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#1Arinna Wattson 

on Tue Dec 20, 2016 7:27 pm

A young woman, strolled alone. The hood of her sweatshirt cast a shadow over her visage, hiding the persistent gaze, painted with the dark circles of many sleepless nights. Hands were stuffed in pockets, the tension of her arms-- and each fist being lost in the depths of the jacket's abyss hid the uncontrollable twitches of her fingertips.

She must have been entranced in counting to some unknown value, for with each step, a number sounded automatically. "Four hundred ninety-five... four hundred ninety-six." Her voice was a whisper, not even intended to be spoken out loud. Grey eyes scanned the street signs hoisted at the corners of intersections, from beneath the shadow of her hood.

She was backtracking-- walking towards a coffee stand, that she had remembered seeing a few blocks back. Or at least, she should have been backtracking-- while she had once been stepping with confidence: the pathways appeared just as she had remembered them, it was becoming quite apparent that she was not certain of her location. She didn't recall any of these street names. Faces of vendors, and general passersby were vague: unrecognizable-- an intimidating sign, as Arinna was typically good at memorizing faces. Perhaps she was too tired for such slips of the psyche to be helped. A sigh of frustration released from her lips. That was an excuse--and while it constantly lingered-- she had no right to use it. After all-- she was always too tired.

Without thought, determined digits flung back the the hood that hid the young woman's face, as the gaze became more persistent in finding the route she knew she had taken once. Her vision fluttered between the sides of streets, bouncing to store signs and faces of strangers, searching for something-- anything recognizable.

Fingertips curled, nails digging into the flesh of her palms, which now hung to her side instead of her pockets. The tension of her jaw signified that teeth sunk into the side of her mouth-- though the young woman's face remained stoic and unwavering, even with the crisis in which she was presented. Still she moved forward, each step muffled against the pavement of the road, as she did. They faltered in their forward march, only as she neared a new intersection.

Left... Right... Straight? The only thing she knew for certain was that she wasn't turning back. Surely if she walked far enough she would find herself somewhere. Still she hesitated, taking far too long to decide on her direction. "Good going, Ari..." she scolded herself, before setting her gaze to the left. "One." she stated, allowing her body to follow her line of sight.

#2Finn Mertens 

on Sun Jan 01, 2017 12:25 pm

Finn placed his hands to the hood that covered his head, offering little bumps that were sewn in to appear almost like animal ears. Fingers wrapping around the hood to pull it tighter around his face, though not due to the temperature. While the air had taken on a slight chill as the time progressed, it was a different matter altogether that brought him to grasp the hood to his jacket.

Within these clothes that he wore now were memories from the other day. The world outside of the trees, in the jungle of man, was one that constantly changed Finn's understanding. Everyone was so unique, and on the smaller scale he almost found that he could lose his survival instincts. People were not driven by the same motivations that were found within Worth Woodsea. They were driven by something else, and whatever that driving force was eluded him still.

Melanie had taken him around and helped him buy clothes, despite her seemingly quiet nature. She assisted him in a minor task, one that he could have easily done alone. While there was a mutual trade of services, she really didn't gain much out of it. Then again, neither did he. It made him wonder whether or not he was simply a normal human, driven to communicate and assist others, or if she was one of a few like him.

One. Two. Three.

A light, feminine voice radiated from the buildings, dancing on a breeze that was as gentle as the voice. It had no origin, its bases being lost due to the lack of power behind it. Maybe the layout of the buildings or the occasional wind played a role, but Finn would just as easily believe that it came from behind him as he would that it came from the front.

All it took was the turn of the corner to realize where it originated. In front of him about ten meters, and slowly approaching at a marked pace that kept in line with the counting, was a woman. Looking up at the woman who shared the street with him, Finn looked to find her eyes regardless of if they were turned towards him or elsewhere. Many who were in Crocus were currently working, leaving these less busy streets as a hollow shell of what they normally were. It was what allowed him to hear her rather quiet voice, and it was what allowed her to be the only person currently in front of him.

"I practice sometimes too."

His voice cut through the relative silence of the street, picking up over the backdrop of sound that happened an unknown distance away. The acts of others living within the city was like a background sound that barely reached his ears.

"So what are you practicing for?" He meant, of course, her counting. Math and numbers were taught to him when he was very young by Jake and his adoptive parents. While he could count for the most part, anything mathematically related to those numbers that he had memorized was beyond him.

