0
followers
follow

Nako Hawthorne

Stranger in a strange land...

0 · 234 views · located in Skysong City | Capital of Kingdom Of Serenia

a character in “The Chronicles Of Galeia | Ballad of Calraida”, as played by Ralon

So begins...

Nako Hawthorne's Story

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kanixillo Character Portrait: Nako Hawthorne

0.00 INK

#, as written by Ralon
Nako didn't quite know where to go from this point onward. As he stuffed the map back into the case lashed to the saddle of the horse beneath him he gave a tired yawn, gaze returning down for a moment to eye the reins held against his chest by an elbow. The other unoccupied paw withdrew from the bag snugged between his legs and bit into his fourth meat pie. Icy blue eyes surveyed the strange architecture of the city street as he rode forward through the alleyway out of sight of the streets. Everything was so out of place. The lack of snow, the well fed denizens that stared curiously as he rode by. There was no hunger, no flow of refugees interrupting his company's travel, no wounded or having to stop on the side of the road to bury the latest soldier that finally succumbed to the infection of an untreatable wound. So much green...

It had been a difficult journey across the ocean, one not ever the sea serpents dare venture out across. But the ship had made it. Arriving at the shores of this unknown land had been interesting to say the least with the rather hidden landfall partaken by rowboat. Nako had found himself a long way from home with a letter for aid, and the urge to quickly move inland. Always inland, and in a somewhat secretive manner. At least his appearance to the smooth skinned inhabitants of this land was met with something akin to familiarity. In short he looked like a Lycan. And that suited him just fine. What was met with suspicion however was his money, the crescent shaped pieces of silver that he produced to buy goods were accepted after being proven that they weren't counterfeit. Or new Lycan currency.

If anything the chest buried back on the beach always there in case he needed more. Nako snorted at the thought of now of his emissary status. If anything it was what they considered it his pension and dumped his magically tainted ass on the shore to get rid of him. But that only got rid one where there were several thousands like him those with the soul of a dragon in them, and so the mission was deemed real enough. Achieving the goal of some sort of trade agreement however was another thing entirely given the... unfamiliarity of such an environment.

The wolf wiped his paw off on his pants and brought his horse to walk along the side of the street that lead uphill. A sign read Queens Way, of which he could only assume was the roads name that lead all the way to the castle. Nako wadded up and stowed the empty pastry sack in a saddle bag and set about buckling on his gauntlets as his eyes swept the name of the establishments offered by the street. One such a place did seem interesting and his horse slowed with a pull of the reins as it's ride dismounted with a wide swing of his leg. "Trinkets and..." Nako muttered off the rest and turned his attention to the door as he tied his mount to a post. With a heavy step the foreigner stepped up to the doorway and peaked inside. No lit candles or anything, the door being pushed at without success. There was something on the floor though, the wolf turning his head to read 'Gone Out.' Well. Did that mean ‘Be Back Soon’ or something? There went the plan of buying a local bauble or ring to wear when making his appearance at the castle up the road. It would be a minor gesture, one he felt symbolize that he was willing to trade. But would both countries? The reluctant emissary leaned back against next to the shops door and inhaled in slight irritation with loosely crossed arms. Guess he would have to wait.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kanixillo Character Portrait: Mariana Gaele Odellis Character Portrait: Nako Hawthorne

0.00 INK

#, as written by Mouser
Gaele had gone straight home after her meeting with the Queen's guard, Titan, her thoughts full as she considered his offer and the decision he'd placed at her feet. For four gold a week, she could work for him, act as a squire and assist him around the castle and have a respectable job that would keep her out of trouble. Even though the thought of possibly being around the Queen regularly made her immensely nervous, she couldn't see the regal elf lady being mad or disappointed with her job choice. What could be more respectable than working for a member of the Queen's personal entourage? No, it was a good choice, a smart choice, and her parents had agreed--much more readily than she'd anticipated. They'd surprised her, but with their support she couldn't find a decent reason to decline the invitation and opportunity that had landed so perfectly in her lap. With their help, she had packed, gathered her things, and said her goodbyes to make a late evening trip to the castle.

Her progress was slightly awkward and cumbersome. Of all the things that her parents had procured for her to use in gathering up her possessions, a patched up saddlebag had been the best fit, but not wanting to take the family's horse from her parents--mostly because she'd never truly become comfortable around the intimidating beast--Gaele had chosen to set off on foot. In the fading evening light, she used the time that she walked to consider her decision, what it would mean for her future, what she might expect once she arrived. Titan had said he'd know when she got there, and she hoped he spoke truth. With nothing to show to prove she'd even been offered the position, she grew more nervous as she went, afraid that she might be stopped and that she wouldn't be let in. All she had were the four golden coins, and those could have technically come from anywhere.

As she walked, making her way closer to the castle, she held the saddlebag in her right arm and stuck her left hand into the hidden pocket of her skirt. The coins rattled and quieted as her hand closed around them, her expression thoughtful and her brow slightly pinched. Gold coins, she repeated to herself, can't even remember the last time I saw a gold coin. And now she was in possession of four, all of them shiny and impressive...and presently burning a hole in her pocket. Gods, all the things she could buy with just one of them! And she had four! I should save them... That was the most rational thing. She should tuck them away, make a little treasure hoard for herself, something that she could use to set herself up with in a nice place of her own with all the pretty dresses, shoes, and bits of jewelry her heart could ever desire.

And yet as soon as she spotted the sign--Trinkets and Treasures' Fine Jewelry--she felt herself drawn to the location. Even at this hour, she could see another figure standing outside of the establishment, looking as if they were waiting for either the dark shop to open or someone to meet them there. She skirted around the horse that stood tethered along the way, giving it a healthy, respectable distance as she intended to continue on past to her destination, but she hesitated. What if the shop was going to open again? Would she maybe be missing out on the chance to buy something nice to bring with her to her new home in the castle? Gaele stopped, glanced up and down the road quickly, but saw no one who looked intent upon coming to this particular place. Shifting her bag to her left arm, she stepped closer to the store, noting as she approached it that the figure standing beside the door looked distinctly Lycan. "Is this place closed for the night?" she asked with open curiosity, casting a sidelong glance at the masculine Lycan before trying to peer in with a hand raised against the glass window and feeling somewhat disappointed she couldn't see what lay inside due to the darkness.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kanixillo Character Portrait: Mariana Gaele Odellis Character Portrait: Nako Hawthorne

0.00 INK

#, as written by Ralon
People watching had never really be Nako's forte to pass the time. It was all he could really do while patiently waiting for the owner of the trinket shop to hurry up and open his doors. People watching was starting to get a tad boring now that taverns were being occupied by the cities inhabitants for a mid evening meal or drink. The crowded surge of the Queens Way was but a trickle now, and he watched the tavern down the street fill with a funneling of patrons. Certainly no mead hall from what he saw angled through the windows, lacking the stone walls and the roaring fire that was always searing an elk or deer.

A quick peek into the store again revealed no owner amidst the dark interior, although the scent being blown through the seem of the door was lycan, of which there was some comfort that he would be buying from one similar to him and not a elf or human. A drawn out sigh left the wolf as he stood up straighter with a frustrated crease furrowing his brow. There was no closed sign, and he'd been waiting for a reasonable amount of time, going by the sign lying on the floor. Whenever the tavern emptied considerably from it's packed state he'd stop and go buy a meal. Treat himself after all the traveling and countryside foraging with as few curious glances as possible even though he had just ate...

