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Random Encounter Story

Posted by Neverwashere 
Random Encounter Story
February 11, 2007 12:23AM
Late summer: close to harvest, close to autumn. It was warm and sunny, as it had been for two days now. Local crops were doing fine and times were good, if only for a few days. Lengthy whiles of summer warmth usually meant lengthy whiles of summer rain, which was just as good. There were many who would have welcomed that with a smile, too.

One such person was sitting by a river a little farther away from the roads and settlements, enjoying the bounties of nature, drinking in the rich scents that warm summers brought with them. A hint of spruce, a hint of fir... grass and the water. The water especially.

The silver-haired person cast his line into the water and leaned his back against a warm rock. Sometimes these scenes and places drowned him so deep into contentment, all he could see, hear and feel were the things that made him content. The warmth of the rock, for example, and the feeling of warm sand between his bare toes. The sound of running water was the only thing in his ears.

All in all, Sebastian thought things were good. The entire world was a place to sleep, and he could find his food where he damn well pleased. Like now - he was after fish, which had been quite plentiful in the past two days he had spent travelling alongside the river. He hadn't seen a soul and felt as if he was the first man alive. He was happy. Ever happier when a fish took to his bait and soon found itself fighting to get back to its natural habitat.

Sebastian smiled, put another bait in the hook and sank the line into the river again. Another, and he would have a meal. He relaxed, set his hat at a deeper angle and closed his eyes. He wasn't far away from civilisation anymore and he was going to make the most of it.
Random Encounter Story
February 11, 2007 01:07AM
Just moments later, someone spied this precious little scene. Actually, part of it. More precisely, a watercreature on land, thereby made food.

A hardly audible swoosh of wings later the watcher was on ground level, a way behind the rock. He closed in on his prey on foot, silently.

Neither wanting to miss out, both halves focussed their attention on the fish, and both pairs of jaws closed on it simultaneously. The small dragon swished both tails behind him, and made a content purring sound.
Random Encounter Story
February 11, 2007 01:19AM
What? That wasn't me...? Green eyes blinked open. Then they turned and blinked again - again. Again. Two seconds worth of surprise and confusion abated and Sebastian lowered his fishing rod and straightened up a little, a small smile playing on his lips. "Why hello there," he said in a calm, low tone, carefully lifting his hat's brim with a thumb. He was very careful to not make any sudden movement, but of course if his memory wasn't playing tricks on him there was no need to be careful about that, either.

He felt a bit bad about his food though. "Don't I know you?" he said in the tone one would use to talk to babies. His fishing rod twitched. He pulled his catch to dry land without another thought spared to it. No, Sebastian was fascinated by this little thief.
Random Encounter Story
February 11, 2007 01:35AM
The little thief, on the other hand, was mostly interested in the half-elf's food. He had at least the courtesy, or, more likely, took the caution, to look at him. You never knew with big critters, but this one seemed harmless enough.

The way each slender neck went through a routine of ripping a bite out of the fish, bobbing up to help swallowing, pausing to look at Sebastian, and dipping down again, all coordinated with the other to leave the big critter not unobserved, was quite a sight.
Random Encounter Story
February 11, 2007 01:44AM
It was indeed. Impressive enough to captivate the half-elf to the point where he forgot all about the summer's warmth and the whispers of the river. Sebastian blinked as the effect dampened, chuckled and had a look at the fish dangling and thrashing in the hook of his fishing rod. Yes. It was worth the sacrifice.

He turned his eyes back to the little thing and idly wondered if the thing was dangerous at all. Collecting the fish from the hook, he hummed a thoughtful note and crossed his legs. His free hand sought his boots.
Random Encounter Story
February 11, 2007 01:57AM
The dragon slowed down his artful gobbling. The left head stayed up and watched the half-elf, while the right continued for a few bites. Then, after some quiet hisses to each other, they seemed to agree on what to do next: slinking the short distance to the water and having a drink.

