Do your trick, turn on the stars

Orvar's shifting

POSTED: Tue May 27, 2014 7:28 am

The day was sublime – cool but fresh, with birds sending liquid song from their perches high amongst the branches. Ascher squinted upwards as one arm reached out to rest against a ragged tree trunk. He was lucky he didn't get splinters, his mind was so far up, but the trunk took his weight easily. There he rested for a few moments of his journey back from the Sacred Grove. It was pleasant standing there as the breeze ruffled his thick pelt, but soon he began to move again, light on his feet as if controlled by every breath of air.

“Doook!” The rich cocoa-brown shape of the master Eljun's fisher cat was easy to see against the grass and moss, with its high gloss and peculiar proportions. Ascher dropped to one knee, noting the alarmed chattering that seemed to shake the weaselly creature. “What is it?” he questioned without thinking or remembering that his ferrety friend didn't know much High Speech even after many months of being part of the Vikings' menagerie. The fisher's face screwed up in concentration and he almost spat out the sounds. “Orv! Ar!” Ascher's gentle blue eyes hardened in worry as he wordlessly followed Dook back to Jordheim.

“Orvar?” the scholar called as he swept into his house, the door which he had left ajar standing wide open. For a sickening moment there was no reply, no shadowy figure, and Ascher thought wildly that Orvar had been taken by some nameless demon. Ascher padded around the crudely curved walls of his home, popping his head through the few doorways there were in a rushed effort to find his son. He didn't think to follow Dook, who had gone straight through an open window into the small patch of garden at the house's rear. Not until he had checked the rooms.

Blue eyes flashed to the window where the tip of Dook's tail was disappearing as he made his way towards what looked like a pair of burnt saplings. Ascher followed suit at a jog, calling again, and this time an answer made its way to him. “Hi, Dad.” There Orvar stood amongst the Spring blooms in a semi-crouch, his jaw tight and his olive green eyes wide. “How are you getting on, son?” Ascher asked as he knelt at Orvar's side, willing his breathing to steady itself. He was surprised to see that the black and grey figure was breathing easily enough in spite of the tension in his body.

“I'm ok,” the younger Stormbringer breathed. “You've told me about this enough times, Dad. I know what's going to happen.”

And so it did, before Ascher's very eyes: Orvar's legs lengthened, bones shifting until they seemed to click into place; his paws seemed to stretch and split into sturdy fingers; it was as if everything between nose and tail was being stretched or squeezed, a process Ascher was obviously familiar with, but had rarely considered with such reverence before. He hadn't been there for the birth of his children, and he felt an overwhelming sense of relief in being present for this rebirth of sorts, at least for his son.

“Interesting.” Orvar pushed his sooty mane out of his eyes to look down at his hands, then his legs, all the way to his feet. He sniffed the air. “Do I smell different?” Ascher was too busy snapping mental photographs and placing them carefully into a scrapbook in his head to reply. He beamed with pride, his tail wagging slowly like a metronome setting the pace of the birdsong in the trees. “Oh, a little. I'm more worried about you inheriting my clumsiness rather than your Mother's grace,” the adult finally answered, shrugging. “But you know what this means? You can learn to write now! And I want the first autograph.” Grinning, Asch slung an arm around his son's shoulders and bumped his forehead with his muzzle. Orvar had been silent throughout, staring down at the ground, green eyes perplexed. “I feel so tall. Like I'll stick out.” Ascher gave a comforting murmur. “That you must get from your Mother. She'll be so pleased, Aspen too.” Orvar nodded, smiling in agreement, although Ascher noticed that his shoulders remained a little hunched. “You'll get used to it,” he assured him. Almost everyone seemed to, in the end.


It's always darkest before the dawn
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