Apr 21. Zoltan, Roho and Jezebel have some tea.
(Airship) (Paradys Lost) (Roho) (Zoltan)
The Freedom's Dream
This faintly exotic-looking airship makes its way across the skies, newly refitted, a gleaming jewel of a craft with "Freedom's Dream" proudly emblazoned on the side … though the keen-eyed might be able to spot some painted-over scratches that would, to a Vartan, translate as "Shokar's Silver Bell". Another hint at its Vartan origins is a figurehead that resembles the upper body of a hippogryph, wings spread back, carved to appear to be bursting forth from swirls of "cloud" carved lovingly in wood.

The former "Shokar's Silver Bell" drifts onward to parts very distant, Rephidim now not even a speck visible behind. The sun has recently set, and lanterns light the deck to chase away the shadows.

Belowdecks, there's a sudden shout of despair, and a familiar tan, large-eared fox comes running up onto the deck, chasing a swirl of dried leaves.

A white bat at the rear of the ship sniffles, but keeps on chanting, sitting cross-legged in the middle of a magical circle, with several cups of water positioned just within arm's reach … as well as an emergency supply of hankies weighted down under a rock.

Zoltan leans over the rail of the deck as he applies another coat of wood polish to the Vartan figurehead on deck.

Roho rasps, "Hey! Runaway leaves! Can anyone grab some?"

A cheetah in a black dress and a black cloak saunters across the deck, toward where Zoltan is working. She pauses at Roho's call, only snorting at the fox's request.

Zoltan spins around, and snaps his wings open at the swirl, hoping to catch them in his feathers.

A few of the bats up in the rigging, though, start laughing at the fox's predicament, and then swoop down from the ropes, veering and flapping after the leaves as if they were hunting a nightly snack.

Roho grabs a couple of the leaves by pure luck, "Thank you! These are fairly hard to get mid-air."

Zoltan gingerly corks his bottle of polish, "Hello," he signs to the Savanite.

After a few dives and twists, the bat crewmen alight on the deck and present their catches to the doctor. "Here. I hope we didn't miss very many," one of the bats squeaks. While they may be not above a laugh at the poor fox's predicament, he's still greatly appreciated by the crew.

Roho smiles, "Getting any is better than I could do… thank you." He tucks the leaves into a pouch, trying not to glare at them. That would be undignified; they're only leaves!

Zoltan refolds his wings, Eees are better at finding things in the dark anyhow.

The Savanite glances to Zoltan, then watches the bats and the fox for just a moment more. Then, she strides closer to where the Vartan is working, and stoops down. "Greetings," she signs back. She has a new collar around her neck. Also, her hair has taken a particularly wild look. After her run-in with all that sealant, it just hasn't been cooperative, so it seems she's given up and gone for total chaos. With the occasional gusts of air that get by when Wynona sniffles, though, it wouldn't stay in place for long anyway.

Zoltan leans against the railing, looking out at the night sky. "Is everything alright on trip so far? No problems I hope. Noticed black fur on ship earlier."

Roho sniffs around, then goes over to join Zoltan and Jezebel at the bow.

"Does it bother you," the Savanite signs, "to ride an airship driven by a mage like that? It is like camping on the back of a sleeping Shelwhal." ("Shelwhals" are the fabled giant sea creatures which supposedly sleep for centuries on end, to the point of vegetation growing on their backs, only to awaken when hapless sailors try to set anchor and go ashore.) "It is fine. Speaker has caused me no harm."

Zoltan squawks, "Hello Roho!" Then dropping to sign, "It bothers me a bit… but I try not to worry too much about things I no can control.""

Roho smiles, "Hello, Zoltan, Jezebel." He considers the bottle of polish, and gives it an inquisitive sniff.

Jezebel looks up at the fox's approach. She looks back to Zoltan and signs, "You do not worry? I cannot stand being helpless."

