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Jon / Indromede - Terra Essentia - An error log

In the other room, Indromede can hear Jon’s voice as he interrogates the engineer, a low rumble of authority. “I’m telling you, look again. There must be an error logged somewhere, a damaged circuit, something.” Softer, deferential, the man deferring once again; they’ve found nothing, double and triple checked, all in perfect working order.

Indromede lingers at the washbasin, water still drying on her cheeks, and meets the eyes of the face in the mirror-screen: a stranger, pale to her dark, gaunt cheeks, haunted eyes; afraid. Indromede knows the phantom will vanish, the moment she calls for anyone else.

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Khurshæd - Bahaaru - Mysterious package

“Is it a present?” Khurshæd wonders uncertainly, eyeing the half-open cloth bundle on the table.

Nanu’s dry laugh ends in a gurgling cough; not long, now. “More like a burden, but you’re the only one to bear it. Open it, if you like.”

Nervous now, she does so. The wrapping itself is a fine, heavy cloth, closely embroidered with intricate patterns. Within, several small waxed paper envelopes containing different sorts of salt, each with a label denoting the place of origin; more embroidered cloths, closely folded; a carved figure of a woman that doubles as a phial of oil. “Nanu,” she whispers, feeling a chill whisper over her skin in the heavy summer heat, “I thought you destroyed all this.”

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Thaddeus - Æthera - horror

He never gets it quite right, when he dreams of home. Somehow, the few early memories he still retains get inextricably tangled together with his early days in Æquitas Illumina, spider-priests in luminescent robes dropping words like poison that eats away at him, unnamed horrors that linger like a bad taste when he wakes. As a child, such weakness shamed him; older now, and accustomed to shame like a well-worn cloak tailored to fit, he thinks little of the swamps he hasn’t seen since he was a boy, and he has found several ways to avoid dreams altogether.

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Gaïlle/Stéfanie - old books

It is a small thing in the end, almost an accident, something Galen brings to alleviate her homesickness when the northern winter has truly begun to seem endless: a journal, copied from the original in a neat hand and bound with a simple wooden cover. Letters to a Friend reads the title, and underneath in smaller letters, AMBROSE.

She had never set eyes on this book, but she knows every word inside with chilling familiarity. She has read it over a dozen times, and she is certain of only one thing: these “letters to a friend” were written to her.

Current Mood:
good good
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Ambrose - Cuolomicus Nori - what?

The packet sits on his desk, torn and rummaged. The contents are hardly worth noticing, which is surely the only reason it even survived the journey from Bahaaru all the way north to Cuolomicus Nori: two pairs of sturdy, colourless men’s socks and a worn copy of some tired Abhati poetry. No sign as to the sender. But the note he finally finds, glued between two stuck-together pages, is even more troubling.

Little brother, forgive my stubborn pride. I do not know even now if I made the right choice. Now it is  your turn. Keep watch.

Yashamin. What…?

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Windsor - Æstradel - beginning

Windsor is in love with the world. She’s been to Nérène before, of course, and even to the pristine gated communities of New Eden, with their perfect gardens and grand sprawling lawns and enormous looming mansions. That was impressive, but somehow false. Æstradel, though…! Æstradel is real, and old, so old she can taste it in the air with the tang of the water when the wind blows off the ocean. The wind is always blowing here, it seems. She used to think Da foolish, with his obsession with new places; now she is beginning to reconsider, beginning to understand.

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Penelope - Terra Essentia - remember the time

“Time,” snaps the tutor, “remember the time, girl!”

The music breaks off, abruptly, and Penelope is jolted back to the dull, boxy practice room. She stares at him a moment, simmering with resentment, childish eyes wide with defiant anger, and then she snaps the bow back against the strings and starts over - double time. Notes leap and soar and are swept away like leaves in a tidal wave; somewhere distant, the tutor is shouting. Triple time. Faster. She feels giddy with it, each bright sound falling with fatal precision into place. The silence that follows is a brief, heady victory.

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Maebh/Ranita - Shachar - fur

“Does it hurt?” Ranita asks, trying to imagine what it must feel like to sprout fur and fangs and have one’s bones all change shape inside one’s skin. She can’t, really.

Maebh shrugs in her shoulder-rolling way, as though the question itself will run off like water. “That’s not the word I’d choose, no.”

“What, then?”

Maebh leans back, stretching long muscular arms, and sighs. “It’s like… turning yourself inside out, lass. If y’could take the you that’s inside and pull it out and give it shape… that’s what it’s like. Pain is only the barest part of it.”

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Mateo/Alice - Wolfhame - loom/weaving

“It’s math,” she says without looking up, answering his unspoken question as he enters the room to find her on the floor, surrounded by scattered printouts of Wyrgre folk tapestries. Alice, to the best of his knowledge, has little prior interest in weaving. Some of her references show photos of the entire work, but most are magnified several hundred times so each thread stands out clearly on the page, some with notations all along the edges. “Wolf math,” she adds darkly, sitting back and scowling.

He picks up a page at random, compares it to her equations. “Ah. Wolf… math.”

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Gaïlle/Stéfanie - Ryme Intrinseca - lock & key

She feels like half of someone posing as a whole person. She follows routines, makes decisions, does what seems best. She can feel the weight of years heavy in her memory, but she doesn’t have the key to open the lock and look at what’s inside. Even here, now, half the world away from everything she knows, the strangest part about any of it is herself, and all the things she can’t make sense of. She tries to believe she’s on the right path, but it’s difficult not to look back and wonder what she left behind, obscured and unfinished.

Current Mood:
productive productive
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