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 COA III: The new IC

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Lyric
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PostSubject: Re: COA III: The new IC   COA III: The new IC - Page 6 I_icon_minitimeMon 30 Jul 2012, 2:41 pm

Whether Agate wished to enter the realm of the unconscious or not, she didn’t have a choice in the matter, for an entourage of people armed with smart phones were located in the safety of the store. Apparently, every browser within the building had abandoned their pursuits for electronics and had assembled before the automatic doors and glass windows to capture the dragons’ ordeal. Even the employees caved into their curiosity and deserted their posts, pushing their way through the clamoring crowd.

Embarrassment replaced her oncoming unconsciousness. Yeah, fainting had now retreated to the back burner. She couldn’t stand it when people took pictures and videos of her awkward body. She was already far too sensitive without all of the phones directed on her. The trapped sensation of claustrophobia was encasing Agate. Maybe those people who believed having their picture taken robbed them of their soul were onto something.

To her absolute horror, Agate realized that among the mass of phones, an overly-excited man had in his possession one of those so-brand-spanking-new-they’ve-barely-graced-the-shelves smart phones with 4D capabilities. She had only been in the presence of one other of these contraptions. Before the Armstrongs were forced to shut down their mining business, a customer who was waaaay too enthused about rocks used their 4D phone to capture a complete sensory of sulfur. For one reason or another, they wanted to enjoy the verdant-golden hue of the element in crisp 3D as well as the smothering odor in their photo album.

With this device that no doubt cost a fortune, the man wrestled the chaotic crowd, scrambling to reach the automatic doors where the best (while still remaining safe) view resided. Uh oh. Not only would the hybrid be displayed senselessly on the Internet, but if that man succeeded in arriving at that “perfect shot” range, the world would be able to gawk at her in 3D, along with the "privilege" of smelling her!

The hybrid scanned the surrounding area for any of the dragons’ thoughts on the matter of the impending paparazzi within Fry’s. It turns out she didn’t need a verbal response; Agate could decipher how they felt just by seeing worry and alarm pester their very faces. Escape was necessary.

Tem, Kaden, and even Aressa offered to help the pathetic hybrid whose energy had been sucked dry with a single sandstorm. She peered over at Aelirsa, who was encountering difficulties as she struggled to hobble around with that lame leg of hers.

So weak, so weak! Agate loathed how absolutely weak her own body was! Dear Aelirsa had been a collision course for Tem and Aressa, possibly broken a bone, had her ice shield totaled in the storm, and yet, she STILL had the ability to stand and move around. Meanwhile, all Agate had done was wear herself out after spitting some sand out of her mouth. Pitiful! Just pitiful! Aelirsa was far braver than Agate could even dream of being. What would it take to be like her?

“Please... go attend to Aelirsa,” Agate uttered softly yet urgently. “Please... she’s sacrificed so much for us, her family.

The half-dragoness turned toward Aressa and managed a smile. It was still difficult to form one in the ice luong’s general direction, but she was getting the hang of it. It was the bravest she was going to get at the moment. “Thanks for staying.”

((Grr, I went off on a tangent, steering far away from my original idea for this post. Eh, oh well.

And the 4D phone thing? It’s supposed to be the year 2038 in this roleplay, so I figured it might be plausible that technology has reached the level that allows one to take pictures in 4D :) ))
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PostSubject: Re: COA III: The new IC   COA III: The new IC - Page 6 I_icon_minitimeMon 30 Jul 2012, 4:06 pm

Tem had barely gotten to Agate's side when Kaden joined him, offering help of her own. Kaldra followed him and wasn't much farther away, and even Aressa came up and said she could carry Agate. Tem was surprised to see the Luong there and jolted just slightly. Now there's a shift - she wanted to kill Agate a couple minutes ago! Now she's offering help? I guess my show of kindness...and everyone else's, actually...really did help her, and fast. He smiled at the thought. He had the tiny, nagging idea that this might be an elaborate trick of Aressa's that would end in Agate's demise, but unless the Luong was truly and utterly insane, it was such an astronomically unlikely reaction to the group taking her in that he wasn't too concerned.

His head turned back from Aressa to Agate when the hybrid told her sudden group of helpers to take care of Aelirsa instead. It was a bit touching to hear since it revealed how much Agate already cared for the dragoness (and also nice to see her so appreciative of Aressa's gesture), but the way Tem saw it, it still wasn't practical. Huffing through his nostrils slightly in defiance, he set down the food bag next to him as quickly as he could while not losing any of its contents, then stepped forward and put his weight on his right claw while he grasped Agate's arm with his left and pulled upward to hopefully get her back on her...well, not feet exactly, but to get her upright again.

"That's nice of you," he explained as he did, voice a little strained from having to deal with a significant amount of weight, "but right now, Aelirsa's moving and you're not, so we need to change that 'til we're somewhere safer." He looked at the others next to him and told them, "Some of us can help Aelirsa, too..." He turned back to Agate. "...but we're not leaving you here."

