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TOPIC | [LORE] Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust
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Note: As of 4/4/20, this lore thread has been discontinued.

ASHES TO ASHES, DUST TO DUST
(Hello everyone! This is a lore thread where I can write and organize little blurbs and stories for my characters. Feel free to comment or pm me if you wish to talk!)

Nestled between twin mountain faces and carved into the cliffside of the Onyx Peak, the Halidom of Heima boasts an ambitious architectural design benefiting that of an equally ambitious kingdom. Dragons of high class and breeding, battle-scarred generals, and talented performers all call this castle their home. Though some may find the crumbling foundation alarming or the atypical location strange, the halidom remains a shining example of the brilliance possessed by Heima's enduring population.

The kingdom's pleasant exterior is nothing but a facade, however. Heima has been tarnished time and time again from the blood of traitors. Brother against sister, mother against son, familiar against confidant. Scrub as you may, but the stains from such betrayals have long bled into the fabric of history. Gilded halls, marbled tiles, and aged paintings represent more than just frivolous decorum–they are distractors from more pressing dangers: scheming princes and jealous lovers. Watch your tongue when you speak. The queen may have eyes, but the walls have ears.



APOPHENIA: Ophelia comes across a familiar stranger.
MILK TEETH: The trials and tribulations of Emeng, high prince of Heima.
ODIUM: And they were neighbors (oh my god, they were neighbors).
EPITAPH: Long live the queen.
WRAITH: Curiosity killed the cat... or something along those lines.

INTERMISSION I: In which Reyna plays at bloodhound.



NOTES:
» The lore excerpts are not in chronological order. In the current time, Merle, Leon, and Luoying have been deceased for several centuries. You don't necessarily have to read the excerpts in order, but there are several connections made across each story that are easily missed if read randomly.
» Ophelia and Leda were former classmates and academic rivals during their time at the Academy. Ophelia regards Leda as an old flame, whereas Leda sees Ophelia as her greatest regret.
» Luoying had a daughter named Yunxiang, but as to what became of her... well, nobody quite knows.



PINGLIST:

@/myriadofstars @/OrigamiCrane @/shanncrafter @/pneumonic
Note: As of 4/4/20, this lore thread has been discontinued.

ASHES TO ASHES, DUST TO DUST
(Hello everyone! This is a lore thread where I can write and organize little blurbs and stories for my characters. Feel free to comment or pm me if you wish to talk!)

Nestled between twin mountain faces and carved into the cliffside of the Onyx Peak, the Halidom of Heima boasts an ambitious architectural design benefiting that of an equally ambitious kingdom. Dragons of high class and breeding, battle-scarred generals, and talented performers all call this castle their home. Though some may find the crumbling foundation alarming or the atypical location strange, the halidom remains a shining example of the brilliance possessed by Heima's enduring population.

The kingdom's pleasant exterior is nothing but a facade, however. Heima has been tarnished time and time again from the blood of traitors. Brother against sister, mother against son, familiar against confidant. Scrub as you may, but the stains from such betrayals have long bled into the fabric of history. Gilded halls, marbled tiles, and aged paintings represent more than just frivolous decorum–they are distractors from more pressing dangers: scheming princes and jealous lovers. Watch your tongue when you speak. The queen may have eyes, but the walls have ears.



APOPHENIA: Ophelia comes across a familiar stranger.
MILK TEETH: The trials and tribulations of Emeng, high prince of Heima.
ODIUM: And they were neighbors (oh my god, they were neighbors).
EPITAPH: Long live the queen.
WRAITH: Curiosity killed the cat... or something along those lines.

INTERMISSION I: In which Reyna plays at bloodhound.



NOTES:
» The lore excerpts are not in chronological order. In the current time, Merle, Leon, and Luoying have been deceased for several centuries. You don't necessarily have to read the excerpts in order, but there are several connections made across each story that are easily missed if read randomly.
» Ophelia and Leda were former classmates and academic rivals during their time at the Academy. Ophelia regards Leda as an old flame, whereas Leda sees Ophelia as her greatest regret.
» Luoying had a daughter named Yunxiang, but as to what became of her... well, nobody quite knows.



