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TOPIC | legacy lore wip
[b]do not post[/b] Serrol is a vast continent which many people consider the jewel of all the lands. It is home to a variety of cultures and communities, from the stately moguls in the north to the lively working class in the south. People from all continents come to Serrol to start over, and are generally well accepted in the southern cities. Unfortunately, many never make it farther north, where a sinister plot is forming between two of the most prominent, wealthy families in the continent. In order to understand this world, one must know that magic manifests in certain people as gifts. This magic can be incredibly potent or woefully weak. Many people will never possess a gift, though, which leads to some animosity between gift-wielders and non-wielders. Those who have more potent gifts tend to be exploited for their magic. Gifts can manifest in ways such as, but not limited to, healing blood, summoning tiny suns for light, immortality, and a touch that kills. Some people are gifted due to certain circumstances, called manufactured gifts, and some are born with them, called natural gifts. Politically, magic has caused prejudices and divides in Serrol's societies. Some view these people as lesser, as savages who need to be controlled. Others view them as gods or demigods and worship those with the gift as their religion. And then there's the rampant exploitation. Lately, however, there's been a push for ways for people to safely suppress their gifts, and all of Serrol has been reeling from riots regarding this new movement. [b]This is a collection of lore that does not fit in the bios of the dragons in my Serrol tab. It includes news articles, letters, and old legacy lore that has since been overhauled but is too good for me to obliterate. This may end up containing far more lore than what I'm currently using it for, but I'll cross that bridge when I get to it lol.[/b] [quote][center]Table of Contents: [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2671414#post_38685704]Nacat[/url] [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2671414#post_38685710]Reuben[/url] [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2671414#post_38685712]Ross[/url] [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2671414#post_38685714]Joanna[/url] [url=http://www1.flightrising.com/forums/cc/2671414#post_38685717]Akantha[/url][/center][/quote]
do not post

Serrol is a vast continent which many people consider the jewel of all the lands. It is home to a variety of cultures and communities, from the stately moguls in the north to the lively working class in the south. People from all continents come to Serrol to start over, and are generally well accepted in the southern cities. Unfortunately, many never make it farther north, where a sinister plot is forming between two of the most prominent, wealthy families in the continent.

In order to understand this world, one must know that magic manifests in certain people as gifts. This magic can be incredibly potent or woefully weak. Many people will never possess a gift, though, which leads to some animosity between gift-wielders and non-wielders. Those who have more potent gifts tend to be exploited for their magic. Gifts can manifest in ways such as, but not limited to, healing blood, summoning tiny suns for light, immortality, and a touch that kills. Some people are gifted due to certain circumstances, called manufactured gifts, and some are born with them, called natural gifts.

Politically, magic has caused prejudices and divides in Serrol's societies. Some view these people as lesser, as savages who need to be controlled. Others view them as gods or demigods and worship those with the gift as their religion. And then there's the rampant exploitation. Lately, however, there's been a push for ways for people to safely suppress their gifts, and all of Serrol has been reeling from riots regarding this new movement.

