The Hidden Estate of Duskhill
“Merciless Loth!” The drowess exclaimed with a bubbling cough of a rather caustic juice. “Right up my nose!” She hacked for a moment, leaning over the table and holding a hand to her face to keep the purplish drink from leaking onto her clothes.
When she had cleared her airways, Myrae cracked the largest smile to grace her features since guests had arrived at Duskhill. “Picnic, that is vithing perfect!” She shook, trying to hold in another wave of laughter. “Yew have just made my day!”
Already in a good and humorous mood, the Aeros girl wrapped her arms around herself as if physically containing her laughter when Mister TonDen renamed himself “Picnic.” She was already on the edge of her chair for his next announcement that, in battle mode, he was to be known as “No Picnic”, and that one put her on the floor.
“Oh tsert!” Miiya gasped out when her under-the-table guffaws settled. Climbing back into her chair, she wiped tears from her eyes. “Picnic.” The name came out in the company of another explosive laugh. “That is just wonderful!”
┠ TOM CAT ┨
A Felonious Feline
╺ ✽ ╸
"Art, like morality, consists in drawing the line somewhere."
-G.K. Chesterton (Orthodoxy)
Tom-Cat knows that the Ton-err, Picnic, is responsible for saving his life, the crystalline construct carrying both him and Miiya to Duskhill with such haste that, between Myrae’s ministrations and him shifting, there was enough time to counteract the poison in his veins. Chatte would tell him that he owes the thing a Life Debt. Maybe. He’s only recently become close to Chatte, who’s only slightly older than Cheshire, but over the last several months he’s learned a lot from him. All of his siblings have their roots and have established connections in Haven, but Chatte might be the one with the most powerful associates – and the most dangerous. He recalls what Chatte told him about debts and Life Debts.
╺ ✽ ╸
He’d been staying with Cheshire and Chatte for what Cheshire liked to call a, ‘vacation intervention’, in a lovely villa located somewhere in the Ameneean countryside. The villa had, apparently, been generously gifted to Cheshire by one of his clients. Regardless, he and Chatte had been training in the villa’s square, central courtyard, his older brother teaching him how to slip and reverse holds. (Tom-Cat had asked to learn after witnessing a scrap between his two brothers in which Chatte continually slipped out of every hold that Cheshire put him in, before somehow turning around and locking down Cheshire, even though the white-haired catboy had about 20lbs of muscle on him.) During this particular training session, the topic of the villa and debts came up.
Tom-Cat was behind his brother, one arm hooked under his armpit and his forearm like a bar across the back of Chatte’s neck. He twisted his brother’s free arm behind their back, pulling up slightly as he tried to keep a tight grip on Chatte’s elbow. He needed to bring Chatte to the ground befo– in an instant, Chatte hooked a foot behind one of Tom’s ankles and threw his weight back as he kicked forward, bearing them both to the ground. Tom-Cat hit the ground hard, compounded by the weight that fell mercilessly atop him. Chatte gave no quarter, jamming his elbow hard into Tom-Cat’s ribs and leaning his weight on that sharp point of pressure as he rolled to his feet. Tom hissed in pain, then stilled when Chatte placed his foot on his neck and pressed down meaningfully. He conceded and Chatte helped him up.
“Wherrre did you go wrrrong?” Chatte asked. Tom-Cat, rubbing his ribs, sighed and went over everything quickly in his head.
“I…didn’t watch yourrr feet,” he replied. Again. Chatte nodded. Tom-Cat, a bit frustrated, muttered, “I should just be like Cheshirrre and neverrr have to really worrrk.” He glanced around at the courtyard. “Must be nice.”
Chatte pressed his lips into a thin line and narrowed his eyes at him. “What Chesh does comes with it’s own set of dangerrrs, especially accepting gifts. He now has a debt that he will have to pay, but…” he trailed off for a moment. “But he took on this debt, so that I didn’t have to owe a grrreaterrr one.” At his confused look, a closed off, curiously blank expression comes over his face that Tom-Cat has learned is unique to Chatte alone. After a moment, his brother seemed to come to a decision.
