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Fantasy Writers

Character Castle 2.0

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  • #151375
    E. N. Leonard
    @e-n-leonard

    😁 this is going to be awesome! @jared-williams  and  @rose-colored-fancy you did a good job with Jade! She would definitely love having that power and would not hesitate to use it.

     

    Yes. Dancing! Jade pulled her crazy blonde curls up into a bun and proceeded to stretch with a Cheshire Cat grin stretched across her face. Since Abirami was serious, she didn’t really mind performing to please him and Ku. Jade admired folks with determination, for she used it every day.

    When Ophelia pulled out a pair of demi-pointes, Jade said, “Good idea. Pointe would be stupid on this floor. I’m going to go barefoot.” She removed the ridiculous, delicate slippers she’d been wearing this whole time.

    As she continued stretching, Jade struggled to keep her breathing steady. One, two, three — don’t laugh! This was all so amusing. Rosemary was right; this wasn’t Benevola Haven. Jade could hardly contain her joy that she wouldn’t have to earn anyone’s approval through this dance. And it wouldn’t be some stupid dance honoring something she hated, either! Just a dance of delight, not even a competition against that horrid Mara.

    ”Hi. I’m Enydd. Is there anything I can do to help you guys get ready?” a voice asked above Jade and Ophelia’s heads.

    Jade jerked her head up. She kept her first thought to herself: How in the blazes can she afford so much fabric? Only Benevolent women wore dresses like that, except on the Day of Destiny, when every girl of the Final Year tried to scrounge one up.

    Ophelia filled in the gap. “Hi, Enydd. I’m Ophelia.”

    Jade recovered herself. “And I’m Jade.” She asked the first question to pop into her mind: “Have you seen Rosemary?”

    ”No,” said Enydd.

    ”Oh. Well, she’s probably fine,” Jade said. “Probably just wandered off for some quiet, and it’s safer to do that here than back home.” No Mara here to take advantage of the moments Rosemary was only physically present.

    Enydd raised an eyebrow, and Jade realized that it sounded like she was trying to convince herself that Rosemary was fine. Which was exactly what she was doing.

    ”Um, could you find a good open spot for the performance to be held?” asked Jade.

    ”Sure. How big do you need?”

    Jade replied, “Make sure it’s tall enough we can jump, and —“ Wait. What measuring systems did these people use? Everyone could be from any manner of different worlds. “And about fifteen paces wide, or more. It’ll also need room for spectators.”

    ”Ok,” said Enydd.

    ”Thanks for your help,” Ophelia said.

    ”Yes, thank you.” Jade even smiled at the girl.

    After she left, Jade leaped up. “So, Ophelia, what do you think this dance should be? I think…I’d like it to be a dance of birds. Imitating them, ya know?”

    Birds. So free. They could cheer or taunt those in the Haven with song, and then fly far away. No matter what this castle was like, Jade was free here out of the haven. Free as a bird. Jade leapt to the side with her arms outstretched as though she’d take flight.

    ”Ow!”

    ”Ow!”

    Jade and the person she’d jumped into disentangled themselves.

    “Isaias?” she asked.

    “Yes.” He laughed. “I heard your voice and came toward it. I should’ve known to keep back from ballet practice!” Isaias kept laughing.

    As she put her face into an emotionless mask, Jade turned to Ophelia. “This is Isaias Baum, and he’s from the same place I am. Isaias,” — she didn’t even turn to look at him — “this is Ophelia, another dancer.”

    ”Nice to meet you! Where are you from, if not the Haven?” Isaias asked.

    Jade left them to converse while she obsessively practiced foot positions. There were no people to protect here, no secrets, she reminded herself. But what on earth would she do without them? She couldn’t afford to alienate Isaias in case they ever got back home because he could destroy her life and the lives of her family with just a few words in the ear of a Benevolent, just as she could do the same for his.

    And yet, despite his scatterbrained enthusiasm and strange ways, Jade could not think he was that petty, just as she was not that petty. Or maybe she was just so petty that she wouldn’t give the Benevolents a one up for anything.

    But that’s not where you are! Shut up, brain. Dance! So she did.

     


    @inkhorn
      I’m not sure if I got Enydd right. She seems like the sort who has a lot more going on in her mind than she lets out of her mouth. Change whatever you like!

    We are called to be lights in the cosmos.
    May your inkwells never run dry!

    #151377
    E. N. Leonard
    @e-n-leonard

    Oh weird, it didn’t tag you right. I’ll just do it again.


    @rose-colored-fancy

    We are called to be lights in the cosmos.
    May your inkwells never run dry!

