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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Anja Nightwatcher
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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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