Getting Acquainted

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Marissa Mulder
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Getting Acquainted

Post by Marissa Mulder »

There was very little difference between an airship and a ship on the waves, it seemed, apart from the fact that the Emerald Skies did not sway with the motion of the air currents. Even though spring was developing, the air was cold in the upper limits, though you wouldn't guess it to look at the beast-folk tending to the ship in flight. At the helm, the half-orc first mate, Oreia, kept the ship on a steady course with the help of the navigator, an owl aarakokra named Swift. Marissa and her pack had been given free rein to explore the ship as they liked, but the captain did not give them a tour. Instead, Dax stood at the bow, tucked warm in a thick lined jacket, staring out toward the mountains ahead of them.

It was hard to hide a small pack of shifters and even harder to keep them entertained, but most of them were eager enough to explore the ship. Save Marissa and Emrys, none of them had ever set foot on an airship before, and there were sights and sounds aplenty to keep them busy for at least a few hours. Most of them were wise enough to get some rest after that, since they had been up half the night plotting and planning. But right now, it was only just past dawn, and they were all far too anxious to rest. Only one of them was on deck, though - a slight figure in a scarlet cloak, watching as the sun turned the sky varying shades of pink and blue.

"Beautiful, isn't it?" the captain said quietly, somehow aware he wasn't alone where he stood but not expecting much of an answer. "Better than a sunset."

"Sunsets have something to be said for them, I suppose, but I prefer sunrise," a female voice replied, just as quietly, as if it was sacrilegious to raise one's voice while the day was dawning.

"Prefer a new start to an ending," he agreed, leaning his arms forward onto the bow railing. "I won't be watching the sunset over those mountains tonight. Don't want to see blood on the peaks where Cam's being held."

"You see signs in the sky, then?" the young woman asked, turning her head just enough to catch a glimpse of him as he stared out at those mountains. The wind caught a strand of her hair momentarily - long and chestnut brown - before she tucked it back into the hood of her cloak.

He shrugged, glancing at her briefly as her hair streamed in the wind before she got it under control once again. "My father was a sorcerer," he said mildly. "He saw signs and omens everywhere. Mum was a pirate." He grinned into the brisk air. "I take after her."

"So I see," she said, with another brief glance at him, before she lowered her lashes shyly and turned back to the sky. "It is quite a view," she remarked, admiringly. Presumably, she was talking about the sunrise and not the man standing beside her.

"You can keep your sailing ships and star ships," he said expansively. "The sky is best seen this way, and so is the land, too. Who else gets flocks of geese stopping for a rest in the sails on their way south for winter?"

She arched a brow as she glanced his way, unsure if she agreed with him, but then she had little experience of sailing in any case. "My sister might disagree with you," she remarked, though she could not say she disagreed herself. "She wants to be a star pilot," she explained further, frowning a moment as she realized something. "I'm sorry. I'm Maris ... Mira," she corrected herself, wondering if she'd ever get used to that name.

"Daresay I'll argue with her about it sometime," Dax mused, straightening up. "Which do you prefer - Maris or Mira?" He didn't pass comment on the stumble; there were plenty of people who chose new names for themselves across their lifetimes, after all.

She furrowed her brows thoughtfully, a slight shrug of her shoulders. "I'm not sure yet," she replied honestly enough. She wasn't really Mira, but she wasn't Marissa either. It was just one more thing her older counterpart had taken from her, deliberately or not.

"Try it on for size for a while," he suggested. "If it doesn't fit, try something else. It's just a name - doesn't define who you are. Like mine. Dad named me Ardaxionos. Took me a while to work out I'm happier with Daxion, and happiest with Dax."

This time she smiled. "That is a mouthful," she agreed, pausing a moment to consider him. "Dax suits you, I think. It's far less pretentious than the alternative."

"Still think I got off better than my sister," he said, his lips quirking into a smile of his own. "Acamillarensisea." He made a meal out of saying the ridiculous name, glad to have drawn one smile from this quiet young woman who reminded him so much of his sister.

Her smile warmed at that, her eyes bright with mirth. "That's terrible," she blurted, without thinking. "I'm not even sure I can pronounce that!"

