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 Feeding the Thestrals [Sky]

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PostSubject: Feeding the Thestrals [Sky]   Sat Mar 15, 2014 4:51 pm

Somehow in the crush of everything going on in the beginning of this year Luna had lost track of all of the important things. Well, maybe not all of the important things, as she had gotten closer to Ginny than ever this year. Some of the new things were quickly becoming very important too. Things like the Tigress, and whatever was going on with her father, and the fact that she seemed to actually be starting to have friends like a normal person.

Still, all of that took a lot of time, especially compared to previous years. Plus, this was her big exam year, and she was determined to gain OWLs in all of her classes, even though she was not that good for a Ravenclaw in Potions and History of Magic, as brewing potions befuddled her and listening to the weird ghost Binns was beyond her abilities as a student. That meant she was studying harder than she had ever bothered to before, taking an active interest in the two subjects that she had merely coasted through her first four years.

All of those drains on time had really pushed on one area, and that was the time that she could spend outside of classes fostering her love of animals and of the outdoors. In the past she had gone to see the half-giant Hagrid probably more than anyone else, visited the threstrals as often as she could, and snuck deep into the forest at least once a week. This year she hadn’t been doing any of those things, and it was making her sad. It was probably making the thestrals sad too, since only Luna and Hagrid seemed to pay them any attention besides when they pulled the school carriages around, and most of the students couldn’t even see them to thank them for that.

She had finally made time to fix that today. She has clad in her hiking boots and shorts, and an old shirt of her mother’s. It was amazing that her father had not figured it out yet, since at least half of the non-school uniform clothes she had brought with her this year had been borrowed from the closet she was not supposed to go into. Her normal radish ear rings had been swapped out in favor of two orange dragons that she had crafted out of foil. They were shorter and swung less, but it was worth the trade to have tigers on her body somewhere.

Now she was wandering through the forest, a bucket of fresh raw meat in one hand. She could have done this close to the edge, and sometimes did, but her feeding chunks of meat to thin air looked even weirder than normal, and she has no desire to spend today dealing with some idiot teasing her about her thestral friends. Still, a growing crowd of the special horse-like creatures had been following her since she stepped into the forest, and while they wouldn’t eat until they let them, it was mean to keep them waiting. It would be like waving a bone over a dog’s head and laughing or something.

So as soon as she was sure the trees were thick enough to hide her entirely from the castle, she set the bucket down and spread the meat across the ground. Unfortunately, before she could even enjoy petting and talking to her friends, she caught a new smell in the air. Or, well, not exactly a smell. It was like a smell, but not a normal thing that people smelled, and in this case, it was a blend of raw magical power and something feline that she only remembered encountering in one person, even if she wasn’t focused on it then like she could be now. The forest brought out her special instincts and abilities like nothing else did.

Part of her wanted to ignore the other girl and just make up for lost time with her friends. Her curiosity wouldn’t let her however. She needed to know if this really was her friend or not. She needed to know what business she had in the forest, especially this deeply, and she really needed to know why the girl smelled almost as much like a cat as she did a girl. Perhaps it would help her figure out why the same thing was true about her Tigress.
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Skyler Riddle
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PostSubject: Re: Feeding the Thestrals [Sky]   Mon Mar 17, 2014 8:09 pm

Skyler wasn't exactly sure why she was in the forest again. Every time she went in there, something bad happened. Aside from maybe the first time, when she had first met the tiger. But even then, the brunette had taken a pretty good swipe of claws from the tiger. Thankfully, they hadn't formed scars. Unfortunately, she could still feel the sting if she really thought about it...

Perhaps it was just that Nyx needed some freedom. Needed to run. Sid had said she might feel that way. Though they hadn't started the actual training yet. Maybe it was just the anticipation of it. Or maybe the teen just needed some distance from everything else. To become something other than herself and to give herself over to the instincts of the animal within her. Maybe the Slytherin just needed the freedom to go somewhere where she could just be.

