Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by PopeAlessandros
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Reaching under his tunic Viltez makes sure that his tail is securely in place before pushing the door to his hut open and stepping out into the early morning sunlight. The small village of Numeron is already buzzing with early morning traffic as a caravan of dried good that had pulled into town before sunrise call out to the townsfolk to buy their wares before they head out that evening. The hawkers call out from the back of the wagons, waving down the people just exiting their homes for the first time this day. Viltez takes in a deep breath, letting the cool spring air filter deep into his lungs, filling his nostrils with the smell of morning dew and oxen. Turning to look towards the caravan the young man chuckles as a group of village children run about with some from the merchant's kids. They duck under the wagon, and between the oxen in a game of tag.

Pulling his arms above his head he stretches and heads towards the middle of town, kicking his door closed with a foot as he walks away from the little shack. As he passes the small shops just setting up for the morning several of their owners call out and wave at the shaggy haired man.

“Oi, Tezy! Great job the other day!” an old man calls from a shop front, pausing in his sweeping to greet Viltez.

“Thanks Mr. Shogen. Anytime!” He replies with a wave to the owner of the only tailor shop in town. The gray haired old man chuckles and move back inside his shop with his broom in hand. It took some getting use to when the villagers decided to give him a nickname, but by now it only bothered him once in a while.

“Tezy, can you help me with this?” a female voice calls out from his left and as he turns he spots one of the younger girls who work for the local farmer trying to load a large bag of grain on to a pull kart without much success.

“Os!” he replies, quickening his pace. He's at her side a few seconds later and lift the sack easily off the ground and into the kart. Carefully setting it beside the other goods already inside the kart he pats the girl on the shoulder with a smile.

She looks up at him and smiles back. Arching an eyebrow she inquires, “Still using those odd word I see. You’ve been using them since I was too young to think you're cute Tezy.”

He chuckles slightly and gives her a nod. “You're still too young Anna. You'd better hurry or your mother will have your hide for making the cows wait for their treats.” With that he ruffles her hair playfully and continues into town.

“I'm woman enough for it Tezy, and don't you forget it!” She calls, a faint blush evident in her voice. He waves her comment on with a hand and chuckles again.

'Ah, she's still at it. She'll get over me eventually. That young Mr. Porter has a fond eye for her, and he's a good man. I hope she sees that sooner rather than later' Viltez muses. Moving past the firs wagon he inhales deeply, trying to place all the dried goods by smell alone. Most of the grains and dried fruits he recognizes, but a few of the meats seem unfamiliar. He glances over the side of the cart, needed to get on his tip toes to see properly. 'I've never seen anything like that before' he thinks as he spots an odd colored meat. 'I wonder what it tastes like. . . .' His wondering is quickly interrupted as one of the merchants spots him leaning over the edge of the wagon and with a look tells him the action is not appreciated.

With a disarming smile Viltez backs off and heads towards his job for the day. Not far from the visitors an old woman flags the shaggy haired youth down and hands him a list of chores she needs him to do. He gives he a little salute and wordlessly heads to the community work shed for a ladder so he can reach her roof to fix a leak. Pulling the ladder out of the shed he pauses to let the pack of children run by, giggling madly. A few of them slow to give him a smile and wave before taking off full speed down the road after a ball Viltez had made for them out of twine and leather. Setting up the ladder he returns to the shed for supplies.
Hidden 5 yrs ago Post by Merula
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Autharyx knit his brows together in a small frown as he surveyed the goods that were for sale in the small market. He'd spend the morning and a large part of the night before walking, and was surprised by how hungry that had made him. He did eat in his true form, but it was always more a indulgence than anything. Who needed to eat when they were just as much a part of the energy flows that make up the world as the wind or the river? He could still feel the connection, of course, but it was... muted somehow. Probably his sense were dampened by the fleshy barriers that made up his form now.

Not that this form didn't have its advantages, he thought as he took in a deep breath. It still felt weird to actually feel the air rush through him as it filled his lungs, but the scents on the air were exquisite. While the combined smell of hard-working humans going around their business was not that interesting, the myriad of food items they sold were spreading a delicious scent. The meat was sadly out of the question, as it had to be at least several hours old. Autharyx was not quite as particular about his fruit, though, so he walked over to that stall. He had to ignore the various suspicious looks the villagers had been aiming in his direction ever since he walked in on the main road. The disrespect rubbed him the wrong way, but he was willing to be lenient with the humans, since they couldn't exactly see how impressive he really was.

He tuned out the chatter of humans going on around him as he looked over the wares with a critical eye. Nothing seemed quite as good as what humans had occasionally offered before, but then he supposed this was a rather sorry merchant all things considered. He picked up a piece of fruit, took a bite out of it and then quickly laid it back. He had hoped the taste might be better than the appearance, but it was far too sour to be appetising. As he reached out for another piece of fruit, his arm jerked to a stop when it was gripped by a bulky-looking human. Autharyx looked up with a start, only then realising the latest bout of agitated chatter had been aimed at him.

"What?" he snapped, jerking his hand out of the offending grip.

"I said, you'd better pay up for that, mister. You can't just take a bite out of whatever you please." Autharyx narrowed his eyes. Did the human think he was a common thief?

"I will pay when it pleases me," he said with what he considered considerable patience. He demonstratively turned away from the fuming human to pick up and examine a sweeter-smelling piece of fruit.

"Yeah?" the human continued, ignoring the obvious dismissal. "Well, I'll see some money first, before you decide to snack on some more of my merchandise. Oy, you can't just take that," the human snapped when Authoryx put the fruit that had passed his inspection in his bag.

"I told you," Autharyx said, impatience starting to colour his voice, "you will be adequately compensated once I have decided on the price." He did not remember trading as being this tedious. When humans had come to him in the past, they had been eager enough to show him their best wares in exchange for anything he wanted to offer in return.

