Shiny Things Make the World Brighter

The capital city of Anaxas and the seat of the government.
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Nikolina Fabricio
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Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2019 6:02 pm
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Race: Wick
: The obligatory street kid and orphan of Thorns.
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Writer: Rachel/jadeowl
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Sat Feb 02, 2019 10:17 am

Vienda: The Dives
36th of Achtus, 2718 Night


Lee was really bloody cold. She wore all her layers, but 3 threadbare outfits, a sweater, and a poor-quality winter jacket didn't do much to fend off the bitter Achtus cold. She had stolen some winter weather wear, but it was too cold for the discarded clothing to do much good.

Normally, she'd be curled up inside her bedroll at this time of night, especially since the good squats went quickly in weather like this. But she had decided to leave in the next couple days, which meant she needed to try to find a few more marks. So, instead of being curled up and at least partially comfortable, she stood in an alley by the Toy Lantern, blowing on her fingers and stomping her feet to keep them from going numb as she waited for someone drunk enough to be a good mark.

Once again, she kicked herself for not leaving town sooner, when she wouldn't have had to worry about traveling in the bitter cold. But she had thought that she had a lot more time, that she could stay in her hometown for at least one more season before her relationship to the mona opened up and outed her for the wick she was. She hadn't known that her coming of age would be so soon, but that doesn't mean that she hadn't been stupid for not playing it safe and leaving when travelling would be easier.

She thought about reaching out to Abélard, but she was afraid to do that. She knew that Abélard wasn't fond of wicks and she wasn't sure how dedicated the man would be to the city-wide ban that the High Judge had placed on them. She knew her glamour was probably faint, but she was afraid that Abélard knew her well enough that he would likely be able to feel the difference. She didn't want to end up being thrown back into a factory "for her own safety" and, if she was honest with herself, she felt like she had let Abélard down by not leaving Vienda.

"Alioe, please. Give me a little bit more time. Please," Lee muttered as she stomped and paced, her eyes intently watching the door to the Toy Lantern. "I just need a few more forts and then I'll leave, I promise."

Lee wasn't a devout Circleist, though she was known to slip into the bigger temples when they opened their doors for the homeless on the coldest nights. The temples had been opened more often this winter than in any other winter she remembered. But, even though she appreciated the warmth she got there, she didn't go there often. She never felt that she could sleep peacefully in the temples, knowing that the other homeless would be eyeing her bedroll and backpack. She was unwilling to risk her things, knowing that not having a bedroll or the extra layers of clothing would kill her in this weather.

Onna's head appeared over Lee's shoulder and she chirruped in her ear. That was the other reason she didn't leave the bedroll behind. Lee reached up and scratched the ferret's head. "Back in the bedroll, Onna. You'll freeze out here," Lee ordered the ferret, who nipped her ear playfully before backing back into the bedroll.

Lee thought about her upcoming travels, her stomach roiling at the thought. She wasn't sure she'd survive to Old Rose Harbor, so her plans had changed. She was heading for Brunnhold, instead. She'd stay there at least until spring. She wasn't sure how far the trip would be – Abélard hadn't instructed her in figuring out the distances on the map and her math skills stopped at simple addition and subtraction. She could figure out money, but that was about it. But the distance on the map between Vienda and Brunnhold was shorter than it was to Old Rose Harbor.

But she still had to find a few more marks.

Lee was brought of her thoughts as the door to the tavern opened once more and the most beautiful person Lee had ever seen came out, stumbling slightly. Lee followed after him… her… them on cat's paws, eyes wide as she silently took them in. Lee got lost in watching the creature who, while obviously drunk, still had a grace about them. By the time Lee was brought back to reality, the person was getting ready to enter another building.

"Tocks," Lee swore. She abandoned all semblance of sneaking, rushing up and sticking her hand in one of person's pockets, hoping beyond hope that it was one that had the money in it. "Sorry!" she whispered before turning and running away.

Then she slipped on the ice, her feet flying behind her as she did a full-on faceplant. Her head bounced off the cobblestones and she felt something crack in her face as she saw stars. She groaned and tried to stand up, her feet and hands scrabbling at the ice like a turtle whose feet were too short to fully gain traction.