There was one passerby that walked up the street that he watched with a hint of more attention than he had given others, the woman's stride hindered by a faded looking saddlebag that she carried. Nako uncrossed his arms as she stopped just past his tethered mount and turned towards him, the wolfs left hand falling to his side and reaching to gently rest around the handle of the dagger sheathed along his belt line. The movement was inconspicuous at best for the distracted human as she stopped at the glass window next to him. The closeness of such an encounter was a bit off-putting. "I wouldn't know." The wolf spoke from the shadowed wall, accent punctuated with uncertainty. He didn't know much about the people, the culture or customs of such a place he found himself in. But this human was smaller than him and probably light enough to throw soaking wet, and so the foreigner flexed his shoulders and stood up to stare into the shop beside the human. The dagger would be left in it's place for now. "It says gone out." His muzzle jerked in the direction of the sign, legs crossing as he braced a shoulder before the window sill to stare down at the diminutive female. "Do you have business with the owner?" The question was spoken in earnest as he gave a peripheral glance over his shoulder.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kanixillo Character Portrait: Mariana Gaele Odellis Character Portrait: Nako Hawthorne

0.00 INK

#, as written by Mouser
She leaned back from peering into the window of the shop and turned her head to look more pointedly at the Lycan standing beside the door. There had been something off about his speech, something in the way he’d spoken his words, that suggested he wasn’t a native to the area, and Gaele was a little surprised to realize that she might actually have found another new arrival to the lands of Serenia. This place sure has some diversity, she mused to herself. Though she hadn’t the slightest idea what the Lycan kingdom must have been like, she could only assume it was very different from her own kingdom of Argohahn, and different still from this elf-ruled land. Wonder if he's as lost as I am. Though perhaps she wasn't as lost as she'd once been. She was, after all, soon to be employed by the castle and well on her way to turning around her previous reputation for being a bandit.

Not wanting to stare overly long and come off as rude, the small human woman offered a charming, friendly smile to cover her curiosity, but received none in response. The stranger only made a gesture that rolled his shoulders as he pushed off of the wall to stand--jeez, were all the guys here built like mountains?--and peer inside the shop with her. Gaele's smile faltered just a little at the wolf man's brusque nature, but determined not to be deterred she followed his lead and tried to glance inside for a second time. As before, she could see nothing. There were spots on the floor where light fell in from the windows but nothing on or inside the cabinets and counters were actually visible in the darkness. She wondered, briefly, whether the Lycan beside her could see any better, but thought better of asking, at least until she thought he'd consider answering.

He surprised her by speaking up again, and she turned to look at him just in time to catch the dip his muzzle made toward the sign that she'd failed to notice. "Oh." Her bright green eyes blinked as she stared at the sign, realizing that it did, indeed, say just that. Gone Out. It was no wonder she'd missed it--she'd been far too intrigued by what she might see inside the shop from the window--but now that she knew there was nothing to look at until a better light source could be had she pondered over what the sign must have meant for the shop and its owner. She puzzled over whether it was still worthwhile to wait when the Lycan stranger spoke for a third time, his accented words now questioning her intent. There was nothing interrogatory about his tone, and if anything he sounded genuinely curious and considerably more relaxed if his new posture was anything to go by.

Taking another cue from him, Gaele warmed up to the question and the stranger quickly, going so far as to mimic his stance and carefully lean against the window as he did the sill. "I might," she answered, her words noncommittal and her tone almost playful. Maybe this potential new arrival wasn't so painfully serious as she'd first thought if he was asking questions like this. "Depends what they have for sale, really. I was hoping to pick up something shiny. And pretty." Although now that she thought about it she wasn't sure at all what she wanted. A ring? A bracelet? Earrings? Necklace? There were far too many options, and given that she was still clueless what was in inventory it felt much too confusing to give it more thought than that. "And yourself? Interested in something shiny as well?" she asked, trying her smile again. Probably not, but it didn't hurt to ask.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kanixillo Character Portrait: Mariana Gaele Odellis Character Portrait: Nako Hawthorne

0.00 INK

Now how did time fly like that? He’d expected to be gone for at most a couple of hours. Talking with the delivery courier had taken longer than he’d anticipated, and that wasn’t including the original reason he’d left the shop, and his project. As he long-strided it down the street, he could see the two figures outside the shop. Didn’t look like they were up to trouble, so he greeted the two with a friendly grin, jaws parted in a wolfish pant of a smile. “Sorry to ‘ave left y’hangin’. Business uppit the castle.”

His dialect shifted to a casual, drawling tone, he shifted the box of pearls into one arm and slipped one claw into the key hole, giving the digit a deft twist and pushed the door open, ducking inside to admit his tall height. “C’mon in, and welcome t’ Trinkets ‘n Treasure. I’ll just get these squared away while y’look around. Any question’s, y’can ask me all y’like.” He winked one rich gold eye cheerfully at the girl, nodding to the wolf and stepped around the counter with his box, tail swaying behind him as he ducked around the curtain and climbed the stairs. He set the box in his room, Shifted down to his human form, and pulled on breeches, boots, and a loose white shirt, dropping a tunic over top. Chest revealing, but not in an overbearing way.

He pulled his long raven black hair out of the shirt, tied it back into a loose pony tail and returned to the front room of the shop, leaning on the counter as Maelstrom butted his way into the shop, the dire wolf's mismatched blue and violet eyes surveying the two customers before he flopped beside the counter, out of the way, but present. Kanixillo, meanwhile, watched the customers as well, tanned face cheerful and curious. Both were unfamiliar, and the wolf was definitely not from around here. He smelled of travel, the sea, and a foreign land. "So, where'ya from, and where'ya headed?" And was that Titan he was smelling from the woman? My my.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kanixillo Character Portrait: Mariana Gaele Odellis Character Portrait: Nako Hawthorne

0.00 INK

#, as written by Ralon
Pointing out the sign on the floor appeared to have the same amount of revelation for this human as it did for him. No doubt the lack of night vision made up for the fact that even with her short height she hadn't seen it. She turned to address him and struck up the same pose relaxed pose while she spoke of potential business being conducted at this store. The female even went into specifics, and at least she had an idea of what it was she was looking to buy. Nako on the other hand didn't know if his browsing of the stores good would even be worth it. Whatever pieces of jewelry he saw in the dark were to lowly light to get any real sense of detail. The gold might even be tin tainted for all he knew. She questioned his own choice of what he was looking for and the wolf could only give an uncertain shake of his head. "I don't know. Looking to browse. Maybe a ring for the finger or an ear though I," Nako brought up a gauntleted hand, light catching on the curved ends of the fingertips where the metal extended over the leather covered paw. "doubt I'll have much room in here."