    #151381
    Emily Waldorf
    @emily-waldorf

    @this-is-not-an-alien it IS Zorro!! (the B&W one: the guy on the left is Diego de la Vega) <3 BEST.SHOW.EVER! I didn’t know anybody else knew about it. 🙂

    Don't cry for me, for I go where music is born ~J.S. Bach

    #151382
    Emily Waldorf
    @emily-waldorf

    @calidris :

    Avin’s mother was full Colondite (another country which is almost always at war with Vegada), and his father was full Vegadan. He was born in Vegada. The hatred for Colondites is mainly based on Vegadans’ distaste for the country, b/c they are so mean and war-like. (plus negative things like slavery etc. are legal there, and vagabonds from Vegada can make an underhanded iving in gross trades like that). The intense hatred happened after Colondite assassins murdered the king and queen a few years ago.

    Avin

    “Oh, me? I’m from Spire. And you?”

    Spire. Nothing about this made sense, but Avin was getting used to it already. Spire was a name he was completely unfamiliar with.

    “I’m from Vegada,” he answered quietly. A blank look crossed the boy’s face. “You haven’t heard of, it.” It was a statement instead of a question.

    The boy shook his head so that his pink hair flopped around. Avin could tell by his bearing that he thought he was really something. Inwardly he rolled his eyes, but his face never changed.

    “And your name is…?”

    “Kit.” the boy answered, almost triumphantly. “Yours?”

    “Avin Merrelsby.” It slipped off his tongue before he had thought. Introducing himself as “Avin, Duke of Westlyn” still felt stiff and unusable. In these past few minutes everything about him that was Avin, Duke of Westlyn had vanished, and he was just Avin Merrelsby once again. Invisible, unnoticed.

    The boy couldn’t help but look back at the girl, still by herself in the corner. Alone and crying. She wanted to be alone, but Avin wished there was something he could do to help. he saw her half-turning to look at them, and looked quickly away, leaving Kit to do all the grinning and nodding. She didn’t need to find a stranger’s eyes looking at her, especially not his.

    Kit seemed to grow suddenly uninterested in the conversation, and made a move to go to her, but as he moved toward her, a look of horror flashed across her face.

    “So, Kit: what do you do in Spire?”Avin asked quickly, with more friendliness than he felt.

    ~~

    Yeah, Kit, just tell her! Fascinating relationship. 🙂

    Hope this was Kit-ish and Valencia-ish

    Change anything, and take it where you will. 🙂

     

    Don't cry for me, for I go where music is born ~J.S. Bach

    #151384
    Emily Waldorf
    @emily-waldorf

    INTRODUCING…

    Name: Anika Litvak

    Age: 19 or 20

    Appearance: 5’4″; 162 cm, slender-featured. Blonde-brown hair and hazel eyes. Slim, straight nose. thin gray dress and faded apron. Barefooted or in ragged slippers.

    Personality: High-spirited and firm, with a strong sense of justice, yet an undeveloped (uneducated) moral compass. Circumstances (slavery) has suppressed her spirits so that she is cowering, but anger and revenge linger in the back of her mind, longing for strength to pounce.

     

    AND…

    Name: Natalya Yuri

    Age: 21

    Appearance: short (4’11”; 150 cm) and slight, but large-boned. blunt features; rich brown hair, brown eyes. Short black dress with lace neckline and neat little slippers.

    Personality: Naturally timid and shy. Circumstances (slavery) have turned her bitter and manipulative. Anika’s best friend.

    Hope y’all like ’em! I can’t wait to write them, probably sometime tomorrow, Lord willing.

     


    @rose-colored-fancy
    I saw on your newsletter that you wrote Aydin’s last POV chapter, and I KNOW that feeling. So sad, so satisfying, yet so…sad! Congrats on getting this far, and I’m so happy for you and Aydin–I am personally grateful that you gave him a happy ending. 🙂

    Don't cry for me, for I go where music is born ~J.S. Bach

    #151385
    Emily Waldorf
    @emily-waldorf

    If it gets to be too crowded in here, I’ll pull Avin.

    Don't cry for me, for I go where music is born ~J.S. Bach

    #151386
    Emily Waldorf
    @emily-waldorf

    Anika & Natalya

    Darkness fell suddenly, as if the sunlight had been cut off by a storm. Anika gasped and stopped in her tracks. Natalya came up beside her, her heavy breathing sounding in Anika’s ear. “What happened?”

    “How should I know?” Anika started forward again, groping ahead of her in the gloom.

    “We’ll get a tanning if we’re late.”

    Anika forced the though from her mind. It was a certainty, but it was a certainty she had to ignore for now.

    As suddenly as darkness had come, they stumbled into a patch of light. Anika blinked, but when she saw what the light had to show, she stumbled back, bumping against Natalya.”Quiet!” she hissed. Don’t move.”

    Natalya held in a whimper and looked around.

    Everywhere, there were new faces. People, whether cruel or kind they had no way of knowing. Natalya pressed herself against the wall, and Anika looked warily around. Slowly, she motioned Natalya back, and slowly, Natalya began to creep away. Inch by inch, into the dark tunnel from where they had come.