This is a collection of lore that does not fit in the bios of the dragons in my Serrol tab. It includes news articles, letters, and old legacy lore that has since been overhauled but is too good for me to obliterate. This may end up containing far more lore than what I'm currently using it for, but I'll cross that bridge when I get to it lol.
Quote:
Table of Contents:
Nacat
Reuben
Ross
Joanna
Akantha
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Ollie | 22
they/them
eGiN2Xv.png | F8WMfQz.png
My lore
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[center][size=6][url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&tab=dragon&id=168916&did=21069336]Nacat Shirley[/url][/size][/center] [quote=Legacy lore]St. Tick was a stark contrast to Scarlet Stronghold. Where Stronghold was wide, open sky and sleek streets and sharp-cornered buildings, St. Tick was much narrower, shadier, clustered together. It suffocated Nacat, an unpleasant sensation he had experienced firsthand and really had no desire of experiencing again. Still, it harbored a certain aesthetic Stronghold didn’t have, and even though he hated St. Tick, he couldn’t deny it its charms. He rarely went into the city by himself. Usually he was accompanied by either his Aunt Bertie or Uncle Stephen, or if they were both busy, a servant girl named Sarah. They generally only served the purpose of keeping an eye on him, making sure he didn’t do anything stupid. Nacat didn’t know what they were so worried about; if he had wanted to kill himself, he would have done it years ago. Not that he hadn’t thought about it every now and then. But now he found himself alone, walking St. Tick’s cobbled streets. Everyone else was busy preparing for a party tonight at the manor, except for him. His relatives didn’t host such events often, but the last one he’d had to attend--his own fifteenth birthday celebration--had ended in him having a terrible anxiety attack and then scoring a knife down his face in the bathroom after he’d been excused. Since then he’d been exempt from attending most aristocratic social functions. Passersby watched him as he walked down the street, but no one dared approach him. The citizens of St. Tick had made it a sport of spotting the elusive Shirley heir, as if he were nothing but a rare, easily frightened animal and they were on the hunt. They held their hands to their mouths to gossip about him in confidence to their friends, even as they stared straight at him. He didn’t spare any of them a glance. Nacat padded quickly to the Marina. It was his favorite haunt, even though it had a reputation for attracting rough clientele. Most people skipped to the other side of the street when passing its front door, and the wealthy avoided the street it sagged on at all costs. But, really, it was only dangerous in theory. There was no reason to throw punches or knives unless somebody lost all their money to a bad hand of cards, and that was a section of the restaurant he never set foot in. The Marina’s outside was at odds with its inside. The face of the squat brick building was plain and punctuated by four windows, one of which had the blinds drawn. The others were open enough to let in the dissipating golden light. Inside, Nacat knew, was boisterous and lively as anything he’d ever experienced, and nothing at all like the refined functions he’d become accustomed to. The Marina was particularly busy at this hour, when the day was just beginning to end. He ghosted inside. The clink and clash of silverware and glassware assaulted his ears. Next came the laughter, the excited have you seen the new motormobile models yet?, the bellowed ORDER FOR TABLE SIX IS READY. And then: the sizzle and crackle of cooking meat. Nacat flinched every time his brain processed this sound. It was practically synonymous with the sound of sizzling, blistering flesh. The hostess at the podium perked up when he entered. Her black hair was wrapped in a tight bun behind her head, and her bright blue eyes didn’t even skip down to the scar on his cheek. She had to shout to be heard over all the noise. “Hey, stranger! You haven’t been in here in a spell. To what does the Marina owe the pleasure?” Nacat grimaced, shouting right back. “My relatives are throwing a bash tonight, and I really don’t feel like being stared at or talked about.” She nodded sagely and stepped out from the podium. “Well, by all means, you’re welcome to stay as long as you like. Until closing. Ross is already here.” The Marina closed at nine thirty PM, but he and Ross would both be long gone by then. “Thanks, Fabian.” She led him through a tight maze of low wooden tables, yelling things like “killer coming through! Move or die!” Nacat made sure to leave plenty of room between Fabian and himself as they squeezed through the restaurant. He may have thought many times about his own demise, but never was it on an empty stomach. The table she led him to was at the very back of the restaurant, and it was already occupied. Leaning back in the cracked vinyl booth, surveying the entirety of the restaurant before him, was Ross Kidde. He flashed a toothy grin as Fabian and Nacat neared. “Ah! The fancy man returns, ushered in by the girl of death. How poetic,” he drawled. It was quieter here, but only barely. Nacat slid into the booth across from Ross as Fabian set a menu in front of him. “Ya ever find a decent mechanic for the airship?” Nacat frowned but nodded. “It took a lot longer than I thought it would, but I did. I think