welcome to goss!
Countless intangible veils separate all universes from each other - and from ours. The fabric of space and time is at its faintest, like gossamer, at these proximate points we share with all other realities. Interdimensional castaways are drawn to safety and arrive on a train in our core world, Hialao. The train system also serves as our lifeblood by connecting five other worlds to Hialao.

With the dimensional displacements not yet showing signs of slowing, and research forever futile on how to leave (besides those who simply vanish, falling back through the invisible curtain), it's impossible to say who might arrive and how they might shape this fragile series of lands, eras and cultures. Good luck out there.

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Site premise was formed by the original staff of Gossamer - Alida, Prince, Rebecca, Morgan, and Tera, who created the dimensions of Elestis, Hialao, Parse, Barrows, and Wildewall, respectively. Additionally, Tethya was the result of a site event and was created by a former member, Velvet.

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 Kings and Pawns, Tag Lulu~
I want to live, to give so many feelings to people. I want to live! I wish I didn't realize I had feelings like this! But I'm in so much pain! He's nowhere where I can see him!
95
POSTS
17
Eureka seveN
Artificial Coralian
Tech Specialist
Carma (Meh)
She/Her/It
She hated...she really hated waiting. Especially for a boring reason, just so she could be escorted along to talk to boring people in a boring place. People were stupid, especially people in suits. People in gray suits with ties and combed down hair and shiny black shoes and seamless spotless black pants - they were all just a bunch of mannequins really. Dolls. They had no energy, not really, no life and they just did their job like they were on strings and expected her to do the same and yap yap yap it was all business, reports, brief this, file that, send it to the archives. Boring. But this was even worse because the stupid white-collar wasn’t here yet.

Ugh. Why the hell did she need to go through processing anyway? She worked for the dumb people. She could just prove it. She could call her stupid handler, put her on the stupid phone, and she could tell the stupid people and all of this could be over and done with and she could just go do her stupid job. But no, because this wasn’t her building, and because the government was a bunch of stuffy by-the-book idiots that couldn’t put two and two together without a ten step manual, she had to be processed the normal way. Which meant waiting in this sickeningly cozy and mostly empty very gray, very bland room. There were twelve chairs in total, scattered along the walls. Between a few of them there were little tables with zines. You could pick one up, tap the zine you wanted to read and swipe through it to pass the time. On the far side of the room was the front desk where they were supposed to get processed through. But, the dumbass wasn’t in yet. And worse, Anemone’s handler had left the building to see if she could call the guy and get him in - so she didn’t even have anyone to pester.

Anemone sat in one of the disgustingly cozy black chairs, arms on either armrest, one leg crossed over the other. She wore a navy blue dress that went down to about her knees - because apparently, her usual pink and white one wasn’t professional enough. They won that battle, fine. But there was no way they were gonna dye her hair - her handler suggested it and nearly got her index finger bitten off for trying to make a point. That dumb bitch wasn’t allowed to touch her hair. She also traded out her usual red heels for black flats….which she was okay with actually. She liked the height her heels gave her but people in the government gave her weird looks and then pretended like they weren’t staring. And she hated looking at their stupid, lying faces.

Anemone sat back, letting out a huff, head lolled backward as she stared at the white ceiling. There was a crack in the corner by the door, they really ought to work on getting that fixed. Sh followed it until it ended, then let her gaze slip down, down toward the door. Violet eyes narrowed when she saw someone coming in, though she made no effort to sit up straighter; she didn’t need to respect the dumb officer if he was late after all. Still, she stared him down from her tilted gaze, waiting. If this was the guy, he better have a damn good explanation for being so late.
@LELOUCH VI BRITANNIA || She's v bored ||

Perhaps this is what I have always wished for since that day. The loss and destruction of all. That's right, one must destroy before creating. In that case, if my conscience becomes a hindrance to me, then I will simply erase it. I have no other choice but to move forward.
53
POSTS
Eighteen
Code Geass
Human
Royal Adviser
Tabris (She/her)
He/him

Despite his former position being one of great political power, Lelouch had never personally experienced the mire of bureaucracy until arriving in the multiverse. Zero had been a revolutionary and a terrorist, his mere presence a gun to the head of any Britannian working in official capacity. Men had jumped when he said the word, answering to all-too-real threats of bullets and blood. Emperor Lelouch had made good work on those threats, setting examples of the unfortunate souls who displeased. He had not known a waiting room in his time on the throne. Parse, it seemed, was not familiar with his legacy. In these worlds, he was a lowly advisor, nothing more than a minor official in service to truly powerful blood. He played the part well, he liked to think, donning the mask and attire of stuffy diplomat, with a seashell in his lapel in case the gaudy, fish-themed suit did not already scream ‘Tethya’ enough.

The waiting game was a strategy employed by the powerful to intimidate the weak with casual gestures of ridiculous wealth and off-hand flexures of martial strength. Tethya relied on Parse’s trade, and the technological dimension’s government knew that fact all too well. Lelouch was but a humble pawn in what they perceived to be their grand game, but even pawns had their place and their power. When surveying the board, pawns were never to be overlooked.

But even the hidden threat of Geass would not save Lelouch from the waiting room. The door opened at the hint of his presence, frosted glass parting with a smooth hiss to reveal the site of his containment. The hour was early enough that the room, at first glance, seemed empty. Lelouch always preferred to arrive far earlier than expected, if only to throw others off their game and to show that he had no difficulty waiting. He’d come prepared for the delay, armed with three books of political theory and a neat copy of his agenda. He had not expected to be greeted by another’s wandering gaze, lavender eyes like a soft reflection of his own and pink hair draped, almost haphazard, over attire that would have seemed neat and formal had the wearer not been sprawled out so casually. For a startling moment, Lelouch had almost mistaken the woman for Euphemia, but his mind quickly corrected the mistake. Imagining Euphemia in such a place was almost blasphemy; she did not deserve to be kept waiting, stuck deep in the thick, governmental bullshit that oozed from Parse’s official business matters.

The advisor paused for a time, eyes flitting from corner to corner, fixing pointedly on the empty desk, before moving forward, heels clipping the floor and the sound echoing through the emptiness. He took a seat far from the other (not very far in actuality, considering the arrangement of the chairs). Slender hands shuffled papers in the binder he’d kept tucked under one arm, eyes briefly scanning the documents before returning them to their place and producing an old-fashioned, tangible, paperback book (a rarity in Parse, he’d come to understand). But even as he tried to rationalize burying himself in the pages of his books, the silence was a gnawing thing, a live thing that hung thick in the air. Internally sighing, he allowed himself to smile an easy, diplomat’s smile, polite and empty. For the sake of maintaining his mask, he spoke. “We both seem to be a bit early,” he sang in a honeyed, pleasant voice, the kind of voice that encouraged one-worded answers and a faint sense of camaraderie from random strangers. Even though Lelouch had tried to keep Euphemia’s image from coloring his impression of this woman, he could not banish her entirely from his mind. Perhaps there was even a rare grain of truth in the polite tone of his voice. But even so, his violet eyes watched her rather than his book. Beyond her resemblance to Euphemia, she seemed familiar, the type of familiar gleaned from pouring over shoddy intelligence reports of governmental assets. He did not give the idea of her deep involvement much merit, but her presence here and the vague sense of familiarity seemed to point to this stranger being at least somewhat significant.

“What business brings you here?” he tested, his false good nature shining through his words. He did not truly expect an answer, but even a deflection would give him some confirmation as to whether or not this person was worth noting. He also prepared himself for a lie, proof of cunning that could only be sniffed out by a routine liar like himself. The least alarming answer would be honesty, a privilege that could only be afforded by the unimportant or the unsavvy. Perhaps suspicion was foolish. The girl did not, at first glance, seem at all threatening. But such analysis would stave off boredom in a way that books could not, and Lelouch welcomed the exercise.



