There were training rooms hidden deep in the underground bunkers. San had already memorized them; it had been a part of his own training to navigate them, at first by sight, and then blindfolded, so he would know his way even in the dark, even if he'd been turned around. He remembered the feeling of panic as they slipped the cloth over his eyes, jumping at every noise in the hollowed space, wondering if the claustrophobic halls would crush him beneath them.
He couldn't imagine what the little fairy girl was feeling now.
He picked the smallest of the training rooms, sealed off from the hall by a heavy door. "In here," he said, ushering Roku and the girl in before closing the door behind them. Roku immediately took to a corner and sat there, tail curled about his paws, watching the two of them with steady gold eyes.
The room was empty, a bare floor lined with some kind of textured rubber flooring, the walls solid and sealed. Sound didn't travel In and out of these rooms. San knew it from experience, just as he knew that there were crueler regimens going on in some of the others. But the girl--- Rei--- she was small, not likely to see much fighting, let alone do any of it herself. They could ease her into it a little.
"You do know how to speak, don't you?" he tried, turning to her. She stood there, staring at him wordlessly. The handlers that had given her over to San and Roku's unit said she knew how to talk, but neither of them had ever heard her speak. Still, there were plenty of things that could shock her into silence. The handlers weren't always careful, and they'd mentioned having to take measures to work around the 'mental peculiarities’ of her species.
She didn't respond. He would just have to hope she understood.
Start: Location (Linyü), Location (Roku)
"When we're here, we don't use our real names. Everyone has a different name they use here." He gestured to himself. "I'm San." Then, to the cat. That's Roku And you, you're Rei when you're here."
The girl's expression didn't change. She blinked, once. Roku flicked one of his ears, the tip of his tail swaying from side to side.
"We'll play a game to help you remember, alright? I’ll call out a name, and you look at the one I'm calling. Can you do that?"
Again, there was no answer. San bit back a sigh, reminding himself that he had to be patient; reminding himself that he and Shi had been here once too.
"Roku," he said. And, slowly, she did turn to look at the cat. Roku glanced up at San, the barest hint of surprise in the perked points of his ears. "Good," said San. "Now, San," he said. The girl looked at him. San smiled. "That's good, Let's try again. Roku." The girl turned more quickly to the cat this time. "San." She turned back to him. "San," he said again. He saw her twitch, but her eyes stayed on him. "Clever," he said. "I tried to trick you, but it didn't work, did it?"
The girl still wasn't speaking, but at least she was paying attention. That was good. He could work with this. "Now that you know what to call us, we'll play a different game. When I call out a name, you go to that person. And when I say 'stay', you freeze. Do you think you can do that?"
She gave him the same stoic non-response that he had gotten the last time he had tried to ask her a question, but now that he knew that she was paying attention, he simply moved on. "Let's practice.
Roku," he said, thinking she was likely more comfortable going to the cat first.
Roku was smaller, and fluffy: and the ones menacing her while the handlers had her, if there was any menacing involved, probably hadn't looked like Roku.
Slowly, she walked to the cat, stopping a short distance away. "Yes." said San. "That's fine. You don't have to touch him, just get close. Now find San," he said.
She turned to him, then pointed a finger in his direction. "Well, yes," he said. "But that's not the game. Come closer. I won't hurt you."
She didn't move, but San was in no hurry. It was better to do it like this than to force her. The unit wanted an agent that could act autonomously, and she was no use to them if she was broken and terrified.
He waited. It took a long time, but eventually she came to him afteriall, step by step. He didn't look at her, did his best to pretend he hadn't even noticed. Only when she had closed in did he say, "Good. There, that wasn't so bad, was it?"
She said nothing.
"Now that we've practiced, we'll play properly Remember, if I say ‘stay’, you freeze." He waited a moment so she could process it, and maybe prepare herself, if that was something she needed to do. Then he said, "Stay."
