9 March, 1997: Envoy runs into Fenter and Jaundice in the Bazaar, and invites them to lunch. The trio is then joined by the vixentaur archaeologist, Pawtuxet.
(Rephidim Bazaar) (Envoy) (Fenter) (Jaundice) (Pawtuxet) (Rephidim)
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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.

The baazar is bustling as usual. The street performers are out in full force, dancing, singing, and generally bouncing around. Vendors howl and squawk about their wonderous wares.

Jaundice grumbles to himself, squinting up at the sky. "Remind me why you wanted to come here, would you?" He scans the area, ears swiveling for anything to focus on.

Fenter chuckles, "Why… to get a breath of fresh air. To see the sights. To stretch our legs. And perhaps find a replacement deck for the cards I lost here last week."

Envoy wanders between booths, looking more for distraction than anything useful.

Jaundice crosses his arms and wrinkles his nose. "There's nothing fresh about this air."

A rainbow-colored Creen chirrs and alights on Fenter's hat.

A kavi merchant rushes past Envoy as he chases after a much younger kavi… who seem to be holding a large fish above his head. "Come back you little thief!" The merchant howls as he dissapears into the crows after the child.

Envoy spots a familiar flash of color, and heads towards the Creen.

Jaundice sighs and follows the raccoon around. "If my advisor hadn't suggested I go along with you, I wouldn't be here." He blinks, and looks up. "Eh… " He looks up at the Creen, a smile building.

Fenter swats at his hat, "That's not a perch! Go eat a fly or something. Shoo!"

Envoy is close enough now to spot Jaundice. She waves and calls, "Hello, Pe'er!"

The Creen doggedly (or Creenedly) holds onto the hat with its two little claws, feathers flapping to keep its balance on its precarious (and floppy) perch. It trills as though it's actually AMUSED.

Jaundice covers his mouth, and looks to one side. His eyes go wide as he spots Envoy. "Um… " He withdraws, trying to look inconspicuous.

Fenter sighs, "*Ahem* Well… a young little lad like yourself needs to get out and about. You get nosebleeds from sticking your face in books for too long."

Envoy comes up to the pair and chirrups to the Creen before asking, "Is this your girlfriend, Pe'er" and gesturing towards Fenter.

Fenter says, "G- gh- GHK!"

Jaundice looks up, by force of habit. "Girlfriend?" He looks at Fenter. "Um, no… " He blinks, unsure of what else to add.

Envoy blinks and immediately gets behind Fenter and starts performing the heimlich maneuver in the belief that the raccoon is choking on something.

Jaundice steps back, more unnerved by Envoy's actions than he was when he first saw her.

The Creen swings too and fro, still hanging onto the hat, as it crees and trills gleefully, flapping its colorful wings.

The raccoon flounders in Envoy's arms. "Haaalp! *oomph* I'm *uf* Being attacked by a… a… "

Fenter says, "My lady… I assure you, I am *NOT* a girl!"

Envoy stops squeezing Fenter, "Oh, I apologize. I assumed that since you are wearing a dress you were female."

Fenter says, "Dress? It's a magician's ROBE!"

Jaundice thinks, . o O { I always wondered why they called this the 'bizarre.' }

The Creen's head suddenly fills Fenter's vision. An upside-down Creen face blinks at the raccoon, and an upside-down Creen tongue flits at his nose. "Cree?" it squeals.

Envoy blinks three times. "It doesn't look like a robe. Those open and close in front."

A performer stops for a moment and observes the group… taking notes on things to do in his next act.

Jaundice adjusts his headband. "I still don't understand why you wear that. It makes you look ridiculous, and there's nothing to suggest it helps you cast spells."

Envoy says, "It is a very colorful garment, in any case. The Creen seems to like it."

The Creen trills, lending credence to Envoy's case.

Envoy smiles to Jaundice, "I'm sorry I didn't get to talk to you during the expedition, Pe'er. Did you enjoy it?"

Fenter coughs. "Well… it wasn't *MY* idea to wear it." He swats at the Creen again.

Envoy glances at the raccoon as he attempts to mimic wings by flapping his arms about.

Jaundice looks about the crowd, cheeks burning at the attention. He puts up his hood, and mutters a reply to Envoy. "Yes'm."

The Creen lets go of the hat for a bit, screeking in dismay, and flutters out of reach. It lands on a nearby canopy overhanging a booth and watches from its new perch, not letting the colorful raccoon get out of its sight.

Fenter's eyes narrow a bit and take on a mysterious glint. "Pe'er! Why so shy around this lovely lady?"

