Visionary Tales

IC => Fantasy => Topic started by: readlliea on August 24, 2020, 09:40:00 PM

Title: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 24, 2020, 09:40:00 PM
(Potential blood and violence within this thread at any time!)

Damn them all.

This was the one thing that was ringing through his head as the man had somehow managed to get over the barrier. The people who had been betting and watching the two men trying to kill each other when they were shocked to see the red haired man jump into the air, only to stomp on their opponent's face and thrust themself forward at the barricade. The people who ran this join thought they had the walls up high enough for this barrier to keep their fighters in; oh how stupid they were. Woodsly just couldn't believe it took them this long to drag someone in here that would give him a good enough boost. Sure being a tall person had it's perks, but Woodsly needed something to give him that extra height.

Slamming into the barrier as he clung to the edges of it, people rose and moved away. Not sure on what was going to happen. Woodsly heaved himself over the edge and was on the other side for the first time. He was no longer in the pit nor the prisoner cells...he was on the side where the people got to watch but more importantly, this was the side of freedom. The red head didn't stand there long, quickly he was running for it as people shouted and the men who were tasked with watching the fighters were already trying to catch up to him. At one point, there was a gun on a table and Woodsly had reached for it amongst the chaos.

The cold air only registered when Woodsly had stopped running, panting heavily as the extreme adrenaline rush had finally started to fade. His body filled with pain and he couldn't help but yell out as everything finally started to register. His knuckles were burst opened from punches he no doubt delivered, however the broken gun in one hand was coated red with small bits of either skull or potentially brain matter. The chamber was empty so he no doubt had to shoot it at one point. Bruises from previous and current fights were dark, having a purplish hue to them as they littered his body like spots on a dalmation. No particular order, only splotches of darker color against his white skin.

His right side and left leg were bleeding from bullet holes, no doubt from those who returned gunfire. If you can't get your 'dog' back in line, what do you? You shot to kill. After all, that's how those people saw the men they used in their fights. They were just like the dogs in the pits that fought and slaughtered each other. A black eye rested on his face as the world started to blur and fade, trees became foggy and the snow seemed to consume those blobs of brown color. Until finally, Woodsly's body gave out and he fell backwards in the snow with a muffled thud.

The forests of Alaska were still thick, stretching for mile in any direction. Snow coated the ground and the air was terrible cold. To anyone out here at this late hour, to find anyone in the snow was crazy. A half naked, bruised, beaten man that was bleeding was even more crazy. Some wouldn't bother. But maybe..someone would?
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 24, 2020, 10:32:49 PM
Night was the perfect time to harvest certain ingredients, and Astrid was nothing if not diligent.  The mushrooms that she was after tonight happened to give off a faint glow when the moon was high, and it made them far easier to see through the blanket of snow.  It was frigid out, and she had dressed as much; her features were hidden by a large hat and a thick, woolen scarf wound around the lower half of her face.  She was currently knelt in the snow, digging a cluster of them up when the sound of running alerted her.  She paused, stilled, and held her breath. 

When the footsteps stopped, followed by the sound of something heavy falling into the snow, Astrid straightened with a frown.  The mushrooms forgotten for now, she gripped the hilt of her knife just a touch harder and ventured forward until she could see the cause of the noise.  In the time that she had lived there, she had never seen anyone this far out.  Given her history when it came to other people, she was not willing to take any chances. 

The man was unmoving, and as Astrid drew closer, she could tell immediately that he was in bad shape.  Nevermind that he was improperly attired for the weather, what she could see of his skin under the moonlight spoke of regularly inflicted violence.  She felt a stab of fear; helping him could expose her, and she was running out of wilderness to hide in if things went wrong.  It wasn’t in her to leave a man to die, however, and before she could allow her apprehension to take a firmer hold on her, she was kneeling down and pressing the back of her hand lightly against his skin, getting a sense of his lifeforce. 

Alive, but weak from cold and injury. 

Astrid shrugged out of her oversized coat and covered him with it, then bolted back in the direction of her cabin for blankets and her sled.  Within a half an hour, the injured man was resting as comfortably as she could make him next to her hearth.  With him settled, she shed the extra layers she had put on for her midnight walk, pinned her pale braid up and out of her way, and set about working on medicines that he would need to recover.         
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 24, 2020, 10:49:07 PM
The hours had whirled by before Woodsly's body would finally allow for him to wake up. While he was used to a beating, the man at least would be given some means of warmth in his dark cell that he was confined to between fights. The cold snow and night air, had thrust him deeply into his subconscious. Memories of Wilson being jeered and laughed at, the attempted murder on his life, and every wrong thing that happened at that accursed underground cesspool. Every once of anger and frustration that had built up whirled him around in a nightmare that had no sense to it other than the emotions amplified within it.

With a flurry of motion, the man jerked upright from the place he had been set hours ago as he took a deep breathe of air. His chest rising and falling quickly before the pain of his aching bones registered, making him wince a few times as a displeased groan left him. The medicine served their role of helping his body heal up, so things weren't as bad as when he had first come in. The fire was the first thing to catch his attention. It's warmth but also it's light, it had been a while since he'd seen a flame that wasn't from a candle, lantern, or some torch. Though his gaze slowly wandered around the room, taking it in.

A cabin like house? Someone's home? Who would waste their time on him? That's when he spotted her, she looked unfamiliar but then again, anyone could've moved into Nome; if that's where they were even at anymore, he had no idea where he was held. So it was all guesses in his mind.

For Astrid she would've been taking note of various scars throughout his features as she had tended to him prior to his awakening. Many claw marks surprisingly but there was also a healed bullet wound to his right leg, suggesting someone shot him there years prior to try and keep him from running. Three claw marks went across the right side of his face, originating from the cheek bone and upper jaw area; something large and powerful swiped form the side. Something equally large had bite him in a few places, though there were three more claw marks going downward on his forehead.

"Why?" Woodsly questioned after staring at her for a few moments. "Why'd you help me?"

IT honestly perplexed him. Wilson had been rescued once before but that made sense, Wilson...for all his weakness, could at least be liked to some degree. Woodsly was just the monster that was made to fight, to pound others into a pulp and try to stay alive a little longer. Why would someone try to help that?
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 25, 2020, 11:00:33 AM
 The cabin he woke in was small, but meticulously arranged, and smelled heavily of wood smoke and something strongly herbal.  There was little in the way of furniture; a chair, the down mattress he was currently resting on, a table that doubled as a place for eating and a place for her work, and a sturdy brass-bound cedar chest etched with strange runes.  Shelves filled with jars, jugs, pots, and vials of varying sizes covered much of the walls, some with dried herbs or seeds, others with preserved food or different-colored liquids.  Bundled herbs and braided bulbs hung from every available space in the rafters alongside the common, more compact tools one kept for use in a farm setting. 

Astrid was currently focused on preparing the mushrooms she had been after the night before, brow furrowed with concentration as she brushed any dirt from the surface and removed the gills.  A basin of water sat to her left, a tea kettle and a half-filled cup to her right.  Slight in stature and with delicate features, she hardly looked the sort to be able to survive on her own in the harsh wilderness.  When Woodsly startled upright, she immediately paused her work and fixed him with her sharp green gaze, a subtle tension building in her body in preparation for the worst.  His question softened some of that tension. 

“Because you needed help,” she answered, as if it were the simplest, most obvious thing.

Setting the knife aside, she rinsed her hands in the basin and dried her hands on the length of her skirt.  She chose three separate bottles from the shelves and a second cup, which she filled from the kettle on the table.  One by one, Astrid opened the bottles she had chosen, adding a precise number of drops from each into the tea.  Once that was done, she crossed to Woodsly and knelt down, offering it to him.

“I’m Astrid.  Drink this.  It will ease the pain and help the healing process.  Ignore the taste.”
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 25, 2020, 03:05:43 PM
Because you needed help.....

THose words were very similar to what the other woman had said those years ago, that he needed the help and that it was the right thing to do. It boggled his mind even more now..but there was no point in arguing with this one. If she was anything like the person who helped Wilson, then it would be a pointless argument. Taking a breathe in, he exhaled it with a sigh before he averted his gaze from her. The warmth of the large fire felt very nice. Soothing in a way.

Though that was broken when he saw the shadow of the woman cast over him as she approached and he looked to her. Astrid huh? Well that sounded like a name from far away, not any of the Inuit names so..maybe she was just someone who moved to Alaska? Or he could be wrong entirely. The drink could be poisoned but there'd be no point in that being the case. A skeptical brow was raised as he stared at the cup.

"Can't be worse than the so called 'food' they gave us." Woodsly remarked out loud as he took the cup.

Not caring to even smell it, Woodsly drank the mixture. However the heat that hit his throat as it went down caused him to cough somewhat, having ignored the warmth of the cup and he probably should've drank it slower. Oh well. He didn't take note of a taste so, he at least managed to avoid realizing how gross it probably was.

"Woodsly...I'm Woodsly..."he added after a moment.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 25, 2020, 03:43:17 PM
Astrid merely raised an eyebrow when he commented about the food, but declined to ask who ‘they’ were.  It was obvious that he had been mistreated, and though she did not know the depth of it or the precise length of time he had endured abuse, she could tell it had been a while and the damage to his body was extensive.  Being largely unaware of the goings on of Nome itself, she didn’t much care to make any assumptions or guesses as to where or what he had run from.  It seemed that humans were much the same no matter what part of the world one lived in. 

Given that he *had* endured something terrible, Astrid doubted he would appreciate being asked about whatever trauma he had been through.  They were strangers to one another, and it was a rare person indeed who opened up immediately to new people.  He would be recovering for a time; if at any point he felt comfortable enough to speak up as to his experience, she would listen and ask questions then.

Despite hesitation, the man drank the tea she offered him.  Her brow furrowed in concern when he drank too quickly and began to cough, checking him over to make certain that he hadn’t torn any of the stitches she had put in him.  She nodded in satisfaction when he finished, then rose from her kneeling position in favor of getting him a bowl of stew from the pot in the fire. 

Woodsly, he introduced himself.  Astrid turned back and handed him the bowl, then returned to the table to pick up what she had been working on.  The mushrooms required quick preparation, for they were quick to spoil.  “Welcome to my home, Woodsly.  You are safe here,” she assured him.  “You lost a lot of blood last night before I found you, and you will be weak for the next few days between that and the hypothermia, but none of the bullets I pulled out of you hit anything vital.”

She didn’t mention the long-term internal damage that she had sensed, but the essences and tincture that she added to his tea would take care of that in time.  She finished with the mushrooms and put them up in a jar of clear liquid, then returned to Woodsly’s side with a small jar of paste.  “May I see to your bruises?”
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 25, 2020, 03:57:09 PM
The check over felt a bit unnecessary but he didn't refuse, he didn't know anything in medicine. A bowl of stew was soon offered to him and honestly, real food was very appealing. Accepting the bowl, he did handle this better as he knew that this was much hotter than the tea. While he wasn't wolfing it done, he was eating a bit faster since he was a good deal hungry; blood less tends to do that to ya.

"They're bruises, can't really do much about those." Woodsly replied as he paused in eating. "They go away eventually on their own."

That's how he always handled them before...just leave em be and the pain would stop. The pain would eventually go away as would those dark spots that dotted his frame. Finishing the bowl of stew, he felt some disappointment that the only good food he had in years was gone but that was life. Good things ended and he really didn't think it would be wise to ask for more.

"Guess those fools were too drunk to shot straight." Woodsly remarked in regards to how the bullets hadn't hit anything vital.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 25, 2020, 04:56:59 PM
Astrid shrugged and set the jar aside on the table.  She wasn’t going to force anything on him.  “Suit yourself.”

Seeing his bowl empty, she refilled it again in case he was still hungry; she had only given him a little to start with, uncertain of whether he would be able to stomach too much or not.

When he spoke up again, Astrid frowned.  It was clear that wherever he had run from, they had not been willing to let him go—they would have been happy to kill him if they had been blessed with truer aims.  She felt another stab of nerves at the thought that someone might come looking for him, but few would have expected him to survive the Alaskan freeze with barely a stitch of clothing and a handful of bullet wounds.  Fidgeting with the length of her braid and uncertain of what to say, Astrid turned away again and busied herself with cleaning up what she had been working on.
 
“Luckily for you,” she finally answered. “Whomever they are…do you think they will come after you, or are they the sort to assume that they did the job well enough to not bother?”

That was a safe question, she thought.  It wasn’t directly invasive, anyway.   
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 25, 2020, 05:20:08 PM
"They probably won't bother." Woodsly replied. "They'll think if the cold doesn't kill me, then the wolves or bears would. Idiots don't realize I already survived a bear attack..dumb asses."

Granted he survived thanks to the first person who helped Wilson but still. A bear hadn't killed him yet. Accepting the bowl of stew again, he ate a little slower since he got something in his stomach and there wasn't a reason to eat fast now. There was clearly enough food to have a second helping.

"Besides, they'll probably just abduct some poor sap somewhere to replace the empty cell I left." Woodsly adds, clearly displeased. "So...why are you out here in the forest then? Not many people go out at night."
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 25, 2020, 05:59:08 PM
Astrid nodded, feeling a little better at his assurance that they likely wouldn’t bother.  She eyed the scars on his body, the places where it looked as though he had been mauled or raked by sharp claws; she had wondered about that, but she wasn’t the sort to pry.  Her head tilted slightly when he went on to mention the cell he escaped, the likelihood that they would abduct someone to replace him.  What sort of place had she moved to? 

She wet her lips when he asked her about what she was doing there, topping off her cup of tea in an effort to borrow a moment of time to allow his prior words to sink in.  “I prefer to be alone, away from people.  I live in a way that few understand, and humans are prone to disliking and mistrusting what they do not understand.”  She paused, taking a long sip from her cup.  “As to why I was out at night, the mushrooms I was looking for glow in the dark.  It’s easier to see them through the snow.”

It was going to bother her, and she wouldn’t get a lick of rest until she asked.  “You said…you said they would abduct someone else to put in your cell…where did you escape from?  A jailhouse?”
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 25, 2020, 06:30:19 PM
At her question on if he was from the jailhouse, he couldn't help but laugh. The laughter did cause him to wince as he felt pain go through his whole body. Well that was a stupid thing but then again, he hadn't had a good laugh in a while.

"No no, if it was a jailhouse I would've sat there till I rotted. There ain't no point trying to get out of one of those." Woodsly replied. "Ever head of illegal dog fighting rings? Think that but instead of dogs, it's people forced to fight one another to live another day in shitty conditions. That's where I was."

And with that, it also explained his horrible condition. Forced to fight other people for entertainment, with no care given to those who were forced into the life style. Taking a few more bites of the stew, he listened to Astrid's answers though he paused. Humans? Was there anything other than animals, insects, and humans? What?

"The way you worded that...don't you mean people in general? Why use the world Human like, you're not one of em?" Woodsly asks, tilting his head with a raised brow.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 25, 2020, 07:13:44 PM
Astrid remained silent as he laughed, noting the pain he registered for it.  He went on to explain that he had escaped a fighting ring.  Given the penchant many had for blood sport, it was a sad fact that such things existed.  Some were more civilized than others, at it seemed that whatever they had set up in Nome was not counted among them.  For a brief moment, the steel in her was evident; her eyes flashed with anger and her gaze fixed on the door, as if looking through it.  Her hands briefly flexed, and then almost immediately the tension melted from her frame and she returned to her composed self.  “I cannot imagine how awful that must have been for you.  I am…sorry that they did that to you, Woodsly.”   

Unable to stand still any longer, Astrid started pulling certain bundles from where they hung in the rafters.  Several empty jars followed, along with a mortar and pestle.  She worked through his question, glancing sidelong at him briefly before focusing on her project.  It would be stupid to tell him what she was, that much was certain.  There was plenty enough superstition to go around, and it didn’t matter if she had helped him, sometimes a person’s fear was stronger than their gratitude. 

“I don’t consider myself to be one of them,” she said placidly.  “My view of people is bitter, I must admit. I haven’t had much opportunity to see the kindness in them, only the worst of what they can do.  Obviously, you know what that feels like.  I’ve experienced it enough that I’d rather not be counted among them at all.”

It was still the truth, but only the safe parts.   

“How is your pain?  Do you need another dose?” she asked, trying to change the subject.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 25, 2020, 07:37:09 PM
"Don't try to, you'll waste your time." Woodsly encouraged. "Don't be sorry, Wilson got us into a mess cause he was too....too submissive to figure one choice out and we got grabbed since we were far away from other people."

Wilson..ah yes, Wilson. The blasted fool couldn't figure out if going back to Nome would've been worth it. So living out in the woods was what got em nabbed in the first place. Glancing away, he ran his fingers through his red hair. Though his brownish gaze glanced to her as she started to answer his question. Didn't view herself as one of em eh? Well, that was admirable he supposed?

"Welp, you aren't gonna like me then. I'm a pretty bitter person." Woodsly retorted.

He was right. After all, he came to in the pits..forced to fight to stay alive and get food that wasn't even food. All he was, was a bitter and angry person. But hey, it's what kept him alive and that's how it was going to be.

"The pain is fine, I can handle it." Woodsly answered. "You don't need to use up more on me yet."
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 25, 2020, 08:17:27 PM

At the mention of this ‘Wilson’ character, Astrid stopped working and looked at him again, trying to decipher what he meant.  It sounded as though they had both been captured and put into the pit, because of an altercation that…Wilson landed them in?  Because he was too weak to fight back?  Was Wilson still back there fighting for his life, or had he already been killed?  In any case, whomever this Wilson was, it was clear that Woodsly blamed him for his ills.  Choosing to avoid this particular line of discussion, given Woodsly’s obvious distaste for Wilson, she went back to her work, tilting crushed herbs into one of the empty jars. 

“I disagree.  Two people embittered by other people have common ground upon which to build.  We may agree on more than we don’t, and that will make this whole arrangement far more bearable than it would be otherwise,” she replied, shooting him a short, dry smile. 

She nodded when he declined extra pain relief.  Some people didn’t like the tired feeling it gave them—it was why she had given him such a modest dose to begin with.  If he could handle it, she wouldn’t press.   

She stopped suddenly and stared ahead with narrowed eyes, as if she were listening for something.  She couldn’t be certain what, but something had triggered her wards. 

“I’ll be right back.”

Setting aside the mortar and pestle, she immediately went to the farthest, most cluttered corner of the room.  She shifted several things aside and withdrew an old, well-used rifle, loading a few rounds and pocketing a few more just in case.  Grabbing her coat but leaving her hat and scarf behind, she opened the door just enough to peek through, then stepped out and closed the door behind her.

Packing the gun against her shoulder, she ventured down the short steps and out into the snow, scanning the trees around her with a keen eye.  It was likely an animal, but with Woodsly’s presence and the story he had given her, one couldn’t be too careful.  The woods were silent and snow had begun falling at some point since the last time she had been outside.  She closed her eyes for a moment, feeling out the break in her protections.  Once she tracked it down, she turned and headed straight for it, gun locked against her shoulder and her finger seating itself against the trigger in preparation.

Sure enough, it was a bear. 

Astrid immediately relaxed, lowering the gun with an annoyed sigh.  “You again.” 

The bear blinked at her expectantly and sat gracelessly on his haunches.  Muttering some colorful curses under her breath, Astrid stalked back to her cold storage shed and dug out some of the salmon she had stored there, then retraced her steps back to where the bear still sat, holding it out to him.  “You should be sleeping.  Bears hibernate, remember?  It’s suspicious, you walking about while the rest of them are holed up in their dens.”

The bear whined at her, taking the offered fish in his teeth with a strange care. 

“Now go on,” she demanded, pointing back the way the bear had come.  “Learn how to fish, stop bringing down my wards, and for the love of the gods learn to act like a bear.”

The bear nosed at her coat with another whine, then turned and loped back into the woods without a backward glance.  Shaking her head, she leaned the rifle against a nearby trunk and crouched down to the ground, holding her hands out.  She murmured something under her breath, and the broken ward jumped back to life, re-forging the protections she had put down after coming across Woodsly the night before. 

That done, she turned to make her way back to the cabin.     
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 25, 2020, 08:33:39 PM
A red brow was raised at her words. Was that true? Could he still get along with people who had similar situations? It wasn't something he thought of and honestly, it probably wouldn't have ever come to mind. Though he couldn't get any other words out as something seemed to pull Astrid's attention. Watching her gather some things; including the rifle, he sat quietly until she was gone. Great...if those assholes were out there, then she'd be outnumbered.

A annoyed sigh left him before he got up to his feet, wrapping the blanket around his shoulders; he figured it would be better than nothing. There weren't any shoes his size so he figured he'd just have to risk it. If any of the block heads were out there, he could probably steal a pair of boots from one them. Opening the door allowed the cold to hit him and he was quick to take note of her boot prints in the snow. One thing that did come from living in the woods for a while, he knew how to track; she was kind enough to teach him how to do that stuff before saying goodbye to Wilson.

Taking care to not make noise after closing the door, he stepped into Astrid's boot prints. Doing his best to not break the already made hole in the snow. A point came when he was able to hide behind a tree and he felt a great deal of unease growing as he spotted the bear.

Why is she talking to it? Woodsly thought to himself.

Once more her words brought up that confusion in his mind, the way she talked about some things..it hinted at something else. Was that really a bear then with how she addressed it? Keeping himself hidden as she went to fetch something, Woodsly debated on if he should try to scare the bear off but with no weapons or anything like that, he knew he'd easily be mauled. But she was right. Bears hibernated at this time..this one looked wide awake...why? Sure enough, she returned with a fish and sent it off.

That's when she did something...pretty darn shocking. The area looked...different where she was at. That wasn't right....things just don't look different all willy nilly. As she reached the tree, Woodsly jumped out of his hiding spot and was now standing in front of her.

"Yeah, I know I'm not crazy enough to imagine or see what just happened. So..mind retelling me why you seemed to refer to people as something you aren't?" Woodsly questioned, his tone was serious.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 25, 2020, 08:58:33 PM
Astrid, for all her strangeness, was quick.  The barrel-end of the rifle was immediately cocked and leveled at his face the moment he jumped out in front of her, her eyes narrowed and glinting with a strange luminescence in the aftermath of whatever magics she had just performed.  Nor did she immediately lower the gun; her expression was a mixture of anger, but fear moreso. 

She should have been more careful, should have checked that he had not followed her.  Snow muffled sounds extraordinarily well, but she still should have paid closer attention.  She fought with her more ingrained instincts; He could leave…he could bring the entire town on her head, like all the times it had happened before, only she might not be lucky enough to make it out alive.  If she killed him now, no one would ever know what he had seen her do. 

But there was the difference between her and ordinary humans; no matter how afraid she was of what could happen, there was also the chance that he would not betray her…and she couldn’t kill him when he had not wronged her.  Such a thing would only bring more devastation in her future when it came back around, and she had more than enough on her heels already. 

Astrid uncocked and lowered the rifle, still struggling to compose herself.  “Seems to me that the question answers itself, given what you saw,” she said hoarsely.  She didn’t look away, her posture tightly coiled and ready to run if need be.  “Lets just say I’m more gifted than the average person, but people don’t much care for my kind of gift.  Their black book is pretty specific about what to do with my kind, in fact.”

She seemed to realize then that he was out there without shoes and just a blanket tucked around his shoulders.  At this point, leaving would be a death sentence, even without people trying to kill him, but would he prefer that to her now?  It wouldn’t have been the first time something like that had happened.  Astrid sighed.  “If I asked you to come back inside with me where its warm, would you?”         
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 25, 2020, 09:10:09 PM
Woodsly was unflinching with the rifle's barrel pointed at his face, honestly it wasn't the first a gun was shoved in his face and probably wouldn't be the last. He stood there and waited for the trigger to be pulled. HOnestly he hadn't even thought about the risk of scaring her. A mistake he would be fine with, she probably wouldn't lose much sleep over some unknown man.

"You can fire if you want to, no one's going to even come looking when I am dead." Woodsly said after a few moments.

Soon she was explaining and while it wasn't obvious to him at first, that was due to him having been more used to stories about the Inuits; which were also called Eskimos but that was something the Inuit found insulting to be called. SO it was best to not call them that.Wilson grew up in Nome, so stories of odd things was more linked to the Inuit culture than things elsehwere. However, when she mentioned the black book it rang together a much deal better.

"So magic basically." Woodsly remarked, more to himself than anything.

At her question, his gaze returned to her.

"Got nowhere else to be and no real reason not to go back." Woodsly answered as he turned and started to walk; still using the tracks Astrid left before to walk through the snow; thus showing how he followed her. "I may sport a very ugly mug, but I'm not crazy. Also if yer worried bout the whole magic thing, I ain't telling anyone. No reason to honestly, plus no one's gonna believe some torn apart stranger."

People with money on the other hand spoke volumes, and their way always went. Oh how the rich always...ALWAYS got what they wanted.As he was walking and staring on ahead, he recalled the reason why this entire mess started.That Poisonous Plant... the damned bitch just had to try and kill Wilson. Fighting to keep the look of anger of his face, he gave a sigh as they arrived back at the house. In which he opened the door and willingly walked back into the warm place.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 25, 2020, 09:27:45 PM
Astrid was relieved when he agreed readily enough to go back to the cabin, and when he added that he had no intention of telling anyone about what she had done, more of the tension bled out of her.  “Thank you.”

She followed him back to the cabin, closing the door behind them and unloading the rifle, placing it and the bullets back where she got them.  “You would be surprised what they would believe.  Plenty of people fear it, enough that rumors have been enough to bring them to my door.  Otherwise…I’d probably be someplace warmer.  Nome was the farthest piece of nowhere I could find.”

 She shouldered out of her coat and grabbed an extra blanket for him, knowing that he was probably freezing.  She filled her kettle with more water and set it over the fire to boil, glancing at him.  She still wasn’t entirely sure that he wouldn’t spill her secret, but for now she would be content with his word.  He had his own problems he was working out, and she doubted she was at the top of the list of people he wanted to see dead.


“I imagine that once you recover, ” Astrid began, turning to face him, “You’ll be returning to Nome?”
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 25, 2020, 09:33:41 PM
The thanks was a bit of a surprise but he didn't show it. Merely shaking the snow off the blanket he had brought with him and taking a seat by the fire, was when his body shaking and feet freezing registered to him. Sometimes, he got committed to things and everything else just went out the window.

"Only thing that matters in Nome is money, and the more money you have, the more people actually listen to you. I lived there my whole life, no one every listened to a thing said since I had no money." Woodsly replied, his anger bleeding into his voice. "Even if you told them that someone revered by the community was actually a Poisonous Plant of a creature that tried to murder you with a bear for some unknown reason, they wouldn't believe it."

That was far more than he was meaning to let out. Even with all the anger and rage boiling over, he gave a very fed up sigh and tried to push it all down; wasn't really working. So the next best thing was to try and move past that subject, while wrapping a couple of blankets around his feet.

"Only long enough to get pay back on everything that wronged me and Wilson." Woodsly answered."Once they're all dead, it'll probably just be deeper into the forest or something. Haven't thought that far ahead."
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 25, 2020, 09:52:16 PM
Ah, and there it was.  A man who had suffered as Woodsly suffered often went after his vengeance, and it seemed he had been nursing that particular streak for a while.  Even without speaking, she could feel the rage that came off of him like waves on a beach.

She understood it.  She had been there herself, once or twice, but given the nature of what she was, revenge was something that she would likely never have for herself.  She sat down next to him, studying him closely.  Few ever bothered planning for the eventuality where they saw life beyond their revenge.  If they managed to live through trying to get it in the first place, they were left without a sense of purpose that even fewer managed to survive.  When one’s entire life revolved around killing the people that wronged you, there wasn’t much left once they were dead. 

“How many people do you have on your list?” She asked.  He was just one man, and while she suspected he would fair better at full health, but Nome was a small place, and people in small places tended to bond a bit closer together.  He’d likely be getting more trouble than he might have otherwise bargained for. 
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 25, 2020, 09:59:41 PM
Truthfully, he knew of four candidate for the revenge. But that was due to him debating on ending a certain couple that did nothing to help Wilson when he suffered the jeering and torment by their siblings. In the end, he probably would leave them be, maybe the fact that Wilson was dead was enough to torture those two; if the father even had a heart to be tormented by.

"Four." Woodsly answered. "One will be very difficult, one will be easy. But the easy one might put the other two on alert."

As much as they never stood by Wilson, his three siblings certainly stood by one another. One of them was easy to pinpoint since they were a nobody to a degree but with the other two, they were something. The other two were pretty well known, so really only three on his list would be the issue. Maybe the last two but that's if he did weakest to strongest first. He held some ideas on what he was going to do to them but currently he lacked the means. What he did know was simple.

None of them were going to live after he found them.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 25, 2020, 10:36:09 PM
Astrid tilted her head, considering. 

She could offer to help him, but the price of her assistance was something she wasn’t sure either of them wanted to pay.  Bad enough that she was stuck with a bear, reminding her every few weeks of why one didn’t perform magic as powerful as she had without learning first whether the man’s mind was strong enough to survive it.  Woodsly’s anger and dedication to his revenge was something that he would no doubt hold onto.  It helped when one had something to live for, but what about after?  It was possible that he could simply dive into the wilderness as he said he would and lose himself just as the bear had.  Then she would be stuck with a bear and a…whatever it was he chose to become.       

No, better to wait to offer, she told herself. 

“And after you have killed these four, you’ll disappear into the forest?  Is there anything else you want from life beyond revenge?” Astrid asked, genuinely curious.   
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 25, 2020, 10:41:34 PM
"There's no point in staying in Nome after that." Woodsly answered. "Maybe try to find somewhere to settle down or maybe just live my life in a cabin away from people. Haven't decided as honestly, I know the chances of a full plan working to be in the uncertain side. If I actually manage it, then good. Less toxic people hurting others for no real reason. If I end up dying part way through, oh well I guess."

A shrug left him. If he thought about what awaited him after everything then that could distract him. Maybe, just maybe he would succeded at the whole thing. For that though, he felt like he had to focus solely on it.

"Granted it's unlikely anyone is going to want a mug like mine. Maybe if it had less obvious scars but, oh well. Not how life went." Woodsly added as he scratched his right cheek;where three long scar marks were.

There was no hiding those. No amount of make up or anything would hide those for life. People would always ask about them, people would always notice them first.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 26, 2020, 10:09:16 AM
Astrid considered his words.  Personally (and quite obviously), she advocated quite enthusiastically for becoming a hermit in the wilderness, well away from people and their endless list of problems and grievances.  She might even have been tempted to encourage him to do so now, rather than later.  Woodsly’s mind was set, that much was obvious, and Astrid didn’t fight in battles she knew that she would lose.  Turning a man away from revenge was often a fruitless venture. 

“It’s important to think of it, though,” Astrid said gently.  “If you have something to live for, you fight harder to survive to see it.”

At his derisive comments towards himself and the unlikelihood of finding someone to share a life with because of his scars, Astrid’s features turned skeptical.  “Spare me.  I’ll have you know that some of us, myself included, prefer men with character.  We prefer to focus on how well we are loved and treated, the way a person looks at us, not how they look.  Pretty is nothing.  Pretty goes away after a handful of years, and all that remains is how a person loves.  That’s the only thing that should matter.”

She eyed him pointedly while she poured them each another cup of tea.  “You will be here for at least three weeks in recovery between all the bullet holes, cracked bones, and internal damage you have suffered.  You also need to build up your strength; regular meals will help you do that, and you can help me around here with the heavy lifting once you are well enough.  I’m thinking of assisting you, making certain that you succeed in your ends against your enemies, but I don’t know you well enough to determine whether doing so will be safe—for either of us.  If you want my help, I’m going to need to see more than your rage and your violence—I’ll need to see hope, effort to focus as much on what comes after your vengeance as the vengeance itself.”

She offered the cup of tea to him with a raised eyebrow.  “If you don’t want my help, then that will be that.  I’ll help you to recover and when you are better, you can be on your way—with assurances that you will never speak of my existence here.”           
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 26, 2020, 03:18:40 PM
"No one back there even knows I exist,so there's no one there waiting for me." Woodsly replied. "No one's waiting for me anywhere.."

Indeed, to all of Nome Wilson was dead. They would've believed the Poisonous Plant's words about a bear coming at them and how Wilson was torn to shreds by the beast. Even without a body the town would've believed her over anything he bet. She held that much power with her position after all. Though as she went on about how looks meant nothing, he couldn't help but feel his anger shifting round. Looks didn't matter huh? Then why? Why was everything revolving around that then? How he....Wilson was constantly rejected for being longer limbed but on the skinny side?

"You say that...but you'd be surprised how places contradict that." Woodsly answered firmly, looking away from her.

With the new cup of tea, Woodsly idly rolled his wrist. Swirling the tea within the cup but taking great care to not let it spill. Her words were...confusing. Assisting him? A brow was raised as he looked at her.

"I thought you wanted to keep away from people? What if you get spotted?" Woodsly questions, tilting his head somewhat.

If she kept away from people, then she wouldn't really have any contacts in Nome would she? Or..was she refering to that gift of her's?

"Are you meaning you might use your talents in some way to help?" He asked, the look of confusion was still visable in his eyes.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 26, 2020, 03:35:42 PM
“Then perhaps you’ve just been in the wrong places, Woodsly,” Astrid replied mildly, taking a sip of her tea. 

It was clear that he was confused about what she meant by helping him.  When he asked his questions about her avoiding others, worrying about whether she’d be spotted, the woman promptly shook her head.

“Oh no, I wouldn’t be going with you.  Your revenge is your revenge.  I have my own rules to follow, and while killing in self-defense is acceptable, killing for any other reason is not,” she explained. 

When he asked about her using her talents, she smiled slightly. “That is what I mean, yes.  But again, I don’t know if I should.  What I could do for you would cost me, and come with great risk to you.  It isn’t something to be toyed with, and if it turns out you can’t handle it, things could go very badly for both of us.”

She did not elaborate on that.  If anything, she suddenly looked a touch sad and focused more on her tea.  “That is only if you are interested, of course.  That does not have to be decided now.”
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 26, 2020, 03:46:53 PM
Perhaps but that wasn't important at the moment. Taking a sip from the tea, he took note it was still a bit too hot to do more than a sip at a time. And even then it was almost still too hot for that. Oh well, that would change with a little more time. So his attention was fully returned to Astrid as she was answering his questions. His confusion shifted to curiosity as she spoke.

"Prices to pay is how the world works, even without gifts. Wilson paid for his foolishness and I've paid for things that have been done. Tis natural." Woodsly replied. "Madam, so far you are the most interesting thing that has happened to me in years. And you have me interested as honestly, I was pretty sure I'd be doing this warpath of mine alone. I didn't account for potentially running into someone who might be able to help. The question is, do you truly want to help some strange man you found in the snow hellbent on payback?"

It only felt right to ask her that. After all, she was living fine on her own, hidden away from the world. By helping him out, even with her gifts. Wasn't there a chance that she would get hurt? She did say that the price would cost them both greatly if it went wrong.

"A more important question is, what exactly does this do to you? Prices to pay and all but you mentioned how it'll go very badly for us both if it goes wrong. Now frankly, I'd don't give a rat's ass about myself, I could lose an eye and not care. I'll just look more like the monster the pits created. You on the other hand, I don't fancy you losing a eye. So what exactly happens to you if this goes wrong?" Woodsly asks in a serious an somewhat stern voice. "Don't sugar coat it either."
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 26, 2020, 05:26:03 PM
Astrid was silent for a long moment, internally debating whether she should really go into too much detail just yet.  She was surprised by his comment about her being the most interesting thing to have happened to him in years, and despite thinking herself immune to flattery at this point, she discovered that such was not the case.  Her features softened, and her eyes grew a touch warmer when she looked at him.  His concern for her was sweet as well, she had to admit, and though he had asked her not to sugar coat it, she still found herself a touch hesitant.  Worrying her bottom lip, the woman sighed and set her cup aside. “If I didn’t truly want to help, Woodsly, we wouldn’t be having this discussion at all.”

“I suppose I should explain a little bit of how magic works,” she decided, folding her hands on her lap and trying her best to think of a decent comparison to help him understand.  “Alright, pretend that I am a well and magic energy is the water inside of me.  Collecting a bucket or two of water a day will not deplete the well, as it gradually replenishes itself over time.  Performing a small spell every day, like the ward you saw me put down for protection earlier, only requires a small amount of energy—and that is easily recovered after a night’s rest.  The more water you take from the well in one sitting, however, the longer it takes for the water level to rise back to where it was before.  The more powerful the spell that I perform is, the longer it will take me to recover and during that time, I would be unable to perform even the small magics that keep my home and myself protected.  That would be my sacrifice, my price,” she explained, uncertain if any of that really made much sense.

“As to you and what could go wrong,” Astrid hesitated, grimacing.  “I once had a…a friend who, like you, had revenge in mind.  He had a taste for gambling with money that he didn’t have, and when his bill came due and he couldn’t pay it, they brutally murdered his wife.  Benjamin was a small man, slight and weak, and prone often to sickness, and he had never won a fight in his life.  After they killed Anya, he begged me to help him, to make him stronger so that he could have his vengeance.  There was only one way to really do the trick for him, and that was by entwining his very essence with that of a beast, effectively giving him all of its positive attributes.  A bear was what he chose—bears are large and powerful and brutal, everything that Benjamin himself was not.  He used it to tear every last man involved in his wife’s death apart.  Afterward though, he had nothing.  No wife, no purpose, nothing at all that interested him enough to keep him going.  Eventually, that emptiness began to eat away at him from the inside out and he began to go mad—the power demands to be used, you see.  The power of transformation requires transformation on a regular basis, or you begin to lose control.  By contrast, if you use the gift too often, you risk losing your humanity.  One day he shifted into his bear form and stayed that way, and as time wore on he went wild, forgetting who he was, what he had been, and why.  But the part of myself that I gave to facilitate his transformation links him to me, and that connection is unbreakable save for death.  No matter where I go, no matter what I do, that bear follows me.  Whenever he’s hungry, he comes to my doorstep to beg.  Whenever he’s frightened, I find him under my porch.”

Astrid paused, meeting his gaze.  “Put bluntly, the risk is that you could lose your mind and yourself.  The magic I would put inside of you would inevitably bring you back to me if that happened and I would take care of you, but…being trapped like that…its not fate I would wish for you.  For anyone.”     
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 26, 2020, 05:54:43 PM
Woodsly didn't interrupt once. He stayed quiet and listened, the look in his eyes showed that he was paying attention and nothing else was going to pull his attention away from the words she was saying. He was taking her words seriously and heeding her fears and worries about this spell since she had experience in doing it before. So that was why that bear was a strange one. Okay, that made more sense.

"I understand the analogy for how the magic works." Woodsly said after a few minutes of letting everything soak in. "Is there no way to help your friend?"

Sure, she gave the man what he wanted but it wasn't her fault that Benjamin ended up like this. The man just gave up on the world after everything was done. Truthfully, Woodsly didn't know what he was going to do after revenge. Thinking that far ahead could distract him from the here and now, make him get sloppy and get caught before he could get things done fully. But that wasn't important. What was important was putting her at ease. Truthfully, the power of a beast would help him out. But she had points. Woodsly was what he was due to snapping, his mind caving into the carnage around him, the sheer violence of everything. What would keep him sane?

His bitter view on humans and Nome even more so, would make finding a wife hard. And the power of turning into something else, could just make any sort of marriage harder. It was sort of ironic. He was already a monster due to what he did in the pits, he'd just look even more like what he truly was by turning into a monster. What he didn't want, was to burden her...he'd recommend that she could just shot him if he lost himself but like she said earlier. Self defense killing was acceptable, but outright murdering someone wasn't. Even if he gave his consent to free her of a burden, he knew she wouldn't do it. So it would be on him to keep himself from ever going that way. Death was still possible in this mission, so maybe..maybe he'd end up dead and she wouldn't be burdened? Who knows.

"Well I know this much, to make up for you losing your magic I can either come back out here at night to be on watch or find a property on the edge of Nome we can rent until my business there is done. That at least will take care of you being vulnerable." Woodsly started. "Reason why I don't have anything decided for after the revenge, is I know that thinking too far ahead can distract you. You can get sloppy if you think one too many moves ahead. Such as the fights for example. If I tried to think ahead on ever potential move my opponent can make, it can leave me open to mistakes that will cost me the entire fight, potentially my life. One or two steps ahead is best, any more than that and the risks of mistake and failure rises. Makes sense?"

He'd wait a few minutes for Astrid to figure out if she understood his attempt to explain or not.

"The closer to the end of the goal I get, the chances of ending one goal becomes more real. Focusing on the one important task and not have any other distractions is best. Once the goal is completed, then it's time fully decide what will be the next goal." Woodsly added. "One time in my life I wanted to be one of those mushers who raced in the sled dog races... but that ended up not being worth the thought with how things have gone. I know in Nome I'll have to blend in for a little, so a possible trade might help for any future things."
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 26, 2020, 06:39:21 PM
Astrid blinked in surprise.  He would do that for her?  Arrange things so that she would still be protected during one of her weakest moments?  Who had ever offered to do such a thing for her?  Not a soul.  If it had been anyone else, they would have seen an opportunity to finish her off—after all, one did not try to kill a Woods Witch while she was at full strength. 

But he wasn’t looking for an advantage.  If she was going to help him, he would help her back.  Not even Benjamin had offered such a thing. 

She listened while he explained his reasoning for focusing less on his life after, and more in the present.  She could see and understand his point of view.  She still didn’t necessarily agree, but she didn’t have to.  If that was what helped him to focus best, then she wasn’t going to gainsay it.  “I understand.  And…and thank you for thinking of me.”

She toyed briefly with the idea of just inviting him to stay; truth be told, she didn’t mind his company.  It was nice to help another person who needed it, after keeping to herself for so long.  But the cautious side of her argued that she should wait; they were getting along well enough now, but it had only been a day.  Best to wait and see, and make the offer once they were more comfortable with one another, and knew each other better.

She smiled when he spoke of wanting to become a musher at one point, then went on to mention a trade.  “What sort of trade are you interested in?”
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 26, 2020, 07:03:28 PM
"I may not be the best human there is, but I'm not gonna use people like those who have wronged me have. I don't want anyone else to end up in the same situations as me..only fair to think of the person whose helping." Woodsly replied.

What kind of trade? Well that was something he didn't know. Truthfully, Wilson's life consisted of him working at a grocery store and Woodsly knew there was no way he could keep a facade up to do that sort of job. Something that would limit his interaction with people but no enough to where he couldn't potentially spy on those he was hunting.

"Truthfully I'm not sure. Probably something that will come in use after everything is done." Woodsly started, pondering it over. "Perhaps carpentry? I know how to hunt and skin what I catch, so selling pelts on the side is easy. But not really a way to get close to some of the people who are on the list. Everyone needs chairs and such for their homes, as well as repairs. So that would be a good way to go. And it'll be useful after everything is done."
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 26, 2020, 07:57:29 PM
Astrid smiled slightly.  “Well I think you’re alright…for a human,” she said, a touch of jest in her tone.

He went on to talk about what sort of trade he was thinking.  Carpentry was a useful skill, something for which there was always use.  If he was good enough, he could stand to make a good living, and that would only help him before and after his plans saw fruition.  And he made mention of an after…he was thinking about it.  Astrid nodded in approval.  “That’s a good choice.  Carpentry is an honorable skill.  Working with ones hands can be rewarding on its own, but as you said, everyone needs furniture.  It could provide you a comfortable means of living.  Give you options for life that you may not have thought you would have.”

She met his eyes.  “Maybe enough that you could eventually have your own team of dogs?  Race like you once hoped for?  Anything is possible, you realize?”

More and more, she found herself rooting for him.  She wanted to see him succeed in all of his goals.  He had seen enough pain to fill several lifetimes, and in her opinion could do with tasting the sweetness of life instead of the sour. 
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 26, 2020, 08:05:33 PM
A brow was raised before he chuckled as he sat there. Alright huh? Well she didn't quite know the extent of the things he had done..she didn't need to as well. Though when she went on about how good a choice carpentry was, he didn't have much to add to it. The sled racing being brought up was what changed his mood some. The man looked away from her, a mixture of emotions noticeable in his eyes before he sighed.

"No. That one is long shelved in 'not going to happen' area." Woodsly said.

That wasn't something he was going to chase. The desire to be a musher is what got Wilson into that mess. If he hadn't engaged with that Poisonous Plant then...then things would've turned out different. Wilson wouldn't have listened to her and would had put as much blind trust in her.

"Anyway, I guess carpentry is something to work on during these three weeks with the other things. I can get extra money with selling furs from anything I hunt as hunting would help keep costs down." Woodsly said, trying to change the subject some.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 26, 2020, 08:19:36 PM
Astrid caught on to the fact that she had hit a nerve and sobered, taking a mental note of it.  “I understand,” she murmured.  She didn’t, but she guessed that it had something to do with a hurt in his past that he wasn’t ready to reveal.  That was alright.  If he wished to tell her eventually, that would be his choice. 

She heeded the change of subject without hesitation.  “There is plenty of wood around and you can use my tools if you like.  That way you can save what you earn for the furs.”

The mention of hunting made Astrid realize how late in the day it had gotten, and she was getting hungry.  Standing, she grabbed the stew pot from earlier so that she could clean it up.  “I don’t know about you, but I’ll be ready for supper soon.  I’m going to get started on that.  Do you need anything before I head outside to get things together?”     
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 26, 2020, 08:41:42 PM
"Thank you." Woodsly replied, somewhat quietly before returning to his normal tone. "No, I might get some rest before the food is done. Just starting to feel a bit tired now."

It wasn't a lie but he also was starting to feel a bit on edge with the whole sled thing brought up. No need to take it out on Astrid since she was just trying to help. So laying down for a short nap seemed like a good idea. Plus, everything was starting to hurt a bit more as he sat there.
---------

The rest of the week had gone without issues, the two would talk whenever Astrid had a moment and Woodsly was fine with that. He wasn't expecting her daily routine to change just because he was here and all. Plus, the rest he got was needed whenever there were quiet moments. Some times he filled those moments trying to work on carpentry as he had to get a feel for the tools; new injuries to his hands were a bit common since he was learning a new skill. As frustrating as it was, he would try again though he did have to stop longer than he meant to due to a deeper cut he put into his hand when the tool slipped and went the wrong way.

By time the second week started, Astrid had managed to make some clothes for him and he was grateful. She no longer had to stare at all the scars littering his form and he would be fully dressed for once. Plus the old pants he was wearing were tattered messes anyway. The small conversations they had were pleasant and there were times he pointed out what the fur was that she was using when she hadn't mentioned it. As for the injuries he had from when he first met her, some bruises had healed as did a few other spots. Though it wasn't to the point he was fit as a fiddle or anything like that. He still needed this week and the next to fully recover.

Although, since the man now had a means of attire. He could go out and make himself more useful. The current way he was doing that today was working on chopping firewood. The pile had gotten lower since two people were in the house, so it needed to be refilled sooner. With the axe in hand, Woodsly determined the sweet spot on the piece he was going to cut in half for the pile. This was something he used to help out with growing up; more than not though he was the one to stack the firewood. Raising the axe over his head, he swung it down though a pained sound left him as the blade hit the wood.

His sides ached and this time it was a bit much to ignore as he took in a few unsteady breathes. His breath turning to white mist as he used one arm to press against his chest and hold his side. Due to the wince during the swing, the blade didn't go all the way through the wood. It hadn't split in two.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 26, 2020, 09:32:38 PM
 Over the course of the following week, Astrid spent much of her time as she usually did.  Work never ended, and though she found she was enjoying her conversations with Woodsly, she couldn’t shirk her responsibilities. 

Behind the cabin was a small barn with a shaggy cow, two sheep, and several spunky goats that liked to trail after her when she worked.  All over and disguised beneath mounds of snow were hot boxes covered in wavy glass, with the same sort of strange runes etched in the wood as the chest inside the cabin.  The function was obvious when opened; inside were a wealth of plants that should have never been able to survive the dark, cold winters of Alaska without some form of magic to help them along.  Different herbs were harvested and prepared daily, and it wasn’t uncommon for her to preserve vegetables in jars for later as she harvested.  Others were put directly in cold storage, or the covered hole she had dug to act as a modest root cellar.  The small farm was entirely self-sufficient, and she worked hard to keep it so. 

She applied salve daily to his wounds, which helped to heal them a great deal more quickly than they might have on their own, and she was insistent that he eat three full meals a day despite the fact that she often skipped breakfast or lunch herself depending on how long chores ran.  When he was injured while practicing carpentry, she said nothing, but her care of his healing wounds extended to that too.  She relaxed a great deal as the days passed, less on guard and more open with him, quicker to smile at things.  She worked as quickly as she could on sewing some clothing and boots for him; she had nothing but a coat that would fit him. 

As he was gaining some of his strength back, he had begun to help her—something which she greatly appreciated.  It was a lot of work, and whatever he managed to do made a large difference to her.  Currently he was chopping wood while she knelt in front of one of her hot boxes, collecting what she needed to make more of the healing salve she had been using on him.  She heard the sound of pain he made and paused, taking careful note of the posture he was holding.  She closed the box and stood, tucking her basket against her hip.

When she reached him, she gently touched his shoulder and nodded towards the cabin.  “Will you take a break with me, Woodsly?  You’ve been working hard today.”

Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 26, 2020, 09:48:59 PM
In and out, each breathe did send a little more pain through his sides but that was just due to the muscles moving. As much as he wanted to keep swinging the axe, his body was going to protest each time now. The hand on his shoulder drew his attention away from it and directed it to Astrid. A short sigh left him; attempting to ease some of his pain.

"Alright..." Woodsly replied, giving in since the request wasn't at all downgrading his abilities.

Woodsly had a odd way of responding to things, if he felt that he was being refered to as weak, he tended to push himself harder; something Astrid might've noticed a couple of times. So when things weren't worded like that, he tended to agree more and give in to the requests made of him to rest or let her look things over. Letting the axe's handle go, the item toppled over; still sporting the piece of wood that it was stuck to.

Back inside the house, first thing Woodsly did was remove the boots. The feel of the fur coat was nice; it was a bit tight on him but his slowly recovering body from the lack of good food back at the pits, currently allowed for it rest on him still. Something about the texture of fur was just soothing to him. This time though, he took a seat in a chair rather than then spot near the fire that he had been resting at since arriving. A look of discomfort appeared on his face as he did sit however.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 26, 2020, 10:17:44 PM
Once they were inside Astrid poured tea, adding drops of the tincture that would soothe his pains to his cup.  She set it within his reach beside him and then crossed back to the basket she had brought inside, though she didn’t immediately dive into taking care of its contents.  Instead, she focused on him with a studious gaze, seeming to stare straight through him.  Her eyes flashed that same luminous green as before, when she had set the broken ward outside; she was using some sort of magic.  In her mind’s eye, she saw the tiny cracks in his ribs, slow healing and troublesome.  It would take the longest of all of his injuries to heal.  It was no wonder that he was in pain; chopping wood would have certainly aggravated it.   

Astrid stirred a moment later and finally removed her coat and scarf, putting them up for now.  “I wanted to talk to you about something.  You mentioned before that when you were well, you would find a place to rent nearby while you worked in town.  You’ve been a wonderful help to me these past few days, and I enjoy our conversations.  If you wanted to, you could stay here.”  She became quite fascinated with the contents of her basket then, choosing bundles and laying them out in an orderly fashion on the table. “Instead of rent, you could just help me around the farm like you have been, maybe make me some better furniture?”
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 26, 2020, 10:26:25 PM
Closing his eyes as he took in slow breathes, he didn't get to see the glowing eyes she had. Though he would open them as she started to speak to him. A momentary attempt to try and relax was all he was doing, so he didn't mind hearing her voice and shifting his attention to her. As she spoke and he listened, he took the cup in his hands and took a sip.

"I'd be able to make sure you'd be safe still doing that." Woodsly started.

However he wouldn't be able to check on her easily during the day. He'd have to get a building or something in town anyway in order to sell his goods from. No one's going to buy funiture and such if it's been soiled by the heavy snow. Although she did have a lot of space out here..

"I'd have to figure out where what to do in order to sell things, that will still require some sort of building. But by staying here, it'll help with costs.." Woodsly started up again, taking another sip from cup in his hands. "Alright then. We'll do it that way then."
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 26, 2020, 10:52:14 PM
Astrid grinned.  "Great."

It was clear that she hadn't expected him to be so agreeable.  She was relieved, and more pleased than she expected to be.  Clearing her throat softly, she sobered a little and drank her tea, moving to settle herself by the fire.  She wouldn't admit it out loud, given how adamantly against being around people she was, but somettimes loneliness effected her just as thoroughly as anyone else.

"I may be able to do something to speed the healing," she added more quietly.  "It would make it easier for you to breathe..."

She was hesitant to bring it up; she hadn't offered to use magic to heal him before, but Astrid was beginning to trust him more.  She just wasn't certain how well it would be received.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 26, 2020, 10:57:24 PM
"It's not going to drain you too much, is it?" Woodsly asked.

Honestly, Woodsly was a little surprised he agreed as well. Debating more on it would've been done but..he agreed faster than he thought he would. Perhaps it was just due to him knowing that he needed to keep her safe during his vengeance? After all, she would be unable to use her magic and that was what was keeping her hidden currently. So without her magic, she'd be left wide in the opening. Taking a longer sip from his cup, it was easy to finish off what was left in one go now.

The warmth of the house finally registered to him though, so he started to remove the fur coat he kept on, merely waiting for her answer.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 27, 2020, 11:33:28 AM
Astrid shook her head.  “It shouldn’t, no.  Sleep will recover what I’ve used easily enough, and the wards will hold without needing to be reset until late tomorrow morning.  If it will take some of your pain, it’s worth it.”

She rose from her spot near the fire and crossed back to kneel in front of him, exhaling softly in preparation.  She seemed to stare straight through him again for a moment, then with an upward glance to make certain he didn’t have a problem with it, rested her hands against either side of his torso, along where the worst of the hairline fractures were.  Her touch was featherlight, careful not to add to his pains.  Her expression was one of concentration, and her eyes once more began to glow. 

The words she spoke were nothing that he would have ever heard before, a language that sounded ancient and carried an almost palpable weight when she spoke the words.  Her hands took on the same glow as her eyes while she worked, and that light sank into Woodsly’s body.  Almost immediately, the sharpness that came with each breath he took faded, and the residual aches lessened until they were nonexistent, but she didn’t stop at his ribs.  Bruises on his skin disappeared, cuts sealed, and bullet wounds closed, leaving only the barest hint of scar tissue behind.  Almost as quickly as the light melded into him, it had drawn back to its original source. 

