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Hecate House
The next morning

A bright, beautiful day awaited a habitually bubbly cat person. The dawn sun was just starting to barely peak its way through simple, but functional curtains into a room where a multitude of bodies lay sleeping in various normal and abnormal positions. The one closest to the window arose with a stretch and a contented purr. Then, like clockwork, the cat person got up from her bed, strode her way to the curtains, and threw them open with a flourish and a smile, eliciting her usual morning chorus of groans and hisses from the rest of her familia despite the nascent rays. Yet just as it was tradition for a mother to wake early and help their child prepare for the day ahead, so too was it tradition for the child to perpetually moan and complain about doing so.

And of course, this would have been like any normal morning had Kori not realized that she was not wearing her usual sleepwear, but instead a fancy white dress of which she only had vague recollections of wearing the previous night. Or was it even the night before the last?

The fact that she could not recall troubled her greatly.

The troublings only continued when she found a note from someone named "The HAMMER" thanking her for her help and services, which would have been sweet had she not found said note carefully placed in the tight space between her dress and breast.

Her easy, happy morning was quickly replaced with panic. Her feet remained frozen in place as her brain began its mad scramble to desperately find something, anything, even the tiniest hint of what may have transpired the night before. Unfortunately, all her memories seemed to be covered in a haze of aerobics, ass, and an absolutely amazing amount of alcohol until finally she remembered something about an alliance and gods and bewilderment at somebody asking if her ears were magic, though she didn't think the last point was related too closely to the previous two.

In any case, it looked like she was going to have words with Hecate.

Dungeon Entrance
Late morning

Normally Kori would have been happy to be on another dungeoneering expedition.

Normally she would have been absolutely ecstatic and excited at meeting new people and getting to adventure with them.

Normally she wouldn't have been saddled with an absolutely crushing amount of debt to the All-Father and have little-to-no memory of how she could have accrued such a thing. She could certainly guess at why, considering that she did know that she had spent the last night at Little Valhalla and she had vaguely remembered starting to wine and dine, of course promising herself to limit it just in case something like this were to occur in the first place.

But she also remembered the wining and dining to be ridiculously good (while also refusing to admit just how hard and fast the alcohol actually hit her).

Nevertheless, this was her reality now. Besides, Kori couldn't exactly call her life normal anymore anyway the moment she stepped foot inside Orario and had met a certain chuuni goddess, and so this single adventurer would continue to do what she did best: greet the world with a smile and meet every challenge with grit and determination. Her ma and pa didn't raise no quitter, after all.

And so there she was, arrayed in her arms and armor with her new motley crew. Her half-plate had been re-polished and repaired to a dull shine that indicated heavy and loving usage, marred with all the nicks and scars as it was. It wasn't the most flattering piece, but it covered everything that needed to be covered on her top half with a breastplate, gauntlets, and a single pauldron, while the only thing really protecting her lower half were her tassets and a pair of greaves. It at least protected her more than the token armor she knew other adventurers wore (with many of her prime examples coming from her own familia). She could understand having mostly aesthetic coverings for the ones who depended more on their speed or the higher tier adventurers that faced monsters twice their size and wielding weapons just as tall, but for adventurers like her who faced mostly lower tier monsters like goblins and kobolds, a bit of armor went a long way in not dying.

Conveniently, Kori also chose to ignore her own desires to be decked out in an outfit that was meant for fighting and fashion and thus why she had conveniently forgotten to acquire anything to cover her bare thighs except for her tassets which tastefully covered everything they needed to cover.

But that was neither here nor there and any debate about it would have been quickly shut down with the greatsword that was taller than she and yet was carried with ease in one hand.

Aside from her weapons and gear, Kori also wore her brightest smile as she gave Varanese a hearty slap on the back. "Aw come on pardner, ain't no harm in believing in yourself a bit. Odin and life-destroyin' debt aside, nothin's stoppin' us from gettin' all the way up to level 2! We just got a bit of a fire lit up under all our butts now, but I'm sure it's nothin' we all can't handle s'long as we all work together and show Odin we ain't t'be underestimated and the like!"

