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[P]  What life divides

Offline Salamander Jun 9 2020, 10:38 PM
#1
  • Rogue
  • Age: 28
  • Gender: Non-binary
  • Race: Eximius
  • Rank: Quartermaster
  • Total Posts: 49
  • Played by: Sbicy
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The moon is bright over Corzya, casting its silver glow upon the mist that rolls inland from the dark horizon of the ocean. Shadows dance with the passing bodies of sailors stumbling from the bars, clouds fracturing the clear light and bringing the bright flare of eximius eyes to life. They float like lanterns in the fog, winking in and out of existence with each blink and turn of their heads, their companions featureless and grey if they share no blood with the machines.

Salamander pauses in their stroll to reach up beneath the cap of a lamp post, the rolled up tobacco in their hand edging up toward the flame until it lights. Retreating with haste, they bring it to their lips and suck in small puffs, keeping the end burning as they inhale the bitter smoke. It leaks from between their teeth in a contented exhale, swallowed by the murky, moist air that surrounds them.

Satisfied, they continue down the docks, boots creaking against the wood and soon clicking against the stone of well manicured streets. Claws flick at the buttons on their vest, opening it up when they feel sweat collecting in their crevices, pulling the end from their pants to fan their torso in the hot, night air. The humidity is sticking to their scales, bringing a faint glimmer to the bronze in them when the moon peeks from behind the dark sky.

All other occupants of the road move by as ghosts, haunting the unknown behind that wall of mist, laughing and speaking with no mouths. The dragon is largely unbothered by this, offering naught but a glance, and more than used to the hazy nights the sea provided in the wake of a storm.

Taking a drag of smoke into their lungs, they happen to see something odd. A shadow is stationary, its form familiar besides the long, worm-like extremity protruding from one shoulder. Red ears flick up, golden eyes narrowing as they divert their path to approach until all becomes clear. Mere feet away, they tilt her head as the shape of a serpent comes into view, wings folded in clunky, bony angles against its body.

”Oh, I thought you had a fairly active growth there.” They chuckle at their own assumption, looking all the world like a vagabond with their shirt open and black hair slick with humidity. ”It’s got wings, though, that’s interesting.” They step closer, scoping the features of the shorter eximius whose eyes glow blue. Smoke is pulled into their lungs, the orange point of ember brightening before they blow it from their nostrils.

”I suppose that there are nicer atmospheres to meet, but it’s a pleasure all the same, darling. “ Something about this boy was familiar… the memory smudged and faint. ”Have we met before?”
Offline Eirik Jun 13 2020, 9:12 PM
#2
  • Corzya
  • Age: 20
  • Gender: Male
  • Race: Eximius
  • Rank: Servant
  • Total Posts: 122
  • Played by: Day
175 Mana · View All Items?
Gibrantt isn’t one of his favorite spots. The crew loved it — of course. It was something like a home base to them. Lots of revelry, lots of mead, lots of carousing…it was as a mini vacation. Plus, a stop in Gibrantt meant an influx of profits. Morale went up as the hull was emptied. They would spill out onto the streets, let loose for a week or so, to occupy taverns, or do what they will; and even Eirik would step down from the ship at times. Most of the time it was simply to catch some fresh air. Tonight, he’d simply Schooner with him.

The little not-snake was feeling flighty tonight, flourishing in the hot, humid air. Several times he lifted off Eirik’s shoulder to flap, flap, flap into the open air, until his arms grew tired and he came in for a rough landing once more. Schooner had the power of flight, true, but he wasn’t meant for it. Inevitably his bottom half weighed him down, the length of it too long for his wings to support. Eirik was afraid he might soar too far out the docks and drop into the water, where he’d have to jump in after him and fish him out.

When Salamander found him, Schooner was taking a break, it seemed. He could see he’d worn himself out by the way his little sides rose up and down. Eirik was brushing his face with his finger. He was alone, as far as he could tell — standing there by the docks, listening to the waves roll over each other — and he was smiling, singing him a soft tune under his breath. “Pretty colored skin. All frosted from the dew.” Schooner roiled up, so that his neck lifted up over his head, letting out a pleased squeak. “I’ll take you in, she said. I’ll take care of you…”

Salamander’s voice makes him start. Schooner turns too, fixing him with his amber eyes and a flutter of his wings. He ducks his head again, doing a loop under Eirik’s neck, and coming up the other side of his shoulder in a cautious peek.

Unlike Salamander, Eirik recognizes them immediately. They were quite distinctive after all — he’d hardly met anyone else like them. Their meeting had been amicable enough, if brief. Figures they would be here…the captain of the Dealbreaker had all but admitted they were pirates.

