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Fantasy ☾ eclipse of the heart.| (syntra + starboob = synboob.)

Sub Genres
  1. Action
  2. Adventure
  3. LGTBQ
  4. Romance


lover / leaver


The Sun & the Moon have been bitter enemies ever since the Sun tried to claim the skies for herself.
War broke out between the two luminary rulers, dividing the constellations, planets, and all the stars.
Blood colored the skies red for centuries. The night sky lost half its stars with all the casualties.
A stalemate was reached when the Sun stole the Moon's eyes, dimming her light and forcing her
to retreat into the night.

Eons since have passed and the luminary rulers have begun to wane,
their powers growing weaker with each day,
indicating the start to a new cycle of Sun and Moon.

So what if these heiresses, like, totally fell in l*ve?
Would that be epic or what?
Do you think they'd call it Suneo and Mooniet?
Or would it be Mooneo and Suniet?

yet another gay little rp by yours truly & kat ( Syntra Syntra )
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Baba Yaga
'Blessed, blessed, blessed,' they whispered, from across ages, from across dimensions. The echo kept returning to her ears, over and over and over, its message somehow growing stronger. 'Blessed, blessed, blessed!' The sound of it was silvery, somehow, much like the moonlight that always illuminated the hallways. Selene couldn't see it, per se, but that much was true for just about anything these days, wasn't it? Everything was drowning in darkness, much like the future of this godforsaken realm! ...hah. Good. That way, what she planned to do to them would likely be seen as, hmm, an improvement. Yes, yes, very much so. It didn't matter what actually happened, you see? What was truly important was how you interpreted those events, and Selene, the only daughter of Luna, knew just how to dance that particular dance! (A little tip-- make sure that whoever you were trying to rip off had all the wits of a cracked walnut. And, if they failed to meet those criteria? Then it was high time to introduce them to your blade, she supposed. Ah, existence and all the diverse, diverse paths it offered! How thankful the princess was, truly, for the spark of life Luna had breathed into her. Thankful enough, actually, to give her anything, anything her heart might desire. Her eyes, huh? A small thing, in truth. A banality, in the grand scheme of everything. ...now, how would her mother dearest like it if she shoved them down her throat? She hadn't specified how she would like them delivered, after all, and oh, surprises were so, so much fun! Nobody could argue with that, Selene was convinced.) 'Princess, oh, how blessed you are,' her companions sighed in delight, touching her with their ghostly hands. Yes, with ghostly hands, pleasant and cool against her skin, and... and, ew. What was that disgusting, fleshy thing? Had someone-- ah, of course. Of course! Why was she surprised, even?

Annoyed, Selene swatted the offending hand away-- the offending living hand, to be precise. "It's not your turn, Risa," she announced, cold and distant. "As a punishment, you shall sleep on the floor today."

"B-but, princess!" Risa squealed, and honestly? In that moment, Selene was almost thankful that her own eyes had been sewn shut. (She could just about imagine it, the stupid way in which her lower lip trembled when slighted. An idiot, truly. Did she think it made her look like an innocent maiden? That maybe, maybe it awakened some protective instincts within her, or that she'd perhaps like to kiss it away? Pfft, don't make her laugh. ...more than anything else, it was the thought of burning them away that appealed to her. Her lips, that was. It was hard to imagine she'd continue spouting such nonsense without them, wasn't it? That, and she would also learn not. to. touch. her. when it wasn't her turn!)

"No, Risa, don't even try. You've almost disrupted my divinations. How am I to undertake a mission of such importance, if I know not the odds of my success?"

"Yes," Nezta cried, "unforgivable! You shouldn't be allowed to drink from the fountain of the princess's strength for six turns of the moon, I think. To reflect on the extent of your foolishness."

"Punishment! Punishment! Punishment!" someone else, probably Gysleah, chanted. "Oh please, princess Selene, let us witness this!"

"Yes!" the rest of her entourage agreed. "It has been so, so long since we've seen blood flow, Stellar One. Will you grant this gift to us?"

A ghost of a smile appeared on Selene's lips, and the metallic claws she was wearing shimmered. "How could I ever refuse you, ladies?"


Good job, she congratulated herself, before licking the blood off her fingers. If nothing else, that should shut her up for a while. Of course, everything about it had been entirely unnecessary-- she'd almost disrupted her divinations, almost, and while the nuance may have been too subtle for their unwashed ears to register, it actually meant that she hadn't done it. Shocking, huh? Still, Selene had enjoyed carving new words into her skin, and that alone caused it to be worthwhile. Plus, her blood had this sweet, sweet aftertaste to it! (...blessed. Blessed. There wasn't much ambiguity hidden in that message, was it? Blessed = good, and good = success. Today, then, the moon princess would retrieve her mother's eyes! And, no, she didn't know how to feel about it. Don't ask.)


The gown they'd chosen for her was inconspicuous, in that it reflected nothing of her heritage-- instead of the subdued silvers, blues and greens, Selene found herself wrapped in red silks that left little to imagination. ('Come closer,' her outfit said. 'Come closer, and taste me.' The most venomous of snakes also clad themselves in bright colors, didn't they? Yes, yes, the princess liked that angle! ...moreso than being just bait, mere eyecandy that everyone could feast on. Who had thought this was a good idea, anyway? Generally, you tried to blend in while infiltrating an enemy's lair-- drawing attention to yourself sure was an, ah, novel approach. Oh well, though.)

The Sun Palace, she presumed, was as obnoxious as all the rumors claimed-- with her eyes being what they were, only shadows danced behind her eyelids, but even those struck her as unnecessarily loud. Just, ugh. Had the concept of subtlety missed those people entirely? The answer to that question was 'yes,' at least judging by the bombastic orchestra whose braying slapped her in the face the moment she got inside. Oh, gods. Give me strength.

...but, hmm. Who was that? Among all the shadows, one of those was shining so, so brightly, and Selene could only conclude this was someone important. Hmm. Someone important enough to have the access to precious information, perhaps? "Blessed lady," she bowed to the stranger, "my eyes see not, and yet I know you are the most beautiful woman in the room. Will you grace me with a dance?"


lover / leaver

"How are my daughter's lessons coming along, Aquila? I understand attendance has been an issue?"

"Yes, your radiance, attendance has been an issue and that has impeded on any significant progress. When she is in class and provided she is applying herself, she is quite bright––to be expected, of course, given her most impressive lineage. But, quite honestly, I am at a loss. I have no clue how to guide her."

"Hm, I see." Helia purses her lips together, the four eyes on her face all peer over towards Sol while her arms fold across her chest, "And what do you have to say for yourself, little one? Are you not happy with your tutor? I can always dispose of Aquila and get you a new one."

At that, Aquila gulps and shifts uncomfortably where she stands. It almost looks as if she is trying to send Sol telepathic message. Not that Sol picks up on any of those nuances. She tilts her head to the side, then squinches up her face before shrugging. "I mean, I dunno. It's just not that interesting to me. Like, I have to sit for so long and force myself to be quiet and just listen for hours of talking about nothing, but then there will be a really cool butterfly that's just having a really ace time outside and when I try to ask about the butterfly, it's always, 'No, Sol, today is not about epidemiology,'" she means entomology, "'today we are learning about blah, blah, blah instead.' And it's just boring. I heard that Cyra got to do all her lessons outside, how come I can't do that, too?"

When that particular name is mentioned, the temperature in the room drops by several degrees. Helia's eyes flicker between Sol and Aquila, Sol looking clueless and Aquila growing more uncomfortable by the second. Finally the Sun's eyes land on her daughter, "How did you hear of that name, Sol?"

"Aquila took me into the restricted section of the palace to show me something and I saw her portrait. I thought it was strange that it was hidden away, since all the Sun portraits are in the gallery––"

"That will be enough, Sol. Go meet with the beauty team, Leo will be waiting. Aquila, do stay behind, we have much to discuss."

There's someone in front of Sol talking to her. She doesn't even know about what, because she lost the other woman somewhere when she mentioned broke (baroque) art. To her credit, she is trying to at least look like she's paying attention––you know, nodding and smiling at all the right moments. Ordinarily, Sol would have not hesitated to sneak away from this party to either go to her hidden oasis or find Polaris and ask for a fat blunt. But by some cruel joke of the universe, none of those options are available to her. She actually has to be on her best behavior tonight––if she's not then her mom won't let her have another pet iguana to replace the loss of Baobab (Reese's in pieces). Thus the fate of her future rests in her ability to keep it together for a single evening. 'Ugh.'

Beep, beep, beep!

'Oh, thank goodness. Saved by the McFreaking bell,'
she closes her fist around the noisy object hidden in the folds of her dress, and politely excuses herself from the woman. (Seriously, what is her name? Marisol? Marceline? Marcy? Ah, oh well. If she's important enough, she'll meet her again and maybe actually catch her name this time. Another point in favor of wearing name tags to these events, by the way, but apparently that's not cool and defeats the purpose of flexing that you're really good with names and faces. Ugh.)

She scurries off towards the balcony, where she knows she'll be able to get some privacy away from the party and she can check on her Tamagotchi pet in peace. It's just very important to Sol, for some reason, to take care of this thing. She doesn't even really know what a Tamagotchi is or what it does or if there is a prize at the end of the game for being so good at taking care of this child, this absolute gremlin, but it has felt like her sacred mission ever since she discovered the thing hidden in the back of her dresser. (Where did this thing even come from? It's an aesthetic eyesore with everything else around her having been carved from stone, gilded in gold, and whatnot.) Anyway, it's a quick event with her weird bird needing a meal and afterwards she tucks the egg away once more to return to the ball. She should probably find that lady she had been talking to earlier.

Except that, someone else grabs her attention before that can happen. 'Oh, cheese, does she think I'm my mom?' because usually people only talk that way to her mom––not herself. Mostly, when they talk to her it's always like, 'Please, Sol, stop using the abacus as a maraca because you are bored,' or 'Sol, stop flinging pies at from the eleventh tower,' or 'What are your opinions on the Gemini conflict?' The kissing-up stuff is usually reserved for her mom. And, honestly, at a party hosted by Helia, herself? Who else is there to kiss-up to?

"Um, well, yeah, sure, I guess, but since your eyes don't work, I think you should know that I'm not my mom. She's probably the one you're trying to kiss up to. Like, I am pretty, so your sensors are definitely not wrong, but just saying," her words come out of her mouth faster than she means them to, but she also doesn't bother stopping or even trying to take a breather. "Oh, but I'm not trying to curve you. We can still dance if you want? Like, you're really pretty. I don't know if you know this, but you are so I think this will be fun."

Without waiting for the stranger to respond, she takes her hand and leads her to the floor. "I apologize to your toes in advance. My tutor says I have two left feet," she explains, already looking down to make sure she doesn't step where she is not supposed to step. Her movements are slow, awkward, and cautious––nothing like the ordinary Sol who is fast, confident, and reckless. "Anyway, do I know you from somewhere? Sorry, if we've met before, I'm really not good with names but I'm sure I won't forget yours. I'll say it seven times just to make sure."
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Baba Yaga
Hook, line, and sinker. Truly, was everyone at the Solar Court such a simpleton? Selene had been told tales of their foolishness, but somehow, she had still expected them to be more adept than that-- rumors often twisted the truth beyond recognition, after all, and made you underestimate your enemy. (If you allowed that to happen… no, you had no right to call literally anyone a fool. No right! Idiots weak-willed enough to be seduced by such fantasies deserved all the poisoned gifts they were about to get, the princess thought. All of them, and possibly more. Why not, hmm? If they were so eager to live in their imaginary worlds, then they could close their eyes forever and stop wasting her damn time. Just, did Selene look as if she had a shortage of issues to deal with? As if she was bored, perhaps? No? Then why, pray tell, did her subordinates constantly try to add to them with their criminal, criminal incompetence? Embarrassing, indeed! …maybe Luna wasn’t entirely wrong, in some regards. Her missteps had been numerous enough to form an entirely new galaxy, but the punishments she had invented… Hmm, yes, yes! Some of those could be re-purposed, once she was the queen. Re-purposed and improved, for ambition’s name was Selene. Wouldn’t it be better, for example, to get more fire involved? The purists would claim it wasn’t lunar enough, she could hear the complaint already, but that line of thought was just so terribly tired. …along with Luna’s eyes, they’d stolen fire from them, too. The source of warmth, the source of life. Were they to cower in the shadows forever, sickly and emaciated? Wasn’t that giving them what they wanted? ‘Blessed, blessed, blessed,’ the spirits had told her, and in the heart of her hearts, Selene knew exactly what that meant. With her own hands, she was going to bring them that which they themselves had given her people all those years ago-- fire and blood, and a flood of tears so overwhelming that they would drown in it.)

…back to the girl she was trying to woo, though. “Not your mother,” she repeated, a shadow of amusement in her voice. “That is fortunate, then. Don’t you think it would have been awkward if I were to speak to your mother? Considering what I’m trying to do here, that is. Or are you a traditionalist, Miss Beautiful? Would you have me ask your mother for permission first? I have to say,” Selene licked her lips, “that I prefer to do things differently. I mean, courtship is obviously important,” she took the girl’s hand, before leading her to the dance floor, “but I do think it unwise to commit to one partner before you… hmm, before you taste her. You wouldn’t agree to eat one food for the rest of your life before ascertaining whether you like it or not, would you? Then I don’t see why I should commit that very same mistake with my wife.” Something about the woman, Selene decided, reminded her of a butterfly-- was it the way she flew from one topic to another, or perhaps the color bursting from her words…? Either way, the princess didn’t like it. Not at all! (Contempt rose in her throat, bitter like bile, and everything, everything within her urged her to escape. ‘Don’t,’ her sense of self-preservation said. ‘Do you really want to be stuck with her?’ The girl had barely uttered a few sentences, really, and yet Selene could already sense the embryo of her headache developing in real time. No, not a butterfly. Those tend to be silent. More than anything else, she’s a parrot, the princess realized, bewildered, as her partner continued to prattle on. Ugh. Too bad that Luna herself couldn’t witness this event-- not even her paranoid self could have denied that the sacrifice she was bringing to her feet was great, surely. Paid for with her sanity, too. Once I am done with this, I’ll demand a vacation, she resolved. A tour across the Milky Way, with the brightest stars to guide me.)

