Darkness Unknown

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Kaisaan, Oct 21, 2013.

  1. The city of Estiell glowed with red and silver hues in the light of the triple suns, warming land that nearly froze over at night. The world was waking up again after the short night, ready for a long day and the city woke with it. Ships zoomed through the sky, racing and gliding around the spiraling, crystal towers that reached for the pale purple sky. They expertly avoided the many innumerable walkways that connected thousands of buildings together, suspended hundreds of feet above the ground below.

    The Tirizan population hardly seemed aware of the danger of falling, crowds of them going about their business, some even walking upside down across the walkways as their biocs and techries allowed. They were the rulers of this world and had been for nearly a hundred years. By sweat and blood they'd conquered this land for their own after fleeing a home world that no longer wanted them and they walked upon this one with confidence.

    Another race walked partway beside them, but never truly with them; the Nuathal. They were a gentle-natured, compliant, simple-minded race with gray or green colors. They stood about seven feet tall, far above their Tirizan counterparts, and they walked on six, spider-like legs, and had four arms with two fingers and a thumb on each hand. Their skin was leathery to look at and yet smooth like marble and their chests were translucent, showing their internal organs and their heart especially as it lied in the middle of their torso and was quite large. They looked like a fearsome species, but hardly fought and when this world had been taken over, they'd surrendered rather quickly, wanting nothing to do with war. They now behaved as something akin to servants to the Tirizan and they were left in peace so long as they served.

    Another native race to this world, however, had not complied with the new arrivals a hundred years ago. The Aavan were a shape-shifting species, greatly resembling a species in the Milky Way Galaxy called 'humans' but they also took after another species called a 'dragon'. It was up in the air which species had come around first; the Aavan or the Dragon, but it wasn't important either.

    The Aavan had fought the Tirizan in a war that lasted nearly twenty-five years, but the native race had lost their freedom...but not their fighting spirit. It was for that reason - and the lack of ways for the two races to communicate as they still didn't or wouldn't speak the other's language - that the Aavan became worse than slaves to the Tirizan. They were a powerful species and not prone to submitting to orders unless trained from a very, very young age; young enough that they didn't know their own culture and nearly forgot their own species. The acceptable age to take an Aavan into training to be a guard or a loyal 'hound' so to speak, stopped at seven. After that, their minds were too hard to break to anyone's will.

    So it was that most Aavan were kept as exotic, dangerous pets, always caged and there for the entertainment and status symbol of their owners. Others, though, were bought, forced and conditioned to fight in the arenas. Starved and abused to the point of barely remembering their own names, they were pitted against their own kind for the thrill of the masses that watched. Such a life was a horrifying tale for the rebel Aavan who managed to stay in hiding, hunted mercilessly by the Tirizan.

    It was at the auctions that such fates of Aavan already captured were decided. Outside the city, on a great hover-platform, a place nearly as large as the city itself, a facility was stationed. This was where Aavan went for training and for selling. Kept in great cages made of green electricity charged by powerful techry, with smaller crystals surgically implanted inside their bodies to control their powers, great dragon-like creatures paced or roared, slept or simply stared out at those that passed them by, lifelessness in their eyes. There were hundreds of cages at this particular sale today as it was a holiday - Princess Senzra's birthday - and many were interested in the new stock. A few young Aavan had been captured just the week before and there were a few uncommon specimens here as traders from all over had come to sell. The most common type of Aavan were the reds and golds, good for the arenas. The greens and whites came after them, expensive creatures that usually went as pets and then the oranges, purples and browns followed in the pecking order. They were hard to come by, hard to catch and hard to train. Only those who were truly invested in this business bought them. Blue Aavan were the rarest, but today there were three of them and only the wealthiest bought them.

    It wasn't the blue Aavan that Tirizan had come to see, though. It wasn't any of those colored species that had drawn the Royal Family themselves out here. No, it was the auction of a black Aavan that had drawn the crowds. Such a creature had never been seen until a few years ago and his power was unlike any other Aavan's. He wasn't kept in a electrified cage because that was his power. No surgical crystal worked on him as his power fried it before it could take affect and so he was kept in a more primitive form of restraint; vibranium chains fused with a sentient lifeform that could change its shape to match that which it had captured. Whether the black Aavan shifted to his dragon-like form or his humanoid one, the chains around his wrists and neck didn't come off. Normally he was kept in a restriction collar, too, to keep him in his smaller form, but today his handlers wanted him to show off. It would bring buyers and they needed it. After seven years and various owners who found they couldn't handle him, they needed the money. The only collar around his neck today was a power inhibitor, an 'ancient' one as far as technology went, but it was working for now as it kept his flares of lightning from jumping off his body and hurting anyone.

    At the moment the crowds were being kept back from the black creature as he lunged toward them with a bloodcurdling snarl, chains snapping taunt and his tail snapping the air as his violet eyes watched the hundreds gathered before his enclosure with rage. His roar seemed to rumble like thunder itself and Aavan around him, in their cages, answered before being quieted by their own handlers. His didn't bother as his noise only attracted more buyers who'd come to see the rarest Aavan called 'Thunder'.
    #1 Kaisaan, Oct 21, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2013
  2. The light streamed gently into Senzra's room. Flooding the room gradually with red and silver hues rather than the sudden and blaring burst she had become accustomed to. It took her a second to realize she was in her room, the room she had grown up in, rather than back at the university. Last night was the first time she had slept at home for quite a while. And today was going to be a good day. Ever since she had finished her training, her parents had insinuated the possibility of a grand graduation and birthday gift. It hadn't taken her very long to come to a decision. She wanted her own Aavan. Certainly, they were dangerous, and if she wanted to see any in the arena or otherwise, she could easily ask the royal trainers, but that wasn't the same as owning one.

    It didn't take her long to go from waking to slipping into her celebration clothes, a new set of pants and vest made for her birthday. Gentle indigo hues danced across the room when the sunlight danced off the opaque crystal cloth. And though she would never admit it out loud, it felt good to wear such luxurious clothes again rather than the medical armor she had spent the last couple of months in. A crystal hat had been laid out beside it as recent fashion included tall hats shaped around the hair-vines, but she had grown too used to being able to see using her hair-vines and encasing them in a hat would effective make her feel half-blind. True, she had had that bioc augmentation to enhance her medical training, but it hadn't taken her long to realize how useful they were otherwise.

