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Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone)

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1 Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Fri Aug 17, 2018 2:48 pm

Eleint 9th, morning.

It's brighter outside the Wall; the grass is greener than the desperate weeds which spring up beside the trodden stone Brilight streets, and there are trees which bloom in a thousand fiery autumn colors. Their leaves flare in fierce incandescent rebellion against the coming winter and their inevitable slow deaths on the cold ground as they turn back into the dependeable soil which has fed the people of the city for centuries. Death and life dance out here in a slow stately rhythm, each partner in the dance aware of their role and willing to carry out their duty regardless of the personal cost.

This early in the morning, it is quiet. Dew blankets the ground and a cool breeze comes from the northeast, the soft kiss of the sea coming from the direction that isn't blocked by a massive wall. A rooster crows again and again; though the sun has long since risen, he has strong suspicions that a soul in the area might have ignored him--if so, he is determined to fix this.

Then there is a blast of violence and activity from the south end of the ranch. Something which isn't quite a giant bird but isn't quite a giant goat either jumps a tall fence and runs roughshod circles over the pristine countryside, squawking and bleating angrily. A man of indeterminate age, indistinct racial ancestry, and far more scars than any one man should carry runs after the beast, vaulting over the fence with both hands and hooting with laughter as he runs.

"Don't mind us!" he yells at the adventurers as they tentatively approach the Riptide Ranch for their scheduled meeting. "They're waiting in the Big House." This much said, he continues chasing the outraged goat-bird-thing.
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2 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Fri Aug 17, 2018 3:26 pm

In the distance, a shaggy, tanned wood elf is slowly making his way up the winding road to the ranch. There is a small black pile of fur following him, very slowly.

Glen Liadon turns around and finds that he's taken his strides just a bit too long and just a bit too fast again. The panther kitten Elen follows behind him, walking gingerly, his paw freshly healed but still tender from the animal trap he fell into the night before.

“Aw, Elen.” He squats down beside his new friend and gives Elen a friendly rub on top of his head. The kitten leans into the rub with a little rumble in his chest, the hint of a purr. “I know you're still a little sore, but you seemed so determined to try. And I walk too fast! C'mon, buddy.”

With that, Glen scoops up his new traveling companion in his arms. He strains a little - the  small panther is still heavy - and stands upright, holding little Elen and supporting his hind legs in his arms. Elen flails a little for a moment, uncertain of being lifted from the ground, but settles with his proportionally enormous paws over Glen's left shoulder, looking back up the street.

As the creature and the man come by, Glen waves bemusedly, but Elen spots the beast and decides he should immediately give chase. Powerful back legs try to push off and leap away from the elf, but Glen manages to wrap his arms around the flailing baby before it can jump from his arms. "Elen!! We can't chase that, we're guests!" He writhes for a minute, wrestling with Elen, before the kitten stops struggling. "Trust me, we've got stuff to hunt. Just not ...that." He grins, panting a little, and gives Elen a scritch on the head.

The ranger and his panther continue up the quiet lane towards the big house. Arriving at the door, Glen prepares to knock.
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3 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Fri Aug 17, 2018 3:59 pm

Sunrise makes her way down the lane. On one shoulder perches Honey; on the other, peering curiously around, is a half-grown multicolored kitten. From time to time she reaches up to pet one or the other.

She talks to them as she walks. "Look at this," she mutters. "Bright colors, growing plants, fresh air... disgusting. No fit place for city girls like us. I'm certain this amount of sunlight isn't healthy for a person."

