[Skye Verath Lodge] A Guided Tour. (Kylar, Crimson)

23rd of Vhalar 716

The capital city of the of Rynmere, here is seated the only King in Idalos.
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Nir'wei
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[Skye Verath Lodge] A Guided Tour. (Kylar, Crimson)

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23rd of Vhalar, 716.

It'd been at least five trials since Sorclen's last full-body examination. The young scrappy Volareon, still in its early years and with a reputation for an overly-aggressive attitude when play-fighting with the other adolescents-in-training, needed checks at least every seven trials to check healthy growth patterns, signs of infection, nutrition, damage or any other issues manifesting that hadn't already become apparent. Performing them required a lot of patience... and keen observation. Missing a little extra moisture between the toes, under the wing-joints was all it took to open the floodgates for fungus to spread across the foot and lead to serious health complications later on. 'Normal' Volareons in the wild never had any problems... but domesticated ones, spending their times in stables and not in the skies were much more prone to simple infections like these.

But there was more. Discolouration of the skin underneath their thick, opaque, water-proof feathers could mean a more serious infection, requiring specialized treatment from a doctor or surgeon, for diseases Nir'wei had no idea how to pronounce, let alone treat. Soreness in the joints, wings or back could indicate problems in the saddles they were using for training, leading to growth problems that, if left unchecked for multiple seasons, could cause serious damage and in the most serious cases, cripple a Volareon entirely. The more he performed, the more baffling the list of problems became, and every time he performed the procedure, he was expected to check for every single one.

Given the severity of the procedure, he thought he could at least get some privacy while he was performing - well, privacy barring the stableboy he'd grabbed and dragged temporarily from his normal duties to assist. "Lift the wing a little higher, I need more light down here," Nir'wei asked as he knelt down under the shadow of the outstretched limb, feeling a little more sun on his back while he parted the feathers to examine the skin underneath with a critical eye. "Damn, why can't we get a candle down here or something..."

"Because," Gaspard called out from the door, "one slip and you'd set fire to the place and everything in it." From his voice, Nir'wei could tell the old Jacadon expert was probably smirking to himself as he leaned against the doorframe.

"Oh, alright then. Why don't you get down here and show me the technique that you use for finding discolouration with your fingertips," Nir'wei quipped back as he got up onto one knee and squirmed his way out from the little gap left under Sorclen's wing-arch. "Because, y'know, not all of us have those extra-sensory powers that you seem to possess." Even if Gaspard wasn't smiling before, he certainly was now.

However, he came bearing bad news. "Jord is taking over. I've got something else for you to do." Jord?! He'd always hated that guy, he always acted like he knew far more than he actually did, what with living in the city and all, having a successful family, all that crap that raised hopes and lowered perceptions of how the real world worked. Plus, he spent far too long during examinations staring in all the wrong places. Sick pervert. "We've got a couple of new guests out in the lobby that want the tour. You know the drill, right?"

Hell, he'd done the tour before. They were supposed to be educational, aimed more at convincing fresh young faces to join up and do their bit for the city, and the Iron Hand, since they were always running short on extra hands to man all the new mounts piling up around the Lodge. Sometimes he wondered why the tour was even necessary; joining up for a job, same as Nir'wei had nearly half an arc ago, was the most educational experience one could hope for. After all, Poppy and Gaspard were always on-hand to offer any advice, any lessons, any help they could give. The University sure couldn't beat that with their damn seminars and lecturers and academic nonsense that benefitted no-one and wasted more time than an insomniac wasted in bed. "Yeah, yeah, I'll do it. But tell Jord to find some other bird to fondle. Hah, I'll give them a hands-on experience."
word count: 750
Mess with me, I'll fight back. Mess with my pack, and they'll never find your body.
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Kylar
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[Skye Verath Lodge] A Guided Tour. (Kylar, Crimson)

