March 27, 1997. Chiaroscuro, Wynona, Envoy, and Arkold seek out Haskalah.
(Arkold) (Rephidim Bazaar) (BlueFox) (Chiaroscuro) (Envoy) (Jaundice) (Rephidim) (Wynona)
Haskalah's Office
Unlike the offices of her fellow instructors, either cluttered with books and papers and stuffed with sorcerous mementos and knicknacks, or else so Spartan as to appear totally unoccupied, just ready for a new professor to move in, Haskalah's office appears more like a Himaat desert trader's home with silks strewn all about, long gauzy cloths softening the white walls of the College Esoterica and turning sharp corners into mysteries. What can only be charitably described as eclectica lies strewn about much as toys, hidden beneath and behind pillows and cushions. The instructor herself is given to sitting behind a low round table at which an everpresent tea service grants refreshment, and consulting a scattering of books and scrolls piled behind her at times. This room is less an exercise in organization and more a celebration… Of the spontaneous.

After a great deal of walking, passing numerous students and proctors and instructors, seeing the sights and taking a quick stop by the rest room for the less sturdy of bladder, Jaundice finally leads his newfound friends to a small office located in a secluded corner somewhere in the heart of the Guild Hall. Even to someone with directions, it would have been very easy to miss the last turnoff, the one that required counting off tiles and then sighting down them for a proper angle – at least those are the 'official' directions.

The nameplate reads in Rephidim Common, "MASTER HASKALAH OF THE SPHERE OF CHAOS, Senior Instructor." The door stands slightly ajar, allowing a peek at the confusion of pillows and… stuff… inside.

Envoy peers over Pe'er's shoulder.

Jaundice holds up a hand to those in the group. "Wait a moment, please." He turns to the door, pushing on it gently to peer inside.

Chiaroscuro looks at his surroundings… and sighs when he sees the office has been reached. .o(I hope she can help… and if not, point me the way out of here.)

Wynona looks around, vainly trying to go over all the directions that were required to find this place … and then trying to go over them backwards to figure how she'll get back OUT.

Wynona shrugs. "Oh well. I'll just search for a breeze that indicates the nearest open window … and jump out!" She grins, fluttering her wings in amusement.

*knock* *knock* "Ma'am?" The coyote pushes his muzzle through the door frame. "Are you here?"

Arkold stays slightly behind the others, though he is careful not to lose them.

There's a pot of tea still steaming upon the table, an empty but damp-bottomed cup near it, a book opened to somewhere in the middle with a length of some light-colored wood that serves as a bookmark… And no Haskalah. There's a note on the table however.

Jaundice lets the door swing wide, as he becomes certain his teacher is absent. He pads to the table, looking curiously around before picking it up to read…

Chiaroscuro walks over next to Envoy, and whispers in a very quiet tone, "I am sure we will have to tell Lady Haskalah I am a mongoose, so she will understand the reasons for my skull-buzzings. So do not worry about saying this to her."

Wynona cheerily calls out, "Yoo hoo! Mistress Haskalah?"

Envoy nods to Chia.

"To my students," the note reads. "I'll be out for a few hours. So neh, you thought I spent all my days in the College? What a waste, such a gorgeous day, you should be out looking at life instead of inside looking at books and going blind. If you need me, try the pond at Freedom Park. – With love, Haskalah"

Wynona blows at the silk streamers hanging about. "PFOO! This place needs some cleaning."

"After all, the air can't circulate properly with all this in the way… " Wynona shrugs.

Arkold looks over Wynona's shoulder thinking about where he last heard the name Haskalah, he supposes it was at any number of social meetings his parents hosted… he wonders if she'll remember him.

Jaundice fingers the note, shaking his head. He turns to the assembled. "She isn't here."

Wynona pouts. "Then where is she?"

Jaundice holds up the note before replacing it on the table. "She went to the park, this says." He gives a matter of fact shrug.

A little windmill atop a bookcase goes *whirr* slowly as Wynona's blowing causes a slight breeze to stir. Tiny wooden figures rotate before the miniature farm scene.

Envoy says, "Which park did she… oooo!"

Jaundice idly passes by the book, wondering what Haskalah was reading before she left.

Envoy immediately becomes fascinated by the windmill and other knick-knacks…

Jaundice lifts the book up to read the front cover.

Arkold speaks from behind Wynona, "Well, which park?"

The title reads: "On Dandelion Fluff and its Mystical and Alchemical Properties"

Jaundice's eyes widen. He shakes his head, wondering why she'd want to go outside in the middle of such a read. "Freedom Park," he mumbles idly, brushing past the bedazzled Envoy on the way out.

Wynona has taken an interest in the wooden figures. "Ooo!" She blows on them to see if they'll keep moving.

Chiaroscuro peers around in the office, glance flickering from thing to thing to thing to thing… .o(Reyna's tail! The mages on this world must be powerful indeed, to own this much… )

Envoy has moved on to the ceramic figurines now, but notices Jaundice's retreat. "Should we go there, then, Pe'er?"

Arkold nods and begins to look over the room himself, he pauses by some book and picks one up to look through it.

As the figures turn, the topmost blade of the windmill bumps into an artist's mannequin hung up nearby and painted in different colors; it turns about on the wires that hold it aloft and causes a book to tip over on, spilling several other books in domino fashion. *thunk!* The last book topples over onto Arkold's head.

Jaundice stands near the doorway, waiting for the rest to pass back out. He nods to Envoy.

This book's title reads: "Of Mice and Men: Comparative Anatomy"

Wynona squeaks! "Oh my! You poor poor man! Here, let me HELP you!"

Wynona rushes across the room to assist Arkold.

Envoy blinks at the odd sequence of events…

Jaundice's eyes shift about nervously, and he runs his fingers along the door frame. He considers the room as he always does, and makes the reasoned assumption that one more book knocked off the shelf won't be noticed.

