22 Mar 1998. Zoltan and Jynx visit Nicodemus in the infirmary, then take Larissa out to dinner.
(Haji) (Jynx) (Larissa) (Rephidim) (Zoltan)
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(OOC) Sun Mar -->

Middle Infirmary
Whereas higher-ranking officers are entitled to use a spacious, well lit hospital section of the Temple where their recuperation is done with fancily cooked meals, lower officials must be contented with the very efficient but rather antiseptic infirmary that serves their needs, more a large cargo hold divided by thin dividers into wards and operating rooms than a purpose-built part of the original Temple. Fluorescent lights flicker on and off, as temperamental as most equipment around here, and the moans of some of the patients echo through the walls.

The infirmary is quite busy with casualties from the Babelite attack, although it's nothing like the madhouse it was mere days ago. That is why they are now allowing visitors. While the Temple Infirmaries are typically solely for the use of Temple personnel, in times of war, when private practices are overloaded, those who are demonstrably wounded because of enemy attack may possibly get treatment here. Among the patients are a half-Vartan shop proprietor named Nicodemus … and, entirely unrelated, an airship captain named Larissa, who has just been moved here after undergoing many treatments in case of 'biological weapons' that she might have been exposed to during the Plaguebringer attack on her ill-fated ship.

Among the visitors today are a black Vartan named Zoltan, a black Khatta named Jynx, and a Savanite slave known as Star. Alas, cubs are not presently allowed in here to visit.

Zoltan's pleasant demeanor has quickly faded away to one of worry as he approaches the infirmary. He quietly steps in through the doorway and looks around for his Master's bed.

Behind the Vartan is Jynx, stomach growling in anticipation of food. He ignores it, however, since this isn't the time nor place to be annoying Zoltan with dinner requests.

A marmalade Khatta stands off to one side, speaking with one of the Temple practitioners. While she looks healthy, casts secure her left arm, and left ankle while they heal. In addition, her fur is dull, p'raps an effect of the treatments which saved her life from the poisons of the plaguebringers. It will still be awhile before she has fully recovered from her ordeal.

Nicodemus spots Zoltan before the Vartan is able to scan all of the beds for the object of his search. A white-furred hand rises from one of the beds, waving at Zoltan. "Zoltan!" calls out a voice weakly, but distinct enough to cut through the murmuring chatter of the Temple priests in their white robes as they move about, tending to the patients with a toned-down sense of urgency.

The owner of the white-furred hand is a half-Vartan/half-Cervani – looking much like a wisened old white Cervani with a pair of wings to tell of his mixed ancestry.

The black Vartan's ears perk at the sound of the voice calling his name out. He quickly makes his way to the bed and kneels down at the bedside, taking the hand of the old crossbreed in his own. "Hello Master, you look likes you doing much better." He motions for Jynx to join them.

A curly-haired Savanite, her head bowed low, follows closely behind Jynx and Zoltan, though she dares to peek up just for a bit to take a look at the half-Vartan on the bed before studying the floor again.

Jynx, eyes darting around nervously since he's not too keen on being in a hospital, quickly makes his way over near the Vartan, giving the beds of injured people a wide berth.

Nicodemus looks up and nods. "Yes. Much better." His brow furrows in questioning worry. "The cubs? Are they safe?"

"Yes, they fine. They no allowed in here… but I tell them they you doing better. I sure they happy to hear it." Zoltan reaches out and clasps Jynx's shoulder with his free hand. "This Feli. He help me when Rephidim attack, I think it safe to say that he part of reason why Cubs… and all Rephidim is alrights."

The Khatta's ears turn bright red in embarrassment, "Uh, hi… " He looks at the crossbreed shyly.

Larissa nods every once in awhile to the Temple healer, as a long list of mostly what-not-to-dos is explained to her, and a schedule of checkups is arranged. She looks resigned to at least one more visit, possibly more.

"Feli, eh? Kurai?" Nicodemus ventures, squinting a bit.

Jynx blinks in surprise, "Yes, that's my last name… how did you know?" He stares at Nicodemus puzzledly.

