Deception

potassiumboron

We're all monsters, living in a dream~
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Male, Female, Transgender, No Preferences
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Meh, depends really. I tend to be more aggressive I suppose, but I find a good balance with my roleplaying partner and adjust my style accordingly.
Favorite Genres
Horror, gore, bloodiness, monsters, supernatural, fantasy, romance, criminality... I could go on.
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Furry, sci-fi, boring high-school, slice of life genres that are bland and don't have some twists somewhere.
177624


Of all the species in all the kingdoms, the demons were the ones that had remained a complete mystery to their neighbours for the best part of half a millennia.

With a policy of isolationism being upheld by each ruling King or Queen, it being a tradition they felt they had to honour, nobody outside the volcanic kingdom really knew much about its inhabitants. They knew they had a strong army, and they knew what demons were generally like, but other than that, what went on inside the walls of Ignis was unknown. It wasn't through lack of trying - everytime a new ruler took charge and that news filtered out to the other kingdoms, an attempt was always made to engage contact in the hope that this new ruler would be more open to cooperation and encouraging a general atmosphere among all the kingdoms that wasn't disregarding or disrespectful. Every attempt was shot down in flames before it even had a chance to be explained properly, and so, for all those decades and centuries, no outsider had ever stepped foot inside Ignis, nor had any demon chosen to leave its boundaries.

That is until Lysander took charge from his father and mother at the very tender age of 22. The average age for a new ruler in his kingdom was at least two centuries older than he was, but Lysander's youth worked in his favour. It earned him support from his kingdom, who saw the young man as not just a strong ruler, but a King they could wholeheartedly claim to like on a personal level. They trusted whatever plans he had in mind for Ignis and so, when it was announced that he would attend the gathering of the kingdoms, no demon in the kingdom disrespected his judgement. They didn't understand at first what he was planning, but they threw their support behind him nonetheless. If they were told that opening up their kingdom to the outsiders they always deemed inferior was necessary for the overall plan to succeed, they would go along with it.

And so, for the first time in centuries, Ignis was as open as the other kingdoms were - not that anyone took the opportunity to travel to the mountainous region. Demons might have been a mystery to their neighbours, but enough was known about them to deem them worrisome and nothing but trouble. The behaviours of their previous rulers, who threatened war in response to offerings of peace, was enough for most of the populations in other kingdoms to be wary over the sudden policy change, and wary of the demons in general. They had every right to be confused and even scared by the abrupt change, though when their own rulers returned home from the first full gathering and sung Lysander's praises, that worry and wariness inevitably lifted. If their leaders approved of Lysander, then most of their civilians saw no reason to be distrusting either, even without knowing anything about the young King.

Those present at the first proper gathering of the kingdoms had been understandably concerned when Lysander arrived for the talks, both by his youth and his strangely casual clothing, and by his decision to ignore centuries' worth of isolationism to venture into cooperation with his fellow kingdoms. It didn't take him that long to sweet talk the other royals and work his charm on them: he bantered with the Orc King, flirted outrageously with the Lamia Queen and even won the surprising affection of the fairy currently ruling the Silva Kingdom; a woman who never engaged with flirting usually, until Lysander came along and gradually chipped away at her resistance. He won allies immediately, the three kingdoms throwing their support behind him and praising him for finally seeing sense his ancestors had constantly declined to. They had no idea that it was all one huge facade; that Lysander was merely collecting information from them all to help aid his real plan.

Only the Queen of Pruina saw through the charm. She had no idea what he was really planning, nor did she even realise he had malevolent intent... but she was wary of the demons enough to realise that there might be a possibility that this was all too good to be true. And so entered Neotoma - an innocent servant who was unfortunately dragged into her plans of espionage. He was sent away from the snowy tundras of Pruina to the contrasting fires and lava of Ignis; a kingdom built among active volcanoes which were, evidently, never a risk to the demons that lived there.

Even though the kingdom was technically open to any neighbouring kingdoms' civilians to wander through and experience the kingdom for themselves, having no knowledge of what it was really like behind the intimidating, foreboding walls, nobody had yet taken that change - which hadn't shocked Lysander. He knew -or at least, believed- that they wouldn't have to deal with a flurry of eager, curious beings - his kingdom and his people were still deemed dangerous, even if opinion was slowly changing as a result of the great impression he had left on the other royals. So, amongst an entire city of demons, Neotoma stood out like a sore thumb, so much so that Lysander got word of his arrival even before the young man had approached the castle to offer his services and relay the lies he had been told to do.

When he had made that journey to the castle, situated at the top of and looming down over the kingdom, Lysander was too curious to even try to hide the expression on his face when his guards ushered in the visitor. He tried to act casual as he sat on his throne, his hands neatly rested on his knees, but he was well aware that the impression he gave outsiders wasn't one of a strong, serious King - he was in clothes most normal citizens would wear, and his general aesthetic was hardly royal. The only indication that he was the King was the crown atop his head, but even then it was tilted at an angle, with the demon too lazy to even bother adjusting it.

