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 COA III: The new IC

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Michangs
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PostSubject: Re: COA III: The new IC   COA III: The new IC - Page 2 I_icon_minitimeThu 31 May 2012, 9:07 pm

Tem followed Aelirsa across the street as soon as she'd crossed it herself, glad to see that they'd reached the café. Like Kaldra, he fixed his eyes on Aelirsa while the ice dragoness operated the ATM. How do those things work again? Tem thought idly. I forget. It had been a while since he'd bothered dealing with the humans' financial system, which his all-but-abandoned paychecks were clear evidence of. I'm sure I could figure it out again if I needed to....Hm, if I do have any money left, it might be handy for the group. For now, though, he didn't want to waste his companions' time re-learning how to use a machine that only might benefit them. He doubted he remembered all of the weird, meaningless numbers that banks asked of their customers, anyway, and he didn't have anywhere to store the money, either.

Eventually Aelirsa extracted the needed money from the machine, after which she muttered something about hoping not to see a certain mysterious "she." Whatever mishaps or enemies her past involves, they had better not get in our way, Tem thought, irritated. He would have a seriously bad impression of Aelirsa if the first thing she did in the group was to lead several of its members into a situation that was both unpleasant and unnecessary.

Aelirsa seemed to be waiting for whatever reason, so Tem hoped to prompt her along by asking gently, "All set?" He was impatient to get in there, for a variety of reasons - to get back to the larger group faster, to settle in with Kaldra sooner...to get out of the wide open space that felt so unsafe to him. In the meantime, he glanced over at the nearby café, idly observing the bustling motion of the telltale masses of water that revealed the customers inside, his indistinct thoughts drifting through random Kaldra-related topics.

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PostSubject: Re: COA III: The new IC   COA III: The new IC - Page 2 I_icon_minitimeSun 03 Jun 2012, 4:52 am

Not looking back, she walked across the carpark to the cafe, ascending the steps and nudging the door open without a word. Head held high, she made her way off to the side where she could avoid the unpleasant crowding while still being able to check on prices.

Buns, pies, rolls, and other pastries. Not exactly the selection she was hoping for. Obviously this place had less variety than she remembered. No trouble. Picking out a bag of seeded buns, she casually surveyed the staff while the others took their time to arrive and choose. Goodbye to efficiency...

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PostSubject: Re: COA III: The new IC   COA III: The new IC - Page 2 I_icon_minitimeMon 04 Jun 2012, 4:20 pm

Tem didn't get any reply from Aelirsa before the ice dragoness walked off without the others again. She even seemed rather haughty about it, what with the way she dismissed everyone so readily and held her head high as she proceeded into the café.

The reaction left Tem somewhat confused. Is she just antisocial, or does she dislike us that much? he wondered, almost feeling ashamed, as if he'd done something to upset her, and yet also irritated, since he was pretty sure none of the three had done her any wrong. He happened to be liking her less by the minute, even though he was reluctant to let his opinion of her slip too low without knowing why she acted like she did. I guess we should just get this over with quickly so we can get back to the others before too long....

With his expression reflecting his puzzlement, he glanced at Kaldra, comforted by her presence. At least I have her here....I wouldn't want to deal with this crazy dragoness alone. And I'm sure glad I didn't leave her to do it alone, either. Even Agate made him feel safer as well.

Shaking his head a little to clear it, Tem followed Aelirsa into the café. He was struck with sudden nervousness for a second due to his general dislike of large crowds, especially those in tight, unfamiliar spaces like this warm and noisy one, but he managed to make himself move again and clear away from the majority of the people. Looking around, he soon noticed that Aelirsa was close by, as if she'd similarly avoided the crowd. He took the nearest seat to her; fortunately, he'd been inadvertently practicing almost every day at the library, so it wasn't hard for him to fit himself into the chair even with his quadrupedal body. It worked best to simply use it as a platform for him to sit back on his hind legs just like he might do on the ground, he'd realized.

He then scanned the selection of food available there and was surprised to find that the Morning Spark only offered different kinds of pastries. I was hoping for something a little more filling...but maybe a little sugar could improve our moods, if nothing else. He could think of worse things to bring back to the rest of the group. Not yet sure of what he wanted, he continued poring over the range of potential dishes while the others followed. Without realizing it, he kept considering how much he thought Kaldra might like each choice.

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PostSubject: Re: COA III: The new IC   COA III: The new IC - Page 2 I_icon_minitimeTue 05 Jun 2012, 11:02 pm

Kaldra winced inwardly as Aelirsa continued walking without replying to Tem. She felt bad for him really, he was just trying to be nice. Her ignoring him certainly wouldn’t go over well. She understood how nerve-wracking being around a lot of dragons/people at once could be, but bluntly ignoring someone certainly wasn’t going to get her in anyone’s good graces.

We sure seem to have gotten rather unlucky with these two new additions; one apparently has some old problems she didn’t decide to mention, while the other had some serious trauma growing up coupled with some fairly prevalent instability. Now aren’t we just a merry little band of misfits...


Oh well, it was better to just get this over with and get back to the main group. Focusing on their goal of finding the true reason behind Aurnia’s murder would keep them all in line. If they started worrying about the individual members of the group and their respective skeletons in their closets, it would only drive a wedge between them. It was best to stay positive and keep trudging along. Besides, it seemed they had just entered the café and they had a whole slew of new worries to remain occupied with.

