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[P]  Ouverture

Offline Ivandriel Jun 17 2020, 7:45 PM
#1
  • Khogate
  • Age: 30
  • Gender: Male
  • Race: Dire
  • Rank: Kin
  • Total Posts: 58
  • Played by: Isilzheha
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Once the moment came to step over the threshold of the cabin’s office door out beneath the awning the rest of it dropped away entirely. Eirik’s passive aggressive nature and biting voice became more than white noise at the back of his mind, fading into static that drifted out into the rhythm of the bigger droplets of water cascading down in waving sheets. The wind pulled it at an angle, sending it down heavily in droves. Ivandriel felt the chill of it biting against his skin, the dire wishing he had his pelt and resisted the urge to shift. It’d been some time since he walked about in truth of himself, but for that time he’d been here in Svalbard where they would rather take his pelt than let him keep it. For all his daydreaming of oncoming storms and the city slowly collapsing into the sea he didn’t think one would come so soon. It didn’t even bring to mind the shift in weather when he’d escaped the jungle compound with Noah, not now, as the wolf blinked and glanced over his shoulder to the now closed cabin door. The exi would be left to his own comforts wherever he could find them, Ivandriel having forced himself to be a bit more courteous just to avoid ruining what he’d come here for. That he had made a point to make clear, in so many words, and done with a casual air the human kept about him once gearing up to head back out into the rain.

He was used to it. Ivandriel could tell, and had once been fairly tolerant for all that he disliked the cold of it. Even just feeling the moisture on the air had him bristling and not a single drop has touched him yet. Nervously he raked fingers through his hair, shaking out the folded up sleeves to pull them down rather aggressively over scarred forearms. North mentioned where they could go, away from the cabin and the annoying eximius fuming within it for reasons Ivandriel still didn’t fully grasp. He just figured he was being possessive when he had no right to be, and while Ivandriel wouldn’t have cared if the human turned him away after all it had been an amusing thread to pluck at. The wolf felt none of that amusement now, though. Just anxiousness. It was certainly not because he was standing on a slaver ship, nodding his head in agreement about retreating into the hull where he knew there were likely people stashed away in their cages waiting to be sold or evaluated. It was the unpredictable nature of the storm, the way the thunder rumbled in a gurgling growl and the lightning flashed. Luckily it's not gotten so dark, being in the daytime, but that didn’t ease much of his concerns.

North was already stepping out into it, Ivandriel letting him pass to take point as he hovered reluctantly at the edge of the awning. He felt the water spraying against him where it was splattering, tickling against his face with a taunting caress. Already his heart was beating faster, his breaths coming in quicker, but he hid with the tense hunching of his shoulders. It was determination that had him taking the first step, even when the second he did he felt regret. Ivandriel flinched like he’d been slapped when the rain beat against him, whatever the captain had been saying stifled by the heavy drum along the expansive deck. It sounded different on wood than it did on dirt and continuously rising, inescapable puddles turned terrifying pools. Ivandriel’s chin ducked, his arms wrapped around him and he watched it sloshing off the sides of the railings into the water below.

Soaked to the bone and feeling the chill far deeper than the breeze the dire subconsciously matched the captain’s pace, people still marching to and fro to ensure the vessel was as adequately prepared as it could be. Perhaps staying so close to the captain was akin to finding the more dominant one to protect or it was to simply ride the coattails of status just to have a buffer between the ones who spared them passing glances. It was hard to tell with one such as him, who used people wherever he could. None of those glances stuck, but the wolf still kept them within his sights as he battled the oncoming panic. So slight was it, at least to him, that Ivandriel felt like he was containing it well enough. Too cold to notice the chills, too wet to notice the clamminess. His nostrils flared, eyes flitting around to catch each movement. A barrel being lowered and tucked away, someone walking by with a hood drawn. There was a shout or two, each one tearing through him to twist knots into his gut.

Ivandriel felt North at his side, even accidentally bumped into him a couple of times, but he didn’t seem to acknowledge him until there was a shadow moving. The wolf’s eyes lifted, narrowed and suspicious and suddenly alert, until he saw the tarp being held aloft. His ears pulled back, arms still tightly hugged around himself only closing in further, and the dire eyed the human. Ivandriel didn’t know whether to be embarrassed or even shameful at having been so obvious about it when he thought he wasn’t. Or grateful, but still displeased he’d been seen anyways. He was so focused on that the walk had become a ferocious front and center fixation to get from one point to another without losing his grip on what was real and what wasn’t. The deck was wide and open, but it still felt like walls were closing in around him. Pressing in from all sides no matter how small he tried to make himself be to squeeze through. “Thanks,” is all he said, loud enough to be heard when the tense sense of gratitude was chased by another rumble of thunder. Lightning streaked through the clouds, contrasting the growing shadows, and Ivandriel felt North looking at him but chose to turn away.

So many noises were jumbling together even if their “conversation” fell into silence, the wolf stimulated easily from each one even if there were a few he couldn’t pinpoint. Not for lack of trying, a bit of paranoia keeping him on his toes as they approached the stairwell that would take them below. Once inside it was a noticeable clash between stillness and the raging of the storm at this point, the tarp rolled up to be taken by another for whatever else might need to be covered. Ivandriel rolled his shoulders, feeling colder now even when they were no longer being rained on. He’d not noticed his stuttering breath or the way it caught in his throat, the wolf consciously having to regulate it and welcoming the reprieve immediately. His hair was sticking to his face, water dripping from his clothes as they clung to him. North was in the same position, yet otherwise unaffected outside of some of that exhaustion Ivandriel had seen earlier and the annoyance at being drenched again so soon.

The dire didn’t really feel bad. There’d been an agreement to follow up on Ivandriel’s arrival that pulled them from the cabin to find a different means of setting. For whatever it was specifically Ivandriel wanted even he couldn’t be certain, judgment a touch clouded now. All he’d really said was that he was hoping the man had some downtime and plenty of it to do some catching up. Not that there was much there to catch up on, since they hadn’t really divulged anything forever ago. Ivandriel was hoping for a semblance of normalcy, some shred of how things had been before… whatever it was that had happened. Comprehension on that point was limited, other than the fact he was viscerally aware of all that had happened. Sometimes it crept into the most meaningless of tasks, such as walking across the fucking deck of a ship in a little rain. Ivandriel never really cared for the rain, but it had never been like that. It pissed him off that it dug so deep into him, agitating him to no end especially that it had been seen.

Luckily he’d been working hard at maintaining his control, or something as close to it as he could get, because when North started down the steps from the bowels of the ship erupted a terrible cry. Ivandriel faltered on the steps in the captain’s wake, a different sort of apprehension finding him as he worked to pinpoint exactly where the aggressive, challenging shriek was coming from. Where they were heading? It echoed through the halls, sending a shiver down his spine. “What the fuck was that?” he snapped the question, a seething to the words just in retribution for being caught off guard. Not by fault of the captain, who kept leading him along the hallways presumably and hopefully away from what it was that was angered so. It seemed that way, just given the shift in decor and the way the lights grew brighter. Ivandriel brushed away the wet hair, squeezing out some of the water and sticking close to the walls with a casual sideways look into any of the rooms that might be open when they passed. It came with a cautious pace, keeping up with North but now holding a more flighty and arched back of the cat sort of demeanor. Even in spite of that his curiosity was too great to ignore in this instance, and his stubbornness too strong.
Offline North Jun 21 2020, 9:02 PM
#2
  • Corzya
  • Age: 45
  • Gender: Male
  • Race: Human
  • Rank: Slaver
  • Total Posts: 107
  • Played by: Onii
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North had enough experience with Dire and Eximius to maintain a healthy amount of social relativity. He didn't heed much to the way Ivan was reacting to his environment as they moved from one place to another, but he was aware of it. That is to say it wasn't something he felt uneasy about, or something that flagged in his head as unusual. For Humans, certainly--and he was sure the reflexive movements of the Dire would have nagged at the back of many of their heads, his flightiness and the way he exhibited it certainly not typical to the way Humans did, or were used to seeing be done in their midst. For North, he was used to all manners of motion by now. The years he'd been on his father's ship had encompassed only his early years, fortunately, because Eximius and Dire were heavily compartmentalized n o t because of their particular needs and nature and apples-to-oranges existence like they were on The Rembrandt, but instead for far more prejudiced means. After his rough start, he'd been thrust into a world where Humans did not often tread, and the ones that did were often as mad and mean as the man who'd once held him as a tiny bundle. He'd been privy to the unadulterated natures of his fellow kin no matter the skin they wore, and that douse of reality no matter how ugly--from watching Dire companions make due with a feast of Humans to observing Eximius companions' slow descent into Madness--had left him not necessarily BETTER than the average Human man, but simply..abreast of the situation. Just as the doctor knew well what supplies his female crew needed, he knew the particulars of the Dire an Eximius just as simply and cleanly.

It was a tightrope, of course. He may know by statistics certain tendencies by environment or culture or even the embedded instinct, but the individuals couldn't be lost to even the hardest of factual information like that. He did his best to toe the line (and he'd made many mistakes in earlier years, some of which had earned him scars) between understanding and assumption, and had found that sitting back and knowing w h e n to fall back on what he knew was the key. He wouldn't have taken Eirik hunting with him had the younger man not given him the indication that the desire still coursed through him, and now it was committed to memory and was an offer extended to him whenever there was a need to find something or someone.

Despite all that, though..you could ask him w h y, and he wouldn't have an answer. You could ask him w h y it mattered to make such becoming decisions, w h y he took stock of the relative priorities of each race and either gave them that comfort or regulated the rules of the ship to fit it, despite how he had enough power these days that an attempt at mutiny would be futile..and he wouldn't have an answer for you. He would fall back on the idea that a happy crew made good money, and this much was true, but even now, in this case, with the skittish Ivan at his side, he was soon reaching for a leftover supply tarp as they passed it and unraveling the large waterproof sheet over their heads. It was such a fluid, painless act to make, without any sort of ceremony to it, and North didn't even look at Ivan initially after situating the cover above their heads. With his free hand he was palming down as much of the water from his face as he could to clear his sight to the path ahead. All the noises Ivan had responded to the entire walk were nothing to the Slaver--the sounds of voices, heavy footfalls, someone dropping down from a mast ab out 10 feet up after securing the sails. He hadn't known much about the Dire but what he did know, and especially n o w, was that large and loud social groups eluded him. For how long who could say, but there were some things about the man now that North didn't exactly remember being there when he'd first come across him. It may have just been time that washed it away though, and he can for sure remember the way the man was almost literally bristling at him when he'd woken up too late to get off The Rembrandt, so he's somewhat convinced that maybe he was always this jumpy.

“Thanks,” North glanced over at that though, and gave a fair nod. "..Soire," he responded just as simply, didn't make much an internal fuss about the aversion, and kept on their way. When they reached the hooded portion of the deck that kept the grand stairwell shielded from the elements, North rolled up the tarp as compact as possible and lay it against the wall before attempting to forcibly wipe the rain back off his large biceps. He grumbled without words attached, his brows knitted and agitation clear on his face. It was always colder when you stepped in from the rain, and while he didn't feel exactly cold to his core or anything, there was more than enough discomfort to grumble about.

