Feb. 22, 1997. Winnowei takes Tarin and WolfSinger to a tavern in Elamoore as she searches for a pilot…
(Himar) (Tarin) (WolfSinger)
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Winnowei leads her two charges to the Bloody Duffle (marked by thered-stained traveller's bag that hangs from a wooden rod over the door)and looks in. "Good. No fight today. Yet."

The black wufbabe swishes her tail, then steps in. "Swishytail, youcome in, keep an eye on sacrifice. Don't let him get too far away,never find him in *untrans. colony, city?* this big!" She glances atthe far booths. "I'm going to look for a pilot."

WolfSinger nods! and heads in behind Tarin.

Tarin looks around, ears perked curiously as he snuff snuffs the air ata strangely familiar scent.

A Jupani of pale brown fur sits at the bar, sipping on some ale.

WolfSinger blinks curiously at Winnowei as she says she's going to lookfor a pilot.

The other patrons look up briefly, those that are able to do so… Evenat this morning hour, some have already managed to drink themselves intostupors, slumped against the walls. A Kavi servant walks on tippytoesthrough the unidentifiable lumps on the floor, pausing to relieve one ofa heavy purse.

Winnowei nods to WolfSinger. "Need *pilot* to take us to City inNowhere." The word 'pilot' sounds about right but strangely archaic tohim.

WolfSinger growls at the Kavi.

Tarin starts to snuffa snuffa snuffy around the railing, his tailstarting to wag a little. o O {Grakers?}

WolfSinger asks Winnowei, "Where is this city anyway?"

At one booth, a golden figure stands up so suddenly that she bumps intothe table, causing the mugs on top to slew about before thedismayed-looking avian behind it can grab onto them. She's betterdressed for this establishment than seems reasonable, white blousetucked into black skirt that hangs over her dark brown boots, aclose-fitting leather vest armored with chain links across the front… And her face is that of a vixen's, her mane blonde and evidently seen toby a stylist not too long ago. She says something harsh to the avian – a hawk? – and turns about to leave.

Winnowei whispers to WolfSinger, "It is trade port, Elamoore. InHimar."

Winnowei perks her ears, then starts making her way through the bar'scrowded interior to the avian.

WolfSinger sighs slightly. He quietly sits down and watches Winnowei.

WolfSinger looks over at Tarin.

The Jupani at the bar notices the two wolfs and fox with somecuriousity. He idly watches them, as he sips down the foul-looking ale.

Tarin looks at the vixen as she passes by. "Saints thats a good sign atleast. Not only wolves."

WolfSinger pulls a piece of jerky out of his sack, and offers Tarin apiece.

The golden vixen glances over at Tarin, blue eyes full of anger… Thenpasses on as she swishes out of the bar.

WolfSinger watches the vixen storm out, and shrugs. He wonders whatthat was all about.

Tarin Looks at the meat and nods thanks as he munches on it.

The black wufbabe slips into the bar and starts speaking with thesurprised-looking avian.

Tarin fingers the pendant of cream and white fur around his neck.

The brown Jupani calls to the barkeep, and digs into a pouch. A quicklywhispered conversation ensues, and the bartender brings over three mugsof ale.

A group of loud boar morphs trundle into the bar, bantering with oneanother and taking a look at the match board.

A white muzzle pokes into the bar, followed by the rest of awhite-and-gray patterned husky who grins slyly. He steps into the barand calls something to the tender, then crowds past some other patronsto get the tankard of dark ale the bartender serves up.

WolfSinger looks a little confused as a mug of ale is placed in front ofhim.

WolfSinger says, "I… didn't order this… " he says, realizing theBarkeep probably doesn't understand him."

The brown Jupani walks over to Wolfsinger and Tarin. "Hi there,*untranslatable, smarmy-sounding*. You looked *untranslatable, out ofthe stick-place?*, thought you could use a drink.

The husky comes back and sits down near the pit area, his glance lookingback and forth over the others. A hilt pokes noticably out of hiscloak… Armed then. Probably not a bad idea.

A group of Kavi, two sets of four, come up from the cellars, manhandling twotorachs, open to the side so the innards of the colony can be seenthrough some thin glass. The patorons rise and begin to look over theday's competitors, a torach with a orange crescent and a larger one witha more ornate starburst stencil.

WolfSinger says, "um… thank you. "

WolfSinger picks up the mug of ale and sniffs at it, never having drunkany before in his full wolf form.