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PostSubject: Re: COA III: The new IC   COA III: The new IC - Page 6 I_icon_minitimeMon 30 Jul 2012, 11:25 pm

More voices referring to her. The ones from Agate caught her attention most. She wanted them to see to the needs of others. They insisted instead on helping her out. Aelirsa's moving, you're not. True enough. When the bullet had torn through the flesh of her leg, she had continued to walk. This was hardly different today, she had to suck it up and keep walking. The alternative was let her history of clashes with the authorities get out into the open. That alternative was unacceptable.

"I do not require help. I was formed to be a very light dragon, I can support my small weight easily enough." Hobbling forward was rather difficult, as she had to flick her front arm out to continue on. Leaning back on her back legs had always turned out to be a poor idea when moving. Nevertheless she continued forward to wherever she could hide.

She heard Aressa offer to carry Agate in the back of her mind. She would have jumped at the chance before, even with her broken arm. No, the others would begin listing reasons why she couldn't do that. Typical, deny her the chance to help out of sympathy. So she merely continued on without even looking back. She had protected Aressa from an unnecessary intervention, and if anything, she was much better for it.

If they ask, they shall recieve. If they pass judgement, I shall not fight...

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PostSubject: Re: COA III: The new IC   COA III: The new IC - Page 6 I_icon_minitimeWed 01 Aug 2012, 11:17 pm

Aressa smiled and nodded in response to Agate’s thanks, but her eyes remained guarded. Smiling was equally difficult for her, only for her it was because her facial muscles were so unaccustomed to forming a happy expression. There’d never been much reason to before. Though things appeared to be looking up for her now, the balance was precarious at best. Kaldra said that family’s worked through things together, but didn’t families sometimes fracture and fall to ruin?

“Thank you for believing in me in spite of what I nearly did.”

It was the truth; Agate had only brought that whirlwind of sand to violent life when she’d shown no sign of halting her charge. It had been defense, but it could’ve ended in Aressa’s demise, she saw that now. Respect for the dragoness filled her, if that had been her in Agate’s place she didn’t know if she would’ve been able to restrain herself and do the same.

Tem began to speak once again, so she turned to face him, the smile gone once again. It wasn’t that she didn’t like him, but he had someone to protect, Kaldra, and likely trusted her very little. Though she didn’t know much of love or couples, she sensed that when one cared for another, they would do anything to keep that object of their affection safe. He might believe that she would endanger Kaldra’s life… given her still unstable state of mind.

He didn’t want me to fall back into captivity, that much he said out loud, but what is he truly thinking?

