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Messages - Panther

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1
Tales of the Cat / Re:
« on: January 20, 2013, 04:23:40 PM »
A hand sought hers as she sat back up. Listening intently as she spoke, waiting for her to pause enough to let him respond.

"The loft, it was a place to stay, but it was never a home. This feels like a home. And you do not take up much room, so I think we can fit in here just fine."

He was keeping a mirthful tone to his voice, teasing her back in his own ways. With a slight tug of her arm he drew her back down against him, her head resting on his chest.

"And yes, you will make a wonderful mother. Someday. And no, I do not tire, nor do I need food or drink. But..."

And as he spoke those words he shifted his weight about, rolling them both over leaving her laying amongst the pelts and such in front of the hearth, with him over her, his weight supported on his knees and elbows as he lowered his head, gazing in to her eyes.

"But those lips, I do believe there is a need for them..."

2
Tales of the Cat / Re:
« on: January 19, 2013, 01:08:27 PM »
He flinced instinct rather than any sort of harm when the goose down pillow hit him in the small of his back and fell to the floor with a soft thump.

"You should respect your elders young lady." he jokingly chastised her as he hung the cloaks up.

The smile turned to a slight scowl as she mentioned his having growled at her. She had said before that another patron had tried to... well, had treated him as just an overgrown kitten when he had entered the Inn that night. He was still not sure what would bring him to the Dragon when he was in that form. For all intents and purposes, he was a wild panther when as such. But even in that form the Dragon held some sort of connection to him. Maybe it was as simple as a habit, like wild animals that will return to pillage a garden or such time after time. Not because of the desire for contact, but simply the ease of it, the familiarity.

He liked to hope it was his connection to her, because more times than not when he found himself in that condition.. a visit with her is what would bring him back around.

These thoughts flew through his head all in the blink of an eye.. a blink of two eyes that were on her as he made his way back towards the heath.

"I am sorry."

He did not add anything to that, because there was so much about what led to that moment that he was sorry for. The gaze from her, the gaze veiled by those heavy bangs, brought him back to the present, a present that was so simple in it's warmth, in it's ... love... that he could not help but smile back at her again.

"I do not know if I remembered you or not. I think it is the unknown that is the most distressing."

He grabbed up the pillow she had used against him and tossed it to the floor near her knee. She was tucking about her lap as she kneel before the hearth as he turned and lay upon the pelt covering the floor, laying his head down upon the pillow. Before she could fully tuck herself in under that blanket he slipped  his near arm about the front of her knees and his hand found it's way under the blanket before she could tuck her legs in entirely. His hand found her calf and ankle, fingertips lightly brushing over them as he lay there and look up to her.

"I vote for staying right here tonight."

He stretched out his other hand to tug over another of the quilts she kept near by, dragging it loosely over his mid-section. His other hand was still lightly caressing her calf, enjoying the smooth feel of her bare skin against his fingertips."

"Thank you." he said softly, pausing. The look she gave him prompted him to continue. "For this..." motioning about the room. "The loft was not yet a home for either of us. This is your home, I can see it. I can feel it. And you welcome me in to it.

He paused to think for a moment, and though she looked about to speak he interuppted her: "... and for waiting. It is more than I could have expected, more than I could have hoped for. Much more than I likely deserve."

A deep breath was taken and slowly let out.

"It was hard road for me to realize this, and it is something I do not say nearly enough, but I love you 'jira. Completely."

3
Tales of the Cat / Re:
« on: January 17, 2013, 03:44:34 PM »
The fire flashed a bit as a wave of air hit it when she opened the door, then flickered and settled back down as the door was closed. he turns slightly and looked up from where he sat on the floor next to the hearth and could see her shiver, could hear her teeth chattering a bit as she gave a small laugh, then asked if he needed anything.

"Yes..." he replied, and reached for her hand. She she took it, he tugged slightly, drawing her closer and down towards him. When she was close enough, he brushed a kiss across her cheek, and lingered there, speaking softly in to her ear. "... but we should get you warmed up, the rest can wait."

He motioned for her to take a seat at the hearth even as he moved to his feet, grabbing one of the larger pieces of wood to lay across the growing flames.

The wind was going to howl tonight, but the small cottage was well built and kept the chill breeze well at bay. He moved to a nearby chair to fetch a couple pillows and a quilt. A playful toss of one of the pillows at her was followed by tossing the other to the floor beside her.

She caught the pillow and looked like she was going to smack him with it as he stepped back over towards her and then bowed slightly.

"Your cloaks m'lady?" He half chuckled as he spoke. The cloaks were soon traded for the quilt and he turned to go hang them on the pegs by the door.

4
Tales of the Cat / Re:
« on: January 17, 2013, 12:03:52 AM »
He could tell Trygg wanted all out bolt, that S'jira was holding him back. Mostly. He could hear her calling out over the wind as they continued on, her talking about running Trygg without saddle and reigns. It didn't surprise him he was able to do so. As a war-horse he would be trained to respond as much to subtle nudges from the rider's knees or feet as much as the reigns as the rider's hands were over otherwise occupied.

They rounded a bend in the trail and he could start to make out the outline of the cottage and barn, a sort of dark patch against the greyish-white of the snowed over ground that surrounded them.

Trygg and S'jira lunged out ahead, likely as Trygg saw how close to home he was. She was waiting for him, still atop the horse as he made it to the front of the cabin himself.

"Next time, I get a head start." He gave her a quick smile as he reached to untie the packs from Trygg's saddle. "Do you want to get him settled in the barn while I start a fire?"

He did the latch on the door and paused for a moment to watch as she led the horse the short distance over to the barn, and then went inside. The packs were left on the floor just inside the door as he moved to the table where flint and striker were, and in short order a candle was casting it's dancing light about the small room.

Moving over to the main hearth, he cleared away the ashes and set to stacking kindling and twigs. The flame from the candle was used to ignite some tinder and from there he soon had that kindling burning as well. More twigs were added, one at a time... then some sticks... and as those caught a few small pieces of split log were carefully arranged around the burning sticks by the time S'jira had returned from the barn they were starting to cast their glow and warmth in to the main room of the cottage.

5
Tales of the Cat / Re:
« on: January 16, 2013, 03:37:50 PM »
His eyes closed for a moment as her cheek pressed against his. Her words sinking in. She was concerned over his lack of memories when in truth it was likely a blessing. To not know he was away from her during all that time. She was the one who suffered during that time, not him.

He did not have a chance to come up with words that may comfort her further, let alone speak them, before Trygg decided he was once again unhappy to have him about, let alone to be bearing him upon his back.

As S'jira leaned close to the neck of the horse, he slipped his cloak from his shoulders, placing it about hers before sliding from the horse's back.

"Come Trygg, if I am too much of a burden to carry..." He was speaking to the horse, but he looked to S'jira with a wink of an eye as he did.. "perhaps you would prefer to truly stretch your legs?"

And with that he started down the path at a light jog. This was not a race, he held no illusion of being able to beat the war-horse in speed over the distance. But he could pace the animal for as long as needed, as long as S'jira kept him to a trot.

6
Tales of the Cat / Re:
« on: January 16, 2013, 12:32:21 AM »
They rode without speaking. The steady sound of hooves on stone, and then the crunch of snow beneath them same hooves kept them company. He felt her shiver slightly and as she adjusted her cloak he tried to bring his own about her as well.

He brought his chin down to rest upon her shoulder, as much to warm her cheek and block some of the chill breeze as to just be close to her. That arm about her waist giving a gentle squeeze.

She turned slightly to look at him for a moment. She asked of his time away and what did he remember before settling back in against him.

"For all intents, nothing." It was not for lack of trying.

"But I have been seeing things in my dreams, glimpses. Glimpses of places I do not recognize. And almost always looking up, as if from low to the ground."

A minute or more passed as he tried to remember more of the dreams.

"Some of them are familiar. The foothills to the West. Or maybe I just wish them to be. In either case, I do not know if these are memories, or truly just dreams."

7
Tales of the Cat / Stealing Away
« on: January 15, 2013, 11:57:43 PM »
Storm or no storm, it was going to be nice to get away for a few days, just the two of them. Not that he doubted what S'jira said, about what the fishermen and others had told her.  Just that he wouldn't have needed an excuse for the pair to just go stay at the cottage she had bought for awhile, but on the other hand it was nice to have one. Otherwise he likely would not have thought to do so.

Most everything had been arranged for in case a storm did hit and snow them in for a bit. Firewood, water, food and the like were all in plentiful supply. They were just stopping by the Dragon to grab a few more personal items before heading there.

After stopping in the common room for something to drink and to grab a few more items from the kitchen stores, they headed out back to the stable to fetch Trygg, the horse he had given to her nearly four years prior.

He had never gotten along well with horses, but Trygg had been different. They seemed to have a mutual respect. He had selected Trygg because his training as a war horse, a role he never got to fully realize before he had been purchased. Trygg had the size, speed, strength and skill to defend S'jira if the need were there.

And while Trygg did seem to remember him after his absence, and the respect was even still there, the horse also seemed to make no bones about his ... displeasure ... over that absence. Often moving as if to try and step on his toes, or turning to bite at one of his ears or shoulder as he was putting the saddle on him for her. And at more than once just outright turning his back on him as he approached the stable to bring him his feed.

Tonight however, the horse was well behaved, and even seemed happy to see them. Well, happy to see her at least. He lowered his head and gave her a gentle nudge as she went up and greeted the large horse with a rub across his muzzle.

He was already saddled so he set to tying the sacks of things they were bringing to the back of the saddle, leaving one slung across his own back. And after S'jira had finished slipping Trygg a treat of some sort he climbed up to the saddle and offered her a hand up, pulling to sit before him and offering her the reigns. It was her horse after all.

He slipped an arm about her waist as she settled back against him and started Trygg out of the barn and towards one of the roads heading East. Shadows from streetlamps danced across darkened storefronts as they made their way through town.

8
((The following is the raw log from the RDI on 1/12/2013, from the hours during which the above events took place))

