forum "This City Smells of Smoke and Death" // OxO // Closed
Started by @ElderGod-Icefire

people_alt 65 followers


The city of Ceridwen was once one of the shining jewels in the kingdom of Aurel's crown.


No longer. A plague crept into the city. A magic plague, that kills everyone who catches it. The plague has raged unchecked for years, a cure not yet found. The city is now a husk of what it once was. Ash settles on the buildings; they have run out of space for graves, so the dead are burned en masse.

Those who are Immune are branded on their right wrist, marked with an "I" to show that they cannot catch this plague. The Immune work night and day to try and keep up with the dead and dying, trying to keep the city from becoming any worse. But they are vastly outnumbered by those whose immunity is unknown. By those who can catch the plague and who, if they do catch it, will surely die.

The city has a new name. The city of Ash. That is what travelers call it, in hushed tones when they bother to speak of it at all. Unlucky is the man who must visit the City of Ash.

And the king? The king ignores it, for the most part. He sends no one to help, but sends only funds when funds are requested. He leaves the city to founder, treating it like a circus attraction. Like something to see and recoil from and then leave. Most nobles carry the same attitude.

The "doctors" of Ceridwen? Most aren't really doctors. Most have no formal training, since just those who are Immune are able to visit the ill. Most of the Immune have only rudimentary training; most of their attention goes to those who have the plague. Only if they have time do they bother with anything else. They are simply too overworked and overwhelmed to help everyone with everything, and their pleas to the king go unacknowledged and unanswered.

Most doctors are called "Ravens", because of the beak-like masks they wear, and because they dress head to toe in black.

One of these Ravens is 20 year old Quinn Careth, Immune, lone survivor of his family. He, like the other Ravens, is overworked and overwhelmed, and stumbles home exhausted each night, only to wake up and do it all again in the morning.

He does his best to help people, and is compassionate and gentle when he can be.

Character A is the prince of Aurel, who has heard many rumors about Ceridwen, the City of Ash, and is determined to find out the truth for himself. When he arrives, he is greeted by the stench of smoke and burning bodies. He approaches a cart, and lifts a canvas, only to discover that underneath is a pile of the dead, waiting to be burned. Someone shoves him away. A man in black, with a mask like a bird's beak, who tears back the right sleeve of his clothing, muttering curses when the skin there is smooth and unbranded.

The man identifies himself as Quinn Careth, and brings character A back to his home to protect him. He doesn't know who A is, and that is obvious by the way he talks of the king and the monarchy. Disparagingly, angrily. Saying that the king is a bastard who doesn't deserve his throne.

Eventually, A reveals who he is, and asks Quinn to leave the city with him. Asks him to come and speak to the king and the nobility of what's going on in Ceridwen, to see if maybe that will convince them to help more than they have. Quinn reluctantly agrees.

So one, for the Ravens, picture a plague doctor, essentially. Two, this is going to be a fantasy RP, and a romance. A and Quinn are eventually going to fall in love. I would prefer if this was more of a slowburn, not an instalove sort of thing. I'll be the king, if/when it is necessary. I will be Quinn, you will be A. This may be dark in places, so…be prepared


  • Andrew's rules apply
  • descriptive, four sentence minimum
  • again, this may get dark in places
  • Smutty stuff will be taken to PMs
  • I reserve the right to say no


Finn blinked at the sudden barrage of questions. They had seen that Esteban was friendly, but gods was he extroverted. Not that it was a bad thing, but it was so different from the more strictly polite or outright cold attitudes they were used to. The rest of the crew seemed to display those sort of attitudes, so it was in Finn's comfort zone, but this tabaxi was entirely more energetic than most of the people Finn interacted with on a daily basis. It wasn't unwelcome, but Finn also wasn't sure if they entirely liked it. Having to explain their past was not something they were looking forward to, but they supposed they could recount a fairly accurate description without having to include the more…unsavory details.

They took a moment to think while taking the place Esteban had left them in the little assembly line. They had hoped their last remark would cause Esteban to talk about their experience on the ship or possibly their past, but instead the exact opposite was happening. Ah well. It wasn't as if Finn had any control over what Esteban said.

"Well, I hardly think it's that exciting, but I've largely been finding work as a mercenary," Finn admitted as they dried some dishes. "Ever since my contract with my patron I've been finding money in mercenary work. The magic makes most of that work quite easy, so it's rare that I find work that really interests me. So I travel in search of a job that would pique my interest, or a tome of knowledge that would be particularly enlightening. I've been trying to get my hands on any book I can relating to the things I'm interested in to learn as much as I can. As for danger, sure I've encountered danger, I was a mercenary. And I think I would be pretty idiotic to want to be part of the crew of pirate ship without having some sort of experience with danger and strife. The closest thing that I really have to a partner is my patron, I suppose. I've worked together with others for a few jobs, but nothing really stuck."

