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    check your basement
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    Writing, and movies.

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  • Character Name
    Matteo Basrid / Irene Anne / Turin Ibarellan
  • Character Race
    Farfolk / Human / High Elf

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  1. so long o7

    1. Asutto


      break free!

    2. MaltaMoss


      wait what

      i never paid you my taxes

    3. sergisala
  2. ___________________________ In the far reaches of Adria's dominion, IRENE BASRID, once Francisca, reclined within her chair tucked within a study, gazing out the window to a rainy day. She had a family of her own, by now. Her days as a Dame in Petra had long passed her by. Yet, when the letter had ultimately reached her with the news, it was as if she was a teenager being knighted atop that peak which hosted the ruins her forefathers looked after once again. She was not an old woman anymore, rather, an oblivious young girl with too many questions to subdue. She read the final line silently over and over: Your Everloving Sister... Your Everloving Sister... Your Everloving Sister... Your Everloving Sister... Was she so deserving of that everlasting love? She had not been a good sister in many years, memories making the bottom of her stomach knot. So often, she claimed that it was never too late, even in death, but did she want to find out? Perhaps it was too late, and perhaps there was no point. Irene did not know; she wept. She had not cried in a long, long time; only when the reminder of her mortality and the loss of someone she had not known for so long did she weep. She wept until her collar made it evident, until her eyes were dry, and she did not know why. Maude had always been the wisest of their family, their generation. A generation bygone, she realized. They were the last of a lost era, but never forgotten; she swore that unspokenly. She swore that. ___________________________
  3. Dedicated to Iskander Constantine Basrid, my dear son, who shall live on. I am not a storyteller of fiction, but this tale is more true than it is fictitious, despite the fantastical conditions. ____________________________ ___________________________ A lowlands road where children play, artist’s rendition, ca 1928 ___________________________ ━━━✦❘༻༺❘✦━━━ —————————————— FOREWORD AMIDST THE ENIGMATIC DANCE OF LIFE, death and the unheard whispers that permeate the universe’s masque which a child wonders about, a tale unravels, threading through the labyrinthine paths that a needle takes, verily pricking one's innocence with spilt blood and worry. It is a narrative interwoven with the essence of a being’s heavy heart, where the ethereal and the mundane converge, beckoning the seeker to partake in its riddles. A cruel mistress it is, surely; I know her well. That is to say, we engage in the affair of knowing, for the price of the journey that comes with upon the “white road.” Moreover, we hope it trails to the holy road, where each and every person belongs individually. The way is already set to the rocks, the sun, the darkness, and the embers. The impoverished spirit swivels, to turn their back from the road, but they shan’t escape it; their blindness does not negate what is there. Even some rich and arrogant men would confess “I too must halt. I too stop before the white road.” Here, they travel eternally until they are astray with little compass backwards, leading them to folly or death. All roads lead home. It is here and it has ever been here, and will ever be here. One could come back not by seeking it, rather by looking, finding it at a glance, by turning their eyes to the right or left or looking ahead. The rest is present but unseen, albeit presumed. What has to be, what will always be, is here. At any one moment all my life is here. Let any moment change, and I would find myself in a new place, and that would indeed change my life. I would live then in a new life; but now, here, all my life is. It is my belonging, and my birthright, to where I stand and plant my feet. Here in the tapestry of each year according to time, I walk. I see it clearly in all my thoughts, all my sensations, all my feelings. At any moment everything and naught is clear to me. So clear that if I were to be given a clear cup of water to drink I could drink and drink and never be thirsty, though I would still drink again... The water is never pure, nay, there is always some mud; it only appears so clear. Such is life. Simply, life is the road which stretches outward; life is the water; life is the sun, and the sun shines on my soul. It does not make me run from life, it makes me seek to live it. Water passes through the body of the earth and eventually returns to it. Like the water from the earth, life flows into us. All we are, what we have, is only what is in us, but we absorb what we are made of. We are the sun, our essence is the sun. All we imagine to be is in us. In that way, we are not different. We are all Man. We are the same, cursed. We are still the One. This is our truth. It is the One. It is Life. It is the discriminatory glances they do not recognize, glancing within the mirror which reflects the dark end of the spectrum, and it is the ultimate tragedy. And here, our chronicle embarks. ___________________________ ━━━✦❘༻༺❘✦━━━ —————————————— A PILGRIM COMES TO WHERE it seems to him a long way must be gone to regain the road to the light, and the white road, that which appears to bring one home. Yet, there is no such thing as a truly white road. All roads lead home, and all homes lead back to the road. So he walks on and on. It seems that he has no farther to go to find himself and his home, yet he continues to walk; he seeks more. When his feet tire and his eyes remain eager for the sights he has not already imagined, he comes to a great white church. It lacks windows and spires, and is without a door, resembling a box. Before his imagination constructs the inside, it as if he has lost himself in it; he asks himself: “Why was I here?” and he asks, “Was I on the right road on the wrong road?” and he asks, “Was I in the right place, or the wrong place?” and he asks, “Was I in the water or the embers to begin with?” He does not know. As his eyes cling to the church whilst his soul wanders