A Temple Scout – one of those at the upper age limit of being still called a 'cub' – walks into the Infirmary, making his way over to Larissa's bed, clutching a card that he keeps looking at. The snow-furred, black-haired Jupani looks to Larissa. "Captain Larissa?"

Nicodemus grins. "How? Now, son, your father is a shopkeeper as well. It's thanks to you that I've gotten several very interesting 'shinies' for my shop." He winks.

Zoltan tries to muffle his giggles.

"Oh Dominic, I guess he does have a few, er, shinies." The Khatta looks down embarrassedly.

Star's ears … flick back and forth … must be a twitch.

Zoltan grins, giving up on trying to hide it. "So Master, you know when you goings to be getting out? What news you been hearing? There lots been happening over past few weeks.

Nicodemus clucks his tongue. "Now, now, be a sport, lad! One can't help bad luck. But at least you have some good luck as well, if I understand correctly. A fair sight better than many in this room, I dare say." His eyes sweep the room.

Jynx notices Star out of the corner of his eye, " Anything wrong? " he signs.

Larissa looks to the Scout, surprised to hear her name called. She looks to the source of the call, and waves the Jupani over to her. "Yes, I am she. How may I be of assistance?"

Star covers her mouth with one hand, and shakes her head 'no' to Jynx.

The Khatta blushes even deeper. Does everyone know about his bad luck now? He looks around at the others, and agrees that it could be worse.

The Jupani Scout stammers, "Assistance? Uh … No, that's MY job, ma'am. Whenever the … uh … healer is done, I'm supposed to escort you and make sure you don't fall down or anything. I'm Ugar. I've got five brothers in the Scouts, and I'm going to be the first to graduate!" He beams proudly, his tail swishing rapidly behind him.

Larissa grins, her first real smile in a few days. "Kai, Ugar. I am most pleased to be assigned such a star assistant. I shall try not to fall down too often, yes?", she says, a touch of mirth in her eyes.

Ugar nods several times, enthusiastically … then glances over at the black Vartan at the next bed. He exclaims, "The Baron!" Then, in a loud whisper, he asides to Larissa, "He crunched eight Plaguebringers!"

Jynx looks up from his embarrassed state at the sound of the cub's yell, and perks an ear. "I thought people were supposed to be quiet in here."

The Jupani's ears blush visibly. "Sorry," he whimpers.

Zoltan's feathers poof out a bit at the exclamation, he's still not quite used to that title, handy as it may be to use to hobnob with Naga ministers and Gallisian nobles. He smiles sheepishly at the cub and the older Khatta.

Larissa looks over to the aforementioned Vartan, wondering how many of the horrible plaguebringers fell to her own Vartan wing, during the battle. She turns back to the cub, and asks. "Do you know of my crew, Ugar? I am curious as to how K'ell and Dalan fare."

A white-robed priest FROWNS (in capital letters) at the Jupani cub Scout, then rips off a sheet of parchment, handing it to Larissa. "… and that should cover it for now. I just have to submit these forms, and then I will be back to verify that you are deemed fit to leave this facility, and to get you instructions on where to claim personal belongings." And with that, the priest departs.

The cub ducks his head as the priest passes, then looks timidly back up to Larissa. "I heard about that. I'm really sorry, ma'am, about how the ship went down like that. You must be really brave! And your whole crew. I think they're stable but not going to be getting out as soon as you."

The Vartan gives his mentor a pat. "I fill you in on details later. You should probably rest, I goings to take Feli here to Bromthen Heaven to celebrate our victory. You gets better soon, I needs other tail around for Pouncer and Enos to tug on."

The marmalade Khatta takes the parchment, and nods at the back of the departing priest, before reading what was handed to her, hoping it's nottoo terribly large of a bill. She looks to the cub, and sighs at his words. "I don't think I can claim that title, eager Scout. I felt fear, that night, not bravery."

