Solo Scales and Feathers

Aster finds herself with a strange little creature.

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Scales and Feathers

Postby Asterope on August 7th, 2020, 11:54 am

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15th of summer, 520 AV

It was early morning; she had gone for a walk to stretch her legs a little bit, and was on her way home, not particularly paying attention as she walked. But the sound of something hard and glass-like rolling over stone caught her attention.

Aster glanced around, her gaze landing on a fat black cat a few feet away who was playing with something. He was batting it around with both paws, pouncing after it as it rolled. One particularly good swipe sent it skittering across the stone and rolling to a stop against the side of Aster's boot.

It glinted brightly in the morning sun, light reflecting off of it. Curious, Aster bent down to pick it up, turning the object over in her hand. It was smooth and crystalline, egg-shaped, and surprisingly heavily. It must have been made of some sort of crystal; it was a gleaming, iridescent white, reflecting light like a prism as she turned it in her hands, but she had no idea what kind of stone it might be.

There were a few dirt marks on it from where the cat had been rolling it around on the ground, so Aster rubbed them clean with her thumb, surprised when the pad of her thumb caught grooves. Angling the strange stone, she could see a feather engraved into the surface of it.

"Where did you get this?" Aster asked, glancing down at the cat that was no rubbing between her legs, purring loudly. She almost felt guilty for a moment about taking away the cat's toy, but dismissed the thought. Whatever this crystalline object was, it was beautiful, and perhaps valuable, though that wasn't her primary interest. It certainly didn't belong in the dirt, being used as a cat's toy for likely only a few bells.

"Rascal. I hope you didn't bat this off some poor merchant's stall," the Eth chided lightly, bending down to scratch behind the cat's ear before extracting herself from him and continuing on her way home, smooth stone kept in her hand for the rest of the walk.
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Scales and Feathers

Postby Asterope on August 7th, 2020, 12:13 pm

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A few bells later found her back at home, perched on her bed as she tried to practice her shielding. She was testing the limits of what she could do, and the limits of the shields she created. How specific did things have to be, she wondered? To that end, she'd managed to procure some wine, and two small pitchers sat on the table, one filled with white wine, the other one red. The little crystal egg had been placed on the windowsill to catch the sunlight, and was reflecting gentle rainbows around the room.

Aster held a spare rag she had scrounged up, and spread it out flat on her lap. Okay, she thought, inhaling deeply. Focus. She closed her eyes, allowing her thoughts to settle for a moment, focusing on the darkness behind her eyelids and the quiet in her room, the feeling of the bed beneath her, of the floor under her feet, the light, almost nonexistent weight of the cloth resting on her lap.

She exhaled slowly, and reached down inside herself, searching for that thrumming, warm, living energy that she had learned was called djed; that essence that could be grasped, pulled up, and manipulated into magic. Aster found it, almost like a ribbon of flowing energy through her, and focused on bringing it to the surface.

It was still a strange sensation, to control and wield that energy inside her that until recently, she hadn't even known existed. She coaxed it up, up, into her chest, felt it spread through her ribcage, and then focused it down through her arms into her hands, thinking of the shield she was going to create. When she opened her eyes again, her palms were glowing a gentle golden colour, and she could feel the energy thrumming through them, almost like a vibration.

Careful not to lose her concentration, Aster reached for the small pitcher of white wine. Using her other hand to begin slowly smoothing it over the rag spread on her lap, weaving together a shield, she carefully tipped out a single drop onto the beginnings of the shield, watching it absorb. Placing the pitcher back down, she continued, focusing on letting the djed seep out from her fingers, melding together, creating a barrier against the wine. It was like watching liquid sunlight pour out from her hands, gleaming and bright and warm.

Aster carefully smoothed her fingers down to one corner of the rag, watching the shimmering golden light follow, covering the surface of the cloth, trying to keep her focus and spreading the light out evenly, letting it seep like a layer of sunlight, covering everything, and then moved her hand back up on the other side. She straightened the cloth as she went; despite her best efforts, Aster could already see the shield she had created was thinner in some spots, and even had a few small gaps.

Still, she pressed on, keeping her focus on the task at hand.

Ledger :
-4 SM (2 pitchers of common wine)
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The sun will rise, and we will try again
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Asterope
A light that never goes out
 
Posts: 519
Words: 529979
Joined roleplay: August 16th, 2017, 11:11 pm
Location: The Outpost (Sunberth)
Race: Ethaefal
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Scales and Feathers

Postby Asterope on August 7th, 2020, 12:35 pm

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Aster continued to move her hand up along the cloth, letting the djed run from her fingertips and form a shield, focusing on the wine and the task of blocking it from the cloth, trying to keep her spread even.