miles offward, he clutches a book he has not written in. It is his own to keep and he retrieves a charcoal pencil and writes: The Book of Death. He walks to and fro but cannot escape the church's exterior garden. It is everywhere and nowhere all at once, much like the road. It lurks, and like a fractal, repeats without a corner or endpoint. The pilgrim, in his bewilderment, keeps walking. He walks for days, through the nights too. There are no breaks or rests or meals. His hunger lies with the road. Everywhere the pilgrim goes, he sees himself without listening, and he sees the white church without a door. Why had he begun? Where was he going? Where did he begin? The pilgrim does not know, and he keeps walking. He wants to be back to health and unthought. He wants to cry, to plead to his master, “Please! I do not wish to know! I wish to live in the light, so that it blinds me more than the dark, or church would.” But it is too late. He has already taken the step, and he has already drank the clear water. He wonders if his master is dead. He wants to get back to the way he used to live. He wants to be found, even if his master is dead. Then, suddenly, without knowing why, without giving a thought to anything else, the pilgrim walks to the side of the white church. He stands there looking at it. “I am here,” he says to himself. “I am lost, but I am here.” He thinks: “This has been my way. I know it...” He keeps on looking at the church. The road, his road. For thirty minutes he stands there. And for the first time, he recognizes a silhouette within the walls, which he recognizes are, in fact, paper thin. Reluctantly, he treads closer, and closer, until he can feel his breath against the cool stone, and he steps through the exit whence he’d come — the one he had not seen and everyone ends — to the church. A child is being baptized. He is here, and he is not. There is nothing he can do. He peers to a plaque aloft which reads in a language he doesn't know, in a typeface like his own handwriting. “God is asking me to tell my master and prophesy that he has made the clay, but He is making a book out of a bowel.” He murmurs to himself, and being unable to finish his thought whilst snickering, another voice chimes: “God is ‘good’ as we put it. He is everything, and this is the beginning.” “But there is no beginning. It has passed…” The pilgrim remarks, preceding his alarm from another soul that recognizes his own strife. He turns then to face a man who resembles him closely, but not so much that they were quintessentially indistinguishable. He was older by years. The pilgrim found his mouth hanging agape there, gawking just as he had for thirty minutes, thirty minutes which he now did not recollect. “O bold child, you are not to find words. I will teach you to teach yourself.” Murmured the old man. “I believe you,” said the pilgrim. “I will be a teacher. You will teach me, for you have made me a student.” With this, he was taken in to view the baptism and eat, drink and bathe comfortably. The pilgrim consumed his rations scarcely and only filled the tub halfway. He waited to meet the old man, who asked him, “Is there anything in this world which you do not understand?” The pilgrim sat in a small chamber. “There is nothing that I do not understand. There is nothing that I do not know.” “Say that then,” said the old man, “And you shall find love and money.” He knew the old man did not believe him, and he could not blame him, for he did not believe himself. He knew not what he believed, only that his feet ached to move once more, and for what reason? This, he also did not know. There was a transitory goal, like most goals were, but that was not here; it was elsewhere, and elsewhere he was not. “I do not seek love.” He said. “Then what do you seek?” “What I seek is knowing what I have sought. I do not know, I’m afraid.” “I see.” Mumbled the man. “Now, there is something else,” said the pilgrim. “I am ashamed to say, but I must say, I am also afraid of death. I fear you may kill me when I have told you about the white road to the light and the dirtiness of my soft palms.” “What!?” said the old man, astonished. “Why should I kill you, when I know you have told me what you have? When you have exclaimed the truth with foolhardiness? When I have taken you in, fed you, saved you, and you have sought to kill yourself?” “I speak with you, without knowing you. If I had never said a word to you before, you would find this strange. But now I am speaking of me to you, not knowing you, as if I had. You are more frightful to me than I to you as I live in the unknown. I do not know if you have lived many years, or just the right number.” “Why, you are a clever fellow.” “Leave it to the life which my master led; it is not my own to take claim to. He taught me all that I know. Everything.” He confessed. “Then what life will you lead?” “I will live for a long time to come, I suppose.” “Not if you let yourself die.” “I do not intend to. I don’t wish to… I told you I feared it.” “Oh, but it may consume you all the same. The light and dark, they are the same coin, boy. No different from you and I, only different moments surrounding the same place. This very church — it was once grand, and now it is not. But that does not matter. It is the past, and we may not change it. We live here, pray here, die here.” “And you do not rebuild?” “We do. Always, and always.” The old man answered without a thought. “And you do not wander elsewhere?” “Where else is there to wander? All roads lead home.” “I lost my home, long ago.” He thought aloud. “Then you are not from here.” The old man lofted a brow. “No.” He answered, nigh snapping. “You are not from anywhere. You are everything, at every time and place, at the same time. There is nothing that you have not seen and realized, and there is nothing that you will not see…” The old man paused. “...That is what you believe. That is what your master told you.” “How might you predict it that way?” “Because I am similar to you. I drank and stepped onto the white road as well.” “Then…” But before he could finish, he had already forgotten what he would say. The clock, although ever slow, ticked closer and closer with each second to when he reckoned he would leave. Of course, he did not know, and neither did the old man, even that book he carried. Although the road had been set