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vielle

all things wild and soft

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Aspen is not the best choice, she thinks, for any sort of trip outside the borders of the Hildebrand domain, but really, this is something she had wanted to do herself.  

“Darling, you’ll be fine,” her fiancé had cooed, kissing her on the forehead and causing a flush to spread over her cheeks, and her siblings had granted her a wide range of farewells and good wishes, although she can do without seeing Nai trying to calm Esme’s mock weeping fit.

She can also do without the insinuation of the spark urging her to seek the particular creatures out, but that is entirely in her own head.

Leaning her head against the windowsill of the carriage, Aspen closes her eyes and breathes in slow, breathes in deep. She reminds herself of why her departure from Ravenel Manor is of her own volition.

She is on the quest for the elusive beefly.

Aspen chuckles to herself at the sudden, childish thought of her brandishing a sword and cutting her way through the wilderness, a wide-eyed traveller on a journey for treasure. She supposes the beefly can count for treasure, but she does not know enough about them to be sure, hence her journey across the island into the wildlands of Corinth. Perhaps this supposed Beefly Protection Group she is visiting will be able to provide more information about them as well as the means for House Hildebrand to acquire some beeflies on their own land. Varda had been most adamant about that last part, after hearing about the creatures in the first place. Her sister is quite predisposed to anything endearing and innocent, Aspen cannot help but muse with a soft smile.

After a while, she watches the treeline part like tilled soil, and Aspen prepares to disembark the carriage to speak with the people advocating and protecting the beeflies.

 

@Metty

Edited by ourlachesism

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Stormbreaker

She supposes she could help with the beeflies finally after so many of the experts had called away on either sick leave or gone on holiday leave from the time being. Resources were stretched thin after all and Arashi had to take control of the situation. She had been donning an alias after she found out there was someone with her exact name and looks found in her home nation of Terrenus. She didn't question how but that wasn't the issue at the moments. The armored vigilante had set up an outpost where she was caring for orphaned, abandoned or outright injured beeflies. There was an array of tables inside the tent she had set up, each having some warm beds and some medication nearby and of course a bed for herself. 

She was paying attention to taking care of a weakened beefly who had injured her leg when the carridge was heard outside the door. Stopping what she was doing, she opened the entrance to tent carefully, looking upon the visitor in person. The armored warrior had her black high-tech armored suit on with a helmet and she obviously wasn't a resident to this area. Let alone raised here. This level of technology was way too advanced. 

"Greetings! Are you here to see about the beeflies?" Arashi asked, inquiring to the guest that had just arrived at the front door of the place. 

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She had expected a whole variety of sights and people, but she had not expected an armored woman coming up to meet her by the threshold of the tent. Obviously foreign and possibly dangerous, and that organ in her chest shakes and shudders. She has never really been in the presence of such an individual alone before.

"Greetings! Are you here to see about the beeflies?"

Even at the sudden cheerful greeting, spoken in goodwill as it is, Aspen still jumps a bit, color blooming through her cheeks when she realizes what she had done.

“Oh! Good day! Um,” she hastily clutches her blue skirts, inclining her head as she lowers herself into a polite bow before straightening back up, “sorry, I, er—sorry, yes, I'm here to see the beeflies.” Aware of her own nervous stutter, Aspen quickly shuts her mouth and opts to send the stranger an enthusiastic smile. She takes a few deep breaths to calm herself down. “I am Aspen of House Hildebrand. Who might you be, madam?”

She may not know much about the woman, but she is in fact in some sort of beefly sanctuary, so perhaps this stranger has been helping around with keeping the creatures safe and tending to their needs. Aspen waits for the woman to introduce herself before trying to invite herself in.

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Arashi stood there, looking at the smaller woman before her. She was certainly smaller than she was. She seemed scared after all, that was a natural response to seeing an armored being in front of her. "Uh...just call me Stormbreaker for now..." Arashi said, reluctant to say her actual full name. Saying her actual name might cause more trouble than it seems, knowing how she still had a bounty on her head after she stopped working with PK Mike in the past. 

