Jan. 10. Jarik is rescued from the Open Arms.
(Alyssa) (Ben-zhamin) (Darkside) (Jarik) (Rephidim) (Sword Gone Missing) (Tirro)
Outside, a wooden sign welcomes patrons to "The Open Arms" with faded lettering and peeling paint. Inside, any hints of what may have once been a respectable establishment have long faded as well, as the air is full of smoke, spirits, musk and too much perfume. The main hall houses a scattering of mismatched tables, some missing legs and having to be propped up with crates or barrels. Toward the center of the room, piles of mugs (and unconscious drunks) attest to the drinking accomplishments of the patrons, while shadowed tables toward the sides (where wall-mounted lanterns are left unlit) witness shady transactions. Behind the curtains of secluded booths to the side … or behind the doors of the roach-infested rooms up the rickety stairs … one can only guess at the activities inside. On the upper landing, accessible past the bar, past wooden stairs with two steps broken through, underdressed and overperfumed "ladies" beckon and wink to "gentlemen" below.

Tirro seems a bit more conscious, now. He rights himself, as he watches, fascinatedly, as one burly wolf sharpens a steel blade against a leather strap.

Up in one of the empty servants' rooms, Jarik has been trussed up rather neatly (and painfully) and lies on his back on a bed, while Tirro recovers his wits in the corner. Slyboots stands guard by the window and two other crooked-looking types lounge boredly. Jomin, a tall black wolf, examines the razors. "Mm. Very good. Maybe even enough fun to make up for that interrupted session… "

The black wolf moves toward Jarik, then pauses. "Hey. Take off his gag. I want to hear him scream. No fun without a little whimper." He grins, baring yellowed fangs.

Jarik's eyes crack open. His vision is blurry but is focused on Tirro. A soft growl fills the room.

Tirro's eyes grow wide. "He interrupted you while you were with a lady? You gottabe even angrier 'n me!"

Marselles's knobbed paws reach around to rip the gag off Jarik and turn him over for Jomin. Slyboots closes the window… Narrowly missing Ben as the little mouse squeezes into a corner.

Tirro says, "Ya… ya would've killed me."

Jomin tests a razor. "I've never cut fur before," he says in an aside to Slyboots. "But then, how much more difficult can it be than cutting meat?" He takes a basin of water and uses a little brush to wet down Jarik's back, the shirt pulled down to expose scarred fur. "Yeah. You bet I'm angry, kid."

Jarik snarls, "Killed? I wouldn't waste my time killing a mold encrusted slug like you. I came to ask for my sword… "

Tirro laughs. "Yer sword! If I hadn't sold it as fast as I did, I'd be dead. You fool, you know how many coppers that would bring in?"

Jomin mutters to himself. "Lotus-head… " He starts shaving a curved line down Jarik's back, his crude strokes causing occasional fine lines of blood to form. "How do you like that, eh? Oops! Guess I'll never be the Captain's barber." He laughs.

Tirro says, "It's long gone from this part of town… and you ain't never gonna see it again."

Jarik doesn't even wince at the shaving. "Do you see the scars wolf? I've had most of my back fur

off before. You cause me no pain." He almost grins,

Slyboots watches boredly. "Why bother teasing him?" he mutters to Tirro. "One way or t'other, he's goner."

Jomin grrrrs. "You like it hot, eh?" He motions to one of the thugs. "Gemme a brazier."

The thug draws open the door and slips out.

Jarik says, "How much did you sell it for, child?"

Tirro shrugs. "S'true." He watches impassively. "I'M NO CHILD!" He stands up, angry.

The black wolf resumes carving, making sure to draw blood more often than not as he shears the red fur away. A different carved line. It doesn't feel like he's doing the fur evenly.

Jarik eyes narrow, "You're a sniveling, sneaking worthless waste of life. You're not even worthy to be called a child. I apologize."

