Closed Creature Comforts (Kelski)

A calm day calls for good food and good company

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Creature Comforts (Kelski)

Postby Anja Nightwatcher on April 23rd, 2019, 12:57 am

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Spring 14, 519
The Midnight Gem

It was one of those rare days where Anja had no responsibilities for the day that would lead to him venturing beyond the walls of the Midnight Gem. His early morning tasks had gone about much as they usually did; feeding and watering the horses and chickens, some simple training for his canine companions to reinforce already taught lessons so they didn't float out of the animals' heads. His usual routine included prayers to Dira and the making of soulmist. And of course, he had spent time meditating and training his Auristics.

Anja held the magic in his eyes for longer this time then he usually did. The man normally didn't push himself beyond the first nudges of a headache. The warnings he had been told about overgiving had impressed themselves deeply in his mind, and the mage had promised himself to take no risks even with a magic that was as inherently safe as Auristics was. However, after some thought about the matter, it had occurred to Anja that he was not exactly pushing himself beyond his limits. One couldn't improve if one did not take chances and try things one hadn't before. So today, when the magic filled Anja's eyes and filled his surroundings with colored lights, the Drykas held the magic there for a moment more. Today, Anja studied the shine ementing from his beautiful, pale, Strider companion. The shine covering her was a fair pastel yellow, like the gold of sun-ripened grain. Looking upon it made Anja feel a sense of ease, like all was right with the world and everything was exactly as it should be.

Maisa lifted her head and glanced at Anja, and for a moment the colors rippled outwards, a burst of spring leaf green weaving spiralling patterns through the dense thick of gold. In those waves, Anja could feel the affection his strider felt for him. There was something warming in that, knowing that all it took was a glance for Maisa to feel happy. By then, the headache had become less a whisper and more a jab. With a quick exhale, Anja released the magic from his eyes, and watched as the bright colors faded from around him. He walked over to his strider and looped his arms around her neck and nuzzled her cheek. A whicker of affection left her nose, and she met his hug with a nuzzle. Anja gave Maisa one last scratch between the ears, then whistled for the dogs and headed inside the Gem.

Ania rested a hand against the frame of the door as he entered, offering a quiet greeting to the Gem. He could have sworn he felt the wood shift under his touch, and a smile lit his face. As he proceeded up the stairs and into the living quarters of them Gem, his gaze fell upon the space surrounding him. What to do with the rest of the day? Perhaps as an after affect of that affection radiating off of Maisa, the Drykas was feeling a tad domestic today. Thoughtfully, he wandered into the kitchen and stared about it, scratching his chin. Anja had taken up feeding and caring for the animals as part of his everyday work, work that he did happily as a member of the Gem's family. However there was one important familial task in particular he had been deliberately been avoiding.

It wasn't as if Anja had no interest in learning how to cook. It was just that there has never been any call for him to learn before he had left the Sea of Grass. In his Pavilion, women had done the majority of the cooking. One of Anja's aunts had been a spectacular cook, in fact, and had been happy to share her craft with everyone. After Anja had left his birthplace, the man had only cared to ingest enough food of high enough quality to keep his body moving. He had frequently lived off of dried rations and caravan mates' kindnesses during his travels between cities, and he had mostly eaten at taverns and inns during his stays within civilization's reach. Cooking hadn't seemed like a skill he needed to care about.

But now? Well he had more mouths to worry about than just his own. There was a sense of duty filling the Drykas, a duty to see his family fed and cared for. So despite his reticence and lack of knowledge, he walked over to the pantry and glanced inside of it. Where should he start? He hadn't the faintest idea.
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Creature Comforts (Kelski)

Postby Kelski on April 28th, 2019, 7:26 am

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The dogs were bothering Kelski when she woke up. Normally she didn’t mind, but they were wrestling intently in the Common Room of the Midnight Gem and not at all behaving themselves. The growling, yipping, barking, and sound of claws skittering across the hardwood made a lot of noise. It seemed The Midnight Gem was encouraging such behavior as well since it kept manifesting all sorts of braided dog toys for them to play with and the two pups were in a tug-of-war over one of them. Kelski had padded out to the main room to see what all the commotion was about. Anja must have been out for the morning, and the pups had a lot of energy even though Kelski knew the Spiritst worked them hard every day.

Kelski slid out of bed and washed her face, brushed her teeth, and combed back her unruly mane of hair into the semblance of a pony tail. Then she dressed, slipped out of the bedroom suite, and headed to the Common Room to see what could be done.

Nothing could be done. The place was a disaster, both dogs were wound up, and there was no hope for it. Kelski was going to have to take them with her on her morning exercise. That meant no flying or riding Moth on the beach. That meant running. Kelski didn’t mind. The dogs obviously needed more exercise. They were normally well behaved, but even the young couldn’t behave themselves all the time. The Kelvic Sea Eagle understood that. So with a bright whistle, she opened the balcony doors, gestured for them all to head out, and she pounded down the steps with both Battle and Sayeth in tow. Battle was absolutely enthusiastic to go, while Sayeth was more reserved as if to wonder if his human would approve.

Kelski rolled her eyes at them and before they knew it, the trio was running down the trail to the beach gate, opening it, and heading out towards the sand below. The pair of pups bounded, chasing each other, shorebirds, and the bubbles frothing on the sand. Truth be told, Kelski had woke up grumpy, lonely, and somewhat unrested. But in the company of the two young dogs, she felt her mood lighten. Their attitudes were infectious and as they all ran down the beach, Kelski found that settling into her stride and controlling her breathing was far easier than she would have credited had she been alone.

For some reason, once the first ten or fifteen chimes had passed the black and white dogs gave up their overt play and settled into running at Kelski’s side. It was as if they suddenly took Kelski more seriously than they had when she’d woken up, wandered into the common room, and saw the chaos. The three bounded down the beach. Their pace was brisk but not unsustainable. The Kelvic was in good shape and loved moving her body. The dogs evidently felt the same way. For the more they traveled the more seriously they took their run, flanking the Kelvic and giving her a chance to study them.

Their forms were very close to other forms she’d studied. They weren’t so different than brats, though they were powerful in their strides. Kelski admired how they moved, how fast they were, and how their eyes faced forward like a predator. Long gaits carried their bodies smoothly with a minimal consumption of energy. Long tufted ears gave them excellent hearing. And their bright black noses were flaring constantly, drinking in the scents of the world all around them. They were beautiful, bright, and took a certain joy in living.

