2019-11-16: Egg

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===========================<* The Cape of Breath *>===========================

Stretching from the edge of the slowly-spreading northern desert, the Cape of Breath is the lush southern region of Meria Boule. Farmland and livestock take up much of the hilly region, dotted with the estates and castles of Merian nobles, often at the height of elevation, but across temperate land to the west great forests begin, still part of the great resources of the Merian nation. In places the badlands of the north find mirrors here, hotter regions with accordingly sparser populations... where people could move. 

To the farthest south and east are the wide coastlines, each marked with large cities. Only the fortress nature of many estates at the hearts of settlements recalls much of Meria's more warlike history, after the great efforts of the late Queen to ensure peace for all Meria Boule, and the spread of knowledge. Nevertheless, the increasing spread of monsters can make travel without caravan or guards a perilous undertaking indeed.

BGM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_gmgvAz8Ks
<Pose Tracker> Cyre H. Lorentz has posed.

Months ago, during an expedition into the hinterlands of Wehaca, the Carakin did battle with a great, red wyvern and drove the beast from the village's surrounding wilderness. But it was a bittersweet victory-- such wyrms were not ever supposed to roam far outside their mountainous habitat. This one was desperate enough not only to leave its territory, but to bring a clutch of its precious eggs along.

And then they drove it away, leaving its unborn children to die in the shell.

Now, some less scrupulous drifters would probably take the eggs and sell them off somewhere to some exotic fine dining establishment. But not these ones. The Carakin has instead elected to keep the great drake's eggs safe, to see the little apex predators into the world and ensure that they grow big and strong to someday take their place at the top of the food chain of their little slice of Filgaia.

It's taken a while. Part of the CaraKin's menagerie car has been converted into an incubator. Coils of heated metal are an adequate substitute for the smoldering stones warmed by the father-drake's burning breath. The pair of eggs (the remainder of the clutch having been left in the care of the Wehacan villagers) are tucked snugly into a pile of warm, fluffy straw. A few of the more curious members of the Carakin's menagerie hover around the quickening eggs-- it was their fussing noises that drew Cyre's attention, and it was the wiggling and cracking of the twin eggs that caused him to drag the rest of the gang in for the moment of truth.

...From well within cover, because it's important for the hatchlings to imprint on the right sort of role-model, and 'a catman' is probably not that. "Someone get the puppet," Cyre says in a hushed whisper. "Quickly, or else they might think one of the 'bos is their mom, and then we'd be in real trouble."

Would they, though?

That might lead to... wyvern-mounts...

<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

        Ethius had a bit of an adventure returning to the CaraKin, in that he was found drifting by his Hot Air Sack across no small length of the Great Sea with no shortage of lacerations, but that's a story for another time.
        Ethius is among the CaraKin members who is present in the cover of the menagerie car, who occasionally gives some side-eye to the collected creatures present but has never raised any specific voice nor his objections over any of it prior. He has also, dutifully, been present for any number of meetings and run-downs about the theoretical red wyvern hatching that may or may not happen and how it is extremely important the first thing they see - and imprint on - is something that looks like them.
        It is more accurate to say Ethius has overheard any of this by proxy because the man is almost certainly in the business of eavesdropping and standing around in strange places while watching everything coming and going, but regardless of the man's character in question (or lack thereof), as a result he is an eligible puppeteer.
        "I have already procured such," Ethius remarks quietly as he starts to slip on the lovingly(?), expertly crafted puppet likeness of a red wyvern - unless anyone objects. "I recall the specific gestures and means of food handling that have been discussed," by proxy, he means, "I will follow them to the letter."
        'I have the matter in hand' would have sufficed without all the extra words, huh...

<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.
  • One would have assumed you would be more central to this,* Saarda-Shanta muses with a cock of her head.


"Hm?" Catenna has taken something of a background role in caring for the pair of eggs - she's pitched in where she could, but otherwise is leaving the task of manning the puppet and socializing the dragons to others. Even now, she's found herself a seat on a barrel, crossing one leg over the other as she watches the proceedings.

