The world is a haze. Vague sense of outline at the peripheral, of form, of shape. Lines on lines, blurred but uniform, a space, a box(a room). Dull thrumming in the distance, steady and rhythmic, something organic (a heartbeat). Light filters in red and orange (a fireplace). Warmth around, coldness within (summer-in-winter sweet on the tongue). Familiarity (but not), safety (but not). This place tugs and pulls on the body (on the soul) and a force seeks entry. New drumming, a beating, the dull thudding of heavy on wood (the door). Sleep (the heart says), investigate (the mind says). The brave fear not the dead. Steps lead closer to the sound (further from the warmth), the shape of (a room) blurring past like ripples on stained glass. The door. Large, heavy (keep it closed). The hand reaches out, pulls and the thrumming stops. Behind it a new form, a new shape.
None to hear. The shape moves (can't blink) and thrumming stops (no beat). Warmth leaves (no fire), light leaves (no room). Only a cold caress against the heart, a clawed grasp gripping the very life (the very soul) as the floor meets half-way. No breath, no sound (can't speak), only the cold gaze of a white-cloaked (devil). Stay here, it whispers. The fate, the destiny, the (choice). Cold grips the heart, tearing pieces smaller than grains of sand (the choice). The floor a bottom, an abyss waiting (hungry). Stand or fall, a different whisper. Dead do not stand (dead do not fear). Stay here, it whispers again, the cold growing stronger. There is no warmth (no fire), no light (no room).. but the sweet taste of summer-in-winter (the bitter taste of cinder-on-snow). The dead do not fear (stay here) the bite of the winter. The abyss is cold (colder than the winter).
Stand or fall (the choice). Summer or winter (the choice). The dead or the brave (the brave dead), the dead or the fear. A fire in the depths, a light in the darkness (the choice). The pale shape rippling like stained glass (shattering like stained glass). A silence (the heartbeat), a haze of shape (the room). Finally, a breath, a sound, a voice. Sweetness on the tongue (summer-over-winter). Legs find strength to stand, the cold recedes from the heart. Warmth returns (a fire), light returns (a room). All comes to bear as before (all but the heart). The rooms shift, the door disappears and the flame flickers bright and bold (born to). A memory, then (a nightmare). A shape in the room takes form (a book). More memories string from it like laced web. Summer memories (winter memories). Sweetness (and bitter). The (room) is warm and he is standing.
I remember (the choice). He picks up the shape of the book (the shape of the memories) and the webbing moves. The room (a black house) is summer-warm, the fire summer-bright. He knows (the noises outside), he feels (the thrumming on the door), but he hears (a voice). The choice, it says. A pale figure stands opposite (in the room). Bright like summer, warm like summer. The choice (of summer and winter). Of the dead and the brave (the brave dead). Of stand or fall (to stay here). The floor a carpet, home (and safety). The book is let to fall (winter within) and the pale form moves (to approach). "I remember," he hears himself say. Stay here, he feels himself say. The pale shape smiles (summer-sweet), the eyes soft but pained (bitter-sweet). The arm reaches to trace the jaw, moving to the cheek and rest there. "Not yet."
The world swims into steady focus, though for the ringing in his ears it could still be all a dream. Slowly, the eyes crack themselves open as sensation draws back to the forefront of the mind - it's cold (the metal of the helmet made colder by the heartless stone) and his body aches in places he isn't entirely sure they should be aching. There's a dryness to the throat as he groans, pushing himself up from the flagstones (but what else is new there). Using the altar as support, he manages to get himself onto his feet, though fairly unsteadily at first. It takes him a minute to realize the tail is simply resting on the stone, in full view, before he composes himself and quickly tucks it back under the tabard.
The three speakers (or watchers, in this case, since he really hasn't heard them 'speak' thus far) seem about as impassive and irritated as before. At least that seems to be a comforting constant. He glances down to his arm, seeing a faint scar line the skin where the dagger had cut. Blood caked the sides, but the wound itself was closed and whole. Finally, he looks to the middle of the slab, where in between the splatter of blood (his own blood) and the scattered scorch marks lay a small purple-blue orb. So.. it had worked after all. With a reverent bow, he picks up the orb, pulls the sleeve back down over the arm, pulls the glove back on and replaces the faceplate of the helm. Turning, he stares at the steps leading down, realizing a new-found hatred for them. With his steps still a little unsteady, he slowly begins to make his way down. At least armour on the way down is considerably more helpful than on the way up - it might soften the blow if he stumbles.
A sudden intense whistling awakens the man from his thought bubbles. He stands, walking over to the oven and picks up the kettle, gingerly placing it on a cold plate of the stove to settle. He shakes the hand as he lets go, painful but not particularly hurt (an affinity to fire didn't necessarily mean immunity and he knew his blood had limits). A few minutes pass as the water settles, while he fumbles about with a mug and some powder, until eventually all the hassle results in a pleasant coffee aroma wafting from the mug. He returns to the table, pushing aside a few stasis-preserved apples to make room for the mug, and sits down.
