A Final Request - RPLOG
A warm day with clear and sunny skies. Typical Sweetwather weather and a great day for an outing. Perfect for the last request of an old man. Not far away from the recently restored Longtail Manor's gates is a small crowd of sorts. The center of attention of course is the long time survivor himself Edward Longtail, a cheetah with dulled fur that's certainly seen more luster in days past. His limbs are weak and scrawny, no longer fit for even lifting basic objects. Frail, but considering his coughing laugh while he speaks, still full of energy. Two beings support both sides of the noble while he converses with the small group of curious beings.
Sven loiters in the square, shirtless and panting in the hot Firmament weather. He had been on his way for a swim at the beach after finally acquitting himself of his duties at court, but had found himself interested in the strange old man outside of Flora's newly renovated manor. After only a moment of listening to the elderly being's stories, the hefty puma had been rooted to the spot!
Rixo always did like listening to the stories of the elders, so when word got around she had promptly shown up. Though in armour, as always, she had her helmet off and tucked under her arm, her heavier weapons missing from her person, as well. Seems today was a day for taking it relatively easy. "Good afternoon there!" She calls out with a genuine smile, giving a polite bow as she stops a respectable distance from the man, giving a nod of greeting to Sven, as well.
Angus wouldn't miss an opportunity to meet such an elder, wounds or not as he walks over to the small crowd and smiles. "Hello there, I hope I'm not late to greet people?" The well dressed fox asks, making sure he looked representable for this.
A mumble leaves Flora's muzzle, and she soon rides out of the gates from her golem from within the large gates, a tail flicking behind her and her ears are twitching lightly. Behind her follows the ever-excitable Lina, slinking out of the gates before Flora makes sure they're properly closed behind her again.
She lightly raises a brow, her tail flicking behind her and her gaze set upon the elderly member of... Her family?
Lina follows Flora with a bit of a dance in her step today, having what she would call a pretty sweet day. She looks amongst the crowd, rather curiously as she sees the center of attention is... some old cat. She waves to them all briefly before she settles down a bit and stretches, seeing what Flora wanted to do.
"So how did you do it?" One bunny being asks. When in a situation such as this, a question like that being asked was only a matter of time.
"Well that's easy young man," he responds in a shaky and frail voice. "Just don't die. AH HAHAHA!" Edward breaks into a powerful series of laughs mixed with chest rattling coughs that are strong enough to bring concern to all those around. But with such little time left on this planet, it was only natural.
"Well hello there little..." The old cheetah pauses and squints his eyes heavily as he peers at Rixo. The wheels in his head click and turn, trying to piece together the blur that was the remains of his eyesight. "Being." As the gate opens up, the old coot eventually reacts after a small delay and turns his head towards the newly arived felines. "Oohh," he murmurs under his breath, squinting his eyes to a point where they're nearly closed. "Bring me closer now. Use that yout- COUGH COUGH -youthful energy!" Such a demanding tone for someone in his position, but the beings supporting move Edward closer to Flora and Lina regardless. For almost a full minute, he stands there, only staring and staring until finally breaking out into another heavy laughing fit. "So, are you the famous High Lady Longtail?"
Sven grins at the old man, laughing a deep, belly laugh at the elderly feline's unoriginal, but well-timed quip. "Sven likes old man cheetah!" he rumbles, "He is most clever!" The hefty feline swaggers closer, just in case the old man needs some extra support. He also eyes Rixo appreciatively, liking the look of a strong woman. The big cat has given up on flirting with Flora since she became a high lady. Too much pressure there.
Rixo folds her free arm behind her head, chuckling as she nods. "Rixo, sir. It is nice to see you still up and kicking!" She glances sidelong at Sven again, brow raised. "And hello to you. Properly, this time! Punch any more annoying nobles lately?" she asks with a grin.
Angus chuckles a little as he listens in on the old timer, hands in his pockets as he just follows the small crowd for now and just listens. When he notices Sven and Rixo he gives them a nod in greetings, curious as to how the Elder will react to the new high lady Longtail.
A mumble, a raised brow. "Flora is... Flora. Flora is only High Lady Longtail in court, yes... Outside of court, Flora prefers Flora," she mumbles with a shrug, still looking at the at the cheetah with a curious look on her face.
She looks towards Lina, her ears flicking lightly and her hands used to steer Bastet closer towards the elder.