No specific song for this little prompt, but it's been on my mind and I'd love to play it with somebody

Man I have a habit of just making Lokkir talk and talk and talk so I decided fuck it, it's a core character trait now, they don't know when to shut the fuck up.
Despite Lokkir being the one to prompt Aeris into reattaching her prosthetic arm, it was a different matter actually seeing the arm reconnect to senses and nerves that by all rights should belong only to the realm of flesh and blood. At the very least it was a quick procedure, but the soft whirring and initial uncanny motions unnerved him all the same.

He obediently turned around when Aeris motioned for him to do so, doing his best not to flinch (and failing) when her cold arm touched his warm skin. However, like dipping into a cold bath, he got used to the sensation faster than he anticipated as his mind began to wander and idly wonder whether her metal arm could feel him. In truth the world of Qaeltine medicine was a subject that he had not delved too deep into, partly because of a lack of reliable information up until the recent alliance and partly because their teachings were still considered heretical, but perhaps that way of thought could be changed. He still barely understood the full functionality of his own prosthetic eye. Another item to add to his ever-growing list, but like with many things he could at least start by changing his own views.

Then with a final tug and a quick knot and a tuck, Aeris finished binding his chest. Lokkir looked down and patted it down, satisfied at how his modest breasts were once again reduced to nothing more than barely noticeable lumps. He took an experimental breath, one which he let out in slow relief in the fact that he could still breathe properly. Still, this was the first time anyone beside him, Alfi, or Eyvind. Unfortunately Eyvind had an "unfortunate accident" while he had been sidetracked by an errand Sanngrid had given him, which left Lokkir bereft of a personal valet until he recovered, which meant that for the last two months Lokkir had to bind and clothe mostly by himself. Alfi would help once in a while, but the king was strict and his orders were absolute.

"It is good for the most part," Lokkir replied as he was fiddling with the binding still. "It could be tightened a bit more if you were inclined to do so, but 'tis nothing a bit of extra clothing won't help hide."

Once he was finally satisfied, Lokkir started picking up the clothes discarded from the night before, but stopped and gave Aeris his full attention when it sounded like she wanted to discuss something serious. He didn't reply right away when he finished, instead choosing to slowly regather all their garment strewn on the floor, making sure that she had fully gotten across what she wanted to ask and so he could gather his own thoughts.

In truth, the subject was one he already had to constantly think about ever since the learned of the concept of gender and the fact that he was supposed to be different from his sisters and was supposed to be more like the king despite physically being the opposite. It was never something he had to really put into words before, however.

"Yes," he started, "and no." He straightened out, holding a small mountain of fabric that was all carefully draped over one arm. "I've never really had a choice in deciding what my body would be. I was born a girl, but raised a man because I had to for my line to continue. There are times where I hated that. That I hated how little control I really had over my life. How my fate was all decided before I was even conceived of in this world."

Lokkir placed all the garments on a nearby surface to the doorway into the dressing room. He smoothed out any of the wrinkles as best he could before sitting down in a nearby chair, his feet placed unconsciously wide apart. "Yet at the same time, this life is all I've ever known. Certainly there are days where I wish I was a man, but only because then I would no longer have to continue playing this charade and could live a normal life. Or at least, a life where I wouldn't have to lie to the face of everyone I have or will ever meet. There are days where, yes, I wake and am surprised to see breasts on a person that is supposed to be a man, only until I remember the reality of how I am just a person playing the role of man in a way that has been arbitrarily codified and defined by my culture."

"But then even when I play the role of woman, and I have on a scant few occasions, I've felt no strong pull or desire to do so afterwards. It was simply another mask I donned."

"When I mentioned last night about how my mind did not accept mine own body, I suppose I meant it in a way where I have no idea what my 'real body' should be. Should it be that of a man because that is what is expected of me, or should it remain that of a woman because it is what the gods and my parents had seen fit to birth me with?"
He shrugged. "I do not know."

