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Dragonslover

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  1. Aaaaand there she went again. It seemed like Minnow was trying to speak in terms he understood, yet Grani kept running into unfamiliar words. What was a "circuit" and why was it important? He was even baffled when she mentioned oil--the only kind he knew of being cooking oil, extracted from vegetables. At least he did have a cloth to offer her. . .he just suspected it wouldn't be usable after she was done with that cleaning. "Uh. . .yeah, we can spare a cloth, I guess." He turned from her to trot into the kitchen, where they kept the spare towels and such. He gave his uncle a wide shrug as he retrieved one, saying, "She wants to clean the ball-th--uh, Bingo." While he was here, he also gave the air a sniff, determining through scent what he could also see at a glance: dinner wasn't done yet. He left Brandon to it then, heading back over to Minnow to offer the cloth. Not at all unexpectedly, his eyes immediately snagged onto Bingo again right away. It was just so bizarre and shiny. He wanted to touch it, test how smooth it was. The only reason he wasn't--yet--was because it would be rude. And he didn't want Minnow to get mad at him, so he was withholding his instincts to grab at anything that glittered. As he handed over the towel, he said, "I don't know what you mean by 'oil', though." Not that he was surprised that he encountered another thing he didn't grasp. "Do you mean, like, vegetable oil? How could that help?"
  2. When Minnow began to compliment him again, Grani outwardly appeared calm. But inwardly, he was fighting himself--his first instinct was to blush, look away, stomp his hoof and so on. But, as he'd just learned, the easiest way to handle it was with some anger. He focused on feeling offended, which worked surprisingly easily. "Of course I do!" he declared, maybe a little more roughly than he'd intended. "I do most of the work around here." An exaggeration, that. "Uncle Brandon just cooks, prays and reads. I'm the one who gets and sands wood and makes repairs." Which, to be honest, was both easy and smart; his hooves could sand wood so well they'd never actually acquired sandpaper after discovering it. "I do the gardening and made the fence. I hunt for meats. I deal with pests." The list went on--but, to be fair, so did Brandon's. Grani was just opting not to consider it all. Besides, when they first settled here, Grani could do next to nothing except heavy lifting (even as a colt, he'd been stronger than Brandon by leaps and bounds). The cabin was originally one shabby room, crafted by Brandon almost entirely. Everything in it had just been upgraded, repaired, or expanded over the years. As the girl got to work, Grani came over to peer around her, curious as to what she was doing. His ears came forward with his interest, listening to every little noise he heard coming from her tools and little rolly thing--er, Bingo. He couldn't help staring, honestly. Both Bingo and the tools were shiny, and since the tools were doing most of the moving, they had the majority of his focus. He actually ended up watching her in complete silence for several minutes before he noticed the sparking happening, and then his focus shifted from shiny things to Minnow's probable pain. "Does. . .that hurt?" he ventured softly. Then, feeling a blush starting to creep up, he reared back from her and blurted unplanned words. "I mean--not that I care or anything! I'm just curious! About the sparking--not you! Ah. . .th-that." He forced himself to trail off and leave it there, realizing a little late that he would have to get a better grip on himself. It was embarrassing to just rattle on like that--which, thanks to the fact that he did it to cover his embarrassment, only made the entire thing a vicious cycle. He took a breath, held it, then let it out with renewed determination. Calm. He could handle this--this cute freaking girl, he just needed to balance his emotions. Yeah, that sounded good.
  3. Just as Minnow didn't know how to handle Grani's outburst, he didn't know how to handle her encouragement. He blinked in surprise as she began to compliment him, feeling heat rise to his cheeks. At first her choices just made him wince--gardening? Running? Really?--but once she got to his ears, they flicked back to hide in his fluffy locks. Yet, at the end, not even those kind words could battle the burning sensation of anger in his gut. And he found that if he relaxed and let it take over, it was easier to handle the rest of what she'd said. Turning his head away, he crossed his arms and huffed. "I'm good at other stuff, too, you know. I'm the strongest person you'll ever meet, I never get tired, I barely need to eat, and I can smell everything." Well, okay, that last one was an exaggeration. His sense of smell had been proven to be better than Brandon's, but it was hardly a difference. Only his ears really served as an inhuman trait, and sometimes. . .sometimes he thought he could hear things that weren't alive. As a young colt, it'd kept him up at night. Which had meant sleepless nights for Brandon, too. Every so often, though, he'd also heard. . .something else. A song. Wordless, from what he could discern, and so faint he couldn't be sure it wasn't his imagination or a memory. Regardless of what it was, it'd always calmed his nerves and let him sleep. From the corner of his eye, he watched Minnow's reaction, more nervous than he'd ever admit. He wanted her to be impressed, dang it! He was a centaur in a world without them, the grandson of gods, likely stronger than anyone else in this crappy world. That was something!
