Title: Heading South
Description: Nox and Ashe
Josie Wierden - December 27, 2010 10:30 AM (GMT)
Nox will be travelling alone until Ashe applies to Beyond and catches up with him.
Since we don't have any means of estimating the OOC time one would spend at average in Beyond we're not giving you a definite timeframe to post in. In time you will be given a 1 week notice to wrap up the roleplay.
Your adventure begins right after you've been approved at the Ranger's Station. It will take 1 click to reach the Bayou from your current location.
Please mark your posts to show-case when you're travelling on foot or riding on one of your mounts (flying or not).Staff ReferencesStaff Arrangement Thread (Staff Chatter)Nox's ApplicationNox's Character SheetNox's CombatAshe's ApplicationAshe's Character SheetAshe's Combat
*9* / *14* / *23*
Nox - December 27, 2010 06:08 PM (GMT)
Nox thanked the ranger and led Algidus and Arc through the gate, looking around curiously as they arrived on the other side. It didn't really seem that much different on this side of the fence, if he were going to be honest. However, that did nothing to discourage him. He had figured it would take a while to turn up any change in scenery, anyways.
He spent a few moments checking to make sure his packs were secure on Al's back, and that he had everything, before he turned to Arc. Pulling himself up on to Arc's back, the human situated himself behind the vulticus' wings with a practiced movement, making himself comfortable.
You ready to go, guys? He asked the creatures through their mental connection. Both expressed their willingness to move on, and Nox grinned before giving the 'move out' signal. He turned in his seat and wriggled his journal and a pencil from his bag, opening the crisp, new book to the first page and making a note of the date of their departure, their supplies, and anything noteworthy about the surrounding area - which was really nothing. He made sure to glance up every few seconds and make sure that they weren't going to walk into a tree or something - though he doubted that Arc would just wander head-first into a tree, really.
Arc and Al just kept walking, used to the human's constant scribblings.
As a sudden thought, Nox looked over at Algidus, tilting his head curiously in yet another of the dog-like characteristics he'd picked up from spending far too long with his vulticus companion. Hey Al, he called to get the crossbreed's attention. Do you think you can fly with that thing on?
Riding Mount (Land)
Nox - December 27, 2010 06:20 PM (GMT)
Al flexed his wings for a moment before laying them back flat over the packs on the flat places Nox had made for his wings. I don't know. He replied, making a gesture that was somewhat akin to the gale-claw equivalent of a shrug. Never tried.
Nox pondered it for a moment before shaking his head and pushing the notion off. It was probably best if they stayed on the ground - at least for now until their supplies were a little more depleted and less of a burden. It wouldn't due to try and push Al and end up losing either their supplies or time healing an injured crossbreed.
He turned back to face forward, situating himself in his seat once more and looking around them. They still weren't really in a place much different than the surrounding lands of the labs themselves; just a somewhat sparse forest full of common plants and oak trees. Nox double checked his compass to be sure they were heading due south before he settled in for the ride.
It's nice weather to begin traveling. He remarked, combing his fingers absently through the thick fur on Arc's neck. At least it's not raining or something. Wouldn't that just be awful?
Arc nodded. Yeah. It would. He replied, too busy inspecting the new surroundings as he walked to really give much of a reply.
Algidus didn't even grace the statement with a response, still somewhat irate from being woken up far too early this morning to traipse endlessly all over the uncharted wilderness. How were they supposed to know where they were going if no one had ever been here before?
Riding Mount (Land.)
Nox - December 27, 2010 06:42 PM (GMT)
The group eventually found a well-trodden game path, falling on to it single-file and using it to wind their way through the small bit of woods without worrying about getting caught between trees. It was difficult to maneuver large creatures through endless trees without getting something caught, after all.
The trip was slow goings, especially at this point when there was really nothing going on; just walking, really, and observing the birds up in the trees as they chirped and went about building their nests. Smaller game, like rabbits, flittered through the underbrush and away from them as they heard the party approach.
Al gave an exaggerated sigh, dragging along behind Arc. What's the point of this trip, anyways? He asked grumpily, flicking his tail irritably. All we are going to end up finding is out that we are lost. He pinned his ears back, giving a low grumble.
Nox rolled his eyes, ducking under a low hanging branch. Stop whining, Al. I'm sure you'll find that you like it as we go on. You're just cranky because I woke you up at five this morning.
Al scowled. Who did Nox think he was, telling him how he felt! He grunted lowly, but quieted himself and made it a point not to argue any more. If Nox was just going to contradict his emotions, there was no point - and he supposed that if they were going to be out here for any extended periods of time, it would be better not to cause any sorts of rifts between the team.
Arc made no comment as towards the other two's needless bickering, instead giving a soft bark at a small rabbit as it stared at him in the foliage. It scampered away quickly, and Arc gave a hearty chuckle. Skittish little things, aren't they? He remarked to no one in particular.
Riding Mount (Land)
Ashe - December 29, 2010 07:46 PM (GMT)
[I don't get why I have to wear this]
[Quit your whining]
[No, seriously. You're not wearing anything that remotely resembles this. I don't like it]
[It's just a bridle, Dracula. I even removed the bit for you. Now it's just a halter with reins...]
Dracula snorted and tossed his head, for the third time since they started he was trying to jerk the reins out of Ashe's hands. The man's grip was firm, however, and he was used to this game. He didn't want to put the bridle on Dracula so much as it would just make things so much easier in the long run. A bridle on his steed would mean less space in the already filled backpack being taken up. And if he did put the bridle in there? It would become a tangled mess in no time. He had to admit, though, that Dracula was pretty good at obeying his hand signals without wearing tack. The saddle, too, was on- and was more of a necessity. It held the saddlebags with all their things, and the sleeping bag and the fishing net and everything... Ashe's boot clad feet felt odd in the stirrups since he was so used to riding bareback. Maybe he should have done training last night to get Dracula used to the tack some more.
[You'll be fine. Once we find a place to camp, I'll take it off and you can do whatever the hell you want.]
Dracula took this deal, trotting along through the trees. The air was filled with the smell of water and woodrot, and other things rotting. It was a new smell to Ashe since he'd never been out here and it seemed to rape his nostrils. But it was earthy, which made it tolerable. He didn't mind the smells of the forest, or in this case a more of a swampy location. Ashe was an outdoors guy and this... Land untouched by man (or at least almost completely untouched)... Was exciting. How many had come before him in this direction? He knew of two, and then Nox.
Riding Mount (Land)
Ashe - December 29, 2010 07:47 PM (GMT)
Dracula had no trouble weaving through the trees,even with the saddlebags and the bedroll (and Ashe) on his back. His slim form was able to cut through thinner gaps, so long as Ashe's legs made it through as well. He felt like they were making great time... Forget trying to catch Nox, he was starting to want to just pass him. This Beyond thing was easy peasy.
When Ashe had heard Nox was heading out - word passes fast when you're in a city of gossipers - Ashe had been stunned. He'd been planning to go out by the new year himself...and suddenly Nox was beating him. Which would just not do. So he had stepped up his game, thought out his plan, and here he was, only a handful of hours behind according to the Ranger. Dracula could cover that ground in no time, he was sure.
But as they walked, Ashe couldn't help but wonder what was out there, around him. His eyes kept darting from tree to tree, trying to catch a glimpse of something else moving. Creatures were said to be all around out here, ready to spring out and attack, but Ashe had yet to see anything. Sure he'd only been out here a short time...maybe it was deeper in that caused the rumors? He was also, maybe somewhat, keeping an eye out for Nox even if that wasn't as exciting.
[See anything?] Ashe asked his steed. Dracula grunted and shook his head in response, confirming Ashe's own thoughts. They seemed to be very alone out here, for now at least. There was also the question of if they'd be ready to fight whatever it was. Ashe didn't have a gun for himself just yet - they were so expensive at the Hammer and Ashe had had trouble finding gems on his own until he'd started mining with Nox...and then he'd had to split the spoils so it was still long going - so he was without a true weapon. He could use a tree branch or something maybe if need be. He'd be relying mostly on Dracula's flame and fangs if a monster attacked anyway.
Riding Mount (Land)
Ashe - December 31, 2010 07:51 AM (GMT)
It seemed like they'd been riding for -ever-. Ashe was so close to calling for a break. Dracula was agile through the trees, but Ashe was getting kind of sick of reassuring Dracula that it was a good thing they were out here 'wasting their time' looking for Nox rather than just going a different way and trying their luck. For one thing, there was safety in numbers. For another thing, Nox was Ashe's buddy (and only buddy, with Obs still AWOL) and what was the point of having an amazing experience if there was no one to share it with?
But anyway, he'd been this close to calling for a break, when something moved the bushes ahead. Dracula tensed and pulled up mid-trot, advancing at a slow walk. He was prepared to fight if need be. He'd been trained well and knew how to handle whatever came at him. He arched his neck, flames burning brighter, as whatever it was shook the leaves again. And then it was out- and coming for them!
And Dracula missed it by a hair with his flame. He instantly knew it meant food, and food was what he suddenly craved. The poor startled rabbit skidded to a halt, whipped around, and ran into the dense trees to the left, getting as far away from the Tainted as possible.
[You ruined my kill!] Dracula snarled.
[What? ME? How??]
[You and your human supplies weighed me down! I could have had it.]
[Yeah! So what do you propose we do about it!]
[Go see what scared it.]
[If we follow the direction it came from, we'll see whatever scared it and made it run. It'll probably be bigger... you know, more meat?]
