[SEASONAL EVENT] Heartlight
for Rory
Jigano Silversmith
Provost / Lorekeeper ☆ Loreseeker's Guild
Age: 27 | Height: 6'2" | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 4 - Strg: 9 - Dext: 30 - Endr: 16 - Luck: 8
ISUMA - Mythical - Gryphon (venomous)
Played by: Cirago Offline
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Posts: 449
MP:
#1
Of all the midwinter gifts he had made, this one was the hardest to give. All of them had been difficult in their own ways; the charms were memories given physical form, symbols of light and hope, but he had tried to close his heart off for so long that to acknowledge that he wanted friends again, wanted to belong and feel as though he meant something to another person, another heart… it was harder than he’d thought possible. The charms themselves were beautiful, but to actually give them to those who had come to mean so much to him meant admitting that he needed them. Admitting to himself that he wasn’t strong enough to stand alone – that he never had been.

Even if he didn’t deserve them, he couldn’t stop himself from reaching out anymore. He had been destroying himself, before he’d come to Caido. Now he was…

He didn’t know. The harder he tried to hold on to who had been, the more he felt himself unravelling at the seams.

The loss of his dreams… might be playing a role in that. It certainly didn’t help.

But Rory was worth them. Among all those Jigano called friend, the blond hunter was unique. He accepted the fae heart of the Attuned’s soul without question. His touch was gentle, as much a balm as Isuma’s boundless love, and there was no one on Caido with whom he felt safer. And no one he wanted to protect from himself more.

Giving him the silver charm would mean he could no longer pretend otherwise. But not giving him the charm Jigano had had made from the silver coins of his homeworld would be to lessen Rory’s place in his heart, and that was far worse.

So he had fashioned a loose collar from a strip of leather with the charm in a bag at his throat, and positioned it on the branches of a bush so that when he changed to fox form he could push his head into the circle and let it fall around his neck. Isuma, little ball of pale white and bluish-grey feathers barely larger than his hand, had bounced at his side eagerly, always happy to have him closer to her size. They had started out walking together, but when she grew tired he took her gently in his mouth as if she were a pup and not a gryphon cub, and carried her over the snow.

By now he knew the way to his friend’s farm, and it wasn’t so very far. He passed a trio of luxere browsing in a small glade, earning an ear-flick of curiosity as he passed, then trotted down from the trees and over the snow, white on white and moving confidently. Thanks to Vervain he had only the faintest of scars on his shoulder to show for their hunting mishap, and was once again swift and nimble on his feet. Into the yard he went, and towards the goat pen where the memory snow still held the shape of a little white fox. Depositing the gryphlet on the snow-fox’s back, he sat beside it in a conscious mirror to listen for sounds of his friend and find out where his chores had taken him today. Perhaps once he had delivered his gift they could head into the woods together to play with the luxere? They were far nicer company than the vampire gourds had been!
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Leatherworker
Age: 27 | Height: 175cm / 5'9 | Race: Abandoned | Nationality: Natural
Level: 2 - Strg: 11 - Dext: 16 - Endr: 15 - Luck: 5
Played by: Neowulf Online
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Posts: 113
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#2
Busy—

Busy hands, busy mind, busy soul, busy heart—

He could do things, like .. listen: to his blood, to the song of a few winter birds chirping in the trees outside, to the sound of ponies and goats browsing in the snow. He could do a lot of things, but what he found himself doing was two things: tooling a leather bracelet for a customer's daughter, and thinking.

The former was easy. It was just a flower-like pattern, one he had done a thousand times, and probably could do in his sleep. The latter, well.. it was what he didn't want to be doing, but what he found himself doing all the damn time anyway. It wasn't like he had any revelations either, it was just the same old, same old.

He was lonely.

Things were changing.

And for the first time in his life, he felt like he was running out of time.

Tap-tap-tap, tap, tap-tap, was the most immediate sound as he worked the leather pattern, gently knocking a small hammer against the beveling tool. He tried to put the thoughts out of his mind, to focus wholly on his task—the last thing he wanted to do was ruin all the work he'd done by not paying attention to what he was doing just because he was busy moping.