=== Red Dragon Inn: 2013-01-12 00:00:00 EST ===
[00:00:17] Gypsy Lore: ( ...was that Lola, still there?) and more hesitantly, wiggling her fingertips to a Katt, her smile slipping slightly. "<I>Hallo, hallo.</I>" The Gypsy breathed more than anything, holding the notebook close to her chest. Swamped in an oversize sweater of dark blue, Vera looked shockingly young.
[00:01:53] Bjorn Andrews: liked you, you seemed like a nice kid and maybe we would have been close, given the time and opportunity.” Currently, Bjorn and Toby were enclosed in a curtain-drawn (and thus soundproof!) booth, but it wouldn't be much longer. “The point wasn't about me learning anything, kid. It was about sayin' somethin' that might help. Who knows, maybe if you keep your mouth shut with what y'know, and if the circumstances are right, I'll think the same about this version of you. And if not, I'll punch all
[00:02:31] Bjorn Andrews: your teeth in for runnin' my business around town and leave you be. Deal?” Oh, but sometimes he had a devil's grin.
[00:03:46] Katt: A polite nod was sent Vera's way as she started to the door, lacking the shoes and hoodie that..were still damp at the hearth. Shouldering past the door she moved to step out onto the porch, inhaling the night air a bit too deeply.
[00:03:58] Gypsy Lore: It wasn't off the mark for her to wave at the booths, too, like they were old friends ... Usually though this only happened when she had a few drinks and yeah .... Ahem!
[00:04:35] The Traveler: A slight nod, the bottle set on the bar and he was coming back around. Stool slid back as if it were asking him to use it and he lowered onto it. "Just good timeing then. I felt no pull as if there were a summons." Perhaps, even though he didn't look it a sliver of worry had slithered its way into a heavely shielded brain for a moment. "You've been well? A glance at Thorn then at Dill maybe that was was ment for both.
[00:05:08] The Traveler: well?" A
[00:05:12] The Traveler: **
[00:05:16] = Kruger has entered the room =
[00:05:54] = Maurice the Mime has entered the room =
[00:06:20] The Birdborne: "There's that flattery again. Never get sick of it.", she admitted while weighing some options. There was a primal instinct bubbling at the cruel tempt of her mouth, fading away when she reverted back to a humane poise. "Later, then?", she advanced while murmuring, dressing his skin in a red bruise of a kiss to his jaw.
[00:07:11] The Redneck: Though the vast, and near possessive, majority of her attention was on Roman, she managed to pay attention to Vera's progress across the room as well. And when the man was close enough, perhaps before he slid onto the bar stool, she snagged him in to offer up a trio of kisses that started sweet and soft and ended smoke and sparks.  "Was havin' a blast b'fore, much better now."
[00:07:20] Toby Aradam: He snickered against the mouth of his soda.  "You obviously don't have a sister."  He held the bottle carefully between his hands as he listened, though, nodding along.  It was nice to have a sliver of hope about 'his' former self.  Maybe he could hold onto that and the idea that he'd been alive before wouldn't sicken him so much.  Bjorn's threat was enough jest to make him feel like the man wasn't completely serious, but he didn't want to push it.  He looked like he could hit hard, and Toby rat
[00:07:23] Panther: ::moving down the road leading to the dragon, taking a meandering path to avoid various puddles still there from yesterday's mist and fog, for no particular reason than to do so.  S'jira is astride his back, her arms about his neck, her legs about his waist, clinging not quite for dear life as he moves::
[00:08:43] Toby Aradam: her enjoyed having a mouthful of teeth.  Not only that--"Don't worry.  My past 'life' and all the stuff that supposedly happened back then isn't something I want everyone else talking about either.  I won't tell anyone, I promise."
[00:09:26] = Practically Crawling has entered the room =
[00:09:52] Panther: ::moving towards the porch as the door opens, a glance over:: Evening Katt... ::taking the long way around a puddle in front of the Inn and moving to the front steps::
[00:10:37] Sjira: ::Chin to his shoulder, that right one of his in particular, she watched well and curious the path before them as she continued with the talking and the asking of questions.  Arms were lithe about his neck and hand clasped over her other wrist  Quieting to nearly nothing, with a smile, as they neared the inn.  Wiggling of fingers towards Katt's way.::
[00:10:57] Gypsy Lore: The sudden urge to follow came, Vera even going so far as to take more than a few steps towards the front door. Bare toes curled against the hard wood floor, her eyes dimming. Glancing Thorn's way, she noticed the man the woman had snugged into. Curiosity stilled her for but a moment but it wasn't long before her hand settled on the handle of the door. All it would take was a single turn and … then what?
[00:11:12] Katt: A blink was given to Panther. "Evening, Panther. Um.." Leaning on her heels she was trying to look over S'jira, concern crawling into her expression. "Is..Oh!" Phew! A hand went up to wave to the both of them, a smile given. "Evening, S'jira!"
[00:11:18] Nigel Alder: ::Turning red was not in his repetoire. Instead of the flush he just swallowed. Hard. The stark protrusion in his neck rolled visibly.:: Later. Aye. ::Spoken like his throat was dry.::
[00:11:43] The Traveler: Kisses were never amiss. On the third one her jaw was grabbed almost roughly holding her there and kissing her back only to add to the smokes and sparks something a bit more. Lust almost tangable, The very sin made almost real for a split second he let down the walls, the shields that he kept up holding what he was at the core back and they snapped back up just as quickly. Though the essence of that chaotic passion would still simmer here, held within the melted amber pools boiling.
[00:12:09] Bjorn Andrews: Something Toby said, it did something to his face — not emotional, per se, as if a little stunned; then a little... it was hard to tell, really, what he was feeling for he didn't wear it on his sleeve. Disturbed, given the furrow of a brow, and he told him, “Four, actually,” and the way he quickly sprawled out his hand, dismissive, suggested he need no apologies. Toby didn't know. “Four little sisters, and if they acted like half of the women around here, they would have had to have been on
[00:12:52] Sjira: ::Flickering of what seemed to be concern on Katt's face brought a brief look of curious wondering, then gave to her a gentled smile.  A nod was not something managed in that posturing.  Cold air about them, she shivered a bit beneath the brown, short cloak and winter's green dress. Otherwise comfortable.::
[00:13:05] Dill T Jones: Hey there was Vera too. He shot a grin and a wave on over her way when he saw her. Well, once he got out of the little bit of a fuzz that had happened. He wanted to give the couple in front of him the few moments they needed. Again, just like before, Dillon kind of truly showed himself when no one was looking. There was a grin still on his lips though as he did his best to inspect that wall over yonder and nod head to some beats rolling through thoughts. He also had his booze and his smoke to
[00:13:33] Dill T Jones: contend with, he'll at least say his hellos when he got the time but in the here and now the man had gone back to idling. It wasn't too hard when your mind was like his.
[00:13:50] Gypsy Lore: ....Thorn and her man-friend deserved another glance for ... well. Blink.
[00:13:51] Katt: "You go on and get her inside, Panther. I was just heading off." Bare feet and all. Clayton would be proud. ...maybe.
[00:14:08] Panther: ::a glance over to Kitt as he steps on to the porch:: Phew?
[00:14:16] Gypsy Lore: Guess who was due for an integrating session?
[00:14:42] The Birdborne: "Don't forget." Finger drooled down the pulsing rise of his neck. A trail of her touch that lingered like the ghosts that haunted him. Quiet as she had come, she departed the same yet the language of her gestures was loud and clear. Offered for all the familiar faces.
[00:14:57] Katt: "You were carrying, S'jira. Was worried she might of been hurt." A wave of her hands was given in attempt to show no worries.
[00:15:03] Bjorn Andrews: drugs. They were— mature. Graceful. Didn't have a petty bone in their bodies between 'em all. Good girls. There's a difference between being a girl, and being ridiculous.” He told him, and he cracked a wry smile that said he wasn't holding any pointless grudges as he pulled the curtain open. “And neither will I, 'cept Ivanya knows. We spoke of it, before. You want to head to the bar, kid, or you heading out?”
[00:16:51] Maurice the Mime: So a mime walks into the bar with a cell phone to his ear.  He had a pocket full of stolen buttons and wore a hopeful painted-on smile.  The joke was on him, though-- the acrobat wasn't answering her phone.  Funny how a man with one ring had stolen her so completely from the mime who was the master of three.
[00:17:06] Sjira: ::Quieted laughter, she shook her head.:: ..nothing at all is harmed.  ::To assure Katt even as arms readjusted about neck and shoulders, with care not to be awkward or burdonsome.::
[00:17:25] The Redneck: Oh my. That was, gods yes please more.  Tipped her head back, should he want it the line of her throat was bared to him, and it didn't seem as though she intended to let him loose unless he absolutely needed her to.  Or, y'know, wanted loose.  Murmured sound, wordless approval and welcome tumbled together in a tangle.  And since he seemed to, "hello Beloved."  Nearly sighed, and not an ounce of shame for it.
[00:17:44] = Bjorn Andrews has entered the room =
[00:17:44] Panther: Oh.. ::a soft chuckle:: No, she was just so full from dinner she didn't want to move so I had to carry her back.
[00:18:06] The Redneck: Also, any and all questions would be answered. Though, likely with more information than the questioner intended to receive.
[00:18:06] Nigel Alder: You can be certain I won't. ::Nigel, brazen as he was bold, pressed a kiss to her cheek just before her departure.::
[00:18:34] Panther: Maybe next time it should be my turn?
[00:18:47] Toby Aradam: "Four?"  He blinked.  Bjorn didn't look the type.  He looked more like a loner, someone who'd be happy by himself or with only one other person.  But four sisters?  God, that must have sucked.  "You're a big brother."  That made Toby's opinion of him shoot sky high.  "Sher doesn't act like any of the girls here either.  She's not allowed in here," he said, his tone Big Brother-like.  He started scooting for the edge of the booth as Bjorn drew back the curtain.  "I think I'll hang out for a whi
[00:18:56] Toby Aradam: le before I go back home.  Think.  You know."
[00:18:57] Sjira: ::His words made her sound so very lazy, and it not quite the full story, that her cheeks grew a terrible warming shade of red.  In quiet, smiling and shaking her head a bit, she rested a cheek to his shoulder.::  ..that would be ..a most difficult thing to make happen.
[00:19:32] Gypsy Lore: After a deep breath and more thinking than she had any business doing, Vera pushed the door open and stepped outside to the porch, the bite of cold air greeting her. Inhaling, she focused first on Katt and then the others. “Oh, <I>hallo.</I>" She murmured to Panther and Sjira, quickly moving aside from the doorway.
[00:20:15] Maurice the Mime: The stripes the mime wore must have been heavy, because look at the way his shoulders drooped when he finally gave it up and put the phone back in his pocket.  His mood didn't improve when a quick survey of the place revealed no Rekah. Unless she was hiding in the walls.  He eyed them as he circumnavigated the end of the bar and pretended to pour himself a stiff drink.
[00:20:15] Gypsy Lore: ...wait. <I>The </I>Panther? ....excuse her staring.
[00:20:45] Panther: ::a slight step to the side to let the women exiting the Inn by:: Evening... ::reaching to catch the door before it closes:: Well, if you are leaving Katt, have a good night.
[00:20:56] Sjira: Perhaps.. we prove to be in the way? ::A breath of a question and glanced towards the opening door, the coming and goings.::
[00:21:03] Katt: She actually looked as if she was trying to picture little S'jira carrying Panther.. Snickerfits. "She might have a chance if carrying you in your other form.." Maybe.. Sharp greens tilted faintly to Vera but not directly at her before looking back to S'jira and Panther. "I'm glad..." She flicked them both a smile and waved as she slipped by and down the steps.
[00:21:21] The Traveler: Oh why should there ever be shame? Her chair would be discardedas strong hands wrapped around her twisting and pulling her back over her chair and onto his lap. Leathery batlike wings shifting from the easy drape of his shoulders and caressing hers as they circled most of her within them. Soft nearly invisable fibers grazing her skin as he embraced her with both arms and wings, her back to his chest and a chin on her shoulder.
[00:21:41] Bjorn Andrews: “I was— but that isn't a story I'm willing to talk about,” Bjorn told him, neatly letting the subject go as he slid out of the booth to head toward the bar, drink in hand. If Roman and Vera were about still, they'd both be on the end of a bow of his head, the flicker of smile that didn't reach his eyes (but was amenable nonetheless.)
[00:21:52] Sjira: ::Darklly colored eyes followed a gaze after Katt curiously, a smile still well and with her, then rested her chin back to that nearby shoulder.::
[00:22:21] Panther: ::watcing Katt depart:: With my luck, she would just tie me by an ankle to Trigg's saddle and let him drag me home. ::turning to move through the door and in to the Inn::
[00:23:01] Maurice the Mime: Maurice tossed back that first drink in honor of the tiny dancer and her cranky lummox of a husband, winced for the imaginary burn and felt his right eye begin to twitch in the socket.
[00:23:41] Toby Aradam: "Oh."  He cleared his throat awkwardly, trailing along behind Bjorn with his soda.  One shoulder lifted and fell.  "I'm sure you were great at it."  He's still letting his eyes adjust to the light.
[00:24:50] The Traveler: If Bjorn were close enough One hand woul extend out and ligtly pat the mans cheek as he spoke if not he would only speak. "It is good to see you again my friend."
[00:24:58] The Traveler: would*
[00:25:39] The Redneck: She kept forgetting, assuming she'd ever known the reason for shame, when he was around.  Pulled, he didn't have to put much effort into it.  In fact, she nearly tumbled herself into his lap, cheek nuzzling to chest, arms twining, tangling with his. Even her treasured Pepsi abandoned.  With his chin on her shoulder, the nuzzling continued with her eyes heavily lidded.  Comfortable and comforted on too many levels to ever discount, or quantify.  Finger wiggling wave for Maurice cut aside with the
[00:25:44] Sjira: ::Warmth washed over her as soon as the threshold was crossed, carried in by him.:: ...that too would prove difficult.  ::But she was smiling.  He seemed in a light-hearted mood and did not wish to ruin it for anything.  Lips pressed against his shoulder and a whisper in that immediate wake.:: Panther.. these legs and feet work well..
[00:25:51] Bjorn Andrews: “New subject, Toby,” he advised him, sounding somewhere between pain and amused. When Roman patted his cheek, Bjorn...
[00:26:07] Gypsy Lore: "Leaving ...." ....oh. Despondent, she stared intently after Katt, the knuckles of her hands turning white where she gripped her notebook. “I'll see you around.” She brazenly called after her though she didn't try to stop the other woman. Holding deep a sigh, the Gypsy turned back towards the door, about to follow in the wake of Panther and his lady.
[00:26:14] The Redneck: slight lift of a concerned brow.
[00:26:25] Maurice the Mime: He was still pulling faces when he "poured" himself a second round, took up a casual elbow lean on the bar and got comfortable to watch the floorshow.  It was just a pity the dude had to go and fold his wings in around Thorn like that.
[00:26:26] Bjorn Andrews: Blinked and slapped his back much harder as if he hadn't quite heard the words attached.
[00:26:34] Bjorn Andrews: Call it instinct. Reflex.
[00:26:43] Nigel Alder: ::Nigel stood from the stool and stepped out the front door, cigarette in hand.::
[00:27:27] Maurice the Mime: Oh, the best laid plans of mimes and men.  He heaved a silent sigh and nursed his invisible drink.
[00:27:32] Toby Aradam: He jumped at the rough sound of flesh on flesh, owlishly peering up at Bjorn and Roman.  He hoped he didn't piss him off that much.
[00:27:45] Panther: ::a slight turn of his head:: Yes, I know.  ::wends his way past tables and chairs on the way to the bar:: ::turns his head slightly:: Thirsty?
[00:28:03] Dill T Jones: Now was the time. He  gave a warm grin and a chin raise on over to Roman when he found time with the man. "How's it going man? Sorry I faded out there a bit and didn't want to interupt." Dillon did not think that would be a problem. Smoke was pulled into his lungs once again in the normal way of say, other people would do when breathing. Still idling behind the bartop, bu he was sure that there would be time to slip out when he needed to. Smoke switched out for his screwdriver that he drank deep
[00:28:25] The Redneck: If Thorn winds up spilled on the floor, there will be three men who owe her Pepsi.
[00:28:35] Dill T Jones: from, but never seemed to refilled. One vice for another. Absolutely intensly boring to watch in these moments, yes. But it was better then the alternative.