Dracula chuckled darkly, getting his point and approving. He continued at a walk, for better stealth, and crept along through the bushes and trees. It was a long while going, but eventually they heard sounds of things walking. Big things. And then they saw a flash of fur... [Let's go!] Ashe urged Dracula, who leapt out of the brush and onto the trail, whirling to meet the creature - and seeing two things and a human.
"Nox!" Ashe called out, both excited and surprised. Huh. They'd been this close....
Riding Mount (Land)
Nox - December 31, 2010 08:20 AM (GMT)
They had stopped for a quick break around noon, and while Nox was refilling his canteen in a brook running through the trees, they heard something coming up behind them.
What's that? Arc questioned, his great head swiveling in the direction of the noise. Nox slid the saddle bags down off of his back and the vulticus immediately slipped into a defensive position, growling deep in his throat. He began to slink forward into the brush, and just as he was about to spring out at whatever it was that was approaching, he heard Ashe's voice yell out Nox's name.
Boss? The creature questioned, as though asking if he should still attack or not. Nox waved him down, and instantly the creature was at ease, eying the other man and his equillion as they approached.
Algidus seemed, quite frankly, uninterested. He was busy drinking from the stream and generally ignoring Nox and Arc all together.
Nox stepped up beside Arc, the saddle bags slung over his broad shoulders. "Ashe?" He called, tilting his head curiously in another of the vulticus-like mannerisms that he had acquired from spending too much time with his companion.
Once he had confirmed that it was, indeed, his friend, he laughed. "Decided to join in on the adventure, did you?" The man once again turned to fill his canteen, kneeling at the edge of the water and letting it spill over the opening of the bottle. "Bout time, I thought I'd be alone out here forever!" He chuckled, capping off the canteen and then straitening with his customary grin.
Arc eyed Dracula warily, unsure about the equillion - though he was more familiar with the man that was riding him and he gave Ashe a small wag of his tail by way of greeting.
Ashe - December 31, 2010 09:58 AM (GMT)
Ashe didn't expect to see the sight before him. One man filling a canteen, a cross of some sort looking extremely bored, and the Vulticus that he had insulted looking ready to do whatever needed to be done, even if it involved a wagging of his tail in greeting. How sweet...
He guided Dracula closer to Nox before dismounting, making sure Dracula was alright in the presence of a Vulticus. When he was younger, he'd gotten attacked by some young Caves and ever since then he'd been a bit touchy. He was getting so much better now, but just in case, you know? Dracula hardly batted an eye at Arc, recognizing him from Ashe's thoughts as the Vulticus that thought he was tough at the Club. Unlike Ashe, Dracula hadn't let those memories go. He didn't approve of weakness in the slightest and what Ashe saw in that man..
"Yep! I wasn't about to be left behind. And besides, thought you could use some real muscle!" He's obviously teasing at the last part, as he stretches his arms out, bends at the elbows, and shows off some of his muscles. In fact, Ashe was a bit disgruntled at being so slow to get out here... It was rather shameful, for the reputation he wanted to uphold. But here he was, and he'd make up for lost time. He grinned at his friend, dropping his 'guns' and crossing his arms in front of his chest.
"Find anything interesting out here yet? All I see is trees, trees, trees..."
[And water] Dracula added with disgust. He didn't need water, but simple humans did.
"And water. And a rabbit. But those don't count..."
He had to admit, it was nice being with another human. Don't get him wrong, Dracula filled his head pretty well with thoughts so he wasn't lonely, but it just wasn't the same as stretching your jaw and -talking- to someone... It was hard to imagine that just a month or two ago they were still at odds. Why were they fighting again?
Nox - January 1, 2011 12:23 AM (GMT)
Arc woofed softly before continuing with his scrutiny of the tainted. He didn't really trust the creatures, if only because of the odd fire that surrounded them; however, the creature seemed to be alright - or at least enough under control that Arc didn't mind him being there - and the vulticus quickly lost interest.
Nox hooked the canteen back on to its place on Arc's saddle bags and slung the item back over the giant wolf's back. Now that the beast wasn't preoccupied with protecting them from whatever happened to be out there (aka Ashe), he didn't feel as bad burdening the creature.
The teen ignored the comment about 'real muscle;' where once he would have taken it as an insult from the man, he had come to accept it as jest more than anything. It had taken him a while to get used to the man's sense of humor, especially when they'd been enemies not so long ago.
Nothin' interestin' yet; like you said, lots of trees. He remarked, glancing around. We aren't too far off'a the labs yet, though. We should probably keep going if we expect to make any sort of time. He laughed. Hopefully there'll be more interestin' stuff up ahead, if we're in any sort of luck.
Are they traveling with us? Algidus asked, eying both the man and his companion with unmasked contempt. Surely you don't mean to drag that barnyard animal on our trip? Isn't this torture enough as is?
Nox rolled his eyes. You better be lucky that that 'barnyard animal' can't hear you; I've heard that tainteds can breath fire. He remarked with a smirk in the cross's direction. And yes, they will be traveling with us. Play nice.
The crossbreed huffed, glaring at the new arrivals once more before once again ignoring the entire party all together.
If you're ready to get after it, we were just about to start moving again. Nox supplied, turning his attention back to the other human. He settled a hand on Arc's back, ready to heft himself up on to the vulticus if the other male gave the go ahead to head out.
He had somewhat expected that Ashe would be out here as soon as he heard that Nox had gone. From what he understood, Ashe could be pretty competitive.
Nox didn't mind, though. He was already glad for any company that wasn't an overly sarcastic crossbreed or an over protective vulticus.
Ashe - January 1, 2011 02:30 AM (GMT)
Ashe thought about filling up his canteen while they were there. But, since he'd only been out a short while, he'd had all of one drink or so. There wasn't really a need for him to go through the hassle already. The worst that could happen? He'd go a little longer without water when he did run out. But considering how much water was around them he didn't think that was a real problem, actually.
"I'm ready when you are!" Ashe said with a grin. There was excitement in his eyes, more so than the usual. Adventures thrilled him. Dancing at the Panther thrilled him a little bit, but not as much. And normal everyday activities even less. Going beyond? Hell yeah. Going with a friend? HELL yeah! [Sorry bud] Ashe apologized through their link. [No time for a break, we gotta get going again.] He hadn't really moved from Dracula's side yet, so he just swung himself back up with ease and settled into the saddle. Had he mentioned how weird it was having a saddle on Dracula? The Equillon just looked so odd with it. Bulky. But at least, especially with the blanket underneath, it was padding for them both. Even a Common probably wouldn't be comfortable to ride bareback for such long distances...
So Ashe was settled on his back, reins in hand but loose, seeing as he didn't need strips of leather to really guide his faithful mount. He was ready to go, as Nox seemed to be, and the sooner they got moving again the sooner they could find something interesting to do!
Dracula, meanwhile, wasn't just standing pretty like a centerpiece. He was watching the crossbreed, sensing dislike coming from him. Drac may have been able to tell via smell...or maybe the way he held himself...or maybe the way the cross looked them over. Dracula wasn't going to tolerate any of this once they were on the road. No problems from the cross, then no problems with him, but if the cross so much as said anything... He snorted out a spray of steam, following Ashe's lead as the man guided him in the direction away from the one in which they'd come. Deeper toward the Bayou.
He imagined Nox would be on Arc's back and following him, if not ahead of him, in about one or two seconds tops, so he urged Dracula into a walk, then a trot. He was eager to get going, just as much as he imagined Nox was.
..He could hardly believe it. Beyond, at last!
Nox - January 1, 2011 05:24 AM (GMT)
When Ashe gave the signal, Nox smiled and hauled himself up on to the vulticus' back with a practiced ease. Lets go. He told Al as he nudged Arc into a walk with his foot. He kicked him into a somewhat faster pace to catch up to Ashe, glancing behind them to make sure that Al could keep up with them even while he was toting the packs. The cross didn't appear to be having any trouble with it, however, and so he kept to it.
Once they had slowed down a little bit, Nox looked around. It was interesting scenery he had to admit. Although it was still quite similar to the labs, it was a little greener - a bit wetter, perhaps. The trees were much more dense as well. Around the labs they had been trimmed to a manageable forest; here, however, they were wild and untamed - untouched by humans.
So what took you so long to get out here? Nox asked after a little while of riding in silence. He was thankful for the company, but he still had a difficult time striking up idle conversation with the man. They had enough in common, they just weren't very well acquainted he figured.
There didn't seem to be anything interesting going on around them, either. Trees. Trees. Trees some more. A rock. A tree. Fallen tree. Mossy tree. Bushes. Some more trees. This was boring. After a minute, Nox sighed.
Suddenly, an idea struck him. He grinned hugely, looking over at Ashe with a quirked eyebrow. You know what we should do? He asked, directing Arc around a tree with a low hanging branch so that he wouldn't have to duck. We should sing.
And, without any further input from Ashe, he began to do so. Oh mama I'm in fear for my life from the long arm of the law; Lawman has put an end to my runnin' and I'm so far from my home~ He sang; he was a surprisingly decent singer, actually. Perhaps it was the accent.
Al scowled at him. WHAT do you think you're doing? The cross asked over their link.
Singing. What are you doing? Nox replied with a smirk. Al glared.
Riding Mount (Land)
Ashe - January 1, 2011 05:59 AM (GMT)
Ashe glanced back to watch as Nox, on Arc, caught up to them with ease. On a wolf as big as Dracula, it was a fluid motion. The creatures were so well suited for travel together... It reminded him of the last time he'd tried to go to the Beyond with Silver. Gen and Beelzebub, in their younger days. Not that Beelzebub actually aged, but Gen...And, well, he hoped these two wouldn't fight as much as they would, anyway. But it reminded him of it. They'd been so close that time, making it to the ranger station, two lovers working on some last minute training together...
