Solo Birds of a Feather (Part I)

Searching for answers and delving into the past.

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Birds of a Feather (Part I)

Postby Asterope on August 30th, 2020, 10:31 pm

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31st of summer, 520 AV

Aster had started the morning with first examining everything in sight, trying to compare her daytime vision to her vision of the night before in her newest mortal form. She wasn't quite sure if she was still just imagining it, but she was more certain that her mortal seeming did indeed have slightly different vision. Colours had almost definitely been more vibrant and bright, with more depth and nuance, the night before.

She wasn't entirely sure what that really meant, so she decided to wake Kihala up with a quick murmured prayer. Kihala blinked, stretching her stone arms over her head as she smiled at Aster, waking herself up. "Hello, Aster," she greeted the Eth, and then glanced to the snake curled around her neck. "Hello, Cressida," Kihala added with a smile. Cressida flicked her tongue out.

"Hi, Kihala," Aster greeted the statuette, offering a hand for her to step onto. The small stone statue did so gracefully, seating herself in Aster's palm, spreading her stone skirts gracefully. It was still a marvel to Aster to watch the stone move so fluidly, as if it was actual fabric.

"Is this just a chat, or did you have a question?" There was no reprimand in her voice, just genuine curiosity; while Aster enjoyed chatting with the goddess look-alike, and did so often, she perhaps even more often came to her with questions, which Kihala always answered patiently, even when she didn't have the answer.

"A question," Aster admitted, somewhat sheepishly. Kihala smiled and motioned for her to go ahead. "I've been trying to do some research on what my mortal seeming is, to see if I can figure out a bit more about it. Her." She was never sure how to address her own mortal bodies. "I think I'm a Kelvic."

"Again?" Kihala asked, with some surprise, and Aster nodded.

"I know. I actually did a bit of research this time, and I figured it made sense with the strange hair and eyes. I read up a bit on bondmates too. I read that Kelvics can only be mammals and birds, and I assume my hair matches my fur...or feathers...so pink, but I don't know how to narrow it down from there. I was wondering if you could help?"

Kihala listened, rubbing her chin thoughtfully; Aster expected the sound of grating stone on stone, but it didn't come. "I see. I admit, it's a broad category, even with such peculiar colouring. And even I do not know everything; I am merely an echo of the true Kihala and her knowledge, a sliver of what she is. Is there anything else that you noticed? Any peculiar abilities or other physical oddities? Kelvics often have them."
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Birds of a Feather (Part I)

Postby Asterope on September 1st, 2020, 10:54 am

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Aster almost shook her head, then hesitated. "Well...I don't really know how to describe it, but my eyesight is a bit different. I'm not sure if it's better, but colours seem different. Like they're brighter, and almost like I notice more of them."

Kihala hummed thoughtfully at that, tapping her lip and looking at Aster; she could practically see the stone gears turning in the statuette's head. "I can't think of a specific animal. However, if I had to guess...and keep in mind, I could very well be wrong," Kihala cautioned. "However, it might not be a bad starting place. If I had to guess, it might be some kind of bird."

Aster thought about it for a moment. She didn't know anything about the sort of vision that birds had, but she did know that many of them often had strange and exotic coloured feathers. Kihala was right; it might not be correct, but it was a good starting point. It was certainly better than nothing, which is what she'd had up until then.

"It's definitely a good starting point," she agreed. "Thank you for your help, Kihala. I might go back to the Reading Room later and see if I can do a bit of research on birds, in that case."

"Of course. I'm glad to be of help, you know that," Kihala smiled at her. Aster set her back on the table, along with Cressida to keep Kihala company, and bid the two farewell. She normally enjoyed bringing them out and about with her, and she knew Kihala would keep quiet in the library, but she would feel bad leaving Cressida alone, and Aster somehow doubted pets were welcome in the Reading Room.

The library had a rather different air during the day. Most of the lamps were unlit, sunshine streaming in through open windows instead; only those with troubled vision or who sat in the darkest corners of the room had their lamps lit as they read or copied down information. It was quieter as well, less people lounging during the day. The air was almost silent, filled almost entirely with the sound of scratching quills on paper, the rustling of pages, and the footsteps of the Keiss.

The same as she had the night before, Aster flagged one down for directions to the section on animals. "Specifically birds, if possible," she explained, and thanked the woman who pointed the stack of books out to her, assuring her that she did indeed know the rules. Aster would have brought something to hand over in exchange for copying privilege, but she hadn't really expected to be back so soon.

