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Charlotte

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Everything posted by Charlotte

  1. Charlotte

    Purple Rain

    In an increasingly common display of the temperamental nature of the Orisian weather, what had promised to be a bright and sunny day had ended up with the production of torrential levels of water fall from the sky. Charlotte had come out into the western gardens with the intention of having a nice lunch, which someone from the kitchens had kindly packed for her, and to get a bit of reading done from one of the many books she had borrowed from Gabriela’s personal library. Now she was standing under a woefully inadequate gazebo, watching the rain that was falling in a rather loud clatter, and which was making a misty-mess of everything. The massive shape of the castle in the background lost its focus and became nothing more than a dark outline, devoid of details. It gave the scene a charming sort of dream-like quality that Charlotte found herself enjoying, even if the cold rain was starting to drip down from the leafy canopy wisteria’s, soaking through her terribly light, summer coat. And her dress, a flowy and thin little thing that reached down just a few inches below her knees and fluttered about in the slight wind, provided even less protection against the elements. She considered making a run for the castle, but she was a good distance out and quite a number of flights of stairs. By the time she made it anywhere with a decent roof, she would be soaked through to the bone. It was better to stay, she decided, and hope this spring shower did not last for long. Gathering up her coat and wrapping her arms around herself, the wisp of a girl moved back from the edge of the gazebo and more towards its center, where a single wooden bench sat in wait. She had left her book there and her small leather satchel, which carried the contents of her untouched meal. In returning to the bench, she by virtue of a rather powerful growl of her stomach, Charlotte was reminded of her hunger and so she sat down to eat. There was no point in letting a perfectly good meal go to waste on account of a little rain. And much to her delight, upon opening her bag, she found a delightful assortment of cheeses, a container of beautiful, green grapes, an unpeeled orange, a dainty glass container full of dark, golden honey, and a loaf of bread with some slices of freshly roast turkey stuffed into it. There was also a small bottle of wine, and a generous serving of Chester’s famous chocolate cake, with what seemed like extra chocolate-fudge icing smeared on top. Charlotte could have wept with how happy she was with the bounty that had been provided for her. Suddenly, even the cold rain didn’t seem so bad. It was a small price to pay for the opportunity to have a quiet and peaceful lunch with such a breathtaking vista of the castle and the vivid green grounds of the gardens. Happily, she began to eat. First she tore her bread in half, and took a massive bite. Her delicate and pretty features shifted into an adorable sort of disarray as her cheeks bulged and her lips pinched to stay shut. She chewed happily, and without concern that anyone was watching or passing judgment. Next she took a bite of cheese, a rather strong smelling sort with a soft texture that was infinitely better tasting than it looked. Still, it could do with a spot of honey, and so she opened the small jar and drizzled some on directly onto the cheese before taking another bite. She didn’t so much as suspect another living being out in the gardens today. The place had seemed practically abandoned earlier in the day as she strolled through the hedges and took in the sights around the many statue gardens that were artfully set up in different locations. But as she sat there, filling her belly and watching the rain through the robust purple-bloom drapes that fell over the edge of the gazebo, she couldn’t help but feel a tingling in her throat and a tightness around her heart. Loneliness settled in like a bothersome guest who simply refused to leave, and her mind turned to thoughts of Alexander -- now dead and gone. Never in her life did she think she might miss that monstrous creature, and yet here she was, dimly aware that his company would be preferable to the suddenly crushing aloneness that she felt. Grateful for the wine, Charlotte opened the bottle and took a deep drink from it. Not one to often partake of alcohol, and by virtue of her special heritage, it wasn’t long before the golden-eyed girl was swaying softly in her seat, humming a little melody to herself. Not quite drunk, but certainly not sober.
  2. Charlotte

    Purple Rain

    The King was childlike in his wonder for the natural world. Charlotte found herself smiling at the genuine display of pleasure that overcame Raylon as he extended his hand and caught raindrops upon each and every one of his fingertips. While a mere mortal may have sensed his aura of tranquility, she actually saw it. The same silver hue of his eyes seemed to engulf the whole of his form. It was like he was wearing a halo of gentle light that came down and around him. It could have been a trick from the suddenly visible sun that peeked through a parting in the rain clouds, a single ray that shone down upon the good king and reflected off of the coloration of his skin -- it could have been anything really -- but she knew better. There was something special about him, something internal and inherent that made him beyond special. Charlotte felt very little and entirely inadequate to be entertaining him. She lacked the decorum, the grace, and the tact with which to speak to someone of such importance. She was fumbling over her words and saying things that were borderline offensive. And now, as her earlier words sank into him, Charlotte could see the physical manifestation of his discomfort. His smile quivered, and it seemed as if he might lose it at any moment. "Your Queen's benevolence toward me and my people's struggle forged a friendship I do not intend to end any time soon. Still, my visit was more of a courtesy given our current predicament. It would have been rude of me to not visit when Illyria now resides so close to the beauty of Orisia." Embarrassed at her own presumptions, Charlotte felt a splash of a blush color her cheeks. For a brief moment jealousy had gotten the best of her, and she had assumed the worst -- or rather the best -- of his working relationship with the queen. Raylon's response had been perfectly clear and perfectly diplomatic, regardless of how much need Gabriela may have had for a man such as him in her life, he was not there for her sake. Charlotte was both relieved by this (a fact that shamed her), but also intrigued. She had all but forgotten about the great catastrophe that had ended the lives of nearly a million Orisian citizens on the island of Ceyana. Of course, it wasn't like her to ignore the plight of so many people, but with the degree and sheer magnitude of the event, Charlotte had selected to keep her distance. She had seen enough death and horror for a hundred lifetimes. "Yes I saw him. He was definitely a sight to behold with very intriguing parentage." Charlotte's golden eyes sharpened, a trait that appeared somewhat odd upon her gentle features. She regarded the king with suspicion now, as if the comment were meant to pass some unspoken judgment upon the babe of its mother. But before she could speak in defense of the queen against an imagined slight a very curious thing happened. A bejeweled staff suddenly appeared. While the King behaved as if it were perfectly normal for a staff to just appear, Charlotte was very obviously started. She was sitting upright and slightly back, with a hand to her chest, clutching at her thin cardigan, pulling it closed over the swell of her breasts. "What are your plans after this rain subsides? Is it interrupting any of your training?" She was regarding the staff with the same distrusting gaze she had given the king just a few short moments ago. The magical item just hummed and spun gently, and pressed close to Raylon as if it had a mind of its own -- so very catlike. Behind the king, the rain clouds were breaking and now she could only see speckled portions of rain coming down, spreading open like curtains here and there. "Oh, no... Today is my day off, I can rest. I intended to have my lunch in the gardens and then head into the city eventually, I have some things I need to pick up from the market. Tell me, King Raylon, have you had a chance to walk the streets of Versilla?" She climbed to her feet and smoothed out her dress. It was still quite wet and managed to cling to certain parts of her body, like her thighs and the rounded curve of her bottom. She fixed these issues as best as she could by tugging on the skirt until it hung more comfortably and modestly. Though her words had not been an explicit invitation, she hoped that he might reply that he hadn't seen the capital yet and that he would very much like to. She operated with that in mind as she cleaned up the mess from their meal. When she was done and had stood by and walked to his side, she nervously regarded the king. "A word of warning, King Raylon," she said in a whisper -- her bottom lip blood red from having been bit down upon in her nervous consideration of what to say. Now, as she paused to think on it one last time, she chewed on it rather viciously in her nervousness. "I would not go around mentioning the little prince's intrusive parentage. I am sure you've met the Queen's husband, I am sure you realize he is not the father, and I am sure you've seen firsthand how defensive he can be..." Charlotte lowered her voice all the more, and leaned even closer to the king, "I am afraid our Emperor can be quite unstable, and it might prove a risk to both Queen and child, to mention the obvious."
  3. Charlotte

