Lessons in Normality [Closed RP Blog]

Shiori's picture
[ This is a closed RP between me and GingerNut. Feel free to track and comment, but ask before participating.]

Stage: The Endless Forest
Cast: Migisi, Bartleby


“...Pretty,” the doe mumbled to herself, staring into the two pale blue-gray eyes. Ringed with black, they popped against a stormy face. A prominent nose twitched and a small mouth with full lips smiled before falling slack again. This was her, now. Was she pretty? How did she know? Turning her face from side to side, she tried to determine what made her that way. A smudge of dirt on her cheek gave her pause. Extending a dark foreleg Migisi dipped her head to rub her face against the wet fur and remove the mud. Looking back down, her expression fell. The motion had unsettled the water and her reflection was lost in the ripples.

No need to wait for it to settle again. After all, what more could she see? Every day she looked, and every day she stayed the same.

With flaring nostrils she lifted her head and snorted away her frustration. Ears laid back as she twisted her head with a jerk and let a chain-reaction shake quiver down her neck and back. Excess water accidentally splashed upon her coat was returned back from where it came before she turned and climbed the trampled bank, leaving a trail of murk in her wake. At the sound of approaching hoofbeats, her eyes lifted...and her heart sank. Two strangers ran to the water's edge, splashing into the shallows and laughing as they kicked up water into eachother's faces before settling down for a drink. Not friends...not enemies. Before, she might have tried to get to know them – you could never have enough friends – but now she just watched with detached indifference, defeat churning in her gut. Nobody wanted her around anymore... Not like this. Migisi shrugged away from the scene and trudged up the hillside toward the forest. At least there were still a small few who would tolerate her. Coming upon the small yellow bed of dandelions, the corner of her mouth curled. It was empty...but she could wait. Settling down near the indentation reserved for the gray stag, the doe stretched out her legs and sighed, leaning down to sniff idly at the flowers.

GingerNut's picture

He hadn't left the forest for

He hadn't left the forest for quite a while now. How long had it been? It was hard to determine, though Bartleby could have cared less. Ever since his small falling out with Jamie he had been lost in a sea of perpetual melancholy. His hobbies were temporarily tossed aside, thrown away in favor of sulking about the familiar deciduous landscape that he had once called his personal prison.

Soundlessly, his lanky form slithered between lichen coated tree trunks and mossy rocks. Sharp, freshly polished hooves pressed lightly against the earthy ground, their edges stained with the dark russet of smudged clay. The candles upon his curled tines were naught more than beads of red coals, allowing for more stealth and maneuverability among the undergrowth. He certainly couldn't have a forest fire on his hooves, now could he? His long neck hung low, his pink-tipped muzzle nearly touching the trodden ground.

Raising his head, he snuffed the air, pink nostrils flaring as he caught wind of a familiar odor. For a small second, his lips tugged up in a small smile, his olive eyes brightening for a brief moment as his pace quickened.

Breaking through the brambles and patches of undergrowth, the buck allowed for himself to lightly shake himself, in a vain attempt to pry off all the loose debris that had crept its way into his wiry coat. He had to look presentable, after all. He could see her from a short distance, laying among his kingdom of weeds like an eager dog awaiting his master.

Beaming, he trotted up to her, offering a dainty bow. "Were you waiting for me, Miss Migisi?" he greeted, moving to sit next to her without waiting for a response. What a loyal creature! Always awaiting his beck and call, though occasionally in want of discipline. Smiling unashamedly, he pressed the side of his muzzle into her fluffed chest fur.

"Good girl." he praised, nodding approvingly at her shameless devotion. Miss Migisi was probably the only doe he had ever, or would ever, act so affectionate with. She was a companion to him, in the sense that her tier was far below his own. Of course he didn't think this in a malicious manner. His thoughts of the once-jackdaw were entirely positive. He just hadn't yet registered the fact that she was no longer his personal avian pet...

