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sylin city parliament cordially invite you to attend the second annual masquerade ball in order to stave off the dreariness of the season! refreshments will be provided, and formal attire is required. please leave your weaponry at home and dance the night away! ...however, this year not all is as it seems. it appears someone has placed a riddle on the back of the invitations. who-- or what-- could have done this, and why?
ZUGZWANG is an illustrated panfandom roleplay with a twist-- characters must either choose to give up their memories or abilities to play the chessmaster's game. with a progression system that lets you earn back what you've lost and over fifty active fandoms, the sky is the limit!
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notes *wheezes* okay, so this is really bad, and i kinda cheated 'cause i used a rock opera song, but this is technically a deleted song from streets, and i adore it? just, like, the mental image of the protag trying so hard to do better, but falling back to his vices, and this old friend who stuck his neck out for him being like "what do you want me to do??? i can't help you 'til you help yourself, sorry". colored lyrics on hover are the lines taken from the song.[break][break][break]
It's deja vu in its most raw form: nostalgia in a sucker punch, dizzying, dazzling, a ghost from the past come back to haunt that he'd never dare let an exorcist near. Skeletons in the closet he holds dear. Post cards from yesterday hung up on a wall where no one else was meant to see. [attr="class","lplyricint"]And what's this, then, [attr="class","lplyricint"]that Larry had [attr="class","lplyricint"]found lying in the street, cast in shadows from the alley and near as inanimate as the trash bin they used as leverage from the ground?[break][break]
Deja vu. Nostalgic sucker punch. [attr="class","lplyricint"]His old friend DT: burnt and obsolete.[break][break]
Of all of the people he had expected to cross orbits with – a closeted brother who kept to himself in his home some thousands of miles away, an instructor from his days of school who dedicated every student she'd ever taught to memory, or perhaps even a lover who'd left him for his flighty ways and greater love for the stage than a wife – this had certainly been the one he has anticipated, and prepared for, the least. As far as anyone had been concerned, the old guitarist was a dead man haunting New Yorker streets, lungs suffocated in vodka like lake water and mouth spitting vomit. Even then, there'd always been the question of whether those streets really were New Yorker or not. Perhaps he'd fled to Detroit, instead, or L.A., further still. The “where” had never really mattered to the people he left scrambling in his wake, only the “what”: bridges burned, a band left hung up to dry. There'd been an air of “good riddance” that passed through them the day he had left, beer-soaked breath announcing his departure and adamance on never returning – but then had come the void in his wake, the sort that swallowed first sales, then any sense of relief.[break][break]
More than anything, though, Larry had liked DT, beyond just what his fingers could pull from the strings of his guitar. It's what pains him when he looks at him now. To say “[attr="class","lplyricint"]he didn't look too good” would be a laughable underestimation; even from here, he can tell that [attr="class","lplyricint"]his body smells like wine, even with the distance aching between them. It must be some miracle that the drunkard notices him at all, given both location and the haziness of his movements. The only positive wave in the sea of pity sloshing over him is that those murky eyes that light up in recognition don't immediately default to anger.[break][break]
“... Larry? Larry, 's... s'at you?”[break][break]
He can't help the laughter that bubbles in the back of his throat. “It's me,” he says, and finds the odor of alcohol and waste growing more and more unbearable with every step closer he takes. Long time, no see, maybe, or What have you been up to? sit on his tongue, but curiosity kills, and he brandishes its blade: “You weren't... sleeping down there, were you?”[break][break]
DT flashes him a smile that had once lit up entire rooms. Now, it feels hollow. Patchwork. There is neither confirmation nor denial intended, but it paints the picture in his head all the same.[break][break]
He is, by no means, a charitable man – but DT is (was) his friend. The least he can do is offer him a seat better than stray garbage bags in one of just many rotting alleyways.[break][break]
- - -
He spins him a story he's never heard before, but all the same, he can't find himself surprised by any detail. New York was his runaway vacation spot of choice, not Detroit or L.A. Or anywhere else, but rather than hitting the stage running to different crowds, armed with old guitar and new songs, the former rock star found himself stumbling further and further down the slope of addiction. A habit turned vice, vice turned devourer. Like any great eater, it had swallowed him whole – and only now, after days of sleeping on the streets and throwing all his cash to the bartender across the counter, has he seen what can only be light at the end of the tunnel. Larry is his way out.[break][break]
“I know you guys gotta new lead,” he says, sounding surprisingly lucid in thought process despite the way his tongue slurs all the words into one, “but you think... I mean, even jus' once... You got, uh... uh... room for me up there?”[break][break]
The obvious answer is “yes”, [attr="class","lplyricint"]something that Larry had known in his mind since the day they first played without the banner of Jesus to stand beneath. [attr="class","lplyricint"]This boy was a star – the star, the one they had lost years ago, and with him, their fame – [attr="class","lplyricint"]and could be again, if only he took the invitation granted to him. But there's a problem presenting itself that he can't find it in himself to look past: mistakes should be learned from before they can be forgiven, and friend or no, prodigy or not, weariness creeps in where he wishes it wouldn't. His eyes flutter between face and glass, eyes and drink. How can he expect things to not burn down in tragedy again when nothing at all has changed?[break][break]
(In the end, [attr="class","lplyricint"]Larry goes for it. [attr="class","lplyricint"]DThad[attr="class","lplyricint"]seemed so sincere.)
