[center This is my place to dump shit and save partially written responses, so if you're in a roleplay with me don't look or you'll get spoilers.
[size10 How I feel about the character in general, where I see the story going. [b Subject to change].]
[http://rp.eliteskills.com/vc.php?c=401671 [size10 Calliope Sardothian]] - Route B
[http://rp.eliteskills.com/vc.php?c=402796 [size10 Evangeline Summers]] - Route A
[http://rp.eliteskills.com/vc.php?c=397711 [size10 Xandria de La Forge]] - Route A
[http://rp.eliteskills.com/vc.php?c=397712 [size10 Xerxes de La Forge]] - Route A
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[Cutive+Mon The path that Feng was taking through the ship seemed to be rather convoluted to Dmitri, and he couldn't help thinking that he couldn't find his way back even if he tried. The Shu boy made a good point about Kerch, though. It was much too foggy and grey for him, compared to the lush summers and beautiful snowy wonderland winters of Ravka.
[google-font https://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Abel][google-font "https://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Cutive+Mon][left [pic http://i63.tinypic.com/23it17s.png]][center [abel Hey, I'm looking forward to seeing all of you. You should all have a key, but I'd appreciate if you rang the doorbell before you let yourselves in just to be on the safe side. We can figure out rooms when you all get here. Hope to see you soon. Also, if the cat meows to be let outside, please do not let him outside. I know he's very persuasive, but he needs to stay in the house. -Ink]
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[Cutive+Mon Dmitri could almost [i see] the gears turning in the Shu boy's head as he stuck out his hand for a shake. Not that he could be blamed, the Shu were already a superstitious people. While Ketterdam was most likely the safest place for them aside from Shu Han itself, they weren't exactly on wonderful terms with Ravka, and his heritage was evident.
[google-font "https://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Cutive+Mon][tab ][Cutive+Mon [size14 Calliope began a conjuration again, after noting Sevorin's skeptic approval, but she did not manage much before her concentration was broken by the clang of steel on steel. She took in a sharp breath as Sevorin knocked the approaching bandit's head, leaving even her ears ringing.
[google-font "https://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Cutive+Mon][center [pic http://i63.tinypic.com/2f092xg.png]
[Cutive+Mon The dimly lit streets of the Zelver district were quiet, aside from one set of soft footfalls down the cobblestones. Said feet were clad in dark leather boots, black slacks falling around the ankle.
[tab ][Cutive+Mon [size14 Calliope had known that her distinct lack of funds would be a problem for most, and it seemed Sevorin was no exception.
[h3 to be edited and posted later - for gof]
[left [pic http://i65.tinypic.com/11qo0m9.jpg]][center [font "Sacramento" The Nest had, over the past few months, become a makeshift home for Calliope.
Sure, it was small, cramped, dusty, filled with various fungi, and prone to being invaded by Adam or Theodore at any given time, but at least she could hear the latter when he approached her abode. Despite the fact that Calliope was living in the Nest almost constantly, one would be hard pressed to find any personal effects of hers laying about. Even her clothes were well hidden; so much so that sometimes even she struggled to locate them. It wasn't so much preparation than it was paranoia. One could never be too careful after crossing Caduceus.
Callie had made a habit of perching on the sill of the only window of the attic and watching those who approached the building. That particular day, from her perch, she watched Theodore the [s [font "Sacramento" great bumbling oaf]] gargantuan accountant for their little group stumble into the building. As soon as he entered, she could hear him crashing around. His size was problematic in most situations, but she had no doubt he would come in handy in a fist fight.
Theo was grumbling something about cutting himself down at the knees if he grew any more, and Callie couldn't say she was particularly opposed to the idea. She hummed softly and turned to face him on her perch. "[+purple I would help you do it,]" She purred quietly, jumping soundlessly to the floor. "[+purple You're much too big already.]" Just as Calliope was sitting on the couch opposite Theo, Adam crawled through the trap door, practically vibrating with excitement. The man in the picture that Adam threw down seemed to exude light, even in photographs. [i Disgusting]. He was perfectly groomed and had the stature of an Ancient Greek statue. He would be hard pressed to hide from anyone, especially her. This was going to be fun.
