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Hangry Hangry Hoppers by ela maia won the Toy Design Spotlight! Dubiously kid friendly but ever the nostalgic charmer, I introduce you to... Hangry Hangry Hoppers! Bap the bunnies to gobble up as many pellets as you can before they run out.
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Palentines? [LOCKED]

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Palentines? [LOCKED] 9


by LynnStarDragon » February 11, 2020 03:09 PM

Last Edited: February 24, 2020 11:49 AM

Lynn knew what Valentines was. Every world he’d ever visited seemed to have the romantic holiday. Similar themes, similar ways to celebrate—it was like a universal constant. He had never heard of this Palentines stuff until coming to Hope. Just as prevalent, just as anticipated, just as fervently talked about—oh there was no shortage of information on what it was all about.

But how did one keep it? What were the rules of celebration? (Observation? Observation.)

He put the question to the dorms. Everyone, helpful as they all were, rushed in with answers, more answered than he could keep up with. Shazzbaa and Phosphor spoke of capitalism, of selling things others usually needed or wanted in preparation of the holiday. But he had so little to give other than himself. Himochi (Lynn squinted. Yeah it was him, his shadow was more smokey), Rayne and Gwendolyn spoke of times they had spent with the ones they cared for most in the past and oh that sounded so very nice. Ruevian, in true Matchmaker fashion, had expounded on the power of love and friendship and what ships would sail (and Lynn felt his heart give out because his ship was already taking on water). 1412 and Dragonbano were much more calm and others like Druidgender, Kenome, Elfy and OhNovi explained that they were going to spend the day with their friends. That was a wonderful answer too… but how was it different than any other day? What specifically made it so special if you did the same thing you did every other day?

Maybe he needed to ask somewhere else.

Off to town he went, his question repeated to the major shopkeepers. It was nostalgic for him, to remember how distant everyone was when he first came to Hope. Now they were all so warm and caring and he didn’t even bat an eye when they asked for help. Like Robin, who, yes, was a gossip, but not a malicious one and he dearly enjoyed the strength of her voice. She talked for hours of what her plans were. Nic had arranged an evening with Estella, while their children were out.

(When stopping by the arcade he noticed the little crane pinned to the wall, just as Piper had promised. It was right where one could see it as they entered, proudly on display for people to touch and examine. Lynn’s heart swelled to think she kept the reminder close.)

Fray was a font of energy and stories and so helpfully explaining everything but Lynn still didn’t know how to properly celebrate the day. The kith was so happy to see him it made the inhuman almost forget that he was an outsider.

An outsider… oh right. Maybe he needed to speak with other outsiders. The Enchanted Forest was the first remnant Hope had contacted, so they would have the most familiarity with the non-native holiday.


Lenta was so calm and wonderful, giving Lynn a sense of peace if not an exact answer. In visiting Othidar he saw the man was taking tea… with what looked like a filled creamer by his teapot. The hybrid couldn’t help his smile, silently cheering for his bread-loving friend. The Princess—oh how aloof she had once been with him, to see her smile now was blinding—had plans to keep the day with her Victor, and he couldn’t be happier for them.

(It was as he turned to leave he caught the shape of another paper crane. Tucked away where the Princess would be able to see it, but not exactly out in the open where it could draw attention. It made him think that maybe he could be important to someone too.)

Maybe he needed to get further outside of Hope? But he had spent so much time in the Solarium recently that he knew the people there were just as in the dark as him on HOW to celebrate the day. Perhaps he’d have better luck on the Stage…

Witch was young, his answers would at least be honest. Oh, but then Wolf would probably be there and Lynn loved her as a sister but if she tried to fire at Hero’s cart—

No, no the wound from Hero’s story was too fresh, too raw, he still couldn’t see the man. And his story was all tangled up with the Dollmaker’s and thinking of both of them made his heart ache and his chest hurt in the best and worst of ways.

Scribe might have an answer though. And he’d promised to spend more time with her—she’d appreciate his company, and someone else to call her by name.

Which she did! Of course she was in the middle of an epic writing streak and not wanting to break her stride, Lynn joined her for a full on jam session and that was how they ended up collaborating on no less than fourteen different new stories and why he was tasting colors by the end of his stay from the amount of caffeine potions they had both tanked. Still no answer though, and less time until the holiday hit.

Okay, maybe going to the Reef? He wasn’t a fan of all the water—he’d never really been a beach kind of monster. But the people there, they had grown on him and he found that he loved the place less for the sun and surf and more for the inhabitants who had made him feel so welcome.

