starless and bible black

POSTED: Sat Apr 14, 2012 2:19 am

(381)There's a lot that will go on in this thread, so please bear with me!
Siv and Rowan have brought the cart bearing Larkspur to a location in Borgata Tenzontli, where she has built a stone ship and pyre for the funeral. As it is customary for the dead to be buried with their things, I would suggest people bring items to send with him to the next world. You can get an idea of what I'll be doing by reading this.

For four days, she had waited.

It was culturally what her people demanded. While spring was a poor time to do such a thing, she would not break tradition. Siv and her daughter had done their work, the elder teaching the younger. Each terrible wound was cleaned, and the fur of the dead was washed in salt-water and a sweet-smelling mixture of bayberry and mint. They had, even as his family mourned, went through the proper rituals. His body was covered in the door to his home. Large stones were brought from the far reaches of their land, laid out in the conformation of a ship.

They could not risk him returning as a revenant, nor could they risk the safety of the family. The slave girl, Rowan, had become a zombie. She worked tirelessly on what Siv had asked; clothing for the next life. When she had finally come with it, her fingers raw and her body weak from lack of food, Siv had stopped her.

“He has taken part of you with him,” the witch affirmed, and saw the girl’s eyes widen with surprise.

Rowan’s ears folded back. “He has all of me,” she confirmed, her voice slow and unfamiliar with the language.

“Would you join him?”

The question was so stark and so sudden that the slave started at it. Yet Siv’s eyes were somber and so intense she knew it was no bluff.

So the girl had been brought back. Siv had helped to wash her, and brushed her hair with the eel-spine comb until it was thick and full. They brought some of the sweet-smelling mead that Siv had prepared. It was not much, but a small amount would do. Salsola had wine, and this they would drink.

Siv led the slave girl to the place of the rite. It was near the sea, on a bluff overlooking the shore. Larkspur’s body had remained in his home until this day, when the cart bearing it had been led to the stones that formed a ring around a well-built pyre. Rowan, to Siv’s surprise, was calm. She was wearing white and looking at the tapestry that covered her once-master somberly.

Dressed in her feathers and purple leather, Siv let out a long, deep cry. It was time.

POSTED: Sat Apr 14, 2012 4:47 am

NPCing Eris rather than having her actually respond, derp. :3

Draugr is by me!

Death did not frighten Draugr, young as she was. The hazel-furred youth understood what death meant: finality, the end, ceasing to be. Despite this knowledge, she did not fear death. Dra did not believe she could catch it from touching the dead man. She had not known him well, and yet she cared for him mechanically alongside her mother, working to ready him for the next life. She understood the necessity of such rituals. Spirits that were not sent along might hang around their bones, their former place of residence. Salsola's terrain had enough spirits: the lean, haggard forms of the man's many daughters were ghosts enough, Dra thought.

There was no smell of death out on the edge of Salsola's territory. Draugr attended her mother and the slave, peering at the servant with faint curiosity. Fearless or not, the terra cotta youth could not imagine willingly forsaking life for death. Perhaps this, too, could be attributed to her youth. Life was unlived as of yet for the drab-colored youth -- there were many weeks, months, and years before Dra, if she was lucky. Still, she was not so brazen as to question another's decisions. Her place was to serve here, not to question everyone incessantly. Such was the job for younger canines than Draugr Helsi.

One of the first to arrive was the sable-hued Auxiliary herself, a child or two -- less children and more adults now, Dra thought -- in tow. The Bambino's lavender eyes considered the leader a moment, her disheveled hair and tired eyes evidence enough of her mourning. Dra remained away from this one, preferring to lurk closer to her mother and the slave.

POSTED: Sat Apr 14, 2012 5:32 am

315 → Some mild PP Sie, lemme know if you want me to change it.

The man from whom she drew most of her appearance was gone. She greatly preferred that to the word dead; there was less finality to it that way. No questions had bubbled forth from the youth since the instance in which she'd realized he would never be seen animated or surly under her jack-o-lantern gaze. As a matter of fact, she hadn't said a single word since the news had come crashing in like a guest uninvited. It was, perhaps, her own private way of mourning. She wasn't prepared for this, that much was apparent.

Artemisia had nothing to give to him save for the belt that Siv herself had given her, no gift to return, no solemn prayer that had swum up from the depths of her mind. Instead, folded delicately between the fingers and palm of her left hand was a simple goodbye, a letter. Everything was dark, there were no lights on in the cornucopia of her head today.

