1.3.20. - Lots of links coming your way this month! First, please make sure to post in our Winter Activity Check by January 17th in order to make sure all of your characters are able to continue to wreck havoc on the region! Second, don't forget about the SW&SH Ticket Exchange! Of course, we also have a new promo where you can continue to earn prizes for all of your hard work. And lastly, this is the last month that you will be able to give your input on our Solo Beta Test and Volunteer Beta Test. We are working on our final changes to the systems, so if you'd like your feedback to be taken into consideration, please make sure to post before the end of the month!
Anrui's winter isn't as cold as some other regions' winters are, but that doesn't mean it's any less harsh for the natives! Pokemon who are not used to the cold are either hunkering down in a warm den, or out and about searching for scarce food. Don't let yourself get caught between a hungry pokemon and a tasty meal, otherwise you could end up an appetizer!
Welcome to the Anrui Region, where training is illegal. The Anrui Region is a desolate and lonely place, a once bustling region that has lived under the oppression of Team Plasma for many years. Plasma took over and outlawed training of Pokemon. Raids occurred and people and Pokemon alike were killed. Back alley gym matches were held, but people remain terrified to overthrow Plasma. Who will you side with, Plasma? Or The Resistance?
While Xiulan Xia may be new on site, she's carved her way into the spotlight for being a dynamic and well-portrayed character! Shrouded in mystery over the secretive events of her life, she is now painted with conspiracy that seems to follow her wherever she goes - ask her about it, we dare you. Cutthroat and hardened by an intense and passionate drive towards a linear goal, any thread with her is bound to heat up should your character so happen to cross paths with her. We can't wait to see where she goes from here!
"The sketches flew by quickly as Renly searched for the page he was looking for. It was a page with just one sketch, however the empty spaces had been filled in with watercolor paint. The scene depicted two cats - one shiny shinx and one glameow - curled together and napping. "I usually paint with acrylics, but I was testing some new paints my sister got me, and... uh, yea," his voice drifted off, realizing that she probably didn't care about what types of paint he used." - Renly Martell
"Well, obviously not all doors. I did knock on yours though, didn't I? I suppose all doors here are your doors though, so apologies for that one ... My mother wasn't a good teacher, nor an attentive one." - Nova Fuerst
When most people think of birthdays, they think of balloons, gifts, parties, laughter, and cake. However for some people, birthdays are not a day of celebration. The thread put back the stars, starring King Esten and Julian Miller, is not your typical birthday celebration. Instead, this thread takes the birthday theme and artistically turns it on its head, focusing strongly on the loving bond between two friends coming together to make the most of a tough situation.
Post by RYDER REEVES on Aug 16, 2018 15:31:13 GMT -5
The party could not have been held on a more perfect day. The salty air of the sea had desiccated the summer’s humidity, and a cool breeze washed over the beach as each wave stretched over the golden sand. The sun hung high above the crowd like a chandelier, bathing the beach in a pleasant heat, and not a single cloud obscured the brilliant blue sky. Bright parasols provided pools of shade, and clusters of people dotted the beach, their laughter coming in bursts and rolling like the sea.
Beneath one of the large umbrellas was Ryder, dressed in nothing but his dark red swim trunks and a large straw hat. He had his body tucked into the shade as he furiously rubbed suntan lotion into his arm, chest, leg, and any other body part he could reach. His nose was white with zinc, and his face was streaked with sunscreen he had failed to rub in.
“Alright, that should do it,” he said as he slapped away the last bit of lotion from his wrists. He already had a slight red tint to his skin from the few minutes he’d spent putting his umbrella up, and he was determined to not let it turn into a burn. “Just need someone to do my back…” he murmured, watching with envy as some of the party-goers splashed carelessly in the waves.
Ryder looked around to see if there was anyone available, but almost everyone around him was engrossed in some conversation or another. He glanced at the egg he had nestled into the hot sand beside him and gingerly took it into his hands. “Little for you, bud,” he said to the egg, smoothing the remaining sunscreen on his palms over its shell. He then grabbed his bottle of sunscreen and made his way towards the Tiki Hut, concluding that most singles tended to flock to where alcohol was aplenty, and that that was his best bet to find someone to whom he wouldn’t be a bother. If nothing else, he could at least hide under the canopy and have a drink or two.
