Eternal Shadows

Eternal Shadows

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Literate 1x1 roleplay (complicated romance) filled with dark themes, troubled pasts, conspiracy, and violence.

424 readers have visited Eternal Shadows since incendium created it.

Introduction

Introduction:

“There will come a day when you realize that all I’ve said is true. You’ll notice the horror that awaits you up ahead, but you won’t be able to stop moving towards it. You’ll realize that there’s no escape for you, no backspace, no detours, and though it may be fate that you kill me here, it is also fate that I get my revenge on you. Even the kingdoms of gods are just playthings for other gods, and even though I’ve died here, I’ll be painting your fate one universe above you… Heh… be sure to take good care of my daughter, boy.”


He was always afraid of words. They were such careless things, so easily made, but they had power over people. They have power over him. That’s why he wasn’t one for talking. When he was quiet, he could almost forget it all. He only had to suffer at night when his soul cursed him in dreams for keeping his agony so close to his heart. He only had to suffer when the darkness smothered out all distractions and left him in an empty room with nothing to do but wait for his insides to leak out. That’s the only time he had to suffer if he could just shut up for the rest of his life. But it was never that easy. He couldn’t be silent, so even the day tormented him. Because of her, the vampires could creep just as flawlessly in day as night. Just looking at her inspired fear. She had power over him. Just like words. It’s true he wouldn’t mind that much if she’d just asked him for actions—he could surrender actions in the day just fine; they were distractions, and he needed and liked distractions—but he knew it was words she wanted. Every day, every goddamned day, he’d watch her—wondering if today was the day she’d ask him to cut out his soul and present it to her on one of their shattered serving plates. It wouldn’t even be a whole one, he knew, because she wouldn’t understand his fragmented words and the shards would pierce both her hands for touching the subject and his heart for revealing itself in the unforgiving air. Living like this was starting to destroy him. He now understood why her father had ordained this as his punishment. At night he was cursed with insomnia and nightmares. In the day he lived in fear and flashbacks. He couldn’t escape from it anymore. It was a hideous, primal monster that chased him day and night without rest. He was going to break. His emotion was bound to slip out eventually. Then she would know. They would all know. And his promise would be broken.

He knew it was going to happen eventually. He followed her every order without fail until it did, resigning himself to objective recital that would hopefully spare him any outburst. But he couldn’t delete his emotions—as much as he hid them, they were still there. So when she finally called him in one night and looked him in the eyes and “Tell me why you killed my father” fell off her tongue, he couldn’t do it. Everything fell apart—just like the old man said it would—and he realized for the first time just how damned he was. He couldn’t do it. He couldn’t look her in the eyes and see all his shame shot back to him along with whatever hatred she mixed into the powder. For the first time she saw his weakness; she saw the suffering he tried so hard to restrain. And then his promises were broken. He’d cried in front of her and ran from his punishment. He broke his oath to always obey his master. And for the first time, everyone knew that he hadn’t been a dog chained and forced to do what he was told. They knew he’d been collarless this whole time. He did what they said by force of will. It was never because of some cursed mark bestowed on him by that damned old man he killed that night. They all knew it was true, now that he’d fled in tears instead of telling her what she wanted to know.

They all knew the secret, now. And he knew they’d want to know more. They’d want to know why he stayed and listened and why he ran and what happened that day and all the answers would just beget more questions and rather than face the wrath of all those words and memories that he only wanted to bury he would rather just die and face that damned old man that predicted it all. He had abandoned his pride long ago, but it still hurt to know that man was right about everything. It hurt to know that if he was right about all the pain that chased him up to this point, he was probably right about the monster that waited in ambush just ahead in the darkness. He was probably right when he said there was no escape.

After running that night, he ran for another two years. For two years he tried to outwit his fate. But in the end he knew. He was doomed. The old man was definitely watching him, and no form of recompense would save him from a dead God’s vengeance. So after running for two years and trying to postpone the inevitable for one, he returned to the door of his master and resigned himself to living without completely falling apart.



