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Laíra'alethya Celessí Ethiriel

'I didn't want any flowers, I only wanted to lie with my hands turned up and be utterly empty. How free it is, you have no idea how free.'

0 · 996 views · located in Roinnte, Ireland

a character in “The Fair Folk”, as played by Layla

Description

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short skirt, long jacket; cake XXXXX fishies; the cat empire XXXXX the light before we land; the delgados




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FA E NAME
XXXLaíra'alethya Celessí Æthiriel; stars, pure, galaxy

H U M A N NAME
XXXAurélia Bellerose; golden one, beautiful rose

NICKNAME/S
XXXLaira, Lair, Rawr

AGE
XXX315; December 31st, 1699

COURT
XXXSeelie

NATIONALITY
XXXSyreli; hidden in the deepest depths of the world's oceans in what mortals know as the Mariana Trench, Syrel is the third largest Fae settlement in the underwater realm and the largest of the Western Pacifc holdings. Neither light nor human eyes have ever penetrated the Seelie territory, as many of its inhabitants are highly sensitive to sunlight. The water pressure in Syrel is over 1000 times the standard atmospheric pressure at sea level and can scarcely be frequented by those unaccustomed to it.

XXXThe majority of Merpeople in Syrel, that is, those possessing the bodies of fish and man, are descended from Kaia'raen Emrys, who was the first Asrai. Nearly all Syreli are of mixed-blood, as unlike some underwater communities, Syrel is home to all types of Water Fae, though Merfolk and Shapeshifters represent the majority.

SEXUALITY
XXXMates for life

DIALOGUE COLOUR
XXXdialogue; #3B9C9C
XXXthoughts; #C77777





"I like it when it rains hard. It sounds like white noise everywhere,
which is like silence but not empty."






















































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SPECIES
XXXThere is often a fragment of truth in mortals' recapitulation of Faerie tales, The Little Mermaid being one of them. Once upon a time, a water nymph by the name of Kaia'raen Emrys fell in love with a mortal, the human slave of an honoured delegate and the greatest Unseelie Elf to have ever lived. The foreseeable tragedy of this tale seemed obvious to all but the enamoured pair, who sought to desert a community opposed to Fae and human relations beyond that of master and slave. Yet it was not this taboo that would doom them but the fragments of truth describing the Merfolk to be so breathtakingly beautiful that a single glimpse of them would render any mortal mad, as they pined all their lives for something that could only be found at the bottom of the ocean.

XXXThe Dark Elf succumbed to a comparable insanity, wanting nothing more than Kaia'raen's devotion. When he discovered her heart belonged to his servant, a powerless human who wielded no title or strength, he cursed the woman he claimed to love, and every daughter borne to her. Thus the first Asrai were forged, mermaids christened Ashrays for their deliquescence to water when struck with light. For generations, they were confined to the Aphotic zone, the darkest caverns of the ocean, where no light could penetrate.

XXXThe Nix, Neck, Nicor or Nokken are less of a species than an immunity to a condition, being definitive products of innumerable variations of Water Fae exclusive to Syrel. They are descendants of Kaia'Raen, who was originally one of many Naiads, water nymphs with the heads and torsos of human girls and the lower bodies of fish, singing songs to enchant mortals and Fae alike. To allow them control over their transfiguration, the Asrai or Ashrays bred with aquatic Shapeshifters who possessed the forms of beast and man, like Kelpies, Selkies and dragons. However, despite countless millenniums of cross-breeding, most are born Asrai, confined to Syrel where no light exists and limited to venturing above the surface only at night. though the mutation manifests only in their female offspring.

XXXNixies are the minority whose paternal blood runs strong enough to overwhelm the preeminent curse in their veins so that they are born Shapeshifters. Their name is derived of the Mer word, "nighe," meaning, to wash or cleanse and to be made pure again. They are essentially cured of the debilitation and will never birth an Asrai. For this, they are highly prized in Syrel, as only one in every two hundred mermaids are born Nix, if that. They resemble half-humans and half-fish like their brothers and sisters, though they possess the capacity of the former to alter their form and the weakness of the latter that ultimately becomes their strength: the ability to turn to water.

ABILITIES
XXXThe Nixie are water personified, moving with a grace and stealth impressive even for creatures of the ocean. Unlike Asrai, they may choose when and if they should become water, and are able to manipulate the shape in which they take should they so choose. Consider it to be liquid floating in space, unfettered by the rules of gravity that demands that water must always fall. However, although they are able to resemble a structure in this form, they can neither grasp a solid form nor be grasped by it.

XXXThey are shapeshifting water spirits able to possess the forms of humans and animals, although any shape not inherent to their own can only be worn for a limited time. However, the more often they wear a certain disguise, the longer they may maintain their form, as if it were a muscle. Their gift for transfiguration allows them only to imitate the bodies of other beings, but never their minds. Therefore, although a Nix could wear the appearance of a falcon and even the shape of their vocal cords to allow them to sound like one, they could not fly if they did not already know how. Contrary to some myths, Nixie cannot alter clothes, and their capacity to shapeshift is strictly limited to their own biological matter. Water reveals their true forms, and forces them to return to their Mer or liquid identities.

XXXThe Nixie possess a number of true or original forms that may be alternated without being subject to time limits, though only two may be used underwater. One is liquid and the second their true human face. Their legs turn immediately to tails when in contact with liquid and vice versa, but their upper bodies remain the same unless consciously manipulated.

XXXLike all Merfolk, Nixes have the ability to breathe underwater and protect others from drowning with a kiss. However, being Water Fae, they weaken the longer they are away from it. Although Laira's melodies do not have the hypnotic quality inherent to Naiads and Asrai, she does still have a mesmerising voice, albeit not a typically magical one. They have an exceptional ability to sense the state of the ocean and of those with which they have a special bond, their ability growing stronger with the connection, be it by blood or choice. Because of this, Laira experiences her twin brother's pain and joy as if it were her own and is as aware of his whereabouts as she is of the placement of her hand with her eyes closed. Due to the extreme water pressures and near freezing temperatures in Syrel, Laira possesses superior physical strength and extreme tolerance for the cold.

