[AW]  all I got

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Juryoku

11 y/o large Male
Xenon, Female Wood stork
JurYoku
Locked and loaded, where the hell is peace of mind?

What was beyond the whispering peaks, and the faint hum of water here within the north? Never—never has he left these cold grounds, and so a brimming curiosity and peeking nervousness overlapped in his chest. If there was one thing he was familiar with and could trust, it was the water that hugged and carried him along in its currents. Xenon followed above the lazed beast while Lake Saari gifted him to the river that fed from it.

It was a gentle and soothing voyage, enough for sleep to finally capture the fellow after a week of constant avoidance. The sun was beginning to rise, greeting the earth in its usual warm wash of reds. Crickets slowly withdrew their role in the song that played along this bubbling river. Then went the toads, and the cicadas. The birds were quick to prep for their ensemble, small chirps and longing trills came one after another. One was off, however. It was as if one was calling for him... As if it were...

As red eyes peered through heavy lids, suddenly, the currents lugged him under. It was a rude awakening, an unexpected shock that threw him in a panic. Claws sought for the nearest thing to grip onto—a boulder was the best thing he could find, but even it was close to being swept away by the rapids. It kept its place though as the beast pulled himself on top of it. Xenon tried to help, pulling his nape to at least get him out a little quicker.

He laid on this boulder with gills puffing and mist fogging the space around him. “And so I was too foolish to trust you,” he said, looking back at the river that was still beating his tail. Water spilled from his nostrils as he let air run in and out of his lungs. As the shock faded, he remained perched on his rock, and his eyes pierced through the mist he brought around him. He couldn’t have made it too far from the north as the icy cold waters still nipped at his tail.

After a few minutes of studying his surroundings, he got down from the boulder. It was quiet for a bit save the snarling river beside him. He lumbered along at the side of the river, every now and then trying to mimic the notes of the birds that started up their song once again. A few aches gripped his muscles, but what else was new? Xenon was nestled on his withers, picking at his gills and ensuring they were clean.



Sonja

7 y/o medium Female
Bezalel, Male Crow
" open your wings, evil angel; "

At best, life had been merciless recently, as if going on nine months away from Zendelrin wasn't bad enough, now she was tossed into another bout of emotions with finding Sohvren, the boy who laid claim to the memories of her childhood. And he was not a boy any longer, but a grown and weathered man who'd convinced himself his childhood friend was long dead. But only a few weeks ago she stood before him with the sole purpose of proving his assumptions wrong. The things she felt for Sohvren, they were new, fresh and held within them a hundred uncertainties of what they could become, they conflicted, clashing with her loyalty to her current mate. But then again, they hadn't seen each other in what felt like decades. 

The woman could only sigh, tucking the cauldron of thoughts into the darkest corners of her mind, because right now — she hadn't the slightest clue what to do with them. Sit and dwell; as she often did, or let things unfold as they would, of course always she would try to opt for the lesser of two evils, to let things be what they would be was an obvious answer. But it rarely worked out, instead she would fight against every path which promised ease, too determined to keep everything she desired. Too stubborn to give one up. 

The woman shifted, steadily blinking as she shifted from her place among the trees, for it was the sound of struggle and panic that caught her attention, ears coated in cardinal twitching, drawing atop her crown, blood stained pools darted to quickly find the source. But by the time she'd located him, the beast was already secure, pulling himself upon one of the large rocks that lined the black river, Sonja observed him. In utter appreciation for his stark contrast to herself, he was a stunning beast of the sea. Dusted and painted in blue and grey like the seabed itself, the features which stuck out the most were first and foremost the long whiskers which grew from his snout. The fins that adorned his rump — and his tail, which was not that of a wolf at all. The woman tilted her head gently, unfurling her over sized wings from where they wrapped around a slender frame. About to move until her brightly hued crow gently came to land upon her shoulder, she simply tossed him a glance in greeting a silent exchange as she wondered where he'd been off to. 

It wasn't often Bezalel left her side. 

Then they moved together, revealing themselves from the trees as he settled on the earth as opposed to his rock, she moved boldly, no intention of keeping herself hidden within her shadows. She approached, though kept a respectable distance from the man, large wings curling in against her sides as she considered him. "You seem...a tad out of your element" she would muse gently, her eyes shifting to the dense forests which surrounded them, a gentle smirk playing on her lips. 


"Speaking" | "Bezalel speaking"


 
Table by Centience. Art Nikkayla @ DA

@Juryoku

Juryoku

11 y/o large Male
Xenon, Female Wood stork
JurYoku
Locked and loaded, where the hell is peace of mind?