@ANEMONE / notes: LELOUCH IS SO BORING I'M SORRY
CALLING ALL MY GENERALS



I want to live, to give so many feelings to people. I want to live! I wish I didn't realize I had feelings like this! But I'm in so much pain! He's nowhere where I can see him!
95
POSTS
17
Eureka seveN
Artificial Coralian
Tech Specialist
Carma (Meh)
She/Her/It
Waiting, waiting….and watching. Watching the people she hated wear their stupid, ugly smiles and their perfect, shiny shoes and pressed clothes free of wrinkles. A room full of liars. A building full of fakes. Just a bunch of masks over their faces, in the end they were nothing and no one - just more idiots pretending to be something more than they really were, because somehow they got lucky and wound up on top. And it was people like them she hated the most, because they seemed to like pretending. They liked to smile as if they cared when really on the inside they didn’t give two shits about anyone except themselves. But then, she enjoyed it, watching them. Because she got to see those pretend smiles and prove herself right. She got to see for herself, time and again, just how pretentious and stupid people really were. It made her happy.

Or maybe happy wasn’t the right word, pleased was better. It made her pleased to see them and their crystal clear facades. Look at you~ How fake you all are! Isn’t that cute, you think I believe your shit? You think I don’t know? I do...I know. I know better than anyone. I see it all the time~ People hate each other. That’s the truth. You can smile and pretend all you want but I know. You wear those masks but they have cracks. Don’t try to fool me. You can’t. Perhaps it was strange, but she passed her time that way. Watching. Watching them hate and hate while they smiled. Laughing at their fallacies. And sometimes, if she was allowed, she’d pick and pry at their imperfections and watch them squirm. It passed the time.

Then he walked through the doors.

When she saw him, when she first saw him, she thought two things. First, that he was wearing the most god awfully pretentious outfit the world could offer. Second, that his mask was different. He was wearing a mask, same as everyone, same as me but his was sculpted differently. She saw her own eyes looking back at her - not the colour, the look. The kind of eyes that judged and watched and picked apart the insides of minds. But they were sharper and colder, and distant. There was a moment, though, that something like familiarity reached those royally purple eyes - not that she understood why. Perhaps he thought she was someone else. But as he stepped inside, Anemone pulled from her casual slouch. Her gaze didn’t leave him, in fact she stared - all through the motion of sitting upright, draping one leg slowly over the other, placing her hands in her lap - she simply stared, her expression neutral, unchanged. She didn’t break eye contact until he himself looked about the room, to which end she turned her head just slightly upward, and then to the side, away from him. She could hear his heels, clip clip clipping on the ground. She wondered how he could go out in public like that.

Well, his face was handsome, she supposed. Most likely people let him go about like that because of it.

She didn’t turn to look as he moved to sit himself down. Her gaze was kept in the opposite direction, her posture straight and tall for now. But oh, she was paying him every second of her mind’s attention in every way but sight. He chose to sit away from her - was he uncomfortable? He’d looked like he’d seen a ghost when he watched her that first time, maybe he was disconcerted by her. Maybe he, too, saw the eyes of judgement and opted to stay away from them, from her. She could start to paint his mask now, to imagine it as it was. His mask wasn’t like most of these white-coats, but it certainly wasn’t hers either. She still didn’t know enough, not to pick it apart, or pick him apart. She wondered if she’d get there while they both waited. She also wondered why he was here. Briefly she turned - ever so slightly, not enough that she was facing him, but enough that her eyes captured him again -

And she saw a second mask on top of the first.

This mask was the one she knew too well. The most boring of all masks, the mask of diplomats and scientists, the mask her own handlers wore most days, the mask of important people. The smile she wanted to rip from their faces with her fingers and teeth because it wasn’t real. She was now looking at a faceless man. He spoke, but it was pointless. What he said was redundant. She had no time or interest in something so boring and pretentious. But he was looking at her, watching her. Rather than that archaic museum piece, he was looking at her, with eyes that weren’t really seeking an answer to his statement. His lips filled the air with pointless verbal bile while he himself sought something else. The mask beneath was peeking. And maybe the man underneath both was as well.

She didn’t grace the statement with a verbal answer. Instead, she simply tilted her head, giving him a bored, half-lidded look. She had yet to crack a smile. He spoke again, more pointless garbage she had little need to answer, but again she found herself looking, even absentmindedly, at those eyes. At that mask. At the one underneath. She bore her own mask as she turned slowly, finally daring to face him - but still, not fully. Her head was turned just slightly outward, just slightly away from him. He wasn’t worthy of a full-facing conversation just yet.

”That’s a boring question.” she breezed finally, her voice airy and light, but with the slightest sharpness of tongue. ”And it has a boring answer. No one comes here for anything worth talking about. Unless you’re really as stale as you sound.”

There. How would he take that? It wasn’t an answer, but it paved the opportunity for one if he could but convince her to relent. This was her first move, a line drawn, the shape of his face. Whatever he said, did, any actions taken hereafter, would paint that mask.

Just who are you?
@LELOUCH VI BRITANNIA || So much judging XD ||
Perhaps this is what I have always wished for since that day. The loss and destruction of all. That's right, one must destroy before creating. In that case, if my conscience becomes a hindrance to me, then I will simply erase it. I have no other choice but to move forward.
53
POSTS
Eighteen
Code Geass
Human
Royal Adviser
Tabris (She/her)
He/him

She uncoiled from her haphazard position like a spring, like a dog on a leash that had been jerked to attention. He did not allow the diplomat in his expression to falter, though he felt her observance to be sharper than your average civilian. Perhaps it was just that Lelouch had always found scrutiny in violet gazes, but he dared not assume it so. He would wait for her answer as a confirmation, confident that he could distinguish masquerade from truth were such a mask present. But she did not give him the words he sought. The emperor seethed at this, bubbling beneath his persona – he had come to expect the pieces on the chessboard to act as he anticipated, or at least react as he needled.

This stranger only gave him a catlike look, a tilt of the head and a gaze that, at first glance, might seem harmless, but there was a dissection going on beneath the surface. Lelouch mirrored her response with the slightest tilt of his own head in the same direction and a raising of his brows, signaling that he would wait patiently for an answer. Eventually, she gave one. It was both what he had expected and not, simultaneously. The woman’s similarity to a feline seemed reinforced by her voice, but he was not quite sure how the impression came about. Perhaps it was her likeness to his sister, still only on a surface level. But even as she spoke, Lelouch could not put the resemblance out of his head. Euphemia had been seared into his mind, her death at his hands a brand that he refused to forget. Resemblance to the princess demanded attention. But first, her response.

Not many had the audacity to call Lelouch on his bullshit and he could appreciate her candor. He found himself backtracking to maintain his illusion, like a magician at a birthday party whose act had been called out by a brazen and cynical child. He laughed, a soft and very brief sound that did not echo off the marble in the room. “You think me stale? In this ridiculous outfit?” he asked, his voice taking just a hint of the edge it had the potential to hold. He was still putting forth the impression of a diplomat, the playful façade whose voice he took from a hypothetical future where Lelouch Lamperouge graduated from Ashford Academy and involved himself in politics. Lelouch Lamperouge was far too naïve for such work, though he was a useful tool, just as he was a useful tool for Tethya. He was, after all, the one who volunteered to have his time wasted by Parsian bureaucracy. Any subterfuge, any hidden motives, were deeply buried, though he supposed he had more cause for such subtleties when the world had been dominated by Britannia. Here, his intricate game had no stakes and was merely a construct for his own amusement. And thus, he allowed his mask to fray at the edges. It was bait, if one was truly trying to see beneath the placid surface.

