The man walked through the various segments of the basement, all the way to the very back of the right wing. Here there is a room with steel bars and a reinforced door, just spacious enough to be comfortable, but not so much as to add to creativity. The floorplans for the house designated it as 'treasury' (And, it wasn't technically wrong, the way it was rebuilt. Though he rather doubts to be able to amass whatever degree of wealth the previous inhabitants so hopefully looked to store here. It really spoke to the ambitious of those before him, as much as the rooms purpose now for the ambition of his own).
Stopping just before the bars, there is no light to gleam off of the metal, though he does turn to light a nearby crystal lantern (The house was to have no candles or lights made from flame, for rather specific purposes. Plus, the arcane aesthetic of the City's idea of lighting rather appealed to him).
Colours flooded into the room as a soft yellow glow cast the light around, though there is few enough of the former to begin with - Most of the basement is grey stone, lighter than most, with various panels of marble and similar yet to come, but still being little more than slate and steel for now. He reaches into the coat's inner pocket and pulls out a small box, looking at it for some time. There is is. The result of it all. And he'll either benefit from it.. or terribly regret it.
The box had arrived a few days past, but he hadn't the time (or the mind) to deal with it until that day. The note on it was formal enough, inconspicuous and wholly unaware of the sheer gravity of the object now in his hands (And why wouldn't it? The whole point of the moves and machinations was to do just that, to make whatever trail followed to be a path to stumble upon one after another).
There's an art to running, much like there's an art to a lot of things most people would brush away as trivial. He never really figured to think there'd be an art to standing still, though he's starting to feel like that will be another series of lessons that are just beyond the corner, out of sight for now, but imminent in long term.
The hand touches a latch to the side, and the box lid pops open on slow hinges. Inside is a red bracelet, a tag attached with a string (In case he ever was confused what it was meant to be). He picks up the bracelet, putting the box aside on a crate, and briefly inspects the tag. There's a name, some additional designations and descriptions, all in that formal science-style of the Laboratories. He'll have to burn it later.
For now, he pulls the tag off, pocketing it, and slips the bracelet on the wrist.
There's specific method to this, and so he stands close to the bars, careful to put them just to his correct side. The bracelet feels cool against the skin, but heavier than he remembers (But, again, memory and perception are a fickle things when the mind's the one weighted). One last whisper at the back of the mind, saying there's still a chance to throw it away, to leave the thing to the Laboratory, have them do what they will, and walk away.
And perhaps he should. (But that's rather against the decision he'd made). Instead, he says, "Vexillum." and the bracelet warms.
To just beside him, behind the bars, space warps and twists as something is pulled through the dimensions. An effect not unlike when the glaive is summoned, but on a much, much, much larger scale. So much so that he steps back from the bars some, head craning upwards. When all is said and done, the 'treasury' space is filled with something large, broad.. and snarling.
It has broad wings, it has gleaming gold spines and horns, a thick mane gleaming red and a face neither quite lion nor human, but just enough either to seem monstrous to both. As it snarls, double-rows of sharpened teeth are evident between the jaws, and the spines on its tail rattle a warning. It did not like that, this displacement of presence.. But it doesn't seem disturbed by him.. Not like most beasts.
And he, for all the time that doubt threatened to gnaw holes through plans and decisions, can't help but stare. Not like he expected he would - in spite, in fear, in dread - but in awe. In appreciation. In realizing an idea become living and far exceeding the expectations he had set before it. (And, perhaps, in satisfaction of the sure envy that the hateful might feel to know this beast is his, and his alone).
"Irascor," he says, lowering the hood, and catching the gaze of those golden eyes. They are bright in colour only, for they do not shine back with that same intelligence that the shadow's do (And that, by design). It regards him with indifference, turned uncertainty, turned to something akin to confused recognition (For it was made for him, and him alone) as he slowly pulls off the hat to reveal the horns. "You don't know me.." Èdan looks up at the manticore, mercury eyes to match the gold, and there's a bladed smile. "..But you will."
The beams of sunlight break through the thick canopy in faint lines and beams, but the ever so small clearing sits largely bathed in it. The tower doesn't so much loom between the trees as seem to hide among them, veiled like much of the rest of the forest. A singular sound cuts through the otherwise pleasant atmosphere of the wood, that of metallic edges gradually and periodically grinding against sand and gravel.
The man is found sitting on a rock on the edges of the clearing, sword in a loose grip in one hand, while the other spins it around by the pommel, as it slowly digs a divet deeper and deeper in the packed dirt. Across the clearing stands the droid, neutral for now, though clearly ready for instructions, should any come. In truth it has been standing there for some time now, as the man simply stares at the rotating blade in what seems like much deeper contemplation than normal.