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Kylar walked towards the building known as the "Sky lodge", uncertain and somewhat nervous. When he thought about a job opportunity, this wasn't one he had originally considered. He made sure he hadn't packed his weapons with him, just to be safe. But, after hearing about a tour possibility, he figured it would be worth looking in to. Now that he was there, however, the nerves hit him. He didn't know much about the skyriders, apart from they did what their name implied - they rode on creatures in the sky. He knew that this tour would probably not lead to anything of the sorts, and he was grateful for that - he wasn't sure if his nerves would handle it. But the thought that one day he could potentially become one of these skyriders both thrilled him and terrified him. Riding through the sky would be thrilling, and it wasn't hard to tell he loved adrenaline. But the idea of falling off was more adrenaline than even he could handle. He liked to think he was fearless - but he was soon realising that was not the case at all.

He told Crimson where he was going, but didn't give much information. He wasn't afraid to tell her, as such, but he didn't want to get her too invested. He knew that if he told her too much she would fuss, saying things like "You're gonna be a skyrider! That's so cool!", which would be somewhat infuriating if he didn't then become a skyrider. Of course, his aim was to become one, but the last thing he wanted to do was let her down. So he hadn't made it too clear what he was trying to do. He figured that way if he got a job, he could come home proud. If he didn't, no harm was done.

When he got to the building he entered and looked around. He walked in to the lobby area, or so it looked, and waited. He kept to himself, avoiding anyone else so as not to disturb people. He made sure he didn't look scared, or did his best, so he didn't give off a bad first impression. Instead, he just waited patiently.
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[Skye Verath Lodge] A Guided Tour. (Kylar, Crimson)

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When Kylar had mentioned that he was going to the skylodge, Crimson couldn't help but curious. When he then refused to tell her why, she couldn't help but follow. He hadn't specifically told her she couldn't come, so there wasn't much of an issue as she saw it. Apart from, perhaps, coming off as a little bit of a stalker. But Kylar of all people should know that if he tried to hide something, she would be determined to find out. So she made her approach towards it, the lodge in sight. She hoped she wasn't late, the last thing she wanted was to walk in mid way through whatever was happening. Even if it was something private that she couldn't attend, she could at least give Kylar some motivation and love beforehand.

Eventually, she arrived at the lodge. She walked in the door way, then looked around the lobby. She searched over the faces in the room, and finally she found Kylar. He was away from the others, or at least not engaging with them. She was entirely confused. She didn't understand why he was here but not talking to anyone. He wasn't the kind that was afraid of talking to people, so she couldn't work it out. That was when the panic set in. She decided to go and talk to him. After all, this wasn't like him, so she figured something must be up. When she approached him, she went next to him and placed an arm over his shoulder. "Is everything ok, Kylar?" she asked, concerned look on her face. "I came because I was curious as to what you were up to, I hope I'm not disturbing anything"
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[Skye Verath Lodge] A Guided Tour. (Kylar, Crimson)

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Nir'wei walked into the lobby just in time to catch the end of Crimson's sentence. "You'll be disturbing nothing." As always, he looked like a mess. Lanky, on the edge of malnourished with ill-fitting and well-worn clothes hanging off his body, covered in rips, tears, mismatched stitches as some sort of tribute to ill-done repairs. His uncombed hair was a mess, hanging down over his shoulders and stuck with sweat to parts of his forehead. Like the rest of him, it'd been washed about a week ago in a river and was already beginning to gather flecks of dirt. True enough, just a day cleaning up after so many of the beasts, anyone would look the same - and they did. However, when the rest of them went home, they probably had a bath, a scrub down and he knew at least a few of them had some perfume to put on so they wouldn't smell as bad the following day. All Nir'wei had to look forward to was a tent, a night outdoors and perhaps a quick dive into the ocean or a small trickling river to clean up his face and clothes. "Name's Nir'wei, pleasure to meet you." He extended a hand to first Kylar, then Crimson, grappling firmly and shaking, before turning around and beckoning them back through the Lodge's rear.