"...So what do you need in particular? I can help out. For a price of course if you want to purchase a few...I mean...You'd need to give them regular medication if they do get hurt or ill obviously." She continued before motioning Aspen to come inside. She had no idea who this House was or who this woman was...but it'd be better to get on good terms with her. "Tell me something, what's the recent news about the world?" 

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The woman calls herself Stormbreaker, which isn’t inherently strange in itself, really, but it rather sounds like a weapon of sorts, or a warrior’s title: one she’s never heard of before. Aspen’s eyebrows twitch and furrow in befuddlement, then smoothen out as soon as the stranger’s gaze alights on her once more, inquiring about the purpose of her visit.

“Well, um, I was hoping to learn more about the beeflies, Lady Stormbreaker,” she murmurs, following the woman ushering her inside the tent. Trying not to stare at the interior fixtures too closely lest she not be allowed to do so, Aspen continues her explanation in earnest. “House Hildebrand is hoping to acquire some to take care of in our lands.”

Soft, lovely creatures, they are. Something in her chest tugs painfully at the sight of the injured beefly laid out upon one of the tables, one the armored woman had probably been attending to just before her arrival. It saddens her to see such gentle animals hurt in any form; they mustn’t be burdened with pain at all.  

"Tell me something, what's the recent news about the world?"

Oh gods, Aspen is not adequate enough to answer that query, being the workaholic hermit that she is. Fiddling with the loose fabric of her skirts, she racks her brain for a moment before answering. “Well, plentiful things have happened—I suppose, when it comes to Ursa Madeum, the games nobles play continue to affect everyone. Um, the festivities for Reverie are about to begin, and there are many preparations involved for those.” Aspen shuts her mouth before she can continue to babble any further, then pivots the topic at hand towards the woman. “Are you perhaps a foreigner, Lady Stormbreaker? I’ve never seen such armaments before, and never in the possession of one involved in taking care of such creatures as beeflies.”

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She turned her gaze to Aspen as she entered, asking about the beeflies. They were simple creatures, after all, that was what they were known for. Stormbreaker knew about them more than anybody else. "The beeflies...are simple-minded creatures. Easy to look after, friendly and they act like a typical human with how talkative they are. They love to talk to people and learn things. One thing though...they hate conflict and negativity. Any sign of those and they'd hide. Although they hate conflict, they do a very good job of keeping animals and even humans healthy with their special powers that depend on their fur color." Stormbreaker explained. She sat on a chair nearby and pulled one out for Aspen to sit on. "They eat...sugary stuff. Simple things like honey...soda..sweets...that sort of thing." 

She looked on to Aspen as she asked about if she was a foreigner. Stormbreaker shook her head. "No...actually. I am from this world...just a different version of this world it seems from the data I have gathered so far. Things haven't gone to hell yet...so that's good...I guess..." She sighed, glaring at Aspen before continuing. "I'm sorry it's just...where I come from...the world is mostly ash and cinders. Everyone was mostly dead from me hearing of the huge war that went on. I was hopeless. I couldn't do anything. Turns out I got sent back here instead." 

"Geez...I probably sound like an old person telling you their war stories." 

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Aspen is unaware of what her face currently looks like, but she thinks it must look somewhat dazed, perhaps a little starry-eyed. It’s almost embarrassing, how easily she is swayed when it comes to the compilation of new knowledge, the advancement of further studies relating to her field of expertise. She carefully takes note of the information that the woman grants her about the beeflies, making sure to remember them for future analysis and implementation. Taking one last searching look around the tent, Aspen smiles gratefully in response to the woman’s procurement of a chair for her, and she quietly makes her way to her seat while listening to the discussion of the beeflies’ diet.

Suddenly, the topic shifts, turns towards the stranger’s response to her query, and the words that follow—well, they are certainly interesting. The woman claims she is from this world, but from a different version? A different timeline? It makes no sense to Aspen, the concept she is hearing. Her eyebrows furrow at the glare directed towards her; surely she had done nothing to deserve that?

"I'm sorry it's just...where I come from...the world is mostly ash and cinders. Everyone was mostly dead from me hearing of the huge war that went on." 