"And I told you, pal, that I'm going to have to see some money or you can keep your hands off my property. And what's the nonsense about strangers like you deciding on the price? You either pay what you owe or things are not going to look good for you. " The human had slipped into an intimidating stance, crossing their arms as several other humans were starting to take notice of the situation. A couple of them were starting to gather around.

"Are you insinuating that you don't value my word?" His voice was calm on the surface, but there was a sharp undercurrent to it. A bit of his ire leached into the air, causing a few fallen leaves to rustle on the floor. If he still had a tail, it would have been sweeping side-to-side by now.

"I'm not insinerating, I'm telling. Now for the last time: pay up or get lost."
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Sweat drips down his clothed back as Viltez works hard on the old lady's roof. His arm comes down over and over, the work fading almost into an automatic action. He's repaired several roofs in the past, and this is no different. 'That's how life in this village tends to be' he thinks, turning to pull another wood shingle into place. Lining it up he pulls a nail from between his lips and holds it in place. 'One day is very much like the next. Anything unusual tends to be unwelcome, and won't be tolerated for long. Like that time those performers came through town with that magic act' Another board, another nail. 'I mean, I thought they were great, but Old Lady Jinni almost had a heart attack when that ball of fire wend bouncing around the stage. Everyone practically ran them out of town'

He chuckles slightly as he grabs the next board. 'I swear, the only people welcome here come bearing gifts of food or other wares, but even they outlive their welcomes eventually' Lining up the nail he hammers it in with a single strike and reaches over to the nail bag for more. However he spots something out of the corner of his eye that causes him to pause and turn towards the market stalls. The thing that grabbed his attention is a large group of people just standing around a single stall. His brows furrow. 'For the normal flow of traffic in the market to be stilled, something either really good, or really bad must be happening' His eyes are drawn to the stall itself and he feels a strange sensation as his eyes land on a figure clad in blue.

A warm breeze tosses his hair before his eyes, but so focused on the figure Viltez doesn't even bother to brush it aside. 'What the. . . . No one travels alone on the roads around here, and the caravan are the only visitors we have today. And that guy, is no merchant' A faint itch starts up on the back of his neck as he watches and he realizes that the stall owner is getting pisses. So too does the stranger seem to be losing his temper. Not wanting a fight to break out while he's watching, Viltez turns and slides down the ladder and almost like a snake darts between the gathered crowd to the front.

He just gets within earshot when Mr. Warren delivers an ultimatum and with practiced grace Viltez steps between the two men. He can feel a faint but menacing tingle run up his spine as he turns towards Mr. Warren with his hands raised. “ Now now Mr. Warren, there's no need to be getting so upset. This guy here doesn't seem the shifty type, I'm sure he plans on paying.”

The owner of the stall, a vein pulsating in his forehead clenches a fist in front of Viltez. “That bastard needs to pay for what he's already taken, and pay what I say! Did you hear him before? 'You will be adequately compensated once I have decided on the price.' The arrogant ass!” Fuming he tries to push past Viltez.

Feeling a twitch in his brow Viltez presses a gentle but firm hand against he man's shoulder to keep him from passing. 'Wow, that is very arrogant, but still' “Mr. Warren, it could just be the way it is where he comes from. We've had a few visitors that have very different customs, right?” With his hand still on the man's shoulder he turns to the stranger. Now closer he takes a moment to get a better look at the stranger. He has to look up to meet eyes that look a lot like Viltez's own, and the young half-breed can't help but notice how slender and pale he is for a traveler. Taking a steadying breath he addresses the taller man. “You're use to picking your own prices, no? That may work if you're buying from someone you trust around here, but as a stranger you should show a little respect for our way of doing things and pay what Mr. Warren asks. You understand, right?” He cocks his head to the side, raising an eyebrow in inquiry.
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Too late, Autharyx realised he had talked himself into a corner. It wouldn't have been so bad had he paid immediately, but now he would have to reimburse someone who had directly insulted his honour or he would risk being run out of the first human village he set foot in. He grit his teeth at the very thought of letting this whole mess slide, but thankfully he was saved from having to answer immediately by another human stepping in.

There was more chatter, which gave Autharyx the time he needed to compose himself again. While he had known things would be different amongst human, he had not been prepared for the level of disdain he would so casually be shown. In a way, he supposed it served as a testament to the respect he had gotten in his true form. If this was how humans normally interacted, the recognition he enjoyed as a dragon was valued even higher than he'd imagined. With that knowledge, he felt he could endure the indignities of interaction as a human, even if it meant having to swallow his pride for a bit.

The new human had stopped the other from advancing on him, and when he turned around it was clear this one had taken over the negotiations. Autharyx tilted his head slightly when he was met by clear lake-green eyes. There was something about this human, something that felt different from all the humans surrounding them. There was no time to worry about that now, though, so Autharyx filed it away for later.

"Yes, I... apologise," he said, only barely stumbling over the word. "I am indeed used to different customs. I did not mean to cause offence," Unlike that one, he mentally appended, "And I agree we can all do with a little respect." He started to dig around in his bag before he could say anything that could be interpreted as a challenge.

"I fear I do not have your currency at hand, but-" he interrupted the spluttering of the stall-human, "I do have this. How much fruit will this buy me?" He took out a small ruby he had taken from the very bottom of his stash. The cut was nice enough, but the colour was a little off and he hadn't looked at it for over a century. It stung to part with some of his treasures, even the sub-par ones, but when he realised the alternative was to find work, the decision had taken no time at all.
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Viltez notes the little catch when the taller man apologizes, but it seems to be enough for the merchants. As the large man backs off Viltez steps slightly to the side, keeping an eye on both of them. 'That goodness that didn't escalate. When it's just a misunderstanding. . . .' His thoughts trail off when the tall man makes a pointed comment about respect. 'A part of me is starting to question his honesty' A few of those who'd gathered, mostly those who wanted to see a fight, wander off as the dark haired man rummages around in his bag. His hand snaps up to grab hold of Mr. Warren's shoulder, sensing the man's sentence isn't finished.

