1964-11-18 - Ornithophobic Challenged
Summary: Kelda brings a Dwarf Thunderbird egg to show Thor, proof of black market attempts in Asgard's stalls. Thor, in benevolence, aids in hatching the egg and thus, subjects Kelda to a thing of her nightmares: an imprinted fledgling.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
thor kelda 

Soft bootsteps foretell the arrival of the Asgardian battle-mage. With head held high and pace brisk enough to cause a gentle rippling of her robes, she has a small object in her hands. At first glance, it seems to be a…rock, albeit one of magnificently smooth oily-black sheen forked through by glittering quartz.

"My liege?" Kelda's hunting out the eldest Prince, a controlled air of excitement found about her that causes a faint pinking of her cheeks and brightness to her eyes.

Thor turns to look at the sound of Kelda's voice, a little surprised at the excitement in her tones. The battle-mage is usually one to be secure and soft spoken, and rarely lets her emotions get hold of her that she calls after Thor so excitedly.

"Aye, I'm here," Thor responds, when Kelda gets in range. He dismisses the courtier at his side with a nod, pressing a bundle into the man's hands, and folds his arms across his chest as Kelda quicksteps closer. He grins at the woman, inquiring eyes flickering to the contents of her hands. "Now, what have you here that has you in such a tumult, my friend?" he inquires, good-humoredly.

Not only moderately electrified, but furtive as well. Arriving at Thor's side, she waits for the courtier to get beyond hearing range, watching the man to gauge the distance before looking back to him.

"You will not believe what I found amongst the seller-stalls of the market district, my liege!" Her voice, while quiet, still retain the pitch of energy. "Have you seen this before, in your passing years? Even in a tome?" Cupped in her hands, the stone is a near ovaloid, big enough to require settling in both palms. A metronomic beat seems to frizzle through the threading of lighter stone in it. "It is an egg, my liege! Of a Dwarf Thunderbird!" Squeaky-squeaky at the end there, wide-eyed as she is. "The stall-minder had no idea and I paid a trivial sum for it. She thought it a trinket!"

Thor balances the egg in his hand, frowning at it uncertainly, particularly at Kelda's insistent excitement. It's not until she identifies it that he blinks in surprise and clasps the egg more firmly so as to not drop it.

"A thunderbird?" he balks. "A species rare beyond measure," he grunts. "Someone braved some terrible peril to attain this egg," he remarks. "No mothering hen would have left it for a casual thief to simply fetch away in the night."

"A Dwarf Thunderbird," Kelda stresses, hands with fingers interlaced tucked beneath her chin. "The egg is black market goods, my liege. I was not about to let some unknowing buyer take it home. It would have wrought destruction in its surprise. We needs must either return it to its possible nest or risk it hatching here."

She pauses, her eyes taking on a faintly stricken glint. "And it will hatch soon, my liege. Very soon. It may not be but minutes until we find ourselves with a hatchling no bigger than my fist — and it will imprint upon the first living being it sees, naming it provider in lieu of its true parents."

Thor nods along, running his fingers over the surface of the egg. At the stress in Kelda's voice, he glances up at her, and a sly grin crosses his rugged features. "Are you sure we should not keep it in your quarters, then?" he inquires, good-humoredly. "A Dwarven Thunderbird would make a most excellent pet, aye? They live for centuries and are fearsome hunters, if properly trained. I think one of my grandsires had one— there might even be a perch and falconer's crest for one in the royal treasurey, somewhere," he says, with a tone of mock contemplation.

Cue the sharp clearing of her throat and a step away from Thor, leaving him holding the egg still.

"Ah…no, my liege." Kelda's smile is courtier-polite, but just a smidge not enough to hide the discomfort. "I agree that they are…most handsome creatures and it is most seemly that your royal lineage tamed them, but I have little interest or time to indulge in a fledgling. I am always at whim of of beck and call." Which, while true, is not a true constant state of things. "I would think you would wish to return the egg to its nest before it hatches…?"

Thor grunts, contemplatively. He rolls the egg from one hand to another, in a fashion that'd be careless save for the superior reflexes of an immortal god. "Is— is my shield-maiden frighened of a bird?" Thor inquires, turning mischevious blue eyes back towards the woman. "They are quite small when born, you know. Barely the span of a hand," he remarks. "And quite intelligent. Wise, even. Stories old as Asgard tell tale of our wisest warriors venturing to ancient peaks to speak to the eldest of their people," he remarks.

Kelda's rosebud lips flatten as she gives the eldest Prince a gimlet look. Her regard drops to the egg as he speaks, but then eventually returns to his face.

"My liege, I am not…frightened." Liar, liar, robes on fire. "I simply cannot find the time to raise such a creature. I know they carry the wisdom of the elements in their blood and speech from my past readings." Never EVER from being in the presence of the species.