Not long after Adam's plan had been revealed, Callie had packed a small bag containing food to last her the few days until the party, dark grey attire to easily hide in the shadows, her trusty knife, and the earpiece she would wear the night of the party for communication. It had been imperative that she get to the venue early, or else she would have no chance to get in, aside from Adam's ridiculous server outfits. There was no way in Hell she was going to be seen wearing those shiny ass pants.
Just then, Callie was wedged into an air vent above the main hall where most of the party would be happening. The event was already mostly in full swing, but the heir to the Gestalt Corporation was trying his hardest to arrive as late as possible. A few times, she had caught sight of Adam and Theo, both adorned in the ridiculously shiny pants of the staff in attendance. Adam's looked as though it fit well , but Theo just looked hilarious in the ill-fitting attire. Catching sight of him the first time had made her giggle dangerously loud, almost giving away her position.
"[+purple It's hard to see anything past all those ridiculous outfits,]" Callie whispered in response to Adam. It wasn't totally a lie, either. The bright, gaudy, ugly colors saturated the ballroom and made it difficult to identify any certain color, gold in particular. A new vantage point would be needed. She shimmied back the way she had came until she arrived at the open vent leading into an empty bedroom. "[+purple I'm getting a new vantage point, maybe I'll be able to spot him better from another angle,]" She whispered, moving towards the door. Before she could reach it, however, the door opened, revealing two of the opulently dressed heirs of some too-rich companies stumbling drunkenly (already?) into the room. If their faces hadn't been thoroughly attached, she would've been seen. Christ. She slipped out the doorway behind them, sticking to the shadows of the long, ambiently lit hallway.
Theo's voice crackled into her ear, and Calliope smiled slightly. So her prey had arrived. The balcony above the ballroom would provide a good vantage point to study her target from, and it would most likely be deserted; the upper floors were off limits to guests. She slowly but surely made her way up the flights of stairs, wary of any guards that may be patrolling - or slacking. Without incident, Callie arrived at the balcony floor, and she made her way over to the rail, perching herself on it like she did every day at the window in the Nest. From higher above, it was much easier to pick out the vibrant gold locks of the Gestalt heir.
"[+purple I have eyes on the pretty boy. Adam, what's the next move?]" Callie whispered, pulling her knife from its sheath at her side. "[+purple If I could get in and out easy, I could take him out right now. It's a little harder considering the huge fucking crowd of women fawning over him,]" She hissed, awaiting her next orders, albeit rather impatiently. Her fangs itched to be imbedded in that flawless skin of his.
[tab ][Cutive+Mon [size14 The man, Sevorin, had fixed Calliope with a particularly glowering look, his honey-gold eyes
locked on her own amethyst ones.
[h3 to be edited as needed - salem's sins]
[left [pic http://i63.tinypic.com/1hs7bb.jpg]][center [font "Sacramento" It was snowing.
Leonard should know, he had been awake when the first flake had fallen. It had been exactly 5:51 A.M when the flake touched the ground. He had sung then, albeit quietly; it had been an improvised song mostly consisting of "la"s and "doo"s, but the tune was one of melancholic happiness, full of contradictions but wonderfully beautiful all the same. A smooth, low baritone drifting across the not yet disturbed snow beginning to pile on the ground. It wasn't a heavy snow, but each tiny flake contributes to the whole until eventually you're buried and you didn't even realize it was happening.
Just before seven, someone had disturbed the peace outside Leo's window. A girl with stark blue hair and dark clothes was sitting in the garden. He wondered which guard had been lax enough to let her outside before the allotted "wake-up" time of seven o'clock, each day. If he was honest with himself, it was probably Gary.
[right The routine had become like second nature to him over[+white XXXX]
the four months he had been kept here at Hollylock.[+white XXXX]]
Supposedly, the facility was getting some new people in today. One had to assume that they would be the same as everyone else here: a little fucked-up, but a witch or warlock all the same. They had all committed crimes here, some lesser, some more; but always enough to land that person in prison - that is, until the leader of this facility swooped in to "save" them. Leonard would have been perfectly happy in prison, in fact, its what he deserved. However, he supposed, it [i was] nicer here, and still quite strict.