She pauses as Zasrein runs by, watching as he performs casual acrobatics in pursuit of the beast. "...On the other hand, the scenery is good. Hey, is that Glen up there? Let's catch up."
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4 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Fri Aug 17, 2018 4:47 pm

As Glen is about to knock, up from behind his shoulder, a small black head and a pair of emerald eyes pop up and notice Sunrise, Honey, and the domestic kitten. It appears that Glen is holding a panther cub in his arms. At the sight of the strangers, Elen nestles his head on Glen's shoulder, against his neck. As he watches them, a tiny rumbling comes from his chest - only loud enough for Glen to hear. "What is it, buddy?" He reaches up to rub Elen's head, turning to look at whomever is getting a little kitten growl, as the baby panther's head turns as well to track the newcomers.
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5 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Sat Aug 18, 2018 2:30 pm

Sunrise raises a hand to wave - then her jaw drops. "Glen, do you - what is that?? It's adorable, oh gosh!" She hurries over, examining the little panther.
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6 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Sat Aug 18, 2018 3:00 pm

Glen's face brightens as he turns to see Sunrise. "Oh! Hey Sunrise!" He grins at her surprised expression. Elen twists around and sits forward in Glen's arms, propping his paws up on Glen's left arm. He sniffs the air as she approaches, eyeing Honey with a mischievous glint in his eye.

"This is my new friend, Elen. It means 'star' in Elvish. He's a young panther - just a touch bigger than a kitten, I'd wager. I think he's the special black cat that Hacari said she was going to have delivered. Although..." He cocks his head to the side. "I don't remember telling her where I lived." He shrugs. "Nevertheless! He must have gotten lost because he got caught in a trap - his paw had a nasty wound when I came home to find him waiting for me." He shows her Elen's freshly-healed paw. "Luckily, I picked up a book on natural magics on my way home and was able to heal him. He didn't seem interested in leaving - slept right on top of me, in fact."

He looks down at the kitten. "Elen, this is Sunrise. And Honey," he nods towards the homunculus, "and... another kitty. They're friends. Be nice and don't hurt, okay?" Elen listens to Glen, his eyes showing what almost looks to be understanding. He looks at Sunrise, blinking slowly and sniffing in her direction expectantly.
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7 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Sat Aug 18, 2018 4:05 pm

"Bourbon," she supplies as her kitty's name. "Oh gosh. He's precious, can I..." Reaching over, she strokes the fuzzy head. "A panther? You're going to get huge, aren't you, baby?"
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8 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Sat Aug 18, 2018 4:18 pm

"Hi Bourbon!" He crinkles his nose at the kitten. "Bourbon and Honey, eh?" He chuckles.

As she reaches out, Elen sniffs her hand, then allows her to pet his big head. She hears a rumble in his chest that sounds like a growl. Glen looks at Sunrise, mirth in his eyes. "Don't worry! He's purring. And yes, I think he's going to be quite large. Look at his paws!" The baby's paws, standing on Glen's arm, are enormous compared to the rest of his body. Yes, he is in fact going to be a very big boy. "I was going to put him down, but his paw hurts from the trap, and he tried to chase after that man and the bird-goat beast, so I decided to carry him. He also took up most of the bed last night. He's very spoiled. Aren't you, buddy?" He grins.
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9 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Sat Aug 18, 2018 4:23 pm

"They do go well together," she says with a shrug to his comment on the names. "Okay. I could stand out here petting your big kitty boy all day, but we have things we need to talk about. Ready to head in?"
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10 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Sat Aug 18, 2018 4:36 pm

Glen nods. "Honestly, after the last couple days, bourbon and honey sounds pretty good. Maybe once we're on the other side of this thing. And I'm sure he could sit here letting you pet him all day too. I think you can do a little walking, right pal?"

He looks down at the kitten. "Stay close to me, buddy, and don't get into trouble." He leans over to let Elen down, and the panther jumps down, landing gracefully. He sniffs at Sunrise's feet, getting to know his ranger's friend by her scent.

"I'm ready, but should we wait for the others?" He looks back down the lane but doesn't see anyone else coming. "I guess there's no harm in going inside to wait." He turns back to the door and knocks.
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11 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Sat Aug 18, 2018 10:01 pm

There was a pause after the knock, followed by a series of clanks and bangs and some indistinct swearing.

"I got it!" yelled Thimb, who, in fact, did not got it.

