By the hands of the Gods, you have been plucked from your time and from your world, dropped into the box.
Only the box is a world of its own.
We are a mass crossover based on the concept of Pandora's Box. Characters from nearly any fandom can be played here. Because of the endless character possibilities, we are canon only here at Pandora. Take a peek at our rules and plot information before starting your new life in Pandora.
@Diego Brando | May 16th, Year 109 | Outside the Drunken Sandworm, 6:47pm
Velika's hooves kicked up a cloud of dirt with each step, though neither she nor her rider cared much. They had spent the past week traveling through the Scorch, and the trip had taken its toll. Between the intense heat and the sandworms, he was more than ready to rest his head even if it meant venturing close to Lethe. While he was loathed to stay at an inn, it would be his only safe haven in such a dangerous city. If he was lucky, the junk he had with him would be enough to bargain for a secluded room.
Unfortunately, he ended up delegated to the barn with his steed. The innkeeper had spotted the collar that was clasped around his neck, clearly identifying him as one of Lethe's many criminals. It was frustrating, to say the least. Irritation coursed through his veins like a fire, even if he could understand the owner's hesitation. Despite that, he resigned himself to the barn and dropped his travel pack in a stack of straw that would be his bed for later. There was still light out, and there was plenty of time for him to prowl through the city's streets.
After ten minutes, he left his horse to her stall to explore the Northern District. The sun was just beginning to dip in the distance allowing for the darkness to encroach even closer. It was light enough for him to keep an eye on the other stragglers, most of them drunk as they stumbled away from a nearby bar. It stank of stale beer and piss, though what truly caught Dimitri's eye was a small lizard. It stood bipedally, sniffing cautiously around the entrance before retreating away. To him, it looked like a wyvern that had traded its wings for legs. Further down the street, he could spot a few more poking their heads from the entryway of an alleyway.
It was clear to him that the lizards were searching for something, but Dimitri couldn't imagine what. Were they the Lethe equivalent of rats scavenging through garbage? Peculiar, then, that he hadn't seen any sort of creature the past times he had entered the city. Enabled by his own sense of curiosity, Dimitri drew closer to the odd beasts, which only sent them scattering in every direction. One clawed its way to the rooftop, while another squeezed itself between the bars of a sewer gate. Cautionary to say the least, but one was slow enough for him to snatch whilst it darted past his foot. It squirmed in his grip, twisting around in feeble attempts to chew on his armored hand. With a soft voice, Dimitri hushed the creature's bizarre chirps as he ran his thumb along the back of its neck.
As distracted as he was by the lizard, he wasn't so absorbed as to overlook the sound of approaching footsteps. Turning to his right to face the approacher, he was met by the sight of a short blond dressed teal and yellow. Foreign letters were attached to a cap along with, oddly enough, a small bow. The most stand-out feature about the stranger, however, were his eyes. For indescribable reasons, they reminded Dimitri of the lizard's in his hands.
Lethe is as miserable a setting as any other town may be, lively and all too populous for Diego's tastes. But as is almost always the case, a job is a job is a job; dangle a sizable reward at the end of the line and he'll bite, as he's always done.
Silver Bullet's presence is unnecessary in this case. Dread Wastes proves a suitable training ground for both avenues of her capabilities, but to endanger a companion - especially this one - is one of the few risks where consequence far outweighs any potential advantages to be gained. Instead, Diego leaves her at a nearby stall - noting the rare addition of another horse there with faint sparks of interest - before stepping off and onto solid ground. Claws barely a touch on her hide before new creatures take form, a flurry of sweeping tails and beady eyes that vanish into the distance with hardly a passing glance.
Diego taps out an idle beat with his heel, audible in the silence that settles in the aftermath. The scrape of teeth as they press into his cheek remains unheard, a thunderous roar in his head that exists to him and him alone.