“I don’t like giving advice,” Chatte began with a grim twist of his lips. “But this is imporrrtant, especially if yew’rrre going to continue with yerrr…prrrofession.” He pinned Tom with a serious look that made him feel all of 6-years old again. “I’ll sharrre something with yew: if I wanted to, I could make morrre money than I do currrrrrently by drrropping all otherrr clients and worrrking solely for the Prrrinceps Carrrdinalis - Rrrodrrrigo."
"He’s offerrred many times.” Chatte looked away for a moment. “Howeverrr, that would mean I would always be in Rrrodrrrigo’s pocket – in his debt.” He bent towards him, forcing Tom-Cat to meet that hard amber gaze. “Some debts arrren’t worrrth the prrrice yew’ll pay.” He straightened. “Do yew underrrstand? He is not someone I want to owe a debt too, especially a Life Debt. Because those must always be paid, and with a man like The Carrrdinal, that will almost always mean yerrr life as forrrfeit – in one way orrr anotherrr. ”
Chatte shook his head in disgust. “Cattus and Cattua worrrk forrr him – I know forrr a fact they owe him a Life Debt.” A dark look crossed his brother’s face. “Idiots.” He spat the word. After a moment of brooding silence, Chatte’s expression settled. “Not everrryone is like Rrrodrrrigo, howeverrr,” he said in a more neutral tone. “Most arrre not. If yew everrr find yerrrself owing a Life Debt to someone, Tom, then yew repay it, got it? No questions.”
Now Chatte wrapped his fingers around Tom-Cat’s shoulders and squeezed so tightly it started to hurt. Tom-Cat didn’t allow any pain to show on his face. His brother stared down at him unsmiling, a flat, humorless intensity in his eyes. “And if I everrr hearrr that yew werrre stupid enough to even worrrk for Rrrodrrigo, let alone accrrrue a debt to him…” He squeezed, sinking his fingers deep into the joints of his shoulders until Tom-Cat did flinch. “If I everrr hearrr that, I will perrrsonally find yew and long beforrre I’m thrrrough, I prrromise that yew'll beg me forrr the sweet merrrcy of Rrrodrrrigo’s dungeons.” Chatte let go of Tom’s shoulders and stepped back, regarding him.
“Now come on, Little Cat.” His smile was sharp but genuine. “Trrry to pin me – don’t forrrget to watch my feet.”
╺ ✽ ╸
‘If yew everrr find yerrrself owing a Life Debt to someone, Tom, then yew repay it, got it? No questions.’
Does Tom-Cat really owe a Life Debt to Picnic? Does he owe multiple to Myrae? He doesn’t know, and that bothers him. He doesn’t like the idea of being in debt to someone, let alone something. For the first time, he wishes he could talk not to Cheshire but to Chatte, the courier/smuggler able to relate to him in ways that Cheshire simply can’t. He loves Cheshire and he’ll always be his favorite sibling, period. All the same, Cheshire lives a comparatively easy and privileged life, and while Tom-Cat doesn’t hold it against him, his brother just sometimes doesn’t understand the type of issues that he has to deal with in his daily life, especially given his profession. Chatte, on the other hand, knows the kinds of people Tom-Cat deals with, knows the street and the underbelly of society even better than he does. He’s never judged him for what he does, though admittedly it’s only recently that Chatte’s taken any kind of real interest in Tom-Cat – both his life and as a person.
Tom-Cat is pulled from his thoughts by Miiya’s explosive laughter, realizing that as he’s sat there absently eating and drinking as his thoughts spiraled down memories from the not-so-distant past, his companions have been laughing and enjoying themselves. The sound of Miiya’s loud, open, and free laughter, makes something in him twist. His throat tightens and his ears twitch, as he unconsciously wraps his tail around his leg for comfort. As Myrae’s low, raspy laugh joins in with Miiya’s, Tom-Cat suddenly feels terribly out of place, like he doesn’t belong. He wants to laugh, he can feel it caught somewhere between his chest and throat; he wishes he could laugh as openly and as freely as her. It’s just…hard, he guesses; open expressions of emotion, especially things like laughter, were usually met with some sort of swift reprisal.