"How are you today? I hope you weren't lonely..." he mumbled, his fluttering accent pouring away as he rambled to her. He was entirely relaxed, leaning against the larger doe with a soft sigh. "Everything has been so... Topsy-turvy lately..." he murmured absently.

Needless to say Bartleby's manner of speech towards his 'pet' were less than adult. If anything the doe had allowed for himself to unleash the more childish aspect of his personality. Gone was the stiff, polite business man that had often crept its way into his cranium. Of course said mien would flash right back up with Mister Cypher's inevitable arrival. But alas, such pleasantries could never really last, and dear Miss Migisi was one of the few who could truly allow for the buck to wind down.

For now he could simply breath in and enjoy the bliss while it lasted...
Shiori's picture

The light beat of hooves

The light beat of hooves roused her from her daydreams. Lashes fluttered as she blinked back the fog, straining to focus as her ears pricked seconds before her head tilted to the side. She found the little stag easily against the dark backdrop of the trees. Not only did his candles flicker to life among the shadows but his haughty, careful steps commanded presence. Upon his thin lips, a smile awaited her, and the young doe's heart fluttered gratefully at the sight. Bartleby always seemed pleased to see her. She could not say the same for her other 'friends'...

When the stag took a bow, Migisi realized she'd forgotten herself. He would expect a bow in return, wouldn't he? She tensed herself and curled a leg in preparation to stand...yet the gray male had already finished and now circled around to take his place beside her. Her ears swiveled curiously when he spoke, large eyes bright and watchful as they followed every movement. She was happy to exchange the nuzzle, relieved by the contact. A smile tugged at her lips upon receiving a familiar praise. The doe knew no better. Being 'talked down to' was not a concept she understood. Praise often had good associations, and she was not about to question whether it was appropriate now or not. Migisi was simply overjoyed to be doing something – anything- right. So often, it it didn't seem the case...

She found the unusual lilt in his voice pleasing. Calming, even. Her expression remained wistful as she gazed down at him, attention focusing on his muzzle as he spoke. It was a habit she had had ever since she was a bird...but now, she had a useful motive outside of mere fascination. One day, she would speak like that, too. The doe was sure if she just watched and listened, it would become clear to her somehow. Being a deer now, shouldn't she be able to understand? So far, it didn't seem so cut and dry. Every passing day she struggled not to become frustrated by it. Without the distractions she craved, it was becoming even harder. Her body tensed and adjusted as the smaller male leaned against her, sighing out his own frustrations. Despite not knowing what he was saying, his heavy tone and disheartened expression implied enough. She was quite familiar with both. Migisi tilted her head and offered a reassuring bump of her nose against cheek...then paused and glanced up at eye a piece of branch tangled in his tines. Amusement danced in her eyes as she reached out and plucked it off.

GingerNut's picture

Ever since the jackdaw had

Ever since the jackdaw had underwent her metamorphosis, Bartleby had always taken great pleasure in observing her movements, calculating just how adaptable his companion really was. It had been more than an enriching experience for him to instruct her in basic combat, despite being so terrible at it himself. Still, who else would train her in self-defense? The forest was far from tranquil, deceiving place that it was. His own unexpected deaths could be attested to that. Even so, her progress was much faster than he would have originally expected. She was much like a dry sponge, absorbing every last morsel of vital information that he could possibly give her. True, her lessons had consisted of nothing but mindlessly parroting back his actions, but there was thought put into them. He just wasn't sure how to grow upon what he had already taught her. Was he really even 'teaching' her to begin with? Or was he merely training her to be socially acceptable to ignorant bucks and does that wouldn't understand her predicament?

Those thoughts had been swimming through his head as of late, biting away at his troubled consciousness. Sighing, he looked to his stained hooves, rubbing their toes together as to mindlessly spread the globs of clay about their surfaces as he leaned his feeble weight further against her. "I suppose we might want to put some time in for another lesson while we're alone, eh?" he offered casually, though not without some hesitation. As far as he knew, there really wasn't much left for him to teach her apart from manners and etiquette.