XXXThe Syreli in particular have superior night vision and though Nixie will not turn to foam, they are still sensitive to heat sunlight. They are more vulnerable to heat stroke, dehydration, sunburn and other afflictions of the sun. A Nixie exposed to sunlight and dry land for an extended period of time will ultimately die.





"I don’t want to be a piece of art.
Nobody touches artwork. They just look from afar and move on."


























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HUMAN APPEARANCE
XXXheight; 5'6"weight; 126lbsXXX
XXXeye colour; kaleidoscopichair colour; ash brownXXX

XXXThey named Laira stars for her eyes, a kaleidoscopic manifestation of light and darkness. Her pale blue gaze is dispersed by shades of emerald green and sterling grey, the irises flecked with a dusting of burnt ash. Amber encircles her pupils, bleeding into a deep mahogany. Laira has a condition mortals call sectoral heterochromia, where numerous colours are present in a single iris. Her blue-green-grey-brown gaze is framed by dark lashes that reiterate the deep auburn shade of her hair.

XXXWavy locks cascade far down her back, ending just above her tailbone. Her body is one of wiry strength, clavicles carving elegant lines across her body. She is slim by virtue of being a Mer, though her limbs and stomach are etched with muscles that reveal a lifestyle unusual for a coddled Nixie. Her hands are calloused, and scars shatter the smooth expanse of skin, the lines peppering her arms and knuckles where swords and brute force have broken skin.

FAE APPEARANCE
XXXHer Fae appearance is identical to her human, save for the skin that bleeds into golden scales inches beneath her belly button. Her tail is thicker and stronger than the rest of her body, the thin, translucent stretch of her fins reaching almost twice the length of her upper body. Like all Mer, she wears no clothes over her body, though the sight of them nude and true is one few land dwellers are privy to.

XXXThe Mer often decorate their hair with seashells, pearls and jewels foraged from shipwrecks, and Laira wears an heirloom atop her head, a thin diadem cut of Snowspindle, a metal immune to corrosion and said to enable its wearer to find their way home. Flowers carved of crystal are entangled with strings of freshwater pearls, with a single shard of Rheingold - most of which Odin and his Valkyrie stole to repay the creators of Valhalla - resting atop her third eye.

XXXIn her liquid form, her figure and outline is as she pleases. She may merge with the water surrounding her, or resemble the shape of a girl. Nixie can only be differentiated from mundane water by their subtle incandescence. Direct sunlight reveals kaleidoscopic hues, a rainbow within the surface of water, though it may often to ignored as merely a trick of the light.





"Ask me no questions, I'll tell you no lies."



































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STRENGTHS
XXXimpersonations; the shapeshifter has an understanding of Fae and human psyche that does not often transcend to her social interactions. Lies pour through her as easily as water through a river and situations unravel with a clarity reserved for impersonations. She has a gift for accents.

XXXcombat; centuries spent training with The Tempest and an ancient 20,000 year old dragon, as well as her time spent with the humans, has equipped her with the abilities necessary to be a formidable opponent. She uses her shapeshifting abilities to her advantage, slipping quickly between forms to confuse, altering her height or wearing a familiar face. She is proficient in a number of weapons, though her favourite are the Haladie she carries in each hand and a chain whip with serrated metal links.

XXXambidextrous; their father once crushed her right hand so she would be forced to train with her left when she revealed herself to be inequitable in skill. "Hands may be severed," Dárgh'kaelos had said. "Amputation must never be a justification for defeat."

WEAKNESSES
XXXflying; although theoretically and biologically capable of flying, Laira has neither the desire nor the gall to do so. She has been petrified of heights for as long as she can recall. She has never boarded a plane and would likely take poorly to being lifted into the air by anyone or by any means.

XXXheat; most scathing hot days are spent indoors or underwater, assuming the water does not boil. She has no burning desire to resemble a slab of grilled mackerel, and keeps a healthy distance away from any flame. Although not more vulnerable to fire than any ordinary human, she has the heat tolerance of one who has lived in near freezing temperatures all her life.

XXXCaelius'levyath; their relationship is one of balance. Though has mastered the art of veiling her thoughts and feelings from him, it remains difficult to hide anything from her brother. However, secrets are things both possess in abundance. He has always provided the love and comfort those around them crave, and she the criticisms and bitter truth. They hate her, but they love him, and that has always been the way it would and should be.

XXXDestroyer of nature; despite notions of Fae being one with nature, Laira has always possessed a remarkable ability to kill any plant in her possession. She has killed succulents, cactuses and the most indestructible of plants, to her fellow Seelie, Dalia's discontent. Still, she possesses a fondness for flowers, even if her love for them is unrequited.

FEARS
XXXheights; although not a particular threat to Nixies, Laira is nonetheless uneasy when confronted with great heights. She has never learned to fly because of this, and perhaps her fear is not of height itself, but of being free. It is a peculiar thought, considering freedom is all she has ever wanted, but she's grown complacent over the last 273 years, and perhaps it's easier to blame her imprisonment for her unhappiness.

XXXbeing stuck; being trapped as something or someone she has turned into is her greatest fear, especially when that form is water: unable to touch or be touched. Since she was a child, she has challenged herself to shapeshift as fast as possible to avoid that period in between forms. She fears being trapped in the in-between, neither one form nor the coming. She has seen the dangers of shapeshifting, as evidenced by her brother, and she can only hope that it will never be repeated.

XXXloss of control; she has fought all her life - even during her imprisonment - to be free, and being stripped of will seems the worst that could happen to her. Fae who are able to manipulate bodies or minds, like Mesmers, are the only beings she fears.





