Private Tales Unexpected Bonds

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Isiell

Chaos Fury
Fae Courts
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82
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An Undetermined Amount of Years Ago...​


Isielle sniffed, wiping her face with her sleeve as she dodged pedestrians and carts through the streets of Underhill. Her mother's words still rang in her ears, and her cheek burned hot from an unexpected slap.

Her mother had never hit her before.

The Winter Court does not tolerate complete neglect of duty, Isielle! It's passion before duty, not passion instead of duty. You're the heir of this house, and it's time for you to behave as such. Queen Mab and the rest of the court--myself included--have been overly tolerant of you. Bring your chaos into rein.

To be honest, she didn't quite remember what she'd muttered in response to that. The shock of actually being slapped across the face had knocked the memory right out of her.

And then she'd run. Straight out the front door of the manor, into the streets that she'd never wandered alone.

Out. I just need out. Just for a while. Isielle sniffed again, eyeing the approaching gate out of Underhill. She just had no idea how to actually accomplish getting out.
 
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Ariel

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Underhill was a big place, and if Ariel didn't stick to the routes he knew he was very likely to get lost. He added streets and pathways to his repertoire over time, of course, but there were just so many. His main roads remained constant. Isielle must have felt the same way, for she ran down one of their most commonly-traversed routes.

Ariel felt her before he saw her. The pair had always been close, each of them with an inner fire not quite what their families had expected. He felt that blaze moving quick, but there was something off about it. Something darker.

He caught up to her as the gates grew closer. "Issy!" he called, and waved. His young body was gangly and awkward, somewhere in between boy and man but settled on neither. "Issy wait! What are you..."

He saw the tears, and the rosiness of her cheek. "...what happened?"
 
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Isiell

Chaos Fury
Fae Courts
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Isielle thrived on chaos. On its energy. But this particular chaos within her... this was different, and she didn't like it. She didn't know what to feel, which thing to be angry about, and whether or not she was safe, away from her home, where she could just curl up into a ball and cry for a few minutes.

The foot and cart traffic near the gate was almost completely ground to a halt as the guards checked inventories and itineraries, making sure that nothing was going out that shouldn't be going out.

Like sort-of runaway daughters of the high lords.

Still without a plan, Isielle darted in and around the crowd, and startled as Ariel leapt in front of her.

"Mother happened," she sniffed, reaching up to wipe her face with her sleeve again. "I just... I want to get out, for a while. Will you help me?"
 
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Ariel

Winter Court
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Ariel's face creased. He had very rarely seen Isiell get truly upset, let alone cry. Most things that upset ordinary people would delight her, being one with chaos and all. It made for quite a bit of fun most of the time, though it could get a little frightening.

He swallowed. He'd met Isiell's parents once... maybe twice in his life. His family had been influential a couple of generations ago but nowhere near that status. Now they were just barely considered nobility, and Ariel rarely felt he qualified for even that.

He wanted to ask more, to ask what had happened to make her mother angry, but he decided not to pry.

"Sure, we can go out. Where do you want to go? The frozen lake? The docks? We could see if the bakery has anything out back to swipe if..." he trailed off, following her eyes to the large gate of Underhill itself.

Oh. Oh. His face paled as he realized what she meant. "Issy... is it really that bad? Come on, let's go somewhere fun. You don't need to leave altogether. We can even light some haybales on fire?"

That usually got her attention.
 
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Isiell

Chaos Fury
Fae Courts
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Isielle gave a half-hearted laugh as Ariel suggested setting haybales on fire. She doubted she would ever hear that fall from his lips again. But for once... her laughter was subdued. Forced.

"Please?" she begged again. "I don't want to be anywhere where mother might find me, or where she might think to send the guards to find me."

She wound her fingers around his wrist, eyeing the gate as she sniffed back tears again, and then looked up at him with pleading eyes. They'd almost always been the same height, or close to it, but recently he'd shot up a few inches taller than her, though he still didn't match his limbs yet.

