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Home » Search » Roster » Whitepages » Records » FAQ » Guidebook

Keeping Up
Open Halcyon Flats 
Seiji the Hopebringer
#1

There is a hollow place somewhere inside him. A sickness growing. Seiji knows the name for it, but he is unfamiliar with the symptoms. He begins to realize how charmed his life had been, before — even the bad things. He rarely had cause for resentment. When it did try to rear, he knew instinctively how to cage it. But there is little to be resentful of when one is respected. When one is given the world, should he only think to ask.

Here, he is — here, he hasn't even a name.

It drags at him: an anchor hidden just below the surface. He is unknown. He goes unused. Digging up flowers in Solanis was a cheerful diversion but it was long ago, and only momentary. The monsters who call this place home don't seem to care for ceremony, for order, for anything which might lift them above their base appreciation of existence. It doesn't surprise him, but he feels frustration stretching him thin. He cannot find what he seeks. He cannot return. He cannot go home. And he can't even tell anyone about it.

He's glad to be alone, today. Alone with the maelstrom of thoughts inside him. It's a poisonous thing, this storm. He wouldn't share it with anyone else. Certainly, no one else here. His gait is long and fluid as he marches across the sand. He goes nowhere, in particular. He has no destination — only a vague prize waiting for him somewhere in this awful place. His tail lashes every now and then against taut flanks. Muscle shifting under black, black skin. The narrow geometry of him an abrupt darkness on a horizon of mirrors and sky. He supposes he ought to do something. He can't dwell in his bad mood forever. He doesn't like feeling bitter. So maybe, if he cannot go home, he should just practice for home while he's here.

He begins with trot sets: his walk lifting into a buoyant, scooping trot. The wet sand sucks at his hooves, but he approves of this. Let the resistance tire him out. Let it leech the bad feelings from him. He trots for a count of one thousand, silent, echoing through his thoughts, and walks for a count of two hundred. And then he does it again, over and over, until sweat begins to rime his sides and he feels a little more like himself.

He misses so dearly the pull of routine, the effort of his body. No one present to interrupt him, he adds difficulty for himself as he goes: canter sets now, swapping leads where he feels like it. Stretching his stride long, long, longer until the narrow sticks of his legs are aching. Tucking his stride in short, short, shorter until he is barely moving. He becomes absorbed, forgetting the rest of the world, the strange empty landscape around him. Wet sand flecks his belly, but he doesn't care. He need not be beautiful in practice. He is a thing self-possessed.

img by Tildae @ flickr
Waker
#2
hold on to my HEARTBEAT
He flies without wings.

You have no other words for it, this awful, awful elegance, beautiful in a way that hurts to look at. He ripples under the sun, a mirage, a dream—your mind insists that he cannot be real. A liquid shadow when seen from a distance.

But his sweat smells all too real, and the prints he leave behind tell the story of a body meeting the ground; but how is it possible, when he seems so weightless? He sprints across the packed sand below, each stride eating up miles, lasting for eons, and you're not sure why watching him—a bird in flight—is so complex for you. His silence is a mystery, his grace a thing to envy, his decision to leave a painful loss.

You choose not to dwell on the latter. Instead, you picture him as he was in Solanis: absorbed in his task, joyful, bounding, proud. You remember his touch, gentle upon your shoulder. His infectious energy. The slow dance with Vynter.

You know nothing of him but what you see: power and grace.

He slows, muscles bunching; you fold your wings and plummet, your nose like the point of an arrow shot at the sand. The air whistles past your ears, tugs at your messy hair, ruffles your wings. It warns you not to play with fire, but you feel like getting burned.

You spread your wings, forcefully changing your trajectory; your shoulders groan against the strain but you narrowly miss the ground, shooting forward towards the stranger instead. Your wings raise slightly, as if to beat, but pausing oh-so-briefly on the upstroke—and then you snap them out, one low, one high, your body rolling over in the air as you tuck your wings to turn over fast. A heartbeat, that's all it takes, and you spread them again.

You don't know what it is; envy? An invitation? A challenge? But you glide and you watch and you wait.

[ idk have a barrel rolling horsebird ]
you’re a dreamer and you don’t know
that no story’s carved in stone
Seiji the Hopebringer
#3

A drop of ink: black against the blue. Or maybe a bullet — a weapon for which Seiji has no name. It glides in periphery until he turns: black lines reflected in dark eyes. Close; closer; close. Seiji knows three things: its name is Waker; it might kill him; he cannot move. Every muscle freezes under black skin, under the false (trembling) wing. Salt a rime on Seiji's flanks; mud a cast on his long, slim legs. He looks —

Waker turns (over and over and over) and it's a burst of movement like fireworks going off, like the clench moment of a heart beat. Many heart beats. Whoosh-whoosh-whoosh. Seiji's thin mane lifts and flutters along his neck. And he breathes.