PINGLIST:

@/myriadofstars @/OrigamiCrane @/shanncrafter @/pneumonic
[center][font=sylfaen][size=5]CAST OF CHARACTERS[/size] [font=sylfaen]the Goddess draws her cards...[/center] [columns][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/coliseum/portraits/512522/51252166.png[/img][nextcol][indent][font=sylfaen][size=3][url=https://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&id=259480&tab=dragon&did=51252166]NOVUS[/url]: The slit-eyed, many winged son of the first queen Charmeine. Due to his unpredictable nature and proclivity toward violence, Novus has been worshiped as the minor god of war and destruction.[/columns] [columns][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/coliseum/portraits/438783/43878200.png[/img][nextcol][indent][font=sylfaen][size=3][url=https://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&id=259480&tab=dragon&did=43878200]EMENG[/url]: The prince of Heima and twin brother to Meilang. He's been said to have "the moral compass of a roulette wheel." Though he tends to exude arrogance, Emeng possesses an extreme inferiority complex and is quick to lash out if confronted about his behavior.[/columns] [columns][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/coliseum/portraits/438782/43878199.png[/img][nextcol][indent][font=sylfaen][size=3][url=https://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&id=259480&tab=dragon&did=43878199]MEILANG[/url]: One of the youngest queens in Heima's history and twin sister to Emeng. Her mother, the previous queen, was killed in battle and Meilang was hastily coronated in the midst of war.[/columns][columns][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/coliseum/portraits/432688/43268773.png[/img][nextcol][indent][font=sylfaen][size=3][url=https://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&id=259480&tab=dragon&did=43268773]LILITH[/url]: Known as "Lady Lily" by both spiteful competitors and adoring fans, Lilith was groomed from a young age to be the late queen's champion. Because of her upbringing, her aggressive personality makes it difficult for her to form and keep deep bonds.[/columns][columns][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/coliseum/portraits/399997/39999666.png[/img][nextcol][indent][font=sylfaen][size=3][url=https://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&id=259480&tab=dragon&did=39999666]KORE[/url]: The chief justice of Heima's high court, responsible for overseeing court hearings associated with the severest of crimes. Kore has the final say for whether the guilty party lives, dies, or suffers specific consequences.[/columns] [columns][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/coliseum/portraits/450946/45094575.png[/img][nextcol][indent][font=sylfaen][size=3][url=https://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&id=259480&tab=dragon&did=45094575]REYNA[/url]: Heima's high priestess, blessed with foresight and good luck. Many of the kingdom's people suspect she has been practicing illegal blood magic, though no solid proof has been produced as of yet.[/columns][columns][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/coliseum/portraits/498221/49822076.png[/img][nextcol][indent][font=sylfaen][size=3][url=https://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&id=259480&tab=dragon&did=49822076]LEDA[/url]: A decorated court dancer, though there is much more to Leda than what meets the eye. Behind polished scales and shimmering silks lies coiled muscle and sharpened blades– as soon as she is needed, the curtains raise to reveal a swirling viper underneath.[/columns][columns][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/coliseum/portraits/514289/51428844.png[/img][nextcol][indent][font=sylfaen][size=3][url=https://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&id=259480&tab=dragon&did=51428844]HYEONGWANG[/url]: Emeng's primary retainer and elder brother to Seoya. Hyeongwang's true feelings often remain deeply repressed and unsaid–though it is rare for him to raise his voice, his anger tends to build up and shatter like a tightly-sealed bottle.[/columns][columns][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/coliseum/portraits/521140/52113992.png[/img][nextcol][indent][font=sylfaen][size=3][url=https://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&id=259480&tab=dragon&did=52113992]SEOYA[/url]: The infamous medic of the Eyes and younger sister to Hyeongwang. She has gained quite a reputation for being able to bring nearly any patient back from the brink of death.