"Ah. You're the visitor I have heard an awful lot about. Word travels fast here," he murmured slowly, his sharp nail tapping against his pierced lip as he took the other in curiously. He had only thus far seen the royals; he had never seen a normal civilian that wasn't a demon in his entire life until now, a fact that made him grin to himself in disbelief at how long his kingdom had kept themselves locked away. "...What business do you have here? I assume you aren't here to take in the delights of my kingdom. Unfortunately, judgements on our way of living are still present; I fear it'll take months before we have others from outside kingdoms visiting here. Yet here you are; our first visitor. I'm awfully intrigued by your presence here. You're from Harenae, I assume? Awful long way to travel, you must have a reason for it. And do be truthful. I don't want to have to imprison you for lying to my face. It wouldn't do well for international relations if I imprisoned the first visitor that set foot in my land."
 

saturnia pavonia

local non-binary edgelord
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Neotoma hadn’t expected his first visit to Ignis to be like this. He had spent years wanting to travel to the kingdom, study its culture and history. It was the one kingdom he was least updated on and while he still spoke the language, he still held an accent when trying to speak the native language. He had written plenty of books on each kingdom and the things he found in between them yet while one kingdom alone could take up a whole book, Ignis had only three pages written in total. This was for his Queen primarily but like hell was he going to keep his hunger for knowledge untouched when given the opportunity. So, dressed in his traditional garb - a complete contrast to clothes he wore as a servant - his wide eyes of fascination as he took in the architecture didn’t need to be faked.

He followed the guard closely, of course, careful as to avoid accidentally slipping into a pit. It was true that his old kingdom was on the opposite ends of the map but the temperatures weren’t much different. He could handle the heat way better than he could handle the cold, so it was a welcomed change as he watched the pits of lava in fascination.

The trek to the top of the castle was a silent one, at least from Neotoma’s end. He didn’t really know how to respond to the guard’s questions, offering quick and simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’s’, or the simple ‘hm’ - anything to get them to stop talking to him. He would pry for more information later but he needed to make it to the castle entrance first, of course.

Once led inside, there would be a long pause before Neotomo could respond. The intricacy of the carved statues and the beautiful obsidian floor made him speechless from underneath the many layers of fabric. Once realizing his purpose, he offered a bow.

“Oh, your majesty - I find your kingdom to be beautiful,” he admitted once locking his eyes on Lysander, taking in the demon with equal curiosity. “T-That isn’t why I am here. I’ve escaped my kingdom in the hopes for a better life. I’ve traveled through every kingdom and not one has accepted me, when I heard that you had opened your borders, I... I hoped I could get a job working as a servant. I know that your kingdom had a bad reputation but I was hoping to at least take refuge here. A job would help me finally find a place for me to be where I can be accepted,” he explained smoothly. Well, the lie was smooth but his actual accent was a bit rough, this being the first time he tried out his knowledge.“I understand if you disagree. I just... hoped the things I’ve heard were correct; that you were kind and understanding unlike the former rulers of Ignis,” he continued quietly before finally lifting from the bow, his small bag jingling with bottles and items.
 
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potassiumboron

We're all monsters, living in a dream~
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Male, Female, Transgender, No Preferences
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Meh, depends really. I tend to be more aggressive I suppose, but I find a good balance with my roleplaying partner and adjust my style accordingly.
Favorite Genres
Horror, gore, bloodiness, monsters, supernatural, fantasy, romance, criminality... I could go on.
Genre You DON'T Like
Furry, sci-fi, boring high-school, slice of life genres that are bland and don't have some twists somewhere.
For several minutes, the usually wild and lively King was uncharacteristically silent - though he could be quiet and contemplative when he needed to be. It was a misconception by some when he had been a Prince that he wasn't ever going to be capable of acting accordingly; that life as the kingdom's ruler would never be compatible with his often rambunctious personality. His father certainly hadn't thought it would work out for his son, and if he had remained alive, it was clear to even Lysander that he would have had another child and changed the laws of the land to ensure that that one would take over the throne. It was primarily why Lysander had acted as quickly as he had to ensure something like that never happened, because, despite his father's lack of faith, the young man was a very capable ruler. He enjoyed partying and interacting with people, but he equally enjoyed the other side of his position: the politics, the display of power, the planning for wars. It was just as enjoyable to him, and he was just as capable as he was throwing a party and charming those around him.

"...So you think my father was an unkind ruler, do you? That's very brave of you to say. He was my father and he only passed three months ago. He ruled this kingdom for decades had the support of our people and will go into the history books as a successful King for us all. Yet you decide he's unkind and not understanding, do you? I must admit, that's awfully... brave," he drawled from his throne as he purposely fixed the deadpan expression onto his face, the only movement being the arch of his brow. He had an urge to break into a wide grin at the other's statements, because they only confirmed that those outside his kingdom believed him to be his father's direct antithesis, which was exactly what he was aiming to present himself as. He wanted them to think he was kind and understanding, to lull them into a false sense of security. While he could praise Neotoma for his observations and agree wholeheartedly with him (because, truthfully, he didn't see himself like his father anyway), it was far more enjoyable to watch him squirm a tad first. It was a tad sadistic to want to watch him grow fearful, sure, but demons tended to find enjoyment in the discomfort of others - it was a trait of the species, and Lysander evidently was no different.

"You'll have your bag back when we decipher just what's inside them. We can't have you entering our kingdom with a bag full of strange potions and not analyse them first. For all I know, you could be sent here to kill me," the King continued as he gestured for his guard to step forward, the burly demon immediately snatching the visitor's bag from his shoulder and passing it along to another servant.