Following blindly behind her mother, the young-adult didn't look up from her feet during the walk to where Larkspur's funeral pyre had been built. Ocher colored shoulders slumped uncharacteristically, and for once in her life it seemed as though her mind was content to focus on this one matter at hand, grieving, instead of drawing her attention to the scenery or those who had already showed up. Only when her mother stopped walking and it was made painfully clear to the second-youngest daughter that they'd arrived at appropriate location did she look up. Instantly her gaze fell to the tapestry that hid the prodigious, dark-hued man. Reaching a strong hand up to grasp the forearm of her mother, she couldn't be entirely sure for whose benefit she did it. To wordlessly say she was there for her, that could be strong for her, or whether it was her, the child, that needed comforting.

POSTED: Sat Apr 14, 2012 9:26 am

(000)having Odessa tag along with Eris~

She'd not left her den in a long while. Days at least. Frozen to her fur pile of a bed with fear. Among the people who took the news the most. Not even Imhotep had managed to wake her from her sorrow. Though, she supposed, there was some ghostly light in the darkness. Although Salvia had been seriously wounded, she was alive. And Odessa was sure that if she had lost her cousin, as well as the man who was more of a father figure to her than her true father, would have been catastrophic on the medic. She herself had not been involved in any of the fighting, too frail and childlike for that. But, god forbid, Imhotep had. And she was so, so glad that he'd survived. And there were so many thoughts circulating around her head. Was this a dream? Why didn't she fight? Could she have stopped it had she been there? No, Salvia had been there and he'd still been defeated.

Odessa stood childlike in her optime form aside the Auxiliary. Despite the sudden cease of her mateship, she was still family, still her aunt. And Odessa assumed that times like this were when one needed family. And she also considered that it was likely no one else but her mother would have mourned her had she been culled at birth. The medic clung onto her Margay like a rag doll, but gentler of course. She looked to find Eris' eyes before turning, tearfully, to what Siv was doing.

POSTED: Mon Apr 16, 2012 8:50 am

Table by Sie
Wordcount:: +3

A madness had taken him. It simmered deep in the man's wicked heart, deeper than where any love could truly lie. His Kingdom had been challenged, but death had yet to come to those responsible for such crimes.

Oh, how he longed for their deaths, all of them. How he longed for them to be dead in the place of his Arbiter. Larkspur had been the closest thing Sirius had to a brother in this cold Northern world. The man had been flawlessly obedient to his king, and he and Eris alone had held the man's frail trust. There was a sense of betrayal deep within him, as though Larkspur had in some way failed this trust by dying; by being mortal. If he had felt as others felt, loved as other could love, the wicked King's heart might had felt grief at this time, grief and sadness for the loss of the one man he had felt blood-bonded to.

But Sirius was incapable of feeling such things, and so he knew only a deep, deep bitterness, one that rotted away inside of him and left him with a longing for merciless death. Death to those who had crossed their borders - Death to all who opposed them. Larkspur's murder was the end of any kindness the King might have shown to this world; The end of any chance of Sirius Revlis becoming a benevolent King. His path was cemented by this loss, and thus, the path of Salsola. The other kingdoms would know of them, and despair. Whoever was responsible for these raids would feel his fangs in their throat, and see his wicked eyes before death took them. This, Sirius promised to himself, and to Larkspur.

He had come, in the four days of mourning; Each dawn, he had come silently as a ghost, to the place where the man's corpse was covered in the soft material he had provided at Siv's request. Her religion was not his, but Larkspur had been a creature bound by the rules of his gods, and so Sirius had relented to each of the witch's requests. He would have given her all she asked for this ritual, even though the spirituality of it went against his very nature. Nothing would be spared for his only friend; Larkspur would have everything, in whatever afterlife was promised to him.

On the third dawn, he had told the dead man about his daughter's coma. He had told Larkspur to send Salvia back to him; Told the man that he commanded it. Commanded whatever spirits held her mind in the realm of darkness to release it. "You cannot take her with you, vecchio amico. I need her here." It had been little more than a whisper, and of yet, it had gone unanswered.