From the Moon Shaman's shoulder, the Owlet wiggles her stub of a tail. *You raised me from an egg, did you not? After all, you are of Zortroan origin. Surely there is no small part of you that relishes the opportunity to rear these little ones to adulthood.*

Smiling serenely, Catenna looks down into her lap. "You understand me so well in some ways, but so little in this one."

  • Oho?*


"Even so, I cannot be the mother to everything that lives within the Kinship. I will support Cyre happily, of course. But I would be robbing him of something important if I simply tried to take charge of this situation merely because I come from a tribe of beastmasters."

Saarda-Shanta slowly blinks her huge yellow eyes. *I see... and that's all of it, of course...?*

Catenna's smile is cryptically placid as she closes her eyes.

"Not quite," she answers, turning her gaze to watch how Cyre handles things.

<Pose Tracker> Talia has posed.

Talia wasn't sure what to make of the eggs. Her first thought was that they looked like they could be delicious, but she quickly realized -- and before saying so aloud -- that would be a faux pas. Afterward, they were more of a curiosity that she sometimes walked by and stared at. She almost forgot about them, really; she wasn't here when they were found.

But word spreads quick throughout the Caravan.

Which is why Talia is now walking in front of Ivan and Lydia -- and walking backwards, at first, arms crossed behind her head -- and grinning ear to ear. "Ah, this will be fun! I wonder what will come out? Will they be giant chickens, no? But... they said scaly things, like dragons..."

But not, of course, dragons. Dragons are godlike things; creatures of elemental primal force and great oaths, bound by a Goddess. Or, they are the dire shadow of them through fell powers. These cannot be that!

She hopes. "I am so excited!" she says, as she turns -- and brightens. "Cyre! Catenna! And--"

She stares at Ethius and the puppet.

<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

It was an exciting time. The eggs that they had found had been incubating for quite a while. But, now it seems like they're getting ready to hatch. Jacqueline dropped everything and returned to the Carakin, joining the others behind cover.

Also joining Jacqueline is her chocobo, Remedy, who has been helping keep the eggs warm. But, now that they're about to hatch, it's time for them both to take a back seat so that the first thing they see is a proper role model.

This 'proper role model' is Ethius in a wyvern puppet. Jacqueline's not quite sure what to think about this, but when she thinks about someone who can perform the necessary tasks to the latter without any slip ups, Ethius is probably the best one to ask.

"I'm excited too..." Jacqueline agrees. "We've been taking care of them for a while, so it'll be nice to see the fruits of our efforts."

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

Ivan is a very serious adult who is definitely not outrageously hyped up with excitement to see some eggs hatch.

He walks along with Talia and Lydia a little more quickly than he probably needs to, in case they should miss it.

As Talia speculates about what is in the eggs, he nods.

"It isn't quite dragons. Wyverns? Which are like... knockoff dragons. I'm just... you know, I'm not super excited or anything. It's just a normal thing that happens sometimes! Eggs hatching. ...But they will be... so new..."

He gets a faraway look, apparently contemplating the miracle of life.

At any rate, they arrive, finding Ethius donning a dragon puppet in preparation.

"We're not too late!" Ivan says, hurrying closer.

"Er... I mean... let me know if... I can help with anything...!" he adds. Though he is quietly thankful that it looks like Ethius already volunteered for the dragon costume.

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

EARLIER

Lydia's eyes snapped open, she sat up in bed, and shouted, "THE EGGS!"

NOW

Lydia (you can tell it isn't OS by virtue of the eye color).

She arrives after Talia and Ivan, smiling. She seems to be in a good mood regardless of her current situation. Considering everything.

"Yeah there was no way I was missing this." She tells Talia. She is less sheepish than last time (GET IT) but she isn't exactly thrusting herr out in the foreground here.

She looks towards Ethius. She looks towards his puppet.

And then casually, but rather pointedly, turns away and looks at Jay.

"I bet they'll be so beautiful... And freaky."

She grins at Ivan's own behavior, though, and leans in to murmur to Talia. "He's really excited o/~"

<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

        Ida was visiting the Kinship for a very different reason.