He cleared his throat a bit, snapping to the present. He wasn't even with a lover this time. He was with Nox, just Nox. Someone who was now what he might call his 'best friend' since he had no others. It sounded kind of pitiful when you put it that way, he knew, but they had a lot in common even if they didn't sit and have in depth conversations like best friends tend to do. He didn't have many 'normal' relationships with people, did he?
What took him so long? He flashed a charming grin at Nox, buying himself time. What -had- taken him so long? He hadn't been traveling slowly- opposite in fact,he'd been going fast enough to catch up to Nox on the same day of travel. But he also couldn't admit he hadn't gotten up early like the other man apparently had, could he? Excuses swamped through his mind, each one worse and more stupid than the last, until finally he gave in and blurted out the truth. "I...don't really function too good until noonish." And soon as he said it, he realized the problem this might cause. Out in the Beyond, the mysterious Beyond, that would cost them a half a day's travel. He doubted Nox would want to risk traveling at night to make up for it, so that would mean...waking Ashe up early.
Insert inward groan here.
[Somehow, you'll live]
Dracula's mocking made him shift in the saddle, kicking him lightly with a heel in response.
"No, what?" If Nox was going to announce playing that 'I spy with my little eye' game, Ashe was prepared to move Dracula next to Arc just to sock him. Same with the '99 Bottles of Beer on the wall' song. But Nox was already replying to himself. Singing. Crap, here comes-
A song Ashe knew! The man hadn't sung much besides to Kizulle to get her to sleep, and in the shower (hadn't even serenaded Vixen yet, though this would be the perfect time to practice!) but he burst into song, picking up where Nox left off with ease.
"Oh momma I can hear you a'cryin, you're so scared and all alone... Hangman is comin' down from the gallows and I don't have very long..."
[Oh dear god... Ashe, what the-]
Riding Mount (Land)
Nox - January 1, 2011 06:45 AM (GMT)
Didn't function well before noon? Well, that would be easy enough to fix; a few days of waking up at a somewhat decent hour would help that, right? Even if not, Nox was used to people who weren't exactly morning bird; he knew well enough not to talk to them before 10, at least. Hell, he himself wasn't exactly a very talkative person before then anyways, even if he was consistently awake early in the morning out of force of habit.
Not a morning person, eh? Oh well. I'll be sure to wake you /after/ cooking breakfast then. Nox laughed. He wasn't sure how well Ashe would take his routine waking up at 6:00 in the morning to see the sun rise; if nothing else, though, he could get camp all packed up and such in the mornings, and make breakfast - that should take a reasonable enough amount of time to make it a somewhat alright hour to be awake, right?
Al wandered along at behind Arc, somewhat displeased at having to spend so much time in close proximity to the dog; he wasn't very fond of Arc, no matter what his feelings for the human male may have been. Actually, that was almost the point - he didn't seem to like anyone at all except for Nox. Such a charmer, that one.
Checking the compass, Nox made sure that they were still headed due south, not wanting to get lost out here in the middle of nowhere. Not that it would be difficult; it was really considered lost if you didn't know where you were, and it was hard to know 'where' you were when you were in an uncharted expanse of wilderness.
The teen ducked under another low hanging branch and leaned back on Arc so that he was laying down on the creature's back with his legs still bent to either side. It was clear that he'd spent quite a bit of time on the vulticus to know that this was okay and that the creature wasn't going to walk them in to any trees.
Arc continued to wander along, following the trodden game trail that they had found themselves upon.
Nox grinned. He was happy that Ashe seemed to at least have the same taste in music - it made these sing alongs much easier. He picked it back up where Ashe had left off. The jig is up! The news is out - they finally found me! The renegade who had it made, retrieved for a bounty!
Al made a noise of protest in his mind. Would you shut the hell up already? I hope you're not planning on finding any creatures while you're making that terrible racket, you'll surely scare them all off. He pointed out, pinning his ears.
Stop being such a wet blanket, Al. Nox said by way of reply.
Riding Mount (Land)
Ashe - January 1, 2011 07:33 AM (GMT)
It was really..odd, to be singing with a guy he had wanted out of his life a few months ago, while on the back of a Tainted Equillion, walking down some random creature-path that was worn down by years of paws and hooves, while heading Beyond into the Unknown, a place where monsters were abundant and people told tales about the hideous being out there. And Ashe was going to spend this transition singing rock music with Nox, and royally pissing off his mount. If he would have paid attention, he would have been able to see the annoyance on the features of the crossbreed as well and know that he and Nox each had a kill-joy. As it was, Dracula was filling his mind with protests, trying to get Ashe to snap out of it.
[Ashe, what are you doing? Do you -know- what you are doing?]
"Never more to go astray!
This will be the end, today, of the wanted man!"
While Dracula may not like it too much, it was a fitting song to sing as they left the Ranger's Station, and the City, behind for...who knew how long. They were like renegades running from the law- the Labs may not have many laws, but the Beyond had even fewer. The only thing that governed here, Ashe'd been told, besides the age old "kill or be killed" and "survive!", was that if he happened to die somehow he'd be transported back instantly. Morbid thoughts, that there was something inside him or tracking him constantly, aware of his beating heart, ready to step in... Took some of the fun out of it if you asked him.
"Oh mama I've been years on the lam, and had a high price on my head..."
He continued singing after a slight pause, setting up the next verse for Nox to start singing. Dracula didn't seem to have a taste for the good music, though, and he purposely went into a jarring trot to try and upset him, or at least mess up his vocals. It was a real pity Ashe was so used to riding that it hardly affected him. He did drop off finally, though, much to Dracula's pleasure. Nox singing was one thing- it was embarrassing for his two creatures over there, but Ashe? Ashe was an embarrassment to himself and to Dracula. Human voices shouldn't be used like that.. It was wrong. Just wrong.
[Are you done yet?] Dracula asked as quickly as possible, hoping his human had come to his senses and was done finally. He'd be willing to forget it had ever happened and forgive Ashe for this, if he stopped right now. His hopes were dashed before Ashe even responded; he knew the answer.
[Nope! Just getting started, bud. Why don't you chime in?]
[Why don't you die in a fire...]
Riding Mount (Land)
Nox - January 1, 2011 08:35 AM (GMT)
Now this was a good time, even Nox had to admit. He grinned broadly, laughing more out of joy than out of humor, and picked up where the other man quit singing.
Law man said get him dead or alive, now it's for sure he'll see me dead~ He sang in his low baritone, enjoying the singing even though it really had not point. It was an odd thing, for sure, and it was either going to attract creatures to them and get them in trouble or it was going to scare away anything worth catching. However, it was a good time killer, and it's not like they were going to see anything interesting at this point anyways. They weren't really even to the bayou yet.
Arc seemed to be enjoying the music well enough; he gave a soft chuff, as though to add to the tone of it, and almost looked to be moving in time to the beat in Nox's head. Of course, it wouldn't be surprising. He didn't seem to mind the fact that his owner was currently sprawled carelessly across his back, either.
Al, on the other hand, seemed to only be getting more and more irritated with each word that the humans belted out. He let out a low, wordless hiss, baring his teeth at Nox. You're incredibly annoying when you're cheerful. He glowered. They had been having a nice, quiet journey up until this 'Ashe' character had joined them. He wasn't sure whether or not he should do his best to get rid of the man or if he should try to pursue his usual habit of completely blocking out everything that was going on.
It was all so boring and annoying anyways; menial, pointless acts that only served to further his impression that the majority of other life forms were without use.
Yeah? Nox mused. Well, maybe you should try not being such a hard ass.
Riding Mount (Land)
Ashe - January 1, 2011 09:23 AM (GMT)
"Dear mama I can hear you a' cryin,you're so scared and all alone!"
Ashe's voice went up in pitch at 'you're so scared', matching the original artist's vocals. This was one of the many songs he'd heard over the radio he'd gotten; he always had it on when he was doing work around the kennels or at one of the houses. He hadn't brought it with him on this trip, though, since he wasn't sure if it would get service out here. It would be pointless to bring it and the batteries for it, without being able to listen to a single thing. Good tunes weren't all he'd had in mind, either; they had plenty of good music it appeared, so long as they kept singing. He had also been thinking of the -real- renegades, and this song just spiked a memory. The people that the City had been frantic about for a few days a while back, the fliers that were everywhere, announcing that mysterious disappearances of people were linked with these people from foreign lands...
Then nothing had happened.
But what if they were living out here, in the lawless Beyond, waiting for unsuspecting travelers to happen upon them? Ashe and Nox were prepared to fight creatures; but what about people? Ashe wouldn't have any issues killing anyone that wanted to hurt himself or Dracula; but would Nox be able to kill people? He seemed soft. Maybe strong, unlike Ashe'd thought previously, but was he a mankiller?
[Your thoughts are wandering. But at least you ceased that godforsaken noise.]
[Shut up. You liked it... I'm wooing, go find your own.]
Dracula snorted out sparks, he was so amused. [Wooing? Who? That human? I'm surprised his ears haven't fallen off]
[I'm wooing YOU, big boy!]
[Have I told you to die in a fire yet? Yes? Well, get to it.]
Ashe laughed and rolled his eyes, slapping Dracula's neck good naturedly. The beast would just have to put up with his singing. It passed the time! And the song wasn't over yet!
Riding Mount (Land)
Nox - January 2, 2011 03:58 AM (GMT)
Hangman is comin' down from the gallows and I don' have very looong~ He was having fun with their little sing along. It wasn't often that he found someone that was actually willing to put up with his random ideals, especially when they involved randomly bursting in to song.
