Hello Bev!! Thank you for the ask 😊
❤️ share one of your favourite lines
(I'll go for a snippet from one of my One Step From Heaven // One Step From Hell scenes :D this is from Demon's POV in the scene called Among the Dead ; you can find it whole with this link!)
She shot a nervous glance at the half-hidden tombstones on each side of the path ; there was not enough light left to read the names, and so they were now anonymous, little monuments, all the same, all for a different unknown Someone, still whispering in the night ‘you were here, but despite all they say, no one remembers your name.”
Hell, do I hate cemeteries.
☂ share your favourite description of an object
this is from Lotus on the River! It's not that special but I enjoyed writing the scene and Jahzara's reaction, so here it is :D
Untying my hair with one hand, I opened the wardrobe with the other.
The handle creaked, and my jaw fell.
A beautiful, dark blue, flowy dress hung in front of me, amidst the much plainer ones I sometimes wore on a daily basis. Tight around the chest, the short sleeves wrapped around the shoulders and their fabric hung in the back like two sleepy, transparent, thin, pale-blue wings, and the rest of the dress fell down around the legs and to the feet in flawless folds.
I knew who. Just not why.
🌹 share your most poetic line
Again, this is one of my favourites from Lotus on the River ; I felt like this little part needed a special rhythm, special words, and after looking for a moment, I found them ; I think it's pretty poetic, but you tell me if you like it :D
We were fire and metal, and air in between, the metal burned cold against our skin in the blazing heat of the sun and the light ; the music was golden, the music was red, the music was a fire that threw us ahead, and we spun, and spun, again and again, in synch with one another and our hearts beating together on every beat and every move, burning from the inside out. We were wild, we were free, we were young and we believed.
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excerpt from a council of golden swords: tattooed cairic king
planned this scene weeks ago, forgot about it, enjoyed writing it immensely. poor kayani, they're so in love
anyway i hope you love this as much as i loved writing it, acogs has been kicking my ass this week and this was a nice battle won
Asma crosses her arms. “Take off your shirt.”
Kayani chokes on their own saliva. “What?”
“I’m going to paint you. Take off your shirt.”
Kayani stares at her, open mouthed, a thousand indignities resting on their lips. Asma taps her foot, paintbrush held between two fingers, frowning impatiently. No excuse, no argument, no plea will ever sway her. She is unmovable.
Kayani stares at the floor and loosens the laces of their shirt before whipping it off. They ball it up and stand there holding it until she snatches it from them and tosses it on the sofa. “Sit on the stool,” she says, “and for Cai’s sake, stop looking so stiff. Actually look like you want to be here. You don’t even have to smile. Just look a little less queasy.”
Queasy for a different reason, Kayani thinks, but obediently sits on the wooden stool in the center of the red, blue, and gold room. The yearly trip west, spent in close quarters with almost all of the Cairic army, has driven the modesty out of them, but everything is different with Asma.
She sits on the ottoman and drags her easel closer to her, a tray of paint pools sitting beside her on the sofa. The easel legs scraping against the floor makes Kayani startle. “Relax,” she orders in a tone that’s anything but relaxing.
Kayani folds their hands and tries not to slouch. The hairs that itch when they fall into their eyes will be the least of their worries over the next few hours. Why else would Asma paint them shirtless if not just to torment them?
Once Asma has everything apparently set up to her standard, she looks up and rakes her eyes over Kayani’s torso. Her breath hitches. “You have so many tattoos. I forgot you would.” Her voice disturbs the quiet of the room, breaking a sacred peace, or however peaceful the two of them alone can get.
“Isn’t that why you wanted to paint me shirtless?” Kayani asks. “Why else would you?”
She hides her face behind the canvas and doesn’t bother with an answer. Kayani prepares for a long set of hours filled with waiting, an aching back, and keeping their walls firmly up.
After ten minutes of silence, Asma working quietly, she asks, “What does that one on your chest mean?”
Kayani resists the urge to look down and earn themself their first don’t move, idiot. They could trace the lines of the * in the darkness, in their sleep. “The death of my mother.”
She gasps. “You got tattooed when you were just a child?”
They shrug. “I’ve known some babies who got tattooed after birth because of a difficult or scary pregnancy, complications that should’ve killed them. Parents, too. We use our tattoos to cope with many things, many emotions, but prominently grief. For many people, the experience itself of sitting there for ten hours while a needle pokes into your skin—it helps.”
“By enduring pain?” Asma asks.
Kayani shrugs. “Some people find solace in pain. It’s something real they can grip onto.”
“That’s the funny thing,” Asma says, peering out from over the canvas. “It isn’t.”
Kayani’s eyes drift to the tattoo on her forearm, she follows their gaze and pulls her sleeve down. Kayani remembers it all too painfully well—her poorly stifled tears and cries while getting it, their own desire to comfort her squashed by the hatred in her eyes. It’s their fault she has it.
“What about that one?” she asks, gesturing to the wings covering their shoulders.
“Are you asking because you’re genuinely curious,” Kayani asks, “or just trying to fill the air?” They want to poke further into her reasoning, but they don’t want her to change her mind and throw them out. Alone time with Asma is bliss as much as it’s torture, and they’ll take every last bit of it.
