Esche & Iesha

“Maybe this was their friend.” A slightly deeper voice, more masculine.

“I do not think so.” The two traded words as if the specialists were not present. “Would they not attack us, if they were?” another bite of the nicely charred meat.

“Maybe they did not like this friend.” The other snake person offered.

Name Iesha
Age Young
Appearance
Iesha is an extremely long (5x longer than other nagas) dark naga with ash violet hair and somewhat creepy turquoise colored eyes. She has six strong, slender limbs and a very long tail. Due to her fear projection skill that is never truly turned off, Iesha can cause unease and a little loss of sanity to those who view her for the first time. Iesha’s skin which is soft and flexible is heavily armored and able to withstand high damage: she is also able to change the reflectivity of her skin and emulate virtually any visual background, making herself invisible.
Personality
Iesha is not the most sane creature under Shy’s guardianship: but he thinks she is perfect just the way she is, and has never made any effort to try to “fix” her. Due to her dark tones and almost silent movements, Iesha would be rarely ‘seen’, if not for the psionic presence that is undeniably horrific. Iesha does not know / will not turn it off: and has driven many strangers insane. She feels no qualms about this- but does not like to inconvenience her hosts, and so often prefers to stay alone or in the shadows.
Iesha is quiet, has a complex of needing to be the ‘biggest in the room’, and is very, very aggressive. What tempers her aggression is her submission to Sha-ne, and her willingness to listen to her siblings She has very low social skills and cannot understand social cues: so do not beat around the bush with this one, and do not make any sudden movements.
Abilities
Genetic Alternation: Iesha is able to touch (lick) a biological organism and shape their own DNA into a compatible or equitable form. While this has primarily been used for breeding, it has also been used to test for mutations and powers, and adapt to different climates.
Information Transfer: Iesha is able to read from a biological or electronic source and ‘dump’ information in a digital format. .
Fear Projection and Induce Terror: Ieshahas never known how to turn this power off- it is strongest close up (within 10 meters) but extends over 100 meters for highly sensitive minds.
Name Esche
Age Young
Appearance
Esche is stunning and highly visible compared to his larger and darker sibling. With vivid teal and turquoise hued scales and curling hair an odd and natural shade of magenta with hints of fuchsia, his eyes are the same vivid shade as his hair.
Esche has a longer body than typical even for their other siblings, and a slender, prehensile tail that is around 1.5 x longer than a Zekiran is tall. He has scaled skin that can change colors and texture at will, allowing them to hide or show off visually.
Esche prefers to show off, and you can be sure that he has studied many of Shy’s other projects to better identify colors and patterns to stand out from amongst the crowd.
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Personality
Esche is the most socially adept of his siblings, and likes to use his talents to impress others. Charming and protective of those he considers his own, he balances out and blunts the force of his more aggressive sibling.
Esche is an ambitious naga. He wants to be more than just a pretty plaything created with special powers- he wants to be strong, respected, and known for being more than a pretty face.
Ability
Sense Motives and Hypnotic Suggestion: Esche can detect and understand strong emotional states of any sentient creature’s motivations, not just their immediate concerns but deeper reasons behind their actions. Their suggestion power works at around 5 meters, and particularly well for crowd weaving and rallying groups
Greater Thought Broadcasting and Invasive Telepathic Imprint: Esche is able to soak up surface and deeper thoughts around them and put them into a ‘party line’ broadcast. This works best on humanoids but also strongly on reptilian dragons of size less than !0′ at shoulder. They can also force thoughts into minds as easily as their suggestion power.
Standing at the Koshi Keidai

Iesha did not mind the attention. She liked knowing that all eyes were on her, and that, whenever she preened a little bit, it seemed to cause a cry of pain and horror. She liked the noise, it reminded her of the music Esche spoke of. Iesha did not mind at all that she could cause the viewers to perform ‘music’ for her.