[00:28:37] The Traveler: Sometimes he felt young. Sometimes he felt old. Most of life and reality he thrived on touch in one form or another. "Ahh, sometimes the only the only thing that matters in existance is touch. To feel another and another feel you. Two people at one moment in time are for that moment real. Not that we are not at other times but it is always good to be reassured."
[00:28:56] Maurice the Mime: The mime was <I>not it.</I>
[00:29:02] Sjira: ::Warmth of her mirth, she hugged his neck all the more for being stubborn.  Then watched the inn's common room over his shoulder, glancing to his profile when that feline head turned.::  ..yes.  But.. would it be well with you.. if wine is had, instead of cider or else?
[00:29:59] Toby Aradam: That was the longest 'It's okay.' he'd ever heard.  His gaze went from Roman to Bjorn, he took a minute sidestep away.
[00:30:04] The Traveler: There was no anamosity within his eyes as he looked at Bjorn. "That is an odd custom though. I may have to remember it, Bjorn."
[00:30:20] Bjorn Andrews: Bjorn, who'd brought Roman's knife back (and had it sheathed somewhere toward the left side in his belt), looked a little... confused. At a loss. “Are you hitting on me?” Where was Thorn?
[00:30:39] The Traveler: Thorn was in his lap.
[00:31:14] Kruger: In through the back alley today, no real reason except a desire to change his routine.  He closed the door and narrowed his eyes at something he saw.  He shook his head and moved barwards with a heavy sigh and a grinding of teeth.  Something in wheat colored eyes was off tonight and the normal grin had disappeared the moment he had stepped inside.
[00:31:21] Panther: What kind would you like? Something sweet? Something dry? ::steps up to an empty spot at the bar as they are speaking::
[00:31:25] The Redneck: Thorn was in Roman's lap, and couldn't quite stifle the snicker the lion's question tugged loose.  Also, please note that she was being good and staying quiet. Whle making fish-faces at Toby.
[00:31:37] The Redneck: While*
[00:32:01] The Traveler: Blinking lightly as his head canted to the side as he looked at the man. "Why would I hit on you?" A dark brow lifting as he watched him. "I have what I want right here?" Amber eyes cut a glance at Thorn then back.
[00:32:43] Panther: ::a slight twitch of an ear, he turns to look down the length of the bar, then pivots slightly as to look about behind it::
[00:32:48] Maurice the Mime: Something about loafing on the bar made the mime feel like butching it up.  In wild west fashion he tossed back his drink, flicked his imaginary stetson back off his forehead with a gloved finger before hooking his thumbs in the six shooter belt only he could see.
[00:33:23] Toby Aradam: "Thorn!"  He grinned wide, bounding over for whatever kind of hug she was able to give while sitting on Roman.  "I really wouldn't hit on him," he said aside to Roman.  "He's dating someone *real* huge."  He nodded.
[00:34:15] Gypsy Lore: Back inside the warmth of the Inn, the door closing quietly behind her, Vera walked back into – “Huge? Bjorn himself isn't a small man.” Brow arch. ...
[00:34:23] Sjira: If it pleases.. something sweet.  ::One arm about his neck and shoulders held while her other abandoned briefly to see through that nearby mane, newly cut.  Then to see the blacksmith, Kruger, she offered to him a gentled nod in greeting.::
[00:34:43] Gypsy Lore: Yes, <I>hallo </I>again everyone!
[00:35:00] Maurice the Mime: And well now, that was new.  There was a very large cat dragging himself and a tiny person in with him.  Gunslinger Maurice chewed a cheekful of something that would stain his teeth in some reality and oggled the pair.
[00:36:03] The Redneck: She shifted just enough to offer and receive a one armed hug from Toby. And her expression became that of a facepalm.  "Touch, it's an important thing to a lotta folk."  Roman as well as Thorn, though the former even more than the latter.  "Vera, 's Roman. Roman, 's Vera."  Quick introductions made easy and light.
[00:36:12] Bjorn Andrews: “I'll take that as a-- well, culture differences. Face is off-limits from now on. How're you doin', Roman? Thorn?” Out from the belt came the knife, offered over handle first. “This and that blessed stuff helped me and Dillon out a lot. Where is Dillon?” Because of Vera, he asserted to Toby, “He is not much bigger.”
[00:36:19] Kruger: Passing by Bjorn with a small nod of reccognition then he moved roughly through the opening in the bar.  He cracked his neck at the thoughts in his head at this moment.  He is visibly biting the inside of his lips as if to say anything would be the wrong thing.  Hisred  t-shirt this night had lost its amusement no matter that the anvil on his shirt sat on a rising star...the words Guardians Forever on his back still meant everything though.  Dark jeans and beat up redwings clomping on the floor.
[00:36:27] The Traveler: A grin at Toby and he nodded. "I know I have met him," Looking back at Bjorn. "And there is another reason I would not be hitting on you as you are taken, or have taken."
[00:37:19] Dill T Jones: "I am still here." He came from the background once again with an easy rumble on over to Bjorn, helpfully. Having no idea what they were talking about, but whatever. It was enough for him to switch out a smoke for a drink.
[00:38:38] Toby Aradam: "You're not suposed to say that," he said to Bjorn.  He returned Thorn's hug, then let it go.  He didn't want to be the third wheel.  "You're supposed to tell people that Ivanya's huge to make them think he'll kick people's asses."
[00:39:11] The Redneck: "Dillon's tryin' t' hypothetically put m' brain in a buildin' smushin' robot.  'Cause'a the force'a my happy."  That would be what she got out of the robot conversation earlier. "Mos'ly 'cause we can't figure out how t' bottle it an' sell it for profit."  Because sharing is caring.  Or something along those lines.
[00:39:23] Bjorn Andrews: Bjorn upnodded to Kruger, chancing a sly-dog grin. But he was deducing: “I ain't so big on the touch, but some is fine. Brief, passing. I have a very jealous lover, vishya?” As if he thought it a good thing, and was pleased. “Still playing bartender?” If so, his empty glass was edging over the bar for a refill as he asked Vera, “How the hell are you? An' I would, if I didn't think I could handle doing that myself, Toby.” Grinning that way.
[00:39:31] Maurice the Mime: And just as quickly as his attention had been drawn to the pair, the mime lost interest.  There was some fancy term for what Maurice had that used some A's and D's in it, but it really just meant he got bored quickly.  If you listened hard enough, you might hear the jingle and jangle of his imagined spurs when he mosey-ed his way on out the door.
[00:39:45] Panther: something sweet? Hmm... elven maybe? A blush wine...  ::taking a quick look to see what might be available:
[00:40:22] The Traveler: Nodding lightly and the knife was taken back and slipped into his belt. "Yes, perhaps I should learn a bit more about your culture. And face off limits I can respect that." Lips licked as he grinned at hte man chuckling. "I am glad that it assisted you." Blinking and looking at Toby. "Why do that when Bjorn is big enough to kick most of there arses as it is?" His chin soming back down on Thorns shoulder. His warm cheek against hers as he watched the others.
[00:40:35] Panther: ::a slight turn of his head:: I suppose you would rather sit now?
[00:41:03] Dill T Jones: More than happy to move the bottle from the rack to refill Bjorn with his dalwhinnie once again. A light shake of his head playfully in the background at the man talking about his love. Still the curl of his lips was shark in the light smoke screen he had going though. Something warm and amused. "Anyone else need something to drink?" Generally asked around.
[00:41:11] Gypsy Lore: Curiosity was upon the Gypsy, her eyes flickering between everyone. Dancing lightly on her tip-toes, she wavered closer, to take a better look at this Roman fellow that had Thorn rather twitterpated. “It's good to see everyone, how is --" Cut off briefly by Bjorn, she smiled brightly, her face turned up towards him. "I've been very good, luv. Yourself and your lover?"
[00:42:09] Sjira: Yes.. ::Touch left his mane and met with that area between shoulder and neck of his.  Muscles and form tensed just a little, readying to be sat down or put to her feet by him soonafter.  A smile was in her voice, unable to keep the mirth from her words for that while more.::
[00:42:10] Toby Aradam: "Geez," he rolled his eyes.  "You mean you've never had whoever you were dating fight for you?  It feels kind of good."  He waved his hand.  "Whatever."
[00:42:21] Kruger: He saw the dark eyed girls nod which set his fingers to clenching into fists.  The coffee pot was gripped in a hand that was used to holding a hammer for hours and a mug pulled down and filled.  The pot however slammed back to the stove.  The usual cream was left out this night as his face took on the most sour of expressions.  He just shook his head sadly at 'jira.
[00:43:00] The Redneck: Hold on.  "Toby, y've had y'r girlfriend fight someone for y'?"  Just checking.
[00:43:04] The Traveler: His mouth opened then closed and opened again. "That would be like me telling someone that I'm going to go get Thorn to beat them up."
[00:43:14] Panther: ::another twitch of an ear as he turns and eases S'jira down on the nearest empty stool::
[00:44:09] Toby Aradam: Vera drew his gaze and he squinted.  She seemed like someone he should know, but he couldn't place her face.  Thorn's question made him turn.  "Yeah.  I mean--I don't remember all of it, it was a couple years ago, but Katt used to be pretty tough."  He took a drink of soda.
[00:44:15] Dill T Jones: "I've had girlfriends fight for me." Helpfully, over towards Toby and the pair. "Other women." Obviously. But it wasn't like it would be okay for Dillon to haul off and actually hit a woman. That's why he -expected- his girlfriend to do it.
[00:44:54] Sjira: ::That look had been seen and the slamming made shoulders flinch.  Then eased to the barstool, she lifted gaze and smile to Panther.:: ..elven, if it is thought best.  ::Striving to recall if she had ever tasted it before. Touch passed over her green skirting and then lifted hands to start untieing the short cloak.::
[00:45:15] The Redneck: Her head tilted just to, a kiss pressed against the underside of his jaw.  "Y' show me who was  mean an' I'll stomp deep mud holes in 'em."  That was Thorn teasing, really it was.  Humorous and warm, not an ounce of malice in her.  And Toby's answer cleared things up a bit.  "Ah, all righty then."  Sjira and her man were given finger wiggling, bell chiming waves and sun bright smiles.
[00:45:47] Gypsy Lore: Bright eyes moved to peer at Toby – huh! Forgot her so soon, had he? And as if she planned to make him uncomfortable – “How are you doing luv? The church and everything is fine?” Grin.
[00:46:46] Gypsy Lore: ...inching closer to Thorn, she lightly kicked her chair leg, not so subtly nudging her chin Roman's way with a lift of an eyebrow.
[00:46:53] Sjira: ::Belled ring heard, the small on spent a look about the room until Thorn was found.  A smile and a touch against the air before self in a wave of sorts her way.::
[00:47:41] Panther: ::a brief nod to Thorn as he moves towards the end of the bar, turning for the break in it::
[00:48:57] Kruger: He scoffed as he saw the Panther in the house, and offered him the most Hornfel of smirking looks.  He remained silent though moving back through the opening in the bar and finding his spot in the chair next to the bronze bust of Talitha..."Ain't that just about what you would expect Tali?  Comin on in and shinin on."  He spit on the floor.
[00:49:26] Toby Aradam: He gestured at Dillon in a 'See?' motion.  Then he turned to Vera.  It was better to just push through it and smile.  He had to have met her on one of his runs.  "Everything's great.  We're getting really excited about Sera's baby."
[00:49:38] Bjorn Andrews: Bjorn had been momentarily busy swallowing down some whisky, but he told Roman, “You ever have any questions, and I won't mind answering them. In fact, I owe you on, vishya?” As for Toby, he chuckled before making the round to Vera, telling the first, “We prefer to fight with each other, vishya? Not for one another,” and the second, “Good. And Ivanya, he is very good.”
[00:50:05] = Lucy Mitford has entered the room =
[00:50:20] The Redneck: Roman's jaw got kissed, since Thorn was sitting in his lap.  The smart-assed comment had been for him too.  Vera's not so subtleness had the little redneck chuckling low and quiet.  "This is Roman.  We met years ago, were very much together for a while. Then life occurred.  Ran int' each other again a month 'r so ago an' it was like no time in between."  No time at all.
[00:50:50] Toby Aradam: "You guys fight stuff?"  He perked up.  "Like--real, scary, important stuff?"
[00:50:52] Sjira: ::As Panther turned to see to drinks, the simple brown cloak was slipped from about shoulders. She twisted lightly at the spine and hung the cloak on the back of the stool. As she righted her seating, on the edge of it, she stilled a look on Kruger.  Smile of hers slips and faltered to see the sourness and else.  Hands alighted fingerstips against the counter's bevelled bartop.::
[00:50:55] Bjorn Andrews: Or, he owed Roman 'one'.
[00:51:49] Panther: ::a pause to let Kruger pass... slight turn of his ears as he resumed his path behind the bar. Ears flitting back slightly as he moves about, fetching first a glass and then a botte::
[00:51:53] The Traveler: His head pivoting slightly, chin resting on Thorns shoulder as amber eyes looked past her to Vera. Lips curving back into a toothy smile that did not meet his eyes. It was intresting how with the dark fall of hair twin obsidian nubs of horn could catch the inns light as leathery wings squeezed Thorn slightly before he was looking at Bjorn. "We are friends are we not? Nothing is owed within this friendship only parts of lives borrowed to make one another stronger and better."
[00:52:43] Bjorn Andrews: “Depends on what's bothering us: vampires, slavers, some monsters. Got a fight into a fight with this evil house once.” As for Roman, he tilted his head to eyeball him as if he were considering his answer carefully. “We are not among enemies, truly enough.”
[00:53:41] Sjira: ::Then sought out Panther.  Inwards, she leaned, bringing just the smallest of contacts of clothed midriff in against the counter's edge where hands were.::
[00:53:44] Gypsy Lore: Turning her head to look around Thorn, she gave Roman a wide smile, “Lovely to meet you.” Back to Toby, her eyes narrowed and her head tilted. There was something odd about his expression but turnabout was fair play! She didn't know who Sera was – “That's so good to hear! I'm glad things are going well, for everyone.” Inclining her head to include Bjorn when he told her how he and Ivanya were doing.
[00:54:35] Gypsy Lore: "Slavers?" Nose wrinkle.
[00:54:46] Bjorn Andrews: Or, just into a fight!
[00:55:04] Toby Aradam: He blinked, slowly.  He didn't know why, but he suddenly felt inspired.  "And--you guys work well together?  You're a good team, right?"
[00:55:46] Bjorn Andrews: “I'm of the opinion they're all better off dead,” for Vera's query. “And sure, yeah. It's always better to have someone at your back.”
[00:55:47] Panther: ::pausing his his step long enough for a brief glance across the room before moving to put the glass atopt he bar in front of S'jrira:: This one is supposed to be sweet, but light. ::pulling the cork from the bottle and pouring some to the glass::
[00:55:59] Gypsy Lore: Pausing, the Gypsy fell quiet, quiet enough for her to slip behind the bar. Time for a drink.
[00:56:30] The Traveler: And he was reaching for his water fingers curlling around the bottle before he leaned back slightly pressing away from Thorns back so that he coud have a drink without disturbing her.
[00:57:25] The Redneck: For a moment it may have seemed there was a hint of color across her cheeks, but it was there and gone again.  "So'm I."  Glad yes.  So very glad. And from the look of her, all the nights between then and now hadn't existed.  Shouldn't have been.  " 'S good t' see you though.  Y're all right?"  With Roman shifting back, she shifted forward to make it easier for him to enjoy his water. And don't doubt she'll be asking about the water sooner or later.
[00:57:56] Kruger: He laughed and just rolled his eyes.  His hands lingering so closely to the handles of his hammers.  Krugs leaned that chair back and held a smile that was perhaps far more eager than any the small one had ever seen.  Still in his eyes though the anger disbelief.  "You see Tali dear...I am doing only what you would...watching...yeah yeah a bit of menace too...sue me Tals."
[00:59:11] Toby Aradam: He considered Bjorn's words, rolling them around in his head.  A good team, fighting side by side, having each other's back.  And she would turn around, smiling.  A little dirty, but alright.  Damn it.  He rubbed at his red ears and shook himself out.
[00:59:22] Sjira: ::Tension was within the line of her shoulders eased a bit more to look upon that feline sort. Her left hand took up the drink but did not taste it right away.  Softly, she sniffed at it and smiling eyes watched Panther when she did so.  Then tenatively took a tasting sip...and smiled a bit more.:: ..thanks is given. It is ..nice. ::The word lacked but she had not better thing for it, more fitting.::


