Welcome to Charming
Welcome to Charming, the year is now 1894. It’s time to join us and immerse yourself in scandal and drama interlaced with magic both light and dark.

Where will you fall?

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Did You Know?
It’s quite unusual for a caster's patronus to be their favourite animal, but very possible that it will take the shape of a creature they’ve never before seen or heard of. — Amy
As he fell, Ford recalled the trials of Gulliver during his interactions with the Lilliputians.
Potato Wars

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With guns blazing
Ida was still far too rattled to even begin to broach the profound stupidity of his train of thought, and instead set her teeth further as she shook her head in silent fury. Clearly, he was just trying to mess with her. Get in her head. But why now, after all was said and done? When she was about to unleash him in potential barrier-breaking form just the way he so fervently desired? What was this ass’s endgame?

“Oh, well last time I checked, you don’t go walking around the streets of London in your bloody fucking underwear unless you were looking to be arrested,” she countered hotly, parroting back his words in a condescending ‘deep man voice’. The dogs both sat up like sphinxes, heads tilting with renewed interest in the pair. “You idiot! If my older brother were to walk in on us like this you would be dead, beyond dead, and you’d be in jail for the rest of your life, he’s a lawyer!” And that's not even considering her ancestors, who all honestly were probably watching her right this second--

Just then, the feeling of something poking her back (it wasn’t–?!) caused Ida to leap out of her skin, letting out a yelp. The sound of his voice near her ear, close enough she swore she could feel passing breath, finally unnerved her. She pivoted on her good foot from sheer impulse, bringing her face to face and dizzyingly close to the criminal who tackled her just this morning. Oh gods-- don't stare. The knuckles of her fists, balled up in terror againt her sternum, lightly grazed his chest. It could have been lightening by the way it shocked Ida enough that she took a staggering step back – onto her bad foot, which quaked under too much pressure and caused her to stumble and pitch backwards onto the floor in a muffled cry.

On the ground, rump aching, the young woman realized she was panting because she’d been holding her breath for so long. The shock caused Ida to finally snap to – Merlin– was she really losing it to this? Obviously that was just her wand “You asshole!” She finally relinquished, pounding her fists in frustration on the dirt. “You didn’t hurt my feelings, you’re just being offensive!”

[Image: IDA-SIG-STEFMIX.png]
stefanie made this beautiful set <3
Often confused, Cliff wasn’t sure he was following her thought process (as if his own made sense most of the time - people just nodded and smiled when he went off on tangents.) He was going to be dead but then in jail? Was her brother a ghost lawyer? Because he could definitely see constables killing people then forcing their ghost spirits to live in jail for the remainder of their lives. The Chang family was crazy! Demon horses, ghost lawyers, Cliff blinked at Ida and wondered what she was hiding.

Then he snorted. “Yeah, well, if I wanted to be arrested all I have to do is show my bloody fucking face right now. I punched a constable and broke his nose, remember?” He shot back as he threw his hands into the air in disbelief; he’d been quite honest with her in the beginning, and she thought he was what, afraid of dying? Spending the night in jail? Dying in jail? Jail was most certainly in Cliff’s future for something, and if what put him there was being almost naked in a stable with a pretty girl who was turning him into a dog, then so be it.

It would make for an awesome story and he’d be the talk of the jailhouse; in fact, Clifford would probably make friends right then and there as he spun (a rather embellished) adventure of the day. And if could be a ghost and haunt the damn constable who made his life difficult… well –

He was grinning as he poked her, which widened as she finally spun around to face him; Ida was close enough to touch him and Cliff just tilted his head when he felt her knuckles graze his skin, and then promptly watched her fall back onto her butt. He pursed his lips together to keep the laugh that threatened to escape him; however, as her hands pounded on the ground like a toddler, he couldn’t help the tiny snicker that burst out of his throat. Having  dealt with all his sister’s tantrums, this was very reminiscent of them. The very thought of that made him laugh even louder, causing Cliff to clamp his hands over his mouth. Ida was probably going to fly into a fit of rage if he actually had the audacity to laugh at her.

