The Wizard and the Analyst


Well-Known Member
The clock on the wall quietly chirped three in the morning. The sensors in the clock's inner workings warned it to keep quiet. Presumably, people were asleep at three in the morning, and therefore would be very annoyed if it rang out as loudly as it would at three in the afternoon. Nothing stirred in the apartment. The kitchen sink dripped once, the sound of the droplet hitting the short stack of plates with a plop amplified by the sheer silence.

The front door opened with a rattle and a creak. A dog trotted inside, claws clicking on the hardwood floor as it came through the entryway and made his way around the kitchen peninsula to where his bowl of water sat on the floor. He lapped noisily at the water, pushing the bowl directly into the walkway and leaving a trail of splashed water in his wake. Meanwhile, back at the front door, a figure worked his way inside with much rustling and thumps as he tried to bring in an awkward-sized box. After some muttering and finagling, he finally got the box inside and used his hip to nudge the front door shut and locked. Then he carried the box through the apartment to the far back room. Box and person disappeared inside the room. A moment later, the person reappeared and closed the door. Yawning, he crossed the hall to the other bedroom. The dog trotted after him, ducking into the bedroom just before the door closed. A moment later, the door to the first room eased open an inch. The latch hadn't fully caught, meaning the door was loose. Something nosed it fully open, and a thing made its way slowly and carefully out into the rest of the apartment.

The clock continued to tick along, heedless of the activity inside the apartment. Four in the morning. Five. The clock cheerfully chirped six in the morning at a moderate level. Sunlight drifted through the windows, brightening up the space. A tiny little dragon climbed up onto the kitchen counter, wings flailing. It turned and hissed down at the new, strange creature watching it from the floor. The unknown creature moved forward, and the dragon scrambled upward, worming its way inside the cupboard where the coffee cups resided and to safety. The dragon climbed into a coffee cup and curled up, sniffing hungrily as it waited for one of the people living in the apartment to waken and deal with this new foe. With the dragon no longer within reach, the white creature made its way to a new spot to lurk and wait for its prey.
  • Like
Reactions: Dan
Hearing the dreaded chirping of the clock, the late-twenties something woman was surprisingly awake at the first chirp. Turning her head to the right, she could see the sunlight already filtering in through her curtains and a slight breeze that tickled her bare feet peeking from out beneath her comforter. She’d forgotten to close the window again, star gazing was one of many things she enjoyed about living in this apartment.

The horrendous cursed alarm clock on her phone filled the serene silence. Her best friend, Jordan, set it to Axel F by Crazy Frog before she moved. Causing her to immediately shoot from her bed and find the mobile hidden beneath the confines of her bed. Once found, she turned it off and internally cursed herself for not changing it yet. The option of wanting to curl back beneath her comforter was a nice option, but the bills don’t pay themselves by lazing around, she climbed out of bed.

First things first, she was ready to tackle the day by getting herself a cup of joe. Nothing would start her motor unless it was coffee. However, upon opening her bedroom door, she was met with one of Elk’s patients, the injured wolpertinger, looking up at the cupboards as if waiting for something to pop out now.

“Aren’t you supposed to be resting, lil’ fella?” Moss greeted, not knowing if it truly understood what she said.

She went around the creature and over to the coffeepot, pulling out the plastic container holding the coffee grounds and a new coffee filter. Moss knew somewhere on this planet some coffee snob was probably scoffing at her choice in indulging cheap coffee. If it woke her up, what was the difference? After she refilled the pot with water, she turned on the red light and was ready to grab her favorite black mug from the cupboard.