When the stranger produces a gemstone a few of the gathered people gasp. A couple of the girls press closer but pause as Viltez raises a hand. Mr. Warren steps forward and takes the gem carefully. He looks at it for a few seconds before turning to Viltez. Holding it out in his open palm he asks, “What do you say Tezy? You work part time at Corin's place, you know more about this stuff than I do.” Viltez nods and picks up the gem.

Holding it up to the light he checks the cut and clarity. As he turns it this way and that an odd feeling comes over him. Pausing his gaze slides over to the stranger. He catches his eye for a second before dropping his gaze and bringing the gem close to check it over carefully. 'I have the distinct impression that he really doesn't want to give this up. Something about his eyes. . . .Like this is really precious or something. Which is odd, it's a nice stone, but this cloudiness. . .' Looking back up at Mr. Warren he hands it over with a smile. “I think a fair exchange would be around three pounds of fruit for the ruby.” He gives the man a sly smile. “More than fair seeing as you now have something that, of put in the right setting piece, might give you that edge you've been looking for with Miss. Velmina.”

The gathered crowd all laugh lightly at the faint pink that raises around the large man's ears at Viltez's comment. Most of them disperse, save for a couple who want to make purchases of their own from nearby stalls, and those who run the nearest stalls. With a cough Mr. Warren walks over to the edge of his stall and picks up a three pound bag and hands it to stranger. He looks the man strait in the eye and says, “I thank you to be paying like I asked, but no more of this taking a bite and putting it back. That's bad fer business.” And with that he moves back behind his stall to sort through his produce.

Viltez chuckles and looks over at the taller man with a smile. “You were taking bites? I guess that's the best way to test a flavor, but if you like I can help you pick out the flavors you enjoy.” His tone is his usual warm and disarming one. Stepping over tot he stall he starts picking up the fruits one by one, smelling the skin carefully. “So what do you like? Tart? Sour? Sweet?”
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Autharyx felt a small trickle of pride when the assorted humans seem impressed with his offering, but it quickly faded away when it is actually taken out of his hand. It had been a mighty long time since he'd done any trading with the humans, and he didn't remember it to be this aggravating. Of course, any business had been on his terms, and this felt more like being forced to part with his treasures. He did not take well to being forced to do anything.

When the strange human - Tezy - caught his gaze, he quickly dropped his face into a blank mask. Even from this small exchange, he was getting the distinct impression that this one was far too observant for his own sake. The only thing that was worse than having people think he purposely gave up one of his treasures, was people thinking he gave it up against his own will. This was just how it was going to be amongst humans, and he would have to get used to that.

He rolled his eyes at the last comment. If this was the best the human could do for wooing a mate, he supposed it wasn't too much of a chore to take pity on the man. At least the declaration had the effect of dispersing the last of the crowd, and Autharyx would be able to get back to his original goal. The bag he was given seemed adequate enough, even though he didn't appreciate the stall-human pretending he had only paid because he'd made a scene. If only he'd been polite, there might have been a pearl in it for him.

He pushed the last of his sour mood from his mind when the human retreated. 'Tezy' was still there, and though he was acting a little too familiar for his taste, at least he had proven he was willing to help. Plus, without a distraction he might be able to find out what it was about the human that felt off to him. "Your help would be appreciated," he said, looking over the human intently. It wasn't just the impression he got from his energy, there was also an edge to his scent. He was too overwhelmed by the rest of the marketplace to be able to zero in on it, though. If they were to go some place more quiet, he was sure he could figure it out.

As he watched the human pick up fruit, he realised the silence had gone on a hint too long in his musings. "I like sweet," he said quickly, "sour is out of the question." He tilted his head slightly as he kept his eyes on the human. "Do you do this often? Stepping in between trade disagreements? I would have paid him, you know," he couldn't help but add. "I am not a thief." It was true. Unlike some others, he hadn't stolen a single bit of his hoard. Won in combat, yes, but never stolen.
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Glancing over his shoulder Viltez notes the distracted look on the stranger's face. 'He really seems to like doing things at his own pace' A moment later he chuckles as he fires out his preference. Moving over to the local sweet fruits the young man starts to reach for one when the taller man's question makes him pause. His hand falls slightly before he glances over his shoulder with a warm smile. “Yes, actually. I don't like fighting, especially pointless fights.” Turning back to the fruit he picks one up and brings it up to smell it. “I could tell you were willing to pay, but not everyone is so observant as I.” At his comment he glances back at the stall owner. The man gives him a sour look before dropping his eyes back to his work. Viltez chuckles again, the sound cut short by the strangers next comment.

Turning around to face the man he looks him up and down with a critical eye. 'His clothes are fine, much finer than I've seen since Trevor's wedding tunic' His eyes trail over the worn spots, following a few loose threads here and there. 'But either this man has fallen on hard times, traveled a long way, or simply doesn't have a great regard for his clothing' Finishing his visual assessment of the man he crosses his arms over his chest. His gaze trails up slowly to the mans eyes as he leans back carefully against the stall, fruit in one hand, the other gripping his opposite elbow. His gaze is one of detached assessment, as if he's trying to observe something unseen. After half a minute, Viltez blinks, a smile returning to his lips. Shaking his head he drops his arms and turns back to the piles of fruit.

“No, you are indeed a very honest man. There is no shiftiness that I can see in you.” A slight feeling of embarrassment, as if he stepped across a line he should not cross causes him to cough. “Ah, sorry, it's just. . . No one trusted me when I turned up here years ago as a boy.” Someone at another stall calls his name and he smiles and waves in return. “Before they got to know me, everyone in this town was suspicious of me. It was hard to get by, and even harder to feel so much distrusts.” H looks down the street to where the pack of children have all piled up on top of the ball. He turns slightly so he can look the stranger in the eye. “After I got accepted I came to understand that it's just the way of small towns. Trust runs so close for each other that there is a shortage of trust for anyone from the outside.”

