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Welcome to Plymouth, MA, a small but bustling port city on the Atlantic ocean. The population has been growing steadily for the past few years, and so have the city-limits. We're proud of our expansion. Unfortunately, with all this growth, the gap between our city and the next is being closed. Little did we know, that land is not uninhabited. There are magical races there, creatures strange to us, but not entirely different. We're encroaching on their land, and they don't like it. Tensions are beginning to rise and while the Silver Moon Corp is doing its best to keep everyone placated, we can only expect so much before something breaks. We only hope the friendlier races hold the upper hand among them. For now we just know to mind the gap.
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Member No.: 18
Joined: 13-February 12
The night was calling to him, as it did sometimes.
Devlin had been particularly busy today with his home—things had just all gone out at once and Dev had been hard pressed to get things in working order. First off, the maintenance crews had been doing sweeps this morning for leaks and settlements in the damp corridors. There had been some scary moments where Devlin could hear the men right outside his hidden door, chattering away, content in their obliviousness. And he could do nothing. Devlin was stuck inside his tunnels and caves to wait out the crew’s disappearance, and he had to do it as silently as possible.
After the men had left, one of the irrigation pipes had started to overflow, as they were apt to do during heavy rains, and he had scurried to set the buckets up in all their regular places. The oven fire had gone out in all the commotion, and Dev found himself crouched in the sooty cage trying to light kindling and burnt in the process. He was damp, singed, exhausted, and strung out.
But the night was calling, so Devlin listened.
He slipped on his only pair of shoes—steady work boots bought at Salvation Army—and the dark green rain coat he had found in the park a year or two ago. He had no umbrella, and he listened carefully at the door before slowly dragging it open. The only sound was the deceptively soft pat of his boots against the concrete tunnel, as Devlin found his way to what he considered his ladder to the surface. He knew he was the only one to use this exit, but, still, the paranoia of this morning had not worn off, so he paused to ensure his safety. His blood was singing; Dev wanted—needed—to be in the starlight, to feel the rain on his face, to hear the trees call his name out in their quiet breaths.
The ladder was sturdy under Devlin’s quick steps. With a creaky push, the trap door was open, and Devlin was where he wanted to be most in the world. The trap door opened at the edge of the woods, though Dev wasn’t quite sure how—most were afraid of the woods, so it made little sense to him why someone would build a trapdoor to something they were scared of. He could never be scared, though. Each breath of the rain-soaked sky was a drug to him; Devlin could feel the sorrow and stress leaving his muscles as he closed the trap door and raced to the tree cover. He caressed the trunks, sprinting from old friend to old friend. He was dancing, he was singing, he was in pure bliss in this moment.
Devlin loved his home, his personal refuge from steel and electronics, but he could never feel this way under the earth. There was a sense of belonging here in the Gap and that, combined with the lack of responsibility, made him feel brand new. He spun around, arms outstretched in the rain, and took in the release the night had called him to.
The rain. The rain was Aphra's savior. In the rain she could go out without hiding in the dusky shadows of the palace until handmaidens and footmen were gone, she could go out without worrying about being caught. In the rain Aphra tilted her head to her parents and leapt out past the mouth of the palatial caverns, twirling as the drops peppered her eerily pale skin. Brilliant laughter rose up out of her throat, tinkling like bells as the thunder crashed and every note reverberated in her small body.
Aphra's day had been unremarkable, as Aphra's days often were. There was nothing much to do in the caverns, not if you were Aphra the sickly, Aphra the ill. She read, and she waited. All day the anticipation of rain had held her fast, and when the first drops began to fall into her pool, she was on her feet. And now she was sitting in grass, her head tilted heavenwards as the rain fell. She adored it so. She looked up, however, as she heard someone. Aphra leapt to her feet, unsure of how to react - she never bumped into people, not here. She was careful to avoid the places where there were people. There were too many questions there. No matter how curious she was about them, she hated the constant questions. Aphra hid behind a tree to watch him properly. He was a Gray, she could tell.
Aphra watched him with increasing interest. He was ecstatic in the rain in the same way that she was and she wondered who he was. Didn't he know that commoners weren't meant to be this near to the palace except on business? She crept to a nearer tree, biting her lower lip slightly as she watched him. She could feel the rain emboldening her and she decided that must have been why she called out.
