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Lacernella Rubra

Ripe for the picking [Quest.]

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The Creature approached Shanna and stopped just short of 5 feet from her, it then stood up on its hind legs, it was a bit hunched over but seemed perfectly fine standing this way.  even with its slight hunch it still towered over Shanna, it was probably over 6 feet tall.

"The way you talks is not like an evil, that much is truth.  But the mindset continues danger.  you refuses to harm because you has knowledge of the jungle's nature, the jungle's nature is to harm, to respect that is to expect to impose harm, both prey and predator have teeth." the lizard raises one of its arms and points to its face "This one understands the nature of the soft bodies and has respected to not impose harm or eat what is not allowed, you should have been ready to do this one harm, as this one was ready to do you no harm.  as for what this hunter is, I is one of fang and track, Atar Aurok.  In soft tongue this title is Jaw Finder, and how I is called by it.  I is a hunter that has respect I isolates and joins as I pleases with a strong body.  is you a soft body of distinction and why does you try to walk a jungle as not predator or prey would.  Is yous strange acting from a strange hunger?"  Jaw finder stands over Shanna, looking down at her.

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Shanna stares upwards at the creature, an audible swallow coming from her as she gives it a nervous look, made even more so by the presence of sharp and wicked looking teeth.

0qVDg3J.jpgThey were the kind of teeth made for tearing flesh.

“Uhm, well…Jaw Finder… I was looking for something specific. Like…medicine.” Surely the creature would understand that, it did not seem a simpleton, after all. It was able to reason and communicate quite well for someone with such a strange mouth shape. Shanna finds it curious, and fascinating. Perhaps if there wasn’t the immediate feeling of impending doom, she would like to sit and examine the creature thusly – and learn from it.

“And I found it, but now I’ve lost my airship, and my shoe!” She sticks out a bare foot as though to prove a point, finding it bereft of shoe and sock alike.  “I’m really sad, I really liked those boots.” A half pout graces her visage before she peers at Jaw Finder once more.

“Are you a native here in the jungle? I thought this place was abandoned.” Shanna questions.

 

Edited by Lacernella Rubra

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Jaw finder continued looking at Shanna, took a look at her foot when she showed it and then back at her. after she finished talking, they spoke again. " the softest soft one that has been encountered, travels the furthest into these lands, you should have been born a person, there would be no boot to lose.  the jungle is not abandoned, there are still lives here, lives that that can be hunted and flavors known.  it was life that lead.  when you says the airship is lost, does you mean it is somewhere or no longer anywhere. " Jaw Finder pauses for a moment as their tongue flicks out for a second "The scent of a soft body machine was in the air.  a moment is needed"

Jaw finder closes there eyes as green frills unfold across their body a strong breeze begins blowing through the area converging around Jaw Finder, there tongue extends to several feet in length, flicking around the breeze like a kite in the, well, wind.  after a couple seconds the breeze dies down as Jaw Finder's frills vanish into their hide and spines and their tongue retracts back into their mouth.  jaw finder than sprung up into the air and then somehow landed silently on all fours right next to Shanna.

"the wind gives the scent better, it does not smell of fire or death, yous airship is found, make noise as soft bodies do, it is expected.   bitter vines move towards here, hold you in poor favor.  Jaw Finder will take the you to 'airship'  soft body is slow and lose of 'boot' makes lame.  can you hold onto Jaw Finder, or is too soft without arm 'boot'"  Jaw Finder lowers their body as the spines along their back lowered.

"the strangeness brought by this soft one is impossible to ignore.  an ally is earned."  Jaw finder looks directly at Shanna's eyes "was medicine brought into possession, New Flavor?"

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“But I am a person.” Shanna retorts briefly before surmising that Jaw Finder meant one of it’s people, and not a …soft body, as he called her. “And it’s somewhere, but I don’t know where. I kinda got turned around when I was running for my life, funny how that happens.” Shanna isn’t sure her sarcasm will be appreciated, but she is in a sour mood by this point.

As Jaw Finder frills and shows the extent of it’s tongue, Shanna wonders briefly about whether or not it can pick things up with that long tongue, perhaps it could act like an extra hand! She peers at it with more curiosity than she had prior, and while Jaw Finder is busy smelling the wind to ascertain the whereabouts of her ship she draws out her journal and quickly scribbles notes into it as the creature is busy.

She doesn’t have time to sketch Jaw Finder into the pages, however, as the wind dies and it lands next to her. Letting out another squeak, Shanna gives a nervous laugh.

“Yeah, I don’t imagine they’re too happy with me after I put a fireball through one of them.” Shanna murmurs as she peers at it for a moment before offering a gasping sort of noise and a smile.