Her nuzzle was accepted graciously, and the buck tilted his head about to award her affections with a quick swipe of his velvety tongue against her neck. "You could certainly use a little more work with your bow. It's more proper for a lady to curtsey, you know. I have to bow much more stiffly, whereas you need to put more grace into it... tilt your head and whatnot." he rambled, more to himself than anything else. Miss Migisi simply provided an outlet for him to talk to himself, to get his thoughts in order without seeming like a madman.

That, and the buck was quite sure that she took comfort in watching him speak. Her eyes were always on his deer face, eagerly searching and drinking in the positions of his lips. For a short moment, he could almost see a small spark of intelligence hidden there. It was so hard to understand... did she have the capability to learn more than she could before? It was almost a question of ethics. Bartleby could instruct her proper body language all he wanted to, but the sad fact remained that unless the once jackdaw learned to speak, she would never properly assimilate into society.

He flinched in surprise as she fished out a pesky branch from his antler, though kept that same smile all the same. "Careful. You don't want to get yourself burned..." he chided gently, though hadn't the heart to truly scold her. Miss Migisi seemed so... melancholy these days. Why wouldn't she? The poor thing had been forcefully ripped away from her own body.

A thought occurred to him, and the buck looked up at her. "Miss Migisi, you're so pretty" he commented, enunciating every last syllable of the last word. Bartleby knew well enough that Mister Cypher had taught her how to parrot words back at him, at least one of them was useful. It was almost always a surreal experience to watch the doe clumsily form words with her novice lips. Still, there was something promising about it... or at least a potential that Bartleby had not yet completely grasped.
Munkel's picture

Oh -watches-

Oh -watches-
Shiori's picture

Flexing her jaw, she wiggled

Flexing her jaw, she wiggled the branch between her teeth as she tilted her head, pausing at he spoke. Despite the hesitance in his tone, she knew she'd done well by the smile that lingered on his lips. With a jerk of her neck, the broken limb was discarded, tumbling to disappear amongst the grass and yellow flowers. The doe's eyes lifted to continue her search of him, hoping to find something else. A twig...a leaf!? Shameful really, how desperate she was to keep herself busy.

As a bird, she'd always found ways to amuse herself. Harassing fawns, chasing squirrels, grooming random strangers for ticks. Nobody seemed to mind the Jackdaw's unpredictable appearance much less her administrations. She could come and go as she liked. Sit in the tree tops and spy on whoever she wanted. If she was snubbed or chased away, it didn't matter...she could easily find someone else who would accept her company. After all, who could resist the friendly little bird?

As a deer, she'd quickly learned these things were no longer the case. The etiquette had changed. New expectations were forced upon her...and she didn't know the rules. At least Bartleby was helping... His lessons in greeting had certainly managed to smooth out some awkward bumps...

“Miss Migisi, you're so 'pretty'.”

The doe blinked. She had drifted off in thought during her search, but his words managed to jar her back to the present. Ears swiveled forward in interest as her eyes found his again. He was watching her. Looked...expectant. Dark brows knit with some hesitation as she considered for a moment what he was trying to convey. Was he calling her pretty...or was she meant to repeat the words, as Cypher liked her to do?
“M-Mi-gi-si...pre-tty,” she finally repeated, muscles taught in concentration. Each syllable was spoken with care.

GingerNut's picture

Bartleby resisted an urge to

Bartleby resisted an urge to tap his hoof against the ground, seeing as how the doe constantly bobbed her head about to look over his own tiny form. Poor thing. He had to at least keep in mind how difficult her situation was. Still, she was doing well. Certainly learning at far more accelerated rate than his dear ex-servant, Turkey...

"Good. Very good..." the buck praised her lavishly as she uttered out a string of looped together syllables. No doubt they were more advanced words to practice considering her feeble academic level. He craned up his neck to observe her expression, looking for any signs of internal intelligence or comprehension. The concept of birds having some degree of higher thought wasn't completely lost to him. After all, his two other servants had been birds, crows to be specific. While their speech was distorted (and at many times, near unintelligible), it was obvious that they had the same capacity for thought as he himself did. The only real difference between their minds was that the crows were more instinctive and unpredictable.

