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Embers // Afterlife Fantasy

Welcome to the first day of your new life. Embers is an afterlife fantasy cyberpunk RPG, running since 2006, first under the name War Chain, and then under the name Tamashii no Chikai, originally as a Bleach RP. Some Bleach influence still remains, but it is all presented differently and features new elements. The recent 2016 reboot under the name Embers follows a very similar standard and focus that War Chain and Tamashii no Chikai did, and we hope Embers will grow into its own free of its fandom ties. Here's to 157,000 more posts!
Mature themes, half the board is gay. Not recommended for bigots or individuals under 16 years of age. You must be 18 or older to gain access to the mature boards.

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Quiet Things

October 20, 2016
Ciaran Owen Offline Valhalir // Ian I hate myself. Even as I bark at the moon, I don't have the courage to reach out and grab it. 810 HP 785 Years Male Tenth Division Lieutenant Ebony Lions Eireaball Nathair
Quiet Things Nov 12, 2017, 07:26AM // 809 Words
For all that he'd been mulling it over for the last several hours, Ciaran still wasn't really sure how to approach this mess. Probably, he just needed to dive in head-first and, more or less, hope for the best. Ciaran usually wasn't opposed to this tactic, but this was Iname. He was opposed to a lot of things when he was involved, because Iname mattered a lot to him, and he still didn't want to mess it all up. On the other hand, he couldn't keep ignoring this, either, for fear of doing anything. All that was happening was, it was getting progressively worse. Someday, he really might lose Iname even as he was right next to him, and more than anything, Ciaran was terrified of that. It was probably going to be the only reason he actually did anything with this. Merely because he didn't want to lose Iname, and one way of doing that was a little more likely than the other.

As it turned out, he spent so long mulling this over in his head, eventually talking to Rohan, that he'd lost track of time, and was an hour late or so coming home. It wasn't like it was the first time, so he didn't bother calling Iname and telling him what happened - sometimes the barracks exploded, other times he got caught up in doing something else, other times he went out with friends after work. Iname shouldn't panic until much later, probably a few days past. He did get a little sick of Nathair back there, swinging on a tree branch in his inner world and singing, 'I was right, I was right, I told you~' for the last half hour, but he just decided to tune the stupid snake out. As soon as he got the door open, he just fell into a seat at the dining room table, and fell onto it with a rather loud thunk.

They should talk. They should definitely talk, he knew that, but at the moment, Ciaran just kind of wanted to curl up under a blanket and pretend the world didn't exist. Yeah, maybe he was a little depressed. Sue him for it, or whatever. Come to think, maybe a break would be good for them both. Ciaran wasn't really known for taking those, either, mostly because it wasn't like he had much else to do. What he did outside of work, he usually managed to schedule around it, and it was relatively short-lived. He had no idea what, just yet, maybe just some time alone, to work things out, maybe something else, he didn't know. He didn't ever really have the leisure for breaks longer than a few hours, but you know, he could admit, at least in his head, he was kind of exhausted. Not the physical way, just, emotionally and mentally drained. It was almost a miracle Rohan even let him come in for work anymore. It wasn't unheard of for a Captain to throw their officers out of the barracks for a few days.

Sahura started the trend. No one was surprised.

What was he supposed to say? He had this whole mess of things in his head that he wanted to say, but he'd lost it all, somewhere between then and now. Ciaran didn't know why he bothered trying to decide on anything like that. Words never stayed in his head. Even if he knew what he should say, or thought he did, even if he went over it a thousand times in his head, they all escaped the moment he tried to recall them when he needed to. The thoughts were still buzzing around in his head, but the words weren't really stringing together in a cohesive manner. Why was his brain like this? Fuck.

He supposed it didn't matter what he said. Almost anything wouldn't really feel like the right thing to say, almost anything would probably sting, at least a little. But he'd already come to the conclusion that, maybe it needed to, because Nathair was probably right, and Rohan probably was, too. Sometimes things had to hurt, for you to pay attention to them. That was what pain was for, anyway. A breath in. "Iname..." a little louder than he usually was, because he wasn't entirely sure where Iname was at the moment. "Are -" No. "We should talk." Yeah. They should talk. Not are you busy, or whatever he was going to say. They needed to talk.