Post by RYDER REEVES on Aug 23, 2018 18:20:04 GMT -5
Ryder winced as he pulled his shirt over his back. Unfortunately, the drunken man he’d found at the bar didn’t seem to understand when Ryder handed him the sunscreen and told him to “go wild.” Instead of generously and evenly applying the lotion like he’d meant, the man had instead smeared globs of it at random over Ryder’s back, leaving painful splotches of red in odd shapes all over his skin. It certainly didn’t help that he had also made a beeline for the ocean as soon as the man had given him the okay, and Ryder mentally hit himself for not remembering to reapply.
Ryder’s nemesis, the sun, had finally begun to inch its way below the horizon, and the cloudless blue sky had melted into vivid pools of pinks and yellows. As he looked at the sunset, Ryder could feel a yawn build in his chest, and his arms moved to stretch along with it. As the fabric of his shirt hit his burn, though, the man froze in place. It was almost embarrassing how excruciating the pain was, and he took a steadying breath to keep it from spreading.
While normally Ryder would’ve gone home and slipped into a bath of aloe vera, he reminded himself that days like these were few and far between, and it’d be a waste if he were to let the night slip through his fingers. The music down shore was getting louder as more partygoers flocked to the stage, and he could see several groups of people pulling wood from the forest to build up bonfires.
Ryder stood from his towel and made his way back towards the bar once again, egg in tow. He resolved that if he was going to stick around, he’d need something to numb his pain, and he couldn’t think of anything more effective than a little liquor on his tongue. He sat himself down at one of the barstools and smiled at the bartender before asking, “What’s your strongest drink?”
Vibrant watercolor strokes of sunshine and bubblegum painted the sky in a brilliant aura, casting its fading glow down upon the grains of sand that occupied the beach. Twinkling in the low light, a salty sea rolled back and then crashed forward once more, drumming with life as though inspired by the buzzing and chatter of hundreds who had collected here together. However, in the sea of people, the short man had easily managed to lose sight of the man who he had arrived with.
While he had made a rather peculiar acquaintance out on the beach - thanks to the wiggly Rockruff in his possession who had forced them to interact - Julian was still frantic to find his friend. With the tendency to become entirely absorbed into things, he feared that King could perhaps get lost or find trouble in the wrong places... knowing his habits of brutal honesty and being surrounded by drunken people in a tense political climate, especially. Then again... the beach party had proven itself to be rather neutral. Julian's Plasma badge was now pinned underneath his shirt collar, hidden from view, as he had no plans to allow his Pokemon out to walk after the hell that Peach had given him for it.
Not to mention the way that Fawna had reacted to it initially.
He sighed and stretched his arms, a careful glance falling over the prosthetic to ensure that no sand particles had come into contact with the sand. He had been careful to keep it elevated, and it seemed as though his conscious effort had paid off - not a single scratch. A sigh of relief fell from his chest. Upon looking back up, his eyes squinted at a small hut within the distance - seemingly constructed of palm leaves, it nestled comfortably away from the reborn bonfire. It was perhaps the only place he hadn't checked yet, which brought the man to the immediate conclusion that it would be his next stop.
Resting a small hand on the door frame and immediately cringing from the texture of the scratchy palm surface against his soft skin, Julian flung his hand away and rubbed it. Bi-colored optics peered inwards, a faint blue glow radiating from the left one in the low lighting of the Tiki Hut. A cozy bar stretched out before his vision, neon cascading down from signs appointed to the walls and bouncing from the reflective surface of glasses filled with bright drinks. A halo of neon light fell upon the back lit silhouette of a tall frame one with a fluffy segment of hair on the top of the head - and Julian's face lit up immediately.
"King!" He laughed as he approached, playfully slamming his hands on the counter next to the man. "There you are! Damn, I've been looking everywhere for-" Instantly, the bright and relieved smile fell from his features at the realization. This man was not King - oh no, he was only a mere stranger of similar height, build, and familiar haircut from the back. Julian's face flushed cherry red in embarrassment, a cold sweat puncturing through the pores of his skin as he stammered slightly. "A-ah, I- .... I'm sorry, I thought you were someone else." Oh gosh. This was awkward.