Still, he feels that tug inside him, the feeling flooding through the bond helping to unwind that knot within him, just a little. Even without the bond, Miiya’s laughter is infectious, the sound enjoyable (to him at least) and it helps to lift his mood considerably. He’s almost surprised by how easily he smiles when she looks at him, and though he doesn’t laugh out loud like she does, the edges of his grin aren’t tight. It’s strange to not think about being happy and just being, but he decides not to question it. Instead, he watches her laughing and carefree, and finds it’s easy to grin, smile, as perhaps for the first time since knowing him, his smile reaches his kohl-rimmed eyes and lights up his whole face.
“Picnic and No-Picnic,” he purrs, thoughtfully. His yellow eyes flash with amusement. “I once…” he pauses, thinking of the correct word. “...met a goblin named Not Madshrrredderrr.” He smiles brightly, flashing the tiniest bit of fang as he does so. It was rather charming, actually, especially given his relaxed expression. “Comparrred to that, Picnic and No-Picnic is much morrre fearrrsome.” He doesn’t laugh, but he chuckles, at least, and the sound is at ease and without insult. It’s enough for now – baby steps and all that.
[OOC: to the Estate Grounds]
TOM-CAT: [KIANA BEACH: ★First Stab - POUNCE (★1/2) - WATCHER BATTLE (3/★4/5/6/★7)] – [GOBLIN SLAYING: (1)-(☆1/2)] – [ICE CAVES: CLIFFHANGER (★1/2) - POWDER KEG (★1/2/3) - HYPOTHERMIA (4/5/6) - BONDED (7/8/9/)] – [SUNSTEALER:(1/2/3/4)-(1/2)] – ★Miiya & Cat-Tom – [SPARRING: (1/2/★3)] - ☆The Great Tipsu Hunt! - ☆Stolen Kiss – ☆Overwhelmed by Intimacy – Returning to Her – ★Bath Time Bonding – ☆Wings, Tails, & Love – ☆Cave Storms – Climbing the Walls – [1st KISS: ★Chase-(★2/★3/4)] – ★Cat-Tom: Rescue Kitty! – Cat-Tom vs. Skaven – ☆(Forced) Shift Back – 9 Lives – ★A Beast in the Darkness – Reuniting w/Teleskela – ☆Bored Nihilism – Cat vs. Dragon – ★Emotionally Exhausted Bath – ☆Catboy, Interrupted – All For Her – ☆Bellissimo Gato – [BATH-HOUSE: Confessions(1/2/3/4)] – Catboys Can Purr – ★Bagels, Love Poems & Catnapping – Love Poem – [FIGHT PIT: CHAMPION SUITE (★1.No, no, no.../2a-2b/3.Prostitution/★4.Tipsu/☆5/☆6a-6b/★7a-7b.Holden's/Proposition) - GRAND ARENA (Leona/☆F#1/★F#4/★Cat-Tom vs.Werewolf: 1/2/3) - LOST (1/★2) - FOUND (3/4a-4b/5/★6.Swansong Kiss) - RESCUE (★1.Teleskela, MF'er/2/☆3.Reawakened Bond) - ESCAPE (4/5/6/7)]
DAETH: ☆Breaking Callon - ☆Pleasure w/Pain - Teasing Amarice - [DAYTRIP: LAVISH HAND (1/2/3a-3b/☆4.Sensing Death] - Kissing Fate(★1a-1b) - Precariously Balanced Nature - ★At Long Last, Eddellyn - Soul Searching - ☆Into the Maze - ★The Minotaur & The Labyrinth - ★Heart of the Maze - Before the Storm - ★Thunder & Honey - ★Ripped Gowns - ★Sensual Poetry - Warding Sigils - ★Hedonistic Filth & House-Sized Party Crasher - Confronting Maarazaar(1/2/3) - ★Ash Bunny Irihi - Cormeum MIA (stolen heart) - A Vow & Shadowy Msg
RISQUÉ: ★Fun with Fisticuffs!