Nicodemus looks up to Zoltan and says, "The shop is still standing, if I understand the truth. Just locked up. I've got some friends checking on it to make sure it stays that way, but they'll recognize you of course." He winks. "And don't worry. I'll do my best to get back into shape to entertain the cubs. You enjoy your meal."

The Scout frowns. "You can't be brave if you get even a little bit scared?"

Jynx's stomach again growls at the mention of Bromthen Heaven, and once again he looks embarrassed. "Try to get better sir, then you can come with us nexttime!"

Nicodemus chuckles. "I'll think about it, young Kurai."

Larissa leans over to the Jupani cub. "Mayhaps. But I was very scared. But, I am relieved to hear of my crew's good health. I shall have to visit them. Yes. But, not today." She looks distant for a moment, then focuses back upon the cub. "But for now… Now, I am terribly hungry. Hospital food is about as exciting as braiding rope. Is there any place nearby? I am terribly unfamiliar with this area of Rephidim."

The Vartan gives Nicodemus' hand another quick squeeze and then rises up from his spot on the bed. He looks over to the Scout and the Khatta. "Anyone who go into a battle and no scared at all is more stupid than brave. Fear keep you in check, but the brave go in despite they fear."

The Jupani licks his chops. "Bromthen Heaven. Nothing better! 'Sides … I heard the Baron mention it. Maybe he'll tell us a story!"

The priest returns, bearing a couple more forms, one of which is handed to Larissa. "There. You are cleared to leave now. And don't forget … " Larissa is subjected to a reprise of the precautions mentioned earlier.

The Jupani cub belatedly registers that the Baron was talking to HIM … and turns toward the big Vartan, tail wagging shamelessly. "I'm brave! I'm going to be a Guard!"

Larissa raises an eyebrow at the Vartan's words. "Purrhaps. But the jury is still out in my case, I'm afraid. Lords and Martyrs, that was a terrible night!" She smiles at the cub.

The Vartan wanders over to the pair and extends his hand to the Khatta. "Zoltanos Cambio, you can call me Zoltan. And I would be happy to treat someone who fought along with Rephidim against Plaguebringers to dinner." He looks over at Jynx again. "You mind?"

The Khatta shrugs, "The more the merrier I suppose."


Later, the party arrives at Bromthen Heaven, an establishment of modest decor, devoted largely to the art of providing large quantities of meat for a largely Jupani and Guardsman clientele. As the name suggests, the specialty is Bromthen forest-hog, provided in any number of ways, though when Rephidim happens to drift far from the Savan, it does from time-to-time offer better prices on whatever meat of choice is available from the nearest country on the surface. Right now, though, Rephidim is over the Savan, so there are plenty of Jupanis eating their fill and then some of fairly cheap Bromthen hog.

Jynx looks at the masses of pork with mouth watering, ever since he spent time in the Savan, he's developed a taste for it.

In fact, being right over the Savan offers other luxuries as well, as is demonstrated once the party is seated, and a large, friendly-looking (if stereotypically daft) streak-furred Titanian (named, unimaginatively enough, Streak), comes up to the table. "Welcome to Bromthen Heaven! I Streak! I take you order! I cook you hog! You want meet you hog?"

The black Khatta blinks, "Um… meet your hog?" He turns to the Vartan. "What does he mean?"

From the kitchen, there are several shouts of alarm, and the sounds of axes hitting wood, intermixed with panicked squealing. "Uh oh!" says Streak.

Out from the kitchen charges a wild-eyed Bromthen forest hog – minus the bulk of its tusks, thankfully. Several off-duty Jupani Guards – those not busily diving out of the way – bang empty mugs against their tables (or full ones, if the Jupani in question is drunk enough) and hoot and holler, enjoying the night's show, as the maddened pig dashes about, with a couple of young Titanians in hot pursuit, waving chitin cleavers about.

Larissa settles herself in, gingerly, setting her crutches aside. "Looks like tonight's dinner isn't quite ready.", she says, and stifles a giggle with her right paw. She doesn't seem surprised at the offer to meet the meat, having travelled to the Savan, before. Bromthen hog makes an excellent dinner, and would be a very pleasant change from the uninspired cooking of the Temple hospital…

A third Titanian chases the hog, carrying a War Tenderizer bigger than he is.

