RP Sunlight

illirica

Breaker of Forums
Staff member
Finally, it was cold enough.

This she knew, but the words made no sense. She tasted them in her mind, an unfamiliar flavor: something that she thought she should know, from some time long ago, but the meaning was lost and there were only the words left and the sense that, some time, they had meant something.

It mattered very little. The pool was frozen over, and her fingertips stroked the frosted ice patterns like a paintbrush against canvas. It filled her with sadness, the thought of breaking the ice, and yet it was time.

All things must be born, when they were ready. But some things... were not. Would never be.

She knew that the baby had died first. She didn't remember where it had come from, or why, but she remembered its death, a little fluttering thing, barely known, barely wanted. Gone, in a heartbeat. But how? Somehow. She didn't know. There was a mark on her belly, a frozen scar - iced over, like the water above.

She remembered... betrayal.

Death and betrayal. Her hand drew back from the ice, forming a fist, striking fast. The ice shattered, broken shards scattering across the surface, and she pulled herself up from the water. It dripped from her, trailing down her back, feather-frost wings forming from the ice. She felt that they should be there, or perhaps they always should have been, but they did not move when she tried it. Flightless, cold, alone.

This, too, was familiar.

She needed something. If only she could remember what it was... her fingertips brushed the ice-scar, pensieve. She needed... Not food, nor water, nor warmth. What was it?

Ah.

Of course.

Vengeance.
 
“Welcome back, princess Cora.” Solomon greeted, taking a step forward. It suited her better than 'Sinead', even if that wasn’t her real name either. Her face was still damaged from years of violence and the skin lightened by death, but there was something regal about her that denounced her heritage. She was fit to be a queen, to a new reign with no more wings.

“You look so much like your ancestor… She froze to death, just like you.”
As he approached, King's wrinkly fingers touched the side of Sinead’s jaw. He heard Echo hold her breath in the background, where she stood along with her brothers and sisters. “Don’t be frightened, Echo. She won’t hurt me.” His yellow eyes met Sinead’s. “I’m not the enemy she seeks, nor do I have any blood for her to spill. She's our princess, the one you must all bow down to.”

And so they did. The hooded figures, some with more reluctance than others bowed down to the couple that stood by the lake, under the cold moonlight.
 
This was... not right.

Something was not right. The shapes in the room had resolved into strangers, and one of them moved forward, touching a hand to her face. She reached up and laced her fingers through his, then turned her cheek into his fingers, her lips brushing a kiss against his palm. It should have been a gesture of warmth, but there was no warmth in her. The kiss left a mark, frost that faded away after a moment.

He spoke to the others, and her eyes drifted over them, but none of them mattered. Not even him, the one who spoke. Her lips moved once more, shaping something out of the cold, but nothing came of it.

She remembered breathing, and drew the cold air into herself.

"Eilidh." A name, one that had filtered up from scraps of memory. Her exhalation was clear; there was no heat in her to cause vapor as she spoke. Her eyes met his once more, ice-lined lashes blinking slowly. Her lips curved into something that might have been a smile, or a scimitar. "Not Cora."
 
Her kiss was as cold as Solomon himself. If he had been young that simple gesture would have made his blood boil, but it was too late now. He had sacrificed that part of himself, that hunger, for something far greater. For the first time, he almost regretted it.

As the princess spoke, Solomon’s brows furrowed slightly before returning to normal. A name, such a small detail but one that had so much power, and she had refused his. He burrowed his anger deep into his hollow chest and smiled.

“Princess Eilidh, then.” He acknowledged.

The cave darkened for a moment as a winged creature flew down from the crevice. Wings unlike the ones fairies had, feathered like a bird’s, but damaged. A gradient of gray flying sloppily and landing behind Solomon King, on it’s three fingered claws.

“This is Gillian.” Solomon said. The title of prince wasn’t useful for him anymore, it hadn’t been for nearly a millennia. Gillian approached, light gray eyes meeting Eilidh’s, as if trying to decipher if she was like him or something worse. “He’ll fly you to your new home.”
 
Princess Eilidh. Perhaps it was. It seemed like something that could have been. Perhaps it was something that didn't matter at all. She let it slip off her like water, unconcerning entirely except for the little frosted bits that somehow stuck with her, always, always.

