Birthstone Spirits: The Great Escape

Introduction

History
Aires is world that is untouched by earth’s modern man.Technologies thought to be basic necessities on earth are nonexistent which means no cell phones, no cars, and no firearms. Just people, politics, civil war, religion, and the cyclopean.
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For centuries, Harbingers have described the cyclopean as lost souls—people with problems that weren’t properly resolved after death, people who were filled with hate and consequentially turned into monsters. Others say that they exist only by the will of their king Oblivion and that they were never human to begin with.

Despite the differing opinions, there has always discourse between the humans and the cyclopean. It was a balanced battle, head to head, toe to toe until a powerful evil began to encompass the land and overrode all that was good. Oblivion, the king of the Cyclopean, took the entirety of Aires as his prize and began to murder all who opposed him.

The Goddess, not powerful enough to defeat Oblivion alone, created twelve stones and infused their powers into a group of mortals who possessed the will power to manipulate their powers. The people of Aires called them the month warriors—saviors who would vanquish all chaos—demi gods.
They purified the land within a matter of months, but in the midst of the final battle Oblivion vanished, leaving the job unfinished. Soon the warriors were consumed by their gems, trapped inside, and reduced to glimmers on a cave floor.

Kick off Plot
The fate of both Aires and Earth lies in the hands of a group of young people who the prophets identified as matches for the sacred birthstones.
Our story begins with 12 young people who are oblivious to their powers and by some odd coincidence end up in New York’s Central park. Unaware of their destinies and the phenomena lurking deep within their gems, they accidentally embark on a life changing journey of tragedy, friendship, magic, and self-awareness.

The Cyclopean race is back, and the creatures are beginning to leak into earth. Can these children discover the full potential of their destinies before it’s too late?

Stones and Powers

Jan: Garnet: The force of life. Healing. In extreme scenarios revival.

Gwenneth Yuan--China Demon
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Feb: Amethyst: Electrical storms. “Technopath”

Tallyho Abell--Birthstone_Spirits
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Mar: Aquamarine: Wind power, Wind storms.

Dorian Roberts-- Usernamesareadrag
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Apr: Diamond: Manipulation of fresh water ponds, lakes, rain.

Kyle Keaton-- FyreT1ger
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May: Emerald: Animals, nature.

Skylar Grayson-- Zomgitsmarisa
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Jun: Pearl/Moonstone: Manipulation of Oceans, Seas, Saltwater.

Harper Calloway-- Cirrus_SD
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Jul: Ruby: Fire, Heat.

Aria Delaine--dreammuffin
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Aug: Peridot: Light Illusions: Conjuring very few, dopplegangers of a specific form. These illusions hold quality over quantity, therefore they have close to the same strength of the original figure. August can also use their illusions for mirage like effects. (Opposite of October)

Jason Carter--Rikura
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Sept: Sapphire: Telekinesis: Access to the mind. Ability to create mental forums. Travel into the subconscious of others in order to gain information.

Falke der Herrscher-- Listentothetimpani
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Oct: Opal: Dark Shadow Illusions: Conjuring massive amounts of dopplegangers of a specific form. Quantity over quality, the illusions are significantly weaker than the original figure but can over power with numbers. October can use their powers to conceal.

Xabier Sanchez-- Goong125
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Nov: Topaz/Citrine: Connections to the Spirit world. Manipulation of the energy force. Communication with the dead.

Autumn Jones-- Linnea
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Dec:Turquoise: Ice, snow.

Lux Adair-- Lita-Bug
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About Aires: Culture, Geography, and Government
***All of the following images were drawn by TitusLunter on deviantart.com. Check him out!

Although it is an alternate world, Aires is, in many ways, similar to earth in geography and social categorization. There are eight continent-countries on the planet and each of their properties can be compared to those of various regions on Earth.

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The Rose Kingdom is a land that sits on the far west side of the map. It is a land of grassy, hilly terrain that outstretches from sea to sea and most of its people can be best compared to earth’s western European population. While men are considered “superior”, women still have rights and are able to take on unconventional roles without much question. As for the government, it is a strict monarchy with a massive military. The economy is considered to be extremely strong.

There are five important cities in the RK. But the most important city is the capital city, Ve Marie, which was named after one of the greatest queens in history, Queen Marie the Merciful. Ve Marie is home to the Laude palace and the famous World Court House where cases around the globe are tried in honor of the five tenants of good citizenship. One of the RK's most notable monuments is the stone which is rumored to be the exact spot where the Goddess found the twelve birthstones that were later infused into the Month Warriors. The stone also serves as the coronation spot for the RK's up and coming monarchs.

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Constance is a land that sits south of the Rose Kingdom and is closer to the center on the map. It is usually very rainy there and filled with various small bodies of water, swamps, and grass marshes. Its people are from many countries, so many of the people of Constance are of multiple heritages and cultures from all corners of the planet. While men are seen as the bread winners, there is a special appreciation for the woman because of the Goddess and Constance’s reputation as one of the most religious continent-countries. As for the government, Constance is a democracy with ambassadors and elected officials. The economy is moderately strong.

Constance's capital is called Tiara, a city that is home to the continent's political officials, and the best place to find the world's best undertakers. (Funerals are a very big business in Constance because the people who live there pay special attention to the afterlife.) Constance is also the home of the Vinn Compound, an infamous international prison that houses the worst offenders from the RK's World Court. Its most notable monument is the Light Shrine, a grand placebo where the month warriors were rumored to have had their first encounter with the Goddess' messenger angels, Bachs and Siberia.

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Solace is a land in the southwest corner of the world. It is the most agrarian of all of the countries with its flat lands, high grass, and long mountain ranges. Because of its rural and sparse settlements, it is easier for men and women to be considered equal. Many of the people there can be best compared to earth’s European and Native American populations. Like Constance, Solace is extremely religious and the leading government officials are often leaders of the church. Because of their position as the leading food export country, their economy is moderately strong.

Farmers from around the continent flock to Malboro, the capital city, in hopes of selling their goods at the biggest flea market in the world. Malboro is also home to the Grand Harbinger. The Grand Harbinger is Aires' version of the Pope. He is also the leader of the Monastery of the Sun, a religious school that produces most of Aires' clergy and eventually, the next Grand Harbinger. But be aware that Solace isn't the most holy of soils. Down south, the "Savage" Conservation can be found. It is a place where native Solians are separated from the rest of society for "their own benefit" and fed the words of the Goddess by missionaries. Ironically, Solace's dearest monument, Mother's Mound sits nearby. Monks say that the sealed tomb houses each of the month warrior's sacred weapons.

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Hales is a land situated near the center of the map and is brimming with snowy mountains and expansive tundras. Like solace, Hales is pretty rural. However, it is a monarchy and despite its size, it has one of the most resilient militaries on the planet. Men and women are treated equally in rural areas. But in the capital city, there is a distinct separation between the genders. The people there can be best compared to earth’s Eastern European and Inuit populations. Despite their advances in warfare technology, and rich oil supply, Hale's economy is moderately wealthy but not as wealthy as it could be. Most people are poor because any taxes go towards the monarchy and expanding the military.

Despite it's distressed appearance and disgustingly classist social scene, Koratev, Hales' capital, is the technological capital of the world. Underneath its icy expanse rests hundreds of thousands of gallons of "black gold". Most scientific research is done in Hales because of its wide expanse of tundra and free space. Rumor has it that scientists have made advances in developing weapons likened to "arrows shot by a flick of a finger", or guns. This, and many other developments, are what makes Hales a militaristic leader and a great ally for weaker countries during war time.

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The Trading Islands are a collection of connected man-made ports on small growths of land in the Grande ocean. It sits at the very center of the map making it the perfect trading spot. It is best known for fishing, shipping, and pirates. Men and women are equal, but the land has a very “every man for himself” mentality. A laissez faire economy runs awry because of a lack of government management, and constant disputes between the merchants of the Rose Kingdom, Hales, Eastern Isle, and Ira. Because there is no government, the four other countries take it upon themselves to implement their laws on their territory, which causes conflict for each of them back home. Many counties fight to claim this area because of its ability to link the west to Nomansland, one of the most sought after locations. Like Constance, the population is extremely international. Money may run through this land, but it runs right into the pockets of the other governments leaving the economy weak.

The islands' capital, Trade City, is the black market of Aires because of the continent's severe lack of law enforcement. St. Marcus is the most orderly city on the landmass, and even so, it's usually known for its bars and nightlife.

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Nomansland is a tropical landmass in the northeast. It is richest in resources, making it a prize to the more militaristic, developed countries. The people there can best be compared to Earth’s African, South American, and Southeast Asian populations. The people stick close to tradition, therefore, men are expected to be dominant. There is no huge government, but people divide themselves into tribes. There is also no metal currency, so instead bartering is utilized. The base of civil nations is an international campsite where missionaries from the Rose Kingdom, Ira, and Eastern Isle solicit natives about religion conversion and trading opportunities.

The four, "civilized tribes" according to the west, are the Anasi, Mondego, Nubai, and Korobi tribes. There are many more unconnected people roaming in the forest. There is even a tribe rumored to have freckled tan skin, bright eyes, and red hair. The Anasi and Mondego tribes are known to be "the friends of the west" because of their proximity to and cooperation with the base of civil nations. Little is known about the Nubai and Korobi other than the fact that they are rivals and that foolish missionaries are often caught in the crossfire of their war. Natives speak of a secret beach where the messengers Bachs and Siberia frequently appear to advise local sages. Despite the pleas from the base of civil nations, the natives refuse to take outsiders. Any outsiders who dare to venture out to the beach end up dead or missing.

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Eastern Isle is a long continent on the Far East end of the map that is filled with high mountains and tropical jungles. The people there can best be compared to Earth’s far east Asian and East Indian populations. Men are dominant. The land has a figurehead emperor, but in reality the government is run by the military, which is also considered to be strong. Because of how far away it is from the other militaristic nations, it puts a lot of effort into trading with Nomansland and Ira. Its economy is nearly as strong as that of the Rose Kingdom.

Bin City was named after the first emperor of Eastern Isle, esteemed commander Woo Bin, a former warrior. Since his reign, the military has been a driving force in the rise of the nation. Far south of Bin City, there is a temple where a very old landlady lives. Residents say that she sees visions from the era of the first month warriors, and if one is brave enough to hike into the mountains to visit her, she can tell them who they were in that life. Because the announcement of the new month warriors have not been claimed, she is especially useful to people who believe that they are a Month Warrior and want clarification.