There. Finn had answered all of Esteban's questions. They had been deliberately somewhat vague in their answers, but they hoped they had shared enough to satisfy Esteban's desire for knowledge of Finn's past. There was quite a bit more that Finn had left out–mostly family issues and the exact jobs they did as a mercenary. Almost any part of Finn's past that had to do with others was a bit rocky; Finn had never been great at holding friendships or relationships, and usually didn't care to try. They rarely spoke to their family either, so the only things that they could share if they wanted to were probably not the exciting adventures someone like Esteban would care to hear about. Finn didn't like to air out their dirty laundry to others. Perhaps now Esteban would talk more about himself so Finn could learn about the man next to them.


(my only thing is that i don't do smut, i'd prefer anything too sexual to just be implied. lmk if that's a dealbreaker and i will see myself out; otherwise, no other questions lol.)


Gender and Sexuality:
Age: (between 18 and 22)
History/Backstory: (can be as long or short as you like)
Magic?: (Entirely optional, and please don't make it OP)
Theme Song(?): (optional)

Name: Quinn James Careth
Gender and Sexuality: Cis man. Bisexual, with a preference for more masculine people
Age: 20
Looks: Quinn stands at 5'9", with a rectangular body shape. He doesn't have a lot of bulk, and is more lean, but has some muscle to him. Enough to carry a body, at least. He has pale, slightly wavy blond hair, which goes down to his shoulders in length. His hair is often pinned back into a bun when he is working, in order to keep it out of the way. He has grey eyes, and is white, without a tan at all, though he does have a few little freckles. Not many, as his face is usually covered by his mask, but he freckles pretty easy when he is in the sunlight. His hands and forearms are flecked with small scars, some older and some newer. Some seem self-inflicted, but others are not. On the inside of his right wrist is an I with a circle around it; all of the Immune have these brands, to signify their status as safe from the plague. When out of his home, he is almost always in the uniform of the Ravens (think plague doctor, for what they look like). When not in uniform, he tends to wear sweaters and long pants, and dresses more for comfort than for any sort of fashion.
Personality: Quinn has a lot of built up anger and hate towards the monarchy/nobility, like most in Ceridwen. He is usually a relatively gentle, patient man, with a good bedside manner. Usually relatively good at masking most emotions, except for anger. His anger is usually slow to build, but can be difficult to put out. Has an air of exhaustion and melancholy around him nearly all the time. Most people in Ceridwen do, really. Seems haunted, and far older than his years.
History/Backstory: Quinn was the oldest of three, and had two younger siblings. A sister, Lora, and a brother, Dain. Quinn was 8 when the plague first hit the city. His family managed to survive the first wave of infection, which took out many of the cities' poorer areas almost immediately. When Quinn was 10, though, the plague made it into his family. His father was the first to fall ill, and the rest of the family (save for Quinn) followed soon after. Like any plague death, his family's deaths were slow and agonizing. In those first two years of the plague, the roles of the Ravens had not yet been firmly established, and the Immune were just doing what they could to slow the spread of the disease. When a Raven came to help, the Raven very quickly discovered that Quinn was clearly not ill, despite the rest of the family being on the brink of death. Quinn was removed from the home, and was told of the rest of his family's deaths only two days later. Since he was Immune, his training as a Raven began. Unfortunately, since this was in the first stages of the Raven's implementation, they did not yet have a good screening operation set up to ensure that the Raven's were good people, and the Raven he at first stayed with/apprenticed under was abusive and cruel. Quinn was with that Raven for just over a year, before another Raven saw what was happening and took Quinn under her wing. He apprenticed under her for the rest of his apprenticeship, becoming an official Raven at only 15. He lives alone now and, like the rest of the Ravens, is trying his best to keep the sick isolated. That is all they can do, at this point. There is no cure, and the disease is highly infectious. Hence the isolation.
Magic?: Some limited ability to heal/soothe pain, though unfortunately this ability has no effect on those with the plague.
Theme Song(?): "Youth" by Daughter, "The Loneliest" by Maneskin
Other: ~


(ooh i like him!)