"It's with me." Contrary to the impression left by each miniature raptor's actions, Diego approaches with little more than a second's hesitation. Cautious in how his teeth retract to remain just out of view, but undeniable intent behind the action of placing one foot in front of the other until only a few feet of separation remain. "I wouldn't recommend touching what doesn't belong to you. Unless it's some kind of sick habit." Interference demands proper retribution, but an absence of hostility from this stranger holds back instinct which tells him to strike. Diego traces his form and watches for a response, any sign to either move forward or throw caution to the wind and attack, like he wants.
a tier title, s tier post. let me know if you'd like anything changed. <3
The accent that coated the stranger's words were exotically unique, unlike any other found in Fódlan. But that was as far as the pleasantries went. The man himself, despite his unassuming size, was rough and unmistakenly dangerous. He could practically sense the bloodlust from the other, a skill that he had honed during years of war. He wasn't aggressive yet, but the tension between them warned of the potential. It was as if he was dealing with a wild animal; if he wasn't careful, then he would find himself in danger. That was crucially important to keep in mind.
He pets the lizard's head with his thumb, stroking it in a manner one would do a bird. Despite the appearance of its owner, it has yet to grown hostile either. But, both were creatures he was unused to. Even with it, he would need to tread carefully. "My apologies, I wasn't aware that it belonged to anyone." There had been no marker or symbolism of ownership. Yet, if he was reading his tone properly, there was an expectation of payment for his offense. Beyond his apology, however, that was as far as his remorse was willing to do.
He knelt down cautiously, his eye never straying from the stranger's face. He opened his hands, freely allowing the small lizard to slip out of his grasp and trot back towards its master. "Make no mistake, this is no... sick habit, as you put it." The verbiage was odd as if he was looking for the justifications to attack aside for his own desires. He could see the tension in his body language, just screaming for any chance to go on the offensive.
A fight was most likely inevitable in this peculiar meeting. Men were impulsive creatures, tossed around by their whims and desires. When blood sang for blood, the demand was always met. Dimitri knew this best. The voices in his head, demanding repentance even in this realm a world's away from his own. While the absence of war has dulled their edge, their whispers never faded from his consciousness. They lingered eternally, demanding a payment of life to finally be put to rest.
Dimitri had no intention to fight the blond before him. Yet, his fingers still twitched in anticipation, Areadbhar a burning weight on his back. "If there's nothing else, then I suggest that we part ways."
After a delay that lasts longer than it feasibly should (especially for him), Diego lets his hackles fall ever so slightly. Not enough that this stranger has the sensibility to treat a creature outside of his own kind with the proper respect that it deserves, but at the very least deserving of some acknowledgement of the fact. "Really?" He raises himself up to full height, stepping closer with every intention to scrutinize rather than strike, like two hunters sizing up their adversary. "Not every day you see a raptor around these parts. I can only assume that would've been the first clue."
As it stands, there's no justifiable reason to strike. Diego lets the raptor at his feet turn its head sharp to one side before scurrying off, and the flurry of movement - made evident only from scratches and snaps from various hiding spots - signifies the others following suit. It'll be a little bit before they find their target, or any real leads to go off of. Enough time to decide if such an encounter is worth the momentary hassle - instinct aside, rationality settles in the forefront and stabilizes the urge to curb the building feeling of irritation by force.
"Hold on." So instead, Scary Monsters retreats to just beneath the skin as Diego answers with only the slightest hint of bite. Razor thin in its edge on the off chance that a fight could come out of this after all, but with a willingness to compromise so long as the opposite side agrees to do the same. "You're awfully calm for doing what you just did right there." Suspicious because he's a pigeon just like the rest of them, and there's no merit in trusting so early, so easily. "Have you worked with these little guys before? Or are you really just that fearless?" One of the raptors scurries back into view and bumps its head against the stranger's leg as Diego cracks a brief grin - all teeth, no fangs.