Post by RYDER REEVES on Aug 25, 2018 18:14:50 GMT -5
As the bartender handed him his drink, Ryder couldn’t help but laugh. The Charizard, as it was called, was an enormous bowl of liquor mixed with ginger ale, and Ryder briefly wondered just how many of these it would take to get him drunk. As he set the drink down on the bar, the bartender took a lighter to the rim and fire quickly spread over the top. The blue-orange flames flickered up to his face, and he blew on them gently until they settled enough for him to fully extinguish the fire.
Ryder nodded his thanks to the bartender and slipped her his card so she could open a tab. He then brought the bowl to his lips and took a small sip, and the bartender winked at him as he did. Just from that one sip, Ryder could tell that the bartender had been quite generous in her pours, and the man could barely tell there was ginger ale hidden beneath the strong taste of scotch and whiskey.
Suddenly, two hands slammed down on the table next to him, and Ryder jumped enough to spill some of his drink onto his lap. He immediately grabbed some napkins and started patting down himself and the egg resting on his thighs, then looked up to see who it was that had surprised him.
The man in question looked to be about his age, though he was a good deal shorter and thinner than he. Most noticeably, though, was his bright, neon blue eye, and what appeared to be a metal prosthetic arm. He frowned at the sight. Surely this man had been through more than he could ever imagine.
Ryder quickly turned his frown into a kind smile as the man’s face flushed a deeper red than the burns on his back. “No need to apologize,” he said, turning so that he was fully facing the man. “I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve done the exact same thing. It’s gotten me in trouble more than I'd like to admit,” he continued with a self-deprecating laugh. Ryder then paused to look at the man’s face once more, quickly studying his expression. He seemed nervous and almost… fearful? Clearly whatever the man had gone through had made him quite skittish, and he was certain this “King” person was probably one of the few he felt safe around.
“Sorry to say I’m not who you were looking for. Would you like some help looking for him?” he offered, his brows quirking. He wasn’t doing anything else, after all, and this man seemed like he could at least use a little distraction. “Or maybe I could buy you a drink. You look like you could use one,” he said, a warm and welcoming smile touching his eyes. “The name’s Ryder, it’s a pleasure to meet you.”
While it did not take much for the cyborg to be brought into bouts of nervousness - especially in loud crowds of people - Julian couldn't help but immediately notice the way his shoulders floated back down from their position of having been shot up at the warm smile and reassurance that the man offered. “No need to apologize,” His low, gentle voice filled the energetic and booming atmosphere of the Tiki Hut, bringing with it a pillowy, comforting sense of softness - and perhaps most comforting of all, despite the drink that settled next to him on the counter, the man's speech seemed perfectly coherent.
However, the taller man now faced him as he addressed the situation. “I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve done the exact same thing. It’s gotten me in trouble more than I'd like to admit,” An airy laugh resonated from his chest, carrying the undertones of spicy, heated whiskey. The scent worked as something of an incense - it swam through Julian's nostrils, settling in his stomach and churning the insides into tight knots. Hazy memories of screaming and heavy handed blows fluttered to life from the inky black depths of his brain - one that he had desperately tried to re-program to be a burial ground - resulting his eyes detaching from their focus to float, briefly, in a faraway trance. A frantic shudder trickled down the base of his spine, electrifying his skin and commanding his tight pores to squeeze out more stinging drops of sweat.
No... no, this was a completely different time and place. Julian lightly shook his head, squeezing his eyes shut and blinking as he returned to the present. His chest heaved with a breath he had been unaware of holding as the man's warm, coffee-brown eyes met his. His facial features, relatively softened from the dim lighting that encapsulated the inside of the hut, were riddled with complexities as he cocked a thick eyebrow at Julian. A fluffy tuft of bangs, ivory yet tinted purple from neon, fell in front of his forehead. The hair color in general seemed to contrast greatly - obsidian black and nuanced warm gray. The thick pair of glasses that framed his eyes rested comfortably upon a fairly bright scar that perfectly underlined both friendly, inquisitive eyes.
His shoulders relaxed again.
“Sorry to say I’m not who you were looking for. Would you like some help looking for him?” He offered, a tone of gentleness to his question presented in a distinct flavor that Julian was simply not used to. His peeled lips parted to speak long before he was able to conjure his thoughts together - help would be appreciated, yet he was simply... unable to understand how one was supposed to request it. Thankfully, the man who had been mistaken as King was quick to suggest an alternative. “Or maybe I could buy you a drink. You look like you could use one,” He said, his cheekbones and skin rising to reflect the welcoming smile that rose to his face. “The name’s Ryder, it’s a pleasure to meet you.”