And for a time, it worked. Rory was engrossed by his task, until his little visitors caused a ruckus they had perhaps not expected.

All of a sudden there was barking, a sound of alarm that nearly had him running the bevel tool right across the damn bracelet. Then the sound of the herd being rounded up, Esaia's indignant whinny as Ella probably tried to nip her haunches—

Rory was out the door of his workshop before he even realized what he was doing, his pulse racing, his thoughts screaming a confused but at least there shouldn't be monsters?! but a wolf pack would be just as devastating—

But it wasn't, it was, uhh, it was the white fox, and the dogs had caught its scent, and Vaya—he loved her for her bullheaded instincts but right now, hated her for her aggression—was a black-and-tan streak coming through the pen, straight towards the fox(es), jumping through the fencing as Rory, sort of breathless and imagining either the fox or the dog horribly killing the other, yelled "Vaya! Down!".

To her credit, she did stop: all teeth bared and hackles raised, a growl rumbling in her chest. Somewhere behind her, Ella was pinning goats and ponies in the furthest corner of the pen. Rory jogged over the snow, firmly grabbing the angry bitch by her collar and hauling her off a little ways. This.. was something he'd worried about when the fox had come onto his farm the last time: what would happen when the dogs noticed it?

And how would he deal with it?

He couldn't teach them to accept foxes, but...

Surely there was some way to make a goddamn exception

Would Vaya just go for it again if he sent her back into the pen?

She squirmed a little in his grasp, confused and upset, and there was no way he could tell her what was up, that this particular fox was okay, that it meant no harm, but that she should still scare and chase off other foxes—

He'd have to make it up to her later, but without any form of leash he had a feeling she'd just take off after the white intruder again, there was just too much fight in her. Swearing softly he shoved her into the nearest outbuilding and shut her in there. She began barking and scrabbling at the door, and Ella was still pinning the goats, and Rory felt like telling them both to go to hell. "Ella. Ella!" He had to shout her name a couple of times before making it through the neurotic haze that was her brain. She looked at him questioningly. "Knock it off," he told her tiredly while striding back towards the snow-fox, wondering if his friend would even still be there after all the fuss the dogs had made.

[ Jigano: PRESENTS!!! Rory's dogs: *destroys the mood entirely* ;_; ]
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Jigano Silversmith
Provost / Lorekeeper ☆ Loreseeker's Guild
Age: 27 | Height: 6'2" | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 4 - Strg: 9 - Dext: 30 - Endr: 16 - Luck: 8
ISUMA - Mythical - Gryphon (venomous)
Played by: Cirago Offline
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Posts: 449
MP:
#3
The dogs hadn’t been out the last time he’d visited. Oh, he’d caught their scents, but he hadn’t considered them dangerous. Unlike a true fox, he had no reason to; he’d never spent any time near farms or places where dogs would catch his scent on his world, and on Caido the dogs of the settlement had other scents to sniff. So he’d trotted boldly in as he’d done last time, only this time with a little one in tow.

He’d barely set her down when the first snarl went up, prelude to the angry barking to come as two of the farm’s most stalwart defenders moved smoothly into action. If he had been alone he might have danced circles around them, giving into the mischief he usually kept so tightly reined. But he wasn’t alone, Isuma was with him, small and nearly helpless and easy prey to the snapping jaws of the big guard dogs. There was no time for games, no instinct but a fiercely protective panic as he spun on his hind paws, catching her up in slender jaws as she Reep!ed her distress at all the noise and fear and anger in the air.

He leapt into motion as Vaya reached the fence, running away from her even as Rory appeared and shouted at the larger canine. She stopped; Jigano didn’t, though he did change his course. Instead of running away he curved his sprint to head in the direction the hunter had come from, hoping to find a door open to safety, or at least shelter. If he could just get up higher than the dogs could reach—

There was an open door, not to the house but to a workshop, it seemed, as he slowed and trotted inside, Isuma still making little noises of distress in his mouth as she caught his mood. The barking had grown quieter behind them, at least, with no indication of pursuit. A door slammed, and the loudest dog’s voice grew muffled, while the other grew silent shortly after. Jigano hopped up into the chair Rory had left, still warm from his friend’s body heat, and set his little companion down gently. She burrowed against him, seeking reassurance, and he let out a heavy sigh as he lowered himself gingerly to curl around her, eyes and ears pointed towards the door and on high alert for the sounds of anything approaching.

