prayers to broken stone. [p]

Thread in 'Ramathian Scrolls' started by Attrius, Apr 4, 2013.

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  1. tria 40th, 81381.

    DylanÂ’s Ajita mansion was the epitome of style.

    It was everything that a piece of modern architecture should be – sweeping, with clean, elegant lines of pure white, brushed steel, matte black, and amazing windows, taking up entire walls – the exterior was overpowering, a great metal and white marble modular monolith, with thick, steaming gardens and pools behind. It was spacious, elegantly furnished, with that designer unlived-in look that only comes from spic-and-span cleaning. The beds were always made; the fridge was always stocked with gourmet food.

    The lounge, next to the main room, where 600 guests were currently dancing, contained a huge flat-screen television (this one was like a Porsche with a screen), a white futon-esque sofa, a DVD, MP3 and disc player, an answering machine, two telephones – the answering machine line, and a private line (a number do far undiscovered by the legions of fans, customers, and telemarketers) – and a square matte black sound system, the kind so exquisitely engineered that it just had the on-off switch and volume control.

    One of the only things Dyllie paid attention to in the house were the plants. They were huge and green and glorious, with shiny, healthy lustrous leaves. This was because, once a week, Acer went around the house with a green plastic plant mister, spraying the leaves, and talking to the plants. He had heard about talking to plants about 4 years ago, and had thought it an excellent idea. Although talking is perhaps the wrong word for what Dylan did.

    What he did was put fear into them.

    More precisely, fear of Dylan.

    In addition to which, every couple of months, Acer would pick up a plant that was growing too slowly, or succumbing to leaf-wilt or browning, or just didn’t look quite as good as the others, and he would carry it around to all the other plants. “Say goodbye to your friend," he’d say to them. “He just couldn’t cut it…" Then he would leave the house with the offending plant, and return an hour or so later with a large, empty flower pot, which he would leave somewhere conspicuously around the house.

    The plants were amongst the most luxurious, verdant, and beautiful in Ajita.

    And also the most terrified.

    Dylan, in masquerading Tumhuem fashion, was bejewled in crimson horror, his face speckled with fake blood, his left jaw looking, thanks to some movie makeup and shapeshifting, as though the skin had been torn away, revealing the muscle and bone structure beneath. The other side of his face, however, was covered in a obsidian-feathered half-mask, his torso unclothed, save for the ink and pink ribbons that striped and whorled about his flesh, a pair of somewhat tight black pants clinging to his legs. The ardenÂ’s tail swayed delicately behind him, currently unlighted, and he rushed to the door as the bell rang.

    Without concern for any of the partygoers in his way as he weaved amongst the dance floor, Dyl flung the great black doors open, fastening his arms around Koani.

    “Welcome, 'Ani."

    He barely managed to say it without his tailflame igniting and a pink blush spreading across his face.
  2. Koani could hear the noise of the party from the streets. It was a big bash, quite true to what Dylan had been insinuating. Generally Koani kept her public appearances to a minimum. Her business outings took up the majority of her time where as her social outings were slim to nil. It'd be nice just to have fun for a night. Even someone seemingly as reserved as Koani had a more wild and darker side. What better event than Tumhuem to show it?

    Cayson was at her left side as they approached Dylan's formidable abode. However, the arden slowed in his step as they drew nearer. This caused Koani to turn around and look at him, a question posed on her lips. What was the hold up?

    “I'll catch up with you later," Cayson said with an uninterested shrug. “I want to wander around outside first."

    Koani's lips pursed, but she didn't say a word. It'd be no use arguing with him. Case was just as stubborn as her. Still she felt a little disappointed. She'd been wanting to re-introduce the arden to Dylan. There would be time to do that later, she reasoned, if Cayson decided to even stick around. He wasn't exactly the most reliable sort. Without waiting for a word from her, Cayson made a swift retreat.

    With a sigh of resignation, Koani walked up the rest of the way by herself. She rung the doorbell, her blue-green eyes taking in the building. It was a beautiful place from the outside. Both aesthetically and structurally sound. Perhaps one of the most modern buildings she'd ever come across. She idly wondered what sort of decorator Dylan was. Given his fashion taste, Koani wasn't expecting anything less than amazing.

    She hadn't been waiting long before the large black doors before her swung open. There was Dylan, and then there he was again enveloping her in a hug. This elicited a laugh from Koani as she returned the squeeze before letting go.

    “You certainly look horrible," she said with a grin, her eyes unnaturally piercing. Koani had lined their edges with black and then had allowed the make-up to run and smear freely. Her hair had undergone a similar darkening. Instead of being just one pale shade of shimmering aqua, it was now streaked with wide sections of the darkest black.

    Her own costume didn't consist of much. She wore a pair of dark frayed jeans, a simple black bra, and then an unbuttoned torn up white blouse over that. It was what one could see underneath the costume that made it interesting. Similarly to Dylan, Koani had gone the route of fake blood. Unlike his though, hers was sparkling blue in colour. Koani had capitalized on her pre-existing scars. The largest one that started just above her navel and ripped through her chest to come to a stop on her back looked almost fresh as it gleamed brightly with blood. The smaller scars that likewise littered her left side also managed to look menacing.

