[split] [se] I'm headed straight for the floor


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#1


This reunion is very sweet and touching of course, and as Wessex wraps her arms around Hotaru, she'll quickly realize that it isn't her abilities that has them suddenly flashing across vast distances.
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Hotaru Kaito
Glassblower / Seamstress

Age: 27 | Height: 5'2 | Race: Abandoned | Nationality: Outlander | Citizenship: Torchline
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#2
You won't go lonely into this fight, if you just hold me we will survive
Hotaru is drawn into Wessex's embrace, and that last missing piece that has kept her aching and incomplete since she woke in the Wilds finally settles into place. The last person in her increasingly shrinking circle of individuals that truly matter to her, finally found at last. Safe and whole, if nothing else. It seems that's all she can count on to ask for, when everyone she loves seems to have gone through the emotional wringer in her absence. More things to feel guilty for these days.

The rush of words falls over her like water, cleansing her with the familiar sound, and she can't help but hold tighter to Wessex's body as she presses her face close to the woman's throat. "I missed you so much," she whispers, strained and relieved all at once. Needing to say that, to get it out, before she can bear to consider the explanation that will need to come. The kiss that is pressed to her crown has her beginning to pull back, needing to see Wessex, to touch and view and assure herself that everything is right with the world now, only -

Everything goes sideways.

It's a dizzying pull, and she feels vaguely ill, in the sort of way you get as a child when you spin in circles until you fall down to the earth. Hands clinging to Wessex for stability now, the Valkyrie blinks her eyes open in a vain attempt to blink away the vertigo. Only to stare out across an empty, cracked horizon that could not be further from the temperate forest they'd previously been standing in. "Wess?" she ventures tremulously, uncertain if she is either seeing things or if the woman has teleported them away for some strange reason. "Where are we?" There is no trepidation yet, too trusting in the demigod and the potential that it was intentional to begin worrying so soon. She does pull away a little more to ascertain their new location at least, though her hands never leave the Ascended fully. Still far too soon to even think of letting go just yet.
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Wessex Theskyra
the Wraith
Queen of the Hollowed Grounds

Age: 41 | Height: 5'8'' | Race: Demi-god | Nationality: Natural | Citizenship: Hollowed Grounds
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#3
we're all stories unfinished and we die to find some fitting words to write
This has always been the way of things in Caido; people come into your life and leave unexpectedly and without reason - perhaps eaten by a landshark, falling off the Bone Bridge, or running into the barrier. Death and disappearance are no stranger to the Wraith, who’s shed far too many tears at this point in her life to feel like she can afford to get attached. Friends are one thing. Friends are… okay, yes, harder to come by these days. But intimacy, trust, somewhere soft and safe, that is even rarer. Hotaru may not be her wife, her mate, or her partner, but she is, in a very twisted way, the closest Wessex has come to wanting that.

Amun was slowly filling the space where a platonic partner might be but even he, too, is gone now.

It surprises her how much she needs those arms wrapped around her, how much she’s missed touching someone. Even when you can’t feel as much, the meaning behind it is… overwhelming. A light in the dark. A port in the storm. Then Hotaru begins to pull back a bit and Wessex lifts her head, but -

Oh Gods there’s that feeling again -

And then it’s empty and no, just empty, save for some skeletons across the way and a sinking sun. She tries to offer Ru some stability while she recovers, trying to figure out what’s triggering this kind of teleportation. “Hak Etme,” she tells Hotaru, the words sound foreign and sharp in her mouth. Like her teeth, but different. “A desert northwest of the Grounds. If you skirt the edge of the Greatwood and cross some rivers, you can -” she shakes her head, letting a hand slip down to envelope Ru’s.