“Screams, dear heart. Those are called screams, and very different to the music I tried to share with you.”

Iesha ignored her counterpart- he who was so bright and vividly hued, who could pick up and display patterns and colors like a dog performing tricks for his master.

She turned her attention instead to a familiar figure who had arrived, face covered by a deeply hooded cloak. Iesha could taste in the air that it was the same individual. They may change the color of their cloak and come even masked in other faces and forms, but Iesha knew it was the visitor who had arrived every night to watch them.

The visitor who tasted of dragons and stone.

The large enclosures that each of her siblings resided in were plush and comfortable- Iesha had no complaints about this little room they were asked to visit and display themselves for prospective clients. And yet, whenever the visitor came, the room seemed too small, the bars and glass that separated her from the crowds too constraining. Iesha lifted her head and scented the air.

The visitor. Something was… different. There was a metallic touch to her scent, a greater degree of gold and silver. Almost as if-

Iesha smiled.

“Brother.” She whispered, her tone delighted. Because who else would her visitor come for, except the most beautiful of nagas? “Someone is here for us.”

“I trust payment is to your satisfaction?” The client’s voice held the barest sibilant hiss at the end of her words as she gestured to the trunks of gold and semi precious jewels she had brought with her. She gestured with a gloved arm to towards the enclosures. “I am surprised they acquiesce to being displayed like… animals.”

Frusiu shrugged, signing over the last of the documents that ceded control of the naga pair. “It is in jest, only. They know it is for show and to create a mood, and that it is not really a cage of any kind.” He looked up once, and caught just the barest gleam of molten gold eyes from underneath the hood.

Frusiu shivered. An age old instinct screaming at him to break eye contact. To look away, AWAY from this cloaked woman in front of him. “Will you require transportation services to take them home?” he asked.

She did not answer, instead holding out a hand for the scrolls. “I would like to meet them now.”

Frusiu nodded his head. Finalizing the signatures, he rolled up the old fashioned parchment, affixing a formal seal before handing it over to the woman in front of him. Distantly he could hear laughter, delighted, chaotic laugher as if one of the naga’s could sense that change was coming.

Straightening from his seat, he brushed down the long jacket he wore, straightening the sleeves of his shirt as he offered his arm to his client. The woman hesitated for a moment before she slipped one delicate arm through his.

“What made you decide on these two?” he asked, curious despite himself. Was it the coloring, something his client had sensed in their personality? As a professional businessman, the response would be able to provide him with insight on features he could highlight in his next projects.

“They smell like family.” Was her cryptic response.

Frusui and his client came to a stop in front of one of the enclosers, and Frusui hesitated for a moment, slightly concerned for safety. Whether it was for himself, his client, or his nagas, he was not sure. The woman inclined her head towards the barriers and he steeled his resolve before pressing a set of buttons.

With a woosh the glass encloser lowered and the metal bars twisted up. A second or two and nothing stood between them and the twin nagas.

Lightening fast, it was the dark skinned sister who lashed out, suddenly moving from one end of the encloser to the other. Even Frusui who had grown used to the mock attacks stiffened slightly as the dark skinned naga coiled around them, sniffing closely at the woman.

Her turquoise eyes took in the arm that the client had twined around his and snarled, and Frusui could feel fear and terror course through him, aggravating a highly sensitive flight or fight response.

His client stood still, calm, withdrawing her arm from his and pulling down the hood of her cloak. The dark skinned sister let out a laugh of triumph and joy.

Frusui’s client had pale skin that seemed to glow iridescent under the lights, making his fingers itch for a sample. Her hair were multiple coils of tiny snakes with no features, moving at will and seeming to taste the air. Her eyes were closed, and yet, just a sliver of molten gold seemed to gleam and wink at him, as if somehow, her eyes were both open and closed at the same time.

She was beautiful.

