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BittyBobcat

Llama hand
All Farmers Are Bastards (AFAB)
They were no stranger to aches and pains—the dull sting of plucked feathers, the stiff burn that would sit on your wings if you didn't stretch them enough, the slipping of a needle through their neck and the following drop into those same-as-the-last-and-the-one-before memories. Even the tight-chested maybe, maybe was as familiar as the chipped stone which made up their small world.

But this. This was different. New.

This was a crackling, sparking flame that leapt as high as the torches in the hall when they were replaced and relit. This was a long-burning suffering that bit and stung at their throat until they were afraid they would scream their secrets to the farmers before the time came for them to be told. It was every odd, unbelievable story they had ever heard whispered on the lips of phoenixes who knew they would never see the the beautiful places they spoke so longingly about again.

Outside, there were supposed to be things like books, and flying, and sunsets, and so many lovely distractions to choose from that could take their mind from this, but here? Here they had stone and only stone.

There were marks on those stone walls. They put most of them there themself, save for the scratches that had already been tucked away in the corner when they'd been moved to this cell. It felt wrong to run their marks too close to those ones, like interrupting one of the old phoenixes stories. Instead, they kept their records higher-up and off to the side, grouped into 'weeks'.

They weren't weeks. Not really. Weeks were made up of seven days. These weren't days. Every scratch they'd made in the stone was one moment—the only moment that mattered here—one pluck, one cut, one life. They were a blazing reminder of all they never had the chance to lose, and yet it felt so nice to put them into 'weeks'. It felt important. Warm. It felt like a maybe, and as much as they wanted to hate maybes—those lying, aching maybes—they couldn't find it in themself to sort the marks in any other way.

And maybe, just maybe, this was the 'day' that their patience would finally amount to something because, 'today', they could fight.

In their previous 'day', the farmers had come in with their shears and gloves and white-hooded clothes too thick to burn through as always, but this time there was a change. Somehow, in the struggle that always came along with harvests, a small piece of cloth had been clipped apart from its parent-clothes and fell to the ground, where they found it with neat, blood-soaked edges when they woke up.

And then they learned that it wasn't too thick to burn. It took time, and effort, and patience, but with their blue-flames they were able to feel the heat prickling on the other side in only a few seconds of close-up fire; pain came in a couple more. Sure, they would burn in the struggle as well. but it was such a small price for a maybe.

So when finally—finally—that horribly familiar thump, thump, thump of slow bootsteps down the hall came, they felt that leaping energy in their chest spring to life in their chest again. With practiced quickness, they beat it down and slumped back against the wall with a dead look in their eye that matched the mute terror of most long-staying phoenixes on the farm.

And they waited.
 
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BittyBobcat

Llama hand
Sparkly Idiots
Two months. Two Gods-damned months, and all he had to show for it was one measly barrel of fuel that would hold out only until they got to the next kingdom (and that's if they were lucky).

Gray had tried to find it cheap—worst came to worst, he could've refined it himself—but apparently there wasn't a single fuel-seller in this kingdom that didn't gouge prices so high that you'd think they were selling liquid gold. If things kept on like this, then he might need to start factoring fuel prices into their travel routes even more-so than before. Maybe they could stop at that little grounded town next season and see if they made any of it...

No. Not now. He could plan all he wanted later; now wasn't the time to get distracted. Now was the time to sell some potions so he could buy some fuel and get off of this ridiculously overcrowded kingdom before one of them inevitably got discovered.

Which meant he had to deal with the current 'challenge' at hand. That challenge being the old, draconic lady that stood in front of his makeshift booth.

She smiled—blissfully ignorant to his mounting regrets—as she pointed a wrinkled finger at the small array of potions on display and said something else in a language he didn't understand, all the while flicking through a series of hand-signals at breakneck speed for the fourth time in a row.

...Skies above, why hadn't he paid more attention in his Trade sign lessons when he had the chance?