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Ira it’s a flat land laden with beaches and deserts. The people there can be best compared to earth’s Middle Eastern and north African populations. Men are considered dominant. It is run by a monarchy, and while it’s army is not as ruthless as Hales’, numerous as the Rose Kingdom’s, or as regulatory as Eastern Isle's it still excels because of the country's advancements mathematics and science. They also have rich resources that are sold and traded in order to leave the economy strong. Pabul City, the capital, is home to the world bank where the wealthiest people of Aires ship their riches (if they avoid the pirates around the Trading Islands) trusting that their assets will be kept safe. Southwest of Pabul is the Warrior's Temple, a place where all four of the inactive seasonal stones are kept and rumored to be the training ground of the month warriors before their final battle with Oblivion. The Grand Harbinger preaches that the stones will only become active if faced with the true warriors.
Nearby is a dark, ominous canyon called the great escape. No one knows what is down below, and anyone who dares to venture in is never seen again. Some believe that it is where the cyclopean come from.

Toggle Rules

1.Respect is always a first.
2.Tolerance of alcohol, homosexuality, sexual themes, violence and the like that may occur. We should try to be adults.
3.Posts written are expected to be at least one paragraph long, no one-liners.
4.No god playing.
5.Characters submitted must have some apparent human weakness. Whether it is physical or character related.
6.***No taking this role-play and running with it without crediting me. I’ve had this problem before! If I find it on another site and I wasn’t the one who hosted it, it won’t be a happy day for anyone.
7.Proper enough grammar is expected, this shouldn’t be a huge issue. Typos are fine if it is obvious to me that you know what you are doing.
8.Characters should not automatically know their powers. It takes training.
9.Questions concerning characters can be sent through a private message or posted in OOC.

The Story So Far... Write a Post » as written by 14 authors

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dorian Roberts Character Portrait: Haru Karokav Character Portrait: Ryou Zerinn Character Portrait: Trent Cress

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The way that singular incidents can change the flow of life has always been fascinating. Grand events, big things like tsunamis washing away coastal towns or the beginning and ending of a war, sent shockwaves through thousands of people, turning them from one path to another, twisting and turning their lives into something else altogether. That is the power of a large event. Perhaps, however, the greater power lies in the small events, the little blips on the timeline that don't really stick out at a glance but that, instead, cause their own chain reaction without much noticing- the straw that broke the camel's back, after all, is far less interesting and noticeable than all of the prior burdens that had been weighing the poor camel down. Two such events had occurred a week ago and the shockwaves that followed began to shift lives onto different paths. Whether those paths lead to ruin or salvation was anyone's guess because fate is rarely so polite as to tell you which one is which.


~*~

As soon as he'd seen Tallyho safely off to bed, as soon as he'd managed to shake Kyle with a brief "we're all tired" excuse, Dorian had found his way to his room, changed, and gone to bed. Well, he'd attempted to go to bed, and that was as much as he could do. His hand throbbed weakly now sending sparks of pain through his body leaving a physical reminder that tonight was no ordinary night. Or, rather, maybe it was. Negative thoughts have a way of making themselves known when we're alone, and lying down in his dark room, staring listlessly out the window at the dull light of whatever moon Aires possessed, they swirled around Dorian unbidden.

Maybe, he thought, this was really all too normal. A month warrior making a scene, more month warriors being offended and distressingly self-absorbed. Had they really changed at all since that day in the cave so many years ago? They still fought like children. They still put themselves first. Hell, here he was again, bleeding freely after trying to help someone. They were older, stronger, but certainly not wiser, and no one could even think about saying something without another meltdown or someone storming off in a self-righteous huff. For the first time in a long time, he fancied himself homesick, allowed him to be swallowed by contempt- for the situation which never seemed to get better, for the others who didn't have anyone else's best interests at heart apart from their own. Would things have been easier if they'd gotten along? Could things have been prevented if they'd concentrated a little more? Possibly, and possibly was enough to worm its way into Dorian's mind.

It was a bitter thought that stayed with him through the night, growing steadily in the morning as they sat through an awkward breakfast. Conversation seemed disingenuous, painfully awkward in a way that only people steadfastly ignoring the elephant in the room could manage. He'd left halfway through, leaving a mild excuse of finding more bandages to dress his wound and an untouched meal in his wake. Not that it really mattered- everyone was more than likely too preoccupied or had forgone breakfast altogether in favor of licking their own wounds in private to really notice Dorian acting slightly off kilter.

The first day had been spent uncomfortably, avoiding people if he could and making brief chit-chat with those he couldn't before offering up another excessively poor excuse (he wondered for a moment if Aires even had begonias and why one should be watering them). This would have been easier on Earth, he knew and finally acknowledged after over three years spent avoiding comparisons for his sanity's sake. The acknowledgement didn't make anything better- if anything it made him even more upset, more uncomfortable, and, when he was uncomfortable, well, he tended to slip even more into himself, away from almost all of the troubling month warriors and a good majority of their equally distressing guardians.

The stage had been set the night before, the players poised to tip Dorian's path in a different direction that led him to an unexpected place. Or, rather, an unexpected person. It was on day two in the midst of another unfortunate breakfast that General Cress himself had swaggered into the room, asking (read: commanding) Dorian to join him for the day. It wasn't that Dorian particularly liked Trent- did anyone, really- but Trent himself represented something more that day; an opportunity, an escape. He was someone who wasn't embroiled in the soap opera that was the month warriors and, major dick or not, he was Dorian's metaphorical life vest. A rude, probably psychotic life-vest, and probably not as good as, say, Stephen the psychiatrist, but a life vest nevertheless. If anything, his general poor attitude reminded Dorian of the fact that, at the very least, he knew what to expect from Trent.

So, a week to the day since the Incident, it was no surprise that, given that Dorian was not with Tallyho or any member of Ryou's close-knit crew, he was with Trent. In the early afternoon hours, the sound of clashing swords filled one of the many quads scattered around the home of the Rose Kingdom's elite of the elite. Both men were set against each other, entwined in a deadly dance of flashing blades and hurried footwork as intricate as any choreographer could imagine. The sun hung high overhead, a heady sort of heat washing over the area that went as ignored by the two combatants as the servant lingering nearby, nervously making sure that the pitcher of water on hand was at least slightly cool and contemplating another hurried journey to find ice.

Trent moved with all the speed and grace of a practiced hand a military control. Dorian, on the other hand, move erratically, the blade too light in comparison to his heavy axe, but he'd improved these past few days ("What good are you going to be if you lose your axe?" Trent had snorted that second day and, really, who was Dorian to argue with actual logic?) The dance was slowing now, sweat collecting and streaming in turn down both of their bodies, movements more sluggish until the blades came to a halt, an unspoken agreement as the two stopped to breath, adrenaline filled smiles tugging on their lips, their eyes still on one another even as the servant hurriedly made to fill two goblets with water and presented them with practiced ease.

Dorian didn't speak, didn't have to as he took a welcome sip of water. There were indeed days where Dorian said very little at all unless provoked by Trent. Other days, usually in the privacy of the hunt or after dragging Trent away from another fight, he would speak, usually short little tales painted in such a way that didn't make Dorian appear as the alien he actually was. It was easier, then, with a confidant apart from the group. And maybe, just maybe, a friend. An asshole friend, of course, but still a friend.

~*~

The impact of a singular event is not limited to making new friends, of course. No, these events, no matter how minor or, in some cases, how painful, can spend one's life in another way, morphing and shifting your relationships with those you love or hate in tiny ways until, quite suddenly, they've change altogether.

It was the same way that Morgan's endearing childish glee and attempts to teach a bouncy and silly variation of ballroom dancing had managed to win over Mori's cautious affection or the way that Liam's entirely too fervid affection for Dae in the form of pet names and teaching said knight to speak the Airian equivalent of English had helped to turn casual acceptance into a genuine love.

It was the same way that Ryou's unquestioning devotion and loyalty to Haru had been ever so slightly nudged one time too many since the fall of the Academy until it became, well, not quite so unquestioning.

~*~

It had been a week. Seven days. Approximately 168 hours give or take a few. However many minutes that was because Ryou was a martial arts instructor and father, not a mathematician, dammit. An entire week waiting for Haru to tell him what was happening, to share the burden, to explain why in the seven Hells Amber had decided to pop in for a visit. An in that entire week, Ryou had heard nothing. Zilch. Nada. An inexplicable shrieking noise that Dae had once assured him was the Cyclopean word for nothing.

The first night he hadn't expected much in terms of Haru talking. Which was fair, of course, because Haru had promptly passed out on the balcony leaving Ryou and Nikita to drag him to his room. It wasn't like Ryou really wanted to talk to him right then anyways, he had supposed as he waited by Haru's bedside for a little over an hour to make sure that he didn't asphyxiate on his own vomit (it wouldn't kill him, nothing would, but from experience Ryou knew it to be rather unpleasant). Somehow getting into a drinking contest with the man responsible for killing his students didn't quite endear Haru to Ryou at the time. It was when Haru apparently avoided him for a week that Ryou stopped being quite so understanding.

He knew they weren't on the best terms at the moment on account of, well... Well, everything that had occurred between them over the past month, but he did his best to make himself available to talk. To listen. But each day he was met with a stony silence as if Ryou wasn't showing up early to meals to try to catch him alone, as if he hadn't readily made it known that he was always available to anyone who wanted to talk because Mori and Karma were off entertaining the princess and Dae and Liam were treating this as their honeymoon that never was. Seven days of waiting for answers and getting nothing but frustration.

Until today, of course. Seated in front of Haru with the rest of the Guardians, listening as he finally told them exactly what was happening, Ryou wanted to jump over the table and strangle the other man. Not only- oh, not only was Haru telling them what Amber- mass murderer Amber, arsonist Amber- had told him a week ago, but now, revelation of all revelations, it turned out that Haru was keeping another secret about from way back when's discussion with the Rose Kingdom. Fan-fucking-tastic.

He was doing it again- taking it all onto his own shoulders, playing the role of martyr as skillfully as any man had done before. And no one was batting an eye. They were taking his hidden revelation in stride because they hadn't been waiting a week for it, hadn't waited for years for Haru to open up a little and let them help him instead of waiting until the last moment because he was their long-suffering leader. Because they didn't hate Amber with the same passion that he did, didn't feel the loss of his children as painfully and acutely as he did every time they were brought up in association.

"Fuck it," were his first eloquent words, knuckles white as he clenched his hands into fists. He was seething in his seat, golden eyes focused on everything except for those around him. One large inhale, another large exhale. Pause. Pause. Repeat. "We've always been running after myths and legends. I say we go."

