Posts by "ICARUS"

    Icarus has been busy lately as well — but, then again, when isn't he? The sun-striped feline cannot let his paws grow still for long before they begin to itch with the urge to search once more. He knows not for what he looks, and yet he finds himself scouring every inch of heaven and earth alike for answers. Each time he is led back here, to this wasteland of a desert that he's come to call a home. So he searches here, too, devouring whatever books he can get his paws on, exploring ancient ruins of camp, and carefully observing the stars that hang over the sun-scorched expanse. Between it all the tom tends to forget to catch up with his clanmates — he generally enjoys their company, but he's often lost in his own world of constellations and myths and grand, unanswered questions.

    But this call is an intriguing one; Icarus has never learned much about the musical arts, nor the visual, for that matter (his own skills lie more within the literary when it comes to creative pursuits). Nevertheless, like with most things, the idea piques the golden male's interest. He approaches on graceful ivory paws, his glittering emerald eyes first flickering across those gathered. These are faces he vaguely recognizes, and ones he admittedly does not know well. His attention first finds itself focusing on Zin with an amused twitch of an ear. Icarus doesn't know much about instruments, but he knows for certain that what the young boy holds is no crushed flute. "I don't know of any elephants in Solaris," he advises casually, not even looking at the spitfire serval but instead picking his way over towards the collection of instruments as he speaks, "Maybe you should try blowing into it."

    Once more his focus drifts, a knife-sharp gaze whetted by curiosity. A guitar here, a drum there — but that which catches his eye is something else entirely. Something ancient, not unlike a harp, but with a smaller, more delicate frame and fewer strings to strum. He knows it to be a lyre, if only from the tales of Orpheus he knows so well. The tabby notes the its shape with familiarity, lovingly tracing the stars of Lyra across its wooden body. Icarus lifts a single claw to pluck at a string, eliciting a sharply out-of-tune sound that brings a twitch of a smile to his lips nonetheless. He peers at the strange instrument for a moment longer before slowly dragging his gaze upward to focus on Marigold. "Do you know this one?" he asks now, mild in tone and yet with a quiet excitement blossoming in his spring-green eyes.

    So much has happened recently, and so much has changed. Maybe it hasn't, but it strangely feels that way. His own wounds from the Exiles have sealed since the weeks that have passed, no longer an angry red in color, but the larger ones still grow sore with activity. He doesn't think he'll mind the scars when they've fully healed, though he can't stand not being able to travel as he pleases. But even Icarus knows that it's better this way, given the trouble he'd gotten into the last time. For now he's kept to exploring closer to home, nosing through spare books and getting to know the ruins where the kingdom of the sun makes its camp. It's not quite the same, true, and life goes on nevertheless; the days continue to grow colder as the world still spins and every night Icarus finds himself beneath the same stars. Tonight amateur astronomer awaits the arrival of a meteor shower, an event that is at once magical and extraordinary and yet it, like everything else in the universe, occurs in cycles — recorded in history books as far back as the beginning itself and stretching well beyond his own mortal lifetime. Icarus always swears he can feel it in the air the day before, a certain crispness that sizzles with energy electric. Perhaps it's his own excitement that he senses, or perhaps they're one and the same.

    He positions himself at the base of the mountains and faces the desert. Somehow here, where the earth is wide and flat and uninterrupted by trees, and where the skies are so often bright and cloudless, he feels closer to the heavens than anywhere else. So he turns his eyes upwards and watches as baby blues turn to radiant oranges and pinks until they fade into the midnight black of nightfall. The stars do not reveal themselves immediately, eventually peering through like holes in the blanket of darkness. They're an ever-familiar comfort — here, the wings of Pegasus, and there, Perseus's sword, the very same as always. Icarus traces them like the stripes of his tabby fur, greeting them like old friends he still knows well.

    And then he waits. The feline fixes his attention above and simply lets the silent serenity wash over him as it has so many times before. For a while there is only the twinkling jewels of the cosmos until, suddenly, one moves. A ray of light shooting across the inky-black sky, stitching together scattered stars before disappearing below the horizon and sinking the world into dimly-lit darkness once more. He watches with bated breath, eyes alight with the glitter of the heavens as he hangs on the edge of that moment. And then there's another — darting across the celestial canvas until it burns into nothingness only milliseconds later. Icarus feels the fur on the back of his neck start to tingle with awe as he finally exhales. He settles in against the cold of the dead of night, lying upon the dry soil and holding his head to the sky in preparation for a late night spent alone with the universe.