Kaldra began the slightly embarrassing task of keeping her wings tucked in close along her back, making sure she didn’t bump anyone with her shoulder spikes, and taking care not to trip anyone up with her equally spiny tail. This is why she kept to the forest. There were a whole lot less people to worry about there. With a resigned sigh, she followed Aelirsa, staying close to Tem while taking care not to stab him in the process. If she wasn’t so concentrated on not tripping anyone, she might’ve lashed her tail in frustration. As good a defense as her armored body would likely be in a fight, it sure was a pain in close quarters. As they neared the counter, her gaze settled on the selection the café offered.

What the heck are all of these? Are they some kind of flaky, sugary bread-things?

She’d never been to a pastry shop before; most of her food was caught with her own claws and teeth out in the woods. Head tilted slightly and eyes narrowed, she sat down next to Tem. Well, this was a little awkward. Once again they were in a place that served common food and she had no idea what it all was.

“So, um, Tem… what would you recommend?” she paused, “I’ve never really eaten at a… place like this before.”

She lowered her eyes, shifting uncomfortably in her seat. It sure was awkward, attempting to sit in a chair made for bipedal humans when you obviously weren’t bipedal nor were you a human. Just gotta grab some food and get back to the others. It might be good to accomplish that sooner rather than later, as her mood was steadily dropping as time went on.
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PostSubject: Re: COA III: The new IC   COA III: The new IC - Page 2 I_icon_minitimeWed 06 Jun 2012, 1:59 am

Tem paused his perusal of the café's options when he heard Kaldra sit next to him. He looked over and relaxed somewhat; his mood had been brought a ways down by Aelirsa, but he felt a little more comfortable now that Kaldra was by his side. The relief her presence gave him was limited since he couldn't help but feel pangs of sympathy about her discomfort with the chair, but still, the situation seemed a little less unpleasant as soon as he laid his light blue eyes on her.

She instantly had his attention once she started asking him a question. He didn't actually have any idea what to recommend yet, especially since he hadn't had much time to look over the choices, but when she clarified that she'd never eaten in a café before, he did think to say, "Oh, you haven't? Hm...well, I've been to cafés very few times myself, but..." He paused to look over his options again, feeling pressured to choose quickly for some reason, even though he knew Kaldra most likely wouldn't be impatient for his answer. "...I've always liked cinnamon rolls, even though they can get kind of expensive sometimes. They taste great." He grinned at her at the last sentence. "If you're looking for something with a little less sugar, then maybe..." He took another few seconds. "...a bunch of rolls might be good. They should be pretty filling since they're basically all bread. Hopefully they're good enough quality to not be too boring." He finished with another smile, this one slightly bashful, again for a reason he couldn't quite place. Maybe he was a little nervous as to how good his advice was. It wouldn't have surprised him, despite how firmly his logical side kept telling him Kaldra would appreciate the suggestions regardless.

In the background, the strong scent of baked goods filled Tem's nostrils as other patrons enjoyed their own orders. The sweet aroma cast the sensation of pleasantness and comfort that it always did, which had seemed disturbingly out of place while his mind was focused on Aelirsa. But now, staring into Kaldra's crimson eyes...he tried to look away but didn't quite manage it...the smell seemed to match his mood as cozily and easily as a river suited his lithe blue body. Not quite conscious of it, a small smile settled onto his face yet again.

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PostSubject: Re: COA III: The new IC   COA III: The new IC - Page 2 I_icon_minitimeWed 06 Jun 2012, 2:16 am

She ignored the feeling of disdain aimed at her from the pair. Couples, she didn't want to get into a discussion about how forming bonds during times of strife wasn't a good idea at all to say the least, that it could end up being very harmful to one or the other at most.

"I wouldn't be here if people's opinions bothered me." She scratched a mark off one of her claws before picking out the cinnamon rolls as Tem had casually mentioned, grabbing some plain buns as well. Assuming the bipedal position while having to lean forward was definitely something she didn't enjoy.

Nevertheless, she transferred the items to one hand, leaving some notes on the table for the two to use before going up to pay for the items already mentioned. Mere seconds later she was placing them down on the table. "I've lived on bread like this for a long while, parents buy it for children who have trouble eating meat. Rather bland in taste, but this will sustain you longer than normal bread I assure you."

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PostSubject: Re: COA III: The new IC   COA III: The new IC - Page 2 I_icon_minitimeThu 07 Jun 2012, 2:21 am

The most recent of Tem's many dreamy gazes broke once he heard Aelirsa mutter something else. He didn't catch what she said very clearly, but it sounded like something about being bothered. She could at least stop saying out loud how little she likes this... Tem thought, agitated yet again by her rudeness.

The thought didn't persist as soon as she left her seat - again without a word explaining what she was doing - which left Tem curious instead. What's she up to now? Then he saw her grab the foods he'd just recommended, pay for them all, and even leave extra money for more, before explaining the bread's properties to Kaldra.

Aelirsa's actions caught Tem well off guard. By all accounts, she'd just been immensely helpful, even generous, if in her usual brisk manner. Brows slightly raised in surprise, Tem could only blink for a second, until he was able to get out, "Oh...um, thanks, Aelirsa." Despite it coming out a little awkwardly, he was honestly grateful.

He realized a moment later that it probably would have been more appropriate for Kaldra to thank the ice dragoness first, but he'd been too pleasantly surprised for that to occur to him beforehand. He was still a little bewildered now that he wasn't so sure what to think of Aelirsa anymore. He was fairly sure he'd never seen anyone exhibit such disdain and such generosity so close together. Well...she didn't give Kaldra much of a choice just then, did she? But he knew Kaldra would have, in all likelihood, picked just what Tem had told her about anyway, and Aelirsa had even had the initiative to choose the most practically useful type of bread. I'll just have to wait and see what she does next, then, if I want any clearer ideas about her.