before him, he had yet to cross it. That remained his responsibility. The path was predicated with footsteps shaped around the soles of his shoes, but he had not crossed it; no, it was not fully decided, only presumed. He was free of fate, yet trapped within himself, trapped to drink and drink without the pleasure of thirst. “...You are wondering what you shall do when you leave here.” The old man had read his mind. He looked up, locking eyes. “I wonder if I shall find my way back.” “There is no place to find your way to. This is it.” “And if I’d like more?” “Then you may drink and rejoice and face tragedy, but never stop treading onward…” He trailed off. “-But you will feel no differently. You walk without changing, and look while thinking too much to see. You carried a book here, but your pencil was sharpened so that I knew you had not written.” “I meant to.” “Regardless.” “I’ve faced temptation. I felt it would be inappropriate to write of something that attracted me, much like a moth to a flame, more than what I knew.” “You will never write again if you rely solely on certainties. You will find certainties through assumptions made to be true, fulfilling the footsteps in the footsteps of your ancestors. Of your master, and predecessors.” “I don’t recall them.” “Then learn. We live here, but rejoice about the past without dwelling. That does not mean we act willfully ignorant. We walk for a reason, not simply to walk.” The pilgrim paused. He had not considered this. He had indulged in historical pursuits prior, but they went no further than impersonal intellectualism. Now, his eyes turned red; he had not meant to cry. Suddenly, there was a handkerchief atop his palm, and he looked up to see the old man looming above. Five minutes had passed. He ought to go. “I don’t remember the way… Who I was… Who I ought to be…” He whispered. “You will find it with time. You may stay here if you wish. I believe you are clever, and that you might make a change.” The pilgrim shook his head. “I cannot. I must continue now, but with purpose…” “You have a look in your eye as if you remembered something. Do tell.” The old man pried, offering a hand as they both stood up together. “...I had seen the sun before I came here. And I had strayed from the road, so far that there was nothing but land, and a lack of anything else surrounding me… Strangely, I did not care.” “And?” “And I had asked myself, had I gone the right way, or wrong?” “Neither.” “Yes, but it was very dark, so hard to tell.” “Did you rest?” “No, I continued to walk.” They were walking now, whence he’d come and entered the church days hitherto. Whence he’d crossed onto the road, and looked into the walls to the baptism of the child, a child he saw himself in. “And when the sun came out?” Asked the old man. “I remember the sun,” he smiled. “How its light, like that of a fire-fly, floated from the sky, through the drapes, and faded, and blew away. Then it becomes dark, but in a minute it is light again. I do not remember whether I sought to thank the fire-fly for this, or to be angry with it.” The old man shook his head and scoffed. “You do not blame God for His absence. A partial creator would be an evil one… lest you are God, which I do not reckon you are, you do not understand the fireflies.” He considered his own words, it seemed. “They must be off galavanting on their own travels too. It is the evil men, who you blame, the ones who do not act as students.” “...I mean it metaphorically.” “And so do I.” “Hmph.” Grumbled the pilgrim, but not out of ignorance, rather perturbation of what he had already known. “I am still a Creatorist.” “Yes, I know.” Exchanging meaningless talk and pleasantries foregone prior to the rest of the trail, the duo arrived at the threshold where the pilgrim had arrived, a baptism being hosted the same. It was as if nothing had changed, nothing had. The pilgrim takes a step. ___________________________ ━━━✦❘༻༺❘✦━━━ —————————————— POSTFACE WHEN I NEXT OPENED MY MAW, I felt fresh air inflate my lungs, which dried the moisture from a muddy path and the water I had consumed. It had been months since I’d seen winter, or drifted to a hearth; that day I drew onward to a place I had not been and found a house with a plaque which bore my name and a book titled Death. It had waited for my arrival, my deja vu. When I tread within, I found there to be a dancing flame. Dancing and dancing, in spite of its surroundings, in spite of its fleeting nature. It paid no mind, and I considered it a fool. Temptation burned me to put it out there, though before I could, I thought better and left; it would be inescapable otherwise, lest I was not a fool (certainly, I am.) By the time I awoke in the night, fireflies scattered the sky much like specks of tiny sunlight. I smiled, remembering what a friend had once told me, and continued to pray for equilibrium during the eclipse. Soon, thereafter, I returned to the white, snowy road, and ventured back home to my son where I had made another home. I do not partake in wishful thinking, but I hold arduous faith in the white road I had oft taken in my youth to draw change from a cruel era. Echoes of God, we are, and a harbinger of death: humanity. But, that never stopped victory, nor hope, nor enigma filling us to the brim until we spill into our kin’s essence, one — that way — together at that, simultaneously a downfall. With each passing moment, I felt the weight and rush of responsibility upon my shoulders. I was not just a bystander in the universe; I was an active participant, a vessel of light and dark, of class and exile and a mirror of the divine for all its sin and power that came with. Humanity, with all its flaws and virtues, embodied the paradox of existence. We were capable of great acts of love, yet so indulgent in our promotion of suffering and instrumental evil. Despite this, I look around, knowing I’m alive; here is what matters and shall we never forget what preceded our place in the road. The world deserves that. I took a step too. The sacrifice was worth it. ___________________________ ___________________________ by Irene Basrid, Countess-Consort of Susa Published 1929 FA © ___________________________ ━━━✦❘༻༺❘✦━━━ ——————————————
  4. imagine MY expression when i had ALL OF THESE MODS INSTALLED ON 1.19 and my face when 1.19 doesn't WORK ON AEVOS 0/10 server!!!
  5. No.