"Right," He mumbled halfway into his hand, which dropped slowly away from his mouth where it had been resting (mostly as a reminder not to fidget, lest he accidentally say something he didn't mean) and hesitantly held two fingers against his other palm. "Can you... do that.... slower?" Each word was long and drawn out as he spoke it, hoping that—though she didn't understand his words—she might pick up on the idea based on his tone. At the same time, the two fingers walked forward and along his arm in a motion that he foggily remembered meaning 'slow down'.

A second of silence passed. The woman's eyes narrowed. Her scaled wings flicked in unison with her lashing tail. For a moment, Gray thought he had actually gotten it right.

And then she slapped him in the face, screeched what he could only assume were profanities, before storming off with all the rage of... well, a dragon.

So, expectably, Gray wasn't in the best of moods as the day went on. He made a handful sales, ignoring the occasional snicker as passersby caught notice of the shallow claw-marks she had left on his face, and thankfully avoided any more translation mishaps. Evening fell over Diamond Plaza with the same slight dip in noise that it had every day of the two months he'd spent here as the bright flags and banners scattered across it began to paint themselves with the muted colors of dark. Lanterns flicked on to bring light to the nighttime crowd, which was beginning to grow as more the more nocturnally-inclined peoples of Amethyst trickled onto the streets and bridges of the kingdom.

Gray glanced at the pitiful handful of coin he'd made that day. Maybe he should stay out longer. After all, the day couldn't get much worse, could it?
 

Tapfic

Sleeping
Sparkly Idiots

They weren't running low on much, thankfully. They could use some more fruits for the store room; but it was miles from dire.
Lan was pretty sure the main concern at the moment was fule for the ship, but that was Gray's buissness. Unless Lan made it his buisness, which could very well still happen.

But as it happened; despite the lack of any urgent need to restock- Lan really fucking liked being off of that stuffy boat and able to just walk around. Doing things.
It also happened that those things included fufilling a need to indulge in two of his few guilty pleasures. Milk, and getting into fistfights. Both of which could be easily acomplished in a single area.

" Say that again, brat," a broad man with rust-brown wings ground the words through sharp teeth. Lan took another sip of the glass of milk he had been nursing.

" If the size of your brain was proportinate to the amout of unadultured dumbass that's been coming out of your mouth y'might have listened the first time- but fuckin sure," One small gloved hand gestured to the man while the other set his glass back on the table.

" You smell like something crawled up from the abyss and used the very last of its dying energy to piss on you - so think about spending a little less on alchohol and a little more on a fuckin' bath or sit further away from me,"

Well. It wasn't that bad, but Lan had had enough of this prick non-stop flirting with the bar maid like a thirsty dog with an overfed ego while he was within earshot, and his mood wasn't exactly generous on the best of days.

The broad and apparently foul smelling man made a face, glanced between the small man(boy?.....girl???) and the pretty woman he had been in the midst of woo-ing. Within the moment of contemplation, he apparently came to the conclusion that the best possible way to save face was to stand- pushing his seat out from under him- and yank Lan up by the collar of his jacket.

" Why don't you take a second to understand the situation you're currently in, little wingless rat,"

Now that the man was up close, Lan took it back. He did smell exactly like some abyssal creature just could not hold it in any longer. It was excruciating.

" That's redundant, dickass. Rats don't have wings in the first place,"

The fight didn't last long. A punch to the face, a duck under an elbow, a swift kick to the stomach and it was over- other patrons pulling the two apart.

" Roran! You can't fight a kid! What's wrong with you?!"
The bar maid scolded- pulling a handkerchief from her pocket and wiping the blood off of Lan's lip as two men held his shoulders-keeping him from lunging.

Said "kid" felt his face heat at the comment, more so in rage than embarassment (he would insist.)

