• Memory • Remembering how to Turn

Alex remembers her past

The capital city of the of Rynmere, here is seated the only King in Idalos.
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Vluharqih
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Race: Yludih
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Arc 711, 52nd trial of Ashan
Alex smashed to the ground, jerking awake as she fell. Her eyes flew open as her face crunched into the dirty wooden floor, unable to react in time. She winced as she got to her knees, uninjured but startled nonetheless. Looking down, surprised at her lack of clothes, Alex paused. Hmm...That's odd. Oh well... I was pretty tired last night. I probably just don't remember.

All she could recall was crashing hard last night, unable to keep going. She had spent the previous three trials awake, travelling and earning money. What inn is this, anyway? Her eyes were bleary, and her limbs felt heavy.

The sun outside her window showed that it was almost noon, the sun high in the sky for this time of the arc. I think I passed out around...12 breaks ago? Maybe 13? I don't remember very clearly... She tried to stand, feeling her limbs resist the movement. They felt as if they were made of lead, but she dragged herself across the small room, wrinkling her nose at the smell. Eww, what is that?

She froze as she saw vomit spattered across the floor, her brain going in a million directions at once. What the-who-how did- no wait- She spun around, her eyes widening as she saw a body in her bed.

Oh no

She was remembering now, but her sleep deprived brain couldn't recall everything. I got here late....pulled my usual scam...but how the HELL did I end up with this...thing in my bed? She quietly tiptoed back towards him, and lifted up the covers. He was naked too.

She groaned. God dammit, not again He stirred at the sound, and Alex's eyes widened. Nonono, sleeeeep, please! She did not want to deal with the 'morning after' conversation. He shifted, pulling the blankets partway off, and Alex averted her gaze. Ew, gross! I can't believe I...EWWWWW.

He was a fairly good looking man, but he was easily in his mid 20's, and far too old for her in any case. She noticed his hands were soft and had dark blotches spattered across them, figuring he was likely a bookkeeper of some sort. His hair was a disheveled mess, but she remembered the short brown hair had looked good on him last night. Slowly her memory was coming back, but there was still gaps. The last time I ever go that long without sleep.

She creeped back across the room, avoiding the unknown man's vomit as she quickly gathered her things. She packed her bag quickly and quietly, managing to not wake him, though that was likely as much due to the copious amounts of alcohol he had drank, rather than her skills at being quiet.

She finished, and looked around the room. The straw on the floor was a good call she idly thought as she sidestepped the puddle, grabbing the man's pants. She felt the pockets, pulling out a small purse with a few dozen silver nel. Bah, not even rich. I really was out of it.

She walked towards the door, and paused. IF he wakes soon, he'll likely come after me for the purse....hmm. She gathered up his clothes, scattered across the floor and table, throwing them into the pool of vomit. She poked them around with her feet, making sure they were well and truly soaked, before she returned to the door, and slowly creaked it open.

As she pushed it, she glanced down at her hands. The dirt and grime encrusted on them nearly made her cry out. She froze in place, staring at her hands in horror. She heard a voice inside, telling her that this is ridiculous, but she still couldn't force herself to keep going. She turned around, and headed for the small wash basin by the window. Peering inside, the grimy water didn't look much better than her hands, but she plunged them in anyway. She scrubbed her hands, brought them out for inspection, and pushed them under again, scrubbing fiercely.

I can't believe that I did this

The splash seemed louder this time as she brought them out, and shoved them back under the water, but the man on the bed didn't move.

What was I thinking?

Water hit her shirt, the murky liquid seeping into the fabric as her hands came out and went in again, and Alex felt herself relax. Finally, they're clean. She pulled them out of the water, and though they hardly looked any better, she felt as if the world was lifted off her shoulders.

She left the room, feeling much better with her plan. She made it down the stairs, and handed the innkeeper a few of the man's silver, quietly asking him for some food for the road. As he made her a small basket, she nodded her thanks and took the basket, heading for the door.