"It mean you gets to see it before they cook it up. That way you know if it healthy or not. Nobody want to eat sick pig," Zoltan replies, wiggling in his seat to try and find a comfortable position to sit with his wings. These chairs were designed primarily for Jupani, but he can make do. The food is all that's important. He looks back over to the waiter, "Yes… I also like few glasses of you best drink, and… hr… some milk for Feli here. Also some of sweetest dessert you gots for end of meal."

Streak nods, looking faintly nervous, as the hog dashes about the lower tiers of the multi-level bar/restaurant. (It is built with several platforms here and there, accessed by stairs leading up from the main floor. It all makes for a fairly nice view of the 'race' – one of the occasional unofficial attractions of the establishment.

Jynx's nostrils flare as the pig darts out of the kitchen, fur standing on end. (Luckily, no flashbacks of getting bored come to mind) He sits down at the table a bit uncomfortably, since the Jupani chairs are very big for such a small cat.

Streak says, "Hokay. I gets kitty-Khatta milky in bowl, and gets you keg o' Bosch Blast? I gets you Lot O' Xochocolatl Special!"

Streak grins. "Lot O' make you bounce off ceiling!"

Streak adds, "Bosch Blast make you knock hole in it!"

Larissa waves to Streak, attempting to distract him from the scene down below. "Excuse me, Ser-waiter? I'm afraid I cannot drink milk. Priest's orders.", she says, waving the official parchment. "Could I have a large mug of water, instead?"

Streak furrows his brow, tapping on the tablet he's holding. Apparently he's not holding a stylus at all. He's holding a tiny little mallet he's pounding the clay tablet with. "Hokay. Big Gulp O' Water."

Zoltan rubs his chin. "I thinks I try some normal Ale for now. Perhaps something stronger laters." He hands the waiter a few shekels for his trouble.

The black Khatta's mouth waters even more at the mention of dessert.

The marmalade Khatta digs through one of her pouches, and comes up with a handful of shekels, placing them in the center of the table. "For myself, and my erstwhile Scout-Companion's dinner.", she explains.

Zoltan quickly reaches out and covers Larissa's coins with his hand. "This my treat, Captain. Save you shekels for laters."

Ugar licks his chops in anticipation. His tail goes *thwapthwapthwap* against the half-barrel stool he's perched on.

Jynx fights to keep from glaring at the pup, tail-wagging is one of the many things canines do that bugs him. "How long does it take to get the pig ready?"

Larissa nods, looking surprised, but puts them away, carefully. "Thank you, Ser Baron. May I ask of your name, so I can address you properly? I am Larissa Ar'Rhiannon Ai'Hissanah, Airship-Captain, from the Khattan Emirate. This is my guide, Ugar."

Streak nods. "Hokay. I get you order right quick!" And then he climbs down the steps … and takes off at a brisk pace to keep clear of the circuit the Bromthen hog is making around the main room.

Once the Titanian waiter has left, Star finds another half-barrel stool to sit down on, away from the table, watching the 'entertainment' below.

The Vartan smiles. "Please, don't call me baron. My name is Zoltan."

There are several yelps, and the three young Titanians below have reversed direction. THEY are the ones being chased by the Bromthen, now. The Guards watching laugh loudly. Again.

Zoltan peeks down at the hog. Yup, very healthy.

The black Khatta scoots his chair over to a better position to watch the wolves deal with the pig. He can't help but fight back his laughter at watching the canines.

Larissa nods to the Vartan, then looks down over the ledge. "Oh, my.", she says, laughing. "I didn't realize we had ordered to go!"

The Titanian comes back up the steps, precariously balancing part of the order. He sets down the drinks and the dessert – sizeable portions. "You gets dessert first here! And I gets you plenty meat. But it takes while. Really good hog worth wait!"

*SMACK* "Squeal!" The Titanian looks over at the sound, then looks back. "Still tenderize it."