"Let's not tell anyone about the book- make up some bullshit story about looking for clues to where Oblivion is or whatever. Waiting isn't doing us any good and it's-" He paused, fighting the words that threatened to come from his mouth. "As good a chance as any." He lost. It took all of his strength not to storm out of the room.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Dorian Roberts Character Portrait: Haru Karokav Character Portrait: Trent Cress

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Tallyho let her foot drop back to the ground and huffed slightly, a breath peppered with mild amusement and faux frustration.
“Well I’ll try not to think so hard,” she perked her head to the side with a soft snort, “eh?”

Tallyho took a few steps backward, initiating their adventure. However she felt a new presence over her shoulder. It was Kyle. While she wanted to try and practice kindness toward the other warrior, she didn’t waste much time speaking to him.
“We don’t have time to bumble about, we’re on our way outside of the wall. But if you’re down for adventure you’re welcome to follow along.”

She then started down the walkway, hardly even alerting Falke with a quick nudge at his leg.

The walk wasn’t so terribly long. While the RK was large and expansive, the many alleyways made travel pretty direct and citizens didn’t have to waste much time following the main streets. Tallyho navigated the crowds like a wispy, cloud. Moving in a way that not so much as caught two seconds of attention. She kept her eyes on her shoes. Her shoulders folded into herself and were not so square, so she never bumped shoulders with random shmucks. At some point she had haphazardly tied her hair back tight and secured it in a bun. From roots to knot her hair seemed straight and her curls, which tangled freely about her bun were secured under the sheath of a red silk scarf.

Tallyho didn’t particularly like the way red (especially bright red) looked on her. She found it too striking and often defaulted to emeralds, mauves and crème colors. But even with this red silk knotted in her hair she felt comfortable beneath the light of attention. It was silly of her, really, to feel so secretive. Especially since, if anyone in the kingdom had taken the time out of their busy lives to look any of the warriors square in the face, they’d know exactly who she was.

It had only taken a week for the kingdom to be adorned with banners and textiles and handmade posters with the warriors’ likenesses plastered on them. On some liquor stall was a wooden sign with the cartoonish depiction of a woman, blonde and petite, slathered onto it in acrylic. The woman was posed with a shower of small golden stones tumbling about her next to the crudely written (and pretty generic) collection of words, “SPIRITS--FORTUNE--GOODNIGHT”.

Maybe it would have been presumptuous for Tallyho to assume that the woman was supposed to be Autumn, but if the other warrior paraphernalia scattered around the markets taught her anything, it was that she would be right to assume so anyway.

-----------

Haru kept his eyes on the table as Lillian spoke but when Ryou finally inserted himself, with a brash and sudden entrance, the redhead stared. He was listening to the guardian, sure, but he wasn’t really. He was too distracted by the obvious anger oozing from every exhale and Haru’s eyes narrowed as he tried to dissect exactly what he could have done to get such a response.

Arms crossed, he sat back in his chair and suddenly his clothes felt a little too tight. Collar just a little too itchy. He felt an instantaneous urge to leave the meeting.

“Right,” he grunted, struggling to sit up again. He spoke quickly. “Well it seems that the majority of us would prefer going after the book then. I’ll contact the council… Let them know that we are going to be doing some investigation on oblivion. Worst case scenario they send us with Trent and his men. Depending on what they say, be prepared to leave between a week and a month from now. Hopefully sooner than later. If any of you have any changes of heart or additional input we can reconvene…”

And then Haru got up and left, turning corners quickly and gone soon enough. But it was not his own room to where he retreated, instead he parked himself in Ryou’s. Seated on the foot of his bed, hunched over and visibly frustrated.

----------

As they approached the edges of the walls the crowds became less dense. And maybe it was the extra space, or the sloppy purr of horses, or the sound of the thick curtains of a caravan wagon flapping in the wind that made her so comfortable.

“We’re here,” he rasped, voice cracking slightly. But she did not take off running.

It wasn’t easy going home when you hadn’t been there in such a long time and you weren’t sure if it would be the same way you left it. She felt exposed approaching the cluster of wagons, firewood, and clothes lines and she longed for the safety of the crowd.

There were no sun people in sight and Tallyho felt pretty foolish. She’d definately feel like a creeper if the caravan wasn’t there and came back to find the month warrior sulking around the settlement.

“Maaa!” A small exclamation came from behind a wagon and a tiny moon-faced girl peeked from behind the wagon’s sheets. Her curly yellow hair was short as a cherub’s or a newborn’s even though she looked to be at least 5 years old. She was a chubby girl too, wearing her weight on her face and feet as much as she did on her belly.

A woman, slender and quite common looking poked her head out from inside the back of the wagon. Her hair was wild from a long nap and glowed like wheat. She looked first at her daughter, with sunken eyes and reached for her, as if to pull her back into the wagon.

But then she followed her daughter’s bewildered gaze and her face flashed with a sense of surprise, like she was caught off guard and she looked around, probably trying to find other caravan members and ensure that there was safety in numbers. And then she looked again and her hand rose up, and pointing at Tallyho she let go of her daughter’s shoulder. She bared her teeth in a gasping smile and looked around again this time calling out.

“Dene! Dene, Dene come quick,” she said.

And quickly a man came, potbellied and silver bearded, hustling through the laundry on the clothesline. Emerging with a sense of urgency from behind a thick carpet hanging to dry.

And more faces emerged from the backs of wagons and gasping overtook the field.

--------------

“Alright warrior, good spar!” Trent laughed as he chucked his empty goblet in a bush, “I swear the more we do this the better you get. I might have to give you a spot on my special task force.”

And no, Trent wasn’t joking. And was beaming at Dorian as the servant ran to retrieve Trent’s tossed goblet in the background.
The dark-haired general swaggered his way over to the nearest bench and plopped down.

“So uh… What in Goddesses’ name is wrong with your team?” The subject change seemed quite sudden. “I’m a General, I was trained on how to make men work together and I definitely see the strain. I heard about that wreck of a scene at the banquet, actually. A lot of people did. Heh, I pray those fools don’t get you maimed in battle.”

He nodded at Dorian’s hand and snickered.

“I would have let that plebe gut himself.”

He then proceeded to laugh at his own joke.

“Say… If you don’t want to think about them so much, how about we go out on the town tonight? You and me this time, none of those hooligan knights. I mean, they start fights like haggard beasts!”

Apparently Trent was always too wasted to remember that he was usually the main instigator during his nights of debauchery.

---------------

“Get Yagi,” the original woman swooned. And handfuls of children, slightly older than the very first scattered with excitement.
And as the children ran, another woman came with open hands and framed Tallyho’s face.

“Sister, why are you hiding this?” And she slid the silk from her hair and let the curls fall. And the woman hugged her. And the others followed and they came upon her. And those who could not latch onto Tallyho herself held someone who could, and others held someone who could hold someone who was holding Tallyho.

And Tallyho was straight up crying.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dorian Roberts Character Portrait: Ryou Zerinn Character Portrait: Trent Cress

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Ryou was gone before Haru formally brought the meeting to a close. He'd waited patiently enough, had stayed and listened for as long as his will would allow. But he was admittedly a weak man when it came to his own emotions, and giving in was far easier than it had any right to be.

He wanted to be alone- needed it, really if only because he'd rather his bad mood, however justified it might be, not impact people the people that he loved. He didn't want to talk, to be coddled or hugged. He just wanted a place to be furious. So, in absence of a Cyclopean to throttle or a far-away cave to scream in until he could no longer speak, he did what was only appropriate- retreated to his room, the universal signal for a blunt "I want to be alone, please and thank-you".

In retrospect, it should have occurred to him that he would be followed- the month warriors group were distressingly persistent when anyone showed much displeasure towards others. If nothing else, he should have locked the door even if it went against his usual open-door policy. Regardless, he was still rather stunned when the person to intrude on his fortress of fury was the object of his ire who had the absolute gall to act like a sullen teenager.

"What do you want?" The words, really more of a warning because Ryou was nothing if not fair, were gritted out as he steadfastly returned to turning down his comforter and prodding at his pillows in an angry approximation of fluffing them.

~*~

Logically and morally, Dorian knew very well that he shouldn't like Trent. He was rude, crude, and genuinely cruel in the way of a child who was never told no and who'd experienced very little limits or discipline when he'd done something like, say, gutted a friend's teddy bear when they wouldn't share their snack. If Dorian had been in a normal situation, surrounded by a loving support group of family and friends, he rather hoped that he would be disgusted by it all and avoid someone like Trent at all cost. However, he wasn't at home, he wasn't surrounded by friends, and the only feeling he got when Trent went off on one of his tangents was a little tingle of guilt paired with ever-lasting patience, waiting for him to grow bored of the subject.

As it was, he took the praise with a grin of his own, an unfamiliar strain of his facial muscles that was becoming more and more real every time he practiced it around Trent. There was always that sort of guilty pleasure than one gets when a truly terrible person approves of you for a not terrible reason.

He remained standing as Trent settled down on a nearby bench, handing his own empty goblet over because, well, those are just proper manners. Dorian stretched for a moment, loosening stiff muscles before the conversation shifted. It wasn't as sudden as it sounded, really- it was more picking up from a quiet comment Dorian had made yesterday, a part of the mutual disdain that was currently urging the two to bond.

"I couldn't tell you. They've always been like that. I can't really see it changing any time soon," he replied instead of jumping to the month warriors' defense, shrugging light-heartedly even if the bit about everyone having overheard about the banquet drama made the scab on his hand itch. Even the weight in his stomach that usually appeared when thinking back to a week ago had seemed to have lightened.

Admittedly he didn't laugh at Trent's morbid and more than slightly sociopathic attempt at humor, scoffing lightly instead to let his disagreement known, waiting for Trent to switch over to a new topic. Perhaps it was worse that he didn't really speak up, didn't tell Trent to bugger off and storm off in a huff. He just didn't have the heart for it after... After that night. After Trent had made an effort and had proved something of a good listener. After... Well, everything.

The long awaited conversational shift happened soon enough, whisking them back to one of Trent's favorite nightly past-times. He shifted for a moment, wondering if it was really a good idea. Sure, he'd been out with Trent before, but only with the knights around to help distract upset bar patrons or, more likely than not, to take the blame while Dorian dragged a swearing Trent away from whatever establishment he'd chosen to terrorize. It wasn't wise, surely, both as a month warrior as as a responsible adult.

"You know what? I'd like that," Dorian said. "I really would. It'd definitely be better than sticking around here." And he meant it because to Hell with being wise. Dorian deserved a little break.