"Our physician here will spend a few hours analysing your potions and if they're determined to be entirely safe, then I'll decide what to do with you. I have to admit that I would be more inclined to hire you. I'm very eager to discover what the other kingdoms are like myself. My father and our ancestors kept this kingdom locked away - just like you, I assume, know little about us, we knew very little about your kingdom and the others too. I'm curious. If I'm going to cooperate with the others, it makes sense that I know their kingdoms' history, or I'll be at a distinct disadvantage-- I'm babbling, aren't I? It's an unfortunate habit. Until the analysis of your potions is complete, you'll remain in my company so I can keep an eye on you. But you will have to explain what you meant about my father first; about his unkindness. Don't go back on your statements, I want to know what outsiders thought of him."
 

saturnia pavonia

local non-binary edgelord
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Neotoma knee that resisting the guards would only be suspicious as they yanked his things from him, hence why he stayed as calm as possible, going as far as to help untie the few bags around his belt loop. He didn’t really fear getting prosecuted, hoping that the demons had at least a little knowledge of magic and, at a basic level, cooking at the very least. There were notes on poison magic in his books but it seemed those posed no threat to the king, thankfully. Once most of his bags were gone, Neo only looked even smaller and defenseless, especially in contrast to the beefy demons on either side of him.

With his clothes hands nervously fiddling with one another, the silence did in fact make him squirm as he adjusted the weight on his feet. He knew the plan was too early to fail but that didn’t mean he wasn’t at least a little nervous about what exactly would happen, especially to him. The energy in the room was stiff, even long after Lysander spoke again. With the urge to sigh in relief now that he had been given the chance to explain himself, he only grew anxious once again when he realized he was left with only the king.

“I - yes, I would consider myself an amateurish historian of some sorts, so I’ve written many books on the history and culture of every kingdom I’ve visited,” he admitted proudly as he pulled the bag from his shoulders, groaning at the weight as he set them on the floor neatly. “The only kingdom I haven’t been able to properly study, of course, is yours. All that I know about your kingdom are the rumors that others have said in passing and the majority seem to have disliked your father,” he explained a-matter-of-factly. “I’ve been told that he was stubborn and refused to accept trade because of isolationism, therefore stunting not only your kingdom for progress but the other kingdoms as well. This is all here-say, but... I suppose there must be some truth to it when so many people have said they agree,” he explained rather quickly, skimming through one of the books before returning his gaze back to the king.

“That being said, I... I have also heard that you aren’t anything like your father. While I’ve managed to travel throughout the kingdom’s relatively safely, I still don’t feel like I belong there. I was hoping to get another chance here, your highness,” he continued to explain, his voice growing slower and quieter now that he was no longer speaking about something that fascinated him. “If you’d like me to stay, where... where should I go? Should I sit, or...? Do you prefer me to stand?”
 
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potassiumboron

We're all monsters, living in a dream~
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Male, Female, Transgender, No Preferences
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Meh, depends really. I tend to be more aggressive I suppose, but I find a good balance with my roleplaying partner and adjust my style accordingly.
Favorite Genres
Horror, gore, bloodiness, monsters, supernatural, fantasy, romance, criminality... I could go on.
Genre You DON'T Like
Furry, sci-fi, boring high-school, slice of life genres that are bland and don't have some twists somewhere.
The fact the other knew his language and spoke it so fluently was proof if proof was needed that he was educated and clearly had a desire to learn as much as he could, even about a kingdom that not many had a desire to learn more about. It was often decided that if the kingdom wanted to isolate itself, then nobody would make the effort to constantly try to understand what went on within its walls. Other than whenever a new ruler came to the throne, when a letter was sent to seek cooperation, other kingdoms had all but ignored its existence, or done their best to do so at least. Hearing that this servant had such a thirst for knowledge that he had learned the language impacted Lysander more than he cared to admit. He had already made up his mind to hire him when he realised he could use him for information, but knowing just how eager he was was an added benefit - it was admirable, and Lysander found himself smiling in response before he could help himself.

"Oh no, I've already decided to hire you. If those are poisons and horrid potions that'll kill me, you'll be killed - obviously. But I have a feeling they're harmless; I'll bet my life on those potions being completely safe," he declared confidently as he wandered down from the throne, finally making an effort to adjust the crown on his head, though not out of the worry he appeared somewhat unroyal - it was mostly to set it in place before it crashed to the ground and broke. As adored as he was by his advisers, he doubted they'd be happy if he broke the crown that had been in his family for generations, which all former Kings and Queens had donned. Their tolerance with him might start to degrade if he was careless enough to let such an heirloom smash to pieces.

"My father was a horrid man. Everyone here thinks so. This kingdom shouldn't isolate itself from the others; we're open now to being a community. My father never took advice well; as saddened as I am by his unfortunate passing, I'm eager to show the rest of the kingdoms that I'm nothing like him. I want to be open and cooperative and engage with the others. You can prove useful to me, I think. You're very intelligent and knowledgeable-- I need that when I go into discussions; I need that information on the other kingdoms," he nodded, his eyes drifting to the guards either side of the younger man, a sudden grin breaking on his previously neutral expression.

"Are these guys intimidating you? They're teddy bears, don't you worry about them. Let's go and sit somewhere else, I can inform you of your duties without these guys scaring 'ya," continued Lysander, his personality quickly shifting from the serious King act to what he was normally like when off duty. The fact he wasted no time in taking the other by the hand and leading him off spoke volumes to his relaxed nature as King - no other royal would think it appropriate to take a servant by the hand in such a manner, especially one that was a complete stranger whose potions had not yet been declared as safe. Lysander wasn't like anyone else, a fact that his kingdom had not only realised but wholeheartedly enjoyed. Having a King who could both be the strong leader they needed and the fun, non-judgemental, charming character was the perfect mix for Ignis - particularly when Lysander was also noted as being the ideal sort of demon whose manipulation had already charmed most of the other kingdoms' royals in just a single meeting, and whose ambition was well-noted and admired throughout the land.