Kelski wanted that joy for herself as well.

So, when they reached the halfway point of her run and she made the turn to head back to The Midnight Gem, Kelski had decided that she wanted to try a dog’s form. Morphing had been one of her hobbies as of late – because of Vasin – and she was doing her best to learn it to the point she could teach him so they could do more things together. It was nice having a friend that didn’t want anything from her except for some good company and as he put it ‘maybe an adventure or two…’ They planned to fly out as eagles, exploring the area and following the Mudway inland to see where it came from. Kelski was excited for the trip, curious to see where the river did come from, and wanted to be good enough to teach him to fly.

So as she ran home, Kelski studied the dogs. The pair were well mannered and stayed with her, something Kelski attributed to Anja’s training. Anja was good at teaching, something Kelski admired about him. He was good helping her with Moth and then doing a lot of the stable care beyond that. She liked Anja, but they rarely crossed paths and hadn’t seen much of each other. Kelski spent long hours in her workshop so when she had free time she was often flying, running or riding Moth. She would explore, looking for things and answering to Akajia’s whims as well. They would all gather in the evening for meals, but often Kelski was tired and with a busy household, everyone always had something going on. The Sea Eagle usually remained quiet.

Again, acute loneliness struck her. It was one of the reasons she might have embraced morphing so much. It allowed her to be someone she wasn’t – something she wasn’t. No one could recognize her and she could hide in a new form. Bounding up the path to The Gem, they crossed through the gate, and up onto the deck. Then instead of heading to the Common Room, she urged the dogs to follow her down to the basement where she could attempt the morphing.

Kelski was glad the dogs were tired, settled in, and allowed her to pace around them. She stripped off her sweaty running clothes, and sat down among them then stretched out in a similar fashion – on her stomach – legs stretched out and arms tucked under her. First, like she had with Snowflake’s form, she concentrated on the fur. It should be long, silky, and tufted on the edge of her ears. Her ears should be longer, bigger, facing forward and perky. Djed poured from her as Kelski relaxed, breathed deeply, and began to really focus on what it would feel like to be a Kelski shaped dog. She wouldn’t truly be a dog. She’d truly be Kelski. But she’d be borrowing their form. Hands changed structure, bones altering and shortening, becoming paws. The joints didn’t change, though the structure of her skeleton did. Dogs had back legs much like humans, so it was almost easy when her feet morphed into paws and she felt the bones thicken and solidify into a more canine structure. Her spine lengthened and she grew a tail which wagged quietly as the rest of her changed.

The transformation took a long long time... more than a bell in fact.

Sayeth and Battle watched her, eyes wide, uncertain if this magical transformation was okay. Kelski showed no signs of distress though, so they stayed watchful. They watched as her skull morphed, her snout grew and she turned slowly – ever so slowly – from a human to a dog that looked very much like them save for the fur. She was, at once, black coated that faded to silvery white on the tips. And her eyes were bright liquid silver, not unlike Battle’s blue eye leached of the hue of sky.

When she was ready and the transformation complete, Kelski slowly rose. She moved slowly around the room, first at a steady walk, then a little hopping bounce, then a full all out run. She barked and the other pups joined in. And though she was larger than they were, with a body mass that reflected Kelski’s human form. Her motions were awkward at first, but grew bolder and bolder as she went. Four legs were definitely more stable than two, and before long she was hard core wrestling with the other two dogs. Chasing one, pinning the other, defending her tail from being pulled by a third, Kelski was having the time of her life.

They eventually ran upstairs, all bounding up the steps at once, circling the landing at the workroom, and bounding up the second set of stairs to the upper Common Room. Anya was there, staring in at the pantry when all three dogs came tumbling into the room, this time all trying to take a giant braided tug away from each other. Battle and Sayeth would be easily recognizable, but the third and by far larger dog skidded to a stop and stared at Anya for a moment… a stranger to the Drykas in all but coloring.

Kelski, wearing the shape of a dog, gave a wolfish grin at Anja and then bared her teeth at him and raised her hackles. She lowered her head and began advancing menacingly. In truth she was just playing, trying to scare him. She wanted to see what he’d actually do in the face of this new situation.

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Creature Comforts (Kelski)

Postby Anja Nightwatcher on May 19th, 2019, 4:21 pm

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As Anja studied the pantry as one might a piece of abstract art, a series of barks made the Drykas turn with a smile. "I was wondering where the two of you had run off to," the man said in mid turn. He hadn't been overly concerned by the twin's absence. They were both smart enough to get past the gate, but Sayeth was too wary to travel far and Battle never left her brother's side for very long. Anja had also come to notice that the doors of the Gem tended to open whenever they wanted to wander outside. He was appreciative of the Gem's assistance in co-parenting. Anja did his best with the pups, but every little bit helped.

As the Drykas turned, however, his smile changed to a look of surprise and mild alarm. Last he had checked, he had two dogs, not three. The dog with them had the same body and fur style as the pups. Anja might have even thought it was the same breed as them if not for the fact that it was larger than Light had been...and the fact that his twins were a rare cross-breed. The similarity in appearance was a little unnerving to be honest. The color, of course, was different. The dog was beautifully striking in fact, dark fur that lightened at the tips giving the appearance that the creature was lightly dusted with snow. The eyes were strangely pale. Had Anja ever seen a dog with so fair of eyes before? There was something about those eyes that picked at his memory, a familiarity he couldn't quite place.

Before he could contemplate it further, the dog was advancing on him, hackles bristling and teeth bared. This wasn't the usual behavior that Anja had come to expect with the twins. It was aggressive, with no hint of teasing playfulness. The pups themselves froze at the behavior, and glanced at each other uneasily. The Drykas was entirely intolerant when it came to aggressive behavior and the pups knew this well. Anja hadn't the faintest idea where this dog had come from, but it was here now and as far as he was concerned it was his responsibility now.

"Now now," Anja said in his most soothing voice. "Settle down. It's alright." He crouched down on the floor and extended his hands for the dog to sniff, mindful of its body posture. If the dog made an attempt to lunge at him, he could be on his feet in a moment.