But who to see first—

Oh, wait, he had made that promise to Shay! He still needed to make little cranes for all his kith. It had taken far too much time, but he had to have multiple color schemes ready in quadruplicate—at least—to accommodate possible overlap in requested features. And wax.

Grabbing his supplies he headed to the toy maker first.

Shay couldn’t close the shop while Lynn worked, but he negotiated the Hope resident to as out of the way a place as he could. Once the magic circle and dome of air was set up, Lynn got inside, sat down and took out everything he’d brought. Pounds of colored wax from Hero, more construction paper and colored sheets than he had any right to ask from Elliot’s shuttle runs, and all his magic to make things work. When Lynn had asked who was first, all the Whimperial wanted to be it. Lynn said nothing and let Shay restore order in his own way. He was familiar with this kind and level of… organization.

Long before meeting Shay, he had seen worse ways of coping with surviving.

(First hand, mostly.)

The order set, Lynn got to work, picking papers and inscribing words or pictures or whatever else the kith asked for. He even stole the color from one sheet of paper to blend into another. He folded the wings just so, tilted the heads up and down, rounded this edge, put an eye here, there, could he ink on feathers? Oh how thick was the wax going to be? Wait, he could blend the colors of the wax too?! That was so cool!

And Shay kept his shop running smoothly, occasionally looking back like any worried parent. But Lynn was fine, they were all fine and he could see that no one was going anywhere today. He was just glad Dione was able to make a family sized meal, because realistically how was the man able to use SO much magic in a sitting without rest?

But he had another customer and no critical emergencies to deal with.

It was something of a delight as Lynn folded the last crane, paper sealed watertight and infused with wax and magic. With a hum of accomplishment, he held the gift delicately on the tips of his claws and brought it up for Periskopein to take. The way the kith cheered made the hybrid laugh. Oh that had felt so good! He pressed the paper to the barrier of air and pushed it through into the water to be taken. To see them all happily holding and admiring their gifts, to see that something so small had brought them so much joy…

Something he had done… it felt wonderful.

Lynn felt a hand pat the top of his head. It was so sudden it made his wolf ears manifest and stand straight up. But the touch was gentle and clawed and oh it was Shay giving him head pats. With a relaxing sigh Lynn leaned into the touch, just enjoying the closeness. Wordlessly, the pats turned to smooth claws scratching the top of his head through his hair and the young immortal sighed in bliss.

“You know, I think I get why you don’t have an answer to your question.”

Lynn just blinked up at him, leaning further back to see that little smile the mer rarely gave—the one he held aside for the few he grew close to. “What do you mean?”

And the mer just chuckled softly. “Why did you go to the trouble of making those cranes?”

Oh, well, Lynn thought about that. He had offered after making Shay a crane. And his kith had seemed so enthusiastic and it was a really simple thing that wasn’t too much trouble. Even if it had been he would have done it anyway because they were friends, because Shay had shown him vulnerability Lynn hadn’t expected and that made him feel so close to the mer that…




Something shiny caught his eye. High on a shelf, out of the way from where anyone could touch it, but able to be seen from anywhere in Shay’s shop, was a small white crane weighted down and sitting in a little handmade nest of polished stones and pearls all its own.

With a smile Lynn answered, “I guess I made the cranes for the same reason everyone is keeping them. And I guess small acts of kindness are an okay way to honor the day too.”

“Good.” Shay had said simply, removing his hand. “Now come on, clean up and get out of there before the food dries out. Don’t make me take care of you too.” He added in mock sternness.

A little laugh left the man. “I wouldn’t dream of it,” not even for Palentines.

He had never heard of this Palentines stuff until coming to Hope… there was no shortage of information on what it was all about.

But how did one keep it? What were the rules of celebration?

TW has my permission to use this story everywhere and on all social media.}}
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Re: Palentines?

by Rayne » February 11, 2020 03:18 PM

Awwww! So sweet! I love this story about Lynn learning the true meaning of Palentine's. (I'm a huge sap for holiday specials, though, so I'm biased.) Move over, Shay, I want to give head pats now!

And I didn't miss my name in there! Good thing I didn't try to give you advice. I am not known for being a wise person.
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Re: Palentines?

by LynnStarDragon » February 12, 2020 12:18 AM

Heehee, thanks [@Rayne]!

Shay just seems the head pat type—affection with minimum amount of contact that is still somehow very intimate.

XD Hey, you are plenty wise. And I just wanted to show some love to everyone in the dorms who have been so wonderful to me. (Now to start writing about the guys who only hang out in the forums...)
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Re: Palentines?

by Jay » February 21, 2020 01:33 PM


Aw, what a sweet story. It's always fun to see someone exploring the meaning of Palentine's Day for the first time!
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