    This is somewhere to be.

    This is all you have,

    but it's still something.

    Streets and sodium lights.

    The sky,

    the world.

    You're still alive.

  6. Say, shall we yield him, in costly devotion,
       Odors of Eden and offerings divine?
       Gems from the mountain, and pearls from the ocean,
       Myrrh from the forest, and gold from the mine?
  7. "Finally, it's out..." The signatory IRENE declared with a huff, recollecting the Saint's Day prior and cramming which followed. She rose sluggishly from her desk strewn with papers, freed from her work... if only for a fleeting moment.
  8. Although a call to action may be silly in premise, considering we've seen it exhausted many times to no avail, you cannot discount the point and rebuttal of the post. To say that Twi was maniacally laughing about ruining these players real lives is a biased oversimplification. Although she may have been competitive, and even joked about conquering their communities, not only have other nation's done the same (if not a lot worse) she did her best to make amends with Haelunor OOCly with several screenshots to attest. There may have been OOC bickering, but when can you name a war that hasn't had some roots that aren't solely in RP? Warring a nation does not equate with harassing real people. Why do you excuse the actions of other nations, including about half the server, refusing to consider that Twi isn't that bad in the grand scheme of things. Perhaps there is a screenshot of her saying "kys," or something along those lines. Anyone with half a brain can comprehend the fact that its in a joking, sarcastic manner. I won't claim that Twinny was faultless as a NL, however I will not pretend that administration has not only fumbled this verdict but shown their virtue signalling hypocrisy wholeheartedly. Moderation should not be an excuse to remove communities abruptly based on lackluster evidence. We still have no idea about the victims, or damning proof. Cropped screenshots are usually not difficult to provide, and we have seen that courtesy for much more heinous ban reports. Free Twi, or if you won't do that, then hold the majority of the server accountable for the supposed toxicity that she displayed. We can all count a few places and people a whole lot worse off the top of our heads alone. Those people that still roam the server freely, without any deserved consequences. That much needs to be recognized, truly.
  9. Twinny’s Ban As of approximately an hour ago, Twinndolin (Twi or Twinny to some), the NL of Celia’nor was banned without an explanation. Some of you may already be aware of this. The ban is for 6 months without expectation of being unbanned, on the grounds of a Community Guideline Violation for "Harassment." What is the issue with this? Problematic players should be removed from our community, after all. The fallacious nature of this ban becomes evident when we realize that this is the extent of the knowledge we have. No moderator knows why she was banned. No mod manager was consulted on the ban for this supposed harassment. In fact, they did not even know why. There was no consultation beforehand with an influential player in the community. No follow-up to answer the common question: why? It's absurd to consider this proper procedure in any way, shape, or form. And highly unlikely for those who know her. Twinndolin remains anonymous, regarding her voice, opting for text-to-speech. It's rather difficult to justify such intense harassment when using a robot. And even then, she does not leave the confines of her discord and has no logs whatsoever regarding what she says through said bot. So what did she do that deserved a six-month harassment ban? A message through a forum would be quite sufficient with some evidence to show what she did wrong. But here’s an addition to this ban. This Community Guideline Violation comes with the added fact that she is forum banned. Locked off from the community and anathematized from interaction with others. What terrible thing could she have said to deserve a forum ban to block communication? To add to the strangeness of the timing, the heir of Celia’nor was unbanned the day prior to Twinndolin’s ban. The timing works perfectly for an easy transition from the current NL to the next NL. Maybe even shows the mod admin's preferred NL in charge. Perhaps that might be an answer as to why she was banned. To sum it up, no moderator knows why she was banned. No manager knows why she was banned. She is forum banned, so she has no way of hearing formally besides discord, in which no message was sent. A Community Leader and friend to many completely silenced just in time for a preferred player to take the mantle of the nation. Silence is the best way to treat those you do not like. Every avenue Twinndolin could seek was taken from her, and she has to pry away to understand so much of the reason she is banned. Banned by one person who never particularly liked her or wanted her to achieve. Its poor treatment of the average player and the server itself. Bias within the mod team has been a hot topic, but we can’t begin to argue either side when we don’t know what she did. She doesn’t know what she did, and it was not a mod decision. It was a decision by the admin alone. Admin bans like this should not be done on a whim, and we may all unanimously agree on that aspect. There needs to be a valid rationale and proof behind it. Please, itdontmatta, clarify this situation. Until then, we can only make fair assumptions from what we’ve gathered. Give us the reason why she was banned.
  10. Within an ivory prison locked from the inside, a messenger bird soared into the royal aviary housing beloved birds. There, a girl found solace in tending to them. She plucked the invitation without hesitance and skimmed the contents... Everything had to be out of her favor, didn't it? FRANCISCA brooded that day, visage riddled with sorrow.
  11. Matteo clenched his jaw and seethed; no one knew over what exactly...