Anja had a sense that the Gem probably wouldn't be tolerant of any sort of violence under her roof, but it didn't hurt to be prepared anyways. Battle and Sayeth we're alert too, ears pricked forward and eyes intent. Anja had to remind himself that the pair were half guard dogs as well as ghost sensors and companions. Even if he hadn't trained them for that yet, guardianship was in their blood and he was sure they would protect him if push came to shove. But an attempt at friendship should be first. Anja reached into his sash and pulled out a strip of dried jerky, then tossed it at the dog's feet. Food tended to make a good impression on new dogs.
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Creature Comforts (Kelski)

Postby Kelski on June 27th, 2019, 5:24 am

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She watched him, with her hackles up… enjoying the sensation to be able to visually display emotions. Dogs could do that. They were lucky. Eagles could to a certain extent as well with the fluffing of feathers and the hissing of forced violent air through their cere in a sort of hiss. But if humans could, Kelski never really knew. They could turn red and yell, but that was usually reactive, and not proactive. She’d long left the tug to the two siblings, dropping the game even though it had been fun to be a dog for a bit. This was a new game… a Kelski game… and she was well aware of her body, its new shape, and how it moved. Dogs moved easily. And while the two pups backed off at the sign of her hackles and were looking at Anja in confusion.

Kelski would have stopped there, but the man actually threw meat at her, on the ground before her, as if she were some kind of unskilled hunter. He wanted her to eat off the floor? Is this how his dogs felt all the time? Sure, his voice was quiet, friendly, the food a gesture, but at the same time it was insulting.

Kelski would have lunged if it was anyone else, but instead she dropped her hackles and tried to drop the shape. The transformation took a while, her having neither the ability nor the desire to transition from dog to human in an instant. Her bones rearranged, her teeth retreated, and the whole slow ugly process left her vulnerable. She missed the colorful instant transformation from Eagle to Human and back. Morphing was harder, uglier, and while it didn’t hurt… it should.

Ten minutes not being able to talk all the while her bones shifted and rearranged themselves, hair retreated and extended left Kelski breathless and naked on the floor, panting under the effort. She looked up at Anja when she was finally done and tried to talk. Her first word came out more of a bark than a human sound and she shook her head, laughed, and tried again.

“Throwing food on the ground? Really? I don’t mind eating things off the floor along with your dogs, but Anja, I was just playing.” She said, half sitting up, awkwardly, as if trying to remember how her limbs worked. Trying again, she finally eased herself up on the floor cross-legged, stretched, and shook out her long hair. “You are so serious sometimes. Don’t you ever play?” Kelski asked, tilting her head and studying the much older Drykas. Kelski was fully mature, a master craftswoman, but most people usually forgot she was only six years old in the long scheme of things. She let her adulthood show around humans, but around the animals and other Kelvics in The Midnight Gem she was much more willing to enjoy youth, play, and laugh a great deal. Kelski had learned over her time in Sunberth that life was short and there was only so much living people could do.

And that living could end at any point in time. So she enjoyed herself, experimented with magic, and lived fully when she could.

Finally, climbing to her feet, she turned to fill a mug with wine and then offered one to Anja. Then, thinking again, she headed over to the table where some clothing lay, and slipped on a long shirt and pulled on a skirt to cover her skin. Bare skin made humans so uncomfortable sometimes.

“Hungry?” She said, starved herself after the magic. She grabbed an apple and began to cut it into slices before piling it onto a tray with some bread, cheese, and more fruit from the market. Then she picked the whole thing up and headed into the living room to place the tray down on the table by the couch.

“The Gem wouldn’t have let a strange animal into the house, you know…. not with your dogs here. She’s very protective of your puppies.” Kelski added, glancing around herself and smiling. “How have you been?” She asked, curious, knowing that Anja was gone a lot for his work. She didn’t see much of him, though they spent time in the evenings and around the barn.
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Creature Comforts (Kelski)

Postby Anja Nightwatcher on June 30th, 2019, 6:45 pm

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Anja hadn't really known what to expect from this strange dog who had found its way into the Gem, but it certainly wasn't this. Anja stared with a mixture of horror that mingled with fascination as the dog's body began to shift and change. Anja reached out for one of the Gem's walls, but it seemed undisturbed by the transformation of the creature...or at least it wasn't altering itself in any way for Anja to believe it might be disturbed by this creature changing on it's floor. As the creature began to shed it's form, Anja saw hints of something familiar; silver eyes, long dark hair. About midway through the transformation, Anja shouted "Kelski!" and hovered worriedly nearby while he waited for the transformation to complete.

Anja used the time to look at Kelski with his auristic enhanced vision. Kelski and the Gem both contained similar notes to their aura, nurturing waves of violet edged with stubborn tones of forest green. The similarity alone was enough for Anja to confirm that the person in front of him was indeed Kelski. What Anja didn't understand was why she could turn into a dog. She had told him she was a Sea Eagle, even if he had never seen the form himself. Were there aspects to kelvics that Anja wasn't aware of? Or was this something else? Based on the strange waves coming from Kelski's aura, Anja could only assume that it was magical in nature. But was a kelvic's transformation magic? He had never thought to ask before, nor had he ever watched a kelvic transform while using his Auristics.

When the transformation was complete, Sayeth and Battle both moved forward to examine her, sniffing and licking at her to reassure themselves that their friend was all in one piece. At Kelski's admonishment, Anja let out a shaky laugh. "If I had known that was you I might have been less cautious," Anja said. He offered a hand to her to help her off the ground, though he turned his gaze away so that he wasn't quite looking directly at her. He should be used to Kelvics being comfortable with nudity by now, but he still wasn't quite there yet.

"What was that Kelski? I haven't seen you do that before. That wasn't a kelvic thing was it? Was it magic?"

Anja let out another shaky laugh. "I'm sorry...you caught me very off guard there." He gave her a weak smile. "I suppose I could stand to loosen up a bit, but I honestly wasn't sure what to think. It's been a long time since I played really. Other than with the dogs, I suppose." He smiled at his twins, then bent over to swipe the chew toy from the floor and toss it across the room. Battle and Sayeth tore after it at breakneck speed, barking all the while, and Anja cracked a smile.