Details:

I'm looking for someone to play a goddess named Alexandria. Exactly what kind of Goddess she is is totally up to you. From Gabriel's perspective, she likes to pick things apart. To fully understand the inner workings of things. She likes honesty and complexity. That's just his view of things, though. She could be the complete opposite. He's not the most stable and sensible person there ever was.



Setting:

Basically, there are several universes all nested inside each other and when a person dies they just move one universe up. Each universe has a different level of "magic" than any of the others. For example, the one above us has a substantial amount while ours has very little. Her father was known to have a greater degree of magic than this world permitted, and that's because he was originally a god from the world above ours who created this world and came down to rule it. Since at least part of Alexandria's bloodline is from the upper universe, she too has more magic than this world allows. The only problem is she hasn't been trained in how to use it (because her father died when she was pretty young, and Gabriel wasn't 'technically' her... eh... "familiar" until she came of age to be considered the god of this world. You should also note that gods are immortal in the fact they won't die of old age, but they can die of sickness, overuse of abilities, and physical wounds. Basically any kind of unnatural death. Poison, for instance, would kill a god). Actual age is more or less irrelevant after 18-30ish years, as physically, gods age really slowly after that point. The actual age to be considered god... well... um... Gabriel doesn't really know. He didn't attend the coronation (is that what gods do?) or anything like that. He was too busy running around somewhere.

Alexandria doesn't really know what powers she has. There's basic things like "creating" life and natural objects, ordaining births and deaths, creating universes... knowing the feelings of peoples' hearts, seeing good and evil (and grey area), seeing people's pasts... stuff like that. But she can't reliably do any of that--and she doesn't necessarily know what all she has the capability of doing--because she was never taught. There are no other gods around, after all.

She could probably do some of this stuff subconsciously, like accidentally killing humans without realizing it or feeling some lingering feelings of a person or seeing a flashback/fragment of a person she walks by or thinks about. Other stuff must be taught or learned by trial and error. Gabriel is kind of there to teach her about stuff, (though he hasn't really done his job yet) since he was pretty close to her father when he was alive. Well, alive down here.

Here's some kind of foreshadowing / inspiration on some of her powers:

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There's the possibility that she could have the natural ability to control a sort of element. So, for example, she could manipulate a type of crystal and basically be like Elsa (from Frozen) for lack oof a better example. Any type of natural element could be a candidate for this power. That's kind of rare though. Her father couldn't do that. (Or could he? Heh heh heh...)



The world itself is earth--but it's a different plane of earth. It shares the same space as earth, but the humans and human buildings aren't tangible or visible to the angels, and vice versa. Sometimes it's possible to see misty ghost-like projections of the other plane. This occurrence, on the human plane, is what started banter of ghosts. There's a total of three known planes, though one is rather mysterious, and a doorway in each allows you to become tangible in a different plane.

The angelic realm (plane) is really misty, bright, and godly. A lot of the buildings would be similar to Greek architecture in the main city, but some in the more nature/forest regions would be constructed with stone and other natural building materials.

Here's some of the civilized areas:

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There's also ruins, like this:


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And this is the angelic portal:


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And this is a forest region:
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Lifestyle would be up to you. She was basically a princess while one of the archangels played god until she was old enough. She can be as close or as distant to the people of the angelic region as you want. She could have a love interest, too. Maybe the archangel who played god? That could make for some drama later.

Rough Timeline:


Gabriel killed her father a good while ago, and then eventually he became a familiar to the Archangel that was playing god. There were periods of time that he (the angel) just sent him off to do odd jobs for other people in the realm. He was kind of like a messenger, general mechanic, and soldier.

Then Gabriel became Alexandria's familiar when she became god. (He didn't attend the ceremony, though.)

That didn't last too long, since she would've asked him about her father relatively quickly. He then ran around for three years doing secret things and came back. That's now.

Oh--I forgot to tell you. Another one of god's powers is placing curse marks on people. The exact consequences and effects of this power are generally unknown, as it's pretty abstract and not often used. Everyone thought Gabriel was given one by her father on the night he died, and that was why he listed to whatever he was told. There was another reason why they thought he had a mark, but she doesn't know about it.