  4. As his brother spoke so enthusiastically about his son, Narfi listened with a smile. As a father himself, he knew that pride. Granted, Li wasn't his by blood, and he'd only adopted her through Ella a year prior. But he loved her dearly. And Sereda, his little toddler? Despite her parentage, he felt nothing but love for her, and he adored the way Li and Ella cared for her. Though she was technically a toddler, she was also premature; she couldn't walk yet. But between himself, Ella, Li, and Vali, Sereda received nothing but love and encouragement. It was enough to make a man weep with joy. He couldn't help but gaze at Ella with fond eyes, thinking to himself that he'd have so much less if she weren't a part of his world. And even Brandon was given the same affection; Narfi had been worried, once, that his marriage to Ella would cause too much heartbreak for his twin. For a while, he, Ella and Vali were polyamorous, living and loving together. It was partly done out of desperation to keep Vali stable--it'd been nearly impossible for him to cope with Narfi's shifting attentions to his new family. Yet despite how. . .fun it'd been, they all had known it wouldn't last. Eventually Narfi and Ella married, and Vali was cut out of the relationship. Brandon had saved Vali's heart, though it seemed neither of them had realized it yet. From Narfi's point of view, Brandon was perfect for his brother--someone who's as sexually extravagant as Vali needed, and someone who needed support, protection and knowledge. Vali had needed someone to protect, someone to care for. . .and someone who could focus entirely on him. Brandon fit the bill in all ways. Yep. Things were looking up-- Then Hel's wayward comment made it to Narfi's ears and he turned a frown on her. He didn't know what she was thinking about, had a hard time understanding how she ticked--but he knew she was always thinking, always ticking. That, alone, made him tense. He had to mind himself to ensure he didn't crush his lovely wife in his grasp, had to remind himself that his monstrous strength was a good thing, not something to be regretted. Soon his strength would be protecting his family. With that thought, he gave Hel a hard look, letting her know without words that regardless of any prophecies, he would protect his wife and children and brothers and parents to the final breath. And while Narfi was doing all that pondering, Vali's mind was much more clear. He barked a laugh at Kryt's crass comment; formal event or not, he liked her spirit. They got along well in that respect; she had no filter, he only had his when he wanted to. "To be perfectly fair," he responded, "I only peg him about as much as he pegs me." Brandon was, well. . .notably nervous whenever he was pitcher, but Vali was slowly working on his confidence. It was a lucky thing that he had such a sweet spot, too; a few licks to his ears and Vali was lost in pleasure, making it easy for Brandon to make the admittedly much more experienced demigod reach rapture. Besides, Vali legitimately liked the kid. . . .Liked toying with him, making him blush, listening to him ramble, dressing him up, surprising him, and so on. And unlike his brothers, Vali missed Hel's little comment--not that he cared. Point of fact, he was doing his best to not care about anything at all. Knowing Hel was here could only mean one thing, and that one thing meant another particular thing, and Vali couldn't handle it if he thought about it. So, instead, he gave Kryt a devious grin, then pulled Brandon's face around to give the other man a full-on kiss, tongue and all. Just to make a point. . .and, well, because he liked the way Brandon tasted. Maybe it was a cambion thing, and he hadn't ever 'tasted' Kryt, but he assumed both of them had delightfully addictive flavors. Sure, Brandon wasn't Vali's ideal lover (he opted to not look at Narfi again as he thought this) but, hell, he wasn't complaining. He ended the kiss with a little wink at his lover, though he realized a little late that Eldi still stood between them. Not that it mattered; their respective heights meant she wasn't sandwiched at all from the move. He idly wondered if she'd even noticed. She was, however, looking tense; probably wanted her lover back. He glanced over his shoulder at his other brothers to find them having a bit of a staredown-slash-food fight. Further amusement trickled in, making him chuckle. Never dull in this family, it seemed. By the banquet table, Fenrir's sour mood began to lighten at Jormunandr's reactions. That was the brother he remembered, and he found himself smiling. "So do you," he retorted. "Now you have hair, and it looks ridiculous." He chuckled and reached out to swat at the standing hair; it merely swished aside and came back. He stood back to his full height as his brother continued gathering the lost food, for a moment staring at it all with longing. If his stomach could growl, it would have; it all smelled so damn good. . . . . .Best to avoid the temptation, he supposed. He glanced over his shoulder at Eldi, forever making sure she was safe and comfortable. Then, knowing his brother was unlikely to want to socialize, asked, "Would you like to meet our younger siblings? Father married a few centuries ago and had twin boys. Narfi and Vali. He also had another daughter, named Theys." Gesturing at Slejpner, he added, "And that's Slejpner. Like us, he was given a human form. What do you think?" From nearby, Sigyn was alternately watching her sons and stepsons, ready in case any fights occurred. As Loki spoke, however, perspective fell into place. He was right, after all; death approached, and no amount of propriety was going to change that. A knife of sorrow entered her heart as she recalled the prophecy for her sons, but she forced it away. As always, Loki helped with that. Just with a touch, her worries began to ebb. Their time was short, she knew. They could either wallow in it or enjoy the time they had now, before it was gone. Looking up at her husband, she slid her arms around him in turn, pressing herself flush against him. "You're right, of course," she purred, adoration for her husband filling her. "I get so caught up in etiquette sometimes. . .it's just one more reason why I need you," she commented. He reminded her how to loosen up and enjoy life. It was a painful thing to admit, but before Loki had stolen her heart and mind, her life had been. . .dull. He brought such delightful excitement to every waking moment, how could she not adore him? Their differences in height meant she couldn't reach up to kiss him, even on her toes. But she could pull him down to her level; with a hand on his neck, she did so, missing the feel of his mouth on hers. ". . .Why I love you," she murmured, completing her previous statement just before taking his kiss--willingly given or not.