Even though the scene below is an attractive one (well, as far as comedy is concerned that is), the food is even more attractive. Jynx scoots his chair back to the table, his eyes wide at the sight of the large dessert.

The black feathered Vartan eagerly swipes up his mug and takes a hearty gulp from it, then tucks into his own dessert with equaled gusto.

Haji wanders onto the scene looking about from the running and yelping he just heard. The Jupanis back at the palace have sent him to find a juicy cut of forest-hog. His shekels clatter in the bag at his hip.

The Lot O' Xochocolatl dessert is deep brown, shaped vaguely like a Bromthen forest-hog. Well, a Bromthen forest-hog made out of brown fudgey cake, dipped in xocholatl, with a big cherry in the 'hog's' mouth.

The Bromthen forest-hog, eyes full of rage … gallops madly … toward the newly-arrived Savanite!

Jynx follows Zoltan's lead and tears into the cake pig, stuffing his mouth then taking a large gulp of milk. Mouth still full, he looks over to Star, "Isn't she *gulp* gonna join us?"

Larissa takes small nibbles of dessert, letting her system adjust to real food again. Goodness!, she thinks. Lot O' Xochocolatl Death is more like it. The marmalade Khatta continues to indulge, however, even if it does spoil her dinner.

Zoltan shakes his head, looking at his meal. "I think it attract attention of Slave eats at table. Besides, she enjoying the view I thinks."

The black Khatta's ears droop slightly at this, but he continues to eat. After all, its free!

Haji's eyes bulge as he spots the maddened beast charges in his direction. o 0 (What the?!)

In the confusion, it seems that, in actuality, there were TWO Bromthen forest-hogs running loose. This becomes evident as a second one appears, on a head-on collision course with the first … with the newly arrived Savanite in the middle!

Star, following the scene more closely than the rest, reaches over to tug at Zoltan's shoulder, pointing just around the corner to the scene of impending doom.

Haji sees the second forest-hog and goes into an ears-back, tail-whipping sprint! {HAAAAAAAALP!}

Haji 'hoofs' it. o O ( Master Black Ears said there would be days like this. )

The most conveniently-available means of escape would be a ramp and some steps that lead up from the main floor. Just as Haji darts up and out of the way, the two Bromthen hogs skid their hooves against the scuffed wooden floor, making the corner … and then collide soundly with each other, with a resounding crash.

Star's ears shoot back, as a new Savanite joins the party at the table.

Haji huffs and signs, {Excuse me . . . .mind if I join you?}

Zoltan jumps up from his seat, his hand falling reflexively upon his crossbow.

Jynx, mouth full of pig cake, chokes as the cheetah runs up to them, "GACK!"

Star frowns, crossing her arms, not signing anything in response to the newly-arrived cheetah.

Meanwhile, the three young Titanians whoop at their 'victory' … and somehow manage to drag the dazed porcines back to the kitchen. Streak pokes his head over the railing to say, "Supper ready real SOON now!"

The Black Khatta stands up, pointing to his throat and making little wheeze noises as his ears turn blue!

Larissa startles out of her thoughts at the sudden and surprising arrival, but manages not to choke upon her dessert. Her hand reaches reflexively for her sword, which isn't there. This seems to bother her a bit, as she settles back into her oversized chair.

Relaxing a bit, Zoltan just shrugs. "If Star no mind you sharing meal with- URK?!?"

Streak says, "Ur? Kitty-Khatta choke! ME FIX!"

Jynx starts shaking his head no wildly, from his experiences, its better to choke than to deal with Titanians!

Haji slaps the Khatta on the back, {Well that was some chase, huh?}

The smaller Khatta jolts forward, but the cake stays put. *WHEEZE!*

Zoltan's ears flatten, "Star! Can you helps?" He gives Jynx a bit harder whack on the back, hoping that he doesn't make things worse.

The Titanian patiently waits in line next, holding a hammer in his hand.

Larissa stands, thinking to help her fellow Khatta, but isn't sure how.