"Well, tocks," she swore.
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Xavier Zhirune
Posts: 25
Joined: Tue Jan 29, 2019 4:00 pm
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: Not all that glitters be ging. Some 'f it's me.
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Sun Feb 03, 2019 3:05 pm

the dives
Late at night on the 36th of Achtus, 2718

Image
If you absolutely had to go home alone, it was at least occasionally a small consolation to go home clockin' guttered. Vision blurred, head swimming, warm and fuzzy with a ruddy glow that couldn't be hidden by near-translucent, pigmentless skin, the pale creature was comfortably drunk. A few nights of playing some tunes and rifling lithe fingers through the pockets of unwitting strangers had proven itself profitable, finding themselves with enough ging for a room at the Book and the Bell that even came with a hot bath. Not bad for a bit of work. Not clocking bad at all.

Still, the albino wick was convinced they could do better: Ent anyone makin' it famous-like when their bed was still empty, no matter how full their belly was, after all.

Far from sober, the willowy creature had strummed a few melodies on the stage and spent half their tips at the bar, enjoying the atmosphere and the clientele who frequented the Toy Lantern far more than they'd enjoyed much of anything lately other than travel. Vienda was a racist spitchhole, but it wasn't all bad. When no one seemed quite interested enough to grant the flushed Gioran the kind of attention they were craving, Xav was at least in possession of enough of their intoxicated wits to take the hint and know when it was time to stagger to bed instead of ply their luck too far and end up in the wrong sort of situation entirely. Not everyone who wanted to take a pretty thing home at closing time was quite the someone who'd turn out to be the right kind of fun.

They took their time in the coat room, perhaps acting far more wasted than they actually were, the quick-fingered albino feeling up other coats that weren't even their own and laughing stupidly about it, finding a couple of coins and a nice pocket watch and a few other baubles to investigate later tucked away in the woolen outerwear of strangers before making a show of rediscovering their own coat as if it had been a long lost friend,

"Oh, thank Gods. There y'are!" Breathed the guttered thing, grinning lopsidedly before tugging it on, adjusting their oud back over their shoulder afterward so that it was slung comfortably against their back, and leaning heavily against the door before slipping out into the lantern-lit streets of the Dives.

Viendans considered this cold. Ginger Anaxi and their thin skins were balanced apparently just barely by their thick egos, given their ugly biases. Then again, not all of 'em were that ugly—at least wicks were free here in the Kingdom, just not free to roam in the capital.

"Ah, yaldyet!shit!" Slurred the Gioran, patting themselves down for a moment just to make sure they hadn't lost their false writ in the inner pocket of their long, well-tailored coat. Feeling the crinkle of paper, Xavier chuckled and sighed with relief, squinting blearily at the street lights to reorient their guttered sense of direction. Navigating in the city was all about landmarks, and while the albino's vision was more near sighted than far, their eyesight was still better in the dark than it was in broad daylight. Huffing a cloud of breath, the willowy sliver of moondust turned on the heel of their knee-high boot and began to saunter off toward the Book and Bell.

Xavier had only made it a few hundred feet, humming a snippet of a bawdy sailor song that brought back nostalgia for the skies with the lyrics, when the hint of movement caught the corner of their unfocused gaze. Sure, it was late, but other folks were allowed out on the street. The Gioran saw nothing, and would have sped up their steps if it wasn't for the very obvious sensation of a clumsy little hand groping in their pocket,

"Junta—what th'—" Muttered the pale wick in a voice that was deep and husky but ambiguous in range, further slurred by far too much alcohol. Their violet gaze swept downward to see a dark-haired street wretch slip their new found watch with its nice silver chain shamelessly from the pocket of their coat, "—'eeeyyy now. Jus' a clockin' minnnnute—"

Raising their arms and shifting with a bit of a wobble in an attempt to snatch the wee thief, the grubby thing had the nerve to apologize just before they attempted to bolt. Xav was too drunk and too slow, missing their grasp for the small thing's clothes, only for the girl to slip on ice a few steps later and smack themselves flat on the cobblestones.

The willowy albino chortled. Chuckled. Giggled. Laughed. It was breathless at first as if the musician knew they shouldn't laugh at a child, shouldn't laugh at stolen goods, but they were so guttered and it was so clocking funny that after a second or two, Xavier was laughing. Loud.

"—by Benea's glow, boch, are y'alright? There there now, keep th' bauble, eh?" The tall albino was still giggling, wiping the corner of one kohl-smeared eye, violet gaze coming into reluctant focus on the miniature thief's chagrined face, "Lemme help y' up. Next time, though, y' gotta be a bit sneakier with them pina fingers."