He reached out to take one of the bread rolls into his clawed hand, but then he stopped his hand mid-air and looked over at Kaldra, as if seeking approval. She was the one who'd been given the food, so it seemed only right that she should take it before he did unless she decided otherwise, if only as a minor courtesy. His logic told him that it probably didn't matter at all, but he couldn't help himself, especially after being the first to thank Aelirsa; he still let his scaly arm come down to rest on the table and asked Kaldra quietly, "May I?"

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PostSubject: Re: COA III: The new IC   COA III: The new IC - Page 2 I_icon_minitimeFri 08 Jun 2012, 6:40 pm

The designer’s choices about the Fry’s store were odd enough to raise one of Kaden’s eyebrows. Cows? Really? However, when she looked down rather than up, she found a dilemma. Do we go to the main store or the customer service? She thought a bit on it and decided that they should probably go to customer service. The key word, of course, was “probably.”

I wonder if the others have run into any trouble, she thought, as she approached the customer service. Her thoughts turned to the situation at hand again. What if going to the main store would be better? Ah, to heck with it! she finished grumpily. What would the employees do if she went to the wrong section? Turn into monsters?

Well, actually... Wait, no! Stop thinking about that! She checked quickly to see if there was a line and knocked quietly to get an employee’s attention. This is it...we could get monumentally far in our investigation or get turned in to the police. Hopefully the former of the two, though.
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PostSubject: Re: COA III: The new IC   COA III: The new IC - Page 2 I_icon_minitimeSat 09 Jun 2012, 9:55 am

Kaldra smiled as Tem explained what types of bread he usually preferred. He seemed slightly nervous, although whether it was simply because there were a lot of people around or the fact that their new companion was being… sort of difficult was hard to determine at this point. Maybe it was a bit of both.

“Thanks, Tem. Those cinnamon rolls sound nice, a little sugar would be a good change, I guess.”

She hadn’t had any really sweet food in quite a while; most of her meals came from the wilderness. Then Aelirsa got up and she turned her head to watch as the dragoness left the table and went up to the front counter, returning with some of the sugary rolls Tem had mentioned and some rather plain looking ones. She then explained just how useful the plain rolls were. So, humans used them as a substitute for meat when needed? Learn something new every day. Tem spoke up first, so she waited for him to finish before putting in her two cents, taking the brief space of time to arrange her tail more comfortably by her side so that the spikes didn’t get caught in the chair.

“Thank you, Aelirsa. They look delicious,” she paused for a second and then continued, “and thanks again for paying for all of this. That was very nice of you.”

Maybe trying to be extra cordial to her will help her warm up to the group… couldn’t hurt, anyways.

She saw Tem reach out to pick up one of the rolls, but he stopped midway and looked over at her for what seemed to be approval. Then he voiced his question out loud, making it clear that he was in fact asking if he could take some food.

“Of course,” she said, smiling, picking up one of the other plain rolls with her right paw.
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PostSubject: Re: COA III: The new IC   COA III: The new IC - Page 2 I_icon_minitimeSun 10 Jun 2012, 2:44 am

Tem smiled back to Kaldra and grabbed one of the plain rolls for himself, taking a bite immediately. Sure enough, it was pretty bland, but he was satisfied enough knowing that he was filling his stomach well for whatever was ahead. Man, what a smile she has.... It was truly enchanting to see her face light up because of him, to know he'd made someone happy through his actions, especially someone like her, who was so amazing and so completely deserved some happiness in her life that he had no way of putting it into words.

He continued thinking to himself as he chewed away more bites of his first roll and then another. Of course I could have taken some of the food right away. What was she going to do, bite my arm off or hold a simmering grudge because I didn't give her a one-second head start on eating? What was I thinking? He simultaneously wanted to laugh at his own silly self and hide in a small hole until his cheeks stopped burning. I guess I showed a little extra courtesy, but...courtesy can get kind of sappy and annoying when it's so unnecessary. He couldn't think of a more hollow and ineffective way of expressing affection than being stiffly polite over the tiniest things. His urge to laugh increased when he imagined himself presenting to Kaldra a rabbit they'd hunted down together with the formality and deference of some stereotypical upper-class British butler - with an accent to match, while he was at it - and after that, he wanted to groan in pain at the lack of satisfaction that that sitcom-worthy relationship would grant him. Well, that all might be true, but as long as it's not excessive, I can keep being as nice to her as I can manage, he concluded. I'll just have to be a little more reasonable about things like eating café food.

By the time his musings were over, Tem had finished both his rolls. To his pleasure, he already felt fuller. Good, I guess I really will last a while on these. He reached his foreleg out yet again, this time for a cinnamon roll. He hesitated for an instant as he glanced at Aelirsa, still having no idea what she'd do next, and then finished taking the roll. He took his time and savored each bite of the deliciously sweet pastry, unable to help but smile a little at the familiar and wonderful taste.

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PostSubject: Re: COA III: The new IC   COA III: The new IC - Page 2 I_icon_minitimeSun 10 Jun 2012, 4:18 pm

A man with "Ted" on his nametag leaned over the counter at the crew of dragons that had approached his counter. "How can I help you?" he asked. He looked like the decent sort, albeit a little confused as to why several dragons who didn't seem to be carrying any electronics were coming to this particular counter.

Leaf, meanwhile was just looking around at all the people. She'd gone to stores like this before, but this one was a bit unusual for her. The raw Texas schtick here was a bit much, but it was tasteful for the most part in that the majority seemed to be on displays and catwalks out of customers' ways. In other circumstances, she might have wanted to have a look around, but she reminded herself that she had other, more pressing concerns.