Whatever the case was, it had the teen heading into the forest, and as soon as the edge of the trees were providing enough cover, she shifted into the panther. Glossy, black fur sprouted over her body as her appendages shifted, hands and feet turning into the smallish yet powerful paws of the feline. Her long and thick tail swished behind her, and she lifted her nose into the air to sniff, taking in the scents before shooting off through the forest with a hiss.

Nyx's ears flicked as she ran, her nose twitched as the panther picked up sounds and scents no human could. It was liberating to be flying through the forest, to just run like that and leave all the worries and cares behind. It seemed more like she was running away from it all, and in a sense, she supposed she was. But no matter how much she wished she could the panther forever, the witch inside would always turn back to where she really belonged. Being Nyx for a good hour or so was just a really nice break from being herself.

It wasn't long though before she was lithely leaping from the forest floor and up into a tree, proceeding to make her way stealthily from one tree to the next. It was one of her favorite features of being a panther. They were one of the few big cats of the world that could do so, and it pleased her greatly to have the trait. She paused on a branch high up in a tree, the sudden shift of the slight breeze assaulting her senses with new scents. One she recognized had her curious as all hell, and using her nose and feline abilities, she followed the scent trail.

What she ended up staring down upon a strange sight. The familiar blonde Ravenclaw was such an odd contrast to the dark forest they were in. Not to mention how deep in the forest she was. That was enough to make Sky dropping down from the tree, reflexes making it easy to land softly and easily on all fours, and she peered through the bushes as her friend spread meat out over the ground.

Nyx growled softly, the flavor in the air making saliva pool in the panther's mouth, and she made to move from the bushes cautiously, not wanting to startle the girl, but the cat unable to resist the meat. But just as as prepared to make her appearance, her ears pricked, her tail going stiff, and the fur along her spine stood up as the sounds and scents of something else there assaulted her as well.

Unfortunately, whatever it was, she couldn't see, but her senses told her it was there. Thinking that maybe her friend might be in danger, the panther stalked out in a low crouch, growling warningly, though she wasn't sure at what she was growling at, it's purple eyes darting around but still finding nothing. It was frustrating to the panther, who hissed agitatedly, cautiously stalking up beside Luna in a protective stance.

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PostSubject: Re: Feeding the Thestrals [Sky]   Wed Mar 19, 2014 1:20 pm

Apparently she didn’t have to decide to abandon her friends after all, because the smell seemed to be creeping closer. The other girl was too close for Luna to have no idea where was at this point. She looked all around her, even up into the trees, and simply had no idea where she could be coming from.
 
The smell finally grew to its full strength, chasing even the smell of the thestrals away, and she heard rustling coming from the bushes nearby. Surely Sky was not really foolish enough to hide in the bushes if she was trying to get away from forest creatures or something; that would only make things worse. Actually, what was the Slytherin girl doing out here at all? That forest was an incredibly dangerous place if you didn’t know how to handle yourself among the animals.
 
When the brush spread apart, though, it wasn’t a girl, clumsily pushing through it, it was a graceful panther, moving to her side with a growl and standing as if to guard her. Well, that had certainly never happened before. Still, she was crouched like she was guarding her, but facing slightly the wrong direction. Could animals see thestrals? Luna rather thought they probably could, so what was going on here?
 
Then she stopped for a second, to really take in her surroundings. The smell of her friend was, well under her and in front, right where the panther was growing vaguely in the direction of the thestrals. Oh.
 
“Sky, is that you?” Of course, that was stupid, to try and carry on a conversation with a panther and expect it to answer back in perfect English, but it looked like the pretty cat might have made some kind of gesture with its head to say that it was. At least, she chose to take it that way. It’s not like it would hurt anything to talk to a real panther like it was her friend. She would just need a new plan, and a new reason for jungle animals to suddenly be in Scotland.
 
“The thestrals aren’t dangerous, they’re my friends,” she said with a small laugh. “Why would I bring them food if I thought they were going to hurt me?” She paused to consider. Maybe if her friend was the panther, and she couldn’t see the threstrals as a girl, she also couldn’t see them as a panther, and that was the problem. “Look, change back to being a girl, if that’s something you can do. I can show you that they’re nothing dangerous.”
 