However, it seemed that Elk had brought another friend home while she was away in la-la land, dreaming of the days where she could laze under the sun on a white sandy beach front property. Opening the cupboard, a winged creature had burrowed itself inside her favorite coffee mug. Moss didn’t mean to scream, but did she scream and stumble back into the counter behind her. She was rather startled, heart racing, and eyes widened—she was fully awake now. Whether her scream woke up the wizard or not, how the hell was she supposed to get coffee when a dragon was now resting inside her cup?
The wolpertinger burst into motion when Moss screamed, white wings flailing as its powerful hind legs powered it upward into the air. Feathers exploded in every direction, spreading out like a fresh snowfall across the floors. It tried to reach the top of the counter by bouncing off of Moss, but it couldn't quite make it that far and instead slammed chest-first into the counter. The tumble back to the floor didn't faze it as it tried again, this time nipping at and barely missing Moss' ankle more out of annoyance than a desire to actually bite her.

The tiny dragon hissed inside the cup and bolted, clattering over the other mugs and plates. Two mugs fell and bounced off the counter to shatter into a thousand tiny shards. The dragon squeaked and growled before launching itself out of the cupboard and landing in Moss's hair. Neelde-like claws dug into her hair, almost instantly becoming tangled and just missing drawing blood. The wolpertinger tried again to reach the squealing dragon, adding more feathers to the frenzy.

A door opened at the other end of the apartment, and there was a flurry of pounding paws. The broad, stocky, brown and white pit bull mix barreled into the kitchen and lunged forward, catching the wolpertinger by its rabbity tail and dragging it back as it tried to lung upward again. The wolpertinger squealed in anger as a big paw landed squarely on its back, but Mug knew enough to be gentle even when restraining a violent patient. He sat down, almost casually and seemed to grin up at Moss in his doggy way, his missing ears giving his square head a boxy look. The wolpertinger continued to squirm, but Mug ignored it.

"By all the runes in Somnium, what on earth is all this ruckus?" demanded an irritated yet still somehow silky voice. Elk strode down the hall to the kitchen and stopped, sleepily brushing his vibrant red hair out of his eyes. The white strands around his face seemed to frame his pale, sharp features and emphasize his dark eyes. His other hand tightened the belt of a droopy, silken robe that was most definitely not his size and left the pale knees of his six-foot-one frame sticking out awkwardly. He looked at Moss, eyes still heavy with sleep, seeming not to register the dragon on her head or the dog holding the wolpertinger. "Has the world come to an end?"
  • Like
Reactions: Dan
Moss caught her balance, gripping the edge of the counter with her left hand. The other hand resting on her beating chest, trying to calm herself down. Moss’s attention was diverted to the flurry of feathers falling from the air upon everywhere. Then she jumped back when she was temporarily distracted by the dragon-like creature when it caused several of the mugs to shatter into the floor. She landed with an ‘oomf!’ against the counter again, trying and failing to untangle the creature from her hair.

Moss was more concerned if one of the many creatures Elk harbored in the apartment were to get cut by the glass than she. Her fingers were slipping off the dragon-thing’s body like sand through her fingertips, unable to get it out of her hair. Moss resigned to her fate and decidedly attempted to get the wolpertinger to calm down. The familiar clacking against the floor caused her to turn, just in time to see and hear her temporary savior and the root of all the problems caused this early morning.

Moss gave Mug a silent thank you with her face softening at him before going stern against seeing the wizard. “No, the world hasn’t ended... unfortunately. But you!” She exclaimed calmly, pointing a finger at him, “Better explain yourself and bringing in another creature and it being a dragon of all things.” Moss huffed, placing her free hand on her hip as if she were a mother chiding her young child.
Elk blinked at Moss and rubbed a hand briefly over his eyes. "Oh!" he said, perking up. "You've met Nieven Oricyne Aephyra Kinkaid! Isn't she beautiful? I found her last night in a box in an alleyway, although it could be a him. Some... person," his sour expression said he wanted to use a stronger word, "abandoned them in a little cardboard container. Can you believe the audacity of some people?" He started to step forward then paused at the sound of tinkling glass and pottery. "Oh dear. This is a mess."

The wizard squatted down, pausing to give Mug a gentle pet, and held out his hand over the pieces strewn about the floor. He whispered a few words, murmuring them almost intimately to the shards on the floor. The shards trembled and slithered their way together, backtracking the exact trajectory in which they had fallen or bounced. It made for quite the spectacle as they reversed back into the cup shapes they were supposed to be, sealing together without so much as a hairline crack. Elk picked them up and set them on the counter before stepping closer to Moss.