"She craved solitude but she hated loneliness,
a conundrum that she couldn’t even begin to solve."
























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PERSONALITY
XXXstars; never had one of the Æthiriel been more aptly named than when they named the girl with kaleidoscopic eyes, laerah, stars. She is an inferno trapped in the shell of a sea, soft hair and soft scales antithetical to the syllables that slip from her tongue like poison. "What burns bright, burns out," her father had warned her, but she could no more stifle the fire in her chest than she could heal the Asrai of their condition. Always they had wished she and Caelius been born opposite genders, that he had been the Nixie and she the Dragon. She was aggressive, glib and intrepid, qualities suited to a warrior but not to a girl born to birth others.

XXXabyss; with her snipped responses, laced with an ample dose of sarcasm, Laira has never been an easy nut to crack. She is the oblivion with its unknowns, her secrets pooling at the edges of an overflowing cup. Any who venture too close to the edges of the atmosphere may find themselves tossed back, shoved aside by the force of a gravity reluctant to reveal anything of Laíra'alethya. She weaves figurative and literal masks over her face, carrying secrets like rare gems in a hidden chest. She is glad to have them hate her, to carry the blame for the sequence of events she has never been able to forgive herself for. Perhaps it derives from a distaste for others or a mistrust for a world that could hurt her brother as it did, but she could never distance herself enough.

XXXmeteor; if Laira may only have one wish, it is to be free. To be free of everything they have demanded she become since she was a year old and the sun did not dissolve her, and to be free of Syrel. She has never been feminine like Milli, the only other Nixie in their family, and she certainly never would be. She is more comfortable with a sword in her hand than she is with a compliment on her tongue. Her words are blades, her hands wield blades, and her mind is a blade, with its serrated edges and sharp clarity. She has always understood logic better than she has emotions. Ironic, perhaps, considering they are by all accounts, magic. Yet she is as loyal as she is uncontrollable.

XXXsupernova; the rage is like the sky, spread over everything. A need to wreck, to scream, to fight and bleed, pulses in her chest, underlying every act. She wakes up feeling angry at the world and goes to bed angrier than she was when she awoke, only to sink into dreams that leave crescent marks in her palms. She wears misanthropy and cynicism like flesh and skin on bones, each act of kindness from others dissected until she finds the worms writhing beneath. She would raze everything in her path if not for her brother, the only being she construes to be good and pure. The Unseelie court is unkind to those like him, and for that she has never defected to it, but she will never belong as her brother does. She does not wish to, she tells herself. She does not wish to.





"She dealt her pretty words like blades."





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LIKES
XXXLily of valley ✦ Fake dying plants; because anyone who knows her knows no plant under her care could be so green ✦ Strawberry milk, bubble tea, liquid food ✦ Bottled ships ✦ Sparring ✦ Dandelions ✦ Shipwrecks; as bad as that sounds ✦ Snow ✦ Pretty clothes ✦ Long baths ✦ Freshwater ✦ Chewing ice ✦ Running ✦ Treasure hunts ✦ Chess ✦ Memory games ✦ Reading ✦ Movies ✦ Night skies, sunrises, sunsets ✦ Astronomy ✦ Singing ✦ Quiet cafe nooks ✦ Sitting on rocks ✦ Pirate movies ✦ Ducks ✦ Magic tricks ✦ Collecting stamps ✦ Unusual objects

DISLIKES
XXXElevators ✖︎ Pollution ✖︎ Summer ✖︎ Sand in her clothes ✖︎ People who don't knock ✖︎ Coffee ✖︎ Spicy food ✖︎ Plastic bags ✖︎ Technology ✖︎ Aeroplanes ✖︎ Birds; except ducks ✖︎ Cooking ✖︎ Touch screens ✖︎ Small change ✖︎ Crowds ✖︎ Physical contact ✖︎ Physical proximity ✖︎ Parties; except the part where they dress up ✖︎ Bonfires ✖︎ Modern transportation ✖︎ Human money; she doesn't like the smell ✖︎ Children





"Out of all the colors of the rainbow, you remind me of blue.
Bright, yet so surprisingly depressing."




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HISTORY
XXX1699; she was the second but the last of her eight sisters to be a Nixie, a common occurrence in Syrel where multiple births are relatively mundane. She was born 6 minutes before her twin brother, Caelius'levyath, and held before the sun when she was one year old. Little can adequately articulate the ecstasy felt by the community when they found she did not dissolve into foam. From that day forward, she was kept secluded, marked as a Celessí, healed of the Devil's curse that made the women of Syrel Asrai and able to birth only Nixie. Meanwhile, her brother was sorted into the ranks of The Tempest, a brotherhood sworn to protect Syrel and the Nixie to whom they are sworn. The Mer grow faster than the average human and he began his training at the age of 12, or rather, his sister did.

XXXAs children, they'd been even more indistinguishable than they are now, their prepubescent bodies nearly identical. Both had long, dark hair, the same pout and oval face, making it nearly impossible to tell them apart save for the difference in their tails and eyes, two factors easily obscured in the darkness of Syrel, even with the presence of bioluminescence casting an eerie glow over the settlement. The Mer saw well enough to see clearly edges, shapes and details, but the lack of light and the green-blue-violet illumination rendered colour harder to distinguish.

XXXWhilst Laira's education involved typically feminine activities like diplomacy, embroidery, gathering, court politics, arts and music, Caelius' involved hunting, combat, strategy, weaponry, scouting and mastering his abilities. Each preferred the other's agenda and would often swap identities. Laira enjoyed it most when The Tempest trained on solid ground, as it was the only time when she had the chance to see a world that was not simply cold, wet and dark. She'd been able to practice wearing Caelius' form, yet even that grew tiring after some time. When talk of an engagement with a Merman she could barely tolerate, much less procreate with, arose, she knew she could not spend the rest of her life in Syrel. She would always be a glorified breeding mare with countless governesses lurking over her, making sure she never so much as received a scratch from a blunt shell.