[/columns][columns][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/coliseum/portraits/527951/52795080.png[/img][nextcol][indent][font=sylfaen][size=3][url=https://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&id=259480&tab=dragon&did=52795080]TAIPAN[/url]: The heavily scarred leader of the notorious Gilded Eyes crime syndicate. In spite of his harsh temperament and ruthless disposition, Taipan cares deeply about his subordinates and has been known to personally take up the knife to avenge one if they are killed during a mission.[/columns][columns][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/coliseum/portraits/504201/50420046.png[/img][nextcol][indent][font=sylfaen][size=3][url=https://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&id=259480&tab=dragon&did=50420046]OPHELIA[/url]: The second in command of the Gilded Eyes and adoptive sister to Taipan. A few of her subordinates have taken to calling her "Little Lion" behind her back for both her pride and cruelty.[/columns][columns][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/coliseum/portraits/447762/44776102.png[/img][nextcol][indent][font=sylfaen][size=3][url=https://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&id=259480&tab=dragon&did=44776102]LEON[/url]: Luoying's guard and lover, beheaded after his affair with the prince was discovered by the king. His soul was corrupted during a failed necromantic ritual and he now exists as a corporal mass of smoke and bone, watching from the shadows with hungry golden eyes.[/columns][columns][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/coliseum/portraits/470425/47042401.png[/img][nextcol][indent][font=sylfaen][size=3][url=https://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&id=259480&tab=dragon&did=47042401]LUOYING[/url]: The turbulent spirit of a long-deceased prince. Though he was known to be kindhearted and even-tempered, the death of his lover by the king's hand drove him to madness.[/columns][columns][img]http://flightrising.com/rendern/coliseum/portraits/479795/47979436.png[/img][nextcol][indent][font=sylfaen][size=3][url=https://flightrising.com/main.php?p=lair&id=259480&tab=dragon&did=47979436]MERLE[/url]: The former queen of Heima, responsible for the Siege of Bi'anhua. Under her father's command, Merle murdered her youngest brother and ripped apart the country searching for his daughter, considering the girl a threat to the throne.[/columns]
CAST OF CHARACTERS
the Goddess draws her cards...
51252166.png
NOVUS: The slit-eyed, many winged son of the first queen Charmeine. Due to his unpredictable nature and proclivity toward violence, Novus has been worshiped as the minor god of war and destruction.
43878200.png
EMENG: The prince of Heima and twin brother to Meilang. He's been said to have "the moral compass of a roulette wheel." Though he tends to exude arrogance, Emeng possesses an extreme inferiority complex and is quick to lash out if confronted about his behavior.
43878199.png
MEILANG: One of the youngest queens in Heima's history and twin sister to Emeng. Her mother, the previous queen, was killed in battle and Meilang was hastily coronated in the midst of war.
43268773.png
LILITH: Known as "Lady Lily" by both spiteful competitors and adoring fans, Lilith was groomed from a young age to be the late queen's champion. Because of her upbringing, her aggressive personality makes it difficult for her to form and keep deep bonds.
39999666.png
KORE: The chief justice of Heima's high court, responsible for overseeing court hearings associated with the severest of crimes. Kore has the final say for whether the guilty party lives, dies, or suffers specific consequences.
45094575.png
REYNA: Heima's high priestess, blessed with foresight and good luck. Many of the kingdom's people suspect she has been practicing illegal blood magic, though no solid proof has been produced as of yet.
49822076.png
LEDA: A decorated court dancer, though there is much more to Leda than what meets the eye. Behind polished scales and shimmering silks lies coiled muscle and sharpened blades– as soon as she is needed, the curtains raise to reveal a swirling viper underneath.
51428844.png
HYEONGWANG: Emeng's primary retainer and elder brother to Seoya. Hyeongwang's true feelings often remain deeply repressed and unsaid–though it is rare for him to raise his voice, his anger tends to build up and shatter like a tightly-sealed bottle.
52113992.png
SEOYA: The infamous medic of the Eyes and younger sister to Hyeongwang. She has gained quite a reputation for being able to bring nearly any patient back from the brink of death.
52795080.png
TAIPAN: The heavily scarred leader of the notorious Gilded Eyes crime syndicate. In spite of his harsh temperament and ruthless disposition, Taipan cares deeply about his subordinates and has been known to personally take up the knife to avenge one if they are killed during a mission.