Tarin looks to the drink, then quizzically to Wolfsinger beforetentatively taking a pull…

The Jupani grins. "Good to see new faces here. I'm Ed'lyneri Rechev, but*untranslatable* calls me Eddie."

The ale is… not very good. Sour and sweet, but it has the buzz ofalcohol about it at least.

WolfSinger takes a sip of the ale, trying hard not to make a face.

WolfSinger says, "I am called WolfSinger."

Tarin looks curiously over at the torachs, his tail flitting curiously.

The husky leans forward as the bugs are brought up with great interest. He mutters something in that strange language most people in Elamooreseem to speak.

WolfSinger looks curiously at the bugs. "What's going on over there?"

Eddie grins at Wolfsinger. "Oh, that's Graker *untranslatable, Kung-fufighting?*? Want me to tell you about it?"

The husky calls something to Eddie… It seems he knows the Jupani, andapparently in a friendly way.

WolfSinger says, "Sure… I've never seen those before.""

Eddie nods to the husky. "Be there in a *untranslatable*, I'm justtalking to these two *untranslatable, water-creatures*." He winks, andturns back to Wolfsinger. "It's pretty simple, really… "

The pit hands begin to roll back the tarp over the central pit of theroom. As they light the torches, a jumbled sand and wood terrain is shownto be covered up. The patrons look over the terrain fastidiously andstart to argue good naturedly, pointing at it as they quaff their ales.

The husky nods to Eddie and lifts his flagon of ale in a toast to himand his newfound friends, WolfSinger and Tarin.

WolfSinger smiles weakly, taking in the goings on.

The pit handlers start to place large fist sized sugar lumps aroundvarious spots in the terrain, sloshing water into some troughs thatcriss cross the pit.

Tarin tilts his head and looks at the Jupani? He raises his mug, lookingat the torachs.

Eddie grins, raising his mug along, and swilling a sip before speaking."You've got two Graker *untranslatables*, They'll be put into that pitover there, and they fight it out until one *untranslatable, teethclosing on the earth?*."

The Kavi servants take some of the sleeping patrons and start draggingthem to a back room, in order to make room for more coming in to watchthe morning fight. They take the opportunity to riffle the drunkards'pockets.

WolfSinger nods quietly.

Tarin can't help himself anymore; he stands and wanders over to thetorach and looks at the bugs, paws clasped behind his back.

WolfSinger watches Tarin closely.

Eddie bends down to whisper conspriatorally. "Now, the gold star one isthe *untranslatable*, so the payoff on him is *sounds bad, whatever itis*. The orange crescent one is *untranslatable, 98-pound crustacean?*,so the payoff on his is much better… and I happen to know he'll win!"

The husky joins Tarin in looking over the grakers in question. Hiscurly tail swishes. He mutters something to the red fox, sounding likea friendly question.

Tarin looks at the torachs and then starts to wander around the pitrailing, scritching behind his ears as he looks over the terrain, aconfuzzled look on his face. He looks over to Winnowei and nods, makinga silly face at her.

WolfSinger says, "ah… so they place bets on the fights."

Winnowei, deep in converse with the pilot, doesn't appear to havenoticed Tarin's silly looks.

Eddie nods enthusiastically. "It's an *untranslatable* and a half!" Hegestures. "C'mon, let's go watch… and you can give betting a try, eh?"

WolfSinger takes another sip of his ale.

WolfSinger heads over to the rail with Eddie to watch.

Tarin looks at The husky and snakes his head. "Na'Graihn?"

The husky looks confused, then tries a different language on Tarin. "MyJupani little good. You like grakers, yes?" Jupani.

WolfSinger says to the husky. "I'm not sure what language he speaks."

Tarin looks over the torachs, large wooden boxes around 6 foot long, 3foot wide and 3 foot tall. He backs up as the Kavi handlers return toretreive them, disappearing back into the basement. "Dharaid, noghettal. Na Graihn." He says with a resigned shrug, and tail wag.

The husky nods to WolfSinger. "Strange fox. Eddie is good friend, heshowing you around?"

Tarin points to the first torach and then the second making a smackingnoise with his fist and pointing to the pit, a confused look on hisface?

WolfSinger looks down at the fighting bugs briefly. and turns away. He's not much for violence.

WolfSinger nods to the husky.