The teen finally righted himself on Arc's back, shifting so that his backpack was once again situated on his back instead of sprawled lopsided across his stomach. The sun felt good on his face, and he was tempted to take his shirt off so he could soak up a bit more sun; it wasn't like there was a lot of other things to do when one was seated on a giant wolf wandering through the vast and unexplored wilderness. However, he wasn't exactly sure just how Ashe would feel about this, so he hesitated.
He didn't want to ask and break tune in their song, either.
Eh, what the hell. Deciding that he didn't really care what Ashe thought, he shifted his bag on to his lap and tugged his shirt up over his head, stuffing it in the top of his packs. It was a nice day to spend outside; better than if it were raining or something, anyways.
First singing, now you're going to strip? Who're you trying to impress? Al sneered, stopping to sniff at something on the trail before continuing to follow the man. Not that I think either of the two acts are going to impress anyone even remotely sensible. But hey, whatever helps you sleep at night.
Nox chose to just ignore him this time, growing tired of the crossbreed's running commentary of his actions. If he were a bit more perceptive, he may have noticed Ashe and Dracula's bickering as well; however, he wasn't really focused on the other man and his companion so much as he as on the trail and on the landmarks nearby.
Tugging his journal from the confines of his bag, he opened it to a page that he had copied one of his sisters maps on to; so far, everything looked fairly similar. Though it had been over a year since she had followed this same path that they were walking, and she hadn't gotten very far; soon her part of the map would be ending and he would begin to add on to it.
He tweaked a few things here and there, erasing things that didn't seem to coincide with their trail so far and adding things that must have been more recently added to their surroundings; by a force of nature or by the savage people said to live in the beyond he didn't know.
As he did so, Nox did his best to keep up with the song and with anything that Ashe may have been saying, not wanting to seem like he was being impolite. Arc just walked along, completely at ease to enjoy their surroundings in silence.
Riding Mount (Land)
Ashe - January 2, 2011 04:51 AM (GMT)
"The jig is up, the news is out, they finally found me!"
The song was going great; the pair of them singing right after one another had the song going almost in harmony. Their voices, even Ashe could tell, weren't quite suited to being together but practice made perfect, didn't it? They had god knows how long out here to sing if they wanted to- and at this thought, Dracula groaned through their mind link, immitating the sounds Ashe made when he was annoyed or upset with something. It amused the human to no end just how much Dracula was picking up from him. The Equillion would never admit it of course, if Ashe called him out on it.
At this point, they both became aware that Nox was moving around. Dracula, in an attempt to ignore everything that was going on around him and focus on daydreams and the scenery and how much nicer it would be if he could torch both boys to cease the singing, only cocked an ear his way to see if it was anything he or Ashe should actually be concerned with. If only the human would have let him handle it, deem it unworthy for distraction, and they could have continued on their way... Instead, Ashe looked, and through their link Dracula saw that the other boy was stripping off that second skin they called clothes.
[Looks like you wooed him instead of me] Dracula's words were teasing, sarcastic, and the feeling contained in them was like an eyeroll or an exasperated sigh in human tones. It also hid a hint of amusement, seeing as Dracula was no stranger at all to Ashe's charm or his antics with others, even when he was going 'steady' with one in particular. Everyone else seemed to be in fair game. Without that snake chick along... Dracula just hoped Ashe could contain himself. Or maybe, since that was too much to ask for for Ashe to contain himself, maybe this other boy would have some common sense.
But he was the one stripping... Dracula had the sinking feeling that he was pretty much doomed.
Ashe, however- he whistled when he saw the bare skin. Not overly muscled, but he could see some definition when he moved even from over here. He wanted to say nothing spectacular, just because he was competitive and yet Ashe himself still had a shirt on- [And you better damn well keep it on!] - but he was still looking... Possibly making Nox nervous, if he got nervous about such things, especially considering he had a boyfriend back home. So Ashe turned it into a tease and winked, then wiggled his tongue at him obscenely. He wasn't going to interrupt their singing any more beyond this, though- if he hadn't already thrown Nox off his tune.
Riding Mount (Land)
Nox - January 2, 2011 06:56 AM (GMT)
The renegade who had it made, retrieved for a bounty! Nox sang, tapping the end of his pencil against the open journal in tune to the beat of the song. He was quite enjoying himself already.
The sun felt good on his bare chest, and he hummed appreciatively. He liked it out here in the wilderness; it was so much more free than it was at the labs - out here, he could do anything he wanted to without anyone there to judge him.
Well, anyone except for Ashe, but... well, frankly Nox didn't feel that the man was anyone he had to impress. Both of them had significant others, and they had been enemies until only a month or two ago. If Ashe didn't hate him yet, then he highly doubted anything he did would force the man's hand.
Yawning softly, he adjusted his position on Arc so that he could glance over at Ashe comfortably. In doing so, he caught the man's glance, and the subsequent gesture with his tongue. The teen laughed, quirking an eyebrow in Ashe's direction.
See something that you like? He asked, casting a lopsided smirk in the other human's direction. He flexed for a moment, as though showing off, before dropping the pretense and returning his gaze to the map he'd copied from Night's book in to his. I can put on a show if you want. He smirked.
He had ruined their song, but he couldn't help but return the almost flirtatious banter that Ashe had initiated with his gaze.
Arc flicked his ears back at Nox. Are we still going the right way, Boss? He asked, looking around. All of this seemed vaguely familiar to him, and if he thought hard enough he could remember the path. But why bother when Nox had a map right in front of him?
Yup, still on course. Nox answered, smiling.
Algidus resumed his important regimen of... well, completely ignoring everyone and trotting along beside the group in as an aloof a manor as he could manage. Not that he really had to try.
Riding Mount (land)
Ashe - January 2, 2011 07:55 AM (GMT)
"Never more to go astray! The judge will ..."
It was getting harder to sing the rest of this song, what with Nox teasing him like this. What he had managed, he had breathed out before he heard anything, so prepared he was. Oh well, if he couldn't keep up anymore with this view going on and teasing to be made, then at least they were at a good part to pause at. They were, right? Ashe couldn't remember the last like he'd said, couldn't remember if he'd finished or not. And Nox wasn't -that- distracting, but you know that habit thoughts have of vanishing the moment there's a competing thought, no matter how stupid this new thought was? Then you spend all day trying to get the original thought to respawn...
Nox had to be dealt with now, anyway.
[Aren't you glad? I think I'm done singing for now, we're gonna talk]
[...For some reason, no. No I am not happy. Call me crazy but your thoughts on this subject suck]
[So don't listen to'em~]
[Kinda hard not to...]
[I'm not even thinking anything bad yet...] This was Nox. Ashe'd hated him not too long ago. Ashe'd thought he was plain and boring and weak and scrawny. It wasn't like he was about to have a squeegasm from seeing him shirtless. This was just more his thing, since he hadn't had too much practice with singing, or even being "just friends" with someone. Partial nudity, shows, that kind of thing? He knew more. And being out here in the Beyond with no one else watching, no one else knowing what they did... It added some sort of naughty mysterious vibe to it. After spending years in the Labs, being confined to a certain area even with freedom within that area, being out here was amazing.
[Goddamn, you're so sentimental. Cry me a river already. I'll even let you use me as a bridge.]
[...You murdered that, you know. The original flowed so smoothly.]
[Shut the hell up. Human saying suck anyway]
[So do I~]
[Goddammit Ashe!] He threw up his heels halfway, jarring Ashe's seat and threatening to tip the man off over Dracula's lowered head. He'd obviously pissed the stallion off and all Ashe could do was laugh. He still had to answer Nox, too. These thoughts and this chatter happened in a matter of seconds, but it seemed so long... Nox deserved a reply.
"Yoou bet'cha!" Of course he saw something he liked. Skin, a hint of muscle. Bare shoulders. "I want to see this show. You any good, Noxy?" He knew Nox wasn't a dancer...maybe for a good reason... But he could know some stripper moves anyway.
And the thought suddenly struck Ashe. They could parade around naked out here and no one would know or care.
Riding Mount (land)
Nox - January 3, 2011 07:35 AM (GMT)
Nox glanced up when Ashe fell silent in the middle of his sentence, giving the man a curious glance. What was up with him? However, when the reply came back, he couldn't help but snort. "Well, if you ask Rem, he would say I'm great~" He said with a laugh. "I couldn't tell you myself, though, obviously."
After all, he himself was never privy to his own charm. That would be just strange.
You have very odd thoughts. Algidus muttered, though he didn't push the issue very far; after all, he was just happy that the singing had stopped. He had been beginning to wonder if it would ever cease.
You're such a downer, Al. Nox commented, casting a sideways look at the crossbreed before returning his gaze to the book in his lap. You should try being a bit more pleasant, then you may have more friends.
Algidus growled, low enough that no one besides Nox would have heard unless they had been listening. I don't need friends. They're a useless waste of my time. He grumped, flicking his long, reptilian tail in irritation.
Arc rolled his eyes, more that capable of accessing Al's thoughts via Nox's mind, and Al vice versa, It was a wonder they didn't kill one another because of this he'd found. Al, shut the hell up. No one wants to listen to your nasally whining.
Al flared his wings, giving a wordless snarl.
Nox stifled a laugh, reprimanding them aloud so that it would seem he was on top of things. "Play nice, children~" He chuckled.