On the fourth day, Siv had come for the dead warrior, and taken him in a cart to a bluff on the cliffs, where the ocean howled and moaned its mourning and the birds shrieked harsh eulogies into the cold grey sky. He had not needed the witch's cry to beckon him; Unable to remain by Salvia's bedside, he had come already, and lingered aside. Others came - Eris and her daughters, bound by their grief to the dead man. Their hearts could not heal until this thing was done, until the ties there were severed. More came, to bid their respects, to show their pain. Sirius stood apart from them, unable to stand near to such weakness; His face was a mask, cold and tight with black lips in a grim, unreadable line. Only his eyes showed the madness, the fury; bubbling and sizzling acid watched on, glittering with murderous intent.

POSTED: Mon Apr 16, 2012 11:41 am


A beast stirred in the heart of the kingdom.

It was, or had once been, a girl. A child who had learned the ways of capturing eyes from her father and touched a distant world with her mother. A child who had loved and been loved and known fear and joy.

That girl was gone, and in its place walked a monster.

She did not remember the fight. She had not watched her father cut down the man who had stabbed her through the chest and left her for dead. She had not seen the mountain when it fell. Yet in her dreams she saw things, and those dreams had carried her on when she could not walk. A gaping wound still resonated within her—beyond where the sword had pierced her breast. Her father was dead and nothing, no amount of fury, no cries of anguish, would return him.

When she had risen she had been alone. It was apparent to her that they had not wished to disturb her rest, but she was a creature now driven by a singular purpose. Hot blood rippled under her skin and pulled fur taunt where it left. Her pretty hair was disheveled but cleaned; someone had cleaned her while she slept in that dark world. Standing was difficult, but she heard the cry of the witch and knew what it meant.

The beast staggered to the door of her home and was unsurprised to see a shadow rise to greet her. It was the slave—her slave—and the only one who had witnessed what occurred on that fateful day. Salvia stared at her with wide, fever-bright eyes. “I have to go,” she hissed, and extended one arm.

Somehow, in their unified madness, the women walked. Salvia felt the earth tremble under her feet. She relied heavily on the Korean but did not let this show.

They arrived together, and she saw the shape of the pyre, saw what it meant, and felt her heart break in two. This was her father. A moment of weakness seized her and she clutched at the slave’s arm savagely, forcing herself to remain standing.

Another beast awaited her. Salvia took heavy steps towards the King she called uncle and stood on her own two legs, a pale bandage covering the savage wound on her chest. It was bleeding again, but it did not matter—she would see this done. No words escaped her, but her body radiated with sick heat and delirium. Though she did not know the gods of this woman, this witch, she saw a pale shape rise to join them. Wisteria; aunt, Priestess of Khalif. She was nude and her fur streaked by strange shapes and patterns, painted with expert hands. In her hands she held a figure made of grass, of vine, of unfamiliar plants. It was the same shape as the stone figure around the dead man’s neck.

What a sight, the three of them—a dark woman in raven feathers, a white one covered in sigils of fierce gods, and a red woman cloaked in white like the sheet that covered the body of her father.

POSTED: Sat Apr 21, 2012 1:18 am

Word Count → 259 :: Assuming Ata is already there with her sister and mother.

Ataxia, the eldest and smallest of her litter, was usually the most vocal of her siblings. On this dismal occasion, however, no sound came from her. The girl stood there, mouth slightly agape, unable to form a coherent thought or sentence. Her eyes took in the scene of her father's funeral pyre, and all those that gathered around him. Although she stood beside her mother and her dark sister, she took no comfort in their presence. Instead, she remained aloof, standing to the side in a manner that suggested she was to trying to hide some emotional weakness.

As her white-furred aunt rose to join the group, the girl finally seemed to realize that her mouth was hanging open. Only a brief trace of embarrassment showed before she closed it. Wordlessly, her gaze drifted from Wisteria, to Siv, to her dead father and finally settled on Rowan. Her eyes narrowed just a bit, and a flash of teeth was shone to the slave, as if she might somehow be to blame for this misfortune.

Then the expression faded, with the realization that it would not be wise to start something here - on her father's funeral, no less. She had enough respect for the man that she would not mar this day with an accusation or fight. Perhaps later, she would have a talk with the slave. For now, the silver-streaked girl remained impassive, staring straight ahead. Her eyes no longer remained focused on her surroundings, as if she was deep in thought or dwelling on some ancient memory.