Jaundice looks up at the raccoon, eyes burning with frustration. He says nothing.

Envoy says, "I was about to get something to eat. Do you know of any food vendors in the bazaar that you can recommend?"

Fenter says, "Food? Hmm, I hear there's a fine salsa merchant nearby."

Envoy says, "I've already tried the salsa. It isn't very filling."

Envoy turns to Fenter and holds out a hand, "I am Envoy. Pe'er helped me in the wrong Library a while ago."

"Genuine imitation bromthen forest-hog leather!" A voice shouts out in the distance.

Fenter sweeps off his hat and bows graciously to Envoy. "A pleasure making your aquaintance, Miss Envoy."

Envoy says, "How can you miss me when we've only just met?"

Jaundice looks up at the couple, the thought occurring that they might go well together as freak of nature and freak at large. He glances about, looking for an exit into the crowd.

"Well… well. Perhaps Pe'er might be able to direct you to the proper library sometime, eh Pe'er?" Fenter winks at the coyote.

Envoy asks Jaundice, "You didn't bring back any artifacts from the City of Hands, did you Pe'er? They are supposedly cursed."

Fenter says, "Miss… hands… curse?"

Fenter steps away from Jaundice just a tad.

The Hekoye stops and whirls about nervously as he's called upon. "Oh… n-no." He can't seem to maintain eye contact for more than a second. "I had one… they made me give it back."

Envoy smiles to Fenter. "Yes. The airship that was carrying the artifacts was destroyed, and many people met grisly deaths on the expedition."

Jaundice mutters to himself. "It was educational."

Envoy nods to Jaundice, "That's just as well. Even Zoltan gave up his shinies."

A young Jupani leads her father towards the toy merchant. "They just got in the new stuffed teddy Vykarins! Hurry up daddy!"

Jaundice looks up. "You know Zoltan?" His ears perk. "I met him on the airship. He was … interesting to talk to."

Envoy says, "Yes, Zoltan is a friend of mine. He kept me from being eaten by a vine and taught me about secrets."

Fenter says, "Well… I'm quite pleased that I simply explored the deep recesses of my bed while you were out risking life and limb."

Envoy asks Fenter, "Did you find anything interesting?"

Fenter says, "No… I'll have to explore it further later I think."

Jaundice ignores Fenter, a feat easily accomplished with a thorough disdain for hedonists. "What are the 'shinies' he was talking about? I didn't understand that."

Envoy says, "Zoltan likes shiny things to wear in his tail. Gems and rocks and pieces of glass and crystal hands that don't bite or scratch him."

Envoy says, "What do you expect to find, Fenter? I found all sorts of interesting creatures and their remains when I first examined my bed at the Bards Guild."

Fenter says, "Oh dear. That only happens when I forget to fumigate the sheets every month."

Jaundice makes a face, then remembers that he had considered starting a bug collection from the denizens of his discount-rate dorm room.

Envoy says, "I have quite a collection of bugs now"

Fenter's eyes sparkle, "Did you find any gems, my dear?"

Jaundice blinks to Envoy. "I… see."

Envoy blinks at Fenter, "Yes, there were lots of gemstones, but they were magical and potentially dangerous."

A young squirrel wrestles with a bunch of balloons as they drag him down the street.

Fenter says, "I see… perhaps not worth the trouble then."

The Creen on the canopy cranes its head up, seeing all those colorful … balloons! It crees loudly and flaps away, chasing after the squirrel and balloons.

Envoy shrugs. "I don't understand jewelry anyway."

Fenter quietly drums his fingers against his chest.

Fenter says, "Jewelry? Why, it helps one ornament one's self. An ancient ritual of attracting a member of the opposite gender I'm led to understand."

Envoy says, "There are no other members of my kind to attract."

Jaundice glances about the bazaar, miffed that none of the booksellers will let him read what's inside before he buys anything. . o O { The last one was the word 'the' written 250,000 times. I thought it was supposed to have been a collection of famous literature. }

Envoy says, "Are you two hungry? I can treat you to lunch if you like."

Fenter's ears perk… free lunch?

Jaundice sniffs, trying to pick out any smells that might suggest food.

Fenter gingerly takes Envoy's arm. "Well… well then. I know this nice little food merchant just around the corner. He's a bit liberal on the grease, but everyone here seem to be. Will you be joining us, Pe'er?"

Envoy says, "Are you trying to attract a mate with your dress Fenter, or just Creens?"

Dust, ceramic, body odor, and condiments… Jaundice blinks, distracted. "Er… I don't know, should we?"