Riding Mount (Land)
Ashe - January 3, 2011 10:10 AM (GMT)
"Screw Rem, I'll be the judge." He smirks. "How about it? Gonna give me that show?" he teased, wiggling his eyebrows a bit. There was a certain thrill, getting someone else's boyfriend to do something like this... He wanted to see it, even if it was a cheap few second thing. And if he was lucky, he'd get to make his friend squirm...Or blush. He was willing to bet credits Nox was cute if he blushed, despite being big rather than cute and little by default.
[Bet you would like to screw Rem, little whore.]
[...Where did you pick up such language?]
[You don't ever take off my ribbon, you know... I hear things when you-]
[OKAY OKAY OKAY. Better question; why do you lower yourself to my level, verbally?]
And Dracula shut up. For now at least. It was hard to tell how long that would last but Ashe took the silence as it was given to him without complaint. That was about when the crossbreed started having a hissy and Nox had to butt in, out loud. It must be bad if he couldn't get a word in edgewise through the ribbons he had... Ashe laughed. "Trouble in Paradise over there?" he asked. It was probably some sort of sibling rivalry rather than something actually intense going on between the two, so he didn;t worry about a fight breaking out. He could imagine the hell if he'd brought another creature, one just as chatty as Drac...
He'd thought ahead, though, and didn't.
Speaking of other creatures, though- it was rather quiet out here. How much longer until they encountered one of the fabled monsters? Did he even want to find a -monster- out here?
[A monster would eat you, after turning you inside out and plucking off all your organs.]
[Why, thank you, Drac, for that lovely visual...]
[You are quite welcome. I thought you'd enjoy it.] He added a dark chuckle just for Ashe's benefit.
Riding Mount (Land)
Nox - January 4, 2011 08:16 AM (GMT)
Nox hummed. "I don't know, Ashe; you think you could handle this?" He smirked, winking at the other male. Really? He wasn't interested. He had a boyfriend back home that he wasn't willing to risk their new relationship with. A little bit of flirting couldn't harm anyone, though, now could it? Out here where no one would ever know besides himself and Ashe.
That made things far too tempting. He found himself glancing at the other male out of the corner of his eye. Really, no one would ever know...
Nox shook his head, sighing to himself. It was going to be a long few months, he could already tell. They weren't even actually to the bayou yet (Though they had to be getting close, if Night's maps were anywhere close to accurate) and already he was having a hard time focusing. He supposed it could be blamed on Rem's distance lately - they rarely saw one another outside of work it didn't seem like...
And now he was just frustrated. He combed his fingers through his bleached hair, forcing himself to focus on adding to the map as best he could and surveying their surroundings. When he finally did continue, he sounded a bit off even to himself. "I'm not anything to look at anyway, so you aren't missing anything." He mused; he didn't say it in a way that made it sound like he was downing himself or fishing for excused - more like he was teasing Ashe about his tastes to disguise that he was uncomfortable about something.
The human nudged Arc so he was a little further away from Algidus, figuring that having a bit more space to himself may be the way to calm the irate cross. With Ashe's question, he glanced up at the other male once again, shaking his head.
"Nah, they're just squabbling because I got them up early this morning. Al's not exactly a morning lark, and Arc hates listening to him complain." He explained. "Really it's just a way for them to get over boredom more than anything else, I think."
Al glared at Nox sidelong. Don't talk about me like I'm not standing right here. He grunted, stretching his wings out before folding them comfortably back along his sides over the packs.
Nox rolled his eyes. Stop being a baby.
Arc sighed heavily. He was starting to realize why Night had gone without any other creatures last time. The constant banter was already getting on his nerves. He cut in to the conversation, ignoring the reproving glance that Al shot in his direction for doing so.
When are we going to find something interesting? The vulticus asked, looking around curiously.
Riding Mount (Land)
Ashe - January 4, 2011 09:04 AM (GMT)
"Oh hell yeah. Wanna try me, big boy? Think -you- can handle -this-?" He gestures to himself, his hands free of the bridle. There was no reason to hang onto the reins after all, with Dracula being his mount. Easier to manage while he was walking, not much help while he was riding, Dracula would make sure of that.
But he, like Nox... Well, maybe a little like Nox... Wasn't seriously wanting it real bad. Let's face it; if Ashe did, he would be all over that right now, forget going to the Bayou. Unless Nox refused him, in which case he'd easily wait for them to get to someplace no one but the animals could hear Nox's screams- of pleasure. But no, not yet- just friends, Ashe, just friends... People who end up as friends, like Obs, don't make good f*ck buddies... 'But Obs wasn't gay, that was the -only- reason...' I said NO GODDAMMIT. No.
Maybe. But not now.
He should have told Vix he was going out here. Maybe she'd have come with him and there wouldn't be an issue since he'd be so occupied... Whether out of attraction to the man, or just simple lust due to his mental issues, Ashe wasn't sure. He -was- a fan of the whole slash idea where enemies made up. (Excluding Raziel; she could rot in hell even if she was the last person on earth besides Ashe)
[You are going to make me puke]
Dracula's voice snapped him out of it and he shook his head, clearing his mind by battering his brain against his skull. Whatever worked... He looked over at Nox as he spoke. "Let me be the judge. I'm gonna keep wondering, now that you've teased me so much..." He grins, his tone an attempt at persuasion. If he turned it up, he had the charm that could possibly get Nox naked... The success rate might go up, especially if he waited until nightfall. Damn, it was so tempting, to see what he could do to a 'taken' man. One that teased so much...
"Oh really? That's the same here, pretty much. Drac and I are more of night owls than early birds." So apparently it was only Nox that was the party pooper in this group. And also probably Nox that would actually help them find things through the day, the reasonable part of Ashe's brain insisted. Creatures thatcame out in mid-morning would be completely missed if they went by Ashe's schedule... Speaking of Nox being useful, Ase saw him looking at something in a book, then looking around. He'd had that book out a while...
"What's that?" he asked, nodding in the general direction of Nox's lap. Surely he'd be able to catch on.
[He's probably making a map so we don't get lost, Genius]
[I didn't ask you] Though now he was wondering if he sould make a map, too... Triangles for trees, squiggles for water...
[I bet that would be beautiful. Could sell it in the market, get yourself some credits...buy yourself a real artist]
Riding Mount (Land)
Josie Wierden - January 4, 2011 08:53 PM (GMT)
At first it were little things. Small variations in the landscape, one plant becoming more abundant, the temperature increasing just a little though it might as well have been their imagination. As the days passed and the distance travelled on creatures' backs grew, the vegetation became entirely unfamiliar and the weather grew humid, bringing with it the clarity that this wasn't just the imagination. By that point there was little distance left to travel, little time to pass before the group could see the Bayou lie before them.
Murky waters, an overcast sky, trees and strange, almost deform plants surely served as a backdrop for the lives of familiar and unknown creatures... and a multitude of insects. From all around came buzzing noises, bugs flying back and forth throughout the area, one or two landing on the back of a hand or the head of a mount only to quickly take flight before they were swatted. Time and time again a high-pitched screech or a set of quiet, persistent clicking noises reached the group's ears, yet the sources of such commotion remained unseen, no doubt living much deeper in the Bayou.
Yet for all the wild and strange of the area experienced for the first time, there was something quite familiar in the scenery. It had a different look about it, the results of the materials available upon its creation, but the yellow, see-through 'bauble' gently bobbing up and down on the muddy waters had dark strings tied to it, making for a handle in one end. If it was picked up and inspected more closely the group would see that it was hollow, allowing someone to place in there a source of light...
Nox - January 5, 2011 04:03 AM (GMT)
Nox smirked. "I /know/ I can handle that." He said smugly, not going into any detail. "But you're just plum out of luck, eh?" He purred in his soft, London-esque burr. He had finally managed to convince himself completely, for now, that doing anything with Ashe would be more than a bad idea, and thereby he was able to return the banter with his usual charm.
The change in scenery was almost subtle enough that he didn't even noticed; an increase in heat and greenery, really, was the only tip off that they were getting closer to the true beginning of their journey - and even that was slow enough in the going that he really didn't catch on completely until Arc's large paws began to squelch in the mud beneath his feet.
By that point in time, he honestly was just glad to be making progress and to see a little bit of new scenery. The human smiled, looking around at the marshy surroundings with interest. "Well, I like the night myself as well. But I used to get up early for training, so I've gotten used to it."
Being the only son of a rather well off family, he'd been expected to train in things like brawling and swordsmanship. Of course, that had been before the incident with his sister and the overwhelming paranoia that his parents would try and kill him, too...
Crazy times, those had been.
When Ashe mentioned the book, he blinked, looking down at it again and then smiling. He picked it up and turned it around, holding it open with his fingers as he let Ashe look at the map. "My sister's been this way once before and I found her maps in one of her old books." He explained happily. "She didn't get much further, and some things have changed since she's been through here, but for the most part, Night was pretty spot on." He let the book settle back on his lap, becoming much more intrested in something that he could see up ahead.
The man blinked, calling both Al and Arc to a stop and pushing the journal back into his packs, slipping off of Arc to the side. He bent to pick up the small, yellow bauble, studying it curiously. It almost looked like... a lantern. A primitive sort of lantern. "Whatchu make of this?" He called, wiping some of the muck off of it onto his pants and then tossing it to Ashe. "Looks like a lantern o' some kind."
Or a Christmas ornament. Arc supplied. Nox supposed he could be right; but that didn't seem quite so likely.
The man was now effectively up to his ankles in murky water, covering the majority of his water proof boots and the hem of his jeans. They were going to have quite a job of finding a dry place to set up camp.
