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In the Wake of Giants

Jannistory19

The Eager Rper
Janine gasped as she watched this vicious animal pin Raban down, with its tongue wrapped around Raban’s muzzle like rope. What the hell?! When was it able to do that?! Janine panted with newfound panic - the beast was not giving up as quickly as she hoped, and the sight of Raban being in danger enticed the panic further. She frantically tried to intimidate and scare the animal off Raban with rapid slaps on the ground, but it was focused intensely on killing Raban. The tail in the back was still swaying around its backside, protecting it from attacks from behind as it slowly dragged Raban closer to death.

She circled the two predators as they fought with all their might - she rooted for Raban extensively, hoping that he’d hold on while she tried to figure something out. Her neck and shoulder were bleeding a little, but it wasn’t anything that Janine could worry about at the moment; helping Raban was her priority at the moment. She paced back and forth in front of the fighting beasts, searching and scouring for an opening.

‘Godamnit! Have to find a spot to attack. It’s got Raban pinned,’ Janine thought with distress. The longer she didn’t attack, the more of a chance Raban had at wearing down.

Then Raban made an opening. He managed to grab the beast’s tongue and snatch it with his claws, making blood squirt and spray everywhere. He then bit the tongue that was his trap only moments ago and shook vigorously as the beast howled and roared in what she could imagine to be intense pain. Janine’s eyes widened when Raban freed himself. She felt massive relief, and that allowed her to let rage and the need to protect rush in and spur her to action.

She found her opening. And she was going to make this beast sorry that it ever messed with them.

The serpentine demon rushed forward and positioned herself alongside Raban and the bear-cat beast. Her muscular hind legs, armed with power and paws with half retracted claws, launched a kick squarely behind the animal’s ear, forcing its neck to snap harshly from the force. The fierce creature was shoved to the side, scrambling, seemingly torn from trying to get back onto Raban and trying to free its tongue from the retaliating werewolf - maybe both - but Janine wasn’t going to let it get the chance to do either. Hopping on both legs, Janine went for the assist and aimed her body directly on top of the beast’s skull, forcing it’s jaws shut - resulting in it biting its own tongue off.

Blood squirted from the beast’s mouth profusely as it reared on its hind legs and roared with a new kind of pain, a sound that Janine didn’t have any kind of remorse for. Using momentum, Janine spun around to swing her tail, the power behind it causing the beast’s jaw to break from the force. The beast flew to the ground, scrambling to get footing, but Janine did not slow down; she launched herself forwards with jaws agape, fangs outstretched in anticipation for contact. The furious demon embedded her fangs into the beast’s neck, blood flowing into and around her mouth as she shook her head, but at the time being, she ignored it completely. The impact forced the beast back down on the ground again; it flailed its limbs around, trying to claw at Janine as it choked on its own blood. In her own way of neutralizing the dying beast, she used her own claws to rip into the forearm, fur eventually no match for her claws as she dug deeper and deeper; they broke the flesh, running deep into muscle and eventually touching bone as Janine used her full strength to shred the muscle. The beast gave its final death throes as Janine released its neck, backing away before walking towards Raban, blood staining her body and looking more like a feral animal than a sentient being. She knew the venom in her fangs would work its deadly job, which would allow Janine and Raban to finally recoup from their battle.

The demon circled Raban slowly, looking at the blood he was covered in and the cuts and scratches he received from his scraps with the beast. Janine hissed angrily - he was just healing from his wounds from the waterfall, and now he had to deal with these cuts? Infuriating. She stopped next to the wolf and looked down at him, eyes glowing brown as the adrenaline and anger slowly ebbed away. Her bloody tail slammed on the ground several times before she got on her hind legs and roared, head lifted high as she began the declaration of their victory over the ferocious creature.
 
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Zul'Zae'ju'Jin

the Hugger Troll
It felt like a ball of yarn around his mind right now but he couldn't lose himself to that. He had to focus on two things; fight and protect. There was nothing else that mattered right now even if fighting and protecting meant his life. Janine was his friend and he would fight and die for her. There was no grey matter in that idea, it was known and resolute. So much so, not even Chestnut argued against it and she usually was in agreement with Cadfael when it came to letting people in to his small circle.

This thing was heavy but Raban was lithe and sufficiently wiggle to make it difficult in return for this beast to hold him down. He was aware when Janine came in and joined his side, shoving this beast further which helped Raban flip back to his fours, jaws tight on the squirming muscle. Growling, he pulled back on it, giving Janine more space in the interim as he wrenched and tugged on it.

The weight from the other end suddenly gave way and his feet carried him back a few steps as he seemingly won his tug-of-tongue-war. He realised what Janine had done and his maw grinned around the still-squirming muscle as Janine went to town on this beast, he heard the bone break and the howls of pain the beast gave. Had it been a fair fight on this beast's part, he might have felt more pity for it but it had taken a big risk in taking on both predators as it did. Raban sat much in the style of a dog, the digits of his hands splayed outwards as he watched Janine's work.

"Sure she needs protecting half as much as you,"

The comment in his head was both one of sarcasm and admiration. The latter of which, Raban knew, was a rare trait for Chestnut to give to anyone. It was also a statement of truth as he watched; Janine was stronger with a deadlier set of skills than he possessed. Much about her were unknown elements. Werewolves were a lot more understood, even by mortal men even if they were no less feared. His ears flicked, his head cocked to one side as he watched this unfortunate beast die.

"You're still dangerous, Little Wolf. Her venom doesn't convert." He grunted in reply to Chestnut's gentle reminder of just how dangerous he was. There was truth in it. If there wasn't, perhaps Greaves wouldn't be as headstrong in hunting a werewolf. Raban gave a moment to wonder at the man's history to have caused the choice in profession. Perhaps a werewolf had affected his family at one point...

He was breathing deeply trying to claim back air he had lost in the fight and he lowered his head, dropping the tongue he had been holding. Raising it, he seemed content to sit there for the moment, jaws agape as he panted. Unlike his human self who could sweat, canids didn't have that luxury and had to pant to cool off. Pricks of pain told him he had been just as on the receiving end of mauling as he had given. Raban eyed himself over briefly, some of his fur was wet and matted now in places. He huffed lightly before he watched Janine encircle him.

Janine's encirclement and resulting hiss told him she wasn't happy he had been hurt but it was a sentiment he shared with her in kind as he looked her over. Her neck and shoulders looked as if she was also in pain and he realised then the beast had a tail of barbed quills.