50420046.png
OPHELIA: The second in command of the Gilded Eyes and adoptive sister to Taipan. A few of her subordinates have taken to calling her "Little Lion" behind her back for both her pride and cruelty.
44776102.png
LEON: Luoying's guard and lover, beheaded after his affair with the prince was discovered by the king. His soul was corrupted during a failed necromantic ritual and he now exists as a corporal mass of smoke and bone, watching from the shadows with hungry golden eyes.
47042401.png
LUOYING: The turbulent spirit of a long-deceased prince. Though he was known to be kindhearted and even-tempered, the death of his lover by the king's hand drove him to madness.
47979436.png
MERLE: The former queen of Heima, responsible for the Siege of Bi'anhua. Under her father's command, Merle murdered her youngest brother and ripped apart the country searching for his daughter, considering the girl a threat to the throne.
[center][emoji=sword size=1][/center]
[center][emoji=sword size=1][/center]
[center][font=sylfaen][size=5]APOPHENIA (n.)[/size] the tendency to mistakenly perceive connections and meaning between unrelated things [color=a90000]Warnings: alcohol usage [url=https://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=50420046] [img]https://flightrising.com/rendern/350/504201/50420046_350.png[/img] [/url][/center] [font=sylfaen]Ophelia sees the strange man somewhere in between her first and third drink. Hyeongwang’s slumped over beside her, asleep, his glasses slipping off his nose and cheek pressed gracelessly against the cold marble counter. She takes a drag from her cigarette and wrinkles her nose when he mumbles out a few unintelligibles. She pats his head. Poor kid. It’s two in the morning–later than she usually allows herself to linger, but not late enough for her to forget about the empty apartment with an emptier bed that awaits her return. She swirls the glass of amber cognac in her hand–and suddenly sees the man sitting to her left. Ophelia blinks, then blinks again. Slowly. She’s pleasantly buzzed ([i]not drunk,[/i] she tells herself), but she swears the man has an exact replica of her eyes, down to the thin band of gold around her irises. He seems to notice her just as she does him but says nothing, holding his own glass of red liquid to his mouth and smiling at her in a secretive, inconspicuous way. His skin is so pale it's almost translucent, like that of a sickly child or drowning victim, and something wet glistens beneath the collar of his dress shirt. Ophelia feels uncomfortable, almost, and turns away to wake Hyeon. [i]What the hell?[/i] She prides herself on her ability to remain unfazed in bizarre situations, but there’s something about the curl of the stranger’s lips and the cut of his bone-white teeth that seems too familiar, too intrusive for her own comfort. She hears the crisp clink of glass meeting polished stone, followed by the heavy swish of someone shrugging on a jacket and the click of heeled boots as they exit the bar. When she turns to her left, the stranger is gone. The condensation collecting on the man’s glass, however, remains untouched, not a single droplet out of place. Ophelia groans and presses the meat of her palms against her eyes. She needs another drink. ----- [font=sylfaen][i](An old textbook lies forgotten on the countertop. Based on the label stuck firmly to its spine, you suspect it may have been stolen from the Academy’s library–maybe the thief will come back looking for it. Nonetheless, you decide to flip through it, thumbing past dog-eared pages, crude notes and doodles, and a few suspicious brown stains. It’s certainly seen better days. You come across a chapter that has been crinkled and bent to the point of tearing.)[/i] Particularly malicious spirits, otherwise known as wraiths, can take on the forms of ordinary dragons, blending in seamlessly with their living, breathing counterparts. Even under concealment, however, wraiths invoke great feelings of discomfort, fear, or paranoia in those who come into contact with them. The only distinguishing factor between a wraith and living dragon lies in a wraith’s fatal blow (see [i]The Ultimate Guide to Spirit Classification, Volume 4[/i]), an injury which cannot be healed nor disguised. Wraiths are not born, but made. Dragons that have suffered tremendously traumatic or violent deaths at the hands of a friend, family member, or loved one may return to the waking realm as these spirits of destruction and vengeance. Suspected wraiths include t- [i](The remainder of the page has been conveniently ripped out.)[/i]
APOPHENIA (n.)
the tendency to mistakenly perceive connections and meaning between unrelated things