POSTED: Mon Apr 23, 2012 4:21 pm

Imhotep was not one of the family persay. the man in which had died was not his blood but the male had been Odessa's family. the pumpkin eyed girl was sad and he was not sure if he could make it better. There was really not much that the male could do to make her happy. She had gone ahead of him the sand male walking slower. So many were gathering and he could tell that most were his very own children and it was sad. The male had such a large family he had left behind.

Odessa found her place by Eris and Imhotep moved slowly bowing his head. He moved to be close to Odessa standing behind her. There was not much he could do but allow his presence to sooth her. Odessa seemed almost like a child who had lost something. His mate was small and sad and the larger Egyptian male could do nothing say nothing. There really wasn't anything he could say to make it better. reaching out he placed a hand on Odessa's shoulder to comfort her.

POSTED: Tue Apr 24, 2012 9:08 pm

Hope this is okay Bobbi!

Magnolia had managed to escape from the fight with just a few mere scrapes and bruises. Her mind, on the other hand, was haunted by the burning eyes of the man she killed, a reminder that she once again could have offered up her life for Salsola. Instead, she had been the victor this time and took another’s life instead of having her own one taken from her. But worse than all of that was the knowledge that Larkspur had been taken from The Family; when she had been told, her heart broke in two. She had come to this pack because of him, the man that saved her. She loved him, in a crazy kind of way, as her own pseudo-father that watched over her in the Thistle Kingdom. It had been a comforting thought to know that she had an ally here back in the day, back when she was frail and still a pup. The thoughts stung her now.

Magnolia knew there would be a service for the fallen man. When it was time, the Confidant roused Denver to come along with her. Things had been so heavy between them lately, and now with the knowledge that she carried his children within her, she hadn’t left his side despite all the tragedy. And as a family member, they were both surely expected to attend. The pair set off in the direction of the pyre… she had slowly been counting her breaths as she walked to try and distract herself, but when she finally saw the commotion and Larkspur’s mourning children, she couldn’t hold it in anymore. She cried silently as she absorbed everything that was going on around her. Maggie laced her fingers between Denver’s suddenly, trying her hardest not to outright sob. The girl was silent, but as she looked at Lark’s family staring with dead eyes, her heart ached. She even felt something for Salvia, who looked to be the most lost girl in the world without her father. She looked to Ataxia and Arte, and even then was unable to procure a smile on her face. The thought seemed impossible, and despite trying to be strong for her little friends her gave remained defeated on stuck on her fallen comrade. Another tear fell down her cheek.

POSTED: Wed Apr 25, 2012 7:09 am


With death came a profound change of the concept of this place for her. Siv had known loss, but she had not expected it here. She had fought and not suffered as they now all did. Familiar faces came to her in the haze of her ritual, with eyes full of sorrow or fury. One could not expect her not to see such fire in the King, standing with a wounded beast at his side. Salvia had become the sole surviving Arbiter, and this was only through the grace of whatever gods protected her.

A figure of white and painted in strange sigils joined her. Siv’s purple eyes fell to the woman only momentarily before she bent to strike a flame. This had to be done by the Khalif priestess; she had explained that savagely the night before, when Siv had first approached her. Fire was holy to them, as it was to the völva, but the witch-woman could grant her that right.

Wisteria rose with a torch in hand. It cast sharp light against her face, burning terribly in her orange eyes. The wind turned. It was time.

“I did not call you here to mourn,” Siv began, her voice clear and deep. She spoke with the training of her sisters and it showed. “To die in battle is to die as a hero. Larkspur gave his life for his people, as we all would,” she went on, looking to Salvia even as the girl’s savage eyes burnt out at her. “We are here to honor him and see his passage. We will drink to him this night.”

She lifted one hand and Rowan came forward. Draped in white, her fur gleaming, she hardly looked a slave—though the gold in her face spoke otherwise. “We send to you, our brother, what is yours.”

Her other hand slid from under the cloak of deep purple and raven feathers. A dirk was in her hand, black-handled and gleaming with metallic purpose. She had stolen it from the Hearg a long time ago. Der ser jeg min fader, og min søster og min broder, der ser jeg linjen av mitt folk her voice rose into a song, terrible and black. Tilbake til begynnelsen, de kaller på meg. The knife in her hand was pulled back, brushed against the torch. Wisteria remained still, speaking under her breath.