“Very well,” he said, though the tone made his words into something that was hardly an admittance of defeat. More like he seemed chiding, in a condescending manner that he could not quite control. You’re hardly boring, though you seem to be quite bored.” The statement was the briefest peek into the sorts of observations he only let his confidants (only C.C, really) ever see. Yet the best bait, the best bluff (or at least the most interesting) was to allow the opponent to see some of your winning hand. Lelouch folded one foot over the other, a flourished motion, and looked back down at his book. He would try out his theory now, that this woman was the sort who was deeply entangled in the treacherous jungle of Parse politics. And regardless of the truth in it, he anticipated that he would have to dance his way through the rest of the conversation. An amusing challenge, if only to pass time. “Are you not used to these waiting rooms? You’d think one such as yourself would deal with this frustration more than your average Parsian.” He was not one to ignore the suspicion that she was more than she appeared. No one who had a legitimate appointment in the very building was irrelevant to the grand mechanism of the dimension, that much he figured for truth. As Lelouch flipped the page of his book, there was a gleam behind his eye, one that could not quite be accounted for by the room’s lighting.



@ANEMONE / notes: wut am i doing
CALLING ALL MY GENERALS


I want to live, to give so many feelings to people. I want to live! I wish I didn't realize I had feelings like this! But I'm in so much pain! He's nowhere where I can see him!
95
POSTS
17
Eureka seveN
Artificial Coralian
Tech Specialist
Carma (Meh)
She/Her/It
What are you? Who are you? How deep down do you hide your face?

The first prick was hers. But it didn’t make him bleed. Her tongue was sharp, but he was steely; no, he didn’t bleed, he didn’t show his innermost colours. She wondered what he truly looked like. Not white and black and gray - not the blandness he portrayed on the surface. There was a myriad of colours underneath that she could only see the faintest traces of swimming in those bland looking eyes of his. She said bland not for the colour - nor for the expression he affixed her with; both were as alive as her own. She said bland because he gave the air of one who was so bored with life. But was that a facade too? He painted black and gray over - boring, bland. A colourless mask, a lifeless man like everyone else. Except that piercing look, it was…

It was like she was looking into a mirror at her own eyes. She found that she liked it in one sense. But in another she wanted to gauge them out. Show me what’s inside. She wanted to pry it out of him. But don’t look at me like that, don’t analyze me like that, I’m not a thing. Anemone worked in contradictions. That was just her way, her mind. But this time she was intrigued. Those eyes, that penetrating stare. There was something - just scratching the surface, just beneath the cloud of gloom and disinterest. It wasn’t an emotion exactly - whoever this person was he knew how to keep those under wraps. That was dangerous. No it was something else - something else she’d picked up on. It was his attention. Was he looking at her? Yes, physically, they were in the same space and his eyes were meeting hers. But she saw something else that was almost distant. She was a ghost. She was his ghost. Something familiar. He saw something familiar in her. But then, just as quickly as she’d noticed - just then it was gone. She had to wonder if she’d imagined it - but for someone as sharp as he looked to be, someone with the same eyes as her, no...she believed in what she saw.

What ghost do I resemble? Who do you see?

Questions to pass the time. Questions to relieve her boredom.

A fake laugh. A boring laugh. There was no mirth to it and no soul; right now, he had no soul. His words hinted at humour but it didn’t run deep enough - it was superficial; calculated words, not honest ones. She just raised her head further, turning slightly to the side with a quiet hmph. Those words hardly deserved an answer; her action was response enough - turning away, not even gracing him with a sound but for one of indignance. What do you think? She wondered what he might have said without the puppet’s strings attached. Without the mask to cover his face and muffle true laughter. Part of her was tempted to turn back and look him in the eye again, to see if anything had changed - by turning away from one who was clearly so high in power did he perhaps split at the seams? But that would make it too easy for him to know what she was doing. She didn’t want it known. The best part was peeling layers away without her victims knowing. And then before they knew it she exposed their core.

And at their core, they were always filled with ugly black, mottled things, twisted feelings suppressed but nonetheless felt. “Society” told them to hide it so they did. But deep inside everyone was ugly. Society as an entity was ugly.

Slowly, she did turn - but only once she heard that condescending tone. It sounded like a voice she knew, like her own voice mirrored back. A small smirk curled at her lips as he started to speak of her. Not boring, but bored. She almost might have said his intent was a small flirtation - but no, she was certain of it. Those words, he was inviting something out of her. She swallowed it, catching his eye and staring deep into the small break in the facade. Then she watched his lips. More words, this time a question for her. And oh, what ignorance. What an ugly little splotch on that pristine form. He’d exposed something she could tear into the open. Something to smear.

She started by uncrossing her legs and then crossing the other over the first. Half-lidded eyes filled with boredom fully closed and she let out a soft little giggle, hands clasped in her lap. ”You shouldn’t say anything unless you know what you’re talking about. It makes you look like an idiot. Makes you sound like one too.” One eye opened, then the other, smirk widening into a small grin. Just a small one, she had some subtlety to her yet. She had to hold back. She knew she could go all in now - but it was better to make it subtle. But, she’d taken the knife to his tongue and rent open his words. Of course, she had no doubt he wasn’t an idiot, but the question remained, why would he ask her that? What was he really trying to learn? It was becoming clear to her that she was in a room with a dangerous man, or someone with the capacity to be dangerous if his mind were twisted just right. But she didn’t mind danger. She was used to it.

”You’ve obviously never seen me before. But you look and talk like someone important, so I’m sure you’ve seen places like this much much more than me. Do I look like someone who gets to have special meetings with important people often? I’m just unlucky today. See they don’t really want to talk to me. They just have to. But if we’re both miserable I guess it’s okay.” She smirked, uncrossing her legs and sitting upright, swinging herself forward. She’d told the truth, without revealing too much. They wanted to talk to her handler, the woman who kept her under wraps, the woman who told her when she was allowed to leave Parse and when she had to say and what her next job was and when she was allowed to talk to theEND. But the stingy bitch was sick for the last two weeks and they already had to reschedule twice; so, it was Anemone herself they got to deal with. Not as though they were leaving it all up to her though - it was made very clear that if she misstepped and it got back to her handler, there...oh, what were her words? “There would be consequences”. Fortunately for her Anemone didn’t have any reason to start a scene with these people. She wasn’t stupid. The sooner she could be done the sooner she could get to work and then get back to visit theEND. She rarely got to see him now. She sort of wished that those idiot scientists were here for once - they could explain everything about the Nirvash and what it was, how it operated, where theEND came from. She hated having to wait for these idiots to try and figure out what he was; at this rate she’d never get to pilot him again.

Anemone leaned forward, staring at her slightly less boring…..companion. So far it had all been about her - deliberately, she’d bet. He didn’t want to share. But that was really too bad, because she wanted to know more. Anemone’s smile, then, almost looked genuine. ”What’re you stuck here for anyway?” She hated the words that came out of her mouth - they sounded like what every other boring puppet asked. Simple things that meant nothing in the end, changed nothing. She’d forget about even saying it the next day. No, she needed something better. ”You sound like someone who has better things to do than wait around for stingy half asleep idiots.”

There, better.
@LELOUCH VI BRITANNIA || These mind games tho ||
Perhaps this is what I have always wished for since that day. The loss and destruction of all. That's right, one must destroy before creating. In that case, if my conscience becomes a hindrance to me, then I will simply erase it. I have no other choice but to move forward.
53
POSTS
Eighteen
Code Geass
Human
Royal Adviser
Tabris (She/her)
He/him

Only a true player would be able to recognize the testing prod of another who was aware of the grand game. He let her bring the scalpel close, but when she sliced the mask to ribbons, there was nothing underneath. Another mask, another depth, more impenetrable than the last. The deeper one delved into the labyrinth, the more intricate the puzzles became. Even Theseus would have found himself out of thread long before coming face-to-face with the Minotaur within.

Lelouch himself often found the lines blurred between his true self and the personas he adopted, the masks he’d layered upon himself to compartmentalize. To cope. The child, pleading and crying before an imposing throne, was locked away to make way for the captive prince, the hostage who learned to stop making ripples, to keep his head down. Beyond that, war had tempered his mind, bloodshed hardening his psyche into something sharp, something weaponized.