Their eyes met as the stranger closed the distance between them, Dimitri analyzing the man who had brazenly confronted him. The way he puffed himself up was almost amusing, preparing for a fight that he had no intention to start. He was aggressive, such was plain to see, and despite his short stature, Dimitri had no doubts that he could very well be dangerous. There was a look to him that made Dimitri wary.
"Raptors, is that what they're called?" He watches as the lizard scampers away, racing away at a speed that wasn't surprising for a creature that looked the way it did. More interestingly, however, were the sounds of several others he hadn't realized were there. A pack, then? He had peered at its teeth and claws, and if prey were to have to fight off a group of them? It was the same strategy that wolves employed to take down animals much bigger than they.
"Treating animals with fear or aggression only begets hostility," Dimitri explained as his gaze swept back to the stranger. He felt a bump against his leg, and he was well aware as to what it was as the man grinned. His teeth were perfectly human, and now he couldn't help but doubt if the inhuman qualities he had seen within his face were only tricks of his fallible imagination.
It made the meeting all the more curious, and despite his gut, Dimitri wanted to know more about this man and his league of "raptors". "There are much bigger lizards in the realm I come from." The wyverns of Fódlan, even though he never intimately trained with one, was something he was familiar with. "Winged and large enough to act as mounts. They remind me of them in a way."
"Velociraptors." In all honesty, Diego doesn't know why he continues to linger around this stranger for as long as he does. Interactions past his work have always been few and far between, with those that catch his interest usually carrying a similar affection for animals or in the company of one. "In broad terms, a dinosaur. Surprised you haven't heard of the term before." Past the brief, positive first impression, there's something else. A certain look that Diego can't quite place his finger on, one that has his stand restless for reasons unknown.
"These might look small, but they're dangerous alone or in numbers. Quick on their feet, and merciless when it comes to getting what they want." Diego quirks his lip, the invisible feeling of his non-existent tail thrashing on the ground - preening slightly, he knows, but it's the truth. "They won't attack unless provoked, though, like most animals." He narrows his eyes ever so slightly. "Or unless I tell them to. Either way."
Hard to deny that the idea of the creature circling his feet growing wings is appealing in a way, and in others his own natural affinity towards anything other than pigeons holds Diego's attention until curiosity further loosens his tongue. "Sounds like something out of a fairy tail, honestly." Dragons, if he really has to put a name on it. "Did you have one as your companion?" The raptor at his feet circles and tilts its head up, and Diego makes no move to stop the way it parts its jaws with a greatly subdued shriek, thin and reedy.
Velociraptors and dinosaurs. Both words were endlessly foreign to him, but he could guess that one was a family genus and the other was a specific breed. Why these things were being explained to him was beyond him, but it was better than an aggressive alternative. "They may not have existed in my realm." Surely they would have found bones or evidence that suggested something like a "Velociraptor" existed in Fódlan. At best there were reptilians ranging from geckos to wyverns.
Strength in numbers, Dimitri had guessed that accurately enough. It was hard to imagine that one or two of these raptors would be capable of taking down a fully grown man, though it was possible. Their natural weapons and an eagerness for blood could make up for their small sizes. It wasn't surprising that they were controlled by the man, "So you are their pied piper?"
The one at his feet cries in a way that reminded him of a baby wailing for attention. In order to satiate it, he dropped to a knee and offered a wary hand for the raptor. He had been more careless earlier, and the situation was just as tense. It was possible that he'd be bitten for trying to pet it but in the very least he had gauntlets to protect him if such occurred. "They're wyverns, though," five years ago, there had been a dragon. It rampaged against the invading Empire, brilliant white and terrifying in all of its might. "I've seen a dragon before. I'm not a Wyvern Lord myself; I ride a horse, however."
Like trying to explain some sort of fantasy creature to someone from his own world, Diego thinks with a thoughtful curl of his lip. So rarely is there a human among the pigeons which roam society who can prompt him to linger for so long, and on terms that border from amicable to even friendly when looked at from the right angle. "Take a good look while you can, then. They're a good bunch. Pied piper might be close for comparison purposes, but they listen to me because they want to. I'm not exactly taking control, so to speak." That much, he reserves for the rare human that sees fit for Scary Monsters to take over. Animals deserve better than to be pawns, after all.