There's a thing to be said about running. Actually, there's quite a few things, even. The problem with running is that, inevitably, you either run out, or you slow down and things catch up.
Of course, this is something he's known for a while know, and generally helps inform the type of decisions that need to be made. Not necessarily to remain one step ahead, so much as make sure that whenever you do misstep there's ways to get yourself out of any situations which follow (And burning bridges, well, there's something to be said about the beautiful simplicity of certain finalities). But to do so, one needs to be mobile, flexible, untethered..
..And it wasn't that long ago that he had made the decision to stay, to risk it, to see what opportunities remain inherent in these Labs. Admittedly, at the time the question regarding the hateful ones had merely been raised in theory. With certain suspicions, yes, but none that merely magic itself could not explain. The manor knew more than it should, but it could merely pluck memories from his own mind. It didn't mean there was a mind or force behind it, no agenda nor reason.
Agenda belonged to people (And none played it better than the hateful).
So what to do when suddenly the very source of them seems to be much closer to this new idea of stability than previously anticipated? The homeland is vast in itself, though certainly no comparison to this continent. One can't assume there would never be anyone from the homeland who visits here (And for all he knows, there has already been, already is, with many more to come). Certainly, the recent 'war scare' might make some reticent to risk scorn by the locals, but there's many ways to travel and even more ways to make sure no-one really puts two and two together.
Which makes it almost childishly easy to blend in here. To listen, to look, to find any and all type of information that you would want or need (Perhaps even information you never expected to find). The hateful could already have agents around, and he might not know. Or they might not have found it worth the bother (yet) and one coincidence follows another.
There-in is the issue, he supposes.. If you run long enough you start seeing threats in even the merest of shadows. What keeps one alive is also what makes one's life unlivable, given enough time. A sharp mind might be able to still tell shadow and threat apart, but when the only council is your own, well.. There's something to be said about keeping connections to people, even when they might be the very threat you're seeking to avoid.
And that, he supposes, is the dilemma of the situation. A homelander has been confirmed in the City, one with little to no qualm about broadcasting it, certain to bring all the wrong kinds of attention to themselves, if not being it themselves. In the past, even a hint of this would have been reason enough to bury a mask and find another region, rather than risk being caught in the attention someone else is casting.
The problem with threats is that a shadow is not always just a shadow.
To know one from another, you need to understand the agenda - what's to gain, what's to lose, what's worth the risk? No family would outright risk being seen within the Labs following the rumours of invasion, but it doesn't mean they don't covet certain things that only the Labs could provide. To send someone to find these things is worth the risk, but to be so open about it, however..
The hand tightens around the sword, stopping its spin. In the distance, the droid livens by a fraction, in anticipation of commands to follow. It would have to remain disappointed for a while yet, as the man merely frowns to himself, the details all there, but not adding up.. Why be so open about it? Why so unafraid? For any agent of the hateful, or any other family for that matter, it seems a plain childish mistake to make. The equivalent of sitting down to a game of cards with your hand put in full view before the game even begins.
If there's some master-stroke of strategy in it, he can't divine it. And even if he were in the habit of doubting himself, it's much more reasonable to assume that at least in this the only connection is to origin, and little more. After all, by the law of probability, there can exist more than one person from the same place, in the same place (A fact which he rather dislikes the existence of, but what's one to do).
After all, for all he knows she could have been here a lot longer than he has, which rather makes him the invader, in a manner of speaking. Except she doesn't seem to be hiding from anything or anyone, which is certainly a novelty for a fell-blood from the homeland. Indeed, she even seems almost oblivious to the fortune of being allowed such innocent unknowing (Though the most cheerful of façades can often hide the deepest of sadness, so that might not be saying much).
Perhaps that's the best way to piece the parts to a whole, for the time being.. A young one far too youthful to know the full weight of the kind of blood they carry, finding haven in an environment where such matters are not nearly as taboo as their origin. Add to it a great pale beast, for both companion and security, it is little wonder then that she would find it easier to speak her mind regardless of the consequences that might follow. (And for that, there's certainly reason to be envious).
As his mind is busy assembling together those ill-fitting pieces of the puzzle, the gloom of the forest produces a tiny sliver of shadow that dart towards the man. Upon approach, it slows and gradually forms a small shadow head, two emerald eyes peering towards him from the ground. The man pauses, turning to look towards it. "Atrum," he acknowledges, "What did you see?"