    Koani flipped her hair out of her face. “The place looks beautiful, ah, I suppose it's Acer for the night." She reached out and squeezed his left hand with her right. The organic yellow patterning of the tattoo on her right forearm was entirely visible to the eye. For the most part Koani kept it covered up, but tonight was a special occasion. “Cayson's here too. He just wanted to explore your grounds first it seems."
  3. Dylan found himself rendered isolated, motivated, vindicated like never before. The poison ran hot and wild in him, a fire stoking his veins, and his eyes seemed to burn – albeit with a tender warmth – as they looked into the duo-tinctured nebulas that swirled and swallowed themselves in Koani’s face. And then, like the ending of a storm, like the epilogue of a book, the fire quieted, and he pulled away from their embrace, and the smile that graced his gray and orange face was like no other smile he’d ever smiled before.

    Because she was here.

    “Yeah, Acer," he murmured, the warmth visible in the neon-blue embers of his abyss-deep eyes. “You look horribly fabulous yourself, ‘Ani," he said, allowing himself the slightest slip of his carefully-constructed walls – he gently squeezed her elegant hand before returning his striped arm to his side. Just before he was assaulted by a certain head of day-glo-green and umbra-gray hair – ‘Quiem had snuck behind his father and pulled his lion-like tail – the luoko turned around with a snarl on his face, a vehement hiss snaking out from between his lethally powerful jaws – only to come face-to-face with his smirking son. Requiem was wearing his usual measure of kohl, although this time, his entire eyesockets were dusted with the stuff; he looked like one of the undead. As well, he was dressed in an elaborate patchwork of black rags and fishnets, and his claws were extended to three inches by the use of some simple shapeshifting; his hands resembled his father’s. Dylan turned back to Koani now, fully surveying her costume for the first time, and -

    - he could see her bra.

    This sudden revelation caused Acer to blush violently against his will, his tail-flame igniting to a burning hot pink. Requiem, determined to save his father’s dignity, stepped in front of Ace and extended a be-gloved hand to Koani, doubling over in a bow much like a dying swan to kiss her on the back of her hand. “Ah, Miss Grader," he said, straightening himself. “I’m Requiem Falahau, pleased to make your acquaintance, please and thank you very much. Now, if you’ll excuse me," he said, heading towards the door that led out to the gardens, “I’m going to leave you two and go get a bit of fresh air." And off he went. Requiem slipped out the door, and started to meander through the vegetation. There weren’t many people out here – of course, there were probably several fumbling and making out in the gardens – but otherwise, it was pretty lonely.

    Breathless, recovered from his fervent embarrassment, Dylan smiled sheepishly at Koani, awkwardly chewing on his lower lip like a young child after doing something wrong. “I – um. Do you... want to go get a drink?" Here was the moment. “Or... do you want to dance?"

    And Requiem – he would have known that face anywhere. Sneakily, he lurked and crept up behind Cayson Lapices, flung his arms around him, and hugged him from the back. “Hello, puijhuijs," he said, using his pet name for Case.
  4. Koani was suave and completely self-possessed. It was these particular qualities of hers that both infuriated as well as reassured others. Now she was reflecting the warmth in Dylan's eyes. She was happy because he was happy and vice versa it seemed. An infinite circle of warmth. “Shumc iyo."

    Her eyes didn't stay fastened to his for too long though. She found herself looking over his costume once again a little more thoroughly. His jaw was a gruesome sight. His half-mask flirting. What she liked most, she supposed, were those pink and black ribbons that were wound about his body. Much like a carefree niotie, she wanted to play with them. She was spared admitting this by the sleek intrusion of Dylan's son.

    So this was Requiem. Koani had heard of him of course, although his circle of fame and influence was quite different from hers. She didn't really associate with many musicians. He seemed like a charmer and Koani could certainly see some aspects of Dylan in him. Their exchange was fleeting, yet polite. “It's a pleasure meeting you, Requiem." Then, much like Cayson previously, he was off.

    “I – um. Do you... want to go get a drink? Or... do you want to dance?"

    Koani's ears gravitated toward Dylan's words. Her friendly smile was replaced by a playful smirk. “Well Acer," she began. It was so hard not to refer to him as Dyl, but as long as there were potential listeners, the name was rather restricted.

    “I guess that all depends... see, I'd love to do both. The dilemma therein lies. What to do first? I'm not sure if drinking first would better, or worsen our dance performances. Still, I'd love a dance." When had she last danced anyway? She couldn't recall. It must have been in that other lifetime.


    Cayson had been fascinated by the architecture of Dylan's mansion. The lines, the smooth surfaces, the cleanliness. It was exactly the sort of thing that Case was aspiring to do. Of course, unless his architect thing fell through. He still had mixed feelings about it. He was doing phenomenal in his courses... but there wasn't a lot of passion there.

    As Requiem approached, Cayson was oblivious. Then there were arms flung about him. Case's heart seemed to pop right out of his chest, his eyes widened in fear and then he screamed. It was a high-pitched squeal, a sound of such height that it was indistinguishably Cayson's. It stopped almost as soon as it had started. Realization.

    “You!" Case shouted as he wriggled around in Requiem's hug so that the two of them were facing. “Scared me half to death!" Then without any warning, Cayson playfully started to wrestle Requiem, aiming to knock them both over and into the lush grasses.
  5. outofcharacter.
    :heart:33 lyrics from coldplay's "shiver".

    So I look in your direction
    But you pay me no attention, do you -
    I know you don't listen to me
    'Cause you say you see straight through me, don't you?
    And on and on...
    From the moment I wake, to the moment I sleep
    I'll be there by your side; just you try and stop me
    I'll be waiting in line, just to see if you care...