Zoltan pats the figurehead. "Shokar would be proud of how shiny his statue is… is no think wood can get any brighter." Then signing again, "It foolish not to worry… but I must trust as well. Captain wants us to get there safe… wouldn't have hired someone who cause disasters, and guild no allow dangerous mage to work on ship… or I'd like to hope so."

Roho sits by the railing, aware that the signed conversation is going on, but not pressing matters.

Jezebel smirks, then looks around at the bat and Savanite crewmen. At this time of night, there tend to be more bats, while more of the Savanites sleep. She looks back to Zoltan, then signs, "It looks very shiny. I am sure Captain Shokar would be proud of your honor of his memory. Master, is there anything I can fetch for you?"

Zoltan says aloud, for Roho, "So, doctor… how many airsick bats is there on ship today?" He unfurls a wing to hide his signing, "Please do not call me 'master'. That make me feel very uncomfortable. I call one person master only… and that out of love and respect."

Roho chuckles, "Four, but only one lost his breakfast. They're getting better, I just think they're not used to flying without flapping."

Jezebel frowns, leaning forward to take advantage of Zoltan's wing, "But now you are my master. If I do not treat you as such, it would surely cause suspicion."

Zoltan squawks, "If I eat bugs for breakfast I probably lose lunch too."

One of the bats up the rigging looks down and says, "Hey!"

"Very well… but I no have to likes it." The Vartan signs. "I would like to talk to you more abouts few things… but probably best to wait until deck more private. But I need nothing tangible."

Roho tilts his head back, calling up to the voice, "Yes?"

The bat retorts, "Bugs happen to be high in a number of essential nutrients and humors!"

Roho shouts back up, "You talk to large bird; I know bugs are healthy!"

Jezebel flicks her tail and signs, "Sir, your shoulders must be sore from working on polishing for so long… " She saunters around behind Zoltan and starts massaging his shoulders (all four of them, counting the wings), purring.

The bat shouts again, "Bugs happen to be high in a number of essential nutrients and humors!"

"Stop shouting, already!" one of the other bats shouts.

Zoltan makes a 'bleah' face. "Legs tickle throat when I swall-EEK!" His feathers suddenly *poof* out at the gesture.

Zoltan's shoulders tense up moreso then they were before. He's obviously not used to such ministrations from a female.

Jezebel sighs, then flattens her hands and makes repeated "chop chop" motions with the edges, across the muscles lightly, pattering across the Vartan's upper back.

"S-so what you going to d-do if we find the gold i-island, R-Roho?" Zoltan scrawks, his voice now vibrating in tune with Jezebel's poundings.

Roho shrugs, "I'm not sure, really… explore it, if they let me. I figure there must be some plants, even on a shiny island. And maybe some I've never seen before."

Jezebel smirks at the sound of Zoltan's voice, and then methodically switches to using her fingertips. *pokepokepokepoke* all across the upper back, in a way remotely like hard raindrops.

Zoltan forces himself to smile (which is getting easier… that massage DOES feel nice… ) "Everyone has own way of finding treasure I guesses?"

Roho nods, "I'm understandably not too interested in shinies… "

Jezebel smiles as Zoltan appears to be relaxing a bit, then goes back to a more conventional massage, silently following the conversation.

Zoltan squawks, "Is not just shinies. Is finishing Shokar's legacy that I likes too. Ship finally makes journey… and I have some stories to tell when I gets home. Maybe make Jakka turn green and molt all feathers!"

Roho nods, "I'm not as familiar with the legend, I'm afraid, so I don't have that motivating me so much… though I'm quite curious!"

Zoltan signs over his shoulder to Jezebel, "You good at this!"

Jezebel smiles and purrs in response, keeping up the massage.

Zoltan sighs happily, "Legend? Well, not many Vartans have ships like this… we all mostly tribal types, and those of us who no in tribes are outcasts or wanderers. Fact that Shokar was CAPTAIN of ship say much."

Jezebel keeps up the massage for a while longer, then stops and gives the Vartan a few light pats across the back. She looks down at his tail, and then walks around to remark, "Sir, you have been spending so much time polishing the figurehead, but your tail should not be neglected." She fetches a rag, and then pulls over an empty crate to sit down on, and proceeds to begin polishing Zoltan's tail-shinies.