" I'm twenty two damnit, "

The whole event wasn't unusual for him; If he had to make a guess something simmilar would happen every few months or so. When he got bored and antsy and in a foul mood. It really was a wonder he hadn't been arrested- or found, yet.
He must have been an especially lucky person.
Ha.
The thought would have made him smile, if he was the type to do so.
He was in fact, not.

It was getting dark as Lan walked; now banned from the bar- but he didnt care much. He still had to pick up some sort of citrine from the market and think of an excuse to give Gray for his busted lip.

Lan decided he had tripped. Yeah. That would work.
 

FlameAriiDrayceon

Just cause I read worse don't mean it ain't cursed
Sparkly idiots
Arii


The worst part about being kidnapped, Ariiasqthylinh decided, was listening to them talk. On and on it went about quotas and irritated slave-owners... or something along those lines; Arii wasn't paying attention. That's a lie—they were paying attention. They just... were also very focused on getting the tip of their claw into the metal handcuff lock. Either way, they knew Mr. Probably-never-read-a-good-piece-of-literature-in-his-life was too lazy to check their cuffs, again. They also knew that Mr. Pretty-boy-but-ruined-because-he-sounded-like-his-accent-was-gargled-in-swamp-water-and-spat-out-into-a-cocktail-shaker was a little more cautious but was also going to go do something that's probably not good for the overall health of everyone involved, if the smell on his hands was anything to go by.

They should probably leave. That might be a good idea. But then again, information was always a juicy little thing to have on-hand.

At a sharp pain near their leg, Arii concluded that maybe the second worst thing was the fact that there was a splinter in the deep brown wood of the ship digging into their ass.

That might have swayed their choice a little.

In any case, they got what they wanted out of the situation, and now, they just had to leave. Which was about to prove quite easy, as Mr. Illiterate was off to go piss on a board or something. That left Arii within easy reach of not only a suitable tension wrench (their claws), but a rake (a piece of particularly splintered wood). TA little bit of wiggling, remembering how to lean back enough to reach something on the ground with cuffed hands, and just the tiniest amount of uncomfortable stretching later, they had their thumb-talon in the slot and were listening with a satisfied smirk as the pins fell, ears flat backward to hear better.

How's that for legal reasons to learn to pick locks, T'Ta? Mv'Is would be proud, though it wasn't near their skill in the slightest.

The cuffs clicked open, saved only from hitting the floor by Arii's tail. These might be useful later, they decided, eyeing the restraints along their wings with a dissatisfied hum. The cuffs wrapped around their thumbs and looped around the small collar sitting at the base of their collar, linking to the binds around their legs. That one was easy enough; they just had to get the collar off to deal with the rest of the chains, later.

Smug satisfaction laced their movements as they reached up to their neck and slotted a claw through the seam between the two sides of the metal collar, feeling out the—quite simple—mechanism in it (angled locking mechanisms were never a good idea). No doubt the hunters would have given them a stronger one once they reached wherever they were going, but they probably didn't carry those things around.

Click.

Arii probably should have thought about the noise the shackles would make once released from the tension of being wrapped around their neck. But as the chains clattered and crashed into each other, and they pried the chain-links off of the sides of the collar. The remaining length of metal was heavy, but considering the muffled cursing and zipper-running, it sounded like they'd been heard.

Well... they might not fall into the cloudy abyss with these chains on.


Sparkly idiots
Platinum


Sometimes, Vihaan wondered what it was like to be tall. Mostly, it seemed that tall-people had the advantage of looking over crowds, reaching tall things, and being noticed. Three things Platinum would love to have, at this moment.

His hiss of pain seemed to have startled the woman who'd stepped on his hair into backing off, but he could see her (kind-of) eyeing his face with hesitation, opening and closing her mouth mutely. He wondered what she thought. His brows furrowed, knowing his expression wasn't going to come out right, but trying, anyway, despite the cold stone beneath his feet, the too-bright light that always came right before sunset, and the burning of his scalp from when his hair was pinned against the ground.

His close-lipped smile tugged at his scars.