    "Let's dance first," he offered. In the soft, shifting light of the room, Dylan's face was a blur of lines, fake blood, feathers, and shadows. Neither of them moved; a solid slab of air, it seemed, was wedged between them. He looked at Koani through eyes that had stared into the black inner hollows of darkness and into the rifts and secrets of a lost planet. But Candrice was gone, and far away, and it was only the two of them now. Then he moved fowards, through the stone, took Koani by one arm, and gently pulled her over to the dance floor. The notes were gentle, soft, something Requiem had wrote a long time ago.

    Oh -
    Did you want me to change?
    Well, I've changed for good.
    And I want you to know that you'll always get your way
    I wanted to sayÂ…
    Don't you shiver
    Sing it loud and clear
    I'll always be waiting for you.

    One hand was on her shoulder, the other at the small of her back as they slow-danced - so delicately, as though he was touching something that seemed ageless and the wind or the darkness - of every shape and no shape, as worn as a pebble runneled with water, tossed for an eon at the foot of a mountain.

    So you know how much I need you
    But you never even see me, do you.
    And is this my final chance of getting you...
    And it's you I see but you don't see me
    And it's you I hear so loud and so clear
    I sing it loud and clear
    And I'll always be waiting for you...


    The blood set on fire in his veins.

    Cayson had pinned him down on top of the plants, so that he could look up straight up at him.

    He smiled at him, ran a hand through his hair, and the wind whipped it straight back from his face. A pale pink-gray scar in the shape of an "x" - an arctic bear had given him this, on his first hunt - high above one brow flared vividly against his skin. His face went suddenly still, and he closed his eyes contentedly, like a cat, as if the wind had snatched in passing his expression and breath. The uncertanity ended in him like a song's ending.

    Requiem, with his eyes the color of absinthe, bore the stamp of his mother. She had had a trick of looking at people the way that 'Quiem was gazing at Case, like a fox glancing up from a pile of chicken feathers.

    "You win."
  6. Koani's smile was bright as Dylan suggest that they dance first. She remembered when she had been a much younger thill. Dancing had made her feel both nervous and excited. Zamfir and Karryasa had held their fair share of parties and as their eldest daughter, she'd been expected to dance and entertain multitudes of strangers. Then had come Saber. How far away that all was now.

    She let herself be led out to the dance floor, choosing to ignore the several pairs of curious eyes that followed her progress. She felt as if she and Dylan were in their own separate world now. What went on beyond their two bodies simply didn't matter. She set her hands opposite his. Their movements together were tranquil. Koani could have sworn that they weren't really moving at all. The fringe of a pond ripple, the last feeble breath of a storm, the slow decay of a fallen leaf. They were all things that she could liken this very moment to.

    So you know how much I need you
    But you never even see me, do you.
    And is this my final chance of getting you...
    And it's you I see but you don't see me
    And it's you I hear so loud and so clear
    I sing it loud and clear
    And I'll always be waiting for you...

    “Shumc iyo, vyj shet; vyj embesemd na." Koani whispered, her voice soft and airy.


    “You win."

    Cayson had pinned Requiem down against the vegetation. He didn't feel as if he had overpowered the arden though. Requiem appeared to have let him win. He cast Requiem a suspicious, probing look. Those acid coloured eyes always seemed full to the brim with something. However Case couldn't figure out what it could be, aside from possible mischievousness.

    Cayson relinquished his grip and pushed himself off of Requiem. He let himself land with a soft whumff in the grass beside that smiling devil. In the spirit of Tumhuem, Cayson was also dressed up. He'd chosen to make himself look more or less like an escaped convict. He was wearing a simple off-white and earth-stained undershirt. His pants were made out of a variety of layered fabrics. Most of them likening to the thick canvas of straight jackets and the rest being of thinner black and white striped material. Wound about his wrists and ankles, much like lace, were the remnants of chains. The makeup that he wore didn't do much more than simply make him look extremely haggard when of course he felt quite the opposite.
  7. ooc.
    brackets indicates telepathy.

    A faint smile touched upon the corners of his muzzle - rare as they were, they seemed bountiful in Koani's presence. The two of them were bound by promises broken and hearts left to wither. It was an uphill climb - an amazing feat for anyone to weather. Dylan remembered that the famous Ramathian philosopher Measxtkha had once written that if an individual did not let go of past regrets and move ahead, then they would die. So Acer had let Rail go on that night that Koani and he were last together. And Dyl looked at her, intent on offering Koani a measure of comfort -


    - only to find that her hand was at the small of his back. Chuffing, he looked into her nebula-spawned eyes. [Your sun will shine again], he told her, one hand falling from her shoulder and barely touching her jaw with two fingers in a rare show of affection. She danced with him, each bidding the other to follow. And follow he did, stepping lightly across from her in an automatic attempt to shield her from the world. "Iyo'ja ty baji falkyna," he said softly, barely more than a whisper.

    More than I can ever tell you.


    Requiem swallowed and lifted his skull with a sort of frail weakness, his jaw hanging somewhat with slack as his voice died in the back of his throat. Inside, he thought that in the end he would be no more of use to Case than he had been for Pacalis or Jax, but a savage strength kept him clutching to the hope that Cayson could perhaps love him. There was no easy switch that he could flip to stem the flow of feelings, no way to drain the memories that pooled like acid in his stomach because his heart no longer knew what to do with them.

    Silence clutched like a jewel in the back of his throat.

