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The birds of expedience

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INV ONLY The birds of expedience

Post by Cerek July 13th 2023, 7:07 pm

A dark room is illuminated by the dim glow of computer screens, consoles and a few strange apparatus. All around is an electric humming with an ebb and flow. A shadowy figure sits hunched over a screen, its eye darting to every point on the screen. The screen in question is innocuous enough simply displaying live feed of the Gratten hills junk yard, some street and more random locations. The eye stops to fixate on one particular camera, nothing out of the ordinary happening on it. A one way lane with a crosswalk and lights, warehouses for farming products all around. The traffic in the area is thin but not non existent as the road is one of the quickest ways to the hospital.

One single person becomes the focus of the hunched figures gaze, a young man likely fresh from school and heading home. He has earphones in his ears and his head buried in his phone completely blind to the world. The young man doesn't even see the massive truck heading towards him, nor does the distracted driver see him. The truck speed along the road aimed right at the man crossing the road as the pod cast he's listening to takes all his attention. Something happens then that defies very bit of logic that hunched figure knows to be true. As if it were some sudden video cut and edit the young man shifts positions instantly. He's now half a street down and completely safe, the truck continues on seeming to not even see the young man do whatever he just did. The hunched figure leans back in its chair to reveal the face of Cebra.

Thoughts race through his mind behind those darting and piercing eyes. This was not the first event he'd taken record of concerning this phenomenon. He first thought it to be another potential super powered being moving into town, but a thorough investigation ruled that out. Cebra had been working on this so long he started to turn a bit sour in smell, he'd been locked away in the basement of the farm house where his "office" was. His coffee was cold and now just a messy paper weight, he leans back in his chair and sweeps the hair from his eyes in an exasperated exhale. "Whaaat the actual fuck is this?"

Cebra has been inundated with problems since his disturbing and violent adventure through Dis, a land he still can't quite figure out in his mind. The concept of magic still didn't sit well with him, choosing to still believe it was some form of undiscovered physics, some unknown science to this world. Rai was wholly different afterwards and Cebra knew it, something inside her was cracked if not broken. Certainly being burned and label traitor was traumatizing for her, he'd been trying to figure out some way to help her but could do little to ease her mood. As much as he didn't like to admit his short comings he was not a good therapist, his best ideas were to try and take her fishing or out for a drive in the countryside.

Issues were starting to mount and compound for Cebra. Besides issues replacing cattle and general farm maintenance problems. He also had to deal with the continuing gang presence from nearby towns, the incident from months before seems to have not gone away and there are continued run ins with the Dynasty boys. Nothing but some scuffles and skirmishes with the more brave of the gang members still testing Gratten hills resolve, as long as Cebra was there they would be repelled every time. Besides this a contact of his working in the Orion R&D division has informed him that there's a brand new research project taking place, and it started soon after Cebra and Rai's return from Dis. Cebra was a bit haggard and looked gaunt with sunken baggy eyes and a stagger in his step as he stood up. It was 5:00pm now and he'd been at his desk since 5:00pm yesterday.

He could go days without food or sleep and had been doing so over this latest disturbance. Perhaps the smell had finally come to be too much for even Cebra and he staggered upstairs through the garage to have a quick shower and head back downstairs feeling fresh and hungry, he got his wallet and headed out the door for dinner at Overdale's. Marigold was probably a bit concerned since he'd been all cooped up for so long. He was about to leave when he got a mind to ask Rai if she wanted to join him, but wasn't sure where she was. "Rai!" He called out in a voice loud enough to reach around the relatively quiet farm.
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INV ONLY Re: The birds of expedience

Post by Demonhunter July 14th 2023, 1:52 pm

Saying Rai hadn’t been herself lately was a hell of an understatement. She hadn’t left the farm for at least a week, refusing trips to New York like she’d done previously. It wasn’t like there were no demons to hunt, there were always demons to hunt. Rai began to doubt her ability to fight as her back had never really healed. She caught herself bleeding through shirts on occasion and things weren’t quite right. She could still move but each movement of the spine caused a painful jolt, like jabbing needles under her skin. On occasion she’d try to move an arm or a leg only to find the reaction speed sluggish and sometimes completely unresponsive. She found her skin sometimes going numb in patches on her extremities. Thus she laid on the couch, staring into oblivion for days. Getting lost in their own mind was the closest thing to sleep a reaver could get, sadly the inside of her head was just as scrambled of a mess as her body at the moment.