"Ma'am, please do watch where you put your feet. I do pour quite a lot of effort into this hair, and would prefer it remain healthy. Two feet minimum is the appropriate distance from others." He tried not to sound mean about it. From what he could see of her face without his glasses on, it didn't go well. He restrained a grimace. Bartering and complimenting was one thing. Trying to explain the concept of someone below eye-level existing in peoples' spaces was another... especially when they can't read his eyes instead of his lips.

His whole wing twitched, and without another word, he ducked into the crowd, ears pinning back in minor annoyance. Just where was T'Ta? It wasn't like him to run off... though he was looking for someone... Platinum hoped it wasn't Mv'Is.

With a heavy sigh, he wove through the thick of people to find a bar. Maybe he'd get a small drink while fishing for information. Maybe he'd—or, maybe he'd hear someone scolding a grown-ass man for fighting a kid a few buildings over. His over-sensitive ears twitched curiously and, against the little bit of his brain that assured him nothing good was to come of this, he followed his ears.

AFAB
Jet


It was rare Jet came across an island he didn't recognize. Rarer still that those islands had life on them. Usually, the islands he didn't remember existing were small, crumbling rocks—but this one looked an awful lot like a mine. Well, it would have if the armed guards in strange armor weren't posted in such abundance that he gave up on counting them.

They were all facing in towards the "mine", seemingly oblivious as Jet landed on a small rock that should barely be counted as a satellite, but supported his weight nonetheless. Whoever they were obviously didn't want crystals; they wouldn't have let a rock with such strong power in it go if they were.

The medic wondered if this was the so-called "Phoenix-farm" he'd heard so much about back home. The farms hadn't seemed to be a new thing, but it was the first Jet'd heard of them, and he decided easily that the glorified prison didn't look comfortable in the slightest. If they'd been in there, then they're long gone by now. As crafty and escape-ey as they were, there was no way they were still there.

But he did wonder who else was there. It looked less sanitary than it did comfortable, and that couldn't be a fun eternity.

He stretched and fluttered his wings in what could loosely be described as "light irritation". Jet didn't really like getting mad. Nothing good came of getting angry, for him. Just a lot of shouting, bared fangs, and crying.

So he decided to not be angry, letting the emotion out on a breath. "False conditions established with neglect brandished. An inadequate culmination for emissaries of restoration."

It wasn't like he could just storm the place, much less sneak in. Thirteen fathoms of lightless feathers wasn't the most subtle of things.
 

explosiveKitten

Fanfic Kitty
All Farmers Are Bastards
Tabitha

“Rupert, it’s that island again.”
A young corvid crouched at the very tippy top of her floating rock refuge, with a rather large and fat winged rat sitting next to her, cleaning its face.
“I’ve seen it so many times and it always gives off such an ominous vibe. Doesn’t it?”
She turned her head to look at the rat, apparently named Rupert, whom was just sitting there.
“Look! There’s a bunch of smaller rocks in orbit that will give me a chance to actually get there this time around!” The young woman picked up the rat and clutched it in both hand, her black feathers ruffling and blustering in the wind that whipped by.
“Rupert I think I can finally get over there and pillage it!”
The rat blinked.
“…. Okay maybe pillage was a little strong.”
Stare.
“… yeah you’re right, pillage was definitely the right word.”

The young woman crouched down, watching a couple other rocks that were floating by, pulling her goggles on and grinning.
“Rupert. This is it. Adventure! The stuff of SONG, AND STORY! Also I’m hungry and it’s been a while since I saw any civilization and maybe they have food over there? How’s your wife doing does she need anything?”
More staring from the rat.
“… yeah okay, you can come with me. LETS GO OLD MAN!”
The rat squealed as the young woman grabbed him, clutched him close to her chest, and opened her wings to take off.