“This has happened before,” she breathes, shading her eyes as she looks out to the endless horizon. “I didn’t do it then, and I didn't do it this time either.”
WESSEX
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Hotaru Kaito
Glassblower / Seamstress

Age: 27 | Height: 5'2 | Race: Abandoned | Nationality: Outlander | Citizenship: Torchline
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#4
You won't go lonely into this fight, if you just hold me we will survive
The emotion that she had held rigid and far from reach when Sunjata returned home presses against shoddy seams, surging forward in vain attempt to be seen and comforted, to have someone take care of her for once. Wessex's arms cradle and console in equal measure, and for a moment she can envision a moment of relief. Of being seen, heard, validated for her own struggles that may not show on skin the way it does for her husbands, but which have left deep wounds all the same. She goes to speak, lips parting, ready to chance everything with the demigod who takes rank in Hotaru's intimately small camp of loved ones, and then the chance is stolen away in vertigo and magical intervention.

By the time she feels solid on her feet once more, her lips are firmly sealed. Now is not the time. If ever there is to be one. Instead there is a wasteland of cracked earth and a thankfully setting sun to deal with. Yippee.

Wessex at least seems to know the area by name if nothing else, which is a comfort. Not one so large as the hand that finds her own, which she squeezes firmly and holds tight to. "Some sort of magical interference then?" Squinting at the skyline, she presses her shoulder to Wessex's, and notes the keen absence of Atlas. Great, at least he could have carried them, and if things go further south could have healed Wessex as well even as an Ascended. Gods damn it. "Did it spit you back out, or should we start walking?" Concern immediately draws her pale brows close, and she tilts her head upward to rove over the woman's face. "How sensitive are you to the sun? We'll have to find shade before morning, or I can fashion something from my shirt." As a seamstress she can at least make something utilitarian, if not fashionable. Whatever it takes to keep Wessex safe. A little sunburn won't bother her if that's what it comes to.
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Wessex Theskyra
the Wraith
Queen of the Hollowed Grounds

Age: 41 | Height: 5'8'' | Race: Demi-god | Nationality: Natural | Citizenship: Hollowed Grounds
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#5
we're all stories unfinished and we die to find some fitting words to write
“Has to be,” Wessex mutters, still trying to work her way through it - what was different, what was the same? Wanting to figure it out bumps right up against wanting to spend time with Ru, which bumps up against wanting to get the both of them out of this… far less appealing place. The Oerwoud, at least, was pretty. As nice a place for a reunion if there ever was one. Hat Etme? Zero stars for ambience and she’s willing to bet that the food and service is pretty shit too, given the distant skeletons.

Sighing aloud, Wessex keeps Ru’s hand firmly in her own as she turns towards her and back to the very real problem at hand. Before she can offer a suggestion, she’s the one under a caring eye, and it makes her chuckle ever so softly. “I’m fine, actually. Fully sun-proof. Not even a sunburn these days.” Which isn’t quite fair to her deliciously pale companion, as the Wraith lifts her hand to the sun and wiggles her fingers towards it.

“You’ll never hear this from me again, but - keep your shirt on.” If it isn’t the still-vicious rays of the sun, it will be the lack thereof soon. She’d rather not return Ru to Torchline in less than perfect health. She tries not to let her eyes drift lower than her friend’s face, so she ends up looking back out to the horizon and turning them in the right direction. Southeast. They need to head Southeast.

“I can hop us back, but it’s going to feel like that just did - over and over again. I’m used to it, but if it makes you feel sick, I think we should start walking until the sun goes down and it starts to get chilly. Then I’ll get us back to the Grounds. Or drop you off at the Mathair portal.” Forcing herself to offer a thin-lipped grin at the prospect of going into the Greatwood, she nevertheless would do it for her companion, if need be.
WESSEX
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Hotaru Kaito
Glassblower / Seamstress

Age: 27 | Height: 5'2 | Race: Abandoned | Nationality: Outlander | Citizenship: Torchline
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#6
You won't go lonely into this fight, if you just hold me we will survive
Hotaru purses her lips thoughtfully, staring around and waiting with prickled skin and a sense of adrenaline-fueled unease for something else to happen. Some sort of clue if nothing else to help them figure out exactly what is happening, or perhaps why if they're particularly lucky. Of course neither of them has ever seemed to be a master of such a fickle thing like luck, as nothing happens even after an extended time of examining their new surroundings. Fuck.