    Purple Rain

    Charlotte watched the good king rise from his regal position. He moved with the fluidity of music, or so she thought as she watched him with a dreamy sort of gaze overtaking her normally focused or distant expression. Admiring him from behind, without the potential weight of a judgmental gaze from below his noble brow or above his straight nose, made her more bold. It was easy to examine what she considered beautiful when there was no risk of being called out, or worse yet, being rejected. She considered herself such a little thing, a worthless and hopeless thing, especially when considering the fact that she walked the halls of great kings and queens and had herself begun life as nothing more than a lowly slave. Her own past hurt her -- it haunted her even now. With pain, she looked away from Raylon as he reached out to touch the falling, silver rain. Her lips were slightly ajar, as she forced herself to breathe slowly and carefully. "Now with my land becoming a permanent fixture within this realm, I am excited to learn much more about what my people can gain from being Orsia's newest neighbor. My healers will have much to learn from you eventually..." "Once I have enough to teach, I will be glad to serve you and your people..." she smiled, from her perch upon the bench. It was still a wonder to her, and there were so many parts to the story that she didn't understand, but having had a whole country zapped from one part of the universe and brought here to another was a marvel -- further prove of divine intervention in her opinion. Only the hand of God could do such a thing, and somehow, bring such a man into Valucre. This world was filled with violence. Every man she had met -- her own master, who upon her birth did not see a small child in need of protection, but rather a piece of property that would some day make him richer, to the countless men who courted after her most beloved queen. The people of this world were barbaric and monstrous, using force to gain everything they wanted, including love itself. She paused, and for a moment reflected internally to Alexander. He was the man who had taught her that although he "loved" her, sex was not the time to show such feelings -- sex, instead, was about power, about surrender, and about pain. Even when it was about pleasure, it was always about pain. Raylon, though he would never know it, was like a light in a very ugly and very dark world. His kindness and the sweet nature of his soul were something she saw on the surface of his very being, an aura of warmth that brought her comfort and cut through the chill of even this ice-cold rain. "You spend so much time here in the capital, even though I am sure your country must need you very much..." she frowned, and cursed at herself -- her words sounded like a criticism. Shaking her head she forced herself to start over. "What I mean to say is, you must be very taken by our Queen to manage to make time enough to come and see her." I sound like a jealous school girl… "Have you met her baby? Little Philippe? He's absolutely the most stunning child I've ever seen..."
  4. Charlotte

    Purple Rain

    “Please forgive me for invading your personal space. I crossed a boundary I shouldn't have and deeply regret causing any discomfort and imposing myself upon you.” Charlotte sat in silence, and from her peripheral she saw that Raylon had begun the gentle and deliberate process of distancing himself. She didn’t look at him, and she didn’t acknowledge the apology or the subsequent behavior. Instead she kept her eyes firmly set on the castle in the distance and tried to imagine what the world might be like if evil never happened. In this world, she would not be undone by the slightest brush of a person’s fingers. She wouldn’t feel her insides twisting themselves into knots at the penetrating warmth that came from the alien touch of affection. In short, she wouldn’t be at such impossible odds with being normal. Rather than being jittery and frightened, like some pathetic wounded beast -- she might have been brave, courageous, and less fastidious. That’s what a world without pain and torment could have offered someone like her, and then, a man like him -- like Raylon -- wouldn’t have to be sitting there feeling his heart break for what he could only imagine had happened to her. Eventually she sighed and dropped her head. Her chin rested against her chest for just a moment as she took in a few calming breaths. It wasn’t so much that she was distressed, but more so that some anxiety had started to build up at the mere thought of what her exaggerated actions might cause. The last thing she wanted was to make Raylon think of her in an unflattering way. She didn’t want to come off as some lunatic individual who was incapable of managing their emotions, regardless of how troublesome they were. She was infinitely grateful when Raylon spoke up again, changing the conversation in a sort of masterful way that very clearly showed his ability as a dignitarian. She imagined royalty had to be charming, beautiful, and smart -- but also diplomatic, perhaps more so than any other trait. And now, as he flawlessly moved them from the awkwardness she had caused, she felt relieved and also, a touch of warmth growing in her heart for the good king. “I fully intend to do my best, Raylon -- I have seen for myself that the world needs healing hands more than sword-wielding ones.” The young woman -- she couldn’t be older than seventeen -- smiled warmly at him and then looked away as if she were shy. The truth was that talking about her dream caused her a bit of pride, which was an emotion she had never really been allowed to experience or explore. It felt good to feel pride, to be proud of her achievements and her goals. It felt even better to have people who believed in her, and who valued the things she wanted to accomplish. There was a sense of pride that nearly bordered on arrogance, but managed to come off as harmless when paired with her disarming smile. She appeared young, just like a youth on the verge of greatness. After a moment or two, the bright glow dimmed and with a brush of her knuckles, she tucked some loose hair behind her ear -- she was normal again. “I am sure this will sound strange to someone like you, but it’s kind of nice living in a place without high technology. I’ve seen the things that technology can cure, the way it can fix people. It’s different here in Orisia, what with La’Ruta and the way it treats overly mechanical things. It forces people to use their hands. We search for herbs, we crush them, we dry them, we turn them into pasts or oils or balms or syrups for drinking. It keeps us connected to our patients. It’s quite magnificent, though I suspect we don’t do as much as your doctors might…”
  5. Charlotte

    Purple Rain

    “It is those horrors that provide the stark contrast we need to appreciate places like these Charlotte. Such beauty is coveted by those who understand and endure its absence.” The pretty girl sat there with her golden eyes growing distant and seemingly un-attached to this particular moment. It may well have looked as if she were uninterested, but the reality was very different. She was meditating on his words and taking careful consideration of what sort of value she should put on them. In the end, and with a trace of sadness upon her countenance, Charlotte found that she had to disagree with the good king’s words. She would never dream of comparing horror stories for it seemed like such a tactless thing to do, but she simply couldn't help but wonder if Raylon had ever experienced true horror. No, she finally concluded, it fell to women, and women alone, to carry the burden of a specific kind of violence -- one that did not cause death, or at least not all of the time. What did Raylon know of painful bondage? Of cruel torture devices, of degradation, of violation, of pain and agony served alongside pleasure -- wondrous pleasure! It was a psychological torture, she reasoned only now, with much needed time and distance from her abuser. He had made sure she felt the height of pleasure after every one of their horrific encounters so that in the end she could equally carry the responsibility for the things that were forced upon her. That was true horror, and it was plainly unnecessary. She did not have to live those things in order to find this place beautiful or somehow appreciate it more -- no one did. She blinked and pushed the memories away, chasing them with all of her strength into the dark corridors of her mind where they could not hurt her. It had been nearly a year now, perhaps even longer, since Alexander was gone and although the trauma of that violent relationship lingered, with obvious wounds upon her psyche, she too refused to allow the mounting anxiety to ruin this one peaceful moment. Raylon was right, she knew it, on some pleasant and optimistic level. “We do not have much of anything that we cannot engineer from our corrupted soil or with our labs. This is why I plan on taking advantage of your kindness and bringing some of your meal back home so we can begin benefiting from your hospitality.” Charlotte regarded Raylon with renewed amusement. Her features light up when she wasn’t struggling against the dark tides of her bad memories. She was radiant and a glow as she lifted her brows curiously at him. “You shouldn’t bother with those scraps. I am sure the Black Queen can provide you with much better samples of the foods here in Orisia. You should enjoy your half of the lunch, who knows how long this rain will last, and I believe you’ll need your strength to get back up to the castle.” She smiled, rather proud of her teasing -- proud that it came so naturally and proud that it sounded so normal. Normal was not something she had ever the pleasure of being. From her birth to this very moment, she had always looked, felt, and acted quite differently and had always been an outlier because of it. But today felt different. Today felt easy, soft, and quiet -- like there was magic in the air, awakened by the rain like tiny seedlings breaking through the wet soil. It felt like renewed life, and it filled her with contentment -- that is of course -- until he set his hand on her knee. “You should come visit when you have some time. Illyria hasn’t seen a visitor in quite some time.” She froze up like a deer caught in headlights. The easy posture of her body went rigid as she realized that no one had set a hand on her without her explicit permission since she escaped from Alexander. He had never asked for permission -- he didn’t have to. He had stolen her from her life in the castle, and spirited her away to a faraway country where he was Master, God, and King to her and everyone else he encountered. Her body had become his property, and she had no say with how it was treated, where it went, or when it was touched. She really forced herself to be considerate of the situation. Earlier, when they had been exchanging names, he had performed some strange gesture, which she had at the time dismissed as some foreign form of salutation. Perhaps this was like that, in that in his lands touching was considered acceptable behavior. For most it probably was, a little voice said inside of her -- most people wouldn’t have a meltdown from an innocent hand brushing their knee. But he touched her bare knee -- her smooth, white, warm knee, which she now stared at as she felt the lingering warmth of his touch spreading across her flesh. How long had it been since she felt the heat and weight of another touch? She despised herself for feeling the stirring of longing in her belly. “I would like that,” she replied, blushing warmly as she tried to put her mind off of how close his fingers hand been to her inner thigh. “Maybe once my studies are complete -- I am training to be a healer.”
  6. Charlotte