But while his dear crows had already had capabilities of speech intact, Miss Migisi seemed to have none at all. She had been a creature entirely hellbent on instinct and unconditional affection. She had the brain of a bird, with no potential to grow or form into something that could be deemed 'intelligent'.

She wasn't a bird anymore though. No, far from it. Somehow she had been gifted with a body that did indeed possess a developed frontal lobe. She had lips. She had a steadfast personality that had carried over from her more primitive form.

Bartleby squinted, finding no personal problem in staring into the doe's eyes. He had gotten used to intimacy of the contact long beforehand. Yes, he could see a spark. There was no doubt a reason why his little 'pet' had been acting so antsy and melancholic, and he had been too dense to fully realize why. It wasn't depression over her new form. It was a craving for communication, an internal desire to have someone, anyone find a way to tap into a conscious that was overflowing with potential.

He was shivering now, his thin little frame trembling as thoughts and plans raced their ways through his head. His pale lips were parted, sucking in shallow breaths of air. The realization had hit him much like a cinder block to the skull, birthed by his own troubled mind.

Jolting from his stupor, the buck stumbled up to his hooves and began to pace. "Yes, Miss Migisi... you are pretty... very pretty..." he murmured under his breath, forming a short line in front of doe's point of view. "Je bent een lekker ding... ja..." he chuckled flatly, turning around to repeat his small path.

He stopped in front of her, keeping his standing position as keep on a strict eye-level. "Do you even understand me?" he asked, ears pressed firmly to the back of his scalp. The candles atop his tines seemed to blaze, not out of anger, but determination. "Nod if you do. You remember how to nod, ja?" he prodded her, unable to keep his expression warm or encouraging.

"Your name. What is your name?" he asked, keeping his tone gentle. If she answered, then she had already gained some grasp of language through exposure. If not... well... then the problem that had been so graciously draped in front of him would be difficult to say the least.

He waited for a response expectantly, his body tense with anticipation.
Shiori's picture

Ah. It seemed she had been

Ah. It seemed she had been meant to repeat it. The doe smiled in response to the praise, her tail dusting the dirt behind her. She was awfully proud of her two words. They felt like the only two connections she had to true communication. Suddenly, the doe wondered...would the gray stag teach her more? Her lesson with Cypher had been spur-of-the-moment. It...disappointed her that he had not tried again. Migisi thirsted for more. She'd even been practicing her sounds in times of loneliness and privacy – she had learned to dislike the judgmental stares of others as they passed and found her testing out her tongue and mumbling to herself.

Yet Bartleby's intentions were unknown to her. The stag was staring...a fact she was becoming all too uncomfortable aware of as time ticked by and his studious eyes did not leave hers. For several moments she stared back, her smile fading before her lips dipped in an uncertain frown. Her ears ticked back, and finally her eyes shifted nervously, furrows of tension appearing between her brows. What...?

Suddenly, he rocked to his feet, making her jump. She looked a tad bewildered as her pale eyes followed him, back and forth, her confusion building. When he finally spoke, it was only to repeat what he had said before. 'Pretty...' The way flowers were pretty. The way shinies were pretty. Was she? Again, the thought nagged at her; a desire to better understand. At least, until the small deer came to an abrupt stop in front of her and spun to stare once again into her eyes. The seriousness pinned her. Widened eyes blinked, rolling up to gaze in wonder at the dazzling flicker of his candles before lowering again as he spoke. He received nothing but a blank stare for his efforts, the once-jackdaw not understanding the less familiar string of words. What did he want? Why was he looking at her so...intently? Migisi's eyes began to narrow, frustration building.
“Your name. What is your name?”
She paused. Her head gradually tilted. This one she knew. This one she could answer.
“Mi-gi-si,” she said again, her voice strengthening. It possessed a high yet scratchy quality; a sort of rough femininity. Deciding to take the chance, she tried for more. “Nnn...aah...mm?”