After making that point Nako stepped off to the side at the sight of the lone figure that made an appearance behind the woman. The owner, that fact being confirmed by a given strangely accented words from the lycan, the sight of the thickly furred folk causing biped wolf to slightly tense. So unlike his people, and yet so accepting of those with magic. It almost made him wish he was born on this land. The front door to the trinket show was finally opened and Nako brushed inside on the heels of the owner. Just absently the wolf returned the owners nod before lycan disappeared through a curtain strung up along a door frame behind the counter. For the human this shop needed more light but for the wolf it was adequate, finding himself leaning down to inspect a case holding bangles made of all metals and gems. That was when Nako knew these sort of products were way out of his price range. Ears flicked up at the sound of lighter steps coming down the steps, and a rather bemused smile crept across his features at what was, by smell, the same lycan. Strode around to the opposite side of the store. The dire wolf that came in was about the size of a juvenile back in his lands, armored claws scratching behind the beasts ear as they both moved to the counter.

The cheery hawking the owner put out to both of his customers continued, the wolf's ears pinning against his skull at the thought of home. "Amaskar, an ocean away..." The name was spoken as if it had already been lost, the last bit mumbled to himself. Nako didn't feel like relaying exactly where he was headed as he crouched down to view the case. None of these tiny baubles really appealed to him, then standing to face the owner. "Do you have any behind the shelf earrings that I'm not seeing? Or is this it?" The two fang shaped earrings were not as sizable as he would've hoped, brilliant gold and pressed with a sapphire set in the center. Almost as if they had been cored for the jewel to be set within. A finely crafted pair of earrings. Would probably have to put them towards the bottom of an ear. It never hurt to see anything store owners kept behind the counter. If any.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kanixillo Character Portrait: Mariana Gaele Odellis Character Portrait: Nako Hawthorne

0.00 INK

#, as written by Mouser
Gaele continued to study the grey-furred wolf man in the pale night's lighting, taking advantage of their closeness and her conversation with him to get her first real good look at a Lycan. Living in Argohahn, and especially during the time that she had, she'd had very little exposure to creatures and persons who were not human or average in shape and form. She knew, from tales at the very least, that there were others out there, that the world was much more diverse than her own hometown would have led her to believe, but until now they'd only lived in her imagination. They are pretty fierce-looking, she noted, though given the relaxed state of this one she couldn't find reason to be uneasy or worried. The Queen left nothing to interpretation about the conduct she expected of her citizens, and Gaele trusted that those who inhabited her kingdom, even temporarily, would follow good behavior in order to keep the peace. Especially knowing first hand herself what happened to those who didn't.

The stranger had less of an idea what it was he hoped to find inside the shop, though the young human woman could sympathize. She'd never possessed anything she considered fancy or frivolous, and with no prior knowledge about those sorts of things she couldn't even be sure she had enough to make a purchase. But her uncertainties weren't enough to dampen her mood, and she chuckled as the Lycan lifted one gauntlet-covered hand--paw?--to show the unlikeliness of him purchasing a ring. Unfamiliar with armored coverings of any type, she had to assume he knew what he was talking about, and answered decidedly, "An earring, then." If fitting a ring beneath his gauntlet was going to be too much trouble, then it was best to forego obtaining one. Besides, what was the fun in owning fanciful jewelry if you couldn't wear it?

She was about to make other suggestions when she noticed his attention shift, and as he stepped away from the wall to stand she righted herself to do the same, turning to see another dark-coated Lycan toting a box and brandishing a smile that was thoroughly friendly and inviting. With an accented voice, which she realized was still dissimilar to that of the lighter furred Lycan, the tall, dark stranger approached the shop intently, revealing himself to be the keeper as he unlocked the door and led the way inside. Curious and intrigued, Gaele followed after the armored stranger into the shop and began immediately to look around in the dim light as the shopkeeper welcomed them and excused himself to the back. She spared just a quick glance and a smile his way when she caught his wink and went right back to looking, stepping up to the closest standing case to peer inside. Gems glittered, metal glinted, catching the eye and tugging at her vanity. Oh, how lovely it must be to wear such beautiful creations! But what can I afford? As she mulled over the question, she bit the inside of her lip thoughtfully, frowning as she side stepped to continue surveying her options.

Hearing the thud of boots announce the return of the shopkeeper, Gaele didn't think anything of it until she turned her head to look the Lycan's way, opening her mouth to ask about his pricing when she realized he wasn't there. Instead, there stood a tall, dark-haired man, skin tanned and eyes inhumanly gold. Was this someone who'd been lurking around in the back while the store was locked up? She couldn't quite decide, and didn't have the time to when another dark, furry figure strode in through the doorway, startling her instantly. Only registering the creature's massive size and shape, easily the largest wolf she'd ever seen, flighty instinct kicked in and she reacted without thought. Gaele made a startled squeak and barely managed to keep the saddlebag she carried in her arms as a hand shot up to cover her mouth, bumping into the display case behind her as she backed into it in a feeble attempt at distancing herself from the beast. But despite her fearful reaction, it seemed to pay her no mind, and both the man behind the counter and the armored stranger barely reacted to the presence of the dire wolf, the latter even going so far as to scratch the massive wolf behind its ears like a pet.

Beginning to feel wholly out of place, the petite human held still and breathed in a few shaky breaths to try and calm down seeing as she'd completely overreacted, or at least compared to the others present in the room. Her hand slowly lowered from her mouth and her arm wrapped around the saddlebag like the other, clutching it tightly against her chest as she told herself repeatedly, It's fine, it'll be fine, just calm down and do like they do. Her green eyes shifted from the wolf to the Lycan, back again and over toward the man behind the counter--and fixed on him as he spoke with the voice of the Lycan who'd shown them in. Is that--? It can't be. It had been a furry, dark-coated wolf man who'd opened the door, not this smiling human. Was he...were they one and the same? She'd never truly believed the tales before and found herself struggling to do so now, but...his voice was the same. Is it really him?

She assumed so, especially as the grey-furred wolf man answered the presumed shopkeeper's inquiry, stating some land's name in answer to either the first or second question. Gaele hardly noticed as she was still preoccupied with trying to steady herself, and didn't really make any attempt at answering either question as the armored stranger asked about the shop's items. Still casting nervous glances in the direction of the dire wolf, the young human woman tried to keep a relatively relaxed air and nonchalantly moved to inspect the cases closer to where the other two men in the room were for comfort's sake, forcing interest as she stared into the cases and tried to distract herself with the shiny jewelry on display.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kanixillo Character Portrait: Mariana Gaele Odellis Character Portrait: Nako Hawthorne

0.00 INK

To say that Maelstrom accepted the unfamiliar hand attempting to scratch his ears would be to tell a white lie. The Dire ducked his head away from the hand, uttering a rumble and a warning ‘I am no pet, wolf.’ Before settling more comfortably, mismatched eyes flicking between the two customers. The human seemed the most anxious about his appearance, so Kanixillo took over at the squeak. “Ah, don’t mind ‘im. He won’t bitecha. Might blow ya a lit’le kiss, though.” Maelstrom lifted his head, lifting one paw to smack against the floor, the resulting wind swirled to greet the woman, as the wolf licked the air in a quick, pecking manner. A moment later, she might feel a soft buffet of warm air against her left cheek.

Maelstrom gave the last half a foot of his tail a few taps on the floor before setting his head between his paws again. Kanixillo, meanwhile, finally recalled that it was dark out, thus dark within his shop, at least to the eyes of a human. “Ah, right.” he reached out and brushed the tips of his fingers against a clear crystal set on the counter like a lamp. The crystal glimmered into life at his touch, lending a surprisingly room filling white glow to the atmosphere. Soft enough not to be aggravating to the eyes, bright enough to better show his wares. The light lit those golden eyes with a warm fire as he grinned at the woman. “Lycan eyes see well’in the dark, an’ sometimes I f’rget that human customers can’t see as well as I can at night.” He winked cheerfully.

