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 The Northern Dog's Arrival

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PostSubject: The Northern Dog's Arrival   Mon Apr 08, 2013 11:17 pm

It was a cool, spring afternoon, the perfect day for a picnic or day out in the park. The birds were chirping, the grass was...being green, and Celestia's sun covered all of the land in its warm glow. It was five o'clock sharp, the arrival time of the express train from the Crystal Empire arriving in Ponyville, and the train arrived not a minute too early or late. Ponies awaiting expected loved ones and friends all flocked the train station, and soon, the train pulled into the station with a powerful hiss and the squeal of brakes. The steam engine hissed lowly under the idle chatter of the ponies in the station, the vapors slowly wafted skywards. Immediately, the doors opened up, and ponies flooded outwards, greeting their relatives and exchanging hugs and kisses.

But it was not the train, or even the fine day itself that highlighted this otherwise routine arrival, it was one very, very unusual passenger. He was one of the last to get off, but immediately the most identifiable. He stood a good six and a half feet tall, and the air itself around him felt rugged and chilly, and the eyes of the ponies waiting on the station were immediately drawn to him. Some of them hurried away with their loved ones, uncomfortable around such a powerful looking individual, while others, particularly young mares, looked past racial borders and stared at the two pillars of mountain-life hardened muscle that were his arms. The security ponies were content to stare at the simplistic, yet ornately carved club on his belt. He was a different breed of Diamond Dog, a breed that evolved hunting elephant seals, polar bears, and even each other for tribal dominance and survival. He was Mastiff, and he had come to Ponyville, away from the mountains and tribal warfare that was so prevalent in the mountains beyond the crystal empire, with only his club, the few scraps of Equestrian he could learn, and a meager amount of bits to his name. He looked around, as if lost. "There's got to be somepony around here who can help me" He mumbled to himself in his native tongue.
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PostSubject: Re: The Northern Dog's Arrival   Fri Apr 12, 2013 4:32 pm

There wasn't anypony around that could help poor Mastiff; but perhaps there was somegiffin. Standing off to the side was a young brown griffin, about the size of a school-filly. His light brown feathers glimmered in the faint sunlight while his darker brown fur was sleek. His yellow eyes were dull as he gazed at the train from the Crystal Empire. He had been waiting for something, but it was easy to tell with the sad look on his face that he hadn't seen who he was hoping for. He sat up, moving his two large golden feathers from infront of his eyes as he glanced around, his wings twitching. He suddenly noticed the very lost looking Mastiff, and bit his tongue; which is very hard to do with a beak. With a sigh, he padded over, his tail flickering as he gazed at the large diamond dog that loomed above him. "Um...d-do you need help with something, sir?" He couldn't believe he was taking with the diamond dog, having never met one before. Hopefully Novel Shine wouldn't mind that he would be a little late and that Mastiff could understand him.
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PostSubject: Re: The Northern Dog's Arrival   Fri Apr 12, 2013 5:58 pm

Mastiff scanned the station, a frown on his face. His ears perked up when he heard something over the din of the train station. He looked down and to his right, and immediately jumped back at least a foot, nearly toppling into a mare that was getting off the train. It had addressed him. Whatever it was. He had heard stories of lion-bodied eagles, but he always thought that his Denmates were just pulling his leg. This one was small though, and as he regained his composure, he racked his brains on trying to remember what the words it had said meant. Something about help. He assumed that this small...something was asking him if he needed help. His facial expression changed to one of intense concentration as he formulated some words. Equestrian was not an easy language for him, but he knew how to speak it better than any of his Denmates. Then again, he was the only one who knew, so there wasn't exactly any competition.