    "She's a cold beauty," the golden tabby muses in agreement as he beholds the crashing waves, only to let his attention flicker to the others with the ghost of a lopsided smile upon his lips, "It'd be nice to warm up some."

    rus has spent a lot of time adventuring and travelling so i image he smells pretty... wild, if that makes any sense. like bonfires but also morning dew, like old leather-bound books and far-away lands. crisp yet earthy and warm.

    There's the pitter-patter of distant pawsteps that quicken in pace and grow in volume as they near the tabby, half-lidded eyes battling the faint fuzziness that fills his head while he waits for his wounds to be dressed or otherwise continue to be hauled back to camp. Icarus hardly moves to look up at first; it's only the quiet, breathy utterance of his name that prompts recognition, a spark of familiarity that fills him with a momentary burst of energy and a whole laundry list of thoughts and feelings he can't be bothered to untangle. His head raises, emerald-green eyes opening more fully as he turns to meet the gaze of his friend.

    Icarus feels his heart lurch at the sight of Claes. Of course he knows him from voice and scent alone, but as soon his those honey-hued eyes with watery tears that threaten to burst from them like fountains meet his own the stone of remorse that has settled in his stomach weighs heavier than ever. He hadn't thought that he would cause this of all things — that he would pain the very Solarian he is likely closest to — and it causes the knot of guilt to tighten as he watches Claes come to stop before him.

    Icarus summons all of the strength he has to push the dryness of his mouth and blink the weariness from his eyes. The tom wishes he only had the energy to help dry his tears; words will have to do instead. Even now, with his voice just a murmur, there's a tiny, reassuring smile that pulls at the edges of his lips as he breathes, "I'm okay." Icarus speaks it like a promise — there's determination there, too, an insistence that the words are true. He knows that he'll be healed and well eventually; to Icarus, at least for now, that's all that matters. "You should see the other guys, your highness," he adds, tone low and yet warm, the same liveliness sparkling in his gaze as always in spite of his visible weakness. It's an obvious joke — although Icarus hasn't mentioned the details of his run-in with the Exiles, it'd only take a glance to know who was on the losing end of that fight — and perhaps a poor one, considering the circumstances. But the tom can hardly help himself; he needs to show he's alright, to quell the worries that waver in his friend's voice.

    A paw comes to lay upon his face, and as tears begin to flow Icarus, likewise, begins to falter. "Hey, Claes, I…" His voice has softened considerably and this time, for once, there’s no playful your highness in his address. Icarus regards the king with sincerity and a troubled look that lies somewhere between concern and guilt and apology. A sputtered I'm sorry falls from the other's lips, and while Icarus can't quite bring himself to shake his head, he says, quietly but with firmness, "It was my fault. I’m sorry. I’ll take the blame." There’s something between the words that sounds a whole lot like I deserve it, but Icarus doesn’t believe that. He believes that arbitrary lines drawn in sand do not warrant such violence, he believes that innocent curiosity should not be met with tooth and claw. And he believes in Claes, even if he isn't sure exactly what that means. Icarus knows he doesn't deserve the wounds that have been scored across his pelt, but he knows that he doesn't deserve Claes's empathy, either. His mistakes are his own — the Dawningcrown has enough to worry about without the blunders of reckless fools. Icarus can hardly bear to think of the consequences of his actions: of Claes blaming himself, of possibly provoking the Exiles, of adding to the growing list of Solaris's problems. His injuries seem so small, so simple in comparison. If this is his punishment, then he will accept it.

    Even if there is no reason for this bloodshed, here his blood does spill into the unforgiving desert soil regardless. That which flows from his veins is not ichor; it is a deep crimson and not a glittering gold. He is alive and yet, like all things mortal, utterly fragile and only temporary. If he is anything like the Icarus of ancient myths, he too will one day be set ablaze. Though the jaws of death may chomp at his heels, the boy of sun and sand will live to soar another day. Here, watching Claes now is the opposite of burning; it feels more like falling, and yet he cannot look away all the same.