    Purple Rain

    Charlotte smiled, despite her growing anxiety about the situation. At the very least, Raylon seemed like genuinely calm person, which was a strange thing to take notice of after sharing just a few short words. However, Charlotte was extraordinarily talented when it came to reading people and their moods. Whatever worries or concerns he carried, which she imagined were vast and difficult, he did not wear them like garments of clothes or fine jewels -- which was quite different than her beloved Black Queen. Though there was very little bad that Charlotte could say about Gabriela, the difference in how these two friends and rulers carried themselves was obvious. Raylon appeared perfectly composed, and resoundingly normal as he took a seat besides her, and meanwhile, Gabriela walked the halls of her castle with a pinched brow and her soft jaw set into a hard line from how hard she clenched her teeth. All the world knew that she was serious and severe, constantly worried and never at peace. It was a tragedy, Charlotte had come to accept, but perhaps not one without a solution. Perhaps there was something that this man could teach the Orisian Queen, something that might help her cope with her trials and tribulations. ‘’Please...just call me Raylon. I can do without all of the formalities for now. This is just a lunch between new friends brought together by the mercy of the elements. It is a pleasure to meet you Charlotte.” “Likewise,” she replied with a bit more pep in her voice, and her lips still fixed with that soft smile. She wasted no time dividing up the spoils of her afternoon meal. Cutting her loaf of stuffed bread in half, and giving him the portion that did not have a bite mark on it. Rather than settle into eating herself, she picked up the orange -- which was nearly too big to hold in her open hand -- and began to peel it. “Who would have thought it would rain so much and so hard, seemingly out of nowhere.” “Thank you for the privilege of sharing whatever blessing of a meal you have. It will be a welcome deviation from those I receive at home.” “It’s simple,” she said apologetically, as her fingers continued to work the peel off the orange -- busy work to keep her from getting overly nervous. “But it’s really very good.” Of course she had no idea who she was talking to. She couldn’t have imagined his background, or the fact that he came from a place with such strict dietary restrictions. Had she, and she might have believed him to be more genuine in the way he examined the food set before them. As it where, she found it strange that a High Born King would look with such curiosity and hunger at a few pieces of cheese, some fruit, and a jar of honey. They both looked out into the gardens, safe under the feeble cover of the gazebo and the leafy canopy. There was stillness for a while, and only the sound of the rain pounding against the earth, a hundred-million droplets at a time. She wondered if he felt the magic of the moment -- of the misty green fields, the explosion of color that came from all the blooming flowers that had somehow been blurred into bleeds of rainbow specks. And again, her eyes were drawn to the outline of the castle. “It looks like a fairy tale, doesn’t it?” The warmth of the wine began to creep across her cheeks. It made her feel warm and gave her a touch of confidence -- enough to share her whimsical musings with the stranger. “Hard to believe the world can be so full of horrors when places like this just sit out there, floating among rainclouds, set on carpets of lush greenery -- just being beautiful.” She sighed and split the orange in two and handed him a half. “I am sorry, I don’t normally drink…” she plucked the wine bottle by the neck and handed it to him, “--I also don’t have any glasses, I hope you don’t mind sharing. But, anyway, you were saying -- about your home? What, you don't have cheese where you come from?”
  7. Charlotte

    Purple Rain

    The sudden splatter of rainwater that hit the back of her head caught her so off guard that she jolted forward and nearly dropped her wine bottle, from which she was drinking -- very unlady-like. And it seemed that the sound of her near shriek had managed to catch the attention of the man intruding upon her wonderful and tortuous moment of isolation. Although she didn’t intend to, she glared over her shoulder at the man and with an expression that she failed to mask, was again quite shocked to find herself in the presence of royalty. It took quite some work to change her angry expression, which had so quickly shifted to surprise, back into something dignified enough to present to a man of such high importance. Although she had never seen him this close, she had seen him walk close to the queen and there were whispers about how they often shared meals and moments of respite together. It was common knowledge that Raylon Tekker, the Light of Illyria, was favored by Gabriela. Charlotte had become something of a wallflower in the DuGrace castle ever since her return, especially now that little Raspberry had grown distant and disturbingly cruel. She had lost her favor with the littlest of the household royalty, but maintained some semblance of good grace with the Black Queen herself -- this meant she was allowed to stay, and she got to continue her studies. But it was a difficult adjustment after the whirlwind her life had been tossed into after Alexander spirited her away from her quiet and comfortable life. Returning to it now was borderline painful, but she knew it was the healthiest option -- at least a lot healthier than wandering the globe getting herself into trouble for no good reason. “I am so very sorry for intruding and lumbering in without realizing you were there. I didn’t wet you did I? Please forgive me…” Her face had softened significantly, not that much was required. Even though she had believed her previous expression to be harsh, the reality was that Charlotte's face was far too pretty, far too perfect, far too magnificent to ever truly display her displeasure as anything other than a masterful portrait of youthful beauty. “No need to apologize, my lord,” she said soft and quick -- her voice catching as she straightened up and turned fully to face him. Her head dipped and her knees bent as she curtsied to the foreign king. “You didn’t get me any worse than the rain already has,” she went on, by way of easing whatever tension might have taken root. The last thing she wanted to do was cause distress to one of the Black Queen’s favored guests. Standing back up she noted the way his eyes quickly took her measure, and realized with a splash of color across her cheeks that her white sundress, which had been perfectly modest earlier in the day, was now clinging to her chest, belly, and the top of her thighs. She grimaced and reached down, tugging on the hem of her dress to unpaste the material from her body. “Spring can be a bit of a mad season here, or so I’ve heard and so it seems…” she smiled tightly, and her pink lips curled ever so prettily. “I would have never guessed rain for today, but here I am -- drenched and caught at the mercy of the elements. It seems you find yourself in a similar predicament.” Oh, how she wanted to flee. This encounter required far more conversation than she was comfortable producing. No matter how much she fought the instinct that had been beaten into her to be submissive, to be pleasing, to be quiet and meek -- all she wanted to do was recoil into what was comfortable and familiar. Being bright, chatty, and friendly went against all of her instincts. “I was just sitting down to lunch, hoping to wait out the rain...would you like to join me, my lord?” she blinked, and then dropped her head and gathered her hands before her, as if in supplication (fingers interlacing tightly). “I am so sorry, my name is Charlotte. I live here as one of the queen’s wards. My meal is meager and simple, but I am happy to share all that I have.”
  8. Charlotte

    Factoring in Juno

    “Oh,” said Charlotte softly as the woman brushed back her golden hair and revealed the ugly scar. And just as anyone could have expected from such a strange girl, she openly stared at the roughly set skin that closed over the evidence of some violent act or accident. Charlotte’s curiosity piqued, but even her poor manners and dreadful social skills had a limit, and although it was hard, she resisted the urge to ask how it had happened. Somehow, Vespera seemed unaware of all of this -- perhaps genuinely blind to the girl’s uncouth curiosity or perhaps simply use to the wonder that her torn face produced. Whatever the case, the stern looking woman relinquished an answer that was both untrue and unsatisfactory to the divine creature that had come to harass her. “Sentimentality.” “Right,” Charlotte said in mocking agreement, her pretty pale lips flickering into a smile that burnt out just as quick. But they had both looked down at the picture and they had both seen the clean, pretty face of the young woman in black and white. “Sentimentality,” she repeated eventually, her expression having become serious. “And I’ve never felt better. Is that all?” Those golden eyes drifted from the woman’s face down the length of her body -- Charlotte regarded her tight grasp on the pommel of her cane. However, it wasn’t for her to say if the woman was being honest or lying, and it certainly wasn’t her concern if she was doing the latter. And yet, Charlotte could not help feeling pangs of despair at the thought that the conversation was over and the woman was dismissing her. Her brows knitted together and her lips pressed into a disappointed frown. Without thinking it, she was pressing her chin into her collar and looking up from under her long, dark lashes. She was trying to puppy-dog eye Vespera. Unfortunately the woman was already turning away, abandoning her and taking away with her all the swirling mystery that surrounded her very existence. It was unfair, and Charlotte huffed at the woman’s back as she hobbled off. She missed the tell-tale signs of danger, the yelling, the cursing, the sound of a trash can being violently kicked against a wall. Instead, she was trying to debate on whether or not her tour guide would still be sitting on the steps waiting for her or if she should just head back to her hotel room alone. “Walk and talk. If I find you dead in the morning, I’ll end up having half the city burned down to find the assholes.” Thrilled to bits, Charlotte immediately perked up and quickly bounced along to catch up. She made a show of her youthful energy, of her healthy legs, without even intending to. By the time she reached Vespera’s side, the meaning of her words had settled and the young girl looked at her perplexed. “Why would I be dead? Why would you find me if I were? And -- could you really burn down half the city to find out who did it? What are you some kind of knight?” Again, those golden eyes glanced at her cane and fancies of imagination began to take off. What if that walking stick hid a dangerous secret? A hidden weapon to cut down evil-doers with! “Or, whatever the equivalent to a knight is in place like this.” Her eyes darted to and fro, she took in the height of the buildings, the texture of their walls, the glowing lights fed by electricity -- a thing that did not exist in Orisia.
  9. Charlotte

