POSE AS A TEAM ‘CAUSE SHIT JUST GOT REAL
Sevien stared at him bored. Mog kept talking. Then she contemplated stabbing him in the face to shut him up. To distract herself from such thoughts, she zoned out finding those trees way over there awfully interesting. Not.
Was he done yet- oh…
She was soon glad she hadn’t acted impulsively on her thoughts as soon as he heard his last statement. That was a feeling she could relate to and was glad there was none of the compassionate bullshit about being nice to other living things because she frankly didn’t care. Sevien gave him an awkward arm pat of approval before quickly withdrawing her hands. Then she began to think of possibilities before remembering Mog had no weapon.
It was all good he wanted to hunt and all but he was unarmed. Remembering how he had defeated the enemy from before reluctantly she stretched her arm towards him, the sai handle held between her thumb and index finger. She gave him a look, hoping that her unsaid words would be conveyed.
Mog withheld a grin and/or his urge to initiate a hug. He felt like the arm pat was a great breakthrough for the other troll, sociability-wise, and something to be celebrated, although right now probably wasn’t the time. Mog made a mental note to bake a jovial pastry or something equally commendating when he got the chance. Hopefully she wouldn’t mind if it was flash-cooked with his lusus’s fire breath?
Until then, however, he would have to keep the strange pride he felt under wraps.
When she reached her sai out to him he was confused for a moment, caught up in his surprise from the contact before. He hadn’t even thought about a weapon. All that dragon rage rushing in, probably. Tooth and claw seemed more appropriate in the heat of his epiphany.
Mog nearly smacked himself in the face when he realised how stupid that would be. His arm might look like a good weapon, but he just had so little control over it, like it was constantly half-numb, and part of him still was wary when it came to really accepting something so foreign as a part of his own body.
He grasped the sai’s outstretched handle delicately, mirroring her own pose, “Thank you,” a smile played on his lips. ”But where were you planning on finding this prey, chief? I’ve heard birds, but I don’t think I’ve actually seen any.”
Sevien paused her thoughts to stare at Mog for a short while before dropping her hackles. She wasn’t sure if he was going to suddenly do something but then trusted the fact that he was probably smart enough to figure out it would be a bad idea. He gave her a look though, making a noise expressing his disapproval but she turned away, pretending she hadn’t seen it.
Then she began inspecting the ground, pretending to be interested in searching for tracks. However she couldn’t help but perk at the idea of a hunt. Sevien initially had thought of relying solely on vegetation to sustain their strength but the idea of eating the beasts led her train of thought to settle on the idea of meat…
Mog had suggested a brilliant idea.
She took out her sais, inspecting them carefully. Holding them up against the light she gave a satisfied nod upon seeing them gleam. Sevien looked at Mog and nodded slowly in response.
They were going to get real food.
Mog made a face, “I, ah-.. you don’t mean…,” he paused, “Are there even any animals in this forest? Edible ones, I mean?”
He glanced around. ”And I mean, I’m perfectly content with just snacking on some mushroom or ground nuts, I wouldn’t really want to go searching for something right now.”
He opened his hands, palms up, “Especially not unarmed, when there is a very likely possibility of running into another monster.”
Mog listened to his own words. Why did they sound so reasonable? It was just a dream after all, and he wasn’t usually the kind of troll to back down from a fight, especially not a harmless one where he might even have a partner who wasn’t a herculean brute. Where was his dragon heart?
“On second thought, let’s go kill some shit.”
ah, mog and a weapon i thought about giving him?
ring blade is sort of a lady strife though so i d k.
At least he got the point. As Sevien began to ponder about where to obtain food, her thoughts were interrupted as she noticed an approaching hand getting dangerously close to her face, or more specifically her eye. Startled, she immediately jerked away, barely resisting the urge to slap the hand away.
Sevien glared. That was uncalled for. Sudden contact near a vital spot such as the eyes naturally made her cautious. She understood that Mog meant well but it was all unnecessary.
It was unnatural to her. Cuts healed themselves just fine. The pain didn’t bother her as she had pushed it to the back of her mind but thinking about it has caused the stinging sensation to resurface. Sevien quickly wiped the cut with a sleeve, smearing a thin line of blood on it.