her name is Joanna Jones? She’s Shaharian.” “Y’all two are really bent on this thing, aren’t you?” Fabian’s eyebrows rose. An uneven leg on the table slammed angrily to the floor when she leaned her hand on the table. “It’s either that or give up on the only source of income I have, so yeah, kinda. Corpses have standards of living too, you know.” Ross turned his attention back to Nacat. “How long did she say it’ll take to get it running?” Fabian made a frustrated sound. She had the power to quite literally kill anyone she touched, except for Ross, who was already dead. Instead, she fixed her iciest, blue-eyed sneer (which really ought to have the power to decimate whole cities by itself, Nacat thought) on him before sauntering back to her podium at the front of the Marina. The table wobbled crazily from the change in weight. Nacat watched her go before answering. “She doesn’t know. A lot of the parts are so outdated that you can’t buy them anymore. She’s probably going to have to build a lot of them on her own.” Ross tugged at the scarf on his neck, exposing a tiny bit of the stitches holding his head to the rest of his body. Nacat’s eyes didn’t linger on them; he suppressed a shudder. “Perhaps,” he started slowly, “we could fly out to Scarlet Stronghold ourselves and help? It might get fixed quicker if she had some assistance.” Ross made a face at the suggestion. “But don’t you have skeletons in some closet there? Besides, I don’t know anything about airship insides.” Nacat ignored the first remark. “Well, neither do I, but it can’t hurt to try. Can it?” Ross’s eyebrows rose. “That’s unnaturally optimistic of you.” Nacat grimaced, but the observation was true. It was something his ridiculously happy best friend Reuben would have said, if he’d been here. But, then again, if Benny was here, Nacat wouldn’t be at the Marina, or friends with Ross and Fabian, or hate St. Tick, or have a brutal scar on his face. Hell, he’d still be in Scarlet Stronghold if his friend was here. But as much as he longed for Benny’s companionship, if he never saw the Shirley estate half-slumped in its pile of ashes and charred wood again, it’d still be too soon. Then one of the waiters Nacat hardly ever spoke to came and took their orders (“olsaid and a side of kemps,” Ross demanded loudly; “I’ll just have the soup of the day,” Nacat said much more gently). The Marina was rather famous (or infamous, depending on your palate) for its swamp cuisine. Just the smell of most of the delicacies it boasted made Nacat’s stomach churn, but the soups were relatively safe enough to eat. Ross, however, was born and bred in the swamp, and so the Marina was almost like home to him. Almost. “Look,” Nacat sighed after the waiter had left, “I hate Stronghold, but I hate it even more here. St. Tick is too claustrophobic.” Thankfully Ross didn’t press the issue any further. He leaned back, hands up in a placating gesture. “Hey, if you really want to, I’m not stopping ya.” Nacat grabbed a napkin from the dispenser on the table and tore at its edges in frustration. “I don’t want to. But--I just don’t want to stay here any longer.” Ross sighed in exasperation. “Then flip a goddamned coin! Here.” He shifted to pull a little copper piece out of his pocket. “If it’s heads, we stay, and if it’s tails, we go.” He flicked the coin into the air. Nacat watched it sail upwards, almost hitting the low ceiling before plummeting back to the ground. Ross swiped it out of the air with a flourish, slapping it on the back of his other hand and covering its face. He gave Nacat a meaningful look. “Heads or tails?” he asked. “I am not letting random chance decide whether we should go to Scarlet Stronghold or not,” Nacat said flatly. But Ross wasn’t having any of it. “Heads or tails!” he bellowed loudly. The customers closest to them glanced at them before returning their gazes to their own disgusting meals. Nacat rolled his eyes, but humored his friend just to get him to lower his voice. “I don’t know! Tails?” Ross slowly revealed the face of the coin. Nacat leaned forward to see. It was, indeed, tails. He blinked first at the coin, then Ross. Dread thrilled through his bones. “Two out of three,” he demanded. Ross tried and failed to hide a smirk as he flipped it again. The result was the same. “Three out of five.” Again, the coin was tails-up. Now Nacat was starting to panic. He felt the blood drain from his face, not daring to take his eyes off the traitorous coin. He could not go back there, could not look upon the shell of his old home, the graves of his parents. He could not face Reuben. “Four out of six,” he said. Ross obliged, eyebrows raised. He flipped it again, this time letting it hit the ceiling in an attempt to skew the results. When he revealed the coin, his eyebrows rose even higher, disappearing into his hairline. He had never seen such a stubborn outcome before. Their eyes met above the coin. Nacat looked liked he was going to be sick all over the table. “So . . .” Ross started slowly. “Five out of seven?”[/quote]
Legacy lore wrote:
St. Tick was a stark contrast to Scarlet Stronghold. Where Stronghold was wide, open sky and sleek streets and sharp-cornered buildings, St. Tick was much narrower, shadier, clustered together. It suffocated Nacat, an unpleasant sensation he had experienced firsthand and really had no desire of experiencing again. Still, it harbored a certain aesthetic Stronghold didn’t have, and even though he hated St. Tick, he couldn’t deny it its charms.