=== Red Dragon Inn: 2013-01-12 01:00:00 EST ===
[01:02:25] = Bjorn Andrews has entered the room =
[01:03:01] Panther: ::a simple nod in response:: Good. Glad you like it. ::leaving the botle on the bartop before turning to grab up a mug, glance to Gypsy::
[01:03:16] Kruger: He took a sip of his black coffee...it was bitter, that was just fine it was exactly how he felt right now. That and just plain pissed off, and the reason was large and furry and had claws...and shouldn't be allowed so much courtesy as he was being given.  "Once upon a time Tali...men had a little honor...you know...courage that kind of thing...others they run with their tails between their legs."
[01:03:45] Sjira: ::Another sip was taken while she stole another look towards Kruger, seeming to be in talks with the bronze bust. Worriment and perplexion were there, unveiled in that watching.::
[01:04:21] Dill T Jones: Mind finally blinked back fully from where ever he went. Knowing the man, it was probably for only now. He was still getting adjusted, what did you want from him...Another drink, another inhale of smoke. Anchoring mind and soul down to the here and now. Only really evident in the way he uncoiled from his lean to make it just a bit more rigid. You know, from debauch bonelessness.  Gloved fingers scritched at the line of his jaw out of old habits more then anything else. Growl. Right. Blink,
[01:04:43] Dill T Jones: exhale of smoke as eyes popped from snake slit to normal. Glancing around to make sure the place wasn't on fire or anything.
[01:04:56] Sjira: ::Before gentled vigil returned to Panther.  Booted, small feet could not reach the rung of the barstool and left toes to sweeping just above it as she sat there.::
[01:04:59] Gypsy Lore: Catching Bjorn's words, she nodded slowly, a frown creeping on her face. “I have to agree with you.” Murmuring, before her eyes moved to touch on Panther. “Oh, I was just getting some coffee ….” Flushing, she placed her notebook aside on the counter, gesturing to the coffee pot and carafe.
[01:05:49] Panther: ::shifting a bit in the direction of the kegs and starts filling his mug from one:: Kruger, if you have words for me you can say them directly.
[01:06:03] Bjorn Andrews: Bjorn had momentarily fallen in love again with whiskey, but he had sized Toby up for his question then following silence -- ticked a look over at Vera who retreated with suspicious quiet -- and finally observed the couple, before cocking a brow back over at Dillon. Something had happened, but he wasn't sure what. “Aren't many people who like the slavers; they just have enough power that we can't seem to wipe 'em out all at once.”
[01:07:34] Dill T Jones: "I did not do it." To whatever Bjorn was looking at him for. Even took an innocent drink from his screwdriver.
[01:08:15] Gypsy Lore: .....yes, best to be silent now. Snatching a mug, she quickly filled it with what had to be, day old coffee. She gave it a slight sniff, making a face and deciding to deal with it, giving a look back to Bjorn. She had her own reasons for not liking slavers. Hmph.
[01:08:51] Kruger: His eyes went wild at Panther then.  "Really?  I don't even know if I have the ability to give you words...Aren't you DEAD?!  Why the hell would I be able to talk to you?  Didn't you abandon your love for years and come back and weasel back into her her life?  and likely her bed!  And the world calls looks to you and coos after you...Not this smith sister."
[01:09:05] Gypsy Lore: " ......."
[01:09:39] Toby Aradam: He's just being awkward with his soda, working to banish thoughts of short skirts, powerful legs that could make things explode with a single kick, dark hair and a bright face.  He finished his drink in the meantime, distracting himself with Kruger's exclamation.
[01:09:43] The Traveler: The bottle was set back onto the bar and he was leaning forward into Thorn once again Chin coming to a rest on her shoulder. His voice quiet as he spoke close to Thorns ear. "I think I may be taking Arthour up on his suggestion. His offer?" he wasn't sure what one of the two it was.
[01:10:25] Sjira: ::Shoulders were all the more tense.  Gaze found the glass of wine Panther had poured for her.  Another sniff of it but she did not drink it, nearly spilling it instead when Kruger was heard. Gaze spent between them, most troubled.::
[01:10:38] Gypsy Lore: And just like that, Vera was somehow beside Bjorn, just a seat away from Thorn. Eying Kruger, she sipped on her coffee, her hand sliding her notebook closer to her along the scuffed bartop.
[01:11:07] The Redneck: "Doesn't help much that there's always gonna be folk who figure it's easier t' buy people to work than it is to pay a wage."  But that was her opinion, at least a sliver of it.  Oh,well, there was, stuff going on over there.  Amethyst eyes flicked glances between Panther and Kruger, but she kept her own bone box shut.  At least until Roman's words pooled around her ear.  "Mm, nice.  If that's whatcha really wanna do Love."  Vera's quicksilver movements, and positioning met with a softly amused
[01:11:32] The Redneck: smile.  In theory there'd be no need for wands and no one would explode in showers of hot acid.
[01:11:37] Bjorn Andrews: Those sounded like fighting words; was it any wonder that he, too, paid more attention on what was transpiring down the bar? Not openly, but with the faintest tilt of his head, listening more than watching which is likely why he didn't say anything to Vera right off. But she liked eavesdropping, too, didn't she?
[01:11:59] Panther: ::ear are turns back slightly as he finishes tapping his drink, then lifting the mug for a drink he turns about to look towards Kruger... lowering the mug and reaching to wipe the froth from his mouth with the back of a hand:: Well, as far as being dead... I suppose the answer to that part is obvious.
[01:12:08] Bjorn Andrews: Thorn's comment saw a dip of his chin, though, as if he were acknowledging the truth of the matter.
[01:13:17] Sjira: ::A slight smile, she was more than happy that he was not dead.  The glass was turned by its stem but little more was done with it for a while's time more.::
[01:13:31] The Traveler: Shoulder lifting as he became quiet once again fingers enterlacing around Thorns belly. He was not going to speak on slavers as he had been on three sides of slavery.
[01:13:38] Panther: Did I abondon S'jira... yes. It was never my intention to do so, but I cannot deny that I did.
[01:13:54] Dill T Jones: Oh. This will be good. Though he would take some sympathy on Vera and her coffee troubles. "Lemme see that." With a motion to her coffee with one of his gloved hands. The one without smoke and booze all around it, thankfully. The look on his face seemed to be a helpful one, if that was something.
[01:14:37] Sjira: ::A hand reached out towards Panther on that, a slide of it across the bar and rested against its scarred, wooden surface palm-upwards. Still, gaze spent between Kruger and Panther as they spoke.::
[01:15:08] Kruger: "Pfft...you may be here but your gonna have to do more than that to prove your alive to me."  He looked at 'jira then far more softened but the sad shake of his head was still there.  "Brother..you act like I care what your intentions are or were...I know what you did...I know how much it hurt the ones you love and I know...in my eyes ain't no excuse good enough save your dead...You feel the way I'm talking to you?"
[01:15:10] Gypsy Lore: ....yes, well, that was beside the point, Bjorn. Arching her brows at Thorn, her tawny head tilted and her eyes grew a bit wider. Never a dull moment, her expression said clearly. The subject of slavery? She wasn't about to jump on it, not any time soon. Blinking, she looked from Dill back down to her coffee mug, slowly handing it over. "Oh, would you be a luv?" Grin.
[01:16:26] Sjira: Kruger.. please.. ::Quietly borne words, troubled all the more as it seemed to continue.::
[01:16:47] Panther: ::his eyes narrowing and ears flattening back:: You speak as if I have to prove anything to you.
[01:16:58] Dill T Jones: The curl of his lips said she didn't even have to ask. He placed his drink on the bartop and hooked his smoke into a nearby ashtray. Mug taken gently from her and held in his palm. He didn't do anything. That was perhaps the most strange part, right now. But every atom was switched down to his prefered blend. How could you tell he was done? It began to steam as it caught up to the temperature change. Just a small whisp. He handed it back to her. "I hope you like Jamacian Blue Mountain." But any
[01:17:02] Dill T Jones: new coffee was better then old coffee.
[01:17:09] Gypsy Lore: Stage whisper, "That's <I>the </I>Panther, right?"
[01:17:39] The Redneck: A little bit of a shift, a little bit of a wiggle, settling in more comfortably against Roman's belly and chest.  The tick of the redneck's head in response to Vera's unspoken comment was amused agreement.  "So, how 'bout them squirrels?"  Oh, Vera's question was much better than Thorn's.
[01:17:45] Bjorn Andrews: Since fists didn't start flying, the Lion paid less attention, lifting up a broad shoulder to give off a half-shrug to the others. “The hour grows increasingly late, and I would rejoin my méivoln.” If a fight needed breaking up or helping to smooth over until tempers evened out, Dillon was a good man for the job -- he'd seen him do it plenty. “It was good to see you guys. Next time, I'ma have to convince Ivanya to come with me.” Bjorn, giving a smile to Vera, he let it broaden for the couple and
[01:17:50] Toby Aradam: "Jesus," he muttered, looking between S'jira, Kruger and Panther.  He didn't know what was going on, really, but it doesn't look all that good.  Especially for S'jira.
[01:17:51] Dill T Jones: A couple of nods there, making the whisper a bit in keeping in the somewhat theatrical background. Just answering questions.
[01:18:39] Bjorn Andrews: Toby before reaching across the bar for a hand-slap for Dillon.
[01:18:41] Kruger: "Of course 'jira..I will be happy to let off...it will only take so long as it took you to get over him...has that happened?"  He turned to Panther then.  "You should have to prove it to someone.  'jira is far to nice to hold you to the way you treated her...this city...This Inn...and I know you understand me sir."
[01:19:21] Dill T Jones: "It was good seeing you man." Slappity slap slap. Sharp grin there over to Bjorn, one of the few he liked to catch up with.
[01:20:12] The Redneck: Finger tips, light and tender, drifted along the line of Roman's forearm and the back of his hand, following the shape of the bones under the skin.  "Say hello from us yeah?  An', some sorta manly hug thing from me maybe?"  Because she was a hugger, really she was.  Sun bright smile for the lion was dimple flanked and warm.
[01:20:45] The Redneck: The words, they'd been for Bjorn since he was bailing.
[01:21:36] Panther: ::the hand is seen, but not acknowledged at the moment. The mug of ale is set to the back bar:: I know some of what happened between you two while I was gone... I know you cared for her, maybe still do. But there are is a reason some things are called "the past". And that is in it.
[01:21:37] Toby Aradam: He grinned, semi-distracted by the altercation, and waved at Bjorn.  Their talk hadn't gone anything like he thought it would.  He'd actually enjoyed it.
[01:21:58] Gypsy Lore: Taking the mug from Dillon, she nodded her thanks with a smile, taking a long drink, a purr caught and held in the back of her throat. Oh, sweet nectar, sweet life. Licking her lips, she opened her eyes and gently skimmed her fingertips along Bjorn's forearm. “I'd love to see you two guys sometime soon, have a good night, luv."
[01:22:51] Panther: ::his voice taking on a discernable snarl as he continues to speak:: And as far as I am concerned, there is but one I nee to prove myself to, the same as it was before, the same it continues to be.
[01:23:48] Bjorn Andrews: “I will tell him that you wished me to hug him for you. But not lingeringly.” Bjorn joked with her, winked to Dillon, and if Roman seemed down with the hand-slapping, he was offering him one. He didn't properly shake hands after that much whiskey. “You don't let those girls walk all over you, Toby. Gotta find that line for you, between respecting them, but respecting you too if nothin' else, you hear me? I'll pass it along, Vera, and thanks. Don't be so scarce, vishya?” Farewells were avoided
[01:24:05] Sjira: ::Her head lowered, nearly to bring the curve of her chin in against the line of her collarbone.  But attention was no less upon them.  The glass was watched well and the liquid held within that fragile vessel.::
[01:24:30] Bjorn Andrews: for the trio who seemed to have their hands full, but he did glance out of the corner of his eye at them once more before heading on his way, through the tables and chairs, out the door.
[01:25:15] Kruger: "Interesting...easy enough we will call it past...known you a long time Panther...I remember the orphans..should I forget that past too?  Should I just forget everything...this place will give you a second chance.  Everyone will look and be happy...cept me.  I am here to remind you...of the mess you left when you went away."  He was pointing to 'jira then.  "What was between us...fell broken in the alleyways I was sleeping in...Much like you to her...when I needed her she was gone...that doesn't
[01:25:29] Kruger: mean you don't have to answer."
[01:25:31] The Redneck: Nose wrinkling grin and a cheeky wink Bjorn-wards.
[01:25:40] Dill T Jones: He would never let someone go without a good cup of coffee. It was amazing what it could do for the mind, body, and soul. The Company put good money into coffee technology. Which resulted in some rather small, super intelligent bean disasters, but came out pretty well in the end. He was happy to pick up his vices once again in deft fingertips. Kind of... moving a bit away from the conversation over there just out a general respect. He finally found a point to lean on the bartop and dropped his
[01:26:08] Gypsy Lore: "I'll try, for you." She simpered, slipping on to a barstool. Grinning, she waved after the man and turned her attention back to the others.
[01:26:11] Panther: Not to you I don't.
[01:26:49] Dill T Jones: elbows down onto the wood. Idling once again, but he didn't fade out right off.
[01:27:42] The Redneck: Shifting a bit more there were more kisses for Roman's jaw and chin.
[01:27:56] Kruger: "Brother...nobody else is holding you to it..."  Applauds with contempt and drips sarcasm.  "Yay...Panther is back to come in make a little girl love him and then what...run away again and call it unintentional"  Scoffs again at them.
[01:28:04] Toby Aradam: "I'll work on it, Bjorn.  Or--well, try."  He was surrounded by women.  If he pissed them all off, he'd be run out of town.  Thta wasn't an appealing thought.
[01:29:01] The Traveler: At the momen't his hands needed to be idle. they never moved from around Thorns stomach though he nodded his goodnight. Sometimes being what he was for so long could be a real pain. Even the kisses were barely felt. It was as if he were not fully there at the moment.
[01:31:17] Sjira: Kruger.. there must a stopping in this... ::Lips parted, a few times, uncertain what to say to quell it all.  The glass of wine was resettled to the bar's top.  Line of her brow was marred with a frown and what smiles had been there earlier were ruined.:: Please..
[01:31:40] Panther: ::a shake of his head and nearly a chuckle:: Ah, what a luxery it must be to be so indignant when only partial truths are known.
[01:33:56] The Redneck: Curious, and with a slowly growing concern she tipped her head to catch a look at Roman's face.  Whatever she saw there had her nodding firmly and slowly wriggling her way out of his lap.  "Vera, we'll talk 'gain next time.  Toby was good seein' you again.  You too Dillon."  Fingers laced through Roman's she gave a light tug.  "'S find some stars t' watch a while."  Not a question no, but neither was the suggestion a demand.
[01:34:06] Dill T Jones: "Anyone wanna go play putt putt golf?" All over Rhydin many women (and some men) cried out in sudden rage they were not at the bar right then. Oh, the Jedis would be feelingthat one. It has been in his mind for days for some reason and right now, respectfully, it seemed like a good idea to blurt that out as he suddenly rose from the bartop a bit. Like a dog that had just seen a nice car pass by.
[01:34:39] Kruger: A laughing look to 'jira.  "It will stop when one of us lay bleeding on the floor...any volunteers for that?"  To Panther those wheat colored eyes flit.  "Partial truths are all I was allowed...all that was ever given me...likely all she ever felt I deserved...who knows she may even be right about that.  Still I feel fairly confident here...that a good dose of man blood would do you good Panther..."  He fingered his hammers so lovingly.
[01:34:40] Panther: ::stepping to stand across the bar form S'jira, a hand resting on the bartop:: I have given the truth of what happened to the one who deserves it most. I have explained myself as best I can to those who have asked.
[01:34:56] Dill T Jones: And of course, a warm grin and a nod on over to both Thorn and Roman as they seemed to be slipping out. "See you later you two."
[01:35:14] Gypsy Lore: Reaching out, she touched Thorn's arm. "I'll be seeing you soon." She didn't make a promise of it, just an assertion.
[01:35:23] Toby Aradam: "You too, Thorn.  I should probably get home too."  He sends a last look down the bar.  "Before this sticks in my mind."
[01:36:55] Kruger: "Poor Panther to find the one man who won't sit by and listen quietly.  Hmmph"  the smith took one last bitter sip from his mug and looked to the bronze bust of The Watcher.  "Tali...you won't be proud of me tonight."
[01:37:10] The Redneck: With her free arm she stole a hug from Vera and pressed a kiss to her cheek.  "Definitely."  Thorn didn't hear a promise in the Gypsy's words.  And more fishy-faces went Toby's way.  "Prolly a good idea."  --Because really, men who lovingly fingered their hammers in public places tended to be mind sticking.
[01:37:13] The Traveler: And she was gone. A slight sigh as he glanced at her and nodded. He understood her concern. "Yes might be best to talk under the stars about this. Its been a long time sense I have taught, And I have only show one the Way before." Licking his lips and hands slipped into his pockets as he stodd up and started heading for the door without another word.
[01:37:51] The Traveler: stood*
[01:38:13] Sjira: ::Fingerstips settled in against Panther's hand upon the bar's counter:: ...he speaks of..me, Kruger. ::Gently, it was said and most quietly so.  Touch to a clawed digit, gaze dropped then returned to them both.::
[01:39:26] Toby Aradam: He popped his hood up, straightening the bag hanging on his hip then started toward the door.  Maybe he'd lead the exiting troupe.
[01:39:52] Panther: If you wish to spill my blood... I am standing right here. But do not kid yourself in to believing it is for her you fight. Nor is it for anyone else that has passed through these walls but yourself.
[01:39:58] Gypsy Lore: Wave! to Toby.
[01:40:04] The Redneck: "Y'all have a good night."  Fingers laced with Roman's she edged toward the back alley door.  "'M sure y'll be fine baby.  If y' even really wanna."
[01:40:07] Dill T Jones: And another wave to Toby as he slipped out. Hmmm. Must of been his putt putt question. He didn't think Rhy'din fought in the great minigolf war of 'ought 3 though.
[01:40:11] Gypsy Lore: And a wave to Roman, as well.
[01:40:18] The Traveler: Stopping at the door as his mind flattened and thinned becoming less and at the same time more. Looking back over his shoulder at Thorn, the door opening with the turn of his head. Amber eyes watching her a moment then he was out into the cold mentaly willing his body to reject the reality of the chill touching him.
[01:40:45] Sjira: ::The wine remembered was sought.  Lips met with the glass' edge and drank from it.::
[01:40:52] The Redneck: She was, right there with him, definitely.  And off and gone in time with Roman as well.
[01:42:32] Kruger: He turned on 'jira then.  "And I stayed away rather than come near...I am angry 'jira...hurt, and angry and I stay with those I know love me." Oh how he gazed at the man cat.  "No I don't fight for her...I do it because she won't...because they won't...I've heard the talk of threats but Panther my old and once dear friend...I am gonna lay hands on you...for me for everyone."
[01:43:43] Sjira: But.. there is want for warring.. ::Words perhaps lost beneath others of upset.  A glance from Kruger, to Panther.::
[01:43:52] Sjira: *is no want
[01:44:18] Dill T Jones: "Pfft, you people don't know fun..." Generally and playfully. Again, it just had been sticking in his mind. He'll go play putt putt. In his own mind. Like right now. Give him a few.
[01:45:25] Toby Aradam: He let himself out, forcing his ears to close to what he heard behind him.
[01:45:26] Kruger: Two hammers left the loops of his belt as he stood.  Heaven laid to the table and hell over the top of it.  He cracked his neck and popped his shoulders.  "To think I once defended your honor over the mistreatment of the claw in the rings."  He just shook his head angrily and started forwards slowly.
[01:46:28] Panther: Stóirín, perhaps you should go upstairs.
[01:47:20] = Gypsy Lore has entered the room =
[01:48:06] Sjira: ::The glass was put to the counter and she eased down from the barstool. Booted small feet carried her through the room and directly for the stairs known to lead to the secondo of the inn's levels.::
[01:49:03] Sjira: ::Pace was hurried enough to cause earthy, green hems to shift against her knees and shins.  Up the steps to the uppermost one, where she settled down to sit. Watchful through the slats of the railing.::
[01:49:19] Panther: You say you wish to fight because she will not? You feel she is wronged? Yet you yourself did not wait for her...
[01:50:14] = Valkyrie has entered the room =
[01:50:16] Kruger: The brand on his left cheek eyed Panther from a pair of wolves eyes, the ball in its mouth clearly the All Seeing Eye.  They all  seemed to be smiling with what was about to happen.  They were easily outshone by the smiths own though.  "I'm done talking brother...my sins are known...to me and obviously you."
[01:50:19] Panther: Is there guilt more than anger behind your actions?
[01:50:56] Panther: And mine seem to be known by all... what of it.
[01:51:31] Kruger: And now a manacing laugh.  "Both brother....both..stop trying to get out of the beating we both deserve."
[01:51:47] Valkyrie: She moved silently into the Inn, lether skirt stiff thanks to the cold. Her blue cloak fluttered as she lowered her hood and glanced around the Inn. Taking a soft breath, she started towards the bar, pausing to nod to Panther and then glancing to Kruger. She moved past the men and for the water, taking a drink while she soaked up the warmth. All the while her eyes leveled on Kruger, watching him curiously.
[01:52:53] Panther: ::taking a step back from the edge of the bar, hands out at his sides:: I am not trying to get out of anything, but neither am I looking to deliver.
[01:54:22] Kruger: He took a running leap to land ontop of the bar and look down on his prey.  His heart was beating as it hadn't for so long he had forgotten what real fear was.  Could the Panther smell it?  Probably but the smith wasn't gonna let a little pulpatating stop him now.  He dropped behind the bar and fired a fist forward.  "Then you are gonna feel real bad tomorrow brother."
[01:55:59] Valkyrie: "Kruger! Don't!" Val cried out the second a fist flaired. Blue eyes pracitally begged as she started forwards on one foot to reach the Smith and draw him back. But honestly, what could this small woman do when the man felt such.. rage?
[01:56:02] Sjira: ::Darkly colored eyes watched well.  Breath hitched and the remembering to breathe again would come a moment's time later.  Gravely, vigil attended Panther and Kruger, and she stayed well out from underfoot.::
[01:56:22] Panther: There is little you could do to my heart or soul that I did not suffer in the hours before my return... if you think the body... ::and at that the punch connected... snapping his head back::
[01:58:06] Valkyrie: Even as the hit landed against Panther, her hand reached out for Kruger's free arm, her fingers clasping at it, holding it back in case he tried for another swing. "Kruger, please, calm this madness."
[01:59:21] Kruger: He brought the fist back quickly...it had been a very long time coming.  "I told you I was done talking"  The grin of battle lust the same that would take him in the ring.  The same that he had lost when plunging himself on to Rhi's spear and nearly killing himself...so very nearly...and how it was wanted...
[01:59:28] Panther: ::a half step is taken back to keep his balance, his head popping back, gaze on the Valkyrie, his voice still holding that hint of snarl:: Let him have his fun.