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PostSubject: Re: COA III: The new IC   COA III: The new IC - Page 2 I_icon_minitimeWed 13 Jun 2012, 4:25 am

She smiled softly, staring down at the table as they ate. She herself chose to consume only one bun, ironic since it was her very hungry stomach that had ended up with them coming here. However bland it was, it felt dry in her mouth as she chewed slowly. It had been hard to conceal her disdain, and they had clearly noticed.

It was unclear to her as to whether she should confide in them as an attempt to explain her actions, or put more effort into getting over her problem. She continued to observe them, noting the male's seeming submission to the female, rather odd but otherwise something she should let side.

"I believe, I have acted below the standard that I should, to real dragons. I'm afraid that it is the result of past experiences, which led me to choose this life. However, given the circumstances I am uncomfortable with all knowing of my turbulent past, if you wish to know, can I confide in secret?" She looked down at the table again as she took silent breaths.

So formal. So damn bloody formal! She had no social skills to speak of! Loosening up was a concept completely alien to her. All she could do was be formal, like the instructors had told her to be when approaching Aurina. And that had been imprinted in her mind during her metamorphosis. Now Aurina was gone, along with the instructors, anyone who could help restore part of her buried personality.

But you don't want that part of you unearthed... do you? You don't want the others to know of the terrible things you did while you were human. What you're telling these two pales starkly in comparison.

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PostSubject: Re: COA III: The new IC   COA III: The new IC - Page 2 I_icon_minitimeThu 14 Jun 2012, 2:22 am

Still busy chewing on a bite of his cinnamon roll, Tem shifted his eyes to Aelirsa without moving his head once he heard her start speaking. His scaly brows raised in mild surprise as she went on to explain her actions, since he hadn't expected her to suddenly be nearly so open. The explanation itself, though - that a rough life was her reason for being so brisk with others - didn't surprise him as much. Other than the very youngest...and maybe not even them after losing - a bolt of emotional pain stabbed through him even at the slightest thought of her - after losing Aurnia...there's hardly a dragon out there whose whole life has been easy. And an awful lot of them have had a much, much harder time than even I have. Kaldra crossed his thoughts on a sadder note than usual, but he tried to put that out of his mind.

He took an extra second or two to finish chewing and swallowing his current bite - not noticing a few traces of cinnamon roll left on his lips, however - and then replied, "Of course. Anything you'd like to say, we're here to listen." He hoped that sounded welcoming and gentle rather than...he wasn't sure what, but hopefully it wasn't something less encouraging. Or if it was too welcoming, it might sound fake, or... Ack, just stop worrying and listen to what she says!

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PostSubject: Re: COA III: The new IC   COA III: The new IC - Page 2 I_icon_minitimeThu 14 Jun 2012, 2:31 am

She took a guttering breath. Her stomach felt as if it was a deep void, twisted up and choking at her lungs. She'd buried it for years, well, part of it. So many things, the unending feeling that she was a magnet for bad happenings. Now she could be bringing the results of her poor luck down on the group. Better that you're in a group this time, than alone, confused, defenceless...

"Watching your best friend die, right in front of your eyes, is a very shocking thing. Staring into the eyes... of her defiler, it leaves a burning image that I often struggle to cope with. However, going to that one boy who was quite fond of her, telling him that you watched her die. He found himself in a pit of despair, one he never recovered from." She ran her claw along the table in a circular motion.

"I've seen first hand the pain that coupling can cause, and that was before things became worse for all of us. In a way, my disdain is the best way I express concern, because I often cannot find the words to express it in it's true form." She dug her nail into the table slightly. "Needless to say, that event sent me on a course of life that I had to escape, that's when I eventually found myself on the path to how you see me now. Again, I apologise if i have offended you, it is no more than force of habit."

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PostSubject: Re: COA III: The new IC   COA III: The new IC - Page 2 I_icon_minitimeThu 14 Jun 2012, 4:05 pm

Tem felt a kind of cold sickness creep into him when he heard Aelirsa's scarring story. It was a little bizarre to hear her continue speaking formally about an event that had struck at her so personally and deeply. It was still evident enough how emotionally pained she was by it, though, and the story itself definitely remained the most disconcerting aspect of what Tem heard. Much of the reason was that Tem recognized how Kaldra had witnessed the exact same thing, only with her mother instead of a friend. Even having merely been told about the tragedy, the realization pained Tem deeply. I can barely imagine how Kaldra herself must feel about it.... He glanced toward her for a second, expressing as much concern as he could through the raw discomfort and sadness on his face, but since he had a reply to give to Aelirsa, he didn't hold his gaze longer.

He gulped and said to the ice dragoness, "That's...I'm sorry you had to go through that. Deeply." He felt bitter and angry with himself for ever thinking she was simply an unpleasant person; there was so often some sad reason behind it that made people like that impossible to hate. "And thank you for explaining. It's...good to hear you're concerned, I guess." He took a deep, solemn breath. "I can see why you'd be worried about Kaldra and me..." He glanced at Kaldra again and took her paw in his before continuing. We must have made it even more obvious than I thought if she picked up on it so early.... "...but...we're fully aware that there's plenty of danger ahead and that something bad could happen to either of us. In fact, we've had kind of a close call already."