Tirro slaps Jarik, furious. "Remember just WHO is tied up, here? All I need is one blade, and you're MEAT!"

Blood collects coldly over Jarik's back, skin exposed to the chill air. Jomin taps his foot on the floor, starting on another line, waiting for the red-hot brazier to be brought to him.

Jarik tries to face the wolf, "Do you see the thick scar on my lower left back? That's from being impaled on a sword once when I was younger. Nothing you could do to me can make me amuse you."

Slyboots watches Tirro indifferently. The kid's young.

"We see about that," Jomin says flatly. "You don't give me good scream, you regret it big time soon."

Jarik eyes Tirro, "Threatening me with death, boy? Do you think I'm afraid to die? I've seen more death than you've even seen in your worst nightmares… "

Tirro looks a bit woozy. The poison's still affecting him. He sits down.

Tirro says, "Yah? You ever faced starvation? You ever see your parents die? You ever find the one lady who'll take you in, teach you everything that she knows – then haveta ID her corpse, too?"

Jarik moves his jaw a bit, sore from the slap, "Your kind disgusts me. I've 'met' your kind before. You're the kind who will defile children and murder them! You're the worthless waste I swore that I would give my life to destroy!" He's almost screaming in rage.

Jarik's voice drops low. His eyes narrow. It seems Tirro's last comment struck a nerve.

"Maybe," Jomin says with a grin as he starts etching out fine lines of blood. More fur falls away in wet matted lumps. "But in the morning, I'll be alive and you'll be a slave. Worse things than death… Fool."

Tirro shrugs. "Ya do what ya haveta, to survive. I ain't never killed, don't plan to – no money in it. And you're the vile scum that breaks into homes, taking away parents, and kill them – 'coz they're Kavi, nothin' more."

Slyboots glances at Jomin's work, then raises an eyebrow. He stands and walks over to review it, then shares a laugh with the black wolf. "Fool… Indeed."

Jarik says, "Child… I saw my whole family murdered! I saw my sister, who was a CHILD defiled then torn apart by horses… " He's speaking almost in growl, "I was left for dead buried in the corpses of my people… ""

Tirro's eyes grow wide. He's losing his hatred of this person, too.

Jomin adds the finishing touch to an ideograph shaved broadly into Jarik's back. "So what's that to me?" he growls. "Don't give you no right to stomp into people's rooms when they're being peaceful and nice-like."

Jarik's body is almost shaking with rage, "I know a loneliness you could NEVER understand. I am the last of my kind boy. People like you lead a genocidal rampage on my home of Crydon. They left me buried in the ruins of my home… Imagine boy… imagine the smell of rotting flesh… and knowing it was your family…

Tirro says, "Or – Basht! Your kind would kill her, just 'coz she's Savanite! She's nobody's slave – and better than a City full of your kind. She stole, because that was the only way she could feed all o' us."

Slyboots stands. "Nice bedtime story," he says. "I'm going to check on your brazier, Jomin. Back in a little."

Tirro says, "And you imagine the floor of your 'partment, red with your mum 'n dad's blood!"

The desert caracal slips out the door as well, closing it behind him. Jomin studies Jarik's back, then the razors. "I'm sobbing," he growls. "Want a little off the top next?"

Jarik's claws have extended on his left hand… He begins to pick at the leather holding him.

The remaining thug in the room looks on, boredly.

Jomin swats Jarik's claws playfully. "Now now. Maybe you need a little manicure too, eh, slave?"

Tirro says, "Or about the greatest thief inna world – " He turns to Jarik, growling, " – a thief who could've been a locksmith, had she been born anything other than Savanite! She knew every kind of lock there was! And your kind, coz she couldn't produce a 'master' – thought they'd have a little 'fun' with her.""

Jarik looks deep into Tirro's eyes, "My kind were peaceful… I was a innkeeper. A business left to us by my family. We were no threat to anyone… And they're DEAD! ALL OF THEM! This is why I say NOTHING you could ever do could hurt me MORE than what happened that day… I DIED THAT DAY!"