GingerNut's picture

Each miraculous syllable was

Each miraculous syllable was taken with a sharp flinch, the buck's frail body reeling back as if he had not expected a response. True, she could have been simply be mindlessly repeating a word out of confusion. But it wasn't confusion that he had seen in her expression. No, it was determination, a desire to learn and absorb information. How could have been so blind to it before? An explosion of excited thoughts rushed through his head, and Bartleby found himself involuntarily plopping back down to the ground. He seemed completely unaware of the bright, near childish grin that had invaded his stoic muzzle.

"Good girl..." he breathed, whipping his head up as the doe sounded out a new word. "Na-me. N-A-M-E." he sounded out slowly, spelling it out for greater emphasis.

Breaking out into another series of shivers, Bartleby jumped back up to his hooves as to resume his pacing. His movements were even more frenzied now, the fire on his candles an excited hue of bright blue as the molten wax dribbled down the back of his neck. "How could I be so so stupid..." he sighed, hooves stamping roughly against the ground as he walked. "I'm so sorry... I should have realized earlier..." he should have known the potential that her new form could strive to. The possibilities seemed so endless.

A giddy laugh escaped his muzzle, betraying that sheer euphoria that he could not help but feel. It was quickly suppressed, though that same stupefying grin was still shamelessly plastered to his face. "Well! You couldn't have a better teacher for this sort of thing! I'll have you speaking concise sentences in less than a year's time. Hell, maybe a month! I'll even teach you to read!" he proclaimed, puffing out his chest in a most haughty manner.

Bartleby needed a project to work on, and what better project than to teach his little jackdaw how to effectively form words? It would be difficult, yes, even taxing... but the buck loved challenges like this.

Finally the pacing stopped, and the buck turned back to the doe with a controlled smile. "Name. There's a name for everything, even things we can't see or hear." he spoke slowly, getting her used to the idea of forming words. "Your name is Migisi. My name is..." he paused, ears folding back. 'Bartleby' would have been much too difficult for her to repeat at her present state...

"Faith. My name is Faith." he nodded, as if satisfied. It would be the easiest of the three to sound out if she so wanted to. "And our other friend is Cypher." he added in for good measure. It was a good place to start, at any rate...
Shiori's picture

“Nnn...ay...mm,” she tried

“Nnn...ay...mm,” she tried again, blinking as the stag's face lit up. Wonder danced in his eyes as he leapt back to his hooves, flames flickering brighter while his slender legs began to carry him back and forth in front of her again. She'd never seen him this way. So happy and excited. Because of her?

Because she'd said her name? The doe wasn't sure she understood, but his joy was infectious. Despite the surprise on her face, she smiled back at him, brows arching high into her messy bangs in question. He was speaking again, quicker now, his accented words mixing together and losing their meaning – if there was any there for her to find in the first place. If Bartleby noticed her ignorance, he showed no signs of it, puffing up and grinning to himself at some inner self-satisfaction. The kind Cypher fell victim too far too often for his own good, she mused to herself, unsure if she liked the direction this was going.

When the stag finally settled and paused before her again, Migisi shifted and sat a little taller, ears swiveling this way and that as she readied herself for address. 'Name,' was the word he focused on now...but he didn't repeat it slowly again. Didn't pause and wait for her to repeat it. Instead he kept going, integrating the words into a explanation that meant little to the doe. She had come up with her own associations as to what 'name' meant. First and foremost, she knew her own name. It was the word people called you, over and over, to get your attention. It was a source of identity for others to address you by. It had not been a simple lesson to learn, but after all the time she'd spent with deer, watching them and listening, she had picked up the patterns.

“Your name is Migisi. My name is...Faith. My name is Faith.”
Your...my...is...How did these words fit together? What was 'Faith'? Never hearing the name before, her face wrinkled in strain as she tries hard to understand. “And our other friend is Cypher.” Cypher? Her ears stood erect at that one. She knew Cypher...or...she did. As a bird. She had eagerly learned to mimic the sound of his name. Of course, speech was different now. All the words she once knew were lost when she became at the mercy of articulation. Still, the idea of learning it again peaked her interest.
“Ssss...sssih..Ssaah...” Migisi tried, staring at the stag uncertainly.