His tracks were easy to follow, and Rory would have no trouble tracing them. When Jigano heard friendly footsteps approach he would lower his head, ears flattening when the hunter came in the door, an expression of guilt on his sharp canine face and deep in blue eyes. He offered an apologetic whine, tail thumping once, lightly, against the seat of the chair.
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Leatherworker
Age: 27 | Height: 175cm / 5'9 | Race: Abandoned | Nationality: Natural
Level: 2 - Strg: 11 - Dext: 16 - Endr: 15 - Luck: 5
Played by: Neowulf Online
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Posts: 113
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#4
What a mess.

His heart was still racing, outpacing even his mind; halfway back to the workshop he had to stop. The amount of adrenaline in his system was making him feel sick, and combined with the residual anger it formed a potent and uncomfortable mixture. Rory put his hands behind his head and tilted his face to the sky, breathing deeply.

It was not the fox's fault. It was not Vaya's fault. He had known this would happen, sooner or later, and perhaps sooner was better. It had just been a matter of time, and like the idiot he was, he had put off trying to find solutions. Life had been so overwhelming recently... Rory held the cold air in his lungs.

If the fox was truly his friend, they'd figure something out.

After a good many seconds, Rory let his breath out again. Vaya was still making unhappy noises in the shed, but he didn't think she'd be able to get out, at least. And he felt less messy, more centered, the irrational flames of anger mere coals again. He didn't like it when he got like this, but there wasn't a whole lot he could do about it now.

The snow crunched under his boots again as he finally made it to the open workshop door. The white fox was curled up on his chair, something blue and gray nested against it, and as Rory stopped in the doorway it greeted him with a whine and a lowered head. Rory sighed and leaned against the door frame for a moment, his face troubled. He hadn't quite managed to leave his worries out in the snow, his mind still—rapidly and unproductively—going through scenarios in how he could possibly try to get the dogs to accept the white fox.

After a couple of seconds he sighed again and rapped his knuckles against the wall, before stepping inside and closing the door behind him. He walked over to the chair and dropped down into a crouch, offering his hand for the fox to sniff, and then, if allowed, uncurling his fingers to offer it the customary greeting jaw-scratch. "It's not your fault," he told his fox friend gently. "That was bound to happen sooner or later."

Then he straightened up and half-sat on the edge of his desk, picking up the bracelet again and absentmindedly studying it. It seemed like he'd managed to keep from denting it with the bevel tool, which was relieving. Vaguely, he used it to gesture towards the bundle of fur—and feathers?—nestled against the fox, seeing as it was decidedly off-hue for him. "Who's your friend?" he asked, still sounding a little subdued.
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Jigano Silversmith
Provost / Lorekeeper ☆ Loreseeker's Guild
Age: 27 | Height: 6'2" | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 4 - Strg: 9 - Dext: 30 - Endr: 16 - Luck: 8
ISUMA - Mythical - Gryphon (venomous)
Played by: Cirago Offline
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Posts: 449
MP:
#5
He should have thought ahead, he chastised himself as he waited. He never should have brought Isuma into the farmyard, even if he hadn't been smart enough to be afraid of the dogs for himself. He still wasn't used to not being on his own anymore, and he berated himself for the stupid risk he had taken with her. More, he had brought difficulty to Rory, scaring his animals and upsetting his hounds - upsetting him with all the disturbance. He hoped the hunter wasn't too upset with him. Would he banish Jigano from visiting the farm again?

The worst part was the waiting and the not knowing. Not knowing whether Rory would ask him to leave... or if it would be the angry dog that came crashing through the door next, rather than his friend. So the fox waited, tense and unhappy as his gryphlet shivered against him. But as the seconds turned to minutes and the barking of the dog stayed distant and muffled, he began to relax a little, his alertness becoming watchful rather than fearful.