The Lodge itself was a deceptively small building compared to the entire complex. A step out of the lobby, through a narrow corridor and through into the 'back garden' opened up to a wide grassy field just over a quarter of an acre - lined with long rows of wooden stables, a few barns and other buildings hidden behind the Lodge on first glance. The closest set of stables - the ones containing the Volareon ranks, both seasoned and young - was their destination. Ignoring the bestial screeching occasionally rising from the complex, it really didn't look all too much different from a normal horse's stables, apart from the heavily reinforced roof, for obvious reasons.

"I'm guessing you're here for the tour. Have a look around, meet a few of the animals we've got here." He turned over one shoulder to glance back at the couple. "Only three types of people come here. Either they want to be Xiur Skyriders.. they want to become a Handler.. or they fancy their chances going out and catching something for themselves." Looking up and down Kylar, he really hoped it was the second option. Not because he was good looking... even though he was... but he'd heard some pretty interesting things about the Lotharro, so, having one on the team meant he could grill the guy for all his secret techniques. However, he decided it was better to just let the statement hang in the air and not press the issue. He wasn't here to pry into their private lives, after all. "Just letting you know, uhh. This guy is still getting used to human contact. Don't make any sudden movements and don't try to get behind him," he warned. "Not because he's dangerous! Actually, he gets a bit frightened."

Sorclen was still waiting for Nir'wei as he stepped back into the wooden stable and opened the gate. Slightly smaller than the average horse, the half-jaguar half flying-fox shuffled impatiently in the slightly cramped compartment and eyed the two new entrees with watchful eyes. "Hey, hey. Shhh." He'd been domesticated from an early age, handled by humans for most of his life, but like most, he still needed a little time to accommodate to new people. It wasn't a complicated or even a difficult thing to overcome. Nir'wei just stepped in, rubbed its snout a few times and pointed to a wooden box nailed to the front of the stable's door. "Could one of you grab a piece of something from in there and just hold it on your palm for him." There had to be three, maybe even four dead mice and a rabbit sliced into a few not-so-clean pieces. Regular food, part of their normal diet, kept on hand as a little treat. A helping hand for the younger Volareon still getting used to regular company, and an incentive to keep them all still during the regular checks, cleaning, refreshing of the stalls and all the other daily activities.

"Don't be shy you guys, just come on in. His name's Sorclen. I think he's just under two arcs old, he's been raised right here in the Lodge... his mother is a few stalls down."
word count: 795
Mess with me, I'll fight back. Mess with my pack, and they'll never find your body.
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Kylar
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[Skye Verath Lodge] A Guided Tour. (Kylar, Crimson)

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Kylar looked to Crimson, somewhat taken back by her being there. But he hugged against her arm, happy to see her. He smiled to her, trying to fade her concern. "Everything is fine, just didn't want to disturb anyone" Kylar said. Then, a man walked in, looking ragged and rough. Kylar felt sorry for him. He assumed, of course, the tears were a part of the work he did. The fact he was still doing it must have meant he didn't mind, or he was desperate for money. Kylar hoped it was the first, but he couldn't be sure. When the man extended his hand, Kylar shook it with a slightly firm grip and smiled at the man. "Kylar, and the pleasure is ours" he said with a welcoming, friendly tone. He then got up and followed the man, taking Crimson's hand as they went. "Seeing as you're here, it would be rude of you not to join us" he said and smiled to her. He thought she would hate getting covered in any kind of muck - so she was probably in for a big treat. The thought made him visibly smile, with a slightly teasing tone to it.

Kylar looked around as they walked, admiring it all. The shrieks would scare most, but it intrigued him. These creatures, seemingly so fierce, were tamed by people. That made him think. He knew of animals such as wolves being tamed, stories of which he had been told many times through his early years, but the idea of these ferocious creatures being tamed was beyond him. Especially because they could fly. But he didn't dwell on that thought for too long, taming these creatures wouldn't interest him much. Riding them, however, would. Looking after them as well perhaps.