At that point, they descended. The Rembrandt was built was built in layers, with the captain's cabin on level with the deck for easy access, and the actual helm set just above it, the highest point (minus the masts) largely encased in glass save a small bedroom, which instead of the Slaver being the one alternating between the levels, Agnes had almost exclusively dwelled there for the ship's entire lifespan. Below the deck, then, lay a series of floors where each held their own purpose. And as though the terrible beast could s e n s e him getting closer, North didn't make it but a few steps down before he swore the bastard screamed his name. He'd slowed at that because even a man who knew what secrets his hull hid could not possibly be immune to such a piercing, a n g r y cry. He even jumped because he wasn't expecting it, but shortly after came a "Ah fuckin--" bitter start with no end as he started moving again. “What the fuck was t h a t?” He briefly paused when Ivan asked, turning to give him a glance in an attempt to show him that his concern, at whatever level it must have been, was worth the pause to address. Most of his considerations were small ones such as this. "One of them Basilisks," he answers before turning back towards their destination and continuing on their way, "name's Arimasp. Ari for short, Bastard if you wanna get fancy with 'im. Gonna baaarely hear 'im where we goin, no worries." Well, he hadn't tested that personally, but Shirii had told it wasn't very jarring in some of the better rooms.

The environment changed with each descend they made, as did the amount of people they encountered or the sounds they were making; "The Den" full of laughter, clinking of glasses, tumbling bodies and snapping jaws. The Staterooms far more quieter but nonetheless chatty, many doors shut but some wide open with groups congregating with their familiar cliques. The Kitchens full of barked commands, fire crackling, wheeled trays and weighty plates being slid across a counter along with their decadent aromas. Then The Bordello, or Workhouse as it was often called, a rather surprising contrast to the earlier levels of the ship where it was not only louder but with far less infrastructural tact. The rest had been for optimization, function, but it was clear here that aesthetic and wonderment was its primary charm. The walls were thicker, more soundproof for both those on the outside a n d inside of the rooms, the hallways rustic in appearance with the floors glossed and polished. A slight perfume hung about the floor from the potpourri vases around the perimeter, intentionally discreet enough to not agitate the more sensitive of noses.

The Rembrandt had a rather surprising stance on its foray into prostitution. The rooms acted less as a place for clients and more as a place for the ones who would be prepared to work the cities during their stops at port. Staying on this floor was more a perk to being in the business than it was the entire workplace itself. In-house work was on the very backburner of the brothel's contribution to the ship's overall income. For those more fastidious customers who wanted an entire experience, (after vetting) they were free to book out their stay with an inhabitant of their choosing...but at the price of EVERYTHING, of course. That meant the room (prices varied), the company (prices varied), the sex (prices varied), and of COURSE the food (again, prices varied). Seeing as they were carrying around an individual with money to burn and enough privilege to fearlessly spend many weeks at a time on a Slaver's ship, the bills were shamelessly high, and the worker who had to stomach their extended stay tended to see a much higher cut than if they were merely standing outside a tavern luring interested parties over.

Because the workers were living here, because this was their home more than it was their place of work, it came with its own culture. With that came individuality and, naturally, competition and pecking orders. ...and it was something North didn't even try to mess with. Shirii was the queen here, and whoever else was given power amongst their ranks, and he didn't question it. All he did was take the paperwork from the Siren or her cohorts, sift through and separate into "receipts" (here's what we made) from "requests" (here's what we want) pile and either approve or deny said requests before sending it to Javel who made the magic happen so that their supplies would be ready by the time they pulled into the next port.

Some rooms were larger than others like any inn or complex, and naturally the lesser known (or, more disliked) faces were left in more standard spaces trying to make it work with what they had. If Shirii was displeased, or if she felt that investing in the requester was a waste of money, any requests someone made to head up to the big boss was never even filed by her. As a result, the prettiest rooms were belonging to the best behaved, most experienced, and well liked. Customer reviews played an important part in getting Shirii to notice your name on the roster, a foot in the door, but ultimately it was nothing more than that and, of course, for status. The 4.5/5s were always mingling together, only the 5's were allowed to share a bed with the serpent queen, such and so forth.
Arguably, and none will contest it, the side of the ship ruled by the North was far less frightening than the deceptively-alluring side ruled by Shirii.

Lastly, there were the static rooms. These were furnished beautifully and could be claimed by none to live in. They were "static" because they were left vacant, locked tight, and reservation-only. One in particular, a rather large suite space, was almost never stepped foot in except to be dusted. There were two keys to it--Shirii with one and, of course, North with the other. It was quite the experience but it would take more than money to stay there. Typically, royalty of some higher status would do the trick.

Or, if you were North Cristiano. The reason for that would be obvious once you stepped inside. And as they'd finally reached the large mahogany double doors, his his skirted around to his hip and fiddled with the heavy keyring before snatching it free. The cleanest key that stood out was the one he plucked aside, pushing it into the lock and popping it with the slightest turn of his wrist.

It was overall rustic, warm and sophisticated just from the glance of the front room. The dampened light from the stormy wall-length window streamed in and gave the place life, brass glittering from the faces of custom lamps, busts and other curious things. It was, in effect, like stepping right into the older man's head. The difference between this place and his cabin was that he also worked in his cabin, and so naturally he dedicated a good amount of space to his many files and supplies. Here, there were no such things in sight. It was a functional storage space for him, essentially, and when he needed a break during a tough season (and could actually forced himself to take it) he tended to slip down a few levels on his ship, step into this place full of curious acquired goods, lock the door and disappear.
If his winter palace had been closer to him at all times he would have much preferred that, but this was certainly a beautiful space all the same.
Sometimes he just enjoyed being able to play with the toys he'd been collecting, antique and priceless, relaxing in their midst. Much of it had been taken from his home in Svalbard when he'd stayed there raising Andrew decades ago, when he had a whole house worth of space to fit things into. Some of it, however, were nice auction pieces he'd bought or curious gadgets he'd even come across that were from the innovative Ballasburn itself. He wasn't quite sure how someone like Ivan would take the strange scenery--it could either be heavily stimulating for curiosity or it could be a stressing culture shock. "Make yerself comfortable," he announced as he slipped behind Ivan to shut the door, "Got plenty places to sit, get warm n all."
Offline Ivandriel Jun 22 2020, 3:51 PM
#3
  • Khogate
  • Age: 30
  • Gender: Male
  • Race: Dire
  • Rank: Kin
  • Total Posts: 58
  • Played by: Isilzheha
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Fear is a powerful motivator for most. If you didn’t become crippled by its potency, that is - frozen in place waiting for the final nail to be driven in and for your world to go dark. It could make monsters of men, twisting endurance and confidence into desperation and self-doubt. It is also infuriating and frustrating. Degrading, even, and went against everything Ivandriel knew and had been taught as a pup. He’d learned a lot in hunts and in dealing with humans especially, a few of them more Mad than the eximius themselves. He’d also endured a lot because of it, but this was one fear that was excruciatingly vexing. Just simply being drenched was entirely too much, dredged up a number of uncomfortable experiences, and that rightly pissed him off. Fear could also be a tantalizing drug, enticing and exciting in the small doses that could test the best of living creatures. Ivandriel was no stranger to that. That type of thinking has gotten him into trouble at times, a few of them more detrimental than others, so he found himself subconsciously being more cautious when navigating the streets of the city. Some curiosities went untouched, completely overlooked by the one who normally would have no issue putting his hands where they usually did not belong.

Even though he’d sat in the captain’s chair the wolf had kept to himself. Despite simply not having interest in poking about the human’s business in that aspect, Ivandriel also knew better. He should have known better to the point he didn’t take the more important seat, but it was a new concept. One he didn’t fully understand yet. What he felt crossing the deck in the rain, his face covered with it and the majority of his shirt and pants soaked, just set him further on edge. It crawled beneath his skin, through the tension in his shoulders and down his spine like a living creature no amount of digging could reveal. Even being a thrillseeker the dire had never truly felt detrimental fear, the kind that came in the struggle of life and death or could be seen in the eyes of the prey he hunted. North not acknowledging it in all the ways he could have helped to ease the agitated wolf, especially because he clearly didn’t want attention drawn to it in the battle to keep it at bay. Knowing they were nearly there helped as well, so when they stepped inside it was instantly relieving. He could still hear the rain and the thunder as well as see the flashes of lightning beyond the windows. The boat groaned and seemed to breathe like it had a mind of its own, Ivandriel confident he had felt it moving that time.

Something else terrible and alive dwelled in the boat, it seemed, and caught them both off guard. Ivandriel had been behind North so he saw the slight jump, but it was corrected almost as soon as it happened. Recognition played part in that, but the dire was not convinced it was anything to ease up about. North glanced back at him, just a small twist of his torso to look over his shoulder as Ivandriel paused on the steps. ‘One of them Basilisks,’ he explained, as if it explained much of anything at all. It certainly didn’t help stave off the apprehension. Ivandriel frowned. Arimasp. Or Bastard. The human tried to soothe the worries by telling him they would barely hear it, but that idea felt foreign after hearing its cry. His doubt dug holes into the back of the human’s head, but he followed him anyway. “Oh, is that it? Just a basilisk. Sure, sure,” he replied evenly, though it wavered with its obvious sarcasm.

He was aware he didn’t have to be following the captain down. He didn’t have to be here at all, and obviously there were a couple on the ship who didn’t really care for his presence already. Ivandriel could have seen the sails, the distinct shape of the vessel in the harbour, and kept on the path back to the inn to retire for the day. Especially feeling that a storm had been coming on. But he didn’t, and the reasoning behind that eluded him. Not entirely, given the desire for satisfying distraction and maybe some more energetic company. Noah was quiet these days. Already there were questions rolling about in his mind, and the dire clung to him on their descent into the yawning jaws of the Rembrandt. It was better to focus on those than the secondary cry, quieter this time, that slithered its way through the halls. That one was more crooning, not quite sad but saying something nonetheless. Thankfully they were moving away from it, and Ivandriel tried to force it from his attention for now. It still turned back the remains of his ears, still caused his shoulders to bunch and his eyes to wander into the openings of the rooms. Tracking the movement, listening to the conversations both crystal clear and muffled by wooden barriers.

Smoke coiled about in some of them, smelling thick with flavor that meshed together. Ivandriel’s nose wrinkled, the wolf lagging a bit behind the captain in his observations of those they passed. He found himself looking at their faces when they walked by, tilting their bodies away to avoid collision and giving the human their greetings. Some were just being polite on their way to doing something else, but others were genuinely happy to see the man. None of them meant anything to the dire, just ghosts striding by to exist elsewhere. It wasn’t the same as the compound. Whatever masks these people wore were subtle or painted with makeup. They didn’t give him lingering looks, and despite Ivandriel’s unrest he didn’t particularly feel like there were eyes upon him. Place that with the fact that the décor became more welcoming than the utility of the ship otherwise and Ivandriel started to unwind again. He’d not had an in depth tour of the vessel the last time he was on it. In fact, he hadn’t actually seen that much of it. He knew the cabin and portions of the hull, the open expanse of the deck and where the thing was actually manned to give it direction, but he’d not been to see the product. He knew they were down here, and the basilisk had to be among them, but Ivandriel didn’t have the interest at the time in such things.

There was a lot to look at, a lot to smell. Baked bread, roasted meat, steamed vegetables and a whole slew of other things. While it smelled pleasant, stirring a primal desire for consumption, Ivandriel didn’t feel all that hungry. That all faded into the perfume of the final stretch, the wolf feeling like they’d been walking forever when he lent control of their direction in North’s hands. It gave him time to see the patterns of the carpeting and the carvings on the walls, all of it given warm light by the sconces that hung safely down the lengths of the hallways. Ivandriel was so wrapped up in it that when North stopped at the double-doors he almost bumped into him, stopping himself just shy of it to step around at his flank with an idle glance in his direction. Then it shifted to over his shoulder, not realizing when he’d crossed his arms again.