“You are like us!” The dark skinned naga proclaimed, delight in her tone as she coiled around the woman, closer and closer until she was surrounded in a tight grip. “Brother, look. Isn’t she beautiful?” the naga leaned forward, a snap of a gesture to lick the woman’s cheek. “Like us, but different.” She admired, and for a second, her ash violet hair seemed to shift, taking on the same snakelike movements of her new owner.

The brother shifted from his more sedate position at the edge of the encloser. His teal and turquoise scales gleamed under the bright lights, and magenta eyes watched the woman with fascination. He moved slowly, consideringly, and as he moved his scales seemed to light and his hair straighten until he echoed the client’s more alabaster coloring,

The woman placed one hand on the dark coils around her, and reached out with another hand for the effeminate male who had shifted his tone to complement hers.

“You are beautiful the way you are, Esche.” She crooned. “I am here to take you both home.”

Her words caused the male naga to flush, his alabaster scales taking a pleasant pink hue before they darkened and he stood in front of her in his vivid hues of magenta and turquoise.

“What do you want with us?” he asked, and there was weight and power behind his words.

Frusui watched, considering. The male naga had the ability to detect and understand motivations and strong emotions: he wondered what he was sensing from the woman in front of him.

The woman smiled. It was not pleasant- and Frusui took a discreet step away from the open enclosure.

“I want to bring you home, Esche.” She repeated. “I want to have you both grow into your powers, and for us to become a family.”

Esche continued to stare at the woman in front of him. The silent extended long enough at Iesha hesitated, her coils loosening around the woman as she took slow, creeping movements to stand by her brother’s side.

“Brother?”

The woman did not move and did not react, waiting instead, to be judged. To be considered.

Finally, Esche smiled. “We would like that, Sha-ne” he spoke. “We would like to become family.”

“Brother, frozen food tastes even worse than burnt food.” Iesha’s tone was soft and petulant as she tugged the fur lined cloak closer around her body. “Can we not eat them now?” she asked, her tone plaintive. Submissive.

The vivid hued naga who had darkened his scales to camouflage better with the barren rock looked down at his sibling. The heated lining of the clothing Sha-ne had given them kept the naga pair insulated even in the midst of a winter blizzard: it would keep them alive and warm long enough to complete their task, but it was not comfortable.

Desert nagas were not meant for snow and sleet, blizzard and howling winds. So they clung to the walls of the clifftop mountain, crouched deep within their fur lined cloaks and peered down at the humans who guarded the entrance of the caverns with hunger and a little bit of impatience.

“Sustenance would help us navigate the rest of the terrain.” He agreed slowly. Warm food would chase away the chill that was starting to eat at his bones- and it would not take his sister long. She could still barely control her fear projection: even now, cloistered away the waves leaked from her and caused the unease and repressed shivers of the night guards below.

Iesha’s turquoise eyes gleamed with satisfaction as she uncurled her full length. “Then let us eat.” She whispered, the fear projection that clung tightly around her relaxing and expanding until with very little effort she could push it out to the group of humans below them.

Esche did not mind the shrill screams- Iesha enjoyed her form of “music” too much, that it had become common background noise whereever the pair traveled. He instead kept his mental reach prepared, sending out messages to minds he could reach at a broader radius.

Just the howl of the wind. He cast out. The sound of wind slipping between craggy rocks. Nothing of note was happening.

“Time to eat, brother.” Iesha murmured, moving swiftly through rock and snow. “And maybe pick up a present or two for Sha-ne.”

The naga pair returned to their den, bags packed lightly with shinies and presents that they had discovered in the caverns, bellies full of food and meat. Iesha had found an oddly patterned snake of sorts curled tightly around a heated stone- and delighted at this ‘Cousin’, had promptly tucked it within her clothes to bring home.

They returned to the den expecting to find their Sha-ne (because what other title could the female Basilisk have than “Theirs”?) with the male gold dragon she called her own, only to find their expectations marred by the arrival of another visitor.