A crash sounded above her, along with an impressive string of expletives. Her eyes flew down to meet the innkeepers, who had turned to stare at her. He took a step towards her, his arms raising, and she back pedalled, quickly pushing her way out the door, and taking off down the road. Luckily she hadn't had a horse or wagon to deal with.

She slowed to a jog, looking back over her shoulder at the empty road. Haha, I made it! Her mouth turned slightly upwards, not quite what one could call a grin, as Alex headed down the open path. Her hands went to her waist, and pulled out her bulging purse.

The previous few nights she had been pulling her favourite scam. It played to her strengths perfectly, and it was hard for those she scammed to come after her- just how she liked it. It paid for her travels from city to city, and allowed her a huge amount of freedom.

She would enter a smaller inn, and look for the largest, loudest person in the place. Often it would be a younger guy, eager to prove his manhood. She would challenge him to a drinking contest, which in itself was unfair: Yludih can't get drunk, and instead just gain incredible amounts of energy from alcohol. But to make it even more one-sided, she would slip a small dose of a sleeping agent into their drink. The side effects matched those of a bad hangover- headache, difficultly thinking and a sensitivity to loud noises. That, mixed with her attitude and small stature meant whenever the man would pass out, his friends would find it hilarious. This resulted in her being above suspicion, and allowed her to rake in nel.

Far off hoof beats shook her from her flashback, and she turned around. Behind her, just on the horizon was a cloud of dust. Now that could be nothing...or... Her gut told her it was for her, and she looked around frantically. To her left was an open field, as far as the eye could see. To her right, a forest was on the horizon, but the flat ground between here and there would let them see her no problem.

Alex sighed, and set down her pack. She undid the strings on her shoulders, large gaps appearing in the jacket. Her change began slowly, as always, with an odd pricking heat in her core. The heat would bloom until it was almost unbearable, but she grit her teeth and pushed through.

Cold began to push back the heat, and her fingers slowly returned to normal, followed by the rest of her body. Her wings sprouted, and she felt the tension in her back as it grew to accept the new anatomy. She shivered all over as the change finished, both tired and energized at once.

Valyeria reached into her pack and pulled out a black tunic, quickly changing out of her leather jacket. A flutter of her wings to settle the fabric, and it was doubtful that they would be able to recognize her. She took to the air, a scant dozen feet above the ground, and continued flying in her direction.

A little over a break later, the hooves beat below her. Looking down, she saw four men-at-arms galloping along, speaking with a civillian in the center. She paused, as she recognized him as the man in the Inn. They glanced upwards as they sped below, and one of the man-at-arms began to knock a bow, before the civillian shouted something unintelligible, and they passed by.

She couldn't see them a break later, and decided to land. Makes no sense to stay in Avriel when everybody hates the Avriel. Plus then people hear that an Avriel is travelling in Western Idalos- hardly a common sight. The lower profile I keep the better.

She switched back, the temperature change making her shiver as Alex put back on her leather jacket, and plodded along the road, just as the first crack of thunder was heard on the horizon.
Alex paused at a bridge, and decided to take a break from her travels. It had just begun raining, and the bridge might provide some sort of cover until it blew over. Ahead of her the road split, and she couldn't see down either path, but trusted in her hearing.

She slipped down the muddy slope, humming tunelessly to herself as she opened her pack and grabbed a bite to eat. The meal felt perfect to her, the four slices of bread perfectly balanced by the apple, meat and cheese. She bit into it, not realizing how hungry she was. She was halfway through her meal when she heard the hoofbeats again. Her eyes widened in terror.

Too close to change- a Yludih is much much worse than a thief. She looked left and right, before grabbing her pack, and scrambling along the river bank. She managed to make it into a bush just as the five horses thundered past, slowing as they reached the bridge. The men hopped off, and Alex cursed.

