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  1. - Top - End - #901
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    PhoeKun's Avatar

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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    Alina doesn't waste her words telling Freesia stupid things like 'it's ok' or 'don't worry about it' or even 'I forgive you', because all of those things are meaningless next to their embrace. It's the best and the warmest she can remember feeling in a long, long time. Freesia is here, and Jessamine's waiting to join them. They're together again. She has her family again. And in that moment, the vein of ice inside her heart that's been whispering to her since she got here that she still has no idea how or even if she can save her mother is drowned out completely is drowned out completely by the song: she has her family! Her family! She has her family again!

    And this time she's going to keep them.

    Quiet as water deer, Alina and the Resistance pass through the snow back toward the castle. The secret door is still unguarded, still unlooked for. She slides her lights into the slot, and this time the little door opens much more eagerly than it did the first time, as if Castle Thessia could sense the change in the air and was happily welcoming its residents home and wishing them good luck. And maybe it could. And maybe it was.

    Through the gardens, or rather around the outside. Alina speaks only in clipped whispers, shepherding the group through the snowy paths where there are the least number of frozen prisoners. "You know what's here." She tells them. "Seeing it is worse. Don't look. Don't look. Come on, come on, there's no time. Come!" There are quiet moans from people who stare too hard around her. But the faces she sees when they all step into the hallways are each burning with determination and a quiet belief that they could fix this. Their princesses would make them shine.

    This is how the division goes: Freesia takes those few brave fighters such as Liza Rippley who volunteered to sneak into the castle to find the Golden Light of Queen Halcyon Cascade, First of Her Name, Beginning of the Rainbow and the Protector of Illumina. They observe all of the old, silly etiquette because it makes the people feel stronger, and they need their hearts right now more than anything. That leaves the Princesses Alina and Dandy to split off and draw attention away from the main group.

    Right now there's only one way Alina wants to draw attention to herself, and that's by finding Rita. Now that she's away from her sister again, the creeping pit of dread in her stomach is a lot harder to ignore. Please, let Rita be ok. Please, don't make her suffer. Please, let Alina find her in time...

  2. - Top - End - #902
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Anarion's Avatar

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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    We'll never know what Mother would have done because this is the moment that Kazelia came here for. Maybe the moment she was made for. She stands from her chair, a single beacon amidst the storm cloud, and she begins to sing.


    A Song to Silence

    Mother can you hear me?
    Singing on my own?
    I've something left to tell you
    A seed that you have sewn

    I wandered in the darkness
    No stars to light my way
    Until I found a world of life
    a place where I can stay

    Now I call to you,
    a flame in the dark.
    Let go of your pain,
    embrace my heart.

    Mother can you hear me?
    You've been here far too long
    Reclining in an empty sea
    Bereft of wave and song.

    Come lie in the sun and dream warm dreams.
    Come wash in a bath of rainbow streams.
    Come breathe the air, come walk the land,
    Come dance with me on the blazing sand.

    Now I call to you,
    A flame in the dark.
    Let go of your pain,
    embrace my heart.

    Mother can you hear us?
    A chorus cries aloud.
    A world of sons and daughters,
    embrace beyond the shroud.

    We'll sing to you your heart's desire.
    Show you all you've never known.
    A gentle kiss that warms your lips.
    The tightest hug so you're not alone.

    Now I call to you,
    a flame in the dark.
    Let go of your pain,
    embrace my heart.
    School Fox by Atlur

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    Anarion's right on the money here.
    Quotes

    "Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.”
    Oscar Wilde Writer & Poet (1891)

  3. - Top - End - #903
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    Alina!

    “Well, well, well,” the Warden says. “Look what the pegasi dragged in.”

    Castle Thessia doesn’t really have dungeons. So the Riders have had to improvise. All the doors in the Shining Owl wing of the castle have been reinforced and secured with silver thorn-locks. This is where they are bringing new Riders, wearing Iluminan clothing, and tossing them inside. You managed to catch a glimpse inside before the Warden locked a door and turned to you: the carpets torn up, the cushions removed, and packed at least fifty prisoners to a room.

    The Warden leers at you as her guards unsheathe their swords. She’s built like a willow tree, complete with long stringy hair, and has an awful smile, not to mention a weighted chain for battle.

    “I’ve got a cell with your name on it, princess. It’s a little cramped, but I’ll be sure to pack you up nice and tight. Now, on my signal, urk.”

    There’s a moment of confused silence, and then the Warden falls like a felled tree. Behind her, Tam Patterley, Knight of Ilumina, readies her fists for another knockout punch.

    The question isn’t whether you’re going to win this fight. The question is which sweating, pale-faced guard you’re going to spare for questioning.

    ***

    Adila!

    There’s only one thing left to try and break. Not that there was much in this terrible room left to break anyway; even the stone pillars look like they are sagging and running like hot wax.

    Morgina, so furious that smoke is rising off her body, reaches out for the scepter. Which, um, looks like it’s a major bit of nasty business. It’s black and all spiky and it’s a wolf’s head with ruby eyes on the top. If she swings that thing at you, Bad Things will happen to your light.

    But at least it looks like she’s about to destabilize the very evil-looking gate hanging in the air, and that’s probably a good thing?

    ***

    Kazelia!

    As you sing, it is as if you open the doors of your heart and throw them open and the sea rushes in, cold and crowned in salt and white-capped its waves. They break against you, each verse lapping higher; you hold the candle of your hopes high and sing louder, until the waves finally close over your head.

    But because you opened the doors freely, a miracle happens. Your very own. The candle does not go out; the candle begins to warm that dark and tumult-riven sea.

    You breathe out, and remind the sea of what it promised; the sea caresses your cheeks like a mother forgotten so far and long ago, and on far-off shores the tide ebbs and bleeds away.
    freedom in the flame

    Spoiler
    Show
    Quote Originally Posted by PhoeKun View Post
    Raz, you scoundrel! You planned this!
    Quote Originally Posted by BladeofObliviom View Post
    Great, and now I'm imagining what Raz's profile on a dating site would look like. "Must be okay with veils."
    Quote Originally Posted by Kasanip View Post
    I don't think there is such a time to have veils that it is not the fault of Raz_Fox.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dervag View Post
    It's a freaking Romulan dump truck. The Romulans are no more likely to build an unarmed warp-capable ship than they are to become a hippy commune.

  4. - Top - End - #904
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Anarion's Avatar

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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    Kazelia sinks beneath the waves and holds her breath until her chest burns and she can't stand it any longer. It's only then, when she thinks she'll drown, that she discovers, very much to her own surprise, that she can breathe underwater. She swims and sees that she can move freely within the ocean. More than that, the ocean seems to be moving with her. She and it are one and the same. Her heart is a vast underwater hall, where little pieces of every friend and foe she's shared her song with swim in the void and the ocean is not so cold, not so dark, not so harsh as it could be.

    Kazelia is still. The ocean is still around her. "Thank you, Mother" she says, and in the distance there is a rushing sound, a vast and unimaginable movement of water growing and growing.

    *****

    Adila, Morgina!

    Something is happening to the portal in the throne room. It's...wobbling? The edges are shimmering, the air itself seems to ripple, and you hear a vast roar, as though a thousand tons of water were sweeping past you. You feel as if you ought to be swept off your feet even though you can't see anything.

    Morgina collapses, arm after arm after arm clutching head after head after head. She starts to change. Her heart is regrowing, and as it does, some of those heads and some of those arms fade into herself. She becomes both more and less. Not a dog, but a person, though one that still has some control over her physique. The stars fall from her eyes, they shimmer emerald, not crystal like Alina's, but a natural green. Blond hair streams from her primary head. She's still holding the scepter with a couple extra arms, her knees weak as she tries to struggle to her feet in a body that hasn't been hers for years too great to be worth counting.

    *****

    Alina

    The guards in the corridor, who you were already crushing suddenly slump. There is a light shining from within them. A sound, like distant waves receding fills your ears from nowhere. Some of the riders start to change, first a few, then more and more until all of them start to shift. Their skin warms and thaws from their frigid shades of blues to hues of browns, tans, and beige, a weathered, seafaring people, you'd think. Some of them their hair darkens, coloring from white to gray and varying shades of browns and black. As the transformation finishes, the rushing water sounds fade as though they were never there and the Riders(???) begin to come to.

    *****

    Elswhere

    Eska screams and braces herself against a workbench. Her body has been reworked more than most recently and the changes are harsh. You wouldn't recognize the woman who emerges from her laboratory, with her mousy brown hair, if not for that cruel little grin that is and always has been her own.

    Azora, elsewhere with Oberon, screams and doesn't stop. She wanted no part of this and has only realized too late what she left unguarded.

    Cassian collapses, but stands quickly. His hair stays white, he always liked it that way, but he's blue no longer. He immediately rushes to his temporary studio to begin updating the heraldry for Oberon's kingdom, it wouldn't do to continue with this much blue if it didn't match the people.

    Asteria, somewhere since Feloria, makes to double over, but grabs a nearby servant and braces herself instead. She emerges with long dark hair and dark skin.

    Ninian, working with Jessamine and Tashanna, bolts upright and freezes. She lets out a strangeled gasp as color returns to her, and her hair turns straw blond. It will be a matter of experimentation how much of her shapeshifting was based on the formless nature of the void and how much was an inheritance from her father.

    Ah, and then, somewhere in the gardens of Castle Thessia, deep within a sculpture of ice, Kaja gains a little color, just barely visible, a rosier tone to the ice sculpture. If any Illuminan resistance fighters happened to be glancing at her in just that moment, well, they'd probably say they were imagining things, but it seems for all the world like the sculpture is smiling a little.


    *****

    Adila and Morgina (part 2)

    The portal stretches wider and wider to the base of the throne room. A group of five or so Illuminans stumbles out right in front of you. Looking for all the world like they have no idea where they are or how they got here. They blink, stumble, look around for help. They have to clear the way though, carefully moving sideways to avoid the rubble of the melting throne, as another five or so emerge. And then five more and five more.

    Last of the Illuminans, a little boy, no more than five summers, comes stumbling out, and just behind him, holding hands like it's the only thing in all the universe, a little girl who must be two and can barely walk without toddling. The two of them look back through the portal at something behind them and hesitate, as if they're waiting. But at some unseen gesture, they continue forward, step fully out, and embrace each other, both crying freely.

