon her character halfway through now could she.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ruan Quants Character Portrait: Oriel Enki

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Candidates stared in awe as one Tala hit her stride, hitting bullseye after bullseye at the shooting range. Where others might shy away, Ruan found the sound of her bullets flying a welcome rhythm. She’d been spending more time down here the past few days, the task of practicing a welcome distraction against more unwelcome thoughts. She could cry once this was over; right now she needed to sort the world out before she could sort herself.

Magenta eyes closed as she finally stopped, knowing it was about time for the meeting. A brief glance at her wristwatch confirmed it; only ten minutes more. It was about time she got moving. It wasn’t a discussion she was looking forward to, but it was a responsibility they needed to own up to. They’d been putting it off for too long now. With a sigh, she retracted the revolver into its alternate form and placed the shard within a small compartment on her glove.

Cheerfully waving good bye to those she recognized, she climbed up the stairs and up towards the main hall of the Monastery. A small smile formed on her lips as she saw the name plate. Despite being a place of worship, Rue personally found it closer in function and facilities to a military base, though it was admittedly a lot more comfortable than one.

The Monastery itself was embedded into the mountain, making use of the natural cave system. It was the perfect communion between nature and technology. Personally, Rue was more thankful for the latter. She could only imagine how many candidates would get lost everyday if they couldn't access a map of the area via their private network. The blonde no longer needed it, evident as she confidently navigated the twists and turns to atrive at the main library. For some reason, at least one Tala was always at the library unless it was the dead of the night. Even then some of their nightowls would be pouring over the books if they felt the need.

Though majority of their information was digitalized, many kept the traditional of pen and paper, particularly older stories and iterations of books. Aries wasn’t personally fond of reading, but it was an excellent area to nap and more than once she’d bumped into Lukas here when they were both craving an afternoon siesta. She looked longingly to one such corner before forcing herself onwards. Nap later, meeting first.

Her steps eventually lead her to a more deserted section of the library, a giant grin breaking out when she recognized a familiar head of blond hair. ”Aha! I knew I’d find someone here.” Without further warning, she gave Oriel a hug from the back, placing her chin atop his head. Might as well take advantage of the fact he was seated. “Ori, it’s almost time for the meeting. We better start moving unless we want Ia going bitch mode on us for being late.” She paused. “Which is admittedly amusing, but maybe another time.”



Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Iana Steinfield

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Water dripped slowly from the fountain, an old relic that Iana never bothered to fix. Though it bothered many looking for peace she found the rhythm soothing, a constant compared to the otherwise unpredictable world. It hadn't been very long since the previous Leo and Gemini fell from and two new Tala took their place. They were inoffensive on the surface as most Tala were, but seeing them for too long reminded her of days past. They were living in the shadows of their predecessors while she, herself, had to fill the shoes of her own mentor. It wasn't as though she desired leadership from the beginning. She never had the ambition of Ruan, the protective spirit of Deion, or discipline of Lynia.

Yes, Lynia. She was the one who suggested that Iana be the next in line for leader, but Iana couldn't understand why. The other woman had always been more assertive. She had the perceptiveness to see through every military's strategies so in what way could she see Iana succeeding where others couldn't? Was it merely a matter of her being the (now) most powerful? It couldn't have been. Power had little to do with leadership. Sure they went hand in hand, but there was a reason they initially chose Leo over her. Iana always considered herself less of a leader and more of an independent. She only ever followed behind Leo due to the Tala's charisma and entirely logical explanations. Surely someone else could do that as well right?

The fact that Lynia never proposed anyone else troubled her.

Why does it matter if she did?

She needed to stop waffling around her feelings. Originally she'd come in order to sort out her doubts about becoming leader; however, there was no ignoring the truth. She chose to accept the position knowing all the consequences that would follow. Hell, Iana remembered coming back to the same place only a short while ago to meditate on whether or not she ought to accept Ophiucus's offer and coming to the same conclusion that she was now: there was no one else. She'd absorbed the same qualities of Leo that got her to follow him in the first place and she needed to be the one who passed those on to the next Tala.

"Miss Steinfield?"

Iana opened her eyes.

"Yes?"

"The meeting is in ten minutes. I've come to escort you."

"Thank you, but I will be fine on my own."

The man nodded before leaving the secluded space. Iana smiled as she stood and brushed the dirt off of her clothes.