"Help, yes. Need help. My name is Mastiff, I come from Great Mountain to sick...seek new life. Need...teacher. Can kind eagle take me to Ly...Liber...Libre...Library?" He said in his extremely shoddy equestrian. He knew it was horrible, the way it took him a few tries to pronounce library. His chief would have hit him a few times if he talked that way back home. This creature in front of him was more than intriguing, and he actually made an effort to look into its eyes as he talked, his large, canine eyes staring into the small griffin's own. Even his stare carried the icy winds of the north with it. "Kind eagle have name?"
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PostSubject: Re: The Northern Dog's Arrival   Fri Apr 12, 2013 9:35 pm

"Yes; I can take you to the library, Mastiff." A small smile appeared on Levi's beak. He was half surprise that he had scared the large diamond dog and that relized that the large dog wasn't so scary; but then again his race were rare to see on the ground, and there was no way that griffins and diamonds dogs would meet most of the time; griffins living high in the mountains while the diamond dogs lived deep in the ground. He didn't even know that the diamond dogs existed until Novel Shine had showed him a book about them. "Name is Levi." His wings fluttered as he titled his head slightly to the side; hoping that Mastiff would be able to understand that much. Perhaps Novel Shine would be able to teach Mastiff Equestrian; but he really just hoped that Mastiff wouldn't be moving into the library with them; it was getting crowed but there would always be room if needed...besides; the basement was empty and maybe Mastiff would feel at home there.
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PostSubject: Re: The Northern Dog's Arrival   Fri Apr 12, 2013 11:25 pm

"Thank you, Levi. Am most grateful" Mastiff said with a smile on his face. He motioned for Levi to wait and took a step back onto the platform, towards his luggage. His luggage consisted of a leather sack full of whatever food supplies he had left over, a smaller sack with an extra coat and kilt, and a large, four foot tall barrel that was full of the warming brew that his tribe used to survive the harsh(er) cold of winter, or as it was known in Mastiff's den, The Long Cold. When asked, any Den elder would tell an outsider that it was an herbal brew, but in reality, it was just incredibly strong alcohol brewed using a particularly powerful strain of barley that was native to the caves in the region. He tied the smaller sack to his belt, took the larger one in his hand, and tied the barrel to his back like if it was a backpack. On his belt, he had of course his club, but he also had some iron mugs on his belt, presumably for the brew. He trudged back on over to Levi, the contents of the barrel sloshing and thrashing about as he walked.

He continued to speak when he returned to Levi, articulating with his hands so he could be as clear as possible. "Ponies strange. When I lived in den, den brothers would tell me stories of creatures with no paws, yet they walk on four legs and speak. Told me of big ponies, sorceresses, who flew and zapped naughty pups."
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PostSubject: Re: The Northern Dog's Arrival   Sat Apr 13, 2013 9:00 am

Levi titled his head as he padded next to Mastiff, listening to what the Diamond Dog had to say. "Heh; yea, ponies sure are strange. Never thought I would be living with one when I lived in the Griffin Kingdom." He paused at the 'big ponies' remark before realizing what he meant. "You mean the princesses?" He paused as he ruffled his wings, trying to think of what to say so that Mastiff would understand. "They are larger then most ponies; maybe larger then you or at least same size. Powerfully; but very nice. Wouldn't zap naughty pups at all." He sighed as he continued walking. He didn't really follow the princesses. He might have lived in Equestria; but his loyalty sat with the Griffin King for now; he would remain loyal to his race.
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PostSubject: Re: The Northern Dog's Arrival   Sat Apr 13, 2013 11:02 pm

Mastiff took a quizzical look towards Levi as he followed him to the library. He tilted his head in classic dog fashion when Levi talked about the princesses, semi understanding and semi missing half of what he said. When Levi mentioned their size, he couldn't help but think of how a pony could get that big. He looked around, and he quickly picked up the notion that most ponies were roughly half his size, and the bigger ones (mostly stallions) made it up to his chest. Then again, his posture wasn't exactly the best, so he did give up about a foot of height as he walked over with a slight hunch, since he spent so much of his life in that position. It wasn't exactly easy to maintain perfect posture while stalking polar rhinos. As they walked, he took a moment to stop and take a pinch of dirt in his paws. As a polar dog, he was more accustomed to digging through the several foot thick snow of the mountains, not hard soil. The evenness of it bothered him as well. That brought another question. "Will we be there soon? Warmth make me...uncomfortable. Not expecting grass. Or birds. Or sun. Sun is the eye of Wolf Mother, you know. She travel along sky, watching over world, Looking for World Wolf, her mate. But World Wolf trapped under ground, his fury powers volcano, and the mountains are fangs." he said, giving Levi some insight into his culture and religion, if only for the purpose of forming some clarity between them.
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PostSubject: Re: The Northern Dog's Arrival   Sun Apr 14, 2013 10:52 am

