2019-06-24 - Too Cool for Tiny Cellular Boxes


Sif encounters Ambrose in another guise. Thank god for All-Speak! It's an aimiable stroll in the end.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Mon Jun 24 05:54:14 2019
Location: RP Room 3

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It's mid-afternoon by the time Sif starts back toward the embassy from Fenris and Astryd's home. She decides to detour through the wilderness-like area in the midst of the bustling city, partly for a change of pace, partly to contemplate what she'd learned over lunch.

With a considerably lighter canvas shopping bag slung over one shoulder, she strolls through Central Park seemingly idly. But, she still has her sword and buckler close at hand. That is one habit she'll refuse to drop.

And from out from the nearby foliage along the cement pathway of the Park, Sif is joined by the barely discernible footpads of small canine feet. Falling into place beside her is a small creature that looks terribly like a cream-colored fox save for its longer limbs, leaner tail, and larger ears. The ear rotate as he looks up at her with muddy-green eyes and appears to smile in a canine manner. He sports a diamond-studded leather slip-collar sans tag and by all appearances, is completely tamed given he doesn't flinch from Sif.

What Ambrose does not know is that his unspoken communication might translate perfectly clear to the Aesir given her All-Speech.

«I wonder if she recognizes me. I bet she doesn't, even if she is full of foreign trickery, like that prince of hers.» The small brown nose wiggles as he sniffs at Sif, still eyeing her. «Ooh, she had lunch recently. It smells delightful. I am jealous now.»

Sif blinks and looks down at the little quadruped as he just saunters on up and keeps pace with her. Odd, but considering how many people in this park seem to have similarly small quadrupeds accompanying them, she figures this one has simply been separated from its master and has chosen to follow another convenient person in the meantime.

Well, until he starts TALKING.

"Are you implying that you can shapeshift, sir?" She lets the lunch comment slide for the moment. Also the canvas sack likely carries trace aromas of mead and a midgardian liquor that hints toward… venom?

Her inquiry puts him dead to rights and Ambrose throws on the brakes in a skittering vertical lift of shock. He lands with three paws on the grassy edge and continues staring up at Sif, his eyes gone wide and ears gone back.

The quiet murring sounds begin again, interspersed with a nearly inaudible cackle or two. «If you can understand me, milady, then you are indeed blessed with some witchcraft that I know not of. Do you recognize me or do I remain anonymous to you?» He most likely means by the voice itself, which may or may not translate into the Brit's usual crisp baritone to her ears.

The little creature's startle has Sif stopping as well, turning to watch him stare up at her in abject doggie shock. This time when he comments, she recognizes the something of the voice behind the little creature's yips and warbles, though if asked precisely what was recognizable, she might be hard-pressed to say.

"It is the Allspeak. Every Aesir and Elf, and most Vanir have this same ability. I am honestly surprised that you had not realized, Lieutenant Atherton." Especially considering how frequently he spends time with one of them or another. Though, Kai, Fenris, and Astryd might not truly qualify, as they have all taken the time to learn Midgardian languages. Sif… not so much.

Ambrose-jackal sloooooowly sits down his haunches to the grass and continues looking up at the Aesir. His thin mouth slowly falls open in an approximation of a human gape of continued surprise. With his ears still back and now slowly rotating forwards, it might be comical to see the little pale jackal comported as such.

«I was…bloody hell.» If the accent rounded through certain vowels via time spent in the desert doesn't give him away completely, perhaps the habit of cursing will. «I had no bloody idea that there was this thing called All-Speak. You can…speak with all? Anyone? Anything? Oh my god.» He blinks and curls his tail around his paws in a subconscious show of uncertainty brought on by being caught off-guard. «I do not know if any of the others you mentioned know of my shift, milady. You are…the first to discover it beyond my mate, I believe.»

It doesn't even occur to Sif that they might seem odd to other passersby, the woman seemingly having a conversation with her UNLEASHED dog as if he were a person.

"I can speak with any being in the Nine Realms sentient enough to have a formal language," she informs him. Unless you have spoken thus while 'shifted in the presence of anyone else with the Allspeak, I doubt they would realize that you have this ability." She considers something she learned just a bit earlier today, and offers a bit more softly, "Loki might perhaps benefit from knowing of your ability." She can remember far too many instances where he was treated less than respectfully because of it, and now she's experiencing the beginnings of regret.

The jackal tilts his head as he listens to the woman. He's ignoring any odd looks they get. A dog walking by is given a passing and dismissive look; move along, you undersized hairball with delusions of grandeur, he thinks to himself at the yapping thing.

The mention of Loki, however, has the master-thief giving Sif a recognizeably curious squint. «And it may benefit him because he does, what, share the ability to speak to me as such?» Another tilt of his head in the opposite direction. «Or is it that the…oh, bloody hell, of course. Idiot,» Ambrose grumbles at himself. «He is a god of tricks. This is one of his tricks, is it not? To shift in his shape?»