She left for the round table with renewed determination and hope, regardless of whoever else felt the same way.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Deion Crux

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No matter what has happened. No matter what has been done. No matter what has been said. The scenes played over and over again before Deion like a film solely meant for his eyes. There was no escaping from it for even through the night he has been haunted by it relentlessly, that incident. It made him wonder when he would go mad, maybe it was just around the corner waiting for that one final stroke. The idea made him smile out of the blue, a smile of sarcasm of his own morbid sense of irony. He shook his head and reached for something inside his pants' pocket. His expression slowly twisted into that of a distant forlorn as he leaned on his chair, meant for his Tala representation.

That's right, Deion was already at the round table waiting patiently for the others to arrive. When he was informed the meeting was about to start, he just made his way to it without another thought, following the flow provided to him by the summon. That was something he needed and his reason was not because he wanted to be an early bird or anything as nice as to uphold good morals. "Distractions... Someone, distract me." But, it seemed arriving too early just gave him a moment to himself which he didn't want to have. He closed his eyes trying his best to drown his thoughts into the silence of darkness, but it had a different effect. It instead dragged him deeper into the hole where the ghost of his own making had a strong grip on him.

"It should have been me... me... not them..." Those words played inside his head like a convenient loop as the hand inside his pocket tightened its hold on whatever object was present within. "Forgive me..." It flowed out of his lips like a cold whisper of the rain which was followed by a lone drop of tear from his eye as he slowly opened them reflecting a lifeless gaze so similar to that of a corpse. With his other free hand, he traced the tear when a knock echoed within the room. Deion quickly wiped away the mark of his shadow and a sparkle of life returned to his eyes as if his earlier version was but an illusion. Right now, he has a distraction, a man entered. "Mr. Crux."

Ah, this was the one who informed him before the the meeting was about to start. "Yes?" He acknowledged the man. "The remaining Tala had been informed though they have yet to arrive, should we escort them?" Consideration isn't it? For him, who have arrived first. That was kind, something he really didn't deserve. "There's no need, they'll come soon enough. Thank you for the offer though." There was a smile for the man who nodded his head and then left afterwards. That smile disappeared once Deion was left again on his own as he sighed and now placed both of his hands before him. There was not a dirt in sight, but for a brief second, he saw them covered in blood as his eyes widened in shock. Then it dawned to him, it was a trick of the eye as his hands were clean again, he laughed to himself and slowly settled his head on the table and soon silence covered him.

"I'm a lost cause, aren't I?"

Deion closed his eyes, hoping that he would just fall asleep and not think of anything, then again, there was going to be a meeting soon, but they could just wake him up when the other Tala arrive. They probably wouldn't mind that much, right? So for now,

"Let me disappear."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Deion Crux Character Portrait: Alexios Esther

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#, as written by Verix
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        ALEXIOS ESTHER
        ━━━━━━━━━━━━━━ IT'S A SKY FULL OF DYING STARS.

        Alexios often daydreams about destruction, and how it manifests from an idea into a person whose grip is like iron and makes him taste blood. It’s words are sweet, and urge him to reach out and grasp power that he could easily obtain if he would just let go. Release all inhibitions and take control of the situation he knows is doomed.

        A greater man would have fallen into temptation, but as fate would have it Alexios is too much of a coward pessimist, and simply does not care enough for such a thing to happen. He wants no fame, he denies all glory, and most of all he abhors all authority.

        It was not surprising that he came to such a conclusion though; from birth his whole life had been dictated by those who had power and hung seniority over his head — antagonizing him and pushing buttons even he didn’t know he had.

        It disgusted him how people so unworthy of their titles should decide on how the masses lived, and it was an utterly revolting thought to think he was in a position to do so too - making his self-loathing even easier to explain.

        “Mr. Esther, if you would please follow me. The meeting is about to start.”

        Purple eyes shot open in surprise, but quickly he schooled his expression into one of disinterest and nodded silently. He uncrossed his legs from a sitting position, and breathed in a deep sigh of resignation before steeling himself for an hour of boring and mundane work.

        Surely they would discuss the issue of Ophiuchus’ health, a matter Alexios knew extensively of, and would banter what course of action should be taken to ensure peace within the nation. It was the same discussion, with different variables every time and to say Alexios was sick of it was an understatement. There was a reason he denied his past, and that was so he didn’t have to deal with the people that came with it.

        People like Zuko whose arrogance surmounted even the highest of mountains, and hard-asses like Lynia who felt as though they carried weight of the universe on their shoulders. If Alexios was being honest with himself however, he would see that his cynical outlook made him fit right in with the people he claimed to hate. Such acceptance would mean he had come to terms with that line thinking and if there was anything he was good at it is was denying the truth that surrounded him.