He relaxed a fraction when Kelski put clothes back on, breathing a sigh of relief. He was too polite to complain about nakedness, and besides it was Kelski's house. Still, he felt a touch more comfortable with her clothes. Anja followed after his friend, head still swimming from the shock of Kelski's transformation. He settled in beside her on the couch and picked an apple up off the tray and popped it into his mouth. "I was trying to logic it," Anja said as his nerves finally began to calm down. "I didn't think the Gem would let a dangerous animal in, but she might let a friendly one in. Perhaps she wouldn't know if it didn't like humans? Or perhaps it simply didn't like me." He laughed again and shook his head. "It could have been anything. It being you was the last possibility in my mind."

Anja's gaze and heart softened as Kelski asked how he was. "I've been busy. Terribly busy." He sighed. "No rest for the undead, I suppose. You know, it never really occurred to me what a venture doing Spiritism in this city would be. Or I suppose it did...that's why I'm here. To do the most good for those who need it the most." Anja paused, chewing his thoughts. "But there are so many other things to worry about than just the ghosts. The gangs, the violence… I feel as if I always have to be on guard. It's exhausting." He gave Kelski a small smile. "But you don't need to worry about me. I'll manage. How have you been?"

It seemed like it'd been a dogs age since the two of them had had an opportunity to catch up. Near misses, late nights with only passing moments at dinner or breakfast to be caught up on the happenings in each other's life. Anja was looking forward to a real conversation with his friend.
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Creature Comforts (Kelski)

Postby Kelski on July 7th, 2019, 5:35 pm

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The Kelvic grinned at Anja and nodded. “Aery’wen, an Akalak taught me a bit about this magic. He stayed at the Gem for a while. It’s the magic of shapeshifters, rather than the magic of Kelvics. I can still learn it though. You could too. Its hard though, not like me trading one form for another. And though it doesn’t hurt, its extremely uncomfortable, cumbersome, and just flat out slow.” Kelski said, reaching out to sniff back at the dogs as if she were still one, offering to lick at them as they licked at her. She was still partially a dog, in her mind, like she had been momentarily in her body. The Kelvic remained in her canine-like crouch a few moments more before climbing to her feet, fetching the food, and settling on the sofa after putting some clothes on.

At Anja’s touch on the walls of The Gem, its communication chimes rang so softly so gently … the yes, no, and the uncertain ones all at once in a soothing quiet noise as if the building itself was reassuring Anja things were fine. She would talk to anyone with the chimes if they addressed her directly, but the communication was limited to the yes, no, uncertain answers each chime represented. It wasn’t a perfect system, but it did allow communication.

Anja was so uncomfortable with nudity. Kelski didn’t understand why bare skin embarrassed him, but she conceded to his needs because she cared more about his comfort than her own. If Kelski had her way, she’d never wear clothing again unless it was just to keep warm. And truthfully? The Midnight Gem was good at adjusting her temperatures to adjust to the Kelvics that lived under her roof’s state of dress. Once dressed and with food in front of them, Kelski dug in.

The Morphing had taken a lot out of her. She was painfully new at it and it wasn’t the easiest of magics to perform. The transformations themselves weren’t that hard. Kelski was used to trading one shape for another. But realistically the time involved bothered her, and so she practiced more and more, trying to get her speed up to a more suitable range. So far, that hadn’t happened though.

“If you watch animals, even old ones Anja, they all play.” Kelski said, inelegantly starting to shove food into her mouth. She chewed with her mouth closed and with perfect manners, but there was a look in her eye when she ate – especially the jerky on the plate – that didn’t allow for approachability. Silver orbs looked predatory as they tore into the dried flesh, taking in calories to replace what she’d lost messing with her djed and her form. “Your dead wife and son won’t feel anger with you if you have fun, Anja. If they loved you, they would want you to enjoy the life they no longer have. It is so short, regardless of your race. If I died, I would want all the people I loved and left behind to be happy after I was gone.” She said nonchalantly. Humans clung to their guilt like they were adrift in a desolate sea and the guilt was the only way to stay afloat. Anja was probably one of the worst offenders. He only lightened up around babies – the puppies or even someone like Mercy’s daughter, Caitlyn. But Kelski knew it was because he hid his guilt from them, not because he shed it.

“You should get rid of your guilt. It has no place in your life other than as an anchor to hold your unhappiness close.” Kelski said softly, one cheek puffed out since she’d just got done stuffing a thick cube of cheese between to pieces of bread and then into her mouth.

“She never sleeps… The Gem. And she sees with a sort of weird vision like vibration or energy. She can see behind walls and in the dark or bright light or even underground. You should trust her, Anja. She is very protective. I think she is perfectly capable of killing an intruder before they get into her form. And if she can’t, I’m planning on giving her more tools very soon so that there can be no doubt that she can.” Kelski said, drawing her knees up and wrapping one arm around a gathered leg. She looked so long, perched in the chair like that. Her long arm snaked out and grabbed a handful of berries – strawberries this time – and began nibbling on them from the tray. “I’m going to teach her all the magic I know. Auristics… Reimancy too. If I can’t be here to protect her, she can protect herself.” Kelski said softly, a slightly wicked mischievous look in her eye. It was almost as if she were daring Anja to tell her that was a bad idea.

It wasn’t, really. Though The Gem was Kelski’s child and a reflection of her personality, it was a very responsible reasonable building. Kelski was proud of the sharp mind and shrewd intelligence it held. “I won’t teach Barn though. Barn is very unhappy and I am not sure what to do to fix it. Barn doesn’t like the animals. The goats keep chewing on his wood and he doesn’t like them shitting inside him. He doesn’t like the horses either. He wants to control their comings and goings, and the way we have his stalls set up, they can do what they like into their pasture. And he hates the chickens too. He says they lay eggs everywhere and some of them are cold or even hard gold.” Kelski shrugged. “The Gem thinks he’d like to be down by the water. He’s fascinated by the ocean. He likes boats too. She says he’s always watching boats. If we had a dock, I’d make him a dock.” She said thoughtfully, as if talking about sentient buildings were the most mundane thing in the world.

The goats were a new addition and truthfully Kelski hadn’t told Anja why she’d suddenly shown up with what amounted to a herd of goats one day. They’d just been there and the Kelvic had been rather tight lipped about it. What was weirder was that they were a breed not common in Sunberth, but more suitable to the wilderness, hearty and a bit feral in their antics.

