[font "Times New Roman" Feel free to use third or first person in these posts.
All posts within this thread will be counted as canon for the actual story. Should a one on one take places outside of this, please consult with all of us before posting any big things. This will keep the story and characters consistent with one another.
There is no time limit here, so post whenever you would like.
Feel free to post back to back as well.
As time goes by, I will be adding important details here so we will not have to scroll back to them within the thread.
Keep in mind, that while [i we the writers] see the past of characters, our [i characters] should not know anything of it unless it was told to them by another character.
Please put [+red spoiler] if there is a spoiler about your character in your post. Just in case. c;]
[center [http://rp.eliteskills.com/vc.php?c=393722 [pic https://i.imgur.com/ClCR6Tw.png]][http://rp.eliteskills.com/vc.php?c=393548 [pic https://i.imgur.com/Pj2G7km.png]][http://rp.eliteskills.com/vc.php?c=393809 [pic https://i.imgur.com/Aisup0O.png]]
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[size18 [#f6b54a ❖][#c44a47 ↓][b [#5c5b3d BOW Y]][#f6b54a ˟][b [#5c5b3d OUR]] [#c44a47 〉][i [#f6b54a !]][b [#5c5b3d HEADS]][#f6b54a ,] [#c44a47 ▪][#f6b54a ▪][tab][tab][tab][tab][#f6b54a ━━][#c44a47 ◢]][size25 [b [#5c5b3d THE]]][size18 [#f6b54a ◟][#c44a47 :]][size25 [b [#5c5b3d GOD]]][size18 [#f6b54a ⌞]]
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[size9 *Time is set years before the curse. Tadashi is 19. [+red Spoilers].
[font "Times New Roman" [size12
[b [#330066 “We showed those bastards!”]] A roar of agreement followed after. The booming voice that had called out was General Sun Jiahao, a blood thirsty man just like most of the men that served under him. Tadashi couldn’t help but roll his eyes at the thunderous noise that came from inside the room he had left moments ago. ‘[i Bastards]’ was not the word he would have used for them. ‘Farmers’ and ‘Villagers’ was far more accurate, but he couldn’t say those words. Not in that room, not to his brother. Just how many innocent souls were slaughtered today. Over what? A rumor? Tadashi snorted as he sat down, he legs hanging over the side of the wrap around while his arm supported his weight as he leaned back, head back as his eyes took in the clear night sky.
Ever since he was a small boy, he knew something was wrong with how things were going within the palace. Not that his opinion mattered much anymore - he was old news. However, his presence was needed at moments like this. Moments when his brother couldn’t be bothered to be there. Lazily, Tadashi rolled his eyes as he gazed up at the moon. [#c44a47 [i ‘The sky looks sad.’]] The thought came after he tried to look everywhere for a single star only to find none. The only thing that lit up the night sky was the large oval moon.
[b [#ac4970 “The sky looks sad tonight.”]] A tiny voice rang out, putting his thought into words. Tadashi’s head turned towards the owner only to find a young boy with an odd haircut standing a few feet away from him, also gazing up at the sky.
[#c44a47 [b “Better not say that too loud around here, kid.”]] Tadashi looked back at the sky while he patted the spot next to him, motioning for the kid to sit next to him. If there was anyone at this event that he deemed worth speaking to would be the children. Though some of them were too far gone with the same bloodlust as their parents for him to hold a proper conversation. [#c44a47 [b “But yeah. It does.”]] The pitter-patter of tiny feet came to a halt as his companion for the night plopped down next to him. The smell of honey and ginger flooded his nose and he couldn’t help but give the small boy an odd look. [#c44a47 [b “Are you a general’s kid?”]]
[b [#ac4970 “No. Are you?”]] Tadashi snorted at the question. There were a few generals were old enough to be his father, but none that were at this celebration.
[#c44a47 [b “Nah.”]] Tadashi looked down from the sky, watching the small child kick their legs as they hung over the wrap around much like his. However, his legs were long enough to touch the ground. For a moment, he found himself envious of the tiny boy.
[b [#ac4970 “I don’t think celebrating death is a good thing.”]] The little boy admitted after a long moment of silence.
[#c44a47 [b “I don’t either, kid.”]] Tadashi snorted again. It wasn’t so much humorous as his brother had told him that his ideas were childish a few hours before. Now he was sitting with a child being told the same thing that he had said to his brother earlier. Maybe he was childish, but he would rather be childish than whatever those monsters in the next room were.