    "You," he began, "look absolutely gorgeous." A question swirled amongst his thoughts, and he sat up to be parallel to Cay, his thumb gently touching the orange ardenÂ’s lower lip. "Case-puij, will you be my sjashcuuguj?" he murmured, turning to directly face him.
  8. ooc - Case makes me laugh. XD

    It was a blessing to feel at peace. Even if it were only for a little while. Koani knew that soon those nagging thoughts of hers would return. Her worries, her fears, her duties, her obligations. It had been for this short respite that she'd thanked Dylan for. He didn't exactly understand what it was like to be part of her world, but he had at least a slight understanding which was enough for her. What mattered the most to her were their shared and linked pasts. She could talk to him about things that no one else would understand. That is, if she chose to talk.

    Soon after they had begun dancing, Koani felt Dylan's voice inside her mind along with a butterfly touch to her jaw. His words were reassuring and hopeful. Telling her that her sun would shine. Had she been in a pessimistic mood, she would have responded smartly with a remark about the life cycle of a star... and ultimately the terrors known of as black holes. The Nothing. The Starving King, Kytlekh... the rapine. They were all related. Still, it was tempting not to dwell on that. Maybe her sun would actually shine again... Maybe...

    [It's never stopped shining, Dyl.] came Koani's telepathic response. Usually all of her telepathic speech was done via an electronic interface for business conference calls. Accessing Dylan's mind through this private mental link felt incredibly personal. She'd almost forgotten what it was like. Generally Koani had only had telepathic sessions with Karryasa... exchanging pictures, feelings, and ideas. Saber as well, but ah, they were both long lost to death now.


    Cayson appeared to glow in response to Requiem's words. Gorgeous, was he? If he was gorgeous, then what, pray tell, was Requiem in his wonderful patchwork of clothing? He continued to inspect the arden's costume, admiring each and every minute detail. His eyes were even more stunning than usual...

    “If I'm gorgeous, you're magnificent. You give both Jastducteyk and Jaitl, the madame of death herself, a run for their money. That is, if they're both not too busy salivating over you." Case had every intention to continue on in this manner, but Requiem's thumb touched his lip and unknowingly caused him to become silent.

    “Case-puij, will you be my sjashcuuguj?"

    Cayson had heard Requiem use that word before. He wasn't exactly sure just what a sjashcuuguj was, or what exactly his or her duties would entail. He didn't know much, aside from the fact that it was obviously a position of trust and importance.

    “Certainly," he agreed, because that was the important part. The details of course were secondary. “Only... you'd need to tell me what all it is that a sashcooey does."
  9. Dylan had a gift for silence. When he chose, it seemed to ebb out of him, the worn silence of old trees or stones lying motionless for centuries. It was measured in his breathing, in every heartbeat, and in his scarred hands. He moved soundlessly, and it flowed with him as he looked into the nebulas of Koani's eyes. [Thank you, 'Ani... I haven't danced with someone for years.] He nodded wordlessly at her telepathic response, hooding his electric-blue eyes like a contented cat. If he could - no, if they - could stay like this together, in each other's arms, swaying to the heartbreaking song of violins and cellos, he would. And the two of them would be leaves in the autumn wind, falling together for all of eternity.

    "Do - I mean - " he stammered softly, nervously. "Is it alright if we keep on dancing, or do you need a drink?"


    Requiem brought his knees to his chest, wrapping his arms around them. "Just..." he began. "Be kind to me, and be gentle to my heart." He took a deep breath, and said the word he had been presented with when he was 5. "Crow. It's my true name. I trust you." He turned to Cayson then, abruptly.

    He closed his eyes and brought the heels of his hands against them. "Oh, Case." He let his hands fall to his sides and wondered if behind the armor of Cay's solitude, he had at last gotten his attention. "I would be mute, beautiful, changless as the earth of Dhruv for you. I would be your memory, always innocent, always waiting for you - I would do that for you and for no one else on the planet. A riddle is a tale so familiar you no longer see it - it's simply there, like the air you breathe, the ancient names of kings echoing in the corner of your house, the sunlight in the corner of your eye; until one day, you look at it and something shapeless, voiceless in you opens a third eye and sees it as you have never seen it before. Then you are left with the knowledge of the nameless question in you, and the tale is no longer meaningless but the one thing in the world that has meaning any more." He paused for breath; looked at Case straight in the eye.

    "And that's you."
  10. Koani's bright smile came in response to Dylan's thanks. She felt it was quite a shame that he hadn't danced with someone in years. He had a good flow. A good sense of balance despite his old injuries. Koani had had her fair share of dance partners over the years. Most of which had either been awkward and lacked fluidness or terribly bullheaded. They were sources of amusement, not contentment.

    “Do - I mean - Is it alright if we keep on dancing, or do you need a drink?"

    Koani caught Dylan's stammer and arched her left eyebrow. She wasn't quite sure what could have caused him to suddenly feel nervous or self-conscious. Unless it was something that she had unknowingly did or had implied. It seemed a little unlike him.

    “Does that mean I've got the host of this grand party all to myself for the time being? I would have thought your dance card would be all filled in. Surely with all the hundreds of 'dragons here, you've got some admirers."


    Requiem's words held such gravity and sincerity. Every bone and tissue in Cay's body tuned in as Requiem spoke deeply from his heart. There was simply so much to take in. Not only had he been gifted Requiem's true name, Crow, he was being pleasantly assaulted by poetic words that rang notes of allegiance.

    “And that's you."

    Cayson felt his breath catch in his throat. He could feel tears burning behind his eyes.

    “I wish I had your eloquence... then maybe I'd be able to better articulate things. I'll be everything you want, and more. Don't change for me though. Be yourself. Always be yourself. It's in a person's nature to change. We can change in time together. Maybe write our own meaning to life."