    Factoring in Juno

    “Like… Sorry, like I was saying, you need to go. You can’t be here, do you understand.” It was difficult for Charlotte to pull her pupiless eyes from the retreating sight of that woman. There was something about her. It was neither sadness nor loneliness, but still it was dark and so heavy that it weighed down her slight shoulders. It was all the more visible from the back, when the woman’s face was turned elsewhere and all that Charlotte could really see was the shape of her body and the slouch to it, the heavy favoring of one side, the pressure of her curled fingers around that tiny skull. Even so, she found that the young man was quite insistent and her attention ended up shifting but not before she noticed the sad swaying fall of an old photograph. “I understand,” she said to the man, though her expression did little to denote comprehension. It was the oddness of her eyes, the missing pupils in those molten gold irises, it gave her a perpetually confused expression. For most, it was endearing. The angelic blood in her veins made her a strange curiosity to humans. But there were a handful who saw her for what she was and were not only disturbed but outright offended by her existence. The mortal world could not accept the existence of the divine, and she was here -- a little drop of heaven in a very ugly world. Those big eyes of hers blinked and she shook her head. Charlotte smiled for Siv, “I am sorry. I didn’t know,” she offered by way of explanation with a half-hearted shrug of her small shoulders. “I’ll get going.” Did she disarm him? She hoped so because she wasn't intending to leave the same way she had come. Somewhere below, in the metro station, her very dearly bought tour guide had returned to the same place where he had left her. He looked around confused, and then decided that the strange girl he was showing around had probably just wandered off and he reasoned that she would soon return. As a man of reasonable moral understanding, he felt it necessary to wait -- after all -- she had paid for his services. So although he was mildly annoyed, the man sat down on the bottom step of the stairs and after setting down Charlotte’s cup of noodles, began to devour his own. “Best damn noodles,” he stayed to himself after a satisfying slurp. Back above, Charlotte hoped to slip by before Siv could reprimand her or worse, try to physically apprehend her. She jolted forward at a slow job in order to look as unassuming as possible. One thing that living under the Witch King had taught her was never to underestimate even the meekest looking creature -- not that Siv was meek looking. But she hurried along to same door that Vespera had existed through, and before clutching the knob, twisting, and pushing, she bent at the waist and plucked the picture off the floor. She was out the door just as she heard Siv yelling after her -- maybe something about not cutting through their very private and super-secret office just to get up to the surface. If she could, she would have apologized, but she was already skipping along the sidewalk, trying to keep up with Vespera. It was chilly -- there was a cold wind cutting through the streets. Charlotte had to stuff the photograph into her pocket and try to gather the wild mass of dark brown hair that floated like a veil behind her. She pulled it into a loose ponytail, and bound it with a rubber band that would hurt like hell to pull out later. Once her hair was set, she stuffed it into her hoody, which she pulled over her head. She didn’t know exactly how to stop the woman. She seemed to be marching along to the sound of silent but demanding drums. And although Charlotte had just had a glimpse of her face, she was certain that she had managed to memorize the severity of Vespera’s expression. Charlotte settled for catching up, which wasn’t all that hard considering the woman’s slight limp. “You dropped something,” Charlotte said cheerfully -- maybe a little too much so. Her voice was a little too high pitched, a little too excited as she fell into step besides the creature that had produced so much fear and dread out of the poor guard stationed back in the office lobby. “It’s a picture,” Charlotte went on, “I figured if it was important enough to carry with you, it was probably important enough not to leave abandoned on the floor.” The golden eyed girl came to a slow stop and began to dig through her pocket. “Here,” she said while stealing a glance at the picture before she held it out to Vespera. “Why are you carrying around a picture of yourself?” Charlotte was a bright girl, a curious girl -- a girl who had lifted most of her life in unimaginable pain and sorrow. In her short life and what little she owned of reality, there was no time for fear of rejection. She lived a life of impulse because she was so certain that it was bound to end at any moment. Every feeling she had -- every attachment to Alexander -- ensured her that the Witch King was dead and gone. But she knew better than to assume. Life was all the more precious for that reason. No, there was no time to be shy or meek or quiet. So much of her life had already been wasted away by not pursuing the things that tickled her fancy. She didn’t want to waste a single more minute. “You look…” Charlotte frowned, “You look kind of sick, are you alright?”
  10. Charlotte

    Factoring in Juno

    Charlotte stood at the foot of the stairs, looking up toward the cold, white glow of fluorescent light. It was pouring down from above, from some wide open space that she could only just see around the bend of the wide staircase. She was surrounded by the remains of what had once been a sprawling metro station except that now instead of the deep roar of a massive moving machine, the tile-covered walls echoed with the excited chatter of people and the steady march of footsteps. Although the train seemed to be out of commission for the foreseeable future, there was still a steady flow of traffic moving through the underground corridors. People were moving -- hundreds at a time -- regular looking folks. From time to time, she’d glance to the left and right and watch someone who managed to catch her attention walk by and then disappear into the crowded, but her gaze always returned to pristine, white light that was coming down. Like a moth to a flame, she felt herself drawn to something beyond. “What’s up there?” she asked her companion, a man maybe twenty years her senior. She had paid him to be her ‘tour guide’ and to ensure that she didn’t accidentally end up walking into any of the bad parts of town. She had learned her lesson after spending some time in Patia and Last Chance. These Terrenian cities were not as they appeared, and like the savage tropics of Orisia, this concrete jungle was ready, able, and more than willing to swallow her up whole. “Oh,” said the man -- a gentlemen with salt and pepper hair, and a matching beard that hid half of his weathered face. Little brown eyes, hidden under heavy black eyebrows, narrowed as he glanced up the staircase. With so much activity going on around them, it was hard to ignore how abandoned this one area seemed to be. He cleared his throat and offered Charlotte a shrug. “Just an old office building. I think it’s been converted into apartments, I think -- nothing all that interesting really. Are you hungry? You’re probably hungry.” For the man, Joseph, it was hard to ignore the fact that the young woman standing besides him was as young, if not younger, than his daughter back at home. It boggled his mind that Charlotte was traveling alone. She had come up to his little newspaper stand -- very nonchalantly -- and set a golden coin (a solid gold coin!) on his counter and asked him to show her around. Either he was doing something very right with his kid or he was doing something very wrong, for he couldn’t help but wonder if his own daughter could survive or even move around in the world the way this young woman did. Even so, Joseph felt a protective surge for her, especially now that she looked so absolutely out of it. The kid was probably starving, he reasoned, since they had been walking around for nearly six hours now without a break. “They have pretty lights,” she replied, though he probably wasn’t the least bit interested in her nonsense. Bright golden eyes finally dropped away from what little she could see at the top of the staircase and returned to her bought companion. “I am pretty hungry. Could you get something for us? I am tired. I’ll wait here.” “Here?” Joseph asked, looking around. When he looked back at Charlotte she was already sitting on one of the steps. He cringed. “This isn’t the best place to have a picnic, kid.” “I like it here. It’s a good place to people watch,” she shrugged and pulled on the hoodie of her sweater, effectively hiding the most of her dark hair, although she did have to wrestle with her braid to get most of it tucked away. With her hands neatly stuffed into the pockets of her jeans, she peered up at Joseph and gave him ber best and most charming smile. “Hey, I am from out of town, cut me some slack.” The girl was pretty. He didn’t think so in a creepy way. He just appreciated that the girl was brightly lit from within, and when she smiled it was one of the prettiest sights he had ever seen. It was hard not to feel somewhat infected with her, seemingly genuine, curiosity and eccentricness. “Alright, if you insist. What do you want to eat?” “I don’t know. What’s good here?” Charlotte shrugged her shoulders and lurched forward slightly as if she were cold and trying to cozy up to her own folded knees. She hoped that she wasn’t overselling her attempt at appearing unassuming. “Maybe something warm?” “Fine. I’ll get us some noodle cups,” he said as his eyes began to scan the small collection of kiosk like shops that littered the sides of the massive underground tunnel. “There’s actually a pretty good guy around here. He makes the tastiest noodles. He uses fish broth, and adds fresh green onions, finely chopped…” he was going to go on, except that Charlotte managed to cut him off. “Yes, please -- that sounds wonderful.” “Alright, alright -- I’ll be right back.” And off he went to fetch the food that he had recommended and which she had so politely asked for. Meanwhile, Charlotte leaned back almost fully, her elbows resting on a few steps above where her bottom was sitting. She tilted her head as far back as she could, and she went right back to observing the white fluorescent light. And then she decided -- if it was an apartment building then surely no one would mind if she snuck up to the lobby to get a look around. She had yet to see the surface of Martial Town, and she was dying with curiosity. She tapped her feet a few times, and then, as if willed by some invisible force, Charlotte got to her feet and climbed the staircase. She took them two at a time, those ugly, graffiti covered steps. She flew up without ever touching the iron rail, until at last she stood under the full force of those white lights she had been admiring. For a brief moment she was blinded, but as her eyes adjusted she saw how utterly unimpressive the office building’s lobby was. Stark white floors, gray walls, a single massive desk where a single bored looking guy sat. There were high ceilings, with ugly industrial-style chandeliers hanging down, and a single wall that was made out of panels of glass that gave her her first look out into the city. She stood quietly at the top of the stairs and stared.
  11. Charlotte