Instead it was Hamish who opened the door, fluttering in the air on butterfly wings with the body of something vaguely hamster shaped. They chittered a greeting and beckoned for the others to follow him. From the inside they could see that Hamish did not open the heavy door themselves, but there was some sort of pully rigged up for exactly this purpose.
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12 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Sat Aug 18, 2018 10:07 pm

Elen looks excitedly at the flying hamster, crouching down and doing a little wiggle like he's going to try and jump after them. "Elen!" Glen says, a little worried, "that's Hamish. Another friend!" Elen looks up at Glen as if to ask, 'why are you friends with everything I want to pounce?' Glen steps into the house and Elen pads along quietly behind him, staying close, sniffing constantly.
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13 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Sat Aug 18, 2018 10:22 pm

Sunrise follows close after, peering curiously at the contraption. "Does Hamish play doorman for you often?"
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14 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Sun Aug 19, 2018 1:58 pm

Hamish explained that the system was not built initially for him, but for some the younger children the ranch has homed over the decades. There was a screen door in back which was lighter, which most of the family used for themselves, but company always came to this one, which was also why the rig could only be operated from the inside. However, because it was Hamish, this came out as a series of adorable incomprehensible noises. They also fixed Elen with a contemplating stare before giving a shake and their coat (maybe their body?) fluffed up with a fwoosh sound, making them look (?) bigger.

Following the fairy hamster up the three stairs (and dodging one of the barn cats that had snuck inside again as it darted past them) Hamish led them into the sitting room, in which Thimb was desperately trying to get a tiered stand struggling to support its self under the weight of the various baked goods she had stacked onto it to behave. The table was well if not aggressively set. A full tea set was laid out, although the pieces were all a bit mismatched, as well as a carafe of coffee. There were two tiered stands, the one Thimb was wrestling with, and another laden with sandwiches and savory pastries. The small plates were all from one set, though they had obviously seen their fair share of use, the pattern on some of them faded.

The other side of the room had a table with the journal and translated entries (this time she had made copies, with the help of Hamish) and her chalk board that Jarek had brought down should Sunrise need to draw something out again. Or just something for Honey and Hamish to do if they got bored.

Thimb finally got the stand to steady as she reluctantly removed a few muffins, placing them in a basket full of scones that also sat on the table before noticing the arrival of her friends. Apparently once Hamish went to get the door she had conceded that her attention was needed on these pastries. "Oh! Morning!" she said, beaming a smile at the others.
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15 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Sun Aug 19, 2018 2:41 pm

"Morning," Sunrise replies with a grin. "Are we the first ones here? We brought critters, as if you don't have enough of a menagerie already!"
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16 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Sun Aug 19, 2018 3:14 pm

As they pass and the barn cat runs past, Elen  takes a playful, clawless swipe at the potential playmate, who continues running. A little dejected at the total lack of fun he is getting from this large assortment of creatures and people, he falls back in behind his ranger.

Glen raises a hand in greeting, smiling. "Hey Thimb! Good--" He is interrupted as, seeing the big spread of food, Elen deftly bounds over, sits back on his haunches, and looks up. His nose starts twitching wildly as he takes in all of the smells on the table, his growing kitten stomach rumbling. All Glen had for him that morning was more jerky, and this smells MUCH better. He eyes the table, calculating how high he is going to have to jump to get to work. He extends his front paws and leans them against the end of the table, preparing to leap up.

"Hey hey hey!" Glen darts over, petting Elen's head while gently pushing him back to a seated position. "We're guests here - we can't just jump on the table and mess everything up, buddy!" Glen very quickly grabs a small plate and loads it up with as much meat as he can find - bacon, sausages, anything that might be enticing to the baby. He pours some water into a bowl as well and puts them both down in front of the hungry cub, who happily begins scarfing away.

"Well. Crisis averted." He turns back towards Thimb, panting a little, a sheepish grin on his face. "So, this is Elen."
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17 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Sun Aug 19, 2018 4:10 pm

One of Thimb's hands was clasped over her mouth, the other her heart, her eyes filled with absolute delight. She didn't move her hand so it was muffled but the others could make out "So cute" from behind them. She lowered her hands and smiled sheepishly, "No such thing as too many critters for the menagerie- so long as I can pet them all," Bourbon was unfortunately not getting the attention she deserved because panther kitten as Thimb stared at Elen intently, hoping she would get to pet him (and Bourbon, and Honey, who she had tragically yet to pet).