De byr meg ta min plass blandt dem, I Valhalls haller, Siv went on, and grabbed Rowan by the arm. The slave was not afraid and looked as pacified as a sacred calf. Hvor den modige vil leve evig, the witch concluded, and slammed the blade pommel deep into the woman’s side. Rowan let out a singular noise, a high breath, and Siv was already moving her towards the dead man. With grace given to her size, she lowered the red she-wolf to the side of the corpse. A final death rattle escaped the woman before her body shook, trembled, and became still.

Siv withdrew the knife and stepped back. No sooner had she done this then did Wisteria step forward and set the pyre ablaze. It lit quickly—the whale oil helped with this. Hot fire snaked up in a blast of red and orange, brightening to hot yellow-white. The smoke was thick and black, and the völva watched this with careful eyes.

POSTED: Fri Apr 27, 2012 9:18 pm


Draugr is by me!

Dra was not certain of her place here. She was assisting her mother, of course, but beyond that -- she had not known the dark man well. Only in passing had she seen him, and his countenance had always been one to intimidate Draugr, much like the green-eyed hybrid standing apart from the cluster of the Auxiliary and her seeming attendants. Neither did the drab canine feel comfortable walking off; she remained near her mother, hovering and hesitating, but when the white wolf stepped forward and the ceremony commenced, she knew to step away, shuffling toward the gathering in the most inconspicuous manner possible. She did not think they were paying attention to her, anyway, but it was better not to draw their attentions anyway.

She stood apart from the rest, on the fringes of the group, but nonetheless with them. Her purple eyes were focused on her mother as she began to speak, and the youth listened with both ears pricked forward in interest, her pale eyes watching. She was not certain what was coming -- she thought she knew, but she was not certain. As the funeral proceeded, the language changed, and Draugr's excitement was visible, a tremble running through her body. She did not know the words, she could not know the words yet. Someday, she might learn them, if mama Siv thought her worthy, but not yet.

The drab-furred wolfdog was leaning forward, but she jerked as the knife swung and entered the slave's side. The dark hybrid watched with widened eyes as her mother moved the red canine bodily toward the pyre. The pale wolf lit the fire, and Draugr's heart leapt. To her left, she heard a wail -- a turn of her head showed her the form of The Auxiliary, head thrown back with both ears pressed flat into her wild tangle of hair. She clutched at and leaned heavily on her supporters, gesturing at the pyre and moaning wordlessly.

POSTED: Sun Apr 29, 2012 9:38 am


As Imhotep move closer to put his hand at her shoulder, she moved in closer, unable to sustain herself. It was a remarkable effort for her to even have been able to walk over to the event and part of her wished she hadn't. But is was her uncle, she had to show face. Eris had, after all. And as a medic she supposed death was something she would come by sooner or later. Letting her head rest on Imhotep's chest she sighed, sniffling some tears and closing her eyes for a moment. Odessa watched, mostly quietly, her hands clasped onto Imhotep's sandy body, her ears low. Eris' wails were ignored easily, as were nearly everyone's. For a moment she focussed her eyes on her mother, seemingly focused on her work, but Odessa couldn't help wonder if she was even moved by the event.

Siv spoke in some foreign tongue she didn't know, yet wished she could translate for her own curiosity. The next part of the ritual produced a sharp wail from Odessa as Siv murdered the slave in the name of faith. Odessa's manicured claws dug into Imhotep slightly, as she looked away, and in a whisper she spoke to her mate. 'Don't do that if I die... I don't want Novak to suffer...' Tears trailed down her cheeks and onto Imhotep's chest, Odessa didn't look her best at all. Her hair, was flattish, un brushed and unwashed, her eyes dull and her pelt lacking any shine. Today was a grim day for all of Salsola.

POSTED: Wed May 23, 2012 4:14 pm

This thread will be closed shortly. If you have any final posts to make, please get them up in the next day or two :3
Wordcount:: +3

He scented her before he saw her - The sick underlying scent, barely noted above the heavy salt of the ocean and the omnipotent presence of death. Pea-green eyes sought her form, knowing before they found her with a vapid kind of relief that Larkspur had obeyed him at last, in this final command; Salvia was returned to him, and the fevered young woman came to take her correct place at his side, away from those who mourned with their wails and their tears. The snake and the tigress stood alone in their cold grief. He thought that perhaps she would cry later, when she thought he would not know - Although he had trained the monster, she would always be more emotional than he, for she was a wild thing yet. But in spite of the bitter madness within him, the King was proud of her reserve.