He rarely went into the city by himself. Usually he was accompanied by either his Aunt Bertie or Uncle Stephen, or if they were both busy, a servant girl named Sarah. They generally only served the purpose of keeping an eye on him, making sure he didn’t do anything stupid. Nacat didn’t know what they were so worried about; if he had wanted to kill himself, he would have done it years ago. Not that he hadn’t thought about it every now and then.

But now he found himself alone, walking St. Tick’s cobbled streets. Everyone else was busy preparing for a party tonight at the manor, except for him. His relatives didn’t host such events often, but the last one he’d had to attend--his own fifteenth birthday celebration--had ended in him having a terrible anxiety attack and then scoring a knife down his face in the bathroom after he’d been excused.

Since then he’d been exempt from attending most aristocratic social functions.

Passersby watched him as he walked down the street, but no one dared approach him. The citizens of St. Tick had made it a sport of spotting the elusive Shirley heir, as if he were nothing but a rare, easily frightened animal and they were on the hunt. They held their hands to their mouths to gossip about him in confidence to their friends, even as they stared straight at him. He didn’t spare any of them a glance.

Nacat padded quickly to the Marina. It was his favorite haunt, even though it had a reputation for attracting rough clientele. Most people skipped to the other side of the street when passing its front door, and the wealthy avoided the street it sagged on at all costs. But, really, it was only dangerous in theory. There was no reason to throw punches or knives unless somebody lost all their money to a bad hand of cards, and that was a section of the restaurant he never set foot in.

The Marina’s outside was at odds with its inside. The face of the squat brick building was plain and punctuated by four windows, one of which had the blinds drawn. The others were open enough to let in the dissipating golden light. Inside, Nacat knew, was boisterous and lively as anything he’d ever experienced, and nothing at all like the refined functions he’d become accustomed to.

The Marina was particularly busy at this hour, when the day was just beginning to end. He ghosted inside.

The clink and clash of silverware and glassware assaulted his ears. Next came the laughter, the excited have you seen the new motormobile models yet?, the bellowed ORDER FOR TABLE SIX IS READY. And then: the sizzle and crackle of cooking meat. Nacat flinched every time his brain processed this sound. It was practically synonymous with the sound of sizzling, blistering flesh.

The hostess at the podium perked up when he entered. Her black hair was wrapped in a tight bun behind her head, and her bright blue eyes didn’t even skip down to the scar on his cheek. She had to shout to be heard over all the noise. “Hey, stranger! You haven’t been in here in a spell. To what does the Marina owe the pleasure?”

Nacat grimaced, shouting right back. “My relatives are throwing a bash tonight, and I really don’t feel like being stared at or talked about.”

She nodded sagely and stepped out from the podium. “Well, by all means, you’re welcome to stay as long as you like. Until closing. Ross is already here.” The Marina closed at nine thirty PM, but he and Ross would both be long gone by then.

“Thanks, Fabian.”

She led him through a tight maze of low wooden tables, yelling things like “killer coming through! Move or die!” Nacat made sure to leave plenty of room between Fabian and himself as they squeezed through the restaurant. He may have thought many times about his own demise, but never was it on an empty stomach.

The table she led him to was at the very back of the restaurant, and it was already occupied. Leaning back in the cracked vinyl booth, surveying the entirety of the restaurant before him, was Ross Kidde. He flashed a toothy grin as Fabian and Nacat neared.

“Ah! The fancy man returns, ushered in by the girl of death. How poetic,” he drawled. It was quieter here, but only barely. Nacat slid into the booth across from Ross as Fabian set a menu in front of him. “Ya ever find a decent mechanic for the airship?”