The pain soon returned as she realized she had rubbed it a little too hard in her impatience. Sevien frowned at her mistake as she felt a little bit more blood coming from the cut.
She didn’t dwell too long on it though. Blood on her cheek, blood on her sleeve, it wouldn’t change anything in the long-run. She decided against rubbing it again, her mind instead drifting back to the issue of finding food.
Mog pulled back sharply, not exactly surprised by her reaction. He’d started to think of this other troll like a puppy that had been abused all it’s life. It wasn’t bad at heart, just not capable of anything but complete and utter distrust right now.
He probably shouldn’t have tried in the first place, though the motion had mostly been out of habit.
Mog clicked his tongue at her swipe, at the way she was aggravating the wound, tsking like a mother hen. He didn’t reach out to try again, knowing it would just annoy her, but he did frown in a sort of knowing way, not quite I-told-you-so, but almost.
He didn’t want to press the subject, though, so they were back to food, ”Are you planning on hunting something down? I can’t imagine those binary beasts taste very good. Not very easy to byte.”
This was taking longer than she thought. Normally she would have already reached her shelter but Mog seemed to be constantly distracted by the leaves. Leaves were the last thing they needed to worry about.
She herself could feel a few scratches from branches in various places but she simply ignored it. One in particular was irritating as she could feel its sting under her eye. She was thankful the cut wasn’t above her eye where it could obscure her vision.
Sevien looked back at Mog. He was still fussing about the leaves. Thankfully it wasn’t much further now. She tugged at his arm a little more insistently.
When they arrived Sevien let go of the arm as abruptly as she had grabbed it and ran towards the entrance. A quick scan, inspection and a little stab here and there. There were no uninvited visitors inside. It was safe. The shelter itself comprised of a large tree hollow with a make-shift entrance created from sticks and other ready materials. It wasn’t large but at the very least both of them could fit in the space inside.
Then a growl sounded. Sevien had no trace of alarm on her face, but rather annoyance. She looked down at her stomach, the source, remembering she had initially been searching for food but her encounter with Mog and the monster had distracted her.
Was he hungry too? Sevien didn’t know how long he had been in-game. In an attempt to communicate the idea she tried to mime herself eating. She made stretching motions with her hands, shook her head and gnashed her teeth. Then she tried to imitate swallowing before stomping her foot in frustration.
“Ah, sorry,” Mog apologised when he could tell by her annoyed expression that his vain attempt to keep the twigs from scratching his face was of little importance to the other troll, illustrated by the cuts she was allowing on her own face and arms.
Suddenly he understood why she had so much debris caught in her long hair.
“You’re bleeding,” he sighed, noticing a thin line of lime blood racing down her cheek.
When they arrived at the makeshift shelter, Mog barely held in a huff of surprise. If it was possible to find a cave in the middle of the forest, this was probably it. Hive sweet hive.
Mog laughed, though not necessarily at her expense, just at the general silliness of the situation.
“I am a bit peckish, actually,” he replied to her pantomiming, “But I don’t want to put you out.” Mog wasn’t exactly used to being polite, wasn’t used to speaking to people who weren’t pirates he was about to throw of a ship, or his lusus who he was apologising to for being too mean after the oafish dragon tried in his usual brutish way to clean the cave only to end up lighting half of it on fire (“Just because fire sanitizes things does not mean it makes us cleanly,” he would sigh, grabbing a broom to sweep up the ashes.), and everything he knew he’d learned from books, but that seemed like the right thing to say.
“But first you should clean up your cuts.” Mog lazily tore off a bit of his already ragged shirt and reached out to dab the small laceration.
Sevien wordlessly took the sais with a curt nod. Turned out Mog wasn’t a bad fighter, just unarmed. That would be good if they were to be allied. If that was her intention in the long run.
Because it wasn’t, suddenly she felt a lot more threatened than before. However it seemed she was in the clear for now. Sevien tried to smooth the tension that was building in her muscles from the very thought of a considerable threat. At the very least, he had no reason to possible wish for her demise yet. His fighting skills could prove to be useful against monsters too.
Monsters. Sevien did a quick sweep of the area, running around and taking a good look around. Nothing. She put her sais away.