    Where were they? How had they gotten here? Had anyone seen them?

    Anika shuddered. I hope not.

    Suddenly, a shadow loomed up beside them, too close to be avoided. Anika froze. Someone was here. They had been seen. She set her fists and stood, telling herself she was ready for anything. She and Natalya bowed their heads respectfully, but from the corner of her eye, Anika peered up at the person. It was a woman. She sighed in silent relief.

    A woman with blue hair.

    What went wrong back there?

    The woman looked them over sharply. Anika kept her head bent without thinking. Long years had made it habit.

    “Who are you, and how did you get here?” snapped the woman.

    “Anika, ma’am. And this is Natalya.” Anika gestured to Natalya without looking at her. They both curtsied low.

    There was nothing else to do, now. Anika kept her head bent, and waited. One eye on the woman, one looking for a place to run. She stood up from the curtsy and remained perfectly still, but every muscle was poised, ready to leap into action the moment the need might arise.

     


    @rose-colored-fancy
    IDK if you want to interact, but I noticed that Cal was inactive. Change or disregard, as it pleaseth thee.


    @irishcelticredflowercrown
    , Lorcan and Daire are also inactive, and @calidris ‘s Valencia is pretty much inactive. If any or all of you want to interact, I’m down for it. 🙂 If not, I’m down for that, too. Easily pleased, ya know.

     

    Don't cry for me, for I go where music is born ~J.S. Bach

    #151388
    Mr.Trip Williams
    @jared-williams

    Warning… some of this is me rambling, so skim over if you want… =)

    This is SO AWESOME! lol. Funny how it’s possible to geek out over a character castle. hehe.


    @rose-colored-fancy

    I wasn’t expecting Ophelia to be reluctant to agree. She’s always seemed like something of a show-off to me, who just loves to be in the spotlight. Apparently, that’s not all of it. Also, Malcolm is another one of my main characters. I love him a lot, I want to try to get him in the castle sometime!

    This seems like an incredible and wonderful dynamic! Lots of great character development potential there! Just reading that small bit, I want to know what happens next between Malcolm and Ophelia! Hey, feel free to bring Malcolm into the castle too! That would be awesome if he came in and joined the performance! Perhaps replace Abirami? (perhaps, perhaps not? lol ;p I kinda also want to see what Abirami would do with a dance lesson…. rofl. He’s definitely more meat-head than dainty-graceful)


    @this-is-not-an-alien

    The man laughed and ruffled his hair. Ehud froze mid-fidget, nobody did that except his brother and Rosario. And his dad before…that…It felt really warm. Did that mean they were friends? He-

    Aw, that’s so heart-warming! and strangely ironic in a good way! I’m glad that broke the ice a bit. I’m really looking forward to later interactions between our characters! especially Ku and Ehud. hehe. I’m so glad you could incorporate the head ruffle so well!!! Setti is one of my favorite characters, and he has wings on his back and pin-feathers for hair on his head, so Abirami always, literally, ruffles his feathers. =)  Setti isn’t ADHD or anything, but Ehud does really remind me of him for some reason. =) Maybe it’s his sweet nature and bubbling energy.

    *Of course this author has neverrrrr had that exact same urge every time she sees a buff dude on TV. Be like; Most girls: He looks hot. Me: must poke.* XDDDD

    XDDDD. soooo funny! That’s great! Reminds me of on Cloudy with a Chance of Meatball, the monkey with the ‘mind-translator’….. “mustache….” XD.  or my dad, who whenever he sees someone with a nose stud, just can’t not comment about it looking like a booger on the side of the face that he just wants to say, hey, you got a little… something… there. – – pick – – XDD

    Even a skunk.” “They smell awful.” Ehud said, wrinkling his nose. He’d tried to pet one before. Which was kinda funny, he’d tried to hide it but Rosario and Enoch laughed so hard when they figured out and laughed too. Wait. Did that mean all the animals he talked to might have actually understood him. That meant he was in trouble, he usually vented to stray cats…

    haha! so fun!

    Same with Ehudddd!! He was raised on the streets by his brother and his best friend/crush/girl-he-randomly-adopted-before-she-could-kill-herself…

    So many very close parallels!

    After reading that, I feel like I should share how Abirami and Ku first met. It’s rather a funny story, actually. Sad, but funny in parts… Abirami was looking through the slums cause he was trying to find his father’s lost sword, just days after the city had been conquered by an evil emperor and his father killed, so the sword was nearly the last thing of his fathers that he had, if he could find it. Even his father’s home had been burned to the ground. While searching, he witnessed Ku steal bread from a soldier, who then chases after her. Abirami, in wolf form, then steals the rest of the food from the soldiers plate (the meat) and runs off. hehe. After eating, Abirami stumbles onto the soldier in the back alley, about to cut Ku’s arm off, so Abirami, still in wolf form, jumps in, saves her, and then runs off with Ku on his back to escape the soldiers who give chase.