Lina takes the look as a signal, moving closer with the feline as she looks the old cat over in close detail. He is a rather old gramps, she silently wonders just how old. "Hi, I'm Lina, nice to meet you." she says, curious what the old man would want with being so close to Flora, she looks to the golem construct before looking back at him, and his support.
"So what was your diet like?" Another being asked, curious to see if perhaps he could obtain the secrets of long lasting life himself. Naturally, curiosity is still quite abound within the small crowd.
"A glass of wine every day. The doctors told me I should be eating more fruit, but -COUGH COUGH COUGH-, when they took my wine away is when mmmffmfm..." Edward's line of speech seems to dissolve into nothing but incoherent mumbling for reasons unknown, much to the confusion of those around him. Acting as if nothing happened, he switches attention and glares heavily at Sven, but not out of malice. Simply, deep, deep, analysis.
"You... You're one of those, uh.. ermmmhmmmm.... Snowies! Yes! I remember now. Let's see.. hoo, this was decades back," he recalls while a hand strokes at his chin. "There was someone who came by here decades ago and threw a party I just couldn't resist going to. Greghoph? No... Good to meet you, lass!" A certain topic whiplash! His focus changes over to Rixo right when she addresses him. "They haven't taken me yet... bear, -COUGH COUGH-. Did you come back from the war to finally finish me off?" It was hard to tell if he was being serious or not, and even the brings started looking at each other in concern. Chalk it up to bad memories.
And again, his attention diverts rapidly, almost as if he forgot what he was talking about just seconds before. "So you're the High Lady Longtail," he repeats again. "And this is your child or something," Edwards gestures towards Lina. "That'd make you pretty old then, wouldn't it! Don't let them take your wine now." The old cheetah chortles with a rattle in his chest, eventually calming down after another violent coughing fit. "I see you've taken to the responsibilities of my family. We've... been through a lot I'm sure you know. Good times and bad times."
Sven grins as the old man recognizes his family. "It is an honor always to be remembered!" Sven crows, "You are talking about Grandfather Grigory, Da?" The hefty puma had heard the stories of Grandfather and could imagine that the old cheetah had remembered one of Grigory's grand balls. The puma shoots a grin at Rixo, "Not recently," he says, "But maybe pretty Panda will help Sven to fix this?" Cedric probably wouldn't might skipping out on ONE court ball, and this lovely lady looked like she knew how to have FUN at a social gathering.
Rixo grins to the elderly gentleman and places a plated fist on her breastplate. "No, no. This knight is on your side, old friend," she offers with a grin. "And pretty? Why, you flatter me, Sven. I try not to make a habit of punching people that don't deserve it, but I can appreciate a good brawl."
Angus chuckles, clapping a little as he tries hard not to just outright start laughing. "I'm guessing you have run into some intresting things in your long years Sir." He comments as he eyes Rixo, snickering a little as he crosses his arms a bit.
Flora blinks. Repeatedly. Her tails twitch lightly behind her, and a mumble leaves her muzzle. "This is Lina, yes... Lady Lina Longtail... A cousin of Flora, yes. Flora... Flora doesn't have any kittens yet, no," she mumbles after a moment of deliberation, tails twitching behind her again. "And Flora... Doesn't drink wine, no. Flora doesn't drink alcohol, no no... Doesn't like it, no," she mumbles. "And... We also don't have any wine, anyways, no. Too few funds, not enough space, and no good reason to have it right now, no no."
Lina blinks too, this old gramps called Flora old and her quite young! "No! I'm not Floras daughter, although I'm positive she will be the best mother if she has any, What makes you say that umm... mister?" she asks, trying to find the motives behind wine and age misappropriation.
"Yes!" Edward exclaims. "Gregory or something like that. One of those Snowies from all the way over there. He was quite an interesting fellow... Dared me to get naked and thought I wouldn't do it. I sure proved him wrong, HA HA HA -COUGH COUGH- Ooh, that one hurt a bit."
The leopard looks at Rixo for a moment and heaves a sigh of relief. "Oh! Oh, good. I thought you were that bear again. That was a close one. Are you happy with your lifebond there," he asks while pointing at the chuckling Angus. However, his expression takes on a more serious look as waddles his way over to the gate. Two hands descend upon the bar as he observes the manor in silence. After more than a minute, he finally starts talking once more. "I spent a lot of my time here. We weren't always what most people think of us now. Before the civil war, things were nice. I didn't really support it, but the results affected me regardless. Nothing hurt my heart more than seeing our name thrown into the mud."