Once again, she began searching the stacks of books and papers. The section covered both birds and reptiles, presumably since neither had enough content to warrant its own section, so sorting through took a bit longer. Finally armed with three books, Aster returned to the couches to take a seat once more, stretching before settling in comfortably for what would presumably be a lengthy reading session.
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Birds of a Feather (Part I)

Postby Asterope on September 1st, 2020, 10:55 am

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The first book covered common birds, mostly of the songbird variety, as Aster flipped through it; it was some sort of birdwatcher's journal or diary, detailing the types of birds they had seen and what they looked like. She skimmed the pages for illustrations and key words in the descriptions, seeking out the word 'pink' anywhere, or even 'grey'.

Brown, brown, black, white...grey caught her eye a few times, but never accompanied by anything more exotic. Aster paused on the page about robins, considering, but what she was quickly learning through the various journal entries was that brightly coloured birds were almost always male, with females of the same species coming in drab shades of brown more often than not.

She was fairly certain her mortal seeming was not, in fact, male. If her Kelvic form was that of a bird, that little piece of information was vital, and made her search both easier yet more challenging all at once.

Setting the book aside, Aster flipped through the other two, but had no luck with them either. Getting up to put them back, she decided to switch up tactics for the time being. She was still curious about all of this bondmate information; she didn't know any Kelvics herself, but perhaps she could find a journal written by one if she was lucky? Still, it had already been several bells, to her surprise, so Aster decided to take a break and go for a quick walk to stretch her legs.

An idea struck her as she walked, and Aster changed course to head for the market. Perhaps she could continue her research on this little walk of hers. There was a section in the market that sold pets; surely there was at least one person who sold birds.

Perhaps she could talk to them and see if they knew anything. The walk was leisurely, Aster enjoying the warmth and sun of the Outpost as she went; arriving at the market, she began to make her way through. She didn't have time to wander and hope she found what she needed, as she usually did; she was on a mission.

Asking around about the district of stalls and shops dedicated to pets pointed her eastwards in the market, and she made her way through the alleys of stalls and crowds of people until she heard the meowing of cats and the clucking of chickens, and the scent of hay and what was distinctly animals hit her nose. The stalls here were more spread out, many of them having small pens or fenced in areas to hold the creatures for sale. Aster spotted a stall with chickens, but upon seeing no other birds, kept looking.

Perhaps this was a bad idea. She was tempted to stop at every stall and coo at the kittens or pet the leashed dogs, and it was making her heart ache in a funny way. She hadn't had an animal companion for a very long time. None, in fact, since Navi's death; until she had found Cressida earlier this season. She had almost forgotten the joy of having an animal by her side, and being surrounded by animals for sale was not helping.
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Asterope
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Birds of a Feather (Part I)

Postby Asterope on September 1st, 2020, 10:56 am

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Inhaling deeply, Aster did her best to ignore it and soldiered on, peering around for any stalls with birds. She didn't have to look very hard. A loud, angry 'caw' caught her attention, and Aster spotted an uncomfortable looking man with an angry raven on his shoulder, the bird flapping menacingly. The man at the stall was doing his best to calm the bird. Aster made a beeline for the stall.

"It's alright," she automatically reached out to the raven to calm the bird. It squawked at her, then paused mid-flap before slowly folding its wings, clicking its beak. It ruffled its feathers slightly, cawing more quietly as Aster stroked its feathered head, blinking a dark, beady eye at her. She realized both the man and the shopkeeper were staring at her in surprise

"How did you do that?" The shopkeep asked, while the man promptly shoved the raven at Asterope and stormed off in a huff, the shopkeeper ignoring his shouted obscenities. The raven fluttered to her shoulder easily, though Aster winced slightly at its weight and claws digging into her skin. She noticed it was tethered to a perch attached to the stall with a leather cord wrapped around its ankle.

"Uhm, I don't really know," Aster said, honestly, leaning her body to the other side to accommodate the raven's weight as he preened through her hair with its beak. "I didn't do anything, really." The man was looking at her strangely, then let out a sharp whistle. The raven cawed, as if annoyed, and ruffled its feathers. He nudged his beak once more against Aster's head, clicking it against the base of her horn, before he hopped off her shoulder and fluttered back to his perch.

"Well, you certainly have a knack with animals. Tell me, miss, what can I help you with? Looking for a feathery companion? I have a wide variety," the man stood aside, gesturing with a sweeping arm to the row of perches and cages behind him that indeed, held a variety of birds.