        The walk to the board room was quite, as though words would break whatever impersonal barrier stood between him and his escort and Alexios was happy to comply to such a task. He knew there was no reason for the man to come after him, but it was better to be safe than sorry and so he ordered an escort to fetch him when the time came as to not be late and make a fool of himself.

        “We’re here, Mr. Esther,” with a wave of his hand Alexios dismissed the escort and silently thanked the man by giving him a curt nod.

        The door between him and the meeting seemed all imposing, but Alexios knew one way or another he would have to face the music and so he did it quietly and without humiliation.

        A flicker of annoyance crossed his features as he spotted a brown haired man lying on the table, seemingly asleep.

        ‘Typical.’

        Gracefully he walked to his designated spot, a away from Scorpion and right next to Libra. Alexios pulled out his phone and wrote a quick message to his childhood friend Reaver asking him when he was due to arrive.

        He quietly snapped his phone shut, and pocketed the device in his pants before staring ahead, weighing out the pros and the cons of waking Deion up. Knowing the struggle of finding sleep, and assuming many of the Tala did so too, Alexios decided to let the man be and would only wake him a minute before the set meeting time.

        Collectively he hated the Tala, but on a singular basis he could stand them enough as to be a decent human being.


        Posting format by the bae, mac.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Drauni Ilum Character Portrait: Deion Crux Character Portrait: Alexios Esther

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#, as written by Jedly
”He has something even deeper than justice inside- kindness to cut through the darkness”

Drauni was never a morning person. Although light was unable to permeate the levels upon levels of rock between himself and the surface, his internal clock should have some form of a difference. But apathy had taken a hold of the youth after recent events panned out and rippled through the community. He felt like he was being strangled, constricted, suffocated by something he had no form of defense against. But this listlessness only manifested when Drauni was in his own company. Which was thankfully only a small portion of his daily routine.

The young Tala let out a groan as he sluggishly rolled over in his bed. Unfortunately, he ended up losing control of the barely existent amount of momentum he had and ended up planting his face into the bedroom floor. To add insult to injury, his legs decided to drag the bed sheets along completely off the bed, meaning he would have to spend an extra five minutes tucking them back in.

By the time his recharge station had been made with a prim appearance, he proceeded to clothe himself in the black attire he fancied. The apparel contrasted heavily with his hair, one of his defining traits, aside from the high concentration of energy and adrenaline always pumping through his veins. He didn’t even attempt to make his hair, since bedhead was his natural style. Drauni did a thorough once-over of himself in the mirror, to make sure that everything was in order and that Ruan hadn’t pulled a prank on him during his sleep. Thankfully, there was no ”I’m a shit shot” drawn in marker on his forehead.

The routes and turns of the cavern system was burned onto his brain at this juncture. Although he was a relatively new addition to the group, the boy was known for his ability to quickly adapt. And taking the same routes every day become so monotonous that of course he memorized which way lead to the board room, and which lead to the girls’ bathrooms.

Now a normal person would politely and gently open the door, and greet those within the room in the same manner. But when Drauni kicked open the door and shouted at all descibles, ”GOOD MORNING, TALA,” any form of etiquette flew out the nonexistent window. Unfortunately, only a sorry excuse for a crowd was able to bare witness to his grand entrance. The white-haired boy’s eyes instantly homed in on a certain brunette, who was in the midst of or was about to embark upon his slumber. Either way, that didn’t stop him from rushing over while shouting, ”DEIOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOON!!! WAKE UP!!!”. With arms stretched out wide, Drauni began to shake the older-brother figure awake. He also noted the other important individual present within the room, ”Oh, and good morning to you too, Mr. Esther!” The boy grinned and took his own seat next to Deion and began to tap on the table to a rhythm playing in his head. It was only a matter of time before the others would make their appearances. He wasn't high on the hierarchy at all, so his opinion probably would be heavily weighed. But hopefully it would mean something.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ruan Quants Character Portrait: Zuko Dostoevskii Character Portrait: Oriel Enki

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His eyes were like that of a cat, in the sense that those ever gazing orbs of his seemed to function like a two-way mirror, reflecting back what he saw but never what he felt. It unnerved people, when he'd look at them, make them feel like they were under scrutiny. Like he was picking them apart. A lot of the times he was, but mostly he did it because it would make people squirm. It wasn't the sadistic kind of pleasure, no, it was simply something he did because they expected it of him.