Each chirp that he repeated, every trill he held was steadily decreasing in quality. His attempt to join the choir of avians has been thrown out to sea. A slow, melodious song slipped from his throat similar to a lonely whale sharing its ever growing sorrow. And as he caught sight of a figure emerging from the trees surrounding him, the leviathan’s voice withdrew into a hum, then nothingness.

Heavy steps paused, leaving him to stand just a meter or two away from the stranger. In quiet fascination had he gave a tilt of his head, deep reds running over the large wings this wolf had. How fortunate were they to have the sky’s favor. He could only wish, but perhaps that is why he tries to learn the melody of the ones that knew the sky best. The sea is such a dark and mysterious being, at least from what he’s heard from the snow. Though the monsters in which hummed and drone within the ocean’s depths held the power of their presence well, he could appreciate the openness of the sun, moon and the followers they carry along.

Whiskers slithered closely to take in the scent of this wolf. Once he took in enough of the dame’s appearance, his attention turned to the crow that was with her. Juryoku had a look of amusement, a small coo leaving his lips. Xenon peeked over the fellow’s head at such a sound, pulling herself onto his nape with wings partly unfurled. She seemed as intrigued as he, tucking her wings back to her side and staring at this stranger. “My element seems a tad bit out of me. You’ve come to drag me back to the sea that mislaid me? Oh, how sad the peaks will be,” he answered with a cloud rolling out of his nostrils. Perhaps he stuck out like a clownfish in open waters, but surely he wasn’t the only monstrosity far from where they belonged.

Paws undone their restraint and brought the male closer to the river’s edge. The water still rushed before him but not as violent as it were a few meters upstream. He turned his head back to look at the winged wolf, one ear flicking at the small buzz of an insect zooming by. “Why do you walk upon the forest floor? You have the warm skies you could breathe, and the slight presence of stars to listen to.” Juryoku rotated his body so that one side could be facing the stranger while the other side to the river. His rump met the soaking ground; Xenon hopped down from the beast with her eyes set on a few fish splashing downstream.

“Unless there be something that ties your wings,” he added, giving the dame a tilt of his head again.




@Sonja

Sonja

7 y/o medium Female
Bezalel, Male Crow
" open your wings, evil angel; "

A simple curve of her ear, and a single paw would lift as his whiskers ventured near her to take her in. She was not afraid of the sea monster, instead only curious. He was, so far the most brightly and most distinct member of the turtle affinity she had come upon. His affinity painted boldly over every curvature, whereas one might assume by her looks that she was in fact a daughter of Notus, the owl. But no, her loyalties would lie only with her ram, even though Notus may have granted her flight, her heart burned for the shadows.  “My element seems a tad bit out of me. You’ve come to drag me back to the sea that mislaid me? Oh, how sad the peaks will be,”  The woman in red only smiled. A gentle shake of her dark head, "Oh no, " she would muse softly. Audits curving atop her crown of dusk. "I've no interest in abusing anyones free will." but for some reason, she didn't doubt she could, a breath — and then. 

"The peaks you say? I'm sure they miss you already. Will you entertain my curiosity and tell me, are you a man of ice then, or water? Or perhaps; both" he was a long way from home if the mountain was where he called home. 

As if it beckoned him the man drew closer to the rivers border, the casual words drawing from his maw, “Why do you walk upon the forest floor? You have the warm skies you could breathe, and the slight presence of stars to listen to.”  ah, the skies, her home away from home. And an impeccable way to travel, but she quite enjoyed the hug of the trees dense overlay. “Unless there be something that ties your wings,”  long tail would come to wrap around her front as she lowered her haunches upon the damp leaves which littered the earth, "I often times much prefer the confines of the forest, I am no daughter of the owl, but the ram." she would muse softly, "Here I can find my shadows, even in daylight" a simple explanation, her gaze lifting to meet the matching crimson hues of the man before her. 


"Speaking" | "Bezalel speaking"


 
Table by Centience. Art Nikkayla @ DA

@Juryoku

Juryoku

11 y/o large Male
Xenon, Female Wood stork
JurYoku
Locked and loaded, where the hell is peace of mind?

A chuckle escaped from curled lips, and deep red eyes settled to the bluing skies. Her words on free will seemed to tickle the whiskered fellow. Why so? There was a record that skipped and scratched behind the confines of dreary memories. ‘And so you say, but It lied,’ he muttered. Those words had no target for they just flowed out into nothingness. Then started an act, his mind juggled knives in between pained thoughts.