        Sterling has been a regular feature of the Caravan's menagerie since Ida entrusted Cyre with his care. It wasn't long before Macalania, but those who hadn't seen the chocobo chick in some time might not realize how much he's grown. Now almost six feet tall, and gawky in that special way all teenagers are, he's been playing with both anything or anyone that expresses interest. Or snuggling. He's an affectionate animal, and he doesn't quite realize he's now too big to sit on people's laps. Now that she's settled in, though, it's time for Ida to come retrieve her future mount from the babysitters.

        As the eggs wiggle about in the pile of sand and straw, Sterling hovers nearby, letting out low, basso coos. He leans in to nudge one of the eggs with his beak, when--

        "Sterling!"

        Ida stands in the door of the menagerie wagon, all smiles--as she's been every time she's come to see her companion. Sterling trots away from the eggs, towards his best human friend; Ida reaches in to ruffle his crest as he rubs his cheek against her, and almost pushes her off her feet. "Were you helping with the little ones?" she asks, as she clips his lead to his harness. "I'm here to help, too. This way." Ida leads Sterling over behind cover, and stands with the others. "Can you hear them?" Ida whispers, to Cyre. "I--"

        Then Ida glances past Cyre, and sees the cyborg Shaman standing behind him. Her eyes widen. "Wh--?" she chokes out.

<Pose Tracker> Cyre H. Lorentz has posed.

Ethius is, as ever, about as reliable as he is lumpy- and he is very lumpy. If there's anyone who can be relied on to follow instructions down to the letter, it's that guy. "Good! Make room, that thing's designed for two people to operate, and I don't think you can grow an extra pair of arms-- Oh hey Lydia." Apparently Cyre is not as shocked about Lydia not being GONE FOREVER as Ida might have expected. There might be something there??

Within moments, little spiderweb cracks start creeping across the top of one of the eggs as Cyre opens up the wyvern puppet-costume and steps inside along with his over-literal buddy. He seems to be too caught up with the task of making sure the HATCHING goes off without a hitch to be too observant of Catenna's unusually distant behavior, but that's just fine given the circumstances.

The first chunk of eggshell crumbles away. A reptilian snout the color of a robin's egg pokes out to take its first breath of air. Its neck, slim and serpentine, wiggles as it prises its way into the world, a couple of webbed wings tucked up under its jaw to help ease the process. The little creature makes a garbly chirping noise as it eases its way free. But what of the other--

There's a solid *crack* as the second shell splits. The second hatchling does not so much wriggle as it does 'burst' into the world. The hatchling, a winged, taloned creature approximately the size of a terracotta-colored housecat, flops unceremoniously into the soft, warm straw. Part of its egg is perched atop its head like a cap. Their eyes wink open, still covered in a filmy membrane that occludes their sight, but they're already beginning to crawl about to test their newly minted muscles.

It's all going swimmingly so far.

"Ethius," Cyre whispers, "We're going to want to go in. One foot at a time, okay? I-- wait." There's a beat. "...Where's the 'bo?"

...There, wedged in the just-warm-enough spot between two of the incubator coils and hidden behind a bale of straw, is... an adolescent chocobo. One with a bomber hat and goggles charmingly askew atop its head. It peeks its head out and yawns, clearly having had its nap disturbed by all this commotion. "Damnit Tram," Cyre groans, "I told you not to nap in the-- someone get my 'bo out of there!" Because right now, Cyre's only method of doing so involves 'using a giant lizard puppet's sharp, pointy maw.'

<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

Sedate as ever, Catenna smiles up at Talia. A little spark of life dances behind her pale grey eyes. "New life coming into the world is always exciting, is it not, Talia...?"

There is no greater lump, however, than Ethius, and Catenna looks on with a mellow smile at the sight of the man donning the dragon puppet.

Lydia's arrival is met with a glance and a dip of her head, her smile small and gentle. "Hello, Lydia," she says quietly, before turning her gaze towards the cracking of the eggs.

