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the ruins of your absence
08-22-2020, 02:15 PM
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#1

His death was still lingering in her mind; tender-footed, heartbroken. She lived in the ruins of his absence, but dared not let it show. Lest she were alone, like she was now, slumped against the sides of those winding dead trees where Harbinger bodies swung in the gentle summer breeze as if they'd had it easier than her. As if death were a more appealing escape. Yet, tears could not slip from her eyes. She'd practiced being stonefaced in front of her superiors for so long since his death that she was certain she'd no longer the ability to cry. A gentle suspire slipped from between her lips and that was it, the conclusion of her grief culminating in the thick misty exhale that quickly dissipated into the brisk summer sky. The morning was still early enough that the rocky cliffs were chilly, and though she could not see past the foggy ceaselessness of the sea just beyond, she liked to imagine a far brighter place on the other side. Somewhere she could escape, perhaps; somewhere the Order could not find her.

Yet, she could not bare the idea of leaving. Not while his body still lingers beneath the crypts, sleeping alongside all those whose deaths she'd partaken in.

“You'd have the guts,” she cursed under her breath, her watery eyes narrowing against the blistering morning gusts. The summery herald shifted the limbs of the trees above her, causing them to creak, haunting and cacophonous and beautiful all at once. Eventually, Nahriye relented, knowing soon she would need to return to the Citadel for their morning training and begin their patrols of the Woods. If she'd been thankful for anything, it were the Harbingers—their resurgent presence had lead to a blissful distraction. Nahriye could so easily lose herself trailing the foggy paths of the Woods.

Art by Ale-Tie

08-23-2020, 02:46 AM
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#2
balthier ismania

The acrid smell of death lingered and rooted itself as an unshakeable essence in the first light. The blood stained ground caterwauled horrors past, serving the ever present reminder of the finality dealt by justice. Even though he knew it was right, and it was necessary, occasionally he felt that question coming back to him, creating that momentary doubt and unease that stirred until he convinced himself once more of his determined, righteous path. Though eventually all these paths would converge, and only time would decide when the divide would close upon them. Dissonance sought company as the drafts were pulled wayward by the hidden sea, embraced by the gloom and leaving only a melancholy undertone. Every day of late has felt like a prelude; the harbingers to him were only an acute warning, heralding in this new age of distrust and unease, compounding with his nature.

Becoming used to the inner and external conflict has been more difficult in his youth with the polarity of his own family, but that was here and then gone as he realized he was not alone. Despite not having experienced a thousand nights he felt the irony in the depths of his thoughts and the hints of despair. Aged scars on his muzzle twinged and he offered a smile to her as his thoughts ignited, wishing he could have a more wildfire heart, but appreciative of the structure he so sought. "At least we're better off than them." He didn't know why that was the first thing that came to mind, why those words almost heartlessly escaped, and worse, why he felt he was right in saying them. Was a life worth it all? Demise had been brought upon some of these by him, and even now he struggled to empathize with their beliefs. Moonlight eyes turned upon her, gauging the response to his callous and brazen exclamation, but perhaps, subconsciously, those words had been spoken satirically.

“” & "" @Nahriye
Code by Dusk

09-13-2020, 02:36 PM
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#3

Nahriye had always understood the teachings of ancient, creaky old Templars who'd headed the beginnings of all the newcomers' training. For years they'd toiled piled shoulder-to-shoulder in barracks not learning to fight and protect but instead being indoctrinated by such crude beliefs, a world truly gone feral: kill them before they can kill you. And ancient carvings of Harbingers in the past showed them with weapons and powers beyond imagination, ceaselessly imposing, powered by false Gods strung among the stars as if they both existed and unexisted. How were they to fear something that supposedly exist? How were a group of people supposed to be so powerful and dangerous yet confined to the shadows and sewers like rats? Nahriye had never understood it; even years gone past, she could never understand it.

She'd never understood it until he'd come along. He'd always made sense of everything.

Now that he was gone, the world was that same bleak place, half-grayed and half-wild. Even the streets seemed to come alive, desperate in its attempts to swallow her whole. The wind called her name over, and over, speaking to her as if trying to lull her toward the sea, or the forest, or somewhere she could be lost to the wilds and surrendered to some unkindly fate. She closed her eyes, but the wind suddenly swept with it a familiar scent, and a voice low and boyish. At least we're better off than them. She was unsurprised. The familiar steel and cobblestone of the templar barracks clung upon him as if it were forever woven into his pelt like a second skin. Nahriye's golden gaze peered open, and turned to face him. All the knights knew the captains, but Nahriye had never been under his command.