Unseen, hidden by thick long sleeves and the length of her skirt, his wounds spread over Astrid’s body instead.  Bruises bloomed everywhere on her skin, followed by the other partially-healed wounds she had taken from him.  Her jaw locked when her breath sent pain like knives through her chest and sides.  She silenced when the work was done, doing her best to contain the pain.  Magic always came with a price, and that price was determined not by her, but the powers that were. 

Astrid sat back carefully, keeping her breathing easy and on the shallow side.  The last thing she wanted was for him to realize what the price had been for his healing—she doubted he would approve.  She could handle it; pain was an old friend, easier born when the choice was hers to make.  At least she couldn’t be forced to give it back.  What was done was done.  She was satisfied.  “That should do it.”       
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 27, 2020, 04:07:46 PM
"If you're sure then..." Woodsly started though he stopped his sentence as she approached.

Trying to brace himself, Woodsly struggled for a moment to even out his breathing as he didn't quite want to be touched where it hurt. But that was a unneeded step as Astrid took great care to not cause him more pain.  There was no point in trying to say or do anything as he sat there, seeing the strange glow that enveloped her arms and the language that left her lips was something he knew that if he were to interrupt it. It could go wrong. And it going wrong wasn't desired. The language spoken was foreign to him. As hard as he tried, he couldn't place a single word into familiarity. It was all something he didn't know.

She was right, if he knew the price she just paid, he wouldn't approved and would've protested. But he was in the dark and unaware of the price in any form. To him, she would probably just need to sleep more than usual. With her done, he took a deep breathe, in and then out. Nothing hurt. There was no aching and no sharp pain when he took a deeper breathe.

"That's probably never gonna stop being surprising." Woodsly commented.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 27, 2020, 04:55:01 PM
Astrid smiled at his comment and gingerly rose from her sitting position on the floor, forcing her posture to be as normal as possible.  The experience offered valuable insight into what he had been enduring, and her heart ached for him.  Her admiration for him deepened as well; there were few who could have worked as hard as he had or kept themselves composed while experiencing such a wide scope of physical injury.  A lesser man wouldn’t have bothered getting out of bed.

Once she was on her feet, she gave his shoulder a gentle pat.  “Don’t ever let anyone make you doubt your own strength, Woodsly.  You have more if it than they ever will.”

It had to be said, she felt. 

Astrid fell silent then and busied herself with putting together a cold lunch for the two of them.  She found herself wondering if he would want to leave more quickly to return to Nome and begin his plans now that he was healed.  She was more confident than before that he would survive, whether he chose to accept her help or not, but she found herself hoping he would—just to make sure.   

 “I’ve also decided to help you to get your revenge, if you accept.  There are some options.  The spell I spoke of before is obviously one of the most life-altering ones, but there are other, smaller ways if you prefer.  There are sigils for strength, for protection or to steady the nerves, or for greater stealth…whatever you choose.”
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 27, 2020, 05:09:53 PM
IT didn't matter in the pits if you were in pain or not, injuried and suffering. You had to get up and go to the next fight. Only to just get bounded into the ground more as you fought and struggled even if you were the winner in the end. You always took damage during a fight in some way. The hand to his shoulder and words that were given to him, kept him quiet.

Never doubt his own strength huh? The fact that she put it like that showed she was telling him he was strong. And honestly, it meant a lot. Sometimes even he had his doubts and he hated it; he hated it more when it was people pointing it out but thankfully she never said it. She had no reason to. So that at least kept his nerves steadied as he sat there, letting some other thoughts run about his head.

With the lunch being made, Woodsly let his arms rest on the table as he listened. Taking in her words with keen ears. Other ways to do it huh? Well, to be  truthful, it only made sense for him to turn into the monster that he already ways. Last thing some of those people needed to see was just what they created. Scare them straight to hell before sending em there himself.

"I do accept your help but only after you recover from the use of magic you just used." Woodsly replied as he looked to her. "First you recover, then we'll do it. Truthfully, I am still willing to do the one you mentioned before but perhaps the steal thing would help out a good bit. Even more so when getting info on them."
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 27, 2020, 05:33:39 PM
Astrid nodded in agreement and handed him a plate before returning to her original place by the fire.  “Then that is what we will do.  It will take you time to prepare anyway.  But now you have another decision to make,” she said, taking a sip from her cup.  “What is the form you will take?  Once you settle on that, you will need to acquire a piece of the beast—some fur or a feather, a talon, or claw.  Once you have done that, we can proceed.”

 “The stealth sigil is something that I can do for you today.  The energy needed for that is negligible.  I would paint it onto your skin in a place of your choosing using a pre-spelled ink, and whenever you find yourself in need of the ability, all you would have to do is focus on the mark to activate it.”  Astrid shrugged and immediately regretted it, but her posture only stiffened for a split second before she had it under control again.  As soon as she had a moment alone, she decided to deaden the pain a little.   
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 27, 2020, 05:43:21 PM
Woodsly stayed quiet for a little longer, pondering on what would be the best thing to scare those fools. Wolves scared people, but he didn't quite want to drag the wild creature's name through the mud further. Wolves had enough trouble, he didn't need the idiots of Nome hunting them further in their attempt to find him.

"I'll figure it out." Woodsly replied.

That didn't have to be decided straight away, he could take some time with it. Best to thoroughly think it through after all, he didn't want to be stuck as a house cat forever. With the stealth sigil being a thing he could have straight away, he pondered it for a few moments. Should he take that now though? Bringing his hands to his face, it was clear he was pondering it all over. Thinking clearly on it.

"The sigil can wait, I can handle myself enough to get a potiental building, beast material, and catch glimpses of the targets. We'll just stay in the preparation stage for now, till we're closer to the end of these two weeks, sound good?" Woodsly asked.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 27, 2020, 06:19:35 PM
Astrid nodded.  She agreed that he would be alright, and she allowed herself a modicum of relief to hear that he wouldn’t be rushing off immediately.  “Very well.” 

She finished her food and rose to put her coat, scarf, and hat back on; she had four garden boxes to harvest, pull, and re-seed before the end of the day, and a handful of other chores left.  Truth be told she was daunted by it, but Astrid could be stubborn and it would look strange if she took the rest of the afternoon off.  On that note, she stealthily slipped the small bottle with the pain tincture into her pocket; a drop or two on the tongue certainly wouldn’t taste great, but it would do the trick. 

Flashing Woodsly a small smile, Astrid collected her tea to take with her and made for the door.  She thought about waiting, maybe asking him to tell her about Wilson and the event that happened that had brought him to this point, but perhaps that was a discussion better left for the evening.  She had been reluctant to pry, grateful for the small slips here and there that entered their conversation, but a few pieces did not go very far when trying to solve a larger puzzle.  She knew it ran the risk of upsetting him; he always seemed to tense whenever he mentioned Wilson, but she was curious about Woodsly.  She wanted to know more, even the bad parts if he allowed it.  Later, she told herself. 

“As always, I’ll be about if you need me.”
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 27, 2020, 06:40:04 PM
A couple of days of going back and forth between Nome and Astrid's home had produced some results. Woodsly had managed to make a deal with a man who had a old building that they needed to do something with and turning it into a temporary shop sounded fine to him. Only thing bout it was Woodsly had to fix it up himself so it seemed he'd be practicing repairs while the normal capentry skill at the same time. But, since he hunted, he was able to already make a small amount of coin that would help him get toward the needed materials. So win in a odd way. He hadn't found much trace of those he was hunting by sight but word of mouth was the most..interesting.

Course, Woodsly would tell Astrid of his findings. The one he refereed to as Poisonous Plant was still dealing with sled dogs and the best sled team in all of Nome, so her status had remained the same oddly enough. She was going to be the hardest to deal with, he knew that much and admitted it even. After all, she was the one who did the whole bear thing. One of the other targets was a Margret Howlson, she was currently trying to worm her way up into high society of Nome; which only difference was you were rich and you could afford the best of furs and buy everyone out from under the table. Woodsly explained that she wasn't rich, so she had to be marrying into it. Which meant she was still a scheming wench who always pulled these types of schemes where using others for her own gain was the common game. She just now upgraded to the big leagues of doing it.

Some rich guy was going to get duped into marrying a lovely looking snake basically. The wedding hadn't happened yet, they were still engaged but no one had mentioned how far away the wedding was. Woodsly contemplated on waiting till after the wedding so the guy would get something out of it; such as the few valuable things Margret actually had due to her winning the hearts of guys who went over the moon for her in past years. Oh well, twas a small but unimportant debate. The others sadly, Woodsly hadn't found out anything. It clearly aggravated a small part of him but he wasn't to the point of fury.

"It makes sense for one of em to be slippery...but Stein...that weasel is the loudest out of all em. He shouldn't be that hard to notice.." Woodsly remarked as he seemed to be trying to figure out where the weasel was hiding with no evidence.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 27, 2020, 06:56:18 PM
The farm seemed so much quieter during the days that Woodsly went into town.  It wasn’t that there were endless streams of conversation with him, but the occasional sight of him throughout the day was something that she found she had become accustomed to.  Despite that, Astrid went on as usual, no stranger to being on her own.  The wounds she had taken from Woodsly healed but left behind the scars he would have had, and life became a bit easier to manage. 

When he returned from town and told her of the building he had found, she had been happy for him.  One step closer in his plans, one step closer to his revenge.  It would take work to fix it up, but there was little doubt in her mind that he could accomplish it.  When he spoke of his targets, Astrid listened avidly and without comment until he was finished.  She had grown to hate this ‘Poisonous Plant’ woman second hand from his description of her and what he had suffered at her hand.  Only a coward would use such means to attack another person, and the woman deserved every ounce of suffering she got—Astrid had no problem voicing her disdain for the woman out loud.  When he expressed that she could be the hardest one for him to beat, she simply laid a hand over his and commented that she didn’t think he gave himself enough credit; he would beat her.

As he went on to telling her about Margaret, Astrid sighed.  There were plenty of women like Margaret in the world, and in certain places arrangements for wealth were made often and for that reason alone.  But a woman who conducted herself like Margaret could be afforded little sympathy; she had earned what she had coming to her, and Woodsly would see the due paid. 

When Woodsly moved onto the subject of Stein, she frowned.  “Perhaps he left town?” she suggested.  A man didn’t just disappear, he had to be someplace.  “Or maybe he ran afoul of someone else in town, and whomever he angered has him?”   
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 27, 2020, 07:04:49 PM
"So long as he didn't piss his boss off too badly, he would be protected. Being in a gang has that perk I guess...but I doubt it. For all his annoying quality, he's good muscle." Woodsly answered. "He's only the shortest member of the Howlson family by a few inches but that's due to him taking all the raw muscle, whereas Wilson got all the height but suffered a slim build due to it. Hence the nickname of Scrawny Legs which was more of a means of insult than a nickname."

It wasn't a nickname of endearment or anything, it was a constant personal jab that no one could control. Stein could control how much muscle he got but he was always naturally muscular. He had that stupid build for it.

"Course, Creepy Stein is a much better name for him." Woodsly added, recalling the 'nickname' that even the Howlson parents called the man by.

A sigh left him as he rubbed his eyes, he still needed to acquire the material of the beast but he narrowed it down to a couple of things. Something that was carnivore but something they wouldn't expect. Now other than a cat, there wasn't much else he could work off of save for wild animals and potentially dogs. Wild animals were more terrifying but....he wondered if it was wise? After all, the presence of a wild beast in town would scare them shirtless but...it would also raise some suspicion he felt.

Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 27, 2020, 07:20:50 PM
Another piece of the ‘Wilson’ puzzle.  She hadn’t bothered to ask after the last time.  The subject upset him, and Astrid endeavored to avoid that.  Stein was a brother to Wilson, and one of his tormentors.  Abuse at the hands of a family member was something she understood.  It was strange.  For all his bitterness towards Wilson whenever he spoke of him, his reasons for attacking Stein included his bullying of Wilson.  Why?  Why would he wish to exact revenge for a person who he obviously had little regard for? 

It didn’t make sense, and worse, it was territory she knew better than to cross into without him broaching the topic first.

Astrid turned from this train of thought, focusing once more on what he was saying.  She didn’t ask him to elaborate on Stein’s nickname; regardless of the reason, she was sure he had earned it.  She watched as he sighed and rubbed his eyes.  Astrid thought he was probably exhausted, or perhaps simply had too many thoughts chasing each other back and forth in his head. 

She studied him, wondering if he was still trying to figure out how to track down Stein, or if something else was bothering him.  She had begun to think of him as a friend, and Astrid wanted to take some of the burden off of his shoulders.  “Whatever you’re thinking of right now, is it something that I could maybe help with?” 
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 27, 2020, 07:35:15 PM
"Ah just pondering on what beast to get something from is all. I want to be sure it's the right choice." Woodsly answered.

After all, he'd be stuck as it forever more. So he might as well pick something he'd like or at least be fine as. Still, he figured it was best to take a break from those thoughts. Leaning back in his chair somewhat, he let out a small sigh as he started to just relax in the spot he was in.

"Probably going to go hunting in the morning, have a couple of pelts on hand to sell in case someone stops by at the building." Woodsly started. "The floor doesn't look ready to cave in anymore."

A chuckle left him. Yep, he managed to fix the floor. Though next main issue was the roof. He figured if he could get the floor stable and it look decent, he could handle the roof.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 27, 2020, 08:00:35 PM

Astrid nodded thoughtfully.  It was good that he was thinking about it, and taking it so seriously.  It was best to approach decisions like what he had ahead of him with care.  If everything went well, he would be able to transform between the form he chose and who he was now, but if things didn’t go well, the animal he chose would be the only form he had. 

When he added that he planned to go hunting, she straightened and checked on the dough she had rising.  “The butcher would likely offer good money for the meat,” she suggested.  There were many repairs yet to be made, she knew, and she smiled when he mentioned that the floor was now sound.  “Well done, Woodsly.  You will be a master carpenter before you know it.  If you have need of them, there are more tools in the barn.  You are welcome to them.”

Deciding the first rise had gone on long enough, Astrid turned the dough out from its earthen bowl and began the process of kneading it; she liked to keep busy.  “You make me very curious, you know.  My interest in other people and their lives is limited and has been for years, but you never cease to make me wonder.  I find myself wanting to learn more about you.  That's not an easy feat to accomplish."
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 27, 2020, 08:19:31 PM
"That is true." Woodsly said, pondering over if he had even paid the butcher enough mind to know what he was low on but he couldn't recall. "Thankfully it wasn't as bad as he made it sound, that helped with it."

Indeed, from what the man had told him. IT sounded like the floor was gonna cave in like the roof should've. There were only a few spots where that was the cause but they were small and just replace the boards there and around it helped out greatly. The roof though, he was certain the old man hadn't exaggerated that. A brow was raised at her words regarding him making her curious in the lives of others. Though he was confused by what she meant by it. Did she really mean in regards to his past? Or was s he just using him as an example.

"Not terribly interesting, just had some pretty bad luck and I'm biting back." Woodsly answered, a hint of his confusion was noticeable in his voice.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 27, 2020, 09:01:24 PM
Astrid shrugged, feeling a bit embarrassed.  How did she explain to someone who didn’t find himself interesting…that she found him interesting?  That she wanted to learn more about him?  Simple things, like his favorite color, or a fond memory, or…anything, really?  After a moment, she shook her head.  Maybe they just hadn’t reached that point yet.  He was focused on something, and getting to know another person could be a distraction.

“Nevermind,” she finally said, offering an apologetic smile.  She returned the dough to the bowl and covered it again.  “So you’ve got the floor fixed now.  What’s next on the list?  The roof, wasn’t it?” She asked, changing the subject. 
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 27, 2020, 09:27:19 PM
Something about that 'never mind' made him feel guilty. Why though? Had he upset her? Was that apologetic smile there to help hide something else? Hard to say...hard to read people when it wasn't a survival situation. Mentally sighing to himself, he choose to just shift his focus to what Astrid was asking now. As a way to help make up for any possible insult or hurt feeling he gave her.

"Correct." Woodsly said. "The roof probably is as bad as the man made it sound, I might have to enlist help of some locals...not fond of that. "

A sigh left him this time before he shrugged.
------
The rest of the week went by and sure enough, the roof and the rest of the building was fixed. Woodsly honestly found it a bit irksome to ask the locals of Nome for help with that roof. Sure the younger lads seemed energetic and happy to help. But the whole time Woodsly eyed them with distrust the moment their backs weren't turned to him. None of them actually pulled anything, so he figured that they weren't too bad at that time; though part of him felt like he had spotted one of the youngsters before....but he couldn't place it. Probably some lingering leftover of Wilson in his head.

He'd also finally figured out what beast he was going to do. It came about in a funny way and actually had just occurred when he was heading home. A stray dog that was clearly starving had gone for some poor fool's fresh meat from the butcher. Despite how bone thin the creature was, it was fierce and the man was clearly startled by it; even more so when they were trying to retrieve their purchase from the beast, they got a nasty bite for the stupid act. Dogs were descended from wolves, there was still that fierce and savage nature within them. It was just buried deeper down...

It oddly fit Woodsly. So, he took a small detour and found himself having to get on the good side of a different stray that just needed some food and it would go back to being all friendly. Easy to get the fur off as he petted the thick furred canine. What he didn't count on was the dog following him the whole back to Astrid's place.

"Shoo, go on!" Woodsly ordered as he reached the door, waving a hand to try and shoo the dog away.

IT didn't budge, just staring up at his hand as if he was hiding a bone in it or something. A sigh left Woodsly as he opened the door and the darn canine rushed past him. A audiable curse left the red head as the dog started to sniff around.

"Out!" Woodsly snapped at the dog but they paid him no mind as they went over to Astrid, sniffing her and staring up at her wantingly.

The dog was a Siberian husky, potentially with a bit of something else in it but diluted enough that it didn't affect the over all look of the canine. They sported the traditional black and white coat but sported brown eyes instead of the common blue. Their tail gave a few wags as a whine left the canine.

"Not really the intention when I gave them something to eat." Woodsly started to say to Astrid. "Was getting some fur off of em and they kept following."
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 27, 2020, 10:04:24 PM
Halfway through the week, something got through Astrid’s wards again.  When she went to check what had happened, she found the bear that used to be Benjamin sitting on his haunches and waiting for her.  The woman was less than enthused, and managed another half-hearted scolding, but the bear simply stared at her, then pushed his expansive head against her front and stayed there like a child waiting for a hug.  That did it. 

Astrid reset the ward without sending him away and brought him back.  After eating his fill of her entire stock of smoked fish and a couple of apples, the bear settled himself on the small porch (leaving only a very small path to get to the door) and went to sleep, immediately at ease.  She later coaxed him into the barn for the night, but the bear returned promptly to the porch once she came outside to work. 

Woodsly managed to get the building fixed up and ready to act as his workshop, she knew, and she also knew that he had been able to find help with it, something that she was grateful for. 

When Woodsly came home, the last thing she expected was for a dog to bolt through the door and come right up to her.  Her eyes immediately lit up with joy and she promptly knelt to give the dog scratches behind the ear, shooting Woodsly an excited look.  It was the first real grin he would have seen, and a previously unknown detail became evident; Astrid was a dog person. “Oh my, hello beautiful!  Who are you?  Don’t you dare listen to him, you are most welcome.”

She urged the dog to follow and sliced some meat from the roast she’d smoked earlier and filled one of her bowls with water, offering them both to the dog. “There.”
 
Woodsly’s comment that he hadn’t expected to be followed home made her chuckle.  “I don’t blame them.  They look a bit rough, and far too thin.  I doubt they have had much kindness from anyone until you,” she said warmly, looking back down at the dog and giving them a few more scratches.  “Sweet pup.  We’ll take good care of you.”

She straightened and met Woodsly’s eyes.  “So you’ve chosen to become a dog?  A great choice, especially for this area, and an admirable creature to boot.”  She studied him.  “You are ready for the transformation?”
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 27, 2020, 10:16:00 PM
Seeing the bear around certainly took some getting used to, though the information that they were once a person helped out a great deal. Considering the incident in his past, bears did put some fear into him. He knew they were powerful and deadly. Though maybe the information that Benjamin probably wouldn't do him harm since he was close to Astrid might've helped too. Hard to say.

Woodsly was more surprised at Astrid's reaction to the stray dog, how she immediately started to fan over them and seeing that smile, Woodsly couldn't help but start to smile. It was rare for him to do a smile, but hey. He was glad that she wasn't upset about the dog that had suddenly shown up. The husky on the other hand was loving the attention, tail wagging and quickly following Astrid around when she gestured for them to.

"There's a lot of strays in Nome, rejected dogs that were breed to be sled dogs that didn't make the cut, owners dying suddenly and no one takes in the pet. Makes sense they're in rough shape." Woodsly agreed. "Welp, if you're okay with the dog then I won't try to get em to go back."

A shrug of defeat left him. The dog had quickly finished their food and was already back to trotting around, sniffing the place in curiosity before returning to Astrid. Which they were very happy to receive the additional attention.

"Yep, figured it would be a good way to throw all of em for a loop too. Should've seen this guy try to get his purchase from teh butcher back, man went pale as sheet when a different stray dog bite him for it." Woodsly replied.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 27, 2020, 10:44:30 PM
At the mention of other stray dogs, Astrid looked back down at the one he'd brought home, then around the cabin.  If she had more room, she might have tried to sneak into town just to coax a few more of them back, but alas.  She pet the dog for a few more moments and then put one of her spare blankets down near the hearth for them to sleep on. 

"We'll need to think of a name," she commented lightly.  She nodded when Woodsly mentioned the other dog.  "It's dangerous to get between a dog and what he wants.  It's fitting."

Astrid crossed back to him, and held her hand out for the fur.  "I'll take the offering and prepare the ritual if you're ready.  Before we do this, remember that you will need to strike a balance once it's done.   Do not neglect to change your form every so often, but also remember that if you spend too much time as a dog, you'll start to feel like you won't want to change back."
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 27, 2020, 11:00:45 PM
"I'm sure you might have some names in mind easier than me." Woodsly replied. "Not too good with coming up with names."

After all, he came up with his on name. Mashing two words together and thinking it would stick. Well it technically stuck, though people looked very confused whenever he said his name. Them struggling to comprehend it was both amusing as much as it was irritating. When she held out her hand, Woodsly was pulled out of those thoughts and he handed the fine fluff over to her. It was almost rolled into a ball considering how he had to roll it around a few times so he was sure he had enough; granted he didn't know how much she needed so he just grabbed enough to where he felt it was enough.

"I understand." Woodsly said. "Though I do want to ask, would it be best wise to do it inside or outside? Plus we also don't need to agitate our guest when there's suddenly a new dog in the room when I change for the first time. As I'm assuming that the change would happen right away when the ritual is done?"
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 28, 2020, 12:03:02 PM
Astrid took the fur with a satisfied nod.  The amount he had gotten would do, and she gave him an approving nod.  She listened when he spoke, asking his questions about whether the ritual would be done indoors or outside.  She smiled slightly.

“The ritual must be conducted outside, for many reasons.  Space and a direct connection to nature and the elements are two of them.  It is much easier to shape and bend the laws of nature while one is standing in it,” Astrid explained.  Rolling the fur between her fingers, she met Woodsly’s eyes and returned it to him. “Keep this until I ask for it.  I will begin the preparations directly.”

Turning away, Astrid began collecting several things from around the cabin and setting them on the table.  The items in question seemed mundane enough, especially when on their own.  One would never look at them in their places and think twice.  A chalice, a small cast iron bowl, a wicked-sharp dagger made from chipped obsidian, followed by small jars containing various strange substances that were not immediately familiar, and a sort of dried blue flower that took the shape of a star.  Candles followed at the last, and Astrid then transferred everything she had set out into a basket that she could use to take it outside all at once. 

Astrid put on her coat and her hat, but kicked her boots off and removed her socks.  Collecting the basket, she ventured outside and around to the back, choosing the wide area between the back of the cabin and the barn.  She ignored the stabbing cold at her feet, resigned to it—it wouldn’t be bothersome for long.  Determining where she would begin, the woman set her basket down and started to work.  Candles were placed in the shape of a circle to begin with, followed by her arranging the tools in her basket at the center.  Then, Astrid knelt in the snow and began to painstakingly craft an intricately detailed series of symbols, runes, and sigils within.  This part very nearly took an hour on its own, and when she finally finished the last line, the green color of her magic came vividly to life, racing through the circle and illuminating every last detail.  The candles flickered to life as well and completed the effect. 

Astrid observed her work with a critical eye.  Exhaling softly, she turned to Woodsly.  “If you accept the gift I am offering to you without reservation and of your own free will, please step inside the circle and stand here so that we can begin.”         
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 28, 2020, 01:42:02 PM
"Outsides fine by me." Woodsly replied before looking to the canine. "You're going to stay in the house for this."

The husky tilted their head as Woodsly directed his words at it, a very confused pooch. Though they made no move to leave the spot they had claimed as their own thanks to Astrid putting a blanket down for them. With the ball of fur extended back to him, he took the ball of condensed fluff and held onto it. A nod left him to show he understood her instruction.

For the most part, Woodsly was quiet as she gathered the supplies needed for the ritual. The ball of fluff was merely rolled in his hand as he did something to keep himself occupied. Soon they were moving outside and the snow crunched beneath them. He was a bit concerned as she had come out here barefoot but he just kept telling himself that she said she had to be close to nature. Shoes would prevent  that. What he didn't think about was the amount of time it would take.

When the hour passed, his concern was growing. She could still get hypothermia....right? She knew magic but did that make body different from humans in what could affect it? He didn't know. His attention was removed from these concerns as sh spoke to him. Taking a slow breathe in, Woodsly stepped into the circle; it almost felt like walking into the ring of that accursed arena again. He gave a nod to her, showing that she could continue as he stood there.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 28, 2020, 02:22:15 PM
Despite the cold, Astrid carried on as though unaffected by it.  Illuminated by the fire of the candles and the light of the circle, however, it became clear why she never slacked in keeping every possible inch of herself covered save for her head and hands; he was not the only one who carried scars.  What small amount of skin that was exposed below the hem of her skirt had been badly burned at some point, and what had healed over was a mess of melted tissue.  It also might have explained why she had been so bothered by his self-deprecating comments regarding his own scars; she feared the very same rejection that he did. 

Once inside the circle, Woodsly would feel a blanket of warmth surround him, seeping through his clothes and into his skin, answering the unasked question about how she could stand it; the cold didn’t seem to exist where she had cast the lines. 

Nodding when he stood across from her, Astrid indicated the iron bowl between them.  “You may place your offering now.”

While he did that, she used the obsidian knife to score her thumb, carefully drawing a symbol on her forehead, which promptly began to glow the same color as the rest of the marks in the circle.  Next, she allowed a few drops to fall into the bowl.  She took his hand and did the same to him, guiding him through the symbol before holding his thumb over the bowl. 

She released his hand then and began the ritual in earnest, speaking in that same strange language.  Her tone was even and quiet, but the longer she spoke the more tangible the energy around them began to feel, tingling like static on the skin.  The wind began to pick up, first swaying and then tearing through the trees around them, accompanied by a sudden storm which sent flashes of light skated through the clouds above with a building rumble.  The tingle along Woodsly’s skin would morph into a crawling sensation that sank deep through his muscles and to his very bones.  Astrid’s voice grew louder over the storm and her hands rose towards the sky, channeling its power and bending it to her will.  When the last words were shouted, the end was heralded by a crashing boom from the sky above…

And the transformation began. 
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 28, 2020, 03:11:56 PM
Getting the glimpse of the burn marks, Woodsly felt like a jackass. Sure he normally didn't care what people thought of him and he often retorted in a negative way. He hadn't done that much to Astrid but even though he found himself pretty hard to like the look of, he didn't mean to potentially make her feel that way. The warmth within this circle had caught him offguard, it was sort of a shock to go from freezing cold to a nice strong warmth. 

With the instruction to put the offering into the iron bowl, Woodsly had to take a moment to see where it was. But he soon spotted the bowl and bent down to place the ball of fur into the bowl. The blood part of this ritual didn't affect him much, he just willingly went along with it. Everything seemed to be reacting. Looking around, it felt like a storm was going to be brewing and Woodsly couldn't help but scratch at his arm as that tingling sensation started to shift to that of something crawling in his skin. It made him feel uncomfortable. And with it sinking further in, Woodsly rolled his shoulders as he took a deep breathe. Trying to ignore the sensation and still himself.

The boom of thunder made him jerk as it caught him off guard yet, something else pulled his attention. That crawling sensation that had buried itself deep into his bones twisted and pulled at him. Everything felt unstable and he felt sick, taking in a couple of labored breathes before a pressure hit his chest from the inside. Causing him to groan as he grabbed at his chest; not noticing his nails hand started to turn into claws and were turning black in color. Gritting his teeth, they were growing sharper and longer to resemble fangs. His short red hair seemed to stand on end as he took in harsher breathes as a pained sound left him.

The pressure and overall discomfort grew and grew, only for the man to let out pained cry as his ribs pushed forward with a crack and pop sound. The bones in his hands pushed against the skin with many small pop sounds until Woodsly slammed a fist to the ground as the overall pain and discomfort was clouding his better judgement. Everything hurt, why did it feel like everything was just getting tighter? Like a shrinking cage that just kept getting tighter and tighter to be in.

Truth be told that was due to his body changing and now that he was on the ground, it would be clear to Astrid that the man's clothes were no doubt what was making Woodsly feel that way if she knew. A pair of canine ears appeared on his head, they twitched before they slanted back; showing that the man was in pain further. The sound of fabric ripping and a long straight tail appeared. It the top coat of the fur was a dark red, with a layer of more muted red under before it reached the underside of the tail that was purely white. However, it seemed that the emergence of the tail, helped everything else follow suit and change.  Shoes were destroyed as the large paws emerged, breaking free of their confinement and the rest of the beast that Woodsly agreed to become took hold.

With torn fabric litering the snow, the form of a husky was there now. However it was much larger than the regular breed and as Woodsly tried to stand, the beast tumbled to the ground. Not used to the four limbs but with lingering pain, and a great deal of energy used, the beast laid there in the snow panting. Trying to regain some breathe. Welp, Astrid now had a massive red and white husky in her magical circle.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 28, 2020, 03:57:44 PM
Astrid stood back and watched the transformation take place, finding it more difficult than it should have been to stay rooted in place.  The first transformation was always the worst.  The clothing he wore only added to the whole ordeal, something which Astrid regretted; it had been her mistake, not to tell him to remove his clothing before the ritual. 

When the transformation finished and the danger of interruption passed, Astrid finally moved and settled herself beside Woodsly, trying to offer some comfort while he caught his breath and grew accustomed to his vastly different body.  She placed her hand over his right front paw, another on his back.  “Easy, Woodsly.  Just rest a moment.  Your new form will take some getting used to.”

She resisted the urge to pet; he was still a man, after all, no matter what he looked like.  She took the time to study him, marveling at the shape he had taken.  Far larger than huskies were ordinarily, his fur came in shades of red like his hair, save for his tail.  She thought he looked magnificent.  She waited another moment, before the urge to make certain he was still himself pushed her to speak again.

“Are you alright?”   
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 28, 2020, 04:10:19 PM
The red and white husky took in deep breathes, each exhale was quickly followed by a deeper intake of breathe. His larger lungs pulling in more air to calm the pounding heart within his chest. Sides rose and fell with each breathe and his tail lay limply behind him. Astrid would find his fur soft to the touch and due to his side it would be easy to snuggle against him and get lost in the warmth from that fluff. The scars on his face showed strongly though, where the white face marking got to his cheeks, the three large claw marks rested there. The two white dots huskys had on their foreheads had the claw marks through them still. Other than that that, traces of Woodsly seemed to be lost in this large form.

When his eyes opened, they were revealed to have turned to a golden yellow color. They held a sort of brilliance in their color to them but a far cry from what Woodsly's light brown eyes once were. Was he okay? Her question caused his ears two twitch and perk, taking in her voice as well as the other sounds of the forest around him. Lifting his canine head up, he looked around. Everything sounded so much clearer...like every sound was sharper despite being the same distance away from him.

"I....I feel a great deal different.." Woodsly answered, looking down at his large white paws.

It was all real..very real. Moving to try and stand up on all four paws, his body didn't cooperate enough with him before he thudded to the ground. Kicking up snow as he did and a heavy sigh left him.

"Everything feels a bit stiff.." Woodsly added as he laid there.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 28, 2020, 05:46:31 PM
Astrid gave him a reassuring pat on the back.  That his scars had remained didn’t surprise her; the body had changed, but the patterns of violence made on it rarely faded away.  Along with his sheer size, it added to the intimidation factor—or at least, she imagined it would for anyone who stood in his way. 

At his comment about feeling a great deal different, Astrid chuckled, rubbing some of his fur between her fingers and marveling at the softness.  “You look a lot different.  You chose well.  This form suits you beautifully.”

She watched as he tried to get up again, struggled, and laid back down with a sigh.  Astrid smiled.  “It won’t for much longer.  The change is disorienting and painful, but after a few minutes that will pass.  Give your brain time to catch up with all the changes.  You’ve gone from biped to quadruped in a matter of seconds.  Everything is different now.”

Resisting the urge to pet him, Astrid removed her hands and got up, wincing at the deep ache that had settled in her body. The side effects of such a large ritual had begun to take root, and Astrid could feel that awful, disconcerting emptiness that always came after.  She felt less than half herself, weak, her senses dulled from their usual keenness.  The cold was worse too.  With the circle’s work done, the magic had faded and taken the warmth with it. 

“Alright Woodsly, lets try again.  Take it slow,” she urged gently.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 28, 2020, 05:58:00 PM
"Good thing I debated greatly on it then." Woodsly replied as he raised his head to look at her.

At least moving his head didn't take too much out of him or add to the disorienting feeling he had. Ears perked forward as he watched her, the tips of his ears would flick as he took in her voice. She had a point. He was also much larger than he ever could've been. Part of him wondered how tall he was now and if he even could fit into a building in this form. If he turned while in one, probably. Though that would raise issues if anyone could see him when he sneaked away...well, good thing he agreed to the sigil for stealth.

Seeing her wince, Woodsly lowered his head for her to balance against. It was the fastest response he could think to do. Once she was steady, he would slowly move his head away in order to give this standing up business another go. Trying to take it slower, the large dog made a low growl as his body protested the movement. Ears flicked slightly before he continued his efforts.

Sure enough, he was now standing up and he certainly towered over Astrid. In fact, he was no doubt taller than Benjamin was; ironically making him large enough to ride on his back. Large paws easily sank into the snow as he took a step. Chest rose and fell as he took in a few fast breathes due to some residual discomfort.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 28, 2020, 06:20:02 PM
“By the Gods…” Astrid exhaled in surprise when he stood at his full height.  He had looked big, but on his feet?  She wasn’t exactly a tall person, but he towered over her, bigger even than the bear currently watching from the barn.  She wasn’t positive that he would even be able to fit through the door of her cabin!  Once more she found herself deliberating the benefits of a bigger home.

Ignoring the weighted feeling her body had, Astrid took a few steps back to give him some space to move.  “That’s great, Woodsly, well done.  Now try to walk.  Just one step at a time.  You’ll be running before you know it,” she encouraged quietly.  She tried to inject a touch of humor into her voice and added, “Once you can do that, we’ll tackle the issue of getting you inside the cabin.”   
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 28, 2020, 06:26:45 PM
The discomfort was back as he took a step, and it took a few minutes for that to go away. But in those few minutes, Woodsly had managed to get the hang of walking. It was certainly interesting being this tall and doing this. In fact, it kind of felt like when you were a kid and you imaged things. You could always imagine running really fast or being taller than everyone else. But this was actually experiencing it. Having the hang of walking again, he took a moment before attempting to sprint. The large paws caused a bit of a awkward footing, causing him to lose his balance and he hit the ground with a loud thud!

A sound that was the mix of a mumble and a low whine left him as he shook his head, sending small bits of snow into the air before he got to his paws again. Much faster this time too.

"I will admit..this is both fun and awkward still." Woodsly replied before he started to laugh; a rare thing for him honestly.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 28, 2020, 06:46:01 PM
Astrid drifted closer to the cabin, watching him try his paws at running once he got the walking part down a bit better.  He took a spill but got back up and tried again, and she couldn’t help but smile; he seemed to be enjoying himself.

He confirmed as much when he spoke, and her standard small smile evolved to a full grin at the sound of his laughter.  That sound alone made the struggle worth it.  She had never heard him laugh before, and she hoped that it wasn’t the last time.  “The awkwardness will go away as well,” she assured him. 

Astrid shivered violently in the cold, becoming aware that she could barely feel her feet, and that cold had begun to creep up her legs.  “I…I need to go inside,” she finally admitted, leaning against one of the posts that supported the roof of the small porch.  She studied him wearily, hand wrapping around the wood when a wave of dizziness made the world spin for a second.  “I’ll need to move a couple of things around but…I think you might fit if you wish to stay in this form.  To transform back to your original body, you will need to focus…to focus on…” she tapered off for a moment, finding it difficult to get the words out.   Her voice thinned to a whisper when she continued, “…you will need to focus on your human form, hold it in your mind, and visualize yourself…visualize changing back…”   
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 28, 2020, 06:55:17 PM
Indeed, the awkwardness would slowly go away if he spent more time in this form. Though he noticed something. Astrid was cold, she was shivering greatly. The large husky easily walked over to her as she started to talk about going inside. the large black nose he sported was used to gently direct her to the door. Considering he lacked hands currently, he couldn't really guide her in. And as she struggled to talk, it was clear that she was in a negative state that had to be fixed quickly. First step was getting her inside. But he knew that he couldn't squeeze in there and help her in like this. So, it only made sense to turn back. Even more so since she did say one could get stuck in this form if they spent too long in it.

Granted, he didn't want to visualize himself. He didn't want to see any of the past self too. That was going to be the one tricky thing with this he felt. But for the sake of making sure that Astrid was going to be okay and have someone to help her out in case things weren't, he decided he'd have to do it this way. So he closed his golden yellow eyes and concentrated the best he could.

It seemed Woodsly had a better knack for turning back. Sure it hurt a great deal given the bones shift and breaking, downgrading their size to fit inside of him. A sharp and heavy rasp left him as he grabbed onto the post and immediately felt the cold hitting his bare skin.

"I I think...let's not push it..." Woodsly explained before doing his best to help her in.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 28, 2020, 07:23:20 PM
Astrid accepted Woodsly’s help gratefully and with a murmured ‘thank you’, and it was probably for the best; getting up the stairs proved to be a chore she wouldn’t have been able to manage on her own.  His assistance stopped her from stumbling and falling a few times.  Once inside, it was all she could do to make it to her bed, and she was asleep the moment she laid down. 

A habitually early riser, Astrid slept well beyond the hour she usually woke.  When she finally did rise, she seemed diminished, smaller somehow than she was before and several shades paler.  Her hair was light enough as it was, but a streak of white two shades lighter than the rest had appeared at some point in the night.  She would recover in time, of course, but the effects the ritual had on her were apparent beyond a simple ‘empty well’. 

Despite this, Astrid was aware that Woodsly hadn’t left yet and moved with stubborn purpose, forcing herself to get up and present as normally as possible.  Catching his eye, she offered a small smile and filled the kettle for tea, locking her jaw briefly in frustration when her hand trembled from the weight of the pitcher.  It was going to be a long week.  “How are you feeling this morning?  If you have aches,” she tapped one of the jars on a shelf, “that works wonders for soothing them.”
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 28, 2020, 07:31:34 PM
Honestly, watching her appearance dimish through the night hadn't given him much comfort. He had helped her into bed and saw those scars on her feet better. But when he woke up and she was still asleep, the paler face and hair, the sudden two streaks in her hair made him uneasy and concerned. So the man stayed in the house, doing his best to stay quiet but now with the dog in the house..that was hard. The clickty clack of nails on the wooden floor would drive a man nutz who wasn't used to it and...Woodsly was long unused to that sound. Oddly enough when he gave a order for the dog to get their paws off the table, they swiftly obeyed him this time.

Perhaps it was cause he used a very low voice? This was one to try and not wake up Astrid as he actually made some food to eat. Or was it due to the change in him? Whichever it was, he was glad they listened and he reward the canine by giving them a small piece of his own breakfast to mix in with some prepared food for the dog. The husky was quick to start diving in and Woodsly knew a collar was going to be needed for this dog; that way if it followed him no one would see it as a stray. Although he sort of hoped to keep the canine here rather than it follow him back an forth.

When Astrid had stirred and rose from bed, Woodsly was quick to look toward her. She gave a small smile but when she was trying to do a task, he was sure he noticed her movements were off. So with ease, he got up and headed on over to her.

"Here, you go sit at the table. I prepared some food and I can get the tea going." Woodsly softly instructed.

He knew she was in rough shape so he was doing his best to keep his voice low and gentle, heaven knows how bad a rough voice is going to make one's head spin when they weren't feeling well. He did look to which jar she pointed to but he waited to answer her question, the look he gave her was an attempt to quietly urge her to sit down before he'd give a ounce of focus to himself.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 28, 2020, 07:55:21 PM
The gentleness of Woodsly’s voice caught her off guard and immediately disarmed her.  He had always been gruff, something that she had grown used to over the time they had spent together.  Her features softened when he mentioned he had already made food and would take care of the tea.  It had been a long time since anyone had taken care of her, even a little.  Granted, she was an independent sort anyway, preferring to keep her problems to herself.  She couldn’t help but stare at him, and instead of arguing that she was fine like she might have done otherwise, she sat at the table. 
 
“Thank you,” she finally said, her tone quiet but genuine.  Self-consciously, she played with her sleep-messed braid, frowning when she caught sight of the white streak woven through it.  She raised an eyebrow at it, shrugged, and tossed her braid dismissively back over her shoulder.  Catching sight of the husky, she smiled and patted her leg, reaching a hand out to pet them.  Ah, him.  She’d need to think of a suitable name today. 
 
“You didn’t answer my question, though,” she persisted, concern obvious in her eyes when she looked at Woodsly again. “How are you feeling this morning?”
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 28, 2020, 08:25:12 PM
A nod left him as she thank him. She was doing a lot for him after all, shouldn't he return the favor? With ease he got the kettle prepared and set it over the fire to let the water come to a boil. In which time he took a seat at the table that he had set the prepared meal on. It wasn't anything fancy. Just some meat and biscuits with the option of butter or jam to be smeared over it. Woodsly wasn't a grand cook. He could get some things right but then again, he didn't get much chance to learn besides roasting things over a fire till going to the pits.

"I feel stiff in some areas, sore in others. But it's mild and one I can put up with. Are you going to be alright today? I can hold off going into town today if you need some help?" Woodsly asked.

The husky on the other hand gave a happy bark, very pleased to be getting some love an attention. Blissfully unaware.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 28, 2020, 09:02:04 PM
Astrid nodded, feeling assured at least that he would be alright for the day.  She was plenty happy with the food he had prepared; simple or not, it hit the spot, and Astrid felt ravenous.  When he offered to stay, she immediately shook her head. 

“As much as I enjoy your company, Woodsly, I’ll be fine.  But thank you.  I can honestly say I’ve felt worse,” she said, scratching the husky behind both ears.  “I’ll do what I have to get done, but otherwise I’ll take it easy.  There’s no need to disrupt your plans on my account.  I’ve got Benjamin outside, and this good boy here to keep me company.”

She pitched her voice lower and addressed the dog cheerfully. “A good boy who needs a name!  Isn’t that so?” she asked, ruffling his fur affectionately.  She met Woodsly’s eyes again and smiled a little more genuinely.  “Be safe.  I’ll be here when you come home.”
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 28, 2020, 09:27:15 PM
"Alright, I'll try to not be too long. It's still mostly gathering information and all." Woodsly said with a nod.

Finishing up the remainder of his plate, Woodsly knew he'd just have to put faith in her words. After all, she did this before. She didn't have anyone else to help her then...right? He might come back a little earlier than usual just to make sure she was okay. With that small debate done, he rose from the chair, and headed out after a goodbye.
----------

Now Woodsly had to hire some help to keep a shop running, as much as he hated the idea of it. He couldn't work on pieces in front of the customers, it would make the place dirty. Something he learned from Wilson's days in a grocery store. People wanted a clean store to look in and so he had to convert the backroom the workshop. That meant he had to have someone working out front..not ideal but he had to do it. So a young man was the choice as they seemed to be okay and not a trouble maker.

Caleb was their name, a slender young man with black hair that developed a natural wave to it at the ends. His eyes were a dark brown although he seemed to pick up on Woodsly's eyes being 'brighter' than usual, the lad was convinced that they were always that color. Course Woodsly was quick to look at his reflection in the back when he got away from the lad and sure enough, his eyes hadn't reverted to light brown. Instead they were that lovely but unnatural golden yellow; if not a little toned down in coloration.

"Great.." Woodsly muttered under his breathe, how he hadn't he noticed that sooner?

He didn't get to think much when the sound of youngsters laughing echoed in the main part of the shop. A scowl came to the redhead's face as he felt displeasure course through him and even when he looked out the door, he knew they weren't just simple youngins being curious. No, these youths sported one odd patch of fur sewn randomly to a spot in the coats or hats, it looked to be in the shape of a bone and from what he'd seen since he got back. That was one of the symbols for the local gang. As a couple of em were poking and pointing at a chair he'd made, one of the youths was about to scramble on up in it.

"OUT!" Woodsly snarled before the youth managed to scramble up there.

The more skittish youths were already bolting out the door and Caleb had a very mixed look on their face as he watched his boss just come out the back with such a harsh command. The older boys stayed put though, and Woodsly could already make out the shape of a knife in their glove; a very poor hiding spot.

"What's your problem old man? Chair not sturdy?" the brat remarked, causing him to get a glare directed at em.

"Oh it's sturdy boy, but I ain't going to risk you hooligans breaking my wares. Now get out before I get the Sheriff to take you out." Woodsly ordered, his voice on the verge of a snarl.

"Uh...Mr. Noslwoh? Sur..." Caleb started but he went silent as his boss's hand whipped into the air in a silent gesture of 'shut up'.

"He ain't got no reason to do anything to us, foreigner!" The boy spat and that's when the lad let out a started scream as their wrist was grabbed and Woodsly yanked their glove and knife out of their hand.

"Oh really? Then what's this doing in yer hand concealed?" Woodsly glowered down at him with a snarl as he held the knife out of their reach and kept a firm grasp on their wrist. "if this was just in your darn pocket I wouldn't mind. But the moment you get on that chair with this in hand it means yer getting ready to vandalized something and ruining a potential customer's day as well as my own. Before you start wrecking shit, learn how hard it is to make things and think about it. Now...GET OUT!!!"

The order came with a dark and cruel tone as Woodsly yanked the youth over to the door but allowed them to walk out the door with some dignity; if they had tried to fight back, he would've thrown em. It was tempting too but the older boys cooperated and now, he had some stupid knife in one hand and look of uncontrolled rage on his face. The small group of lads rushed off and Woodsly suddenly felt a bit faint. Caleb caught this and rushed over to his boss's aid.

"S...sir...wasn't that a bit harsh?" Caleb asked, the look of rage was still directed at them but when Caleb flinched the expression softened.

"Just because they're children, doesn't mean they aren't destructive. Even more so with those little furry bones put in random spots on their attire. You've lived here and you aren't aware that's the one of the gang symbols?" Woodsly questioned, his tone still harsh but he felt like something was stirring in him, almost like it was under the skin.

"I...truthfully I didn't. Ma always kept me at the edge of town where we lived, people were rather cruel to her since she's a..native an father weren't."

Ah yes, one other reason he hired the young man. Caleb was in between two worlds, the native Inuits world and the world of white men. The boy knew hardship and they too were sort of a doormat like Wilson. He hoped to prevent another 'Wilson' incident with the boy. Woodly sighed as he started to move toward the back o the shop.

"Forgive me, I've had a rough morning and I don't do well with...children. I put this place together mostly myself for the roof and I don't want this place to tank because of some wanna be train robber children. Understood?" Woodsly explained, the sensation of something shifting around started to fade as he calmed.

"Yes Sir." Caleb answered with a quick nod.

"Good lad. Now, just keep a eye on any youthful child that is younger than you that walks in. DOn't matter if they're a year younger than you, watch em. If they don't seem interested in anything, call for me."

With that Woodsly went back into the back and promptly threw the knife into the wall, taking a deep breathe as he just felt the urge to rip something apart. For now, he pushed it down. The doors to the shop had only been open ten minutes and the day was long.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 28, 2020, 10:09:40 PM
About an hour after the altercation with the boys, the door to his store front opened and a woman stepped in.  Everything from the expensive and elaborate (and appallingly inefficient) hat on her head, to the fine, high-heeled leather boots she wore screamed city and money.  Platinum blond hair was perfectly styled, the red dress she wore was hand-tailored and tasteful, and she carried herself like a woman who owned the world itself.  Her meticulously made-up face resembled Astrid almost exactly, save for her eyes; where Astrid’s eyes were bright green, this ones eyes were a cold, icy blue.  She didn’t look for a second as if she had walked through snow, or any other sort of weather for that matter.

The woman paused once she was inside, scanning the shop with critical eye.  After a long, unimpressed moment, she glided to the counter and fixed Caleb with that cold, unblinking stare.  There was a moment where they seemed to glow, but it could have been a trick of the light.

“I am wondering if you might help me,” she said politely.  Her voice was different from Astrid’s too, slightly deeper and strangely pleasant on the ears.  “I am looking for a woman.  She resembles me almost exactly, but she has green eyes and is…a great deal rougher around the edges.  She likely would not live in town, but she may have come in for supplies at one point.  Have you seen her around here, perhaps?”     
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 28, 2020, 10:20:08 PM
Woodsly felt something...something off, a odd smell drifted through the place as a voice akin to Astrid's could be heard. But there were differences in that voice, enough so for him to be certain it wasn't her but that something was playing tricks on his newly enhanced senses. The words that he heard though..made him stay put where he was. Hidden away in the backroom.

"I'm afraid I haven't see anyone that looks similar to you Ma'am." Caleb answered. "I live on the outskirts on one side but I normally stick to the edge of town a good fair deal and I haven't seen anyone. I could ask my boss if he has seen anyone akin to your description if you want."

It was only fair to offer, maybe this woman was looking for a lost sibling? Though he felt uneasy to a degree..and outside the familiar loud caw of a raven caught Caleb's attention. He knew what the creature was swquacking about due to his odd..gift.

"Beware, beware!" The raven screamed from the roof, it's nonsense penetrating Caleb's ears are he stood there. "Many falsehoods be here! Beware, Beware! Darkness slithers toward Light!

Again it was normally nonsense....save for the few times they were right. His mother had taught him how the Raven was supposively the bringer of day and even the creator of the world. But Caleb struggled to believe his mother's tales, yet..he knew he wasn't normal. Otherwise, why would these birds be understandable?
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 28, 2020, 10:41:05 PM
The woman’s head tilted at the sound of the raven’s call, and she smiled, though it didn’t reach her eyes.  There was a glint of knowing there, as if she had somehow overheard.  “Why, yes of course.  Please do ask your boss.  I simply must find my sister.  It has been such a very long time, and Astrid always seems to disappear right as I am catching up to her.  It’s extremely important that I find her.”

She went to lean on the counter, then thought better of it.  She glanced around the store instead, moving to stand in front of the chair that the kids had been hovering near earlier.  “I would…love to purchase this chair as well, and perhaps compliment the artisan on his fine work...And then I could ask him about Astrid, myself.”

She smiled sharply at Caleb.  “Kill two birds with one stone, as they say.” she added, subtly emphasizing the word ‘birds’ for his benefit.   
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 28, 2020, 10:49:57 PM
Ah so she was looking for her sister, that made sense. Perhaps they always missed each other? Maybe. Though Caleb didn't stay in his own thoughts for long, rather he listened to what the customer was talking about as she moved away from the counter.

"Oh my boss actually makes everything he sells, I'll go and fetch him." Caleb replied warmly.

The lad felt confused though...what did she emphasize birds? He got what she meant by knocking two birds out with one stone but...why did she emphasis that? The cawing seemed to increase as Caleb walked to the back of the shop.

"Beware, beware! Darkness comes, beware!!" the ravens screeched off before the sound of wings flapping as the creatures flew away.

Caleb knocked on the back door before entering and he closed it behind him. There was Woodsly, sitting there with a bowl in hand and to Caleb the man looked to be checking the current condition of the project. But that was just a facade. Woodsly had heard everything and he couldn't help but feel uneasy. Astrid...there was only one Astrid he knew of and she had a past. Was this woman a part of it? And if so....how much danger were they all in?

"Yes Caleb?" Woodsly asked.

"There's a lady out front asking about her sister and she's interested in one of the chairs. Enough so that she wants to meet you, sir." Caleb answered.

Woodsly exhaled before he stood up, looking to Caleb with a gentler expression.

"Stay here." Woodsly told them before he headed out of the backroom.

Why stay? Caleb didn't dare disobey the instruction, perhaps he wanted someone to keep a eye on the things in back? Who knows. Woodsly knew how to put up a facade so, he walked out of the room with a neutral expression and headed to the counter. That smell..it was coming from this woman. Her appearance was startling close to Astrid's....he didn't like it. But that was all hidden within the natural facade he could do.

"Good afternoon madam, how may I help you today?" Woodsly greeted as he came to a halt at the counter.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 28, 2020, 11:19:52 PM
Once Woodsly entered the shop front, the woman straightened.  As they had with Caleb, her eyes glowed for a fraction of a second, and she smiled, gliding back to the counter.

“A man with courtesy, how delightful.  My name is Ingrid, and you must be the artist,” she said, her voice taking on a sweeter note.  The scent, when in close proximity to her, became a bit clearer.  Where Astrid smelled of the forest and the herbs that she worked closely with, the woman in front of him smelled of expensive perfume primarily, but beneath it was something bitter, akin to death.  “I simply must purchase that chair, and as I told the young man, I wanted to compliment you on your work.  So very er…” she seemed to struggle to find the proper word as she eyed the chair in question, “…rustic.  It shall go very nicely in my…sitting room.”

She returned her gaze back to him, her smile widening.  She leaned forward a touch, her voice lowering to something only Woodsly could hear.  “You reek of her wild magic.  I could smell it before I even walked through the door…which means that you have seen her quite recently and you know exactly where she’s hiding.  So where is she, chair-maker?  Where is my sweet little sister?”
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 28, 2020, 11:30:38 PM
"Tis only right to be polite to a customer as well as a young lady." Woodsly replied.

Oh but how that smell made him distrust her already. Expensive perfume but also...something far worse. Not like any natural smell he had smelled before. So what was this? At her attempts to compliment though, Woodsly felt his suspicions grow. Now he knew there were far more skilled carpenters than his self taught hide, but still. If you liked something, you knew why. Like how he actually liked for how genuine Astrid was in her emotions. It took him a while to believe she actually cared about him, in the end he learned that it wasn't a facade.