So yeah. I hope you can tell that this is going to be more complicated than it might've originally seemed.

I'll elaborate more if you have any questions.

Toggle Rules

Let me just take a moment to broadcast the fact that most roleplays die. Can we all agree on that? Yes? Okay, good. I think we can also agree that most people in a roleplay don't particularly enjoy spending time on a story that dies before anything truly happens. It's a waste of time. Don't you think?

Let's spare ourselves the disappointment and save this poor roleplay from certain doom.

How will we do that? Excellent question. We'll get to know each other. What our expectations are. What our writing styles are like. We'll discuss things. We'll figure out if our relationship is going to work before we start it. I'd rather like to know if you're a serial killer before I go camping with you in the woods, okay? I think that's reasonable.

I'll start. First off all, I'm not a serial killer. Not yet, anyway. You can consider this as more of a "what to expect from me" description than actual rules. This will be the same for all my roleplays, so if you're already one of my partners you don't have to bother reading it.

General:

First of all, I never do slice of life. My plots involve supernatural creatures, gods, death, government conspiracies, inhumane experiments, sociopaths, and more. I tend to be a little dark, and I have successfully played serial killers. Twice. I also tend to swear quite a bit. Shit. (Heh... that rhymed). I'm mature, really.

Okay, on to the most important point I will probably make. When you read a classic novel or play--like The Kite Runner, The Importance of Being Earnest, Hamlet, Catcher in the Rye, The Scarlet Letter, Huckleberry Finn, Frankenstein, etc--there is always some sort of greater meaning, or theme, in the work. THAT'S WHAT MAKES THOSE LITERARY WORKS AWESOME. Of course, knowing that, all my roleplays MUST have some sort of greater meaning, or theme, lovingly tucked behind the words. Even my "simple" ideas have some sort of conspiracy that I begin foreshadowing/alluding to in the first few posts. Another thing that all my roleplays possess is character conflict. You know, man vs. man, man vs. society, man vs. self? I have affairs with all those lovelies. I know it's scandalous. Don't judge me.

Going back to the classics, another thing that makes classic literature awesome is the use of literary devices, such as symbolism and irony, to sparkle like diamonds against blackened text. (That was a simile--a literary device and a type of analogy). I use lit devices in my writing quite frequently. You can expect hyperbole, oxymoron, metaphor, syntax, diction, (pay attention to my diction, people--I foreshadow a lot through single words), and the like. I also rhyme paragraphs sometimes if it fits my character. And poetry--I'll include poetry too. Allusions. I use a shitload of allusions.


You may or may not have inferred that I was at the top of all my advanced English classes.

I pretty much only play males, so you can pretty much expect to play a female.

Literacy and Writing Style:

I'm literate. I expect proper grammar and punctuation. There is a bit of a grey area with that, however. In creative writing we can do naughty things like stream-of-consciousness, sentence fragments, ending sentences with prepositions, and other such indiscretions. I will allow those. Hell, I do stuff like that all the time. But if you're mixing up homophones (their, they're, there / your, you're) and dropping commas with no regard for punctuation rules or even just the logical placement of pauses in a sentence... well, I might hate you. Let's not beat around the bush here.

Another pet peeve of mine is when people start every sentence with a personal pronoun or the characters' names. That pet peeve doesn't count if you have a writing style like mine, however, where you write in a first-person-like style using third-person.

As a general rule I expect you to match what I write, more or less, as post length can fluctuate throughout the course of a roleplay. You can expect a minimum of 2-3 paragraphs per post, or about 400+ words. Nothing less than that. I generally average about 7-10 paragraphs, but if I have a lot to write about I can go upwards of 15-16. My typical style of writing tends to focus more on the psychological aspects of my characters, their past experiences, and highlighting their respective journeys to achieve some sort of important understanding. I’m not really one for grand descriptions of settings or actions. Those tend to be a bit vague with me. I focus on the characters.