Juryoku’s head rolled until his gaze was back onto his company. It took him a moment to answer the question she put before him. Tongue pressed against teeth ready to spill what words slathered it. He couldn’t place what he was for a second—a fool belonging to water or ice. He lived for the liquid, breathed it through thirsting gills, but the byproduct of it all was what he could see.

“My core it shivers, encased by the frozen touch of ice. But water, it feeds me. I’d be a shriveled and broken vessel without the breaths it gives me.”

His form shivered, seizing at the heavy breath he let out. Perhaps this was a curse from the sea he never met nor smelled. A soul that must run on water in exchange of being a child of the mountains. He wasn’t displeased with the dealing despite the hardships he endured over his miserable younger years. The peaks drugged him through mud, blood, darkness; at the cost of a tiring mind, he could survive, and Death holds him close—closer than one would deem acceptable. Though the rotten being has gone quiet, where had it gone? He still owes It, even if It says there was nothing more It wanted.

A snarl echoed.

“So I see.” He was a bit disappointed. It was not the Owl that brushed her wings, but the Ram that poured its presence onto her. Something inside him had twisted at that discovery, enough to make his chest burn. He couldn’t place the reason, but he wouldn’t dig through the rubble in his mind. Xenon noticed his increasing disquietness, bringing back a fish for the fellow. He would play off this unease, not willing to let the monster of his past send him cowering. “I’d like to understand.” The statement seemed random but more words came crawling out after a second. “What do the shadows tell? Do they truly have a want for something, anything? You’re... far more pleasant than the gloom I’ve encountered.” He should’ve held that thought. His tail was beneath him—the fins of it positioned to hide the scars of his underbelly.

Why did it bother him? Why couldn’t he forget the monster under the table? He gently grabbed the fish Xenon put before him, offering it to the winged female.




@Sonja

Sonja

7 y/o medium Female
Bezalel, Male Crow
" open your wings, evil angel; "

He chuckled, she heard it; the deep rumble of vocals that pooled from his throat. But she remained silent, attempting to read into the note that he would strum as the world fell into silence around them. Her own wings would shift slightly, feathers raising and settling back down as the man rolled his head, pondering on the question. “My core it shivers, encased by the frozen touch of ice. But water, it feeds me. I’d be a shriveled and broken vessel without the breaths it gives me.”  with the acknowledgment chills would rake over the mans body, as if at the mere comment, Atlahua rocked through his core, reminding the man of the promise of life under the water, and the price of the chains which bound him to it. Sonja experienced no such tax, her life was not bound to the shadows, though she would dedicate everything to them, everything to the ram, only willingly of course. She was only as loyal to her god as he was to her, the moment he stopped benefiting her, the moment her shadows ignored her beckon; she would turn her back on him. 

It was simple.

The comment of her affinity seemed to collapse the air, bringing with it an air of pressure — tension lingered upon the horizon solidified only slightly with a growl pulling from deep in his chest to reverberate through the space that held them apart. 

“So I see.”

Sonja would feel her crows vexation, Bezalel ruffled, his feathers bristling like an angry porcupine. She couldn't help but wonder, questions beginning to push through her thoughts, what was it he held against the ram? Was it that they controlled the shadows, embraced the darkness which filled the corners of Nidria. Perhaps most of them assumed it was darkness that filled their souls, that their hearts were bleak and black like the element that seeped into their bones.  “I’d like to understand.” she hadn't expected the sharp turn, she'd expected hostility, assumptions.  

“What do the shadows tell? Do they truly have a want for something, anything? You’re... far more pleasant than the gloom I’ve encountered.”  they began to move around her, responding to the beckon of their name, her power was often unwarranted, the edges of her black fur beginning to blend into the darkness that pooled around her backside and rear legs. "They don't say much..." she mused, voice barely above a whisper as pools of crimson flickered down to the ones that crawled along her paws. "Their wants are simple, they want whatever I want — I think it's often misinterpreted that darkness influences those who wield it, brings out the worst in someone...." but they were copycats. Her gaze swept back to him. "But with or without the shadows if darkness lives inside you, then it will live; all they want is for you to be honest with yourself" she cooed the words, her wings lifting slightly, opening to stretch at the bend. 


"Speaking" | "Bezalel speaking"


 
Table by Centience. Art Nikkayla @ DA

@Juryoku

Juryoku

11 y/o large Male
Xenon, Female Wood stork
JurYoku
Locked and loaded, where the hell is peace of mind?