Indeed, the dragons begin to crawl forth - or at least one of them. The Moon Shaman dips her head and smiles fondly, letting out a soft sigh of relief. "My, the young ones are awfully large," she murmurs.

  • I suppose it is not a bad thing that owls taste icky,* Saarda-Shanta observes. *Like cotton balls and snark.*
<Pose Tracker> Talia has posed.

Talia flashes a grin at Ivan, and watches him hurry past. She looks sideways at Lydia, then leans back closer to her, and whispers: "He is, no? I think he likes this sort of thing. Hopefully, these little weird fake-dragons like him, no?"

She isn't sure how wyverns, especially baby wyverns, really work.

She grimaces at Ida's reaction -- she realizes why in an instant, and then decides this is terribly awkward and she isn't sure what to do with it. Which is why she hurries over when she sees the egg begin to crack. She rushes forward, hands clasped, and her eyes light up as she looks down at the wyverns. "Aaah, it really is, Catenna!" she says, with a grin. "Aw, look, they are cute--they are--"

She blinks at the chocobo. Then, she edges away. She doesn't quite trust the animals yet.

<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

        From within the puppet, Cyre can catch sight of Ethius closing his eyes and lowering his head at the mention of Lydia being present and/or her voice giving her away. Wasn't that long ago that they had it out over-- well, another story. Nonetheless, he takes to the situation with the same stoic professionalism he approaches almost everything with.
        "Yes. One foot at a time. Starting with the left." He speaks in the momentary beat, mistaking Cyre's beat of silence for his affirmation of orders. Also, Ethius is left-handed. He always likes to lead from the left side. Righties are just going to have to deal with it!!!
        The division of labor as to operating the large-scale puppet is also something that had to be painstakingly spoken about in preparation, and it is good that he was Not Present Directly But Adjacent to hear it all. Left foot. Right foot. Left foot. Right foot.
        "Wings," Ethius remarks as he switches lever grip to work the wings and stretch them out. To cast a great figure that blots out all outer light, all outer sight, and to further blanket and protect the newly hatched wyverns as they reportedly would in the wild.
        This is around the time Cyre speaks up about the chocobo problem.
        "I cannot retract the wings at this juncture," Ethius remarks, because this is also helping keep possible overexcited lookie-loos from becoming imprint candidates! ...And adds another complication to 'bo retrieval.

<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

Ida spots Lydia, and before Jacqueline can explain anything, Jacqueline's chocobo gives her a quick painless poke of the beak to catch her attention. The reason why immediately becomes apparent as Jacqueline looks toward the eggs.

Spiderweb cracks start forming across the shells and Jacqueline goes quiet immediately, her breath caught in the shells. And then, as the two hatchlings work their way into the world...

Jacqueline and Remedy both stare, starry-eyed, the former clasping her hands together. They're moving. They look healthy. Jacqueline lets out a sigh of relief, looking just a little teary-eyed.

"Y-yes, they certainly are..." She says, with a nod toward Catenna. She offers everyone else a smile of greeting, too - for obvious reasons, she had been pretty focused on the scene at hand. There's one problem, however - Cyre's chocobo is still napping in the incubator!

Jacqueline would go help, but she's currently managing one very excited chocobo of her own, who wants to go investigate the hatchlings. She's well-behaved, fortunately, but very affectionate. Jacqueline has to keep one hand on her to keep her calm.

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

Ivan watches with undisguised awe as the hatchlings emerge. L-look at them! Doing the very first stuff they will do...! "They already have personalities...!" he observes, wonder-struck, as the second hatchling bursts out exuberantly and flops down.

"They used to be eggs and now they're babies!"

He interrupts himself, with some fluster. "I mean, I know how eggs work, it's just cool!!"

But there is some trouble afoot...

Someone get my 'bo out of there!

"I can-- er..." Ivan hesitates. He he does want to help, but charging recklessly into the scene could interfere with the delicate imprinting operation, so he looks round to the others for someone to volunteer an idea or give some direction.