With that silent question, Aressa began walking towards Aelirsa, eventually coming up next to her. She stayed silent though, unwilling to speak out again.

~~~~~

Kaldra watched as Tem replied to Aressa and Agate respectively. He had a point. Aelirsa was injured also and- wait, where was Aressa going? It looked as if Aressa had decided that Aelirsa needed her help more, as Tem was in the process of raising an exhausted Agate from the unforgiving pavement. Though Aressa had showed remorse and thanks, Kaldra was leery of leaving her mostly alone with an already-weak dragoness, but Tem needed help carrying Agate.

“I’ll get her other side, if that’s alright,” she said, moving to Agate’s left side.

She maneuvered her shoulder, the less spikey portion, underneath Agate’s arm, kneeling down slightly as she did so. Once Agate’s arm was well-situated, she rose, taking the dragoness up with her. With her and Tem working together, this should be relatively easy to do.
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PostSubject: Re: COA III: The new IC   COA III: The new IC - Page 6 I_icon_minitimeWed 01 Aug 2012, 11:59 pm

Aressa came up beside her, silent as the grave. Good, she didn't really want a thank you, or a question, or anything other than someone to listen. She could trust her, she knew what it was like to experience the burning drive of blood. Even if it was vague, she deserved some explanation for her random actions. More alike than just their aspect.

"I felt the burn. I went mad, but no matter how many fell, it continued on and on. Being taken down, restrained, and locked away... It did nothing but fuel the fire. You've been through enough captivity, to be held down under the assumption that the burning will die on it's own is no different. I look out for my friends, I ask nothing from my close ones. Now at least, I took a hit for my closest, unlike the last time..."

She closed her eyes tightly and continued to limp forward. It was routine enough, the risk of running into something was quite low. Even then, after the impact she had taken, a small bump on the head couldn't really be much worse. Aressa was there, she would warn her. She was alive, that was the important matter at hand.

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PostSubject: Re: COA III: The new IC   COA III: The new IC - Page 6 I_icon_minitimeThu 02 Aug 2012, 11:51 am

Aressa raised her head to look at Aelirsa, though she didn’t make an effort to meet her eyes. She was to blame for Aelirsa’s injury; if she hadn’t tried to attack Agate, then Tem and Kaden wouldn’t have charged at her in an attempt to restrain her, leading to Aelirsa blocking them and hurting her leg. It was all her fault. The dragoness began to speak and so Aressa listened silently.

Confinement has only added to the flames burning beneath our cold exteriors… it seems that we have that much in common, though what sparked her rampage is a mystery to me. Is she right though, that believing that the anger will simply fade is untrue and no better than a cage? What if the fire never dies within me?

She simply nodded once, so that Aelirsa knew that she’d heard her, and turned back to face their direction of travel. The clicking of cameras, however faint, was still audible. How like pesky little mosquitos those humans were, with their flashing cameras and ever-present curiosity. They never ceased in their questioning, they never seemed to realize that the object of their questioning might wish that they would all disappear into oblivion.

No, that never crosses their mind.

Aressa mentally snapped herself out of it, at least partially. Going down that train of thought once again would only lead to more problems. She was on thin ice with the group, showing her inner… thoughts so soon might prompt them to take her up on her earlier offer that they leave her behind. They said she was family now, but that entire concept was rather new to her. In all honesty, the only thing that she'd been in that could even be called a family (before these dragons) were the therapists and doctors working with the DoD on her "case."
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PostSubject: Re: COA III: The new IC   COA III: The new IC - Page 6 I_icon_minitimeSat 01 Sep 2012, 11:55 am

As Kaldra and Tem aided Agate, she noticed something... different about Aressa’s murderous default expression. She couldn’t quite put a claw on what was unusual about it until the moment had passed. By that time, the dragon-girl couldn’t even discern whether what had ever happened was true or feigned reality. However, she was willing to bet it was the latter. There were some ideas and events that would forever remain beyond reach in the realms of fantasy, such as “Aressa’s smile”. The two words didn’t even belong in the same sentence together, let alone on Aressa’s face. There was no way she would smi--

“Thank you for believing in me in spite of what I nearly did,” the arctic luong--that’s right--smiled. Through her shock, Agate reciprocated the beam. As the exchange occurred, the earthen juvenile realized that these upturned countenances on her own face were nearly obsolete; one would have an easier time finding a four-leaf clover.

Now that she thought about it, why didn’t she uncover these smiles of hers more often? After meeting these fellow dragons that she now accompanied, it registered within her that there wasn’t really a reason to look so dejected and pathetic 24/7. She had so much to be thankful for, and had been to selfish not to see that until now.

“Thanks for not killing me,” Agate’s voice fell to a whisper. Yet, her genuine grin remained. Perhaps the two frown-drawn dragonesses could work on those amateur smiles of theirs together.
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PostSubject: Re: COA III: The new IC   COA III: The new IC - Page 6 I_icon_minitimeSat 01 Sep 2012, 5:53 pm

Aressa notice the brief confused expression before the smile burst out and heard the whisered thanks. She honestly wasn’t sure what to do… smiling herself was strange enough, but seeing someone else looking at her with an expression of happiness on their face… that was a whole other story. How could someone possibly be filled with anything other than fear or rage in her presence? Such feelings followed her like a noxious mist, poisoning all they touched.

"Thanks for not killing me."

The words cut deeper than any blade ever could. By that point she was already walking alongside Aelirsa, so her thoughts had ample time to overtake her. Aelirsa spoke of the fire smoldering deep within her, but now Aressa saw that her own personal embers would never be extinguished. That was her curse; that was her Dark Passenger.

What if their trust in me leads to their own demise? Aelirsa talked of how she lost control and went on a murderous rampage. I’ve already shown that the same possibility lurks within me as well. What if it happens again and I can’t be stopped? What if I am just some brutal Beast?

“Ae… Aelirsa?” she said tremulously, “If I ever…”

She shook her head quickly to the side.

“Never mind.”
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PostSubject: Re: COA III: The new IC   COA III: The new IC - Page 6 I_icon_minitimeSat 01 Sep 2012, 6:04 pm

It was quite difficult to ignore the obvious human activity behind her. The cold, uncaring idea that getting pictures of the latest 'event' would make their standing among their friends higher disgusted her to say the least. Long standing regrets about being human resurfaced. She didn't regret taking her new form, at all. They were just reinforcing that for her. It was much better for everyone, perhaps even for herself.

She turned to Aressa as the luong spoke in a trembling manner. Merely looking on as she cut off her brief sentence, shaking her head in such a manner that suggested she had thought better of it, she felt her heart warming slightly. She cared about her, something she didn't really expect. Moving closer still, she nudged her mane of hair gently with her forehead, doing her best to comfort her.

"I did not mean to suggest such a thing could afflict yourself as well. I was merely worried that the question of my intentions would bother you such." Smiling from beneath the soft fur slightly as her trademark formality returned, she returned her head to it's lowered state near the ground. She didn't need further embarrassment. Oh if only the humans would find something of greater interest to observe...

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PostSubject: Re: COA III: The new IC   COA III: The new IC - Page 6 I_icon_minitimeSun 02 Sep 2012, 11:00 pm

Aressa fought against the urge to tense as she felt Aelirsa’s forehead brush against her mane. No one had ever touched her so… softly before. She usually resisted all contact. Opening herself up, leaving herself vulnerable… after so many years of pain, the idea made her cringe. The last time someone had actually touched her had been the doctors at the DoD and one of the therapists when they’d been trying to show her how not all humans would take any opportunity to hurt her, that not every human took pleasure out of the agony of others. It had been a hard-fought action on the therapist’s part and in the end the lesson hadn’t truly sunk in.

Thankfully, she didn’t tense; the only sign of her inward thoughts was a slight pause in her step. The paw remained suspended for a second longer than was normal over the cracked pavement below. Recovering enough to speak, she met Aelirsa’s eyes, “It’s just… I’ve never had a real… family before,” she paused, looking down, “I’m not… I’m not like all of you.”

“How can you all let me stay with you?” she continued, storm clouds rumbling across her gaze, “How can you possibly trust me at all?”

Sure, Aelirsa had been the first to find her, the first to decide to journey on with her. Look how that had ended for Aelirsa, here she was now, injured and worried. It was all Aressa’ fault.

Suffering follows me wherever I tread.