    -=Walking in a Winter Wonderland=-

    Charlotte had become a creature of silence. She didn’t mean to be so quiet, or rather so off putting, but her mind had become such a dark and drewery place that she found it hard to pull herself out of it. She knew that her companion suffered for it. Justus was often left in the dark as to what her plans were, and because she had saved him and claimed ownership over his life, and he with his noble heart had accepted, he came along with her like a well behaved dog on a leash. But her intentions were not to be cruel or to mistreat him in anyway. More than once he had proven himself to be invaluable to her whenever trouble managed to find its way to her. He kept her safe, and he didn’t make demands on her methods or reasons -- he simply followed. Yet more than just his obedience, Charlotte knew that he was all that was keeping her tethered to the world anymore. She felt lost and isolated without Alexander, and she had been reckless and foolish up until the moment when she reunited with Justus. Somehow, he had given her a sense of purpose; They both had to find the Black Queen. It was of course a great relief to find out that her suspicions had been correct and that Gabriela was not dead. However, they had been met with quite a scare when they arrived in Veelos only to hear that an assassination attempt had nearly ended their search for the queen, when her life was nearly claimed by a true flying bullet while visiting the country of Kadia. Because of the attack, visiting with the wounded queen had been utterly impossible in Veelos, where the security was so tight that they never even got close to the royal palace. This felt like their only chance to see the Queen. “Once she sees us, she will recognize us,” she said to Justus as they stood there besides a large column that was decorated in ropes of lights and pearls. Not far from them stood a lovely young woman who nursed a mug of hot chocolate and was quite busy bending down to pick up a handful of snow. Charlotte couldn’t have known that this was the woman who had been so near her beloved queen when her immortal coil had nearly been done away with. Had she known, she would have gone to question the woman about the state of the queen’s mind. The rumors were hard to follow, and the gossip seemed to swerve in every, which direction. Some said she was kidnapped by Roen nearly a year ago, other’s said she was still engaged to Raphael and quite pregnant with his child -- and still others said that none of it was true, and that Gabriela had cruelly deposed her son for the sake of her own vanity. But all that Charlotte wanted to know was if the queen was herself or if some tragedy had befallen her mind as it had before in the past. Did the queen remember who she was? Who her friends were… “Are you nervous, Justus?” asked the golden-eyed girl with those big pupil-less eyes looking up into his face. It had been quite some time since she looked sweet and charming. Her face was bathed in the innocence of hope -- Orisia had always meant that much to her. Alexander had stolen her life once upon a time, but he was dead and gone now. For the first time, in a long time, Charlotte dared to dream what it might be like to go back… To live the life she had always wanted to live.
  12. Charlotte

    Meeting an Old Friend

    @Eternity She sat quietly at her table. Everything changed the moment she started carrying herself differently -- including how others treated her. Though her heart burned with a meekness that she often wanted to display, she had quickly learned that the world would devour her in an instant if she gave it a reason to, and what better reason was there to be destroy a thing of beauty than when it displayed weakness? And so, the moment she stepped out of Alexander’s cruel shadow, she found her own and found that it was dark but comforting. If she sat straight, if she looked up, if she met the curious glances directly no one would approach her. The alluring sense of divinity that surrounded her was quickly transformed from something that was coveted to something that was feared. Her difference, in the eyes of others, made her dangerous, and this alone kept her safe now. That, and of course, the money she had stolen before she left Alexander’s side. A wealthy woman now, Charlotte decided where she went and when and for how long and for what reasons. But all those freedoms came with an inexplicable sense of sorrow and emptiness. She had nowhere to go and no reasons, and she couldn’t decide for how long to stay in one place or another, and so she floated through the world without purpose. That is of course until everything changed. The world was an oddly interesting place so long as she felt the distant reach of Alexander. He was always looking for her, feeling for her, and trying ;to search her out -- but the golden ring around her index finger kept her cloaked from his sight and ensured her liberty remained intact. Even so, their connection could not be so easily severed. She knew that he lived, that he searched, and that he suffered -- and in turn he felt the turmoil of her confusion, the desperation of her loneliness, and the suffering she was making herself go through. What a strange couple they were. But then one day she felt nothing. A dreadful fear fixed itself in her heart as she imagined the worse. Had Alexander perished? Had the awful creature that had put her through all the levels imaginable of hell finally been defeated and killed… She was filled with both joy and sorrow at the thought. However, the sorrow quickly overcame all sense of victory. Worry crept into her heart, and soon she found herself thinking of nothing else but him. If he was dead, she had to know -- and if he was hurt, or in need -- then she had to help. But where did she go? And what would she do… The Devil of Patia might be able to help, but then again word on the street was that he hadn’t been seen in some time. It seemed like she had wasted her time here and would have to try to find another way to reach Alexander. She looked at her dinner. She had ordered the house special, a beef stew with chunks of fresh vegetables floating around a thick broth. It smelled heavenly, and it looked appetizing, served with a warm loaf of bread and butter, but she couldn’t make herself touch the food. Surely it would cause some whispers when she sent it all back untouched and headed up to her bedroom to sleep. “It’s a vampire,” whispered a serving wench that walked past Charlotte’s table. Immediately the girl’s golden eyes lifted and she watched the woman walk away, whispering to her partner. “It’s downstairs, the seller is giving us all a peek before he sells it off in the market tomorrow.” “A vampire?! I thought the devil had a soft spot for them -- why would he allow one of them to be sold in his city?” “What the devil don’t know won’t hurt him. Besides, just because he likes one of them doesn't mean he’s gotta like them all. They’re horrid creatures. I’ve never seen one before, but now’s our chance. Are you gonna come down into the basement to see?” “Alright, alright…” The two girls went squealing and giggling down an open passage with steps that lead into lower levels. She saw a few other people go, and finally, when the curiosity was far too much to bare, she too got to her feet and made her way to the basement. Down below, there was a crowd already gathered. She was by far the best dressed, in her regal white gown and her warm furs around her neck and shoulders. She looked like something from a dream, as she stood in the back of the group, trying to see the creature that was being dragged and whipped toward the small clearing in the center.
  13. Charlotte

    Murder Mystery on a Train?!

    Quick and dirty interest check! Come and catch a train with us from Blairville to Last Chance. Your reasons for travel are your own and you can choose to share them or keep them a mystery. However, as the journey across Terrenus moves along, people will start to die off mysteriously and quite violently. No one is safe, both luxury and economy class are struck alike -- seemingly without reason or rhyme. Can you survive this train ride from hell, and if so, how will you do it? Will you cower and try to hide or will you be one of the bold ones who tries to help the authorities figure out what’s going on? Notes: -The train will consist of: Engine Car Not Open to the Public Dining/Lounge Cars Open to Everyone Two Luxury Cars Open Only to First Class Ticket Holders Two Economy Cars Open to Everyone 6 Cargo Cars Not Open to the Public -No posting order outside of established character interactions. -Are you okay with having your character murdered? Let me know! -We don’t need all the roles filled, but it would be nice to have a full house! Passenger: Charlotte {Do not kill} Passenger: Justus {Eternity -- Do not kill} Passenger: Silvia {Sheep} Passenger: Dash {Jaistlyn -- Can kill} Passenger: Lucier Hollow {Wade -- Do not kill} Passenger: Die's Character {Die Shizle -- Can Kill} Dectective: Ishin Hiroyuki {Pandahat} Train Staff: Murderer: King
  14. Charlotte