Fenter coughs. "Er… truth be told… I think they make me wear this thing to KEEP me from attracting the opposite sex."

Jaundice sighs to himself, wondering immediately why he's asking the raccoon what he should do.

The raccoon smiles warmly at Jaundice, "Never… ever pass up a free meal, my lad."

Envoy says, "That makes sense."

Fenter pat's Envoy's hand. "Now my dear… shall we go? You must tell me more about these gems."

Envoy says, "Well… a poodle tried to acquire a lot of them and was turned into a zombie."

Envoy holds her other hand out for Jaundice.

Jaundice's mouth twitches. "I suppose." He eyes Envoy warily, still not completely comfortable with her presence, no matter how obtusely gregarious she appears. He halfheartedly takes her hand.

The raccoon leads Janudice and Envoy through the crowd, a merry bounce to his gait. The booth turns out to be a bit farther than he had originally made it out to be, but the walk still isn't too long. The air is thick with the smell of grease and smoke.

Envoy gets pulled along by Fenter, and asks Jaundice, "Does your friend have a name?"

Fenter says, "Here we are… Old Binter's shack. Cheap food, and lots of it. Just the way it should be."

Jaundice's mind wanders. . o O { Why was I sent out here with him? What's so especially educational about someone who's been in and out of college for ten years? } He blinks,and looks over to Envoy. "Him? Oh, that's Fenter." He clenches his teeth. "He's not my friend."

Envoy smiles and looks about.

Pounding and hammering noises can be heard from within the tent, as can little squealing noises that sound a bit rodent-like in nature.

Envoy says, "That is very unusual music coming from within."

Jaundice wrinkles his nose and flattens his ears at the unpleasant assault to his senses. "Um… are you sure this is someplace to eat?"

Fenter quickly seats everyone at a table. "Don't mind the noise… the food's always fresh here. And it's only made me get sick to my stomach once. Probably the best reputation for any restaurant in the bazaar so far."

Envoy says, "Really? What is it like to be sick to your stomach? I have only been sick when drugged."

Jaundice peers at the table. Tiny mites crawling in the vile filmy juices peer up at him. He tries not to gag.

"Hubert! That's not the tenderizer! It's a spatula! How many times do I haveta tellya that?" comes a high pitched voice from within the kitchen.

Jaundice tries in vain to brush off the bench before he allows his posterior to come in contact with it. He glares at Fenter with the look of a lamb being led to shearing.

Fenter rubs at his placemat with a sleeve. "Oh… it's not an experience I'd recommend. You must have a cast iron stomach, my lady!"

Envoy says, "No, my stomach is lined with mucous and epithelial cells."

Fenter gestures to a Kavi waitress, "That's nice." He says to Envoy. His tone hinting that he didn't actually hear her.

Jaundice bows his head, then looks up stonefaced. . o O { The hunt would sometimes bring in some strange game, but at least it was cooked properly before anyone ate it. }

A black foxtaur meanders into the tent. "Sorry," The Jupani waitress says to her. "We're all full at the moment… but if you don't mind sharing a table… " the wolf gestures towards Envoy, Fenter, and Pe'er's table.

Envoy smiles to the waitress.

A giant *WHOOMPH* noise issues from the 'kitchen,' along with a great quantity of smoke. Various voices are heard arguing.

Fenter mulls over his menu. o O { Hmm… I don't want to gorge myself like last time. You get less free meals out of people if you do that. }

Envoy eyes the menu as well, looking for variety.

Fenter glances upwards. "Hmm… I'd not recommend the Eep souflee'. It seems to be a bit off." He watches the smoke billow from the kitchen.

Jaundice looks like he'd rather not touch his menu, but he gingerly picks it up by the corners and lays it open. "Ugh… " He tries to read between the food stains.

Pawtuxet looks around the tent, then nods to the waitress and turns towards the table. "Good day. Mind if I join you?" she smiles.

Envoy looks up to the vixentaur, "Hello! I am Envoy, and these are Pe'er and Fenter. Please join us."

Jaundice looks over at Pawtuxet, eyes wide again for a moment. . o O { Join us? How do they sit down? }

Fenter blinks at Pawtuxet. "Oh! You're that kavi's friend… the one that took something. I remember you."

Envoy glances through the menu again. "This is more food than I can eat. Are the numbers next to each item the weight?"

The juppani waitress nervously walks up to the table, ocasionally glancing over her shoulder to see if anyone notices the flames. "Um… our specials today are the Bromthen Forest-Hog pie, Rughrat flank steak, and wasshu tendril pasta."