Riding Mount (Land) for half, then standing still
Ashe - January 5, 2011 04:39 AM (GMT)
Ashe sighed dramatically. Fine, if Nox wanted to play it that way, he supposed there was nothing he could do. "You're the one out of luck, then, bud. Missing out and you know it~ But suit yourself."
[He's probably one of the plainest and most boring people you've shown an interest in; and he still rejects you]
[We've just recently become friends, and besides he has a boyfriend]
[Keep giving yourself excuses if it helps you sleep at night. But I know you're losing your charm...]
At this point, Dracula became aware of the softer ground. Having cloven hooves was rather annoying on this terrain, as mud and soft earth kept getting stuck in the cleft. To combat this, Dracula began picking up his feet to try to avoid it, to no avail. What was it Ashe had gotten him into, anyway? Sure it was warm here, but the air was heavy with moisture and wetness, and the ground was saturated. Not Dracula's cup of tea, perse. Ashe was forced to balance as Dracula fought rather dramatically for his footing - subtle to the eyes of bystanders, but more obvious to the person actually sitting on his slim back.
[What are you doing? You were walking just fine...]
[Yeah until it got hock deep in mud!]
[There's not even real mud puddles. It's just squishy ground that oozes like mud, you big baby] Ashe commented, leaning over his shoulder to take a look. [We've been out here for days, it's about time we got to the actual Bayou.]
[All this and we weren't even there yet?]
[Quit your whining and pay attention next time, will you?]
He urged Dracula to the side a bit, angling closer to Arc and Nox. Dracula didn't appreciate this but he obeyed, sidestepping and bringing him a few feet closer so he could get a good look. The map was impressive; their whole way was filled out it looked like, even though Ashe hadn't seen Nox himself detail the pages. He was about to ask, Nox had a sister? when Nox said her name. Night... That name was familiar. Where had he heard it before? Night... Hm... OH! "Your sister was Night?" He asked, the lightbulb going on in his head. "I met her once, in the Freehold. Didn't like water much...or something."
Dracula, having decided Ashe had been close enough, and that he himself was in fact way too close to the Vulticus now, sidestepped back to his own side of the trail. Bad timing, as Noxcalled for a stop shortly after, to hop off and go to the water's edge on his side. Ashe drew Drac around in a half circle and led him toward the bank to see what it was. "What'd you find?" He saw a bit of a light, but not much other than that... He felt a jolt of excitement; maybe a magical orb? One of those Nodes? He'd have to knock Nox out and take it, if that was the case. But that's not what it was... He felt the jab of disappointment but also relief. -He- wanted to be the one to find a node, and all, selfish as that was.
"It does look like a lanturn... Odd place for it, in the water..." He looked one way, then the other, but he saw no more of the little light things. "Wonder where they came from? Has your sister recorded anything like this?" He hopped off of Dracula to get a better look at the find.
Riding Mount (Land) for half, then standing still
Nox - January 6, 2011 02:44 PM (GMT)
Nox chuckled, but wisely chose not to pursue the subject any further. They had adventuring to do, after all, and it just wouldn't do to be distracted whilst doing that. He watched Ashe and Dracula while the equillion began hopping around once they met softer ground, holding back a laugh; he was glad that Arc was well used to this kind of ground, or he would likely have met the same problem.
Algidus didn't appear to be phased by anything; the mud, Dracula's crow-hopping, or even their stopping and Nox tossing the lantern over his head. He had resigned himself to just following along - at least until he was better woke up, a feat that was hard to accomplish when one was forced to trail along bored behind a massive, overgrown dog.
When are we going home? He asked the man as they trudged through the damp. This is stupid.
Nox smirked. In three months. I would buck it up, lad~
Al huffed, lowering his muzzle to the ground and sniffing at the murky ground. He immediately recoiled, seeming repulsed by the smell. Ugh, it smells disgusting! He cried out, giving an almost noticeable grimace. He seemed to have very few facial expressions around other people, but Nox knew he wasn't as sour as he made himself out to be when everyone else was around.
You'll get over it. Just relax, Al - think of it as a vacation.
A very smelly, wet vacation. Arc chimed in, giving a burly, audible chuckle. Sometimes it put people on edge just how many human-like qualities the vulticus had acquired over several years spent in very close contact with humans. Nox wasn't surprised anymore; if anything, he like the fact that the creature was practically, if not completely sentient. It made his life so much easier; no RoTs, no collars of speech, and even without telepathy he could always understand Arc through his oddly characteristic facial expressions.
Nox's attention was immediately snapped back to Ashe with the man's revelation; he had known his sister? Why hadn't he told him before?
Oh right; because he never talked about her. Of course. Perhaps if he had then he would have found this out sooner. "You knew her?" He questioned, his navy and white eyes landing on Ashe with an almost skeptical expression. "Really? Huh." He seemed thoughtful for a moment before, once again, turning his gaze to his book. "I never really met her - Or I can't remember it's been so long." He offered up with a soft chuckle; Night had been several years older than he himself, and had left home before he was born or when he was far to young to recall her in any way.
Hell, he wouldn't have even known of her existence were it not for a chance accident involving a trunk of pictures in the attic one evening while his parents were out.
He shivered, clearing his throat and gladly letting the subject change to the lantern.
"I don' know what its doin' here." Nox said, frowning slightly. "That is odd. No, Night mentioned nothing like this a'fore; perhaps there's some kind of people that live here that she didn't encounter?" He suggested, glancing around as though waiting for them to come out of the murky depths of the bayou.
Ashe - January 7, 2011 10:04 AM (GMT)
"Yeah. Not too well, of course, since we only met the once, but..." he was really stunned that Nox had had a sister. And one, at that, that he hadn't even met? "Were you two halfsiblings, then? Or just..parents split?" Ashe didn't have any siblings, that he knew of, but he couldn't imagine growing up without knowing about the sibling. That had to be rough, whatever the story. He feltit was kind of weird to boot that he had met someone a long time ago who had really been related to someone he had hated and then turned out to be a good friend of. Small world, eh?
The biggest concern of his at the moment though was not siblings or a girl or Nox himself ; he was more concerned about where that lanturn came from. It was kind of spooky up close, having appeared out of nowhere and just showed up on the bank like that. He didn't -see- others but that didn't mean that they were alone here. He cast a look all around them, in all directions. Nothing was moving, except for when the breeze moved it. Everything looked normal.
[Smell anything weird?]
[You mean besides the stench of still water and rotting thigns? No]
[You're not a Vulticus, either, though and it doesn't look like Arc's smelled anything...]
[You insult me]
[Sorry. I'll kiss it, make it better?]
[Sure, you can start with my ass] Dracula turned despite Ashe's hold on the reins and tried to angle his hind end toward the human. Just enough to get his point across, as it was too childish to do all the way. And Dracula wasn't childish. At least... Not any more so than Ashe himself was, and he couldn't be blamed for that.
Ashe walked closer to the water's edge for a better look, peering into the depths for good measure. He didn't see anything other than the muddy bottom. "Maybe it's left over from the last travelers that...passed through here..." And, you know, failed. Now that he had voiced this, he couldn't help but wonder if there were skeletons down there, under the sand at the bottom. If there were, well...he wanted them. He didn't care if it was 'disturbing the dead'. One full skeleton would be great, but hell he'd be fine with a femur or a skull.
[I'm not hauling you out if you start drowning]
[This isn't exactly my idea of an idea swimming hole...]
Nox - January 8, 2011 07:24 PM (GMT)
Nox shook his head. "No, Uhm..." He paused, trying to figure out the right way to put it so that it didn't sound like he was telling a sob story. "Our parents weren't exactly.... the best." He said stoppingly, as though trying to figure out how to word things as he went along. "Where we're from, humanish people are considered outcasts. A disease." He elaborated.
"Coming from a rather wealthy family, my parents felt that they needed to get rid of the 'blemish' on the family name, and... err.. well. Night ended up running away. I don't remember much of it - I was quite young at the time." Nox stopped again, humming to himself.
This was really the first time that he had told anyone about his sister's disappearance - and definitely the first time that he'd mentioned his parents. He didn't go in to why he left home; Ashe hadn't asked, and he wouldn't tell. That was a story for another time.
The man looked at the lantern again, a thoughtful look on his countenance. "Perhaps, yes. I've never seen one quite like that, before." He took a moment to tap his fingers against Arc's shoulder in thought before shrugging and hauling himself back up onto the vulticus' back. "If anything, it shows us that there has to be some kinda life passing through here, yeah?"
Truthfully, he was a bit worried about the lantern as well; though not for the same reasons as Ashe. He didn't particularly think that it must have been previous travelors - as far as he knew, not many people had traveled this way before. However, what if there were a sort of primitive society out here? Or even a civilization of which the labs knew very little?
It was difficult to say, really, when he didn't know.
Maybe it's a natural sort of lantern? Never know what may be growing out here. Arc suggested, also turning to look at the lantern.
Nox shook his head. It looks a bit too fine crafted to be anything natural. He replied, puzzled still by where the lantern could have come from.
Al seemed unfazed by the interest in the lantern, instead shifting so that the packs on his back were more evenly balanced. He was ready to find a dry place to relax for the day; hopefully they WOULD be able to find somewhere dry - it didn't look like there was a very good chance of it at this point. But there had to always be a chance.
"You ready to get going again? We can think about it while we move; we gotta find a dry place to set up camp a'fore it's too dark, though, and I don't want to be caught out here in the muck come nightfall." Nox glanced at Ashe.