Story of his life, really, living up to expectations. Always being told he could be better, always being compared to somebody else. A pattern so unique to him that it might as well have been his fingerprint. The Tala wasn't any different, though initially he had not only expected, but actually, genuinely wanted it to be. Wishful thinking, perhaps. He should have known that all the work he was putting in was just going towards the filling of somebody else's shoes. And of all of them, it just had to be Leo. The previous leader. Of course.

His candidacy had mislead him at first. Things went well. He was actually praised. A prodigy, they called him. He swelled, like an exotic bird looking to mate. It ruffled his ego as much as it did his feathers, so to speak. What wasn't there to love? Then the incident occurred, and it scarred him. Quite literally, in fact, as in that moment as he realized he had gone too far, he made a split-second adjustment that turned a would-be death into the major injury of one, and the moderate injury of another. The student was hospitalized, naturally, and Zuko himself was left with a pretty nasty scar. The event branded him. Chained him in stigma.

It was something he lived with now, and his first week as the new Leo so far hadn't proven easy for him. It wasn't odd for the others to judge him, but there was one Tala in specific that just drove him over the edge. A member he looked up to, in fact, one that partially drove his desire to become one of them. Aries. Ruan Quants. The number two. The way she seemed to treat him. Like she wouldn't even give him a single thought, let alone a second.

It offended him. Not in a way that angered him, but anguished. She, in all rights, was a role model of his and seemed anything but impressed with his mere existence. He still looks up to her, but he notices how she looks at him and the way she changes when they interact versus how she interacts with the others. It hurts him, but instead of letting it show he puts on a competitive edge with her. If she can't see herself, he'll have to show her. That sort of thing. Again, wishful thinking.

He had been at the library since rather earlier in the morning, those cat-eyes of his glued to a book. His interest in literature wasn't exactly something he was public about, but he didn't really attempt to hide it, either. It wasn't rare to find him buried in pages there from time to time. There was a summit to happen that day, and a compulsive glance at the time told him that the meeting was to occur twenty minutes from then. With a sigh, he found himself broken from the trance the book had placed him in and now watched the time as it counted down. He believed himself to be alone.

After about ten irritating minutes passed, and two attempts to get back into his book, Zuko made the motions to leave when the silence of the library was broken. He and the source were separated by several rows of book-shelves, but he didn't necessarily need to see the source to identify it. He recognized the voice. Of course he had. Of course she was here, now. Aries had been talking to another, but Zuko hadn't quite heard who. She mentioned, however, that they should do exactly what Zuko meant to do. If all of them were to make it on time, that meant that he would, at least temporarily, need to go seen.

Hoping to avoid any eye contact, he kept his eyes on the ground and quickly traversed out of his row and then down along the line of them all. Because he a) didn't see where he was going and b) had made a miscalculation of which row he needed to cut through to leave, he found himself turning into the area with the people he was trying to avoid.

Sensing their presence and seeing them out of his peripheral, Zuko froze, deer-in-the-headlights style with his eyes still locked on the ground.

"Fuck." It had been said quietly, to himself.

Awkward.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Drauni Ilum Character Portrait: Deion Crux Character Portrait: Alexios Esther Character Portrait: Reaver Mor

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    Whoops. Ten minutes to go, and he was actually going to be late for the meeting with everyone else. It wasn't like it was on purpose, either, but Reaver wasn't exactly the holder of a sense of time. It was a good thing when he was talking his walk, he had actually wandered close enough to the meeting room's location where it wasn't going to end up in some sort of mad dash to the finish line. Though, if Reaver was going to be honest with himself, had his phone not gone off when it did, he'd probably be heading farther away.

    Pulling off to the side of the hallway, the male blinked as he pushed up his glasses and began to text a short reply along the lines of being there within the next minute or so... Hesitation taking over before he could hit send. Even though he knew he was going to go, even though he knew he had too, everything inside his head just seemed to tell him a flat out nope.

    His pride over the entire situation felt popped. And he knew, no matter how many times he tried to tell himself otherwise, it was because he was jealous. That was just how it was going to have to be though. Even if he couldn't be a leader, he could still make himself plenty useful to help Ophiuchus. Besides, wasn't Reaver the one who constant murmured himself something about changing for the better since everything went to shit?