Member No.: 18
Joined: 13-February 12
The rain was trickling down his collar; Devlin’s socks were soaked through. His mouth was stuck in a smile as he slid to the ground under his favorite tree, humming notes as they entered his head. The bark stuck to his neck, the ground was a marshy mixture of mud and ground litter, but Dev couldn’t care less. He could rest here, and he needed the respite from the mechanics of daily life in the sewers. Those Devlin conversed with had warned him to stay away, had told him that there were inexplicable terrors in the Gap, but had seen only squirrels and leaves in his journeys.
These were the times that Devlin let himself be unwary and unaware. No normal person, he knew, would be caught out in a rainstorm, and they definitely would not seek out the woods in the wet. So when a voice indignantly called out, "Hey! You! ...Who are you?" he was caught completely by surprise.
Devlin scrambled to his feet, and pivoted 180 degrees. Peering into the woods, he saw no one. He turned again, but there was nobody that he could see. Shadows, leaves, rain, and trunks were in his vision, but no people were in sight.
“Hello?” he called out. “Who’s there?” This wasn’t some faceless beast out to get him, this was a person, and despite the frightening nature of the voice, he still felt as if the wood would protect him. Devlin tried to calm the frantic beating of his heart and listened. To his right, he heard something—breathing maybe. It was hard to tell with the rain battering his head. He took a step towards the noise, crooked his head, and tentatively said, “My name is Devline Hawke. Won’t you come out and tell me who you are?”
Aphra stepped out from behind a tree. She was dressed like the noble she was, a knee length white dress sticking to her knees and her feet bare, leaves delicately entwined in her long, pale hair and a circlet of silver around her forehead that perfectly matched the one around her waist, emulating ivy. Her only shelter from the rain was a cover made of shining green leaves, a poncho that reached her elbows. She tilted her head to the side ever so curiously. "Why are you here?" she asked. She wondered why a Gray was here. She knew the face of every courtier and merchant that went to the palatial caverns, and he was dressed strangely, the way she knew some humans did. Aphra was enthralled. "You aren't a member of the family." She stepped closer, looking him up and down, walking around him in a circle. "I'd know you if you belonged here. Or know of you. And I've never, ever heard of Devlin Hawke."
Aphra stepped back, giving him a little more space. "And what are you wearing?" She stared at his coat and those things on his feet - shoes, she supposed. She'd never seen anyone wear them before. She bent slightly, her head tilting to the side. Then she stood back up. "I'm being unbelievably rude but it's only because you're so odd," she said. It sounded like it should have been an apology but her voice was steady, showing no emotion other than curiosity. "I am Lady Aphra Gray," she said, nodding her head slightly with a polite smile that she'd practiced from years of watching her mother and sister.
Member No.: 18
Joined: 13-February 12
The woman looked like a ghost. She was pale as anyone Devlin had ever seen,, thin as a birch tree, and was wearing white and silver with an odd patterned rain slicker. She was beautiful, in a fragile way that Dev didn't quite understand--normal people didn't look that way, so pure and clean in the middle of a rain storm. Devlin felt small and dirty next to this paragon. She was perfect, somehow.
"Why are you here?" she asked. "You aren't a member of the family." She stepped closer, looking him up and down, walking around him in a circle. Devlin kept his body rigid, facing the trees in grim silence. Was this some guardian of the woods? Had his place of solitude actually belonged to someone else? "I'd know you if you belonged here. Or know of you. And I've never, ever heard of Devlin Hawke." Devlin shook his head at this last part; he did belong here, that was the only thing he knew for certain. This strange creature could not deny him access to this place, he was called here by things that normal humans did not understand and no matter how pretty the face delivering the message, he would not be denied solace here.
But as Dev opened his mouth in protest the girl cut him off. "And what are you wearing?" She stared at his body, and then at his feet. She crouched slightly, her head tilting to the side. Devlin could feel his face heating in embarrassment. Who was this creature? Then she stood back up. "I'm being unbelievably rude but it's only because you're so odd," she said. It sounded like it should have been an apology but her voice was steady, showing no emotion other than curiosity. "I am Lady Aphra Gray," she said, nodding her head slightly with a polite smile that somehow appeared courteous instead of condescending. Devlin was now severely confused.
"LADY Aphra Gray? Lady of what? Do you live out here in the woods?" Dev wanted to keep asking questions, but he kept his tongue in check. "I hate to be rude, but you're odder... uh, more odd... than anything I've ever seen. I'm the one wearing normal clothes."