Late winter storms are a common enough occurrence around Vesper and Dogwood, and while the chances are low, it’s not unheard of for the energies whipped up by the weather to cause rifts to form. Many people from the fringes of both cities are known to chase storms like that in search of unique plunder brought by any potential rifts. It’s always a gamble, but it pays off frequently enough that people keep risking it.
Last night was no exception, and despite the conditions having been quite in favor of a rift forming, the storm chasers are returning from their searches claim to have not found anything. As another party arrives complaining about the wasted time, a tiny rodent stowaway leaps off of the hem of one man’s cloak and makes a dash for the relative safety of a market booth’s support pillars.
Tonight was a successful hunt.
Nimh the indigo Dragon-Cat ate his fill.
Psi-Stalker, however, is not really to his liking. Too stringy. In this case, he had not been given a choice — as the hunter had also been the hunted. It was ‘kill or be psi-drained’… No argument.
Now freshly returned, the over-large beast pads quietly through the streets of Vesper, staying mainly in his ghostly form — amused at the pedestrians who still try to get out of his way.
So many minds around him.
The storm-chasers get a look. They’re disappointed. No Rifts to study; no demons to slay — not right now. Nothing in the background murmur of psychic conversation really stands out…
Except perhaps the terror of a single individual… <~Curious,~> the dragon-cat murmurs to himself, and he sits down near a stall — concentrating on finding that mind, rather than walking back through the streets again.
Returning from patrol is one very wet and soggy Winged Warrior. Whilst the Storm might not have yielded wonders untold for the Storm Followers, it had provided ample opportunity for mischief out near Richmond.
The sodden blonde, helm under her arm, with hair plastered around her face is striding through the Markets intent on reaching that bar … the one right over there. The one that has strong, and nearly palatable alcohol. She needs it tonight.
Nimh gets a glance from the grey eyed woman and she lets out a very long sigh. “Greetings Nimh. I hope you aren’t tormenting other young men about being morsels…” She might be mildly amused.
These A great hulking shape in silver and white stalks the roads in the rain and snow. Hunter’s Gunwolf is an all weather military machine troubled by enither rain nor sleet nor snow, much like the heros of a shadowy organization called ‘Ussps’.
Odd name yes. And no one really knows anything about them except that they were blue.
The bot stalks past headed for the garage it’s usually secured in when Hunter isn’t using it. The wolfen pilot will be back later, no doubt.
The terrified mind is also disoriented and vastly confused, becoming even more of both when a great hulking shape stomps past. Anyone with sharp enough eyes might see the small, brown mouse huddled by a market booth’s pillar watching the passersby in a manner rather unlike the average non-sentient rodent.
She’s on the far side of the booth from a particular Dragon-Cat, unable to see him because of the pillar. And maybe for the moment that’s a good thing.
<~Try not to be alarmed, Little One… My name is Nimh, and I have the slightest inkling that you’re… rather new here.~>
Nimh locates the mind he seeks, and inwardly cringes. Hopefully he does not communicate //that// to the little mouse. Such a diminutive creature… powerful enough — more than powerful enough — psychically, she would surely perish if some inattentive monstrosity should come lumbering by…
Nimh’s lips roll back in a toothy grin. He has seen the gunwolf. Also… there is the Winged One, Ardul. He shifts his focus to her. <~I’ve eaten, thank you,~> he replies to her question — still grinning. <~Although I may have found something else — not a morsel, no. More of… a little Confection. I believe… she has just arrived. The poor thing is completely lost.~>
Returning to Miss Frizz, he adds: <~I’m quite safe, I assure you. Follow this thought trail across the street. You’ll know me when you see me.~> This should be fun…
Ardul watches the Gunwolf as it strides by before turning her attention back to Nimh. “A … confection? I hope you aren’t planning on eating newly arrived visitors.” She looks around, trying to see who it is that Nimh is referring to.
She’ll wait just a moment before continuing on her way – Nimh seems to have this under control after all.
It takes a few minutes to go through the shutdown procedure and come back up the road but the be-dustered Wolfen does. His fur is getting matted with water now as well but he still smirks at the somewhat bedraggled winged woman. “Hello Ardul. Bit wet out tonight wouldn’t you say? Who’s your friend?”