“Truth be told, The Gem and him don’t get along very well. He’s young but he likes to provoke her. She liked watching the goats play and the horses roam around. She doesn’t mind the chickens pooping everywhere and likes their squabbling. And since we’ve had Barn, everyone is always blocked from her view and she feels it acutely. She told me she wants to keep the horses with her along with us all together. I’ve been thinking on it, and making some sketches and she seems to have a pretty good design worked out. But I don’t think it would work here… there’s just not enough room. She wants to be bigger… bigger by far and have suites for everyone like I have.” Kelski said, leaning back, finally slowing down on her eating.

“I want to give everyone what they want. Barn isn’t very old, and isn’t as awake as The Gem, but he’s only going to get worse and grumpier as he comes more into himself. I need to make him happy and steer him to a better path or we will have a lot of problems later on.” Kelski said, but she let the strain of this juggling act show in her voice. Then quietly, sadly, she let the cat out of the bag. And it was definitely an Ebon sized bag.

“I’m going to leave Sunberth.” Kelski said softly. “Gilthas has been talking about Zeltiva and how scholarly it is. It’s more accepting of mages, though I’m not sure living in the city is right either. There is… famine there. Hunger. None of the people can hunt and all they do is eat seaweed and fish and read books and build ships. There’s nothing wrong with fish, I love it, but there is more to life than that stuff. I want to build a new place for The Gem and Barn to be that is outside the common view of people. If you look at The Midnight Gem with infravision… a trick I learned from Aer’wyn too… the Akalak have special eyelids that let them see heat… it is sooo obvious that The Gem is alive. Barn too now. I didn’t know until I practiced more of his magic and learned deeper. Anyone could see the magic here and it could get ugly.” Kelski explained.

Then she leaned forward and concentrated. Anja could almost feel the power gathering in her as her eyes took on an inhuman glow and a silvery gleam of her djed outlined what was definitely not in her eyes before. Slowly, an inner eyelid like a cat would have closed over the lens of her eye and she reached out and touched the side of her chair. Then she pulled her hand away. “I can see a warm handprint there with these…. I can see in the middle of the night too. I can see footprints to track them through the woods as long as they are fresh. The Akalak see incredible things. They will see the life in The Gem. It’s just a matter of time.” She said softly, slowly leaning back and dismissing the morphing magic from her eyes, letting the infravision fade into nothing. It was quite a bit faster than her canine transformation, but then again a singular set of eyelids that had been well practiced was nothing compared to a whole body transformation.

“I can contain The Gem and Barn and leave. I want to pack up and hire a ship to take me south. I want to find a place in Mathews Bay outside of Zeltiva where I can carve some sort of living out of the Wilderness and establish a place that can grow its own food, have its own livestock, and do its own thing outside the laws of a city. The Architectrix’s can defend themselves – The Gem moreso and moreso every day. I’m teaching her all my magics, even Reimancy. She’s going to learn and use it. And she’s going to be whatever she wants to be revolving around protecting and sheltering us. And I can give Barn a Dock to be so we can tie up ships and he can love the water and maybe be a boathouse. There are several down by the docks, rotted and useless. But he’d be a grand boathouse. And we could have ships. I can still make jewelry, earn an income, and I was thinking of…. “ Kelski looked thoughtful now.

“I’m thinking of starting something … a group of people that can belong to each other. A family that finds old things … old magics and old ways of doing things and brings them back into the world. I want to find the Lost and make it the found again. We can take artifacts and reverse engineer them to make sense in todays world. We can teach people to be mages, good mages… strong mages… not weak power driven mages. Mercy and the baby will come with me. She knows how to grow food. Ebon wants to go too and openly be a healer and teach others to heal. Gil wants to come as well. And Mosa won’t leave the baby… that’s why shes here most of the time. Caitlyn thinks she’s her grandmother or something so I can take her too. I’ve started teaching Vasin magic, and he is more than willing to work hard to clear the land and help us explore to find the lost. We just need creative ways to track things and sharp minds to know where to look. Even Dess has said he will go. You are the last I have left to talk too.” Kelski said softly.

“The Midnight Gem won’t sell right away. It won’t be The Gem, but it will be empty a while before Goldfinger can sell it again. But I talked to Sastiva and she said you could stay here a while until it did sell if you wanted to stay. Duncan is going to remain with Lia because they both have some unfinished business. And I think Crylon is going to live between the two places. He still has work here he is obligated to finish but I think he will eventually join us.” Kelski said, reaching forward and grabbing a big mug of water that was on the tray and drinking deeply.

There was worry in her voice, but there was also relief on her face. She’d been wanting to tell Anja for a while. But she didn’t know how to do it. “The ship I’m going to hire will take all the animals. Maisa and you have a place if you’d like. The puppies too. Frankly, The Gem will be mad if I don’t urge you to bring the pups.” She said, laughing, as The Gem’s ‘yes’ chimes rattled frantically suddenly. It was still primitively communicating in its very unique way to those that weren’t directly tied in.
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Creature Comforts (Kelski)

Postby Anja Nightwatcher on July 10th, 2019, 3:52 pm

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"Shapeshifting magic," Anja said thoughtfully. "That's fascinating." He wondered, for a moment, what it would be like to run with his dogs like Kelski had just done now. Or Maisa? Or to fly like a bird? It seemed almost too fantastic for the Drykas to believe. He wondered why he hadn't heard of the magic before. It seemed like something that his people would have been able to find a lot of use in. There were a lot more dangers on the ground that in the sky. What if the plains could be scouted by air? Anja couldn't keep a smile from his face as Kelski leaned in and sniffed and licked at the dogs. This sent them into small spirals of excitement, Battle in particular, who started spinning in circles and yapping with excitement. The Drykas smiled at the soothing chimes as the Gem reassured him, and he gave the walls of the house a gentle touch of appreciation.

Anja tended to have light breakfasts and heavier lunches and dinners. So he mostly picked at the small amounts of fruit and cheese. Anja usually stuck to foods that he was familiar with from Endrykas. Cheese and fruit were both foods he enjoyed indulging in. Berries were a simple matter to gather during travel, and his people were fond of berry products. He still found baked items to be a bit odd, though he would occasionally eat bread if he was very hungry as it filled him up quickly and was easy to eat and simple to prepare if it had already been baked. But it was usually too heavy for breakfast, so today he ignored it and instead enjoyed a handful of blackberries. In between bites, Anja stifled a smile at the fierce look on Kelski's face. He gave her space as she spoke and ate.