Diego peels back the layers of his teeth into a smirk, fangs retracting to the point of disappearing altogether. If he wasn't smiling before, the way the raptor nudges the hand curiously while circling back and forth - equally wary, seemingly - draws it out of him unconsciously and with intent, tried and true. "A horse, huh?" Amazing how small the world is when looked through a lens, and how easy it is to feel at ease after establishing common ground. "Funny you should mention that when I just left mine behind at the bar back there. It's been awhile since I met another jockey outside of races like this."
Though he's no expert in raptors, the creature before him seemed intrigued by him as it bumped his palm with its head. Its tail whipped back and forth while it continued with its odd reptilian chirps. Dimitri could recognize the threat that a herd posed, but it was as the stranger said: they were a good bunch. "I can see what you mean." Cautiously he rubbed his finger gently along the head of the raptor before holding his palm out for it to sniff.
Peering upwards, there's almost a smile on the stranger's face rather than a smirk. The expression is more human in a way Dimitri couldn't quite put his finger on. Either way, he feels more at ease upon seeing it, and his gaze drops back to the lizard still inquisitively investigating his gauntlet. He has to keep in mind to hold his strength back as he offers it pets in ways one might offer a pet cat. They're independent and strong creatures from both the looks and sound of it, but even they were fallible to the indulgence of a good scratch.
"I wouldn't call myself a jockey," Dimitri politely corrected as he stood back to his full height. "But I ride and it seems that you're quite the animal's man." He had known him for mere minutes at this point, but it feels strangely fitting that he'd be surrounded by beasts than men. Something about the look in his eye when they first met gave him the impression. "I'm Dimitri."
It's surprising how easy the raptor warms up to this stranger. With no influence from him either, Diego thinks with a not so casual quirk of his lip, the knowledge that this is still a pigeon that he's dealing with even as the exchange unfolds in front of his eyes. Because if nothing else, the judgement from animals is still one that holds a high amount of merit in his eyes. No bias to get in the way of who they choose to trust, and little else when it comes to an inclination to either steer clear or draw close on a whim alone.
"Could say the same about you." The raptor warbles out a small, unintelligible trill in the back of its throat, like its own version of a purr. Like a parent looking on at their children, Diego can't help but preen ever so slightly, the slight shift in his stance as he rocks back onto his heels. "These guys don't just trust any random stranger. It's the reason I trust their judgement." And why he hasn't made to strike at the earliest opportunity, though there's no reason this stranger needs to know that much.
"Diego." He acknowledges the greeting with a nod, then returns it after a second's pause. "You probably still ride for a reason, though, don't you? Unless it's just a hobby. If it is, it's a good one to have."
The raptor was initially wary of him, but it seems to have grown considerably more comfortable with him as its curiosity became piqued. Between it and the stranger, Dimitri was more cautious of him than anything else. Just like the lizard, the other had calmed down throughout the progress of their conversation. His gaze was less predatory, but nonetheless judgemental all the same. A part of him felt tempted to tug at the fur around his throat to better conceal his collar, though doing so would only draw attention to the band of metal.
"The judgement of beasts is oftentimes better than those of men." Their instincts were sharper and unclouded of bias of status or name. The way the small creature trills a soft song and the resulting expression of its leader leads him to the conclusion that there is no reason to feel uneased just yet. There was still room for him to be proven wrong, though in this instance he hoped that his own decision would prove fine.
"It would be a good one to have, Diego," he agrees with a small nod, crossing his arms over his chest. Velika was a fine horse, and he was lucky to have her even in Pandora. Most nights he spent pacing endlessly in the ruins of the church, but there were times when her presence gave him peace of mind. "She's just a companion of mine."