Grinning, they waggled their ring-laden fingers for emphasis, nails painted black, before offering the child their hand, refraining from offering a budding pickpocket professional tips while their pockets were still somewhat full of pilfered goodies themselves.

⟡ ☾° ⟡
Last edited by Xavier Zhirune on Tue Feb 05, 2019 9:53 am, edited 1 time in total. word count: 1019
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Nikolina Fabricio
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2019 6:02 pm
Topics: 4
Race: Wick
: The obligatory street kid and orphan of Thorns.
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Writer: Rachel/jadeowl
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Mon Feb 04, 2019 9:24 am

Vienda: The Dives
36th of Achtus, 2718 Late Evening


Lee tried to be indignant when Xav started laughing. She really did. But she couldn't. Xav's laughter was contagious and, by the time they came over to help her up, Lee was giggling too. She had never botched a pickpocket attempt so badly and, really, the fact that Xav hadn't tried to attack her made it easy to laugh at her ridiculously failed attempt.

The fact that Xav had also told her to keep the watch she had grabbed instead of trying to stab her in retaliation made Lee more inclined to like them. She couldn't see the details in the dark, but hopefully, between what she could pawn the watch for, her charm, and her willingness to work hard, it would be enough to buy passage on a caravan to Brunnhold. "Thank the Circle, Lee thought.

Then she remembered that Vienda had banned wicks. Would she even be able to find a caravan to Brunnhold?

But when the wick asked if she was okay, the pain broke through the giggles. Lee reached up and touched her nose, wincing. "I think I broke it," she whimpered, her voice as thick and sludgy. She felt blood on her upper lip and carefully wiped her nose with the sleeve of her jacket. The world felt fuzzy, too, as if someone had wrapped her brain in a blanket. But, even as her brain felt fuzzy, her head throbbed something terrible.

As she took Xav's hand and started standing up, dizziness overwhelmed her and the world got darker. She didn't flat out faint, but it was a close thing. She sniffed back tears and then let out another whimper. "Tocks. Definitely broken," she muttered. Even though she tried to keep from sobbing, she couldn't help a few tears escaping.

She did give a tiny smile at Xav's advice, though. "Got distracted. You're pretty," she slurred as the symptoms of her concussion settled in. She kept talking, her words making less sense as she went on. "You're a moon person, aren't you? Shiny and glowing and waaaarm," she sing-songed. She started singing a childhood lullaby she remembered her father singing to her when she was a wee thing, her voice still pretty and almost bell-like even though her words were slurred. "Jewels in the sky, watch while us we sleep. Silver in the sky, glowing in the night so deep. Quiet child, tucked in bed. Beloved dear, rest your head. May the moons keep you warm. Sleep tight, my child, wrapped in my arms."


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Xavier Zhirune
Posts: 25
Joined: Tue Jan 29, 2019 4:00 pm
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Location: On Tour
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: Not all that glitters be ging. Some 'f it's me.
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Tue Feb 05, 2019 10:48 am

the dives
Late at night on the 36th of Achtus, 2718

The albino musician had very little experience with children. Well, recently at least. Having grown up amid humanity nestled in the valleys of Gior, their childhood had been full of playmates and small, eager co-conspirators for all of the antics the wick tended to find themselves the center of. Within the rumbling bellies of airships, ever-hungry, Xavier had been an exception to be crew at such a delicate age, sold from the arms their failed priestess of a mother instead of murdered as an anathema in the stone halls of Qrieth like some pale, worthy sacrifice to the Eternal Child. Still, they didn't dislike children so much they knew they'd never bothered to foster any of the parental instincts some of their peers may have desired to put on display in this moment.

The pale wick had no interest in making more of their kind just yet in life, if ever at all.

Still, their laughter was inescapable, and Xav felt a little less guilty for the giggles when the child giggled in return, the faint brush of a field so immature and new barely a tingle to the senses indicating the poor pickpocket of an urchin was no different from the possessor of pockets they attempted to burgle.

When the young thing turned and looked up, the boch was bleeding. With all the disgusting willfulness of an ignorant child, the girl smeared red all over their dirty sleeve and back of her hand before reaching for the outstretched limb of the albino, a motion that turned Xavier's stomach just a little but didn't change their mind. Helping the boch up, she began to snivel.

Then she began to cry.