"Regardless, this is the life I now lead no matter how much introspection and philosophizing I may do. Much like how you must live with an arm of machinery and metal, I must live as a born woman playing a man."
Lokkir turned toward Aeris and only now realized just how much he had been talking. All of his siblings had a habit of pointing out how frequently he let his tongue wander on even the smallest of subjects. A bright red blush colored his face as he cleared his throat and turned away, closing his legs when the cold morning air started nipping at his legs and loins. Still, his curiosity must be sated. "Anyway, is there any particular reason why you wished to start the morning on so heavy a topic?"
And I'm sure there's no shortage of characters that would be willing to try! But first we have to get them a'venturin' somehow.

And yeah most of the backlash would come from the Hudvalr side. Still workshopping this idea, so let me know what you think, but since dragons are natural walking magic batteries, their ambient aura also tends to make things around them go very screwy and sorta ignore the laws of reality because MagicTM, hence in the past they were treated as something akin to mobile, everpresent natural disasters. Blizzards would rage around dragons with an ice-affinity, lava would eventually erupt and bubble around a fire dragons, torrential storms would follow water dragons, things of that like. Because of that, people from across the land were always really interested in finding out ways to get rid of dragons in any way possible, Hudvalr and probably Qaeltine included.

Until someone in Hudvalr discovered that living creatures of any type could form a pact or bond with a dragon, their natural calamitous leakage of Very Bad Stuff lessened greatly. The creatures in question had to be capable of channeling all that excess energy when bonding with a dragon or else they'd probably explode or something, but in return they'd get some neat benefits which led to fantastical stories of a white deer that can grant wishes, or mountain goats that created mountains and valleys by eating all the surrounding land. This led to an even greater interest in hunting down dragons because even if the dragons themselves were less of a threat, the creatures they bonded to were often just as worse, if not even more so, than a regular calamitous dragon.

On a side note, I had the idea that maybe dragons had to go through this bonding process as part of their maturation stage, which made me snicker thinking that all these calamities were happening because of really horny dragons bonding only because they wanted to bone other dragons. I mean, maybe mating for two fire-type dragons wouldn't be an issue, but it'd be mighty awkward if a fire-type and ice-type wanted to get together but couldn't get around the whole I-literally-melt-you-with-my-presence type deal.

Anyway, somebody eventually had the bright idea of gasp "what if humans could bond to dragons too?" And then one fantasy novel series later, we have the present day relationship of Hudvalr royalty and dragons.

Naturally bonded humans also got some neat benefits too, usually in the way of unusual features and amplification of natural magical prowess which meant that dragon bonding was typically reserved only for royalty, those of really high status, and fanciful tales consisting of the adventures of farmboys/gals and their new dragon friends. However, the last bit is generally seen as a a bit blasphemous mainly due to influences of the first two leading to certain ideas of racial purity and powerful bloodlines, and so the idea of anyone from Qaeltine bonding to a dragon would be seen by a fair few number of people as a huge No-No.

Didn't expect to write that much, but TL;DR: Qaeltines bonding with dragons is a huge cultural and militaristic taboo because a lot of Hudvalri are racist, aristocratic dicks

EDIT: Ah, and the reason it's a militaristic taboo is because even after bonding, dragons still emit ambient magical auras that can fuel spells around them, thus allowing magic to be cast in areas where normally it'd be magically void or deficient
No worries, it happens!

I'm happy going down the adventure route. Everything has the potential to lead to political shenanigans in this RP anyway, so dealing with that is more of an inevitability than an option imo, especially if the option for Aeris to obtain a dragon (whether she wants it or not) is publicly announced IC, it will lead to certain parties being very upset anyway.

It wasn't so much that Kori didn't understand what the person in front of her was saying, but believing it was another matter. An alliance of gods? Head?? Odin??? Someone trying to touch her ears without permission????

With all the information she received combined with the fact that she was standing in the middle of Little darntootin' Valhalla with the eyes of quite literally some of the most powerful people in Orario and the fact that someone was trying to touch her ears threw Kori into a bit of a hissy fit, again quite literally. Her ears flattened against the wide brimmed hat, shifting it slightly back to reveal a face full of teeth and hisses as she jumped back at the same time Dahlia smacked away the skull man's hand, her tail upright and agitated behind her.