Almost as if on cue, Nir'wei mentioned the three types of people that came here. As he said, going out and catching one wouldn't interest him. But a rider, and perhaps a handler, would. Why not both? After all, what kind of man would he be if he let someone else handle his own mount? So, he decided to ask the man if that were possible. "Why just one? Could someone become both a handler and a rider? After all, if I were to grow attached to one of the animals I rode, it would be unfair to let someone else tend to them - wouldn't it?". He hoped it was the right thing to say. Who cared if it wasn't? If the option was there, why not do both? Or what about teamwork. That thought hadn't yet crossed his mind, but he had Crimson with him. Say she wasn't afraid of these animals, and actually grew to like them. What if they both went to work together. She handled the animal, and when duty called he would fly it. He only said he would fly it because she had no experience with weapons as far as he knew, and he'd rather fly if he could only pick one. But why not? Then again, creativity was her thing - and it would take away from her time. So that was, perhaps, an idea to be forgotten.

As instructed, Kylar didn't make any sudden movements. He entered slowly but peacefully. He then looked over to the box he was directed to. What did these things eat? He assumed it was meat, of some kind. Both him and Crimson had hunted in the past, so it wouldn't phase them - but he was sure the same couldn't be said for most people. Kylar looked to Crimson, smiling slightly, then nodded. "I'll grab the food" he said. He walked over to the box. When he looked in and saw the remains of rabbit and mice, it didn't phase him much. So he grabbed the biggest slice of whatever he could find, then held it out in his palm in front of the animal. He kept his stance strong, but welcoming. From his hunting he had learnt that animals could sense things such as fear and confidence. He didn't want to give off too much, of course, but if he showed fear he had no idea what would happen. So he tried to balance it.

"Sorclen? Does he recognise that's his name?" he asked. Then Kylar heard of his mother. That didn't sound good, at all. He prayed to Karem that he wasn't about to get himself in to a world of trouble. But he kept his stance strong, waiting for Sorclen to make his move.
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[Skye Verath Lodge] A Guided Tour. (Kylar, Crimson)

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Crimson smiled at the man and shook his hand. "Crimson, thank you for having us" she said smiling. She then turned to Kylar and beamed at him. She always loved animals, and they had both talked about getting a pet before, so seeing animals as exotic as this was a thrilling experience for her - even if she had no interest in being a Skyrider herself. Speaking of which, why was Kylar here for a tour? He said where he was going, but never said why. Was he looking for work? Him and Atashi had both spoke of it before, and Atashi had even gone as far as to suggest the Skyriders to him. The thought of that both thrilled her and terrified her. Kylar riding one of these was exciting, as a concept. He would love it, and she could see him fly around and maybe even make some new friends while doing so. But then there was the whole falling part, not to mention being involved in combat. Yes, he trained in combat and was decent enough - but that didn't stop her fear of him getting hurt. Nothing would stop that fear, what kind of Fiancé would she be if she wasn't at least a little bit scared of him getting hurt. So she held on to his arm just a little bit tighter.

When they entered the field, her eyes fell to Kylar. He was looking around in awe. She loved seeing this adventurous side of him, it was something that she rarely saw now that they had settled down. Unless you got him telling stories, that was, and then he would go back to that adventurous attitude she loved. So she starter looking with him, following his gaze to see what interested him - and she was fascinated. These creatures were so beautiful. Some might not agree, but something like this was incredible to Crimson. Then, however, her attention drew to what Kylar said. He wanted to become a handler AND a Skyrider? She had mixed emotions about it. But he sounded so confident about it, like he had it all planned out. So, she trusted in his judgement, knowing that he wouldn't let her down no matter what he did. So she smiled at him, then turned to Nir'wei. "That would be possible, right? If he could ride and handle one of the animals?" she asked. "What about one of the ones we see today! Maybe they'll get along really well and he can come back" she beamed. She hoped it would work out like that, if it made Kylar happy.