As far as she was concerned humans were the most unsafe beings she could run in to. How many times had she been close to burning and never realized it? She’d gotten careless in her interactions in this world and completely abandoned what had kept reavers safe in Dis… She’d gotten spoiled by it and spoke out of turn when it mattered most. As far as she was concerned she’d gotten what she’d deserved.

The rational part of her knew the rules for dis didn’t apply here, however the feeling that one social faux pas could land her back on the pyre was one that just wouldn’t shake off. The idea of even being around humans gave her a deep pit in her stomach that no monster she’d ever faced gave her. Her ears twitch from under her mountain of quilts and pillows on the couch as the door to the garage door opens. She hadn’t realized it’d been almost a full day since she’d seen Cebra, and that meant she’d been on the couch for almost a day and a half just listening to day-time television. She stares off into space for another half hour before Cebra calls her name. Rai sits up, pillows and blankets rolling off the couch. She rubs her eyes as if she’d been asleep but really staring off into space tends to dry out the eyes.

“I’m right here.” Rai chirps, stretching before jolting at the jab in the back. Her borrowed shirt had stuck to the exponents flesh of her back over the course of the day, She stands with a light stumble as her left leg doesn't react quickly enough to straighten out her knee but ultimately does get herself upright. “Where are you going?” She asks in curiosity, noting that he had the usual ‘i’m leaving the house’ items like his phone, keys and wallet. She was in no state to leave the house as she was wearing one of Cebra’s undershirts that was stained with a small amount of blood down the back and the bottom part of her usual armor, the many layers of skirts just covering her bare feet. Her armored corset and boots sit in the armchair beside the depression nest.
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INV ONLY Re: The birds of expedience

Post by Cerek July 22nd 2023, 9:17 pm

Cebra started back towards the house, remembering the state Rai was in. Though people around town had become used to her and even accepting, the image of her blood stained and cut up might do a number on the local children. He couldn't very well take her out in this state, though he'd feel too bad leaving her alone like this. "I um... Hm." He puts his keys back in his pocket "I'm going to order something for us to eat, we can have a meal together and... Geez you really need some new clothing don't you?" His gaze fixes on another bloodied shirt of his, he didn't mind her wearing it but getting the stains out was a bitch. The door shuts behind him from the blustery weather. "I haven't been as... As here lately as I normally am, sorry about that. I know you're still trying to um... adjust I guess." He hesitantly puts his hand on her shoulder trying to be a comforting presence.

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INV ONLY Re: The birds of expedience

Post by Demonhunter July 23rd 2023, 11:10 pm

Rai tilts her head for a bit as if thinking. Seeing people wasn’t exactly something she was that thrilled about, however, these weren’t just people. Gratten Hill was a kind of safe-zone for the wounded reaver. Of all the people willing to do harm to her, this town would be the last people she could imagine. They were still worthy of caution, it was safe enough for Rai to consider that going to the diner might actually be nice. “Going to town sounds good.” Her eyes averted from Cebra as she did remember she was wearing Cebra’s shirt, and the back of it probably was no longer clean. “Aria tried to take me clothes shopping… but all they had were men’s clothes and skirts that were too short.” Rai shrugs. Modern clothing had been quite the struggle. Pants galore. So many pants and pants were for men, how else was she to ensure she wasn’t mistaken for a man! The problem with the skirts and dresses was a similar story. Her legs would be exposed and she still might be mistaken for a man.
She did have a few dresses that were actually from a thrift store and none of them were from this decade and remembering this she supposed she’d probably be able to throw that on. It was better than the armored corset cinching down on her injured back.They were still clean as she’d packed them on that crazy ass ‘vacation” with Aria but most of them never got worn. Cebra’s hand meets her shoulder without the slightest flinch. “Adjusting probably isn’t the best word for it. More like trying to bury it.” Rai leans her head over as her cold cheek brushes against his hand. “Sorry for growing moss on your couch for a week.” She jokes. “I can get dressed. Give me a minute.”
Rai scampers off into a storage closet finding the suitcase, only to find the outside still covered in a fair amount of sand and smelling of seawater, but the contents were still fresh and folded. She had three dresses to her name, one of them being the black lace and open backed dress she’d worn pretty much the entire trip. Two of them were perfect in her mind though. She hauls the suitcase into the bathroom and after about five minutes she returns.