It catches. It's more than a breath; it's a sudden, giddy explosion of silent laughter. He forgets the exhaustion beginning to burn in his muscles. He forgets loneliness; forgets anger. He's laughing, laughing as Waker soars up and safely away, a bird again. Distant. Seiji leaps after him at once, a great gallant leap, and those slender hind limbs lift up in a buck. Again, again. He is running under the blackbird and laughing, himself filthy and tired and exuberant. You can dance! he wants to shout. You can dance! You dance!

Then, for a moment: still.

Muscle trembles with effort all along his body, but he doesn't care. He isn't close to overtaxed, just yet. He's breathing, breathing, and the insides of his nostrils are a bright and vibrant red. His ears twitch; his eyes follow the progress of black wings with a sudden keen edge. The way a hawk watches sparrows play; the way a dog watches the rabbits talk. Seiji is himself hawk-like in profile, narrow and hooded, not a kind face until his eyes soften. Now, they are not soft. Now, they are thinking. A shadow of his old self pressing like a mirage over him now: stern, attentive, studious. Drawing all power toward the center of himself.

He moves again.

A long, springing movement; a looping arc. His head is up, eyes and ears on Waker but also away, also on the ground and the water and whatever ticks inside Seiji's heart. He cannot ask aloud — would not, even if he could. But silently, he asks the stranger to dance.

Not like Vynter, at the party.

Like something else.

Something which recalls to him the smell of blood, the burst of feathers. Something which ignites in him a kind of focused energy, kinetic and fierce. Here is the creature someone far away once named the Swan Prince, here is the creature they called bone-speaker. Here he is tracing shapes in the sand, limbs skipping, body following a tempo he hasn't heard sung in what feels like a lifetime on the road. He dances now, as he used to dance.

A dance for two.

img by Tildae @ flickr


@Waker
ooc // Seiji approves.
Waker
#4
hold on to my HEARTBEAT
You're too sad to be afraid, but the rush in your veins feels almost the same; it's a torrent, cold and anxious, mounting adrenaline as you wait—precious seconds sliding by as something in you tries to mount a feeble defense. It whispers that it can't get any worse, that he has already rejected you once, when he slipped away from you in the darkness of Halyven, that if he rejects you again you can leave and let it be the end of your chapter. You don't have to seek out that which doesn't want you.

So maybe you are both sad and afraid as your emotions strangle you in that brief, brief time before you parse his reaction; he laughs without sound, silently vibrating as he leaps after your retreating form.

You decide you are allowed to envy his grace, the slim lines of his body, the narrowness of his waist and his legs and how he floats. You're allowed to envy the power thrusting him into the sky, the heights his hind hooves reach as he bucks in your shadow; mesmerized and amazed you fly above the treacherous flats, unsure of what to do with this wondrous thing you have created. You fear you might break it if you try to hold it, or that it'll turn out you don't know what he's asking of you.

That you won't be good enough.

The sadness has evaporated, but the fear has not. You watch him stop, and you bank, circling; is he asking for your initiative? Is he waiting for you? But if so, what is he expecting?

It's complex, and you don't quite dare to just .. do .. anything.

He's moving again. Slower, more controlled; it's not exercise, not anymore.

It's art.

Your wings beat hard, hard, hard as your forward motion ceases; you watch, enraptured. You watch, still afraid of disappointing him.

You don't understand what he's asking. You don't understand what he expects. You don't understand what he wants you to do, and you don't know what you want, either.

Your wings scream for a release, and you ease into a glide, looking for a pattern in what he does, shadowing his movements, finding his rhythm.

But you don't know what to do with it. You're the storm blowing down from the mountains, not a power contained and refined; airborne, there's just too much of your body to shift so rapidly.

You try, though. You sacrifice the smaller details, smooth over the shorter shifts into longer arcs, your shadow cast across his shadow, and then away again.

[ have a confused Waker ]
you’re a dreamer and you don’t know
that no story’s carved in stone
Seiji the Hopebringer
#5

Wisdom learned long ago from the master, one of the first lessons ever taught: nothing is perfect. Perfection may become the goal, the glistening endpoint one aspires to, but it may never be attained. Or, put another way: the striving becomes the attainment. Seiji does not expect the winged man above to know these patterns. He expects nothing concrete — only the free expression of himself. There is a time, a time immeasurable, where the two of them communicate in the way most native to Seiji's body. He forgets his stolen voice; it was never the truest thing about him, anyway. Their shadows dance: a waltz of distance, a waltz of silence, two dreamers reaching out to brush against each other.