Arkold acks as he is hit by a piece of falling literature, stumbling backwards a little. The young noble removes his hat and rubs his head, mumbling, "Just what to expect from a chaos mage's office… random events, and a big headache."

Wynona fusses over Arkold. "Are you all right? Oh dear! I hope you don't get a lump on your head. How much does this book WEIGH?"

Just at this moment, a large grandfather clock chimes. *Ting!* *Ting!* … It clamors seven times and then the workings are again silent but for a slow ticking.

It's definitely not seven o' clock, however – it must certainly be at least ten, perhaps twelve.

Chiaroscuro keeps glancing here, there, up, down… amazed by the amount of… everything.

"Oh … He needs some fresh air!" Wynona says. "My! No windows in here at all. But then, this is the College. I was so glad to get out of this stuffy place for a while."

Arkold straightens his hat and replaces it on his head, he looks at Wynona and says, "I'm alright dear, just a little bit of hitting the books, or rather, them hitting me." he chuckles a bit taking it in stride.

Envoy pokes around under the cushions. "What does Haskalah do exactly, Pe'er?"

A tiny gecko flickers its forked tongue at Envoy, then scuttles deeper into the cushions. Hiss.

Jaundice quirks an eyebrow at Arkold, and mrms at Envoy's query. "She drinks a lot of tea."

Wynona giggles at the noble wolf's joke. "You're so clever! Even in the midst of having your head bonked."

Arkold smiles at Wynona, "If I wasn't ready for a headache, dear, I would never have visited a mages office."

Wynona gulps at this and raises her hands just a bit, looking up, as if expecting another book to land on HER head any moment now.

Jaundice's gaze becomes a bit more nervous. . o O { She doesn't notice clutter, but she might notice a wreck. } "We better go, if you still want to see her."

"Maybe … we ought to leave things undisturbed," Wynona says. "After all, she's not here."

The white bat promptly follows her own advice … by heading out the door.

Jaundice patiently waits for everyone else to follow the bat, holding the door open.

Arkold nods and decides one hit on the head is enough for now, and also walks out.

Wynona's upward gaze meets a large moose-like creature… Its head, which has been stuffed and mounted to hang over the door. It looks amiably over the visitors leaving the office.

Envoy hmms, wondering if Chaos Magic requires a reservoir of Brownian motion. She follows the others out of the office.

Did the glassy eyes wink at Wynona? No, no, couldn't have been.

Wynona SQUEAKS as she sees the creature and hurries out all that much more quickly.

Chiaroscuro turns to Pe'er, and nods, heading out of the office. .o(There is enough in there to keep a hundred curious a hundred lifetimes.)

Jaundice pads out, pulling the door to its previous position before bringing up the rear.

Arkold turns to everyone as they walk out, "Everyone having fun yet?" he asks with a grin.

Envoy says, "Yes!"

Chiaroscuro grins at Arkold. "Indeed."

Wynona giggles in answer.

Jaundice trodtrods along behind, staring at the floor, listening to the boards creak under his sandals. He looks blankly at Arkold.

Arkold smiles, "Does anyone doubt that book hitting me was simply a matter of chance, besides myself?"

Jaundice considers Arkold for a moment as the group rounds a bend, looking him up and down. "No sir," he replies after a long moment.

Envoy says, "Oh no, it required Wynona's breath to happen… "

Chiaroscuro chuckles a bit. "Not knowing Haskalah, I could not tell you, Sir." He turns back to Pe'er, keeping a tight eye on the only one who knows how to get out of the mammoth building.

Jaundice wanders out ahead of the group, raising a hand to his eyes to shield the sun, ears perked and eyes alert for Haskalah.

Freedom Park lies within the less used parts of the Crafters' Quarters in the city proper – as a walk goes, it's a considerable way from the College Esoterica in the Scholars' Quarter, but it's much easier to find. Within its cozy spaces trees shade people as they walk its maze-like paths. The only pond or indeed, any kind of body of water to be found within is the crickhen pond, where a few passing Kavis and mice stop to give crusts of bread to the small birds with rainbow-colored bat-wings that float serenely on its surface.

Nearby, a bronze-cast model depicts what purports to be the First Ship – a mythological being or divinity that was said to have birthed the people that now cover Sinai, according to the legends of many. Statues of Rephidim's finest people line the main walk with heroic swords (and quills for the accountants) lifted.

Haskalah was right, the day began with a clear sky and has grown even more pleasant as the sun continues its cheerful way, a cooling breeze coming from the ocean that passes beneath Rephidim. However, there are no tortoiseshell Khattas to be seen anywhere about – just an old, indeed, wizened brown-furred Khatta half-snoozing in the shade of a tree, his hands wrapped about a crude fishing rod made of an unbarked branch and a length of string that drops away into the water. His clothes have seen better days.

Jaundice crosses his arms. "I can't see her," he says to no one particular.

Envoy says, "Are you sure this is the correct Freedom Park, Pe'er?"

"I guess," Pe'er shrugs. "Only one I know of." He pads over to the older Khatta fisher, quietly so as not to startle him.

Wynona boldly strides right up to the fisher as well. "Hello!" she squeaks. "Have you seen a Chaos Mage around here?"

Jaundice lays a hand on the older man's shoulder… just as Wynona bounds up. He steps back, letting her field the question.

The fisher startles at Wynona's exclamation. "Ach! What, what?" He looks about with sleep-blurred eyes, then focuses on the bat.

Arkold walks up behind Wynona and smiles at the old man, nodding in greeting.

Wynona giggles and waves. "Hello! I was wondering if you've seen a Chaos Mage around here? Uhm … she … well, I haven't the slightest idea what she looks like, really."

Envoy examines the statues.