Thor grins broadly at Kelda. "Come now," he reassures her, throwing a companionable arm over her narrower shoulders. "They are not such fearsome creatures as all that— at least not when one is properly trained and raised," he remarks. "Fleet as the wind, faster than all but the peal of thunder itself. They can fly between worlds, or so the legends go. And they are fierce and unyielding guardians— the stories say they can spot an enemy soldier disguised even as an ant, from a mile away," he remarks, holding the egg at arm's length for reference. "I can think of no more boon companion for a storm-caller than such a beast as this, aye?"

The warring of interest against bone-deep fear is a weak one, even if it shows in how her eyes linger on the egg. Caution wins out and Kelda continues to let Thor do as he will with the egg, gesticulating about. The pulse of the light beneath the shell has increased since the conversation began.

"I find my staff to be companion enough, my liege. All this is well and good, its legendary abilities born of truth or tale, but rather, I find the creature to be better apt to sit upon your shoulder than mine. My elements are the blizzard, ice and rime-chill. Peals of thunder seem more in your court, no? God of Thunder?" She delicately dances through his title, her light brows lifting as a smile threatens at the corners of her lips.

Thor drops the egg heavily into Kelda's hand. "Aye, but I am a Prince of Asgard. 'twould be improper for me to simply take such a magnificent beast from my most loyal ally, even as you found it languishing in a market stall. See how it quickens, already!" Thor says, watching the play of light and energy against the obsidian shell.

He gives Kelda a few breathless moments to make up her mind— but in the second before she makes a decision, he taps a finger against the shell and a crackle of static leaps from his hand to the quartz. "Oh hoh, it's hatching, now," he says, firmly gripping Kelda's shoulders and maneuvering her in front of him. "Steady now! Best show no fear, or it'll think you lunch instead of its mother."

Jumbling the egg for a second, Kelda then stays still beneath the friendly, warm weight of the Prince's arm about her shoulders. She doesn't feel trapped in the least, more concerned about the light-show in the shell itself.

"Aye, my liege, but is there not a saying on Midgard about "finder's keepers" and its falsehood?!" Her glacial-blues are still rather wide, color high on her cheeks. Then comes the tap, imbuing the egg with no more charge than found after scuffing one's socks on a floor in the middle of winter — more than enough to set off a chain reaction. A shield now before the Prince, she holds the egg out as far away as she can before herself, actually scuffing her boots hard enough to squeak on the floor and propel herself back into Thor. "MY LIEGE, IT IS A BIRD!!! IT WILL IMPRINT UPON ME!!!"

Thor grips Kelda's shoulders, holding her steady and preventing her from retreating. Stronger than steel bars, more implacable than the mountain. Thor keeps her from retreating any furthur, though he can't do much to keep her from holding the egg at the extreme of her fingertip length.

"Careful now," he whispers sharply, just as she looks to almost drop it. "They can /smell/ fear," he whispers, and then the egg shudders and emits a thundercrack of sound as a crack spiderwebs across it.

"MY LIIIIIEEEEEEGE!!!" It's a very quiet shriek as the shell's surface showcases the activity of the creature within. Her boots still make faint semi-frictionless sounds as she apparently attempts to mould herself against his obdurate frame. "THEY CANNOT!" Yes, she's arguing with Thor in that airy pitch of abject terror.

From within, the muffled cries increase in volume and Kelda slams her mouth shut, all the better to not draw attention to herself. Thank the gods the room is devoid of anyone but the two of them at the moment.

Thor peeks around Kelda's head— then over it— as the egg cracks and splits. A cheeping sound can be heard from the heart of the egg, the mewling cries of new life protesting a dark and confining environment.

The egg jumps and shudders, then splits fully in half. The lights die as the shell breaks and splits apart into rough thirds, and something as pale as the moon straightens up inside Kelda's palms. It pushes the shells away and gives Kelda a look that's almost indignant, then puffs up a wet-matted chest and emits a hoarse *squawk*, several times, and the bird fluffs out his plumage to start airing it out.

|ROLL| Kelda +rolls 1d10 for: 9

Is the baby Thunderbird making that continuous, wavering keening sound?

Wait, that's Kelda, forcing the sound out through clenched teeth. The living thing, so very small still — no larger than one palm in truth — is breathing because she can feel its chest rise and fall and the wet of the egg's innards still clings to its fine lunar-silver feathering and it has BIG DARK EYES THAT ARE STARING AT HER. The warrior-mage has gone completely still, as if a lack of movement will convince the creature that she's invisible. Hey, it worked in Jurassic Park? Kind of?

The remnants of the shell lie on the marble flooring of the palace room, discarded completely now and devoid of their previous lustre.