    Meeting an Old Friend

    The morning came and went, and so did the afternoon and early evening. Charlotte figured that Justus required rest, and probably some time away from the sun. She couldn’t recall if he was the sort of vampire that could sustain his health when assaulted by the golden light of day. Better safe than sorry, she assumed and bid her time to come out of her bedroom. But when she finally did she was well dressed in brown breeches, a light cotton shirt in white, a brown vest with golden embroidery at the chest, which made it intricate and feminine, knee-high riding boots, and a heavy cloak lined in a supple brown fur. Her hair had been drawn back and braided and at her side she carried a small satchel and nothing more. The gown from the night before was nowhere to be seen, and had infact been abandoned. This is the way Charlotte lived now, moving from place to place, leaving behind her belonging and purchasing new ones when she required them. Wealth gave her an unimaginable freedom she had never before experienced. “We should get going, save the talking for the long road ahead of us. I thought Gabriela was here, and in fact she was, but that was some months ago.” Charlotte looked perplexed and worried as she made her way across the room. She expected Justus to be fully dressed and ready. There was something short and nearly rude about the way she spoke now, but it wasn’t directed at anyone. Little Charlotte commanding so much authority seemed a strange thing, but she fit the role perfectly. “I am not particularly sure of the circumstances of your imprisonment, but I imagine you’ve spent some time in Patia. Have you heard anything…” it seemed silly to ask, what could a lowly slave have possibly overheard? Anyway, it seemed like it was worth a try to at least ask. Depending on his responce, Charlotte added after a silence had settled between them, “I bribed one of the guards at the gate. He told me that Gabriela had left aboard an airship and that the rumor was she went to Last Chance. It’s a long way to go on such a flimsy lead, but I am not sure what else we can do.” With that she turned and exited the hotel room, leaving him to follow. She imagined he would be capable of traveling like her -- without much in the form of possessions. He seemed perfectly capable of acquiring what he needed. So off they went, down through the lobby where she didn’t bother to check out. The payment had been made, and she was already aware of whispers concerning the murdered man who had died in their shared room the night before. It was time to get away from this city. “There use to be a high speed train that made stops through Patia but it’s been years since that’s been up and running. I am afraid we’ll have to go on foot to the nearest city with a train stop, and that’s Blaiville. I hope you don’t mind a little rough traveling because we’ll have to travel on horseback for the next 550 miles.” She left it at that and together they went and acquired horses and a few supplies for their travels. She seemed stingy about what to buy, but the items she did purchase were of a very high quality. Together, and in silence, they walked through the city, leading their horses and marveling at some of the sights. Their measured pace eventually brought them before the opera house, which although it was lit up, looked oddly abandoned. Charlotte had to stop here, she had to peer up at the magnificent facade of the structure and the oddly out of place architectural style. It didn’t match -- this building -- but in a good way. It’s white marble columns and it’s wide, inviting steps upward, were regal and open so unlike the darker buildings that surrounded them. Charlotte thought that the building looked familiar, but she couldn’t remember from where… “There was suppose to be a gala,” she whispered to Justus, not certain why she was bothering with this useless bit of information. “I managed to get an invitation, just bought it off someone noble in need of money -- I was certain I would find Gabriela there.” The pretty, golden eyed girl shook her head and shrugged. “No party for us,” she said simply before moving on, “--No party for anyone, it seems.” -Exit
  15. Charlotte

    Meeting an Old Friend

    She was glad when Justus was gone. His departure gave her a chance to look upon the body of the cruel man. They had slain him together, but she knew she bore the most weight in his murder. Death, especially so tragic a death, was always a tragedy no matter how deserving the individual, and so, Charlotte continued to sit there, poised and lovely, but with her head inclined toward the body and with her eyes half-lidded and barely able to contain tears. “I hope your soul finds mercy for the things you did, and that the suffering of your death is penance enough for the crimes committed during your life.” Overwhelmed by her sorrow, the angelic woman climbed to her feet and retreated to her bedroom. She stays in there for a long time, even as she heard the front door to her apartment open and shut and multiple sets of bodies moving across her floor. She didn’t have to guess at what was going on. She simply sat upon her bed and stared at the door until all was quiet and still once again. When she was certain that everyone was gone, she went back and opened the door. Justus was standing there, looking resolute but so out of place, and much to her relief, the body, along with the mess it had made, was gone. She lingered there, pressed against the doorframe of her bedroom, with her brows pinched in thought and worry. “I suppose we have a lot to talk about Justus,” she said quietly, her golden eyes fixed on that one place on the floor where the body had been spread out. It was such a strange sight to see it all as it was before the blood soaked into the carpet and stained the floorboards. Whoever Justus found had done a wonderful job of cleaning up their mess. “But tonight is not the night. Get some rest, tomorrow we are leaving -- before anyone can report the disappearance of the man we just murdered. Unfortunately, even without a body, I am afraid we’d be prime suspects.” Charlotte paused for a moment, and finally her eyes lifted to meet the vampire’s gaze. “I don’t intend to treat you like a slave, but I do expect you to behave as a man who owes me his life -- tonight, you have incurred a debt, and I will see to it that you pay in full. You are to accompany me on my mission to find the Black Queen, after that, you are free to leave my service.” She didn’t wait to see if he understood or if he agreed. Charlotte had changed -- everything about her had changed. One thing that Alexander had taught her was not to waste her time asking for things. She knew what she wanted, she knew what she was owed, and so she issued her commands and expected them to be treated like law. “Good night, Justus.”
  16. Charlotte

    Meeting an Old Friend

    Charlotte sat quietly on the sofa. Her legs were crossed and her hands were neatly folded over her lap. There was no sign of her dagger, and save for the grizzly display of torn flesh, a blood soaked carpet, and a mangled body at the center of it all, there was very little in her behavior that might have suggested that something was wrong. She was so calm, and so composed, that when Justus walked out, she even smiled up at him. It was a small and very contained smile, as if she weren’t quite sure what she wanted to say but her feelings remained positive nonetheless. A small, and strange, smile indeed. “Well,” she began, tilting her head and settling into a more relaxed position, “--you were the last person I expected to run into here in Patia.” Silence -- Charlotte waited for a moment. Speaking to this creature was strange, and she wanted to give herself, as well as him, as much time to adjust as possible. Surely he was just as surprised to see her standing there amongst the crowed of jeering monsters, all of them calling for his torture, blood, and death. She had questions, so many of them, but they could all wait. “I came to look for the Black Queen. You see, she passed away,” again, Charlotte paused and waited to let her words sink in. She knew about the strange change of heart that had led Justus to leave his wicked life behind and become a knight of the Black Queen of Orisia. She had looked upon the whole situation unfavorably, but had made her peace with it long ago. It was just like Gabriela to take in the worst of the worst and turn them into something better -- she knew this from personal experience. But she had to wonder if Justus knew that the queen had died -- without knowing how long he had been a prisoner for, she decided to leave nothing to chance and so made no assumptions. “It happened, maybe six or seven months ago. Some tragic accident, that’s how they sold it to everyone. However, it turns out that she wasn’t dead. Rumors have been swirling ever since. Some people say that the devil brought her to Patia, others whisper that she ran away with a High Lord to Tellus Mater, and still others swear that she now stands, an empress, besides the Blood God of Genesaris. I don’t know. But since I was in Terrenus, I figured I would start my search here.” She waited for a moment, after all, she had just given him so much information. How was he going to react to it? Charlotte’s golden eyes focused intently on the vampire, and watched curiously as the gears in his head began to turn. “From what I’ve seen, she isn’t here. She was here, for some time apperently, but as the story goes -- the devil let her leave or she escaped or, some people even say, he threw her out. Unfortunatly for me, that means I have to find a way to Genesaris to see if she is with the Blood God. But not I have a small problem,” Charlotte lifted a hand and motioned to the bottle of the man they had murdered together. He was pale, cold, and strange looking now. Devoid of his life, it seemed humaity and dignity had left him completely. He looked like a bag of bones, and nothing else. “This mess needs to be cleaned up, and I am afraid I don’t know the first thing about getting rid of a body. Being that you are what you are, vampire and monster, I assume that you can take care of this issue without calling attention to us. The last thing I want is to be arrested in this god-awful city. So, for your first task, Justus -- I would like you to clean up this mess, find yourself some suitable clothing, and then get some rest. I want to leave as soon as possible.”
  17. Charlotte

    Meeting an Old Friend

    The water ran cold, and under it she placed the bloodied edge of her pretty, little dagger. She didn’t really know how to wash a dagger, especially not after it had spilled blood, but she did her best. She opted for a bar of soap and rubbed the blade until it was covered in suds, and then rinsed it until the water ran clear. She did this over and over until the knock on the door made her jump. Somehow, she had fallen into a type of trance -- a calculating endeavor of washing that kept her from hearing the struggle outside the bathroom door, or from smelling the oddly coppery scent that lingered in the air. But the knock on the door was too much to ignore and she knew that an odd reality had just been confirmed. A man had been cut open and sacrificed to the blood thirsty animal she had purchased just a few moments ago. And while she left the man a bleeding mess, still clinging to life -- she was wholly responsible for his death, regardless of the fact that it was Justus who drew in his last breath with the last mouthful of blood that he swallowed. Now that it was all said and done, she felt nervous about what was to come. “Yes,” she responded without turning around. By now she had plucked a small washcloth from the polished stone counter, and was busy drying off her blade. “Come in -- you should probably wash off.” Charlotte didn’t bother looking up until the sound of the doorknob twisted and clicked and she felt the quick push and pull of the air outside the room rush and depart from the small bathroom. When she did look up it was with those same familiar golden eyes, her expression one of discomfort. “Justus,” she said calmly, speaking his name before he could say anything at all. Up and down his figure, her eyes took in the measure of his appearance. “I really must insist that you get cleaned up before we talk. I imagine they didn’t give you the dignity to keep clean wherever it was that you were kept. Here, there’s a shower, and warm water, and clean towels. Once you’re ready, we can talk about what happened and what’s going to happen from here on out.” Little Charlotte had grown up. Not just physically -- she was no longer the young fifteen year old that he had met. She stood a lovely woman of twenty now, perhaps twenty one. She had grown into her body, her long and slender limbs. Though youth still kissed her lovely features, she was more serious and more commanding, small as she was. She smiled and walked up to him. “It is good to see you alive, and well.” And then she was gone, leaving him alone in the bathroom with the door firmly shut behind her.
  18. Charlotte