  12. MORNING GLORIES Theodosia Illaena O’Rourke 1826 - 1876 “You have to be strong… You’ll be okay. We’ve gotten this far, hm?” ━━━━━━༻❁༺━━━━━━ 1 8 3 1 It started when an arrow soared across the cloudless summer sky, and a scream followed, echoing throughout the ivory capital; the sniper was unseen but the aftermath was oh too evident. A man keeled forward with it lodged between his spine and shoulder blade. Soon, a cacophony of deafening yells and chaos ensued– medics were called, army men paraded about to find the perpetrator. The man was alright, and the nigh assassin had escaped, but the source of that scream– a girl, was not. Her name was Theodosia, aged only five. Haunted and disturbed after her young father’s almost-death, she cried and cried till her eyes were dry. Then, she’d hold her head high and muster a relieved, meager smile in the wake of his survival. He lived, and life went on. That was the day she was reminded of the transience of being; anything could be taken in the blink of an eye. Although she may not have realized it then, the aftermath was oh too evident. ━━━━━━༻❁༺━━━━━━ 1 8 3 4 “AAAH!” She once shrieked, aged eight. Two figures, masked and foreboding, had entered the Augustine Palace prior and held her mother as a hostage; she and the other noble children were mere helpless witnesses to the horror afar. That is until she was stabbed in the leg, around her calf. She’d be alright, as would her mother, but a limp followed her forever thereafter– as did a cane gripped in her right palm. As did questions about the aforementioned things: irksome questions, and judgemental stares she was never unbeknownst to. So, Theodosia changed; she tripped and stumbled, staggered with little grace, but she gathered her bearings and adopted an almost-normal gait. Similarly, she stifled her Northern accent to take a voice fitting of an Orenian peer. She wasn’t weak; she wasn’t feeble or odd. There was no room to be. No room to be at all. ━━━━━━༻❁༺━━━━━━ 1 8 6 9 Seven years preceding the world unraveling and her passing, the solemn Countess grew perturbed; those times she wondered what her mother would think of her now. After all, she’d gotten past the age whence her mother had died. And what a strange thing it was, for in her youth she’d sought to divert the blame to her. Theodosia had sworn she would develop to be better, stronger, different. Yet, here she was, with her estranged father’s face, and the worst of each parent. Distant as ever, when had she become so cynical, so cold? It was the curse of her lineage, to transform into husks of bright-eyed adolescents, she figured. She wasn’t sure, though. Psychology had never been her particular forte. Time slipped away too quickly, at this pace, at this point. Just yesterday, she could swear that she was a nomadic teen escaping that drafty estate halfway to nowhere to end up somewhere she knew not. Somewhere unfamiliar, somehow feeling more welcomed than she ever did at home. Though she’d never ever admit it, Theodosia resembled her father in that respect. It was her way of connection, and- “Countess.” A voice called out, abruptly removing her from her absent-minded reverie. A red haired girl sat across, maturing to that of a young woman — maybe seventeen, eighteen now. “Oh, Cass.” She spoke up, clearing her throat. They sat opposite within the exterior greenhouse, light pouring within upon the flowers freely rising in midday’s wake. “What were you saying?” Cassia asked, offering a slight smile. Theodosia reflected it, a bittersweet edge remaining which she couldn’t conceal. “...Botany, the likes,” — “My sister would know it better than me. It’s a nice pastime though, at least when there’s less time to paint. Sadie is at that age.” She mused in part jest, eyeing the blooming morning glories across. Her ward snickered. “Oh, I know. She’s what, two now?” “Almost three.” “My, my…” She trailed off, faintly amused. Silence festered thereafter. Theodosia ruminated. She interrupted the quietude with a casual notion. “You’re lucky.” Cassia frowned. “How so?” “You have a lot of free time. More so than most. Not just your age, just… generally.” “I’d say that’s too much time.” She jested with a half-smile. “And that is a wonderful problem, dear.” “I know… What are those, right there?” The ward diverted the subject, gesturing to the blooming flowers facing them. “Hm,” Theodosia squinted. “Morning glories. Not the most popular flower, but they grow well in the West and I like them quite a lot.” “Why are they… rejected?” “I didn’t say rejected.” She retorted, rising with a quiet huff on the way. “Only that they’re unpopular.” “Sorry, I just assumed–” “It's a valid assumption.” “Would you tell me about them, then?” “They’re not particularly special.” She remarked, withdrawing a pair of scissors from a bag, briskly snipping a flower which had begun to wilt. ━━━━━━༻❁༺━━━━━━ 1 8 4 2 Beads of sweat lined the Lady’s visage, derived from the heat exuded from a bonfire ablaze which she sat beside. How long had it been? Five hours? Six? She’d lost track hours ago, only that she must wait. Patience and endurance were virtues, after all; waiting brought about better times. "Waiting brought about better times…" Better times… Nothing ever seemed to happen, perhaps she was just asking for heatstroke in the quieter hours of the night. It wasn’t fair. She gazed to her left, toward her best friend. At least he made things a little lovelier, although they spoke little amidst the trial. Ioannes Temesch, Owynist Lector to be. He too stared into the flames, wiping his brows, and she couldn’t help but wonder if she was missing the point somehow. Perhaps he knew, he was really smart. Before she could speak up, the seventh hour had passed, announced by an exuberant Hyspian calling out for “mijo, mija!” Her pensive musings were flushed away with the best drink of water and hardtack she’d ever had. It was ironic, an Adunian on the Path of Owyn against her very own ancestor; she prayed she wasn’t like her forefather Harren even if most treated her in such a way till proven wrong. That Temesch boy didn’t mind, and they were the best of friends. It was only when Du Loc turned so tumultuous and her responsibility turned out to be too much that Theo visited less and less. ━━━━━━༻❁༺━━━━━━ “They don’t bloom for long.” She