Zoltan's ears droop… were it not for his black feathers he's probably be blushing up a storm right now.

Jezebel purrs and smiles as she works, her tail lazily swishing back and forth, perfectly looking the part of the happy, obedient, eager-to-please Savanite slave.

Roho leans against the railing and sits, thinking…

Zoltan folds his hands behind his back and fidgets. He continues talking, albeit in a bit of a higher pitched voice now… "Shokar is bit of a Vartan hero to us that no gots tribe. Most of us just grunts… guards… or wing and muscle for hire. It nice to know that one of us made something of himself, yes?"

Jezebel pauses long enough to sign, "Once we reach Paradys, sir, I am sure your name will be just as famous, if not more so!" And then, with a swish of her tail, she resumes polishing Zoltan's shinies.

Roho smiles and nods, "Something to aspire to… knowing it can be done."

Zoltan looks away from Jezebel and sighs softly. His ears perk suddenly as he remembers… "I er… sorry I left you alone in village. Had no choice but to run at the time… no had time for goodbyes."

Jezebel looks up to Zoltan at this, then glances to Roho, then returns her attention to polishing the shinies again, hunching over a little more.

Roho chuckles, "It was a little frustrating at the time… but I talked to Jynx. Don't see what else you could have done."

Zoltan squawks, "Can imagine… How you lose you eyesight anyhow?"

Roho shrugs, "It just happened, gradually. To tell the truth, I've lost track of how old I am, but it's over seventy years. I never knew anyone of my kind much over 50. So I guess a little sight loss can be taken as a minor problem."

Jezebel pauses a bit, curiously regarding a piece of glossy black obsidian worked into the horse-hairs (or Vartan-hairs, really). It doesn't take much polishing, before she moves on to some colored pieces of chitin.

Zoltan just shakes his head. "Could not imagine living without eyesight… I no gots keen nose like Jupani, or good ears like Eee, just gots eyesight. All I need when I on wing."

Jezebel looks thoughtful for a moment, but keeps right on polishing the shiny colored bits in the Vartan's tail.

Roho waggles his ears, "Well, I can't hear things quite as high as the Eeee, but I would wager that I can hear faint sounds as well. And I've got a good nose. I manage."

Roho tilts his head, "Do you know when we should reach Paradys?"

Zoltan squawks, "No sure. Few weeks I thinks." He glances back at Jezebel. "Depends on how rough skies is."

Roho chuckles, "Or how much Wynona sneezes… "

Jezebel gives Zoltan and Roho a dumb smile and continues polishing.

Zoltan pulls away from Jezebel's tail polishing. "It getting little chilly on deck. Want to join me in cabin? I make some warm tea… is special Vartan blend… you like!"

Roho grins, "Sure, it's a little cold… "

Jezebel puts away the rag, and puts the crate back where she found it. She bows her head slightly, standing behind Zoltan.

Zoltan gently reaches out and takes the fennec's hand, he gestures for Jezebel to follow and walks to his cabin below-deck.

Roho takes the proferred hand, and follows after him, keeping a paw on his herb pouch as he walks.

Zoltan has been allowed, perhaps amazingly, to keep his space in Shokar's old quarters. The frame has been filled with a bed once more, and much has been done to restore it to something approaching its former glory. After all, the Eeee have little need for beds such as this. Perhaps some Vartans don't, either, but at least Shokar figured it was worth the trouble.

Jezebel signs, "I have the sand sifted for your sand bath whenever you wish for it, Master."

Zoltan closes the door behind him. "I think I dislike being master more than you dislike being slave… remind me to tell you abouts Vartan history sometime." He signs to the cheetah, then goes off to fetch a ceremic kettle and a strange concoction of sharp smelling tea leaves. "Hope you no mind strong taste, Roho. Tea taste best when served strong."