~~~~~

In the time she was attempting to help Agate to her... tail, Kaldra raised her head and caught sight of Aelirsa and Aressa walking ahead. It was nice to see the two of them together. They'd been travelling together before they joined their current group, maybe Aelirsa could help Aressa in her healing.
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PostSubject: Re: COA III: The new IC   COA III: The new IC - Page 6 I_icon_minitimeSun 02 Sep 2012, 11:57 pm

Hearing Aressa speak, she lifted her head from her soft fur, moving closer again. It was strange to hear her speak in such a manner. The subtle doubt in herself, the regret over actions. Her surprise at not being shunned over the whole incident. Eyes glistening ever so slightly, she reached her paw out to Aressa's, patting it gently.

"My parents, I really don't know how they continued to love me, after what I did, and when I became this. Just because you did something stupid, made one mistake, doesn't mean everyone will just abandon you. We care about you." Retracting her injured paw from Aressa's, she resumed in her stride forward. The pause had helped distract her from the pain at least.

"I'm the one who they shouldn't trust, I'm the one who has taken a life, five in fact. Just don't doubt yourself, ever... Please." Her lips tightened hesitantly. What she would do for a storm at that moment, something to deter the humans, a source to regrow her ice. A reason for the group to find a place to stay, away from humans.

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PostSubject: Re: COA III: The new IC   COA III: The new IC - Page 6 I_icon_minitimeMon 03 Sep 2012, 2:35 am

Tem smiled at Kaldra when she came to his side and offered to help with Agate. "Thanks," he replied, "go right ahead."

He continued lifting. He'd expected his left foreleg to give him enough lifting power, but Agate seemed to be rising much more slowly than he'd anticipated. Apparently she was quite a bit heavier than he'd thought, for whatever reason he expected a whole other person to be light when he hadn't exactly been doing regular weight training. Hunting demanded an entirely different set of muscles and skills, so beyond giving him pretty good general fitness, that didn't help too much, either.

He assumed a bit of a frown at the unexpected strain in his left foreleg and, with a small grunt, placed his right one under Agate as well, stepping forward with his back legs so he could continue standing. Now that he was putting in the strength of both his forelegs and also able to push upward a little with his hind legs, he expected Agate to be standing again quite soon.

In the meantime, a glimmer caught his eye - he looked toward it and found Aelirsa's beautiful ice sculpture still in the hybrid's hand. He'd frankly forgotten all about it in the sudden chaos of Aressa's attack and the sandstorm, but now all his curiosity about Aelirsa, and Agate's feelings surrounding her, came surging back. The ice dragoness had been so formal and abrasive at first, and yet she'd so quickly turned around and not only accepted Tem and Kaldra's bond but also expressed deep caring for Agate....She was undoubtedly both fascinating and confusing to him.

Tem looked over at the ice dragoness just in time to see her surprise him again and nuzzle Aressa's mane of fur - amazingly, without the Luong biting her or recoiling, hardly flinching, even. Aelirsa had tried to tell him and Kaldra and Agate at the café that being distant was the way she protected herself and even sometimes how she showed caring, and that protecting herself was something she'd certainly gotten used to. But was it really? The ice dragoness was opening up and making new friends so quickly, Tem wasn't quite ready to believe her. Maybe she was a lot friendlier and warmer than she herself realized, and it had taken this group - this family - to finally bring it out of her. Look at the good we're already doing, Tem thought. We might not be getting very far in the investigation, but that slowness is probably worth it if we can help put a life or two back together in the process. He smiled and felt warm inside at the thought.

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PostSubject: Re: COA III: The new IC   COA III: The new IC - Page 6 I_icon_minitimeFri 07 Sep 2012, 10:42 pm

Aressa listened closely to Aelirsa as she spoke. Her heart skipped a bit when Aelirsa mentioned her parents, it brought to mind the faint memory of her own parents. In all honesty, the only image she had of them was two blue-colored forms, faded and blurred from the cruelties of time. There was a faint memory of two voices, one soft and whispering, the other a rumbling purr. Everything after that was a haze of agony and suffering, harsh voices and tear-filled nights spent in darkness.