Rory was courteous enough to knock, even though it was his workshop that Jigano had invaded, but white ears perked up in gladness at seeing his friend just before lowering in guilty apology. He sniffed the proper hand politely, reassuring himself with his friend's comforting scent, then tilted his jaw into the scratch, relaxing a little when the human didn't immediately chastise him. Isuma, too, raised her downy head, yellow eyes wide as she looked at Rory for the first time.

The hunter's gentle words were more than Jigano had dared to hope for, and he brought his ears cautiously up again, relaxing further as he realized that Rory didn't blame him. He watched alertly as the hunter retrieved his tool and project, the fox tilting his head in curiosity as Isuma also turned to try and see what had caught his attention. At the quiet question the fox thumped his tail again, this time more cheerfully as he turned to nose at Isuma, encouraging her to step forward. She uncurled from her little ball fully, letting out a soft Reep? of curiosity. After thinking for a moment, and seeing the quiet unhappiness in Rory's posture, Jigano sat up and put his nose down to her. Gently he grasped her between neck and wings, right over her shoulders, and then held her out, encouraging Rory to hold out his hands so he could deposit the softly squeaking bundle of fur and feathers into them for proper pets.
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Leatherworker
Age: 27 | Height: 175cm / 5'9 | Race: Abandoned | Nationality: Natural
Level: 2 - Strg: 11 - Dext: 16 - Endr: 15 - Luck: 5
Played by: Neowulf Online
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Posts: 113
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#6
The little off-hue ball was definitely not a part of the fox, unless it had grown a very cute tumor. Large yellow eyes followed Rory, and though he was curious about the little bundle, he didn't want to intimidate it. So he sat there on his workdesk, bracelet clasped in his lowered hands, and watched from the corner of his eye only. It was the universal animal body language for I mean you no harm and given the rather rough start on their visit, he figured it wouldn't hurt to be exceedingly polite.

Then again. Maybe it was just a baby Attuned.

Though thinking about that made his brain break a little. He knew so little of his fox friend—neither name nor age nor gender—that trying to slot a baby into it was just upsetting. It was probably something else, a companion animal of some sort. While Rory had a special bond with his ponies, he'd been told it was nothing like the soul-merge of a companionship.

With an encouraging nudge from its guardian the bundle uncurled fully, reeping and still looking up at Rory. The large yellow eyes; a beak; soft down of a chick, but its anatomy seemed decidedly not bird, at least not entirely. He didn't quite have time to figure it out before the fox sat up and gently grasped it in its jaws, holding it out for him.

Rory sat still for a second longer, surprised—and touched—at the obvious offer to hold it. Then he put the bracelet aside and held out his hands.

The creature was tiny, weighed barely more than the air. He held it gently, waiting to see how it would act; would it be stressed and uncertain he'd merely hold it, waiting for it to settle, but when it seemed okay with some handling he'd straighten up, bringing it closer to his face.

He ran the fingers of one hand gently down its spine, finding it elongated into a tail. Claws on its forelegs, paws on its hindlegs; a gryphon, then, a rare creature though not entirely unheard of. Gently he turned it around in his hands, lifting the tail—and possibly earning himself some insulted reep!s—to check its sex. When he was a kid they had still had cats on the farm, including a couple of litters, but his sister got some hang-up on them after their mother died, and while Rory could appreciate a good cat, he was more of a dog person anyway. Their last cat had died a couple of years ago, and Rory hadn't gotten around to getting a new one since.

"A little gryphon girl," he said gently, releasing her tail and turning her around again and gently scratching along her chin with his fingertip. Birds wasn't his specialty but he was willing to learn. "So you are an Attuned."

To Rory, it was the logical conclusion: dragons for Accepted, unicorns for Abandoned, and griffons for Attuned. What Ascended had he'd never really got a clear answer on, and he'd heard legends of bird-deer, but little more than that.