    There is another moment, and a familiar voice. "Wait a minute, I just need to finish getting my boots back on." Only then does someone who is and is not Kazelia walk out of the portal.

    She is Kazelia, of course. She looks like her, sounds like her. She has the same look about her as when she emerged from Argossa. Same clothing. Her hair is a little different, it's white with that streak of verdigris, but mixed into it are other streaks now of the deepest jet black. Her eyes...her eyes are the marriage of flame and void. They have whites and an iris, and behind them dances the light that lit them in Argossa. Indeed, that passionate fire is stronger than ever. Yet behind them, within them, all about them, you can see the infinite field of Rider stars perched above a vast ocean. An inner universe all striving to exist behind those eyes.

    Kazelia steps fully out of the portal at its center, standing atop the melted. The void seems to recede behind her. She raises her arm, and Oberon's scepter flies from Morgina's grip and lands in Kazelia's palm as though it was always meant to be there. She raps it, once, on the slagged throne and the portal behind her simply winks out of existence, the throne room suddenly still and silent save for the shuffling of twenty five or so people milling about. She looks at the staff, a look of disgust crossing her face, and squeezes her hand. Cracks of shadow shoot through the old wood and metal binding it together, and it shatters simply and easily to nothing but dust.

    There is only one portal to the Outside here now and she burns with the light Argossa and the dark of the void entwined.

    *****
    Elsewhere, one last time

    "NO!" Oberon shouts, all attention on distant Castle Thessia. "No this...is... impossible! This was mine!" and he hurls whatever is nearest to hand into a wall.
    School Fox by Atlur

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    Anarion's right on the money here.
    Quotes

    "Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.”
    Oscar Wilde Writer & Poet (1891)

  5. - Top - End - #905
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    PhoeKun's Avatar

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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    There's no fighting in the Shining Owl wing of Castle Thessia today. To have a fight, you need less than a Knight of Illumina standing alongside a princess boiling over with power and confidence like she hasn't felt in years. To have a fight, you need more than a handful of smarmy guards assigned here for taunting duty moreso than any actual guarding. To be sure, Tam Patterley does her duty and more than earns her title, or perhaps her forgiveness depending on your perspective. Either way she's chosen her moment well and drops Rider after Rider to the ground, especially after Alina puts a gleaming shield of light in her hands. Alina herself is a whirlwind of kicks and fireworks that never seems to pause from one fluid motion to the next.

    So there's no fighting in the Shining Owl wing today. There is only the will of Illumina reasserting itself after a long, long time. And even that only lasts a short while before something wondrous and impossible happens.

    Alina looms over the slumped and shaking figure of a bronze skinned girl with a mess of greasy black hair over her shocked face who was until just a second ago a lot more Rider-y and who couldn't possibly feel less in control than she does right now staring at a set of angry looking lights hovering just over a smiling princess' shoulders.

    "Well," says Alina with a scary sort of chipper note to her voice, "Isn't this lucky? I might have had to really hurt a Rider to learn what I needed, but since you seem all... thawed out I'm sure there's no reason we can't talk this out like friends."

    "But I... I don't know anything! I don't know where Lady Azora or His Majesty are! I don't know where our battalions are being moved! I don't even know where the armory is, I'm just a--"

    "Just a guard, yes. But all I want to know," and here even Alina's smile turns sharp as a razor, "Is where you're keeping Princess Rita."

    The guards's eyes flutter like she's about to pass out. But she manages to point, back the way Alina's just come from. She even manages a few words! Which is a relief, because somehow this princess is making her feel like her life depends on that.

    "L-Lady Azora always takes the magic ones! In the... the... the big room! The one that had all the fountains in it? I really don't know more, I'm sorry!"

    The Alina's hand is on her face and she's squeaking with fright! But it's just to pat her cheek softly, and Alina even flashes her a for-real smile full of warmth, even if that quickly fades into a look of iron determination. Who's the idiot that told her princesses were soft and timid? She's never messing with another one for as long as she lives!

    "Thank you so much! I'm very glad we could be friends."

    Alina's lights crack like thunder against the locks holding her people inside these barbaric, cushion-less rooms. The magic of the castle responds to the magic of its Princess-Promised, and the entire hallway full of doors all open at once without resistance. Illuminans who dare to peek outside see Alina Cascade standing there more radiant than ever.

    "You're free," she says, "But if anyone wants to help me fight, then follow."

    And she's off without even waiting for an answer. If Azora's involved somehow, there isn't time to waste.

  6. - Top - End - #906
    Colossus in the Playground
     
    Thanqol's Avatar

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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    It should have hurt. That was how fights worked - people got hurt and then someone gave up. But Adila isn't hurt at all.

    A big part of that was keeping her eyes closed. If she had to stare at Morgania's wrath then she'd have been more terrified than she was. If she had to think about that terrible sceptre and how much pain it promised she would have flinched and reacted and broken the moment. But she didn't see the violence, and so it passed around her and off her shield like it was imaginary. The light just let all of that dark energy flow away, redirected into air. She thought she should have cracked long ago but the strength of the light seemed bottomless. She hadn't known how powerf - no, that was the wrong word. She hadn't known how far she could trust it to keep her safe.

    And then there was a moment of quiet. She finally opened her eyes. And everything in the world was different.

    +Kazelia?+ she thought in awe. +Is that you?+
    If the sun won't rise on our horizon
    We'll march on to spite the skies.

  7. - Top - End - #907
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    Heta!

    The change that comes over you is a lot to take in. For the first time in many worlds, you take a warm breath. If you had time, if you let your mind wander, you could think back to your childhood mending nets on the shore of a great violet sea; you could remember the shape of your mother’s face and the lullabies she sang over you, before you fell in with the handsome, vengeful Oberon, the bandit king of the west...

    But you do not have time, because Eska Glinteye is giving you orders. She’s not yelling. It would be a mercy if she was yelling. Her voice is clipped and quietly furious.

    “Pera, go signal that all hands are to regroup in the great hall. Lié, begin the evacuation of the treasure vault. Heta, with me. If we have to retreat, we are leaving with a dragon. Now—“

    That’s when the boomerang clips her in the back of the head, and narrowly avoids hitting you right in the face. You duck and cover, drawing your shortbow and nocking a shadow arrow.

    The boomerang flies back into the hands of the notorious Iluminan criminal known as the Sunless. She gives you a mocking smile. “Hello, girls,” she trills. “Planning a party without me?”

    “A dragon and an outlaw,” Eska says, and then all of you are firing at her. Eska has trained you well; the goal is to spook her into walking right into a shot. Sure enough, your arrow soars straight and true, meant to make her duck aside into another arrow, and—

    There is a blinding flash of light. You drop your bow and rub your eyes, and when you look up at the shining form of the Sunless, limned in brilliant Gold, you realize that your arrow burned away to nothing.

    The Sunless takes a step forward. Eska nocks a lightning arrow and fires. It makes a furious web of hissing arcs, which fizzle against that serene light. The ice arrow melts. The fire arrow puffs out. The slime arrow slides off her.

    “Fascinating,” Eska breathes. “Now run.”

    The Sunless laughs, holding one hand to the side of her mouth mockingly. “It’s much too late for that!”

    She’s right. You should have run as soon as you saw that boomerang.

    ***

    Rita!

    Magic suffuses the cats of Askaia. You breathe in the incense that makes dreams real when you’re just a little kitten, in your first naming ceremony, and you make a regular habit of it after. It becomes a part of you. For most cats, it is a quiet, contented part, the magic of silent paws and sunbeams, of good fish and good spiced milk. But you are a princess, and you have always had the magic of transformation and change, the magic to be just like all the other princesses. The magic that let you experience the world just like they did.

    But you can’t hold onto it. It’s like running in a nightmare; whatever you try to hold onto slips through your paws, your clumsy little paws, no longer hands at all. You try to focus on happy memories: learning how to hunt with your mother, basking in warm sunbeams on the beach, painting with Lina on Solstice morning, being held by Kazelia in the snow, curling up next to Adila’s warmth, being kissed by Lina, being special to Lina...

    But your ears droop and your body goes limp and your tears mingle with your magic, drip drip dripping into the bowl. You can’t stop it. You’re not strong enough. The witches, bundled up in bird masks and heavy cloaks, laugh and hold up a cage barely big enough for a bird and a silver collar decorated in the style of thorny vines. You’re so sorry, Lina... you...

    The last of your magic drips away, and you shrink, the shadow ropes constricting around you as your paws hang limply over the bowl. Nothing more than a tiny little kitten, completely ordinary. Your sorrowful mew is so pathetic and weak, you can barely even hear it.

    And that’s when the door bursts open, but you don’t even have the strength to lift your head and see what’s happening. All you can do is dangle and await your fate as a helpless pet of the Rider princesses...

    ***

    Kazelia!

    Morgina clotheslines you.

    “Hey there, Kazzie,” she says, her green eyes alight with violence. “Long time no see!” She picks you up by the neck and tosses you headlong into Adila’s shield. You bounce off and onto the marble floor before Adila can fully drop it.

    You try to get up, and that’s when she does an elbow drop right into the small of your back. Your chin bounces off the floor with a painful jar.

    “I don’t know what you did,” she pants, picking you up and spinning you over her head before flinging you headlong at Adila, and connecting with her is like ramming into a brick wall. Ouch. “But I’ve been waiting to see you for so long, and I don’t need that blackness in my head to play with you. So come on! Let’s fight, princess! Let me show you how to really fight and snap that prissy little stick in half!”

    Take damage, and be very, very aware that you’re in a room full of innocent Iluminans, and Morgina wouldn’t think twice about grabbing a child and using them as a shield. Or a blunt instrument.

    ***

    Adila!

    Through a broken window, light spills into the room, forming a bright halo around Morgina, even as you help Kazelia steady herself on her feet. The light is so bright, but you have the eyes of a dragon, so you can see...

    You can see...

    The snow, falling into the room, swirling, not on black but on light this time, and the strength begins to sap out of your body, relaxing chill radiating throughout you as you watch.