#3Arinna Wattson 

on Wed Jan 04, 2017 8:02 pm

Frozen. Ari's entire being quickly became frozen, as she realized that a voice, other than her own robotic counting, cut through the nearly empty streets-- it was crisp and inquisitive, belonging to a male, and judged by the innocence that saturated it, it wasn't much older than her own. Her brow furrowed ever so gently, as her stiffened form searched desperately for the owner of the words. Grey eyes fluttered around, until they landed, with a contorted twist of her neck: on the blonde-haired hooded fellow a few paces behind her.

She blinked a few times, before fully turning her body to face the man. While confusion racked her entire being, her face remained flat, and nearly emotionless, save for the subtle purse of her lips, and her still slightly furrowed brow. She took a few steps forward towards the man's being, closing the gap between them "Practicing for?" she echoed, unsure what the question had even meant in the first place. Quickly she began to stitch the meaning of his words together, though their intent was still befuddling.

"You mean my counting?" she asked, her right brow raising a millimeter in a silent question of why anyone would ask such a thing. He was an odd fellow, apparently, and regardless of if he answered her or not, she would respond. "Why for counting sheep of course... You see, I'm not very good at getting a restful night's sleep..." Her voice was gentle, even playful, as she spoke: a stark comparison to the still mostly blank expression in which she stared at him. A slender index finger rose to the bags under her eyes, a silent suggestion that she was speaking the truth, even if she wasn't.

She let a soft sigh press past her lips, as she continued the conversation. "And your question has certainly made me lose my count. Now I have to start over again." her tongue clicked against her mouth in mock disappointment. She allowed the silence to settle between the two of them, She did not speak another number or word, nor restart her pace, however. Instead, she stared intently at her new companion.

Had he not broken the silence himself, she would speak again, words aired explicitly on curiosity. "What do you practice for?"

#4Finn Mertens 

on Thu Jan 05, 2017 12:47 pm

"You mean my counting?"

The question bared several obvious things about the girl, though Finn was not aware enough to pick up on any of them. The confusion, the willingness to confirm and acknowledge the question in the first place, and most importantly her ability to flow with the question that she likely never saw coming. Nodding and offering a "Mhm!" to emphasize his assurance, she continued to provide him with an answer that left him seemingly content, quick to accept her words as fact.

Face taking on the appearance of a man who had just accepted her words as fact, followed by an understanding wag of his head, Finn crossed his arms. "That must be a lot of sheep to have to practice for it." The idiom was lost on him, but he wouldn't realize that. As she continued teasingly, Finn finally began to register that she might not be meaning exactly what she said.

However, that wasn't to say that he thought she was teasing him. Rather, it seemed she was going along with his belief in order to be kind to him. That realization, however, was still enough to tint his cheeks pink momentarily.

The moment was a quick one, swept away by her returning the question. "Usually just to make sure I still know how. Plus Jake told me that people will trick you if you can't count. Jake is my dog." His words were straight forward, quick to reach the points that he was getting at and avoiding the politically correct dances that most people would perform.

"My name is Finn by the way. It's good to meet you!" The lack of proper grammar would likely be noticeable by her, but she would be wrong to assume he chose the wrong words. To him, meeting new people was always a good thing. If they were good, they were a friend. If they were bad, they were an enemy. Regardless they would be an opportunity for a new adventure.

#5Arinna Wattson 

on Sun Jan 15, 2017 8:07 pm

The young man's action suggested that he understood her words: the wag of his head up and down would generally indicate comprehension-- but his rebuttal, and the soft pink that painted across his cheeks suggested otherwise. Her smoky orbs narrowed as she tried to fit together the blurry jigsaw pieces of his reactions, and how they related to the overall picture of who this man was, in totality.

His words themselves, were nearly unbelievable. Practicing to remember counting-- numbers that had been taught to him by a dog? Was the man in front of her talking in tongues? Complete psychosis would certainly be a reasonable assertion. Perhaps, the young man was like she was, and enjoyed playing his companion's reactions like a fiddle. It was this analysis that kept the woman from responding to his words, instead allowing the man to introduce himself.