    He later goes and looks for her because she was so malnourished, her skin was almost white (a sign of illness in an aelacrin – white skin typically means close-to-death for aelacrins.) This time in his normal form, and finds her sleeping behind a pile of garbage. He wakes her up, and of course she doesn’t recognize him because he’s not in wolf form, and Abirami, being a naive, awkward teenager, asks if she wants to live with him right out of the blue. She takes him as a predator and shies away. Abirami, being the addle-brained awkward teenager, recognizes she doesn’t recognize him, so he decides to transform into a wolf so she can recognize him as the one who saved her the day before…………… to transform, he has to take his robe off……… so this poor girl thinks he’s a predator already, and now he is taking his robe off…. (and remember, she’s really really short…) so she uppercuts him in-between the legs and runs off!

    After….. taking the time to recover…. Abirami transforms into a wolf and follows her, then explains properly that Semiramis, an adult, is taking care of him as an orphan and if she wanted to, she could join them… And that’s how Ku became part of Abirami’s family. =)   (snicker, snicker) (Abirami would have been about 13 at the time, Ku would have been about 6.)

    But Abirami is a hopeless savior-complex kinda guy… After taking Ku in, he runs into Menna and Setti, whose parents die when the new ‘evil’ emperor uses propaganda to blame the countries ills on the old government and anyone remotely involved with it. So of course, he adopts them in, and then finally finds a baby neulahdian (race of empaths) who had been abandoned to die in the wilderness (cultural reasons – similar to how some ancient cultures thought twins were evil…), and adopts him too. =)

    I love that Ehud and Rosario art!  Do they have a ship name yet?  Because they should! Thanks so much!!! Actually I’ve never named my favorite ships before…

    Oooh! You could dub them Rosariud or Ehurio! hehe. XDDDDDD…. if Ehud and Ku ever became a thing, they could be Ehku or Kud. lol.


    @e-n-leonard

    oooh… is Isaias another potential participant in this upcoming dance? (wink, wink)


    @inkhorn

    oooh, so many ideas. (sparkling eyes)

    Abirami is running to get his garb… he could find your bag and bring it back for you??

    And if you are searching other rooms, on top of finding a room with a stage, you could possibly discover other fun rooms like a dinning hall, or kitchen, or even outlandish rooms like aquariums or safari zones, or perhaps indoor spas or something. lol. sky’s the limit… I’ve always dreamt of having a room in my house one day that has the walls, floors, and even ceiling covered in either cushions or trampolines…. or both. lol. would be so much fun! [Charlie and the chocolate factory anyone?]

    [[[[im so rando today!]]]]]

    K. Gonna follow up with a bit from Ku and a bit from Abirami…. (Cheshire Cat grin back at you…)

     

     

     

    Christianity has not been tried and found wanting, it has been found difficult and left untried. ~ G.K.C.

    #151389
    Mr.Trip Williams
    @jared-williams

    Oh, and this is Setti… in case I ever bring him into the castle…. (bad rendition of him, but best I could come up with from the website I use… the ears and hair are all wrong… but it gives the gist of it.)

     

    Christianity has not been tried and found wanting, it has been found difficult and left untried. ~ G.K.C.

    #151390
    Mr.Trip Williams
    @jared-williams

    and he’s usually not so serious, but at the time, he is training to try to help Abirami break a war general (and old friend of his dad’s) from the castle dungeons. And Setti is using his dad’s weapon of choice…

    but seriously, Setti looks up to Abirami and wants to be just like him… (lol. if you couldn’t tell from the picture. 😉 )

    Christianity has not been tried and found wanting, it has been found difficult and left untried. ~ G.K.C.

    #151392
    calidris
    @calidris

    @emily-waldorf oh that makes a lot more sense now!  I think Kit is going to be rather impressed by Avin’s outfit XD

    Also, that’s some very interesting background on the Colondites!  It makes me sad for Avin though.  Poor guy’s been through so much 🙁

    Kit:

    “I’m from Vegada.  You haven’t heard of it.”  I shake my head.  Nope.

    “And your name is…?”

    “Kit.” I grin. “Yours?”

    “Avin Merrelsby.”  I nod slowly.  Nice, nice.  My gaze strays back over to Valencia.  Wait…

    She…

    She’s looking at me.

    She’s staring.

    Really staring.

    A thrill shoots right through my chest as my head swims in this sudden fog of excitement.  My face flushes as my gaze suddenly drops to the floor.  Don’t just stand there like an idiot – DO SOMETHING!

    Of course.  No better time, right?

    I nervously grin back at her, and dip an eye in a barely perceptible wink.  Look, look, I know what you’re thinking, but this really isn’t as obnoxious as it sounds.  She’d only notice it if she were really, really looking – which she is.