    He doesn't get the chance to say much else before the king ups and leaves. Really, Icarus doesn't know what else he'd add if he even had the strength remaining to do so. There are quick words exchanged, about the infirmary and stopping the bleeding and a sense of haste that underlines Claes's speech. The golden feline comes to lie still once more, brows knit and gazing after the vulpine long after he disappears into the desert. He will allow whatever comes next, be it carrying on the trek to camp or temporarily bandaging his wounds; Icarus's mind wanders elsewhere and his eyes grow clouded with thought as he stares into the vast expanse.

    Another week gone. There's a faint sting of pain as the golden feline seats himself among the others of his clan — it's a familiar pang, that of freshly-sealed wounds still an angry red in color. He doubts the reminder will disappear anytime soon (the scars will certainly last him a lifetime), and yet as Icarus looks to Dawningcrown his emerald-green eyes shine as bright and cloudless as the pale desert sky. It's been an eventful week for all of them — when isn't it? — but it always seems to come to rest upon the shoulders of their king. Once more does his gaze fix with a glittering, keen interest upon Claes, a sheen of faint admiration laced with curiosity rippling across deep pools of contemplation. At the meeting's commencement his white-tipped ears prick, though all of the names and events wash past him like a relentlessly-rushing river. He lets them; Icarus knows well enough that he'll never remember the endless stream of announcements, as best he tries.

    The next announcements weigh like an oppressive cloud over the clan. Too many captures in recent moons, too much bloodshed — and now there's his own mistakes to add to the mix. A strange concoction of emotions that stir at the reminder. Icarus himself doesn't have any plans to return to the Exiles anytime soon, and given that he's been advised to rest and heal he might not be headed anywhere else either (though heaven knows how long that'll last the ever-venturesome tom). That said, if it weren't for his affiliation with Solaris, he doesn't think he'd be quite so deterred. He can handle a few scratches and bruises, and being chased out by a few threats on his life is just as meaningless. But he sees Claes, the visible stress that weighs on their leader in the face of recent events and he begins to recognize an odd stone of guilt forming in the pit of his stomach. The tabby knows that things have been rough enough in Solaris lately without his costly ignorance. To think that his recklessness could lead to retaliation, that it could put extra pressure on their king, on everyone. And that they nevertheless still share some amount of concern for him, enough to heal him in spite of the wounds being sprung forth from his careless nature like the bitter fountain of childish naivety.

    Icarus looks to Claes once more, but his eyes now hold something like a silent apology, a mix of vague concern and quiet acceptance of responsibility. He'd realized something in the Exiles, just as he does back home. Even though this, too, will pass, the unfamiliar sense of guilt that brews at the realization of unforeseen consequences means the honey-furred feline cares for the Solarians more he had thought. He doesn't quite know what to make of that yet. Only a dip of his head follows, another wordless acknowledgement of understanding, and he continues to watch with jade optics clouded by distant thought.

    Icarus only notices the approach of another when he feels the sensation of breath upon his fur. His eyes lazily flutter open as he stirs, lids only opening halfway. The face is one of vague familiarity, one he has only encountered in passing and in his fog of exhaustion it takes the familiar scent of Solaris to recognize Witchspaw as a clanmate. There's a layer of weariness that dulls his emerald gaze and yet just below the surface lies a familiar glitter of life. The boy utters something to him in soft tones, spoken like a prayer meant only for his ears. Icarus hangs onto it as best he can. Words swim like rushing waters through his mind, slipping through his hands before he can manage to grasp them. Understanding takes root somewhere, a faint flicker of light behind his gaze, but at the forefront of his consciousness all the tom can do is keep his eyes from falling shut. Icarus opens his mouth to speak, only to find his tongue dry and his head hazy.

    He swallows. "Thank you," is all he can finally muster, the tabby's own voice a mere murmur. But he does his best to meet the other's gaze, and once more there's a flicker of sincere gratitude that lingers there. He feels himself being lifted by the scruff — a strange sensation, for in that moment he is a kit being carried by his mother, the muted scents of mint and lavender of her fur upon his tongue. It takes his brain a couple of heartbeats to catch up with reality, and he first struggles to help walk before realizing how heavy his paws are (and how he really isn't helping at all) and letting himself go limp as he is hauled along.