"I had hoped you two would get along, but this is much closer than I anticipated," he told her in amusement, his fingers delicate as he picked through strands of hair to release the dragon's claws.

The tiny dragon his and spit, but thankfully, it was not old enough yet to produce the acid its breed was famous for. Tiny jaws snapped at Elk's fingers, but he deftly avoided the needle-like teeth and soon had the creature free. He held it cupped in both hands and stepped back, frowning down at the wolpertinger as one thumb rubbed along the little dragon's head and neck to sooth it. How in the world had that one gotten out?
  • Like
Reactions: Dan
Moss blinked owlishly at him, “Huh?” Trying to process such a long name this early in the morning when all she wanted was her cup of Joe. “...yeah, I guess?” She spoke somewhat confused, before shaking her head to get rid of the remaining sleepiness remaining. Moss had watched as the wizard went to work to undo the damage the dragon decided to make.

“I get bringing stray animals home, Elk...but maybe consider securing the door better next time.” She retorts, watching as he delicately plucks the dragon out of her nest. Moss makes her way around the two and toward the cupboard to do her usual routine of making coffee to start the day.

Moss paused in her motions, putting the grounds back into the cupboard after securing the lid tightly. She turns to look at Elk, “Why didn’t you just clean your messes previously...” She trails off before shooting him an annoyed look to finish pouring water into the back of the maker. After which, she turns to the cupboard to ensure her mug was still unharmed, which it was and pulled it out to place next to the coffee machine as it groaned to life.

“What was the dragon’s name again?” Moss asks as she yawns. “Because I think it needs it a shorter one than whateveryousaidearlier...”
"Nieven Oricyne Aephyra Kinkaid," Elk repeated. "An elegant name for an elegant creature, don't you think?" The little dragon tried to nip at his hand, but he calmly avoided the little head and rolled his hand, forcing the dragon to focus on keeping his balance instead of biting his hand. "He was in a cage, but I think that one," he nodded to the wolpertinger, "let him out somehow. They are notorious escape artists. Speaking of, come along, you two. You should both be convalescing, not interrupting breakfast preparations."

Mug moved aside as Elk reached down and grabbed the wolpertinger by the scruff of his neck and bore both rabbity-type creature and lizard-like creature off to his study. Talking gently to the dragon, Elk took it to his room instead of his study and shut it away in a large cage that had once been a small rodent cage. He'd had to add a bit to the bars to keep the dragon from fitting between them or melting the plastic bottom, but it served its job well. Once the dragon was inside and the door latched, it wasn't getting out by accident. The wolpertinger went into a large crate that had once been a dog crate, but the inside and the edges were reinforced so the creature's powerful jaws couldn't gnaw its way straight out. He looked the crate over but couldn't find any weaknesses. Perhaps he had failed to latch it properly after all. He double-checked the latch and then left, closing the door firmly behind himself.

"How do you feel about pancakes?" he asked Moss cheerfully as he returned.

Mug perked up upon hearing a word he knew was related to food and looked pointedly at his empty bowl. Elk obligued the dog and went to fill up his bowl and clean his water dish.
  • Like
Reactions: Dan
Moss pours herself some coffee, adding creamer, and sugar before mixing the drink together and taking a sip of deliciousness to get her engine going. She leans back on the counter as she draws in another sip whilst Elk repeats the name again, “That’s... quite a mouthful.” She comments. She watched as he took the two into the other room. While he did that she moved from the kitchen over to the other side of the sink and took a seat in the middle chair, setting her mug in front of her.

Moss had returned to her own room to grab her phone again and back to her seat. While she nursed her coffee, she was looking through messages, emails and answering what she could comprehend at the moment. Only momentarily looking away when Elk had returned to ask about pancakes this morning.