He felt the shudders through the earth as she slammed her tail and then roared. Smiling, he rose to his feet, toes splaying slightly as his body arched to join in with a howl of triumph and challenge. Any predator or pack's worth would have heard the sounds of their battle with this creature and would perhaps respect some distance lest they receive a similar fate.

Raban lowered and turned towards her for a moment before he moved to carefully and gently remove what barbs were caught in her flesh. His tongue licked clean each one he removed or hole he found that she had sustained, perhaps in a silent apology to the pain he caused in removing them. He rested his forehead against her neck after that, glad they had found each other. Had he met that beast alone, he wasn't so sure he would be quite so fortunate in the outcome.
 

Jannistory19

The Eager Rper
Hearing Raban howling alongside her victory roar spurred her to extend it a little longer. A part of her just wanted to get the excess aggression out, and the other part was just thrilled at what she and Raban just went through. The adrenaline rush was strong this time around, but it was somewhat different when it came to animals. She felt like she could be like one for the time being, not worrying about holding back if they attacked first.

When their symphony of animalistic roars settled down, Janine looked back down to face Raban. He looked like a bloody mess. She began to move, but stopped when she noticed him moving towards her first. Silently, the young demon watched as Raban reached out to her neck and plucked what seemed to be quills sticking out of her neck and shoulder. She couldn't hold back the yelp that resulted from the pain released after the first quill was removed; she had completely forgotten about being hit on the neck with that tail - as far as she was concerned, she was just pricked, not actually stabbed with quills. Even so, she felt relief when each one was removed, despite flinching each time; it felt as if pressure was being removed with each quill and it felt relieving. Janine also felt happiness and some other emotion she couldn't describe rising up when Raban licked her, even if it was just to clean her wounds. But the way he was doing it was as if he was apologizing - it wasn't his fault, but she smiled nonetheless. They didn't look deep nor large to cause too much of a fuss, but she honestly could have done without them. It'd take a bit of time to heal them, but they should be good within the week.

When Raban rested his forehead on her neck, her tail rattled, revealing her positive emotions. She felt his relief, and she definitely felt that as well; the whole ordeal was over, and they were both safe again. She wrapped her paws around Raban in a hug and nuzzled her snout on his head, silently thanking whoever was above for allowing him to be alright. Mostly.

"I think it's safe to ask if you're alright this time around? That damn thing caught us both off guard the second time around." Janine said after their long moment of relative silence.

She released Raban from their comforting embrace and she turned to the pool of water before looking back at Raban, gesturing her head towards the waterfall pool before she walked up to it herself. Craning her neck over the water to see her reflection, Janine saw that she was no better - she had a lot of blood on her as well, especially on her snout and paws. As much as she disliked the cold water, she knew that she'd have to clean herself before they left the area. There was no need for attracting scavengers and other predators near them for no reason.

With a hesitant hiss, Janine put her paws into the water, letting the blood wash away as she bent her neck over to drink again. Naturally as she drank, the blood from her snout and neck mixed with the water and eventually dropped down and landed in the pool, temporarily turning her small area of water red. This time, being wet was necessary, as she didn't feel like smelling of blood when she didn't have to. Not to mention it would be hard to explain back in town.

Janine looked towards Raban after stepping out of the water to clean herself. She hoped he would do the same - smelling like wet fur was nothing compared to the scent of blood - at least wet fur didn't attract the attention of predators. She laid on the dirt once more, extending her tongue to lap over her paws to pick up whatever little bits of fur she might've missed.
 

Zul'Zae'ju'Jin

the Hugger Troll
He inspected one of the quills he pulled out, sniffing it before he dropped it to the forest floor. This beast had whacked her pretty good with these things but she looked a bit better now that he had removed them. Water and time would solve the rest as no doubt it would do the same for him. He would settle with 'wet dog' again and hoped she wouldn't mind it too much on the return passage to their waiting equines. At least he wouldn't have to locate his clothes.

Raban was glad for the silence that surrounded them except for the sounds of the water nearby. It helped in case anything else was trying their luck but his ears couldn't pick up anything coming their way. Their roars and howls were being heeded and he appreciated it a lot.

He took the moment to breathe, catch himself, as his head rested against her skin. The contact was comforting despite him being used to being alone with Chestnut for so many years. He felt her paws go around him and that feeling of warmth returned and Raban wasn't sure his focus in life now was entirely Order orientated. Janine had come into his life in one flash of a moment and changed everything.

She repeated her earlier question and he chuffed, his frame shifting as if he was chuckling in response but his canine anatomy allowed only as much as chuffing. His jaws grew wide with a lopsided grin, tongue hanging loosely out of one side. He nodded, it certainly had and he shifted to look at the dead creature without removing himself from their embrace. He had never seen or smelt its like before, so either it was filling an absence left by the Dragon or it was trying to claim new territory.

It didn't matter now. It was dead and they had survived, albeit with a few cuts and bruises but that wasn't anything they couldn't heal through.

She released him and made a gesture towards the water. He nodded, turning and walked alongside her. He remained upright, the taller height allowing him to see much around them before they reached the water's edge. Raban sniffed the air and slowly birds began their songs once more. He heard a stag not that far off giving a low bellow. Raban heard the wary message within and paid it no mind; just a stag warning his does and other bucks.

He peered at his own reflection and winced; his fur was matted with blood in several places but mostly his arms and chest. His snout was slick with saliva and blood and flecks of other undistinguishable goopy bits. He stank of blood, saliva and the scent of the beast they had just killed. He dropped to his fours and dunked his whole head in the water, scrubbing the gunk away with a paw. Raban took care to wash every part of himself before he walked a little distance away. Not to be too far from her or out of sight but far enough to let him vigorously shake the water out of his fur, ears slapping against his skull as he did so.

Returning to the water's edge, he crouched and lapped up water to drink, a pinkish tongue darting out and back in again, drawing up the water. Raban quenched his thirst and moved, sitting by her in a lopsided, dog-like way, his stumpy tail wagging somewhat although he wasn't aware of it. His jaws were open, it was easier to breathe but he would pause to lick over his nose.
 

Jannistory19

The Eager Rper
Licking fur wasn’t the most enjoyable thing she did in this form, but it was necessary whenever she did it. She was just able to get the taste of blood from her mouth as she licked her paws, but since she was trying to clean blood from her paws, it wasn’t going to go away so easily. She disliked that as well, but it was something she just had to tolerate until it eventually went away. Blood always tasted like metal, and it wasn’t the most ideal flavor to have in one’s mouth, but she couldn’t control what blood tasted like.