Still, it would probably be best not to linger in the area after a struggle that could draw unwanted attention. Earlier she had broken off from the main group who were probably still sitting around talking in the same damn clearing and had a good look around. Sevien had taken the liberties of constructing a make-shift shelter which would probably be safer than their present location.
Sevien stared at Mog.
She wasn’t quite sure how he would react to having a troll who is practically a stranger drag him off somewhere unknown.
Well, it didn’t matter to her. Sevien grabbed Mog’s arm without warning and started heading towards the direction of her shelter.
“Alright, on the…move,” Mog narrated, “Okay.”
He didn’t ask where they were headed, knowing full well that there was about a ninety percent chance of him not understanding any answer he might receive regardless.
Pushing aside the various greenery that the other troll disregarded somehow before it smacked into his face, he allowed himself to be led through the forest.
For some reason he trusted this troll, despite the fact that his only reasoning was that she hasn’t killed him yet. Maybe an even more remote clearing would make for better pickings?
Mog didn’t chose to linger on such dark thoughts, however. Right now he was concentrating on not getting leaves in his eyes.
He seemed to know his place as an unarmed fighter. That was good. One less bothersome worry on her mind.
Sevien narrowed her eyes at the monster. It probably wasn’t anything particularly threatening. That was how games usually started anyway, with a weak monster. There was a chance she could be wrong but if her hunch was right…
This battle would be over.
Sevien charged head-on, sais on hand, and the binary monster seemed startled at the sudden movement. It must be passive. Well she wasn’t going to back down, she had been itching for a fight and she wasn’t going to turn down a good opportunity.
She struck repeatedly, forcing the monster into retreat. For such a weak monster, it had a surprising amount of vitality. Giving it a chase, she set her mind to killing it. An injured monster could come back for revenge. The monster was traveling in a curve and soon they were heading straight towards-
Sevien threw one of her sais straight into a tree behind him. Hopefully he’d take a hint and arm himself should the monster choose to attack.
Everything was happening very quickly, but it was not a feeling he was unused to. This creature was barely bigger than knee high and didn’t even seem to be retaliating in it’s attacks. He almost felt bad for ripping the sais out of the tree trunk and sweeping downwards in an elegant spiral, slicing through the advancing beast and tearing away a few strands of binary with it.
It was with this final blow that the monster shattered, or well, it sort of just melted, the strands dissolving into a mist, half of which flew at Mog and the other half that entered the female troll. The blue parts of his cursed arm shown slightly, and he stretched out his fingers complacently, enjoying the feeling.
“Thank you,” he said softly, flipping the handle of sais over and giving it back to her by the heel. It didn’t strike him that from this position she could easily stab the weapon into his chest instead of just taking it from him, so a small smile stayed on the edges of his mouth. ”I’d say I make a pretty good sidekick.”
Mog… what a strange name. Sevien had never heard a name like it. Mog’s appearance wasn’t exactly what she’d call normal either. It didn’t concern her much although it did pique her curiosity.
There were other questions. He called himself a slayer of pirates which interested her. What exactly where these pirates? Where they fun to kill? Tasty? Sevien allowed her body to rock back and forth in thought.
When Sevien glanced at him again, he was bending forward for incomprehensible reasons. Why trolls did that, she would never understand. But they couldn’t communicate anyway. The fact he understood anything at all was a miracle and she hadn’t even hoped for that much.
The stick was useless now.
Sevien threw it into a bush some metres away. It landed accompanied by the soft shake of leaves. She stood up, not bothering to brush the dust and dirt off herself.
Then she froze.
There was a second rustling sound. It couldn’t be the stick. She was sure it wasn’t another troll too. Sevien armed herself, not casting a glance at the Mog troll. He would be nothing but a liability if he wasn’t armed. For now they were disadvantaged and the game needed all the players it could get.
Sevien pushed him away, hoping he’d get the hint. It could be a false alarm but she wasn’t ready to risk that just yet.
Mog’s whole body tensed up at the noise. In this forest he was always ready for something terrible to happen, and it seemed as though the show was about to begin. In his experience, forests were generally the second best place for monsters to hide, the first of course being ancient abandoned castles with spiderwebs on every crevice and infinite nooks and crannies for ghosts (Mog shuddered at the thought) to pop out of.