GingerNut's picture

"Cy-pher." he repeated

"Cy-pher." he repeated evenly, wondering whether or not she understood the concept. At any rate; it would probably be best to drop the idea of individual names for a more hands-on approach. The joy and giddiness had long since wafted away, leaving a buck that had his mind squarely set on business. It was going to be difficult teaching her enunciation, if only for the fact that their faces had vastly different sets of construction. Bartleby would have to find other ways to try and get her to improve upon her lip movements. But for now, that wasn't as important. He simply needed to build up her vocabulary.

The buck spun around a little circle, much like a dog chasing his tail as to gather back up some scattered thoughts before turning back to her. "Alright... Let's have a set of words we can work on... simple ones." and ones that could be associated with equally simple objects or ideas.

With that thought in mind Bartleby turned around and moved to the nearest sapling, just a few feet away. Spreading his thin legs, he reeled back to lift a foreleg and press the heel of his hoof against its weak trunk. It tilted a bit to the side, troubling his careful balance, though held his feeble weight all the same. "Tree." he spoke clearly, erasing all traces of his accent as well as he could. "Tra-ee. T-R-E-E. Tree." he repeated it, over and over both slowly and quickly. Surely she would understand his intentions by now? The poor thing seemed to look at him as if he were mad.

With that out of the way, he shimmied back as to free his planted hoof, recoiling as the sapling sprung back up at him. Turning back to Miss Migisi, he tapped the moss-laden ground. The plush beds of moss sprung up from the base. "Ground. Grrrrr... owwww... nd." he sounded out. It was a bit of a broad term, yes, but that was all Miss Migisi would be able to understand for the time being. Once she got the bare skeleton of description he could add in all of the details, or she would simply pick up on them herself after having some grasp of language.

Satisfied with his two word lesson, Bartleby trotted back up to his pupil, plopping down in front of her with a cheeky smile. "Tree and ground. You understand so far?" he asked, keeping his cadence as slow as he could. The more words that the doe could pick up on, the better. All words were good words, even if she couldn't quite comprehend the meaning of most of them.

He seemed pretty confident in himself, tail thumping against the ground in eager anticipation for the jackdaw's own interpretation.

Shiori's picture

The stag grew more serious,

The stag grew more serious, and Migisi tried to match his pace. She appreciated the new sense of 'focus', and yet while Bartleby's tone and expression conveyed it...his lesson plan was less than grounded. 'Name' and 'Cypher' were swiftly forgotten, repeated once, and then left unfinished to nag at the back of her mind. How was she supposed to say it? The doe watched the gray's lips, but found herself puzzled by their movements. Not like hers or Cypher's lips...Still, she was sure she could have figured out something, but her teacher spun away from her, becoming lost in his own goals to leave her puzzling over her own.

Before she knew it, more words were being thrown her way. New words. “Tree,” he spoke deliberately, rearing back to place his tiny hooves upon the bark of a sapling. The young giant swayed beneath his weight as his eyes ticked from the plant back to her again. He repeated the word, slowly, then spelled it out – as if she could spell!
“Teh...tchr...ee-” she tried tentatively, but as she lifted her eyes to to look for further confirmation that she was doing well, she found that Bartleby was already moving away from the sapling. This time, he stomped at the ground with the same insistent look.


Migisi blinked. She stared down at his hoof, then back up at him. 'Ground?' What happened to tree? Jarred from her concentration on the first (or, technically, the third) word, she was hopeless to catch up to the latest. By the time the grey returned to her, settling down with a satisfied grin on his face...Migisi was glaring at him. Her lips were pursed in frustration, lines of tension criss-crossing beneath her bangs and around her eyes. She had no idea what was expected of her at this point, and her enthusiasm for a possible lesson was fading with the confusion. The grin just made it worse.