Those more devious characteristics weren't something he ever tried to hide, but he was at least wise enough not to blab out his entire plans for domination and war to someone he had just met. He didn't hide his plans, but he at least wanted to inform the other over time, as he grew to trust him, rather than all at once and risk losing everything.

"So, you're from Harenae. I'm not entirely clued up on goings on there, but I thought it was-- you know, mostly women," he murmured as he shot a glance back down at the other, having a foot in height over him. "Is that rude to ask? I'm not very tactful; kinda say what I want to without thinking about it. But I'm King, it doesn't get me in trouble much-- doesn't mean I want to sound rude to my new personal servant. I feel you'd fill that role well. I'm not sure my general servants would be pleased about me hiring in a stranger and giving him the most important role, but they can't give me the juicy gossip on the other kingdoms. You can. Hence why you're suddenly the most important servant here. It's your lucky day, hm~?"
 

saturnia pavonia

local non-binary edgelord
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Letting out a soft squeak in surprise, one that was barely audible - he obediently followed the king once he hurriedly shoving the books back into the old bag and swinging it back onto his back with a soft ‘oof’ from the weight. Everything seemed huge in comparison to him, both the architecture and the people themselves. He hadn’t expected the king to be as tall as he was, the distance and perspective making the difference seem far less severe.

His face were beetroot under his clothes once he realized the close contact. He had never really been one to get physical with anyone, so something like handholding shocked him. With his eyes locked on their handholding, he only peeled his attention away when he realized he was being asked to speak. Adjusting the bag on his back, he only grew uncomfortable when he was called out.

“Yes, mostly women,” He confirmed quietly, his eyes now taking in the windows of the castles to avoid eye contact. “There are some men, so... yes. It’s rare, I think my mother said every 1 in 15 children are men,” he explained as best he could, his words fumbling a bit. “It’s why I wanted to leave. It didn’t feel right and I just felt... isolated, I suppose. So I decided to leave and instead learn about the other kingdoms. They are also almost always lamia, so...”
 
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potassiumboron

We're all monsters, living in a dream~
Original poster
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Several Posts a Day, A Few Posts A Day, One Post a Day
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3pm - 1am (GMT / BST)
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Beginner, Elementary, Intermediate, Adept, Adaptable
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Male, Female, Transgender, No Preferences
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Meh, depends really. I tend to be more aggressive I suppose, but I find a good balance with my roleplaying partner and adjust my style accordingly.
Favorite Genres
Horror, gore, bloodiness, monsters, supernatural, fantasy, romance, criminality... I could go on.
Genre You DON'T Like
Furry, sci-fi, boring high-school, slice of life genres that are bland and don't have some twists somewhere.
Lysander knew he had probably ventured into a topic that made his new servant a little uncomfortable. Usually, picking up on someone's discomfort would spur him onto probing deeper, just for his own personal amusement. In this instance, not wanting to cause the other to clam up and refuse to reveal something that could aid his plans, the young man nodded briskly and continued moving ahead through the corridors without so much as another word. The corridors themselves were surprisingly well lit - it was often contested outside Ignis that the entire kingdom was shrouded in darkness, only lit by the fires and pits of lava the kingdom was swamped by. Whilst this was true for the most part when it came to the general location of the land, being situated amongst the mountains where the sun sometimes couldn't reach, it wasn't true for the castle. Lysander had made sure that in every corridor there were torches -held by suits of armour for the aesthetic- brightly lit, which reflected the specks of pure gold in the marble floors and the jewels ostentatiously embedded in the walls.

Just because Lysander had a more casual approach to his own appearance didn't mean he liked to live simply. He, like most demons, enjoyed luxury when it was afforded to them, and the castle, in all its grandeur and unsubtle expense, was proof of that.

"...You must be tired from the journey. I have a party planned tonight, like most nights, but I won't force you to attend, not even in a social manner. I'd have asked you to work tonight, to get yourself into the running of things immediately so time isn't wasted, but I can't have you collapsing with exhaustion just a few hours into the job. People would talk, accuse me of working my servants into the ground, which is far from the case. My staff have fun here; we enjoy ourselves. I want you to do the same. As important as your role is to me, informing and educating me, I also want you to experience what life here is like. You can't do that if you're exhausted and not able to appreciate it all," he pointed out after ten minutes of silent walking, eventually reaching one of the many drawing rooms of the castle. It was, like most (if not, all) rooms in its grand interior design, though it was situated far away enough from the more busy areas of the home that it would give him the intimate privacy with the new servant he required. He had a feeling that the other was more likely to open up if he wasn't interrupted by noises of other servants going about their daily business.

"Come, sit down. We'll have some of the kingdom's finest wine-- it's made from a fruit only grown here. It's hard to grow anything here, as you can imagine. What does grow, therefore, is unique only to this place. The wine is... it might not be to your tastes, but you won't know until you try," he grinned, gesturing Neotoma to take a seat on one of the chairs beside the roaring fireplace as he wandered to the nearby counter to fetch himself a drink. "...I can't imagine your Queen in Harenae ever shared a glass of wine with you like this. I'm not... suited to traditional behaviour; it bores me, acting high and mighty all the time. I like to talk to people, regardless of status and class. It's so... old-fashioned not to."
 

saturnia pavonia

local non-binary edgelord
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Furry
“No, my Queen didn’t even know I existed. I don’t mind, really; I’m not one to enjoy attention on me,” he admitted, only then deciding to shed the wrap around his face and head, keeping his purple hair cool. Sitting down obediently, he offered a small smile as he took in the interior, only then deciding to pull out the nearly untouched journal to quickly scribble down notes. He wrote everything in his own language at first and, through dedication, would write it in the appropriate language for the subject later on. It was unnecessary work but it was just evidence of his dedication to his craft. Tugging his legs up to sit cross-legged, he took in the room and quickly wrote what he saw down in fascination.