Nacat frowned but nodded. “It took a lot longer than I thought it would, but I did. I think her name is Joanna Jones? She’s Shaharian.”

“Y’all two are really bent on this thing, aren’t you?” Fabian’s eyebrows rose. An uneven leg on the table slammed angrily to the floor when she leaned her hand on the table.

“It’s either that or give up on the only source of income I have, so yeah, kinda. Corpses have standards of living too, you know.” Ross turned his attention back to Nacat. “How long did she say it’ll take to get it running?”

Fabian made a frustrated sound. She had the power to quite literally kill anyone she touched, except for Ross, who was already dead. Instead, she fixed her iciest, blue-eyed sneer (which really ought to have the power to decimate whole cities by itself, Nacat thought) on him before sauntering back to her podium at the front of the Marina. The table wobbled crazily from the change in weight.

Nacat watched her go before answering. “She doesn’t know. A lot of the parts are so outdated that you can’t buy them anymore. She’s probably going to have to build a lot of them on her own.”

Ross tugged at the scarf on his neck, exposing a tiny bit of the stitches holding his head to the rest of his body. Nacat’s eyes didn’t linger on them; he suppressed a shudder.

“Perhaps,” he started slowly, “we could fly out to Scarlet Stronghold ourselves and help? It might get fixed quicker if she had some assistance.”

Ross made a face at the suggestion. “But don’t you have skeletons in some closet there? Besides, I don’t know anything about airship insides.”

Nacat ignored the first remark. “Well, neither do I, but it can’t hurt to try. Can it?”

Ross’s eyebrows rose. “That’s unnaturally optimistic of you.”

Nacat grimaced, but the observation was true. It was something his ridiculously happy best friend Reuben would have said, if he’d been here. But, then again, if Benny was here, Nacat wouldn’t be at the Marina, or friends with Ross and Fabian, or hate St. Tick, or have a brutal scar on his face. Hell, he’d still be in Scarlet Stronghold if his friend was here.

But as much as he longed for Benny’s companionship, if he never saw the Shirley estate half-slumped in its pile of ashes and charred wood again, it’d still be too soon.

Then one of the waiters Nacat hardly ever spoke to came and took their orders (“olsaid and a side of kemps,” Ross demanded loudly; “I’ll just have the soup of the day,” Nacat said much more gently).

The Marina was rather famous (or infamous, depending on your palate) for its swamp cuisine. Just the smell of most of the delicacies it boasted made Nacat’s stomach churn, but the soups were relatively safe enough to eat. Ross, however, was born and bred in the swamp, and so the Marina was almost like home to him. Almost.

“Look,” Nacat sighed after the waiter had left, “I hate Stronghold, but I hate it even more here. St. Tick is too claustrophobic.”

Thankfully Ross didn’t press the issue any further. He leaned back, hands up in a placating gesture. “Hey, if you really want to, I’m not stopping ya.”

Nacat grabbed a napkin from the dispenser on the table and tore at its edges in frustration. “I don’t want to. But--I just don’t want to stay here any longer.”

Ross sighed in exasperation. “Then flip a goddamned coin! Here.” He shifted to pull a little copper piece out of his pocket. “If it’s heads, we stay, and if it’s tails, we go.”

He flicked the coin into the air. Nacat watched it sail upwards, almost hitting the low ceiling before plummeting back to the ground. Ross swiped it out of the air with a flourish, slapping it on the back of his other hand and covering its face. He gave Nacat a meaningful look.

“Heads or tails?” he asked.

“I am not letting random chance decide whether we should go to Scarlet Stronghold or not,” Nacat said flatly.

But Ross wasn’t having any of it. “Heads or tails!” he bellowed loudly. The customers closest to them glanced at them before returning their gazes to their own disgusting meals.

Nacat rolled his eyes, but humored his friend just to get him to lower his voice. “I don’t know! Tails?”

Ross slowly revealed the face of the coin. Nacat leaned forward to see. It was, indeed, tails. He blinked first at the coin, then Ross. Dread thrilled through his bones.

“Two out of three,” he demanded.

Ross tried and failed to hide a smirk as he flipped it again. The result was the same.

“Three out of five.”

Again, the coin was tails-up.