Hamish however was more interested in Honey, and trying to initiate a conversation, unsure if she could understand them, but hoping for a new creature friend. They were explaining which of the snacks laid out were The Best Snacks.
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18 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Sun Aug 19, 2018 4:17 pm

"Elen," Glen says quietly to the kitten, who is happily chomping away. "This is Thimb. She's a friend too." Elen snorts in quiet acknowledgement and continues wolfing down the food in front of him.

"Thimb, he's very friendly once he knows you're a friend. You can pet him if you like." He smiles, happy to have brought such joy to Thimb's face.
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19 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Sun Aug 19, 2018 4:20 pm

Sunrise reaches up to skritch Honey's ears. I think he's trying to make friends, she says silently, nodding at Hamish. Do you want to grab some food and then go play?

Out loud, she asks Thimb, "I know we're early, but I'm famished; may I?" Assuming permission is given, she grabs coffee and a tray of savory treats; taking a seat, she moves Bourbon to her lap and begins dissecting a sausage roll to give the cat something to nibble on.
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20 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Sun Aug 19, 2018 4:34 pm

Honey doesn't talk, but she flies over to listen intently to Hamish's noises, peering at everything pointed out to her with happy interest.
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21 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Sun Aug 19, 2018 7:22 pm

"I'll wait until he's done eating," she says knowing far better than to approach an animal who doesn't already know and like her when they are eating, and that it's still high risk behavior even if they do. "And speaking of eating, yes, go ahead!" she said gesturing, "and feel free to make up things that were never here to claim you've finished to tell the others about- such as... my brother?" she glanced around. "How do I keep misplacing a man so large?" she asked no one in paticular as Hamish explained the wonder what was custard filling to Honey with great enthusiasm.
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22 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Sun Aug 19, 2018 10:22 pm

Glen picks up a sandwich, a savory pastry, and some fruit and pours himself a coffee.

While his ranger is chomping away as usual, Elen finishes his meat and takes a few generous slurps of water from the bowl. He pads over next to Glen and sits down, looking up at Thimb curiously, his head cocked a little to the side.
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23 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Sun Aug 19, 2018 10:59 pm

Once the baby was done eating Thimb approached, holding a hand out to Elen. "Hey little guy," she said, letting him sniff her real good and using the soft voice she always used when talking to babies regardless of their species. "Aren't you just the cutest thing? Where did you come from? Your not native to these parts. Did someone steal you from your mama? Poor little guy, well, I'm sure Glen will take real good care of you. You made a good choice adopting him," she continued, ignoring the fact that Glen was there and could hear all of that. Or perhaps not quite realizing?
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24 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Sun Aug 19, 2018 11:07 pm

Glen takes a small step back so that Thimb can have a minute getting to know the baby without him and the way. He listens, nodding and looking very pleased. "I don't know where he came from. We met a woman in the slums who gave us all cats, but she said mine was special and black and would be delivered. When I got home last night, Elen was waiting in my house, his paw covered in blood, thorns, and mud. I think he was caught in a trap. But - and I know this sounds absurd - I actually healed him. Picked up a book on nature magic on my way home and it just...worked."

Getting closer, Thimb can see a little furless patch on his paw, of the newly grown skin. As she approaches, Elen sniffs her hand, then rubs his cheek against it, marking her with his scent. He then pulls back and rubs his other cheek against the other side of her hand. After his rubs, he returns to looking around the room at Glen's feet, curiously watching the assembling companions.
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25 Re: Morning at the Riptide Ranch (Everyone) on Tue Aug 21, 2018 3:18 pm

There is a knock on the door and Rik Templeborn tromps in, giving a slight double-take at the panther when he sees him. "Am I late?"
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