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When Haru had initially come to the room he came with what started as more of a self-questioning attitude. In fact, whenever he’s in meeting mode he tries to be as diplomatic as he can feasibly be and questioned what he could have done to make Ryou so pissed and what he could do to talk it out with him. But at Ryou’s arrival and his angsty “what do you want?” all of that self-reflective bull fell right through and Haru was starting to get livid.
But as Ryou slapped back his comforter a stark gust of breeze blew back in Haru’s face and he found himself teetering down from a similarly angsty retort. In times like these, especially with Ryou who was rarely prone to anger, Haru found that saying as little as possible was the best policy. He learned this as a man of war, he learned this as a husband, he learned this in dating and somehow he forgot to practice it as a guardian. But sometimes he had no choice but to default to such behavior.
After their past incident where Ryou got a little too close well—Haru didn’t say much about that and everything went well, right? Right?
“So….” Haru began with an exhale. He was rigid. The kind of rigidity that one would associate with a stupidly masculine characture—the oaf who didn’t quite understand those feminine feelings so much. “What did I do this time?”
He was very matter of fact and may have sounded a bit like an old husband preparing for his daily bickering. Not that he and Ryou had that sort of relationship per say but Haru was so used to shit like this by now he wasn’t sure how to approach this otherwise.
---------
Trent laughed.
“Then it’s settled! I say we go to the slums tonight. I mean I hate to brush shoulders with the smallest of the small but they know how to throw the most sinful parties.”
And by sinful Trent meant fun. But the general eventually figured that might not have been the most marketable description.
“They know how to let loose more… More fun than royal parties.”
Trent stood up again and stretched. “And the wenches, they can be not totally disgusting sometimes. But I mean how long have you been on the road with the warriors? I’m sure you’re tired of looking the same girls in the face every day. A change might be good for you!”
Trent grinned. He was so proud of himself for not also referring to the month warrior females as wenches. And he did that especially for Dorian!
“Go get dapper and meet me back here in a few.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Nikita Machari Character Portrait: Kyle Keaton Character Portrait: Falke der Herrscher Character Portrait: Haru Karokav Character Portrait: Ryou Zerinn

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Uh oh! Nikita stopped her pacing and dropped her hands to her sides. She still didn't trust Amber, but sharp-edged words from Ryou in particular were a bigger problem, or another in their ever-growing list. The shorter woman glanced at Kit, the first to make that observation. She nodded to Haru's seemingly abrupt stop in the discussion, accepting she was outvoted, and then immediately turned her attention to Haru and Ryou. A few moments after they both left, she followed. She had been worried about them all week and wouldn't stop now.

She found them both, obviously agitated and sitting on Ryou's bed. Uh oh! She thought again as Ryou snapped out, "What do you want?" Haru responded like he was expecting trouble, which as far as she was concerned, was a pretty fair assessment. Ryou didn't have Kyle's temper problems, which is another reason to be concerned for him. He must be worn down as much as Haru. For a little while, she debated simply walking away down the hall back to her own room, but she decided to stay for as much curiosity as emotional support for the two men. She didn't enter the room completely though. She leaned against the door and announced her presence to be fair. "I'm just here in case I have to play referee."

Kyle started when Tallyho called back to him. He didn't think she could have seen him, but she was obviously more attentive to her environment then he was. He stiffly swallowed the latest bite of his sandwich, but nodded whether she could see him or not, and scrambled to his feet. "Um...Do you like fish?" He cautiously asked both Falke and Tallyho. He didn't really expect that his one sandwich was enough for all three of them but thought it polite to offer. If neither one said anything about it, he would finish the sandwich as quickly as possible.

As it was, he still had to scramble to keep up, and probably wasn't as good at hiding as Tallyho. Falke seemed to be keeping his feet better than Kyle, and another question he wanted to ask the September warrior popped into his head. How did he do it?

While they weaved through the alleyways and marketplace, Kyle kept most of his thoughts to himself. After they arrived and the Sun People finished their initial cautious observations, they surrounded Tallyho and he heard her crying, but he couldn't get through the press of curly blond heads and bodies. An ache started inside his own chest, and he fell down to a rough bench. This is her family. Her family. Her home. She's the only one of all of the month warriors who could go home if she wanted. Home. Family. Kyle covered his face, as a rush of memories from his own home and family threatened to swallow him alive. Dammit! Haru was more right than he realized when he told Tallyho to open up; those words weren't just for Tallyho. Kyle has been keeping many things to himself too, but what could telling everyone about his family do?

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Kyle Keaton Character Portrait: Falke der Herrscher

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Falke responded to her huff of faux frustration and mild amusement, with a sharp, you-know-what-I-meant look glinting in his gaze, before reluctantly snorting in acquiesce. As she took a few steps backwards, he began cautiously shoving himself upright off the bench. He caught his balance easily enough, but his senses hadn’t obviously…

As Tallyho noticed herself a new presence over her shoulder and spoke out to… Him. Falke’s eyes widened noticeably as he focused far more acutely than his bleary gaze usually could do or ever did, on the near presence of Kyle, that he hadn’t been aware of during the relative distraction Tallyho had accidently provided. Throughout the week, Falke had been avoiding every one of the group proper – from month warriors, to guardians, to the Academy quad (with the exception of Mori, and Karma, when they were humoring Princess Morgan at times) – and Kyle, goddess be dammed…

He was one of the few that would not leave well enough alone and give Falke the space he’d downright needed away from the group. And while the shorter warrior had certainly put him through an overtime ringer avoiding him especially, it had been surprisingly easy feat. The more the other thought, and mulled, and questioned; the easier and further away he could always be, by the time he felt him coming.

You know what. fei… So be it, if Tallyho invited Kyle on their adventure, sure, he was welcome to follow along. But at the very least, he could be confident, he could avoid an unwanted gesture or touch of Kyle’s endearing attention for a while longer. And, it had been a week, maybe he should try and open up a little more? Perhaps?

Saved from having to mull it over any longer, the sharp attentiveness he regarded Kyle flashed away to Tallyho as she’d started walking down the walkway – not even alerting him, except for a quick, abrupt nudge at his leg. The brief touch was enough to give him the faint sense of vertigo, and a pale flush across his high cheekbones; already attached to her mind as it was, it broadened the connection enough for her to feel probably a touch of his wearily reluctant amusement at the whole situation, and maybe perhaps a smidgen of his lackluster acceptance that trying to keep out of people’s mental auras and ‘trash’ was never going to work in the long run…

"Um...Do you like fish?"

Falke shook his head in the negative even with his eyes still trained in Tallyho’s direction, leaving Kyle to finish his sandwich and walk at the tail, before setting off at an easy gait. His long legs catching up well enough to Tallyho’s heels, even with the occasional gimp as the sour muscles strained.

The walk wasn’t too terribly long, and it was a blessed surprise to not hear ‘oh, look, the blind babe’ or ‘the icy invalid’ or some other horrid combination of either or something completely new and still completely wrong to call someone with a supposed ‘status’ now, or anybody really. He had kept his eyes averted toward the ground and turned his head purposefully away from the awareness anyone that happened to look a little too hard at the trio. He followed Tallyho’s movements, keeping his feet underneath him even in the busier alleyways or crossroads, and kept from bumping into others within the crowd.

He was further at ease as they finally reached the city walls, and the crowd’s pressure around them eased. It was like taking in a breath of fresh air, he hadn’t realized he’d been holding. They had avoided unwanted attention, and started to come up to the caravan proper – with the sound of whiskery horse breaths, and thick curtains of a covered wagon flapping in the wind, came tickling his own ears. Tallyho finally rasped, voiced cracking slightly, ”We’re here.”
It wasn’t long before the caravan’s comforting, easy quiet was interrupted by a small exclamation of a young child sounded off from behind a wagon, “Maaa!” And after a paused, full of pregnant anticipation, a woman’s voice, possibly the mother of the child, called out herself, “Dene! Dene, Dene come quick!” And more faces and minds came awake and alive, emerging from the backs of wagons and gasping in delight, excitement, and pure joy – not at seeing them humble month warriors coming to see them, but at Tallyho, a champion of their people.

Gladly Falke let him near Tallyho’s shoulder be pushed out of the swelling crowd, hugging Tallyho if they could, and if they couldn’t – they then begin latching unto someone else who could, and others held unto that someone, and on, and on… Calls of getting ‘Yagi’ and scattered of children echoed around him, but he stayed firm, and watched in appreciative patience, if not wonder.

Tallyho deserved this recognition! And being with her family, well it was an honor to be asked along for this little adventure; even paling as he was from the emotional backlash and tears prickling the corner of his own eyes in response, he kept himself from crying and remained a strong and steady mental presence for the February warrior to latch unto if she so choose. But knowing Tallyho, Falke (and Kyle) just being there, would be enough for her comfort if it came down to it.

Kyle on the other hand, goddess above… The other had crashed unto a nearby, rough wooden bench. Emotionally breaking down. Something about, Home? Family? Tallyho’s, or his own? Fei! Was it really the time to have an emotional breakdown to begin with? Perhaps Falke was only sprouting out thorns where his softest pieces used to be. Hell, he knew he was making friends out of their group’s demons, let along just his own. And while they could be laughing and swapping stories and causing fractures of faith or sanity or Goddess forbid what else – he choked on the smoke left over. There wasn’t nothing wrong with it technically? Some days the demons made better listeners than the angels. But dammit, he was already emotionally high strung with Tallyho’s conscience at his grasp, and Kyle needed to get a grip…

/Enough,/ He touched the edges of Kyle’s mental storm, willing the words to be heard clearly and their serious intentions even through the unsteady tremor in his tunneled out tone of voice. He hadn’t done this in a while, to be honest. /Your world is always going to be complete all on your own, but it’s a lot brighter and enticing when you’re willing to open up and share it with someone else. It’s true that you don’t have to keep all your secrets to yourself. But… Now is not the time, Kyle./ And with that, Falke abruptly withdrew. Hoping the years spent being Kyle’s common sense guidance at time would win through, and the other would come to his senses and grip the reality surrounding them. It was not his time, it was Tallyho’s.

Falke remained straight-faced, and at ease on the surface of his appearance; as he calmly watched the display of affection surrounding Tallyho, as if Kyle hadn’t ever bothered him in the first place. Waiting for this Yagi to appear that they had cried for to see Tallyho, before they engulfed her.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Autumn Jones Character Portrait: Haru Karokav Character Portrait: Xabier Sanchez Character Portrait: Ryou Zerinn Character Portrait: Kit Withers

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#, as written by Linnea
Autumn woke up happy enough. Though the past week had been troublesome, there wasn't much she could do about it. She kept up with her training and talked to others when she could. Still groggy, but fueled by good dreams and a desire for breakfast, she got ready with a smile on her face. She even decided to wear a lighter colored dress. Even if most of the lilac ensemble would be covered up by her cloak, it still made her happy to know she was wearing it. The only problem was that she couldn't find her cloak. It should have stood out, considering how large and heavy it was. Autumn flared her nostrils in frustration. She really didn't feel like freezing to death today. The chills from spirits taking heat were already settling in.