Kelski's words were so sudden, so harsh, it felt like a punch to the stomach. His expression turned suddenly frail, delicate. He was quiet as he listened to what Kelski said, and only picked at his food, having lost what small amount of his appetite breakfast had granted him. "I'm not sure how to get rid of my guilt," Anja said quietly. "It's not as simple as just wishing that I don't want it anymore. It seems as if it would be simpler to not have it anymore, but I can't simply cast it away. It lingers. And it has become such a huge part of who I am now. I never would have come here if it hadn't been for what happened to them. I never would have met you, or the Gem, or met Light and saved the pups. The would be dead now." Anja paused in his words to look at Battle and Sayeth. The pair, having now thoroughly exhausted themselves, had flipped on the ground panting. Battle was laying on her side with her tongue hanging out and touching the floor. Anja's mouth twitched with a smile. "There's something to be gained in this need for... penance, Kelski, if not through the guilt."

As the conversation turned to the Gem, Anja nodded slowly in thought. "It's remarkable what things you can teach her," the Drykas said. "Auristics is a natural choice. Reimancy… I am not familiar with that magic. Is it another one of yours, like the shapeshifting magic? What can it do?" Anja would listen to the explaination, nodding thoughtfully. "She will undoubtedly be formidable. A true fortress." Anja chuckled and brushed his fingers against the floor. "I like forward to seeing what she's capable of." A series of 'yes' chimes rang out in agreement, causing Anja to laugh.

"Barn," queried Anja. "That's must be the child that you mentioned you were going to help the Gem to make. It's unfortunate that he doesn't like animals." Anja had known that the barn had been unusual, but until this point he hadn't really put together that Maisa had been avoiding the place as much as she could, only entering when it was raining and she had no other choice. He disliked the thought that the building might be mean to the animals, but he doubted he'd like it very much if he were stuck with a job he hasn't personally chosen. "If he's so unhappy as a barn, it would be the most kind to give him a different job, wouldn't it?"

Talking about sentient buildings wasn't particularly strange to Anja. Not when he talked to ghosts on a fairly regular basis. It had become easy to become accustomed to the idea that the house was a freethinking entity, particularly when Anja saw her effects daily. The Gem always seemed to be thinking up new things to make her residents happy, whether it was new toys for the dogs, or new sounds and scents in Anja's room. Anja had found her to be very kind.

Anja had been surprised to see the goats when he had gone out to care for the horses the morning after Kelski had gotten them, but goats were hardy and easy to care for, despite all their stubbornness. They were also currently in the process of destroying the fence. Anja wished he had a better idea of how to contain them. Maisa had apparently decided it wasn't worth her own personal effort to stay on top of them.

Anja continued to listen as Kelski spoke, and when she mentioned her intentions he grew very quiet. Anja picked up several slices of cheese and very delicately ate them as he listened to her speak. He made no attempt to interrupt his friend as she spoke, simply listened. It was a simple matter to tell, just from the hastiness of her words how long she had been holding onto these thoughts. Kelski, as always, had put a great deal of thought into her plans. His friend was an innovator, a creator. She was so massively practical, she found the kinks in every problem and given enough time she could craft a perfect solution for any trials that were being faced.

When Kelski had spoken her piece, Anja replied. "Zeltiva is a fine city," Anja told her. "It's nothing like Sunberth. That's not to say it doesn't have its own problems but...it doesn't have danger like Sunberth. You don't have to worry about being mauled on the street, or hiding if you need to practice magic. Mages walk the streets openly. It's very different. Even if you choose not to live there specifically, it would be a good place to live near. You'll be able to take trips there, meet other mages if you want. Everything you've said sounds wonderful." Anja paused for a long moment. "You will surely be much happier there than here. You should leave the shadows of Sunberth behind Kelski."

Anja paused again. He had lived in Sunberth for nearly a year now. He had come to this city when he had heard that ghosts were overrunning the city, and had known he could make a difference here. And he had. There had been many ghosts he had saved and moved onward to their next life, and he had also been indirectly responsible for the death of a nuit. But though it was true that he had made some difference here, it felt as if every step he took forward was several steps back. There was no way to curb the horrible violence of the city. No man or woman could do it alone. And where there was violence, there would be ghosts. There would always be more, more than Anja could possibly contain on his own.

The Eiyon stared at his hands. Dira's mark burned on his palm. He could hear the cries of the city. The song that the dead sang was neverending here. It could break a man. But if he wasn't here to help them, to show them compassion and kindness and show them the way onto their next life, then who would? Who cared, really? It seemed all that mattered to Jeb was keeping them corralled in the Dust Bed to wither away and go mad.

Anja sighed and put a hand through his hair. "How long do I have to decide?" Anja asked. His expression was crestfallen, conflicted. He didn't wish to be parted from Kelski under any circumstances. He was comfortable here, comfortable in a way he hadn't been since he left Endrykas. And he knew that with Kelski, the creatures he had taken into his care would be safe and cared for. Anja wanted a bright life for the dogs. He wanted Maisa to be able to relax and not be so vigilant all the time. There was more to all of this then him now, and he needed to do what was right for the ones he loved. He was being torn at from both ends, and the indecision shown on Anja's face.
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Creature Comforts (Kelski)

Postby Kelski on July 17th, 2019, 3:48 am

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Kelski watched Anja’s reactions, hoping he had more insight into some of the things she was talking about. Learning a magic from a journal wasn’t ideal. But then again, one did the best one could with what one had to work on. Truth be told, the pair of them – the drykas and the kelvic – spent little time together and simply more saw each other in passing due to their busy lives. She couldn’t remember a time they’d just simply sat down and talked, unless one considered some of the dinner times they kept. But even then, not everyone ate at the same time.

He reacted mildly to most of what she said, but when she mentioned playing and guilt, Kelski knew she’d hurt him. He mentioned penance, and Kelski could only nod. Anja’s reality and his world views were not her own. She would mention her opinion, but she would not try and force it on him. It was enough they were talking. And while she’d like to get to know him better, she wondered if his guilt didn’t make better company for him while he was busy punishing himself for living when his family had died. It was sad to see. Kelski thought perhaps it was the will of the Gods, not exactly the fault of the people that survived tragedy, that was more to blame, but she didn’t want to bring it up with Anja. Perhaps it wasn’t even guilt at surviving, and it was something else entirely. But his chronic sadness made her sad too. And all she wanted was to see him smile more often.