Kihala had explained to her at one point that it was less about blocking out the actual material, and more about blocking the specific djed associated with it; that shields blocked djed, not objects. But Aster wasn't quite sure she grasped that, so she simply focused on the concept of keeping wine away from the cloth.

She exhaled as she finished covering the cloth in an uneven, shimmering gold shield. Should she do the other side? If what she was trying to do worked, then theoretically, the wine shouldn't touch the cloth, so it wouldn't seep through. She wasn't going to dunk it in the wine, simply pout a little bit over the side she had shielded.

Relaxing, she released her hold on her djed, feeling it flow back from her fingertips and then gently fade from its heightened, active flow back to its normal thrumming warmth. She felt a little bit tired; the cloth was larger than her hand, which was the last thing she had practiced on, and she could tell that the thinnest and spottiest parts of the shield were at the end, when she had been running out of steam.

Still, Aster thought it didn't look that bad. Placing the cloth on the table, she picked up the pitcher of white wine, and trying to focus on the areas where the shield was the thickest and most consistent, poured a little bit onto the cloth.

She almost squealed in delight when the liquid rolled off of the shield instead of seeping through into the cloth; she could see a few small damp spots where the shield had gaps in it, but for the most part, the cloth remained dry.

Placing the pitcher down, she reached for the red wine, and repeated the process. The red wine immediately soaked through the cloth with blooming, vivid crimson stains, passing through the shield as if it didn't exist at all.

Well then. Aster placed the pitcher down, pursing her lips. It seemed things had to be rather specific when it came to shielding. That only raised more questions; if she tasked against water, would it only shield water from the exact same source? What if she got another pitcher of white wine; would it shield against that? Unfortunately, she hadn't thought that far ahead.

Her thoughts were interrupted by a tapping noise. It was a single, small tap, barely audible, and as she glanced around in confusion, Aster thought perhaps she had simply imagined it. But then it came again, slightly louder, and repeated. Aster turned around, searching the room. "What is that?" She puzzled aloud, her shielding experiment forgotten.

Tap, tap, tap, the noise came again, more incessant, and Aster realized it was coming from the window. She glanced over, half-expecting to see a bird or perhaps even a person outside, but there was nothing.

Tap, the noise sounded, and she could have sworn the crystal perched on the windowsill gave the slightest wobble. Cautiously, Aster walked over, bending over to peer closely at the stone.

Another tap sounded, undoubtedly from the stone, and this time she was sure she saw it rock back and forth. Aster stared in surprise. It wasn't an egg-shaped gem; it was an actual egg.

She'd never heard of a creature with such eggs before, that was for sure. Panic welled up in her; she didn't have any experience with hatching eggs. What was she supposed to do?!

Aster scrambled around, settling on grabbing the spare cloth she had been practicing shielding on, and carefully tucked it around the egg. It was the only available fabric that seemed of a suitable size for the egg. Did creatures that hatched from eggs even need a nest like that?

All she could do was sit, and wait, and watch, anxiety and excitement swelling in equal parts every time the tapping sounded. Eventually, Aster began to make out hairline cracks in the egg, and then quite suddenly, it cracked apart, seeming to almost shatter into pieces.
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Asterope
A light that never goes out
 
Posts: 519
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Joined roleplay: August 16th, 2017, 11:11 pm
Location: The Outpost (Sunberth)
Race: Ethaefal
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Scales and Feathers

Postby Asterope on August 7th, 2020, 12:53 pm

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A tiny scaled head poked out from the crumbled shards of the egg, a fragment stuck to its head like an ill-shaped and ill-sized hat, and a tiny forked tongue flicked out at her. Aster blinked owlishly at the snake. It...seemed like a normal snake, for all intents and purposes; perhaps it had a bit of a unique colouring, white with yellow spots and pink-red eyes, but it didn't seem to be anything special.

Before she could continue being bewildered, however, the snake let out a small hiss and unfolded a pair of small, white feathered wings. "Oh," Aster breathed, in surprise. Now that was certainly an animal she had never seen. Although the image of the winged snake seemed to pull at her memory, as if she'd seen it before; but that was ridiculous. She was certain she had never in her few years of life seen a winged snake.

Reaching out, she gingerly removed the fragment of shell from the creature's head. The snake reached out, tongue flicking at her fingers, and Aster giggled when its tiny nose bumped her fingers. Moving closer, she began picking off excess shell fragments from the snake; she was cautious at first, unsure how friendly it was even as a newly hatched creature, or if she had to worry about it biting. Was it venomous? But the snake seemed content to let her help, eventually slithering forward out of the remains of its egg.