Name: Forrest Whitbourne
Gender and Sexuality: cis male, gay
Age: 19
Looks: Forrest has thick, shiny black hair that is naturally wavy and just long enough in the front for his bangs to fall into his eyes occasionally. In the back, his hair is cut short. He has a lean build, standing at 5'10", a bit above average height. He has olive skin that still manages to look a little pale and a nice smile, with a dimple on his left side. His skin is smooth and mostly without blemishes due to the expensive creams and doctors that the royal palace can afford. He has nimble fingers perfect for stringing a bow or playing piano (which he does both). He has deep brown eyes framed by long lashes and medium eyebrows. He doesn't care much for fashion, simply wearing whatever the rest of the noble family deems good enough. He cares much more about studying than he does clothes.
Personality: Forrest on the quieter side, preferring to observe something and come up with his own opinion before speaking. He dislikes needless small talk but will engage in it if it feels necessary. He is often holed away in his room or the library reading and studying when he is able. As the only child of the king and queen, he has a lot of duties to fulfill and a lot of pressure on his shoulders. His concerns are rarely taken seriously by his father, though, who wants Forrest to be more like him. He loves learning and trying new things, trying to broaden his horizons, though he does not always do that in a way that is considered appropriate for someone of his status by his parents. Forrest has a boundless curiosity, always wanting to know more and never letting sleeping dogs lie. He wants to make things better, but sometimes his stubbornness ends up making them worse.
History/Backstory: When Forrest was a small child, he was very sickly and became ill quite easily. He nearly died when he was five years old, but after that grew more healthy and almost fully recovered thanks to the skilled court physicians. He recovered from his early sickly disposition, but he still gets winded easily and cannot lift heavy objects. His parents worry for him and treat him like a child at times due to this, despite his skill with a bow and wealth of knowledge. They are afraid of him becoming ill and dying, because they have made some enemies among the court and that could cause an uprising if they aren't careful.
Magic?: Due to his brush with death as a child, he can speak with and see ghosts.
Theme Song(?): none yet


(I love him!!! Bro his ability to see ghosts is going to be a fucking nightmare in Ceridwen. That city is full of them, as you can probably imagine lmao)


(alright! I was planning on starting with Quinn spotting Forrest while Forrest is standing at the cart pulling back the cloth? Like in the RP description haha)


Ceridwen had once been a beautiful city, and it still bore many of those old marks of wealth and beauty. It was a walled city, and while many portions of the wall were beginning to crumble from disrepair, they were still intact. Though those walls were now more about keeping people in than keeping people out. The city had been locked down ever since the plague began, the entrance and exit of people heavily monitored and controlled to keep the plague from leaving. Smoke billowed up from it nearly every day, as the Ravens burned the bodies of the dead, and ash had settled over many once shining surfaces. Getting in was easier than getting out; most didn't visit the city anymore, though. Rare was the person who did, and those that did visit stayed away from the main square.

The main square had once been one of the liveliest, most beautiful places in the city. Large and expansive, it had had trees and a fountain, and had often hosted open markets on the weekends. Now the trees were gone, chopped down long ago, and the fountain had not run in years. Ambrose Square was now a place for the dead. Bodies were burned in it. Many of the city's squares were used for the burnings, to keep the bodies from collecting and decomposing. Few and far between were the living in the streets, and those that were not in the uniform of a Raven avoided even walking near another person. The plague was not a pleasant death.

Many of the outskirts of the city had been abandoned, the population of the city shrinking over the years, and now those areas had been taken over by gangs and turf wars. While the inner city was relatively safe due to the presence of the Ravens, the outer areas were not policed as well, and crime ran through it like a poisonous heart.

Quinn was in one of the squares closer to the city's main gate, taking a moment to collect himself. He was on body duty today; the Ravens often swapped duties back and forth. No one wanted to always be the one carting the bodies, but someone had to do it. So they took turns. The only ones who did not take turns were the rare Ravens who actually had medical training; those Ravens had priority for helping anyone with a sickness or condition unrelated to the plague. It was safer than trying to find another doctor, whose immunity would be unknown. Most doctors had died in the early days of the plague, following their duty to help and heal to the bitter end.


Forrest had never gone so far from home without permission before. Despite his age of nineteen, his parents still liked to control every aspect of his life as if he were a child. He hadn't gotten more than a simple cold in years, though his parents still seemed to think of him as the weak child who was constantly ill. It had been one thing to act like he was fragile and give him those awful, hollow gazes, but to lie to him about the world outside of the capital city? That was something that he had to investigate for himself. He had known for some time that Ceridwen was not what it used to be, but the rumors that he had heard could not have prepared him for what greeted him as he entered the desolate place.

His nose stung with the scent of burning and death, and his eyes drank in not only the lack of any sort of foot traffic in the square, but the heaps of ghostly patrons. He had been able to see and speak with ghosts since he was much younger, and he guessed it was because of how close he had come to being dead himself. Seeing spirits was nothing new to him, but the sheer amount in even this one part of the city was overwhelming. They were in various states of decay, even their translucent forms looking downcast. Many ghosts tended to look downcast, especially those who had not led very fulfilling lives. There were all sorts of ghosts–rich and poor, young and old, nearly every build and face shape represented. It was horrifying. Unable to help himself, Forrest placed a hand over his mouth. He was standing in shock for several moments before he remembered that he was not supposed to be here.