[CHATTE] ★Enter Chatte - Chat w/Castor - ★Proposing the Race
[ASMODIEL & GALVINA] ★A Celestial & Demoness Play Cards - Asmodiel Smites a Feeder - An Angel & Aeros Walk Into a Bar... - Undaunted Spirit - Benediction
[☆ = favorite / ★= extra fave]
The Aeros girl smiled happily as she loaded her plate a third time from the diminishing stock of breakfast she and Tom-Cat had prepared. “Goblins are funny.” Oof. That sounded like a comment from a seven-year-old. Miiya tried to recover by describing a troupe of goblin tumblers she and Cahron had met in Chalice Surf. The problem was that the Aeros girl had not practiced the tale and so it was… boring. Disjointed and not very relevant as well.
“Yeah, great.” Myrae yawned, merciless as ever, at the end of Miiya’s retelling. “See ya.” She said, rising and making a point of stretching languorously before she departed, leaving a pile of dirty dishes for her dullard feathered maidservant. At least that’s what every twitch of her body language implied as the drowess departed.
Miiya felt a tic twitch at her eyelid.
No. It’s fine. Nothing to be annoyed about.
Miiya forced her thoughts to change gears as smoothly as a truck, driven by squirrels, climbing a hill, with a burned-out clutch. “Hey, do yew want to…”
Talk about why yew ran off and almost got yerself killed yesterday? Nope.
Talk about where yew went in yer head when we were all laughing at Picnic’s new name? Nope.
Explain the nature of yer relationship with that fretting…? Nope.
“...see some Qoo’Tal?” Miiya finally fished up something acceptable. “That’s the Aeros martial art.”
Yes! That’s a good idea! Get his mind off that old fart. If Tom-Cat was agreeable, Miiya would skip out to the same mossy field, from which she’d tried to fly two days prior, in his company. She was leaving the dishes for later--when they’d be all crusty and annoying--but that was fine. It was becoming a habit of hers to wash the previous dishes and cook new ones at the same time.
Ma would be incensed. That thought gave her a little rebellious thrill as she turned to Tom-Cat with a grin. “I can’t do the flying stuff, o-obviously,” her bright smile faltered just a little, “but there’s a lot more.”
Miiya started with stretching and limbering up. The mossy field was flat and spongy. It made the perfect floor for her gymnastics, and Miiya ran the full gamut, focusing on bridges and handwalking that made Myrae’s loose clothing slip off her spare frame at
Actually, they were pretty inopportune, as Miiya found when she was performing a one-handed spread-winged handstand. The borrowed blouse covered her face, tangled her wings, and bound up her lifted arm. “Whoop!” Over she flopped. “Okay, enough of this kvek.” Miiya stripped off the garment and tossed it onto the flagstones of one of Duskhill’s patios.
Though she was still wearing a decent wrap--yew had to if yew were going to wear stupid Myrae’s stupid clothes and not show the whole stupid underneath basically every stupid thing, Miiya felt a sudden rush of color climbing her cheeks. Unconsciously she put a hand to the back of her neck and--with some very painfully obvious self-consciousness--chanced a glance at Tom-Cat to see if he was looking.
Then, without warning, Miiya attacked. It was the only way she could think of to cover her embarrassed awkwardness. It wasn’t a serious assault, but Miiya did have some skill. In the unlikely event Tom-Cat did not dodge or block, she would pull her punches, palm strikes, and kicks so they would be nothing but taps. “C’mon! Let’s fight!” She chirped, quite belatedly. “Show me what yew got!”
If Tom-Cat was game, Miiya’s slow play-strikes would increase in intensity as she tested his defenses. She couldn’t pull back every time, especially from the flashier kicks--many of which were more for show than actual fighting. There were a lot of butterfly kicks, flips, and spins. It would quickly become clear that Miiya’s and Tom-Cat’s definitions of “fighting” were fairly divergent.