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

"Oh hey." Lydia says, waving a hand to Ida. She doesn't seem to realize what's going on. Maybe she figured someone would tell Ida! Wait, was she supposed to tell Ida? Lydia thinks for a few moments before ultimately electing to offer Ida a fistbump.

"Hey Catenna, hey Saarda." Lydia says before squinting at the eggs. The eggs don't seem hatched yet.

"Heh, I'm sure they'll get along great." She tells Talia. And she seems to believe it. She looks back towards the costumed Ethius one last time because she's kind of bad at this before adding, "Let Ivan help! He offered!"

She beams widely. But then her eyes widen as she rushes forward.

"Ahhh!!! BABY ANIMALS!!!"

Yeah this is definitely not OS here. "Baby animals baby animals baby animals."

<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

        Ida stares. It's Lydia. It's Lydia, here, and completely devoid of whatever took her over at Solaris's behest. This should feel like a miracle, but all Ida feels is a dull sort of shock, and suspicion. She's a moment in answering. "We can discuss this later," she says. Sterling, sensing her distress, nudges her with his beak. Ida reaches up to scratch his crest.

        'Someone get my 'bo out of there!'

        "I've got it," Ida whispers. She reaches into her coat pocket and pulls something out--a brown paper package embossed with Symbological preservation runes. Ida breaks the seal, unwrapping the contents quickly and carefully. Inside is...

        A handful of delicious gysahl greens! Ida offers one to Sterling, as a conciliatory measure. The rest--well. Tramontane had better move if he wants his share!

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

Suddenly! Lydia goes flying past Ivan!

"Lydia! We have to let them bond first!" he chases after her. At the end of the day, she's far stronger, but he tries to get his arms around her to at least communicate the idea of stopping and maybe snap her out of the 'must snuggle animals' mode that has overtaken her.

<Pose Tracker> Cyre H. Lorentz has posed.

It's perhaps less that owls taste icky in general and more that Saarda-Shanta is a specific blend of dark humor and sass that makes her unappetizing to would-be predators.

She's much too important to the plot to just get eaten by some hungry wyrmlings, after all.

Tramontane is similarly too large to eat, but that doesn't change the fact that he's kind of being a problem right this moment. The hatchlings clumsily bump into each other as they stumble their way into learning how to walk with only two legs to do it with. There's enough time to salvage the situation, but it's going to be a close thing if they can't extract the 'bo and distract the hatchlings and SECURE THE LYDIA.

Cyre's expression is utterly horrified when Lydia goes full-on babysnuggle mode. "Dangit, Lyds! Give me a minute and you can pet the wyrms as much as you like!" Wait, that wasn't necessarily the plan, was it? Well! Maybe Cyre figures that, once the imprinting is taken care of, it should be fine as long as they all keep using the doll for feeding time. Speaking of which...!

"Ethius, move the head forward. I just changed out the fresh meat, so we just need to unhinge it--" Ida presents greens. Provided that Ethius pulls the right levers, the wyvern-doll would offer a distinctly meatier alternative. Tramontane, being a chocobo, glances between a vegetarian meal of familiar and tasty gyashl leaves and the prospect of AWAKENING THE APEX PREDATOR WITHIN and...

...

......

...Decides that it'd be unfair if Sterling were to get all the greens, and lazily picks itself up to stride over...! The wyvernlings are instead much more interested in the mound of ground-up meat in their 'parent's' toothy maw, and squeak attentively as they scramble their way forward.

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!??

...

There's a rapid sniffing noise at the doorway.

It comes from a distinctly Waffles-shaped head, his eyes fixed on the juicy, meaty treat in the wyvern-puppet's maw.

His butt wiggles ominously. His tail wags uncontrollably.

<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

Saarda-Shanta is, to be fair, mostly feathers.

Looking on with a serene smile, Catenna simply observes the miracle of birth - until the miracle of silly Lydia cuddles occurs. That is about when her eyebrows come up.

"Lydia," she says with a mellow smile. "You don't want them to bond to you, do you? While you are a wonderful shining star, I am not sure you are a dragon."

She leaves that to Ethius.