And now she waited. If the panther changed into a girl, or did something else to show it was Sky but couldn’t change, she would continue on like things were. If it was a real panther, she probably needed to think of a new plan quick, before it ate one of her friends for dinner.
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Skyler Riddle
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PostSubject: Re: Feeding the Thestrals [Sky]   Thu Mar 20, 2014 11:56 am

Skyler blinked. And blinked again for good measure. The panther let out a snort. Ok. So maybe Luna made a lot of sense. The brunette couldn't imagine her Ravenclaw friend feeding something that would actively try to harm her. Her friend Olli certainly would, but the Gryffindor had no sense of self preservation whatsoever. The teen was sure Luna was a great deal smarter than to do something so idiotic. Of course, the blonde was standing there talking to a panther, so the Slytherin couldn't be too sure about that. But she certainly wasn't about to attack her friend, so she considered it a moot point.

The blonde told her to change back, and Sky hesitated. She didn't like that she couldn't see whatever the hell was hanging around them. It was unnerving, and the brunette was sure that she stood a better chance of being prepared for whatever was there as Nyx than as herself. Not to mention the many other things that dwelled in the forest. For the second time that day, the teen was thinking about all the things that had happened since her first trip into the forest. And every subsequent one afterwards. Each trip in seemed to bring her closer to danger, and the brunette wanted to be ready if it decided to strike again.

On the other hand, the Slytherin trusted Luna. Why, she couldn't really say. The girl was out in the forest, a forest full of dangerous creatures and such mind you, alone, and she had gotten herself pretty deep in too. And Sky was willing to bet this wasn't the first time, nor the last time. Her nose didn't pick up anything unnatural about the Ravenclaw either, so she was pretty sure Luna wasn't hidding some inner animal like herself. Which left her completely perplexed. But still. She trusted her friend, and mainly because the blonde was always so assure of what she said, so every word rang with truth.

At any rate, she wanted to shift back simply to get out of Nyx's headspace, because the feline was practically salivating now that she was so close to the raw and bloody meat Luna had laid out. Even though Sid had warned her that she would, indeed, need to actually hunt in this form, Skyler was pretty sure she wasn't prepared to do it just yet. The idea just kind of made her stomach flip a bit. So the brunette gave in to her friend's suggestion, her form shifting easily and fluidly in one of her most controlled changes, until where the panther had been, was the Slytherin girl.

Her defensive stance didn't relax though, and purple eyes were wary as they did another circuit of the surrounding area. Her teeth gritted together in frustration as she could still sense something, or several somethings, were there but she couldn't see them at all. It was beyond irritating. What could it possibly be? "Luna, what are you doing out here alone? And what the hell is here with us?" Her words were a bit more aggressive than what was standard for the teen, but she was on edge. How was she supposed to be prepared for something she couldn't freakin see?

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PostSubject: Re: Feeding the Thestrals [Sky]   Sat Mar 22, 2014 10:41 am

The transition from cat to girl was smooth and beautiful. It was obvious that Sky had done this before, probably many times, and that it was something that must be a major part of her life. The way that Sibes talked about animals made it seem obvious that the same would be true for her, and the situation was probably the same. Professor McGongall had stressed several times how rare animagus were and how difficult the transformation process was, especially when you were trying to figure it out. Luna wondered just how many unregistered anamagi there were running around the castle and grounds, and how the professor would react if she knew.

Still, Luna didn’t really have time to dwell on all of this, even if she really, really wanted to, because her friend looked just as ready for a fight as a girl as she had as a pretty panther, and if she tried to fight a thestral like this, they would defend themselves, and the blonde was certain that it would go badly for all involved. She put a hand lightly on the other girl’s shoulder, hoping to relax her enough that she would be able to properly explain before something bad happened.

“Friend Sky, have you ever heard of a thestral before?” she asked. Most people hadn’t, but if her friend had it would make all of this so much easier. If she hadn’t heard of them before, there was the risk that the Slytherin would decide this was just one more creature that Luna was making up, as so many people thought of her that way. Sky didn’t seem to be one of them, but still, if she decided it was nothing good and left or turned back into the panther, which could probably eat a peaceable thestral pretty easily, this would turn out to be a terrible day instead of a really good one.

