• Solo • An Apple a Day...

Almund is a thriving township with a dark side. With houses made from the wooden bodies of decommissioned ships, there are many opportunities here, coupled with many dangers.

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Natalia Gregorios
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Posts: 336
Joined: Sun Apr 18, 2021 2:27 am
Race: Mortal Born
Profession: Professional Nuisance Wrangler
Renown: 170
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An Apple a Day...

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Vhalar 7, Arc 721


Natalia had a problem. 'Problem' was a bit dramatic, and it was more of a situation or issue than a problem, but one that would take grit, determination, and focus to solve. The young woman was unsure if she was up to the task, but someone had to do it.

In a small clearing near the outskirts of Almund, she eyed the formidable foes in front of her. They were certainly going to test her abilities, but if she used her smarts and logic, perhaps she could win the trial.

“Chirp chirp! Chirppppppppppp!”

Sighing softly, Natalia lowered into a sitting position against the nearby log, eying the chirping one as it rushed forward, making its way into her hand, producing happy little trills. Picking Apollo up, she gently brought him to her face, where four out of the six heads of the Kletier Dragonet nuzzled her cheek softly. "You are much too adorable to be related to Vielkrontier."

Smiling, she set Apollo on her shoulder. "We are going to have to toughen you up, little one." Golden eyes drifted over to the other creature in the clearing, who was the more significant issue. Silver with an intense white glow coming from within, Ares was her Zahkron Dragonling, and while Apollo shared none of Vielkrontier's more demanding traits, Ares did.

Natalia needed to begin a bit of training with both Ares and Apollo. The Zahkron and Kletier each had shown intelligence, which should make giving them both a bit of instruction that much easier. Apollo generally stayed in the bag she bought for him when traveling or out and about in town, making him less of an issue. Ares was a right bastard, putting it mildly. Weakness was not something he tolerated, and Natalia surmised that that trait was the only reason Grayson was still alive, considering Ares intense dislike of most others.

Ares was, well, enormous compared to Apollo. Zahkrons were able to be ridden as mounts, but the young woman wasn't there yet. She was confident on horses. Temperamental dragonlings that flew? She wasn't that brave yet, and besides, one thing she knew from her arcs with Renaissance was that bonding before training was a good idea.

Unlike Apollo's six heads, Ares only had four, which was three too many for Natalia's taste. Rising, she walked over to the Zahkron, offering something she knew he had a taste for – apples.

That wasn't entirely true, though. There was one itsy, tiny catch – two of the heads liked red apples, and the other two wanted green apples. Natalia had brought some of both along, furrowing her brow as she fed a few pieces to each head, curious as to how she would handle....what, ten heads?!? Ares had four; Apollo six. Luckily, all Apollo's heads seemed to be alright with whatever apple came in their direction, but she supposed it was just a matter of time before preferences arose there too.

Apples were one of the training tools she used with Renaissance, and having seen her give the horse apple slices, Ares now demanded them as well, which had been precisely her goal. Apollo enjoyed pieces too, but again, there wasn't a lot of training to be done with the small dragonet. The Kletier trilled on her shoulder insistently until she gave up a small corner of one slice to him, prompting the happy trill to return.

Moving her eyes from one head to the next, she noticed the subtle differences that had caused her to give each head their own nickname for keeping things straight in her mind.

Starting on the left, the first head, nicknamed ‘Hoppy’ reminded her a bit of a parrot she once saw. The head bobbed up and down as the apple came nearer, and it was also the only head with a twisted horn. Hoppy Head liked green apples, often fighting the head next to it for them.

Also enjoying green apples was the second head, nicknamed ‘Hungry’. Hungry Head was always hungry, so perhaps that hadn’t been the most creative name Natalia could have come up with, but it was an accurate description. Hungry Head’s distinguishing feature was a black birthmark right between its eyes.

Moving on to the red apple team, ‘Scrappy’ was next. None of the heads were mellow and all relatively the same size, but Scrappy Head was slightly smaller and twice as fierce as the other heads. Often growling, Natalia knew that was one of the issues she needed to confront to be a responsible dragonling bearer. The growling seemed to be directed at the other heads, perhaps a bit of food aggression, but she couldn't be sure.

Rounding out the heads was the other problem, ‘Snappy’. Snappy Head was a biter, and while it hadn’t managed to do any damage yet, it was just a matter of time. It reminded her a bit of a type of turtle she had seen when young, but it could do real damage due to the dragonling’s size.

One of the most amazing things, however, was that the dragonling adored the dragonet. Natalia recalled the first time Apollo had jumped off her shoulder, onto Ares back. She had thought for sure that the Zahkron would swallow the Kletier whole, but instead, all the heads had swiveled around to look at the small dragonet, emitting what Natalia could only describe as cooing. Apollo was the only thing that made Ares produce that sound, to her absolute bewilderment.

She had Ares' attention for the moment and wanted to see how far she could get with a bit of simple training. Often used for horses and dogs, there were some simple techniques that most people could employ, and while she had no formal experience whatsoever, it was worth it if she could make a little progress. Besides, it was time well spent with both her new companions.