Ryder... he had never heard of the name before. Distinct and memorable. Julian couldn't help but mirror the warm grin - something about Ryder had a certain... energy to it, as Fawna would have put it. He sheepishly averted his bi-colored gaze, organic hand reaching upwards to awkwardly rub the back of his neck. "I'm Julian," He began, chuckling nervously. "It's nice to meet you too."
He allowed his eyes to finally wander from the floor back to Ryder. Nestled comfortably in the seat of the bar with an egg in his lap, he seemed rather relaxed - Julian flashed a submissive smile in hopes that declining his offer wouldn't upset the man. "I-I appreciate the offer, but I don't drink. Thank you, though." While it was technically the truth, he could only hope that Ryder would choose not to pry or pressure. Perhaps a change of conversation was in order before such an ordeal could happen. "Have you... seen him, perhaps? He's about your height, blonde hair, blue eyes... should be carrying a notebook with him for sure." As he spoke, he allowed his hands to meet in front of him, entwining his fingers with one another and folding them around. "Uh - my friend, I mean." He added, in case the clarification was needed.
Post by RYDER REEVES on Aug 26, 2018 13:36:04 GMT -5
Ryder watched the subtle movements of Julian’s face as the man processed his words. He could tell that something he’d said had struck a bit of a chord, though Ryder struggled to figure out what exactly that something was. The moment was fleeting, however, and he was thankful to instead see a smile take the place of the vacant look he’d briefly adopted.
“Let me at least get you a soda then, Julian,” Ryder said, smiling. His name felt natural on his tongue. “It’s been hot as anything, and I’d hate to see you get dehydrated,” he continued, briefly turning back towards the bar. He grabbed one of the small menus from between two napkin holders and handed it to Julian, then took a long sip of his own drink. He clicked his tongue as he swallowed, forgetting just how strong the concoction was.
“Now let’s see… have I seen anyone like that? There aren’t a lot of people who’re my height,” Ryder chuckled as he scratched the back of his neck. He towered over most of the people in his hometown, and he’d learned at a fairly young age that the people of Anrui tended to be on the shorter end of average.
“I don’t think I’ve seen anyone with a notebook, though. Are you in a hurry to find him?” he asked slowly, and he found himself hoping that the man’s answer would be a no. Though he was more than willing to help Julian find his friend, he couldn’t help but feel intrigued by the man in front of him. Beyond the obvious, namely his eye, there was something about the way he held himself and the way he spoke that made Ryder want to peel away the layers and discover what secrets lay beneath.
Despite his attempted subject change and his expressed reluctance to accept a drink, Ryder did not seem to be one to give up easily once he had set his mind to something. "Let me at least get you a soda then, Julian," He ushered with that same warm grin - one that, granted, did have a special way of soothing the smaller man - however, it simply wasn't enough to quell his paranoia. "It’s been hot as anything, and I’d hate to see you get dehydrated," Julian opened his mouth the protest - however, he was simply unable to think of an excuse before he found a laminated menu nestled between his fingertips.
His eyebrow furrowed in worry as Ryder nursed his own drink, seemingly kicked by the fire and spice that was so pungent in the air now. A fleshy pink lip popped back between his teeth - almost something of a pacifier to the anxious mind that clouded Julian's judgement at all times - and he eagerly chewed as Ryder's suave voice attempted to comfort once more. "Now let’s see… have I seen anyone like that? There aren’t a lot of people who’re my height." Well... he wasn't wrong. Although King's posture was much less composed than that of this gentleman, making him appear slightly shorter, he was still built like the refrigerators that lined the break room in Plasma. Julian only offered a sympathetic chuckle in return, fingers now gently flicking the corners of the lamination idly.
