No, that wasn't quite right. He felt... what, tired? Sore? Gods and angels, what had he been doing last night?
"That's not very nice," he said, rolling over and burying his face in the pillow. Hmm. Rough fabric. Must have been a looker then, if he wasn't doing it for the money. "Calling someone else's name when I'm right here."
The voice fell silent. That snapped him to attention a little more. Surreptitiously, he felt around the bed for the other body. His fingers brushed fur. Exploratorily, he brushed his hand across a swathe of it, feeling the small ribs of what could only have been an animal.
"Are you quite done?" said the voice, and he realized, in slowly dawning horror, that it was the small furred thing that was speaking. At once, he was upright, pulling the covers to his chest, staring down at... an Enileaf.
That was funny. He definitely didn't remember having one of those. Though, then again, since this so obviously wasn't his home--- and now that he was looking at it, it very definitely wasn't his home--- maybe it just belonged to the owner of the place.
That didn't explain why it was addressing him though.
"Sweet dreams?" said the cat.
He smiled reflexively. "Oh, very," he replied. "Where are we?"
The cat sighed. "Your memory loss is ongoing, I see," it said. Something about the way it said that gave him pause, and he tried to recall if he'd...? No, no, splitting headache. A drunken bender then. Very well. "I've explained it already, but we're on a ship. I confess I haven't been able to learn the destination, but Rei is out there listening. Perhaps she'll return with good news."
"Rei," he echoed.
"Yes." The cat's eyes narrowed. "Are you quite certain you're feeling alright?"
"Of course!" he said, trying his best to look like he didn't ache all over, which he did. "Never better. And we're on a ship because...?"
"Because," the cat said slowly, "we fled. After your confrontation with Pan, I suspect we'll need to put as much distance as we can between us and our old... friends." A funny look had crossed the cat's face, which was interesting, because he'd never really thought of cats as having faces that could emote before. But then, he'd never lived with a cat, and Ichaival certainly did have expressions even though it wasn't at all human---
"Humor me," said the cat, staring him right in the eyes. "Who am I?"
The smile froze on his face.
"Ah." The tip of the cat's tail flicked back and forth. "I see. Possession. I had my suspicions, but they were so confident in the screening process... Hmm. I wonder how you got through." The cat seemed as though he wanted to say more, but thought better of it.
The word was like the chime of a bell. He frowned, looking down at himself. His hands--- His hands---
Darker than he remembered, as though he'd tanned, only he didn't tan, never had. And... not larger, but more calloused, the fingers shorter, the wrists less delicate, the veins more pronounced. And the rest of him, dressed in a shift that had probably been white several weeks ago.
... Male, he realized, with some relief. Still male, at least. But he could see his own ribs when he pulled the collar taut to look beneath the cloth, and even he knew that wasn't a good sign.
Even so, he felt laughter bubbling up in his throat. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see the cat putting its ears back, but for the moment, he didn't care. Elation washed away the weariness he felt for a moment as the recollection coursed through him. "It worked! I can't believe it worked!"
The cat's odd look hadn't gone away. If anything, it had intensified. "You... You planned this?" it said. Apparently this hadn't been within its expectations, even though it had guessed what he had done. At least, that was what it sounded like, anyway. The cat had said the P-word.
"Well, 'planned' might be a strong word for it. It wasn't my first choice, you know. I don't think anyone chooses this, if they can help it." He demurred, even as he continued to explore his new body, tracing the lines of his arms, his legs. Oh, how he wanted a mirror. Scooting to the edge of the bed, he set his feet on the ground and rose--- then immediately sat back down, overcome with a wave of dizziness. "Whoa," he said. "Doesn't anyone ever feed this thing?"
"We've been trying," the cat said drily. "Without, as you can see, much success."
He blinked at the cat, then grinned. "I'll eat, if you have anything. I feel terrible. If he," and here he motioned to himself, "doesn't want this anymore, I'm happy to take care of it."
"Thank you, but no, I think we will defer that offer for now," the cat replied. It was taking this pretty well, actually. Now that the initial shock had worn off, it sounded mostly sarcastic. "We do have food, and I suppose if you will have it, that is something, at least. Follow me."
The cat hopped off the bed, tail upright, wings tucked tight against its back so that they were almost invisible. It was black all over, its fur a little long; from a distance he seemed like any other cat, maybe a little hunchbacked, poor thing. It reached the cabin door and then looked back, probably to check whether he was following. He rose, more slowly this time, and rode out the wave of dizziness that overtook him when he did.