Ashe - January 9, 2011 09:52 AM (GMT)
"Your parents hated 'humanish' people? How did you come to be one, if they...well..." How to word this? Obviously, humanish people didn't just spontaneously appear, they were made from a combination of others' genes, like any baby. So the parents had to have been part of the cause, right? So..Why would a couple have a kid if their kids wouldn't be full human? He was curious about why Nox had stayed and Night had left. He'd been young, sure, but would something have happened to him then, if the parents didn't want him? Anything to do with Parents had Ashe questioning things, since he couldn't remember his own. If he had any. He figured his own were dead, and it didn't really matter. He was here, they weren't, end of story. He was lucky that his pets, the ones he was close to, had no close family ties either. Dracula? Didn't care. Alaska? Would have battled them for her own part of the docks herself. Maverick? Didn't like his dad, didn't know his mom. Styxx liked his dad, but since Ashe was on Maverick's level, that was more like Ashe imagined his own son to be...
Parents. Who needed them? Once you were old enough, you moved out anyway and made your own way in life.
But Ashe found the question he wanted to ask. " 'Get rid of'? Did they try to do something to you, when you stayed but Night didn't?" He was kind of aware he was asking a personal question. But if Nox didn't want to reply, Ashe figured he wouldn't. Thus, Ashe would drop the subject and all would be well again. And maybe Nox, at that time, was too young to be a problem, and left when he was Night's age or something...
It was weird, knowing he'd met someone who had come from that mess, but having never had a clue.
He was ready to get moving again; nothing was happening around here, and no more lanterns were popping up around them. This had to be the only one. If it was supposed to be somewhere near here, he figured he could see the glow of more on the water far off but he didn't. If there was something living out there, and this lantern had belonged to them, the best way to find it was to keep moving.
"Maybe we can catch up to whatever lost it. And yeah, I'm ready, whenever you are." He grinned, eager to get a move on. And to get whereever they were setting up camp at. As if to agree with him, his stomach grumble-growled. The sooner they found a place to set up camp, a dry place, the sooner he could eat. He could probably have snacked while riding, but if he did that he'd keep snacking, and then have no food left...
That was when he realized Dracula had been rather quiet through his thoughts. Ah, well. He walked back around him and climbed up onto the saddle, settling down. He was sure he didn't have to tell Nox to keep the light in case it came in handy somewhere down the line.
Nox - January 11, 2011 06:00 PM (GMT)
Nox strummed his fingers idly. "I's call magic." He said simply, trying to refrain from rolling his eyes; he knew that, to him, the answer was obvious. But then, he was familiar with the idea, had had all of his life to encompass it, and thereby he was able to come to the conclusion without even thinking. "A kind of magic people live nearby where i grew up; sometimes, they would venture into the city - searching for wares and the like. It's unwise to anger them, but small children do have a habit of annoying those it is unwise to toy with."
The man was quiet for a moment as he stowed the lantern at the top of his bag and zipped it back shut, nudging Arc back in to a walk and calling for Al to follow them. The crossbreed flicked his tail and trudged along through the dank mud in their wake, grunting and trying to refrain from complaining lest his arguments be concluded invalid once again.
After moving in silence for a moment, seeming to collect his thoughts, Nox finally responded. "They didn't try to do anything to me, no. I didn't show any characteristics of a humanish, at least not outwardly, and as their only son they were comfortable enough with ignoring it if only to continue with a claim to the family line." He explained thoughtfully. "I also didn't know they planned to murder my sister in cold blood, however. Upon finding out... well, I figured it would be a good time to go adventuring and get lost somewhere."
He gave a rueful, half-smile, patting Arc's shoulder before he leaned back, lying down on the vulticus' back comfortably once again. "In any case, I've been better off here anyways. No training, no lessons, no worries. Just me and whatever the hell I want to do."
The man let his hand drift to the two sheaths at his belt; one for his sword, it's gold and black handle peaking over the top of it, and the other for the dark blue sai. Talking about the past made him wary, paranoid... nervous - and when it came to that, his immediate, trained reaction was to go for whatever weapon he had on him. He gave a small cough and brushed the feeling away, trying to focus on their surroundings and look for a place that they could set up camp.
Riding Mount (Land)
Ashe - January 17, 2011 10:14 PM (GMT)
Ashe got the tone and raised his eyebrow. As if he was supposed to know, right? He knew magic could do many, many things, which was why he was studying it. He didn't, however, know it could do weird things like change your species. Curse you with a pig's tail or something, sure, but that would go away or be curable, rather than irreversibly change your species. He hadn't been raised with much magic...that he remembered... He didn't know much at all about his past besides the fact that Dracula was a big part of it. But Dracula didn't like talking about the past so that was a dead end. Ashe didn't have a prior base knowledge of magic, so he assumed he didn't know about it.
He did get the point; Nox and Night had pissed off some magical creature thing and got cursed. Maybe it was just a touchy subject or something, so Ashe dropped it. He was starting to wonder if Nox was annoyed with him for asking when he finally broke the silence. When he spoke, Ashe listened quietly, and also with amazement. He couldn't imagine finding out a plot like that was going down in his own family, and just..leaving. He'd do something about it. Stop it. Change their minds. Maybe even take drastic measures!
[You don't even know what it's like to have a hateful family, let alone a nice and loving one that turns out to be a lie]
[...Shut up. Neither do you]
[I'm not the one trying to put myself in someone else's shoes without the experience to back up personal feelings] Dracula snorted. He was walking alongside Arc, but with enough distance between them so that neither could complain. He lifted his legs high from the squishy ground, halfheartedly looking for more solid terrain. He had, by now, given up and succumbed to his fate of squishy mud between his hooves, sucking at his feet, trying to keep him rooted.
Ashe broke off the conversation, looking over at Nox. "It is nice here, isn't it? The City, I mean. No real responsibilities besides taking care of beasts... And, hell, you can abuse them all you want without getting in trouble. No job needed except enough to pay for food... a house if you don't want to live out of the kennel like an animal..." He grins, laughing a bit. Of course, this again didn't really apply to him. He held himself to high standards; Train hard and be the top of the food chain. Study hard and become a Necromancer. Be the best leader of the Aquatic Division he could possibly be. And, to boot, he was attempting to rein in his urges to bed everyone he found so he could try, for once, to be loyal to a woman who deserved it. Damn, he wanted to laid back and relaxed life...
"Out here, too. Nothing at all to do but survive, eh?" He laughed.
Riding Mount (Land)
Nox - February 16, 2011 02:27 AM (GMT)
((Sorry this took so long, like I said, I completely spaced. xD;))
Nox chuckled, nodding. "Yeah, life in the labs is pretty decent. Very laid back in comparison to how I grew up; no social status to burden yourself with, no common law to bother you - really it's crazy the kind of things that you can get away with around these parts." The man paused a moment, thinking. "Strangely enough, though, there's not a lot of crime or the like around here. It's almost remarkable how well maintained the society is without any sort of governing law save for a few scarce rules that are mostly just commonly accepted guidelines."
And it was true - as far as he knew or concerned himself with, there was absolutely no law enforcement in the entirety of the labs area. He could just be sheltered, he supposed - set back from such things by his fairly docile manor and devotion to training in secluded, private areas. He supposed that, were he wrong, Ashe would take it upon himself to correct him in any case. The man certainly seemed to get into enough trouble and scuffles for the both of them.
Arc eyed Dracula out of the corner of his eye, watching the equillion with a learned sense of wariness. He had learned through long experience that he shouldn't trust anything that could shoot fire for itself. There was just way too many things that could go wrong with that. Are you sure that the horse is trustworthy? He questioned Nox, letting his good eye's gaze fall back to the careful trail he was weaving through the marshy growth. He felt filthy already; covered in muck and water and who the hell knew what else. He chose not to complain, if only for the fact that with any luck karma would take his side and they would soon find a dry (and clean-smelling, for the mud definitely wasn't the greatest odor in the world) to set up camp for the evening.
If Ashe trusted him enough to bring him out in to this mess, then he's bound to be worth a bit of something. I'm sure that Ashe can control him well enough. Nox replied, ducking under a low hanging branch and brushing the swamp moss that hung off of it out of his hair.
Algidus grumbled, not taking any measure at all to prevent the web-like grasses that netted the trees from sticking all over the supplies. That's what the man deserved, making him carry the supplies like a common animal.
Nox could hear his thoughts, but didn't have the heart to tell him that the tarp wrapped around the bundles prevented the sticky substances from making any impact. He figured that the crossbreed may as well have something to concentrate on besides complaining.
"See anywhere that looks like it's a good camp site?" Nox called out to Ashe.
Riding Mount (Land)
Ashe - February 16, 2011 05:02 AM (GMT)
"It's kinda like the basic 'give a guy a gun and he'll protect his home' idea I bet. We have monsters - and thieves would have to have a pretty well trained creature to take down the defenses. Apparently they don't want to put that much effort into it..." He chuckles a bit, knowing he could have a shot at stealing if he put his mind to it. From other people, from shopkeepers like Alan... It would be so easy. Flirt a bit, get him flustered and annoyed, then...well, maybe not Alan, he seemed the type to get scary if someone so much as thought about it. But Kale, Kapper, Mavrik, etc... he was sure he had the ability to. And he knew he wasn't the only one capable.
But like Nox said, not many actually tried it. Even though there was no police force of highly trained Rakai to enforce it...
The new task was to find somewhere relatively dry and solid to break for the night. It was rough going and even if Dracula was easily able to keep up with the pace, even set it if he wished to do so, Ashe was sure it was straining his muscles - [No it's not, I'm fine] - and he would like to find solid ground as well. They kept walking, Dracula now paying a bit more attention where they were walking, the texture of the ground he was walking on. "Not yet, no," Ashe responded, Dracula's results not of much help. His feet were encased in mud and he could only feel more slippery turf underneath all that.
