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((Howdy! Here's a small space for the RP if you wanna do first~!!))

Drake Madalias Montshrine wrote:
((Howdy! Here's a small space for the RP if you wanna do first~!!))

It had been a normal day like any other in the sleepy little town of Willow Brook the day Simsa’s life changed. A normal day indeed. The sun shone down in warm, gentle rays upon the aged buildings, the blue sky dotted with only a few clouds here and there as a gentle breeze that wound through the somewhat crowded streets that were filled with laughing and playing children, midday window shoppers, stray cats and dogs that meandered through the alleyways, and everything else in between. If you followed that gentle wind down Clock Street, and crossed down into Winters Lane, it would shake the shutters of the Brindley Home for Lost Children- a tall building hidden away behind a large, gothic metal gate that had long since been overgrown with vines, bushes, and half-wilted flowers. And if you followed the rattling of those shutters, and peeked through a thin, slightly grimy window on the seventh floor, behind the rickety brown shingles that were warped by rain and weathered by time, you would find a very small room. Simsa was one of the older children, having been there since the pauper pair of her mother, a tailor, and her father, a cobbler, had left her there on her third birthday. Every year, Miss Lauderson- a crude, unpleasant little woman of fifty-six years old would move the older children up a level- the higher you got, the smaller the rooms, however, and so Simsa was relegated to a stuffy room that was only a mite larger than the broom closets.

The iron bedframe was loosely covered by a worn mattress that was about a size too small for it, along with a ragged pillow and bedsheet. Five heavily-read novels, detailing all manner of fantastical stories were neatly ordered upon the small, crooked bookshelf- Simsa treasured her books more than anything, and ever since she had learned to read she all but devoured any book she could get her hands on. (Despite her denial of such a fact.) However, on this cool Spring day, the young girl wouldn’t be found in her room- in fact, on this fine day, very few children would be found at the orphanage at all. On particularly nice afternoons just like this, Miss Lauderson would let the children out to play in the woods behind the orphanage- her sharp, hawkish gaze ever piercing down her long, hooked nose.

The sound of leaves crunching and slightly laboured breathing accompanied Simsa as she ran through the woods- resisting the urge to twirl at her newfound freedom, for she knew the other children would surely laugh at her delight. She had always found the outdoors freeing- perhaps in part to the books she read so often detailing adventures children just like her had in the forests, and partly due to how stuffy the orphanage so often got. Deeper and deeper Simsa skipped into the forest, following the path she knew so very well. As she reached the banks of the small babbling brook, she sat down among the grass and flowers with a pleased sigh. It was always so quiet here, amidst the chirping of the birds and quiet trickling of the stream before her- very few of the other children came back here, as many preferred to play together closer to the yard. The trees, of oak, pine and maple, grew especially tall here- shading the small clearing even on the hottest of days, and even when it got too warm you could always cool your feet in the water. The wildflowers, too, grew very well due to the lack of disturbance, and so the ground was filled with various colors- from yellow, to blue, to pink.

However, as she glanced around at her surroundings and took them in, she noticed something peculiar. She didn’t notice it at first- not until she squinted. There, on the opposite side of the bank was a particularly tall oak tree- with a… door carved into it? Simsa frowned as she stood, brushing off her brown overalls and taking off her stockings and shoes- placing them into her leather satchel. It didn’t take very long for her to wade across the shallow stream- once she reached the tree, she reached out her thin fingers and traced them along the lines. Had someone come back here when she was away and carved the tree up? That was when the door opened. With a small creak, it opened to reveal a forest on the other side- however, this forest grew much taller than the one she stood in, appearing much wilder and more overgrown. A path could be seen winding through the foliage- without thinking, Simsa took a step forward. Her heart raced- she couldn’t believe what she was seeing! Was this the start of her very own adventure? Part of her assumed that she was caught in a dream, but the sharp pain as she pinched herself resolved her of that idea. Glancing back towards the orphanage, then back through the door, she slipped through the door into the tree- surely a peek couldn’t hurt?