“Oh - that’s so kind of you!” He admitted, his black eyes lighting up at the mention of wine. He wasn’t an alcoholic but he would be lying if he said he didn’t enjoy a drink every now and then. To be given a delicacy by a king wasn’t something he expected to experience any time soon, if ever. Once handed the glass, he was careful to take a sip.

“It’s delicious,” he praised quietly, setting the glass down carefully as he took in the crystalline cup. “I’m a bit of a cook myself - that’s what most of my herbs are for, at least. Cooking food from my home kingdom help me feel a little less out-of-place,” he admitted, his eyes then landing on Lysander’s.

“I... will admit, I am a bit exhausted,” he said with a quiet laugh, tugging off the long gloves that hid his arms from the heat. “I cant thank you enough, King Lysander. To accept some random nomad into your court is - well, baffling,” he admitted before nervously nodding. “I’m not one to really party, I’m what one would call a ‘wallflower’, I think that’s how you say it. I also apologize if my skills in your language aren’t, ah... as finely tuned. Since so little of your culture has been given to the other kingdoms, I’ve had to figure everything out simply by the few books I’ve collected. Please, if I say anything wrong I... I would rather not embarrass myself, aha...”
 
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potassiumboron

We're all monsters, living in a dream~
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Several Posts a Day, A Few Posts A Day, One Post a Day
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3pm - 1am (GMT / BST)
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Beginner, Elementary, Intermediate, Adept, Adaptable
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Male, Female, Transgender, No Preferences
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Meh, depends really. I tend to be more aggressive I suppose, but I find a good balance with my roleplaying partner and adjust my style accordingly.
Favorite Genres
Horror, gore, bloodiness, monsters, supernatural, fantasy, romance, criminality... I could go on.
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"Oh no, you speak the language perfectly. I dare say a damn sight better than some of the people I talk to at my parties, in fact. As much as I'd like you to join us tonight so you can note it all down and spread the news that we're really not a bad lot of people here, I'd be selfish to force you along. Besides, I might need to... carefully tell people about your job here before they see you for themselves. We haven't had any outsiders come to our kingdom before-- not as far as I know. You being the first is bound to bring you attention and... I assume some might be a little wary, and demons tend to... we're... hm. We're not very good at dealing with situations we're uncomfortable with. We lash out, verbally or physically. It's best I inform those at the gathering tonight that you're a perfect nice person who wishes us no harm; that you're working here and dedicated to making this kingdom run smoothly," the King nodded as he flopped down into the chair beside the other, resting his feet up on the small table opposite him. Even though he had just met the other, he wasn't going to act as though he was perfect and polished - he had no qualms about sinking down into the chair and fully relaxing.

His people knew better than to misjudge him based on his relaxed and casual demeanour - Neotoma, in time, would come to realise that too, and it was best to just let him realise that organically than confuse him by pretending to be someone he wasn't.

Of course, he also recognised that he was hypocritical. He was pretending his aims of cooperation and engagement were entirely innocent and devoid of malevolent intent, when the opposite was true: he wanted nothing more than to see all the other kingdoms fall and his own to envelop them under his sole command. However, it was the only thing he was prepared to lie over until he felt he could trust Neotoma, until he believed he was as dedicated to him as he claimed to be.

"...I'll have a servant show you to a room in the servant quarters. You'll be pleasantly surprised, I think, by how nice they are. My father and my ancestors were never bothered about giving their staff an adequate living space. In the three months I've been in charge, I've redone the entire quarters; I'm sure you'll enjoy experiencing a little luxury because, really, no expense has been spared. I reward hardwork and loyalty, and even though you've just got here, the fact you travelled all this way is admirable. You deserve a reward for that alone," the demon nodded, his wide smile returning as he leaned a little closer into the Harenaen. "You're very young, aren't you? As am I, so really, I'm not going to judge you for that. You have no idea how ageist the other royals are - your Queen laughed in my face when I turned up there for the gathering, because of my youth and inexperience. How old are you? 18, 19?"
 

saturnia pavonia

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“If your kingdom’s architecture has anything to say, I wouldn’t expect anything else but a lovely servants quarters,” he praised, watching the young king as he absently sipped the wine. He couldn’t really read the man’s energy, whether or not he should keep up a strict and professional environment or to let loose a bit. Either way he was terrified and he thought that was completely understandable. He was genuinely fascinated by everything but he forgot he had a mission to accomplish.

In a good sense, he was at least happy to take his thoughts away from the plan when he mentioned his age. It was embarrassing - he knew he looked young and that often discredited his skill. He had been traveling for two years straight and had spent the other two trying to collect some money for himself to continue his travel. To be seen as a child because of his appearance only made him grow red in embarrassment.

“20, actually.” Neotoma corrected with a nervous smile. “I’ve wanted to travel since I was 13 so I put my plan into action early on. I left when I was 16 and the rest was history,” he explained with an awkward laugh, desperately trying to hide a deep sense of anger at that constant feeling of being put down. “I’m no king but I do think we’re very similar in some ways. People see us as less competent because of our age, right?”
 