She agreed with his logic though. “Yes, things happened that lead you here. If they had happened differently, perhaps your life would have been vastly different.” Kelski mused in agreement. “I think Battle and Sayeth are grateful for your presence.” She added.

“Reimancy is elemental magic. It allows you to create fire, water, earth, and air…or manipulate those things. She will be able to light her own hearths soon and drown or burn intruders.” Kelski said simply, not really understanding the scope of the power she was going to give her child. Maybe she did, deep down, but she trusted The Gem. She knew the mind she touched and taught and it was a strong happy healthy mind.

“I didn’t know Barn would be so unhappy.” Kelski mused, nodding in agreement. “It’s not the animals. I think its just that Barn is different. He has a different sort of soul. He’s not angry, just more quiet, more still, more prone to cycles like the tides. We’ll act accordingly when the time is right.” Kelski mused, nodding and glad Anja agreed. Kelski hadn’t known Anja was thinking about the goats, or she would have explained they were for the new place, not really for The Gem and its denizens here. She’d gotten them cheap and they would do a lot of good towards the new demesne when Kelski found it and started it.

“Thank you.” Kelski said to Anja’s advice that she should leave. “I hope to be happy. But I know it will be a lot of hard work. Its… its not something I can do alone. I like doing things alone and not depending on anyone. But this situation will be very different. I don’t know all the things we will need to survive out there. I can’t make promises of success or happiness. I don’t know what predators are around or what diseases or even if we can grow food. I will take food to get us started, supplies to carry us through the first winter. But I don’t know beyond that. And odds are I will have to hire more people, maybe others that want to leave Sunberth as well. I just don’t know.” Kelski said, uncertainly.

“But like I said, you can stay if you’d like. I’m sailing somewhere after the 70th if we find a ship and someone who will move all our things. You don’t have to decide now, but I know we’d all be happy if you joined us. I don’t know if there will be ghosts were we go, but I think people have died everywhere in this land.” Kelski mused, not certain but not uncertain either. “And like I said, Sastiva said you could stay until the building sold.” Kelski added, not sure if that would be a few days after they were gone or a few years. One never knew in Sunberth.

“But I am not against trying to convince you. Outside the city, the dogs will have room to roam and if we have big cats like Ebon and Lia about, it will be safer for them for they have both agreed to scent mark and scratch trees and stake out territory. Maisa will have room to roam. I plan on getting at least twenty acres… more as time and money allows. And I will settle by the sea. We need to get more horses to go with us for there are no wild horses there I think we can tame like there are other places… like your home. Maisa would have a herd to care for and be with. I think I will get two more mares at least, and Vasin will bring Tack I am certain. More than two dogs might be nice. I do not know what breeds are good for the wilderness though and to guard. We still have Mosa and the baby to worry about. And if I get horses in the right time of year, foals in the following year so we can increase our herd. I think we can have a far better life, Anja. I can’t promise for the Wilderness is uncertain. But I can hope. And then, when we have something worth defending built up, I want to make it an organization to teach magic, to study old magic from the times past, and to protect magics like The Gem and anything else rare and unseen for ages.” Kelski said softly, thinking she could do it.

“I don’t know if I can do it. But I’m really going to try.” She said softly, fiercely, and then thoughtfully. “And even if you don’t want to come right away… you will always have a place. We will make room or leave room.” Kelski said softly, then folded her legs up under her, as she took one more slice of apple and popped it into her mouth.

She was just about satiated, but there was still food in front of her. The Sea Eagle wasn’t one to waste.
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Creature Comforts (Kelski)

Postby Anja Nightwatcher on July 22nd, 2019, 7:33 pm

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There was a small comfort in Kelski's agreement with Anja's point. The paths that Anja's desire for penance had sent him on had led the Drykas to where he was today. And as he looked towards Battle and Sayeth, lying on the ground with the tongues out and giant smiles on their fuzzy faces, it was hard for Anja to imagine a life any different and more wonderful than the one he had led himself to now. The death of his Pavilion had been a catalyst, and for all the sorrow it had caused him Anja could bow be content in his place. His eyes were soft and gentle as he looked at the twins. The didn't know a life other than this, and Anja wouldn't have it any other way.

Reimancy sounded like a powerful magic. Manipulating the elements? A flash of memory struck him and Anja's jaw tensed. A flare of fire that had snuffed out the life of his first strider, and had brought him close to the brink of death. Was it the same magic? "When my family died," Anja said, expression dark. "The Nuit used a magic that shot a ball of fire at me. It killed my old Strider, the one I had before Maisa, and gravely injured me. I wonder if it is the same magic?" Anja was trying to not be judgemental, but he could feel a severe repulsion to that magic. It made his jaw tight. "If it is the same, it is certainly powerful," Anja said. "I doubt anyone could stand against the Gem if she had that sort of power under her control."

Anja's tension cleared as the conversation moved. He found himself nodding in agreement as Kelski explained Barn's inclinations. "If he's quiet and prefers it, I suppose it must be difficult to be around animals," Anja chuckled. "They most certainly are not quiet." Anja personally liked all the noise that his animal friends made. Whether it was the nickering of the horses, the soft clucking of the chickens or even the bleating of the goats, Anja found the background noise to be soothing. It was easy to relax to, and it sent his nerves at ease. That said, Anja could understand it not being for everyone. He wondered for a moment if Barn could smell? That was certainly something that could take some getting used to. He could remember merchants wrinkling their noses at the strong smell of horses back in Endrykas. If you weren't used to it, Anja supposed it could be unsavory. "Can Barn smell?" Anja mused, a slight smile soon turning into a laugh. "I'm sure that doesn't make matters any easier for him!"

Anja's appetite was gone as Kelski talked further about moving, and he was happy to leave the remaining food on the table for her. He listened intently as she spoke of her plans for everyone, how Maisa and the dogs could have places to roam and how Maisa could have a herd to keep her company. She would like that. Anja knew she would. Maisa had taken to Moth like a mother mare to a foal. He knew that if she was given a larger herd that she would love and protect them too. And he wanted her to be happy too. She had hardly had the most ideal life with Anja as her partner. They had been bonded for hardly any time before Anja had taken off for Syliras, and then Zeltiva, and then Sunberth. The mare hadn't really had much of a chance to be a Strider. And thinking about the room that the pups could have to run around and play, and work. They were still young of course, but they loved working. And being able to do it all the time would really make them happy.