    Breakfast was another welcome change. It was a grand feast in comparison to even just the day before, but she knew it wouldn't even compare to the actual feast that would be held in the evening. It would be a grand evening, and her new Aavan would be on display. For a long time, she hadn't settled on the color, but news of a black Aavan on the market made up her mind. That was the one she wanted even though she had heard the less than pleasant stories that surrounded it. And it was due to those stories that she hadn't spoken to her parents on the subject yet. She had a sneaking suspicious that they would try to dissuade her and wasn't looking forward to that argument. If in public, though, there was the chance they would acquiesce as to maintain image and the mood of the day.

    It was in high-spirits that she and her family stepped out of the ship and onto the auction's hover-platform. That she would be purchasing an Aavan was well known, having spun around the rumor mill for a while, and she had made prior arrangements to have her choice of Aavan open the auctions today. The auction owner had met them there and led them down the aisle of the most gorgeous and healthy Aavan. Had she not already determined what she wanted, it was quite possible she would have selected the first blue or purple she saw. Though her eyes were on the Aavan, it did not escape her attention that everywhere they went, the crowd just seemed to melt away even without the help of the four blue Aavan guards that accompanied them.

    Their approach to the mass of Tirizans was met by a thunderous roar, not from their people, but from the black one itself. The rumble seemed to echo across the auction from caged Aavans around her. The ferocity with which the Aavan launched forward before the chains went taunt phased her, though she did her best not to let it show. And the way the lightning rippled across his body was enchanting.

    Her eldest brother, Lavorus, elbowed her. "Uplink, sis," he muttered. Sheepishly, she lifted the mental block to take part in her family's thoughts. While at the university, she had kept them locked down, afraid that anyone might try to steal her family's secrets, and that had become her standard. Now, though, she was amongst her family, and close enough that no information could leak. She had spent far too long apart from them.

    "Close your mouth," Lavorus chided.

    "That's the one, isn't it?" her father, Isfandiar questioned -- no, stated. Mentally, she agreed, and her shock at the lack of admonishment also leaked. In return, she felt her father's amusement. In that moment, she realized that this was the one her parents had been hoping she would choose. Of course her parents would be interested in the black Aavan. Perhaps she should have been more surprised by the fact the black Aavan had escaped the family's grasp for so long. She could be the one to conquer it. It didn't seem so impossible. She had, after all, spent a good deal of time looking into alternate methods to encode crystals that wouldn't be so susceptible to electricity. None of the research on that topic had been solidified and often caused the bearer pain, but if it was just a suppression crystal for an Aavan, who cared?

    Senzra looked around the auction crowd, wondering how many had thought they might lay claim to the black Aavan. It didn't matter though, she thought to herself as she stared at the black Aavan. It would be hers.

    "This one. I'd like to purchase this one."
    #2 Shavynel, Oct 21, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2013
  3. He hated them. Hated the way they watched him and pointed, hated the desire to possess him in their gaze. He hated the words that flowed from their lips because he could understand them. They didn't know it. They thought his race lacked the ability to speak their tongue, that they couldn't learn, that they were nothing but a creature somewhere between animal and sentient. They were wrong, but he didn't dare show it. Not yet. He'd endured this torture for seven years and could endure yet a little more if it would get him closer to his sister.

    Asesee. He'd been three when she was taken, but he still remembered. He remembered everything, always as did all his kind and he knew he'd find her. He just had to be patient. He'd let himself be captured, had walked into this hell knowing what he was getting into...he could do something so simple as wait.

    That didn't mean he had to be happy while he did, though, and when he heard the voice in the crowd, keen ears picking up the words he knew would come, Moridryn's violet eyes snapped to the dusky blue Tirizan in complete understanding and when he next lunged it was directly for her, chains snapping taunt before he could even remotely do any harm. He roared again, the sound even deeper than before, savage and wild as lightning arched off his body and hit a techry, making the thing explode with a sharp popping sound. Someone in the crowd cried out in fear and the auctioneers started to steer people clear of the near vicinity as the green shield around his enclosure sputtered, faded and then died.

    The black Aavan didn't move then, going eerily still and quiet, nothing but his black tail moving as it curled through the air. His blazing eyes were still focused on the female who had claimed she was going to purchase him and he let out a low, rumbling snarl at her, his head lowering like he would strike if he could. The chains prevented it even as those who worked on the shields scrambled to get them back up all the while actually afraid of the Aavan who couldn't possibly reach them.

    Moridryn growled. Good. Let them fear him if it kept them away. Now if only he could get this female to leave as well. He didn't WANT another handler, another master. What he wanted was to be deemed so nonredeemable that they were forced to just leave him be on display somewhere. It would be easier to get out that way! Damn this Tirizan. Why couldn't she realize she DIDN'T want him?

    He snarled again in frustration and slammed his tail against the ground, thrashing against the chains that held him, knowing he couldn't get away, but not caring as anger and fear spread through him.

    He could endure this, but he didn't want to anymore.
    #3 Kaisaan, Oct 22, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2013
  4. Senzra's arms crystallized and raised to protect herself when the lightning arched off his body.

    "Ah yes," the auction owner replied, as soon as it was quiet enough to hear above the rumble, "This one we call Thunder. He is one of a kind. I might suggest stepping back a moment while we fix the shield?"

    "He can't reach us here," she responded, having already seen just how far the Aavan could reach.

    "As you wish, Princess."

    Strangely, it was when there was no shield that the Aavan decided to go quiet. In no manner was it a docile quiet, though. That Aavan was clearly displeased. Its -- no, his -- eyes glared into her own, seemingly suggesting that it understood she meant to be its next owner. A strong hand would be needed with this one, but even then, it would be dangerous. Perhaps chains would keep him from tearing her room apart, but she couldn't shake the image of a stray arc of lightning exploding a crystal off her skin. That wouldn't happen, though, she had crystals of the best ratings. At worst, it would scramble her power, not that that image was much more pleasant.

    Maybe if she lined its cage with lightning rods. The rods protected their homes from storms, channeling the lightning into the ground, so why couldn't the same be done for the Aavan? Certainly, there would be a bit more work than for the usual cage or the usual rod, but it would be worth it. No one, especially not an Aavan, denied the Royal Family anything. It would probably take some time before she could have him on display, but that wouldn't make him any less of a prized possession.