The doors themselves were large and carved with painstaking detail from the looks of it. Ivandriel’s gaze wandered over it, following the grooves to the lion head knockers. Once North found the key he was looking for, unlocking the door to push it inwards Ivandriel was certain he’d seen a glint of silver in their eyes. It was all very interesting in an absent way, but it wasn’t until he stepped inside the room that such a sensation changed. He didn’t get but maybe a few feet inside before he stopped, bombarded with a plethora of things to look at. Most of it was still, but his focus was dragged to the pendulum swinging of a larger clock that ticked softly. There were some liquids in bottles that gently swayed. Decorative, not for drinking. There were ships in bottles, too, among other things encased in glass. Lightning flashed through the wall of window, Ivandriel’s fingers curling into the wet fabric of his shirt. This room was vastly different from the others he saw. It was large, too, with an upstairs and downstairs where they were. A bed tucked up in an alcove that was decorated to look more like the outdoors than the rest of the place. Opposite of it, in the other corner, a large marble tub.

All of it was in the open, finished wood floors reflecting the soft, diffused daylight outside. It all felt very personal and intimate, in its own way. Cozy. Ivandriel felt better for it already being in here, more so than he had just getting out of the rain. It was quieter, except the odds and ends that made their noises. Though it was soft, the rain echoing against the glass in what would have been a pleasant rhythm if the dire didn’t hate it entirely. ‘Make yerself comfortable,’ North said, and Ivandriel reflexively turned his head towards him. He’d been lost again, this time in a bit of awe, to the point he’d almost forgotten his presence. ‘Got plenty places to sit, get warm n all.’ He closed the door, and Ivandriel stepped further into the room with a push of breath through his teeth. It was a slightly humored sound. “And then some,” he commented, tilting his head to follow the lines of the grand bookcases that extended up to the second floor on one side. There was a vast collection of bottles behind glass on another, broken up in their monotony by bronze busts of people the wolf didn’t hope to recognize. Beyond that there was so much else to look at, sitting out on tables that looked like molten gold.

Ivandriel’s head tilted at that one, eyebrows creasing as he walked around the table and watched it shimmer. It looked realistically like liquid, but was holding fast where it was stationed. The wolf unfolded his arms, taking up a weird-looking device that started to roll in its center when he did. He looked quite perplexed turning it over, the etched gold catching the light and the sphere continuing to move with the motions even if the other parts didn’t. Ivandriel poked at it, about to ask what it was when a close clap of thunder caused lightning to strobe in the room. It made him flinch, then he was annoyed again. North had already moved further into the room as well, the wolf striding by with purpose to one of the ends of the too large window. Even the rope holding the curtains looked fancy. Ivandriel pulled on it, the curtains swinging out to slowly eat away at the light until they were cast in darkness.

Not but moments later did the lanterns he’d seen sitting on some of the beams burst to life with flame at the natural calling of Magic. The pillars were lit up first, then eventually the majority of the room when fire hissed within them to cast a more comforting flicker of light around the rustic room. With the walls being dark and shadows tucked in the corners now, the wolf felt more at peace. Satisfied, he stepped down the two steps leading up to the window where there had even been some seats to recline in. He eyed North for a second. “So,” he said finally as he passed again, resuming his interrupted browsing, “Ari, hm?” He’d not forgotten that. Ivandriel stooped to lift a finger and tilt one of the glass containers that looked to have some strange liquid in it. It was blue, thicker than the water, and there was a significantly smaller ship following its waves. He watched it bob for a second, looking at North over the top of it. “Seems you’ve been quite busy collecting things.” He didn’t mean just the basilisk, or even the strange object he was fidgeting with, but he didn’t specify the dejected eximius. Ivandriel straightened himself out, looking around again and realizing now how little he’d actually seen in the past few months.

Dull inn rooms, the stained walls of the taverns, the dreary usually wet streets. At least in this portion of the coastal city. He’d been understimulated even if that was largely his own fault. “Basilisks wouldn’t have been my first choice of a pet. I’ve heard they are terrible through and through. Like manticores, but far more primal. Manticores like to play with their prey in brutal ways,” he murmured, already having moved on to a different table sitting next to a glass case. His mother told him tons of stories of rare beasts in the world, trying to make them sound both terrifying and beautiful in the same stretch. It’s what she’d heard from sailors like his dad supposedly was, and that there were lots of them if one knew what they were looking for. It was stories like that which awakened the curiosity within the lone wolf and pulled him away from the comforts of his own home. That of which was probably rotting away by now. Ivandriel spun the disk, then another shifted within what he assumed to be some kind of puzzle he held now. There were portions that needed to align with others, either to make some message or an image appear. He could have been lost in that for hours, so he put it down for now. In the case itself there were coins of all kinds of different sizes and makes, some of them even carved intricately.

Ivandriel noticed North pouring himself something to drink, but for once he didn’t immediately gravitate towards it to try and get some for himself. Something on one of the eye-level bookshelves across the room caught his eye. It was… moss. In a glass case, with some other plants. There were rocks and some other plants, but they didn’t seem likely to be getting oxygen. “Where did you get all this stuff?” he asked somewhat incredulously, looking over the spines of the books now. These were more worn down, and Ivandriel didn’t bother to try and read the spines of some of them. He pulled out a lighter-colored one, flipping it over to see the illustration on the front. There was a knight on a horse, but they looked unrealistically disproportionate. A children’s book, he knew. “Was this yours?” he turned enough so that North could see it, lifting an eyebrow. Either that or he had children. Perish the thought. Ivandriel put it back, tracing the front of the shelves with their carved bookends and other assorted sculptures. Some were wood, others were marble or bronze. Women with braided hair, men with lots of wrinkles and looking stern. Horses, dogs, tigers, and lions.

He was already sufficiently distracted, even forgetting that he was still wet and uncomfortable even if that hovered at the back of his mind. It was also dripping a bit on the floor where the ornate rugs aren't covering. The floorboards creaked beneath his weight in some spots, but he stopped at a space in between the bookcases. Some contraption was sitting on the table there, looking entirely odd with what looked to be a portion of an instrument attached to its box-like base. A glossy black disc, like plastic, sat upon it already. Ivandriel was intrigued immediately, starting to test some of the pieces as if they could move. “What is this?” he wondered aloud, bending to see beneath the wider opening that looked carved as well. There were some letters etched into it, but he didn’t know if they even meant anything outside of who it might have belonged to. Towards the base there was a needle, Ivandriel almost grabbing it from the wrong side until he noticed it. His eyes narrowed, index finger and thumb pinching the arm to move it back and forth. There was a bit of resistance to it, a tension built in, but he wasn’t sure what it was even supposed to be for. Until it was dropped about halfway to the center of the dark disc.

It took it a second, but then it was spinning. Some kind of Magic, maybe, stored within as he didn’t see how it could have started. Then there was music that startled him. Ivandriel backed away from it, crossing his arms again only this time in annoyance. His ears didn’t adjust at first to the tune, and it was definitely odd to hear what should have been coming from multiple instruments in one device. A woman was singing, and it all sounded sort of muted. Pleasant, nonetheless. “That is very odd. Never seen or heard anything like it before. I suppose that’s the perks of traveling like you do? Some of them, that is,” he said, turning back to North. He had found one of the nicer couches towards the center of the room that looked fitting for larger parties, if one had the interest in such a thing. The entire spacious room was neatly portioned out. Ivandriel crossed the space to get himself a drink, this one darker and smelled like whiskey. A box of cigars was sitting on the table in between the furniture when Ivandriel returned. He still didn’t sit just yet. He did, however, lean on the arm of the opposite armchair to look down at the human. “Are you sure I’m not… disrupting anything?” It was asked with something of a smile behind the glass as he took a drink.
Offline North Jul 16 2020, 12:44 AM
#4
  • Corzya
  • Age: 45
  • Gender: Male
  • Race: Human
  • Rank: Slaver
  • Total Posts: 107
  • Played by: Onii
170 Mana · View All Items?
It wasn't often North could peel himself away from work or group merriment to come down this way and enjoy himself. He'd be offered by some familiar faces on the floor some "company," but typically if he was down here then company was the very last thing he wanted. He would lock himself away and enjoy all his things, a great many pieces of his history stitched together to create a cozy living space frozen in time.

North felt as though he were getting more and more tired far easier these days. Of course it was mostly in his head as it wouldn't take a mere year to age him beyond the point of no return, but he had been pushing himself more and more lately with Ari on board. Free time that had once been reserved for poker or drinking or a fucking n a p even was typically foregone in place of more work, all so that he might be finished with his to-do list earlier so that he could devote long stretched of undisturbed time working Ari in his enclosure. That work in and of itself would tire out anyone, let alone a man who wasn't doing solely that as a living that kept food on the table. Eirik was always fussy about it in some way, reminding him of his promise to make him a wardrobe out of the beast should he be unable to make worthwhile headway with it, and he didn't quite like (of course not) that the man was devoting so much time in such a...dangerous position. North always did his best to reassure him, but he knew it was futile.

In any event, North was content getting a drink and eventually sitting on the couch the rest of the way truthfully. After all, he hadn't really gotten to sit down in quite some time, because the moment he'd planned on it, he realized he'd had a guest waiting for him.
The previously-dark space was soon bright, the candles simultaneously alight with fire as the wolf made himself at home. The window was opened to reveal the grayed out stormlight, a soothing aesthetic for a man accustomed to being at sea. It tended not to be a shared sentiment with the greenhorns aboard, but someday they would understand. For the most part North nodded and affirmed the idle conversation from Ivan, his eyes following the Dire stricken with curiosity. He supposed it was harmless enough as long as nothing was broken. “Seems you’ve been quite busy collecting things.” North chuckled idly at that, a knowing sound of agreement. "Well, ya been on the sea as long as I have 'n ya find all kinds 'a stuff comin yer way." A lot of abandoned things, a lot of stolen things, and a lot of things left without owners once the slaver himself made an appearance. All part of the business.

“Basilisks wouldn’t have been my first choice of a pet. I’ve heard they are terrible through and through. Like manticores, but far more primal. Manticores like to play with their prey in brutal ways,” North had been so used to Ari as a fixture on his ship that he'd long since forgotten that they'd ever heard the beast cry on their way down here. It was a surprise that Ivan was still dwelling on it long after the fact, but North figured that it wasn't everyday that many people found themselves all that close to one. ...Or a Drake for that matter, but Lionette wasn't the one making all the fuss. "You ain't seen him runnin' about, have ya? Ain't like he all that able to be dangerous to the general population. Got it under control. Basilisks're big fer sure, but easy. Honest. Get in their foundation and ya're in their heads." Of course it was easier said than done, but that method was what drove him continuously. He could see the end of the struggle and that was why he kept at it. So, with that, he waves away the comparison. Manticores were a very different story.