“Sure.” She retorts, looking back at her phone, typing away an email to one of the people from her team. “I’ll count this as a peace offering for what happened just earlier.” She adds with a smile.
Elk happily started tossing the dry ingredients into the mixing bowl without measuring. He knew the mixture by feel and didn't see the need to add more dishes to the sink. The wet ingredients came next, and he used a whisk to enthusiastically beat it all together. It took him a moment to locate the correct pan as it had been a while since he'd made pancakes, but in no time at all, he had the first one cooking away in a puddle of butter. He hummed happily as he babysat his pancakes, but then he frowned at Moss, watching her tap away.

"Isn't it a bit early to be on the job clock? And if you aren't on the clock, then why on earth are you doing unpaid work?" he chided. "Being an analyst of information," he never quite got her job right, "is certainly an important job, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't be getting paid to do it. Especially emails." He shuddered. Emails were the worst, in his opinion. Which was why he refused to have an email address. It made business a little tricky sometimes, but he felt it was worth it.

He scooped the first three pancakes onto a plate and slid it in front of Moss. The condiments he stacked up on the counter so she could easily reach them and have her pick.
  • Like
Reactions: Dan
Moss, without looking up from her phone, quirks her right brow up, "It's not unpaid if I never stopped working." She retorts, smiling a little before letting out a sigh. "'Sides... unless you plan on picking up a second job, the money is needed." Moss spares him a glance before looking back down at her phone.

Once she heard a sliding of a plate across the counter and in front of her, Moss uttered a 'thanks' before finishing up her first lengthy email of the day. It would be one of many that likely wouldn't end before she got to the office. After finishing, she placed her phone face down and went around the counter to grab a fork and knife before returning to her seat. Spreading butter on each three pancakes graciously, Moss smothered it in maple syrup then cut them into mini squares. Finally taking a first bite, Moss gave an enthusiastic thumbs up to Elk before taking another mouthful as if she starved an entire night.

"This is very, very good. Of course, I expect nothing but the best." Moss compliments him. Washing her fourth bite down with some coffee.
Elk frowned at her comment. "I don't think that's how jobs work," he muttered, referring to her comment of never stopping work meant it wasn't unpaid. He shook it off, though, not really wanting to discuss that in detail and said instead, "You are my second job!" He paused, spatula in the air. "No, wait, that does not sound right. What I mean is that is why I advertised for a second person to join me in this palatial place." He smiled and scooped the cooking pancakes onto his plate. "You worry too much. I'll be getting paid for helping that wolpertinger, and I have another job lined up that promises to pay quite handsomely once I've finished."

He finished with his stack of pancakes and all but twirled into his own seat at the counter. "I have quite the busy day lined up for me today, some out, some in, but busy busy busy with work! What does your day look like?" He added peanut butter to his pancakes before eating them.
  • Like
Reactions: Dan
Moss pauses, "Well... as long as messes are cleaned, I have no qualms about anything." She smiles briefly before taking another sip of her coffee. Despite being half done of her food, Moss savoured the food and graciously took her time with the other half whilst she nursed her coffee all the same.

"The usual. Might be a bit late tonight, so if you plan on making dinner - don't save any for me. I'll probably grab something on the way back." She grabs her phone, mostly out of habit. "...and depending on how well this new network setup goes, I might be back earlier or a day later. Have to make sure operations go smoother than sandpaper." She relays to him.

Grabbing her empty plate and mug, she goes about cleaning up her dishes right away. Call it an old habit drilled into her from a young age, Moss can't sit around and laze about when there's a mess in her general vicinity. After handwashing and putting them in the dish rack, Moss gives a final wave to Elk before disappearing back into her room to get ready for the day.
Elk gave the tiny dragon a pancake of his own, which he dragged off to eat in a cup laying on its side. Once the last crumb was devoured, it took the time to clean off each claw and scale, twisting its wings around awkwardly as it tried to make certain that it didn't miss anything. It was an enormously fastidious little creature. It seemed nearly ready to take a nap, but then it realized Elk was running water in the sink to wash the rest of the dishes. It scrambled out of the cup, nearly sending it rolling off the counter, and ran all the way around, skidding to a stop at the edge of the sink, wings flailing. It growled and chirped with interest, nails clicking as it danced on the edge. Water was exciting! Elk let it watch as he finished the dishes and then went off to get dressed, himself.