“You will?! Oh thank you!” Without considering, she wraps her arms about it’s neck in a gentle hug before shimmying onto it’s back. She has never even ridden a horse, so she wonders if she can truly hang onto it’s scale-like hide.

“Yeah, I got the medicine. I’ll give you a couple of the berries as a thank you.” Shanna offers. She has nine remaining of the mythical berry that can cure all ails. IF she gives two to Jaw Finder in payment, and five to Rafael, that will leave two in her possession for dire straits. After she had settled on Jaw Finders back, one of the twisted nymphs broke through the trees with a strangle, gurgling howl as it’s vines crept towards them with malice.

Shanna squeaks, holding onto Jaw Finder for dear life and hoping it knows exactly where her airship is. Shanna considers for a moment, that Jaw Finder might like to join her – after all, she has a habit of picking up strays and taking them home.

“Jaw Finder!” She calls over the rushing wind, assuming the creature has chosen to move out of the path of danger. “Have you ever been to a human city?”

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As the twisted Nymph approaches, winds, stronger than before, gather as Jaw Finder's body opens up with numerous green frills and webbing from head to tail.  with a sudden gust, Jaw Finder bounded into the trees away from the nymph.  the strong winds carried Jaw Finder and their passenger forward as the lizard twisted around the trees at high speeds pushing and kicking off the wood to continue a growing steed and wind.  Jaw Finder's movements were less weightless than in the clearing, having 135 lbs instead of the large sails on their back for this kind of movement meant there had to be  greater strain and some concessions.  still with effort, Jaw Finder was aiming to reach a decent speed by their standards of around 30 MPH that they would reach in a matter of seconds if they tried hard enough. but they would almost as rapidly slow down as Jaw Finder realized and probably felt that this would be too much speed for Shanna, who would be hanging on with her arms to something moving and whipping around at speeds rapidly approaching 44 ft per second, while experiencing the strong winds sliding around Jaw Finder's body and into hers.  after getting down to a speed that wouldn't likely throw Shanna off at a slight turn, Jaw Finder answered the question they were asked as they both departed.

"I has gone to several soft body cities, some could have been human cities.  since hunting has restrictions in soft body lands, Jaw Finder only stays for hunting vermin, pursuing curiosities, and interacting with soft bodies.  But I is not welcome in every soft body city, so different places are often favored." 

As Jaw Finder moved the frills and webbing acted like fins and sails, the biggest ones were on their tail as others of varying sizes covered the whole body, they would open and close catching different breezes from behind as a slipstream formed in front, two mingling winds carrying the two seemingly effortlessly from point to point, each one marked with some quick adjustment and a soft bump as Jaw Finder pushed off.  from afar, Jaw Finder probably looked like they were a fish, dancing through the trees, although with a bit more friction and inertia. 

"This should be near to the destination that eyes can find a specific location.  anticipate speed and debris"  Jaw Finder changed direction to large stone block that was part of some ruins and landed onto it, before jumping up with enough force to leave a mark on the stone and a wind like when they were going too fast. Jaw Finder and Shanna shot up above the canopy and into the evening sky, the sun was all but gone and stars could be seen as the red sky gave way to night.  Jaw Finder wasn't interested in the sky however, and looked around as they calmly reach the vertex of their jump.  Jaw Finder's eyes focused in on what was definitely an airship, and began shifting to face it as they descended back into the canopy.  Jaw Finder slowed their fall through the leaves and vines with their limbs and wind, cutting a few with their claws that would snag them and then continued their bounding towards the airship.

(I'll let you do reaching the airship or what happens next since I have no idea what it looks like at all)

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The wind whipped until Shanna’s carefully coifed hair came from its bun, and her feet dangled a bit in the wind. 30 miles per hour was quite fast without the protection of a seat or a window. She dangled from Jaw Finders neck like a rather amusing flag. Her arms tightened around her would-be savior as Jaw Finder twisted and turned through the thick foliage like a leaf on the wind. It was several moments like this that she dangles, desperate and keen to keep her grasp as they go through the forest before she finds them slowing enough to understand the words that Jaw Finder is saying.

“So…do you only eat ‘evil’ people, then? Cause I think the jails might find a great use for you…” Shanna murmurs the last, before offering a smile as she examines the frills and sailing like appendages that Jaw Finder holds. She wishes that she had a moment to sketch Jaw Finder in all it’s glory, but alas, her journal is packed and her hands are needed for holding.