Belatedly he realized that calling the fox out on its sometimes-state of being human might not be the best idea; it hadn't given any indication it was interested in shifting around him, and even though Rory was perhaps a smidge crankier than usual he didn't want to press his friend. "Don't worry, I'm not asking you to shift or anything," he said, keeping his attention on the gryphon. "I just wasn't sure if you actually were one, or if you were just some .. spirit, of sorts, that took a liking to me. Which would've been unlikely, but..." He shrugged one shoulder, running a thumb over the smooth baby feathers. "She's beautiful."
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Jigano Silversmith
Provost / Lorekeeper ☆ Loreseeker's Guild
Age: 27 | Height: 6'2" | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 4 - Strg: 9 - Dext: 30 - Endr: 16 - Luck: 8
ISUMA - Mythical - Gryphon (venomous)
Played by: Cirago Offline
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Posts: 449
MP:
#7
With the stress of the barking dogs and Jigano's fear passed, and now only fondness and trust echoing through their bond, Isuma was perfectly happy to meet Rory. She fit - barely - in his two cupped hands, and settled herself into a sitting position as she looked up at him just as curiously as he looked down at her. The fox watched them both, amusement and approval in his expressive blue eyes at Rory's gentleness and the gryphon's good behavior.

The little one arched into the stroke down her spine, eyes closing in pleasure and a soft, rolling trill that was half-purr emerging from her beak. The trill broke off into an undignified squeak as she was turned and examined, though Jigano just opened his jaws, tongue lolling out in a vulpine laugh at her predicament. He couldn't blame Rory for his curiosity, and though Isuma's tiny pride was offended she was also quick to forgive and forget when chin scratches were offered. She wasn't quite so relaxed and trusting this time, but she clearly enjoyed the attention.

He was, Jigano thought ruefully, almost a little jealous, in fact. But Rory's quiet voice had him cocking his head to the side, and his expression grew solemn at the declaration that he was Attuned. It wasn't as though he'd tried to hide it... not precisely... but...

Before he could worry too much, the hunter offered reassurance, and the fox relaxed. His ears perked forward in gratitude. At hearing that Rory had thought him some sort of spirit the ex-Oracle nearly laughed again, but... it wasn't so unlikely that a kindly spirit would take a liking to Rory, no matter what the blond might think.

He'd traded his dreams to Ludo to buy his friend a lease on the god's cruel tricks, after all, and done so willingly. It wasn't hard to imagine someone - or thing - else doing something similar. He crouched on the chair so he could lean forward and nuzzle the back of his friend's hand as Isuma Reep!ed happily at the admiration in Rory's voice. Then - collar and bag still tied around his neck - he hopped to the floor and took a corner of his friend's coat in gentle teeth, tugging lightly towards the door.

He might not be a guardian spirit, but Long Night was nearly upon them and he knew where some could be found. Surely between the two of them they could coax a few of the little herd back to the farm for hay and treats?
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Leatherworker
Age: 27 | Height: 175cm / 5'9 | Race: Abandoned | Nationality: Natural
Level: 2 - Strg: 11 - Dext: 16 - Endr: 15 - Luck: 5
Played by: Neowulf Online
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Posts: 113
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#8
It was very weird handling a creature that felt like a kitten, but the half that he was looking at didn't look like a kitten at all. There was a mismatch between what he was feeling and what he was seeing, and he didn't know what to make of it. He was honest when he said that she was beautiful, but some small part of him was just saying what the fuck.

He'd get over it; it wasn't even affecting him, was just something he noticed as he held her and she felt so different from how she looked.

Then the fox's cold nose touched the back of his hand, and he lifted his eyes from the gryphon. He tried to meet the summer blue gaze, but the fox was quick to leap down onto the floor, and as it did Rory caught sight of what seemed to be a collar around its neck. That was.. strange. He had never seen it wear anything before, and he frowned a little as it grabbed him by the coat and tugged.

This time it didn't seem to be for him to lean forward and get his nose booped, because he found himself being hauled towards the door. "It's good to see you're doing better," he remarked dryly, though to be fair, Vai's magic had had it doing better almost instantly.