Leo hated reliving that day; the fateful day when he had taken three lives - not on purpose of course, but what was done was done. Perhaps if he had killed someone else; like the crotchety old man who lived down the street and hung a flag proudly depicting a swastika, or the police officer who spent his days off-duty scampering around town and drinking, only to go back home and take out his drunken anger on his wife and young children. Perhaps if he had killed them instead, he wouldn't feel so guilty. But he hadn't killed them. He had lost control and taken the lives of three innocent children. He deserved to be in prison, not here, learning how to better utilize his powers, the powers that had already killed.
With a sigh, Leo decided that it must be time for breakfast since the girl in the garden had disappeared after communing briefly with a squirrel. He pulled a denim jacket over the obscure band t-shirt he was wearing and tugged on a pair of sneakers he kept by the door, then made his exit. Gary was standing at the junction between the boys dormitory and the main building, so out of kindness - and perhaps pity? - Leo waved at him. The other man beamed and waved back enthusiastically, a little [i too] enthusiastically, as he accidentally smacked himself in the face. Leo held back a chuckle and made his way towards the dining area, pulling his long auburn hair into a low ponytail to keep it out of his face. His deep green eyes surveyed the room, his height making the task much easier. So, only one newbie was here so far, huddled in a corner and picking at a banana. Leo decided to be the person he wished he had had when he first arrived here, someone kind enough to introduce themselves and not ostracize him from their already established friend groups and cliques.
Leo stalked to the table where their food was laid out - he supposed it had been neat when breakfast first started, but he was a smidgen late and Tabby had already gotten to wreck the carefully laid settings. He let out a soft sigh and grabbed an almost overripe peach, a large glass of apple juice, and his own personal ice cube tray. He took his armful of breakfast and made his way to the corner where the blonde boy sat. He plopped down next to the newbie and sat his breakfast items down before extending one hand.
"[+deepskyblue Hey. The name's Leonard, but you can call me Leo. You look lonesome, stranger,]" He said in his deep rumbling baritone. With the hand that wasn't outstretched towards the newbie, he popped out one of the ice cubes and stuck it in his mouth, attempting to crunch it quietly.
[tab ][Cutive+Mon [size14 Sunlight filtered gently through the tall grain crops, the sounds of wildlife mingling with those of the nearby town, Heran. That very same sunlight fell on and illuminated the pale, but freckled face of a woman.
[h3 Xerxes Posts, To Be Edited Before Posting]
[right [pic http://i64.tinypic.com/2jczfko.jpg]][center [Barlow+Semi+Condensed [size13 The sleeping quarters that Xerxes and Xandria had used on the ship were decidedly not suited to practicing swordplay. There is very little to do on a ship that doesn't get boring after a week or so, and Xerxes had been trapped in the wooden death trap for at least three. Eventually, after he had grown bored with reading Xandria's books on etiquette over her shoulder, Xerxes had began to practice with his great sword in the close quarters, thinking it may prove beneficial in the years to come. As a result, the walls of his sleeping quarters were littered with various gouges from when a slash went awry or he overestimated the amount of room he had to lunge. However, today the ship was docking on the Ancestral Island, where his life would most likely be forever changed. Xer had been striving to train just one more time before they docked, but he had accidentally overslept that morning, and by the time he awoke, they were quite close to the island, making it a hassle to get out his sword, practice, sharpen and clean the blade, just to pack it up again. His ears swiveled forward, focusing on a new sound accompanying the creaking of wood and sloshing of waves. Xandria was singing. He made his way above decks and approached, listening intently. He placed a hand on her shoulder, which was met with a cry of surprise. Xer couldn't help but laugh at the reaction and the look on his big sister's face.