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potassiumboron

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"Oh, certainly. But if anything, you should let it spur you on more, at least that's what I've been doing the last three months. If people are going to assume I'm not up to the task because I'm young, then I know I'll just have to prove them wrong-- which is what I've been doing. Eventually the other kingdoms will come to realise that however young I am, and however I use my free time, I can be a great King and a good ally. If anything, they need me. I'm young and I have new ideas and-- I'm not a boring old traditionalist. They need someone like me to come and mix things up a bit. Like I need you, coming here and mixing my life up-- in a good way. I need someone like you, and it certainly helps that you're capable with magic. You'll have to show me your skills," he nodded, letting his eyes close as he downed the rest of his wine, happy, for a moment at least, to just soak up the warmth of the fire and the faint sound of music drifting down the corridor. Per his orders, the music wasn't classical - at least, it wasn't what he thought classical music was. He couldn't stand string instruments, aside from the guitar, so the music that would be played was always on the piano; usually some cheery tune he could hum along to.

"But as I say, today you can just settle in. Explore the castle, befriend your new employees, take in the kingdom. Write all about it in that adorable notebook of yours. You're very studious, aren't you? I never was fond of the lessons I had as a child; I was more invested in the physical training. I trained with the soldiers in the army when I was just a boy, you know. Books and reading-- never my thing. But I want it to be; I want to learn," he emphasised as his gold eyes opened once again, peering back over at the newcomer with the same smile glued to his face, though it was a shade more friendly than it had been before.

"You're scared. I get that. I can sense it in you but I understand. You're new here and I'm a King who threatened to imprison you during our first exchange of words. I also imagine you don't understand the... behaviour I'm exhibiting. Royals don't interact like this with their subjects normally-- trust me, I've had a whole kingdom be confused by my approach with them for months now. Just don't be scared, alright? I don't need you fearing me; that doesn't appeal to me at all. If I wanted to hurt you, you'd be bleeding by now-- that sounds like a threat. Which probably scares you more, huh? Sorry."
 

saturnia pavonia

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“If I’m going to be honest, yes. I’m... terrified,” he admitted with a nervous laugh, his face once again growing red as he set the book down, being called out on it making him a bit embarrassed. He knew it could be seen as ‘nerdy’ to some but when you grew up pretty isolated, you had to find more studious ways to entertain yourself and writing was just something he did. Folding his hands obediently, he only broke the hold to grab the glass of wine and take another sip, enjoying the flavors curiously.

“Oh, you want me to teach you? That... that would be an honor, yeah!” He urged, the wine giving him at least a little more confidence as he adjusted himself on the chair. “I’m not really a ‘teacher’ type, but I would love to be able to help... assuming you tell me about yourself, of course - I trust you to tell the truth. That isn’t to say I don’t trust you, just... just that I only really have you as a resource and more often than not I gets information through other people, like citizens and stuff,” he explained, immediately growing nervouscwhen he realized he might have sacrificed the whole mission.

“I-I just - I don’t know if your people would appreciate me being here, like you said. I don’t know how I would be perceived if I just walked down the street asking questions, you know?” He continued to babble, only to purse his lips and wring the sleeves of his billowy shirt nervously.

“I’m sorry - that was rude. Wine makes me a bit, um... insensitive? No, that’s not the word for it. I just - I try to stay out of the way and I don’t want to make a mess of anything - this isn’t helping, is it?” He babbled our, dread being obvious in his voice.
 
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potassiumboron

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"On the contrary, I find you adorable. Perhaps the wine has got to your head a little but it's very potent, has a particularly high alcohol content. I should have warned you before you had some, but I wanted you to try it. There's so much you have to try here, to write about and experience. I want you to fit in here, and people will come to realise that eventually; that you're not a threat. I understand their wariness, and maybe you'll find it tough to adjust, but demons aren't judgemental. Sure, we have superiority complexes, but knowing you travelled all this way just to serve me? You'll find that you'll be accepted in no time. If not, I'll make sure of it. I won't have your time here ruined by idiots," commented Lysander as he reached for the bottle to top his glass up. As high as the alcohol content was, it took several glasses of the wine to really have an effect on him, if getting drunk was the aim. It wasn't the aim right now, wanting to have a clear head as he talked to the newcomer, but he also wanted to enjoy the moment of peace while he could, and a glass of wine went hand-in-hand with that.

"I'm open to questions, by the way. Go for it; I've nothing to hide. If I bombard you with questions, I can't then fall silent and refuse to bare my soul in return," he admitted, sitting cross-legged in the chair as he rested his chin in his hand, his pointed, sharp canines on display as he smiled politely over at him again.

"Oh, I never get to be questioned like this, it's sort of fun. I got questioned at the meeting, but they asked me boring questions about my intentions and about my thoughts of war and violence... All utterly mundane bullshit," he cursed with a dismissive snort, his eyes rolling as he downed half the wine in his glass in one swig. "You can ask me anything, as juicy or as salacious as you can. I won't get mad; I swear. Or you can just ask me about the kingdom, if you wish. That probably interests you more than me and my life does."
 

saturnia pavonia

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It was true that the alcohol content was way higher than he was used to, as was evident by Neotomo holding his head, his eyes squeezing shut when he felt himself get a headache already. He took another sip of the wine anyway, not wanting to seem too rude when he was offered a delicacy from someone so important. Rubbing his brow warily, he offered an apologetic smile. The whole thing was embarrassing, especially when he wanted to seem intelligent and mature. Letting out a quiet groan, he did narrow his eyes in thought.

"... how long to demons live for?" He questioned after a long pause, his hand reaching for his book and pen quickly. He knew his writing would be a lot less neat than he would prefer but it was at least an attempt to get some information down - proof of just how dedicated he was to the situation. "God - I'm so sorry, I... I don't drink alcohol as often as you would think," he added, his accent slipping a bit.