Even their name sticked to memory. That was unique, too. “Sal?”

He sweeps them up and down, taking in their reptilian features yet again. “Aye, on the black ship, the Dealbreaker.” He knew the name of the ship too. Would have forgotten it, but the ship’s name came up a few times on the Rembrandt — mostly in scorn. “It sheltered me for a’time.”

Eirik looks over their shoulder, and then around, as if he thought he could catch a sight of their ship on the docks somewhere. But, the two of them were relatively isolated. He shuffles his feet. Much had changed since then…he’d been free then — and he didn’t have a band with a bell attached to his throat. “I, I suppose you’re here to rest, too, then?…And how is your captain?”

Almost distractedly, he offers a finger again to Schooner, waiting for him to bump up against it. “You’ll say hello to him for me, won’t you.”
Offline Salamander Jun 18 2020, 11:40 PM
#3
  • Rogue
  • Age: 28
  • Gender: Non-binary
  • Race: Eximius
  • Rank: Quartermaster
  • Total Posts: 49
  • Played by: Sbicy
120 Mana · View All Items?
Salamander's ears twitch, lifting a fraction to capture the sweet melody drifting through the mist. Finding a drunkard singing to the wind was not uncommon in these parts, though the skill in which they belted the lyrics to whatever folk song or shanty they could remember varied greatly. Everyone thought they were a musical genius when intoxicated, but this voice was smooth and pleasant, trained in some degree. The song is short lived, low enough to be assumed that the intended audience was not the masses that occupied the street. Regardless, the red eximius was a curious and shameless sort, perfectly content with stepping to the strange, wriggling shadow in the fog.

A clash of humid air and the low temperature of their draconic body brings an unpleasant stickiness to their skin, drops of sweat and condensation rolling between their plates to slide against sensitive flesh. It brings a tickling sensation that is far from pleasant, tail snapping to flick off the offending moisture clinging to the scales. Once the stranger becomes clear, Salamander is struck with an immediate deja vu, the golden glow of their eyes narrowing in a squint that cuts through the haze.

The serpent about the young man's neck coils beneath the collar of his coat, peeking with wide, amber eyes that don't quite look ahead correctly. This brings a giggle bubbling up from Salamander's lips, biting the bottom and showing the point of a fang as they quell the urge to reach out and give the stupid-looking thing a little scritch under its chin. However, their attention is torn away by the man saying their name, no doubt solidifying the suspicion they had of having met him prior. The eximius leans closer, examining the other's features before it clicks in their head.

"Oh! Eirik! I remember. Certainly a lot more filled out since we scraped you up from that beach." Salamander's eyes are aglow with recognition and glee, reaching out with a hand to cup the other's cheek and press their lips against the opposite side in a quick kiss. A rough, calloused palm moves to his shoulder, partially bumping up under the snake nestled there to give it a squeeze. "I recall now, and am ashamed of myself for forgetting such a lovely face." Their deep voice mollifies into a purr, taking another drag of tobacco before blowing it off to the side.

"Everett? He is well, still taking good care of us like the sweetheart he is. And yes, we come ashore here more often than any of us would like, I suspect. And you? I didn't expect to find you here, of all places in the world." A smile works up around their mouth, gaze looking to the serpent as it is beckoned from its perch. Their tongue clicks, fingers rubbing together as though they have a snack to offer the beast in an attempt to lure it for a sniff. "Quite the pet you have here. Funny that it grew wings instead of legs, first."

The burning ember at the end of their smoke catches in a glint upon the metal cuffed around Eirik's neck, ears lifting as two fingers drift from the snout of the snake to lightly flick at the bell. It jingles softly, though with the lack of background noise it clinks loud in their sensitive ears.

"...Gutsy fashion statement, darling." Molten irises cast down a knowing glance, "Is that why you're here?" Honestly, Salamander couldn't believe such a thing, not that Eirik had ever done anything substantial in his presence. Regardless, it was a rather shameful thing, equipping one's pet with a bell. Showing off a prize or taming it, it didn't matter, it drew looks all the same. Humming thoughtfully, the eximius keeps their eyes on his own, a plated brow raised in question. Of course, Eirik doesn't owe them a thing, but that never stopped them from prying before.
Offline Eirik Jun 22 2020, 11:05 PM
#4
  • Corzya
  • Age: 20
  • Gender: Male
  • Race: Eximius
  • Rank: Servant
  • Total Posts: 122
  • Played by: Day
175 Mana · View All Items?
He remembers Sal to be the gregarious type, and a friendly face from the Dealbreaker, despite how short the stay. Still, he’s always taken aback by the more forward types. He even leans back a little in reflex when he senses Sal leaning forward, only to hear the smack of their lips close to his ear. Their palm was warm against his cheek, with intriguing texture — plated like a drake, yet still soft and pliable. Maybe not unlike Schooner here (Eirik often likened the creature to velvet; much more plush than one thought scales might be). All he can do in response, at first, was to laugh a short and awkward laugh.