Shihoin Iname Offline Kashi // Lenara 765 HP 537 Years Male Second Division Seat 05 Ebony Lions Hyoukai
Quiet Things Nov 13, 2017, 04:16AM // 760 Words
For the moment Iname was actually trying to put away laundry that he'd finished up when he got home. It wasn't a difficult task though it had probably taken slightly longer than absolutely necessary because his mind kept wandering. Keeping his hands busy was the easy part and keeping his hands on task was the easy part, but his mind was another story. There was something of a dull fog in his head that made focusing a little hard. Which was... probably not a great thing, Iname knew that, somewhere - if a little distantly. Iname just couldn't find it in himself to worry about it as much as he probably should. He was fine, he should have been fine by now. If he just tried harder he wouldn't be having this problem.

But that was just it, wasn't it? If he just tried harder, if he just did better. If he was even half the person Kaiou had been... if he'd been in the right place at the right time. If if if. That was what it boiled down to. But he hadn't been, and he wasn't. He hadn't been there, Iname had broken his promise to always be there when Kaiou needed him and Kai had died for it. And with Kaiou gone Iname didn't know what to do, didn't know who he even was. With Kaiou gone it was like most of himself had gone away too, leaving just this. Just enough to get by. Just enough to put the broken pieces in a box and stand up and keep moving.

Ciaran kept asking him if he was okay, and Iname kept saying he was. He wanted to be, he should have been. Iname should have been fine after all this time, but instead it still felt like he had shards of glass embedded in his heart. But if he just tried harder, if he just kept doing what he was supposed to be doing then he'd be fine. It had to fade eventually, right? Time was supposed to heal all wounds.

Iname heard someone come in, though the Kashi didn't immediately make any attempt at going to the main part of the house. But the only person who would be coming into the apartment was Ciaran, so the sounds out there didn't bother him. The Kashi could sense Ciaran out there, and thus he didn't get too nervous. Though the thunking down onto the table was a little concerning for just a moment. He was a little late, though really not as late as Iname might have expected from him, since Ciaran did go out sometimes and spend time with his friends and what not.

Finally, Iname put away the last of the shirts and then ended up sort of stilling where he was and spacing out slightly. Iname's attention was caught by Ciaran calling out from the main room. ... Talk? Right. Iname shook off most of the fog and made his way into dining area to see Ciaran sitting at the table. The Kashi set himself down across the table from Ciaran and folded his hands in his lap quietly. Gray eyes studied the other for several moments, as he attempted to figure out what to say.

"Hey Ciaran." His voice was rather even as he gave the greeting. "What did you want to talk about?" Iname's head tilted slightly to one side, his eyes remaining steady on his boyfriend. I don't know maybe about the fact that you're pretending to be utterly blind? And pretending Ciaran is too. Hyoukai hissed despite knowing that Iname wouldn't really hear him. Iname's posture was rather closed - arms held close to his body and he sat back against the back of the chair. He tried not to betray his nervousness with his tone or pose, but someone with a good eye would notice them in both - Ciaran would notice them in both.

That didn't sound good though, the wording, the tone. Those things did pierce through the fog, even if they didn't dispel it entirely. It brought him closer to the surface than he usually was these days, his attention more focused and a little less glassy. But that focus brought with it a wave of concern and nerves that Iname could only mostly contain.
Ciaran Owen Offline Valhalir // Ian I hate myself. Even as I bark at the moon, I don't have the courage to reach out and grab it. 810 HP 785 Years Male Tenth Division Lieutenant Ebony Lions Eireaball Nathair
Quiet Things Nov 13, 2017, 06:05AM // 1173 Words
Ciaran stayed quiet, though he did raise his head off the table long enough to turn to face Iname, and then it hit the table again, not quite as loudly as the first time. He had a headache, but he almost always had one these days. It'd dimmed a little, after his last conversation with Gage. Ciaran still felt bad about that, but, logically, he did understand it all the same. He knew why. It'd taken a bit of thought, but, he'd figured out what had gotten into him that made him do that, even think of it. It didn't make him feel any better, nor really ease the coil of guilt in his throat. He tried not to think about it anymore.