Turning his attention to the wolf anthro, Kanix bent to examine the earrings. “Ah, a fair few, aye. I c’n pull a few out from the back if y‘like. For those wit’ tails, I also have tail rings and hock bracelets.” The woman wasn’t much of a speaker; shy? The wolf, however, he gleaned some information. Amaskar, hm? Not a land he was familiar with. He bent behind the counter and pulled out a large wooden box lined with velvet, opening the lid to flaunt the wares. Large hoop earrings, clearly meant for those with more wolfen features, and heavy rings meant to sit at the base of a tail, glittered in every metal available, and every gem setting, color, and facet. To the customers both, he added “I’m Kanixillo, owner of Trinkets n’ Treasures, by the way.”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kanixillo Character Portrait: Mariana Gaele Odellis Character Portrait: Nako Hawthorne

0.00 INK

#, as written by Ralon
Nako ignored the human's overreaction to the sight of the dire wolf, almost as much as the dire wolf ignored his paws trailing through the fur of an ear as the sentient beast lumbered to the side of the counter to lie down. The female's words came back to him when they were standing outside. Earrings. The ones before him were too small, and the owner seemed more interesting in making a quip at the skittish showing of the woman at the head of the store than helping him. Easily forgiven. Even as the owner apologized and lit the store with a wave of a hand over a sphere of crystal or glass Nako's eyes immediately adjusted to the change in light. Again for the humans benefit, the owner remarking something about lycans and the fact that they could see in the dark.

The biped wolf finally stood, having scanned the displayed wares a second time to distract himself from saying something less than savory and blamed the fact that he had been waiting the longest and was thus a tad impatient. Rewarded impatience, the owner reaching below the counter to bring up box with undisplayed items. The lycan-turned-man explained the variety of jewelry as the lid was pulled back before giving his name, Kanixillo. Nako however was staring down at the row upon row of hoops and earrings and bands gleaming back from the velvet bed they lay in. As Nako examined the more standout-ish pieces the woman approached closer from behind, paying her no mind as he mentally made a few selections and if the foreign currency he held could buy such items. "No, no. I think that these will do fine." Nako pulled a few of the thicker bands, each about as round as his palm and far to wide for a finger, were sizable enough to be noticeable. Some silver to be weaved amidst his tail, each of their design in the shape of a leaf wreath, stems being overlapped by tips.

"But I'm curious if that those," Nako tapped a finger on the display glass at the previously evaluated set of earrings. "have long enough pins." Already past his budget with the desired silver bands he might as well do it right. Taking stock of what he wanted from both the display and the open box the wolf let out a breath as he pointed to each corresponding item. "Fourteen silver bands with the vine engraved snake ouroboros, for the mane and tail. A plain silver anklet for the woman and I'd like those earrings." The wolf needed to spend his assigned money anyways. Might as well strike out from the store somewhat more noticeable and surprise a stranger with a gift. Weaving and tying his fur would be a bit of a pain though. Nako pawed off the pouch of money on his belt and prepared to pay with an expectant and slightly smug glance given at the female next to him. If anything it would make her fumble with the saddlebag she was carrying again.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kanixillo Character Portrait: Mariana Gaele Odellis Character Portrait: Nako Hawthorne

0.00 INK

#, as written by Mouser
Of course her squeak couldn’t go unnoticed. Though the strangely now-human-looking shopkeeper tried to ease her worries by addressing it, Gaele only felt herself grow embarrassed, wishing she’d had the strength to react in a less obvious way. She grinned, her embarrassment evident in a slight pink tint that glowed across her cheeks, but she laughed away the feeling, albeit nervously. The notion of receiving a kiss from the massive wolf wasn’t altogether appealing, but the dire appeared to react to the suggestion, catching her eye and claiming her full attention as it moved. She watched worriedly as it lifted a large paw, dropped it to the ground, and mimed a lick in her direction. Surprisingly, she felt the breeze from where she stood, drawing out another nervous laugh as she stared at the beast with a new sense of wonder. Is anything how it seems here?

Her attention only shifted away from the dire when the room suddenly lit with a magical glow, perfectly set to glint and flicker off of the numerous pieces of jewelry that were on display. With a better means of inspecting the items, the petite human hefted her bag into one arm and began looking anew, better able to judge the stone and metal colors, their cuts, their shapes with the new light. She didn’t know any specifics about them, couldn’t name the cuts or the gems themselves, but she could easily identify which ones were prettier than the others. “Hmm.” Her green eyes alighted and lingered on one particular pale amethyst gem, small and round, centered atop a silver band. The ring was pretty and simple, something that she would have taken up if she’d had the gold pieces before her sudden job offer. As she stared at it, she wondered if it was fit for castle living or if something grander would be more appropriate.

She tried to look away, to continue examining the other pieces that were within the cases nearest where the shopkeeper and the armored stranger were, but couldn’t shake the ring from the back of her mind. Very briefly she looked up and over as another box was brought out, housing jewelry of a different sort, and a little nosily tried to get a better peek. “Those are pretty.” The admiring words were out before she fully realized it, and, though she’d interrupted the conversation, she’d already experienced enough embarrassment for one day and only sheepishly looked away to distract herself instead of butting into the business of other shoppers. Only she couldn’t keep her attention away very long. The grey-furred Lycan—who opted not to reveal his name after the shopkeeper, Kanixillo, offered his—referenced her, and belatedly she realized she was now officially part of the conversation, and possibly on the receiving end of free jewelry. “What?” she asked, surprised and a little confused as she looked between the wolf man and the wolf-turned-man, clutching her saddlebag in both arms again. Had she heard wrong, or was this armored stranger really planning on getting her something?

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mariana Gaele Odellis Character Portrait: Nako Hawthorne

0.00 INK

#, as written by Mouser
Evening, Queen's Way. Immediately after shopping in Trinkets and Treasures...

Gaele was immensely distracted as she hastily made her purchase, intent upon getting out of the shop as fast as she could. It wasn’t even the large dire wolf that made her wish to leave anymore, but the wolf man who’d exited before she’d gotten a chance to make her purchase. He’d said something about purchasing a piece of jewelry for her—or, more specifically, “for the woman.” As she’d been the only woman in the shop, she had to assume he meant her, but he’d left so quickly she hadn’t gotten a chance to clarify it let alone get a look at this anklet he’d chosen for her. Was it pretty? Extravagant? Eye catching? Vainly, the human hoped for all three, but why in the world would a stranger purchase anything so frivolous for her? She just couldn’t understand it.

Part of her was also convinced it had all been a lie too. Maybe he’d tucked away the anklet before the purchase could officially be calculated, and there was no trinket in his possession after all. Maybe she was letting herself be too fanciful with her thoughts to entertain the notion that he’d actually gone through with it. Maybe he’s already left.

