Clock Tower Base
One of the most prominent landmarks of the Bazaar is the Clock Tower, eternally telling the time as being either noon or midnight. A few flyers are still plastered on walls at its base and on buildings nearby. Only a precious few are legible enough to discern that they once had something to do with raising money to fix the Clock Tower. Apparently it hasn't been done yet. But that doesn't concern all the merchants who set up booths about its base and in nearby lots, and the passersby who browse and buy goods brought from lands across Sinai.
A few of the Bazaar-goers part way for a lone Khatta warrioress her status as such largely indicated by the polearm she bears.
There are so many booths to choose from, so many types of wares to peruse, and so many street acts to be distracted by. Just over there, in that lot, a Kavi is juggling little balls of each color of the rainbow. And not far from him, a big Titanian is smashing bits of meat with a warhammer-sized tenderizer to the enjoyment of waiting customers. Another lupine, a grizzled white Jupani with a patch over one eye, hawks unrecognizable gadgets carved of "purest Bromthen ivory direct from the Savan".
Kira makes her way through the Bazaar, stopping here and there to look at the booths and the merchants' wares.
A lady mink merchant sells exclusively scarves scarves of all lengths and colors and patterns, as long as they're fashionable. Over there, a lioness-Khatta sells stuffed animals made of sewn fur and leather, representing various of Sinai's denizens, sapient or otherwise.
"Naga Oil!" cries out a snake merchant from atop a stage. "It's the cure for what ails you!" Just across the way, a robed old crow-like Korv leans over a crystal ball, running her claw-like hands over it as she softly caw-incants to herself, as a cluster of young girls await their fortunes.
"Ribbons!" calls out a lady Zerda a big-eared fennec fox from the desert land of the Himaat. She holds out several green and blue ribbons in a hand, waving them in Kira's direction as she leans out from her booth. "Ribbons all colors, shiny as silk! Pretty, yes? Pretty on you! Come come! Look and see!" she bids cheerily.
Others vie for Kira's attention as well. "Pay no attention to her! What you REALLY need is a proper cape for a fashionable flair!" a white mouse-like Skeek claims. "Blades sharpened!" calls out a hefty horse-like Rhian.
Kira walks over to take a look at the Skeek's booth.
A frazzled Rath'ani mother guides, tugs, pushes, and otherwise moves three children from booth to booth, muttering "No" and "Don't touch that." Over and over again.
The Skeek smiles proudly. The mouse, of indistinguishable gender but sizable girth (for its size) squeaks, "Yes, a cape adds that flair that any proper warrioress needs! Not only does it make a statement, but you can quickly remove it and fling it into the face of an opponent for a much-needed surprise! And, it is durable, serving to block the wind on those chill days, or even as a makeshift blanket when times are tough… " The mouse's eyes twinkle. "But let us hope times are not tough now, eh? You are looking for quality, I see!"
The booth is adorned with several capes and cloaks, of widely varying styles. Teardrops, half-circles, hooded cloaks, drapes, and even the so-nicknamed "curtains" that are popular amongst some who favor greatly oversized shoulder pauldrons to hang a cloak from.
Kira lightly fingers some of the cloaks.
Kira says, "Do you have any short capes?"
The Skeek nods. "Certainly! And in a wide range of colors!" That may be a bit of an exaggeration, as any proper store would have quite a palette of fabric, but there are at least the favored basics: forest green, drab brown, mid gray, attention-grabbing fiery red, pitch black, and a curious fabric of gradiated royal blue.
These are made of coarser cloth than the sort that the nobility would be seen in certainly nothing like zolk. But then, the intended customer base is of far cheaper and more practical means.
One of the three raccoon children- a girl with a solid black tail and curled hair- pulls away from her mother, walking over to the stand to look at the capes.
Meanwhile, someone of not-so-cheap-or-practical means strolls down the street, accompanied by a talkative gaggle of hangers-on. The young rich poodle ignores the chatter of his friends of the day, casting a glance in the direction of the distinctive Khatta warrioress at the booth. He does not stop, however, simply glancing off somewhere in the crowd and making a foul look.