"A Chaos mage? I'm with you on that, I haven't the slightest idea neither," the fisher says. He relaxes back onto the tree trunk he was using for a backrest. "You might try the College… "

Jaundice looks at Wynona and Arkold blankly, then turns to the fishercat, realizing his duty. "Her name is Haskalah, sir, and she's Khatta. We thought she'd be here, could you help us?"

"Ah! Dame Haskalah," the brown Khatta says. "All-colors, neh?"

Jaundice nods. "Yes sir."

Wynona giggles. "We've already been to the college. But … do you know her?"

"Was she here?" Jaundice asks the elder. "These people are trying to find her."

Arkold looks over at the others, then back to the old man.

The elderly Khatta grins showing off yellowed teeth. "Now there's a lady to be contended with. I was all ready to quit fishing here, on 'count of nasty 'lil Kavis saying that there's no fish here, if there were any, the crickhen's have eaten them all up." He gestures to the sleek things that glide over the pond, their feathers shiny and glistening with white and shimmery colors.

Jaundice tilts his head and blinks as the fisher begins a story. "Sir?"

"Eh?" The fisher looks back at Jaundice. "You're going to tell me it's a really important errand and you'd like to listen to the rest, but you really have to go now, is that it, and can I be of any help?" He raises an eyebrow.

Arkold grins at the old man's words, chuckling softly.

Jaundice blinks. "Er, no sir. I don't need to see her, and I'm in no hurry." He looks back at the others in the group. "I was just wondering… " He trails off.

Envoy wanders over from the statue, and asks, "What are you fishing for?"

Jaundice shakes his head. "I'm one of her students."

The fisher wiggles his ears. "Ah! A student. And are you one of those as which knows a great deal, or which knows nothing?" To Envoy he adds, "Well, that's a story… Which your young friend don't seem to be interested in hearing."

Chiaroscuro listens to the conversation, while looking over the park.

Wynona sits down on the beach, sighing. "Well, I need to find her, but … well … unless she's going to fly away any minute now, I'm not in THAT much of a hurry. It's just that when I ran into Jaundice here, and he was her student, I thought it was SUCH a coincidence, I couldn't pass it up. I thought maybe it was a Chaos thing, you know? Chance and all that?"

Wynona looks to the fisher. "I don't mind hearing! … I'm all ears!" She squeaks, grinning.

Jaundice's expression is entirely blank. He glances upwards at the sun, mentally sighing. . o O { I'm late anyway… why hurry now? }

The fisher tugs on the rod a little, then reels in the string and casts out the bait again… A length of some kind of squishy tentacle. Presumably fish love it.

Arkold smiles, and says, "I'd like to hear the story, too."

Wynona squeaks, "Majority rules!"

Jaundice thinks of an answer. "I don't know about the fish in this pond, sir. If you were going to tell me, I didn't mean to stop you."

"Ah well, it was one of them philosophical things," the fisher says. "Couldn't do it justice." He lets the bait settle in. "No fish in the pond. What do you say to that, eh?"

Wynona gives the fisher a confused look. "I'm sorry … You're saying that you're fishing, but there aren't any fish? Do you do it just for fun, then?"

Jaundice looks at the old cat, then at his rod, then at the pond, and back to him again. "I'd wonder why you're sitting here."

Arkold smiles and adjusts his hat again, saying, "Hoping you may catch something anyway?"

"Fun, heh. What fun is it if you know you're never going to catch one? Try another answer, student." The brown Khatta wiggles his ears again, then looks over at Arkold. "Ah!"

Wynona pouts, casting a jealous glance to Arkold.

Chiaroscuro grins at the old man. .o(Riddles and half-clues. This one talks just like Junobel.)

Arkold grins, and nods, "Just the chance you may catch something, however impossible?"

The Khatta ruminates. "Maybe no fish in the pond today. But who's to say there'll never be any tomorrow? Can't prove that there'll never be any. It's a negative. And the day when there'll be a fish in here, why then, I'll be right there and I'll catch it." He grins yellowishly.

Wynona looks like she's about to say something, but then thinks the better of it, and just smiles obligingly.

Jaundice sits on the grass. He feels awkward standing around when he needs to hang around. He listens to the old man's words, trying to understand… then the pearls click together. "I knew people in my village who sometimes talked like that… about how things might be."

"There's a great truth somewhere in there," the Khatta says. "I can't quite see it, but maybe one of you young students will. You all look like the kind to be curious." He nods to himself, then to the others. "Any road, lit'uns, Dame Haskalah was by this morning, all right, just went to get something for lunch. Said it was such a glorious day, a shame to spend it just staring at the same water. Said she'd be by the Bazaar to get some lunch."

Wynona squeaks!

Wynona says, "Oh no! And just how will we find her THERE? There are so many places to eat lunch!"

Arkold looks at Wynona, and says chuckling, "Maybe we'll get lucky?"

Wynona sighs. "Only if she WANTS to be found… "

Jaundice looks up to the gentleman, giving a polite nod as he stands again. "Thank you… " He hmms pensively a moment. "We might find her, we might not."

Envoy says, "You just find the one vendor that is the best strange attractor."

Wynona stands up and curtseys to the fisherman. "A pleasure to meet you! I hope you catch something."

"You see her, you tell her Old Khat Jhenjz wishes her a good lunch," the Khatta says cheerfully.

"Yes sir," Chiaroscuro pipes in. "She did not happen to mention what restaurant, sir, or what she might be eating?"

Jaundice plays the thought around in his mind, strangely amused. "Yes sir."

Jhenjz beams to Wynona. "Thanks, young lady. Good luck to you. Mm. Said she had a taste for sea food, she did."

Wynona says, "Well … I HOPE that's a start. But who knows? She might look for lunch in a watering trough. I mean … it COULD happen."

"Eh. She's not simple," Jhenjz says with another ear-wiggle. "If there were a competition for village idiot, they'd disqualify her at the finish line." He smiles and settles in to snooze again, letting his fishing rod slowly dip toward the water.