Unfortunately, it was clear that her friend had, in fact, never heard of a thestral before. She would have to handle this even more carefully than last year when she and Harry were trying to show the Weasleys and Hermione the beautiful creatures so that they could ride off to save Harry’s friend who was a murderer and wasn’t a murderer and was dead now.

“Well,” she began, “thestrals are kind of close to horses, but with wings. They are incredibly loyal and can fly a long way without getting tired. I come out here sometimes to feed them instead of Hagrid, because his herd is domesticated, so they do better when someone gives them meat instead of them having to hunt for it. They’re really sweet creatures, you see, so I don’t think they really like to hunt.”

She paused, thinking about what else she needed to say. She didn’t like to talk about the things people didn’t like about thestrals, but they were probably why the panther and then her friend had reacted so violently to them, so she deserved an explanation, and it was better coming from Luna than from someone who didn’t like the thestrals, or from a book, since none of the writers seemed to like or really understand them. “You can only see a thestral if you have watched someone die. No one seems to know why, but because of it people say they’re really bad luck. I think it’s the other way around, though. I think they are good luck, and you can see them because if you have to watch someone die part of their soul touches you when they leave, like to comfort you, and it makes you better somehow.” She nodded to emphasize this last point. Saving the reputation of the thestrals was one of the most important things she hoped to do when she was a magizooligist someday.

She realized that there was something she could do to at least partially confirm some of this, now that her friend seemed to have calmed down a little. “Would you like to touch one and see?” she asked, gently taking her friend’s hand and guiding it until it was right next to the nearest creature. Luckily enough, she was one of the most docile in the herd, and probably the one who most enjoyed attention. If Sky liked her, the thestral mare would probably let her stroke her neck and mane all day long.
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PostSubject: Re: Feeding the Thestrals [Sky]   Mon Mar 24, 2014 2:20 pm

Skyler didn't relax much when her friend rested a hand on her shoulder in what the brunette was sure was supposed to be a calming move. In fact, the teen didn't relax at all. Not only were her human instincts screaming at her that something was wrong, but the animal ones as well were keeping her on edge and tense. She couldn't really help it when she knew for a fact something else was there with them that she couldn't see! The frustration of it had her growling slightly. Why couldn't she see what was there?!

The Slytherin had taken a moment to shake her head in the negative at Luna's question. No, she didn't know what a damn thestral was. And why would she be concerned with what it was called? Sky was much more concerned with whether or not it was hostile or had a mouth full of sharp teeth at the moment. Which clearly could have been the case as she watched with wide purple eyes as whatever things she couldn't see but could sense tore apart the meat Luna had spread out on the ground. Chunks of the bloody meat were just being torn off and disappearing, and the action made her skin crawl, the hairs on the back of her neck stand up.

This was doing nothing to calm her nerves, but she couldn't make herself look away. Atleast now she knew where, more or less, these apparently invisible creatures were. That atleast helped, and the teen found herself able to breathe a bit more easily now that she had found some kind of control in the situation. But she still didn't like the fact that she can't freaking see them for some reason. Especially since the Ravenclaw could. Obviously. Who she was listening to with one ear while keeping the other focused on the distinct sounds coming from not so far away. Well...whatever these thestrals were, they did sound a bit like horses. That was atleast a bit reassuring. But still. Why couldn't they eat oats and apples and such like a normal horse then? Chomping on bloodied meat. That was the least bit reassuring to her.

The brunette nodded along to her friend's words, letting the blonde know she was listening and paying attention. So so far, they were winged horses who could fly a good distance without getting very tired. Well that sounded a lot like a damn pegasus, and the last time Skyler had checked, invisibility wasn't a trait they possessed. She bit her tongue to keep from saying as much to Luna, who obviously cared a great deal about the creatures the Slytherin couldn't see, and she didn't want to anger or offend her friend. She couldn't contain the snort at the 'sweet' part though. Sweet?! They were choosing down on blood soaked raw meat! It could be a damn T-Rex and the Ravenclaw would call it sweet!