    Come on, Val!

    She doesn’t even blink, her gaze locked in a hollow stare.

    Hello?

    Her eyes are blank, lips slightly parted.

    I don’t Valencia is actually seeing anything at all, to be honest.  I’m not sure she even realizes what she’s doing.  I’ve seen this before.  I think she’s just resting her eyes somewhere (like me) – somewhere she can dull her mind and numb her senses…OW?

    Oh that hurts.

    My face burns, except this time it’s not with excitement.

    “So, Kit: what do you do in Spire?”  I turn back to this man – Avin, only half hearing his vaguely disinterested question.  Ah yes.  Small talk – my favorite, and the apparent bane of Valencia’s existence.

    SAY WHAT?

    A million answers shoot through my mind.

    Well usually I’d be rotating between parties and obligatory social functions – at least, I would if I still had any friends, if anyone actually wanted me there anymore.  Ummm, ouch? 

    Yeah.  That’s the nice thing about Basil, though – he’ll judge you twice for flipping a light switch wrong, but when it comes to those real nasty social taboos, he’s as gentle and quiet as a dove.  A brat dove, to be sure, but a trustworthy one nonetheless.

    Speaking of which…It’s not like Basil actually does anything, besides eating and sleeping and whining about his perpetually stopped up nose.  Even so, he’s been surprisingly cooperative for a boy living in a walk in closet.  Look, you got to have it rough if living in a closet is preferable to running back home – as if the shock collar and barcode on his neck weren’t enough to tip anyone off.  But there’s no way in blazes I’m telling this guy about Basil – everyone knows he’s involved with the Feds and that, my friend, is exactly how people disappear.

    Like Cousin Rosemary.

    Uhhh maybe I could tell him about my brothers?  That sounds safe…kind of.  You know, as long as it sticks to pleasant small talk, I think we’ll be good.  At least I can tell him all about Milo, or brag about Julian’s first expedition.

    Let’s see, let’s see.

    Valencia and I…is Valencia a friend?  Would she be alright with me calling her a friend now?  I’m not sure how much I can tell him about the issue with Rosemary, but I think it’ll be fine.  The whole city seems to know about our search by now anyways.

    “Mmm what do I do in Spire?”  I grin nervously.  “I suppose it’s not much different than whatever you might do in Vegada.  I spend a lot of time with family, and with friends.”  I think Basil counts? 

    I nod over at Valencia.  “She’s a good friend of mine.”  I flinch a little as the word slips across my lips.  It hurts- really, really hurts – like a death knell ringing in my heart.  “Do you have any siblings?  I have four other brothers.  Milo’s the youngest, but only by a month – he and I are both adopted so we’re kind of like twins I guess.”  I beam back at Avin.  “And Julian is just a couple of years older than me, but he’s already decided that he’s going to be a pro explorer and that’s that.  In fact, we just got him back from an expedition down South…”

    Plus Eli, who’s flying off his rocker again –  and by that I mean he’s rocking the blazes right towards another nervous breakdown.  And lets not even talk about Jasper.  I’m pretty sure Eli gained another gray streak since he came home, although it’s hard to tell since that might’ve also had to do with Milo and I keeping some sort of fugitive in our closet.

     

    Oh goodness that scene with Valencia was painful to write XD


    @emily-waldorf
    I changed Valencia’s part – she’s not necessarily afraid of Kit, just afraid of emotional vulnerability in general.  Also she’s burned out and overstimulated by now and I’m honestly not quite sure if I can write her out of it…but we’ll see XD

    I’ve left Avin’s reactions blank, so feel free to add or change anything!

    And YES Kit does think he’s something else.  He might just be my most roastable character yet, but I have such a soft spot for him regardless.  I just can’t help but root for him – as obnoxious as he is, he has such a pure and sincere devotion to Valencia and it makes me so soft :’)

    *laughs as one fey*

    #151393
    Mr.Trip Williams
    @jared-williams

    (Ami is Ku’Aya’s nickname for Abirami)

    Ku’Aya

    “Whoa! Cool green skin!” the boy called out!

    My ears tingled. So… cute!

    He had a baby face with blazing blond hair. His bangs stuck out half-hazardly about, and I had to wonder how he got his hair to stay that way… like an organized mess that actually looked really good.

    My hair was the worst. I could never make it do anything I wanted… well, besides the mohawk. Any aelacrin could do that…

    And I didn’t have to crane my neck up to look at him. Sure, he wasn’t as tall as Abirami or… well, most of the people in the room, but he was still taller than me… just, not outrageously so. Standing me up against the ‘normal races’ sometimes felt like putting any race up against a loxor!   {loxors are the giants of my world…}

    But this was refreshing. Yet, still, my breath caught in my chest. Had I heard him right? Did he really say my green skin was… cool?