Jaundice pads away from Jhenjz, in the direction of the bazaar. Best let the old Khat fish in peace.

Wynona hmms, and ponders some notion that amuses her, but she doesn't share it.

Wynona squeaks, "We're off!" And … she's off. (flapflapflap)

Mid-Day in the Bazaar: The sun is out, clouds drift by, but hardly ever obscure the glow of that golden orb as it shines down on a section of the city which is on the border between beauty and squalor. It's the Bazaar, located in a section of town officially designated "for future expansion", but as long as the bribes go to the right places and nothing gets out of hand, vendors are tolerated to set up their booths and hawk wares from parts near and far. Street musicians and other performers earn a few shekels here and there and provide welcome distractions for those who stroll along, taking in the carnival atmosphere. The well-to-do and the not-so-well-to-do can be seen here, more of a mix than one will find anywhere else in Rephidim. In light of this, one should watch one's pouch, and there are occasional Templar patrols of Jupani and zelaks to keep the peace.

There are tens of sea food restaurants and hundreds of vendors of fish, but by and large they can be found by the dictum of 'following one's nose'. Kavis race to break down a meat-skewer stall, now that lunch hour is nearly done, as more Kavis stand by ready to put up their shop and wares for the afternoon business; nearby a fish-and-chips vendor (the chips being rounds of some vegetable of an orangish lightly fried in oil and tasting sweet) does a brisk business.

Chiaroscuro starts thinking. "Now, where are the seafood restaurants in the bazaar?", he mumbles, as he follows Jaundice.

Envoy looks up, wondering if she should fly as well, but decides to walk with the others.

Wynona occasionally flies back over the walkers, giggling and offering encouragement like "Hurry up! It's almost SUPPERTIME now!" before fluttering on again…

Jaundice wrinkles his nose at the Bazaar smell. "I still haven't eaten here, so I wouldn't know." He hurries along, trying to keep an eye on Wynona, muttering about how he thought he was needed to lead the group.

Wynona, meanwhile, tries to scout out the most fishy places in the Bazaar, and make a plan of attack.

Envoy walks next to the mongoose, "How's your head, Chiaroscuro?"

Still no sign of a tortoiseshell Khatta, however.

Chiaroscuro smiles at Envoy. "The same as always, unfortunately."

Arkold does his best to keep up without looking like hes in a hurry, he not being one to ever look rushed.

Wynona flutters down to every fishy-smelling place, chattering about looking for a tortoiseshell Khatta Chaos Mage, to anyone who will give her a moment's notice.

Jaundice stands in one spot, and looks up at Wynona, waving his hand up to her. This far below, he must be hard to spot. He turns to Envoy, an idea occurring to him.

"You want chips with that?" the vendor says with some puzzlement.

Wynona hmms, pondering that, and checks in her sash. "EEP! My pouch is gone!" Her wings droop. "I'm destituuuuute!" she whines.

"No shekels, no chips, sorry lady," the Kavi says. He gives her a sympathetic look.

Wynona frowns and slumps away. "I thought the sash would help. Oh well. I have some munchies… EEP! They're gone, too!"

Chiaroscuro sticks close to Jaundice, who'd know best about what to do next.

Arkold looks over at Wynona, then back to the others, panting a little from this walking.

Wynona pans a glare at every suspicious-looking character in sight, and pats her sash back in place. She mumbles under her breath.

Wynona clenches her fists, closing her eyes, her ears flushing red. No. She's not a happybat.

The Kavi looks sympathetic. "Can always use someone to wash dishes," he suggests to Wynona.

Jaundice looks at Envoy again, shrugging to himself. "Never mind," he mumbles. He feels a few extra sets of eyes on him, yet he has little idea what to do.

Wynona treads a bit away from the booth, still muttering and seething. One can almost see the little storm cloud looming over her head.

From across the Bazaar, the familiar howl of despair of Dildano the Cashew merchant is heard as yet more of his inventory comes up missing.

Arkold hrrms, looking at the bat sideways, then forward again.

Envoy blinks at Wynona, "Is something the matter, Wynona?"

Jaundice thinks, . o O { We could keep looking for more seafood merchants… but eventually she'll be going back to the College. }

BlueFox zips through the Bazaar, twisting and turning between ankles. He's eaten his 4th vegetable for the day, now his sensitive nose seeks out something with more protein.

Jaundice gives blank looks to Chiaroscuro and Arkold. "I'm lost, sirs. We could keep looking if you want."

The crowd starts to bunch up in the distance as some people push to the side to be out of the way of the blue fox… And others chase after the mischievous vulpine. "Stop, thief!" a Vartan yells.

Envoy grins, recognizing the blue fox.

Wynona keeps right on muttering and fuming – except that there's a certain cadence to her muttering, after all.

Arkold walks up to the boy, "You would know best, I… " he stops hearing the shout and turns to the merchant quickly in surprise, then to the fox he is yelling and and chuckles some.

BlueFox wags his tail happily! He knows this game, and knows it well! He zips under Envoy's skirts and disappears out the other side!

The bat's nose begins to wiggle. She pauses just a bit. (sniff) (muttermutter) (sniffle)

Jaundice turns towards the rushing crowd, then steps out of their path. He blinks at the blue thing that whizzes past.

Chiaroscuro hmmms at Jaundice. "No… thank you, Pe'er. You have done more than we could ask for today." He smiles. "Perhaps you could tell Haskalah to look for the Piti Tavernum show in the Bazaar, most any day until dusk, and talk to Chiaroscuro there."

Envoy says, "We should follow the fox. Odds are good that it will lead to Haskalah."

Jaundice looks to Chiaroscuro, then to Wynona, then to Envoy, puzzling at the supposition. "Um… odds?" He blinks. "You're serious?"

Arkold nods to Envoy and says, "This is very unusual, I belive she is right and we should follow that fox… and quickly before he gets away."