His words sounded awkward, as they extended towards her. "My name is Finn by the way. It's good to meet you!" They lacked formality, despite the genuineness that had saturated them. Her face remained straight, despite an attempt at an upwards curve of her lips-- subtle enough that the kindness intended behind it, was nearly unnoticeable-- even as she outstretched a hand. "I"m Ari. It's a pleasure to meet your acquaintance, Finn." her words--with their joviality, and sweet intentions were a stark comparison, as they always were, to her unanimated visage.

She would allow her hand to remain suspended between the two of them, for him to shake with his own (or whatever he took her outstretched hand for) for a few moments, before allowing it to fall back to her side.

"Finn..." she echoed again, allowing her tongue to practice the single syllable. "So this Jake person... You said... Your dog? He taught you how to count?" she questioned, her words delicate as they sounded each word, afraid that if she misspoke, she would leave him offended-- not a particular task she hoped to accomplish with someone she speculated hovered on the border of insane. "He sounds like a special companion. I never had any pets growing up, let alone ones that could teach me such valuable lessons. I did have an older brother though... He taught me how to climb trees, which I doubt is as impressive as how to count..." She would allow the man to respond, however much or little he desired.

As the conversation came to a lull, she would begin walking, starting with a few leisurely steps, curious to see if her new companion would join her in her stroll, hoping her new companion may be able to lead her where she desired to be. "Truthfully, the reason I was counting, was because I had happened to lose my way... I was trying to backtrack. Counting steps seemed like the logical way to find my way out. I'm afraid I'm not used to the streets of Crocus quite yet." Her voice was sheepish, as she admitted to the blonde, the reason for their encounter "It's only a little bit embarrassing." she mused, allowing a soft airy, nearly inaudible, chuckle press past her lips, as she shook her head in self-disappointment.

#6Finn Mertens 

on Mon Jan 16, 2017 5:39 pm

Whether or not she realized it, her lack of displayable emotion had not saved her an awkward moment. Finn, admittedly, was still quite dull when it came to the commonalities of others. Facial expressions, body language, it all seemed so foreign to him. He had not grown up reading these signs for hints of meaning. His knowledge lied in reading aggression and a battle, not emotions from action. Even if her jaw had dropped, he'd have at best the idea that she was shocked by his words. Judgement wouldn't have crossed his mind as a viable thought pattern for someone when presented with a bit of his life story, let alone a negative kind.

Regardless of this, she played it off perfectly. Extending his hand after the greeting to meet hers in a firm handshake, his smile showed a genuine happiness that had been brought about by meeting a new person. Her name was short and simple, like his. He had never met someone named Ari before, it was short and simple- Something that he could easily consider a nice name.

As she addressed Jake, making a comment about pets, Finn listened intently before his face took on a confused look. "Wait a minute..." His words trailed off, an upward inflection implying that he wished to continue, but didn't know how. As his arms crossed and eyebrows furrowed, his mind raced to find out where he went wrong in his explanation, before Jake's words (echoing his Guild Masters') came back to his mind.

"Listen Finn, people get all gunked up when you say stuff that's normal for you. You're human, if you just go calling me your brother, they'll get gunked. You need to tell them I'm your dog."

"My dog?"

"Yeah man. It means I'm like your companion- Your pet."

"You're not my pet!"

"Yeah I know that. But you gotta say that I am so they can understand it. Explain it after if they get too confused or it bothers you. This is how society works."

"Ohh, okay. Jake? What's 'sos-eye-itty'?"

As Finn's face lit up with understanding and his fist punched into an empty hand as if capturing the idea before it could escape, Finn's excited gaze met Ari's rather exhausted one. "I get it! My bad. Jake is my older brother. I was left in Worth Woodsea as a baby and Jake's family adopted me- They're all super strong, uhm.... You guys call them monsters, but to me they're just family."

As the conversation died out after his explanation that probably left more questions than it answered, Ari took the liberty of leading their meeting forward. With a few steps and a glance, she explained her circumstances. "Oh yeah, this place is pretty big. If you want I could-"

His words were cut short by a bright light that shone through his shirt pocket. Looking down and pulling the source of the light from his pocket, he felt the light begin to travel over his skin, covering his whole body. It was that time already?

Looking up at her and smiling, Finn was quick to try to explain. "Sorry, it's time for the tournament. I guess I can't help. Nice meeting you Ari!" Within seconds after his words finished, Finn began to fade out of existence- And then, he was gone.


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