Firefly

14 May 2017 03:45 pm
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Solanaceae ambles through the humid greenhouse, admiring the brightly-colored flowers that are Esoterra's handiwork. She stops at her section: psychoactive nightshades. Though Terra tends to these as well, their flowering and growth is more heavily based upon Solan's attitude and well-being than soil quality or sunlight. She puts a finger to the washed out lavender petals of a devil's trumpet. Almost all parts of the plant are poisonous—enough for a high, hallucinations, or death depending on how much is consumed.

 

She looks past the nightshades and smirks at the nocturnal daylilies surrounding them. They are all in shades of crimson, Tyrian purple, violet, plum, or magenta with various colors on the throat, midribs, and edges. The metaphor is not lost on her—the daylily is the flower of coquetry because they open up briefly during the morning or late afternoon and close roughly twelve hours later. Like a coquette, they have no intention of sticking around.

 

She hears the sound of swirling water interrupt the active babbling of the fountain in the garden outside and sees she is not alone. Nymphaea sits on the side of the fountain, pale blonde hair untied and spilling down her back. Solan slowly opens the other greenhouse door and walks to her fellow Luminary. "Do you want to talk about it?"

 

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The Luminaries had finally gotten the go-ahead from Glaucus to have a talk about the present state of his and Phoenix's friendship. For a month and a half they had gone over the various ways in which the conversation could have gone, discussed how they would pose questions and how they would communicate given the fact their primary problem was communication itself.

 

Eosphoros had rehearsed and written down the points she wanted to touch on, with the assistance of pragmatic Esoterra… and then deleted them and started anew. Aura was incredibly optimistic when she realized Glaucus felt the same way Phoenix did about their friendship… but then became increasingly cross and out of sorts when he didn't respond to correspondence for three weeks. Finally Ignis, with her new anthem running through her head, set things in motion by sending him a decisive message, calling on him to make his intentions known… and he responded, acknowledging fault and providing a reason for his silence.

 

Again, after a week of no talk, Ignis moved again, not in anger, but to request they settle things. She specified that if neither was buying what the other was selling, they would be in agreeance going their separate ways. Tomorrow. He really shouldn’t feed into this newfound directness—it might become habit.

 

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Phoenix had begun a night with Casanova, who eagerly insisted she join in watching an episode of The Magicians. Phoenix acquiesced, laughing, since she had already watched the first season as well as the first episode of season two. She helped dismantle the house's Christmas tree and then the couple shared YouTube videos as they waited for the file to download. The two are just about to get up and go to the entertainment room to watch the show.

 

The Luminaries mingle on the balcony. Only Eosphoros' constant attention is needed since she is responsible for everyday interactions with friends, but out of nowhere, sizzling purple energy shoots out of Casanova's Cloud, triggering Solanaceae. She whips her head around to the sky and meets the energy with a confused smile. "Oh-kay," she says. She throws out a one-liner in response, but nothing more occurs.

 

The night continues as planned until the late hours of the night when it is time for sleep. The Luminaries, not used to going to bed at such a time, remain in the meeting chamber for some time, and Phoenix lies awake. A soft physical connection ties Solan to the Cloud.

 

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"Incoming." Aura swivels in her chair, facing the now-darkened glass in the meeting chamber where a projection pops up. "Hmph," she sighs. Somehow the Luminaries are almost always disappointed when messages from family arrive.

 

"Is that supposed to be a joke?" Solan inquires skeptically, somehow raising an eyebrow and narrowing her eyes at the same time.

 

Eosphoros shrugs. "For the dog's sake, I certainly hope so. Let's respond in kind." She waves a hand absent-mindedly and a golden tendril of light weaves its way into the Cloud.

 

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"This is absurd. He won't be home for another few hours," Esoterra says.

"That's the point, Terra. We're avoiding traffic by leaving now," Aura responds tersely.

"We can't be sure he'll even see the text."

"He has to check his phone eventually."

"Aura, none of these details even matter. You're suggesting we drive an hour on a Wednesday to speak to Zargathe and he doesn't even know we're coming. What are you trying to prove?"

