Hunter and Ardul are finally ‘home’. Which is to say back on Earth. They have some things that they need to discuss with Nina. Things about the heritage of Iyesgarth and the history of the people who live there but for the past few days Hunter has instead been going into Vanished Point to build up some funds again. Hey, a guy has to make a living.
He’s back now, coming back into their residence with his latest pay and some food. Ardul he has sure has been out. He’s not sure if she’s come back. Folk… might not recognize her anymore but for the wings. And even then they still might not. Hunter can’t believe it himself sometimes.
Home. It’s an interesting word. An interesting concept to think of Sarens Rest as her home. The truth is, she hasn’t thought on Iyesgarth as her home for a long time now, Sarens Rest it is. Or rather, whereever Hunter is.
The Angel-Wolfen has indeed been out today, into Vanished Point herself. Hunter’s not the only one who can earn funds for them, after all.
Will he have something to say about that, though?
“Here Hunter.” She calls out, she got in not long ago and is //trying// to remove her armour. Which is proving tricky.
This armour wasn’t designed to accomodate the fur that now covers her body.
Hunter hasn’t had anything to say for it so far, but she might. He has pushed her before. Pushed her toward being something more like an Ancient Wolfen. And she has been responding… strongly.
The grey furred wolfen snorts as he sees Ardul and moves over to help her. “Are you having a problem with that?” He says with a chuckling laugh. “How did you get into it this morning?”
Ardul has been responding strongly to the instinct to become something more like the Ancient Wolfen. Their circumstances though mean she still has to fight – even if she doesn’t want to. How long she address that, is a good question.
Those cold grey eyes turn on Hunter as he snorts. “My fur is caught in the catch ….” She sighs and turns, letting him help her. “I … uh … damped my fur down to make it easier.”
She’s paying the price for that now. The fur has dried.
Would he think it appropriate if she stayed ‘home’ while he worked? She wonders. She’s going to need new armour soon.
What did Hunter think she would do? That’s a good question. He might not be sure himself. They’re both operating on something beyond themselves in some moments. Perhaps he’s not fully aware.
Either way he goes to loosen the catch and save Ardul’s lovely pelt. The armor comes off and Hunter comes around with a satisfied smirk on his face.
“There. Anything else I can heroically save you from?”
As the armour comes clear, her golden fur is exposed. With her long blonde hair, it’s a striking look.
The armour is stacked neatly as Ardul reaches for a dress, holding it out to the Wolfen to help her dress. “You can assist me, if I’m to be decent …”
For a moment though, she leans against him. “How was your day, Hunter? Successful hunting?”
Hunter takes a moment to stroke down that golden fur. He enjoys it. Enjoys the way she looks. The way it feels. Once Ardul has her dress he pulls it into place and starts lacing it up. It’s an old style of dress. Very traditional one might say. The funny thing is… it’s not Traditional for Iyesgarth.
“I got a message today from the transit center…” Hunter murmurs quietly. “It’s about the digging we did…” He seems pensive. “There’s an archivist at the Capital who would just love to meet you and Nina…”
It’s interesting how quickly Ardul has adjusted to her new look. The way of moving, the fangs, the muzzle … all of it. There’s almost a purr as Hunter strokes her, the blonde looking up at the Wolfen. The other wolfen.
The dress is really quite traditional for a Wolfen. It’s unclear where Ardul got the sense for it from, the style isn’t common in the local area, nor on the planet they’d gone to recently.
Her ears prick though at Hunters murmur. “They would, would they. Do you suspect that’s for a good reason or a bad one?”
“I suspect it’s curiosity mostly.” Hunter says as he steps back and admires Ardul. Really admires. Looks her up and down and smiles. She can tell he likes her new look too. Approves of it in a way that goes beyond simply thinking she’s pretty. It calls to him on a fundamental level. Which makes sense on the one hand and is utterly baffling on the other. Especially since it seems to call t oher in a similar manner.
“I suspect they’re curious to see if either of you can activate the blood chit that will prove one of you is desended from a legendary hero. And… therefore entitled to unspecified aid from the Federation.”
Wouldn’t that cause a stir.
“Stop it …” Hunter can see the inside of Arduls ears colour slightly. It’s a moment of … vulnerability … for the Angel-Wolfen. Hunter really hasn’t seen her so unsure. “I take it you like what you see, though ….”
Her ears flick uncomfortably but her attention is soon drawn again. “I’m not sure I //could// anymore, even if I once was able to. Not … with my changes. But Nina …”
There’s a little thrill there, though. That both of them may well be descended from a Hero. “When can we go, do you think?”
“Oh I do. I very much do.” Hunter grins as he sees her ears color and he deliberately and obviously looks a little bit more before he stops.
“I think it depends on what the chit looks for. But… yes, it seems likely that your DNA doesn’t have a trace of Iyesgarthian left in it. Well… maybe a trace.” Hunter reaches out and touches her wings for a moment.
“The trip is long. It’d be at least a week to get there, and that means a week to get back, unless we rift there which will be risky. You and I might be able to get away for that long. The question is, I think… will Nina? And will she want to?”
“And what will it mean if she DOES activate that chit?”