  5. =Narfi= Never a dull day in this class, it seemed. Opposed to his twin, Narfi didn't laugh as easily nor prank as much, and he actually focused on his work. He was proud of his grades--As and Bs across the board--and liked being known as the "smart jock". Thus, he didn't hide his paper; he left it on his desk, displayed for all to see. When Slejpner mentioned dinner, Narfi gave a snort. "You know I'm the better cook, you trying to punish us?" he teased. Though he was a full eight years older than the twins, neither treated their half-brother much different than each other. Some would see it as disrespect. They saw it as brotherly affection. For Narfi, specifically, he also felt a generally protective of most students. Silfrin was one of them--not just because she was so darn innocent, but because he saw the way she looked at his elder brother. It was the same way he looked at the science teacher, Ms. Stark. And he liked her, too, her nature and fashion choices. Thus, when she started screaming and flailing, he jumped up out of his seat, ready to tackle whoever was causing her such distress. Slejpner was quick to find the perpetrator, though: a rubber spider. Relaxing, he started in disbelief, then tried to think back and figure out how it'd gotten on her. Nothing came to mind, unfortunately; he'd been gazing out over the courtyard when it started. So, instead, he glared over the classroom. . . .Only to slink back into his seat when Slejpner took up post at the front of the class. The twins were well acquainted with that one--the one who wasn't quite their brother, but rather the seething emotion within. Only in the face of that intensity did Narfi ever back down in fear. He could handle anything. . .except his elder brother's rage. *Vali* While all that drama was taking place, Vali was luckily absent. As much as he enjoyed toying with Brandon, he jumped right up when Slejpner asked him to go check on the boy. He didn't hurry, however; he strode along at a leisurely pace, knowing exactly which bathroom Brandon would head for. Sure enough, by the time he got there, Brandon was easily spotted in front of a sink, holding paper towels to his face. Vali stepped inside and looked over the sight before him, lips twisting as he assessed the appeal on display. Brandon was, well. . .skinny. Twigs with skin stretched across it. No muscle on the arms or the portion of the stomach Vali could see as he worked on cleaning himself. "Looks like you could use a hand," he purred, striding up to the younger boy. He grabbed a handful of paper towel along the way, warming it in the water. With one hand, he gestured Brandon as he said, "Alright, let me see that shirt. See if we can get the blood out before it sets." As the twins were dedicated roughhousers, they knew all sorts of methods for cleaning fresh blood out of clothing. It came in handy in other situations, as well--such as when Vali's lovers got nose bleeds halfway through, or when they needed to clean up some sheets before he could leave the love nest. As a result, he was rather good at cleaning up messes.
  6. Genesaris? Grani was confused at the mention of this place--he knew of it, but little else other than that it was a central city. His only theory for why Minnow would bring it up was because maybe it had a Bifrost of its own. Such a thing would have made Brandon a clear liar, however, and Grani had a hard time believing that. After a moment of rambling, this theory was further debunked as Minnow asked him what the Bifrost was. Honestly. . .he didn't know. He glanced over his shoulder at his uncle, unsure how to explain it. "It's the, uh. . .rainbow bridge?" he tried, refocusing on Minnow awkwardly. If her damn cuteness wasn't enough, now she was showing off just how much smarter she was than him, and he couldn't fight off a blush of embarrassment. Eventually, however, he started to grow annoyed with it all. "I don't know!" he blurted, tail swishing with his growing ire. "I'm just a kid, I don't know this stuff! Do you see anything remotely intelligent about this place?!" he demanded with wide-armed gestures at their meager hut. Not a single book or even scroll in sight. Three rooms making a perfect full square. One table. Two shelves. Two chairs--in case they ever "had company". One "sink" made of stone from a large boulder Grani had chipped into shape over the course of weeks. One stove, wood-powered. One axe, one sword. It was as poor as poor could get and still have a roof involved. Though Grani had never had an issue with it before, now shame slammed into him. Their first guest--his first prospective friend--and this was the best they had, the best he could offer. What could they do for entertainment? Well, he ran a lot, and sometimes he chopped wood or tended the garden. He wondered if she'd like to stargaze into all hours of the night from sheer boredom. He dropped his arms and looked away, feeling dejected over his own analyses. ". . .I don't know anything about glyphs or cores or magic," he muttered. "I can't even hold a conversation. . ." For the first time in his life, Grani felt. . .inadequate.