    Meeting an Old Friend

    The man at the door was not particularly impressive, though he did have the gift of youth. He was tall, and appeared to be well muscled, though his facial features were anything but handsome. But ugly as he was, Charlotte could sense that he was a man who was heavily pursued by women and men, because he exuded a sort of authority. It was probably the kind of power that came with violence and money, but to most, the way power was attained hardly mattered. After an initial examination -- something that took only a moment or two -- Charlotte nodded her head and stepped to the side, leaving her bedroom open to the stranger who had sold her Justus. Of course the man had taken the time to look her over as well, and she felt the leer of his appreciation as he took in the delicate curves of her body that were rather notable under her nightgown. “You always conduct business in your night clothes, sweetheart?” he asked as he walked straight into her room. His eyes were immediately drawn to Justus, and the cruelty in his heart lead him to stand right above the fallen vampire, where he began to poke and prod with the toe of his shoe. “It was a stroke of genius,” she replied calmly as she closed the door behind him and followed in his wake. Still the small silver dagger was pressed to the small of her back. When the man turned to look over his shoulder he didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. Charlotte was so small and unassuming, he never saw it coming -- the glint of light against the sharp edge of her knife as it struck out, lightning quick, and cut him clear across the throat. The man, who had never fully turned toward her, buckled under the weight of shock and blood loss as his throat was split open. Down he went onto his knees, both hands clutching at his bleeding neck, and all the while strange sounds came from his mouth as if he were trying to speak. More than likely, he was choking on his own blood. There was no pleasure for the sight in Charlotte’s golden eyes. She stood above it all, clutching her bloodied dagger to her chest, with such a sad expression that it looked as if she were about to weep. “You hurt my friend very badly,” she explained softly to the dying man, who was now securely caught in the weak embrace of the very friend of whom she was speaking. “And you see, he needs blood to get better -- and I simply could not stomach sacrificing someone who is innocent. But you aren’t innocent, are you? Even so,” she went on sadly, “you certainly don’t deserve such a horrible death. Perhaps some mercy will be granted to you because of this suffering. Pray, now that you are in your last moments, pray that He will forgive you.” And then she stepped back, less she be spritzed with the sudden fountain of blood that seemed to splash everywhere. Justus seemed to have tasted the blood and it offered an immediately kind of rehabilitation. Charlotte, who did not want to watch, turned away and eventually, walked away to the bathroom where she closed the door behind her. She busied herself for the next few minutes with washing and drying her small dagger.
  19. Charlotte

    Meeting an Old Friend

    “Do me a favor,” she said to the man at the door who had come to deliver Justus’ sword. It was a miracle that the weapon was returned, but not something that was overly important at the moment. “Can you go to the tavern down the street, down in the basement -- there’s a man selling,” she paused and glanced at the vampire that was laying flat on his back in the center of her room, “ -- he’s selling unique goods.” The young man looked at Justus, and then back to Charlotte and lifted a brow, “can you go there, and can you tell him that the woman who bought his vampire, that she would like to make additional purchases, as soon as possible? Please ask him to come see me here. And obviously, I would very much appreciate your quiet and delicate handling of this situation.” Charlotte, that sweet-faced angel, with her bright golden eyes, handed the young man a coin and he immediately accepted and went away. And then, finally alone with Justus, she turned back to the room and regarded him with that same sad expression. He lay at the center of a sitting area, to the right were a set of double doors, which lead to her bedroom, and to the left a single door that lead to the bathroom. The floors were polished wood, and the furniture was tasteful and beautiful. Even the walls were lined with beautiful tapestries. It was quite apparent that she was staying in one of the more luxurious places in the city. Above their heads, directly above Justus, hung a sparkling chandalier that was fixed in gold and held multiple branches of dangling and twinkling crystals. “I am going to need you to try and be strong, gain some of your strength -- you’re going to feed soon, and I need you to be able to do it.” Charlotte walked around Justus, her pretty white and silver dress trailing behind the sharp, clean click of her heels. Although she moved and spoke with a clear and unfamiliar authority, there was still youth to her appearance, especially in the way she loosened her hair from the loose bun that had been piled at the nape of her neck. Lush curls of soft brown came down along her back as she disappeared into her bedroom. After some minutes, she reappeared, now dressed in a much simpler gown. A thin night gown in silver, that hung from her shoulders by slender straps and fell across her body like liquid silk, caressing the small swells of her breasts, and clinging to the delicate shape of her body. She was a vision of delight and beauty, with her nightgown reaching just a little above her knees. Her lovely little bare feet padded around Justus’ head as she came close to him. She didn’t seem particularly concerned if he could see up the slow-swaying material of her dress. “He is a bad man, and I know he did bad things -- he doesn’t deserve to die, but he will tonight. I will slit his throat, but you must be ready to pull him down and drink. Don’t waste my sacrifice,” she warned with a strain in her sweet voice as she stepped over Justus, just as someone began to knock on the door. “Hey lady, I am here to talk business...open up.” Charlotte walked to the door, and should Justus turn his head to watch her, he would see that she was holding a small, slender dagger against the small of her back.
  20. Charlotte

    Meeting an Old Friend

    Seeing the dire conditions of the man she had just purchased caused Charlotte’s heart to ache. It felt like something was coiling tightly about the strong muscle and forcing less and less blood to pass through it, until she was certain that if she didn’t manage to gain a hold of herself she would join him on the floor -- a hopeless and helpless heap of flesh and bones. She had to be strong, and she had to push through the unbearable waves of empathy that caused her to feel the horror of pain and fear that were slowly reverberating from this poor creature’s broken body. Moving forward, the crowed of people parted like a sea at the behest of powerful and divine hands. Her dress of silver and white, lined in gray fur around the sleeves and neck moved fluidly with her small form. Gone was the shy and meek girl that Justus had once known and terrorized, and in her place was a radiant woman with bright golden eyes and wisps of light brown hair -- the color of hot chocolate when too much milk had been added. The people around them were watching and she could feel the weight of their judgment. One false move on her part, any sign of weakness or doubt, and she knew that they would be upon them like a pack of rabid dogs. Today she had no intentions on becoming the hunted doe, or of letting this .vampire die at the hands of blood-lusting monsters. “Who wants to earn this beautiful, shiny, gold coin?” She asked aloud, lifting a small and pretty hand into the air. Between her dainty fingers a lovely golden coin caught the light and reflected it this way and that as she turned it over so that everyone could see. “I need a strong lad to help me carry my newly acquired pet to my hotel room. It’s not far from here, but a weakling won’t do. I don’t want to waste time with someone who can’t keep a firm grip and carry a heavy load.” “I’ll do it,” came a voice -- deep and steady. A young man had stepped forward from the crowed, much to the displeasure of some of the women standing around him. He was a handsome man, broad of shoulder and with rough but well defined features. He had the sort of face that deserved caressing. And for a brief moment, Charlotte was taken with him. Clearly ware of the effect he had on women, he smirked and went on to ask, “where exactly do I need to take him?” “The hotel, not far from here -- maybe three blocks. The Devil’s Fiddle…” “Alright, that ain’t so far. I’ll be back in just a few minutes,” he said over his shoulder to his small gathering of fan girls. Then, without much effort at all, he bent over and plucked Justus off the floor and threw him roughly over his shoulder. The poor vampire spat out a mouthful of blood. Charlotte did her best not to show concern as she turned on her heel and headed for the stairs.
  21. Charlotte

