sonder
[ P ] Astronomy

Ara Snow
Female 2 Lowlander College of Eòlas Student
posted 08-15-2021, 03:57 PM - Word count:
#11

A grimy paw lifted and she could almost picture a clawed hand in its place, ebon' talons glinting in the low light. Her smile grew more strained and pale ears flicked back. "...What if..." Ara hedged, trying to keep a light yet earnest tone so as to steer this juvenile fae toward safer activities. "You practice on some squirrels first?" She paused before tapping her chest with a paw. "I accept the risk that I may be accidentally cursed in your presence but I would still very much like to live a full life." And hopefully a happy one.

Although her childhood had been an unorthodox one, Ara had experienced a standard array of joys and adversity. Since moving away from the abbey, she had been trying to learn more of the fae and marry traditional beliefs with modern education. It was perhaps the hardest thing she had tried to do yet.

But this changeling could help her more than any dusty book, and that filled her with a hope that she wasn't willing to give up on just yet.

At the mention of parents, his reaction was sudden and sharp. His eyes almost disappeared into his face as he shook his head vehemently. No parents...? Ara's head cocked to the side. "Well you must have come from somewhere," the albino mused. But how could he know if he didn't even know what he was? Her eyes widened as she stared at him and suddenly she was struck with an epiphany.

If changelings were abandoned at birth, how could they ever know what they were? Blinking, Ara shook her head slightly to clear the cluttered thoughts before turning and padding over to her book. Easing up onto her hind legs, she brought her forepaws to the ledge. Using her nose, she pushed the book open before gingerly combing through the pages.

If he hadn't already joined her at her side, she'd look over and gesture him forward. "Here, I'll show you --" And she paused. "Just please don't touch? We'll wash your paws later and then you can but... dirt hurts books." With more trust than she should have given him, she then turned back to the book and looked down at the page.

A faded picture depicting strange creatures spread out before them. "See the two bigger ones?" Ara asked, voice hushed with reverence for her book. "They are like mortal wolves, but the round creature in the center is a fairy child. Their mortal child was switched at birth with the fae."

@Colburn


Male 2 Mainlander Thieves' Guild Thief
Undecided

44

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the stranger you are

posted 08-16-2021, 06:56 AM - Word count:
#12

The paw hovered like a looming threat, retreating only when banished by her refusal. Impish delight had brightened his features, now darkened by disappointment. His lips puffed out in a sullen pout once his paw was back safely on the ground. Squirrels wouldn’t be as fun to curse as his pale companion, but she had treated him nicely so it didn’t feel right to curse her without permission. If it happened accidentally though well there was nothing either of them could do about that. He tried not to get excited about the prospect.

She seemed a little confused by his explanation that he didn’t have any parents. He hadn’t meant ever, but they had given up that role when they abandoned him in the redwoods cursing him for being a changeling. They left me. Didn’ want a changelin’, he clarified, huffing at the memory of it. It still stung him that they hadn’t loved him enough to accept him as their son.

He trailed after her curiously when she headed over to the book, hunger sparkled in his eyes. He didn’t know what it was, but he wanted it. The book opened up and the white pages fanned out. Colburn peered over her shoulder, standing on his tip toes and letting out an impressed ooo. He was about to touch it when she turned to look at him, a grimy paw hovered in the air before retreating once more to the ground. She promised to show him what a changeling was. Finally after not knowing what he was his entire life he was about to receive the truth.

She asked him not to touch it and he grumbled childishly. He really really really wanted to touch it. The prospect of washing his paws made his features wrinkle in distaste. He hated getting wet. Again the prospect of touching the book tempted him and he decided that he might be willing to get a little wet. Dirt hurts books. It was a simple explanation, but one he understood. He didn’t want to hurt the book. With the book splayed out between them he fidgeted antsily besides her, toes burning to touch to pretty pictures. How did they do that? How did they put pictures on them like that? The excitement was almost too much for him. She pointed out the wolves, telling him they were mortal wolves and the creature between them was a changeling. Did he look like that beneath his skin? He looked down at himself, concentrating hard to see if he could see any similar features. She went on to say that changelings replaced the parents' real child. What ‘appens to the real baby? he asked, voice quiet and contemplative.