At least Wessex is a distraction, though she also stands as a comfort in that moment, displaced and wrong-footed as Hotaru feels. Her fair brows rise and lips part in surprise at hearing such good news, melting into a smile moments later. "You're stronger every time we meet," she points out, pride and amusement alike suffusing her tone. Amusement wins out moments later in a surprised bubble of laughter at Wessex's teasing, heterochromic eyes squinting in the fading light as she grins. "And here I was, ready and willing." The Valkyrie would give far more than the shirt off her back to the Wraith if ever the demigod needed it, but it's nice to not have to worry about that particular eventuality in a place like this; barren, sun-scorched, with few landmarks to lend a hand in navigation.

Wessex's gaze leaves her, and Hotaru's eyes follow, grateful that for once she does not have to be the one with the plan. With such chaotic individuals as Sunjata and Nate in her life it's not uncommon for that task to fall to her. All the same, Hotaru squeezes Wessex's hand in that firm way she has become accustomed to doing for Nate to ensure he feels it, expression serious and unyielding at the mere mention of the Mathair. "No, the Grounds is better. I can deal with a little sickness, but I'd hate to lose your time so soon. Walk with me?" Though faint, there is a desperation to her request as she moves a few steps ahead, their intertwined hands aloft between them as the space increases. Hotaru has missed Wessex a great deal, and though the chill will undoubtedly come fast in the desert, she will take all the time she can get to catch up.
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Wessex Theskyra
the Wraith
Queen of the Hollowed Grounds

Age: 41 | Height: 5'8'' | Race: Demi-god | Nationality: Natural | Citizenship: Hollowed Grounds
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#7
we're all stories unfinished and we die to find some fitting words to write
Hotaru’s missed a lot, hasn’t she? Half a year? They came from the Climb in Flowerbirth, the sickness set in during LongHeat, and here they are again, full circle. Though the praise is clearly meant to be kind, Wessex can’t muster nearly as much pride as she’d like. “I have to be,” comes far too serious, accompanied by a weak smile and a shrug, sure that they’ll touch on something to do with that later.

“Of course.” Closing the gap between them with a few steps, Wessex opts to keep their hands clasped - almost as if she’s afraid Ru will disappear again - because then she couldn’t, right? She’d have to take Wessex with her - which, right now - isn’t the worst thing in the world for either of them, is it? Leaving all this behind or choosing someone who has a far stronger sense of loyalty than many deserved.

And if they were to stop? To stay here…?

But their feet are already pointed towards home, their eyes set on the horizon, on the future and things yet to come. Gently, and perhaps a little faux-absently, the Wraith looks down at the other blonde with an immense fondness and care in her eyes. “Ru? What happened when you left? Where did you go?” Surely she’s tired of telling the story - but maybe she can manage it one more time.
WESSEX
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Hotaru Kaito
Glassblower / Seamstress

Age: 27 | Height: 5'2 | Race: Abandoned | Nationality: Outlander | Citizenship: Torchline
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#8
You won't go lonely into this fight, if you just hold me we will survive
Somber tones overtake Wessex's voice, and it resonates painfully in Hotaru's chest. Yes, strength is a messy scrabble in these parts, where death awaits you in a variety of ways if you are found lacking. It must be inconceivably harder as a demigod of The Voice, especially with the mounting tensions between the Gods. "So long as it means you're safe." A cold comfort, but one Hotaru sleeps side by side with every night. Grateful that her loved ones still live even as she mourns the lost peace and innocence they all deserve.

There are certainly no complaints to be had on her behalf as Wessex comes to her side, hands still clasped. Hotaru is a creature meant for touch. It is a language all of its own, one she employs readily, and her devotion is plainly read by those with keen eyes in how she gravitates around Wessex. The Wraith is a forcefield all of her own making and Hotaru is grateful to be held dear enough to be let into those sacred places, close enough to harm but trusted to never do so.