  7. ♥Liranya♥ Truly, this was one of few students in this class who was physically unremarkable. Rich brown hair and soft matching eyes, her only notable feature was the fact that her youth left her very cute in appearance. She was the youngest in this school at thirteen years old, having gone up a whole three grades due to sheer brilliance. She didn't even feel like she was trying all that hard; everything just computed easily in her mind and resulted in straight A's. If that weren't enough, she was kind to a fault; so much so that even the most devious of students eventually grew frustrated with her angelic demeanor and left her be--or so she figured, anyway. All she knew for certain was that a few students in this school were less than pristine, that they tended to prey upon other students. . .and yet they gave her a wide berth. Good enough, she supposed. Though her origins were largely a mystery--she had been delivered to an orphanage straight out of the womb--she had been gifted with an amazing life along the way. Beatrice and Harold Angel had adopted her, and though they were merely lower middle class in standing, they loved her dearly and she them. Perhaps it was the luck of the draw, but she wouldn't have traded her lower standing life for anything. . .even if they did have to save up for a month to buy her a single change of clothing. More recently she made friends with Alistair, a rich boy who absolutely looked it. She didn't care about that, however; she liked him because he was truly a worker--and because there was a certain allure to him, like he was constantly fighting his urges. She liked fighters. Besides, there was something to be said for someone who had impulses to act out yet chose not to--as opposed to those who gave into such impulses without a second thought. Their friendship had started off somewhat rocky, but now here they were, side by side in a classroom few chose to take. As he gave her a smile in passing, she smiled back, glad to see her help had given him a perfect score. Hers had been perfect as well--the benefit of study buddies--she'd just been the first to retrieve her paper and had been awaiting the good news. ✿ Silfrintoppr✿ Beside Liranya sat Silfrintoppr--or Silfrin, for short. Her story and appearance could not have been more different. A mere sixteen, the girl had near-white hair and violet eyes with a face so cute she was still mistaken for a pre-teen. Her family was large and involved, with so many members it was hard to keep count of them all. Her immediate family was just her parents and toddler brother Svarlysta, but her parents both had numerous siblings (a total of eleven between them), each of those siblings were married, and none of them had fewer than three children. Four of Silfrin's aunts were pregnant even now. To make matters even more hectic, they all lived nearby each other--two or three families to a house, all lined up on either side of a street. There was no escaping it. They weren't the most wealthy, either, but with so many members they could handle making their own clothing, running their own electricity, growing their own food (each one a dedicated vegan), and even purifying their own water. The result was thousands of dollars saved every year--per family. This made Silfrin extremely frugal, self-sufficient, focused, and exceptionally kind--which is why Li and her got along so well. The downside? Certain students in this school saw her innocence and often targeted her for it. Gabriel was the most persistent of those types. At once, he was both aggravating and seductive. She liked his look, his confidence, his unearthly grace--and hated everything about his personality. Only that hatred kept her from falling into his grasp, and even that was waning in the face of her rising hormones. As a virgin, she'd never 'tapped' the well of lust, resulting in her wanting so badly to know what it's like to taste those waters, even as she resisted the idea with everything in her. If her parents could wait until marriage, so could she. True to her determination on the subject, she turned her face away when Gabriel strode past her, giving him the cold shoulder. Little did she know what he was planning--and the moment she felt something scurry down her shirt, she devolved into a shrieking, flailing mess. Leaping up from her chair, she slapped at her back, yanking off her sweater in the process to try and get rid of it. Having no idea it was a fake spider--and no ability to realize this was likely a planned trick--she simply screamed and twisted about, hair flinging with her, absolutely terrified.
  8. "We should go visit her!" While struggling to maintain his composure, Minnow went ahead and said that! Grani did a double take, shaking his head as he struggled to process her words. Just. . .go visit her? On another realm? What was Quincy, and how could he do that? Grani had asked to go back home a lot--notably during his first year here--and every time he'd been told they couldn't. Lessons and explanations came rushing back as he considered it, starting to pour from his mouth the way it sometimes did to his uncle. ". . .can't just go back, the Bifrost sent us to an unknown realm, Heimdall can't see this far and couldn't hear us if we asked. . .couldn't aim the Bifrost here to make the jump. . .how else can we go back?" At his final words, he caught Minnow's gaze once more, his bewilderment overriding his embarrassment with her. "This--Quincy, it can just go there?" It failed to occur to him, as he said the words, that he hadn't specified where there was. At the moment, it didn't matter. The very idea of going back--despite the fact that he couldn't remember anything about it--made him ache, homesick for a place where he'd only lived for five years. For a mother and father whose faces had vanished from memory. He knew, in his heart, that he loved them and they loved him. What he couldn't figure out was why they were no longer with him. "A war" was the only answer Brandon had ever given, and it'd never been expanded upon.
