If there was one thing that could draw Aster out to the city, it was a creature sale. They didn't happen so often as they used to anymore, which might be just as well, considering now that he didn't have to tolerate the city so much anymore, he had gotten even less willing to deal with it.
But it was always worth going, if only to reassure himself that he hadn't missed out on something really fierce or interesting. And even though they happened less often these days, the ones that did happen tended to be bigger in scale too. He was almost in the mood for it by the time he rolled up to the sales pens, to see what all was on display.
In terms of scope, he wasn't disappointed. There was plenty to see, and most of them weren't very common, out of the way creatures. There was a Wiurn over there, for instance, that looked as though it might be a good investment.
He gave it a quick once-over, considering from afar. But even then, was only going to commit to buying something if he felt he really needed it, or if a creature particularly spoke to him. He didn't expect to find the latter case. Even his current roster of creatures hadn't really felt that way to him at the onset. Avander had come the closest, having been the runt of his clutch and therefore not a terribly good prospect, at least on the surface of it. But even then, Aster only really remembered seeing a shine in the hatchling's eyes that he had liked. There had been nothing like an electric shock or a sense of destiny to it.
The only one who had ever felt like that for Aster was Summer. But Summer had been different, and he had the sense that she had chosen him, not the other way around.
But that didn't preclude the possibility of him encountering something tantalizingly interesting either.
As he walked past the pens one by one, he eyed each of the creatures within. Some he dismissed out of hand, being too small, and obviously meant to be a companion rather than a fighter. Aster had companions enough at home, and while he had nothing against creatures that weren't the most useful in combat, there was still no sense in collecting them. He doubted he could even give them the attention they needed.
Others he considered for a longer period, but ultimately dismissed because they didn't offer considerably better capabilities than what he already had. Aster had been training creatures for a while now, and all things equal, it was better to put in more work with one he already taught the basics to. A pit-fighter's idea of basics was no small investment.
Only when he reached the Wiurn he'd spotted earlier did he see something that gave him reason to pause.
Wiurns were right up there in terms of power, but the run of the mill ones were largely physical creatures, and Aster had held off on training them because the first generation weren't much faster than Grunty. The second generation were faster, but until recently, hadn't been comparable in terms of pure power.
But now, after they had reached their full growth, they didn't seem all too bad. Faster, certainly. And this one had some quirks that suggested custom genetic engineering, which meant it likely had some other tricks up its sleeve, figuratively speaking.
As he watched the Wiurn, however, he noticed that it had also turned its attention onto him. Aster arched a brow. He wondered if it was trying to intimidate him. A lot of the big creatures were used to throwing their weight around, especially if their handlers hadn't actually spent time teaching them something in the way of manners.
Aster was familiar with that kind of posturing though, and felt that he would have recognized it even in a species he didn't work closely with. Most of his combat creatures, by some odd coincidence, happened to be at least partially reptilian, after all. But this didn't feel like an attempt to establish dominance. The Wiurn was calm, and seemed to be studying him, as though he was something of interest.
Hadn't it seen a human before? It didn't look so neglected as that. He might have believed it of that incredibly feral half breed he had purchased a few months back, but this Wiurn was sleek with good health, and not a wound or scar to be seen.
This was normally the kind of stupid thing he cautioned other people against doing, and Aster knew it. But on a whim, he held out his hand to the Wiurn, just to see what it would do.
If things went south, well, he could always snatch his hand back, and if he lost some fingers… Hey, health care was free within the city limits, right? Even if they gave you the stink-eye for being dumb.
Still, he was more than half expecting it to try and snap at him. Instead, it approached him with a deliberate air, sniffed at his hand a little, then bumped it with its nose.
If this was one of those books, they would have locked eyes now, and the rest of the world would have faded away for a moment. It wasn't, but Aster still felt an absurd urge to laugh. "What do you think you are, a puppy?" he said. There was absolutely nothing about either of them that should have suggested a heartwarming pity case. Aster didn't take in new charges based on compelling cases of puppy eyes… mostly. And a Wiurn of this size shouldn't be giving them either.
Although, come to that, it wasn't doing that exactly. The look in its eyes wasn't beseeching or desperate for anything, at least. There was only curiosity, and something… else. Amusement, maybe?
Or maybe he was just imagining things.
Well, he had been interested in trying a Wiurn. He supposed this was as good a sign as any, and he found he was curious about what all this one could do. He went to find the seller to broker a purchase, and before he knew it, he was going home with a new beast in tow.
Summer was surprised and not a little aghast. Aster didn't exactly blame her. This particular Wiurn was… a lot to take in, all black with purple markings curling along its hide, and those bizarre tentacles fanning out from around his jaws. And then there were the floating spikes… Or whatever the hell those things were along his back.
But the labs had made stranger creatures before, and Aster wrangling something monstrous looking was hardly novel at this point to anyone or anything that had been living with him long enough to know him. So even Summer didn't really protest in the end, though Aster caught her giving his new charge some odd looks.
It was too early to get on with anything but settling the Wiurn in though. Much too early to be asking it to do anything for him. As Aster led the Wiurn down to the stables, he read over what little had come with the creature in terms of papers. The seller had mentioned that they had more, but would need the time to find them before they could get the documents to Aster.
For now, there wasn't much but a bill of clean health from a recent vet check up, and the affirmation that the creature was lab-sanctioned.