I didn't finish my meal... The thought crept into her head, a growing certanity that they would find her because she didn't finish it.

She stayed perfectly still, realizing that her boot prints were clearly marked in the soft mud of the river bank. Stupid, stupid! What was I thinking?.

A shout from one of them as he found the footprints spiked her heart rate, her breathing accelerated and she felt herself grow afraid. I knew it! I didn't finish the meal, and they're going to find me. No, I can't stay here. I'll run. They can't catch me in the forest. I can't just stay here. They can see me. They're coming for me. Her thoughts grew steadily more and more panicked, before her resolve broke, and she scrambled upright and tearing off into the wet bush, the crashes she made attracting the guards attention. She heard their voices as they leapt to their horses, tearing off down the path towards her.

She tore through the woods at a breakneck speed, dodging branches and leaping rocks with abandon. The rain poured down, soaking her hair and leaking down her back. Her pack bounced uncomfortably, but the heavy breathing of the horses behind her was all the motivation she needed.

She headed towards a different creek bed, the babbling just could able to be heard. She jumped from rock to rock across the river, and headed downstream even further. The rest of the ground soon changed to rocky surfaces, and she left the stream to enter the forest again. She paused, listening for any signs of pursuit as she caught her breath. I think I lost them.

A flash of light, and a wave of sound that shook her chest made her straighten, and look around. The rain was pouring down, and the last strike of lightning had nearly hit her. She decided that it was high time to get out of the open. She didn't recognize where she was, but just ahead of her on the right was a small cliff, and what appeared to be a cave.

She warily brought out her knife, and tried to creep along quietly, leaving her pack behind. She had very little success, her feet just happening to find the wrong sticks to step on, or stumbling across a slippery rock. She made it into the cave, however, and found it dry and deserted. She returned, grabbed her pack, and lit a torch, she looked around at the bare rock of the tiny cavern. It was about big enough to fit two or three people lying side by side, and not much else.

Alex figured she'd wait out the storm, and began to set up camp.
Alex woke, shaking and screaming. As she panted, staring at the embers of the fire, the dream she had began to come back to her. It had involved her parents, that much she knew. She also knew that it had begun nicely. Then she remembered something about her changing, and suddenly it clicked. She had been a Grey Velox, and had been hunting with Lupe. Tracking the prey, the scent, her body had felt so alive. And then finally catching up to realize the prey was her mother's dead body, her father staring at her with dead eyes.

She looked around, and peered out the small entrance. The rough rock had hidden a horrendous downpour, what appeared to be half hail, half rain. It was totally out of season, and Alex sighed. Well, I'm stuck here for a while now...

Her thoughts returned to her dream. It had been several arcs since she had last thought of her initial attempts to change into a Grey Velox, and she chuckled dryly to herself at her for not completing it. I mean...I'm not going to go anywhere, and I doubt I'll be able to sleep for a while....Might as well?

It took her nearly a break to calm her nerves, and slow her breathing, her arcs of practice coming back to her. She looked inside for that switch, that feeling, and pushed. Her body began to get warm, spreading throughout to be met with tingling cold across the extremities. She felt herself begin to go formless, and she slowly relaxed, bringing her consciousness back to reality, snapping gently back into her human body.

Ha, just like flying. Once you learn, you never forget. She settled in to practice, an enthusiasm long forgotten blooming in her chest.
Last edited by Vluharqih on Wed May 11, 2016 11:08 pm, edited 4 times in total. word count: 2477
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Arc 710, 53rd trial of Ashan
Alex got up, sighing as her stiff muscles screamed at her. She hadn't moved all night, intent on achieving her goal. The fire had distracted her twice, forcing her to restock it in order to keep warm. The temperature had fallen overnight, and the rain had become sleet, followed by a heavy snow. It lay across the ground in a thick blanket forcing Alex to stay inside.