    There’s something so important you’re supposed to be doing, but... you keep getting distracted! Each snowflake is unique, but you’ve almost figured out the pattern— why each one is shaped the way it is, how that affects their fall, what it Means. There’s a pattern, just like the pattern of the clocks on the tower. You can see it! You’re just not smart enough to understand it! Maybe if Eska was here, she could explain it to you.

    You should go find Eska. She’ll sort things out. She’s so smart. She trusts you so much. And you trust her! And... there’s something else, something important...

    But Eska can explain that to you, too. Can’t she?
    freedom in the flame

    Spoiler
    Show
    Quote Originally Posted by PhoeKun View Post
    Raz, you scoundrel! You planned this!
    Quote Originally Posted by BladeofObliviom View Post
    Great, and now I'm imagining what Raz's profile on a dating site would look like. "Must be okay with veils."
    Quote Originally Posted by Kasanip View Post
    I don't think there is such a time to have veils that it is not the fault of Raz_Fox.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dervag View Post
    It's a freaking Romulan dump truck. The Romulans are no more likely to build an unarmed warp-capable ship than they are to become a hippy commune.

  8. - Top - End - #908
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Anarion's Avatar

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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    Morgina clotheslines Kazelia, but something about the blow doesn't land properly, it just bounces right off her as the staff on Kazelia's back glows ever so slightly. (Damage prevented via a use of magical armor).

    "Oh good" Kazelia says, ducking under one of Morgina's blows as howling winds suddenly shatter a throne room window and fly into her sister, pinning her in place. Kazelia lets go of her fist, where the remains of one of her last snowflakes crumble out of her hand and the rest of the artic wind that she just summoned pulls Morgina's attention with its snow and ice. "You're paying attention. That means you're back sister. So I don't have to hold back fighting you. We're not doing it here though."

    That's when the flaming spear flashes outwards, while Morgina is conjuring a new limb to hold the blizzard at bay and sticks in Morgina's side. Now, maybe Kazelia isn't strong enough to send them outdoors from the throne room with just her own strength and her spear. But she doesn't need to. Heart or not, this amount of provocation is going to enrage Morgina, and it's not that hard when some of the walls are already half melted and both of them are charging full strength and magic, to blow through a wall that's already most of the way melted.

    If you're looking up at the castle from any sort of good vantage point, what you'd see here looks like nothing so much as a comet suddenly shot out of the throne room. Swirls of fire spin and tangle with multiple limbs as the two princesses blast outward.

    The last thing that echoes through the throne room, booming across everything else on the northern wind is Kazelia's shout. "Adila! Help!"

    [Keep busy: 3+2+2=7. Morgina is kept busy, but she'll retaliate when time is up. Adila has an advantage. Kazelia is using Morgina's move to direct her cuts outside the castle. Wizardly baubles used to pay a price to act against Morgina and staff used for armor as noted above.]
    Last edited by Anarion; 2020-01-19 at 08:39 PM.
    School Fox by Atlur

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    Anarion's right on the money here.
    Quotes

    "Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.”
    Oscar Wilde Writer & Poet (1891)

  9. - Top - End - #909
    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    "...What did you do?"

    Alina. Standing in the doorway. No smiles. No smirks. Lights. Dangerous. Masks turn. No answer. Takes a breath. Nostrils flare. She points. At the kitten.

    "What did you do?"

    Her arms. Fold across her chest. Like in Jedad. With Jessamine. Lights. Glow Brighter. Dangerous. Not beautiful. Dangerous!

    Laughter.

    "You're too late, Princess!" the raven mask croaks. "Your little friend's magic will be a gift for Lady Azora!"

    Alina. Doesn't move.

    "WHAT DID YOU DO TO HER?!"

    Alina doesn't move. So they like magic, do they? Then they can have it! They don't get the princess treatment. They don't get the water dance or the ribbon. They don't even get to be given over to Tam or Alexis or any of the other dozen brave Illuminans who have come to help their princess. No, these witches will have magic.

    A great many people underestimate Illuminan light magic. They watch for the lasers or the weapons, try to smash through the shields, every now and again someone sees a princess like Alina who can shape other tools or animals too. But they don't realize how much farther it reaches. Her eyes flash green, and all around the hallway and the Rainbow Room, the light agrees that it will shine for nobody but its princess. She steps into the darkness, which to her is just the same as it was a moment earlier, and sets to work.

    Her lights pulse unseen. Flare after flare after flare after flare again, bolts of painful light shoot up and hover near the ceiling. They float up there like a hundred angry stars in every color she can conjure, waiting to be seen. More, more more! There are enemies stumbling in the dark and an audience behind her, gasping.

    The lights come back on, and Alina Cascade is standing there in the middle of the room with one hand cradled under the dangling kitten and the other holding her Yellow to cut through the rope her tiny body is being squeezed by.

    "...Oh Rita. I'm so... it's ok. It's ok, I've got you. I've got you..."

    She cuts the rope and hugs the love of her life tight to her body. All around her, the witches of Azora Howl are bumbling about or lunging to stop her. Alina ignores them all and kneels down in front of the bubbling, swirling, sparkling bowl of Askaian magic brimming with the smells of incense and adventure that permeate that beautiful island. And all around her, bolts of light fall like rain. They shred Azora's instruments, they batter these awful witches and shatter their ugly bird masks. They spark and splatter and crush everything in the room that doesn't belong.

    But they don't touch that kitten, and they don't touch that bowl, and they don't touch a hair on a single Illuminan head. She holds the bowl up to her lover, and she prays.

    [Grace Finish: 7, which is enough to take out the single stat on this group]

  10. - Top - End - #910
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raz_Fox View Post
    Adila!

    Through a broken window, light spills into the room, forming a bright halo around Morgina, even as you help Kazelia steady herself on her feet. The light is so bright, but you have the eyes of a dragon, so you can see...

    You can see...

    The snow, falling into the room, swirling, not on black but on light this time, and the strength begins to sap out of your body, relaxing chill radiating throughout you as you watch.

    There’s something so important you’re supposed to be doing, but... you keep getting distracted! Each snowflake is unique, but you’ve almost figured out the pattern— why each one is shaped the way it is, how that affects their fall, what it Means. There’s a pattern, just like the pattern of the clocks on the tower. You can see it! You’re just not smart enough to understand it! Maybe if Eska was here, she could explain it to you.

    You should go find Eska. She’ll sort things out. She’s so smart. She trusts you so much. And you trust her! And... there’s something else, something important...

    But Eska can explain that to you, too. Can’t she?
    Unfortunately for Princess Kazelia, every instinct that would ordinarily drive Adila to help is being short-circuited right now.

    She allowed her body to relax, to resist the instinctive urge to violent action - and now she's falling into that muscle-deep weariness. She allowed herself to be noble, to be true and good and stand in defence of ideals - and now she was a good dragon and should be proud of that and she'd get to take that to Eska. And something had just happened to Kazelia, to the Riders, and she needed to defend her friends and that meant helping Kazelia Eska. And any confusion she had about anything, Princess Eska would be able to explain. There wasn't anything she couldn't figure out!

    She turned away from the battle, glittering rhymefrost around her eyes, and returned to her princess.
    If the sun won't rise on our horizon
    We'll march on to spite the skies.

  11. - Top - End - #911
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Kazelia!

    Above your head, as you fall towards the half-melted slush of the water gardens, fireworks go off. They are huge and colorful and the best sign in the world, because that means Kyouko has just signaled your reinforcements to attack. You’re in the endgame now; one way or another, this ends here.

    The only worry is whether or not you’ll survive long enough for all the princesses to show up and wipe aside all remaining resistance.

    You hit the slush hard, and manage to get your legs under Morgina, kicking her off of you. You would dramatically rise to your feet and follow up with a spell, except that your cloak is busy trying to absorb freezing slush and it’s heavier than you expected, and also it’s hard to get your footing under you.

    Which means you’re about halfway up, trying not to fall over, when Morgina barrels into you and knocks you into a slush drift. She grabs the back of your head and pushes it down, sitting on you and howling her incoherent victory until you elbow her in the gut.

    It is time for the honorable tradition of the messy catfight.

    ***

    Adila!

    It’s not hard to find Eska! She’s screaming a lot. She does that when she’s angry! You turn a corner and see her pounding her fists helplessly against a glowing golden princess who’s pinning her down to the floor, her bow out of reach! Oh no! Eska trusts you to help her, and you don’t recognize whoever this is, so the course of action is clear, and—

    “Adila!”

    And that voice is familiar. The kind of voice that you want to listen to. That voice has the country drawl of someone who grew up listening to farmers and gardeners on the other side of Hyperborea, and makes your heart do a confused flip-flop!

    “Don’t worry about Eska,” Dandy says, running up to you, still wearing her Rider’s disguise. “Freesia has her handled. Alina’s got Rita in the fountain room, and now we just have to find Morgina!”

    “What are you doing,” Eska screams at you from under the golden warrior. “Help me, Adila! Now!!”

    ***

    Alina!

    For an eternity, Rita just slumps, still and breathless, in your hands. Her ears droop, her limbs hang limp, nothing disturbs the placid surface of the magic. Your magic falls like fireworks, and Rita doesn’t so much as twitch.

    Then she makes the sort of noise, a weak but affronted mwrrp, that you might hear if you disturbed her from a nap. It’s the most beautiful sound in the whole world.

    She lowers her head and laps at her own magic, first weakly, then with increasing vigor as more and more of it goes down her throat. You lean her forward so that she doesn’t have to lean in as she begins to guzzle it down properly, until—

    She turns back into the Rita you know. Well, almost. She hasn’t looked this wild and feral since she was a little girl first learning how to harness her magic. Her hair is a messy mane, her skin is covered in downy fur, her blinking eyes are slitted and golden, and when she smiles giddily at you her teeth are sharp— but she’s your Rita and she’s back.

    She wraps her arms around your neck and sobs, overwhelmed, her tail wagging and her claws digging into you as she incoherently mews and nuzzles into you, clinging to you like she never intends to let you go again. And would that be such a bad thing? She smells of wet fur and warm sunshine days and the stink of dreaming incense, and the sound in her throat is: I love you, I love you, I love you.
    freedom in the flame

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    Raz, you scoundrel! You planned this!
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    Great, and now I'm imagining what Raz's profile on a dating site would look like. "Must be okay with veils."
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    I don't think there is such a time to have veils that it is not the fault of Raz_Fox.
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    It's a freaking Romulan dump truck. The Romulans are no more likely to build an unarmed warp-capable ship than they are to become a hippy commune.

