Nadia did hope it wouldn’t simply be a house full of doors, though. That was likely to drive her crazy. There had to be something to entertain her, or she’d go spare! Plus, how would she ever find her way out if the doors began to move, which they were known to do?
For now, she kept a hold on Veles. He wriggled a little in her arms, wanting to get down and explore by himself, but she wasn’t going to let him until she knew exactly what was happening. Anything could appear at any moment, and she wasn’t willing to have him snatched.
The same smoke trailed from beneath the second door. It smelled warm, autumn-like - this confused her, due to it being peak summer. Bonfires? Not ideal. Veles’ snout wriggled as he took a whiff too. Well, here goes nothing... she pulled the door open.
To her dismay, a bonfire it was. At least it was a decent distance off - Nadia took a few slow breaths to calm her nerves, doing her best not to alarm Veles. Her companions had always seemed sensitive to tension in her body, and she didn't want to accidentally upset him.
"Your first fire, dear," She said, though the cheer in her voice was gratingly forced. "Apparently, these can be rather fun. It escapes me, but nonetheless..."
The entire room was warm, but not uncomfortable. As the bonfire crackled, its flames cast flickering lights over the ground; they appeared to be walking on some sort of turf. Was that not a hazard? She couldn't escape the fear that the fire would catch and consume the whole place any moment.
But it didn't. It sat in the centre and did not move. Veles chirped his curiosity, and she soothed a hand over his head.
Something shimmering caught Nadia's attention. It was not quite close enough to the bonfire to make her nervous, but she was cautious nonetheless as she approached - it appeared to be... a crystal? Some kind of precious stone, at least. Was it okay to pick such things up? She'd come across other trinkets in the mansion before, but none had seemed half so valuable as this.
"Do you think-- oh!" The woman sprang back as something darted in front of her. A strange white being, with... legs, and a flame. A candle? A candle, that was most certainly staring at her as it ran. "I... hello! Is this yours?"
No response, of course. Veles, fascinated, leaned his head down to take a closer look. The candle man was not a fan of the carnivorous lizard, and scurried off to the other side of the room, where he would be out of reach.
Not belonging to the candle man, then. Nadia frowned, and leaned down to pick the crystal up; it was solid in her hand. Beautiful, by all accounts. Her first impulsive thought was that it might look nice in jewelry, but... somehow she felt that it would be wasted in that pursuit. Like it had a greater purpose than decoration.
Veles, on the other hand, thought it looked delicious. The whelp's snapping jaws opened and closed right next to Nadia's hand, eager to take a bite out of the strange new thing.
"No, no, this is certainly not for consuming..." Or was it? She raised it closer to the bonfire's light. "At least, I don't believe so. Either way, you shall be sticking to your meat treats, mister. I shan't have you with an upset tummy. Perhaps we should see what to do about this little candle man... I feel terrible for scaring him."
Over they went, towards the corner of the room that the candle had fled to. He was a dear little soul! Those wide eyes gave him the look of the comical, though Nadia was certain that he was afraid of her and her companion. Poor thing. She would try to make amends.
"Now, I must apologise for Veles. He is just a baby and has frightful manners. Anything that moves is something he is liable to attempt to eat," She explained, as if the pocketpet would understand the nuance of the situation. "But I promise that we are a friendly bunch. Would you like to accompany us?"
She was hoping so, because he'd make an excellent light if they strayed further into the darkness. Veles stared, but made no sound or movement for the moment. He was probably waiting to see if the candle would streak off again so he could try giving chase.
The candle man stared at her with his huge eyes. It was peculiar - they certainly seemed to be looking at her, but they looked waxy, like his body. Nadia tried not to think too hard on it, though. Things in the mansion were never quite as they seemed.
"I promise I will protect you from this ill mannered toddler," She said, offering a hand to the pocketpet. The crystal had been tucked into her satchel in the interim. "What say you? Would you like to accompany us?"
She couldn't have described the candle's logic, but after a moment of deliberation, it climbed up onto her palm. She had expected it to be hot to the touch, or for the wax to scald her, but... she felt nothing unpleasant. That was a bonus. Veles leaned across to give him a sniff.
"Now, you leave him alone. I will feed you if you leave him alone."
