He whistled again at the entrance to the mine like he usually did to call his familiar. He always arrived at the same time on the days that he did. He used that special tune to signify it was him if his mining familiar wasn’t already waiting for him there...he always came.
It wasn’t his first guide through the tunnels. And he had only known the creature for a short while - but they had had some interesting adventures. Before the strange glowing.....thing, Riku had befriended a topaz gem dragon and before that an onyx gem wyrm. In a way, it felt like he was ‘moving up’ in some sort of mining hierarchy...not that the creatures saw it that way. Or maybe they did. Clearly, though, going from a small worm-like creature, to a larger dragon-like creature, to a glowing and mysteriously powerful creature was some sort of upgrade.
Where was his little friend? He whistled his special tune again...but then decided to just enter the mine alone that day. He had work to do, after all.
He opened the buggy he had with him and grabbed the flashlight. Lately he hadn’t needed to use it. The friend he had come with glowed bright enough of its own to light up the area around them. It was no bother...the buggy had a light, he had his flashlight (and extra batteries), and he was soon to get a nifty lamp from a contest of sorts.
One of the great things about having a mining familiar was the guide that creature usually became. They always seemed to know where the best gems were. Or the most beautiful inner-landscapes. It was their home, so knew were well versed in it. Fortunately by now, Riku had spent enough time in the mines with creatures who knew the way to, well, learn the way himself mostly. He was developing a sort of inner-compass. Although, it wasn’t quite ‘finished’ yet.
His feet made a lot of noise as he walked through the mazing tunnels. He had a particular soot in mind for the day. The buggy creaked slightly every few seconds as the wheels spun and gridded into the dirt. He wondered what jewels and treasures he was walking past to get to where he was going.
So strange, and tall. His appendages seems soft, unlike hers. And his clothes seemed tangible, unlike hers. He seemed strong....and unfamiliar. She had never seen his kind before. It was rare that anyone she saw had a similar posture or apparent sentience.
He was a noisy thing, too, she thought.
She quietly followed the mysterious new creature. Would it worship her like the others? Or attack her like one of those dense worms? She studied the glow from around him. He cluttered each area he stood with light. It was annoying. He eyes had adjusted to the dark, even if she could make herself gleam when she wanted to. No need. He seemed to need. She let him have his light.
She had heard of his kind before. Her friends had explained to her there were others like herself that were bigger. She did not believe. She thought they were playing games of mind - which did not work on her.
Riku made his way to an opening in the cave. The tighter tunnel had become more like a spacious den. It forked into a few different paths from there, and he knew which one he wanted - but he always liked the enjoy the acoustics there for a little while first.
“Echo!” he shouted with his hands around his mouth to form a makeshift megaphone. It cooed through the area, bouncing back at him almost forcefully and skipping through the different extending tunnels with audio so rich it could almost be seen.
She cocked her head to the side. Such reckless and obnoxious pollution of sound. Did he not know the gems were sleeping? Still...it was fascinating, the way he vocalized. Such intention behind the sounds. The way his mouth and tongue moved. She did not know of such a behavior before. Did he communicate with it? Or was it random and savage like she was used to - just different?
She moved closer to examine him better. A rock betrayed her under her footing and he turned around quickly to see who it was announcing. She vanished from sight. It was too soon for him to know her. She had not yet finished her examination - he was not quite out of probation.
Riku looked around for a few seconds to see where the sound had come from, but nothing was there...maybe he had looses a rock or two on the ground and they had taken a good minute to fall apart. Seeing nothing, he moved on.
He didn’t really like being alone in the dark. He wasn’t very trained to defend himself - nor did he think he would be able to if he was in a pinch. The fear would probably make him freeze like he usually did. For some reason, even just having some small pocket-pet there with him usually made him feel much more safe.
Was it wrong to prefer company? He was only human after all. And humans are greater in numbers....even though he usually didn’t share his time with other humanoids. Just animals. He laughed to himself a bit. Still, he felt stronger when he had someone to share the experience with. They could lean on each other for moral support - even if it was just in the eyes on a beast that didn’t understand a complicated situation. What counted was that they were there.
