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 Post subject: [STORY] Dark Comfort
PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2016 9:41 pm 
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***

Music flooded the air, as it always did in that bar.

Normally Panahihou would at the very least enjoy the rhythm of the drums, feel his blood quicken with every shout and give in to the ravenous cruelty of the lyrics. Even something like a serenade or a calm erhu score would normally be appreciated; if it didn't touch his black heart or at the very least calm his neurotic impulses, it'd be worthy mocking. No song was truly bad to him, and he travelled far and wide just for a good enrichment to his revelries.

Yet, for once, music was pure cacophony.

Every song felt like loud, obnoxious sound, oppressive and penetrating, not bringing him happiness but annoyance and confusion, exacerbating his already morose state. Listening to it was no longer relaxing or vitalizing, more than a chore: it was a leeching, draining experience, reminding him that his life was being wasted by the second.

A guttural growl escaped his long beak, and he swallowed another drink. It too was no longer pleasurable, but at least it numbed him somewhat. Losing control was something that he dreaded deeply, but it was starting to sound appealing.

Panahihou sighed, and the sigh turned into a groan, and the groan turned into a low roar. He, like most birds, had virtually no sense of smell, but the air tasted rotten, and not the seasoning kind either. He placed his scaly palms on the table, raising himself hastily, his winged arms feeling feeble and shaky.

Patrons around him picked up on his displeasure, and carefully slid away from him.

Panahihou considered planeswalking right out of there. Though he wouldn't be there to see it, the thought of inducing a panic filled him with a hollow satisfaction. He already knew it wouldn't be much, but in that state any sliver of what even remotely passed as happiness would be enough.

Just as he was about to depart, however, he heard footsteps moving in his direction. Before he could do anything, a hand rested gently on his shoulder.

"Hey" said the stranger, "Do you mind if I sit with you?"

Panahihou's long neck craned, his head tilting and turning like an owl's. A few patrons flinched or looked away, but while the newcomer did show a moment of unease, he remained fairly cheerful.

He was a young male human, possibly in his late teens, with a light ginger hair and beard and bright blue eyes, not unlike the Panahihou's own. Instead of cold and spiteful like the Kawau's, however, they were strangely warm.

The newcomer was rather chubby, his features rounded but not to an extent that the Aven found repulsive; combined with his sympathetic demeanour, it made him somewhat cute. He wore a white shirt covered by a red leather jacket, brown leather finger-less gloves, brown pants and black boots. It gave Panahihou the impression that this man cared more about appearence than praticality, even if none of the items were strictly useless.

The Aven examined for a while still, partly because he was somewhat dumbfounded, partly just to see if he could unnerve him. Seeing no changes to the newcomer's expecting face, he quickly gave up, shrugging indifferently.

"Thanks" the newcomer said, "Do you want another drink?"

Panahihou turned at him confusedly, before checking his mug again. It was empty.

"Sure" he said, a brief mucus build-up making his voice coarse.

"Two beer mugs, please" the newcomer said, raising his hand.

The bartender, an old minotaur, raised her eyebrow, before filling the two mugs and skimming them across the table to the two patrons. The new mug ricochetted away Panahihou's old one with a small bling, soon accompanied by a series of blings from the silver coins the newcomer tossed at the table. Panahihou looked at the coins, their white-ish glow appealing to his eyes, before he grabbed the mug and opened his beaked jaws, swallowing the brown and white fluid heavily.

"So, I see that you were about to planeswalk away" the newcomer said, before his own mug touched his lips.

Brownish whitewater came out of Panahihou's beak, splashing in two perfect jets, as he coughed it up in surprise. This caused a frown in the bartender's face, a groan of displeasure from a patron whose shirt was stained by one of the jets, and a worried look on he newcomer's face.

"Oh, sorry, I didn't know we weren't supposed to talk about it" he said, a tinge of sadness and bitterness in his voice.

"Oh, we can and we will!" Panahihou responded crowed angrily, the air around him becoming darker, "Have you been stalking me?"

"N-no, I just felt you were about to planeswalk away" the newcomer said nervously, before he stared down at the table, "I just wanted someone to talk to."