Simsa began to walk through the forest, allowing the door to close behind her with little thought, in the moment, of going home. Wonderment filled her senses as she took it all in- the strangely ethereal, fantastical feeling that forest held. Surely she was dreaming- was she really inside a tree? Or was she somewhere else, a place entirely different? Wide-eyed amazement took hold of the young girl’s features as she walked- minutes blending into each other. She didn’t notice it at first, having been entirely distracted by her new surroundings, but as the sky gradually darkened and the sun set, a heavy sense of uncertainty began to settle in the pit of Simsa’s stomach. She fancied herself a brave child, afraid of nothing, not even ghosts (As she was so proud to proclaim), and yet as the sky grew darker and darker she held her arms and began nervously looking around for another door like the one she came through.

Led on by her worry at being surrounded by darkness in a place she wasn’t even sure was real, along with the sudden growling of her stomach, Simsa wandered- and wandered, and wandered some more. Beginning to lose hope, with her small feet starting to ache, her eyes lit up at the distant light of a fire. Resisting her urge to run towards it in case the campsite wasn’t as empty as it looked, she couldn’t help but feel relieved when she saw there was nobody there. She quickly set to work- peeking into bags, around the large campfire, and inside the tent. If she could just find some food, or some kind of bedding, then…


That was when she heard the footsteps.

It had been a long day for Drake, and it was about to get even longer...

Nowhere was place, but a place like no other. A vast ever changing plane that always had its veins pumping, filled with a buzzing life whilst sparked with an unseen energy; action happening here to there to near about everywhere. The ones who called Nowhere home accept the constant movement of the grand gatherings, the traveling markets, the crowded hamlets, as the norm.

The only places that offered a quiet solution, away from all the hustle and bustle, were the forests - especially at night. Not many souls ventured into the forests, as there weren't many paths to follow. And even if there were it was likely that said path would lead to a dead end. Meaning that the nooks and small clearings hidden amongst the trees and ferns were little safe havens, filled with nothing, leaving complete piece and quiet to fill the air. Even at night nothing deemed to disturb the silence... Except for one

Drake, unlike many other travelling souls, decided to take refuge in the calm forests. Travelling meant that he didn't have one set place to stay, which also meant anything that belonged to him he had to carry. Being a Blackmsith too added to the effort of traveling for business. The items and certain tools he used all needed to be carried as well. Thus, long journeys were, well, tiring to say the least.

There was always a kind of tired that needs a good night's sleep, and another that needs so much more. As Drake traveled from place to place more and more, one became the other. After each stop, all he desired to do was flump down into his makeshift day and sleep till tomorrows start.

Right now however, he had a task to do. Even though the forests were nice and peaceful, there were other creatures lurking in the shadows which aren't too friendly towards traveling folk. Drake knew that crafting a small fire would keep back most of the night beasties, or so he hoped. So as for now Drake trudged around the forest surrounding his camp. Searching for firewood to keep the fire alive.

Once he thought that an armful of dried twigs and branches was enough to keep the fire going for the night, he began to make his way back to the warm glow of campfire light. His mind lazily flicked through what foods he has packed away - perhaps a nice joint of meat and a few fish would be enough for tonight's supper - his stomaching growling with the very thought.

Soon he was back, dumping the freshly collected wood by the fire, stopping to stretch and yawn widely. Maybe he could have a lie in tomorrow morning too, there was no rush. Drake huffed, scratching at the back of his neck before turning to drag out his traveling bags from the tent... But before he could, his tired eye caught a strange sight.

Even though he was a giant, Drakes senses were impeccable. He could hear the trickle of a stream a mile away, he could see across a whole mountain range with ease, he would even smell fresh fruits from the other side of the forest. What he saw as of now, was a small set of foot prints. They weren't too clear but the campfire light helped to show each of them. They were... Tiny, like a rabbit had hopped by...

Where did they come from?

When did they get here?

More importantly... Who did they belong to?

The rumbling in her belly had quickly decided Simsa’s first course of action. Poking around the strange camp with equipment and items that were far too large for her, let alone any normal-sized human to use had shown her a number of things. Various bits of smithing equipment, among other things, had been packed into traveling bags, suggesting that the former occupant of the camp was a large part of that sort of trade. Peeking into the next, there seemed to be supplies for a makeshift bed. As she stood on her tip toes and just barely caught a glimpse into the next bag, her freckled nose twitched. Food. The scent of meat and fish mingled and wafted upwards, causing the young child’s mind to wander towards fantasies of salted meat and fish, roasted nuts, and- no. She had to stay alert. She was in a strange new place after all, and it was likely the person who set up the camp was nearby as well so it would be best to take some supplies and leave as quickly as she came.