    Case slipped his arms around Requiem and gave him a tight, vice-like hug. “I trust you."
  11. Dylan suppressed a low, anguished noise that threatened to bubble up from his throat – he replaced it with a quiet laugh, and smiled at Koani tenderly. "Other people? I…" he stammered, stunned by the invitation, the question in her eyes. "You…"

    Oh, well that was fan-fucking-tastic, Dylan. Just brilliant, you idiot!

    "They… they can wait. But you think I have… admirers?" he asked wondrously. The gray-painted luoko had never really considered the possibility of anyone but Rail liking him like that – who wanted him now, scarred and cringing in his nightmares? No one, he thought solemnly.

    No one.


    The connection they shared was strong enough that Case seemed to sense his growing need to be close and shifted the rockstar into his arms, where he immediately clung, one arm wrapped tight around the other arden's waist and the other hand grazing his cheek – 'Quiem felt undeserving of the beautiful, most amazing boy in the entire world.

    It was peaceful, for a moment, to listen to their breath echo in the dim space, feeling Cayson's heart pumping hard against his chest. They didn't have to be anywhere in particular to be home. Letting himself relax and searching with his fiercely affectionate acid-green eyes into deep pink-flecked green, Requiem kissed Case's shoulder softly before murmuring into his ear.

    "I love you so much, Case," Another soft kiss, another pause. "Be mine forever, and I'll be yours forever - I'll never let you go..." And he kissed him again, caressing Cay's cheek and closing his eyes.
  12. Sometimes even Koani herself was surprised by how smooth she could be. Her senses told her to act one way, but it was her instincts that caused her to plow through without hesitation. Certainly that sort of thing was a trait particular to the Graders. It was in their nature to use words and actions to control the public as puppet masters. Pulling strings... setting things in motion. Even Karryasa, up until the very end, had been controlling things. Yet, she had gone and gotten herself killed. On purpose. What good had that really done?

    “Are you sure you haven't lost your eyes along with those fingers of yours?" Koani asked, her smile never leaving her face. “Unless of course you're just having fun being comfortably oblivious. Have you taken a step back at all lately? Given this empire you've built even the slightest thought?"

    “Hearse is hugely popular. As a result, so are you. I know you've got admirers." She let go of Dylan with her right hand and poked him affectionately on the chest. “Now... as for why they could be admiring you, there's all sorts of reasons. Hearse, sure. You've got them hooked. In love with your fashion sense and innovation. I bet you've even caught some with this mysterious aura you seem to project. I wouldn't be lying if I said that you have at least a few people interested simply in that mind of yours. I could point a few of them out in this very room."


    Cayson's breath came out soft and peaceful. Why did Requiem feel so much like a dream? This was love. It wasn't the same sort of love he had for Radin, nor Jaceen, nor even Koani. It was the romantic type. They type fuelled by fires and ever strengthening bonds. The type that Cayson wanted to bury and smoother himself in.

    “Yours for forever and a day. Even longer than that if it's possible. I've made promises before and have broken them... don't let me break this one, 'Quiem. I want to be with you always. Let's go to the end of time and back... peer over the edge and laugh at the nothingness that I'm sure is there. Laugh and then fall in together. We'll hold hands as we spin away."

    Case returned one of Requiem's kisses. He then ran his hand gently through Requiem's hair, letting himself deeply inhale the rockstar's scent. How could someone as beautiful, as interesting, and as perfect as Requiem even be interested in him? The thought still was baffling to the arden.
  13. ooc.
    Jodieeeee. That was so adorable that I couldn't supress a loud "AWWWWWWWW".

    Little things like this mattered to him, though he gave no indication. And so he summoned his best regal voice and sought to pick up the tattered shreds of his composure and sanity where he'd left them.

    Trepidation filled him, and was banished as his goddess gazed into his eyes, his voice threading whispery seductions through his prone form. The fashion designer understood and respected the need for quietude, and a slight arch of his neck indicated a quick nod of gratitude. And then all was forgotten as the voice of Koani Grader rang with hot, sweet nuances upon his ear.

    He laughed softly, a soft, soothing noise, his eyes sparkling and wide. "Ani. I'll... have Requiem write you a song or I'll make you a dress if you can point out one person in this room who likes me like that."


    His mouth curved up at the corner in a roguish half-grin, tongue flickering out and swiping at his lips. Heart thudding in his chest, he deliberately closed the remaining distance between them, cloth meshing with skin in an easy, longed-for oneness. He found himself reciprocating, three fingers sliding along CaysonÂ’s jawline. Perhaps it was instinct. Perhaps it was this privacy. Whatever it was, he found his elegant neck arching gently, his head slipping forward, tongue sliding along his boyfriendÂ’s - oh how wonderful that sounded - collarbone.

    He was, perhaps, the most unsuitable boy in existence for Cayson. And he was the only boy for him. His studded tongue slipped from his mouth, wandered along his throat, and he offered a low groan, his tenor growl undulating, wavering, lingering along his neck.

    Requiem pulled away, finally, his eyes fluttering open like black and green moths. "I have to go sing," he said softly. "Please come inside with me? And my dad wants to meet you, hah."
  14. “That won't be necessary," Koani chuckled. “I wouldn't be much of a friend if I required compensation for my services, now would I?"