He dropped the fish once his offer was rejected. His quavery breath then came as a sigh. The nervous energy in which overwhelmed his form made the fellow shiver from pent up sorrow. Seeking eyes were stuck to each sign of movement. They sought for any tics, any tenseness—any spite. Juryoku bit his tongue at the crow’s show of irritation. A snake slithering through his anxiety as it readied to show its fangs. However, Xenon took the defensive for him, returning to her companion with feathers ruffled at the other bird and a hiss growing from her throat. This scene was quite amusing to him. Enough to make him swallow the venom pooling on his tongue and let go a chuckle.

Forepaw reached out for his familiar to make her hush and to hug her in a subtle want for comfort. She didn’t find the move bothersome but kept a glare at the crow. Juryoku’s ears were standing high upon his head, taking in the response this dame laid out. It was a strange answer to him. Had he misheard them? Perhaps he was foolish to believe memories covered with dust and old blood. A tale written by fear and twisted by a need for faint closure.

How deep did he need to dig; how willing was he to begin with?

His thoughts paused for a moment, and his mind picked at each one with uncertainty. “The darkness: starved. The light: thristful. They would say it be the weeping shadows beneath them. The others, halos that were crooked and dreary,” he said, watching a lizard climb a tree with little worry surrounding it. There was an apparent softness to the leviathan’s eyes as if longing for something.

The embrace he had around Xenon loosened now that his mind had rampaging thoughts roped and tied. She remained close to the beast, taking care of the fish he left on the ground. Juryoku drew his eyes back to his company even though his attention never strayed away from her. “Light and darkness mixed in zealot and reeking of drunken power. I could only believe they wanted something. Unless it was a secret, a sin...” His head was at a tilt, a genuine look of concern plastered on his face. Memories jumbled and scrambled to hide back into the folds they regrettably crawled out from. Although static began to fill his mind, thoughts refused to go blank. He looked closely at the shadows seeping from behind her; his tail tucking more into his belly.

“And what is your want? Tell the demon, is it virtue or vice?”




@Sonja

Sonja

7 y/o medium Female
Bezalel, Male Crow
" open your wings, evil angel; "

The tension between their familiars, and perhaps between them too sizzled and burned, though Sonja felt little annoyance toward the man, only interest instead. A peaking insight, she was curious more so with what went through his mind, for so far he was among the more fascinating individuals she had stumbled upon so far. The womans gaze would only shift to Bezalel briefly as the bird ruffled his feathers, she could feel his tension clawing at the back of her mind as the two birds continued to stare one another down. She huffed at him, "Relax Bezalel, these our not our enemies" the words were slightly biting, speaking aloud for her company to hear her reprimand. Her crow was reluctant, staying stiff, even as he let his eyes shift from the stork. She only sighed as he reluctantly obeyed, ears flickering back in the turtle mans direction as he spoke, words rhythmic, poetic. But sad.

“The darkness: starved. The light: thirstful. They would say it be the weeping shadows beneath them. The others, halos that were crooked and dreary,” she gave a gentle tilt of her head, and silently she began to wonder, had someone hurt him? The pieces were slowly beginning to come together, his bitterness toward her for the element she bore, the god who birthed her. His need to understand. It began to point in a single direction — pain. The slow realization, even if she could be wrong, grew an ache in her chest, a knot in her stomach. What had the world done to him she wondered. An audit would draw back, only one as she fought the battle against what she felt, and thought. “Light and darkness mixed in zealot and reeking of drunken power. I could only believe they wanted something. Unless it was a secret, a sin...” she took a breath than. "What do you think they want?" she wondered curiously. “And what is your want? Tell the demon, is it virtue or vice?” she hadn't seen it coming, he reversed it, asking instead what it was she wanted. Sonja drew her head back slightly, what did she want? She hardly knew most days. 

While she pondered she thought back to something else he'd said, the demon. Was he referring to himself? "I hardly see a demon in your eyes, perhaps just someone misunderstood" she mused her voice growing softer, the empathy beginning to bleed from her lips. "You desire to know what I want? But I am a complicated woman, my heart is an impulsive creature, I think you should get the time to know me then you can determine for yourself whether it is vice...or virtue" she cooed gently, a smirk touching the edges of her maw, allowing a small pause to drift between them.

"Sonja, " she mused gently, with a dip of her crown looking expectantly for a name in return.

"Speaking" | "Bezalel speaking"


 
Table by Centience. Art Nikkayla @ DA

@Juryoku

Juryoku

11 y/o large Male
Xenon, Female Wood stork
JurYoku
Locked and loaded, where the hell is peace of mind?

