enthymeme: (Default)
enthymeme ([personal profile] enthymeme) wrote in [community profile] bakerstreet2012-07-20 08:35 pm

welcome to the greatest show unearthed

Cirque de la Nuit
Cirque de la Nuit is famous across the multiverse for its spectacular cast, each exquisite to behold as they perform feats of daring and wonder before enthralled audiences. Any privileged to attend a performance will never forget, for each show is filled with magic and splendor.


For the secret of the Cirque de la Nuit is that each performer is kidnapped, modified, and enslaved by the one who runs it, a mysterious figure known only as The Ringmaster. He draws the most promising, the most beautiful, and the most talented from any dimension to which he has access, then with a combination of magic and medicine transforms each into their fullest potential, a shining jewel to play their parts like marionettes on strings of his manufacture.

Will you be a part of the circus? Or are you one of the lucky few who's managed to procure a ticket? Step right up, then, and see what it has to offer....

♦ Leave a comment with your character's name and fandom in the subject. You can either select an option and set the scene, or fill out this form for other commenters. Please note that this meme is open to both sexual and non-sexual content. You may wish to list non-sexual RP as one of your prefs.

♦ Tag another character. If they haven't already selected an option, you can RNG it, or just pick your poison.
♦ Play out the results and respect others' preferences.
♦ Have fun!

The kidnappings come without warning or a chance at escape: those summoned by The Ringmaster suddenly find themselves in the circus, so wound about by bindings both physical and magical they can hardly move, much less think of escape. Most are unconscious for the process of alterations, which could be considered a mercy considering how long and painful it is. The Ringmaster works with the careful precision of a master sculptor, and each of his creations bears a symbol of his craftsmanship that also serves to keep them under his unfaltering control.

As the symbol can only be removed by another person at the cost of their life, almost no one has ever even tried to escape the circus, and even if they did there would be the small issue of getting away from where it exists, suspended between dimensions. Most don't even realize they're being controlled, however, for the compulsions holding their imposed personae in place are subtle in their strength.

The best of The Ringmaster's creations, those who perhaps already possessed innate talent or beauty, or who simply adapted to the changes better than most, are fortunate enough to take their places in the First Circle. These are the most privileged and pampered, and each wears a tiny jewel in their ear to mark their rank.

1) Beast Tamer
Merciless and deadly, the Beast Tamer can subdue the most unruly animal with will and whip. They seek to dominate and control, no matter how meek or cowardly they might have once been.

2) Tightrope Walker
The Tightrope Walkers are the most exquisite jewels of the circus, delicate and graceful of form and movement and often breathtakingly lovely of face, able to dance butterfly-light on the finest of wires. They are also, however, often the most passive, the most controlled, like puppets crafted of fragile china.

3) Acrobats
Whether they are skilled as trapeze artists, hoop dancers, or tumblers, the Acrobats are all agile and quick of body-- and mind. Something about the changes made to allow their feats of skill also tends to make them more sly and cunning, more apt to lie or cheat to get ahead of the rest.

4) Strong (Wo)Man
These performers were enhanced for strength-- some were given added bulk and others simple toning, but all are significantly stronger than any unaltered human. Alas, they often lose some of their mental acuity in exchange for the physical enhancements, but none will ask a performer balancing an anvil to perform calculus.

Those without special skills or who did not adapt quite so well are still given places in the circus ranks, however, being placed in the Second Circle. Members of this group bear an unobtrusive bracelet around one wrist as a sign of their rank.

5) Clowns
Many a flaw can be hidden with makeup, and those who did not quite meet The Ringmaster's exacting standards of beauty must hide behind makeup and costume. Many are failed Acrobats, and as they are quite aware that only a small mischance prevented their admission to the First Circle, they spent much of their time plotting the downfall of those more privileged.

6) Sideshow Performers
These can include jugglers, fire-breathers, or knife-throwers, daredevils or magicians, those with clever hands and nimble tongues who can amuse the guests before the main show. Some failed Trapeze Artists are veiled and costumed and put to work in a side tent as exotic dancers, while former Strong Men discourage the guests from getting too close (though rumor says they can be bribed, at times).