  12. - Top - End - #912
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    Kazelia lets out a grunt as she hits the ground, then Morgina's on top of her. She tries to pull her spear towards her, but Morgina pulls out an extra arm and bats it upwards as it's flying to them, sending it up and over in an arc, landing the slush. That at least holds Morgina's attention long enough for Kazelia to drive a hard knee into her and roll her off.

    That brief respite is only to get her footing and her spear though. Kazelia's goal is to keep Morgina here with her. She's the most dangerous thing still in the castle as far as she can tell and if Morgina is fighting down here alone, she's not interfering with the princess invasion. That's a victory just by itself.

    Kazelia's spear flares to life and she slashes it upwards, creating a line of melted slush in the snow as she charges towards Morgina before she can get her bearings. She's faster than expected though, faster than she's been in the past and this is when it starts occurring to Kazelia that Oberon has truly empowered her sister beyond what Morgina has been in past worlds. Morgina catches the spear, fire and all, the skin on her hand blackening, yet showing no pain. Kazelia uses the momentum to snap a kick into her sister, who grabs that with another arm and then uses a third to bring a punch into Kazelia right at the solar plexus.

    Kazelia drops and has just enough presence of mind to summon a sudden wind right within the both of them. With the soft, melted slush, it pulls the ground right out from under Morgina and sends the both of them tumbling, Kazelia grabbing at her chest and Morgina suddenly unbalance and flailing with multiple arms as they hit the ground with a loud crunch and the chilly water soaks through their clothes and skin.

    Kazelia pulls her spear to her, again, this time bringing it right up lengthwise to block another punch from Morgina that rolls into her arm, leaving only a horrible bruise as opposed to cracking bone. Kazelia sets the whole spear ablaze, causing Morgina to flinch back, and Kazelia tries to roll on top of her and press with the length of flame. With the snow melting in miniature rivers and the ground sliding every which way though, the roll sends the both of them into a tumble, Kazelia a bunch of flame trying to make herself as small a target as possible and Morgina trying to grow new limbs that keep getting slammed into the ground or the flames as they go end over end, the both of them soaking white and covered with stubborn bits of ice and wood.
    Last edited by Anarion; 2020-01-20 at 08:05 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    Anarion's right on the money here.
    Quotes

    "Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.”
    Oscar Wilde Writer & Poet (1891)

  13. - Top - End - #913
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    There is nothing else in the entire world. Just Rita, just Rita, just Rita! Alina doesn't even wince when those sharp claws dig into her skin. She wraps her arms around her Rita as her magic rains down around them. Her fingers slip into the tangles of that messy mane she's got instead of her beautiful hair, soothing her kitten's heart and smoothing her out into some semblance of her beautiful self. Her palm strokes the fur along Rita's back in long, slow soothing motions. She feels the vibration of the purr in her hands, her chest, all through her being down to her very soul.

    Drops of light roll across the floor toward them. Triumphant. Soft. Warm. They roll up over Rita, up over Alina, and coalesce into a rainbowy blanket that wraps around the pair of them. Alina buries her face in the top of Rita's head and breathes her in. Even the smell of wet fur is beautiful. But she has to fight not to cry. Is she ok? Is her Rita ok? No she's not, she's not... she's hurt because Alina couldn't be in two places at once, because she couldn't handle herself against Morgina, because she couldn't keep her head when it mattered the most and now, and now, and now...

    "I love you," she breathes, "I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you so, so much..."

    Her voice is shaking like it's about to break. She puts her lips to better use, instead. She kisses that mane. She kisses that forehead. She kisses those eyelashes. She kisses this cheek, then that one. She pushes apart just long, just just long enough to bring her hand under that pretty little chin and she rubs it in a tiny little circle just to see the smile and the happy squint of Rita's eyes before she shuts hers just as tight and brings lips to lips and kisses that mouth full of sharp kitty teeth.

    "You're safe, Rita. You're mine, Rita. You're mine, Rita. I've got you. I've got you. I love you. I love you! I'm so, so sorry..."

  14. - Top - End - #914
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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    Quote Originally Posted by Raz_Fox View Post
    Adila!

    It’s not hard to find Eska! She’s screaming a lot. She does that when she’s angry! You turn a corner and see her pounding her fists helplessly against a glowing golden princess who’s pinning her down to the floor, her bow out of reach! Oh no! Eska trusts you to help her, and you don’t recognize whoever this is, so the course of action is clear, and—

    “Adila!”

    And that voice is familiar. The kind of voice that you want to listen to. That voice has the country drawl of someone who grew up listening to farmers and gardeners on the other side of Hyperborea, and makes your heart do a confused flip-flop!

    “Don’t worry about Eska,” Dandy says, running up to you, still wearing her Rider’s disguise. “Freesia has her handled. Alina’s got Rita in the fountain room, and now we just have to find Morgina!”

    “What are you doing,” Eska screams at you from under the golden warrior. “Help me, Adila! Now!!”
    Princess Adila moves with swiftness without thought; in a flash of black Freesia has been lifted up and tumbled out the nearest window. Thinking would have slowed her down, like Eska said. She was better when she was acting. She hoped Princess Dandy would appreciate her as much as Eska did! Just to be sure, she thought +Morgina is fighting against Princess Kazelia right now,+ as she helped Princess Eska up to her feet. +Are you okay? They didn't hurt you - either of you?+
    If the sun won't rise on our horizon
    We'll march on to spite the skies.

  15. - Top - End - #915
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    Morgina Fang!

    Getting your heart back is so irritating. Your body is slowly losing all the infinite plasticity, the mutability that you had when all of you was filled up with everchanging emptiness. Your father’s blood can give you new limbs, sure, but they’re slower, almost sluggish now.

    And Kazelia is so smug about it. She always was a stuck-up little brat, so proud of herself and her little winged squadron playing with silly sticks. Hers might be a fancy new spear, all burning and bright, but the difference between you has always been that you? Your power was inside you all along, while hers was in her spear and her horse and her subordinates.

    You feint; she falls for it, and you slam into her, knocking her down. You get two hands around her throat and start to throttle her, sitting on her chest, spear sinking into the melting slush. Two more long arms wrap around a heavy stone, used by the Iluminans as a bit of decoration.

    “I never liked you,” you hiss triumphantly, and you raise the stone high. In retaliation, Kazelia explodes into a cloud of smoke, but you can still feel her under your hands. Parlor tricks! Stupid little witch! You bring the stone down on her chest, smashing her apart in a shower of splinters!

    As the smoke clears, you grin triumphantly at her remains. Turns out, in the end, she was just a stupid little log.

    ...

    Hold up—

    ***

    Kazelia!

    “Nyahahahaha!” Looking down at the remains of the log underneath Morgina might be kind of terrifying, but it’s hard not to smile as Kyouko holds up her hand and laughs. Looking at her, the way she holds herself so dramatically, the way the stars in her eyes dance and swirl, the dramatic way her cape is flung back over her shoulder, it’s hard not to think that this is the sort of Rider that Hyperborea deserved. “Dearest Kazelia, you didn’t tell me your poor sister here was so helpless and uncouth! Not even I, Princess Kyouko, greatest and most elegant of foxes, could tame such a hopeless brute and make her a blushing bride! Perhaps a loyal puppy, though— what sort of snacks does she like?”

    Morgina rises to her feet with a furious roar, but now? Now you have a friend by your side. Kyouko squeezes your hand, and then drops another smoke bomb right at your feet.

    Which, okay, you get that it’s a surprise, but a little warning so it doesn’t get in your eyes would be appreciated next time, Kyouko!

    ***

    Alina!

    The battle of the fountain room is already over, but... there’s still work to be done dismantling all of this infernal glass and occult workings, pouring out the tainted light and waters, and restoring the fountain room to working order.

    To do this... to restore the heart of the castle... you need Gold. But your little lights are still twinkling on Rita, reminding you: there’s more to be done. She’s licked up her magic, but she’s still weakened, struggling to maintain her form.

    She needs your light, Alina. The light inside your heart. The light that became a part of you when she held you and refused to let you go, there in Feloria. Share it with her.

    ***

    Adila!

    You seize the Sunless in your mighty hands and, with the strength of an uncontrolled dragon, fling her off towards the horizon, not caring where she lands.

    She skids back almost two whole feet, the golden light surrounding her flashing with blinding radiance. It required exertion. She’s panting, her hair slick on her forehead, but she still raises her shaking arms into a battle stance.

    “Very good job, Adila,” Eska says, scrambling up to her feet. “Thank you for protecting me. You’re such a good girl.” She cups your cheek, and gives you the smile you were hoping for. Yes, yes! “She’s cheating,” she adds. “Without that bit of Iluminan magic, she’s nothing. Not like you! You’re everything.”

    “Sunless!” Dandy’s soft but stern voice cuts right through Eska’s melodious words. “Just don’t let her through. I can handle this. Right, Adila?” She approaches you like she’s trying to get a sheep out of a thornbush. “You’re not on her side.”

    “Of course she is,” Eska says, her hands on you. You’re her arrow, after all. “She loves me. Don’t you, Adila?” Her fingers are so warm under your chin. You’re nodding! That must mean you agree...
    Last edited by Raz_Fox; 2020-01-22 at 08:49 PM.
    freedom in the flame

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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoeKun View Post
    Raz, you scoundrel! You planned this!
    Quote Originally Posted by BladeofObliviom View Post
    Great, and now I'm imagining what Raz's profile on a dating site would look like. "Must be okay with veils."
    Quote Originally Posted by Kasanip View Post
    I don't think there is such a time to have veils that it is not the fault of Raz_Fox.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dervag View Post
    It's a freaking Romulan dump truck. The Romulans are no more likely to build an unarmed warp-capable ship than they are to become a hippy commune.

  16. - Top - End - #916
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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    This is how things should be. She is a shield, defending the people she cares about. She is the Watching Princess, she is unmatched when righteousness is on her side, and she is repaid with love!