“Wait, what do you mean anticipate speed and debris?” Shanna questions rather rapidly, before finding herself thrust into the sky with little warning. Squealing loudly, the woman grasps Jaw Finder in a grip so tight that it might be concerned of bruising as she nearly hyperventilates as she holds. “Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!”

In the not so far distance an airship could be seen. It was not a grand airship, nor was it plain. The strange, space ship looking machine was bright silver in color, presumably to blend into the sky. The hull was a long, bulbous shape that had only two fins on the side, and a single fin on the back. It looked very much like a whale, with exception to the four fan motors running on the sides. It was large enough to hold herself and several other passengers – as well as the strange oddities she brought with her. The ladder was safely coiled within the innards of the ship, and it allowed a quiet hum as the semi-large ship’s glass tinted in the waning light. It was nearly blinding. Shanna gasps as she spies it, pointing. It is less than a mile off.

“There! That’s my ship!” She cries as they fall through the foliage once more, and she shrinks as much as she can on Jaw Finders’ back so as not to catch debris or perhaps a wayward branch on their quick movement downwards. As the landing was softened by a cushy body, Shanna releases her hold a bit on Jaw Finder as it once more resumes it’s winding ways through the thick boughs.

“Hey, you could come with me and see all sorts of things!” Shanna comments after a while. “And I’m sure we could find something evil for you to eat.” Shanna didn’t seem perturbed by the thought of Jaw Finder eating other people, a fact that might be strange, except Shanna was born of the strange. Plus, she really wanted a chance to sketch Jaw Finder and see what other secrets his sailing body might entail.

 

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Jaw Finder answered Shanna's question Jaw Finder only hunts 'evil' as respect for soft body custom.  Jaw Finder first did not possess understanding of this, gained understanding of this, custom is arbitrary to I, but soft body desire it greatly.  a world of living 'goods' and dead 'evils', Jaw Finder tried to tell difference but cannot.  I doesn't have knowledge of which one soft body would call you."

hearing Shanna's offer, Jaw Finder thought about it silently as they approached the air ship.  within a couple of minutes Jaw Finder and Shanna reached where the airship was landed.  as soon as Jaw Finder landed the slipstream dissipated with a 'woooosh' and the webbing folded up beneath Jaw Finder's scales.  Jaw Finder then lowered their torso so that Shanna could get off and took the time to give their answer to her offer. "there is no trouble in doing so, this jungle now lacks freshness, many years have passed since I has been within a soft body home.  they change with time so the flavors must be different than last time.  Jaw Finder will join you, strange soft body."

Jaw Finder than looked at the airship.  it reminded them of a whale, whales were pretty hard to hunt.

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Shanna contemplates the words that Jaw Finder gives her, and she cants her head to the side briefly as she slips from it’s back and her feet touch the glorious earth once more. She sinks into the thick boughs for a moment before regaining her sense of self and balance.

“Oh, uhm. I’m a mage, so they’d just call me a mage. I’m not really good or evil…I just am!” She nods to this, hands on her hips as though she is self-assured that this is the most appropriate answer. When Jaw Finder agrees to accompany her, she gasps and claps her hands rather jovially. “Oooooh! I’m so excited! You’ll like it, I think! Maybe you should try cow, though, it’s pretty tasty! And pig! Ohmygosh have you tasted bacon?!” Shanna rambles as she waves her hands at the airship, and a medium sized platform begins to descend down from it on tethered cables. She steps onto it, waiting for Jaw Finder. Once Jaw Finder has decided whether to join her on the platform or not, it begins its ascent upwards. With a gentle click, they are sealed within the interior of the airship.

It is obvious from first glance that Shanna is a creature of comfort. Pillows, blankets, various stuffed animals, and other such soft things are strewn about the interior. On one far side there is a bed, little more than a cot, with a pillow resting atop of it, the rest of the area is wide and open until the cockpit which is sealed off with a door. Inside that door is the steering device and panels which allow the airship to fly above the land – along with two seats and a decent sized area of space to allow for movement.

“Sorry about the mess, I didn’t think I’d have company, so I didn’t clean up.” She explains as the backpack is set upon the ground with care. She doesn’t want to smoosh the berries, afterall.

“You know, I might have some jerky you’d like.” Shanna rummages for a moment in what looks like a cabinet, but cool air flows from it. She turns, victorious, as she holds out two pieces of dried meat to Jaw Finder.

“Try this!” She exclaims as she stands.