"Yeah," he chuckled with her. "Hence her going with Cam. Camilla if she absolutely has to." He shook his hair out of his eyes as he looked back to the mountains. "She was quicker to claim her name than I was, but she's always been the smart one."

Her smile faded as she sensed more behind his words than merely small talk. "You miss her," she said, though that much was obvious. Missed her and worried about her.

He sighed. "I promised her I would always protect her," he said quietly. "I failed her." He let out a mirthless, soundless laugh, tucking his hands back into his pockets. "You know, you remind me of her a little."

"I do?" she asked, arching a brow again, obviously surprised at that remark. A wry smile touched her lips then as she realized something. "It's my age, isn't it?" she asked, knowing she must seem like a child to him.

"Superficially, maybe," he conceded. "It's more the way you hold yourself, watching everything around you. Wary of anything that might be different or threatening."

She frowned a little at his impression of her, which wasn't too far off the mark, though she had her reasons. "It's better that way," she said. "Better to be prepared." Prepared for what, though?

"Not always," Dax said gently. "Can't live your life if all you're doing is watching from the sidelines. Feel free to punch me if I'm pushing my luck here, Cam always does."

She smiled a little again. "You remind me a little of someone, too," she admitted, though she didn't give that someone a name. "He used to tell me the same thing sometimes."

"It isn't silent but grumpy over there, is it?" he asked, jerking his head teasingly in the direction of Skylar and Dante. "Careful, I might have to consider being insulted."

Mira furrowed her brows as she glanced over at her two older siblings, whose heads were drawn together in quiet and private conversation. She had always wondered what it would be like to be as close as they seemed to be. She blinked out of her thoughts and turned back to the sunrise. "No need. He was my brother," she explained.
Last edited by Marissa Mulder on Sun May 02, 2021 2:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Getting Acquainted

Post by Marissa Mulder »

He didn't miss her use of the past tense, nodding gently in understanding. "It's good to have people around who remind you of the people you love," was his only offering there.

"That works both ways," she said, looking up at him with an almost hopeful look on her face. If he wanted to play adoptive big brother, who was she to discourage him?

"Yeah, it does." His smile gentled in the face of the shy hope in her eyes, one hand leaving his pocket to lift his arm and offer a non-committal hug. He could deal with Emrys' jealousy issues another time, he figured; the man owed him a couple of huge favours. "Reckon you and Cam could be close as sisters and drive me up the wall for fun, too."

She tensed momentarily as his arm went around her, but didn't pull away. She wasn't about to openly admit it to anyone - especially not Emrys or Marissa - but she was secretly starved for affection. "Really?" she asked, a surprised look on her face.

"Yeah." He didn't make a big show of the affection, just resting his arm about her shoulders, paying close attention to the tension in her body. The moment she showed any sign of discomfort, his arm would drop. "Reckon the pair of you could shack up somewhere in the city and be partners in crime, whatever you choose. You're similar enough to need each other a bit."

"Partners in crime?" she echoed, wondering just what he meant by that. Did he mean it literally or figuratively? "Isn't she one of your crew?" she asked, curiously.

"Sometimes she is, sometimes she isn't," Dax explained. "Much as I'd like to hold onto her all the time, she's been a free spirit since she was twelve. Did school until it bored her, learned how to navigate the ship, dropped back down to earth and learned about magic and plants and such. She was going to come on a tour with us when plans got changed."

"You mean, when she was captured by the blood hunters," Mira said, assuming that was what he was driving at. "What do they want with her anyway? What do they want with my siblings?" she asked.

He tensed a little, but he wasn't going to lie. This girl and her family were going to be walking into this, after all. "We know what they're using Cam for," he said, his tone dark. "She's a born sorcerer, like our dad was. Her blood's full of magic. They're bleeding her like some kind of battery so their mages get a power boost. I don't know about your siblings. Hate to say it, but they might be being kept alive there to keep my sister in line."

Mira furrowed her brows again, her smile fading, though she thankfully kept a hold on her composure, at least for now. "Starving them and then waiting for the full moon," she guessed, though she couldn't be too sure. Yes, a pair of starved werewolves was likely to scare the crap out of anyone, magic or not. It was nothing short of torture for all of them. "You don't think they killed Darius, do you?" she asked, though no one could really be sure.