However, just as her arm reached up toward the top of the bag, she heard the sound of large, lumbering footsteps- much too loud to belong to a person her size. The sudden sound of wood being dumped nearby caused her to jump, a loud yawn coming from someone somewhere outside. She turned to leap down from the bag and hide, but it was too late! She had been spotted, and she had to fight to keep her mouth from hanging open in awe as she saw him. The man was tall, but no ordinary sort of tall. The sort of tall that made her crane her neck and take a few steps back just to look at his face- he must have been as tall as three houses... no, four! Or maybe three castles. (Simsa never had been very good at math.)

That wonderment was quickly replaced by a sudden fear- she had never seen or even heard of anything out of the ordinary and so she instinctively grabbed a small stick from the ground, holding it up in front of her in what seemed to be a way of protecting herself- the young girl likely fancying it as a makeshift sword. “Wh... who are you? Are you gonna eat me or something?” She put on as brave a face as she could despite her fear, her choice of both words and “weaponry” intended to accentuate her (most likely foolish, given the circumstances) bravado.

However, this was cut short when she could have sworn she heard heard something off in the dark, causing her to visibly flinch- clutching her stick far tighter in her small hands. Glancing from the giant to the dark woods several times over, she weighed her options. If he was cross with her, decided to cook her into stew for taking things from his camp like so many of the stories she’d read said, then perhaps running into the forest would be her best bet. But she didn’t know what was out there, and the night was cold and dark despite the tranquility of the large forest.

Well...this was a first.

The day had already been long and terribly tiring, so much so Drake had the plan of having some well deserved food and dropping off to bed without another thought to worry him. But when Drake saw the small figure pop up, his plan of a relaxing quiet evening was soon chucked right out the window with no mercy.

Granted, he did expect there to be some small rabbit that had perhaps lost its bearings and had wondered into his tent - or a fox that had caught a scent and fancied some of the foods Drake had stored in one of his travelling bags. But out of everything Drake could've thought of, he did not expect a tiny little being to hop out and attempt to fend off Drake with...a stick?

He stood for a moment or two, overcome with the mixture of confusion and worry. Who were they and why were they all the way out here at this time in the evening, all alone? But of course the little one managed to ask her questions first, and ones which Drake didn't seem all to fond off. Yes, he was a giant and he knew about the certain stories that follow some giants, but... come on. He didn't look that scary, did he?

"Woah woah woah, there kid." Drake spoke slowly as to not frighten of the little one, his voice being that if a deep gruff tone, thick with a strange peculiar accent. "Feh starters, no, I don' eat kids or anyone as'sa matter of fact." The gaint smiled in the friendliest way he could. He has heard and has known about stories involving big giants scoffing up people like it's the next best menu item. But Drake had never done anything remotely similar.

"And, I go by Drake." He smiled again. That's when he froze and looked from the mini warrior to his tent, then back. "Now it's my turn. Who are yeh? And why were yeh scramblin' through my tent?" The bear asked, his eyebrow quirked alongside his questioning words.

He should be the ones asking the questions, why were they here anyway? Drake wasn't anywhere near some sort of settlement which would have little ones like the mini one standing before him near by. No would anyone be odd enough to travel like this at this time of night, only to leave their child stranded? There were so many thought running through his buzzing head. All hoping to gain some useful insight to help the little lass...

Wait. He… wasn’t going to eat her? Simsa wondered. The giant- or Drake, as he introduced himself as- seemed quite nice, actually. She cautiously lowered the stick, looking up at him with a curious expression. In fact, Drake seemed just as confused as she was- briefly, she wondered if he had seen anyone like her before. “I'm Simsa.” The little girl answered, seemingly relaxing a bit as he smiled. Surprisingly, he didn’t seem cross with her at all- the only other time she had taken something that didn’t belong to her, the verbal lashing she’d gotten from the orphanage’s mistress was hardly worth the aged apple, half-stale bread and half-pint of milk she’d swiped from a market stand. Her fingers had been so pruned and sore from washing the entire orphanage’s laundry, dishes, and floor as punishment that she’d sworn never to steal again- and yet Drake looked as if he were merely confused and perhaps a bit concerned.