"I don’t think I’ve seen anyone with a notebook, though. Are you in a hurry to find him?" Ryder's tone suddenly slowed - the question offered was of a speed reminiscent of the utmost of cautions. Julian's shoulders rolled up one more as he averted his gaze, staring at the menu within his fingers. The reflective surface eagerly bounced the cyan glow from his eye back to his face, illuminating the nuanced features that expressed the great deal of discomfort he swam through. A furrowed, chestnut eyebrow pulled upwards to line a small wrinkle of concern - his nose crinkled slightly as he forced a smile, cheeks pushing upwards into his eyes. "I... I don't know - I suppose not..." He offered cautiously, despite the words dripping with hesitation.
Truthfully, he simply did not want to offend - but the fact that Ryder had not seen the man did concern him with thoughts of unknown possibilities. Julian sighed audibly and placed the menu on the counter, before finally shuffling into a seat. Nestling into the plush cushion softly with a wiggle of his hips, he unfolded his arms onto the wooden slab of the counter and entwined his fingers, occupying them by tapping on the opposing knuckles. He shot a meek look in Ryder's direction, hoping that the abandonment of the menu would go unnoticed. "I... I guess I can wait here for a bit to see if he shows up. Stay in one spot, you know?"
Besides... something about the man was calming. A slow inhale brought the relief of oxygen to Julian's lungs -starved of the substance from how often he held his breath - and he closed his eyes to relish in the liquid smooth atmosphere of neon and chatter that filled the air around the two men. Perhaps King would be drawn to the energy as well - after all, an enclosed space that glowed with violet neon light was just the type of thing that he was likely to investigate.
Post by RYDER REEVES on Aug 29, 2018 11:28:53 GMT -5
Ryder’s eyes flicked down to Julian’s hands. In his experience, he could tell how someone really felt based on what they were doing with their hands. Clenching, fidgeting, or nothing at all; every action meant something, and based on what Julian was doing with his, Ryder inferred that he was incredibly reluctant to stick around.
Even so, the man took the empty seat next to Ryder, sighing as he sat down. Ryder watched his arms unfold and his hands lace together, and he frowned a bit as Julian began fiddling with his fingers. He wasn’t quite sure why he would sit down when it was that clear that he was uncomfortable. The man was a puzzle, and Ryder suddenly felt determined to solve him.
“Well, I’m glad you’re letting me help you pass the time,” Ryder said, his easygoing smile fluttering back onto his face. He glanced down at the menu Julian had placed on the counter, and his motherly instincts kicked in.
Ryder made eye contact with the bartender and raised a finger. “Could we get a water?” he asked, nodding slightly in Julian’s direction. The bartender nodded back and quickly filled a glass with ice and water before placing it on the bar, and Ryder slid the glass closer to Julian. He didn’t say anything about it, but he felt a little better knowing that Julian at least had the option.
Ryder then picked up his own drink and began to go at it with a bit more fervor. He wasn’t one to nurse his drinks, and if he planned on loosening up this nervous boy he’d need to loosen himself up first. He took a few chugs before setting it back on the bar, letting out a contented sigh as he did so.
“So Julian, tell me a little about you,” Ryder started, keeping his tone light and non-confrontational. He shifted the egg on his lap as he turned a bit more towards his companion. “What brings you to this neck of the woods?” he continued, but paused after the words left his mouth. “Er, jungle, rather. Neck of the jungle,” he said with a laugh, remembering that the island they were on was tropical. It was a question that was easy to answer and wasn’t personal in nature; the perfect way to get the ball rolling.
Post by JULIAN MILLER on Sept 1, 2018 10:14:26 GMT -5
RYDER REEVES ▪ he'll start to loosen up over time, no worries!
As his mind tried to focus within the flurry of overstimulation that assaulted his senses and slightly disoriented him, Julian's eyes swam through the reflection of artificial purple that glowed from the polished wood of the counter. Slowly, his fingers unfolded from one another so that he could reach one out and trace the grooves in the wood, finding the soft dips and curves to be immensely grounding. A glimmer of dissociation still present in his mismatched optics as he stared at the glistening neon that illuminated the shadows of the grooves, the sound of glasses clinking and static chatter buzzing around his ears - his head whipped towards Ryder as the man spoke once more.
"Well, I’m glad you’re letting me help you pass the time," At some point, the warm smile must have left his face while Julian had not been looking, for it was quick to reappear on his features. The perfectly symmetrical and small smile of the man was vastly different from the lop-sided, toothy grin that Julian had grown used to from King. The comparison drew a soft chuckle from him.