7) Beasts
The Beast Tamers must have creatures with which to perform, after all. Those who already wore the forms of beasts are enhanced, whether to look more beautiful or more deadly (or perhaps both), while some others are transformed entirely into lions or tigers or other fierce beasts to share in the main performance. Some of these unfortunates manage to retain their intelligence after the change, but others find themselves slipping away and becoming as mindless as the creatures whose forms they wear.

8) Sideshow Exhibit
The displays in the sideshow tent include those whose alterations fail, those who become trapped halfway between humanoid and beast form, or those who began in such an inhuman shape that they could never fit into the First Circle even with all The Ringmaster can do. Their existence is barely better than those of the animals, for they almost always remain caged, subject to the stares and giggles of the crowd. These again are guarded by former Strong Men, but they cannot be everywhere, and occasionally the mocking and stares of the guests devolve into worse.

The worst off of the circus denizens are those who inhabit the Third Circle. These unfortunates wear a plain leather collar as a sign of their rank, though none are likely to mistake them for a member of one of the other Circles.

9) Slaves
These are the fallen, the failed, the grotesque, those who are too deformed to exhibit, too ugly or ungainly to be allowed to perform, or those who tried to escape and are now in disgrace. They remain hidden from the view of guests, serving as menial laborers in whatever manner The Ringmaster or the members of the First Circle might desire. (Rumors say the former prima Trapeze Artist attempted to run away from the circus, and now bent and disfigured from her punishment, cleans the quarters of the current prima.)

And what would a circus be without an audience?

10) Guests
It is difficult indeed to obtain a ticket to the circus, for most do not even known of its existence. Only the rich, the powerful, those who are well versed in dimensional travel, or somehow privileged to be given a ticket by The Ringmaster himself in return for some service are ever allowed into the circus grounds. Some say that anyone who can provide The Ringmaster with a particularly good candidate will earn a lifetime's pass in return....
beyourguide: (victory stretch)

Tifa Lockheart/Final Fantasy VII/Crisis Core

[personal profile] beyourguide 2012-07-23 06:46 am (UTC)(link)
1) She's billed as Beauty with the Beasts and there's always a little shiver that runs through the crowd the first time the slim, young girl in the cowgirl outfit steps into the cage for the night. She's not frail but she's barely a teen, all long legs and pale breakable looking skin. Worse yet, her vulnerable appearance isn't mitigated by the usual props. There's no whip, no thick wooden sticks to fend off attack, nothing but a bright smile and a wave for the crowd before the night's routine begins as the animals of claw and fang are let into the arena with her. Each night she goes through the dangerous routines with the giant animals and if one or two of them get unruly during the performance (intentionally trained that way or not) she has her own way of taking care of that too. She always brings down the house at the end of her performance and she loves it.

audience member, admirer, rival, coworker, slave, beast? Tifa is the circus' top beast tamer. Feel free to set things up during the performance, before or after, in her tent, the animals, the ring, wherever works for your character. no smut She's fifteen. If you're thinking to hurt her, PM me first and we'll figure out how far it will go. Also flexible on her role if you have something else in mind for a scene. Above example is just a suggestion if anyone needs one to get things rolling.
anonfantry: (to be your own worst enemy)

7. hey, one more of these and I think I'll be all lucky

[personal profile] anonfantry 2012-07-23 10:25 am (UTC)(link)
He's hardly a beast, thin nearly to the point of malnourishment and covered in dirty, mottled blond fur, but just as bound to get a rise out of the crowd, nonetheless. There's a weight in his step, even without the muscle mass to back it, strength in sinew and bone that promises a fight fourfold as fierce as an animal twice his size. Not to mention the weight carried by his bad reputation - if the thrill of a known quantity of danger didn't draw such an audience, the circus probably would have done away with him years ago for the tamers he's mauled in the line of duty. Mountain lions are far from rare, after all, and another could surely be acquired in his stead, once he's run out his use. Or perhaps simply become more trouble than he's worth - an inevitability which he doesn't seem to have in mind for the future, behaving the way he does.