With her amethyst ring newly sized and positioned prettily on the ring finger of her right hand, her saddlebag cradled in her right arm, Gaele pressed out the shop ready to look either way down the street, but froze when she realized the wolf man and his horse were still there. Without a word, she closed the door behind her with her free hand while her attention remained fixed on him. He looked expectant, as if he was waiting… The look on her face was skeptical, and yet hopeful despite her better judgment. He doesn’t have a reason to get me anything. It was foolish for her to hope otherwise. “Were you lying in there?” She hadn’t meant for the question to come out worded so accusatory, and she tried to backtrack as she stepped out away from the shop and toward the waiting Lycan. “I mean…did you really buy me something?”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mariana Gaele Odellis Character Portrait: Nako Hawthorne

0.00 INK

#, as written by Ralon
The woman appeared a moment after he'd taken to standing before the door, having watched her move around until finally her silhouette grew in the stained glass of the magically lit shop. By all appearances it seemed as if she was in a hurry, one side of the wolf's brow quirking upward in amusement at the way she handled opening the door. As if he would've left, no doubt the human expected him to be half way up the street by now. Their gazes locked as the nameless woman, a fact about her that he would hope to change in a moment, froze before the wolf. The silence Nako expected was broken far sooner immediately as she shut the door. The tone spoken was direct, accusatory, and by all means a familiar treatment from Amaskar military royalty, one he bore with pinned ears and a narrowed gaze. But here the land was different, and so he stood mutely before the woman, his right paw toying with the chain between two fingers. Without a word he stepped before the wooden walkway lining the side of the street in front of the shop, dark paw coming up to show the owner of the green eyes that he was indeed telling the truth. The anklet had been inexpensive compared to what he bought for himself. Correcting her speech she stood on the edge of the walkway before the wolf. Knowingly or knowingly she was perfectly positioned to put the jewelry around her ankle. Nako did so, and without permission as he looked up from where his paws gently touching her smooth skin to put the miniature chain of silver around the ankle. His mind thought of the amusement he was finding at the doing of this random deed. Money that wasn't his needed to be spent, and if it was making the locals prettier than by all means he would spend away. Starting with the one who had finally talked to him after his week of travel inland from the beach he was dropped off at. He would definitely need to go back to the money chest after the visit to the queen. For now though his paw would let the anklet settle before backing off to look at her. "Yes." Nako stated flatly. "I did."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mariana Gaele Odellis Character Portrait: Nako Hawthorne

0.00 INK

#, as written by Mouser
It seemed so silly, so unlikely, that this Lycan would have bought her something. Gaele even felt silly for asking, but she couldn’t help it. She needed to know, without a doubt, whether he had spoken truth or if he had only been trying to get a reaction out of her. She prepared herself for a negative answer, maybe even a laugh for her foolishness, but the human woman received neither. Instead the wolf man lifted his hand—paw?—and angled it higher, causing it to glint in the evening light. As her green eyes dropped to it, she realized it wasn’t his hand that shone, but a thin, silver chain that caught the light: the anklet he’d spoken of.

"Oh." The single word fell from her lips in a simple, concise expression of surprise. He bought me an anklet. She’d been so prepared for a negative answer that she hardly knew how to respond to this positive one. He got me an anklet. There was, undoubtedly, a little flutter of excitement that swept through her, and made her stare just a little more attentively at the lovely piece of jewelry. She was, naturally, drawn to such frivolous, eye catching things, and to think she now had two in her possession—a pretty ring and now a lovely anklet—she couldn’t believe how quickly everything was turning around for her. I’ve got an anklet!

She began to smile, delighted and very eager to get her hands on the pretty piece of jewelry, but rather than hand it out for her to take as he strode toward her, the Lycan instead bent forward to place the anklet around her ankle himself. "Wait, you—" she began to say, to protest, and cast nervous glances to either side down the street. This couldn’t have looked very good in society’s eyes, not as far as she knew it. And especially given the fact she was on her way to seek employment at the castle, she couldn’t have her reputation tarnished somehow before, or even after, she got there. She needed the work and the coin too much. But he was at the very least quick about it, and as polite as a wolf man could be while putting an anklet on a human woman. At any rate, she felt just a smidgen uncomfortable by the time he righted himself, at last belatedly answering her question, and it took a considerable amount of will power for her not to lift her skirts with her free hand and admire the anklet for herself. She wanted to very much.

Distracting herself, she gathered her saddlebag in both arms and muttered a slightly uncomfortable, "Thank you," to the Lycan, taking a step back from the edge of the wooden walkway that bordered the front of the shop and then proceeding down the steps to stand on the street with the tall wolf man. Uncomfortable as the whole situation had made her, there was still some degree of genuine gratitude. He’d had no reason to do it, after all, nothing to gain by it since she wasn’t even important or wealthy enough to offer something in return. "I- I don’t think I caught your name," Gaele remarked, realizing in that moment that she’d taken a gift from a complete stranger. We can fix that. "I’m Gaele." Shifting her bag into her left arm, she offered her right hand for a handshake with a still nervous but friendly smile.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mariana Gaele Odellis Character Portrait: Nako Hawthorne

0.00 INK

#, as written by Ralon
Nako had ignored her half protest when wrapping the anklet above the humans left shoe, though as he stepped away she stood above him with a expression for what he took as slight discomfort she gave a quiet thanks for the gift. The wolf merely placed his left palm on his chest and gave the barest angle required for a bow to the human above him. With a hurried use of the stairs she joined him on the street and expressed that they hadn't told one another their names, an oversight when they first met in from of the shop. "I'm sorry Gaele," Nako began as he thought upon the meaning of her name. A strong wind. The dragon soul mingled with his own and his own sense of sudden curiosity grew stronger. A sign from the gods? Was she to be a guide? Nodoubtledly a fluke that was nothing more than a coincidence. How many more humans had such a name? The scar trailing down his neck started to tingle as he took Gaeles hand and shook it. The woman's skin, as he hadn't touched a human in any way that would be considered meaningful, was smooth. The feeling was completely alien compared to the leathery pads or fur on the back of his paws. All at once the tingling ceases and the wolf felt the satisfied soul recede away. "I am Nako." He spoke with a courteous dip of his muzzle. Stranger times with stranger signs, the wolf looked down at the saddle bag she carried and made a slow motion to grab it and ease it's way out of her grip. Clearly not a thief. "And I noticed you were walking up the street before we went in there?" Gaele was dressed with a minimum of finery, grey dress and a ring besides the anklet. Nako heaved the saddlebag across his horse and unwound the brindle. "So where are you headed?" Intrusive, slightly impulsive, but then again he wasn't exactly mounting his horse and riding off with whatever she was carrying. A paw settled on his hip just above the sword hilt as he eyed Gaele with the horses reins in his other paw.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mariana Gaele Odellis Character Portrait: Nako Hawthorne

0.00 INK

#, as written by Mouser
The generous Lycan was polite, inclining toward her in a slight bow and even offering an apology as she joined him on the street. That was good. It further confirmed for her that he hadn’t meant anything untoward by purchasing the anklet for her, or by choosing the put the anklet on her ankle himself. It eased the young woman’s worries, and allowed for her natural good humor and amiable mood to return. Gaele smiled easier, more relaxed now. "No apologies," she assured him, shaking her head slightly, and with a glint in her green eyes that brightened her grin added, "I got an anklet," as if it excused everything.

