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Rust and Stardust

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  1. When Cerys first opened her eyes and stared out at this vast world with a preternatural stillness unbecoming to a newborn infant, it was not a manor that she observed during those early moments. The Lady Adrastae could not even claim rights to a ragged midwife’s birthing hovel on the edge of a settlement too inconsequential to even be considered a village, and while her youth had been spent in a castle, the once grand structure lay in utter ruin. As a child, she was surrounded by crumbling stone, all beneath a canopy of stars. She knew their names well. Her own name was a lie. While it was possible that her bloodline once ran parallel to the nobility of Ursa Madeum, they were mystics first and therefore too useful to ever truly submerge into the realm of defective simpering. Until, of course, they became too dangerous and all but a scattered few managed to avoid extinction. Temporarily. Yet such reveries could provide no comfort to Cerys. All she knew of nobility outside of House Morlog and the visuals she stole from her scrying glass were second hand stories tainted by the talons of her mother’s inherent paranoia. Did this spoiled woman-child think her base, deliberately coarse? She watched Evienne tremble--how her needle pricked fingers did betray her even as they sought both solace and asserted authority with their touch upon the boy’s shoulder--she watched, and she relished the faint coppery tang of discomfort even as her smile rearranged itself into something soft and pliable. It was full of forgiveness, as if Evienne were the one that required it for an unknown transgression, and honeyed with reassurance. A series of subtle discords, each slightly out of tune, tilted the orchestral choir that sang inside her head. Cerys decided at that moment that all noblewomen would have thought her vulgar, with their pinched faces and bodies like reticent wasps that are too cold to sting with a vicious passion. Her imagination conjured a court of them, fanning themselves with ostrich feathers and tittering at nothing, playing little games with little cards. Somehow, the whey-faced Evienne did not quite fit. There was a hidden quality about the Lady Goldcourt that attracted her initial interest. Those that carried the language of secrets can often detect another native speaker, and Cerys sensed a rare talent for venality within her. “It is quite kind of the Lady to offer her own supply of her chosen drink,” Cerys cooed, “but she is a guest to House Morlog and I could not possibly impose upon her. Little Henry, shall you like to see your quarters?” With the snap of her fingers, it was not a true manservant that appeared but a bound spirit. On an extended neck blinked the moon like face of an owl, while the rest of its frame was loosely akin to a human. Its arms were fringed by wings, the feathers of which dragged across the floor. It walked upon stilt legs and bowed before the child, dipping deep on knees that bent backwards and twisting its neck like a snake in a coil. It did not speak, thought the faint sound of distant church bells were perceptible near it. “Fetch the child,” she said. It disappeared to the lower decks. Waves pushed against the ship, harbingers of high tide. Cerys caught Lady Evienne gently by the elbow as she stumbled. She offered no patronizing comment or lingering touch. Instead, she brought up a passing mention of the clouds brooding along the horizon. “I do so hope it shall not storm.” Bare feet slapping against wooden planks foretold of the child Cerys requested. A scampering gait, a crooked grin, a dash of flour smeared across a tanned cheek and mousy hair stiffened by salt made up the impish urchin that officially served as the cook’s errand boy. With a nimble bow, he introduced himself as Rory. It was the Lady Cerys that placed him on this ship, out of anticipation that supernatural eyes alone could not observe all that happened amongst the crew. “Your room is right next to his,” she explained. “When the Lady Evienne mentioned a young servant in her letter, we thought it would be best for you to stay near a boy your own age for the journey. Rory, if you would please?” He was a charming child, this foundling, full of boisterous tales, yet he carried himself with precocious dignity that suited the gravity of Henry’s presence. “I’ll help with the luggage. ‘S easier with the two of us than lugging all that on your own.” With the boys occupied, Cerys turned her attention upon the Lady Evienne. It is said that there are carnivorous plants located deep in the forests of Ursa Madeum, ones that looked like the wings of beautiful birds, painted by a serene brush of white and blushing pink. They produced a tantalizing scent, irresistible to insects, and were flush with a sweetened dew that small animals desperately craved. However, their surface, so innocent in its girlish colors, was too waxy and slick to provide any creature sufficient grip, particularly after a rainstorm. They would tumble down the throats of these gloating flowers and find themselves trapped in a place filled with liquid the same color and consistency of blood. It was a natural barbiturate. The plant’s prey would drink, sleep, and dissolve. Siren’s tongues, or so they were called. Cerys smiled and held out a hand to Evienne should she need to steady herself against another round of battering waves. “Tell me, how does the Lady Halisera fare? Though my focus of late has been concerned with