Closed Out in the Open

Lynca and Charles hope to relax in secret, but Alea finds their hiding spot.

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Built into the cliffs overlooking the Suvan Sea, Riverfall resides on the edge of grasslands of Cyphrus where the Bluevein River plunges off the plain and cascades down to the inland sea below. Home of the Akalak, Riverfall is a self-supporting city populated by devoted warriors. [Riverfall Codex]

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Out in the Open

Postby Lynca on September 3rd, 2015, 1:28 am

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Autumn-23-515 AV

The morning was cold, and Lynca hated it. Charles insisted when they entered that it would be most pleasant, but she should have known he didn't know what he was talking about. Not in the case of what her preferences were. She would have loved to stay in the bed, Charles wrapped around her as he was right then, for the whole day. Perhaps even the whole week. But only a few minutes after the cold woke her, Charles pulled his face away from where he buried it in her hair.

The Kelvic stretched his legs out with a groan, before saying, “Good morning, Lynca.”

“Cold morning, Chelsa,” she grumbled, turning in his arms so she could nuzzle into his neck. He chuckled, and she felt very satisfied with how it vibrated from his chest right into her. Yes, this was how she wished to spend the day. There was nothing they needed to do that day, not even any shopping. Maybe she could try to convince him, try on a pleading look to make her point.

“It will be warmer today,” he eventually, stroking her side lazily. “And I seem to remember you wished to try out the picnic thing I told you about after your performance the other day.”

Blast. It's true, the concept of a picnic seemed strange to her, so strange that she just had to try it out for herself to see what all the fuss was about. They'd bought the food they'd need for a picnic yesterday, along with a basket to carry it in. Charles assured her it would be enjoyable, relaxing, but she just didn't understand it. How is eating outside without a cushion supposed to be relaxing?

Slowly, with many coaxing kisses from Charles, Lynca was finally convinced to get out of the bed. She dressed – more layers than Charles – before she grabbed the basket of food and turned to her bondmate. Of course, she wasn't expecting him to wrestle with the rug they had left rolled up in a corner.

She laughed, shaking her head, “I thought you said that thing was ridiculous.”

“It still is,” Charles replied, “but for once, it shall be serving a purpose.” He was having trouble keeping it rolled so he could pick it up, and after the third attempt, he let out a deep growl that sent a shiver down Lynca's spine. She never forgot that he was a Kelvic, a man who was also an animal, but she rarely had the chance to see his other self. While they traveled, his other self was tall, but not enough to be seen through the grass besides the shock of black hair against red. And always, once they were done moving for the day, he would change quickly and dress in time to help the others set up camp.

What sort of creature was he when he was not on two legs? Even after Charles finally had the rug on his shoulder and they set out of the inn, Lynca wondered about this other form. Was it a predator of some sort, or was it more gentle? Shouldn't she know this about her bondmate? Wouldn't that bring them together? She moved closer to him, letting her shoulder brush against his arm with every other step.

Charles glanced down to her, hesitating before he said, “You seem quiet. Is the cold bothering you that much? We could always wait until tomorrow for the picnic.”

Lynca shook her head, “No, that's not it. I was... just thinking.” She said no more, and neither did he, until they passed outside the gates and took the road towards the vineyards. Once she knew they were alone, she murmured, “I haven't seen your other self, Chelsa. I realized that back in our room.” She wished she could see it, see him in his other state, still confident in who he was.

She was sure what he would say. Something about the danger, how someone would disapprove, perhaps even imply that he was like a servant and that they would try to take him away from her. She didn't want that, but she still wanted to see him. But she knew he wouldn't risk it.

Which is why she was quite surprised when he said, in horribly accented Shiber, “You want see?” She looked into his eyes, saw the wariness in there, but something inside her told her Charles was eager to please, eager to show even just a part of himself. He wanted to give her everything, but would settle with this.

“Very much,” she replied, almost breathless with the idea that she could have what she wanted, what he was willing to give her.

Charles stared down at her a little longer before he nodded and led them past the vineyards, close to the tall grass but also covered by some trees. Everything he did was in tense silence. He rolled out the rug, gently took the basket from Lynca and set some of the food out. He looked back to her and asked, “What's Shiber for, 'Sit, please'?”

Lynca smiled, repeated the phrase back to him in her native language, and he parroted the phrase right back. It was a terrible attempt, but that was what practicing was for. She took a seat as he glanced around one last time and stripped from his clothes. Soon, his skin was bare and he was taking calming breathes before he shifted. It was strange to watch every time, but now she had perfect view of what he would change into.

And apparently what he changed into looked a lot like a long-legged fox. The streak of black was still there, but now she could see that it was nestled right between his shoulder blades. His tail was bushy, though more of it was white than a fox's would be. His ears were large and twitched every now and then. He was a sight to behold, and Lynca felt like she was falling in love with him all over again.

He approached her cautiously, each step looking delicate, until he was within arm's reach. Lynca slowly brushed her hand over his fur, staring in shock before she commented, “Well. Big ears. Seems some things do carry over.”