Lifting the edge of one of the capes to check the stitching, Kira takes note of the young poodle walking down the street
A large Rhian makes his way through the crowd, making a beeline for the cape booth. A large tattered drape, with patches of mismatched fabric, is thrown about him, and he looks like he could badly use a new cape. The Skeek looks up expectantly at the newcomer. "Ah! Come to find a new cloak? You've come to the right place! Mine are made to LAST!"
The little girl tugs on a pink cape. "Mama, I want this one!" she calls out.
The Rhian snorts, coming to a stop near Kira. He looks over the fabric, his eyes scanning, without pausing to really focus on anything. Reaching from out of the folds of his tattered drape, he looks down at the little girl, and then snatches the pink cape, suddenly greatly interested in it.
The Skeek blinks disbelievingly. "Oh! You … want that, yes? Yes, yes, it would look LOVELY on you! Quite a good choice."
The mother Rath'ani struggles with her two boys, turned away from the booth, but calling, "Martha Jane, I'm not buying you anything more, now come here at once… "
Kira frowns slightly at the Rhian.
The Rhian glares at Kira, catching her frown. "You no like?"
The little girl pouts at the horse… "I was lookin' at that, Mister!" but her attention is quickly diverted by a blue cape, which she tugs on.
Kira looks from the Rhian to the cape. "Well, another color might look better on you."
The Rhian casts a glance away from the booth, as if watching for something or someone, and then flings the pink cape onto the booth counter, snatching up the blue cape instead. "Mebbe this better?" he rumbles.
The little girl looks ready to cry… and starts running back to her mother. "Maaaaamaaa! The big horsey is bein' mean to me!"
The horse just makes a sound that is much like a cross between a loud whinny and a coarse laugh, flinging the blue cape down onto the counter as well. "Ugly! Ugly! You sell TRASH!" he bellows at the much smaller merchant.
Kira steps back from the horse, "Perhaps you should look at another booth?"
"Tr-tr-trash?" stutters the Skeek. "I assure you, sir, I take a great deal of care in every product I make. It's guaranteed, you see… "
The horse ignores the Skeek's stuttering, instead looking at Kira. "Gonn' make me?"
The Rath'ani pats her daughter on the head. "There, there, it'un. Now come along, time to get home… " She starts to yank her two sons away from the stuffed-animal booth.
The Rhian reaches forward with a big meaty hand, the other still buried in the depths of his ragged drape. He shoves at Kira. "Gonn' MAKE me, huh?"
"Oh dear, oh dear," the Skeek says. "And I just saw the Guard head down the street that way… " At a glare from the large horse, it shrinks down a bit more, though the mouse is short enough already that this doesn't make much of a noticeable difference.
Backing up some more, Kira looks up at the Rhian. "Well, I wouldn't have… but since you shoved me I will."
The Rhian makes another one of those unnerving whinny-laughs, and pushes away from the booth with enough force to crack the counter and causing several capes to fall free and flutter to the ground and inside the booth. "I SKEESH you!" the Rhian boasts … and out from under his tattered drape, he reveals his other hand, which is clutching a gnarled wooden cudgel. And it probably wasn't a purchase from a booth just down the way, either…
One of the raccoon boys oohs… "Fight! Fight!"
The crowd thins out in the area immediately around the Rhian and the Khatta. Some merchants nearby even go so far as to start hurriedly packing up and folding up shop. There's still no sign of the Guard. There should be a patrol coming down this way soon … but this fight might not go on for that long, whichever way it goes.
The tabby-Khatta warrioress adopts a combat stance, legs shoulder-width apart, slightly stooped forward to counterbalance the weight of her naginata, which she holds back in a ready position. Her waist-length hair sways with the sudden shift in stance, her right silver-blue bang swinging with the weight of the red baubles bound at its end. Her muzzle pointing down, she looks up at her opponent, her eyes looking up past her headband. With a gesture of her free hand, accented by a white arm band, she signals 'come on' with a daring glare in her eyes.