Envoy says, "Yes. I have the observed the fox defying probability before."

Wynona's eyes begin to water, as she desperately ignores that horrible itch in her nose, right in that place that can't by any mortal means be scratched, and probably doesn't realy exist.

Some of the Kavis start backing off from Wynona. "What's she doing?" one asks. The other shrugs, "Sounds really upset… Someone cut her purse maybe."

Chiaroscuro looks at Envoy. "That is… as good as any suggestion I have heard today." He grins, taps his Rikkorel quickly on the left arm, and chases the blue fox.

BlueFox scampers along, his chaotic claws clipping over the cobblestones. His gait seems confident and secure as he shaken his pursuers for the moment.

Arkold looks at Wynona, he sighs and walks over to her, "Something wrong dear?" he asks.

Jaundice looks between Arkold and Envoy, looking entirely lost. He watches the mongoose chase after the fox with the crowd, then ponders… . o O { Do I even need to be here? }

Wynona's concentration is broken. *WACHOO*!


Envoy takes Jaundice's hand, and pulls him along as she chases after Chiaroscuro.

"Stop that thief!" a Cervani bellows as he stomps after the blue fox, joined by Chiaroscuro and others. "A free lunch for he who brings me that fox's head!"

Otherwise-unoccupied Kavis perk their ears up. Ooh!

Arkold quickly gets his hanky which is seeing much use today, he hands it to Wynona.

Right over Wynona's head, there's a dark spot that forms in mid-air … and then it slowly swells … into a little dark cloud that is floating right over the bat's head, a couple of feet up.

Jaundice jumps! at Wynona's sneeze, then lets out a startled "Awp!" as he's led along by the hand. He rushedly straightens his headband and fights to keep up.

Wynona sniffles, looking despondent. "Oh! Danku. *HONK!*"

BlueFox pauses to bark bark bark bark at the Cervani for a moment, and then dives under the flaps of a nearby booth, covered with fine fabrics imported from strange lands.

Arkold tilts his head, looking at Wynona, "Now, is there something wrong… ?" he asks again.

Wynona looks like she's about to cry. "Someone ROBBED me!"

Arkold nods softly, he says softly, "Was that all you had?"

Chiaroscuro follows along behind the fox, but more cautiously, so as not to lose Envoy.

The white bat HONKS into the handkerchief and nods, sobbing.

The little cloud breaks loose … drenching Wynona in its unlikely downpour.

Jaundice scampers along behind Envoy, beginning to pant. "This is … impossible… *cough*" Inside, he's hoping Envoy's right, but he has his doubts.

BlueFox zips around through the cloth merchant's booth and out the otherside, without taking in the subtle niceities of such increadibly advanced technological inventions of the Morphic type creatures such as 'doors'.

Arkold looks slightly away, then back at the bat, "How much was it… dear?" he very quietly so no others might hear.

Envoy maneuvers around the booths, rather than trying to drag Jaundice through them.

BlueFox zips out of the booth, legs flying, and paws ricocheting over the cobblestones. Suddenly, he slams on the brakes and slides to a bumpy stop.

Chiaroscuro mmmrrrfs… losing track of the fox, and sighing. And thinking. .o(Wait a moment… even if the fox is a Chaos attractor… this is no way to go about this.)

The white bat says, "Oh, I guess I'd better go inside, and get out of the rain… " She sloshes toward the side of the street.

BlueFox sniff sniff sniff sniff sniff sniff sniff sniff sniff sniff sniff sniff sniff sniff sniff sniff sniff sniffs the air.

The little cloud doggedly follows Wynona, rain and all.

Envoy catches up to the mongoose.

"What's this?" a familiar-sounding voice says.

BlueFox's head rotates around tracking some scent, looking like a turret traversing slowly from left to right.

Arkold walks after the bat, he places a pa on her shoulder getting wet in the process, he says, "Wait… "

BlueFox's sides practically heave as he seemingly tries to inhale the entire bazaar.

BlueFox's ears tilt over as he locks in on the scent. He pads along slowly, sniffing the ground.

Wynona says, "Wait? And catch (sniffle) cold out here in this rain?"

BlueFox sniff sniff sniffs along, like a four footed vacuum cleaner.

BlueFox single mindedly follows the scent on the ground until he comes across a shoe.

As Chiaroscuro comes around the side of the fabric-seller's booth ("Zhilk! Better-looking than zolk, sambe, a must for any connoissieur seeking to be different!"), he catches sight of a tortoiseshell Khatta in what looks to be some kind of kimono, a pleasant blue-green with prints of cherry flowers scattered over its light fabric surface. She reaches down to hold out a hand for the blue fox to sniff.

Jaundice skids to a stop as Envoy slows… the blue fox is in view now. He hears a voice…

Arkold opens his own shekel bag, removing four ten-shekels, he places them in her paw, "There, that should cover it." he says, turning and walking off to find the others.

BlueFox sniffs at the shoe as if it were the most interesting scent in the universe. It is said that foxes can communicate by scent. If so, BlueFox must have come across the vulpine equivalent of the Complete Works of William Shakespeare. He sniffs and sniffs with rapt attention.

"Isn't that just like a fox," the Khatta says with ears wiggling. "Offer a hand and they'll go for a foot. So, stealing fish are you?"

Envoy whispers to Pe'er, "Is that her?"

The Cervani merchant huffs and puffs, his rack of antlers swaying. "Stop *gasp* that fox *wheeze*," he bellows. "Free… Lunch… "

Jaundice steps forward towards the Khatta, whom he recognizes. He lets Envoy's hand drop, along with his jaw. "Ma'… am." He looks about ready to collapse, from mental exhaustion or otherwise.

Chiaroscuro watches Pe'er's attention snap to the Feline woman, and looks carefully. .o(This must be the mage.)

BlueFox grabs his fish and scampers off, first zipping between the Khatta's legs!