Eddie looks at Wolfsinger, then Tarin. "I think your buddy will want to*untranslatable* on the grakers, Wolfsinger. You going to join him, orwill you be *untranslatable, wall-something*?"

WolfSinger smiles a little sheepishly.

The husky gestures to the grakers and tries to explain to Tarin that thegold-starred one's obviously going to be the winner, but neither thefirst language nor the Jupani one seems to make much of an impression onthe fox. Still, gesticulating promises to give them a few minutes ofamusement.

Some activity occurs in the pit below. The patrons crowd the rails asthe handlers return with the two torachs and parade around the pitteasingly before making the final decision where they will be placedtoday.

Eddie slaps Wolfsinger heartily on the back. "Listen. I know you are*untranslatable*, but relax. Everyone bets, it's a lot of fun. Give it ago, eh?"

WolfSinger says, "but I, uhhh… " He idly feels at his sack, knowingthere're only three coins in there, and he has NO idea how much they areworth."

Tarin scratches his head blankly at the husky as he points aboutconfuzzledly. He doesn't even look at where the torachs are placed, anevent that sends the local folks scurrying for the betting boards.

Various bar patrons call out. "Go for it!" "Don't be *girly-man?*"

Tarin looks down and draws a star and a crescent on the table with somepeanuts.

WolfSinger opens his sack to look at the coins.

The pit boys start to bring out a large sand time glass, perhapsmeasuring 10 minutes.

Eddie grins at Wolfsinger. "Come on, Wolfsingah! You can start with asmall bet for your *untranslable, losing of flowers?*, eh?"

WolfSinger looks at the board to see which bug is getting the most bets.

WolfSinger pulls one of the smaller bone coins from his pouch.

WolfSinger looks between the two fighting bugs, trying to make adecision.

Eddie smirks. "When I said small bet, I should have *untranslatable*.But it's still good for your first, eh? And if you win, you can betmore… " Eddie's eyes glaze over just a bit…

The husky gestures to the other graker, then he taps on the peanutcrescent. This, he seems to be arguing, is the clear victor to be.

WolfSinger says, "I'll bet on the one that's not favored to win… I'vealways had sympathy for the underdog."

The husky puts down a small ceramic coin on his side of the table, thenlooks at Tarin challengingly.

Tarin looks at Wolfsinger, the coin, then the pit and makes a face, earsskewing a bit.

WolfSinger looks up at Eddie, hold out the coin to him.

Eddie grins at Wolfsinger, and takes the coin. "Okay, I'll set you up."He pads over to the husky and chatters quickly in Rephedim common.

Tarin looks at the husky and then nudges Wolfsinger. He perks up hisears and points at the bet hopefully?

WolfSinger smiles at Tarin.

The husky ehs, then eyes the coin, turning it over and over to see bothsides, then squeezes. Satisfied, he puts it on a third corner of thetable, toward WolfSinger.

Tarin watches the Husky and the Jupani chatter and winksconsiiratorially at Wolfsinger when they arent looking.

The husky gestures toward the peanuts and then the grakers. The GoldenStar torach apparently the smaller but scrappy-looking group, and theOrange Crescent Torach is the larger one. It seems his five coins areon the larger one. He says something to Eddie, then to WolfSinger,"Which one?"

Eddie walks back over to Wolfsinger. "All set, *untranslatable, andsmarmy-friendly*.

A very attractive and scantily clad collie lass starts to parade aroundthe room holding up a sign.

WolfSinger says, "The one that's not favored to win. Going for thelongshot."

Eddie gestures to Beral. "Like I just told you, the *untranslatable*!"

WolfSinger blushes! as the collie prances past him.

Tarin points to the coin, then to Wolfsinger, then to himself and wags?

The husky nods, then scoops up the coin and his own five. He says,"Going to place our bets with the *untranslatable, librarian?*" Callingto the older Kavi following the collie, he hands him the coins and thengestures from the bone coin to WolfSinger, muttering something inRephidim common. Perhaps identifying WolfSinger as the better of thebone coin.

WolfSinger sighs, and gives Tarin the other small coin. Might as welllet him have some fun too.

Tarin moves over to the pit and starts an intent study of the ground,concentrating hard as the pit boys pull off the covers of the torachsand whop on the lid with long sticks. Warrior grakers pour out of eachand scale the torach and look around. Soon the hunters emerge and startto scout the jumbled (from their perspective) terrain, a couple workersaccompanying each.