<Pose Tracker> Talia has posed.

"That puppet," Talia tells Ethius, "looks very complicated, no? I wonder how it is built. Ah, I bet Katherine would love this thing, no?" She gets a goofy smile on her face for a second, before she looks back at the eggs-turned-wyverns. And, she realizes, that Lydia is rushing forward.

"Lydia!" she calls after her brother calls out. "Be careful, no?"

Then, she looks back at the puppet -- and the meat, luring the wyvern hatchlings to it. She scratches at the back of the head. "...ohhhhhhh, so this is why we have a puppet," she says. "Very clever! Do they bond with the first thing they see? Or that feeds them? Or... something else?"

<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

If it isn't one thing, it's another - Tramontane is thankfully secured and it looks like Ivan hopefully has Lydia secured...but then, there's Waffles!

It looks like the excitement has drawn everyone today.

"Waffles! Waffles, over here!" Jacqueline calls in a loud whisper, trying to attract his attention. She can see where this might very well end up. She can at least try to avert it.

She glances toward Talia, then.

"Pretty much, yes. The goal is to get them imprinted on a proper wyvern rolemodel, so that they'll have an easier time learning the proper behaviors... But, we don't have one of those, so!" She gestures toward the puppet being controlled by Cyre and Ethius. "We have the next best thing."

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

Lydia's hand is still extended for that fistbump she doesn't get so Ivan has a nice leverage point to pull Ivan back. "But they're so cute!!" Lydia says but seems to be accepting Ivan's warning here. She looks absolutely pitiful, gazing towards the babbies (from long distance).

"Okay okay, I'll be good." Lydia says. "But... you don't know that I'm not a dragon. I mean, at least one of my moms is a dragon. It could happen."

She finger guns at Catenna (with one hand, the other is secured by Ivan).

"Wow that makes sense, Jay! I know absolutely nothing about monster raising."

<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

        Ida feeds Tramontane a handful of Gysahl Greens--fresh as the day they were picked, and unpalatably bitter to most. She gives the bird a scratch about the ruff, and maneuvers them so they're out of sight. "Good bird, Tramontane," Ida whispers. Sterling, not content with the handful his master gave him, lets out a piteous chirping noise--and Ida acquiesces. "Talia, Lydia, Catenna--one of you take care of them, I'm going to be out of greens in just a moment." Sooner, if this feasting keeps on unabated!

        Once the greens are distributed, though, Ida can turn her mind to other things. "I built it," she says, beaming with pride as she turns to Talia. "Back home, puppets like those are a regular mainstay in holiday festivals--and I'm glad to put my handiwork to such a worthy--"

        A familiar snuffling emanates from the door. Oh no, Ida thinks. Thankfully, Jay is on hand to try and attract Waffles' attention, otherwise things might go south fast. "I'm... not certain?" Ida says. "We have precious little knowledge about Wrath Drakes' development as-is. As you can imagine, there are... few naturalists with the wherewithal to study them in the wild."

<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

        Ethius' vision is compromised since he is Everything Deep in Puppet. He can just hear all the frantic footfalls of out-of-place creatures, screaming about cuteness, and--
        "Mister Cyre, I believe the audio component remains just as important to the imprinting process if the sequence of events as painstakingly outli--" why can't he just say 'hey Cyre let's do a cool roar now?' That's so many less words, and also the statement is fundamentally and factually correct.
        He could also conceivably say all that before Cyre talks about 'fresh meat,' which is a bonus factor in favor of talking about cool roars. One day he will learn. Maybe the same day he will learn to call an apple an apple.
        "Yes. Moving the head forward." Ethius makes sure the wings remain locked in their stable, outstretched position as to continue to provide visual shelter and starts to pull a lev--
        --changes which lever he pulls because he's left-handed and the levers were set up assuming the operator is right-handed, which presumably the vast majority of the CaraKin is. There may be a minor jostling as he moves his hand over to the correct lever on the right side to move the head forward.
        "I will be prepared to make the key head movements once you ready to produce the adequate facsimile of a natural roar." Ethius remarks. At this point he can start fielding the question Talia is asking of him.
        "Foster fatherhood is a complex process, Miss Talia." So says the man who pointedly told an emotionally fragile teenage girl who once looked up to him as a father figure, just to say he wasn't, in the process of trying to break down the initial imprinting acts like a specific sequence, devoid of much personal flair or accounting for the weird little things life throws in his way.
        Like Waffles, a ways behind him.
        He pauses. ...Yes, I believe that statement is factual in any context.