Now Nacat was starting to panic. He felt the blood drain from his face, not daring to take his eyes off the traitorous coin. He could not go back there, could not look upon the shell of his old home, the graves of his parents. He could not face Reuben. “Four out of six,” he said.

Ross obliged, eyebrows raised. He flipped it again, this time letting it hit the ceiling in an attempt to skew the results. When he revealed the coin, his eyebrows rose even higher, disappearing into his hairline. He had never seen such a stubborn outcome before.

Their eyes met above the coin. Nacat looked liked he was going to be sick all over the table. “So . . .” Ross started slowly. “Five out of seven?”
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Ollie | 22
they/them
eGiN2Xv.png | F8WMfQz.png
My lore
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[center][size=6][url=http://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&tab=dragon&id=168916&did=41839041]Reuben Hancock[/url][/size][/center] [quote=Legacy lore]It was early, too early for anyone to be up--even the servants--but still Reuben glided into wakefulness. Rubbing physical sleep away, he stared at the ceiling through half-lidded eyes. Pale morning sunshine painted the ceiling of the bedroom in washed-out hues of pastel roses and forget-me-nots. The silence was so loud it made his ears ring. He was certain it wasn’t even five yet. Deep breath in, deep breath out. He liked to imagine that wherever Cat was now, he was also lying on his back, staring at the ceiling as the sunlight strengthened and chased way the lingering shadows of the previous night. He turned his head to gaze at his still sleeping fiancée; she dozed away, unaware of how small she looked next to him in this massive bed. Her gold hair curled on the pillow behind her, the tiniest tranquil smile on her lips. She looked like she belonged in a fairy tale. Careful not to wake the slumbering figure next to him, Reuben slid out of bed. The frigid marble underfoot shocked him the rest of the way awake. He tiptoed across the room to retrieve his robe and slip it over his bare arms. He had learned that it was always chilly at this time of day in Lahmcross, even in the hottest heat of summer. But that didn’t stop him from easing open the balcony doors and stepping barefoot into the morning. He sat on the single stone bench, drawing his knees to his chest. The folds of his robe slid off one leg, exposing the skin to the cold air. He didn’t bother covering it back up. His breath puffed out in little white clouds. The sound of the sun, still low in the horizon, rushing to perch high in the sky soothed him. There was no breeze. This balcony was Reuben’s favorite place in his fiancée’s estate. Below him stretched sprawling ivies and ferns, looming wisteria trees and crepe myrtles, stretching lantana and flox, each bloom’s sickly sweet stench floating up towards him. Of the low, wide buildings he could see, each was a different hue of harvest gold or evergreen or the brown of earth below. Lahmcross was an absolute mess of beauty. Cat would’ve loved it. Reuben ached, not for the first time, for his childhood friend. His father and Cat’s own parents had been close friends, and so the two boys had been raised side by side. They were practically brothers. He could still picture his six-year-old self gleefully chasing his seven-year-old companion down the halls of Cat’s old home, but then the memory soured into smoke and flames. The pang of loneliness that stabbed into his heart had never hurt more. He sighed through his nose just as the door opened behind him. He didn’t have to turn around to know who it was--his fiancée was humming gently to herself, running her hands through her golden locks. She curled onto the bench next to him in a robe of her own. Where his was heavy wool dyed dark violet, hers was a lighter, cheerier pink. The two colors matched well, he thought, but that was only to try to distract him from the fleeting thought that it should have been Cat pressed into his side here. He didn’t