The sly-looking husky says, "Hey, what's your name, *untrans, soundslike 'flattener of small lumps on the ground'?* I'm Beral. You alreadyknow Eddie. And does your strange fox friend who wants to lose yourmoney have a name?"

WolfSinger says, "I am called WolfSinger. I'm not sure what his nameis. I don't speak his language."

Tarin smiles and bows to Wolfsinger as he looks intently at the orangecrescent graker and smiles widely. He stands back along side the huskyand points about as the scouting hunters locate some of the sugar cubesand send back workers to the torach to bring more workers to carry themoff.

Eddie meanwhile has wandered back to the bar for a fresh mug of ale forhimself.

Beral nods to WolfSinger, then moves aside to make room for WolfSingerto watch. "They're starting!"

WolfSinger watches quietly, tail wagging slowly.

Eddie returnns to ringside, sipping his mug, and grinning friendly-likeat Wolfsinger. "Now the real fun starts!"

The Hunters spread out and explore, the sugar cubes divided almostevenly amongst the Torachs; then two opposing hunters meet, longeyestalks rising as they scuttle back and peek from reverse slopepositions. The accompanying workers scurry back to the torach inciting aflurry of movement amongst the bug armies as they deploy.

Tarin rolls the coin between his fingers. He points to a crossing of oneof the trenches and grins tapping on the sign of the star shapedgrakers, who appear to be far out of position. He holds up the coin andlooks thoughtful.

Tarin taps the coin on the table and smiles. He taps the coin 10 times,points to the crossing and then taps the star symbol. He looks at thehusky quizzically as the graker begin to probe each others' lines,knowing there's more sugar and an enemy mound out there some where.

The husky looks impatient. "Bet before she comes around again," he saysin Jupani, gesturing to the collie.

WolfSinger says, "I think he wants to bet on the one with the star."

The husky looks at Tarin. "You want to bet ten of those against thatcrossing?" He frowns, then gestures for Tarin to lay out coins, puttingdown a larger ceramic coin and five of the normal ones. Then points tothe solitary bone coin Tarin holds. "Where's your money?"

The crowd cheers as the grakers proper start to emerge from the torachs,the fist-sized bugs moving slowly in the fine sand. At the main line,the Warriors are lining up, issuing sudden feints as a hunter battlewages over a strategic overlook on the field, a battle that the shapesappear to be winning while Beral is concentrating on Tarin's bet.

The husky looks over to WolfSinger. "Are you covering this boy's bet?"

Tarin looks at Wolfsinger. He points to the coin and taps quickly."Winnowei?"

Eddie watches the match, tail wagging as the batttle unfolds…

Tarin smiles and waves to the collie, keeping the husky's attention offthe hunter battle as Wolfsinger makes up his mind."

WolfSinger chuckles! "I don't think so… I need what little money Ihave right now." He shakes his head no to Tarin.

Beral grumps. "Bet what you have," he admonishes Tarin, then takes backthe larger coin. He puts this over against the the remaining fivecoins.

Tarin winks at Wolfsinger and looks imploringly then sighs. He shrugsand says something to Wolfsinger no one can understand.

WolfSinger shrugs, and goes back to watching the bug fight.

Tarin lays down the coin and returns to the game. The star hunters takethe sand pile overlooking the crossing. Eyestalks observe the movementof the enemy as their own warriors start to shift under cover.

Eddie elbows Wolfsinger. "Come on! Let your buddy play, eh? Or are youworried he'll show you up?"

The husky whispers something to the collie, which earns him a playfulswat, then laughs and hoists another tankard of ale…

WolfSinger says, "naw… I'm just not a big better."

The husky chants something that sounds religious.

Eddie glances over at Beral, then re-focuses. "Whoah! Wolfsinger, youshould have *untranslatable*, look!"

WolfSinger hmmmms? and looks back at the bug fight.

The crowd stirrs as they begin to see what happening. Slowly starwarriors converge upon the crossing, meeting up with the orangecrescernt warriors two thirds their number on the crossing. The lines form andthe warriors close, star hunters pouring in behind as the big grakerscome to the point of main attack. It looks as if the orange crescent'sbig gun will get there first, although its warriors are taking a beatingas their flanks are being rolled up by the Star's superior tacticalnumbers.