North eventually stepped over to the bar to make himself a drink while allowing Ivan to continue exploring. By now he felt enough had been established the last time they met, such that he didn't feel the need to hound the man's every movement, and was able to briefly turn his back and pour a glass. “Was this yours?” North turns briefly to take a look at the book he was holding. It was an old thing, rugged on the edges, partially faded on the cover. A book with thick pages. It brought back quite a lot of memories, that specific book. There was nothing glorious about being a single father at such a young age, but he could remember very blatant highlight moments throughout the experience raising his eldest Andrew, and that book had captured one of them. "s' a popup book," he answered, "first one I ever seen like it. Got it from Ballasburn, long ago." He remembered the look on little Andrew's face as they sat there, in their new living space in Svalbard, empty and without rhyme or reason with what they did have to their names. Stress, fatigue, f e a r that they'd been found or eventually have to move elsewhere to survive, and a general uncertainty being on his own for the first time in his life...all of it was looming over his shoulders the entire time, and yet watching Andrew starry-eyed at that book was like tucking away the uncertainty and the problems just for a moment of enjoyment. They enjoyed that book together, pulling the tabs and pushing buttons to make other curious characters pop out of the page. North had been just as invested in the pages as Andrew had while they discovered their secrets together.

It was hard to keep up with Ivan's curiosity, of course. There was barely a moment to answer him each time he asked a question, so at some point North adapts and begins saving his breath by assuming them to be rhetorical. He figures that if it was important enough to need an answer, Ivan will slow down. What's this? What's that? It was endearing in a way, like a wild animal's first foray into the highest points of what money and dedication could buy. North didn't mind taking a backseat as far as priority went, and had now retired himself to a seat where he slipped off his shoes and rested his feet up on the glass table in front of him. North briefly took his eye off Ivan to lean back and take a drink of the rum he'd poured himself when the gramophone had suddenly gone off halfway through a song and even jolted him to attention despite recognizing the particular song's bridge. He leaned forward in his seat and caught a glimpse of the Dire recoiling and adjusting to the arcane experience, and felt himself stifling a laugh into a sharp exhale and tepid smile. “That is very odd. Never seen or heard anything like it before. I suppose that’s the perks of traveling like you do? Some of them, that is,” It was a nice recovery, he supposed. No yelling, no fit, no reactive desire to destroy the contraption. Had he noticed he was messing with the gramophone he would have stopped him--not because it was off limits, but because the prior jumpiness he'd seen in the Dire gave him the impression that sudden and unexpected loud noises like starting halfway through a song could have led to a very primal reaction. It seemed to go better than he expected, though. "Aye. Ain't even the strangest thing I got in this spot." he boasted, genuinely proud of all the things he'd worked hard to accumulate over time.

North may not have been Dire, but he was no stranger to body language. He made note of the way the man positioned himself, standing and not yet sitting still, across from him where the glass table separated them. “Are you sure I’m not… disrupting anything?”
He hadn't been expecting that, however. For a moment he wasn't sure what this was about--of course, he DID know, but lingering so far on past details threw him for a loop. Not because he forgot things easily himself, but because he was used to carrying himself in a way that suggested "if I haven't gotten on you about it, then it's no issue," and people picked up on that well enough. He was not nearly as passive aggressive in nature as someone like Eirik, but in turn he was a lot more immediately dangerous when it came to stepping on his toes. Honesty came with a tradeoff. Still, North let that part his policy show with the way he responded, "ahh, what you over there dwellin on stuff fer? If you was interruptin I woulda made sure ya knew that first off 'fore I dragged ya down here. ..you ain't forgotten that I don't spare guests the truth just 'cuz they guests, have ya?" He was of course referring to the last time they'd met--the day after, to be more precise--when he'd not hesitated to lay down ground rules with a threat to shape up or...the alternative. Surely a man who would do that wasn't a man who would heavily burden himself JUST to make a guest feel welcome. "Ain't no need for you ta be so concerned about what's goin on here...unless you plannin to stick around fer a while." A challenging quirk of a brow was made, but it was clearly a playful insinuation more than a genuine interrogation. In reality, it wasn't important to divulge for...whatever it was Ivan wanted. The man came and went, and some complex things weren't necessary to pull him into.

He'd rather say nothing about it if it could be helped, because he also wasn't feeling up to explaining away the Eximius as a slave, a toy, a comfort item. At the end of the day, Eirik was a staple part of his cabin, and that was why he'd elected to leave him there rather than have him leave. Calling him a slave would be diminutive to his status, and anyone who couldn't grasp the Slaver's view of quality, prime bred stock and unique attributes would not grasp why Eirik was cut above the rest and, in so being, the term "slave" was not synonymous to his specific version of "possession." All ships were possessions, but some were more incredible than others. All horses were horses, but some were Quarter Horses and others were Friesians. It was simple to a man like North Cristiano, but not simple to others. And therefore, Eirik had enough quality and preference to him that it made the answer both simple and complicated when it came to explaining to others, and North would rather not simplify the boy's status by explaining. Especially not to a man with whom Eirik had clashed with (as labeling him lesser would create a power hiarchy that the Human man is all too familiar with), and especially not with a man that he himself had a uniquely-unreadable dynamic with.

Passing ships didn't concern themselves about the crews on each other's decks.
Offline Ivandriel Jul 16 2020, 5:28 AM
#5
  • Khogate
  • Age: 30
  • Gender: Male
  • Race: Dire
  • Rank: Kin
  • Total Posts: 58
  • Played by: Isilzheha
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Observations, and good ones at that, could make all the difference in every situation imaginable. Ivandriel had learned that very young, and while it took trial and error to figure out what was important and what wasn't in the grand scheme of things it helped to keep those observations in the back of the mind. Since his escape he'd become more aware of this fact, so much so as to become somewhat paranoid because of it. On edge and uneasy. There were a lot of things that had changed, not that he cared to dwell on that fact. It was foreign to him, but that didn't mean it didn't linger. Ivandriel welcomed the change of pace here in this grandiose room, and moreover accepted the distractions that continued to pull him from one area to the next. It was a lot compared to the way he tucked himself out of sight and out of mind here in the city, shutting himself in the room he had at the inn. North humored him, and Ivandriel knew he was doing just that by the almost reflexive way he responded to some of his inquiries. Unlike the human, though, the wolf paced about with soft steps and wandering eyes.

Ivandriel noticed how he simplified and normalized all that was collected here whenever he brought it up. He knew that to be a difference in lifestyle, so he didn't fixate on it too much. There were similarities, however, where danger was concerned. That was plain as day, seeing as how it wrote itself across half the man's face. Ivandriel had been curious at first, still was in general, but it wasn't necessarily surprising. He thought about what it might be like to not have full use of your eyesight, or have parts of you missing as it seemed so easily it could have happened with the amount of damage. He feared that for quite some time treated the way he had been with the dire in the ruins, and there was a callous sort of way he briefly thought about it now. Cold and distant, like it had happened to someone else. 'Got it under control. Basilisks're big fer sure, but easy. Honest.' Ivandriel lifted a brow at that, eyeing North for a moment. "What are you hoping to do with him then? Can't imagine he would serve as decoration very well," he said distractedly as he crossed to the bookshelves, then tilted his head to peruse the collection, "unless he was dead." That last bit was said with a touch of dry humor.

He'd seen plenty of stuffed and mounted prey animals on walls, even a head or two of bigger beasts he couldn't place specifically. It was something that was done as a means of displaying trophies, but Ivandriel never really understood the fascination. Things died, could be eaten and repurposed, then they returned to the earth. Yet another curiosity presented itself in the form of the book, though that was also given a rather simple answer. Ivandriel didn't think to pry, only pondering the source of where it came from. "I've never been to Ballasburn," he mused simply, stumbling a bit over the pronunciation of the name. He'd not heard much of that place outside of the eximius who lived there and that it was no place for the likes of him. It was all so odd to see for sure, and the dire wasn't entirely certain what to make of any of it other than it seemed personal.

North was the picture of relaxation in contrast to the sudden jolt of noise from the most intriguing thing he'd seen thus far. At first there was an immediate instinct to backpedal when the tune started, then the singing, and with a minor increase of his heart rate he had to still the urge to lash out at the thing making the noise. He scowled at it as his ears adjusted, one of them flicking when the human pushed out a breath. Ivandriel instinctively turned his head to look, a small glance, and saw the faint smile on North's face. He couldn't tell if that was directed at his reaction or the now soothing backdrop of music. Ivandriel's shoulders relaxed, and he watched how the disc spun and the needle pulled smoothly through the grooves. 'Aye. Ain't even the strangest thing I got in this spot.' Almost eagerly he pulled himself away from the strange contraption, clinging to the distraction within a distraction to retreat from the noise across the room. "Mm, is that so?" he asked, looking once more around him. It was all strange in some way, even the things he recognized. "You will have to show me what that is."

Either now or later, he didn't seem to care too much once he'd started to fix himself his own drink. He'd been told to make himself comfortable, but given the somewhat lackluster and relaxed demeanor of the human Ivandriel felt that maybe there was something he was missing. Unspoken words or concerns, perhaps, he couldn't make heads or tails of it. He also could have been projecting, just given the way Eirik had responded to his mere presence. It left him thinking about what he had even come here for. That's what filled the temporary silence that wasn't so silent at all. The clocks still ticked, the rain still pelted the windows, and the music continued to play. Perching himself opposite of the captain Ivandriel studied him, debating if his observations hadn't been so fruitful afterall. His lips quirked when North hardly missed a beat at the prodding question, golden eyes narrowing slightly to pinpoint anything he'd overlooked. 'You ain't forgotten that I don't spare guests the truth just 'cuz they guests, have ya?' The wolf pushed out a breath through his nostrils that ghosted into the glass he held to take a drink, and he sank down just a touch more where he partially rested.

"No, I suppose I haven't," he answered after a beat of silence. It took a second of recollection, but it was difficult to get out of his mind the little cylindrical whistle on its tether. The threats and the sternness urging him to find some manner of peace in the midst of his inner turmoil. 'Ain't no need for you ta be so concerned about what's goin on here...unless you plannin to stick around fer a while.' He perked up a bit to the tone there, and the way North raised an eyebrow. His gaze gleamed a bit at that, and Ivandriel was no stranger to that look. That was all it took to put that to rest, the wolf actually laughing a bit at the insinuation. He pushed himself forward, leisurely rounding the table with a finger pointing up from the glass in his hand towards the human. "He's possessive of you, you know," he commented, knowing it was highly likely North already knew that. "Maybe he even loves you." The irony of that was not lost on him, especially if Eirik was a slave as he already thought he was, and that was heard in the almost taunting lilt of his voice.

Ivandriel smirked, but as he stopped beside the couch where North sat and his head turned away to look at the bizarrely crafted lamp it faded. "Depends on your definition of awhile," he said finally as the woman's voice grew softer and the music faded into the next song, "might be for the best if I didn't." For reasons that went beyond a jealous slave. Ivandriel glanced at North, the feeling as fleeting as he forced it to be in vehemence of getting wrapped up in spiraling thought. "But for now…" he tacked on equally as playfully. His arms stretched out as he trailed off in a look that said 'who knows.' He hadn't really told North his real drive for showing up, but that was because he wasn't even sure what that was. So he defaulted to creature comforts, glass switching hands so that the other could reach out and fingers could encircle North's wrist.

It came with a gentle pull, a tug that urged him up from where he had settled on the cushions with his feet up on the table. Ivandriel let go when he did, walking over to where he'd seen the dark marble tub in the corner. There were lanterns here, too, that lit with barely a blink of the wolf's eye. "Should dry off first if we're expected to get warm," he explained the coaxing, letting his attention drop to the open, empty space of the larger tub. Ivandriel took another sip, setting down the whiskey to remove a towel from one of the racks. He didn't wait for North to say anything or do anything as he stepped up to join him, the dire moving almost methodically. Reflexively, even, and without thought. He liked it better that way even if there were still a slew of questions burning in his mind.