[OOC: Miiya & Tom-Cat to the Estate Grounds]
From: A Furnished Guestroom
As she cooked and cleaned, Miiya wondered if she could put something in Tom-Cat’s pancakes to put him to sleep so she could go tipsu hunting. Eh, probably better not. Mom is the poisoner. The Aeros girl had not the slightest clue where to even begin. Plus she tended to get a little grabby at the table, and she wasn’t sure she could keep track of the knock-out pancake.
It was getting late in the day, so Miiya cooked supper. A lot of it. She kept eating as she prepared the meal, which put her into a cycle of preparing more dishes, which made her snackier, which made her prepare more dishes. She also was kept from stopping and sitting down by the hope that Tom-Cat would show up to join her. She wasn’t exactly sure what to say about her desperate gambit earlier. The aeros girl certainly couldn’t talk about her tipsu. Even thinking about it sent her into a deep dark flush of embarrassment. Oh god, how could I do that?! What was I thinking!? She berated herself as she furiously rolled out the dough of what--she hoped--would become analogous to cat’s ear noodles.
And it was. “I am a good cook.” Miiya said to herself, sitting alone at the table before a truly massive spread. She had spent a lot of time creating a pretty epic meal. She had been standing long enough that she was getting a little hard-footed and was well pleased to finally have a seat and partake.
“I wont disagree.” Myrae said in a rather disagreeable tone. The drowess draped herself over a chair on the far side of the table and then proceeded to help herself to about half-bite of everything on the table.
“It’s not finger food.” Miiya’s now disapprobate expression deepend as she watched Myrae’s hand go for a utensil-free swim in the stew, fishing out a few select morsels. “Not all of it, at least.”
The drowess laughed. “Relax, kid. I washed my hands.” She shrugged, licking the sauce from her fingers. “Recently, I think.” The drowess meandered her way through more of the meal while Miiya did her customary impression of a food vacuum. After a while, Myrae leaned back and
“Yer getting fat.” She observed.
Miiya stood up. “Yew are like the rudest person ever.” She banged her bowl down on the table. “And no I’m not.”
“Possibly.” Myrae shrugged, leaving her feet where they were. “Going somewhere?” She wondered aloud.
“...no.” Miiya sat back down after a bit of an awkward pause. “I need the weight.” She tried, really tried, to add "unlike yew" to the tail-end of that phrase, but she just couldn’t do it. Because I’m a good person.
Myrae thought about needling Miiya about how the pounds wouldn’t be flying off, or something similar, but decided that was a bit too mean, even for her. At the moment. She did have something serious for the Aeros, and having Miiya storm off in a huff or cloud of tears, while amusing, would be somewhat inconvenient. “I’m gonna need yer voice.” She began. “Because mine’s shot.”
Miiya’s--quite literally--ruffled feathers settled a little. “My voice?”
“Yep. My magick is evocation. It doesn’t work without a voice.” Myrae explained. “And without magick, we’re not getting through The Chasms. So you are going to have to be my voice.”
“O-Okay.” Miiya looked confused. “How does that work?”
Myrae was not entirely sure that it would, which was why she was here--besides partaking in supper and tweaking the Aeros girl. “Yer a performer, right? Yew know notes and scales? I’ll teach yew my songs, and yew’ll sing ‘em.” Myrae grinned wryly. “Hopefully on-key, so we don’t all die.”
“I can sing on-key.” Miiya grumbled to herself, a little uncertainly. “I mean, usually.” She frowned. “But that can’t be all there is to it. I’m not magick anymore. I lost my fire knack, and I don’t think I can do evul… eval…”
“Evocation.” Myrae repeated, trying not to roll her eyes again. She was going to be spending some time instructing the girl, so she’d better conserve, lest she wear out her eye sockets. “Yeah, you’ll have to sing while I put my hands on yew.” The drowess explained. “I’m not sure exactly how it’s going to go, so we’d better practice.”