Now.. where was he?
His eyes skim the table, now more notes and paper than the usual kitchen cutlery and produce, trying to catch the previously lost train of thought. The eyes land on one of the last few scribbles and he smirks. Ah yes, something - or rather, someone - is about to be born.
The past month or so had been quite eventful and very educative, all thanks to Sarv's efforts at service and integration. The knight, for all his social awkwardness and at times complete cluelessness had been the ideal entry into this city's social life, because nearly all encounters had reacted the same way (Some more than others, even, with the bookkeepers and leopard in mind). The brave, bold, but unfortunately humourless knight was both imposing and harmless at the same time. He caught attention, but also settled it. Behind a metallic mask it was rather easy to read the room, watch for reactions and try out limits, giving him a pretty decent understanding of the local social life. He had been the perfect model.
But even perfect models have limits, and the more he learned, the more he had begun to realize where Sarv's use shines and where it absolutely cannot go. He was too public, too imposing. And even the dimmest of minds can stretch the limits of their belief if they were to see a knight doing too menial a task, no matter how loyal they are to their master.
The man picks up the most recent of the notes and considers it a moment, before putting it back in favour of a different one - a list of names. Ah, the list. Various cloth-makers, who knew various tailors, who knew various socialites. The knight had visited a few and observed the rest from afar, gauging who was in what kind of circle and how widely known. The top tiers of said list were useful for the future, the bottom tiers received various small orders for different items of clothing (all to replace the lord's servants' old stock with new, of course) scattered among them. None between could probably puzzle together the bigger picture for several of them were jealous competitors.
He doubts the pleasant lady of the Loom even realized how weightful of a leverage she truly handed the knight (for the knight was dull and humourless, and would not have the mind to do something untoward with said list).
Now he has his foot in the social door of the City, and it is a door the knight simply cannot cross. At least, not without escort (or rather, someone to escort), but that wasn't a gambit he is quite ready to take yet (and to find the perfect mark would take time). The first of the pieces have been moved and the game, like as not, is afoot. And there are more moves to make. So, where the knight could only step forward in a rigid 'L', he needs a bishop that can sideline situations diagonally. And perhaps help broaden those social horizons even further.
A person such as that needs to be subtle, to blend in, but not so much as to seem intentionally doing so. The pieces of outfits ordered from the tailors should suit part of that need perfectly, but there was also the subject of, well, physical features. The man shuffles papers around and picks up one with different small scribblings, part-writing, part-drawing. There is one curious feature about the City that he kept noticing - namely the sheer amount of animals within. Specifically, the kind who walk on two feet, rather than four.
There are even some who seem part-animal and part-human, a sight that could have shocked anyone back home to their fullest core. A fact he was mildly surprised over, but not so much as to go overboard. After all, what would that say about his own fell-blooded nature at that point? It brought to mind an idea that would have been thrown out at the merest conception over a month ago.
The tail ticks behind him like a sluggish metronome, measuring the beats of thinking. Yes, provided the tailor doesn't mess it up too terribly, the idea could serve to, shockingly, hide him far better among the crowd than having a repeat of Sarv. Plus, it would be rather nice to be able to stretch for once.
Those settled the 'how' of cloth, and the 'what' of appearance, seeing as the hat seems to work as intended as well. Which means just step one is complete. There is a whole slew of details yet to figure before this poor sod is done.
It is tempting to pick up the desert route so early into staying here and tack it onto the poor thing's background, but he didn't need to spend even a few days within the City to know there were.. quite a few desert-based folk around, who had at one point or another migrated to the City. For all the notes he had taken, and later further learned from books, it wasn't information enough to pull off a desert-based person just yet. The north is out, too, given Sarv has that one tacked down, and it's one thing to alter one's speech patterns to avoid people noticing similarities, and completely another to actually share said similarities. He considers a different continent at first, but that may just be too close for comfort, so that option is struck down on the paper as well.
Of course.. there's the east side - wide open plains, plenty of empty space and room for no-one to know each other. But it is also a region he hadn't exactly travelled through so much as vaguely outlined. The merchants had taken their route up north-west from the ports, up to north, and back down south towards the City. He certainly saw a lot of the planes, but never actually passed through them.
The man sips the coffee, other arm crossed, as he ponders this tangled thought. It's the moment of considering the flavour (far better than the northerners ever made it, good gods, but still nothing compared to the desert styles) that a solution presents itself. It's certainly a more daring thought.. Risky, even. But oh so poetically fitting, if he can pull it off..
A local. Perhaps not immediately within the deep centre of the City, but enough of a street-lived individual to know their way around. Bold-faced enough to probably fool most, especially if they themselves happen to be not quite 'from around'. Risky enough to assume he's learned enough of the City's in's and out's to go toe-to-toe with other locals (which he certainly hasn't, if the manor was any indication). But.. that could be its simple beauty, perhaps. That piece of something different, something not quite gift-wrapped perfectly ideal. And, if he is being honest with himself, the sheer audacity that it would require is a sore temptation to at least try.