  9. FENRIR Those eyes Eldi felt every day? They were his. The middle child of three siblings--Jormungandr before him, Hel behind him--Fenrir was somewhat overshadowed by both. He wasn't as loud or brash as Jormungandr (though he was nearly as tall) and he wasn't as intimidating or brilliant as Hel. He didn't even like this class; he only took it because of the redhead who sat in the back corner. His golden gaze always found her, day after day, though he tried not to look too close. His siblings had already noticed his--er, interest, and they weren't always so tolerant of it. With the way things were at home, he couldn't blame them. Having taken so much shit over such a short lifetime, he was reluctant to let others in. Yet something about the blind girl drew him in, seeming to magnetize him. Maybe it was her pictures; he loved looking at them. The colors usually clashed and rarely made sense, but in his opinion, that made her creations all the more stunning. Class had barely begun and she'd already started a new piece. He was having such a hard time looking away, but he had to, damn it-- "Fenrir Grboda!" He jolted as his name was called, then rose to dutifully retrieve his paper. A solid D. He wasn't surprised; most of his assignments strung along at about that height. His strength was far from the path of study, anyway. He was best at soccer and dog training. Already he was looking at getting a sports scholarship and he was only grade 11. The bleached blonde male simply strode back to his seat with a nod to the teacher in silent acknowledgement. As usual, his seat was across the room from the subject of his admiration--but his glare was enough to keep most others away. Since he first spotted her last year, he'd begun an almost involuntary defense of her; people used to pick on her a lot. These days they knew better. The things he did could never be proven--he was careful about that, needed his scholarship to get the hell out of this town--but oh, the things he did. After the second time he cornered a kid and gave them a bloody nose, they'd stopped moving her things. And after the first time he held a kid by the ankles over the rooftop, they'd stopped making noises at her. The little pranks continued to some degree, of course. He couldn't protect her all the time. But only the bravest and most foolish of the students would dare mess with her any longer. He'd track them down and they knew it. As the class continued and one by one they all went up to get their assignments, Fenrir played with his piercings. One on his lip, one in his nose, three in his brows, five total in his ears plus a clasp--he had a few. He still wasn't sure why he got them all. They were a pain sometimes; he had to take them out every practice and game. It seemed their only use was distracting him when he was bored. Good enough to keep them, he supposed. That, and certain kinds of girls seemed to love them. He couldn't count how many times he'd heard a sigh as he walked the halls or how many little "love notes" he'd gotten that mentioned them. . . .He wondered if Eldi would like them. If not, well. . .he could get rid of them. No big deal. And so his eyes slid right back over to her, and it'd only been a few minutes. God, he was bad at this. . .
  10. Despite their admittedly more delinquent-like behavior, the aforementioned twins were never late. Their mother and older brother both worked here at this school, and both were equally strict about such things. Even if they weren't, however, the twins would still be punctual. The way they goofed off aside, they did like the school and being here to learn. They just usually chose not to show it. Thus, they were here before their elder brother reached the classroom this day. Vali sat behind Narfi, both against the window-lined wall. Narfi's spot was chosen because he could see the science room from across the courtyard--could occasionally glance over and see the science teacher, Ms. Stark, going about another lesson. Vali's spot had been chosen because it was a convenient place to pester the (slightly) more straight-laced brother. Not that their teacher-slash-elder brother ever missed that. He couldn't count the number of times he'd had to stay late and scrub something clean because he'd harassed one brother and gotten caught by the other. No sympathy had ever come his way from Narfi, either; Vali got himself into trouble, so he paid the price for it. Simple as. Today, as usual, they arrived just after the Armicks and were greeted by the younger of the pair. From Narfi: "Hey, Brandon." From Vali: "Hey, kid." (Brandon's constant blushing had not gone unnoticed by Vali, and though the reasons behind it were still being puzzled out, Vali much enjoyed teasing the boy when the opportunity presented itself. Reminding Armick that he was younger than Vali was one way he did so.) They settled into their seats with moderate surprise that Slejpner was not yet here. He was usually as punctual as their mother, Sigyn, one of the school's counselors for deviant children. It was somewhat ironic, then, that her twin boys were rather deviant themselves. . . Once Slejpner appeared in the room, explained his tardy arrival, and drank his coffee, the fun began. Usually the first thing to happen was roll call, but Slejpner was such a dedicated teacher he could tell with a glance if anyone was missing, so that was generally skipped. Then came calling up the students to receive their graded papers. Brandon tripped over his desk and gave himself a bloody nose, and though Vali chuckled at the fall the same