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Jaw Finder felt that progress was being made, this soft body was called Ahmaij and was learning to get away from nonsensical arbitrary labels of 'goods' and 'evils', it was like seeing a new hatchling learning of the world.  This Ahmaij was very interesting.  Jaw Finder thought this while going over to the lowered platform

as the platform rose Jaw Finder looked over at the small creature beside them.  it looked like Ahmaij had gotten a few scratches and bruises on the way here, Jaw Finder often times forgot how easily soft bodies could be hurt, although it didn't seem to bother Ahmaij much. *click*  Jaw Finder looked around the interior of the airship and was surprised to find that the entire place was soft.  Jaw Finder knew that soft bodies preferred to sleep on soft things because most things were too hard for them but this was... Then Jaw Finder saw it.  A small brown creature with round ears and big eyes, it was looking at Jaw Finder but not moving, with a quick motion Jaw Finder could trap it in their mouth, it probably didn't realize that.  this wasn't a soft body so it should be fine, Ahmaij was talking about something but it didn't matter, Jaw Finder had to learn this brown thing's flavor.  as a cold wind blew Jaw Finder made their move, shooting out their tongue at the creature faster than it could react and yanking it strait into their mouth faster than Ahmaij could say

"Try This!"  Jaw finder looked over at Ahmaij with a poor defenseless teddy bear hanging limply in their mouth.

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Shanna was certain that Jaw Finder would find the jerky agreeable, so when she turned and saw that he had poor Mr. Fuzzlewumps in his mouth, she let out a gasping sort of squeal.

"No! Not Mr. Fuzzlewumps!" As cotton and fabric filled Jaw Finders mouth, it would find no entertaining taste of meat and flesh. Instead it was doughy and thick, dry and flavorless. Poor Fuzzlewumps had only been a few stitches from tearing anyhow, and the pillowy insides spilled out between Jaw Finders teeth. Shanna sniffs, but doesn't cry as she reaches up and takes the stuffed bear in one hand.

"Leggo!" She murmurs, hoping that Jaw Finder would be reasonable about it since it had no flavor to speak of. 

While they were exchanging disagreements over Fuzzlewumps fate, the airship lurched into a slow move as it advanced them back towards Umbra. 

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Jaw Finder had come to expect creatures tasting like many things, processed plant fiber was not one of them, it seemed that the reason the small animal hadn't moved was because it was actually a fake animal made out of plants.  For some reason 'Ahmaij' seemed very protective of this plant fiber animal, did she not know it was made of plant?  Jaw Finder opened their mouth and let the parts of the thing drop and be pulled out.

"the animal is not real, entirely made of old plant fiber" Jaw Finder put their hand on 'Ahmaij's' shoulder "the plant fiber possesses no life" Jaw Finder wasn't able to tell what 'Ahmaij' was feeling but could narrow it down to not positive.  she was probably not expecting 'Mr. Fuzzlewumps' to be secretly dead plants, really, who can?  wait!  Jaw Finder quickly went around, licking all of the small animals and soft things around the airship, everything was plant fiber, and dried beans.  Jaw Finder looked at 'Ahmaiij', should they tell her that her entire life is a lie made of plant fiber?  no wonder this soft body ventured into the jungle by herself, she was expecting fake animals made of plants, not real animals and magic plants!  this strange soft body that calls itself 'Ahmaij' needs to be protected so that it can understand the world and thrive in it.  Internally, this was an important moment for Jaw Finder, externally, they scurried around the cabin licking all of Shanna's stuff and then stared at her with a blank expression for a bit  from across the room.

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Shanna gathered the remains of Mr. Fuzzlewumps to her and sniffed only once. To her credit, she did not break into a ball of hysterics and instead laid the bear to rest in a trash bin just on the other side of the bed. 

"I know it's made of plant fiber..." She muses, looking quite confused as to why that was such a surprise to Jaw Finder. Perhaps it expected something else? Perhaps Jaw Finder expected all things to be made of meat and deliciousness. Thus, that would be a lie. Many things in the world were NOT made of delicious things. Shanna ponders a moment what a homeless person might taste like. Despair? Her attention returns to Jaw Finder as it scurries about the cabin putting its tongue on things that didn't belong to it. 

"Uhm..." She wrinkles her nose briefly. "I don't imagine any of that tastes very good." Shanna then turns to look at their heading, pleased with the direction that the airship has taken. As it moves, Shanna shows Jaw Finder all the controls and delights in making it pose and stand still as she sketches it into her journal. Jaw Finder is rewarded with bits of jerky for all its discomforts, however.  It only takes a few hours for them to reach Umbra, where Shanna leaves part of her bounty with a man named Ricardo, who promises it will be delivered to Rafael with the most haste. 

Pleased with this outcome, Shanna stretches a hand out to Jaw Finder. 

"Hey, do you wanna keep exploring? We can explore Umbra, or we can go somewhere else, Like the Cavern of Blades, or even Bloodstone Marsh, or Union City, or...Lots of places!" 

