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Charlotte

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  1. Like
    Charlotte got a reaction from Dolor Aeternum in Purple Rain   
    The good king placed a hand upon his heart and began to bow, but both his gesture as well as his words were lost upon Charlotte. She was looking beyond him, over his right shoulder, at the vast and cloudy sky behind him. Although the rain had stopped, the sky was still gray and black with pregnant clouds that managed to look all the more menacing. The air was crackling with power, dark and heavy, and she recognized it almost immediately because she had been in its presence once before what seemed like a lifetime ago. Back when she was Alexander’s empress and play thing, she had accompanied him to meet the Warlord who was busy raising up his capital city somewhere upon the shores of Terrenus, in a place called Biazo Island. Although she knew of the Warlord’s dealings with her queen, she never imagined that she would see him again and least of all in this way.
     
    It seemed that out of thin air one of his fabled floating fortresses had materialized. It hummed a song of power that made the hairs on the back of her neck stand up, but not as much as the sudden symphony of screams that came from the castle proper. It was only now, after the rain had stopped, that Charlotte was able to hear the distant sound of explosions, of clashing, of shouting -- and it was only now that the blurred, dream-like fog of rain cleared up enough for her to see the wisps of smoke that pouring out of different parts of the castle.
     
    Raylon was forgotten. His kindness, his sweetness, his gentleness -- his beauty and charm. The traits that moments ago had her daydreaming about feeling the weight of his hands upon her cheek or the warmth of his lips against her own. It was all gone. And left in its place, was a hollow sense of dread and horror that seemed to stretch her stomach into a bottomless pit of despair.  
    She was moving forward then, brushing by the king as she hurried down the steps where the gazebo was so comfortably set.
     
    “What is that,” she asked, knowing that her strange behavior was bound to cause the king to turn his head to seek out the cause of her sudden rudeness. And what a sight would greet him. The castle was shaking, and beyond it high in the sky was a floating structure that poured rivers of lava, which thankfully were falling into the waters of the Atitlan lake and not upon the residents of Versilla. Charlotte’s golden eyes were wide and frightened, and her small frame was poised to continue moving forward, but she had stopped -- she had finally turned back to look at Raylon. “I think...I think we’re under attack…”
     
    No sooner had she spoken when they saw a collection of guards come from the gardens. Both men and women, wearing light armor, began dashing toward the fight -- like Raylon and Charotte, they had somehow missed the beginnings of the conflict and were only now realizing what was going on.
     
    “I am so sorry, I have to go -- I have to see how I can help.”
     
    And off she went, that slender and beautiful thing. She was delicate, even in her movements -- dreamlike as she moved on small feet, thin ankles, and long legs across the wet lawn toward the castle. Gone was her worry for modesty as her quick steps caused her sundress to flutter and flap, and cling to her still-wet body. That hardly mattered as the beautiful structure that she called home was shaken at its core by another internal explosion.
  2. Like
    Charlotte got a reaction from Dolor Aeternum in Purple Rain   
    She saw it of course, the swirl of menacing crimson across what had been a lovely, and peaceful aura. The king seemed troubled at the same time, with his gentle and handsome features taking on the weight of whatever it was that was worrying him -- or torturing him. Those golden eyes of hers darkened significantly as she felt a powerful wave of protectiveness sweep past her. Though she was small and much weaker than most, one half of her very being had been inherited from a guardian angel. The impulse to protect, to guard, to guide was at times impossibly difficult to resist, especially when it came to beings of such goodness. It was a rare find, a man devoid of wickedness, but not impossible. Raylon had not been the first, and now that she was calling Orisia her new home, she hoped with all her heart that he would not be the last. It was a striking difference, feeling the strength of duty over the weakness of submission.
     
    “Unfortunately not with the attention to detail I would prefer. Perhaps one day I will have the luxury of giving Versilla the attention it deserves with a guide who can endure my many inquiries.”
     
    She was not conceited enough to take that as an invitation, so she only smiled brightly at him when his own sensible lips curled. Charlotte was not the sort of person to feel entitled to someone elses time, though she had been hopeful that he would say something about wanting to go for a stroll right then and there. The truth was, she had no idea what it meant to be a king or a queen, though she had worn the title of Empress for a very short time. In the end, she had been nothing more than a slave and the honorific title meant only that she was the first and last to suffer, nothing more or less. But what Gabriela and Raylon did -- the work that they put into their nations? She simply knew that there was a plethora of unimaginable details that went into their work. How could she be upset or hurt that the king had other things to do?
     