"Dze, no need for waterworks. Ent anythin' fatal." Oh, gods! What a pathetic, heart-wrenching scene this was! Xavier was far too intoxicated to take this entirely seriously, to be horrified so much as amused. Everything was comfortably fuzzy around the edges, sharp points of staring injury in the cute little face dulled by plenty of alcohol.

All over a few pilfered bits of silver.

"Pretty? Aw. Mujo ma, nanobo. At least someone noticed tonight—finally." Xav winked. Compliments smoothed over ruffled feathers and the moonlit creature smiled again, hoping there was distraction in the expression, the flush of color on pigmentless cheeks one of drunkenness and chagrin. Oh, but the child didn't sound any more sober either, slurring her words and singing in a warbled voice that indicated she'd done herself a bit of harm on the cobblestones and ice, "Ah, don't touch that."

"Moon person? Oh—Benea an' Osa be my cousins, an' Alioe an' I write letters t' each other all the time in song. Oes." Xav chuckled, telling stories as they bent closer, lithe fingers reaching to rest on the boch's boney shoulder and long thumb tilting the girl's chin just so to mitigate the flow of fresh blood that dribbled over her little lips, "I think y' went an' knocked your brainbox a bit too hard, boch. All over a pina watch. Lemme see what a bit o' vroo can fix, hmm? Stand still."

Ignoring the fact that they wavered a bit on their own feet, the albino wick still considered themselves in enough presence of mind to make a little magic and fix a few bumps so they could send the dingy urchin on her way back into the dark streets of the Dives and head their way back to the Book and the Bell for a soak and a sleep.

Off Topic

SidekickBOT | Today at 10:18 AM
Muse: 2d6 = (3+2) = 5

Xav manages to heal Lee's broken nose and at least mitigate her concussion. Nothing spectacular, but certainly better than nothing.


The willowy creature's husky tone sang not lyrics to a song but simple Monite, offering to the mona the same kind of care they would any audience, as comfortable on the stage as they were directing the sentient particles to join with their intentions of goodwill. They weren't all that much of a healer, but they'd been bumped and bruised before, the request for a painless knitting of bone and tissue mostly granted. A warmth tingled through the girl's face, dancing in her sinuses like a tickle, stopping the bleeding while it lightly caressed bruised grey matter.

A bit of dizziness lingered, sank deeper, felt heavier. The young wick was suddenly tired, ready to be wrapped tight in a comfy blanket far from the dirty streets just like her song.

"There now. Better, eh, nanobo?" Xavier sighed, not letting go of the pickpocket's shoulders just yet, swimming in the runoff from such an intoxicated incantation. A bit dizzy themselves, a bit more pleasantly dragged away from sobriety, the albino musician smiled lopsidedly, "Now with a bit o' shiny in your pocket an' all them boo boos made right, off on your way. Which way t' home, boch? I'll point y' there for a step 'r two."

⟡ ☾° ⟡
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Nikolina Fabricio
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Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2019 6:02 pm
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: The obligatory street kid and orphan of Thorns.
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Writer: Rachel/jadeowl
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Sat Feb 09, 2019 4:55 pm

The Dives
36th of Month, 2718 Late Night


Lee gave a happy, dreamy smile as the warmth of Xav's magic on her swept through her. The last time she had felt that was before her father had died. She had fallen on one of his tools, carving a deep slash in her calf. Her da hadn't been a Living Conversationalist, but he knew enough to heal her, though she still had a scar. The warmth felt like safety, even though she knew that it could be anything but safe in the wrong person's hands.

Alioe above, she missed her da.

She quickly put on a smile, but she couldn't hide the bone-deep sadness in her eyes before she looked away. When she spoke, her voice was full of shock and horror. "Nobody noticed how pretty you, a child of the moon, were today? That's blasphemy! A total scandal!" she said, her voice a perfect intimidation of an old golly lady cheerfully gathering the daily gossip. "I knew Viendans are oblivious sometimes, but I never knew they were blind! I really must be a kenser's erse of a pickpocket if I'm not wealthier than the Queen at this point!" she giggled before twirling in a circle, her arms out. She was clearly having fun, even if the show she was putting on was only for one person. But Xav had given her the watch, so Lee figured she should at least give something of a show. She always could use the practice anyways.