Wheezing, it took him another moment to choke down a chuckle to speak. “As if I haven’t been offensive this entire time.” Cliff cocked an eyebrow at her but didn’t say anything more on the matter.  A gentleman would have offered his hand but he was sure Ida wouldn’t want someone offensive touching her, especially if her brother could come in. Instead he tucked her wand behind his ear and spun around, figuring she could stand on her own even with a busted up foo and shuffled over toward the barrel where the parchment and quill still sat.

He heaved a sigh and sat down on the barrel before his fingers curled around the quill; he tapped once, twice, three times until a spot of ink stained the corner of the paper. Then, laggardly, he scribbled a words in the margin of the paper containing the measurements Ida had taken earlier before he plucked the parchment without waiting for the ink to dry. Then he approached her and held it out. “You said your brother is a lawyer?” Cliff nervously scuffed his toe into the ground; his feet had to be disgusting but he didn’t really care. “If something… happens and beastie splits me in half, well, would you ask your brother to make sure my kids get the money from the farm? It won’t be a whole lot, but hopefully it’ll cover Hogwarts for ‘em.” He held out the paper to her with his address scribbled on it; he was quite aware he wasn’t in any position to ask her favors, especially with her being so angry with him, but it was better to ask now than never, right?

Then he shuffled back and shot a lopsided grin at her; he was ready. (And seemed to have won the battle for not putting clothes back on, for now.)

[Please feel free to hit Cliff at your leisure; he probably deserves it.]
[Image: UcvylhE.png]
So this intruder criminal bastard was goading her after all. Ida’s face twinged pink from embarrassment as he snickered at her. It wasn't so much from being laughed at, but that she let him effect her this way. The brunette honestly couldn’t even look at him. Every time she did, all she could see were pectorals and abdomen and the horrifying notion that he probably played quidditch or spent a lot of time lifting and carrying heavy things. He said he was a tree farmer or something, didn’t he?

Ida groaned from the disgrace of it all, though she did it as she shifted in an attempt to grab onto her makeshift crutch, so it was effectively disguised as an utterance of pain from her foot. Yes, that hurt too, but not nearly as her pride.

“Wow. Acknowledging your offensiveness might be the only correct assessment you’ve made all day,” she spat bitterly, ignoring his jibe about the constable altogether. He had a point there too, obviously. He was in trouble no matter what he did – his connection to his kids being the only thing he had to lose. The young woman busied herself with the business of getting up from the ground, arranging the crutch under her arm on the bad foot side and wincing quietly at how much it throbbed. It’s possible she did even more damage trying to heal herself earlier, but it’s too late now to cry over spilled milk. Or cry over shirtless men.

Still glowering and looking a touch bewildered, Ida glanced up from her shoes as Cliff approached. Impulsively she resisted the urge to take a step back from him, like doing so would cede him a point in whatever stupid game they were playing. Brown eyes narrowed as she appraised him, taking stock of her wand balanced precariously on his ear, and focusing on his face which displayed a surprisingly earnest expression. She didn't trust it.

Though as it became clear what he was talking about, her expression softened to something slightly more impassive, lips tipped into a small frown.

Ida took the parchment from his hand once offered, and glanced at the atrocious handwriting in the margin. Still, she nodded in agreement. It wasn’t the kids’ fault their brother was an idiot anyway. “...Sure. They’ll be taken care of if anything happens to you.” Like if Long murders you when he sees you here with his little sister, or if you stupidly waltz right into the monster’s den, or maybe Beryl buries you alive, she tactfully omitted. Bizarrely, Ida did not get as much pleasure out of these mental visuals as she might have earlier. Was this some sick trick to lower her defense mechanisms? Her frown deepened.

Impatient to get a move on now that it was apparent Cliff refused to be clothed, Ida again bashfully averted her gaze off to watch Chestnut. He looked back at them as though tremendously bored. “Now give me my wand. Let’s get you the hell out of here.”

[Image: IDA-SIG-STEFMIX.png]
stefanie made this beautiful set <3
Tensions were high between them and Cliff wanted nothing more than to bare his teeth at her and tear her down, to make her feel tiny, but instead he pressed his tongue to the back of his teeth and ignored her. He wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea (anyone’s, really, because it was only a matter of time before Algernon dumped him to hang out with better people) and that suited him just fine - he’d be out of Ida’s hair before either of them realized it and then they’d never have to see each other again.