As Iname settled down, Ciaran just watched him, and then eventually sat upright. He seemed mostly mentally present today. There was no telling when he would be, because he faded in and out at random, in his head. Nothing seemed to help anchor him much, he was almost always at least a little out of it, and Ciaran had learned to live around it. Ciaran still didn't know what to say, but, maybe if he just started talking, it'd start to make sense, somewhere in there.

"You," Ciaran said first. "Us. Everything." That seemed more accurate. There was this constant ache in his heart, that eventually, he'd figured out was Ciaran missing Iname. They lived together, how stupid was that? Emotions didn't always make sense, but they usually had something to tell you, if you listened. Ciaran was too tired for this, not the kind of tired that sleep would fix because it went deeper than that, but that was the most glaring sign he needed to do this, wasn't it? He didn't know where to start. That was probably the worst part. Once he got going, it'd probably all come tumbling out, but it was getting going that was proving to be a challenge.

He just had to remember, this really was important, and he should stop running away from it because he was afraid of it. It was only hurting them both, and maybe this would hurt, too, but it may also start them down the right path. Or at least something better than this, because this definitely wasn't right.

"First, I think I should remind you, that I love you. I love you probably to levels that are immeasurably stupid, more than I've ever loved anyone, and maybe more than I ever will again. And I'm sorry, that apparently it wasn't enough to just love you, that it took me this long to say this, but I can't... do this, anymore, Iname, I can't. I tried for you, I did, because I thought maybe that was what you needed, but I can't keep pretending like this. I don't even understand how you can." No, he understood how. Some said there was no stubborn like Ciaran's, but Iname had a stubborn to match it. Maybe that was part of what had drawn him to Iname in the first place. God, this long after, he couldn't even tell you what it was.

He was fidgeting, a little, wringing his hands as much as he could with them resting on the table, gaze cast down, staring at but not seeing the patterns in the wood grain. "You mean a lot to me, and I don't have any misconceptions about who or what you are. I know you're not perfect, and that's part of why I love you. You don't have to hide that from me. I want to know when you're not okay, I want to know when you can't do it yourself, and it's okay if you're not and you can't. I've done a lot of stupid shit in my life, okay, a lot of things I'm not proud of, but I have never regretted you, and I never will. I can't imagine my life without you - no, that's wrong. I can, if I think about it, but I don't like what I imagine. I decided to stand beside you a long time ago, and my mind hasn't changed, but this has got to stop."

Ciaran sighed, his hands separating. "Why do you keep lying to me like I don't know the truth? I've never believed it. I've always known you weren't okay. If I didn't want the truth, I wouldn't ask. If I didn't want to be here, I wouldn't be. Iname, listen to me, I've been places, I've seen things, and I don't let just anyone this far into my life. I wanted to spend the rest of however long we both had with you then, and I still do now, and you don't decide that and then try and cherry-pick. That's not fair, that's not right, and that's not love. When we started dating, I decided I was either going to love and accept all of you, good and bad, or I wasn't going to try at all. I'm still here. I haven't said anything because I was hoping you'd figure it out on your own, that you'd remember I exist and I care about you and watching you drown in whatever is in your heart because you think you need to hide it hurts. I can't take that away from you, god damn it if I don't wish I could but I can't. All I can do is be here and hope that when you need me, you'll come to me, and you haven't." The wood grain was starting to blur.

"Iname I don't want to lose you, but I am, a little more every day, sometimes you're mostly here, and then you're thousands of miles away in your head and I can't bring you back. Stop it. Damn it, stop it, stop leaving me here alone, I can't do this alone, and neither can you. I've never missed you so much, and you're right here, stop it!" His voice broke there at the end, his eyes squeezed closed and one hand raised to press against the bridge of his nose. It didn't help any. If anything, it just made it all worse, and Ciaran knew better than to try and fight it. He didn't, albeit he just sniffled and let the tears go. Hadn't he already gotten this part out of the way? This wasn't in the goddamn plans.
Shihoin Iname Offline Kashi // Lenara 765 HP 537 Years Male Second Division Seat 05 Ebony Lions Hyoukai
Quiet Things Nov 15, 2017, 02:12AM // 574 Words
There was a distant flicker of concern as Ciaran dropped his head back onto the table. Eventually the redhead across from him sat up. A flicker of confusion passed through Iname's gray gaze when the other started speaking, but he didn't immediately respond, instead listening.