XXX1718; she'd planned for months, and when she'd paid the Sorceress with Syreli pearls to construct a mental dam between her and her family, her twin, so that they would not know where to find her, she knew there would be no turning back, at least without dire consequences. She had planned to tell Caelius, truly she had, but he was so wholly devoted to Syrel and disinterested in the world beyond the sea, she had known he would reason her out of it. She would have listened because their immutable bond compelled her to and because she loved him more than anyone. Laira would come back for him.

XXXShe met the shapeshifter when she'd believed him to be nothing more than a drowning cat. Cats could tell no one of the scales that began below her navel and she'd dived in to save him. Shock, rage and embarrassment had devoured her when she found herself holding a naked man to her chest instead. The Fates would have it that they would repeatedly encounter one another, until eventually he grew on her like a virus or a curse and they became unusual travelling companions.

XXX1733; the barrier was a two-way street, and as Caelius could not feel her, neither could she him. She did not discover he'd been missing until two years after his kidnapping. Needless to say, she had never in her life experienced such panic. The guilt had nearly crippled her but more than that, it was the worry that gnawed at her, especially when she found the sorceress who cast the spell on her and asked that it be undone. She was immediately bombarded by a myriad of emotions, muddled and confused as it often was when he took Draconic form. She felt him slipping with every moment, but a veiling spell disguised his emotion, almost as if whoever held him knew his family could feel his pain, but willed that they would be unable to do anything about it.

XXX1742; after disguising herself as countless members of the human and Fae community and employing every resource in her power, she found him in the Amon mansion, a dark place infested with Liches. Sneaking in was not as difficult as one might expect, likely because only fools would. What was hard was defeating Barabbus Amon and freeing Caelius of the curse that forced him to remain in his Draconic form. She was no match for the ancient Lich though she'd managed to very briefly render him unconscious with a guerilla attack, though without destroying his Phylactery, he awoke soon enough. In the time he was unconscious, she interrogated Lilith Amon on the location of his brother, having inadvertently distracted Barabbus from killing her.

XXXIn the end, it was Caelius who destroyed his Phylactery and Laira who managed to coerce him to return to his human form. Along with the help of Lilith, they'd razed the mansion to the ground and Barabbus with it, disguising the claw marks that showed who it was who killed him. She had taken the blame for his death, and the Syreli had begged for clemency, as she knew they would. She was a Nixie, and they had to few to lose. Self-defence or otherwise, the manslaughter of an Unseelie and the destruction of their property could not go unpunished. It was deduced that she could not leave Syrel for the next two-hundred years, and thereafter only under the supervision of another. Her crimes isolated her from the rest of the ocean, who saw her recklessness as one which brought shame upon their kind.

XXXTheir father was the only to be not ashamed on her, considering the death of a Lich to be no cause for mourning. Laira had always resembled him most in her personality and their relationship flourished in her isolation. Despite near everyone's discontent, he taught her to fight and groomed her to chase in his footsteps. His only wish: that she'd been born his son.





"Nothing lasts forever, so forever is worth nothing."




So begins...

Laíra'alethya Celessí Ethiriel's Story

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dalia Amaryllis Character Portrait: Laíra'alethya Celessí Ethiriel Character Portrait: Kazimír Šťastný Character Portrait: Kane'takragh Demarcÿs Ethiriel
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#, as written by Layla
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song; gasoline XXX hex; #3B9C9C XXX outfit; edgy