    Graciously, she accepted what time he could give her and found herself grateful for having even been given the chance to share a short chat. It was quite a wonderful thing, being out and about and happening upon royalty. It absolutely tickled her, and more so, the way she noticed his eyes were lingering on certain parts of her body. For the most part, Charlotte was a shy and modest girl. But after years of living under Alexander she had learned much about the significance of certain looks, and for once in her life the potential attraction she seemed to elicit from another did not feel threatening and was certainly not frightening. If anything, she felt pleased and amused. She really did think so little of herself, so to see his silver eyes drift down the length of her torso, lower still to her legs, Charlotte blushed but felt the corners of her plump lips curl ever so slightly. Her musings about being potentially attractive to the king died away as he leaned in close and whispered his regards concerning her previous warning. Already she had forgotten the dire weight of what they had been speaking about, and the remainder of Gabriela and little Philippe -- and the situation they were in, it made her grow sullen.
     
    “Seems like the worst of it has subsided. Are you ready to… enjoy the rest of your day off?”
     
    It took her a moment to realize he was talking about the rain. Her gaze drifted lazily beyond the canopy of purple and green that been keeping them dry.
     
    “Oh,” she seemed surprised -- and perhaps a little disappointed. “Yes, I suppose I am. And how about you, Good King Raylon? What shall you do with the rest of this day now that the weather is turning?”
  3. Like
    Charlotte got a reaction from Dolor Aeternum in 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. Like
    Charlotte reacted to Dolor Aeternum in Purple Rain   
    The warmth of Charlotte’s smile drew Raylon’s attention toward her once again, the infectious curl of her lips causing silver eyes to glaze over the young woman’s features. The pride that she offered and the sudden shyness at the realization of it made the king smile just a bit wider. The purity of the emotions he sensed coming from her allowed him to forget much of what had just transpired and return to the innocence of their dialogue. He maintained his distance and let her finish her words, listening simultaneously to the sound of the raindrops battering the roof over them without any remorse. The barrage of water battered through their words but he remained close enough to hear every syllable. Intrigue caused him to fixate his gaze on the distinct gold, chewing on her words as she spoke.
     
    “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…”
     
    La’Ruta was a foreign concept to Raylon, though he had already begun receiving reports of technology failing or misbehaving due to some external magic. It was no stretch to assume that La’Ruta was the culprit and would become a major stressor to any technological advancement that was currently being planned. His people did not solely rely on technology to survive but its negation would not be something he could allow no matter what sort of force attempted to exert its will.
     
    “Does not sound strange to me at all though I myself prefer to try and make our employment of technology as personal as possible to try and create that same connection we can get from using the environment around us. Still, I’d assume the resources available here in Orisia lend themselves well to negating any need for any technology with proper handling. I would love my people to learn these practical methods you employ. You will find that they are almost as inquisitive as I am when it comes to the unknown.”
     
    He smiles, showing a similar hint of pride concerning what he had just stated though he did not shy away from displaying it. He stood now, walking forward only to stretch out his hand to allow the rain to fall upon it before he offered a few more words.
     
    “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 Orisia’s newest neighbor. My healers will have much to learn from you eventually…”
     