Did my parents love me?

A troubling thought took life in her mind.

What if they abandoned me that day that Master discovered me? What if they felt only distaste when they looked at me?

Like rabid dogs the doubts nipped at her heels, all speaking the stinging voice of Master.

“I don’t remember my parents...” she said quietly, a puff of frosty air escaping as she spoke, “Would they even want me if they were alive today?”

Aelirsa's next admission stopped her from uttering any other worry-filled questions. The idea that Aelirsa, comforting Aelirsa, had extinguished the life’s flame of another, much less five, was alien to her. It seemed that she wasn’t the only member with the suffocating weight of a bleak past resting on their shoulders.
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PostSubject: Re: COA III: The new IC   COA III: The new IC - Page 6 I_icon_minitimeTue 11 Sep 2012, 8:22 am

The sadness of Aressa not even knowing her parents rocked deep into her heart. The self-doubt of not being accepted by them even made her sick to say the least. "The bond between parents and a child is often considered mediocre by humans, but definitely not by dragons, I can assure you of that. What matters is that you are alive, here and now among others who love you."

She turned her head away again. Love, something she couldn't bring herself to feel, not after the destruction it had caused in her life. Whether she wanted to admit it to herself or not, she loved her friend deeply. So deep that it drove her mad. "I've always been an only child, hence forming close bonds to friends. I realise we haven't known each other that long, but I do know a good nature when I commune with one. I am certain that sooner or later, you'll find the answer to your parents absence. good or bad it does not matter as much as just knowing. Either way, I can assure you that I'll be there."

Her urge to keep moving remained strong in her mind, but she did not want to break the soft moment between her and Aressa. Not knowing from experience, she could only guess it as being akin to comforting an older sibling during a crisis just beyond her own understanding. She didn't know her full past, but it was enough for her to care. If anything though, she secretly did feel close to Aressa in a sisterly fashion. They were alike in so many ways, but she was still uncomfortable with saying anything yet.

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PostSubject: Re: COA III: The new IC   COA III: The new IC - Page 6 I_icon_minitimeTue 11 Sep 2012, 9:55 pm

Aressa listened to Aelirsa as she voiced her comforting reply. Thought meant to help, the part about the strong bond between parent and child only served to deepen her sorrow. She’d never experienced that bond, the only “bond” she experienced as a young dragon was one of suffering and servitude. However, as Aelirsa said herself, now she was among those who cared about her. In spite of all she’d done, they felt sympathy for her rather than hatred.

The fact that Aelirsa was willing to remain at her side while she searched for the location of her parents, if they ever made it through their current investigation, was heartening to say the least. Such devotion was alien to her.

“Thank you,” she said softly, voice trembling with emotion, “That means so much to me.”