With a shrug he turns back to the fruit. “Maybe it's because I was an outsider once but. . . .Whenever I see someone getting treated the way I use to be treated around here, especially if it's just a misunderstanding, I feel the need to step in and help.” Picking up two of the large orange and yellow fruits he holds up both and turns to the stranger. He smirks. “If you wanna test how sweet the fruits are, and make them unsellable, thus angering the seller, here's a good trick to know.” Stepping closer so the taller man can see what he's doing, he presses the flesh of both fruits with his thumb and drags it across the surface for half an inch. “If you do this, you can release the smell of the fruit inside, without actually damaging it.” Holding up one than the other he takes a sniff then hands one to the stranger. “That one is defiantly sweeter than this one.” He turns back to the stall. “Now we just have to pick out more that smell like that one!” Viltez moves back to the small wooden structure and begins hunting for more sweet fruits.
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When the human turned to look at him, Autharyx had to fight the urge to preen. In his true form he would have drawn himself up as tall as he could, raising his hackles to show off his mane. In this human form, however, something similar would look rather stupid, or so he imagined. His eyes crinkled at the corners in amusement when Tezy's gaze finally reached his face. If it had been anyone else, he would probably have felt insulted by the intense scrutiny, but now it only gave him an excuse to do the same. The more he focussed on the human, the less certain he was that he was human at all. It was obvious that he wasn't fae, however, nor a dragon like himself. In fact, it didn't feel like he had a different form from his current one, though he might be wrong on that count. After a while the other seemed to snap out of it, and if the smile on his face was anything to go on, Autharyx had seemed to have passed some kind of test.

"I am glad to pass your inspection," he said with only a hint of smile in his voice. There was no lie there. In the short time he had spent in the man's company, Autharyx found that he had mentally categorised him as the protector of this small piece of territory. He was sure the humans had some other system in place, but he recognised real power, not imagined. Tezy had influence over the locals and a will to protect. That combination was enough for Autharyx to see him as at least somewhat of a peer.

"But I do believe distrust is an... inadequate reason for rudeness. Isn't it more important to keep the proceedings civil if one does not know the scope of a strangers capabilities or wealth?" He spoke as he joined the other man over by the fruit. He tilted his head when he stepped closer to show him a 'trick' and a small smile broke out when he saw what it was. Even from afar he could smell the more distinct scent, but he accepted the fruit to try it for himself anyway.

Once he got the hang of it, it took no time at all to fill the bag he'd paid for. With a bit of room left, he turned to Tezy to address him properly. "Is there anything here you would care for? Your assistance was most helpful and should not go unrewarded." A few pieces of fruit were but a small compensation, of course, but he needed more time to figure out a proper tribute for the man. He was certain it would not be recognised, but it would soothe his own mind to pay for his passage with the one he perceived to be the keeper of the territory. He kind of wished he'd taken a bit more of his mid-range items from his stash. Right now he only had the bottom scrapings and a few pieces he could not bear to be without. He supposed it would have to do. It wasn't like the mortal was going to have as refined a taste as himself, after all.
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'It almost sounds like he's use to a high class of people' Viltez muses, thinking over what the taller man said about “reasons for rudeness”. 'I suppose, in a higher society, like those few nobles I've seen pass through town, when everyone around you has the potential of being powerful, one would be more careful whose toes are being stepped upon' Adding a couple more really sweet fruit to the bag, the young man smiles warmly. 'But around here, it's always better to establish yourself as firm, or in some place of authority. I've seen the arrogance of the nobles and higher class folk who've passed through. Those who didn't act tough around them, got walked right over' Shaking out his hair Viltez glances back at the roof he was working on. 'I should get back soon. . .'

Just as that thought crosses his mind the taller man asks if he would like anything. His mouth opens slightly, ready to turn down the offer, saying he doesn't need repayment. However, as his gaze locks with the blue-green eyes that nearly match his own, he feels that it would be somehow rude to refuse. His open lips curl into a smile and he turns to the fruits. Reaching past the sweet fruits they'd been recently hunting through, Viltez picks up a couple hand sized fruits, bright red with faint green speckles. Holding them up in front of taller man he says, “I like sweet, but given a choice, I go for sour.” Turning to the stall keeper he shows the fruits to him. “I'm not going to put these into the sack. They're very potent as you know and I don't want to taint his fruits.”

Mr. Warren stands up slightly to look at the sack, then at the fruits in Viltez's hands. After barely a glance he waves his approval and goes back to work. Shifting his focus back to the stranger Viltez makes a little “Cheers” motion with the fruits and slips them in to his waist pouch for later consumption. Bowing slightly he says, “I'm glad I could help you, but my day of good deeds is far from over.” Standing upright again he motions towards the house he'd come from with the ladder leaning against it. “I promised to get he roof done today, and there is a storm c-” Stopping short, Viltez bites his lip. 'The day is clear, and there aren't even any clouds in sight. Not even the most skilled cloud reader in these parts would see this storm coming'

Quickly covering his slip-up, the young man coughs, finishing his sentence, “It's storm season after all. Can't be too careful.” He averts his gaze carefully, shifting from foot to foot before turning back with a smile. “If you need anything else just look for me. I'm around town for most of the day, and if I'm not in town, I have a house at the very edge down the road that way.” He points off towards his home before giving the stranger a wave and turning towards his unfinished work. 'I must be more careful. Even if he's a stranger, if he gets suspicious and says anything about it. . .I wasn't born here after all. . . .' Shaking his head, Viltez hurries back to his work.
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For a moment Autharyx thought his gesture would be rejected, but it seemed to be acceptable after all. He surprised himself by feeling slightly relieved. It was ludicrous to even think he could have an obligation of any kind to the man, but that didn't mean he would be impolite. 'I did not anticipate meeting anyone worthy of respect. That might have been a slight oversight on my part...' he thought as he watched the other pick through the fruit. Mortals just seemed so much smaller and insignificant when he could feel the rush of the river and the skies as a part of him. Even just taking this human form made him feel strangely contained. The worst part was that he did not mind all that much. He might be smaller in more ways than one, but to experience the world as something separate from him was... not unpleasant.