Thinking happy thoughts, Selene gave the girl her most honest smile. (And as for how convincing it was? Well, that wasn’t for her to decide.) “No, I don’t think we have had the pleasure yet. Let’s just say that I am not from around here. However, if you are interested,” she smirked, and proceeded to steal the lead from her partner, “you can know me, if you’d like. In every sense of that word. Some of those are fairly interesting, don’t you think?” Music swirled around them, elegant like a silver ribbon, and Selene’s feet found the rhythm on their own-- despite her blindness, her step was firm, and her guidance as well. “There, this is not too bad. I’m thinking, radiant one, that the fault lies with your mentor rather than you. Not everybody has it in her, you see? Being able to make her partner’s body sing, that is.” …yes, she was coming on strong, and no, she wasn’t ashamed. Not even remotely! Every second spent in the woman’s presence only contributed to her headache, so the faster she got this over with, the better for her mental health. (It hadn’t escaped her that her mother was supposed to be someone important, you see? Otherwise, the girl’s comment would have made exactly zero sense. So, the plan was rather simple: to seduce her, gather her precious information, and get out of there. Nice and simple, wasn't it? ...oh, if only.)

“My name, huh?” Selene's lips curled up in a smile. "Where would be the fun in me telling you outright? There is no poetry to that. No story. Just a formal introduction-- a drop in the sea, indistinguishable from all the others. Is that what you want for us? Because I don't. No, let's try something different." Effortlessly, the princess pulled her partner closer, and leaned forward so that her lips were almost touching her ear. "From your perspective, what kind of name seems suitable for me? What would you like to scream between the sheets? For you, Beautiful, I can be anything. Anything you might wish for, really."


lover / leaver

Dancing is not really Sol's most favorite thing to do in the world. She doesn't really get it or why people think it's so fun to walk all fancy with another person. One of her tutors, the one before Aquila, had tried to liken it to showing one's passion for their partner, but Sol has yet to be convinced. Even with this objectively very foxy beauty before her, she doesn't get how dancing is supposed to make her feel closer. She doesn't even get how it's analogous to what happens between bed sheets. Like, there's way too much clothing for that analogy to make sense. Also, there's no kissing and the touching is all light and feathery. Besides, Sol has never ever thought to herself, "Hm, let me dance with this person to see if I will like their horizontal moves later." Like??? Hellooo, have people not heard of just regular communication during their intimate moments? Somethings, she guesses, she will just never understand. Oh, well.

"Oh," Sol smiles, "no, you don't need to ask for her permission, I just figured you were trying to get on her good side for something. But if you're just here for a quick romp, then it's definitely good you didn't run into my mom. She probably would have incinerated you on the spot," she laughs, placing her hands gingerly on the woman's shoulders. Honestly, Sol isn't sure if she should even be dancing with this woman. Where on the one hand, her mom might be pleased that she is participating in the ball, she might not be happy to see her daughter dancing with some nobody. (No offense to the woman, of course, it's just that Sol isn't really suppose to fraternize with anyone her mom doesn't approve of. Then again, she supposes that if her mom invited this woman to her ball then it's probably fine. Besides, she does know the not so secret purpose of this event is to get her to meet someone––if she fails to do that, she knows her mom will find her someone to marry. And that will not be good. For a thousand reasons and most of them rhyme with, um, snoring. Like, that will guarantee her wife will be boring, she knows this within the deepest crevice of her heart. Might as well see if this woman before her is interesting.) "Traditions are for chumps, t-b-h. That's short for to be honest, b-t-w."

Sol decides that she thinks this woman is alright. She talks funny––well, just the same as everyone else in this place––but she's very beautiful in a way that is new to the young star. It's a quiet beauty. Not to stay that she is not a one-two knockout punch in her own right, and there is something different about how her looks shine in comparison to the others in this room. Like one she has never seen before. It makes it easier for Sol to stop concentrating so hard on how she's moving and allowing herself to flow with her partner's rhythm. (Wow, thank goodness she can't see Sol staring. Even if that would be more or less expected when you're dancing with someone, but she realizes she's borderline ogling.)

"Not from around here?" her brow quirks upwards, the surprise also coming through in her tone, "Then where are you from? Isn't everyone from around here? Wait, wait, wait––let me guess, you're from the Andromeda galaxy? Is that what you mean? Wow, I knew my mom had friends everywhere but I never thought I'd get to meet someone from Andromeda!" Were she not in the middle of dancing, she would have clapped her hands together in excitement. Instead, she must settle for bouncing up and down and definitely messing up the pacing of the dance. (Yeah, she totally missed the implication on how else she might be able to get to know this stranger.)

It's also highly likely that Sol does not understand that this woman is trying to seduce her. If anything, the ray of sunshine thinks this woman is just being extraordinarily nice to her. Even with how forward the woman has been, most of that, Sol reasons, are just words and idle chatter. She should know since she does a lot of talking! ...But it is hard to come up with an alternative meaning to scream between the sheets. A shudder ripples down her spine with the woman's lips so close to her ear. Ah, she is once more mighty grateful that the other woman cannot see otherwise she might realize she is dancing with a tomato and not the sun princess. "Oh," realization finally hitting her all at once. "Probably something like Mischief would suit you, but that wouldn't be very exciting to scream... Might be a bit complicated. Hm. Phoebe? Yeah, that sounds nice to me."

Having caught up with the game, she slyly starts to move them towards the exit because why not have some fun? The woman in front of her is interested and direct, not like the other losers that are so prim and proper she's pretty sure that if they saw her shoulder they would faint. This woman from Andromeda is way cooler. "My mom is always horrendously late to her own parties so I think we have some time before she arrives. And as much as I like being called Miss Beautiful, you are also welcome to call me Sol, which is my name."


Baba Yaga
“Not from Andromeda, either,” Selene chuckled. “Again, would it not be oh so terribly boring if I were to simply hand you the information? It defeats the mystery, I think. Besides, perhaps the answer is more complicated than you might imagine-- I dwell in my own head, first and foremost. Who says, then, that I also cannot dwell in the heads of others? Maybe I came into this world to inhabit your fantasies, and make them real. Would you like to find out?” …ugh, she would have to clean her throat with bleach after this embarrassing charade ended! Truly, had the princess still had any doubts regarding the nature of feelings her mother harbored towards her, the very fact that she had sent her on such a humiliating, humiliating mission would have told her everything she needed to know.

(A tool, Selene thought, bitterly. That is all I am to her. Why, that she couldn’t tell-- the previous daughters had been unsatisfactory, in her understanding, but she alone had managed to cross the threshold of adulthood. Did that not mean, then, that Luna saw something in her? That she looked at her, and decided that, yes, this was a woman worthy of continuing her line? A crazed dog knows not it is biting its own tail, she reminded herself. To try and ascribe an actual meaning to her actions would be like deluding yourself into seeing future in tea leaves. In truth, Selene understood that, more than her being that special, she had survived thanks to a lucky roll of the dice-- due to Luna growing tired of bringing children into this world, and breathing her very own essence into undeserving daughters only to take it back a few years later. That, or she also could have simply given up on ever reproducing a greatness of her caliber...? Either way, it being based on merit struck her as, hmm, unlikely. Extremely so. …that, of course, was the most severe of her crimes. How did she expect her to live in the shadows of her sisters, without knowing for sure that she truly was the best of the best? With them long dead, Selene could never beat them, and, argh, did the uncertainty tear at her! Mercilessly, it shredded her skin to bloody ribbons, and—and-- That is why I shall prove it to her, the princess decided. And what better proof than her own severed head? Luna shone much brighter than they ever had, after all, so it only made sense to test her strength there. …still, she was getting ahead of herself. The girl first, alright? Without her eyes, the Moon wasn’t a worthy opponent, anyway.)

“Also, omg, no need to explain such things,” Selene rolled her eyes. “I was not born millennia ago, Beautiful. Of course that I know what these abbreviations mean.” …where did she know it from, though? It certainly hadn’t been a part of her curriculum, that much was obvious, for Luna didn’t care about such things. Nobody at the court spoke like that, either, so really, how come? Eh, it’s not like it matters. Words spread faster than wildfire.

“Mischief,” Selene grinned. “Ah, yes, a mirror image of my soul. You’ve got a keen eye, Beautiful. If we are going with nouns, though, might I suggest Desire? A name is your fate, after all, and I cannot think of a destiny more… hmm, engaging.” Then, of course, the girl had to ruin it with Phoebe. Phoebe! Really?! Not only it didn’t even touch the elegance and musicality of Selene, but it also sounded… well, like a name you’d give to a dog. Not to a large, dignified one, either-- to her ears, it captured the spirit of a small, yapping creature, only good enough to be a living decoration in some snobby idiot’s lap. Was the girl trying to offend her? …no, no, that was probably giving her too much credit. Crafting insults, you see, required the agility of mind, and wit sharper than the sharpest of knives! And, no, not even the kindest person in the universe would be able to describe her partner with those terms. (Somehow, however, that made it worse. The idea that someone could unironically imagine screaming something like that in the throes of passion? Brr, Selene wanted to barf.)

“Why not, then,” she wrapped her arm around her neck, “let me be your Phoebe. I don’t have the gift of prophecy, but still, Sol, let me make this prediction-- starting today, Phoebe shall become your favorite name.” Wait, wait, wait. Her mother? Her mother’s party? As far as Selene knew, it was Helia herself who had organized the celebration, and… Sol. Sol, a sun’s name. Not just about anyone could choose to name their daughter like that, Selene was aware, for that right only belonged to the queen of the Sun Court. There was great power hidden in labels, you know? And the one who dared to grasp it despite it being claimed by someone else already often ended up burnt, burnt to a crisp. So, in other worse… Jackpot. I’ve hit the jackpot here. Blessed, huh? Not even Selene herself had known how much that was true, apparently. “Your mother,” she repeated, so softly. “You are Helia’s daughter, then? Ah, my sympathies. Glorious as she is, I imagine that carrying the burden of her legacy must be… tough, at times.” No, there weren’t any personal experiences behind that statement, thank you very much. The princess merely said whatever would help her gain the girl’s trust, regardless of its relationship with reality. Had she had an inkling that promising her soul to the Devil would accomplish that, she would have done that, too! “Allow me to take your mind off the worries that must be plaguing you,” she purred, and planted a teasing kiss on her cheek. “Where is your bedroom, my sweet? Or, better yet-- the most amazing, breath-taking chamber in the palace. The one most filled with wonder. Wouldn’t that be the most suitable stage for us?” …and also the place where Helia kept Luna’s eyes, most likely. Ah, how simple!


lover / leaver

“If you dwell inside of heads, not-Phoebe from not-Andromeda, have you ever dwelled inside of mine?” she asks in earnest, taking the other woman’s words far more literally than she probably should have. Then again, she does live in a world full of magic where stranger things surely could have happened! Like that time she saw the legendary flying pigs roaming the dunes. (Nevermind that particular story ending with said pigs getting roasted and served for dinner later. Needless to say, Sol has since become a part-time vegetarian—meaning, she doesn’t eat animals whenever she remembers what happened to her flying pig friends. She has the moral fortitude of shaving cream, at times.) Anyway, she is curious to know if anyone else has been inside of her head besides her! It would explain a lot of the weirdness and continuity errors in her memories. “Just wondering if maybe you could tell me what it looks like in there, because I want to say it’s full of flowers but I have no way of confirming this hunch.”

With one simple recognition of what Sol has assumed is Sol’s Special Speech her entire face brightens and, maybe it is a trick of the light, the entire room seems to brighten as well. Just, she has felt so lonely being the only person who knows how to speak more efficiently (and for a person who talks as much as Sol, efficiency is imperative) and to meet another who understands? On the night her mother intends for her to meet her betrothed? Oh, this not-Phoebe from not-Andromeda is hands down her top pick. It must be a sign. It has to be! Now, she just has to make sure her mom is onboard because this woman is probably not one of the candidates Helia has been pushing her towards. Actually, Sol is certain of that, seeing as she has been avoiding said suitors like the plague this entire evening. “You are going to be my best friend, I just know it! You scream bffl material, if you will.”

“And,” Sol giggles when not-Phoebe from not-Andromeda kisses her cheek (and once more the room seems to brighten), “being her daughter ain’t so bad. I have a small herd of cows.” As if that even explains how being her daughter and carrying such weight on shoulders is alleviated. Maybe it’s how she manages the stress of the role? More than likely, however, she just doesn’t want to say how she feels. A truth bomb like that would for sure ruin the vibes and since Sol is here for both a long time and a good time, for long as she can wave away her worries! She will!

Her eyes shift from side to side, figuring out just who is watching her and how she can disappear from their line of sight in a covert manner. Thankfully, Sol is so practiced in this that sashaying away from the venue with her evening partner in tow takes only a few minutes. Now, as for the location of their private festivities... unfortunately what not-Phoebe from not-Andromeda does not realize is that, while her request had been simple and direct, this is Sol and what Sol deems as a breathtaking location may not be what this woman had in mind. See, anyone with three or more braincells easily would have taken her to the observatory, the hall of victories, the showers of truth, the chamber of epiphanies, or even the great glass tower! Maybe, if Sol were really trying to impress this babe, she would even take her into the restricted section of the palace––something that she'd reason is universally badass. However, instead of any of those options, where does Sol lead them?

Well, to her credit, the place is gorgeous in its own right––it's a rooftop garden. Somehow, in all the bareness of the desert that surrounds them, there is a small farm of crops growing (thriving, really). Again, this could be another trick, but the crops do seem to be crooning towards the ray of sunshine. Although, perhaps it is not a trick, because as Sol takes them deeper into the garden, the plants do appear to following her. It is possible the mysterious woman might sense this as she walks past the leaves and notices them actively trying to graze against the sun princess.

Once they are presumably in the center of the garden, hidden by the tall stalks of corn, she turns around to face the woman. She reaches to tuck a stray strand of hair behind her ear and happily announces, "I think this place is filled with wonder. I mean, watching a tiny seed become this great ear of corn? It just makes you realize we're all corn, you know?" what? "Anyway, let me just," she trails off as she raises her hands, her eyes taking on a glow as a bed made of vines appears from the ground. It's surprisingly soft and springy. "There," she beams, stroking not-Phoebe from not-Andromeda's cheek and pulling her closer. "Did you know that there are over a hundred thousand million stars in our galaxy? Do you think you could kiss me that many times?"
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Baba Yaga
“I suspect so, Sol,” Selene gave her another bright smile, as dishonest as the previous ones. (Inside of her head? Truly? So far, it seemed to her that the sun princess had all the intelligence of a cracked walnut, and every word that fell from her lips only confirmed that hypothesis further. Did she not know what metaphors were? How one played with words in order to bring out hidden meanings, and obscure those that had to fade away? Luna had taught her all about that, yes, yes! ‘A queen, my daughter, is half a dream and half a nightmare. Do you know what I mean?’ And, back then, Selene had been forced to shake her head no, for she hadn’t known. Couldn’t have, really. ‘Ambiguity is power, that’s what it means. In order for you to grasp it, your fingers need to be both as light as mist, and as heavy as mountains. Of course, your body is made from the same substances as the bodies of other, lesser beings, and so such a thing is actually impossible. Do you know what isn’t impossible, though? Making them believe otherwise. People are stupid, Selene. Use that stupidity against them, and compel them to see what you want them to see. You can at least do that, can’t you?’ …she could, indeed. And the doubts that had been dripping from her mother’s words back then, each drop of it feeling like acid against her skin? Oh, that changed nothing, absolutely nothing about that.)