Perhaps his enjoyment for this sort of deception, this sort of trickery, was a lie. But it was a lie that ran so deeply through his being that the truth of it was more certain than reality. The emperor enjoyed these games. He enjoyed the lower stakes. They allowed him to be risky, to look a lion in the eye and dare it to pounce.

When you’ve already died once, you don’t have much left to lose.

She seemed entertained with the voice that sneaked out from beneath his diplomat’s face, the voice of a liar, a deceiver, a smarter-than-he-looks schoolboy. But his question seemed to disappoint. Perhaps more focus on word choice, then. Lelouch allowed himself to take the blow of her insults, rolling with the punch (a strike at his intelligence of all things, the gall). Some part of him smarted, the vindictive part, the prideful part, the side of him that nursed old grudges in the wake of being completely forgotten and overlooked as a child. There was an ugly twist in the diplomat’s grin, one that could not quite be buried, but it was gone as the words rolled off of his tongue, easing him once more back into a position of control.

“You overestimate me,” he teased, straightening a part of his ridiculous attire that had fallen out of place. His voice was earnest, youthful, and light. Those who knew Lelouch Lamperouge considered it genuine, but the sound of it was always wrong in his ears and felt slippery off the tongue. “What if I told you that this was my first meeting of great import?” A lie. He’d stood on level ground with greater politicians and dignitaries, once upon a time. “These people do not wish to meet with me either. It’s formality. I’m insignificant to them.” Not so much a lie. The fat cats of Parse were about as arrogant as the ones in Britannia, as far as Lelouch could tell. Less opulence (at least in a refined, antique sense), but the same arrogance. Lelouch thrived on people in power underestimating him; it was icing on top of the cake of his ultimate goals. The bonus was cashed when they came to know fear, when they stood utterly helpless and defeated in the face of checkmate. Getting there, toeing the line and playing the patient game, was more difficult than he had expected in these worlds. He’d grown somewhat accustomed to Zero’s reputation, and later the reputation of the ruthless tyrant. Building back up from scratch could be infuriating at times.

“You on the contrary, you do seem special. Please indulge my assumptions. People say I’ve got an eye for talent.” More like an eye for destructive potential. Or at least a good memory for faces in personnel intelligence reports – Lelouch was approximately 67% sure he had seen a grainy picture of her (the hair gave it away) in some list of unknown, possible Parsian operatives. “Either they’re trying to pretend that you have no worth, or they don’t know the asset they have.” He could probably have bet on the former, though he would consider such a tactic poor strategy. The girl was sharp, with a good amount of subtlety. Easily underestimated. While the former emperor was practically wired to be suspicious at the slightest hint of something out of place, most people were not. At the very least, he’d hope that whoever she worked for had been able to recognize that potential, so he doubted his latter theory. Perhaps he was simply paranoid and neither case was the truth. But half the fun of the game was guessing. And guessing out loud was a part of this persona, which balanced intelligence and naïve. Reactions to candor were sometimes worthwhile tools in judging.

As he contemplated, she shifted the questioning and speculation over to him. Fair enough, Lelouch supposed. He shifted, a smile on his lips. Faint, friendly. “It’s nothing interesting, just some diplomatic fine print on behalf of Tethya. I wouldn't want to bore you with the details, even I don't particularly enjoy this part of the job.” That was the truth of it, but the subtler purpose was a greater familiarity with the inner workings of Parse. Since the systems were pretty much inscrutable, especially considering Tethya’s level of sophistication in the technology sphere, a physical presence helped to shed some light on things that were otherwise hard to glean from reports. For one, the fact that there were no secretaries or guards in the general vicinity of an area able to be accessed by the public. Lazy or suspicious he could not tell, but this fact alone led him to believe that the security in this building was likely automated. One never knew what sort of facts would come in handy. While he was on that train of thought, Lelouch noted that the air conditioning system seemed to have gone offline in past couple of minutes, the subtle and quiet whir of the fans cutting off. But back to focusing on mysteriously curious strangers.

Lelouch shuffled his papers to make an emphasis of his last point. He began to read some of what he’d written, though the words had no hold on his mind. When he spoke, his voice was almost off-hand, but he was still fishing for a response. “Regardless of the circumstance, we’re both being made to wait here. And that suggests that neither of us are particularly respected or properly feared.”



@ANEMONE / notes: i love this thread, these two are great
CALLING ALL MY GENERALS


I want to live, to give so many feelings to people. I want to live! I wish I didn't realize I had feelings like this! But I'm in so much pain! He's nowhere where I can see him!
95
POSTS
17
Eureka seveN
Artificial Coralian
Tech Specialist
Carma (Meh)
She/Her/It
He was a game, his whole self a puzzle. Locked doors, and he dangled keys in front of her, yet as she ventured to take one, there was just another door behind it. The question then became whether she would become lost inside. Would she lose herself in his elaborate facade? To dive so deep she forgot to breathe, forgot to resurface for her own mind, to become so focused on what she couldn’t reach as to lose herself to it...but did she mind? Such a thrill she hadn’t felt in so long. This was exciting. This was no porcelain doll, plain and fragile, that she could prick and pry into, make hairline fractures to reveal the ugly within. He was something stronger, something more, but a doll nonetheless if his clothes had any say. He looked important. Important people were all held on strings, knowingly or not. Everyone had a string that bound them somehow; only those at the very top were the puppeteers, and the simple fact that this puzzle was here in this very room told her that he was not.

In some ways, he reminded her of Colonel Dewey. That smile. The words, how he spoke them. It made her all the more excited to sink something sharp into that mind, to find the ugly truths that he had buried. Colonel Dewey was the people's’ savior, but he was the ugliest of them all. No one knew what he looked like underneath that smile of his. Was he the same? Was he like Dewey? He was dangerous…oh, she knew he was dangerous. But what remained to be seen was to whom. Where did that deadly mind point, who was the target of his cunning? She might know if she could but find the right key, the right door, the right way in that would open up his heart. She wanted to carve it open, make red spill onto that pristine white, she wanted to tear into it and see those secrets unravel in front of her eyes. And oh, he tempted her so. He was feeding her cues, feeding her clues, giving her fragments of individual pieces, just enough for a taste, but she wanted to dive in. She wanted to dive in and pull those pieces together, to shatter the steel that guarded him. She wanted to see him. Not the mask, but the man.

And then he gave her something to latch onto. Words. A chance to spy the man underneath. Spoken through the lips of the mask, very few would have picked up on the change - the intonation of his voice, the slight lilt with which he spoke, they seemed to subtle but oh no, those changes were everything. They revealed what he was hiding in such a tasteful little splash that brightened his dull face with colour, if only the faintest shimmer. But it was also a tease, something cruel; what an uninteresting question to have asked her. So, she chose to bite. To claw. To hit where it hurt, to strike him where she knew it would leave a mark. The mind, his mind, his intelligence - oh she could tell he was more than what he made himself out to be, but...it was the greatest opportunity to dig deep the blade. And this time she saw the briefest flow of blood from the wound. She knew she’d found a weakness, twisted the blade, and it had given her exactly what she wanted.

A reaction.

What an ugly thing. What an ugly display, a marring splotch that contorted the pristine doll’s face he wore. Good, good, that was just what she was looking for. Bleed, bleed. Bleed for me. That one sliver she’d discovered, that one peice of him, that was...vanity, self-importance, pride. Fatal flaws, deadly things. But he...he had a strong hold over those emotions; no sooner than that flirtation with the grotesqueness beneath had begun did he reel it back in, putting back the facade, sealing almost perfectly the wound she had tried to gauge open. He spoke so softly now, pleasantly, airy. It was a false voice. She didn’t even need to know him to recognize it; that was the very same voice spoken by liars. Not by Dewey, Colonel Dewey had a special sort of voice that he owned all to himself - but Anemone reasoned it...rather simply; no one spoke that way. No one. It was too crisp and perfect. His lips said one thing but his mind, it was saying another, wasn’t it? But he held himself together too well for her to reach inside, to read those threads of thought. It made her hate him. It made her want more.