way most of them had, he winced when he saw the bloody nose. At that moment, he was torn between common human decency and offering Brandon a tissue just because the boy would blush that much more. Decency won out (for once), and instead he just gave Brandon a wincing smile when he came back. Luckily the memories of such embarrassing school moments would fade--or so they were told. Narfi, meanwhile, was one of few students who hadn't laughed. Injury wasn't amusing to him--rather the opposite. Well. . .when others experienced pain, anyway, Narfi was somewhat sympathetic. When he experienced pain. . .it proved arousing. That was one reason he was such a powerhouse in the wrestling team; no matter the pin, his opponent could never make him wince. That--and he was one of the most jacked kids in school, if not the number one. He loved working out, so he spent a great deal of his time doing so. One of the side effects was his opponents in official matches choosing not to fight him at all, resigning rather than risking going against the powerhouse he'd become. Vali, on the other hand, had joined the swim team, so his body was lean rather than massive. His hair was long and often held back in a ponytail that tickled the back of his neck, and between that, his swim "trunks" and his mismatched eyes (one blue, one green), he was one of the biggest heartthrobs in school, popular with both males and females. Long hair versus Narfi's short, mismatched eyes versus Narfi's simple blue, both sporting black locks and an attractive jaw--technically speaking, they were both heatthrobs. Just with different groups of people. Next up to get their paper was Crystal, a.k.a. Kryt, who was wearing a short skirt--and would you look at that? No panty line. Vali cocked a brow at her, admiring her form without shame, wondering if she'd gone with a thong today. . .or without entirely. Both were equally likely. Her comment, heard everywhere in the classroom, had both twin's brows raising, however. Narfi twisted around to give Vali a telling look, both expecting where this would be going. Sure, Slejpner was a kind soul and kinder teacher, but they knew their brother. Aggravating him should not be attempted. Kryt was lucky she was a student and not family; if she were, there'd be no stemming the wrath to come for that snip. It took a while for the calls to get around to the twins, both sporting the last name Jotunn (separate from their elder half-brother). Narfi's test: A. Vali's test: A. Neither were surprised; outside of their respective sports, this was their best class. Not only did they find the subject interesting, but their freaking brother was the teacher, and he came by to visit almost every evening. Both of their parents were interested in the subject as well; the boys had grown up listening to tales of their parents' Norse heritage, so they already had one aspect of the subject down pat. Yet, as though ashamed by his good score, Vali quickly stuffed the paper into his desk before anyone could see it and discover what a brilliant student he was. It messed with his "not a bad boy, definitely not a good boy" image.
  11. It wasn't too much longer before Grani started to feel overwhelmed. The girl just talked so much--and about subjects that weren't exactly his primary areas of study, most of her words washing over him without sticking. What he did understand? That weird metal thing was named 'Bingo' and Minnow had assigned it--him--the male gender, giving it personhood insofar as she was concerned. She was violently protective of it--him--as well, so Grani made a little mental note not to offend. . .the thing. . . He scratched at his head as she worked and explained, surprised and a little spooked by the things her metal hand could do. His hind leg began shaking again as she droned on and on, struggling to keep up with her. Conducers--radio waves--electro-smething--uh, neuro. . .lodge. . .shit. He lost it. When she finally stopped educating and started questioning, he exhaled a breath of relief. Able to take control back, he lifted his gaze to hers--blushed--lost control, looked away. "Uh, well, I left my home when I was very young. I can't really remember it. And here I never really got an education, so I can't say. . ." After a pause, gathering his thoughts, he went on, "From what I remember, runes just channel the magic inside a person. They. . .put a piece of themselves into the spell. Or pull it from the air. I'm not so sure." He understood these cores she spoke of--he thought. They were kind of like runes, except you don't write anything to create them; they just exist. And you can move them, repurpose them, shape them. There was no mention he'd come across about a limit to the power inside the cores. Based on his knowledge so far, he couldn't say which was better. Plus there were the golden apples of his homeland. Information on those were scarce, but it sounded like they were vital, somehow. Maybe they played into the use of magic; he didn't know. ". . .My uncle tells me that we can pray to my grandmother and she'll hear it, even though we're realms apart," he murmured. "He says she's a goddess and that's why, but I don't get it." If he's the grandson of gods, why couldn't he use magic, too? He'd tried--as if he had an idea how to do it--and it'd consistently failed. The fact that this human girl had made a magical ball-thing while he couldn't so much as move an object without touching it. . .well, it burned. If she weren't so darn cute, he might've held it against her. . . .And then his blush came rushing back.