After that, it was Drake’s turn to ask the questions- given she was the one intruding, he should have had the first chance to do so, but that precocious little girl was a stubborn one. “I wasn’t gonna go very far…” She averted her gaze, a childish pout upon her features. “I just wanted to see what was on the other side of the door, is all.” She continued, recounting the steps she’d taken to arrive right in front of him. “The forest by the orphanage was a lot littler than this one, and I like to go around in there by myself so I thought it would be real hard to get lost. But then, a weird door showed up in a tree, and I went through it and came here.” Her explanation was childish in its description, her style of speaking and grammar something she’d been reprimanded for many times over- but since the orphanage’s mistress was very clearly nowhere close by she was all too happy to toss aside the notion of proper speech.

“I walked and walked and walked for a real long time, and then I got hungry. And I guess…” She trailed off. “I wanted to find some light since it got real dark.” Simsa’s eyes widened, however, as she realized what she said- hurrying to correct herself. “I’m not scared, though! I’m just fine in the dark- it doesn’t scare me one bit! I just got a little lost.” She maintained, though she shivered a little at the thought of wandering around alone in that blackness. Even her bravado had its limits, it seemed. “I saw the fire and went in your tent, but I swear I was only gonna get a little and go!” The little girl spoke quickly, trying to explain away her presence there.

‘I didn’t take anything, I pinky-swear!” She continued, placing the stick down for a moment to show her empty hands before picking it back up. “If you let me go, I'll go away! I promise."

Well, what Drake thought would be a quiet and peaceful evening after a long days trek, was soon nothing more than a puzzling conundrum that included a lost lass from an entirely different world.

Admittedly, he had never seen or personally met a child like Simsa before now; Drake has met many other creatures and beasts over his numerous travels, but this small one was definitely a first. Not to mention, the entire problem about Simsa innocently wondering into Nowhere, was one that he had never dealt with before too. Indeed Drake has helped a few lost souls get back on track, either aiding them in finding a path they may have lost along their way or perhaps recommending somewhere where they could take refuge and get on their way in their own time. But Simsa just so happened to describe coming upon a door of sorts, which caused the worry within the giants mind to only grow wilder.

Nowhere, in simple terms, was a secret hub between worlds - a small space of sanctuary that links hundreds of completely contrasting or similar planes of reality together. What that also meant is the paths between those other worlds and Nowhere can be random and chaotic, most of the time. For example and in Simsa's case, strange doors can pop up in the middle of nowhere - leading to, well, Nowhere. However, what makes travelling to Nowhere ever so difficult, .is that those very doors deem to have a mind of their own. So much so, one could walk through a door, and said door could disappear without a single trace in a split second - leaving that poor soul to fend for themselves in a completely new world.

That seemed to be the problem for Simsa - in her world for one minute, and in a completely different world for the next. Even hearing that she was from an orphanage, as well as being lost and alone, Drake wondered if anyone was searching for her - maybe even worried after death that a child had gone missing.
It was clear that Simsa was scared, though Drake could also tell that she was trying her best not to show her fears to him - given how determined she sounded along with her armed stick. But, at least she was truthful.

"Well..." the giant huffed, looking down to the little one, trying to think of how he could help such a young soul get back to her world in one piece. "This... Place ain' like tha little woods yeh know back at yeh home. These forests ain' safe when tha night rolls in; 'ere there be many undesirable monsters that like tah lurk in tha shadows." He warned Simsa, there was no sugar coating it, yet he tried to be as kind as possible when explaining. "Yeh lucky yeh got this far in fact. But I'd advise yeh not tah go back in tha forest alone - especially iffin yeh lost and hungry." He spoke. The thought of letting Simsa rest here at his camp and have some food too popped into his head. Perhaps he could help her find her way back home again? It was better than leaving the little child with nothing.

"But... iffin yeh wanna leave, I hav' no righ' tah stop yeh... I can help yeh find yeh way back home though. Fortunately I'm of'va big size, so not many monsters choose tah pick on me - so my camps a reasonably safe place durin' tha nigh'... If yeh wan', yeh can stay 'ere - then in tha mornin', when it's safe, I can help yeh get back home. It may be a bit of'va journey, but I promise yeh I'll help yeh tah tha best if my abilities. And I pinky-swear I won' eat yeh either." Drake smiled, his time though deep, was kind and friendly; not wanting to scare the lost child even more.