=== Red Dragon Inn: 2013-01-12 02:00:00 EST ===
[02:00:30] Sjira: ::Already, the small one was on her feet.  Touch met with the railing, but kept to the stairs.  Worriment was steep and borne unmasked in the lines of her face.::
[02:01:47] Valkyrie: Valkyrie looked to Panther and then to Kruger. Her eyes said all there was  for the smith to know. She wanted him to stop, to think. Was Kruger beyond reason? Taking a deep breath, she glanced back to Panther before speaking, her voice relatively soft and practically silent. "I can't." It was not in her nature to watch her friends hurt themselves or others.
[02:02:17] Panther: Let him delver what he believes I deserve.
[02:02:27] = Kes has entered the room =
[02:02:29] Panther: *deliver*
[02:02:45] Kruger: He had heard Val, but there was no room for reason in him now.  He readied another quick jab of the left.  The shoulder shifted, and instead the right came in lower towards the body.   "I got no problem with beatin on ya without ye trayin ta hit me back Panth...don't think I do...Don' let 'jira think I do either."
[02:03:16] Kruger: *trying
[02:03:51] Valkyrie: As he swung again her hands released his arm, head shaking as she stepped back. A bit of grief crossed her face.
[02:04:08] Panther: ::instinct kicked in a bit as an elbow is tucked to somewhat block the hooking right::
[02:05:47] Kruger: the elbow blocked out his strike he used the momentum to spin and strike again with an elbow aimed towards the broad fuzzy chest.
[02:05:54] = Cianan has entered the room =
[02:06:49] = Nicole Raine Harrison has entered the room =
[02:07:28] Panther: ::his stance was still offset, so while the elbow connected with a deadening thud and knocked some wind from him, he kept his feet::
[02:07:56] Sjira: ::Touch curled against the railing until knuckles had gone a little white.::
[02:07:58] = naevein has entered the room =
[02:12:38] Kruger: He continued the spin, wishing in that moment he had one of those hammers in his hand to lash out with and drive one nightmare into another. He settled for another slow powerful hooking blow from a left hand. The Cat wasn't fighting back and that frustrated him more, but everyone had a breaking point...and he had all night.  "Strike...Damn you...Defend your self...(vq) just f***ing kill me."
[02:14:48] Valkyrie: Breath was quivering a little, her hand gripping at the side of the bar. Big eyes locked on Kruger as he lashed out at Panther, horror striking her features.
[02:17:05] Panther: ::his chin was spun to the left as the hook connected, again.. instincts that were hard to fight kicked in as he spun about with the blow and came to a crouch. The jaw was worked a couple of times:: Ah... so we come closer to the truth.
[02:22:46] Sjira: ::The three within the inn's common room below were watched closely.  She simply could not send her attention elsewhere.  When he had been hit again, she flinched but was otherwise