GingerNut's picture

For a long, exhausting moment

For a long, exhausting moment the buck stared up at her, the self-confident grin on his muzzle slowly fading away. His large, spoon-shaped ears dramatically flopped to the sides of his skull, betraying his own frustration. Miss Migisi had seemed to get the idea of repetition at the first word, but in his excitement Bartleby hadn't offered the praise that she seemed to require. Now it was too late to reinforce the behavior. The doe was much like a dog, needing to be trained more based on affection than rigorous study and memorization.

The problem was that there was little time to begin with, not for Bartleby of course. He was immortal. He would have gladly spent years tutoring his pupil grasp some form of verbal communication. The lifespan of a deer was less than lengthy, especially to himself. If the buck taught her at a snail's pace, then so much of her life would go flying by... wasting precious chunks that should be spent socializing and living a fulfilled lifestyle. Haste was needed, yet at the same time he could only teach the doe so much at a time.

The the doe's stuff glare, Bartleby could pretty much deduct that he had already confused her. Dipping his muzzle to the ground, he leaned in offered her a small bump of the nose in apology. He wasn't disappointed in her, far from it actually. He was simply angry at himself for pushing her too hard. Hadn't he learned to properly pace himself in tutoring Nippers?

The thought of his little sister sent a chilled shiver down his spine, and he shook his head, standing back to his hooves to walk back to the tilting sapling. "Tree." he forced a smile, rearing up to plant his two front hooves against the plant's gnarled surface. "Tree... Tra-eee... Tree..." the buck repeated, freeing his legs as to walk a bit closer to Miss Migisi.

"Tra... tra... eee..." he verbalized, craning his neck down as to give her a view of his lips as a model. Damn his muzzle! Why did the jackdaw-doe have to be blessed with a human maw? It was going to make the process so much harder than it really needed to be. Still, the way in which he positioned his lips was similar to that of a human, at least with individual letters and sounds. And if anything else, Miss Migisi's pronunciation didn't matter now. What was important was that she learned what he was trying to do in the first place.

Shiori's picture

[I apologize for the day-late

[I apologize for the day-late response >< Wasn't feeling well enough to write yesterday]

It was true. Spending so much time on each individual word would no doubt take forever. Yet the concept of speaking in this way was still very new to Migisi. It was not like a foreigner learning a new language, already having their own to build upon. It was not even like teaching a child their first words, for a child was already well acquainted with the ways of their own kind. For the jackdaw-turned-doe, it was all new; all foreign. Her only advantage was having spent most her life with the creatures she'd not become one of. She knew their manners...knew their words, but she had never 'had' to know what they meant or why they were practiced. Somewhere in the back of her mind, the information lay dormant, ready to be unlocked. So what was the key?

First, the sounds. Having not had the opportunity to sound out all the letter combinations that went into making language, repeating the words was difficult, much less memorizing them. There were so many ways the lips and tongue could move! For most, it was instinctive; a learned habit from birth. For Migisi it was still a skill she'd yet to master.

Her glare let up a bit at the look of remorse in the stag's eyes upon realizing his mistake. She accepted the nuzzle as the apology it was, but felt reluctant to return the gesture this time. He was sorry...but what about the lesson? Would they continue? It seemed her thirst for knowledge had not been completely discouraged after all. As the little deer rose once against to his feet, pale eyes locked on him and followed him carefully over to the sapling again. As he once again placed his hooves on the bark, she tensed in anticipation, ears reluctantly rising from their bed in her ebony hair. “Tree,” he repeated. The word rang familiar. Why did he keep touching the sapling when he said it? Blinking, Migisi's gaze glanced over the tree, then back to the stag's lips as he repeated the word, over and over, slowly this time, sounding out each sound. With a deep breath, she hesitantly followed his lead and began to try the word again herself
“Tcha...Tah-eee...Tra-” Yes, yes, 'tra' was right! “Traa-heee. Tra-eee.”
Tree! Certain that sounded correct her brows arched expectantly, but she bit back her smile.