“Are you so sure?” she asked back, a clever little smile curling on her lips; a majority of the captains were often scowling, brooding beasts, unkind to Nahriye's sarcastic nature. She had taken those beratings with grace...most of the time. “I think I'd rather be swinging from trees right about now.” Though the notion of death had never sat well with Nahriye. She'd fought on the frontlines in a few skirmishes, and had been one of the ones to drag Harbingers here by the scruff, watching as they pleaded, watching as the life fled from their eyes. She'd seen every horror in every nook and cranny of Yaurith. And yet, she was still so afraid of death.

“Are you patrolling, Captain Balthier?”

Art by Ale-Tie

09-19-2020, 02:54 AM
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#4
balthier ismania

There was an unusual discomfort that made him feel as though his skin were crawling, the tone of her voice so deceptive in comparison to the words that she uttered. Unusual dread filled him at the thought, wondering if death was better than the punishment that would surely follow discovery. The construct of this thought made him wonder about how fragile and unusual time itself was. From pup to adult, to captain even in his young age, were all these things built to boost an ego that internally was ready to crumble? There was a want to believe, a need, to give him purpose, meaning. Enlightening his thoughts was not something he'd expected of those few words from her, how the contemplation of death seemed like an escape as much as it did a means to an end, but was there more in suffering in silence?

Though usually distant and stoic there was a fracture among his features, relaxing his lips for just a moment before his eyes steeled once more and his expression hardened. "There is no worse fate than death if you go without making peace in this life." He endured the words as though talking to himself, wondering why he felt the torrid sensation of cowardice roiling through his gut, but as his eyes reflect the features of her face in their lens, he wonders if there wasn't something unsettling her, something she came to ponder in solitude.

Once more he became Captain Balthier, her voice pulling him back to reality from where his mind had tethered him. Fracturing the reality that he existed in, and the one that existed within his mind, he felt himself slip away from the comfort he'd felt moments prior. Slamming the hammer against the anvil shocked his mind into reliving the moment the prisoner had escaped. The capital had been turned inside out and ransacked by the initiates, the knights had begun to patrol into the Woods and the Mountain, but Balthier had caught two scents leading from the dungeons. Though he figured they had been victims of a bait and switch he had no confirmation of such a claim. A small flash of irritation crossed his eyes and he was tired. His devotion to his post, the duty he'd shown, and now it felt like there was never any separation from it, like he could never free his mind from the Templars.

The resentment ebbed away at him, no longer losing himself in the salted scent of the breeze or Nahriye's golden eyes. "No." The harsher droll of his voice almost graveled. "The escaped Harbinger's trail lead this way. The King's fury will spare none if he is not found." The King had been truly frightening when delivered the news of this most grievous oversight. Long had it been since he'd felt a tremble pluck away at his muscles, the pattering of his heart skipping and causing his skin to become feverishly hot.

“” & "" @Nahriye
Code by Dusk

09-29-2020, 02:52 PM (This post was last modified: 09-29-2020, 02:53 PM by Nahriye.)
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#5

There is no worse fate than death if you go without making peace in this life. There was a sort of sincerity in his words, but it was not something Nahriye could necessarily find herself agreeing with. Her life had been chaos from the start: born into chaos, dragged into chaos, fettered to chaos through love and loyalty. She could easily now say that entropy had become an old friend, and that all things around her eventually came crumbling down, just like the trees that held the tangled nooses. What was peace, then, to a woman who'd only ever known pandemonium?

Nahriye smirked, but she said nothing else.

No, he responded, and his sudden harshness drew away the curve of her smile, the escaped Harbinger's trail lead this way. The King's fury will spare none if he is not found. Such was the typical response of the King. The uproar over the resurgence of Harbingers had certainly affected Eridanus' popularity among his nobles, and the proclamation of public safety in their eradication meant little to the civilians who were starved and beaten in the streets by the very same men Eridanus sent to save them. Nahriye was not immune to the corruption inside of the Templar ranks, but she'd always been complacent to them; she knew better than to challenge a three-headed dragon in the name of justice and equality when she were nothing but a lowly thrall.

She was, perhaps, more curious of Balthier's opinions. The Captain had been new enough to his position that Nahriye had not seen his leadership style; so often were those men willing to throw their power around as if they were noblewomen showing off a new fur scarf. The quiet, reserved ones never lasted long. Even those proud yet true of heart were swallowed whole. She wondered what sort of man Balthier would be.