"I may be cute but I'm sure I look ridiculous, too... I think I need to sit up," he declared in his drunken state, stumbling just a tad but steadying himself nonetheless. "Oh! Oh, what are some things you do for fun? I heard from a few people that you only party but I don't think that's true - or is it? I've never been to a party, never been invited."
 
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potassiumboron

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"On average? A few centuries, at least. It's why my father and mother's accidental deaths were so shocking. It's hard for our species to die anyway, but for them to die so young? It really was a horrid moment, I'm sure the kingdom is still stunned in disbelief over it. I certainly am." Lysander sighed as he topped his glass back up, hiding the urge to smile - as tipsy as Neotoma appeared to be, the King had no doubt that smiling over the talk of his parents' deaths would have brought unwanted suspicion onto his shoulders. Yet, it was hard not to smile - both because the memory was one he couldn't help but feel proud about, and because he was lying blatantly and getting away with it. In time, he knew that Neotoma would be told the truth about that, and the truth about everything else, but for now, lying was the best way to keep him at enough of a distance. He needed to trust him and be certain that he was dedicated to the kingdom before he even contemplated letting him in on such huge secrets.

"I do a lot for fun. I like to walk among the mountains, I enjoy sword-fighting and I love art. Partying is something I suppose I do a lot but everyone's invited; the poorest people especially. They're as welcome as my most richest friends and advisers are. It's a way for my kingdom and our community to bond. Outsiders can criticise my partying lifestyle but I do it for the kingdom; not just for myself. Mind you, I will admit that I throw them so I can end the night with someone joining me in bed-- the parties always help bring new people to the castle, and I'm always amazed by how handsome people here can be-- Speaking of, this is Themus. He's the physician here and--"

"You had me stop treating a soldier with a broken arm just to inspect some harmless potions, sire. With all due respect, it was a monumental waste of my very valuable time-- Is this the Harenaen boy everyone's talking about?" The physician muttered, his sharp, clearly annoyed tone fading a little as he took in the sight of the tipsy visitor, a small smile of amusement pulling at his lips before he quickly erased it, adopting the same irked expression he had stormed into the room with. With a grumpy scoff, he handed back Neotoma his bag, before folding his arms across his chest tiredly. "I wasted my time examining those, there's really nothing there that can cause you danger, sire. This boy's not here to kill you, though I recommend we still be wary of him. It's odd, isn't it, how he's arrived so suddenly--"

"Not at all. We've opened the walls up, we're encouraging of visitors now. Do stop being so paranoid. Now, be a darling and take the poor boy to a bedroom, would you? I'd go myself but he needs to meet new people and you two must have some things in common. Themus works with potions, that'll give you something to talk about," laughed Lysander as he unsubtly sent a flirty grin up at the fellow demon, the fact he went as far as to kiss his cheek and run a hand through his hair intimately being evidence that they were -or had been- romantic with one another. With a final smile to the newcomer, the King finished his wine and gestured the two to leave, deciding that his curiosity to question the boy more would wait until he had rested.

To say Themus was pleased by the sudden duty of guiding Neotoma would be completely wrong, the tall demon grunting in annoyance as he inched away and walked ahead of him down the lit corridor. "Hurry up, would you? This isn't in my job description, guiding around drunk strangers who, by the way, I don't trust at all. You reek of deception. If Lysander wasn't blinded by how attractive you are, he'd realise how suspicious the timing of your arrival was, too."
 

saturnia pavonia

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“I have no intentions of hurting anyone,” Neotoma reassured the physician, holding onto the herbs tight to his chest once he gathered all of the layers he had taken off, once again looking much like a child with all of the layers. The fact that Themis was even taller than Lysander amazed him, naturally, as he had to tilt his head to take the demon in. Nonetheless he held his things close, absentmindedly reminding himself he aught to make a hangover cure as soon as possible, hearing his mortar and pestle clanking together in its bag.

“So... you’re a physician who works with potions? I haven’t seen potion use outside of my own kingdom,” he began in an attempt to start conversation, even with him stumbling a tad from the weight of his things. How he hadn’t slipped into a pool of lava while sober was a miracle so being tipsy would have been a certain tragedy. Inhaling deeply, he offered his best smile.

“... your kind are all very handsome,” he noted. “From where I’m from, there are hardly any males - o-oh, that reminds me! If you don’t mind mind, I would love to interview you for any information on your medical practices,” he insisted, his voice growing louder in excitement. “As King Lysander said, you practice with potions, right? I would love to know what ingredients are unique to this kingdom - I’m sorry, this is all just very exciting.”
 
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potassiumboron

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Themus clearly wasn't as prepared as Lysander was to greet the newcomer and welcome him in with open arms. The King had wasted no time in getting to know Neotoma, treating him as he would any other member of his kingdom. Themus, meanwhile, was much more hesitant to believe that Neotoma was as innocent as he claimed to be. He felt like the timing of his arrival -just a mere day after Lysander's presence at the gathering of the kingdom- was strange, and that Lysander ought to analyse the circumstances before jumping into the situation. Apparently he hadn't, and Themus knew better than to challenge him once his mind had been made up. If Lysander trusted the new servant, to believe that he would stay loyal even when their plans were unveiled, then he reluctantly had to let his distrust go... at least on a visible surface level. Beneath that, he would remain distrusting and wary until he felt he had been convinced that Neotoma was no threat to any of them.

It was why he would try to talk to him and converse - he didn't need the servant tattling to the King that he had been spoken to rudely and dismissed. While Themus was one of the closest friends to Lysander, and one of his lovers that wasn't dropped or ignored, he still knew not to get on his bad side, so if he liked Neotoma, he had to make the effort to get along with him.