explained, grasping the flowerbud betwixt her digits and swiveling toward Cassia. “Only for a day, mornings even.” She chuckled. The girl nodded with a smile, quizzical looking. “I suppose that’s why some people don’t like them. They’re short lived, see- this one’s starting to wilt.” She said, gesturing to the flower in hand. “That’s a shame…” “It is. But they’re very pretty living, don’t you think?” She chimed, tucking the flower into Cassia’s jacket akin to a makeshift corsage. “Some deeper meaning in that…” “Probably. Don’t worry about that stuff too much, though. Enjoy the flowers.” She joked, faintly chuckling as she reclined to gingerly sit down beside her. “I won’t. You tell me to be careful though.” Theodosia paused, her smile diminishing momentarily. “That’s a little different, dear.” ━━━━━━༻❁༺━━━━━━ For survival, we do what we must. A friend had told her, or something like that. Steadfast, she had abided by this rule; strangely enough it often seemed that most disregarded the idea entirely. People disappeared, venturing across Almaris and acting unruly, the world ever enveloped in chaos. Wars sprung up like errant moths drawn to the light, even her very own antagonized uncle had briefly treated her as an enemy, and vice versa. They made no sense; the very world made no sense. She didn’t want that everlasting worry for her children, as hands-off as she was. It was the sole guidance she gave the lot of them: cooping the kids up within the confines of Halstaig. Nevertheless, they found their way as rebellious children do. Everett snuck out from the premises more times than she could count on her hands, and Alexandrina was too outdoorsy to be bound. Was she a bad mother? Was she insane? She’d tried her luck at a family as a wife, as a mother, as a sister, a Countess; some of it hadn’t been her choice at all. Or, was there no point whatsoever; how different would her life vary had she been the second child born? She wondered, notwithstanding the melancholy and doing what she must. Even if that meant neglecting her values or being the “villain,” even if it meant growing into the icy effigy she’d inadvertently become. The alternative was much worse, at least Theodosia covertly hoped. It couldn’t be all for nothing, her mistakes, her clashes, her struggle and strife eternally awaiting a happy ending. Though, those storybook conclusions were all made up for her kids, leaving her unsure. ━━━━━━༻❁༺━━━━━━ Leopold de Ruyter was a man, her husband specifically. It would be plain incorrect to hail the couple as “madly in love,” or romantic platitudes akin to it, but they shared a mutual respect. He wasn’t around often, and just this once… Theodosia was alright with that. Had she wed for the sake of love, perhaps she would very much mind it, but their union could better be described as utter convenience. He was a scholar, she was Countess. She spared no sentimentalism over it. She couldn’t. She was too old for rose tinted romanticism to view the world from. There came a time when the question of children and marriage became a tad too much to bear. She knew how her younger self would judge her now, but couldn’t bring herself to grow too bothered over her state. She was lucky, more so than many— a lady with everything a proper lady ought to desire. And yet, when she stared over the balcony at night like a cliffside overlooking the abyss, a sudden wave of dissatisfaction was unshakeable. Of failure, and every other bad thing in between. Where would she be were it not for her luck? What had she truly achieved? What of everything she’d not yet done, and wouldn’t do? Would anyone remember her name or wonder about her well-being after she died? Was she any more than a title mentioned in a brief tabloid? Had she failed? Was she a failure? It was her fault. It had to be. Her decisions, her idle idealism awaiting foolhardy hopes. A foolish woman with foolish children, only known by her title and home. Theodosia crumpled to the ground, overcome by smothered grief as she wept over her many errors and her family estranged ‘till her eyes were surely dry. It got to be lonely, bearing the weight of it all without aid. There was no comfort in the depths of the night, and no meager smile to wake with either. None of it wasn't fair. ━━━━━━༻❁༺━━━━━━ “Countess,” A voice which she recollected called once more, ringing in her ears like tinnitus. Cassia Daphnia: her ward, such a sweet girl, cheerful too. More than Theodosia was,, with unwavering diligence and kindness. She was her firstborn, hidden from the wider world since she could recall; that could be why she was so sweet. She favored her, admittedly. “What happened to my mother?” She asked the very last question that the Countess had hoped to hear. Theodosia faltered, clutching her teacup within her interlaced palm. She swallowed a lump which had formed in her throat, stricken with a sense of unease she couldn’t quite conceal. “I don’t know.” She replied, coming off harsher than intended. “Matilda went off with my father.” “She- what?” “I thought you would’ve figured it out by now.” “She… hasn’t written.” She sighed. “Patience is-” What was she saying? “She’s not your mother, Cass.” She muttered thereby. ━━━━━━༻❁༺━━━━━━ 1 8 7 3 Theodosia loved her children, she just didn’t want to see them. They were reminders of her shortcomings, and the state of things. Of course, that wasn’t their fault; they were just kids after all. She prayed they’d have a little more time to be just that: just kids. She never did. At every turn, her interests were cut short. Who else would bother to gather the pieces? It was the O’Rourke’s against the wider world, at times. Then, as the family began to splinter whilst she clung to the remains, it was just her. She knew that when her mother left her to her own devices, even after she'd sobbed and nearly perished. There was no point for resentment anymore, not when she'd been taught that what she wanted had to be done alone. Leopold was gone; Michael was gone; Woodes was gone; Iduna was gone; Alexander was gone. Even her anchor, Uncle Auden, was dying and she knew it. Then again, she was dying too. Her vices in youth had caught