    I grabbed onto Abirami. How was I supposed to react to that? What do I say? What do I do? He likes green skin? I want him to like me. What am I thinking? What do I do?

    “She looks like a troll fairy princess!!!” He burst out.

    I looked up at Abirami. He was confused to.

    Princess?

    “What’s a troll?”

    “It’s a green warrior guardian of bridges the swamps and they ask riddles and if you fail them they eat you.”

    Princess? Wait… a warrior guardian? A guardian? I kinda liked that. But a guardian of what? Bridges? Swamps? Well, my ancestors did live predominantly in swamps… but… princess?

    I couldn’t get that word out of my mind. Even so, I felt the need to clear one thing up, even if my courage was quickly leaving me. What was this boy doing to me? I’d never felt like this before.

    “I don’t eat people,” I whispered quickly.

    I’m not sure he heard me.

    “Were you teleported form a beach, or is there a pool somewhere?” he asked Abirami

    “Not really a pool, no,” Abirami said “I had to leave my garb in the other room after transforming during that emergency.”

    Ami, you took his attention off of me…

    Normally, I’d more more than happy. What had changed?

    Princess?

    It was so foreign. I was an aelacrin. A nasty, disgusting, dirt-ridden, bottom-feeding bug-lover. My skin was puke green. Not the fair tan or the strong grey or even the sturdy blue. Yet, this boy had said it was cool…

    “I’m Abirami el Hanniumm, an aygiff. And this I my sister, Ku-Aya, an aelacri-“

    “Good to meet you! I’m Ehud, a human?” He blurted out.

    Ehud. His name was Ehud… his name started with a vowel, just like Ami’s. Ehud. His name meant ‘he that praises.’  I wondered if he knew his name meant that. In our world, names had really deep meaning. I never liked my name for that reason. Ku’Aya meant ‘many blessings.’ I was anything but that.

    Ehud, however… he seemed to fit his name perfectly.

    Ehud had been talking for a while, and I realized I had been staring at him but not listening.

    “Are there people with other colored skin from your world? Like blue skin, or purple skin? Where do you come from? And-“ He covered his mouth with the back of his sleeve and shoved his other hand in his pocket. “Sorry, I talk a lot…” He muttered.

    I was still so stunned, I let Abirami talk. Ami was good at that.

    Not that I was bad at it, just… I’d never had any opportunities to test whether I was actually any good at it. No one had ever really been interested in me before. Well, Ami didn’t count.

    Then Ehud turned his attention directly at me, and I could feel the blood drain from my cheeks and flood my ears.  {odd description, but she is having butterflies AND blushing at the same time…mixed with embarrassment}

    “And you, you can control bugs? How’s that work? Is it just certain types of bugs?” he asked

    He’s interested? It doesn’t put him off? What is this? I never imagined such a person existed. Was he just being polite, or was this for real?

    I smiled, a feeling of hope and belonging filling me with a strange warmth I’ve rarely felt before.

    “No, I can talk to any insect I want,” I said. Even Ami always seemed to have the wrong impression about my relationship with my hive. “And I don’t control them,” I corrected, pushing against Abirami. “They’re my friends.”

    “Oh,” Ehud said, “bugs don’t live very long usually. Do you have a lot of funerals? Ah sorry! I mean-…”

    My eyes went wide. He understands! He actually understands!!

    “Actually, I do,” I said. “No one’s ever asked me that before.” I was dumbstruck.

    Feeling emboldened and excited, I stepped away from Abirami. I didn’t even realize I had let go of his hand, but this impossibly cute guy was actually talking to me about bugs!

    “You’re right,” I said. “They don’t live long, but that’s something I love about them. I can make friends with one, and then I get to see their children’s children for generations on, and be friends with all of them. It’s like living a full life, over and over again.”

    And it was true. The connection I had with my hive was special. Even my relationship with Abirami was nothing like it. Everything I knew about life, I learned from them.

    “But…doesn’t it make you sad?” Ehud asked.

    I shook my head. “Death is a natural part of life. Just something you have to accept.”

    Ever since before I could remember, I had always been surrounded by death. In fact, Abirami and his adopted family was the longest anyone had ever stayed in my life… the thought stunned me. Would death come to them soon too? Oh, I hoped not. But their lives weren’t like those of my hive. Insects were short-lived, and therefore precious.

    “Oh, what’s your favorite bug?”

    Jolted back to the present, I couldn’t believe my ears! I wanted to laugh and whoop for joy, all at the same time.

    I reached back and detached my bawl from my hair.

    “This is Shaear,” I beamed with pride.

    “That’s so cool! Is it a boy or a girl?” He ask, gently touching it’s plated skin. “Oh some bugs change gender while they’re growing up…but I can’t remember which ones…”

    “It’s actually gender neutral,” I said, hoping he would be just as enamored with it as I was. “They are asexual, meaning they can reproduce themselves without the aid of a partner.”