But she did not mind the cold. A shadow flitted over them for a moment, dimming the bright whiteness of the cave. Something had come in, on wings. She stepped towards it, a hand outstretched already - but it was strange. It was not...

...She did not know what it was. The man beside her introduced it, but its name had no meaning to her, either. It... he. A person, it seemed, though not...

"Fly." She echoed the word. Something was wrong with it, but she could not quite place what it was or had been. Her fingers reached out, brushing the strange person's wing, leaving little trails of frost among the feathers.

Feathers. They seemed wrong. This creature seemed wrong. Other things, too, seemed wrong. A word, out of place - or a word in a place that it should not have been, and could never be.

"I have no home." Of this, she was certain. Death and betrayal. There was no home for her, not here, not in the past, not anywhere. There was only loss. Death and betrayal.

One day, there would be something else.

Fate and...

Something. Something else.

Perhaps not.

Just fate, then. Fate, and vengeance.
 
A woman’s touch… Any kind of touch was still odd to Gillian. It had been but a few hours since he’d left his imprisonment, and along with it his past life, which he had no memory of. There was one thing he remembered, and that was how to follow orders.

“Yes you do.” He heard Solomon say. “Take her.”

And so he did, without force, but without asking for permission either. Gillian wrapped an arm around Eilidh’s waist and hoisted her up, flapping his wings and leaving cracks on the frozen floor where his claws had been. Once they left the cave, the undead ship could be easily spotted in the huge mass of white snow surrounding it. Above it, other winged creatures similar to him flew back to the cave to retrieve the others, but most remained over the ship, floating like flies over horse shit.
 
She leaned in to the embrace, whether or not it was wanted by either one of them. It was a strange creature - she had no memory of anything like it, but she had no memory of aught else, either, so perhaps it was not so strange. The wings troubled her. They were wrong, a wrongness that she could not define - and yet they were not wrong, for some other reason that she didn't know either.

She remembered the feel of feathers beneath her fingertips, though that had only been moments ago. And the feeling of flying, she remembered... no.

Perhaps not.

She turned her face to the creature's shoulder and closed her eyes. Perhaps he would drop her, and she would shatter like ice. She remembered falling...

...once.

But when, and why?

Her eyes opened once again, blinking away the mystery. It would stay, for another time. There was a ship ahead, and despite what the stranger had said, it was not her home, not her ship. These things, she knew. The creature - Gillian, she must remember Gillian. It was his name, after all, and she remembered so few of them. Gillian set her down, the droves of things like him scattered through the skies. She watched them, but they meant nothing, just like everyone else. She found her footing on the deck, looking around for a moment before she crossed it slowly, making her way to the wheel and resting a hand on one of its spokes, letting the frost build up over the wood.

That, at least, felt familiar.
 
The wood beneath his claws was old, as old as the captain of the ship and perhaps as old as he was. Gillian wouldn’t know.

“You shouldn’t touch that.” He said, following the fairy to the helm of the ship. He looked up, watching Solomon and his followers being carried back by others of his kind before turning his gaze back at her.

It disturbed Gillian ever so slightly that the harpies were the carriers while this one was revered and singled out, despite also being dead. There were other undead on the ship, wingless like her, but they didn't speak, just worked or lied on the floor, eyes wide open, watching their surroundings. He wondered what was so special about this one, this princess.

“Do you like it?” Solomon asked after getting dropped down onto his deck, a proud smile in his thin lips. “The Truth Teller, your new home. My magnum opus - for now.”
 
She shouldn't touch that, the winged one said. The princess only smiled softly - but it was the softness of snowflakes, feather light and cold. Of course she should touch it. Why wouldn't she? The other man had arrived, talking again about homes. She was unimpressed with the discussion, though her fingers trailed over the wheel, possessive.

Calling it home would not make it so, but perhaps she would make it hers anyway. Not her home. But hers. Something half-wanted, almost cared for, entirely unknown. Like a baby.

"Who are you?"

He had named the others, she had noticed. He had even named the ship. He had named her, though he had been wrong about that, so perhaps he was wrong about everything else as well. Perhaps there were no truths to be told, only lies. Lies under the water... there was more to that, perhaps, but it faded, unimportant. Dead, like so many other things were, and so many things would be.
 
