Jaundice, Envoy, and Fenter visit the shop of two very… colorful… plumbers in their search for a squeep.
(Rephidim Bazaar) (Envoy) (Fenter) (Jaundice) (Rephidim) (Squeep Quest)
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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.

After the failure to find a squeep (or even information on what a squeep is) at the house of Mortimer, the retired explorer. Our three squeep hunters journey to the Rephidim Bazaar, the one place on Sinai where, if it exists, it can be found (at a reasonable price.) Currently the three are standing on the middle of a bustling square… deciding their next move.

Envoy says, "How do we find a plumber?"

Jaundice sucks in a whiff of Bazaar air through his nostrils, immediately wishing he hadn't (again.) He glances at his two companions, then around the stands and bustling crowds. "I'm not the one to ask."

A small vermite rushes underfoot, carrying a shekel in it's mouth. It disappears before one can wonder what a small rodent would do with a shekel.

A pair of foxes walks by, apparently involved in heated debate, "… Look, don't blame me, I told you not to eat that fourth chertwurst… "

Fenter folds his arms and looks about. "It shouldn't be too hard to spot. Probably a tent with a plunger or somesuch on it's sign. Everything moves about so much here everyday that it's hard to tell for sure."

Jaundice watches the rodent, letting it pass by. He raises an eyebrow to Fenter, and adjusts his headband. "Well, do you remember where there used to be one?"

Envoy says, "I would think such a valuable service would be easier to locate."

Jaundice grimaces, but says nothing. . o O { Maybe in a city where people are crammed in like in hutches, but I never had much use for indoor plumbing in the village. }

Fenter twiddles his fingers a bit. "I believe that there's a plumber of somesort southwards."

Jaundice nods. "So let's go south." He watches Fenter carefully, trying to read his mannerisms.

"But it's so hard to tell for sure. You have to understand… the shopkeepers pack up and move twice a day." The raccoon smiles.

Envoy follows along. "Maybe we should find a building with broken plumbing instead."

"You already said that. Just so long as we find someone to talk to, I won't nitpick." The coyote follows Fenter.

Jaundice shrugs at Envoy's suggestion. "We could… or if we find a place where a plumber was, there's bound to be someone who knows where the plumber went."

Fenter chuckles to himself, taking Envoy's hand as he walks along. "I think half of the plumbing in Rephidim is broken, my dear. And most of them have been waiting for a plumber for weeks."

Jaundice traipses along through the crowds, nimbly avoiding bumping into … very many others. He keeps an eye on Envoy's wings, easily seen among the mob.

A large, wolfish fellow with several teeth missing and large stains under his arms thrusts a bottle in Jaundice's direction, "Finest wine in Rephidim!"

Envoy asks, "Why not just yell for one? Shout, 'I need help with my plumbing' or something?"

Jaundice ducks under the wolf's arm, muttering "No thank you sir" as he walks past, and knowing full well he can't be heard.

The raccoon trundles along, weaving through the crowds with an amazing amount of ease. "Because if we did, about twenty others would probably shout back 'so do we!'."

Jaundice thinks, . o O { Not like anyone who isn't shouting cares about being heard around here. }

Fenter pauses for a moment, almost jerking Envoy to a stop along with him. "Hmm… perhaps to the west? I think I know this area… yes… YES! I know exactly the place!"

Envoy blinks.

Jaundice groans inwardly, his ears tuning out all other sounds except Fenter's. "You're sure, now?"

Fenter says, "I believe so. Have some faith, my lad! There's a kavi plumber right around the corner from here."

Envoy looks at aisles running off in every direction. "Which corner?"

"I'm following you." Jaundice waits patiently, his faith just substantial enough to let his actions mirror his words.

Fenter ducks down one of the aisles, leading the two down a mazelike area, until he finally bursts out from the pens and into an open area. On the southwest corner is a tent whose sign proudly proclaims: "Ned an Bart, profeshnl plummers"

Fenter pokes his head inside the tent, "Helooooooo?"

Jaundice raises his eyes to the sign as he walks up to the corner. He clears his throat, and swallows.

A few moments pass, and a thick, drawling voice calls back, "Well? Aintcha gonna come in?"

Jaundice looks at Envoy, puzzling at the question.

Envoy shrugs to Jaundice, and goes into the tent.

Fenter holds the tent flap open.