Them? Right, Ciaran wanted to talk about 'them' and Iname wasn't sure what to make of that request. "Okay." Them. There was a flicker of what wanted to be panic that was present and then melted under the fog that was still there in Iname's mind.  It was for the best anyway, he shouldn't be panicking, he should listen to what Ciaran said instead. It was important.

So this was what it boiled down to. Somehow it didn't really surprise Iname, but it also kind of did. He hadn't entirely realized he had done such a poor job of going on with things as normal, at least he hadn't noticed after a while. Maybe that was the problem in the sense that his mind had accepted certain things as the new normal and Ciaran hadn't.

In not wanting to hurt Ciaran with what was in his head... but was there any sense in bothering to share it anyway? It wasn't like Ciaran didn't know what it was. It wasn't like they didn't both know that Kaiou was dead and that nothing would bring him back. Some part of Iname still didn't really see any point in verbalizing what they both already knew. Ciaran... apparently felt differently.

But he was... right here. Iname wasn't going anywhere? ... This was one of those things that Ciaran felt and Iname didn't entirely understand. What did he mean, thousands of miles away in his head? Iname bit at his lip, gray eyes unfocusing for just a second while he considered that and then pushed it away. Not because it didn't matter, but because he'd finally finished processing the fact that Ciaran was crying and while the conversation was important - was what had triggered it, even - that took precedent.

Iname rose from where he was sitting and moved around the table without really considering if the advance would be welcome at the moment. Nothing Ciaran had said indicated it wouldn't be, so he went ahead and slid his arms loosely around the redhead, hugging him.

Ciaran had said a lot, and Iname wasn't really sure what to say back. "I'm not going anywhere." Quietly. It didn't really answer the question that Ciaran had posed.

"I guess I just didn't really see a reason to repeat something you already knew." Iname said after a moment, quietly. It wasn't entirely accurate - though that was part of it. It had started because he knew Ciaran knew and didn't see a point in repeating what they both knew. And then he hadn't wanted to say it because he felt like he should be over it even though he wasn't. And he'd hoped that by telling himself he was okay, that he should be okay enough times it would make it so. ... Not... so much, if he was being honest with himself.
Ciaran Owen Offline Valhalir // Ian I hate myself. Even as I bark at the moon, I don't have the courage to reach out and grab it. 810 HP 785 Years Male Tenth Division Lieutenant Ebony Lions Eireaball Nathair
Quiet Things Nov 15, 2017, 05:37AM // 585 Words
Oh. You know what, yeah, that sounded like a good idea. Ciaran shifted, but, only enough to - well, that was probably clinging, not exactly hugging, but Ciaran didn't deal in semantics, particularly not now. At least it wouldn't make his headache worse. The last time he'd cried, it'd gotten worse for a bit, but then his headache had gone away entirely, for the first time in weeks, maybe longer, hell if he remembered anymore. After a point, he'd just started ignoring it and working around it. He knew what it was, and there wasn't really anything for it.

That wasn't - ... and that wasn't - later, in a second, he'd come back to that. Did he really not realise he wasn't entirely there? Well, maybe after this long, he didn't. Maybe he'd gotten used to it, and it didn't ping the radar anymore, because it was normal. A quiet whine loosed, and he shook his head. "You're not even alla way here righ'now. More than usual at leas'. Sometimes you don'even react to me at all." And you know, that was pretty scary. He didn't know what that was, or how to deal with it, if there was a way to deal with that besides what he'd been doing, that is, waiting it out. It worked, but... Ciaran didn't know enough about how brain things worked to know anything besides that. Gage mentioned Cyprian did that, sometimes. He'd given it a name, what was that name...

"Dis... dis... something. Dis something, Cyprian does it, Gage said it once, like you're not really experiencing anything it's more of a distant observation instead of a first-person thing. Or something like that. It's been a while. I'm not good at stuff like that. You'd - you probably don't want to, but, you should talk to your uncle about that one." If anyone knew what it was and how to deal with it, it'd be Shigeru, not Ciaran. Ciaran couldn't even really do simplistic addition maths. There was a reason he wasn't in Fourth or Eleventh, and it had little to do with his inability to heal. He could do it, if he bothered to try, but he never had, because his brain just didn't do that complicated brain stuff.