“I mean, from the very first moment I sensed you, I understood what it was that you wanted. What it was that you needed. Is that not a convincing enough proof that I have known you for a while? I’ve been your soul’s friend for ages, I can tell. Your other half.” Blah, blah, blah, words, words, words. Hilarious, wasn’t it? The way you could run your mouth till your jaw hurt, and yet say nothing at all. (Those statements, you see, could have been addressed to literally anyone else. Selene could have whispered them into the ear of her handmaid, or offered them to some stuck-up politician’s daughter-- both would have gasped and blushed, most certainly, and both would have been fools for it. …how did they not sense it, the emptiness lurking behind that façade? How, how, how? People really were stupid, it turned out. Immensely so. If she knocked on the girl’s head, Selene would sure, the force of the echo would shatter her own skull!)

“But yes, there are flowers,” she confirmed, willing to play along with her nonsense till the bitter, bitter end. “Many of them. With my mind’s eye, I’ve seen roses there, and hydrangeas, and, yes, even orchids. Flowers as precious as you are, in other words.” …ugh. How she managed not to throw up in that very moment, that was something Selene would never understand-- truly, her tolerance for bullshit must have been greater than even the princess herself realized. “A herd of cows. Sure. That makes sense, I suppose. There is something calming about the animals, isn’t it? The way they chew grass is, um, inspiring, for it can teach us a lot about perseverance.” …what? Sol was the one stringing sentences together randomly, so she might as well adopt the same strategy-- if anything, that would only make her fall for her charms faster. (People didn’t actually like other people, you see? That was a common misconception, designed to soften the blow. When you opened your eyes to the truth, however, you had to accept, sooner or later, that what you enjoyed in others was but a fragment of your own self! Friends? Pffft. No, what most people wanted was a mirror, and Selene… well, Selene was going to provide it.)

Soon, she told herself, in order to soothe her nascent rage. Soon, I will have that which I came for. Yes, yes! Her goal was bright, dazzling, even, so much that she could see it despite her eyes not seeing anything at all, and then… then it evaporated just when she was about to touch it, like fata morgana. (What? Where were they? Wind was caressing her face, which could only mean that the sun princess had led her outside-- the energetical imprints, dancing through the darkness like flames of candles too numerous to count, also told her that they were surrounded by life, life, and more life. An oasis, then? A garden? Something like that, most likely, though the conclusion still didn’t really provide her with any actual answers. Knowing where they were was a good start, the moon princess supposed, but why? Why had Sol picked something this unremarkable? Was she supposed to file for an official permission to let her see Helia’s chambers for her to get it, or something? Ah, truly, this reminded her why leaving literally anything of any importance up to people who weren’t her was just asking for trouble! …too bad that she had no choice here, though.)

“Sure, sure,” Selene muttered under her breath, not even bothering to hide the sharpness in her voice. “Give me a few years and I will. Still, don’t you think that it is a little cold here, Sol? I don’t know about you, but I am shivering. Won’t we go inside? I am certain that there must be a more suitable place for us to--”

“Who are you? Identify yourself, stranger!” Ah, of course. Of course that The Sun Guards had to appear now, of all times--that fit the general pattern of her life so perfectly that it almost made her want to cry. “Step away from Princess Sol. Now.” What? Had her plan been compromised? Was her disguise not perfect? For some reason, they saw her as a threat, and… and this was game over, Selene knew. Even in the unlikely occasion that they decided to let her go, she’d be watched for the rest of the evening! …perhaps that was why her hands acted, so fast that it was a surprise even for her. There was a quiet, metallic hiss, and in the next moment? In the next moment, Selene was pressing her claws against Sol’s throat. “Don’t come any closer. I am here to retrieve that which rightfully belongs to my family, and I won’t leave without it. Tell me, you worthless worm: where are Luna’s eyes? Speak!”


lover / leaver

If Sol were a little wiser, a little more cautious, she might have noticed the wolf's smile that her companion wears so plainly. But do you know what this little sun princess sees instead? Instead of a big bad wolf waiting to gobble her up, she sees woman's best friend, smiling and wagging her tail! Excited, utterly excited, knowing that this moment will be the foundation to an everlasting friendship. That is what Sol hopes for at least. (A simple wish, isn't it? And for a princess as radiant as she, with a queendom that is the heavens itself, it's easy to assume that she has everything she wants. In some ways, yes, she does. Every material want she could ever have is granted with the wave of her mom's hand. A herd of seven cows? Done. Another butterfly for her collection? Easy. Perhaps some seeds from those rare flowers only found growing in volcanic ash? Oh, do try to challenge the Sun. So is it shocking to know that where she has a wealth of almost everything, that she would still desire a friend? That her heart goes boom, boom, boom at the prospect that the woman in front of her might be that friend she has been searching for? She has heard, after all, that friendship is magic and since her mom thinks she is in short supply of magic, she may as well make some friends to improve her stats, right? Right!)

"Oh, yeah, totally, me too," Sol agrees, rapidly nodding her head up and down with the same vigor as a bobble head that's been shaken by a toddler. Though, admittedly, she does feel guilty about lying to the stranger. It may not even be a huge lie or one that is significant in the grand scheme of things, but she doesn't want to mislead her new possible best friend for life by telling her that she also felt that cosmic connection when they first met (five minutes ago). Honestly, she only remembers being worried that she wasn't the sun not-Phoebe from not-Andromeda was looking for. But. Maybe that is a sign too! That that little worry had been because of her own fear that she might be losing a friend before even making her! Yeah, that makes sense to Sol so she'll just go with that. "I totally knew my head was full of flowers. It's probably why they grow so easily for me. They're just trying to escape," she laughs, brightening the atmosphere around them.

But then, rather suddenly, the mood shifts. Sol may not know very many things that are deemed important by her motherlord, but she does immediately register her maybe-friend's displeasure at her choice of venue. Even if she hides it behind her fancy words, her tone is a knife. And before she can even ask or agree to lead them elsewhere, the entire night changes faster than the ray of sunshine can even blink. One minute, she's standing in front of a totally hot babe, the next moment said totally hot blade is using her as a shield with claws (wow, that's so freaking cool!!!) at her neck.

Though, Sol probably should have expected this. Even if her mom had yet to arrive to the party, surely someone else would have quickly noticed her disappearance. (It's pretty difficult to not notice when a star as bright as her is missing from a room, much to her utter annoyance.) She isn't surprised, necessarily, that the guards have all clamored up to her garden. "Hey, watch the radishes!" because, yeah, she happens to be concerned about her plant friends.

Wait, wait, wait. The cogs slowly start to turn inside of Sol's head and maybe the woman can even smell the smoke coming out of her ears, because... 'Luna's eyes? Her family?' In that moment, her own eyes widen as she realizes just who not-Phoebe from not-Andromeda is––and she's a little hurt Selene would lie to her after everything! Wait... What? No, that doesn't make a lick of sense. She's just upset because someone lied to her at all. She doesn't know Selene. They've never met. She only knows her by reputation. Still, even with all these revelations the sun princess does not seem particularly worried about her situation. "Okay, I see what's going on here," she laughs, nervously, as the guards start to circle around them, "I think there's just been a little misunderstanding. You see, Selene and I have just, like, a lot in common and wanted to finally meet so we were, like, hey let's meet..." okay, no one is buying this story. That much is apparent. (Why is she even trying to defend her enemy? Well, Sol doesn't believe in having enemies so she isn't just going to leave Selene high and dry! Surely, the favor will be returned later. Maybe.)

Then the situation goes from bad to worse in a way that even Sol will not be able to rectify. In other words, Helia arrives. With her usual flare too. Sol can feel the heat before the brilliant flames erupt, seemingly out of nowhere, in the center of her garden, followed by three more flames and three more women emerging from them (the fire signs, Sol is sure). All four women tower over the guards, though Helia stands the tallest at ten feet and the other's only reach her shoulder. In all her radiance she has chosen to arrive in her true form. (AKA Sol's least favorite skin her mom chooses to wear. If only because of how inhuman she looks. Yeah, she might not be human but Sol doesn't see why she needs to look so weird. Everything about her is made from fire, in all different shades and colors; then there are the two sets of eyes that sit on her face. Her own, which are bright yellow and searing––they always seem to look at you like they know something about you that you don't even know yet, which rude. Then there are the two crescent shaped eyes that sit directly under them, just above her cheekbones. Sol has always thought those eyes look forlorn and sad; she thinks it's because they don't want to be on the Sun's face. They'd probably rather be on the moon's face, where they belong. Though Sol would never say that. She's even scared she's thinking it right now! 'Ah, crap! Think of puppies! Puppies, puppies, puppies!')

"Daughter, who is your little friend?" the queen asks, her voice silken and husky at the same time. She takes one step from the center of the garden over to where her daughter is and the guards immediately part, though they still stand ready for anything. (Is Helia even concerned about the claws at her daughter's throat? It would appear that's a minor inconvenience to the mother of flame.) Helia bends, practically bowing to get a closer look at Selene, a smirk of recognition immediately crossing her lips. "My, oh, my, aren't we far from home? Is this a gift from Luna? Has she finally come to her senses and realized her lineage is doomed to fail? I must say, there are better ways to dispose of a useless wretch than sending her off on her own. Though I do appreciate her offering."

Helia rises to stand at her full height and roots, then, wrap around Selene's legs, roots that seem to be pulling her lower, albeit slowly. "Sol, it is time for you to retire. Aries, do escort my daughter back to her chambers and make sure she gets up to no mischief tonight." Aries, a woman made of red fire, nods and taps on Sol's head, both of them disappearing in a flash. Helia then turns to the other two in her entourage, "Leo, Sagittarius inform the guests that they are welcome to stay as long as their hearts desire, but I shall be... occupied." That smile on her lips? Sharper than knives and deadlier than a lion? Oh it does not scream good things.

Once Sol is gone, Selene is sucked down into the dirt, sinking lower and lower and lower, still, until she is spit out in what appears to be the dungeons. Dungeons where there are no individual cells; in the place of cells, there are small islands surrounded by lava. Yes, she appears to be in catacomb dungeons carved by molten rock. The smell of brimstone fills the air and the heat is downright suffocating. Not too soon after Selene lands, Helia arrives, though she stands in the lava and not on Selene's meager island. "Ah, has Luna truly lost her wits that she has forced her own daughter to sew her eyes shut? I suppose they are not called lunatic for nothing," she smiles, sitting down on a chair that materializes from nowhere, crossing one leg over the other. "Tell me, Selene, how do you think your eyes might look on Sol's face? Oh, I do hope you have nice green ones. Those would complement her features so, so nicely."

"Ah, but I am not here to waste my time on petty questions with obvious answers. Besides, that will be the least of your punishments for infiltrating my court and all but handing yourself over. Now," Helia leans in closer, gathering lava around the tips of her fingers, "what exactly is Luna planning, hm?"


Baba Yaga
Selene didn't curse. It was undignified, for one, and it never quite solved the predicament you'd gotten yourself into-- the relief it supposedly brought was one thing, she guessed, but only utter fools would ever desire that. Just, why put wool over your eyes willingly? As long as the actual circumstances didn't change, it didn't at all matter how you felt about them! A simple concept, yet also one that was apparently difficult to accept. The unwashed masses understood it not, instead choosing to remain stuck in their childhoods till Death herself freed them from their self-imposed shackles. Pathetic, truly. Never, never could they perceive the universe as it was, with all of its connections, and... and Selene pitied them, actually. To the extent her cold heart was even capable of such an emotion, anyway. (Luna, too, had taught her that feelings were unnecessary. Poisoned as many of her teachings were, she had to admit that was genuine wisdom hiding in there sometimes-- diamonds buried under coals, indeed. ...remnants from before her mind had been warped beyond repair, perhaps? Yes, yes, most likely! And since a wise woman knew not to discard knowledge, regardless of its source, Selene had vowed ages ago not to follow that broken compass that so many worshiped. Oh no, no, no. Emotions would never control her, for a filthy animal she wasn't. Her soul? Her soul was a fortress, a fortress with walls so high they touched the sky, and no foe possessed the instruments necessary to scale them. An oasis of peace in the chaos, that was what she was! ...well, usually. Usually, you see, the Sun Queen herself didn't emerge out of nowhere to ruin her day!)

Terror gripped her heart, with an iron fist, too, but to her credit? To her credit, Selene still stood proud. (There was no point in running, after all. Once the Sun rose, it covered the entire sky, and trying to get away from it would have been as foolish as hoping you could escape from your own shadow. Why, then, should she dance according to that wicked woman's whims? A predator desired to hunt its prey, oh yes, yes, for only one thing tasted more delicious than blood, and that thing, ladies and gentlemen, was fear. That very second when hope turned into desperation, so strong that paralysis seized your limbs? To a hunter, it was everything-- the reason they existed, in truth. Selene knew, of course, and that was the reason she refused to give Helia that satisfaction. What was the worst thing she could do to her, anyway? Kill her? Pffft! Her own mother had killed her thousand times over, in ways the Sun Queen would never be able to replicate. Blessed, blessed, blessed. Was that what it meant? That, finally, I'd be freed from Luna's influence? ...ah, to hell with vague prophecies! To hell with this entire galaxy, forged from blood and broken bones. Maybe this truly was a blessing-- not having to become a cog in her mother's twisted machine, that was. Not more than she already had, anyway. But, ah, what was that? Was Sol attempting to cover for her, albeit with all the elegance of an elephant trying to learn tango?

"...you are aware that I threatened your life, aren't you?" Selene rose her eyebrow, not at all caring that she was trampling all over the sun princess's efforts. (She may not have done that, you see, had they not been worthless. Worthless, worthless, worthless, more than sunscreen on the bottom of the sea! Briefly, she even considered that Sol was actually mocking her-- that her foolishness had been just a facade, designed to reveal her own weakness. It made sense, didn't it? Because nobody could possibly be that stupid. ...nobody but Helia's daughter, as it turned out. Oh, gods. Genes could really do a number on you, huh? How the two women were related, Selene would never grasp.)

Of course, Sol's attempts worked about as well as the lunar princess had expected-- namely, not at all. Well, she thought, that's it. Not the way I expected to die, but that makes it all the more fun. Yes, fun, which in this context could be translated as 'not fun at all! The Moon, you see, had been born of shadows, of the freezing cold that dwelled in each lonely heart, and as such, heat wasn't... wasn't ideal, to put it mildly. (Her skin was breaking, Selene could feel it. Soon enough, her eyes would melt, too, despite the stitches, and then-- then-- No. I shall not break down. I am not a rat, to be chased across the maze for her amusement. If I have to go, I'll do so with dignity.)