"Demons heal quickly. My potions aren't used for flesh wounds or to heal bones. They're mostly painkillers, in a sense. Being a physician to demons is rather useless when any injuries we receive tend to heal on their own. The pain doesn't go as quickly and so my potions are brewed to help deal with that. It's a rather interesting job, I suppose. I thought all the kingdoms practised magic and brewed potions? I don't know much about the other lands, obviously." Themus murmured in a slow, nonchalant tone, though he at least slowed down his pace and long strides to stay walking beside the other, rather than rush off ahead and potentially leave the newcomer getting lost among the maze of corridors that comprised the castle.

"I suppose you could interview me, if you wanted. The plants here are unique to our kingdom so I'm sure you'd be interested in studying them-- and Lysander would approve of me teaching you, so I'd place myself in his good books, which is a benefit-- he seems to like you for whatever reason, so I suppose I'll have to appease you and show you where i work tomorrow."
 

saturnia pavonia

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“Different kinds of magic, I’ve come to notice,” he explained as he followed as closely behind as possible. “My home is known for potions and spells involving ingredients and whatnot, though I’ve practiced my hand in other types. That being said, fairies have different types of magic and orcs practically have none, at least from what I’ve noticed. It’s super interesting if you ask me, though I know you aren’t,” He babbled out, his smile growing wide.

“Remind me of all of this, okay? I’m not in a position to write and walk. I’ve gotten used to carrying everything on me but I think I had a bit too much for my own good. Your wine is - wow, that’s all I can say. I’ve never had anything so potent before - what is it made of?” He asked quickly, scampering along as best as he could. “I wonder what it is that heals you all so quickly. Maybe it’s the blood? I’m no doctor, that’s for certain - I just find the history fascinating,” He babbled out with wide eyes.
 
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potassiumboron

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Horror, gore, bloodiness, monsters, supernatural, fantasy, romance, criminality... I could go on.
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Furry, sci-fi, boring high-school, slice of life genres that are bland and don't have some twists somewhere.
"Ah, the orcs. I don't know anything about them but I imagine they barely know how to construct a sentence without breaking out into some nonsensical growling. The idea of them even learning how to put a potion together is laughable. I highly doubt they have the patience and ingenuity for something like that," laughed the demon callously, having no trouble in completely disregarding the orcs. Lysander hadn't lied when he mentioned the superiority that reigned in their kingdom - demons were brought up to believe that they were the top species: orcs were deemed too dumb, the fairies too considerate, the lamias too emotional. The only beings that posed a potential threat were the feline-like creatures in Pruina, but even then, the demons would believe themselves to be far superior.

Themus, like almost everyone else in his kingdom, was happy to disregard an entire species without even interacting with any of them on a personal level. It was partly why he couldn't connect with Neotoma, or even consider genuinely trying to. He wasn't a demon and, therefore, not really worth his time. It was just the fact Lysander liked him that was all but forcing the physician to abandon deep-rooted instincts and try to talk to the other without being patronising or rude.

"it's probably in our blood. What makes orcs so strong? From what Lysander heard from the King of Palus, orcs are incredibly strong - why is that? Every species has something about them that makes them unique from the others. Demons heal. It's unique to us. As is, I assume, our ability to adopt a more humanoid form. You are aware that this isn't natural, aren't you? This isn't how I should look on a day-to-day basis. I'm not even sure why we all go along with it, but we do," he shrugged, stopping abruptly to nudge open one of the door along one of the corridors he had strayed down. After surveying the bedroom, he nodded to himself and nudged the door open further, gesturing the other to go inside. "This seems suitable enough for you. Get yourself settled in. You'll eat your dinners with the servants in the servant dining room - it's just down this corridor and to the right. I eat with Lysander and our close friends. I doubt you'll ever get to eat with him. He doesn't -and will never- like you that much."
 

saturnia pavonia

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“That’s fascinating,” He whispered in awe at just the idea of some other forms. The one presented from the doctor was amazing and, in a way, beautiful. To imagine some other, more intricate and unique appearance on someone who was already interesting to look at was something he immediately craved to experience. His mood was dampened by the other’s unnecessarily malicious comment, his smile souring as he carefully set his things down on the bed.

“Yes, well... I had no intentions of getting that close. I thought I had explained to the others that I’m just happy to be here and to escape my old kingdom. I... I understand that it’s strange for me to want to live amongst you, in a kingdom notoriously hated by everyone, but I feel like I belong here more than anywhere else. The weather here is pleasant, unlike Pruina. How I survived even passing through is ridiculous, my bones ached from the cold... everywhere else I was seen as an outsider,” he explained, the scales that lined his lower arms and the sides of his face shining a tad in the light as he peeled back layers, down until he was down to his loose harem-like pants and a simple tank top shirt. It was there that signs of his lamia origins could be seen.

While he didn’t have a full tail, he still had the scales of traditional lamia along his arms, legs and cheeks that blended in with more ‘human’ skin. He also featured the familiar purple hair and black eyes of the species, along with vipor-like fangs, though he was always insecure of them. Tossing the clothes to the side haphazardly, he set his hands on his hips in his tipsy state to take in the room.

“This is amazing,” he admitted with a smile. He was living in a small flat in the city of Pruina, his bedroom easily being half of his closet sized living space. He missed his kitchen but he could make plenty of spells on his own without the convenience. He had lived alone in a plethora of environments before, working without a kitchen were child’s play in comparison to the struggles he had faced in the past. “Very comfortable! This’ll do.”
 
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