Movement distracted him, and wordlessly, the King turned his attention to the witches. One black as night, one pale as the moon - Garishly decorated in patterns his wicked eyes could not discern. The slave was brought forth, and although he had not known of their plans earlier, it did not surprise him to think of what Siv had in store - The red girl would be wasted in death, for she was clever with her fingers, and had been a good servant. But it was just, for she had belonged to Larkspur, and it would have driven him to anger to see the dead man's belongings squabbled over by those who remained with the living. Best she go with him, then.

He did not flinch as the knife found its place, between the slave's ribs and near to her soft-beating flesh - There was a collective gasp from those around him, some seeming more horrified than others. If they were to look to their King for a light in this sudden madness, they would find none; His face was a grim mask, neither approving nor strongly opposed, merely engraved with a heaviness that had not been there one moon ago. Flames licked the shrouded bodies, and the stench of their burning fur and flesh was barely covered by the smoky scent of a wood-fire. The searing orange flickered, reflected in his acidic eyes and the volatile lime of the sick girl.

A cry rose amongst the crackling and the moaning - A plaintive sound of pain and mourning, a wail that pierced the soul. The brooding monarch's large ears flattened to his skull, and thin pupils cut to the ebony woman, doubled over in her grief. He watched the hands that grasped at nothing, at air, at the spirit of a dead man now fading away. Black lips twitched. "Come," The husky voice spilled from his jaws, low, and in a voice that he had never used before. One cream hand moved to the girl aside him, his tall frame offering physical support. He would carry her from this place if she so needed, but he would not remain here, on this bluff, a moment longer. "Come with me, now." He would allow Salvia her time to grieve, but not here, amongst such emotional carnage. Eris was a lost cause - She would wallow and rot in her sadness. He could taste her despair from the bluffs, could hear it in the cry that would remain with him for the rest of his life.

POSTED: Thu May 24, 2012 5:36 am

Draugr is by Haley!

The distraction proved momentary to Draugr, who refocused on the pyre quickly enough. It was not her place to turn the tide of sorrow within their leader. Rather, her place was here -- by the flames, watching them. She watched them flicker and dance across the Luperci figure, small at first and then larger. Soon Larkspur's body was gone, entirely engulfed in flame; not even the suggestion of a canine outline remained to show the world where he'd once been.

Dra found she could not take her eyes away. She remained motionless and watching thereafter, faintly aware the group around her was beginning to separate and move off in their own ways. The wailing stopped. Someone must have taken her away, Dra thought, but the thought was faint and faraway. The fire burned instead of thought, bright and merry and all the wonderful colors of blood and sunlight and raw, running red flesh. The drab wolfdog was not aware, but she was swaying, moving her body in time with the fires.

She remained until there was nothing but cold ash and the gray dawn.

POSTED: Thu May 24, 2012 1:23 pm

Word Count → 282 :: I really should have done this earlier. Sorry.

Ataxia remained stoic as the witch informed the crowd that they were her to honor rather than mourn. Regardless of the purpose, the girl would rather not have been here. There seemed to be nothing gained by standing in a crowd while she was upset, forced to bottle up her emotions so she didn't risk an outburst. The hybrid remained passive while the slave approached the dark woman; the words we send to you, our brother, what is yours didn't sink in as a sacrifice until the knife was driven through the slave.

Thereafter Ataxia blinked in shock, not quite believing her eyes. She wasn't sure whether to be happy that the red woman - who she hated for living while her father remained dead - was now meeting a fitting end, or be angry that she was denied the chance to kill the woman herself. The competing emotions were visible on her maw while she watched the bodies burn.

The wail from her mother was the last straw; the girl's stress took over her body and caused an unconscious shift into Seculi form. She started to panic when it seemed as if everyone in her vision was becoming taller, and imagined that she was sinking into a grave to join her father in the afterlife. Her voice caught in her throat and would not allow her to speak or let out a call for help, which served to only increase her anxiety.

Only when the transformation was complete did the girl realize what was happening. Ashamed by her emotions and lack of control, the girl quietly weaved her way through the crowd and escaped. Long before the ceremony had ended, Ataxia had left.

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