Turning towards the human he looked up, then firmly pushed him just enough that North would know what he was trying to do and sit on the edge of the tub when his legs hit against it. Ivandriel knocked them aside with his knee to step between them, the towel folded enough to drag over the man's hair. Then down the nape of the neck to the arms, Ivandriel taking stock of all that he might have missed in the years that passed with what he could see. It was easy to fall into in this moment when he felt he needed it to calm himself further, the music fighting to wash away the storm outside. Most of the moisture had already dried from the short walk to the room, the rest of it still drenching their clothes and causing them to cling to their bodies. Ivandriel didn't make eye contact, though his focus lingered on the side of North's face engraved with the evidence of violence. His momentum slowed and the towel rested at the human's broad shoulders, free hand rising to cup his bearded cheek almost featherlight. It was an absently curious look, Ivandriel tracing the scars with his thumb before his gaze found North's in their close proximity. "Did Bastard do that to you?"
Offline North Jul 17 2020, 5:16 AM
#6
  • Corzya
  • Age: 45
  • Gender: Male
  • Race: Human
  • Rank: Slaver
  • Total Posts: 107
  • Played by: Onii
170 Mana · View All Items?
He'd not known much of anything about the man, a trend, so North didn't know the extent of what the man had been exposed to. He had no real assumptions about where he's been or where he's headed--it was energy that North didn't bother exerting when it came down to anyone, truly. If they came and went without leaving him with an ounce more information than he had when they'd showed up, the Slaver wasn't particularly bothered by it. If that was the standard of the dynamic, then so be it. For all his loud expression, the man wasn't exactly clambering to tell his life story. "What are you hoping to do with him then? Can't imagine he would serve as decoration very well...unless he was dead." North huffed at that. "Went all that way to catch Bastard, like hell I'm gonna prefer 'im dead." He'd been spared from that fate long enough that it was clear to the entire ship that Ari wasn't quite livestock. "better a functional trophy alive than a pretty wall mount dead. Livin animals, you train em. Make em work. Same I think a whole lotta people would do with a basilisk if they could actually get the damn thing to listen." at least for Humans, it was an almost-natural desire, a historic trend of dominating and training the untrainable. For North it was more personal than "simply because he could," however.

"I've never been to Ballasburn," It wasn't like North was surprised by that. "Ain't the easiest place to navigate for wolves," he says, though it need not be said, "didn't have the easiest time of it myself but I had a good enough guide t'keep me outta trouble. ..bein the disliked minority ain't hit the same as being instinctively hunted by some, though." obviously. It was dangerous, and not even the most equal of men could dispute that reality, lest they become the exact thing they desperately tried not to be: a man who made another race's struggles sound like illusionary child's play.
At Ivan's expressed interest in this unknown thing he had yet to see, North let out a soft "Soire, soire" in response as casual pledge to show him. Later, of course, because North had been on his feet long enough and it this point was enjoying the freedom to sit down.

"He's possessive of you, you know," North let out a small feh! of a breath in lieu of a response and lifted up his glass to take a drink. He knew very well what possessiveness looked like, and didn't often challenge or redirect Eirik's behavior in that regard. After all, it was fitting for a possession to be possessive of the one who possessed it--wasn't it? North thought so. Poetic, really. Shirii was also quite possessive of him, and had been for longer than Eirik had been around, so the man was more than familiar with the concept before the Eximius. Her possessiveness over him was a blend of something emotional and something instinctual, like a predator staking claim to its prey. She was a hunter, and that desire to claim him made her incredibly dangerous both to Eirik...and to North himself. At this point, and especially right now in a state of exhaustion, all North could think about that was that at least she gave good hugs. "Maybe he even loves you." at that, however, North nearly swallowed the wrong way mid-drink. It was a subtle pause, still certainly there, as his eyes eventually fluttered open and he swallowed with a clear of his throat. When he was done, he fixed his gaze onto Ivan with a bold quirk of his brow. "If y'all really came out here to council me on love then we should just get him on in here so we can get right." After all, Ivan still hadn't made himself all that clear on why he was here and North wasn't exactly signed up for or really even ready to partake in mental gymnastics, especially not where Eirik was concerned. Things had been complicated enough as it was--for unrelated reasons--concerning Eirik in general, but at least the boy didn't come 'round asking him to recite the many layers of the Gileadian Model when he came in from a hard day of work. Typically he either let the man unwind alone or he unwound with him.
In any event, North figured enough that it was either a genuine taunt or it was a probing dressed like a taunt to see where the Human stood on that, and in either event the response was the same. He didn't much like philosophizin' while he was too tired to even give a tour of the place.

The next song was something softer, more ambient and nature and almost symbolic to the way the tone changed in the room. Like a segue was taking place both in song and words, highlighted by the way Ivan teased that they were moving on from it. He didn't question the rather ambiguous response concerning whether he was staying a while--after it all, even before Eirik had been around, it wasn't like the couple weeks the man had spent on The Rembrandt was all that planned. If he'd managed to wake up on time, North was sure Ivan would have simply been gone without a trace by the time he himself woke for departure. He had no reason to assume anything else.
At the approach and physical coaxing, North raised a challenging brow at him as though to demand an explanation before he would comply. Ultimately he did stand and in return was released, left standing on his sore feet watching where Ivan was headed. "Should dry off first if we're expected to get warm," At that he understood, and eventually pushed himself to follow suit, striding over with a slow, idle gait. He was still while Ivan moved around him, a clear lack of direction or what exactly he was supposed to be doing. The ambiguity all throughout the Dire's visit didn't get any less prevalent and North was beginning to think it wouldn't as time went on, but once the shorter man shoved him back until the curve of his calves grazed the tub, the man almost instinctively folded at the knees to take his perch.

The half full glass of rum was placed on the lip of the tub on the far side of him, as far as his arm could reach, while his silver eyes stared up at the man who now loomed over him. Soon Ivan was in between his legs without resistance, and once he'd begun drying him North succumbed to the sensation of the towel's warm friction. Despite that he was clearly wound, his eyes shutting but his shoulders still rigid. He hadn't realized how cold he'd become until the plush towel was whisking it away in exchange for warmth. North briefly lost his concept of time while Ivan dried him off. There was something nurturing about it, about him, and despite how they hadn't known each other all that much--or at all, really--it wasn't a trait the Human had really picked up on or expected to encounter from the Dire. The only thing he could do was go with it so as not to spoil the moment, letting out a pressurized sigh as he did so. When finally it ended, he was greeted with the barely-there sensation of a hand against his cheek and that was enough to open his eyes. The eye in question flinched, subconsciously aware of the man who positioned himself primarily in front of it even if the owner wasn't. It was deceptively clear, reactive, normal. Blindsighted, a cortical injury behind the eye rather than in the eye itself. A brain injury. The blunt trauma had been worse than he'd thought, but some of his eyesight had recovered over time in the other eye. Fortunately.

"Did Bastard do that to you?" North chuckled at that. It was a low sound, and not simply because Ivan was so close and he didn't need to be any louder. A thoughtful, idle noise. "Could be worse," he says, "coulda had an arrow put right through my socket, same as him." They'd both lost their vision, a poetic end, but the difference was that Ari's had gone with an explosion and wasn't coming back. North wasn't certain his would ever return, but at least his issue was easier to hide. "...Now, 'nough about Bastard and 'nough about Eirik" it was more commanding than the wisp of sentiment thus far, "you still ain't told me what you're all here about and the way I see it, it probably ain't to chew the fat about my menagerie while you countin my scars." Was he looking for work? Did he need something? A favor, a loan, was he in trouble? It wouldn't be the first time people came out of the waterworks to approach the Slaver, desperate and in need of some type of help whether he'd met them once or met them hundreds of times many years ago. He had no reason to believe that Ivan was making it a tradition to visit The Rembrandt either--because, after all, he had only met him once before this in nearly two years. For North, this was out of the blue. He may not have been debilitatingly paranoid, but he was a man who very much liked to have all the cards on the table. After a brief moment of thought, North answers the silence with a throaty and tempered tone, saying "you just curious about me after two years n' so? ..Got answers to yours if you got answers to mine." fair was fair.
Offline Ivandriel Jul 17 2020, 5:28 PM
#7
  • Khogate
  • Age: 30
  • Gender: Male
  • Race: Dire
  • Rank: Kin
  • Total Posts: 58
  • Played by: Isilzheha
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Ivandriel wasn’t a very sentimental type. There were times he had been, in his past, though that had long since been buried. At least he thought so. Having that focus tended to require some level of connection and bonding as well that the wolf didn’t let people get close enough to figure out. A personal preference and nothing more just given the many times he’d been burned in the past. So all of these things were both curious and understandable, even if he didn’t really understand at all. It was basic knowledge and distant, out-dated experience. When he asked a question, or made a statement, Ivandriel could tell the human was reflexively responding. It didn’t offend him, nor did he feel the innate urge to try to jump down his throat to carry on the conversation for those particular topics. He’d gotten an answer and they were satisfactory enough, so he just nodded and listened. Not to mention there were a lot of things about North he didn’t know as far as behavior was concerned. Well, other than what he’d pressed for a long time ago. Still he is a pirate captain and still he is a slaver, so the dire was content to move from one thing to the next. Should he decide to stay then there would be time to revisit, or he would simply forget and realize it wasn’t as important as it felt initially to someone who had not experienced it before.

Bein the disliked minority ain't hit the same as being instinctively hunted by some, though,’ North said, and there wasn’t any room to argue on that point. The dire were hunted still, like they certainly would always be, in the bigger corners of the world. Sailing to an island full of the ones who were created to do exactly that seemed like suicide. Evidently even dire hunted other dire. Sometimes it was an exhausting existence. As the moments passed Ivandriel let the idle chatter fade away, not interested in continuing to poke and prod when the man sounded as exhausted as he looked.

Their exchanges were concise, not mechanical though and still they held the same air as they had before. Ivandriel found it refreshing. Noah tended to tiptoe around the matters at hand, or just him in general, not that he really showed the other wolf much trust in him outside of acknowledging his hand in helping him. He didn’t know how far that influence stretched, however, or how much of it was even genuine. Even just the fact of who his brother was and what hand he had in it all... it was difficult to tell. North had been up front about a lot of things. He didn’t step around it, and that’s all Ivandriel needed to push aside what little amount of apprehension he had about his invitation further into the ship. It wasn’t surprising that North knew of the shun’s interest in him; Eirik obviously lived in his cabin with how comfortable he had been with the space. All the human did was dismiss the notion with the same way he’d done on his own behalf when he’d taunted the eximius. Ivandriel was amused by that, pushing away from where he was, and it only grew when North all but choked on his rum.

He saw how his throat moved, the subtle twitch of his hand pulling the glass away, and the lingering pause in between his eyes opening and when they found Ivandriel’s. The human recovered quickly from it, eyebrow raised and his look turning pointed. ‘If y'all really came out here to council me on love then we should just get him on in here so we can get right.’ He could only take another drink as he eyed the pirate, but his grin broadened for just a moment. “Don’t know a thing about it in such a way to council someone on it. I can see it in others, though,” he responded evenly, leaving it at that. If North felt the same about Eirik and still hadn’t turned him away yet then that wasn’t on him. That had been the intentions behind the teasing and almost taunting remarks, other than he just found it quite comical. Ivandriel didn’t care if the relative stranger did or not, he just didn’t want to earn a sleep he wouldn’t wake up from or a knife between the ribs. There were other far worse fates, but he knew how jealousy could be. He’d seen it plenty of times over, either secondhand or because of his own assistance in the unfaithful making poor decisions. From what little he did know and all that North had said, this definitely was not a typical dynamic for such things. It was easy to let go of in this instance, and ultimately led to him wordlessly trying to get the human to follow.