The question is not unexpected. Admittedly Hotaru knew it was coming the moment the foliage had parted to reveal Wessex's proud features beyond. It is no hardship to share, to repeat the tale anew, not when she knows that it comes from a place of love. "The sickness that came after our journey, it struck me hard. I recall leaving the house and walking towards the beach, hearing voices and seeing things that could not be." Begging her to find them, reaching out through the haze of illness and convincing her that all she had lost could be reclaimed. "Everything after that is no more than vague shapes. Atlas took care of me, though I assume I was still capable of keeping myself mostly alive. I woke in the Wilds, and when I made it back to Torchline I was told many seasons had already gone by." Petal mouth downturns at the corners, regret still heavy on her heart at that. "My partners had married, Kiada had been reborn, and LongNight was hours away. It was all very difficult to come to terms with." Therein lies the assumption that she has, and she most certainly has not.

Gaze returning from where it wandered back to Wessex, Hotaru gives a small smile. "I heard of what you did during LongNight. I was so worried for you, but I'm glad you succeeded." Hotaru had only suffered through one LongNight of real note, where she had lost Rexanna, but it was certainly enough to make a mark.
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Wessex Theskyra
the Wraith
Queen of the Hollowed Grounds

Age: 41 | Height: 5'8'' | Race: Demi-god | Nationality: Natural | Citizenship: Hollowed Grounds
Level: 10 - Strg: 44 - Dext: 43 - Endr: 46 - Luck: 46 - Int: 1
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#9
we're all stories unfinished and we die to find some fitting words to write
Squeezing Hotaru’s hand to show that she appreciates the thought of her safety and is indeed well beyond lasting harm (far more than the woman might ever know), Wessex remains silent and lets the topic of her powers fall into silence. She’d much rather trade talking about herself for Ru’s story - and of course she’d been deliriously ill. Everyone who’d gone to the Climb had been. That everyone around her who might have done something to help was also suffering only made it worse.

Guilt rumbles up towards the surface, bubbling like the very magma they’d braved, as the Wraith listens and looks down every now and then, sinking her teeth into her lower lip to stop herself from apologizing profusely. One, though - one couldn’t hurt, could it? “I’m sorry,” she says quietly, leaving just what and all that she’s apologizing for up to interpretation.

Without the Voice’s cure - and without the Archway - it must have been an agonizing half a year or so. “Atlas deserves all the apples and carrots.” And whatever else it is that unicorns eat.

“Everything that’s been going on with Sunjata must be quite difficult.” And of course, she means the things with his father, the trial, and Nate being muzzled - as she isn’t privy to anything regarding Safrin or the intricacies of their threefold marriage if that’s even happened yet in this timeline and if it’s not disregard. She can’t imagine coming back to that kind of drama, that kind of being left out, that kind of… well, anything, of top of her own giant mountain of problems.

Tilting her head towards Ru, the Wraith seems to indicate that she’s open to talk about whatever, if she wants to. And if not, the Queen can idly fill the space before them. “I’m not sure everyone would call it a success, which… I don’t know, maybe I’ve got tunnel vision, but we did what we set out to do with minimal deaths on our side and yet… there’s this thick air of hostility. I don’t understand.” Shaking her head, for once, the Wraith is visibly at a loss of what to say or do or even think about the whole situation. There’s an obvious crack in her veneer, a fine but jagged thing that could be ignored, but like all cracks, if not tended to, will only get worse.
WESSEX
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Hotaru Kaito
Glassblower / Seamstress