"I don't... want to leave leave," she said quietly. "Where would I even go? But... I just want to get out for a while. Out somewhere where I'm not her daughter and expected to behave befitting my status in the Winter Court."

Along with the slow-moving crowd, they were continuing to creep closer to the gate. If she'd had Ariel's ability with water, leaving would have been much simpler. But no, she had fire, and while it suited her most of the time, right now it was incredibly frustrating.
 

Ariel

Winter Court
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Ariel's heartbeat quickened. He'd left Underhill a few times but never on his own. The Winter Court was vast and not all of it was so tame as the city, and there were many fierce and terrible things in the woods beyond. But then she held his wrist, and he knew he was going to help her no matter what better judgement he may have possessed.

He sighed. "Fine," taking her thin fingers in his hand. "But just for a little while!" He added. "And I'm coming with you," he stopped before adding to keep you safe, because even in his mind the words sounded silly. Isiell would more likely be protecting him than the other way around, but rational thought didn't appear to be today's theme.

They approached the gate. It so was so big. Wrought iron, heavy dark wood, and more than a few enchantments probably. Would it be as simple as pushing through?
 
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Isiell

Chaos Fury
Fae Courts
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When Ariel sighed dramatically and finally agreed, Isiell grinned. Her first genuine smile since running away from her mother's study. "Of course you're coming with me," she said fondly as his hand wrapped around hers. "That's half the fun."

Just for a little while? she laughed quietly to herself as her eyes scanned the crowd nearing the tall, looming gate out of Underhill. We'll see... maybe a few days. A few days is a little while compared to a year.

"How to get out though?" she mumbled quietly, mostly to herself. As the guards continued checking the various fae creatures coming in and out of the gate, she thought she spotted a heavily laden wagon on the far side, coming in. It would be at the gate in a matter of moments.

"Ariel!" she whispered, face splitting into a devious grin that he was well familiar with. "Did you mean it? About setting haybales on fire?"

She pointed to the wagon, driven by a single servant, stacked nearly to bursting with bales, likely bound for one of the high lord's stables.

"It would be enough of a distraction for us to sneak past the guards!"
 
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Ariel

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Ariel swallowed and paled a little bit. He hadn't meant to set things on fire right here, but he shouldn't have been surprised at Isiell's eagerness.

"Well..." there was only one person on that cart, and they would probably get off in time... and it didn't need to be a big fire, just enough to cause some smoke.

"I guess," he gave up, "but be careful, don't get seen!" He didn't have anything to use as a light, but he knew she would find a way. She always did.
 
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Isiell

Chaos Fury
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Isiell's grin widened. "No one will see me," she promised with a giggle. "Have you forgotten that my elements are fire and air? Perfect for setting a haystack smoldering."

She pulled at his wrist, tugging them behind a larger group of people. Standing up on her tiptoes, and keeping an eye out for any watching guards, she raised a hand and with a delicate flick of her wrist, a small flame flared in the dry hay for just a moment. She flipped her palm upward and blew across it, feeding the fire with a delicate breeze that wafted through Underhill, despite its protection from most of the outdoor elements.

Isiell dropped back to the soles of her feet and looped her arm around Ariel's elbow. "Just watch and wait," she murmured.

It didn't take long. Soon the scent of burning grass was spreading through the gateway, and as the driver realized it was his wagon and his cargo afire, Isiell bit back a laugh. The horses charged forward, heedless of the line, and burst through into Underhill's streets. The guards maintaining both the foot traffic leaving and entering Underhill were suddenly chasing down the fiery wagon, and Isiell tugged at Ariel's hand again.

"Now," she whispered. "We need to go now!"
 

Ariel

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Ariel let her pull him aside. Doubt was gnawing at him but he tried to keep it from showing. He didn't want Isiell to think he wasn't up for some fun, after all.

He could feel the warmth coming off of her hand as she blew across it, the fire in her breath. If change and chaos could have a scent, this was it, and despite his misgivings he always held a deep appreciation for Isiell's gifts. He often wished he could cast aside doubt as easily as she.