Ivandriel caught the resistance at first, and the reluctance to stand as if it caused discomfort, but he stepped up across the space anyways and let the wolf continue to stall. That’s exactly what he was doing, other than simply wishing to do exactly what North had suggested they do in the first place. The explanation was enough, for now, to get the human to fall into the somewhat forceful guidance that just felt more natural. Ivandriel couldn’t explain it, or the absent drive to dry off the other man before himself. He was uncomfortable all the same, albeit not as bogged down by the exhaustions of a day filled with work, and he strongly disliked still being damp. It made his skin somewhat itchy even settling between North’s legs, restless even when his body stilled to focus on the task at hand. Even when he sighed it seemed tense, just as his shoulders continued to be. Ivandriel saw it, but instead gave in to one of the lingering questions.

It earned him a chuckle at first, Ivandriel letting his hand drop away as his ears pulled back to the sound. Not unpleasantly, but it was a response the wolf could relate to in the context. ‘Could be worse. Coulda had an arrow put right through my socket, same as him.’ Of course that was true. It could always be worse. Ivandriel looked his face over, finding the fresh scars again and his silver eyes. It wasn’t just the passage of time that made him look more aged. He took the towel from over North’s shoulder, not saying anything but giving another short nod of acknowledgment. Ivandriel almost said he still looked good, even in spite of it, but he didn’t. ‘...Now, 'nough about Bastard and 'nough about Eirik,’ North said then, a bit more firm to put it to bed, and by this point the wolf had stooped a bit to take the hem of his shirt in his hands. The towel had been draped over his own shoulder this time, and the human went on even as Ivandriel worked his shirt off over his head with telling taps to his arms for them to rise rather than be resistant. He pushed out a breath with flaring nostrils, a quiet sigh, with a look that said do I have to that could have been missed with the cloth being moved.

Ivandriel didn’t say anything at first, gaze dropping away from North’s when the shirt was put over the side of the tub in a way that kept the damp fabric stretched out. He noticed the instinctual shiver with the skin exposed to the air, the wolf taking the towel to wrap it around the man. It was done absently still, reactive to the moment, and he idly blotted the moisture along one of his large biceps with one hand. The other rested on top of North’s shoulder, a finger subconsciously tapping when silence extended between them even if space did not. The music filled it, but it became white noise like the rain and the thunder of the storm now hopefully breaking apart and passing over. In a sense it was the familiarity, not necessarily that it was this human who he’d only met briefly. It was a ship he recognized in a place that felt so foreign no matter how many times he’d seen it coming from Kho’gate. With it was attached a series of events that had been overall pleasant, even if it was unexpected and harrowing all in one go. The same could have been said for anything before the dire had found him in the ruins. He was scrambling for some semblance of normalcy and how things used to be, grasping at straws to do so, and this particular one he knew had no strings attached to it.

No strings to cut into his flesh or wrap around his throat. ‘You just curious about me after two years n' so? ..Got answers to yours if you got answers to mine,’ North proposed then, Ivandriel’s eyes flicking back up to his with a small squint. He knew better, what he’d been shown and told at the very least, than to assume that North was being insincere. Ivandriel never fared well with mind games. The thought that he might be, stranger as he was, hovered at the back of it all. Then the dire’s mouth pulled up just a bit on one side, so faint it could have been just a twitch. There were far worse strangers who had seen and heard more than North had. “Sure,” he said at last, deflating a bit as he did so. He didn’t notice he’d tensed up more. “Plenty to be curious about.” Ivandriel looked away again, this time up to where North’s salt-and-pepper hair sat a bit disheveled. It seemed longer than he might usually keep it, and his beard had felt a touch more scraggly. He smoothed it down in parts with a gentle, scratching pressure, all the while chewing the inside of his cheek as his weight shifted the more he pondered.

I don’t know,” he tacked on somewhat quickly, eyebrows raising, “to answer the earlier questions of why I’m here. Coincidence, really. Like I said. Saw the sails and recognized them. Had nothing else going on, so I figured to see if that was the same for you. Time to kill and didn’t want to- I don’t know. Just wanted some company I suppose.” His voice had tapered a bit towards the end, dropping a bit nearly into a mumble. Ivandriel’s hands ran down either side of North's head when he was finished fidgeting, to his neck and over the curve of his shoulders. What were the odds they would cross paths again once he left? That was the reassuring question he kept asking himself. He wouldn't be looped in to another stretch of time on the ship unless he wanted, free to leave whenever. An odd feeling, even with the supposed freedoms he had again, as he often felt tethered to the dire that had helped him in a not so pleasant way.
Offline North Jul 24 2020, 3:42 AM
#8
  • Corzya
  • Age: 45
  • Gender: Male
  • Race: Human
  • Rank: Slaver
  • Total Posts: 107
  • Played by: Onii
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North may have been comprised of multiple speeds, an expert of people and their many walks of life, but he was not infallible nor was he always focused enough on the task at hand. Today wasn't one of the days were he was remotely in the right spirit to sport as wise an eye as he could have had in this same situation on a different day. Fatigued, short, and inevitably confused due to the prior two, North was pushing his way through a wall in a straight line as opposed to weaving his way under and around said same obstacle. For all he may have done prior when dealing every day with a crew of 400 and however many Product he carried, Bull was still capable of a dense response.

“Don’t know a thing about it in such a way to council someone on it. I can see it in others, though,” A tiny puff of steam may well have hissed through Bull's nostrils as he let out an exhale. For a naturally-chatty man like North, you had to be bringing up the wrong types of conversation to have him respond like it was a burden to entertain. He didn't respond to the prodding, for whatever its purpose it wasn't something that neither benefited him nor something he had the time or energy for.
It set a mood in the Slaver from that point on. One less of ease and more readily prepared to field questions he didn't like how they were asked. His prior experience with the man had, at one point, not been so different so he isn't all that surprised and would truly expect nothing else. And, just like before, he makes sure to quickly put a concise end to the meddling. This time however it was solely with the use of words, no whistle in sight.

The Human was relatively quiet as Ivan dried him off. It was an uncharacteristic moment, one whose silence was piercing. A moment of compressed thoughts resulting in a thickness of the air. North moved when it seemed necessary, raising his arm up or leaning over as the towel passed by in order to make the task easier on the Dire. Where there were no words to skew his already-teetering focus, North was able to pick up morsels of meaning behind the things that were done and not done. In particular, the pressure of the man's hands and the way he idled in some places, tapping at his skin, and the lack of eye contact. To keep one's hands busy, perhaps. Despite the potential personal motive, there were many other ways to distract from a buzzing mind than to be tender whilst doing it, a fact that North took into account as fairly as possible. It wasn't something he'd expected from Ivandriel, that much was for certain, but he certainly couldn't deny that it came at a perfect time when he was worn and high strung.

A bite for a bite. North wasn't about to be the only one answering questions left and right, weathering the prodding and prying. There were things he also wanted to know, and it would be hypocrisy on either of them to ask without answering some of their own in return. North could go forever without knowing the expanse of one's history, and even some of the elite core of The Rembrandt had shared very little to this day..but if you wanted North Cristiano to give you something on request, without the sole decision of his own, then you were going to give him something back. Sure...Plenty to be curious about.” Most certainly. After all, this was a man who'd lied about his employment, his reason for being on the ship, and then left as easily as he had com only for him to arrive just as suddenly as both. North had quite a bit of reason to be curious--at the very least. He ignores the fact that "Sure" is as passive a confirmation as they come and continues. "Ain't know nothin 'sides your name, after all." an idle comment that needed no elaboration. The implication being that he intended on asking perhaps-scathing questions to get the biggest mysteries out of the way early on.

“I don’t know...to answer the earlier questions of why I’m here. Coincidence, really. Like I said. Saw the sails and recognized them. Had nothing else going on, so I figured to see if that was the same for you. Time to kill and didn’t want to- I don’t know. Just wanted some company I suppose.” That changed things. A hard thread of lead in the man's eyes, whether simply grumpiness or targeted accusation who could say, had eased away slowly but surely. His brows unfurled a bit, and his flint of his eyes simmered a bit. To an onlooker the man was no closer to understanding what Ivan wanted--or really whether he was being HONEST about not having a reason to show up on a ship he'd last been stuck on for two weeks--but North, for all his presently-ornery disposition, was still capable of sniffing out changes in tense. The context at which something was said mattered more than what was said, and the fact of the matter was that had the man he met nearly 2 years ago have said the same exact thing in the tone he'd said many things back then, North would have only become more suspicious and more guarded. As it stood, though, he isn't sure he's looking at the same man. The only real question he wasn't convinced he had an answer to was which came first.

He supposed it didn't matter in the grand scheme of things. He sits there on the edge of the bathtub, dressed down with both tattoos and scars--old and new--bare to the room's chillier temperature, staring up at the Dire for just a moment but not too long. With a long, audible and burdened exhale he raises a palm to smooth down his face in thought. When he fixes back to Ivan, that brief expression of awareness of a heavier layer beneath the simplicity of the interaction is gone from the captain's face. "..You ain't cold or nothin? Lemme see here" he announced his intention before pushing to stand, fluidly taking hold of the towel and tugging at it until it was given to him. He did the same for Ivan as he'd done for North, raising the soft cloth up under his chin first and blotting it against his face, raising it up to his clipped and cut ears--careful not to ruffle them--and then pressing and massaging his fingers into the towel to work the absorbent cloth through the man's hair and down to his scalp. He rounded him as he did so, stepping in a way that made his movement obvious, organically brushing against the man's still-wet body to indicate that there was no stealth involved. He had seen how reactive he was outside and knew better not to push it. It was enough that he was trying to position himself behind the feral wolf as it was--to try so without making it clear there were no attempts to be sneaky about it would be potentially dangerous. In here, he doesn't have a whistle. Shirii was nearby certainly, but her participation was dictated by how quickly noise could reach her through these solid walls.