"I don't know," he admitted. "I don't want to think they did, but there's no guarantees. Rest assured they won't hurt anyone again by this time tomorrow."

"No, they won't," she said, sounding certain. The pack would either finish the blood hunters for good or die trying. She hoped it was the former. "I'm sorry about your sister," she said, daring to lay a hand on his arm in sympathy.

"Feel sorry for the fuckers who hurt her," he said, but covered her hand with his for a quick squeeze as he smiled. "But thanks. We'll get your family out too."

"I can't feel sorry for those that I hate," she replied. Yes, she possessed that depth of feeling, too, though she rarely let it see the light of day. She would draw on it though when the time was right.

"Yes, you should." Dax cast a wry look down at her. "Might sound strange, but the day you lose compassion, even for the people who've done wrong to you and yours, is the day you lose the light in your soul."

She frowned, her eyes flashing briefly with hatred or anger. "I don't know how you can say that after what they've done with your sister."

"Because it's not about them, it's about me," he tried to explain. "If I hate them so much that I can't feel something warm for them as well, what's to stop me from turning into them? What's going to stop me from torturing them, just because I can? Compassion's what makes me different to them. It's what makes me kill them outright, rather than make them suffer. Because I'm not them, and I refuse to become like them."

"Wouldn't you torture them if you had to - to find your sister?" she asked, though she hoped it didn't come to that. She wasn't so young that she had never drawn blood, but she had only hunted small game as a wolf. She had never drawn human blood.

"If I had no other choice, no other way to find her, then yes, I would torture them," he said simply. "But I'd be changed forever by it. Every decision you make changes you one way or another. You have to make them knowing you can live with those changes."

"And yet, you have no qualms about finishing them," she pointed out, unsure what the difference was. She supposed it was the same difference between making a clean kill or toying with your prey.

"No, I don't." He turned to face her, leaning back against the bow rail. "A good clean, fast kill is a mercy. Drawing it out, making them suffer ... it's one step closer to darkness."

She followed him with her eyes as he shifted, reaching to catch her hood before the wind blew it free. "I hope it goes that way, but we should be prepared for the worst," she told him. She might be young, but she wasn't entirely naive.

"Oh, we are," he assured her. "But it's not the first port of call, if you catch my drift. We'll get to the planning later on today, but I'm seeing a swift attack to get to our people, and then a sweep to finish off the bastards."

She nodded faintly in understanding. She was not one of those who would be doing the plotting. That was left for sharper and more experienced brains than hers, but she was determined to at least be part of it. "I want to go along," she told him, a stubborn tilt to her chin.

"I don't think anyone's going to stop you," Dax said. "Everyone in your pack will likely be going along. Can't say I'm not relieved that it's Emrys who has the hand on the reins, though - he might be an annoying pupper, but he's got a calm that'll do good in a rough spot."
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Marissa Mulder
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Re: Getting Acquainted

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"How do you know each other?" she asked, drawing her cloak tighter about her shoulders. She knew the gist of it - that Emrys had known Dax in his earlier days - but she did not know much about the details.

Dax chuckled. "He'll never admit to it, but I saved his arse from a witch years back," he said. "Dunno what he did to piss her off, but she had him in a cage and was working on a spell to do something to him. Me and Bran were on the hunt for Cam at the time - interrupted the spell, got the dog boy out of the cage, and got him to track Cam for us. And then the witch showed up again. She had a real hard on for him."

Mira winced, not only at the mention of a cage, but a witch, too. Then again, to some, there was only a fine line between a witch and a sorceress. "What did you do?" she asked, sensing more to the story than what he was telling her. She wasn't sure who Bran was, but it seemed rude to interrupt his story to ask.

Dax winced too, at the memory. "Threw myself in front of the bolt she tossed at him," he admitted ruefully. "Hurt like a bitch. By the time I was up again, Cam was dealing with the witch. Tell you what, never piss off a teenaged sorceress with only a vague grasp on her power. It was brutal."

"I can imagine," she murmured, though she really couldn't. She wasn't sure if she should envy his adventures or sympathize with him, but she couldn't help but be thankful he'd been there to help her new brother - or whatever Emrys was to her now. "I like Emrys. I'm glad you were able to help him." That was probably an understatement, as far as Marissa was concerned.