    “Weird!” said Ehud. “Wouldn’t that be lonely? Not needing anyone else?”

    “Oh no,” I said. “Bawls are very social insects. They will actually adopt whole colonies of different species of bugs and act as a wise guardian for them. It’s quite incredible. And they live for a very long time. Some, even for years at a time! Shaear has been with me for two whole years now! He’s an very old man now.” I laughed, petting Shaear down his platted back, similar to what Ehud had done.

    He scratched the back of his head, and then stuffed on his hands deeper in his pocket. He pulled out a daddy longlegs.

    He had an arachnid in his pocket?

    I gasped. “Will you marry me?!”

    “-Oh! What do grandaddy’s eat? Wait… what?

    Nooooooooooo… Did I really just say that out loud?

    My ears, my cheeks… even the tip of my nose went red. I could just die of embarrassment. Oh, where was Abirami when I needed him? I looked around, hoping to hide behind him, but I couldn’t see him.

    Shoot. What do I do? What do I do?

    The daddy longlegs crawled up to the edge of Ehud’s hand.

    “Oh, what you got there?” I looked in closer, hoping helplessly that perhaps he would let my slip-up slide. “Oh, that’s a harvestmen. Many people think it’s a spider, but it’s not. It is an arachnid, but see how it only has one body section, not two? That’s how you can tell. And while they can eat other insects, they are also scavengers, which means they can eat carrion or compost. Can we be friends?”

    Ehud grinned from ear to ear, his cheeks glowing red as well. “Sure!

    I sighed in relief. Wait… he said yes? I couldn’t tell if it was my heart or my lungs that were stuck in my throat, but nothing was where it should be, was it? I couldn’t tell anything anymore.

    “What’s Shaear eat?” he asked. “And what do you do if bugs eat other bugs and you like both bugs…??”

    I laughed, hoping my nervousness wasn’t completely evident. “Most of my bugs are scavengers. They will eat anything that has already died, which is kinda beautiful, if you think about it, because they use death to promote life. It’s always so connected.” Was I rambling? I was so rambling.

    A shadow came over Ehud’s face, so I quickly redirected the conversation.

    “But for those who do eat other bugs, I make sure they go outside the hive to eat. And they are usually good with that. Insects are very territorial beings. They have no issues cannibalizing a foreign colony. Especially if it means protecting the hive or self-preservation. Are not most men the same?”

    Oh shoot. Had I gone too far? Aelacrins were infamous for elevating insects to the point that many thought we cared more for them than other people. Would Ehud think the same of me? Oh please no. I’m not a people-hater, I promise…. I silently willed for him to understand.

     

     

    Ah! That was so fun! This is so unlike what Ku’Aya normally is, it is great! ha! Really breaking her out of her tough shell and revealing her soft interior she never lets anyone see! This is great!!!


    @this-is-not-an-alien

    I changed a little bit… hope it works well for you. hehehe. She popped the question. XDDD Told ya she would… Looking forward to his reaction.

    oh, and by the by… this is a picture depiction of a Loxor… (the giants of my world.) In case you were wondering… and even if you weren’t… hehehe. (wicked grin)

    Oh, actually, it’s a picture of a female loxor. The males are even larger (like almost two times larger…)

    Christianity has not been tried and found wanting, it has been found difficult and left untried. ~ G.K.C.

    #151395
    Mr.Trip Williams
    @jared-williams

    ….. and yes. That IS Abirami standing next to her… just as a size reference here. lol.

    Christianity has not been tried and found wanting, it has been found difficult and left untried. ~ G.K.C.

    #151396
    Mr.Trip Williams
    @jared-williams

    Abirami’s turn… (cheesy grin with slanted eyes)

    Abirami

    The door, if you could call it that anymore, was all but shredded as I pushed it open and entered the room that had previously been infested with Ku’s hive.

    I marveled at the destruction that mere bugs could do. Just a few months ago, Ku’s hive had successfully committed what amounted to scorched earth, preventing the the Diagha’s blitzkrieg from passing the Sabre into Seres.

    Retrieving my garb, I flung it around to hang on my shoulders, then looked around. The room wasn’t entirely empty. Someone had left their bag behind. Not only that, but there was a pile of papers under a knife that had been stabbed vertically into the ground. Strange.

    I picked up the bag, then walked over to the knife.

    After unstaking the knife, I flipped quickly through the papers, the blood draining from my face.

    Faces, many of which I recognized as those who were with me and Ku here in the castle, were blazoned on the pages. Their eyes had been poked out, and large red ‘x’s  were marked across the page on some of them.

    What was this? Was it a threat? Had someone left this behind, or was this another test of the castle? Was this purposefully left to make us question those among us, or was there really someone this dangerous among us? I wouldn’t put it past this castle to test us like that, but then again…

    I didn’t know what to think. He might not like me and Ku right now, but Lorcan had to be told. Lorcan at least. And that other guy… Avin?