Autharyx nodded slightly when the man made his excuses. It was inconvenient, but he supposed he couldn't expect humans to drop their business for him when he asked. He was planning to try and blend in after all. He frowned when Tezy stumbled over his words to imply ambiguity as to the coming of the storm. Was it impolite to state a certainty in human society? From the stall-human's behaviour he hadn't thought these humans cared a whole lot about politeness, but then Tezy seemed a cut above the rest of the lot.

"I agree," he finally said, "though you should have at least several hours." He deliberately followed the other's example by leaving in room for ambiguity. In reality he could feel the turbulence draw in over the mountains, water in the air drawing together in thick grey clouds. He doubted the humans could feel the shifts and turns of the air as he could, but they'd have to be dull beyond measure not to feel the pressure hanging in the air.

He smiled when Tezy offered the location of his house. "I will find you later then," he said as the man walked away. Autharyx turned back towards the marketplace right away. He still needed to get some of the human currency, but he was pretty sure he'd seen a stall that would be able to take some gems off his hand. At least he wouldn't have to be hungry any more and he already found something to keep his interest for a while. As far as first days went, he was off to a good start.
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Viltez reaches up and wipes a bead of sweat from his brow. Despite the slightly falling temperature, the work and his inability to remove his shirt causes his temperature to rise unmercifully under the unforgiving sun. He turns towards the village and once again seeks out the figure of the stranger. After returning to the roof over two hours ago, Viltez has kept track of his movements best he can. 'It's not like I'm worried about him' He'd told himself when he first noticed he'd been looking up every few minutes to find the man. 'I'm just curious. Not many people stay in town who aren’t in a caravan. And he said he'd visit later. . . .' Shaking his head the young man chuckles as his own reasoning. Truth be told, he really is worried about the taller man. 'He's no fool, so I'm confident that he'll be fine around the villagers now. But, I know a few villagers who may cause trouble. Hector for one'

His eyes narrow as he spots the stranger again but after a few seconds he looks away. 'I should stop this. Somehow it feels like I'm keeping tabs on a child. He's no child' Viltez lets out a long sigh and instead turns his attention to the approaching storm. No one in town will have noticed, save for maybe a few of the old men. The young half-breed on the roof though can not only tell one is coming, but has a very good idea how strong it will be, and how long it will last. In his younger years he was prone to telling the villagers about approaching weather, but after a few times, it became clear that his predictions made them suspicious, so he stopped. In later years, some of the young village girls would ask him how he always knew to take his clothes in off the line before the rain. He'd always simply smile and remain silent.

'It takes a lot of practice to hide one's oddities in a town so small as this. Everyone knows one another's secrets. Everyone is watching everyone else.' Fixing the last few pieces in place Viltez nails them into place, giving them a little tug on either side to make sure the shingles are holding firm. “Hyush.” he huffs with a smile and gathers his tools. As soon as they are back in the shed, along with the ladder, Viltez seeks out the old woman and lets her know her roof is done and that he'll get right on the rest of the chores on her list right away. She smiles and pats him on the head before going back to gossiping with the other old woman sitting with her on her front porch. Pulling out the list he heads to the blacksmiths to puck up a kettle she's dropped of for repairs, then to the baker for some fresh bread.

All the while he keeps an eye on the skies. 'I should have enough time to get done with this list and get home before the rain starts to fall' he muses as the baker wraps the old woman's order in a thick cloth. As he steps out of the bakery Viltez spots the stranger through a throng of people heading for the caravan and smiles. He's not sure if the man notices him but after a second he rushes off on his next mission. The rest of the list takes just over an hour, and by then even the villagers are casting wary glances skyward from time to time. After he delivers everything to the old woman she pays him and shoos him off to seek out his own shelter before the dark gray clouds overhead begin weeping.

He gives a nod of thanks, his charming smile firmly in place as he walks off to the main road and begins walking swiftly towards his home. 'I wonder if the stranger got a place at the inn? It's really small, and with the caravan, most if not all of the rooms will already be booked . . .' He glances about as he walks, the hairs on the back of his neck and along his tail becoming stiff in anticipation of the rain. His gaze drifts from face to face, seeking the man out. 'If it is full, I can offer him my home. It's small too but there's enough room for two to keep dry and comfortable' Unable to spot the man right away Viltez curses under his breath. 'I can't even call for him because I foolishly didn't even ask his name' A sudden thought strikes him and Viltez slows then stops all together.

'He. . . He said something about having several hours. He. . . .couldn't have guessed what I was about to say? No, his words were as if he himself senses the rains too!' A chill runs up his spine that has nothing to do with the now defiantly cool breeze blowing genitally down the main road past the still figure. 'I'd been so flustered that I'd almost slipped up. Did I really not notice?' He stands there for a few minutes, awestruck at his own oversight until at last his mind decides to flat out discard all but the important part. 'He knew it was going to rain, so he'll have figured out how to stay dry. He's had plenty of time to plan for it' With that comforting thought in mind he continues his trek towards his home. The chilled breeze picks up a bit and Viltez shivers as he walks strait into it.
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It didn't take Autharyx long to find a stall that would trade his valuables for currency. The older female that ran the stall made her own jewellery, so she told him, and was more than happy to take some of his gems and pearls out of his hands.

"We get a lot of pearls here, seeing as we're close to the river," she chatted happily as she pulled up a lens to get a closer look at what he'd laid out. "Oh, but these are lovely. There are some imperfections in the shape, but I can put them in a setting and the colour more than makes up for it."