Not to mention male. Nothing that Aster couldn't have eventually found out on his own, but he was still relieved not to have to sex the Wiurn himself, since they kept their genitalia tucked away, unlike more mammalian creatures who were easier to sex at a glance. Speaking of ways to get off to a bad start.
"I guess you're going to need a name," Aster mused. He was standing in front of the stall, trying to figure out how to usher the Wiurn into it. Had this Wiurn slept in any similar arrangement when he had lived with his past owner? He must have; he looked well taken care of.
In the end, Aster opted for a treat. Waving it in front of the Wiurn's nose to get his attention, Aster then led him into the stall. On the way out, he closed the stall door behind him so the Wiurn couldn't get out again.
As he did this, he watched the Wiurn carefully for signs that he wasn't taking well to being boxed in, but as far as Aster could tell, he seemed calm enough. This wasn't a surprise, but it was still a relief. One less thing to worry about.
The question of a name still stood though. Aster tried to remember if the seller had told him anything else. Before the proper papers were produced, he knew nothing was certain, but the seller had mentioned something about poison abilities. They weren't terribly uncommon for Wiurn of either type. This one boasted a wicked looking stinger too, for all his other bodily modifications.
"Poison, huh? How about Nightshade then?" Aster said. He threw the name out there, half thinking of Rey and all his plants, but it fit well enough. Not for the appearance of the plant, maybe, but the words that made it up--- this Wiurn was certainly dark enough to be a creature of the night.
And the Wiurn himself wasn't protesting either. Well, for creatures that weren't sentient, a name was just something to call them by. No use overthinking something like that. "Nightshade it is then.” That was one thing out of the way. It would be some time, and likely a lot of training to boot, before he felt like Nightshade was really one of his, but all in good time.
Besides, he still needed those papers from the seller, to give him a better idea of what this Wiurn could really do.
“Well, you should get some rest. Come to think of it, I probably should too." Aster pushed off from where he had been leaning against the stall and walked out.
He had the sense that the Wiurn's gaze followed him out, but whatever that creature's deal was… He would find out and deal with it when the time came, he supposed.
He gave the Wiurn a few days to settle in, though he made a point of going out and seeing to Nightshade’s needs himself, rather than leaving it to Rabbit. If the Wiurn was going to acclimate to anyone’s presence, he hoped it was his own. He didn’t begrudge Rabbit the halfbreed, but the Wiurn hadn’t started out hostile towards Aster to begin with, and he had acquired Nightshade with the intention of training him himself.
For his part, Nightshade seemed to be taking everything in stride. It wasn’t much of a surprise after extrapolating from his behavior on that first day, but nevertheless, it was good to see him doing well. He ate butchered meat with supplements without issue; occasionally a creature was pickier and preferred live prey, which Aster had to wean them off of, since it was both impractical and dangerous, even when setting aside issues of whether it was humane.
And the presence of other creatures didn’t seem to stress Nightshade overmuch, though Aster had made sure to quarantine him away from close contact with the rest of the residents of the estate.
And then the papers came in the mail, and Aster could do little more than laugh as he saw it. “Queen’s ass, you’re a monster,” he said, shaking his head as he read them over. He’d had an inkling, or at least a suspicion, but this… Well. “We’ve got some work to do, don’t we?”
It was too early for anything complex, but they could start with something simple. Aster could get to know Nightshade’s temperament and motivations, and Nightshade could get used to being bossed around.
Aster was no stranger to the process, and he led Nightshade out on a simple lead, which the Wiurn tolerated with reasonable good grace.
It was the same one the seller had used, so he was likely used to it already. They went out to a nice grassy field some ways away from the buildings on the property, at which point Aster produced a treat.
Waving it in front of the Wiurn until he had Nightshade’s attention, Aster lowered it. The Wiurn’s head followed with it.
“Lay down,” Aster said. When the Wiurn’s shoulders stayed up, Aster reached out to press on them, moving slowly so as not to startle Nightshade. After a moment, the rest of Nightshade went down too, at which point Aster fed him the treat. “Good boy. There you have it.”
When he removed his hand, Nightshade righted himself again, but for the moment Aster allowed it. Later, he hoped to have Nightshade staying down for longer, but they’d get there in due time. For a first attempt, it had actually gone pretty smoothly.
Silver: I'm so glad! I really want people to feel like they can 'do stuff' with their sentient pets, and Draconics especially! I'm excited to see what you guys come up with. :3
Jan 17, 2021 17:59:39 GMT -6
Morgan: I like the update overall.
Jan 17, 2021 17:51:56 GMT -6
Morgan: I'm legit so happy now that draconics will basically be able to communicate in draconic instead of being completely unable to communicate from birth unless classically trained or 7+ intelligence. It was so weird to try to do story breedings like that.
Jan 17, 2021 17:51:21 GMT -6
Riku: I hope things work smoothly for you, Jack. <3 // The new update looks awesome.
Jan 17, 2021 10:58:47 GMT -6
Jack: Thanks for sticking with us!
Jan 16, 2021 20:33:33 GMT -6
Jack: So for those of you not on the Discord, I would like to say I'm still around, just not as much. Had to quit my job to watch the kids, opened an Etsy shop, and I'm trying to just keep things rolling through my current bad depression.
Jan 16, 2021 20:33:29 GMT -6
Riku: I am doing well. I also hope everyone else is doing well! <3
Jan 10, 2021 13:32:14 GMT -6
Morgan: I hope everyone is doing well. c:
Jan 9, 2021 15:20:41 GMT -6