Then she entered the stables and saw Sorclen. She couldn't help but smile. Something about Sorclen was beautiful. She couldn't help but admire the creature, and there was no denying how beautiful he really was. If this was the kind of animal Kylar would work with, she would ask him stories every day about it. Maybe she could even visit him at work, when he wasn't battling of course. She could watch him look after his mount, maybe even help. Even though Kylar would do most of the work, maybe he or she would become their pet that they always wanted. Like a small family. That thought made her smile even more than she was prior to it.

She watched carefully as Kylar put out the food for Sorclen. When Nir'wei mentioned the mother, it made her uncomfortable. They had to be careful not to scare Sorclen already, but if the mother heard it then Crimson was fully aware that she wouldn't be happy. After all, these things were big enough at this young age - imagine what the mother looked like. She didn't want to be the reason the mother got angry. So she tried to relax and get that thought out of her mind, and enjoy the sight. So she watched Kylar and gave him an encouraging smile.
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[Skye Verath Lodge] A Guided Tour. (Kylar, Crimson)

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"Kylar, Crimson, wonderful. Just wonderful." He'd assumed that they'd both come for the same reason, so to hear that Crimson was just being brought along for the ride because she happened to be around gave Nir'wei a moment of pause. "Huh," he muttered to himself. It didn't matter of course, nobody needed an appointment to come in and everyone was welcome if they wanted a look around. He'd perhaps gotten his hopes up seeing two hopefuls. It was always nice to see new people walking around - and besides, they all needed it. The pull of the Xiur Skyriders was far greater than that of the animal handlers. As such, one rather vastly outnumbered the other, and the Lodge suffered a near-constant state of understaffing. Even with the occasional riders who did exactly as Kylar had suggested, they still had their own duties to attend to, and the riders often weren't trained in the same ways as the handlers - they didn't need to know about the different ways to raise domesticated Volareon. Only their own. As a matter of fact, following that train of thought, he turned back around mid-stride to pass glances to each of the couple in turn.

"You could become a handler and a rider, it's true. To be honest though, as far as I've seen at least, it doesn't happen often enough to be mentioned at all." The only exception he'd heard of to this day was Aeon - and he'd never even met the man, just heard him mentioned by Poppy and Gaspard. Apparently he was a damn good handler as well. "After all, being an animal handler is more than just looking after your own. Of course there are benefits. You can often apply the methods you learn here to your own Volareon. General care, grooming, training, first aid and surgical training if you can find time to spend a trial or two working with the veterenarians. But we also work with Jacadons, Sarkin. At one point I believe there were plans to work with Gorde, although by the looks of it those never came to be." He gestured widely to each of the different buildings. "To be an animal handler is to work with all of them in equal amounts. To be a Skyrider is to work with only one - your own." He chuckled softly to himself. "That being said, if it interests you, of course I'd still highly suggest becoming a handler. Personally, I think every Skyrider should become a handler as well. But then again, I think everyone in the city should be one, so take my opinion with a grain of salt, eh?"

Oh well, all those words aside, there was still work to be done - although he was supposed to be giving the full tour, he still wanted to get this inspection over with. "That's it. Keep your hand steady, don't move away." While Sorclen warily turned its head from the outstretched food to Kylar's face and back again, Nir'wei eased around its side and started stretching the leathery folds of its right wing, testing its elasticity, any tears, stiffness or other problems. It all seemed fine. "Crimson, feel free to grab a piece as well. You don't have to, but, it'll help build trust." To be fair, Sorclen seemed pretty calm when it eventually reached down and tentatively plucked the shred of animal from his outstretched hand, gulping it down with barely time to chew.

"There you go. What was that? Oh, yes. Still getting used to it. We use it as frequent as possible so that he becomes used to the term and knows that we're referring to him, it definitely helps further along in the training sessions." He wormed his way back around to the front. "Tell you what, give him a scratch right here." He gestured to the very top of the Volareon's head, between the long pointed ears. "Mind the ears, they're sensitive, like bats. But if you give him a good scratching over the top of the head, towards the back of the skull? Oh they all love that." Then again, dogs, cats, it seemed like a bit of an universal sweet-spot. "That should take his attention and keep him calm while I lift his paw."