The mouse visibly startles at the first telepathic communication, but then responds quickly enough. This, at least, does not seem completely foreign to her.
<~Nimh? What is this place? Why is everything so large?~>
At Nimh’s telepathic bidding, she steps forward just enough to look across the street and … perfect timing. Hunter approaches Ardul and blocks the mouse’s view of Nimh. He said to cross the street, though, so she considers it before trying. It’s a goodly little distance for her, and gigantic beings keep passing by, making the crossing seem potentially very dangerous. But, she mentally steels herself, then makes a dash for it. And she aims for the nearest waypoint — Hunter’s feet.
“AIEE! A mouse!!”
The shriek comes from a young girl, no more than nine or ten, pointing at little Frizz while tugging on her mother’s arm. Her mother doesn’t pay any attention. Mice are mice — they happen. Hardly worth worrying about.
Nimh looks from Ardul to Hunter and lifts his head. The dragon-cat is now reclining on the ground, with one forepaw resting lightly over the top of the other. <~My name is Nimh,~> he tells Hunter with a guarded expression on his leonine face. He eyes the gunwolf warily. <~I’ve met Ardul in battle. She is a fine warrior — for a Two-Leg.~> He smirks. A moment later — drawn by the sound of the squealing girl, Nimh projects an image of the little mouse to Ardul, while pointing with his bearded chin at the human girl (who is also pointing at Frizz).
<~There. And I’ve no intention of eating her — what a vile notion. I’m in more danger of accidentally //inhaling// the tiny creature than I am of //ingesting// her.~>
<~I’d sooner eat Hezqak.~> Traffic in the street is about to be a whole lot busier with more people heading in to escape the foul weather — that, and some of the merchants are only just how opening up shop.
<~Hurry, Little One,~> Nimh urges Frizz, although allowing Ardul and Hunter to hear him as well. <~This is not the kind of ‘impression’ one would wish our city to leave upon a new arrival…~>
“Hunter..” Ardul smiles despite her bedraggled state, shaking her head and sending water flying. “It is a touch wet, yes but I must say the look becomes you. Just in from your patrol? This is Nimh. He was on patrol with me yesterday.” beat “Will you have time for a drink tonight?”
As the girl screams, the blonde looks over and frowns. “Surely Mice aren’t that uncommon in this world?” she murmurs and her blonde eyebrows rise “Ahhh. That’s the guest that Nimh is speaking to… How … unusual.”
Hunter’s ears lay back at the shriek. He had actually not been at all aware of the mouse until attention is called to it which is a good thing. The creature had been making for his foot and Hunter may well have stepped on it. Indeed with the wet weather turning roads slick and in some cases muddy, he might never had noticed he had done so.
“What is that?” He asks rather than answer Ardul’s question about if he’s got time for a drink. He probably does. He usually does.
The shriek makes the mouse freeze in the middle of the street as she’s startled by the sound, but then Nimh tells her to hurry and she sprints the rest of the way across. And yes, she is still aiming for Hunter’s feet, and even climbs up onto one of his feet when she gets there. She looks up at Ardul from this new vantage point, but the giant bird person is not Nimh–
She finally sees the Dragon-Cat and rather than move on from Hunter’s foot as she’d intended, she freezes there. Some things are beyond her ability to even imagine. She’s seeing. It’s believing that’s taking her a little time.
<~Well met, Little One.~>The dragon-cat smiles.
Unfortunately, it’s all teeth — two of them rather large. So he foregoes the smile a heartbeat later, and looks to Ardul and Hunter.
<~Wolfen — uh, watch where you step.~> To Ardul he remarks: <~She appears to be afraid of me… And I swear this is my best smile…~> His ears flicker a bit, and he scratches an itch with one of his mid-legs, possibly stalling for time. <~I… find myself at a loss,~> he continues with a worried glance at the influx of citizens and visitors to Vesper who are new just arriving from Dragon’s Gate. <~Would it help at all if I said I’d already — no. You’re quite safe… By the Hunt, I’m at a loss for what to say. Ardul, do you speak ‘Tiny’?~>
“That … is a mouse, I believe.” Ardul answers Hunter, resisting the urge to spread her wings and shake them off. If the mouse is indeed the target of Nimhs interest, that would certainly scare the rodent.