She didn't move, but that was easy. San was the one who rose, and walked himself off somewhere else in the room."Roku, he said, She went to Roku, who had stayed in his corner.
"Good. Now San." He waited to see if she would come to him this time. There was another long moment of initial hesitation, but she made her way over to him without creeping slowly this time. She still stopped a slight distance away, but for now that was good enough. "Yes, good. Now Roku," he said.
She turned to the corner, but the cat had moved. Roku hadn't spoken, but he was a part of this training just as surely as San was, even if he didn't care to be here himself. Granted, he didn’t move far, but the point was to get the girl to move to him rather than to the place that he had been. She was, at least in theory, clever enough that it shouldn’t have been a problem, but with how unresponsive she had been when she was introduced, they couldn’t be sure of anything yet. Thus far in the session, she had demonstrated some basic comprehension, so she wasn’t brain dead or anything of the sort.
It might have just been trauma. He’d seen people go catatonic for less than what she had probably been through, if the rumors and insinuations from the handlers were to be believed.
It took a moment, but the girl did eventually walk over to Roku. “That’s very good,” said San, even though it was a simple thing to do at this point. That she was capable of it meant she would be teachable. The Watchful Ones had no patience for what was useless to them, and if she had proven to be truly beyond teaching, then they would waste no time discarding her, regardless of the trouble they’d gone to procure her to begin with.
“Now stay,” said San. That one was easy enough. She stayed right where she was as both he and Roku moved. But this time he could see her watching them, rather than staring off into space as she had been doing before. Maybe she was anticipating what he would say next.
“Find San,” he said. She was faster to come to him this time--- which wasn’t to say she was quick about it, but she was improving, which was at least worthy of note.
He waited until she had stopped, a little distance away from him still, then said, “Now, Roku.” She walked over to where the cat stood, and left the same distance between herself and Roku.
“Stay,” he said, and switched positions again along with Roku. She tracked their movements as she had done the previous time, until the two of them came to a stop. This time, San repeated the command: “Stay.” He didn’t see her twitch, but he did see her blink. A moment of confusion, perhaps. San moved again, though Roku stayed where he was. “Find Roku,” he said.
She went to the cat. “Stay,” he said. They moved around again, then he asked her to find him, and she did. And so on it went, round after round of this dreadfully simple game, until she had reached nearly a normal walking speed, or what one would be for a person of her size.
Start: At Ease
Only then did he call the game to an end. “At ease,” he said, and deliberately relaxed his posture. The cat did the same. One wouldn’t really think that Roku held any tension in him, looking at him, but a cat could always find a more obvious, languorous way to relax.
“We say ‘at ease’ to let everyone know the game is over,” San explained. He repeated the words once more, slowly. “At ease.” She didn’t nod, or say anything to mark her understanding; she wasn’t even making eye contact. But maybe that was a sign of her comprehension; she knew that she didn’t have to pay attention anymore.
Maybe it wasn’t. It was too early even to be optimistic about her prospects. But it was a start, anyway, and until he had different orders, it was his and Roku’s task to train her so she might be of some use to the unit.
“We’ll come again,” he said.
In that regard, he was as good as his word. They came a second time, and then a third, until it had become a part of a daily routine. For the first few days, it was the same game each time, until San felt that she had acclimated to the process. They weren’t difficult concepts to pick up, and if she had been any less… absent, he would have moved on sooner. But boredom didn’t seem to be within her repertoire; and, more tellingly, neither did the concept of complaints.
She did as she was asked until he said, “At ease.” And then her attention wandered, away from them and to that elsewhere place it always seemed to go when they weren’t here, doing this. When left to her own devices, she always settled back to this.
As much as San had seen and done already in his time among the Watchful Ones, it still unsettled him somewhat, the idea that such a human-like creature--- capable, so he’d been told, of the same scope of intelligence and personality--- could be put away just like an object. She had to be fed, yes, and kept from exposure, but beyond that, she made no demands or entreaties for her own comfort.