Kavis zip after BlueFox! "Heya!" "Make way! Make way!" "'Scuse me – oops – sorry! Ow! Stop hitting me!"

Envoy turns to the puffing Cervani, "You want to give the fox a free lunch?"

Wynona sniffles, belatedly noticing the shekels in her hand. "My … (sniffle) what a nice gentleman!" She tucks away the coins … in a different pouch this time inside the sash. She wanders around aimlessly, in a bit of a daze. Besides, it's hard to see through the (localized) rain.

Haskalah looks up. "Ah! Pe'er," she says with a smile. "Have I convinced you that the Bazaar is worth wandering for its own sake then, dear student?"

Jaundice stands in front of Haskalah, even as the kavis rush past. He just stands, swallows, and tries to catch his breath… not answering directly.

The Cervani stops and leans on a wooden stall to catch his breath. "Dagh-taken fox," he explains. "It steals food all the time! Worthless bit of fur, even if it is blue… Some Kavis keep whining about how it's some kind of omen, but I call it a nuisance, that's what it is."

"Actually," Jaundice answers between breaths, "I was trying to find you. There are some other people who want to see you."

A Kavi follows Wynona, holding up a little wooden cylinder…

A localized downpour wanders over to the Cervani. "Pardon me (sniffle), but have you seen a tortoiseshell Khatta Chaos Mage around here named Haskalah?"

"'Scuse me, lady, wouldja crouch down a bit?" the little kid chirps.

Chiaroscuro bows to the feline. "Lady Haskalah?"

Arkold notices Wynona is not walking with him to find the fox and the others, he goes back to look for her.

"Well, you seem to have found me," Haskalah says with a grin. Her hair has been done up into a bun behind her, held with long enameled sticks but even now wisps of it seek to struggle out of their bindings. She looks around at the gathering, her gaze settling on Wynona and her little stormcloud companion. "It seems to have been quite a day for you all. What seems to be the problem?"

Envoy blinks at Wynona's cloudy disposition as well.

Wynona puts her hand over her eyes, peering through the downpour. "Oh! I've been looking all OVER for you! I'mreallysorrytobotheryoubutyouseeIwasinUrandIvisitedMasterZahirineeandItriedtohelphisapprenticefindamodelairship, andImadethisspelltolookinthelakeandmesseditup,soheneedsaChaosMagetofixitsohecanscryagain!"

Wynona takes a deep breath … and sneezes. "Xuseme."

Jaundice walks up to Haskalah, nodding in all politeness. "I need to go back to classes, ma'am. They can tell you what they need."

"So do you think you can help me?" Wynona squeaks.

Arkold sees Wynona and the others and walks twords them.

The little Kavi kid sticks her cup into the downpour coming from Wynona's stormcloud and gets a free glass of water. "Thanks, lady!" she chirps, before wandering off.

Chiaroscuro smiles. "Thank you for helping us, Pe'er. Sorry for all the trouble we put you to today… "

Haskalah raises an eyebrow. "Perhaps… But I have one request first." She smiles gently. "Say that again so that these old ears of mine can understand them, if you will?"

Envoy says to Winona, "Why do you have a raincloud over your head, Wynona?"

The tortoiseshell Khatta nods to Pe'er. "Run along then, and be careful, Pe'er!"

Jaundice turns his head slightly and nods to Chiaroscuro, brightening a little at the prospect of a journey's end. He walks past Haskalah, towards the college grounds… where a few hundred books wait.

Wynona blinks at Envoy. "Uhm … because it's raining. My. You hardly look wet at all, really. How do you do that?"

Envoy blinks three times. "It's only raining on you, that's why, Wynona."

Arkold rejoins the group after his little walk apart from them, the walk giving him time to get over the guilt trip, the loss of money, and to dry his arm off.

Envoy says, "Stick your arm out ahead of you, and you'll see… "

A nearby merchant mutters, "Mages. No respect for perfectly honest and hardworking water-sellers… " Then takes a nearly empty barrel. The older Kavi tugs on Wynona's sleeve. "Milady, if you'd care to lean over this?"

Wynona blinks three times back at Envoy, then swivels back to Haskalah. "Uhm … sorry. Master Zahirinee asked me to find a Chaos Mage to undo the damage I did to his lake of scrying." She turns to the Kavi. "Oh! Thank you." She leans on the barrel, looking exhausted from the day's adventures.

Haskalah wiggles her ears. "Master Zahirinee? How remarkable. I was just thinking about him yesterday, and wondering if he had proven his postulate of Achirian motion leading to ultimate order."

She looks up at the stormcloud. "You seem bent on disproving it however."

Wynona says, "Uhm … I'm an Air Mage. I don't know anything about THAT. Well, I DID have to learn about fluid dynamics, though … but it was kind of hard. I kept having these sneezing fits… (sniffle)"

The merchant waits patiently for the barrel to be filled up, whistling 'Lady from Himar'.

Arkold looks at the mage, tipping his hat to the mage, "Excuse me, miss… Have we met?"

Haskalah looks over to Arkold sideways. "Mm? Why, it's… What was your name again?" She smiles. "Your face is familiar, but I'm afraid that I have a poor memory for names."

Chiaroscuro's ears perk, and he listens closely to the conversation of the mages, willing to wait his turn.

Wynona sighs, realizing that her own turn has gone to the back of the line again. Oh well. She's soaking wet already…

The tortoiseshell glances at the barrel, judging how close it is to being filled. "Just a moment, if you will," she bids Wynona. "I should do something about your newfound meteorological friend… "

The white bat tries to use her wings as an umbrella.

Arkold smiles and removes his hat in a graceful bow, he says, "I am Arkold Volkenheld, madam."

Envoy bows to the Khatta, "I'm Envoy, a friend of Pe'er."

Chiaroscuro bows along with the rest. "I am Chiaroscuro Themyst, milady."