The old leopard turns around while still attached to the gate to show Flora a warm smile. "It's... nice seeing the manor all fixed up. Brings back a lot of memories. It's like I'm fifty-five years younger. Thanks, Lady Longtail. I'm not sure you realize what this means to an old man."
Meanwhile, a familiar lion strolls down the street. Dio's coat flutters in the wind behind him as he whistles a merry little tune and eventually joins in with the crowd.
Sven grins and throws out his chest proudly. "Da! Grandfather Grigory!" he says, ever proud to be a Snowmark. The hefty cat can't help but smirk a little as the old noble jumps to conclusions and makes mistaken observations. Sven catches sight of Dio and waves in recognition. He HAD to get that lion to his next party!
Rixo raises her brow at that. "My lifebonded?" She leans back and peers at Angus, snickering. "Oh. No, that is just Angus Solacious. I am not lifebonded yet. It is quite hard to find someone that can live up to my expectations, afterall! And still be a fitting choice. My family probably grows impatient back home, though."
"It's... Not done yet, no... Flora has only repaired the most important parts yet... Few funds, lots of debts... Flora has to prioritize... Flora is working on things. LongTech industries... Flora thinks the family has to do good things, yes... And by making life better for beings with new inventions, Flora thinks that Flora can start making a difference, yes, and earn crown to renovate more in the process, yes yes," she mumbles, looking out over the group for another moment, before mumbling a tad.
Lina listens to Flora mumble and says "It's okay Flora, you're doing your best and a really good job. So... you're an old longtail?" she asks as she tries to figure things out for herself, looking at the crowd and the arriving lion, and then Flora and the two again. "You're silly mister...?" she asks again, before saying "gramps?" as a place holder, the old cat not yeilding their name to her, she decides on a nickname.
"Good afternoon to ya, lad," Dio greets Sven with a little wave. "Been awhile since we've seen each other. I've mostly been out an' 'bout. Jus' came back from a trip a few days back too."
Meanwhile, the old coot continues to stare through the gate. It's hard to tell what exactly he's staring at with eyes as bad as his, but regardless, the idea or image was still moving to him. "You have a lot of work ahead of you, but I'm sure you know this. While there are some of us that would start another war if they could, some like me could die happy if our name carried the air it once did. I'm a proud Longtail, and I thank you again for what you're doing. It's been... rough over these decades. And gramps?" The cheetah's head rapidly turns around to look at Lina in another whiplash of mood. "I've been called coot, senile old man, crazy cat, Jimmy, and many other things, but gr- Joseph?"
Edwards looks directly at Dio, who in turn looks around to see who the old man might be staring at. Dio points to himself, and then looks at the others in confusion. Indeed, there was no one else he could be staring at. "Am I seeing a ghost? Has my old age caught up with me? Where's you been? We looked everywhere for you. We couldn't even find your wagon or anything."
Curious, Dio walks closer to the old man and tilts his head. "Joseph? I ain-" The old man interrupts the lion and tugs at Dio's coat. "Still wearing that coat I see. You're talking funny, but I know that coat of yours. When you came back, I said I'd give you back that painting. Here... uh..." Edward looks at one of his helpers and whispers to him, who then takes off into the distance to retrieve something. "What happend, Joseph? You were gone for years..."
Sven is about to welcome Dio with a manly embrace, but is forestalled by the ramblings of old Edward. "Venerable Longtail," Sven drawls in his thick accent, "Is Dio, not Joseph." The hefty cat looks at Dio uncertainly, "Unless IS Joseph. Dio? You are also Joseph, maybe?"
Rixo leans back, looking on with interest as she watches the old man's reaction to Dio, who gets a polite wave from the panda. "I do hope you will be able to pass with pride in your heart, then. You seem like a good person, and I would certain be pleased if you went happily and peacefully."
"Flora... Would like to hear the tales of the past, yes... But... This will have to wait, yes yes. It can wait until Flora gives Lord Longail a tour of the restored facilities, yes," she murrs with a grin, before looking towards Dio with a... Confused look on her face.
Lina nods to herself. "You're not a coot, and the other things sound mean, Jimmy. If that's your name, I'll use it!" she says with glee, looking over to Dio with a puzzled look. Maybe he was senile, the lion didn't seem to know him.