He takes a moment to wonder what life would be like as a more ‘mutated’ eximius. “Hm…” he hums, nodding along, beginning to recover from Sal’s greeting. “Ah, well…the Rembrandt rests too. And they don’t speak well of your ship. So — watch which tavern you visit, aye?” To say he knew nothing of pirate “politics” two years past was an understatement. He’d hardly met a pirate at all, before Everett, and then had forgotten all about them for a time, hidden away in the Hinterlands as he was. The life of a sailor had seemed so alien, to him. Seeing the inside of Everett’s cabin had made him wonder how anyone could consign their life away to such claustrophobia and eternal swaying…now, he was living it. “Can’t get them to change their minds, you know. Not that I’ve tried much. None of them are of a mind to listen…not to me.”

Actually, his time with the Dealbreaker was a bit of a well-kept secret; he’d not even got around to telling North about it. Part of him thought it was irrelevant, and the other part, after hearing of their grievances, thought that this piece of history wouldn’t help his reputation any, long ago and fleeting as it was. Eirik turns his head slightly to run a finger underneath Schooner’s chin. “Uses them as legs too. You should watch him scuttle. ’Tis a sight I’ll never tire of.” He half-scuttled, half-slithered — and the little pitter-patter of his tiny claws, the side-winder motion of his serpentine body — all things well worth the coin North had spent on him. “And he breathes fi—”

The flick across his bell truly offends him, unlike the kiss on his cheek. Eirik draws back. Ears pin. The sound of it is loud in the still humid air, ringing true and clear. In all the excitement in finding a familiar face, he had started to loosen up, lower some walls, but now his expression becomes sour and angry, brow wrinkled, mouth set. Schooner flutters on his shoulder, looking restless.

He huffs at their next statement, turning his head away. Suppose he did pretend it was a fashion statement. But honestly…he couldn’t expect a native pirate not to know what the bell meant. It was different, though, meeting someone he’d known before. In his position, one should have no pride — yet he was surprised to find he still possessed some, thinking Sal might run back and tell a crew he’d known two years ago that he was a slave now.

“Aye,” he rumbles begrudgingly. “That’s my fate.”

And he was certainly not alone in it. Thousands of slaves lived on Gibrantt all around them, a hundred more caged up in the Rembrandt’s hull. “…I fared well for a while, after I left…” ‘Lest Sal think he hadn’t. “I crossed Dorsum and Svalbard. I lived in the Hinterlands, even, for a time. I fought off all manner of beast and bandit. Yet in the end I was felled by a crossbow.”

Eirik’s voice lowers, like one might have in thought. “Strange isn’t it…” he says. He allows himself to think back on that fateful day. Like a lifetime ago…and, usually, neatly compartmentalized. Then his ears prick up, aware of Sal looking. He tries to find some sort of meaning in their expression. Was it judgmental? Or sad? Angry or disgusted? He didn’t think the Dealbreaker had living cargo, and by the sound of it, they eschewed that trade entirely. Unable to look for long at what he found there, he looks down again. “You must not feel sorry for me. …I live well.”
Offline Salamander Jul 16 2020, 1:32 AM
#5
  • Rogue
  • Age: 28
  • Gender: Non-binary
  • Race: Eximius
  • Rank: Quartermaster
  • Total Posts: 49
  • Played by: Sbicy
120 Mana · View All Items?
Salamander's mouth is pulled into a semi-permanent smile, becoming toothy at the short, cute laugh Eirik releases in surprise at the kiss he received. The taller eximius had always been the touchy type. At least, for as long as they could remember. Childhood, they assumed, was a bit of a mystery for the first generation of their kind. Enough trauma and the brain would preserve what it could, leaving the painful and the incomprehensible to the imagination. Be it the chemicals, the torture, or the way their bodies changed afterward, no one could say for certain which part had caused a lack of long-term memory.

"The Rembrant? Since when are you acquainted with North's lot?" The feminine lilt of their voice sounds playful, yet the surprise in their curiosity is as sincere as it gets. It would certainly be a way to explain Eirik's presence in Corzya, and the fact that he was so well dressed and boasting a winged snake for a companion. Pieces were churning and fitting into place, though the completed puzzle was bizarre enough not to feel like the true picture. "Don't worry about me. North and I get on just fine, I have no quarrel with the old man." Their smile peels back into a toothy grin, the golden glow of cat-like eyes glinting off the bell around the young man's neck. Ah...