Wrapping herself in bedding, she sat down and tried to recall where she saw it last.

“m̙̮̬̰̈́̿̅ͅi͔͎͖͚̖ͯs̠͕̗̀̄ͩ͗̃̄si͖̺̠̬̳̟̭n̬̩̰͎͚͂͊ͣ̐͞g̖͊̀ͅ?͕̜̻͎̌̓̐ͦ́ .” A voice called out to her.

“My cloak. The warm one with lots of fur and details on it.”

“Don't you have more?”

“You mean the thin one or the one you and your friends scratched up in that big battle?”

“In my defense that was eighty percent cyclopean scratches.”

“Doesn’t excuse the twenty percent where your aim was so off you almost got me.”

“Sorry about that. It was a big fight. There was a lot to do.”

“I know, I’m just messing with you. I know you guys can't help it.” Autumn hopped off the large bed and grabbed her bag, rummaging through its contents in search of her cards. Hopefully, they could shed a bit of light on the situation. It'd been a while since she'd used her cards, after all. So often she would just ask the spirits for help. But today was a good day and she missed the little illustrations.

“I wanted to mention...” The spirit spoke timidly.

“Yeah?”

“About last night...”

“What about it?”

“I was talking to a few others and we all definitely saw something strange last night.

“Strange how?”

“Shadows.”

“That's not really anything new. I mean, some of you spirits manifest as shadow people right?” Autumn pursed her lips. The cards were gone.

“Not those kinds of shadows. They were living, in a way.”

“Like Xabier's shadows?”

“That's the problem. They were carrying something.”

~~~~

Autumn shivered under her thin black cloak, hood up and lips drawn into a scowl.

“Xabier...”

She scurried to his room, not wanting to waste any more time than necessary. She lightly knocked on the door, waiting for him to answer. Each second she grew colder and colder, teeth chattering and anger rising.

~~~~~~~~~~~

Kit nodded, his hands still fixated on the ring. “I just hope we can protect them.”

”Fuck it”

Kit tensed. It was unusual to see Ryou so upset. Kit didn't really understand it, either. Then again, he never really understood the relationship between Ryou and Haru.

He stopped spinning his ring and focused his eyes on the wall. He really didn't understand what was going on between Ryou and Haru, but he understood that Ryou was his friend and that he was upset. As much as he wanted to console him, however, Nikita was already on the case. Kit lingered in the room for a while, tapping his ring as he wondered what he could do.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Haru Karokav Character Portrait: Ryou Zerinn Character Portrait: Ondine Azur

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Ondine was just about done.

With Harper. With these guardians. With this world. Everything.

She hadn't heard all the details about Harper's attempt until the next day. Oh yes, she had known there was some sort of scuffle, but not that he had tried to off himself! As soon as she was aware of that detail, her immediate instinct was to grab him and scream at how stupid he was being. Sabotaging them again. Sabotaging himself. Especially after he had just proven himself on the battlefield! How dare he! How fucking dare he!

But for whatever reason she couldn't pull through. Maybe it was because she was tired of it. Exhausted. Screaming at a wall that wasn't listening. Preaching to the wrong religion. Maybe it was because when she saw him, he was laughing. Loud. Hysterically. The same sound, but shockingly empty. And when he turned to look at her, her stomach dropped. Because even though the glint was present, his cheeks pressing up so that his smile was present, there was no one behind. Like glass eyes. Deadened. Empty. Soul less, like a shark's. They might as well be black.

The eyes of someone who didn't care anymore. Of someone who had given up. Which didn't make any sense because she thought now, now after everything he'd been through, every tantrum he'd thrown, every slap he'd received, every obstacle he'd been forced to fight through. NOW should be the time for change.

But instead it looked like he'd taken a turn for the worse. And Ondine couldn't handle it. Not after she'd put in so much work.

She tried everything. She tried to talk to him about it. Tried to see if there was anything she could salvage. But when she asked if there was anything he needed to tell her, he had just laughed and said "Not at all!" in a tone that was simultaneously mocking and sincere. Later that night, she had anticipated that he might come down to the water. Surely he'd need to release all that pent up frustration as usual. But she had waited the entire night, without a wink of sleep, alone.

Blind hope forced her to continue waiting in the water for him. She scowled at how pathetic she was becoming. The parent, begging the child to talk.

It's happening again she realized with sinking stomach one night My warrior...the weakest link...we will fail because of me again...

All week she continued to try and get through to him. But nothing. She'd yelled at him. Coddled up to him. Pulled him away from the group to talk. She felt like a fool, trying all of this with nothing to show for it. Just his stupid, horrible, empty laugh. The words he normally spoke, but so different this time.

And then of course, there were the other guardians. She envied them and their more "normal" wards. At least none of them had tried to kill themselves! She couldn't take any of their problems seriously. How could she, when her own was a walking time bomb, just waiting to explode himself? How could they not see that he was going to ruin everything?

Their talk of whether to get the book or not was frustrating. Ondine couldn't care less. Books, politics, lies...what difference would they make if Harper one day decided to drown himself in the tub? Or just simply chose not to perform? They were losing one of the 12, and trying to act like it wasn't happening. She couldn't believe it.

And then, of course, the Ryou/Haru drama. She rolled her eyes. Just get on with it! she nearly shouted, Everyone knows you two are hard for each other. They were honestly about as discrete as Harper and Xabi were.

She stayed in the room after the others departed, arms crossed, fingernails scratching at her skin. A nervous habit. Finally, after a few minutes, she left in search of Harper.

Pathetic she thought to herself, You're absolutely pathetic.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nikita Machari Character Portrait: Haru Karokav Character Portrait: Alatáriël Oronrá Character Portrait: Ryou Zerinn Character Portrait: Ondine Azur Character Portrait: Kit Withers

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“I just hope we can protect them.”

Lillian gave a short nod in Kit’s direction, despite him not catching absorbed in his ring as it was. Her dark-blue eyes glanced idly in an uneasy grace towards the still silent Ondine and Ryou, both doing their own impressions of ‘hell hath no fury of-‘, her lips mildly parted as if too finally ask the other two guardian’s thoughts on the matter. But she’d needed not…

“Fuck it,”

She didn’t bother to hide the flinch that followed Ryou’s first, anger-driven words; nor hide the wariness settling into tense shoulders sitting in a chair beside him. She clasped her spasmed fingers in a tight, interlocking brace, and merely, pursed her lips in quiet, thoughtfulness. Turning to watch him and his flitting golden eyes focusing on everything except those around him. Her own gaze was equally sharp, not cold or careless or maddened reason, but clearly tactful in her appraisal of the situation at hand, as she continued to listen to the march guardian’s seething words and trembling tone.

“We’ve always been running after myths and legends. I say we go. Let’s not tell anyone about the book – make up some bullshit story about looking for clues to where Oblivion is or whatever. Waiting isn’t doing us any good and it’s… As good a chance as any.”

“Right, well it seems that the majority of us would prefer going after the book then. I’ll contact the council… Let them know that we are going to be doing some investigation on Oblivion. Worst case scenario they send us with Trent and his men. Depending on what they say, be prepared to leave between a week and a month from now. Hopefully sooner than later. If any of you have any changes of heart or additional input we can reconvene…”


Ryou was gone well before Haru had finished officially closing the meeting, and clearly needed to alone, however justified his anger might have been placed, he didn’t need to be followed, or coddled, or hugged, or frankly talked to about whatever was going on between himself and Haru – until he regained his emotions in check, and could be civil. But it didn’t seem to be that short of day, as Haru headed for the door shortly afterward, leaving little doubt in her mind that he was off to confront his right-hand man for whatever had transgressed between the two of them.

Nikita too followed hot on their heels, likely to play the mother hen in control of the situation, and be a referee - which Lillian found rather unnecessary in any case. The two ‘boys’ could handle their own problems on their own, and she certainly wouldn’t be buddying up to either of them for the next fair stretch of time like their odd trio of friendship usually allowed for, thank you very much, she was wise enough to give them the space they required to ‘fix’ their relationship. The still, awkwardly silent mind you (because Lillian was generally surprised when she didn’t have anything to say), furious and nervous at the same time, Ondine eventually left the room too.

Leaving herself, and Kit alone… Lillian glanced his direction as if to ask his thoughts on what had all transpired, and oh, she couldn’t stand it anymore. She laughed: While it was given that her breezy, musical accent played such an event to be high, bright, and joyously merry. The idle frustration, situational whimsicalness, and a general weariness with the world around her made themselves known easily enough in her tone. It left little to the imagination that this laugh wasn’t meant to be for ‘fun’.

“Oh… Oh…” She moaned softly, as the laughter from her throat died as abruptly as it had come. Pressing the palms of her hands against her eyes briefly to cull the appearance of genuine tears at their corners, before fanning herself and the cheery redness flushing at her cheeks. “I hate the say this,” Lillian paused, with a soft sigh on her lips, as she rose from her seat, barely contained within her usual cool exterior again. “They’re not much different than our Lordships at times. Hmm?” A sly smile flittered across her lips momentarily, as she grabbed his shoulder in a gentle squeeze.

“I’ll see you at dinner then?” She mused, as she gracefully departed the room without giving the other guardian much time to answer, or acknowledge that she’d allowed herself a real laugh the first time in centuries. Off to the gardens, or some high window in a forgotten corner of the castle. To wait. And... Watch.

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Haru was genuinely wanting an answer to this one: In what world did Nikita NOT think her chaperoning—her imposition on their private situation—was even a little demeaning? Since when did they need a referee? And how did Nikita even assign herself that position? Even Lillian, probably the only guardian Haru would ever take personal advice from, wasn’t poking her nose in this one. So Haru had to wonder, did she find the two guardians so brutish that they couldn’t be left to resolve their issues without violence?
Though Haru was curious to know the answer, he did not prod for one or ask upfront. He resolved to a glance in her direction, keen and even a bit threatening. And his movements matched the sharpness of his eyes as he stood up, snapping to his stance, and walked out.