The hand that held hers was large, strong, furry, and rough, and hers felt dwarfed within its grasp. As it was released, it joined her other hand in carrying the weight of her saddlebag, and she mentally noted the name the wolf man had given her. Nako. She couldn’t say she’d heard it before, but she also hadn’t had any dealings with Lycans before moving to Serenia. To fit in, Gaele tried to adjust to things on the fly, but with each new interaction with someone new she received more and more questions and curiosities that she was going to have to find answers for. "Nice to meet you," she answered, nodding her head in mimicry of the gesture Nako had given her.

As the wolf man leaned in toward her again and slowly reached for her bag, Gaele’s expression blanked in surprise and confusion. Her arms tightened their hold on the saddlebag, clutching it a bit more tightly in a feeble attempt to keep it in her grasp, but he managed to get it out of her hands and distract her with a question. "Yes, I was," she stated distractedly, watching as he turned and lifted her bag to place it across the back of his horse. His other inquiry was, indeed, intrusive, but because she was more concerned with her things Gaele hardly realized what she said as she answered him, "To the castle. I work there."

Well, that was getting ahead of herself. "I mean, I’m going to work there," she amended sharply, glancing nervously from the Lycan to her bag and back again. Was she going to get it back? "And I need everything in that bag to go with me." Her tone was stern despite the nervousness she felt, and with her arms free she raised her right hand and pointed clearly at her saddlebag. Everything she owned, everything of value to her, was inside of it. She couldn’t let this wolf man get away with taking all of her personal belongings with him, no matter how he took his time or how polite he was being about it.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mariana Gaele Odellis Character Portrait: Nako Hawthorne

0.00 INK

#, as written by Ralon
Gaeles hand could've easily been crushed within the wolfs handshake, the woman mirroring his respect with a bow of her own and repeating with a dreamy air about the anklet she received. She would've made a good companion and guide on any other day, personally. There was a certain ruggedness with the way she wore her hair or how the grey dress was a bit on the plain side. Gaeles good nature disappeared when he had relieved her of the saddle bag, and now he stood before her with ears perked and pointed to listen to the answer she gave. A worker of the castle. Well that just worked out perfectly. An idea rapidly formed in his head as his paw clutched the reins a bit tighter and stepped away to direct the horse up the street. Still listening, he waved her to walk beside him with swish of his tail before turning to address the woman. "I've watched you shift your grip a dozen times with the old thing. But we are friends now with my gift to you. And no, I'm here not to rob you." With a tug on the reins the horses head gave a sharp bob before following along as Nako started up the Queens Way. "It just so happens I need to head up to the castle tomorrow of you could help lead the way." A knowing grin was given at the woman. All he had to do was head up the street. If anything he would find the right door to enter through tonight before heading back down towards the inn. "I've only recently come here to this land, and I couldn't help but wonder as to what a human is doing with a job at the castle in such an elven city." Humans as servants would make sense, slaves even. As far as he could tell from his travels along the road they were far less inclined to use magic either due to lack of skill or knowledge. Gaele didn't seem gifted in that respects or even armed to defend herself. "So what would your duties up at the castle be?" Nako hoped for her sake that it wasn't to hold a sword. Daggers or a rapier maybe, perhaps even a bow. The wolf however kept his mouth shut and listened to his friend Gaele's response.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mariana Gaele Odellis Character Portrait: Nako Hawthorne

0.00 INK

#, as written by Mouser
Her anxiety spiked yet again when the Lycan turned and began to walk away, drawing his horse and the saddlebag—her saddlebag—along with him. Afraid that he might actually walk off with it, just like that, so casual and cool, Gaele took a step after him, and almost missed the gesture he made with his hand inviting her along. She hoped she’d read the gesture right and quickly fell into step beside him, watching Nako closely through an expression mixed with wariness and irritation. She couldn’t lose all of her things so quickly, not in this way, and continued to worry even as he addressed her trouble carrying it, the fact he considered them friends now, and that he wasn’t there to rob her. She breathed out of her nose, a sharp hmph, and crossed her arms, muttering under her breath where she assumed he wouldn’t hear, “That’s what a robber would say.”

No matter, he had her things and so she followed, continuing to walk beside him with her arms crossed and her expression just a bit sour, though she glanced his way, surprised, when he stated he’d need to be there at the castle the following day. She’d taken him for a traveler to start, even a military wolf man or mercenary based on his attire, but obviously she hadn’t read him well enough. An important traveler, Gaele corrected, assuming he had to be important if he had business at the castle. Somehow that lent him some credit, at least given what Gaele knew of the queen and her strict rules within her city. She felt a little guilty now for implying he was a thief.

Thankfully he didn’t seem too put off by it, and filled the time that they walked—with her leading their course off of what she remembered of the only time she’d been at the castle—with casual and friendly conversation. Nako commented on her job, or at least the fact she was mostly out of place being a human in this predominantly elf-inhabited city. “I don’t really have the job yet,” Gaele admitted, letting her arms fall and swing loosely at her sides, “I just got the offer today. And I probably should have asked more questions because I’m not sure what I’m going to do once I’m there.” She tried, in vain, to recall everything that the queen’s guard, Titan, had said, and unfortunately came up short. “All I know is I’m to report to Titan, one the queen’s guards, and complete whatever assignments he has for me. He said I’ll be his squire. Not that she felt very certain of what that meant either. Her green gaze slid over to Nako, wondering if he had any ideas though she didn’t ask.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mariana Gaele Odellis Character Portrait: Nako Hawthorne

0.00 INK

#, as written by Ralon
Gaeles took the lead with a muttered remark that was caught by his pointed ears about him behaving as a robber trying not to come off as a robber was amusing to say the least. He wouldn't do that here. Definitely back home, the home which he was beginning to long for with each passing day. And he would see it soon when business was concluded and he could answer whatever questions the queen asked. The letter he carried was thorough in explaining the situation so he doubted he would need to stay for any real amount of time. The response to his question as to what she was doing here was cleared up by Gaele saying that she didn't have a job yet, but it was waiting in the castle. That her position would be a squire for someone? The meaning of the word eluded him, muzzle parting to speak as he gave a few brisk steps to match her pace. "Squire? I am unfamiliar with that word. Would you be a slave to this man?" If so Nako knew about that life. What it did to a person after a day. Or twenty years for the ones judging themselves above him... The castle was growing closer and he slowed, expression hardening at the thoughts and memories. What was waiting for Gaele in there? What awaited Nako tomorrow? He didn't know, even as the reins were gripped tighter the wolf trailed behind Gaele now a bit more uncertain in his mission and a bit more fearful for his life.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mariana Gaele Odellis Character Portrait: Nako Hawthorne

0.00 INK

#, as written by Mouser
Her hope that Nako might be able to enlighten her as to the meaning of the title “squire” didn’t get far, and he answered negatively without any input to assist her. The human woman deflated a little at the realization, though what he suggested after was considerably more concerning. “No, no. Not a slave,” she corrected hastily, glancing at him with a surprised, concerned, and confused look as she shook her head. Slavery! She might have been in desperate need of a job, but Gaele never would have willingly offer herself into slavery. She’d resort to banditry again before that happened. Just somewhere where their royalty doesn’t take out full parties so easily.