"Well, don't tell him so, but I like him too," Dax teased cheerfully. "He's a good man to have in a sharp corner. Glad to see him settled and happy, though - he was not a happy guy for a lot of the time I've known him."

"I'm glad, too," Mira admitted. Envious even, though she wouldn't admit that aloud. Maybe if her older counterpart could find a mate of her own, there was still hope left for her.

He caught the edge of her envy, his smile softening for a moment. "Don't be in a rush to get there, sweetcheeks," he suggested. "I've found friends last longer."

She lifted her brows, a look of surprise on her face, before dissolving into almost girlish giggles. "Sweetcheeks?" she echoed. "No one has called me that in, oh ... ever!" she said, giggling again.

"Get used to it," Dax suggested with a grin. "It suits you." He winked at her, glancing up as Oreia called to him from the helm. "Looks like I'm required. Come find me if you need someone to be more normal than protective, okay?"

"Yes, of course," she replied. She deflated just a little to find he was being summoned away, but then he was the captain of the ship and likely had better things to do than entertain a lonely teenager. Even if she promised otherwise, she would most likely not seek him out on her own. "Thank you for talking to me."

He paused as he pushed away from the railing, studying her for a moment. "Want to learn how to captain a beauty like this?" he offered, not particularly wanting to leave her on her own. She was with her pack, yes, but she didn't seem to socialise with them much.

"Learn how?" she echoed, skeptically. He was just teasing her now, wasn't he? Not far away, Dante and Skylar were surreptitiously watching their younger sister, but didn't want to interrupt.

"Navigation, engine upkeep, manning the helm, trying not to accidentally end up married to one of the beast-folk when you've been drinking with them," Dax said, ticking each one off on a finger as he grinned.

"I ..." She started uncertainly. "I am curious how it all works. What makes it fly. I assume it's not pixie dust," she told him in jest.

"That'd be aetherium," he said cheerfully. "Come down and meet Nova - she's our engineer. It's all magi-tech; she's got a much better grip on it than I do!"

"I don't want to take you away from anything important," she told him, feeling just a little awkward now that he was indulging her curiosity.

"Wouldn't offer if you were, sweetcheeks," he assured her, glancing over at the watchful pair not too far away. "What about you two? Want to learn how my darling stays in the air, or do you just want to interrogate me because you think I'm flirting with your sister?"

She smirked a little at the silly term of endearment, but she knew when she was being indulged. "You go ahead and do whatever you need to do. I can find my way around on my own," she assured him, half-tempted to swat him for teasing her.

As for the twins, Skylar couldn't help but toss the captain a saucy salute. "Don't you worry, Captain Hotpants. If I think you're overstepping your boundaries, I'll let you know."

Dante groaned and rolled his eyes at his sister's cheekiness. "Now who's flirting?" he murmured, just loud enough for her to hear him.

"Please ... Tightpants, if absolutely necessary," Dax said, spreading his hands expansively. "I have too much respect for my junk to wear hot pants." He flashed Skylar a grin, but turned back to Mira. "C'mon, sweetcheeks, let's introduce you to the most nervous air genasi the world has ever seen."

It was Skylar's turn to roll her eyes, obviously unimpressed. "I've seen tighter," she murmured under her breath.

Beside Dax, Mira wordlessly mouthed, "Go away," to her siblings with a wave of her hand. Even if all Dax wanted to do was give her a tour, she was enjoying his company, and they were spoiling it.

If Dax saw the byplay between the siblings, he ignored it, pausing just long enough for the update Oreia had called him over to give before giving Mira's shoulder a nudge. "Down we go," he told her, gesturing for her to follow before jumping through the nearest hatch to the next deck.

Mira paused long enough to stick her tongue out at her siblings, before following the captain below deck. Dante chortled, for which he was rewarded with an elbow in the gut, the sound of sibling bickering behind Mira and Dax as they left the deck.
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Marissa Mulder
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Re: Getting Acquainted

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There was a warm rumble of greeting from the various beast-folk crew members as Dax lead the way through the ship and down to the next deck, where half was taken up with the engine room, and the rest was cargo space. The engine itself was a whirring, pulsing glow of arcane crystal and platinum, surrounded by knobs and dials, and watched over by a tiny woman with sky blue skin, hair like clouds, and a pair of goggles on her face that made her eyes look enormous.