Oh. He'd forgotten to mention. "I'm just doing a quick check of Sorclen's health. We check for parasites... ticks, worms and lice that can wiggle their way into the folds of the wings, the manes of fur lining their necks, around the main joints of all four legs and between the toes of the paws. Fungus can develop on the skin as well, either under the fur or on the leather of the wings. Less common, but in wet conditions, especially around Vhalar, Zi'da, Cylus and occasionally Ashan we have to do more frequent checks because it can cause a lot of trouble, especially in the young and the elderly. Rashes can spell out more complicated diseases." He lifted the paw up so that they could both see it and spread the toes, exposing the skin inside... and a pale green discolouration. "Yep. See that? Mould," he muttered with a deepening frown. "We'll need to get someone in to take care of that. Good thing we did this, am I right?"
word count: 919
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Kylar
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[Skye Verath Lodge] A Guided Tour. (Kylar, Crimson)

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Hearing that he could do both made him smile. "Perhaps it is something to consider, after spending some time focusing on one or the other. Either way, it would be interesting to attempt at some point - that's for sure". Kylar wasn't sure how well being a handler alongside a rider. The extra work would be a pain, to say the least, and the fact he would be working on multiple animals that weren't his wouldn't fit his interests. He loved animals, wanted some one day, but he loved the idea of forming bonds with them personally. The idea of having his own personal connections to the animals he spent time with was an incredible one for him. He had heard of people taming animals like Prismanthers and the like, as well as Volareon. Working with his own versions of these animals would be fascinating, to see the different relationships he could form. Perhaps it was something few considered, but he didn't understand why people wouldn't want to grow and develop alongside beautiful creatures as well as people. It was beyond him. But, if he became a skyrider, maybe he would find many other like-minded people.

As Sorclen leaned down and took the food, Kylar kept his stance. He was nervous, even though he knew he shouldn't be, but he did his best not to show it to anyone. He didn't want to let out any air of fear, especially around animals that could be potentially very dangerous. Then he looked to where Nir'wei had pointed, at the back of the skull. Kylar cautiously reached his hand forward, placing it on the back of the skull, being careful not to touch the ears. He scratched gently, following a small circular motion while doing so. "Sorclen..." he said and smiled. "It's an interesting name, for a fascinating animal. He's beautiful".

Kylar looked to Nir'wei as he explained about the paw. When he saw the discoloration, he looked to Sorclen and scratched a little harder - still keeping it gentle so it wouldn't hurt. "Poor guy" he said quietly, still looking at Sorclen with sympathy. He was entranced by Sorclen. This beautiful animal was one of the animals he would one day ride. What Kylar thought would just be a tour turned into something much more - it was inspiring. He found a passion that he didn't realise he had, or at least didn't realise how strong it was. Kylar turned his gaze to Crimson. "He's stunning, isn't he?" Kylar said to her, smiling at her genuinely. He put a hand out to her to join him. He then looked to Nir'wei. "Well, I am no longer considering the skyriders" he said. "It's guaranteed. I will sign up as soon as possible. Thank you, this tour has given me a lot, I'm beyond grateful". He gave Nir'wei a smile, then turned back to Sorclen and carried on scratching gently, his eyes completely fixed on the Volareon.
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[Skye Verath Lodge] A Guided Tour. (Kylar, Crimson)

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"Oh, ok - I'd be more than happy to feed him!" she said. She had done hunting before, holding dead animals was nothing compared to killing one herself. So she walked over to the box and grabbed a dead mouse, then stood opposite the creature and held out her hand. She was nervous, but that was a small thing. Besides, Kylar had been fine doing it - so she was sure that she would be fine. Also, Kylar was here, and he always kept her safe. Granted, never from giant flying animals, but there's always a first time. So she kept her ground, trying not to shake, her thoughts focused on Kylar for positivity.