"Do you think I'm my mother, Helia?" Selene asked, her voice quiet and controlled. "Well, I'm not. Such threats don't scare me. Take my eyes, if that is what you desire. I've sewn them shut myself, because seeing the world in the crudest sense of that word only limited my potential. In my blindness, I perceive more than you could ever dream of. More than anyone could ever dream of, really. And, oh, so you want to know what she is planning? Tragic, as that isn't something I am able to share. Luna never reveals what her next step will be before it's necessary, Helia. Never. Therefore, I'm afraid you'll have to ask her yourself! What is it like, capturing a hostage that is so thoroughly useless?"


lover / leaver

Helia sits on her throne of lava, looking down at her most recent trophy with all the excitement of a starved dog eyeing her next meal. Though a starved animal probably would have already lunged at the pathetic princess and devoured her already. The queen, on the other hand, has some restraint despite her yellow eyes reflecting her desire to rid her queendom of such filth. (Though, why even waste her efforts on restraint? Is it not every villain's greatest folly to allow your enemies to live while you toy with them? Well, it appears the Sun may have a penchant for certain tropes.) "Oh, child, how could I ever mistake you, a paltry imitation, for the moon herself? I have met her before you know," she smirks, one hand wiping a pesky tear away from one of those bastard eyes she allows to sit pretty on her face and flicking the rather large teardrop towards Selene. "I see not the heiress to the false throne, but a child playing pretend. It is cute, I suppose, how you desire to avenge your mother's stupidity." (And perhaps Helia wishes her own heir were more ambitious, because she can admire that in the foolish princess before her. Though, that is not something she'd ever let on.)

"Ah," Helia laughs, and it has all the melody of a thunderclap in that it booms, shakes the dungeons, and is startling. "How foolish you are! I see that the apple has not fallen far from the tree if you think you have gained wisdom in your self-mutilations. Perhaps I would be convinced of this supposed wisdom you have found were your circumstances different. Had you actually succeeded, but as far as I am aware? Luna's eyes are still mine to claim. You sit in the dungeons of your enemy. So tell me how did sewing your eyes shut really help you foresee any of this, you little thing?" Oh, it almost sounds as if Helia pities the moon daughter. More than likely, however, she is amused. Amused that her nemesis would convince her own daughter that there is wisdom in blinding yourself. As if Luna is perhaps jealous of that which she no longer possesses. Truly, the Sun cannot envy her poor nemesis's state of mind. "What wisdom, exactly, inspired your foolishness to just waltz into my court unprotected? You must already have your mother's madness to be so audacious."

"I suppose I should not fault her for her secrecy given your current predicament," Helia replies, not even bothering to entertain the idea that perhaps the daughter is lying to her. Either she believes her or never cared to know Luna's plans in the first place. Or perhaps she has another plan entirely for her unfortunate prisoner. "It is too bad, because perhaps this whole situation could have been avoided had you been given the privilege." How is that Helia can sound both pitying as well as malicious in the same breath? Perhaps that is a talent that comes with her eons of experience. A being as ancient and glorious as herself likely contains multitudes a meager human could never comprehend. Or she may just like wearing the mask of a concerned ruler to hide the tyrant underneath, because still, with her hand continuing to gather lava into her palm, she does not seem as though she will just stop her pursuit because her little trophy supposedly has no information. No, there is still an opportunity to be had here.

"Tell me, Selene, are you comfortable? Judging by the state of your skin, I can only assume this climate is not ideal for someone of your unfortunate lineage," with that she finally pulls her hand from the molten river, seeming to wear a glowing glove, to match all the flames that make up Helia's skin. "I need not for you to be useful. I suppose I could not have expected much from the moon's little daughter, but perhaps... if you are lying to me, your lips shall loosen when you find your blood replaced with liquid fire," she smiles, the sharp edges of all her teeth reflecting in her tone. In the next moment she bends down and reaches for the moon's daughter with her molten hand. "This shall purify you, my dear. Worry not of health, for under my spells you shall find yourself protected from Death. Even my prisoners deserve the keep their natural lives."

And then? Well, ribbons of lava reach for Selene, wrapping around her wrists, at first, before they burrow into her skin in search of her veins. "Do scream if you must. I am no savage and I understand that this may be uncomfortable for someone made of such a weak essence."


Baba Yaga
She's very sure of herself, isn't she? Of course, that level of confidence was entirely justified-- it wasn't like Selene was just waiting for an unguarded moment, her finger secretly on the trigger of a lethal weapon. Oh no, no, no! Had this been some silly fantasy novel, then yes, the moon princess would have seen that outcome from a mile away, but sadly for her, that wasn't the case. (...no matter what would happen there, Selene knew, she wouldn't escape unscathed. No, not a chance. If Helia allowed her to live, then she'd probably break her first-- snap her mind in half, really, as if it were but a dry twig. That wouldn't be hard for the Sun Queen to do, right? And, oh, the benefits of that would be so much fun, too! Stealing the Moon's eyes had been a tremendous feat, but one that would pale next to her, say, enslaving her daughter. Enslaving her, and bending her to her wicked whims. That wouldn't illustrate Luna's abilities in the most flattering of lights, now would it? Well, Selene thought with grim amusement, at least I'll still get to be a thorn in her side, albeit in a different way. A cause of her downfall. Ah, sweet, sweet mother! Too bad you failed to account for all of this, really.)

"Are you enjoying yourself?" she asked the queen, with all the nonchalance of a prisoner being led to the gallows. (Bound Selene was, indeed, but there were parts of her that someone like Helia could never hope to imprison. Her soul, for example? Oh, her soul belonged to her and her only, and paradoxically, knowing that her fate had been sealed gave it wings. How not? A lesser woman might beg or scream, or betray her companions for a hint of mercy, but for Selene... well, for Selene, this only meant that she'd been freed of consequences. Finally, the great chain wrapped around her wrist had snapped! The price for it had been great, much greater than what she was truly willing to pay, but this store didn't exactly give out refunds. Might as well enjoy the experience while it lasted, eh? The experience of having nothing, nothing to lose.) "Running your mouth, I mean. I heard that your power rivaled the forces of creation, but now I have to ask myself: is that so, actually? Have the rumors not been exaggerated? Because, you see, if you are so strong, then I don't understand why you'd waste so much time on... how did you put it? Ah, yes, paltry imitation," Selene grinned. "I have always been taught that one who finds joy in burning ants is no better than the ants themselves, and I am inclined to agree. Say whatever you want about me and my brand of wisdom, Helia, but when I die? I will have died reaching for the stars, and conquering the will of gods. Historians will remember me for my audacity. You, though? You will be known as the one who soiled her hands with every enemy that appeared at your doorstep, regardless of how pathetic they were." Ah, yes, yes! Not having to watch her mouth felt refreshing, like bathing in a moonlit pond at the end of a long, long day, and Selene only wished she could have done it more regularly with her mother dearest as well.

Perhaps I will get to do exactly that, the moon princess thought. If Helia breaks me and ends up wearing me like a glove, she's bound to use me against Luna eventually. Would that not be oh so symbolic? Being born from her body, and then being the one to bring her her doom. ...come to think of it, that wouldn't be such a horrible fate! Certainly better than the one Luna had prepared for her sisters, anyway. (Blessings, as it turned out, could assume numerous forms-- much like water that adapted to its container, or old fears that somehow always managed to evolve into new nightmares. ...oh, nightmares, yes! That which she'd been fed instead of mother milk, indeed. Back then, Selene had been resentful, but it had prepared her for this, and so she couldn't exactly complain. Blah, blah, blah, blessings in disguise.)

"Hmmm, no, I don't actually believe you," the princess smiled defiantly. "You never would have given up on the opportunity to torture me, I think. How original. I doubt you are aware, but you're a slave, aren't you? A slave to your own, pitiful instincts. The Sun, I've been told, is just mindless destruction, and now I see that it is so. If anything, the stories that circulate about you actually flattered you, for they still didn't capture your bestial nature. Do what you will, Helia-- I know you are incapable of anything else. That's what my blind eyes see, anyway."

Did Selene have more to say? Oh, you bet. The princess wielded her tongue as skillfully as she wielded her claws, and always, always did she know where to strike! ...too bad that it was hard to talk, though, when your blood had been replaced by fire. (It crawled under her skin, with effortlessness that took her breath away. Selene was almost inclined to believe that it was a living creature, you know? A many-legged, many-mouthed parasite that gnawed at her, and chewed her flesh, and told her that she belonged to her, her, her, the cruel Sun Queen with whips for hands and a razor for her tongue. ...it hurt, of course. It hurt, but Selene wouldn't scream! Before giving her that satisfaction, the moon princess would bite her tongue off, truly. Never, never, never! Never would she allow her to humiliate her like that, for her dignity was something that she couldn't have. Not everything in this galaxy could be bought, not in the same way she'd bought her lackeys or the precious stones decorating her precious crown, and-- and--

--and that was when she screamed, her voice nothing but a drawn-out, thin wail.


lover / leaver

Ah, the moon's daughter may be just as much as an insufferable bitch as her mother, but Helia does find it amusing. For a woman supposedly born of ice, shadows, and delusions she certainly has a certain fire about her that sings to the queen's soul. If only that helped Selene. As it is, idle amusement is not the only purpose for the Sun's actions. If Selene cannot see past this cleansing, that she very certainly should be thanking her for, then that is on herself. Helia has not the time to explain such trivial matters to woman who must be emptied before she can filled again.

The moment her prisoner screams? That is when the Sun adds her own laughter to the cacophony. She does admire that Selene held out for as long as she did––a pathetic display, to be sure, and still even those in her own court have screamed the instant such fire touched them. (Fireproof, many of them may be, but when it comes to their queen's brand? Oh, few are immune to her personal inferno.) "One day, you will thank me for this gift of purity, Selene. For once your veins have been cleansed, you shall see the inevitabilities of the universe in such staggering clarity you will wonder why you had to be cursed with the moon's fallible nature. Worry not, child, I am rather forgiving. Even to my enemies," she then rises from her throne, satisfied with the state of her prisoner.

While the lava alone may be enough of deterrence to escape, the Sun decides to take an extra precaution by creating bars of lava around Selene's little island. There will be no escape. "For now, I shall be off. This cleansing may take a few days, so do get comfortable," she smiles, waving her hand through the air and disappearing in a flash of flame, similar to how she arrived in the garden.

Alone in her prison, the lava continues to push slowly through the princess's veins. It has a similar pace to molasses and with nearly 60,000 or so miles to cover, each inch is likely felt. It is rather hard to believe that there could be a purpose behind this other than torture. Perhaps cleansing is just the word the Sun uses to help herself sleep at night; to absolve her guilt. (Oh, how laughable, as if Helia knows what guilt is.) If only lava were as quick as a forest fire during a drought. Unfortunately, or fortunately, while Selene is subject to this minor torture, no one comes to disturb her. No one comes to check on her progress or health. (Though, true to Helia's word, Death never comes to rescue the moon daughter. Somehow, she remains alive. Perhaps because for as much as the lava burns it also heals. In its own way, that is.) She is not fed; she is not brought water; and it might start to feel as though she has been forgotten. If only.

For a few days later, when the lava has finally, finally, run its course, none other than Sol arrives. Odd as it is, she does not arrive in a flash of fire. Instead, she is in a boat of sorts, sailing down the lazy lava river towards the prisoner's island. She is humming a tune (off-key) from a commercial jingle she has not been able to get out of her head for the past few days now. (Ba-da-ba-ba-baaa, I'm lovin' it.) Hanging off her arm, she has a picnic basket full of different foods––as Sol found out a few hours ago that no one has taken care of Selene! While Sol is, in fact, hurt that the moon daughter did not just tell her who she is, she does feel responsible for taking care of her. If her mother won't, then she will! Besides, it's in bad faith to neglect one's own prisoners and, maybe Sol is just a princess, but this will be queendom one day, right? So if she wants to be a queen different from her mother, she must start by being a princess who is different from her mother. Mhm!

"Um, hey," Sol starts, hopping out of the boat and nearly tripping on her face in the process; though she does miraculously catch herself. Once steady, she walks through the lava bars, entirely unaffected by their heat. (No, it doesn't really occur to Sol that crossing this threshold is a Big Idiot move. It's not that she trusts Selene, per se, she is a liar liar pants on fire, but she does think she should show that she's not scared of Selene. Even if she did threaten to kill her and probably should be. Eh, she can probably handle herself.) "Sorry I didn't come to see you sooner. I swear I was thinking about you, but my mom's been keeping an annoyingly close watch on me and it's been hard to get a free moment for myself. But I came as soon as could, swear on my Tamagotchi's life, tbh."

"Anyway, I don't really know what you like," she sets down the basket in front of Selene, "but I grew these vegetables and fruits on my own. Then today the cooks were preparing a savory pie––beef or something––so I grabbed one of those as well..." She tilts her head to the side, looking at the moon daughter and chewing on the corner of her lip. "Is it stupid to ask how you are?" For as empty headed as she may be, Sol does recognize that it is probably not a fun, chill time being in your mom's nemesis' dungeons.


Baba Yaga
Pain. All-consuming, all-encompassing pain, pouring through her veins instead of blood. When was this to end? What was there to purify? Selene didn't know, and didn't even know whether there was an answer to that question-- whether Helia hadn't just fed her more poison in order to see what would kill her faster. (Flames or hope, hope or flames. Both could be deadly, couldn't they? Hope even more, possibly, because ah, once you closed your eyes to the reality, it was over. Over, over, over! No, there was a reason she'd built all those walls around her heart, alright. With them firmly in place, dangerous ideas couldn't reach her-- ideas that fairy tales had been built around, to make children believe that the world was a slightly less cruel place. That was all they were, though, weren't they? A drug for your mind, designed to dull the agony. The metaphorical equivalent of morphine, really. Many probably saw it fit to swallow those pills, to gorge on them, even, but Selene? Oh, Selene knew that you couldn't escape from the truth! That its tendrils were wrapped around your throat regardless, and going in the opposite direction would only break your neck. ...no, she wouldn't do it. Allowing herself to hope would be just another kind of death, more painful than the ones before it. Helia might get to break her body, to carve the sun runes into it and watch her melt, though her spirit... her spirit, at least, was off limits. Blessed, blessed, blessed. Was that what they meant?)