Skyler blinked at the part about only being able to see them if one had witnessed a death. What the..? The teen blinked again, finally turning her gaze to the blonde with confusion and something akin to horror in her violet eyes. There was no doubt though. The brunette didn't think she could ever really doubt the Ravenclaw. Luna was just so utterly honest and whatnot. And she had never given the Slytherin reason to ever assume she wouldn't tell the truth. And unless her friend was planning on feeding her to whatever these thestrals were, there was no reason to believe the blonde would lie to her about them. So Sky was inclined to believe Luna without a doubt.

What really bothered her was that the Ravenclaw could so obviously see these creatures that Skyler couldn't. Which meant that Luna had seen a death. Which was...well, it was sad. And the brunette didn't like the idea very much. At all. The blonde was so..sweet, and innocent. She had no business witnessing such things. Of course, this change in direction of conversation had distracted Sky enough to have her relaxing considerably, now curious more than anything. She rarely spent time with her friend and was now realizing just how bad an idea that was. Simply because she really enjoyed Luna's company, and always seemed to come away from their interactions knowing more about the blonde than she did before.

The Slytherin had just opened her mouth to question her friend when suddenly Luna was grabbing her hand and asking her if she wanted to touch one of the creatures. Though she didn't really give Sky much of a choice, seeing as she was directing her hand in a direction the brunette was sure she didn't really want it to go. The teen had an unsure look on her face. "Erm...it's not gonna like, bite my hand off or anything, right?" This seemed like a very logical question to Skyler, considering the creatures clearly liked raw meat. Which was pretty much what she was. To a carnivore anyways.

Next thing she knew she was feeling a sort of..well, the only way she could describe it was a sort of leathery-like skin, she supposed. That was definitely not horse-like. Horses had fur. Or hair. Whatever. And it was all so freaking weird considering she could feel, hear, and smell the damn creature but she couldn't see it. Although, she was sure she probably didn't want to. Sky preferred not to see people die. Which brought her back to her question. "You can see them." It wasn't a question though, but a knowing observation, one that hinted at the reason behind it. The Slytherin wouldn't push the subject though. She wasn't sure if she should or not, with Luna. And this seemed like a sort of private thing that only the Ravenclaw could decide to share or not, and not be forced into.

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PostSubject: Re: Feeding the Thestrals [Sky]   Tue Apr 01, 2014 9:54 pm

Luna grinned and shook her head no at the idea of a thestral biting her friend. “I guess a truly wild one might, but this herd is entirely domesticated. Hagrid trained them very well and they know that humans aren’t food.” They were also incredibly lazy about food and wouldn’t want to work for something that was still alive, but she didn’t want to say that in front of them. It might make them sad.
 
Luna paled a little at the tone that her friend addressed her in. It wasn’t the actual words she said, or the fact that it was a statement and not a question. The way Luna was talking and moving and everything else, it was clear that she could see the thestrals. The problem was definitely the tone. It sounded very much like Sky wanted to know how and why Luna could see the thestrals, and that was a very uncomfortable subject.
 
The blonde lowered her head a little and spoke in barely more than a whisper. “It was my mother. I shouldn’t have seen it. The forest isn’t the right place to talk about such things those. Ask me in the brightly lit castle with a cup of cocoa sometime and I’ll be better able to talk about it.” With that she fell silent, still looking at the ground and trying not to think about that terrible day.
 
When she finally looked up a few moments later, the first thing that she noticed was that all of the raw meat she had brought was gone now. She didn’t think Sky would push too hard about her mother, but this provided a good chance to escape, just in case. “Well, my chore here is done, friend Sky,” she said in a much more pleasant tone than the last thing she had said. “The thestrals have eaten and spent some time with me, and now I must go before something actually dangerous comes along. I will see you in the castle sometime.” With that she picked up the bucket and skipped away, back towards the castle, where other worries and adventures would surely await her.
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