"Yes, anything away form a big city more than likely falls into the rustic category. Thank you kindly madam." Woodsly answered. "It could work within a sitting room, or if you have a balcony or porch you put it there and enjoy the warmer air if you're taking it back to you're home outside of Alaska. We don't have any big cities in this wilderness heavy place."

And that's when that low voice came to him. The whole time his face was calm and neutral. He held a friendly smile as he stood there. This calm expression remained as he tilted his head, looking at Ingrid as he stood there.

"Well, Madam Ingrid, I don't know what you're talking about." Woodsly started, before letting his arms rest on the counter. "Now I'm new to this whole magic thing, but I kept getting exposed to this stuff in the pits. Some idiots had the bright idea to make the matches more interesting. So, let's try this again."

The man gave a big smile as he stood there before he leaned forward slightly.

"Still want that chair?" He added simply.

Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 28, 2020, 11:56:34 PM
Rather than getting upset or suspicious, Ingrid laughed at his response.  "Such an inventive lie, I applaud you, but I know more of magic than you ever could...and I know Astrid's work when I see it."

Eyes gleaming dangerously, she glanced at the chair, then back at him.  "On second thought, I think I will pass.  It's the wrong type of wood...my mistake." 

Fitting a pair of close-fit black gloves over her hands, she made a show of dusting herself off and moved to the door.  Before she left, she turned back to him.  "Have a lovely day, sir...and tell my sister when you see her next that her time is running out, as are the places left where she can hide.  I will take what belongs to me."  She grinned widely again. "And when you do go to see her, I hope you are better at covering your tracks than you are at falsehood."

With that, Ingrid winked at Woodsly and left the shop.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 29, 2020, 12:08:03 AM
"Not everyone likes rustic." Woodsly replied with a shrug.

The man stayed quiet, watching Ingrid leave and once she was gone an well enough away from the shop's windows. He gave a long tired sigh. Great, what mess did he get himself into this time? Even without Wilson, it seemed he was going to be pulled into messes like these. Though he went and retrieved Caleb from the back and brought him back out. The lad was surprised the chair was still there and even asked if they were just holding onto it. Woodsly had one response for it.

"She was spewing horseshit." Woodsly explained, before heading back to his workshop space.

Heading home immediately wouldn't work and Woodsly knew he was better at fighting than he was with many things. As he got to the back and closed the door, it took a great deal of effort to not yell or show his frustration and anger verbally. Yet, he grabbed the nearest item and threw in across the room; his hair standing on end with a mind of it's own. Taking a few fast breathes, he could feel that familiar shifting under his skin and did his best to ignore it. Now would be a bad time to do any of the things he wanted.

When the work hours came to a end, Woodsly let Caleb leave first and he'd close up the place. The lad was fine with that and the walk to his home was simple. Though when no one else was around, Caleb was surprised to see one of the ravens swoop down to him and perch on his shoulder. They normally only did that when he was out in the woods.

"Beware, beware! The darkness comes to consume, consume the light it doesn't own. Balance disrupted and ruined. Beware, Beware!!!" The raven screeched in his ear, causing Caleb to flinch as he shooed the bird off.

"Come on now! Stop that!" Caleb instructed as he watched the bird fly around him, only to once more perch upon him with a mighty caw. "You sure seem to be uppity bout this.."

When Woodsly was done, he took the longest and more complicated route back home. Thus it being dark by time he arrived. As if the wild of Alaska was on his side, the snow had started to fell after he had started to make the way home. Burying his tracks. Though Woodsly looked a great deal tired when he opened that door. The whole walk he just had the desire to rip something to shreds with how his day had gone.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 29, 2020, 12:27:15 AM
When Woodsly returned home, he would see the bear sat on the porch, watching the distance closely.  When Woodsly got closer, the bear made a sound and nudged him with his nose as if in greeting, then plodded down the stairs to the edge of the property, where he settled back down again like a sentinel. 

Astrid was sitting at the table when he came in, clearly relieved when she saw him well.  She assumed that he had been watching his targets, trying to gather information.  He looked exhausted and unhappy, so it must not have gone well.

She stood, using the table to subtly brace herself. "Welcome home...there's stew and bread.  Is everything alright?"

Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 29, 2020, 12:34:10 AM
Woodsly didn't really interact with Benjamin, partially out of the uncertainty if he was going to keep these feeling down or not; no need to risk getting the bear mad. Looking to Astird, he wished he could say he felt better but only slightly.

"Do you have a sister that looks like you but wrecks of perfume of the highest caliber and has me wishing to stab her in the heart?" Woodsly flat out asked before pressing his fingers against his temples and rotating his fingers in circles. "I feel like something's moving around inside me and at any moment I'm going to start cracking like a puzzle but in instead of just simple breaking it's a explosion!"

Adding emphasis on his words, he suddenly pulled his hands away from his head and thrust them outward. Though he merely sighed at the end and let himself collapse in a chair.

"Also Nome children are maliciously little gremlins in disguise..." Woodsly added, brows narrowing at nothing.

Arriving at his own home, Caleb didn't have much to do but make himself something to eat. His mother had passed a few weeks ago but he had been adjusting just fine to having the hut to himself. After all, the ravens liked to roost there and keep him company. They even brought things with them; though whenever it was something shiny he worried that someone was going to accuse him of stealing.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 29, 2020, 01:30:14 PM
Whatever she had expected Woodsly to say, it certainly wasn’t that.  Impossibly, Astrid’s face grew several shades paler, and for a moment it looked as though she might be sick, or faint, or even two seconds from bolting out the door and deeper into the wilderness.  She wrestled the feeling down and wet her lips, which opened and closed once or twice without a sound. 

“Ingrid,” she finally managed to spit out.  “My twin, elder by three minutes.”  Trembling faintly, Astrid turned away and began searching through various charm boxes tucked here and there, looking for something that she didn’t find in the first, second, or third.  From the fourth, she withdrew a length of leather cord upon which a bone pendant carved in the shape of an eye hung.  She looped that over her head and went to the door, opening it enough to peer out for a moment, before closing it again.  She stayed faced away from Woodsly while she tried to compose herself, hearing him collapse in the chair.

It should have been impossible for Ingrid to find her so quickly, unless her power had grown, or if she had been scrying for her at the time Astrid’s wards had finally faded with the dawn.  That was a problem she couldn’t think through right now, so she focused on Woodsly and turned back to him, breathing finally under control. 

“Your emotions will effect you more strongly.  With patience and control, what you find yourself enduring in anger will become easier.  I am sorry that your day went so poorly, and…and I’m sorry that she sought you out.  I knew that there would be a chance, but…I didn’t…” Astrid trailed off and shook her head, hand closing around the pendant and clenching hard enough that the bone bit into her palm. 

Realizing that she needed something to keep her hands busy as much as he seemed to need some sort of comfort, she crossed to stand before Woodsly.  “May I…try something?” She asked.       
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 29, 2020, 02:14:30 PM
"She went on about getting something back...death's sake my head.." Woodsly grumbled as he sat there, wincing at the sensation of everything feeling tighter.

With everything that went on today, he had forgotten about getting a collar for the dog. Though, that wasn't a huge concern since the pooch stayed here. Woodsly was so caught up in his warring head, he didn't notice Astrid digging for something nor her checking out the door. He did feel the cold rush in and smelled the forest scents drifting into the house.

"I tried to take a roundabout way to here...so she couldn't follow." Woodsly added.

When Astrid approached him, Woodsly let his golden yellow gaze look to her. Those golden orbs looked drained but also like a fire was stirring underneath. The man knew changing just due to being angry was a stupid idea. Though he wasn't sure how long he could hold on; and that anger and rage were so natural to him, he wondered if he could control it.

"Okay....go ahead.." Woodsly replied after a few moment.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 29, 2020, 03:07:51 PM
Astrid nodded and to stand just behind him.  Having noted how his hand strayed to rub at his temples, she began to gently massage clockwise circles at either of his temples for a time, then moved her hands down to carefully knead at the tension that was keeping his frame so rigid.  She wasn’t certain how he would take to it, if he would like it or not, but it kept her hands busy and she hoped that it offered him some small comfort.

When he told her of what Ingrid wanted, she resisted the urge to shudder, swallowing thickly against the lump that was trying to lodge itself in her throat.  “Gifts like mine are hereditary.  Only one person per generation is born with the power to manipulate life and death.  In the case of twins, the power is split.  Life in one…death in another.  Ingrid believes that I have stolen her birthright.  So long as I live, she is master of death alone, and only half as powerful as she feels she should be.”  Her voice tapered to a whisper.  She kept working at the muscles in his shoulders, forcing herself to concentrate on that.  She couldn’t think of what Ingrid’s appearance entailed, not right now. 

“Tell me what happened with the children?” she asked, changing the subject.  Maybe if he spoke of what was bothering him, he would feel a little better—like draining the poison out of a wound.         
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 29, 2020, 03:15:54 PM
"Sounds like she should just suck it up and be happy with what she's got." Woodsly remarked as he let out a sigh.

The power was split huh? Well, that did make sense. Woodsly heard many stories about twins being able to do or sense things with each other. To have a power, it only made sense for it to be split between the two. Well, Woodsly didn't get alone with his....Wilson's siblings, it just seemed impossible thing to do. Maybe all siblings had this inherited desire to make the other miserable? Seemed to be going that way.

"Hooligans that they are, came into the shop and one had a knife his glove to vandalize my wares." Woodsly replied, sinking back in the chair as the massage continued. "Little buggers. Part of one of Nome's gangs and they think they can just wreck the shit I'm trying to sell. Caleb didn't understand why I kicked the runts out till I had to explain it. That boy's going to have to learn so much for the little time I hope to be there..."

The massage was starting to feel nice, considering he'd be working all day in the back unless needed in the front. His body would fill with more tension from that as well as emotion.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 29, 2020, 03:32:18 PM
 Astrid continued to work at the knots in his muscles, settling into a slow pace that she hoped he would find soothing.  She let out a soft, derisive sound when he explained what they had tried to do to his wares.

“No wonder you are so upset,” she affirmed, clicking her tongue.  Some people’s children.  “I am sure that they will think twice before trying again.  You can be rather intimidating when you are angry,” she smirked, leaning over his shoulder to give him a small, teasing smile before she continued.  He mentioned how much Caleb had to learn, and Astrid sighed quietly.  “Be good to him, Woodsly.  He hasn’t suffered as you have.  He still sees the goodness in others, and with any luck, he will never be given any reason to see otherwise,” she said softly.  She moved just to the side and took one of his hands in both of hers, giving it the same treatment as she had his shoulders; she knew that his hands bothered him a great deal too.
 
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 29, 2020, 03:39:15 PM
"I believe they will, if the don't then they'll have to put up with being thrown out. Literally." Woodsly replied.

This suggested that Woodsly had merely lead them out, which he had. Though if that group showed up again, he throw them this time.He did the gentler method first, if they were repeat offenders then they would get the rough method. Woodsly would be able to deal with people pointing at him and questioned him. Though with Astrid's words about Caleb, a longer sigh left him.

"He's too much like Wilson..." Woodsly grumbled out in a low voice as he seemed to sink against the chair and turn his gaze away.

Old bitterness was on his face before closed his eyes to calm himself down. His shoulders would slump as he sat there.

"That overly kindness is what I'm afraid of..he won't see a dangerous person until they're right in his face." Woodsly replied.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 29, 2020, 03:47:47 PM
Astrid switched to his other hand, choosing her words carefully in the wake of Woodsly's comment about Caleb being too much like Wilson.  Too kind, too oblivious to the danger around him.  Pausing, Astrid captured his chin carefully so that he had to look at her.  Her expression was one of grave seriousness.

"Then protect him, but no matter how much you fear, keep in mind that without kindness like Caleb's in the world, there would be no hope or goodness--just people like your poisonous plant, or like my sister.  Without light to keep the darkness at bay, what is the point of life at all?"  Having said her piece, she released his chin and went back to working on his hand, her thumbs working circles in his palm.  "Life shouldn't all be just pain, and vigilance, or vengeance and worry.  There should be some enjoyment in it too."

She met his eyes again.  "Perhaps you could bring him here for supper sometime?" 
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 29, 2020, 03:56:12 PM
To wisen the boy up was a part of the goal, after all. He let the lad work for him and it took a great deal of energy to not yell at them. As much as he didn't want another Wilson, he didn't want another him running amuck. His life had already been a cruel one..no one else needed it. It was going to be a balancing act...that was for sure.

"I know....I know..." Woodsly replied when Astrid was done.

At the suggestion for bringing the lad over, Woodsly pondered it for a few moments. The lad didn't have any family left, so it wouldn't be a bad idea. But..was it wise with Ingrid lurking around?

"Possible, he's got no one left so all I'd have to do is ask him. Though is it wise to bring someone else here, with Ingrid about? She interacted with him first in my shop." Woodsly asked.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 29, 2020, 04:50:14 PM
Astrid's features tightened at the mention of Ingrid, and once more her hand went to clench around the pendant.  Turning away, she moved to peer out the single window of the cabin with narrowed eyes, trying to control the panic that was threatening to overwhelm her.  Ingrid had hunted her from the time they were teenagers, dogging her every step, causing strife whenever she couldn't physically reach her.  For a moment, Astrid felt the flames consuming her again and squeezed her eyes shut, forcing the horrid memory from the forefront of her mind. 

Ingrid wouldn't stop until one of them was dead, and Astrid was running out of places to run.  She was so tired of running.   

What made matters worse was that if Ingrid found her tomorrow, there would be little she could do to defend herself against a creature whose power resided in death, not when her own power was currently drained.

"Let me worry about Ingrid.  You have troubles enough of your own, you needn't concern yourself with mine.  Besides...she's not interested in either of you.  She's only here for me." 
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 29, 2020, 04:55:43 PM
"You are my concern. I got you into this mess, and I'm not letting her get to you." Woodsly responded firmly as he turned his gaze to her and this time, he was the one to gently grab her chin and have her look at him. "If we hadn't had meet, you would've been perfectly hidden still. She wouldn't have gotten a trail to start sniffing after. To return the favors you've given me, I'm not going to just abandon you to deal with her. I may have my own war to wage in Nome, but that doesn't mean I'm not going to help you out."

That and he already had agreed to help her whlie she recovered. It was the right thing to do and he wanted to make sure she firmly understood that.

"I don't care if she's interested in me or not, if she somehow manages to follow me here then we're in trouble. And I'm not one for having that happened. Would the stealth sigil hide me from her if I use it when coming home or would that just leave a hot trail for her to follow? There has to be a way to avoid her following me here." Woodsly added.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 29, 2020, 05:27:33 PM
Astrid's eyes widened when he claimed that she was his concern.  Her expression showed even more surprise when he took her chin in hand so that she had to look at him.  He blamed himself, but that wasn't right.  She certainly didn't blame him for any of it, and every choice regarding him had been made of her own freewill.

Astrid felt a torrent of emotion seize her, and for a moment she was certain that she might actually cry; it had been a very long time since anyone had made her their concern, or showed care for her as he had.  Without a word, Astrid threw her arms around him and embraced him tightly, touched beyond words. 

"I will not allow you to blame yourself for this, Woodsly," she said softly.  "I made my choices and I knew the risks, and even though I'm terrified of her, I wouldn't change a single thing.  I'm grateful to have you in my life.  I mean that."

At the question he posed about the stealth sigil, Astrid pulled away reluctantly and nodded.  "It will help.  She may thinks she has everything figured out about me, but she's never had much of a clue.  A combination of stealth and another sigil I created a while back will hide you from her and buy some time.  I don't need my reserves for it; the ink is already empowered."
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 29, 2020, 05:32:49 PM
"I'm still going to do whatever I can to make sure she doesn't find her way to the house." Woodsly stated.

He meant it, even with her telling him it wasn't his fault, he wasn't going to let the risk happen. No, he'd go to town and do his thing but when that was done, he'd take as many measures as he could. He still felt like bringing Caleb here was a bad idea but taking Astrid to meet him in town was a even worse idea. Maybe they wouldn't meet? Though hearing her say she was glad to have him around, certainly caught him off guard; combine that with the hug and he was certainly at a lose. This type of emotion wasn't one he was used to....and Wilson got it....it was probably fake.

But with Astrid, she didn't pretend things....even more so with emotions. She didn't play around with them. It took him a few moments longer but he returned the gesture. Wrapping his arms around to hold her. The embrace wasn't too long though, since she pulled away to talk about the sigils.

"So long as it doesn't take any more out of you, I'm on board with it." Woodsly replied in regards to the sigils.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 29, 2020, 06:02:44 PM
"It won't, I promise," Astrid said, tucking a lock of hair behind her ear that had come loose from her braid.  It had felt nice, when he hugged her back.  She hadn't expected it to feel as nice as it had.  Composing herself, she smiled at Woodsly and went to retrieve the pot of ink in question, and the small horsehair paint brush she would use to make the mark on his skin. 

Biting her bottom lip briefly, Astrid turned back to him.  "Where do you want me to put them?  Arms, shoulder, back?  It really doesn't matter much, but I recommend a spot where it won't be immediately visible," she suggested. 
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 29, 2020, 06:10:11 PM
"If I transform, will the sigils come off or be shown? Considering how hairy I get when in that form, I just wanna be sure." Woodsly asked.

He didn't need to touch the mark or anything like that, so the back or chest would be a good area. But if he changed...then what? Would the marks be visable on the fur? Or would they be hidden? Would the sigils end up broken because of it? He wasn't sure on how that worked, so it was bet to just ask before saying where to put it.

At the same time, Caleb's small home rested under lock and key. It was a tidy little space with fur blankets and a small fireplace. It was honestly just a one room home with everything in one; it was how his mother had known homes to be. It was just a hut made of wooden walls and such. A couple of ravens were nestled in random spots throughout the small home and the young man was always finding the feathers all over the place. He'd  pick them up before they could ever catch fire but sometime...sometimes he found them stuck to him.

It sometimes took a good deal of pulling to get them off and then the small amount of blood left from the wound would have to be taken care of. But it was strange..either these feathers got awfully stuck to his skin. Or..something else was up.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 29, 2020, 06:56:07 PM
Astrid shook her head.  "No, it won't show on your fur.  It marks skin and skin alone.  The only way they would ever be able to see them while you are in your beast form would be if you lost your fur--something that I highly doubt will be a concern," she reassured him.  She gestured for him to sit.  "Neither of the sigils are large, so they won't require much space.  I suggest your chest; even less likely anyone would see it in your dog form.  Remove your shirt and I'll begin."

Meanwhile at Caleb's home, a hard wind had begun to pick up, battering at the outside of his hut like a ram.  Something small prowled ever closer; a small cat with fur of the purest white, and glowing blue eyes.  The creature stopped a short distance from Caleb's front door, silently watching the ravens perched above. 

Not long after, a much larger shape staggered towards Caleb's hut, swaying and off balance and carrying the odor of decay.  The cat didn't move as the figure plodded up to the door, raised its withered and blackened hands, and began to scratch at the door.  The cat's eyes continued to glow, and inside the hut, Caleb would hear his mother's voice as if it were carried on the wind.

"Caleb...open the door and let me in, Caleb...I'm so cold..."     
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 29, 2020, 07:10:09 PM
"Very well, I trust you." Woodsly replied before he started to unbutton the shirt.

The stronger winds made Caleb paused in his motions for a few seconds before sighing. Tugging one more feather loose from his skin, he took a cloth and held it to the small wound for a few moments till it stopped bleeding. The ravens within the house seemed to raise their heads, their dark eyes glancing round as they sensed something amiss. They were smart creatures and Caleb would never forget that. Now these birds had seen storms and the like before, raging winds of ice and hail, blizzard of snow that tried to consume the town. Yet they were more clam during those. Here, they seemed to be trying to figure something out without moving from their spots. As if that was the safest move they could make.

"Danger danger!!!! DANGER!!" The ravens screeched outside, their sharp talons dancing upon the roof with clicks and clacks.

A raven flew to Caleb's shoulder, feathers ruffled and ridged posture. Something had them all riled up and hearing their squawks and screeches, Caleb froze. The voice of his mother made him go even stiller. That indeed sounded like his mother and the young man almost entertained the thought of her being alive somehow, when a black feathered wing smacked him in the face!! The raven on his shoulder stood and lashed it's wings violently in the air.

"Lies and tricks!! Lies and tricks!!! The raven raged, black feathers puffing up and made the bird look round. "Deceitful lies of oldest trickery!!

Caleb was about to shoo the raven away when he paused, the other ravens were now all screeching but it wasn't words they were using. No...Ravens were smart. They were attempting to sound a alarm that wasn't attached to mortal words, they were letting out screams of deepest warning. That made Caleb pause. They only did that when they knew something something was up in a unnatural way. Ravens were also trickesters, they shifted tongue many times to mess with people but to keep their secrets.

"If you are a malicious spirit then begone! Mother wouldn't return to this mortal plain, she is at peace and I know this well." Caleb called out.

His mother had taught him that many spirits prey upon humans, using sentimental or meaningful people in their lives to lure them out. To eat and devour the victim or convert them into what they were.

The ravens will know what to tell you, my dear. If you ever hear me after I am gone, trust the ravens to tell you if it is truly me. his mother's last words echoed in his head.

The ravens were all screaming to high heaven of danger...this wasn't his mother.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 29, 2020, 07:45:27 PM
Astrid nodded and waited.  Once he had removed his shirt, she knelt down and eyed his chest, brow furrowed with concentration.  After a moment, she chose a spot high on his stomach and dipped the brush into the ink, leaning forward so that she could see what she was doing better.  She hadn’t been kidding when she said that they were small; they were both no bigger than the size of a dime and not nearly as elaborate as the circle she had drawn for his transformation.  Both were done in less than 30 seconds each.  She finished a single line on both of them at the last, and with a subtle flash of green light, both symbols sank into his skin like a tattoo. 

“Done.”
--

The cat hissed at the ravens above and stood, prowling and pacing beneath the roof with a critical eye, as if preparing to jump and climb.  The figure’s scratching at the door evolved to pounding.

”Caleb!  Help me!  She’s coming…She’s coming!  Open the door, Caleb!  Please open the door!  Don’t let her—“ the voice assaulted him, filling his ears with panic. 

The cat’s tail swished back and forth, and the creature leapt, scrambling its way onto the roof of the hut.  Eyes flashing, it coiled itself to spring, and pounced on the raven nearest to it before it could take wing, claws and teeth ripping it apart. 

The pounding persisted below, only the voice’s words had melted into shrieking screams, pained and terrified. 
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 29, 2020, 07:55:02 PM
"Huh, thought they'd be bigger truthfully." Woodsly remarked with a chuckle as he lowered his shirt an started to rebutton it.
--------

"Leave SPIRIT!!" Caleb yelled, standing his ground.

Though the louder screaming and pounding did make him cringe back. The hairs on the back of his neck stood on end but there was a prickling sensation there, he didn't bother to try and see what it was. What it was though was new feathers growing there as they puffed up, reflecting his unease. The attack and death of one of their own sent the ravens into a a deeper fit. The cat would find itself surrounded as sharp beaks and talons from the others came their way, pecking at the white coat and trying to tear out it's pretty fur. Ravens didn't like it when you took one of their own.

The caws and screeches rang in the air, adding to the overall chaos. Closing his eyes, Caleb slammed his hands against the sides of his head. Taking in a few deep breathes as he tried to drown some of it out. The few ravens that were in the house were going batshit crazy, they were all now puffed up like the one on his shoulder, flapping their wings and stomping their dark grey feet. That was enough for him.

His mother told him not to use his magic, he knew he was different just not how different. She taught him to control the piece of daylight that the ravens gifted him with. His hands glowed with the morning colors of sunrise before his eyes went black and he swung his hands up.

"ENOUGH!!!" Caleb hollered and he slammed his hands together.

Sending a shockwave of light out the cracks of the house and even through the windows into the dark night!
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 29, 2020, 08:16:54 PM
The cat hissed and scratched and bit back, yowling viciously as it was attacked by the swarming birds.  The feline slipped as it was crowded and fell from the roof to the ground below, barely managing to land on its feet.   

The screaming picked up from the shambling figure below, the pounding growing more insistent. 

When Caleb clapped inside, the shockwave crashed beyond the walls and hurtled through the summoned figure, turning it to dust.  The cat screeched as it was hit, feet skidding against the snow a few times before it managed to get a good enough hold to bolt, taking off into the night.  The wind died down immediately and left the night still and quiet.

--
Astrid smiled and straightened, putting both pot and brush away.  “Nope.  Small, but strong.  The first one I painted is the stealth.  The other is protection against the evil eye,” she explained.  “It will protect you from the worst of what Ingrid can do, and will shroud her sight if she tries to scry for you.  Trust me, it works.  That’s why she can only sense my general location when my wards fail, not my exact location.”  Astrid touched her left bicep, indicating that that was where hers was.  “It will also hide you from anyone else with the sight who intends to do you harm; they won’t be able to sense anything supernatural about you unless you choose.”
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 29, 2020, 08:25:22 PM
With the shockwave of magic over, Caleb took several deep breathes as he tried to calm the pounding in his head and chest. He didn't use his magic much, since it always was obvious when he was. Crumpling to the ground, Caleb couldn't help but take in heavy breathes as he laid there. Sleep was already pulling at him as his eyes closed. He hadn't meant for it to be THAT big of a blast. The ravens in the house had all flocked over to him, perching him as they seemed to be standing watch.

The ravens on the roof of the house didn't pursue the cat, instead they turned their attention to their shreaded and torn apart friend. Starting the mourning process of their companion.
-----------

"I see, and I trust, you know more about these than I do." Woodsly replied. "Well let's head to bed, we have a long day tomorrow. You still want me to try and bring Caleb here with everything going on?"

It would only do best to make sure on this one detail. Once it was figured out, Woodsly would head to bed to get some sleep. The following day was handled the same way, save for Woodsly making use of the sigils till he was close enough to town that he dropped them. The shop would open up and Woodsly caught sight of a tired Caleb entering the building.

"You alright?" Woodsly asked.

"Yes, just a bad night. Wind picked up and all." Caleb explained.

Thus routine began again with Woodsly in back and Caleb out front.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 29, 2020, 09:23:09 PM
Astrid nodded, stifling a yawn against her hand; it had been a long day, and she was more than ready to retire for the night. 

"Yes, I think so.  If he's with you, the sigils should help to shield him too.  It probably wouldn't hurt to offer him some protection as well.  I could carve a pendant for him to wear and fortify it with the ink; so long as he keeps it on, she shouldn't be able to bother him."

She watched as he went to bed and turned to go to her own, pausing as an afterthought. "Oh, if she comes to your store tomorrow, tell her to leave.  She cannot enter a place where she has not been invited--the exception to that is public places.  If you tell her that she is forbidden from crossing the threshold of your shop, she will not be able to enter."

With that, she went to pallet of furs she had set up for herself since Woodsly's arrival and settled in. 

--

Some hours later, the door opened again and Ingrid swept in, dressed in an entirely different fashionable ensemble of a shade of blue that matched her eyes.  Though it was clear she had tried to cover them with makeup, she sported several scratches on her face, neck, and on what little skin her tasteful neckline allowed for viewing. 

Her eyes fixed on Caleb, slightly more wary than she had been the day before.  "Retrieve your boss.  My business is with him."
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 29, 2020, 09:42:50 PM
Caleb was fully surprised to see Ingrid in here again, though there was a collection of ravens resting on top of the shop's roof. Staring down at the woman who had entered. For now, they were silent. But their beady black eyes were just staring at her without a sound in the air.

"Uh...very well..." Caleb answered before heading back to where Woodsly was. "Huh Sir...that lady is back."

Hearing this, Woodsly recalled just what Astrid had told him. Tell her she wasn't welcome and she'd be unable to enter. Still, he had to go see what she wanted in case she was going to do anything other than be herself. Thus, Woodsly walked on out there and stopped at the counter; Caleb was staying in the back.

"Yes, madam?" Woodsly questions.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 29, 2020, 10:05:37 PM
"Still so polite, despite everything.  I applaud you, sir," Ingrid said, not even bothering to fake a smile or a sweet tone as she had the day before.  She opened her mouth to speak and then stopped short, studying him with a rapidly growing scowl. 

Her eyes flashed once, twice, three times, then drew back up to meet his.  "She's...changed you somehow from yesterday...That little..." she trailed off, as if she had noted the sheer spite her voice had taken on, and cleared her throat.  "She's gotten smarter, I see.  It only took seven years, countless towns, coils and coils of rope and a whole lot of fire before she finally learned, but no matter.  I enjoy a good challenge."

She opened her purse and removed a folded piece of paper sealed with black wax stamp, handing it across the counter to Woodsly.  "Please deliver this to her, when next you return.  And whether she's hidden you from my sight or not, know this.  I don't have to know where she is, I just need to know where the town is, and that bit of hard work is done.  A little elbow grease and they always do the rest of my work for me."   
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 29, 2020, 10:16:46 PM
"I have a business to run first." Woodsly replied.

Seeing her eyes changed, Woodsly stared at her. He didn't know what she was doing and he felt on guard. Seeing her reaction though made him smirk. She didn't expect this? Well that's such a shame. She clearly wasn't all that clever.

"Perhaps you don't give her enough credit." Woodsly remarked, though with the letter given to him, he gave a skeptical look to it before returning the look to her. "We'll see bout that, in the mean time. You can leave this shop and not enter again, since you aren't interested in any of the wares here. Have a nice day, madam."
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 30, 2020, 09:00:33 AM

Ingrid scowled at his dismissal.  She couldn’t tell if it was simply a matter of him not wishing her to be in the store, or if Astrid had warned him of what to do should she turn up, but that hardly mattered.  What did matter was the sudden pull to the door, the feeling of her skin crawling as the space around her began to reject her presence.  It was painful when she resisted, and though she did well in hiding it, that pain showed itself in the faint lines of strain that suddenly arranged themselves on her face. 

Ingrid took a small, staggering step backward towards the door, rewarded by the slightest lessening of that pain; it wouldn’t stop until she was completely outside, she knew, but something had occurred to her. 

“Why hasn’t she run yet?” Ingrid suddenly asked, eyes narrowing at him as she was forced to take another step back.  “What is so special about this place that she would choose to stay in it and risk my wrath rather than run as she has every single time I’ve gotten this close?  What is keeping her here?” She thought out loud, wincing as she was forced to take another step back.  Her eyes fixed on Woodsly, the intensity of her study akin to daggers.  A strange sort of realization crossed her features as she staggered backward against the door, grimacing.  “The spell she cast that weakened her and put her in within my sight…it was for you, wasn’t it?  That’s why you reeked so strongly of her and her magic…After two years of successful anonymity and safety…why would she risk everything—her life, her peace, her power…for you?  What hold do you have over her?”

The pain became too much and Ingrid finally opened the door and stepped outside.  The relief was immediate, and her features relaxed as she let out a long sigh.  Her eyes met his across the store front, and the grin that followed transformed her face into something terribly sinister.  “Of course…I know exactly why…how intriguing.  There’s no accounting for taste, of course, but it all makes sense to me now…You don’t even have the faintest clue, do you?”  A laugh bubbled from Ingrid’s throat, as if she had just heard the funniest joke of her life.  Without another word, she closed the door, still laughing as she strolled past the windows and out of sight. 
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 30, 2020, 09:37:55 AM
"Did I not say leave clear enough for you to understand?" Woodsly mocked asked as he tilted his head, watching the strong woman slowly step back.

The spew of questions just left Woodsly standing there, staring at this woman. Her glaring gaze didn't phase him honestly. When a bunch of spectators are staring down at you, shouting and giving commands; as they think it better helps their little gamble they made with the fighters. You tend to be desensitized to eyes digging you a new hole in your body somewhere with their staring gaze.

"And how are you  so sure she hasn't left already while you're fixated on this little cease pool in the snow?" Woodsly remarked.

As she went on though, Woodsly kept a neutral expression. Rather than letting himself dwell on her words at the moment, he waited till she was done and standing just outside.

"You must REALLY like the sound of your own screeching, huh?" Woodsly mocked as he raised a single brow.

With the woman gone and that door closed, Woodsly gave a sigh as he rolled his eyes. That woman was getting on his nerves but no time for it. Returning to the backroom, he instructed Caleb that if he ever saw that woman again, to not let her into the building. He explained it away as she was just wasting their time and not being serious in her 'desire' to purchase anything. Caleb seemed to understand and the youth had gone back to the front.

Now one could call this paranoia due to his lack of trust in others or just his distaste for Ingrid in general, but he opened the letter there to make sure there wasn't something on it. No matter what was on the paper, he would leave it in the shop; hidden away in a little spot that he frequented the most in the workshop; best to be safe than sorry. The rest of the day was spent trying to wrap his mind around her words. Was she actually onto something? Was there more reason for Astrid helping than what she told him? At this point, he had trust in Astrid and while he knew people could be backstabby, he wasn't seeing her as one o those people. Looks like they'd have to have a chat when he got back.

There was some luck to the day though. As he worked one of the Howlson siblings came in, now it wasn't Stein or Margert...but it was one of them. And they were on the list. It was the other lowlife of the family, a person who fancied themself a thief but only took the shiny, pretty things off of a person when they stole. Pocket watches, coins, jewellery, even keys. If it sparkled the right way within the sunlight and snow, then this fool would be going for it. At least they actually bought something and Woodsly got some benefit from the...interaction. They seemed to sing like one of their father's sled dogs whenever it was the night after a race but in the dog's case, i was probably either celebrating or mourning that the race was over and it would be a uncertain time next that they'd get to partake in another.

The Howlson sibling 'sang' of how the big wedding was gonna right a lot of wrongs. Woodsly felt the urge to slit his throat there but contained it; blood was so hard to get out of wood floors, even more so up here where it could freeze quickly despite being indoors. The big wedding of his older sister was supposedly gonna save the family. It seemed that Woodsly wouldn't have to worry bout the parents being a issue. Mrs. Howlson apparently went hysterical when her littlest son was....'tragically' mauled to death by a bear. She refused to let it go and one night, ran outside cause she thought she heard him screaming. She tripped and fell into a unfrozen puddle, at night with the low temperatures and no one going to her aid immediately caused her to get hypothermia and despite their efforts, she passed. Mr. Howlson; the husband and all that jazz. Seemed unphased but had just recently packed his bags and headed on off to some other town. He left his children nothing. Not even the house nor a single sled dog. Bastard never cared bout any of em anyway; in Woodsly's opinion.

Enduring the conversation took a lot but Woodsly managed and soon, the end of the day was here. Taking some extra time, Woodsly went snooping round the town. He figured out where this Howlson sibling lived; a rather crappy place honestly, it would be easy to sneak in there even without the sigil. The temptation to just waltz into that breaking building and get this plan going was there, pulling at him like a leash does to a dog whenever they tug against it. Not yet sadly. Not yet. With that, Woodsly headed on home, activating the sigils on his chest to ensure that he wasn't going to be followed and went into the woods. He had forgotten all about bringing Caleb tonight.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 30, 2020, 10:00:25 AM
When Woodsly returned home, it was immediately clear that Benjamin hadn't moved so much as an inch from his watchful position on the fringes of the property.  A disturbance of snow and a few scattered pieces of fruit in front of him hinted that food had been brought to him at some point, but the bear remained on guard.  He acknowledged Woodsly with a grunt as he passed, but didn't take his eyes from the horizon. 

Astrid sat by the fire, an open book on her lap.  She had drifted off to sleep at some point recently, and though there were minor improvements in her physical condition every day, it was still clear that recovery was slow. 

The table had been set for three and the food was ready; fresh bread, a venison roast with root vegetables and assorted other small food stuffs had been prepared, enough to feed five people instead of just three.  She hadn't been sure how much was too much or not enough.

When Woodsly opened the door, Astrid started awake and sat upright, the book promptly sliding from her lap to the floor.  Her disorientation cleared quickly and she stood, the sight of Woodsly putting a genuine smile on her face.  When she saw that Woodsly was alone, her brow furrowed.  Had something gone wrong? 

"I'm sorry, I must have dozed off.  Is everything alright?  Could Caleb not make it this evening?"
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 30, 2020, 10:08:45 AM
The moment she asked about Caleb, Woodsly facepalmed. How could he forgot that? HOW?!!

"I forgot...." Woodsly admitted in a displeased voice.

There was no real excuse for it, he just..forgot to ask the boy and all that. Damn. The youth would be okay for one more night..right? Pulling his hand down his face, Woodsly sighed.

"Well some things did happen, Ingrid showed up again  but I banished her from the shop with the method you said and warned Caleb not to let her in. Though she gave me a letter to give you, I opened it and it was empty so I left it at the shop incase it could do some weird..magic thing and tell her where you are." Woodsly started. "She also seemed to have sent herself into a small tizzy trying to understand why you're still here and demanded to know what hold I have on you."

Woodsly paused, letting that sink in for a few moments before he shrugged.

"Then she claimed to know the reasoning and all that bullshit, an laughed cackling like a donkey." Woodsly finished. "Oh! Also one of my targets walked in, the easiest one out of all of em but hey, not gonna be picky how I start things."
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 30, 2020, 10:24:33 AM
There was some relief on her features when Woodsly said that he had forgotten, glad at least that it hadn't not been because either of them had fallen to harm.  "Another night then," Astrid said gently.  It wasn't a problem. 

She listened as Woodsly went on, looking briefly ill when he mentioned the letter and Ingrid claiming to know why she had stayed, about just what sort of hold he had over her.  Astride fear suddenly fought to overwhelm her.  She knew what the letter was, and Woodsly's instinct to not bring it home had been a smart one.  But if Ingrid knew....if she really had figured out why Astrid was staying...if she had figured out just what sort of hold Woodsly had over her...

Astrid clutched the talisman around her neck so hard that it bit into her palm..   "You were right to hold back the letter.  It was another trick, a clever way to find me."  She said nothing about the other part Ingrid had said to him.

Woodsly went on, telling her about how one of his targets had come in and she relaxed slightly, glad that he had changed the subject for her. 

"I am happy for you.  An opportunity like that is a rare thing.  Do you know when you will strike against them?"
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 30, 2020, 10:30:26 AM
"My distrust of people proves to be useful once more." woodsly replied; sort of in a false mocking tone, a attempt of humor.

His attempts of humor weren't often, so to see this probably meant something positive; or he was just comfortable around her to subconsciously try. Though Woodsly noticed how she took the news of what he had said in regards to Ingid's words. Was there something that he wasn't aware of? At the question of his target, Woodsly figured he'd wait to ask his own questions.

"Apparantly Margret is marrying soon, so I plan to take him out before the wedding can happen. Just something to get them all a bit antsy and honestly, the guy lives in a decayed building, surprised the hypothermia hasn't gotten to him yet." Woodsly remarked. "ALthough I need to know, is there something keeping you here Astrid? I know that the change you did to me has us linked, but that doesn't make you stay. I'm going to help you recover, I still promise that. But I want to know if there's something else making you stay?"
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 30, 2020, 10:42:29 AM
Astrid nodded when be mentioned striking before the wedding.  She was glad, if only for his sake, that his plans were moving forward for him.  She knew how much his vengeance meant to him.  "Good.  One more step towards your ultimate goal."

But then he turned the conversation back towards the other part, and Astrid fell silent, staring at him.  She couldn't say anything.  He himself had said that he couldn't be distracted from his goals, and she didn't want to disrupt him in any way or cause a distraction. 

The bite of the talisman in her hand grew sharper.  "I'm tired of running.  This is my home. Everything, everyone I have...is here," she finally replied.  The genuine truth, but perhaps not all of the details. 
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 30, 2020, 10:58:01 AM
Woodsly watched her, trying to understand her words. Everything she had was here..everyone she had was here. Well...to be honest, he knew she didn't have anyone but Benjamin, the dog and............him. His dumb ass self that was just here in Nome till things were done. But what about when thing were done? Would she still want him here? Would she be fine with moving again? Truthfully, this path was just going to be Woodsly murdering four people in different ways. If he was found out or suspiscion mounted against him, what kind of life would she have with him here? Damn it...how could he be sure there was a life with him? The last romance he...WILSON did was what got them into the mess, all because he started to fancy someone.

"Astrid..." Woodsly started but words failed him, they caught in his throat and the feeling frustrated him.

NO no no!! Wilson was the one who got tongue tied and couldn't speak his mind! Not him!! For the first time in a while, Woodsly was panicking. He felt a overwhelming confusion that held so many negative memories rushing in, he couldn't just block it out. That's what the pits eventually helped him to do..block out the past while letting it stew. Woodsly didn't know what to say...what made it worse was that he couldn't get anything out! Why couldn't he get something out?!

The panic he felt surged up in his chest, making his heart race but due to the high emotional state of the past two days and not changing since he was given the ability, he felt that same stirring beneath his skin. Though he didn't have much time to really process what was happening till he staggered to the side to catch himself against the wall. The sound of fabric tearing as the canine tail appeared, obvious to see from even Astrid's spot and Woodsly wasn't looking at her. He looked last in his own head as he tried to breathe.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 30, 2020, 11:15:07 AM
Astrid watched the storm of chaos and panic in Woodsly when he realized what she meant in silence, and when the stress of it began to force his change, she finally tore her gaze away, trying to blink away the burning in her eyes that heralded tears.

"We don't need to talk about this, not right now."  Astrid shook her head, finding it hard to swallow against her emotions. 

"I will not become one more burden for you to bear.  You have your goals the focus on.  Allow the transformation, Woodsly.  There will be trouble if you don't," she said, turning away and clearing some of the extra food from the table, trying to get her composure under control.  "And as for Ingrid, she is pure poison.  She will say and do anything."
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 30, 2020, 11:24:17 AM
As much pain and panic he felt, Woodsly found her responses hard to take. Was she trying to switch mantels to put on a brave face? Was there something more to it? With her back turned to him though, Woodsly's stubbornness managed to show through despite everything. Already his fingernails were claws, and bits of white fur were sprouting on his hands and even at his chest and neck. His short red hair had a fur like texture to it and his tail flicked behind him. One step forward...it was shaky and unsteady due to the over all discomfort and pain. Three steps forward and several intakes of air, Woodsly gained a sense of being steady again despite his body trying to shift it's form.

Closer and closer until he was able to be right behind her and Astrid would feel his arms wrap around her! As she was pulled into his chest, she'd feel the thick plum of fur under his shirt and vest be a cushion for her. His arms were thicker with muscle as well as more chunks of fur were sprouting out. Woodsly had also gotten a little taller during his small walk toward her; though to him, it felt more than just a simple stroll across the room. His breathing was uneven but he still buried his face into her hair.

He didn't want her to feel rejected. Despite the pain, discomfort, and panic he was in. He didn't want her to feel like his inability to speak was a rejection.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 30, 2020, 11:44:52 AM
Astrid stiffened at the unexpected feeling of his arms around her, the feeling of his face against her hair.  Almost immediately though, she relaxed against him and turned, wrapping her arms around him in kind.  It couldn't have been anything short of agonizing to cross the room mid-transformation, instead of just letting it take over like he could have done.  That he had done so to offer her comfort only made the emotions she was feeling that much harder to contain. 

If she was bothered by the strange motley of him being essentially part man and part beast, there was no indication of it.  His embrace obviously worked to chase away the initial doubts she had. 

She pulled away just enough to meet his eyes, keeping one arm around him while her other hand rose to cradle his face.  "I care very much for you,Woodsly.  I know that you've been hurt before, but...I hope that you know that I would never do anything to hurt you.  I...only want to see you happy, and at peace, no matter what that might entail."
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 30, 2020, 11:54:35 AM
Woodsly had made sure he wasn't holding her too tight, that way if she wanted to move about she could with ease. Sure enough she did. Slender fingers against his face as she spoke to him, he listened to her words. Taking in her voice. And sure enough, he felt the pain and discomfort fade away. Gaining a grasp on himself, he managed to get the changes to fade away. Which resulted in him being back at his normal height; still taller than her. A surprise though would come when he gave her a kiss on the forehead.

"I couldn't...get my voice to work there, sorry bout that." Woodsly explained, before he smiled. "You aren't a burden or a distraction to me. I just hadn't expected this. You sure you want this monster and all his past deeds though?"

The way the question was delivered, it hinted that he had a idea of the answer but still wanted to hear her say it.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 30, 2020, 12:10:18 PM
Astrid smiled when he kissed her forehead, the last of her tension melting away.  It surprised her when he was able to reject the transformation; that in and of itself was difficult to do once the changes began to take place, and she admired him all the more for it. 

His question drew a small, soft laugh from her, and prompted her to tentative press her lips against his in a brief kiss. "Woodsly, you are not a monster, even if you think you are.  I've chosen you.  I accept all that you are, past and present, and if fate allows, future as well."
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 30, 2020, 12:20:02 PM
Truthfully, it was probably just due to Woodsly's stubbornness and the desire to not be controlled by anyone that probably helped him through rejecting the transformation. Her soft laugh made him smile and the brief kiss wasn't enough in his mind after she gave the answer.

"Very well then." Woodsly replied before planting a firmer kiss to her lips, it was still gentle but it was clearly a kiss that meant more.

If she allowed it, he'd pick her up and take her over to the bed. Which the two would share for the first time together and more than likely, not the last.
-----------------

When morning came, Woodsly stretched slowly. A yawn leaving him as he sat up and his bones creaked and cracked. The partial change left him feeling a little stiff but he was fine besides that.  Scratching at his head, he would get up and have breakfest with Astrid like usual before he went. Though he ended up giving her a kiss before heading out.

"I'll remember to bring the boy this time." Woodsly called.

Soon enough, with the aid of the sigils. He'd arrive at the Nome, while still in the streets. Still a little ways to the shop now.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 30, 2020, 12:40:36 PM
By the time Woodsly woke, Astrid had already made breakfast.  She greeted him with warm smile and blushed a little bit at the memory of the night before.  She saw him off to work with a kiss and a packed lunch, watching him go until he faded from sight.

When Woodsly arrived in Nome, Ingrid was waiting outside of his store, looking less than happy that he had obviously not taken the letter.  It had been worth a shot, of course, but her hopes of him being an idiot had obviously been dashed. 

She opened her mouth to start speaking, but only a strangled sound left her.  Her eyes widened and she tried again, but no sound came out.  Slowly, her eyes fixed somewhere on his chest, specifically on the length of leather cord around his neck that hadn't been there the day before.  She paled beneath the makeup, staggering immediately away from him as soon as he got within 20 feet of her.

Astrid's talisman, the one she had searched for and put on the moment she heard that Ingrid was nearby.  She had put it on him while he was sleeping.  Being within a certain proximity of it caused angry, burn-like wounds to sprout on Ingrids skin, and rather than trying to soldier through it, she turned and ran--her high heels making it difficult in the snow. 

Ingrid couldn't touch him.  The talisman rendered her powers null, and caused her agonizing pain besides.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 30, 2020, 01:02:28 PM
Woodsly did spot her, and raised a brow when Ingrid's mouth opened but nothing came out. When she rushed off, Woodsly didn't care too much. She wasn't going to bother him today and that was fine by him. A day without her being a pain would probably turn out for the better. Thus he arrived. Caleb came a few minutes later.

"By the way lad, I'm sure you're tired of going back to a empty house. I have a friend who wants to meet you." Woodsly said.

"Are..are you sure, Sir? It..it's fine to..." Caleb started though the look he got suggested that Woodsly wasn't asking, he was telling em.

Caleb quickly agreed when seeing that look and the day went well. There was a decent amount of buisness and Woodsly instructed Caleb to wait for him in the shop. All he was doing was some more recon; he gained some more information but nothing still about where Stein was. The idiot sibling of the Howlson's mentioned that Stein was held up somewhere but he didn't know why. Couldn't kill this idiot yet then..he needed the answer to the question.

Woodsly took great care heading home with Caleb in tow. Though Woodsly told him to stay calm if he saw any bears around. IT was doubtful Benjamin was going to do anything to the boy but still...rather safe than sorry.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 30, 2020, 01:14:23 PM
There was no sign of Ingrid anywhere the rest of the day, which meant she offered no more trouble for the time being. 

Later in the evening when Woodsly came home with Caleb in tow, Benjamin was still in the same spot as he had been the two days before.  Once more, he grunted in greeting, nosing at Woodsly's arm in passing.  His dark eyes fixed on Caleb after, and seeming to sense his fear, Benjamin bowed his head and laid down, resting on his expansive paws.  He kept the posture until both men had passed and were making their way up the steps, then would stand again and continue his guarding. 

Astrid grinned at the sight of Woodsly, and immediately wrapped her arms around him, greeting him with a kiss.  "Welcome home."  Her expression further brightened when she saw Caleb, releasing Woodsly after a moment to take one of Caleb's hands.  "And you must be Caleb.  Woodsly has spoken of you.  I'm so glad that you came for supper.  Come in, be welcome," she urged, letting go of his hand and gesturing to the table.  The main part of the meal was different from the night before, but the amount hadn't changed. 

"There's tea ready, it will help chase off the chill of your walk," Astrid offered.  Her attention shifted back to Woodsly.  "How was your day?  Any improvement?"
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 30, 2020, 01:31:25 PM
Even though he was warned about the bear, Caleb was still scared. Not as scared as he would've been if he hadn't been told bout this but still...scared. Funny enough, one of the ravens followed Caleb and landed on his shoulder as he entered the house. The bird went unnoticed till the loud caw left the bird's maw.

"When did....oh boy.." Caleb muttered.

Though he was caught off guard to see the woman that was embrace Woodsly and even kissed him. Questions started to go through his young head.Even as she took his hands into her own, Caleb struggled with his words. The raven seemed to speak for him, a low sound leaving it as it tilted it's head.

"It went much better, surprisingly." Woodsly replied, not sure about discussing his more personal things with Caleb here.

"She....looks just like.....S...Sir?" Caleb stammered out, causing the older man to look at him. "Shouldn't we tell the...."

"No." Woodsly's voice was firm and stern. "We're not telling the Ingrid lady, there's a good reason and..it's part of why you're here."
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 30, 2020, 01:50:43 PM
Astrid nodded, satisfied.  She doubted he would have said as much if Ingrid had been able to bother him.  She had hoped that the talisman would help that particular problem.  When Caleb's confusion came to light about her appearance and who she looked like, Woodsly shut him down, putting to rest any thoughts about revealing her to Ingrid.

She glanced at Woodsly when he mentioned that was partly why Caleb was there, and she tried t o offer the young man a reassuring smile, gesturing to the table.  "We can talk about that in a moment.  I know that this must be terribly confusing for you, and I'm sure that you will have questions.  But first come sit, have something to eat."  Her gaze shifted to the raven on his shoulder, and her smile widened just a touch more.  "You have a stunning companion, there.  Corvids are such clever creatures.  Does he have a name?"
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 30, 2020, 01:57:38 PM
"Uh...okay.." Caleb stammered slightly. "Oh him? No, if I named all of em I'd probably lose my mind. Ravens just like me."

The raven tilted their head, snapping it in a different direction with ease and surprising speed. A single beady eye staring at Astrid as they sat there. Though a sqwuack left them before they turned their head again.

"The Light,the Light. The light which darkness foolishly seeks!" the raven cawed, it's sounds echoed in Caleb's ear.

"Stop that! You can lose your feathers in my house but not start your panic squawking." Caleb instructed and he lightly poked the bird. "They're all pretty clever, though they have their false alarms at times."

"At times?" Woodsly asks as he takes a seat, watching the two people an the bird.

"Yeah, I just...have that weird connection to them."

Caleb looked a tad uneasy before walking over to the table and taking a seat. The raven remained perfectly on his shoulder, eyeing the food for a few moments before raising it's head and looking around the house. Almost like a look out. Despite the bird's earlier squawking, the husky the two had taken in was sound asleep; already having had a belly full of food.

"Don't mind him...he's just upset about some cat getting onto the roof and getting one of the flock. They've...all been on edge since then." Caleb added, trying to explain why the raven seemed more keen on looking around the entire room and repeating again.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 30, 2020, 02:18:24 PM
Astrid raised an eyebrow at Caleb's dismissal, but it was clear to her after his comment that ravens liked him. "Some people are born with the gift of a connection to nature."

She said no more on the subject.  Talking about magic to other people was something she was reluctant to do, even with him.  With her powers dampened, it was difficult to sense much more about him than a human would, but her instincts were usually correct. 

She listened as she sat down, beginning to pass some of the food around.  Caleb's mentioning that he had a connection with the birds only further confirmed her suspicions, but when he mentioned the cat, Astrid immediately looked up.

"A cat?  Do you know what sort of cat?" She asked quietly. "When did this happen?"
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 30, 2020, 02:31:45 PM
"Two nights ago, I think... I didn't get to see the cat, I just heard the ruckus of the fight and all of them screeching." Caleb answered.  "After seeing what was left, I was pretty sure it was a cat."

The raven's chest feathers puffed up as he strutted back an forth on Caleb's shoulder, clearly displeased on the topic of conversation.

"White cat! White cat!!! Snowy white cat!" The raven screeched.

Though the bird took the air, flying around as it screeched out. Caleb gave a sigh as he buried his face in his hand, great. Now the bird was freaking out. What was he suppose to do now? This wasn't his house where they could just lose their minds at.

"Calm down, calm down! Come over here." Caleb called to the raven.

"Icky cat!! UNNATURAL WHITE CAT!!!" the raven cried and wailed as it puffed up and flew past Caleb's head, the young man looked uncomfortable and nervous as he sat there.

"Caleb, would you like a hand to....." Woodsly started, merely going to try and offer a way to get the raven out of the house if it kept screeching.

Though, Woodsly was surprised when the boy seemed to snap slightly.

"White cat, OKAY?! I GET IT!! You're screeching about a unnatural white cat!! YOU HAPPY?!!" Caleb yelled at the Raven, gaining it's attention. "YOu done?! YOU HAPPY now?! I'm just your messenger boy oh great one? HUH?!"

A few tears left his eyes as the lad seemed to sink in his seat, trying to compose himself as the raven returned to him. Landing gingelry on his shoulder and trying to see the face that was buried in their hands. If anyone went over to the side of Caleb and looked down, they would spot some of those black feathers sticking out of the back of his neck. They weren't sitting there..they were growing out of his skin.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 30, 2020, 03:10:38 PM
Astrid's eyes widened as the bird began to freak out and take flight, jetting about the cabin in a panic.  It seemed to stress Caleb out even more than he already had been, and after trying to get the bird to calm, the young man snapped and began yelling at it.

A white cat, he said.  Astrid's eyes narrowed in anger.  Ingrid.  Why had she gone after Caleb?  Was it just to torment him for the sake of it, or for another reason.  Seeing how upset the young man was, Astrid stood and crossed around the table, her expression maternal when she rested a hand on Caleb's shoulder.  She saw the feathers.

"Rest easy, bird-kin, I will not allow her to harm any more of you, and he is safe here,"she said gently to the Raven.  She looked at Caleb.  "Its alright Caleb."