Mira took it all in with quiet awe as Dax led the way through the ship to the engine, which was a sight to behold on its own. "That's ... amazing," she said, as she looked over the engine. It looked to her like some strange mix of tech and magic the likes of which she'd never seen before.

"That's my girl," Dax said proudly, though whether he was referring to the engine or the ever so slightly scatter-brained-looking genasi was anyone's guess. "Nova, meet Mira. She's interested in how the Skies flies."

The little woman looked up, the wisps of her hair moving exactly like clouds in the sky, and lifted her goggles, offering up a bright grin. "Hello!"

"Hello," Mira replied, in her shy way. "How-how does it work?" she asked curiously. How did one make a ship fly without the use of wings, she wondered.

"Oh!" Nova beamed, gesturing toward the pulsing cluster of crystals. "These are aetherium crystals - very rare, can't get them on Rhy'Din, we have to get them shipped in from Aerois; it's a planet a long way from here. Anyway, aetherium can hold a near infinite amount of magical energy and if it's connected up to machinery, like we have here, it will release it in a controlled way to keep that machinery going. Our aetherium engine is designed to release levitational magic, and it's connected up to thrusters for steering and managing speed." She spoke very fast, clearly very enthusiastic about her job, gesturing to everything as she explained it.

Mira did her best to follow along, but it was another voice that spoke up next - one that had invited herself along.

"So, why the sails then?" Skylar asked from somewhere behind her sister, arms crossed against her chest. She was a few inches shorter than her sister, but what she lost in height, she more than made up for in attitude.

It was Dax who answered Skylar from where he was leaning against the bulkhead, knowing Nova was going to be startled to find herself talking to more than one person at a time. "We don't always use the thrusters," he explained. "We're using them now, because we're in a hurry. But the sails operate the same way as they would on the ocean - there's plenty of air currents up here to play with."

"Fair enough," Skylar remarked, genuinely interested in how the ship worked, especially the engine, but then she was found of flying machines in a way her sisters weren't. Maybe it was in her blood. After all, her parents had both been pilots at one time or another. "How fast can she go?" she asked further.

Beside her, Mira shifted uncomfortably, not nearly half as interested in how the ship worked as Skylar was.

"Haven't pushed her beyond 80 knots," Dax admitted. "I love my ship too much to put her under too much stress."

Nova snorted. "Says the man who got us hit with a meteor storm spell last year."

"I maintain that one was not my fault," the captain insisted, a half smile touching his face. "Bran was the one who stuffed up sneaking back on board."

There was that name again - Bran. Who was he, Mira wondered to herself, too polite to ask.

"A meteor storm spell?" Skylar echoed, curiously. Not merely a meteor storm, but a spell of some sort that had maybe gone wrong? "Do you have a weather mage on board?" she asked further.

"Usually we do," Dax said, but the smile was definitely strained as he said it. "Cam's good with deflecting spells like that."

Nova nodded. "There was a wizard, and she conjured these big old flaming meteors and nearly dropped us out of the sky."

"Sounds like fun," Skylar said with obvious sarcasm. "But you survived," she added, matter of factly.

"Sky ..." Mira whispered, giving her sister a gentle nudge. She had seen the strain on Dax's face at the mention of his sister.

"It was not fun," Nova answered brightly. "It was loud and dangerous, and I had to get the redundancy engine going, because I am not crashing on another airship, thank you very much."

Skylar gave her sister a "What did I say?" kind of look, but said nothing more.

"No, of course it wasn't," Mira was quick to point out, a brief shake of her head at her sister. "It sounds dangerous, but it's to your credit that you all came through it!"

"It's Dax and Bran that got us through it," Nova said in an admiring tone. "Half the crew was injured, half the ship was missing, but Dax went up into the rigging, and Bran rigged the helm back to the rudder matrix, and they got us out of there. It was amazing."

Skylar's expression changed, realizing just how dangerous that must have been and wishing she hadn't said anything, though she'd meant nothing by it. Sometimes her mouth had a mind of its own.

Mira reached out to rest a hand on Nova's shoulder. "I'm sure you did your part," she told her.