"[#6A5ACD You're too jumpy da'len. We'll be docking in a few minutes. Don't get [i too] lost in your own thoughts.]" Xer gave Xandria's shoulder a pat before turning and heading back down to his quarters to prepare his bags. Not long after, he heard the shouts of the crew, signaling that they were docking. With a sigh of relief, Xerxes left his bags to the servants that had been sent from the castle and reappeared back above decks. He saw that Xan was ready to get off the ship, and he was more than eager to as well. He held out his arm, through which Xan gratefully wound hers, and they stepped down off the ship onto the docks. Xerxes was fully prepared for not regaining his "land legs" very quickly, but evidently he was better at it than his sister, because as soon as they set foot on the wooden planks of the docks, her legs went out from under her. Pulling her up inconspicuously, he continued towards the carriage that had been brought for them.
The windows of the carriage were covered with a heavy fabric that prevented most of the breeze from cutting through the carriage. This, combined with the body heat of the twins made the carriage a more comfortable temperature, but still a bit cooler than they were used to. Stepping out of the carriage came as a bit of a shock to the senses. A myriad of sounds, smells, and people, combined with the cool air, made Xerxes freeze in place for a moment. After a moment, he noticed Xandria pulling at his sleeve, leading him into the crowd. He caught sight of what Xandria was pulling him towards - Augustus Bronarch, his fiancée's brother. They had been sparring partners as children, and Xerxes had always tried to prove himself to the Fox prince, though he got the impression that it never worked. Ever since his engagement to Adela, Augustus had seemed distant and bitter towards Xerxes.
"[#6A5ACD Hello, Augustus. Got anything good on tap today?]" Xerxes motioned to the flask sticking haphazardly out of the Fox prince's pocket. He glanced over at Xandria only to see a slight flush covering her cheeks, presumably from the compliment she had been paid. The Wolf princess, Viviana, greeted them, though Xerxes did not receive a compliment this time. He felt Xandria squeeze his arm, rather hard, and he got the idea that she wanted him to respond. So, with a sharp nod, he said, "[#6A5ACD Good day, Viviana.]" She went on to explain how the Wolf twins had gotten honey poured in their hair, and Vaughn specifically had also gotten feathers. He made a mental note to praise his cousins for the excellent prank when he got the chance. He noticed Adela approach, but before he could make his way to her, Xandria bounced over and wrapped her in a warm embrace. Xerxes followed, and when his sister finally broke away from Adela, he also embraced her, then pulled away to stand close beside her, his arm held tastefully around her waist. He glanced over to see her cheeks turning pink, and he realized that he had never done this with her before, much less in public. A woman's sickly sweet voice was projected magically over the courtyard, letting the royals know that they had less than an hour before they would enter the crystal chambers below the castle to awaken their ancestors and officially start the competition. Xerxes took this opportunity to lean in close to Adela and whisper in her ear, "[#6A5ACD Don't be afraid to be close to me. We are engaged, after all.]" With that, he detached himself from her and made his way towards Xingshen and Augustus, where he caught the tail end of what Augustus was saying.
"[+teal Think you could scale that wall with your mouth full? Just keeping escape routes in mind.]"
"[#6A5ACD The stones were laid too well when the castle was being constructed. There are no hand- or footholds. One of the Chameleon siblings might be able to do it, though.]" Xerxes replied, cutting in before Xingshen could respond. He had a huge crush on the Serpent prince, and so he was always doing whatever he could to impress Xingshen, even if it meant imposing on someone else's conversation to do so.
[right [pic http://i64.tinypic.com/2jczfko.jpg]][center [Barlow+Semi+Condensed [size13 Xerxes didn't hear Viviana before he saw her, and his inability to hear her gave him a sick feeling in his stomach. One could say that he harbored a... [i distaste] for those of the Wolf Kingdom. He had to fight his urge to pull the small girl off of Xingshen as she sunk her teeth into his hand. Instead, Xerxes crossed his arms across his chest and sent a disapproving glare her way as she spoke.