up. Escapism's consequences loomed over her very face, having once extended solace from countless regrets and brooding. Even if she was clean from cigarette smoke and drugs, the damage was done. Each day, it grew harder and harder to maintain her stalwart demeanor. After all, she desperately sought to never miss a thing, even when deep down, undoubtedly, she’d die before her children got to be adults, and die before Cassia would forgive her. She dreamt that Everett would never feel this lonesome or troubled. Alexandrina would never be plagued with worries. Sadie would triumph past her naivete and shyness, at least one day — some day. She dreamt they’d be different from her. They’d be tight knit, and they’d have each other: that they would be free, and capable, that they would be liberated from the weight of things, that they’d never wait so long for things which never came. It was all the Countess could do, dream. For others, even after she’d been left in the ruin of all things long ago. If only she wasn’t so moody nowadays, maybe she could give better guidance than, “Don’t worry.” If the world could stay still for awhile, she'd be okay. If she couldn’t do that, she could be proactive, or maybe try. ━━━━━━༻❁༺━━━━━━ 1 8 3 1 ”Little one.” A gruff voice called above the bustle of Old Providence. The green eyed girl turned; she wasn’t quite an heiress then. Her grandmother was still alive, and that humble Providence home hadn’t been taken by flames of arson just yet. Trauma hadn’t settled in. “Ave!” She exclaimed, a guileless grin across her face. She’d just won tic-tac-toe against a new friend. Things were pretty good. The source of the holler was none other than Woodes O’Rourke. He was a tall man, and his appearance matched his attitude. Despite his age, his visage was aged by an unruly beard and countless bar fights. He bore a cane, then. He knelt down to meet her eye level. People offered them odd looks from the sidewalk. “Take this, alright?” He said, extending it to her with a certain poise and formality. “Why?” She asked, like the child she was. Woodes snickered. “It's an heirloom. Your great grandfathers. Great man, you might live to his legacy one day.” “Mhm…” “Keep it with your soul, yeah? Might just need it someday.” “Okay!” She assured with a prompt bob of her head; the cane was twice her height and more of a staff but she managed. Woodes gave a rare smile and stood up, towering over her. He turned off, waving as he went. Perhaps if she were older, she’d have noticed his empty pockets and missing weaponry. She could have offered a proper goodbye, had she known that was the last she’d see her uncle. She went on her way with her braids flopping against the wind. That was before it mattered; that was before she cared or even noticed at all. Instead, she carried that cane; Theodosia carried that burden like everybody else. ━━━━━━༻❁༺━━━━━━ 1 8 7 5 Theodosia heard of her newfound position on the Council of State when she sought to import pineapples to sell at the reopened Paddy’s Pint. She might have been a highborn housewife and failed artist, but she’d be damned if she didn’t have a pineapple. It was a novel thing, but she’d lived life straight. If this was an adventure, so be it. Her inclination came from her dim subconscious, but that was irrelevant. She’d been a mediocre Lady Vicar, and a mediocre Countess. She presumed she’d be a mediocre stateswoman. Justice this, justice that. Most of it was gobbledygook to her; she wanted a pineapple. She wanted to be happy, but found herself very tired. The cough was worse too. Things were better, but she felt worse. Bleak. She covered it up, for others sake. Being a burden was the worst fate, and her prerogative had to be some kind of justice in an unjust world. It was on a normal night which she manifested this, after bidding Sadie a sweet goodnight in the maid’s stead for once. “Alexandrina,” she beckoned her daughter’s attention, inviting herself to a seat opposite from the young teenager’s bed. Alex resembled her great grandmother more than either of her absent parents. “What is it?” She asked, pushing herself up from the mattress to sit upright. “There’s… a talk I ought to have with you, that neither my mother or father really did with me.” Theo began, offering a bittersweet smile to alleviate the newfound awkwardness. “Oh- uh, okay.” “Don’t worry.” She laughed, then. “I hated these dramatics when I was young too.” Alex frowned, puzzled. “You are… gonna face a lot when you’re older. Already. There’s a lot of hardship in this world, and a lot of beauty.” Theodosia mused with melancholic eyes, swallowing the lump which had formed in her throat. “I won’t be here for all of that, and there won’t be someone to catch you all the time either. You’re going to have to look over your family one day, but know that they love you too. And it’s okay to fall sometimes. It's okay to be hurt, as long as you pick yourself up. No matter what, I’m on your team. You’re already getting it… looking after Sadie.” She laughed, looking away, enveloped in a brief reverie. She’d made the same mistakes her mother had, and her mother’s mother. It might have been too little, too late, but it was all Theodosia had left to give: a last hurrah. Had she more time to waste, she could amend her wrongs with Cassia and raise Alex right; she could see Sadie grow up. Alas, perhaps some things were destined to be missed; true closure eluded her. “Seize the day, alright? Time is precious for human beings. We don’t get all that much of it.” She chuckled, fiddling with her hands in her lap. “I love you, and you’re growing up to be better than I ever could. Cassia is there, so is Everett. Don’t forget about you.” Theodosia concluded her spiel with a sigh, shifting to be a little more upright. It was rare: her vulnerability, that is. Alexandrina frowned, appearing familiar to her namesake. Theodosia wondered whether her mother felt this way, fostering her late brother to health when his illness was imminently fatal. She was just waiting, when both parties already knew how it ended. To her surprise, Alex drew forward to her mother’s lap. They embraced, and she spoke. “I love you