Panahihou calmed down, darkness fading as the torch glow returned to his black plummage, reflecting in ambaric sheens. He looked at his wing feathers for a moment, and saw a glimmer similar in colour to the newcomer's hair and beard. His winged elbows landed back on the table, feathers scraping in a sound that drew the fellow planeswalker's attention back to him.

"Follow me" Panahihou said.

The Kawau saw the young man's face express confusion, before the tavern vanished and was replaced by his headquarters in Ravnica: a dark apartment, minimally lit by small crevices in the windowlids. He found himself sitting in his bed, a structure altered into a broad, nest-like platform, though still familiar enough as to not discourage his one night stands. The Aven laid down on his back, letting out a small moan as he relaxed

The young man manifested soon after in front of him. Panahihou didn't see him, his head facing the opposite wall as it was, but he could sense some discomfort, which brought him a small amount of satisfaction.

"Uh, nice place you got here."

"You can open the windows if you want" Panahihou responded, each word vibrating in a relaxing purr.

He heard wood creaking, and sure enough the light of the afternoon sun flooded the room. Panahihou winced, his eyes watering slightly. He covered his face with his left wing-arm, though some light still made it through the rips in the barbules. The tattered, damaged look that he purposely cultivated turned against him, a fact that he recognised bitterly.

"Are you okay?" the young man asked.

Panahihou simply groaned. He heard cautious footsteps, and sure enough the bed shook as his fellow planeswalker sat neck to him, his lap just outside the reach of his wing feathers.

Slowly, Panahihou raised his wing-arm, adjusting his sight. He saw those blue eyes again, only now they were dominated by worry. The Aven knew the multiple reasons: for him, but also for something else, for whatever caused that bitterness, for whatever lead him to reach out to a complete stranger, a mage with as dark a mood as powers.

Some sort of desperation.

"You know" Panahihou started, reveling in the second those blue eyes filled with curiosity, "I was told, many times now, that our kind were once gods."

"What do you mean?" the young man asked.

"It means that we were once powerful, of course. Supposedly, we could take on any form, we could cast any and all spells, we could even create planes."

This elicited an awed gasp from his companion, which Panahihou found endearing.

"But, above all, we could live forever. We didn't age, we wouldn't be bothered by such petty things like time. You could had remained as you are for all eternity. Imagine, being this adorable for the rest of existence."

His beak rubbed against the young man's thigh, and it wasn't long until the Aven saw that rounded face acquire a pink tone. This was something Panahihou found quite pleasing in humanoids.

"Think about it, not worrying about ever running out of time" Panahihou said, his jaw tips pinching the pants, careful as to not break the skin.

"T-that would be amazing."

"Yes. Now, we have to make do with years."

Panahihou's right wing-arm's feathers brushed on the man's arm, before his fingers touched his belly, grasping it softly. It reached up higher, a claw trailing through the fabric, reaching the chest.

"What's your name?" Panahihou asked, more as an afterthought than anything else.

"Feluz."

"Panahihou. I'm told it doesn't roll well on the tongue."

"I-I think its nice."

"Why, thank you. Thank you indeed."

The Aven's hand drew away, as he used both forelimbs to propell himself upward. Kneeling on the bed, he moved right behind Feluz, his wing-arms enveloping the young man in a protective embrace. His neck rested on the ginger scalp, his eyes closing as he enjoyed the friction of the hair in his throat.

"I've wasted so much of my life. I can tell you feel the same way, too."

Feluz sighed.

"Yes. I should've been stronger, when I was younger."

"How old are you?"

"18."

"So young and already feeling so withered. Just like me."

Feluz nodded.

"How old are you?" he asked, playing iddly with Panahihou's wing feathers.

"22. Only five of those years have been worth living."

"Only two of mine have been worth living."

Panahihou chuckled, and lowered his head, his avian face nuzzling against Feluz's meaty one. A sense of joy began creeping its way inside him, and he decided that was good.

"Do you want to waste some time with me?"