Age: 27 | Height: 5'2 | Race: Abandoned | Nationality: Outlander | Citizenship: Torchline
Level: 4 - Strg: 13 - Dext: 12 - Endr: 20 - Luck: 12 - Int:
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#10
You won't go lonely into this fight, if you just hold me we will survive
The sand shifts in a susurrous crumble beneath their steps as they walk, heat giving way quickly as the sun descends farther from view. The cold has never bothered her though, and even Wessex's temperate hand in hers feels natural these days. It is the most peace she has been afforded recently. For a moment she is grateful for whatever forces are at work, giving here these extra hours to spend with the Wraith and a chance to tell the only other person she trusts in this world about the weight that hangs heavy on her shoulders. Deimos already knows of course as it the natural way of things for Hotaru, but she is not a person that trusts easily. That has friends. But when she does...Hotaru squeezes Wessex's hand as the woman apologizes, turning a warm look her way. "I would be at your side all over again if you needed me. There's nothing to apologize for." The sickness was terrible yes, but she would have ended up here all the same wouldn't she have? Sunjata would have made his choice, and she would have made hers. It's a painful thought, and as such she falls quiet as the ache in her breast turns into a sharp stab once more.

A soft hum of agreement towards Atlas, amusement budding tentatively around the new wound inside her, is cut short the moment Sunjata is mentioned again. Withering away like plants beneath the scorching sun, leaving her barren and burned. Her tongue feels dry and thick in her mouth. "When he returned from the sea, he said he finally wanted children with me. That they both did. I told him I intended to ask The Voice if it was possible for her help with Nate, and he agreed that Safrin would be a last resort as she would ask too much. That same night he went to Safrin and bargained a child with her in return for saving Nate." Does she care that this information should be private? No. He had made his choice, and she doesn't give a damn if Wessex uses it in her position as a demigod for The Voice. Hotaru is tired of him getting away with every horrible thing. Is her pain not just as valid? Is she so easily forgotten and moved on from? Is she expected to not tell her friends now too? "I...I ended everything with him. But I think Nate intends to stay. And so I have lost them both, and they have moved on. With their new daughter. As if I meant nothing." Tears do not fall, but her gaze is empty and stuck on the horizon, each step mechanical. Wessex's hand in hers is the only anchor she has to her own body it feels, floating above it in all other ways in some desperate bid to not feel the pain that fester there.

Cracking a broken smile, she finally shifts her eyes towards the Wraith, exhaustion prominent on her fair features. "Sorry. I know that's a lot, but you're one of the only ones I feel I can tell." A compliment really. Hotaru trusts Wessex not to judge her for her own vulnerability, her stupidity in thinking she could ever mean anything permanent or weighted to either man. That she could compete with their bond when the chips were down. That they would ever choose her. Or even have the gall to at least respect her as a partner.

Focusing instead on what Wessex shares to try and drag herself out of the mire of her thoughts, Hotaru gives a soft hum of understanding. She had been Queen herself for most her life, young as she'd been when the crown had been handed down to her. Dissent is nothing new to her, and she knows how frustrating it can be. "It is easier for them to paint you as the figurehead of blame. They still cling to notions of success without sacrifice. How frequently do they see The Voice?" For all that she cannot trust the deity herself - too much trauma from Kisamoa, from false gods and pretenders that had killed her children in front of her as her world was torn apart - Hotaru believes they would find their path more easily if they spoke to their creator about their concerns.
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Wessex Theskyra
the Wraith
Queen of the Hollowed Grounds

Age: 41 | Height: 5'8'' | Race: Demi-god | Nationality: Natural | Citizenship: Hollowed Grounds
Level: 10 - Strg: 44 - Dext: 43 - Endr: 46 - Luck: 46 - Int: 1
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#11
we're all stories unfinished and we die to find some fitting words to write
Whaaat? Incredulous is the only way to describe her initial reaction. Then anger and dread and a deep, searing sense of I knew it runs rampant through her gut while Wessex still tries to wrap her head around the rapid turn of events Hotaru’s telling her. And part of her indignation is about Sunjata and Safrin, but the bigger part of it is about Hotaru, about what it means to promise children to a woman who wants them, and then to yank that away from her, callous and unconscientious, all thanks to be star-swept by a goddess’s cunt.

She finally understands why the Voice removed the ability to rise to the occasion.

Because Safrin and Frey used sex to gain followers - and if you can’t feel that kind of desire, you can’t make stupid, stupid choices. And then there’s some dark, sickening satisfaction of knowing she was right - that Sunjata wasn’t actually on her team. Not on Nate’s team. Not even on Hotaru’s team.