Autumn was Nadia's favourite season. The harvest, the changing of the leaves, the cooling of the air; she loved the turn of the weather towards the colder, and the beautiful colours on the trees. It was all she could think about as she walked along towards the mansion, alongside Mabel.
The delight to have Mabel back was unexplainable. Her gratitude to Obsidion was enormous - she couldn't think of any way to repay him that would show just how much she appreciated his kindness. To give her up had been heartbreaking. Now she was home again, it was like she had never left.
"Are you ready for an adventure, Mabel?" She smiled at the puppy, who wagged her tail. Such a darling. The mansion seemed a good place for them to go to get to know each other again, and try out some new training. "Just so. I hope we will have fun here."
The mansion always felt somewhat risky. Nadia had a rough idea of how it changed with the seasons, but nothing solid - she always ended up surprised one way or another. It was good for keeping the experience fresh, but left her at a loss when deciding how to manage her companions. Bringing along someone more skittish could end in disaster.
Thankfully, Mabel was a hardy sort. Sweet, but steadfast. She hadn't bent to Gelert's stiffness or Hael's enthusiasm. Maybe Obsidion's personality had rubbed off on her a little during training! That thought made her smile to herself, though she wasn't sure why.
The grounds of the mansion looked beautiful. Mabel gave a yip of excitement and charged forwards into the nearest pile of leaves, sending them flying everywhere.
"Now, someone may have worked hard to rake those!" Nadia scolded playfully with a laugh. The houluh's head popped out, complete with her red bows. "You are adorable."
Nadia was in no rush to get into the building itself. That was usually where the trouble started - walls and doors disappearing, strange creatures, shadows... it was hell on her nerves if she wasn't sufficiently prepared. Spending time on the grounds would get the pair of them relaxed and well acquainted with the seasonal differences.
Mabel followed along as she walked to one of the apple trees. The fruit was bountiful! Even with plenty of apples scattered on the grass, there was an ample amount still on the tree, red and shining. They looked delicious. The houluh sniffed around the fallen ones, and made a move to open her mouth. A bolt of panic struck Nadia.
"Don't eat that!" She said, before having a chance to think. The volume and tone of her voice startled the houluh, who stepped back. "Good girl. We don't know if these are safe to eat..."
That was a logical thing to teach, Nadia thought. Puppies were ever so tempted by anything vaguely edible, and having control over those urges would help to avoid future complications. She knew she was a naturally anxious person, but she didn't think it unreasonable to believe that not everything that appeared before them in the mansion would be safe.
Still, the puppy was looking a little sheepish after that sudden scolding. As an apology, she leaned down and petted her ears, and slipped her a safe treat from her pocket.
"Sorry, my girl," She cooed. Mabel crunched at the treat, and her tail was soon wagging again. "We can work on this as we go, can't we? That seems like a good idea."
Side-eyeing it, Nadia pushed the apple at her foot away, letting it roll over and stop next to the roots of the tree. Yes. It was best if they left them alone.
The grass was changing colour. Nadia could see the way the greens were fading to the yellows in the blades; the gradient was pleasing to the eye as it rippled in the breeze. The year had flown past. With a blink of an eye, they were another year older. Wiser? Perhaps not, but life was a permanent learning curve.
She could sit out there all day, she was sure. No one else was on the grounds - then again, she had only seen another person once on her visits. Was there a magical influence on that? Maybe you would only meet who you were supposed to meet, and nothing happened by accident. That was a whimsical notion.
Mabel nuzzled against her calf as they took a turn around the gardens, between the trees. The air was crisp, and the sky was light, still early in the day. Sunset would be upon them before they knew it, though.
Nadia supposed she could move forward with teaching Mabel some tricks, while they were there. It was a dynamic environment and could serve them well for different competencies! She'd brought along a bag of treats, as well as a ball. That could work. Plenty of room to run around.
"Mabel, look!" She pulled the ball from her satchel and showed it to the houluh. Her tail wagged - she recognised it! Chewing on those things was fun! "Are you ready to play? How about this..."
The woman tried to measure her throw, but ended up overshooting regardless. Oops. The ball rolled along the grass and came to a stop beneath another tree.
"Fetch, Mabel!" She said. Mabel stared at her, blank. "Fetch! Go get the ballie, girl!"
No recognition. That made sense - she hadn't even gotten a slight notion of what to do. As soon as the pup saw it was a game, they'd be fine.
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