"They are adequate..." Autharyx said modestly, but he smiled as he did so. He hadn't liked the concept of 'small talk' earlier, but at least this human was polite. It also helped that the stall was some distance away from the busy food market, so that the drone of voices in the background died down to a small murmur at the edge of his hearing. "I am confident you will put them to good use, though."

"That's very kind of you dear," she replied with a smile. Her hands were swift and sure as she examined the two small gems that he had chosen to get rid off. "I'm sure that none of this is up to your standards, but I do enjoy the craft. We don't often get fancy gentlemen such as yourself. I take it you came from up the river?"

Autharyx nodded his assent. It was true, in a fashion. "I'm just passing through, I think."

"As you should. Not much here for a dashing young fellow, especially one with the means to travel." Autharyx had no idea how to react to that, so he just nodded and looked over the stalled wares as the woman appraised his offerings. Most of is was set in bronze, with a little silver thrown in. But though the materials were humble, there was a simple elegance to the work that he could appreciate. Perhaps he would drop by on his way back to see if she could fashion him something. If she still lived, of course.

In the end she bought all of his pearls and one of the gems, deeming the other too expensive to be of any use to her. Autharyx insisted she took it as a gift, after which she insisted he'd take a delicate silver chain he wrapped several times around his wrist. She showed him several of her more flashy pieces, and Autharyx showed off his favourite gems. All in all it was over an hour later by the time he left the stall, and he was already feeling a lot better about this whole venture. Turned out he only needed to find someone he could bond with over shiny things and he would be fine. Mrs. Simmons might be nothing but a frail human, but she had a good eye for items of beauty and he could appreciate that.

It was on her suggestion that he moved towards the caravan next. Mrs. Simmons had told him there was a merchant selling a new type of colourful beads. They were made from simple glass, but he had been quite taken by her description of the vivid colours. As he made his way through the crowd, a niggling sense at the back of his neck had him look around. There was a male human walking some paces behind him, one that he remembered had been loitering around the stall when he'd been counting his money and laying out his gems. He was trying to make it seem like he wasn't paying attention, but Autharyx could feel the heat of his focus without trying. His eyes narrowed and he was considering to stop and confront the human when he felt yet another presence. He turned his head just in time to see Tezy look away again. He watched the not-quite-human disappear into the crowd and when he looked back the man that had been following him had left. Just as well, he supposed. He hadn't really planned on making trouble on Tezy's ground anyway.

Dealing with the bead merchant took only half an hour, after which Autharyx had exchanged several of his newly traded coins for a selection of beads. They were worth considerably less than the gems he usually favoured, but there were swirls of colours in there that were shades brighter than his clearest gemstones. By that time he'd had his share of human interaction for the day, so he walked off into the direction Tezy had indicated. He didn't recognise the man's house by description as much as by smell, and sat down on the porch to wait for him. As he waited, he unravelled his braid so he could thread in some of his new beads amongst the shiny bits of shell and scale, using an antique ivory comb to get out any tangles.
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His house is the furthest from the center of town, so it takes a while to reach his house walking against the chilled breeze. Looking up at the clouds now rolling in Viltez shivers and wraps his arms around his middle as he quickens his pace. 'This is going to be a good one. I know the farmers have been complaining of not enough rain as of late, and this should help greatly' His bottom lip slips between his teeth and he nibbles it slightly. 'I hope he's indoors by now. His clothes are not going to keep him warm in this weather for long if he's outdoors' With a sigh he rolls his eyes at himself for still thinking about the stranger. His thoughts freeze though as his home comes into view and a figure on the porch snares his attention. 'Speak. . .of the devil' is all he can think as his eyes pick out the features of the stranger sitting outside his home.

He keeps a steady pace for a few seconds, trying to figure out what he's doing. 'It looks like he's trying to get something out of his hair. . . But as I recall, he's got a lot of stuff in there. But I think that stuff is on purpose. Maybe he's just brushing it?' Shaking his head he breaks into a run just as the first large drops begin to herald the arrival of the storm. “Yo!” He calls out to the man, closing in on the house quickly. Without pausing he gracefully vaults the small stairs leading up to his porch and slides into place beside his door. Placing a hand on the handle he smiles over at the stranger and says, “It's good to see you again, and I'd be delighted if we could talk a bit, however I think we should relocate before we both get washed away.” With that he opens the door to his home, and in the same instant the heavens open.

The downpour is like a thick blanket, covering the ground almost instantly making everything a few shades darker. Viltez stands aside so his visitor can enter first and get out of the rain. He casts a glance inside and silently thanks the gods that he's not a messy person. The front room is fairly large, but sparsely furnished with just a small table set between a cushioned bench and the fireplace on the opposite wall. Back to the left is his small kitchen area with a stove and a little pantry, and tot he right are his indoor outhouse and his bedroom. 'If he's stuck here all night, the bench should be more than enough to rest on. I could even give him the bed and I can sleep on the bench. I've fallen asleep there before' He chuckles to himself at the thought, reminding himself to light the fireplace as soon as possible.
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Autharyx smiled as he worked, humming tunelessly in synch with the clouds rolling in as he carefully pulled his hair through the new beads before braiding it in. He could feel the cold of the wind on his skin, and while he knew it would get annoying in a while, for now he just enjoyed the feeling of a building storm. He'd always liked the change of pace that the weather could bring, and it was interesting to feel it on his skin as well. In his true form, lightning storms were one of the few times where he would take through the air, roaring with the thunderclaps as he twisted in and out of the cloud cover. He hadn't even done that for quite some time, now that he thought about it. And not for want of thunderstorms, as they rolled in every year. Strange, how he could just stop doing something that gave him that much joy.

He was shaken from his thoughts when Tezy came walking up with a shouted greeting. Autharyx quickly tied off his finished braid and stood up to make room for the man. Before he could react to anything he said, he opened the door to invite him in. As if the opening of the door was a sign, the clouds suddenly break to douse the earth in water. The droplets are cold on his skin, but Autharyx cannot help but turn his face back to enjoy the sensation for a second before shaking it off and accepting the invitation into the house.