Cut short on his excited rambling about his serpent by the flick of Salamander's claw against the metal, he recoils as though struck. Though, if asked, the draconic eximius wouldn't be able to answer a question as to why they had brazenly pointed out the other's status. Eirik's voice, full of wounded pride, elaborates on what had become of him since their parting two years prior. Salamander sucks on smoke one last time before flicking it down and putting it out with the heel of their boot.

"Really? Sounds like you've had a very interesting time. I'd love to hear some of your stories, if you have the time. Will you get in trouble for frolicking with member of the Dealbreaker?" They tease, but in reality are poking at the little rebellious side of Eirik, the source of that pride even though he was human fodder in the eyes of the masses.

At his reply, their head tilts in silent thought.

"Feel sorry for you? Darling, look at you." Hands pluck at his clothing, a claw gestures to the serpent around his neck, and even give the bell another playful jingle if he does not pull away, "You look well fed, well dressed, are walking about freely without chains or escort, and all you have to do is wear this? Perhaps you can put in a good word for me. I'm great at following directions." They laugh, "But, in all sincerity, I don't. Like you said, you made it before this. Certainly, there are worse fates than being a trophy, hm?"

"Come walk with me? I bet you eat all kinds of great food. What's your favorite?" They step out of his space, making a grand gesture toward the foggy street.
Offline Eirik Jul 26 2020, 4:45 PM
#6
  • Corzya
  • Age: 20
  • Gender: Male
  • Race: Eximius
  • Rank: Servant
  • Total Posts: 122
  • Played by: Day
175 Mana · View All Items?
“Maybe,” he replies, shrugging a shoulder. It wouldn’t be his first time ‘in trouble’, but if he did it would likely be a slap on the wrist. Maybe a sharp word, an insinuation or two, nothing grievous. Does North know he’d no quarrel with Salamander? he wondered; he had a quarrel with the whole ship as far as Eirik had seen, a stubborn one that was based on reputation rather than experience. Eirik would have understood better if they had been firing cannons at each other but, as it were, the tension seemed…political. On principle. And these were quarrels that were indiscriminate of individual crew-members. He would be tempted to ask him later about it, but he’s also not sure he wants to test those waters.

Sal rebounds quickly, in such a way that Eirik’s icy-ness begins to crack, and the tension is relieved from his shoulders. Still, he is more aware now of the way the bell jingles. He sighs. “Aye, he used to call me that.” Used to, that was, for he had not been referred to as ‘a trophy’ in quite some time. The crew might once in a while — among other, more unsavory things — but not from North himself, and, if he dared, Eirik might even venture to say that something had changed, ever so slightly, after their months together in his winter home.

Sal gestures for them to walk down the foggy street, and he does, side-by-side.

“I don’t think that I can pick one.” Eirik had come from a place that demanded he work hard for every morsel he got, even risk life and limb. To have things handed to him that were so sweet, so savory, so filling and bountiful…it had been one of the stranger things he’d experienced upon first settling onto the Rembrandt, and that was saying a lot. “I hadn’t known civilized folk were so hard at work making breadstuffs. With cream. And chocolate. I used to think apples were sweet.” He pauses. “Still do I suppose. But it doesn’t compare to a cheesecake.”

He was leaning towards accepting cheesecake among his favorites…but it was too narrow a margin to say. “Quite the invention really…”Eirik glances at Sal, taking stock of their curling horns. “You should have told me about it; I might have stayed.”

In the end, though, Eirik had felt no temptation in staying on a ship. He was a creature of the land, or so he’d thought, and besides, there was no room for Lusca. Off he’d went to begin a long two-year journey up through Dorsum and Svalbard, to rest at the Hinterlands, then further still. Everett, Sal and the Dealbreaker had been the beginning of his new life. They had found him shortly after a destructive loss of his memory. It had been an odd beginning too; he didn’t think he would have made a great impression on any of them. He had been addled and confused. He had taken what food they could give him, and perhaps the comfort of a single night, before he had fled without anything to leave them in return. At the time, he’d yet to realize how fantastically rare it was to board, and then un-board, a pirate’s ship completely undisturbed as a wandering rogue.

“I don’t think I asked much about you,” he began. “Before, I found it so strange an exi would be on a ship. …I don’t know why.”

Unbeknownst to him, buried, forgotten memory would dictate that eximius were land-locked, restrained, beholden to others’ agendas.