"Huh, well guess I'm stuck here." The words hung in the cold air, dissipating as the fog of her breath did. She would have been infuriated the previous day at being stuck here, but she knew that the men would be out looking, and would find it easy to track her in the snow. Her best bet was to stay here, and keep warm. She had enough food and water to stay for half a dozen trials, albeit somewhat uncomfortably.

Besides, she thought, now I actually have something to do! The prospect of finally, after all these arcs, managing the transition sent thrills though her body.

She returned to her little alcove, stretching her muscles and bringing to mind the shape of the Grey Velox. She focused on the mismatched eyes, and let that image become all she could see. She straightened, and looked around the small room. She opened the remaining food from the Inn, and the cold food looked wholly unappetizing. She scarfed it down regardless, hardly noticing the texture as she stared off into nothingness, remembering Astrid's loping run.

She settled back into her place on the sleeping pad, shifting as she tried to get comfortable. When she finally found the spot, she closed her eyes, and relaxed, her breath echoing in the cavern. Her core lit up with heat, spreading to her limbs. They went soft and limp, and Alex pulled the image from her mind. Her legs grew out, and she felt a tail begin to sprout. She slowly brought herself back to conscious thought, and looked down. Her legs were blobs, dark and rough. The shading was off, and it appeared that she had fuzzy edges surrounding herself. She peered over her shoulder, and saw a 'tail'.

Damn thing looks more like a leg than mine do! She thought ruefully. She was disappointed and upset, but she nocked a mirror out of her bag, looking down at her face.

She felt a thrill go through her as she gazed down at the reflective surface. Her face was astonishing. The ears were perked up, and though the colouring was off, their shape was perfect. She looked at her eyes, loosing herself in them. The blue was deep, almost ocean blue, and was swirled through with ice blue. Her nose bumped the glass, and she looked down at it, pulling herself away from the eyes.

The nose was long, a little too long, and the lips that covered her teeth felt odd to Alex. She bared them, snarling at the mirror. The teeth were good, but as the went further back into her mouth they became more and more fuzzy. Huh, guess I saw the front ones a bit more.

She focused on her form again, pulling herself back into a human. She smiled as her fur disappeared, overall happy with how it had turned out. She grabbed a bottle of water, settling into a long day.
Alex shifted her weight, focusing on relaxing. The warmth spread, and she focused it on her arm. It slowly changed, and formed. Just focusing on the one part. The rest of her body remained formless, a blob, as the rest of the arm turned into a leg. Her hand shrunk, becoming thicker and heavier.

She watched as the a nub of a claw appeared. She unconsciously growled and focused, pulling all of her attention on the claw, trying to push it out. Slowly, surely, the nail extended, and pushed its way out of her paw. She repeated it with all three of her claws, her brain begining to ache with the effort. The shape was all wrong, but she was happy enough with getting them out. She slowly relaxed, returning them to her human state.

I did it! She smiled, and decided to work on the claw shape next, taking a quick swig of water before returning to her meditation.
She pushed herself upwards, shoving the mirror away in anger. God, this is so stupid! She had spent the last four breaks trying to improve her form, and all she had to show for it was a set of blobby paws where stubs once were.

I don't know why I even tried! This is just dumb. Besides, what do I need an animal form for? She stalked towards the door, before she froze, staring outside in horror.

The sound of barking hounds could be heard in the distance, and they were close enough for Alex to make out the voices of men shouting at the beasts.

SHIT! Alex's mind froze, terrified. If they had hounds, she couldn't simply wait them out. She'd have to somehow escape. But in the deep snow, she couldn't make it far, and if she flew they'd be sure to spot her. Not to mention that her Avriel persona was likely wanted, and she could hardly travel as an Avriel unnoticed.

She ran back into the cave, her mind spinning. It clicked as she stared at the mirror. I'll have to convince them this cave is mine.