Jynx jolts forward again, this time flying out of the seat (That Vartan doesn't know his own strength!) Luckily, the cake comes flying out this time, but what a waste of good dessert!

Star just shrugs. The Titanian looks distinctly disappointed. "I gets supper soon!"

With that, Streak departs, disappearing into the kitchen.

Haji looks at the departing Titanian, {Squish indeed.}

There is what sounds like an explosion in the kitchen, and the air buffet causes the kitchen doors to burst open, then slam shut again. A few Guards look up at the sound, then nonchalantly return to their meals and conversations and drinks.

The little Khatta gasps for air, his ears turning back to their normal color.

The Vartan relaxes then looks over at the newly arrived Savanite and glares at him. "You need to learn some lessons in manners. I sure Star be happy to teach them to you."

Star glares at Haji, her tail twitching.

Haji bows, {I apologize greatly, being chased by forest-hogs is not my idea of dinner entertainment.}

Jynx gulps down some milk to wash what's left of the cake down, and looks to Haji, "Who's this?" he signs.

Streak comes out of the kitchen, his fur and attire besooted, hefting a gargantuan tray holding a whole (and well-cooked and battered) Bromthen forest-hog. He makes his way up the table, and slams the tray noisily onto the table. "DIG IN!" he exclaims … and promptly takes off again.

The cooked forest-hog has a (relatively) small pumpkin-truffle crammed into its mouth, and is surrounded by assorted nuts and garnishes … which most Jupanis never touch.

Star signs to Jynx, "He is a gardener, as I am."

Zoltan just shoots Haji another glare and gingerly grabs one of the hog's hind legs. He gives it a good hard tug.

RIP! The meaty hunk comes off in the Vartan's claw.

The Khatta arches a brow, but quickly turns his attention, and appetite, to the hog in front of him. "Looks good… kinda small though." With a shrug he slices off a portion of the ham and begins to eat.

The Titanian returns, looking as if he's searching for something, and then spots Haji. "Aha! Found you!" He hands a steaming bag over to the Savanite. It's a bit of a bundle, all right. "Here you order! Already paid."

Smiling, the Vartan sets the leg down in front of Jynx. "Here… you should try larger portion for starters. Look how wolves eat." And with that he tugs off one of the forelegs and tucks in himself. "You want me to rip off piece for you, Captain?"

Haji looks relieved. He takes the bundle and – *WHUMP* – it hits the floor. Thankfully the parcel holds together, although the floor might not.

The black Khatta sets his ears back, "If you don't mind, I'll skip how the wolves eat. I'd rather do it with dignity." He then tears into the meat full force, so much for dignity.

Ugar hmphs and digs wolfishly into his cub-sized portion.

*smackchompgulpchompsnapgulpyum!*

Larissa looks puzzled at the hand-gestures, but shrugs, having had slaves upon her ship who used them. She sighs, momentarily, thinking of the devastation wrought upon her beloved Rhiannon. The marmalade Khatta then blinks back to the now, and reaches forwards to carve off a chunk of pork, her worries set aside for awhile by her hunger, and the appearance of such a large amount of good-smelling food.

Haji grimaces as he grabs the end of the bundle and hefts it onto his back. He nearly falls backward but holds onto it and trundles out of sight.

Zoltan carefully spins the tray around and tries to rip off the remaining hind leg.

Star looks after the departing Savanite from her perch on the stool, then sighs, and shakes her head.

Larissa smiles to the large Vartan. "Legs were never my favorite part of the hog. Please, dispose of them as you wish."

Jynx looks around cautiously, then signs to Star, "Moon-Brow, do you want any? We have plenty… "

Star's ears flick, and she looks up to Zoltan pleadingly.

Zoltan plunks the leg he's just relieved from the hog (and considering how fast that bugger was able to run… it must be a very nice leg!) down onto a plate and holds it out to Star. His eyes dart back and forth for a moment, "Hrr… you want to eat this outside instead?"