Jomin hums to himself as he catches one of Jarik's hands easily and takes the razor, comparing it to the claws therein.

Jarik retracts his claws.

Jarik looks at Tirro, "Do you think I serve those worthless creatures in the Temple by choice? Their kind I despise: corrupt, arrogant, ungrateful. I serve them to pay a debt, nothing more. I would LOVE to show Arch Inquisitor Moffat the error of HIS ways."

Tirro shakes his head. "You trust someone that's not been certified as gen-u-wine… you're in a leaky airship."

Jomin mutters, "Ooh! Temple man." He frowns at the fingers, then begins squeezing the hand to make the claws extrude again.

Jarik says, "I never said I trusted them. I said I was paying a debt."

Jarik looks back to the wolf, "Untie my hands and I'll show you my claws… " He sneers.

Tirro looks sober. "A debt? How… how much do you owe?"

Jomin smirks. "I don't take SLAVE orders… "

Jarik says, "For the process of learning the language and so forth I owe one gold. I was given the choice of using my skill as a healer or giving up the very item you stole from me… "

Jarik says, "Do you realize WHAT you stole, Tirro? Do you know what it was?"

Tirro's eyes light up at the cost. "Yah. Steel sword. Good balance."

Tirro says, "Must be a really good relic. You were hanging around a site of the First Ones?"

Tirro says, "Anyway, I got an idea. You hate the Temple? I hate the temple. You want out of the servitude there? I can give you that… "

Jarik laughs! "More than that. That sword is over one thousand years old. It was given to the first paladin of Crydon by a dragon he rescued. It was forged by magic. It is magic! It carries an enchantment that is quite powerful… and quite dangerous… "

Tirro's eyes light up, as he realizes he has a much more fitting end to the war "But, then, you belong to me."

Jarik says, "I belong to no one. I never will. Nothing you could do could change that. I serve my word of honor… nothing more."

Tirro closes his eyes. "And your word of honor compels you to pay back any debts that you have?"

Jarik says, "If I say I will repay, I will."

Jarik chuckles, "You're doing Moffat a favor right now you know… He doesn't care too much for me, not after I told him to shut up."

Tirro's eyes open. "And if I let you free of that contract, will you repay me with eight hours' service every day until you repay that gold coin?"

Jomin pauses in his attempts to force Jarik to release his claws. "Hey. He's slave meat, kid, you got that?"

Tirro says, "Yah… but he looks like he'll be STRONG slave meat, when that arm heals."

Tirro says, "I c'n loan him to S'Lezan as a bodyguard, and I can use him in some second-story work."

Jarik says, "The only way THAT would be possible is if the temple was repaid. IF that happened, I wouldn't ever use any ability to EVER commit an injustice."

Jarik looks back at the wolf, "Make the lengths nice and even would you?" He smirks.

Tirro's mouth opens wide, showing lots of fangs. "I can repay the temple. I don't ask you yerself to do anything not nicey-nicey – you have a problem working for people who aren't always doing what's… on the table?"

Jarik says, "Depends on what it was that you did, child."

Tirro says, "You'd be doing simple things… one day, you tell me when the owners of a few houses were in or out. 'Nuther, you'll be asked to throw out drunks from below. Got any problems with those?"

Jarik's eyes narrow, "If you did ANYTHING to harm an innocent… I'd hunt you to the ends of the world… "

The wolf repays Jarik by swiping a line across his back. It drips blood in a touch cold as death. "Don't backtalk me. You're a slave. Temple's or thief's, don't matter to me. You have no rights."

Jarik says, "Untie my hands, wolf. We'll see who is still standing afterwards."

Jarik's ears flatten a slight bit at the cut…

Tirro says, "What'cha mean, harm an innocent? Iff'n someone has a little too much silver, and I skim some from the top – is that hurtin' an innocent?"