Wessex stops abruptly as she hears Hotaru has left both them, a great and heavy sorrow rising in her throat for the smaller woman. She doesn’t want to see the Outlander in pain. She doesn’t want to see the light driven out of her eyes, empty and mechanical, and nothing like the warm burst of energy she’s come to adore. “I’m sorry,” she says, looking at Ru with all the empathy she can muster. “I’m so sorry. You are not nothing, you were never nothing. You are…”

Humming in the back of her throat, the Wraith looks at the other blonde with a soft smile. “You are fierce, a spark of lightning made flesh. And you are loving, giving them far more than they deserve, more loyal than many here have known. They took you for granted. And I, for one, think you would be a far better mother than Safrin.”

Pausing, she archers her brow ever so slightly. “I have a lot of names I can call her, if you’re interested.”

Her own problems… they can wait. What are a few insecurities compared to the loss of a husband? Husbands.
WESSEX
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Hotaru Kaito
Glassblower / Seamstress

Age: 27 | Height: 5'2 | Race: Abandoned | Nationality: Outlander | Citizenship: Torchline
Level: 4 - Strg: 13 - Dext: 12 - Endr: 20 - Luck: 12 - Int:
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#12
You won't go lonely into this fight, if you just hold me we will survive
She shouldn't feel relieved over Wessex's reaction, but she is. Deimos would always be by her side, no matter his exasperation over how he'd warned her beforehand. But now she knows for sure that what she feels, how she reacted, it wasn't wrong. She does not deserve to be condemned for deciding to leave, to choose herself over the one she loved for the first time. Preserving her own sanity and happiness, even if that happiness is elusive and deeply buried as of now. When Wessex looks down at her with a maelstrom in her eyes, Hotaru is surprised to find a sharpness behind her own, sucker-punched by a sudden wave of emotion she'd carefully buried away. She feels seen. Validated. Assured that somebody is on her side in this instead of pitying Sunjata in comparison.

The assurance that she is still worthy has a tear that clings to her pale lashes trickling down her cheek, but she is poleaxed and frozen by the Wraith's gaze. Her own eyes desperately searching out that truth in the woman's expression, drinking it down to hold it deep inside where it may nourish her in times of drought and doubt alike. "Thank you," she whispers hoarsely. Gratitude broken like glass over her features, still reluctant to so much as blink. Her hand squeezes at the one that holds it, clinging tightly and trying to ignore how it shakes. There is only so vulnerable she will allow herself to be, but this is an acceptable level for now. For Wessex, at least.

"It's not her I blame, she had no oaths to me like Sunjata did," she says instead through trembling lips, but they curve into a wry smile all the same. "But I'll take the suggestions all the same." Swallowing a little unsteadily, she clears her throat and companionably leans her shoulder into Wessex's. Though there is no emanating warmth there to feel, the pressure alone is a physicality she has been starved of since leaving Sunjata. As for Nate, well...she is too scared to hope that he will choose her. Hotaru feels the touch starvation keenly already, but the Wraith keeps it at bay, happy to hold and touch companionably. "I'm scared that Nate will stay. I can't force him to leave, but I worry for his safety if he remains." A concern she can freely share with his fellow Ascended. "I don't think he will choose me over Sunjata. I have to be prepared for that. But...I know it's a lot to ask, but if you could keep an eye on him? Sunjata would never hurt him knowingly, but it's clear he does not think things through enough to make it impossible by proxy." Especially with something potentially inside him.

Hotaru doesn't care about herself. Her pain is her own. But she's scared for Nate, for what his blind devotion may lead to.
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Wessex Theskyra
the Wraith
Queen of the Hollowed Grounds

Age: 41 | Height: 5'8'' | Race: Demi-god | Nationality: Natural | Citizenship: Hollowed Grounds
Level: 10 - Strg: 44 - Dext: 43 - Endr: 46 - Luck: 46 - Int: 1
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#13
we're all stories unfinished and we die to find some fitting words to write
It’s an easy side for the demigod to choose, even in her unrequited position - what are the options? Sunjata and Safrin?