9
Tales of the Cat / An Unexpected Ending To An Otherwise Lovely Evening
« on: January 12, 2013, 11:04:18 PM »
Dinner had been nice, relaxing, quiet. S'jira and he had decided to go to one of the smaller eateries in the market, have a meal outside the Dragon. They had planned to return to the cottage S'jira had acquired in his absence, but time flowed a bit too quickly and they decided it was too late to do so. Trygg was left in the small barn, and the walk back to their room at the Dragon would be a much shorter one.

There were still a few puddles dotting the road, remnants of the foggy, misty weather of the day before. He paid it no attention and as he stepped through the first, it sent up a splash of water that had S'jira jumping lightly aside.

He offered a quick apology, and when she decided to tease him lightly about his carelessness he feigned being wounded by her words. Her laughter was a wonderful sound in the still night. He took a step back and bowed low at the waist, "begging" her forgiveness and offering to make it up to her.

She gave another small laugh, but as well as she knew him, she warily asked how he intended to do so.  He turned about, dropping to a knee and said that he would take the place of the steed so she would not have to worry about puddle and the like.

It took a bit of prodding before she agreed to climb on his back. Her arms wrapped about his neck, legs about his waist and her chin rested lightly on his shoulder as he resumed their return to the Dragon.

He made an exaggerated effort to note and avoid any further puddles on the walk back to the Inn. As the approached the familiar porch and as he walked across the floor towards the bar, with a light whisper to his ear she reminded him that her own legs did work.

There was already activity behind the bar as he relented, letting her take to her own feet, setting her down at the bar and offered to get her something to drink. The smith, Kruger, was back there and seemed in a foul mood. He paid him little heed really, instead giving his attention to S'jira as she decided for a rare treat of wine instead of the usual cider.

He had known Kruger for years, held no small amount of respect for him, but truth be told he had .. well, not avoided, but he was not one he had sought out to renew acquaintances with. Kruger was someone with whom S'jira had sought happiness with when he had not returned and she did not know that he ever would. She had not shared all the details with him, which was fine, but he knew they were together for a fair amount of time before her own travels took her away. Between that, and her feelings for him having never left her, their relationship did not survive and from what she had heard he was happy with another now.

So while he had seen, felt the harsh looks directed at them he had thought they were simply because of his mood, and they were the ones that happened to be in the path of it this night.

He was behind the bar, fetching some elven sweet wine for S'jira as the smith had gone and sat. He was near the bust of the Watcher, and as the Inn was nearly empty at this late hour, it was nothing for him to her the conversation he started to have with it.

He spoke of men and honor, or rather a lack of. Then of tails tucked between legs. It was soon apparent they, or he rather, was not just caught in the crossfire, he was the intended target of Kruger's ire.

As he went to fill himself a mug he spoke, letting the Smith know that if he had words for him that he was right here, there was no need to speak to an empty chair. A wellspring sprung forth at that. Kruger spoke of how the feline was supposed to have been dead, but instead here he had weaseled his way back in to S'jira's life and likely her bed after having abandoned her. And that while the rest of the town may be cheering his return... he would not.

His back was still to the room as he finished tapping his ale. He didn't have to look at S'jira to know the pained expression that would cross her features. He did not need to see her to know the pain she was likely feeling. For Kruger, over the role, no matter how small, she believed she played in his pain. And he knew she would also be troubled over how the Smith's words may be effecting him.

And they did. A mix of regret, sadness, anger and more all bubbled up inside him once more... as they have any number of times since his return. He hid this all behind the mug as he lifted it for a drink. S'jira reached a hand out towards him, resting it on the bar. He could see it out of the corner of his eye as his gaze fell on the smith. Kruger spoke of how S'jira was too kind to ever hold him accountable, but that he would have to answer to someone.

His ears fell back slightly and a snarl was cutting in to his words as he spoke, making it very clear that there was but one person he would have to prove himself too and it was not the smith. More accusations of running away were made, more shouts of anger were flung and when S'jira spoke imploring Kruger to stop the smith claimed it would only stop when one of them lay bleeding on the floor of the Inn.

In a quiet voice he bade S'jira to go upstairs, for while he had no desire to fight him, he could tell the smith would not stop until blows were had. He told the smith that if he wished to spill blood that he was right before him, but that he should not delude himself in to thinking it was being done for her. That if he were to do this, it was for no one other than himself.

One last accusation was shot out at the smith, wondering if it was anger fueling this, or perhaps it was guilt over how he himself had not waited for S'jira to return from her homeland before finding himself in the arms of another.

Kruger took a running leap that brought him to the bar top, and he took a step back. Not from fear, but to simply open himself up. He stood there, behind the bar, arms out from his side and simply reiterated how he had no wish for a fight. He would not stop the smith from doing what he would, but he would not fight back.

He had barely gotten the words from his lips when Kruger dropped down behind the bar, using the momentum to fire a punch right for him. While he steeled himself for it, it hurt none the less. That fist connected square in the middle of his face, against that feline snout, snapping his head back and forcing him to take a half-step back to brace himself. Had he been in a different form his nose would likely have been broken. As it was, the immediate result was the coppery taste of blood as the inside of his lip was cut against his teeth. That and the stars that would be clouding his vision for a few moments.

He was vaguely aware of another trying to step in, trying to stop the smith has he pressed his attack. Another jab was feigned, and instead a right hook was swung. Instinct took over and his elbow was tucked in to his side to block the blow. Kruger spun around and smashed an elbow to his chest. The wind was nearly taken from his lungs, the ribs did not crack under the blow but he knew they would be sore for days to come.

He braced for whatever blow would come next, and it was in the form of a hook to the jaw that snapped his head to the side. He turned with it, spinning about to face his attacker in a low crouch. Kruger hissed at him, telling him to defend himself, which was followed by four more words, said barely above a whisper. "just f***ing kill me."

There it was, he had known there was something more at play here than simple anger. He still did not know why Kruger would wish for death, at the moment he wasn't even sure he cared. But he was closer to the truth.

Then nearly as quickly as the situation had exploded, it came to an end. The woman who had tried to stop Kruger's swing a moment ago gave him his wish of spilt blood by taking a bottle to the back of his head. The glass bottle shattered and the smith had just enough time to turn towards his new attacker before he collapsed unconscious on the floor.

He stood there for a few more moments as this woman managed to get the slowly awakening Kruger to his feet and start towards the door with him. He simply watched, offering no help.

Instead, as they approached the door, he turned, walked out from behind the bar and to S'jira who had started down the stairs to meet up with him. He had stopped her while she was still a couple of steps above him, allowing him to look straight in to her eyes, and that is all he did for a few moments.

Then he remembered her wine. The nearly full bottle was still sitting atop be bar. He started to go retrieve it for her when she threw herself at him, arms about his neck in a warm embrace. He only wince slightly as her arm brushed his jaw. She then gave a quiet, relieve laugh at his worry over her forgotten wine. She released him long enough for him to go retrieve the bottle and return to her, following her up to their room.

10
Tales of the Cat / A Wonderful End To a Good Day
« on: January 07, 2013, 02:29:24 PM »
It had been a good evening of hunting. There were four rabbits, already gutted and skinned were in the oiled canvas sack slung over his shoulder that bounced lightly against his back as he walked up to the Dragon.

It was a nice feeling to be out stretching his legs such, but it was another clash of feelings. On one level it felt as if he had not done so in ages, but he very well did quite a bit of hunting over those previous years. He just couldn't remember doing so.

And while that hunting likely included any number of rabbits, he didn't think any would taste as good as these will once a stew was made of them.

A slight smile crept across his face as he entered the Inn and caught sight of S'jira seated near the hearth working on one of her sewing projects. She started to her feet as she spotted him entering.

He continued on towards the bar, giving a nod in greeting to Chryrie, and by the time he had deposited the sack on the back counter s'jira had come to the end of the bar. Stepping close to her, he leaned in close and nuzzled in to her neck, whispering a greeting to her and nipping lightly at her soft skin. Her hand reached to brush along his whiskers. He turned his head in to the touch and lingered there for a moment enjoying her scent before standing upright again.

"Rabbit stew will be on the menu for tomorrow..." he said. He had caught enough to make a large pot to be served in the Inn and feed the two of them for a few meals. He had kept the pelts, asking if she had a use for them as he had no immediate need.

After a moment of thinking she said she did. She was making a cloak for the woman called Tinker, and it they could be used with it. He would take them to the tanner and trade his raw hides for some finished ones so she would have them right away to work with. It was a visit he needed to make, an relationship to re-kindle after his absence.

A bit reluctantly he moved away from her to retrieve the sack off the back counter, pausing a moment to ask if she needed something to drink. While she went to fetch her mug from where it sat at the hearth, he moved in to the kitchen. Meat and pelts would need to be put on ice until they could be further dealt with the next day.

He returned to the common room and was fetching her some fresh, spiced cider when Anya had entered. The woman who had been so kind to the stranger, to him, a few days earlier. He noticed something right away.  First it was the smell of dried blood about her, and then something in the way she walked... her mannerisms. He did not know her well at all, but there was just something... off. He noticed the source of the smell to be her knuckles. Deep scrapes were on them, scabbing over, but still fairly fresh. He watched her as she fetched herself a couple of bottles, leaving money for the till before taking a seat at the bar, keeping up a conversation with S'jira about the stew that would be made the next day.

After she was settled at the bar, he looked about for a familiar box kept under the bar. He was unsure it would still be there, and if it was if the contents would be of use. He was pleasantly surprised when he found it, but also discovered someone had kept the herbs inside freshly supplied. While the herbs and such inside were all edible, this was not a box for the kitchen, but one befitting the common room of the Inn. No, all of these herbs had some sort of healing qualities to them. From settling a stomach made queasy from too much ale to aiding in the healing of all manner of cuts, scrapes and burns.

He thought of something that would also help, but was not kept in the box. He glanced to S'jira. Between her baths and other uses, she had a number of scented oils.

"Do you have any lavender oil?"

As S'jira said she did and made to fetch it, Anya made as if she was preparing to depart. He looked back to her and with a point to her and then the stool he simply told her to "sit". It was more a command than request, one that set her a flurry, thinking it was over the bottles she had taken, getting all defensive and soon, fairly submissive. Ready to be shackled and drug away.

He managed to calm her, and explain. There were two pouches with powders in them and the small bottle of oil slid across the bar to Anya. They would help with healing of her wounds if she tended to them. A stick of cinnamon was also handed over. Together they would help fight infection, soothe itching, and maybe even reduce any scarring.

He felt her moving close, S'jira, as he finished speaking with Anya. Her arms found their way about his waist as she tucked herself under his arm. His tail seemed to find it's way about her legs of it's own accord as he put his arm over her shoulder. She was tired and wished to retire. He wanted to join her... but he was not quite ready for sleep, and as his gaze flitted across the room for a moment he let her know he had something he wanted to attend to first, but let her know he would soon follow.

A light kiss was left at the corner of his mouth, and a promise of finding a warm bed waiting was made before she turned and made her way up the stairs. It took no small amount of will to keep from following her as he watched her move up those stairs. As she disappeared down the hall, he moved out from behind the bar, snagging up the mug of cider she had left there and moved over towards the hearth.