The sounds of the forest slowly came back up again: chirping birds, noisy insects, various fauna. The sounds were slightly relaxing; they meant that the animals were going back to their normal, calmer selves, and that’s all she felt that she needed. Just to relax again. She wanted the rest of the day to be fun and not filled with danger or death or anything negative…. Was that too much to ask?

While bending her neck to look at her shoulder and neck wounds, she noticed that he was finally cleaning his body, so that was good. She chuckled when he went away to shake his fur of excess water, noticing that he kept looking like a dog while doing so. She was very tempted to say that he looked cute as cute as a wolf could be, but she kept it to herself. She had said that he was cute before, she wasn’t sure about saying it again - he’d probably be embarrassed by it or something. While licking her wounds, the serpent caught the sounds of lapping and made her look up to Raban drinking water - the sight filled Janine with satisfaction; they hadn’t looked for water all damn day, and even after the whole river ordeal, she noticed that he didn’t drink any water. Rehydrating was important, especially if you’ve been running around all day.

She got up to move to a different part of the pool, one that didn’t have all that nasty bodily stuff floating around, and drank some more water. When she was done, she went back to Raban and watched as he sat down like a street dog would. Again, he looked super cute.

“Well, you look happy enough,” Janine chuckled. She looked over to the dead beast that had fought rather valiantly, though the motive behind it was unclear. Nonetheless, it didn’t matter to Janine - it had attacked Raban and herself, and that she couldn’t quite forgive, at least for now.

“That thing was crazy. I’ve never seen or heard of anything like that before. I don’t think I’ve even heard of these things in the taverns. I bet the men that like to brag about hunting ain’t ever heard of this thing either!” Janine challenged with a confident smirk.

“And as big as this thing was, I didn’t even hear it coming!” As soon as Janine said those words, her smirk soon straightened out to a normal face, which then changed into a frown of sorts - or as much of a frown as a snake’s face could allow. She looked down at her paws before turning to the beast. “I didn’t hear it coming. Or smell it.” Janine pondered before shaking her head. “No. I did smell it I guess - it was the scent I was tracking. But I didn’t sense it coming at all. I normally would sense a potential enemy before I see it, but this time I was ....” Janine stopped and turned to the direction that she remembered going in, before she was jumped violently by the bear-cat creature. Her mind tried to recall what she was doing, which wasn’t much at all.

“I was following the scent, then I stopped to listen to the forest - which then allowed me to hear a song. Yeah, I heard a song!” Janine turned to Raban with an awestruck expression on her face. “It was faint, most likely because it was so far away, but I definitely heard something. A woman was singing some song - and it wasn’t like anything you’d expect to hear in this kingdom. She was vocalizing something so beautiful, I just stopped what I was doing and listened to her. The instruments in the background were pretty good, and they helped the song sound so mysterious. And then I felt myself just get carried away with her voice. Like, really carried away.” Her tone grew confused as she looked down again trying to explain what he felt. “It was like… I was getting lost in her voice. Just drowning out the rest of the world or something,” Janine described with a hint of frustration in her voice. “I don't really know how to describe it,” she sighed.

The young demon shook her head as she looked up to Raban. “The only reason I snapped out of it was because that thing literally beat me out of it. I suppose I have that to thank it for I guess,” Janine said with a dry chuckle.
 
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Zul'Zae'ju'Jin

the Hugger Troll
Cleaning wasn't always something he was obsessive about. He left that to the cats. However, he was keen to remove the gunk and blood from his maw and fur lest it attracted anything else in the area. Raban knew that would not be the best addition to one creature's miscalculation. Cleaning and lapping water to drink took time and he placed a good amount of that to each necessity. He had expended a lot of energy in a relative short space of time and he could feel the effects of numerous transformations creep on the edges of his mind. He was tired but he didn't want the day to end either.

Lapping up water once or twice more, he sat upwards and licked his mouth dry. He turned and watched her for a moment, hoping her wounds were not as bad as they looked even after he had licked them clean. He reached and scratched slowly behind an ear before she seemed to be done with her own cleaning.

Raban blinked back at her to her comment of being happy. He wasn't happy they both got injured again but it was true enough that he was happy to not be alone, that they were both here able to have enjoyed the day out. He looked towards the creature as she did and wrinkled his nose. The carcass would attract scavengers soon.

The wolf chuffed, nodding with agreement. He hadn't seen it before either and could only estimate it was from somewhere else in the world, that it had travelled and was looking for a new home. It hadn't found it here, but he wondered if the big dragon's movements had anything to do with it. It was a possibility. Raban stood to his fours, creeping closer to the downed beast that had attacked them and sniffed at it at length. Nope, nothing was recognisable about this beast other than its obvious likeness to bears and cats.

He sat and inspected one of its front paws, lifting it and turning it about in his own clawed hands. He then did the same with a hind foot before he grunted and pointed at the pads of the creature's feet. Cats had this feature; it aided their ability to walk without sounds to allow for a better ambush in the field. The pads were like cushions, much like Raban's own feet which in turn allowed him to move silently as well but this creature had four feet that matched each other.

Raban spent time in inspecting the beast, growing familiar with it so that if they ever encountered one again, he would know its scent markers and how they could better combat it in the future. His ears indicated he was also listening to Janine as she spoke. This creature was powerful, had a range of tools at its disposal with a strength and ferocity that had given them a run for their money. He would have to consult the archives of the Order, see if any Knight had come across one before.

He was distracted by mention of the song and he looked at her quizzically. A woman singing a song? He didn't recall hearing that, maybe he had just been too far out of reach to hear it. Equally, it could have been designed solely for Janine to hear. He tilted his head, showing his confusion at the words, but Raban knew that some songs were magical in nature, a spell woven into rhyme. It made the presence of this strange beast make a little more sense. If it was a song of summoning or command... that could be one reason why it was here of all places and why he didn't know what it was.

Raban nodded absently before he moved closer to her, finding a spot in which to write. He was too wary to change back to human now in case something else chose to interrupt their day.

"WOMAN? DID SONG SOUND LIKE SPELL/CHANT?"
 

Jannistory19

The Eager Rper
Janine watched Raban as he examined the dead beast. Normally, she would go over and examine it herself, but she was talking, and she didn’t feel like getting up. Perhaps when she got over her little grudge over the beast she’d do it. She noticed him looking at paws and touching the fur, hoping that he’d take care enough to avoid the pool of blood that still existed around the animal. The damage that she and Raban inflicted on it was guaranteed to have spilled a very decent amount of it, regardless if the leaves and twigs and dirt would slow its movement or not.