She raised her head, then, tilting it ever so slightly, engaging him as he spoke. His first meeting of importance? What she would say to that was that she didn’t believe it. There was no way that was possible. No one dressed like that was simply awarded their value - and oh, she could smell importance on him, he reeked of it - no they had to earn it, gradually. He had to prove himself first, prove that he could be a puppet for those that were really in charge. But she didn’t answer with words, instead she shrugged and gave an indignant huff, only briefly making eye contact, and only to smirk at him. He would probably recognize what it meant, a look of disbelief. But as for the second part of what he had to say, well…

She didn’t doubt it. For one dressed up so finely, he was still just a piece to be moved around as the true kings saw fit. A pawn on the board, but a self-aware one. Not unlike herself, even if their uses were under wholly different contexts. His next move was what she could only call….a blend between flattery and a threat. Oh, it did make her head turn - her gaze found him and she narrowed her eyes, violet to violet, but for a moment she remained quite silent. Special, was it? That was an implication. She could take a hand to her chest, flutter her eyes and whisper stuttered and bashful thanks - but no, that wasn’t his intention with those words, it wasn’t flattery. He knew. He knew something about her. That wasn’t entirely a surprise; Anemone had come into the multiverse on rather a frightful note. Records of theEND panicking the people of Hialao were most likely quite accessible to delegates of the dimensions. Very possibly she was on a list of dangerous persons. She was in Parse, it was why she had been relocated where she was now, why theEND was kept away from her. “Until we can ensure your safety” they said, but no, it was to keep her from causing trouble.

If only they knew how deep her connection to theEND ran. But they made no attempts to understand her, or to understand him. They went the easy route. The lazy route. Lock up the madness, put it away. Close the door, turn out the lights, and it doesn’t exist. Forget it.

Her lips curled upward as he continued on. So, then, he did have the balls to speak reality. Finally, she gave him a full-facing smile, raising her head, her shoulders squaring neatly, hands clasped in her lap. And then, she stood. Slowly, and with grace, she stood. ”Me? I’m just a puppet. I’m one of those ballerinas in a box. Open it up and play my tune and I’ll dance for you if you have the key.” She did a little spin - equally graceful, though the slightest glint of something else shimmered in her gaze as she halted once more, facing him. ”But only when you need me. Otherwise the lid is closed and-” an arm was thrown up in front of her face, the back of her hand braced lightly against her brow, eyes closing. ”-the darkness swallows me up.” She sat down again, then, any traces of that maddening light gone from her eyes as she settled pleasantly, once again with her hands clasped lightly in her lap. Ever proper, ever dainty, ever as expected. She gave him a moment to process her display, lips curling upward in the tiniest flirtation of a smirk. ”They know what they have in their hands. They just don’t know what to do with it when they don’t need it.” It. Well…..to their credit, they at least had the courtesy to refer to Anemone as her. So in some respects the shackles of this prison weren’t quite so choking.

She believed him when he said that he had no interest in this part of his job. He didn’t look like he enjoyed this, any of it. He was dancing for Tethya, he was their ballerina right now, waiting to be done, to cut the strings and get away. But, he was also using those words to deflect her - to keep talk away from him, to keep his face, his purpose, in shadow. There was nothing more obvious than to deny information because it was boring...so his primary purpose had genuinely been his lack of interest - he would have been cleverer if he truly wished to deflect her. Once again, she chose not to grace that with verbal response - he would learn quite quickly that if displeased or unimpressed, her response was simple silence. At least, with him; he had earned her respect in some regard - enough that she chose not to jeer and throw obnoxious pettiness in his face. Silence, he was graced with silence instead. But…

...ah, no, he had rather piqued her interest again, so soon after. The very next words, that final statement. Respected or feared. Respected or feared. That was a….rather interesting way to say it, no? Feared. Feared….he wasn’t even hiding it, he wasn’t hiding behind lies or pretty smiles with that. He was trying to tell her something. And, very possibly he was looking for the right answer from her. Anemone tilted her head just slightly, lips quirked a little more widely now, the gleeful gleam back in her eye. ”You believe that you - that people like us - that we should be feared? Is that what you believe?” She sat back, giggling lightly, almost….childish now, but, ah, she had at least some control over herself now. Her handlers wouldn’t like it if she let herself go. ”Fear is for world leaders, tyrants, and war criminals isn’t it?” She gave an innocent bat of her lashes then. ”But I suppose it’s hard to have respect without fear, isn’t it? Not true respect. They just tell you they hold you at a high regard, but they never really do, not unless you’ve given them reason. Fear is the fastest way, isn’t it?”

She spoke so thinly, calmly. But her mind was working, was trying once more to reach inside his. What are you?
@LELOUCH VI BRITANNIA || It's amazing omg ||
Perhaps this is what I have always wished for since that day. The loss and destruction of all. That's right, one must destroy before creating. In that case, if my conscience becomes a hindrance to me, then I will simply erase it. I have no other choice but to move forward.
53
POSTS
Eighteen
Code Geass
Human
Royal Adviser
Tabris (She/her)
He/him
Lelouch was keenly aware that he was dangling the keys to his kingdom in front of a thief. She paced along with his tease, and though she went for the prize, there was something in her game that was not fully convinced by the façade he put forth. She’d seen all the mirrors on his stage, but still she chose to play along. Her eyes gleamed with danger and a carefully concealed awareness; this woman was like a cat who had figured out the trick of the toy flitting in front of its nose. It seemed like ages ago, but Lelouch had watched the student council attempt to mess with Arthur in such a way, only to have the cat whirl upon the string that held the feathered toy and yank it from Milly’s hand. Lelouch did not often play with cats, at least not in simple games. Mundane expectations for intelligent creatures were insults. People were not cats, of course. Simple games could still prove too much for most, prime examples being found amongst Britannia’s poor excuse for a military. The former emperor would give this woman the kind of respect that he did not often offer other opponents, if he could even call her such.

Regardless of their ultimate goals in this conversation (Lelouch had not yet fully defined his own yet), he found himself intrigued. She seemed keen to pry into him (something he had no doubt she was skilled at), and in turn, he was interested to see what made her tick. Who held her reins? Did they know what kind of asset they controlled? Would she be useful to me? That was always the question on the forefront Lelouch’s mind. ‘How can I make use of this or that, how can it benefit me?’ If he possessed any remorse about such a mode of operation, he had yet to feel it. At the very least, he could justify using others as enabling them to live up to their full potential, if only when their compliance was voluntary. Kallen had been ever so quick to blame Geass for her loyalty, but that had never been the root of it. No, Lelouch had not needed to resort to such miraculous tricks in order to benefit both of their causes. And still she had felt so betrayed, he could still see the look on her face. It was strictly for necessity when Lelouch bought loyalty with the power of his commands. Shneizel, uncouth brute though he was, would have been such a waste otherwise…

But Lelouch would never consider geassing one such as her for the simple matter of loyalty. No, that would ruin a sharp mind and quick tongue, both things that Lelouch respected, even if they were wielded against him. Well, so long as they weren’t wielded too well against him. Even with that rule planted firmly in his head, Lelouch still could not shake the deep-set discomfort at her analysis. When was the last time someone had been able to scratch at his masks with such effectiveness? Though she had not yet reached Mao’s level (a good thing for anyone wishing to preserve their faculty of speech), she was also (presumably) not gifted with the power of mindreading, which made her skill all the more impressive. That slip, that true expression shining through his façade, she caught that. Lelouch could see the gleam of it in her eyes and half-smile, could see her squirreling that information away so as to sharpen it into some sort of useful tool for later. He was less unnerved than impressed, if he was being honest. Which he rarely was but with himself.