"Ah! You're the one they're always complaining about," the Khatta says to Arkold with a laugh. "If you'll excuse me a minute?" Haskalah reaches into the barrel to wet her fingertips, then draws three dots onto Wynona's forehead, murmuring a chant with odd rhythm and rhymes; she repeats this four times, intent and focused on her task. "Now, repeat after me: 'I like rain, I really do,'" she bids Wynona. "And put feeling into it, please."

Wynona blinks? "Uhm … okay … I like rain, I really do … uhm … what SORT of feeling? Biting sarcasm?"

The cloud rumbles and starts to look uncertain. It spreads out and turns to a lighter drizzle.

"As if you believed what you were saying," Haskalah suggests gently.

Wynona shrugs. "Well, actually, I really DO like rain. Just when I'm inside – and it's not." She sing-songs, "I like rain, I really do, I like rain, I really do, I like rain, I really do, I like rain, I really do … Hmm … you know, maybe it'd be catchier if you had more verses, though."

Envoy watches curiously.

Wynona sing-songs, "I like rain, I really do, I like rain, so how 'bout you? I like rain, I really do – except when it makes me get the flu!"

With each repetition, the cloud gets lighter… Until just at the last it goes *poof!* The merchant scowls. "Go ahead, get rid of a good thing, why don't you," he mutters as he starts to lug the half-full barrel back to his stall.

Wynona pouts. "I didn't know you Chaos Mages could control the weather, too! No fair." She pouts, wings slumping (as she doesn't need an umbrella anymore).

Haskalah wiggles her ears. "You have a good voice, dear," she says. "Oh no! I didn't control it at all. I just applied the Principle of Anthropomorphic Contrariness."

Wynona blinks. "I'm sorry, but I have no idea what that is. Uhm … Should I?"

Envoy says, "You mean… the weather never does what you want it to?"

Wynona hmphs. "Isn't THAT the truth! … Errr … Well, don't let that get around."

Arkold chuckles and says, "Sounds right."

Haskalah laughs softly. "Just so," she says to Envoy and Wynona. "If you're in the wrong frame of mind, nothing does what you tell it to do. That's what Chaos magic is all about."

"Belief," she says. "So then. Master Zahirinee needs help? Have you a letter of some kind perhaps… " Haskalah looks at Wynona, wondering how to call her.

Wynona fumbles about herself. "Uhm … it's tucked in here somewhere. Uh oh." She pulls out a leatherwrapped scroll, rivulets of water running off the covering. "I hope it's still readable." She hands it to Haskalah. "Oh! By the way – I'm Wynona Windcaller."

"I'm normally assigned to airships, but my usual assignment … er … well, they'll just have to assign me a new ship," Wynona frowns.

"A pleasure to meet you. I'm Haskalah. Master mage. Are you back at the College to take some graduate courses?" she asks, while taking the scroll and tucking it into her kimono. "And you are Chiaroscuro Themyst," she says to the mongoose. "I've never seen any Kavi quite like you! Are you by any chance from the Himaat area?"

BlueFox silently padpads over and lap laps up some water from the puddle around Wynona.

Three Kavis huff and puff as they stumble after BlueFox. "Come… back here," one gasps. "We'll give you berries… " "Free beer?" "No, no, it was a free lunch, I'm *wheeze* sure of it."

BlueFox flies off further in a flurry of fluffy furtive flying fox paws.

As Arkold follows along with the others, a tall black mare leans out of the shadows – her clothes tend toward black leather, with an offsetting pink ribbon tucked into her mane behind an ear. "Hey, guv'nor. Got a minute?" she whispers. "It's about a mutual 'friend' of ours… "

The curious wolf excuses himself and joins the mare, disappearing into the recesses of the Bazaar…

Chiaroscuro smiles to Haskalah. "I'm afraid you're wrong on both counts, Lady Haskalah. I'm not from the Himaat, and… " He pauses, and gestures politely for Haskalah to lean close.

The tortoise-shell patterned Khatta leans curiously over. Her ears twitch upright.

Chiaroscuro whispers so only Haskalah (hopefully) can hear. "I am not a Kavi at all, but a 'mongoose'. I am an 'Exile' to this world from my homeworld of Tarrah."

"Indeed?" Haskalah's tail twitches. "You look very similar to… " Her eyes travel down Chiaroscuro's body, then up. "Well, perhaps there are some differences. So then, do I owe this meeting to chance or choice, Chiaroscuro?"

Wynona, a bit distracted by her current very wet state of being, currently is … making another chant.

Envoy grins. She's knows it's due to a bit of both.

Chiaroscuro says, "Well, looking for you was choice. Finding you here in the bazaar is chance. As with many things… it is a mixture of both. But I was searching for you, deliberately, yes."

One of Haskalah's ears twitches over to Wynona's direction. She smiles with thin black lips. "Chance and choice indeed. One cannot make a sandwich without bread and fillings, or if one could, it would be a very poor one. Do go on?"

Chiaroscuro nods. "I have a problem, that I have been told a mage of the sphere of chaos could aid in. I have a… 'skull-buzz', or sorts, created by sensitivity to… " His eyes dart quickly towards Wynona, who appears to be not listening, and continues. "The abundance of the sub-atomic particulate ether on this planet."

Haskalah listens with one ear to Chiaroscuro. "Mm… A headache, do you mean? Or do you literally hear a buzzing that appears to come from within your own skull? Have you tried herbal remedies to relieve headaches?"

After at least a minute of chanting, Wynona stops, and opens one eye. Immediately, a gust of wind blasts her in the face, shoving her hair and wings back, and prompting her to close the eye again. Her clothes flap audibly in the uncharacteristic breeze.

Haskalah's ears wiggle.

Envoy interrupts, "It seems dependent on his proximity to mana fields."

Nearby vendors yelp and hold down their merchandise. A black mink snatches a succession of silk scarves that threaten to go flying away, next to Honest Makah.