"[+red As fun as that sounds I’m with Xerxes on this, the stones were laid to strategically, the best bet would be to check the garden for any ivy growing on the walls or find some decorative pillars, you’d be surprised how easy it is for me to climb up those. Not that I am consenting to have you shove whatever stupid thing you steal into my mouth and making me scale the walls. Because, as I said, I’m staying inside where it is warm.]" Xingshen stated, with a look at Augustus that made Xerxes smile just a small bit.
"[#6A5ACD I agree, I would much rather stay inside by the fires than go gallivanting around in the cold.]" Xerxes agreed, his temporarily hurt pride suddenly swelling in his chest as Xingshen agreed with his sentiment about the bricks of the castle. A loud chuckle emanated from behind Xerxes, and he turned to see his cousin Ishim standing in a group not too far off. Xerxes nodded his farewells to the other men and made his way towards Ishim, bumping their shoulders together to get his large cousin's attention.
"[+goldenrod Xerxes! How have you been?]" Ishim boomed, clapping Xerxes on the shoulder, nearly sending him sprawling in the dirt of the courtyard. Xerxes let out a chuckle.
"[#6A5ACD I've been well! I wanted to congratulate you on your little... ahem... prank, with the Wolf siblings. I wish I could've seen it.]" Xerxes said with a grin on his face. The expression was returned by his cousin.
"[+goldenrod Well, the next time I get an opportunity, I'll have a portrait painted, just for you, Xerxes.]" The two men were laughing when the same sickly sweet voice from earlier rang out through the courtyard again.
"[b The hall is now open, siblings please pair and start making your way into the castle. The awakening will happen now.]" Ishim rumbled a quick goodbye before loping off to find his sister, Rahael. Xerxes was tall, but he was still shorter than many of the people that surrounded him, and Xandria was even shorter; there would be little chance of them finding each other prudently just by sight.
"[#6A5ACD Dri, over here!]" Xerxes called, hoping his antlers would assist Xandria in locating him. Evidently it did, because only moments later she was looping her arm through his, their twin gold-trimmed green and brown cloaks rustling in tandem as they moved forward. They were both brought to a halt as the screech of the large golden gate nearly brought them both to their knees. Xerxes' ears flattened against his head, a sharp pain piercing his eardrum and leaving it ringing for several minutes after the gate had crashed open. He took the lead, pulling Xandria through the crowd of chattering royals. The hall smelled like magic, and Xerxes could almost feel his palms growing warm. He shook it off, though the feeling of lightheadedness and happiness still permeated his form.
Xerxes felt like he had been walking through the hall for hours, though he knew it had only been a few minutes at best, when he finally spotted the family portrait of the de La Forges. He studied the painting just as Xandria seemed to, though her eye was less suited to picking out the details, he knew. The artist had left out the speckles of grey in his father's hair and beard, but the crinkles around his kind green eyes were still there. The artist had been good, his attention to detail, stunning. He had even taken the time to apply delicate gold leaf along the hems of the entire family's clothes. Xerxes' mother's feathers looked like they would [i actually] be there if he reached out and touched them. He had always loved his mother's feathers. They were soft, almost like hair. Xerxes had gotten his stark white hair from her, but he had his father's eyes.
Drawing his thoughts back to him and his eyes away from the painting, Xerxes looked at Xandria, whom had a positively terrified look on her face. Their father had explained to them what this was like, but mere words can't fully describe anything. Xerxes smiled at his sister with a reassuring look on his face. She nodded to him before untangling her arm from his and stepping forward, one hand on her skirts and one outstretched towards the portrait. Xerxes felt his heart begin to race as her fingertips lingered mere centimeters from the surface. Though he would not have to experience it, he had still heard of the immense pain that the first seal caused. Xerxes gave a start as Xandria gasped, lunging forward to catch her if she fell. Afterwards, he realized that it was a stupid thing to do; his sister would [i never] fall. She wouldn't let herself. Her hand was gripping her skirts so hard that her knuckles had turned white, and Xerxes felt a twinge of worry, and just a bit of regret that he hadn't been the firstborn. He was pulled out of his thoughts by the wondrous sight of the painting dissolving into silver flames. He felt slightly disappointed that the portrait would not be allowed to be taken to his rooms, but the cavern that opened up was more than satisfactory.