He almost spoke, but cut himself off mid-speech, so just a strangled, “KcK,” came out.
He clenched the fingers on both his hands, cursed arm responding in its usual pathetic fashion. When the other troll pushed him backwards he did not resist, understanding that weaponless he was rather useless, despite his experience wielding the twenty-sided die and a, w, s, d keys. No need to play the hero, despite his love of chivalry.
Hopping out of the bushes, though, rather than the salivating hedgebeast Mog had pictured, was a strange, nebulous cloud of what appeared to be shifting binary code. The strands of zeros and ones slid in and out of eachother, vaguely forming a body of what was either a creature or some kind of glitch in the game’s data.
Was he joking? Sevien couldn’t tell. But she knew one thing. She didn’t.
Clearly he would be in for a nice surprise later when they run into an enemy. Luckily there were far and few in between… for now. If he was attacked and killed when he had his guard down, it would be no fault but his own. Sevien let out a sigh of exasperation.
No point trying to explain that to him, these lessons were best learned the hard way. She never liked taking the easy route when it came to the welfare of others.
It seemed though, he could read morsetroll. That made it two trolls now who were capable of deciphering her. It was comforting as Sevien preferred him to that other troll she had met who had the gall to ask her to repeat herself. At the same time, he could easily turn into a nuisance. She didn’t know him well enough yet to be the judge of that.
With her stick, Sevien began scratching out her next message directly underneath the first one.
.- - .. -. (name)
It was time she started learning some names. The power of information was not to be underestimated.
By the exacerbated expression registering on the other troll’s face, Mog concluded she probably wasn’t a very good catch on sarcasm. Probably another characteristic of the whole feral persona she had going.
The next message scrawled into the soil was similar to the first one. _a_e. Not ‘safe’ again, something different.
He looked at it for a long time, but couldn’t figure it out. The other troll was staring at him expectantly and he was suddenly very nervous again. Asking questions would do no good if he couldn’t understand the answers. He didn’t even know her name.
‘Name.’ This whole ‘thinking-really-hard-until-the-word-came-up’ was stupid. He’d have to try and find his chart of characters when he woke up.
“I’m Mog. Slayer of pirates and king of keys,” he smiled slightly at his own joke and bowed gallantly. Despite his low blood, he still liked to keep up on proper etiquette. Dragons were classy creatures, and he couldn’t stain the family name.
“I’d…ask yours, but I probably wouldn’t understand,” he let out a short sigh of his own, “I think…I’ve just gotten lucky on the last two.”
There. A stick.
Sevien picked it up and critically examined it. It would do the job for now. She glanced back to view the stranger who had not moved much. He had not spoken either. For that, Sevien was thankful. She hated questions and loathed being barraged with words.
For a while she stared at him in silence, curious as to whether he would make a move. Then impatience took over and Sevien started scrawling on the ground with her stick. It was unlikely he would even understand what she had written but it didn’t matter to her. It was his problem to deal with.
—- -. —.- - (safe)
Would he even come over to read it? If that was the case she could always force him to, as punishment for having looked past her generous act.
It was not often she initiated contact.
It was also not often she met trolls she didn’t immediately feel like killing. For now, he would be low on her list.
Morsetroll? Surprisingly, Mog sort of knew the language, although not well enough to speak it himself. He was better at staring at it until each letter just sort of came back to him from the chart he’s studied almost entirely out of boredom last sweep.
Codes were fun once you cracked them. That was why Mog had started playing music, because he just couldn’t stand not knowing what all the little dots and dashes on the measures meant.
He shuffled over to the message to get a closer look, and suddenly realised he had overestimated his own linguistic talents. The only letters he could pull out of the batch were vowels, _a_e.
Male? Care? Hate?
He tried to read the other troll’s expression to try and narrow the list of words into murderous or friendly, but it was just blank, mildly annoyed, but not even entirely put off.
He still had an unslashed throat, though, which was as good a sign as any that this girl was safe. Safe? ”Safe.” That was what the scratches read!
“Safe from what? Is there anything in this forest I shouldn’t be afraid of?” Mog asked quietly, and with a slight chuckle in his voice.