<Pose Tracker> Cyre H. Lorentz has posed.

There isn't much that can separate a hungry doggo and a bunch of tasty, juicy meat. And, as every single dog owner in the history of the world can attest, doggos are ALWAYS hungry. They are veritable meat vacuums. Waffles, a wolf who is essentially by some quirk of evolution nothing more than a very, VERY large dog, is of no exception. He's just about to pounce when...!

There's a Jay.

And suddenly he leaps at her and the prospect of snuggles, cuddles, and so many pets instead. Also because he knows that he'll get in so much trouble if he steals meat in front of his humans. So instead, he employs the next-most-powerful weapon in his arsenal.

Yes, Jay is now the target... Of puppydog eyes.

It'd be a halfway comical sight if it wasn't so gosh darned adorable. Jay and Ida are both being harassed by a bunch of hungry (or just... always hungry) animals.

Meanwhile, in the Wyvern Den...!

"A roar?" Cyre asks, clearly having not thought about this particular part of wyvern simulation before. "I... I mean, I guess I could try. Just, make sure to cover your ears. It's probably going to be loud." That's not just an instruction for Ethius either. Everyone should probably shield their ears. "Oh, oh, rear back and give the wings a flap, too."

When everything's ready, Cyre... begins emitting a faint, green aura. "Okay," he says, a tiger-man about to do one hell of a dragon impression. "Here goes."

Fengalon's arcanum was probably not meant to be used this way. But even so, Cyre focuses on the air in his lungs as he opens his mouth up to yell. Instead of a human voice, what pours out is instead a massively amplified bestial roar. It's based as close as possible to what he remembers of their Wrath Drake encounter-- in pitch and volume.

He stirs the air a little bit as the puppet's wings flap, too.

The hatchlings are startled up from their meaty meal and stare up at the EXTREMELY REGAL puppet-wyvern for as long as it takes for Cyre to run out of breath. Everything is silent for a long moment, before...

With an adorable pair of squeaks, the hatchlings echo back their 'parent's' cry.

Bonding... Successful?

<Pose Tracker> Talia has posed.

Talia glances sideways at Jacqueline, and then she nods. "This makes sense, Jay! It is impressive, no? That we have a puppet to teach them!" This, Talia thinks, should be delightful. She looks at Ida -- her eyes widen -- and then she flashes her a grin. "Ah, you did very well, no? It is very convincing!"

She says this, just after Ethius explains more and then looks at the puppet. She flashes him a thumbs-up. "You are doing great, Ethius!"

She reaches down to Waffles -- scritches behind the ears -- and then looks up. She does in time to see Cyre roar; then Talia yelps and jumps back a little, hand over her mouth.

"Ah--oh!" she calls out. "Cyre! It worked, no?"

<Pose Tracker> Ethius Hesiod has posed.

        Ethius has been meticulously remembering every important detail he's overheard about the do's and don'ts for handling the baby wyverns. Exacting. As though he were the one giving the lectures despite having only bothered to memorize them by overhearing them from the opposite hall of where these lectures take place. Every detail, followed to the last.
        He did not account for one issue: is the puppet able to withstand the majesty of the Nahual of the Wind when they really bellow at let loose?
        The answer...
        The puppet's head and neck violently wriggles underneath the strain of the excellent roar mimicry. One of the levers jostles violently and beans Ethius in the head at least once, because what doesn't bean Ethius upside the head eventually?
        It is deafeningly loud...
        ...
        And somewhere in this, Ethius stops covering one of his ears to reach up and grab at the puppet frame dictating the neck to try and hold it in place, locking it where it is looking back over where everyone is, as though Actual Father Wyvern were telling would-be predators and intruders on the territory to Politely Deactivate the Sixth Letter Of The Alphabet.
        It is as he said. Foster Fatherhood is complex, and he stares up at where he put his hand up on the frame to stop the head parts from flying cleanly off in the chaos.
        ...I shouldn't be doing that. He retracts his hand just as the Faux Roar completes, with a certain smoothness to the lowering of his hand that his body language usually does not allow. Maybe it's because his head is ringing. But hey, he just saved the puppet from decapitating itself, that's good, right?