The wolf breathes down Jarik's ear, too familiarly. "You're a fool. Slaves don't get fair fights." Heavy meat-stink washes over the fox's nose.

Tirro says, "You got'cher deal. Either you take my offer, or you're taken back to the Temple – and you get to feel the wind a whole lot better, slave."

Tirro says, "Last chance?"

Jarik says, "On one condition, tell me the location of my sword?"

Tirro nods. "Sold it to Achibar the Glove, near the Scholar's Town."

Tirro says, "Gehnoh?"

Jarik nods, "You've hired yourself a Knight it seems… "

At that very moment…

A heavy crossbow bolt cracks through the glass, thudding heavily into Jomin the black wolf's shoulder. He rears back in pain and clutches at the quarrel.

Tirro looks up at the crossbow bolt. "Cityfall!"

Jarik blinks and tries to roll over to see just what happened… ?

Simultaneously, two large figures approach the broken window at high speed. One crashes through, revealing itself to be a tawny feline with muzzle stripes…

Alyssa tumbles through the broken window, a blur of white and black silk. A wicked looking dagger is held in one hand.

Tirro ducks behind the doorway as fast as he can.

Ben'zhamin, riding on the tawny feline's shoulder, yells "Vo Zhanooooooooo!"

Jarik blinkblinks… "Alyssa… ?" he looks amazed…

Jomin growls, then snatches at the razors for a weapon.

Alyssa rolls smoothly to her feet and dashes over to Jomin, intent on making sure he doesn't get up.

Tirro blinks. "You know each other?"

The thug at the door snarls. He moves to intercept Shadra, drawing a shortsword and a dagger in both hands, his skunk-tail fluffed out.

Shadra grins to Ben, then calls out, "Vo Zhano! To me, my crew!" as she rushes to take the thug and bar the door. "Get your boy, 'Lyssa!"

Jarik blinks and nods, "Yes… I'm… er, her champion? I think."

Ben'zhamin levels a loaded whalebone crossbow at Tirro… just as Shadra's shoulder moves. The mouse curses and holds on, waiting for a better shot…

Alyssa reaches Jomin in a flash, kicking the razors out of reach. Reaching for the bolt, she twists it mercilessly.

Jarik shouts, "WAIT!!"

Tirro says, "Hold it." He looks to Alyssa. "No one touches my slave without permission. He'll be bought in the next few hours."

Ben'zhamin rolls his eyes. "Please." He fires the crossbow at Tirro.

The fox screams again, "Everyone! NO MORE BLOODSHED!"

The crossbow bolt buries itself in the wall, a foot away from Tirro's shoulder.

Tirro shouts, "HOLD YOUR FIRE!"

Shadra duels with the thug. "Bloodshed? I think THIS miscreant wants MY blood shed, 'Lyssa's boy." Blades sing against each other as Shadra twists away from stabbing dagger and shortsword.

There are cries from outside the room, and the sounds of running footsteps and creaking wood. Snapping wood, too. Another one of the rickety steps in the main room must have given out.

Ben'zhamin curses himself quietly, knowing another crossbow shot impossible. Can't reload while Shadra's moving.

Jomin screams as Alyssa twists the bolt. He tries to jump from Jarik's back at the poodle, hoping to overwhelm her with sheer mass…

Ben'zhamin turns and hisses at Jarik. "Shh! We're rescuing you."

Two more of Shadra's crew follow her into the room, one with a crossbow just now reloaded, the other with a shortsword drawn.

Tirro stands, a touch woozily, and tries to pull Jomin from Alyssa.

Alyssa twists from underneath Jomin… "Hey, I have 7 brothers, dork." She slashes at Jomin's side as she goes by.

Jarik tries to roll, to knock Jomin's aim off. His strength is all but gone…

Jarik can't move enough to spoil the aim.