At last, Seiji stills. Sweat darkens the impossibly dark skin of his flanks. His sides heave, giddy with exertion, and he throws his head back to gaze at Waker. His veins flood with something, something dark and brilliant. Something he had nearly forgotten. But he stills, now. He should not push himself too hard. He's out of practice, truly, his body accustomed to walking but no longer to the other things which once made his name among the people of his homeland.

He takes some time to catch his breath.

Now he remembers he cannot speak. Now — because he wants to. He wants to tell Waker his name. He wants to say, Where did you learn to dance? though he has a strange feeling Waker has never danced before. Not like this. Not — to transcend meaning.

Seiji's tail flicks, and in a single smooth movement he rears. Gestures up with one forelimb, like a wave. Come down here? Though he doesn't know what he intends. Only — connection. Burning in him now is a ghost of the feeling he had with…...

Well.

A feeling familiar to him.

(another memory like a distant flame, fading)

img by Tildae @ flickr


@Waker
Waker
#6
hold on to my HEARTBEAT
You are lost, in the grace of the stranger, and the rhythm built between you. It shimmers like something almost tangible in the air, a beat that isn't your heart, a focus so keen it obliterates the sun and the sky and the earth and the sea. There's only him and you, and the predictions you make together.

It's a world within a world, a dream untethered.

You've never experienced anything like it, and you're not going to stop and question it—your consciousness is too deeply buried, lost in the pleasant ache of your shoulders as you move in a way you've never quite moved before, lost in the patterns drawn in the sand.

But all things must come to an end.

So tuned into his body are your senses that you see him stop before he does, and in the brief moment between prediction and reality, you feel a distant disappointment. Ah, that part of you thinks, and then he is standing still on the beach beneath you.

And your mind surges back to life. The whisper of the surf, the burning of the sun, the fiery ache along your spine and wings; you lock them in a glide, sweeping around the place he towers like a midnight sentinel, trying to figure out what has just happened. Part of you wants to analyze it, rerun it in your mind, brand it into your memory, so as to never forget it, but you can't help but worry it would ruin the magic.

Some things are better left unexplained.

He waves at you, but you've already lost altitude. Normally, you can stay in the air for hours upon hours, but normally, you don't ask of your body what you did today. Sweat rimes your flanks, nostrils flaring with each quick breath, and when you lightly touch down upon the sands, you feel wobbly and heavy.

You let your wings drop, just glad to let gravity take them for a moment.

And you raise your eyes, to look at him—and your jaws and tongue think about words to shape, but the only ones you find are wrong.

What happened to your voice?

(He can't answer you.)

Will you come back to Halyven?

(It was never about that.)

Why did you leave?

There were no answers to be had there, but you don't know any other way to ask. Curiously, you tilt your head to the side instead, the charms in your mane rattling against one another as your golden eyes try to ask the question your mouth can't.

Who are you?
you’re a dreamer and you don’t know
that no story’s carved in stone
Seiji the Hopebringer
#7

Waker becomes a shadow drifting down, a fallen bird. Seiji returns all four limbs gracefully to the earth and watches, black eyes tracing black feathers. Silence hangs around Waker even after he lands. Silence hangs between them both: some remnant of the moment before lingering in them still. Connecting them. Seiji breathes out, and something in his chest aches with a hollow hurt, a fist of pain squeezing over his heart. I am Seiji, he wants to say. Please remember my name.

But here, in this place, he is no one.

He breathes out again, a little ragged, and steps once to bridge the distance between them. An immeasurable longing in his eyes. Sorrow, as well. His nostrils flare as his long swan's neck reaches out. He doesn't want to touch Waker. He wants… something. Impossible to grasp. He hangs there in the moment, about to touch but not touching, and his eyes drift up to study in proximity the details of Waker's face.

The blue lines skating over and around his eyes. The tines of the horns. The jewelry glinting in the wreathes of dark hair. And at the same time, Waker is looking at him. Looking as if words are locked up in his throat, as if he needs to ask something —

Seiji understands.

His features soften. Ironic, maybe, or just a different shade of sad. He drifts back, his steps light on the wet sand, and his tail flicks absently behind him. For the first time in what feels like half a year, he tears his gaze from Waker's face. They are not friends. He will not stay. It hurts…

Seiji glances back, unable to leave just yet. Wanting, still — something. His lips part. The whisper of his breath moves past, and nothing else. He is not whole. He remembers it, now: a sledgehammer beating in his chest. He is not whole, and Waker will never know him whole.

Loneliness rears up. Threatens to eat him alive.

img by Tildae @ flickr


@Waker