But what else might one expect of nothing but an animal?

For that's all he really is, in the end, whatever eerily intelligent blue eyes say to the contrary, whether he's prowling the shabbier arenas reserved for secondary shows or - like now - behind the wrought iron bars of a rusting cage, waiting to be let out, again, for some brief period. Or at least for the privacy of a deserted, straw-strewn clearing inhabited only by his caged cohorts.

Of all the trainers, Tifa tends to linger the longest, after hours, and underneath the guise of a thoughtless, untameable animal, he is always unnerved the most. As close as she is, at times like these - she's still never once come close to ferreting him out among the other captives, but the possibility remains, down at the bottom where his rational mind is buried beneath so much blind instinct. The times when he surfaces from these strange fugues that have become more and more of his life since he chased thoughtlessly after her into this world are the most dangerous, of course, when he returns to resembling something she might recognize, with hands and feet instead of paws and fingers and toes rather than claws. So he does only rarely, picking the lock on his cage and slipping out into the night only when he must.

Giving up whatever initially existed of his humanity was always part and parcel to this deal, a promise to himself to follow her anywhere. Ultimately, it's a small price to pay to be around when she might need him - or when someone with designs born of ill will on the Beauty needs to be reminded there's more than one kind of beast.
beyourguide: (Default)

I will now have to find a meme with the most inappropriate 7 to post to

[personal profile] beyourguide 2012-07-24 05:32 am (UTC)(link)
She may not remember where she's from or that she even had a life before she came here but some things will never change and a little mountain girl's heart is one of them. It's what has her slipping out to the very edges of the circus, as far from the lights and noise as she can at the end of each night to strain her eyes and search the stars. She couldn't answer why she does it if asked or why it's something that is done alone instead of with the myriad of willing laughing, bright companions who would have gone with her to stargaze if she'd asked. At the end of each night though, there she is, standing alone in the dark, straining after a wish her mind can't remember making on stars that probably aren't real and never fall or change. She's closest to what she once was in those moments of twilight shadow before the circus calls her back and dusts the unformed melancholy from her shoulders with its glitter and gold.

Two has been watching her do it for nights on end now from the secret darkness.

Two doesn't have a name. Two doesn't merit a name. Two is second place, a filler before the real beast master steps into the ring. A brief shine that is snuffed out the second the show's pearl appears to distract, neither loved nor hated but simply forgotten in favor of the little cowgirl that dances with beasts. In a place where age is unknown and time is eternal, Two has been number two for a very long time and unlike the cowgirl that was simply polished and glossed and painted with opal on her pale skin, Two was given a beast's claws and a beast's eyes and a beast's cunning to mix with his already twisted mind. Created to be dominate, he can't - not until Beauty is gone. Tonight, he's going to conquer. Tonight, he's finally going to win after laying in patient wait for ages. Tonight, he's brought two of his own beasts, hand picked and trained by him alone for the job and when the spotlight falls in the center of the ring of tomorrow's performance, it's going to be empty until they come to him to fill it. The way his starving beasts bellies will be filled tonight. So there's no warning, no preamble. There is just the quick and the final move as three shapes, not all that different, charge silently through the waist high grass faster than sound and garnet and opal eyes barely have time to widen before they're on her.
anonfantry: (☈02)

idk, sounds like I still come up lucky 8)

[personal profile] anonfantry 2012-07-24 07:41 am (UTC)(link)
It's a close call, in the end. Far closer than he likes. And though he could blame the clunky, half-busted lock they hang on his cage for not giving right away when he pushed, or the confusing layout of grounds that are always changing, subject to the whims of the workers who unload the makings of a circus at every new stop - he does not. It's his fault, for being late. It's his fault, for being weak (too weak as a human, now, to do more than ply limply at the iron that binds him as an animal).

