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Second VerseDahlia stepped out of the Ambassador’s office into the early twilight of Foundation Plaza. The Hoop agents had already scurried off to make whatever reports were required of them, and the Plaza was nearly deserted except for the lamplighters going about their business. And, of course, Uziel, who had not been more than a step away from her side since they had left the train station. And then there was Mariska.
Dahlia fidgeted with her jacket, casting a quick look over toward the Tread sergeant, who was eyeing her all too knowingly, damn it to the four hells. For one brief second she thought she would be saved an uncomfortable moment as Uziel started to open his mouth, but Mariska cut in before he could say anything. “It’s gotten late. Would you care for an escort back to the Reflecting Pool, Ms. Oszcar-Ritter?” she asked, her tone just a little too polite.
Uziel glanced between the two of them, seeming to pick up on the
More Than Skin DeepGraice let out a giggle, pulling her hand away from the boy sitting on the gnarled tree root across from her. “That tickles!”
Odran rolled his eyes, still holding the tiny bone-handled paintbrush poised in one hand. “You’re the one who said you wanted to know how we painted our skin. If you think that’s bad, try sitting still while old Nyeni puts the brush to your face. Her hands shake so badly, she nearly took my eye last summer.”
Graice reached over and gently poked the center of one of the green-hued whorls on Odran’s forehead. “You’re exaggerating. Anyways, I think you’d look very fierce with an eye patch,” she said, another laugh escaping her.
Odran crinkled his nose, swatting gently at her hand. The motion made the wooden beads braided into his hair clatter against one another. “Are you ready to sit still and let me finish?”
Graice held up he
Taking CareWalking into the back kitchen of Celeria House from the cold streets of Beggar's End was like going from night to day in the space of a second. Dahlia followed her mother through the doorway, holding her bundle of potatoes and onions out of the way of the cooks who were bustling back and forth in the cramped space. The warmth was inviting, and even the tickle in the back of her head that reminded her of Duty's presence felt more welcoming than foreign. The last time she had been here as a Caretaker; this time, she was glad to be visiting as something more mundane.
Her mother set her own load down on the table and made room for Dahlia to do the same as a well-dressed man entered the kitchen from the other side.
"Dasya," her mother greeted him warmly, offering him a soft smile and her hand. He bowed over it, returning the smile.
"Anna. A joy to see you, as always. How have you been?"
"Well enough for the season," she replied. Dahlia maintained a
An Evening Out, Part 3"Who I…am?" Dahlia repeated, frowning in confusion. "I know I've far too many lives rattling around in my head, but that doesn't mean I'm not Dahlia. Our visit to the Vault aside, I haven't lost sight of that fact."
Graice shook her head. "Not your name. Not this one life, either. I'm asking what defines you. Your soul."
About that, at least, she had no uncertainty.
Taken aback, Dahlia gaped at the girl. "How can you even ask such a thing? You, of all people? You loved him before all of…all of this began!"
Graice was watching her with a soft, patient smile. "Aye. And I still do, more than anything in this world." Love glowed in her eyes, and Dahlia felt an answering emotion swell up in her own heart. "And I would do anything to see him at peace. But I am more than the sum of my obligations to him. As are you, dear heart."
An Evening Out, Part 2There were no two ways about it: Dahlia was lost. Eidetic memory only counted for so much, particularly when she'd never been to this part of the Baths and the maps she'd rigorously studied didn't even acknowledge the existence of this neighborhood. What was the point of even having maps when the city expanded another twenty blocks every year? And whichever incompetent bureaucrat had approved these building plans without installing a single street sign was going to have a very pointed letter on their desk come Fairday morning.
Dahlia turned down another twisting lane, wondering how she had managed to lose track of the street that ran in front of the Public Baths in the first place. She could still hear the sounds of celebration in the distance, but either there were multiple parties or the racket was bouncing off the buildings. For a moment, Dahlia found herself wishing Anjesa were still in town, no matter that the woman had no sense of discretion
An Evening Out, Part 1Dahlia traced her finger across the lines of the letter for what must have been the hundredth time that evening. The simple sheet was already well-creased with handling, the edges worn despite the fact that it had been new only a few months ago. She scanned the handwritten letters, searching for some new meaning in them that had not made itself apparent in the three days since she had spoken with Clintock.
"Do you think he's broken, or does he?"
Dahlia let out a rough sigh, leaning her elbows on the surface of her writing desk and pillowing her chin in her hand. After all, the man was a criminal and had spent lifetimes meddling in other Reborn's business; why was she letting his words rattle her like this? Why, after all these years of striving, was her resolve wavering?
"And what if he doesn't want to be healed?"
That was the crux of it, wasn't it? What if he really, truly, wanted nothing more than to be left alone
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^Nyx-Valentine arrived in our community and started whipping everyone into a frenzy with her relentless desire to bring the Artistic Nude and Fetish galleries to the fore. 9 years later, and it's safe to say that Nyx is not only a leader as a photographer in these galleries, but she has also established herself as a much saught after model. ^... Read More