    He knew he was an ass with a sore ego anyway, hitting the send button finally as he let his memory of the directions take over. Knocking and listening before he opened the door. For a minute, it seemed pretty loud, but it... was just Sagittarius from looks of it, waking up Taurus. At least he wasn't one of the last people filling in. Smiling, or at least trying too, Scorpio took his seat as he struggled to find the words for some sort of greeting. "Morning," Reaver's eyes glanced too Alexios, hoping it wasn't going to seem too noticeable. "...How is everyone doing?" A little bit directed towards Deion and Alexios, it was clear Drauni was probably going just fine for the time being. Still, it was probably a nicer idea to address all three of them, rather then just the pair.

    Maybe he could actually manage to keep himself in check after all.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ruan Quants Character Portrait: Zuko Dostoevskii Character Portrait: Oriel Enki

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#, as written by Phonic
Another stifled yawn. Oriel - internally, of course, because libraries were supposed to be quiet - chided himself for his disinterest. Not that he had ever found books to be wildly entertaining, of course, but he had never been opposed to reading as long as a story actually managed to capture his attention. Currently, it seemed that none were, a various selection of novels and art encyclopedias sprawled out on the floor in front of him. He chalked this up to distraction, which was all the more disappointing considering he'd visited the library in hopes of a distraction. Pouring himself into something even remotely creative had always been a source of comfort to him. It reminded him of home, of his time in Eunomia, but not even its usual reassurance could keep his thoughts at bay.

Things had been rough for the past week. Though it wasn't a truth he liked to fixate on, not even he was blind enough to argue with that. The Crystal's newfound crack, Faye and Briela's relations, the Tala's leader... all could be mended, somehow. However, people had died, and Oriel was still grappling with the fact that those lost would never be coming back.

Of course, these losses didn't mean it was the end. The Tala were meeting today, and with their combined efforts, Oriel was sure they could think of some solution that would turn their current circumstances around, or at least make use of them. Given the dire times, Oriel was quite aware of just how much was riding on today's council going well. Which was probably why he was in the library in the first place, seeking distraction, but instead thinking way too much...

He sunk into his chair, grabbing the nearest book and burying his face into its pages. He went to let out a groan, but remembering where he was, settled for a small, deflated noise that hardly covered all he had wanted to express. A sigh came next, as he tried to change his train of thought. Which he did. In fact, he almost entirely forgot about his frustration when he realized that book draped across him was a cookbook open to the most lovely looking tiramisu and he needed to know how to make it immediately.

He sat up, pulling his legs into the chair and criss-crossing them as his eyes skimmed through the recipe, unconsciously mouthing the words as he read. Lost in doing so, he became oblivious to his surroundings and would have completely missed the presence of another Tala had she not spoken first. It was just as he began looking up that he was pulled into an embrace from behind.

He glanced up at Ruan, his lips spreading into a wide grin. "Heh, guess I can't hide from you," he joked, closing his book and giving it a gentle toss toward the ones strewn about on the floor. "Ohh, right! I didn't realize it was now. Damn, what time is it?" He gazed down at Ruan's wristwatch, as he didn't wear one of his own, taken aback but how much time had flown by since entering the library. Oriel laughed, looking back up at her. "Tempting, but because I don't have a death wish, timeliness might be best."

He wriggled his way from her grasp, snatching up all the books at his feet and setting them in a pile, making a mental note to return later and put them away. Oriel's legs felt like jelly as he stood, having sat in awkward positions for much too long, and he leant forward to touch his toes. Through his legs, he noticed a figure standing off a ways behind them, just barely in sight. He quickly shot up, turning to face whoever was there and immediately recognized them as the new Leo - whom he wasn't as acquainted with. He grinned, shooting a glance back at Ruan. If there was any tension there, Oriel was oblivious, turning back and waving enthusiastically.

"Zuko! Ah, good timing! We were just about to head down to the meeting, wanna tag along?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Concepta Mor Character Portrait: Drauni Ilum Character Portrait: Deion Crux Character Portrait: Lukas Tierkreis Character Portrait: Alexios Esther Character Portrait: Reaver Mor

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The blond always found her constant personality change strange, but it an interesting quirk that simply made Concepta who she was. He liked how unique it made her seem, both as a Tala and as a person. Maybe that was why she was akin to the Crystal.

”Thank you then. Who knows what we’ll encounter on our way. There’s strength in numbers after all.” Lukas played along with it a bit, wondering just how easily Gemini could get into a different character. He wasn’t even trying to copy the tone yet he was already struggling with emulating a stricter manner of speech. Acting truly wasn't for him; he was much too comfortable in his own skin. ”Let’s move out. Who knows what the General might do if we’re late.”