She was in an emerald green circle dress that looked straight from the 1950’s but was in perfect condition in terms of the light and flowy fabric and the color. The hemline of the skirt just brushing the tops of her ankles and showing off a matching pair of green flats. The sleeves were about halfway to her elbows, but seemed a bit large, like they needed about an inch taken out of them to have a perfect fit, but the bodice fit snugly around her waist but didn’t quite flare out as this kind of dress would typically be worn with a petticoat to create volume, which just made it look like an incredibly modest sundress. It seemed like an incomplete look, something that would require some kind of jewelry to tie it together, but Rai was just lucky to have human appropriate clothing that didn’t make her feel uncomfortable. She was, however, in a slight predicament. The dress had a zipper and a button in the back. She’d gotten the zipper about half way up but couldn’t quite finish putting it on. Aria had helped her with that when they’d bought it, but she wasn’t here now so she’d have to borrow Cebra for the moment.

“Would you mind helping with the zipper? I did like shopping with Aria. The Trist store was my favorite. They actually sell women’s clothes there.” She chimes, completely fumbling some of the english. Some might be aghast that she only had three sets of clothes, four if her armor was counted, but to Rai only the incredibly rich had more than one or two dresses. In her mind she was one of the rich princesses in children’s tales for owning more than one and was the most chic reaver for having anything other than standard issue.
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INV ONLY Re: The birds of expedience

Post by Cerek July 25th 2023, 4:31 pm

Cebra was pleased she was ok with going into town amongst friendly people, maybe she was starting to recover from her ordeal. There was a moment of confusion in Cebra's mind as Rai told him about her clothing issues, he knew there were plenty of clothing stores for men and women. Did she truly believe pants were for men only? And what did she think of Aria? He was going to have another hurdle to jump convincing her pants were a thing women wore as well, but maybe this was one argument he didn't need to engage in. Frankly if she wanted to wear dresses all the time then that was her prerogative. Of course the armor he'd been working on was also made in the likeness of a battle dress given her taste in fashion.

There was an odd moment after Rai pressed her cheek into his hand, as Rai left Cebra had a perfectly quiet moment. He looked at his palm and for a few moments there was an unfamiliar feeling, a very calming and pleasant warmth despite her physical coldness. He's not been aware until now how much he needed this, a sense of intimacy. Too long he'd been going about things without concern for his own well doing. It was really odd and felt like an eternity that he'd been standing there looking at his hand, how did one gesture mean so much? All the days he'd spent buried in working and helping other people kept him very repressed emotionally. He kept sinking deeper and deeper into his thoughts like a lowering anchor... Until Rai popped back in the room looking like a real doll.

Cebra had a little understanding of fashion as was necessary for certain jobs, he could appreciate it on some level and Rai did look good. Cebra smiles and assist Rai with her zipper, he stands behind her and takes notice of her back as he slowly zips her up. "How are you feeling physically? You're taking a while to regenerate I see."

There's a decent amount of fanfare as the two drive towards the diner, seems as though they're setting up for some Easter festival in the town square. "I know Aria has been asking about you more lately, think she was worried when she learned about you in Dis, she sure chewed me out. She might be stopping by sometime to check on you."
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INV ONLY Re: The birds of expedience

Post by Demonhunter July 29th 2023, 1:29 pm

The inner workings of Rai’s mind were still a bit of a disaster. Most of the events in Dis she'd been pushing to the back of her mind in typical reaver fashion of burying everything unpleasant. The only thing that lingered was everything regarding Cebra. Sometimes she wondered if she was sick as her undead heart fluttered on occasion, especially as he zipped the dress up in the back.

Rai stalls a bit as Cebra asks about why her injuries seemed to be not healing. “I feel better but healing will take a bit longer than normal.” A half-truth buried in hope. Silver was a hell of a weapon against a reaver, capable of permanent maiming. She knew she’d healed up a little bit, but the reality that this might be as normal as she can get was beginning to dawn on her. Just another parting gift of Dis. As much pain as they put her through, she couldn’t help but grow angrier at herself. Angry solely because no matter how much she tried she just couldn’t muster up the rage she should feel toward the people of Dis. It felt partly like dealing with children who knew no better and were only acting in the ways they knew how, only these children had almost killed her. She knew she should be upset at them, she had every right to be, yet the rage never welled up.