Star furrows her brow and shakes her head, dipping it and lightly pushing the plate away. Looking at Jynx, she signs, "Please, sir, call me 'Star', for that is my name."

The Vartan catches on and sets the plate down. "I think I going to have to have another talk with you about proper way to treat slaves, especially in public," he whispers to the Khatta, then gives him a pat on the shoulder.

Jynx frowns, "And my name is Feli, no need to call me 'sir', He sighs and goes back to eating.

The black Khatta just blinks at Zoltan, and with another embarrassed sigh, takes a drink of milk.

Ugar wipes his mouth, then pipes up, "So, Baron Zoltan, how did you defeat the Plaguebringers?" There's that audible *thwapthwapthwap* sound again.

"Mmgmmph!" Zoltan replies, then washes down his mouthfull of food with a swig of ale. "Ahem… I mean, I was very lucky. I figured outs where to hit them, and I never could have done it without Champion of Rose's training."

Jynx cringes at the tailwagging.

Ugar nods up and down. "Oh! And did you see that ship that looked like a giant Creen? Some day, I'm going to be a guard on an airship … and I want to be on an airship just like that one! Or maybe the Intimidator. Or maybe both!"

The black Khatta almost chokes again, but this time due to laughter brought about by the pup's statement.

The hippogryph smiles. "Maybe it no was a ship. Maybe it was really a giant Creen!"

Ugar's eyes go wide. "REALLY? They get that BIG?" His ears droop. "It'd be hard to feed and clean up after one that big! I don't think Papa would let me keep one like that."

Ugar suddenly looks serious. "Of course, provided I earned enough to pay for it and all that," he adds, nodding solemnly.

"You need Creen that big to eat up all those bugs," Zoltan replies, trying to sound as serious as he can – although a smile still plays along the edges of his beak.

"Of course!" Ugar says. "I wish *I'd* have thought of that! That was a PERFECT plan!"

Jynx stops eating now, since if he did he would surely choke this time.

The Vartan grins at his three feline companions and takes another huge bite from his hog-leg.

A few more lupines enter the establishment, all three of them dressed in Temple outfits – one a female with badges indicating an affiliation with the Temple Scouts, the other a male Guard whose arm is held in hers … and the third a Titanian who has a couple of spotted cubs clinging to his headfur, perched on his broad shoulders.

Larissa chuckles softly, shaking her head at the young Jupani. "Ah, so full of life! Perhaps we should find some of these giant Creen, yes? Lords, perhaps they would sweep the bugs from the skies!" Larissa looks a little… excited at that concept. "Then we Airship Captains could sail without fear of envelope shredder bugs!"

Zoltan's ears perk at the new arrivals. He whistles loudly and waves his hand.

The lady Jupani who just entered looks up at the party's table, and rushes up the steps, dragging the Guard along with her, the Titanian following. "Baron Cambio! I'm terribly sorry we're late." She turns to call at the Titanian. "Nebo! Up here!"

The two spotted cubs wave paws at Zoltan, squealing loudly and making bird-like scrawks.

Jynx blinks at the two cubs, but eventually recognizes them from when he saw them in the marketplace. "So these are your cubs, Zoltan?" The Khatta smiles.

Nebo the Titanian Guard comes up and lifts the cubs off his shoulders, handing them over to the big black Vartan. "Quite a handful, huh? Here ya go! Have fun! I gotta get back to the Temple now. Bye!" He waves at the cubs.

The Vartan grins and scrawks something back. "Yah. The girl is Pouncer and little boy is Enos. Star… could you get a chair for them to sit in?"

Larissa sips her water, and smiles. "They seem… quite energetic."

Star nods, and scoots her own stool next to Zoltan, then steps down to hunt for some small, unclaimed stools.

Jynx chuckles at the two, and bites into another cut of hog.

Zoltan carefully plunks the two cubs in the chair and pushes the untouched leg in front of them. He scrawks something softly to the two before seating himself again.