Elk returned after a few minutes, hair brushed and rebraided and now properly dressed in ordinary jeans and a tee shirt. A long, purple coat flowed around him, clashing a little with his red hair but giving him a slightly wizardly look without going full Socerer's Apprentice. He whistled for Mug as he fetched the leash and double-checked to make sure his office door was shut.

"I hope you have a good day today, Moss!" he called as Mug trotted over eagerly. "Have I forgotten anything?" Mug sighed and glanced to where the little dragon was playing in the draining sink. "Oh, dear, I do so hate to leave him locked up, but I suppose it's for the best," Elk sighed. He clipped the leash onto Mug and draped it over the dog's back before coming to fetch the little dragon. "Come, Nieven Oricyne Aephyra Kinkaid, it's time to return to your nest!"

The dragon ignored him, head bobbing back and forth as he eyed a floating bubble. It shimmered like a rainbow! The dragon rose up and snapped, missing by a breath, and sent the bubble tumbling away. The motion and failed attack overbalanced the little dragon, and it wobbled, nearly falling forward into the water. Elk's hand shot out and caught the dragon, scooping it up with the ease of long practice. The dragon hissed and snapped, but Elk deftly rolled his hand like a snake handler, and the dragon couldn't quite get ahold of him.

Talking gently to the dragon, Elk took it to his room instead of his study and shut it away in a large cage that had once been a small rodent cage. He'd had to add a bit to the bars to keep the dragon from fitting between them or melting the plastic bottom, but it served its job well. Once the dragon was inside and the door latched, it wasn't getting out by accident.

"There we are," Elk said, closing the bedroom door and striding back to the kitchen. "Is that better? Is there anything else?"

Mug gave a happy tap dance headed for the door before Elk could grab his leash. Elk chuckled and picked up the leash when the door stopped Mug, glad that the dog's paws couldn't open round door handles. The rest of the handles inside the house were the lever type, not the round ones, and Mug had figured out how to open them all. Thankfully, he only really used his skill to open Elk's bedroom door and not, say, the bathroom door when someone was using it. If he was able, the bulky dog would definitely open the front door and let himself out.

Elk inched the door open, checked to make certain no one was outside, and quickly ushered Mug out and down the outdoor hallway to the stairs. Mug trotted along willingly, accustomed to the hurried exits from the apartment. It took them not even five minutes to walk to the nearest green patch where Mug was able to do his business, and Elk cleaned up like a responsible owner. Then they continued walking, Elk striding along with head held high, humming a merry tune. Mug walked ahead and beside him, checking out things here and there and pausing to sniff but never pulling or making Elk miss a stride. The pair made good time in their walk as Elk guided the dog toward a park not far away.

Once they'd reached the public park, Elk laid the leash over Mug's back and set him loose to go sniffing and exploring and perhaps meet some doggy friends. Mug wouldn't go far, and Elk trusted him to keep an eye out and alert him if anyone approached. Taking a small black sack from his coat pocket, Elk made his way to a towering oak tree and knelt down at the base of the trunk. Slender fingers probed the grass, eventually finding the line cut into the dirt. From there, it was an easy task to pull it up and fold back a flap of grass and dirt, revealing three tiny boxes not much bigger than an acorn each nestled in the earth below. He pulled them out one by one and set them in the cloth with great care, and then rolled the sack up into a small log and placed it into a small plastic sack like what most people used to clean up after their dogs. The grass went back where it belonged, and after a couple of quick pats, no one would ever tell it had been disturbed.

Elk stood and brushed off his knees before glancing around. Only a few people were out and about today, and no one seemed to notice a thing. He smiled and whistled for Mug. Wizard and dog went walking off to their next destination. They had three more stops to make before heading back home.