Nothing about his look actually changed, but she could somehow tell that he was amused and pleased with her reaction. He pulled away briefly to drag his clothes over to her and then promptly sat on them, hiding them as best he could from any passersby. Lynca sighed softly, feeling herself relax along with Charles, and grabbed at the food. “You're able to eat this, right?” He looked up at her with annoyance. She returned his look with one laced with sarcasm. “Of course, how could I possibly forget? You tell me about the Kelvic life all the time, it's like you never shut up about it.” Charles sighed before he took a bite of the fruit Lynca held in her hand, a signal that he was going to ignore her sassing.

Lynca smiled all the same. This was her life now. She wanted her life to be this way, this relaxing and enjoyable, all the time.
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Out in the Open

Postby Alea Davenport on September 3rd, 2015, 3:04 am

Alea crept warily through the vineyards, only slightly self-conscious. She did not have any particular reason to be out of the city, it was just that...she wanted to prove to herself that she could leave, if she chose to. That was important, that leaving the city was her choice. She certainly knew better than to run off into the wilderness, but trekking for an hour or two outside the city gates was freedom enough to start with.

She wasn't sure how far she intended to go, but she knew the vineyards technically belonged to Riverfall, so if she was going to escape its borders, she would have to keep going through them until she got to the other side. As long as she was still among the overpowering smell of grapes, there was a chance she would run into someone who worked here, and potentially have to explain her presence. But she could see the end of the grapes now, only a few more yards and she would be under the direct sunlight. ...It was still a rather strange thought...

Suddenly, she saw something that put all thought of sneaking around out of her mind. It was a certain flash of light, with a peculiar sparkling quality that she had seen many times before. Caution flung to the wind, she sprinted the last few steps to the edge of the vines, making perhaps rather a bit of crashing noise, but only for a few ticks before she came into view of the couple on the blanket.

"Oh!" she said, surprised and slightly embarrassed. She didn't know what she had expected. It was ridiculous to think that it would be someone she knew, but this one's animal form was unfamiliar to her. What she really hadn't expected was to find that this kelvic already had company. Almost every kelvic she'd met before had been alone.

"Sorry, I didn't realize..." Her words were tripping over themselves almost as much as her feet, as she attempted to back away and get closer at the same time. In the end, in an attempt to defuse the unbearable awkwardness, she simply tangled her feet together and feel over into the grass.
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Out in the Open

Postby Lynca on September 3rd, 2015, 3:48 am

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Charles was the first to hear anything. After they had eaten a bit of food, he and Lynca had stretched themselves out more fully across the rug, allowing the sun to heat them despite the autumn's air. Except, a few moments later, Charles' head shot back up to look behind them in the direction of the vineyards.

Chelsa? Lynca asked when she sensed nerves coming from him. But her ears picked up a crashing sound, answering all the questions she had for her bondmate. She stood suddenly, her heart and mind racing. What were they to do? The clothes were covered by Charles' body, but not enough for someone to ignore. It would be seen, Charles would be revealed as a Kelvic, and what then? What would happen to them?

She didn't want Charles taken away. It would make this world seem that much colder, and she would come to hate it. Don't take him away, she pleaded in her heart, a prayer offered up to any god who would hear. Do not toss him to someone else.

That was when a woman crashed out of the vineyard, stopping short at the sight of them. “Oh!” she breathed out in surprise. Really? That was all she had to say for herself? Lynca frowned, stepping forward as Charles hunched down in the hopes of hiding himself. “Sorry,” the woman said after a bit of staring, “I didn't realize...” she was stumbling back, trying to get away, and Lynca didn't think she wanted any of that.

Lynca marched forward, her hands balling up into fists, even as the woman tripped and fell to the grass. “What are you doing?” She said. “What's the point of stomping around like that? Who are you?”

She would have grabbed the woman by the arm, if not for Charles' roar-bark from behind her. She stopped, turned to him to see what he was doing, and saw that he was cautiously stepping away from the rug. Away from his clothes. Her heart ratcheted up even faster, if that was possible.

Chelsa,” she said, moving towards him. She had to salvage this, protect Charles from whatever this woman would bring upon them, no matter how unwittingly. “No, don't. Go sit, boy.” The look she received was one of annoyance and offense. If she could only make him realize this was what would protect him.

Charles sighed when he saw his look was getting him nowhere, and looked back to the woman sitting still in the grass. Resignation seemed to come over him, and Lynca couldn't stand to see such a thing cross his expression. “No, Chelsa, don't. Please.”

But it was too late. Charles was already changing when the plea left her lips. His eyes were back on the woman, the resignation even more obvious. Lynca moved closer, blocking the woman's line of sight to the lower half of Charles' body. “What are you doing?” She hissed.

“It's too late,” Charles replied, not bothering to keep his voice down. “She knows what I am.”