too, mam. I’ll be sure to do that… look after me, everyone, and- and seize the day.” She reassured. Glossy eyed, she gave the best response she knew. “Good, you’re strong. I know you can take on this world. And, I-I’m sorry if I haven’t always done well by my own advice.” “You’re strong, mam. I guess that’s where I get it from.” The Countess smiled, clambering to her feet from the sofa. The evidence of her brooding was bygone, extending half hearted comfort where she could. “O’Rourke’s aren’t quitters, love.” She pondered, standing still like a thoughtful effigy in the door frame. “Goodnight.” She turned, shutting the door and pacing down the hall. Unseen to a soul, she silently wept. With much left to do, and much unfulfilled, there was nothing to be done. Powerlessness was her greatest fear, and it taunted her that night and the following days. ━━━━━━༻❁༺━━━━━━ 1 8 7 6 Promises were broken; relationships were rekindled; friends were made and lost. Things always went wrong. Faced with the fleeting grandiosity of a mediocre life lived, Theodosia wondered what she’d missed. When she was a child, she swore she would never grow to be an irrelevant wife. Here she lay, gazing toward the blank ceiling anyway. She wasn’t a great artist, nor a particularly notable politician. That didn’t really matter though. Whatever she sought, she stayed unhappy. Even after Auden had narrowly survived a grim situation, and she carried on amidst it all, she felt a gaping void in her chest she could not shake. It was her unspoken grief, in pursuit of so-called strength. Where was Eloise? She was so very guileless, in spite of her loss. That horrible man she’d almost married; what happened to him? Questions all unanswered, now (more so than ever) was the instant to take a gambit. It may have been too late to amend her heartache and lamenting, but something subconscious urged her. Theodosia gave brief goodbyes to Calahan, her children and the tenants, then there was the quiet Sadie. Together, they wrote a letter. “I’m going to go out. I need to meet with a friend and tend to some things, okay?” She said, bittersweet. “Okay.” Sadie nodded. “C-Come back to… tuck me in.” “I will.” She promised; she could hold on long enough for that. “Be good, will you?” “I will." Then, Theodosia had gone. She ventured from Halstaig to the cold reaches of the Kingdom. Everything had shifted, but the plains had not. They were bewitching, gorgeous. She discovered respite in the unknown, as if she was a girl once more. But, she had a purpose. Her oldest friend wished to confide. She could hold up a promise there, at least. She reflected if she was as sure as she thought on what he longed to say. She would never truly know, because she had never acknowledged it — too late, now. She loved him, just not in the way he suggested. How she missed the days of her early adolescence alongside the Lectors nevertheless. Her steed carried her forward notwithstanding her decaying health. They passed the capital and Cathalon but she was not found with Ioannes or a pineapple. She didn’t find Eloise either, nor that De Ruyter she’d decidedly married. She prayed they would forgive her, as well as her father, children and kin. That lone steed found its way back without a living equestrian to follow. The paranoid Countess was dead. ━━━━━━༻❁༺━━━━━━ B E Y O N D The bureaucracy mattered not, nor did the countless titles or so-called power hitherto, nor did the sympathy towards Owyn and the seven-year patience she held, nor did her desire to be so different from her predecessors. She was the same, albeit naive at times: not a prophet, nor a deviation from the general norm. Surely, her wariness kept her from either. Calahan takes care of the kids, or so he had promised as much. Perhaps they’ll visit Elias, for he is their kin from a generation foregone. Eloise returns one day, and the levy will likely be dispersed without Nikolaus. Auden sorts the books and Sadie assists. Cassia grows melancholy. Everett is left with a rather intricate old cane. The family is a little closer, and things are a little better — pretty good, for now. Theodosia is not there. Some will say she made it, others condemn her running away. She’d consider it honorable, to escape a slower end, pitiable. Perhaps had they known, the prior farewells would differ. She arrived at the other side with open arms; she endured. Happy endings are for kids, and ennui plagues adults. Pictures are produced of a brighter world to reflect one back, but she never had time to really paint much. Somewhere, now, she is happy and free. At least, she is on standby wistfully no longer. That is her justice. And at home, a quiet ember dances from inside Erin Hall’s rebuilt hearth. LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF THEODOSIA ILLAENA O’ROURKE I, Theodosia O’Rourke, Countess Halstaig, and resident of Halstaig declare this as my Last Will. All wills heretofore are null, whether influenced by myself or associate partisans (jointly or severally.) I hereby declare Calahan O’Rourke as the executor of my will, and valid regent in my absence. To Sadie Cristonia O’Rourke, my heiress, I leave my garments and emerald tiara. To Alexandrina O’Rourke, I leave the rest of my jewels and green sash. To Everett O’Rourke, I leave my steed and Kaedrini Rose Cane. May you bear both well. To Auden O’Rourke, I leave the establishment of Paddy’s Pint and responsibility alongside it, bound to Helena Avenue 8 within Vienne. I hope it will continue to bring closeness to the family as a whole, and bring about prosperity. To Cassia Daphnia Erinsehn, my eldest, I leave any works of art (drawings, paintings, et cetera) I have produced and my unused dagger Custodia. Cremate my corpse if it is attained. Put me in that blue dress with the yellow floral skirt. Signed, TRH Countess Halstaig Theodosia Illaena Anastasia Anne Clover Vasa Cassia Lucia Emma O’Rourke
  13. but how can i metarally my entire nation's army while stabbing the bad guys with my thanhium blade and running away simultaneously now!
  14. I am an Elven Super Villain, and this is my favourite Story Team member.

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