Nahriye got to her paws and stretched, allowing a drawn-out yawn to suspire through her lips; the morning was still cold enough where the warmth of her breath disappeared as a soft vapor into the air, but with the sun's threatening encroaching, it would soon be too warm for comfort. “Oh, yes, I've seen him,” she remarked playfully, her golden gaze turning back toward the Captain, “he came by this way hours ago, rambling something about Death to all of Yaurith and I'm going to eat some babies. He also mentioned something about setting your house on fire. Dangerous man indeed.” Of course, Nahriye had not seen the man; she suspected he could have long escaped to the Dawnforge by now. Perhaps he would be safer there. She could only hope, in her silent and wistful way.

Art by Ale-Tie

10-14-2020, 03:36 AM
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#6
There is a tension that feels as though it is woven into the very fiber of his being, an innate seriousness which has caused his jaws to tense and his muscles feel as though frozen. Argent eyes are lost as though seeing through her, in this moment the beating of his heart slowed and he felt the occasional pulse as his breath drew in. He is pensive, lost in the thoughts of reflection in the small amount of time it takes between his final word and her playful banter. Resignation bore down heavily on his weary heart, the constant turmoil between what was right and what he was living felt like two alternatives that could not converge. They ran parallel to one another and never interlaced. Both truths so incompatible with one another that he'd spent his life denying one, turning a blind eye and castigating himself and his family over this. And for what? What did he believe, what did he want? Those were questions he felt he could no longer answer, for the bold, the brave, and the fortuitous Captain Balthier felt weak and lost.

Mischievous and almost coquet her voice broke his distanced thoughts, furrowing his rigid brow closer together as she spoke of having seen him, before he realized that her words were a wisecrack. The mockery of his mission, of Eridanus' orders, in an instant he wants to feel anger, to reprimand her stepping out of line, but the desire burns out with the most unexpected urge.

His head tips down towards the ground, his nose pointed directly at the earth and his body trembling with laughter as the deep and hearty sound is unrestrained. The feeling of laughter had been so long forgotten that it makes his sides ache as his breath catches and his eyes rise to her once more, focusing on her lambent gaze. For the first time he realizes he is looking at a woman; she is bold , she is radiant, and she is fearless. "Oh my...." The drawl of his voice hanging for an extended moment as he picked his words. "I seem to have lost his scent right about here, are you hiding something Nahriye?" His own tone was surprisingly lighthearted, and a part of him almost felt uncomfortable with how relaxed he felt. Tension easing from his muscles but a skeptical brow raised in her direction nonetheless. He wasn't sure why he'd emphasized her name, why he'd wanted to utter it.


"Balthier" | "Sinclair"

Table & art @ Centience.

10-15-2020, 05:48 PM
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#7

There had always been mixed reactions from Nahriye's outbursts; she had not started this way, after all. When she had first been plucked from the streets as an orphan and dragged kicking and screaming to the Templar barracks, she had always been quiet, frightened of the spotlight. And yet, she had never faltered: she had always been painstakingly average. She was a good soldier, but not great. A good strategist, but not so masterful. A loyalist, but not as coveting. She had always firmly walked the line between good and great, content with the averageness that kept her shielded, hidden from prying eyes. Even as she had contended with the blisteringly bright star that was her former lover, she had found herself content in his shadow.

His death only reinforced this desire, and to hide her fear, she boarded up her walls.

Scrappy young initiates and intruding captains tended not to press the issue when she deflected with humor, either too overwhelmed navigating her sarcastic quips or simply angered off by her raunchy remarks. Her deflections were palpable, incapable of hiding the sadness that lingered so desperately in her eyes, but she could avert them just enough to avoid the most observant of them. And her newly-forged personality, though months had long come to pass since his demise, was recepted better by some than others. When Balthier's laughter broke the silence, Nahriye was at first taken aback; but the momentary dumbfoundedness in her expression quickly melted away into something far warmer. Oh my.... he drawled, and Nahriye could not hide the way her lips curved into a clever, girlish smile, I seem to have lost his scent right about here, are you hiding something Nahriye? The inflection on her name caught her attention, inciting a slight wiggle of her ear, a raise of her wolfish brow; something about him seemed suddenly unfettered, as if relinquishing the parts that made him a bitter young Captain and let her see the burning pieces of him bursting through.

“Unless I'm lying on the hole he dug and used to escape,” she gasped, quickly getting to her paws; but predictably, there was nothing there beyond the soft-slicked grasses where she had just been laying. “Mm, no luck. But it might be more helpful to search with a second nose.” Hunting Harbingers had never been Nahriye's favorite thing, but the idea of hanging around Balthier suddenly seemed much more appealing to her. She ambled toward him, achingly short-statured compared to his brutishness.

Art by Ale-Tie

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