Smoke, fire, insanity. All three took off in the street and before he knew it they were heading for the gates. He focused on keeping his feet moving, forcing them onwards even as they grew heavy at the threshold's approach.

And then... they were over.
 

Isiell

Chaos Fury
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A quiet thrill ran through Isiell as their feet crossed the gate's threshold. Ahead, she could hear the thundering roar of the waterfall that marked this gate as Underhill's main entrance. She glanced back for a moment, to make sure they'd made it through the gate unnoticed, then grinned and tugged at Ariel's hand again.

"Come on!" she called as the thundering roar of the waterfall approached.

The road behind the fall was busy and crowded, the traffic going into the city completely stalled as the guards dealt with the fiery cart in the streets. She closed her eyes for a moment, reveling in the feel of the cool mist in the air on her face, then grinned as she fled from the city, her feet and heart light as she left her worries behind for a while.

Ariel's hand was warm, and she gripped it tighter as they broke through the underground passage and into the forest surrounding the hills that hid Underhill.

"We made it," she whispered, turning to smile at Ariel, then stepping off the main road and into the forest. There wasn't any particular place she wanted to go... she just wanted to exist without restraints for a while.
 

Ariel

Winter Court
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Underhill wasn't a bad city. It was quite nice, actually, in the right parts. The thought of living underground was daunting to some, but they hadn't taken into account the enchantments and wards on the place to make it bright, glittering, and beautiful. They also didn't realize how massive the cavern was that housed the place. Even without enchantments, there would be open air enough for all.

It made leaving that much more frightening. Ariel had been outside Underhill... he was pretty sure. When he was younger his parents must have taken him. Must have. He was having trouble remembering what it was like, and as the waterfall loomed ever closer he became less and less sure of what would be on the other side.

Where Isiell controlled flames, Ariel excelled with water. He threw his hand over the pair as they ran through, and while he could not hope to contain all of the thunderous cascade, he did manage to keep them drier than the other travelers.

He blinked at the light and his eyes adjusted just in time to see Isiell heading off into the forest. "Wait!" he hissed after her, following. Even though he knew this had been a terrible idea, he couldn't keep from smiling. It was exciting, and the air out here smelled clean and free.
 

Isiell

Chaos Fury
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Isiell paused, hearing Ariel's plea for her to wait, and she turned back to him with sparkling eyes and a wide grin. She expected that he would be nervous, but relief swept through her as his smile caught her eye.

She liked the thrill of chaos... but she never wanted to see Ariel afraid, especially of her. Or for her.

It was only mid-morning, though. There was so much time for them to romp, and then decide what to do afterward.

"Come on!" Isiell held out her hand again. "I want to see everything. I've never gotten to... explore before."

Her pulse was racing from the thrill. Her mother, and her mother's soldiers, would never suspect that Isiell had actually left Underhill.

She'd... left Underhill before, technically. Her parents had traveled some, and when Isiell was younger, she went with them. Before they'd realized her full propensity, and affinity, for chaos. But she'd never been out in the forest with no supervision.

"Maybe if we go far enough, we can catch sight of that floating city! What was it called? Thiria?"

Thiria was, in all likelihood, much further off than they could travel in a week, let alone an afternoon. But it was, Isiell thought, a nice dream.
 

Ariel

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This was the Isiell he knew, all smiles and joy, even if it was too often based in mischief and entropy. If he had more sense her grins would have frightened him, but Ariel knew she would never hurt him, and he figured he could keep her in check if things got out of hand. A water to douse the fire, so to speak.

"Me neither," he admitted. Exploring the outside world wasn't exactly encouraged for young fae of Underhill. It was dangerous out here in the cold hills, with creatures that could freeze the blood in your veins with a look. But it was so beautiful in the sunlight, watching the glittering snowflakes fall through the deep green needles.

"Yeah, Thiria," that sounded right. He doubted they'd actually be able to see it... but wouldn't it be grand if they did? The gnawing sense of caution that had been gnawing at his nape was fading by the moment. Isiell had that effect.

