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Private Far from home. 1x1 with Illiad Easle


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@Illiad Easle
Ædriga looked at the fire again, but didn't let go, it was clear there's something on her mind but she didn't say anything, and nothing about her really gave away what it was. She would speak again moment later if Ætheron didn't say anything "Yes, I like with you, but...I no know why." "I like Ditzy, Ditzy good pony, but no want go with Ditzy if no go with you." "New." 'weird' would have been better word but she hadn't yet learned that "Where I from, I know dragons hurt I, I know others food, I know all, here, I no know many things...I no know I." she didn't know if it was because her instincts weren't used to be not in danger, or because something else, but all of this...happiness was weird to her, and it seemed to mess with her head since she had started to feel things she didn't recognize. Her voice wasn't in any way specially emotional, mostly confused if anything, but this wasn't necessarily because she didn't feel anything, instead it was simply that she didn't know how to express whatever may or may have not been the dominant feeling.

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@Illiad Easle   It was a sunny late morning above the Everfree forest. There had been some rain during the night, so the forest floor was still a bit wet, but that didn't bother the ocean blue

@Catpone Cerberus It wasn't too difficult to deduce that she meant reflective of shiny things, or rather things that caught her eye, but it was less clear what she meant with the colors, did she

@Illiad Easle Ædriga looked almost excited when Ætheron explained the concept of friendly physical contact, and would nod when Ætheron asked if she understood, she had seen the words he mentioned, but

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@Catpone Cerberus

Ætheron didn't respond, mostly because he had fallen asleep, but even if he had been awake, he wouldn't know how to answer the quandary she was having. It was the sort of period of self discovery that every creature went through when they had enough security to consider things bigger than basic survival, and it sounded like now was the first time she wasn't constantly fighting to survive. It was a path that everyone had to travel alone, such that whoever emerged on the other side was who they really were. Ætheron would of course do his best to help guide her where he could. But that would have to wait until morning.

Unless Ædriga tried to wake him up earlier or move him during the night, he would wake up next to the fire where he fell asleep right about sunrise.

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@Illiad Easle
Ædriga had no reason to wake Ætheron up, nor did she try to move him, because not only was he was bigger than her, she had no idea where she would need to grab to move someone with his anatomy. It also took her a while to even realize he had fallen asleep, since she was more focused on her own thoughts and the fire, but when she did, she carefully moved away from him, took the language book from his stuff, since she had seen where he kept it, and studied it for a while.

She would eventually put it back and lay down for sleep herself, Ætheron would find her sleeping next to him, not close enough to touch him, but it wasn't far off.

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@Catpone Cerberus

Ætheron would notice Ædriga's proximity to him when he woke up, it made him happy to see that she was getting more comfortable around him. Nonetheless, they had to get moving if they were going to get to Trottingham before the post office closed for the day, they could talk to the shaman on the way back.

He would do his best to not wake Ædriga as he got his pack ready and made sure the packages were all secure on hers. Some of the vines were starting to wear, but they would hold well enough yet. They would need to get her a properly made harness soon though.

If Ædriga hadn't woken up by then he would wait for her to get up, but if she had already gotten up he would help her get her pack on if she needed it, "Ready for another day?"

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@Illiad Easle
Ædriga didn't wake up right away after Ætheron, she had stayed awake longer so she also slept bit longer, but she would wake up around the time Ætheron was checking on her harness. "Good morning." she again said when she got up, bit more cheerfully than usual, in fact she looked and acted more chipper in general. She would right away head to her harness and start putting it on after stretching a bit, she again didn't need help, but she wouldn't refuse it either if Ætheron wanted to help, it was faster and easier that way after all. "Ready" she then said with a nod, it would have been nice to eat something first, but she could go rather long without eating, especially with the amount and quality of food she was getting here.

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@Catpone Cerberus

Ætheron chuckled, "Eager today aren't you? Lets get going, have to move fast, but not many dangers in this part of the forest."

With that they would be off on their way, though after a few minutes of walking Ætheron would look through his bags before looking over at Ædriga, "Can you eat and walk at the same time?" He would hold up a portion of meat in emphasis, "Or do you need to stop to eat?" 