"Sorry," Skylar murmured. "Thanks for showing me the engine," she said, though she hadn't been invited.

Dax shrugged. "You're welcome to take a closer look, if you'd like," he assured Skylar, getting his mood back under control, relaxing his shoulders as he straightened up. "Can't open up the crystals while we're in flight, but pretty sure Nova's got a couple of experiments on the go."

"It's okay. Maybe later," Skylar said, backing out of the small space. She had shoved her way in here, and now she would shove her way back out. She'd forgotten about Dax's sister, or maybe she just wanted to forget for a little while about her own missing siblings. "Thank you again," she said, before disappearing back up the stairs.
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Marissa Mulder
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Re: Getting Acquainted

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Dax frowned, looking over at Mira with a guilty expression in his eyes. "Oops?" he offered. "Is she usually that touchy when she accidentally hits a sore spot?"

"To be honest, I don't know," Mira replied with a frown of her own. She had only just met the twins a few days ago; she could hardly say she knew her sister well enough to understand her moods. "We're all worried, I think," she guessed.

"You guys are coping better than I am," he said ruefully. "I'll apologize to her later on. Captain sets the tone, and all."

Nova stuck her tongue out at him. "Only when you're sober."

"Some people use humor to cope when they're feeling stressed," Mira said. She didn't need a psych degree to know that much. Everyone coped in their own way, after all.

"Then I guess I'll just have to be a hero tomorrow to get back on her good side, huh?" Dax flashed Mira a teasing grin as he spoke. "Anything else you'd like to see, sweetcheeks?"

"I'm sure she's blaming herself more than you," she said, a reassuring smile on her face. "And no, I think I've taken up enough of your time," she said, a little apologetically. Then again, maybe it had done them both good to talk about something other than their missing loved ones for a little while.

"Well, the offer stands," he said firmly. "And Nova is always happy to have people hanging around, so long as they don't touch anything. Right, Nova?"

"Hmm?" The little genasi had her goggles back on, but she nodded enthusiastically in reply.

"Thanks, I'll keep that in mind," Mira replied. She knew she should be upset about her missing siblings, but it was hard to be worried when she hardly knew them. Skylar, on the other hand, seemed like she was wound tighter than a drum, despite her attempts at humor. What really worried Mira was losing the family she was only just coming to know.

Dax nodded with her, jerking his head to invite Mira back out of the engine room as he turned to leave. "I love my ship, but my favourite place is always going to be the top deck."

"It is a little cramped down there," Mira remarked, thought it didn't seem to bother her much, the way small spaces bothered her older counterpart. She turned to make her way out, retracing their steps toward the deck.

"It's worse when we have a full cargo on board," he warned, unconsciously forming a protective U about her back with his own body as they climbed back up to the main deck. "There have been journeys when Nova's been living on travel rations because we forgot she was in the engine room while we were loading up."

"She does seem dedicated to her work," Mira pointed out, as she carefully made her way back onto the main deck. The wind blew the hood from her head, causing her hair to swirl about her face before she caught it and tucked it safely back inside, as she turned to face the ship's captain. "We're going to find her, Dax," she assured him, though she had no real way of knowing that. She refused to believe otherwise.

"I know," he said quietly. "I'm just hoping Bran's got the patience to wait for us." He ran a hand through his hair, nodding to Emrys as the alpha of the pack crossed the deck, clinging on tightly to the rope they'd ended up stringing up for him to hold onto.

It was not the first time the man had mentioned that name. Whoever Bran was, he seemed important, at least to Dax, and he was obviously someone who cared about Cam. Another brother or a lover, perhaps? She was just about to ask when she spied Emrys making his way toward them. "I should let you two talk," she said, ducking her head in that shy way of hers.

"We should see if he makes it first," Dax said in an impish tone. "Last time he tried, he got halfway across the deck, turned green, and ran back below."

Mira couldn't help but giggle. She didn't know either man very well, but could tell they were fond of each other, if only for their banter. "Don't let him hear you say that," she whispered. The man had his pride, after all.

"I'm not scared of the puppy," he said, flashing her a grin in return before raising his voice. "Careful there, Emrys! Looks like we're coming up on some turbulence!"