And right now no one was. He was alone...
She watched him push his wagon through the tunnels. He seemed to know his way. That or he was a random fool who would get lost - in which case she wouldn’t help him. Why waste her time on an idiot? There were plenty of guides in the mines who would exchange their help for a gem or two to eat. She reserved her company for a special few.....although that did get lonely sometimes.
“Echo!” He called again for fun as he walked, knowing he was reaching his destination. He could hear the running water at the end if the path. A bit later and the floor became less dense and slightly gave way under his foot. Less like rock and more like hard soil. He liked this area because the water leaking from the one wall almost seemed to ionize the room in a comfortable way. And the white noise of the tiny stream it made was quite pleasant when he was focusing on gems.
He set the buggy down and locked it into place. He positioned the flashlight on top of it to face the wall he would be working on. Opening the cart, he grabbed a few tools and set them leaning aside the cart.
She stared in amazement at the objects he had with him. The craftsmanship was unlike anything she had imagined was possible with stone. And she had never seen wood before, so that was new altogether.
She had to get a closer look. Slowly, carefully, she moved towards the cart from the side where the larger creature wasn’t looking. She reached the large brown chest with the strange and porous material, making sure the other being still hadn’t spotted her. He was busy studying the wall and facing the opposite direction.
She gently slid her hand across the surface of the strange object it had brought into her home. It was....nice. She appreciated the energy it held. So...different than any stone she knew. Where had he fount it? What was its name? It seemed just as ‘alive’ as a rock - but in such a new way! She moved on to the tools that lay against it. Touching the sharp edge of one with a long shaft and a flat, metal ending. The two materials seemed to work together quite well. And the way the metal had been shaped was so...flawless. Where were the carvings? Surely it hadn’t been born that way!
She moved on to another object with that new fascinating material. This one seemed to be entirely made of it. A shorter shaft and a larger, blunt end - or maybe a beginning? What was its purpose!? She had to find out for herself.
She looked back over at the being, who was still occupied, and she grabbed the shaft of the tool and quickly tried to lift it up and run away with it -
But it dropped with a thud. Heavy!
Riku quickly spun around, only seeing his mallet wobble on the dirt floor, but heard something skid off to the other side of the room with a faint “splash”.
He hesitantly peered around the buggy, using it as a shield. He didn’t like being alone for this exact reason - but now he realized he wasn’t alone! Maybe he preferred to be. “Who’s there!?” He called out, hoping it was just another miner.
“........Echo?” He repeated, ironically. He raised an eyebrow. It sounded like a child, but he didn’t see anyone.
He moved out from behind the cart and slowly stepped towards the darker corner of the room where the water had pooled.
“Echo.” She said again. He seemed to respond positively to it the first time, and she could no longer hide. She could see him moving closer, which made her anxious, but he stopped about six feet away. She was purposely hiding in the dark, studying him. Based on his posture and behavior before she was known, he seemed just as cautious as she was. And he had no weapon - anatomical or held. If she needed to, she could easily escape. So she took a risk, and stepped out into the ‘light’.
He could see the child moving towards him. As it stepped into the light, with a dignified gleam, he now knew it was no child....but it was beautiful.
He hesitated, both shocked at her elegance and pride, while also simply not knowing what to say. “Are you lost...?” He finally asked, looking her up and down. (Was that diamond she was made of...?)
“Lost...?” She replied. She intentionally stood with the grace and power she knew she had. This was the body language she used to express her superiority over other species. It always worked - even on the large specimens. They worshipped her. This one was different - but not so much. He definitely noticed and obeyed her authority so far.
“Not lost, okay.” He took it, since her answer also seemed to be a question. Speaking in general made it obvious she was sentient, right? Her figure was clearly humanoid - not that one had to stand upright to be cunning. He knew Malii just as intelligent as himself who still walked on all four. “What is your name...?”
“Name...?” She repeated him again, cocking her head slightly to study his response to the newest vocabulary. He definitely seemed to use vocalism as a way to communicate. And he seemed aware of her body language as well - but he seemed not to prioritize it like she was used to.