    It seems only seconds later — he can't really be sure — when the approach of pawsteps meets them with the sound of an unfamiliar voice. Icarus lets himself flop to the ground once again and lifts his head to get a better look at the stranger. "Icarus. It's a pleasure, Doc," the golden feline greets at the introduction, pushing past the sandpapery feeling of his mouth as he speaks. Even with the dull ache of pain he manages a tiny smirk, lively even with his strength sapped. Icarus briefly glances over his shoulder, taking inventory. The worst of the damage is where draconic fangs tore at his shoulder and claws belonging to creatures larger than he scored down his flanks. He bears a few other insignificant scratches, and though his whole body aches from being used as a plaything for the Exilers he assumes he must simply be battered and bruised, which he'll undoubtedly be feeling tomorrow. The tom only flicks an ear dismissively at the thought, allowing his attention to return to other — Clarence, if his muddled mind serves him. He gives a nod in a mix of acknowledgement, permission, and thanks. Icarus has never paid much mind to the art of healing until now, and that his clanmates who hardly know him would come to his aid so swiftly is... well, he doesn't think he's sure just yet. All the tabby knows is that he's happy to be home.

    The tom is drawn forth by the typical call to gather, a once-strange sound that has since become familiar to his ears. Icarus takes his time finding his way over to the meeting place; in spite of the morning's gentle glow, he himself is only just returning from another late-night adventure through the desert. He offers up a yawn as he takes his place towards the back of the crowd, not wanting to disturb others with his late arrival. The golden boy eventually settles in and looks to Claes with paws of ivory and eyes of spring.

    There's a change in the air from the usual — he notices it as soon as he seats himself, and it becomes increasingly evident as he gazes at the king. Icarus can read others fairly well, and Claes (in spite of his best efforts) never seems to be a difficult subject to crack. A shuffling of paws, a wavering in voice, a smile that appears to be compensation for something left unsaid. Claes isn't himself here. Icarus doesn't even know now if he has the right to claim that — it's rather presumptuous, after all — but... he considers the Dawningcrown a friend. He's often admired him from here, below where the other stands upon those rocks, for how he carries such an unimaginable weight with such kindness and grace. Perhaps he still sees strength in how Claes manages to remain so composed in spite of clearly being troubled, and yet those thoughts are overshadowed by concern. There's discontent elsewhere, too, sizzling like the air before a storm among those gathered and hanging like a cloud over Zin in particular. Icarus doesn't know the details of this saga, but as he observes he can't help wonder how it will end — all he can see is a Greek tragedy in the making.

    The feline gazes idly at the vulpine as he speaks, only half-listening as he focuses on his thoughts. What breaks through is the sound of his own name; the honey-furred tom's eyes sharpen with clarity as his attention is sharpened. There's a slew of names that follow but, in the moment's rest between words, he processes his promotion. Trailblazer. Even after his weeks in Solaris he's still getting a handle of the ranks (he's long since given up on keeping Sunguards and Sunchasers straight), but he understands what this means. It means he's really a Solarian — one trusted enough to be given some morsel of responsibility, with implications that far outweigh however small the recognition itself is. It catches him off-guard. He'd had never intended on staying, but here he is nevertheless. He's listening to a meeting weeks after he'd expected to move on and watching over a crowd full of faces he's come to recognize and, to some degree, care for. Icarus doesn't know what to make of that, and he doesn't have the time to think on it now. Claes has long since continued on, leaving Icarus to simply dip his head in subtle acknowledgement and do his best to keep up with. Before he knows it the meeting has been dismissed and others are scattering, leaving the tom to silently mull over all that has occurred.

    Icarus never thought he'd be so happy to feel the coarse desert sand underpaw. There's a soft shuffling as he moves slowly across the dry terrain, a hint of a sparkle returning to the feline's emerald gaze as he recalls the very first time he laid eyes upon this place, his burning curiosity and quiet fascination with these clan creatures and the lives they make in this strange wasteland. It's true that he's strayed often, slipping out in the early morning and returning in the dead of night with only the itch in his paws and the stars in his eyes to guide his travels, and yet these wilds are oddly familiar now. He has found that the touch of the sun-baked earth feels more and more like a homecoming with each of his many returns to the Solarian oasis.

    This time is different. The scent of the kingdom is as welcoming a comfort as ever, but it now mingles with the heavy metallic stench that weighs on his tongue. This time he knows better than he did before, evidenced with each plodding footfall that leaves a thin trail of blood in his wake.