He dried both sides of Ivan's neck from there, his knuckles adding firm substance to the towel as he passed them gingerly down the skin, blotting but not pressing too much or lingering too long. Avoiding the jugular especially, but trying to at least dry the nape and other portions without use of his fingers in case it might be taken the wrong way. He'd dealt with him j u s t enough to know he yielded more to wilder influences, and he'd dealt with other Dire enough to know that it in general it wasn't to be trifled with as it was. As he worked, his breath was just audible enough to make it clear that he hadn't moved position from where he stood behind the Dire, working diligently as he focused closely on the task at hand. The man's tunic was in the way at this point, and while North knows the air isn't the same here as it was at that poker game years ago, he doesn't have reason to believe that m o r e guards have been put up than last time. So he doesn't think too extensively about trying to peel the sopping clothes away from the smaller man the same as he'd done to him. He does at least make it clear that it's his intention, starting at the very hem at his waist, slipping part of the towel wrapped around one hand underneath the fabric as his other hand sought to better peel it up and away from the skin it clung to.
Offline Ivandriel Jul 24 2020, 10:53 AM
#9
  • Khogate
  • Age: 30
  • Gender: Male
  • Race: Dire
  • Rank: Kin
  • Total Posts: 58
  • Played by: Isilzheha
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As someone who is intrinsically antagonistic it didn’t require a lot of attention to see that he was touching on subject matter better left alone. Ivandriel could recognize the signs that had been somewhat present before, now more prominent, within the human’s face. Even as a loner being the most preemptive of those he encountered tended to be a better approach if he didn’t avoid them altogether. He knew where the lines were, unless they were consistently moved, so it made it easier to be antagonistic. Should those lines be pressed it was known to move away from it, even if that was simply stepping to the side. Because of that, should North have not even said anything the wolf would have backed off on his own. None of the thoughts were ones that stuck in such a way as to be focused, Ivandriel simply impulsively speaking his mind to an extent. He’d since gotten the inkling that would not always be wise. The dire was not one to care so much for others as they tended to not care for him, but in this instance he could see the tiredness that went beyond physical exhaustion and the hardness in North’s eyes. That ultimately made him drop the idle observations, already shifting his attention to other things.

Ivandriel was not distracted to the point of being unable to notice the tension either and how it followed them to the tub. While North sat he didn’t truthfully relax, and the wolf didn’t have the mind to ask the immediate reason for it. He wasn’t blind to the presence of negative energy directed towards him, or at least stemming from the human in general who didn’t turn him away but also didn’t show the same energy Ivandriel knew he could have. Subconsciously the wolf matched it while drying the captain off, feeding off of it as he’d done among his own kind. At least here it did not enrage him, or make him feel helpless. If anything it made him feel sort of… bad. He frowned at the thought, as brief as it was. The connections were difficult to make because he’d never made them before. The thoughts existed in his mind and he was painfully aware of them, but where they really came from or should be applied eluded him. He didn’t even know where the impulse to cater to North’s discomfort came from. It might have been a way to vicariously experience something he had interest in experiencing, but thinking about it for too long just frustrated him. So he just acted, and it didn’t feel all that unnatural after all.

He didn’t study his face for too long, though it was evident the human was agitated about something still. Ivandriel still took it at face value, as he’d given him plenty of opportunities from the start to turn him away. ‘Ain't know nothin 'sides your name, after all,’ he said, and Ivandriel remained silent once he’d finished. No attempt was made to ask any questions, however, and an eyebrow raised. “Same for you,” he returned, not accusatory or combative as it could have been. As it might have been, had the dire the inclination to push his luck. He didn’t feel like he wanted to. In a way it was inviting with how matter-of-fact it was, even if Ivandriel couldn’t help but wonder what would even be interesting about his life. He lived in the wilds, hunted with tooth and nail, and only every so often would find his way among the two-legged populations to seek other adventures. Someone else’s lives he became drawn to even if only for a night or two, then he would disappear like they’d never come together at all. In each of those instances it was forgettable, and hardly did the lone wolf allow himself to linger. If he did, he drifted away as easily as he showed up. Things were easier that way.

Ivandriel wished he could say the same about this moment. The fact he said anything at all left a bitter taste in his mouth, like he’d said too much already in the admittance. He didn’t really pick up on the irony of that feeling, considering he had been rather forward about things regarding the captain already. The wolf quieted again when it fell between them, his focus finding North’s face and more than just feeling some of that tension unwinding. For the first time since they’d started to talk Ivandriel thought he might have said the right thing, and luckily for him instead of picking it apart the human’s demeanor changed. The body language shifted subtly, Ivandriel habitually watching for it, but it still didn’t turn dismissive. It wasn’t entirely as receptive as it could have been, but the nuance went unnoticed. His lips pressed together when North breathed out, a hand pulling down his face and breaking connection with one of the dire’s arms as he pulled it back to give him room to move. ‘..You ain't cold or nothin? Lemme see here.

For a moment he wasn’t sure what North meant to get after until he was standing, taking the towel with him from Ivandriel’s grip. He perked up to that, taking a small step back to let him rise, and it was a lot like an animal hearkening to a curious sound. He is cold, he noticed now with the attention drawn to it, but it wasn’t like he couldn’t readily warm himself up. His gaze dropped to the moving hands once they began doing so, not necessarily shrinking away but he almost didn’t let them leave his line of sight until he forced himself to relax. The fabric was soft in texture, softer now on the sensitive skin of his face, and the pressure was comforting. His ears fell back when the towel drifted over them, but it wasn’t until his hair was being dried that Ivandriel’s shoulders fell again after having risen.

There was something about the massaging of the scalp, like a particularly annoying itch being scratched, that stilled the wolf. His sight was somewhat obstructed, head tilting forward to at least see North’s torso and legs, and he felt his arms moving still. Ivandriel closed his eyes much in the same fashion as North had, even if they almost opened again when the man began to step around him. He was acutely aware of it, the quiet scrape of his shoeless feet as they picked up from the wood, and how his larger presence positioned itself slowly. Ivandriel wasn’t alarmed, the pace of it quieting any sudden thoughts behind the intentions of doing what he was doing, but very much aware. When the towel dropped and North’s hands with it to his neck his eyes snapped open, Ivandriel turning his head slightly to catch the human in the corner of his attention. His fingers twitched where his hands hung at his sides with nothing better to do, gooseflesh rising at the conflicting sensations between soothing and threatening. They warred for all but a split second until he realized it wasn’t some underhanded attempt to wrap hands around his throat. In fact, the human used his knuckles instead, and he was reminded how well-versed the man was in the behaviors of others.

Ivandriel took in a breath, instead choosing to fixate on how the towel felt and how the moisture no longer beaded upon his skin. The music still played, this song as unknown to him as any of the others, but it was not as melancholic as it had been before. Or it was a different song. He’d lost track of the storm as well in the back of his mind, having to actively listen to try and find it again. He’d lost himself for a moment, but was stricken back into visceral clarity when the warmth of North’s fingers brushed along his skin beneath the hem of his tunic. His muscles tensed, the towel resting over his right side while the hand crawled higher on the left to pull up the drenched fabric. So dangerously close to the marred section over his ribs, the wolf reactive in how he snatched the human’s wrist in his grip. It was yet another feeling he didn’t know what to do with, eyebrows knitting together as his heart beat faster. Not once before in his life thus far did he feel so self-conscious, but when the reality of being seen again hit him it was a weighted strike.

The scars felt like failures, vulnerability immortalized in so much ruined flesh, and he wasn’t sure how they might look to someone who had seen him without. He’d scars before when they met, but these were vastly different. Ivandriel swallowed as he turned where he stood, the grip he had on North hardly having any pressure at all, and almost as soon as he grabbed him he let him go. There was no reason for it. It was a foolish notion to begin with, especially when North had no doubt seen plenty. For just a moment he looked up towards him, the tub at his back and the human in front of him, and could only give a small tilt of his chin in response to the questioning silence. He was too busy countering himself to voice his concerns aloud, not that he knew how to articulate them. The tunic was peeled up, Ivandriel assisting with the raising of his arms to get the longer sleeves off, and he, too, shivered when the air hit the chilled skin.

The dire fought the urge to grab it right back from where it was draped over the tub, twitching a bit to the press of the towel against his mottled torso. Ivandriel didn’t look at North's face then even knowing he was looking in a way that was natural for the situation, frustration rising at the persistent nagging in his mind to the point his nostrils flared slightly. His gaze drifted beyond the human’s shoulder, finding a point on the wall that housed a carving with little details he couldn’t make out from this distance. The generous absorption of the moisture was still relieving above all else, the wolf almost going back on the commitment to allowing the human to do so. Rather than do that and ruin it his somewhat trembling hands lifted to stabilize in working against North’s belt, finding the buckle to loosen it. Trembling from sudden, unexpected and foreign nerves or adrenaline who was to say. “I’ve told you my reasoning for being here,” he said with a breath, the surface of the self-inflicted tension shattering. There was a lingering afterthought to the way it was said, like that wasn’t exactly all of it. Ivandriel honestly didn’t know how to proceed. So he busied himself with his hands again, leaving North’s trousers open and pushing his hands around his waist to feel his skin.

What else is there to be curious about?” he asked finally, fingers pushing into the loosened waistband of North’s pants to dip a little lower. He just watched his hands move, not expecting to see much on the man’s face but avoiding it on the off chance he might see something he didn’t like.
Offline North Jul 28 2020, 9:04 PM
#10
  • Corzya
  • Age: 45
  • Gender: Male
  • Race: Human
  • Rank: Slaver
  • Total Posts: 107
  • Played by: Onii
170 Mana · View All Items?
North was familiar with many walks of life and while he'd seen others along the lines that Ivan was on, that awareness didn't detract from the intensity of the situation. The man had originally been quite chipper initially, rough around the edges but for the most part confident, in control of his own space and comfortable enough to taunt the Slaver into seizing him across the table. He'd realized the man was more feral than he'd initially thought when it came down to the act itself, and thereafter when he was faced with the bristling Dire the following morning. Naturalism was a spectrum, he observed, and some Dire--like Javel--you couldn't tell apart from Humans. Some of their points of logic may have been the same, such as the banker's preference to station away from others and especially larger clusters, typical of a loner of any type, but generally there was no excess of difference between them. Ivandriel, however, was far closer to the wilder end of that spectrum. The marks he'd left in the table, headboard and bedposts that night was indicative of that, perpetually, even today. Despite knowing all that, the presentation of that wild nature was sharply different now than before. He may have just been a Human, but he knew changes that large weren't normal.

“Same for you,” North grunted idly at that. A small response, impossible to read, letting the man know that he'd heard him at the very least. After a moment, he more formally responds, each item pinpointed by a lackadaisical toss of his head; "...you know I've got a ship. Got people. A siren. Basilisk. Work..." and trails off with a shrug to highlight he was finished listing all the things. They may have been passive gatherings of knowledge, sure, but North didn't even know THOSE things about Ivan. Nothing beyond his name, and that he lied about being a dockhand.
The knowledge of the other was disproportionate.

Having taken into account the Dire's jumpy nature, North went as slow as he thought was appropriate. It wasn't as though he was getting any feedback on what to or not to do, so he moves based on his own tempo. His attention flitted between the task at hand and the man it was for, catching any part expressive part of him to see whether he was relaxing or winding up to take the man's hands off in a single bite. Once he'd finish drying the Dire's hair as best he could and properly dried his neck, all that was left to dry was the parts of him still underneath the cold and clinging fabric. Naturally he went to there next, starting with what he thought was the less offensive place, peeling away the shirt from the side as his other hand brushed against his abdomen with a soft, blotting pressure. The task was incredibly short-lived however, as once he crossed some invisible threshold a hand struck his wrist with a sudden grasp. North may have been a confident man but regardless of all his readiness, the Human was still a mortal man. And because of that he froze, his heart quickening for just a moment, sharing the fervor of the moment between both men. Once he recovered and was set free, North let his arm fall to his side, the towel dangling in his hand.