- - -
Second chances are a fickle thing. Larry doesn't like to hand them out for just anything and to just anyone, a lesson hard learned from betrayal of trust after betrayal of trust. There are stakes greater here, too, than simply making amends for past wrong doings: the Subway Messiah's reputation, for one thing, and the faith the others in the band hold in Larry himself, just off the top of his head. It's hard to say “no” to a face lit up as a holiday tree, though; DT is afire with enthusiasm greater, even, than the night they first played for a crowd bigger than the local bars. When they had made this deal, [attr="class","lplyricint"]he'd sworn he wouldn't drink a drop before, or even after the show. “[attr="class","lplyricint"]Not even just a beer,” had been his triumphant words in particular, spoken through a shit-eating grin with eyes filled with mirth. That smile had been infectious then, spreading to all who saw, just as he remembered it used to do -[break][break]
But [attr="class","lplyricint"]then the showcase comes. The showcase comes, and [attr="class","lplyricint"]DT can't be found.[break][break]
There's judgment in the other's eyes when they look at him – because, of course, it would be Larry to bring the flake, and Larry to vouch for a liar. But he remembers the way that he'd looked at him back then, all the fire of the sun in his look of determination, and he can't believe that it's merely something so simple as stage fright. Time is ticking. If no one else will go to search, he'll simply have to do it himself.[break][break]
Over wires, under beams, down hallways: he traverses the labyrinth of backrooms and storage closets in pursuit of the one place here the prodigy may be. Where does the life of an answered phone go? He calls and he calls, but his reward is suffocation and silence. (For all of the great lengths he has gone through to throw the man a lifeline, DT hasn't even the decency to give him a glance over the shoulder in return.) Five minutes blur into ten, then ten into twenty, and hope has begun to die when the final nail is struck in the coffin.[break][break]
“Oh, Jesus?” comes the off-handed comment, spoken from the lips of a passerby so blissful in their ignorance. “[attr="class","lplyricint"]He's out back. Might not wanna get too close, though. I tried to help him up, but he seemed pretty [attr="class","lplyricint"]out of his head. Rolling on the ground and shit...”[break][break]
It's deja vu in it's most raw form: nostalgia in a sucker punch, dizzying, sickening, a ghost from the past come back to haunt that he should have just called the damn exorcist for. Skeletons in the closet only waste space, he knew this, and postcards mean nothing strung up on his wall compared to the real, tangible thing. And what is Larry, then? Made out for a fool, blinded by the images of stardom and camaraderie tinted rose by fondness for the past. He didn't remember the old fights that day in the alley; his brother, far away to avoid the slimy lot Larry kept for friends; the instructor who always warned him to be careful of how the others would use him for a doormat the longer he played the part; the lover he lost to DT's hands, DT's lips, booze and bad decisions and lies strung out to shape “It's fine, I never really liked her, anyway”.[break][break]
He finds him lying in the street, bottle in hand and reeking of its contents. “Not even just a beer”; [attr="class","lplyricint"]this was the last time Larry would hear it.[break][break]
“I can't keep doing this, DT,” he says, words of ice, eyes of stone. His heart trembles beneath his ribcage at the words. He's been here a dozen times before. How badly had he wanted to believe this wouldn't simply be the thirteenth. “... You're out.”[break][break]
Their eyes meet – sullen and crisp to murky flame – and reality seems to dawn on the man on the ground. (It's too late for that, though.)[break][break]
“N-[attr="class","lplyricint"]no, don't!” He tumbles and stutters, and he tries to claw his way back up to his feet, but the drink in his hand has already taken its hold. Larry has to turn away to keep from looking, to keep from doubting. He can't help someone who won't help themselves. He can't, he can't, he can't. So he turns, and he leaves, and so hard does he try to drown out noise, pretend he doesn't hear [attr="class","lplyricint"]his friend DT call out to him from his place in the grime. “[attr="class","lplyricint"]Larry, don't leave me down there! I – I'm tryin', I – [attr="class","lplyricint"]I'll get there, I swear, don't -”[break][break]
The door clicks shut behind him. Silence greets him from the other side.[break][break]
What's this that Larry found lying on the street?[break] His old friend DT, burnt and obsolete[break] He didn't look too good, his body smelled like wine[break] Something that Larry had known in his mind:[break] This boy was a star, and could be again[break] As DT called to his friend[break][break]
"Larry, don't leave me down there![break] "Larry, I'll get there, I swear!"[break][break]
So Larry went for it - DT seemed so sincere[break] He swore he wouldn't drink, not even just a beer[break] Then the showcase came; DT can't be found[break] He's out back, out of his head, rolling on the ground[break] This was the last time Larry would hear[break] His friend DT call out[break][break]
"Larry, don't leave me down there![break] "Larry, I'll get there I swear![break] "Larry, don't leave me down there![break] "Larry, I'll get there I swear!"[break][break]
"Don't leave me down there.[break] "Don't leave me down there.[break] "Don't, don't, don't.[break] "No, don't!"[break][break]
"Larry, don't leave me down there![break] "Larry, I'll get there, I swear!"