From there, the two slowly made their way down the stairs, a feat that probably took at least five minutes considering how far up the Observatory was. Fortunately for them, the meeting room was only a few doors down from the bottom of the staircase. Come to think of it, that was likely why so few people came up to the Observatory. While this area wasn’t particularly exclusive to the Tala, there was an unspoken rule that candidates shouldn’t enter these halls without reason.

The door was already open to the room, likely forgotten by one of the more energetic members of their crew. “Good morning.” The short phrase and polite nod was all the greeting he offered to the other Tala already in the room. The quiet hum of a violin was what caught his attention, looking towards the glass window. Just beyond it, the Crystal pulsed with its faint pink light. Even from here he could see the black spot that was the worst of their concerns.

Lukas took his seat to the right of Iana's, blue eyes quietly observing the atmosphere of the room. Only four other members were left, and he believed they would come shortly, especially considering one of them was Iana herself. He truly believed he wasn’t needed in the meeting to come, but Aquarius demanded everyone’s presence. He wasn’t one to refuse her orders.

For now, he contentedly sat in his chair, absorbing the small noises everyone made as they tried to ease the increasing tension in the room.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ruan Quants Character Portrait: Zuko Dostoevskii Character Portrait: Concepta Mor Character Portrait: Drauni Ilum Character Portrait: Deion Crux Character Portrait: Oriel Enki Character Portrait: Lukas Tierkreis Character Portrait: Alexios Esther Character Portrait: Reaver Mor

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The way Ruan stiffened as she grew aware of the new Leo’s presence was obvious; it was good that Oriel wasn’t really the type to notice such things. Otherwise, he’d never have called out to the man. “Yes, why not join us? We’re all going the same direction anyway.” Her tone, however, was anything but welcoming. It was dry, leaving no room for Zuko to refuse but making it obvious that she wasn’t pleased with how the situation had turned out. Magenta eyes coolly met his gaze before turning back towards Ori, who was able to defuse some of the tension brewing in her gut with his mere presence. She knew it was unreasonable hostility, but she just couldn’t help it. The pain from losing Leo was still fresh and looking at the male only served as a bitter reminder that he was truly gone.

She pushed the grim thoughts to the darker recesses of her mind and faked her best smile. “And onwards!” With forced cheer, the blonde lead the way to the meeting room, the trio remaining more or less silent on the way there. She found it difficult to keep talking in Zuko’s presence, and so dodged conversing altogether by walking ahead of everyone else. Not even Ori’s presence could fix the rift that existed between him and the lancer. Only time could, which was a resource they had precious little of at the moment.

The doors were closed when they arrived and she shoved both wide open, making her presence known as everyone in the room turned towards the sudden noise and movement. “Ha! We’re not late. ‘Morning guys.” Many visibly winced at her loud voice, which finally brought some genuine amusement into her grin. The fact one of those most perturbed by her appearance was Drauni only brought her further satisfaction.

Without bothering to close the door behind her, she took her seat to the left of Deion, spinning her chair a couple of times before finally settling down. Placing her elbows on the table, she cradled her face on her gloved hands, looking at everyone else in the room. There was much too serious a tone for her liking, but she wasn’t certain as to how to relieve the tension. Behaving as she usually would seemed like Ruan’s best bet. “All that’s left is our o-so-great leader, we can finally get started on how we can kick ass.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ruan Quants Character Portrait: Zuko Dostoevskii Character Portrait: Concepta Mor Character Portrait: Drauni Ilum Character Portrait: Deion Crux Character Portrait: Oriel Enki Character Portrait: Lukas Tierkreis Character Portrait: Alexios Esther Character Portrait: Reaver Mor

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A smile broke through her act as Lu tried to play along. He was most certainly not an actor, so his vague attempt seemed cute and endearing to the youth, seriously, did either of them need to be cuter? With the smile on her face her hand raised to give the Captain a salute, following him as they departed down the great staircase. They weren't rushing but goodness these did these stairs have to go on for so long? Truly it was the only negative of Lu's little hideaway. Just a few years prior this lass probably would have lost her breath climbing stairs for so long, if one thing at least the candidate training helped her there.

From the foot of the staircase it was a only a few more doors until the diffident duo arrived the meeting hall of the glorious Tala. Where a group of outrageously powerful individuals would ram there opinions into each other accomplishing nothing. Until of course big army diplomacy, better titled 'I'm stronger then you' diplomacy, came into play and ultimately one or two people made the actual decision. For being one Concepta had quite the negative outlook on the Tala.