She stopped and gave a full-throated laugh at Xav's offer to point her towards her home. "Macha jinga chip, do I look like I have a home?" she grinned crookedly. The Tek was spoken as if she was still learning the language, her tongue a bit thick as she tried to form the words properly. "Luckily, I know a squat or two that at least has half a ceiling that I can sleep under tonight. Thank you for the healing and thank you very much for the watch," she finished, bowing melodramatically, flourishing an imaginary cape. As she stood up, Onna squirmed out of Lee's bedroll and perched on her shoulder, bouncing and making soft "dook" sounds, as if the ferret was thanking the audience too.

Lee suddenly turned serious for a moment. "Theatrics aside, mujo mujo ma for the watch. Hopefully, it will get me enough at the pawn shop so I can start for Brunnhold."

She turned and started heading away, then turned on her heel after a few steps. "I know where I've seen you! You were playing in the square the other day! You sounded amazing, but I was busy making a shill while you played. I wouldn't have noticed you at all if you didn't stand out so much," she said, digging in her pocket to pull out 2 tallies. "Here! It's all I have left – I was stupid and splurged on a bowl of noodles and some jerky to share with Onna – but I feel bad for stealing your tips now. I didn't realize you were another street performer when I saw you tonight," she said sheepishly. "Or I can give you the watch back. It's up to you."

It was clear her offer was truly sincere. She may steal from marks, but she never stole from other street people. Some – hell, maybe most – people would say her stance was ridiculous, but she felt that they all had it bad enough without victimizing each other.





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Xavier Zhirune
Posts: 25
Joined: Tue Jan 29, 2019 4:00 pm
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Location: On Tour
Race: Wick
: Not all that glitters be ging. Some 'f it's me.
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Writer: Muse
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Wed Feb 13, 2019 11:41 pm

the dives
Late at night on the 36th of Achtus, 2718

Xavier Zhirune had been a street rat once, well, a sky rat, a pirate, an orphan of sorts. They'd been a stolen child instead of an abandoned one, taken from their mother and father who they were quite sure loved them and sold to whoever wanted their pale, half-bred, lanky self on board their airship. They'd not been uncared for, however, for the crew that took them on wasn't heartless—on the contrary, they seemed keen to have a lithe sliver of moonlight wriggling in tight spaces, cleaning up messes, and making cute faces to sweeten the deal with both clients and other merchants. They'd found their place among a group of folks who were hardly honest traders, learning to pilfer pockets and read a crowd, picking up a few instruments and discovering they were a natural at all kinds of performances.

Xavier had, apparently, been born to put on a show of things. Anything.

"Well, a'right, maybe a few folks noticed." The albino wick winked with a conspiratory sort of tone to their soft voice, resisting the urge to use one of their sleeves to wipe the blood that was now staining the boch's little face. Her mention of not having anywhere to live and hardly a place to stay soured their expression a little, no matter the cheerful voice the girl chose to deliver things in. Violet gaze flitting to the small furry creature that peeked out of her belongings before returning to the child's face, "No home? Not even one with a decent roof, eh? Dze, I don't have one, either. I jus' borrow everyone else's."

The willowy Gioran grinned, though they'd toned themselves down a bit in the company of a child, refraining from admitting they'd borrow a bed, a body, or an entire home when they could or pay for a room when they couldn't. Tonight, like last night, they'd rented themselves a room—which was waiting for them—but the mention of Brunnhold brought an unmistakable hint of color to their pigmentless cheeks and deepened their grin into an expression that delicately balanced nostalgia and mischief,

"You gonna go t' that fancy school, chip?" Hummed the musician, vaguely sure the young, eager pickpocket was tekaa like themselves, "Oh—saw me? Oes, Crosstown Court's a nice score for a pina boch like y'self. Ent anyone pay y' much mind, did they? Ne—I don't—I ent takin' ging from th' likes 'f you. Didn't steal anythin' that weren't yers anyway—fair 'n square if y' got 'em first."

Waggling lithe, bejeweled fingers in exaggerated dismissal, Xav shook their head, refusing the coins and the watch, "Ne, boch. Travel's expensive, at least when yer no' th' one flyin' on th' ship, ye chen. I jus' came from that way, an' once th' Arova frosts up, it ent gonna be a fun trip. Keep th' watch an' th' coin—you'll need it."

They paused, violet gaze wandering over the dirty, bloodied thing that probably needed a few extra meals and a really long bath. With soap. With a lot of soap. Soap with bubbles.