He was staring back at the wolf now, the thickness of the air between them seeming to take on a physical shape of its own that could be felt. North wasn't cognizant of the way he was looking back at the Dire, his brows pinches and his eyes hardened by questions he decided not to spew so quickly. And as Ivan moved it seemed to break the spell that gripped the Human into silence, the words uttered "..uh, ya'll aint need t--" with a low grumble, abandoned the very moment he found it fruitless to dissuade the wolf from continuing. Once the sopping tunic was peeled off his skin...North's eyes seemed to take its place, plastered on the man's bare skin that had been shredded into, scarred by long nails or teeth or both and somewhere in the mess of it there was a branded burn, not that North had suddenly had keen enough eyes to hyperfixate on the tiny injury among the sea of destruction. Perhaps had he not the profession he DID have, horror may have been the emotion he'd had upon the reveal, but there was no such thing. Visibly, anyway. A hardened stare, steeled like he was heading into battle or into a difficult surgery. Tame.

It wasn't until Ivan made the first move that North had come back to life, revived from a state of ultimate low, a freeze frame, full of thoughts such that they weighted him down in place. It was almost like he'd just come up for fresh air, suddenly cognizant of the surface. Ivan was touching him now with shaking hands either from the cold or something else equally uninviting, but in his head. North wasn't so sure which. But the taller man was suddenly locked onto the shorter man's hands as they worked at the belt of his soaked pants. “I’ve told you my reasoning for being here...What else is there to be curious about?” his hands were so warm against the pirate's cold, frigid skin. The sensation spread, a soft emanation, the location both distracting and invigorating. North didn't respond to him--not at first. Instead, in a single fluid motion he swung the towel around the man's shoulders and allowed it to spill down his back to the small of it like a cape, his hands then running up ang down the soft fabric to blot away the cold.

"Well..." he didn't remember saying that with real intent. It was like his head had become so full of words that one of them slipped out from the overflow. And at that point, it became easier to say others that had more conviction to them. "..seein as you been asking me questions left and right...how about where you come from?" Maybe it wasn't question Ivandriel thought he would ask. As he dried the man, North kept a peripheral eye on where his hands were, what they were doing, and when. He stepped forward with a shuffle of his tired feet, a staggered movement that lagged just enough so that it wouldn't appear sudden and, therefore, threatening. Once he was finished working some friction-based warmth into the man's back...he moved to dry the front. Slowly, but without fear so much as the simple reluctance to cause further discomfort. He'd done the same for the front as he had with the back, hanging the towel on the man's shoulders except at the front, allowing it to drape over his tattered front. North smoothed his large, calloused hands down the fabric delicately, picking up the moisture with ease. "You wanna take those off on yer own too, then?" He asked with the assumption that Ivan would prefer he not carry out the deed himself. Whether it was because the scars were still physically or mentally sensitive, he had no idea. All he knew was that the Dire who'd swiftly offered himself up to a struggle against a poker table two years ago..wasn't here.
It wasn't in the Human's intention to find out why. The context didn't change the fact.
Offline Ivandriel Jul 29 2020, 6:00 AM
#11
  • Khogate
  • Age: 30
  • Gender: Male
  • Race: Dire
  • Rank: Kin
  • Total Posts: 58
  • Played by: Isilzheha
300 Mana · View All Items?
This was the first anyone had seen it all bared. Humans and eximius alike had been able to witness the pinched and pulled scar tissue that ran along both of his forearms should they pay attention, and perhaps even some of the thinner scar that snaked down into his clothing. He'd heard their whispers, known them to cross the path to avoid being on the same side especially when he'd made eye contact. If it had been only for an intimidating nature Ivandriel would have found it to be cathartic and let it feed into his ego, but he knew the true source of it. A lot of them were disgusted or stunned, though most of that certainly could have been projection. He knows what it means among his own kind, though luckily it was rare he passed by many of them. Noah was not one of the wild folk, if he ever had been, and not even he had seen the extent of it all. It tightened a fist in his gut, and he found it was also the first time he felt awkward for it. The wolf had heard North listing off what he knew, and had even heard him start to speak up when Ivandriel steeled himself to commit to the act of removing the tunic.

The tension was palpable; so much so the dire thought if he focused hard enough he could reach out and take it into his hand. Instead those idled at his sides, twitching fingers resisting their urges to fidget further as he was jolted into awareness feeling North's eyes upon him. Staring, as it was, since the wolf hadn't thought of how the human might take being stopped. Ivandriel knew he didn't have to, and the situation here didn't make him feel that he did. It was his own mind, really, and a mad drive towards proving something to himself. Not only did he feel as if he'd rolled over onto his back to expose his belly he also felt frustrated that such thoughts would not quiet. A shiver pulled down his spine like dancing fingers, both chilled from uncertainty and the cold of being damp. Tendrils of still moistened hair started to fall into his face, nostrils flaring and what remnants of his ears he had left pulled back. He must look the picture of wild himself, as he still felt he was. Volatile and apprehensive, but none of it extended towards the human.

Silence stretched so heavily between them, Ivandriel forcibly not looking towards North's face even if his curiosity eventually won out as it often did. His own scarred face was set, silver eyes with it, and though he didn't frown the wolf knew they were at a sort of crossroads. Many of them were fresher looking, especially the large bitemarks over the center of his shoulderblades and a smaller one just below. Across his left side claws had dragged, up and over to nearly meet them in such a way it left the expense of his torso in ruin. Ivandriel didn't look at North long anytime his eyes flicked to his face, almost wishing he would say something about them just to get it out of the way. He knew such marks didn't hold the same connotations for humans as it did his kin, and often they would even construct fables regarding their own. Many boasted about them and wore them like badges of high honor, but Ivandriel didn't feel the same about his. The aggressive and hurtful ones over his spine had been intended to paralyze if the teeth had gone deep enough, but the ones along his arms and legs had been possessive and reactive to his disobedience.

He frowned, bridging the gap of silence by breaking it with forcefully neutral tones, slightly trembling fingers finding the stretches of skin at North's waist. More silence still. It was becoming deafening, pounding in his ears much like his heart. His jaw clenched, but his hands remained relaxed in their tentative exploration, and he didn't flinch when North draped the towel around his shoulders. His touch still was gentle but firm, smoothing down his back as the human's large arms bracketed him. 'Well…' An ear twitched, Ivandriel stealing a look upwards with just the smallest tilt of his head to do so, wrinkles forming in his forehead expectantly. '..seein as you been asking me questions left and right...how about where you come from?' Ivandriel blinked at that, gaze lingering as he stared back at the human with a touch of growing bewilderment. Then he laughed, an almost sudden sputtering of it that broke his mouth into a grin. Certainly not the question he expected, and he could tell the man uttered it in pointed avoidance.

"I am from Kho'gate," he answered simply, the tension breaking and starting to unwind from his shoulders once again. Ivandriel leaned into the touch when North stepped forward, the act looking to be still in discomfort that was unvoiced save for the lag of his body. He enjoyed the feeling of the cloth and how his hands pressed into it, not missing how he barely skimmed over the claw marks wrapping around his side and the burned in letters over his ribs. Ivandriel hadn't broken contact with the human either, fingers kneading in to the small of his back when he'd been given the opportunity to further wrap his arms around. "Supposed to be Kin there. Hunt and gather for the pack, assist wherever the Elders might need it," he continued after a moment of contemplation, "though I've not been back for months." He didn't say how there were times he would disappear, like now or even when he'd met North the first time, or that he hardly felt loyalty for the Sovereign to even put forth the effort. "I do not think they have missed me. Likely they have not even noticed I've been gone."

With that his brow furrowed, but it didn't bother him like he felt it should. Since his mother passed he had lost allegiance with the others, and broken away into his own dealings. Only so often would he be approached by them, and that tended to be when they were desperate for numbers in their hunting parties. 'You wanna take those off on yer own too, then?' Ivandriel looked up at him again as the towel hung in suspension, the rest of the moisture left to be dried by the air in the room. His head tilted and he glanced down, pushing his fingers into the loosened waistband of the man's trousers to work them off. Without further questioning the human fell into it, stepping back and out of the falling pants that took his smallclothes with them. The belt buckle clanged against the wood, and Ivandriel noticed that the music had stopped. In its wake was a soft, skipping crackle. The wolf didn't say anything as he started to undo his own pants, the string that bound them over his hips undone and he had even less layers to go through. It revealed the bites at the top of his right thigh and the back of his left, as well as the ones that enclosed around his ankles and feet.

At this point the wolf was shoving it far from his mind. No longer did they pain him, except the twinges from the deeper ones and the brand itself that had been pressed in for far too long. Ivandriel rolled his shoulders as he gathered up the clothing, flinging them unceremoniously over the edge of the tub and grabbing the remainder of his drink to finish it off. The burning sensation soothed him just a little, taking the edge of the ripple effect of his agitated nerves. He craved more, taking North's glass of rum and downing that too. It was smoother than the whiskey, sweeter, but more potent. Then he turned back to North, both of them stripped and as dry as the now forgotten towel had allowed them to be. He glanced over his shoulder to the bed surrounded by various breeds of plants, touseling his hair and shoving fingers through to bring it back. The wolf reached out and took North's hand in his own, guiding him once more away from the tub down to cross the space where the larger than average bed was nestled.

It was a cozy alcove, smelling fresh and like soil, and Ivandriel took in a deep breath. Magic reached out curiously, his mind opening to the images the plants could provide. There was darkness from most, which was a good sign. They didn't seem to require anything, a few of them stretching with swaying leaves like the Magic had tickled them. Beneath it he could smell other things, though they were stifled and intermingling where they were tucked away in bedside drawers. Ivandriel spotted more if them installed at the sides of the bed itself, and he had the sudden urge to start rifling through them. He'd let go of the human by now, pulling them open to see neatly folded fabrics that looked to be clothing. Some robes hung up on hooks at the wall, and Ivandriel let out a humored huff at the revelation of phallus in one of the compartments. He'd no comment for those, but he did grace the human with a knowing and somewhat sly look.

That wasn't what had caught his focus, nor did the interesting amount of bindings. He'd smelled fragrant oils, which were in yet another drawer. Pulling that one open had his eyes squinting for a second until he tried to sift through the collection of them. His nose was flaring the entire time, chest rising and falling in short spurts. "These are almost perfect," he said, lifting one of the vials up to inspect it. "They've been extracted incorrectly. Not as potent as they could be." The lavender in particular is where he lingered when he lifted that one up. Still it had good color, and he opened the vial to dip a finger in. Smooth and not tacky. Ivandriel turned to North then, letting his eyes roam over his muscular frame riddled with its own stories both in colorful tattoos and scars. "May I?" he asked, wiggling the vial suggestively. The wolf didn't wholly wait for an answer, hands placed against the human's hairy torso urging him onto the bed and off his obviously sore feet.

Ivandriel watched him climb up onto the bed, shuffling forward from the edge to turn and sit. He looked as if he still did not know what to do, though was not unaware of what the dire intended to do. He climbed up after him, a level of enthusiasm showing itself in the movement that positioned him at the human's back. He was aware how strange it might be then to the other man, especially given how their last encounter had unfolded beyond that first night. Though he didn't know how to explain it in words, the way it made him feel surrounded by the plants that drowned out the scent of the sea. Ivandriel took some of the oil into his palm as his knees curled, the stop returned to the vial for it to rest against his leg as he rubbed his hands together before sliding them up the contours of North's muscular back. His hands worked into him firmly, deep into the tissue in short strokes where he could practically feel the knots. His heartrate had since stilled, and his breaths leveled out. "I am not… very good at extended conversation as I'm sure you're aware," he said after a time, hands rounding the curve of his shoulders to push down his biceps. "Things have been very strange lately. I don't know what to make of it. I don't really know what to say either. Nobody has really cared to ask, so I... just don't know." Strange was putting it mildly, and he felt that they both knew that.