The scarf was still stained a pale red, despite his best efforts to wash it out.

Once at the door Rory shouldered it open, letting himself and the fox out, the little gryphon still held safely—and probably rather comfortably—in one of his hands. Maybe some legs stuck out, but she was secure and his palm supported her chest and belly. "I see you have a collar now," he let slip as he closed the door behind them; his voice was too even as he said it, because what he wanted to ask was

so does that mean you belong to someone?

but he thought it too prying, too jealous. He didn't want to judge when he knew so little, so he kept his words careful, his voice schooled. Who the hell owned an Attuned anyway?
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Jigano Silversmith
Provost / Lorekeeper ☆ Loreseeker's Guild
Age: 27 | Height: 6'2" | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 4 - Strg: 9 - Dext: 30 - Endr: 16 - Luck: 8
ISUMA - Mythical - Gryphon (venomous)
Played by: Cirago Offline
Change author:
Posts: 449
MP:
#9
Isuma didn't notice Rory's uncertainties, she just enjoyed the attention she was receiving, and the warmth of his hand, and the even warmer feeling of approval and gladness she received from Jigano as he watched the pair interact. It was important to him that she like the hunter - and that the blond hunter like her, or at least not mind her. Isla had said that they were bound for life, and he wanted - a little desperately, though he was afraid to examine the feeling too closely - the gryphlet and the human man to get along. Though with how the dogs had reacted to his intrusion onto the farm he might have to rethink his visits in the future. Or at least be more clever about them...

But since the dogs were currently dealt with, it seemed an excellent time to make his escape through their territory to go 'hunting' luxere. He wasn't sure how to communicate what he had in mind, but surely with voices and good intentions they could coax the gentle herbivores close enough to show them the farm, so they would be more likely to return there when the sun set for a week? He started with trying to coax Rory - first out the door, glad to see the man had Isuma well in hand.

He looked up at the comment about doing better, ears flicking forward as he let go of his friend's sleeve, giving his friend his toothy grin of agreement. He hopped in place as Rory opened the door to demonstrate how fully healed he was - though it had left scars on his human skin, faint silvery traceries that Vervain's magic hadn't quite erased. Beneath his fluffy white fur, however, they were nearly invisble, and he moved easily out over the snow as Isuma peeped happily at being carried, even if it was a little undignified. She had yet to grow into her dignity, however, and her downy wings fluttered eagerly as the breeze blew threw them.

Ah, so Rory had noticed the collar, Jigano thought, glancing over his shoulder slyly. He gave himself a thorough shake, letting the loose band of leather swing freely with the bag at its nadir holding the present he was looking forward to giving. Was now too soon or...? His ears half-flattened and he flinched at the sound of a dog's muffled whine. It was definitely locked behind some door but... well, perhaps the gift could wait until they were up and away from the threat of flashing white teeth closing on his shoulder again.

Not making a noise - not wanting to start the hounds up again - Jigano turned a quick circle in the snow, then set his nose towards the woods, padding a few feet and then turning to look at Rory, encouraging him to follow before going a little further.

Bit by bit, step by step, he would try to coax his friend to the treeline and then a bit further. The luxere weren't far, he knew, and with any luck they'd drifted closer while he'd been down on the farm making his terrible first impression with Rory's protectors.
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Leatherworker
Age: 27 | Height: 175cm / 5'9 | Race: Abandoned | Nationality: Natural
Level: 2 - Strg: 11 - Dext: 16 - Endr: 15 - Luck: 5
Played by: Neowulf Online
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Posts: 113
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#10
It was such a nice grin, that fox grin, all teeth and pulled-up lips; it was honestly a marvelous thing how big a difference the absence of a wrinkled muzzle did when the rest of the expression was rather similar. Rory laughed a little at it as it hopped in place, paws and claws clicking a little on the floorboards. "Yes, quite much better, I see," he responded lightly, navigating the door and getting them out back in the open.