Miiya frowned. Myrae was pretty mean. No, Myrae was really mean. She had almost fooled Miiya into taking an acid bath. She’d hired Tom-Cat to assassinate her, and then told her about it. A practice session with her was sure to be filled with all sorts of nastiness and insults. “Okay!” Miiya chirped brightly. Because, despite all that, Miiya craved approval, even from abusers. As she kept insisting to herself, she was good, and being good meant insults didn’t hurt. They weren’t little cuts that got infected and crystalized into pockets of deeply-held grief. They rolled off her feathers like water off a duck, right? Being good meant that. Being good meant giving people second and third and seventh chances.
Well, Miiya was going to sing with Myrae. It was going to be fun, and maybe a little weird, but mostly fun. “Let’s do it!”
Merciless Loth but this approval-seeking child was tragic. Myrae almost felt bad for all the stuff she was going to do to her.
“Okay, let’s start with something simple.” She said, finally taking her feet off the table in order to stand up. “Outside, so when you vith it up it doesn’t blow up my kitchen.”
“B, not C-sharp!” Myrae growled. “I thought yew said yew were a singer!”
“I said I could sing, not that I’m a harpsichord!” Miiya shot back. “And it’s been a while! Don’t yew have any instruments at all? It’s really hard when yer just whispering the wrong letters at me!”
The two women stood glaring at one another. Despite Miiya’s expectations, singing with Myrae was not turning out to be that much fun. The drowess had jumped right into the deep end, whispering cryptic phrases in drowish to Miiya and having her try to sing them based on her instructions. That had gone nowhere fast, as Miiya--though she had some classical music training--had not worked with written music in over a year, and was more than a little rusty on which notes were which. When she had been on the road busking and performing with Cahron, all their music had been played and sung by ear.
Myrae added to the confusion by likewise forgetting or mixing up which letters in common corresponded to which letters in drowish. Further, while the harmonics were common, the scales favored by the music of the dark elves different significantly from those used by Aniadan artists. Add in Miiya’s penchant for pitchyness, and what resulted was “a hot mess of warbled squawking.” As Myrae so kindly put it.
So they had gone back to basics, hammering out which notes were which and nailing down a common reference frame for the music. It was a lot of singing for Miiya, who had not performed at all since leaving Aerie. Even before Myrae tried adding her magic, the girl’s throat was getting a little raw; because it had taken hours--and the light was now fading--just to get to the point where Miiya could sing a simple drowish evocation anywhere close to correctly.
But she was trying, Myrae had to admit. The kid was sticking with it, despite the initial volleys of insults with which the drowess had peppered their practice. So Myrae had reduced the frequency and severity of her excess criticism. Mainly because she had run out of material and started to re-hash the same barbs.
“Okay, that was a lot closer. That might be good enough to try it with magick. Let’s go one more time, from the...” Myrae paused and leaned over. “...wait...are yew crying?”
The Aeros girl shook her head. “It’s nothing. I’m fine. Forget it.” She started the song again, but missed the notes entirely and clammed up, pulling her arms in tight as if she could physically squeeze down the sob that had ruined her tone. “J-just a sec.” She wiped at the corners of her eyes.
Myrae took a breath, letting it out in a long-suffering sigh. “What the vith is it, now? Yew tired? Hungry?”
Miiya shook her head, clamping down even tighter and turning away from the drowess.
Myrae raised her hands palms-up and looked skyward, as if searching somewhere along the cavern’s misty roof for the strength to deal with the moody Aeros girl. She asked, “is this going to take a while? Should I go get a snack?” Myrae considered dredging up some more insults to see if she couldn’t goad Miiya into an angry response and short-circuit whatever this nonsense was. After a moment, Miiya spoke again and Myrae was glad she hadn’t.
“I-I know it’s stupid. I know it doesn’t matter; it doesn’t mean anything--I didn’t know it was, like, almost the most cliche thing to name them… b-but, y-yew know, dance and…” And here Miiya crumbled as she descended into the depths of a pretty epic mood swing. The Aeros girl hunched over, continuing to press her balled fists to herself as she shook with tears now streaming freely down her face. She had done a pretty good job of not coming unglued in the drowess’s presence up to this point, but another long day of ups and downs had worn her resilience down to a nub.