Aster jumped slightly in surprise when it clumsily flapped its small wings, launching itself up towards her, and coiled around her wrist. The snake couldn't have been even a full foot in length, only managing to wrap around her wrist fully once, slithering upwards slightly and flicking its tongue at her again. She relaxed, laughing quietly. She'd never had much of any kind of interaction with snakes; she wasn't scared of them, but she knew to be wary. But the winged reptile curled around her arm was...well, it was cute.

Aster smiled down at it. "Well, I suppose I ought to think of a name for you. And look into getting some food. I assume you eat like a normal snake?" She might need to look into how to care for a snake, come to think of it. She would assume, at least for the time being, that despite the wings, the creature wasn't that different from any normal snake.

The snake let out a small chirrup more fitting of a bird than a snake, followed by a quiet hiss. "I'll take that as agreement," Aster said, as the snake half slithered, half clumsily flew up her arm to drape itself across the back of her neck. A small nose poked into her vision from the side, and she giggled as the barest hint of a tiny tongue flickered over her cheek, feeling the wings of the snake shifting beneath her hair.

"That tickles, you know," she said, sitting on the edge of her bed. She wondered if Kihala would know what the creature was. Maybe she should ask.

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OOC :
Cashing in the exotic pet coupon earned from the placeholder challenge for a rakanivas!
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The sun will rise, and we will try again
User avatar
Asterope
A light that never goes out
 
Posts: 519
Words: 529979
Joined roleplay: August 16th, 2017, 11:11 pm
Location: The Outpost (Sunberth)
Race: Ethaefal
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Journal
Plotnotes
Medals: 5
Featured Thread (1) Mizahar Grader (1)
Overlored (1) Alvadas Seasonal Challenge (1)
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Scales and Feathers

Postby Asterope on August 7th, 2020, 1:36 pm

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With the snake still curled around her neck, Aster fetched Kihala from where she kept the statuette; a quick prayer later, and the Ethaefal statue was stretching, smiling gently. "Hello Aster," she greeted.

"Hi, Kihala," Aster returned the smile, perching back on the edge of her bed, Kihala standing on her lap. The statue peered up at her and raised an eyebrow. Aster was still sometimes surprised by how expressive the stone was, shifting smoothly as if the tiny replica of the goddess was real flesh and blood.

"I see you have a new friend." Kihala sounded amused, and Aster chuckled. The snake poked its head out from where it had been curled up in her hair, flicking its tongue as it peered down at Kihala curiously.

"I actually wanted to ask you if you know what...she is," Aster said, after a brief hesitation. She wasn't sure if the snake was a boy or a girl, so she just picked one and went with it. Perhaps she'd eventually find out, perhaps not. It was hard to tell with snakes.

Kihala looked puzzled, and before she could ask any questions, Asterope reached up to carefully untangle the snake from her neck. It curled around her wrist again easily, looping its tail up over her arm and nuzzling its face into her palm, wings settling folded along its back.

The look of confusion changed to one of bewilderment as Kihala looked up at the winged serpent. An expression that Aster couldn't name crossed the statuette's face. After a moment, Kihala spoke. "I think it's best if you discover that for yourself," she said. Aster frowned, confused.

"What? Why?" But Kihala simply shook her head, instead diverting the subject.

"Where did you find her? Were you...did somebody give her to you?" Kihala questioned, and Aster shook her head, mimicking the statue's motions from a mere moment ago.

"No. I found...I thought it was just a gem of some kind, a cat was playing with it. So I brought it back, and I was practicing my shielding, and it started to hatch suddenly," She explained, stroking a finger lightly over the snake's head.

Kihala looked thoughtful and nodded. "Well, be sure to take good care of her," she finally spoke, and Aster smiled slightly.

"Of course. Though I may need to do a bit of research on how to care for snakes," she admitted. "And I still need to think of a name."

She and Kihala discussed name options for some time, but none of them seemed right to Aster. She tried out a few more simplistic names, but none seemed to fit. "Dawn," Aster said, and the snake tilted its head.

"Ella?" Suggested Kihala, and the snake tilted its head the other way.

"Cressida," Aster finally said, and the snake flicked its tongue out.

"I like that," Kihala nodded, and Aster smiled.

"Cressida it is," she said to the snake, giving it a gentle pat on the head. Cressida bumped her snout against Aster's finger, seemingly content with the decision.
Image

The sun will rise, and we will try again
User avatar
Asterope
A light that never goes out
 
Posts: 519
Words: 529979
Joined roleplay: August 16th, 2017, 11:11 pm
Location: The Outpost (Sunberth)
Race: Ethaefal
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Journal
Plotnotes
Medals: 5
Featured Thread (1) Mizahar Grader (1)
Overlored (1) Alvadas Seasonal Challenge (1)
Power Fork (1)


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