Xerxes felt Xandria loop her arm through his again and they started forward, the earthy scent of dark clay penetrating their nostrils. Xerxes felt almost overcome with worry about what lie ahead, and it made him pull Xandria to a stop. Green eyes met pink as he spoke.
"[#6A5ACD You'll do whatever it takes to stay alive and safe, once this starts, won't you? I need your word, Dria. I have to be sure that you'll be okay.]" His worry was only slightly soothed as Xandria smiled and cupped his cheek gently.
"[#C71585 I'll be fine, Eddy. Stop being such a worry-wart or you'll give yourself wrinkles. We will both be fine. Now let's go before night falls, please.]" Xandria dropped her hand, intertwining her fingers with his and leading him forward. Instead of letting his worry overcome him again, Xerxes instead focused on the humming of his sister, letting it drift him away to back before they had to worry about this blasted competition.
[h3 Xandria Posts, To Be Edited Before Posting]
[left [pic http://i64.tinypic.com/24ysftc.jpg]][size12 [center [font "Tahoma" [i Back, forth. Back, forth.]
The rhythmic swaying of the ship combined with the gentle sound of ocean waves was almost enough to put Xandria Elise de La Forge to sleep. The ship was rather close to their destination, though, so she decided to go above decks to watch their arrival. Leaning on the bow-side rail and looking out into the ocean calmed her stomach somewhat, though it still seemed like it was performing rather intricate displays of acrobatics. Today, she would start a competition that could take her - or her brother's - life. No, she couldn't think about that. Shaking her head slightly, Xan began to sing an old Ochian lullaby to take her mind off of the daunting task that lay ahead.
Xandria's lilting soprano traveled across the waves towards the island as she watched it grow steadily closer by the second. She was so lost in her own head that she didn't hear her brother, Xerxes, approach. She let out a loud squeal and nearly jumped over the rail into the ocean from fright as he placed a hand on her shoulder. The sound of his laughter was soon joined by her own, though Xan was only laughing to hide her unease.
"[#6A5ACD You're too jumpy, da'len.]" Xerxes said, grinning. "[#6A5ACD We'll be docking in a few minutes. Don't get [i too] lost in your own thoughts.]" He let out another chuckle before heading back down below-decks, presumably to finish some last minute packing. As nice as the ocean was, Xandria was relieved that her feet would soon be back on solid, dry land. While the ship's captain brought them into port smoothly and safely, Xan focused on making herself at least semi-presentable, fixing up her windblown hair and smoothing her somewhat wrinkled skirts. Xerxes reappeared above-decks with impeccable timing, so Xandria looped her arm through his as they walked down from the ship to the docks. Xan decided that she had made a good choice in supporting herself on her brother, because as soon as she set foot on the sturdy wooden planks of the docks, her legs began to give out from underneath her, a side effect of being at sea for several weeks. She was glad that her brother had found his "land legs" again so quickly, otherwise the both of them may have ended up sprawled unceremoniously on the ground. Grateful to get off of her unsteady legs, Xan ascended into the carriage they had been provided and settled herself, beginning to hum peacefully as it started towards the castle.
Having grown accustomed to the warmer temperature in the carriage, stepping out into the cool breeze came as a bit of a shock to Xandria. She let a shiver run down her spine and pulled her lightweight cloak closer to her body. Glancing around, it seemed that the de La Forge twins were not the very last to arrive, but a good majority of the royals had been there for a while. While studying the crowd, Xan caught a glimpse of Augustus, whom she was more familiar with than most. She tugged on Xerxes' sleeve to lead him towards the Fox prince.
While Xerxes began to speak to Augustus, Xandria heard Viv's approach much sooner than she saw it; a chorus of "why I never," "watch where you're going," and "what in the-" rang out as the Wolf princess raced through the crowd towards Augustus. She immediately latched herself onto the Fox prince's arm, laughter ringing out from her lips. Xan felt Xerxes tense a bit; she knew that he didn't like the Wolf siblings, but the reason why was unknown to her. Viviana stopped her vocal assault against Augustus only to turn to the Deer twins.