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    XXXXXShe threw herself sideways to dodge the blade whistling past the right side of her head, skewering the space where her ear had been moments before. The girl slid into a crouch, her opponent's next manoeuvre slicing the air above her.
    XXXXXHer hand darted out to catch his exposed midriff with her weapon: an iron haladie with curving blades extending from both ends of the hilt, on which the Æthiriel coat of arms was etched in gold. The serrated edge revealed a subtle narration embedded beneath its smooth surface, the symbols the curling, unremitting script of ancient Syreli. Its twin rested in her other hand, which she jabbed towards the side of her brother's neck as he parried the blade she brought to his abdomen.
    XXXXXHe caught her thrust with the flat of his sword, pushing her backwards with a force that unearthed her stability. She caught herself mid-stumble and used the momentum to twist her body, foot kicking out to slam into his chest. Kane loosed a breath, but scarcely wavered an inch.
    XXXXXHe caught her ankle in his immutable grip before she could pull away, jerking her body towards him and tossing her to the ground as if she weighed nothing. Flames arched from the bottom of her spine where she fell, scorching her lungs and stifling her breath. Laira clenched her teeth to keep from moaning, though she doubted she had the air to articulate so much as a grunt of failure. She felt her father's disapproval as surely as if he'd materialised beside her. "Being wounded does not constitute defeat," he intoned, his voice the caress of the shard of hard rock digging into her back. "Simply because you are beaten up, does not mean you are beaten."
    XXXXXHer eyes evaded the iron point poised above her chest, reaching instead for his eyes. She lifted her palms in submission, before snatching the back of his ankle with the crook of her foot. His leg gave out beneath him, though he did not fall. She took the opportunity to reach over her head and propel herself upright. She swung her blade towards him and stilled inches from his throat.
    XXXXX"Match." She grinned.
    XXXXX"Nope," Kane responded, a smirk teasing the corner of his lips. Laira followed his gaze to find nothing but air between them, and in that second he'd swept her off her feet. She landed spectacularly, pain ricocheting from her back where bruises had no doubt been planted, and would blossom tomorrow in a parade of blue and purple. "The battle is not over until both parties rescind their weapons."
    XXXXXIt was for this reason that Kane had told Laira not to bother with employing a special weapon for their training, where her haladie was forged of one of the few materials that could penetrate dragonscale. He did not believe her capable of harming him, which served only to rile her more, a fact of which he was certainly aware of and took malicious pleasure in.
    XXXXXKane was beaming as he offered his hand for her to grasp. She squinted at the sunlight filtering from behind him, its clementine hues bleeding like yolk spilled over the Irish lands. She could see the glimmer of the silver sea behind him, torched in the setting sun so it seemed as if diamonds had been crumbled over its surface. It was odd to see a world exuding scarlet and gold after centuries in the blue ocean.
    XXXXXShe'd been allowed beyond at night, but only to the chasmal sea caves disseminated throughout the Pacific where The Tempest conducted their training and the Nixie took respite. There had been one in particular which Dárgh'kaelos brought her for her covert education - when others in Syrel had still detested her, or at least, more than they did now - the mortals called it The Grotto.
    XXXXXThe sun hurt her eyes, even though months had passed since she'd been allowed to join her brothers in Roinnte, albeit affixed to a short leash. She ignored the Kane's offer of assistance, and rose to her feet in one languid movement.
    XXX"Ah, did our warrior princess get her perky arse handed back to her again?" a familiar voice purred. Laira turned her head to find Llyr sauntering towards them, the wind tossing strands of his sterling blonde hair in a great halo around his head. His pompousness was like a heartbeat, underlying everything. Even the arch of his finger was laced with self-adoration as he rested two fingertips against their their left temple, lingering unnecessarily on Kane. The greeting was custom where they were from, the touch of temples enunciating a coveted phrase, "you are in my thoughts."
    XXXXX"Princess?" Kane mused, wiping his forehead with a towel he'd slung around his neck. "That might be pushing it a bit. She's really more of a bumbling brute." He seemed oblivious to her "fiancé" revelling unabashedly at the sight of his bare torso.
    XXXXX"Indeed," Llyr murmured, pale eyes dark as they regarded her brother. "There are others far more beautiful."
    XXXXX"I hear the view from the cliffs are almost as beautiful as my darling brother this time of year," she said cheerfully. "Why don't you take a look, Llyr? If I'm lucky, you will accidentally topple off the edge and meet your watery death at the bottom."
    XXXXX"Alas, my darling inamorato," he began with a smile. "I am afraid I am somewhat resistant to drowning."
    XXXXX"Are you resistant to fragments of broken rocks shoved through your heart as well, darling?"
    XXXXX"But then how will I give my heart to you?"
    XXXXX"On a silver platter, of course," she said sweetly.
    XXXXXLlyr sighed, though his disappointment turned real when he saw that Kane had gone some time during their debacle. It was the Winter Solstice, and he'd informed Laira he had an obligation to attend to at the old opera house. Being the Syreli ambassador, he spent perhaps more time than he would like in expensive suits, drinking lavish champagne and nibbling on foreign caviar. Poor, responsible older brother. For once, her thoughts were not saturated in sarcasm. She did, in truth, avoid such pompous affairs - in part for the dancing, where she had the dexterity of a blue whale - though the dresses were very pretty.
    XXXXX"Where's Ryden?" she asked. Llyr feigned hurt.
    XXXXX"Is my presence not enough for you, my love?" he lamented.
    XXXXX"Quite enough, thanks," she responded. "In fact, it would be a great help to me if there could be less of you."
    XXXXXLlyr rolled his eyes, slipping his arm around Laira's shoulders. He towered over her, his willowy frame a perennial beside her cabbage patch. Regardless of whatever banter they exchanged, she'd known him since she was a girl, even if the sight of him pained her more than staring into direct sunlight.
    XXXXXAs if the skies had felt her contempt, the next thing she loathed more began pelting from the heavens. She cursed as swollen beads of water collapsed on her head. She batted them away, covering herself with two meagre hands as she raced for cover. She lunged onto the covered porch of her beachside home, nearly tripping into the pool that ran the length of the lower ground in her haste to avoid submersion. She could hear Llyr laughing behind her. She scowled at him.
    XXXXX"What's got your mood so sour, princess?" Llyr grinned.
    XXXXX"I'm looking at him."
    XXXXX"Come on," he said, handing her the navy umbrella resting on her wooden deck and nodding to where his car was parked a little ways away. "Ryden's at Wanderlust. I just stopped by to pick you up on my way there."
    XXXXXHe did not wait for her to respond as he took her hand in his, the other holding the large umbrella above her head. Minutes later they cruised into a space a short ways down from the alley that hid the club. Whilst Llyr, she knew, frequented the club regularly, she'd visited all but once and only for a fragment of a half hour. She was still surprised to see some glamours slip away as couple before them stepped through the murky entrance. She could smell their inebriation intermingled with other curious substances she did not recognise wafting from the hollows of the room beyond.
    XXXXXLaira flinched as they were flooded by a cascade of neon lights when they stepped in. The bass hissed beneath her skin, gripping her heart and squeezing it in time with the music. Bodies pressed against her, hands roaming across her body as opaque stares devoured her face, her chest, her soul. "Pretty Mer," one murmured. "Come play." Some beautiful, others grotesque, most both, the Fae inhabited every inch of the dark space. She pinned them with a withering stare, warning their hands to find another body to prod. Some headed her warning, others found their temptation magnified by the chase.
    XXXXX"Mmm, I think I've found my catch for the night," Llyr murmured by her ear and then his hands slipped from her shoulders. She followed his line of vision to see Kazimir by Dalia's side. They were inseparable, more so even than most twins and triplets she knew.
    XXXXX"I swear, Llyr, if you harass my-"
    XXXXXBut the crowd had swallowed him whole.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dalia Amaryllis Character Portrait: Laíra'alethya Celessí Ethiriel Character Portrait: Kazimír Šťastný
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#, as written by Cloud

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DALIA AMARYLLIS
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KAZIMIR ST'ASTNY

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Mr and Mrs Luck were not at all what Patricia Callaghan, the receptionist at one of Roinnte’s nicest hotels, had expected. For starters, Dale Luck had turned out to be the brunette female, her eyes sparkling and her smile wide as she corrected the bemused human. Cassie Luck, therefore, was the young man, his grin just as wide as his young wife though his eyes seemed to gleam with a hint more mischief. Neither seemed particularly perturbed at being confused for the other, both probably used to it after so many years of using the aliases. Not that Patricia Callaghan was to know their names weren’t their real ones. All she knew about the couple was that this was their honeymoon, and by some luck the system had altered their booking in such a way that the newly married Mr and Mrs Luck would now be spending a week in the honeymoon penthouse suite, all for the price of a single night’s stay.