If your writing style is more of a description of actions and settings, with mostly dialogue and little insight regarding your characters’ thoughts and motivations, I’ll have a lot of trouble roleplaying with you. I’m just not good at writing like that, you know? If for some reason I feel like your writing style isn't compatible with mine, although anyone who responds to this should have a good idea of our comparability, I will let you know immediately. I don't have the patience to struggle for a few weeks or months and ultimately have the story die for such a ridiculous reason. I'll let you know the first time I see your post.


Dedication:

I have a decent amount of literate stuff going on at the moment and a rather busy life as a student in advanced classes and organizations that require quite a few hours of community service every three months. Because of these facts, and a certain personality trait of mine (I play favorites), I can be slow to reply. I will by no means guarantee daily posting. I might post daily—maybe more if a RP becomes one of my favorites—but it’s not guaranteed. As such, I can't (and won't) ask for daily posts from you. It might annoy me if you only post, say, once every 2-1/2 weeks... but I can deal with irregular posting.

Here's the thing, though. My whole purpose for having roleplays that may only get posts once a week is related to the whole quality or quantity concept. The roleplay may be slow, but that's okay if each person posts a beautiful, literate 10+ paragraph reply that has nice characterization and contributes to the meaning of the story. I spend hours on each reply to make sure it's a great one. Every time I write something I want to improve, so I always write to the best of my ability and beyond. I hope you'll have a similar mindset.

Okay...know this: I don’t abandon my own plots. That would be stupid. So, I’ll continue to post as long as you do--assuming there isn't an obvious compatibility issue that I'd point out as soon as I notice it--which better be longer than a few weeks, by the way—don’t be joining anything of mine if you’re prone to ditching. I don’t think anybody really likes ditchers. I've had people ditch. It isn't acceptable. You have until the first post to run. Once there are two replies, you’re stuck with me. Please—for the love of god—don't flee once the story has started. Tattoo it on both hemispheres of your mind! And, you really aren't allowed to ditch, but if you hypothetically do... Let me know. Don't just disappear. At least let me kill off your character properly so I can somehow work in another person. Or start it from scratch. But, you aren't allowed to ditch, so it doesn't really matter anyway. Right? I am long term, pumpkin. Let me know if you go on vacation or die or go comatose or something.


The art of intriguing posts:

I once had someone play as my character's close friend for about two months, real life time, building a relationship outwardly and inwardly with thoughts. We were just two guys stuck in a (hunger game-ish) forest, trying to survive together and work out their issues. Then, in one post, he completely changed sides and turned out to be working for an enemy. It was the single most shocking and interesting moment I've ever experienced in a roleplay. I never saw it coming. It's very interesting when a character's thoughts are deceptive and misleading, as they're supposed to be only known by the character. So one would assume it to be true, right? Heh.


I've seen many roleplay creators say something like, "talk to me before starting any big drama!" I never liked that. I never really liked that at all. You can do whatever you like. You can do bad things. Fights, capture, memory wipes, torture, illegitimate children, whatever—it’s all fair game. In fact, I take this whole thing to such an extreme, I don’t even mind if you kill my character. I will find a way to get you back. And it will be great. Really. I may have said this, but it's okay to betray me. We can all simultaneously betray each other in one big deceptive mess. Bring on the battle of wits. I will screw you all over, every last one of you, so don't be afraid to do it back or aid me in my attempts. Evil laugh, anyone? Mwahaha.

As far as romancy-things, this is my pre-written disclaimer for that. (Although now I've been bested twice, so just keep that in mind.)

The rules are pretty simple. Don’t be cliché and throw in a lot of plot twists. Yep. I want you to be completely and utterly MALICIOUS. Destroy my poor character—one condemned atom at a time—don’t hold back anything! And don’t cry over spilled milk! Then, maybe throw in a little mushy mush. Even if it’s fake I’m-lying-through-my-teeth mush or hell-I-really-hate-admitting-this-sugariness. Then hammer him down again! HA HA HA HA.