    She paused and closed her eyes, as if attempting to listen to some minute sound. With her eyes still lightly closed, she spoke. “I'm used to feeling unwanted, you know. I'm used to being disliked and hated. Either simply because I carry a lukuo mutation, my heritage, the actions of my parents, or due to the things that I've done. I'm used to the animosity. It's only when I sense that ah... murderous intent that it becomes serious though."

    The Grader's eyes fluttered back open. She cast a casual glance to her left and then to her right, her blue-green eyes pulling in all of the details. She seemed smugly satisfied when she returned to gaze back at Dylan. A quirky sort of a smile pulled at her lips.

    “I'm one of the most disliked pendragons in this room right now. The scathing looks, the whispers. But you see, their dislike stems from jealousy. All that they want right now is to be in my position. That thill wearing the pale pink? Behind me and to the right? She's interested in you. Same goes for that red and black thill to your right. Only, that's her husband that she's currently dancing with. Not quite sure if that one would work out..." She giggled, apparently amused by her own thoughts.

    “Of course, there's always myself. Although you already knew that. I've always found you to be the interesting sort. Hideously ugly at the moment," she quipped. Dylan had definitely gotten the creep factor of Tumhuem down. He could probably scare the fur right off of a nioti. “But interesting nonetheless. Have those eyes of yours opened at all yet?"


    Cayson purred as Requiem drew nearer. He felt content and completely at peace with the world. There was absolutely nothing wrong. There was only the good and Requiem. A type of devotion that Cay didn't think could ever be imitated or replicated. Love was a thing that was unique to each and every individual. Often imitated, never replicated.

    The orange arden playfully bumped Requiem with his muzzle and then gently nipped his shoulder. Cay's eyes were half-lidded as he gazed at his counterpart. Perfection. When Requiem pulled away, Cayson found himself left with a silly sort of smile.

    “Sing? Oh, yeah. Right. I guess you do. Koani wanted me to meet your dad too, so I guess now is as good a time as any." Cayson rolled himself up into a sitting position and then jumped up to his feet. He then extended a hand out to Requiem to give him a lift up.
  15. Dylan moved slowly, his movements paired with hers, and listened quietly to her words. He smiled at her softly, his eyes half-lidden.

    But her last words stole the breath from his lungs.

    No, his thoughts hissed. She doesn't mean it like that, Dyl. She never will. You're just not good enough for her, are you? He closed his lids for a moment, sighing softly and trying to push the pessimism out of his head. "I - I - thank you." They were the only words he could get out, and the butterflies were erupting in his stomach. And then, for the first time, he truly looked into Koan's eyes.

    They were like lamps, a crystalline blue kaleidoscope, cold and sweet and burning as the core of a flame. It struck him with a sense of overwhelming shock that he had never seen eyes like that before. It was an alien intelligence, clean and cutting as a sliver of black glass. There was something terrible and fascinating about them. He felt a calling within him to the hunger that had all his life consumed him.

    With a desperate wrench, he pulled his thoughts away from them and pulled his eyes aside.

    He knew then why the legends warned never to look into a magician's eyes. It was not only because they would snag some part of your soul and paralyze you with indecision while they struck.

    It was because, in pulling away, you left some part of yourself behind, snared in those pink-blue depths.


    Everything seemed to slow. Time froze them together. A blink lasted a year, a heartbeat lasted two - he felt his pulse in every part of his body. Requiem's lower lip trembled a little with an inhalation, the hiss of it dragging out into the hall and echoing across the garden. Their eyes connected and he forgot everything. Lost himself in the poison green - no, his poison. Cay intoxicated him, his every nerve. He pulled him up and held him close.

    “You are mine, yes."

    And for a moment more he just looked at him, and tried to work out what he wanted to say.

    "And I am yours."

    His mouth opened, teeth flashing like wicked daggers, and closed around Cayson's and held it there, kissing him with more passion and with more sincerity than anyone could ever have imagined. ‘Quiem stayed there, elongated the kiss, savoring the taste and hoping upon hope that it would last forever. He pulled away finally, his face flushed with exhilaration and his breath fluttering in his lungs. "Let’s go," he said, with an echoing finality, dragging Case into the house behind him.
  16. Koani wasn't quite sure what to expect as a response from Dylan. When he finally stammered out a thank you, she supposed that was good enough. He had his own opinions, thoughts, worries and fears. It was probably overwhelming to learn that he had admirers and wasn't considered to be the foulest creature on the planet.

    Still – not to have realized that in the first place? Koani could only wonder what sort of place Dylan's mind was. Self-loathing perhaps? She knew that she could find out easily if she really wanted to. In such close proximity she could simply snatch up his thoughts via telepathy. To use such a technique on Dylan seemed invasive... not to mention she respected him.

    He was staring into her eyes now. Koani's own returning gaze was quite sharp and unwavering. However, no matter how hard she tried, she couldn't read him. His facial expressions gave her no visual clues. Dyl's eyes likewise didn't give her much to work with. The bright electric-blue of his left eye burned in contrast to his cloudier right. She could see the gateway to his soul through them. Unfortunately, the gates were locked. It was then that Dylan looked away. What had he seen?

    “What did... what do you see in my eyes? I know what I see myself, but what do you see? Does it scare you?" At this, Koani again let her right hand leave Dylan's side. She touched his torn up looking jaw and gently, yet forcibly, used it to guide his gaze back to hers.


    “I like that. You're mine while I'm yours... yes."

    Cayson nearly crashed to his knees when Requiem kissed him. Fortunately he was able to keep his balance. He even played into the kiss more, letting his tongue do a little exploring. The ground beneath them ceased to exist, as did the night sky up above. When Requiem eventually did pull away, Cayson was breathless. He grinned when he noticed his boyfriend had been affected in a similar manner.