If she could eat and walk he would give her the meat, otherwise he would hold onto it until they reached a clearing where they could sit for her to eat before they continued.

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@Illiad Easle
"Yes can eat and move" 
Ædriga responded with a nod, she preferred to eat while in place, but she didn't have any trouble doing it while she walked, she just had to use her wings instead of her legs to grab the food. After she was given the meat, depending on the size of the piece, she either raised it up with her wing and dropped it into her mouth, or ripped part of it off, ate that, and then did the dropping thing.

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@Catpone Cerberus

Ætheron watched her eat at first, finding it interesting that she would drop it into her mouth rather than place it. He knew her teeth were dangerous, did she consider them a danger to herself as well? Have experiences where others attacked her with their teeth? Or was it a more benign reason? In no case was he motivated to ask her in case it was a sore subject, so he decided to ask a more general question, "How old are you?" he thought that might be a difficult concept if she didn't understand time so much long term, "You know number of winters, cold times, you've lived through?" Many of the ponies stated their ages in terms of summers or winters, so maybe she could understand that?

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@Illiad Easle
There was no deeper meaning for why Ædriga ate like she did, it was simply because it was easier for her, her wings weren't build to be used like her legs, so it was lot easier to drop the food from above rather than carefully place it, and since she didn't really chew her food, lacking teeth to do so, as her teeth were build to rip off pieces off meat instead of chewing, it was also easier to get bigger pieces down when you dropped them directly in your throat.

She though for a while after Ætheron's question, she had wanted to ask the same from him but hadn't figured out the words to do so, so it was good that he had asked it. She didn't have trouble understanding time in long term, in fact, quite opposite, it was short term that was harder to keep up with because for creature that could life thousands of years, short times were very short. What she had struggled with was the idea of years and months and such because her kind didn't really count time in that way, but thanks to Ætheron's rewording, she got the idea of what he was asking.

"Many cold times, five tens, some more." "But I still young dragon." her kind matured around 50, so she was basically a young adult, though she wasn't sure of her exact age, as she counted it in tens.

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@Catpone Cerberus

Ætheron was a bit surprised, and a bit disappointed by her answer. While he was used to dragons that lived hundreds of years, he had hoped that perhaps she wouldn't outlive him by such a long margin. Alas, there was nothing he could do about that.

Ædriga may be able to pick up on his disappointment as he replied, "So many already? You look very young." He was making an effort to speak in complete sentences as she improved her lexicon, it wouldn't do to stunt her grammar by speaking too simply, "I have thirty years, or cold times, I am young still, but not very. Centaurs live about 100 or 120 years." He looked around and shrugged, "This place, this world, is very magical, maybe I'll see 140, but not many more."

As an adventurer he had never really reflected on his potential longevity, and honestly some of his youthful antics had likely already cut a few years off his life. He never really expected he'd live long enough to grow old, but now the thought that he wouldn't live very long at all compared to Ædriga made his life feel all the shorter.

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@Illiad Easle

Ædriga did notice Ætheron's disappointment, but didn't really know what to think of it since she didn't know the exact reason for it. "Five tens is very young." "And I small, if I no small, I over double big." she had figured that Ætheron had a short life like most creatures, but wasn't happy to be right, the idea of outliving friends wasn't a pleasant one. 

"Thirty" "120" she said quietly, she had learned the words for 20-100 but she wasn't sure on how to say them so she said 5 tens when meaning 50 "I can live tens hundreds."

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@Catpone Cerberus

Ætheron simply nodded, still sullen in thought. After a bit he sighed, held his head up high, and resumed his previous pace, "You will live a very long time, I... I understand if you would rather be with others who will live long like you. Spike, the small dragon you met our first time in Ponyville, will live very long, and he knows other dragons too..."

It was clear that, although he said it, and although his gait had returned to normal, he was dismayed by what he said.