She wondered whether he knew, if either of his parents had told him what he was, or what he could do.  Her heart went out to the young man.  She wasn't sure how to approach the subject without agitating him even more.  Was he hiding like she was?  Astrid met Woodsly's eyes.  Had he sensed that there was something different about Caleb without realizing it?  It was clear to her that Caleb needed help, at the very least support in what it was he was going through. 

"Have you always been able to hear what the Ravens say to you, or has it only begun recently?" She asked in a gentle voice, hoping that it wouldn't cause him too much anxiety. "Don't be afraid.  I have magic too.  Woodsly is different as well, you are in the safest of company."
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 30, 2020, 03:22:38 PM
"It's not alright!!! Yes I can talk to the blasted ravens, I always could! She never said...WHY!!!" Caleb responded quickly, slamming clenched fists onto the table as he shuddered. "What's the point on leaving at the edge of town when you already have a foot in two societies due to heritage but then you have ravens flocking to you? What's the point?!"

Seeing the lad break down into tears, Woodsly took a deep breathe. Not sure on what to do in this situation. He looked a bit uncomfortable but conflicted as well. Though he was pretty calm as he sat there, unlike poor Caleb at the moment. The feathers growing out of Caleb seemed to lengthen as well as some new ones sprouted forth.

"I just....I just don't understand....any of it." Caleb stuttered out.  "Mother always said to trust the ravens, but what good does that do? They're right sometimes but, when they just go off like that or follow too closely when in town....everyone stares and I can't take listening to ten or more screaming voices ontop of people's mutterings. The only magic I can do is what my mother dubbed 'my piece of daylight' considering what ravens were known for in her culture.."
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 30, 2020, 03:49:54 PM
Astrid backed away, giving Caleb a bit of space.  His frustration was understandable.  It seemed that the parent who knew about the gifts he had been born with hadn't told him much of anything, and that was hard enough as it was.  He didn't understand what was happening to him or why, and it only made his situation worse. 

"I'm afraid that I do not know much about Inuit culture or tradition," Astrid admitted.  "And if this place is anything similar to the other places I have been,  having a foot in two worlds is...unimaginably difficult.  Having other gifts on top of it...I know how much harder that makes it."

She quieted, uncertain of whether she could say anything to make him feel better.  This was out of familiar territory in a lot of ways.  Watching him, it was easy to tell that his emotional state was driving him towards what she suspected was a shift close to what Woodsly went through, and his very first one at that.  That would only serve to drive him into a deeper panic.  She had only ever met one other person who had been born a 'beast-kin', and Ila had known from early childhood exactly what she would be able to do one day.  Caleb had not had that preparation. 

"You will understand it.  We can help you, and it sounds as though your ravens are trying to help you too.  Your mother was right; listen to them.  Let them guide you," Astrid said in that same gentle, soothing tone.  "You aren't alone with this Caleb.  Not anymore.  We are with you, and we will help you figure this out."

Astrid looked at Woodsly, hoping that he would agree. 
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 30, 2020, 03:58:23 PM
"Having a foot in two normal words is hard, when it's not just that? It's a great deal harder." Woodsly agreed. "Just relax lad, we don't have answers but we can still do something to help. And that starts with warning you about the Ingrid lady, right Astrid?"

Woodsly looked to her and hoped that his attempt to be supportive...came off as that. Caleb took a few breathes, trying to stop crying as he sat there. The ravens did try to help, it was just hard to put up with them screeching about some things. Like the stupid cat. Or how the shopkeeper would give him looks whenever a raven was spotted too close to him. So many eyes of suspicion and it was so hard to just take it when he knew he did nothing wrong.

"I don't....know much either..mom raised me on her own away from her people. She taught me about the ravens and what they represent but...father died early on, claimed some plague claimed him before he was ready but he'd always be with the ravens." Caleb explained.

Unlike Benjamin, Caleb's father had actually passed away. Being slightly different in the case of, his father was a natural beast of high magical power that it granted him a human form and mind, there were many things that could kill a creature like that. Enough damage and most certainly, a illness that made their mortal body useless just like any other. If only he knew just what his mother kept in that chest that she told him not to open until he was 'old' enough.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 30, 2020, 04:31:03 PM
Astrid nodded in agreement with Woodsly, sighing softly.  "Yes.  Ingrid," she said, crossing to sit back in her chair.  "I was born different too, with magic of a different sort.  Ingrid is my twin.  When someone like me is born, it is typically with the powers of both life in death.  In our case, she got death, and I got life, and we are both of us only half as powerful as we might have been had only one of us been born.  Ingrid is very dangerous.  She embodies death and darkness, and she's been trying to kill me since we were 15.  She believes that if she succeeds, she will be able to take my power for her own.  That is why she's here, why she can't know where I am."

Astrid paused, then continued. "The cat you saw was Shadow, Ingrid's familiar.  It is bound to her body and soul, and acts as an extension of her person.  Shadow makes her more powerful, but also puts her at a disadvantage.  If the cat is harmed, Ingrid takes the full brunt of those injuries.  If the cat is killed, it will weaken her as I am weakened now, but for an extended period of time.  Months, maybe even years," she explained.  "I don't know why she has attacked you, Caleb, and you can't know how sorry I am that you have become involved in my quarrel, but--"

Astrid fished around in her pocket and produced a talisman like the one she had put around Woodsly's neck, only it was made of wood instead of bone.  Carved in the shape of an eye, it appeared to have been dipped in the ink that Astrid had used for Woodsly's sigils.  She extended it to Caleb.  "I made this for you, after Woodsly mentioned that Ingrid came in.  It will protect you, and keep her from being able to harm you with her magic.  So long as you keep it on, she won't be able to get close to you.  If she tries to resist, the talisman will hurt her."     
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 30, 2020, 04:48:29 PM
It was a lot to take in and honestly, Caleb wasn't sure on what to do or if there was anything he could do. A witch with death magic was in town? That was soul crushing and fear inducing.

"I thought I had just scared whatever cat it was away by using my magic, I used more than I meant to so it was..kind of bright." Caleb started. "But..if her cat was the one that killed the raven. Then why was there pounding on the door and...her using my mother's voice...."

Caleb shrank in on himself a bit, struggling to understand everything. He was trying very hard and he deserved props for that. When the charm was extended out to him, Caleb took it slowly and looked at it. Certainly didn't look familiar, so that was probably good.

"Th..thank you.." Caleb stammered. "I'm sorry for my outburst it's.."

"Just take a breathe, you're not the only one who can have outbursts." Woodsly assured.

"S...Sir...she said that you were....so...uh.."

"Ya wanna know what I can do huh?"

A slow nod left Caleb, partially worried but also curious.

"I don't know lad..." Woodsly started, before glancing over to Astrid as he sought silent advice.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 30, 2020, 05:12:51 PM
Anger tightened Astrid’s features when she heard what Ingrid had done.  Bad enough to send Shadow after him…Ingrid had harassed Woodsly, and had used her powers to torment an innocent young man, seemingly just for the fun of it.  She had chased Astrid from town to town and across two countries, had been the cause of all of her problems for longer than she could remember.  It was one thing, to have Ingrid’s ire focused on her, but when her madness threatened someone whom she cared very deeply for and another who’s only connection was that he worked at Woodsly’s store, fear faded and rage came to the fore.

“You have nothing to apologize for, Caleb,” Astrid assured him, echoing Woodsly’s sentiment.  Her mind was afire with what she would do, the very moment she was strong enough to stand against Ingrid.  She would no longer have her life interrupted, nor the people around her tampered with. 

When Caleb and Woodsly spoke about what he could do, she tore her attention from her thoughts and looked up, catching Woodsly’s eye.

“If his feathers are any indication, he could be enduring his first transformation soon.  He needs to be prepared.  Besides, you haven’t transformed since the first time, love.  If you don’t, it will choose the time and place for you and you may not like it when it does.  Seeing may help him feel better, may help him understand a little better. 
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 30, 2020, 05:21:46 PM
"Feathers? THey're just the ones that get stuck to me.." Caleb started as he reached to the spot on his neck where they had been before but his face paled as he grabbed a handful of fluff and his eyes went wide.

Before another reaction could be done, Caleb suffered with the bowl of mash potatoes 'gently' hitting him in the face. Causing the land to squirm before his ears were covered by Woodsly's hands. The red haired man looked over to Astrid, a mixture of unease with the idea of showing the boy and potiental fear.

"You sure on showing him? The boy may need the help but what about when the ball gets rolling on my thing? Rumors of against red dog go around and the lad will probably fear he's part of a murder." Woodsly questioned lowly. "And considering how much he's freaking out, I can only imagine his hysteria when he sees the paper headlines."
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 30, 2020, 05:49:28 PM
Astrid raised an eyebrow, mouth turning upwards in amusement at Woodsly's antics with Caleb, first with the bowl of mashed potatoes and then with the covering his ears. 

He had a point, she knew.  Perhaps it was best to wait for Caleb to see Woodsly until after his revenge had been had.  She thought for a moment, then stood from her chair, waving her finger in the air in an 'I have an idea' fashion.  She winked at Woodsly. "You're right, of course.  But the fact remains.  You should at some point tonight, just to be safe." 

Planting a kiss on Woodsly's cheek, she crossed to one of the smaller shelves that held her books, skimming through them.  She chose an ancient-looking one with a cracked leather binding and opened it, leaving through pages with an expression of concentration.  She paged through the entire book before shaking her head and putting it back.  "I thought that my codex might have something.  There is plenty on the bird-kin of Europe, they don't have the ability to do any sort of magic beyond transform."

Something dawned on Astrid, and she turned back, eyes fixing on the raven on Caleb's shoulder.  "Listen to the ravens...You are here to help him...do you know someone who might be able to explain things better?" she asked the bird.   
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 30, 2020, 06:05:41 PM
"I shall consider it, so long as he isn't here for it." woodsly replied.

Woodsly would've helped but considering the plans he had in mind...he couldn't risk it. Caleb didn't know him for long, there was no reason for why the lad wouldn't scream 'murder' and tell everyone. He'd be crazy if he didn't. Still, Woodsly accepted the kiss and kept the ears to the boy's ears.

The raven cawed when a voice was directed to it. It moved it's head to fix it's bead eyes onto Astrid as she asked her question. A caw left the creature as it took flight and went to the door, pecking at it to try and opened it but was unable. So it looked to Astrid with a second caw, as if trying to ask her to open the door to follow. If she did so, the raven would take off into the air. It would wait for Astrid and when she did follow, it would always stay in sight for her.

"Just becareful." Woodsly requested of her before she left and he'd finally release Caleb's ears. "SOrry bout that my hand slipped."

Caleb pealed the bowl off his face finally and gave him a look of 'slipped huh?' Granted, this was hard to see given the thick layer of mash potato covering his face.
----------------------

The raven would lead her swiftly through the brush and thicket, old trees reaching to the sky with branches stripped of leaves in the cold winter. They were heading deeper into the woods at least and after some time, the raven would land on a branch and look around. A screech leaving it as it sat there. The area didn't look at that impressive, barren of plant life, tree stumps that were partially exposed would show up in dots across the vast emptiness. The bird hopped from side to side on the branch, giving a confused sound, it seemed to be expecting someone.

"Ah, old friend you bring a guest." A voice would remark, though there seemed to be no one there. "The ravens usually don't bring people here...who are you, to the ravens my dear?"
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 30, 2020, 06:39:46 PM
 Astrid watched the bird fly from Caleb’s shoulder to tap at the door.  Immediately, she grabbed her coat, scarf, and hat.  She also chose the obsidian knife that she had used for the ritual, tucking it into her pocket just in case.  Without her powers right now, it wouldn’t do to go anywhere undefended.  At Woodsly’s comment to be careful, Astrid flashed a grin at him.  “Of course.  I’ll be back.”

Astrid opened the door, let the bird out, and followed after it.  Benjamin glanced at her when she came out and finally stirred from his spot, padding after her as she followed the raven deeper into the woods.  It took time, and she was not so small as the raven, so getting past some of the brush was tricky.  Benjamin had a much tougher time, but he caught up easily enough whenever he fell behind.

Eventually, the raven landed and stared out over what looked like a patch of dead ground.  Astrid hesitated at the sight of it, then stepped forward and looked around.  When the voice spoke Astrid jumped slightly, not used to having rely on her eyes alone to see.  She wet her lips at the question, and ventured a few steps further into the dead clearing.

“I am no one to the ravens, great one,” she replied respectfully, “but I am friend to many creatures, and to someone who hears them speak and carries a piece of the daylight.  His mother passed before she could tell him what that meant, and he is nearing his awakening.  He’s already begun to grow feathers when his emotions are high.  I’ve come to ask your help to guide him, to help him, or tell me how I can help him.” 
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 30, 2020, 06:47:56 PM
"No one to the ravens and yet they lead you here?" the voice questions, curious surprise in their voice.

Silence would fall before a large paw like hand emerged from three that the raven was sitting upon. Red claws dug into the earth as something seemed to start pulling itself out of it. However the shape held nothing noteworthy save for how dark it was and a odd red marking that persisted until the thing had left the tree. The paw like hand merely reverted to a normal hand and the dark shape soon become solid and appeared as a man. They looked around Woodsly's age, ark hair and green eyes, a strange red mark over the bridge of their nose rested there and a blue tailor coat and brown pants was what they wore; the black boots looked unimpressive.

"So you seek the father then, I suppose I should do my simple task then." The 'man' replied.  "I can't do this for too long, so you better have everything in your head planned out, okay? Give it some serious thought to what you're going to ask. You sure you got everything in mind for questions?"

The man had a smile on his face, sharp canine teeth and a overall feeling of magic to him. Frankly, it was too much magic of a chaotic sort. It wasn't like a mere witch or warlock, nothing akin to a wizard. Yet it was strangely strong and contained in this odd man.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 30, 2020, 07:09:42 PM
Astrid swallowed thickly, trying not to be afraid as the…whatever it was pulled itself out of the tree.  She was tempted to back away, but managed only just to stand her ground.  Benjamin warily stepped into the clearing, pressing his expansive head against her hand as if trying to calm her.  Her fingers sank into his fur gently, grateful for his presence as the figure solidified into the shape of a man. 

Not Beast-kin, no…not a witch, or anything like that.  Whatever he was was…different, chaotic, of a realm of magic that she couldn’t touch.  Even with her energies dampened, she could feel the power radiating from him.  Benjamin took a step forward and growled, and the hand buried in his fur gave him a reassuring stroke.  “No, Benjamin.  It’s alright.  He is why we’re here.” 

The bear immediately silenced but didn’t move.

The ‘man’ began to speak, warning her that their time was limited, and that she needed to know what questions she needed to ask.  Her brow furrowed.  She had a few questions, but how could she be sure they were the right ones?  What if she gave it thought, and still asked all the wrong questions?  He had mentioned ‘the father’ and made a note of it; that would be one of them.   

“My first question is regarding the father you mentioned.  Where can I find him?” She asked tentatively.  It seemed as good a place as any to begin. 

“What will Caleb become, and what does it mean when he says he has a piece of daylight?  What can I do to help guide him through this time?  What do I say to him about who he is and what he can expect to come as he awakens and has his first transformation?  Can I make it easier?” Astrid stopped herself short as the questions came flooding out, uncertain if taking too much time would be a bad thing.     
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 30, 2020, 07:29:50 PM
"Aw hush now honey bear." the man remarked to Benjamin.  "Now now, don't go spewing the questions to me. Keep in mind my dear."

The smile remained as he started to crack his knuckles and rotate his shoulders, cracks and creaks leaving him as he seemed to be stretch himself out. A yawn left him before he took in her question to him

"Oh I'm a friend, Amit is I." Amit replied in a merry tone. "Oh you won't find him, I'll bring him to you. So don't you worry."

Their hands radiated this strange energy and the raven flew down to them. Without a word, Amit grabbed a hold of the raven and pulled something from the creature. It wasn't the bird's soul, it was something that was attached to it. What that was, was hard to say. They weren't done though. With their free hand, the plunged it into their chest with it coated in the magic he was using. Pulling something crystallized from his chest, the man quickly slammed the two things together with a flash.

Amit seemed to have disappeared, though there was now something else there. A large, raven like creature was sitting there, it towered over Astrid before it seemed to shrink and take a humanoid shape. Many of their raven features remained save for them having their arms seperate from their wings, a human face with some feathers growing from them, and their arms coated in feathers with sharp talons at the end of each finger tip. The man had a pale face, a stark contrast to his dark as night feathers.

"I apologized for Amit, you aren't on a time crunch dear. He's a playful soul." the new person replied as he stood there, large wings flooding behind him. "So, first question my dear? No rush mind you."
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 30, 2020, 08:01:28 PM
Astrid blinked and frowned, confused.  She wasn’t supposed to ask the questions she had?  She remained silent as he introduced himself, uncertain of what manner of thing he was; giving her name to something more powerful than she was that she didn’t recognize was a recipe for disaster.  She tilted her head at the mention that Amit would bring Caleb’s father to her, and when his hands radiated magic she took a step back.  Benjamin growled again, shuffling forward until he was fully standing between Astrid and Amit.  She was certain that the bear smelled her fear, and was reacting to it. 

“Benjamin hush,” she whispered, attention rapt as Amit performed his strange magic.  Benjamin whined in response, head bowing.  She had never seen anything like what Amit was doing, and before long they were shifting again, changing to something else.  Astrid exhaled in wonder, studying the new form Amit had taken.  She could tell that this was what Caleb would be just from what little patterning of feathers he had begun to grow in her cabin.  The raven-man was massive, making her feel like a child again.  She suspected that this was the father that Amit said he would bring to her, but he had pulled his essence from the raven itself…had he been the raven then?  Had Caleb’s father been watching over him this entire time, speaking to him?

She frowned when the man spoke, mentioning that Amit had been jesting with her about the amount of time they had.  “Tricky,” she muttered without any force behind it, more like a note-to-oneself.  He bade her to ask her questions, and she nodded, though she was beginning to think that it might have been simpler to bring Caleb with her for this, so that he could hear it for himself.  She was still a stranger to him who had already admitted that she didn't know anything, why would he believe what she had to say?

“I see what Caleb will become, but what does that mean for him?” she asked.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 30, 2020, 08:16:33 PM
The raven man laughed as he stood there when Astried muttered about Amit.

"Do not hate him, he's just a playful soul." They replied as he took a seat on the ground, gesturing for her to sit as well. "As for what it means for him, it merely means he will have the rest of his heritage. He's been incomplete thus far. The magic he holds is from his mother's land and people, his home is on land that was their's. The raven's tongue is from me but other than that, he holds not much from me except for some physical traits."

The raven man looked to Benjamin, he tilted his head as he stared at them. A dark, almost black hand stretched forward to the bear, talons receding to reveal a more normal hand. It was a simple gesture as he just sat there, testing to see what the bear would do.

"You seem to have lost your light, not a good thing to let yourself do." the raven man said to benjamin.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 30, 2020, 09:01:24 PM
"Of course," Astrid agreed when the man told her not to hate Amit.  Astrid rarely hated anyone.  Dislike, maybe, but the only person she truly hated was Ingrid.  Amit had played with her, but that wasn't enough to draw dislike or hate.  He was what he was.

As the man explained what Caleb had in store for him, he explained that the magic the boy had was from his mother, while the ability to speak to ravens, she guessed, had come from him.  Astrid listened carefully, wanting to be able to relay that to him. 

When the raven-man addressed Benjamin, the bear cringed back from his hand at first, then curiously gave it a sniff.  After a long moment, the bear pushed his head against his hand, having decided that he was alright after all. 

Astrid sighed softly.  "Yes...not even two months after his first transformation.  He just...let go of it...and nothing I did could bring him back.  I tried for years after."

Benjamin made a noise and backed off again, settling himself around Astrid's feet and laying his head on his paws. 

Turning her attention from the bear, Astrid posed the next question.  "What can I do to guide him?  Can I help him, or is this something that he has to discover for himself?" 
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 30, 2020, 09:18:51 PM
"Your friend merely got consumed by the magic and being something he wasn't my dear, it is possible to bring him back. Though, only if they truly want to or can be convinced life is worth a second chance as a man. If anything else, he could be at least given hi mind back for this form." the raven man replied. "I could try to help if you wish?"

With Benjamin's head in his hand, the raven man merely petted the large creature. Fur ruffled slightly from teh gesture but when they pulled away, he didn't pursue. He'd let the lady decided if they should try.

"A balance of both is needed, within the chest his mother told him not to open till he was old enough holds a explanation for him. However, he isn't old enough until his first transformation. Think of him as a baby chick, losing their fluffy feathers to make way for their adult ones. To my kind, he is but a chick when to humans, he is a adult for a few years now." The raven man answered. "A steady hand and kind heart, perhaps a purpose can be given to your friend here once more if he agrees."
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 30, 2020, 09:40:38 PM
"I know," Astrid said, staring down at Benjamin.  With his wife dead and his only friend a witch on the run from her life, there had been little left for him, and life as a man simply stopped appealing to him.  She knew that was why he had lost himself so quickly.  She looked down at the bear.  He stayed put, staring unblinkingly at the raven-man.

He went on to explain the chest waiting for Caleb, but only once he was old enough, and that would not happen until his first transformation. 

Her eyes drifted down again to Benjamin and she knelt, smoothing a hand over his head.  "How about it, Benjamin?  Shall we give it a try?"

The bear looked at her, then back at the raven man, a blast of air jetting from his nose in a huff.  Astrid shrugged, looking resigned.  "You may try, but don't be surprised if he refuses.  Life as a man was difficult for him.  He preferred being a bear from the first moment he was turned."

"How do I help to prepare Caleb for the eventuality of his change, so that when it does happen it isn't quite so...unsettling for him?" 
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 30, 2020, 09:55:47 PM
Reaching a hand forehead, it easily reached into the bear's mind. No doubt feeling uncomfortable before the magic caused a change. From the bear something was pulled. The bear would seem to fall peacefully asleep, chest moving and the sound of gentle breathing. What was pulled out looked to be a man, a silohuete with some details but he was see through. Slightly darker hair and green eyes noticeable, they would merely float there.

"Hello Sir." The raven man greeted. "Might we have a chat?"

With the concious spirit of Benjamin pulled out, they were still tied to their body though they wouldn't be able to go back in there just yet. The raven man looked back to Astrid as she spoke again.

"A teacher would be best, but that is a bit of a predicament I hope to help solve." The raven man answered.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 30, 2020, 10:26:26 PM
Astrid gasped when the image of Benjamin the man appeared.  He looked older tgan she remembered, perhaps double the number the years that he should have.  His features were far sharper than hers, but the eyes were the same shade of green--a color their mothers shared between them as well. 

Benjamin looked between the two of them, expression on the displeased side.

"Damn it all, put me back!"

"Benjamin, please listen," Astrid said, still trying to adjust to seeing the split image of his spirit and the bear. 

"I'm happy as a bear," Benjamin insisted, scowling.  He turned back to the raven man. "Put me back in my body, feathers."

Astrid snapped out something in the same language she used for her spells, though they lacked the energy of magic.    It seemed to make Benjamin hesitate, though.   "Lordy woman.  Who taught you to swear like that?"

"Gram, same as you.  Now listen to what he has to say," she demanded firmly.  She looked at the raven man and nodded.  "Please continue."
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 30, 2020, 10:32:18 PM
"Calm my friend, I merely wish to have your aid for someone I can not help myself." the raven man started. "You know what it's like to transform into another form, my son has no one to guide him and sadly, Amit won't be able give my spirit a vessel for many moons after this. I have a way that will allow you to turn back and forth but I need you to promise that if I give you this, you won't neglect helping him."

It was a fair thing honestly. He'd ensure that Benjamin could still turn into his bear self so he didn't lose what he form made him happy but he had to actually be a teacher. The insuilt attempt with feathers seemed to be ignored.

"What say you?" he asked.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 30, 2020, 10:52:06 PM
"I don't want to turn back and forth," Benjamin sighed. "I knew what I was doing when I left that life behind me.  It was my choice."

"Do it for me then," Astrid said. "I gave you what you wanted, and I asked for nothing in return.  I took care of you when you came to me.  I am asking for your help to teach a boy who needs our assistance.  Woodsly can't do it.  I need you."

Benjamin scowled, and scrubbed at his face with his hands.  "Gods, alright.  I'll do it.  I'll teach your boy.  But once he's ready, my life is my own again, yes?"
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 30, 2020, 10:57:48 PM
"Your life is your own, if you choose to when this is done that you wish to no longer have my gift, you may give it up and you will return to the state you were when you came here. A bear that isn't truly a bear." The raven man answered.

With the agreement though, Benjamin's soul was returned to his bear body. However, the Raven man seemed to extract a small golden orb from the bear, causing them to revert to a man in the snow. They were no doubt jarred awake by this and the glowing orb was broken in half before a piece was placed back inside of him.

"You can change the way the spell worked before as well as turning back, if you spend more than a day in your bear form however, our arrangment will cause you to turn back to a man." The raven man explained. "Other than that, it's just a matter of time when you get reused to your body and can teach."
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 31, 2020, 09:13:04 AM
Benjamin started awake with a gasp and lurched to his hands and knees in the snow, nude body wracked with violent shudders.  His eyes were dazed and wide as he fixed them on his hands; hairless skin, five long fingers and nails that needed clipping something fierce.  He looked at Astrid and moved toward her, one hand clutching her skirt.  "H-h-h-elp m-m-me u-u-p p-p-p-l--"

Astrid immediately grabbed his upper arms and tried to help him rise, but the moment he planted his feet and tried to, he slid back to his knees.  He tried again with the same result, then seemed to give up for the moment, instead holding tightly onto Astrid with his head buried in her coat, dissolving into silent sobs.  "Ben, its okay," Astrid soothed. "You can't expect to adjust to being human so quickly after so long as a bear."

"Sss-o c-c-c-co-ld--" Benjamin tried, muffled against her coat.  Astrid's immediately unbuttoned her coat, gently pushing Benjamin away just enough that she could get it off.  Kneeling, she draped the coat over his shoulders and helped to guide his hands and arms through, fingers fumbling over buttons as she secured it around him, trying to ignore the cold now biting through her clothes.   There was no use in wishing that she had known what to expect of this encounter; she hadn't planned for Benjamin to follow her at all, but he had. 

Astrid turned her attention to the Raven man, catching Benjamin's hands between her own and chaffing them for warmth.  "Thank you.  Do you have anything else that you wish me to convey to your son?"
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 31, 2020, 05:18:21 PM
The Raven man watched silently at the display, a sympathtic look on their face as he watched Benjamin struggle with his changed body. As Astrid tried to warm up her cousin, the raven man rose to his feet. Reaching for one of his wings, he plucked one of the larger feathers from it, and extended it to Astrid.

"A gift to show, the ravens may speak with you and watch over you. They do talk in broken speech, so sometimes it takes dechipiring them to know what the say. You needn't worry about it being overwhelming, it will only happen when you want to talk to one of them." the raven man said, at her question, he looked saddened. "That he is still loved, despite me not meeting him when I had a mortal form. And to listen to the ravens, I'm always with them and him."

If Astrid had accepted the feather, it would burn away in a harmless flame but she would feel that warmth go through her. A new magic mixing with her own before settling.

"I wish you good tidings and thank you, for caring for a monster's innocent son." The raven man added before he seemed to disppear into his own feathers and even those faded away.

Once again, the man known as Amit was back. Eyes closed as he held the strange crystalized item. Looking at it now, it was red and almost heart shaped. Though it was quickly returned to his chest and the flow of chaotic magic resumed it's original flow throughout him. Green eyes opened and he raised a brow.

"Well, being naked out here isn't good. Not at all." Amit remarked. "Luckily for you two, you have Amit here to help."
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 31, 2020, 05:45:56 PM
Astrid accepted the feather with thanks, eyes widening when it burned away and she felt the change—no the addition of something within herself.  Her features softened when the Raven man gave her the message for Caleb and thanked her for helping him.  The pain in his features hurt her heart, and she found that she could only nod in answer. “I promise I’ll do my best.”

When he faded and gave way to Amit once more, Astrid looked down at Benjamin and tried to help him stand again.  This time he managed it, but he hung heavily on Astrid, and she found herself glad that she was used to hard labor from the farm; he likely weighed less than her, but looks seemed to be deceiving right now.  She resisted the urge to shiver, planting her feet a little more firmly in the ground while Benjamin tried to straighten.

“W-w-wasn’t p-planning on b-being n-n-naked, p-p-planned t-t-to still h-have ffff-fur,” Benjamin stammered and stuttered through his chattering teeth. 

Astrid clicked her tongue at him, and looked back at Amit.  “We will be grateful for any help, Amit, thank you.”     
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 31, 2020, 05:51:33 PM
"Here we go then!" Amit replied to the two of em as he clapped his hands together. "Hold on tight and get ready, cause this'll be a fun ride for you!"

A blackish red energy gathered at his hands as he pulled them apart before he whirled them through the air and the two family members would see the world seem to shift and change for a few moments. A single blink though and they'd find themselves back at Astrid's cabin, right at the front step. No Amit in sight though. The strange man had teleported them here with ease it seemed.

The door would open and Woodsly was the one to do it, he looked a bit strained. Though he was probably trying to keep himself human. When his golden yellow gaze landed on Astrid, he looked relieved but then was surprised to see Benjamin, these two..looked way too similiar for it to be a coincidence.

"So....a brother I'm guessing?" Woodsly asked confused.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 31, 2020, 06:25:22 PM
The last thing that Astrid had expected was teleportation, and the same could be said for Benjamin.  Disoriented, he staggered back a few steps and nearly toppled down the stairs, but Astrid pulled him back and went off balance herself, and banged into the door with a cry.  Righting them both with some difficulty, she used the frame of the door to steady herself just as Woodsly opened it. 

Astrid blinked at his question. “What?  Er…no, this is Benjamin,” she said, still struggling to keep her cousin upright.  The promise of heat coming through the door seemed to strengthen Benjamin just a little, enough anyway that Astrid was able to get him through the door.  She put him by the fire and Benjamin immediately slumped onto his backside with his legs sprawled, sweat beading on his brow and his breath uneven from the effort, clearly no happier about his circumstances than he had been.  Of a size with Astrid, her coat at least afforded him some dignity and spared them the awkwardness of his nakedness.

Bracing herself against the table for a moment to catch her own breath, Astrid went to where she kept her spare clothing and dug out her pair of hunting britches and a flannel shirt, glad at least that she had something that would fit Benjamin, unlike when she had first found Woodsly.  She passed the clothing to Benjamin, who took it and began the arduous task of putting it on.  He didn’t speak.

That sorted, Astrid exhaled softly for calm.  “I’ll tell you about it later,” she said to Woodsly, concern lining her features as she watched him.  He was struggling too.  She touched his hand.  “Do you need to go?  I’ll stay here with Caleb.  I have a lot to tell him.”   
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 31, 2020, 07:44:56 PM
"How's he....wasn't' he stuck as a bear?" Woodsly asked, though he shuddered as he felt his other form pushing against his skin from the inside.

Balancing himself against the wall, he watched the small event unfold. Though he felt more and more unwell, not in the sense of sick. But in the sense of something inside of him stirring. Shaking his head, he tried to ignore the sensations. He'd been doing just fine so far, he could..hold on a little longer. Caleb sat awkwardly at the table, confused as to what was going on though he stayed quiet.

"I can...hold on a little longer...just enough for him to go home." Woodsly replied. "He needs to be lead back to Nome, he hasn't....been out this far before.."
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 31, 2020, 08:20:04 PM
“I’ll do it,” Benjamin spoke up from the fire, before Astrid could open her mouth and say much of anything.  He was eying Woodsly from over his shoulder; he had gotten as far as pants and had been in the process of unbuttoning Astrid’s coat in favor of the shirt when he spoke up.  The small man set the shirt aside and, using the stone around the fireplace, got shakily onto his feet.

“You can’t even walk,” Astrid sighed, pinching the bridge of her nose between her fingers.  Woodsly was going to transform any minute; the signs were there, and there was no way that he would make it all the way to Nome, no matter how strong he was, though she was certain he would give it his very best.  “I’ll do it.”

“Like hell,” Benjamin snapped.  He pointed at Woodsly.  “He’s about to lose his shit.  I can see his other shape fighting the one he’s in now, trying to force itself forward.  You can’t do it because the moment you go anywhere near Nome, Shadow is going to tell Ingrid, and Ingrid is going to blast your arse to pieces—she could do it too, all too easy.  Caleb is my responsibility now anyhow, isn’t he?  Isn’t that why Feathers put me back in this stupid body?”

Benjamin looked between them, daring either of them to argue.  After a moment, he swiped a hand through his hair, hand pausing momentarily over the balding spot at the top that hadn’t been there the last time he was a human.  That only seemed to make him more irate—he hated being human.  “I’ll change, and I’ll take him home,” he said firmly, dropping Astrid’s coat over the back of a chair.  “I’ll make sure he gets there safe.”

“Are you certain?  You haven’t adjusted to being human again yet,” Astrid asked quietly.

“Yeah, I’m certain.  I’ll change back as soon as I get home, and if I don’t, all you have to do is wait 24 hours and I’ll be forced back,” Benjamin said.  He started undoing his britches, and Astrid immediately turned away just in time to miss them drop. 

“Gods, Benjamin,” Astrid muttered, pressing a hand to the side of her face. 

Benjamin staggered his way to the door and went outside, changing back to a bear the very moment he was through the door; the process seemed to be far quicker and more streamlined for him, perhaps because of how badly he wanted to return to his bear form, and when it was done, he turned, peering in.  “Lets go, kid.”   
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 31, 2020, 08:40:34 PM
"At least, lower your voice so you don't announce it to kingdom com." Woodsly growled lowly, a more animalistic sound accompaning it.

"I...what?" Caleb stuttered out, confused by this whole thing.

It was safe to say that everyone looked away when Benjamin dropped his pants. Though, Woodsly was more focused on not gaining any of his traits while the boy was still there. So he focused more on that then Benjamin walking past him butt ass naked.

"Don't you have to tell him something though?" Woodsly asked Astrid.

"i can come back a different time if it helps..?" Caleb suggested as he rose from the chair.

A caw would sound off and bear benjamin would feel a raven land on their large head, peeking into the home as well.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 31, 2020, 08:56:07 PM
Astrid looked at Woodsly, then to Caleb.  She did have things to tell him, but between Benjamin growling and Woodsly so close to changing, now certainly didn’t feel like the time. 

What Astrid had to relay to him was important, she knew, and she didn’t want Caleb to have to go very long before hearing it.  She supposed that the knowledge didn’t have to be passed to him immediately, but…

“Would you join us again tomorrow?” Astrid invited, walking him out the door and closing it behind them.  If Benjamin was bothered by the raven, he didn’t show it.  He seemed resigned to the fact that Ravens accompanied Caleb, and if he was to mentor Caleb, he’d have to get used to it.  Astrid offered an apologetic smile to young man.  “I have a great deal to tell you, and it’s important that you hear it.  Tonight just…seems to have gotten a bit more chaotic than planned.  It’s not usually like this, I’m sorry.”
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 31, 2020, 09:10:47 PM
"Yeah I'm not doing anything tomorrow and honestly...I...I don't have anyone waiting for me save the birds." Caleb answered.

Caleb would go quietly and leave the house with the agreement he'd return tomorrow. Woodsly walked away from the door and took to pressing a hand onto the table, taking in deep breathes as he felt his bones rattle. Not literally rattle but just the sensation of something rattling, that kind of vibration. Even when Caleb was gone, Woodsly waited. His inhuman hearing picking up on the sound of snow crunching far too loudly for them to be away. The lad could peak through a window while walking for all he knew.

A few beads of sweat clung to his brow as he took in slower and deeper breathes. He agreed to this, he knew he did. But he couldn't risk his plan going aware just because of this advantage he was given.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 31, 2020, 09:50:24 PM
Astrid smiled.  “You will always be welcome here, Caleb.  You know the way back now, and I’ve a feeling Ben will be spending a great deal of time with you, so perhaps you will not feel so alone moving forward.  We’ll talk about that more tomorrow.” 

She lingered on the porch until after both Caleb and Benjamin disappeared, then quickly went back inside the house, one hand resting on Woodsly’s arm.  She could tell that he was struggling, no doubt worried about making sure Caleb was at least out of sight.  She looked around the cabin, resolving to do some rearranging so that he could change more comfortably inside when he had to.  “What about the barn?  There is more than enough room in there and I can close the door enough to hide you, just in case they come back for any reason?”

--

Benjamin walked silently beside Caleb, eyes drifting upward to the bird on his head for a moment before he turned his attention back to the snowy stretch ahead of them.

“You will have to tell me where to go once we reach a point where you start to recognize your surroundings.  I’ve ranged these woods here, but…not much beyond them,” Benjamin said.  He seemed a little less gruff than he had been in human form, so either the change had improved his mood, or he was trying to make an effort.  It was difficult to say.

The bear glanced at Caleb.  “So, uh…Woodsly doesn’t strike me as the social type.  How did you come to know each other?”
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 31, 2020, 10:03:05 PM
Fine red and white strands of fur were slowly growing out of his arm, giving it a slight peach fuzz feeling. Though under his shirt and vest the fur was no doubt thicker there at his back. Woodsly shuddered with a low growl, it wasn't directed at anyone but himself, trying to keep himself in this form as he felt the larger form pressing against the thin surface that was his current skin that already had 'cracks' in it; since some of the change was breaking through.

At the suggestion of going to the barn, Woodsly tried to straighten his posture. Feeling like too much movement would cause his hard work to be immediately thrown out the window.

"I don't...." Woodsly breathed out before he had to bend his back again as he seemed ready to either collapse or just his back hurting him; granted it was neither. "Know if I can make all the way there.....even though that is....a good id....eEEER!!"

Woodsly tensed up as he gritted his teeth that grew sharper, claws quickly sprouted and dug into the wood of the table; only to put scratches into it as he balled up his fist. His short hair stood up and Woodsly had to take deeper and quicker breathes. It felt harder to breathe, but that was no doubt due to the the vest making his shirt feel tighter around him.
------------

"Oh, he's not very social. He'll spend all day in the workshop unless a customer wants to see him or help is needed to move pieces out of the building to be loaded onto a sled." Caleb replied. "He's not a cruel man at least."

The raven glanced down at Benjamin when the bear turned their gaze onto em. Though the bird was kind enough to disembark from the head and land on Caleb's shoulder.

"I had a temporary job to deliver goods from a store to people, the owner was just...taking pity on me honestly and gave me the job. It didn't pay much." Caleb answered. "So I had to deliver nails and boards to Mr. Noslwoh when he was repairing the roof of the shop before it opened. That happened a few times before he offered me a full time job and I took it. I needed the better pay and I wouldn't be running back and forth in the cold at least."
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on August 31, 2020, 10:59:38 PM
Astrid nodded and opened the door, activating one of the sigils on her right bicep.  Her sight homed in straight ahead, tracking Caleb and Benjamin’s growing distance from the cabin.  She gave her head a little shake to end the effects and stepped back inside, locking the door.  Grabbing one of the blankets from the bed, she crossed to the window and hung it from each corner, blocking the view from outside. 

That done, she quickly pushed some of the furniture aside to make more room.  “It’s okay Woodsly, go ahead.”

--

Benjamin listened, glancing occasionally at Caleb as he told him about how he met Woodsly.  Not a bad situation; a better paying job, and he wasn’t like other bosses that Benjamin had had in the past, who hovered over every little thing.  To be perfectly honest, he wasn’t sure how Astrid had met the man.  He was just…suddenly there, but she perked up so much that Benjamin couldn’t find it in him to mind.  He kept watch, just in case, but so far he hadn’t seen anything that made him dislike the man. 

“Seems a good sort.  Tough.  Grumpy.” Benjamin commented, staring straight ahead again. 

He was quiet for a moment.  “You seem a decent sort too.  Not as grumpy.  Not as tough though, either.”  He said it without any mockery, merely as an observation he had made.  “I’m sure that will change in time.  So…what do the Ravens say to you?  Can you understand them all the time?”
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on August 31, 2020, 11:14:15 PM
"I need....to get this...o...off.." Woodsly breathed out, a clawed hand reaching for the buttons of his vest.

However the black claws dug into the fabric, hindering his attempt to at least save one piece of clothing. As he tried to grab a button, he caused the vest to be torn as he pulled a hand away. Growling angrily at this, Woodsly's body shook in both his frustration but also the change. There was no holding it anymore.  His size grew and his clothes tore and ripped, nearly exploding of as the thick fur escaped through each tear and rip. Large paws slammed onto the ground and when it was all done, the massive husky merely flopped to the floor of the cabin. Panting as it laid there with golden eyes closed.
----------------

"I agree." Caleb replied, smiling a little.

A part of him wanted to know more about his boss but he knew people weren't fond of prying. Even more so when he saw some of the man's reactions when people asked where he was from and what kind of a name is that stuff. Caleb turned his gaze to Benjamin, the smile growing a little more.

"Thank you." Caleb said in a happier tone. "I don't ever mean to be grumpy,  I..I do know that I'm not really a tough guy. Mr. Noslwoh has expressed concerns on me being too...soft."

A conversation switch and the raven cawed out at it. There were no words with it, perhaps just a delighted noise? Sometimes it was hard to tell.

"Sometimes they warn me about a potiental danger or they bring me news. Like when the Ingrid lady showed up, they were screeching about danger and a darkness coming but I didn't know what they were going on about till..well today." Caleb explained. "There are times they won't use words but I usually can guess that they're just trying to warn one another. Most of the time they switch between saying things to me and just talking to each other in their own language. The first time it happened I was pretty young and thought it was cool...though it happened when I was trying to fit in with some kids to play with em and it weirded em out."
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 01, 2020, 12:07:14 AM
As soon as Astrid finished shoving furniture aside, she scrambled back to Woodsly and tried to help him with his clothes, but by the time she managed to get through two buttons the change forced it's way through and Woodsly collapsed on the floor. 

She exhaled, looking at the scraps of cloth, then stroked Woodsly's head for a time, trying to comfort him.  "It's okay.  I've nearly finished another shirt for you.  It might be a little loose, but it should do in a pinch.  As for pants, I'll finish mending the other pair from before.  I'll focus on a few more of each for you."  She knelt down, turning the vest to get a better look at it.  "This isn't so bad either."

She ventured to where she kept her sewing and collected what she needed, sitting on the floor next to him but closer to the fire, just for the extra light.  Without another word she started working.

--

Benjamin snorted at the 'soft' comment.  He couldn't say if that was really the case or not, but he supposed he'd find out.

He bared his teeth at the mention of Ingrid; yeah, they had been right about that.  That little nut had been cracked pretty much the moment she had been born.  He remembered the stories.


"I'm sure that was a bit unsettling, all of that back there."

Caleb described how the Ravens spoke to him, and Benjamin nodded his big head.  Most creatures had their own language, though it was a precious few people who understood them.  Personally, Benjamin hadn't met a single one.  He understood about the last part too, being an odd man out.  His mother was like Astrid, like his grandmother, but he had been born mundane, just like his father.  It didn't matter how many people had come to his mother for her remedies, or to help with births, the moment things went wrong, she had come under scrutiny for it.  After her death, he and his father had been shunned.  He tore his thoughts from that. 

"Clever creatures, ravens.  Humans?  Not so much.  Oh maybe a few here and there, but humans on the whole like things a certain way, and if it's not, they don't care for it.  It don't mean anything; humans don't even like each other most of the time," he said.  "You've got way more goin' for you than they ever will, kid, and don't you forget it."
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 01, 2020, 12:28:58 AM
The beast's loud breathing slowly started to grow quiet and more calm, finally feeling comfortable again. Opening his eyes slightly, the comforting gesture that Astrid had been doing for him were working. though as she walked away, his ears slanted slightly. Course the ears soon were back to their normal position as she returned to sit beside him.Craning his neck slightly, the large nose would gently poke Astrid before part of their muzzle tried to rest under her arms and onto her lap.

"Later...." Woodsly grumbled out tiredly, golden eyes were closed once more.

A nap sounded good honestly.
----------

"Yeah I...I honestly wasn't expecting to hear that kind of thing when I was invited." Caleb answered.

As they walked, Caleb reached to scratch at the back of his neck. Though the lad froze up for a second, still feeling the feathers that had grown there. It was scary and unnerving to him, he didn't know what was happening to him and it put a good deal of fear into him. Just like when his daylight magic had started to manifest. However, he quickly resumed following Caleb. Pulling his hand away from there,

"No no...you're write. People hated my father for marrying my mother...all because she was darker and hailed from this land and it was the same for my mother. That's why we....well I, never lived with the tribe my mother was raised in...it's why I don't know my grandfather, grandmother or my aunts..." Caleb agreed.

Taking a deep breathe, he exhaled. Glancing at the raven on his shoulder before reaching to pet it's chest. The raven didn't protest at all, seeming to like the gesture. He wasn't sure on what he had going for himself though.

"What's it like? Being a bear.." Caleb asked, looking toward Benjamin.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 01, 2020, 10:56:37 AM
Astrid paused in her mending when Woodsly nosed beneath her arm to rest his head on her lap, a wide smile lighting up her face.  She set aside her sewing immediately and shifted so that she was somewhat leaned against him, turning just a touch more so that he could rest his head more comfortably.  She took up stroking his head again, keeping the motions slow and soothing.  He was likely exhausted, she thought, after fighting so hard to keep himself in his human form.  Contented and happy, she rested her head against him too and closed her eyes, allowing herself to enjoy the moment.

---

“Unexpected things happen,” Benjamin said. “Best you learn to just roll with them rather than stand in the way.  You were going to have to learn about this stuff at some point, so maybe its best that you know early on.”

He looked at Caleb when the young man paused his movement, but it didn’t take long for him to catch back up and for them to be moving again, and Caleb continued the conversation.  Benjamin’s lips pulled back in a soft growl when the young man told him about how he had grown up alone, he and his mother outcasts.  “You know, none of that has ever made sense to me.  People are so stupid, causing others strife over differences that shouldn’t matter.  So much damned prejudice, it’s a wonder humans haven’t destroyed themselves yet.”

When Caleb asked what it was like to be a bear, Benjamin sighed, eyes closing briefly in thought.  “It’s a hell of a lot better than being a man,” he answered quietly.  “You saw me.  I’ve never been a big lad, or very strong.  I was sick a lot too.  Certain types of food made me so ill that I’d swell up, and when plants or trees were blooming I had a hard time breathing.  As a bear, though…none of that bothers me.  I’m bigger than I’ve ever been, stronger than I’ll ever be.  People look at me with fear, instead of laughing at me.  I’ve got claws that can rip, teeth that can tear, and I’m fast.  And when I’m a bear…” Benjamin paused, his voice saddening some, “and when I’m a bear, the things that I lost as a man don’t hurt so bad.”     
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 01, 2020, 03:05:04 PM
Learn to roll with it huh? That was a bit of a uncertain sounding thing. Do you always just roll with things? Is that really best? Those thoughts were silenced thankfully when Benjamin answered his question. At first, Caleb listened with pure curiosity. But that curiosity was replaced by concern and sadness as the tale continued. It wasn't really a talk about being a bear, it felt like Benjamin was telling him why he was a bear. There was nothing in there about hibernation, living off the land...sure, he would eventually mention the strength and natural fear he would instill in others but that..wasn't really enough of a answer.

"Isn't that just...hiding from it all though?" Caleb asked, his voice filled with nervousness. "Like....I know life can be very shitty and you don't have to talk about things that no longer hurt as much as they did when you're a bear. But...if all your doing is hiding and ignoring the past and other things, you aren't really living. You're doing the option with no growth or real room to be happy again."
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 01, 2020, 03:20:13 PM
Benjamin glanced at Caleb.  He sounded nervous when he spoke, and the bear sighed heavily.  “Probably.” He admitted, but his tone suggested that he didn’t really care much.  It was his business if he was hiding or not, after all.     

He glanced sidelong at the young man.  “That’s one perspective, but it’s not mine.  I’m happy the way I am, doing what I’m doing, and I get all the growth I want.  We all have different ways of being happy, kid—or finding happiness once we’ve lost it, in my case.”

He abruptly quieted, trying to think of something to change the subject.  He didn’t want to talk about himself anymore.  “What is it that makes you happy?  What plans do you have for yourself?” 
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 01, 2020, 03:26:43 PM
Where they truly happy though or were they just fooling themself? It was hard to tell and frankly, Caleb had no courage to challenge Benjamin's viewpoint further. Just let it go and leave it be, best to not upset everyone. The raven on his shoulder bounced from side to side, tilting it's head as it looked around at the winter landscape. Caleb barely registered the movement.

"I don't know.." Caleb admitted as he looked away. "I haven't been able to figure that out given everything. I like the ravens, they're...comforting when they're not screaming like banshees but..it's not really true happiness nor a plan.."

Caleb never could figure out what he wanted to do in life. The town was always a issue since they didn't trust or like him just due to a mixed heritage. It made things difficult and honestly, Caleb didn't think too far ahead anymore unless it was for something important like food and other supplies.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 01, 2020, 03:58:09 PM
The bear was silent, uncertain quite of what to say.  Benjamin was no master of peace, happiness, or plans.  Personally, his only plan was to make good on the promise of guiding Caleb, and then it was back to the way things were before.  No words, just the sounds of woods and snow in his paws, and the occasional fish that he was lucky enough to sucker Astrid out of just by flashing his big ol’ brown bear eyes. 

Caleb had plenty of time to figure things out.  “You’re young.  Plenty of time to make plans.  As for the ravens, I imagine even that will get easier at some point.  You ever think of leaving Nome?  Maybe seeing the world?”
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 01, 2020, 04:13:06 PM
"I don't know where I'd go..." Caleb answered. "Frankly I...I just not really sure on what to do."

He never thought about seeing the world, he knew it would be the same wherever he went. No matter how far away and all that. A sigh left him as he walked, feeling uncertain and uneasy with the idea of leaving the snowy world he had known his whole life.

"What's outside of Nome like?" Caleb asked. "I know you guys aren't from here so...what is outside of here other then, maybe less snow?"
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 01, 2020, 04:37:41 PM
Benjamin nodded.  That was understandable.  Again, he was still young.  There weren’t a lot of lads his age who had big plans for themselves at this point, especially given his circumstances. 

When Caleb asked about other places, Benjamin’s eyes rolled skyward in thought.  “Well, our family has been…a lot of places, and I’ve traveled more just following Astrid from town to town in the last eight years.  Ten of ‘em in all I think, give or take, but she’s been here longest.  A year and a half maybe?  Time is funny as a bear.  Can’t say it’s a lot different out there than it is here, except maybe warmer.  Same kind of people everywhere, always looking for some excuse to cause trouble.  I’ve uh…seen some tough things, kid.  But there are good things too, good places.  The world can’t all be complete shit, and I know there are some places who are more civilized than others.” 

Benjamin paused, nosing about in the snow for a moment before he started walking again.  “Are we getting close to town, do you reckon?”
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 01, 2020, 06:59:56 PM
"I see..." Caleb replies. "Oh, we're close now. Sorry I was more focused on the...conversation. I can get to my house from here. Thank you, Sir."

With that, the young man headed off. Allowing Benjamin to saunter on back to Astrid's cabin if he so wished it.
-----------

Things were going at a moderate pace.  Caleb's feathers had receded some since his emotional level and stress had gone down during this time, but they weren't gone completely. Woodsly had been keeping a closer eye on the Howlson sibling that he had tracked, there were some rumors about Stein but so far he still hadn't seen that person! It was growing infuriating!! At this point, Woodsly was really considering just ripping the man's throat out and going to search for Stein without a lead. It was just hard to hold back when he had one of the people in front of him and honestly, he had expressed this growing fury to Astrid during conversation.

"Sir? Are you okay?" Caleb asked.

Snapped from his mind, Woodsly would look to the lad that was currently at the back of the store staring at him. Woodsly had been more hold up in here lately and it put some concern into the young lad. Even more so since they were spending more time outside of the work place with one another; Woodsly often leading Caleb to a spot where he and Benjamin would meet up to go somewhere else to do their sessions. Most of the time it was just conversation so far and the two of em making a small bond between em.

"I'm fine lad. I might need you to head to Benjamin a bit early toady." Woodsly replied as he stood up. "I feel...just a bit too tired today, I can close it up."

"Are you sure, Sir? According to Benjamin I...I'm not yet ready for what he's suppose to help me with." Caleb asked.

"you're not ready for the physical part, but you can still learn for the mental preparation." a shrug left him. "Or who knows, he might decided to just try to teach you a partial shift, up to him. He's your teacher but please...just go to the meeting spot...alright."

Caleb nodded and left promptly, one of the ravens flying to Astrid's home and began knocking on the door. Attempting to gain the attention of the people inside before it started to caw out.

"Early plans, Early plans!" the raven cawed.

With Caleb gone, it was just Woodsly in the shop as he started to work to closing it all down for the day.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 01, 2020, 07:48:43 PM
Weeks had moved along well enough.  Benjamin gradually (but still quite reluctantly) grew more used to his human form, and had been spending a great deal of time with Caleb in the time following Astrid’s talk with him. Astrid’s power had returned to full strength, something for which she had been deeply glad.  She knew that Ingrid still lingered in town, but so far the talismans that Woodsly and Caleb wore kept her from tracking her down, and from bothering them overmuch. 

Currently, Benjamin and Astrid were sat at the table talking, though she knew that Benjamin would be leaving some time within the next couple of hours to meet Caleb for his lessons. 

“You sure?” Benjamin asked, staring across the table at her.  Astrid took a sip from her cup and nodded.

“Of course I’m sure.  There are a few ways to tell, you know,” Astrid said, raising an eyebrow at him.  Benjamin’s mouth thinned slightly and his eyes dropped to her stomach, then back up to her face.  He had seen her be sick a handful of times over the past couple of weeks and had suspected that she might be pregnant; she had never been sick a day in her life, before.  It seemed to clear up after a few hours, though, and the rest of the day she was fine.

“I mean I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, but…Astrid—”

The rapping at the door sounded and Astrid rose, checking out the window.  When she saw it was a Raven, she opened the door and offered a hand for it to land on, listening to its message.   

“Caleb’s out early?” Astrid verified, glancing back at Benjamin.  Benjamin sighed and got up from the table, grabbing his hat and coat. 

“When are you going to tell him?” Benjamin asked, buttoning up.

“I’m not sure yet.  Soon.  He’s got a lot on his plate right now,” Astrid sighed, getting some dried corn to treat the raven with. “When things settle down, I’ll say something.”

“How long is that going to take?  You don’t even know how different this could be from the usual sort of pregnancy,” Benjamin persisted.  “He’s beast-kin, Astrid.  You don’t know how that’s going to affect things…what if the kid has got his gift?”

“Then they’ll have his gift, Ben,” Astrid replied mildly, holding up the kernels for the bird. 