The anger seeped from his body and Clifford deflated as she took the paper and seemed to study it; giving Ida his address made him feel vulnerable in ways he hadn’t felt. He didn’t like visitors or people showing up out of the blue; they turned their nose up at his lifestyle as if he had any say of the cards life had dealt him. The farm was gross. Trees were gross. Dirt was gross. People tended to imply he should get a real job, as if he didn't spends hours on end working his ass off. Plus he’d threatened Ida. She said he didn’t owe her, but now she had his address to collect a favor he wouldn’t be able to refuse. Clifford hated it and he reached forward to snatch the parchment from her hands -

They’ll be taken care of if anything happens to you.

And then let his arm fall loosely to his side. Cliff would have hugged her if he wasn’t mostly naked. (Ida would probably slap him hard or scream or do something else he didn’t want to imagine.) Nodding his head at her, his expression softened; words couldn’t even begin to describe how thankful he felt, and not being one for words - he’d already spoken more to Ida than he had some people who’d been in his life for years - he didn’t say anything. His siblings would be confused but they'd have each other, and in the long run they probably wouldn't miss him too much, once they'd moved on. They deserved a world he couldn't give them, although if he lived he'd spend his whole life trying.

Not wanting to dwell on the thought he tugged the wand from behind his ear and offered it to her, only to snatch it back from her reach once she held her hand out fit. Then, with a laugh, Cliff offered it to Ida for real. “Let’s get me the hell out of here.” He parroted as he shuffled back from her, not sure if he needed room? Cliff had never even attempted animagus and well, he wasn’t sure he remembered anything about Transfiguration outside of the word itself. Was it going to hurt? Tickle? Or would he not even realize what was happening until he was already a dog? He held his breath.

[Please feel free to hit Cliff at your leisure; he probably deserves it.]
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The release of tension in Cliff’s shoulders was palpable, and it reminded Ida that she really ought to sneak a few extra buns into his bag before he departs. She didn’t imagine her little agreement would have had such an impact on this crazy man, but clearly, these kids were the single most important things to him in this world. It made Ida think briefly of her brother, and her heart in hand as he realized she was about to lose him to Hogwarts in a few short weeks. She could relate.

Of course, the second Ida feels that they are having a nice little moment of true heartfelt understanding, Cliff goes on to literally ruin everything!

She let out an exasperated sigh despite herself at his stupid little snatch-back. Once he offered it back again she glowered at him, daring with daggers in her eyes that he try that again. She held still for a beat longer than she would have, not wanting to try again so soon, and then reached up to snatch it quickly from his hands when she thought she could catch him offguard. Gripping her wand in hand now, she nodded at him with a small scowl. He was taking a step back away from her, too. Good. She was very close to changing her mind and just rendering him to a flobberworm.

“Okay, after I do this, you’ll need to wait here, for just a minute, while I figure out how to get a pack on you with all your stuff inside. Oh. And when you turn into a dog you might hear a second heartbeat for a while. That’s normal. That’s your human self inside your dog self. You should be able to think like how you normally do, but you won’t be able to do any magic..” She didn’t offer the words ‘think straight’ because she didn’t think that applied to him ever, regardless of his species.

“Um–” she tried to remember what else mattered, and glanced at her brother’s dogs, who were now standing with their tails wagging in interest. “Oh, and you can’t talk to real dogs. I mean you can, you can move your tail and bark and motion to them and stuff, but it’s not like anyone can hear your thoughts. You’re basically on your own until you’re back to a man. So once you’re through the barrier, go straight into Hogsmeade towards Wellingtonshire, the rich people’s area…” She recited the address to him, then promised she would write it on a paper for him to look at again later. “You will look for a lady about my age, but she’s a lot shorter. Her name is Beryl Wixeldorf,” she finished, somewhere over the course of her explanation (which hinted with the slightest shade of worry), Ida got over her embarrassment at looking at the almost-naked man and checked his expression to see if he followed.