The black wolf thuds to the ground, half-sprawled on the blanket. He grrroooOOwwls…

Jomin glares up at Alyssa. "Dagh take you, TWO interruptions in one night?"

Tirro calls out, once more, "HOLD YOUR FIRE! Don't hurt my slave!"

Ben'zhamin considers the wolf… and then considers how much poison he has left on his sword. "Won't be your slave if you don't defeat us… thief!"

Ben'zhamin grrs! "Torturer!"

Tirro grabs a piece of broken glass from the floor and throws it at Ben'zhamin.

Tirro says, "Shaddup. It's better than what he planned for me."

Jarik snarls from his rather ungraceful position, "Everyone, please, Stop!"

The glass narrowly skims by Shadra, tearing the hem of her garment with a sharp edge, before shattering against the far wall.

Tirro suddenly realizes who Alyssa is. "Waitta sec. You like him?"

Tirro says, "Poodle, ya like the fox?"

Shadra pins her thug against the door with a heavy thud. Her crewman moves to bolt the door. "Hurry, you idiots! This 'lil thing won't hold long."

Jomin grapples for Alyssa's legs, trying to pull her off balance. "Shut up!" he yells at Tirro. "Help me out here, you dolt!"

Alyssa growls and twists as Jomin pulls at her. She pushes his head down and slashes her dagger at his throat.

Ben'zhamin directs one of the Vo Zhano crewmen to cut Jarik free.

Tirro grabs at Jomin's, and tries to pull him away. "Quit fightin' a second!"

Ben'zhamin says, "Would you be quiet, thief!?"

Jomin tries to pull back, lunging with every bit of strength in his body… Alyssa's blade gashes a vein, and then the poodle begins to topple over… onto a narrow bed occupied mostly by a wounded Jarik.

Another crewperson calls to Shadra, "What do we do with the thief?"

Jarik sighs, "Hasn't there been enough death, stop, please."

Ben'zhamin thinks . o O { If we stop to chat, there will be thieves all over us like stink on a skunk. }

Tirro yells at Alyssa, "QUIT FIGHTIN' A SECOND. You hear something you like."

Funny Ben should think that. The dead skunk on the door is starting to raise a most unlikeable odor. Somewhat like how Jarik smells.

Ben'zhamin says, "Jarik… we can talk later! The theives' quarter is not the place!"

Alyssa falls onto the bed. "Gaaah."

Alyssa swoons, suddenly overcome by the events of the night.

Tirro says, "YOU! Miss 'My-fathers-a-noble'! You like that fox?"

Jarik turns to look at Alyssa, "M'lady? How… what… ? You're… here… I'm? You? How did you learn to… ?"

Shadra growls at Tirro. "Get, little thief."

Ben'zhamin gets impatient. He whispers to Shadra. "Can you cut Jarik's bonds?"

Tirro zooms by Shadra, and stands over Alyssa. "You! Do you like that fox?"

Ben'zhamin reloads his crossbiw while he has this chance.

Shadra glances over to Alyssa. "Sifras! The girl's swooned." Attention distracted, she moves toward Alyssa… Then growls at the thief in her way again.

Alyssa's eyes flutter a bit.

Jarik tries to nudge Alyssa.

More bangings sound from the door, and then a heavy chitin axe pounds against the wood. "It won't hold long!" a crewman shouts to the airship captain. "Let's get 'Lyssa and the boy and GO!"

Ben'zhamin whispers to Shadra. "Can you incapacitate the thief. He deserves to die… but… "

Shadra says, "Shoot him."

Jarik says, "No!!!!"

Tirro rolls when he hears that.

Alyssa's eyes open and she jumps up.

Ben'zhamin nods, takes careful aim… and waits, waiting for a better shot.

Tirro jumps out of the currently broken window.

"And why no?" Shadra asks as she turns to step in between Alyssa and Tirro. "What is this thief to you, boy that 'Lyssa likes so much?"

