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User:Arrow Quivershaft/New Relationships

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3P story universe

New Relationships

Author: Arrow Quivershaft

The next time I was in realm was May, 2020. I’d been hired on again as an assistant walker to Gerry; he’d gotten picked up by a few exotic hunters who wanted to bag a gorgon for bragging rights, and they needed someone to mind the camp. Dawn had signed on for scouting work this time too, and she was out helping them eye the mountain.

In-realm exotic hunting is generally not that different from out of realm big-game hunting, except you can’t use a gun and some of the things you’re going after have a good chance of taking YOU home instead. This was part of how I ended up minding the shop; I had no real interest in getting mauled by a gorgon. I was in the camp mending a nasty cut in one of the tents with a needle and thread. My sewing wasn’t exemplary, in fact it was pretty shoddy, but it was enough to keep the damage from getting worse. It’d matter more if I was doing stitches, but for now it was just me sewing a tent.

As the sun was setting, Dawn came in for her final approach and landed nearby me. She can’t fly easily after dark, and it’d be dangerous in any event. I nodded to her as she landed, as both my hands were busy.

"Ey Nate,” she responded in between heavy breaths. Flight’s a HUGE aerobic workout, so she always was a bit short of breath when she landed.

I spit the thread out of my mouth. "How was the air today?"

She grumped a bit. "Hot and humid. How was the ground today?"

I chuckled. "Heh, same. Everyone still doing alright, last you checked?"

She nodded. "They're still combing over that mountainside trying to track down that gorgon."

"Pretty dangerous. Hope it doesn't ambush them."

She giggled. "They're big boys, they can handle themselves. Gives us a few hours here, though."

I smiled a bit. "Yep."

Dawn looked to me as she settled in. "Seems they think we get along pretty well, keep getting paired up."

I nodded to that. "Yep. Well, I don't mind." I pulled another stitch closed.

Dawn came and sat next to me. "Good company."

I smiled inwardly. "Yep. Again, I don't mind having someone to chat with..."

Dawn gave me a meaningful look. "I only hope you bitch about me behind my back less than you do about certain satyrs."

I eyerolled slightly as I pulled another stitch closed. "I don't do that about you. Bones...gets on my nerves on ocassion."

Dawn giggled a bit.

"What?" I asked.

"Nothing, nothing."

I took the hint. "I really shouldn't be complaining about him at all, honestly. It’s a job and there’s always people you won’t like, at ANY job.”

Dawn nodded, then turned to me "How long have you and I been doing this job together?"

I thought back. "I've been hired since September, so...8 months."

Dawn wingshrugged a bit. "When we get back, ask me out to dinner sometime."

I paused, mouth agape a bit. "You sure?"

Dawn smiled at my shock. "Can't hurt anything."

I nodded. "Alright."

"It'd just be nice..." she sighed wistfully.

I nodded a bit. “Yeah. You like any type of food in particular?"

Dawn snorted. "You've been cooking for us for that long, Nate, you know I'll eat near to anything."

I chuckled lightly. "Fair enough."

"I dunno... Most of the time I'm happy with my lot in life, but here and there it'd be nice to have a friend close enough to look past the feathers,” Dawn admitted.

I paused. "I can understand that."

Dawn smirksnorted at me. "You make it too easy, Nate. I come off sounding desperate."

I shook my head, backpedalling. "No, no you don't."

Dawn waved a wing a bit. "Talk about you a little bit, then."

I hadn’t been asked THAT before. I was kinda thrown off balance. "Well...what aspect do you want to know about, specifically?"

"How the hell do you stay so bloody nice through all of this?" She certainly didn’t beat around the bush.

"Well...because I try. It's a job, and yes, I take flak from some customers, but the pay's good, and it's what I've wanted to do." I said, trying to work through it myself.

Dawn smirked again.

I browquirked. "Something funny?" I finished the stitching and checked it with a tug. "That should hold it for a while."

Dawn shook her head. "Nah. Just a weird conversation."

I folded the tent back up and puts it in the bag. We’d brought a spare, so we didn’t need that one at the moment. "Well, honestly, some of the monsters and stuff of the realms scare me...I've had my share of nightmares since I started."

"I hear ya..." Dawn admitted.

"Gorgons were one of them. Don't relish the thought of being a lifelike statue for all eternity." I shuddered involuntarily.

"That's curable, usually,” Dawn reassured me.