    The golden tabby had not wandered into Exiles territory with negative intentions, but intentions alone do not win him any friends, nor do they save him from any foes. In all honesty, he hadn't even realized what territory he was in, or what boundary he'd crossed, or why it might've mattered. Icarus had been far too busy with other thoughts; thoughts that were more along the lines of naive inquisitiveness and childlike wonder, still considering himself a relative stranger to these lands and their customs. He is a boy who lives in his own world — one that exists without borders or allegiances or enemies, one where he can come and go as he pleases without paying any mind to the petty politics of violent beasts. But his world is not reality; he is a fool to mistake the two. If only the realization had not come so late, for it takes the flashing of fangs and scoring of claws for him to recognize the mistake. Maybe it was time he learned.

    The midday sun hangs high in the sky, its overpowering heat tempered into gentle warmth by the autumn breeze. With each step Icarus wants nothing more than to curl up beneath those rays and fall into a restful slumber — to shut his eyes and let the comforting glow wash over him and cleanse the hot blood that clings to his velvety fur. Even as adrenaline continues to stave off most of the pain, there remains a dull ache singed with something sharper that pounds through his veins and a sleepiness that tugs at his muscles. His injuries are not necessarily fatal, he will reach the forest and get patched up and life will return to normal — he has no doubts of this. But the trek has been a long one, and in this moment all he can see is how the desert seems to stretch on forever before his unsteady paws.

    The mountains are within view now — the camp cannot be far away. However, tantalizingly close as he is, Icarus's strength has been sapped and his head swims in the day's warmth. At last he surrenders to his weary bones, slowly curling up on the hard earth. He rests his head on alabaster paws and, though not quite asleep, lets his eyes close as he relishes the sun's tender touch upon his battered pelt.

    Icarus's gaze has been fixated upon the sky, but as a stranger comes to join him he allows his attention to wander long enough to give them a silent nod in greeting. Introductions can be saved for later — they're in the thick of things now, and even if he's told himself the tale a million times before, the golden tabby's whiskers twitch with the subtle excitement of being able to share the story in his own words. Admittedly, such is a new experience for him. His mother had told him many fables as a kit, but that was long ago. It's been countless moons since he's had a fire to share with friends, and a captive audience to subject to his winding narratives. Inhaling the warm scents of the flames, he carries on, "No living person had entered the underworld before, much less successfully brought someone back to life with them, but Orpheus was determined. He made the initial descent through a dark and yawning cavern until he reached the banks of the River Styx where the ferryman Charon stood, a gaunt figure cloaked in black. Across these waters lay the gates to hell, but the oarsman would not let him pass. So Orpheus lay his hands to the lyre, and played a tune so captivating that Charon, charmed, agreed to take him to the other side."

    "The murky depths of the Styx seemed to groan with the torment of dead as the ferry slowly bobbed ashore, but Orpheus solemnly continued his journey until he came to face the very gates where Cerberus stood guard. The great three-headed beast snarled, baring its sword-like fangs in a final warning for the poet to turn back." He rests her for a moment, letting momentary suspense (although surely they know what's to come) purchase him a second to breathe. Icarus rather likes this part of the quest, the curious divine adventure and the feeling of love triumphing over all else.

    Focusing on the flames before him, the tabby pushes on with a shifting in his seat, "Orpheus remained undeterred. Again he took to his lyre and sang one of his beautiful sonnets, and within moments the monster was lulled into a gentle slumber by the melody. Thus, Orpheus came to enter the underworld unchallenged, and presented himself to the god Hades and his wife Persephone. The great ruler of hell refused the request in spite of the poet's pleas, as no soul had ever been permitted to leave the underworld. So once more Orpheus strummed his lyre and sang a song so elegant that it caused even the icy king of the nether world's heart to soften. Hades agreed to let Eurydice return with Orpheus with only one condition. Eurydice would follow him up the winding path out of the underworld, but Orpheus would not be allowed to turn to look at her until they reached the light of day. The lyricist eagerly agreed to the terms and, assured that his wife would follow in his steps, began the ascent."