Upon entering the meeting hall Lu greeted the cast that had already assembled, and as she had arrived with him she felt no obligation to introduce herself to the room. It compensation she provided a slight wave to the group, before shifting her hands into the pockets of the coat she wore. Striding to her seat, the purple haired girl rested herself in it informally, bringing her foot onto the chair with her and putting her arms around the knee.

The doors flew open, revealing the rest of the supporting cast, Rue was of course full of energy, and in her wake was Ori and Zuko. On noticing the third she took her gaze away from that group, being the only Tala she had pleasure of witnessing giving injury to a person he had a special place in her intimidation list. Only the lead role was missing now, all the others were in this room, to say she felt tense would be an understatement, she always felt this way when they assembled. The tense situation did however give her more self awareness, enough to realize that having her leg up on the chair like his was probably not a great idea while wearing a dress. Quickly and quietly she placed her leg on the floor, blushing a little and looking towards the floor as she waited for the meeting to commence.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ruan Quants Character Portrait: Zuko Dostoevskii Character Portrait: Concepta Mor Character Portrait: Drauni Ilum Character Portrait: Deion Crux Character Portrait: Oriel Enki Character Portrait: Lukas Tierkreis Character Portrait: Alexios Esther Character Portrait: Reaver Mor

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#, as written by Jedly
Drauni’s close friend seemed intent on snoozing away the minutes, as he did not budge even an inch during the barrage of incessant poking and shaking. No results at all. The boy, bummed out by this development, sat back down in his seat and began to pout. He was half-tempted to give Deion a wet willy, but the thought of becoming a permanent decoration in the wall wasn’t all too alluring. Esther was not apt to act sentient either, as there was no reply sent towards Drauni’s way. He too was not a morning person, so he couldn’t place any blame on his comrade.

Finally, another lifeform made an entrance. Ah, yes, one of the two spectacled Tala, Scorpio. Reaver was his name. Drauni usually greeted the guy with the godawful phrase ”But wait, there’s Mor~!” There was a special, secluded place in the afterlife for the young jester. But since it was early, he decided to let the guy off easy. Besides, even from behind his lenses, Drauni could tell that Reaver was not in the mood for his usual shenanigans. Although this didn’t seem to be an all too pressing meeting, he decided this was the time to calm down. To mellow out. To go from one hundred to approximately fourteen real quick. And that would require a lot of effort. A lot. So, deep in the cavernous mind of the jubilant Tala, the boy put all of his brainpower into one thing. ”So… Would it be more advantageous to shoot an enemy in the kneecap first or the foot? I mean, they both disable the individual to a certain extent. Oh, oh, what if I shoot them in the foot on one leg, and then the knee on other? Drauni, give yourself a pat on the back and a cookie from Alexios’ secret stash. But remember, it’s a secret!”

Drauni gave himself a motivational pat on the back as soon as the equivalent to the apocalypse strolled in, as she bellowed out her own greeting that easily sized up his own. As soon as they made eye contact, bolts of light only visible by the two surged across the room. He let out a sigh as Ruan took her seat, and somehow, failed in stirring Deion too. But it was obvious the girl was trying to bring the room’s atmosphere from a ritardando to an accelerando. In laymen’s terms, to bring everybody back to the world of the living. Drauni decided to play along and presented his iconic smirk to those present. He then leaned over- literally, Deion and sent a firing solution in his arch-nemesis’ direction. ”Who knows Ruan, maybe we’ll just be ordered to go grocery shopping. Somebody’s been draining our ice cream supplies!”

Shots. Fired. Not really. Drauni could’ve done better and actually thought up some flak, but he didn’t want to start a war before their leader arrived. Which, hopefully, would be soon.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ruan Quants Character Portrait: Zuko Dostoevskii Character Portrait: Concepta Mor Character Portrait: Drauni Ilum Character Portrait: Iana Steinfield Character Portrait: Deion Crux Character Portrait: Oriel Enki Character Portrait: Lukas Tierkreis Character Portrait: Alexios Esther Character Portrait: Lynia Verstalt Character Portrait: Reaver Mor Character Portrait: Nora Castellanos

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Perhaps it was unbecoming of a leader to arrive last to her own meeting, but so rarely was anything her "own" when it came to the Tala. Everything started and ended with the crystal: life, death, wars, peace and especially themselves. Everyone decided on this path for their own reasons but nobody could deny that the crystal chose them. In reality, Iana wasn't even truly the leader of the Tala as Ophiuchus occupied that role in all but name. He guided their training, gave them (or at least Iana) their missions, and spoke to the Crystal Seal like nobody else could.