"Maybe... maybe we could try to find a frozen lake first? We can break the ice and search for treasure." He thought he could smell water not too far off... but that could have been the falls still roaring in the background.
 

Isiell

Chaos Fury
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Isiell's laughter was light as they wove through the trees, and she paid no mind to the branches and leaves and light layer of snow that crunched beneath her feet.

"I don't know if we'll find a lake," she said. "But maybe a pond or stream? You're the one with water magic. Why don't you lead the way?"

She was becoming positively giddy with the potential all around her. No guards or nannies, no tutors, no parents. Just her and Ariel, wandering through the woods, and more laughter bubbled up inside her.

She leaned down and swept up handfuls of snow and threw them into the air as she twirled, her long black hair and her skirt flared out around her. Isiell smiled, spreading her fingers, and made the air catch at the snow, slowing its fall through the air as the sunlight made it glitter.

Then she let the air return to normal, and twisted back to Ariel with a smile.

"Come on," she said, grabbing his hand once more, "let's find you some water."
 
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Ariel

Winter Court
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Ariel couldn't help but smile at the snow crystals glittering through the air, and he pulled at a few of them to extend their flights. His magic didn't come quite as easily to him as Isiell's seemed to, even though they were virtually the same age. Maybe she was just better at hiding the effort.

He pulled in a deep breath through his nose. The air here was so much fresher than underground, and it carried much more vivid scents. Thick pines full of resin and sap, icy snow everywhere, a few animals, and... yes... open water in... that direction!

He pointed, "That way!" He started off at a jog through the woods, looking back to make sure that Isiell was following at his hand. He could hear it now, a gentle babbling stream through the crisp woods, getting louder.

It wasn't much, just a thin creek flowing over smooth rocks in a narrow basin. It carried wafer-thin ice sheets along its surface that broke on the miniature rapids. Ariel concentration, with both hands out in front, and a slow tendril of icy liquid began to snake up from the surface. The small divergent current curled upwards, the water flowing in a spiral until it fell back to droplets at the end of wisp. He bit his tongue in concentration, try to twist the stream into more and more elegant curves.

It almost looked like a swan before it broke and fell back to the water. Ariel let out a breath through pursed lips, relaxing his arms. He was getting better, but it was still hard to keep control for very long.
 
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Isiell

Chaos Fury
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Isiell smiled and let Ariel tug her along, easily keeping pace with him, until they reached the small creek. She watched as he pulled the stream of water into the air, curling and spiraling it. It was elaborate, and she grinned as she recognized the swan-like shape.

"You're getting better!" she cried happily after he'd let the magic end. "That was very intricate."

She looked around for a moment, and started gathering what dry, fallen wood she could find. Even if they were fae, the comfort of a fire on a cold winter day was something they would both enjoy.

"Are you sure you don't want to take me up on my offer to sit in on my magic lessons?" she asked while dropping an armful of wood on the ground between them, then kneeling to arrange it for burning. "My tutors are frightened of me. They won't say a word to mother."
 
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Ariel

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"Thanks." Ariel shook out his arms with tight lips. It was getting easier, but finding a large body of water to practice in wasn't always easy... especially if he didn't want to splash anyone nearby.

He sat himself by the fire. It felt nice, despite the bitter cold on his rear from the winter earth. "They should be scared," he said with a grin, "How many of them have grown their eyebrows back after you 'accidentally' let your flames get too close?" Isiell's temper was well known, but she would never turn her ire towards him, he was certain. His eyebrows were safe, which was good because he considered them one of his better features.

"But no, thank you. I don't want someone teaching me who doesn't want me there. And your mother still likes me well enough. If I get on her bad side she might start looking into what we're doing all the time." They'd stolen a fair amount of food from Isiell's cellars, not to mention a few small knives and other ornaments to play with over the years.

He got up briefly and with a quick wave of his hand the light dusting of snow on the ground was swept aside. "That's better."
 