As if on cue, Emrys' face drained of all colour, and he abruptly turned around, all but running back to the hatch and throwing himself down it to the tune of Dax's raucous laughter.

"You're evil," she teased, her eyes dancing with amusement. If she'd known him better, she might have reached over to pinch him, but one look at those muscles had her keeping her hands to herself.

Still chuckling, Dax turned away to lean on the railing, looking out over the few wisps of cloud passing beneath them. "He'll get his revenge," he predicted. "Knowing my luck, he'll be biding his time until he can get my brother to do it for him."

Her smiled faded, turning thoughtful. "Your brother ... Bran?" she ventured. Everything he'd said was starting to make sense now.

"Yeah, Branaxos," he confirmed, deliberately giving her his brother's full name just because he wasn't here to protest it. "He went with Kamara on the intel search, but chose to stay there. He wanted to keep an eye on Cam and the others closer to, in case they needed help sooner than we can get there."

She thought that was a mouthful, though she didn't say as much. "He's there?" she asked, sounding a little incredulous. "Isn't that dangerous?"

"Very dangerous," he agreed with a frown. "But I get it. If it had been me, I wouldn't have come back to the ship until she was safe, either. Family's family, you know?"

"I suppose so," she replied, as though she wasn't too sure. She had family, to be certain, but those of her own bloodline were still little more than strangers.

He nudged her gently. "Family isn't always blood, sweetling," he reminded her. "Family's who you love, who loves you. Doesn't matter if there's blood there or not. I'd die for my crew, and we're about as far from blood as you can get. Because they're family."
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Marissa Mulder
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Re: Getting Acquainted

Post by Marissa Mulder »

"It's just ... confusing sometimes," she confessed after a moment's consideration. She wasn't about to tell him her life story; she assumed Marissa and Emrys had told him enough.

She might have been surprised to know that they had told him next to nothing; just that she was part of their pack, and Emrys would break every bone in his body if anything untoward happened to her. "No one ever said it would be simple," Dax commented. "It's life, though. All the fun and joy and love would be worthless if we didn't have to weigh it against the pain and hurt."

"Do you think so?" she asked, not too sure herself. Like anyone else, she had suffered her fair share of pain and loss, but there had been happiness mixed in there, too.

He shrugged. "Would you recognise happiness, if you'd never been sad? We're all just a bunch of contradictions, crammed into fleshy sacks that could give out on us at any moment. Live life, that's my motto; don't just watch it go by and hope it doesn't hurt you."

"That's very philosophical for a ..." She smiled shyly as she broke off. She'd been about to call him a pirate, but she wasn't sure if he'd define himself that way.

He chuckled. "You can say it," he assured her. "Not accurate to me, but Ma was definitely a pirate. Couldn't trust that woman not to attack another airship that looked like it was loaded with goodies."

"How would you define yourself then?" she asked, merely curious. If he didn't define himself as a pirate, did he consider himself a privateer? Wasn't it the same thing?

"I'm an airship captain," he told her cheerfully. "Most of my business is legit, so I guess I'm a merchantman. Some of my business is a little ... under the table, so that makes me a smuggler. Hence sticking with airship captain."

"Very philosophical for an airship captain then," she said, finishing her previous statement, with a barely-repressed smirk. It seemed she was starting to relax a little in his company, which was hopefully a good thing.

"Wasn't always an airship captain," he said with a wry grin. "I've been a lot of things in my time, but this is where I found my happiness."

"What were you before?" she asked curiously, though she suspected he had better things to do than keep her entertained.

"I've been a soldier, a sailor, even been on a starship or two in my time," he told her. "Was a professional smuggler for a while, that was dicey. Been a lot of places, killed a fair few people, but I was always looking to the sky."

She quirked a brow at his response, especially at the fact that he'd been on a starship. There were two kinds of people in Rhy'Din - those who were afraid of technology and those who embraced it. The same could be said for magic, she supposed. "Why the sky and not the sea?" she asked, further intrigued.

He shifted a little sheepishly, rubbing a hand against the back of his neck. "Scared of water," he admitted. "Up here, even if we're over water, I fall overboard and I'll be gone before I hit it."

She blinked in surprise at his response. "How do you figure that?" she asked. It was a morbid topic, she supposed, but he was the one who'd mentioned it.