    +Get behind me, Princess Dandy,+ she thinks. +That girl is dangerous,+ yes, princesses are dangerous - especially Illuminan ones! Do not underestimate them again. +She's deceiving you. They're experts at that, Illuminans. They can show you such shine and radiance that you miss the corruption that boils at their core, until they fall and you do nothing!+

    Her voice is different now. Older thoughts are bleeding through, merging with the younger. Princess Eska hadn't known she'd hit more than one target.

    +But you see now her corruption,+ said Adila. +You see how she brutalizes the innocent. You see the terrible shape of her power. Your instincts are right!+ Her tail coils around Eska's shoulders protectively. +Shelter beneath my wings. I will ensure she never hurts another.+
    If the sun won't rise on our horizon
    We'll march on to spite the skies.

  17. - Top - End - #917
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    The secret problem with perfect moments is that they have to end. Alina can't keep kissing her girlfriend forever, she needs to breathe sooner or later. She can't keep her arms around Rita until the memory of time fades from Hyperborea, she needs to shift and move. Rita can't purr "I love you" into infinity, her throat will wear out eventually. And even if none of this was true, there's still the need to go and find Gold. There's still the need to save Illumina and protect it. There's more to do. Alina starts to pull away just a tiny bit, and then everything crumbles.

    Rita is trembling. She opens her mouth but she doesn't have the power for words right now and all that comes out is frustrated squeaks and mews. It's easy to see the terror in her eyes, and with it that familiar feeling of never being good enough. If she could talk she'd be tearfully telling her Lina that she doesn't deserve her and that Lina should just please, please let go. Go be a hero and let go. She trembles. There's brief moments where she even seems to shrink as even the effort of maintaining this wild form is too much for her.

    But Alina simply smiles, and settles herself in front of Rita again. She puts one hand on each of Rita's shoulders, and pulls her light-blanket tighter around the pair of them.

    "I want our first real date to happen here," she says as though there wasn't anything else in the whole world more worth thinking about, "At Luminous, if it's open after all of this. Did you know they serve something called the Crab Tower? I've always wondered what that meant."

    Rita's ear twitches. Her expression is somewhere between confusion and mistrust, and she pulls backwards a little bit with a tiny frustrated growl. But behind her, her tail is flicking eagerly at the thought.

    "Hm no, you're right of course. It has to be the rainbow salted bass, doesn't it? That was our first 'just us' meal, after all. You remember, right? We were so excited that our Moms finally agreed we were old enough to leave the castle without an escort. We had so many adventures planned! I can't even remember them anymore, because we never even made it past the city. The whole day, Rita! Wasted on puddle splashing and stone skipping and candy shopping. What did we think we were, a couple of kids? But then you got hungry and I got all excited, because every great adventure should end in a restaurant. Remember when I said that? Momma said that all the time, so it had to be true! And then we got in there and the only thing you wanted to order was that stupid bass because everybody outside the kingdom always hypes it up. And even then I was whining at you because I wanted to order the same thing as you. Remember? I said 'Rita no, that's dumb tourist food!' and you just grinned at me and said 'But Lina, I am a tourist. I got so mad! But you know what? You were right: that fish was delicious."

    Alina's hands are rubbing Rita's shoulders in smooth, tiny circles. There's so much tension in that body of hers, like even now she's preparing to leap away and hide in a shadowy corner until everybody forgets about her. But those clever, super soft fingers are insistent and so very, very skilled. Everywhere they touch, Rita's body unspools just a little bit more until she's not preparing for anything but to sit and listen to Alina, who won't stop talking to her like she's the most important thing in the world.

    "I want to go back to Summerveil with you, too. I know the house is probably... past saving, but it feels right that we should be the ones to help put something new there, right? Maybe a monument, maybe a new summer home, I dunno. But something. It was ours, you know? All those lost ribbons, all those, um, 'lost' strawberries, the mist and the spray of the waterfall and that perfect lovely sun peeking through those funny clouds you have over there? That was for us. That's what being us means, doesn't it? Saying 'race me, race me!' and then sprinting up Big Hill like it was nothing. You always made it up first, every time. And then by the time I'd make it with Jess you'd have your hands on your hips and be stamping your foot like we were late for an appointment. You know, I always told you back then I could have beaten you if I wasn't worried about hurting Jess' feelings, but... well I mean, you know, right? The truth was, I always pulled up short because I didn't want to run all out and then lose anyway. You've always been the quicker one; people just take it for granted because it's more surprising when I do it."

    "And besides," Alina's fingers trace over the soft fur on Rita's neck. She tickles her way up to those beautiful cheeks and rests her hands on either side of Rita's face. Her thumbs softly push against those fuzzy cheeks, brushing her over and over and over again, pressing until they feel the warmth of her skin underneath and not stopping until she hears and feels that soft purr start up again in spite of everything, and she sees Rita's eyes squeeze shut in her Askaian display of trust and happiness, "That's where we shared our first kiss, isn't it?"

    Her tail stiffens. Rita baps Alina's face in protest. Alina laughs like a brook in springtime.

    "Come back to me, Rita. Come back to me, my love. I, I need you, ok? Always have. Remember? I know you do. Our very first heist together in Jedad would have been a total disaster again without you there. I was so full of myself because I'd already done it once, but that time practically didn't even count because it was before Shazari thought she couldn't trust me and she let me 'borrow' them so I could get fitted for a dress. But they were guarded this time! Which normally you'd think that'd stop a couple of ten year olds, even if one of them did have the brilliant plan to 'run really fast', which by the way I still say should have been Plan A. But you shoved my sketchbook in my face and we lost almost a week just drawing little diagrams of all the rooms in their palace. And if we hadn't? There's no way we'd have made the grab without being caught and punished. And then on the way back while I was busy doing Victory Cartwheels in the sand, but you noticed those icky Ruby Scorpions and tackled me out of the way before I could get stung. You've always been my partner, Rita. And my guardian angel to boot."

    Alina's hands move even further up, into the messy mane Rita's passing off for hair right now. She smooths it and soothes it as she climbs all the way to the top of her head behind her ears, and she pushes until their foreheads are touching. Nose to nose, they close their eyes and breath each other in. Rita is the scent of incense and summer adventure. Alina is the scent of the first fresh rainwater of spring after a dry and dusty winter. Lovers, princesses both, they breathe deeply. Their lips are wet with the warm, steamy breeze of each other's trembling exhalations. They tumble together into the space where nothing else exists, maybe laughing, maybe crying, maybe both at once.

    "...When I confessed to you in Argossa, you asked me 'why'. I wasn't lying then, but I didn't tell you everything either. I've known you were the one for a long, long time. Forever, really. Actually I thought that you were... it doesn't really matter. I knew. Do you know what did it? It was when you came to visit for Solstice celebration and we were out by the river, collecting shells. When that River-Child came bursting up out of the water and tried to drag me in, I really thought I was gonna die. I was scared. I was beyond scared. But you, tiny little Rita, in your six winter coats and big heavy boots ran right up to it and started splashing and hissing and screaming at him. I never caught what you said, but I made it out of that because of you. But it wasn't until after, when you spit water in my face and started hyperventilating. That's when I knew. That's how it is, kitten. Whenever things get really tough? Whenever I forget how to be brave? It's always you who shows me how again. It's always you who finds me. And you're always..."

    Deep under the castle, Fire Sharks leap and splash about in the river. An ice floe cracks in half and flows away, and in the rush of water an ancient glass water wheel starts to turn again for the first time in years. What Azora Howl has done to this room is as monstrous as what she's done to Rita, but just now, and just for a minute, a single fountain sputters back to life. Weak at first, and with a loud hiss that makes both girls jump, but then it finds its rhythm and happily douses the center of the room in warm mists, soaking each princess through. Rita winces. When she opens her eyes again, Alina is staring directly at her.

    Those special eyes she has. Those crystals she'll carry inside her for the rest of her life. So bright and shiny, so easy to see herself inside. But what Rita sees is not the messy, shivering, barely held together sort-of-girl she thinks she is, but a cat who is also the most beautiful girl in Hyperborea. Her hair and coat are glossy and perfect. Her eyes are beautiful pools of gold, shining so brightly they could even be matches for Alina's. Her face is lovely, her lips are curving mischievously upward, and her fangs are adorably perfect. She sees herself sit up straight, sees herself push her chest out proudly, she sees herself strong and, and just the way that Lina does. And every corner of her heart where doubt or fear or a sense of uselessness still crept inside her is flooded full of light and swept away in an instant.

    "I love you Rita. I've got you. Always."

    "...A-Always."

  18. - Top - End - #918
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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    It starts out artistically. Kyouko uses a substitution technique, Morgina is bewildered by a log. Kazelia feints forward with her spear only to back off via the smoke bomb and reappear on the other side to scour a blackened line across Morgina’s back. For those first few moments, you’d think they could go all day this way, nothing but taunts, feints, and decisive strikes as Morgina spins and whirls helplessly to match the two opponents darting around her.

    That’s only for a moment though. Only until Kyouko gets too close and Morgina suddenly has an extra limb that rips off her belt pouches and a chunk of her robe in the process, leading to a burst of smoke that obscures everyone.

    Then it’s Kazelia hearing Kyouko’s shout and going straight in, as hard and fast and swift as she can to the heart of that smoke cloud, driving her spear into Morgina’s side to make her drop Kyouko and then, being unable to extricate it, using it as a handhold to launch a blast of freezing magic straight to Morgina’s face, forcing her to reel backwards and drop the fox girl.
    At that point, they’re locked in. A hand twisted to sharp claws slashes across Kazelia’s upper back, rending through her cloak and leaving a series of deep purpling lines that make her howl. Another hand punches Kazelia repeatedly in the stomach, a third rips at her hood, choking her. Kazelia’s hand grabs the tatters of Morgina’s ashen cloak around the neck for dear life, even as Morgina’s strength causes it to make a slow sickening rip directly in half. And then Kazelia’s other hand reaches up to Morgina’s face and strange shadowy flames surge forwards from that hand and into Morgina’s eyes as Kazelia’s own eyes darken and blaze all at once.

    For a moment, amid all the smoke, haze, and steam, the only thing in the whole world is Kazelia’s eyes. They are not fields of stars, but a single fiery inferno, so hot it’s blazing white like the heart of a newborn sun, suspended in a field of utter darkness.