  12. Uncertain what was happening, Grani stared at Minnow with increasing confusion. She didn't even realize she'd blanked? She just hopped up and ran to retrieve Bingo--Grani hurried to step his hind end out of her path--and, he supposed, at least she wasn't acting afraid of him anymore. . ? It was actually kind of cute, the way she obsessed over food. Almost made a boy want to offer her things. . .apples, peaches, tomatoes. . .whatever he could find, really. She rambled a lot like how Brandon did, too. It was familiar--and much more tolerable than when Brandon did it. His mood lifted, even as he worried over her wacky memory. But when she turned to him, noticed his crest and began questioning him, he started to recoil. Yeah, he wanted a friend, but this was a little. . .uncomfortable. And there was Brandon behind her back, motioning at Grani. If he was reading the signs right, then his uncle wanted him to. . .flirt with her?! Heat flushed his face at the very idea; he couldn't flirt! But before Grani could gesture back a harried no, Brandon was already turning away to get working on dinner. Left with few options, he started stuttering. "I-I. . .artificing? I-is that what you call it?" Suddenly feeling very self-conscious, he struggled with his emotions, attempting to wrangle himself back under control. One hand absently poked at his crest--something he'd never done before. Clearing his throat, he found himself looking anywhere but at the bubbly, excited girl. "It's, uh. . .where I come from, science and magic are the same thing," he said, all but parroting Brandon's lessons from years ago. "This is just a rune. It means 'balance'. Magic is in my blood, so in theory, I could write runes to cast spells." Except he had no idea how to write runes. He could vaguely recall seeing them, but he'd had no lessons; he didn't even know how to read them, let alone how to string them together to make spells. It was actually really irritating for the centaur--everyone in his family knew how to read runes and cast spells. . .except Brandon. The one Grani had been stuck with as his guardian. Talk about unfair. "Well. . .no?" he answered Minnow's next queries. Desperate for another subject, he pointed at her ball. . .thing. "You called that thing 'Bingo'? What is it? How does it work?" Can I have it? He could just picture the ball sitting on his shelf of treasures, maybe right between the key and the locket. . .
  13. As Brandon took time looking over Minnow, Grani was--well. . .tense. One of his hind legs kept shuddering with nervousness, the human equivalent of wringing hands or tapping a foot. At first he began relaxing when his uncle pronounced she was likely okay--only for his fear to come rushing back when the word "seizure" was mentioned. That was exactly the word Grani had been fighting to avoid thinking, because it meant there was no helping her. If Minnow was in a seizure, all he could do was watch her and sweat. Upon given a task, he nodded eagerly, leaping on the distraction with abandon. He snatched up the ball easily and trotted back with it, hardly looking at it--sure, it was shiny and interesting and any other time he'd cover it. . .but right now it wasn't important. He offered it to his uncle with his eyes holding onto Minnow, looking for the instant her gaze cleared. Once it did, he waved his hand in her face, blurting, "Are you okay now? Minnow? Are you okay??" It never occurred to him that her memories might've been hindered by the sudden attack or that she might still be afraid of him. Open worry displayed on his features, his body more or less curved around behind her so he could lean into her line of sight. Whether or not she saw the expression on his face--or remembered anything about his lower half--was up to her. Without his upper harness, the only thing on his brawny chest was a single six-sided silver crest, imbedded in his sternum, with a softly glowing blue rune etched into it. It meant "balance", intended to ensure his organs never conflicted with one another. . .just in case. He'd had it as long as he could remember. As such, he honestly had no idea if it was helping him or not. If he took it out, if it ever ran out of power, there was a chance he could just. . .die. Which was why he never touched it--too much of a risk that he could break it or accidentally loosen it. As much as he wanted to display with the rest of his shinies--as much as Brandon seemed to want to study it--neither had ever given it more than a glance. Just in case. . .
  14. As they strode out to the vehicle--a source of constant confusion and wariness for her--she digested Gabriel's words. "Tonight, none but Mr. Veit command you, Madame." Good. That simplified things. And though she was bursting with energy from her near-constant meals (Gabriel was a slave driver--not that she minded one bit), she could do plenty to extend the evening's festivities. She gave the security, Carl Mathers, a charming smile as he spoke to her, taking in his promise and plotting around it. "I appreciate that very much," she answered sweetly, as much a refined lady as a prostitute at the moment. "Thank you, Mr. Mathers. I will be sure to contact you if I need anything," she promised with a nod to him. Once she was seated in the passenger seat, she crossed her legs, letting the man close her door for her. Putting on a face of polite indifference, she said to "her driver", "I'm ready to go." That was how one spoke to servants, yes? As soon as the vehicle was moving, however, her indifference slipped--her hands gripping whatever she could reach, body tensing. It was hard enough being in a car with her wings crushed against her back, but the way it moved, as well. . .it felt so unnatural. She'd much rather be walking to her destination--or flying, for that matter. This driving business was harrowing.