Art by Ashon

Ara Snow
Female 2 Lowlander College of Eòlas Student
posted 08-16-2021, 11:37 AM - Word count:
#13

"They left me..."
Ara's brow knit, surprise sharpening her features before sympathy softened them. Pale lashes cast gray shadows over her cheeks as her gaze became half-lidded, ears drooping slightly. A frown touched her lips and she glanced at the ground. "They shouldn't have," the albino murmured. In this, she felt a pang of regret... and understanding. Ara, too, had been raised without parents. Her mother had died during childbirth and her father had been unable to care for her. Or, at least that was what the abbot had told her. Still, why had he never visited? Or come to claim her later? Those questions were the ones that ate her alive at night.

But at least they were still questions.
This changeling had his answer and it was the worst possible one.

The urge to sweep him up into a hug was strong but Ara resisted. He had only just stumbled into her life and she wanted to stop... well... overstepping her boundaries. It felt as though she'd been doing far too much of that lately.

As he trailed after her and propped himself, she was aware of two things. Firstly, he smelled of wet dog and dirt. Her nose wrinkled slightly but she kept her focus. Secondly, and most importantly, he was so tall. Much taller than her. Although he acted like a bairn or a toddler, he definitely wasn't. Or he was an overgrown one, like a cuckoo bird that had crawled into her nest.

At his question, Ara paused. Then she turned to look up at him. "You are a real baby too." Colorless eyes searched his face.

"But the mortal baby is raised with the Fae whilst the changeling is raised by the wolves." Ara tapped the paper gently with her clean paw (for the other one had been dirtied earlier by the changeling himself). "Many say that the changeling is a curse on the wolves, but I disagree. I think it's the only way that our worlds can merge, the only way they can really experience us and we them."

Ara paused and her expression brightened. "Why else would they treat the mortal pup like their own?"

@Colburn

Male 2 Mainlander Thieves' Guild Thief
Undecided

44

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the stranger you are

posted 08-16-2021, 02:18 PM - Word count:
#14

A black ear flicked and he shrugged his shoulders in a dismissive gesture when the girl told him that they shouldn’t have left him. It didn’t change anything, but having told her and hearing those words he felt a little less lonely. A flicker of mischief returned to his dark void-like eyes as he watched her features. She was very expressive. That was what had made it so fun to spook her before. Hah. He would have to come again and sneak up on her. Maybe take another peek at the cloth too. He didn’t have to rush to steal it after all.

You are a real baby too. she insisted and he appeared skeptical, raising a paw to touch his chest. A heart beat within him just as it did other wolves. I’m real, he murmured, trying to convince himself of it. She had a cheerful way of looking at the changeling’s existence. Even though most as she described saw changelings as a curse and not a blessing. The mortal baby that the fae had replaced with him had been whisked away to his true home and raised with loving parents. Colburn felt like he got the bitter end of the deal in their parent swap and so had his replacement parents. They had gotten rid of him as soon as they could, making sure that he couldn’t follow them back and he’d been in the redwoods ever since. He was oddly jealous of his mortal substitute living a life that was meant for him.

You’re smart, he spoke his thoughts aloud, shamelessly, but it was the truth. He hadn’t met a wolf as smart as this girl before and he wondered how it was possible that she knew so much about the fae. Did the book tell you? he asked, peering at the pictures and squiggles on the paper to see if it would speak to him.


Art by Ashon

Ara Snow
Female 2 Lowlander College of Eòlas Student
posted 08-24-2021, 10:36 AM - Word count:
#15

It hurt to watch him lift a paw to his chest, the soft echo of her words forming an affirmation. Her paws itched to touch him too, to adamantly explain that he was warm and full of life. Magical or no, curses or no, this changeling was a precious member of their society. He deserved to feel whole, to find the void that he filled and snuggle in tightly. There was space for him and Ara would carve it out herself if only he allowed her to.

"You're smart," he blurted suddenly and Ara glanced up from her beloved pages. Colorless eyes widened and her ears perked up, the tips growing oddly warm from the sudden compliment. A moment later, she laughed off the shock. "Thank you." Her tail wagged gently behind her, the fluff occasionally smacking his heel.