The car ride was mostly consumed by her own self-conflict. Trying to feel anything for the humans other than the blind admiration of a kicked dog. However she perks as they drive by the easter festival. “This world has Easter?” She asked as they passed. It definitely did look strange. “That’s so weird I-... Oh hey look it’s Mel! Wait… is that just a giant rabbit?” Rai tilts her head at the absurdity. A random giant rabbit? She recognized the eggs and the festival and even the decoration of the church, but the easter bunny was a newer and more American thing. She began to realize getting out was probably a good thing for her, she’d kind of dulled herself out sitting on Cebra’s couch for a week. Even just a car ride was doing wonders to bring the reaver back to some semblance of life. “Yes, Aria should come over. I wonder if we can see the Scoppio del Carro from your house.” Reavers were incapable of seeing the actual visual display of fireworks, but something about the noise was peaceful, especially if she got lucky and happened to be somewhere away from the city.

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INV ONLY Re: The birds of expedience

Post by Cerek August 15th 2023, 10:12 am

There's a look in Cebra's eye, a knowing look that understands the pitfalls of not being able to die, or at least not easily. It was all too easy for people to assume that regenerating wounds came with no sort of negative aspect. Cebra stops at a four way as some kids pass by with a teacher, each of them holding baskets not yet full of eggs, seemingly on the way to the edge of the woods for an egg hunt. "Yeah Easter is a thing here, I'm guessing it takes place in Dis as well... Though given the difference in our culture I would guess your traditions are more strict." Cebra spots the giant rabbit mascot and can't help but pity the poor sap they got to wear that thing this year, Cebra remembered the various times he had to wear it and entertain the horde of snot laden gremlins. Cebra has never heard of this "Mel" before and assumed it was one of her friends she met when she was gone away for extended periods, he wondered if she was hanging out with furries now.

Arriving at Overdale's was an interesting event, seeing a pair of large rabbit ears on top of a moose head with antlers was confusing if not charming and festive. Cebra parked and helped Rai out of her side of the vehicle before walking in with her, the place was pretty full today as it happens. Quite a few visitors from the city with their children and what not, made the place a little rowdy but the small wait staff was managing to keep up just fine. Cebra spots one booth in a corner that seems to be the last bit of salvation from the ruckus. "Let's go over there." As he sits down Marigold can be heard shouting orders out like a general, the sounds of the kitchen symphony: clanging metal, pouring bubbling liquids, hissing and sizzling pans. Luckily one of the new wait staff was friendly with Cebra as he did tend to treat them well and tip. "Afternoon Mr. Ulkenne and your pretty lady friend. What can I get for the two of you today? We have the yearly Easter roast." He leans in and whispers the next part "It's actually braised and roasted rabbit but we don't like the kids to know we're cooking Easter bunny."

Cebra cocks an eyebrow "Well Todd I think I'll have the braised lamb on that pumpkin rice and a key lime shake." Todd notes this down and turns to Rai "And you miss?"
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INV ONLY Re: The birds of expedience

Post by Demonhunter August 20th 2023, 10:08 pm

Strict was one word for it. Having to guard a church while priests droned on for literal hours at a time in perpetual mass for three full days was another word for it. There was some fun to be had though, even if it was more of a watcher’s sport for the reavers. She did remember a game about rolling eggs down a sloped sand-covered pan and trying to break each other's eggs. One small child even tried to challenge her to the task but sadly she was unable to play… Perhaps she could convince Cebra to sacrifice an egg or two for her own enjoyment later. “There are some less structured things. Mostly the church is in session day and night, but the peasants do make good fun of it.” The biggest difference was that there were no robed priests wandering around, collecting donations from the peasants and hassling reavers.

As often as Cebra took her on car rides, she could never quite get used to the gliding feeling. Horses had a distinct sway to the movement and she was never truly still, but a car ride just felt so calm in comparison… calm yet the world was whipping by her all at once and then suddenly it wasn’t as they stopped in a parking lot. Her door opened and she found herself looking around to take notice of the sheer amount of people here. She stalls thinking about it for a moment before taking Cebra’s hand to get out of the truck. Her composure never fell as she straightens back up to her usual statuesque posture, each gliding step making her seem completely as usual. She knew these people after all. They couldn’t be as dangerous as Dis, but perhaps they would be if they saw weakness?