It's his fault, for being so slow, that they have time to come upon her at all, that that flash of fear should ever have shone through the bright confidence in her eyes.

The sound he makes is not a roar but a scream, sharp and high and filled with outrage, as he barrels into the beasts set on her. He'd cut his own path through the previously peaceful, swaying grass of the field, and at the end he sprang from an ambush that felt almost natural, shooting up from the earth in a single, powerful bound and landing on all of his claws. In this state of being, there are only the most basic thoughts left in his head, at the best of times - he knows his purpose, his place, and the lingering memory of whoever or whatever it was he used to be. But now there is nothing except the wild, murderous intent that tears his lips back from his jaws, his teeth already snapping against each other in imitation of the killing bite. The pained snarl that reaches him over the distant echo of some faraway, incoherent shouting only drives the fury further, blinds him to the feeling of the second beast's latching on and rending his flesh, as he trades the favor to the other, wrestling one to the ground as it rips for his throat. He does the same, leaning on already shattered ribs and shredded fur and skin to his advantage. Without the element of surprise, it's clear he wouldn't stand a chance, but for his life, he might actually see the end of this brutally quick, fearsome struggle.

Small price to pay, if it means keeping her safe - though at this rate there won't be much left of him, between the monsters already on his hide, to deal with the ringleader. A thought that doesn't fully occur as blood floods his mouth and something whimpers pitifully its last as the taste sticks in his nostrils and his throat and every bloodthirsty corner of his mind.
beyourguide: (see the fire in your eyes)

B) b

[personal profile] beyourguide 2012-07-24 08:50 am (UTC)(link)
There's no noise from her as the figures loom, blotting out her wistful sky with dark horror and still no sound as she goes down under heavy weight that knocks the air from her lungs and sets stars in front of her eyes that she can at least claim are her own. It's not the weight it should have been though and there are no teeth grinding through the thin bones of her forearms and latching onto a slender, pale throat. Everything happens fast, too fast, even for her with her gifted heightened reflexes, but she knows that she saw three and now only one, that there should be more fur and fang instead of simply twisted human face. It surprised Two as well, the sudden loss of packmates, the screaming that doesn't belong to the girl under him and then she's twisting and his hands aren't fast enough to hold her before she's liquid and broken moonlight and sliding away. The way his triumph, his place in the ring, is sliding away. The smell of blood and fear, rage, his own and others, mingle in the air and the beast that has always lived inside him finally sparks to full life and he lunges for his deerlike prey with a roar of his own.

Tifa sees him coming, half risen from her own crouch and it's not in her to run by nature, but what's been done to her when she was brought here just compounds her actions. She recognizes Two and the part of her mind that's been twisted to dominate, to be the best, the most only loved recognizes the challenge to her position even if her mind doesn't fully understand it. No one takes her position as favored and the threat to it steals her usual limitations from her. When she spins in to meet Two, it's with deadly intent in a set face in emotionless pearl, wine eyes of crushed garnet and broken open opal. He's larger. He's armed with claws and feral drive, the beat that both of them hold inside to be dominant challenged and fully awake.

He's also number two.

She doesn't dance with him the way she dances with her beasts. For him, it's blows with the full force of her iron created bones and deceptive lean muscle behind it, the full force of her body delivered in spins that increase the impact and the silent way she follows them up without breaking or pausing. Impossible if her focus was divided, beautiful and deadly in the purity of her concentration on her challenger alone. His claws lacertate pale skin, spill secret crimson down burnished pearl and his teeth break open the skin across a knee but in the end there's a snapping sound in his chest and another in his neck and she's already whirled away while he stands there still, dumb and mute, aware of spinning stars behind the little cowgirl and a numbness in his suddenly unresponsive body before he topples and gives his place in the circus up for all time.

It's the circus' prize beast tamer that turns with eyes like broken goblets of spilled wine on the animals, domanence beating like a dull drum through her body, ready to finish whatever hasn't been already between the beasts of the night.
anonfantry: ((I'm gonna set your face on fire.))