He looked away from Aelirsa for that last sentence to gaze at the thin white scar on Kaldra's foreleg. Then, returning his eyes to the ice dragoness, "And we're not going to leave each other alone, either; we'll keep each other as safe as we can. The boy you mentioned...he didn't have the same opportunity, but we'll stay strong together. And, honestly..." His body heated up with embarrassment even just thinking about revealing a few of his deeper feelings, but he still went ahead. Kaldra might as well know them, and Aelirsa had shown such openness already; it was only right to repay the favor. "...for me, at least, I think trying to split up would cause at least as much pain as our bond might lead us into. Not to say I could even manage it anyway. There's...there's a chance something horrible out there could take her from me..." He gulped again. "...but if I try to let her go and keep that from hitting me as hard, then that's just guaranteeing that I lose her. It's like giving up before I even know if there's a reason to. And what I gain from it in the process..." He had to stop for a second as waves of joyous memories as well as expectations flooded his thoughts and forced him to smile a little. "...it's too wonderful to let go, and I think I'd be much weaker and less useful in our mission without it."

His face was nearly on fire, and his heart was pounding - he had never been any good at sharing his inner feelings easily - but he was still glad to clasp Kaldra's paw in his other one and smile at her for a moment. Then he looked down bashfully but still smiling a little, more in Aelirsa's direction, and finished in a soft voice, "That's how I feel."

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PostSubject: Re: COA III: The new IC   COA III: The new IC - Page 2 I_icon_minitimeFri 15 Jun 2012, 2:57 am

She nodded solemnly. Her paws slowly reached out to theirs. "It pleases me that I have friends to confide in after all this time." Her teeth gritted. She could tell more later, when they were back on track with their investigation, and needed to pause for reorganising. "I am happy for you two, dedication and love of that level is so rare to find."

Her tail swished along the floor. The barb left small scratches in the varnish. "Despite my appearance, I am hardly one to stand back and watch a fight. I have taken lives before in my own defence, and I am perfectly prepared to do the same, especially for the defence of those who took me in. I think that remaining calm and keeping level heads is what we need in a time like this."

Her tongue licked against her teeth. A small tear began to trickle from her face. Her formality had toned down, just slightly. But it was enough to notice. Keeping the past locked away in her head was messing with her mind. She had found friends, the ice that encased her heart was beginning to melt. "The blood of old wounds can finally start to clot..." She flicked her eyes as she realised she had spoken out-loud.

"When you are ready, I think we should catch up with the others. A store sounds harmless enough, but with night approaching, I would prefer that they have at least one to keep watch." She got up carefully, picking up the bags when she was standing. Her spinal stigs quivered slightly as she thawed out her joints.

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PostSubject: Re: COA III: The new IC   COA III: The new IC - Page 2 I_icon_minitimeSat 16 Jun 2012, 1:20 pm

When Aeilrsa spoke up in an attempt to explain her actions, Kaldra quickly finished the rest of her roll in a single bite and looked up. It seemed that there was more to this dragoness than met the eye, she apparently did have a less than pleasant past. She met Aelirsa’s eyes and nodded, Tem had already told her she could speak so there was no reason to make this any longer than it needed to be. It probably wasn’t an easy topic to discuss for her.

Then Aelirsa began to tell her tale and Kaldra’s left hand clenched slightly, eyes becoming slightly glazed over. Her story brought memories of her mother’s death to the forefront of her mind. She could almost see her mother’s sightless eyes gazing up at the cavern they had shared, mouth open in a silent cry as that monstrous blood red dragon dug into her neck with his fanged teeth. Kaldra had fled the scene, Malsvir’s cruel laughter ringing in her ears. Tears gathered at the base of her crimson eyes, as she slowly closed them in an attempt to gather herself.

No wonder she doesn’t like the idea of me and Tem being so openly together, it brings back thoughts of something she’d much rather forget…

Tem began to speak, defending their connection, and she opened her eyes and turned so that her face was directed towards him. He might be able to see the thinly veiled pain in her eyes, might even be able to discern why Aelirsa’s tale would hit her so deep. Tem’s speech made the pain throbbing inside of her ease to the point that it was nearly bearable. She understood now why the ice dragoness was so formal, or at least she thought she did, the pain of dealing with a tragic event could sometimes make a person close up to the point that telling of it in a formal, almost emotionless way was the only way that they could make it through. A smile grew tentatively on her face as Tem continued to speak, her tail resting on his once again as she took comfort from that simple touch. As he finished speaking, her heart swelled in her chest; she was aware that he cared for her, but hearing him express it so openly and honestly to another dragon made it a solid, unquestionable fact.

I will not let his life be extinguished as my mother’s was… he will live a long, full life. That is my promise to him.

Her voice cracked a few times as she spoke, “I feel the same… losing Tem would be unbearable. I have… I have lost someone very close to me years ago and still feel the sorrow like a poisonous barb in my heart, but Tem… Tem makes it bearable,” she stared into his eyes, “He holds me up; he protects me from myself and without him at my side… I would be… I would be broken,” the hand that he held tightened around his, “I could not… will not ever leave his side.”

She fell silent. Aelirsa then spoke, giving her sort of blessing of their bond and then saying that they should probably go meet up with the others for safety’s sake. Kaldra nodded in agreement, throat too raw to speak again so soon.

((Was unable to reach my computer for a few days, this post kind of goes back in time briefly and then catches Kaldra up.))
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PostSubject: Re: COA III: The new IC   COA III: The new IC - Page 2 I_icon_minitimeSat 16 Jun 2012, 3:16 pm

((We've done that plenty of times already, no worries.))

Tem was happy to hear Aelirsa commend his and Kaldra's companionship with her and bond with each other - it was a strong but pleasant surprise that her opinion had so completely reversed from before - but in his mind, he was still turning over everything Kaldra had said after he'd explained his own feelings. Sure enough, he'd seen the pain in her eyes, no doubt because of her mother like he'd suspected (she even mentioned her out loud a moment later), and it made him ache with the desire to undo that pain however he could. Twining his tail around hers again was a start.