[b “Bug, where are you?”]
[b [#ac4970 “My brother is looking for me. I have to go.”]] The tiny boy sat up straighter looking in the direction of the voice before quickly getting to their feet.
[#c44a47 [b “Cya, kid.”]] Tadashi called out to the retreating child, watching him until he turned the corner and was completely out of his sight. Once more, he was alone. Which was not a brand new feeling for the young man. Growing up with his family, he had always felt out of place and alone. No one else had the same ideals as him and went more for what his brothers. The more time went on, the more it felt like he needed to flee. Not just because of the growing battles over land and resources, but before people started to eye him for help with the rebellions.
[http://rp.eliteskills.com/vc.php?c=393548 [center [pic http://i.imgur.com/KLXFx1g.gif]]][google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Bad+Script][center [#f478a9 •][+white XXX][#ac4970 •][+white XXX][#f478a9 •][+white XXX][#ac4970 •][+white XXX][#f478a9 •][+white XXX][#ac4970 •][+white XXX][#f478a9 •][+white XXX]
[size8 [+white X]]
[tab][tab][tab][size20 [#f478a9 ▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄▄]] [size30 [+white X][#ac4970 ♚][#f478a9 *][size21 [#f478a9 ◣ ]][b [#ac4970 THE TIGER]] [#ac4970 ⇁]]]
The small town looked inviting to one that had been wandering the forests. However, the Tiger was sorely wronged as soon as she got within a few yards. [b [#ac4970 “You can do this. You can do this.”]] She chanted, again and again, gnawing roughly on her bottom lip as she forced herself to go into the city. It was a mistake coming here. A large mistake. Himeko had overestimated her own restraint as the hustle and bustle of the city screamed in her ears. Everything and everyone, she heard and it burned. Again and again, the small girl reached up, delicately touching her earlobes, checking for blood. Each time, those slim fingers came back without a drop - much to Himeko’s surprise.
Even with the painfully growing ringing in her ears, the young girl managed to sell off a few of the ‘[i gifts]’ that had been bestowed upon her for the wedding. The only evidence left was the garbs that had begun to cling to her body. Every so often, pairs of eyes would look at her, staring, a few whispers about her appearance made their way to her ears. Even whispers were screams to her. Himeko swallowed hard, her ears popping loudly after the action. Silently, she begged her body to keep going as she tried to find her way out of the town. However, the darker the day began to get, the louder the town became. Coming to a full stop, Himeko clenched her fingers into fists and tightly closed her eyes as she gulped down a breath of air. Her heart rate wasn’t increasing, however, she feared that if she stayed in the town any longer, then she would pass out from the pain in her ears.
With her eyes closed, something soft crashed into her, causing her to take an awkward step back and her eyes to fly open. On the ground in front of her laid a girl, her mouth moving, though the words were lost in the growing noise. From the way the girl was staring at her, Himeko took it that she wasn’t upset. However, when Himeko offered her a hand up, the other girl ignored it while pushing herself up and avoiding her eyes. [b [#ac4970 “I apologize. My eyes were closed as I find this place….loud.”]] Himeko sighed, dropping her extended arm back to her side. [b [#ac4970 “I am trying to get out of this..place”]] and out of these clothes, though that wasn’t communicated. A new whisper stung her ears and Himeko gestured towards an unoccupied alleyway. [b [#ac4970 “Maybe we should speak of this out of the public eye..”]] Her own brown hues looked towards a stall owner that was glaring the duo down.
Clearing her throat, Himeko carefully walked over towards the alleyway, as the sandals that she was in now had caused blisters. Why they were necessary at weddings was beyond the young girl. [b [#ac4970 “What do you need help with?”]] Himeko asked earnestly, resting a hand on the hilt of her sword. A soft red color began to paint her cheeks. [b [#ac4970 “This- it is a habbit..resting my hand there...I…”]] Panic began to set in. All this girl had to do was speak out that she was wielding a sword and it was off with her head. Himeko forced herself to be calm. It didn’t seem like the idea had come across the girl's mind and she prayed it would stay away. [b [#ac4970 “I am trying to get to Tiānshǐ Hill. After I help you, perhaps you can point me in the direction of it - or out of this town?”]]