At least she was making the effort to be present for this, which was something. And she had picked up the basic concepts of staying still, and of finding either himself or Roku. After a few days of practice, San had this much to show.
It was, at last, time to move on.
End: Location (Linyü), Location (Roku), Stay
“We’re trying something different today,” he said, walking into the small training room. It was still the same one, but rather than sitting empty, today it was filled with crates and the like.
Everything that was here was cheap and of no real value, just meant to break up the room and offer places where he and Roku could hide themselves from view. The space being as small as it was, however, there wasn’t much room for decoration. It was just as well, since San felt they ought to start Rei off easy.
He gave her a moment to observe her surroundings before he continued. “This time, we’ll be hiding,” he said. “The rules are still the same, but when I ask you to go to me or Roku, you’ll have to find us first. We’ll make it easy the first few times. Do you think you can do it?”
He didn’t expect an answer when he asked her questions like this anymore. To be fair, he hadn’t really been expecting much of a reaction when he started either, but there had been a part of him that had still wondered… But enough sessions and experience had accumulated that he no longer even anticipated the possibility.
There was no answering the question until he gave the command.
“Stay,” he said. She had never had trouble with that one.
San and Roku wandered in among the boxes until both had chosen a place to their satisfaction, each one visible still to Rei from her vantage point. “Alright. Find San,” he said.
He had chosen himself because he thought he would be the most obvious, being considerably bigger than Roku. It still took Rei a moment to track him down, but she managed. “Now Roku,” said San, standing where he was and observing as she turned around, slowly trying to figure out where the cat was. Eventually, she started moving--- at which point she went unerringly to the place where the cat’s tail was visible above the box he was hiding behind.
Good. She could do that much.
After a few rounds of more of the same, San and Roku began to attempt hiding from her in earnest. Which wasn’t to say they did their best, as they were trained in the practice of concealment, and even regular people of regular capabilities had trouble finding them. But at the very least, they weren’t obviously visible anymore when they hid, and when she was asked to find them, it did take her longer to do so.
It was interesting. She was picking this up faster than San had anticipated. At first, he had thought that she was just as slow as she had been, but the longer the game went on, the more apparent it became that she was simply waiting until she was sure she had found them before she moved more quickly to their location. Sometimes she wandered slowly while she was still searching, but at other times she didn’t move at all. She was relying on more than just her sight to track them down. If they made a noise, she seemed to hear it, and San had caught her at least once noticing when a shadow was out of place.
He was aware of it, because these were the things he was deliberately choosing not to hide, breadcrumbs that he left without any expectation, at first, of her finding them. But now that she was showing herself capable of it, he found himself intrigued at the question of just how far they could take this.
He exchanged a look with Roku. The cat had obviously sensed something similar, and San figured the cat was thinking along similar lines. The next time they hid, they were smarter about it.
It took her a long time to do what he asked. That wasn’t surprising. But one of the first things the Watchful Ones taught was patience; without it, there would be no proper agents. And so they waited, both perfectly still, even though the cat was the one that Rei had been tasked with finding this time around. And when it became apparent that she could not find them by staying still, she began a slow walk through the boxes.
She did eventually find Roku, who at that point was inside a box, in a shadowy space visible only from a very specific angle, where his dark fur hid him well. There had been very little in terms of tells this time. “Very good,” said San, and this time, he meant it. It had been something of a feat that she had managed to find him at all.
They tried him next, with Roku calling the command this time, as San’s voice would give him away. But he was easier to find than Roku, simply because with his size and the size of the room, there wasn’t a whole lot he could do in comparison.
“At ease,” he said, calling the game over once she had found him. “You did very well today,” he said to Rei. He doubted the praise meant anything to her, but it was true, and it was easier to speak to her as though she might respond. The fewer reminders he had of how unsettling her situation was, the better.