Ben'zhamin goods. "Free the fox… "

Jarik says, "Because, I owe him a debt. If anything, for telling me where my sword is… "

Jarik's voice grows a bit softer, "And I understand what he's been through."

Ben'zhamin hmphs. "You want to stay here, Jarik? Your choice, of course."

Jarik says, "Don't harm him. Please."

Shadra mms. "I understand debts," she says to Jarik carefully. "He's gone, anyway. Hey, are you coming back to us, 'Lyssa? Good girl."

Alyssa nods to Shadra. "I'm ok."

More pounding from the door. The wood begins to split down the middle.

Ben'zhamin is losing patience. People have tried to kill him tonight. "We can't because he's not here. But I wouldn't hesistate if he was. We have to go… !"

Ben'zhamin loks to the door.

"Well, cut your boy free and give him to me," Shadra says.

The captain stows her blooded cutlass and takes a small knife to do her share of bind-loosing.

Alyssa slits Jarik's bonds and steps back.

Shadra grunts. "Lot of trouble you are, boy," she mutters. "Better be worth it. Come on! Vo Zhano!"

Jarik takes a breath and winces at his rather SORE back.

An hour later… Aboard the Zhano-Peredhel, a medic sees to Jarik's wounds. "Pretty badly beaten up," he says to Shadra and Alyssa. "He'll be all right with a few weeks of rest, though. Knowing the Temple, they'll probably give him one and expect him to get better on guard duty." Shadra nods. "I've got my fellow and you've got yours," she says to Alyssa. "Are we even?"

Alyssa nods to Shadra. "Yes."

Shadra looks over to Ben. "And you, little brother?"

The salve feels like heaven on Jarik's back, cooling and soothing away all the pain.

Ben'zhamin hrms. "We could shave the fur across the 'L'… and then it would say 'foot.' People would think him a Ninja. Me, clan-sister? I'm fine… "

Jarik winces a bit at the medic, "Careful! My back is screaming… I couldn't let them know of course… "

"Brave of you, sir," the medic says noncommittally.

Alyssa watches quietly.

Ben'zhamin blinks… and grins a little shyly, and gives Shandra her scarf.

Shadra blinks. "What's this? When have you had TIME to… " She shakes the scarf out a bit and admires the ripple of colors.

Ben'zhamin watches Jarik, concerned and worried.

Jarik winces, "If I let them enjoy it, they wouldn't have stopped… "

Shadra grins and then swishes it around her neck, before kitty-kissing Ben across the forehead. "Thank you, little brother. It's very fetching. Just my color!"

Ben'zhamin leans against Shadra's neck. "Jarik… this place is… different from Genesis. There is honor here… (grinning at Shadra), but… its rougher than what we are used to."

Shadra grins at the mouse tucked up into her new scarf as she knots the ends together.

Ben'zhamin says, "I don't think you can afford to cut your enemies much slack."

Jarik nods a bit, "So I'm learning. Gah, T'Aris was right, I am way too impetuous."

Ben'zhamin frowns a little more. "Especially while they are trying to kill your friends… "

The medic finishes slathering salve over Jarik's back. "The fur should grow back in a few weeks," he says. "You'll want to sleep on your stomach for a while."

Jarik nods, "Thanks… what salve is that? I'm somewhat of a medic… Gah, this is like Tillus, back burns… "

Shadra looks over to the quiet poodle, then reaches to clasp her hands. "You fought well," she says gently. "But fighting isn't something we're all born to. May the Sifras smile on you, 'Lyssa."

Alyssa bows to Shadra. "And yourself, lady Shadra. I thank you for your help this eve."

Jarik looks to Alyssa. He's still on his stomach, "M'lady… just WHERE did you learn that?"

"It's mhora leaves in a suspension of tika jelly," the medic responds. "Very good for small cuts and sensitive skin."

Alyssa appears not to have heard Jarik, her attention on the medic.

Ben'zhamin whispers to Shadra. "She's a noble's daughter. Not a bad connection for cargo runs and such."