The naga pair did not like visitors. They did not like strangers that scented their den or took away Sha-ne’s time. This man, tall and shiny himself in some sort of ornate costume, with oil black hair and gleaming green eyes sat in front of the large fireplace with self assured confidence. As if he owned this place. As if he belonged in their den.

The naga pair did not like him at all.

“Esche, Iesha.” Shan-ne sat with her tail curled around the base of the chair across from the oil man. Her eyes were open, gleaming molten gold. Unusual enough, because not many could meet the eyes of this Basilisk. “This is Shy.”

Esche moved forwards first, his sister following soon after until they flanked either side of Sha-ne’s seat. Iesha ran her hands over Sha-ne’s hair, a gesture less to comfort the Basilisk, more to comfort herself. They had never heard that tone of respect and devotion from their Sha-ne before. They were not sure what to make of it.

Iesha hissed. She pushed out with her fear projection until it was an uncomfortable sensation that rubbed against the skin, enough to send most humans feeling out the door with no thought. The oily man continued to sit in the chair and only arched his brow, his feline green eyes sparkling with amusement.

Iesha snarled, increasing the fear projection until it felt like nails against the inside of the mind, enough to have humans gibber and crawl, unable to walk or run.

The oily man only raised his teacup to his lips and took a sip.

“Who are you and what do you want?”

Esche asked, his tone soft and sibilant. He reached out with his own gift and felt his hypnotic suggestion come across a blank wall. Nonplussed he reached out again, except there it was, something that seemed to repulse his gift back to him.

“A visitor.” The man murmured. “An old friend. Sha-ne wrote to me of her travels and how she encountered the both of you on Zekira. I have my own personal projects with that world. She let me know the gifts you have and I thought it would be a good time for me to reacquaint myself with my first…” his lips curled into a small. “Project.”

Esche did not like the way the oily man said the word. Sha-ne seemed to find it amusing though, because she laughed.

Their Sha-ne never laughed.

“What is it you do?” the oily man asked the naga pair.

Iesha reached inside the heat lined bodice to tug out the black and brown patterned snake creature. “We are Treasure Hunters.” She announced, her tone sibilant and proud. “Sha-ne, this is Cousin.”

The brown and black creature peered out and turned its head left and right, taking in its new and very warm surroundings with a creel of delight. It wrapped itself tightly around Iesha’s arm, winding its way up until it lay around her neck.

The dark skinned naga laughed with delight, amused and a little distracted.

“Treasure hunters?” the oily man repeated. “I’m surprised at you, Sha-ne.”

“We like pretty things.” She responded, her tone serene and amused. “We are very good at our job.” She gestured to the wide living room where artfully placed ornaments and statues decorated the living space. “It adds more…. Richness.” the word was purred. “Than simply my statues alone.”

Esche did not understand why the oily man laughed, as if he and their Sha-ne shared a private joke. But Esche also realized that this man’s hidden motivations were complex, and that his gift echoed to him only amusement and curiosity.

This oily man was not the enemy. He would not steal away their Sha-ne, and he would not disrupt the family unit they had made.

“What do you want?” Esche repeated, putting more force behind his words.

“I am looking for a world.” The oily man answered serenely, as if he did not feel the strength or command behind the words. As if he could ignore it. “It has me reconnecting with some old friends, looking for help to work on some new projects.” His eyes gleamed as he took in the naga pair. “I have a need for Iesha’s particular skill set.”

Esche did not like that this oily man had narrowed in just on his sister.

“And?” he demanded.

The oily man shrugged. “I can make it worth your while. I am patient. I can tell you of an interesting world, where you might find some very interesting treasure.” He placed the teacup on the side table next to him and leaned forwards, clasping his hands in front of him. “Have you heard of the Baishu?”

“Why do they keep sending us to cold worlds, brother?” a huff of annoyance as Iesha pulled the fur lined collar higher up her neck. “Do they not understand we are not meant for the cold?” true aggravation, as if she did not quite understand how ridiculous the situation was.