I’m not a sadist, really. Just trust me—tragedy is a lot of fun. Much better than gushy mush. And I’ll pay you back for whatever you dish out. Don’t worry ‘bout it. I really love a roleplay when it turns into a battle between writers to outwit the other. Oh, fun times. And—as a little incentive—I’ve only been bested once. The woman had a remarkable character, and I couldn’t figure out her motives at all, and she surprised me with this plot twist that I actually didn’t see coming and… it was an awesome WTF experience that rarely happens. So yeah. Can you handle my dance, little bird? Can you?
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Here's an example of my writing style (it's a little odd, but generally well-liked):


It took a few seconds to recover from his sudden heart failure. Or maybe it took a few minutes. He wasn’t exactly sure, since he was dizzy from the lack of oxygen runners doing marathons through his veins, and what little concentration he did possess was desperately trying to rid his face of a horrified expression. There wasn’t a monster behind him. It was just Alexandria. Not that it really made a difference. Actually, it did. He would’ve preferred the monster. They don’t ask for words, after all. They just hurt you physically. He could take physical pain. His creator had given him a sturdy build, after all. He could take it. But words never hurt you physically. Not on the outside, at least. They were shards of glass mixed with acid that forced its way up in a sort of emotional word vomit that left you scarred and bleeding for longer than anyone could really take. Those were words. His words. And when she announced his presence he knew it wouldn’t be long before she forced the plague on him, demanding him to speak a painful truth to somehow satisfy her.

But he was prepared for that. Well, as prepared as he ever would be. He always knew the day would come when he’d have to answer for what he’d done. Reveal what no one had learned despite their countless attempts and roughness. It was amazing just how terrifying an army of angered archangels could be, but he’d known that before he killed their god. It was a death sentence to a living hell. That was obvious. He knew the cost of killing the old man. The bastard had spelled it all out for him before the deed was done. But he accepted that price. He deserved to pay it. So even though there were times he was selfish and just wanted the pain to stop, and times he cringed away from the blow that approached, he would always come back to this. He would always come back to his pain. He deserved it.

He deserved to turn around and face her and do whatever it was she said. This was part of his punishment. She was just another catalyst to open old wounds. And he hated her for that. But at the same time… he was relieved that she was there. He hated this, all of it, but he felt incomplete without the agony. The older he got, the more he was starting to think that maybe it was better to live in constant pain than lie broken and bloody, paralyzed with a sort of numb emptiness that just feels worse than anything. Maybe it was better this way. Maybe the pain was worth it if he wasn’t completely alone. So as she spoke her words, her insults, and finally demanded the rest of the story, all he could do was stand silently, preparing for the oncoming horror that was always guaranteed, because he knew that even this was better than wandering around aimlessly with only his thoughts to destroy him. It would be over faster if others shattered him. It would be so much easier. So much faster. All he had to do was stop resisting the siege and open the gates. He just had to start handing out weapons for everyone to stab him with.

If only it wasn’t so hard to do that. Admitting what happened was like taking a blade and sawing off his tongue. It isn’t easy to do that to yourself. He just—he couldn’t do it. But he had no choice. The reality of that became gruesomely apparent when she seized his wrist and dragged him into that horrible room—carelessly hauled him into that horrific place—and perched just like a goddess on her judgmental couch ready to break him more than her father ever did. He kept resolving to stutter through it as steadily as he could, to figure out a way to force himself to say it, to give his master what she wanted and what he ultimately needed, but it… it was just so hard. He kept thinking about it and then he was seeing it and then hearing her screaming and pleading and crying and then he felt the fire on his hands and in his throat and smelled the blood dripping down and it was just too much—he had to forget it all, he had to forget but he couldn’t and he knew it. He could never escape. He could never be anything but wretched ever again. And that terrified him, but it also disgusted him. He hated himself for being so unable to just accept his suffering. He just wanted to stop wishing he could escape.

As the world came back into focus, and he stood there breathing heavily with distorted eyes aimed firmly at the floor, he heard his master say the one thing he never thought she would. He heard her say that he could be forgiven. And it was at that moment that all the agony and dread he’d felt dissipated into nothingness. It was completely evaporated by the heat of sudden and unequaled anger.