Jarik nods to the medic, "Thanks… I'll have to read on that."

Shadra bows back, lower, and then grins. "Noble's daughter, eh? Well, look up the Zhano-Peredel if you've got any jobs you want shipped fast and without questions asked. We're good at what we do. And more."

Alyssa looks to Shadra. "My family is always in need of reliable ships. I will pass your name along, lady Shadra. With the highest recommendation."

Jarik looks at the medic, "Sir, if you could look at my right shoulder? I took a sword there… I can't tell the damage."

Ben'zhamin takes a deep breath. "I suppose the next step is getting back your sword, Jarik."

The Captain smiles. "We'll prove ourselves worthy."

The medic nods and inspects the wound.

Alyssa smiles to Shadra. "You already have."

Jarik nods to Ben, "I agree." He turns to Lady Alyssa, "M'lady… I owe you now too, it seems."

Ben'zhamin thinks . o O { People will try to kill us, Jarik. Don't befriend them. }

Shadra's ears pink a little, but the captain hides it with a gruff voice. "Well then, if there's nothing else… Ben, why not visit with your friend? I'm going to see about those jams that the factor wouldn't pay for." She mock-growls. "Claimed that they over-ordered, clerical error. Hah!"

Shadra lets Ben'zhamin down to the table by Jarik.

Alyssa again appears not to hear Jarik, her attention on the medic.

"Hmm… It seems clean," the medic says dubiously. "Here, let me put some more mhora on this." He salves the stitches a bit. "Rest for a week. I think even those Temple leeches will agree with me on this, you don't want to tear the muscles open."

Jarik nods, "It felt somewhat deep… It's as I expected. Muscle wound."

Ben'zhamin walks over and sits at the edge of the table closest to Jarik. "Jarik… why did you try to stop us from rescuing you? I mean really."

Ben'zhamin watches the healer work, and blinks. "Let me do that. I have a lighter touch."

Jarik says, "Not stop, Ben. The thief… Tirro… I could have ended up that way too. I guess, kinship in a sense."

The medic looks dubious to his ship-brother. "Well, if you want." He reaches down to let the mouse up to the shoulder.

Alyssa watches a few minutes more, then slowly slips out the door.

Jarik blinks, "Lady Alyssa… ?"

Ben'zhamin carefully applies the salve, deep in thought and worried. o O { This is a new world. A new challange. And it seems that more of my friends are here than I thought. Who else? I hope we are up to the challenges this world offers. }

Alyssa stops at Jarik's voice.

Jarik says, "Please stay, M'lady… "

Alyssa turns slowly. "There is nothing more to be done here, sir Jarik."

Jarik tilts his head, "I'd like your company. At least for a bit."

Alyssa nods slowly, coming back into the room. "As you wish, sir Jarik."

Ben'zhamin whispers to Jarik. "Would you like the healer and I to leave?"

Jarik says, "No… you can stay. We need to talk, I think."

The medic considers the situation. "I'll be in back," he says. "I've got fresh supplies to pack away." The black cat nods to the others politely and steps behind a cabin wall.

Ben'zhamin halfsmiles.

Alyssa says quietly… "Thank you for your help, medic."

Jarik pats Lady Alyssa's hand, "Thank you." He looks at Ben, "Now… I think we should discuss how each of us arrived and what's happened since. There may be others here."

Somewhere far away, a bone-white poodle looks out across the miles from a balcony. "Genesis," he mutters to himself. "What kind of world are you? Who are these people you have sent us, who have shaken up years of rivalry and intrigue, who have been both champions of honor and liars that would put a Kavi to shame?" He taps his baton against one hand, the dog-head on one end baring its fangs against the night. Inquisitor Maleficos Dunbarre frowns with troubled thoughts.


GMed by Lynx

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Today is 9 days before New Year's Day, Year 26 of the Reign of Archelaus the First (6125)