Levi glanced at Mastiff as he stopped and listened to Mastiff's religion. "We are almost there. But some griffins believe the sun is the first griffin king; who's feathers were bright golden color. He became the sun to put an end to the darkness that coated the land so that his race could explain and grow. His wife became the moon so that the night time could also have a source of light." It felt weird for Levi to talk about his race's religion; seeing how he didn't believe it; seeing how that he somewhat believed in pony mythology. He flickered his tail as he started to walk again; making sure that Mastiff was following him.

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PostSubject: Re: The Northern Dog's Arrival   Sun Apr 14, 2013 12:55 pm

Mastiff listened patiently to the griffon belief system. He didn't catch much, but he was able to make out that the sun was a griffon. He thought this very peculiar. Obviously, this conflicted with his own, but he knew ultimately that both religions were merely natural philosophies, fashioned to teach morals and the like. He was one of those in his clan who only believed in the World Wolf, and he proudly displayed it with the deep blue design on the back of his coat and the tattoo on his cheek, both of which depicted a snarling wolf's head inside a mountain, which was shooting lava out of the top. "Hm. He was big griffin, then. In den, we have den brother named Boris. He was full four heads taller than me, and I once saw Boris lift two den sisters over his head, one in each arm. For his manhood festival, we gave him carved tree trunk to use as hunting club."
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PostSubject: Re: The Northern Dog's Arrival   Sat Apr 27, 2013 11:23 am

As they closed into the library; Levi glanced at Mastiff as the Diamond Dog spoke. Wow; the griffin would of whistled if he could."That sounds amazing. I wouldn't want to run into Boris thought." With a small laugh, they finally reached Golden Oaks Library. He took a step forward and opened the door. He stepped inside and glanced at Mastiff; letting him know that he could come in. The small griffin glanced around the well-lit library but lucky it looked like nopony was here. "Novel Shine! I have somepo...Er...Somedog that I think you might want to meet."

The sound of hoof-steps could be heard as Novel Shine appeared from the top of the staircase, her blue gaze fixed on Mastiff. A small smile appeared on her face when she quickly relized that it was an Diamond Dog. She hadn't met one before but had heard stories about them from Rarity during one of the white unicorn's trips to Ponyville. "Hello, welcome to Golden Oaks Library! I am Novel Shine, caretaker of this library. It is wonderful to meet you," the tan unicorn said as she made her way down the steps and over to Levi and Mastiff.

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PostSubject: Re: The Northern Dog's Arrival   Sat Apr 27, 2013 2:18 pm

Lunar Eclipse, disturbed from her rest, woke up with a jump. From the top floor, she fell off quickly. "Ow! What's the ruckus?!" Getting up sleepily, she stood up and went down the stairs. Rubbing her eyes, the unicorn asked, "Eh, Novel... Who's here so early in the morning? I was having a nice nap..." Drowsily, she looked up to see Levi and a... Diamond Dog. Sighing, she turned to Levi and asked, "Don't tell me you brought the Diamond Dog here? We already have the Princess staying with us and Melody living close by, and now a Diamond Dog? We're more crowded than usual..."
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PostSubject: Re: The Northern Dog's Arrival   Sat Apr 27, 2013 10:40 pm

Masfiff took a moment to regard the giant tree in amazement. Never in all his years had he seen such an arborial behemoth. Most of the trees up north in the mountains were small, frozen husks that clung to a few leaves, able to be uprooted by an enterprising Diamond dog looking for mushrooms if he had enough strength to push it over. There was no way this thing was natural, it must be magical or something like that. The only magic that Mastiff got to see was the stewardess on the train levitating drinks and snacks to the passengers, and to the stewardess' discomfort, Mastiff found it very appropriate to stare in wonder. Mastiff could only imagine how powerful one of the princesses could be.