And what would she learn from that information. Weakness - he was disgruntled by jabs at his intelligence. She’d already put together that he was smarter than he let on, so what would she do with that new information? He’d be ready for another strike like that, he’d already shored up the damage in his mask. And now to strike back, in a roundabout way of course. It was never Lelouch’s style to go for the throat (or what one guessed was the throat) and wait for the blood to spurt. Rather, he would wind up his target, dance left and right, taunt and weave between punches, so that the opponent did not realize they were tangled up until they hit the ground.

But she, she was of a different breed. She saw his feint and she stood to meet it, grinning all the while. Lelouch allowed his own smile - charmed, impressed - to slowly light his face as he watched her graceful, practiced motions, eyebrows raised as if somewhat surprised, but also intrigued. More than a ballerina in a box, she was a spring trap. Each movement carried with it the distinct possibility that she could snap back at any given time, and the former emperor was sure that such reflex could be deadly. “Bravo!” he applauded, naivety laced throughout his voice, fluffy and airy and unaware as a cloud. And truly, he was amazed, perhaps not at the performance itself (though he appreciated the metaphor) but the dual nature of it all. Grace and chaos in equal measure, the storm that lurked just beneath the surface – in such an unconventional fashion, it had come so close to bubbling over, hadn’t it? Even so, it was so dramatic, deliciously so. Lelouch could hardly fault someone for fine showmanship or over the top flair. “I take it you dance here in Parse, then? How lucky these people must be.” His voice was silky, lauding. But the praise wasn’t quite so false, even if Lelouch placed some extra layers over top to dress things up.

“Unimaginative children close the lid when they finish playing and think that the ballerina’s world ends on their whim,” he observed, pushing back memories of Nunnally owning a similar music box back in Pendragon down into the caged depths of his heart. “But that’s not the case, is it? Even if they cannot see, the dancer still exists. Still in that same pose, even. How shortsighted.” And truly, it was. To seek to control such raw talent with ham-fisted regulation was a waste. That was Lelouch’s take on it. She saw herself as a tool in their hands, so she had to be controlled by someone. Was it true, then? Was she a Parse operative, undervalued and undercompensated? Did she dance for them, when asked? Lelouch knew what that felt like all too well, but he also knew that his strings were false ones. What the puppet masters thought they held, those were just illusions. Smoke and mirrors. He had always danced to his own tune, even back when he toed the line that Britannia drew in the sand. He had always held his own strings and leashed them to his own ruinous ideals and lost causes. He didn’t need anyone to direct him, though he allowed the Queens of Tethya more leash than he usually did, because they were no significant threat to his ultimate goals, whatever those goals might be after death. He hadn’t quite decided yet. When the time was right, if it ever was right, this puppet would perform its own tricks. And he was certain that this woman would not be surprised by such a development. He wondered if she would cut her strings at some point, or if she needed some encouragement. His inner self smiled at the thought, though he offered her only a continuing, quizzical look as she deciphered the rest of his words. This was the true test. He steepled his hands in anticipation.

Fear. Yes fear, synonymous with respect if one were a brazen terrorist looking to prove himself or an uncouth emperor seeking dominion rather than simple control. Leouch had been both, had used fear as his weapon, but he knew that it was not the same as true loyalty. He would have never been able to pull off the Zero Requiem without anything less than respect from Suzaku and C.C. Fear would not have done the job. But at the same time, fear is necessary in weak-minded fools, the ones you need to bow, to whisper of your greatness, and tremble at the mere thought of your visage. That was why he had murdered Clovis (so he told himself). That was why he had so flashily toppled the very foundations of the city to send the enemy into disarray. It was about fear, competence, showmanship. If one was on the opposite side of the battlefield, as enemies and puppet masters often are, it is better for them to fear than to love and respect.

“Of course!” he fired back at her laughter with false indignation, clearing his throat as if he were a gentleman insulted. “Are you trying to imply that I’m not fearsome enough for you?” he asked, and the words were false and fluffy. He didn’t feel the need to add anything extra in there. ‘Let her guess, let her speculate if she’s good. Which one am I, to have developed such an ideology? World leader, tyrant, or war criminal? And which one are you? Or which one will you be?’ But back to the matter at hand. He wouldn’t let her have too much respite between their banters so as to come up with anything too clever. “Fear is the quick solution, especially with those who are skeptical. No one important will take you seriously unless you prove you’re worth their time. And what better way to do it? Scare them, give them a reason to look you in the eye. Give them an unspoken ultimatum.” This was said with a smooth tone, as though he was simply spouting the philosophy he’d gleaned from Machiavelli.

But it was time to step back, to deny responsibility for revolutionary thought. Would she press the issue? “I hope you aren’t taking this too seriously, though. It’s a nice sentiment in theory, but in practice, all those fear tactics eventually crumble. All empires fall to their knees. All it takes is a push, a bigger dog, and even fear can’t keep up the ranks.”

This was a topic close to Lelouch’s heart. Even he did not quite know the answer, though he knew how he had used his pawns at the end of the game in comparison to his queen and his knight. “In the end, would you rather fight for someone you feared or someone who earned that respect?”



@ANEMONE / notes: Anemone is best girl, sorry about lelouch being a weirdo
CALLING ALL MY GENERALS

I want to live, to give so many feelings to people. I want to live! I wish I didn't realize I had feelings like this! But I'm in so much pain! He's nowhere where I can see him!
95
POSTS
17
Eureka seveN
Artificial Coralian
Tech Specialist
Carma (Meh)
She/Her/It
Analysis was a game. This was a game, for them both. And for once, Anemone was faced with a real intellectual partner, someone shoe could face against. This was new, this experience was rare - for despite how trussed and pretty he was made to be, a perfect doll, there was a sharpness that cut through the porcelain facade. Danger. Behind the veil was something poisonous, deadly. He kept it carefully hidden, close to the surface but far enough that most wouldn’t see it. But she did, she saw it, because she herself was dangerous. She recognized it well, saw it in his eyes. She was being pried open, parts were being examined under a careful eye. What do you see? She gave him a show. Something dangerous with sharp teeth and a pretty face. She bared her mind for him, just to see what he would make of it. The monster, the girl, the pretty parts, the ugly parts. What do you see?

She of course returned the favour. Needles pricked, she found little holes in the veil and pried her way inside, removing the layered lie slowly, slowly. She knew one thing of politicians; one thing that was true of all of them, without fail: they were actors. Not very good, most of them, but this appeared to be an exception. He had such a perfect porcelain face, right down to his expression, he knew how to make himself seem pleasant. But it was still just a mask. The smile underneath it was grotesque and wide with keenness. For what, she wasn’t sure. She didn’t know. Danger, all she knew was that there was danger in this man, danger that he kept well-hidden. If his true nature was known, he would probably be as shackled as she was. That was the feeling that she got, looking into those sharp eyes. Those mirrors. But she had to wonder, just what was it that he was after? Why was he here, and what was his goal? He was situated perfectly to do so much - either damage or good, or perhaps both. After all, no true good could be done without making sacrifices. In truth there really was no “good”. Everyone ended up covered with red and regrets, nightmares and twisted realizations. What was “good” to one person, one group, was hell for another. The Coralians were bad, that was what the world was led to believe. Thanks to Dewey, that was what they saw. “Good”, then, was destroying them. But if they knew the truth, then killing Dewey would be “good” wouldn’t it?

The very idea that anyone represented good or bad was far too simplistic and naive. Instead, they represented action and inaction. She wasn’t sure what form it would take yet, but the danger in front of her represented action. He was the kind that wasn’t afraid of consequences. It was that realization that - to her own surprise and...shame - brought a brief flicker of fear, a spark of envy. He was more than she was. He did not fear the consequences his actions - whatever they may be - might hold. That fear didn’t exist within him. He had...a scheming mind, one that...was surveying the board before him. It was why he dared engage their game, why he was willing to press for more, to peel at her mind and to let her in. The question was what he saw in her; a pawn, she hoped not. No, she was sure not - if he was any good at picking her apart he’d see more than that. She knew he saw more than that. A bishop, perhaps? Or a rook? A Queen….