As the mouse freezes on Hunter’s foot, she quirks an eyebrow at the bedustered Wolfen. “His name is Hunter, Nimh” she says mildly, holding herself perfectly still so as not to startle the creature. “I think it likes your foot, Hunter.”
“Best smile, indeed.” she snorts at Nimhs observation “And do I look like talk Tiny?” she sighs, crouching down to the creature and holding a hand out so it can climb on. “Be at ease, little one. I don’t know if you can understand me, but … we won’t hurt you. You should alight my friends foot though.”
“Well yes, it’s a mouse. I’ve seen them before.” Hunter is peering down at his foot. That’s not a safe place to be. Wolfen are known for being incredibly swift runners.
“I’ve just never seen one clinging to my foot before as if that were some kind of shelter. This this yours, Nimh?”
He’s not really hearing poor Frizz. She may have to ‘speak up’ a bit. Or you know speak to someone other than Nimh.
“Does it talk?” Hunter leans down and holds a hand out. “Why not come up here? Less chance of getting launched there, little thing.”
The most prevalent feeling Nimh gets from the mouse is confusion, even more so than fear. It’s almost like she’s never seen a cat before. But then Ardul addresses her and offers her a hand to climb onto. Luckily for them both, her telepathy is helping her translate the gist of the bird-person’s words. Hunter’s as well. It’s a leap of faith for her to willingly climb onto anyone’s hand, but since Ardul offered her hand first, that’s where she goes.
<~Hello?~> She’s projecting a bit more forcefully now, so can easily be ‘heard’ by all three.
Nimh practically lets out a sigh of relief.
It could be because the tiny mouse agreed to Ardul’s offer to get off the ground and out of harm’s way — or it could be because the tiny mouse is also telepathic… which should make introductions and the like much, much easier…
Turning to Hunter, he remarks: <~I don’t think claiming her as ‘mine’ would be appropriate — that’s a Two-Leg trait.~> Very briefly, the dragon-cat’s lip curls. <~But I’m grateful we haven’t squished the newcomer…~>
He looks back at the mouse. <~Hello, yes. Yes, hello fits just fine,~> the dragon-cat replies, blinking his golden eyes slowly. Then he leans forward a tiny bit. <~That was a very nice ‘hello’. Hmm, now how did ‘introductions’ go when we met the sphinx…? I remember the ‘hello’ part, and the ‘do we fight or do we talk?’ part…~>
Ardul straightens and holds her hand out to Hunter, so the mouse can skip across to him. At the same time she gives Nimh a very flat look “If you hadn’t been so intent on one-upper Hezqak and teasing Kaji, you would know how things went.” She might actually sniff, just a bit at that.
And that might tell Hunter why she’s asking him for a drink.
“I am Ardul.” She says to the Mouse, letting Hunter perform his own introduction. “How are you called?” Of course, she’s curious as to how the mouse got here and whether she really is a mouse or some other type of D-Bee.
“It does talk.” Hunter straightens up and puts both his hands in his coat pockets partly to relax and partly because fur or nor fur, his coat pockets are warmer. Nimh and Frizz may catch a hint of that sidearm belted at his side. “I’m called Hunter.”
It’s maybe not the most reassuring name in the world for a nine foot tall fanged predator but hey, that’s his name. Maybe his parents had a sense of humor.
Or maybe his parents had an oracle’s gift. Could go either way.
Being lifted up away from the ground is a very disconcerting sensation, but the mouse handles it fairly well. She looks at Ardul, then Hunter and then Nimh again from this new point of view, then replies to Ardul, though this time she appears to be speaking aloud at the same time, but it only comes out audibly as typical mouse squeaks.
<~Adrul. Hunter. Nimh. I am Suss Frizz-Bee.~>
There's a new arrival in Vesper. A tiny new arrival -- the pitter-patter of little feet -- but not the kind you're thinking. Miss Suss Frizz-Bee finds herself in a very strange place with very big... everything.
February 20, 2410
Dragon's Gate - Vesper
Kaji, Hezqak, Leopold