As he stared at the book with laser focus, Ara suddenly realized something. "No one ever taught you to read?" She blinked, the shock returning. It soon was replaced by determination. "That doesn't matter, I can teach you. Reading is the magical skill that allows the book to speak to you." Given the youthfulness he projected, she tried to spin it as a game. "This is the only mortal spell I know. It will be hard but then you can speak to most any book."

Would he want to try?


@Colburn

Male 2 Mainlander Thieves' Guild Thief
Undecided

44

posts
205.00

renown



the stranger you are

posted 08-27-2021, 11:18 AM - Word count:
#16


Something whipped against his ankle and caused him to visibly startle, dark eyes narrowed at the white fluffy tail attacking him and he relaxed. Colburn's lips curved into a half smirk, one white tooth poking out from his upper lip. He hadn't intended to make her happy, but it was an unexpected boon that made him feel oddly satisfied. Normally he didn't care much for how his words affected others. He spoke whatever came to his mind and ran away before he got beaten up. It was the first time he had blurted out something positive about someone else. Nobody had ever given him a reason before.

She seemed surprised that he couldn't read and he shrugged at the unfamiliar term. If it meant speaking to books then she was correct. He could not read. Dark eyes glittered with fascination when she promised to share her secret magic with him. He bobbed his head, muddied features full of determination to acquire this skill. Slowly he leaned closer to the book so that his ear was hovering over it. Dirt hurts books, he remembered, careful not to touch. No words were whispered into his ear and he wiggled his ears, squinting hard as if to concentrate harder.

I can't hear it, he grumbled, pulling his head away with a sullen huff. He had hoped it might work for him too, but reading was much harder than he expected. Did it say anythin'? Colburn asked her, wondering if her ears had read any words that he could not.


Art by Ashon

Ara Snow
Female 2 Lowlander College of Eòlas Student
posted 09-15-2021, 11:47 PM - Word count:
#17

It took every single ounce of will power in her body not to murmur awwwwww and burst out in a fit of giggles. She lifted a paw, the same one that Graeme had helped bandage a month prior, to cover her lips as the sweet child hovered his ear over the book. Then he twitched them, canting his head to the side as he desperately searched for its whispers. ... It was almost painful not to remark, for her heart swelled with such adoration for her little changeling child and his desire to read. Perhaps calling him hers was a stretch but she loved him so much in that moment. He was like a kitten she had found off the side of the road, neglected and unloved. She would feed, cloathe, bathe, and raise him if he wanted that—it was a truth as unspoken as her love of the Fae.

Swallowing her unspoken croons, Ara coughed lightly to conceal a laugh and tried to sober up. "Do you see the squiggles?" She asked as she leaned forward. "Those will tell you what the book says, it's something you look at, not hear." It occured to her, then, that this truly was a foreign concept. Unnatural almost.

"But first, a bath." Blue and pink eyes turned on her dirty little goblin. "It is a necessary cleansing ritual so that you can touch the book."

She was foolish enough to think he'd find it nice.

- fade exit Ara, unaware of the fiend she's about to battle -


@Colburn

Male 2 Mainlander Thieves' Guild Thief
Undecided

44

posts
205.00

renown



the stranger you are

posted 09-18-2021, 02:25 PM - Word count:
#18


The book did not whisper its secrets to him no matter how hard he listened. Black eyes narrowed at the pages that were determined to ignore him. He let out a sullen huff, plonking his butt back on the ground, totally unaware that the girl was trying hard to contain herself from awwing at him. Her sudden cough tore his attention away from the book and his gaze snapped back to her pale face. Do you see the squiggles? he turned back to the book and scrutinized it. There were some strange squiggles on it now that she mentioned it. Was he supposed to listen to them instead? He waited for her to explain more and she clarified that he needed to see what it was saying. A frown touched his brow and he squinted at the book, trying really hard to read it until the words blurred together and made his eyes feel funny.

But, first a bath. she declared and he jerked his head up, black eyes wide with alarm. She wasn't really going to make him do that was she? It was a joke right? She went on to explain that it was some sort of cleansing ritual to touch the book. Colburn bristled like a startled cat, backing away from her slowly. She'd have to catch him first.

Fade via bath time chase


Art by Ashon