The male Jupani Guard watches Nebo leave, then looks over to Jynx and Larissa. "Ah! Hello there. I'm Kray Sapphire, of the Temple Guard. This is my wife, Lieutenant Danae Sapphire – Den Leader of the Temple Scouts. And those … are quite a handful, as Nebo said! Now … if you'll excuse me, I have a small table reserved across the way." He winks to Zoltan as he leads Danae away.

The two spotted cubs nod obediently to Zoltan … then dig messily into the hog leg!

The black Khatta hmms, these two remind him a bit of Eve and Sunny.

"Captain, these are my children. I no think we have to worry abouts leftovers anymore." The Vartan smiles again. "But anyhow. What business do you gots in Rephidim?"

The larger cub – a little girl – looks up to Larissa and says in rehearsed-sounding Rephidim Standard, "Pleased to meet you!" She then pounds on a piece of meat for no apparent reason.

Larissa chuckles softly. "I'm afraid my only business is to see to the repair of my airship, Rhiannon. She was grievously wounded during the battle, and needs a great deal of work." The marmalade Khatta looks quite distraught, before the cub speaks to her. This elicits a small smile, and she says, "Pleased to meet you, too, little one!"

Pouncer looks up from her meat-pounding, and smiles and waves back to Larissa.

Enos, meanwhile, has his brow furrowed in deep concentration, now taking a little piece of meat and delicately tearing it apart, string by string, sticking out his tongue, and laying each string on his tongue before chewing it hastily and swallowing it, then repeating the cycle again.

"Hey there kitten," Jynx looks down to Pouncer, "You need to eat it, not beat it up! The Jupanis already took care of that!"

Pouncer just grins at Jynx, bits of meat sticking between her teeth.

The Vartan rubs his chin again. "Is you alrights for crew? I know several people from my land who probably be eager to join you ship."

Star returns, carrying a couple of stools and sets them down by the table. Enos and Pouncer, however, show no sign of moving from the larger stool they're both perched on – Enos standing up on it, while Pouncer is just on the edge of being seated.

Enos holds his paws out wide, a few bits of meat stuck to them. He shakes his paws around, trying to knock the chunks free, but failing. At last, he licks his paws, and then looks up to Star, holding out his paws in a 'pick me up' gesture and mewing.

"Just make sure they no fall facefirst in they dinner, Star." Zoltan scrawks and then adds in handsign, "Or eat too much dessert, unless you wants to no sleep at all tonights while cubs bounce off walls."

Larissa looks to the Vartan. "Right now, I'm not sure. I have to find out about my remaining crew, and assess the damage done to Rhiannon. I'm afraid I'll be in drydock for awhile, needing more carpenters than crew… "

Star nods and picks up Enos, scooting away from the table and cradling him as she sits down on one of the stools.

Jynx looks out at the evening sky and grimaces, "I guess I better go home soon, I still need to tell my parents I'm back. Not to mention getting my room back."

Star waves to Jynx and signs, "Be careful!"

"Good luck, Jynx. And be sure you keeps in touch," Zoltan scrawks.

A large female Tiger-Khatta walks into the entrance, dressed like a Titanian northern barbarian, scanning the room … then looking back at a black Khatta she spies at one of the tables. Her mouth forms a predatory grin.

Grabbing a few pieces for later, the black Khatta jumps up, gives a final wave, and makes his way to the door, but freezes as a familiar face appears, "Oh no, not you!!" Dropping the meat, Jynx bolts for the kitchen, hopefully there's an exit in there!

Zoltan watches the black Khatta leave and then quietly goes back to his meal, looking as though nothing has happened. "Pouncer, stop trying to gish you dinner."

The Tiger-Khatta yowls, "Come back, betrothed!" and charges into the kitchen.

Larissa just kinda shakes her head, musing at the antics of the citizens of Rephidim. Well, at least my stay here won't be dull… , she thinks, as she finishes her dinner.

Pouncer looks up to Zoltan, to the kitchen, and her ears flick at the sounds of ensuing mayhem. She squeaks, "Gish!"

---

GMed by Greywolf

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Today is 21 days after Candlemass, Year 25 of the Reign of Archelaus the First (6124)