  15. At Hel's not-so-subtle antagonistic comments, Narfi scowled. Hel could pretend all she liked; he knew she was happy with her lot. She was ruler of an entire realm, and the few times they'd met, never once had she done or said anything which suggested she disliked her appearance, her home, or what she did with her life. It was still really hard to get along with her, though. "Yes, our mother loves us, as we all know," Narfi shot back, ignoring her comment about fighting. "It was nice, growing up in such a loving and accepting home. Never lonely. Never hungry. Quaint." His words were chosen to shoot right back at her; whether or not she picked up on his sarcasm was another matter. For all that she indirectly complained, she and he had the same amount of strife--in their pasts, anyway. While she was in her realm, that she owned, brooding over her life. . .well, at least she'd had their father for a time. For most of Narfi and Vali's lives, Loki was largely missing in action. Even now, at nearly six centuries old, their father barely afforded them passing glances. They'd lived alone with only their mother for support for most of their lives. Hel, at least, had had her brothers and Loki for a span of a decade or so. Luckily Slejpner broke into the fray before it could degrade any further, lightening the mood drastically. Vali had been on the verge of lunging between his siblings, eyes riveted to their exchange. As the eldest, whether or not she wanted it, they all were pressed by honor to follow Slejpner's lead. Sure, they could ignore honor--the twins, at least, often did--but this was a high-end formal affair. They should uphold those values. Narfi smiled at being called a runt--they all knew Vali was the youngest. "As she says--I'm the slave," he joked. "She works me to the bone. Look, you can almost see my elbows!" he complained, bending his arm to make the bone prod through his skin--one of very few areas he wasn't heavily muscled. Tugging Ella back against him, he nodded along with her chatting, smiling to himself. Oh yes, Li loved little Grani, loved holding his hand and racing him. Sometimes, when they had their little playdates, she'd take time to pet his mane or blow in his ears, making both of them giggle. She was such a sweet girl, the light of his life, really. . . The two of them should be together even now, babysat by his great aunt Eir. He imagined they were having a great time. While this was going on, Eldi maneuvered Vali around to shield her more directly. He partly resisted, knowing that if he got too close he'd then have to deal with Fenrir getting overprotective, but still made sure to sandwich her between himself and Brandon. "It's just Brandon's sister," he informed the blind girl. "She's always this loud, I'm afraid," he added with a chuckle. "Have you heard about her? She's with our brother, Slejpner, the two of them were recently wed. They have a son together." Part of the reason why he was chatting about this was to inform, and part to distract and calm. Both Eldi and Brandon seemed uncomfortable at best, so he did what he did best: charmed. "I don't think I told you this before," he said to Eldi, "but you are easily the most adorable woman I've met." Sending a wink to Brandon, he added, "And you're the most adorable man I've met, Bran. How lucky can a man be, being in both these presences at once?" Though he gave Brandon a killing grin as extra distraction insurance, he wasn't sure how to go about it for Eldi; after a moment he ran the back of a finger down her cheek, hoping it'd startle her--and reset her attention. Fenrir saw it all, and it sent his hackles rising. Between having food thrown at him, Jormungandr's anger, and Eldi's obvious need for protection, he was in a bad place. Lucky for everyone here, his centuries of imprisonment had afforded him a great deal of patience. Besides, Eldi was perfectly safe. Even with that crone Hel nearby. Still, he felt anger chilling his bones as his serpent brother yelled at him. Glaring, he tugged at the collar around his throat--which, thanks to Sigyn, had been glamoured to appear like part of his outfit. "Don't flatter yourself," he sneered, "I've also been alone for centuries! The gods had me chained in Helheim. I could no sooner leave than move, and they denied me food as well. Had I any ability to travel, brother, I would have done so. It was only recently Hel allowed me leave from my prison--and my shackles remain." The bracers he wore weren't just bracers, after all--they were also his manacles, as his boots were also his shackles. Their appearances had changed, but their tight fit and overbearing magic were as present as ever. One drop of mead, one crumb of a crust of bread, and Hel could very well drag him back to Helheim. . .and his prison on his rock. And while all this occurred, Sigyn was alternately glowering and frowning. Loki made a good point; was it short-sighted of her to put armor on her step-son? She watched him as Loki spoke, a wave of guilt ebbing the worst of her pique. Formal events meant making sacrifices of comfort, but for someone who'd never been to one before. . .would he even know this? Hands still on her hips, she tapped a finger, debating with herself. ". . .Be that as it may," she finally answered her beloved husband, attention returning to him, "keep in mind that we've both agreed to these terms previously. I did not want to bring him; you insisted," she reminded him, "and under the condition he dress appropriately for it. Did you not inform him of such?" Likely not; Loki just loved his pranks, after all, and when he couldn't act out directly, he would do so in smaller ways. She couldn't count the number of times she'd walked through this palace to find something small amiss, like a table upside-down on the ceiling or all the red flowers in Frigga's garden turned blue. She wouldn't doubt that he would intentionally not inform Jormungandr of what this ball had meant, nor even the smallest bits of etiquette--just to watch the mayhem that would come from him not knowing how to properly behave.