When she continued on about him, though, his heart filled with warmth and his entire body started tingling with some potent emotion he couldn't name. He knew that she valued him deeply, but he still hadn't realized that he was quite that precious to her. He turned his head and gazed into her crimson eyes again. She loves me so much.... The very thought sent a rush of excitement and energy through him. A smile curved the ends of his mouth. The thought raced through his head, I want to kiss you so badly! He barely managed not to, remembering that he was in public, being actively watched by the dragoness right next to him. He turned his gaze down again to try and help himself relax. She'll never leave my side...and I never want to leave hers. I won't let her down. I'll keep her safe, no matter what it takes.

The rest of Aelirsa's words dimly sank in in the background. She was willing to fight and had done so before - good, they needed those kinds of people. And he could identify with her since he was the same way as well; it had been inevitable that he'd take some lives when slayers were out to kill him and the rest of his kind, and he didn't feel an ounce of guilt about defending himself appropriately. After that, Aelirsa suggested rejoining the rest of the group. Not that night is really that close, but she's right; we might as well not spend too much longer here when they might have already gotten themselves into danger. "Agreed. We should remember to take some extra food with us for the others, and then we can leave." After a pause, "And thank you again for paying for all of this, Aelirsa. I'll see if I can repay you later." It's as good a use of my otherwise-wasted cash as any.

To be extra-helpful, he decided to grab the food himself, taking the cash Aelirsa had left on the table and reluctantly leaving his seat to pack several extra rolls in a paper bag. While he worked out the price, the troubling thought occurred to him, Where's Agate? He peered nervously in the direction of the door. Oh, God, I hope she didn't run into trouble out there.... Scary possibilities started racing through his mind. Well...she didn't really announce she was coming with us. I guess if she reconsidered and went back to the others, she might not have told us about that either. Of course, he had no idea if that was what she'd done, but it was his least intimidating idea, so he tried to hold onto it.

He took his change and returned to the table, handing the remaining money back to Aelirsa and saying, "Here," with an appreciative smile. The bag of rolls was still in his other forepaw. "So, I'm pretty sure I'm ready when you guys are." He happily twirled his tail around Kaldra's again while he waited.

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PostSubject: Re: COA III: The new IC   COA III: The new IC - Page 2 I_icon_minitimeWed 20 Jun 2012, 2:08 am

Unbeknownst to the other dragons (well, at least to Tem), Agate had been seated at the very table Kaldra, Tem, and Aelirsa were at, silently munching away on the cinnamon rolls and, well, regular rolls. She didn’t mind that the Morning Spark was so limited in their selections--in fact, in this entire expansive universe, cinnamon rolls were this half-blood’s absolute favorite provision. It warped her back to the those light-hearted, simple days when Agate would awake to the welcoming aroma of home-made cinnamon rolls. They were so tantalizing in their their soft, sweet scents that they lassoed Agate right out of bed, even on those young mornings when she would have otherwise chosen to sleep in.

Completely roused and invigorated, Agate would zoom through the air with her petite, developing wings. She would arrive in the kitchen to find her mother hunched over the oven that contained the incredibly delectable confections, mouth-mitten protecting her maw as she retrieved them (conventional hand-mittens were out of the question, for quetzalcoatls possessed no hands). Sure, the hybrid’s mother looked quite comical, a dragon dwarfing the kitchen with her massive size, clamping the sheet of those holy pastries under the protection of her custom-made mitten.

Yes, those were the days, the days where it didn’t matter that Agate’s mother wasn’t exactly a world renowned chef, and she burned them, although a taste so delicious hadn’t graced the dragon-girl’s tongue since. Those were the days when there were less Armstrongs, and more attention devoted to Agate because of this. Those were the days when her mother’s depression was just an awful nightmare that faded away under the impeding wafts of those cinnamon rolls.

Reeling back into the present moment, Agate continued savoring the relish of this restaurant’s cinnamon rolls, listening to the exchanges between her three companion dragons. The blue and black ones, Tem and Kaldra, were seated adjacently, caught in each other’s gazes as if they held the same captivation as fireworks that outshone their starry backdrops. Agate had witnessed from her lonely, soulmate-less shadows multitudes of couples at her high school, her family’s mine, and many more about her hometown in North Carolina. Yet, the part-dragon came across more red diamonds than true love. They reacted, perfectly in sync with each other, as if they were the harmonies of a single, mellifluous song.

However, Aelirsa, with her gelid, piercing ray of daggers, seemed displeased by Tem and Kaldra’s display of affection. What’s with her? Agate thought, eyes narrowed in contemplation as she nibbled at her precious cinnamon roll. Somebody got out on the wrong side of the dragon cave.

And, of course, Aelirsa had to reveal a sorrowful past that made Agate regret every negative thought that crossed her mind about the ice dragoness. Were these the type of situations that drove people(/dragons/those of partial origin) to wrought misery upon others? Were such traumatizing circumstances such as Aelirsa’s the spark the ignited bullies? Were they (gasp!) perhaps, misunderstood?

Feeling as if she had walked in on some mental therapy session, Agate slipped away to the restroom, using the fact that she had to relieve herself as an excuse to escape this boo-hoo fest. It wasn’t like they notice her absence. She doubted they were even aware she was with the three dragons in the first place. The only attention she received from others was the gawking at her hideous self. Then, they paid her no heed. Agate was used to the insipid routine. She slithered into the ladies restroom.