It was then she also got to take a proper look at the new party assembled before her: a man with freakishly long arms already stained red with wine in more ways than one, a boy wearing a skull-face mask that apparently thought her ears were fake because the alternative was just too far-fetched to believe otherwise, and someone who looked like they had just come from a barroom brawl. Of all the people assembled before her, skull-face boy might have been the only one Kori seemed to be okay with because at least she dealt with people like him in her familia every day.

Without a second thought Kori wheeled around on a heel and ordered from the nearest Valkyrie a Dragon's Breath. If this wasn't a dream, she was going to follow wino's lead and make sure it was going to seem like one the next morning.

Too bad it was going to take her more than a few wine glasses.

Near Barstow Heights

Despite Jules' attitude, he couldn't keep the sulky persona up for too long, especially after seeing Em running into the RV and crying and Umbra faceplanting her way inside. The sudden shifts in mood were too much even for this sleep-deprived (former) slut and he rejoined the rest of his pack once everyone and everything settled down and the rickity behemoth under them rumbled into some state of living.

The next two hours passed by pleasantly, though Jules didn't remember much of it, especially once Sami jerked the RV violently off to the side, taking them off the safe concrete path and slamming them into the roadside dirt. Uncharacteristically, Jules' body followed the path of least resistance as it followed the momentum of the vehicle with it stopping at almost the exact same time as the RV by way of his head meeting a wall that was denser than Sami. Immediately his world turned to black as an incessant ringing started to chime and rise in volume only to return back to reality a second later. Unfortunately an intense headache followed suit as it clamped it's vice-like embrace around his skull, eliciting a groan of pain as he rolled around in his seat.

Jules was dimly aware that something was happening outside and people going out to see what was up. It sounded like whatever it was, it was about to get violent which meant that Sami was more than likely about to do something stupid which meant that Jules had to be there to knock some sense into his perfect Cuban ass.

But as Jules attempted to rise from the couch, something that he only now noticed that he was laying prone on, he found that he couldn't. His arms felt like they were filled with concrete and his body was deep in the Mariana Trench. And the couch was so comfortable and smelled only slightly off-putting. How long had he slept last night? Like maybe three hours total? Non-consecutively at that? He was tired. Everything was heavy. Going outside again sucked.

His friends were out there however, dealing with who-knows-what in who-knows-where. What if it was some crazy person that tried to deliberately run them off the road. What if Sami got into another fight. What if Val started fighting. What if Em started breaking down again. Or what if someone started touching Kim. What if-

With sudden clarity of thought and desperate strength, Jules forced himself to tumble off the couch and stumble up onto his legs as he made his way outside, his mind racing through hundreds of worst case scenarios, fists balled and legs ready to kick whoever's nuts he had to so that his friends would remain safe.

By the time Jules stepped his first foot outside, he was ready to beat the shit out of the whole fucking world if he had to, only to find that he wasn't ready for the scene before him. At the very least, it looked as if all his friends were safe, but he didn't expect his other friends to be here as well. Well, really, the only non-Misfit he knew that was gathered around him at the moment was Aleks, but it wasn't too far fetched to recognize that the rest of them were likely the Gearheads judging by the fleet of fancy cars that surrounded them (which also meant that Yessi was more than likely nearby).

The hidden strength inside him drained away immediately as he took one step to the side and slumped down next to the Misfits' metal monstrosity, saying to no one in particular, "what the fuck."

Hecate House
Sometime earlier

Bouncing bubbling bacon and bits bounded their way across the set table, the sizzling scent sounding harmoniously with the cacophany of clatters and clicks as Hecate's familia settled down into their seats except for one white haired cat woman who was dancing around serving their breakfast. An rustic work song hummed its way out of her as she weaved between voluminous robes, large conical hats, and even larger egos as she placed down the hearty meal. There were quick complaints about this food item or that, but they were quickly silenced with a smile, a spatula, and a subsequent smack to their head if they continued their over dramatic moaning, bare heads or large hats notwithstanding.