Ryder's finger pierced the air in a gentle gesture, motioning towards the bartender and grabbing her attention. "Could we get a water?" He inquired, the soft gesturing of his head towards Julian immediately making the man's brow furrow in frustration. He parted his lips to protest politely, prepared to try and quell Ryder's nurturing instinct by insisting that he was alright - however, backed by experience, the lightning fast pace of which a chilled glass was poured and slid towards him defeated him in the game of speed. Instead, he allowed his mouth to close and softly brought a fist to his lips, clearing his throat and offering a polite smile. "Thank you." He awkwardly nodded at Ryder, organic arm fidgeting lightly until he resorted to simply stashing it in the confinement of his pocket. His metal fingers tapped softly against the glass, shuddering from how satisfying the sensation and sound of it was.
Thankfully, rather than pay much mind to Julian and what he had decided to use his drink for instead, Ryder seemed content to mind his own and bring the glass to his lips. A few firm gulps and the glass was set back down, a soft clank of the glass hitting the soft wood making Julian's head tingle with pleasantry. Similarly, Ryder seemed to be rather satisfied - a faint layer of pink had settled upon the bridge of his nose, accenting the peculiar scar that rested there. As curious as he was about the mark, Julian knew better than to pry about something so personal.
"So Julian, tell me a little about you," Ryder began on the tailwind of his pleased sigh, resulting in the cyborg beginning to relentlessly tap on the glass of water. He hated questions like this. Thankfully, Ryder followed up with a suggestion far more specific. "What brings you to this neck of the woods?" He shifted the egg on his lap - a gesture that brought a small smile to Julian's face as his eyes momentarily glanced down at the innocent baby with a backing of warmth and tenderness - before turning to face him more. Not wanting to be rude, Julian subtly mirrored the action, shifting his hips in his seat to not completely show his side to Ryder. "Er, jungle, rather. Neck of the jungle," He added for clarification.
Feeling much more ushered to respond by the newfound open position of sociability, he drummed his metal fingers on the glass as to the buzz of upbeat music that shook the water within it. "Uh... to be honest with you?" He offered a bout of nervous laughter, eyes shifting towards the floor. "I have no idea. My friend invited me and I was bored, so I thought... why the hell not?" Finally able to make eye contact with the man, he met Ryder's eyes with a polite reservation, already finding himself starting to relax - at least a tiny bit, anyway. It was a start.
Post by RYDER REEVES on Sept 4, 2018 13:03:29 GMT -5
There was something about the way that Julian drifted off that worried Ryder. It was like he would dip into his own little world for just a few fleeting seconds before snapping back to reality. Ryder was normally exceptional at keeping the attention of others, and while he didn’t take what Julian did personally, he felt some strange sense of obligation to keep him from slipping away.
He watched Julian’s hands through the corner of his eye, and was thankful to see that he had unclasped them. The man caught the glass of water with his prosthetic hand, and while he didn’t take a sip, he at least didn’t ignore it completely. Ryder was beginning to understand that Julian was extremely averse to drinking anything, so he chalked it up to a win as Julian began drumming his fingers on the cup rather than leaving it untouched, and the tinkling sound of metal on glass was a surprisingly pleasant noise.
As he shifted to face Julian, he was pleased that Julian shifted with him. Body language tended to speak louder than words, and, if the man had really been uncomfortable with his decision to sit with him, he wouldn’t have turned his body towards him. He took few victorious sips of his drink as the man began to speak, happy that Julian felt inclined to engage in the conversation. He then met Julian’s nervous eyes with those of warmth and acceptance, wanting to make sure the man could feel like he could speak openly with him, and that whatever words left his mouth would not be judged.
“Seems like a good enough reason to me.” He laughed along with Julian and offered him a noncommittal shrug. “You seem pretty close with this friend of yours. Have you guys known each other long?” he asked, raising his drink to his lips once more and hoping the man wouldn't notice that he'd ignored his question. He wanted to keep the focus on Julian, as he was reluctant to open the door into his own life. He’d found in the past that while most didn’t like giving their life story to a stranger, practically everyone wanted to talk about their own interests. As long as he kept the conversation light and fixed on them, pretty much anyone could end up talking about themselves for hours without ever realizing that Ryder had revealed nothing about himself.
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