It was easier to deal with now that he knew that it was coming. His vision blacked out, but only briefly, and--- here was the funny thing--- it had happened with him often enough that it felt like a familiar detail, even if he would have been just as glad not to have to deal with it again.
They went out into a narrow hall, then up a very short flight of stairs onto what must have been the deck. At once he was hit with the smell of the ocean. He breathed deep, then coughed a little. The cat glanced back at him, and now--- okay, maybe he was imagining this, but he could have sworn it looked amused.
"You may be many things, but San you are not," said the cat, which was maybe a nice way of saying this San guy had never choked on his own breath. "Do you have a name?"
"Do I have a--- Of course I do! What do you think I am, some kind of malevolent spirit from the beyond?" He sputtered, putting a hand to his chest in an expression of mock affront. Well, mostly mock, anyway. A little real affront too. "I'm Seveth. Or at least I was, anyway. I don't really know how this works either."
"Seveth," said the cat. "Hmm. And do you speak any Xin at all?"
"Xin?" said Seveth. "Oh, you mean from... Gods, what do they call it... To the east, past the Barren Islands, that one?"
"Ah," said the cat, as though it had come to a realization. Seveth realized, too, a little of what he must have given away with his question. It only occurred to him now that maybe he shouldn't have used his real name either. But the cat hadn't reacted to it, so it must not have known who he was. Who Seveth had been.
But then, if he was speaking of Xin, then Seveth was a very long way from home.
"So about that food," he said to the cat. The cat glanced back at him, but made no reply. A moment later, Seveth saw why: a man, in all likelihood a crew member, was walking across the deck towards them. The man seemed surprised to see Seveth, though since Seveth--- or this body, anyway--- had been bedridden for most of the trip, then he'd be surprised to see himself waking about too.
"Ho there, good fellow! You wouldn't know where a soul could get something to eat around here?"
The man smiled back when Seveth smiled at him, which was a good sign. "You're looking lively," said the man. "And your Common's gotten better, though your memory's still shit."
"You know, I get that a lot," Seveth said, which was sort of true. Of the two people he'd met since he woke up, both had mentioned his problems with memory.
"Been studying while you were down in the hold, have you?" said the man. His Common was accented in a way that Seveth could not immediately place. Now that he was thinking about it, the cat's Common had carried an accent too, though a different one than the sailor's.
Speaking of which. Seveth looked around for the cat, only to realize that he couldn't find it. It had vanished like a little black ghost in broad daylight, which took some doing. It wasn't a massive animal, but it hadn't been small for a cat either.
"You lose something?" said the sailor.
Seveth blinked, then smiled again. "No, nevermind," he said.
"Alright, well, follow me to the galley," said the sailor, apparently unperturbed by Seveth's momentary lapse in attention. Chalking it up as another symptom of whatever it was he had, like as not. "We'll try to fix you up something easy on the stomach."
It wasn't a terribly large ship. The galley, as it turned out, was on the other end of it from where Seveth had come up. It was small, cramped, and already almost entirely occupied by a woman whom Seveth could only describe as being built like a door. And not one of those cheap, flimsy ones either. As the door opened, she turned, presumably to greet them. Or maybe to tell them off, Seveth thought, as he looked into the deep seated scowl on her face.
When she registered Seveth's presence, she raked him up and down with an assessing look. Her expression didn't soften in the slightest. "Hmph. Finally got your no good arse out of bed, have ye?" she said. Her Common had an entirely different accent altogether. Seveth was beginning to feel quite cosmopolitan just by virtue of being here. Did no one on this ship come from the same place?
"Now now," said the sailor placatingly. "Play nice, Beza. He's been ill."
"He's been throwing up perfectly good cooking is what he's been doing," said Beza, shaking a ladle in Seveth's direction. Drops of hot goo flew from it, which Seveth only narrowly managed to dodge.
"Ma'am, you wound me," said Seveth. "I'd keep it down if I could, honest. Whoa!" He was forced to take another step back as the woman brandished a knife at him.
"Don't try any nonsense with me, boy," said Beza, glaring at him hard enough to crack stone, probably. "Ol' Beza doesn't have time for the likes of you. Take this, and get out." She shoved two bowls at the sailor, who took them with an ease and readiness that spoke of long acquaintance, before turning them both around by the shoulders and summarily tossing them out of her domain."
"Ah, she's always like that," said the sailor. "She was worried too, you know. We've seen bad seasickness before, but never anyone who slept the way you did. Couldn't keep anything down even when we managed to get you awake." The sailor shook his head, a pitying look on his face, and Seveth thought of the emaciated frame he'd seen on himself, beneath the too-loose shirt he wore.
The shirt that, come to think of it, had been pretty filthy. If he had been heaving up his guts all through the trip, then the stains...