When the freak wind finally stops, Wynona's hair is frizzed out and any visible fur puffed out. The effect isn't quite fashionable or dignified. But at least Wynona isn't wet anymore.

Wynona, oblivious to her looks, squeaks, "Well! That's much better. See, the Sphere of Air may not be quite as DRAMATIC as some areas of magic, but it's ultimately quite PRACTICAL."

Envoy hmms at Wynona.

"Buy a comb, miss?" a young Kavi suggests, quick-witted. He holds up several hand-carved blocks of wood that are roughly toothed. "Comb your fur, make it twice as nice?"

Envoy says, "So is a towel, Wynona."

Wynona pouts at Envoy. "But that's so … so … mundane. And, besides, I don't have a towel with me."

Chiaroscuro mmms… "The buzzing is my own sensation of the particulate ether. Not precisely a sound, or a pain… but a great distraction. As if bees were to fly around your head in a swarm, instead of one at a time."

Wynona hmphs at the Kavi. "No thank you, I already HAVE a comb. My. As if I don't know a thing about proper grooming."

"Towels, towels, get your towels here… " "Miraculous water, conjured from the air by a mage of the College Esoterica! Get your fresh miracle water! heals what ails ya!" "Hair of the blue fox! Get your lucky charm here! Genuine fox fur!" Indeed, the Bazaar sounds particularly opportunistic today.

The Kavi bows. "Just askin', miss," he chatters. "No harm, right?" He goes down to the passerby behind Wynona, a saluki who now has ears pointing backward. "Comb, comb, buy a comb here!… "

Chiaroscuro says, "But I would prefer to speak of the matter someplace a bit quieter… "

Proving her point, the white bat fishes around inside her sash, and pulls out a bone comb, which she then proceeds to get tangled up in her hair, eliciting a few painful grimaces, and several gray strands dangling from the comb. The hair, ultimately, looks no different than when she started. She tucks the comb away, after picking out a few hairs and flinging them over her shoulder.

Haskalah nods to Chiaroscuro cheerfully. "Well then! Do you know where my office is?"

Envoy snatches one of the thrown hairs, and examines it.

"If anyone can find your office intentionally, without help," Wynona squeaks, "it'd be a miracle. Or at least very, very unlikely."

Wynona ponders, "Of course, that COULD have its advantages… "

Chiaroscuro uhmms… "Not precisely. Pe'er lead us there, but I doubt I could find my way there again without aid."

Envoy says, "I remember the way."

"Oh, it's a little out of the way," Haskalah says with a smile. "But it is indeed quieter than here."

Chiaroscuro nods. "Shall we go there, if you have the time at this moment?"

Haskalah looks skyward in apparent deep thought.

Chiaroscuro blinks at Envoy. He'd think it impossible anyone could find the office after one trip[, but has been around Envoy long enough to just believe it.

Envoy blinks back at Chiaroscuro, and whispers, "It' much easier to find if you keep your eyes closed."

Envoy smiles to Wynona, "That is an interesting look. Does it always require magic to create it?"

Wynona smiles to Envoy. "Oh! Well, I never really thought of it as a 'look'." She patpats her hair, striking a "haughty" model pose. "Do you think I may be on to something?"

Chiaroscuro says, "It looks quite becoming, Lady Wynona."

Haskalah says at last to Chiaroscuro, "One oddity."

Envoy says, "Possibly. I don't really understand fashion yet. But it isn't something I've seen before."

Envoy says, "It makes you look bigger."

Wynona blinks at Envoy's assessment, pondering whether that's good or bad. At last, she opts with the former. "Why, thank you," she squeaks.

Chiaroscuro says, "Pardon me, Lady Haskalah?"

Wynona mentally reminds herself to look in a mirror at the first opportunity…

"You didn't think I worked for free, did you?" the chaos mage says with a smile and a wiggle of her ears. "Bring me one thing you consider odd and interesting, when you meet me at the office this afternoon. I shall be there all today after I digest my lunch a little in the sun."

Envoy turns to glance at Haskalah. When someone mentions 'oddity' they are usually refering to her.

Chiaroscuro ahs… and mulls this over a moment. "When you say bring you an oddity, I would assume this would be for you to keep, not for me merely to show you."

Haskalah grins. "For the most part, though I recognize that some odd things simply cannot be kept."

"For one thing, where would I put a two-tongued Gooshurm?… " the chaos mage muses. "I simply wouldn't have a sandbox big enough!"

Wynona messes with her hair a bit more, then blinks, looking surprised. "Oh my! Mistress Haska – " She covers her mouth, as the chaos mage is obviously talking to someone else right now. "Oops. Sorry."

Wynona muses to herself, "Really, a FOUR-tongued Gooshurm would be odder than a two-tongued one. After all, maybe the Gooshurm licked a fox that decided to bite back… "

Chiaroscuro smiles. "Understood, Lady Haskalah. Later this afternoon, in your office… "

The Khatta's ear twitches toward the bat. "That's all right, Wynona. Until later then, Chiaroscuro?"

Chiaroscuro smiles. "Until later."

Haskalah touches two fingers to her forehead in a farewell gesture to Chiaroscuro, then turns to Wynona. "So then, were you thinking about taking some graduate courses, Journeyman? Perhaps thinking of a dual-sphere course of study? Air is closely related to chaos magic, after all… " Her tail swishes merrily.

Wynona ponders this, then nods. "You know, actually, that thought had occurred to me before," she squeaks, smiling.

Chiaroscuro gestures to Envoy… "Will you help me in my search, Lady Envoy? Or at least, help me later to Lady Haskalah's office?"

Envoy says, "Of course, Chipper"

Chiaroscuro heads off into the bazaar, with Envoy, beginning to think of 'oddities'…


GMed by Lynx

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Today is 5 days before Ring Day, Year 28 of the Reign of Archelaus the First (6127)