“Fortune is smiling on us today.” Mrs Dale Luck grins, tugging on her husband’s arm as they smile their thanks at the receptionist and head towards the elevator. Patricia can only smile and nod in return, only noticing the enlivened pot-plant beside her after the doors have ‘dinged’ shut. Her brows furrow minutely, hadn’t that plant been on the brink of death the last time she’d glanced at it?

While Patricia continues to puzzle over the apparent regenerating pot-plant, Mr and Mrs Luck are making their way to the fifteenth floor of the hotel. Unlike the hotel which houses the Unseelie court, this hotel has no glamour concealing the penthouse, and in fact the lift goes right up to the rooftop pool. The pool isn’t the draw card for Dalia and Kazimir though, the goal of their ruse had been purely to find the nicest hotel on the block and weasel their way into the nicest room it had to offer. Kaz, unable to grant himself luck, always finds a willing and joyful partner in Dalia Amaryllis. It is she who has been granted just the right amount of luck to see the pair guided to their rooms.

The doors of the elevator open and both step out, Kaz swinging the keys to their suite in a hand as the other arm remains captured within Dalia’s excited grip.

“I hope the mini-bar is well stocked. Oh, and do you think they’ll have put fresh flowers in the room? They did that at the last place and they were beautiful.” Dalia grins up at her long-time friend, watching eagerly as he checks the number on the keys with that of the closest door. It’s not their room, and if the numbers are anything to go by, it appears their suite is at the end of the hallway. Taking note of the number, Kaz stuffs the keys into the pocket of his jeans before crouching down in front of the glamoured wood nymph.

“Would you like a ride, wife dearest?” He grins, indicating for Dalia to climb onto his back. Dalia giggles and loses no time in clambering onto Kaz’s back, hooking her thighs around his sides and her arms around his shoulders. She giggles again as Kazimir pretends to struggle under her weight, blowing a raspberry onto his cheek in response. Kaz laughs and, holding her legs firmly to his side, stands up with only the smallest teasing grunt.

“Giddy up mighty steed!” Dalia announces, pointing ahead and laughing as Kaz rolls his eyes.

“Call me a steed again and I’ll drop you.” He retorts, though his tone is light and teasing rather than offended. Nor does he loosen his hold on the nymph as he begins the journey down the corridor. Dalia, for her part, clings on, only occasionally twisting in her seat to glance through an open door into the rooms beyond. One occupant blinks in surprise to see the young couple walk by, and Dalia gives the business man a bright smile and a wave before they pass. The next person to see them, a teenager sulking at the door of his room, gets a cheeky grin from Kaz and a wink from Dalia.

Then, happily, their honeymoon suite is before them. Dalia, loathe to leave Kaz’s back, remains clinging to him, laughing as he struggles to pull the keys from his pocket while remaining balanced at the same time. Yet, despite the obvious struggle, he manages it. As the door swings open he steps inside, the nymph cheering aloud as the luxurious room reveals itself. Kaz lets her slide down off his back, closing the door after them so that they both may shed their glamours. For Kaz, his appearance barely seems to shift. His ears, only half hidden beneath brown locks, become pointed, and small golden freckles currently hidden by clothing, appear on his chest. His eyes, already a warm hazel colour, taken on a more golden hue. Dalia, on the other hand, has a slightly more noticeable change in appearance. Her hair lengthens, and before his eyes flowers appear between her curls, growing and unfurling in bright blooms that make obvious her delight in the situation. Green fingers give his arm a happy squeeze, and Kaz can only grin as Dalia kicks off her shoes and skips towards the mini-bar.

“What’ve they got?” Kaz calls over his shoulder as he goes to investigate the rest of their suite. He spies a vase of fresh roses on the dining table, as well as a welcome note and a bottle of champagne. As Kazimir uncorks the bottle with a loud ‘pop’ he hears the rattle of the fridge and then a cheer from an excited wood nymph.

“They have everything, Kaz.” Dalia exclaims, riffling through the fridge, before turning her head so that she can grin at her companion, “And, lucky us, looks like they overstocked the fridge and haven’t marked it off on the checklist.” The nymph fills her arms with little bottles and stands, kicking the refrigerator shut with her foot. Her bare feet slap against the wooden floors as she all but skips over to Kaz, releasing her spoils onto the glass surface of the table as she reaches him.

“Champagne, Dal?” He inquires, holding out a fluted glass filled with glistening liquid gold. Dalia takes it with a grin of thanks, waits for Kazimir to pour himself a glass and then holds her own up in toast.

“To us, may our fortunes never run out and our gardens never be hit by a terrible plague of locusts.” Dalia grins, clinking her glass against Kaz’s even as he raises an eyebrow at her interesting choice of words. Nevertheless, they both take greedy sips of the champagne, before their eyes naturally seek out the main item of interest, the bed.

With a chorus of laughter the two young fairies run into the bedroom, their eyes growing wide as they fall upon the magnificent piece of furniture taking centre stage. It looked large enough to fit half the Seelie court within its folds, and, best of all, it looked as bouncy as one would hope for. Setting their glasses of champagne on the dresser, both fairies throw themselves onto the bed. Kaz is the first to his feet, and offers hand helping to haul Dalia to hers only a moment later. Then, with matching grins and quickly delighted laughs, the pair begin to bounce.