“Maybe you should contact Gram.  She’s helped countless women, of all sorts.  She could be able to tell you what to expect,” Benjamin suggested, pulling his hat on over his head. 

“I’ll be fine, Ben.  I’m sure there won’t be anything to worry about,” Astrid said firmly. “You should go meet with Caleb.”

“I’m going, I’m going.  Just think about it, okay?”  Benjamin headed out the door, and to the place he usually met Caleb.

Astrid watched him go, then got to work on the alterations she’d made to Woodsly’s new vests.  If he had sent Caleb off early, did that mean he was going to be coming home soon, or would he be staying in town to get more information?  He’d been so frustrated lately with the lack of leads. 

--

Benjamin caught sight of Caleb and lifted a hand in a wave, rubbing his gloved hands together for warmth.  He could never seem to get warm in his human form, no matter how many layers he put on. 

“Early day, huh?” Benjamin asked when he finally reached him. “Lucky you, we get to practice breathing and calming techniques today.  It’s going to be thrilling.”  His tone was slightly sarcastic, but the subject was important—it would help Caleb keep a hold of himself in situations where that might be difficult.       
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 01, 2020, 08:07:45 PM
"Plans are early, early plans." the raven cawed in response, landing on the outstretched hand.

The raven accepted the treat, though they were quick to follow Benjamin when the man was out of the house. Leaving Astrid with the husky. The dog did go to the door to watch Benjamin leave, giving a whimper. They liked having other people at the house. Though they were quick to go to Astrid and nudge her.
------------

Seeing Benjamin wave, Caleb was quick to return the gesture and he tried to hurry his speed to get to the man soon. He noticed how often they seemed to be cold whenever they were like this and Caleb wondered if there was something he could potentially do. So he had done some digging in the areas of the house he could; that chest still remained closed.

"Yeah, Mr. Noslwoh said he was feeling too tired today. I...to be honest I'm a little worried about that." Caleb explained, still unaware of the man's plans.

Hearing the sarcasm, Caleb smiled before chuckling lightly. The times that he could tell the sarcasim, always seemed to be when he could see the humor in it. Other times, it was hard to tell.

"Sounds like a good idea." Caleb replied. "Oh before we start though, I actually have something for you."

Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out what looked to be a marble shaped stone attached to a wooden circle. The stone held several shades of orange to it, but other than that it didn't look all that interesting. The item was held out toward em.

"I found some spells in one of my mother's journals, and I'm better at my daylight magic than....the upcoming thing. And it's a warmth spell, I thought I could make it to where it helps to keep something warm since, it's probably really cold here to you." Caleb explained.
--------------

Woodsly finished closing the shop up before he stalked into the streets of Nome, his golden yellow eyes watching each person. Now...where were they? He could just lie in wait at their so called home but...just in case, Woodsly would look for him in the streets in case there was a lead.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 01, 2020, 08:43:24 PM
 Benjamin shrugged, clapping a hand on Caleb’s shoulder and guiding him towards where they would be sitting for their lessons today. “Woodsly is…an interesting fellow.  He’s been a bit on the stressed side lately; I’m sure if he says he’s tired, he’s just tired.”

When Caleb reached into his pocket though, Benjamin paused, brow furrowing when he caught sight of the gift he had made him.  He accepted it, studying the pendant while Caleb explained what it was.  His eyebrows jumped up towards his receding hairline.  He made no secret of his displeasure with his human form, how cold he was all the time, but he certainly hadn’t expected the kid to make something for him that would help take the chill away.   

“That’s a…that’s a thoughtful gift, Caleb, for true,” he murmured, shivering slightly from the cold as he put it on.  He was touched, but was bad with words and even worse with sentiment; hell, when he’d proposed to Anya, he messed it up so bad that nothing had surprised him more than the ‘yes’ she gave him.  Granted, Caleb was most certainly not his Anya, but it was still hard to string the words together.  With the necklace on, it began to work almost immediately, and a pleasant, comfortable warmth began to seep into his thin chest and then to the rest of him.  “Well now…that’s…Thank you, Caleb, that helps a lot!”

He ruffled Caleb’s hair affectionately, then gestured to one of the two stumps just ahead of them.  “You’re a good kid.  Alright now, go sit before I get all emotional.”

Once Caleb was sat, Benjamin took the other stump, facing him.  “Okay, so, I’m sure you’ve noticed by now that those of us with a little more animal in us have a harder time with our emotions.  When we feel something particularly strongly, whether it’s stress or anger, anxiety, sadness, we have a harder time keeping our extra traits from showing.  You grow more feathers, I struggle to keep myself from growing fur, etcetera, yes?” 

--

Astrid set the sewing aside and scratched Tucker behind the ears, glancing out the window.  It was strange, being alone inside the house anymore.  She was glad that she had Tucker, at least—funny, she thought, considering how isolated she had preferred to be for so long.  Between Benjamin, Woodsly, and the occasional visit from Caleb, it was hard to feel lonely any more.  And now…

Astrid exhaled softly, trying to fight some nerves while her hand absently rubbed at her stomach.  Gods, how was she going to tell him?  With no sign of Stein anywhere still and no leads, she had watched Woodsly grow increasingly agitated.  She thought about attempting to scry for him, but it usually only worked for finding people that she had met before.  Besides, Ingrid had always been the one with a gift for that, not her.

Time enough for that later, she told herself, getting up to go take care of the rest of the day’s chores. 
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 01, 2020, 08:58:00 PM
Not resisting the gesture nor the redirection on where to go, the young man followed in ease. Benjamin was probably right, the man ran a store and everything else on top of this Ingid stuff, man probably was stressed out. Caleb gained a bigger smile as he watched Benjamin put the item on and seeing it worked. The hair ruffling he received was a fair price to pay for the gift working, the lad honestly looked as happy as a kid on Christmas.

"You're welcome, I'm so happy it worked as well as I was hoping it would." Caleb said before he went over to the stump.

Taking a seat promptly, he listened to the other's words and gave a nod.

"I've noticed that the feathers aren't fading away, is that the right word? I used to notice them on accident when waking up and now there's enough of them noticeable that I can find them easily, they're just all collected back here." Caleb explained before gesturing to the back of his neck.
----------

There he was. Within the thicket of people that usually ignored em, Woodsly spotted the man. A back alley corner with another degenerate soul like their own, the thief was currently handling off some goods they no doubt snatched from some rich folk. A small coin pouch in return for the jewels or gold was the gift the thief received. Shadowing him for a a while, it was clear they had no leads to offer him other than the ones he already knew. The wedding and such. Fine then.

He was done waiting.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 01, 2020, 09:13:36 PM
Benjamin rose a little bit to get a better look at the back of Caleb’s neck, then nodded.  “Yeah, I imagine that will only get more pronounced the closer you get to your ‘awakening’, as Astrid would put it.  You’ll need to make more efforts soon to hide it, but for now a hat and a scarf should do it.”  Benjamin waved a hand dismissively. “But enough of that for now, we’re focusing on calming, yes?  Yes.”

Benjamin took in a deep breath, a bit more theatrical than was probably needed, and then let it out slowly.  “So, whenever our emotions get high, it’s crucial that we keep control, especially when we are around other people.  If the wrong person notices something a bit more about you, the jig is up and you’re on the run.  Lets start with what you can think about that puts you in a better frame of mind.  First off, tell me what your happiest memory is.  Remember the details.  Was it cloudy?  Was it sunny?  Was it warm or cold?  Who was with you?  What was your favorite part of this happiest memory?” 

Benjamin rocked back on the stump and gestured to Caleb. “You don’t have to say it out loud if you don’t want, but think on it.”
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 01, 2020, 09:35:32 PM
Caleb nodded.Best to get to that later on, they had time. After all, he went all this time without the feathers getting this pronounced, it would be fine. As he sat there, Caleb honestly felt a bit of a debation on what was his happiest memory. Looking away when the man was done, the lad had a expression on his face that read he was trying to think. Combing through his memories to try and recall what was his best memory. The memories of his mother were often the happier ones, some were a little sad but....picking one was the problem.

"Right..." Caleb started, feeling more nervous trying to pick a memory then he was when the conversation had first started. "Normally my mother is...though..they all feel the same level of happy if that makes much sense.."
---------------

The thief didn't take long to go back to their little den and Woodsly sneaked in like the rats that dwelled in this place as well. No one was really going to care. This building was breaking apart and only the rats lived in it. Small rats, medium rats, and the over sized ones that lacked the tail and ears to sense him coming. The first punch was just to get them shocked and confused, it wouldn't be fun if he just outright started to strangle the bastard. Granted, Woodsly had a much better plan than that.

A confused sound left the man was he hit the ground hard and as they worked to scramble up, Woodsly stomped hard onto their back, putting more of his abnormal strength into it. A sick pop filled the room as well as a pained grunt, the thief's back cracked but not broken. The two ended up in a struggle as Woodsly had gone to grab them. Slamming into the ground, the dirt and dust collected in Woodsly's red hair, thin hands gathered at the man's throat but the thief's grip wasn't strong enough to even make Woodsly feel any sort of emotion when he felt the fingers there.

A hard punch to the face sent the thief flying backwards and Woodsly gathered himself as he got up, pulling the simple kitchen knife out of his pocket. Now his carpenter tools were better for this...but that would trace back to him easily. So, a random dull knife you could get at any grocery store in this town was ideal. Even more so when there was only two of those shops here. Walking forward, Woodsly kicked the other in the face before pinning them down, covering their mouth with a hand a muffled noises left em.

"Shut up. You were always too much of a screamer for your own good." Woodsly snarled down at him.

Muffled words left the thief as they grabbed at Woodsly's wrist and the red head could just understand em.

"Easy really, I'm cashing in some old debts. Personal ones actually and at this point, you're useless to me."

Another more confused muffle came.

"Of course it was! I had this lined up for YEARS now!! You can't see anything familiar?"

The thief's heart was pounding in their chest as they breathed in through their nose in panicked breathes, their wide blue eyes danced around in his skull. Looking the man up and down before they went wide. Woodsly gave a toothy grin, until the words that came through clearler than day hit his ears despite being muffled.

"Wilson?"

Teeth were gritted as they became fangs and a look of pure rage and hatred formed on his face as he pulled the thief's head up an slammed it down against the crumbling floor. His hair stood on end as a wild, almost feral look came to his glowing golden eyes. Leaning down a bit as he raised the knife in the air.

"Wilson's dead, just like you." Woodsly snarled out before plunging the knife straight into the man's chest.
-------------

Woodsly would only leave when the sky was darker, the man had made easy work of the thief. A crumpled pile of blood and broken bones in a corner with a knife sticking out of the underside of their lower jaw going upward. Sort of sealing their mouth shut as the blade embedded itself into the skull. Choosing to ransack the place, Woodsly didn't care that he was trailing blood everywhere. It just made the whole thing look worse and more alive than it truly was. Trinkets and bobs, nothing useful was here. It was still stupid, even to where bits of the beast were already showing.

The kill hadn't made anything better. Sure, this was the easy one out of all of em but still. He had hoped for some feeling of satisfaction. All he felt was bitter and rage inducing disappointment. Already his shoes felt uncomfortable due to the change trying to poke through there and honestly, Woodsly gave a low growl of anger before kicking a barrell across the room and going out the back way. Might as well go home.

It was easy to get to the forest from here and as he stomped through the woods, he felt his blood boiling more. Blood all over his clothes and coating his hands, he didn't realize that he had done more than stab and break things in the thief. His claws were coated in blood with bits of tissue stuck to em, that was due to him tearing the thief apart when they tried to speak to him like he was Wilson since the first few stabbings weren't killing him fast enough. So...being mauled by claws was the faster way. The knife being jammed through their head was just a last precaution.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 01, 2020, 10:13:34 PM
Benjamin nodded. “Yeah, that’s a good place to start.  It doesn’t even have to be a specific memory, so long as you can recall the general feeling you had.  Now me, I think of the old creek that I used to fish at near my old home.  It was always peaceful there, just me, the water, and my sapling pole.  I focus on that memory not because it’s my happiest, but because I always felt that I was at my calmest sitting on that bank.  No stress, no worries, just hours of quiet away from the bothers of life, and that helps me get my mind in order.”

“Now the tricky part,” Benjamin continued, “Is focusing on that while you’re right in the middle of whatever the hell is bugging you.  When you’re in the middle of something stressful, its hard to think of anything but the stress you’re under, which is why we’re going to practice finding a good place inside your head right now.  That way it’ll be easier for you to find your way back.”

Benjamin stood and moved around to Caleb’s side.  “What helps you find that place, is remembering how to control your breathing, and keep your heart beat from getting out of whack.  The moment your body starts getting stressed, things start to accelerate.  So, what you do is you breathe in to the count of four or five, then you exhale your breath for about the same space of time.  Give it a shot.” 

 --

Astrid poured herself some tea, glancing out the window.  It was nearing time for when Woodsly usually came home; she figured he had stayed in town after sending Caleb away to collect more information on his targets, so she wasn’t terribly worried.  All the same, something felt off.  She couldn’t tell if it was something with him, or if it was because she wasn’t feeling well.  Normally the sickness passed before noon did. 

She rose from the table and felt a sudden, stabbing pain in her stomach, which caused her to double over with a soft gasp.  She expected it to fade, but another came swiftly right beside it—only it didn’t go away.  Her mind became immediately panicked as another, more forceful pain assaulted her, sending to her knees and drawing a scream from her lips.  Clutching at her stomach, she felt movement pushing outward against her hands in not one, but two distinct places; it was impossible, far too soon for such a thing, and yet she felt hands—more sharp pains, and Astrid curled in on herself on the floor, trying and failing to bite back against another scream. 

What was happening?
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 01, 2020, 10:25:43 PM
"You liked to fish?" Caleb asked curiously.

Fishing was a calming thing, though Caleb found it frustrating. It was something that he tried hard to do but the hours of sitting there with a pole in the cold only made him unhappy and bored. Maybe the fishing part played into the whole bear thing? Bear liked fish after all.

"So think of the thing while doing the breathing, right?" Caleb asked, wanting to be sure he was going to attempt this correctly or if Benjamin just wanted him to do the breathing practice.
---------

Canine ears appeared on his head, twitching to the quiet sounds of the forest around him. A snarl left him as he shook his head furiously, all he felt was more anger. More frustration. It hadn't helped, was it the lack of leads? Ridiculous!! ALL OF IT!!! But his fury and anger got a sharp knife through it as a scream hit his ears. Eyes going wide as he heard that sound.

"ASTRID?!" Woodsly howled as he started running.

Some point, Woodsly ended up on all fours but still only partially changed, it would've freaked people out. The cabin was soon in sight and he scrambled up the steps and got back onto his feet. The door would burst open as he spotted Astrid on the floor.

"Astrid! What happened, what's wrong?" Woodsly questioned as he went over to her.

Still covered in blood but at least the bits of tissue under his claws and the blood on his hands had been taken away to a degree due to the snow.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 01, 2020, 11:14:25 PM
Benjamin actually smiled a little. "Yep.  Not here, though.  Can't fish when your ass feels like its about to freeze off.  I like summer fishing.  First thing in the morning, before the sun was even up, I was out there catching breakfast."

When Caleb asked about when to do the breathing bit, Benjamin nodded. "Yup.  Might as well practice both things together and do it right."  He stepped back and watched, and waited.  "And take your time.  This is a practice of patience as much as one for finding your calm.

--

Astrid was still curled up and holding her stomach, trying to bite down on the pain.  It wasn't as bad as it had been at first, but whenever they moved, it felt like claws scratching away at her from the inside.  She couldn't make sense of it.  They.  There were two of them.  She could feel both of them.

Woodsly appeared in a rush and she shook her head, trying to remember to breathe.  "I dont--know, they just--started moving--growing, it--hurts," she managed between gasps. 

Their movements finally slowed and some of the pain faded, but not altogether.  That, at least, she found reassuring.  Maybe that meant that she wasn't losing them.

When the worst of it faded to something she could manage easier, Astrid finally got a good look at Woodsly and was immediately concerned.  "You're hurt?"

Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 01, 2020, 11:25:13 PM
"Ah....fishing's had for me to stay focused on." Caleb admitted nervously.

Caleb took a few breathes in, trying to feel less nervous about all of this. Kind of being weird honestly, to be so nervous despite his efforts not to. Still, he would start trying to do what Benjamin had instructed him with. Even with remember his mother, sadness still pulled at his heart. Causing his breathes to falter several times and he had to rub his eyes to try and prevent the tears from happening.
-------------

In seconds he was over to her, confusion was on his face as he bent down beside her. Confusion was on his face the entire time.

"M...moving? What's moving...What's Growing?!!" Woodsly questioned, husky ears laying flat against his head.

Woodsly was out of his element, what could he do. Was she sick? Honestly the sheer confliction of emotions clouded his better judgement at the moment.

"Huh..." WOodsly muttered before noticing all the blood on him. "No, I'm fine. Forgot about me for the minute, we need to.."

That's when the canine sense of smell kicked in and a odd scent filled the air to him. Taking on the canine mannerism for the moment, he tilted his head. What was this smell? It wasn't the herbs that heavily filled this cabin nor the bear fur of Benjamin. His nose led his gaze to Astrid.

"You smell....different..." Woodsly said, not realizing that he had.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 01, 2020, 11:42:53 PM
Benjamin tilted his head, noting some of the sadness that Caleb was feeling.  "Alright kid, let's take a break.  You've got a good start.  Let's just practice you're breathing for now."

Benjamin settled himself back on his stump.  "So, have the Ravens said anything interesting lately?"

--

Astrid grimaced when one of them moved again, hissing softly.  "I'm pregnant.  I didn't say anything because it was still so early, and it didn't seem the right time.  I shouldn't be able to feel them moving at all, not for at least another month.  Everything was normal a few minutes ago."

Astrid sat up with some difficulty, looking down at the small bump beneath her shirt that had not been there moments before.  She shook her head, confused.  Maybe Ben was right, and she needed write Gram. 

Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 01, 2020, 11:49:11 PM
Caleb only nodded when Benjamin said to take a break.

"Not really, they've mentioned the unnatural cat but they calm quickly." Caleb answered. "I'd rather then be calm and quiet than them screaming in panic."
---

"P...pregn..ant...?" Woodsly stammered out.

She was pregnant....she said them. Did that mean there was more than one? How many were there? They had to be his, there was no other person it could be since Benjamin was her family and Caleb spent all his time with Benjamin. But...she already had movement? How? Why? His heart pounded in his chest as he felt so many conflicting emotions. There was a time he wanted a family but...would the children be able to stand him? He wasn't a fun person...he...he just...

Seeing Astrid sit up, even he could see the bump that was outlined against the skirt. It was real, she had no reason to lie and he heard her scream a genuine scream. Reaching forward, he gently put a hand against the bump. All his words left him.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 02, 2020, 12:11:58 AM
Benjamin nodded. "Well that's good.  It's always better when they aren't screaming at you.  Maybe they feel heard now?" Benjamin shrugged.  "Say, this pendant is really great.  I don't think I've been cold since I put it on," he commented. 

"It's getting dark.  Let's get you home." He said, gesturing back in the direction of Caleb's house.  "I want you to keep practicing the steady breaths in the mean time.  At the very least mind that, even if you have a hard time on the memory part.  You'll get it one of these days."

--

The moment he moved his hand to rest on her stomach, some of the tension she was holding relaxed a little.  They had never really gotten this far in their discussions, having children, aside from mentioning that it might eventually be nice. 

One of them pushed back against Woodsly's hand, and Astrid winced, feeling that sharp sensation like claws again. 

She paled a little and looked down, gaping.  "That's it...they--NNNNNGG!" Astrid bent again as the pain sharpened once more, only the bump was becoming smaller again, smoothing out to what it had been before.  She shuddered, feeling the pain melt away as well.  "I think...I think they just changed for the first time."
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 02, 2020, 12:27:03 AM
The push against his hand tugged at some emotions but the pained sound by Astrid made him pull his hand back.

"I didn't get you with the claws did I?" Woodsly asked, afraid he'd just hurt her without meaning to.

But that wasn't it. The kids were...shifting? How? They were just....they were nowhere near being born and this thing he had, he got it through magic. Her magic. Wait...she said it would change him greatly, did that mean he could..pass this onto his children.

"Fuck...I screwed them up..." Woodsly muttered, grabbing the sides of his head.

The children didn't need this, Astrid didn't deserve to suffer this! What could he do to fix it? To make it easier on her?
-----

"They've talked before, it's just when they freak out they really freak out and it's hard since it's usually so many of them." Caleb tried to explain, a caw from the raven with them seemed to be in agreement. Hearing that the pendant was working made him feel better.

"If it ever stops working, let me know so I can fix it for you." Caleb said, feeling a bit of confidence go through him. "Yeah, probably best to head home. Thank you...for everything your doing."
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 02, 2020, 08:44:50 AM
Astrid’s features hardened a touch at his comment, arms wrapping almost protectively around her middle while she fought to catch her breath.  It only made sense that the children would inherit traits from them; it simply appeared that they had inherited more of his.  Granted, she had not expected them to be able to undergo transformations before their birth, especially so early on, but this was territory she had little experience with. 

“What a thing to say,” she whispered, shaking her head.  With one arm still wound about her middle, she gripped the edge of the table and pulled herself to her feet with difficulty, staggering a little before she steadied.  “I hardly think that you control the way they form or grow, Woodsly.  It’s just the nature of things.  Besides, I can think of nothing more pleasing to me than our children taking after you—pain be damned.”

She swiped away the sweat that had beaded on her brow with her sleeve, still a bit shaky in the aftermath.  It did present a problem in her mind, however.  If they continued to transform as they grew bigger, she could see some problems on the horizon.  She knew that those born Beast-kin were incredibly rare, even with two beast-kin as parents.  They were tiny now, barely a month formed, and the substantial pain she had endured along with their increased size told her that it would only get worse from this point on.  What if her body couldn’t handle it?  What if it killed her, or them?  She didn’t dare voice these thoughts; Woodsly seemed upset enough already.

“I need to contact my Gram,” she said, looking stricken at the realization of what could happen if she didn’t reach out for help.  “She’ll know how to help, I just know it.” 

--

Benjamin gave Caleb one of his barely-there smiles and a curt nod.  “Yeah, well, this teaching thing isn’t so bad as I thought it would be.  It passes the time, and it helps a person out.  I suppose there are worse purposes to stick around for,” he said gruffly, rubbing the back of his neck.  When Caleb told him to let him know if the pendant ever stopped working, Benjamin nodded. 

“Yeah, sounds good.”  Without another word, he started headed in the direction of Caleb’s home, intending to walk him home.  It was getting dark, and he knew that Ingrid was still around, even though she hadn’t made a move against the boy since the first time.  It didn’t mean that the snake wasn’t biding her time. 

His thoughts moved to dwell on Astrid, about their earlier discussion.  Gods, he hoped that she knew what she was doing.  If she didn’t reach out to Gram, he might just do it for her.  There was no telling what could go wrong or different, given the fact that the father of her children was Beast-kin. 

Benjamin forced his thoughts away from that.  “Did you find the chest your mother left you?  Has it opened yet?” He asked Caleb as they walked. 
       
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 02, 2020, 11:48:27 AM
Woodsly didn't mean to offend her by it, it was what he was afraid of. That he choose this change, that the children were now forced into it. He didn't want them to have something that they might not want. Sure children like to pretend they can fly and such, but the pain he could feel when he turned...did any child want that? Plus, it put Astrid in terrible pain. More pain than any pregnancy could do and it worried him.

"But what if they got stuck in their other form? Isn't it painful for them like it is for me to change? Can they still lose themself? What if there's a miscarriage because they shift at the wrong time? What if Ingrid finds out?" WOodsly questioned, the man looked a great deal worried.

His partial state was starting to register to him more as he his fears for Astris and the child...children...she said them....there was more than one. Oh sweet lord there was more than one. Getting the claws to disappear, he worked to get the buttons undone one handed. He was fine with destroy pants and a shirt, those were easy to replace. Vests on the other hand....oh boy. Those were a bit harder.

"How are you....urgh...going to get in touch with her? Letters take a long time and even with the ward up, could Ingrid find you sending a magic one?" Woodsly asked, drapping the vest over a chair when he got it off. "Could she intercept it and learn the information in it?"

He felt a little better but it didn't hurt to be prepared if he was going to start turning the rest of the way. For the moment, he seemed to be holding it together just enough.
---------------

"I do my best to be a good student." Caleb answered, chuckling lightly as they walked.

At the question of the chest, Caleb felt conflicted. Should he open it? The thing basically taunted him whenever he went into his mother's old room it felt like.

"I found it, it basically just sits there..." Caleb started. "I just don't know if I should even try to open it, with the whole 'when I'm older' requirement. Mom's last letter was vague on that and with the whole impending transformation thing, I guess it all meant after I change for the first time."

Putting his hands together, he wrung em for a few moments.

"Should I try to open it?" Caleb asked timidly.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 02, 2020, 01:01:07 PM
Astrid sighed.  She didn’t have to share her own fears; he was mirroring them anyway.  She watched him remove his vest, wary of shredding another, and shook her head.  “I can’t answer those questions, Woodsly,” she said quietly, looking down at her stomach.  She hoped that they wouldn’t be in pain, that perhaps things were different for those who were born with the trait rather than having it magically granted to them.  Surely, it was?  Hadn’t she heard as much before?  Benjamin’s change wasn’t anything at all like Woodsly’s; he didn’t seem to have any pain at all, but was that because he had been Beast-kin longer?

As far as Ingrid went, the thought of her sister discovering her condition terrified her in a lot of ways.  She didn’t want to believe that her sister would be so evil as to try and do her harm when there were other lives on the line, but the fact of the matter was that Ingrid didn’t let anything stop her from getting what she wanted, once she had her mind set. 

Woodsly went on to question how she would contact Gram, and she relaxed a touch.  Those questions, at least, she could answer.  “We have our ways,” Astrid said, rubbing her eyes with her thumb and forefinger.  “The only way Ingrid would know is if I did it while the wards were down.  When they are up?  I could perform a spell like what I did for you, and she’d never know it until the wards fell the next day.  The only time I ever let my wards fall is when I don’t have the energy to revive them.”

She met Woodsly’s eyes, brow furrowing.  “It will be alright.  I’ll find a way.  Gram will help, I know she will, or she’ll tell me what I can do to prevent anything bad from happening.  Just…tell me right now, Woodsly…do you want this?  With me?”  If he didn’t want children with her, then she needed to be prepared to do this on her own, and she’d rather know now than later down the road when things got harder.

--

Benjamin gave a slow shrug.  “You can try.  I imagine that if you aren’t meant to open it yet, it won’t open for you.  Magic is a funny thing.  Either way, when you’re ready—whether that’s now or later—it will open.  You’ll never know unless you give it a shot.”

The small man kicked a rock across the ground ahead of them.  “I’m interested to know what’s inside of it, myself.  Very mysterious, and I always did enjoy mysteries.”
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 02, 2020, 01:29:27 PM
Woodsly felt his stomach knot and his heart ache as Astrid claimed to not be able to answer the question. It sent more panic through him, more fear that something would happen to the children, her, or both combined! That wasn't what he wanted. Once again, he was feeling like Wilson. Unable to do anything to make a difference, to help the person he cared for.

No one has answers.... Woodsly's thoughts grumbled in his head.

The thief had no leads or answers for him and now Astrid had no answers for his fears. It's not like she anticipated this, of course she had no answers! He'd be a fool to think she'd have the answers to everything! The question that hit him though was one he hadn't expected. A shocked look hit his face as he stood there, struggling with it honestly. If he didn't care about the children or want them, why would he ask all these questions? Why did it feel like his heart was going to thrust itself out of his chest.

"Of course I do! I'm concerned about you and them!" Woodsly responded, twitching slightly as he gained more muscle mass as well as a couple of inches to his height due to already being so close to change with what happened earlier and adding this one wasn't..going to be too good. "I didn't think that they could get this from me!!"
------

"Maybe I'll try..." Caleb muttered, not too sure on it but he could still give it a go. "Mysteries can be fun, I remember one time I tried to figure out the mystery of my dad when I was really little cause she hadn't told me he passed away yet. So I went around Nome comparing a photo to strangers."

A small laugh left him.

"Man it was so embarrassing..." he added.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 02, 2020, 02:31:20 PM
Astrid blinked back tears of relief.  It wasn’t that she had really doubted, but the circumstances were unexpected, unplanned.  She knew that he was concerned about her, about the children, that much was obvious, but…a part of her had still felt the need to ask.  He was as afraid as she was, and she wished more than anything that she had the ability to reassure him now, rather than later.  “I’m sorry, we just…we haven’t really spoken about this before, about children.”

Exhaling a shaky breath, Astrid gave him a small, wry smile.  She hadn’t really thought about it either, their children inheriting Woodsly’s gift.  Truth be told, she had expected the tea she had been taking to provide more time to think about that sort of thing, but nothing worked 100% of the time.  Of course it was possible, even without having just endured their first change, but she couldn’t say it had occurred to her.  She didn’t regret it, it was simply unexpected.  “You are changed on a fundamental level,” she said softly.  “There was always going to be a chance that this would happen, it was just a matter of which of us they took after more.  They could have just as easily been more like me.”

Astrid tentatively reached for him, her voice taking on the normal soothing tone she tried to use when he seemed to be struggling for control.  “I’ll contact Gram—I can do that in just a moment—and we will know more.  She’s helped hundreds and hundreds of women in her time, mundane and supernatural.  I’m positive that she’ll know something, or at the very least know someone else who might know.  It’s going to be alright.  I’m not in pain anymore, and there is still some time before…before they are bigger.”  Before it becomes more dangerous, was left unsaid.     

--

“Do it,” Benjamin encouraged, bending down to scoop up some snow.  He formed it into a ball and then hurled it ahead of them as far as he could while they walked.  He glanced sidelong at Caleb when he told him of his earlier attempts to find his father, about how embarrassing it was.

“Some mysteries leave us just a little more tangled up after the solving,” Benjamin said.  “Your Da though, he loved you.  He still does, and he watches over you.  He wanted us to make sure that you knew that.”
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 02, 2020, 03:10:58 PM
They hadn't talked about it. But it made him wonder if he was just perceived as unwanting of a family considering....everything he was. A person out for revenge, willingly calling themself a monster, and going so far as to gain a form to drive that nail further into the coffin.It was hard to take in her words as he just felt mixed things. On one hand, he was finally going to have a real family...but was he even father material? Could he even provide a good life for them given...how much of a buzzkill he was?

Part of him wanted to shift to just pace around better, get his emotions and thoughts out some other way. Alas, if he kept changing then he ran a risk. A risk that would make him useless to Astrid when it came to having the children. Sure he could hunt food and game, running around like them when the kids shifted into their other forms. But....for other things he'd be....gone. Nothing. No contributing aid what so ever. When her hand rested against him, it helped to ease some of his nerves.

"You sure?" he asked.
--------------

"I just wish...I actually knew him." Caleb replied as he let his gaze wander to the snow. "Mother said that he was a odd sort of fellow, talkative, active, always getting into some sort of mess without even meaning to. She claimed that during his second week here, he got stuck in a hunting trap. She found him and he tried to play it off like nothing happened, only to get caught in a second one before she could warn him. He didn't try to play that off again."

It sounded like a funny interaction. though it was hard to laugh. Sure it was funny, go to try and pretend you weren't stuck and then just get stuck again.

"Apparantly back where he's from, ravens are more akin to bad omens. Yet here, there are stories from my mother's people of the raven creating the world as well as brining daylight to it. Course the other stories have ravens as tricksters but sometimes they still do good." Caleb added. "He claimed his bad luck was just due to the ravens back home. Now though, I see he meant it was due to him being a raven from a foreign land."
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 02, 2020, 04:17:56 PM
Astrid stepped closer and slipped her arms around him, needing the contact for her own comfort and hoping that perhaps it might help him too.  There were a lot of things that she wasn’t sure about, but this was something she had been reflecting on for a week.  It was early, and fast, and unexpected, but…Yes, she was sure.  She had always wanted children, but the circumstances of her life had always prevented her from such things.

“I’m sure.  I’ve always wanted a family one day.  One day just happens to be now,” she said, letting out a soft laugh.  “I’m glad that its with you.”

--

Benjamin nodded.  That was natural; he had been fortunate to have his father around growing up, but he imagined that if that hadn’t have been the case, he would have wished he’d known his da too.  He smiled a bit when Caleb spoke about how his parents met, though he noticed Caleb wasn’t really smiling.

“I see.  Yeah, people are suspicious sods,” Benjamin grimaced. “My Gram’s people revered them, as did my Grandads, and they were each from two different parts of the world, still following the old ways.  It wouldn’t surprise me if everyone had a story for ravens.  Did your Ma ever tell you where he came from?”     
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 02, 2020, 04:58:01 PM
"She never said where, just said it was a really away place that wasn't constant winter like here." Caleb answered. "I honestly don't know if she knew where exactly. He could've just told her that, who knows."

A shrug left him as he walked though the outline of his home was visable. Whoops, he might've dragged Benjamin a bit too far.

"Welp there it is. See ya later." Caleb said as he gestured to the building, if Benjamin allowed it, he would keep walking the rest of the way alone.
------------

The hug helped, it made things feel somewhat better somehow. So he ended up wrapping his arms around her and holding her. Burying his face against her shoulder as he got himself back to normal. Now he was starting to just feel tired on top of the worry.

"Same....I just...for along time gave up on hope of that.." he admitted.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 02, 2020, 06:32:12 PM
“Seems it was just taking it’s time is all,” Astrid said, reluctant to let him go just yet.  She held on for a little while longer, then gave him a kiss.  “There’s supper, and you should probably get yourself cleaned up, love.  You’ve got blood all over you,” she stroked his cheek briefly with her thumb, then let go of him.  She looked at her strange, sigil-lined chest with a soft sigh.  “I’ll see if I can reach my Gram.”

Moving, Astrid knelt in front of the chest, shifting what she had stacked on top of it to the floor so that she could open it.  Inside were a number of oddities; a silver-handled mirror that reflected nothing at all, several hand-carved statuettes, bones, charms, cloth talisman bags, and assorted other strange and perhaps unsettling things were organized within.  She chose the mirror and closed the chest, exhaling softly as she set it on the table.  Grabbing a candle from one of the shelves, she struck a match and lit it, then—taking a hold of the handle, turned away and held the mirror so that she could see the reflection of the flame—or would have, if there had been a reflection.  She muttered an incantation under her breath and waited.

It took a few minutes, but eventually an old woman appeared.  Her face was sharply angled and not as ancient-looking as one might expect.  Her hair was white and wild, and for all her aged appearance, her eyes were the clear, piercing blue of a woman far younger than her years.  She was wreathed in smoke from a pipe clinched firmly between her teeth, and the image shifted this way and that a little as she pulled it from her mouth and set it aside.

“Astrid? I haven’t been able to see you in the glass since you fled Dorman’s Bend.  I thought the worst…Where the hell are you?” the woman said in heavily accented English. 

Astrid relaxed a touch.  “Nome, Gram.  Alaska.”

The old woman’s face wrinkled up even more. “Alaska?  What in the gods’ green world are you doing in Alaska?  Are you still hiding from that lunatic sister of yours?”

“Yeah, Gram.  But—”

“Come home.  Your sister would die before she risked crossing me, and you know it.” Gram insisted, pointing a weathered finger at her.  Astrid closed her eyes and sighed softly. 

“That’s not why we’re talking, Gram,” Astrid said patiently. 

“I know, but I’ll be damned if I don’t take the opportunity to tell you so while I’ve got you.  It’s been five years, Astrid.  I told you then, I’m telling you now.”

“Gram, please,” Astrid pleaded softly.  “I’ve got questions.”

The old woman raised an eyebrow, leaning forward a bit within the mirror with narrowing blue eyes.  “Speak up then.  I’m not done saying my piece, but I imagine that you wouldn’t contact me if it wasn’t important after five damn years.”

Astrid swiped a hand through her hair.  “I’m pregnant.  The—”

“It’s about damn time you settled down.  In my day, that ship would have sailed looooong ago for you.  What’s your man’s name?  How far—”

Gram!”

“Fine, fine, keep going,” Gram sighed, holding up a hand in surrender and taking up her pipe again.     
     
“I’m not far along,” Astrid started again. “The father is Beast-kin—”

“Dear gods.  I’d ask you what you were thinking, but given how old you’re getting, I suppose beggars—”

GRAM!  Please…please just let me get through one sentence?” Astrid said, scrubbing her face with a palm.  “There are two babies, Gram.  They transformed today—”

“Yeah, they do that early on, aaaalll throughout, sometimes more’n once a day.  Dangerous business.  I’ve never had a human woman make it past three months with one of them, let alone two.  Lucky for you, you’re only mostly human, but they’re going to need to be frozen in their human form if you have any hope of surviving this.  You’re lucky this happened early on, or we probably wouldn’t be having this discussion.”

“How do I do that?” Astrid sighed, feeling a pang of fear stabbing at her. 

“You?  You can’t.  That’s within the province of power your sister got.”

Astrid blinked back tears, covering her face with her hand.  “So what do I do?  Just cross my fingers and hope for the best?” 

“You could come home,” the old woman said, tapping ash from the pipe. 

“I’m not leaving, Gram,” Astrid said firmly.

“Then you’ll just have to wait for me.  It may take me a day; I’ll need to talk Louie into a teleportation, and you know how troublesome that old bastard can be.  I can finish giving you hell about not talking to me for five whole damned years face to face.  That’ll be nice, won’t it?”

Despite her trepidation regarding that part, the anxious tension that had been building up finally began to relax.  She could help.  They would be alright, and if all it meant was that she had to suffer a lecture from her Gram, it would be worth it.

--

“See you tomorrow.  Practice the breathing.” Benjamin said, watching until Caleb was inside before he turned and headed back the way he had come. 

About halfway home he saw a pure white cat following what upon closer inspection was some sort of trail of blood and tissue scattered who-knew-how far.  Without hesitation, Benjamin found his bear form and ran the feline down.

He swore he heard a scream of rage when the Familiar died.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 02, 2020, 07:07:54 PM
"Oh...right. Forgot about that part." Woodsly replied, taking note of the blood on himself.

Woodsly took his time getting cleaned, after all he needed time to reflect on all these changes. Children on the way and with the shifting they could do, well..how long would it actually last? If they were already able to move around this early when shifted, would it even be the whole nine months? Would speeding up the pregnancy help her or hurt her? Would the children be hurt by it too?

Catching sight of his reflection, Woodsly felt a old fear bubbling up inside his chest. Raising a hand before he pressed his finger tips against the scars on his cheek. Golden eyes darting away from the reflection before he slammed a fist into the mirror. Thankfully it was a sturdy mirror and he hadn't used his full strength on it. The kids would be scared of him....he'd seen how the Nome children would look at him as he passed by. They would stare and judge, be afraid or put off. What if his own children were that way? It hurt...it hurt so much just to even have that thought in his head.

He'd just have to do his best to forget that fear...but that was a hard one to fight.
-------------

The following day, Woodsly debated on just staying at the cabin. Honestly not feeling up to going to the shit show that Nome probably was gonna be in. Well who knows, maybe no one would go into a abandon building about to cave in? He wasn't sure. But in the end, he figured he'd head to the shop merely to move some things around. Another reason he was going to have it be a short day was due to Astrid's pregnancy.

Arriving in Nome, there wasn't any news yet. No one had gone into that building and the cold night air would've frozen the remains, making the decay be stalled. No foul smell at least. Sure enough, Caleb arrived a few minutes after him.

"I'm just moving goods around today Caleb, you can go ahead an go home to rest for your next lesson." Woodsly explained.

"Are you sure?" Caleb asked, standing near the doorway of the shop.

"Take a day off, you deserve it."
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 02, 2020, 07:41:18 PM
As Woodsly was telling Caleb to take the day, the door opened and a person walked in.  At first glance they looked like a man; pants, long coat, flannel shirt, scarf, the conspicuous bulge of a revolver at his hip—but as he drew closer to the counter, it was harder to tell.  Of an age with Caleb, their skin was deeply tanned and their eyes were a dark brown—he was pretty, at least prettier than most men, and there were no traces of stubble or any other facial hair aside from thick, arched eyebrows.  Doubts as to gender were further put to rest, as the voice that came out was distinctly female.

“Please excuse me, sir, but I was told that maybe you could help me?” She asked, taking her hat off.  Her brown hair was short, only about as long as her earlobes, shaggy and rough-cut by what had to have been a self-hack job with a knife. “The name is Grey Ackers.”

She glanced sidelong at Caleb and gave a small nod of greeting as well, then returned her attention to Woodsly.  “I’m here looking for my brother John.  He came up here to strike gold a while back, and I was able to track him as far as the tavern, but someone told me that he got into a fight with a man who ran some sort of messed up gladiator pit?  Like what people throw dogs into to fight ‘em, and he disappeared right after that.  No one will tell me where this place is, sir, and I’ve been asking for days.  Some woman pointed me towards you and said that you’d be able to help me, that you might know where they were?”
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 02, 2020, 07:55:47 PM
The pits...a conversation he never wanted to have again. He felt  the hairs on the back of his neck stick up at the displeasure of this.

"No, I can't help you." Woodsly replied.

Caleb had given a welcoming smile to Grey though he wasn't sure on what to do when talk of the pits came up. So the lad excused himself. Perhaps this was one of those stressing things Woodsly had?
======================

Truthully, Caleb didn't want to head home yet. And the Ravens flying overhead weren't in a panic or nothing. So the lad decieded to slowly make his way to Astrid's cabin. One of the ravens landing on his shoulder as he arrived at the door and gave a few knocks. Once he was sure he was allowed in, he'd enter the house.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 02, 2020, 08:33:18 PM
Grey blinked, her frown deepening.  She watched the other one leave the shop, then turned her attention back to Woodsly.  In that time, some anger had etched its way into her features.

“Look, I’m sorry to bother you sir, but if you can’t help me…I don’t know what I’ll do.  No one else will talk about it either, but if my brother’s life is in danger, then I need to get him out of it.  All I’m asking is where it’s at.  I’m not asking you to take me there, or get involved beyond that.  Hell, if all you can tell me is a street name, I’ll be happy, and I’ll figure it out myself from there.  Just tell me where it is please?” she tried again.

--

When Caleb entered the cabin, he was faced with the sight of Astrid slumped back in a chair looking frazzled, and Benjamin suffering the cheek-pinching attention of an old woman, who was crooning at him in a strange language.  The look in his eye was almost haunted, but lit up immediately with hope upon sight of the young man.

“Oh thank all the gods, every last one of ‘em, I’ve got to go Gram!” He gently pried the withered hand from his face and all but ran for the door, only to have the collar of his shirt grabbed, halting him in place with an ‘rrrk!’. 

“Benjamin Ansel McMahon, I haven’t seen you in six years.  Sit your ass down this instant and visit with your old Gram.”  The old woman’s blue eyes fixed on Caleb and she grinned widely.  “Hello there, young man!  Are you Woodsly?  Woooo damn, Astrid, and here I thought it was only the rich old women that could land the young bucks!”

“That’s not Woodsly, Gram, and for the love of all the gods, I’m only 28!” Astrid sighed, looking apologetically at the young man.  “Gram, meet Caleb.  Caleb, meet our Gram.”

“Ah,” Gram frowned, turning a critical eye to Astrid.  “Well where is he then?”

“Working, Gram, like most good men at this hour,” Astrid sighed, pouring Caleb some tea and offering it to him. “You should let Benjamin go.  You’ll still be here later when he comes home, and we have work to do, ourselves.”

I’ve got work to do.  You get to lay there and be grateful that your Gram loves you so much that she’d travel all the way to gods damned Alaska to save your bacon,” Gram commented mildly.  Benjamin looked at her hopefully and she gave him a dismissive wave with her hand. “Go on then, boy.  Take care of the chores for your cousin and don’t wait another six years to come back now.”

Benjamin scrubbed his face with a groan. “I won’t Gram.”  He signaled for Caleb to follow him and went outside, grabbing the can for the milk that Astrid had set out earlier before Gram showed up. 

“Talk about saving bacon, Caleb, you have no idea how relieved I am to see you,” Benjamin said, hauling the jug back towards the barn.  “Gram’s been on our asses since she showed up at the door.  I didn’t even know she was coming—hell, I didn’t even know she knew where Astrid was!  Woodsly doesn’t usually send you off so early, though.  Everything alright?”



Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 02, 2020, 08:46:17 PM
"Do you HONESTLY think they would be stupid enough to have it near any street?!" Woodsly snarled. "If your brother is in the pits then he is either dead or about to be, that's how it goes. There's never a safe moment down there, the moment you get there it's constant danger and death!"

Calm down. He hated the pits and he did view the people who ran it as idiots, but they had just enough brains to where they had their place hidden.

"I don't want to have this discussion Miss." he added.

----------

Seeing the display, Caleb just stood there. The raven on his shoulder cawing loudly. At least it wasn't saying any words honestly. Seeing Benjamin make the failed escape attempting, the young lad flinched slightly. The feathers under his scarf growing into the fabric at his nervousness that spiked for a moment. He wanted to ask if they were okay but he found that the woman was soon directing her focus onto him. Making him inch back a little.

The cup of tea was ignored as Caleb felt more nervous, his back started to feel itchy but he couldn't really do anything for it. It was only when Benjamin was allowed to leave that the lad moved to let em by before quickly following. With the door closed behind them, Caleb let out the air he was holding his chest.

"Why was that so panic inducing..?" Caleb questioned, more to himself before looking to Benjamin. "So...that's what having a grandmother is like?"

It was a harmless question he thought. Though he tried to ignore the itchy feeling he had as he listened to Benjamin. Soon enough they were in the barn. The raven took to one of the rafters and perched up there, looking down at the two men.

"He said he was just going to rotate stock today and come back here. Told me I could just go home and rest up for the lesson today but, I don't really want to just sit in the house for several hours." Caleb answered as he leaned against a thick support beam.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 02, 2020, 09:28:27 PM
Grey stared at him, fists clenching tightly at her sides.  To her credit, despite Woodsly’s anger, she didn’t back down or cringe back.  Her features grew harder, and her eyes narrowed. 

“Then you understand why I’m so desperate to find him, sir, and why it’s so important that I do,” she said, her tone carefully controlled. “If it’s as bad as you say it is, then it’s even more important that I break him out of there.”

When Woodsly said he didn’t want to have this discussion, Grey’s gun hand twitched, though it would have required her to undo her coat to get at the weapon resting on her hip.  Shooting him wouldn’t get her the answers she needed anyway, especially since no one else seemed any more forthcoming about the location as was.  Whatever remained of her control over her anger faded completely.

She shook her head, studying him.  “You fucking people.  I’ve never been more disgusted by so-called civilization in my life.  Only trash puts people in a place where they have to fight like animals to survive, and only trash keeps them there when the people who love them come lookin’.  Y’all should be ashamed of yourselves.” She spat. 

She seemed to want to say more, but by then her emotions had a firm grip over her and she couldn’t.  Shaking her head again, Grey stormed out of the shop, slamming the door hard enough that the glass rattled in the frame.

--

Benjamin shuddered. “Because it was panic inducing,” he said, shooting a look in the direction of the cabin.  He opened gate keeping the cow in the stall and let her out, tying off the lead to keep her from wandering off.  Setting the stool in place, he grabbed one of the clean pails and got to work, grimacing. 

“She came to help Astrid.  Turns out when you get pregnant by someone who can turn into a big beast, there’s a chance that that the kids will get that ability too—and start using it before they’re even born—damn it, don’t say anything.  She’ll kill me,” Benjamin grimaced while he milked the cow, glancing in the direction of the cabin again.  “It took a matter of life and death to get Astrid to reach out, but I didn’t think Gram would end up here.  If I’d have known she was coming, I’d be hiding in the woods right now, waiting it out.”

Benjamin shook his head. “Don’t get me wrong.  She’s a good woman and all.  She took over raising me when my Da passed on and I love her, but I am not equipped to deal with her after so long, not without preparation in any case.  And the guilt!  Gods, it’s like an icepick right to the center of the forehead over and over and over except it never ends—” The cow mooed plaintively and Benjamin stopped, sighed, mopped at his forehead with his sleeve. 

“Sorry.  It’s only been an hour and I’m already out of my damned mind.  I shouldn’t be complaining; I’m not in her focus right now.  That dubious honor belongs to my cousin—and Woodsly, whenever he’s unlucky enough to make it home,” Benjamin said, getting back to the milking with a little less ire this time. 

“I hate being a damned human.  But enough of that.  I don’t want to think about that anymore.  Did you try the chest again?” 
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 02, 2020, 09:48:45 PM
"Do you have ANY idea of the hell I went through there, you little fucking bitch?!!" Woodsly snarled out as he glared over his shoulder at her. "NO one has a name there unless you get saddled with something and that's only if you do well! No one knows who the other person in the cage across teh way is from you, no one EVER has anyone coming for them, and the chances of that person being down the way from you is the next person you have to fight to stay alive against, ONE OF YOU ENDS UP DEAD!!!!"

He had to keep himself with this back to her as he moved his gaze to the walls. He hated it, he hated this town. He hated it all so much. WHy not just set fire to the whole fucking thing?!! With the little wench spewing her words out, Woodsly dug his claws into the table and felt everything growing tighter. The sound of the door slamming and glass rattling only offered a slight calm.

Fuck it all. He was going to get this plan moving again. No waiting for leads on Stein, he was going to get them himself. And he knew of a good place to start. All that was required was keeping himself in one piece. Locking the shop up, Woodsly walked through the streets. Spotting some older gang members head out of the tavern and going to some building. Easily he pursued them and ambushing em was like child's play.

He thrust himself into the house quickly, slamming into one of the men at the same time. The entire situation quickly devolved into chaos and maddness as Woodsly had several people to deal with. But you know what...their fists barely even tickled now...
--------------

Caleb's anxiety went up when Benjamin confirmed that it was indeed a panic giving thing. Reaching under his scarf, he started to scratch at the feathers that had grown even more, now they were moving to the sides of his neck. He didn't even noticed as he moved his hand from the back of his neck to scratch at the side of it instead.

"Wait...so...Mr. Noslwoh can...do what you can?" Caleb asked.

Why didn't they just say that? Why did they make Benjamin do this? Did...did his boss not trust himself to teach? Or was it something else. At the request to not tell anyone, the lad nervously swallowed. Feeling the pit in his stomach growing and the overall feeling of being itchy spread as more feathers started to grow in. He managed to stop scratching at his neck and he fixed his scarf.

"I...I promise." Caleb agreed.

Seeing Benjamin upset was getting the boy's emotions swirling and going, though with the new information in his brain, it didn't help. Oddly enough, it was hearing the part where they hated being a human that seemed to drive the metaphorical axe into his heart. Now he knew that Benjamin didn't like being...in his form. So why did it hurt? Caleb glanced down at his boots, trying to calm his thoughts before wincing slightly. A different pang in his chest hit but only for a few moments.

"Won't open..." caleb answered quickly as he started to scratch at his arm; keeping his hand above the sleeve as the overall sensation of being itch spread to his arms under the heavy coat sleeves. "I can't find the key..."
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 02, 2020, 11:09:30 PM
 Grey took a moment, trying to compose herself.  That had been stupid, and she knew it.  He might have been the only person in town with enough information to spring John out of that place.  She could have worked on him a little, maybe introduced herself and mentioned why she was there, thanked him and bid him ‘good day’, and come in again another day.  But no, she had let her emotions get the better of her and had acted a fool.  Now, she’d be lucky to set foot in that man’s shop ever again, without him throwing something at her head. 

He’d been so angry, shaking and the like.  And why not?  There she was, coming off of over a month of travel and two days in town, angrier than a devil in a church house on Christmas because not a damned soul would talk to her.  He had no notions whatsoever of why she was there or what she had been through to get there, but she had given it all back to him like he had been the primary cause.

It wasn’t his fault, and Grey felt ashamed of herself.  She looked down at her hat, mouth turning downward a bit more.  Her daddy would have been ashamed, to see her loose her cool like that. 

The young woman glanced over her shoulder at the store front, smoothed a hand over her hair and put her hat back on, tucking some of the loose strands back up inside.  There was nothing for it.  One more bridge burned, and now John was stuck in that place even longer, suffering. 

Where no one has a name, he’d said.  Where no one knew who the other person in the cage was, where…no one ever has anyone coming for you.  A place like that sounded like a hell on earth, and it only made her heart ache all the worse for her brother.  That man back there…he had been through it.  Maybe no one had come for him, but she was coming for John, and she had no intention of stopping until she either had her brother, or knew where he had been buried.   

That woman who had sent her to him, Grey didn’t know what her problem was, but she had been real intent on making sure that asked the man about it.  That lead proved to be right on track, but the fact she had brought it up at all to him had seemed to put the man so on edge that you could have cut the tension in the air with a knife.  It almost seemed personal.

No matter, she thought to herself grimly.  She would keep trying, keep searching.  She could always count on John while she was growing up, and she’d be damned if she let her big brother die in that place. 

One way or the other, Those bastards were going to die.

Or she was.

--

Benjamin seemed to realize then that Caleb was anxious, reading some of the signs he’d learned over the last few weeks.  He’d been going on and on about things, and hadn’t realized just how bothered Caleb seemed to be by everything going on.  It was chaotic, different from the way things usually were.   

“Aw shit, kid, I’m sorry,” he sighed, leaning back away from the cow.  “I shouldn’t have put all of that on you.”

He rubbed at his eyes, then stood up, turning to face Caleb.  “I shouldn’t have said that part about Woodsly.  He’ll tell you eventually, when he’s ready.  I shouldn’t have mentioned the part about Astrid either, it wasn’t my place.  And I shouldn’t have complained about Gram.  Truth is…You were right, before.  Becoming a bear full time wasn’t living or growing or even true happiness, it was hiding, and now I’m facing a person I turned my back on.  It’s just not easy.”

Benjamin glanced in the direction of the cabin, then focused back on Caleb.  “As for the chest…I’m pretty sure the key you, but it’s probably not time yet.  Are you alright?”
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 03, 2020, 12:47:45 AM
“It’s fine, you kind of got dealt a hand that... well... you didn’t want sort of...” Caleb struggled to speak, having a harder time with his words.

While it helped him feel better to hear that they saw his points a while back. It only eased his nerves to a small degree. Going silent as he shuffled his feet, he tried to stop scratching. It didn’t quite work as Benjamin asked if he was okay.

“I’m okay.... just itchy.” Caleb answered as he reached into his scarf, though several feathers stuck out to where the bear man could see them.
————————-

There was some information at least and Woodsly left with only that and some scuffs on his clothing. Easily hidden under his long coat as he made the way home. Now if only there wasn’t a guest, he could get rid of frustrations better but not now.

Soon enough he arrived at the cabin and open the door.