But the notion did present a complication in the unspecified duties she would eventually be performing, if and when she arrived at the castle and received the promised position. Would that be how she would be viewed once she arrived at the castle? The queen had struck her as the fair type—or at least as fair as a lady in that sort of position with that sort of power could be—but for the first time since arriving Gaele began to question her thoughts and assumptions about the city that she now lived in, as well as that of the populace too. Not slavery, she repeated to herself, even as she bit the inside of her lip and worried over even the suggestion of it. “I’ll be paid. And well,” Gaele added at length, mindful again of the gold coins that still rested inside the pocket of her skirts. There was an extra note of confidence in her voice, as if this thought was the first to begin easing her mind again. “And then I can buy a whole lot more pieces of jewelry,” she added, grinning outright as she tried to lighten the air and only half joking about her future purchases. She did have every intention of expanding her wardrobe with more pretty accessories.

Her mood felt lifted, brightened, and her mind more optimistic than it had been just a few moments ago. She linked her hands behind her back, feeling the ring that she’d purchased still on her right hand, and felt very content with her first purchase. Of course, it reminded her of the anklet that she could feel on her ankle, shifting with every step, and she glanced sidelong at the wolf man who’d taken such an unnecessary interest in her. Buying her jewelry, walking her to her destination… If he’s not up to something, then what is he up to? “Alright. You’ve asked me a few questions already,” Gaele stated matter-of-factly as she turned her curious green gaze on the Lycan walking beside her, “Now it’s my turn.” Where to start, where to start… “What business does a generous Lycan like you have at the castle here in Serenia?” Maybe it wasn’t word for word the question he’d asked her, but it sounded similar enough that she smirked as she asked it.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mariana Gaele Odellis Character Portrait: Nako Hawthorne

0.00 INK

#, as written by Ralon
Gaele replied with the clarification that no, she wouldn't be a slave, to which Nako felt a bit of relief. The woman spoke of how she would be paid well and the wolf couldn't help but be reminded of just how different this land was to the one he was made to leave behind. He himself was a slave, the fact being that his family was being ransomed so that he would do this errand for the ruling class itself was a tight chain around his neck. In an invisible sense. Jewelry was again brought up, that with this job as a squire she could buy a lot more, reminding the wolf about the box containing the lycan mane rings tucked away in his saddle. The human beside him seemed much more happy compared to the display of shock a moment ago, holding her hands behind her back and keeping beside the wolf despite his longer stride. There was no pause to the conversation as Gaele took her turn and inquired, with a complement, as to what a lycan like him was doing in Skysong City.

A glance was given at the imposing castle that as mentioned as he carefully chose his words. Nako mulled over the idea that he could say that he was a lycan although with a few mutations. But no, he would be honest with the wind that walked beside him. "I am not a lycan, Gaele. I cannot do the things that they do nor understand how they do it." He spoke plainly and with nothing to hide. Nobody had said anything about keeping his mission a secret but he would still avoid some details for sake of having some tact regarding what his land specifically needed from Serenia. "I've come from an ocean away from a place called Armskar and it is my wish that this queen can lend an ear should she feel so inclined." The wolf let his own ears pin back against his head. It was a desperate time for all of his people. "Should I be received I hope tomorrow's meeting can go quickly before winter comes and make it back to the harbor before the ocean ices up to much." Ahead the castle gates loomed, the two of them almost within the shadow of the giant portcullis.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mariana Gaele Odellis Character Portrait: Nako Hawthorne

0.00 INK

#, as written by Mouser
The playful smile on her face fell away quickly as Nako revealed to her that he wasn’t a Lycan. But you look just like one. The thought went swiftly through her head, and she barely stopped it from being spoken aloud as the not-Lycan wolf man claimed to possess none of the powers that Lycans apparently had at their disposal. He must mean the shape changing, Gaele concluded, which at least checked off one more question of hers that she now didn’t need to ask. She had been curious as they’d begun to walk up the street what he would look like if he ever took up his human form. She’d been able to see traces of Kanixillo in his human form back at the jewelry shop, in particular his golden eyes, but it sounded like she would just have to keep guessing for this one. She’d never get to see it to know for sure.

“Huh,” she murmured thoughtfully, her brows raised as she returned her attention forward while considering this new revelation. First she hadn’t even been properly exposed to Lycans to begin with. Then she quickly learned that the stories that spoke of them possessing two different shapes—that of a wolf person and that of a human—were, in fact, true. And now she was being told that not all wolf people were Lycans and had other shapes to turn into. It was a day for learning, she concluded, as Nako further informed her of a land across the ocean known as Amaskar. It must have been a place entirely unconnected to the Lycan community that sat toward the center of this land mass, and Gaele stared at the grey wolf man with a curious, puzzled look that took in each word with rapt interest. Absently she noted the way his ears folded back against his head, and wondered if it meant the same for him as it did for the pets she’d been exposed to over the years.

When he concluded his informative explanation, the human woman fell quiet for a moment, letting it all sink in. “That sounds pretty important,” she commented at length, though that she felt could have easily been an understatement. He’d spoken with authority on the situation, as if he knew well what it was that his mission entailed, but it was a solemn, somber sort of tone in which he told it. Gaele had to assume it wasn’t the pleasant sort of important, but maybe the difficult kind. Maybe even specifically unpleasant. She studied him quietly before offering a charming, optimistic smile. “I hope that everything goes well for you then, and that the queen is willing to listen to you.” She didn’t envy him his mission one bit. She’d already had enough queen interaction for one lifetime.

Though maybe she wasn’t entirely done yet. As the gates stood ahead of them, waiting for their arrival up the street, Gaele felt her stomach churn a little. Nerves fluttered and unsettled her cool composure, but she fought to keep it in check. She smiled again, and brought her hands around front of her to wring them worriedly across each other in a nervous habit. “Never really thought I’d be back this way,” she admitted with a nervous chuckle. “Hopefully the man I’m working for wasn’t lying when he said he’d know when I arrived.” She didn’t want to go marching up to the gates to try explaining herself to the guards. She had every expectation that they would laugh at the audacity of the offer given to her and turn her away. She adjusted the placement of the amethyst ring on her finger and glanced again sidelong at Nako, asking as a distraction, “By the way, what made you buy the anklet?” Of course, she could technically call it hers now. She could feel it with every step, a constant reminder of this wolf’s unexpected and incomprehensible generosity, and he sure wasn’t wearing it around his ankle. It was a funny thought though, and she grinned, feeling a little eaiser, as she watched and waited for Nako’s response.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mariana Gaele Odellis Character Portrait: Nako Hawthorne

0.00 INK

#, as written by Ralon
The reveal to Gaele that he wasn't a lycan easily changed the look on the woman's face from what he took as playful curiosity to that of confusion. He found it just as strange that there were another strain of wolf people who wielded magic as easily as they breathed air. Both of them would appear to have learned something new then, both remaining quiet at the lessened strides carried them along up the street. A group of elves emerged from a shop and made their were past them, Nako ignoring the curious stares as the tree folk were left behind. Gaele spoke of how important his mission sounded and the wolf wanted nothing more than to scoff at such a notion. "I hope so to." Nako found himself suddenly tense at the bare notion that the queen wouldn't accept. Mission failed. All for nothing. His land would struggle on by itself.