It takes the shadow a better part of the next few minutes to explain, largely through the use of its own form to make shapes, and tendrils for gestures or signs. If one had asked him whether he would ever imagine having the option to communicate with a sentient shadow, he would have surely laughed in the past. And yet, here he is, fingers tapping against the sword as he interprets the shadow's telling.
Basic as it is, there's still deeper meaning which is only held back by the fact the shadow is silent. Were it able to make sounds the two could perhaps extend the communication to even speech, but as it stands there's quite a bit of focus required to decipher. When all is said and done, he pieces together the events, as seen by the shadow - the two left the market and walked to the park. There, the smaller instructed the bigger, various loud noises, various gestures, various things. They then stopped and left, heading to kennels. They did not leave the kennels for many hours, and kennels had others that the shadow feared might prevent him from approaching, so it decided it best to return.
So, park to do what sounded like training, then going home, as many were want to do here. Nothing else, and nothing outside what he'd observed to be fairly standard practise around these parts. The free hand comes up to rub the forehead as he considers. If she did have connections to the hateful, nothing is really pointing to it. If she really did glean anything from their encounter, via perception or beast, one would assume they would have found a way to report it, rather than spend time doing anything else. He didn't have all the pieces yet, but in the manner which the present ones were aligning, there's a hopeful sense that perhaps this once he got lucky, and things are only coincidence alone.
But, it paid to be certain. He turns to the shadow, "Was there any symbol? Emblem, insignia? Anything like that on her or around her home?" Families like their pride, and carry at least something with them, even if not inherently obvious - it helps to prove how above in station you are, when the need arises, even if via their servants.
The shadow looks to think for a moment. Then, there's a nod as it indicated towards another tendril as if to one's wrist. The man's face barely darkens, though his mood certainly does, "Which symbol? Exactly?"
Atrum extends out one of its tendrils to form a shape. He can tell its trying, though the form it makes lacks definition and seems more like something caught in quick glances trying to be recalled in general terms without true understanding of its meaning. For a moment he thinks to read it one way, from something a long time ago, but is quick to dismiss it. Shadows and threats - not always the same (His mind has been trying to dig much deeper than he generally allows himself to, and there's always types of flotsam that's best kept buried).
He breathes out, waving the shadow to the side, "Nothing, then." At least that's some good news. "That's all for now." As he stands, the droid's head rises, anticipating a command and being rewarded, as he twirls the longsword once and readies it, "Begin." Immediately the droid's holomatter materializes into a weapon of its own, and the clearing begins to ring properly with steel-on-steel.
Zenjesi: Hey Silv - how do you pronounce Kodakai?
Nov 17, 2023 18:23:56 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: Not to mention the baby mosca with wolf skin from Elvye and the sparkling owl of Xentus. <3
Nov 14, 2023 10:27:52 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: I like the Donnor one not just with looks FF, but the description, funny as heck.
Nov 14, 2023 10:26:27 GMT -6
Zenjesi: yours both made me laugh, FF! They're very expressive
Nov 13, 2023 21:57:46 GMT -6
Fiera Ferella: Woooow Twilight, I love that witch drawing!!! :0 It's so pretty! And Zenjesi I think Spectral is my favorite out of yours lol. Just looks happy to be included. and silver now i wanna know which pets youd pick for the other legendary beasts. XD
Nov 13, 2023 21:37:45 GMT -6
Silver: Ah I'm so glad you guys enjoyed it! I love everyone's drawings they're all so cute. ;o;
Nov 13, 2023 17:31:37 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: I like that one as well yeah, loved the old nootnoot image from quest prizes, so that one went perfectly with that particular costume being based around it. X3
Nov 13, 2023 15:23:13 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: The jewelry on tail or at the head definitely tends to be their most recognizable feature for a Mosca, and sadly their pharaoh chin piece as well. XD
Nov 13, 2023 15:21:07 GMT -6
Zenjesi: Your peanut costume is hilarious and adorable too!
Nov 13, 2023 15:14:29 GMT -6
Zenjesi: Yes you're correct! I guess I did a decent enough job with the drawing!
Nov 13, 2023 15:05:27 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: It still looks good on Synkka. She is a shaman Mosca I'm guessing? Its mostly the tail that makes me think of it.
Nov 13, 2023 15:00:42 GMT -6
Zenjesi: I definitely like Spectral's the most too! I sort of cheated by drawing Synkka with a cloak because I do not know how to draw feathered wings, haha ^^'
Nov 13, 2023 13:45:15 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: Which one do you like the most out of the three you made?
Nov 13, 2023 12:09:48 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: Thanks for that compliment! Though I know with the water it doesn't look entirely great, I love the latter one I made the most.
Nov 13, 2023 12:09:30 GMT -6