    A breath. "Orpheus hurried past the sleeping Cerberus, across the shadowy Styx, past the veiled Charon, and up the path of the cavern. But the further he went, the more worried he became that he'd lost Eurydice along the way. The poet could not hear her footsteps, for she was still only a phantom, and he only had blind faith to guide him. With the soft grass of earth within sight, the temptation to steal a glance began to eat away at Orpheus." He pauses here — partially for dramatic effect, his tongue seeming to hang onto those last few words. The will he or won't he? left unspoken but sizzling in the air even in his momentary silence. But, beyond that, Icarus is thinking about how to continue. He knows well enough how the story ends; Orpheus will turn, and Eurydice will reach out in despair before being pulled into the depths of the underworld for all eternity. That is how the story goes. Icarus knows, and yet... and yet he can't help but think how awful an ending it is. Perhaps Icarus is a fool himself in that way; perhaps he's small-minded, and perhaps his preference for romances over tragedies is swaying him here. In truth, he doesn't believe any of those things — he believes that Orpheus and Eurydice deserve something better than that. That his audience deserves better. That all the doom and gloom and horrible sadness of it all is worthless in the face of what instead could be. After all, how many centuries ago was Orpheus's grand mistake immortalized? How many times has it been recounted? If he can retell it now, why shouldn't he make it kinder?

    He lifts his chin confidently to the stars, eyes burning like those wings of wax and feathers as they face the sky in an unspoken challenge. "...But, nevertheless, Orpheus continued onward. His feet met the familiar soil and, after a few anxious paces, he finally turned to find out if it had all been a grand trick played by Hades. And within the golden sunlight stood his lovely wife, her ghostlike form turned to rosy flesh once more. Orpheus swept her into his arms and thanked the gods to have her back once more. In the end, his trust and his love had brought his lover back to him."

    In the back of his mind Icarus has to assume that someone may recognize the change — considering it's a well-known myth and just about the biggest amendment he could've possibly made. But the tom himself makes no note of it, casually flicking his tail and finishing, "The two lived long, happy lives together, and when Orpheus finally passed away his lyre was cast into the stars by Zeus himself so that the poet's legacy might live on forever." He lingers like that momentarily, mulling over his final words before his attention returns to the trio who has gathered to listen. The feline smiles a bit, a small smirk that only touches upon his lips, and yet there's an intenseness, a brilliant warmth that appears there nonetheless. He can't be sure that he's done the myth any justice, but he's told it the only way he knows how. And so, with the stars of Lyra still twinkling with their song of Orpheus and Eurydice, Icarus brings his own account to a close with a gentle nod in appreciation to those listening.

    The words sink into Icarus like a knife, like those flashing fangs as the Warden lunges forth. He's let his guard down too swiftly, eager to assume the best in testing the interaction's limits, and is left wholly unprepared for the attack. Icarus himself is no skilled fighter — he's hardly a warrior in any sense of the word, really. Too many of his moons were spent alone, with few cares, fewer people, and no borders to squabble over. Icarus had never any need to learn how to fight, and now, in the face of impending danger, he is woefully inexperienced in the means with which defend himself.

    Corrupttimelines's movements do not register quick enough for Icarus to escape them; he stand unpoised and open and only straightens and begins to scramble away as teeth meets fur. The larger creature is successful in sinking his incisors into the Solarian, prompting a hiss from the tom as pain cuts through him like a hot knife. It lasts only a moment as adrenaline thrums through his veins at the same frantic pace as his heart, the urgent need to get away taking priority over anything else. The golden tabby wriggles free with an sickening tearing off flesh and the warm pouring of blood as it splatters and sticks to his downy fur. Icarus once more gives himself little time to react before turning to swat blindly with thorn-sharp claws at the Exiler. The feline is clearly no strategist, as his attacks are wild and uncontrolled and likely meaningless, given the strength and stature of the other in comparison to his own. Nevertheless the tom doesn't flee quite yet, buying time with frantically swinging paws as he peers over his shoulder for an escape route.

    Icarus's attention follows the boy who joins them, another recognizable face albeit one he is not well acquainted with. He gives a flick of an ear at the boy's input before musing, "Good idea." Tell the one you want to tell the most. The tom mulls over that much for a moment, fluffing out his fur and moving closer to the fire as he settles in — he certainly has a penchant for myths in general, tragedies and romances alike (perhaps the best are one and the same, but he'll get to that later). And yet the latter in particular sticks out in his mind, that glimpse of the constellations lingering at the edges of his view.