"I thank you all for coming as I know this was on short notice but given how pressing this matter is, Faye simply could not wait," Iana started, inwardly cringing at the sound of her own voice.

As used to as she was, she hated these sorts of things where she needed to broadcast to her fellow associates. Honestly, she should have put Lynia up to this considering her penchant for discipline. Iana would have preferred sending out carrier pigeons.

Instead she had to project a small girl into the middle of the room from her watch.

"Three weeks ago Euphemia Nero was elected as the next prophet of the religious council, the youngest in two hundred years at the age of seven and one of the few that hadn't come from noble blood. As you can guess her inauguration hasn't been welcomed by everyone, namely the Aurani."

She pressed a few buttons and next to Euphemia an archaic symbol slid next to the blonde girl's picture.

"Though they've held the majority in council their numbers are dwindling and inducting Euphemia only cements Aurani's fall. We suspect that Aurani extremists have been targeting her during her pilgrimage to the Crystal as is customary to their religion so we need to escort her back to Faye unscathed. I'd like Deion to be on the team guarding her and three others while the rest of us either investigate the Aurani's headquarters or shadow Euphemia's carriage. If the enemy is focused on those of us guarding her the rest can work in peace. I will take the investigatory team while Lynia's group shadows Euphemia. If there are no objections I leave it to you all to choose teams."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ruan Quants Character Portrait: Zuko Dostoevskii Character Portrait: Concepta Mor Character Portrait: Drauni Ilum Character Portrait: Iana Steinfield Character Portrait: Deion Crux Character Portrait: Oriel Enki Character Portrait: Lukas Tierkreis Character Portrait: Alexios Esther Character Portrait: Lynia Verstalt Character Portrait: Reaver Mor Character Portrait: Nora Castellanos

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          Deion was already in a deep sleep by the time that Drauni made his grand entrance. That was the only reason that most of the ruckus flew through his ears unheard and unknown. He was currently entwined in his dream filled with guilt and shame. The memories of that day twisted to amplify the darkness brewing inside of him which was covered with his whimsical smiles. It was a good thing his face was hidden from anyone's prying eyes as it was covered by the table and his arms. If it wasn't, they could see his face wrapping in distress and he was still being dragged deeper into that oblivion of his consciousness. It was only the sense of drowning and something hovering or on top of him.

          His eyes flickered open as he blinked a couple of times, adjusting his sight to the dark and the traces of the table. Once, he got the sense of returning to the waking world. He straightened himself and possibly removing the one leaning over him who happened to be Drauni. "Uni. There you are." He started as if he had been looking over the Sagittarius Tala all this time. He even smiled as if he was not even sleeping just a few seconds ago and began to look around him. It seemed that during the time he was asleep, the others had already arrived. He couldn't help but scratch the back of his head. Well, it's a bit embarrassing still to be seen sleeping his head off even more so as the oldest among the bunch. He did decide it was fine, but he can't help but be a bit conscious about it.

          His smiled sheepishly and that turned into a firm line of seriousness once their Tala Leader entered the room. He leaned on his seat and began to listen. He knew that Iana was not used to such briefing, but it was a nice sight seeing her taking her position a bit seriously. However, there was a passing cloud in his eyes, "If only, they didn't die..." Iana would not take the mantle and continue doing what she willed for herself. "If only, I was the one to die." That line of thought continued echoing inside his head as the presentation of the mission continued.

          He was only taken out of his stupor when he heard his name being mentioned. Deion managed to catch himself not to appear as someone who was literally snoozing off mentally. He did hear his name being attached to guarding and three. That was plenty enough already as that meant he was going to lead the protection detail of someone... His eyes trailed to the young girl being projected in front of them with a the familiar symbol of the Aurani beside it. He could guess without being briefed that the Aurani began to exert a bit of a violent force in things that they cannot control.

          "Well, I guess we have our mission then." He started and looked at the others with that gentle gaze of his. "So, I need three over the security detail." It was a function he was accustomed to, but... He stopped himself from thinking ahead. He was not the kind to choose who he wants on his team. That was rather kinda, a tyrant thing to do. He preferred democracy and free choices. Volunteerism does go a long way. "Anyone wants to be a bodyguard?"

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