The movement of his ears and head indicated that Raban might’ve been confused at some bits of her recollection. “What? What’s the matter?” Janine asked. He moved closer to her and began writing in the dirt again. She patiently waited until he was finished, and bent her neck down to read the words he left. A thoughtful hiss and a flick of her tongue indicated she was thinking. “A spell? No… Well…. It sounded mystifying to me. The instruments were what really sold it for me. I wasn’t able to hear them that much, but I was barely able to hear them, you know?” Janine said as she tilted her head as she tried to remember what she heard. “It… The woman didn’t sound like she was speaking any words, but if she was, it certainly wasn’t in English. I guess to the untrained ear, it could sound like chanting or some sort of spell. It could easily just be her making random noises and it just happens to sound good from a distance,” Janine said as she laid down on her belly.

“I would go back over there to try and show you, but I’m honestly not sure about it being a good idea. If it really is a spell of some sorts, then you could possibly be sucked in and we'd both be helpless. Or we'd get attacked by another bear... cat... thing. I mean, it’s possible I trespassed on this beast’s territory, and it was just defending it. Or, it was just passing through and it saw me and you as viable prey? Well, you more than me. But it surely didn’t hesitate in attacking me the first time around,” Janine sneered. She looked over to the beast and shifted her body. Getting on her feet, the young demon moved to walk over to the bloody corpse. She sat down, seeing the damage she’d done to it, and sighed. Maybe holding a grudge on it was a bit harsh. If it were her, she’d fight tooth and nail to the death if it meant protecting something she coveted. That is, if this beast really was claiming territory. If it was just looking for prey, she could understand that, but anything as big and dangerous as them? Was it desperate?

“Sorry for mangling you up so badly. You just targeted the wrong thing to prey on, that’s all,” Janine finally said after a moment of silence.
 

Zul'Zae'ju'Jin

the Hugger Troll
Raban spent a long moment committing the beast's features to memory and sensed Chestnut doing the same as she so often did when he was trying to recall things. Every little detail that made this creature different was something he noted to mind. Later, he would sketch the beast down and see if there was anything relating to it in the Order's archives. Had this been encountered before by other Knights? He didn't know... Whatever it was, it was strong enough to take on a werewolf or a demon serpent alone. It hadn't seemed to realize it couldn't take on both at the same time.

Janine didn't seem to think it was a spell but Raban wasn't sure so sure. He was aware not all spells required words and that they often weren't in the common tongue of mortal men. Witches did exist although he never found them to be a common practice. It was a dangerous art within even Supernatural circles as far as he was made aware. Given mortal man's predilection for burning them, he couldn't blame any who practiced it to be open about their craft. He scratched behind an ear, lost in thought when she spoke of not believing going to where she heard the song a wise idea and he looked at her.

Raban grinned and shook his head, no , he was not planning any travel that way. He was needing to save his energy to change back later and he didn't fancy going up against a witch today. Not until they knew more. Besides, this was supposed to have been their day off, a day to just be themselves and relax. He hadn't anticipated fighting off an unknown when they had set out that morning.

He shifted away even as Janine moved closer and then paused to watch her inspect this creature that had attacked them. It did seem fixated on him, perhaps because he was smaller than Janine it thought him an easier target and perhaps he had been. It had known to shut his charge down by muzzling him with its tongue. It had effected the efficiency of his breathing and pinned him down in similar way to Janine when she had done the same to protect her mother at the time. Whether it had the intelligence to do that by itself or whether it had been commanded, he didn't know but he certainly wasn't going to chase the avenue any further tonight.

Janine wasn't wrong. Normal knights would have had no chance against this creature. They had struggled themselves in the dealing with this attack. He rubbed his face before he chuffed and then wrote in the earth again when Janine looked back in his direction.

"SHALL WE RETURN HORSES?"
 

Jannistory19

The Eager Rper
The wind picked up a little during Janine’s and Raban’s time by pool of water. She shivered a little, remembering that she’d dampened herself several times since Raban’s descent down the waterfall. She hissed a little, wishing that she’d hurry and dry up before anything else happened. As she examined the beast, she knew that she’d eventually get over this whole ordeal and forgive the animal - and if she was honest, she was finding herself to be doing it a lot sooner than later. She hissed as she tried to keep a little bit of her grudge towards the animal, but she caught herself bowing her head as her little way of apologizing. Dammit. She just couldn’t blame the beast too much.

With her respects out of the way, Janine turned to be beside Raban, only to see that he had begun writing something in the dirt. She moved to see what he had written, and lowered her head to see the words better. Oh, he wanted to get back to the horses? Probably to go back home. Janine tilted her head and thought about it. Today was a rather eventful day in the forest - a long yet super fun game of tag, rivers, yet again another animal fight. The young demon nodded her head and turned to the wolf beside her.

“Sure, I guess we can go back home. We’ve had a rather eventful day out here, and once again, we manage to get attacked by some random beast.” Janine’s serpentine head looked to the sky, and saw that the sun had gotten to that point where they were very much into late afternoon. “I guess we can finish the rest of the day back in Amastad. At least we won’t have to worry about some damn bear-cat thing,” Janine mused as she pawed at Raban’s shoulder. She went over the water to take one last sip of water before moving away from the water’s edge. She stretched herself out both backwards and forwards, her paws and toes flexing before she shook herself out.