    I wasn’t surprised when I saw my face in the pile, but my muscles tensed and my teeth grated, my heart dropping to the pit of my stomach as I saw Ku’s face, a red mark etched across the page.

    Not if I can help it, you won’t.

    Putting my hands through my garb’s sleeves, I tied my robe closed, picked up the papers once more, and headed back to the room.

    Upon reentering, I held up the bag and called out, “Anyone leave this behind?”

    Giving the distance between the bag and the papers, it was safe to say that whoever the bag belonged to could, at least, be clear of suspicion as far as being the culprit of the papers.

    I walked toward Lorcan and the others as I called out again.

    No one claimed it.

    The room seemed a little less crowded. Had some broken off and left the room? Gone exploring maybe?

    An ominous feeling overtook me. Breaking off right now probably wasn’t a good idea, but there wasn’t much I could do about it.

    Avin was talking to someone I hadn’t seen before.

    Yet again another new person… but given what I’d just found, something didn’t sit right.

    Then again, there were also two new girls standing up against the far wall, in the shadows. Their shoulders were slumped, and their heads were bowed low. Their hands seemed to shift uneasily, and it made me squeamish, watching them.

    Doubts were creeping in. Was this what the castle wanted? For us to lose our trust in one another? To start doubting each other? To start accusing each other? I knew from experience, that was a slippery-slope. One I did not want to take a ride on.

    “Lorcan,” I called out, quiet enough that hopefully only he could hear.

    “I found these downstairs. I’m worried it might be a trap of the castle, but it might just be someone here too.”

    Lorcan eyed me suspiciously.

    “I know you don’t know me from the next guy, but I know you want to protect the people here, and because of that, I trust you. Even if you don’t trust me, will you help me look into this?”

    His eyes didn’t change, but the tension loosened from his shoulders. “Give em here.”

    He took the papers just before I was dragged away from behind. Turning, Jade had me by the elbow, grinning from ear to ear.

    “Come on, dancer boy, we got to get you limber and teach you the steps.”

    I could almost hear the laughter in her voice. It almost had a mocking tone in it, but I could tell she was enjoying herself. Probably at my expense, but I didn’t mind. I welcomed the distraction. Even if the looming threat never left the edge of my mind.

    She stood me out in the open and said, “Now, go ahead and stretch, and then we can begin. Oh, but-” she grabbed my garb and pulled it down and off of me from behind. “you didn’t need to go get this. It will only get in your way, anyways. Now, stretch.”

    I looked at her, tilting my head to the side.

    Stretch?

    Jade sighed despondently and turned her head to the side. “Oh, you got to be kidding me.”

    “Stretch!” she stressed, putting her hands out in an exaggerated expression. Then she motioned toward Ophelia, “Ophelia, please show this muscle-bound idiot how to stretch.”

    Ophelia bent and contorted her body this way and that, pushing her body’s dexterity to the limit.

    “Oh.” An idea forming, I augmented the worm’s dexterity, or perhaps it would be more accurate to describe it as lack of bone structure…

    Standing with my legs spread, I bent backwards, placing my hands flat on the floor behind me.

    Hehe. This was kind of fun. I’d never really looked at the world upside down like this before.

    Wondering if this was what she meant, I continued to bend, bringing my head further back until I was looking at Jade from between my legs.

    Horror was written across her face as she took a deep breath. “What are you!”

    Was this not how it was done? I straightened back up and released the essence of the worm. Tilting my head once more, I wondered what this stretching thing was. I thought I was doing what Ophelia had done. Did I do it wrong?

    Ophelia was snickering, and the genuine smile on her face was refreshing to see. “Well, I don’t think we need to worry about him not being limber enough.”

    Jade shot her a look.

    Ophelia snickered again, looking away.

     

     


    @inkhorn

    I had Abirami fetch your bag, but I made an assumption that you had left the room by now to search for a room suitable for the dance… =) you can choose to collect it at your leisure later, if you wish…


    @e-n-leonard


    @rose-colored-fancy

    hope that’s a suitable next step. lol. I thought the worm thing would gross Jade out and be a bit humorous at the same time. =) Change what you wish though 😉


    @irishcelticredflowercrown

    hope that’s acceptable for ya. =) giving Lorcan a mission, of sorts…

     

    Christianity has not been tried and found wanting, it has been found difficult and left untried. ~ G.K.C.

    #151397
    Neasa
    @irishcelticredflowercrown

    @this-is-not-an-alien

    omigosh your emo description was hilarious😂 and accurate!

    Lorcan: *shoots me filthy looks from the corner*


    @jared-williams

    It is perfect for Lorcan, thanks for giving him some purpose here!😅😄

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