Esche ignored his sister as he continued his slow descent into the caves. His skin and hair had darkened to mimic the shadows and rock of the cave walls, and even Iesha had managed to control the shade of her hair so that it was a muted twin to its normal ash violet.

“There are not even true shinies on this trip.” She aggrieved again. “What does that shy man want with genetics?”

She was not happy.

She had made it clear that she was not happy, for the entire trip to Koshi Keidai.

Esche continued to do what suited him: muting out her complaints and grumbles and focusing on instead the pinpricks of minds that seemed to be in their vicinity. He had seen a small pack of Baishu (and what beautiful beasts they were!) that they had avoided with luck.

The low pulse of terror that Iesha admitted in waves seemed to be enough to keep the smallest beasts at bay, but Esche continued to keep watch, certain that a bigger creature, one that considered itself an apex predator would not be as easily dissuaded.

“We will go hunt shinies in a warm, tropical location once this is over, sister.” He promised his sister, and felt more than heard the delight.

“What do you mean, there is something _new_?” Flikk asked, expression troubled. “Are the experiments breeding?” the thought that the deadly experiments could be multiplying gave him pause. He briefly wondered how much hazard pay he should demand to clear up this new mess.

“The power surge is too abrupt. I don’t think anything left behind here-“ a repressed shiver from Kinai. Not out of fear, but of disgust. “could breed something so powerful, not this fast.”

“Then what is it?”

The dragon whorling shrugged, gesturing at the map. “Not my area, I don’t know.” Silence met his words. An intent silence that had Kinai turn with a sliding glance towards his Captain. “Something is causing the smaller creatures to run out. There is more activity- something big enough to cause enough fear that we’ve seen activities increase in other sectors.”

The silence took a different note. More probing, and Kinai sighed. “I can go check it out, if you want.” It was not an offer.

“Only if you would not mind.” So charming, so tactful. Flikk smiled- in his dragon form, the toothy grin displayed a little too much fang.

“Fine fine fine.”

What met Kinai as he arrived in whorling form, accompanied by Haart, who was a little bit more concerned that a traveler or explorer could have been caught unaware, was not what he had been expecting.

“Is that … on the grill—” horror touched Haart’s words.

“A baishu?” Amusement colored Kinai’s. Amusement and fascination. “They are actually roasting a baishu.” A small one, from what he could see of the hindleg being ravenously consumed.

Two large, long limbed snake – people (there was another word for them, Kinai just wasn’t sure what) sat in almost civilized repose, a fire burning in the middle of the opening. Something rolled off of them in waves, something that caused the back of his neck to prickle with excitement, anticipation.

This could translate to fear for lesser creatures, he thought. Fear that rolled off of one or the other in waves.

“We came here to help?” Haart called out. He stopped in his steps, his tail twitching once behind him in a show of agitation. Haart had expected to find wounded travelers in need of healing and assistant. Not- this.

“Visitors?” a smack of lips from the darker skinned snake person. Her dark hair was braided tightly away from her face and her turquoise eyes gleamed with interest. “Would you like something to eat?” her words were lilted, polite. As neither whorling responded, she turned to look at her companion. “Being polite does not help at all!” her tone was accusatory.

Kinai had to stifle a laugh. This one. This one was the one that had terror rolling off of her in waves. And yet the way she consumed the hindleg of the baishu, the way she watched them with annoyance- something about her behavior was more like a child, than a fully grown adult capable of such malevolence.

“Maybe this was their friend.” A slightly deeper voice, more masculine.

“I do not think so.” The two traded words as if the specialists were not present. “Would they not attack us, if they were?” another bite of the nicely charred meat.

“Maybe they did not like this friend.” The other snake person offered.

Kinai could not help the snort of laughter that escaped. Sentient creatures then, with enough power and skill to bring down baishu. “The baishu do not normally travel alone, but at least in pairs. Where did the other one go?” he asked. He cast a quick, assessing glance around his surroundings- were they being hunted now?