Aster opened her mouth to correct him. "Actually, uhm..." she paused, stumbling over her words. She was hardly business savvy, but would he bother to help her if she told him she wasn't looking to buy and only needed help? He would likely be more inclined to spend time on her if he though she was a potential paying customer. It felt dishonest, but Aster swallowed and said carefully, "I was wondering if you had any pink birds."

"Pink birds, eh? An unusual request for an unusual lady!" The man stroked his beard thoughtfully, turning to look at his range of feathered creatures. "Sadly, I'm not so sure I have any that fit that bill. Hah, bill, get it?" Aster stared blankly. "Some, some birds...they have bills, not beaks. It's funny," the man snapped, and Aster nodded, still confused.

"Regardless," he continued. "I don't think I have any. Off the top of my head, why, I can only think of flamingos! Exotic things, bright pink and stand on one leg. And long legs at that, let me tell you." Aster frowned slightly, listening to him describe the birds. She supposed it was possible, but it didn't sound quite right. "Big, too. Not good for pets unless you have a big old yard and pond." Almost certainly not right, then.
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Birds of a Feather (Part I)

Postby Asterope on September 1st, 2020, 10:58 am

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"You don't know very much about birds, then." The voice came from the woman at the next stall, as she called out, leaning towards them, clearly having been eavesdropping. She had a few birds of her own for sale, along with a few dogs leashed to her stall and a tank of reptiles. The man spluttered indignantly; Aster absentmindedly thanked him for his time, turning her attention to the woman.

"You have something that fits what I'm looking for?" She asked, walking over to the stall. The dogs all immediately began wagging their tails, sniffing at her. Aster smiled slightly, petting their heads but keeping her attention on the woman.

"Unfortunately no, not currently. But I can at least point you in the right direction with what type of birds you might be looking for," the woman said, propping an elbow on the table of her stall and smiling broadly at Aster. "Any other specifics you want? Big bird? Small bird? Male, female?"

"Female," Aster said, automatically. "Size...doesn't matter." The woman nodded, humming thoughtfully.

"Well, female actually narrows it down quite a bit. Birds are sexually dimorphic; the males are almost always more brightly coloured than the females so they can attract mates." Aster already knew that from her reading, though not under such a specific name, but she nodded regardless.

"My wonderful market neighbour already mentioned flamingos. As far as purely pink goes, there are also roseate spoonbills, which are also big beasties, and rose-breasted cockatoos. I'm not sure about that species specifically, but cockatoos are a fairly popular pet. I have a few white ones with me," the woman gestured to medium-sized white birds in cages in the back, with feathered crests on their heads. "They look like that but pink, with grey wings."

Pink and grey. Aster leaned in closer, suddenly excited. "Do you know where I could find one?"

"They're not that uncommon. You might find one around here if you're lucky," the woman shrugged, and Aster thanked her before turning to resume her hunt through the marketplace. It took her awhile of searching; birds weren't as popular a pet as some other animals, it seemed, but finally a flash of pink in a cage caught Aster's eye. A small stall had a scarce few cages set up; peering at the birds, they all looked similar to the white cockatoo the woman had shown her, except one was distinctly pink with grey wings.

"Excuse me," she said, as she approached the stall. "Can I see that bird?" She pointed at the pink bird. The man glanced at it, grunting. He fetched the cage, clunking it down on the counter far too roughly in Aster's opinion. She was tempted to actually buy the bird, she didn't have much money on her, and she didn't know the first thing about caring for a bird. Besides, she had Cressida to worry about for now. Peering into the cage, the cockatoo chirped at her, ruffling its crest and turning its head to peer at her with one crimson eye.

"That's it," Aster mumbled to herself, delighted. It had to be, right? How many other grey and pink animals with red eyes could there be in the world? Feeling triumphant, Aster straightened up. "Thank you," she said to the very confused man, who quickly became disgruntled when she stepped back.

"Aren't ye goin' to buy anythin'?!" He shouted after her, but Aster ignored him, already deep within her thoughts again as she began walking back the way she'd came. It was progress to have pinned down what animal she was, but it still didn't tell her much about who she was. Or rather, who she had been.

She still wanted to do research on bondmates. Perhaps that would help her further. Her walk had taken much longer than she had originally anticipated, though it had also been much helpful. Still, she quickened her pace as she hurried back towards the Reading Room, eager to continue tracking down the mystery of her own identity.

(Continued in Birds of a Feather Part II*)
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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
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Journal
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Medals: 5
Featured Thread (1) Mizahar Grader (1)
Overlored (1) Alvadas Seasonal Challenge (1)
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