    "Thunder," she muttered. There was no denying the name fit with the way he rumbled. Maybe all black Aavans did, but she would own the only one.

    You are certain about this, Estari, her mother asked with the conflicted concern only a parent could have. Senzra needed no words to express her resolution. We will go to discuss the price, then. And with that, her parents went off with the auctioneer to discuss the matters further. She had the feeling they would walk away with a settled price rather than an auction. First, they no doubt had the means to pay whatever price. Second, being in the Royal Family's good graces was never a bad thing.

    "He's going to keep you occupied a good long while," Lavorus bantered.

    "And won't it just kill you to know that he's mine and not yours?" she returned. "You'll have a good home with me," she jokingly promised the Aavan, "Not like with him."

    Her brother snorted. "You say that as though a loving home and a pile of cushions is going to placate this monster."

    "You just wait." Surely, the Aavan scramble still worked on him if she could get close enough, and she would definitely have the lightning rods as a cage theory tested. And those were simply temporary solutions before she came up with the ultimate crystal composition to have him caged and suppressed proper. Yes, she was a bit intimated by the task ahead, but once accomplished, she would have made a name for herself. Who needed being next in line to rule?
  5. They weren't really paying attention to him, but if they had been, the two Royals would have seen Mori's eyes going from one sibling to the other as they spoke, following the conversation. Their words made him feel sick and cold inside and the Aavan growled low even as his body started to shrink. The chains clanked and rattled, but never came off as his form grew at least three times smaller than he had been before, front legs turning into arms, hands, fingers, neck growing shorter and muzzle retracting. Black hair replaced feathered-ridge and light skin replaced scales in most places.

    Mori stood there for a long moment, dressed in a simple black pants and a gray shirt - it was all he or any Aavan could maintain when they went humanoid again - and he pierced both Tirizan with violet eyes just as fierce in this form as his larger one. He'd always found that this form made his handlers much more uncomfortable than his larger one did. It was as if they could almost realize that he wasn't the dumb animal they thought he was, but it never lasted long. Still, if it made even one person rethink what they were doing, it was worth it to him to feel the heavy weight of the collar around his neck and the chains around his wrist in this form as well.

    To make a point, he flashed his fangs and growled low and deep at the female. He was still dangerous in this form, too, and lightning crackled over his arms before he absorbed it completely and simply turned away, determined to ignore them both now as he went back against the wall and slide down the side, keeping his knees up and his forearms resting on them, head tilted back and toward the purple sky.

    Stars, how he longed to fly again.

    Mori whimpered softly as the mere thought caused a painful ache in his chest and his head snapped up and his body to attention when he spotted the transport ship coming. He snarled and stood, his form growing far more rapidly than he'd shrunk as handlers started to flood his cage with scramblers, primitive sedatives that seemed to work better on him than advanced technology and what looked to be fire-prods as the electric ones didn't work.

    The black Aavan roared in fury at them as they advanced and for the next half-hour they had to fight every step of the way to get him properly tranquilized and loaded aboard the ship that would be taking him to his new hell.
  6. As the Aavan shrunk, Senzra continued to keep her eyes on him. It wasn't until he slunk away and her parents returned from making the deal that she looked away. In their near-Tirizan form, it was easier to interpret emotion, not that it was terribly difficult to detect an angry dragon. Perhaps when she was younger, she would feel uncomfortable around Aavan in their smaller form, but she had long since shed that sensitivity. The Komerre had many guard Aavans that wandered in either form not to mention their arena Aavan were trained both as humanoid and dragon. There was, however, that look of longing. She could have withstood the anger much better.

    Once the deal was concluded, the Royal Family headed home. It would be the auction's responsibility to transport the Aavan to them, and there were many preparations to be made before the Aavan arrived. While en route, she had already uplinked to the general hive-mind, bringing general cheer to the population with her mental presence and ordering the necessary parts for the temporary display cage and the permanent one to be delivered to the castle. She had also contacted some researchers to work on an updated power inhibitor collar, one that could completely squash his lightning power without any techries. But that wouldn't be arriving for at least a week if not a month. And even then, the lightning was what made him exciting. It was better to have the collar just in case, but ideally, she would find some other way to make him docile.

    By the time they arrived, the display cage was nearly completed. Though it looked small in the corner of the vast courtyard, it was actually even larger than the one in the auction. Rather than having rigid anchors for the chains, metal bars were installed, allowing chains to slide along and give the Aavan some more movement. Some were working on testing the shield and each of their back up crystal, just in case the Aavan managed to explode one of them tonight. Others were driving lightning rods into the ground right inside the shield with wire mesh stretching in between. Detectors were spaced right inside the rods and between the rods and shield to determine whether or not any arcs had escaped.

    This was where the Aavan would be kept until the cage in her sitting room could be finished and it would double as a testing ground for cage designs. In an ideal world, he could be kept with just a collar -- no cage or chains -- but she knew she was a fool if she believed that would be achievable by the end of the night. By the end of the week, she hoped she could remove the chains for a cage-and-collar set up, but even that was most likely stretch.

    The festival itself was grand. Along the border of the courtyard, tables had been set up for dining. A Nuathal would appear to serve food as soon as one was seated. In the center, there was a hover-platform for dancing spinning with little elevator pods to bring people up and down. Blue and purple floating crystal lotuses filled the place with a nice soft light. While a few golden ones here and there accented the place. Upbeat music kept the party energetic, though off of the dance platform, it was always quiet enough to hold a decent conversation.

    She spent the majority of her time split between the food and the dancing, graciously accepting anyone that asked a round of her until she was so exhausted she needed a break. It seemed every other minute, someone was congratulating her on her graduation or her new Aavan while others asked what she had planned next. To the question, she answered that she was taking some time to relax and perhaps take some time off to travel. Truth be told, there were probably more politics to be helped with than she actually cared for and likely little time for an actual vacation. Those questions, though, stopped midway through when she gave a speech, thanking everyone for attending, introducing Thunder, the black Aavan, and announcing her immediate plans. After that, plenty of powerful families and corporations invited her to visit, and to each she politely responded that she would keep it in mind when she started making concrete plans.