"Oh? That's good..." Welcome news indeed. "School-truth dichotomy, we meet again."

Dawn paused. "As long as you have someone to find you and get you TO the cure, that is."

"Which is betting on things I'd rather not bet on,” I added quickly.

Dawn nodded at that. "True."

I chuckled a bit. "Any other nightmares you wanna give me?" I said, jokingly.

"Ever seen a cerberus?... Come on, sit down over here."

I went and sat down. "No, not yet."

Dawn explained. "You might see em if you go down the underworld river with a more daring group."

"The Styx?"

"And its tributaries."

I nodded. "My roommate went down there with a group. Lost two. But, cerberus. Three headed demon dog..."

"Dogs. Plural,” came the correction. "There's lots of em, in varying degrees."

"Degrees? What do you mean?” I hazarded a guess. “Of humanity?”

"Degrees of nastiness. Size. Humanity, sure.'

"Ah...Tear you right apart, I'm guessing?"

"Usually." She took a breath. "Nobody's managed to study it closely, but it's said that when all three heads have swallowed a whole victim, they merge together in its belly and become the next generation."

I jolted back at that. Wasn’t getting ANY sleep for a few hours now, that’s for sure.

"Weird shit,” Dawn concluded.

"Yeah, I'd say. I know I won't be sleeping sound tonight." I shivered a bit.

Dawn smirked. "Sissy."

"Hey, tell me more. Always willing to learn..."

Dawn stood up, which meant she was now my sitting height. She turned directly towards me. "It's just rumour, mind."

I waved my hand a bit. "Of course. Still creepy."

"There's all kinds of stuff like that around... You just don't hear about all of it." Dawn paused. "’cause honestly, who has time to watch a monster for ages to ask its babies if they used to be human?"

"I'm more than willing to. Hear about it, I mean. Better to know ahead of time than find out at a bad moment." I nodded.

Dawn shrugged a bit. "I don't know as much as you give me credit for. You have to talk to the locals, really... And they don't understand you."

I scoffed. "You know more than me, that's for sure."

Dawn shrugged. "Ah, but you've still got that drive to learn, that great idealism... Me, I just fly around and hope for the best..."

"I hope I never lose it, personally."

Dawn smiles. "Me too. I try to be a good person, but the change... Honestly I think it wore me down, that time where I felt so useless."

"I sympathize,” I said, not sure what else to say.

"I know I'm still me... But not everyone else made that same connection... Be careful, Nathan... Folks you know won't either."

I browquirked curiously. "Make the connection that I'm the same person?"

Dawn nodded. "They'll say they believe it... But they don't, not really.” She shook her head. “Not where it counts. I'll tell you, THAT stings."

I was speechless. "..."

"The mark should help... But it isn't foolproof." I’d never heard this one.

I choked. "There are ways to overwrite a mark?"

"Not... Easily..." Dawn admitted. “But that's not what I mean."

"Oh,” I wasn’t sure how much I believed her. Or was supposed to.

She suddenly got more personal. "Nate...Just... Don't go through what I did, alright? ANYTHING but.”

I put on a bit of transparent bravado, just to have something to say. "I don't plan to, no."

"My mother cried... I can still hear it. 'My baby is a monster'..." Dawn shook her head dismissively. "Age of enlightenment my feathered ass."

"...I'm sorry." My eyes stared off in the distance. How WOULD my family react?

Dawn smiled wryly "These days I explain to her that she was right, when I talk to her. I am a monster. Turns out there is a way to use that word proudly."

I nodded. "That's good that you've made peace."

Dawn changed the subject a bit fast, and hit for home. "What do YOU see, Renfrew?"

I was thrown off balance, but I took a few moments to gauge my answer. "...I see a person. Physically different, but mentally the same as all other people. It's like a different skin color, to me." I paused, trying to be clear. "It's a cosmetic difference."

Dawn took a step in forward, bringing herself fairly close. "And what's in and on that person, if I'm truly being judged the same as your other companions?"

I paused, grasping for words. "A kindred spirit. One who wants adventure, and won't let anything stop her from having it."

Dawn smiled. Then she surprised me by leaning in...and kissing me! And after, I got through my initial shock, I kissed her back. She pulled herself in with wings and kissed me again...and it felt...right.

Preceded by:
Bones the Satyr
Three Pantheons Succeeded by:
Unexpected Burdens