After all, the poor sod doesn't have to exist for very long and he has a network of tailors to source new material from.
How well does anyone know this City, in actuality? How confidently can they say to be the self-evident denizen of a populace as multi-cultural as a Tumai rug is colourful? The socialites would certainly love to believe themselves to be the uncrowned kings and queens, but if the rabble is an ever shifting, chaotic mess of discordant beliefs and traditions, the socialites would be no more royalty over such than over of a very small ant hill. And its a chaos he can certainly use.
Piece by piece the picture begins to come together. There's an appearance, there's an attire, the background, the motivations (the gall). For a bit of finer point there's also the mannerisms and speech to figure, though those tend to have a more organic way of coming about - Sarv's slow northern drawl had been mostly just a drawl, before the bookkeepers helped that move forward. The rigid, dutiful stance was helped along by the armoury knight. And the excellent mannerisms and politeness received their additional flare from the clothing store keeper.
He sips the mug again as time gradually passes and the contents of the coffee cool down. For all that slipping into characters and personas came easy to him, the detail-work required to formulate one was a hefty project every time. And some times in the past a rushed process resulted in even more hurried shedding of said personas (truly, what a sad state of affairs had befallen so many a decent men, who just happened to meet their demise at unfortunate crossroads). And that had been on the road, on the run or on the go. This was the first place he had decided to risk settling on in a good many years, so the personas here have to be that much more water-tight - you can only shed so many faces before you would actually need to change your face. A dash of paint and some skilful costumery can fool an unsuspecting person, but a person out to see flaws can't always be distracted with obvious ones, regardless of how good an actor you are.
The man drains the last of the mug, a brief grimace passing as the cold coffee leaves a sour taste. The hand flicks a motion through the air and the notes on the table begin to shuffle themselves around, becoming a neatly organized stack (while a few apples and herbs shift around on the table edges, finding more suitable places to properly be, but that was more beside the point). Like as not, it's as much as he can do at the moment. Sarv still has a few obligatory runs to do, including a few essential shopping items, and until word comes back that the tailor's are each ready, the idea remains merely a concept.
He stands, taking the mug over to a wash bin to rinse and set to dry, before he comes back and the eyes land on the last piece of note on the very top of the stack. It's a list, a list of names, but unlike the list of cloth-sellers and tailors, this one is just one subsequent crossed out writing after another, with a few question- and exclamation marks added here and there (only to be, too, crossed out). Finally, at the very end, there is just one word - Aedryn.
The man smirks, picks up the notes, and heads upstairs.
Zenjesi: Hey Silv - how do you pronounce Kodakai?
Nov 17, 2023 18:23:56 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: Not to mention the baby mosca with wolf skin from Elvye and the sparkling owl of Xentus. <3
Nov 14, 2023 10:27:52 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: I like the Donnor one not just with looks FF, but the description, funny as heck.
Nov 14, 2023 10:26:27 GMT -6
Zenjesi: yours both made me laugh, FF! They're very expressive
Nov 13, 2023 21:57:46 GMT -6
Fiera Ferella: Woooow Twilight, I love that witch drawing!!! :0 It's so pretty! And Zenjesi I think Spectral is my favorite out of yours lol. Just looks happy to be included. and silver now i wanna know which pets youd pick for the other legendary beasts. XD
Nov 13, 2023 21:37:45 GMT -6
Silver: Ah I'm so glad you guys enjoyed it! I love everyone's drawings they're all so cute. ;o;
Nov 13, 2023 17:31:37 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: I like that one as well yeah, loved the old nootnoot image from quest prizes, so that one went perfectly with that particular costume being based around it. X3
Nov 13, 2023 15:23:13 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: The jewelry on tail or at the head definitely tends to be their most recognizable feature for a Mosca, and sadly their pharaoh chin piece as well. XD
Nov 13, 2023 15:21:07 GMT -6
Zenjesi: Your peanut costume is hilarious and adorable too!
Nov 13, 2023 15:14:29 GMT -6
Zenjesi: Yes you're correct! I guess I did a decent enough job with the drawing!
Nov 13, 2023 15:05:27 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: It still looks good on Synkka. She is a shaman Mosca I'm guessing? Its mostly the tail that makes me think of it.
Nov 13, 2023 15:00:42 GMT -6
Zenjesi: I definitely like Spectral's the most too! I sort of cheated by drawing Synkka with a cloak because I do not know how to draw feathered wings, haha ^^'
Nov 13, 2023 13:45:15 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: Which one do you like the most out of the three you made?
Nov 13, 2023 12:09:48 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: Thanks for that compliment! Though I know with the water it doesn't look entirely great, I love the latter one I made the most.
Nov 13, 2023 12:09:30 GMT -6