The reunion of the sun people slowly but surely diluted. Tallyho was eventually released from the communal embrace and soon they moved away from her at a ceremonious pace. A path was carved for the Yagi, a petite woman with a slight frame and glowing hair. One could call her frail but her attitude and way of carrying herself didn’t match that description. While Arian men found women most attractive when looking down, Yagi walked with her face toward the sky. Her chin, which was sparsely peppered with thin white hairs was aimed at Tallyho.
When Tallyho was a girl the Yagi, who was so inaccessible, seemed so big and beyond everything. And now Tallyho, as a strong young woman and literal warrior, still felt the same way about the public figure.
Before she knew it the old woman had taken her face with a grip just firm enough. She wasn’t clutching the her head, though Tallyho wished that were the case so that she wouldn’t have the responsibility of keeping up with the older woman and what she was going to do next. Yagi, without warning, kissed both her cheeks, and Tallyho tilted her head accordingly, delayed at the first cheek, but she caught the drift when it came to the next.
She then thought to herself that old women’s kisses were soft and cold.
“We will celebrate,” she said, to Tallyho, to the crowed, and to Falke and Kyle who were tucked out of the way.
“Come to me my children,” she said to them, and the crowd parted between the old woman and the other two month warriors. And if they came she kissed them too.
Soon the crowd began to disperse. Many moved quickly, excited to set up a tent and put together last minute alcohol choices. If the sun people were good at anything it was celebrating anything.
The warriors were invited to Yagi’s tent and it was an ethereal experience for Tallyho, not just because she’d never seen the inside of her tent, but also because the old woman didn’t say anything the whole time they sat there. It was like she fell into a state of meditation, but somehow her silence was comfortable. The sun people always believed in different types of silences, one of them being the silence of healing, and the Yagi was blessing them. This was supposed to be a spiritual experience.
The rest of the night seemed to be a blur. The party truly was of a makeshift sort with mismatched lanterns, impromptu campfire songs and dance lines. Tallyho hadn’t even touched one of the few bottles of alcohol the people managed to scrape up. She felt drunk enough just being there, but she wasn’t sure if she felt the intoxication of joy or bitterness. She briefly wondered why the sun people would even think to celebrate her, because the world she was saving was a world that would continue to persecute them.

Note: My next post will more than likely be a time skip being a few months long.

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"Dammit! Dammit! Dammit!" Nikita muttered to herself, punctuating each repetition with a pump of her curled fist and swish of her dark wavy hair. She took a deep breath and spoke calmer. "The real reason I'm here is because I'm worried about you." Since Haru stormed out, she addressed Ryou first. "You haven't been yourself lately and he's..." She waved her hand in exasperation. "He's cutting every single person out. Not to mention running himself ragged in the process." She gave a heavy sigh drooping both hands and her head, letting her hair hide her face. "It scares me." She whispered and wiped her palm over her hidden face. "What's happening to you? This... today... what happened in that room." She fumbled over the words, behaving unlike herself too.

"I'm sorry, Ryou."

She didn't elaborate further, but a rush of all things she regretted lately filled her head as she leaned more heavily on the doorjamb. Dammit! This incident would probably force Haru even deeper in himself if she knew him, but could she seriously leave Ryou there fuming? It was abnormal behavior for him to react so aggressively to things. Something must be wrong, but how would he even respond? Would he be just as annoyed as Haru for her interfering? She actually wasn't trying to interfere though.

Kyle lifted his head slowly at the somewhat distant sound of Falke's voice. He focused on it and remembered more recent history, wincing briefly. He wiped his own face, on his silk sleeve, but he wasn't afraid of messing it up. They had so much stuff now that it didn't even matter any more. He nodded and stood up brushing off the back of his britches. Whoever this Yagi person is- they sounded pretty important- they might not appreciate him making himself at home before invited.

When the crowd parted, he answered an intense urge to stand up straighter, as the little old woman called them. This Yagi was indeed an important person, but he wasn't sure where he stood in her presence. Somewhat awkwardly he just went with the flow of people. His immediate reaction to the woman reaching for his face was to pull back, but she wasn't harsh or unpleasant at all. The entire situation was odd and he tried not to squirm when sitting in silence. This was Tallyho's family, Tallyho's traditions, so he looked to her for cues. In doing so, he squelched all the questions stirring in his head for now. It took some time, but he eventually also slipped into the meditative silence and fully enjoyed himself with the dancing and music and alcohol, which was much better than the stuff in the palace.

At the end of the party, he had a pleasant tingling in his nose and felt truly happy for the first time since they arrived in Rose Kingdom. No dark thoughts or fears troubled him and he laughed at seemingly simple things, like a flower blooming inside a crack in the nearby wall. Without even thinking about it, he plucked the flower and reached over to twist it in Tally's curls. "Your hair is pretty. Why do you cover it up?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Kyle Keaton Character Portrait: Falke der Herrscher Character Portrait: Yagi of the Sun

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Falke was relieved that Kyle seemed to get control of himself, just in time as the congregation of sun people surrounding and embracing Tallyho slowly but surely parted away into a path carved for the Yagi. Tallyho had never let much on about her people (or the Yagi for that matter), and save for the knowledge of original lyrical song she’d learned from Lillian and dance she’d shared with him a month or so on that boat rolling over the sea o’ so long ago it seemed. He had never asked or considered pushing frankly with his abilities for more. If the time came whenever, if ever, she had, Falke would have listened as it came, no more, no less.

But now… Connected as they were through his gift, he could feel Tallyho’s swelling emotions and swirling thoughts of the public figure of the her community and caravans’ structure, and Falke understood better who this Yagi was to her and the sun people at large. An older woman, with a slight, made frail by age only, frame, glowing, golden-white haired; but of a strong attitude and solid movement, she was chosen leadership. Someone so big and beyond everything seemingly, but homely enough and deeply involved in the betterment of her people at hand.

”We will celebrate, Come to me my children.”

Falke heard dimly over surge of the crowd’s sudden emotional excitement pressing against his temples, even over the natural awe that seemed to felt my all, of Tallyho, a literal month warrior, coming to visit. And quickly realized as Kyle started forward and the abrupt pathway through the crowd opening in front of them, the Yagi had called. They came.

Her kisses at both of his cheeks were soft, cold, and burned. Falke had no control over the flashes of memories that wasn’t his own hitting him hard, at the Yagi’s light touch of reverence and welcome. But at the very least, had hidden well from obvious sight and uneasily blocked from Tallyho’s own mind, so he hoped, the aching surge of homesickness in his core – that the sensation brought of his own, older, mother a long, long away.

As they waited for a celebration tent to be set up, last minute alcohol choices, and songs’ and dances to be decided – to celebrate Tallyho, who more than deserved their attention. They were invited to Yagi’s tent, to sit in calm, comfortable but meditative silence.

During the rest of the night, Falke had enough presence of mind to avoid the few bottles of alcohol circulating the party, or hand it onto to the next person if it had come to him. His mind was already drunk enough from being there, but felt more natural (than parties they’d attended recently with TRK), enough that he seemed to have found a peace with the mental audio going on around him – and not once did a pale flush, or pained wince, find a spot on his face, regarding his abilities. And with the prospect of the long walk back tonight to the castle proper, after far too many dances after they’d realized he surprisingly knew some of their dances (thanks to Tallyho’s flower-child esque dragging him around months before), his leg was a little beyond sore. Drinking, wouldn’t have been a bright thing to do at all given the exhaustion he currently felt.

"Your hair is pretty. Why do you cover it up?"

Kyle on the other hand, was drunk from the sun people’s festivities. Granted the other warrior was a rather happy drunk, and he was always one for asking too many questions. But all the same still drunk, as the lack of tact was apparent in the wording of his questions; and more so, as he reached forward to Tallyho, twirling a flower he’d just plucked from a nearby wall into her golden curls. Falke spared her a silent, but meaningful glance, which bluntly said she didn’t need to explain it now if she didn’t want to. One, it wasn’t certain Kyle would even really remember it or not (it wasn’t that he was that drunk, but 50-50 shot here one could only assume); and next, after years of having his clothes – specifically well-worn shirts, most of the time – stolen by her to wrap or hide her hair up, whenever the need arose to get into a more public place than even the walls within the Academy had offered, he had let it occur without ever asking for a reason why.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Autumn Jones Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields Character Portrait: Xabier Sanchez Character Portrait: Zelda Paremon

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There was a blue balloon floating straight in front of him.

The string wavered slightly in the breeze. He was in a field somewhere hot. The yellow grass moved softly to the beat of a distant drum.
It didn't make any sense, but he felt at ease here.
He reached forwards to grab the string, to feel something underneath his fingers.
However, just as he nearly touched it, the wind pulled it sharply out of his reach. He leaned in again to give it another go, but the same thing happened.
Frustrated he moved faster. He would grab it this time and never let it go.
But then he heard a familiar voice calling his name.
He immediately forgot the balloon.
As his back turned to find the source of the sound, the wind picked up the balloon and stole it forever from his reach.
The scenery shifted around him. This didn't feel normal...

Something was wrong. This wasn't real. He was dreaming this.


The dark haired guy lurched into a sitting position on his bed. His usually immaculate hair like a nest, his eyes dark. Surrounding the bed, roughly ten figures loomed over him. Their faces unreadable.
What were they up to? He looked from left to right in a comical matter.
He was too tired to ask.
Xabier swayed from side to side and collapsed back asleep. The doppelgängers fading from vision.

And he was falling down now, the sheets transformed into water engulfing him completely.
He was drowning in an ocean and he couldn't swim upwards again. But the sensation was soothing and distracting. What doppelgängers? What problem? He gave in to the pull of the waters and continued to sink down until there was no more water to hold him.
He fell out of the water back down onto his bed. Above his resting place was the ocean as if he had been turned upside down.
The closet in the corner of his room shook and rumbled. It begged him to open it, to reveal its contents. But then a hooded figure walked out of the shadows. It was dragging a body towards the bed as an offering. A fluffy, golden dog howled in the background. It was running in circles, yipping in fear. He looked down at the body and recognised its face. He covered his mouth trying to contain the vomit spewing out. The condition of the corpse was in such bad condition that he couldn't stop gagging.
The cloaked figure bowed at the foot of the bed.
We will bring you more. It promised. A warning.

"What do you want from me?" Xabier begged.

The figure just smirked and in a flash the room was filled with the bodies of all he held dear.

"I think you know what we want."
And then everything disappeared except him and the bed. He was finally alone.

Well almost.
There was someone climbing into bed with him. A stranger in the form of a lady. She smiled at him reassuringly.
He thought she was pretty so when she leaned in, he didn't pull away.
When he finally did, he noticed that his partner was now a more familiar face. Blue eyes (or were they green? He wasn't sure), stared into his soul. A surge of affection. He much preferred this situation to the one earlier on.
His lover whispered something in his ear. It was the same voice that he heard in the field.
"Do you love me?"
"Of course" He didn't even pause before replying.
His vision refocused and the face in front of him was now his own.