But Dracula had an idea. The terrain around them was mostly muddy, not turning into plant life until a bit closer to the waters' edge and further on down the path. Not that he really cared anyway as he stopped, braced himself, arched his neck as he aimed, and fired a hot blast of flame at the ground in front of him. The heat was intense enough to dry it out, like baking clay in an kiln or under the hot sun. He stepped up on it, the heat radiating off the ground still starting to dry his hooves, mud caking off a bit.
[Dry land] He said matter of factly. It wasn't a big area, just enough for him to stand on and for Arc or Al to walk on if they wanted to come close, but...Dracula had to admit, it felt good to be on dry land again.
Riding Mount (Land)
Nox - March 29, 2011 07:53 PM (GMT)
Nox gave a slow nod, agreeing with Ashe's point. There really wasn't a whole lot to complain about, he supposed - there was very little, if any, crime in the labs, and if the people wanted to be self governing then he supposed there was no harm in letting them fend for themselves without the mercy of the law on their side.
He had been about to respond to Ashe's "No dry land" statement, when it appeared that the man's tainted took things into his own hands. He pulled Arc up short, calling a short command to Algidus to stop (Not that it appeared that he had to, the crossbreed was more than capable of sensing that he shouldn't walk into flames). The group watched, varying degrees of interest and such on their faces as a small - but sufficient - patch of dry land was created.
Nox gave a short chuckle, his dual-colored eyes twinkling. "Well, I suppose that we'll stop here, eh?" He murmured, slipping off of Arc's back onto the newly dried land and steadying himself on the solid ground. He was suddenly glad that he had spent so much time riding back home, or surely he would have been sore as hell by this time.
The man spent a moment stretching before he turned to his human companion, smiling. "Seems a good place to camp - dry enough for my standards anyways, and I'm not picky." He knocked a bit of mud off of his boot before traipsing over to the supplies that Algidus was carrying, releasing the holds for the packs and sliding the contraption down from the crossbreed's back.
Al shook himself off, relieved of his burden, and glanced around their small patch of "home" with a look of boredom. I'm going hunting. He muttered, spreading his wings and hefting himself heavily into the air. Nox watched him fly off before shrugging, taking the supplies and settling them to the side of the dried area. After that, he stood, straitening his sword belt at his waist and grinning at Ashe.
"Well, I guess I'm going to go look for a semblance of dry wood so we'll have a fire tonight. It may be hot, but the fire will scare the critters off in the very least, and we'll need it to cook dinner." He slid Arc's saddle bags off of the vulticus' back, giving him the silent command to go hunting and bring back something that they could cook for dinner. While he did have dried rations prepared, he would prefer to save those for a time when they would be unable to find food in another manor.
Arc chuffed, nuzzling against the man for a moment before he, too, spread his wings and took flight. "Arc will normally bring back a rabbit or something." He said, somewhat offhandedly, giving some manor of explanation as towards why both of his creatures had suddenly high tailed it.
With that, he slipped his backpack off of his shoulders, turning to wander off into the nearby swamp clad only in his jeans and boots with his sword belt swing low about his waist. He unsheathed the small sai at his side as he stepped off the dry patch of land, calling over his shoulder. "You're welcome to come along if you'd like!"
Ashe - April 5, 2011 01:48 AM (GMT)
Just in case the small patch that Dracula had made initially wasn't good enough (and it wouldn't be, if Ashe and Nox expected Arc, that winged brute, and Dracula to all stay on the patch of dry earth together), Dracula set about to toasting more of the ground. Maybe baking would be a better term for it... He baked the earth for them, giving the humans a comfortable amount of space to set up camp. He wasn't the type for being overly helpful but hell - he could prove how much better he was than the other two, couldn't he? So he'd show off a bit just for that purpose.
[We don't need a fire to keep the boogeymen away] Dracula commented to Ashe. [Not only am I on fire constantly, without wasting wood, but I can do more damage than a measly manmade fire... I can also cook]
[But you also need to sleep tonight]
[You act as if you are not aware fires do not burn eternally]
Ashe snorted. [I don't think it's a bad idea to have two fires going. We don't know what we'll find out here, or what will find us, and if you care to take note, there's water nearby. What if we're attacked by swampmen? That shoot water from their hands or something?]
Dracula grunted his distaste for the watery swampmen Ashe's words painted, but said no more. As much as he hated to admit it, he had a weakness for water... Ashe knew that as well as he did. However, his annoyance at the two with wings leaving radiated off of him in waves of heat. Dracula himself lacked wings, was always outdone by things with wings (even if they were blind things!) and now he was getting shown up by these goons. He snorted sparks and turned to go off hunting on his own, but Ashe stopped him.
[Do you even know how to hunt?]
[It should be easy enough. It's not rocket science. I see a rabbit, I pounce, I crack its neck, I bring it back]
[Rabbits are fast. You don't have claws, or soft foot pads for stealth, or-]
Dracula turned to face him so quickly, at such a close range, Ashe had to lean back to avoid bumping their foreheads together. He gave Ashe a level headed stare that dared him to go on. Ashe, however, was smart enough to shut his mouth- physically and mentally. After a few seconds of the staring contest, Ashe cleared his throat. "Dracula would like to guard the camp while we gather the wood."
Ashe ignored him. He figured that since he, Ashe, wanted to go get a good view of the place they were in and going to stay the night at, and Dracula didn't know how to hunt properly nor would he do good stomping around in the mud, this was a great compromise. Dracula could make himself useful too. But he would make sure they stayed within sight of the camp, in case anyone, or thing, thought it wise to attempt to steal from them and overpower the fire horse. Ashe dropped his bag at Dracula's feet, patted his stallion on the rump, then hurried to catch up to Nox, slowing to match the other man's pace. Two pairs of arms to carry back what might be a pitiful load would be better than one!
He wondered vaguely if they'd find any more lanturns...
Nox - June 10, 2011 04:44 AM (GMT)
Nox watched their silent exchange curiously, smiling to himself. "Alright, if he wants." He commented, shrugging his shoulders and trudging along into the bayou's thick, muddy water, searching for things that looked relatively dried out. Or as much as they could be in this place, at least. "It doesn't look like we're going to have much luck in the way of 'dry.' He commented to Ashe, ignoring the 'slurp!' that his boot made as he pried it out of it's wet and slimy prison.
Arc and Al were vague entities at the corners of his mind, tugging at his attention now and then, but remaining fairly silent. Arc had spotted a rabbit and was now stalking towards it as silently as his large form would let him. He was far to the north of them, at the very edge of the swamp - his fast trip being attributed to his wings. Nox was thankful for the vulticus' speed, because it meant a quick and painless dinner tonight.
Al was still circling around, trying to decide what direction to go with his hunting. He wouldn't be bringing food back for the party - only for himself, as he felt no need to double what the vulticus would already bring in. He wasn't going to try and please the humans like a petty dog. He would not stoop to that level.
Nox managed to tug a few somewhat dry branches off of a dead tree, inspecting them before turning to his friend. "Having any luck, Ashe?" He called, waving the dead branches and a few other sticks and such that he had managed to scrounge up off of the top of the muck. "It's not going to be much of a fire, even I have to admit, but it should be enough to at least cook up whatever Arc brings back, I hope."
He yawned, scooping up a handful of leaves off of a log to use as kindling and turning to head back to camp. It had been a long first day, and despite that they really hadn't done anything save for ride through the woods and into the swamp, it was none the less very tiring. He was quite ready to get in to the tent away from the pestering bugs, and sleep.
Nox swatted a mosquito off of his arm, grunting slightly. "I don't know about you, but I'm just about fed up with the bugs." He stated with a low chuckle. "I'll probably throw up my tent when I get back, after we get the fire going for food."
Ashe - July 3, 2011 03:58 AM (GMT)
Ashe wasn't having much luck, to be honest. Most of the pieces of wood he grabbed -looked- dry, but as soon as he lifted them up, he realized the whole other side had been stuck in gooey mud. He managed to find a few that weren't 85% soaked, though, and had them tucked under one of his arms. Not going to be much of a fire at all... But Ashe's pride refused to let him give up so he kept looking, at least as long as Nox kept looking.
[I still don't see why you need wood] Dracula commented. He sensed, through Ashe's thoughts and senses, what they were doing and what they were picking up and looking for. He was mildly irritated - but also amused too. So much work, these humans were doing, when all he had to do was snort in their direction and anything close enough would be cooked thoroughly.
[Save your strength. We might need it later] Ashe didn't want to be caught out here without Dracula being able to help them out, and he'd already used up some of his fuel by baking the earth for them. Surely that was enough for Drac's "pull my own weight" concern.
"Not too much luck," Ashe confessed to his friend. "Everything's soaked over here. Soaked or waterlogged... Neither of which are much help." He sighed, about to give up, when he spotted a log half buried. There was a stick protruding up off of it that looked good - and, most importantly, dry. Ashe walked over to it, placed a foot on the log itself, and his hands on the base of the stick, and jerked. When the stick broke off, he quickly tucked it under his arm so he could start poking around for something else.
Ashe had, until this point, been blissfully unaware of the bugs. He'd been so intent on other things, but now there were gnats buzzing in his ear, and misquitoes deciding that he was the best buffet in town since Nox swatted at them. Ashe groaned. "So much for sleeping outside under the stars..." He muttered. He hadn't brought a tent, thinking he wouldn't need it. He and Dracula were rugged mountain men, after all. But he'd be eaten alive here...