Forgiven. Forgiven. Forgiven. How could anyone dare to throw that word at him? It didn’t matter how much of a lie it was. Actually, the fact that it was a lie made it even worse. That word was forbidden to him. He had no right to even begin to think about the possibility of ending his suffering and being… So why the hell was she voicing nonsense about forgiveness? If he couldn’t forgive himself—if he felt like there was no chance for him to ever remotely accept himself again—there was no one on this earth that could possibly have the right to do it for him. That word carried so much weight. He couldn’t believe that she would release it so carelessly.

It physically hurt him to stand there, baring his teeth against the hurricane that had been raging for all these years, trying to keep it from ripping its way out into the open. It really hurt. And he was so exasperated, with her and himself and everything, that for a moment he snapped, and the reinforced iron door he couldn’t bring himself to open cracked. He eyed her with an intensity that matched her own, but while her gaze was a calm, focused dagger that pierced holes through everything it touched, his was a pack of wild dogs that hungrily shredded without regard or mercy.

“You wanna know everything, do you? Well that’s really too bad. I refuse to accommodate a haughty brat that throws empty lies like forgiveness around to get what she wants. You’re a god now, Anna. A fucking god. You’ve got to get your shit together and start acting like it. Billions of people are depending on you now, and you’re just—“ he took a moment to throw a hand in the air, frustrated that he couldn’t find the right words to explain what he saw, “You’re just like the rest of ‘em. I can already see you’ve inherited his flaws. Except you’re young and stupid, so you don’t know how to hide them like he did.”

A few seconds passed before he realized that he’d just reprimanded his master—and called her stupid, on top of that—and that she was actually a god now so it was a pretty ill-advised thing to do. He only partially cared, though. He had stood up to her father countless times, spewing blunt and heated rants just like this one, and as a god he was much scarier than his daughter. It’s true it didn’t end well in the long run, but he figured he’d probably get away with yelling at each god a few times before it came back to really bite him.

Still, Alexandria was known to be rather terrifying and—in his experience—intolerant. It would probably be best to say something to diffuse the situation. Preferably before she reacted and his anger completely left him, leaving the despair to take hold once again. “All that aside,” he added swiftly, “I do owe you a better answer to your question…”

Here's an example of one of my characters:

Name: Cyprian Alexander Harris
Age: 27
Gender: Male
Quirks: Often speaks cryptically and in metaphors. Quotes/alludes to literature. Speaks in fragments. Oddly defensive to touch. Prone to insincerity and deceit. Falls asleep at weird times.

Significant Quotes:

“You overrate my capacity of love. I don't possess half the warmth of nature you believe me to have. An unprotected childhood in a cold world has beaten gentleness out of me.” ― Thomas Hardy, Far from the Madding Crowd

“The first time it was reported that our friends were being butchered there was a cry of horror. Then a hundred were butchered. But when a thousand were butchered and there was no end to the butchery, a blanket of silence spread. When evil-doing comes like falling rain, nobody calls out "stop!" When crimes begin to pile up they become invisible. When sufferings become unendurable the cries are no longer heard. The cries, too, fall like rain in summer.”― Bertolt Brecht, Selected Poems

Soliloquy / Creed:
A person’s life is equivalent to a man stranded on one side of an abyss with the singular goal of making it to the other side. He has three paths. First, he could delude himself into believing his goal to be attainable—thereby remaining stationary until he is overtaken by time’s impatience. Whether he schemes or simply waits for a miracle, it doesn’t matter. The reality is he’s waiting for death to come to him. Second, he could accept the futility of his goal and lament his inability to move forward. Instead of waiting for the demons behind to stab him, he jumps into the abyss. A half-assed attempt to reach the other side, doomed to fail, but perhaps giving a little more comfort than simply waiting for death. Third, he could accept the impossible forward trajectory and move along the edge. He lives on, constantly running from the death-demons, but he’s doomed to never reach his goal. Running left or right will never get him to the other side. He possesses his life… but his life doesn’t amount to anything when death finally comes to him.