Nako felt his ears perk up as she spoke with the hope that there was a possibility that her employer would expect her arrival. Magic no doubt, though he was cruise as to why Gaele mentioned that she didn't expect to be up at the castle again. The wolf didn't voice the question as to why and looked behind him to tug on the reins when he felt them go taught. A blue eye saw the ring upon her finger, their eyes meeting as she turned again to look at him. Gaele's question earned a smile from the wolf and he couldn't help but give a single wag of his tail. "I wanted to get a feeling for how grateful the population is with gifts." Nako lied. "As I can then judge my own kind when they receive their own should the meeting go well. And before our winter." A curt nod was given to Gaele. He didn't want to tell her that it was because he was just spending money to get back at the folk how put him here in the first place, of that maybe he found her a bit less overbearing than the tall elves as was a different face than he was used to in the city. Perhaps he'd tell her the true reason some time of they ever saw one another at an inn or beside a forest side fire. The wolf honestly didn't know where he would want to stay after this night. The forest outside of Skysong city would offer some refuge, sustenance. A place to remind him of home until he could return from where he came.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mariana Gaele Odellis Character Portrait: Nako Hawthorne

0.00 INK

#, as written by Mouser
He smiled. The change seemed to ripple through him almost disarmingly, giving the tall, stoic stranger a suddenly unexpected friendliness, even a softness. His tail even wagged, which surprised her though she considered that it really shouldn’t have—he was, she knew now, more wolf than human—and Gaele’s own smile brightened as he did. The answer he supplied her with, odd as it was, made her laugh with a quick, amused chuckle. Our gratefulness? Surely if he’d given the anklet to someone else, there was no telling what results he would have gotten. Maybe I’m a bad person to test that on, the human woman thought silently, taking into consideration her bias for jewelry and finery. But she’d gotten a new piece of jewelry out of it, something that she likely wouldn’t have thought to purchase for herself, so there really wasn’t much to complain about.

From the way he spoke, it sounded as if him being received by the queen was going to be equal to something like a gift for his kingdom, though Gaele for the life of her couldn’t comprehend it. Politics had never really been her strong suit, and the horrible conditions in Argohahn had left her with a sour taste about everything related to it. Nako sounded much more involved and even more knowledgeable, but it was still not quite enough to overcome her dislike of the political subject. But the people, however, did intrigue her, as did the not-Lycan strolling along beside her. “Why shouldn’t they be grateful if things here go well?” she asked, seeing no reason for him to receive anything but a positive reception if he was able to complete his mission in full. Wasn’t that the whole point of missions, to complete them and return home successful?

“If they’re ungrateful, you shouldn’t do anymore things for them,” she added matter-of-factly, though even as she reflected on her words Gaele saw a hole in her logic. There weren’t always times when there was an opportunity to say no. She’d seen as much back home inside the Argohahnian kingdom under the rule of their mad king. Disliking the route her mind had taken, feeling her mood dampen even so gently brushing upon the topic, she tried again to change it. “Well…regardless, I am grateful,” the human clarified, repeating herself but feeling it necessary. “You didn’t have to get me anything, but you did. And without asking for any repayment. It was very generous of you.” She smiled again and resisted the urge to lift her skirts as she walked so that she could see the anklet glittering against her ankle with each step, but even here in the quiet before the gate it felt too open and exposed of a place for it. She’d have to wait until she was inside somewhere. Until I’m in my room. Wonder what that will be like…

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mariana Gaele Odellis Character Portrait: Nako Hawthorne

0.00 INK

#, as written by Ralon
Gaele took his answer with a laugh that quickly died off. If anything the human had received the anklet with what he took for hidden fascination and excitement. It would be a far different reaction overseas should food and material start flowing across to Amaksar. Codependency in every aspect and some would think, Nako included, that a country must rely on itself. And if need be wither away and did as fruit does on a vine. But no, the message tube in his horse's saddlebag carried only a temporarily solution to the war ravaged land. The wolfs new friend however was still curious, and her questions struck a sensitive enough nerve that caused him to stop in the pairs trek even as she thanked him for the anklet. His ice blue eyes hardened slightly at the thought. There would be no punishment from voicing such an opinion here, fangs flashing as he growled the very reason as to why the royalty who sent him shouldn't be grateful. "Because Gaele, the ones who ordered me weren't the ones to send their troops north where the war was. They weren't the ones to see their friends lined up in the snow after a battle to see all the faces that are now buried." Nako paused. Remembering the real reason as to why he was forced to come here. Remembering the awful truth as to why he couldn't fail. "Because they have my family." It was spoken with a whisper. The only sounds he heard were his paws clicking on the stone of the street and the hoofs of his horse. If he could he'd give the damn plea tonight to save himself another night in their city he would. To be reminded that those who ruled didn't always care for the ones under them as he stepped ever closer to the keep.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mariana Gaele Odellis Character Portrait: Nako Hawthorne

0.00 INK

#, as written by Mouser
Unaware of the effect her words had on Nako, Gaele’s attention turned back toward the castle gates that continued to throw long shadows in their direction. The whole setting felt slightly more ominous at this hour, and the guards currently posted, dressed in the formal military attire of the Serenian kingdom, were far more intimidating than they needed to be. In the back of her mind, she heard again the promise she’d made to the queen, of securing work for herself that was respectable and decent. She was close, but had there been anything offered to her that would convince these people of her almost-employment? The human woman avoided looking at any one guard directly, trying not to attract any more attention than she already was traveling straight for the castle gates, and tried making it less obvious by returning her attention to the wolf man traveling with her.

It was then she realized he’d stopped. He was a few paces behind, and there was a new darkness that warped his expression into something cold, something very near frightening. A little seed of cold fear bloomed in her gut, and her uneasy expression fell even more worrisome. Did I say something? It wasn’t exactly out of character for her to be a little blunt with her words, but he hadn’t exactly struck her as the type to get hung up on rules or conventions. He’d bought her, a perfect stranger, jewelry, after all. Gaele wrung her hands again, swallowing back her nerves as she prepared herself to offer an apology, and said nothing as his growling voice explained the conditions around his mission. It didn’t quite make as much sense as it could have, but she managed to catch the gist of it. Whoever was in charge remained lofty and above everything, moving everyone else about as insignificant, replaceable pawns. And they had his family.

Shock caused her mouth to gape, and as she realized it Gaele closed it quietly, words entirely abandoning her. What was there to say? There wasn’t anything she could say that would make what happened remotely better, nothing she could say to encourage or harden him to his plight. She didn’t know anything regarding to conditions to this underhanded means of control, and it fueled a sudden burst of anger in her. She’d lived through enough hardships back in Argohahn to know how helpless and defeated one could feel when someone abused their power, but even in this she recognized she’d never had it hit so close to home. Nako walked again, and silently Gaele fell into step beside him, still lost in this new revelation.

At length she made herself speak. Glancing up at him, studying him for a moment in the evening light, she said somberly, “I’m sorry, Nako.” There was a pause as she looked away, sharply shook her head a little at how unfair the events of life could be, and added heatedly under her breath, “It shouldn’t be that way.” She felt something of the same rebellious spirit that had provoked her into joining her father in banditry flare up again, but more uselessly this time. She didn’t know the first thing of the conditions in Nako’s land, was likely of no help with her minimal skills, and had too much going for her here to abandon it so quickly. She sighed, trying to extinguish that spark of rebellion in her, and let the rest of her angered thoughts go unsaid. “I really hope this meeting goes well for you,” she remarked, her tone carrying lingering traces of unrest but overall sincere. She’d managed to fall into a very lucky seat here in Serenia. Maybe the same could happen for him and his kingdom.