After she had scrubbed her paws clean, Agate egressed, but not without the unsettling feeling that she was being watched. She glided across the restaurant floor, the feeling of paranoia creeping up her tail, about her back, and residing on the rear of her neck.

Stop it already! Her mind’s voice shrieked as a train of stares followed the dragon-girl back to her companions’ table. They were already preparing to leave.


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PostSubject: Re: COA III: The new IC   COA III: The new IC - Page 2 I_icon_minitimeThu 21 Jun 2012, 7:55 am

Aelirsa winced as Agate returned to them. She had a strong image in her mind that people ignored her. Whether she knew it or not, that image was being projected into an aura of distraction and forgetting. Then again she had little experience with telepathy, or whatever it was that her projection would be classified as. 'Getting exactly what you expect' most likely.

"Agate, I assume that you are prepared to leave. If not I will gladly stay until you are ready, wouldn't want anyone to give you trouble and all." She closed her eyes to roll them. Yeah, sorry that you wanted to be ignored subconsciously and I obeyed, want me to come snuggle you because you'd rather stay. She reached out and patted her shoulder softly.

A quick glance over Agate's shoulder left several points of gaze clearly visible. A very subtle furrow in her brow was all she needed to encourage them to look elsewhere. She returned her attention to the group. "I noticed some tension between you and Aressa. I only just met her today, as such I can't say I'm the biggest influence on her. But, she is kindred, I would not mind at all if you need me to ask her to ease off at any time. Wouldn't want uneasiness growing under the circumstances."

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PostSubject: Re: COA III: The new IC   COA III: The new IC - Page 2 I_icon_minitimeThu 21 Jun 2012, 2:56 pm

The second after Tem informed the group that he was ready, his gaze fell on Agate slithering up to a seat at the table, coming from the restrooms if the direction she was moving in meant anything. He couldn't help but jolt slightly in surprise. What?? She's been here all along, and I just picked the exact wrong time to look around for her? Maybe she'd come in later without joining the others first and gone straight to the - but no, there was already a seat for her at the table. Tem heated up with embarrassment. She's so good at not being noticed...could be useful. Well, that, or I'm just ridiculously inattentive. He'd failed to notice her as soon as he'd have liked on the way here as well, so it could have been something about her specifically, but he couldn't shake the feeling that he should be doing better.

Is it Kaldra? Am I letting myself get too easily distracted by her? She was the best guess given, well, the obvious. What she'd said to him at the police station, about trying not to focus on each other so much in order to stay more helpful to the group as a whole, returned to him suddenly, and he was disheartened and ashamed to find that he'd already failed. Unless it really is all Agate, then I'm doing very badly....It could have been something much worse that I was missing, and then, all because of me, we'd be... He didn't really want to dwell on that.

He almost wanted to sigh, and he barely remembered in time that it would have seemed weirdly out of place to the others since they hadn't been hearing all his troubled thoughts. When he came back to awareness, Aelirsa was telling Agate about staying with her if she wanted. That's nice of her...but she's a bit mistaken if she thinks Kaldra and I would leave a group member behind. Tem patiently waited for Aelirsa to finish offering help with Aressa - it struck him again how she'd suddenly become so open about her thoughts on other group members - and then he added, with a smile that he hoped was encouraging, "And we would stay with you too. Take as much time as you need."

He hoped speaking for Kaldra like that was all right with her - Yes, yes! Of course she'd stay with Agate! Jeez, Tem! - and then went on to think, What Kaldra said is right, and I just got a thankfully painless reminder. I'll do better, he resolved. I only need to tone it down a little bit, I think....Trying not to think about her will just drive me crazy anyway, more than it'll do me any good. Happy with his resolution, he took Kaldra's paw again, with a quick glance out a window and a brief scan with his water sense just in case, and focused his attention on Agate, trying not to let too much of it slip back to Kaldra like it so often did.

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PostSubject: Re: COA III: The new IC   COA III: The new IC - Page 2 I_icon_minitimeThu 21 Jun 2012, 8:41 pm

Aressa frowned slightly, tapping a claw on the ground as her eyes roamed the rather tacky establishment. The whole cowboy thing was so done-to-death and, given the fact that humans in general rubbed her the wrong way, this example only furthered her distaste. They wasted their lives trying to get to a job where they could make enough money to buy things that they didn’t need, things like the electronic gadgets in this store, while others starved and beaten. It was disgusting.

She said none of this, just kept gazing around Fry’s, eyes zeroing in occasionally on slightly more intriguing customers. There weren’t many dragons shopping here, which only backed up her previous beliefs about stores like this. They were run by humans, for humans.

Just stay quiet, let the others handle it. Don’t open your stupid mouth…

She could feel blood pumping through her veins, its pace steadily increasing. This was bad; she was starting to let control of her element slip. Ice began to coat the clawed toe tapping on the floor. Keeping her expression neutral, she looked over at Kaden. She was the leader, leaving know would unnerve her and might cause this annoying errand to take even longer to complete. The sooner they were outside, whether flying, clambering up rooftops, or roaming the trees… anywhere was better than these hell holes just crawling with humans.