It has become a tradition of the pair to seek out flash hotels and then destroy the beds by using them as trampolines. Now is no exception and had anyone chanced to walk past their room and lean an ear against the door, they would have heard a chorus of shrieks and laughter as Dalia and Kaz fought to bounce the other the highest. Kaz, of course, is usually the winner of such competitions, his greater weight more often than not seeing Dalia catapulted into the air. It’s one such double-bounce that has Dalia thrown towards the ceiling, her arms outstretched and reaching for Kaz to catch her as she comes back down. He does, though as his hands clutch onto her arms, a blanket slips beneath his feet and the pair end up tumbling onto the mattress. They land with a thud, though luck again is on their side and the multitude of pillows cushion their fall.

“This is up there with the top five beds.” Dalia jokes as she remains sprawled across the bed, catching her breath.

Kaz hums in agreement, “Definitely top ten.” His eyes sparkle as he turns his head to watch his friend, “Fancy another round of jumping or should we finish off the champagne?”

Dalia screws up her nose as she contemplates her options, before, with a decisive nod, she pushes herself off the bed and hops over to collect the champagne bottle and the glasses. “Let’s finish this and then head out to Wanderlust?” Dalia suggests, carefully handing Kaz his half-full glass as she reclaims her seat on the bed. Kaz pushes himself into a seated position as he downs the remaining liquid,

“Sounds like a good plan.” He replies, holding his glass out to be refilled.

“I told Cael that we would meet him at the club, though…” And here Dalia pauses as she glances out the window, “It’s raining and cold outside, can you call us a taxi?”

Kaz almost snorts in amusement at Dalia’s request. As of yet, Dalia has not learned the finer points of modern mortal technology. While she has used a telephone before, she still very much prefers to let Kazimir do the calling for her. Of course, given that it’s hardly a burden, he’s never slow in offering his help. He nods in reply, and clinks his glass against hers in a wordless cheers.

The pair spend another hour exploring all their suite has to offer. Kaz is delighted to find the bathroom stocked with all sorts of bubbles and bath salts, and he hops into the giant tub to soak while Dalia attempts to work out how to turn on the television. By the time she’s managed to turn the giant screen on and found a channel she’s happy with – a gardening show – Kaz is just about out of the bath. Both Seelie fae change into their clothes for the club, and once dressed they each do a twirl for the other.

“Ready señorita?” Kaz asks once the obligatory whistles and applause have been given. Dalia nods and takes the offered arm, smiling at having that little extra bit of height thanks to her heels.

“Si, señor.” Dalia grins, before a flutter of the flowers in her hair has Kaz arching a brow in curiosity. “One moment.” She murmurs as Dalia shuffles over to the collection of mini alcohol bottles on the table, “May as well make the most of these.” She grins, pushing two into her clutch. Kaz shakes his head and laughs, before once again offering the nymph his arm as they make their way back down tote foyer.

By the time the pair’s taxi pulls up outside the entrance to wanderlust, both of the small bottles are been emptied. Kaz is teetering on the border of tipsy, though thankfully as they step out into the cool night air the slap of rain helps to keep him sober. The taxi driver, while apparently confused at the location, for the glamour only reveals to him a plain alleyway, nonetheless sees his passengers off with a nod before driving away.

Together Kaz and Dalia enter the alleyway, stepping over puddles of dirty water without a second thought. There are few fae to be found waiting outside, in fact only one being, camouflaged against the brick wall like a chameleon, is there. The chameleon fae makes no move as the pair of Seelies arrive, other than to flick out a tongue as if tasting the scent of both. Kaz and Dalia pay him no mind as they open the door and step inside. Almost instantly they’re hit with the pounding music, just loud enough to have it pulsating through your body while also allowing for you to speak to your neighbour without having shout. How the music can be both loud and quiet is a marvel of magically innovation, and one often applauded by the denizens of Wanderlust.

While the hearing is the first sense affected by the club, sight and smell soon follow. Bright lights and strobes paint the main room in colour, while the collection of fae – most without their glamours – offers another feast for curious eyes. The smell is almost entirely unique to such fairy establishments, a certain collaboration of potion powder, a sweet aroma like that of nectar and honey, and the more mundane sweat. Taste is another sense not long left untouched, for as soon as a drink is in hand Dalia and Kaz are both able to indulge their taste-buds. Rather than selecting an alcoholic beverage, the pair pick cocktails of fruit juice and sugar from a passing pixie’s tray.

With drink in hand they cast their gaze across the mass of fairies. They miss the blue eyes of their mer-friends, hidden as they are by the many revellers in the room. Many can be found in the throbbing mass of dancers, all their bodies captivated and held by the three-handed DJ. Others gather around the edges, seated or standing around tables. Doorways and alcoves dot the walls, leading to private nooks where lovers can hide from the wandering eyes of the dance floor or private dealings can be agreed upon. Kaz and Dalia bypass the dark alcoves, instead pouncing upon a recently vacated table not too far from the club’s popular bar.

They’ve been at the table for barely a second before a purring beauty slides up beside Kaz, long blonde locks and a pretty face marks him as a water fae. His grin is almost predatory as he takes the seat beside Kaz, leaning in to murmur greetings to the pair. Kaz and Dalia respond in turn, and while Kaz responds to Llyr’s question regarding what he’s drinking, Dalia turns her gaze out to the club. The crowd momentarily parts and her eyes find a familiar face standing alone. Though her voice will not carry across the dance floor Dalia calls out to Laira, waving a hand in a further attempt to catch her attention.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dalia Amaryllis Character Portrait: Laíra'alethya Celessí Ethiriel Character Portrait: Caelius'levyath Fáelán Ethiriel Character Portrait: Kazimír Šťastný Character Portrait: Caolán Dáithí Character Portrait: Kasumi Ao
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CAOLAN DAITHI
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KASUMI AO
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The afternoon had melted into evening, and the sun hung low in the sky; a golden-faced babe cradled by the prismatic furrow of clouds that spilled over the horizon. Its waning light caught in the forest's entangling verdure, and shattered, scattering pieces of lustre across the woodland floor like shards of glass from a broken mirror. The mist was a constant, and even as the fragments of luminescence pierced it, fronds of muted fog licked softly at the wounds made.