“I thought you’d never ask.” Solomon said, with his hands clasped behind his back, smiling in a way that could easily make a child cry. As the necromancer stepped forward, Gillian and every other harpy around flew away without the need for a command.

“I’m Solomon King.” He said, as he climbed the steps to the balcony where the helm had been carved at, out of greywood and gold. His hand landed on the handle opposite to the one Sinead held tightly, and with his other arm he made a theatrical gesture, saying: “I am also the Truth Teller.”

The ship trembled beneath his feet and snow fell from the bowsprit as the engines began to shift into motion, slowly propulsing the giant carcass up in the air.

“I’ve gathered all the knowledge in the world, I have conquered life and death.” He said proudly, looking down on Sinead. “And soon, my dear, I’ll conquer everything in between.”
 
Hm. She didn't actually make a sound - it seemed too much effort to draw breath for such a little thing, but the sound that could have been lingered between them, almost as if it had happened. The man and the ship, a curious combination. She drew her fingertips along the tiller, slowly, curling them around one of the spokes in a manner that was quite suggestive, a little expression playing around her lips that might have been a smirk, or perhaps not. Frost lingered, where her hands had been, so perhaps it was not so suggestive after all.

He spoke of knowledge and life and death and conquering, and she watched his arrogant pride and met it with glacial nonchalance, unmoving and unaffected. Her shoulder moved, just once, sending a crackling through the ice that cascaded down her back. Pieces split off, falling to the deck of the ship and shattering into little crystals at her feet. She paid them little heed, even less than she paid the man standing before her as she turned her eyes up, searching the skies for the strange winged ones, or... something else, there must be something else.

But the conversation was about conquering, and so she turned back to him and asked, with soft succinctness: "Why?"
 
Solomon watched her movement and the trail of ice being left behind, an astonished smirk taking shape; she couldn’t do that before. It was as if she had waited for death to unleash her full potential, and for Solomon, that was beautiful.

“Because it’s my destiny.” He answered, wrapping an arm over her cold shoulder. “The age of the fairies must end, and I’m the only one who can end it. I’m the only one who can take us forward. Beyond life and death.” His hand trailed down to her shoulder blade, finger tracing over one of the scars.
“They were the ones who took it, weren’t they?”
 
"Fairies." There was a sharpness in the word as she repeated it, a tension that suddenly appeared in her in a way that had nothing to do with the arm over her shoulders. She'd frozen for a moment, there. Not with fear, no. She would not fear them - what could they do to her?

But she would hunt them. It was that sort of freeze, the tense stillness of a predator that had caught a glimpse of its prey and was now only waiting for it to draw near enough to strike. They were not here, though, and so the moment passed, and she leaned back against his hand, the fingertip against-

-Hm. Something. She didn't remember.

"Took what?"
 
The corners of his lips curled up.

“Your innocence.” He brought her closer, touching her face like she had touched his. “Your weakness.”

Within Eilidh’s touch, the helm stirred to the left, and so did the ship. Solomon let go of her and stepped down to the lower level of the deck, looking up at her from below.

“You don’t need to sleep or eat, but I’m sure you can find something else to do. Make yourself at home, my princess.” He said, before retiring to his chambers.

***

Finding a way out of Leimor hadn’t been as hard as tracking down the Truth Teller. His facial hair had grown on the half of his face where skin still remained, making his hideous face even more hideous. The exhaustion melted the ice away, and his hair had never looked as greasy - but at last, he was home.

Naveen left his small sailboat behind, climbing the bones attached to the side of the Teller. Dressed in rags, he was unrecognizable to Echo, the person who welcomed him back and took him to the dining hall, where the Captain would be waiting.

There wasn’t food on the table because there was no need to, just a tea set. This one was rustic and not as extravagant as most of Solomon’s, but it was just as rare for the people who knew how to make it were long dead. Most of them were, at least. Solomon put down his tea and turned around with a frown, staring at the visitor.

“What do you think you’re doing here?”

It stung, his disapproval of him. Naveen kept his head lowered, trying to find the words to explain himself. He had practiced a lot all those days, but his mind went blank as he heard his captain’s footsteps walking towards him.

“They were going to kill me so I had to leave. But I left someone in my place! To protect hi-” Boiling liquid fell over Naveen’s head, the content of the teapot in Solomon’s hand.