Warnings: alcohol usage

50420046_350.png

Ophelia sees the strange man somewhere in between her first and third drink.

Hyeongwang’s slumped over beside her, asleep, his glasses slipping off his nose and cheek pressed gracelessly against the cold marble counter. She takes a drag from her cigarette and wrinkles her nose when he mumbles out a few unintelligibles. She pats his head. Poor kid.

It’s two in the morning–later than she usually allows herself to linger, but not late enough for her to forget about the empty apartment with an emptier bed that awaits her return. She swirls the glass of amber cognac in her hand–and suddenly sees the man sitting to her left. Ophelia blinks, then blinks again. Slowly. She’s pleasantly buzzed (not drunk, she tells herself), but she swears the man has an exact replica of her eyes, down to the thin band of gold around her irises. He seems to notice her just as she does him but says nothing, holding his own glass of red liquid to his mouth and smiling at her in a secretive, inconspicuous way. His skin is so pale it's almost translucent, like that of a sickly child or drowning victim, and something wet glistens beneath the collar of his dress shirt. Ophelia feels uncomfortable, almost, and turns away to wake Hyeon. What the hell? She prides herself on her ability to remain unfazed in bizarre situations, but there’s something about the curl of the stranger’s lips and the cut of his bone-white teeth that seems too familiar, too intrusive for her own comfort. She hears the crisp clink of glass meeting polished stone, followed by the heavy swish of someone shrugging on a jacket and the click of heeled boots as they exit the bar.

When she turns to her left, the stranger is gone. The condensation collecting on the man’s glass, however, remains untouched, not a single droplet out of place.

Ophelia groans and presses the meat of her palms against her eyes.

She needs another drink.



(An old textbook lies forgotten on the countertop. Based on the label stuck firmly to its spine, you suspect it may have been stolen from the Academy’s library–maybe the thief will come back looking for it. Nonetheless, you decide to flip through it, thumbing past dog-eared pages, crude notes and doodles, and a few suspicious brown stains. It’s certainly seen better days. You come across a chapter that has been crinkled and bent to the point of tearing.)

Particularly malicious spirits, otherwise known as wraiths, can take on the forms of ordinary dragons, blending in seamlessly with their living, breathing counterparts. Even under concealment, however, wraiths invoke great feelings of discomfort, fear, or paranoia in those who come into contact with them. The only distinguishing factor between a wraith and living dragon lies in a wraith’s fatal blow (see The Ultimate Guide to Spirit Classification, Volume 4), an injury which cannot be healed nor disguised.

Wraiths are not born, but made. Dragons that have suffered tremendously traumatic or violent deaths at the hands of a friend, family member, or loved one may return to the waking realm as these spirits of destruction and vengeance. Suspected wraiths include t-