As soon as Overdales doors open her posture falls as she abruptly stops in the doorway. The place was pretty wild as far as she was concerned but much to her relief it seemed like no one was really looking at her. It felt like forever she was frozen in that doorway, staring off into space but it was really only for about five seconds before she regained the mask of normalcy she’d worked so hard to don. Once in the quiet sanctuary of the booth she almost visibly lets out a breath of relief. “Sorry. It’s just a little loud.” Rai’s voice ringing much softer, getting lost in the crowd's noise.

Only then did she remember they were here for food and then once again blank paper was pushed in front of her… Rai takes the menu and glances around at other tables to see what was expected of her. She makes an overdone attempt at pretending to be reading the menu, yet fails to orient the paper rightside up. The mimicry did good to ground her as Todd strolls by to take their orders but the comment about her being pretty had her blinking.

If a corpse could blush.

Well she now knew of three things on the menu. Stew, rabbit and lamb. She didn’t know what rice was… perhaps a grain? Maybe it was like this world’s wheat? Either way if she just went with whatever Cebra was having again it was likely she’d be discovered. “I’ll have the easter bunny.” She whispers as a kid runs by, just trying to keep the well kept secret of the roasted rabbit. “What’s a shake?” She suddenly asks, folding up her menu.
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INV ONLY Re: The birds of expedience

Post by Cerek September 18th 2023, 10:48 am

Of course things in that place would be more drab or macabre, Cebra would rather never think of Dis again if he could help it. Frankly the idea of a society still believing in magic was depressing to Cebra. Although her voice was slight at the moment, Cebra could hear her voice clearly and pick it out from the crowd, advanced sensory network and all.

Ordering food had so far always proven to be an amusing event to Cebra, he'd watch her try and make an effort to understand the menu. She'd never thought yet to ask the waiter to tell her what there is to eat. "A shake is... So it's cream and sugar in..." Cebra didn't really know how to explain soda to her. There's this water that bubbles and you can add things to it, most people add sweet things like frozen cream and sugar. Todd doesn't seem to find it weird that Rai doesn't know what a float is, then again he seems like he's far more focused on his job.

After they place their orders the two have a bit of time, Cebra takes a relaxed lean back in his cushy but worn burgundy leather seat. His gaze passes from Rai to the window as he thinks of what he wants to say watching the clouds roll on by thinning as they blow by to blue skies. "I'm glad tp hear you're making new friends outside of me and Aria, you've been... What's the word now? Withdrawn. I'm sorry I haven't been as present the last couple of days, so much going on since we've been back."
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INV ONLY Re: The birds of expedience

Post by Demonhunter January 3rd 2024, 5:39 pm

Rai was busy trying to imagine what cream and sugar together would be? Sugar was a new discovery for her as in Dis it simply didn’t exist. Honey was the closest alternative so now the idea of honey flavored cream came to mind which sounded quite good. Even cold foods were a bit odd for her as refrigeration wasn’t a thing either. Bubbly water though? Preposterous! This world's foods were just getting weirder and weirder.

Her attention pulled from the many smells and sounds of the restaurant back to Cebra as he shifts. Rai bites her lip as he mentions the hermit-like behavior. She hasn’t been hunting since and has been, in reaver terms ‘growing moss’. It was a reaver tale that a reaver that stood idle long enough could possibly grow moss and mushrooms on their bodies if they didn’t continue doing things. As far as Rai knew she was free of plants on her body at the moment. “It’s alright that you’ve been busy. I um… Don’t really remember much from the past week. I’ve been staring at the ceiling and listening to the talking box.” She couldn’t remember anything that was on the television despite the week of just absent minded staring into space. She’d like to think she was lost in her own mind but that wasn’t even truly accurate either, there wasn’t a single thought going through her head either. For all she knew she could have actually been dead for the past week.