For a moment, his grip tightened, a bit, and then it relaxed again. "You know, sometimes it ain'the me knowing part. Course I know. S'hard not to, I know you pretty well, I like to think. Sometimes it's the sayin' it that helps. Acknowledgin' that it exists. Talkin' it out with somebody besides yourself. Sometimes ya get stuck in a circle on it. Somebody else helpin' you work through it, it gets you outta those circles. Facin' it instead'a tryin to pretend it ain'there cause that don't work forever anyway. It ain'me knowin' that's the point, Iname." He would have figured Iname knew that, but, apparently not. "Even if it ain'me, you needa talk to somebody. You ain't doin' so hot on your own, and you're scarin' the crap outta me." If this was okay, he was a bloody horse.

He was pretty sure he wasn't a horse.
Shihoin Iname Offline Kashi // Lenara 765 HP 537 Years Male Second Division Seat 05 Ebony Lions Hyoukai
Quiet Things Nov 18, 2017, 10:50AM // 832 Words
Oh. He was being clung to. Iname didn't mind, of course. Ciaran hugs were nice and basically always welcome. Given how long he'd been in love with Ciaran, that wasn't surprise, Iname supposed. Hn. Okay, he really didn't like that noise if nothing else. Making Ciaran make that noise again was not on the list of things Iname ever wanted to do. Unfortunately he wasn't sure he could necessarily promise... that. Okay.

... He wasn't? Iname's expression shifted to somewhat confused as he considered what Ciaran had said. ... Sometimes he didn't respond to Ciaran at all? Which of course, Iname instinctively wanted to reject the idea of, but then, if he was really doing something like that of course he wouldn't remember it. And Ciaran didn't lie, particularly not about important things. Okay, so sometimes he wasn't here all the way - supposedly even now he wasn't - and sometimes he didn't answer Ciaran.

Iname could imagine these were things Ciaran was upset about, because he could see himself worrying about them, were their positions reversed.  Dis... something. Right. That was what he was doing, apparently. Normally this was the part where Iname could figure out what Ciaran meant, but not this time. This wasn't really something Iname had ever bothered to learn terms for, after all. ... Apparently he'd have to, at this rate.

Ciaran's idea was, of course, that he talk to Shigeru. Which, it was a fair suggestion. There was a tiny flickering part of his mind that wondered if it would really be so bad if he went away, but he silenced that. It mattered because Ciaran cared. And because dream Kaiou had mentioned how unfair it was to make Mameha lose them both. Both were valid reasons that it was bad if he went away. ... Even if it was apparently only away in his own head. "I will." Quietly, but his tone was firm. "I'll talk to Shigeru about it." Or, one of the healers at least. Probably Shigeru purely because finding it in him to talk to a stranger would be even harder than finding it in him to be honest with Shigeru.

Ciaran thought he should, so he would ask Shigeru about this apparent disappearing into his own mind. ... Iname still didn't entirely see why it was a big deal... but that was probably it's own level of problem, realistically, and the Kashi knew it. ... He really didn't like the idea of bothering his uncle over this. But he'd already said he would.

Iname's head tilted downward, gray eyes studying Ciaran  - for the record, it was a little odd having an overhead view of the red haired man, given he was usually towered over. ... Odd thing for his mind to hang onto. If he'd done a better job of getting over himself like he was supposed to, they wouldn't be having this conversation. Why was he so terrible at this?

Listening to Ciaran again, of course, and trying to consider what he said. Iname's knee jerk reaction was that it shouldn't really matter given he should be okay by now. But he didn't think that was what Ciaran wanted to hear, necessarily. The reality was that he wasn't okay, and that was what Ciaran cared about here, more than anything else.

Dream Kaiou's words came back to him rather abruptly, an odd stab in the heart as he stood there holding Ciaran. He'd said the same thing, not so long ago in his own way. It took him a second to continue breathing properly, and his eyes pressed shut for a moment or two longer before he opened them again. Somehow dream Kaiou had foreshadowed this chat with Ciaran. Somehow, Iname felt he should have expected that.

"I didn't mean to scare you." No, he hadn't intended for that outcome at all. But here they were. And Iname still didn't really know what to say to Ciaran. "I just... didn't really want to acknowledge it." If he was being honest, there it was. "I kept hoping if I ignored it long enough it would go away on its own. ... Or at least be easier to deal with. ... yes I know that was stupid."