[center [pic https://i.imgur.com/HScb9gR.png]]
[center Bruises that she'd acquired but a month prior had healed into bitter memories. Her skin was seemingly translucently pale and unblemished- saved for a metallic patch of scales that she might have otherwise thought as beautiful were they not on her own skin. It seemed they grew by the day. The god who had cursed her with the disgusting blemish had accused her of lying to herself, and as much as she hated to admit it, they were right. It was the part of her that wanted to be an honorable daughter to her father. She had no worth as a peasant girl other than to be a bargaining chip to a woman who cared more about her opium pipe and the income of her girls rather than their well being. Though, as much as she wanted to believe she was doing the right thing, and that accepting this fate was her only option, she hated it. She hated the ogling stares of the men as they entered the music houses. Qin loved music, and were she a more educated woman, she might have tried to pursue a better life than this, but it was not to be.
One customer in particular who lavished affection onto her in just the short month she'd come of age unnerved her. She took his expensive gifts, and thanked him with a smile on her painted face. Internally, she found herself cringing- her whole body screaming to pull away from the situation. Rather than anger him as well as the Madam, she found herself putting on an act for them. Qin would play coy and coquettish to pretend she returned their affections.
As a courtesan, she had a certain level of equalness to her potential customers. She would reject the ones that pushed too hard or the ones that refused to respect even her simplest of wishes. Of course, she couldn't reject them all or the Madam would find a way to punish her or threaten her with the idea that she'd send her to a red light district with a lower reputation and lower standards for being a princess.
By the end of it all, Qin found a hatred for her own self that she'd never have given to anyone else. She didn't feel as though she were worth anything good that came her way. And even when a customer was legitimately sincere with her, she found herself dissociating from him and her past experience drove her to regard them all the same way. Qin found that she could not handle the sound of her zither no matter how many times she sat down to pluck its strings, and when the people she was entertaining asked for her music, she was unable to deliver.
It had come to the point that she once more thought of escape. She wanted so badly to leave this place- to find out how to break this curse that had been placed upon her. She had no idea how to do this, of course. All she knew was that she wanted to leave and the sooner she was able to, the better off that she would be. Qin convinced one of the younger girls to give her their clothes in exchange for something of value, and almost without question, they accepted her request. In this way, they would be less likely to tell the Madam as she could then accuse them of stealing her things. Not that Qin would use such methods, but she was sure that she wasn't the only one who knew it was a possibility.
The next day, Qin took her zither and said that she was going to get new strings attached as a few were broken- that she had cut the night before as a convenient excuse to leave the main compound. Dressed in the servant girl's clothing, she left unnoticed. Keeping her head down, until she left the gate, she all but sprinted as she rounded the corner. Her haste caused her to run into a complete stranger. The impact caused her to fall. When she looked up she was rather speechless. It was ... a female stranger?
“Oh, I'm so sorry. I was in a hurry and I wasn't watching where I was going, and-” Qin cut herself off from speaking and wondered if the girl was new or if she had gotten lost since this was a red light district and people might get the idea of a relatively well dressed girl in this area. Though, from her clothing, she could tell that the stranger was foreign. She was dressed as though she were getting ready for a traditional marriage, and it made Qin wonder where she'd just come from. Pulling herself to her feet, she drew her eyes away from the smaller girl- remembering that it was extremely rude to stare at someone much less someone she'd just met. “I... I actually need some help, and I don't mean to sound rude- please forgive me if I offend you- but you look lost. Maybe we can help each other?” She suggested, hopefully. If they blended in with a crowd together, then maybe they might get out of here without drawing too much suspicion to themselves.]]
[center [pic http://i.imgur.com/ulciHxj.png]]
[center *I don't think there's anything spoilery here? But if people think there are spoilers, here's the standard disclaimer.
**It's worth noting here that he calls En by the name Yan- which was his name at birth before he was renamed by his father. His birth name is Ying Yanwen, and was later renamed to Ying En by his father. He calls En "Yan'er" here, and is still recognizing him as his son as 'Er' is a suffix to a male child's name even though he's using a different name here.
** The chinese here, "xiao xin" means be careful. ]
make the man
My father ingrained in me
When I was young.
"Your mother hated me
When I named you.
Said I shouldn't give you a male name,
But to me, you've always been my son"
I looked to my father and smiled
Before setting out.