    His head turned to look at Charlotte with a wide smile again though the burden of his thoughts concerning other things continued to weigh upon him. He could never allow it to ruin this, however. He already considered Charlotte worthy of such effort.
  5. Like
    Charlotte got a reaction from Dolor Aeternum in 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…”
  6. Like
    Charlotte got a reaction from Dolor Aeternum in 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.”
  7. Like
    Charlotte got a reaction from Dolor Aeternum in 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?”
  8. Like
    Charlotte got a reaction from Dolor Aeternum in 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.”
  9. Like
    Charlotte got a reaction from Mag in 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.
  10. Like
    Charlotte got a reaction from Paroxysm in 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. Like
    Charlotte got a reaction from Akako Akari in -=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. Like
    Charlotte got a reaction from Roen in -=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.
  13. Like
    Charlotte got a reaction from Eternity in -=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.
  14. Like
    Charlotte got a reaction from Grim Wolf in -=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.
  15. Like
    Charlotte got a reaction from jaistlyn in -=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.
  16. Like
    Charlotte got a reaction from Twitterpated in -=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.
  17. Like
    Charlotte got a reaction from Malintzin in -=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.
  18. Like
    Charlotte reacted to Dolor Aeternum in Power Beckons   
    The missive distributed had catalyzed a portent that, while seemingly no different than several in Terrenus’ past, had come at a moment tailored to the fancies and deep needs of those that sought a foundation worthy enough to support them. Boldly distributed to the masses, this lack of discrimination provided the perfect veil to cover the meeting that would be held within the embrace of the Patian industrial sector on this day. Whoever managed to decipher the location of this meeting was worthy of attention, though this attention could easily become warped and unforgiving. The burgeoning arm of industry that the Outsider had managed to conjure provided ripe opportunity for advancement but an even greater opportunity for those who preyed on the greed that it freely coaxed. Such greed was enough to convince one of the entrepreneurs to host an ‘advancement meeting’ supported by the promise of ephemeral exclusivity for the span of two weeks from a branch of their choice. So this is where the three pronged weapon given the symbolic name of ‘The Abaddon Triumvirate’ decided to conduct this meeting for the time being.
     
    The promise of the attendance of at least one of the triumvirs should have been enough to establish the importance of this gathering. Would it be the charismatic black knight or the artistic sculptor that would make themselves visible immediately? Nay. The third appendage of this triumvirate would be the first to grace the attendees with its presence. The current manager of this meeting oozed into the limelight, an almost gelatinous black liquid slowly coalescing at the head of a long table. The liquid pooled for a few seconds on the floor before elevating itself to a level that was several feet high. The room was simplistic in nature and nothing like the haven that Ker had established for them. Some of the attendees were likely to be fledglings within this organization so they would need to earn the honor of entering into their home which would only be bestowed should they prove how much commitment they had to the ideals of this organization. The conference room that would host this meeting, while significantly large with a seating area and bar, was mundane enough to avoid tickling those who would simply wish to leech off of the ideals and efforts of others here. Those who were here needed to be fully committed or at least willing to execute fruitful actions that would edify and bring them closer to their goal.
     
    Crimson spheres slowly emerged from the mass of liquid to observe whoever was already present within the room. Time would be given for annoying pleasantries and fellowship as the meeting would not commence for another hour. Though this marketing campaign that Ker had orchestrated should attract potential members with enough intelligence to decipher the location of this meeting, Agony was far more concerned with making sure the ones who would operate under his leadership were worth his time. The rigor of what they had to accomplish to even be present in this meeting would be sufficient to weed out the worthless and those of ill intent. The others who had already established themselves within the group would be presented with an opportunity to finally meet other members of this budding organization. The days of sparse operations and communication have been discontinued. It was a bittersweet development in the eyes of Agony who abhorred communicating with most but was now realigned into a role that would inevitably mean more social interaction and much more complexity. Even worse now was the temporary absence of Ker and Rodan, leaving him the ‘honor’ of the open address.
     
    Undulating black would remain immobile at the head of the table with the occasional shift of those crimson orbs. Each individual orb would move of its own accord, sliding across the black liquid-like mass that did not decide to take any form whatsoever just yet. The amorphous triumvir was infamous for behaving outside of what some would consider the norm. The few that have managed to survive encounters with him were still deprived of the stability that came with having a face to associate with the name. With his left eye focusing on the door behind him and his right eye staring across the long table of this meeting area, he would wait for everyone to establish their position before having to endure what would come next.
  19. Like
    Charlotte got a reaction from supernal in 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
  20. Like
    Charlotte got a reaction from Wade in 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
  21. Like
    Charlotte got a reaction from Vesper in 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
  22. Like
    Charlotte got a reaction from sheep in 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
  23. Like
    Charlotte got a reaction from Eternity in 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
  24. Like
    Charlotte got a reaction from Eternity in 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
  25. Like
    Charlotte got a reaction from Aloesque in 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
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