With the Sun Queen gone, of course, Selene screamed to her heart's content. Her voice ripped out of her throat with force she hadn't really thought possible, over and over and over-- perhaps Helia had turned it into fire as well, and laughed at her from afar. (A moon daughter with lava for her voice, huh? The irony stung, worse than a wasp's kiss, and Selene couldn't help but imagine what Luna would say. Would she disinherit her? Break her bones, perhaps, and feed the earth with them? Or maybe, maybe she'd lock her up in catacombs, in the same way queens of the old had done with their dragons-- they kept them on a tight leash, yes, but also well-fed, in case their enemies had needed a healthy dose of dragon fire. Was that to be her fate, then? To serve as her fancy weapon, once she managed to retrieve her? That has always been my fate, one way or another. Whether I also happen to wear a crown or not when it happens, that matters not.) The loneliness was meant to be a punishment, probably, but where others would have seen a curse, Selene saw a blessing-- an opportunity to be herself, whatever it meant. ...then again, what kind of person was that? Without her entourage, and without her precious props, the princess wasn't really sure. Was she anything at all, with the expectations placed on her shoulders gone? The pressure had molded her into something, allowed her to retain that shape, actually, and with nothing to keep her in check... ah, Selene was melting, melting, melting! Or was that the fire? Everything, everything was fire down there, it seemed. I shall have my revenge, the princess promised herself. Not killing me when you could was your greatest mistake, solar bitch. One day, I will feast on your entrails and sup on your tears.

How long had she been there, even? Seconds, minutes, days, even-- the distinctions between the two burned down, along with the princess's thoughts. (Her lips had cracked, too, and were covered in blisters. Good thing that she couldn't see herself, huh? Because, ah, Selene didn't doubt that she must have looked like shit! ...when would this end? When, when, when? Uncreative as she was, this couldn't possibly entertain Helia forever-- everything had an ending, you see, even living nightmares. Just you wait, Selene fumed, with the little energy she had left. I will put mercury into your precious, precious eyes. Wouldn't it be oh so poetic, to have living silver decorate the sun's dace?) ...but then, then something disrupted her loneliness, against all odds. A flash of light in the darkness, so, so bright and familiar, and... Sol? Has she come to laugh at me? Except that, you know, that was an explanation that would have made sense, and the solar princess seemed to avoid that kind of thing at all costs. (How was she? How was she?! Oh, stupid didn't even begin to cover it.)

"No, not at all," Selene smiled, despite the flames consuming her from the inside. "This is fine. I'm having the time of my life, actually. I was getting bored of, you know, my entrails being intact, and this provides a nice break from the monotony. Struggle builds character, or so I've heard. For that reason, I have decided that I wouldn't eat, either. Sustenance would make this too easy on me, wouldn't you agree? No, I cannot take advantage of Helia's, hmm, kindness. Anyway," she tilted her head aside, her tone losing her sarcastic edge, "why are you here? To laugh at your foe's fate, perhaps? To dangle food before me only to snatch it away at the last second? I won't play your games with you, Sol. There is no need for me to do that anymore. And if this is your idea of help, then I spit on it, too. With great gusto. Deep inside, you're as cruel as her, aren't you? Because, really, I cannot possibly imagine any other reason that would compel you to keep me alive! Admit it, princess-- you enjoy watching me squirm. It pleases you, in ways you yourself don't understand. The monster within you, the one forged from flames, purrs in satisfaction. Isn't that right? Oh, it has to be. If you were truly merciful, you see, you would have brought me a knife, not... not potatoes," she snorted, her disdain deeper than any ocean.


lover / leaver

Sol does feel for her opposite. How can she not? It's not hard for her to imagine what Selene is going through, because she has gone through it as well. Everyone in the Sun Court has, since the first sun broke through the east and created dawn. The purpose of this cleansing had probably been explained to the heiress at some point or another, but when there is a library full of facts on mushrooms for her to memorize? Well, the unimportant details of ritual and tradition get dumped rather quickly in favor for the fun facts, of which her brain is made up of at this point. Anyway, from what Sol remembers of her own cleansing, it had taken forever and she felt trapped in that feeling of searing pain tearing her insides open. Uncomfortable would be the understatement of the century. Though she supposes she should not pretend to know how Selene's body is taking this. Based on her cracked, blistered lips, the bubbles on her skin... It's probably not great. Like, Sol's skin hadn't done that and at least the entire time she knew she looked pretty. (It's the little things, sometimes, that keep the ray of sunshine going.)

So when Selene snaps at her and gets her intentions completely wrong? She doesn't exactly blame her. While she truthfully had not expected Selene to react in such a way, she does (now) realize it had been rather silly to think that the prisoner would be happy for company, let alone her company. Yeah, she can see why the moon daughter would think she is here to laugh in her face. (And that stings like... like a bullet ant, probably! And, no, Sol doesn't think she's being dramatic because how can she think that of her? Doesn't she remember when she scraped her knee and elbows really bad and Sol cleaned her up and used her favorite bandages from her bandage collection to decorate her injuries? She thought that might have meant something to her opposite, but apparently... 'That's. Not what happened? Like, ever? Geez, Sol, lay off the space weed. That stuff is really too strong for you.') Rather than say anything at all, Sol nods, mhms thoughtfully, and then pops a squat right in front of Selene. She isn't going to go anywhere. Maybe she should. Maybe she should just leave her alone in her suffering, but the sun beam doesn't really think that is the way to go. No, every bone in her body wants to stay and she isn't going to run away because Selene said some hurtful things! Besides, the hurtful things weren't even true so they have little power over Sol. She knows why she came here. (To make Selene smile. It's the Sun's job to be the reason for people's shine and if Sol can get her not-enemy to smile, then she know she's going to make a great Sun someday.)

"There is a knife in the basket, you know," Sol decides that is where she should start. She opens the basket, lays out a large napkin as a table of sorts, and sets the cutlery down first. She then lays out the aforementioned pie, the veggies she roasted, and the fruits she had cut up. She also pulls out a glass bottle full of water. "For the potatoes, actually. I assumed you could use it to cut the pie or veggies, but if you want to use it to, like, kill yourself... I mean, I could stop you but it's not like it would matter, you know. You don't die here unless my mom allows it. Revival is one of her gifts, I guess." She supposes it will be hers too, one day. Or maybe it already is and she just isn't strong enough to wield? Eh, she's not entirely sure. Magic puberty is weird. Weirder than normal puberty, but, like way less acne which she guesses is a bonus. (Man, imagine if magic powers were based off of acne! Sol would have rivaled Helia in her teen years.)

"And you're wrong. When you assume you make an ass out of you and me, so thanks," she says, rather flatly. Ah, she realizes Mission: Make Selene Smile may be more difficult than she initially thought. So maybe she won't get Selene to smile today or even tomorrow, but that doesn't mean she's going to give up. Psh, Sol Invictus would never! "I don't like watching people squirm or be in pain. It's uncomfy, like, it's hard to look at you right now but that's not important. I do know what it feels like, you know, and it does go away, kind of all at once," she sighs and runs her fingers through her hair. Then she fixes Selene a plate of food and pushes it towards her. Whether or not the moon daughter will accept it or laugh at her, is entirely her decision. Though, the thought that she will choose the latter does bite. Even if she can understand why. Sigh x2.

"I just really wish someone had kept me company, because it was really lonely and sad," and Sol definitely cried throughout the entire process. Not that her tears dulled the flames. Nah, they just sizzled against her cheeks and disappeared in seconds as if she weren't even crying at all. (She shudders remembering that––her mom had been sooooo mad at her for crying. Like, apparently tears aren't meant for Sol or she should be above that or something really backwards like that. So Sol made an extra effort to cry harder.)

Now, Sol doesn't really know why her mom is purifying the moon daughter. That doesn't really make sense to her, but a lot of her mom doesn't make sense to Sol and so this is just following that pattern. She'll probably find out eventually, but for now it remains a mystery. Like, even if the purification ritual is a torture in and of itself, she is somewhat aware that her mom has other instruments of cruelty at her disposal. (None that Sol has been subject to or seen, mind you. She only has a sneaking suspicion of such things. Whenever she has asked her numerous tutors about it, they get really quiet and there's a pained expression in their eyes before they quickly changes the subject. Always, always, always. Sol suspects that wherever this takes place is hidden from her, because she hasn't been able to find the evidence on her own in spite of her best efforts. All she knows is that she doesn't really trust her mom's kindness.)

"I, um, don't really know how to break you out of here," she admits, her cheeks burning and once more she is glad that Selene cannot see her, because she does think it's a little embarrassing that, as the heiress to the Solar throne, she cannot make the lava bars go away. "But I'm getting, like, really good at healing. I think I can heal you or at least take the pain away," she isn't sure that she can stop the purification or remove the lava from her veins before it runs its course, but she can at least seal her wounds, remove the blisters, and take away the pain. It'll be mostly superficial/cosmetic, but effort is what matters right? She's pretty sure that effort is the most important thing! Not that her tutors seem to agree... "I did try to bring you some books, but I dropped them in the lava river," she also forgot about her maybe-friend's eye situation, but that's beside the point. "So I guess I can just recite some of my favorite stories! Like, there's one I really like about a princess and a pirate who fall in love. I'm not finished with it though, so idk how it ends. We can come up with an ending together! Oh, hey, can you turn blue?"


Baba Yaga
Fools, Selene knew, opted to live in blindness. Instead of facing the truth, they averted their gaze--looked away, really, because the reality was too much for them to bear. Again and again and again, she’d seen the same pattern, swirling before her unseeing eyes! The one that compelled weaklings to gorge themselves on lies, till their bellies were swollen like those of rotting, bloated corpses. (…ah, if only graveworms had feasted on their flesh, too. That was exactly the fate they deserved, for those who chose to shield themselves from the outside world couldn’t hope to receive its spoils. No, no, no! The coin which you invested into pretty much anything always returned to you, thousandfold, and if it was covered in rust… well, you couldn’t expect to be repaid in gold, now could you? Or rather, you could, but that would make you a hopeless, hopeless moron.) The most ridiculous part, however, was that the lies they fed themselves weren’t even interesting-- had they expressed an artistic vision of sorts, then perhaps, perhaps Selene would have been able to respect them more. In a way, it could even be perceived as them shaping the world? As them looking, truly looking around, seeing the filth for what it was, and then deciding that it wasn’t worthy of them, not the other way around. …of course, that would have required a level of self-awareness the idiots simply didn’t have. Instead of trying to build something real with their mind, a palace that not even the fiercest of storms would be able to tear down, they chose to believe fairytales. ‘People care about one another.’ ‘Love always wins.’ ‘Truth prevails in the end.’ Short, simple slogans, only good enough for short, simple people. No, nobody with two brain cells to rub together would fall for such propaganda-- especially not from the mouth of an enemy.

Just, what was Sol thinking? Selene was willing to accept that her counterpart wasn’t, hmm, the intellectual sort, but surely, there had to be a limit to her stupidity. Helia wasn’t famous for her compassion, after all, and… well, it was hard for her to imagine that she’d tolerate a daughter this useless. Oh no, no, no! Something in this equation didn’t quite add up-- a large, glaring mistake, was staring her right in the eyes, as if it had been written in neon letters. And, the nature of that mistake? Ah, Selene didn’t doubt for a second that it had to be Sol herself. She’s a snake, the moon princess decided. A pretty little snake, with venom dripping from her fangs. What was she hoping to achieve, even? Earn her trust while she was down? Offer her water while she was dying with thirst, surrounded by messianic imagery? (Selene saw it for what it was, even with her eyes sewn shut. With astonishing clarity, too. There was a reason that the old bad cop, good cop strategy was still employed, you know? It worked, in the most basic sense. When you were coughing up blood, after all, would you reject a handkerchief? A kind word, to soothe the worst of your wounds? Even an enemy could look like a friend in such a moment-- a friend worthy of love, compassion, trust. Truly, wolves in sheep’s clothing! … a smart tactic, perhaps, but good luck trying to use all of that against Selene. Luna, for all of her madness, had taught her well, and the moon princess? The moon princess hadn’t forgotten her lessons.)

“…right,” Selene said, her voice colder than Siberia itself. “How very touching. When I reminisce about this lovely torture session twenty years from now on, I am sure that you appearing here will be the highlight of my experience. Do you do this for every prisoner out there, or do I get special treatment because of who my mother is? Are you perhaps hoping that you’ll be able to extract more information from me, Sol? Because you won’t. My lips are sealed, and it will remain that way. Besides, I know nothing of any value. Luna’s methods are… hmm, peculiar, as you might have noticed.” The idea of the sun princess removing her pain sounded tempting, indeed, but to what extent could she believe it? What if she was just getting her hopes up, for the sole reason of crushing them later? If the girl was more sophisticated than what she gave her credit for, then this wasn’t completely out of the realm of possibility. …still, that didn’t mean she was her ally. A valuable hostage she was, Selene knew, and for that reason alone, Sol might do whatever it took to win her over-- including, yes, healing her wounds for real. In fact, Helia might have subjected her to this torture solely that her daughter could save her later, like the knight in shining armor that she was! No, no, no, Selene had to tread carefully here… which was a difficult goal to pursue, with Sol herself being about as subtle as a brick through a window.

“A princess and a pirate?” she raised her eyebrow, not even trying to hide her bewilderment. “Preposterous! Everyone knows that a princess is to romance another princess. A true monarch wouldn’t even look at a pirate, much less fall in love with her. Such stories are stupid, and only feed unrealistic hopes. Are you a victim of unrealistic hopes, Sol? What do you think your life will look like once you ascend the throne? There will be no pirate to sweep you off your feet, of that I am certain. But, sure, if it pleases you, you can take my pain away. It’s not like it will change anything about my situation, though. And no, I cannot turn blue. Why would I?” Almost against her will, you see, Selene grew… hmm, fascinated. The girl’s thought processes were inane, certainly, but in the same way one might dissect a frog in order to learn how it worked, she couldn’t help herself here, either. What was it that Sol had meant?


lover / leaver

So far, Sol isn't quite sure what to make of Selene. Not entirely anyway. She wants to believe that there is a friend in her somewhere, waiting to come out. In fact, she does believe that there is––with her entire chest! She'll even scream it from the top of a mountain, "Selene is friend material and I will be her friend!" True, Selene is her rival (not enemy). Naturally, they should despise each other. At least, that is what Helia has told her. Well, not Helia herself, because the Sun queen is often far too busy with courtly affairs to teach her own daughter. (Honestly, Sol doesn't see much of her mom day to day. The other night would have been the most time she had spent with her mom since their excursion to the holy temples three months prior to that. It's mostly her tutors who teach her, or try to teach her. Really, the only times she sees her mom are when it is convenient for Helia or when Sol has done something particularly egregious that demands a mother's firm rearing.) Everything she has learned about the moon, her court, and her daughter has been secondhand and, to be honest, Sol has a sneaking suspicion that they're wrong. Wrong about everything, in fact. It's probably why she never pays attention to her lessons and seeks out her own ways of learning and making sense of the world and the current predicament between the two luminary courts.