    Then they were off. Requiem's hand firmly grasping Cayson's and dragging him out of the slow, comfortable stupor that had washed over them. It was probably a good thing that they were going back inside. Although Cayson longed to keep the other arden all to himself. He supposed that there would be time for that later.

    So it was together that they entered the vast abode. There certainly were a lot of pendragons about. Cayson wondered just who all these faces were, and just what relationship, if any, they had with Requiem's father. Were they his friends, possible colleagues, or all of the above? It was a massive party. Everyone was dressed up. If he hadn't known better, he would have sworn that he had just walked straight into the afterlife. Everyone looked so dark and ghoulish.

    “Where's the bar?" Cayson asked Requiem a little flatly. “If we're looking for Koani.... odds are that we'll find her there."
  17. "Koani," he echoed weakly, but the connection between the words and their contextual relevance hardly amounted to breath in a hurricane. Several minutes of deep, uncertain silence settled like new snow over every square inch of the modest vehicle – time Dylan spent immersed in the long, roughly etched lifeline that crossed his palm.

    He nearly lost his composure when she touched him.

    Heaven was an illegal squatter on his doorstep and it looked set up to stay for dinner. So indifferent that he met them with a puppy-dog stare, so angelic ‘IRONY’ should’ve been etched into his forehead there and then to restore the equilibrium of nature. But given the lack of qualified tattoo artists in the vicinity, nature had to settle for replacing some of the white-washed innocence with the trademark Aciana stare – famous for taking after the expression in the eyes of a criminal meeting the death sentence. "Damnit. I – no, ‘Ani. I see you, what’s been done to you, and I wish I could fix it. And I see… myself. All the things I should’ve said to you, all the mistakes I’ve made, and everything I could have done right."

    He took in a deep, shuddering breath, hanging his head for a moment. "IÂ… yeah."


    Someone grabbed ‘Quiem’s free hand.

    "Let. Go," he hissed, his eyes meeting those of a pink-haired thill. His voice was low, menacing, and d lacking in the quality that would mean it had been practiced. It seemed to come naturally, rolling off his lips like fire from the devil’s throat. What had been the posture of a gentleman now, bereft of the need to impress a mother, made him look like something out of ‘The Godfather’; hell bent on avenging a murdered relative or similar. "Oooh, Requiem Falahau and – oh, who do we have here? Cayson Lapices." She turned back to Requiem, winking coyly. "Come with me, sweetie? Just for an hour?"

    ‘Quiem pulled his hand back and met his own rage with a placid smile, posture all too leisurely to in any way complement the tense situation, squeezing Cay’s hand tightly. "You two… together?!" the thill cried. He laughed, a rich sound that swelled out from his throat. He loved the alarm in the girl’s voice rising in time with its pitch. He loved the expression on her face. The tangible fury, born of utter confusion, thick enough to cut with a knife. He licked his lips, the expression in his eyes gravitating further towards the playful end of the scale with every inaudible tick of the second’s hand.

    He pulled them away from the girl, a wry grin on his face. "Follow me. It's over here," he purred, weaving through the crowd. He heard his voice several times, licking at his ears like the wings of a butterfly, but answered no one, and he caught the pink-haired thill twice in his perephial vision as she sought to follow them. He seated himself and Case at the bar, their hands intertwined. More than a few ‘dragon’s eyes caught on the sight, and they were met with faces of amazement at the two celebrities sat together, the rockstar scanning the crowd for their parents.
  18. “Regrets..." Koani's voice had picked up a slight hiss as it dropped down significantly in volume. She wasn't without her own regrets. From what she had gleaned from Dylan's short response, his regrets went way back into the years. She'd always been aware that Dylan had liked her. Perhaps he'd even loved her. They'd become great friends and confidants in their youth, but nothing much more than that. Her attentions had been captured by Saber. Dylan had never once interfered with that. Most likely he regretted not acting sooner. Koani's mind was immediately filled by dozens of what ifs.

    “You can't change any of that," she continued firmly, her voice still quiet.

    [Besides,] Koani's transition into telepathy was smooth, [all those words you left unspoken... I'm pretty sure I knew what they were at the time. You were much easier to read when you were younger. So, whose fault is it then?]


    Cay's eyes widened in startled alarm. He should have known that they'd run into snags once inside. Already Requiem had run into one such snag. A sharp thistle-like snag in the form of a lewd thill. Cayson's nose wrinkled in disgust when she uttered his name. The girl certainly had an appalling lack of manners. To solicit... right here, right now...? Cayson felt like aiming a sucker punch her way. Thill or not, someone ought to taken the time to smarten her up.

    However, Requiem held fast and quickly dealt with the slippery urchin. It wasn't long before they were on their way again and far from the confines of those, now outraged, grabby hands. “Yeesh... I thought I had it bad. Do you deal with that kind of shit on a daily basis? You handled it like a pro."

    Once at the bar and seated, Cayson was fully aware of the glances that he and Requiem kept receiving. Let them look, he thought hotly, maybe if they gawk long enough their eyes will melt out of their heads. Trying to mask his annoyance, Cay let his eyes rove around the pendragons. Koani had a distinct shape, not to mention a distinct way of carrying herself. She was generally really easy to spot in a crowd. Cayson let his thumb gently rub the top of Requiem's hand as he continued to look around.