Before she could think better of it and back down, she placed her right paw over Aelirsa’s to punctuate her statement further. Such contact, especially willfully given, was a large step forward for such a fearful dragoness.

~~~~~
Kaldra looked down as Aressa and Aelirsa continued their discussion a ways away. It felt almost like she was intruding on a private moment. Just seeing that shift in the scarred dragoness’ eyes from distrust and guilt to thanks and growing friendship was enough for her. Watching them any longer would be like eavesdropping in her mind.
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PostSubject: Re: COA III: The new IC   COA III: The new IC - Page 6 I_icon_minitimeWed 12 Sep 2012, 2:10 am

The crowd in the store started to disperse, seeing that nothing else interesting was likely to happen. Several people, who had been on their phones giving play-by-plays to the police, signed off and hung up. At the very least, nobody heard sirens, so maybe the situation was defused for now.

Leaf, who had mostly just been standing about nervously, started to calm down a little when the crowd left. It still felt awkward to her that they were standing in a parking lot, rather than somewhere more suited to discussion, but perhaps that was just her.

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PostSubject: Re: COA III: The new IC   COA III: The new IC - Page 6 I_icon_minitimeThu 13 Sep 2012, 10:20 am

Her head lowered in a solemn nod of respect. For Aressa to make the simplest gesture to her meant so much to the reborn. "It's my duty, and my desire to help. From our first meeting, I have always held you in the highest respect, scars and growls never tainted that view. I still hold that respect, though I do feel that we have become kindred souls if anything. I just hope you feel the same."

Gingerly moving her injured paw to Aressa's, she winced as it seemingly moved too far away from her shoulder. It brought her out of the moment of peace back to the reality of her injury. Out of the back of her eye, she sighed deeply in relief as the humans slowly dispersed. At the very least they weren't keeping more records of an act she had performed in a personal promise.

"Perhaps we should move on, friend. I must admit, I do not find comfort in humans, whether they show interest in our affairs, or not." Reluctantly slipping her paw from underneath Aressa's, she continued on in her path at the slow pace that she preferred. Not so much for sympathy as to give the others time to catch up without just standing around.

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PostSubject: Re: COA III: The new IC   COA III: The new IC - Page 6 I_icon_minitimeSun 16 Sep 2012, 10:11 pm

As she was looking down at the time, Aressa didn’t notice the tightening of Aelirsa’s facial muscles as she winced due to the pain of her shoulder. She did however feel the tensing of the muscles running along her paws. Glancing up, her concern evident on her face, she saw the humans dispersing at last. There was a brief spark of resentment that they, those spying humans, had seen what should have been a private moment.

Do they know nothing of courtesy?

The movement of Aelirsa was probably what kept Aressa from slipping down that dangerous slope once again. The fleeting moment passed by without causing any visual repercussions for the clueless watchers. With a quick shake of her head, she began walking once again. Her azure eyes were half-closed as she walked, lost partially in the recesses of her own mind. Much had been brought to her attention in that brief discussion.
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PostSubject: Re: COA III: The new IC   COA III: The new IC - Page 6 I_icon_minitimeSat 22 Sep 2012, 10:03 pm

Kaden backed off from Agate once she reassured the group that she was fine, and that Aelirsa needed more help than she did. She looked over at Aelirsa and Aressa, who were walking ahead. When the wind dragoness thought about it, it seemed like Aressa was closest to Aelirsa. Why was that? She didn’t know. Clearly, things from now on would be complicated--the motley group’s tangled web of feelings and faces could trip them up at any time.

Her eyes flicked over to Ev, making sure he was unhurt without bothering him about it. Thankfully, he and the others all seemed fine--with the obvious exception of Aelirsa. The striped dragoness paused, one leg raised, beginning to wonder why she made sure Ev was okay before she examined the others. Huh. She shrugged it off and traipsed back towards the group, following them on their way out of the parking lot.

“Where should we go next?” she queried once she caught up.

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PostSubject: Re: COA III: The new IC   COA III: The new IC - Page 6 I_icon_minitimeSun 23 Sep 2012, 4:21 am

Ev did little more than observe from the sidelines for a little while, nervously trying to figure out what he should be doing. He wanted to help somehow, but he was afraid of getting too close to anyone in case the awful agitation in his throat made him lose control of his poison. In fact, he was astonished that it hadn't happened already. Force of habit, I guess... or just luck. But I can't count on either of those consistently, and it just takes one slip at the wrong moment....

He frowned and stayed where he was, watching. He raised his eyebrows at Kaden's forceful defense of the idea that Aressa should stay. He couldn't help but stare at her in admiration for a moment, although lately he was doing that a lot of the time anyway. Then Aressa offered to help Agate up. After taking a second to confirm that he hadn't suddenly started hallucinating, Ev's jaw dropped. Wha- She wants to help her now? After trying to kill her? Well... I guess that's good.... He was wary of trusting the other Luong so quickly, but her expression seemed honest.

He looked at Kaldra when she said his name. When she was done, he nodded and started to say a few words of agreement to Aressa, but the attempt to speak upset his throat again and sent him into a terrible coughing fit. It was so raw and sore that it was hard to tell whether the cause was more sand or simply lingering irritation. Either way, he was consumed by coughing for several painful moments, unable to see or hear much during the convulsions. When it finally settled down, Ev opened his eyes to see the dreaded glowing green of his poison emerging with each quick breath. Dang... well, that's why I'm over here. I knew caution would pay off. He had actually been quite uncertain about that, so he was glad to see his choice vindicated, even if it would have been nice to avoid the poison altogether.