Simsa’s eyes widened at the giant’s words, however, moreso in wonder than fear. Her wonderings from earlier were proven true by Drake- this really was another world, far different than her own. Thoughts of magic, of creatures far different, far more wonderous than the stray cats and dogs that so often wandered damp, dirty, cobblestone alleyways along with the occasional songbirds that would perch and play among the streets of Oldbrook Crossing. Granted, they could be fierce little beasts in their own right- Simsa knew that firsthand after receiving a scratch on her cheek from one of the cats she so often played with- but her mind ran rampant with all manner of creatures previously thought fictional. Did that mean fairies were real here? Talking animals? Mermaids? Even other creatures outside of her stories?

However... that also meant that less friendly beasties were most likely present as well. Drake had mentioned the forest being unsafe for a reason, and though he explained the danger as kindly as he could, the notion of pairs of eyes unseen that lingered upon the pair, and in Simsa’s mind, wanted to make a meal of her, made her shiver a little. She inched towards the fire, seeing as the seemingly friendly giant was far more preferable than the... less amicable creatures, big and small, that she pictured lurking and prowling just beyond the near pitch black treeline.

What was she going to do? She wondered, biting her lip in thought. It wasn’t safe at night, so maybe she could climb a tree and sleep there...? She’d spent time napping and even just enjoying the view of the world below from the tall pine trees that bordered the orphanage on particularly lazy afternoons and late mornings, though she’d never tried sleeping there for longer than a few minutes. It was worth a try, but... the thought of falling out of a tree had never been appealing to her, and it was even less so given how much taller the trees here seemed to be. Maybe there was a cave nearby, or some kind of other shelter— or maybe, in the morning, she could find someone with a map? But then again, she never had learned how to read one properly, let alone read very well at all... Just then, Drake spoke again.

His offer surprised her- it wasn’t often that one who had almost been stolen from made such a kind, generous offer. But then again, Drake came off as the sort with a good heart. Instead of raucously announcing his diabolical plans to cook her up, like the giants in her stories back home, even despite his confusion at the little lass he’d found at his camp, the giant had acted kindly, even when threatened with her “weapon.” Offered her food and shelter, protection from the monsters in the night, explained a bit more about the strange world Simsa had found herself in... it was hard to believe. “Really? You won’t mind?” She asked with a sort of wonder that was full of a surprised but true gratitude. Stubborn as she was, the woods were frightening and Drake seemed a kind man- one who asked for nothing in return even now. “Thank you, mister! I promise I won’t be any trouble. None at all!” Her fearful expression brightened- her fears of being lost in such an unfamiliar place quelled at the idea of finding a friendly face. A kind soul who offered help.

“I don’t know why everybody at home says giants are mean and scary.” She remarked, looking up at him- well, as much as she could, standing back several of her small paces and craning her neck. “You’re much nicer than the people at home, at the orphanage. Miss would have made me clean the whole building up and down if she caught me taking anything without permission. It’s a big ‘un, too- at least this big!” The little girl gestured wildly with her arms in a way that was much, much too small for a building big enough to house even one person, even if Simsa’s size. Her freckled nose crinkled a little as she made a face at the very idea of cleaning that whole building up and down.

“I don’t wanna..” She trailed off- what was that word again? The word the gardener had said about his brother... Ah, that’s it! “...Freeload! I can help too!” Simsa gave a determined little nod. While she wasn’t quite sure what she could do to help, she didn’t have any money, and the adults she knew always said that hard work was good repayment. Or something like that. She hadn’t really been paying much attention when Mister Jenkins, the old man who ran the general shop down the lane, had said it. “I can’t read real well, but Miss taught me to cook and clean!”

She giggled at Drake’s pinky-swear, raising her hand and extending her much smaller pinky as if making one. Truth be told, she was happy. Happy she had found someone so willing to help her, rather than send her away- someone willing to help her get home despite it most likely being a bit of a journey to track down one of those troublesome doors that had decided to open up once again.

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