“I got the wings one year after becoming king,” Kayani says. “To celebrate not being assassinated.”
She snorts. “Get better guards.”
“I am my own best guard besides Ajar and Samad. I didn’t want to trust anyone else. The palace guards on rotation can only do so much against an assassin hired by someone who was angry I became king and not my sister.”
Asma rolls her eyes, the soft strokes of her brush soothing to listen to against the faint chatter of birds. “And the one on your back?”
“You’re not painting that one. You can’t even see it right now.”
“Answer the question, dimwit.”
Kayani grins. As much as they love to nag Nikolai about being attracted to the ones who seemingly want nothing to do with you, they’re no less guilty. “I got the first part done after I survived the Trials.” After healing up upon their return, they went straight to the royal tattoo artist. They knew exactly what they wanted: Ajar and Samad standing side by side, blue eyes pointed to the moon.
The two of them are right outside—if Kayani’s quiet, they can hear them scratching at the door—but an ache for them runs through their chest regardless. Sometimes they’re convinced the three of them share a soul.
“I would’ve gotten the outlining done before I left for the Trials for good luck and gotten it filled in after I came back, but I didn’t want to deal with unnecessary pain. I got the second part added on after I came back from my first trip west with the army. That time, I did do it in two halves for good luck, like many of my soldiers.”
Going to get those outlines and later the full lines done with their soldiers had been one of the most rewarding experiences of their life. Sitting beside ten others in a salon, all laughing or grimacing or telling stories to work through the pain reminded them that they could still mix with normal people. Winning the Trials didn’t make them special in the soldiers’ eyes, and Kayani liked it that way.
Their second back tattoo consisted of a light brown stag leaping across the center of their back, over the dogs. “Each trip after was another add on.” They’ve since added a grassy field for the stag and the dogs to rest in, stars for the moon, flowers and sparkles in a mix of reds and browns.
“Your entire body will be covered by the time you die,” Asma says.
“That’s the goal.”
As the hours go by, Asma asks, and this? What about this? That one? What are the ones I can’t see? Kayani answers her every question, shares every story, every memory. They don’t tell her about the one on the back of their ankle, small enough to miss. A golden paintbrush.
Finally, when the sun is halfway to setting and Kayani’s lower half has gone numb, Asma announces she’s done. Kayani wobbles to their feet toward the canvas, but she picks it up before they can see it. They sigh quietly but don’t question it—until she turns around.
She’s painted them in a background more heavily red than the wallpaper behind them. It brings out the red in Kayani’s tattoos, which are obviously the star of her painting. The edges of Kayani’s muscles are blurred, but the lines of the tattoos are as clear and sharp as they are on their skin. Their eyes are halfway open, tired, and Asma captured their faint smile at something she said, maybe some memory that took them away.
The sun from the glass wall behind them drips golden light onto light brown skin, a glowing backdrop for the tattoos. Kayani sat with their left forearm up, right hand holding that wrist, but Asma painted the opposite to hide the tattoo there.
Kayani has never had the eye for beautiful artwork, nor the time to study why people devote their lives to it, but this makes them reconsider. Not because it’s them, of course, they’re not that vain. Because it’s Asma.
“I will call it ‘Tattooed Cairic King’,” Asma says. Kayani can’t take their eyes off her nonchalant expression, the casual way her fingers grip the canvas. She completed this in a day and she acts like she’s holding a piece of cheap furniture. Doesn’t she know all of her artwork will be studied meticulously after her death merely because she’s a queen?
Not just because she’s a queen, Kayani thinks. Because she’s an incredible artist. They wish they had the courage to say so, but knowing Asma, she’d make some crack about their narcissism.
“Where are you going to hang that one?” they ask. “Which guest room or dining hall or office will get the pleasure of seeing my tattoos?
She fixes them with a look. “My suite wall.”
The floor seems to swim under them.
“I thought you hated me,” they manage. “As you pointed out, last time we were together you told me to never come into your sight again.” They gesture to the canvas. “I think that violates your rule.”
For once, Asma’s silence seems to be because of her loss of words, not dramatic pause or the bother of answering a question. “It’s some of my finest work,” she settles on. “I’d like to admire it often. Let people admire it when I’m dead.” She closes her eyes and runs her finger along the top of the canvas. “Also, I’d like to do your back sometime."
“What?” Kayani sputters.
“Oh, come on. If you can survive a needle pricking your skin for ten hours, you can survive sitting still for another six.”
That’s not the problem, Kayani thinks, but only nods. Cai have mercy.
kayani being shook by asma's ability to Art is me @ all the talented artists here yall rock
also if you noticed the tsoa inspiration for "and this?" then props to u
acogs taglist (lmk to be added/removed) @magic-is-something-we-create @inkflight @spencer-nyx @writing-is-a-martial-art @ashen-crest @wisteria-eventide @nikkywrites @denkis-phone-charger @myhusbandsasemni @lynolord @ettawritesnstudies @golden-apple-s-blog @chazzawrites @pen-of-roses
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