Breakfast continued in much the same hectic manner as Kori sat and happily chowed down her food amidst cries of overwhelming power and renewed strength as everyone ate the farm girl's home cooked meal. Plans were being made, spells were being shown off, and a general close familial atmosphere permeated the room. Things were starting to settle down until the girl with the largest of hats and gaudiest accessories of all the persons that were before her suddenly stood, a hand clamped over one eye as if in agony and pain.

"AHHH!" She screamed. "The dark powers at my beck and call have shown me a vision! Something most terrible and haunting!" Immediately the table became enraptured as their goddess slammed her open palms down onto the table, causing a clatter of cutlery as she began to heavily pant.

Kori was more interested in the fact that all of the vegetables were still whole and pristine on Hecate's plate with everything else around the offending green substance being picked clean. "Hekki," she sighed. "What'd we say about visions at the table."

"But O child of mine, this concerns you directly!"

"Even more reason to save it 'till after yer done eatin'"

"Impossible! This information is-"






When Hecate looked like she was about to speak again, Kori gave her the evilest non-magical evil eye she could muster as she planted an elbow firmly onto the table and pointed a knife at her goddess, ears twitching and tail swishing in agitation. "Don't make me come over there again. Gettin' real tired of having to tie you down to feed you."

A collective shudder shivered down the table, goddesses included. The now sulking witch deflated faster than a torn blimp and sank back into her seat as she began slowly picking away at her greens. It was only when Kori was silently washing all the dishes for a second time after two other members of the familia were forced into doing so did Hecate approach her again. This time the cat girl's ears lay flat against her head and without looking up saying, "Sorry about that Hekki, but ya know I hafta be a bit harder on you than the others."

Similarly, instead of appearing to be an all-powerful witch who held dominion and command over the powers of magic and death itself, Hecate just looked like a girl wearing clothes that were three sizes too big for her frame. "I- I know. I don't... I don't blame you but, but what I had to say was important."

"I know, I'm sorry darlin', but you successfully conquered vegetable today so go on."

"Um, so, a Valkyrie came by earlier saying that uh, Odin, had invited you. Personally. Kori Lielle. To go to Little Valhalla."

"... Say that again?"

Little Valhalla

In a sea of decadence and splendor where status and power infected the atmosphere to a choking brim stood a tanned white-haired cat shaped by an elegant white backless mini dress all tied in a manner that was a tad too tight for her sinewy figure. Aside from the comically large conical hat that was also borrowed from Hecate (yet suspiciously already had holes ready for non-human ears to poke through), the only other thing that Kori wore was a necklace from which strung a symbol of Hecate's Wheel that rested just below her collar bone. The comfortable coat that she had worn on her way was immediately whisked away once she had stepped foot inside the grandiose halls of Little Valhalla. The paladin had wanted to bring along her greatsword as well just to have something familiar with her, but Hecate had adamantaly refused to let Kori even touch it while she was getting ready to go and thus it was all the little farm girl could do to not curl into a ball and hide in a corner away from all the gazes that lasered onto her.

Still, she was here, and no matter her status, Kori Lielle would represent herself and her familia as best she could for whatever reason that she was invited here. Taking whatever willpower was left that wasn't dedicated to not hiding and channeling it into plastering on the widest smile she could manage, daring the world to throw whatever else it had left to offer at her. The smile certainly didn't look natural by any means nor did it really do much to hide her anxieties, but she was born a fighter and would always be a fighter through and through as she glided down the velvety rugs towards someone who at least looked like they were expecting her presence.

And it turned out that Kori's instincts were right as the literal starry eyed girl greeted her by name before turning to greet another person, then another as a few others came up to her. After it seemed as if everyone had been gathered, the cat girl listened intensely to what this mysterious lady had to say, though Kori couldn't help but show surprise at being referred to as a "guest of honor." She supposed that in a sense that she was, but all Hecate had really told her was that she was invited and that it was very important that she answer the invitation and attend immediately.

"Right, so, before we get caught up in anything, do you mind telling us oh I don't know, why any of us are here in the first place?"
Because I had time and because OwO already did most of the work in making everything the same size, here's stamp avatars of your characters for y'alls use:

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