Jaundice crosses his arms and ducks under the tent flap, peering around inside.

Inside the tent, a kavi is polishing a crude wooden table with a yellow rag. He snrrks, and spits on the table, polishing again and making you wonder what color the rag started. He turns to the visitors, "Yeah? What?"

Fenter ducks in after the coyote. He adjusts his hat and brushes the dust from his robe.

Envoy points to Jaundice, "This fellow is trying to find something that may be plumbing related."

Jaundice looks alarmedly at the kavi. . o O { That's what spit shining means? } He stammers, wondering what to say, looking back to Fenter briefly before scampering behind the raccoon.

Fenter erks and glances back at Pe'er. "You're much too shy, my lad. But no matter… " He clears his throat, addressing the kavi. "We're looking for what we believe to be a sort of plumbing tool."

Jaundice looks up at Envoy, a hard look in his eyes. He sighs and steps forward again.

Bart scratches reflectively at his chest, "Umm… well, if it's plumbing, we got it." He grins, a grin which makes you wish he'd left his mouth closed.

Another gruff voice bellows from behind a curtain in the back, "Ey Bart! We gots some customers er what?"

Bart calls back, "Yeah, a guy and two ladies… git this, they wanna buy somethin'!"

Fenter says, "Two la-… ? Now see here! I am *NOT* a lady!"

Jaundice quirks his mouth, then harrums and looks up at Bart… putting a blank expression on like a mask.

Loud banging and clattering echoes from behind the curtain as something rather large sounds like it's trying to make it's way out "Keep em here, keep em here!" Someone shouts…

Bart looks utterly lost for a moment, then calls back again, "No, my mistake… we gots a lady, and two guys, one wearin' a dress."

Bart puts on his best salesman face, "Well, what kin I be helpin' you with?"

Jaundice begins to speak, his voice squeaking slightly. "Eh… yes sir. At least we think it's a plumbing tool… " His ears flick nervously at all the rushing around.

Envoy smiles and looks about curiously. Maybe something will explode. She likes explosions.

Fenter harumps. "A dress. It's a blasted robe… a uniform worn by ages and ages of wizards. dress indeed… " The raccoon grumbles under his breath.

Envoy decides not to ask Fenter about borrowing the dress.

Jaundice draws another breath. "Would you happen to know… any… thing a… bout a… " *gasp* "… redlefthandedsqueep?" He exhales, shaking a bit.

Envoy says, "There are sure a lot of rubber things in here."

The back curtain is pushed aside and out walks the probably the fattest kavi alive. He must be at least as wide as he is tall, maybe even wider. The kavi keeps pulling on his pants, trying to keep them over his rather large stomach and failing miserably.

Fenter arches an eyebrow at Pe'er. . o O ( The lad actually asked on his own. I'm quite impressed. .)

Jaundice's eyes dart around the room, stepping back as he finishes speaking his peace. . o O { Now they're supposed to answer. All right, good. }

Bart looks taken aback, "A redlef tandeskweep? Boy, you been chewin' the weed?" He bends over, showing more than anyone really wanted or needed to see, and starts rifling through a cabinet, "I don't think we've had one of those in ages. Eh, whatzit look like?"

Ned coughs and tosses a rag over Bart's, er, exposed personality… "Now then you wanted a what… ?" He moves rather close to Jaundice and peers down at him…

Envoy is off to the side, looking at plungers.

Fenter steps back a bit. Ohhh… he had no idea teeth could ever get that brown.

Jaundice wrinkles his nose as Ned decides to get up close and personal. "Uhh… " He swallows again. "A squeep, sir. A r-red, left-h-h-handed squ… ee… eep."

Envoy turns towards Ned, holding a plunger, and asks, "Do these require chin-straps?"

Ned scratches at his armpit. At this range, Jaundice's nasal passages get assaulted with a horrid aroma. It smells like he may fix plumbing, but sure doesn't use it… "Now… you wanted a what, a lefthandedwhatchathing?"

Envoy puts aside the plunger. None of them fit on her head properly.

Ned pulls digs a finger in his ear and removes a greasy brown cottonball, "There! Now mebbe I can hear ya… " He looks over at Envoy, "Chin-straps? Of course not. You just stick it on a clogged pipe and push. Not too complicated, even fer your friend in th dress." He breaks into a coughing fit, then spits into a pot next to a countertop.