Mentioning the collar had a .. not quite expected effect. The fox seemed... proud? .. of it. Rory allowed a small frown to crease his forehead as he watched the creature give itself a shake. Was that a small bag attached to it? He put his lower lip between his teeth as he contemplated this new bit of information. Maybe it was just to carry something? Though.. what? Attuned retained their clothing while shifting, so it had to be something it wanted to be able to access as a fox.

He wouldn't know short of investigating it, and he was keen on letting the fox keep its privacy—it seemed quite fond of it, and Rory didn't think pressuring it into giving up its secrets would benefit their friendship in any way.

The moment passed anyway, because one of Vaya's whines made it across the distance and the fox flinched from the sound. Unconsciously Rory's fingers ran across the gryphon's back. "I think you'll be fine, it'll take a small miracle for her to get out," he said, trying to reassure the fox, but he couldn't keep some of the guilt out of his voice.

Then it was heading towards the forest, stopping after a moment to beckon him to follow. Rory bit his lower lip again, throwing a glance over his shoulder at the goat herd. He didn't like leaving Vaya in the shed if he was going to leave the homestead, but.. if it turned out the fox was going to take him far away, he could always just ask about it, and if necessary, head back and let her out?

Making up his mind, Rory followed. After a couple of paces he put both hands under the warm gryphlet, thumbs supporting her behind her wings so he wouldn't drop her, and held her up the breeze. He smiled as he tilted her slightly this way and then that (as if she was a toy airplane, and as if he knew what toy airplanes were) simply because he was amused by her little wings fluttering. He didn't know if she could fly on her own yet, but if not, he was more than happy to help her with it as they walked.

The fox would find no problems in leading Rory towards their destination, for he was a smart boy: he knew that his little white-furred friend wanted to show him something, so he wasn't going to stop walking after it until they were there.
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Jigano Silversmith
Provost / Lorekeeper ☆ Loreseeker's Guild
Age: 27 | Height: 6'2" | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 4 - Strg: 9 - Dext: 30 - Endr: 16 - Luck: 8
ISUMA - Mythical - Gryphon (venomous)
Played by: Cirago Offline
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Posts: 449
MP:
#11
He didn't usually like seeing Rory's brow furrowed by a frown, but so long as it was in curiosity or thoughtfulness, Jigano found he didn't mind. The collar and bag were a mystery he hoped to let his friend solve soon, but only once they were someplace safe and calm. Not too far - he didn't want to take Rory away from his farm when he undoubtedly had so much to do to prepare for Long Night - but this was, he hoped, something worth walking a little ways for.

And Rory's reassurance was appreciated, the fox looking back at his friend and swallowing a little whine of gratitude. Isuma was less circumspect, chirring as she was stroked, and wiggling the legs that stuck out over the sides of his large, gentle hand. Comforted by both of his companions, the fox turned and led them away from the little oasis of safety and civilization and into the wild woods. He glanced back once as Isuma's sudden joy surged through their bond, and almost fell over in vulpine laughter at the sight of her stretched out in the hunter's hands, little unfledged wings waving in something that was almost like coordination as she lifted her beak to the breeze and Reep!ed her triumph at attaining flight like her friend Sugar had.

Well. Close enough to it, at least.

Catching himself, Jigano tilted his head up, testing the wind for a different reason, and soon enough he caught a whiff of their prey, who had indeed wandered closer in their grazing. The scent was strong enough that he froze, then glanced behind him, making a small sound to alert Rory. Dropping to a crouch, the white fox moved forward with a sinuous grace in spite of his stealthier posture. There was a small rise in the land, and just beyond it a clearing warm with sunlight that nearly washed out the glow from the antlers of the pair of luxere who grazed on the late-season berries from the bushes ringing it. Jigano stopped at the crest of the hill, ears perked up in triumph as he glanced behind him and tilted his head to coax Rory close enough to see for himself.
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Leatherworker
Age: 27 | Height: 175cm / 5'9 | Race: Abandoned | Nationality: Natural
Level: 2 - Strg: 11 - Dext: 16 - Endr: 15 - Luck: 5
Played by: Neowulf Online
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Posts: 113
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#12
Rory didn't pay much attention to where he was going: he was too busy waving the happy gryphlet through the air, laughing warmly as her wings fluttered and she voiced her obvious delight. And once the fox noticed, well.. the corners of its mouth stretched into that grin again, and it almost seemed to stumble. Rory was torn between feeling self-conscious and unashamed, and in the end just gave the fox a small smile. "She looked like she might enjoy it," he said, following as they went on again.