In many ways, it's her own curiosity that brings her down to the dungeons to meet her predestined rival. She has to see for herself if the lunar court is truly as wicked as her mom's court makes them out to be! Only total losers believe what they are told. Losers who probably put their pants on one leg at a time instead of jumping into them. Utter fools. Yeah, so anyway, she's also here to determine for herself just who Selene is and to measure how evil her heart is. If she's, like, supes evil then Sol will just have to try extra hard to help her see the light (hehe). It's not like she's going to turn her back on a friend in need. Nah, dude, that's for cowards, of which Sol distinctly isn't! Her middle name is danger, after all.

Of course, uh, Selene doesn't seem interested in friendship, smiling, or evil rehabilitation. No matter, no matter. Sol knew this had been an ambitious goal for her to pursue when it popped into her head about three seconds after figuring out just who Selene really is, but this is her lot in life. Maybe her mom will finally be proud of her for applying herself? Ehhh, that's unlikely given the, uh, goal. Anyway, Sol tries to not let Selene's accusations cut as deep as they do––and she has to say, it's weird they're even affecting her at all. Usually criticism is something the sunbeam can take in stride––mostly because people wildly misinterpret her and she's realized that the only person who she needs to make sense to is herself, first and foremost. Yet Selene, who she has known for all but forty-five minutes, in total, has somehow managed to actually puncture that reliable armor. 'Weird, dude. She's totally wrong! Why would I care about her mom's plans? Those are probably really, super boring.'

"Eh, I don't really care about politics," she shrugs, reaching over to grab one of the plump grapes from her garden. She doesn't immediately pop it into her mouth, however, she starts by peeling off the skin first. (She likes how weird naked grapes feels. It makes her feel like she's eating eyeballs. Oh, wait, is that rude to do in front of her maybe-someday-friend?) "Like you could tell me if you wanted, but it'd just go in one ear and out my butt like everything else. I have a mind like a sieve according to my tutors," she smiles brightly, as if that isn't an insult. "But here, I'll show you that my motives are what I say they are––like, I really have nothing to gain by sitting down here. I'm missing out on time with Eggbert, my new iguana. Ooooh, do you want to meet her? I can bring her down next time! She's green and pretty small right now, but iguanas can get real big if you let them. I have a ton of iguana facts if you're ever interested."

"Oh, wait, sorry––got distracted. I didn't meant go on an iguana tangent," she laughs, and then scoots closer to Selene, having no apparent regard for her safety. Like, isn't this the woman who had no hesitancy threatening her life after their almost romantic meet-cute? To Sol, that's probably all far, far in the past and it no longer counts. "Okay, this might tingle," she mutters, gingerly grabbing onto Selene's forearms. She narrows her eyes and focuses on the dull throbs she can feel underneath the other's skin, the heat that's burning her insides, and the cracks that adorn her. To Selene it either feels like nothing at all is happening or that Sol is making this worse––but then Sol's hands start to glow, along with her eyes, and as the pain leaves Selene's body, it travels up into Sol's arm, adorning herself with the cracks that make up the moon daughter. The sun princess groans, gritting her teeth together as she uses her own body as a conduit for healing. However, after a few seconds, three to be precise, her own wounds close as do Selene's. When Sol releases Selene, her brow shines with sweat and, despite how fatigued she seems, she smiles, "There. All better. I'd kiss it better, but you're not three, so I don't think you need that."

Now, when Selene then goes to immediately insult Sol's most favorite, most sacred of tropes? Oh, well, she doesn't regret healing Selene but she does look entirely scandalized. "What?! How can you even say that! Princesses and pirates are the most classic trope of all! Elizabeth Swann and Willow Turner are, like, my number one ship! I mean, okay, Elizabeth was a noblewoman and not a princess, per se, and Willow didn't become a pirate until the end of the movie, but still!!! The love was there and it was so good," not that Sol totally knows that she's referencing Pirate's of the Caribbean or even is entirely aware of that franchise. "And that's so boring. Why would a princess want to marry another princess? Do you know how mind numbing it is to be royal? Nah, princesses want action! They want adventure! They want to be swept off their feet!! Another princess just cannot do that. I mean, prove me wrong if you can, but I'm not convinced that royal x royal are where it's at."

"And lot of people say I have unrealistic expectations of the world, but I think they are on a bologna diet, if you ask me. I think they're all just stuck following rules that don't actually exist. Like, the less scared you are of being weird the more freeing life is, y'know?" That may actually explain a lot about the sun princess and why she is the way she is. "And how do you know a pirate won't sweep me off my feet? So far, no one else has managed to, so I assume that I am just waiting for a pirate. Or maybe a bandit. I'm not picky when it comes to vagabonds," she strokes her chin thoughtfully and then flops backwards onto the ground as if this were some sort of fun slumber party.

"Oh, and..." she trails off, looking down and wringing her dress with her hands, "Uh, I thought that maybe since you're part-moon that you can turn blue. Once in a blue moon, you know? I don't get that phrase but I thought maybe it had something to do with being related to chameleons. Are you?" she asks, appropriately shy but not appropriately ashamed.


Baba Yaga
…could you get strangled by words? As in, was it physically possible? Selene had never contemplated this issue before, but Sol just kept talking and talking and talking, and, ugh! How did one manage to find so many words to express absolutely nothing at all, even? Was this an advanced torture technique? (Each change in the sun princess’s cadence felt like a needle in her brain, and each inane thought only served to push it deeper. What was the goddamn point? What, what, what? The girl might as well have been talking in another language entirely-- one that sounded remarkably like her mother tongue, yes, but with meanings behind the words all jumbled up. Could this be? Luna had told her that royals of the sun court observed strange customs, after all, and maybe, maybe the total disintegration of spoken communication was a part of the package. Hmm, hmm. A nice theory, perhaps, but not one that necessarily reflected reality. The thing was, you see, that Selene had met certain sun nobles before-- years ago, before their relations had hit the rock bottom, there had been attempts at diplomacy, pathetic as they were. Luna had welcomed them with frost in her voice, and with a smile that had cut better than most knives, but, oh, talk they had! Enough to put the moon princess to sleep, actually. Blah, blah, blah, mutual respect, blah blah blah, letting the flower of peace bloom. All empty phrases, especially in the context of everything else! …peace was a false god, only worshiped by those too weak to wield a sword. Diplomats thought themselves to be oh so wise, advocating for so-called painless solutions, but what was peace if not agony? Gritting of teeth as you compromised your principles, solely so that you didn’t have to fight for your heart’s desires? Oh no, no, no, such approach was not for one such as Selene. Never, for as long as she still breathed! …anyway, those diplomats had spoken normally, with none of Sol’s harebrained tangents. Just, was it that difficult to hold a thought? Thinking wasn’t like chasing after butterflies, where turning to the one with the brightest wings at a moment’s notice was acceptable!)

“You don’t care about politics,” Selene repeated, baffled. “You have noticed that you are Helia’s daughter, right? I mean, it appears that something like that would be hard to miss, but let’s say that certain… hmm, individuals,” dumbasses, which so far seemed to be a category that had been created for Sol specifically, “…do have a penchant for missing that which is obvious to everyone else. No offense, though.” No offense, yes, but also, good. Had lava not been coursing through her veins, the moon princess would have been celebrating right now-- there was nothing better, after all, than an apolitical enemy. (Children, that was what they were. Regardless of how many turns of the moon they had experienced, they never grew up, never matured, never took responsibility for anything. No, no, no. Everything but their pleasure was boring to them, and boring things deserved not their attention. The resume of the ideal ruler, in other words! …would she maybe sell her own throne for another herd of cows? Moon cows would be rare around here, Selene assumed, and thus probably fascinating to the airhead.) “You do you, I suppose. If you don’t wish to allow your spirit to be shackled, then for sure keep fighting. Your people will thank you for that choice, I’m certain.” Because, wo hoo, who didn’t want to have a chronic duty-avoider as their leader? The residents of the sun court would have a fun time trying to keep everything from falling apart, and Selene… well, if she survived Helia, it would only take a slight push for her to send her rival to hell. You couldn’t build a palace on paper foundations, you see? And since that apparently wasn’t bad enough on its own, Sol proceeded to put them on fire. (Good luck, really. The sun kingdom was just waiting to implode on itself, it seemed, so wouldn’t it be kinder to put it out of its misery? To let its old glory rest, instead of allowing it to drown in mediocrity? Food for thought, certainly.)

Sol, of course, continued to prattle on, in this uncontrolled stream-of-consciousness way-- something about iguanas and princesses and pirates, and probably million other things as well. Honestly? Had Selene’s eyes not been sewn shut, she would have been rolling them so hard they would have fallen out of their sockets! “It’s not about being swept off your feet,” she said, against her better judgment. “It’s about doing what you have to. These made-up rules, as you refer to them, give us stability. Order. One solid point in the sea of chaos. You cannot just…” ‘Cannot’, however, seemed to act as an invitation to prove her wrong, because… ah. What was this, even? There was this odd, odd feeling-- not quite pain and not quite pleasure, yet both at the same time, both, both, both, and then… then the lava that Helia had injected into her morphed into something cold and soothing, much like a mother’s embrace. “Thank you,” Selene breathed out, too overwhelmed by relief to care about appearances. Besides, that she had thanked her actually meant nothing, you know? Words were wind, and didn’t translate into loyalty. (No, the sun princess didn’t own her. Didn’t and wouldn’t, for Selene couldn’t be bought with a meaningless act of kindness-- with crumbs from her table, disguised as some grand dessert. Did Sol think she had forgotten who she was? Who both of them were?) “Either way,” she raised her eyebrow, “I have no idea what it is that you are talking about. No pirate is coming to save you from yourself, princess. Not from yourself, or from the curse of your lineage. Do you think any of those vagabonds would be stupid enough to earn your mother’s ire? Royal x royal is all you can hope for, really. Well, that, and boredom x boredom, too. Enjoy your limited freedom while you have it. Soon enough, I can tell, you will be wearing the crown, and it will break your neck. Good luck avoiding such fate.”

When Sol mentioned chameleons, though? That was roughly when the thin, cruelly tested thread of her patience broke. “No. Are you, perhaps, related to mosquitos? For I can hear nothing but buzzing in my ears. Look, I am thankful that you helped me with that cleansing ritual your mother loves so dearly, but I see no point in this. In any of this, actually. I cannot accept that you’re here for no reason at all-- all our actions are guided by some principle, even if you may not be aware of it. Think about this long and hard, Sol. Why are you here? Is this some rebellion against your mother, perhaps? If so, it is embarrassing and toothless, and unworthy of a princess. Show me something interesting instead! Something meaningful. The kingdom needs a change, and if you won’t be that change, then who?”…total nonsense, yes, but the princess seemed to be attracted to exactly that. Why not try and see how easily she could be manipulated, then?


lover / leaver

Well. It turns out Selene is a party pooper, wet blanket, needle in the balloon stack, Boring McBoringstein, etc. This is absolutely disappointing and devastating news to the ray of sunshine as she had been hoping her new bffl would be fun and not like all the other royals and nobles that she knows. Alas, there is only one spot available for the resident cool person of the courts and Sol took it long before Selene ever could have had the chance. Oh, well! No point in getting sad over that, because being boring is actually a reversible illness. People may swear it’s not but Sol knows, in heart of farts, that being boring is a choice as much as it is a Death sentence. (She’s not even being dramatic! Having a life that’s all predestined and predetermined is just Sol-crushing. She’s tried it before and those three hours made her want to gouge out her own eyeballs and send them to the moon court just to end this silly feud so that she might be able to live a normal, unburdened life. Her mom had not been pleased when she suggested that idea and, dude oh dude, Sol thought Helia was going to explode on the spot. Instead she just sent her away. She doesn’t remember where, but that’s probably not important!)

“Ugh, you know stick-butt removal is my speciality and I’m willing to offer my services for free since yours seems to have jostled your brain and reorganized priorities,” she rolls her eyes and laughs, again not at all offended by the moon princess’s statements. It’s not her fault that Selene is wrong about everything and doesn’t know anything about the true meaning of life. Couldn’t be Sol, to be sure, and she will dedicate her entire life to undoing the cruel magic that forces everyone to be, like, not chill. “Like, duh, I know who I am. I am Sol, daughter to Helia, and destined to be the thirteenth in the Sun’s solar cycle, blah, blah, blah, words, words, words. Plenty of incompetent rulers have come before me and lived long and happy lives. Just look at the Spanish monarchy. But,” her tone then gets surprisingly serious and it sounds entirely out of character, "I don't plan to be like the Spanish monarchy, for a number of reasons. Just to give you that piece of my mind," peace of mind, she means, "I take my role seriously. It's a big responsibility and like Aunt May said, 'With great powers comes great responsibility.' You'll see what I mean if you stick around long enough."

Of course, Selene seems to be bent on the boring for she ignores Sol and continues to talk about duty as if it's not a homophone for dootie for a reason. (Nah, there's no way that's just a linguistic coincidence! Prove Sol wrong. You have five seconds.) "Stability, right," she rolls her eyes, though her smile is still on her lips and heard in her tone. If she thought it worth the effort she might point out that whatever stability Selene is referring to must exist only in her imagination, because last she checked a centuries long conflict that has led to Death and destruction across the solar system and even cost Luna her own eyes (as well as sanity, if the rumors are true)? Does not sound like the picture of stability to the Sun princess. Like, her brain may have an interesting way of coming to conclusions, but there's no way that Selene can spin this lie into something sweet as pie. Following a thread of duty seems to only lead to more pointless conflict over wounded egos and power trips.

"I think I'll hope for whatever I want, thank you very much. You can't change my mind on this. I refuse to end up with a royal," especially not one from the Sun court. They're all so boring. She once went on a date with Leo and the entire time she just looked at herself in a mirror and had Sol tell her how pretty she is––which, Sol doesn't have an issue hyping up her partners. Nah, that's like girlfriend-having-101, but Leo lacked any depth beyond talking about how amazing she is. Then there was that date with Mars and, ugh, Sol thought she had been fun at first––truly a feisty personality––until she discovered her vindictive side and it just got plain weird. Like, can no one else be normal aside from Sol? "How are you so sure that your own neck won't break under all those banal," she is pronouncing it like anal with a b, "rules and structures? I guess we'll find out who's way of ruling is better someday, and I'll stick with my own tried and true methods."

However, then Selene's next outburst totally stops Sol in her tracks. She looks entirely dumbfounded. She thought she made it pretty clear why she is here, but apparently the moon daughter needs everything spelled out for her. That's fine, Sol supposes, transparency never hurt anyone! (Still, what is so wrong with quiet rebellions? She won't pretend that most of what she does is not an effort to shove her mom's principles to the side, to be her own person, and make change in these small ways. What would Selene expect? That she actively try to undermine Helia? Uhh, no thanks! Sol likes her guts on the inside of her body. That's just her personal preference.) (Also, Sol is totally suspicious that Selene failed to negate her relationship to chameleons. Curious.)