I chose to live my life according to the last scenario. I’m not really afraid of death. I think it’s just something you should avoid if you can. Because… if death is coming at some point, I might as well do what I can to survive until then. I refuse to be some dumbass who just gave in to demise. I won’t lose my footing so easily. I’ll survive even if it’s pointless.

Fragment:
Droplets of water slid happily down overgrown blades of grass, not caring about the filth that lingered below, while over the hill other droplet clans slid down far deadlier blades. Stained blades. Their kin painted tears on rotting faces and mingled with blood on shattered spikes. Some say rain is the tears of God. Is it really? Even if it is true, and He does cry for mankind, crying sure doesn’t do a damn in the end. The sky should stop tearing up and do something for a change.

A deep rasp dashed through waves of dancing chains and steadfast bars and unnatural breathing. It was his voice. He was saying something.

“I wonder if I’ll die today.”

That’s right. He whispered that every morning, nowadays, whether it was his turn to fight or not. The others all cried or begged or stared off into the distance with a different shade of gloom, but not him. He just slept and woke and said the same nonchalant words and uttered the same type of facetious remarks whenever his eyes returned from their long respite. Was he insane? Many believed so. But it wasn’t the usual color of insanity. Those who lost their minds in the holding cells were violent and loud, shrieking nonsense and playing cryptic Picasso on their walls. He was different. He didn’t seem to care. He was quiet and sarcastic, marching off to face death when he had to but not without baffling the reaper with his latest enigma. He was definitely insane. They all knew it. But he was insane intelligently.

Chains clicked. Vision blurred. Words slurred and ran together in a wretched painting not even a mother could dare admire. Before he knew it he was at it again, playing the same game he always did, running from a force he couldn’t defeat. Back and forth. Near and far. Left. Right. Roll. Dodge. Run. Keep running. He went through the motions. Yes, it was instinct at this point. But his head wasn’t there. It hadn’t been there for weeks. Months, even. He didn’t even know if he had a head anymore. Maybe it was cut off. Maybe his head was crying God’s tears on a bloody, broken stick up on a hill somewhere. They couldn’t even splurge on an unbroken stick. As if it’s that hard to go and pick up a new one somewhere. Those bastards.

Loud. Louder. What were those noises, he wondered, as the walls roared and cheered and called his name. He was the frontrunner. He was the example. He had won the game again. But even then, with his newly stolen hours of guaranteed life, his head wasn’t there. He didn’t hear them. He couldn’t. It all didn’t matter. It never mattered. He was just a ghost forced into a game he didn’t like. Crying wouldn’t help. Begging wouldn’t help. Crazy would only help him to his grave… and pride was a distant dream that only fools feigned. But maybe he wanted pride. Maybe pride was the reason he fought. Did he have a reason to fight? If he had a reason, he surely wasn’t conscious of it. That was his curse. He existed… but he didn’t know why he existed. Or if he even wanted to.

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Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Gabriel

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It seemed her palace hadn’t changed much in the three years he’d spent as a stray—it was still cold and overbearing in its intimidating stone gown, steadfast as ever but not without some air of delicate beauty and flawless grace. He always thought it was a rather fitting abode for those who called themselves gods... inviting and merciless at the same time. After all, it was with perfect allure that all evils beckoned their prey—promising good to all but only truly delivering to some—like carnivorous plants that boast oxygen to those larger and food to those smaller. Oh, did you think the plant would just sit there and let you eat at its expense? No, little fly—the food that was promised to you is yours—surely—but to attain it you must part with your life.

As he left the surrounding night for the innards of the palace, he dimly wondered where and when this sudden eloquence had broken into his soul, but it didn’t loiter around long enough for him to take any real notice. No pretty words could change the truth of the matter. Her palace was a prison. A pound for hopeless tramps and strays like him and an adventure for the obedient and trusting pedigrees like everyone else. It was a prison. But it was only his prison, and as such the bars were visible only to him. No one else really noticed how everything got darker the more steps you take inside. No one noticed how cold it was. How empty. How dark.