Glades were spread sparsely throughout the small wood; little clearings in which the light would spill, phosphorous and pale. Wildflowers grew thick and varied; a sundry assemblage of bluebells and foxgloves and wild angelica. The floral profusion circled around the centre figure of the glade -a solitary alder tree- like a gaudy necklace, its many-hued state making up for the tree's own dull appearance, struck bare by winter.

A fair-skinned leg swayed leisurely to and fro as it dangled from one of the alder's outstretched branches. Its pair was folded, knee used as a crutch to support the owner's elbow. She herself sat upright; back against the alder's bole, and as her dangling limb swung in fainéant oscillation, her focus was completely set on the words in front of her.

She'd been sitting there for the past six hours, studying. Studying the words that lay in laddered lines on each smoothly glossed page. Around people, her expression rarely faltered in its deadpan consistency, but whilst she read, her face was raw and as readable as her beloved novels. Now, her brow furrowed as her gaze drew across a particularly harrowing delineation.

"Hey-yup, Blue, time to get going!"

Her leg froze mid-sway, and the prior quietude crumbled in an instant. She turned her head slightly to face the speaker, slowly and deliberate, as though the action pained her.

Or perhaps just the person.

He looked as he always did; stupid. Or such was Ao's opinion. His eyes framed by thick kohl, his peridot irises flickering with mischievous vexation, and his hair styled into that ridiculous mohawk-y look that had gone out of fashion at least two decades ago. The omnipresent smile was there, too; directed at her as though expecting her to return one back.

She'd have thought he'd have learnt by now. "'Get going'? Get going where?"

Caolan scoffed as he looked up at the wisp, rocking back and forth on his feet with a cheerful vigor. "Wanderlust. Duh."

"And why would I want to visit that hormonal cesspit?"

Caolan stared at her a brief moment, as though stunned by her stupidity. He snapped out of his blinking stance with a wild wave of his hands, which he threw up in seeming exasperation. "Um, hello? Any clue what day it is?" "... The twenty second of December. Get a calendar." "It's Yule, you muppet!"

His outcry was met with a blank stare, and his chagrin flared. The dark curls that crowned his brow fluttered as he blew them from his eyes, and he jumped upwards, fingers catching on the alder's lowest branch. Grunting slightly, he hoisted himself up, swinging one leg over as he turned to face Ao. "The Winter Solstice! Jól! The Longest Night! Come on, Blue, I thought you were supposed to be clever." "Why do you think I'm ignoring you?" "How do I love Yule? Let me count the ways. Drinking, partying, shagging..." "Why are you inviting me, again?" "... gambling, smoking, more shagging..."

Ao sighed censuredly, and she looked back to the publication in her hands, pointedly turning the page. Caolan halted in his listing, noting her lack of interest with a dash of distress. "To summarize, Yule is fucking fun. Something you aren't exactly privy to all that oft-"
He faltered as his gaze fell upon the literature Ao was reading, and he snatched it from her grasp. Reading the cover, his expression turned into one of humored incredulity.

"Are you reading fucking Cosmo?" "It provides a fascinating perspective of the human psyche." "Psyche my arse." He flicked aimlessly through the pages, before pausing on a certain article and reading out the title "Ooh, Twenty One Leonardo DiCaprio Movies..." He glanced up at her with a sultry expression, and finished with a hushed tone, "... Ranked by hotness."

Ao snatched the magazine out of his hands. "Let's just go to the damn club."

The so-called 'hormonal cesspit' that was Wanderlust smelt particularly strong this evening, an intoxicating concoction of incense and perspiration and spice. The building was flooded with fae, Unseelie and Seelie alike. Imbibing harlequin cocktails, exchanging conversation over the raucous din, pressing against each other on the dance floor, whispering sweet nothings in one another's ears.

Suffice to say, Ao was out of her element.

Caolan swung his arm over her shoulders, leading her through the crowd as he tossed out greetings here, and avoiding gazes there. The latter action was of no surprise to Ao, as Caolan had always had a knack for inspiring murderous thoughts. As they crossed the dance floor, Caolan gripped Ao's shoulders tightly, swerving her in the opposite direction as he sneaked glances behind him. "Shit. Uh... avoid the feathered bloke with the aviators, 'kay? I kind of owe him money."

Caolan's eyes caught on a familiar pair, and his previously nervous expression evolved into a wily grin. "Well, if it isn't my two favourite Seelie." Ao followed his gaze, and although her face did not crease in the slightest, a feeling of pleasantness blossomed. It truly was strange, that two of the people she was supposed to be enemies with were in fact some of her closest friends.

Well, perhaps the turn 'friends' was too strong. After all, she'd never exactly been adept in the art of friend-making, and 'friends' sounded so perpetual. So indefinite.

And as Ao knew more than any human could possibly, 'eternity' was a very long time.

Closing the distance between them, the odd pair walked up to the Seelie duo. It took only for the bartender to heed the identity of the oncoming customer for him to pour a whisky for the inky-eyed kobalo, and as he slid it across the bar, Caolan caught it deftly. Hopping lightly into a stool, he perched his elbow on the hard surface of the bar, and took a sip from his drink.

"Uh, shouldn't you two be slughtering some helpless human slave in bloodthirsty vengeance right about now?"