“I don’t know whats wrong with me.” Rai gives a shrug glancing down to her own wrists, each encircled by a burn scar from white hot metal. Blood welling in the corners of her eyes. “I just. I don’t feel right anymore. Being around people just sounds like… bad?” She asks searching for words but not really knowing which would be useful for now. She didn’t even know the word fear could apply to her. “I feel okay right now but. I think if I were here alone I don’t think I could do it.” Her voice was cracking, she was on the verge of falling apart but holding it together with the typical stoicism of her kind. Her shape did not shake or tremble as her voice did, but on the inside was a disaster.
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INV ONLY Re: The birds of expedience

Post by Cerek January 29th 2024, 5:42 pm

The noise fades into background chatter, Cebra reaches his hands across the table and takes Rai's hands into his. "You're not going to be alone ever again, at least not as long as I'm around. Like I said in Dis... I've got your back. We'll find out what's going on with you." There was a moment where Cebra caught himself staring at Rai, right before their food arrived. "Thank you Todd." The food was quit ornate today on account of tourists, Cebra took his first bite with a deep sigh of relief. "Been down in that pit so long, this feels good. How is yours Rai?"

On the street near the crosswalk by Overdale's there comes a delivery truck bearing packages for local deliveries, the driver is a mature gentleman with a thick beard slim build and some bulky lenses in his glasses that magnify his eyes to ridiculous sizes. His focus is on the road as it should be, but for one unfortunate moment when his frames are bumped from his head by a new pot hole. The man loses control of the big vehicle as he tries too quickly to catch them as they fall and knocks them out of reach. If only he had been looking up he could still make out the form of young teenage girl crossing the road with her headphones in. There was no stopping the horrific tragedy that was underway, yet at the moment of collision something impossible happened. The air shimmers around the would be victim and vehicle, the sound of gentle chirping then suddenly... Screech! BOOM! The vehicle hits a parked car in Overdales parking lot.

Cebra jolts from his seat with a "Fuck me!" Without hesitation he hops into action rushing outside to the aid of anyone injured.
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INV ONLY Re: The birds of expedience

Post by Demonhunter March 29th 2024, 2:10 pm

It was as if all at once the fog of war around her quelled.

The warmth of Cebra’s hands ground her enough to make his voice the only thing she was listening to. A reaver wasn’t necessarily capable of perfect eye contact, but she was currently doing the next best thing watching his static soul squirm within his shape. With a deep breath the tears recede and it almost seemed like so did the background noise of the crowded restaurant. Fear was still an emotion Rai’d have to learn to deal with it seemed. “Thank you. I’ll be alright… We’ll be alright.” She corrected realizing that it seemed Cebra was in it for the long haul too. Everything she had known was in the process of deconstructing itself.

“I-” She had started but next thing she knew a plate of steaming bunny was set in front of her. The smell was unlike nothing she’d ever smelt. Maybe she really did die! Maybe there was an afterlife for Reavers and somehow she managed to deserve admittance. She hesitantly takes her first bite and is immediately all smiles. “The Easter bunny is amazing.” She blurts going in for another bite before suddenly getting an idea. “If I catch a rabbit at home do you think I could figure out how to make this?” Her mind was now alight with ideas on how she’d catch one of the furry bastards. They were all over the garden so snagging one shouldn’t be that hard. She knew people used guns to just shoot them… perhaps she could convince Cebra to teach her how to use one.

Rai’s attention was however pulled from the conversation by incessant chirping. She heard the birds over everything else in the restaurant, clear as day as if they were right in her ears. It had her attention in the parking lot before the car even crashed. She stands slowly as Cebra bolts up trying to make sense of what exactly she was looking at. She follows behind Cebra at a more leisurely pace.

The car was already crashed so there wasn’t much she could do about that, what had caught her attention was the thin threads of iridescent light loosely tapered into the heavens. Her eyes followed the strings down to the hood of the crashed car following the little twitches of movement as she approached. What she found only could be described as a much smaller version of what a chicken had been described to her as. However they were incredibly tiny, small enough to fit into the palm of her hand, and seemed just as fixated on her as she was on them. Rai’s mind tries to work on identifying what they were but comes up blank. They didn’t appear as most souls did as they had a more definite shape rather than just an outline, but the only thing that showed up like that to her was a demon but these birds did not trigger a hunting instinct in her like a demon would. She gives a light smile before crouching to get closer and offering a scarred hand to the flock. “Hey, what are you?” She asks, almost hoping that they could answer. “Hey, Cebra” she calls, completely unaware that there could be more urgent matters going on elsewhere.
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INV ONLY Re: The birds of expedience

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