    “Huh... guess the odds aren't in my favour. I don't see her." Aside from the bar, Cayson had no real idea as to where Koani could be. He'd never actually been to any sort of a party event with her before. The council gala didn't count. “We could always just ask someone."
  19. A light flush had blossomed on his cheeks – he was well aware of it - but with any luck it wasn't too obvious. He'd blame it on insufficient air-conditioning if it came up, but seriously doubted that anyone with common sense would buy it. Dyl muttered something that must be censored for the sake of those with a weak constitution, and shook his head, his hair hanging over his marred right eye. A simple question deserved a simple answer. But to ask simple questions about something as intrinsically messy as Dylan’s feelings would only yield the end of the string and the rest of the thread still to sort through. Dylan himself was quite happy to leave it that way if nobody was going to bother him about it, and every query returned the exact same result.

    No matching records found.

    "My fault," he said oh-so-softly. "But… you knew? ‘Ani Grader, I’ve loved you for twenty years, and you knew all along?!" He stared at her, wild-eyed, his hands trembling. He felt like laughing, for some crazy reason.

    Lips that would kiss form broken prayers to stone.


    Requiem curled an arm around CayÂ’s shoulders and stretched himself like a cat. His back curved into a smooth arc, and he sighed contently, splaying his fingers like claws and playfully nipping at his boyfriendÂ’s ear. "Yeah. All the ladies just want me for my boooodddddyyyy." He drawled the last word, winking coyly. The standard code-book of boy's behavior required him to nudge the other male, which he did, adding his own feminine elegance to the act - two fingers placed against Cayson's chest, a pause in which to look very pleased with himself, and a light, near aristocratic 'put'. The orange arden's thumb against his hair caused the corner of his mouth to twitch uncharacteristically, and kohl-smudged eyelids slid down over glazed, supremely content looking eyes.

    Nimble fingers traced Cay's spine through his shirt, snaking up to rest on the back of his neck. Someone else's body heat against his fingertips brought depth to every breath that drawn into his lungs. "Mmm," he said. The tone was subdued, not in a negative sense - rather more like water on the point of boiling. A big kitty's purr.

    Tempting. Very tempting. He decided then and there to give Cayson full artistic license, stunned into silence and thus only able to give a few slow nods in response. The reversed roles were giving his brain cells a hard time. Normally, he would do the blatant hitting on, and receive none to little response in return. Often subtle, and involuntary. "I canÂ’t see them," he murmured. He turned to the side and called over a royal-blue khell with punk-rock hair and eyes the color of new snow. "You seen Koani Grader or Arsenic Strychinine?"

    "Yeah. They're dancing together."
  20. The quills upon Koani's back quivered as she fought to keep them from flaring out. Similar to Dylan, she was finding it a little hard to mask her feelings and keep them in check. His blush. Her newfound edginess. Pendragons had been casually watching them before with semi-interest. Now they were beginning to become a focal point.

    Koani wanted to pounce on him and stop his words from coming out with her hands. To staunch the leak before it became a full fledged flood. Whatever was rumbling about in his brain couldn't be good. He'd had too long to mull over it, too long... he...

    “My fault. But… you knew? ‘Ani Grader, I’ve loved you for twenty years, and you knew all along?!"

    A rush of adrenaline entered her system. Suddenly, she wanted to get out of there. She successfully fought the urge to flee, but remained unable to meet Dylan's gaze. Her blue-green eyes focused on the ground as she uncharacteristically evaded his wide-eyed stare.

    “Please don't... please don't make a spectacle out of this." When she spoke, Koani's voice was barely above a whisper and had a hint of a shake. “We were such good friends, Dyllie. You were my best. I couldn't... and you couldn't... and my Sabe. I'm sorry."

    As if she had suddenly been hit by a headache, Koani reached up and rubbed at her temples. The evening had started out so nicely. What a contrast this was. She took in several calming breaths of air. It was a few seconds before she felt up to meeting Dylan's eyes. When she finally did look back up at him, she felt shaken all over again. However, she didn't look into those piercing blue depths for long. She found that she simply couldn't. Instead, Koani slipped her arms around Dylan and enveloped him in a fierce hug. She closed her eyes, trying in vain to wish all their problems away.

    “Just... dance with me. Glauta. Fa kum sulc uryos abajishemd lusaj. Qots mys haja. Mys em vjyms yv abajiyma. Glauta."


    Cayson giggled. It was a tittering sort of laugh. He loved Requiem's playful antics. He loved Requiem. It was no wonder that he had girls hunting him down just for his body. Even the arden were in line. 'Quiem was a fine specimen of a pendragon. Mighty fine. Case was enraptured. His movements were so feline. There was something about them that made Cay want to snatch Requiem up and simply cuddle him to death. Curl up and lazily sleep while draped over one another.

    A pleasant chill ran down Cayson's spine as Requiem traced up along his back. He arched softly into the touch and his toes curled when he heard 'Quiem's purr. Case's own hand slipped around Requiem's back. It lingered there just above his pelvic bone, gently petting. He then took a moment from searching and placed a soft kiss at the base of his boy's neck. Might as well make the best out of their time.

    Requiem had just asked a punk looking khell about the whereabouts of their parents. Cay's dark blue ears tuned in for the response. He blinked when he heard it, then shrugged. So they were dancing. Cayson didn't even know that Koani could dance, but he supposed it made sense.

    “Huh. Weird. Wanna head over there then? Like, they have to take breaks in between, right?" Cayson was used to the dance atmosphere of clubs. A constant stream of loud music. A writhing sea of pendragons. This was nothing like a club. There was something here called class.
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