think it worked very well. “Good morning,” she murmured. Her voice was sleepy but still lovely. She leaned her head on his shoulder. “Mmm,” Reuben responded. “Are you thinking of your friend again?” Reuben nodded, staring at but not really seeing the city beneath him. “I wish he could see Lahmcross like this. Before anyone’s woken up.” His fiancée nodded against him. “I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.” She craned her head back to place her gentle lips on his jaw. “You speak about him like he’s a legendary hero, but you always look so sad when you do.” Reuben peered down at her. Her soft blue eyes examined him thoughtfully. “He’s my brother, Amelia. I don’t know how he’s doing, or if he’s even still alive.” He winced. “I miss him,” he said simply. Amelia nodded again, looking out at the flowers spread before them. “This may sound selfish, but I hope I never know what it’s like to lose someone like that.” “Then you’d be lucky.” Reuben shifted. His toes were starting to go numb. “Well, I suppose we’d both be lucky, compared to Cat.” Amelia yawned into her hand but still nodded her agreement. After a beat she asked, “aren’t you cold out here? Come back to bed.” Reuben shook his head. As much as he craved the warmth of the manor, he wanted to stay out here and freeze away his sorrows and fears. Sorrow for brown eyes that held a like-dead glaze the last time he’d seen them, right before their owner had boarded an airship bound for a city halfway across the continent. Fear for the weighty knowledge he shouldn’t know about the tragedy that had made those eyes like that to begin with. They sat in silence for a while: Reuben unable to feel his toes, his lover curled into his side. Their breaths clouded around them. The first few gusts of the morning breeze, preceding the sun as it persevered across the sky above them, placed careful kisses across his cheeks and nose. Just when Reuben thought Amelia had fallen back asleep, she unfurled her limbs from the bench and stretched her arms luxuriously toward the sky. “Well, I’m heading back inside. I love you.” Reuben’s heart spasmed a little whenever she said that to him, and he never knew if it was in a good way or not. He tried not to think about the last thing he’d said to Cat on the airfield green, right before his defection to St. Tick, and the last thing Cat had said in return. But Reuben’s voice still eerily mirrored his best friend’s as he said to Amelia: “I love you, too.”[/quote] [quote=An important correspondence to Nacat]Nacat, I know you have asked me to stop writing to you, but something incredibly urgent has come up regarding your parents’ deaths. I would much rather have told you this face to face, or at the very least over the line, but it seems this is the only way to contact you, and even this is a long shot. I should preface this by saying that as I was passing my father’s study earlier this week, I overheard him on the line talking to some unnamed person about the event. I thought it was an odd thing to discuss after so many years, so I stopped to listen. I shouldn’t have stopped to listen. How I wish I could make this all go away. I am so, so sorry for what I am about to tell you. My father is the one who started the fire that killed Candace and Aaron. I’ll be leaving for Lahmcross a few days after this is sent. I cannot look at my father anymore, knowing what I know. My fiancée’s family has agreed to let me move in with them until we are married. My hope is that before that time you will have contacted me about this so that we may deal with it together. No matter what happens, we are still brothers. Sincerely, Benny[/quote]
Legacy lore wrote:
It was early, too early for anyone to be up--even the servants--but still Reuben glided into wakefulness. Rubbing physical sleep away, he stared at the ceiling through half-lidded eyes. Pale morning sunshine painted the ceiling of the bedroom in washed-out hues of pastel roses and forget-me-nots. The silence was so loud it made his ears ring. He was certain it wasn’t even five yet.