    When the festivities were finally winding down, she finally went to visit her Aavan for the first time that night. In part, it was because she wanted to see how the lightning rods had done and whether the detectors had picked up any stray arcs. But she also wanted to know just what she had bought. He was a mystery, and it could not be said that Senzra was one to be contented with curiosity unsatisfied. She braced herself for the approach, readying herself for whatever form he decided to take and whatever rage or despair he decided to present. She had seen what destruction he could wreck at the auction, but had also seen how he had been limited. And while the cage was not fully tested, it was at least on par if not better than the auction's construction.

    Senzra stopped right outside the shield. "Hello." Her voice was pleasant and calming, though it was not without the condescending one used with a small child or pet. "Looks like we'll be together for a while. Me and you."
  7. He'd woken chained again, still in his large form and in a new environment. Mori had wasted no time in studying the new elements in his cage, stretching as far as the chain would allow as he took in the many techries that had been installed in the hopes that his lightning would not take them all out. He nearly smirked at that, but left them alone and instead brought his attention to the lightning rods. Well, those were new. Testing what they could do, he purposely drew the willpower he could muster and shot a bolt at them, watching in fascination as the lightning sparked and rippled along the mesh wiring before it went into the earth, scorching the ground, but keeping the power contained. The black Aavan drew his head back, tilting it. Hmm...that was inconvenient.

    His glorified cage investigated to his satisfaction, Moridryn looked beyond, taking in the surroundings outside the green shielding. He snorted, far from impressed. Just another pampered, rich, spoiled mistress. Only this one had some intelligence. Wonderful. Entirely displeased with the situation, Mori went back into a corner of his enclosure and for the rest of the party....he slept. He knew enough to know that during the celebration, whatever it was for, he wouldn't be bothered. Sure, people would come to gawk, but he'd find a great deal more satisfaction giving them nothing to look at than sending himself into a frothing fury over being able to do nothing.

    He vaguely heard his name announced through his doze, but didn't even look up, slipping his head around behind his tail and his wings over his head and neck. He might as well have been a great black rock, no lightning arcing off him and definitely no sound unless one counted his deep breathing. He hoped it was a great disappointment to those who'd wanted to get a good look at him. Heartless snakes the lot of them.

    Mori was awake when Senzra came to his cage, but he stayed as was until she spoke and then his wings unfurled, folded against his back and he lifted his head, staying where he was. As far away from her as possible. Oh, he wasn't scared, but he'd learned that staying away from those who owned him was better for his health than getting close. Some thought he was coming around, could be tamable and they redoubled their efforts while others got cocky, he hurt them and then he was in turn sent through agony. No, keeping distance was wise. His violet eyes met her amber ones and an eye-ridge rose high in an expression that anyone with a brain, who was actually paying any attention, would be able to clearly interpret as 'And your point is?'

    He could have answered her, spoken her tongue, but Mori hadn't said one word to any Tirizan in the seven years he'd been captured and he wasn't going to start now for this spoiled child.
  8. He was majestic, there was no denying that. Even slunk far away with no rumbling roar or aggressive lunge, one could still sense the latent power he had. Maybe the novelty would wear off eventually, but she loved the way his wings unfurled lazily. She got the feeling he was judging her as much as she was him. What sort of owner was she? Well, that depended on what sort of pet he would be.

    The look he gave her was, well, not what she expected. It was definitely not happy obedience (although, she hadn't expected that, either) or quiet defiance or overt rage or deep despair. No, it seemed to suggest he was bored of her presence. "Well, aren't you the amusing one," she remarked, before looking down to see that he had scorched the earth around the lightning rods. That must have been before the guests had arrived or perhaps while she had been dancing? In any case, she hadn't noticed it when it happened. "Looks like you've tested out your new home," she commented with satisfaction, examining the closest one outside of the rods and noting that it still read zero. That brought a smile to her face. How no one else had thought of this was surprising, but a slight victory nonetheless.

    "You'll have a place in my rooms once we get everything settled, but you'll have to stay out here for now," she continued, not that it was much use to speak to Aavan, but while he was dumb, he was nevertheless her pet, and she wanted to make him feel at home, as futile as that was. Someday Aavans would be fully domesticated -- or at least the ones not bought for the arena would be. "It'll be more comfortable there, though maybe less spacious." Maybe he wanted more space and not more comfort, but there was no way of asking. She'd try him in her rooms for a while once those were set up, but in the meantime, she'd gauge how he adjusted to this new environment. So far, it didn't seem too bad. Certainly, he wasn't as enraged as he had been at the auction, but that could easily be because the sedatives had not fully run their course.

    "I'll have some Nuathal feed you and bring you something comfortable for the night." They had installed heating crystals along with the shields. Perhaps she ought to look into having the two capabilities merged. Surely spending the night cold would deter the Aavan from even trying to blast the crystals. But the ground wasn't much comfort. She'd have some cushions, maybe an old comforter or two brought out. The chance of whatever she had delivered being burnt into oblivion was high, but if they lasted through until the transfer, she wouldn't have to leave his future home completely bare.

    But there was only so much talking to a rock that she could handle. Maybe someday he would understand or grow to like her, though both those accounts seemed improbable given the rumors of she had heard of his past.
  9. Okay, this was new.

    He'd never had an owner talk to him before. They talked at him, commented on his looks, his temperament, plans they had for breaking him, things about their own life as if he were just something to listen without having any needs of his own. He'd never had one that spoke to him as if he might actually respond and have an opinion and the Aavan rumbled a low growl that wasn't full of anger so much much as frustrated confusion. He stood at the mention of space and unfurled his wings. They stretched and filled almost half the enclosure and when he gave them a great flap, his front feet rose into the air before he came down again with a solid thud, chains rattling.

    He wanted more space. Hell, he wanted his freedom.

    Violet eyes looked into Senzra's amber ones then, wondering just how smart SHE was, how well she could learn to read HIS body language and signals. They were there. EVERY Aavan had them, but most Tirizan were too full of themselves and their own desires to take note. Or they took note and then wanted to experiment. It sickened Mori and he didn't like taking this chance with his new mistress, but he already knew the worst that could happen, had endured it, so he wasn't all that scared, just wary.