[personal profile] anonfantry 2012-07-27 12:06 am (UTC)(link)
It's all over in a matter of moments, another crushing clench of his jaw. He doesn't remember - as he often does not - how he managed to wrest himself from the clawing grip of the second beast in backup to their leader, only the searing in his wounded sides and in his animal's mind, behind blue eyes so bright they practically glow with their own inner light. But it's only the moon, and he's only another monstrous thing, a twitching hulk of shadow cast in sharp relief beneath the thin shine of moonlight, just for an instant.

There's too much blood matted in pale fur to tell which might be his or that of his fallen foes, but there's no doubt of his injury as he limps down over the twisted corpse of the second. His teeth are bared when he turns in the swath of light, pants of breath rushing between them as more blood drools from curled back lips. But the fight is gone, the violence dissolving as his instinct to retreat becomes inescapable, as his fever-bright gaze lights upon the last of the three, the foolhardy leader who'd brought them to this as his last act.

Somewhere under the constant, angry buzz of freshly opened wounds and adrenaline, he remembers lying idle and tense as he overheard so many ill-laid plans. And he feels no more pity than he does regret (which is to say, none at all), as his head swings to the side and he turns to make his way back along through the high grass.

To his cage, and to waiting. And if he doesn't bleed out by morning, back to watching and listening and living whatever is left of his life - making up for not saving her, way back when.

It's only a minor feat of willpower to look away from her, wounded as well, where she stands ready to fight him, too, most likely.
beyourguide: (pretty please)

[personal profile] beyourguide 2012-07-28 06:49 am (UTC)(link)
There's a primal beat inside her head, almost loud enough to drown out anything else. When he remade her, the Ringmaster didn't strip her of her humanity or add a beast's thoughts to the warp and weave of her own. Instead he simply took her human nature and he striped it to its most bare. The desire to be loved, to be someone's favorite, to be treasured above all others, he took her little girl's heart and need and he honed it into sharp killing steel inside of her. Being forgotten, being second place - those were death to her, crushing and devastating, with the ability to strip all that she was away from her and leave her hollow. The fear of that and the need to be loved, drove her and while the drive was usually all light laughter and easy smiles and everything that made her loved among the circus crowd, tonight it had been dark and heavy and quick. Someone had almost taken her place. Someone had almost stolen her secretly hoarded love away from her. There was no answer for that but swift and permanent.

One circus tamer down, two of his beasts. And... one left with eyes like stars burning swiftly out and blood in his mouth. He's a horror, lean and torn and feral in the night, a creature of nightmares, told of by mothers warning their children what waits in the woods for him and there's not a part of her that believes his size or his bony appearance. He's not one of her threateners though. Not one of the ones that came tonight to steal her place, her purpose, in the world away from her. That's not her blood dripping in strings from his jaws as he turns to leave.

"Wait?" He's hers. The same way every beast and creature in this circus is hers and she's deep in the mindset of circus warped dominance. So she doesn't know why it comes out quiet and asking instead of an order, sounding as young as her body looks and a little lost. She's not sure why, but she almost desperately adds: "Please?"
anonfantry: (this is a day without a trace of reason)

[personal profile] anonfantry 2012-07-31 09:55 pm (UTC)(link)
Every fiber, every single cell in him is set on compelling him to keep moving forward, to slink off into the dark and back to his own place in the set lines of this unwholesome place that is their home. But he doesn't, can't, instead freezing on the spot not at her Please but at her Wait; Please is a courtesy he barely takes note of as soon as it's dismissed as Not an Order. Some aspects of training are harder to shake than others, but especially so without a single shred of self-righteous defiance there to balk at her command.

He can't speak, this way, but even if he could, there's little left to say. The only part of him still human and whole is that which governs over his frantic (near obsessive) drive to keep her safe. And he'll die on her behalf well before ever announcing that secret aloud. Unlike her, he doesn't care what the audience thinks of him, is not interested in their attentions, in their hollow applause. (And even if he did, it would be a lie to believe they thought of him as anything more than a prop, if a particularly dangerous set piece.) It's only her, it's only to be noticed by her - a thing which he dreads almost as much as he hopes for blindly.