The Xabier in front of him leaned in and kissed him on the mouth.
"Liar." It whispered.
All at once his surroundings caught fire. He struggled to breathe as the flames lapped around him. Books were falling from the air, a library shelf hitting the floor with a loud thud. He was back in that library.
This bed was a funeral pyre, and all around stood cloaked figures watching him burn.
The faces in the cloaks, every tribute and guardian.
And as one by one they walked away, he felt a drop of water hit his cheek. It trailed down into his mouth and he could taste salt. Like the ocean or a tear drop. He didn't deserve it, the slight release.


He woke up with wet cheeks. The Spaniard had been crying in his sleep. The pent up tension of the past few weeks had taken its toll on his subconscious. And though he wouldn't admit it out loud, he was utterly exhausted. It was as if someone was drinking all of his energy and leaving him for dead.
He rubbed his jaw and blinked a few times.
He had been having stupid nightmares for a while now. But this one took the cake.
What was up with the closet, he thought, was it implying that something was hiding in his closet.
How very original.
On that train of thought, he was reminded about Harper. He was also having nightmares at the moment. Ones that were probably much worse than his.
He would go and see if he wanted to have a date today if he was up for it. They needed to do something positive with all this angst going on. He was very worried and it had gotten to the point where the majority of his thoughts were of him.

His room stank of not being aired for days. His curtains were almost permanently draped closed. The October Warrior had created a reputation of spending all of his spare time in a dark room.
If anyone asked what he was doing he would lie and say he was reading. The truth was too embarrassing. How could he explain that he spent only a few hours a day awake.

But today was different. Today he would pry himself awake and go into the local market. There were things he needed to buy and he was going to the temple afterwards. It had been Inke's anniversary a week ago and Mikuel and Jakome's birthday in two days time.
He wanted to do something to mark the occasions in his mind. To have a quiet moment for a reason not because he had no one to go to.
He tried to picture his siblings in his mind but only saw the twins as 14. By now they'd be his age when he arrived in Aires. The thought scared him.

With the thought of actually leaving his quarters, he opened up the drapes and the window to let some air in. From now on he would have to try harder to get rid of his self pity. There was no way he could do anything if he stayed like this. But he was so tired....

He listened to the sound of a songbird singing on the windowsill. For a plain looking creature, it could sing pretty well.

He heard a light knock at his door.

He opened the door and raised his eyebrows at the sight. The person was not who he was expecting.
"Ah Autumn. Good Morning." Don't say his mama never taught him any manners.
He took in her shivering appearance and furious expression.
"What can I do for you?" He was frowning now. She should wear a cloak or something if she was cold.

His thoughts were led back to his closet for some reason.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Kyle Keaton Character Portrait: Dorian Roberts Character Portrait: Falke der Herrscher Character Portrait: Trent Cress

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"Your hair is pretty. Why do you cover it up?"

Tallyho found herself instinctively shrinking, like a disinterested cat, away from the sudden reach in her direction. And even realizing that it was Kyle didn’t soothe her reluctance to be touched. When the flower was lodged into her hair she snatched her fingers through, gripping its stem in the curl of her fingers before unfurling them into an open palm and, in a firm motion, she thrusted the flowered hand against Kyle’s chest.

She got that he was trying to be nice and all, but somewhere Tallyho felt that a boundary was crossed. It wasn’t just the fact that she didn’t feel like explaining why sun people had to be so reclusive, but she felt that Kyle’s approach was mildly suggestive. And she didn’t feel so wrong about coming to that conclusion as Falke’s glances offered some solidarity.

If Dorian were there—well maybe that wasn’t the best threat… Maybe an outsider could perceive things differently, but Tallyho couldn’t think of a time where anything she and Dorian did WASN’T considered platonic, at least between the two of them. Even as Tallyho has gradually considered the possibilities of a more romantic outlook on their relationship, the twenty-something March Warrior hadn’t necessarily done or said anything to disrupt their usual routine—anything that would suggest he could possibly see her in a different light.
And with Trent around… Well there didn’t seem to be much time for those sorts of thoughts to be imagined.

Tallyho had been frozen this way for a few moments: right hand firmly pushed against Kyle’s torso, free hand clenched into a fist and her right leg bent into a lunge. She leaned against the other blonde like he was a brick wall. The brief fire Kyle had ignited in her little body died out quicker than she would have imagined. She didn’t want to explain her hair, but now there was really no point at blowing up at him about touching it. She was supposed to be putting more effort into her relationships with other warriors.

With a long exhale Tallyho pivoted off of Kyle, her hand freeing the crumpled flower pinned between her palm and his shirt.

“I don’t want to talk about it tonight,” she kept her response clear and dry. Then she looked to Falke with a slight nod, almost apologizing for any sensations he might have experienced today and the fact that she didn’t want to stay around to make sure tipsy Kyle got back to his room. But in her head she swore that she’d make it up to the September warrior.
“Night,” she said as she meandered toward the courtyard entrance.

(Time skip post wasn’t this but I’m really wanting it to come soon…)

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Autumn Jones Character Portrait: Alatáriël Oronrá Character Portrait: Xabier Sanchez Character Portrait: Kit Withers

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#, as written by Linnea
“Closet.” A spirit whispered.

Without so much as a warning, Autumn strode into Xabiers room and flung the closet doors open. Whatever else was in there was of no concern to her at the moment. All she cared about was her cloak. Warm. Inviting. Safe. Pockets filled with her cards. She put it on and hastily shut the wardrobe once more, the force of the action making such a loud noise that it startled the spirit who had informed her of her cloaks whereabouts.

She snuggled into her cloak, finally free of the bone chilling cold.

Autumn strode up to the Spaniard, so close that even he might have been able to feel the chill of the spirits that followed her, and swung her arm.

Autumn never liked close combat fighting, but she'd be damned if she never learned it. What would she do if she dropped her war scythe? Or if the spirits were being difficult? Or, in this case, if she found a team mate to be a threat to the success of the team. Simple. She delivered a swift and powerful punch. An inescapable strike.

“I know you're not a bad guy. You mean well, you really do. You care about your friends and family. But right now, I need you to care about the group as a whole. You may not like some people, but we're a team. We need to work together. And that means getting your shit together and your powers under control. I hope we won't have to have this talk again.”