GingerNut's picture

(No problem! I've been busy

(No problem! I've been busy with some studying anyway c': )


"Yes! Yes!" Bartleby grinned widely, though the expression was much less haughty than it had been before. He dashed back to the tree to plant his hooves to it, leaning his feeble weight into it. "Tree. Traaeee..." he repeated, acknowledging her every attempt with an encouraging smile and nod of the head. He could well see the spark of intelligence that had lit up in her eyes. It was there, he was sure of it. He simply needed to find a way to dig in and find it.

Miss Migisi's efforts were enough to make the buck positively giddy. He walked back towards her, threading himself underneath the doe's belly. "Good girl! Goede!" the praise might have seemed a bit much, yes, but to Bartleby it meant everything. Miss Migisi needed physical comfort and affection in order to understand that he had done something correct. The only times he ever really scolded her was when she made hostile advances to some random deer in question for God knows what reason.

"I'm not going to bother drilling you in pronunciation..." he mumbled, more to himself than to her. It was a way to file away all the thoughts in his head. "I just need to get you to understand as much as I can get you to..." which wouldn't be easy. But he would try.

Bartleby would always stand by the firm assumption that he was a lousy teacher. He had the patience, yes, but he lacked tact. But what was tact compared to the steadfast motivation that he felt for every pupil he had taught? It was always so refreshing to be responsible for something smaller than himself. In a more primal sense, it was a way to make himself feel more superior than he actually was.

Sighing, the buck flopped back down at the doe's side, ears violently swiveling to and fro as he thought. What to do now? Spend an hour drilling the word into her head or go to something new and risk confusing her? No... it was best to take it slow. One mistake and they would have to repeat the process all over again, and he wanted to keep his student interested in the first place.

"Miss Migisi." he grabbed for her attention, gesturing towards the tree behind them with his muzzle. "Tell me what that is." he requested, if only to see if she would gather the connection. Just in case, he made his lips form the word in question, silently. Hopefully she would catch on and understand what was expected of her. Once she learned more, the task itself would be a lot easier.
Shiori's picture

At Bartleby's enthusiastic

At Bartleby's enthusiastic praise, her smile erupted full force. “Tra-ee,” she spoke again, watching his eyes light up all the more before he dashed forward and wound around her like a happy puppy. Laughter bubbled at the back of her throat as she turned her head to follow his movements. It was a strange, raspy sound, not quite natural...but getting there. She was simply unable to hold it back.

The tight muscles in her face relaxed. Cool eyes softened as the buck settled beside her again. Oversized ears remained pricked and attentive, her tail dusting the ground with happy flicks. The gray stag looked thoughtful now. The flames on his candles had shrunk to dull, orange flickers again, his eyes and ears shifting madly. 'Plop,' another yellowed gob of wax slipped from his tines to the thickening splotch on her back. Gazing down at it, she thought to herself for the hundredth time since she'd known him if the mess bothered him. He didn't seem to be phased.

At the address of her name, she shifted and sat taller, her pale eyes once again round and interested. “Tell me what that is,” Bartleby spoke, tilting his maw back. She watched his eyes glimpse the tall trunk the tree behind them before letting her own gaze move over its uneven bark. Yeah...so? What about it? Questioning rippled across her expression as he shifted her attention too and from the trunk. The gray stag watched her, expectant, and she knew she was meant to answer him somehow. The stirring of frustration pulled at her again, but quieted when deerish lips began to silently hint at the answer. Blinking, she leaned forward, peering closer.
“Tra...tra-ee?” Migisi questioned. Again, her eyes shifted to the giant behind them, then circled around to the sapling he had gestured to before. They looked completely different...Yet she supposed they were both the same, weren't they? Saplings grew into the larger giants. The giants grew old, eventually died and fell to become logs and stumps. She'd seen it. She knew it. But...was this what he meant? Huffing a bit, she turned her head and slowly lifted her chin, eyes moving up the length of the tall trunk to the outstretched branches and leaves above.