“And besides, I’m really hungry. Haven’t eaten since before our second game of tag,” Janine added as she began her walk towards the side of the forest that led them back up the waterfall. She hoped that with a mixture of retracing paths and using common sense, she and Raban would find their way back.

~~~~~~~​



It took a while, but the way back to their secret place took about as long as Janine predicted it would. Along the way, she made sure to remember the way back, in case she or Raban would ever be in this neck of the woods again - she had a feeling that she wouldn't be able to tell with just looking around, but scents and certain natural structures and placements between trees, bushes, and even rock some structures helped her make a sort of crude map in her mind. She'd especially remember the lake and hillside that she and Raban were near when they first started their game of tag. The only way for her to have better understanding is if she stayed and lived in that part of the forest for some time. She looked to the small waterfall that led into their safe place and scoffed - waterfalls have already made Janine have an opinion about them, and they weren’t nice. Thankfully, she was still in her demon form, so she was able to scale down the structure without touching any water; by taking a running leap, she was able to miss the water entirely and just land on the grass next to the stream, thankful that she didn’t have to risk touching water anymore.

“Venus, Chestnut! We’re back!” Janine exclaimed excitedly as she went back up the hill once more. Her equine companion had been resting herself under the tree where she left her picnic basket - which had been ransacked with all the food dumped out onto the grass. She gasped as she ran down the hill, slowing down beside her horse as all her food lay strewn next to her.

“Mama’s basket!” Janine exclaimed as she nosed through the basket. Venus quickly got on her feet as her owner ran down the hill, raising up before moving and trodding away. Janine ignored her horse and sniffed the basket, thinking she’d find something that would give her clues to what happened: a raccoon or a fox or a squirrel. No, none of those scents. All that she detected was…. Venus’ scent. Changing back to her human self, Janine scanned the contents and the basket, noticing that none of the meat or even bread was eaten. Even so, she couldn’t eat this stuff off the ground - who knew how long it had been? The young woman sat on the grass and pouted, her hopes of satiating her hunger dashed before she could even do anything.

“What happened to the food?” Janine asked Chestnut.
 

Zul'Zae'ju'Jin

the Hugger Troll
He chuffed, nodding; the attack hadn't exactly been something he had been expecting not wanted, but life was never easy and typically liked to go the wrong way of what was wanted at any point in time. He supposed that was just a natural way of things. He smiled softly, a slow walk back to Amastad would be pretty nice. Just walk and talk, something he didn't typically do much of out loud before he had met and gotten to know Janine beyond simple Order meetings.

Raban leaned into the contact almost subconciously as he nodded and watched as she took a final drink and stretched herself out in a fashion that reminded him of small cats, right down to the toes. He grinned to himself, finding this rather amusing to watch before he scratched his ear. When she mentioned food his stomach growled quietly in reminder making the fish that they had consumed before seem like it had been ages ago.

He gave a nod of agreement and fell into easy stride alongside her. He walked upright, allowing for an easy vantage point for them both. Him above, her below.

~~~

The walk back was pleasantly and thankfully uneventful and Raban knew that despite what had run into them here, he would be keen to return the next time they were looking to use a vacation day. He'd like to do this again. It made for a nice change to his standard way of living. He was fast understanding the importance of having friends. Chestnut was one but due to her trappings, she could not do as much as another human being.

"Not that your Order would classify either of you as 'human' anymore,"

Chestnut's words interjected his mind with a bitter sound of resentment. Some might think it difficult for a demon, even a fire demon, to understand the complexities of differences of supernaturals such as he was. He might be a lycanthrope but he was still also human as much as Janine was still human as much as she was a demon.

"It's a paradox; they fear what they don't understand and they'll claim us unnatural even when they do," he returned sadly. There was very little use in trying to make humanity understand the truth of the world which they shared. If they knew all of the truths of this world, they would likely lose their sanity.

The rushing sound of water jerked him out of his little reverie and watched as Janine cleared the water entirely in one bound. Raban had to back up a bit before taking it himself in one quadrupedal bound. His hinds got a little wet from where he landed at the bank's edge but nothing that concerned him. He paused and stretched his full height out again before continuing on, ears listening to birdsong and Janine's call to the horses.

Raban followed after her and then stared bemusedly at the scene of a strewn picnic, a resting Venus, their tack set to one side and on the other stood Chestnut. The lowering sunlight resting on a broad, sorrel hide as she looked towards Janine when the woman had asked her a question. The demon mare snorted and tossed her head a couple of times before she walked towards the saddles and then picked up a pile of clothes, dumping it on Raban's saddle-horn before peering back.

The wolf tilted his head at the strewn food and guess that dinner would have to be postponed to when they got back to Amastad. That was okay though, it wasn't a bad thing. He sniffed the air but it was Venus' scent that was strongest closest to the basket. He smiled before he moved and then shifted back into his human state and then putting his trousers and tunic back on. He rolled his shoulders before he sat against his saddle to put his shoes back on.

"Maybe she was nosing about for more apples? They do seem her favourite treat," he said, having noted meat was still present. He doubted it'd be long before a crow noticed it all. A caw told him they were nearby already. Shoes on, he stood and set about putting Chestnut's tack back on. She blew hot air at his face when he presented the bit of the bridle to her. He knew it was her least favourite part.

"We can grab something later," he added, tightening the girth straps.
 

Jannistory19

The Eager Rper
Janine turned to Raban with her pout and sighed. Venus did like her apples. She probably should've brought some to satisfy her and Chestnut while she and Raban went out.

"Ugh, fine. I was looking forward to snacking on the - cookies!" Janine suddenly exclaimed. She remembered that she had packed Sweetfall inspired cookies when she was planning her picnic, and had wanted to share them with Raban. But as she looked around, she found that they were all emptied out and scattered on the ground as well.

"Aww man! I wanted us to eat cookies, but forgot to give them to you when we ate our fish." The realization was really disheartening; her eagerness to share sweets with Raban was strong throughout the day, even though she had forgotten them since leaving the basket and horses behind.

She looked inside the picnic basket and gasped - there was one crumbly cookie left. Like a child, Janine grabbed a few chunks and put them in her mouth, nearly melting at the taste despite the cookie's broken shapes. She turned to Raban and gave him the last pieces of the cookie when he was done with saddling Chestnut. "Here. I guess we can get more back home, but I'd rather eat this now," she offered.

Janine turned from Raban to clean up whatever she could, which wasn't very much - her blanket, and the vegetables on top of it.

Wait.

Janine's eyes narrowed at the green stick wrapped in the blanket. The celery stick was still intact. But where was the carrot? Janine looked around and saw bits of carrot among the dirty foods surrounding her. Her gaze then turned to Venus as she plodded back over to her, running her teeth through her hair in a greeting.

"Venus, let me see your teeth," Janine asked. She lifted her equine partner's lips and saw bits of orange within them. "Venus! Godamnit, you went through Mama's basket? You ruined the food," Janine stated as she scolded her horse. The mare responded with a seemingly indignant snort and lifted her head up and down before she made noises at the basket and food.

"Oh you are such a… troublemaker! I was going to give that to you!" The young demon huffed as she poked her horse's snout. Venus stuck her tongue out at Janine, in which she responded with a stuck out tongue of her own. After finding out what happened to her food, Janine saddled her horse up before tidying up. Thankfully, the basket wasn't destroyed or broken in any way; she wouldn't have known what to do if that was the case. The blanket and single celery stalk went inside the basket, and she left the rest of the food under the tree. Hopefully the other scavengers would make quick work of the food.

Janine got on her horse and sighed as she looked around their secret place. She would miss this place. So quiet and peaceful. Just surrounded by the simple atmosphere of serenity. Yes, she and Raban would have to come back here - to this place away from home, away from everything negative in their life. Because, for a long while, she had actually forgotten about the problems that plagued them both.