Okay, one last eye-roll. I guess we’re done. She’s crying because her pinioned wing is named “song” and she’s singing?
Yeesh. Enough of this shu. I’m outta here.
But Myrae stood rooted to the spot.
Fine. Let’s let her have it then. Unload on this vithing weak link.
But the nasty words wouldn’t form.
Well, vith me. Fine. Myrae had to admit that this girl had a lot of pluck. Despite being an obnoxious weak little beanpole, Miiya had wrestled a monster of a physical and psychological wound to a stalemate. The Drowess was not hewn wholly from skwitch stone. She had a heart buried somewhere beneath stratified layers of arfline, and the girl's tears were tugging at it's strings.
Myrae leaned over and put an arm around the girl’s shaking shoulders. It was surprisingly easy. “Hey. Easy kid. I get it. It’s okay.” If Myrae had been looking to draw out tears, she couldn’t have chosen a better phrase. As the drowess gathered the sobbing Aeros girl into an extremely uncomfortable hug, the floodgates opened and Miiya bawled unreservedly into Myrae’s bodice. Myrae stood there awkwardly as her clothes got damper. Merciless Loth, I hate these kids.
But not really. For sure, Miiya annoyed the shu out of Myrae. Tom-Cat wasn’t as bad, but he was still an obnoxious kar. Put the two of them together and it was a sandwich of hateful emoting to Myrae. But the drowess understood loss. She had too much in her own history not to empathize with Miiya’s. Myrae had worked with Aeros for much of that history. She knew what a pinioned wing meant to the flighted folk. Truth be told, she was surprised Miiya had survived hers. As ill-advised as it had been, Miiya had lost her wing trying to help Myrae. Maybe there was a little guilt--
A little guilt driving her ire toward the Aeros girl. Or maybe it wasn’t ire at all. “Shh… It’s okay. It’s going to be okay. I’m going to get yew under the sky again.” Myrae said, kind of hating herself for getting invested. Definitely hating herself for what she felt when Miiya looked up with tear-streaked face.
“R-really?” Y-yew will? I-i-it will?” Miiya hiccupped.
Not a chance. There’s no kind of life for a pinioned Aeros girl. I've been to Oolosyc. I've seen how the flightless ones end up.
“Yeah, kid.” She said, looking away as she spoke kind words they both knew to be an untruth.
Miiya twitched under the Drowess’s touch, pretty sure she was about to be mercilessly excoriated for her breakdown.
When that did not happen, when Myrae actually displayed some emotion besides exasperated ire, she came off much worse--or at least damper--for it. Miiya might have been able to shore up herself enough to run off angry, at least, if the drowess had provided some buttressing insults--something to distract her from being as she was. But even the awful mean grounder knew just how bad it was, and Miiya fell apart for a moment or three.
Still, even as tseert as everything was, at least Myrae wasn’t wholly arfline. Singing for her had been super annoying, kind of tiring, and yet still a little fun. Focusing on that, and the surprise that the drowess had something akin to a heart, Miiya pulled herself back together. “T-thanks. I’m sorry… It just kinda got to me.” She scrubbed salt trails from her face and snorked up a boog (rather than using the sleeve of Myrae’s borrowed blouse). “Oh-kay. I’m Okay now. Try again?”
Whatever the muted woman’s response, Miiya would, after a moment, voice her gratitude. “Thanks for not… t-thanks for being… nice to me.”
Nope. Myrae was not having nearly as good a time as Miiya. Whoo, this girl is a taker. Tom-Cat is gonna have his paws full. It was understandable, of course, that a maimed Aeros would be a black hole of neediness. That she had an excuse for it did not make her any less destructive to those caught in her orbit. Myrae resolved not to get on that particular shulist.
Briefly, the drowess considered saying more than the minimum necessary amount of words to the moody little kurve. Should she try to stop the two immature bits of emotive antimatter from obliterating each other?