————————————————

It took a lot longer than she thought, but soon enough, she found herself stumbling onto the floating island of Saltpeak, where she promptly collapsed on her stomach, limbs and wings splayed out starfish-style, and just laid panting like a dog.
“Hh, hHHHhuff… hUFfff, puFf, AGGhh, PAAAAAHH!” She wheezed incoherently. “This…. was… a mistake!”
After a moment, she flipped over onto her back to breathe heavily there.
Looking up at the clear blue sky, the young woman took a moment to gather herself before she finally got up and began to wander around, heading up and down the mountainside pretty casually, her ever-present rat companion perched on one shoulder. The odd-eyed young crow soon found herself crouching at the entrance of what looked like a mine, peaking around a corner with one eye at the group of heavily armed guards.

“Hmmm.” She muttered, concealing herself behind the corner again as she sat and considered her options.
“So there are people here. It’s funny, I’ve never seen people fly back and forth from this place… is it all self-contained? I thought this was a salt mine?”

She turned her head to look at Rupert the rat when she noticed something odd. A bush, blowing on the wind. Of course, wind isn’t unusual- They lived on floating rocks in the sky, of course there was wind. But this one was blowing predominantly in a different direction, like there were two sources of air flow disturbing the bush.

Upon closer inspection, she found it! A ventilation shaft, where the dirty used air of whomever was living down there in the mine was being filtered out. And with a little effort, and some finagling, Tammy was shuffling her way through, a big grin on her face and a winged rat at her side. What could possibly go wrong!
 
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BittyBobcat

Llama hand
All Farmers Are Bastards (AFAB)
As always, the farmers fell into the predictable step of their every harvesting. Sure, they changed the procedure from phoenix to phoenix, but none were big enough to take note of. Especially not now.

P1-7 knew exactly what would follow.

Two figures, nearly identical save for their height, stepped mechanically toward the bars of their cage. Not a word was spoken, but their thick, off-white clothing announced their every movement with a deep rustle as the taller of the two reached for the keyring on their belt with a bulkily gloved hand. They wrestled with it for a moment, keys clicking as they impatiently shoved it into the lock and jerked it sideways in the stubbornly rusty lock, but eventually the door swung open with a creak that echoed down the tunnels all the same.

The farmers stepped inside, one after the other with the air of cold indifference that always seemed to hang low around them... not that they could see much else through expressionless, black visor of the hood that their true faces cowered behind. P1-7 couldn't deny that they had dreamed of ripping it off before. They didn't know if it would be worse to find a human or a beast behind it; at some point, they realized that—for some—there wasn't enough of a difference to draw a line between the two.

This was to 7's advantage. A beast was something they wouldn't handle quite as well as the husks they'd grown accustomed to.

They pushed themself back against the wall, wings tucking uselessly behind them as they fixed the two with a squinted glare with their lips curled to show teeth that were never sharp enough to cut through the fireproof fabric the farmers wreathed themselves in.

This, too, was within procedure, and Short took the opportunity to grab them by the shoulder and pin them to the wall with practiced ease. Tall groped behind 7's back and snatched the top edge of their wing before spreading it outward with a tug that they could already feel a bruise forming beneath. Their feathers cast a small, orange glow into the dim room, gleaming against their visors with a familiar trembling that they never could quite get rid of.

Still, P1-7 grinned.

It was time to break the schedule.

With uncharacteristic speed, the snatched Short's hand and began to flail and screech like a newly taken phoenix thinking they could avoid their first pluck. The farmers had grown complacent in the phoenix's dull hopelessness. Tall flinched, losing their grip on 7's wing as it flapped. A few feathers came with it, but they were only coverts.

Small hadn't yet tugged their hand free—hadn't yet felt the heat building on the outside of their glove—when they began to reach for the back of 7's neck to flip the kill-switch. Or, at least, that's what they were planning to do. In reality, they froze in place with a shaking yelp as they finally took notice of the wisps of smoke swirling hungrily around their hand. Tall wordlessly reached for Small's glove, their own hand shaking as they did, and drew back the instant they touched. Their fingers left tiny dents on the glove's surface.