<Pose Tracker> Lydia Seren has posed.

BONDING!

"Yeah you're doing great Ethius." Lydia says monotonally. "Like you almost have a hear--" Cyre yells out here and interrupts her so she just sort of quiets down. It's hard to stay grouchy anyway when there's BAAAABY WYVERNS and BONDING seems to be successful.

"This is friggin' cool." Lydia says. "And I'm only using the word 'friggin' instead of what I want to say because babies are impressionable."

She looks back towards Ivan, perhaps looking to see if his grip will slip.

<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

Jacqueline's plan is a success! She's diverted Waffle's attention away from the from feeding of the wyverns...and to her instead. Waffles leaps at her affectionately. Jacqueline braces herself, then reaches out, giving him a well-deserved petting.

Remedy, meanwhile, sees this, and perceives this to mean that it is Love On Jacqueline time, and Jacqueline feels a sudden weight against her other side as the chocobo elects to sit down next to her, resting her head against her in a clear request for pats.

Jacqueline obliges, now very much stuck between two affectionate animals. She'll be in trouble if she ends up with another, she only has the two hands.

"Don't worry Waffles, I'll make sure you get fed after this... I'll give you your favorite thing! I'm sure you'll like that!" Jacqueline says, in hopes of keeping his attention on her.

<Pose Tracker> Ida Everstead-Rey has posed.

        The three chocobos are joined by an enormous dog who does not realize how enormous he is. Ida is an animal person, but this is getting to be a bit much. "Good boy," she says, reaching out to scratch Waffles behind the ears. "Good boy. Good, good boy." The scritching continues until Cyre lets out his bellowing roar--and Ida thinks she feels the floor rattling beneath her. Beside her, Sterling huddles against the ground and goes completely rigid--a hatchling's defensive instinct that hasn't quite gone away.

        "Sh," Ida breathes. She throws her arms around Sterling's neck, comforting him. As she knows too well, staying calm is essential when one is trying to keep one's mount from panicking. She does offer Talia a smile and nod, though.

<Pose Tracker> Ivan has posed.

A magically enhanced roar washes over them, and the baby wyverns begin to enjoy their first meal. Ivan, along with the others, is contemplating whether BONDING has successfully occured, but the little squeak-roars seem like a good sign that the imprinting operation has triumphed. They are immitating their puppet parent! Nature is adorable.

"It's very frigging cool," Ivan echoes Lydia, solemn but earnest.

He loosens his grip on her and comes to stand beside her, unless she should wriggle free immediately to resume her snuggling operations.

Lydia seems unusually frosty toward Ethius, though. That does get a curious glance from Ivan back and forth between them.

<Pose Tracker> Cyre H. Lorentz has posed.

They maybe should think about reinforcing the wyvern puppet to survive more of Cyre's roars. Or just, you know, figure out a way to invert the controls. Install a speaker. Something that would make this a little more practical. The wyvernlings don't seem to be too perturbed; they're much too busy happily munching on a pile of raw meat.

And, as it happens, being snuggled at by a Lydia. She's free now! She can snuggle wyrmlings if she wants to. It's not like Cyre and Ethius have a defense system built into this puppet. "Okay, let's just... get out of sight and get out of this thing. I think if we bring it out for teaching moments or feedings or... things like that. Should be enough. Uh."

Cyre pauses to peer at... Tramontane, who has apparently collapsed into a terrified snugglepile with Sterling.

...Maybe he overdid it on the roar.