“That means nothing,” Lynca said, trying to keep the desperation out of her voice. “She could have forgotten, or been made to believe her eyes were tricking her. She wouldn't have told anyone.” She looked back to the woman, glaring. “Would you?”

Words spoken while traveling came back to her memory, words that plead with her not to go “cheating”. But her bondmate's life could very well be in danger. She would cheat as much as she could to keep him safe. And so she did then, looking the woman in the eyes and pushing an impression upon her: I don't know what I saw. I can't tell anyone about this.
Last edited by Lynca on September 3rd, 2015, 4:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Out in the Open

Postby Alea Davenport on September 3rd, 2015, 4:15 am

Alea sat, stunned, partly from her fall, but mostly from the hostile reaction of the woman. She was sorry she'd interrupted what was obviously supposed to be a private time, but it was an honest mistake. She was a little hurt that she was being met with such hostility. The kelvic seemed to have his own ideas about the appropriate response to the situation, and after some one-sided arguing with the woman, he shifted (predictably) into the form of a naked man.

With a strangled noise, Alea instantly flicked her eyes upward, concentrating on his face to avoid looking places she shouldn't be. Luckily, the woman moved to block her view, so she could concentrate on talking, rather than avoiding eyestrain. The couple were sharing words that Alea had no context for. Why was being a kelvic such a big secret?

She was about to make light of the whole situation, but suddenly, a memory surfaced so violently that her whole body convulsed in horror. It was a memory of a city on a lake, and the knowledge of what happened to kelvics who were unfortunate enough to be caught there. Frightened faces peering at her, begging for her help...

"No," she whispered in a hoarse, ragged voice. "I won't tell anyone. Don't worry." She was sweating, and shaking slightly, and she shoved the memory back into her head until all that remained was minor feeling of nausea. She sat back up and wrapped her arms around her knees. She focused her eyes on the woman, unable to look at the kelvic just now. She didn't need to deal with any more of the memories he was likely to bring up.

Alea stared into the woman's eyes at least as hard in return, not glaring, but looking rather haunted. "I don't want to hurt anyone," she said slowly, deliberately. Please, believe me.
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Out in the Open

Postby Lynca on September 3rd, 2015, 5:20 pm

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Lynca's glare let up to make way for confusion. That was not exactly the reaction she was trying to extract from the woman. Lynca just wanted her to agree and go away. She had a picnic with Charles after all.

She felt a pull of sympathy all the same, which was odd, considering she wasn't the type to feel such sympathy for anyone other than Charles. She turned to look up to him and saw in his eyes that sympathy. It only confused Lynca more. Was this... this foreign feeling something that he was pushing on her. Did he know hypnotism, too? No, she realized this wasn't what hypnotism felt like. When others are affected by hypnotism, the feelings are meant to feel natural, like they are the victim's own. If Charles wished for Lynca to feel sympathy and used hypnotism, it would have made her be nice for his sake rather than the woman's sake. So this was... what? Some power Kelvic had over others? She was going to ask later. When they were undisturbed.

“Darling,” Charles said, “please invite this woman for some food. I'm sure she'd welcome the invitation.”

“What?” Lynca was now glaring at Charles. This was supposed to be a private picnic.

“Please?” he murmured in Shiber before turning around and grabbing after his clothes.

Lynca sighed, looking back to the woman, who kept staring straight at her. Reluctantly, Lynca made her way to the woman, this time doing her best to appear non-threatening. How she look threatening in the first place she had no idea.

“Would you like to join our picnic?” She said softly, hoping the appearance of sincerity would also add to her harmless appearance. “There's fruit, some cooked meats, and some slices of bread. Wine, too, though ah...” she smiled with what she hoped was a sheepish expression. “We've no cups. We'd have to sip from the bottle.”
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Out in the Open

Postby Alea Davenport on September 4th, 2015, 2:09 am

Alea's expression barely changed, but the intensity behind her eyes faded into the background as she nodded slowly, accepting the invitation. She felt like she had been running, and had gotten far enough from pursuit that she could slow down to walk. It would be going too far to say that she was relieved, but she no longer felt that bad things were imminent.

She avoided looking at the couple as she edged over to the blanket. She looked over the sumptuous fare. She picked idly at a bracelet around her wrist. The bracelet was made of pointed teeth, and upon close inspection, the points would appear to be embedded in Alea's skin. She wasn't actually too hungry; since she..."arrived" in Riverfall, she'd eaten better than she had in years. But she thought it best to try for politeness. Refusing to eat entirely might be seen as a refusal of hospitality, though eating too much could be just as bad. She finally settled on taking a piece of fruit and nibbling lightly at it.

She peered at her impromptu dining companions over the fruit, which he held to her mouth with both hands, her body curled into a defensive posture. After a bit too much awkward silence, she finally mumbled in the kelvic's general direction, "You need to eat more. Shifting too much too quickly will wear you out." She did not look at either of them in the eyes, but kept them in her peripheral vision. Sure, these people seemed perfectly nice and she had no reason not to trust them...but trust came slowly to her these days....
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