    He raises his head to the sky yet again, the flickering lights from above reflected like ripples across the surface of his spring-green eyes. "Look there, to the north — do you see the northern cross?" The words are spoken abruptly and yet with a cool, serene air; his has long since become lost in those stars, moonstruck in their divine glow. But beneath the tabby's contemplative expression and behind his composed narration, there is the blaze that burns more passionately than the earthly flames of the bonfire, only visible in flashes behind his pensive gaze. He lifts an alabaster-dappled paw to point in the direction to which he speaks, hanging just above the treeline as the coming winter's approach threatens to sink the great swan below the horizon. "Okay, now west of that... there's a very bright star called Vega. There's four other stars around it form a sort of rectangle. That's the constellation Lyra."

    His paw moves with his words, painting shapes in the night sky to tie gossamer threads between stars. Lyra is relatively small and dim, which is why Icarus makes the effort of guiding his audience to the constellation. But there's a part of him — the poet, he supposes — that somehow thinks of that cosmic journey as a vital aspect of the tale itself. Each time he revisits the story all he must do is orient himself among the heavens, tracing those familiar paths like the stripes that make up his pelt, and suddenly he is exactly where generations have told the very same legend, and where he himself has been countless times before.

    When he looks to Lyra now and speaks, he does so as if greeting an old friend; for, in a way, he is. "There was once a poet who played that very lyre, long before it was cast into the stars " Icarus pauses, glancing sideways towards Zin. Are lyres objects of common knowledge for kids? The feline considers himself hardly more than a young adult, but the thought nearly makes him feel old. He smiles a bit at that. "The poet's name was Orpheus, and he was so skilled with the lyre that when he performed his music the trees would dance, the most fearsome of animals would lay at his side, and nature herself would stop to listen." Icarus pauses, just long enough to feel the chilly night breeze as it stirs the crackling fire and rustles through the trees. He likes to imagine that the world dances for them, too.

    "Orpheus was also madly in love with the beautiful nymph Eurydice. On the day they were married, Orpheus sang joyful ballads while his wife danced in the meadows, and again the earth was moved by his song. But tragedy struck in the midst of their celebrations — a snake bit Eurydice, and the poet's wife fell, dead." Icarus gives a twitch of his whiskers and allows another beat of silence. He is moving somewhat swiftly, after all, but the golden-furred tabby is rather anxious to get to the good parts. "Orpheus's grief was immeasurable, and once more he picked up his lyre in a woeful hymn. He played so mournfully that, just as the earth had danced before, it now began to weep. Orpheus was unable to go on without Eurydice, and so he decided to attempt the impossible — he would go to underworld and return her from death."

    Yet another creature joins them now, a wolfish fiend with eyes narrowed and glinting with annoyance. He is vastly, tragically outnumbered now — not to mention the fact that he's quite noticeably smaller than most of those who stand before him. At her unexpected words, however, Icarus appears to perk up a bit once more. Perhaps he was wrong to immediately assume that his mistake was so grave, if they are so swift to take him at his word and let him go free. Nor is his curiosity is yet quelled, and so he decides to continue playing this high-risk game for however long he can. The golden tabby is not fearful — he finds no real reason to be, considering his knowledge of the Exiles just is as limited as his knowledge of clans and borders in general, which is how he ended up here in the first place — if anything, he is intrigued by the vague sense of danger that lurks here. He is still an adventurer at heart and a fool in soul; he does not flee because he is too intoxicated by the thrill of his own presence in these unknown lands.

    Any of that measured sense of caution is lost as he halts in his steps. Icarus is not a careful man, this much is obvious by now, and he's often been too quick to let his guard down. There is still something that lingers behind his gaze as it flickers across the Exilers once more, a sparkling emerald surface hiding deep pools of contemplation below. The Solarian straightens, possibly too boldly, revealing his sudden lack of intent to retreat. "I don't think you'd want to do that anyways. I image I'd taste pretty tough," he remarks with nonchalant air, tail twitching as eyes alight with faint interest come to face Twistedtongue. Perhaps if he were a bit fatter or less fit he'd make a better meal, but Icarus decides to lean his interpretation into the more joking half of her tone regardless. The tabby himself appears rather relaxed, in spite of the situation that is clearly stacked against his favor — and, indeed, for the nature of the situation he continues to tempt fate with a stupid degree of confidence. He is not longer sure what it'll take him to leave now (maybe he'll slip away and go find a less heavily-populated part of the territory to explore) but it seems he has made the choice to find out.