She left as quickly as she had arrived, her face all smiles now that she had her stuff back.

~~~~

After such a tense situation, the last thing Kit expected was laughter. For it to come from Lillian was a special bonus. It came as such a surprise to him that he couldn't help but chuckle in reply. He found it rather charming. Especially since it was a far cry from their previous bets on fights between the prior September and November.

“Indeed you will.” He replied, relief flooding his face. Kit was still concerned about the situation, but stressing over something he couldn't change wouldn't do anyone any good. He left the room to wander the castle, hoping to find someone to have a calm conversation with.

Setting

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Kyle gave Tallyho a blank look as she grabbed the flower out of her hair and pressed it against his chest. He didn't laugh but neither did he understand what was happening at that point. He caught the flower in his open palm and gazed at the simple pink daisy. The petals were bent and marred with scratches, as flowers are sensitive things, but he didn't drop the crumpled daisy. He kept holding it in his open palm, staring and puzzling over what just happened and what to do next.

He gave another silly giggle, as he turned to the road ahead and held what was left of the flower carefully, surprising for his tipsy state. Reaching his free hand far ahead of him, he clumsily waved to Tally's retreating back, and called, "Till we meet again!" He giggled again and started singing a song he vaguely remembered from a story back on Earth.

Upon the hearth, fire is red,
Under the roof is a bed;
But not yet weary our feet

Round the corner may wait
A new road or secret gate


(parts of hobbit adventure song from Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien)

Edit:9/28/15 With the silly song still on his lips and damaged daisy in hand, he followed the road laid out ahead of him to the palace, and placed the daisy in a vase on his end table. It clearly wasn't the prettiest thing to look at, but for some reason he wanted to keep it.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tallyho Abel Character Portrait: Kyle Keaton Character Portrait: Falke der Herrscher

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Falke remained respectfully silent through the entirety of the tensed and coiled moment between Tallyho, Kyle, and the crumpled wall daisy; but it would be in a fool’s eye to assume he stood there doing nothing.

Physically certainly. It was not that he’d generally expected Kyle to be so brash or mildly suggestive when tipsy, nor that the feeling in his gut that Tallyho would not react quite nearly as viciously as she could have been allowed (and given to do so, as long as he’d known her and they’d spent together so far), that halted his movements; but, simply, physical gestures, more than a gentle, solidarity glance, was not needed.

Mentally, however, he pulled himself back from Tallyho, and her wandering thoughts regarding the situation (that Dorian’s name popped up, before he’d completely removed himself), and Kyle too, with all his bubbling confusion and the sheet honeyed alcohol brought over his senses.

“Good night,” Falke echoed softly after the February warrior, with the barest edge to his tone that her ladyship ‘snobskirt the fifth’ owed him, after this. As he glanced down towards the, goddess above, giggly Kyle that had also well wished Tallyho off, but now seemed to be singing some silly song about adventure, with a well-hidden grimace.



With the last cascade of stairs ahead of them, Falke had honestly not been certain he was going to get the April warrior to walk up them to begin with, let alone make sure he found his own room for the night. But thankfully, Kyle had miraculously had enough presence of mind left in him to save the September warrior to trouble of having the ‘tipsy-sit’, and had made to his own room just in time.

And with that matter finally settled, Falke made it back to his own private room down and across the hall, and sat in exhaustion at the foot of his bed. “Oof…” He muttered bitterly to himself, and to his own inner monologue; as one hand raised to idly rub circles at his temple, while the other bent to rub in an up and down fashion on his straining calve muscles – as a means of some sort of relief, from physical and mental, ailment and just plain soreness.

It was about that time, wasn’t it? It had been week already, and no matter how much he distracted himself, it always felt a little chilly inside, because there was something missing. He had attempted to fight his powers, retain his bloody sanity, and find something else to fill it before; and the more he tried, the more he failed. It was time to accept it as a part of himself, and that it was okay to make a truce out of his (and everyone else’s as well, conveniently) demons.

Fei... Thank the Goddess, Tallyho had granted the opportunity for a small refresher course.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Autumn Jones Character Portrait: Xabier Sanchez

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It all happened so fast. One second he was brushing sleep out of his eyes, the next a bipolar Autumn had stormed in and out of his chambers, cloak in hand. He really wasn't in the mood for trying to figure out what was going on or why he had her cloak in his room. Frankly, it was this sort of thing that he had wanted to avoid.
But for whatever reason unknown to his muggy head, Autumn’s cloak had been in his closet and he knew deep down that it wasn't the only thing hiding in there. He had to empty it out, strip the boards bare, wash it clean. He was so tired but it had to be done.

“I know you're not a bad guy. You mean well, you really do. You care about your friends and family. But right now, I need you to care about the group as a whole. You may not like some people, but we're a team. We need to work together. And that means getting your shit together and your powers under control. I hope we won't have to have this talk again.”

He resented that a little. If she actually knew him, she'd know that he couldn't sacrifice someone dear to him for the sake of the team. And on a more childish level he was angry that she was being so patronizing.

You are not my mother, Autumn. Frustrated was not even the word. For someone to act like they understood him and know that it wasn't as simple as flicking a switch, to say that so casually... it was like a kick to the face.
He suddenly understood why his doppelgängers did that to her cloak. In fact he kind of wished they did something to it....

No.

That wasn't right.

He was angry at Autumn, but not for petty, childish reasons. He didn't want to hurt her, or anyone for that matter. He didn't wish harm on even her stupid cloak. In fact, he just wanted people to be happy. It was a shame the group couldn't get along and be civil to Harper at the same time. Xabier would happily play team with the others if he wasn't constantly worried that they'd hate him for who he was. And the person he liked. After that incident he was pretty sure he couldn't trust any of them. A begrudging respect had formed for Dorian. But it wasn't enough to make him endearing to him.

That's when he understood what he had to do.

“Autumn, wait!” A strange sound of urgency filled his voice. Piled up stress had made his accent stronger than it had been in a long while. He followed her skipping figure down the hallway. He had noticed that there was an abundance of blondes in the Warrior group.
Reaching out to stop her, he grabbed her free arm. He took a step and didn't want to take more, but he did.
Once his hand touched the flesh of her elbow, he knew he shouldn't have done it. As if burned, he immediately let go. It was a wonder how he could physically catch her when he was so exhausted. The reason behind his lethargy now clear, he rubbed his head with his fingers, groaning. So much stuff to clear out. And so little time.

“Hear me out. Give me five minutes and I will guarantee this will never happen again.”

The air crisp against his skin. His under-eyes slightly red from his eventful night were disappearing slowly. The suddenness of moving had sent a jolt of unexpected energy in his chest.

What exactly he needed to say wasn't clear, but he knew that if he didn't do this now he would never do it. The invisible burns would never heal.

“Autumn..”

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Some time after the incident at the visit to Tallyho's family, Kyle could be found in the palace library with his hair and clothes somewhat rumpled. He had dark circles under his grey eyes, but he vigorously looked through scrolls and books, looking for something of importance known only to him at the moment. He probably could have trusted the princess with a specific request, but he also didn't want too many people nosing around his latest project. Maybe he should have trusted the princess with this request. With all the stupid frivolous things they seemed to be stuck in, he hadn't a chance to actually know the lay of the land.

The library wasn't one of his top priorities until today either. He had spent most of his time training in the gardens, either with his weapon or magic. Today raindrops pounded on the roof above him, and he didn't have the strength or the will to mess with the weather, if he had the ability or not. The garden needed the rain anyway.

Finally he struggled to pull down a dusty old book from one of the higher shelves, and slapped it on the reading desk before him. His breathing was heavy from the effort, as he still was one of the shortest warriors. He sneezed, letting some of the dust get on his face and fancy clothes. He brushed it off as much as possible and wiped the rest off the book with his sleeve. Well, he'd have to change before dinner tonight. He usually did anyway, as it wasn't appropriate in the palace to go to meals in dirty everyday clothes. "Warriors, months, orphans..." He muttered to himself as he flipped through the pages carefully.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields

0.00 INK

It was growing dark.

The sound of rain bounced off the roof, echoing into the great halls below in wide bells of sound, while underneath an ostenato of plinks from the window accompanied. Every so often, a large tree would unload its heavy water burden, and sharp thacks would hit against the walls or ceiling, like large sticks clattering to the ground.

Harper glanced out one of the large picture windows in the darkened hallway, nose just barely pressed up against the glass. He was cross-eyed, staring at his own breath fog up the glass.

After an impressive circumference of misted glass had been made, he pulled away, and with his pinkie, dotted in a pair of eyes. He paused, debating on the mouth. With a small smirk, he decided on a grin, curling the ends up so high they almost met the eyes. It resembled more of an umlaut than a smile.

He'd spent the majority of the day avoiding people, and he thought he had done a fantastic job at it. He had only seen perhaps five people, none of them warriors or guardians, and none of them in a talkative mood, which only made it all the better.

Still. There was dinner to attend to. He hadn't eaten today, having skipped breakfast and lunch, and his stomach was not to be argued with. With a sigh he stared into the dark courtyard, clouds bringing the night prematurely.

It would be difficult to describe how exactly he was feeling. On most days, Harper felt as if he felt nothing at all. He was never really a man of thought, but lately it seemed that he didn't think of anything. Not their mission. Not his friends, if he could still call them that. Not Ondine. Not Xabi. Even Sadie eluded his brain.

Yet even though his mind was blank, he was still driven forward by some insatiable force. He wasn't lying in bed all day. He wasn't moping about. He still talked to people when he needed to. Still laughed. Still smiled. Still told stupid jokes and still teased nearly everyone. He felt like a motor with no off switch. An engine with no driver. He didn't think he'd ever walked so much in his life as he had been the past week. But everyday he either walked about the building or out in the city, at a brisk speed, as if he was going somewhere very important. But he was never going somewhere. And it was never important.

A dream. It all felt like he was dreaming. Sometimes he had to remind himself that things were actually happening. That this was all "real". Whatever "real" was.

Ironically, it was in his dreams that all the thoughts came. All the images. All the horrible things that used to haunt him 24/7, but now only came out at night. When he couldn't do anything about it. And even then, they were never actual thoughts. No internal monologue. Rather, it was like he was being forced to watch some horrible movie. A clockwork orange he couldn't escape from. He couldn't even scream himself awake like before. He was forced to endure the entirety.

He glanced up at the molding atop the window. With squinted eyes, he asked, "Have any idea what's for dinner?"

The molding was silent at first. As most moldings are want to do. Then, in a Chicago accent, it replied, The fuck would I know, kid. I'm just a molding.

Harper grinned up at it. Even snickered. "Of course. What was I thinking."

After another protest from his stomach, he finally headed to the dining hall. Eyes lowered, his grin slipped into a frown. It was happening again. Just like last time.

Things were talking to him again.

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Character Portrait: Nikita Machari
Character Portrait: Kyle Keaton
Character Portrait: Dorian Roberts
Character Portrait: Autumn Jones
Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields
Character Portrait: Gwenneth Yuan
Character Portrait: Skylar Grayson
Character Portrait: Aria Delaine
Character Portrait: Jason Carter
Character Portrait: Kwasi Ihejirika
Character Portrait: Falke der Herrscher
Character Portrait: Huan Kin Delun
Character Portrait: Alatáriël Oronrá
Character Portrait: Lux Adair
Character Portrait: Karma Chu
Character Portrait: Katarina Bradley (Imani Cabo)
Character Portrait: Amber (Edwin Bradley)
Character Portrait: Princess Morgan the Graceful

Newest

Character Portrait: Gavin "Ghost" Vaughn
Gavin "Ghost" Vaughn

A white knight. Literally.

Character Portrait: Yagi of the Sun
Yagi of the Sun

If you find that you cannot move away from something special, you have probably died.

Character Portrait: Bryce Edwards
Bryce Edwards

"It's a basic truth of the human condition that everybody lies. The only variable is about what."

Character Portrait: Liv Davidsen
Liv Davidsen

Winter can be unforgiving, December the most.

Character Portrait: King Rembrandt the Wholesome
King Rembrandt the Wholesome

King now. King forever.

Character Portrait: Trent Cress
Trent Cress

It is nothing shy of a pleasure to die for my country.

Character Portrait: Kit Withers
Kit Withers

"If you need me for anything, reconsider."

Character Portrait: Ymir Tula
Ymir Tula

"From the luke-warm hands of the Gods."

Character Portrait: Ondine Azur
Ondine Azur

Never underestimate the consequences of a single ripple.

Character Portrait: Ryou Zerinn
Ryou Zerinn

"So this is what I have to work with… Well, then…"

Trending

Character Portrait: Kyle Keaton
Kyle Keaton

"I got your back, dude."

Character Portrait: Ymir Tula
Ymir Tula

"From the luke-warm hands of the Gods."

Character Portrait: Katarina Bradley (Imani Cabo)
Katarina Bradley (Imani Cabo)

I suppose I was consumed by the fire...

Character Portrait: Falke der Herrscher
Falke der Herrscher

fei, Adventure?

Character Portrait: Trent Cress
Trent Cress

It is nothing shy of a pleasure to die for my country.

Character Portrait: Amber (Edwin Bradley)
Amber (Edwin Bradley)

The smell of burning rye haunts me.

Character Portrait: Xabier Sanchez
Xabier Sanchez

"There can always be warmth hidden in the shadows."

Character Portrait: Lux Adair
Lux Adair

"Listen, I'm the one running this show and not you. So step back."

Character Portrait: Bryce Edwards
Bryce Edwards

"It's a basic truth of the human condition that everybody lies. The only variable is about what."

Character Portrait: Huan Kin Delun
Huan Kin Delun

" Benjamin Hemming "

Most Followed

Character Portrait: Harper Calloway Fields
Harper Calloway Fields

I heard this great joke from my sister. Ready? What did one ocean say to the other ocean? ..... Give up? Nothing. They just...WAVED! AHAHAHAHA*snorts*HAHAHAHA!

Character Portrait: Kyle Keaton
Kyle Keaton

"I got your back, dude."

Character Portrait: Amber (Edwin Bradley)
Amber (Edwin Bradley)

The smell of burning rye haunts me.

Character Portrait: Xabier Sanchez
Xabier Sanchez

"There can always be warmth hidden in the shadows."

Character Portrait: King Rembrandt the Wholesome
King Rembrandt the Wholesome

King now. King forever.

Character Portrait: Aria Delaine
Aria Delaine

"Fire isn't destruction, it's life."

Character Portrait: Skylar Grayson
Skylar Grayson

Just a little rough around the edges.

Character Portrait: Gavin "Ghost" Vaughn
Gavin "Ghost" Vaughn

A white knight. Literally.


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