Wouldn’t that be something.

Whatever he did see, it was enough for him to willingly give her pieces of himself. It was by no accident, that sudden sharpness showing through, he had shown her the dagger he wielded - a brief glimpse, something for her to look into. She clung to it - even if her fingers would bleed, she would cling to that small glimpse, because it gave her so much more to work with, so much more to uncover and read and dive deep into. She could get lost, she was almost sure of it, inside his psyche. He had such an excellently crafted mask, he’d...been crafting it for a long time, she was sure. That was why it was so perfect.

But she was just as much an expert at breaking masks. His was harder, she would admit, it was taking much longer to find a way inside. Why he’d revealed a part of himself to her….it was an invitation. But an invitation for what, she wasn’t sure yet. Maybe she would learn. The information itself, while valuable in its own right, exposing the blotches of ink on that perfect form, was of lesser importance - what became apparent to her was the intent, the question was why he had revealed his face.

Information for later. She would learn. She had a feeling.

He asked her, then, he asked her if she was special. He asked….if she was special. Her response….well, she wondered what he would make of it. She took a risk, announcing quite blatantly her state of being, displaying her shackles in a practiced little dance. And she could see that he was enamoured with it, had swallowed the little performance wholly. Though exactly what he’d gained from it, that was yet to be learned. She had given him as much as he had offered her, honest truths spoken in pretty metaphors. She gave the expected response, bowing as he spoke praise to her little show. The smile on her lips was catlike and wide with sharp teeth and a quiet, deadly excitement. The tone he’d used was so gentle and sweet, she might snap it in half with her teeth if she tried. It was a pure sound, an innocent sound, the kind that belonged to one who hadn’t yet been drenched in blood. It was not his voice.

She was almost sure of it, that he knew the colour red as well as she did. Perhaps not in the same manner, but she was sure of it, that he…

It was a struggle, a genuine battle with herself to keep the grin from growing wider, the blood from pumping faster, the excitement from boiling over. She’d entered a dangerous place in her mind, one that teetered on the edge. He was deadly in more ways than one, exciting the dark things inside her to the surface. She was good for them, for the whitecoats. She kept those parts in check and acted as expected - a good girl, for them. But here, now, she was flirting with danger and he….enticed it forth. For her own dignity she...kept the excitement to herself, visible only in her eyes. She’d let him see, at least. Her lips did curl into a smile of sorts but it was far more modest, a simpler expression that didn’t match those eyes at all. She gave a little nod, bouncing ever so slightly in her seat, kicking her legs outward. ”Ding ding ding~” she breathed airily, clasping her hands in her lap with a soft, equally airy little giggle. ”They don’t deserve a dancer like me. They really don’t know the first thing about me. But a girl has to make do with what she’s got….” She gave a heavy, woeful sigh. Overdramatized, of course - it was all a show, but the words were true nonetheless. They didn’t know who, or what, she was. They didn’t understand theEND. And because they didn’t understand, they were truly wasting her potential. And theEND’s, too. Idiots, all of them.

Was he wasting his potential, coming here? Absolutely.

Her gaze flickered once, flickered back to him. He was continuing the metaphor, this little game of theirs; she really was impressed at that, usually people - even the intelligent ones - told her to cut it out, to stop being so dramatic. But then again...he’d had an understanding for that show of hers. He was more like her. He was a showman too. She gave a slight incline of her head, a slight notch up of her smile, fingers lacing together now as she crossed one leg over the other. She liked how he talked now. He knew, he understood. That was the irony then, that one in a position of visible wealth and power was...just as much caged as she. If not perhaps more, because he was in the public eye, no? ”The world never stops. It just becomes darker when they close the lid. They can’t see it so they don’t understand that her world exists, or what it means. And…” She turned her gaze away for a moment, up toward seemingly nothing at all. ”...they won’t notice, but those toy boxes wear slowly, don’t they? One day...it won’t close all the way. And that’s when they’ll see.”

That was flowery even for her. What was meant by it...well, there were a few angles, she wanted to know which he would take. Would he see the cry for release, a blatant desire to leave? Perhaps would he see the threat - that’s when they’ll see - against those who made her confines? There was more, but that part she kept to herself. The box wearing down, wearing with exhaustion. Routine was bad for the mind, for her mind. It was a slow poison, a slower death. She clung to what she could within herself so as to stay Anemone, so as not to fade into the bleak monotony that they placed her in. She couldn’t let go. And perhaps he…he was the key. His danger was just beneath the surface.

And he’d given her something, something that might tell her more. Who are you? What are you? The things she had found inside his mind begged those questions and….the particular words he spoke just now, of fear...to be properly feared...he painted himself onto a canvas for her, in bold colours. She still needed to paint in the details herself, but he was giving her more, giving her pieces. She chased the angle hungrily, she wanted to know more. She tilted her head, letting her hair fall over her eyes for a moment, raising one hand slowly to pull the curtain aside with a little smile that grew across her lips ever more. She didn’t answer with words, there was no need. If she feared him, would she not cower? There was only a bright and dangerous gleam in her eyes. For a while that was all she gave him, that gleaming little stare and a smile. Finally, though, she sat upright, hands clasped in her lap, head raising high, eyes closing lightly - she was uncharacteristically proper now, her voice pitched high and airy. ”You shouldn’t say such things. You almost sound like you want to be feared. That’s dangerous talk, you know.”

The facade broke almost instantly, the smile was back, her posture resuming a slight slouch. She leaned forward slowly, eyeing him up and down as she whispered her next words. ”There’s something ugly inside you. But there’s something ugly inside us all.” She did not deny fear, but she did not proclaim it, either. Only that there was...something to be feared. That no one was true and pure. Such a human being didn’t exist. She proclaimed it herself, that there was hatred in the world, so much hatred, without reason, without purpose. But he was speaking again, and she listened, soaked his words. He had her undivided attention, something incredibly rare. Not even D..he ever earned that from her. He spoke wise and strategic words, strategic more than wise. Fear, a quick solution - he wasn’t wrong. But she had seen fear used to take a world into the palm of one man’s hand. But just then, just as soon as she thought she’d grasped something, he pulled it away, doubled back. It was real, she knew it was real - he was a strategist of a kind, had seen a war, she was sure of it. He had given her enough for now, she supposed, enough to work with.

Then perhaps it was time for her to offer something to him. Not because she felt it was owed, she simply wanted to know what he would do with it.

Anemone - the true, inside Anemone - sat up. She didn’t sit with regal posture, nor the catlike posture that was ready to pounce. She simply...sat, head lowered, a small frown in place, eyes staring forward, staring into the past. The voice that came forward was lower than the one she’d been using before, was smaller. It was the voice of a teenage girl. And she only spoke two words-

”I know.”

Oh, she knew. She had known that Dewey was going to fail. Because the Gekkostate had something that he didn’t. They had Eureka, and she had something that Anemone didn’t. ...No, that was a lie. She’d had it, and maybe...if she’d kept it alive, then Dewey could have won. But she’d killed that thing, the one thing that could have made them victorious. Not that she’d cared then, she was just going through the motions. It didn’t matter who won. But she knew...all it took was a push. An emotion. A feeling. And an empire could, and would, fall with ease. She turned her head to look at him, the mask of the cat returning. Who would she rather fight for…? She sat back, bouncing just slightly, that smile returning to her face.