When Kylar started to scratch Sorclen's head, she smiled. He talked about how beautiful the animal was. It was strange. It was rare he showed a heartfelt passion like this. He would often fake one for her, when it came to things like nature and sewing, but this had no prompt. He was entranced with this animal, and it was beautiful. Not just the animal, but Kylar. The look on his face, the way he spoke to Sorclen as if they were friends - that was what made it beautiful. Then Kylar and Crimson were shown the mould, and she stayed silent. Kylar phrased it perfectly, poor guy. She hoped it didn't hurt. But Kylar seemed to be helping with that, scratching behind Sorclen's ear. "He really is, Kylar. He's adorable" she said smiling. She then took his extended hand and hugged against him. She rested her head on his shoulder, holding on to him tight.

Crimson smiled as she was against Kylar, hugging him even tighter with pride. He was signing up to be a skyrider, and he seemed so thrilled for it. The way he was talking like it was certain, and his already growing bond with the animals - it was perfect. It was absolutely perfect. She was a little worried about his safety, but he had done much stupider in the past. Besides, he had promised to spend eternity with her, and she planned on holding him to that. They still had a wedding to attend. Their own wedding. So she bowed her head to Nir'wei and smiled. "Thank you, a lot. This tour has already been incredible". With that, she turned to Kylar and watched him stroke the animal - both of them entranced.
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[Skye Verath Lodge] A Guided Tour. (Kylar, Crimson)

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Well, it was good to know that he'd made the right choice inviting them to help while he finished up here. With Kylar and Crimson both holding Sorclen's attention with plenty of food and affection, he didn't have to worry about the Volareon shuffling and squirming all over the place, trying to keep Nir'wei in his line of sight while the handler checked all the hard-to-reach spots. While the two were still enraptured with Sorclen, and Sorclen equally enthused with them, Nir'wei eased around to the side and took down a piece of paper stuck to the stable entrance. He needed to make note of what needed treatment, after all. "Hmm. Canenula. That deals with fungal rot, if I remember correctly." He'd already assisted in treating another Volareon with the same condition, under the supervision of Poppy and Gaspard. For fungus to appear on Sorclen as well... perhaps fungal rot was becoming a bit of a problem. "Might have to make mention of that," he muttered to himself. Wipe down the stalls, treat the wood and offer a different kind of hay to sleep on. Keeping moisture out of a stable wasn't easy, but it wasn't impossible.

His duty done, he turned attention back over to Kylar. "Well, I suppose. Personally I've never found the drive to kill in me. That's the main reason I don't join the riders myself." Just the thought of sitting on the back of a Volareon, shooting people in the back with his bow... gods, it sent horrible shivers up his spine. No, never. "If you can stomach it, well, good for you. If you do decide to take up both--" he began, then paused to listen to Kylar's decision. "Well, in that case, if you change your mind in the future, I hope you'll continue to hang around." Knowing that they were getting a new handler certainly brought a warm smile to his face, but that warmth in his chest, the swelling of pride - that only came knowing that Nir'wei was responsible.

Well, mostly responsible. The two of them had fallen in love with Sorclen within barely a break. "Yes, he is." He'd finished with the examination and filed everything necessary, but instead of moving on, he lingered to let Crimson and Kylar spend some more time with Sorclen, stroking and scratching. "They don't all get as much personal affection as they would from an individual rider, so now that he's calmed down, he's a little more affectionate than others." Of course the various handlers, stable-boys and stable-girls, all other manner of employees walking through offered their hands here and there - nobody could resist giving the cuter Volareon a tussle behind the ears. There were many, though - hundreds of Volareon in the Lodge, many more held elsewhere. Attending to them all gave little time for the same intimacy that a Skyrider or a similar rider could offer. Sorclen pushed his head into Kylar's hand, even nipped at his clothes, trying to drag him a little closer. "Playful bugger." The younger ones usually were. "Do you want to have a glance at the Jacadon, or should we hang around here a little longer?"
word count: 558
Mess with me, I'll fight back. Mess with my pack, and they'll never find your body.
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