"I uhh..." Dio rubs the back of his head and looks towards the others, not quite sure how to respond to the situation. "Are you still in the merchant game? You know, you could probably retire by now like me HA HA HA -COUGH COUGH-" Edward's tone changes to something much more reminiscent, the sound of someone seeing an old friend after many years past.
"Still... Goin' on la- Ol' Coot. 'ad a get a new wagon ya see. Almost died out there an' 'ad to go on quite the recovery an' adventure." It probably wasn't very nice to deceive an old man like this, but he seemed to know about Dio's coat. He simply couldn't pass up the opportunity to play along. "Still selling wares to your favorite "stop"? Ahh, but we know why you were really there, eh eh," Edward winks with a smirk, even giving Dio a nudge with his elbow, who forces a laugh in return. "And thank you bear. I couldn't be happier right now. The Longtails are getting and going again and I finally get to see my best friend again. And I would love to see the inside of my home again. It's been so long." Edward sniffles as his eyes grow watery from the overbearing of emotion, a hand even clutching at his chest.
Before long, the helper returns with a painting held securely within his cluthces. As he turns it over, the painting of a pair of felines appears on its surface. A youngish leopard wraps his arm around the back of a proud looking lion in front of a merchant's cart. In fact, he wears the very same coat Dio is wearing at current. While the the lion and Dio certainly look different, it was hard to ignore their similiarities in facial structure and build.
"I said you could have it when you got back, so here you go. Had that stored away for a while I can tell ya that! HA HA! -COUGH COUGH WHEEZE-" The helper hands the painting over to Dio, who stares at it incredulously for a few moments. "I... I, this is..."
Sven squints at the painting. "Is looks much like friend Dio," he says, looking from the image to the confused looking lion. But the novelty can only hold the rambunctious noble's attention for so long. "Old man!" he says to Edward, "You are telling us more stories of adventures, da?"
Rixo looks at the painting for a long moment before looking towards Dio. "Well... Would you look at that." She reaches up to rub her chin, falling silent after that as she watches the exchange. While she normally wouldn't approve of the deception... If it made the old man so happy, she could let it slide.
"Do you remember when we got that painting taken? Something of that quality can take a good amount of crowns you know. I was going to let you have it once you came back and told me your secret." The leopard coughs and wheezes much to the helper's concerns, but strangely enough, he waves them off and attempts to walk on his own. In very careful and frail steps, he makes his way towards the gate and then turns around to face the crowd again. Slowly but surely, Edward sinks down until his rear touches the floor while he coughs about even more violently.
"Do you remember when we first met? You sold me the best jerky I've ever tasted. You wouldn't tell me the secret, but now it's time to pay up. But let me guess first... It was a bit of brown sugar, wasn't it? And the perfect amount of salt and some of that wood you always had in the back of your cart."
Not sure how to respond, Dio looks around for a moment and slips the painting under his shoulder. Slowly, he makes his way towards the old man and crouches down to grab his hand. "Ya got it, old man... Probably shouldn't 'ave let ya 'ave all that jerky if I wanted to keep my secret."
Edward soon erupts into a roaring coughing laughing fit, even spitting out some in a less than healthy manner. "I knew it! I knew it all along. I... I told you I would figure it out, even if it took decades..." The old man's breathing becomes heavy while his eyes close like locks, breathes fewer and far in between by the moment, until... silence.
Sven looks in shock at the old cat. "Oh." he says quietly, which is very strange for the normally loud puma. He is not sure what proper tradition is in Firmament for something like this, so he steps back and stands quietly, allowing old Edward Longtail's attendants to do what must be done.
Rixo hangs her head, a frown creeping onto her face. "At least he got to go with peace and happiness in his heart." She stands up straight, thumping her fist against her breastplate again in a sort of salute. "May he rest easy wherever he goes beyond."
Edward's wrist goes limp within Dio's hand. The doctors certainly weren't lying about how little time he had left. The lion moves the cheetah's hand to rest on the old man's own body while he stands up and says a little silent prayer under his breath. "Good luck in the next life, lad. I 'ope ya get to see my dad 'gain an' enjoy what he's got to sell. I'll pay fer the lad's funeral an' such if ya don't mind."
While the beings around him may or may not have heavy hearts, there was at least one thing that was for certain: A smile on old Edward's lips.