The female chewed on a piece of meat thoughtfully. “Baishu?” she repeated. “Not delicious, but better, when roasted on fire.”

Kinai could not WAIT to tell Flikk what he had found. “What are you doing here?”

“We could ask you the same, stranger.” The male was more in control, more- calculating, Kinai decided. He watched with odd colored eyes that seemed to peer too deeply into him. “What do you want?”

Kinai did not fidget, but he could feel Haart stiffen next to him. “We oversee this area.” He answered lightly. “Keep an eye out to make sure the worst of the creatures don’t get out” or, he thought to himself, tried to get in. “You are not from our world.”

No. He would have known if such snake people called Koshi home.

Whatever the male saw or heard in his response, he seemed to approve of. “We came to collect some genetic samples-“

“We are Treasure Hunters” the female offered proudly.

“We are almost done, but realized we had skipped a meal.”

“Or two.” The female added pointedly.

“Or two.” The male amended.

Kinai wondered what world this snake pair were from, if they were mated or just partners. Siblings, maybe? Something intimate, and something that spoke of years together.  

“Will you be leaving soon?” He asked. He could report to Flikk what he had found, cross off this event as a one time-

“No.”

The words, said with such assuredness halted his thoughts.

“No?” Haart repeated by his side. “Why would you want to stay?”

The female shrugged. “The meat tastes good when roasted over the fire. Shy man has a lot of samples he wants me to find. Wants variety from here. Will take time. The cold is not as bad as I had expected.” She shrugged again, turning with a frown to look at her male companion.

“We- do not mind here.” It was not further elaboration he offered. “We will finish our mission- was this Baishu your friend?” a sharp noise of question from the female. “They will not let us stay if we eat their friends, Iesha.” Patience, and long suffering-

Ah. A brother then.

“Was this your friend?” The female raised and waved the hindleg as if to make a point.

Haart took one small step back. “No. The baishu you can find down here are not out friend.”

“Then it is settled! You go back. We will stay here. Eat some more. And discover the secrets.” She smiled, as if to reassure them of her good nature.

Fangs that dripped blood and had slightly charred bits of meat stuck to them did not make a ‘good’ image in any way.

‘Kinai’ Haart communicated privately to the ice blue whorling, who was just simply _delighted_ at the thought of sharing these new visitors to the rest of the Devyrs. It would make for simply delightful entertainment.

“Would you like to come with us?” he asked, and heard the sigh of exasperation behind him. “We have better food, and better quarters. In fact- I know my Captain would LOVE to meet you both.”

The man watched him with solemn eyes. “We will not go to be your entertainment.”

How had he-

“We will stay here, continue to search for genetic samples. Now we know this area has guardians, we will not touch the others. Only this Baishu who are not your friends.” The male’s tone had finality to it that Kinai did not want to argue with just yet.

“You can come visit.” The female had been watching him with avid eyes, as if slowly, she was starting to see something that interested him a lot more than the meat. “I can be polite.” She said archly.

This time, Kinai did feel a sharp rush of fear. As if he was prey and she was sizing him up to be her next, somewhat delicious meal.

No one looked at Kinai that way. Not when he was in whorling form.

“It is settled then.” The male said.

“It is?” Haart’s tone was bemused. Just what was going on?

“My name is Iesha.” In that short span of time the female her discarded the meat, wiped her hands and mouth, and had slithered forward until she stood sinuously just a touch away from the ice blue whorling. Her eyes glinted with amusement and the end of her tail kept flickering a little bit closer. “Brother is Esche. We will stay here. Come… visit.”

Kinai would have loved to have seen Flikk’s expression at meeting the snake pair who feasted on Baishu and considered the depths of Koshi Keidai home. But he decided, maybe for now, it would do him best to stay away from this woman.

Yes. Definitely woman.