One thing and one thing only could ever make her sing the star-slug’s praises, and if that thing were to come to pass, there probably wouldn’t even be a point to opening her mouth.

Shaking her head to dismiss Hotaru’s thanks, Wessex reaches up and tucks a stray blonde wisp behind Hotaru’s ear. “I only speak the truth. Don’t doubt yourself on account because of the follies of men. They’ve proven time and time again that their cocks lead the way. And Safrin’s cunt is a gaping black hole, it sucks the weak in.” She shakes her head tightly. “Make no mistake, Sunjata had a choice. He chose his shifts and Safrin over you and Nate. And I’m sure Safrin knew exactly what she was doing, because she had a child with Ronin, too.” And though she knows nothing of Ronin’s recent rebellion, parenthood changes people. It makes them vulnerable. Makes them easy to manipulate.

The herald wanted to tie Sunjata to her forever, and he played right into her hands.

She’s not sure that’s entirely comforting to Hotaru, but she squeezes her hand back all the same. “You should be one’s second choice.”

Not Nate’s. Not Sunjata’s. She might have been Wessex’s first choice, once, but as the Queen says it, she realizes how true the words ring in her ears. Smiling a little sadly, the Wraith turns again towards the Grounds and takes a step, ready to keep them moving slowly forward. “Of course I’ll keep an eye on Nate. He’s my brother.” How much she can watch him, how much she can actually do is beyond her ken, but the promise is easily made and easily kept, in the Wraith’s mind.

Nate just… has to help himself first.
WESSEX
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Hotaru Kaito
Glassblower / Seamstress

Age: 27 | Height: 5'2 | Race: Abandoned | Nationality: Outlander | Citizenship: Torchline
Level: 4 - Strg: 13 - Dext: 12 - Endr: 20 - Luck: 12 - Int:
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#14
You won't go lonely into this fight, if you just hold me we will survive
The touch that grazes across her skin as her hair as tucked away is a comfort that she briefly leans into while it’s offered. Everything inside her hurts, in an aching persistent way that she is all too familiar with. Familiarity lends her strength to weather it, yes, but she is so tired of being hurt. It’s not as if she opens her heart regularly. Why then does it end so disastrously when she is convinced to trust?

“And it is ingrained to lead only to the worst decisions,” she agrees, a slight twist of distaste to her lips. Hotaru is certainly no prude, she revels in sex - in the closeness it temporarily awards her - but it has never led to such disastrous consequences as what men regularly seem to get themselves into. “He claimed his devotion to her is because she Attuned him. If that isn’t proof enough of the shallowness of his reasoning...” Hotaru gives a sharp shrug, the agreement clear but still painful to swallow. Hotaru covets power, but never at the expense of her precious few loved ones.

And she shouldn’t be a second choice. Or third, or fourth. Yet she is, again and again, from Helovia to Caido. Never learning, tripping over the same pitfalls no matter how battered her heart gets. Turning instead to power, war, manipulation. Focusing on that which couldn’t hurt her so close to home. Yet even still it remains her Achilles Heel, felling her each time she dares to believe it has changed. “Perhaps it’s my own special curse.” A weak smile that is far more bitter than amused. Aware that she has lost even this, that if there was ever a choice to be made she had picked the wrong one. It’s not as grievous a loss - Wessex is still here. Still holding her hand, her heart, both so gently that Hotaru feels she doesn’t deserve it. But it’s not the same, and she can’t ask for it to be.

What she can ask for is oversight, protection, what little she can garner on Nate’s behalf. The squeeze of her hand is returned, pressure demonstrating her gratitude. “He is as much at risk for manipulation from Safrin now, merely through Sunjata. Be careful, all of you.” No matter her personal trauma and ensuing wariness regarding The Voice, she cares for the Ascended family, and she can’t imagine how it would kill Nate to be an unintentional domino for their downfall.
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