Deep breath in, deep breath out. He liked to imagine that wherever Cat was now, he was also lying on his back, staring at the ceiling as the sunlight strengthened and chased way the lingering shadows of the previous night.

He turned his head to gaze at his still sleeping fiancée; she dozed away, unaware of how small she looked next to him in this massive bed. Her gold hair curled on the pillow behind her, the tiniest tranquil smile on her lips. She looked like she belonged in a fairy tale.

Careful not to wake the slumbering figure next to him, Reuben slid out of bed. The frigid marble underfoot shocked him the rest of the way awake. He tiptoed across the room to retrieve his robe and slip it over his bare arms. He had learned that it was always chilly at this time of day in Lahmcross, even in the hottest heat of summer.

But that didn’t stop him from easing open the balcony doors and stepping barefoot into the morning.

He sat on the single stone bench, drawing his knees to his chest. The folds of his robe slid off one leg, exposing the skin to the cold air. He didn’t bother covering it back up. His breath puffed out in little white clouds. The sound of the sun, still low in the horizon, rushing to perch high in the sky soothed him. There was no breeze.

This balcony was Reuben’s favorite place in his fiancée’s estate. Below him stretched sprawling ivies and ferns, looming wisteria trees and crepe myrtles, stretching lantana and flox, each bloom’s sickly sweet stench floating up towards him. Of the low, wide buildings he could see, each was a different hue of harvest gold or evergreen or the brown of earth below. Lahmcross was an absolute mess of beauty. Cat would’ve loved it.

Reuben ached, not for the first time, for his childhood friend. His father and Cat’s own parents had been close friends, and so the two boys had been raised side by side. They were practically brothers. He could still picture his six-year-old self gleefully chasing his seven-year-old companion down the halls of Cat’s old home, but then the memory soured into smoke and flames.

The pang of loneliness that stabbed into his heart had never hurt more.

He sighed through his nose just as the door opened behind him. He didn’t have to turn around to know who it was--his fiancée was humming gently to herself, running her hands through her golden locks. She curled onto the bench next to him in a robe of her own. Where his was heavy wool dyed dark violet, hers was a lighter, cheerier pink. The two colors matched well, he thought, but that was only to try to distract him from the fleeting thought that it should have been Cat pressed into his side here.

He didn’t think it worked very well.

“Good morning,” she murmured. Her voice was sleepy but still lovely. She leaned her head on his shoulder.

“Mmm,” Reuben responded.

“Are you thinking of your friend again?”

Reuben nodded, staring at but not really seeing the city beneath him. “I wish he could see Lahmcross like this. Before anyone’s woken up.”

His fiancée nodded against him. “I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.” She craned her head back to place her gentle lips on his jaw. “You speak about him like he’s a legendary hero, but you always look so sad when you do.”

Reuben peered down at her. Her soft blue eyes examined him thoughtfully. “He’s my brother, Amelia. I don’t know how he’s doing, or if he’s even still alive.” He winced. “I miss him,” he said simply.

Amelia nodded again, looking out at the flowers spread before them. “This may sound selfish, but I hope I never know what it’s like to lose someone like that.”

“Then you’d be lucky.” Reuben shifted. His toes were starting to go numb. “Well, I suppose we’d both be lucky, compared to Cat.”

Amelia yawned into her hand but still nodded her agreement. After a beat she asked, “aren’t you cold out here? Come back to bed.”

Reuben shook his head. As much as he craved the warmth of the manor, he wanted to stay out here and freeze away his sorrows and fears. Sorrow for brown eyes that held a like-dead glaze the last time he’d seen them, right before their owner had boarded an airship bound for a city halfway across the continent. Fear for the weighty knowledge he shouldn’t know about the tragedy that had made those eyes like that to begin with.

They sat in silence for a while: Reuben unable to feel his toes, his lover curled into his side. Their breaths clouded around them. The first few gusts of the morning breeze, preceding the sun as it persevered across the sky above them, placed careful kisses across his cheeks and nose.

Just when Reuben thought Amelia had fallen back asleep, she unfurled her limbs from the bench and stretched her arms luxuriously toward the sky. “Well, I’m heading back inside. I love you.”

Reuben’s heart spasmed a little whenever she said that to him, and he never knew if it was in a good way or not. He tried not to think about the last thing he’d said to Cat on the airfield green, right before his defection to St. Tick, and the last thing Cat had said in return. But Reuben’s voice still eerily mirrored his best friend’s as he said to Amelia: “I love you, too.”
An important correspondence to Nacat wrote:
Nacat,

I know you have asked me to stop writing to you, but something incredibly urgent has come up regarding your parents’ deaths. I would much rather have told you this face to face, or at the very least over the line, but it seems this is the only way to contact you, and even this is a long shot.

I should preface this by saying that as I was passing my father’s study earlier this week, I overheard him on the line talking to some unnamed person about the event. I thought it was an odd thing to discuss after so many years, so I stopped to listen. I shouldn’t have stopped to listen.

How I wish I could make this all go away. I am so, so sorry for what I am about to tell you.

My father is the one who started the fire that killed Candace and Aaron.

I’ll be leaving for Lahmcross a few days after this is sent. I cannot look at my father anymore, knowing what I know. My fiancée’s family has agreed to let me move in with them until we are married. My hope is that before that time you will have contacted me about this so that we may deal with it together.

No matter what happens, we are still brothers.

Sincerely,
Benny
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