Pawtuxet pulls a free chair away from the table and sits back on her haunches, where the chair was standing, "Great, thanks! Pleased to meet you, I'm Pawtuxet." She smiles and nods to Fenter, "Yes, I remember you too."

Envoy smiles and asks the waitress, "What is special about them?"

"Special? Um… well." The waitress glances over her shoulder again. "I'd have to ask my manager."

Jaundice scans the menu. . o O { Half these items sound like something run through an airship's propellers. }

Fenter glances over Envoy's shoulder. "The numbers represent the amount of grease I believe." He points to a baked fish special. "I believe that one should be favorable to your pallate."

Envoy says, "I will have the baked fish then."

Jaundice looks at Fenter, eyes half-lidded. "Nothing for me, thanks."

Envoy says, "The plant that tried to eat me in the jungle ate a Bromthen Forest Hog."

Fenter tsks at the coyote. "Well, I believe I will have the forest-hog sandwitch… with a side of Himarian wild rice, if you please. Oh yes… and a glass of… er… " He glances at Envoy, "… water."

Envoy asks, "Is the water boiled?"

Fenter says, "I hope so. I do hate drinking protozoa."

The waitress quickly scribbles down the orders, then looks eagerly to Pawtuxet.

Jaundice quirks his mouth, trying to shut out the smells which are doing more to offset whatever appetite he may have had than any meal could.

Pawtuxet reaches for the menu in front of her, then notices that it's carrying parts of quite a few of the dishes it describes, "Rughrat flank steak." she quickly decides.

"Not having anything?" The raccoon asks Jaundice. "I'm suprised any of this fazes you, considering what they serve in the college cafeteria." The raccoon grins. "I could tell you quite a few stories about some of the things I've seen in the kitchen over the years… simply horrible!"

Envoy says, "Can I visit this cafeteria?"

With a final flurish of her pencil, the waitress scribbles down the fox'taur's order and runs into the kitchen.

Envoy says, "I noticed that quite a few expedition members had difficulty eating after Farli exploded."

Fenter says, "Anytime, Miss Envoy." He glances at Jauncice again. "You might even find a bug or two to add to your collection while you're there."

Jaundice looks at Fenter, at a loss. . o O { Matu turn from me, and may I never end up like you. }

Envoy smiles and asks Pawtuxet, "What do you do, Pawtuxet?"

Fenter says, "Farli? Ah… I'd best not ask. As for me, I never turn my stomach at a free meal."

A loud *CRASH* erupts form the kitchen followed by a storm of growls, yips, and howls.

Envoy blinks at the raccoon. "Your stomach can be rotated?"

Pawtuxet looks up as Envoy mentions an expedition. Then smiles to her, "I'm an archeologist."

Fenter fixes his gaze at the foxtaur. "It feels like it can be at times, yes." He answers to Envoy while still looking at Pawtuxet.

Envoy brightens at Pawtuxet. "Pe'er and I have just returned from an archaeological expedition. Have you studied ruins?"

Fenter casually picks at his teeth with a splinter from the table.

Pawtuxet's ears perk up with renewed interest, "That so?" She continues, "Well, yes! Although ruins belonging to the First Ones are my main interest, anything which represents old or alien cultures is worth a closer inspection on my account."

"Nonono! I said SALT! That's sugar!" comes a voice from the kitchen.

Envoy says, "I would like to learn more about the First Ones. Every culture on this world is alien to me."

Fenter says, "Pe'er. You know a thing or two about the First Ones… perhaps you could share your knowledge with the winged horse lady sometime?"

Jaundice's eyes look up to Fenter, then across to Envoy. Nothing else of him moves. . o O { I only know about First Ones because I've paid attention when someone tries to teach me something. }

Envoy focusses her gaze back on Jaundice.

Jaundice sees Envoy looking at him, and sighs. "Er, I can't be considered an expert, ma'am." He attempts to withdraw into himself again.

Envoy says, "But you know more than I do."

After a few final crashing sounds, the Jupani waitress reappears with her arms laden with plates. She distributes the dishes, along with glasses of water (still steaming from being boiled).

Fenter says, "Ah… finally!"

Envoy smiles and thanks the waitress before dissecting her fish and examining it.

Jaundice grimaces at the sight of the other dishes, and he tries to keep his focus on Envoy. "Mm… maybe. What do you want to know?"

Envoy smiles, "Everything."

Fenter barks to the waitress in the Jupani tongue, 'Thank you… the white one with the horn will be handling my tab.'