    His head tilted, tongue snaking out at the mention of food, but it was actually the Nuathal he was more interested in and when he saw the creature approaching - the alien already knowing what it's duty would be without being asked - he stepped forward to the end of the chain and the six-legged alien went through the shields as if they didn't exist, climbing over the metal rods after it had given the Princess a bow of respect. Once in the cage, the alien approached the Aavan without fear and Mori bent his head, letting four different hands touch his muzzle. A shudder went through his entire body, and his wings sagged, retracting back to his body as he laid down, looking content as a cat as the female Nuathal stroked his head and crooned to him in his native tongue.

    "Easy, dark child. It's not as bad as all that."

    The black Aavan snorted. "I'm a prisoner. I don't see how there is anything worse than that." He closed his eyes again as the Nuathal's hands started to glow, feeling the alien's mind connect with his own as he opened up to her, consciousness' touching, light being shared between the two until a low, rumbling sound started to come from Moridryn's chest. It was a purr and the Nuathal, her name was Engel, laughed in her chirping way.

    "You are strong for one who has not bonded in some time. I do sense a sickness in you still, though. I will tell my mistress of it."

    Mori didn't seem to hear as his mind had already started to drift back into a true sleep, feeling safe in a way he'd only get to feel for a few precious hours until the full effect of the bond faded. Engel sighed a bit in a gurgle and laid two hands on his nose gently. "It's not so bad here, dark child. You'll see."
    #9 Kaisaan, Oct 22, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2013
  10. In response to the bow, Senzra gave the Nuathal an acknowledging nod. "See to his needs. And if there's anything you can't provide, find me. I'll be in my rooms." But even after saying so, she stayed to watch the Nuathal climb over the mesh fearlessly. It was a good thing the Aavan didn't snap too hard at the Nuathals. Senzra would have hated to see more Tirizan than necessary hurt in the process of caring for them. She would have thought that after being in captivity for so long, the Aavans -- or at least those that became pets rather than arena fighters -- might realize how futile it was to resist, but it seemed not to be the case. It was just another example of how unreasonable the creatures were.

    Senzra waited until that moment when the Aavan went from tense to relaxed before leaving. It was something she had seen before when she was younger and had time to just sit among the Aavan cages. That the fierce black Aavan would react the same way was, well, in some ways a relief. Their assumptions about cage design had been challenged, but so far, it seemed the rest of caring for the Aavan still held true.

    Her rooms occupied what was most easily described as the top two floors of the shortest tower. In reality, the second floor was actually a hover-platform which housed her bedroom, bathroom, and dressing room. The lower floor was actually the top floor of the shortest point in the castle. The hallway there led to her sitting room, which had space enough to hold a small private party comfortably. From there, one could reach the second room, which she intended to convert from her childhood study room into a more legitimate workroom. The Aavan would also reside on the that floor once she had the neighboring guest room renovated and had the separating wall knocked down. All the Royal children's rooms consisted of a hover-platform placed wherever they pleased. Whatever space was below it was always converted into an entrance floor.

    She had meant to retreat to the second level, to change into something more comfortable and flop into bed, but Senzra only managed to get as far as the nearest couch. It had been a good day, though a long one. The night's festivities seemed like a day in itself, and that she had went to the auction just earlier that day was almost surprising.

    The only thing troubling her was the Aavan -- the way he had spread his wings and stamped as if he knew she was going to put him in a smaller space. She was certain that he would be able to spread his wings in the new space, which was more than could be said for the cages they kept some of the arena Aavan in. Senzra knew she ought to get up and actually go to bed. The crystal cloth was prone to wrinkles, and sleeping in it would almost certainly introduce enough creases to ruin the outfit. Plus, from there, she would be able to see the courtyard where Thunder was. But the couch was comfortable, or at least more so than her bed at the university. It really was good to be home.
  11. The night had been warm enough and the black Aavan had left the heating crystals alone, knowing better than to disrupt something that was actually rather important to regulate his body temperature at night. Normally his kind would have gone underground, to the heat pools under the earth, but above ground now and kept here always in cages, the heat crystals helped keep the chill away. So it was that Moridryn woke without the sluggish half-hour period that he'd been subject to for the last few months while he'd been waiting to be sold again. It was a nice feeling, he would admit, but that didn't mean unhappiness didn't immediately take over when he remembered his surroundings.

    Growling in displeasure, his only bright moment at the beginning of this day was seeing the Nuathal coming to feed him. They didn't speak all that much, but their presence was welcome nonetheless and Mori ate when they'd left, seeing no reason to refuse as that would prove nothing. It wasn't an hour later, though, that he threw the meat right back up. Heaving and retching, his form shifted, shrank until he was on hands and knees, trembling from the after affects.

    Engel was at his side soon and other Nuathal had immediately come to clean up the mess, but Mori didn't much take note of them, leaning into the female Nuathal with a whimper. She ran her two fingers through his hair and shushed him softly. "Shh, dark child. I will speak with the mistress. She is skilled in the healing arts." A shudder followed by tremors was the answer to that information before Mori spoke. "What is wrong with me?"

    This was not the first time he'd done this and while it was usually after a bonding with a Nuathal, sometimes it was not and he didn't understand what was causing it when most times he felt perfectly fine. Engel warbled softly, sounding unsure about speaking at all and she shook her head, heart beating rapidly in her translucent chest. "I will speak to mistress of it. She will help you." It was the only answer she would give him before she left Mori and the black-haired Aavan moved into a corner and curled up. He wanted to cry, but would not allow himself to. He was an Aavan. He was stronger than this and these Tirizan would not break him.

    Outside the shield, Engel watched the male, concerned and truly afraid. She knew this sickness. It was not a good sickness, not easily cured and the fact that the black Aavan - the only black Aavan - had it frightened her very much indeed. So she stayed by the shield and would remain thus stationed until Senzra came out to see her pet and she could speak with her.
    #11 Kaisaan, Oct 24, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2013
  12. The next day found Senzra still on the couch. She had managed to shrug the vest off and fling it over the side, but her pants were most likely ruined. That was too bad, but it wasn't too huge a loss. While that had been her most elaborate new outfit, a half dozen had been made for her return home, and that was just a stopgap before she had time to choose her own designers and tailors to outfit her. Which, really, she needed to ask her sisters about or perhaps invite her old ladies-in-waiting back for their opinions. She had let them go discover their own lives as she had done, though they had stayed in touch. Now that she was back in the castle, maybe they were ready to return as well.