Then they paused again, the fox's body language indicating that it was close to what they were looking for. Rory's hands stilled, his fingers running reassuringly across the gryphon's body as he hushed her gently.

He stayed behind when the fox slunk off like water across the snow, watching as it scaled a small crest in the terrain. "Any idea what we're looking for?" he mumbled to the young creature he was holding. She didn't offer much explanation. "No? Well, that makes two of us."

But then the fox's head moved again, beckoning him closer. Crouching a little and minding where he stepped Rory climbed the little ridge and peeked over the edge. In the sunlit clearing beyond were a couple of Luxere, unaware of their presence, foraging for whatever still existed on mostly-bare branches. "Luxere," he said quietly, his voice almost a sigh.

Shifting in the snow he sat up, putting the owlkitten in his lap and reaching out with one hand to scratch the fox.

Then it was time to deal with his glowing reindeer. First he gave a low whistle, just to let them know he was there, before clearing his throat. He didn't precisely know what to sing, so while he thought about it, he launched into a made-up and not entirely well-structured song about a fox, a man, and an owlkitten going up a hill.
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Jigano Silversmith
Provost / Lorekeeper ☆ Loreseeker's Guild
Age: 27 | Height: 6'2" | Race: Attuned | Nationality: Outlander
Level: 4 - Strg: 9 - Dext: 30 - Endr: 16 - Luck: 8
ISUMA - Mythical - Gryphon (venomous)
Played by: Cirago Offline
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Posts: 449
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#13
The gryphlet did indeed enjoy it, and the fox nearly as much, feeling her delight mingling with his own and warmed further by Rory's laughter. The trio didn't have far to go through the trees, luckily, not too very far from the farm, and Isuma chirruped faint protest as the hunter ceased their flying lesson. Jigano felt her forgive him, though, as soothing fingers distracted her from her loss with gentle pets through the soft, downy feathers and her fuzzy kitten-fur.

She did look up at Rory obligingly and blinked large yellow eyes at his question, tilting her head all the way to the side as if trying to figure out what he was asking before righting herself and reep!ing decisively. She knew the 'making noises' game! Was that what Rory wanted to play now? Only - no, he was moving, holding her close and careful while Jigano watched the luxere alertly for signs of distress. The gentle deer hadn't noticed them yet, however, and appeared utterly calm and unworried as they moved with slow thoroughness to strip the remaining treats from the bushes.

The fox glanced at his friend with a sly flicker of an ear in acknowledgment of Rory's whisper. It was the reaction he'd hoped for when he'd decided to lead his friend out here, and he settled contentedly at the hunter's side as the human made himself comfortable. He tilted his head into the scratch, closing his eyes and savoring the moment before the singing began, and he found himself stifling a silent laugh at the song that emerged.

Ears twisted down in the clearing, one luxere raising its antlered head to look directly up at the man and fox while its companions listened but kept their attention on their grazing. Then Isuma joined in - she knew singing! Jigano often sang to her in his human form, and she sat up in Rory's lap to cheep and trill along with his words. She wasn't always on key, but she followed his music remarkably well for one so small, even if her voice wasn't very loud. Jigano looked at the pair of them, bemused fondness in his eyes before he made the conscious decision to abandon all dignity.

His voice as a fox was ... not ideal. But he could warble along in tune, albeit at a higher register than he was used to. It was, he had to admit, quite the silly little orchestra the three of them made, but there was friendship and joy in their singing, even if it wasn't polished and professional, and the luxere responded with gentle curiosity as the little herd began to make its way closer, drawn to the music and, the fox assumed, the feelings behind it.

Or maybe it was Rory's lyrics that drew them up the little rise, coaxing them up the same hill of the song.
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