Isiell

Chaos Fury
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The wood was dry. Even though there was snow on the ground and a frigid chill in the air, it hadn't snowed heavily in a while, and so the fire caught with the first spark that Isiell fed it, fanning the flames with her magic.

She grinned back at Ariel as he plopped next to the fire. "I've moved on from eyebrows now," she said with a frightful cheer. "Eyelashes. Nose hairs. Beards. Mother has to pay them very very well to convince them to stay on."

She frowned though, when he mentioned getting on her mother's bad side. "No, we don't want that," she muttered, though it would make her lessons infinitely more enjoyable if he was there. Ariel could have, at least, distracted her tutors from constantly berating her about not doing things the right way. What did the method matter when she gave them the result they wanted? Working within the strict parameters they--and the Winter Court--gave made her skin crawl.

Satisfied that the fire had taken hold, Isiell scooted over to sit next to Ariel once he'd blown the snow away. She sighed, and leaned into his side, though they were close enough in height now that resting her head on his shoulder was a strain on her neck.

They sat in silence for a few moments, listening to the crackling flames and the babbling brook, punctuated by the bright chirp of birds as they flitted through the air. Isiell loved the unpredictably of the outside world, the forest.

"I wish I had a brother or sister," she whispered eventually. "Someone else to be the heir of the house. I don't think I can ever meet mother's expectations, and father just... does nothing, unless I've made someone at court mad."
 

Ariel

Winter Court
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Ariel returned Isiell’s lean by putting his head on hers. She was always so warm, and he stared into the fire. There were so many colors in it. Sometimes he thought there were more when Isiell had created it, like she’d given a little bit of herself to it.

”I mean, not torching your teachers might be a start,” he said lightly, regarding her mother’s acceptance, but he put an arm around her thin shoulders all the same. Perhaps it wasn’t the time for joking, but the two of them were awfully good at it.

”But when you’re Lady of the house, you’ll get to make the rules, won’t you? Besides, you would have sold your sibling to pixies by now if you’d had any.”

His lip turned up in a smile, but he did not remove his arm. He knew all too well the stress Isiell’s birthright put her under. He worried about it, too. It was nice to sit by the fire with her, with no parents or attendants to spy on them. These days would be gone, soon.

“Besides, you’ll still have time for some fun. For... for me.” His worry was evident in his voice. His own birth was not low... but it wasn’t anywhere near high enough for a Lady of Isiell’s soon-to-be status to entertain.
 

Isiell

Chaos Fury
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Isiell snorted indelicately when Ariel suggested not torching her teachers. "I don't care what they think about me," she said. "And how else am I supposed to have fun during those lessons?"

She smiled as his arm settled around her shoulders, and returned the gesture, draping her own arm around his waist. "And is there a fae with siblings who hasn't tried to dispose of them to the pixies at least once? I'd hardly be the first."

She sighed as she considered his other words. He wasn't wrong, necessarily... but there was so much else at play, too.

"How many hundreds--or gods forbid, thousands--of years will I have to wait, though?" Isiell moaned. "Just because I'm publicly made the heir doesn't mean I can do anything right away. And... it's not just mother. It's the royal court, too. Queen Mab is... well, I haven't even been formally introduced to her yet, but mother claims my 'antics' have already made their way to the Queen's ear."

What Isiell didn't understand was how her natural affinity was nothing more than antics, to her mother. It was like being told, over and over again, that the part of her that made up the very essence of who she was... was nothing more than a joke.

She wrapped her arm a little tighter around Ariel, though, as she heard the uncertainty in his voice.

"I will always have time for you," she said fiercely. "Even if I have to give up half of my sleep and sneak out of the house. Sometimes..." her voice fell soft and quiet here, "sometimes you're the only person here who keeps me sane.

"Besides, I would have to betray everything that I am--especially the chaos--to set you aside. What could more appropriate than our friendship, considering that? One of the High Lady's and her... lower-class companion."

The distaste was clear in her voice at the very end. For all the Winter Court's acceptance of lesser-fae and half-fae, the royal court itself was still very stringent. Almost frozen, it seemed. If she had to be a High Lady, then Ariel's friendship would be most of the fun.