The idea of time travel, of multiple streams of past events, is unthinkable, in Aspen’s perspective, although she does understand that beyond the borders of her homeland lies magic and supernatural powers beyond comprehension. Even within Ursa Madeum, there are stories of otherwordly creatures that are uncommon to the natural state of things. Take, for instance, the beefly—if such magical creatures exist, then who can say that this great war the woman speaks of is false? There is nothing left to do but nod and listen to the best of her ability.

"Geez...I probably sound like an old person telling you their war stories."

Aspen blinks for a moment, infinitely confused, but otherwise gives the woman her best attempt at a comforting smile. “It’s, erm—it’s quite alright, Lady Stormbreaker. I cannot claim to understand your situation nor the events that sent you here, but I am very much thankful that you are here now, at the very least.” She gestures towards the beefly on the table, injured but ultimately whole. “Even as you come from a past of war and bloodshed, you are also creating a world of good here, taking care of the beeflies.” Aspen hesitates for a moment, her gaze lingering over the soft creatures before returning to the woman. “How did you encounter such creatures in the first place?”

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"...I'm sorry...for saying this. I had to let it out of my system. It's been some time since I talked to someone about anything." Stormbreaker sighed,  as her armor suddenly faded, leaving what seemed to be a human with light brown hair, multicolored eyes; crimson red and dark blue, a crimson red dragon tail and a bunch of crimson red markings and various battle scars over her body. She seemed to be the height of around six foot two after all and seemed to be pretty muscular in her overall body shape under the casual clothing she had on. 

She sat there with a dark blue scarf with an ice blue flame design on, a black t-shirt, dark green camo shorts, and well some blue sneakers to obviously walk around in. She looked about the age of above twenty after all and looked at Aspen. "Don't be surprised at what I look like and what just happened. That's what my armor can do. It has more practical uses than just looking cool. More like helping me protect myself..."

Stormbreaker went over to an incubator, opening it up and yelling in surprise. "THEY HATCHED? By...Valucre...they hatched...." She then pulled out what seemed to be a tiny baby little rainbow-colored beefly and handed it to Aspen's hand. "She is yours now. Take care of her. She just hatched from her egg. They are extremely rare." 

The listle rainbow-colored beefly made an little squeak as it went to stretch. For the first time.

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The woman apologizes, not directly answering her query, but the desire to ask for a proper answer dies on her tongue at the sight of the stranger’s armor fading around her. It had almost escaped her mind, the concept of an organic humanoid under all those metallic layers. Aspen does not startle at the tail that makes itself known on the woman’s body; with the spark bubbling warm under her skin, she rather thinks she’s immune to surprise when it comes to the unearthly and unique. The itch to observe the woman’s strange features, that scientific interest to distinguish and determine the smallest of details wells up in her throat, but she refuses to let it come in the way of politeness and proper conduct, in this sense.

Rather not scare a stranger away with her antics.

"Don't be surprised at what I look like and what just happened. That's what my armor can do. It has more practical uses than just looking cool. More like helping me protect myself..."

Aspen simply smiles in response, not knowing what else to say; she opts instead to watch in silence as the woman paces for a moment, altogether out of place in her strange clothing, then turns her attention towards a piece of machinery—an incubator of sorts, perhaps?—and opens it. The sudden shout pulls her out of the brief daze she has sunken into, and when Stormbreaker walks over and deposits the beefly in her grasp, it takes a large amount of willpower not to let her fingers shake.

"She is yours now. Take care of her. She just hatched from her egg. They are extremely rare."

Aspen stutters for a moment, her mouth gaping open as she stares down at the soft, colorful creature in her hands. She has been taught to be gentle with the greenery and the plant life she handles in the laboratory, but with the existence of life so fragile just resting against her palms, it seems like another kind of experience altogether. “Oh! I—well, um,” she fumbles, when the words sink in. “Really? She’s mine?” A smile curves itself deep into her lips. “My goodness—I haven’t the slightest idea how to take care of her in my home. Will you help me?”

Edited by vielle

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