the interior of House Morlog’s court, perhaps you could assist with my education of the exterior world.” Other murmuring banalities filled the void of conversation as they walked from the deck to the doorway that would lead to the captain’s quarters. Before the door, however, stood on of Lamius’s men. His name was Cadmus, a loyal soldier from a lineage of warriors under the service of House Morlog. His countenance was grave, his calloused hand rest upon the hilt of his sword. “Lady Cerys,” he said, and he felt his gaze drop upon the deck without quite knowing why. “Were you to see the lord, as well?” Cerys brushed windswept strands of black hair away from her red lips. “Come, you may walk with us.” What filled the hall beyond the door was the unmistakable wraith of bloodshed. Cadmus knew it, as did Cerys. He pressed ahead of the two women before he opened the door of the captain’s quarters. Tension seized his shoulders. Arteries thumped, his throat constricted. He glanced back, once, to the women still behind him, away from the stains that streaked across the floor, away from the carnage that splattered outwards from Corvus’s handiwork. His face was the color of ashes stirred into oatmeal. He shivered beneath the enchantress’s gentle touch on his arm as she passed him. “There are other ways to prove one’s point.” While it was Corvus that she spoke of, it was to Lamius that she directed her statement. “Theatrical displays of power often lack the promise of results.” There was a twisted thread that bound Lamius and Cerys together. Both were two aspects of the void. He, cthonic, austere and removed. She, alluvial, amorphous beneath her painted veil. When she stood behind him in the cast shadow of his lubriguous presence, her voice dropped once more to a serpentine whisper. “See that none disturb me for the remainder of this journey. I must work.” Even if one were watching her closely, they would have been unable to see her speak. The enchantress then led the lady to her inner chambers. Once they were safely swallowed within the confines of the crimson walls, the owl-faced spirit bound to Cerys's will appeared with a tray laden with coffee in delicate cups. Tea cakes, fresh fruit, and cream sat besides the drinks. A bowl of sugar twinkled in the candlelight. It set down the tray upon a little table in her parlor and stepped backwards into nothingness. Cerys offered a seat to Lady Evienne before gliding into the opposite chair. A pomegranate, split in half, glistened beside figs roasted with honey. Her white kitten tumbled out from her bedroom, the diaphanous chiffon of a spider's web caught in its paws. "As I mentioned to you before, my lady, it is the court of my patron's house and his lands that have garnered much of my attention. The people of Razgolay required help, and it was I that heard their pleas. Suffering, it seems, knows not the limitations of borders or class, and this is why I must ask: You have a heavy heart. What is it that you seek here?" @LikelyMissFortune & @Typhon
  2.  Cerys Adrastae ╔════════════════════════════════════════════════════════╗  тʜe вasɪϲs: Height: 5’9” Body Type: Curvy  Age: Unknown & Unrecorded Gender: Female Job/Role/Title: Court Enchantress of House Morlog Hair Color: Black Eye Color: Unknown & Unrecorded Scars/Tattoos: None Revealed Species: Human  Powers and Abilites: A dedicated student of magic, Cerys holds a dark communion with forces untamed.
  3. Truly, her predecessors were admirable in their efforts with the design of House Morlog’s curse. How easy it would have been to have left the noble house bereft of their emotions, to force them all into their own personal voids, yet no; the man that stood before Cerys was twisted in his own utter disgust with all that existed, herself included. Had the remnants of her bloodline not been extinguished by her own hand, she would have complimented their dedication to another family’s pure misery. Yet, like most, they lacked a proper imagination. For all their cleverness, they did not foresee their own end. Lamius was an enormous man with dark and motionless eyes. Immovable, a stone washed ashore and worn perfectly smooth by the battering ram of endless tides. His skin was a carapace. She wondered just what viscera stirred within. His spoken threats were saturnine and clumsy. Though her own height was diminutive in comparison to his, though she stood in a room removed from the servant’s corridors where any raised voices would have been muffled by the thick stone walls and heavy door, she felt no fear. Should he destroy her, he would destroy the last shreds of hope that dared breath light into his blackened heart. Cerys glanced up through her lashes. Her unreflective eyes, pale and untouched by the fire’s glow, met his own and held them for a moment. Delicious, atrocious loneliness, all barred by black iron. “Lord Morlog,” she crooned, “do you not see that my aid for you extends to the needs of your subjects? The more they dwell upon their own unhappiness, the less use they are to you. And they are necessary. Their love is advantageous. For this is what I see: your condition was constructed to pull your House to its knees. A curse is a parasite. It feeds upon the misfortunes of its host. It must be weakened. Thwart it—show it that your sight is untarnished by the base desires of lesser beings, and that you are fit to lead. It will take further time to untangle the mechanisms of your condition.” The black spray of gems at her throat glittered. “Curses, after all, are not easily broken.”
  4. I like the way you write. 