Taking a deep breath, Ida straightened up, and brandished her wand in his general direction. “Okay. Ready. Any last words?” The question came out more menacing than she intended, but Cliff left her feeling conflicted, and she was grinning a bit despite herself. The tingle of scientific adventure had her giddy.

Before he could respond – nope, she didn’t care what his actual last words were, she moved her wand in a complicated sequence of sharp corners and commanded the Latin incantation, turning him finally into a great big white Xiasi Quan hound. As he transformed before her eyes, Ida let out a delighted giggle. Oh. My. God.

“Ahhh, you look exactly like Lao!” she declared with joy, clapping her hands. She looked happily from Cliff-dog to Lao-dog to inspect her handiwork, while both of her brother’s hounds barking like mad with their own excitement.

[Image: IDA-SIG-STEFMIX.png]
stefanie made this beautiful set <3
He didn’t mean to laugh at her, but Ida was a lot of fun to mess with; she seemed to hesitate to take the wand and he merely grinned at her as she snatched it back. Twisting his hands behind his back now that he had nothing else to do with them, Clifford nodded. “Wait here. Yes ma’am.” He smirked at her, although he didn’t have any intentions of meeting her family any time soon - he’d had a close enough call with the littlest one and he looked like he wouldn’t take too kindly to being tackled. Not that he needed a wand now that he had his back.

His eyebrow arched, however, at the idea of having two heartbeats - some people told him he didn’t even have a heart, which was ridiculous in itself. He wasn’t heartless or evil, he was just a dick to most people because they deserved it. Well, now Cliff’s rebuttal could be he’d have two hearts at once - “I can’t talk to real dogs. What kind of shit is that?” He quipped faster than he could swallow the words, although being a dog sounded exciting enough, but those words were forgotten a moment later at the mention of Wellingtonshire

Cliff growled.

“I hate Wellingtonshire.” He grumbled under his breath. He couldn’t back out now, but if he knew he was going to bloody Wellington-fucking-shire he might have. The upper class could choke on a bag of dirt for all he cared because the lot of them were useless to society. They did nothing but wave their money around and make it known that they didn’t make it but they deserved it because their great-great-great-great grandfather knocked up a princess and was paid to never bother her again. Or some other bullshit kind of story like that. They didn’t know the true meaning of a sickle like he did. Cliff nodded though as he thought of nothing except the address and Beryl Wixeldorf in his head to remember them.

Any last words - nope. He didn’t even get the chance as Ida spoke words Cliff had no chance of understanding, and his body morphed, quite quickly, in that of a dog. One moment he was blinking at her - taller than her - and the next he was on four paws looking up at her. It didn’t hurt, nor did it tickle, and in fact he felt mostly like himself; the dogs were howling and Clifford tossed his head back and howled with them in excitement because holy shit he was a dog without having to go through the whole animagus thing. And Algernon said it was hard.

Next to him, Chestnut stomped his feet, seemingly uncomfortable with the entire transformation now that he'd turned his attention from munching on the hay; Cliff approached him to growl at him, the hair on his back rising in alarm, although all the horse did was lazily paw at the ground, seemingly unbothered by him as a whole. Pacing in front of the horse for a moment longer, Cliff stared at it waiting for him to magically speak to him in his mind, decreeing him one of his minions.(Surely demon horses were exempt from the whole oh, and you can’t talk to real dogs. Chestnut just seemed to eye him before he turned away to bend down to eat more hay.

Well then. What a rather boring horse-related incident.

Without much thought Cliff stepped forward before he jumped up toward Ida, his tail wagging happily behind him, and licked a long strip across her face. It was a weird feeling; her face was warm and soft beneath his tongue, and she tasted almost sweet. Then he jumped up on her with two paws and let out a small whine. “Thank you” or something akin to it because he wasn’t one to ever thank anyone for anything. And then another, louder whine to remind her she needed to hurry up and get him a bag of his belongings so he could find this Beryl girl.

[Please feel free to hit Cliff at your leisure; he probably deserves it.]
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For being as dumb as he was (extremely), Ida could admit that he had interesting points. Not far from the naive observations made by children that inadvertently exposed complexities grown adults took for granted. Except this was less adorable, since he was allegedly a grown man. So Ida didn’t hand out any sort of needless praise to acknowledge his very valid comment about communicating with real dogs - I mean, isn’t that weird? Is that always the case? she agreed privately, and filed this nugget away for further research.