Massaging his neck with his left foreclaw, he looked around to see Aressa walking away and talking too quietly with Aelirsa for him to hear, Tem and Kaldra lifting Agate upright, the human onlookers meandering away as they lost interest, and Kaden- OhmyGodshe'slookingatme! Though she only gave him a quick glance, Ev happened to see her at just the right moment. He reflexively turned his gaze to the ground, his heart beating slightly faster. After a couple of seconds, he tentatively raised his eyes enough to see in his peripheral vision that she was walking in the same direction that the others had started towards.

He lifted his head fully and followed her general path, making sure to stay behind everyone now that his poison was coming out again. He could have contained it once more, but it seemed a good moment to regain some mental strength now that the nearby area had been quite thoroughly cleared of passersby. He cast a nervous glance back at the doors and windows of the store to make sure they weren't being watched anymore. He relaxed somewhat as he saw the crowds going about their normal business.

Kaden's voice got his immediate attention as usual. He felt inclined to answer her question, so he started with, "Umm..." Then Ev realized that he had no idea what the answer was. Dang it! I keep starting before I have time to think! His thoughts were jumbled for a slight moment, but then he began to consider it more properly. Uh, let's see... I'm not sure we had much of a plan about what to do after the store... yeah, I think we were hoping to get some ideas from what we found. But that didn't really happen, so we don't have much in the way of a lead anymore. His glimpse of Tom's cell phone at the last moment came to mind, but he didn't see how it could be useful, at least in terms of finding a location.

Starting to panic now that the delay was dragging into an awkward length, Ev continued, "Well, um... I don't know." He mentally slapped his forehead. Idiot! "Er, maybe, uh... we could... uh..." Now he was too nervous to think of anything, though, so he fell into embarrassed mumbling and then silence. Gee, way to make an impression, Ev. Every dragoness just loves a guy who can't answer a simple question.

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PostSubject: Re: COA III: The new IC   COA III: The new IC - Page 6 I_icon_minitimeSun 30 Sep 2012, 1:58 am

“Thanks,” Agate whispered a smile as the coupled dragons eased her into an upright position. The gracious word had barely left her reptilian maw when she stumbled on her slither. Leave it to her to trip over her own feet when she didn’t even have any feet!

Of course, this action brought forth an unwanted reunion with the cruel concrete and her face. Even after the crowd began to dwindle, a fleet of flashing photos followed her all the way to impact.

Agate groaned as she struggled to be vertical once again. Instead, she looked as if she were one of those spotlight-hogging dancers “doing the worm”. What a bundle of failure she was today!

Yet, who could exactly blame her? Striving to become perpendicular to the ground from the current parallel position was in reality quite a difficult maneuver, especially when one has the muscle definition of a pencil. Besides, the last thing the earth dragoness wanted to occur was the destruction of her dear ornament from Aelirsa, even though it diminished her arms’ ability to propel herself back up.

After glancing about helplessly for a moment, the red dragoness finally regained her logic. Upon the ground, she placed the statuette with care. Finally, she was able to peel herself from the asphalt and remain upright. Scoping up her precious gift, she scolded herself, shaking her quetzalcoatl head in a mixture of disbelief and shame. Why hadn’t this simple solution registered sooner? Was she perhaps freaked out from the imposing throng of people and their imposing camera-ready phones?

At least their attention was quickly waning. Without death-loitering battle scenes to fill their cameras’ screens (or klutzy hybrids for that matter), the dragons’ audience seemed to have lost interest. Apparently a tender moment of dragon-nuzzling held no appeal whatsoever. Sprinkled throughout her relief, Agate couldn’t help but feel the rise of boiling rage as those people--humans walked away from what they found boring: love.

The dragoness’s teeth met, creating a sickening, scrapping crunch. Is that all we are to them? Agate thought through fuming tears. Just something else to entertain them until they get bored and find something more interesting to do...?

Kaden’s question startled Agate back into reality, along with an alarming realization. She blinked once... twice...... thrice......... then analyzed the vicious thoughts that had clawed at her mind.

What’s gotten into me!? She exclaimed to herself, eyes agape. Why am I being so hateful towards humans all of a sudden?! Those alien thoughts were so unnatural in her own head. In fact, they seemed more wired to Aressa’s way of thinking...

At an attempt to avert her thoughts elsewhere, Agate wondered when they would finally abandon the parking lot they were standing around in. Shouldn’t we be going to the hospital or something? The dragon-girl frowned. Oh how she wished she was the type to initiate such actions!
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PostSubject: Re: COA III: The new IC   COA III: The new IC - Page 6 I_icon_minitimeMon 01 Oct 2012, 2:39 am

It took a few brief moments for Agate to be righted again, during which Tem noticed Aressa and Aelirsa talking. Their words were a little too quiet for him to make out, but they seemed calm and controlled around each other, if not necessarily happy. Aelirsa even reached out to Aressa with her injured foreleg - the two were bonding already. Aelirsa is a natural at making friends with those who need them most, Tem concluded, as little as she might believe it herself. She could be a healer at heart and not have even realized it until now....

Whatever the case, his and Kaldra's efforts were finally enough, and Agate came to a stand at last. Tem smiled, happy for her, and also more than a little glad to be thanked. "You're welc-" he started to reply, when she abruptly fell once more, causing him to wince. He was about to offer to help again when she left her ice sculpture on the ground in order to push up better, and suddenly she was up yet again, retrieving the sculpture. "Um..." Tem muttered, about to ask if she was all right, but when he noticed her looking over at the crowd and changing expressions as she contemplated something, he figured she wasn't too badly affected by her repeated meetings with the pavement. He was relieved to see the crowds dispersing. He would've liked to think he'd successfully convinced them that there was nothing to see, yet they could be simply getting bored for some other reason...but he was really just glad to not be hearing any sirens.