    1. Rust and Stardust

      Rust and Stardust

      Thank you, I appreciate it.

    2. King


      Not a problem at all. Totally deserved. Keep up the awesome work. 

  5. The walls of the Lady’s bedroom in her quarters were hung with red satin punctuated by pearls that glistened in the flickering candlelight. She rarely dwelt in illumination—the windows were heavily shaded by curtains of burgundy velvet, the candelabras seemed to will their wicks to burn only at a half-light that danced in a ceaseless draft. It was as if this room, thick with the scent of incense and blooming black orchids, had the breath and pulse of someone in a deep sleep. It was a mortiferous, sensual lethargy that claimed her quarters, and the Lady Cerys sat at its core. Her eyes were shut. She thought of industrious little fingers weaving silk dresses made of gossamer whispers that covered a wounded heart, of stained sheets, a lover’s embrace cold and dead. Her white kitten was curled up in her lap. It paid no heed to the rocking of the ship, nor the skittering of unseen things that stirred around the delicate hands of its mistress. They scuttled over the rugs and disappeared into the cracks of the floorboards, departing once more for the further reaches of the ship. The kitten slept on in a drowsy peace, interrupted only when Cerys rose from the floor and set it upon the edge of her plush bed. Around the copper tub, which always sustained a near scalding heat for her perfumed bath water, past a mirror framed in silver which reflected back nothing but shadows, after the hanging urn billowing with aromatic smoke, she slipped into the costume of a nobleman’s respected advisor: blacks and silvers to mirror his own colors, inverted into a corseted blouse and supple breeches beneath a traveler’s cloak the color of wine. She wore rubies and obsidian at her throat. Twisted coils of long black hair swayed down to the small of her back. From afar, if one had a morbid constitution, they could be reminiscent of blood welling at an open wound. She hummed a cadenza as she heard the telltale thud of gravity slamming a body to the floor. The low rumble of Lamius’s voice drifted beneath the doorway, more of a vibration than a sound. A lilting final chord and a carefully carved smile aimed at the blackened mirror carried her out of the comforts of her own lodgings and into the Captain’s quarters, where she met the accusing blade of one of Lamius’s men and the woman that acquired its attention. Both were ignored entirely, for there was already some sort of witch aboard the Morlog’s ship. She moved with a languorous intent, pausing only to listen to the voice of the Lady Goldcourt-Uldwar’s young herald before she crossed creaking distance from her doorway to the desk. Cerys bent forward to murmur into Lamius’s ear in a soft undertone inaudible to all but him, “How proud they all are, demanding your attention. Each impatient and narcissistic. Allow me to deal with the girl, lord.” —— Even bathed in Ursa Madeum’s rich seaside sunlight, a suggestion of evening haze clung to Cerys. It was not the personal tenebrosity of a vampire, more so of a somnambulist caught betwixt the luxurious realm of dreams and a baleful reality, sharpened only by the ceaseless smile of her full, red mouth. It grew into a cordial red grin, the expression of a lady meeting another lady across a party at a gallery showing. “Lady Goldcourt-Uldwar, such a pleasure that you responded to our missive. I am Cerys Adrastae, an enchantress of House Morlog’s noble court. Might I speak with you in a place more suitable than—“ she extended a pale hand, granted it fluidity and grace as it gestured to the mercenaries on deck “—out here? Would you like any tea?” @LikelyMissFortune @Typhon
  6. The weeks stretched on as a dull, thudding pulse under the shadow of the mountain in Razgolay. The living crawled over the bodies of the dead in a futile cycle of scraping crops from the earth and falling upon each other with a sudden heedless violence before returning to scratch out more grain for the mouths of their squalling babes and mindless elders. They succumbed to the dirt. The cycle continued. They never did see the sun without the shadow of the mountain. This was the one trait that the villagers of Razgolay had in common with the woman in The Morlog’s mansion. She wore a smile of accomplishment and little else as she sat before a vanity’s mirror while she brushed her