Autharyx eagerly looked around once he stepped inside, curious to catch his first glimpse of a mortal's home that was not a boat. He found himself slightly disappointed. While the room was clean and warm, it was also very... bare. He knew his own collection would be vastly superior to anything a mortal could scrape together in their lifetime, but it looked like Tezy had nothing to show for his years. There was only wood and stone, and all of it seemed functional rather than ornamental.

"Thank you for inviting me into your home," he said, remembering his manners. He tried to look at least a little impressed. "It's very... spacious."
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A faint shiver runs down his spine as he looks upon the stranger. The water falling from the sky seems to strangely hug his body as he casts his face skyward into the torrent. 'I know not if I shiver from the cold, or this odd feeling inside me. I do know that there is something different about this man. I know too that I senses it earlier, but I simply did not know what to make of it' His eyes trail after the man as he enters and his thoughts cloud for a moment. 'I still don't know what do make of it, but for now, I will endeavor to be a good host' Slipping inside behind the taller man Viltez shakes off a bit of the rain from his hair and moves past him to the hearth. Out of the corner of his eye he sees the other looking around his home with what looks like a critical eye.

The faint note of disappointment is not lots on the young man's sharp ears and he can suppress a chuckle as he kneels beside the woodpile. “No need to be polite sir. I know my home is humble, but it serves me right. I can tell you are use to more beautiful sights and surroundings by the care you give those things precious to you in your hair.” Pulling out some of the larger logs he sets them on the lip of the hearth before grabbing up smaller ones for the kindling. “Feel free to make yourself comfortable while I get the fire started.” Turning he smiles up at the man and points towards the wash room. “If you wish to wash up or relive yourself, the washroom is over there.” Turning back to his work he adds, “I'll start on a meal as soon as I am finished, if you'd care to stay for it.”

He chuckles. “I am no great cook, but I get along well enough on the food I prepare.” Viltez has never felt the urge to collect things in his life, so other than the bare necessities his home indeed looks rather bare. The only things he owns that have no use save for the value they have inside of his heart are locked away inside his room, beneath a pile of winter blankets. 'It's not like I wouldn't want a beautiful home, I simply haven't figured out what to do with it yet. I have what I need, and for now, that's good enough' He smiles as he recalls the only other time someone has entered his home save for himself. A young girl, unbeknownst to him at the time, who wished to court him had practically invited herself in. He'd talked her out of the front door quickly enough, but not before she offered to add “A woman’s touch” to the abode. 'She was such a child then. She's married now. I hope she's happy' He works quickly and soon there is a roaring fire. Tossing on some of the large logs he pokes it a few times to make sure it will stay lit properly.
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"I did not mean to cause offence," Autharyx said, even though the other had indicated he did not need to be polite. It wasn't a matter of politeness for him, but a matter of respect. And even than it did not have that much to do with Tezy. It was a matter of personal pride to show respect to those he thought deserving. Even the humans that had traded with him in the past had gotten his respect, even though they were so much less than he was. The humans he'd met on his trip thus far had felt... more significant somehow, but Autharyx was certain that had more to do with his current form than the capabilities of humans.

When Tezy offered him the use of his washroom, Autharyx gave a small nod before heading in the indicated direction. He hadn't looked forward to the inconveniences that a human body would bring him, but at least he wasn't unfamiliar with any of them. Even without having seen the inside of a human house before, nothing proves to be terribly complicated and he takes the opportunity to peek around a couple of corners. Sadly there are no poorly-hidden treasure piles in sight and Autharyx has to accept that the house is indeed as humble as the human had suggested.

Although... not fully a human. Now that he is in the man's house, his scent is present enough that he can discern the particulars of it without too much effort. Tezy may not be fae or dragon, but he can't be fully human either. If Autharyx had to hazard a guess, he would say that he was the product of some kind of interbreeding between species, but it wasn't like he was an expert. It was not inconceivable that there were many creatures he hadn't encountered yet. He hadn't ever ventured too far from his waters, and he knew the world had to be much larger than that. He walked back to the table quickly, not wanting to seem like he was snooping.

"I'm sure any food will be fine," he said, happy for the invitation. He hadn't even properly introduced himself, nor had he exchanged a gift in return for the hospitality, but he was following Tezy's lead in this. He had no real experience with human customs, and even if he had they would likely be antiquated by now.
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With a chuckle he calls over his shoulder as the visitor walks towards the wash room, “No offense taken.” As soon as he's sure the fire will stay lit properly Viltez stands and makes his way over tot he small kitchen. He's looking through his well stocked pantry when the man comes back from the washroom and says anything would be fine. He nods and sets about preparing something for he and his guest. Fulling the kettle with some water and tea leaves he swings it over the fire to heat. Turning to the other man he smiles and points at the couch. “Feel free to have a seat, tea should be ready soon.” With that he turns back to his work. 'I know he likes sweet things, so maybe I can make something with a sweet drizzle' Pulling out some various fruits and veggies he begins make up an old dish he learned from one of the local woman years ago.

As he works he hums to himself for a while before he realizes he's effectively ignoring his guest. A bit sheepishly he looks over his shoulder as the tea begins whistling. His shirt had started riding up a bit from his continuous motion so as he turns to remove the kettle from the hook he pulls it down. “I'm sorry I'm being so quiet, I'm not use to guests.” With a faint cough he sets the teakettle on the small table and retrieving cups and a sugar bowl. He smiles over at the man. “In fact, you are the first one who didn't invite them self in, heh.” Making sure to leave the hot pads so he can pour his own tea should he want it Viltez heads back to his cooking. “And since you're my guest, I will offer my name first, seeing as I forgot to do so earlier in the market.” He turns to the man and gives a little bow. “My name is Viltez. I have no sir name, but people around here have taken to calling me Tezy for short.” As he stands back up he waves a hand to indicate he'd like to know the others' name.
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Autharyx watched from the couch as Tezy busied himself in the kitchen. He'd never seen someone cook over anything but an open fire before and it was pleasant to not have to make conversation for a bit. The not-human was being remarkably lenient with him, but he still didn't like the feeling of not knowing which customs he should follow. Everything was so much easier when he was the one calling the shots. But then he supposed that the whole purpose of this excursion was to experience something new for a change.