Something does stick out to Sol in what her opposite says, however. The need for change in the luminary courts. Yeah, that's something that she can get behind and it's something she has been trying to do, in her own ways. "I am the change I wish to see, Selene. It's not my fault that you don't understand that and it's not really my job to make you understand, either. Just, like, open your mind and maybe you'll realize what I'm doing," which does make it seem like she has some grand master plan. The speech shouldn't fool anyone, because Sol and planning? Those go together about as well as toothpaste and orange juice. "I'm here, because you are my friend. I have decided and I don't leave friends hanging. If that's not interesting or meaningful to you, fine. I'm not here to change your mind on what you think of me. That's silly, you know. You don't force that stuff on people, they come around on their own once you've given them the evidence. So I'm also here to provide that evidence."


Baba Yaga
Blah blah blah, more words. Did the girl never get tired of them? Because Selene sure as hell did, and oh, was her boiling point approaching fast! At the speed of light, one might say. Is cutting her tongue off the only way to make her shut up? the moon princess wondered, idly. (Automatically, a fantasy began to unfold inside of her head. In it, her hands weren't tied, mainly because Selene didn't dream about such things, and, hmm, what was it that she was holding? A knife, nice and sharp! A piece of moonlight in its solid form, cold in its cruelty. The sun princess was lying on a lunar altar, her arms spread as if she meant to embrace her, but, too bad such things interested her not. Instead, Selene pried her mouth open, and then... then her daydreaming was cut short by Sol's high-pitched, annoying voice. Ugh! Could one not even salivate over murder in peace these days? Truly, it was hard for her to think of a thing more disruptive, more useless, than Helia's cursed daughter. ...how dared she, really? She was Selene, Luna's only heiress and the high priestess of the Moon, and nobody, nobody talked to her like that!) "My sticks are none of your business," the woman blurted out, having run out of clever remarks. (Stupidity was contagious, you see? Idiots only over produced idiotic thoughts, and engaging with them inadvertently forced you to stoop to their level. Normally, the moon princess wouldn't have wasted her breath on the likes of Sol at all, but... well, let's just say that she was rather starved for company. Pain had kept her busy, sure, though to call it a skilled conversationalist? Oh, that would have been a lie so massive not even Selene would stain her lips with it.)

"I refuse to be lectured on priorities from someone like you, princess. I mean, you are spending your precious time with a prisoner-- a dead woman walking, if your mother is to be believed. Shouldn't you be using it more wisely? If you intend to accept your responsibility, then you could have, hmm, I don't know, used it on learning how not to fall for obvious traps." ...was she just insulting the very woman that potentially held the keys to her freedom? Maybe, but something about her just got under Selene's skin! (The way she acted as if their grand destiny weighed nothing at all, even if her own spine had almost cracked under it... no, that wasn't something that she could forgive. Never, regardless of how much the girl begged. ...the implication behind that was that she was weak, wasn't it? Sol may not have been aware of the message she was sending, but sending it she was, and no, Selene did not appreciate it. Just, where had the audacity come from?! This was like... like a sparrow insulting an eagle, or a fly insulting a lion. Absurd, in other words. Absurd and entirely unfounded, for nobody in this solar system could withstand what she had withstood, dammit! ...for her insult, the sun princess would pay-- with her dreams, her tears, everything that she held dear, really. If nothing else, Luna had taught her well, you see? And vengeance, oh, vengeance was her specialty, and always had been. Under her skillful hands, it bloomed, much like roses in the summer, except that its fragrance was poison-- poison that made you want more, more, more, with each breath you took. A masterful mechanism, truly! One that Selene would replicate, if Helia turned out to be stupid enough to leave her will intact.)

"We'll see whose way of ruling is better?" the moon princess raised her eyebrow. "Do you think that a fair competition between us will be allowed, Sol? Whatever shall I rule from here, hmm? The worms that crawl in the soil underneath my feet, or maybe the parasites that will nest in my brain? The court that I will construct inside of my head? Oh no, no, no! Unlike you, I shall never get to exercise my claim. On the other hand, I suppose that that's the only way for you to win," she shrugged, "so you should thank the heavens it turned out this way. Don't pretend that it's something you earned, though! It fell into your lap, indeed."

Selene had more scathing critiques to give, because duh, of course that she did, but when Sol dropped the bomb? The bomb about her being her friend? Yeah, had her eyes not been sewn shut, they would have fallen out of her sockets, probably. "A friend," she repeated, not even bothering to hide her shock. (Had Sol never heard of standards, or something? Was the only criterion for becoming her bff not trying to kill her? No, no, that couldn't be true-- Selene didn't even meet that requirement, after all. ...was it loneliness that was speaking from her, or stupidity? A cry of a tortured soul, or the sound of thousands of brain cells dying at once? "So," she began, "do I get no choice here? I'm your friend because you say so? Charming, and not at all sociopathic. That's how relationships work, I'm sure. And, in case you missed the sarcasm, no, it isn't! If you wish to call me your friend, you'll have to earn the title first, you insolent girl. What shall you offer, hmm?"


lover / leaver

"Likewise, I don't plan to take your advice on priorities, moonie," Sol retorts, keeping her cool and not withholding the sass factor. There's no reason for her to bothered anyway. Based on their short time together, she already has a sneaking suspicion that trying to explain where her priorities are at will only confuse Selene more, given that her worldview already seems so backwards. Like, imagine unironically believing there is purpose or meaning to all of this. Don't get it twisted, Sol does understand why the Sun and moon are important and vital figures in the solar system. She just doesn't think there is need to fight. Ever. As soon as it up to her to end this, she will. (That's another motivating factor in meeting Selene and being her friend––if she can get her rival to see her way of things, maybe they can end all of this senseless violence. So far, it does feel like a long shot; especially when she considers the reason for Selene's arrival in the Sun court. Still, evil rehabilitation has to start somewhere and Sol has a good feeling about Selene. It's inexplicable, really, but she trusts her gut more than anything else in the world. It's never steered her wrong before!)

"You do realize that you won't be here forever, right?" Sol asks, tilting her to the side. Now, she isn't trying to toy with Selene. She just doesn't actually believe that Selene will actually be trapped in the dungeons forever. For one, given the low occupancy of the place, it's obvious her mom doesn't make a habit of keeping prisoners. That also doesn't mean that Selene's fate is Death, either. Her mom would have taken her out back in the garden had that been her intention. Helia also would not have bothered with the purification process for no reason. Nah, Sol knows that something is up, she just doesn't know what. She figures she will find out soon since the purification should be nearing an end anyway and when she does? She'll be sure to tell Selene first thing! "Like, I will do what I can to help you escape. Or you'll figure it out on your own, somehow. Maybe even my mom will slip up and that's how you'll free yourself. I mean, that's pretty unlikely, but stranger things have happened. Besides, aren't your guts telling you that you're gonna be okay? Because mine are and I always trust mine."

Now, when Selene points out Sol's egregious offense? She gasps and covers her mouth, her eyes widening to that of saucers as she realizes what she has done! What a Helia move, tbh, and she refuses to be anything like that woman! No, no, no! However, call it hopeful, but there does seem to be an invitation from the lunar princess for her to try. Try to become her friend, that is, and Sol immediately bites the hook. This is exactly what she had been hoping for! Well, not exactly this, because if she were getting exactly what she wanted then Selene would already be her bffl; she supposes that she can settle for the invitation to try because, maybe, she'll really get to call her a bffl and Selene will call her her bffl. Wouldn't that be just magical? Ohhhh, Sol could just burst, she's so excited!!!! "Selene, I promise with all of my hearts," she suspects she has more than just one since she has so much love to give, "that I will become the best person in your life, okay? You're right. We aren't friends. And if you can say we aren't friends, then I can say we aren't enemies, either. I will prove to you that I am worthy of becoming your bffl and, also, I promise to make you smile a lot, too. That's what best friends do."


So with that declaration and the promise to become the moonbeam's bffl, the sunbeam sets off to figure out the best way to befriend her opposite. In the days following Sol's initial visit, she does her best to see the moon princess as often as she can. During these visits she always makes sure to bring to her food and water, since it's pretty obvious no one else is doing so; she also introduces her to Eggbert and her Tamagotchi; she tells her about her favorite bugs and describes them all in painstaking detail; and today? Today she has something very special planned! She is going to teach Selene how to finger knit. Sol is pretty sure that's something you don't need eyes for. However, just when Sol is getting ready to sneak off, none other than her mom catches her.

"Sol," her mom's voice cuts through the air like it's out for blood. Though when Sol turns around? Helia is wearing the smile of a friend and the princess knows not to trust that on principle. Her bones still and her heart freezes, yet on the outside she appears disaffected and she's wearing her best I'm innocent, I swear face. "Off to see the little brat? No need to lie to me, I know what you have been up to, daughter. Worry not, however, I am not angry. It is best you get to know your new bodyguard, after all."

"My wha––?" unfortunately, before Sol can finish that thought, Helia moves faster than lightning and jams a dagger through her daughter's abdomen. Sol looks down at the wound, glittering gold spurts out from it and soon the she can taste the metallic substance on her tongue, spilling from the corners of her mouth; her eyes follow the handle of the blade up her mom's arm as confusion twists her features, "Ma–?"

"Shh, shh, go to sleep, my child," she whispers into Sol's ear, sweet like honey as she twists the knife, and suddenly Sol's eyes start to get heavier and heavier and the promise of sleep? Sounds kinda nice tbh––like a cat stretching out in the sun. Helia continues, "In the morning you shall remember none of this. Aster," a small girl appears from behind the Sun, "take the princess up to her chambers so she may heal. Make sure to clean her up as well. I want no evidence of this."

With that nuisance taken care of Helia disappears in a flash and arrives at the prisoner's cell. "Selene," she greets, flicking her wrist through the air to rid the girl of the lava barrier that ensures she has no route to escape. She cares not whether the lava splashes onto the moon daughter's skin in the process. If her sources are correct, which they likely are, she understands her daughter has offered her protection from the searing heat of flames. No matter, that will be undone shortly. "On this most blessed day, you shall be welcomed into my court and enter the ranks of my many servants. Is that not just splendid? Giving you a chance at what is right and good? Ah, you may thank me later as I imagine your twisted mind knows not how to appreciate this gift of enlightenment."

Once more, tendrils of lava rise from the pool surrounding the island and wrap around the moon princess's wrists before they harden into sharp obsidian shackles. The queen then reaches for Selene, touching her forehead and taking them to a new location in the palace. This room seems to be made entirely of gold. Golden chains hang from the ceiling and at the front of the room there are some steps that lead up to a golden altar, which is where Helia leads them, tugging on the prisoner's shackles. "Watch your step, darling," though in the same breath she jerks on Selene's chains. "Tell me, what are you thinking right now? Do be honest."


Baba Yaga
Not here forever, huh? Oh, how Selene would love to hope for it! The thing was, hope was for weaklings-- weaklings, simpletons and idiots, of which she was neither. (Clinging to delusions just wasn't the moon princess's style, for doing so wouldn't magically alter reality to her liking. That, at least, was one of the earliest lessons she'd grasped. Praying to whatever gods that happened to be listening for Luna to grow a little less cruel hadn't exactly worked out, had it? And, really, falling for the same trick twice would have painted her in a very, very poor light! ...nobody was looking out for her, Selene knew. Not the air-headed sun princess, not her mother, not some divine providence, and not anyone else. Always, always she'd been alone, just her and her despair, and also the audience that kept laughing, laughing, laughing, each time her foot slipped! They yearned after her blood, like the pack of wild dogs they were. If it were up to them? With teeth sharper than disappointment, they would have torn her apart, and feasted on her flesh! ...Selene would feed them their own entrails, once it was even slightly possible. If not her, then her vengeful spirit for sure! And, once her soul was free of her mortal shell? The stupid sun princess would be the first of her victims-- the first one to taste her wrath. Was this situation not her fault, after all? Oh, it was, it was! Had she not brought her to the garden of all places, Helia wouldn't have discovered her, and then... ah, no matter. Chasing after fantasies was pointless, and no less idiotic than actually believing them.)

"Till you fulfill your promise," Selene began, "it is meaningless to me. Mere words, said in order for you to feel better about yourself! Surely, you'll forgive me for not getting my hopes up. But yes," she chuckled, "do try hard, my sweet. If you wish to earn my friendship, you'll have to prove your worth thousand times over. My standards are rather high, you see?" High enough, at least, not to fraternize with one who could probably be bested by a goldfish in a battle of wits. Still, the one good thing about this? Sol appeared to have the self-respect of a doormat, and Selene wiping her filthy shoes on her most likely caused her great pleasure. (Truly, killing her would have been a mercy! Existing under her mother's thumb, and being unaware of all the consequences? Of the threads that bound her, much like a spider's web? Indeed, indeed, it would have been better for her to die with her innocence still intact, so that self-awareness would never taint her.) "I'd like to see you try," the moon princess smirked. "It does seem to me that failure is your favorite flavor, though, so you may get what you want from me, after all."


Truthfully? Almost against her will, Selene had come to look forward to Sol's visits. It wasn't that she liked the sun princess, mind you-- still, still she suspected that her idiocy was contagious, and she couldn't afford to fall victim to the dumb of ass disease. Still, listening to her prattling was marginally better than silence, you see? Silence, in which her own thoughts wouldn't leave her alone! ('Pathetic, pathetic, pathetic,' one set of voices accused her. 'Why do you think they aren't looking for you, huh?' 'You shall rot here, and your flesh will feed the graveworms.' Ah, yes, yes! Nothing like optimism in these trying times, Selene supposed.) Sol, despite being about as pleasant as the average mosquito bite mark, provided a distraction from her thoughts, and so she had learned to... hmm, tolerate her presence. Besides, this could count as her getting to know her enemy, right? An important part of pretty much any strategy, surely.

...it seemed, however, that today, Selene would get to know an enemy much more horrifying that the resident Homo Dumbassius. Helia herself, you see, decided to show up! Immediately, the princess was on her guard. "Into your court?" she asked, her tone full of contempt. "I have known from the very beginning that truth is your worst enemy, Helia, but I wasn't aware that you also lied to yourself. Me, your servant? Dream on! Before that happens, Luna herself will give you her crown." Just, preposterous! Preposterous and completely idiotic, too! Selene would rather die before bending her knee to the woman, and since that apparently wasn't the outcome she desired... well, they found themselves facing a stalemate, didn't they? No party could move freely, and there was no conclusion to be reached. Bitter enemies, that was what they were-- things would remain that way, too, for certain ideas couldn't be reconciled. Fire and water would never exist together in harmony, so why would you expect that from the lunar and sun courts? Ah, no, they were too different! The existence of one meant trouble for the other, and deep in her heart of hearts, she knew that... well, that this wasn't sustainable. The galaxy wasn't big enough for both of them, oh no, no, no! ...the sad thing was that it was probably her who was going to die in the end, really. Oh well. If nothing else, she had had a semi-good run!