*SQUAWK.* The Thunderbird glares at Kelda, and huffs its chest a little. It hops once, flicking out a surprisingly long wingspan. No pinions yet, but the bird is airing out and as it dries, the downy fluff under the feathers starts to give it a little bulk that it didn't have as a nascent, newborn wet rag.

"*SQAAAAWK.*" It sounds mildly perturbed, and sharp, tiny talons dig into her palm for balance.

"I think it is hungry, my friend. Best to feed it!"

Kelda winces at the talons and that 'eeeeeeeee' abrupt ends on something like an 'urk'.

"I do not have any food on me, my liege, I did not expect to have the dratted egg coming apart in my hands!!!" That beak has a wicked little curve on the end, lined in daffodil-yellow as it is to signify that the bird is young as yet. She swallows and continues staring. "You feed it!" she hisses to Thor, pressed spine to sternum with the Prince and still holding the fledgling at the end of her extension as if it's a gravity-triggered rune-bomb.

"Then best hurry to the kitchens, my friend!" Thor propels Kelda forward with palms on her shoulderblades. "Hope they have some raw morsel it will favor, and feed it before it decides it will be raised on the flesh of Asgardians!" He laughs raucously at Kelda's plight as the bird's chirpings become louder and more insistent, and the gimlet gaze it gives Kelda is clearly demanding some food!

Thor may as well be steering her because her boots are a-movin' while her brain isn't really processing the travels towards the kitchens, thankfully only through one doorway and halfway down the neighboring hallway.

"If this dratted cat's-meal pecks me, it will find itself in very dire circumstances!" It'd be a credible threat but for the thread of fright still found within her voice. Imagine the surprise of the kitchen staff when the eldest Prince just about frog-marches the battle-mage into the room. Knives stop chopping, someone pauses in plucking a fowl, and a pot begins to boil over all in the hanging pause to simply stare.

"Wha — Your highness." The chef speaks up from pouring through an archaic trieste on the flavorings for lamb at a nearby prep-counter, her finger still resting on the page. "What is — forgive me, but that thing cannot be in my kitchen! This is a place of cleanliness!"

"Then hurry with a plate of fresh, raw meat, chef!" Thor booms at the chef, in a tone that brooks neither formality nor compromise. "The lady Kelda has a newly hatched bird that is the stuff of legends, and your lamb will have to wait until the beast is fed and sated! Liver, tripe, tongue— raw, good meat!"

He looks around the stunned assembly of cooks who keep the castle fed. "Now, if you please!" he says, with a booming report of his stentorian voice. The kitchen breaks into motion. By dint of a *CAW* and *SQUAWK*, and the tug of talon and beak, the bird demands Kelda bring him over to the roaring fire where bread bakes.

The Prince's voice behind her makes Kelda jump and jostle the fledgling; little talons pinch all the more and she 'eeks' as the tug of beak risks the fabric of her long sleeves.

"Alright, alright, little harridan, patience!" The words spit are for the bird even as she glides over at a near-run to the heated bricks inlaid in wall and floor in an outwards arc. It's toasty over here and her arms tremble ever so slightly with the strain of remaining outstretched for so long.

The chef sighs and shuts the book with a sharp sound. The sous-chef hops to with a snap of her fingers at him and both hasten to the back, where someone has been separating a fresh carcass into its various cuts. Within the minute, a platter of glistening raw lamb meat — liver, tripe and tongue as stated by the Prince — arrives at Kelda's side.

"Your meat, m'lady," mutters the assistant-chef, side-eyeing both woman and bird in morbid curiosity. Kelda gives him a narrow look and he pales as her eyes lighten a solid hue, indicative of her stance on current affairs.

The bird seems unwilling to leave Kelda's fingers, even for the offer of meat— it's not until she's fed it several morsels piece by piece that it finally relaxes. Wide, darting eyes finally lid at the comfort of warmth and food and with a belly protruding with the meal, the bird warbles a few times and starts dozing, fluffed out and with a beak buried in the downy fluff of its breast.

"I daresay you've a new friend," Thor remarks, having stayed at the door to watch the entire thing. He slurps down some mead to wash his bread, butter soaking into the fresh-baked grain. The chefs are distempered, but no one seems willing to contravene the Prince in this matter.

"…yes?" The question mark in her tentative agreement is pronounced even as the bird makes a sleepy chirrup sound and snuggles deeper into its downy plumage. Kelda looks imploringly at Thor from across the kitchen, very much aware that the kitchen staff does not approve of feathery deviations from the norm.

"You do not think it has imprinted upon me…?"

"Aye, I would daresay it has," Thor says, grinning into his mead. "Speak to the Archivist on the morrow. See what letters or stories about this beast persist," he suggests. "Care, and feeding thereof. But you've a new friend," he tells Kelda, clapping her shoulder. "Feed it, tend it well, and we will see what comes of this happy circumstance!" With that, the God of Thunder strides from the kitchen, mead and meal in hand.

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