This question she drew out before him. There grew a whisper, a voice with a deepness that could make his heart quiver. Throughout the overwhelming sound of static that continued to coat his mind, this thing he could hear clearly with each word it breathed. Who was he to kid himself? The leviathan knew exactly the being that spilled from the dark corner of his thoughts. His face was aghast, as if he saw a monster stalking from a distance—one he only hoped he escaped from. But he did, didn’t he?

“Their end of the deal. It promised, but wasn’t I the fool to think Death would compromise with demons,” he answered with his expression becoming more stern. His deep red eyes seemed truly fixated on something behind his company. Perhaps the remnants of her shadows still. That was it. Surely, that was it. His ear would flick constantly from either a pesky bug or some babbling being becoming a bit too loud for his mind to muffle out. Juryoku’s anxiety was becoming his irritation.

With his tail curled far into his belly and muscles tensed, he tried alleviating the pressure upon him by laying down onto his belly. The whiskered fellow would finally take his gaze away from the direction of the dame, closing his eyes while a heavy cloud cloaked his face. Despite the ringing in his ear, he heard the words of his company without issue. There was something... funny about it. A demon in his eyes? Why, he had the eyes of a demon. And apparently, the wickedness of one as stated by his grandfather.

“A sneaky bloke It is. A strange one. I owe It my life, but It dares not possess and make me Its own,” he’d speak his thoughts and let his orbs become visible again. “Mayhaps that is why you see no vileness. But misunderstood, I can hardly see that.” That wasn’t the case—he didn’t want to believe that was the case. He didn’t misunderstand Death when It asked for the poisons he shamelessly concocted behind his grandfather’s back.

He was someone aimless to put it better... or worse.

Once certain the other bird would no longer be a threat, Xenon climbed onto his shoulders, nestling down as she began preening him. Minutes ticked by as contentment tried to grasp the fellow; slowly but surely. He’d give a snort at Sonja, unsure of how to take the truth behind what she has said. He is always an assumer, so it was only fair to become further more acquainted before spouting whether one held hope or despair. Just... how does one reach such a status fit for that? Hm. “Well, the wants of others is a curiosity of mine, for I must understand purpose. Juryoku is my given,” he said, shifting his weight from one side to the other.




@Sonja

Sonja

7 y/o medium Female
Bezalel, Male Crow
" open your wings, evil angel; "

“Their end of the deal. It promised, but wasn’t I the fool to think Death would compromise with demons,” she observed in silent contemplation as his expression would shift, and she couldn't help but wonder what horrors plagued the man when night fell. The real story behind the riddles, the one that was burned into his memories. His eyes grew distant, as if he saw them; relived them. But she wouldn't press him for the very real details of what actually happened, not now - for while he felt like an old friend; someone she'd known her entire life they'd only just met. 

And truly it wasn't her business to know, nor her place to poke and prod the familiar stranger for the sake of satiating curiosity, that was a cruel game Sonja bore no interest in playing. If their relationship continued from this point on maybe she would learn of them in due time. But for right now, she absorbed the information he was willing to hand out, taking in the riddle to muse upon later. Crimson lined audits fell back, only noticing how tense he'd grown when he sought to lay down to find some relief. A sigh fell softly from ebon lips. 

Even more so as he peeled his eyes down casting his gaze as he closed his eyes. The pain, in whatever form was evident and guilt began to form in her chest for pressing the matter in the first place. “A sneaky bloke It is. A strange one. I owe It my life, but It dares not possess and make me Its own,” his words of his demon drew her from the tightness in her chest, her eyes which had dropped to the damp earth below her flickered back up to him now, the slightest smirk touching the corners of her lips. “Mayhaps that is why you see no vileness. But misunderstood, I can hardly see that.”  "There's always more than meets the eye" she would reply - her tone softer than it may have been before. 

Another smirk grew on her maw as he merely huffed at her; it was true she was complex. There were many that didn't approve of the things she did or the things she believed. Her moral compass didn't always point north. “Well, the wants of others is a curiosity of mine, for I must understand purpose. Juryoku is my given,” "More of a reason to get to know me than, hm Juryoku?" she smiled honestly. "I enjoyed our talk, although I think it's time I get going. Let your curiosity be reason enough to find me again soon" she smiled, dipping her head in a respectful incline, Bezalel lifted from her back first before her large winds would spread open ensuring she had enough room to widen them she did so slowly. They swept downward in one swift movement another one or two large beats of her wings; kicking up the wind around the floor before she was in the sky and followed her familiar. 

-exit-

"Speaking" | "Bezalel speaking"


 
Table by Centience. Art Nikkayla @ DA

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