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@Illiad Easle
"No." Ædriga said in a surprisingly assertive tone, probably a weird thing to hear from someone as submissive as she seemed to be "No dragons, no more." "You and ponys yes, dragons no." she had gotten quite enough of dragons in her life, and regardless of anyone may say, she would have trouble getting along with other dragons for quite a while. "You friend, some ponys friends, other friends." "I live long, but I no care, when friends go away..." she pointed at her head "...stay here." Someone staying in one's heart was unknown to her as a statement, but that was basically what she meant, with long life came good memory, and while she obviously wouldn't remember everything if she ended up living until old age, she would remember the most important things. 

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@Catpone Cerberus

Ætheron was both surprised and touched by her response. He was more surprised at her ferocity, and more touched by her sentiment. "That... is very kind of you. You are a very good dragon Ædriga, the others could learn much from you."

His thoughts turned to the future, should she befriend some ponies, she could theoretically befriend their children as well, be a friend for a dozen generations to the family. Maybe even... he stopped that train of thought. It was too soon to even consider. Besides, that would be quite the stretch for the potion anyway. Centaur to Pony was one thing, Centaur to Dragon was quite further. What would a centaur dragon hybrid even look like?

Still, she could be too young by dragon standards for that anyway, and he didn't want to broach that subject just yet. "So, I guess Ditzy is one of your pony friends? Why is that?" His tone phrased the question more as why she considered anyone a friend rather than Ditzy specifically.

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@Illiad Easle
Ædriga didn't think it was much to do with her being kind, but then again, the concept of kindness like many others were still outside her full understanding, so she could be and probably was wrong. She just didn't see the point of taking happiness away from herself or others just because she happens to live longer, who would that help in any way?

But there was the question of bloodline, because while continuing one's bloodline was more of a chore for her kind rather than something they specifically wanted to do, it was still instinctual, so she had to wonder what she was going to do with that since she didn't really want to deal with dragons, if the local kind was even compatible with her, it wasn't like she knew much about genetics or biology in general since they didn't exactly have schools that taught such things.  

"Ditzy you friend, you I friend, Ditzy I friend." she declared, she also saw the others they had met in the other post-office as potential friends, but she had forgotten their names because of the stressful situations before and after meeting them. "You friend because you no hurt I, you friend because I like you and you like I." "You and Ditzy friendly, no...no-like?...I because I small." she was trying to say dislike "And you care I, no let other hurt I." 

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@Catpone Cerberus

Ætheron thought a moment about what she said, then nodded. "That is a good reason to be friends, it is important that friends don't hurt each other, that they care about each other." With that they would crest a hill, and Trottingham would come into view. From here they could see that the town had much the same style as Ponyville, if only a bit larger and more densely populated, but nowhere near as large or dense as Fillydelphia had been. They could also see the sea to either side of the town. "There is Trottingham, we'll be there in about an hour more."

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@Illiad Easle
Ædriga's focus was mostly on the population when the town came to view, it wasn't as bad as the first place, so that was a good thing, but it did seem more populated than the Ditzy's town, she took a deep breath, pushing the thought of the overwhelming noise and smells out of her mind, she had a reason to go there, she'd need to focus only on that. As she emptied her head, her glance stuck to something else, the sea, or more specifically, the sea going up north, it was something that was strange to her, yet it was very familiar because she had stared at its endless waters for a long while as she had made her way here.

It was a weird feeling she got when looking at it, a type of homesickness, but it was negative in a way, she missed her cave and territory, but she never wanted to go back. She would be like this until Ætheron either said something, touched her or got far from her, and she would take a second to register whatever happened.

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@Catpone Cerberus

Ætheron noticed that she was staring at something, and at first thought it was the town that held her transfixed until he looked closer and saw she was looking at the sea outside of the town. "You're staring at the ocean, is something wrong?"

There were a few possibilities in his mind as to why she were so transfixed, maybe she had never seen an ocean before? Or maybe never one this big, and her stare was in wonder or excitement. Maybe she had a fear of water, had nearly drowned as a foal, or whatever you called a baby dragon, and she was petrified by fear of such a large body of water?

He was a few paces ahead of her when he turned back to ask, so if she moved to join him they would start to head to town regardless of her answer to his question.