    Breakfast was the usual affair with her family, some discussion about the upcoming day's politics, but largely just familial. The only major difference was the insistence that she attended the closed council in the afternoon, but honestly, that was to be expected. She had been away too long and needed to know just what was happening. And of course, there was the gentle chiding to remind her that she was within the castle again, and that meant she was close enough to safely have at least a tendril in the family mind in case anything happened.

    After breakfast, she meant to visit her favorite corners of the castle, but found herself in the courtyard instead, and what she saw was a little disconcerting. The Aavan was in his wingless state, curled up small. Last night, he hadn't seemed exactly thrilled with his new home, but he had looked more relaxed than this. Maybe the warming crystals hadn't worked? Surely, he had to have been fed already. There was a Nuathal standing there as well, so if it were a simple matter, it should have already been seen to.

    "What's wrong?" she asked without any of the usual ceremony that accompanied royalty, but rather, with the investigative manner of a healer.
  13. The Nuathal bowed politely as we expected of her and then spoke calmly, words somewhat disjointed as she could speak the Tirizan language but had never mastered it. Most Nuathal hadn't. "Mistress, the Aavan be sick. It bad sickness. Not body sickness. Is a spirit sickness. The bonds, they not be working. Maybe for long time now." Engel looked back at the male she'd bonded with just last night and the Nuathal felt a deep sadness at seeing the Aavan in such a state. No matter what the Nuathal had chosen to do to ensure their pacifists peoples' survival, they'd never stopped caring for the far more prideful and strong Aavan.

    Four hands clasped before her, Engel addressed Senzra again, sincerely hoping that the smart Princess might know how to help. Many upon many Aavan had died of this 'sickness' and as of yet the Tirizan had not been able to keep them alive for long. "Aavan in wild search long for bond-mate when sickness comes. Sometimes die. Sometimes not. Nuathal can not help this sickness. Our bond not be strong enough."

    In his enclosure, Mori listened closely to the conversation and he felt hopelessness wash over him. He was going to die. If he'd been free....maybe he would have had a chance to find that one being on this world who could bond with him, could satisfy the deep longing in his soul to connect, but here? He saw no chance. He'd done this for nothing. Anger rippled through him quite quickly at that thought. He'd come here to find his sister. He'd endured hell and captivity and slavery to find his sibling and bring her back home, back to his brothers and parents and he was going die here like so many before him!

    His form shifted up again rapidly with the rage of the injustice he felt and Engel made a very calm gesture for Senzra to back up, being respectful of the Princess, but also insistent. It was well she had too as great arcs of lightning struck off Mori as he roared, fighting like mad against his chains, sending the electricity into the rods and earth. Lightning leaped off the mesh wiring, causing the readings on the detectors to spike before the great black Aavan stilled again, head hanging and wings sagging as he heaved for air. He felt the anger drain away as quickly as it had come, leaving him cold and numb and Engel made a slightly worried, distressed sound, watching him.

    "Sickness cause anger, unstable states." Bright green eyes looked into amber ones then, almost hopeful. "Black Aavan rare, special. Can help?"
  14. Senzra stepped back, frowning. Sick? The auction had the audacity to publicize a black Aavan when he would likely die of sickness soon afterwards? To do such to the Royal Family? Maybe the auctioneers thought it was funny, but they certainly wouldn't after she went back to them and gave them a piece of her mind. She felt a warning touch on her mind, a calming notion from her sister, but she cut it off immediately. Engaging the blocking bioc so abruptly that the spinal crystal flashed for a second before the glow suppression could contain it. It did, however, cause her to take a deep breath and reconsider. She had spent too long relying on the active block that she had forgotten to exercise her passive ability, and now they were weakening. Once calmed, she reopened herself to her family. But first, there was the matter on hand.

    She had heard of Aavan dying without relatively frequent Nuathal contact, but hadn't looked into the matter having focused more on Tirizans in school. Perhaps she should have given a thought to that once she had decided she wanted an Aavan. Well, now all she had was a sick Aavan who only went off of animalistic instincts and whatever this Nuathal knew.

    "So you cannot be his bond-mate. Who can? Another Aavan?" she asked the Nuathal. If it was just a matter of purchasing another Aavan, that wouldn't be too big of an issue, though likely, she'd half to have half the wing torn off to make space for two of them, and that meant if she did invite her ladies-in-waiting back, housing them near her would be difficult at best.

    Maybe there was another way. They had been able implant crystals for Aavans before to control their powers and Tirizan had plenty of healing biocs that could be implanted temporarily to heal illnesses. If bonding could be simulated with a crystal, then implanting a healing bioc might work. And if that worked, they wouldn't need a Nuathal, and maybe they could sneak in a supression strain into the crystal as well. Chances were, though, that the Aavan would blast it off himself as soon as he woke up from the implantation. In any case, she couldn't hypothesize too far without more information. Luckily, there was this Nuathal to question. "How does the bonding work? What do you do to him? And how is it different from with a bond-mate?"

    And then there was also the issue of the cage. Apparently the lightning rods and mesh weren't quite enough. It clearly had contained some of it, so maybe another layer would be enough, but too many layers of mesh would effectively make the cage a box, and the point of having a pet was so that she could put him on display. She supposed switching off some of the warming crystals at night as punishment might teach him to contain himself. But if what the Nuathal said was true, punishing him for unstable rage due to a sickness that wasn't his fault seemed unfair.
  15. Engel looked somewhat cautiously at Senzra, unsure whether it was wise to speak with her when she was upset, but she'd been asked a question and it would go worse for her if she didn't answer. Besides, Tirizan were much like Aavan; temperamental. It was something the Nuathal could not understand, but that didn't make it bad. Engel just needed to be careful and she knew how to do that. Shuffling her six legs a bit to get more comfortable, she spoke in the same calm manner as before, eyes on the black Aavan. He'd laid down again, seeming to doze now, though, it also appeared that his scales had gone from their gleaming ebony to a chalky black in a rather alarming and rapid manner.

    It made the Nuathal think of rumors she'd heard, but she was unsure whether to speak of them.