First the left head dipped down, while the right had an eye on Sebastian, then the right drank more, while the left took over watching. After a moment the left gave a tentative jingling noise.

The dragon didn't remember where it picked that noise up, but it had kept it, since it tended to get big critters' attention.
Random Encounter Story
February 11, 2007 02:08AM
Ah. A sudden urge to smile overcame him, and he let it happen. "So, it is you," the half-elf said conversationally and relaxed enough to pull his boots on without constantly worrying about being pounced by a two-headed little... dragon. Lizard. Whichever it was.

Once he had his boots on, he stood and salvaged the hook and line. What was the creature doing here, anyway? And the owner... there had been a mention of an owner. He stood and watched, thoughtfully flipping the fish in his hand. "Well, boy --" if the dragon was one "-- I think you just piqued my interest."
Random Encounter Story
February 11, 2007 11:17AM
He was full, the big critter didn't offer any scritchies, so he might as well leave. The dragon climbed onto the rock for height, jumped and flapped his wings.

Full as he was, his flight was not exactly graceful, but it worked.
Random Encounter Story
February 11, 2007 11:32AM
Acting on impulse, he grabbed his bag and followed after the dragon, fish still in hand. He had really wanted to just chuckle and watch the poor thing fly, but it was as he had said: his interest was piqued. Uncertain whether or not the dragon would be upset, he allowed for some distance at least.

His other concern was trying to decide if he was going to get hungry enough to eat raw fish (it had happened before). After some internal debate he came to the conclusion that no, it could wait. The perch looked large enough for a snack, and it wasn't as if he didn't have supplies.

Without thinking about it, he began to hum happily.
Random Encounter Story
February 11, 2007 12:01PM
The hum caught half the dragon's attention, which led to a tumble in midair. He ended up clinging upside down to a branch.

The right head hissed at its easily distracted counterpart, but calmed down as that started humming a simple melody.
Random Encounter Story
February 11, 2007 12:11PM
The tumbling alone had been enough to silence the half-elf, who was smiling lightly, expressing only a part of his amusement. Most of that amusement drained away the moment the dragon's right head calmed down.

At first he felt a chill the sun's warmth couldn't defend against, but that quickly turned into bemusement. He stepped closer to the creature and tilted his head a bit, just as if to hear to better. This keeps getting stranger by the moment, he thought to himself and bit his lip, extending a hand covered by a fingerless glove toward the dragon. Just as a precaution, he hummed the melody back at the little thing.
Random Encounter Story
February 11, 2007 12:43PM
That was the invitation he'd been waiting for. The dragon dropped onto Sebastian's hand and continued humming. Nice weather, food without trouble, and someone to make noises with made for a happy dragon.

At about that time, a whiff of smoke smell drifted on the breeze, coming from upriver.
Random Encounter Story
February 11, 2007 12:56PM
You're certainly friendly enough, Sebastian thought with a smile and cooed at the dragon appreciatively. But I wonder... He studied the pigeon-sized dragon and comparing his findings with a half-forgotten memory. That memory was connected to another, and that one... yet another.

The half-elf raised his nose toward the breeze and shook his head - and coincidentally, his mane of hair, unbraided and unfettered at the moment. It made him look considerably more like a human despite the angularity of his face, although even some of that was covered by two days worth of stubble.

One look at the dragon convinced him to not mind. He stuck a thumb toward the direction of the smoke and made an inquisitive humming sound.

Even so, he began walking in that direction.
Random Encounter Story
February 11, 2007 01:54PM
This meant he was carrying a very happy dragon indeed, since the creature liked getting rides instead of having to fly himself. It slung a tail around the half-elf's wrist loosely to help its balance, and added some bird-like twitters to its humming.

The dragon's owner had decided to make use of the weather while it lasted, and enjoy it, too. She'd changed into her spare tunic - knee-lenght, light, and over time faded to a faint blue - washed the darker clothes she wore most of the time and had laid them out to dry.

