Post Thu Jul 09, 2009 3:58 pm

An echo of the old ways

The sun has already begun it's descent as Rhul lounged at the woods edge near the inn, enjoying the cooling night air, an apple, and a book.... while the light remained, anyway. Soon though, he sighed in resignation, casting an annoyed eye to the enroaching darkness, and he had just begun to close his book in defeat when he heard a rustle in the bushes.

Freezing, he cast his senses out into the night. It was nothing magical, merely putting some extra attention towards the natural order of things. Any experienced woodsman knew that when it came down to it, the native animals of an area had a feeling for their surroundings that no person could match, not even a druid. And at the moment, everything continued chattering happily along.

The movement came again, a rustle, low to the ground. Keeping a weathered eye on the spot, Rhul carefully speared a slice of his apple on a stick, offering the treat to the edge of the undergrowth.

After a moment, a small black hand, the size of a child's, reached out carefully to snatch the slice, withdrawing it smoothly into the bushes.

"If you would like another, the next one you have to come and get, whoever you are," Rhul rumbled, placing another remnant of the apple on his great outstretched hand. "I'm not about to sit all night and continue feeding you like a fish on a line, to be sure."

It wasn't long until a small form crept cautiously from the brush. Some form of small furry animal, it walked lightly on all fours, a prehensile tail arched over it's back, wound with rings of light and dark fur. The rest of it's body was covered in a soft grey fur, with dark ears atop a small head with intensely dark, ringed eyes. (OOG: it's a ring-tailed Lemur) It approached within range of it's long arms and warily took the apple slice, deftly tearing it apart with both hands into small pieces to eat in an eerily human fashion.

Rhul guffawed lightly. "I dare say, little one, you look as if a racoon gave your mother a bit of a scare while she carried you." He squinted an eye in thought. "Do you speak?"

The animal gave no reply but to quizzically tilt it's head.

"Yes, well......in these parts it's a good idea to ask, you know." Rhul answered with a shrug. "Especially in these parts."

He offered another piece of fruit, and this time, when the animal took the food, it's hand brushed Rhul's skin. With the contact, he felt...something, almost like when something is remembered, just at the edge of thought, but the feeling was gone as soon as it came, and he dismissed it.

The animal looked up at Rhul questioningly, but the apple was gone. On an impulse, he decided to try something.

"You know, little one, there's much better food inside there," he suggested, indicating the inn, it's windows now aglow. "I would guess by the smell that Fiona and Esmerelda are just about finished with something good. Care to join me?"

He stooped and held out his hand to climb onto, but the creature didn't move. It looked at him, glanced at the inn, almost questioningly, and then back at Rhul.

"What, them? No, don't worry, they wont hurt you, not if you are in my charge. Believe me," He said with a look of mock seriousness, "noone wants to wake up in the morning with the bruises that would result in."

He offered his hand again, and this time it was accepted, and Rhul gave a boost up his arm and onto his great furry shoulder. As it settled there, sudden realization struck the ape-man, and he turned his head to meet the creature's gaze, utterly shocked.

"Is...is... that what you are?" He asked breathlessly. "A...a...companion; a totem, even?"

Nodding, he looked out to the dark, a look that obviously encompassed the world itself.

"If that is true, my Lady Phanterra, then well.....I accept, though I once again find myself basking in the glow of your impressive grasp of irony...yes, indeed!"

"Come then, Scrounger, for that's what I'll call you, as that seems where your talents lie towards. Let us go get some dinner in our bellies".

With that the pair turned towards the inn. Halfway there, Rhul had a sudden thought, and let out a snicker. (Although in afterthought, when a six foot ape -man with huge fists "snickers", it comes out rather more....wrong, to the outside viewer, than it might coming from a normal man.)

"..........A monkey on my back! Hah!!"