"[#3b5998 Hello, Xan! You look so cute today! Hello Xerries! You look like...you.. today.]" Xan smiled slightly, watching Viv's tail thump against Augustus' thigh.
"[#C71585 Hello, Viv. Thank you, I think you look quite nice as well. Though I do wish you would wear longer skirts sometimes.]" Xan said, squeezing Xer's arm, trying to get him to respond politely. All he managed, though, was a sharp nod and a quick "[#6A5ACD Good day, Viviana.]" A short, awkward silence followed, before Viviana spoke again.
"[#3b5998 How long have you guys been here? Someone in the Owl palace poured honey in my hair, so it took longer for us to get here. But they also put honey and feathers in Vaughn's - he looked like an ugly chicken.]" Xan couldn't help but snort at the image of Vaughn with honey and feathers in his hair. Xan couldn't say what her cousins had been thinking when they had done so, but one had to admit, it was humorous. "[#3b5998 Xan, are you going to decorate your antlers before the festival tonight? I could help you if you want. Oh! Ace! Willyougowithmetothefestival? Unless you already have a date for you. I have things to talk about.]" The last few words out of Viv's mouth were accompanied by suggestive eyebrow wiggles, and Xan had to resist the urge to laugh.
"[#C71585 You know I will. I would love it if you stopped by to help. I'll leave my door open for you.]" Shortly after receiving responses from both Augustus and Xan, Viv scampered off towards, she suspected, the Cat prince and princess. Adela had apparently approached during the conversation with Viv, and as soon as Xan had detected her presence, she skipped over to the Fox princess and gave her a big hug. Xerxes had also approached, and as Xandria backed away, he took her place, giving Adela a chaste embrace and then wrapping one arm around her waist. "[#C71585 Oh, Del, would you like to help me with my antlers tonight as well? I would appreciate the opportunity to catch up.]" Xerxes took this moment to lean in close to Adela's ear and whisper something, though Xandria couldn't quite hear what it was, and proceeded to approach and start a conversation with Xingshen. Adela, Xaoi, and Xan broke off from the rest of the group, gossiping about fashion and describing their outfits for the festival later that night.]]]
[left [pic http://i64.tinypic.com/24ysftc.jpg]][size12 [center [font "Tahoma" "[#C71585 I've decided to wear my cream ball gown, you know, the one with the golden applique on the left shoulder?]" Xandria had worn the dress in question at least once before; if she remembered correctly it was to the Black and White Gala the year previous. Just then, however, she was wearing an elegant green dress with light green and gold accents. It complimented her pink eyes perfectly as they scanned the crowd for signs of other familiar faces while Xaoi and Adela exchanged words of dresses, but Xan found herself becoming frustrated at the blurriness overtaking her vision at long range. Her fist clenched at her skirts and her jaw stiffened as she found herself fighting off tears of vexation. She shook her head slightly to get rid of the tears, and felt a hand on her shoulder. Xandria looked back to see her cousin Rahael's wise grey eyes staring back at her. Simultaneously, smiles cracked both of their faces, and Xan embraced her cousin deeply. "[#C71585 It has been far too long, dear. How have you been? And what in the world were you and Ishim thinking with the Wolf siblings?]" Xandria pulled away from her cousin slightly, smoothing the brown and grey hair-like feathers atop her head.
Before the Owl princess could respond, the sweet, sing-song voice from before rang out among the crowd, "[b The hall is now open, siblings please pair and start making your way into the castle. The awakening will happen now.]" Rahael let a sigh escape her lips and gave a gracious, yet mischievous smile and a wink before turning away to find her brother.
