“Greetings, Terry.” George said as he closed the distance with his companion.
“Well met, George.” Terrant answered warmly.
“You look lovely in that doublet.” The jackal said and held out his paw. “I would be honoured if you'd accompany me to the party.”
The woman just looked at his out reached hand. After a long moment she clasped it, “I would love to.”
They walked down the corridor while holding hands. It felt odd to the Knight, but Terrant didn't mind and she enjoyed spending time with George. Their... debriefings were always pleasant. The female turned to gaze at him as they walked and smiled though she looked away again when his canine head turned to meet hers.
“That's a nice suit you're wearing.” She said in embarrassment.
“This old scout knows how to dress for company.” He said.
Terrant thought he might reach over and lick her but the patrol master kept to a respectable distance and just held hands. She eventually turned to look at him again and was met with his gaze. The morph smiled revealing his fangs. The human smiled and rubbed his hand as they continued on to Long Hall.
Their arrival at the party was for the most part no different then when they showed up together at Misha's Harvest Party. However the fox scout and his beloved had a knowing look in their eyes when they saw Terry and George again, even though the two no longer held hands.
For the next few hours the two companions stayed close as they sampled food and chatted with other guests. George knew many of the party goers but it wasn't in his nature to share banter. It didn't stop Terry from dragging him about as she shared warm conversations with friends, both new and old.
At one point in the night, George had a large gravy stain on his muzzle. The female knight brushed it off but the gesture was gruffer then anything that could be considered loving or gentle but nothing that the patrol master couldn't handle.
“Would you care to dance?” Terrant asked as the band began to play.
The jackal shrugged and took her hand, “Who's leading?”
“Well you're a man, aren't you? You're a good soldier so you can be a good dancer.” She asked as they walked into the crowd.
“A good soldier, yes... a good dancer, no.”
“Alright, I'll have to lead.” She said as they started, “technically neither of us are men.”
George did his best to keep up though he kept making mistakes.
“Keep up, now.” The woman scolded.
“Yes ma'am!” The jackal grunted as he spun on his paws.
As they danced, Terrant shared pleasant glances and comments with other dancers they passed whom she recognised while George just focused on not tripping over. Later, to the jackal's relief the dance ended and he stood there, looking into the woman's eyes.
“You should open up more, George.” Said the gender morph as the crowd dispersed.
“I don't need to, I'm plenty good with people and I have a great smile.” He demonstrated by showing her his large fangs.
Terry looked at George for a long moment with a small smile. With all of the old scout's experience he could never have expected what was to come.
She kissed him.
The jackal didn't look surprised or affected. He continued to watch Terrant as she moved back again, now with a grin and a large blush.
George followed up with a small lick on her cheek.
For a long moment they stood around in an awkward, confused limbo until they began to relax and went further with a mutual kiss then more.
The moment soon ended however they'd never ended up in an embrace. Terrant either purposefully or unwittingly remained a tom boy though George didn't comment. The two stood around for a bit but eventually the apprehension broke when Terry started to giggle and shook her head. Even George had a light chuckle.
“George, everyone saw us.”
“Let them see us, Terry.”
“That's Terrant.” She corrected with a grin.
“Let's try some more of the food on offer, Terry.” George offered.
“Oh, whatever.” She led him off to one of the tables. Whether anyone watching their exchange gossiped or just shrugged, the two companions didn't care and just looked to feast on what Misha had on offer.
The party over, people began to depart. George led Terrant out, or did Terrant lead George out? Nevertheless, they ended up in an outer hall.
“That was quite a party.” The woman commented.
“Misha never fails to delight.” The jackal agreed.
“Well, thank you.” Terrant said and scratched her head. “I'll see you at the next patrol briefing.”
“I could accompany you to your quarters, we can discuss it on the way.” George offered.
The gender morph shook her head, “I'm much too tired for that now.”
The old scout looked at her and the immediate area for a moment, “Terry, could you step back a few feet?”
“Is there something wrong with the floor?” She asked confused but complied.
“Just give me a moment.” The jackal removed his leather boots then dropped his pants.
The female knight blushed and gasped in confusion at his audacity though she couldn't help admire his form... she quickly focused on his upper body.
“You know something, Terry, you're right about what you told me.” George said and tossed her his pants.
She caught them instinctively and shook her head. “What did I tell you?”
“That thing you talked about with the cheetah.” He answered and moved his boots to the side.
“Edmund?” She asked. Though the question she really wanted answered was what was George doing? Why did he expose himself in the middle of a hall? Was he going full form?
“No, the other one.” He answered and stood there in an expensive doublet without any pants.
The woman shrugged. “Stealth. What did we discuss, regale me.”
“None of us are men anymore.” George answered and closed his eyes.
Terrant stood back and gasped as the old scout began to transform. His legs duplicated as they grew larger and more animalistic. He grew in height by at least a foot as a large and muscular quadruped body formed underneath. When he was finished, the Patrol Master's upper body looked the same as it had for the rest of the night prior; as a jackal morph in a nice suit. His lower body however looked like that of a large black backed jackal.
Terrant stood dumbfounded and gawked at her friend.
“What's wrong?” George asked, “Don't tell me I'm even uglier now.”
“No, no...” Terrant stuttered.
The jackal sat on his haunches. Even in this form he grunted, feeling the affects of age.
“How did you learn to be a taur?” Terry asked. “Misha teach you?”
“I taught myself. Wasn't very hard to do after seeing Misha do it so many times.”
The gender morph approached the new jackal taur and slowly walked around him, gazing in awe. She reached her hand to his taur back and could feel it move as the large lungs within expanded and contracted. He also had a second, strong heart which beat quickly.
“Do you like it?” The taur asked.
“It's... very interesting. You would be quite an opponent.” She said and tried to hide her blush.
“I can run like a horse and use my arms to fight without worrying about falling off.” He answered. “But there's more,” He said and stood up again.
“It is apt for a cutlass, George.” Terry commented though it still looked so... awkward.
“I can carry a rider and have an extra pair of sword hands.” The old scout said and turned to face her. “And it's quicker for others to travel.”
“Aye, it would be.” The knight answered distantly.
The jackal taur turned about so the woman stood at his flank. He looked at her.
Terry flinched. While she did prefer to have become a powerful animal morph... This was just a bit too much.
George reached out his hand to her, “I'll take you to your apartment, just hop on my back.”
She shook her head. “It's not far to walk, we're in the keep and all.”
“You won't always be travelling in the keep, why don't you try to stay on, you can ride a horse, now try a taur.” He reasoned.
The human laughed nervously, “I don't think I could hope to stay on.”
“Terry, I won't bite.” He continued to hold out his hand, “If you don't like it you won't have to do it again.”
She looked about and thought on it. Well they did kiss but... people are meant to kiss, they don't... ride taurs. Terry sighed and took his hand, stepping onto the jackal's back.
“Hold on tight, I'll move fast.” He warned.
The woman rolled her eyes and grabbed his waist.
Without another word, George took off with his passenger. The taur ran down the halls of the keep, startling stragglers of Misha's party as they passed.