Chryrie was laid out in comfort on one of the couches, he stepped up on to the other, taking a seat upon the back of it as to allow his tail to swing freely behind him. Leaning forward he rested elbows on knees, the mug had been shifted to his left hand, leaving his right free to toy with the strap of braided leather about his wrist.

Another round of greetings was exchanged between the two, she spoke of being glad to see him returned. It was something that even days later was something he was not used to hearing and said as much.

"From what I've heard, I can imagine so.  You should have something done so that doesn't happen again." She was all smiles, but there was something more behind those words. An offer perhaps?

His response, be it a statement or a question, it didn't really matter, was just a single word.

"Magics."

"Perhaps. Although, if you were thinking of more mundane means, you'd likely be talking to someone else right now." Her voice was soft, soothing, almost seductive.

"The two of us do not get along so well."

He meant himself and magic. He did not know why, but things of magic when used upon him had rather unpredictable results - if any. The wards in the dueling rings were a good example. They just plain did not work on him, any injury sustained was one he would have to heal from on his own. It was not something he shared freely however, and as such Chryrie did not take his words as intended.

"You and I?  I've never held issue with you.  I rather like you... what little I know of you."

That earned a soft chuckle from him.

"No. Sorry. I meant magic and I. I have nothing against you or others who use it."

He tried to explain that any contact he has had with it has not gone as planned. He went on to tell her that he was not looking for her to use her skills on him directly.

It had not even crossed his mind actually, but after her words it was something he would have to think about. But no, for now he was thinking on a much smaller scale. The simple piece about his wrist, the braided leather. It was a gift, a symbol. It was important to him, and he had thought it lost.

"It has a tendency to fall off when I am not quite feeling myself." he stated, still not ready to speak too freely of the changes he goes through. He was simply (or maybe it was not so simple) looking for a way to keep it on him, no matter what form he is in. But before he could ask such, she spoke of adding something to it, something that should he lose it, S'jira would be alerted and that it could be used to help S'jira locate him.

The information was helpful, but gave him new things to think about. Other options to ponder. He thanked her and expressing his desire to get upstairs in time to bid S'jira a proper good night and rose from the couch.

The room was quiet when he entered, shadows from the single burning candle that rested on the beside table danced across the walls as he closed the door behind him. Her head was on the pillow, covers tucked up about her already sleeping form.

He smiled slightly as he looked to her, but wasted little time in watching before blowing out the candle. His clothing was shed before he lifted the edge of the quilt she was curled up under. Carefully as possible to keep from disturbing her too much he slid under them along side her. As his head hit the pillow he felt her wrapping herself about him. One leg over his, an arm across his chest and her head tucked under his arm to rest upon his shoulder. A soft greeting was murmured from that half-slumber she was in, he turned his head to brush a kiss across her forehead in response. Her breath was warm on his chest as he adjusted the arm under her, bringing his hand to rest on her side at the swell of her breast.

Sleep was still some time away for him, but that was fine. This was a moment, a feeling he wanted to savor for as long as possible.

11
Tales of the Cat / And Finally...
« on: January 06, 2013, 01:09:52 AM »
He made his way back in to the loft. It was an odd feeling. All of his things where there, nicely tucked away. Just covered in that layer of dust. There was nothing of hers.

In the chest on the side of the sleeping area he found a coin pouch, the coin still in it. That was all he took for the moment. Making his way back out of the loft he headed towards the Market, a meal was needed. In one of the smaller pubs he settled at a table with a bowl of whatever soup they had that day.

The tangle of hair and beard seemed determined to keep from such a task, as with every spoonful as much of the soup seemed to send up there as in his mouth. A fair amount of time was spent attempting to wash up after that. After a bit of walking around, letting the chill air clear his mind a bit, he returned to the Dragon.

As he moved inside, he looked to the area near the hearth but she was no longer there. He wasn't sure if that should make his sad, or relieved.

There was nobody tending to the bar so he made his way behind it to fetch himself a mug of water. It felt odd, but comforting to be moving about behind the large wooden bar. So many of the things he was feeling today made little sense to him. Despite what the calendar would say, by his own memories it was as if he had never left. How could things be missed as much as they seem to be?

It was something to be puzzled on later as he spotted the woman who had served him earlier move to join him behind the bar.

"Evening... Anya was it?"

His voice still rough, though not quite as raspy as it had been earlier.

"Yes, Anya.. but I did not hear your name sir. Did you give it earlier? If you did, I missed it." she replied as he moved to the other side of the bar, mug of water in hand, taking a seat there.

"I have been called many things, though none for quite some time. I suppose..." He gave this a quick thought, while this form was as much a stranger about here now as he was, he was not quite ready to give his full name up so freely. "'dar. 'dar will work for now."

She inquired if he was feeling better, he assured her he was, though he was not ill.

"No.. I'm fit and fine. My voice was just... well, anything that goes unused for too long will suffer a bit, no? I am sure the honey helped."

She proceeded to mix up another warmed drink telling him it would further soothe his throat. He took the opportunity to make ask a question of her.

"I.." He paused, not really sure how to proceed, ""There was a women here earlier. She seemed... familiar. Maybe you know her? She was sitting at the hearth doing some sewing."

"I do not know her by name, but I have seen her face several times." She pointed to the dark haired woman he had seen sleeping on the couch earlier. "She was talking to her, she may be able to tell you her name."

He glanced in the direction indicated and then back again.

"I can ask though next time I see her or you should introduce yourself." Anya continued.

"I may do so. It is not of any urgency." He lowered the mug as he spoke. "Just a ... familiarity."

"You are without your memory?" She asked.

"After a fashion." And noting her confused look he continue... "Let me put it this way, the last thing I remember before waking this morning occurred four summers ago."

They both noted the entrance of the dwarven woman, Amber, moving behind the bar to start serving the patrons before she spoke to him again.

"Well, this is not very good.  Have you found a room to stay in?  You shouldn't be wandering around in the night, it's cold outside."

After that she offered him the key to a vacant room upstairs, the name of a cobbler who would fix his boot as a favor owed to her, and even aid in finding a job should it be needed. All this done in the few moments it took her to take her drink across the room and settle in to a chair.

He watched her for a moment and simply said...

"Thank you. I have done nothing to warrant such aid, and it is appreciated. Your kindness will be repaid."

While he truely had no need for any of the things offered, the offer itself had been genuine and he would see to it such kindness was repaid.

After a moment or two of watching the dwarven woman tend to patrons, he posed a similar question to her. Her answer was another one of non-recognition, but he felt the presence of another, one looking to him.

Chryrie, he knew her, knew of her talents, but there was something different about her as she stared intently at him. And then she spoke, softly, gently. "Was she drinking cider and not saying much to anyone?"

And hearing that, Amber spoke again.

"Perhaps you mean Sjira? She sits at the hearth many times and I have seen her sewing at times. I usually get her hot cider in cold weather, with spices in it."

Ah... progress, finally.

"I believe she was drinking cider, but was talking with a local farmer about a cloak."

"Amber is correct.  It's likely S'jira." Chryrie paused, shifted her weight on the stoop and then pointed to him with a finger, "Be careful with that one.  She's protected by many.  Would hate to see a nice boy get mob-maimed for a misunderstanding."

A moment of thought was given before speaking.

"I wish her no harm. As I was telling the server," he motions towards Amber, "there is something... familiar... there." He shifted his attention back to the mug before him, his voice trailing off slightly. "As if from another life. It is good to hear she has ... friends."

And it was, good to hear. But an unspoken meaning to those words nagged at him as well. Protected by many, but maybe by one in particular? To think she would not be after so long...

He pushed the still half-full mug across the bar and started to move towards the front door. He was part-way across the room when Chryrie spoke again.

"Oh, before you go.  She wears two pendants.  Perhaps one of them will jingle something loose in your head?"

That gave him pause, an odd thing to mention it was, but it set his mind to thinking. Pendant... no... pendants. Wait!?

Looking back to the woman he asked "Two...? One a star, the other of green stone perhaps?"

There were no more words, the woman merely tapped her nose, pointed to him and winked before her attention was elsewhere.

Two pendants, a star, the gift from Eless and the green stone, given to her as a sign, well, of her freedom but also a symbol of her being his. Not as something to be owned, but as a symbol of love.

If she still wore that? Could it be? It had to be.

He moved out the front door, only to wend his way around the back of the building, working his way to the upper floors and to the room he had kept there for longer than he cared to think about at the moment.

He would return. Fully. Go to her, and. And. Well, the and part he was unsure of, but there was enough to tell him she likely would not just turn him away. But he couldn't do so looking like this. The bath in his room would be most welcome.

As he entered the room he was greeted with with something surprising. Her scent. It smelled of many of the same oils he had smelled when she seen earlier. She has been in here. He looked about and realized the room had been well kept. This only served to solidify his resolve, and the borrowed clothing he'd been wearing all day were soon on the floor in a pile as he moved to the tub in the adjoining room.

As he was soaking in the warm water, a knife and razor were used to rid him of the beard. He was starting on the hair when he felt it, the Inn was letting him know. She was here, well in the Inn. Down in the common room likely. He quickly rose from the tub, the knife was set aside before he towelled off, and by the time he was in the other room the familiar form of the two-legged feline was present again. A few moments of deep breathing were needed to rid him of the pain such an abrupt change brought with it, then a clean pair of leggings and shirt were pulled from the dresser along the wall.

He was actually feeling, nervous. He was assuming much in this, based on very little really. But damned if he was going to wait any longer. He exited his room and moved down the hall, pausing at the upper landing, looking about for her and spotting her there... near the end of the bar.

((for the rest... see The Return

12
Tales of the Cat / Highs and Lows
« on: January 05, 2013, 07:11:31 PM »
As luck would have it, he was not far from a couple of cottages. At the first people were milling about so he avoided that one. The next was empty of occupants and he was able to find a pair of leggings and a shirt that fit. A worn woolen blanket was found in a corner, and after a couple of well-placed rips were made in the center he pulled that over his head as a sort of makeshift cloak. It would at least keep him warm enough until he could find something else.

There were no shoes or boots large enough to fit him to be found... but he did find a pair of woolen socks that would keep his feet a bit warmer. Realizing he had not eaten yet that day, he filched some bread and cheese he found on his way out the door. He did not take much, just enough to settle the subtle rumble in his stomach. He would have to find a way to get some coin to the folks who owned this cabin at some point.

The winter sun was high as he finally made it in to the city proper. There were nearly as many new sights to be had as there were familiar ones. He forced himself to move slower than he wished, trying not to draw any undue attention. His rather wild and dis-shelved look did draw a few looks here and there, but only the type that most would offer any of the local beggars, the kind that meant he was seen only as something to be avoided if it came too close.

Behind one of the cobblers he found a mismatched pair of leather boots. The hard soles were gone on both, and on one.. the inner sole was hanging half loose at the toes. It made a soft slapping noise on the cobblestones as he walked, but they were good enough for his immediate needs.

He made his way for the Dragon next, but not the front porch. Instead he approached from the rear, near the stable. He paused in the year yard, looking over those stables to the loft above. The one he had spent so much time working on to turn it to a living quarters for himself and S'jira. Something that would offer them more space and privacy than the rooms in the Inn itself would, but allow him to be close at hand.

No smoke rose from the chimney. The shutters on the large window he had installed were closed, even against the warmth of the mid-day sun. An emptiness was felt in the pit of his stomach, one that no bread or cheese would take the edge from.

There was only one hand working about the stalls at the moment, and when he went to the far end of the stables to fetch this or that he was able to slip inside, to the stairs that led up to the loft. He did not need his feline senses to tell him that S'jira had not been there in many, many months. The layer of dust over everything made it clear.

He couldn't bring himself to even enter. He quietly closed the door and stood there for a moment.

She was not here.

But what did that mean? Has she left the Inn entirely? Has she left RhyDin? Was she... was she with another? He found himself pacing the open area of the loft, the portion not used for his living space, but rather storage of various things from Inn and stable.

He needed to know more before deciding what to do. He passed a few open crates in his pacing, items from the Inn, including one of things left unclaimed by patrons over the years. Things of little value really, but for some reason kept in case an errant owner should return. Atop this one though was something he could make use of for now. A cloak, not in great shape, but warmer than the blanket he currently wore, and with a large hood.

Not that he was overly concerned with being recognized, not with over three years growth of hair and beard making a tangled mess of his features, but again... stepping in to the Inn wearing a cloak would get less attention than wearing a blanket for a covering.

He was able to slip from the loft unseen, then worked his way back around to the front of the Inn. It was oddly comforting to be moving up the front steps and across the porch, and as he lifted a hand to push open the front door he paused... fingertips resting against the wooden slab. There was nothing.

It wasn't terribly unusual, he tried to reassure himself as he opened the door and moved slowly inside. It was not as if the Inn would constantly feed him impressions. And did he really expect the Inn would instantly realize it was him? Did it know he had been gone? He couldn't imagine that time passed the same from the perspective of the Inn as it did for others. Maybe just as for him it seemed as if he had never been gone, so too did it seem so to the Inn.

He moved more or less towards the bar as his eyes adjusted to the darkness of being inside. Instinctively his gaze was towards the hearth, where she spent so much of her time while here. There was a figure on the couch, under a blanket... smallish, and there was black hair splayed against one of the cushions. Could it..?

No. As the figure shifted a bit, he knew it was simply his own hopes. It was not her.