    Meeting an Old Friend

    Charlotte stood and watched with mute horror. Human beings -- mortals in general it seemed -- were viciously cruel creatures, and she could not begin to understand them, nor did she want to try anymore. Since the last of her humanity was stripped away, and since she became a full divine creature, much of what she felt and thought had changed. She was still filled with the same unparalleled empathy, but it was measured now with a strange understanding that mortals had been condemned to this tragic existence by their own hands. They were stupid and silly animals, deserving of her sympathy but nothing more -- and nowhere was it more apparent than here, in this wretched and secret place where needless torture was happening for the entertainment of a few dozen people. “I will purchase him,” she said out loud before the man tormenting the vampire even asked for an opening bid. The sound of her voice and the words that she had spoken caused those nearest to her to turn and part away, which in turn grew and grew until most everyone in the room was silent and looking at her. As always, Charlotte stood quite below the height of most and was beyond beautiful with her oddly peaceful aura and divine presence, but unlike before -- when she had been full of human weakness -- she commanded a sense of respect and wonder. “I said I will purchase him, whatever the price.” “Ten full gold coins,” replied the man, who was holding a whip in his hand and was posed to bring down the harsh instrument on Justus yet again. “Ten golden coins, right here and right now or I am kicking you the hell out of here.” “Very well,” she replied simply as she tugged on the strings that kept her coin purse secured to her belt. She fingered the fine leather pouch for a moment and then tossed it over the heads of the patrons and onto the platform where the cruel man stood besides Justus. The bag opened and out of it fell a full thirteen golden goins. They glittered on the wooden floor as the man dove onto his knees to collect them. “Give her the leech -- he’s her problem now.” The two men who had pulled Justus off of his shackles and away from the wall only to drag him to the center of the stage where he was beaten now picked it up and all but threw him off the platform where he landed roughly upon the hard ground. Charlotte shoved and pushed her way to her newly acquired property, utterly dismayed at the cruelty that had been displayed. When she finally reached Justus, she her eyes were filled with tears. “Justus…” @Eternity
  22. Charlotte

    The Canary Hotel

    She did as she was told, as well as she could. The man kept his wide and long fingers wrapped tightly around her bicept, but he let her pull away just enough to turn around and face the man who had tapped him on the shoulder. She nearly screamed, but settled only for wincing and turning her face away from the sudden burst of violence. The man who had been harassing her just moments before was struck with such force that as he fell forward onto the floor, she felt herself tugged down. She managed to stay upright, but the man went down in a flurry of falling glasses and tossed liquid, along with disgruntled gasps and shouts from both men and women. “Sorry about that. He didn’t seem very reasonable, so I took the expedient route… But damn, that felt good.” “It felt good to punch a man in the face?!” Charlotte asked, or more like exclaimed, nearly shaking from the burst of adrenaline she got from all the commotion. Her golden eyes were bright, and her small frame was still trembling from the fear, turned to anger, turned to shock. “Anyway, my lady, we should head out before they see this and throw us out. I learned the hard way that the way you exit a building leaves a bigger impression than you would think. So, let’s get going, and make sure to stay close.” Charlotte stood wide-eyed with a hundred questions running through her mind. What exactly did he mean with that comment about exiting a building -- as if this wasn’t the first time he took his fist to a stranger's face! Was he normally this violent? Did he have some sort of anger management problem? Could he turn on her -- could she find herself on the other side of a sudden burst of anger… She had to think about this clearly. He had obviously defended her. He’d heard her cry and had come back for her only to find her being harassed -- and it’s not like the man on the floor deserved any of her pity. He was disgusting. Golden eyes glared down at the man still sprawled out on the polished surface of the dance floor. People were stepping over him, ugly looks were being cast in her direction, and in the distance, she could see the tall and wide bouncers making their way to the scene of the crime. Without a second thought she quickly followed behind Clerik. It wasn’t until they were outside the club, in the chilled air of the open night in the middle of a busy street, full of foot traffic, that she reached out for her white knight. She touched his elbow and urged him to slow his fast stroll forward. “I am staying in a hotel, not far from here, we can go there to talk. I want to know if it’s a coincidence that we meet here or if you were able to follow me.” She looked nervous, but not because he had found her -- there were worse forces out there that she was trying to get away from.
  23. Charlotte

    The Canary Hotel

    Gabriela was known for her inclusivity -- a thing that had greatly attracted the young Charlotte to the summer isle. There she had found a home under the queen’s roof, and even the support necessary to try and attain an education. That dream was ultimately shattered, but through no fault of the vampyre queen or anyone else who resided in her home. Fate carried her away to another continent, a vastly different land, and a brand new way of life. But still, she felt a keen sense of disgust now as she regarded Justus and realized that by repentance he too had been granted a home with the queen. Inclusivity looked less and less appealing. Justus assured her that he wasn’t looking for her, a fact that the young angelic woman did not entirely believe. She was running -- she was always running -- and therefore she found it hard to stomach that this creature from her past had come and reemerged in her present. “If what you say is true,” she began, keeping her distance -- a distance that he had placed between them, “what are you doing so far from home? You still wear the black armor and the pendant, but from what I can remember, the Black Queen never had dealings with Terrenus.” Of course he didn’t have to answer her question, and if he really wasn’t looking for her and didn’t want anything to do with her, then he probably wouldn’t. She was like a madwoman, seeing threats and feeling shadows at every turn. She looked exhausted from being suspicious of everything, but it was the only thing that was keeping her alive. So she lifted her chin defiantly, and waited to see what Justus would say for himself. Although, if he admitted that he was here looking for her, she wasn’t at all sure what she was suppose to do. It was one thing to have found her voice and courage, but a very different thing to have gripped the reigns of her power in order to wield them defensively. There was so much that Alexander never got a chance to teach her before she left him...
  24. Charlotte

    The Canary Hotel

    She told the man to go on without her, that she would catch up. The truth was she had no idea if the man intended to wait. All of her questions would be put on hold, but she had an inkling -- a bad feeling in the pit of her stomach that kept her from marching forward with him. So much had changed since her time with Justus so long ago. Alexander had made her stronger, more powerful, more in tune and dependent on her angelic side, so she felt his darkness as one might feel the heavy presence of a pitch-black shadow. The mana greed and left her, and just as Justus drew near, she turned to face him. He would be greeted by the same wide golden eyes he had once upon a time filled with terror. They were brighter now, and more self-assured as she took in his measure, looking him up and down and instantly recognizing the black armor and pendant of the Black Queen’s guards. It struck her as an immediate betrayal that the Black Queen had taken into her ranks a monster like him. He was beyond cruel to her, using her for her blood, tormenting her about the freedom she had lost. “How did you find me?” she asked, thinking that somehow he was searching her out. It never struck her mind that this was a chance encounter -- that fate had brought them together again now that she had run away and lost the protection of Alexander. She pulled her white fur coat close to her small shoulders and straightened her posture. She wouldn’t show him an ounce of fear. “And how did you manage to break into the ranks of the Black Heart Guard?” Would it surprise him that Little Charlotte knew of the Black Heart Knights? He couldn’t have guessed that she spent time under the protection of the Queen. It was her hope that she might return to Orisia before Alexander found her and took her back to the decrepit capital he was building.
  25. Charlotte

    Club Unz Unz

    “Whatever end I end up meeting, I will face it with blade in hand and courage in my heart…” Charlotte wanted to laugh. Not at him or his sentiments, but rather at the utter unfairness of life. She had no doubt that Cerik would give up his life for a worthy cause. From the top of his head to the soles of his feet, he looked, sounded, and felt like a hero. One of those rare and precious good men that simply did not exist anymore. And she supposed, with a twist of pain in her heart, that he might even deem her a worthy enough cause to defend. But to face Alexander? It simply wasn’t fair. The Witch King didn’t play by the rules of mortality like everyone else -- he wouldn’t stab an enemy through the heart and leave him to die and meet his maker. No, Alexander captured and collected souls and tormented them within the steel prison that was his dreaded blade. What a terrible sacrifice to ask of anyone… There was a loud bang and Charlotte jolted. Cerik clearly was not the sort of man who wanted to be ignored, even when daydreams and dark thoughts clouded the mind of his would-be audience. Frightened eyes, wide and full of gold, regarded Cerik once more. “If you still stand by your words, then I will tell you one last thing before I go: I paid the tracker I hired extra gold to erase and redirect your trail after I followed it.” He was standing, looking at her with a heaviness that she felt on her shoulders. He moved slowly, and she couldn’t tell if it was because of his size, the steadily growing crowd in the club, or because he was giving her a chance to stop him from leaving. Her mind hurried along trying to make a decision. Loneliness was so terrible. Fresh tears came to her eyes as she began to lose sight of the man. “Wait,” she called, her bottom lip trembling as she hurried forward. However, it was much harder for a woman of Charlotte’s size to make way through so many larger and taller bodies. “Wait -- Please!” she called again, but wondered if her voice would be heard over the sound system, or the hoots and howls of the men who watched the naked women dancing on poles. “Don’t leave me alone,” she cried finally before a set of hands fell around her hips and all but picked her up from the floor. Her attention flew from her one would-be friend to the man who had plucked her up and was now pulling her close, grinding his groin right into her back. “Hey! Let me go…” Charlotte demanded -- she didn’t ask. She wasn’t timid or afraid. She looked outraged. “Com’on doll! How much to get a little dance from you? I want to see what you’re hiding under your fur coat.” The man, who smelled of booze, was pawing at her white coat, trying to make it fall off of one of her small shoulders. “I don’t work here,” she explained, pulling her coat back up. “Do you understand sir? I don’t work here. Please let me go.”
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