Now that he was a dog and less able to be obnoxious, Ida let out a soft laugh and crossed her arms, watching his ridiculous little moment with the other dogs. Honestly, Cliff as Dog looked happier than she’d seen him this entire time. Not that Ida cared if he was happy. Bloody stupid intruder who caused her to break her ankle.

“Oy, leave Chestnut alone,” she broke her smile with a sharp stomp of her good foot at his growling, but it didn’t seem like the animals were going after each other at least. She was still busy making her shrewd assessments of Cliff as he pranced around. She got his shade of white spot-on which is fairly lovely considering this was a tall, dark, brunette she was dealing with, his fur the right texture as well. There weren't many flaws she could find, if any, and if he didn’t act like such an idiot she might have easily mixed him up with the other two–

“Ack!” caught up in her thoughts, she didn’t even notice as he rounded on her and gave her face a heavy, wet lick. The young woman awkwardly grabbed his dog-shoulders as he jumped up on her to avoid toppling backwards from his weight. Well. This was sort of cute, she usually played and tumbled right along with the dogs when they jumped her as long as her dad or brother weren’t around to give her grief about how unlady-like that is. But Ida couldn’t even enjoy the moment for that long, because utter terror flooded in her heartspace as she realized this was a literal man licking her face. And worse. Does this count as a kiss?

“Okay, okay, fuck off,” she finally sputtered and pushed him off. “And – stay,” she ordered, signaling him like her real dogs, before beckoning those real dogs to follow her back to the house. It wouldn’t do for Long to casually show up and stroll past the stables to find three of his dogs. At least splitting them up would be a bit of a diversion.

Off Ida went, this time trying to make more haste. She found a plain old satchel buried somewhere deep within her wardrobe, one of the first ones she’d practiced enchanting to have impossibly deep pockets. There wasn’t much to tie this to him with, except some pretty red ribbon she had a massive roll of for presents. With a smirk she decided to go with it, deciding it made a pretty contrast to his white fur.

Ida paused just before she went back down the stairs, struck by a sudden thought that made her chew her lip. Cliff mentioned he had two little kids he needed to get back to. She can’t imagine they had all that much by way of worldly possessions, but debated over how to act on this knowledge. How insulting would it be to treat him like a charity case? But at the same time, she eyed a small pile of discard clothing she’d amassed during her recent cleanout. A few of Tao’s things didn’t fit him anymore, and a bundle of dresses from when she was a little kid herself, things that took up far too much space in their crawlspace. She’d been trying to sort out what to do with it, and… well. Honestly, she’d probably never see him again if he got annoyed by this, right? Before she could change her mind, Ida pulled out three things for the boy, and three things for the girl, the nicer things she could find. There. He could do whatever with it, the rest she’ll send off to the orphanage as planned. Once downstairs, she packed up the two remaining bao buns as promised too.

Not long after, Ida made her hobble-walk back outside towards the stable where she’d left Cliff and Chestnut (hopefully, with no regrets). “You remember the address I gave you, yes? Um, bark once for yes, twice for no,” she furrowed her brow at him for a minute before turning to his clothing and shoes, which she stuffed carefully into that same (now looking rather comically small) satchel. It was a weird side-effect of her charm when she’d first tried it all out; the more you put in it, the smaller the bag became. By the time she shoved his wand into the bag, what was once proper bookbag-sized was no bigger than her fist.

Tiredly, she sat herself down on a crate and waved him closer. “Don’t… tackle me again. Just come sit here. I need to tie this on you.” She waved the bag at his face, hoping to distract him from the glamorous lady-ribbon he was about to wear with it.