"Well. I guess we have to part from this place. But hopefully it won't be long. We're definitely remembering the way here on the way back aren't we?" Janine asked Raban. She steered Venus down the little stream, over the small string of water, and continued the way back out that led to the rest of the forest. It was time to go back home.


~~~~~~~~~​


The way back was filled with the sounds of the forest. Janine had talked for a portion of the ride back, but it was mainly about their time as they played their game - especially the second round, before they met the river. She was just so excited and happy about how Raban actually enjoyed himself today, she felt that she could talk and play with him for hours. But she eventually stopped, for fear of sounding annoying. After that topic, Janine found herself having trouble with talking again.

Usually, talking to Raban was focused on one of three topics: the dragon threat, their knightly duties, and their personal threats. Each topic concerned them both, so it made sense to engage with him. Even so, she didn't want this partnership to be solely based on things like "knightly duties" or "survival". Because, while that's how their relationship started, and that will always be a part of their relationship (or at least, she hoped they could call their interactions a relationship), she began to desire something else. Her current feelings for him were strong - she was protecting someone that had the same life as her, but different; a connection that she wouldn't be able to have with a normal human. Up until now, she was concerned with that aspect, and that only.

But over time, Janine had felt her initial feelings for him morph into something more; something that was still based on survival and connection, but she couldn't ignore the fact that it had become deeper than she initially anticipated. She felt something with Raban today, but she couldn't grasp what it was. And while she was sure that she had bonded with Raban today, there was this sort of desire to get to know him better - she noticed that she didn't really know Raban as much as she liked. Her desire to protect him had been enough for her, but.... Knowing someone... It would be nice.

But how? She never tried to talk to anyone like this. What if she messed up? What if she accidentally insulted him? The young woman looked down at the back of Venus' head, a frown spread across her lips as her anxiety threatened to attack. How could she get to know him better? What should they talk about? Janine inwardly groaned, truly stuck with engaging in basic conversation. Perhaps she needed to talk to more people after all.

"Um…" Janine shuddered before she could speak, feeling the cold nibble on her skin as the air gathered around her. Damn her disadvantage towards the colder temperatures. Oh…? Maybe she could talk about what he liked and disliked? That seemed to be something everyone talked about.

What to ask first?

"So…. Which season is your favorite? I personally love Summer, but I suppose you'd probably figured that by now. I happen to be born during the Summer season, so maybe that's why," Janine chuckled.
 
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Zul'Zae'ju'Jin

the Hugger Troll
Raban raised his brows at her exclamation and then smiled. Didn't matter how old you happened to be, he supposed, cookies would always brighten the mood. At least, he had yet to see someone react negatively towards being given a cookie. There was probably someone out there in the big wide world who had but he was not yet witness to the event.

He tugged his tunic to get it to sit right as he moved carefully through the space. After so long of wearing fur and nothing else, clothes felt weird on the skin. It was a different texture and temperature combination that always threw him off no matter how used to it he ought to be by now. It turned out the culprit had turfed out the cookies too. That was sad, he learned he disliked seeing Janine unhappy about something. He really didn't know why that was only that it was a truth he couldn't deny.

He smiled reassuringly, "Not the end of the world; we can always make some more," he replied. He then paused and looked at Janine, "That said, I have never made cookies and I have no clue about baking." It was probably the most 'man' comment he had made but there was truth in that. He had cooked, mostly over a campfire, but baking was something of a complete enigma to him.

The wolf blinked and then peered towards the offered remains of the last cookie she had seemed to find surviving from the basket. He smiled with gratitude, picking up the remaining pieces from her hand as gently as he could without squishing the cookie bits. "Thanks. Probably wise... before things get upturned again," he nodded, before he popped the pieces into his mouth and chewed, swallowing with a happy note. They were tasty and he'd happily eat them again.

With Chestnut properly tacked up, he helped where he could with everything else before movement and sound caught his attention again. Janine and Venus, no less. It seemed the culprit had been found not that it was a huge surprise. He grinned and Chestnut snorted, tossing her head.

"She's a hungry mare, that one!"

Raban said nothing but simply patted her neck in response before looking back to Janine after taking the time to take one last look around the place. They would definitely have to come back here. It was a lovely tranquil spot and he had thoroughly enjoyed it. Even with the strange animal encounter.

"Oh, not forgetting this place, that's for sure," he affirmed. There was no way they were forgetting the way back to this place. He rose into the saddle and Chestnut fell into step alongside Venus with Raban loosely holding reins. It wasn't like he actually needed to steer.

~~~~

The air was tranquil as if nature was taking a little time for itself today as well. Raban couldn't blame it if it was. There had been a lot of chaos of late. Even critters needed to unwind. It was enjoyable and there was something soothing about the breeze and gentle sounds of the forest surrounding them as they made their way back to the city. What awaited them back there, or more specifically him considering the hunter, was tomorrow's problem. He simply didn't want to entertain those thoughts and ruin a lovely afternoon with his brooding.

It was their day and he didn't want to spoil his time with Janine. He had found a really good friend in here and he was starting to realise that there might be something more going on. He didn't have a good handle on what that was, but Chestnut did, apparently.

"Twitterpated Wolfling," her voice spoke with equal amounts of bemusement and disgust.

The idea of 'love' and 'couples' was always something the fire demon found repugnant, calling it messy and illogical. Raban had known the love a son had for his mother and experienced something of a father's love for their son but love between two unrelated individuals was not something he had been read into. Raban glanced towards Janine as he heard her break their little silence and his head tilted but he remained patient.

He smiled at the question, not in the least bit surprised to learn hers was summer. The heat of the month would suit her penchant for heat as it did for Chestnut. He figured that was a demon and reptile thing.

"Spring," he began softly. "Everything's turning its leaf for a new year, the rains and everything coming out of a dormancy. Have you seen snowdrops? They're like a little reminder that summer's around the corner, and life can enjoy sunlight again. It's a month where my nose gets assaulted with scents and I welcome it every spring,"

"That might be a little surprising for a creature of darkness and shadow, but there's something rather invigorating when Spring starts," he looked at her and grinned.

"Do you have a flower you like the most?"
 

Jannistory19

The Eager Rper
Spring. Raban liked the springtime? How quaint. She smiled when he explained what he liked about it, thinking about each point he made. She supposed it was true. It did signal the end of the cold times and the beginning of warmer times. The idea of Raban being distracted by the many scents in the wind amused her, and she smiled at the thought of Ravan being confused and intrigued by every little thing.

"Scents in the wind, huh? Well, looks like I found my cheat time for our games of tag and hide and seek. Going to be very fun when springtime rolls around," Janine teased with a laugh. Her eyes looked up at the sky when he asked about snowdrops, head tilting as she thought about it.