    Icarus's ears prick once more as Ashe joins him, and the tom casts the other an easy smile in return. He admits to not knowing much about the archer, but he seems nice enough, perhaps one he ought to become better acquainted with — and frankly, Icarus would consider anyone with the patience to humor his stories a friend by nature. The golden-furred feline gives a flick of his ear in additional greeting and looks to the fire once more, the flickering flames reflected in the glitter of his gaze. "Hmm..." he hums with thought, not intending to start just yet. Most moderns poets write their ballads in the silence of their studies; Icarus, on the other hand, while only a humble storyteller of recycled fables for the night, had hoped to draw a slightly larger crowd than just to two of them.

    The glistening stars catch his attention once more, and as he glances upward to the heavens he ponders aloud, "It might be a bit narcissistic to tell the tale of Icarus, wouldn't it?" The words are spoken in a musing manner, clearly more joking than not. Of course it's one of his favorites — and perhaps he is indeed a narcissist for that much, but there's something else there that never fails to capture his imagination, or more aptly his romantic soul — and yet one he thinks he's already spoken enough of. His emerald-green optics search the sky for a moment before landing on the tiny cluster that makes up Lyra. "Perhaps... Orpheus and Eurydice?" he murmurs now, inhaling the warmth from of the blaze for him and exhaling contemplatively. "Another well-known myth, but still one of my favorites."

    Alabaster-dappled paws continue along their set path, though with each footfall the tom's mind continues to drift elsewhere. For a moment it lingers back in Solaris, then to the sands elsewhere along his travels, and finally above to where the wind whistles through the trees. Except the rustling continues as the autumn breeze dies down, and he hardly has time to realize that it isn't the wind at all when the pale jaguar lands before him. It almost happens too fast for him to process — before his own lips can part to respond to the words uttered between bared teeth there's a paw hurtling towards his head. He's given just enough time to hastily duck away, but by the time Icarus looks up once more a towering wyvern has joined them. And before he can wrap his head around that much either (he's never seen a dragon up-close, after all, and the sight is quite a shock), he's already being knocked off his paws by a blast of water.

    His claws scrabble at the dry earth as the golden feline attempts to recover, parts of his neatly-groomed fur now sopping wet as he sputters and then gets to his paws once more. It had seemed like only a moment ago was he strolling peacefully through these unfamiliar woods and suddenly adrenaline courses through his veins to combat the chill that soaks into his bones — he realizes finally, and perhaps a little too late, that he is in danger here. And only now do their words process, slowly: I've already had one issue with you fuckers recently. He supposes he still isn't used to belonging to any one clan, because it takes a moment for the meaning to click. Solaris — it comes to Icarus in flashes, something from the most recent meeting, an attack, Claes visiting the Exiles, the Exiles... that must be this place, these people who smell faintly of sun-baked soil and death. The next emotion to wash over him after the understanding passes is an unfamiliar one, a stone in his stomach that feels like... guilt? He isn't simply here as himself, he's a Solarian in enemy territory. The consequences he faces here may follow him back to his clan in these tense times — and he's learning now that he cares more for the desert-dwellers than he'd previously thought.

    Icarus doesn't consider himself stupid by any means, but he's certainly done some stupid things — this among them, as he's beginning to realize. He stands upright now, facing the group with as much guarded confidence as he can muster. "Would you believe me if I said I'm lost?" the feline deadpans in response to Pyrrhic's query, though there's a lively glint to his eyes as they flicker across the Exilers, doing his best to appear casual as he searches his escape route. Perhaps now isn't the time for sarcasm, considering he's telling the truth — he might be willfully lost, but he is lost nonetheless, it's simply that the Solarian is becoming increasingly aware that the excuse might not be enough. Either way, it doesn't exactly sound genuine based on his delivery. Icarus is choosing his words carefully now, each adjustment to his demeanor a careful one; he's already bitten back another remark about the impromptu bath he'd just been given. His attention flickers to Eisuke, the suggestion causing an uncomfortable prickle along his spine. "Thanks for the offer, but..." he takes a careful pace backwards in the direction in which he came, dipping his head to the strangers, "I was just leaving, actually."