He ducked into the shadows of the desolate area, noticing a few carts with tarps over them. Based on the spirits he could see, he guessed what was likely in them. However, Forrest was a very curious being by nature. He had to see for himself, to confirm his mounting horror. He gently, ever so slowly, peeled up the edge of the cloth on the nearest cart. At the sight of those underneath it, he instantly dropped his hold, backing away. The plague had disfigured them, creating terrifying images of those who had been struck by it. No one had told him the extent of the disease. No one had readied him for this. And worst of all, he suspected that no one else even cared. His father's only concern these days seemed to be gaining more power and making sure that he had an heir for the throne to fall to next by treating Forrest like he was made of glass. His mother was not much better.

So this was what they had been hiding from him. Part of Forrest had feared things in Ceridwen were worse than they let on, but due to the lack of resources and help they provided, he had guessed it could not possibly be this bad. He was distraught to see how wrong he had been. He was frozen in a mixture of grief, sadness, and anger, unable to fully believe that this could be true. Such horrors were beyond anything he had seen before in his short lifetime.


Movement across the square caught Quinn's eye, and he looked over. To his surprise, and no small amount of horror, he could see someone shifting a tarp. He immediately started moving, crossing the square and physically pulling the man away from the carts. Without asking, he grabbed at the man's right hand, peeling back the sleeve to reveal smooth skin unmarred by the brand of the Immune.

"Do you have a death wish?" he demanded, half-dragging the young man away from the carts and away from the bodies. His mask was still on, the crook of the "beak" smudged with ash. Only his eyes were visible, between his hood and the mask. "What in the seven hells do you think you're doing?" whoever this young man was, he clearly was not from Ceridwen. The citizens of Ceridwen would know better than to approach a cart of the dead, and would have known better than to linger in a burning square. And, people from Ceridwen did not usually have clothes so nice. Most of the clothing people wore in this city was old and worn, or made by someone without much tailor training. This young man's clothing was too nice, too well-cut.

"Why are you in this city?" he asked, tone still a little harsh and accusatory. He was worried, now, that this young man had caught the plague. It would not be a fast death, or a pleasant one. No plague death was. Many Ravens now would commit mercy kills, ending someone's life fast and clean rather than allowing the painful lingering of the plague. Rather than allowing someone's days to end in pain and misery and blood, just ending it quick and quiet.

Mercy was a strange thing in this city. Mercy elsewhere might have meant something soft and gentle. Mercy here was a quick death. A clean one. Mercy was a Raven with a knife or a sword, slitting your throat and closing your eyes and carting your body away. Everyone knew you didn't recover from the plague.


At first, Forrest was under too much shock to fully process what was happening. He simply stared as his sleeve was shoved back, the man getting agitated by whatever he saw–or didn't see–there. He had no clue what was so wrong about his arm that it made the stranger upset. But Forrest could understand that he was clearly not supposed to be in this death-drenched square. He doubted any healthy people went out frequently, which made him wonder about the man before him. While Forrest had been carefully fed only the barest of information regarding Ceridwen, he had heard tale of the Ravens, and he assumed that must be what this man was. This angry, surprised man. He didn't seem too much older than Forrest himself.

Forrest wasn't even sure how to answer the first two questions, let alone process them as he let the horror he had felt seep into his bones. The spirits still floated about, with empty eyes and faces worn by sadness and disease. His decision to come here was looking less and less informed by the minute. At the young man's third question, Forrest finally looked at him, trying to focus on the stranger in front of him. He was almost certainly a Raven, with the mask and the fact that he seemed to be alone in the square besides Forrest himself. After a moment he realized why the man might have been searching his wrist for something–didn't they mark those immune to the plague? Forrest had heard a rumor about it, but he couldn't be sure of its accuracy. Surely the travesty wasn't so bad that those who couldn't catch the plague had to be marked to prove it. But he was already wrong about so many other things, so perhaps that rumor had more truth than he had thought.

Forrest realized that he had waited for several seconds to answer the man's question, being too distracted by the ghosts and the realization that he had been sitting in the castle, letting this happen. For now he had to act like a normal person, pushing aside the hurt he felt from his parents lying to him about something so important and the shock of the actual condition of the city. For now, he had to investigate. He had to see the truth of the city so he could bring it back to his parents. Maybe they had underestimated it?

He had been silent for too long. So he settled on the truth. "I had to see it for myself," he explained haltingly, trying to keep his gaze on the stranger instead of the numerous apparitions in the square. There couldn't even be half that many in the entire castle. It was almost crowded, making up for the lack of living, breathing people in it. "I've heard tale of the plague, but…I had to see it for myself."