He was snapped out of his stupor by Levi, who had just walked into the library and was giving him that "you coming or what?" Look. He hurried on over, and was greeted with the first challenge of life in Equestria. Getting through doors. This door in particular was about a foot smaller than him. Fun.

He took a good minute to get inside, but once he figured out a technique, he was able to get inside no problem. He smiled when the unicorn mare greeted him, and just kind of stared quizzically at the Alicorn filly. Kind of because she was an Alicorn. When she mentioned another princess living in the library as well, he sort of lifted his hands up to his chest, holding them in the open palm position facing outwards. "Did not mean to intrude. Kind Levi offer help, a teacher, took me here. I do not expect living in library. If offer is open though, am willing to work for living space. Am very strong, can work a lot." He said, his eyes on the Unicorn mare going down the stairs. He seemed to pause, almost to collect his thoughts, before taking of the barrel strapped to his back. "Know how to make special brew as well. Made out of barley and traditional herb called Hops. Willing to make and share for free."
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PostSubject: Re: The Northern Dog's Arrival   Sun Apr 28, 2013 7:51 am

Levi just rolled his eyes at Lunar with a sigh. Really; was she just going to expect that he was going to let every living thing that moved live here? He ruffled his feathers as he stood next to the large Diamond Dog; feeling smaller then the normally did, and he hated it.

Novel Shine smiled softly at Mastiff, looking up at her large, new guest. "It is fine, Lunar. So what do you need a teacher for...Er..."

"Mastiff. His name is Mastiff." Levi pipped up, filling in the blank for Novel.

The tan unicorn glanced over at the young griffin with a smile. "Thank you. So what do you need a teacher for, Mastiff?"

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PostSubject: Re: The Northern Dog's Arrival   Sun Apr 28, 2013 10:34 am

Mastiff was about to introduce himself, when Levi interrupted him. He gave Levi a momentary look that seemed to suggest that he was capable of introducing himself, but he quickly looked back over to Novel with a smile. He seemed to be embarrassed by asking this question, never needing help from anyone most of his life, but he sucked up his pride. "Need teacher to learn how to...read, speak, and write" He said, sitting down next to Levi. He then addressed his gaze towards Lunar. "You talk about Princess? Am interested. Want to meet"
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PostSubject: Re: The Northern Dog's Arrival   Sun Apr 28, 2013 12:14 pm

Lunar sighed, "Don't work me up so much, I'm still tired from visiting Fluttershy's the other day. I was hoping to get some rest in..." Giving a polite smile to Mastiff, she replied, "I don't mind teaching you how to read and write. If you want me to, of course." A glow came out of her horn and she grabbed her cloak. Obviously, the sunlight coming in was annoying her. Quickly beginning, the unicorn said, "Well, Princess Cadence's daughter, Melody, is staying Ponyville for her studies in school. The other princess, Winter Dream, comes from the Glaciation Empire, and she's here... to watch over Melody. Though, unlike Melody, Winter's hiding her wings while she's staying here." Pausing, she sighed, "I wonder where she is right now anyway..."
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PostSubject: Re: The Northern Dog's Arrival   Mon Apr 29, 2013 5:02 pm

Mastiff tried to comprehend what Lunar was saying, with limited success. Princesses appeared to be much more common than Mastiff had originally thought. The Glaciation Empire was something Mastiff had never heard of. He had seen the Crystal Empire when he was hopping the train to take him to Ponyville, with its glittering spires and translucent inhabitants. He had almost gotten arrested there for chipping a piece of crystal off of a building. How was he supposed to know it was the palace?