And now that she has seen him, it's as if the rest of the universe has briefly ceased to exist. The pain, the blood, the carnage behind him - it's nothing, as he pulls through the resistance in his own pleading instinct to flee and looks back at her, ears laid low as he gives up his chance to escape.
beyourguide: (cut open)

[personal profile] beyourguide 2012-08-06 04:19 am (UTC)(link)
She trains with beasts. They take up more of her life than any other aspect, become as much a part of the weave of her as her desire to be loved and she knows. She knows they're not animals, knows that their forms hide beings that were once much closer to her in most cases, knows that for whatever reason they've given up or had humanity taken from them. In another world, in another life, it would horrify her but here it is simply yet another part of the world they are all caught in like flies in amber, part and parcel of their glittery brittle reality. Some parts of her are unchangeable though and if she does not beat against their fates, she lets them into her heart and cares for them because of it all the same. Tonight one of them has killed for her, tried to die for her, and he's not even one of her favorites, barely a shadow on the edges of her paper-mache world of roaring crowds and adoring claws for all that she still knows him the way a gardener knows even the rouge plants that grow outside their cultivated garden. He's come for her when she was in danger in a pinch and it rings somewhere far in the back of her conscious like a single clear bell toll. Signaling... something. Some announcement she can't hear. So she goes down to her heels in the bloody, broken grass under her false stars and she holds out her hands to the beast that's not a beast, arms slender and pale in the moonlight and laced with liquid crimson like her eyes. It's no longer a question when she softly says:

anonfantry: (do you know what it's like when)

[personal profile] anonfantry 2012-08-27 09:15 am (UTC)(link)
Everything hurts, but that's nothing new. The pain doesn't cloud his judgement (he tells himself). There's only hesitation in his step because of the risk involved in lingering at all. He's already put himself in danger enough, and it isn't the wounds or the incriminating evidence or the fact that he won't be able to explain even if it would help his case for not being the next on the chopping block, come morning and the certain discovery of a lost act.

Not the most valuable one, maybe, but a part of the whole, just the same. Something he couldn't stake a claim to, himself.

So when he stops in his retreat, instead obeying her single order to the best of his ability (limping worse, now, as the sluggish flow of his own blood clots and sticks in his fur), it is under what he might later insist was his own volition. And not simply the draw of the command. He certainly doesn't come quietly, at any rate; barring his teeth and slinking low to the ground as he takes a last few halting steps in her direction, he's just a warning.

Don't come near me.
beyourguide: (holding my heart out)

[personal profile] beyourguide 2012-08-29 08:39 pm (UTC)(link)
It doesn't occur to her that he might be in danger for his work tonight. He's saved her and she wants him. It's as simple as that. That she would ever be denied something she wanted is a foreign concept to her, used to being indulged and spoiled by the Ringmaster because it suits him, because it makes the others work harder for the same attention, because it enforces what he's made her and - perhaps - because he enjoys her childish delight in being spoiled, innocent and unassuming each time he does so. He'll let her keep the cat, raggedy and bony as it is, simply because it's something she wants and she'll ask with her little girl eyes and her heart's trust in being indulged by someone that delights in favoring her. It never occurs to her that she might ever be told no.

So the lion is already hers, in her mind, already safe in her world where she can take care of him and spoil him with attention the way she does the others she favors herself and she's not blind, knowing the others she's spent her love on won't like the threat to their places in her heart and yet she thinks this one is special. Somehow. It's in his eyes and she doesn't know why they make her want to cry but they do and she wants him for herself because...


because he feels like home - and she doesn't know what that word means in her head anymore but her heart remembers the echo. He's like her stars only deeper and she needs whatever it is he's done so deep inside of her she's not even aware of it. So she doesn't believe his warning and her fingers finally reach to slip along his furred face and she whispers a name because it's right even if she doesn't remember why and there's no memory to go with the word. It's his eyes. His eyes are his name.