"Human body isn't designed to fall for long before it knows it's going to die," he explained. "You get to terminal velocity, you're dead before you hit." He flashed her a grin. "Logic's logic."

"And how long before you reach ... terminal velocity?" she asked, pausing a moment before echoing his words. It wasn't that she was considering it so much as that she was curious. How many people had jumped off buildings and bridges and had survived, she wondered.

"No idea," was his cheerful answer. "But it's probably less than four thousand feet, which is the altitude we travel at up here."

"Well, let's hope we never have to put it to the test," she said, though there were worse ways to meet one's end, she thought to herself. "I should probably let you get back to work," she said, that shy look on her face again.

"You're welcome to shadow me if you want to," Dax assured her, "but you're right. I should probably go and do captain things. If you hear singing from the cargo hold, don't come looking. The Wolf Pack get a little rowdy when they're drinking."

"The Wolf Pack?" she echoed, brows arching upwards again. "But you're not ... are you?" she asked curiously again. She thought she'd know if he was Lycan, considering she was half wolf herself. Was he only referring to those she was with?

Dax smiled at her. "It's what the beast-folk on my crew call themselves," he explained with an easy shrug. "I'm as human as human can be, sweetling, no strangeness on that score."

"Oh, I see. Then, they're not ... like Emrys," she said, avoiding any word that defined his kind. He was not quite the same kind of Lycan that she was, but that didn't really matter either. As for Dax's crew, the difference seemed to be in the fact that they were not shifters.

"No, the beast-folk are what you see," he told her. "They get a lot of hassle for being bipedal animals with heightened intelligence and sentience, but I've never had a problem with them. Kamara's a good leader for them, and I'm damned lucky she chooses to follow me."

"People tend to fear what they don't understand," she remarked quietly. And hate, too, which was in good part why she kept mostly to herself.

"People are, collectively, idiots," Dax agreed succinctly. He carefully reached out, testing her reaction, before laying a hand on her shoulder. "We'll get your kin back to you, Mira," he promised. "And we'll hurt everyone who hurt them."

She nodded her head, not flinching away from his touch. "Thank you," she said, grateful for his reassurance, though she wasn't too sure whether they truly were her kin or her counterparts yet. It was too soon to tell, but thus far, they had welcomed her with open arms. It was encouraging.

"Anytime. Oh, and, uh ..." He fished around in his pocket, and came up with a small paper bag filled with little green cubes. "If Emrys is still queasy, give him one of these to suck. Helps with air sickness."
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Marissa Mulder
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Re: Getting Acquainted

Post by Marissa Mulder »

She arched a brow as she reached for the bag. "You only thought to give this to him now?" she asked, a mixture of curiosity and amusement.

His grin was just a little bit evil. "Nope, he knows I've got them," he told her. "Too proud to ask, that's all."

"Hmm, I see," she replied, unsure whether she believed him or not. She suspected it was a little of both pride on Emrys' part and mischief on Dax's, but she knew neither man well enough to say so. She tucked the bag somewhere beneath her cloak. "I should go find him then." Before he barfed up his last meal, anyway.

"Let them know we'll reach the mountains by sunset, and that's when we'll need to start the planning," he suggested. "Best they know early on."

"I will," she said, nodding again. She hesitated a moment before going onto her tiptoes to plant a light kiss against his cheek, which was meant to be friendly and not a sign that she was flirting with him. "Thank you again, Dax."

He gently tapped his temple to her forehead in answer to that kiss, definitely a big brother at heart. "Anytime, sweetling. Go laugh at the big man sitting in a corner and sweating."

"Perhaps I should tell him you said that," she teased, the hint of a smirk on her face. She was too fond of Emrys to poke fun at his suffering, but she was quickly growing fond of this man, too.

"Please do, it'll make him stop grousing about his stomach." Dax chuckled, nodding to her with a warm smile, glad he had managed to get the worried, lost look off her face, even if it was only for a little while.

"Perhaps I will," she countered, as she turned to make her way toward Emrys. It wouldn't hurt to have more than a few big brothers looking after her, would it?

Whether she truly wanted them or not, she now had at least three watching her back, and that was definitely not a bad thing. With what they had looming ahead of them, more eyes and protective backs would certainly come in handy.
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