And… they could work with this. Build on it. They’d meant to use her for reconnaissance, and if she was good at finding people, that boded well for her performance. But for now it was a matter of giving her the basic skills to function as an autonomous part of a unit at all, and she still had a fair ways to go for that.
“Tomorrow we’ll be trying this again,” he said.
He was true to his word, but… not exactly, this time.
The next session they did was with the lights dimmed. San monitored Rei’s expression for any sign of surprise, but she seemed, on the surface at least, to be as detached as ever. Nevertheless, he explained. “We work at night more than during the day,” he said. “It would be better if you got used to it now.”
Morgan: No one knows yet. But I did want to make it clear that the jar itself isn't used for lotine husbandry in any way. c:
Jun 5, 2020 4:24:19 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: I'm only assuming that it does something similar like a Fungal Beast that infects a Leaf-scatter. (the one with moss and I think it was a pink flower growing on the head.)
Jun 5, 2020 4:18:34 GMT -6
Silver: I'll try it soon and we'll find out!
Jun 5, 2020 4:16:11 GMT -6
Silver: I don't think anyone knows yet!
Jun 5, 2020 4:16:05 GMT -6
Darky: What did the 'infection' do again?
Jun 5, 2020 4:14:43 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: Thanks for this information, its really useful to know! <3
Jun 5, 2020 4:14:30 GMT -6
Morgan: The lolatic doesn't disappear after one use, and can be reused on the same lotine when it is allowed to 'infect' a lotine- to my knowledge.
Jun 5, 2020 1:41:37 GMT -6
Morgan: The only effect/thing that the jar can be used for is to open up into a lolatic. The jar itself has no use in lotine breedings.
Jun 5, 2020 1:39:52 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: and the jar is then gone, if with the creature I am more guessing with this the creature doesn't disappear and it has unlimited use.
Jun 5, 2020 0:17:55 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: Something else I am wondering about with the Lotine breeding is whether one would use the jar the Lolatic comes from in the breeding, or actually the creature itself. I'm assuming with it if its the jar, then it gives people only one shot in a breeding,
Jun 5, 2020 0:16:08 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: Then using it in my rps is definitely just for the sake of rp's and not for anything additional.
Jun 5, 2020 0:12:17 GMT -6
Renathan: Fish are unlimited use once bought though. c:
Jun 4, 2020 22:31:17 GMT -6
Renathan: There's no additional effect for adding a fish to a magical berry in a lotine breeding. Magical Berry is kinda it's own thing. Adding a fish for roleplay value shouldn't hurt, but it has no effect when used on a magical berry lotine breeding.
Jun 4, 2020 22:27:14 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: be just for the sake of rp, and perhaps seeing if it might lent a bigger chance to multiple offspring with unique pattern. X3
Jun 4, 2020 15:31:01 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: I think your right on it being unlimited use yeah, although.. *cough* I only found out a couple hours after I started writing that I had yet to buy the fish in question so used the one you could get for free as a replacement, it still was meant to mostly
Jun 4, 2020 15:30:59 GMT -6
Riku: From what I loosely understand about the fish is that it isn't one-use, whereas the berry is. I feel like there wouldn't be any consequence of 'using' the fish...which I'd think just ooc wouldn't be counted for whatever rolls or whatever it is that it uses
Jun 3, 2020 14:14:30 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: Thanks for that piece of info Ren! <3 | But would it be allowed for the flavor of the rp if the berry wasn't filling enough for the Lotine?
Jun 1, 2020 6:09:21 GMT -6
Renathan: There is no need to double up on a fish and a magical berry (doesn't change the effect of the berry at all) in a lotine breeding.
Jun 1, 2020 6:02:21 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: Does anyone know if it is possible to combine both a magical berry and a fish in a Lotine breeding? Or is you can only choose one of them? (right now writing a Lotine breeding)
Jun 1, 2020 5:36:49 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: I am still interested in trading it for a green drake.
Jun 1, 2020 0:31:33 GMT -6