holy cow this was so much harder than i thought,,,, i tried to do a first person style for this as a way of doing smth new and to make it a lot more challenging. im pretty sure i totally messed it up ;; based on tightrope, xxxtentacion ft. scott james
It was this morning. My arms were outstretched, my fingers clasping at the space to my immediate right. Each digit slowly curled itself in as I blinked myself into consciousness. A long exhale escaped my lips, brown spheres rolling along its milky landscape until they were guided to where my fingers confusedly reached. Realization settled in; it was this morning. I jolted up; my heart sunk. My eyes caught glimpse of you - the strings of fate began their departure.
Bare seconds was all I held and to that I clutched tight. A glimpse given to waves of brown fleeting to the tall wooden door separating from reality. I ran to accompany you. Each step pressed to the deceiving comfort of carpet - I slammed the door behind me. I called for your name and chased ahead of you, intercepting between your destination. The same hands that once held you wept quietly, vibrating alongside me. Your face displayed pain I'll never forget. Your lips officiated it.
I knew the hourglass was at its last few grains. My hands pressed to each other; a long exhale escaped my lips, brown spheres underlined by diamonds. Our hearts carried conversation for those next few moments. Distant memories showed struggle between us, but glimpses begged to breakthrough. Lapses of promises made that were being kept were shadowed to last night. Words we exchanged acted out of irrationality. My inner demons that were kept locked away came out. Words we exchanged were half true. The struggle was becoming harder and our brains reminded us. We made a promise last night - I didn't remember. The moon provided spotlight, our minds put to rest. I struggled to sleep that night. I dreamt of better. I woke up this morning in a daze, the lack of sleep to be fixed momentarily. I turned to reach for you and it all came back. It was this morning.
[break][break] I used to think that this town connected me and you, that it was a magical place that bound our eternities together. It was this town that we met all those years ago and fell in love. It was in this town that you asked me to marry you. It was this town that I promised I will always think of you, and you promised the same. It was this town where I would see your face when each day's through, and you'd see mine. It was in this town, I would take your hand and you would take mine. Life was perfect, wasn't it? And then it changed. It took its hold on you and yanked you away from me. It's been two years since it happened. And days go fast, oh so fast. One would think that I'd be able to move on by now, but memories, they last. What was a magical town that intertwined our fates turned into a pair of handcuffs. Please let me leave. [break][break] Summer, winter, year by year, I keep attempting to build my life anew in this town. But you won't let me, will you? It's futile. Whenever I feel that I am fine and okay, you end up doing something that reminds me of you. Some days, I'll actually feel happy, but then I'll hear the song inside my ears of our first dance together. I'll smell the first dinner you've ever made for me. I'll see a younger version of us dancing in the rain. And I'll shake my head trying to restart and be smart by throwing memories of you as far away from me as I can, but thoughts of you haunt my heart. Your grip on me through this town won't let me go. [break][break] Sometimes I find avenues in this town that try to trick me into thinking I can move on. A wink in the grocery store or a friendly smile at work. But what will a life without your influence be like? What will it be like with you gone? N-No, I don't wanna be alone now, I can't have a life without you. I always try my best to pretend it's okay just biding my time, but I need somebody dearly. And darling, you'd be sublime. But... I can't have you. And this town will always always remind me of that fact. So why do I stay? Why do I keep coming back? [break][break] Spring and autumn, up and down. Throughout all this time, nothing has changed. I keep trying to escape this town. And I swear to you, one day I will. And I just might... I might pack all of my bags and leave without looking back. I won't take the pictures we took together or the ring you gave me all those years ago. All I'll have will be the clothes in my drawer and off my back and I'll take flight. Do you hear me? One day I'll finally be free of you. One day I'll... one day I'll leave. But... not here, and not now. Maybe... Maybe tomorrow, not tonight. [break][break] This was so difficultoewaigjaow. I didn't think it would be this hard to change a song into a story but like.... changing the vibe of the lyrics to match prose just felt so wrongoageowia. Hopefully this isn't too bad. Anyway, this is taken from "I Will Always Think of You" from Bojack Horseman.