The albino wick wasn't really someone to ever admit they liked children. Or were good with them. But they'd been a child once and they'd certainly been an orphaned child for what felt like ever, even if it was just barely half of their existence. They'd scraped by on their own or with a hand up from some stranger. Even if the lil' thing had tried to pilfer their pockets, they had this moment to be the hand up for someone else.

It was ... well, it was alright. They could do this sort of thing, this altruism thing, without too many strings attached. They were just intoxicated enough that the world was softer around the edges and everything seemed like a plumb good idea, that being fair generous with some bloodied boch on the street with a pet furry sausage wouldn’t get their pretty, pale self cott in the dark and their silver jewels stolen while they stained sheets with the last of their life. Surely, this wee thing was decent enough, what with their big, nanobo eyes and their sweet offers of stolen goods returned.

What harm could there be?

"Listen, I ent th' best o' vroomancers when 't comes t' bodies. I like sparkles an' songs, but y' got a bit 'f a bump there on th' ice an' I did what I could. Maybe I fixed 't, but maybe I didn't." Xavier cleared their throat, a motion that to the not so casual observer would have given some of them away when they swallowed but to the far more casual observer revealed very little since they weren't really looking for the reality of what the pale musician really was. Not that they were anything but themselves anyway,

"If I say y' can stay with me so I can keep an eye on yer brainbox, y' gotta promise not t' rob me blind, ye chen? A bit more change in yer pocket ent gonna hurt me any, ne, but there's some 'f m' things y' can't have. Oh, an' y' gotta wash. Maybe twice."

That last bit was said with the most serious of sideyes, the willowy creature of moonlight smirking with a bit of challenge to their tone, hooking a long thumb in the woven strap of the oud slung over their shoulder, "Boemo?"

⟡ ☾° ⟡
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Nikolina Fabricio
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2019 6:02 pm
Topics: 4
Race: Wick
: The obligatory street kid and orphan of Thorns.
Character Sheet: Character Sheet
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Writer: Rachel/jadeowl
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Sat Feb 16, 2019 11:19 am

The Dives
36th of Achtus, 2718 Late Night


Lee grinned. "Good to know that some people here got enough sense to notice pretty people," she said cheerfully as she winked back.

She gave a half-shrug when Xavier commented on her mention of not having a home. "It was just me and my Da and Da died when I was 7. Din't have anywhere else to go, outside of the orphanages and they ain't much better than the streets, really. Yeah, you got a roof over your head and things that pass for clothes and a bed. But there are so many rules," she said, wrinkling her nose. "I don't like rules. They make me feel like I'm being choked. I mean, Da raised me with rules, since he wanted to pass me off as a golly, but that's different. He gave me rules 'cause he loved me, not because he wanted to control me."

"Worse, the matrons usually wanted me to give up Onnastick," she said, her voice catching as she reached into her bedroll to scratch the ferret's head. It was clear that Onna was her prized possession. "Da gave me to her for my last birthday with him and I'll be damned if I'm going to give her up, y'know? She's all I got left of him."

"It ain't too bad out here, really. Onna's good at helping me steal things and I had a friend of my Da's helping me out. He even wanted to adopt me after Da died, but his wife said she wouldn't house anything that didn't 'come from her womb', whatever that means. Abélard's a good kov. He told me to leave after the riots, that things were gonna get bad for wicks, but I was stupid and wanted to stay here. This is where Da died, y'know? But now I feel the mona sometimes and I gotta get before the Seventen finds out I'm a wick and throws me back in the factories."

"Nyah, I ain't gonna go to school in Brunnhold. I mean, I'd love to go to school, but Da's gone and I don't think I could pass for a golly anymore. 4 years on the street ain't gonna keep you refined and proper. Da said that if I went to Brunnhold, I had to act like a perfect golly. Now I'm just gonna go to Brunnhold 'cause it's closer than Old Rose."

Lee's eyes widened in shock. "You've been on an airship?" she whispered, her voice awe-filled. "That's amazing!"

Lee's jaw dropped open when Xav offered to let her stay with them and she sputtered. "You'd do that?" she finally managed to squeak out. She nodded quick and fast. "Okay! I'll take15 baths if it will make you happy," she giggled. "I promise on my Da's grave that I won't touch anything of yours unless you say it's okay. You won't have to worry about feeding me, either, 'cause tomorrow's bread day at the temple over on Langston Street and I always wake up early enough to get at least a loaf of bread and some cheese."



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