hair. It fell in long sheets of black. She ran the boar bristles of her brush through it methodically, with the attention a soldier dedicates to sparring. Were the hairbrush her sword, the dabs of rose water at her wrists and collarbones served as her shield, the droplets of obsidian she wore at her pale throat were her bow, the red curve of her mouth her arrows. A saucer of milk sat between her glass jars of glamours for the little kitten a maidservant brought to her on the fourth night of her stay. Tears still studded her eyes when she sat at the dining table. The maidservant thought the gift of a mewling creature to be a kindness. It brought her a moth on the seventh night, and Cerys watched with fascination as it pulled off its delicate wings. Cerys Adrastae had given the servants in The Morlog’s mansion little more than her name and a tale of horror spoken in shuddering sobs, yet they gave her silken sheets to rest upon in an unused room, they fetched water for her bath, they brought her figs and honey. Sometimes, she would walk into the halls and place their calloused hands within her own, to thank them for their kindness in a voice like fragrant perfume that wafted from the sweet throats of orchids. The pain in their hip would subside shortly afterwards, or they would find themselves immune to the pox that consumed their neighbor. A refined lady, they said. A kind lady. Gossip from the scullery maids in the kitchens transferred to those that tidied up her room, and together with the details that fell from Cerys’s lips, they constructed what satisfied their curiosity of the woman’s origins. She was of a noble family destroyed beneath the fist of the tyrant king, one with a bloodline rich with magic. It was through the kindness of strangers that permitted the survival of her mother and her subsequent birth, and the life that eventually led her to Razgolay’s village. The village was in desperate need of aid from a skilled mage. Bouts of incurable rage would seize hold of ordinary men and fill them with madness, yet they would regain clarity beneath her touch. Unnatural infestations of spiders frantically cloaked the farmlands with their webs, yet they would return to the darkness of the mountain’s forests at her command. She came to the estate to petition The Morlog’s aid for the monsters that plagued the surrounding lands, but...here, her shoulders would shiver and she would bury her crumpling face into her hands. All recalled how they found her, blood staining her ripped clothing, feet cracked from fleeing through the forest without shoes. She fell into the servants’ care and gained their affection. All spare one. Bergamund knocked at Cerys’s door before announcing his lord’s request to see her. A spider peered at the top of his head from its small web nestled in the molded archway marking the entryway of her chambers. Venom oozed along its mandibles. “One moment, Bergamund.” His name twisted on her tongue like a rat in a snake’s coils. Cerys had a preference for red. In accordance to her wishes, the dusty guest suite transformed into a dusky crimson womb. Low embers never ceased to burn in the fireplace. They cast a soft, hazy glow over the brocade curtains and the velvet settee. She existed in half light, illuminated only by flicker of waning candlelight. She opened the door and followed Bergamund to Lamius with the kitten held in her arms. It purred in contentment at her throat. When Bergamund would turn to glance over his shoulder, it would contort its face into an enraged hiss. Cerys stroked its white fur and murmured sweet sentiments beneath her breath. Once, at dinner, Bergamund found himself unable to recall the color of Cerys’s eyes. When he forced himself to glance up from the smile curled on her mouth, ice contorted in his veins and sank its fangs into his heart. Conversation, already scarce, grew nonexistent between them after that night. It was in silence that they walked to The Morlog’s study and in silence that he left her, his old hips dipping into a shallow bow that she returned with the inclination of a nod. Cerys stepped into the darkness of Lamius’s inner sanctum and stood in his shadow behind his chair. “You requested me, lord? What is it that you wish?”
  7. Now that’s a username. It even rhymes! Welcome aboard 

    1. Die Shize

      Die Shize

      Are you...two persons in one?

    2. Rust and Stardust
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