She sat, her heart going a mile a minute. She couldn't slow it, and she felt her irritation growing. ENOUGH With a mental shout, she forced herself to change, her crystals groaning as they were shoved into place. She became a Velox, but a crippling pain knocked her to the ground. Her breath came in gasps, her entire body feeling as if it were falling apart under its own weight. She opened her snout, panting, and forced herself to stand. She staggered over towards the fire, and kicked dirt over it. The new ear shape let her hear slightly better and she perked them towards the entrance, hearing the dogs nearby. She looked down at her mirror one last time, feeling the terror setting in.

She closed her eyes and allowed the fear to swallow her. Her mind flew around and around, faster and faster. The thoughts were thick and fast, and she felt herself begin to become disoriented. Then... silence.

She numbly looked down, wondering whose furry legs those were. She padded towards the entrance, somehow remembering what she had to do. Voices were right outside, and she stood just in the shadows, her face and body mostly hidden. A flame flared up, the torch casting flickering shadows across the walls as the men came inside.

Alex bared her teeth, a deep growl resonating from her chest. She felt it roll out between her teeth, and let it pour out of her snout. The voices paused as the men rounded the corner. The flickering light wasn't enough to fully illuminate Alex, and her slightly out-of-focus shape actually lent itself to her benefit. The men stared at her, their hands going to swords at their waist. The one on the left looked at the other, and slowly backed out, the bare steel between him and the Velox as he disappeared. The other man was not far behind, and she didn't move until she couldn't hear them anymore.


She felt herself come back, and panted. The adrenaline was pumping through her body, and her limbs felt shaky. As she padded back towards her bedroll, she caught sight of herself in the mirror. As she moved, her outline became blurry, and her shape awkward. But when she stood still, she was astonished.

Her legs were, on first inspection, furry and lean with long-clawed paws extending from their end. Her tail looked natural, and her teeth were perfect. As she went to move her snout, their form wavered, and she stopped moving to look at herself again. What happened? Why do I suddenly look so realistic?

The fear! She realized with a start. Her adrenaline must have pulled the hundreds of thousands of hours of watching them from her subconscious. Her form was far from perfect, and if she moved the crystal bunched and pulled oddly, shattering the illusion. But if she remained still, she could pass for a Velox at a quick look.

Her heart soared at the improvement she had made, and she couldn't help but howl, the sound bouncing off the walls, reverberating. The sound was off, but it was close enough for her. She howled again, the feeling lifting her spirits and bringing back memories of Astrid, causing a single tear to drip from the Grey Velox's eye.



NOTE: Part of a series, to be graded by Mal
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Remembering how to Turn

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Come and get your Loot!

(There's plenty more where that came from)


VLUHARQIH:
Skills:

  • Acting +2
  • Detection +1
  • Meditation +3
  • Running +2
  • Stealth +1

Knowledges:

  • Basic
    • A Need For Clean
    • Even the Most Reliable Cons Can Go Bad
    • Failing a Composure Check
    • Salvation from Pursuit in Transformation
    • Using Time Constructively
  • Specific
    • Cons: The Old "Slip-Him-a-Mickey" Technique
    • Hiding: Beneath a Bridge is Too Well Known
    • Hiding: Dim Surroundings Can Be Advantageous
    • Hiding: Snow Both Reveals and Covers Tracks
    • Fear: An Unexpected Transformation Catalyst
    • Fear: Lessons, Like Life, Flash Before Your Eyes

Loot:

Softened, waterproofed, pleated leather coin purse
14gn, 18sn, 35cn


Injuries:

None to speak of, beyond pride. ;)


Comments:

The "bulging" purse was bulging mostly with copper...lol, but the bag itself is probably worth a few more silver. ;)
For future reference, in grading we are only supposed to give any skill a single point per post. With your long posts, I have felt compelled, on occasions, to give you 2 anyway. Don't worry, this is not a "rules" concern, but you might want to do more shorter posts, than fewer long ones. Other graders may feel less free to give extra points.
PM me with any comments or concerns :)
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