Talking about it meant it was real, meant accepting that he really was so weak that he couldn't get passed this by himself. He'd always known he was weak though, so perhaps that shouldn't have been shocking. It was a wonder anyone could stand him, honestly. He should have been able to do this without bothering Ciaran, and here he was, doing just that.
Ciaran Owen Offline Valhalir // Ian I hate myself. Even as I bark at the moon, I don't have the courage to reach out and grab it. 810 HP 785 Years Male Tenth Division Lieutenant Ebony Lions Eireaball Nathair
Quiet Things Nov 19, 2017, 01:27AM // 379 Words
Good. Good, that was something, it was better than Ciaran had ten minutes ago, he wasn't going to fuss about it. It didn't really matter to him who he talked to about all this, as long as he talked to someone, and preferably that someone would have at least a vague idea of what they were doing. Ciaran didn't know enough. Maybe he ought to talk to someone, too, just - as an idea of how to handle all this, because Ciaran was at a loss, and this was important, Iname was important.

That - well, at least he wasn't pretending, anymore. They both knew better. "What'd I say?" Something he'd said didn't go down very well, and Ciaran wasn't sure why, but, that wasn't intended. Ciaran sighed a bit, sat up.

"Someone smarter than me said once, there's strength in standing alone, but there's a lot more in admitting it when you can't. Nobody else can deal with shit like this by themselves, either, and it's unfair to yourself to think you should. That's not how it works. For anyone." Nobody could just get over something like that. Admittedly, the ignoring it part didn't help, but trying to deal with a loss that massive wouldn't work, either, and Ciaran knew it. Probably better than Iname thought he did.

"Look, everybody loses sometimes. Everybody reaches hills they can't get over on their own. Everybody's felt what you feel, because that's part of being alive. You're not alone and you don't have to be." Ciaran sat up the rest of the way. For a moment, he glanced at the floor, and then seemed to decide something, and his gaze met Iname's. "Since we're on the subject of bein' honest with each other, I almost cheated on you, couple days ago." It didn't really matter with who, it was all the same anyway, so he left Gage's name out of it. "I figured out why, but, doesn't make me feel any better about it." Not terribly, no.
Shihoin Iname Offline Kashi // Lenara 765 HP 537 Years Male Second Division Seat 05 Ebony Lions Hyoukai
Quiet Things Nov 20, 2017, 11:59PM // 439 Words
"Nothing." Was the reflexive response to that question. Because it really wasn't important? It was just a dream and it wasn't like what Ciaran had said was a bad thing, just a sharp reminder of the strange things his mind was doing and... you know it occurred to him that that was literally what they were discussing wasn't it. Uh. Right okay.

"... Important at least. I promise, it just reminded me of a dream." Iname added after a few brief moments of deliberating how to clarify that. And he intended to leave it there, but if Ciaran pushed he'd probably say more. But that was all, it reminded him of a dream and it wasn't important. Ciaran meant well - and in some sense so had dream Kai.

Somehow it didn't surprise him that that was something Ciaran had heard at some point. It just... contradicted everything that Iname had been taught. Which, it didn't mean anything. Iname had been taught lots of things that were questionable at best. Hearing it didn't really make Iname feel any less like he should be able to handle these things by himself, but it seemed to be worth it to just leave it alone for the moment. And... try to remember that Ciaran wanted him to lean a little. Try to remember that Ciaran wouldn't judge him.

"I'll... try to remember that." Quietly. It was just hard, because he honestly felt like despite what Ciaran was saying he should be able to deal with it himself. And... well. He couldn't, that much was clear. Maybe it didn't matter what he should have been able to do, given the reality was that he couldn't.

"I... see." Iname wasn't sure what to say to that. He did feel a rather sharp stab of upset before it smothered itself. Ciaran had said almost, which meant he hadn't. Iname wasn't thrilled, but the redhead was telling him which meant... well. Hearing it from Ciaran now rather than someone else later was certainly preferred. "...I suppose it wouldn't make you feel better." Iname could probably guess the reasons if he tried.

Gray eyes were slightly more guarded than they'd been a few moments before, but he didn't seem to be particularly angry. "I appreciate you telling me." ... Or at least, he appreciated the honesty behind it, and the obvious want to work things out.