"I don't know. I don't even know if I've ever seen them before. If I have, then I've never noticed. I'd like to see them and actually know what I'm looking at," Janine said with a smile.

At Raban's question about flowers, Janine turned to think. Did she like flowers like that? They were pretty when in bloom, sure, but did she fixate herself on any one flower? "That I don't know. Well, actually, there were these cute ones that my father gave my mom whenever he could… He'd come home with a lovely bouquet every once in a while, but my mom was as happy with one flower than with a whole bunch. So for as long as I could remember, these flowers were in the house for a long while. I cannot think about the name! Oh wait, I think they're called tulips! I haven't bothered to look at flowers very much, but if I can find them in town, then you could probably say what they are," Janine said as she nodded her head.

'If I do manage to find the flowers I'm thinking of, then maybe I could get some for Mom,' Janine thought with a small hum. It would be nice to bring in something for her mother - after all, she was going through Sweetfalls Day like everyone else in Amastad. "Hehe… so maybe they'd be my favorite flower, I guess. I can look at flowers for a long time, but I can't recall actually having a favorite. What about you? Do you have a favorite flower?" Janine asked back.
 

Zul'Zae'ju'Jin

the Hugger Troll
Shit.

"Ha! Got me there, I suppose," Raban smiled, but it was a scenario he didn't mind looking forward too. He wasn't as fond of Summer by comparison since if it got really hot and he was in form, the only way to cool down was a bath or panting. There was cons to being what he was, most of them were simply annoying to have over having any sort of detrimental effect on his existence. He was glad for her laugh though, it was a good sound and it was warming to see her in a good mood so quick after a let down of no grub to eat.

He glanced at her, his body swaying gently in movement with Chestnut as they walked the way back to Amastad. "Have you not? That's a shame... I shall have to find you one," he nodded with promise, snowdrops weren't quite his favourite but they did mark the start of the year for him in many ways and they also offered some fond memories from much younger days.

Raban listened to her response as to what her favourite flower was and learned what her mother's was in one sitting. Useful information to learn in the least. Women tended to have favourites, but he had learned quickly Janine was far from the average woman he had ever known closely, which wasn't all that many, he knew. He smiled nodding with acknowledgement and recognition of the flower's name.

"Oh, isn't that just coincidence laughing..."

He eyed the space between Chestnut's ears for a moment as his own picked up on Janine's returned words to the same effect of his previous question towards her. His ear tips felt warmer than normal. Was that normal?

"It's funny you mention Tulips," he replied and then tilted his head, "Although Lavender is a close second."

Lavender was also useful as a sleeping aide for him at times. It wasn't uncommon to find dried lavender in his belongings.

"Chestnut likes flowers only because she can make them wilt," he added, mostly for intrigue.

Chestnut tossed her head and snickered with clear amusement and didn't seem to be disputing this at all. She was not as fond of smelly flowers as her companion was even if she understood why he liked their colours, shapes and smells. His senses were far more acute than any normal man's ought to be and in that was a whole slew of information to process and learn from He had compared it with being another world to explore. It sounded nice, but too much of a dream world to her mind.
 

Jannistory19

The Eager Rper
Janine's eyes widened a little when Raban talked about tulips. "Wait, your favorite flowers are tulips too?" Janine asked in an excited tone. "Oh now nice! Then you won't have any trouble finding them when we get back into town! There's no doubt in my mind that there will be flower booths and stands in the streets." She said with a smile. Janine quickly doubled back to the topic of lavender. "And lavender, that's not bad either. They smell really nice as oil. I've always wondered how they do that," Janine wondered.

She looked up to the sky as she sighed. "Sorry that I don't have a favorite flower. I just don't fixate on them like that. But I guess my "favorite flower" would be tulips by default because of my mom. But maybe I'll find my own flower to like," Janine said as she looked down at the back of Venus' head. She never thought about it, but perhaps she was saying that to herself more than towards Raban.

The woman shifted and looked to Raban again. "So, tell me your favorite color. Mine is that kind of blueish-green that builds in stillwater - it's that kind of blue that comes from the mix of the sky and the water itself, and it blends in with a hint of this bright kind of green. It's almost like the grass. Or perhaps the green stuff that grows in the water. No, that's not the right shade. Maybe the green from the apples!" Janine said with a growing smile. She stopped and blinked to herself, chuckling awkwardly as she rubbed the back of her head. "It's… hard to describe. I sometimes saw this color in lakes and ponds when I ran from home. Not like running away, just sneaking out the house when I wasn't supposed to, ya know? I loved being near the water, or being up a tree near the water, and just listening to the bugs and birds make noises while watching the fish and frogs swim in the water. If I was lucky, I'd catch a deer or two, and I'd watch them play with each other or just drink some water."

Janine sighed to herself as she stared blankly, reminiscing about her younger years. But she was quick to snap back to reality and glance at Raban. "Ahem. Sorry, it's hard not to look back. Times were easier back then." Janine said softly.

Her voice then perked up as she cleared her throat. "And gold. I like that color. Not sure if I just like the shine of it, or if I like the color itself." Janine tilted her head as she thought about it for a moment. "Well… I guess I also like the color itself. I'm not sure if I like any other shade of yellow with the gold shine, so I guess I like gold too."
 

Zul'Zae'ju'Jin

the Hugger Troll
He couldn't help the smile creep upon his face as they spoke of trivial things like flowers. It was so... normal, and yet so strange to him at the same time. No matter how much he thought he understood people, he realised that he had missed so much of what it was to know people, to have friends, to know what it was like to be normal. To experience something everyday, normal people took for granted was something else entirely. When was the last time either him or Janine had afforded themselves this kind of luxury? He knew this was the first time he had afforded himself such time to relax, enjoy the simple things like eating a picnic, chatting with a friend or simply enjoy the sunshine and he hoped it would not be the last.

Raban nodded, "I know... Hardly seem fitting, doesn't it? They come in some many colours... reds, white, even saw a dark purple one once at a market stall. Such a simple flower, and yet... beautiful." He nodded, he suspected they would indeed be easy to find come spring. Not so much now. He smiled and nodded, "Always keep some of that on me. Helps when I can't sleep." Sometimes, sleep was something that came hard to come by for him. Raban had an active mind coupled with guilt and trauma.

Janine spoke of her favourite colour then and he listened to her words. It was clear she was going through some memories as she spoke and he smiled. He envied her for the childhood she had and perhaps a little selfishly in that she had her mother still. One who loved her dearly and would always be there for her no matter what the circumstances. That was something he no longer had access to; his mother was buried with a gravestone and his father was either out there in the world somewhere or dead. Raban privately hoped it was the latter. If not for his father, he might still have had a mother. Raban blinked and stepped away from his line of thoughts. That lead to a dark path and one he didn't want to go down again.