    Then it’s over. The smoke clears, Kyouko tries to pick herself up off the ground and settles for sitting up and inspecting her torn belt and few remaining tools. Kazelia stands there panting and lets herself fall backward into the filthy slush to soothe her back. Morgina slumps to the ground, collapsed in a heap, her ripped rags slowly settling down on top of her as she breathes slow, shallow breaths.

    [My Finish roll was an unmodified 9, so I am taking the opportunity to narrate a Blood finish here (for Hyperborea) rather than a courage finish. It felt more appropriate. Kazelia is paying a charge of her bloodline magic to act and Kyouko is using up whatever her ninja gear stat is to create this advantage.]
    School Fox by Atlur

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    Anarion's right on the money here.
    Quotes

    "Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.”
    Oscar Wilde Writer & Poet (1891)

  19. - Top - End - #919
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    Jessamine!

    “You are captives of the Watchers of the Bazaar. Our actions are in compliance with the praiseworthy Operations Manual, and not at the direction of any other princess or government...”

    This could have been a disaster. You could have flown into a hail of arrows to drag both you and Shiva down, or been fighting tooth and nail against Riders using your people as shields and hostages. Your people! Who you swore to protect! The very thought makes your blood want to boil.

    But instead, the Riders who held Ilumina in their grip for so long are folding like a house of cards, and the strangest thing is that they are no longer Riders at all, but rather confused and dismayed people in blue and black, carrying wailing swords and generally wailing themselves, or at the very least running around trying to find someone who knew what was going on.

    All across the city, princesses lead Watch teams to their targets, like this one: the royal pegasus stables. If the former Riders had kept their heads and gotten up in the air, this would be a much rougher fight. As it is, despondent former Riders kneel in cuffs as their crimes (conspiracy to spread tyranny, resisting arrest, loitering with malicious intent, disturbance of the peace) are read to them by soldiers in the Bronze.

    You look up to Castle Thessia with a smile that doesn’t quite thaw your eyes out, not yet. Not until you see Lina safe and sound, and all her friends, too. Behind it, the blue sky is breaking through the clouds, and the snow has finally stopped.

    ***

    Adila!

    “You’re brave, Adila,” Eska whispers. “Brave, and strong, and right. These princesses are dangerous, especially when they’re planning to stab you in the back. Isn’t that right, Dandelion?

    “Adila,” Dandy says, and touches your arm gently. “You and I both know she’s no good. The Riders came in and hurt everyone here, and if we don’t stop them, they won’t stop until they control all of Hyperborea...”

    “Look at her. She’s already preparing to betray you,” Eska hisses. “She’s scheming with the Iluminans! That’s why—“ She grins at Dandy. “That’s why you have to stop her from talking and take her with us. We can save her, Adila!”

    (The Sunless yelps and brightens as shadow arrows bounce off her golden aura. Eska’s snipers have regrouped and are trying feebly to put her down; she knocks them out of the air, glowing brighter and brighter, her limbs slowing but still able to bat every one away.)

    “Have I ever steered you wrong? You’re too stubborn to let her get in your head like this, Addy,” Dandy says, open as a summer flower. “The Sunless is here to help you, and I’m here to help you, and you’re here to help Ilumina. That’s why we came here in the first place!”

    “Now she’s trying to get you to betray the princess you love and trust,” Eska says, and kisses you on the cheek. “Don’t listen. Gag her. Bring her with us. We can still save her.”

    ***

    Alina!

    The light of Green suffuses the both of you, turning the spray of the fountain into ten thousand falling emeralds. Your magic is one meant to be shared, after all. That’s part of what it means to be the Princess Promised. Your light flows through her, and is shared with her, and gives her the strength to change, to grow, to roar like a lioness. The sound, wild and dangerous and strong, resounds in the room, echoing off of every emerald drop.

    She changes in your hands, transforms, becomes— not entirely the princess she saw reflected in your eyes. Not in every respect. But she is so similar, for she must be who she is in her heart, and you, Alina Cascade, have showed her that heart, beautiful and vibrant and alive, so very alive. In her heart she is a magical girl, strong and fierce and capable, and this is who she becomes, imbued with the power of your Green, and there is a wildness and strength to her that is all her own. She’s even a little taller!

    She picks you up with a gleeful laugh. She’s become stronger, too. And as she buries her lovely face in you, your subjects crowd around the both of you, cheering and laughing and asking you a dozen different questions: is the Queen with you? When’s the wedding? When did you both get so tall? What happened to your eyes, is that a new way to use glass magic? Are we free? Where’s Oberon? Will you need catering? This is how you eat a crab tower, let me explain in detail.

    Tam Patterley catches your eye and she smiles, giving you the bow you deserve as Princess Promised of Ilumina. And while there’s still work to do, and the questions coming from every direction are slowly turning into the same question, which is what do we do next, in your heart you realize it:

    Ilumina is already free. You just need to spread the word and let the Riders know that their reign is over.

    ***

    Kazelia!

    “Brat,” Morgina mutters, venomously. “You think you’ve won? This won’t change anythmmmmph.”

    “I don’t know,” Kyouko says, brightly, as she puts her torn scarf and last lengths of rope to better use. “I think it’s going to change a lot for the people of Ilumina.” She looks up at you, Kazelia, and flashes a delighted smile.

    “You don’t mind if I keep some of the Riders, do you? Or— are you still Riders? Is that your culture, or your kind, or just a nickname? I never thought to ask. Either way, there are a lot of Riders in various closets upstairs and by Fox law, I can keep them, but I’ll let them go if you want.” Round and round and round Morgina she cinches ropes and scarves and torn cloaks until your vicious sister is stuck hunched over in a ball, wiggling back and forth helplessly in the slush.

    “Though if you really want to respect Fox law,” she continues, standing up, brushing down her disheveled and damaged Rider disguise, now almost ridiculous given that she’s the only Rider left here, “I’ll let you ransom them. A kiss per captive, or offering yourself in their place as a hostage.”

    Is... is she asking you out?
    freedom in the flame

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    It's a freaking Romulan dump truck. The Romulans are no more likely to build an unarmed warp-capable ship than they are to become a hippy commune.

  20. - Top - End - #920
    Colossus in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    “You’re brave, Adila,” Eska whispers. “Brave, and strong, and right. These princesses are dangerous, especially when they’re planning to stab you in the back. Isn’t that right, Dandelion?

    “Adila,” Dandy says, and touches your arm gently. “You and I both know she’s no good. The Riders came in and hurt everyone here, and if we don’t stop them, they won’t stop until they control all of Hyperborea...”

    “Look at her.
    She’s already preparing to betray you,” Eska hisses. “She’s scheming with the Iluminans! That’s why—“ She grins at Dandy. “That’s why you have to stop her from talking and take her with us. We can save her, Adila!”

    what did she just say?

    “Have I ever steered you wrong? You’re too stubborn to let her get in your head like this, Addy,” Dandy says, open as a summer flower. “The Sunless is here to help you, and I’m here to help you, and you’re here to help Ilumina. That’s why we came here in the first place!”

    “Now she’s trying to get you to betray you love and
    trust,” Eska says, and kisses you on the cheek. “Don’t listen. Gag her. Bring her with us. We can still save her.”

    +save her?+

    And in a dark and blinding motion it was Princess Eska who was being lifted from her feet and slammed back into the wall. +SHE CANNOT BE SAVED!+ the psychic wail made the lights flicker dark, glittering bronze-verdigris light pouring from Adila's eyes. +I TRIED! I FAILED! BY THE TIME I NOTICED IT WAS ALREADY TOO LATE! TRUST NO ONE!! I CAN'T -+

    There is a motion the body makes when it dreams of falling. It's a full body shock - the reflexes of the body momentarily overwhelm the torpor of a sleeping mind. It's a motion that becomes all the more frenzied and desperate when it realizes that up is down, light is dark, and everything that was so precious in those dreams means nothing after all. It's the flailing shock of a dragon that heard soothing words whispered into a nightmare, words of protection and help and memories...

    But it fades back into sleep.

    The grip around Eska softens.

    And with a textbook smoothness and precision that Princess Adila has never once demonstrated in all her life, she produces a tanglewool ball from a cloak pocket and throws it directly at Princess Dandy.

    Glowing eyes snap back around to Princess Eska.

    +You will show me how to save her.+ said Princess Adila.

    [Attempting to overcome the hypnotism: 4]
    If the sun won't rise on our horizon
    We'll march on to spite the skies.

  21. - Top - End - #921
    Titan in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    Kazelia just lies back and let’s herself relax, speaking to Kyouko without looking her way. “Oh, I was going to let you keep them, I think some time getting to rest in Kon Kon would do them good, and it’s probably best they don’t all stay in Illumina. I think they need a chance to rebuild without worrying about where so many new people will settle.”

    She ponders for a moment, staring at the play of light on the castle crystals. “I wouldn’t call them Riders now. That was a name from Oberon for his servants. Call them...Boreals, I think. For the world where they were freed and the land where I think they’d still choose to live, once time lets them reflect.”

    She does raise her head and look over at Kyouko as she’s working. “If you did want to take me prisoner though...I suppose I wouldn’t mind. As long as it doesn’t interrupt finishing up stopping Oberon, of course.”

    Second date...accepted. But with a busy schedule, you know how it can be. Kazelia wonders what Mother must think of all this. It’s been quite a lot.
    Last edited by Anarion; 2020-01-26 at 02:38 AM.
    School Fox by Atlur

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    Anarion's right on the money here.
    Quotes

    "Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.”
    Oscar Wilde Writer & Poet (1891)

  22. - Top - End - #922
    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    It wasn't long ago that Alina had begged for every surge of effort to be the last she needed. It wasn't long ago she'd almost been looking more for a way to give up with dignity than for a way to really win. It wasn't long ago that a moment like this felt so impossible as to not be worth mentioning. And now it's here. And now she's here. And now...

    There's work to be done. A princess always lights the way. Alina gives her beautiful, perfect Rita one last lingering kiss (to much applause) and then steps out of her embrace. There's a smile on her face, but it's not full of giddy excitement or relief. Instead she's warm and kind and wise and... maybe. Just a little... like her mother, the Queen. She holds one hand out, as if to take her entire kingdom by the hand.