“I’m back.” Woodsly called without looking.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 03, 2020, 09:59:23 AM
Benjamin noted the extra feathers that Caleb had grown, worried.  He had been under a lot more stress than the older man had thought.  He watched Caleb scratch again; How many feathers had he grown in just from when he showed up to now?  Was it just stress, or was the younger man closer to his first change than they had thought?   

“Right,” Benjamin said, studying him again with a furrowed brow.  “Caleb, we’ve talked a bit about your transformation, but not in depth.  I don’t know exactly what it will be like for you; when we spoke to the Raven man before, he wasn’t entirely changed, not like I get when I shift into a bear but I don’t know for sure if that’s what is going to happen for you.  Aside from the itching and the feathers, and the extra stress, have you noticed anything er…strange, or different?  Have the Ravens mentioned anything?”

--

After the first hour and a half of the visit, Gram’s scolding had run its course and the old woman had set to work.  She had no need for standing in nature in order for her spells to work, so they stayed inside.  With her hands resting on Astrid’s stomach, Gram focused inward with narrowed eyes, seeing the two lives bright within. 

“Two strong boys,” Gram commented quietly, brow wrinkling even more in concentration. “The first transformation didn’t do them any harm, but you were lucky.  You’ve got damage that could have been much worse.”

Astrid nodded; she had been sore since the day before, but the pain had been nothing like the actual transformation.  Gram was quiet for a few more moments.

“Their growth will be accelerated,” Gram continued. “Six months give or take a couple of weeks, most like, instead of nine—but twins tend to come earlier, so I estimate about five months and a couple of weeks at most for you.”


Astrid exhaled softly, eyes widening. “That fast…”

Gram didn’t answer, instead moving forward with her assessment. “Even after I freeze their forms, this will be difficult on you.  You will need to take it easy, especially towards the end.”

“Of course,” Astrid agreed softly. 

“I’ll come back when your time is near,” Gram said decisively.  “Labor will be difficult.  You will need help, and going to a doctor or midwife in town would be foolish.  Right, lets get this going.  I can feel the boys’ energies changing.  They are preparing to transform again.”

Astrid paled and nodded, and did as Gram directed from that point.  By the time Woodsly made it home, the spell was done with little fanfare and a lot more quickly that Astrid herself had expected.

When Woodsly came in, both women looked up.  Astrid’s face lit up at the sight of him.  “Welcome home, Woodsly.”

Gram eyed him approvingly. “Strapping lad, you are.  Why, if I were about fifty years younger—”

“Gram…” Astrid sighed, shaking her head.  Gram glanced at her and smirked, mischief glinting in her clear blue eyes.

“Gram, meet Woodsly.  Woodsly, meet my Gram,” Astrid introduced, rising from the chair. 

Gram rose too, winking playfully at Woodsly. "Sigra, please.  But you can call me Siggy."
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 03, 2020, 05:09:35 PM
Striking lad? Oh boy, he wasn’t sure if he could handle this today. But he was going to do his best.

“Madam Sigra.” Woodsly greeted as he took off his boots.

Easily he crossed the threshold of the home and went over to Astrid. A hand rested on her shoulder as he looked at her.

“They’re not giving you any problems?” He asked gingerly.

______________

“The ravens haven’t mentioned anything.” Caleb answered. “I’ve been fine the past few days. I...I just...”

Tears welled up as he tried to explain it away, tried to not think about the words Caleb said. Still, it hurt too much for him to not break out crying. Hand attempted to smear or hold the tears back as he stood there. Week knees shaking before he went down to them.

Feathers grew in length and his scars unfurled around his neck. Revealing the spread of said feathers.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 03, 2020, 05:34:58 PM
Astrid smiled, covering his hand with her own.  “Both of our sons are well and are behaving.  Gram already did the spell.  Their form will be fixed until after they are born.  There should be no more problems.”

Gram nodded. “As I told Astrid, they are both strong and healthy.  You will likely meet them in person in about five months.  The beast blood accelerates things a great deal.”

Astrid peered up at Woodsly, noting the tell-tale tension he carried with him on his bad days.  “Gram is waiting on Louie to come bring her back home, but she wanted to meet you,” she murmured, hoping that it gave him some small reassurance that he would be able to relax a little more soon, or at least not force himself to remain contained.  She wondered what had happened, if he had run into trouble after the night before.  Surely if he had, he wouldn’t be home now?

“Aye, and now I’ve met you,” Gram said, picking at a thread in her dress. “And as the Matriarch of our scattered little clan, I bid you welcome to the family young Mister Noslwoh.”

--


Benjamin immediately moved away from the cow when Caleb dropped to his knees, kneeling down in front of him with his hands bracing on his shoulders.  He had messed up worse than he thought.  What had he said?  Which part had gotten through Caleb’s skin?

“Talk to me, Caleb.  Tell me what I said that got to you so bad?” Benjamin pleaded softly.  He was growing more and more feathers, and Benjamin couldn’t tell if it was just his time for it, or if the young man was really just that upset.  He glanced up at the ravens that had accompanied Caleb, grimacing regretfully at them.  Gods, he didn’t have the temperament for this sort of thing.  He’d never been a father, a teacher, any sort of figure that a person could look up to. 
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 03, 2020, 06:46:07 PM
Woodsly wasn’t prepared for what came to his ears. Both...sons? That meant they’re were expecting twin sons? It was shocking to hear. Though Gram have something me more info to add to it.

“Five months l...” Woodsly muttered, trying to process all this information. “Yes well...Thank you.”
————

With Benjamin so close, Caleb looked at him through tear stained eyes as he tried to get past it. However he was quick to reach forward and tried to wrap their arms around the man.

“I don’t want you to go!!” Caleb cried out. “I don’t know why....it hurt so much when... when you said...”

Sobbing with hiccups left him as he buried his face into the man’s coat. However, Caleb would feel the bulk of feathers grow under the boy’s coat. Though Caleb shuddered as he felt a new pain but ignored it.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 03, 2020, 07:30:25 PM
Benjamin stiffened at first, unused to any sort of physical contact, but after half a beat he wrapped his arms around the kid tightly, squeezing his eyes shut as Caleb got the words out.  Gods he hated himself.  He’d been so wrapped up in his own frustration and discomfort, that he hadn’t even given thought to how his words might affect him.  He had grown so many feathers; he could feel them through Caleb’s coat.   

“I’m not going anywhere, Caleb,” he muttered quietly, surprised to find that it was true.  When the Raven man had pulled him from his bear form and into his human one, the only thing he could think about was getting back into his bear form again and forgetting all of this ever happened.  He hadn’t expected to like Caleb or to look forward to their lessons, he had only planned to do whatever it was he had to do to make good—because Astrid had asked him to, and he owed her.  Now, though, by damned he actually felt like he had a purpose again.  “I promise I’ll stick around, okay?  I’ve still got a lot to teach you, yet, and that isn’t going to all just go away because you earned your feathers.”

He gave Caleb another squeeze and sighed, waiting for the kid to let go first.  “I’ll be around for as long as you want.  And in the future, I’ll be better about the complaining.”

--

Gram grinned.  “You’re welcome.  Now!  Louie is on his way.  I had best get outside and wait for him, or he’ll give me grief.”  She stood from the chair again and gave Astrid a kiss on the cheek, mussing her hair.  “You tell Benjamin that I expect some real visiting when I come to help with the birth, understand?”

“Yes, Gram,” Astrid said, following her to the door.  Once the both of them were outside, Astrid pulled the door closed and waited with the old woman, who proceeded to talk her ear off about the ‘gods awful storm’ they had a few months previous.  Louie the wizard appeared a few minutes later; tall, rotund, and dressed from head to toe in bright, clashing colors, the man rattled off something in Creole French at Gram, who shrugged and made her way down the stairs to join him.  They were gone the moment Gram took his outstretched hand.   

Astrid sighed and went back inside.  Her sight fixed on Woodsly as she closed the door.  “Are you alright?  Did you run into any trouble today?”
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 03, 2020, 07:47:48 PM
“I ran into someone asking about the pits, called me trash for not wanting to talk about.” Woodsly replies.

He didn’t have much to say while Gram was ending her visit. He did the right thing and thanked her for her help, what else could he do?

“Five months... its not long at all.” Woodsly muttered concerned.

——————
“Y....you sure?” Caleb asked. “I don’t....I don’t want to make you unhappy. You’re just one of the... few people that..”

Burying his face into Benjamin’s chest, he shuddered. He just didn’t want to lose his first friend besides the raven’s. It helped to calm him down, the slow growing pain disappeared and honestly he was feeling drained. Slumping into Benjamin’s grasp, the poor boy looked pale. As if the large amount of feathers growing took up energy.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 03, 2020, 08:41:08 PM
Rage flared in Astrid's features.  That damned town, and its worse people.  She hated that Woodsly had been mistreated at all, but to hear of how it still went on despite him doing his best to make a living? 

"I wouldn't shed a single tear if that town burned to the ground," she said, shaking her head grimly.  Astrid pulled him close, smoothing his hair back from his face. "We should leave when you are finished.  Put this place and all these people who hurt you behind us." 

She kissed him, then sighed quietly, resting a hand on her stomach. "It is fast.  I expected more time, but...Gram says it's just the nature of things.  We will be alright."

Astrid's following grin was darkly delighted. "And Benjamin dealt Ingrid a crippling blow last night.  He killed Shadow when he saw her prowling.  She'll be weak for months recovering from it."

--

"I'm sure," Benjamin said more firmly, giving Caleb's back a gentle pat. 

He could tell that the young man was wiped; he was a few shades paler than he should have been, and he gave serious thought to just taking him into the cabin to rest, but with Gram around and Astrid and Woodsly dealing with their stuff, it didn't seem like such a good idea. 

"Let's get you home, Kid.  You can ride on my back."  He hesitated. "Do you want me to stay close tonight?  I'd rather not come back here tonight anyway.  Seems to me that Astrid and Woodsly could use a moment alone anyhow, once Gram goes home."
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 03, 2020, 08:57:24 PM
Being pulled into her embrace, Woodsly wrapped his arms around her as she straightened her hair. He liked the sound of leaving, honestly he wanted to leave Nome.

“Do you have any idea where to go?” He asked.

The kiss was well received and returned in kind. His gaze drifted to where her hand rested on her midsection. Would they really stay in thier five months? Also how would birth go for all three involved? Trying to her his head to calm down, he merely listened to Astrid, raising a brow at that darkish smile.

“Good, house cats don’t belomg in the snow, nor do snakes.” Woodsly replied.
———

A tired nod left Caleb about going home, sleep was what he wanted. As much as he wanted to hold on to being awake, he felt his body quickly turning against him.

“Stay.....with m....me..” caleb’s groggy voice requested as his eyelids started to shut despite his efforts.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 03, 2020, 09:19:24 PM
She chuckled at his comment about cats not belonging in snow.  “I could not agree more.”

Astrid shrugged when he asked about where to go.  She’d been to so many places, and not a one of them ever really felt like home.  He’d probably be immensely uncomfortable in any sort of warm climate, and if their boys truly were taking after him, she doubted they would like it much either.  “Anywhere would be better than here, I think.  Though probably someplace cooler still, for comfort’s sake; I don’t think you’d much like it any further south than that, especially in your other form.  Somewhere in Canada perhaps?  There’s plenty of wild out there to settle.”

It still irked her, what had been said to him. The sooner they could leave this place, the better.  She wanted Woodsly to be happy, and he just wasn’t here. 

--

Benjamin nodded and shed his clothing, promptly shifting into a bear.  Once Caleb was settled on his back, the bear started off in the direction of his home.  “I’ll stay,” he assured him. “As long as you need me, I’ll stay.  I promise.”
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 03, 2020, 09:35:59 PM
“I don’t know much about Canada but I’m sure you know more bout it than I.” Woodsly replied.

He didn’t know much bout the world outside of Nome, Wilson was born and raised here. He came to be within the pits of Nome. All he knew honestly. Woodsly took to taking a seat in a chair, sinking into it as he sighed.
————-

Caleb sank into Benjamin’s fur, finding comfort and warmth in it as the man was taking him home. The rest he got during the trip was small for the raven started to make itself known by cawing and sqwaucking.

Home! Home!” the raven went off, stirring Caleb enough to where he’d wake somewhat.

“Want to....come in?” Caleb asked through broken breath.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 03, 2020, 10:12:41 PM
“Not really.  I know South of Canada.  I’ve been all over there,” She shot a furtive glance to some of the folded papers stuffed here and there between books.  Maps she had made, towns, cities, escape routes, hidden places with good foraging, hiding places, and water were all marked clearly.  She had spent a lot of time on the move, but even more time learning the land she was in.  Alaska had been a different experience altogether, far too cold.   

Most of the places she had been wanted her dead, thanks to Ingrid.  Canada seemed a far better option than risking it.  It could be a good place for all of them, when the time came. 

She moved behind Woodsly and began work on kneading the tension from his shoulders. “Don’t listen to them, alright?  It doesn’t matter what they think, and it never will.  Just know that no matter what they say to you or about you, I think the world of you.”

--

The ravens heralded Caleb’s home ahead of them, and woke the young man from his sleep.  When he asked if Benjamin wanted to come in, he nodded.  “Yeah.  But I uh…left my clothes in the barn, so…you get me as a bear.”
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 03, 2020, 10:25:52 PM
A sound left him as he sat there, well looks like they both didn’t know too much about the potential place to move. Though honestly, it should be fine. A secluded like spot in the woods where a town or village nearby was so he could work and the kids could learn. Although should they even go to a school?

“Hmmmmm a little higher.” Woodsly requested, closing his eyes in quiet contemplation.
———-

“I might have some clothes in here you can borrow. At least pant wise hopefully.” Caleb offered as he opened the door.

The house was the same as he left it, some ravens were nestled down to sleep but the house was clean. Removing his coat, the sides and back of his neck were revealed to be covered in black feathers. His long sleeved looked puffed up due to the feathers he’d grown on his arms and back.

“I’ll be right back.” Caleb said as he went to a different room.

A few minutes later, he returned with a stack of clothes for Benjamin to try on. Though he felt a bit woozy when he leaned forward to set them down.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 03, 2020, 11:17:57 PM
Astrid smiled and adjusted, hands moving a little higher as requested.  She continued that way for a long time, working out as many of the knots and as much of the tension in his neck, shoulders, and what she could reach of his back as she could.  It could have been an hour before her hands stilled, and she leaned over his shoulder to kiss his cheek. 

"I think I'll make you a pie.  We'll see if I can't sweeten the end of the day for you at least."  She pulled back a little so that her hands were resting on his shoulders again, giving then a gentle squeeze before she went to collect ingredients.


--

"Okay," Benjamin agreed.  It took some doing, squeezing his bulk through the door--and his ass got stuck for a minute, but he finally managed to squeeze through.  He shook himself and waited, seeing all of the feathers that Caleb had grown over the course of the day. 

He was getting close, and they would be harder to hide.

He shifted back to his human form when Caleb returned, grabbing one of the pairs of pants he brought out.  They were a touch big, but they would work well enough.  "Thanks, this'll do great.  You should rest, though.  You look like you're going to pass out," Benjamin commented.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 03, 2020, 11:28:51 PM
“Yeah I feel.... really weird..” Caleb agreed as he tried to straighten himself out.

All that did was make his head spin more and that pain in his back returned. Caleb made a move to go sit down as he was hoping that he’d regain a sense of balance if he took a seat for a minute or two. However his legs collapsed under him and he hit the hard wood floors with a loud thud!

The ravens in the room looked surprised, giving concerned caws as they tilted their heads. Caleb curled in on himself, breathing hard and heavily as he felt more pain. The overall sick feel spread to where he felt like throwing up. If that wasn’t enough of a discomfort, he felt a building pressure between his shoulder blades. The feathers on his body would puff up with each pain filled breath.
———

“Hmmm but you already make it sweet.” Woodsly responded with a smile.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 04, 2020, 09:53:22 AM
Benjamin was in the process of putting on one of the shirts when Caleb dropped.  He swore and darted forward, feeling somewhat powerless at first as he watched the young man curl in on himself in pain.  He sounded like he was struggling to draw a breath, and his thoughts immediately turned to Astrid; she would know how to help him, wouldn’t she?

But Astrid wasn’t here, and Caleb was in trouble now.  That meant that it was up to Benjamin to help him, and he was out of his depth.  He rested a hand on Caleb’s back and immediately drew back, eyes widening. 

“Shit…oh shit!” He exclaimed.  Adjusting his position, he pulled Caleb up so that he was resting against his chest and worked to get the shirt off of him, having felt even more feather’s beneath the boy’s clothes than before.  “It’s okay, kid.  I’ve got you.  I’m here with you.  Talk to me, tell me what’s going on,” Benjamin encouraged.  Maybe if Caleb could manage a few words, it would distract him enough, or at least give him some kind of idea of what he could help with.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 04, 2020, 10:21:39 AM
"H....h...ur...rts..." Caleb rasped out, taking in his uneven breaths.

His stomach felt like something was thrust in there and twisting around, making it hard to breathe and even harder when that pain traveled to his chest. Combine that with the back pain, the poor lad felt like breathing was a impossible task. He felt sick and in pain, this wasn't like anything he felt before. As Benjamin moved him, the lad was limp in their arms. Not fighting the motions at all but unable to move his arm to make taking the shirt off any easier.

"A...i...r...." Caleb wheeze out, shaking as he stayed put, gritting his teeth as he tried to take in smaller breathes but found it even harder.

A cry of pain accompanied by a gasp for air left him as the sensation at his shoulder blades intensified. Everything was sent into even more pain and all Caleb could do was shake and struggle for the air he felt like he wasn't getting at all. Though the bulge at his shoulder blades was more noticeable as something pressed against the flesh harder.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 04, 2020, 11:28:54 AM
“I know, Caleb,” Benjamins said, brows knitting together.  Gods, he didn’t know the first thing about what to do.  He should have paid more attention to Gram’s lessons growing up.  Caleb was obviously in pain and struggling to breathe.  His first instinct was to tell the kid to try to breathe like Benjamin had showed him, but it was plain to see that it wasn’t an option.  He felt powerless, unable to make it stop no matter how badly he wanted it to.  Seeing Caleb struggle like that…it hurt.  It hurt far more than Benjamin could have ever expected.  Was this just a little insight into what it could feel like to be a father? 

The older man looked down at Caleb’s back, eyes practically bulging out of his sockets at what he was seeing.  It looked like something was trying to force its way out between the kid's shoulder blades!   

“Wow, okay…okay I don’t know exactly what’s happening because birds aren't my area, but I think you’re going through a change,” Benjamin grimaced.  The first ones were always the worst, no matter what form they took, and he knew then that all he could do was just sit there with him through it, and let him know that he wasn’t alone.  “You’ll get through this.  It’s going to be okay.  It will be over soon.”
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 04, 2020, 11:50:17 AM
"too m..much...hu.r.....ts..."Caleb whimperedas he tried to cry harder as that would make it worse.

Caleb was having a harder time understanding Benjamin's voice due to the grreat deal of pain that was going through him. Change? What change? Too soon...too soon.Panic gripped his aching chest harder as he wheezed for air. Shakily a thin hand clutched Benjamin's pant leg, pain and tear fillled eyes did their best to look up at him.

"Pl...ea..s..." Caleb tried to plead for help but the pain surged and that cause him to bury his face into Caleb's attire once more.

There was a sloshing sound as well as something stretching, the feathers that had grown at the shoulder blades had fallen out due to the repetitive motion the wings inside were doing.A trickle of blood started to leave on side and that's when Caleb screamed bloody murder. The motions were hard to put up with but as the large, ebony black wing emerged from his back, it was a new level of pain. The new appendage was dripping blood an tissue as it twitched, the cold hitting it sort of made him feel a little better. Though the first wing toppled to the side, landing with a heavy thu.The second wing had yet to emerge.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 04, 2020, 12:12:49 PM
Benjamin held onto Caleb as tightly as he dared, murmuring words of encouragement as the pain got worse.  He hated this, being unable to do anything to help, but he was even more grateful for the feeling that he’d gotten, urging him to stick close to the young man for the night.  He just hadn’t seemed well, more than just from Benjamin’s words, and he didn’t feel right about leaving him on his own.

When the first wing tore itself out of Caleb’s body, Benjamin felt a sharp stab of nausea and the tell-tale burning of tears in his eyes.  He hadn’t been prepared for something like this, hell, there was no way anyone could really prepare for this. 

“I wish I could take it myself so that you don’t have to go through this,” Benjamin said, shaking his head.  “I don’t know how to help, I can’t make the pain go away, I’m sorry…” his voice broke at the end.  He knew that the kid had another wing coming, more pain in store for him.  Benjamin’s muscles jumped and knotted painfully beneath his skin and a thin layer of brown fur began to sprout on his arms.  Gritting his teeth, Benjamin squeezed his eyes shut and willed his stress and anxiety over the situation to calm; stress-changing into a bear was the very last thing that Caleb needed from him right now. 

“I’m…I’m here for you, Caleb.  I’ve got you.  It’s almost over.  Just one more wing, Kid, just one more.  You can get through this,” he said, rocking Caleb back in forth in a desperate attempt to soothe him even a little bit. 
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 04, 2020, 12:35:00 PM
It took longer for the second wing to emerge but once it did, it was another bloody affair. The dark wings were covered in bloody and sticky bits of tissue and tendions. Caleb ha screamed again but found his voice leaving him part way through and he coughed. The wings twitched on thier own, not once being raised up and Caleb stayed put. Breathing heavily as he just clinged to Benjamin.

"hu.r.t.." the boy muttered, struggling to stay conscious at this point now."too..much..."
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 04, 2020, 12:58:13 PM
“I know, I’m so sorry,” Benjamin said helplessly, trying to dash the tears in his eyes away on his sleeve.  After much agony, the second wing had finally made an appearance, and it was obvious that Caleb was done in from it. 

He used the same sleeve to dry the tears streaming from Caleb’s eyes and adjusted his hold on him, wary of bumping the kid’s new wings.  It was a bloody mess, and Benjamin was afraid that even the gentlest touch might send the kid into another fit of torment.  Once more, he cursed his lack of knowledge.   

“Just take it easy and rest.  I’ve got you.  I’m not going anywhere.  Just sleep, okay?” he urged, dragging some of the other clothes that Caleb brought out closer to cushion Caleb’s head a little better.  He settled in for a long night; He had no plans of moving any time soon. 

He fell asleep much later in the night, despite his efforts to stay awake and watch over Caleb, but at no point did Benjamin let him go, keeping his arms around him to offer comfort even in sleep. 

--

Astrid woke early and rose silently to make tea and breakfast ahead of Woodsly waking.  It didn’t seem enough just to soothe the end of a trying day, and Astrid was resolved to give him a good start as well.  She put together a lunch for him to take with him, along with another slice of the pie from the night before.

When Woodsly did wake, Astrid would greet him with a smile and sit beside him, studying him with a quiet warmth.  She held a cup of tea for him between her hands for when he was ready for it, of a sort of blend that mimicked the effects of coffee; she missed coffee, but it was an expensive thing, and something that she would have to venture into town to get.  “Did you sleep well?”
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 04, 2020, 01:25:52 PM
Woodsly awoke in a better mood, easily accepting the cup from her.

"Much better, thank you." Woodsly answered her as he took a seat the table. "And you, my dear?"
--------------------

Caleb stirred slowly, wings still heavy and slightly stick. The wings needed to be cleaned but that hadn't been important last night. The room was spinning as he trid to sit up but failed.

"B..Ben...? Benja...?" Caleb rasped out.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 04, 2020, 01:41:47 PM
Astrid grinned at the endearment, leaning in to press a kiss to his forehead.  “I always sleep well next to you.”

“There’s lunch to take with you today,” she said, gesturing to the bundle she’d assembled for him, meanwhile dishing up a plate with fried potatoes and ham for him for breakfast.  She set the plate in front of him and busied herself with collecting what she needed for some of the chores that needed doing that day.  “Any requests for supper tonight?  I’d like to give you something to look forward to coming home to,” she explained.   

--

Benjamin woke with a start to Caleb trying to get his name out, blinking rapidly to clear the sleep from his eyes.  “Here, I’m here,” he said drowsily, arms tightening briefly around him before letting the young man go. 

Benjamin watched as he tried to get up and shifted, steadying Caleb with a careful hand.  He didn’t seem to be experiencing the agony of the night before, something which he was grateful, but it was clear that he was still experiencing some of the after affects.

“Take it easy.  You’ve been through something,” Benjamin said as gently as he could.  Caleb’s wings were still covered in dried gore; he’d need to be cleaned up.  The new changes presented another problem to Benjamin’s mind; there was no way that Caleb would be able to hide those wings underneath a coat.  If anyone saw him like this, they’d know he wasn’t human.  He wasn’t sure if Caleb could change back, but the way his feathers lingered told Benjamin that it was unlikely.  His protective instincts told him to get Caleb out, take him someplace where he was safe and hidden, but aside from Astrid’s, he wasn’t sure where else to take him. 

“We need to get you cleaned up,” Benjamin said, studying Caleb’s wings again.  “Let me get some water.  Do you have rags?  Anything that I can use to help clean you up?  Don’t try to show me, just tell me,” the older man cautioned. 
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 04, 2020, 02:03:12 PM
Woodsly couldn't help but smile still. Was this how it was suppose to be? If so, he honestly liked it.

"venision is aways a good one." Wodsly suggested.
---------------------------

"Bath...room..." Caleb managed, attempting to point but not able to hold his hand steady enough.

One of the ravens helped show him where the bathroom was while another raven has brought a soft brush to help comb through the dark feathers.The boy was still greatly pale and if he didn't have the wings or feathes, he'd look like he was just recovering from a severe fever. Though, he was probably gonna be drained for a good while longer.

"Can't...move.." Caleb would manage to rasp out a few minutes into cleaning, no part of him would move.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 04, 2020, 02:24:35 PM
“Venison it is,” Astrid replied, flashing him a smile between digging for a fresh spool of string.  She had fallen behind on one or two things the day before with Gram’s visit, and the cow was hollering at the top of her lungs to be milked. 

“I’ve got to get outside and get a head start on the day, so in case I don’t see you before you leave…” she said as she grabbed her scarf from its hook.  Rather than finishing the sentence, she crossed back to Woodsly and bent to give him a kiss.  When that was done, She pulled back enough to meet his eyes, hesitated, then spoke in a quiet voice. “I love you…”

--

Benjamin nodded and, with the guidance of the ravens, grabbed everything he needed to help get Caleb cleaned up, offering a quiet word of thanks to the birds. 

He returned to Caleb’s side and helped prop him up again, sitting so that Caleb could use him to lean against while Benjamin cleaned him up.  Caleb said that he couldn’t move, and the older man simply shook his head.

“Then don’t move,” Benjamin cautioned. “Just take it easy, I’ll take care of you.”   

He worked gingerly, wiping away the blood and bits of flesh until there was nothing of it left, then used the comb to get the kid’s feather’s in order.  Ever wary of causing Caleb any more pain, Benjamin was as gentle as he could be, still tense and worried that he still wasn’t being careful enough. 


Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 04, 2020, 02:40:09 PM
Truthfully, this day was already off to a different start. A start he hadn't expected but it wasn't the bad unexpected. So when Astrid gave him another kiss and said the three words he never thought would be directed at him, it stunned him. For once though, that stunned state didn't last long nor lead to any emotional conflict. He gently cupped his hand around her face and leaned in, planting his own kiss on her lips.

"Love you more." he replied.
-----------------------

Don't move...but that was so hard not to do. He wanted to twist and turn, try to remove some pain he was in. But he wasn't able to. Sometimes Caleb would shift about, unable to hold himself still when Benjamin had to work closer to the skin. The boy' breathing would pick up as well as pained sounds leaving him. He'd eventually relax again, holding some tightness in his whole body. When the wings were cleaned, their dark color seemed to glisten somewhat, with the size of em it was more than likely possible he could use them to fly.

However Caleb had no plans for that. He could barely open his eyes and keep them open for long. The large appendages would twitch on their own, causing mild discomfort; unless one really twitched on him.

"W...when will th....ey...go away?" Caleb gasped out.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 04, 2020, 02:57:22 PM
Benjamin shook his head, at a loss for any answers for him.  This was a whole different thing from what he was used to.  He had plenty of experience changing his skin, but Caleb was blended with the shape of a raven, not fully changed.  “I…I don’t know.”

The kid was still in pain, and Benjamin could recall a few different fixes for that, but nothing that he had on hand.  Astrid would have what he needed, certainly; the woman was a walking apothecary and would know exactly what to do, he was certain, but he didn’t dare leave Caleb or try to move him, especially during the day.  Maybe she would be willing to come here, he reasoned.  Caleb’s home was on the outskirts of the city, and he knew that Ingrid would be down, weak, probably unable to so much as get out of bed, let alone cause her sister grief; such was the nature of losing a familiar. 

He just had to do something.  It killed him to see the kid in so much pain.

“Just a sec,” Benjamin said decisively.  Shifting away from Caleb, Benjamin’s gaze fixed on the ravens watching from the rafters.  “You lot make yourselves useful and go fetch Astrid.  Tell her I need her, that Caleb is in pain.  She’ll know what to do for him.”  He would then open the door in the hopes that they understood, would fly out, and would do as asked.

--

Astrid’s joy was evident.  “Have a good day, Woodsly.  I’ll see you tonight.”

With that, she grabbed her basket, and with another look over her shoulder at him, set off to do the chores.

--

Grey watched from between a pair of buildings, out of sight, waiting for the man who owned the carpentry store to arrive and open up for the day.  She was nervous about whether she would even be given the moment she needed to apologize, but she had to try.  Sleep had only cemented her guilt over what had happened, and she woke with the pressing need to try and make it right.  He could throw her out the moment she stepped thought his door and she wouldn’t blame him. 
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 04, 2020, 03:19:44 PM
The ravens cawed but only one headed out, no doubt certain of where to go. The others seemed to feel like a good course of action was to be on the look out. Not a bad idea but still no the same as heading on out to get Astrid. The one that left would easily find it's way to the house and spot Astrid as she was entering the barn.

"Bear man needs you!! Help for Caleb!! the raven would caw as it dove into the barn. "In pain, in much pain! Come at once, come with!!"

The bird never once stopped flapping about, circling the barn as it kept making a fuss. Caleb sank against the spot that was now left empty due to Benjamin getting up. A few quick breahes left him as he tried to fight the pain in order to get more air in. It felt like a loosing battle honestly. Weakly his eyes opened and a trembling hand reached forth. Though his hand fell before he could even reach Benjamin.
-------------

Woodsly left shortly after Astrid hand and the trip to town went fine. Just the normal routine there. Though what came as a surprise to him was how Caleb wasn't there a few minutes he arrived. Normally, Woodsly would get to the door an as he pulled his keys out, the lad would be in sight. Maybe they had a rough day and were needing sleep? Possible.

So he opened the shop as usual, save for him now being out front.

Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 04, 2020, 03:39:25 PM
 Benjamin closed the door and returned to Caleb’s side, taking up the previous position of letting the young man use him to lean against, while keeping an arm secure about him.  “I’m here.  Help is coming.  I promise, help is coming soon.

--

Astrid looked up at the raven, listening to the words it spoke.  Sucking in a soft breath, she dropped what she was carrying and ran back into the house, grabbing one of the knit bags she had on hand.  Uncertain of what exactly Caleb was enduring, she elected to grab several different things to treat wounds and soothe pain, unwilling to go unprepared. 

She had wondered where Benjamin was, and now it seemed that she might have the answer.  With everything she needed stuffed in the bag and slung over her shoulder and across her chest, she left the cabin, eyes lighting on the bird.  “Show me the way.”

It took time, though she ran much of the way, only slowing when she needed to catch her breath.  The raven led her right to Caleb’s door.  Rather than standing outside and knocking, Astrid went inside and saw Benjamin on the floor with Caleb, looking as pale as a ghost.  She could see blood stained here and there on Benjamin’s shirt, but especially so on Caleb. 

Her eyes widened when she saw the wings, and she understood.  Finding the kitchen, she put water on to brew a tea that would relieve his pain, mixing several herbs in to help keep his stomach settled and to make the flavor easier to take.  “How long has this been going on?” Astrid asked.

“All night,” Benjamin murmured, rocking Caleb a little again.  “The wings were the worst of it, but he’s still in a lot of pain.  He’s struggling to breathe.”

Astrid crossed the room and knelt in front of Caleb, muttering a few soft words over the drink to bolster its effects.  That done, she blew over the top until it was cool enough that Caleb wouldn’t be burned, and pressed the cup gently to his mouth while Benjamin supported him.  “Here sweetheart.  Drink this.  It will take your pain away.”

“He asked when the wings will go away, but I couldn’t answer him,” Benjamin said, shaking his head.  “Astrid, he can’t hide any of this.  We’ve got to get him someplace safe.”

“One step at a time, Benjamin,” Astrid said softly. “Right now, the only thing that matters is getting him through this and easing his pain.  The rest we can figure out later.”

--

Grey waited until the man had been inside for a little while, then crossed the street to the shop.  Taking a deep breath and exhaling, she opened the door and closed it behind her, immediately taking her hat off and bowing her head in humble entreaty. 

“Please sir, I know I am the last person that you probably want to see right now, but if you just give me a minute, I promise I’ll never bother you ever again,” she said in a rush, hoping to stave off any immediate backlash from her presence.  She went on just as quickly, trying to get as much of it out as she could.  “I—I have come to apologize for my awful behavior yesterday.  I’m ashamed of what I said to you, what I called you.  It was very wrong of me.  You didn’t deserve any of that, sir, and it don’t matter how upset I am, you didn’t deserve my treating you so poorly.  Obviously you’ve been through some things, and I shouldn’t have pushed you like I did.”

Grey wet her lips, eyes darting up to get a look at his face before they dropped back to the floor again.  “I-I’m not askin’ for your forgiveness sir, but you deserved an apology.  Now I…I thank you for your time.” 
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 04, 2020, 03:59:23 PM
Caleb sunk against Ben's for, burying most of his face there as he shuddered. Uneven breathing still leaving him but at least someone else was here. There was a small comfort in that and with the arm around him, Caleb only managed to use one hand to grab a handful of fabric from Benjamin's shirt as he stayed put.

The raven would indeed lead the way but rather than joining the others as lookouts on top of the house, this one went inside like Astrid had done.  Landing on a nearby spot, it tilted it's head as it watched the woman rush off to the kitchen. Caleb didn't notice anything, too busy struggling with the pain and lack of air he felt, his eyes had drifted closed. It wasn't really sleep, he just couldn't keep them open nor did he have much sense of what was going on. He just felt more pain and weaker,an weaker.

His eyes only partially opened as he felt something against his lips, wearily his eyes opened and he could just make out the cup's rim. Everything else beyond that was a blurry fog. He tried to raise a hand to take the cup but only raised it a few inches before he couldn't do anymore, his raised hand shuddered before resting back on the ground. With their help, Caleb was able to drink it. A few shaky breathes started to leave him when he was done though and his eyes closed once more.

The large wings twitched, dragging feathers across the floor and a pained groan left Caleb as he shuddered, leaning more into Benjamin as this happened. The area where the wings had sprouted forth from were slightly scabbed over but the skin in that area was darkly bruised.
--------------

Brows narrowed as he saw it was the girl who walked in. Thankfully she managed to start speaking before he could give his threat of five seconds to plead the case an get out thing. Well no one from Nome had the ability to do that. Apologizing to the rif raff as some would call it.

"Right, well you at least showed you aren't like everyone here." Woodsly replied. "I don't know where the pits are miss and I meant what I said yesterday, no one has names down there. I don't know if I've seen your brother, let alone fought him. I don't have any useful intell for you."
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 04, 2020, 04:28:51 PM
Once Caleb had managed to drink, Astrid went to work inspecting Caleb’s new wings, green eyes sharp as she made a note of every bruise and tear.  The salves she had brought would be useless in this case, she realized.

“How long before what you gave him starts to work?” Benjamin asked, desperation threading through his voice.  “Please tell me it will start working quick.  The poor kid has been through enough already.”

Astrid glanced at her cousin, noting the redness of his eyes, how focused he was on the young man he was holding onto.  The last time she had seen him looking so concerned was the winter before Anya was murdered, when his wife had been fighting a bad fever that just wouldn’t go away.  “Ten minutes at most,” she answered.

Benjamin nodded, adjusting his position when Caleb shuddered with pain again.  Astrid rifled around in her bag, looking for the tools she had brought in the event that she would have to rely on magic to heal him.  Benjamin’s eyes lit on her when she started taking things out, recognizing immediately what she was doing.

“Astrid, don’t.  You can’t.  Weak or not, she’ll know you’re here if you do that,” Benjamin cautioned.  Astrid’s features hardened a touch.

“Her hands are tied but even if they weren’t, if she tries to harm me, she opens the way for me to retaliate and she knows it.  That’s why she always gets others to do her dirty work for her.  Ingrid isn’t stupid enough to try something when she’s too weak to defend herself back, now let me do what I can for him and let me worry about the consequences.”

Benjamin opened his mouth to protest again but fell silent when his attention focused back on Caleb.  If it meant that the kid would stop hurting and could rest easy, he was fine with it.  Astrid was right, and she knew her own boundaries better than he did. 

Astrid began the spell a moment later, weaving the magic that would knit all of Caleb’s hurts, speaking until every bruise, cut, and scab disappeared.

--

Grey kept her eyes fixed on the floor, clutching her hat tightly.  “I…I understand sir.  Thank you for letting me speak my piece.  And uh…like I said, I won’t trouble you again.”

She replaced her hat on her head.  “Have a good day, sir.” 

Excusing herself from the shop, Grey looked down one side of the road, and then the other, forcing herself to summon the courage to go through with the next part of her plans. 

There was no way in hell that the pit could exist, without someone knowing how to get there.  There had to be an audience for the fight, after all, and while the carpenter had no answers for her, someone out there did.  After finding out which place in town where the seediest fellows went on a daily basis, Grey turned and headed in the direction of a run-down tavern near the edge of town that she had been directed to, hand slipping inside her coat to rest on the handle of her gun.  She had checked each chamber, placed a fresh bullet in each one.  More had been loaded into the bandolier resting loosely around her hips, just below the revolver. 

She found a place to wait outside and watched, waiting for night to fall before she would make her move. 
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 04, 2020, 04:47:34 PM
As injuries started to heal, Caleb would flinch as the drink had yet to kick in. Pained gasping leaving him as he tried to curl into himself, not being able to move. When every wound around the wings healed, Caleb was breathing uneasily as he laid there. The heavy wings weren't twitching at the current moment. Though it was probably only a matter of time before they did once more.

Question was, what would they do now? The lad couldn't keep himself awake, even with the pain becoming numb and wounds healing, his body was far too drained.
------------

Woodsly didn't reply, just watched as Grey left. LEtting a sigh go, he shook his head once she was gone. What was the goddamn point in any of it? The thought still hadn't crossed his mind about how the girl came to him about the pits,it hadn't hit his mind at all yet. Still, he had work to do today. Perhaps he'll ask Benjamin if they had seen Caleb today when he got back home?
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 04, 2020, 04:58:02 PM
 “We need to get him into bed.  He needs sleep; it’s the best healer,” Astrid said once the spell was done.  Benjamin nodded and together, ever so carefully so as not to damage his wings, Astrid and Benjamin worked between the two of them to get the young man into his bed.  Benjamin made sure that he was laid out on his side, and arranged Caleb’s wings so that their weight was on the bed, in a position that would offer the least amount of discomfort for him.

“I need you to go into town and let Woodsly know that Caleb is ill, and won’t be in today,” Astrid said.  Benjamin immediately began to protest, and Astrid raised a hand in a ‘stop’ motion.  “I’ll stay here with him until you get back, but Woodsly will worry about him, and he needs to know that he’s manning the store on his own today.”

“Fine,” Benjamin growled, shooting another concerned look at the young man.  “I’ll be right back, kid.  Astrid is here with you.  She’ll be with you until I get back.  Just a few minutes.”

With that, Benjamin ran quickly to town, slowing to a quick walk once he was on the main street.  He found Woodsly’s shop quickly enough and poked his head in, seeing Woodsly behind the counter. “Hey, Caleb’s sick.  I don’t think he’ll be in for a couple of days.  Astrid is seeing to him now.”
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 04, 2020, 05:08:13 PM
It was during the move of him that Caleb was able to pry his eyes open once more, groaning weakly as his words had currently left him. Set onto the bed, the lad found it felt hard but that was just due to his strained muscles that made the bed feel that way now. THe world shifted in blurry shapes, sometimes they would be coherent enough to make up but the poor lad was relying heavily on hearing. Which his ears only caught bits and pieces of things. With Benjamin leaving, the poor boy hadn't heard what they aid about Astrid staying.

"P...lea...se....not....al..l..on...e" Caleb rasped out, unable to life himself up.

To see Benjamin opening the door to the shop was a surprise, causing him to raise a brow before the concern overtook his features. A nod left him as he stood there.

"I was just thinking about asking you if you saw him when I got home later, thanks for informing me." Woodsly replied. "You okay? You got blood on your clothes."
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 04, 2020, 05:27:58 PM
Astrid was immediately there, hand curling around his as she moved just a bit closer. “I’m here with you Caleb.  Benjamin will be right back,” she soothed, moving a hand to stroke through his hair in an effort to let him know that he wasn’t alone. 

--

Benjamin’s eyes widened and he looked down at himself.  Shit.  He hadn’t even thought about his appearance, and he’d been in so much of a hurry that he didn’t realize that his quick button-up job was lopsided.  He probably looked like a scruffy drunk who had gotten into a fight, or simply himself in another life.  “Uh…yeah, I’m fine.  You uh..you should see the other guy.  See you later.”

He knew that he had been abrupt, but he couldn’t find it in himself to care much.  He’d told Caleb that he wouldn’t be gone long, and he intended to keep his word.  He didn’t bother to keep an easier pace on the way back out of town, keeping at a steady jog until he reached the edge and then moved back into a full on run all the way back to the house. 

He skidded to a halt beside Caleb’s bed, anxiously studying the young man for any changes.  Astrid moved out of his way so that he could sit next to the kid again, watching over him. 

“Are you going to be staying with him for a bit?” Astrid asked softly, trying not to disturb Caleb.  Benjamin only nodded, not looking up. 

“Alright.  If you need me again, send a raven,” She said.  “Give him more tea if he needs it; I’ve left enough of the herb blend to last a few days if he has any more pain.”

Benjamin nodded silently. 
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 04, 2020, 06:08:02 PM
Woodsly raised a brow but did nothing in response when Benjamin bolted. Perhaps he'd ask about that later, perhaps not. It all depended on the mood honestly. Who knows what that would be like by the time he closed up today.

Caleb would remain out of it for several hours, laying in the bed as he managed to gain some real sleep. Though it was touch an go for a while there. Some of his feathers had faded back into him, thought these were the ones that had extended down his arms. The large wings remained out for now.  And it was around this time that he managed to wake up. A groggy sound left him before he tried to push his upper half up with his arms but the attempt to do so backfired, letting him flop harmlessly on the bed.

"oooooh.." Caleb groaned into the sheet, feeling some minor aches kicking in.
------------------------

Woodsly managed the store on his own but he didn't get any work in the back done, he was contemplating only selling furs for the days that Caleb was gone rather than more furniture; as he had ones to finish. He could figure that out later though, as he was certain that Astrid would be up for that conversation with him.  Though he figured he could lurk around Nome for a little while.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 04, 2020, 06:41:41 PM
Benjamin stirred. “Careful.  You’ve been through something,” he cautioned Caleb when he tried to move.  “And you’re off balance now, with your wingspan.  Some of your feathers have gone, but the wings might take more time.”

He leaned forward anxiously, studying his features for any sign of pain.  “Are you okay?  Do you need anything?  Astrid left something for pain, if you’re in any pain.”

--

Grey waited until nightfall.  She had watched men go in and out of the tavern all day, and when she saw one that she had heard her brother had fought with before he disappeared, she began to stalk her prey.  She followed him round to the back, lip curling slightly as he sidled up to the building for a piss.  Creeping up on him, she pulled her gun silently from the holster and, in a quick few steps, slammed the man’s face into the wall. 

The man sputtered and fell with a cry, the air knocked from him when her boot connected hard with his stomach.  He tried to roll away, only to find the barrel of her gun pushed firmly against his face.  He stilled promptly, glaring up at her.

“Boy, you are dead meat,” he hissed, flinching at the audible click of her gun preparing to fire.

“You first,” she replied back, coldly. “Emery Ackers, you fought with him a while back, and then he disappeared.  Every account says that you are tied to a fighting pit, and that you threw him in there.  You’re going to tell me where it is.”

The man stared at her like she had grown another head, then suddenly began to chuckle, as though he’d heard something hilarious.  Grey’s eyes narrowed.  “What the fuck is so funny?”

“You ain’t no boy, you’re his little sister, aren’t you?  Oh he mentioned you, alright.” The man chortled, staring at the barrel in his face.  His hands rose slowly to either side of his head, as if in surrender.  “What are you going to do, honey?  Shoot me?  They’ll hear it, and you’ll be dead before you can blink.”

Grey’s hand tightened a touch more around the gun.  “That would be my problem, not yours.”

“You only got six bullets in that gun, girl.  Five, after the one you put in me—assuming you can hit your mark, that is.  There are over ten men in that tavern waiting for me to come back, and if I don’t—”

Grey slammed the butt of her gun across his face, knocking him unconscious.  Really, she should have done that from the beginning.  Glancing around, she slid the revolver back in its holster and seized the man around the ankles, dragging him with difficulty to the abandoned building nearby she had scouted out the evening before.  Once he was inside, she closed the door and grabbed the rope she left, binding his hands behind him and his feet together. 

A bucket of ice cold water later, and the man was sputtering awake again, fighting his ropes.  Grey dealt another hard kick to his ribs, satisfied by the pain that stretched across his face.

“Where is the pit?” She demanded, pacing around the other side of him.

“Fuck you, bitch—” Kick.

“Where is the pit?”

“F-fuck yo—” Kick.

It was going to be a long night.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 04, 2020, 07:12:16 PM
"I....I feel really....woobly.."Caleb answered as he tried to reposition himself so he could look at  Benjamin better though he resumed his position. "Everything's...shaky..."

The lad would tremble lightly, finally able to feel cold air against his skin. He was disorientated and cold but for now that was better than what it could be.

"Is this...this how it goes?" Caleb asked, no doubt refering to the difficulty in his transformation.
--------------

Woodsly's wandering let him find the darker areas and even Grey. Welp that was funny now, she no doubt killed someone before but she left a multitude of witnesses. So sloppy, such a inconvenience for her in the future. He should've even be helping her but..Woodsly figured he could learn something.

"You're gonna have to do more than that to get rats like that to squeak." WOodsly said as he made himself known as he waltzed in.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 04, 2020, 07:31:14 PM
Grey’s gun was out and trained on Woodsly the moment he came through the door, features forming a hard mask.  He must have seen her, though she’d been careful to make certain that she hadn’t been seen—or so she had thought.  Son of a bitch.

The man on the floor laughed.  He recognized Woodsly, alright.  “Well look at that.  Our prized fighting dog, back from the dead—"

Grey jammed her foot down on the man’s throat, cutting off any further sound from him. 

“With all due respect, sir, I’m just tenderizing the meat before I get to skinning it.  My Daddy always said it was best to do that with snakes,” she said, keeping her tone even and respectful despite the panic she was feeling—and despite the fact that she had her gun on him.  For emphasis, she used her free hand to move her coat aside, baring the handle of her knife, freshly sharpened for the occasion.  She didn’t want to hurt the Carpenter, but he could turn her in, call for help.  For all she knew, he could have been lying to her before, and in cahoots with the man she was currently choking with her boot. That was more doubtful in her mind though; he’d gotten so upset at the mention of the pit.  “Are you going to cause trouble for me, sir, or can I put it away?”

--

“You grew a new pair of wings, Kid, of course you’re shaky,” Benjamin said quietly.  His question made him smile sadly.

“At first, for a while…yeah.  It hurts.  The longer you do it though, the more time goes on, the easier it gets.  It doesn’t hurt me anymore, and it’s fast.  Not such a process,” Benjamin explained.  “Do you need anything?”
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 04, 2020, 07:40:49 PM
Wings..he had wings...a hard thing to wrap his head around of. Taking a breathe, he exhaled.

"Food...maybe..maybe something to drink I don't know...how much I can keep down if anything." Caleb replied. "r.right,  I see."

A weak, tired smile was on his face, though from how worn out he looked chance were he would be out again relatively fast.
-----------

The gun was ignored as it was pointed at him, his attention actually stayed on the man as they spoke. So this person knew about the pits...they knew of him. Strange how Woodsly hadn't encountered them yet.

"Your tenderizing is also giving it a opening to snap back." Woodsly replied. "And no, I don't plan on causing you trouble."

His gaze narrowed as he looked down at the man before he turned round before he pulled his coat off, marching over to the chubby man that Grey had lodged in place.

"I don't recall seeing you in the stands watching.." Woodsly remarked.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 04, 2020, 08:34:19 PM
“Got it,” Benjamin said.  “I’ll be right back.”

He got up and left the room, finding his way to the kitchen.  There wasn’t a lot available, but he was able to put something together enough to get Caleb through, resolving to go get more food.  He briefly thought about sending for Astrid again, but making her trek out in the snow all this way just to bring food wasn’t something he really wanted to do.  Later, he told himself, he’d just see if he could get some from her, update her on Caleb’s condition.

He brought food into Caleb’s room and offered it to him, looking a touch sheepish.  “I’m no cook, but it’s what I can find.”

--

“The whole point is to get him to snap back, sir,” she said, tucking the gun back in her holster, but the carpenter was already standing over her prey, talking to him.  Grey lifted her boot from the man’s throat, watching him sputter and gasp for breath. 

“I’m going to gut you, you b—” Grey pulled her knife free and smiled as she knelt down, tapping the flat of the blade against his groin.  The act abruptly shut him up, and he began to look a touch worried for the first time.

“Call me a bitch again, and I’ll make you one,” Grey said, hoping he would.  The man was quiet.  “Answer the nice man’s question, now,” she said, voice just a touch too sweet, as though she were speaking to a child. 

Scowling, the man looked from her to Woodsly. “I don’t watch.  I just help to fill the cells,” he replied grudgingly. 

“Good, now where is my brother?” She persisted, shoving him onto his side so that she could get at his hand. 

“I’m not telling either of you shi—AAAHHH!” He screamed as Grey’s knife made a clean incision down the length of his index finger, then another right beside it. 

Using the tip of the blade, she pried up some of his skin and gripped it with her own fingers, focusing on the half of his face that she could see, features like steel.  “Try again.  Where the fuck did you take my brother?  Where. is. the. pit?”  she punctuated each word with a merciless pull, the skin of his finger ripping back bit by bit. 

The man howled in pain.  “He’s probably dead!  Your brother wasn’t nothing!  Do you have any idea how easy it was to get him in the first place?”

Grey’s eyes narrowed, dark emotions burning behind her eyes.  She ripped the skin all the way down to the base of the cut.  “Where is the pit?” She asked once he’d finished screaming, her voice dangerously quiet.  She grabbed the next finger and pushed the edge of her knife against it so he could feel the threat of the next cut. 

“I can’t tell you!” he shouted through sobs, writhing against the ropes.  “Stop cuttin’ on me!”

“The moment you tell me where the pit is, it stops.  If you don’t, I’ll work my way through both hands, your wrists, your arms—I will remove every last inch of skin you have to get what I want.  Tell me where the pit is now/i],” she hissed, repeating the same action she had with his first finger. 

“SOUTH!  FIFTEEN MILES, HIDDEN IN THE WOODS!” He cried, before she could pull.


Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 04, 2020, 08:45:28 PM
"No worries..there's never much...here.." Caleb rasped out, taking a few shaky breathes.

Caleb worked on eating the food he had been given, it was easy to tell the stiffness he was feeling was probably making it harder to eat the meal at a normal pace.
-----------

"Ah, so you were one of the degenerates who prowled around the cages in the dark." Woodsly remarked.

One of the men who would open the cages and throw people in, usually in violent and painful ways. Though he had to wonder just how Grey thought she was going to get into the pits even if this man did sing. The violent method used didn't bother him at all and it seemed to be working eventually for they squealed out the location. Or at least, as close to a location as they could get.

"Any specific landmark besides,fifteen miles from here into the woods?" WOodsly questioned.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 04, 2020, 08:57:40 PM
The man firmly closed his mouth, and Grey began to rip until he opened it up again.

"Fence post, dogs for sale.  Half a mile path off the road near an old dead tree," he gasped.  "Three men on watch at all times on both sides, one to scout the woods around.  More inside to keep the peace and watch the dogs!"

Grey looked up at the Carpenter.  "Do you have any questions to ask him sir?"

--

"I'll go to Astrid's here after a while, and see if she has some to spare," Benjamin said, watching him eat.  He left briefly and returned with water, setting the cup within Caleb's reach. "I doubt the general store is open, much less that it takes I.O.U.'s."

Benjamin stood, checking to see if his wings had begun to recede at all.  I already told Woodsly you were sick.  He knows not to expect you for a day or two." 
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 04, 2020, 09:04:21 PM
"Know a Stein Howlson? I know he's involved with one of the gangs but sense he's gone dark, I wonder if he's dug his mitts into another job for his boss. Know him or not? And if you do, you better tell me where he is." Woodsly instructed in a very firm and angered voice, bending down to be on the man's level.
-------

"I have...money you can use....though...I don't know what time it is.." Caleb offered.

His wings remained as they were, not having receded at all. IT was more than likely going to take a long amount of time for the wings to fade away and who knows if the full change wouldn't be triggered by time he did get his wings to dissappear, who knows. Some of the feathers are his shoulders had shrunk down at least.

"Thank you...i do..on't....know why the w...wings came out...." Caleb thanked, finding it hard to swallow another bite so he tried to take a few moments to make sure he didn't eat too much.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 04, 2020, 10:02:35 PM
“S-Stein?” The man stuttered.  He closed his mouth again, and Grey tugged.
 
“He’s not here!” He yelled through gritted teeth. “Boss sent him off to go get new blood from the next town.  He should be back in couple of weeks if the weather holds and their ain’t no trouble walking them!”

Grey tapped the blade silently against her arm, looking up at Woodsly.

“Please let me go!  Please!  I won’t tell nobody anything!” The man pleaded.

“Sir?” Grey asked, nodding to the man, indicating that Woodsly should continue if he had any more questions.

--

“It’s evening, past closing time.  It’ll have to wait for the morning,” Benjamin said.  He liked the thought of going to the grocery store instead by far; the walk to Astrids was long enough, but their and back with food?  That would take him longer than he felt comfortable being away, given the kid’s rough shape.  “I’ll go first thing in the morning.”