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Last edited by Heliosphoros on Fri Jul 28, 2017 6:26 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: [STORY] Dark Comfort
PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2016 5:57 pm 
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You have some very nice imagery, and the idea of an aven spit-take is fantastic. Unfortunately, several decidedly odd wordings and a couple of typos detract from the flow.

The ending makes me uncomfortable. A good chunk of that is having seen too little of Feluz to understand how he would feel about the advances, and whether he'd later regret "wasting time" like this. Some of it is from the hints of :b: in Panahihou's personality, which would lead him to care little for Feluz's feelings and future well-being, though that might be tempered by some :r:. Partly, it's the sense that the aven is being predatory, taking advantage of the human's youth and naïveté. I would have preferred to have more build-up for a moment like that, and an exploration of its negative consequences.

Meanwhile, Panahihou is an interesting character; I'd like to see him in some more interesting situations.


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 Post subject: Re: [STORY] Dark Comfort
PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2016 7:04 pm 
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Thanks again.

Can you point out a few so I can edit them?

Part of Panahihou's character is that he has a sort of selfish empathy, as seen in a few other stories I've posted about him before, so he'd take "no" for an answer. But yes, he is meant to be a bit predatory in this encounter.

I did design him originally as a character. But for all intents and purposes he is mono-, since he casts almost exclusively shadow magic.

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 Post subject: Re: [STORY] Dark Comfort
PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2016 9:27 pm 
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Preferred Pronoun Set: He/him/etc.
Brentain wrote:
The ending makes me uncomfortable. A good chunk of that is having seen too little of Feluz to understand how he would feel about the advances, and whether he'd later regret "wasting time" like this. Some of it is from the hints of :b: in Panahihou's personality, which would lead him to care little for Feluz's feelings and future well-being, though that might be tempered by some :r:. Partly, it's the sense that the aven is being predatory, taking advantage of the human's youth and naïveté. I would have preferred to have more build-up for a moment like that, and an exploration of its negative consequences.


This. The story gives off the distinct impression that Panahihou would be "wasting some time" with Feluz whether or not Feluz had the time to waste, so to speak. It's good to know that that's not entirely the case (and that the predator-ness was intended), but still. I don't see Pana as a heroic character, but he'll definitely be interesting to watch. I just hope I'll be able to root for him eventually.


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 Post subject: Re: [STORY] Dark Comfort
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2016 7:16 am 
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I do have something further up, that much I can say.

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 Post subject: Re: [STORY] Dark Comfort
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2016 12:36 pm 
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Can you point out a few so I can edit them?
Spoiler

Okay, that's enough for me. Anyone else want to pick up where I left off?


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 Post subject: Re: [STORY] Dark Comfort
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2016 3:52 pm 
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Okay, edited as suggested, sans one or two things. A few notes:

- Yes, he does like some degree of rot. To be fair, rotting has also been used historically to season various types of RL meals.

- I was about to protest the feathered and scaly assessment, but I agree with you. His hands are kind of like owl feet:

https://theiwrc.org/raptorID/great-horn ... 060308.jpg

With both feathers and scales. But only the palms are scaly, and devoid of feathers, so...

- I was thinking of the full inversion inversion aspect, though things like snakes or cranes also come to mind.

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 Post subject: Re: [STORY] Dark Comfort
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2016 5:14 pm 
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Pana' who?

I laughed when I read that name.

How do you pronounce it?


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 Post subject: Re: [STORY] Dark Comfort
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2016 6:54 pm 
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Maori.

Don't be rude.

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 Post subject: Re: [STORY] Dark Comfort
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2016 9:06 pm 
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Is that your nationality?

Well, I'm not trying to be overtly rascist.

Fantasy forum.

How do you pronounce it!

I actually thought it was an interesting name. It sings off the tongue, like an old-time dinner bell mimicked by a caring mother in an apron, hollaring off the porch.

I which case, I doubt you care!

In which case, I'm glad there's beer.


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 Post subject: Re: [STORY] Dark Comfort
PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2016 7:15 am 
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It should be something akin to Pa-na-HI-hou. Mostly soft "a"s, and an "i" that's more more like "ee" than the "ay" sound normally pronounce in english (think "indulgence").

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