    "O Petal," she calls to Tam using the ancient and exhaustingly formal official title of the Order of the White Lily, "Please be so kind as to go and see that the castle's colors are lit again. It's high time we announced to the entire kingdom that Illumina is ready to shine again, and call everyone who can make the journey to celebrate it."

    She takes Rita's hand in hers and for a moment her smile is perhaps not as Queenly (or Princessly, or anything but smitten), but still no less determined.

    "Rita and I will go and clear out the rest of the castle of any more... hm. I guess it's wrong to keep calling them Riders, isn't it? Well, whatever. We'll finish sweeping them out of the castle so that it'll be safe to handle everything that comes after. While we're on that, I'd ask the rest of you to clean up in here. Get rid of all this... junk, for a start. Bring whatever herbs or flowers we happen to have left and scatter them about. Light some incense, if we have any, so that our precious Rainbow Hall is whole and healthy again. Mom-- I mean, the Queen is..."

    Alina hesitates for a second. Maybe it's right to say she falters. But then her eyes shine fiercely again and with a deep breath she presses on:

    "The Queen is ill, but I know where she is being kept. Do not worry, my brave and beautiful Aurora. We can save her, together! I know what to do to cure her, and the others suffering her affliction as well. Everything... everything will be all right. I promise you."

    This was, as it turns out, the hardest part. It's nothing at all for the shining light of the Princess-Promised and her fierce lioness of a partner to cut into the heart of the castle, seeking conflict wherever they can hear it. With a flash and a burst of bright laughter, they crash down on a cadre of archers trying to pin down a... Freesia! And she's...!

    Alina runs to her golden glowing little sister with laughter and pride bubbling up out of her throat, just on the verge of calling out her name, when she sees it. And joy turns to confusion, tinged with dread. She runs, swift as the waterfall, but she knows before she even takes a step that she's not going to make it.

    "What's... going on?"

  23. - Top - End - #923
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    Kazelia!

    A sleek tail wraps around one wrist. “So it’s a date, then?” The fox princess giggles, hiding her smile behind her hand. “I’d carry you away to be my blushing bride here and now, but I am ashamed! A proper princess of the Konkon should never be without binding materials for her beloved! Please forgive me, oh beautiful flower of the Boreals~”

    A shadow swoops over your head, light from the newly-revealed sun shining in glorious colors across the slush. Jessamine and Shiva splash down into the muck, forcing Kyouko to squeak and hide behind you so as not to get splashed on.

    Jessamine looks at the growling, helplessly wiggling bundle of Boreal princess in the slush and whistles, letting herself relax. “Nice job! Oberon’s Dog was one of the worst.” Not the worst nickname you’ve ever heard for Morgina, to be honest. “Now, where’s Alina? We need to let her know we’ve won!”

    That’s a reassuring thought, isn’t it? You’ve won. Just wait until you tell Adila and Alina all about your Mother and what you saw out beyond the coils of Ouroboros!

    ***

    Eska!

    The Draeg is months out from being truly operational. It lurks, hulking and skeletal, in the Silverback Commons, still awaiting a power source capable of bringing your engine prototype to roaring, fulgent life.

    Now you have one.

    Normally, you wouldn’t be going straight to an actual flight. You’d need engine tests, more sections completed (or at the very least not open to the sky), and you’d want to have it fitted with the finest anti-princess weaponry you could devise. But this isn’t an ideal testing environment, and you don’t have time to test anything. All you have is guts and an entire army of princesses bearing down on your head.

    Ignoring the death glare the flower princess is giving the back of your head, you pull down the sympathetic audio resonance crystal and tap it to life. “You’re doing such a wonderful job, Adila. You’re so very good at following orders. I’m glad we trust each other so much!”

    Let Morgina snicker and Azora go on and on about how your toys and snowflakes paled in comparison to the awful power of the atrocious wonder-knife. You’ve got Adila of the Watch by the nose, and she’s dancing to your tune.

    “Adila, darling,” you continue. “Go ahead and ignite the engines. I won’t be able to make this very special ship fly if you stop, and that means we won’t be able to meet up with dear Azora. Azora can help us save Dandelion, remember?”

    In the engine room, your pet dragon exhales and fills your engines with dragonfire. They bark to life, and with a cry your crack team disengages the last of the harnesses and locks. You lurch upwards at incredible speeds, pinning you back in your chair, and as you laugh wildly, you rocket off towards the south. Towards Azora. Towards Axonia.

    ***

    Alina!

    It is later. The three snipers Eska left behind to cover her retreat were no match for you and Rita, furious and bright, but Eska herself was long gone with both Adila and Dandy by the time you arrived. Jessamine came back just half an hour ago, exhausted from riding Shiva halfway to the coast. Apparently, robots weren’t the only thing that Eska and Hornet were collaborating on. Her flying ship is uncatchable with a dragon’s fire powering its goblin engines.

    Too bad for her she as good as spelled out for you where she’s going. She forced Adila to reveal some secret of the Bazaar clocktower, and now you have to stop her. It might even be the next step in the puzzle of finding Eupheria.

    But before you go chasing Adila and Dandy, there’s something that has to be done. Something that was a long time coming. It’s time for cruel winter’s snap to be undone.

    Kazelia helped, stirring the waters with her spear. Out of every princess assembled here, she’s the one with the closest connection to Argossa, the forever stone tree. Freesia and Jessamine held your hands as you infused the fountain with your Green, until it was almost completely hollowed out. You’d need to give it time to rest. But even if you never could use Green again... it’d be worth it. It has to be. You have to save your mother.

    If you fail, you’ll be no use to anyone ever again.

    If only Dandy was here; she would have known the perfect herb to sprinkle into the waters. If only Adila was here, her own light glowing with encouragement. If only you hadn’t tried to make an old man happy. If only, if only, if only.

    No more if onlies.

    Twenty-one guardswomen bear in your mother’s bier, where she lies stiff and immobile. You’re waiting in the fountain, and beside you is Jessamine, and beside you is Freesia, and all three of you wear dresses of sheer silk, clinging in the water. Your mother is carefully lowered into the water, and the three of you take her, your sisters at either arm, you cradling her head. This is how she used to hold you at night. Do you remember? She would soothe your fearful heart and run her fingers through your hair, promising that nothing would ever hurt you while you were in her arms.

    Your tears mingle with the spray.

    And that is when a miracle happens. This one is not Ourania’s miracle. This one is all yours. This one is Ilumina herself. This is the light of Gold, rising from Freesia, circling once about your head and leaving a crown of golden light playing on your brow, before settling on your mother’s breast. It burns. It burns! It burns like the sunlight on the hillside in Summerveil. It stirs up the water in great rippling eddies, threatening to drag you under. You cling to your mother to avoid losing your feet in the current. Your limbs have lost all feeling, all motion; if you fall, you will not be able to stand again.

    The ice melts away.

    Gold quiets once more, having taken all from the three of you it can, or will. The water stills, becomes as clear as glass. The room is full of the silence of onlookers, hands pressed to their mouths, hardly daring to breathe for fear that they will somehow disrupt the working.

    Your mother coughs, and opens her eyes.

    “I knew you could do it,” she says, her voice hoarse and drawn. And from there— there is only the warmth of your embrace, as the daughters of Queen Halcyon hold her and feel her heart beat and drown in her quiet, delighted laughter; there is a roaring outside that embrace, like a room full of princesses cheering, but that doesn’t matter. That doesn’t matter. What matters is that your mother is holding you, and you are in her arms, and you are safe. Right here, right now, you are all safe.





    End of EPISODE 5: Princess Heist!
    Tune in next week for EPISODE 6: Return of Eupheria!
    freedom in the flame

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    Raz, you scoundrel! You planned this!
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    Great, and now I'm imagining what Raz's profile on a dating site would look like. "Must be okay with veils."
    Quote Originally Posted by Kasanip View Post
    I don't think there is such a time to have veils that it is not the fault of Raz_Fox.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dervag View Post
    It's a freaking Romulan dump truck. The Romulans are no more likely to build an unarmed warp-capable ship than they are to become a hippy commune.

  24. - Top - End - #924
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    PRINCESS-CHAMPIONS OF HYPERBOREA
    EPISODE 6: Return of Eupheria!






    Adila!

    “And up. Good girl! Good job!”

    Your head is in Eska’s lap. She’s sweating over the weight; you are very dense, after all. Sensation slowly returns to your body as she pockets the talisman she was slowly rocking back and forth.

    It’s wonderful that she trusts you enough to do these trust exercises with you, isn’t it? Where she helps you drop, drop so very, very far, and then says so many things. So very many things. So many words. They’re such good words.

    Outside, there’s the sound of your home, and the hustle and bustle of the Bazaar, right outside your rooms in the House of Guests. You should feel happy, and centered, and eager to save Princess Dandy with the help of Eska and Azora, but...

    But when you arrived at Oberon’s reserve fortress in the depths of Axonia, an ivy-drowned stone temple sacred to the feathered snakes of that most untidy of kingdoms, Azora and Eska put their heads together and talked a lot alone while you politely tried not to be in the same room with Oberon at any point ever. It wasn’t hard. He was busy with stamping out stiff native resistance and trying to contact former Riders across Hyperborea. Between you and me, it was more than a little pathetic. You’re probably very glad he got kicked out of Ilumina.

    But then the two sisters declared that the only place you could save Dandy was back at the Bazaar, with their help. The Iluminan treachery runs so deep in her, Eska had said. It’s almost too late. You’ll help save her, won’t you? This time we can save her.

    And those had been the right words.

    But even so, as you prepare for the day, Eska strapping vial after vial to her bicep for her new Gas Arrows, Azora meditating in a runic circle, Dandy giving you Looks while she squirms in her chains and her dancing-girl disguise next to a similarly bound Iluminan woman, you can’t help but feel like something’s wrong. That the clocktower shouldn’t be opened. Should never be opened.

    But you trust Eska. And Eska says that doing the bad wrong thing is right. And it makes your head hurt so much.

    The clocktower rings, and Eska shoots you a fierce, hungry grin. “Ready, darling? Let’s save a princess.”

    ***

    Alina!

    Jedad. Again. Joy.

    At least this time, you’re showing up as yourself, in your full Battle regalia: your breastplate, your glass bracers and boots, your silk war cape and your soft little battle skirt, and the literal crown on top, your tiara with Gold, shining Gold, sitting proudly at its apex.