(The remainder of the page has been conveniently ripped out.)
[center][font=sylfaen][size=5]MILK TEETH (n.)[/size] any of a set of early, temporary teeth in children or young mammals that fall out as the permanent teeth erupt [color=a90000]Warnings: violence, verbal and non-graphic physical abuse, allusions to attempted matricide [url=https://flightrising.com/main.php?dragon=43878200] [img]https://flightrising.com/rendern/350/438783/43878200_350.png[/img] [/url][/center] [font=sylfaen]With her glittering silver armor and deep-set scowl, the figure in red paints an imposing figure on the training field. From Emeng’s angle sprawled on the dusty ground, she almost looks like a vengeful goddess, ready to run him through with her sword at a moment’s notice. He swallows nervously as her blade falls to his exposed throat. The woman bares her teeth and adjusts her weapon. “Emeng,” she snarls. Her voice is thunderous. As prideful as he is, the prince can’t help but flinch back at her anger. “M-mother,” he begins. “This was an accident. I swear on the Goddess I won’t mess up again, just give me another chance, I sw-please–” “SILENCE!” the queen roars. Around them, the soldiers training at nearby stations pause in their actions at the sound of her outburst. Their queen is known for her vicious temper and wicked tongue; none of them want to stick around to hear about “familial matters” lest it devolves into violence. The area clears out quickly enough. A cruel, jealous part of Emeng wants to call them mutts, filthy mongrels that scurry away with their tails tucked between their legs at the first sign of danger. The other part reluctantly acknowledges the fact that he’d much prefer to run alongside them, mongrels be damned. The woman turns back to her son and digs the tip of her sword into his collarbone. [i]Drip. Drip. Drip.[/i] Emeng glares at his mother with watering eyes, but makes no movement to stop her. He’s learned quickly enough when to hold his tongue. “I’ve been too soft on you and your sister,” she says. Her pupils are black and empty, two pinpricks of coal hardened to diamonds by years of warfare and murderous intent. “You two are nothing more than pathetic, [i]sniveling worms[/i] I could crush underneath my boot. If I had it my way, I would beat this weakness out of you and finally form something useful from the scraps. She and you are barely worthy enough to be called my children,” she spits out. “You especially. Your sister may have some potential, but you... you are beyond my guidance. What a shame.” The queen withdraws her sword. “Rise. Had this been a real fight, I would have watered these very grounds with the blood split from your veins. You know better than to disappoint me again.” She tosses her son’s splintered training sword to her feet. She watches as the boy struggles to stand, his expression growing angrier with every passing second. He snatches up the sword with a newfound sense of purpose and positions himself into a proper offensive stance. She’s pleased–he can harness that anger then, can use it to forge a weapon of his own choosing. Emeng will thank her for this in his own time. “Do try to remember,” she reminds him coldly, “That this is for your own good.” [center][font=sylfaen]» «[/center] [font=sylfaen]“Apologies, mother,” Her son’s voice rings out lazily from her right. He sounds like he’s perusing through a row of market vendors stocked with fresh vegetables and not a bloodied battlefield littered with hundreds of half-charred bodies and still-burning buildings. She’s about to ask what he’s prattling on about when a sharp object violently pierces through the skin of her exposed stomach. “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” she shrieks, grabbing desperately at his wrists. If it were not for the trembling of her fingers, she could have snapped the thin, bird-like bones with hardly a blink. Foolish. It was a mistake to remove her armor, even during a moment of– Emeng buries the knife deeper into the side of her gut and she cuts off abruptly with another howl. “What do you mean?” He blinks innocently. The hand clutching the weapon twists the blade; her insides churn dangerously with the movement as she struggles to throw him off. He smiles and wrenches the knife out with a sickening squelch. “I’m only finishing what my wretched sister couldn’t commit to years ago.” “Maybe the history books will paint [i]me[/i] as the villain,” Ememg says lightly. “And Meilang, the pitiful princess suddenly thrust into the role of queen. But what about you? What happens now that the mighty [i]Nuwang[/i] of Heima has fallen from grace? Where can she go, knowing that her loyal hounds have caught a whiff of her blood?” “How about this? I’m feeling particularly generous today, so I’ll make you a deal. I’ll keep you alive, but for every year you’ve taken from my youth, I’ll take one of your fingers.” He laughs and wipes the blood from his knife onto her face with messy, uncoordinated strokes. “An eye for an eye, as the poets say. If I’m to be honest, I think I’m being more than fair.” “How does that sound?” The prince smiles again. “Do try to remember, your Highness, that this is for your own good.”
MILK TEETH (n.)
any of a set of early, temporary teeth in children or young mammals that fall out as the permanent teeth erupt

Warnings: violence, verbal and non-graphic physical abuse, allusions to attempted matricide

43878200_350.png

With her glittering silver armor and deep-set scowl, the figure in red paints an imposing figure on the training field. From Emeng’s angle sprawled on the dusty ground, she almost looks like a vengeful goddess, ready to run him through with her sword at a moment’s notice. He swallows nervously as her blade falls to his exposed throat.

The woman bares her teeth and adjusts her weapon.

“Emeng,” she snarls. Her voice is thunderous. As prideful as he is, the prince can’t help but flinch back at her anger. “M-mother,” he begins. “This was an accident. I swear on the Goddess I won’t mess up again, just give me another chance, I sw-please–”

“SILENCE!” the queen roars. Around them, the soldiers training at nearby stations pause in their actions at the sound of her outburst. Their queen is known for her vicious temper and wicked tongue; none of them want to stick around to hear about “familial matters” lest it devolves into violence. The area clears out quickly enough. A cruel, jealous part of Emeng wants to call them mutts, filthy mongrels that scurry away with their tails tucked between their legs at the first sign of danger. The other part reluctantly acknowledges the fact that he’d much prefer to run alongside them, mongrels be damned.