 

 

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Jaw Finder had little care for Mr. Fuzzlewump's funeral, sentimentality for the dead or for a plant did not come easily to Jaw Finder, together was an even harder sell. 

understanding the concept of a control panel was also difficult, the cockpit wasn't too hard of a squeeze but is was still something built for soft bodies and not a giant lizard.  Jaw Finder was able to follow  'Ahmaij' pointing at a surprising number of buttons and switches that all had specific functions, well following to the extent that they could name each button but still had no idea how to actually control the ship, it was a lot easier when soft body vehicles were moved with sails or pointing an animal in a specific direction, Jaw Finder understood that better as an animal with sails. 

the trip wasn't long and not much was said.  most of it was Jaw Finder being poked and prodded and having to stand still in weird positions, Jaw Finder did not mind standing still and Shanna seamed to have pleasure examining them, so they were willing to put up with it.  the dry salted meat of a 'Jerky' didn't hurt either.  For Jaw Finder this also brought back memories of their hatchlings when they would get old enough to be curious of their parent.  a lot of time had come to pass between then and now.

The city of Umbra was quite unique, with its tall buildings and narrow streets it felt like a city combined with a ravine, the strong winds going along the roads because of the tall buildings felt comforting while the sound and abundance of different soft bodies brought concern while Shanna probably pulled Jaw along by their hand.  Jaw Finder noticed many soft bodies take heed of them, but with the range of breeds, Jaw Finder wasn't as foreign a being as in smaller settlements.  The city also shared an energy with the Jungle, a feeling of blood and desire permeated every scent in the air.  It was intense in scale but not boiling.  it was like a pit of lions who were hungry, but not aggressive.  eventually there is a building that Shanna stops at, leaving Jaw Finder to go ahead inside, Jaw Finder follows in through the door bumping their head on a small bell to see Shanna handing over something to a soft body and asking him to deliver it.  this soft body then heads off to some unknown direction, Jaw hears Shanna's question and looks down to see her hand outstretched.  "I holds little knowledge of cities or what titles specific places hold, this place is strange and could hold strange flavors along with it.  Jaw Finder holds a wish to see if 'Ahmaij' possesses a respect for other.  you gains sight of where a hunter would go, decide, and I shall tread the path made by the decision."  Jaw Finder reached out their large hand and gave it to Shanna to hold.

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96haZ1X.jpg

Umbra was unique in that it also housed part of the royal family. It had tall spires and thick, sturdy walls. It was a den of sin and yet it held a decorum that was unexpected. Shanna particularly loved Umbra, for it had been the first place that she had truly been welcomed. Rafael had opened his arms to the young mage and the gift he offered was knowledge, and Shanna desperately clung to such an offer like a babe to a milk-laden breast. Rafael had only to make the request, and Shanna would drop all else in favor of whatever that request might be. Often, she visited the shrines to their living God (Though some might disagree about the living part), and often she paid tithe happily.

The scaled hand that twines with her own is set upon with a brief gaze, before a grin lights her features and Shanna peers up at Jaw Finder with a vigor that she had not shown prior – most likely due to being chased by murderous plant life.

“Alright then! We’ll head to a secret place. I have a map, and a hope that we’ll find it. Maybe you’ll find more flavors there.” Shanna offers with an inviting smile. “I’ve always wanted to check out Dairut, to see if I can even find it. Supposedly it’s hard to find, but we shall see! Maybe it’ll be easier to spot from the air! But first, we must get supplies.” Shanna rambles, before grasping poor Jaw Finders hand rather tightly as she pulls it through the city to discover many different flavors and scents. There was a multitude of stalls along the way, each selling various bits of food and goods alike. Shanna would stop and offer Jaw Finder something from each stall, ranging from vegetables to thick, sweet gravy covered meats. Her favorite was a hot-dog style meat wrapped in bacon, coated in dough, and fried in one of the large vats over the fire behind the stall.

Shanna, of course, got one for Jaw Finder as well as she arranged for things to be taken to the airship. Fortunately, Shanna had many dealings with these merchants and their response was quite favorable. She hummed happily as they headed back to the landing pad.

“Yosh! Let’s go see if we can find Daruit!” She says with a pleased noise as she chomps down the last of the strange meat on a stick. The airship dock begins to ascend once more to the innards of the ship, which are now filled with boxes of items, fine silks, various foodstuffs, items clearly meant for trade, and of course, about a dozen of the meatsticks.

“Let’s get going~.” Shanna chirps as she heads for the console.

 

[End Quest. Success] 

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