[Image: IDA-SIG-STEFMIX.png]
stefanie made this beautiful set <3
Ida, for some odd reason, didn’t seem to want to accept his voiceless thank you for helping me, which was quite rude of her. Cliff fell back into all fours and whined again, this time high pitch as he tried to contemplate why she would push him away - was she going to leave him like this? He loathed the idea that he had trusted her only for it to be betrayed. Being a dog wasn’t awful, but it certainly wasn’t something he wanted to do forever. His siblings would have a field day without him around; of the three, he was the most mature (a lie: Heathcliff was, but he was still a teenager, therefore prone to childish antics), and the only one who was capable of working. Keeping them fed, clothed and happy was hard work and there wasn’t a single person in their life who would do it if he was to disappear. Heath would be forced to drop out of Hogwarts, and the only thing Clifford wanted in life for him was to have a better one than he did. Meena too - they deserved it. Grandma couldn’t have overnight guests in the room she rented, and well… his aunt had married up and abandoned the family as a whole. Imane might try but he couldn’t expect that from her.

So instead he fell into his butt as he watched Ida walk off with his two new friends (plural!), and he whined again from being left behind. He wouldn’t have done anything inside the house. Chestnut was munching on something behind him and Cliff took the opportunity to sniff around. He stuck his nose to the ground and breathed in to test out his new dog senses, although he sneezed quite loudly as he snorted some dirt from the ground. He sneezed a second time and it shook his entire body. The horse behind him seemed to laugh (of course the horse would also be able to converse with humans - he supposed that was the difference between being transfigured from human to animal and just being born as a coven-leader-demon-horse), and Cliff spun around to bare his teeth at him.

Then he growled.

The horse just snorted at him, mocking him, and Clifford let out a single bark before realizing Ida had warned him not to draw attention to himself. Instead he let out a low warning growl again before he made his way toward the side of the barn he hadn’t nosed around yet. There was a pile of hay that was calling his name, and he couldn’t help but paw at it before he rolled in it; in fact, he was on his back with all four paws in the air, red tongue hanging out from the side of his mouth when he finally heard Ida approaching from the house. He rolled back over as he heard her voice, hay stuck against the white fur, his tail wagging happily behind him. He barked once - yes, he did remember the awful Wellingtonshire address she was sending him too.

Cliff let out another tiny bark as he padded over to her, sitting in front of her as she waved a bag in front of his face. The ribbon was god awful and ugly, but Meena would love it. She’d call it dainty and girly. Once it was done he licked her hand for good measure before nuzzling his face against her leg. She was warm. Then he nudged her hand with his head and glanced up at her with large brown eyes. He wasn’t sure what he wanted from her; maybe he just wanted attention in ways he couldn’t ever get standing on two feet but could on four. Maybe this was his way of saying goodbye to her - he wouldn’t ever see her again, right?

[Please feel free to hit Cliff at your leisure; he probably deserves it.]
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Fortunately, no tackle came. Though she didn’t know what to make of his whine, or the almost tender way he nuzzled up against her while he sat and waited patiently. This version of Cliff was much milder mannered, and Ida immediately surmised that if he ever took it upon himself to become an Animagus, he would almost certainly be some type of dog. It seemed to give him a sense of tranquility she didn’t notice once when he was a man. Although, his demeanor was almost sweet enough that if she hadn’t seen her brother’s dogs lounging in the sitting room with her own two eyes, she’d be a bit confused. Was this really the intruder who she was in a shouting match with only an hour ago?

“How in blazes did you get so dirty already,”
she scoffed, but the subtle smile on her face showed that she wasn’t seriously angry about it. Instead she set aside the bag a moment, and leaned forward to pick out the hay stuck in his fur. She got the worst of it out, but wouldn’t fuss about the hay stuck on his belly. Instead she smoothed the fur around his neck, and gave him a little scratch behind the ears for good measure.

“How do you like being a dog? Er, I guess–”
yes or no questions would be all that worked, obviously. “Do you hear the two heartbeats? That's an Animagus thing, I don’t know if it works the same when you’ve been transfigured. It’s very disconcerting at first, especially since the animal heart usually beats much faster. I thought I was about to die. But it was all very normal for the animal I turned into.” As she spoke absently, her fingers worked to tuck a few rounds of ribbon around his neck, and she slung the little satchel on it.