When Caleb mentioned that he wasn’t sure why the wings had grown, Benjamin grimaced.  “Probably stress.  It’s harder for us to keep our skin when we’re dealing with anger or sadness, or fear.  I don’t imagine that’s much different for you, and we always knew that something like this would be coming, we just didn’t know when.”

Ben scratched at his head with a quiet sigh.  “Some of your feathers have already faded back.  In time, I’m sure the wings will too.  Might take a little while.  You were pretty upset.  I’m sorry for my part in that.”
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 04, 2020, 10:13:38 PM
"When he does get back, where's he gonna hold himself up at? He's never had a obvious place to live in before and I doubt that's changed." Woodsly questioned.

The man kept his gaze on the 'victim' after all, he was trying to make sure he got the information he could from em. He didn't know if Grey was gonna kill em or not. Several generic questions left Woodsly and he was surprised to hear a couple of things. Other than that, he got everything he wanted in the end. Thus he stood up and started to walk away.

"Do what you want with him." Woodsly said to Grey.
------------

"Oh.." Caleb replied weakly, feeling a bit silly for not realizing that.

Still, he listened to Benjamin's words as he laid there. There was a desire to move and change his position but he couldn't. Things started to ache when he did and he didn't want the discomfort back. At their explanation for what was the possible reason, Caleb moved slightly.

"It's okay...I..I don't know why....it affected me so much..." Caleb muttered.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 04, 2020, 10:31:51 PM

Grey nodded and leaned forward, cutting the man’s throat in one quick slice.  She wiped her knife off on the man’s shirt and slid it back into its sheathe at her hip, stepping over the dead man and out the door after Woodsly. 

She glanced at him, then silently turned and went the other way, rolling herself a cigarette while she walked and lighting it up.  There was no need to talk about it; they had both got what they wanted and that was that.  She walked as if there no cold and she were out for a stroll, already beginning to plan the next step.

--

Benjamin shrugged, looking at his hands. “I don’t know kid, but its over now, and I’m going to do my best not to say anything else stupid.”

Noting Caleb’s discomfort, he left the room and made some of the tea Astrid left for him, returning a few minutes later with a cup of it.  Unlike Astrid, he’d set it outside for a minute to let it cool down enough to drink; the other way took too damned long.

He gave Caleb the cup. “Drink that, it’ll knock out the pain.  Once it’s taken effect, we’ll see about turning you onto your other side.  You need to get more rest.”

--

Benjamin left first thing after getting the money for the store, walking at a quick pace into town.  He still wasn’t happy about going, but it would be faster this way than going to Astrid’s. 

--

Grey gazed at the house with a frown, then glanced back in the direction of town uncertainly.  The woman from before had asked her to deliver medicine to the young man who lived here.  She’d said she was an apothecary, but that she was sick and couldn’t take it herself.  It was worth five whole dollars if she delivered it to the young man who lived in this house. 

The woman, ‘Astrid’ she had called herself, had looked awful compared to her pristine appearance the last time Grey had seen her wandering around town.  She had opened the door of her room when Grey was on her way out, had waved the note at her to get her attention, and now Grey was here in front of a stranger’s house, delivering him his medicine.

Harder five dollar notes had been earned. 

Hesitating for only a minute more, Grey knocked sharply on the door and waited. 
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 04, 2020, 10:42:59 PM
Caleb barely managed to drink the tea as he struggled to hold himself up even with support. Thankfully he did manage to and was soon rotated onto his other side and back to being asleep. One of the ravens showed Benjamin where the money was that Caleb mentioned for food. For a while,all was very quiet in the house. Until the knock at the door stirred him and slowly but surely, Caleb found some strength to drag himself out of the bed; though he had a blanket drapped over himself as he did so.

The feather had his arms were gone and almost gone from his neck, however the wings dragged behind him. So the blanket was to mostly hide them. Grey would hear something stumble and fall along with pained sounds. The pain in his chest dug in as he laid there on the floor for a few moments before slowly dragging himself to the door. Cracking it open, Grey would only see part of the pale young man as he laid on the floor, a pained expression on his face as he took ragged breathes of air in.

"H....hi..?" Caleb wheezed out.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 04, 2020, 10:52:57 PM
Grey heard whomever was inside take a spill and swore softly under her breath.  She opened the door and looked inside, seeing Caleb on the floor.  She recognized him from the carpenter's store and blinked, feeling some of tgat uneasiness returning. 

She quickly slipped inside and closed the door, brow furrowed as she knelt nearby and offered him a hand.  "Hey there, are you alright?  That sounded like a nasty fall."
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 04, 2020, 10:59:30 PM
"Hard to...move...." Caleb rasped out.

In his weak state, he didn't realize that there was a risk of her seeing his wings; the blanket was currently hiding them. But that was due to him being stuck on the floor. A shaky hand raised to take her hand and being helped up made everything start to spin. He staggered to sit on the couch, taking in raspy breathes as he sank there.

"Wh...at....you...ne..e.d..?" Caleb asked, words not coming out right as he felt the pain returning due to how he fell.

It was clear he was trying to ask respectfully what she needed, it's just raspy breathes that were frequent made it sound weird.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 04, 2020, 11:09:13 PM
Grey frowned, studying him as he collapsed on the couch.  He didn't look good.  Was he here all alonew?  Was that safe, given how he seemed like he could barely walk? 

"Um," she blinked, fumbling in her pocket for the little bottle the woman gave her.  "The lady that gave me this, Astrid she said, asked me to give this to you.  She's sick, so she couldn't bring it herself."

She extended the bottle to him. He looked like he really needed it.  "She says it's medicine?"

By all rights she could leave, now that the delivery was done.  But she didnt like the idea of leaving him like this.  "Erm...do you have anyone to look after you?  You don't look so good..."
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 04, 2020, 11:14:41 PM
Astrid? He sent him more medicine? A shaky hand reached and accepted it, pulling it toward himself as he took in uneven breathes. Wait she got sick? Was it due to coming to his house? Guilt grew but his pain overpowered it.

"Ben..jamin's ge....getting food...." Caleb answered, trembling as he did. "I j...u..st...drink, right?"

His question was refering to the bottle and considering how hard it was to talk, he pointed to it to make extra sure. If all he had to do was drink this bottle then he could manage that until Benjamin got back. Which should be soon...he really hoped it be soon.  The wings behind him were starting to hurt since he was laying against them and he couldn't do anything about it due to the stranger here.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 04, 2020, 11:26:14 PM
"Yeah, I guess so?" She said, nodding at his question. "She said 'have him take all of it'."

Well, if he had someone to look after him, then she supposed that she was only overstaying her welcome.  "Alright then, well I guess I better get out of your hair.  Feel better."

She got up and, with another glance Caleb's way, left.

Benjamin was just walking up when Grey exited, pulling the door closed behind her.

"Who are you?" He demanded, bristling.

"I brought him his medicine.  Astrid paid me to bring it to him." She explained, assuming this was the one looking after the guy inside.

Benjamin made a face. "I've never even seen you before.  There's no way that you could possibly know...fuck!"

Benjamin dropped the groceries and barreled through the door.  "Caleb don't drink it!"
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 04, 2020, 11:38:19 PM
"Thank..you..." Caleb managed to say before making himself take it.

It was bitter and hard to swallow, the moment he got it down he was coughing. Pain filling him as he writhed in his seat.Clutching his chest and stomach, Caleb fell onto his side as he was overwhelmed by the potion immedeatly taking hold. Benjamin was bursting in at this point and Caleb's ill contaimented mind struggled to hold it together at this point. Tears were leaving him as he sobbed, choking on the pain and struggle for air. However the feathers grew back in force and as Caleb attempted to ease himself to the ground, he found nothing was willing to coperate.

There was nothing Benjamin could do as Caleb seemed to be coated in feathers and shrank to a smaller size, turning into a slightly round shape; though only due to the feathers. His hands had turned into paws with talons at the end as did his feet, he was purely black save for here his face was that still held hints of a human. Though it looked younger with several small feathers doting under his eyes that were a darker color. Little fangs peaked out of his mouth and sticking out of his back were his wings, though they were smaller and fit his current form better.

A small sound left the creature before it collapsed to the ground, breathing heavily and tears rolling down it's pale cheeks. At his current size, Caleb was the size of a kid. Although a very weird feather covered creature.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 05, 2020, 09:40:35 AM
Benjamin grabbed onto him, a mix of unintelligible words leaving his mouth as he tried in vain to find any way to help him.  The boy was choking, gasping, crying, and the bottle that Ingrid had sent him lay on the floor not too far off.  Horrified by what was happening, Benjamin felt his own form ripple and strain from the stress.  His heart wanted to stop.  He was losing him, wasn’t he?  Ingrid had poisoned him, and he was going to die right here in his arms.  This was retaliation, Benjamin knew, for what he had done to Shadow. 

“Gods no, no, no!  Please no!” he cried.  Benjamin could do nothing but watch it happen.

One more person that he cared about, hurt and suffering because of him and his actions.  It was too much, too much for him to bear. 

Even as Benjamin was fearing the worst, Caleb grew more and more feathers, but began to shrink instead of going still.  Smaller and smaller, until he was the size of a child.  Caleb’s body twisted and changed, his hands became paws and grew talons, and while his face seemed to retain some resemblance of humanity, the rest of him was purely animal—of a sort that Benjamin had never seen before.  The kid still had his wings, and many other attributes to the raven, but…on the whole, he didn’t look like a raven. 

He wasn’t dead…no, Ingrid hadn’t killed him, but she had…what had she done?  Was this permanent? 

Shuddering and heedless of the tears streaming down his own face, Benjamin gathered Caleb in his arms and held him as tightly as he dared, trying to force himself to stay human rather than shifting to the form of a bear.  It was hard; as he had told Caleb the night before, it was harder to keep their skins under any sort of duress. 

Benjamin felt a cold sort of livid rage burn to life inside of him while he was trying to force the other emotions to calm.  Ingrid…Ingrid was going to pay for this.  It had always been his prerogative to let Astrid deal with her own sister—unless of course she needed help.  After all, Ingrid’s focus had always been on Astrid alone.  Until Benjamin killed Shadow.  And that girl…that strange who had brought the poison…

Benjamin looked out the open door, but didn’t see her.  She must have run the moment he yelled for Caleb not to drink it; he couldn’t even see the back of her in the distance.  She’d get hers too, he’d make sure of it—once he got a taste of Ingrid’s blood.

First things first, though.

Benjamin grabbed the blanket that Caleb had been using and wrapped the kid back in it, bundling him so that none of his strange features would be immediately obvious if anyone were to happen across them.  “It’s going to be okay, kid,” he murmured while he did.  The anger in his voice was barely contained, and there was a subtle tremor in his body that spoke of his own internal struggle with the animal inside himself.  “I’m going to take you to Astrid’s.  Maybe she’ll know what to do.  I’ll make it right.  I’ll make it right, Kid.”
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 05, 2020, 10:03:00 AM
A whimper like sound left the small creature that Caleb had turned into, partially from fear at the anger in Benjamin’s voice  but also due to confusion and the tears that were leaving their own eyes. A sense of doing something wrong came to them but they weren’t sure of what.  The blanket being wrapped around them seemed to calm their fears a small degree, they stopped crying at least. 

They wiggled a little before pressing their face against Benjamin, their darker eyes closing as they appeared to start drifting off to sleep. It was probably cute, though hard to say.

“So I got at least something.” Woodsly finished explaining.

The man had been explaining the leads he got last night as well as the talk with the girl from before. He wasn’t sure on what to make of it all.

“I gotta wait a few weeks on that one.” Woodsly added.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 05, 2020, 11:01:24 AM
Benjamin held Caleb close, finally managing to get his emotions under some modicum of control.  Caleb wasn’t dead, he was only changed.  He was different, but he was safe.  The older man murmured soothing, gentle words as he carried him from Caleb’s house and made his way to Astrid’s.  The kid seemed to fall asleep, but Benjamin carried on in the soothing, finding he needed it almost as much for himself as the kid did.

--

Astrid finished cooking and presented Woodsly with a plate, listening to him explain what had happened and the information he had gotten.  There had been so little in the way of information on Stein, and she knew it had been a source of much frustration for him.  This was more than he had gotten; where Stein had gone, a timeframe with his return; Astrid couldn’t help but smile.

“A few weeks to plan, and more than you knew before.  I’d say that it was a pretty good night,” Astrid commented, grabbing one of the books from the shelf and opening it somewhere in the middle.  She scanned over the contents of the page; medicines needed to be made today, now that the latest batch of herbs had finished drying.  She had already set up her alembic for the day ahead of her, and water was near to boiling for the first part of the brewing process.

She gave Woodsly a deep kiss as she passed by him to go and retrieve one of the last pieces of the set up that she needed.  “This girl you mentioned, do you know what she plans to do next?  It seems a tall order, trying to take on this place by herself.  She’s likely to get herself killed.”

The door opened and Benjamin came in, cradling a bundle like one might a child.  Rage, pain, and sadness was in every line of his face and Astrid felt something drop in the pit of her stomach.  She had not seen that expression since…

“What happened?” Astrid immediately asked, setting down what she had collected.

“Ingrid…Ingrid poisoned him!  I don’t know how, but whatever she gave him—changed him into this,” Benjamin said, turning just enough for Astrid to see the child-like creature bundled up in blankets.  He kept his voice quiet, but Astrid could hear the heavy emotions in his voice all the same.  She immediately slipped into the role of healer, studying Caleb.

“How did she poison him?”

“Some fucking girl, never seen her before in my life, said that ‘Astrid’ paid her to give him his medicine.  There was a bottle—” He dug in his pocket and handed the small bottle over to Astrid, who took it.

Astrid passed the bottle beneath her nose to catch the scent, flinching slightly at the bitterness of the poison within, and the subtle tingle of something…temporal.  Expression grave, she gestured to one of the empty chairs near the fire.  “Make him comfortable.  I’ll try to figure out what this is.”

“Can you keep an eye on him please?  I’ve got business that needs to be taken care of now,” Benjamin said, settling Caleb in the chair with the greatest of care.

Astrid blinked, raising an eyebrow and pausing the chore of removing the stuff from the top of her storage chest.  “What business?”

My business,” Benjamin growled shortly, his tone leaving no room for argument or discussion.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 05, 2020, 11:22:03 AM
“I don’t know her plans.” Woodsly replied, letting the kiss he received sink in. “Strange though, given everything going on. But I guess gangs change thier business often enough I suppose.”

A shrug left him but the calm mood was interrupted by the door opening. The bundle that was Caleb stretched slightly. Freeing a paws limb from the confines of the blanket as they nestled back in. It seems though they were sensitive about thier resting spots.

At first, Caleb was fine on the chair but the moment those hands left him, the creature awoke. A sound leaving them before thier gaze landed on the form of Benjamin. The strange creature let out a sound as they rose on wobbly legs, attempting to give chase.

Thier squeaky chirp was interrupted as they hit the floor, having jumped from the chair and landed with a thud. Wings sprawled out as the child tried to get up to pursue the other, crying as they got onto shaky legs. Woodsly stepped in at this point, gently grabbing fluffy sides and picking them up.

Screeching wails left Caleb as he flailed in the man’s grasp, having felt safer with Benjamin. Though. Woodsly took him back over to the chair, trying to get them to stay put. Thier crying hadn’t stopped.

“He’ll come back, just calm down.” Woodsly tried to soothe though a small paw of talons was waved at him.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 05, 2020, 11:58:55 AM
Astrid was beyond grateful when Woodsly scooped Caleb up.  She had a feeling that Benjamin was close to losing it.  A moment of hesitation had seized Benjamin when Caleb cried for him, but then his resolve hardened even more.  Astrid rose from her kneeling position in front of the chest and took a step towards him. 

“Can it wait?  The poor boy has been through a terribly rough couple of days, and it clearly upsets him when you’re not close by—”

“No it CAN’T WAIT!” Benjamin shouted, the latter half of the sentence viciously deepened with a bear’s roar. 

Astrid flinched, eyes suddenly burning to life with the luminescence that took over whenever she was about to do some sort of magic.  Her features became set like stone, and Benjamin actually leaned back from her, a flicker of fear in his eyes.

“You will not speak to me that way again,” Astrid said, her voice barely above a whisper, but even and hard as steel.   

Benjamin grimaced.  “Ingrid can’t fight back right now.  She needs to pay for what she’s done, Astrid,” he said, his voice more carefully controlled. 

“We agree on that, but Caleb needs you,” Astrid said, some of the glow fading from her eyes.

“I can’t believe this.  You were nearly burned alive because of her.  You were nearly hung four times because of her—and worse!  She has poisoned your life in every town you have fled to and from and made it impossible for you to return home, and she’s crawled out of her hell-pit to do the same gods damned thing here.  She’s stalked the people you loved, and poisoned someone I love, and I’m going to make sure that it never happens again.” Benjamin hissed, struggling to contain his anger again.  “I’m going to do what you obviously can’t.”

With that, Benjamin turned and left, slamming the door behind him as he headed for town.

Astrid exhaled, her posture tense.  She was angry, but mostly she was hurt.  No one knew better than she did just what she had suffered by Ingrid’s machinations, and certainly, she had chosen to hide instead of act, but her hands had been tied.  Ingrid worked in ways that bent the rules, fully knowing that if she acted against Astrid personally, it would free her sister to retaliate in kind.  Instead, Ingrid relied on using the hands of others to wield the weapon, which kept her protected and left Astrid with little choice but to run.  She wasn’t a killer, and Ingrid knew it.

And Benjamin knew it.

Her eyes shifted to the floor and she forced her hands to relax at her sides, having not realized that she had been clenching them into fists the whole time.  She made herself turn and go back to the chest to retrieve what she needed—at the very least, she could figure out what Ingrid had given Caleb, and maybe she could figure out a solution from there. 
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 05, 2020, 12:45:26 PM
The roar attached to the end of Benjamin's words made Woodsly's hair stand on end as he felt displeasure at Astrid being yelled at in such a manner. However, Caleb started to tremble and lay down, looking afraid before their tear were pouring down their face. They were straight up crying as they were scared, trembling as their wings twitched before they tried to cover themelves with them. As if trying to hide from the scary voice. Crying for Benjamin without realizing that the scary voice was Benjamin.

With things unfolding, Woodsly felt the urge to just punch Benjamin. It was honestly just a maddining few moments that he stayed put. When Benjamin left, Woodsly went over to Astrid. Putting a hand to her shoulders to try and give her some comfort. Caleby stayed put, crying in their animal like way as tears streamed down his small face. Tucker had gone over to Caleb and started to sniff them, though this caused the child creature to freak out.

Squeaky screeching as they flailed a paw at the dog and tumbled out of the chair once again. Though the feathered creature was quick to dark for a dark space to squeeze under. Woodsly had turned around quickly when he heard the chair thud to the ground and a confused bark from Tucker.

"Caleb! come back!" Woodsly instructed as he tried to stop the transformed man.

Sadly Caleb managed to squeeze under the bed, their dark eyes staring out at the world from their new hiding spot.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 05, 2020, 01:00:36 PM
Astrid covered Woodsly’s hand with her own, but then Woodsly was chasing after Caleb; the boy was understandably upset.  She closed her chest and put her tools on the table, following after Woodsly and Caleb to where their bed was.  He was hiding underneath, and Astrid could see his eyes peering from beneath in the shadows. 

She went to the floor and laid down on her side beside the bed, extending a hand near Caleb, but not trying just yet to touch him.  “Come here sweetheart.  It’s going to be alright.  I know that was scary, but you are safe.  Woodsly and I are here for you, and Benjamin will come back soon.  Please come out.” She soothed, trying to calm him down enough to draw him out.  He was an adorable little creature, really, but she supposed the shock of seeing Caleb like this had lessened the initial realization.  Whatever Astrid had given him had sent him back in years as well as changed his form.  She wasn’t sure if there was anything she could do about that, given that magic like what had done this to him was something she had no gift with. 
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 05, 2020, 01:20:28 PM
Confused sounds accompanied by a sniffling like sound could be heard from under the bed, there was nowhere else to hide. No other spot he could squeeze under in this area of the house. The feathers on their body puffed up as they spotted more than one figure trying to gain their attention. Woodsly figured he'd stay put to offer support for Astrid, after all, if she could coax him out then he'd just have to make sure the little guy didn't try to bolt for it again. Though Tucker approached, sniffing the floor until they came to Astrid's side, sniffing her a couple of times before sticking their nose under the bed.

An angry sort of hiss like sound left Caleb, clearly being reduced to a child's mindset as well as a young creature, took away a lot of their prior knowledge. Tucker was clearly pulling a more animalistic reaction out of the younging as they were afraid. Seeing this, Woodsly whistled for Tucker to come over to him as he stood up.

"Come here boy, you might be scary to him." Woodsly said as he walked over to a chair and took a seat, Tucker followed with a curious manner.

More sounds left Caleb and they seemed to try and look past Astrid to make sure the dog was moving away. Seeing that the dog was indeed removed, their dark eyes returned their gaze to Astrid. Careful steps forward as they sniffed her hand that was under the bed. He was just within grabbing reach.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 05, 2020, 01:39:59 PM
“Come on, little one, it’s okay,” Astrid cooed, once Woodsly had called Tucker away.  Caleb was afraid of him, but she hoped that would eventually pass.  When Caleb came within grabbing distance, Astrid weighed her options, debating on whether she should just keep trying to coax him, or risk upsetting him further by grabbing him.

Patience won out, and with Tucker getting attention from Woodsly, she hoped that would offer the time she needed to get him to come out on his own.

“Come here, Caleb,” she urged softly, opening her arms to him.  “I’ll take care of you until Benjamin comes home.  It’s okay.  I won’t let you go, okay?  It’s okay…”
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 05, 2020, 02:06:14 PM
Astrid would feel a paw touching her hand and it was easy to tell it was Caleb, as if the child was trying to make sure that Astrid's hand wasn't something dangerous. They were also using the heel of their paw to repetitively poke and prob her with, so the younging at least already knew that their claws were sharp or at least, had the incling of it. Slowly but surely, Caleb inched further out, only pausing when their head was sticking out and they gave a confused look around.

IT was clear he was looking for a specific something, the way his expression changed when they clearly could tell that someone wasn't here was a clear enough sign. A sad bird like sound left them as they set their head on the floor. Woodsly kept a hold of Tucker, not wanting the dog to scare the boy back under. Though the noise was enough to make Tucker look and they would started barking. Causing caleb's feathers to puff up and a odd hissing noise to leave them.

"Stop Tucker!" Woodsly ordered.

Tucker whinned confused while Caleb hissed from the spot they were at. When it was clear that the dog wasn't going to come near, Caleb slowly emerged but proceeded to try and hide under Astrid. Not really possible since she was on her side.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 05, 2020, 02:21:11 PM
Astrid immediately wrapped her arms around him and moved to get up.  Once up, she grabbed a blanket, sat on the edge of the bed, and wrapped it around him so that he was cocooned safely within.  She tied the excess ends together at the small of her back and formed a sling for him; she could keep him close and safe, and still work while holding him.

She got to her feet, both arms around him still and exhaled in some relief as she went back to the table. She hoped that this worked, that Caleb would feel safer.  She kept one arm securely around Caleb while she concentrated, though just for an added measure to keep him calm, she began to sing softly.  It was something that her mother had sung to her when she was a child, for comfort when she woke from nightmares.  It was in the mother tongue, the language her mother had used from the time they were born alongside English, the very one used in their ancestral spells.

Taking the small bottle that Benjamin provided, she tilted it until the last drop of what remained inside landed on the flat stone she’d set out just before, followed by a drop of something from a different black glass bottle.  The liquid promptly began to turn colors and Astrid jotted down the meanings in the margins of her book. 

That done, she went to her shelves and pulled down several more books that she thought might provide information.  “This is…complicated.  Ingrid was always good at blending poison and magic, and she’s used a magic I can’t do anything to disrupt,” she said softly to Woodsly, shaking her head.  “There are other elements to it that I’m not familiar with at all.  This will take time.  Potentially a lot of it.”
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 05, 2020, 02:35:06 PM
A confused sound left Caleb as he was picked up, not having expected it since he was more busy trying to find a different spot to hide that the dog couldn't get to. Though they were quickly bundled up and against Astrid in a sling. At first they just seemed more confused and about to start wiggling around when she started to sing. One arm was under him and although he was secured in the blanket, he attempted to rest his legs against her arm; sort of like perching; he wasn't able to due to the fabric in the way.

"But there's a chance to help him still, we'll just have to keep him here and watch him." Woodsly replied, trying to be some sort of support. "Question is, where's he going to sleep? I don't think he'll be too comfortable where Tucker can get to him easily if this interaction has proven anything."
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 05, 2020, 02:45:57 PM
Astrid nodded, brow furrowed in thought and both arms around Caleb now.  She felt him trying to adjust his position and helped as much as she could to make him more comfortable, and less trapped. 

Woodsly brought up a good point.  The cabin was small, too small enough for the number of people living there now, and with the addition of Caleb and—in a handful of months two babies…what were they going to do about space?  Astrid had already been thinking about trying to add on to the cabin, but doing that in winter would be a hard thing.  Benjamin would want to stay close and he would likely need help with Caleb. 

“We’ll figure something out,” Astrid finally said.  Maybe there was some sort of magic she could use, but that would require even more research than what she already had ahead of her.  “It’ll be a bit crowded, but I’m sure we will find a way.  Without knowing how long things will take here, expanding the cabin was always going to have to be something that needed doing.  Benjamin will help.”
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 05, 2020, 03:01:40 PM
"Well I have a few weeks to wait for Stein, I can start working on a expansion." Woodsly offered. "Besides, I can just sell the stock in my shop and the furs while Caleb is....like this."

He wouldn't be able to work in the back of the workshop without someone at the front. Although, he had to wonder just what girl Benjamin had gone on about. With Asrid adjusting his position, Caleb went mostly still before tilting his head. For the moment though they were a great deal more docile.  That's when it finally clicked for Woodsly, he hadn't told anyone about him being from the pits save for Ingrid....not thinking much of it at the time. Then that girl came in.

"I think...that girl I mentioned is being used by Ingrid.." Woodsly admitted at the realization. "When she first showed up, I made up the lie of the magic on me being from the pits, no one else. So that means....oh crude."
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 05, 2020, 03:36:12 PM
Astrid looked up, eyes widening slightly when Woodsly made the connection.  Ben had made his plans clear; once he was finished with Ingrid, he would hunt the girl too.  If Ingrid had manipulated her, used her, then the girl wasn’t at fault and Benjamin would be committing an unjustified murder. 

“Woodsly, if that’s true than she doesn’t deserve to die,” she murmured quietly, worried.  Ingrid was one thing, but an innocent—well, innocent of this—that was an entirely different matter.  Could Benjamin even be stopped from carrying out his plans, even with reason contradicting it?  She didn’t know.  Benjamin had been so angry, that she honestly didn’t know if he could be swayed.  “Did she mention at all where she was staying?”
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 05, 2020, 03:45:51 PM
"She didn't..but I know where one destination of her's  is." Woodsly replied as he got up. "if he comes back before I get back, inform him of the girl not doing this with malicious intent."

Pulling Tucker along, he took the dog outside so that they wouldn't bother Caleb while he was in the house. Course, Woodsly poked his head back in.

"I'll try to find both of em." Woodsly added. "If I can find the girl, I'll try to explain that she needs to lay low. If I find Benjamin, I'll try to talk sense into him."

With that, Woodsly rushed off.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 05, 2020, 05:43:28 PM
Astrid nodded when Woodsly told her what he was doing, expression one of concern.  Ben would likely be wherever Ingrid was; she doubted that he would be quick enough in the killing to get both women before Woodsly got to the girl.  Hopefully he would reach her in time. 

She continued to hold Caleb close, singing off and on to keep him happy and calm despite the turmoil around them.  Fifteen minutes after Woodsly left, she felt a sudden rush of energy assault her from all sides, seeping into her.  Candles suddenly burned to immediate life all over the cabin and Astrid jerked, eyes glowing so brightly that there was no discernible iris.  She gripped the table to steady herself, gasping for breath as magic pulsed within like an electrical current. 

It was over almost as quickly as it had begun, though the feeling of sheer power and wholeness persisted. 

Ingrid was dead, and Astrid’s power was made whole.

--

Grey removed the rabbit from the trap she had set the day before, stuffing the makings of her daily meal into the satchel at her hip.  She had checked the other traps and had found all of them empty, but she only needed the one. 

After what had happened at the young man’s house, Grey had wasted no time in getting out.  Whatever she had unwittingly done, it had been bad, and the panic of the man who had walked up on her had sent her running with her tail tucked between her legs.  Spending her time outside of town today seemed like a smart decision.  Luckily, she had work to do that wasn’t in town, and once she finished cooking herself a rabbit, she’d be headed to stake out the pit. 

She tried to ignored how much what happened bothered her.  She resolved not to do anything else for the woman; she hadn’t felt right anyway…Grey should have listened to her instincts.

She looked up, checking that she was alone, and moved on away from the trap, but something on the horizon caught her attention.  She couldn’t tell exactly what it was, but it sure looked big.  Brown…shaggy…was that a bear?

And it was headed straight for her…
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 05, 2020, 05:56:21 PM
A sound left Caleb as he looked over the edge of the blanket, staring down at the floor. They were starting to doze off when Astrid gasped and jerked for a moment, a squeaky squack leaving them as they looked round before looking up. As if trying to understand what had happened. Tilting their head as they stared up at Astrid.
--------------

Woodsly was thankful for the senses he had, he was able to pick up on Benjamin's trail before he diverted from it. Sure enough, he spotted Grey and not that far away was indeed Benjamin. Woodsly lunged for it, attempting to cause Grey and him to tumble out of Benjamin's way. If it worked, they would roll to a stop and Woodsly would look over his shoulder before returning his gaze to her.

"The woman you who told you about me knowing of the pits, she's been sick right?" Woodsly questioned. "Answer me honestly here, cause she's been using you to get at her sister and right now, someone else is very pissed and probably won't take any answer all that well!"
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 05, 2020, 07:03:50 PM
Astrid looked down at Caleb as the glow receded, exhaling softly as some of the initial intensity faded some. 

It was over.

All the ways that Ingrid had made her suffer, all of the destruction to everything she tried to build, all of the fear, anxiety, and sadness that related to her sister was gone.  She was free. 

Free.

It was enough to bring tears to her eyes, and she couldn’t help but smile down at the strange ravenling.  “She’s gone.  Benjamin did it…”

--

Grey swore and turned to run as the bear advanced on her, but cried out when something plowed into her from the side and knocked her down.  “What in the world—!”

It was the man from the night before, the carpenter.  He was between her and the bear now.  The massive beast had slowed from his run and let out an angry roar, pacing back and forth as if he didn’t want to get any closer to him.  The bear’s mouth and all down his front was soaked with blood, and Grey thought that she could see pieces of flesh gathered beneath his long talons.  He was staring at her, but wouldn’t get any closer.  What the fuck?

The man was talking to her, and it took her a moment to piece together what he was saying.  Her brow furrowed and she gaped.  Stupid, so fucking stupid!  She knew that there was something off, that something wasn’t right!  And she’d just gone ahead and done it anyway. 

“Woodsly!  Get out of my way,” the bear roared, and Grey’s face paled a little bit, expression one of disbelief.  Did…that bear just talk?

“What fresh fucking hell is this?” Grey breathed, terror getting the better of her.  “I-I didn’t know!  I…I thought she was weird, but I swear I didn’t know—”

“Then I’ll make your death quick instead of drawing it out like I did for Ingrid,” The bear growled.   
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 05, 2020, 07:19:13 PM
Caleb tilted his head, as if trying to understand what she was talking about. However the long hair caught their dark colored eyes and they merely got a mouthfull of it and started to niggle on it. Seems the hair was more interesting than the revolutionary discovery. Course, Astrid could easily regain her hair from the mouth of this little creature, they weren't chewing on it rough or anything of that sort.

"Stop!" Woodsly yelled at Benjamin. "She was being used by Ingrid, she had someone she cares about dangled above her head. You knew Ingrid, you know more than I how manipulative she is. Hurting Grey isn't going to help Caleb and all it's going to do is destroy a family!"

Woodsly sighed, struggling to figure out just what he was going to do to calm Benjamin down. It's not like Caleb would be of much use, the bear would just be furious to see the little guy in the form they had currently. But at the same time, it was all they had.

"Listen, Caleb's freaking out without you there. The moment you left, he went and hid. I know your pissed but you already got the payback that is just deserved. Grey has someone she needs to save and Astrid can fix what Ingrid did to Caleb. She's working on it right now." Woodsly added. "He seems to only really recall you, he was skittish toward Astrid but is downright scared of the dog."

Woodsly adjusted his position, trying to silently tell Grey to stay behind him.

"All Grey has to do is save her own brother, then they're leaving Nome for good. Right?" Woodsly questioned, glancing over his shoulder at her.

Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 05, 2020, 10:02:57 PM
Astrid laughed when he grabbed onto her hair and chewed on it, hugging him a bit closer.  He was adorable.  She was intent on returning to him to his human form at the very least, but for now, she supposed there were worse shapes that Ingrid could have forced him to take. 

“Lets get you something you can actually eat, hm?” she said.  Oh…what did he eat?  Could he just have normal food, or was his diet restricted?  Astrid frowned thoughtfully.  He still seemed somewhat raven-like, so maybe the diet would be the same?  He was young, though, and that would mean she’d have to be a bit more careful to give him something he could eat, that he wouldn’t be able to choke on.

“Huh…Well, sweetheart, you are good practice ahead of my own babies,” she commented, getting to work. 

--

Benjamin growled.  Woodsly was talking sense, and sense was the last damned thing that he wanted to hear right now.  Tearing Ingrid apart had been more satisfying that he suspected it would, but it wasn’t enough.  Anger was still coursing through his veins.  The girl was party to it, unwitting or not.  Maybe it wasn’t exactly right to kill her, but damn it, it would make him feel better!

That thought immediately drew Benjamin up short, feeling some silent horror that he had even thought it.  He was no stranger to violence or killing, but…he had never really enjoyed it, had he?

He didn’t know.

Grey grimaced, not moving an inch despite Woodsly moving just enough to keep her behind him.  His question caught her off guard.  She knew that her brother had taken the money they had left and had come up here to buy a mining claim.  If her brother had the claim, they’d be staying to mine it.  If he’d got himself taken before he could buy it, though…Considering that her brother and her both had burned bridges in town before they had really begun, leaving was probably the wisest decision.

“Y-Yes…we’ll leave.” Grey finally said, feeling much of her hopes for future plans collapse into the dust. 

Benjamin lowered his head, no longer looking at her.  Woodsly was right.  He had his payback, and Caleb needed him now.  He backed away several steps.  “I’m going home.  I…I shouldn’t have…I’m sorry.”

Benjamin turned and loped back in the direction of the cabin.

Grey exhaled softly.  “How…the fuck…was that bear talking?!”
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 05, 2020, 10:15:14 PM
Woodsly sighed in relief when Benjamin turned and let. Once the bear was out of ear shot, he'd return his attention to Grey.

"Let's just say that this world is a lot like old stories and myths. Also, you're free to choose to leave or stay once we get your brother back, however I will warn you. Staying in Nome after busting him out of the pits might not be wise." Woodsly cautioned. "That lady who told you the things she did, she wasn't a good person and I know you were only helping her cause she seemed to be helping you get your brother back, right?"

It didn't hurt to make sure but till, Woodsly wasn't going to just let Benjamin kill her. It wasn't...entirely right.
----------------

With the strands of hair removed from his mouth, Caleb tilted his head. Watching the long locks flow behind her before she rose up to her feet. Her words made little sense, so his head tilted a couple more times. However as she started to pull items to start working on food, Caleb would sniff the items and once in a while reach for something. Thankfully having him wrapped up kept him from causing trouble.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 05, 2020, 10:34:37 PM
Grey shook her head, unable to fathom it.  It was just the sort of nonsense that her elder brother Tom used to spout off, but Tom liked his fables, and while her father had indulged her brother his fantasies, the rest of them were held to a harder, more sensible standard. 

Maybe she ate a bad mushroom or something.  And wait a second, did Woodsly just say we?  Since when had he volunteered to help her spring her brother?  It wasn’t so much that she wouldn’t accept the help, but damn it, she already had things planned out.  She’d already stolen nitroglycerine from the mining office for the occasion.  He asked her about the woman, and she forced her thoughts away from the current train of thought.

“Yes.  Well, she pointed me towards you and told me that you knew something about the pit, where it was and the like.  This morning she just…offered me five whole dollars to deliver that bottle.  That’s…a lot of money for a delivery, sir, and my pockets ain’t so full that I can turn that kind of offer away.  I just…I really thought it was medicine.  She was so convincing about it…” Grey trailed off.  “I…I knew better when I heard the screaming from inside the house.  I…I didn’t even go back to her for the money, I was so upset.  I really didn’t mean him no harm, he seemed like such a nice fella.”

--

Astrid paused with each thing, letting Caleb get a sense of them before she began to work in earnest.  Meat was chopped finely enough for him to chew without difficulty, and she cut small pieces of apple for him as well.  She took one of the small pieces and popped them into her mouth to show him, then offered some to him, letting him take his time to figure it out. 

The door open, and a naked Benjamin jetted into the house and straight for his stash of clothes, pulling things on as quickly as he could.  Astrid ignored him and kept trying to feed Caleb until Benjamin was ready to take over.

A few minutes later the older man was there, arms extended towards the small creature.  “I’ll take him now.  Thanks,” he murmured.  Astrid nodded and, keeping one arm secure around Caleb, undid the tie at the small of her back so she could hand him over.

“I felt it when she died,” Astrid said, watching Benjamin cradle Caleb close.  Ben nodded. 

“Figured you would, as much as I hate the thought of that devil being right about anything.”

“Woodsly?”

“He’s fine.  He stopped me from hurting the girl.”

“Good.” 
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 05, 2020, 10:55:50 PM
"Indeed, she is convincing an I understand that. You aren't to blame and just so you know, Caleb will be alright. We're helping him to recover, she poisoned him badly but he'll live." Woodsly assured.

Granted cursed isn't really posioned but point was, this was a attempt to clear up Grey's conscious. Get her mind off of that one thing so she could focus more on the important thing, freeing her brother.

"Alright, back to the important task. How exactly are you planning on dealing with all the armed goons in the pits?" Woodsly questioned.
---------

With the piece of apple offered to him, Caleb sniffed it for a few moments before accepting it; the piece getting stuck on a fang for a few minutes before he managed to start 'chewing' it. It was more of a attempt to mash it since it was clear the youngster wasn't accustomed to their fangs yet. They managed to eat it and seemed to like it. Of course when the door opened and Benjamin walked by,  Caleb made several excited sounds, wiggling about as they tried to get to the man. He was kept in place thanks to the bundle he was wrapped in.

When Benjamin came back round, the youngster's excitement returned. Making another sound as they clearly wanted to leave their current position. As soon as the blanket was undone, wings spread and Caleb leaped into the air at Benjamin.Flapping his inexperienced wings before being caught in Benjamin's hands, pleased coo like sounds left the youngster as they grinned with their little fangs showing. Now in the embrace of the one that had brought em here, the young raven esq creature rubbed their head against the man's chest. Seeming to be very happy.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 06, 2020, 09:57:53 AM
A look of relief flitted across Grey’s face when Woodsly told her that Caleb would be alright.  She was no stranger to crime, murder in particular, but those people got what they had coming to them.  Caleb didn’t fit the bill for that, not by a long shot. 

Woodsly asked her what her plans were, and Grey was silent for a moment, debating on whether she should say anything.  Granted, Woodsly had been wronged by the people at the pit, that much had been made quite clear.  She felt a pang; if she failed, her brother would die in here.  She wasn’t afraid of death, not in the least, and she accepted it as a possible outcome, but if her chances could be improved…

“I need to scout before I can determine that.  I was planning on spending the next couple of days staked out by the Pit to watch, get a feel for things.”  She wanted to memorize the faces of the people who guarded, who came to watch, who kept control of the whole operation.  She had a lot of killing to do, and she’d be damned if a single one of them managed to get away.  “Without that extra feel, though, I’d say that I’d start by killing the man who walks the perimeter of the forest around the pit.  From there, I’d draw off the guards—get them all in one spot so that I can pick them off.  That’s as far as I’ve got.  There’s still casing to be done.”

--

Benjamin held Caleb close, turning from Astrid to go and sit in the chair by the fire with him.  With some of his rage, fear, and pain cooling, he took the time to study the creature that Caleb had been turned into.  He moved the blanket aside, keeping Caleb partially covered for comfort.  He was a cute little shit, to be sure, but…

Gods, he’d failed him.  He’d failed Caleb’s Da too.  He should have told him not to open the door, should have…gods, he should have just taken him back to Astrid’s after the whole wing-growth business, pain or not. 

“Have you figured anything out yet?” Benjamin asked, carefully stroking some of the feather’s on Caleb’s head.

“It’s going to take me time, Benjamin.  She used a blend of magic that I don’t know much about.  I’ve never been able to do that sort of thing before.” Astrid said, flipping through one of the books she had put out for study.

“Until now.  You’ve got her power now, that other half.  You can do everything she could now,” Benjamin said, pulling the little creature close and hugging him. 

“All of the power, Benjamin, but none of the knowledge.  I have it, but I can’t use it if I don’t know how.”

“How hard can it be?” Benjamin asked, glancing at her.

Astrid sighed. “I will not perform unfamiliar magics, especially not on a person—especially not on Caleb.  Anything could go wrong.  I could make it worse!  There is no way I’m doing anything until I have an understanding of it and know that whatever spell I do will work.”  She looked over at the little bundle of feathers and sighed.  “And even then, I’m not so sure I can reverse the age.  That magic…temporal magic, that’s…It’s something we are forbidden from doing.  Ingrid would have found herself before the Council of Seven for that stunt, had she lived.”

Benjamin blinked.  “So he’ll…be a little kid then?”

Astrid nodded. “Most likely, yes.”
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 06, 2020, 02:59:31 PM
“Not all the guards are outside, maybe two or three are couldve gone up since I escaped. But for the most part, you have to contend with what’s inside the building.” Woodsly explained. “The people who are watching the fights will possibly try to stop you too.”

If there was too much security outside, the place would look suspicious. People would’ve figured it out sooner. Though, Woodsly knew things could change depending on how they took to him escaping.

“Honestly when I escaped, I had several  bullets in me and it was pitch black out. So I think the fights happen at night but don’t quote me on that.” Woodsly started, scratching his chin. “The reason I didn’t know where it was, was due to me just bolting in a random direction in only pants. I would’ve died if someone didn’t find me.”
—————————

The petting of his feathers caused a sound to leave them as they started to nestle down. Very clear that the stroking of the feathers felt nice to him. The little creature didn’t have much to worry about as they laid there. Words between the two adults were lost on them though they reacted to being hugged.

Butting thier heads against the underside of Benjamin’s jaw, they were clearly trying to return the affectionate gesture in their own unique way.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 07, 2020, 09:56:21 AM
Grey listened to Woodsly speak, mind spinning through different scenarios.  She had assumed that there would be more guards inside than out, but that was fine.  She had planned for it.

“That’s a bad hand you were dealt, Sir, I’m sorry,” Grey said.  She grabbed her satchel and straightened, looking off in the direction of the pit, then at the rabbit she’d caught just tucked inside the bag.  She was hungry, now that the terror of being charged by a gigantic (talking) bear was over with.  “I plan to attack during the day, when there are less people, and what I’ve got planned, sir…it’ll draw ‘em out.” 

Her eyes narrowed a touch, studying him.  “But I’m not ready to tell you that part.  I have work to do, sir.  If you’re serious about helping me spring my brother, then I’ll come to your store in a couple of days and let you know when I’m striking and how.  If you got words then as to how to make it go more smoothly, I’ll be all ears.”

She positioned the strap of her satchel over her shoulder.  “And…thank you sir.  For helping me.  It was mighty selfless of you to put yourself between me and that bear, when you had no affection for me and no reason to do it.  You’re a good man, Mister Woodsly.”
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 07, 2020, 10:08:44 AM
“Just how Nome is, I suppose.” Woodsly replied. “On hellish hand dealt followed by something worse every time.”

It certainly seemed that way. Everything Wilson did went from bad to worse. Currently that trend was dying but still held slightly true when it came to recent events.

“Day time sounds good, no patrons and probably less guards” Woodsly agreed.

At least that’s what he thought given everything. Sense of time fades within the put when you don’t get to see the outside. But since he escaped in the dead of night, he was certain that fights happened at night. At her words of not sharing plans, he didn’t blame her for keeping those secret for now. She was at least putting great thought to this.

“Sounds fair.” He said swiftly, though at her saying he was a good man, Woodsly felt...something else. “Not really, Lass....”

The last part was a mutter. Sure she murdered people too but she did it for a better cause. She was trying to save her brother. Him? He was just going after revenge.

“You got a lot planning to do, I’ll leave ya to it.” Woodsly added as he started to walk away.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 07, 2020, 10:28:22 AM
Grey frowned at him.  “With all due respect, Sir…you need to learn to take a compliment.  I’m sure you’ve got problems—no one stands over a guy while someone else is skinning him alive without battin’ an eye if they don’t have problems.  But I also know that if there weren’t some good inside of you, you’d have just let that bear rip me to shreds.  I’ve known more upstanding men that would have just let me die.”

She tipped her hat respectfully.  “Good day, Sir.  I’ll see you in a few days.”

With that, Grey turned and made her way back to where she’d left the rest of her things after fleeing Nome in the aftermath of Caleb’s poisoning.  She had a rabbit to cook, and soon-to-be dead men to case. 

--

It didn’t take long for Benjamin to doze off, still holding the little Caleb creature close.  It was cute, Astrid thought.  She knew that when Anya died, they had been trying to make a family, but Benjamin’s wife had been killed before they could have any.  It was another sore subject for Benjamin.  Watching him now made Astrid believe that he’d have been a pretty good father. 

She continued reading through books, trying to find any sort of reference or clue as to what sort of curse Ingrid had used, but unfortunately—given that Astrid never dabbled in that sort of thing—she had nothing in her small library that had an answer.  She’d have to do things by trial and error, and she’d have to get ahold of Gram.  Gram needed to know about Ingrid anyway. 

A talk through the mirror with Gram later, Astrid felt a little better.  It would take time, but Gram was looking through what she had now too, and had promised to send her what she needed to learn her way through a new set of abilities that Ingrid’s death had granted her. 
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 07, 2020, 10:41:56 AM
Woodsly had no comeback. Sure, he knew he had some issues but even then, what did it matter. Waving goodbye to Grey, he started walking off in his own direction. Feeling thoughts stirring that he tried to ignore, every past whisper of doubt toward his plans seeped through. Dragging a hand down his face, he shook his head to try and get his mind to fall onto something else.

It didn’t work. Good people don’t murder, a good person doesn’t get all this bullshit! Turning it round and round in his head, Woodsly gave a frustrated groan. Fuck it all. Choosing to opt for something different as a distraction, took to his other form and prowled around the deeper parts of the woods.

Caleb laid in Benjamin’s embrace, his strange body looking very peaceful. They were mostly still; save for when they wiggled in their sleep or the wings twitched. The world seemed blocked out to them.

Astrid would hear heavy footfalls outside as she was near the end of her talk with Gram. Going to investigate, she’d easily spot the large tracks that were Woodsly’s giant paws. It seemed he dragged something over side of the barn where skinning and dividing up of meat usually happened with bigger animals that were caught during hunting.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 07, 2020, 02:13:06 PM
Astrid put the mirror away and went outside, having heard the footsteps outside.  Once outside, she saw the drag marks and paw prints in the snow, putting two and two together.  Grabbing her coat and boots really quick, Astrid pulled them on and went back outside, walking around to the back of the barn.

Spying Woodsly, she smiled slightly—she couldn’t help but admit to herself that she had been a bit worried when he didn’t come home after Benjamin, but she figured he’d had other things to attend to, and she knew he would come home when he was finished with them.  Still, she studied him closely for any obvious injury, or sign that his altercation with Benjamin had not gone as smoothly as they hoped. 

“Benjamin told me that you got to the girl in time.  I’m glad to hear it.”
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 07, 2020, 02:27:19 PM
The large husky had taken down a moose! The large hooves lay dead in the snow and husky was in the process of smearing the blood off their jaws by rubbing his face into the snow.

“Yep, she’s alive.” Woodsly answered as he raised his head, shaking the snow off. “She’s off to go think of her plans. How are things here?”

Canine ears twitched as he  took a seat in the snow.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 09, 2020, 09:35:58 AM
Astrid studied the dead moose with some surprise; such large prey!  Then again, he was a large husky when he shifted to that form, more than a match between his size and his drive.  The amount of meat from the animal could feed them for months, or go for quite the price at the butcher in Nome. 

His reassurance that the girl was indeed alive was a relief.  It seemed a near-death experience had not dulled her sense of revenge, either. 

“Benjamin is inside.  Caleb is much happier now that he’s home.  I think he liked me well enough, at least enough to not run and hide, but he didn’t really relax until Benjamin took him,” she replied, combing a hand through her hair; Caleb’s chewing on it had done no damage at least.  “As to bringing him back…”

Astrid’s expression sobered.  “It will take more time than I anticipated, and I won’t be able to fully restore him to his appropriate age.  Ingrid used forbidden magic to curse him, something that would have seen her imprisoned or killed by our council had she lived long enough to suffer their wrath.”

She looked down at her fidgeting hands, then back up at Woodsly.  She crossed the short distance and began to scratch him behind the ears, feeling a sense of relief and contentment at being in contact with him.  “She was right…when one of us dies, the gifts that were split between us flows to the one who survives. That being said, I have much to learn before I can even begin to work on restoring Caleb to a human form.”   
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 09, 2020, 02:09:15 PM
Lowering himself down the rest of the way, Woodsly took to laying in the snow. Ears twitching to her words as she spoke about the state of both Benjamin and Caleb. For a moment, Woodsly had feared that Benjamin went to cool off further but that meant he wouldn't be back at the cabin for a while. So hearing that the other was indeed at the cabin was a bit of a relief.

"Do you think he'll remember everything that's happened?" Woodsly asked.

The way Caleb acted...skittish around them all but Benjamin, it made Woodsly wonder if the lad could only recall Benjamin due to the man being there with him when this fate befell him. It was concerning. Even more so as Ingrid continued on with her explanation that the child was more than likely going to stay a child when they removed all those feathers and got him back on two legs.

"You'll figure it out, I'm sure we'll be able to keep Caleb comfortable till then." Woodsly assured her, letting his head rest on his front leg.

The scratching felt oddly nice and honestly his large tail thumped behind him for a few moments.

"Taking your time is perfectly reasonable." Woodsly said. "I know I don't know much about magic, let alone how to use it. But like any skill, I'm certain it takes time to learn a new version of it. It'll be okay."

Gently he nudged her with his large head, attempting to give a smile; though it was probably a bit goofy looking considering he was a dog.

"How are you feeling? Especially with the..youngsters in you." Woodsly asked.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 11, 2020, 09:20:02 AM
“It’s too early to say,” Astrid sighed.  She had noticed the lack of recognition in Caleb for anyone but Benjamin.  The young man had known Woodsly longer, but Benjamin had been there when the curse had been leveled on him.  Maybe it was a sort of imprinting; birds naturally imprinted on their parents at first glance upon hatching, and though Caleb had not hatched exactly, Benjamin had been the first person that he had seen immediately following the transformation.  “I really don’t think so, though.  I don’t think he remembers anything of who he was before.”

Astrid nodded at Woodsly’s assessment; they would keep the boy comfortable while she figured things out.  Benjamin likely wouldn’t have it any other way, and she didn’t mind. 

She grinned back when Woodsly smiled at her, and settled herself in the snow next to him, resting her head against the warmth of his fur.  At the mention of their children, Astrid’s eyes closed; she could feel them now, with her other senses.  Two tiny lives growing within, bright and strong.  Bigger than they were the day before, but not quite enough to physically feel them yet in their human shape.  “I’m feeling just fine, and the youngsters are good too.  Bigger than yesterday.  We might be able to feel them kick in another week or two.”

All the while, she kept stroking Woodsly’s head; the day had been far more stressful than she let on, and the simple act soothed her almost as much as his presence alone did. 

“Gram is going to be sending the materials I need to learn.  I don’t have any books for the areas of magic that Ingrid could perform, only what I could.  I just hope that it doesn’t take years to learn, like it did when I first began.  Aptitude isn’t enough.  Practice…gods, it took years just to be able to perform what I can do now, and that’s only half of what I should be able to do with Ingrid dead.”  She hoped that it didn’t take years; poor Caleb needed help far sooner.  Of course, much of that extra time was spent learning how to tap into magic in the first place.  Performing the magic took less time, but required full understanding of what one was trying to do; magic was as much a manner of will, as it was getting the words, symbols, and circles right. 

“I’m glad you’re home.  I was worried for you,” she admitted softly.  Benjamin’s temper was a vicious thing when it came out fully, and she had been afraid that he wouldn’t be able to control himself.  She was glad that those fears were unfounded and that Woodsly was whole and unharmed.     
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 11, 2020, 03:11:50 PM
Woodsly stayed quiet at that bit of information. The boy didn't remember....he might not remember. Woodsly was fine with being forgotten by others, he it was just something he had accepted when in the pits. It just hurt that Caleb had forgotten Astrid and honestly...also forgot their own mother. Sure some of the pain they no doubt had growing up was forgotten. But the small positives of his mother? All that gone.

"That's good, I'm happy to hear that you all are okay." Woodsly replied, his golden gaze directed at her.

Keeping his head still so that Astrid could reach it with ease, the man currently in beast form was trying to mental convince himself it didn't feel good. After all, you lose yourself to the animal and get stuck like that and Woodsly wasn't going to do that. Though...it did feel nice.

"Perhaps Gram can help you perform any practice magic after you've had time to study?" Woodsly suggested. "After all, if the pups take after me I could try to keep em busy by teaching them how to hunt. Not sure how effective it be depending on the form they're in."

Woodsly paused as a odd expression came to his face, causing his ears to flick as he laid there.

"Did I just say pups instead of kids?" Woodsly questioned, a look of utter confusion on his face.

That look disappeared as Astrid spoke of being worried about him, Woodsly chuckled as he raised his head slightly.

"At least due to my size I could've pinned Benjamin down, granted I figured I'd not traumatic the girl with massive, oversized husky." Woodsly started, twirling a paw as he spoke. "Course, she still freaked out over a bear talking and I put it as delicately as I could without telling her much of anything. She seemed to get it."
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 11, 2020, 04:05:58 PM
The woman shrugged slightly at his suggestion that Gram could help; it had already been offered, but the last thing any of them needed was her Gram moving in to teach her these things, which the old woman certainly would.  The books would be enough, though she was seriously considering some sort of space in the back where she could practice away from the others; experimenting with newly-learned magic could be dangerous.  “She might, but we’ll see.  She’s not planning to travel back here until it’s closer to time for the boys to be born.”   