He nodded his gratitude towards Lunar and went to go set his stuff down. He dropped his sack of clothes and food onto the nearest table he could find, set down his barrel next to the table, all while humming some tribal tune to himself. Once he set everything down, he took what looked like to be a strip of meat that was preserved with salts and oils and started munching on it hungrily. For a split second, he looked Novel in the eye as he was eating, but he quickly returned his gaze to Lunar. "Will be most grateful for teacher, Lunar. Am very good learner. Once learned how to skin tundra boar in less than four minutes."
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PostSubject: Re: The Northern Dog's Arrival   Sun May 05, 2013 10:34 pm

Lunar Eclipse read through Mastiff's expression. Yeah... Princesses are a little more common than usual lately, but that's because alicorns are having too many children lately. cx "The Glaciation Empire was recently re-discovered, and is part of a huge legend. It's quite similar to the Crystal Empire: made out of beautiful icicles, glaciers. Well... the main difference is that it's really cold there."

Nodding back to the Diamond Dog, she asked, "What exactly do you need me to teach you Mastiff? Like the basics or something more complicated?" Smiling, the unicorn said, "Be right back. Going to go check on Melody and Winter. Perhaps they might need a little help with something."
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PostSubject: Re: The Northern Dog's Arrival   Sun May 05, 2013 11:01 pm

Mastiff nodded when Lunar turned to leave. "If need help moving something, get me. Learning to read would he good start." He said as Lunar left. He pulled up a chair and sat next to his barrel full of brew. He removed one of the cups from his belt and held it under a tap in the barrel, filling up the stone mug with a dark, frothy liquid. He took a sip, and licked the foam off of his lips. He set the mug of potent alcohol down on top of the barrel and started to walk down a shelf of books. Occasionally he would stop, pick up a book, flip through to see if there were any pictures, and put it back. He repeated this a few times, before sitting back down and reacquiring his mug. He filled up a second mug and held it out, offering the mug of dark ale to either Levi or Novel with a friendly smile.
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PostSubject: Re: The Northern Dog's Arrival   Mon May 06, 2013 7:56 am

Novel paused as Mastiff offered the mug to her. She had watched the whole thing with silence but she was happy that the Diamond Dog was going to get a teacher. "Er, no thank you, I don't drink." Glancing at Levi, who was slowly reaching for the mug, she grabbed a newspaper and rolled it up. Sighing, she whacked his claw away, frowning. "No ale for you; you are to young."

The young griffin sighed as he rubbed his whacked talon. "Awww..."

The unicorn sighed as she pulled off a book from the shelf and floated it over to Levi, who grabbed it from the air. "How about you go to your room and read that? I know you've been wanted to read it for a while. I'll take care of our guest until Lunar returns with hopefully Winter."

The young griffin looked at the book, a small smile appearing on his face as he turned and raced up the stairs to his nest. "Bye Mastiff!" he called to the Diamond Dog as he disappeared, leaving Novel Shine and Mastiff alone.

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PostSubject: Re: The Northern Dog's Arrival   Mon May 06, 2013 11:23 pm

Mastiff seemed almost offended when Novel called his grain brew ale. "Is not ale. Is special brew of grain. Warms body and soul. Only looks like ale." He muttered, taking another sip. He opened the top of the barrel and poured the second cup back in. He was slightly dissapointed that nobody tried his brew, and it showed on his face as he dumped it back into the barrel and re-latched the top back on. He didn't know that ponies drank alcohol. That was something he thought only the Diamond Dog clans of the Black Peak (a single solitary mountain deep in the tundra beyond Crystal Empire borders) partook in, involving drinking ceremonies before battle and for manhood festivals.