"It's okay," he said when Tezy turned to him again. "You are under no obligation to 'entertain' me." He frowned when Tezy said that people had let themselves into his house. It had happened a few times with him as well, but he'd always managed to eviscerate the thieves before they could get to his hoard. He was just about to say something along the lines of 'I hope they died a painful death' when the other started introductions. He quickly rose to return Te- no Viltez'- bow.

"I am honoured to have been invited into your house, Viltez," he intoned solemnly. "My name is Aryx." The shortening of his true name was the only concession he was willing to do. He just couldn't be sure that there wasn't someone that remembered the great dragon Autharyx that lives in the lake. If anyone asked, he could just insist he was named after... well, himself.

"I have come from up the river, and am unfamiliar with your customs," he went on. This excuse was the whole extend of his back-up plan if he didn't fit quite in. He hoped it would be sufficient.
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Viltez chuckles lightly to himself at his guest's hasty response, but stifles it in the face of his obvious discomfort. “It is nice to meet you Mister Aryx.” he says with a kind smile before returning to his work. “And don't worry, I don't think customs here are all that different from up river, though you did forget to do a hand stand after entering my house.” Pausing for only a couple seconds he turns his head with a laugh. Before his guest can honestly question the validity of his statement he says, “I'm kidding, I'm kidding. Please don't mind my teasing.” He tilts his head with a wide smile. “You just seem so uncomfortable, I thought I'd lighten to mood.” He returns to cooking and after a few minutes serves the food out on to plates. Turning her sets one plate on the table for his guest before moving around to the other side and taking a seat on the floor. The fire is warm on his back, fighting off the little bit of chill left over from the rain.

Pouring himself a cup of tea he smiles up at Aryx. “I hope you like it. It's just some of my sweet vegetables, fried, with a light drizzle of some melted sugar and caramel.” He hangs his head a bit shamefully. “I'm sorry, I haven't had the chance to shop for meats lately, so we're stuck with fruits and veggies for now.” He smiles back up at the taller man, “But you said you liked sweet, so I hope this is good.” with a cheers motion with his teacup he takes a sip before digging in. Living alone for so long, he hasn't really learned mush in the way of manners when eating, but he does keep himself from smacking. Drops of the topping drip down his chin on occasion but he uses his fingers to scoop them up, licking his fingers clean afterward.

“So, up river huh? I hear the fishing up there is really good.” He murmurs, trying to think of something to talk about. “I've heard a few people passing through talking about a big beautiful lake with a shrine or something.” His gaze gets a little far way as he tries to imagine it. “The water is crystal blue and full of fish that make it look like gemstones moving in tandem beneath the surface. They say the air is so fresh and clean up there. . .” His voice trails off before he snaps out of it with a faintly embarrassed look. “Oh, sorry, I'm sure you know all about it up there, being from there.” Looking down at his food he stabs it a few times. 'I bet it's pretty obvious I'm alone most of the time. I keep basically talking to myself, even with someone here to talk to. I should let him talk a bit' Putting back on his smile he looks to Aryx, motioning at him with his fork. “So, is there anything you'd like to know? I have lived here for some time so I can tell you a lot about the area.”
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Autharyx stood stiffly at the mention of a handstand, a frown creasing his brow as he shifted his weight uncertainly. He was spared the indignity of having to answer with a question, though the laughter of his host was hardly any better. He really wasn't used to people being so... comfortable around him. It wasn't even that he liked the fear that humans projected when dealing with him in the past, but at least he had understood it. Now he just felt constantly off-balance.

"Yes, I feel so much more comfortable now," he muttered when Viltez turned his back. He still sat himself down, though, and soon a delicious scent came floating his way, followed by Viltex carrying the food. Autharyx was surprised to find his stomach rumbling again. Mortals must have such tiresome existences, scurrying after food for most of their brief lives. But he couldn't deny that hunger gave an extra treat to the food that he'd never really experienced before.

He kept an eye on the other as he ate, following his example as close as possible. It was... stickier than he would have preferred, but thankfully that did not detract from the taste of the food. It was even sweeter that the fruit from earlier had been, which was a definite plus in his book. He was too preoccupied to do much talking himself, but thankfully Viltez seemed content to fill the silence. The first mention 'up river' sent a thread of anxiety coiling in his stomach, but it quickly switched to pride when the mortal started to reverently describe the lake he called home. He stopped eating for a bit so he could study him as he talked. The bit about gemstones was a really nice image, and if he could he would be preening at the praise.

"It is indeed a beautiful place," he said with a small smile, "On clear days it looks like the bottom of the lake is just within your reach. People have tried to swim for the bottom only to find out too late it was beyond their reach from the start," he continued with a touch of pride in his voice before realising that was probably an inappropriate reaction to those events. To him, they had been just another sacrifice, albeit more involuntary than they usually were. He quickly went on, trying to cover for his momentarily lapse in judgement.

"The shrine is not nearly as impressive as it once was, though. The ruins stand on a small island in the middle of the lake, but no one goes there or looks after them any more. Most people that travel there, come to visit the town at the northernmost end. It sits close to the river and a frequent stop for traders of all kinds." His interest perked up at the offer to answer questions. He had many, even though he had no idea how many he could ask without seeming like the outsider he was. After thinking for a moment, he settled for satisfying his curiosity rather than try and ask about things a human should probably know already.

"What are the landmarks in the woods like? Are there any shrines, or is it just villages and towns?"
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