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SOME THINGS NEVER SLEEP.
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Nanuqai had spent only a few days above water, long enough to encounter the mad lion-like woman who had damned near tried to ride Ashkii around, before he'd sought out the darker reaches of this place called - if the daft creature was to be believed - Shaman. The Castle itself had been remarkable, unlike anything Nanuqai had ever seen. His people were nomadic, sleeping either beneath the stars or in collapsible tents, and such a stable and sturdy structure had seemed as intimidating as it was fascinating. He'd ended up sequestering himself on the furthest border of the bubble that protected this strange place from the waters around it, waiting for darkness to fall above before he ventured out to explore. He and Ashkii had not done badly for themselves, all things considered, but the smell of cooking food had become too much of an irritant to ignore. His belly, grumbling over the small amount of food he'd fueled it with recently, started to set up a mighty uproar that had even Ashkii glaring at it.

Reluctantly deciding that he would have to explore the castle eventually, he tentatively approached and was stopped almost immediately by a well-groomed guard who gave him directions for the dining hall and a firm but not unkind warning to keep Ashkii - "his familiar"? - in check. He and Ashkii had traded confused looks at the unusual term, which the lion lady had not explained… or rather, Nanuqai had looked for Ashkii and found the large cream-colored bear nibbling delicately at the hem of some poor woman's dress.

After profusely apologizing, and dragging Ashkii away only by tempting her with some of the last bits of honeycomb he still had on him, he found he'd completely forgotten the directions and that the guard was now long gone. Shoulders slumped, he resolved to follow his nose, pausing just long enough to make a makeshift leash for his pet; it would do him little good if Ash decided something needed to be done - she outweighed him by a rather substantial amount - but at least he'd know where she was headed this time.

Nanuqai's investigations went poorly; the areas of the Castle that he'd found were more brightly lit than the entry, and his vision had clouded up accordingly. He tried to get Ashkii to find the dining hall for him, but despite her much better vision, Ashkii was not a very dutiful seeing-eye bear and had already run him into three doors, one particularly expensive-feeling vase (which he'd managed to save just in the nick of time), and… Nanuqai felt a light weight against his chest and peered downwards. His vision was severely clouded now, but he could just make out a hint of auburn hair and pale skin.

"Oh," Nanuqai said, patting the wet spot on his chest. He squinted down at her, clouded eyes confused. "Why am I wet?" A bit tentatively he reached out, patting the top of the woman's head. His frown deepened. "Why are you wet?"

Ashkii chose that particular moment to give Nanuqai's knees a sharp nudge; Nanuqai grabbed hold of the woman's upper arms just long enough to ensure they didn't both go tumbling before he turned around to glower at the naughty bear. Ashkii looked suitably chastised, trying her best to disappear behind a pedestal that was far too small to conceal her rather impressive bulk.

"I apologize for my bear, she has not learned manners yet."

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