"I'm thinking," Selene said, seeing no reason not to be honest, "that you are as foolish as your air-headed daughter. That, and that so much gold is terribly tacky. Even with my eyes sewn shut, I can feel it, you know? The absolute lack of taste that is permeating this room!"


lover / leaver

"You know," the queen smirks, not really bothered by the insolent little worm's words (after all does the lion care for the antelope's opinion? Certainly not!), "You have a certain, hm, fire about you that I do admire, Selene. It is what makes you so suitable for my court. You shall fit right in. All in due time of course," she laughs, the melody bouncing off all of the gold in the room and making it sound ten thousand times more jarring than it would be otherwise. "It is a shame that the destinies did not allow you to fall into my court naturally, but no matter. No matter. You are here now and that is what is important." Is Helia even listening to the moon daughter? She might ask her questions, she may hear words falling from her mouth, but she does not address them in any meaningful way. No, it seems as though Helia is most content conversing with herself! (Ask Sol and she will confirm that her mom is very capable of having conversations by herself.)

What Helia makes of the insults towards her daughter, whether she agrees with the observation or has deluded herself into thinking otherwise, remains a mystery. As she doesn't snap at the false princess or even acknowledge the slight against Sol. (One has to wonder what the queen makes of the disappointment she has to claim as her own. It is no secret that the queen has an extreme distaste for that which is incompetent, for that which refuses to bend to her will, for that which does not shine as brightly as she. So how Sol continues to live and live? When there are rumors that the lunar monarch has been through several heirs before settling on Selene? One has to wonder just what the solar monarch is doing keeping that useless ray around. It is doubtful she is waiting idly for that waste of oxygen to suddenly come around to her role. No, Helia likely gave up on that many years ago.) "It is unfortunate you have no taste for gold, for it will be an essential part of your uniform. I am sure you will come to appreciate it."

"Though enough of this chatter, there is work to be done if you are to be properly made into a servant of my court," and the way Helia says that? It suggests that Selene is more or less about to lose at least 70 percent of her autonomy. Helia, standing at her full height, reaches towards the ceiling for the golden chains that dangle above the golden altar and pulls a hook down from the ceiling; she loops the chain around Selene's neck, latching the hook onto one of the links, and tugging on the chain so that Selene is hoisted onto the altar. If it chokes her, why should Helia care? They are all immortal so a little Death never really hurt anyone. (Sol is recovering from own as it is.) Though it's not as though Helia is so cruel as to leave Selene hanging; she is set down on the altar and once there, the Sun grabs more chains from the ceiling and binds the girl's wrists and ankles together (getting rid of her obsidian cuffs in the process). She waves her hand over the false princess's body, tightening her bonds to a most uncomfortable pressure. "There, that ought to keep you comfortable," she teases.

Once she is bound and fastened into place, Helia takes a moment to admire her handiwork. Her flaming hand strokes the princess's cheek as if trying to comfort a broken girl, though the action can obviously not be trusted; her thumb traces over Selene's sewn eyes; then her finger then slides over Selene's throat, down her abdomen, cutting away the red dress she arrived in––though it was in tatters anyway so she really should thank her queen for ridding her of the garment anyway. "This shall only hurt as much as you resist, my darling," and with that, Helia brings out a blade from thin air––the very one she had used to stab her heir, still warm and dripping with her golden ichor––she lifts it high above her head and then plunges it into Selene's chest. An explosion bursts in moon princess's chest––the protection of Sol's charm is instantly broken so that all pain may be felt. How kind of Helia. The sun princess's blood gathers around the blade and appears to move on its own accord. It wriggles into the moon daughter's chest, moving like caterpillars and yet biting like ants as the substance enters her bloodstream.

Meanwhile, Helia recites an incantation and the glyphs lining the wall begin to glow, along with her eyes, as the ichor fuses with moon princess, binding her to the sun princess. As the glyphs glow, they peel off the wall move to float above the altar, spinning over the girl. They flash brightly as they touch the moon princess's skin, searing into her and marking as Helia's. Whether Selene wants to be part of the Sun court or not is hardly her choice, now, as these glyphs mark her and bind her to the queen's will; while the ichor flowing into her veins attaches her own life force to Sol's. To finish the ritual, Helia covers Selene's mouth and pushes flames onto her tongue preventing her from speaking ill of the queen. (She will just have to be clever, like the other members of the Sun's court.)

"There, child, welcome to the most Radiant court," Helia smiles, then snaps her fingers so that the gold chains melt and reshape to form cuffs around Selene's wrists, ankles, and neck. "Ah, now that was not so bad, now was it?"
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Baba Yaga
Helia talked and talked and talked, similarly to Sol before. Like mother, like daughter, huh? The sun princess indeed was the queen's reflection-- twisted and warped, yes, but with the crucial elements still present in some capacity, at least. And, according to Selene's analysis so far? Oh, both of them adored the sound of their voice! (Helia was a wolf, with her teeth sharper than a razor. Sol, on the other hand? A small yapping dog, exactly the type that you'd put into a pink sweater and name something stupid, such as Mrs. Pawson or Woofster or Doggozilla. Truly, the inhabitants of the sun court had a bright future to look forward to! ...that was Selene's one solace, you see? Helia might claim her life now, yes, or even subject her to a fate worse than that, but at least she wouldn't be swallowed by anarchy when Sol, uh... inevitably decided that clothes were for the weak, or something. Indeed, not having to witness that was a blessing on its own!)

"Are all of the sun nobles like this?" Selene asked, despite knowing better than that. "So far, your only extraordinary trait seems to be your ability to talk your enemies' ears off. Impressive, I'd say, but it would be a lie. For that, I value myself too much, you know?" That in itself was a lie, but no, she wouldn't shield the sun queen's feelings-- instead, the princess aimed for the openings in her armor, for the weak spots that were felt rather than seen. And, speaking of those? Oh, Selene knew just where to hit, alright! "Actually," the princess smirked, "I believe I know why you are like this. It is difficult, is it not? To give life to another and nourish her with your own essence, only to watch her grow into... hmm, what should I compare her to?" Selene rubbed her chin, apparently deep in thought. "Weeds among flowers, I want to say. Something completely, utterly useless! Genetics truly is a lottery, isn't it? And you lost Helia-- you lost so hard that now you're trying to make yourself feel better via stealing your opponent's heir. What does that say about you, hmm? About your own child?" Besides, Selene thought, what she was trying to do was just preposterous. Much like you couldn't teach an eagle to eat grass, you also couldn't make a moon daughter bow her head to the sun, right? Oh no, no, no! The threads of her fate had already been woven together, too tightly for anyone else to untie, and... and not even Helia could reach them, in truth. Delusions were her daily bread, and she was welcome to them! It still didn't mean that Selene had to respect it, mind you. She cannot erase who I am, the young woman thought. I was born of moonlight, of the endless depths of the ocean and the darkness between the stars, and the bitch cannot define me. Never!

Helia, of course, seemed to think differently. Before Selene could even articulate the rest of her thoughts, she was being lifted, so, so high in the air, and... argh! Was that to be her end, to choke like an animal? So be it, she said to herself, as the precious oxygen was being squeezed out of her lungs. Luna's mercy wouldn't have been kinder, anyway. You think you can make me fear, Helia? I've grown up with terror, where others had mother's milk. You cannot touch me. The chains were pressing into her neck, more and more and more, and Selene... well, Selene was convinced that she was going to die there, one way or another. Still, such a fate wasn't too terrible, was it? A corpse couldn't talk, couldn't act, couldn't disappoint, most of all. Finally, the moon princess would find a way to satisfy her mother's whims!

...maybe she'd spoken too soon, though. The pressure relented, yes, but something disgusting reached inside of her-- it touched her heart, and all of a sudden, Selene was burning, burning, burning, with everything she'd ever known being reduced to ashes. (No! No, the bitch couldn't take that away from her. Anything, anything but her sense of self-- that which she'd cultivated over the years, and clung to when Luna's cruelty had been too much to bear. 'Don't touch me!' the princess wanted to yell, but saying that aloud? Ah, that would only have acted like an invitation! ...the likes of Helia thrived in such situations, didn't they? In crossing boundaries, and trampling all over those foolish enough to defend them. It wasn't that Selene didn't understand that, of course-- the rush was exhilarating, though not so much when she found herself on the receiving end.)

It could have lasted an eternity, but it also could have been a fraction of a second. Who cared, really? What truly mattered here was that once the chains assumed their new shape, Selene was... who, actually? Who and what? A woman changed, that was for certain, but how much? How, how, how? Her entire world world was spinning, and her throat was parched, and, ah, everything felt wrong! As if a mad surgeon had broken every single bone in her body only to rearrange them in different shapes, similar but not quite the same. (Some changes, Selene knew, could be positive-- like a butterfly hatching from its chrysalis. This, however? More than anything, it was rot, spreading through her soul, her body, everything that had once been her.) "What did you do to me?" the princess growled.


lover / leaver

Ah, if Helia were more of a caricature of a villain she might have laughed as she watches her subject take to her transformation and new chains. From a pathetic worm to, well, perhaps a worm than can fly. Still ugly and disgusting, but at least far more useful than before. As the cuffs shape around the girl, the Sun smiles down at her prisoner and, damn, the temperature must have increased by a few hundred degrees. "Ah, Selene, you are but a mere girl, a child, masquerading as a competent adult. A rather convincing mask, if I do say so, but still only the imitation of what is real. How stupid you were to wander into my court with nothing more than those pathetic claws and some weak magic up against myself, a queen, who stands taller than all others. What are you, five foot? If that. Pah! Had Luna really wanted you to succeed she might have provided some direction but instead she has sent you here to die. That is how I see it," she smirks, "And she has sent no one to your rescue either, for the wolves have not sung their mourning song and they dare not enter my court. No one is coming to save you."

"As for what I've done to you? I have blessed you, child. You, a miserable little bitch with no prospects. You who does not even deserve to lick the mud from the bottom of my shoes and yet I have given you a chance, because I see a golden opportunity. An opportunity for you to learn the weakness of the moon's false light. You are now a servant of my court. Whether you choose to bow on your own or whether my commands cause your spine to bend, matters not, for you will bow either way. Am I understood?" she asks, her tone dripping with bitter poison coated in honey. "Your purification rid you of all those protections that would have rendered my magic null. If you think you have the skill or knowledge to undo what I have done? Ah, those fantasies may remain in your dreams, for you are mine now. From this day forward, forever. It shall not be so bad, however. Your task is simple enough. You shall protect my daughter; daft and incompetent as she is, she serves a purpose in this still and so I need her alive. You are now her personal guard and shall spend nearly every second with her," ah, Helia is either a master of breaking one's mind or she has other plans in mind, "Do enjoy her inane prattlings. I hear she is into lizards at the moment."

Sol groans as the first rays of her mom's shine break through her window and wake her. There's an odd ache in her abdomen, kind of like if she had spent the entire night laughing, but she doesn't remember laughing at all. The last thing she remembers is setting out to see Selene, because she really wanted to teach her how to finger knit and ask a million invasive question, but before she could do that something happened. She doesn't recall the specifics, but she remembers getting really tired and since she awoke in her bed? She assumes she must have attempted to take a power nap that (accidentally) turned into a full sleep. 'Ah, crap. Classic freaking blunder, Sol. I hope she doesn't hate me for leaving her hanging like that. I'll make an apology card during my lessons today. That should fix it. Maybe I'll bring down a cake––'

However, before she can continue on that tangent waiting to happen, there's a knock on her door and one of the servants enters. "Princess, the queen would like to see you. Make haste," the nameless star says, rushing into the room with a team of other servants following behind her. Quickly, they gather the disoriented princess from her bed and begin to ready her for the day.

'It's not my birthday and there are no special events coming up... why does she want to see me?' Sol wonders as a dress is tossed over her head. She rubs her bleary eyes as another servant combs out her hair and several others swarm her to prepare her for an audience with her mom. Then, before Sol even knows it, she is standing in the throne room where the walls are made of fire and Helia sits atop her throne with a morning report in one hand, a cup of tea in the other, and Selene standing near her feet. 'Wait, what? Selene?'

Sol rubs her eyes again, confused, to make sure that what she is seeing is actually real and not some weird fever dream. And, yep, even after rubbing her eyeballs so hard she thought they might fall out of her skull, Selene is still there with golden cuffs around her wrists, ankles, and throat. She's also no longer in that red dress from the first night they met either; instead, she seems to be outfitted in armor standard for all the guards in the Sun court. Uh-oh. "Uh, hi, mom. Er, I mean, good morning," she chirps, her eyes shifting away from Selene upwards to her mom who still has not taken her four eyes from the report she's reading.

"Sol, I have decided," she starts, not bothering with greetings or even shifting her attention away from the screen in front of her, "There is no point to your tutoring lessons any longer," wait... is Sol dreaming? "You are released from them. After all, you said just last week that you wanted a more hands on approach to your education and after much deliberation, I have decided to heed your request. From here on out you shall learn what it means to be the Sun by doing. As such, because the nature of your new assignments shall be rather dangerous, I have assigned you a new guard to look over you, protect you, and hold you accountable for completing these assignments. Selene," she nudges the girl forward with her foot, "is your new bodyguard. Do you understand?"

"Uh, I––yeah, I understand. I think," she mumbles, quietly wondering if this is a trap.

"Good," Helia smiles, "Now, there are some ogres antagonizing some of our allies at the gold mines. Slaughter the brutes and bring me back their hearts as proof. You can leave the heads for the townsfolk. Do be off now."


Odd as it is, Sol isn't exactly thrilled with what's happening. Like, yeah, she gets to spend time with her bffl hopeful 24/7 and she doesn't have to attend her lectures anymore, and even though she feels like she should be jumping for joy, she... She doesn't feel like jumping. She doesn't feel joyful either. Just, as far as she knows forced servitude is so not the way to becoming bffls. Ugh. She'll have to figure this out later and in the meantime just make the most of it, she supposes. So as the pair exit the throne room and start to descend down the 242 steps that lead up to the palace (Sol counted), she turns to her companion, "Hey, so, I dunno what's going on but I don't really feel like killing ogres. They smell like toejam and the propaganda against them is just shameful. Like Shrek and Fiona have rights. Wanna catch some butterflies? Now that you're not in the dungeons anymore, I can also introduce you to my cows! I have seven. There names are Oatis, Oatley, Oatmeal, Kopfschmerzen, Blueberry, Daisy, and Sprinkles."

Then, of course, something in the sky captures Sol's attention and her eyes widen. "Omg, did you see that? Oh, wait... Uh, did you feel that? It was a dragon. Let's go find her secret lair!! I'll race you!" Oh, and she's already running...

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