"Xiao xin, Yan'er"
[right Returning Home
Seems like a dream.
I grew up as a man
Knowledgeable in history.
My sister would be proud
Of who I became,
And the stories that I could tell.
My smile fell at my mother's solemn expression.
I knew then and there
That there was nothing left
For me there.]
[center [google-font https://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Questrial][Questrial [pic http://68.media.tumblr.com/c3ecb8b63d49ddc636de29d90814a6dd/tumblr_os0ejvfnP91un5050o2_500.png]
[size11 [+red *Minor(?) spoilers.] Takes place [i waaay] before he's cursed.
Correct me in case of cultural/historical inaccuracies!]
[#317d7a ~ [pic http://cdn.steamcommunity.com/economy/emoticon/blueflame] ~]
[b [#317d7a "Father,"]] a child's voice dragged the older man's thoughts out of work as father and child walked through the bustling, dusty streets of the city, [b [#317d7a "what is that building for?"]] The silver-haired child pointed to the said building, golden green eyes glistening with curiosity. It looked strange, he thought, as it stood out from the rest of the establishments.
His father readjusted his shoulder, possibly going stiff from the weight it carried. [b [+gray "That, Chikusa, is a kabuki theater."]] The man's face was usually hard, stoic, but with the way he looked at him at the moment, he seemed to appreciate the child's interest.
[b [#317d7a "A kabuki theater...?"]] he echoed, eyes still on the building, even as they were already going past it.
[b [+gray "It's where actors perform,"]] his father explained, continuing on his usual pace. The child skipped a few steps to catch up.
[b [#317d7a "Actors?"]]
His father let out a sigh. Chikusa hoped he wasn't getting tired of his questions. [b [+gray "People who tell a story by pretending to be other kinds of people for a living, as they're meant to be watched. They just do that for hours, though."]] The child considered his words, making sense of what the man meant. [b [+gray "They seem to be popular these days,"]] he mused, probably to himself, [b [+gray "Inoue said they're entertaining."]]
Chikusa tried to imagine people performing with others, all pretending to be other people in order to tell a story in front of people. Was it like Mother's fun stories, but instead of him simply making images in his mind, other people were being the images themselves for him? That seemed amazing! [b [#317d7a "Can we go inside and see?"]]
[b [+gray "We have deliveries to make,"]] his father chided him, his deep voice having a hint of reprimand. Adults were always worried about time, were always, always busy, Chikusa remembered. He bowed his head, zipping his lips, gaze finally leaving the kabuki theater.
The two were silent for a while, Chikusa staring at the ground, kicking pebbles that came his way with his old sandals. He knew there were things that people like them could not do, eat, or have. Was this one of them?
[b [+gray "If this goes well,"]] his father's voice pulled him out of his reverie. He looked up, and was met by the man's small smile. [b [+gray "Perhaps we may be able to watch a show."]]
A broad smile was instantly on his face, excitement bursting in his chest. His father chuckled, amused, then turned back to the road, with Chikusa beside him bouncing in his steps.
[center [pic http://i.imgur.com/5ODiUKi.png]]
[center [+red *anything written in poem format should be regarded as a journal entry. Mild spoilers]
*li is a unit of measurement. Like miles or kilometers.]
"[i Of age]"
[tab ] those words scared me
[tab ] In my mind I was still a child.
[tab ] My heart raced like I'd run a thousand li*
[tab ] [tab ] "[#3AA8C1 But-]" I raised my head only slightly
[tab ] [tab ] to stare at the madam's red painted mouth
[tab ] [tab ] wrapped around her opium pipe.
[tab ] "[i Zhenzhu,]" She spoke my name, and I lowered my gaze
[tab ] I knew by her tone, she didn't want to hear
[tab ] what I had to say.
[tab ] "[i He'll be here tonight. I expect only the best from you.]"
[tab ] She dismissed me like a child.
[right First Times]
[right Painted lips
A celebration for a fake marriage.
Slick against strings
He smiles at me
He touches me
I shift away and he frowns
At my sudden coyness.
"[i Have a drink] he purrs unashamed.
[u cringe], but I take it
Down it without much thought.
I fear without some courage,
I can't hide my disgust.
A sheepish smile pulls
At painted lips.
His hands demanding
Under my cheongsam.
My body screamed run.
Under his hungry male gaze.