Her dark red hair tied back with a kerchief, she was tending to a small fire she'd lighted on the small stretch of sandy riverside when she heard the dragon's song. Since it was familiar, she did not pay much attention to it, or she might have noticed it was approaching more slowly than it would have if he'd been flying.
Random Encounter Story
February 11, 2007 02:09PM
The dragonsong stopped coming closer when the one doing the walking came to a halt, lips slightly parted. For a moment he looked around and kept his ears open for any detached, otherwordly giggling, but he heard none. Regardless of this, or maybe just for that reason, Sebastian felt slightly uneasy.

Drawing a deep breath, petting the little dragon's side with his thumb and giving it a short coo, he gathered his wits and nerves. It bothered him a bit that the day was so beautiful - it seemed so very suspicious now. "Excuse me... I seem to have found your little friend."

Oh dear goddesses, he thought.
Random Encounter Story
February 11, 2007 03:12PM
Startled, Sylvie turned around and got up in one quick, slightly awkward movement, and, seeing the dragon, spoke without thinking.

"I don't think he can get lost, and I seriously... tried?"

Her voice trailed off as her memory kicked in. The (lack of) hairdo and, moreso, the stubble slowed recognition down a bit, but it worked. She looked at the half-elf and tilted her head, blinking in surprise, then shook her head slighlty and chuckled.

Random Encounter Story
February 11, 2007 07:32PM
He scritched the dragon's left head with a weak, slightly apologetic (why?) smile that didn't betray his faint surprise at seeing her. Certainly the melody the dragon had hummed had been a dead giveaway, but he wasn't sure if he was hopeful or dreading that it really was her.

He found it wasn't so terribly bad after all. It was the wilderness, after all. "The same. Hello, Sylvie," he said and raised his hand a little, either offering the dragon from a distance to Sylvie or offering the dragon the chance to fly off. He shook his head a little and lifted his chin so as to let sunlight light his face. "He's been very friendly."
Random Encounter Story
February 11, 2007 07:57PM
He even took the hint, and flew past Sylvie to settle on her pack and roll up for a nap.

"He gets too friendly sometimes, for example when he starts gnawing peoples' ears. Hissing helps if he bothers you."

Sylvie chuckled again and ran a hand through her hair. She was a bit beside herself with surprise - quite obviously pleasant surprise at that.

She made an invitating gesture. "Hello. Um, you haven't cooked yet, either?"
Random Encounter Story
February 11, 2007 08:13PM
The half-elf took his hat off now that his hand was unoccupied and his eyes tracking the culprit that had liberated a fish from his custody. His sudden smile at Sylvie's remark about hissing was an indication of exactly how amusing he thought the dragon's antics were.

"No. But I was going to," he explained as he walked closer. "I had an adventure with a hungry dragon," he said, placidly as if he wasn't really all that bothered by it.
Random Encounter Story
February 11, 2007 08:39PM
Sylvie sighed. "I think I can guess the rest. Sorry. I got a decent catch and some leftover bread; together with that one fish we should have a meal for two." If he wasn't bothered, she wouldn't let it bother her, but she could at least make up for it.

She went to work on it and said, "What a coincidence just stumbling over each other. I've heard some stories I'm just starting to believe now."
Random Encounter Story
February 11, 2007 08:48PM
"Oh, it's all right," he said quietly, happy to be rid of the fish anyway. As an opportunist he wasn't sad if someone was offering to do something he would have had to do anyway, although there were things he felt he owed, still.

On the topic of coincidences and stories, however... Sebastian looked a little surprised. "Stories?" he asked, in a tone that suggested he had his suspicions. A slightly worried crease appeared on his forehead as he busied himself with the contents of his messenger bag.
Random Encounter Story
February 11, 2007 09:00PM
"Nico told me some unlikely tales of running into old friends in the oddest of places." Sylvie shrugged lightly, dismissing the stories themselves as not to be discussed.

She'd earlier already organised a flat stone as working surface and now set to gutting and cleaning the fish.

