The Scaleraven was a tavern in the Hexlands, near the bridge to the Oceanwoods. The original owner was a woman called Agatha Lagrande. She found Aliocha on her doorstep one day, with no memories of how she got there or where she was. Aliocha had worked for her, waiting for her memories to come back but they never did. Eventually Agatha died and Aliocha took over the tavern. The Oceanwoods is traveled to by young and old and many of them stopped to rest at the Scaleraven. Even though Aliocha never left this place, she got a good idea of the rest of the world from stories. She plans to one day travel too. It was obvious she won’t remember who she was here. Even with people from all over Leviathan coming, she’s never met someone like her. She wasn’t an Azhazracir, no Quilidian, no Gigipah or any other species living here. Some joked she might be an alien, but even Aliocha knew that no being could enter the Utmost Fear and live.

She had yellow skin like chicklet fluff and her hair was made of fire. She could emit fire from any other part of her body as well and her body heat was almost too hot to touch. Some likened her to a living flame.
The Oceanwoods might be a good place to visit. The massive forest inside the ocean made of ancient Sild trees that had merged into walls of wood over time. When a person dies and their body is buried near a Sild tree, the soul is absorbed by it and eventually makes its way there, where it’s given back to the children during the Shift Ritual.

The Utmost Fear, the lethal level of chaos poisoning on Leviathan causes any living soul to die. Children here are born without souls, so they can live until the Shift Ritual, where they make a pact with a Shifted One and receive their soul. The Shifted One will then protect them from the poison and giving them a special ability too, in turn you would have to complete a certain task within your lifetime.
Aliocha didn’t have to worry about that, she completed her task through her work with her tavern, which was giving someone in need a home.
Parlout’s boot kicked open the door as they marched in, arms outstretched. “Look what I found! Ow!”
They held an edgehog in their hands, grinning with pride.
“Do you want me to cook it?” Aliocha smiled.
Parlout held the animal to their chest protectively. “No! Ow. She was stuck on the bridge, I think she’s thirsty.”
Aliocha filled a bowl with water and put it on the counter. Parlout put the edgehog next to it and watched it drink from the nearest stool.
Aliocha checked for any food crumbs in the drawers. “It’s got spikes, doesn’t it?”
“Yeah! They hurt!” Parlout warned her. “I wanna call her Flame.”
“Why Flame of all things? Why not Needle Cushion?”
“That’s too many words for a name.” Parlout reasoned, nodding to themself. “Also, she could be our mascot!”
“Wouldn’t an actual Scaleraven be a better mascot?”
“No.” Parlout said as a matter of fact.
Flame finished drinking and started exploring the counter. Soon growing bored of it, she hopped onto Parlout’s lap.
“Ow.” they said and started petting her carefully.
“Is she actually cuddling with you?”
“I guess we’re friends now.”
Aliocha gave them a bag with collected food crumbs. “You can play with her outside, I don’t want her to poop inside!”
“Ok!” Parlout picked her up and hurried to the door, where they stopped and turned around.
“I named her after you by the way!”
“I got that!”
“Ok!” They kicked the door open and dashed outside.
“You have hands, don’t you!” Aliocha shouted after them but it didn’t appear like Parlout heard. Aliocha shook her head, her firehair flickering in the motion. It didn’t look like she could expect any more guests this evening, so she may as well go outside too.

She took the bowl and placed it outside, next to the door, on her way out. She sat down on one of the benches for guests that preferred to sit outside and watched Parlout figure out whether edgehogs were herbivores or carnivores by placing earthworms and leaves in front of Flame. Flame munched up the leaf as the earthworm dug itself back into the ground.
Parlout took that as a go to try out every sort of plant you could find around the tavern on her, sometimes with bugs on them. Maybe she was an omnivore! Flame waited for them to crawl off before she ate the leaves or flowers they were on though. Very mindful. She waited in the grass for Parlout to return with something else to eat, who would then watch her snap away at it. You could tell Parlout was really into something when they changed their blinking pattern for it. Blinking with two eyes, then the third one instead of all three at once.
They used the day Parlout first showed up at the Scaleraven as a birthday. 14th of next month. They’ll be somewhere around ten then. Aliocha wondered if they would take over for her once they’re old enough or if their heart draws them out into the world too. Parlout always was an animal with legs, no plant with roots. It’ll be fine whatever happens.