"What have you been up to lately?" she asked. "I didn't expect to run into you in the streets today."
 
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Ariel

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"Hey," he nudged her with a chuckle, "'Lower-class' is awfully harsh. Lower-middle at most!" His family hadn't actually fallen that far from their more noble roots, but a good bit of humor never escaped him.

He visibly bristled at the mention of Queen Mab. He hadn't met her, hadn't even seen her, actually, but there was no end to the stories that surrounded her. He would use the term "rumors" if he didn't think that most of them were true. It made him nervous just to speak the name aloud, and he was eager to steer the conversation away from her.

"Schooling's gotten harder, so spending more time with that than I'd like. And... I've been writing again," he said quietly. Isiell had never teased him for his writings, she'd actually been very supportive. Even so, it was quite a personal thing to reveal and not everyone had been so kind.

"I needed some more ink this morning. And Gawin has started making those sweetrolls with raspberries again so I had to pick on of those up."
 

Isiell

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Isiell snorted, and poked Ariel in the ribs. "You know I don't think you're lower class." She was unsure of why his family's status had been lowered. It had happened long before either of them were born,

As he talked of school, though, she heard the quiet frustration in his voice, but smiled when he spoke of writing again.

"Oh, those sweetrolls! Gawin always did have the best ones. I'll have to pick some up again myself."

Isiell leaned forward for a moment and tossed another chunk of wood onto the fire.

"What story are you working on now?" she asked. "Another one about the human realms?"
 
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Ariel

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"I haven't been to the human realms in a while," he admitted. "And I've used up most of my memories on things I already wrote. No, this one was about birds." He was eager to hear Isiell's reaction. Birds was a new one. She had been right about his previous works, full of fantastical imaginings about the strange and savage human realms. Little of it was accurate, he was sure, but that wasn't the point.

"I've been studying them, actually. Getting a feel for them." He stood up and stood a few paces from the fire. "Look at this!"

He scrunched his eyes shut and balled his fists, concentrating as hard as he could on feathers, air, water, lightness, strength...

It was a slow, clumsy, and jarring transformation, but after a few seconds there stood in his place a very shabby looking swan. Its white feathers were ruffled and bits of down stuck through them here and there. The bill was pale, not the vibrant colors of an adult but the subdued hues of a juvenile.

Still, Ariel was quite pleased with himself, and he fluffed his feathers and flapped the large wings with a victorious honk.
 
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Isiell

Chaos Fury
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Isiell sighed a little wistfully. She hadn't been allowed to leave the Winter Court's lands... ever, really. She'd not been to any fae realms beyond their own, only traveling to other villages and cities within the Winter Court when her parent's duties called for it. Never, ever to the human realms.

But despite the fact that he wasn't writing about the humans he was so enthralled with, Isiell cocked her head curiously at the eager tone as she spoke.

"Birds?" she grinned, then shifted in her seat when he stood, bending her knees and wrapping her arms around them. "Why birds?"

Her eyes widened as Ariel's form changed and shifted into something different. It was... a little messy, a puff of feathers there, an awkward angle of limb there, but when the transformation was complete and Ariel stood before her as a swan--a bit of a gangly swan, but still a swan--and she gaped in awe for a moment.

Until he honked.

And then Isiell just broke down in giggles, but she planted her palms on the ground and pushed herself up. She stepped over to him and crouched down, looking him over with a smile.

"How long have you been practicing transforming?" she asked eagerly. "What made you settle on a swan?"

She hadn't even been allowed to think about exploring her own animal shift yet, though that order hadn't kept her from wondering in the middle of the night. Tentatively, she reached out a hand.

"Can... can I touch you?" she asked quietly.

In his humanoid form, taking Ariel's hand or wrapping an arm around him were simple, casual gestures that they'd shared with each other for a long time. But this... this felt different. Far more intimate.

"I hope, whatever my animal form is, that I'll be able to fly," she whispered quietly.