Anja ran another hand through his hair. His expression showed the two sides warring with each other. "I'm going to have to think about it, Kelski," Anja said. "Everything you have said so far...it would be a wonderful opportunity for the family. But I have so much good I can do in Sunberth. This is where my Goddess sent me. I don't know if my work will mean as much elsewhere."

As a silence fell between the two of them and Kelski finished the last of the food, Anja heard a familiar whinny come from outside. The Drykas glanced briefly at Kelski in silent question then headed out onto the deck outside. From the raised platform above, Anja had an excellent view of the animal enclosure below them. Maisa was staring up above at the deck, waiting patiently. When Anja looked down at her, query in his expression, she glanced pointedly at the fence. A hole had been ripped into it, and all the goats were happily grazing on the opposite side of the pasture. Anja let out an irritated sigh, and slowly made his way down the pasture. Once Maisa saw Anja was on his way, she peacefully went back to grazing. She didn't care to deal with the goats herself.
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Creature Comforts (Kelski)

Postby Kelski on July 22nd, 2019, 10:35 pm

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“Can you blame a sword for the wielder? If they are all well made and sharp, they can do considerable damage or defend and save a life. Magic is like that too. It might have the potential to kill, but ultimately it is up to the mage what it does or doesn’t do with it… no matter what type or what kind. I can be a puppy and play with yours or I can grow to monstrous size and terrorize the whole city as a creature no one has ever seen before. It isn’t ever the magic, Anja. It’s the mage. People hate magic… all over, everywhere. But they never seem to blame the mage. To me… it’s like blaming the sword without faulting the swordsman.” She said softly, saying nothing more. People had their opinions and she’d rarely seen an opinion swayed after it was formed. Arguments certainly didn’t change opinions, they seemed to harden them in her opinion.

Kelski didn’t like trying to persuade someone into doing anything they didn’t want to do. She decided even as she made her points about the move and Anja once more said he’d think about it, that she’d say no more. The exchange had made her feel very uncomfortable, as if she were a slaver trying to lure someone into potential slavery. It wasn’t a welcome feeling. If Anja had work to do here, then she wasn’t about to try and persuade him to turn his back on it. He’d heard her reasons for moving and she’d told him he was welcome… but she wasn’t going to harp on it. Her quietly packing her house, making arrangements for supplies, and all the rest that would come with moving would be his reminders enough. If she could leave him The Gem she would, but she needed to sell it to Goldfinger to actually have the financing to move and build someplace else.

Someplace where there were no memories and ghosts stalking her making her terrified to leave her own home. She didn’t want to see the Sun’s Birth regalia anymore. She didn’t want to walk by the slave markets and know women and children and innocent men were trafficked like wheels of cheese.

The Kelvic nudged the empty platter. She’d eaten everything and the Drykas had left her to it. As he wandered out onto the deck to see what his horse wanted, Kelski picked up the tray and walked it back to the kitchen to clean it. She heard Anja’s irritated sigh but since he said nothing, she thought perhaps it was directed at her. If something was wrong, he would have spoken out instead of left. She’d irritated him somehow… and now he was off to think things through.

Kelski should have asked him if he were hungry and what he wanted to eat if he was. She should have asked him a lot of things. Because other than his brief back story, Kelski really didn’t know him.

How well did she actually know any of these people? She knew they were good people, but she couldn’t for example say what Anja’s favorite color was. And certainly, the food she liked wasn’t the food he liked if the way he’d reacted to her offer of bread, cheese, and fruit was an example. She had no idea what his favorites was. He was good with the horses and had been exceedingly helpful with Moth and then Tack’s rescue. There was something else he’d been helpful with, but it was lost on the outskirts of her hazy memories of another man. But she couldn’t reach him as a person. There was no closeness there. Kelski longed for it, but trying to get to know him always hurt him. Questions hurt him. Comments hurt him. And she was no good at … whatever it was she was trying to establish between the two of them. A friendship? A deeper understanding? His irritated sigh played through her mind. And she was sorry she told him about the move and upset him. Kelski wished she knew how to talk to him, at least in a way that didn’t upset him or irritate him. Some people liked being left alone though. Maybe Anja was one of those people.

Kelski rinsed the food tray off and scrubbed it clean. She set it in it’s place in the cupboard and looked around to see if there was anything else to do. She laid her hand briefly on the wall, as if to reassure herself The Gem was still there, still present. It was. The physical contact wasn’t necessary, but she liked touching things – buildings, animals, even other humans.

“I wish I were better company. Thank you for not minding when I ramble on.” She thought at her child, knowing it could hear her and understand regardless if her words fully explained what she was feeling.


The man is not irritated at you. He is irritated at the goats that like to get free and play on the other side of the fence.

The Midnight Gem said thoughtfully, its voice bright in her mind.

I like when they escape. They have such joy in doing so, but if you notice they do not go far. They know it is not safe for them. If the horse had not been watching, they probably would not have tried to get out at all. They do it for a reaction, not for the adventure. The grass is equally high on both sides. Food is plentiful. Barn finds it irritating. Anja finds it irritating. I think they just like being noticed and fussed over.

When she heard this news, she walked out on the balcony to watch. Kelski didn’t know if she should go help him or if that would add to his ire. He hadn’t said anything when he left. The goats were delighted in the new company and rushed around excitedly, circling the hole in the fence then Anja himself. The whole thing made Kelski pause, standing up on the balcony watching curiously over the railing and looking down on the scene.

“Do you need help?” She finally asked, uncertainty filling her voice. If the goats got out when no one was around, Kelski had learned to just run out into the pasture, throw herself down on the ground on the right side of the fence, and play dead. They would ignore her at first, but before long their curiosity would get the better of them and they’d cross back over to see if she lived. Then, once they were gathered around, she’d go block the hole and patch it up. It often helped if she brought the right tools out before her dramatic demise in front of the goats. Because if she left to get tools, they’d be back out of a hole in a heartbeat, onto the fact fencing was going to get mended.
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They laugh at me because I am different.
I laugh at them because they are all the same.
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Kelski
Freedom is earned. Fight for it.
 
Posts: 1346
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Joined roleplay: July 3rd, 2014, 11:08 pm
Location: The Wildlands of Sylira & The Empyreal Demesne
Race: Kelvic
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