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@Illiad Easle
Ædriga blinked at Ætheron few times before fully taking in what he had said "No worry, all good." she then said as she closed the gap between them "I come from there." "I fly, lot water, day and night." while she was blue like ocean, her bloodline didn't actually have any relation to water, in fact, if she had never left, she probably wouldn't even have known that the ocean existed "When see water....ocean..." she almost got it right the first try "...think cave, think mother, think all...good and no good" 

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@Catpone Cerberus

Ætheron understood what Ædriga meant, at least, he understood that she had correlated the ocean to her journey, a separation between her old life and her new life. He nodded as he continued leading the way, "Many ponies have said that the ocean can be a way to strange new lands, many have thought that those who went out, and never returned, went to some strange land. In a way, the ocean was that for you, it brought you here, and now it stands between where you are now and where you used to be." He shrugged, "I don't really have the charisma or wisdom to say much more on that. We'll be in town soon, and we can see what type of fish you might like."

(Some fanons say that pegasi eat fish, I'm inclined to accept that for this story if you agree, but I'll leave that up to you.)

Exiting the forest they were almost immediately flanked by farmland, tall rows of corn on one side, a sprawling field of wheat on the other, earth ponies in both fields stopping their work to watch the two strange creatures pass by. They weren't outright hostile, but they didn't seem quite as welcoming as the ponies in Ponyville had been. Ætheron nodded to some of the closer ones, who nodded in return, and that was the extent of their interaction.

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@Illiad Easle
Ædriga turned thoughtful but didn't say anything, even with how much she had already learned, what Ætheron said was bit much to take in, and she wasn't ready to figure out a response before more important things came to view, thus to responding, though she did understand enough to not see a need to ask about anything.

Ædriga looked around her in astonishment, it was weird sight for her to see so much of the same plant in one place, it very normal thing for many, but having lived most of her life in forests and other areas where besides trees there was no one plant ruling over others, it was a neat view.

She noticed the bit less welcome reception from the ponies, but she wasn't worried about it this time, mostly because she could tell they didn't like her, since that let her mentally prepare for possible attack. Her reactions may have been bit backwards from outside view, but when you grew in dangerous and hostile environment, it was the friendly strangers you were the most wary of. That and she could tell that Ætheron wasn't worried, she trusted his judgement over her own for now, because she knew that he knew things better around here than she did, though that didn't meant that she totally dropped her guard when around others, old habits die hard. 

(Sure, though imo griffons would make more sense)

Edited by Catpone Cerberus
imo = in my opinion
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@Catpone Cerberus

(I'm not so old or young that I don't know what imo means :derp:)

(And of course griffons eat fish too, I meant that pegasi would as well.)

Soon enough they would pass the farmlands, their path becoming crowded with ponies pulling carts filled with harvested crops. Then as they entered the town proper it was clear that the main road they were on had been converted into a bustling market, with fruits and vegetables of all types being bought and sold all around them. The ponies were talking around them, but not to them in any capacity, though they continued to attract quite the bit of attention, especially from the curious eyes of the young ones, a small group of them starting to trail after them, darting away when/if Ædriga looked back at them, only to quickly start following again when she looked away.

Ætheron only stopped once they reached the docks, here there were more griffons than ponies, and the stalls featured meat far more prominently, the griffons were far less shy about calling out to them directly about their wares, "There's the 'taur! Back already? Got some good fish for ya this time."

Ætheron seemed more relaxed in this area of the town, "I might take you up on it. Ædriga here and I were going to look at what sort of fish she might like, think you could give some recommendations once we've dropped off our burdens?"

The griffon he was talking to, a large and scruffy looking one who smelled like the ocean and fish, nodded, "Was about to ask about the dragon. I'll put a sampler together for'er, you can count on it."

With that Ætheron led the way into a building build on the edge of the dock with the same symbol over the door as had been in Ponyville and the last city. Inside another griffon was surprised to see them. "Here already?" The griffon was further surprised to see Ædriga, "I had heard you'd found some help, but..."

"Not what you expected, right?"