At least that hybrid isn’t here…

~~~~~

Kaldra glanced up when Agate returned, then took a quick double-take. She’d been sitting with them the whole time? Guilt gripped her in its iron fist as she sat there, completely still. She hadn’t even realized that the hybrid girl was there, had she really been near them, listening to their discussion. The way the dragoness had slunk away so quietly and returned in the same manner either showed how much effort she put into being invisible or simply highlighted how narrow-minded Kaldra’s focus became when she was with Tem. The second option brought a dangerous failing to light. Being inattentive could, to use an old cliché, spell disaster.

And there I had just said that not being with him would be unbearable… when being around him makes me unaware of my surroundings. I can’t just cut all ties though, that would truly solve anything. I just need to lean on him occasionally without being sucked in completely.

She smiled, reassuring herself that this was the right decision. Tem seemed a little uneasy too, now that she got a better look at him. Maybe he hadn’t noticed Agate either, maybe he felt guilty. If so, then they’d both be more aware from now on, an effort from both parties. An uneasy feeling jolted through her when Aelirsa mentioned telling Aressa to ease up. Those two had been together when they joined their group, but from this brief mention of her companion, it seemed as if the two didn’t even know each other that well. Did anyone really understand Aressa?

She just joined up with us, didn’t even give us a true backstory. She’s obviously not mentally… all there, or at least not stable. Having a member like that… we don’t know how she’ll react, if she’ll lash out and cause us more trouble. She’s a risk.

Kaldra made a commitment to herself that, once they were all somewhere private, she would pull the ice luong aside and pull her full backstory out of her. Though it might seem rude at the time, if being rude to the dragoness could save her companions’ lives, she would do what was necessary.
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PostSubject: Re: COA III: The new IC   COA III: The new IC - Page 2 I_icon_minitimeFri 22 Jun 2012, 3:09 am

I guess he looks nice enough. Well, here goes... “We were actually, um, wondering if we could somehow talk about Tom Espinoza’s disappearance.” Kaden kept from wincing in preparation for a possible chewing-out. She glanced behind her, searching for backup.

Instead, she spotted a frowning Aressa, who was tapping a frosty claw on the floor. Was that a sign of impatience from the blank-faced dragon? Apprehension? I haven’t been too slow, have I? The last thing she wanted to do was hinder the group’s progress, but she needed cautious words. Hopefully, Ted wouldn’t kick them out if she was careful.

Tap, tap. Unreadable as always. Why did the ice dragon wear a mask over her emotions? Whatever the reason, it made Kaden curious of what sort of backstory Aressa had.

Her eyes flicked over the rest of the dragons. Come to think of it, she didn’t know much about any of them. Truth be told, after a bit of thought, she decided that this actually gave her a mix of pride and delight. Hey, these were dragons that barely knew each other, working for a common cause!

Noticing this for (embarrassingly) the first time, she was given just a little hope. I need to be more confident. They’re putting their trust in me to handle this. Straightening slightly, she awaited a response from Ted--whether it would be a “Get out” or a chat about Tom’s disappearance.
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PostSubject: Re: COA III: The new IC   COA III: The new IC - Page 2 I_icon_minitimeMon 25 Jun 2012, 3:13 am

Her eyes closed for just a mere blink. It was enough to think. She really didn't like speaking about Aressa behind her back in a demeaning tone. Her passing comment was already causing her pain, the sheer casual air of it, as if Aressa's problems should be resolved just to make it easier on Agate. Aressa was kindred in aspect, and she was a true dragon. She deserved respect, just as much as everyone else.

"A word if you will, Kaldra. I believe that this friction between Aressa and the others should be handled with care, among those who are more familiar with such disgruntlement. I would prefer to not see an incident arising out of this." She smiled curtly at her formality, like an object impossible to lose.

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PostSubject: Re: COA III: The new IC   COA III: The new IC - Page 2 I_icon_minitimeMon 25 Jun 2012, 6:52 pm

Kaldra nodded, thinking over what Aelirsa had said. It made sense for this problem to be handled with care, one wrong move could lead to… well, anything really. No one knew how the ice luong would react to questioning. They’d already seen how she felt about Agate, but if someone else were to confront her about it… things had the possibility to go downhill fast.

She found herself suddenly grateful that Aelirsa has said she'd be willing to fight and was able to defend herself, though she fervently hoped it wouldn't ever come to that. It was wrong to think about how to fight back against a fellow dragon, but as she'd seen with her mother's killer, not all dragons will stop their claws before marring the scales of their draconic kin. Aressa was one that might fit that dangerous mold as she certainly had the scars to defend her tenacious will to live and if she felt herself threatened she might choose to fight back with actions rather than words.

It makes sense that the two of us should deal with it then, she has been with Aressa longer than anyone else and I am this group’s leader. It must be handled quickly though, before this investigation develops too much more.

“Sure, I understand,” she turned to Tem and Agate, “Would you two like to continue on ahead and meet up with the others? We’ll only be a second.”

She looked into Tem’s eyes a few seconds longer than she had Agate’s, silently assuring him that everything would be alright. She didn’t want him to worry about her, she needed him to go on ahead with Agate and be her support in the walk as he was often hers. Agate had put up with a lot of judgment, both from the group and from those around them. Having someone there, who had proven himself to be above such harsh judgment or at least kind enough not to make it obvious, would do the dragoness good.

“They’re probably still inside Fry’s, so just head on in. We’ll be right behind you.”

~~~~~

Aressa remained silent, locked up in her own thoughts and unaware that Kaden had looked her way. She was mainly focused on containing the spreading ice to her own flesh. Humans had reacted badly to her abilities in the past, especially when she'd been using them to hinder their pursuit of her, the scaled thief. But she would not be stealing anymore, at least not with the others so close. Sustenance would be gathered later, when night had wrapped its cloak around the town of Jessica. Night was her true friend, in its darkness she was safe... as long as she stayed awake at least, nightmares were a foe far more dangerous than humans. Nightmares could not be injured or escaped from.

She tapped her claw twice more and raised her head to gaze at the human employee that had decided to approach the group, her expression guarded.
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