Team green apple seemed content with the young woman's attention, while Scrappy and Snappy tended to bore easily, so she decided to get a move on. The hard part was going to be giving them all attention while trying to modify one or two behaviors. Well, she'd give it a shot and hope it didn't fail spectacularly.

Holding a piece of green apple out, both Hoppy and Hungry took the fruit nicely, although she decided that perhaps soon, she needed to test Hungry out when it didn't already have a belly full and see if there was any food aggression. If so, that would be something to conquer sooner rather than later.

Switching to red apple, Scrappy began growling as soon as she offered the fruit. Arching her eyebrow, she waited until it moved forward to take the apple and then withdrew it. Scrappy Head tilted, peering curiously at her. She paused for a beat and offered the fruit again, which prompted a similar response. This time, she took the fruit away and spoke sharply. "No!"

Offering the apple a third time, the head moved forward, only growling at the very last minute before it was about to snatch up its reward. Swiftly, she moved the fruit away and repeated the verbal cue with conviction.

On the fourth try, Scrappy Head got its treat with not a growl to be heard, filling Natalia with the warm glow of success. Quickly, she followed up the event with a gentle rub to its chin – something that all the heads liked – wanting to highlight the good behavior with a bit of positive reinforcement.

Natalia mournfully considered her fingers, moving on to Snappy, fervently hoping she still had all her digits when done. Her eyes moved to Snappy, offering up a slice of red apple; it immediately began nibbling at her, trying to grab the fruit out of her hand.

Having already decided what she wished to do, the young woman snapped the fingers on her free hand quickly, right in front of the head, startling it a bit. She withdrew the apple and began the process of offering the fruit again. Snappy looked a bit confused but proceeded to bite at her fingers again, which resulted in another snap in front of the head and an added verbal cue of "No!", spoken firmly.

Noting the other three heads watching her work with Snappy, she once again offered the apple carefully. To its credit, Snappy Head gingerly inched forward, watching Natalia and taking the apple nicely. A chin followed, and then another round of chin scratched for all the heads.

Considering the quick training session something of a success, Natalia decided to end on a positive note, bending down to grab her bag and ready the small group for a return to Almund, placing some apples on the ground for Ares to munch on until she had collected everything.

Right then, Grayson walked into the clearing, smiling as he juggled what looked to be pears in his hands. "Are you done already? Good, because I have a treat for Ares. Better than apples…." Natalia's back was turned, and it took a moment for the words he said to register in her mind.

"Grayson! No!"

Whipping around, she noted, too late, that Grayson had already tossed a pear on the ground with the apples. Before three trills had passed, all the heads were fighting for the pear, finding a new favorite fruit.

Glaring at him, Natalia put her bag over her shoulder and walked out of the clearing. "I hate you."

Cheerfully taking a bite of his pear, Grayson watched her walk away, calling after. "Something I did? You wound me."



word count: 1619
"A girl should be two things: who and what she wants."


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Doran
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Race: Mortal Born
Profession: Alchemist
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Re: An Apple a Day...

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Natalia:

Knowledge:
Animal Training - Withdrawing treat to prompt target behavior
Animal Training - Following target behavior with positive reinforcement
Animal Training - Using a startling technique to discourage unwanted behavior
Animal Training - Food aggression is best tested on an empty stomach
Animal Training - Using a firm voice when giving a verbal cue
Detection - Four heads = four distinctive personalities

Loot: -
Lost: -
Wealth: -
Injuries: -
Renown: -
Magic XP: -
Skill Review: Appropriate to level.
Points: 10
- - -
Comments: This was such a funny thread! I love the way you described Natalia’s interaction with her new companions. When I read how Apollo rushed towards Natalia and produced those happy little trills, I couldn’t help but smile. I agree. He’s much too adorable to be related to Vielkrontier!

I’ve told you so before, but Natalia gives me the impression of being a really good pet owner. She has a way with animals (provided that this is what dragonets and dragonlings are)!

You’ve managed to give Ares and Apollo distinct and different personalities. Ares does sound like a bit of a bastard – I laughed when I read that Natalia thought how four heads were three to many – but it sure made for an entertaining read. I didn’t consider that his four heads might have different preferences, but there are probably four brains inside those four heads!

I love the names that Natalia came up with for the different heads – and how she trained them!

The scene with Grayson was a great way to finish the thread in my opinion. For a moment, I was worried that Ares – or at least his Snappy Head – would bite him, but no, it seems as if all of Ares’ four heads just really like pears. Maybe, Natalia won’t have to wonder about red apples versus green apples anymore?

I wonder when Natalia will start to ride Ares – and how that will go!

Because this was such a funny thread, I am nominating you for the following medal:

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Lol Worthy

Awarded to those who write a post or thread that makes others laugh out loud.

Please link this review in "Medal Nomination Thread" when you submit the nomination.

Enjoy your rewards!
word count: 363

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