The husky drinks deep, then freezes as helooks over it to see the fight changing pattern. He chokes on some ofthe sour liquid, then darts a glare over at Tarin.

Beral covers his eyes with his hand. "*Untrans. body part of largeoceanic creature* bet," he mutters.

Tarin shrugs at the husky and smiles an "I told him so" look. He stilllooks unphased as the orange graker nears the battle front. It iscertainly closer to the battle and should sway the tide back todeadlock.

WolfSinger yips! excitedly! :>

The Orange graker seems to have trouble navigating a low slope headingup to the crossing. Soon it's quite apparant why. It's missing most of oneof its hind legs. The Star graker reaches the battle line first andbegins to wreck terrible horror upon the opposing orange warriors.

Eddie watches the game intently, leaving his ale untouched.

The graker fight doesn't last much longer. With the assault of the stargraker against the orange warrior line, a hole was rent in the crescentranks precipitating a slaughter through their now exposed flanks. Thecrescent graker hesitates, now facing a line of star warriors and theopposing star graker by itself, but it can't run from the speedy hunterspouring into its line of retreat. The fight is over shortly thereafter;all that remains of the match is the eventual capture of the sugarpoints by the remaining star forces and the game halts when the pitbosses close the crescent torach to protect its queen from beingkilled.

Beral grumps. "Sorry our advice didn't work out for you," he tellsWolfSinger as he pushes the five small ceramic coins over to Tarin. "Maybe better luck next time, eh?"

WolfSinger sighs. His ears droop slightly.

Eddie whooos! "Whatta *untranslatable, mouse-sounder* that one was!"

Beral calls to Eddie. "C'mon, they're going to start the fight at theFive Rings in an hour." He looks over to WolfSinger and Tarin. "Youtwo coming?"

WolfSinger looks over at Tarin.

WolfSinger says, "I don't think so. My friend and I have business totake care of."

Tarin understands nothing, sipping at the watered ale and making anotherface. He appears lost in thought, remembering something in his past. Heblinks and looks up then Bows to the patrons.

WolfSinger looks over at Winnowei to see how she's faring.

Tarin pushes the coins back to Wolfsinger.

Eddie finishes his mug of ale, and follows along behind Beral. "Good tomeet you, Wolfsinger, hope we'll *untranslatable, Body-slam?* againsoon!"

Winnowei seems to be deep in conversation with the pilot indeed… Muchas rubbing the pilot's shoulders while he's apparently drifting off tosleep can be considered conversation. She mutters something to thepilot, who murmurs something back.

Beral keeps up his scowl until he and Eddie are out of the bar… Thenenthusiastic and energetic conversation ensues, just out ofeavesdropping range, as they disappear down the street and begin to headaround back.

WolfSinger blinks? at Tarin. He was only expecting the one coin helent him back.

Winnowei stands and pats the pilot on the back. She stands and walksover to WolfSinger. "We've got our ride, Swishytail. We'll leave tonight."

Tarin eats at the peanuts from the table and shrugs. He has no coinpurse anyways.

Tarin's ears perk as he looks up at Winnowei.

WolfSinger shrugs at Tarin, and puts the five coins back into his sack.

Winnowei swishes her tail.

WolfSinger smiles at Winnowei, chuckling. "Looks like you almost puthim to sleep."

Tarin looks at the pit, watching the star graker shamble back to itstorach while workers carry damaged survivors from both sides back tothe brood chamber.

WolfSinger says, "So, just what does he pilot? And how long will ittake to get us to Rephidim?"

Winnowei blushes a little in her ears, then grins. "*Untrans. soundslike 'big drumsticks'* don't thump hindlegs like you, Swishytail, but itkeep him happy. You be guard, in case of pirates. Sacrifice… " Shelooks at the fox, and shrugs, then gestures to the pit. "Had fun?"

"An *untrans. sounds like spaceship but not quite*. Small-time cargo,whatever he can scrape up," Winnowei responds as she walks withWolfSinger and Tarin out of the bar. "Maybe eight days, maybe ten. Notvery fast, but it get there."

Tarin follows, the small ammount of ale he had rumbling his stomach."Grakers. " He says to himself, "Who would have thought they had Grakershere?"

Of course, none of this is translatable to anyone else.

WolfSinger looks a little confused at Winnowei's description of aspaceship? "Hope this trip doesn't take too much longer. I want toget back to my new home!"

---

GMed by Lynx

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