The griffon shook her head with a chuckle, "I shouldn't try to expect things when you're involved. It's good then that I got harnesses in a few sizes, I'm sure we'll be able to get one to her size."

Ætheron took off his harness and started to unload the packages as the griffon went in the back and returned with a few harnesses like Ætherons. She came over to Ædriga, "Hello there, we don't get too many dragons out here, I'm Salty Barb, what's your name?"

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@Illiad Easle
As the crowds around them grew, Ædriga got more wary, but not to the panicking level this time, she kept her eyes on Ætheron, only taking them away once when she turned to look at the group following them, after that she kept 'an eye' on them with her other senses, only looking because she wanted to know what it was that followed them, she didn't necessary think they were going to do something, but focusing her senses on something helped a bit to combat getting overwhelmed. 

She didn't even try with the accent of the griffon, it was hard enough with the 'normal' language, so she just picked up the words she could recognize, and of course anything that Ætheron said, other than that she didn't really contribute to anything during the short conversation, just sniffed around to smell anything that was not a fish. She could tell that Ætheron relaxed a bit, but she wouldn't relax fully as long as there was creatures around.

Ædriga was curious about the other griffon's surprise when they got in what she in her mind called 'package place', she may have not know what the buildings actually were, but she was good at figuring out patterns, and that included understanding that reappearing symbol meant that it meant a certain thing. She also wasn't sure about the exact definition of package, but Ætheron had called the stuff they carried that, so that what she understood it as.

She listened quietly during the conversation as always, and started to unload her part of the burden when she saw Ætheron doing it. She would look up from what she was doing when the griffon came over "Hi Salty Barb, I name Ædriga, nice meet you." she was getting hang of the greeting, though conjugation and such would take a while to learn since she didn't have any reference for them in her own language. With the greeting came a smile, which was starting look like actual smile, so the greeting was a success in general. 

 

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@Catpone Cerberus

Salty looked a bit surprised by Ædriga's pronunciation, but Ætheron responded before she could ask, "She's been teaching herself Common for, I think two weeks now?"

Salty was clearly impressed, "Only?" She turned to nod at Ædriga with a smile, "You've learned very quickly, and your pronunciation is very good. Better that I was at two weeks anyway." She chuckled as she brought the new harnesses closer, "The ponies in the Fillydelphia branch thought you might be sticking around, so they asked me to get some harnesses together that might fit someone of your size, though it looks like your closer to a griffon fit than a pony fit."

If Ædriga had finished unloading her packages and taking off her harness Salty would continue, otherwise she would offer to help her unload and get her harness off.

Once she was ready, Salty would bring over the largest harness before separating the frame from the straps, "We'll see which set of straps fit you best, then we can see which frame is the most comfortable for you. If that's alright with you?"

If Ædriga agreed, Salty would try a few different sets of straps and different tightnesses until she and Ædriga were satisfied with stability and comfort, then she would leave the straps on as she tried a few different frames, the frames connected to the straps via a series of strategically placed buckles, allowing the frame to remain secure in transport while also being easily removed without undoing the straps. There was even a flexible frame that would allow her a greater range of mobility on her spine, hips, and shoulders then the previous frame had allowed.

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@Illiad Easle
Ædriga didn't have time to respond to Salty's praise since it took her longer to understand and come up with a response than Salty took to continue on different topic, but she looked like she appreciated it. She had taken off the harness before she had started unloading, it was lot easier that way after all, and if she was still unloading depended on how much she had to carry, since she did it pretty quickly.

After a second of thinking through what had just been asked, She agreed to let Salty try the harnesses on her, and though she looked slightly uncomfortable at times, there wouldn't be any trouble, and if asked she would insist that Salty would be allowed to continue, she was still getting used to the whole being close thing. She would end up choosing whatever harness would be most stable and move the least, as comfort didn't really have a part in this for her, because her scales were such that the straps would break before causing any kind of discomfort, until of course they limited her movement, but that was obvious. 

For the frame she would choose the flexible one, because while the self-made one hadn't yet caused any problems, she preferred to take the one that was the least like to do so in the future either. She would thank Salty with "Thank you Salty Barb." after it was all done

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