"He has always been different…" Sif's voice trails off. "It is not my place to say. Perhaps it would be best if you spoke with him directly in that regard." And, she thinks, to take some mead with you to the conversation. Turns out the younger Prince DOES seem to wish to disappear into his cups from time to time.

"Have you always been thus?" she asks, in a rather blatant change of topic.

«That is fair counsel, milady, and I will attempt to speak to him as such,» demures the Jackal even if he flicks his ears a touch back in plain betrayal of disappointment at unconfirmed suppositions. He does understand, however, and does not hare after the topic. Rather, he plans instead to return to the bookstore where he met the Prince before.

Ambrose then looks along himself and then back to Sif, his lips parting in a thin canine smile. «No, I have not always been as such. This shape is a punishment I turned upon its head nearly a century ago. An enemy thought to use it against me. Now, I use it in turn against mine own troublesome encounters. It is useful. I have refined the art of looking immensely charming and the things that unwitting people will say around me is refreshing.» He even lifts up a foot and perks his ears forwards, the effect ending in a most beseeching display of canine winsomeness.

Sif is far more accustomed to the great, serious hounds of Asgard. The tiny yappy creatures that fill this city confuse her, and the larger dogs oddly seem no better. She's seen only a rare few who even begin to approach the size and temperament of the hounds she grew up knowing. Thus, Ambrose's intentionally endearing bearing and poise is rather lost on her.

"If your enemy meant to make you small and easily damaged, I fear that he appears to have succeeded most admirably."

Those large jackal ears flick out and flat to the sides. Sif gets a squint of disapproval from the small creature and wrinkle of his brown nose.

«I am far more threatening than I appear despite my size. Besides,» he says loftily, regaining his temporarily sidelined sense of self-confidence, «Does the saying not go, 'It is not its size, but its use that matters'? Believe me, milady, despite my stature and build, I am very dangerous yet.»

Dangerously audacious, Talbot might aside.

Sif nods her head once in concession to Ambrose's words. "I stand corrected. It is often times that smaller creatures need to be more vicious in order to survive. Still, I cannot help but mentally compare your stature with an Aesir hound and…" she stops there, as the little jackal is already doing airplane ears. She really shouldn't prod at him any further.

"Were you on your way elsewhere, or did you simply choose to seek me out this afternoon?" Yes, another abrupt change of topic.

But oh, can the Jackal do a dramatic eyeroll in his canine form, complete with murring scoff. He squints at the change of topic and then rises to his feet. A flick of his tail is something akin to a wave of hand, gesture to follow him as he pads on — presumptive of him, yes, especially given Sif knows perfectly well where she's going.

«I am beginning to discover how many familiar faces travel these green grounds. The more I linger, the more new faces I meet as well. Perhaps I am bored in my old age and aspire to grow my collective acquantanceships. Perhaps I meant to gather up stranger things and people as I go.» He glances up at Sif and there's another canine grin. «You are not strange in a bad way, milady,» Ambrose reassures her. «Your foreign ways and mannerisms are refreshing.»

"Oh? I myself do not frequent them as much as I likely should. The … smaller creatures tend to shrill at me excessively. I do not know why. The larger ones either pay me no mind, or behave the same with everyone that passes, whether good or not. And the Midgardians… well, they all do seem to be rather in a hurry to reach their destinations, even here." She seems pretty well resigned to this.

"I will admit, though, that your mannerisms are more familiar to me than those of most Midgardians. Their preoccupation with those tiny boxes in their hands."

«Tiny boxes…?» Ambrose has to muse for a few padding steps before it clicks for him. «Ah, the cellular telephones. Yes, I remember when Bell pioneered them, when they were clunky black boxes that transmitted solely along wiring. Now, they send messages across the air itself to the other side of the world in naught but minutes. I do have one myself, but I am not overly enamored with it.»

He tucks himself a little closer to Sif as a bicyclist goes by, if only out of habit due to his smaller size. «They are useful in many ways, but I find that they are a distraction more often than not.» A pedestrian going the other direction nearly steps into the path of another bicyclist due to staring down at her phone and a stereotypical brief New Yorker exchange occurs, words and gestures and all.

«See? She shows little regard for her personal safety over something called 'Twitter'. Puh. Someone living in Iceland does not need to know of what I had for breakfast this morning. These are simply my thoughts on things, however, milady. If you should choose to obtain one, I hazard you will be more responsible than most. The Embassy should have information in how to obtain one, I'm sure.»

Sif nods and hums an acknowledgement of her own personal assessment regarding those tiny boxes. More trouble than they're worth. And then, as if offering a secret in return for the one she's learned today, she tells Ambrose more quietly than usual for her, "I have to admit to not understanding the Midgardian sigils and signage. It is.. nothing like the language on Asgard."

As they stroll on through the Park, she tells him about her misadventures in a portion of Manhattan known as Chinatown, and how one elderly woman finally took pity on her and summoned her a taxi to return to the embassy.

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