The woman turns back to her son and digs the tip of her sword into his collarbone.

Drip. Drip. Drip.

Emeng glares at his mother with watering eyes, but makes no movement to stop her. He’s learned quickly enough when to hold his tongue.

“I’ve been too soft on you and your sister,” she says. Her pupils are black and empty, two pinpricks of coal hardened to diamonds by years of warfare and murderous intent. “You two are nothing more than pathetic, sniveling worms I could crush underneath my boot. If I had it my way, I would beat this weakness out of you and finally form something useful from the scraps. She and you are barely worthy enough to be called my children,” she spits out. “You especially. Your sister may have some potential, but you... you are beyond my guidance. What a shame.”

The queen withdraws her sword. “Rise. Had this been a real fight, I would have watered these very grounds with the blood split from your veins. You know better than to disappoint me again.” She tosses her son’s splintered training sword to her feet.

She watches as the boy struggles to stand, his expression growing angrier with every passing second. He snatches up the sword with a newfound sense of purpose and positions himself into a proper offensive stance. She’s pleased–he can harness that anger then, can use it to forge a weapon of his own choosing. Emeng will thank her for this in his own time.

“Do try to remember,” she reminds him coldly, “That this is for your own good.”

» «

“Apologies, mother,” Her son’s voice rings out lazily from her right. He sounds like he’s perusing through a row of market vendors stocked with fresh vegetables and not a bloodied battlefield littered with hundreds of half-charred bodies and still-burning buildings.

She’s about to ask what he’s prattling on about when a sharp object violently pierces through the skin of her exposed stomach.

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” she shrieks, grabbing desperately at his wrists. If it were not for the trembling of her fingers, she could have snapped the thin, bird-like bones with hardly a blink.

Foolish. It was a mistake to remove her armor, even during a moment of–

Emeng buries the knife deeper into the side of her gut and she cuts off abruptly with another howl. “What do you mean?” He blinks innocently. The hand clutching the weapon twists the blade; her insides churn dangerously with the movement as she struggles to throw him off. He smiles and wrenches the knife out with a sickening squelch. “I’m only finishing what my wretched sister couldn’t commit to years ago.”

“Maybe the history books will paint me as the villain,” Ememg says lightly. “And Meilang, the pitiful princess suddenly thrust into the role of queen. But what about you? What happens now that the mighty Nuwang of Heima has fallen from grace? Where can she go, knowing that her loyal hounds have caught a whiff of her blood?”

“How about this? I’m feeling particularly generous today, so I’ll make you a deal. I’ll keep you alive, but for every year you’ve taken from my youth, I’ll take one of your fingers.” He laughs and wipes the blood from his knife onto her face with messy, uncoordinated strokes. “An eye for an eye, as the poets say. If I’m to be honest, I think I’m being more than fair.”

“How does that sound?” The prince smiles again. “Do try to remember, your Highness, that this is for your own good.”
Oh wow, I love this! The lore is fascinating – that first story gave me the shivers, haha. You are definitely a very good writer! Can't wait to see more; do you have a pinglist?
Oh wow, I love this! The lore is fascinating – that first story gave me the shivers, haha. You are definitely a very good writer! Can't wait to see more; do you have a pinglist?
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They/Them
FR+2

@myriadofstars Thank you so much, I'm so glad you enjoyed my word vomit haha! I didn't expect much reception so I didn't plan for a pinglist, but I'll make one right now and add you to it!
@myriadofstars Thank you so much, I'm so glad you enjoyed my word vomit haha! I didn't expect much reception so I didn't plan for a pinglist, but I'll make one right now and add you to it!
Ping please? This is a great story
Ping please? This is a great story
she/her|artist|FR+1
I'd love a ping too! your lore is p interesting :o
I'd love a ping too! your lore is p interesting :o
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>> hatchery
>> lore aesthetics shop
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