"[#6A5ACD Dri, over here!]" Xandria's ears swiveled slightly to the left to where her brother's voice was coming from. She smiled in farewell to Xaoi and Adela, then made her way towards the antlers sticking above the crowd. As soon as she had wrapped her arm through Xer's, as if on cue, the massive golden gates depicting the shapes of all the Blessed animals in Zuosaix began to open. The resounding scrape of the opening gates send a ringing through Xandria's ears, and she felt her eyes begin to water from the pain. After a few moments, it was over, and the crowd of royals began to chatter again as they made their way into the Hall of Heroes. Xerxes took the lead; though he was the younger sibling, he was taller and better suited to parting crowds. The air was thick with magic here, and Xandria felt it tugging at her, begging her to utilize it. She hummed softly, willing it away with promises of '[i later] ', and instead focused on the wonder of the crystal lights and the beautiful paintings of all of the royal families that lined the hall .
After what seemed like hours but mere seconds at the same time, Xerxes pulled Xandria towards the portrait of the de La Forges. Xandria studied the painting, savoring the sight of her parents, albeit from 4 years previous. Her father, standing tall and proud, his kind face split into a large smile, one hand resting on fifteen year old Xerxes' shoulder, the other wrapped around her mother's waist. Her mother was smiling serenely, her black and white feathers falling gracefully around her shoulders. Xandria sighed softly and looked towards Xerxes, who was giving her a reassuring smile. She nodded to him and stepped forward towards the portrait, took a deep breath, and extended her hand to touch the surface of the painting. She gasped and squeezed her eyes shut in a mixture of shock and pain as a white hot feeling seared up her arm in waves. Her free hand gripped her skirts so hard that her knuckles turned white and her nails threatened to tear the fabric. Just as suddenly as the pain had come, it left, and Xandria felt weak in the knees. She exhaled, not realizing that she had been holding her breath. When she opened her eyes again, the portrait was gone, and in the place where it had been, a cave entrance stood.
When Xandria had heard that behind the portrait was a cave, she had imagined a cave like the ones at home: dark, wet, and musty. This cave, however, looked like one straight out of a fairy tale or lullaby. It was made of shimmering, light blue diamond, and light reflected off of the walls like it would a crystal in the mines back home. It was utterly beautiful, and if Xandria had a choice she would've stayed there all day just staring at it, but she had things to do. She turned towards Xerxes and looped her arm through his again before proceeding into the cave, the earthy smell of dark clay penetrating her nostrils. They had only gotten part-way through when Xerxes stopped and turned to her, looking deep into her eyes.
"[#6A5ACD You'll do whatever it takes to stay alive and safe, once this starts, won't you? I need your word, Dria. I have to be sure that you'll be okay.]" Xerxes was trying his best to be the serious, responsible sibling, but it didn't fit him. Xandria couldn't help but smile at his attempt, and she reached up and cupped his cheek.
"[#C71585 I'll be fine, Eddy. Stop being such a worry-wart or you'll give yourself wrinkles. We will both be fine.]" Xandria let her hand fall and entwined her fingers with Xerxes'. "[#C71585 Now let's go before night falls, please.]" She started on again, this time leading him, instead of the other way around, humming to keep her mind off of what lie ahead.
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[font "Tahoma" The tap of a couple of Kaz's fingers was all it took to make the dark haired girl jump nearly out of her skin. Any other person might have found the reaction funny - the guard nearby certainly did - but Kaz just felt bad. Even he had picked up on the jolt of fear that had rushed through her body in that moment.
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[font "Tahoma" [b The First Day]
His mother had decided it was time. Time for him to go away.
"You're too horrible," she had said, "Too much for me to handle now." It made Kaz confused; he didn't think he had ever done anything terrible, but his mother was set in her ways. She must have seen him do it again. She hated when he did it. She thought it was unnatural, an occult thing. Of course, there was the possibility that it was, but Kaz didn't think so. He saw it as a gift, a gift from something, somewhere, to make up for his inability to communicate vocally. He had tried to convey this to his mother, but she had been adamant in her decision to send him away.
[left [pic http://i63.tinypic.com/2hx8r53.jpg]][center [Cutive+Mon [https://youtu.be/-bmp4QWzHak ♫]
Freshly disowned in some frozen devotion,
no shortage of sordid, no protest from me.
With her sweetened breath, and her tongue so mean,
she's the angel of small death and the codeine scene.
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