It was quite a long time before he reached the darkest place of all. No—it was the second darkest place. His room was the darkest. His empty room with nothing but bars and chains and airless darkness. Her room was the second darkest. That’s what he realized as he stared darkly at the door of her room. There weren’t any bars in her room, for some reason. Her room was the only place that wasn’t a prison. It took him a minute to remember why, but he regretted thinking about it when he did. Why wasn’t the second darkest room a prison cell? He knew why. It was an execution chamber. The place where god died. When he thought about it, staring at her door, he started to wonder if she knew that her father was killed there. If it was him, he wouldn’t want to lay in the same place someone else died. But then again, that’s exactly what he used to do.

He stared at the door for a few minutes before he started to realize how stupid it was. No one else saw this place as he did—the darkness was only reflected in his eyes. And because of that he was more afraid of the door than actually facing what he’d done. So he decided he didn’t have to go through the door. He didn’t even have to touch it. Well, maybe he had to touch it. The old man would want him to suffer for running off for three years, and touching the door seemed like a good way to do that. Maybe if he started his own suffering it wouldn’t be as bad. And maybe Alexandria wasn’t even in there. It’d been three years, after all. Maybe he could just lean against the door and start talking and do what he should’ve done then, and be rewarded with a clean conscience without all the trouble of facing her again. Maybe he could slip out before morning and no one would ever know. Maybe there was some god out there that loved him.

“I… um… you asked me… why I killed your old man…,” he whispered, stalking the door to lean a fist and a forehead on it. As he continued, he couldn’t quite keep his voice at a steady volume. It fluctuated somewhere between a breath and a low, strained murmur, like he couldn’t quite decide if he should be a man about it—quietly, of course; there was no need to wake anyone else in the palace—in case she wasn’t there or do everything in his power not to be heard if she was. “…Three years ago… well, three years and twenty-two days…uh, not that I counted or anything… or kept track from the beginning... damn it. I, uh… I have to answer you sooner or later… since I… well, ran away in tears like a little… you know what, let’s just start this over. I’m sure you’re sleeping anyway… in a room… that isn’t this one… God… Why didn’t I… why the hell didn’t I practice this shit? God damn it… I had three years… I shoulda practiced…”

He fell silent for a moment, listening to the air behind the door, trying to judge if she was there or not. It probably wasn’t too late to run again. He’d done it once right in front of her, so what was the shame of doing it again like this? She might not even be there.

But the old man was. It was a scary thought—one that he hadn’t fully grasped before. Her dad already had it coming to him for running—he knew that much—so to even think about running again was just… man… what had he become? And why was talking so damn hard for him? Was he always this much of a pussy? He couldn’t quite remember. That worried him.

“I… um… are you… are you there? Alexandria… about what happened…with the old man… I… I made a deal with him, once… I exchanged my life for… well… something I thought… was important to me… but I didn’t… I didn’t understand the price I would pay. So when he… he… took… something from me… something I wasn’t expecting him to take… I killed him because I didn’t realize it was part of the price... I killed your father because I wanted revenge… I killed him because I was stupid…,“ realizing something, he backed away from the door to shake his head. “I should’ve just said that when you’d asked… I killed him because I was stupid.”

He knew a simple answer like that—blaming it on stupidity—would’ve never satisfied her. Hell, he didn’t even know if his legitimate answer would satisfy her. That’s partially why he was internally petrified. Would the master still tolerate the mutt that not only killed her father, but ran away when he was supposed to be making up for it? Making up for it…? Well, as much as a mutt could make up for biting all his previous masters. “I’m sorry failing your command before.”

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Re: Eternal Shadows

Hi there, incendium.

So I read everything over, and I'd like to take a crack at playing Alexandria. That said, there are still some things I think I'd need to know about her before I was fully comfortable doing that, and as you've mentioned, there are compatibility issues to be assessed as well. Is there a particular way you think we'd be best off starting that process? Of course, if you find yourself no longer in need of a taker, I'll not be offended.

-V

Eternal Shadows

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