"I'm not suggesting, I'm telling. I'm trying to prove that we're willing to sort this out in-person, obviously."

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Despite the complications the weekend began with, and the fact that Solan was nearly limping around now, Sunday was beginning well. Phoenix and Zargathe had gotten lunch in Alexandria and headed to D.C. to search for Vulpix and Ponyta. The pair laughed and scrambled around the now-closed botanical gardens, attempting to get close enough to the greenhouse to catch their intended target. It was when they returned to the mall and decided to sit on a bench and take a break for a while that things began to go downhill, and no one even sensed anything…

Eventually Zargathe suggested they move again, but Phoenix insisted on sitting down and finding a place to eat dinner before they returned to his house.

"Eos, maybe we should just do fast food," Nymphaea suggests, biting her bottom lip. Aura had finally noticed that Zargathe was getting antsy, and they were all picking up on the changing mood.


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"Would you have given in?" Phobos asks. He, Nymphaea, and Solanaceae lie on blankets on the balcony, gazing into the starry sky.

Solan's lip twitches in response and she is silent for several seconds before answering. "Yes. In that one moment, I think I might have." She recalls the night with disturbing clarity. Every part of her mesmerized reaction and ferocious resistance were reflected in Phoenix. A red flush rising from chest to cheeks and her left hand curled up tightly into a ball. She would only have moved it to cup his hand resting on her cheek, and yet… better to not open that can of worms.


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It is late, but the Luminaries are still buzzing with energy, literally in Solan's case. A gentle hum of electricity surrounds her, charged in part by the battle, but also by a newfound freedom. The night is a victory for them all, Archons and Luminaries alike, but it belongs to her. It began with her and it ends with her as well.

The Luminaries return to their own world, drifting down from the Halo. A natural, light rain falls and the water seeps into Nymphaea's skin. Though she was alone for the latter part of the night, she retains a dewy glow. Solan stops in midair and turns back to the Halo, patiently waiting.


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Xenia

25 August 2016 01:00 am
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Many minutes later, the Archons and Luminaries begin to return to the Metropolis. With Black Perfection and Moralus instinctively triggering the repairs from the battle with Noxias, they head toward the Archives. Archons and Luminaries are mingling casually, curiously interacting as they fly, hover, or walk.

Hatrus turns around, seeing Nymphaea and Solan are far behind the group. Domina catches his gaze: "Are you two joining us?" She yells out.

"There's something I'd like to do first," Nymphaea calls back.

Domina nods and rushes to join the others heading back to the Archives.


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The movie concludes and the worlds of Phoenix and Terminus regain their bearings. They make casual contact, asking the usual questions, and everything goes seemingly how it will after a film is shared with a friend. Terminus reaches out to Aura with a question, a tendril of silver light extending from his Halo. Aura looks up, considering the question, and responds in kind, expressing vulnerability and explaining the reasons for it. And then Phoenix and Terminus make eye contact—they look at one another, into one another, in the dimness of the room… and keep looking.

The Luminaries sit around the table in the meeting hall, smiling, idly chatting, and connecting subconsciously when need be, as the blanket of night envelops the sky. Nymphaea is the first to notice. Terminus' Halo slowly but noticeably begins to glow. It always glows, in a way, but the light is soft, sweet, and somehow more. Nymphaea catches her breath and touches Solanaceae's wrist. Solan glances at her, and her eyes are instantly redirected to the light in the sky. The Halo's glow begins to expand, grow, and pulse as the other Luminaries slowly catch on. The two Avatars never look away, just blink slowly.

Phoenix's eyes begin to swim and blur after finally having removed her glasses, so she occasionally shifts position slightly or tilts her head to see Terminus clearer. Briefly she wonders why they're doing this, but the thought is quietly shrugged off. They're doing it because it feels right, because when everyone else would turn away after a comparably short stare, they refuse to.

Solanaceae continues watching the Halo swirl and finally she can take no more. She stands after some contemplation, dress swirling open about her hips, and takes flight through the skylight onto the balcony. Calm and determined, she walks to the railing, basking in the light of the Halo, and softly begins to play her harp.


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