Jaundice blinks. "Er… well, I don't know everything."

Fenter chuckles.

Pawtuxet smiles and nods to the waitress, as her dish is placed before her.

Envoy uses her claws to pick the fish to pieces, which she pops into her mouth.

Envoy says, "You know some though."

Jaundice glares at Fenter again, then looks back at Envoy. "Well, I could direct you to another of the libraries on campus." He swallows, surprised by his ability to finish a sentence without a stutter. "I'm not a great teacher."

Fenter decides to buttonhole Pawtuxet, since Envoy seems occupied. "So, an archeologist?" He asks the 'taur. "Found any great treasures? Anything valuable?"

The fish (being baked) is fairly lacking in grease. It's been spiced up pretty well tho… Envoy can hardly taste the actual fish, although she does taste a bit too much… sugar?

Envoy says, "This is a very sweet fish. I would be grateful if you could show me to another library, Pe'er."

Jaundice nods, and smiles grimly to Envoy. "I could do that. Once we get back to campus… " … which begins to seem more and more appealing, stark as it usually seems.

Envoy smiles to the coyote, "Thank you Jaundice."

Pawtuxet grins and nodnods to Fenter, "Quite, although I don't get to keep much of what I find. Only what the Rephidim Temple has no use for, doesn't estimate to be valuable, or what I don't tell them about is mine to keep."

Fenter says, "Ah… well." He glances at Pawtuxet's… lower half. "Pardon me for asking, but are you some species of bug? The only creatures I've seen with six limbs around here are Zelaks."

Fenter takes a rather noisy bite out of his own sandwich.

Envoy quietly finishes her fish.

Pawtuxet wilts an ear, realising she perhaps shouldn't have included that last part of her sentence, then goes on, "It's not something that brings me great wealth, although that isn't what's important to me. And no, I'm not some kind of bug, thank you."

"WATER!! QUICK!!! AIEEEEE… oh… nevermind. That's supposed to catch on fire," a lupine voice in the kitchen says.

Jaundice bares his teeth in an involuntary stare at Fenter, imagining the innards of a small woodland creature being crushed.

Fenter quickly inhales the rest of his meal, goodness… you'd think he hadn't had a proper meal in weeks.

Pawtuxet munches contently on her Rughrat, which seems to be quite tasty. Imagine that. She looks at Envoy, "I know a fair bit about the First Ones, really." She looks around in the noisy tent, "Though I wouldn't say this is the place for lectures."

Envoy says, "I would like to hear what you know sometime if possible, Pawtuxet."

*Squeak* #WHAM!#

Jaundice glances out the tent flap, smoothing out the fur on his arms. He stands and gingerly brushes himself off, looking over at Envoy.

"If you'd like, we could go now," Jaundice suggests. His gaze indicates he's ready.

Fenter rubs his face with his sleeve. "Well, thank you for the divine meal, Envoy. I look forward to showing you the College cafateria facilities sometime." He smiles to Jaundice, "Ahh… well, you two have fun. I believe I'll stay here and poke around the bazaar a bit."

Envoy confides to Pawtuxet, "I thought Fenter was a female when I first saw him."

Pawtuxet grins and looks over Fenter, "True, the dress is a bit misleading." She nods to Envoy, "But ofcourse, I'd love to tell about it. Also," she looks at Jaundice, "if possible, I'd like to hear what you know."

Envoy stands as well, "Would you like to come along then, Pawtuxet?"

Envoy waves goodbye to Fenter.

Jaundice pads over to the tent flap and holds it open. He bows his head in deference to the two ladies.

"Waiiit!" Shouts the Jupani waitress. She hands Envoy a slip of paper. "Five shekels, if you please."

Envoy rummages in her pouch, and counts out five shekels to the waitress.

Fenter stands and brushes the last crumbs of lunch from his robe.

Pawtuxet gets up as well, nodding to Envoy, "Very much! Hangon, though… " She retrieves some shekels from a pouch and leaves them on the table. "That oughta cover it." she mumbles.

The waitress nods to Envoy. She goes behind the counter and puts the money away and then rushes back into the kitchen, carrying a bucket of water.

"Hmmp. The Rughrat quiche must be off as well today," remarks Fenter.

Pawtuxet grins and nods to Fenter, "Nice to meet you again." She turns and walks towards the exit, following Envoy outside.

Jaundice glances over to the raccoon. . o O { What does he mean by 'off'? } He waits until the ladies head through the flap, then follows them out.

---

GMed by BoingDragon & Zoltan

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