There was something about being alone with Novel that bothered him. There was some uncertainty to his life here in Ponyville, and he considered maybe asking for living space in the library in exchange for manual and physical labor. He kept quiet, however, preferring to slowly drink his Grain Brew. He relaxed a bit, and seemed to ease up. "Was long and hard trip. Had to go through blizzardy tundra for a week to make it to Crystal Empire. Have feeling trip was worth it, but...miss Den...."
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PostSubject: Re: The Northern Dog's Arrival   Thu May 09, 2013 1:31 am

~Time Skip~

Lunar Eclipse came back, Winter Dream with her. Sighing, the unicorn said, "Melody made a mess at the place she was staying at while practicing flying. I had to help her clean up. Sorry I took so long coming back." Looking at Mastiff, she wondered what he already knew about reading and writing. If he didn't even know a simple alphabet, this would be more difficult then she expected. Hopefully that wouldn't be the case, but it most likely will be. What had she gotten herself into again? Giving another long sigh, Lunar's horn started glowing a gentle blue that was similar to that blue cotton candy color and a cup with a delicious orange sherbet in it. A mini parasol colored blue was in it and a small spoon as well. The floating cup came to Lunar and with her magic, she used the spoon to eat the sherbet.

Winter Dream smiled as she came in, a little dirtier than usual, but that wasn't really a problem to her. She slightly blamed Melody's mess, though it was partially her fault since she was helping the young alicorn glide through the room. Noticing Mastiff, the alicorn asked, "Is this the Diamond Dog you were talking about Lunar? He's much bigger than I expected." Her eyes a little startled by the dog's size, they quickly became calm. Bowing her head, she said, "Ah... Mastiff was it? My name is Winter Dream. Please call me Dream though."

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PostSubject: Re: The Northern Dog's Arrival   Thu May 09, 2013 6:19 pm

Mastiff looked up from his third mug of grain brew. He had eaten through the last of his rations from the den, and the glossy shine of fat and leftover crumbs of bread were visible on his muzzle. Among his food rations, he had packed a salted walrus sandwich, which he had most vigorously enjoyed in Lunar's absence. He wiped his hands off on the leather wrapping of the sandwich, double checked his hands, and stood off of his seat. He clenched his right hand into a fist, and pounded it against his heart, then held his fist out for a second, the common greeting for higher ranked den brothers and sisters. doing it with the left hand was reserved for the Denfather and Denmother. "Am honored to meet, Princess Dream. Megi allir vegir þínir leiða til mjúkur snjór." He said, glad to find a use for his native tongue. "Can interest you in some grain brew?" He added, knocking on the barrel of brew sitting next to him with his knuckles.
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PostSubject: Re: The Northern Dog's Arrival   Thu May 16, 2013 9:28 pm

Lunar sighed. This would be one of the most interesting students, if not the strangest, student she would ever be teaching. She had been a mentor and substitute every now and then, but this? The unicorn's trying to teach a Diamond Dog. A Diamond Dog. Isn't that a little hard since they are completely different from ponies?

Dream smiled. She didn't really mind the Diamond Dog for some strange apparent reason. Which is a little weird since most ponies freak out at such a sight. "Ah, no thank you Mastiff. I've already had my lunch with Melody and Ash. Perhaps another time," the alicorn said gently, as she revealed her wings. It was more fun to have them out now that she thought about it. Stretching them out a bit, she wondered how she used to last without the feathers.
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PostSubject: Re: The Northern Dog's Arrival   Fri May 17, 2013 7:42 am

Mastiff made as if he was going to nod, but the dog seemed to be stunned by something. Somehow, looking at Dream reminded him of home. The way her wings curled out from behind her like the snowstorms blowing across the tundra, the similarity of the color of her hide to the freshly fallen snow over The Green Valley, the sacred hunting grounds of Mastiff's den, The Blue Wolves. He had no words, in either Equestrian or in Tundral, his native tongue. All this went through his head for only a few, slack jawed seconds, before he regained himself and managed to stop staring. A chill went down Mastiff's spine, and he reached for his stone mug, only to find that he had emptied it long ago. He opened the lid on his barrel to check how much he had left, and frowned. Over the entire course of the trip (including now) he had managed to go through half of the barrel. Until he could make more, he had to conserve it.
Was this the power of the princesses? To captivate all who looked upon them? Whatever it was, he looked back over to her, and smiled a bit awkwardly. For once in his life, he couldn't muster up the courage to look someone in the eye.
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