Blood and tear slicked palms
Nearly naked underneath the moon.
His nose is broken.
Madam is angry.
I was punished,
But the worst is his promise
"[i I'll be back tomorrow.]"]]
[center [pic https://i.imgur.com/Bj6gNYJ.gif]]
[size10 *Time is set before the curse. [+red small spoiler]]
[size11 They applied some fine chalk powder to my face. Extract from rose petals was used as rouge while another took a stick of kohl and gently lined my eyes with the black powder. Beeswax and red dye were mixed together and rubbed on my lips. I observed my transformation in a polished silver mirror that my mother had placed before me. Everything about my face looks wrong. My eyes felt heavy once Ai Qiao was done. With makeup, I no longer have my mother's eyes. It is the look in her eyes I fear I will inherit one day. Cold and lifeless, windows into nothing at all. Qiao has moved onto my hair and I wince as she pulls it this way and that.
[b “Himeko Xuan, you will not embarrass us during this visit. You are to sit there, say nothing. Do you understand?”] I can’t bring myself to look directly at her. It has been years since I’ve been able to. Instead, I find myself staring at her feet and I wonder if she will make me wrap them the way she does one day.
[#ac4970 [b “Yes, mother.”]]
[b “Your father worked very hard to get this meeting after what Ming did. Such a waste, both of you.”] I close my eyes in fear that my emotions will seep through them. My heart hammers in my chest at my late brother's name. I feel a small piece of my soul is chipped away and replaced with hatred. There was a long moment of welcomed silence before I heard my mother sigh. She sighs a lot these days.
[b “I named you Himeko because when you were born were a little ray of sunlight - our princess.”] I’ve heard this before. In my mother's homeland, Japan, there were different meanings for my name. ‘Princess child’ or ‘Sun daughter’. My mother had thought it pretty, a beautiful reminder - if nothing else - of her home. It had always made me feel like an outsider. [b “At least you look the part today.”] My eyes flutter open when I feel her cold fingertips underneath my chin, bring my head up. When I feel my reflection, I cannot bring myself to smile. Everything looks wrong and I want to wipe it away, rip out the decorative hairpins and let my hair fall freely. My stomach twists into knots, any other girl would want this treatment, what this look. I can’t help but wonder once more just what is wrong with me. [b “This is not just for us, but for the village.”]
[#ac4970 [b “Protection from murderers-”]] I feel the sting of her slap before I even see her hand move. Something metallic takes over my mouth. Qiao moves in quickly to fix what my mother has destroyed. I cannot bring myself to look at her either. She had no real choice in helping me. When the village leader asks you to do something, you do it.
[b “Silence. That tongue of yours is not to wag.” ]
[#ac4970 [b “Yes, mother.”]] [i ‘Sit still, look pretty. Why can’t you do this? What is wrong with you!?’]
[b [#04688E “Ma’am, Sun Jiahao has arrived.”]] Qiao is at the door, I didn’t even hear her leave.
[b “Thank you for your help today, Qiao. You are free to leave.”] My mother dismisses her while clutching my forearm, pulling me to stand. They have put something around my waist that pulls it in. I can barely breathe.
[#ac4970 [b “Yes, thank you.”]] I mumble as my mother pulls me at a steady pace to go greet our guest. My father's voice reaches me first though, I cannot make out what he is saying. There is a hushed silence when my mother and I step into the room. For the first time since I was forced into this disguise, I lift my eyes. Letting them move up off the floor to look at our [i guest]. The cold in his eyes surpassed my mother.
[b [#FF8866 “My, what a beautiful daughter you have.”]] My stomach turned sour and my eyes returned to the floor. It felt odd not having my brothers sword resting against my hip. My fingers idly twitched.
[b “You will have to forgive her, she is very shy.”] I would have snorted, but instead, I curled my fingernails into my palms. The little crescent shapes burned as I held them tighter.
[b [#FF8866 “No need to apologize. My late wife was the same way.”]] His [i latest] late wife. He had had several wives, all deceased, always married again within the next month. As hard as I tried to resist, I let my eyes wander back up, meeting his briefly. His mouth curled into a smile, it reminded me of the snake I had stepped on when I was a child. Harmless, until it struck. [b [#FF8866 “Now we had a meeting to sort out our protection deal. I believe we can come to a...[i favorable] agreement.”]]]
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