He didn’t seem satisfied with her last contribution to their dance. “Echo.” She tried again, and his eyes lit up slightly with a smile. He seemed to like that word.
“Echo...” Riku mimicked. “Okay.” He laughed. It was fitting, somehow, as a name for such a....ugh... “Sorry, but I’m not familiar with your species. Are you a boy or a girl?” He awkwardly asked, figuring she may be a type of mine-native fae.
“Girl...?” She replied, loosely. She did not understand his language yet, but had perfectly slipped into an accurate coincidence. He nodded at her response that time, and then moved forward. She allowed it.
“Okay.” He said again. “Well, Echo, I’m Riku. It’s nice to meet you.” He put his hand out for her to shake.
She stared at his hand that was reached out, figuring he was giving her something. She cautiously grabbed it and tried to shake whatever it was out while keeping eye contact....but there was nothing. Confused, she said “Riku. It’s nice to meet you.” Which seemed to nicely roll off the tongue. She smiled at the sound of rhyming, which she had never heard before.
He laughed at her interesting reaction to his greeting, unsure if she had coincidentally shaken his hand or if she somewhat knew what he was trying to do.
She felt more confident in his presence now. He didn’t seem to want to harm her - and he did seem to have something of interest to offer. Knowledge. With her intellect, the mines had grown extremely boring. Finally, something new!
She circled him slowly, more closely examining his body. His appendages has a material closer to the tunnel worms. However, his cunning reflected more of the runic golems. Was he some sort of hybrid...? His tools seemed to offer a different answer. Perhaps he was something new entirely. And the materials he carried with him, that porous ‘stone’ - as well as the softer material covering his flesh - seemed evidence that he nay come from somewhere new entirely.
She poked his side to judge his resistance to impact.
“Ow!” Riku laughed, although it wasn’t too hard. Just unexpected and sudden.
He studied her as well. Her body seemed to be made of diamond. Half was light and almost clear. The other half was very dark - and yet somehow still clear. It was almost as if a sort of light and shadow element was imbued into her stone at the same time.
He also noticed she had wings and a sort of cloak that seemed to shift between diamond and a form of ethereal. Wisps came off in bits and either faded away it clumped back into the mass. And yet, they seemed more solid than ‘air’. Like a diamond-hard fog.
“Is this your home? Or...can you take me there?” He asked her as she continued to circle him.
She wanted to know more. She wanted to see more! Were there more like him? She had to find out. It was decided. She would go there! But how would she communicate that to him? She could...simply follow him out?
“Home. Take me there.” She insisted, having no clue what she was saying, but simply hoping it would work.
Shocked, Riku replied “Oh, um...okay then.” She was rather insistent. But he admired her curiosity. It was brave! He stood up and packed up his cart.
“Let’s go home.” He said. She successfully followed.
Silver: I can give you one of my Baby Berries, Sev!
Aug 12, 2020 4:53:31 GMT -6
Sevyrn: Getting in to orbarus first, have half a breeding written up already just gotta get my hands on some baby berries first. But I'm gonna see if anything comes out of houlou in the future. Who knows, I could like them more than orbs.
Aug 12, 2020 4:21:12 GMT -6
Fiera Ferella: Oh that's awesome!!! I love breedables too, and houluh have been such a fun addition to that.
Aug 11, 2020 10:58:30 GMT -6
Sevyrn: I have two from when they were first released, so I figured why not give it a shot now that there's something to really do with them. Plus breedables. I love breedables.
Aug 11, 2020 10:29:12 GMT -6
Fiera Ferella: Oooh, houluh kennel request spotted. :0 Thinking of getting into houluh, Sevryn?
Aug 11, 2020 10:25:55 GMT -6
Sevyrn: I've been trying to scour through things, slowly catching up bit by bit I do think!
Aug 9, 2020 2:05:23 GMT -6
Riku: Have you read all the updates, Sevryn? You’ve missed a lot, so it’s probably going to be enlightening/exciting.
Aug 8, 2020 23:24:15 GMT -6