There were a couple of people at the bar, one behind it as he sat upon one of the vacant stools. Arms rested on the bar top, the hood of the cloak was kept pulled up, shadowing his face as he turned just enough to take a look towards the others.

And then it happened. She appeared at the stairs leading down from the upper level. Bare of foot, dress of muted browns, looking just as ... well.. as he remembered. Reflexively he drew in a sharp breath. Maybe the loft was just too.. big? for just her and she took to his room in the Inn? Or maybe her old room, the one he had first set her up in those years ago.

He forced himself to breath again, and even though the thought he had prepared himself for this moment he found his hands were tightly gripping the bar to keep himself from leaping up and rushing to her then and there. He had no idea how she would react. He had no clue ... well, if he was going to be honest with himself, if she would even want to see him. After having been deserted by him in such a way, she could very well be happy in the arms of another. And while such a thought both angered and pained him all at once, the thought of causing her pain by just ... appearing... was not something he wanted to do either.

He tried hard not to stare at her as she moved behind the bar to wash and refill her mug. Instead he turned his attention on the other one there, speaking to ask if she was a server. As soon as he tried to speak, his voice cracked noticeably, causing him to cough and hack a bit.

He cleared his throat, and the words that followed were soft and raspy. He had not used his voice in... well, awhile. It was complaining like the hinge on the root-cellar door that had sat idle, exposed to the elements, un-oiled and now screeching under the strain.

The one behind the bar asked if he he would like. As he started to respond he reached for a coin pouch he immediately realized was not there. He had not even thought to search the loft for some money. His frets and worries were clouding his judgement. He had to stop that. He asked for water.

The women helping him mistook the cough as a sign of illness and offered him tea, he declined, but took a mug of the warmed water she poured for him, even as he tried not to open follow S'jira with his gaze when she moved from behind the bar and to the hearth.

He drew the mug of hot water close, drawing in a deep breath as if to inhale the steam from it... in reality he was searching her out, her scent.

It was an odd feeling. In his own mind, he felt as if he had not been gone. It was struggling against his other senses and the things it told him of the time that had passed. He had no reason to miss her, yet his heart ached in a way that would only be explained by such an extended absence.

"Honey will help with the cough."

Words were spoken by the woman behind the bar.. his attention shifted to her with a nod, and before he could help himself the gaze slid to the hearth. He turned his gaze back to his mug, making use of the offered honey. His gaze remained on the mug between the occasional sip, but his ears strained to hear past the conversations next to him to hear what he could of the one taking place near the hearth, one between S'jira and the one he had heard introduce herself as 'Tink' a few moments ago.

While his hearing was sharp, in this form it was not as sharp as he was used to, making out the full conversation over the rest of the noise about him was tough, and her voice was soft.

".. too long or the hour is late, ... travel so far to a small home had.  ... the north.."

A home? She had a home ... elsewhere.

That feeling returned to the pit of his stomach.

It was difficult to keep his focus after that, though he tried. The two spoke of farming and other things. The woman behind the bar asked if he needed anything, he politely declined. The minutes ticked by slowly as his mind played over things known and unknown.

She had a home, away from the Inn. Was it with another? She mentioned a gift of a horse, did she still have Trygg? Probably the last thing he gave her, a birthday gift given shortly before his disappearance. She was still sewing for others, she offered to help this Tink on her farm, she was still as caring of others as ever.

She seemed... happy.

He raised the mug for a drink only to find it empty. As he placed it back on the bar he suddenly found a need for air. Fresh air.

Rising from the stool he made for the front door. A tug to open the door, another to pull it closed behind him. He paused there on the landing, pulling the cloak a bit tighter about his shoulders before turning to the left. As he walked along the length of the porch he reached out with one hand, letting his fingers trace a line along the front of the Inn as he walked.

He was searching for something. He had started to notice it while at the bar, but now he knew it was there. The Inn reached out and set him awash in sensations. Familiar sensations that gave him a reason to almost smile. The pain of the unknown was still there, but it was lightened somewhat. Both in knowing that the long familiar connection was still there and in the message it brought with it.

Whispered words were soon lost in the chill wind, "You have looked after her... thank you..."

And with that, he ducked under the railing at the end of the porch, turning down between buildings. He needed to find out more. But he also couldn't bear to be so close to her right now. He would be back, maybe find another familiar face that may be able to shed further light.

13
Tales of the Cat / ...and Yet So Far.
« on: January 03, 2013, 10:02:49 AM »
He rounded a bend in the road, and while it was still somewhat obscured by the trees, he was both relieved and perplexed by what he saw.

It was RhyDin. He wasn't far from home at all. He could even make out the top of the clock tower, but .. it was further away than it ... should have been.

Further away is not entirely correct. There were more buildings between him and the tower than... before. And not just one or two, there were a number of new buildings along the edge of town, and a number of rooftops that suggested new buildings in other parts of town.

His mind wrestled with this for minutes. Buildings such as these do not go up in a matter of months, unless they've all been done through some sort of magics... or... the other possibility couldn't be. Could it?

The last he remembered it was summer. Now it was winter. He assumed it was just one autumn that he had missed. Could it have been more? The mere possibility was a blow to him like a strike to the gut. He physically needed to lean against a nearby tree as the thought came to him. How could that be? How could he have remained changed for so long?

What else besides a few new buildings had changed in that time??

S'jira??

He slipped to the ground. His mind trying to deal with this. Emotions ones again threatened to flood him. He knew what it had been like to lose Mika without warning, without word. What mush 'jira have thought? Had she done the unthinkable and gone looking for him as he once did for Mika?

A few months is one thing, while he had left RhyDin on purpose for such periods before. A year was another thing.. a year and a half. He couldn't just go waltzing back in to the Dragon like nothing had occurred, could he? There was a time where maybe he could have. But... if she was there... or if she was not. He wasn't sure which would be worse.

Now, he needed to know more. He needed to know about what else has changed in his absence. He couldn't do so like this though. Even after a year, he would be surly be recognized. And maybe deep down it was for selfish reasons, he couldn't risk word reaching S'jira before he had seen more. He allowed himself a small chuckle. The problem was, he couldn't be seen like this, nor could he be seen without the fur, because there was way too much of him to be seen at the moment.?

Ok, first order of business. Finding some clothes.?

He supposed the passing of more seasons, along with the initial shock of the situation explained his disorientation. But now, he knew where he was, and more importantly he knew there were a number of small farms and cottages just to the north, or at least there had been. He was sure he would find something to pass for clothing, at least enough to get him inside the city limits.?

14
Tales of the Cat / So Close...
« on: January 03, 2013, 10:01:17 AM »
In all the tracking he had done over the years, of beast and of man, he could not recall ever doing as he was doing now... tracking himself. Or back-tracking rather.

It was nearly an hour past dawn, and slightly longer since he had awoken, naked, under the fir tree, with no memory of how he got there. Of course he knew, in vague generalities, how he got there. He had changed, his form became that of the cat. Fully, in both body and mind, as it sometimes did. And in that form he had no recollection of his true self, just as in this form he had no recollection of what happened while he was the cat.

It had stopped being a worry for him years ago, as it was something that rarely happened without his consent, and when it did it was never more than a few days before he was back to his old self, and back to her. To S'jira. But something was different this time. His last memories were of summer, of sharing his bed with her on night too warm for any sort of covering over them. But this morning he awoke surrounded by snow.

So here he was, trying to figure out where he had been the evening before... hoping to figure out just where he was in relation to his home in RhyDin... to her.

It was a wandering and meandering path, one of an animal with no real destination in mind. The snow underfoot was mostly hard, not from any recent snowfall. Even though there were drifts of up to two or three feet, they easily held his weight while on two feet. Traveling on four across this would have been very easy, and it left little of anything to follow. And the cool winds were quickly removing any trace of a scent, so it was slow going, often requiring him to double back a bit to find where a turn in his path had occurred.

The trees here were still too tall and thick to offer any real glimpse as to the depth of the woods he was in, nor were there any unique birds or other animal sounds to provide any clues. The terrain was slightly rolling, like most of what he's travelled... both in RhyDin and well beyond.

He had come to another spot where the tracks seemed to just stop. He knew it not to be the case, it just meant there had been some abrupt turn. He crouched, fingers lightly moving across the snow as he drew in a deep breath and eyes strained... all three senses searching for anything to tell him the the next... or rather previous in case... step had come from.

A twitch of whiskers was the first indication of something found.

Smoke. The smell of a wood burning fire. The winds were coming from the north and west. He drew in a deep breath through his nose, lips slightly parted, as he stood to full height. Yes, faint... but distinct. It was not just a wood fire, but coal. Coal, and iron.?

A forge.

A forge meant people. A town.?

Tracking a scent meant he could move quickly, and that he did. Keeping his nose to the wind he covered nearly as much ground in the next quarter hour as he had the previous full one. More and more scents were also reaching him... as soon, sounds as well.?

So focused he was upon the smells and sounds he nearly passed it without notice. A road, one fairly well travelled as it was nearly clear of snow, instead consisting of packed and frozen earth.

He paused for a moment, there on the side of that road. His gaze darting about for anyone that might be traveling it. Modesty aside, while there was a sense of the familiar about him, he still had no idea where he was. And there were many lands about where this form would be welcome, except maybe on the end of a sword or pitchfork.

He was close, within another quarter-hour of walking. But he couldn't just appear like this. Moving in to the cover of the brush, but keeping the road in sight on his left he followed it. Keeping a wary eye and ear open for other travelers. Until he knew just where he was, caution would be needed.

15
Tales of the Cat / A Rude Awakening
« on: January 03, 2013, 09:37:05 AM »
((this and some of the other posts to follow will give some background on the events leading up to Panther's reunion with S'jira as seen in The Return))


Cold.

His still half-unconscious mind registered the cold and instinctively a hand searches about in the darkness for the quilt he surely threw off himself while he slept.

Wet.

As his hand finds nothing, that's the next thing his mind registers. Cold and wet.

Ok, he's awake.

Eyes open, blinking in the darkness, but their feline nature quickly picking out the shapes of pine boughs almost directly overhead. So close they are, had he sat up in his confusion he would have been struck back down after hitting his head on them.

His eyes closed again as he let out a slow breath. Unfortunately, this was not the first time he woke like this. It wasn't often, but often enough. He had changed... something triggered him in to becoming fully feline. So he spent the night out in the woods, doing whatever a large feline would do when left to his own devices. At least he was in the woods, away from prying eyes... for when he awoke like this, it was usually in his human form. A form that offered no protection from the elements... or protection for his humility. Clothing did not survive the changes such as the one he went through.

He lay there for a few moments, letting himself fully awaken when it dawned on him. He was still cold. And wet. Nude or no... he was cold? It was mid-summer.. why... ? He open his eyes again, and there amongst the green of the evergreen boughs was the rather distinct white of... snow?!

This got him sitting up, at least propped up on elbows as he took a full look about him. There was a lot of white... he was in the recess under the boughs of a tree, with nearly two feet of snow surrounding it. More blinking was had. Despite what the cold and wet were telling him, his brain was not quite registering it. A deep shiver, brought on by both, is what brought him back to the here and now. A deep breath, eyes closed and he focused... willing his body to make the somewhat painful transformation from this ... rather exposed form to that of his were-form. One that at least offered up some protection from the cold in the form of a nice thick, covering of fur.

Scrambling out from under the tree, the snow crunched under his paws. this was not fresh snowfall, it was not powder, it was hard, and barely gave under his weight as he moved about trying to get his bearings. The sun was just starting to break the horizon, casting a dull glow through the lingering clouds. At least he knew what direction was what... but he had no idea where he was.

A hand reaches to his head, rubbing lightly at the temple as he strained to focus on the last thing he could remember.

S'jira's birthday... giving her Trygg.. the horse... ?there were a few weeks after that. Glimpses of nights spent together. Him finally admitting his love for her. Her putting her own touches to the loft. "Arghhh!" It was nearly a snarl, the cry of frustration as he paced about near the tree he awoke under. All these things happened in mid-summer, and here it was now... dead of winter. Months... he had not had a lapse like this since... since Mika. Something similar happened after he had spent months searching for her. He found himself lost in his other form for a number of weeks before finding his way back to RhyDin once again.

Emotions were flooding him. Grief relived from that time in his past. Guilt, at how S'jira must be feeling the same after his being gone for nearly two seasons. Anger and frustration over this. Over not even knowing where he awoke from such a nightmare of his own making.

Stop it! He shouted inside his own head. Stop. Breath. Think.

Closing his eyes, he just breathed. Slowly, deeply inhaling. Slowly exhaling. It was minutes before his eyes opened again, the sun was nearly fully over the horizon.?

Ok, first things first. Figure out where I am, then I can get back to RhyDin. To 'jira. He slowly turned about, taking in the full panorama around him, the rising sun shedding enough light to finally start seeing things in the distant. Trees, lots of trees.?

His own tracks, well those of the cat, were just barely visible and the scent was fairly strong. He had come to this spot from the North. The wind was out of the west and carried only woodland scents, nothing more. Some more investigation of the area around where he slept showed no signs of a fresh meal. His stomach confirmed it had likely been nearly a day since he last ate. Of course that didn't tell him much about where he was, just that he was hungry.?

Ok, a choice had to be made.

He would follow his own tracks, back in the direction from which he came. Maybe he would get lucky and they would cross a road, at least that would narrow his choices down from any direction to just two, and at least he was traveling somewhat into the wind, that would be helpful as well.

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