As far as Myrae was concerned, she had just done her requisite good deed. One per century was enough.
“With a throat full of snot? Yeah, no.” The drowess demured. “You already sounded like a wagon of burning cats being dragged over a mountain of scrap metal. Let’s call it a night.”
When Miiya thanked her for not being a total skwitch, I know what yew were about to say, girly, Myrae leveled a long-nailed finger at her. “Tell anyone about it, and yew won’t live to see another day.” There was not even the ghost of anything on her face or in her words that would indicate Myrae was anything but deadly serious.
Miiya tried to keep her face serious as Myrae threatened her with grievous bodily harm should she ever tell anyone the drowess was anything but a total skwitch 24/7/365. Inside, though, she was glowing. As Myrae had surmised, Miiya craved any sort of validation, like a lovelorn puppy, and the slightest kindness set her to wagging at everything and everyone.
As Myrae retired, Miiya considered doing the same. It was still early… she thought. Yet it had been a busy day of training, cooking, eating, singing, and crying.
And where is Tom?
As her thoughts turned to the absent catboy, Miiya let a grin overspread her face. She had technically slept with him on both previous nights. She wondered if there was a way to find an excuse to do so again, tonight. She knew it discomfited him in the extreme to be caught napping in front of another person, and that was only a quarter of the reason she wanted him…
Wanted him in her bed Wanted to do it again. Wing over. That tail.
Wanted to see him catnapping all twitchy-eared and cute.
The flush had left her cheeks by the time she found the great blue construct in his usual entry-hall blocking spot. “Hiya Picnic. Have yew seen Tom-Cat?” Miiya asked, then had a seat in front of the TonDen, patiently awaiting his answer. If the great golem indicated that he knew where Tom-Cat was, Miiya would continue. “Can yew take me to him? He needs to come home. He shouldn’t be out there, alone.”
“Yes. He has gone to intercept and likely kill intruders.” Picnic thundered in a relatively short period of time. Having had his soul literally welded to a vicious sorceress for hundreds of years had left Picnic with no real inclination for detecting the vestiges of codependency that Miiya was evidencing. The construct leaned forward and inspected the Aeros girl. It noted the angry blue-black bruise at the base of her ribcage, her drooping posture, and numerous other bumps and abrasions.
Picnic compiled a list of observations, parsed it, and then delivered it to Miiya in one of his longest recent speeches. “Yew are tired, injured, and unarmed. Yew will be a liability. Stay here. I will retrieve him safely for yew.” The golem of blue ash said, after several minutes. Having already made a decision, it rose, turned and departed Duskhill, logging but not responding to any protest or comment from the Aeros girl.
The Aeros girl looked nonplussed as Picnic trotted off with the admonishment to stay here. Well, he wasn’t wrong. Miiya was running on fumes after another long day. Hm… did that call for a snack? Yes it did, she decided, and headed back to the kitchen. While she ate, she covered the dishes that needed it. Tom-Cat could eat when he got back, and so could she.
Myrae wasn’t wholly wrong in pointing out that Miiya had put on weight, but she was wrong in thinking that would ever concern the Aeros girl. Growing up in the slums, child of a slave-in-all-but-name, Miiya had existed in a state of semi-starvation nearly her entire life, and the need for food had only intensified when she had begun to aviate, and again when she started to Storm Dance. As far as she was concerned, her see-food diet could continue so long as there was food to be seen (and eaten).
With these thoughts in mind, she took a moment to admire her now-less-twiggy arms and legs, flexing her wings and feeling the rebuilt aviating muscles bunch and shift beneath her skin.
She did. not. think.
about how useless they were.
Filled up to the brim with victuals, Miiya decided that she needed a mirror. I mean, I’m never going to fill out Myrae’s clothes, but I wonder if, when he gets back, Tom will notice…
“When he gets back.”
Tseert! What was she doing!? Tom was gone! It was the perfect time to rifle his room and get her tipsu back! Forgetting vanity for a moment, Miiya scrambled for the stairs.