Jaundice tries his best… . o O { IfIcanjustgetthroughthisIcangetbackwhereIcanbreathe… } He coughs, turning his head to the side to get a whiff of less body-polluted air. "A squeep, sir! A red left-handed squeep!" He speaks with a bit more volume, fight or flight kicking in.

Ned "oooooooh! You wanted a squeep? Why didn't you say so before, kid. Are ya addled or somethin?"

Fenter gingerly pulls the plunger out of Envoy's hands. "Er… considering where most people put those, I don't believe a lady such as yourself should think about attaching it to one's face."

Envoy blinks at Fenter. "Okay Fenter. I'll trust your fashion sense."

Jaundice's jaw begins to quaver. "N-no, sir. I j-just was s-s-sent to find one." He sets his muzzle straight, and swallows again. "I don't even know w-what a squeep's for."

Bart stands up from the cabinet, "Ned, I ain't nevuh heard of – *OOMPH*!"

Ned struggles with his pants again, "Those are rather rare, doncha know… " He glances to his partner, Bart, and smiles a 3 tooth grin.

Jaundice looks between the two plumbers. "Please, if we could just g-get one."

Bart scratches rudely, "Guess so Ned… why dint you never show me one?"

Ned smiles at the kid, perhaps 8 inches from his face, "Let me confer with ol' Bart a moment. Don't go away… "

Envoy smiles and looks up from rooting in a bin of leftover parts. "I found an elbow joint."

Envoy says, "I think it's from a Jupani."

Ned turns and heads toward the back curtained room. If it's possible, Ned looks even worse from behind. Aside from periodic views of things best left unseen, there's a large greasy pawprint on the left side of his behind.

Fenter covers his eyes. "Ack… I faint at the sight of blood. And I think the smell in here has me a bit woozy already."

Ned coughs up another brown loogie, "Come along Bart, ya fool. I'll show ya where we keep th squeeps."

Bart follows Ned, "Ned? Ned?!"

The two disappear being the curtains. Alot of whispering and an occasional laugh or cough can be heard…

"I tell ya Bart, trust me… this thing IS a squeep… "

Envoy says, "I bet plumbers find all sorts of interesting things stuck in pipes. Do you think it's true what they say about there being feral cannibalistic foxes living in the sewers?"

Jaundice takes a long, raspy gasp of air once Ned leaves the room. "Feh… "

"Okay, Ned, but that looks like a plain ol' OW! Hey, leggo, don't get personal!"

Jaundice listens for the voices in the back, his faculties returning slowly. "Something's odd… "

*BANG!* "OW!" "Does it now, Bart? Sure looks like a squeep to me… Lissen to it even, it goes 'squeep!'"

"Gyuh… wow, you're right! Sure 'nuff does! Who'd a thunk it?"

"Certainly not you, bart. HAW!"

"Aww, Ned, you ol' kidder!"

Fenter drums his fingers against his arm. "Such jovial chaps these are."

Bart comes out through the flap, rubbing the top of his head, "Uhh… Ned done found one, sure. It's a beaut, too!"

Envoy looks up, "Is it red?"

Jaundice examines his arms briefly, brushing a few dust motes away. He looks up expectantly as the kavis enter.

Bart nods quickly, "A-yup!" He mutters under his breath, "If it weren't before, it is now… "

Bart rubs pointedly at a welt on his arm.

Jaundice hears Bart's under-breath comment, and raises an eyebrow.

Ned returns waving a rather unusual looking device in his left hand. It's definitely red… "Here's yer squeep kiddo! And lefthanded too! Last one we gots!"

Envoy smiles. "How do you use it?"

Fenter says, "Ah… finally we can go home and… um… bathe."

Jaundice peers at the object. He blinks…

Ned coughs, "Oh, it's much too complex fer a lady to use… Ya see, you gots to push this lil thing here called a button… " Ned pokes the button with his left hand and a little wire pops out of the top making a rather loud *SQUEEP!*"

Jaundice's ears perk strangely at the noise. He turns to Fenter, fishing for an expression.

Envoy says, "That doesn't look complicated."

Fenter is expectantly bouncing on his heels… he seems quite eager to leave.

Ned hrmphs, "I am a profeshnl! It is complex! Took Bart an me 2 months to learn how to do that!"