Just then he heard Kaden ask where they should head next. He started walking in the same direction as the others already were, prompting both Kaldra and Agate to join him: "Come on, let's follow them and get somewhere more private for a while." He snatched up the food bag and trotted at as hurried a pace as he could manage with three legs. They'd already spent so much unnecessary time in that parking lot, he was simply trusting Leaf to eventually follow. Now that he was closer to Kaden, and Ev had finished fumbling uselessly with his words, Tem replied to her, "Whatever place is close and can give us some privacy. I was thinking that just any old alleyway would do." He slowed a little once his rushed pace brought him right up beside Kaden. "I mean, we could get Aelirsa to the hospital, but I'd rather not lose that kind of time unless it's really serious."

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PostSubject: Re: COA III: The new IC   COA III: The new IC - Page 6 I_icon_minitimeMon 01 Oct 2012, 3:11 am

Her advance forward was slow to say the least, she wished to speak with the others, without merely turning around and doing so. It wasn't her way, she preferred the subtle initiation of conversation. Out of the corner of her eye, she watched as Agate struggled to assert herself, taking care of the tiny sculpture she had formed in particular. It saddened her that she had become attached to it deep down, finding out about her past should it ever come to light would cause just that much more hurt.

She overheard Tem speak her name at last, of taking her to a 'hospital'. At first her instinct was to react strongly against, that was somewhat calmed as he made a note of not wanting to waste time. She turned at last, obviously in pain but keeping her face even. "No hospitals. I think every one of us has had enough of humans for one day. I fear that I will not be able to keep my temper under control should I be subjected to questions."

At last an alleyway, somewhere secluded and private that she could recover. Leaky gutters when it rained. the perfect source to recover her water from. That is if they remained there until some form of rainfall came. Either way, the privacy was something she would deeply appreciate. "My injury is not serious, I can handle it I assure you." Returning to her previous course, she just wished the others would take her word for it this time.

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PostSubject: Re: COA III: The new IC   COA III: The new IC - Page 6 I_icon_minitimeMon 01 Oct 2012, 4:45 pm

Tem turned to Aelirsa the instant she spoke, slightly surprised to find the ice dragoness a lot closer to him. He assumed she must have slowed down so that his quick pace would take him nearer to her. Her opinion of the hospital reminded him distinctly of Aressa - the similarity was a little startling. They're really bonding quickly then. I didn't know they were quite that much alike...but I guess someone would have to be a lot like Aressa to understand her and connect so deeply. Of course, that brought up the concern of just how unstable Aelirsa might be too. Yet she'd been the one to plan with Kaldra about what to do if Aressa lost control - if she planned ahead for someone else's difficulties, then she must have been good with her own troubles, right?

She just warned me that human questioning would be enough to set her off, Tem recalled grimly. They'd just have to wait and see exactly what Aelirsa's nature turned out to be; there would be more clues to find later, he was sure. Nevermind how many times I've had to remind myself of that today....

In response, he managed a nod and a quick "All right," after which she said her injury was not serious. Once again, Tem wasn't so sure. "Well...fine, bearing the pain is one thing, but being in top shape is another. Aelirsa, you haven't seen quite as much as some of us have so far, but some pretty major threats might be against us, ones we don't know much about. I think we'd all be more comfortable if we were as able as possible, yourself included. We'll do what we can to help." He kept a concerned and serious gaze on her, hoping he could convince her of how important this was.

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PostSubject: Re: COA III: The new IC   COA III: The new IC - Page 6 I_icon_minitimeMon 01 Oct 2012, 11:08 pm

Kaldra winced inwardly as Agate struggled to rise from the pavement, even with the help of Tem and her. She was so close… but then she tumbled back to the unforgiving earth. It was painful to see the unhappiness evident on her face. She finally made it to an upright position, but the expression dominating her visage was far from triumphant, if anything, it seemed more like rage. The tightened teeth, the narrowed eyes, the lack of awareness of the others near her… in that moment Agate was a mirror of Aressa, the very dragoness that had led to this current mess they were all in.

She nodded in agreement with Tem’s response to Kaden, “Yeah, we should probably get going now.”

Going to the hospital… it would be best if Aelirsa’s leg could at least be stabilized so it could heal, if nothing else. But Aelirsa doesn’t want to deal with more questions, after what she’s been through… after what we’ve all been through, I can’t really blame her.

“If you are truly against going to a hospital, I don’t want to force you,” she said, “But Tem is right about the danger, so finding some way for you to at least partially recover would be advantageous for everyone.”

~~~~~

Aressa slowed as Aelirsa did so, not wanting to go too far away from the group. Their presence might be… disconcerting at times, but in all honesty it was probably that constant need to focus on what they were saying and doing that kept her mind just busy enough to stave off her ever-lurking memories. It wasn’t a perfect solution by any means and in some cases the cure was more unpleasant to her than the problem itself, but it was the only one available to her at the moment.

Her eyes zeroed in on Tem when he mentioned going to the hospital, every nerve in her screaming out in objection. The sour smell of cleaners, the pervading presence of humans, the needles… it was the last place she wanted to go. Well, last after that accursed basement of her childhood.

It seemed that Aelirsa shared her sentiments, or at least appeared to for the group. But was it really what she wanted? What if she was truly suffering and was only refusing medical attention out of respect for Aressa? What if she fell ill because of that lack of medical service?

What if her caring for me leads to even more agony for her to endure?

Aressa drew inward, darkening eyes turning towards the pavement. Her tail drooped in a clear reflection of the storms churning within her.
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