It was melting.

7 couldn't hold back a barking laugh at that. The sound echoed around them, accompanied only by the crackling flame of the torch outside in the hall. Outside where they soon would be.

Small fell easily. They barely had to push them aside; all it took was the release of their hand and they were sidling with their back against the wall, cowering with their wings—or whatever other grotesque limbs that they hid behind the blank cape they draped over their back—tucked firmly behind them. Tall tried to reach for them, but their bulky suit gave 7 too much warning. Before they had the chance to step in the way, the phoenix had already shoved them aside with their own raw, red-burnt hand and—using one of the bars as a pivot to turn—swung around to snatch the key ring from the door and slam it shut.
 

Tapfic

Sleeping
All Farmers Are Bastards

" Ah, damn," he breathed, though it came through the cloth that had been wrapped over his mouth as " Hh, dmnm "

It was quite the tight spot he was in- rope bound his wrists and ankles, none too gently he would add if there was anyone there to listen. There was not.
There were also a few dirty jokes to be had in here, something something ropes and gags- but again. No one around to listen.

With a muted grunt and half a wiggle, he lanky man managed to move until his back was against the smooth wooden wall of the ship. A bit more wiggling and he had supported his back against it, able skootch himself to standing.
Only to immediately loose balance and fall flat on his chest. His chin made a sharp thud against the floor and he winced.
Yeah- quite the tight spot he had gotten himself into indeed. Certainly not anything he hadn't dealt with before; he assured himself (he was a master conman after all) but still the slightest bit claustrophobic.

The whole thing really wasn't his fault (this time) either! Sure, he was going to steal the ship once they docked- but he didn't even get the chance to do anything illegal before the captain decided to fuckin hogtie him like a psycho-Sky bug-wrangler for taking a peek into the ship crates.
Well ,at least psycho was a fitting descriptor, considering what he found inside the nondescript wooden boxes.

Hundreds of glowing feathers, shimmering scales, butchered insectoid membranes- all bits and pieces of magical wings. Each and every one pried, plucked, and chopped from the back of another human.

The fact that he had managed to land himself on a Phoenix Farm ship wasn't hard to put together after that discovery. Explained why the captain was so fuckin secretive about the cargo, too. Though why he couldn't just hire people he trusted to not take his shit; Lucy did not know.

The ship was docking. Lucius felt the sudden jerk where he lay on the floor- and then stillness. The sound of heavy footsteps leaving the ship. Nine pairs. That was all of them- one would stay and watch the deck, but no more. All eight of the other men would be moving the crates. Two to a box. There was only enough room for twelve more crates in the cargo hold, assuming they were the same size and weight as the others. Three trips back and forth.

Lucy hadn't been here for long, but he knew enough. Knew that the whole thing would take about an hour, maximum. What he didn't know was where they would stop after they finished Packing up. O
Another farm? Docking for supplies? Dropping off the cargo? Dropping him off with the authorities? Collecting his bounty?
Did it matter? No, Lucy wouldn't actually be hanging around this lot long enough to reach their next stop; but he did hope they liked walking- or well. Flying.

The captain had, unfortunately- separated Lucy from his jacket held stash of knick-knacks. The jacket which contained knick-knacks capable of cutting rope, and also the jacket that kept him warm. Because Lucius Amadae Zander was always so fucking cold- it didn't help that the walls separating each of the rooms was about the width of a fucking crepe- absolutely no insulation!
With narrowed eyes he noted to get the ship upgraded, once he finished stealing it-

Oh. Wait. He had gotten distracted.

Right now he needed to find his jacket. Or well. Get his jacket.
He already knew it was only a room over, in the crew quarters- he heard the captain's foot steps. Ever so slightly lighter when they left the room beside him.

Just make it to the room, and make off with the ship before the rest of the crew came back from unloading. That was the new plan.
 

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