”If I had to choose to fight for anyone, it would be someone I love. So I guess that means respect, doesn’t it?” Perhaps too honest, but he deserved that at least. It didn’t tell him much. Not really. She leaned forward, tilting her head. ”Or, I suppose, if the one I love were gone, then I would fight for whoever can get me revenge. Maybe, then, it’s fear.” In the end, the intent was what mattered. Why she fought, that was the deciding factor. She leaned back, eyeing him with a curious little gaze. ”And what about-”

The sentence never did finish. It was then that she heard the loud blaring of alarms.
@LELOUCH VI BRITANNIA || JFC INTENSE ||
Perhaps this is what I have always wished for since that day. The loss and destruction of all. That's right, one must destroy before creating. In that case, if my conscience becomes a hindrance to me, then I will simply erase it. I have no other choice but to move forward.
53
POSTS
Eighteen
Code Geass
Human
Royal Adviser
Tabris (She/her)
He/him

She was the razor wire snaked around the top of an impossible fence, wicked promise that dared those beneath to climb, to bleed, to entertain her whims all for the sake of the promise of perfect Eden that lay just beyond. Only in this case, Eden was too kind a word for the garden he suspected of her heart. Lelouch did not think less of her for it. How could he? His own secrets were tucked deep into the wasteland of his soul, desolate, fathomless. And even if he were the scion of humanity, perfection incarnate, there was still a pull towards darkness, towards cleverness, towards forever-hidden truths that Lelouch would feel, even if the one who possessed the qualities of his admiration was an enemy. In this case, he wondered just what she would turn out to be. Not so simply an enemy, not so simply a friend.

Unlike most, Lelouch was not so foolish as to attempt to gain secrets without precautions. Where others would shred their bellies in a desperate attempt to scramble over the barriers, Lelouch was patient, he was wily. He never approached such an operation without a firm strategy fresh from the press of his mind. Layers of masks were, of course, a necessity to any subterfuge, because even if they were suspected by the other party, they muddied the waters enough so that the true face was a wavering reflection of a dream, an idea, slipping through greedy fingers like water. He never allowed himself to become truly perturbed, to become anything less than placid beneath the surface, regardless of what the mask showed (surprise, fear, indignation, all emotions could be usefully engineered on the outside but never allowed to penetrate).

But all the same, Lelouch was prepared to bleed, to pay the toll. To enter into a game of chess was to lose pieces to the opponent. It was an inevitability in games such as these to speak some truths, to risk exposure. These risks were willingly, gladly taken. Pawns and queens, knights and rooks, sacrifice would have to be made somewhere. In the game of tactics, this was a straightforward gambit. Amongst the Black Knights, all of the soldiers under his command had fallen into a classification, a degree of expendability, not because he was cruel but because it was necessary. He could not fall apart at the loss of one piece in his game, though he could do his best to prevent such humiliation, such waste. In the grand scheme, whether it was one death or a hundred, three lives or a thousand to accomplish what he had set out to do, the sacrifice was worth it. He’d engineered the victory to be worthwhile.

Even so, there were pieces that were not expendable, or pieces that were worth sacrificing to save. The Queen. The Knight. The Bishop. All people that he could not bear to lose. And again, he found himself wondering vaguely what part she would have played in this game, had their words collided, been one in the same. The more pressing matter: what part would she play in this game? Though the blacks and whites and dappled grays of Britannia had come to a close, his life had begun anew, had it not? His board was multidimensional here, not just a flat surface any longer. The rules had changed, the old pieces had been lost. New pieces had to be forged, new rules had to be discovered, a win condition had to be set. There was still so much to do to make these dimensions a home. Playing Tethyan politics would only entertain him for so long.

But at this point, speculation was useless. He had yet to know her potential, as much as he suspected her worth to be high, just as he had yet to know what could drive him in this new place, in this new life. Behind his eyes, the machines whirred and hummed. It took all of his self control not to let the engines steamroll forward and leave this conversation far behind.

He turned his mind back to the battle, not the war. In this game of secrets, unlike the rebellion he had puppeteered, he could play with heavier risk. The only blood shed was his own, after all. So long as his gain was positive in comparison to what he gave away, there was victory, no? But she was no opponent (and his ordinary opponents had been generals and world leaders). She was a loaded gun and he was egging her on. Under his words had seethed rebellion, and she had seen. From her perch, she had performed her show with glittering eyes, waiting for him to recognize her. She was no dancer. She was a weapon. He watched her smile, a sharp, dangerous thing, from behind the passive shield of his masks (and even then he could feel the threat of it, the loosening of the bonds that had kept her tied when he’d first arrived). And when she spoke of lids, of worlds defined by passive darkness, Lelouch knew that whoever claimed her allegiance had worn down the hinges. Whatever locks they’d put in place had not been properly maintained.

Lelouch had been in that position once. A tool to enhance the empire, tossed aside and forgotten when peace became irrelevant and the hammer of war was the most appealing path forward. He had crawled on his belly to escape his neat little box, and he’d made them rue it. He wondered if she yearned for the same, and fire glistened behind the contact lenses as he pretended to contemplate her words with a naïve scholar’s furrowed brow. Had he the power to grace her with an unholy wish, would she use it to unmake those who had underestimated her? Why wait? he wondered. The box is an illusion, the lid a construct of their. Why wait? Seize your future, or I will be forced to help the process along. Yes, the question was dual. Why wait for her handlers to grow lax? Why wait for his ultimate purpose to become clear? Why exist as an impartial observer? Why not sow chaos where the soil was ripe, where the cats were fat in need of humbling? If she needed an impetus, he spontaneously determined that he would provide one. It would be a subtle push, of course.

She was giving him a taste of the dancer now (or was this the warrior, the proper, educated, controlled), her posture striking. She presented him only with more answerless questions and so he gave her a glimpse of what he was in turn: rebel, terrorist, emperor, tyrant, all of them flashed on his face as he resurrected her smile for the smallest moment. “Me? Feared? I don’t know how you came to that conclusion,” he sang. “I simply enjoy talking philosophy.” His voice was at odds with the expression he wore. All at once, it receded like the tide. That little piece of himself, the reflections in the glass.

“Though no one has ever called me ugly before.” Humans truly were ugly creatures, true, and he was one of the ugliest. Though he had seen purity in the hearts of a select few, in Nunnally, in Euphemia. And in the same breath, he had seen that pure hearts can corrupt. He let that observation dissipate from his heart; no other words left his lips, as he feared that he would give to much away on a breath.

But if he had wanted to put thoughts of his sisters from his mind, he had come to the wrong person. The woman’s sudden shift softened her in a moment that seemed delicate enough to shatter like glass. He watched her, enraptured, and she seemed all at once to be a little girl and a stoic warrior, no teasing, no falsetto. Honest. True. So this is you, he thought, and he was intrigued. Impressed that she had the bravery to shed her mask. It was a bravery that he himself did not possess. Because I am far uglier than you expect.

Her words caught him. ‘I know’ she’d said, and it was clear that she knew too much of the world and its wretched truths. Just like him. Just like anyone who was truly capable of being more.

She settled back into her persona with ease and he almost wanted to applaud. Instead, he had allowed his posture to slouch comfortably, his head to tilt, his amethyst eyes to be languid and veiled. Her next words were further pleasantries, half-truths decorated in pink frosting and sprinkles meant to dare and entice. And he almost opened his mouth to reply when the world exploded into blaring sound, the rhythmic pulse of red light, and a robotic voice that explained evacuation protocol in an infuriatingly calm voice.

Time seemed to freeze as Lelouch rose to attention, eyes sweeping to assess the threat. A quick moment determined that none was immediately visible, though something was clearly off. “No receptionist, no staff, no word. My appointment has passed and yet…” he mused, then cut-off. His eyes came back to rest on the woman in front of him and when he spoke, his voice was steel. Some of the pleasant masks had peeled away in layers, but that could not be helped. Not until he understood the breadth of the situation. “You work for Parse, do you not? Is there anything or anyone of value in this building that you know of?”

Lelouch did not allow his attention to linger. He turned, marked a clear, unobstructed path out to the door, away from any possibility of harm. But Lelouch had never been one to play it safe. Crisis awarded unique opportunity, if one chose to seize it. He made no motion to evacuate.



@ANEMONE / notes: sorry for being sooooo late orz
CALLING ALL MY GENERALS
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