    "Another Aavan, maybe. Not guarantee. Sometimes different creature, sometimes Aavan. No true way to tell." Engel had seen Aavan bond with the four-winged, silver feathered phygraphlin, a creature ten times smaller than the Aavan itself. She'd seen bonds between an Aavan and the giant monoliths that dwelled in the earth. A bond had nothing to do with species, but rather a call of the soul and there was no rhyme or reason to it. The Nuathal knew this, but how to explain it to a Tirizan? Though, the Princess was smart. Maybe she would understand where other Tirizan had not.

    "The bond be of trust. It be of understanding and respect, and fondness. It work when Aavan's mind opens to another and another mind open to Aavan." Engel used one hand to touch her heart where it beat away plainly in her chest and she used another hand to point to Mori. "I give him calm and care, give him light to drive back darkness. I give him reprieve. Bond-mate give him themselves and he give them him. Hope, light, love, trust, strength, thoughts, emotions. All these things and more. Bond-mate take away loneliness and he give bond-mate complete loyalty. Nuathal can not provide this. Aavan might not provide this. Only Moridryn'aKyno know who provide this. He must find."
  16. "Ugh." Well wasn't that troublesome? "But it could be anyone? It's not like there's only one phygraphlin in the world that could be his bond-mate?" Of course, it couldn't be as easy as dragging a blue or a white guard and have that be his bond-mate. And biocs allowed for opening and blocking minds, but they wouldn't provide that sense of hope and love and trust. Maybe she ought to find a way to link him up to the hive-mind. Maybe a Tirizan would work and he'd be able to pinpoint whom and she could ask whoever it was, titled or orphaned, to come live in the castle. But that was unheard of. The Tirizan did not speak of the hive-mind as a mind to any of the other races. They simply referred to it as a network, as if it were something entirely mechanical. Though certainly, it was possible to infer something was up given the fact the Tirizans categorized the related crystals as biocs rather than techries.

    "And of course you can't ask him," she half-muttered to Nuathal, "It couldn't be that easy." And even if the Nuathal could ask him, it wasn't as though the Aavan could respond. She turned to look at the Aavan, but continued to address the Nuathal. "How long can you drive back the darkness? How long do I have to figure something out?"

    She waited for the answer before recovering the steps she had retreated when he had flared. He didn't even look as healthy as he had yesterday. Did the sickness move that fast? Why hadn't it shown in the auction? Had they simply been hiding it? Maybe they had injected him with something yesterday to make him seem more lively. "By the light of the crystal, just tell me. I'd get whoever it was here," she swore to him. But what good was a promise if he couldn't comprehend what she said, and if she couldn't intuit what he needed?

    And wouldn't the presses just have fun if the Aavan died? The jibes they would make about her and how she had just finished medical school only to have the only black Aavan die on her. The medical society would certainly still accept her knowing that Tirizans and Aavans were worlds apart, but the public was often not as reasonable, and general sentiment was hard to change once established. So maybe what she needed was to have a couple of their publicists push on the fact that healers were different depending on their specialty. Just a few articles highlighting famous ones and how they differed ought to do the trick. She could say it was her way of honoring those in her field.
  17. "Mistress, misunderstands. Aavan's bond-mate could be anyone, but only one person." Sure, the bond-mate could be anyone in a crowd, but not anyone period. There was only one person that would fulfill the bond which was why so many Aavan died of the sickness, even those who were free to search as they would. The Nuathal went quiet then and as she wasn't being spoken to while the Princess mumbled to herself. Engel didn't respond even if she knew very well that she could have asked Mori. After all, she'd just told her mistress his name, not that Senzra seemed to have caught it. But she wasn't asked, so the Nuathal said nothing. It was not proper.

    When a question did come, the Nuathal spoke in her assured, calm way, hands clasped before her again and green-hued skin going a few shades lighter in some sadness. "Not long, mistress. Sickness has accelerated." The Nuathal paused for a moment and then did something that wasn't usually characteristic of her species unless they thought there was a very great need for it. She volunteered information without being asked specifically for it. "I hear, mistress, of a rumor many years old that if Aavan find bond-mate close, but not connect, then Aavan get sick faster." What the Nuathal was saying was that Mori's bond-mate could be very, very near to them, but he did not recognize it and so his body was now starting to show the signs his spirit had been exhibiting for a while.

    Mori looked up at the speech directed to him and his violet eyes met Senzra's amber ones with a clear hopelessness in them that had not been there the day before. He watched the Princess for a long moment and then did something he'd not done in seven years, had never thought he'd do, had never wanted to do. But if he was going to die anyway, then why not? Maybe it would teach these arrogant Tirizan a lesson in putting a species they knew nothing about in captivity just because they THOUGHT they weren't intelligent enough.

    "I don't know who it is."

    The words were clear and deep from the large winged body and Moridryn said nothing more before he laid his head down again and folded his wings close to him, tail coming around to curl around his head and neck as he began to shiver, large frame making the ground vibrate.
  18. Maybe the chances weren't so bad after all. If the rumor was true, probably the bond-mate was within the castle, and if not that, probably within the inner city. It was, however, quite counter intuitive that the nearer the Aavan was to the cure, the sicker he would become. It seemed more likely one would become more hopeful the closer one was to a cure.

    Senzra continued to stare at the Aavan, displeased with what she saw. She was half tempted to use her scanner techry on him just to get a read, but what good would that do if she already knew what was wrong with him? And just as she was about to turn to ask the Nuathal if there was any more information, he spoke. Her hair visibly tensed at the sound with the ends flipping up even as she once again engaged her mind block. She really did need to work on her innate blocking more, but ...

    He talked. I saw it. They can talk. Everything I've said, this thing -- boy, man, Aavan -- has understood. Can they all do that? What did he say? He said something. Why haven't any of them said anything until now? Did the Nuathal know about this? Is he reasonable? Why now?

    For a hard, long second, her eyes were glued on him, uncertain as to what to do, but just abruptly as she went from nearly understanding to utterly lost, she spun on her heel and stalked away. A few minutes later, she found that she had walked to one of the crystal caves. While artificial, a mimic of what was on a planet she had never seen, it was calming and that was just what she needed.