"Of course I don't know if this would be an odd place for you... Do you live near here?"
Random Encounter Story
February 11, 2007 09:09PM
Nico. Yes, the kingfisher. He couldn't help but smile at that - and the woman's curiosity. "Coincidences... well, those do happen. I sometimes surprise myself by thinking of certain people just before running into them," he said and relaxed, sitting down close enough to watch her work.

Then he considered her question.

"I don't really live much anywhere," Sebastian said carefully and inspected his fingernails momentarily. "I'm a bit of a wanderer: so no, this is rather as close to home as it gets." Ultimately, he thought, looking a little faraway for a few heartbeats. Then his mind slipped far from the thoughts about abandoned homes; he turned the question around. "How about you?"
Random Encounter Story
February 11, 2007 09:23PM
"At the moment I'm, hm, call it employed, to a scholar in Canyet. He's working on an encyclopedia of plants, and I've been gathering information and samples in this area." That contact had been a bit of a lucky strike.

She frowned for a moment at the thought of home, also catching a bit of Sebastian's mood, then shrugged, and continued more lightly than she felt, "I'd like to find a way back home, but not starving is important. Anyway, there are worse things one could do than wandering and learning."
Random Encounter Story
February 11, 2007 09:32PM
He looked up and smiled sincerely at the attempt. "I'm not doing much anything for, well, as long as I want to if you'd like someone to keep the dragon occupied," Sebastian said a little jokingly - but only a little. "I tend to agree on the starving bit. But home... you're away from home?" His tone was not joking anymore, but respectful instead. Almost grave, but not stoneface serious. Respectful.

He produced a metallic flask from his messenger bag and then paused to study Sylvie again.
Random Encounter Story
February 11, 2007 09:49PM
Sylvie looked at Sebastian for a moment, then hummed thoughtfully and turned er eyes back to her work. She was not perturbed - well, not much - just a bit puzzled about the change in tone, and tried to figure out how to put the answer.

"Away from the city I grew up in. It's traditional to take to the road for a while, and it's a great experience" - she looked up with a gleam of enthusiasm in her eyes; it was nothing but the truth - "but I, heh, went a bit further than expected."
Random Encounter Story
February 11, 2007 09:58PM
The enthusiuasm and words extracted a smile from the half-elf, who raised a squint at the sunny sky again. He looked a little happier just for that: the sun, the answers and questions and the sound of the river. "A rite of passage, hm?" he asked and 'juggled' with the flask absentmindedly for a moment.

"What kind of traditions are you talking about if you don't mind me asking?" He couldn't really help his curiosity. The world had raised him to be that way, and when faced with a possibility to act on that natural impulse the half-elf didn't have to think twice. (He didn't even think once, at times.)

He set the flask on the sand.
Random Encounter Story
February 11, 2007 10:14PM
"Craftsmen's traditions?" She wasn't sure what he was getting at.

"Anyone having finished their training takes to the road for at least a year, to practise their profession, and usually to learn from other masters."

She prodded the dragon. Since that got only a lazy blink, she picked him up and set him down again next to her pack, so she could dig out the salt and some seasoning herbs.

The dragon sneezed and looked at her, but apparently didn't feel like complaining further. Instead he walked over to Sebastian.
Random Encounter Story
February 11, 2007 10:25PM
"Oh. All right. Maybe I should have known that," Sebastian conceded and, instead of asking another question, locked his eyes on the dragon, at whom he directed a faint smile. The cooing sound came as an afterthought.

"Does he or she have a name?" the half-elf asked and leaned a little lower the peer at the dragon. The way the light reflected off of the little thing...

He idly wondered if he had something in common with magpies. Surely not!
Random Encounter Story
February 11, 2007 10:40PM
"His name's Ayu-Asra." The left head turned to look at her for a moment, then the whole creature curled up directly next to Sebastian.

"Do you want to keep him?" Sylvie asked jokingly.
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