“You shouldn’t have returned. You’re a disgrace.”
 
Oh.

A newcomer.

She had become accustomed, in the past few days, to the strangers of the crew. She hadn't seen them all, but there had been some who had come by, passing over the deck. She had paid them little attention. They were not who she was looking for.

Neither was this stranger. She had followed him in, followed the one called Echo. Many of the others had tasks to do, but she wandered. Usually, she was abovedecks, a hand on the tiller, watching the horizon. Sometimes she ventured below, when something caught her interest. She came up behind him, and the chill would reach him first, a wisp of cold - barely a breath, for none of them needed such things. Her hands moved to his back, resting almost-gently - but there was nothing there. No wings, only cold.

Cold like her, perhaps. She leaned in, resting her cheek between his shoulderblades. He was making excuses, and he could probably feel the softness of her slight, silent laughter - or the chill of her whisper.

"Shh-hh." The words weren't doing him any good, after all. The hot tea was cold, now, the drips of liquid turned to ice against his skin. His doing, or hers?

Perhaps it didn't matter.
 
The shame was strong. Strong enough to distract him from the chilling breeze behind his back, up until the point the cold touched him. A different kind of cold than he was used to; a different kind of dead.

“My princess.” Naveen heard Solomon say, encouraging him to look up from the floor. His face had an unusual smile, his hand outstretched for the person chuckling against his back.

The vampire fell to his knees, his forehead touching the floorboards where his master stepped on.

“Forgive me, my master. I’ll do anything. Anything to prove myself still worthy of you.”
 
She stood, with the sort of grace that came from somewhere beyond memory, something that had once been practiced and practiced until it was innate. It was a natural motion, something that she might have once tried to forget, but now had returned, when she had forgotten all else. Her hand reached out of its own accord, fingertips resting in the outstretched palm offered to her - but her other hand lingered, trailing through dirty hair, as if something about the defilement of it all appealed to her.

She stepped past him, though, closer to the outstretched hand, drawing together as if it were a dance. "My ship." Her voice was teasing, and her eyes glittered like ice. He'd introduced himself as the Truth Teller, after all, but the rest of them rarely remarked on it.

Her words were spoken softly, not hiding, merely not seeing any reason for loudness. She turned her face slightly, back to the crouching creature, his head pressed to the floor. He was cold, and... something else. Dangerous.

He reminded her of...

...but no, she couldn't place it.

A frown replaced her amusement, but only for a moment, then vanished again into glacial smoothness as she considered. Eventually, she spoke once more. "I want that one."
 
Naveen felt the fingers run through his hair, softly. The touch of a woman; Solomon’s princess. He vaguely recalled hearing that voice before, but the tone was different. The curiosity was there, but he wouldn’t dare to look up without permission.

Solomon was weighing his options. He had no use for Naveen anymore and was ready to feed the ship with his soul, but Eilidh’s surprising interest brought him another possibility to consider. Perhaps she saw something through the decrepit vampire, who's better days were behind him. Perhaps she saw a mirror of her old self.

“He used to be beautiful, but now…” He trailed off, letting a hand gesture express his disdain. After a moment of silence, he said: “Keep him, do whatever you want with him. Did you hear that, Naveen?”

The vampire looked up, eyes meeting the ones of the Whore of the Horizon. He wasn’t expecting it to be her, but the realization didn’t shock him either. What was death after all; just the beginning for some.

Solomon smiled at the interesting turn of events. He watched Naveen get to one knee and grab Sinead’s hand, touching his frozen lips against the back of it.

“If my captain commands...” In his cold stare, there was no sign of the resentment that was definitely there. If that was his lifeline, his chance to remain within the Teller’s graces, so be it. “I’m yours.”
 
There was a shrug of one shoulder, as if to dismiss King's words. She turned once more, shedding miniature cascades of ice onto the floor, letting the creature on the floor take her hand and press his lips to it, watching him and wondering what it was she saw in him. Something, certainly - not nothing. There was something there - if only she knew what it was.

"I don't want him to be beautiful." Of this much, she was certain. Beauty was something she... no, she was not certain. Once there had been beauty, and then there had been...

...betrayal. Betrayal and vengeance.

Someone else had looked at her like that, once - the hidden resentment as well. She was comforted by the knowledge that it was surely there.

"I want him to be a monster."
 
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