Bart rubs his paws together, "And you kin have it for only a piece of gold!"

Bart looks down at the ground, "Took me 3, Ned… 'member?"

Fenter says, "Gold? That… that's absurd!!"

Envoy says, "Why do you want gold for a red squeep?"

Ned pths at Fenter, "What would you know? Yer in a dress!"

Jaundice furrows his brow at the two kavi plumbers, then takes Fenter by the shoulder, muttering "excuse us a moment" to Ned and Bart.

Fenter blinks and allows Jaundice to lead him by his shoulder.

Ned waps Bart on the back of his head and whispers something to him… "… one gold!… why you… if we lose a… stupid!"

Jaundice nudges Fenter's shoulder around so the two each have their backs half turned to the kavis. "I'm not saying we necessarily should stay here any longer than we have to… " He glances back to Ned and Bart briefly, speaking in hushed tones. "… but don't you find their behavior a little… curious?"

Bart's head rocks forward, "Ow! Ned… let up… left eye… fifth time!"

Envoy asks the kavis, "Are you two brothers?"

Fenter peers at the pair as well. "They act like typical stupid kavis, if you ask me." He whispers. "What seems to be troubling you, my lad?"

Ned looks shocked! "Brothers? Naw! We're just friends. We teamed up affer that orrid incident involving th fungus invasion of th temple bathrooms."

Jaundice sighs, whispering in reply to Fenter. "What troubles me is that we have only their word that what Ned's holding is really what we need."

Envoy smiles, "Really? Did you save any of the fungus?"

Ned burps, "Naw, it made a good soup."

Ned pokes Bart, "What did we cawl that soup, Bart? Cream of bafroom? Haw

Bart grins, "Naw, it was commode chowder!" He slaps Ned on the back.

Fenter plucks at his lower lip. "Unfortunately… that will be the case with most everyone we approach about a squeep. I leave the decision up to you, my boy. We could probably haggle them down from a gold, we could search elsewhere and receive the same treatment more than likely, or we can return empty handed."

Ned "HAWHAWHAW! Thats right!"

Fenter turns slightly green.

Poor Ned's pants slip all the way down while he's caught up in laughter! He scrambles to pull them back up, "Durn pants! Lost me button and they just won't stay up."

Jaundice sighs, knowing the truth in what Fenter says. "The last isn't an option. But… " He ponders a moment, an unsettling thought entering his mind. "… whatever that thing is, it may as well be a squeep. I can at least tell Haskalah it is." He sighs again. "Do you think you can bring that price down?"

Envoy asks Ned and Bart if they've ever found anything interesting in a pipe, and whether or not cannibal foxes control the sewers.

Bart nods sagely, "Sure do. But hey, some of them foxies are pretty durn good lookin'!"

Envoy says, "Have you ever considered using suspenders?"

Fenter grins, flashing pearly white canines. "I believe I can… "

Ned nods, "An they smell wunnerful! Sewer living does them good!"

Jaundice takes a breath, and claps Fenter on the shoulder. They turn to face the kavis again.

Ned looks at Envoy, "Well, once… but I failed the suspenders class." He looks at the ground.

Fenter *AHEMS* rather loudly, "May I inspect the squeep, gentlemen?"

Envoy says, "They have classes for wearing suspenders?"

Ned holds out the rather odd looking device to Fenter, "Sure! Jus don break it or ya buy it fer one gold."

Jaundice perks an ear towards Fenter, watching carefully. This could be educational.

Ned shuffles his feet while looking at th floor, "Bart an I went to… a special school. We took classes in all sortsa things, suspender wearing, sock folding, underwear starching, all sorta complicated things you prolly couldn't unnerstand."

Fenter examines the device. "Bah… shoddy workmanship. This isn't worth a silver, much less a gold." He gingerly sets the device back upon the table. "I'll give you half a copper for it."

Ned nudges Bart, "Yer th saleman, you handl th haggling."

Jaundice's ears go *poit* at Fenter's offer. He crosses his arms, glad that he's not between the two bulks of kavi.

Bart gives Ned a hangdog look, then steps up to Fenter, his odor preceding him. He bites his lip, apparently deep in thought, before deciding, "Uhh… nope!"

Envoy says, "What if we gave you… HALF a copper… instead?"