    It took her a while before she could focus on the most immediate issue again. She should have stayed rather than let the surprise get the better of her. There were some things that didn't add up that needed clarification. First, how was he supposed to connect? The Nuathal said he would have to search, but suggested he was capable of not connecting while the bond-mate was near. There had also been mention of Moriakino or something like that, and how Thunder would have to find it, whatever it was. Maybe it was a two step ritual, and there was a step that involved some famous shaman or special location before the Aavan could figure out who it was, but that was just a wild hypothesis. The question of how Thunder would know still stood.

    She had to talk to Thunder again or to the Nuathal if for some reason he was incapable of saying more. The issue of intelligent Aavan and how to deal with that remained unresolved, but she knew there would be time for that later. For now, it was the fact that he could communicate that she needed. For him.

    As far as she could tell, there were two options. First, there was letting him go, but if this whole thing had been an act, she was essentially putting the whole castle in danger. Second, there was parading everyone around the castle and inner city in front of him. Assuming he could tell at a glance, it might work, but if the ritual or whatever-it-was of determination needed minutes or hours, that could take them to forever. Not to mention, the large majority of the parade would be Tirizan, and their minds there would be closed to an Aavan.

    When she returned to the Aavan, it was at least a half later. The surprise and uncertainty had left her demeanor, and when she approached his cage again, she was composed, the doctor who was steady, supportive and capable of healing any wound.

    "So," she addressed her patient, "if you were to meet your bond-mate, how would you know? What would you do to find out?"
  19. He watched her go with eyes that didn't care anymore. He'd revealed his biggest secret and the Tirizan had left. Was she going to get more of her kind? Giving orders to have him taken to a lab where they would try to get him to speak again? Had she not cared that he could speak? Would she be back? He didn't know any of the answers and if he was dying, what was the point in caring anyway? He watched with dull interest as Engel came back into his enclosure and the Nuathal touched his nose gently, green eyes both soft and reprimanding. "How long have you been able to do that, dark child?"

    "Ever since I can remember. I always understood them. It didn't take long to learn their tongue as my own."

    The female looked amazed. "You have a gift. A very powerful gift. You should not have remained so silent."

    Mori sighed, a deep rumbling breath that moved the dirt around him into a small cloud of dust. "It doesn't matter now. I wont find my bond-mate and I will die." He closed his eyes, but they sprung open again when Engel struck him on the nose. For a Nuathal it was a rather violent act...even if it had been nothing more than a light swat. "Do not say that! You are special. You have a purpose, that I can see clearly. You know who your bond-mate is. Your spirit knows. Let it speak and listen to it. It will tell you."

    The black Aavan lifted his massive head and tilted it, confused. "How?"

    "You must figure that out on your own. I am not an Aavan that I should know such things. Many of your kind of have said, though, that the bond needs trust. You are drawn to the person you can trust even if you don't yet realize you can trust them. That is all the advice I can give."

    Moridryn nodded his head slowly and the Nuathal nodded back, patting his scales gently before she looked back at the shield and the Princess standing there. She knew her mistress would come back. She was a smart Tirizan and very curious. She would help and with a last look to Mori, Engel left the cage again, leaving the Aavan to rise to his feet a bit shakily and move toward the green energy and mesh used to contain his lightning. He went as far as the chains would allow and then sat, wings folded close to him and his entire demeanor calm, but wary. This was new to him in the same way it was to Senzra.

    His violet eyes met her amber again and suddenly the expression and emotion there in the Aavan's gaze would make more sense. "I don't know. Engel seems to think that I would be drawn to them, but I have never done such a bond before and I can't speak to any of my kin who have because I am here." That last part was growled just slightly before Moridryn's tail lashed and he stilled again, wings folding back against his paled-black body from where they'd flared just slightly. "I suspect, since I feel like utter s**t, that I might already have done so, but I don't know how to pinpoint them."

    A brow ridge rose. "You have any brilliant ideas? You seem to be full of them." His gave clearly swept over the lightning rods in the ground.
    #19 Kaisaan, Oct 26, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2013
  20. As the Aavan paced toward her a part of her mind commented on the lack of violence as an improvement only to be countered quickly with, Of course not. He's not just a pet. He's intelligent, and you've put on your doctor face. If only she had the knowledge to back up that face. Had there ever been mention of the Aavan bonding in a way beyond with Nuathal? If such had ever been said in any of her classes, she had clearly ignored it and was paying for it now.

    "Mm?" Brilliant idea? She hadn't had any progress on this problem. "Oh." Brilliant idea being the lightning rods. Right, well, if she figured out one thing to hinder him and one thing to help him, she'd be back to being neutral to him, right?

    "Well." There was the possibility that the Aavan-Nuathal and bond-mate interactions were similar to Tirizan and their hive-minds. Maybe developing the bond-mate was the same thing as developing a sub-mind similar to her family's. That had been genetic, though, and as far as Senzra knew, no one knew how to initiate a new sub-mind -- at least, not without expensive biocs -- and this was one of the abilities that marked them as royalty. There were, though, the exercises she had practiced as a young Tirizan to block and open her mind as well as touch the hive-minds only as much as she wanted to. The only difference here was that the Aavan didn't already have an established connection.

    "Can you open your mind in a focused manner? Not to leave yourself vulnerable, just, hmm, similar to reaching with your hand, but with your mind instead." And what were the chances he would hit anything that was also open? Unlikely. But presumably, other Aavans might pick up on it if his bond-mate was an Aavan.

    And if it was a Tirizan... her best attempt on making heads or tails of this nonsense was to open a most basic read for presence on the localized hive-mind and to catch his mental 'hand' and let him scan that. Of course, that was making a generous amount of assumptions. First, that the way an Aavan mind and a Tirizan mind worked was relatively similar. Second, that he would be able to reach out. Third, that she would be able to catch it. Fourth, that he would be able to scan what she provided. And fifth, that whoever he was looking for wasn't currently blocking the hive-mind.

    Senzra readied herself for the attempt just in case he was the sort to jump into action rather than to spell out what he was going to do next. She blocked out her family hive-mind and opened a small window into the localized hive-mind. Probably, physical contact would help. She had only ever seen the Aavan relax in a Nuathal's hands and never from a distance. And from the Tirizan perspective, physical contact was the best way to ensure targeted transfer of information. And though in many ways she was more trusting of the Aavan than she had been just last night, reaching her hand through the mesh still seemed like pushing her luck.