The Rhian answers the challenge, with a guttural bellow as he sweeps his knobby club high, taking the lumpy handle in both meaty hands. His hooves kick up dust and debris as he charges forward, every muscle visible as it works underneath his greatly scarred hide. His mouth has a tinge of froth at the edges, and his eyes burn with an unreasoning hatred. He is eager for the fight, and, by his attack, aiming for the quickest kill, going all out with nothing held back.
As the Rhian charges, the Khatta warrioress shifts her stance subtly as she crouches down, at first seeming as if she's simply going to take the charging brute head on. However, much to the surprise of her attacker, Kira makes a powerful leap into the air. The crescent-shaped metal blade of her tsukiken flashes as it spins with her airborne somersault. The Rhian dumbly tries to swing at his airborne target, missing and causing himself to stumble as he looses his balance. He nearly crashes into a crumbling stone wall as the Khatta touches down on a spot behind where he formerly stood.
The bewildered Rhian turns around, breathing heavily, reaching up with a meaty hand to wipe away at the froth forming at the corner of his mouth. His eyes burn as he regards Kira, and readies for his next attack.
The young Rath'anis "Ooooooooh… " in unison, cheering for Kira as their mother pulls them away. "Get him!" "Yeah, chop him up into bits!"
Kira smiles at the Rhian and taps her forehead.
The Rhian blinks slowly twice at Kira before his eyes draw up toward his own forehead … and then cross as he tries but fails to focus on a thin scarlet bead that works its way down from his forehead, drifting across the bridge of his nose. It would have been so easy far too easy to cut deeper…
Instead of being mortified by the lethal capability and restrained skill of his opponent, the Rhian's eyes narrow, and he bellows out another guttural challenge as he digs his hooves into the broken cobbles … and charges forward again, club held up and to the side, ready to strike again.
The Skeek cowers behind the counter, beady eyes showing just above the broken edge, right next to where Kira stands at the ready. "Uhm … Miss? Really, you needn't go to all this trouble to deal with a troublesome customer… "
Kira gives the Skeek a reassuring smile. "It's no trouble, I wasn't busy anyway."
The Rhian barrels forward, club waving menacingly. He is nearly upon Kira, and ready to deal a bone-crushing blow…
The tortiseshell tabby Khatta calmly, almost nonchalantly stands her ground as the Rhian charges, seeming to hold her tsukiken, blade-down, lazily in one hand. At the last moment, though, the tsukiken swings up, having snared one of the fallen capes on its shining crescent blade. In one swift motion, the blade brings up the cape, flinging it into the air. The cape goes up, then descends, spreading out over the charging Rhian. In that same instant, Kira hurtles herself over the broken counter, pulling herself out of the way of the juggernaut.
The Rhian pauses in mid-swing to look up as the cape descends over his head. Half-remembering the Skeek's earlier boasts, the Rhian grunts an unrepeatable curse. His club smashes into one of the supporting poles of the booth, collapsing the corner, but the horse's blind fury carries him several faltering steps forward to crash into a stone wall plastered with faded flyers with images of the Clock Tower.
The Rhian pulls himself away from the wall, the cape still over his head, and staggers as he tries to turn around. The club seems especially heavy in his hands as he struggles to raise it, but it soon drops … and likewise does the large Rhian. It would seem he has been clocked.
And what perfect timing. A threesome of Jupani guards in Temple trappings walk up the street just in time to see the conclusion of the fracas. It is at that moment that the Skeek pops up from his hiding place and crows, "See? The perfect accessory for the warrior or warrioress on the go!"
The guards turn, walking up to the booth, with what looks like serious intent.
Jumping over the somewhat mangled counter, Kira picks up the blue cape and looks at the Skeek "I think I like this one."
One of the guards looks at Kira, then to the Skeek. "Do you have one of those in black?" he asks gruffly.
The Skeek smiles, gladly producing a black cape for the guard, and then seeing a number of other warriors and wannabes converging on the booth. The mouse turns to Kira. "The blue one? Yes, you are welcome to it! My compliments no charge!"
Kira puts on the blue cape and smiles. "If you have anymore difficult customers, feel free to send them to me."