... Eugh. "Say," said Seveth, "is there any chance you could lend me a shirt?"
But the sailor only laughed. "One thing at a time," he said, handing Seveth a bowl of what turned out to be some sort of stew. It wasn't the most appetizing thing he'd ever seen, being comprised mostly of potatoes and meat and a bit of grain, but the smell of it made his stomach growl all the same.
That earned him another laugh from the sailor. "The ol' appetite is finally waking up too, is it? Well, you're in good hands. Beza's got a sharp tongue, but she knows her way around a galley." He took a big spoonful of his without even blowing on it, swallowing hurriedly before letting out a long breath. "Whoo! Nice and hot, just what the doctor ordered."
Seveth bit back a quip--- they were showing him hospitality, after all--- and blew on his stew to cool it before taking a bite. He still winced. It was as hot as it looked and hotter, and scalded him all the way down. He coughed a little after that first mouthful, only to stagger forward as the sailor thumped him soundly on the back.
"Take it easy there," said the sailor. "But you finish that lot, and maybe you'll put a little more meat back on those bones."
Eating got easier as he adjusted to the heat. Or maybe it was just that the stew was cooling. The wind was certainly blowing fast enough, and once the temperature was tolerable, he wolfed the rest of it down.
"Hey, slow down," said the sailor, but Seveth shook his head. The sailor was right; his appetite had awakened. Even when his bowl was finished, he wasn't satisfied. He took two steps back towards the galley, already thinking of how he might wheedle the woman into giving him another, when a sudden sharp pain seized him.
For a moment, he didn't move. Then, he made a desperate break for the side of the ship. He made it--- barely--- just in time to heave his head over the railing and throw up everything that he had just gotten down.
It hadn't been terribly pleasant going down, truth be told, but it was much worse coming back up.
Ridelys: If you can barter someone else's champion voucher off them for a gold hen, I'm happy with that too. XD \ Otherwise, I'm open to hearing offers.
May 30, 2020 21:19:39 GMT -6
Aster: Hey, if you don't want that green drake, I'd be happy to offer on him :U Alas, I don't have a gold hen either
May 30, 2020 21:18:03 GMT -6
Ridelys: Well, like I said, I'd have to get lucky.
May 30, 2020 21:13:55 GMT -6
Ridelys: I have a feeling its going to be a long one unless I get lucky.
May 30, 2020 18:19:31 GMT -6
Riku: Good luck with your golden egg hunt, BD! <3
May 30, 2020 15:40:20 GMT -6
Jack: Thanks for the notice!
May 28, 2020 10:05:26 GMT -6
Darky: Heads up: there's a chance you might notice Trepuldra images having loading issues on June 3rd, for about 3h. No need to panic, Veebimajutus just notified there's going to be some scheduled maintenance, is all x3
May 28, 2020 10:05:06 GMT -6
Fiera Ferella: right??? i was really hoping i could find one of those pachee before the season was out.
May 26, 2020 18:51:32 GMT -6
Fanged: Oh wow that's an awesome garden find FF
May 26, 2020 18:13:26 GMT -6
Riku: Oh how perfect! I woke up wanting to post (unexpected, but yay) and saw I had a reply. <3 Meant to be.
May 26, 2020 6:40:43 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: I really, really love all the updates that have come~! <3
May 24, 2020 2:12:37 GMT -6
Fiera Ferella: np!!! I hope y'all like it!
May 23, 2020 13:45:06 GMT -6
Riku: What an awesome update, staff! Thanks for that! <3
May 23, 2020 12:06:52 GMT -6
Jack: All have been found!
May 23, 2020 9:53:27 GMT -6
Jack: Might want to be on the lookout for anything... odd
May 22, 2020 23:51:22 GMT -6
Fiera Ferella: Yeah it’s definitely a coincidence but wow did it work out well for us! XD
May 22, 2020 6:43:27 GMT -6
Silver: I'm pretty sure that was just a coincidence, but it sure feels lucky!
May 22, 2020 2:07:09 GMT -6
Riku: So did you guys make this hosting switch perfectly RIGHT before pb broke? >.< Thaz crazy. It’s a huge relief and I’m very glad we’ve come to this. <3
May 22, 2020 1:41:01 GMT -6
Fiera Ferella: It’s free up to a certain number of GB, which we haven’t hit yet.
May 21, 2020 6:46:33 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: Is the site that is going to be used to host all those images also the type you'd need to pay for? (definitely noticed the broken images yeah. Photobucket feels like it is standing on its last legs. X3 )
May 21, 2020 0:13:57 GMT -6