Arduls changes were bought on by a rather nasty nanite infection. The effects of which were driven by something that Hunter had said to her in an attempt to stop Ardul being coopted by Hyfil. It’s possible though, that she held a fraction of the Iyesgarthian she had once been.
Maybe it’s enough to activate the chit, if they need to.
“She wants to, Hunter. Do you think it’s too risky to Rift there? If not, my cousin will make time to do this.”
Her ears colour a little more but she bats at the Wolfen and then sighs as he touches her wings. It’s enough to get her drawing closer.
“If she activates the chit, the FAR will send people to help at no cost to Iyesgarth. I’m … not sure that’s what she has in mind. We both sort of … want to know….”
“Too risky?” Hunter muses on that. “Maybe to have both of you. Tell me, if Nina were to fall in battle, or go missing or… whatever, who would take over for her? Despite being a wolfen you’re still her closest living relation that isn’t trying to kill her and you ARE technically in line for the throne.”
That would be a disaster he’s sure. The Iyesgarthians would not accept being ruled by a wolfen, no matter what her background.
“Bear in mind if she activates the chit it will almost certainly embroil your world far more in Federation politics than it stands to be right now. That might be a good thing, or a bad thing, but it is most certainly a thing that will change a great many other things.”
Ardul thinks on that question and nods at Hunters reasoning. “I would be, yes. But I could renounce my claim and Nina can nominate one of the others.” The blonde runs her claws down Hunters shirt as she stands there. “Failing that, Nina should marry and nominate her partner as Consort.”
If they fell, he would take the Throne and there might be one here that would fit the bill. But the succession is going to be tricky.
“We discussed that Hunter, Nina and I. We think it might be worth the risk. It will certainly give Iyesgarth better standing in the FAR, don’t you think?”
“Yes but I’m talking about ‘in extremis’ here. If Nina has time to make provisions that’s all well and good but who are her people going to follow? A partner? An underling? A consort? Or are they going to follow you?” Hunter thinks they may well follow her. Even changed, she’s a known quantity. She’s a capable leader and she’s a brave warrior.
Or she was? Is she now? Now that she’s been put through a nano-modification and… whatever has happened to her mind, her tastes and her instincts?
“If it works out I agree, it will give them a far better standing in the federation. In fact… you may find a lot of people suddenly want to live on your world. I’m not sure how your folk would take that. A lot of them will be Wolfen. Or Wulf.”
Hunter slips a bit closer and loops his arm around Ardul. “We can go soon, if you like. I know it’s important and it’s an opportunity.”
That makes Ardul pause, the question does. “You know the answer to that, hjarte. Many will gather their banners behind me. Despite everything that has happened, they see me as the one who has made most of this happen, the one who got their Princep free.”
At the risk of her life.
Is she still a brave warrior? Even with the new instincts driving her, there are some things that will never change. Steadfast, loyal, intelligent. She’s all of those things. She may … defer… to Hunter but that doesn’t make her less capable.
“And if they do, they will have to accept you.”
“Then let’s go, hjarte. It is time that Iyesgarth took it’s place in the Universe, don’t you think?”
“I think it’s high time, yes.” Hunter says quietly, his smile small but genuine.
The answer she gives him makes sense and also makes Hunter smile but is itself rather problematic. “Then you are the de-facto heir right now. It doesn’t matter who Nina appoints. The consequential ones will rally to you and obey your orders. That’s something that needs to be worked out, either by acknowledging that reality or finding a way to change it.”
“I’ll make the arrangements. If you both think it’s worth the risk, we’ll take a rift. I’ll find someone who can send us there. That might take me a few days. It’s not a common destination from here, I’m given to understand. And I’ll warn you know, when we arrive it’s likely to cause some consternation. Magic isn’t as common in the FAR as it is here.”
“Then it is appropriate we arrive that way, don’t you think? Much like the blessed Galende before us?” It’s almost laughable that Ardul is embracing this, she who was uncomfortable with magic. “And a portent.”
She might be teasing a little but the wheel certainly has seemed to have turned.
“It will matter, if I support them, Hunter but you are correct. This is a situation we wish to avoid. Perhaps something will present itself in the fullness of time.”
Resting her cheek against his chest, Ardul settles for a moment. “Now, hjarte. What is it we shall do with the rest of the day?” There’s the matter of her armour to deal with.
“It is appropriate when you put it that way.” Hunter says with a laugh. “Though it will probably still cause us trouble.”
That’s okay with him. That trouble should be manageable and the potential reward for that trouble is rather considerable. What’s some upset bureaucrats versus the fate of a world, after all?
“Well I had thought we might take a ferry to Vesper and enjoy some place that isn’t built out of literal castoffs and junk.” Vanished Point is nice in many ways, but Saren’s Rest does still have a very ramshackle feel to it.
“Beyond that, I’m open to options, dear wolf-wife.”
“Then let’s do that. I believe you have some messages to return from your friends in Dogwood.” //That// is no end of amusement for Ardul. “But come, my wolf-mate, take me away and talk to me about my armour.”
That’s going to prove an interesting discussion. The cities may well lose a warrior.