“Do you feel like your thinking is any different?” She asked curiously, and waited patiently for his barked response. By way of explanation, “I heard once about a man who lived as a wolf for thirty years. Once turned back to a human he only ate raw meat. A few hours wouldn’t change you much, but it’ll be interesting to note if your mentality shifts at all. Or even your sense of smell, sight, or taste. Either way, Beryl should change you back sooner than later. So you can get back to the kids. I put an extra bao bun in there, for you to share.” She put in two, but he’d find that out later.

Finally managing to get the satchel secure on his neck with the biggest and silliest of bows, Ida leaned back with a satisfied grin. He looked ridiculous, but he’d be a very obvious “present” for Beryl to spot. Without thinking much of it, Ida gave him a congratulatory pat on the head.

“You’re all settled now. Erm. So I suppose this is goodbye.”
The twinge of sadness was very much not anticipated, and Ida didn’t know what to do with the new input of information. So she filed it away somewhere deep in the back of her head. “It’s been… interesting.” Not really good, considering her broken throbbing foot and how filthy she felt from all her rolling around in the dirt and eventually seeing an almost-naked man. Though informative and maybe a little fun all the same.

[Image: IDA-SIG-STEFMIX.png]
stefanie made this beautiful set <3
Cliff had completely stilled as Ida’s fingers worked through his fur to pull out the hay he’d been rolling around in. It was hard to explain why he’d done it (not that he had explanations for most, if any of his actions), but perhaps he just wanted to bask in being a dog instead of a person bogged down with responsibility. If he could have grinned at her and shrugged he would have, but instead he panted happily, especially as the scratch came behind the ears. That was the spot and he could see why dogs liked it so much.

But then she was speaking to him and Cliff sat down in front of her as he watched her for a moment, his head tilting to the side as she first tried to ask him questions as if could answer. That must come from conversing with that damn demon horse all horse,  but at least she seemed to realize it. His eyes drifted closed as he tried to answer her question, and then he let out two loud yaps because no, it was just his heartbeat thrumming inside his ears, beating quicker the more he realized he was going to have to make his way through a forest and hope the girl Ida was trusting wasn’t going to keep him like that. What if she was a part of the demon coven…? Clifford hadn’t even thought about that. But, it was too late for those thoughts and he was sure he could maul either of them before they could kill him. He shook his head as the satchel was tied to him, the extra weight an odd feeling around his neck.

He wished he could explain to Ida how different he felt - Cliff wanted to roll around in the hay more, and he wanted to howl with his brethren again but she didn’t return with them. He didn’t feel the desire to eat raw meat (not that he could even afford that habit so he’d either break it or die off pretty quickly), and while he liked being a dog more than he thought he would, Clifford wouldn’t mind being on two legs sooner than later. Speaking was one of the things he missed the most, mostly because he had very important opinions on everything that people had to hear. He barked once, to answer her question, before he nuzzled his head back against her hand once more; she didn’t have to give him more, but Meena and Heath were going to go wild for that bun. 

Then he stepped back and sat once more, his tail wagging behind him. His head turned sharply to look at it and he growled softly before realizing that fluff was attached to him. Oh. Well, maybe he’d try to chase it later to show it who was boss. The pat on the head drew his attention back toward Ida and he scratched at the large bow around his neck before he stood up and leaned the bulk of his weight against her, although he tried to keep away from her bad leg. There, Cliff whined softly at her although he wasn’t sure why - they’d both lived up to their promises, him being her experiment and her trying to get him home. Maybe he was hoping that he'd walk away with a friend who was just Algae. (Although now that he thought about it, he'd consider Imane a friend, too.)

Cliff jumped up to lick her face once more before falling back to all fours because it had been interesting; never did he expect his day to end up like this but it wasn’t all bad. His tail wagged as he stepped out of the barn and trotted back toward the forest where he’d originally come from. Being a dog had its perks because he was going to reach it much faster than he ever would on two legs and he felt his senses come alive, suddenly more aware of the world than he’d ever been previously. His head tilted toward the air and he sniffed, although found nothing concerning.

With one last look toward the barn - toward Ida, most importantly - Cliff took off into a run, lifting his head and howling at the sun because he could. He was going to find this Beryl girl so he could be him again.

Hopefully he just didn’t die along the way.

[Please feel free to hit Cliff at your leisure; he probably deserves it.]
[Image: UcvylhE.png]

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