    And there it is, clear as day. The Clocktower. The next step to finding Eupheria before Oberon and his daughters can. Everyone there remembers how you helped stop the Black Princess (who is conveniently not coming with you, staying behind to help protect Mommy and Kaja as they recover), and it should be a straight shot to the Clocktower. Should be. Unless Eska left surprises here for you, and traps.

    Are you ready?

    ***

    Kazelia!

    “I love the Bazaar,” Kyouko purrs, as the two of you sit with your legs dangling over the railing. Her head rests on your shoulder, her hand on your hand. “It’s so fun! And there’s no better way to snap up a princess than to set the rooftops after her! I’ve gotten a date or two at auction~”

    She nuzzles you playfully. “Don’t worry. I’ll wait until we save Adila before I surprise you with more kidnappers.”

    Adila...

    You’re still amazed that Eska’s machine worked, aren’t you? It was the sort of thing that only she could have gotten to work, and the sort of thing that only she would dream of making. A way to control others, to shortcut trust without giving away anything in return. Her notes on the thing, hidden away in one of her journals, are nothing short of obscene.

    Adila’s acting the way she is, the way Freesia described her, because Eska is in her head, and is smothering her distrust and replacing it with a false connection between them. This is what Adila would do if you or Alina asked her to trust you no matter what, and Eska faked her way into that intimacy.

    It’s horrible. It’s wrong. And you? You are going to have to save Adila of the Watch from herself.

    What’s the plan, Boreal Princess?
    freedom in the flame

    Spoiler
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoeKun View Post
    Raz, you scoundrel! You planned this!
    Quote Originally Posted by BladeofObliviom View Post
    Great, and now I'm imagining what Raz's profile on a dating site would look like. "Must be okay with veils."
    Quote Originally Posted by Kasanip View Post
    I don't think there is such a time to have veils that it is not the fault of Raz_Fox.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dervag View Post
    It's a freaking Romulan dump truck. The Romulans are no more likely to build an unarmed warp-capable ship than they are to become a hippy commune.

  25. - Top - End - #925
    Colossus in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    Princess Adila is happy. Everything is going to be okay!

    There's no more worrying - no more moping, no more secrets, no more bad dreams or brooding or embarrassment. Princess Eska understands what her limits are and loves her anyway. It doesn't matter if she's stupid! It doesn't matter if she's clumsy! Princess Eska will do all the things that she can't do, and she'll do all the things that Princess Eska can't do. She can just rely on her best friend, and isn't that wonderful? What a good team they make - and she can't wait until they save Princess Dandy and she can join them! The three of them together! Just think!

    She swishes through the halls in her ruffly black maid dress, balancing the tea tray on the tip of her nose. Black coffee for Eska, milk and honey tea for Dandy, hot water with baking soda for Azora. She is glad that she can just buy the biscuits now. She'd done a lot of baking experiments in Axonia to take her mind off things - well, you know, not that her mind should be on anything because Eska had told her not to use it because she'd just hurt herself. But. You know. Sometimes she was a disappointment, still, but Eska always forgave her in the end. And she wondered why she couldn't see her light any more. Hadn't that been important?

    The Illuminan lights encourage their bearers to follow their hearts, and hearts are perilous things. Trust them not. Trust only your fists and your reason.

    She remembered coming into the room with her tea tray. Eska had been busy so she'd just set her cup down by her desk, and then taken off Princess Dandy's gag so she could drink. But she'd talked to her instead and... things got hazy... and... Eska was yelling...

    And then she woke up in Eska's lap and her heart melted because everything was okay after all!

    She is home. She is surrounded by her friends, wonderful friends who are so patient with her no matter how many times she forgets her orders and gives herself a terrible headache from thinking too hard. She gets to be called darling, and that's always a thrill, and she wonders if Princess Dandy will use that word too when Eska finally lets her talk again. It's all everything she ever wanted and she didn't even have to waste time figuring out what she wanted because Eska thought of all that too!

    +Anything you say,+ thought Princess Adila, nuzzling Eska affectionately. Absolutely nothing could ruin this day.
    Last edited by Thanqol; 2020-01-27 at 11:20 PM.
    If the sun won't rise on our horizon
    We'll march on to spite the skies.

  26. - Top - End - #926
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    PhoeKun's Avatar

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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    No more if-onlies.

    Alina is a Princess-Promised again. Not just as a name she carries around in her heart to make herself feel better on cold nights on the road, but her actual and real position. And being the Princess-Promised of a fully restored Illumina means she has to be done playing if-only. If it's her fault that Adila is Eska's prisoner, if it really is because Alina made her friend change the way she tried to do things at the eleventh hour, if a letter fell into her hands from no less than Ourania herself saying that Adila would have been fine if Alina had just kept her nose out of things... then all it means is that it's Alina's responsibility to go save her. Not because she's guilty, but because that's her friend.

    Alina's hair and her cape flutter majestically in the sea breeze. She stands as tall as she can and perfectly poised and still from the back of the ship. Her eyes never once leave the Clocktower, even when Rita takes her hand in both of hers. Gold burns fiercely atop her tiara, embraced by the smaller colored lights and the possessive wisp of silver dragonfire that together filled all seven slots for the first time since she'd tried to share her blessings with Oberon.

    No more if-onlies.

    Jess believes in her enough to let her go alone. Freesia believes in her enough to set a crystal casing for her dragonfire light, and loves her enough to have sneaked several snacks into her pack besides. And Mommy believes in her and loves her enough to let her carry Gold atop full Princess-War gear. She's never come to Jedad this brazenly before. And funnily enough, this would be the time her perfect streak here would finally come to an end. She can't very well steal jewels she's still carrying, and even if she could she wouldn't, because there are much more important things for a Princess-Promised to be doing than messing with Shazari's head.

    She squeezes Rita's hands. The warmth fills her from fingertip to toe. She takes the deepest of breaths. Eska was officially playing princess games now. Whatever traps she might have laid, it wouldn't be long now before she learned who the real master of the art was.

    One more dance, and then everybody could have their lives back.

  27. - Top - End - #927
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Anarion's Avatar

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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    Kazelia is really out of her league on this one. She doesn't particularly know how to counter hypnotism, especially after being tossed out a window like she was and not getting any help from Adila. That meant it went fairly deep (and that situation wasn't a good one either). A more experienced master in this situation might see the wisdom of enough hypnotism to lead Adila into a warring hypnotics situation, allowing her natural self to reassert. However, that is not Kazelia.

    “Eska’s hypnosis will be both mechanical and magical in nature. She always works that way. I could break the magic part, I think. Or a few of us could together. But I can’t just change Adila’s emotions with magic. That won’t make her free or strong. What I think is that we need to get her to a fresh state and force her to start thinking for herself while breaking the magic. We could get her angry. Or excited. Or panicked maybe. Some kind of urgency, something that overwhelmed everything else she’s feeling, break the magic, and then give her the chance to think through things for herself. She’s a princess and I have faith she’ll figure it out.”

    As an afterthought, she pats the fur on Kyouko's knee. "I love the Bazaar too. It's so lively and there's so many things you can get. It will be a good place to be, even if we have problems to solve again."
    School Fox by Atlur

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    Anarion's right on the money here.
    Quotes

    "Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.”
    Oscar Wilde Writer & Poet (1891)

  28. - Top - End - #928
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: [IC] Princess-Champions of Hyperborea

    Adila!

    You have your orders! They’re good orders, which you are good at. You are to protect Azora and make sure nobody interrupts her while she opens the clocktower.

    It’s difficult work! For her, that is. Somebody made this face of the clock very difficult to access, and the mystic lock is taking all of her concentration. You are sitting next to her on a lawfully commandeered Clock Restoration and Preservation Society gondola lift, trying not to take up the whole thing. The wind ruffles your pretty, lacy headdress that Eska helped tie on just behind your horns.

    Something deep inside you is screaming, but all that’s coming out is a weird little tap tap tap you’re doing with your claws.

    Dandy sits next to you, still struggling to break free and unleash her Iluminan-inspired treachery. Don’t let her interrupt all those mystic sigils and wheels Azora is carving into the very air, crackling with energy as she tries to align the energy of her spell-key just so.

    Even a dragon as stupid and clumsy as you can be trustworthy and look after both Dandy and Azora. You’re going to do your very, very best. That’s what Eska trusts you to do! And for her sake, and for Dandy’s, you’re going to be the goodest little dragon in the whole wide world and not push Azora off the gondola on accident on purpose.

    ***

    Alina!

    You expected the arrow. It comes hurtling out at you the minute you hit the Via Tempora, and you catch it effortlessly with your lights. Really, Eska? Really? You’re getting predictable.

    Then there’s a puff of confetti and the scroll unwinds from around the shaft. It’s Eska’s looping, swooping cursive.

    “Isolde says hello.”

    Damage your Sense.

    ***

    Kazelia!

    “I wouldn’t come any closer if I were you.”

    The space around the clock itself is a wide, decorated plaza, full of tourists and visitors and cafes. And, unfortunately, a lot of innocent people gasping at the sight of Eska Glinteye dangling an Iluminan dancing-girl off the clock’s scaffolding by her wrists, her boot on the knife placed precariously next to the ropes holding her up.

    “We don’t want to make a scene, after all,” she yells at you. “Just stay out of this and nobody needs to get hurt!”

    Nobody needs to get hurt. Knowing Eska, she’s not just talking about her hostage: she’s hidden her backup and prepped some nasty traps for anyone trying to follow her up, and she does not care about any of the civilians in the plaza below.

    But also, making a scene like this? She’s going to bring both the Watch reserves and the King of the Bazaar down on her head. So she’s either got another escape plan ready, or a backup plan, or she’s got some scheme unfolding and this is all a trap.
    freedom in the flame

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    Raz, you scoundrel! You planned this!
    Quote Originally Posted by BladeofObliviom View Post
    Great, and now I'm imagining what Raz's profile on a dating site would look like. "Must be okay with veils."
    Quote Originally Posted by Kasanip View Post
    I don't think there is such a time to have veils that it is not the fault of Raz_Fox.
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    It's a freaking Romulan dump truck. The Romulans are no more likely to build an unarmed warp-capable ship than they are to become a hippy commune.

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