Astrid chuckled softly at the slip, hands stilling a bit in his fur.  “Well it’s not far from the truth.  I’m sure they will be actual pups a great deal of the time.”

She shook her head when he told her about the girl’s reaction to Benjamin speaking. “Well, at least no one would believe her even if she told them.  Witchcraft is one thing, but a bear talking?  That can be chalked up to a bad batch of liquor.”

Astrid got up from the snow, eying him warmly as she gestured to the dead moose.  “I’ll leave you to sort this out.  I haven’t gotten any work done yet today, what with all the excitement, so I had best get started.  I’ll get some clothes together for you, and then I’ll be in the barn if you need me or them, my love.”  She pressed a kiss to the side of his furry head and started to head back around the barn.

She glanced over her shoulder at him, mischief in her eyes and a far-too-innocent expression on her face.  “Benjamin and Caleb are napping right now, and the hay in the barn is fresh, if you find yourself interested in a tumble when you come for your clothes…”

With that, she disappeared around the corner, humming to herself.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 11, 2020, 04:32:56 PM
"YOu already know they're both boys?" woodsly asked, surprise in his voice.

Welp, if they were going to be pups most of the time, Woodsly knew that this form of his was going to be more useful. But how big would they be? Would their canine form if they inherited that animal from him, would they be normal sized pups? Or bigger? The fact that their one shift had caused Astrid so much discomfort and pain, hinted at them being larger than a normal pup. But by how much? Too many questions and no way to answer them currently.

A nod left him in agreement about the bad liquor. That was true and honestly she also wasn't from around here, no one was going to believe her. Though he wasn't sure on how well things were going to progress now. Now he might end up helping her free her brother...should he mention that to Astrid?  With the instruction of sorts for him to tend to the moose, he didn't mind. A yawn did leave him and he proceed to stretch. He was of course, still listening to Astrid. As he was quick to redirect his gaze back to her. Though what came next caused him to raise a brow at her, catching that look to her eyes.

When Astrid walked away, Woodsly chuckled to himself. Why not take her up on her offer, he needed the clothes anyway but the snow and cold would preserve the moose just fine. Besides, a 'tumble' in the barn sounded like a good way to get the stress out of his system as well as her's.
----------------------

As the evening had rolled in, Woodsly had finished up with the moose. Choosing to sell the large antlers and pelt, while keeping the meat. After all, there was currently four people in the house and one person was expecting twins, thus boosting the number up to six. They'd need the large amount of meat in the long run. The money from the pelt and antlers would be good. Finally coming into the house, Woodsly sighed as he stretched; fully clothed as well.

"Alright, I'm going to need your help Benjamin." Woodsly started as he went over to the other. "Not starting it tonight but we're gonna need to either build a second house or some sort of attachment to the cabin so everyone has their own space. Having another pair of hands makes it easier and faster."

And he couldn't ask Caleb...not anymore. Caleb had been focused on whatever Benjamin was trying to get them to look at, though with the other's attention possibly snatched by Woodsly. The odd creature was soon moving away from the two, looking around and snooping. The smell of whatever was being cooked did bring the youngster's attention but as they got to the table that Astrid had prepared for her research, the youth found their attention pulled to it.

A sound left them as they tilted their head, growing interested as the light reflected of the bottles with their unknown magical substance within. At first they were careful, ducking under the table and looking up before pulling himself back in. And that didn't last long. Clawed paws would reach up and they'd stand on the tips of their paws, sniffing the vials before reaching and grabbing one.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 11, 2020, 05:02:23 PM
Benjamin nodded when Woodsly spoke.  He’d been wondering the same thing; with Caleb the way he was, he didn’t feel comfortable taking the kid back to his home.  He had already debated on collecting as many of the boys things as he could for safe keeping, until such a time as Astrid was able to reverse the spell.  “You’ll have my help.  There’s a good grove of trees not too far from here that will suit.  I can probably go out there and see about cutting some of them down for it.  It might take both of us in our other forms to drag them—wait, how the hell did you do it?” He looked at Astrid, sizing up her relatively small stature.

Astrid looked up from what she was reading and wiggled her fingers at him. “Magic, and a lot of hard work.”

“Could you magic an addition?” Benjamin asked.

Astrid raised an eyebrow at him, catching Caleb getting a bit curious about the flasks of potion she was currently working on as well.  She gently scooped the raven-child up, taking the bottle from his hands.  She uttered a few quiet words, and the glass cooled and seemed to thicken by a few layers, making it much harder to break.  She handed the bottle back to Caleb for his inspection, ruffling the feathers on his head affectionately.  “I only used it when I couldn’t possibly do something without it.  Magic can’t do everything.”

Benjamin shrugged, grinning sheepishly. “Had to try.”

“I can and will help as much as I can,” Astrid assured them.  She couldn’t do as much as she had before, but there were some things that wouldn’t strain her. 

“Hey, is that safe for him?” Benjamin asked, slightly alarmed when he realized Caleb had a potion bottle. 

Astrid gave him A Look, her tone deadpanned.  “No, Benjamin.  I gave a small child a potion of distilled destruction.  Should it shatter, the entire world will cave in on us.  The end is near.”  She stuck her tongue out at him. “It’s fine.  The bottle won’t break now, and even if he somehow manages to get it open, the potion is harmless.”

Benjamin grimaced. “Alright.”  He cleared his throat and turned his attention back to Woodsly.  “I’ll see what I can do to get an area prepped in the meantime.  But are we doing an additional cabin, or an addition?”

Astrid shrugged.  “Might as well do an addition.  A couple more rooms, maybe?  A cabin if you’d prefer more privacy, but we’d still probably have to add on to this cabin before the boys get here.”   
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 11, 2020, 05:21:56 PM
Astrid's reply made him chuckle, he had a feeling she did magic for it. Though he didn't have much to say to the magicking the addition purely. Caleb let out a sound that was sort of a squeaky trill, kind of like how one rolls their r's but rather than a r sound. It was more of a bird like sound. The creature looked confused as they looked toward Astrid as they took the potion away.  When the bottle was returned to his paws, he took it and shook it. Tilting his head as his dark eyes seemed larger as they stared at it. As he was set down on the ground, the tink sound of the bottle being hit against the ground could be heard as Caleb hit the floorboards with it. The vial held together thanks to Astrid's magic.

Woodsly couldn't help but chuckle at the way Astrid told Benjamin it was okay. Though he could see where the man was coming from. It was funny but a honest concern that children playing with glass was bad.

"Well we do need a place for you two to stay, I saw we make the addition first as it shouldn't take long and then we work on the additional cabin. That way by time the twins are born, we should have the cabin nearly done but the add on will already have their rooms made. So all everyone has to do is merely rotate." Woodsly offered.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 11, 2020, 06:54:40 PM
The bottle held despite being knocked repeatedly against the floor, the outside glowing ever so faintly with an aura of green every time it impacted—that thing was not breaking.  She set Caleb down so that he could chase after it and went to see to the stew while her attention was out of the book. 

“Aye, that sounds great,” Benjamin said with a nod.  It would be nice, having his own cabin, and if Caleb was going to be a child for a while, he’d need space to grow. 

Astrid murmured a sound of agreement and went back to her book, worrying her bottom lip absently.  Things would be a bit tight, and they had no idea quite yet how night with a little baby raven monster would go.  He could be into all sorts of mischief while they slept.  Benjamin had his work cut out for him. 

“What did Gram say about all of this, anyhow?  With Caleb?” Benjamin asked, watching Caleb closely. 

“She said ‘good luck’,” Astrid replied distractedly, turning a page while Benjamin scrubbed at his face with a hand. 

“Never heard of it, huh?”

“Nope.  I’m on my own with this,” Astrid said, scratching down some notes in tiny, cramped script on a page with little more than an inch of clean space left for writing. 

Benjamin sighed, fixing his gaze back on Woodsly with a somewhat uncomfortable expression on his face.  “Hey, um…I wanted to thank you, by the way.  For stopping me earlier.”
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 11, 2020, 07:11:29 PM
With the bottle rolling, Caleb was quick to give chase to it. A sort of coo leaving them as they rushed after it. With the youngin distracted, their mischief was contained to one particular thing. The enhanced bottle that would never break thankfully. Woodsly sighed quietly at the words of Gram not having heard of a case like this before.

"Guess that means Ingrid just mismatched creatures with the raven theme to make him look like this..." Woodsly muttered dishearteningly, his golden gaze glancing to Caleb as they chased the bottle past him.

He was glad to hear that the plan for the house addition and then the second cabin was a yes.

"Alright, we'll set to work on it tomorrow. Best to get the ball going early." woodsly said, though he hadn't expected what Benjamin said next. "It...it's no problem...figured you needed to know that extra info and...not have you're hands stained with someone's blood that was much more innocent in the matter."

Sure that didn't take away Grey's wrongs but they were wrongs committed by her being a paw and not fully knowing it. The girl needed money and she needed information to save her brother. But why did being thanked make Woodsly feel so...out of place? He wasn't sure but that's what he felt.Benjamin would feel his chair move slightly from under him, no enough to knock him out but make it shake. The bottle would roll out from under it and a series of low chirps and growls would leave Caleb. Woodsly glanced to see the raven child stuck under the chair. Clearly they had chased the bottle as it rolled under Benjamin's chair and got their fluffy self stuck. They were a bit...too rotund to slip through the gap of the legs.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 11, 2020, 07:33:36 PM
Benjamin blinked and looked down, seeing the bottle just to one side and Caleb stuck in the chair beneath him.  Sighing and glad for the distraction from the awkward word of thanks, the older man got up and pulled Caleb out from under the chair, tucking him gently against his chest while he grabbed the bottle.  He eyed the thing mistrustfully, then set it on the table next to Astrid, choosing a carved wooden owl from one of her shelves for him to play with instead.  Not as shiny as a potion, but the colors were pretty.

Astrid stepped away from the book and finished with the last of the potions, sealing the final bottle up.  Just to be safe, given that Caleb had become comfortable enough to wander, the woman uttered that same short series of words as before with the one bottle, but with an extra word.  All of the glass bottles and jars glowed briefly like the one she’d already added protection to, then faded back to normal. 

“There.  If he turns out to be a climber or decides to use those wings of his, none of the other glass items on the shelves should be a danger,” she said thoughtfully.  She cleaned up her work space and put her alembic and the freshly brewed potions away, then retrieved bowls for their dinner.

“I’ve got some leftover materials stored in the rafters of the barn,” Astrid said, passing Woodsly a bowl of stew.  “Not quite enough to finish a project, but enough to get started.  Nails, fittings, tools and such.  And there are a few places around where I found decent clay.”

“That will help,” Benjamin replied, accepting the bowls that Astrid passed to him next, one for himself and the other for Caleb.  He cut the vegetables into smaller pieces and then blew on a small spoonful, offering the tiny mouthful to the little one.  “Do we…uh…know what he’ll eat?”

Astrid shook her head.  “I’m afraid that will likely be a trail and error process.  He seemed to not hate what I fed him earlier, but he didn’t seem very interested in it either.”
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 11, 2020, 07:44:34 PM
The little fuss he gave ended as he was picked up, looking happy to be freed of his restraints. Little paws reached and tried to grab the bottle from Benjamin but they were unable to reach it. Long ears slanted as they were held and the bottle was placed on the table. A confused trill sound left him as he seemed to still be trying to reach it. Only for the wooden figure to be presented. What seemed to be a look of confusion rested on their face as their paws held onto the wooden owl, tilting their head and rotating the piece. Eventually he started chewing on it.

"Let's hope he doesn't have to go through a teething phase with those fangs." Woodsly remarked, pointing out the holes created in the owl by the sharp fangs nestled within Caleb's jaws.

Woodsly nodded to what Astrid said in regard to the materials she had left over as well as the keeping of glass safe. Caleb so far hadn't caused much trouble but that could've been due to em being skittish. Accepting the bowl of food, Woodsly took a seat and started to eat the stew, his gaze glancing over to watch Caleb pause in chewing on the owl figurine and proceded to stare at the spoon that Benjamin was offering.

"Hopefully it's nothing too complicated. I don't know anything of what birds eat and since he's not a pure bird...well, different foods could work for him." Woodsly offered, wanting to help but finding himself unable to in his words.

Finally Caleb would spit the wooden owl out, tilting their head as they kept their dark gaze on the spoon for a few moments before biting the spoon. Not understand the concept of eating the amount in the spoon.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 11, 2020, 11:19:31 PM
Astrid looked at the owl and gave Benjamin an irritated look, and he smiled apologetically, and abruptly turned his attention back to Caleb.  Sighing, she shrugged and sat down with her own food. 

Seeing Caleb's confusion with the spoon, Benjamin got some of his own food and showed Caleb how to do it, then got the child another spoonful so that he could try. 

"I'm hoping so, Woodsly.  Ravens like worms, grains, and insects, and meat.  If human food doesn't sit well with him, well try something along those lines and see if he handles it better.  Here," she got up and uncovered the bread she made earlier, cutting off a piece.  Benjamin accepted it and mimed how to eat it for Caleb again, breaking off little pieces that were easier to manage.

"Well get things figured out.  It's only been a day," Astrid commented. 
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 11, 2020, 11:47:31 PM
"Part of me wonders if he needs the food cooked..cause cooked food can mess with some animals ability to digest." Woodsly admitted. "FOr now, careful experimentation works on what to give him."

It was the best course of action. Caleb would eventually release the chewed on spoon and would watch Benjamin. Tilting his head somewhat as they were processing the gesture they were doing. Grasping the gesture somewhat, they barely managed to accept the spoonful; for some reason part of his brain kept saying 'chew the spoon'. But at least he got the food in him first. His feathers puffed a little and Caleb seemed to shudder, it was still a warm liquid even when cooled by the air somewhat. It caught him by surprise.

The piece of bread was easier to understand as his paws were able to grasp things. They seemed to handle that just fine and dinner was a realitively calm event.
---------------------

Everyone had gone to sleep, Caleb was curled up on Benjamin's bed; either by being placed there or crawling up there at some point. However the dead of night caused the youngster to stir from sleep, their dark eyes glinting in the dark as they felt something. A pull towards something but..what was it? Groggerily getting down from their spot, the little creature left the room and made their way back to the living room. Resting on the table was the potion they had been chasing earlier. A big smile was on their face as they stood up on their hind legs again, front paws on the table as they tried to reach. However, they were oblivious as to what was happening to themself, even as their larger paw managed to grab a hold of it.

It was far more fluid than a beast-kin's, pain wasn't noticed as the small form enlarged and also elongated. A second set of arms emerged under the rib cage area at the sides though they were shorter. Their feathery tail puffed up and gained more volume as a second set of wings grew in closer to their last pair of legs. A snout formed that quickly turned into a large beak as the sharp fangs that would stick out of the youth's mouth had sharpened and grown, two large feathers grew in at the center of his forehead near the top. Stiffening before becoming solid like bone. By the time this creature was done, it sat on it's final pair of hind legs; having two sets of front limbs and two back.  Even sitting there, the creature would tower over a person, but it was more at the size of a bear.

The bottle was turned round in their large spindly like digits, black talons lightly gracing the glass. This....this held that alluring smell but how to open it? The cork helping to hold it shut was too small for his digits to wrap round but they noticed something. The scent of magic was also the glass itself and without a moment's thought, the bottle was swallowed whole! Their body could get the magic that was strengthening the glass with time and the creature didn't even think that it could be a problem come morning.

Sniffing the air, it rose to it's paws and walked along; all of it's paws. Searching for the next source of magic they could get their teeth on. It took quite a bit of snooping but they managed to find some of the ritual tools that were left out and two odd scrolls. With each item he consumed, the magic was absorbed quickly; the potion bottle swallowed at first was slower kicking in due to the nature of it. The beast's body shuddered as the magic became a part of it, causing it to enlarge and grow in height. Now towering over a bear even when they were sitting the beast slinked it's way to the potion cabinet. There was far more magic in here but the concept of doorknobs was foriegn plus the spell that was helping to keep it closed.

Someone might hear the sound of something heavy shuffling from side to side as the large paws were trying to find a way into the cabinet.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 12, 2020, 09:00:38 AM
Benjamin woke to the sound of stuff being jostled and heavy footsteps, blinking blearily at the dying fire.  He felt around for Caleb and found him missing, and his brow furrowed.  Sitting up, the older man scanned the living room of the cabin, eyes resting on the hulking shape near one of Astrid’s cabinets.  Benjamin sucked in a breath. 

It couldn’t be, could it?  Caleb was tiny!  A child!  That thing—whatever it was—was larger than even he was in his bear form, perhaps even larger than Woodsly when he shifted his skin! 

Benjamin got up as quietly as he could, muscles tensed and on guard as he took a few steps towards the great shadow. 

“Caleb…?” Benjamin tried in a low whisper, hands rising to either side of him in an effort to show the creature that he was safe, unarmed. 

He heard a shuffled step behind him and looked, grimacing when he spied Astrid. 

“What the--?” The woman exclaimed. 

“Astrid don’t—” Benjamin hissed.

Her eyes became a green light in the darkness, blooming at her fingertips and all the way up her arms as she prepared to cast.  Benjamin looked between her and the creature.

“No Astrid, go back!  Go to your room and stay close to Woodsly!” Benjamin directed.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 12, 2020, 11:40:42 AM
The creature hissed at the cabinets’s refusal to open, magic building up in thier throat only for a short blast to be released at the doors. The magic was dark in color, bits of purple and orange were in it like swirls. Almost as if the daylight had been corrupted. Any hole would do in this thing. It just wanted into the case.

Long pointed ears twitched to a sound as mind they directed their gaze to the source. Benjamin...thougha hiss left them as Astrid appeared behind him. But then she started to cast magic. The beast’s attention was solely on her as it lunged at her, mout open to try and snap at her.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 12, 2020, 12:10:35 PM
Benjamin cried out in alarm and shifted his form, barreling into the monster as it lunged for Astrid and knocking it sideways into the wall.  Astrid staggered back, eyes wide.

“Astrid, GET BACK NOW!” the bear roared, scrambling and swinging his bulk to the space between the creature and Astrid.  For a moment he feared that his cousin would ignore him.  He couldn’t see Caleb anywhere and the thought made him panic even more.  But then a feeling twisted in his gut—what if the creature was Caleb?  But even as he was fearing Astrid’s refusal, she turned and bolted back into the room she shared with Woodsly, closing the door behind her.  Benjamin let out a soft sigh of relief, still staring at the creature.

“Caleb?  Easy, kid, easy…You don’t want to hurt anyone, right?  It’s me, it’s Benjamin,” the bear tried, fighting to keep his tone calm and even.  He couldn’t be sure exactly that the creature was Caleb, but he had to try.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 12, 2020, 12:27:07 PM
The one time he tried to ignore a noise thinking it to was the dog... Woodsly was in the process of sitting up on the bed when Astrid came running in. Sleep filled eyes failed to register any emotion she had on her face as a tired yawn left him.

“Tucker get into something?” Woodsly asked as he started to sink back down.

The creature was caught off guard as Benjamin interfered, causing the long creature to topple over. Back on its feet quickly, it didn’t seem to understand what Benjamin was saying. It’s attention returned to the cabinet as it was a source of magic, the main source in this room that is. Thier early blast of magic at it finally gave them a entry point.

The bottles and vials coated in magic while containing it was just what it wanted. Effortlessly swallowing the bottle and then another, the higher concentration from the amount they swallowed helped speed up getting the first bite of magic out of them. Causing the beast’s size to grow really get in front of Benjamin!
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 13, 2020, 08:11:32 AM
“There’s something in the house,” Astrid whispered fearfully, peering through the small gap between the door and the frame, but she couldn’t see a thing.  “I couldn’t tell what it was.  Benjamin is trying to handle it, told me to come back here.” 

She was concerned, afraid.  Some of the banging and crashing subsided and she could hear Benjamin talking to the creature.  Caleb?  Was that thing Caleb?  Had she heard that right?

--

Benjamin watched the monster start choking down whole potion bottles from the blasted cabinet, gaping as each one it consumed caused it to grow even larger.  Soon, he wouldn’t fit in the cabin at all, and worse, there was no way he would fit through the door even if Benjamin wanted to draw him outside. 

What was he going to do?   

Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 13, 2020, 12:51:12 PM
Forcing the sleep out of his system as fast as he could, Woodsly got up from the bed. Something was in the house? How? The banging and crashing reached his ear. Okay, he wasn't going to sit back here.

"Stay here, hide somewhere in here if you need to." Woodsly whispered as he moved past her. "I'll see if I can help."

Woodsly shuffled out of the room easily, closing the door quietly behind him. Taking a deep breathe, he moved down the hall to spot what was going on. Oh sweet lord...what the hell was that?

"Benjamin...Ben." Woodsly whisper called to them, trying to be discrete. "We gotta draw them outside."

Course Woodsly was trying to think of something. They had to get this thing out of the house; before it clearly couldn't fit out the door anymore. THere were still potions under the beast in the cabinet. It was the only thing he could think to do. Carefully moving out from his spot, he tiptoed toward the creature and reached under them, his fingertips touching a potion bottle before he grabbed a hold of it. With the bottle in hand, Woodsly's sense of balance was wanning as he tried to walk backwads toward the door but he ended up tripping over part of the beast!

A curse left him as he fell to the floor, hitting it a little harder than he'd like. Though the creature raised it's head and looked round, hissing loudly as it noticed Woodsly. Though the red hair threw the bottle to Benjamin.

"Lead em outside!!" He yelled.

The beast soon snapped its beak like jaw at Woodsly, causing the red haired man to grab the sharp structure to try and keep it from chomping  on him. Course if Benjamin did try to lure the beast out with the bottle, it wold follow; granted it be a tight squeeze.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 14, 2020, 09:17:26 AM
The bottle impacted Benjamin’s side and rolled along the ground.  The bear uttered a fiery curse and shifted back into his human form, fumbling in the relative darkness for the bottle as it rolled away along the floor. 

The creature’s attention was on Woodsly now, and Benjamin crossed the living room and threw open the door, holding the bottle out in the frigid air.  His thumb caught the bottom part of the cork and unsealed it, sending the stopper off somewhere out of sight.  “Hey Beasty!  I’ve got more magic for you!”

He held the open bottle out and waved it to get the creature’s attention, jaw locking against the cold as he tried to lure it outside. 
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 14, 2020, 12:58:11 PM
Woodsly closed its jaws, digging into all the strength he had to manage such a task. The beast reared it’s head, shaking it as the man held on. Though it paused as the smell of magic hit thier nose and the beast lunges forward.

Headfirst our the door, the creature wiggled and got the rest of the way out. Woodsly let go at this point, landing in the pile of snow. If Benjamin threw it, the beast would start searching for it.

“Okay I..I’m pretty sure wailing on this thing is out of the question since you weren’t doing that.” Woodsly started as he got up. “We need to either trap it or subdue it somehow.”
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 14, 2020, 02:01:25 PM
Benjamin chucked the bottle a bit further off and got out of the way when the monster squeezed through the door.  He watched it chase after the potion and turned to Woodsly, bristling slightly in frustration and fear. 

“I don’t know how to do that,” Benjamin growled tensely, staring at the beast.  “Maybe Astrid could make it sleep, but when she started casting before, it immediately tried to attack her.  It’s attracted to magic, I’m fairly positive.  And I…I think it might be Caleb.”

Benjamin looked around, as if doing so might give him ideas of how to trap the monster.  Given that he suspected the monster to be Caleb, he wanted to limit damaging him in any way.  The barn was out; Astrid’s livestock were in there.  Maybe a snare trap? 
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 14, 2020, 02:21:49 PM
"Great..." Woodsly grumbled out.

The fact that it might be Caleb, limited their options greatly. The potion spilled into the snow, coating it in a blue color as it seeped in. The beast stopped near it and was quick to scoop up the affected snow in it's beak. Without the bottle blocking it, the magic was instantly able to take effect. Causing the beast's size to get larger as they sniffed for more. There wasn't any left. Hissing as they faced the house, it could sense there was still magic there.

"Benjamin...I think we need to get Astrid for that sleep spell anyway.." Woodsly cautioned. "There's magic in the house, it's going to try and get back in there."

If that fact didn't convince the bear of that, then seeing the beast staring em down as they seemed to be plotting how to squeeze through that doorway should. Don't hurt them...that was the main thing.

"I'll try to keep em busy and do my best to not hurt em just in case it is Caleb." Woodsly told him before the red haired man ran out into the snow. "GET Astrid! Tell her to prep the sleep spell in the house and only come out when she's ready to cast it, that way no time's wasted."

Scooping up a handful of snow, Woodsly compacted it together as he went off to the side of the creature before throwing the snowball. It was small against this creature though it was very clearly displeased to have snow hit it's face. It's dark eyes focused their gaze onto him with a shrieking hiss.

"Come on!! This way ya over grown parrot thing!" Woodsly yelled, immediately jumping to the right as a large paw like hand swung at him.

The beast had a great range of length, it could attack him without moving too much. Granted that was due to it's large size and length. Woodsly was certain he could play the dodging game but he didn't expect it to slither at him at a shocking speed! The black talons tore through his skin like a butter knife through butter, causing a pained cry to leave Woodsly despite trying to hold it in. Tumbling into the snow, the man shuddered as he now sported multiple deep claw marks across his back that blood was escaping from rapidly.

His heart was racing, panic....he hadn't felt panic in so long. What else went with panic? Fear....nono no!! He wasn't scared of this thing!!! As he tried to get up, the beast slammed a paw down onto him, causing a strangled gasp to leave him as he was shoved face first into the snow. Being pressed harder and harder into the ground as he manuvered his head to look back up at this thing. Golden eyes were filled with terror, it was just like that one time...just like the bear cave....no no...he wasn't..

"You can't shift, it'll only make things worse.... his thoughts pleaded with him as his nails turned black and dug into the earth beneath the snow as a feral snarl left him. "Stop! STOP IT! YOu're only going to....

His thoughts went ignored as Woodsly shifted, catching the creature offguard but also it got itself a nasty bite to the forelimb holding him down. Woodsly didn't manage a full shift, the claw marks on his back tore open further, the pain overruling his panic and fear. Causing him to revert back, collapsing in the snow as he took in a rasp breathe. When he looked up though, he wasn't happy with what he saw.

It looked like him...a very wispy transparent version of himself. A trick of the mind, he figured. Though this one lacked all the scars, sported longer hair....looked like the most skittish thing in the universe. Death on a stick....he was finally losing it huh?

"Listen to me please! Just once!! the mental image pleaded with him, Woodsly forced himself up, growling lowly.  "I know that look, you do that again you're going to rip yourself apart. Common se....

"Shut up..." Woodsly growled as he waved his hand through it, making the mental apparition disappear before he ended up having to throw himself to the ground as the beast swung a paw.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 14, 2020, 02:50:45 PM
Benjamin nodded and ran back inside to retrieve Astrid.  He found her watching through the window anxiously, the unique glow of her magic hanging like a haze around her, ready to be called on in a seconds notice. 

“Astrid, we need you—” Benjamin started.  Astrid was already past him and out the door, headed directly for where the monster was tangling with Woodsly.  She could see that he was injured, and the creature was advancing, ready to tear him apart the very moment it had the chance. 

Astrid shouted something guttural that sent a tremor through the ground, intended to get the beast’s attention off of Woodsly.  Satisfied with the result, the woman extended a hand towards the monster and uttered a near-silent string of syllables, willing the monster to sleep.  Green light wrapped itself around the creature and bound up its limbs with sluggishness, then pulled on the mind until trying to stay awake became impossible. 

With the creature subdued, Astrid ran to Woodsly’s side, eyes scanning the vicious wounds that the beast had clawed into his body, concern weighing heavily in her features.  “May I heal you?”
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 14, 2020, 03:04:19 PM
Swiftly Woodsly's arm started changing, claws were already sprouted and the muscle thickened as red an white hairs started to emerge in patches. Clenching his turning hand into a fist, he swung at the creature! It landed but at the price of a solid footing and more pain going through his body. It brought him down to his knees as he panted, heaving in sharp breathes of frigid cold air.

"WHY WON'T YOU LISTEN TO ME?!!! the voice pleaded, it sounded like it was on the verge of tears and as Woodsly glanced over his shoulder, he spotted that image again.

"CAUSE YOU ALMOST ALWAYS GET US KILLED!!!" Woodsly snarled loudly; to everyone else, nothing was there.

The beast hissed out as the pull of magic seemed to grab them, it's limbs unresponsive before he toppled over into the snow. The beast blended in with the night scenary as it laid there, asleep and thankfully less dangerous. However it slowly started to shrink down as the magic it had eaten was converted for other means since it was sleeping. Soon it was the size it was in the start, around a bear's size but still looking like the strange long creature that it was. The day wasn't here yet, thus the beast was still this strange thing.

Woodsly heaved in air as he felt his other form pushing at the surface, he couldn't fully change earlier but he got the boost he needed to get out from under it. He was just..having a hard time convincing the rest of himself that things were fine. As Astrid approached, Woodsly looked to her tiredly, wincing as he felt the muscles in his back tense up as his body demanded change but only got more pain.

"Normal.....urgh..healing....you don't need...gashes on your back.." Woodsly told her.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 15, 2020, 09:01:20 AM
Benjamin knelt beside the sleeping beast, resting a gentle hand on top of it’s head.  He wasn’t certain if Astrid had heard Woodsly’s exchange with the air or not, but he had.  He would have to mention it to her, and see what she thought they should do. 

At Woodsly’s comment about the healing, Astrid winced slightly.  She thought she had done a good job of hiding what had happened last time, but apparently not.  Rather than relying on the spell she had used before at his request, she went for something milder—one that would heal his wounds enough to close them.  As she uttered the quiet words, Woodsly’s wounds healed over, enough that it looked like he had received them a few weeks before rather than a few minutes. 

“There.  Lets get you inside,” she murmured, offering a hand to help Woodsly up. 

Benjamin stayed put, one hand rising to close around the pendant that Caleb had given him for warmth and finding himself all the more grateful for it.  “I need to put some clothes on, but…I’m going to stay out here with him.”

Astrid glanced at him, frowning.  “Can you move it?”

“I was going to try and see if I can get him into the barn.  Do you mind if I bring some blankets out for him, to keep him warm?” Benjamin asked softly. 

“Of course,” Astrid murmured.   
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 15, 2020, 03:01:06 PM
Woodsly just didn’t want her drained, she was expecting. Who knows how a lack of magic could affect it. He just didn’t want her in more pain or discomfort on top of a pregnancy. Accepting the hand up, Woodsly groaned as he stood up. His transformed arm turning slowly back to normal.

With a little help, he got back in the house, all he wanted to do was fall asleep. Benjamin’s effort to get the beast into the barn would work and as the hours drifted by, the sun finally started to rise. The long beast started to shrink more, losing its many limbs and length until it was back to being a small raven esq creature with a humanis face. It was Caleb.

Slowly their eyes opened as a yawn left them, short wings stretched lazily as they did. Though their stomach seemed upset about something considering how that didn’t feel good. Spotting Benjamin nearby, the small creature trudged on over to them before climbing into their lap.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 19, 2020, 09:04:56 AM
Astrid saw to Woodsly’s wounds further once they were inside, though with more mudane medicines than what magic could offer.  Once he was settled back in bed, the woman retrieved clothes and blankets for Benjamin and surveyed the damage inside of the cabin with sad eyes.  So much time and effort, so much magic and careful growing of ingredients, a magic journal that had been passed down through the women in her family for ages…destroyed.  Most of the kitchen area and the shelves where she had kept the potions was in shambles—some things of which were irreplaceable. 

She was tired, but she also knew that there was no way she would be able to get back to sleep after what happened, so while Woodsly rested, Astrid cleaned up and re-organized the mess that the creature had made.  She didn’t fault it, likely it had been in its nature, and a beings nature was something that was difficult—if not outright impossible—to deny. 

By the time the sun began to rise, most of everything was put back into place, minus the many empty spots where potions had been.  Her alembic was out once more, and she busied herself with creating something that might prevent such a thing from happening again. 

--

Benjamin stirred from his place curled up in the hay when Caleb cuddled up.  He blinked blearily at first, realizing that the magic-craving creature had indeed been Caleb.  Ingrid’s final trick—a Trojan horse that Benjamin had brought right into Astrid’s home.  No doubt, his dead cousin had hoped that it would result in Astrid’s death, and he knew that they had been very lucky that it hadn’t.  It had been a close thing, however; Benjamin recalled how Caleb had gone after Astrid the moment she began casting.

With a quiet sigh, Benjamin wrapped his arms around the small creature, one hand rising to stroke the feathers on top of his head.  “That was quite a transformation, kid.  Can’t say I want a repeat of it, though.  Are you alright?”   
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 19, 2020, 01:03:59 PM
CLeb released a purr like sound as the top of thier head was petted, enjoying the company clearly. Though that happy sound disappeared quickly as thier stomach twisted on them, feeling sick all of a sudden. A coughing hack left them as they spit up a couple of corks and some bits of glass. No blood thankfully and the youngin adjusted thier position.

Burying their face against Benjamin’s chest and stomach, they pressed him to him before curling up again. Caleb was okay though like anything he was seeking comfort.
———————

Woodsly eventually awoke as well, the dull pain already starting to register as he heaved himself up to a sitting position. For a moment, he forgot about the entire thing. Till he  spotted that translucent person by the window. His body tensed up as everything came back. There was no way...no way he was seeing this.

The bones in his hand shifted and the muscle of his arm grew. A blink and the figure was gone, leaving Woodsly to take in several confused breathes before he winced. Looking down to his hand, he could see the differences in it. It took a great deal of concentration to make that arm go back to normal. Everything was fine..it was just all in his head. It didn't mean anything.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 21, 2020, 08:10:13 AM
Benjamin grimaced as he watched Caleb cough up glass and cork, though a critical study of the pieces told him that there seemed to be no internal injuries from all of the whole bottles that he had consumed in his other form.  Sighing as Caleb curled up closer, the older man gathered the small creature in his arms and, holding him close, wrapped the blankets he had borrowed from Astrid around him and wandered back to the cabin. 

He was surprised to find that the destruction inside the cabin had already been cleaned up, and Astrid was awake and working.  Frowning, he closed the door behind him with his foot, keeping Caleb wrapped up and close.  “I would have helped…”

“I couldn’t sleep,” Astrid murmured, not looking up from the book she was currently studying.  He watched as she added things from a few of the jars she set out to the mortar and pestle she favored and began to crush it together, tipping the pulverized mixture to one of the glass flasks attached to her alembic.  “I assume the creature was, in fact, Caleb?”

“Yes,” Benjamin said, settling himself and Caleb by the fire.  He picked up stroking Caleb’s head again, trying to soothe him. “Pretty much as soon as the sun rose, he was back to himself—well…this self.”

Astrid nodded wordlessly and added water to the flask, adjusting the burner a touch at the bottom so that it would heat slowly and evenly.  Gathering the things she was done with, she replaced them on the shelves.  With that done, she headed to the bedroom, pausing briefly to give Caleb a gentle pat in passing—it wasn’t his fault that her sister had cursed him the way she had.

Astrid saw that Woodsly was awake when she stepped into the bedroom and move to sit next to him on the edge of the bed, brows drawn together slightly in concern.  He seemed troubled by something, but she couldn’t be certain if his wounds were paining him or if he was bothered by something else.  Giving him a kiss in greeting, she offered a small smile and checked the wounds on his back.  Mostly healed, but a transformation would likely aggravate them.  She uttered a quiet word and healed them a great deal more, relying on the weaker healing as he’d asked her to do the night before.

“Are you alright, love?  Is there something bothering you?” Astrid asked when that was done, glancing towards the window when she noted Woodsly looking in that direction.   
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 21, 2020, 12:07:20 PM
A small sound of protest left  slender as they were carried, their upset stomach didn’t desire to be moved around yet. Still they didn’t try to break free or anything, though getting the fireplace was sort of soothing. Caleb’s eyes opened briefly before they closed once more. The soothing touch of of Benjamin lulled then back to sleep.

The kiss helped to snap him out of it, causing some tension to leave him.

“Just...thought I saw something. It’s nothing,” Woodsly answered. “How are the others? Was it actually the kid?”

He didn’t want to bother with it right now. It was just a figment of his imagination, things had been chaotic lately.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 21, 2020, 12:15:38 PM
She studied him, uncertain of whether it was really nothing as he said.  Woodsly had looked as though he’d seen a ghost, and after what had happened the night before—with him yelling at something that she couldn’t see—she thought that something else was going on.  The quick change of subject from himself to Caleb only made her feel more strongly about it, but Astrid chose not to pry, especially given that the question was only natural given the events of the night before.  She only hoped that he would eventually feel comfortable enough to speak about what was happening to him.

“They are fine.  Both of them are by the fire now, and yes, it was Caleb.  Benjamin saw him change back once the sun rose.  I’m already working on something that will hopefully keep it from happening again, at least until I am able to learn more about what we’re dealing with and how to reverse it.” 
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 21, 2020, 12:51:26 PM
“Good, I had a feeling it was the kid, given how Benjamin wasn’t fighting it.” Woodsly replied breathlessly.  “That’s good news to hear, kid probably will feel better not turning into something else.”

Woodsly directed his gaze toward the sheets, not sure on what to do now. He didn’t want to talk about it.

“Why not? She’s your wife, she’s accepted you this far even though your murdering ou...” Wilson's voice started in his head, causing him to tense up.

Claws dig into the sheets as red and white hairs started to sprout from his arm, it was fine. He was fine.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 21, 2020, 04:10:19 PM
“I had a feeling as well.  I’m hoping that the elixir will work, but I think Benjamin will need to take him back out into the barn tonight just in case it doesn’t.  I hate to do that, but after last night…It’s too dangerous otherwise, especially with our children coming.”   

Astrid noticed how he looked away, how the tension seemed to increase for a moment and the signs of change began to ripple through his arm.  Worry for him deepened; whatever he was going through, it definitely wasn’t ‘nothing’.  With a furrowed brow, she took his unaffected hand in hers and pressed a kiss to his knuckles. 

“Woodsly…you know that you can talk to me, don’t you?  About anything?  You don’t have to suffer alone with the things that trouble you.  I love you, and I’m here for you when you are ready to let me in,” Astrid said with the utmost gentleness.  She knew that he was under a lot of strain from a lot of different places.  Between his plans for revenge, the store, her and the children, the girl Grey, and now this business with Caleb escalating as it had, it was no wonder that he was struggling.  “I understand if you don’t want to talk now, but…please think about it?  I so badly want to see you happy…”
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 21, 2020, 05:20:31 PM
"I'm sure he'll understand." Woodsly replied, refering to Benjamin.

After all, they all saw what the creature could do. Caleb's day form was innocent and curious but at night it was dangerous. Growing to a monstrous size to gobble things up. Though his thoughts went away from that as he felt soft lips against his hand, pulling his attention to her. HIs golden eyes fell on her, staring at her as a mixture of feelings hit him. His problems weren't worth upsetting her. Confliction danced in his eyes as he glanced away, debating with himself internally.

The debate wasn't helping him though, the muscles in his arm tensed further before gaining more mass. A frustrated growl left him as he put his partialy turned hand against his head.

"Fuck..FUCK...I hate....I hate feeling indecisive!!" Woodsly growled.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 21, 2020, 05:45:53 PM
Astrid exhaled softly, trying not to feel hurt.  She hadn’t really expected him to say much, given that he usually kept his own counsel about things anyway, but a part of her had hoped anyway.  She shook her head and gave his hand another gentle squeeze, then let go of it in favor of getting up.  “Then you aren’t ready.  I understand.  When you are, though, I’ll be waiting.” 

Offering a small smile to reassure him, she backed out of the room and went back to where her alembic was set up with a quiet, shaky breath.  Seeing that the mixture was close to boiling, she turned down the heat and put some other things away, trying to ignore the sense of sad helplessness that was trying to eat at her.  She managed well enough by focusing on tasks that needed doing, ignoring Benjamin’s frown. 

“So uh…what is that?” Ben asked after a minute.

“Something that will temporarily freeze his form.  It’s similar to what Gram did for the twins, but…not quite as strong or long-lasting.  He’ll need to drink some of it every evening before nightfall.  I’m not even sure it will even work, but until we know for certain, I’ll need you to keep him in the barn at night.” Astrid replied quietly. 

Benjamin sighed.  “Fair enough.”
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 21, 2020, 06:08:11 PM
With Astrid walking away, Woodsly sighed. Feeling like he had just messed things up despite not really doing that. That didn't help him gain any control though as he winced, feeling his other form shifting under his skin as he shuddered. Trying to keep himself grounded before exhaling. This was going to be a long day.

Caleb wiggled in his spot before pressing his head against Benjamin, purring happily as their head sank. It was likely the small being didn't recall the entire event or had no idea that they had been on a rampage. They were merely soaking in the heat and attention of someone that they knew cared about them. Their wings stretched out, the tips of the feathers hitting Benjamin in the face for a few seconds while raising up the blanket they had been wraped in. Though their wings were soon lowered as they folded against their side once more.

"You'll have to tell her at some point, I'm still here even if it's not the way it used to be. I'm not trying to ruin anything..." Wilson's voice started but was cut off as Woodsly stood.

"You always ruin everything, so shut up." Woodsly snarled lowly, catching a glimpse of the translucent form across the way, their hand shifting into a large paw.

"You're breaking at the seams, why can't you just tell her? It's not like she'll ever know me."

"Because you aren't real, you're just something that always made things worse like you are now." the pull to shift got stronger as he felt the muscles tighten and the fur that had grown out of his arm stood on end.

"You seem to be doing a good job of ruining things to me..."

Even though the figure wasn't real, they still flinched as the large paw of a fist swung at them. Course this only hit the wall, causing a loud bang sound to go off. Caleb's head jerked up in surprise and they looked around, long ears raised a little as they hadn't a clue on what just happened. Woodsly's arm though had changed entirely, it wasn't quite the size of his full change but it was clearly larger than what it should be. Panting as half his face was covered in red and white fur. Grabbing the side of his face, he growled in frustration before going to the door and leaning against it. Making sure that it wasn't going to open. 
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 21, 2020, 06:36:25 PM
Astrid and Benjamin both looked up at the sound when Caleb did.  She had heard him talking to something again too.  Something was very wrong.  The woman took a step towards the bedroom again then seemed to think better of it, turning back to her work.  A couple of minutes wouldn’t make a difference, and bringing up the fact that she wanted to listen and help had only seemed to stress him out further.     

“Is uh…Is Woodsly okay?” Benjamin asked tentatively, still staring at the bedroom door. 

“Not really.”

“His injuries?  Those gashes were pretty bad.” Benjamin asked.

“I don’t think so,” She sighed.  “Those were mostly healed last night, and I finished healing them a few minutes ago.”

“So…so what is it then?” Benjamin tried, raising a brow at her while stroking Caleb’s feathers to reassure him.

“I don’t know, Benjamin,” Astrid said, more sharply than she intended.  She took a breath and forced herself to calm down, blinking back tears.  Once she managed to compose herself, she spoke again, her voice much quieter and more careful.  “I’m sorry.  I…I don’t know.  I’m sure that he’ll tell me when he’s ready.”

“…Astrid—”

“It’s none of your business, Benjamin.  Just drop it,” Astrid sighed, grabbing her coat and putting it on.  She opened the door to go outside and do the chores, but paused, fixing her cousin with a sharp look. “He’s under a lot of stress right now, and the last thing I want is for him to feel like home is just one more place for him to feel uncomfortable.  And you’re going to leave him alone about it too, understand?”

Benjamin frowned at her.  “And if I don’t?”

Astrid glared at him.  “Do you really want to go there?”

Benjamin grimaced. “…No.  I don’t.  But…are you sure--”

“I need to go do the milking.  The elixir needs to go for a couple of hours before I can move on to the next part.  With any luck, it will be finished by tonight.” Astrid interrupted him firmly.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 21, 2020, 07:02:58 PM
Forcing the change down, he panted as he reverted to his normal appearance. Good god why? Why now did Wilson have to start pestering him? Why now was this happening? It couldn't have happened when he was fresh out of the pit? Or recovering? It had to be now when he was finally getting...getting something positive? A chance of a family....now Wilson had to come back to the surface? Shaking his head, he exhaled before getting a change of clothes.

Having heard the front door open and closed, he was certain that it was Astrid leaving to chores. He'd have to try and do something to make up for it. But he recalled he had to meet up with that Grey girl....great. Leaving the bedroom, he walked into the leaving room looking a bit disheveled. Truthfully, he was just hoping he could make a break for the door. He needed to just go and then come back, maybe then his head would get cleared? A hand reached for his coat on the rack.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 21, 2020, 07:15:23 PM
Benjamin stared at Woodsly as he came out of the room, looking far less composed than usual.  He bore the same frown he had been wearing when Astrid went outside, though he hadn’t stopped petting Caleb. 

He wanted to say something, but…Astrid knew the tongue-tie spell that his Gram used to use on him whenever he mouthed off, and that was only the mildest thing she could do if he went against her demand to leave Woodsly alone about whatever was bugging him.  Woodsly seemed to be in a hurry anyway, as quickly as he was to get his coat.

“I’ll stake out a spot for the addition we spoke about yesterday and see about wood, shall I?” Benjamin asked, wishing he was asking a different question entirely.  “And uh…it’ll be worse…the longer you leave it.  The addition, I mean…not a lot of time before the kiddos get here, am I right?  So uh…wherever it is you’re going, you might want to bring back some nails.”  Benjamin scratched the back of his neck nervously and gave Woodsly an innocent smile.   
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 21, 2020, 07:45:47 PM
"Yeah...that's fine." Woodsly replied. "Since the addition is going to be connected, it's best to look at one of the sides of the cabin that best suit it."

Buttoning his coat, he listened to the odd wording that Benjamin gave. In all honesty, he didn't want to argue. He didn't want to fight. That would just make him more tired. Walking over to where some bread and cheese where, he was quick to make a fast sandwich.

"I'll see if I can pick them up. I have to meet up with that Grey girl, stop her from getting herself massacred." Woodsly said, taking a bite out of the sandwich. "I'll be back later.  Nothing too crazy should happen."

Once more, he started to make his way to the door.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 21, 2020, 08:24:29 PM
The lines in Benjamin’s brow deepened just a bit and his eyes narrowed.  He…was going to go chase after some girl…that he didn’t even know…while the woman who loved him fretted herself into a knot in the barn because she knew he wasn’t telling her something?  He opened his mouth to point out just how bad that could look, but the barely-concealed threat that Astrid had leveled on him was far too fresh in his mind, and the last thing he wanted was to piss both of them off, especially with Caleb to worry about now.  Woodsly didn’t seem like the type to cheat, but then again, he didn’t really know the man well enough to make that assumption.  He wasn’t going to say anything either, without knowing for sure.  He might have been family, but that wouldn’t stop Astrid from kicking him out and letting him fend for himself if he caused any strife—she’d done it before, after all, twice.

“…If you say so, Woods…”  Benjamin finally said, tone subdued.  He didn’t speak again, turning his attention to the bundle of feathers cuddling him.  It wasn’t his business, like Astrid said.  It made no difference to him; if Woodsly was dumb enough to do something that stupid to a witch with newly discovered death powers, that was on him.  Maybe she’d choose a place that wasn’t so god damned cold to move to next.

--

Grey watched the goings on of the pit, safe and hidden in the place she’d chosen to stake out.  She wasn’t too close—not close enough to make out any faces without the aid of her Pa’s spyglass; she wanted to get an idea of the patrol pattern the ones who circled the perimeter made.  So far, they didn’t seem to go past a certain point, and that was good.  Even better was that the patrol was far enough away from the pit that she could take them out one at a time when she was ready to move forward with her plans, and no one would be any the wiser until it was too late. 

She lowered her spyglass and took a drink from her canteen, stuffing a piece of jerky in her mouth before going back to watching again.  She hated the waiting, but she would have one shot to do this and she needed to make sure that she was completely ready before she charged in.  Her brother was depending on her, and she wouldn’t do him any good dead. 
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 21, 2020, 08:43:27 PM
Something in that tone....Woodsly didn't like it. As he opened the door, he walked down the porch, scooped up some snow and walked back in the house. Benjamin would feel a sudden WHACK as well as something wet and FREEZING COLD hitting the back of his head. A nice sized snowball had hit him.

"I'm helping her save her brother, dumbass." Woodsly grumbled. "I'm not stupid."

With that, he walked on out of the house for real this time. Was he right to do that? No. Did it help his mood a little? Yes. Caleb noticed the odd event and started sniffing at some of the snow that fell on on Benjamin's shoulder.

Woodsly walked for quite a while but eventually, he found her. The smell of jerky registered immedeatly though and he kind of wish he had more toe at than his lame sandwich.

"Guess pit handlers are in season." Woodsly whispered to her as he took a seat. "Anything interesting go on?"
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 21, 2020, 09:50:42 PM
Benjamin winced.  Once the door closed, he looked down at Caleb and made a funny face.  “I might have deserved that one.  What do you think, hm?” he asked playfully, ruffling the feathers on his head. 

--

Grey had a gun trained on him before he got within ten feet of her, eye fixing on him.  The moment she saw it was him, she slid it back into her holster with a sigh and returned to her observations, chewing away on the jerky again.  “No sir.  Two different groups of men cycle out every two hours—trade off to get warm, I ‘spect.  Not much traffic in or out aside from them, but it’s early.”

She lowered the spyglass again and adjusted her hat.  “The daytime perimeter is somewhere around a hundred feet from the pit itself.  Tight, but plenty of room to knock them out if it’s done quiet-like.  At night, the guard doubles and there’s a lot of people coming in—rough characters, the lot of ‘em.  More than I thought there would be.”   

Grey grabbed another piece of jerky and looked through the glass, shifting slightly to get a better view of the two currently circling below.  “Attacking during the day would be the best time to do it.  First two hours after sun-up.  Those were the slowest ones so far.” 
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 21, 2020, 10:17:41 PM
A sound left Caleb that was like a rolled hoot left them, almost as if agreeing with the man. The ruffling of his feathers caused a smile to appear on their face and they raised their pawish hands. Reaching for Benjamin's hand as they felt like  a game was being played.
--------

"Makes sense night is more guarded. Fights happen then and I also escaped at night, they probably beefed it up more due to the last part." Woodsly replied, easing himself down in the snow. "It's also when new.....'fighters' are brought in. They still bring some in during the day but night makes everything hard to see."

Seems like she had this all planned out. At least for the outside of the building. However...the inside was a whole new issue and finding her brother was going to be a needle in a haystack.

"sounds good, but what you plan on doing when you're in there? Even if you sneak in, you don't know where to look." He asked.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 21, 2020, 10:41:09 PM
“I don’t plan to sneak in,” Grey said, still watching.  “In fact, I’m going to make so much god damn noise that every man inside that place that isn’t chained down is going to come running out to see what’s going on.  Then, I’m going to shoot them.”  She shifted back away from the edge of the ridge, tucking her glass back inside her satchel. 

She finally looked at Woodsly, frowning.  “All due respect, sir, but…what are you doing here?  I mean, I appreciate the help, of course, but I told you before that I’d find you when I had the information I needed to move forward.  I’m not quite there yet, and there ain’t no sense in both of us freezin’ our asses off out here.”
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 21, 2020, 10:51:41 PM
"They're not that stupid my dear." Woodsly cautioned her. "There's going to be people down there that will stay and watch their 'merchandise', even more so when my escape is still relevant."

Why was he here? Well for one, he hadn't been to the shop lately. So there was no way for her to find him.

"The cold doesn't bother me, I was born here. Sure it can get cold but I've built a tolerance." Woodsly started. "I haven't been the shop the past few days, some personal things came up and I figured I'd check on you. Plus, I need to get out of the house, out of my own head."

Inner demons and all that. Leaning against the rock they were using for cover, he breathed out a plume of white breathe due to the weather.

"Unless you got cases of bullets, you'll either run out of ammo before you get all of em down or you could risk your gun jamming. Have you ever thought about some people just got desperate enough to do this horrendous job to support their families? Sure, most of the hired muscle are idiots and stupid as bricks. But...have you thought about the possibilities of things not being so black and white?" he added.
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: Firesblood on September 27, 2020, 09:46:47 AM
Grey studied Woodsly for a moment, uncertain of whether to be grateful or annoyed, or if it was alright to be both.  He knew more about the pit than she did, but he didn’t know what she had available to her for use in this endeavor, or what she was planning—she’d done that on purpose.  More, his time in the pit had quite obviously messed with him, if his rant about the place when she first met him was anything to go by.  She suspected that his claims about the pit were made worse by fear and trauma—a natural reaction.  While she appreciated his concern, she didn’t care to be treated like some silly little girl who didn’t know what she was doing. 

“Sir, I know plenty about the things people do when they are desperate, and you don’t know me, so, I’ll let you in on a little something,” She said, keeping the same respectful tone she usually used with him.  “My daddy and my brothers used to be silver miners, until some rich son of a bitch stole our claim right out from under us and had us run out of town when we tried to fight him.  After that, my daddy tried to find work, but there just wasn’t much available—so he and my brothers started robbing banks and I used to help them plan.  I’ve got more tricks up my sleeve than Harry Houdini, and caches of supplies set up all over that I’ve been buildin’ up since I got here—all of which I’ve been moving near for use since I found this place.  Extra guns, ammunition, hell—I’ve even got dynamite and nitroglycerin I stole from the mining office.  Do you think those bastards down there are going to stay inside that pit when the explosives go off near enough to shake the foundations like an earthquake?  Cause I don’t.  They might be stupid, but very few people are that stupid.”

She hunkered back down at her lookout spot and peered through her glass again.  “I’m grateful for your help, sir, and I know that I must look awful young and inexperienced to you, but I know what I’m doing.  I’ve done work like this most of my life.” 
Title: Re: Eternal Winter witihin Nome (Firesblood) M
Post by: readlliea on September 27, 2020, 02:41:19 PM
“Aren’t you living in black and white?” Wilson’s voice asked, though Woodsly merely took a breath.

Grey went on to explain her past, how she had done something akin to this before, blah blah. Woodsly listened, letting her get it all out before even thinking of replying. A bank was different from the pits, live ’gold’ to put it. A stray bullet could lodge into her dear brother before she found him or she might not recognize the prisoner bleeding out with a fresh bullet to the gut that was her torn apart brother, already near death from hunger.

But....you know what? Fine. Woodsly glanced over the ledge, certain he wouldn’t be spotted if he got up, he rose to his feet as he put his hands into his pockets.

“Very well, sounds like you got it handled.” Woodsly replied as he started to walk in the direction and of Nome.

He still had to pick up nails.