Bart grins triumphantly, "Hey, now that's be – uh… "

Ned looks back at Envoy, "Perhaps you'd like to see our fine line of industrial plungers?"

Envoy shakes her head, "I'm a bard. I don't get involved in industry."

Ned says, "I kin show them to you while me friend handles th sale?"

Jaundice looks at Envoy, puzzling at her offer… then to Bart, puzzling even more. . o O { This is haggling? }

Ned glowers, "Bard eh? Yer snooty guild wouldn let me join. Said playin th saw wasn musical."

Envoy says, "You can play a saw?"

Fenter says, "One copper. I'll have to spend three times as much repairing the thing. You should pay *ME* for removing the thing."

Ned grins, "Shure can!"

Envoy says, "Can you play it for me?"

Bart laughs, "Yer good, ma – sir. Tell you what… gimme an iron, and three coppers, and we'll call it even."

Ned grins his three-tooth grin, "Shure can. Right after me friend finishes th sale."

Envoy says, "2 coppers, and we'll wash your clothes and hook up your suspenders."

Fenter frowns. "ONE iron. And let me tell you… I'm cutting my throat by paying such an amount."

Bart shakes his head, "Caint go that low… look, I'll regret this, but I can go as low as five coppers. Deal?"

Jaundice manages to keep a straight poker face through the art of the deal.

Envoy looks to Jaundice, "Is that too much?"

Ned nudges Bart, "I say one iron an they show us how to use th suspenders Earl sent us last summer."

Bart hisses, "Ned, y'damn fool, you don't need them fancy 'spenders!"

Ned hmphs, "Says you! I can't go 'bout with me pants around me ankles!"

Ned rubs his chin, "Well, you might be right, Bart. Ifnnin our pants stay up, they'd throw u out of th plumbing guild!"

The raccoon sighs. "Five coppers is an iron! One iron, genoh?"

Fenter makes an 'ugh' face and extends his hand to shake.

Bart puts down the yellow rag he was playing with and clasps Fenter's hand moistly.

*Squish!*

Jaundice watches Fenter with a strange feeling of… sympathy.

Fenter says, "Igk!"

Fenter says, "I mean… we have a deal then?"

Bart nods and shakes the paw eagerly, "A deal!"

Jaundice reaches into the folds of his tunic, palming the iron shekel for the moment of bargain.

Fenter says, "Pe'er. Pay the good man and we'll be on our way."

Jaundice nods to Fenter, stepping forward, recoiling slightly at the task…

Fenter thinks, . o O ( I think I shall soak my hand in vodka tonight. That shall kill anything. )

Bart extends his hand for the iron piece…

Jaundice reaches out with the iron, dropping it into Bart's greasy paw. . o O { Finally. } He turns to Fenter with a look that reads "Let's get out of here" in any language.

Ned puts his greasy hand on Jaundice's shoulder, "Be shure to mention us to any friends of yers won'tcha kid?"

Bart quickly tucks the iron piece into an unsavory fold of his pants.

Fenter scoops up the newly acquired squeep, handing the prize to Jaundice. He holds the hand that the kavi shook out at length in front of him. "It seems out search is at an end. Let's be off."

Envoy blinks at Jaundice and Fenter, "Don't you want to hear Ned play the saw?"

Jaundice looks up at Ned, his gaze wavering between the kavi's face and his hand soaking grease into his poncho. He shrugs his shoulders, ducking under the hand. "Yessir, wewillsir."

Fenter says, "Eh-heh. Noooooo thank you my dear. I believe that we shall now be off… we have places to go… things to do."

The grease has such a lovely scent, too…

Jaundice is first out the tent flap. The bazaar stench smells absolutely heavenly compared to the inside of the tent.

Ned waves happily to his customers. So happily, in fact, he fails to notice that he doesn't have a grip on his pants and they drop to his ankles once again… "Byebye! Do come back! We've got right handed squeeps too!"

Fenter quickly shoots out the tent after Jaundice. He pats the coyote with his clean hand. "I think I know why her grace wanted *US* to get her that ratted thing in her place now." He begins walking back towards the college. "I have some liquid that's guaranteed to get the stench off… and also perhaps make one forget about this whole thing… "

Jaundice shudders, clutching the 'squeep' in hand. He mumbles, but nothing clear comes out.

Back inside the tent, Envoy says, "Are you sure that's a saw?"

---

GMed by Zoltan

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