"No need to apologise," he smiled, shaking his head, "Does you good to look back. Remember happy moments."

"Not sure about any one colour i like the most. I like watching sunrises and sunsets. Some amazing colours there... oranges, pinks, reds... It's like a play or a dance that spans out over the horizon. I couldn't pin a colour down though, I'm afraid," he looked to her and smiled with a small quirk of his mouth. Chestnut huffed as she walked in pace with Venus causing him to glance briefly to her but he knew Chestnut tended to struggle with the banality of everyday conversations.

"You bore easily,"
"Yeah, well... Listening to you two lovebirds is enough to drain anyone's soul,"


He stared at her ears and frowned slightly, "We're just talking, you know."
"Sure, talking."
Chestnut didn't elaborate further.

"Heh, I think most would value the colour of gold. Represents a lot," he grinned, nodding, ignoring Chestnut's grumbling for now. "I have to agree though. Gold doesn't have a certain quality to it... Guess it helps gold doesn't tarnish or affect me like Silver does."
 

Jannistory19

The Eager Rper
As Raban spoke about colors, Janine’s smile widened at the mentioning of sunsets and sunrises. She thought the same way - that was, when she had the chance to see them. The colors that painted in the sky always blended with each other, and it was always pretty when the orange and purple streaks in the sky swirled together. “Yes, that is rather nice. I don’t really recall paying attention to the sunrises or sunsets. I do have my moments of being awake during those times, but I can’t recall actually looking at the sky as much as I could. I most likely just put my head down as I grumble through the streets,” Janine said with a small shrug. As an adult, Janine tried to appreciate the simple things around her, but oftentimes, she was more focused on herself, making sure that she drew little to no attention to herself.

Being a Knight sounded like it would be counterproductive, but in reality, less people tried to go to a Knight unless really necessary. There were actual sheriffs to take care of the commonfolk's problems; and in Janine's case, a lot of the Knights had already seen Janine as one to…. Avoid. The thought made her lower her head a bit; being a Knight meant to work together with all of those within your brigade, but she only got along with one Knight out of 15 men in the one whole year that she had been accepted into the Knighthood. It hurt a little, being avoided, but she'd gotten used to it. Besides, she encouraged it, so she was getting what she was putting out.

But even then. Deep down she wished she could get along with the other guys. Show that she could be a Knight worth fighting with.

She blinked after realizing she'd been deep in her thoughts. Again. Not very positive thoughts either. She shook her head with a huff.

"Well, paying more attention to the sunsets and sunrises would be nice. Could add more color to my life that isn't plain red," Janine said with a sheepish chuckle. Of course, she felt awkward after saying the odd joke, so she went back to the gold comment. "About the gold - to be fair, everyone pays attention to anything of value. We value the color because it signals wealth and value. If the world's dirtiest goblet was worth an eternity of wealth, everyone would search for it without hesitation. If gold stopped being worth anything, nobody would want it anymore. I'd still want them though, because it looks pretty when shiny. And the color is just so… balanced. It appeals to me,” Janine said with a small smile. "And it's a good thing that gold doesn't affect you like silver does. It'd have to be yet another thing to worry about, and that'd be annoying. We do have to use gold coins to pay for food you know."

Her head went back to the back of her horse's head as she tried to think of another question. What could they talk about now? It was difficult to think of a simple topic since she never thought about making simple conversation with anyone. Oh great, what should she say now? A small frown appeared on Janine’s face as she thought about what to say, finding out that thinking of topics for speaking was hard when she tried. Little bits of topics came forth, but she had trouble making a good question.

"Do you… Um…" Shit, why was it so hard?

"I'm trying to think of another thing to ask. Oh wait, when were you born?" Janine asked. Raban was much older than her, which was part of the miracle that was a part of. She generally made sure to avoid men, especially men that were Raban's age group. The fact that she was still associating with Raban to this extent was astonishing to Janine.

"Obviously I was born in the summertime. In June, when the winds really begin to pick up on the heat. Of course, Amastad doesn't get as hot as other kingdoms, but it does have its moments. We never really talked about when you were born. Of course we never had much time to talk so idly, but since we do now, it couldn't hurt, right?" Janine questioned.
 
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Zul'Zae'ju'Jin

the Hugger Troll
Raban nodded as he looked at her which was made easier by not having to worry about which direction his horse was taking. Chestnut had that handled. He could relate with putting their head down and getting on with a day but he supposed he had it a little easier in that he was usually always up at the right time in which to marvel at the colours of a sunrise. It was less grey and yet equally simpler than the world around them.

There was something to be said for how the sun's rays burst through and impacted clouds in the morning sky as much as it receded through the dusk of an evening one. He could watch a spectrum of colour play out and never grow bored of it. He couldn't get that all too much with a moon and whilst he could respect a moon's place in the sky, he wasn't so compelled to look at it or its own glow for fear of turning. It represented too much of what he was scared of being held accountable for.

"You can't help that,"
"I know..."
"And you'll think it again,"


She was not wrong, it hadn't been the first time nor likely the last. He reached and patted her neck with silent apology knowing she had to put up with a lot of his mental worries. Raban was under no allusions that without Cadfael and Chestnut, he may not have lived for as long as he had done thus far.

He grinned at the talk of red, the reaction genuine and without hesitation. He was relaxed and comfortable, enjoying her company in a situation he never thought he would reach with another human being. Both of them had gained something more.

"That's fair... It has worth and attraction... It's also reassuring that something, regardless of use or age won't tarnish or fall out of favour. Always there at a time of need, as it were," he agreed. Gold wasn't the only treasure out there a person could gain but he could see why people gravitated towards it.

"Ha, that would be irritating. I'd have to wear gloves all the time if I was... I'm glad I don't. I don't like gloves much," he replied, he found them too constricting and tight. As if something was tethering him down and he couldn't get away. He didn't like the feeling of being caged.

He blinked a little, the question caught him a little off guard and he was glad when she explained when she was born. Summertime. It suited her. It also made him remember that he was older than her by a few years although he wasn't too sure how large their age gap was.

"Autumn. Would it surprise you to learn I was born on Hallow's Eve?" he asked, raising a brow. He wished he was joking about that since he found it very auspicious to have been born on that day of all days. Especially being what he was and some might have said it was the cause of what he was but he knew that such an event could have happened at any time.
 
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