Roho nods, "I like a tea dark enough to stick to the cup… "

Jezebel gives Zoltan this smile, and bows her head in an obsequious manner.

Zoltan soon has a steamy brew prepared. Along with three cups and a large bowl of sugar cubes. He places them in the middle of the room on a small table and pours a glass for each. The tea smells QUITE strong now; you can almost taste it in the air.

Roho carefully pours out three mugs worth, trying not to pour it on the table or in anyone's lap. He takes one, and sniffs deeply at it.

Jezebel wrinkles her nose at the pungent aroma.

Roho takes a careful sip, then grins and takes a larger one.

Jezebel looks doubtfully at Roho. She waters her tea down significantly and adds several sugar cubes.

Bitter… extremely bitter. And a few moments later, a second flavor hits… this one's a bit hard to describe, spicy, although not really 'hot'. Just… spicy!

Roho tilts his head, swallowing carefully before asking, "What's in it?"

Jezebel sips at her tea slowly. Tears form in her eyes. She waters her tea down a bit more before sipping again.

Zoltan takes a sip from his own cup. "Hrr? Oh… is old Vartan recipe. Boghaz had crate of it in storage that he no know how it gots there. Nobody wants it so they give to me. No idea why… taste fine to me." He takes another drink from his mug, this time a hearty gulp.

Roho sips more carefully than the Vartan; it's hard to tell what he thinks.

Jezebel looks at the Vartan with a look of disbelief. She sips at her tea … and then waters it down some more.

Zoltan squawks, "I gots sugar if it need little more taste. Some people like better with sugar."

Roho shakes his head, "I don't care for sugar too much… "

Jezebel wipes at her eyes … and then just at the bottom of her headband. She signs, "Thank you, Master, but I think I have had plenty tea."

Zoltan sighs to Jezebel, "If you must call me that on deck to fool squeakers… then you can. But here in room, please not call me master? Make me cringe every time I see that sign."

Zoltan squawks, "I hear sugar rot no-beak teeth. I no gots any teeth, so I not know."

Jezebel covers her mouth, hiding a grin.

Roho grins, showing his teeth, "Well, not eating sugar doesn't seem to have hurt them. I don't know what it does to Vartans, though."

Zoltan smiles to Jezebel, "That's WHY you do it… isn't it?" He makes an exagerated 'hmmph!' pose, trying to look indignant.

Jezebel looks over to Roho's cup, and refills it for him.

Jezebel gives Zoltan an enigmatic smile.

Roho smiles his thanks at Jezebel, and takes another sip…

Zoltan squawks, "Vartan swallow rocks. Grind food up in stomach, less trouble."

Roho winces, "Sounds uncomfortable… "

Zoltan squawks, "Only if rock is dirty… sand in throat no good."

Jezebel grimaces faintly at the notion, and hides her face by sipping at a pretty much empty cup again.

Zoltan signs to Jezebel, "You can take collar off in here if you want. Fennec is blind, won't see what you look like or what we say… was one of reasons why I needed to apologize for leaving him in village all alone. Couldn't communicate with others very well."

Jezebel signs, "He has very large ears, though. He can probably tell that my hands are moving."


Jezebel looks to Zoltan, then rises to answer the door.

She almost staggers, as the ship jolts. She grabs against the wall, steadying herself, then opens the door.

Zoltan thinks to himself, . o O ( The bat must have sneezed again… )

A bat pokes in his head, and squeaks, "Doctor Roho! Wynona's having one of her fits!" He looks around, then lets out a sigh of relief as no more jolts follow.

The fennec doctor excuses himself, then rushes out with the bat.

Jezebel shuts the door, then turns back into the room. She smiles to Zoltan, then signs, "We are alone now, Master."

Zoltan signs, "I going to have to think up nickname for you to say every time you call me that? Heard Jupani use nickname 'Swishytail' once… but it no seem to fit you. I think of something though!" He grins.

The cheetah frowns, but then slinks over to the Vartan, and sits down beside him. "What would please you? Shall I dance for you?"

Zoltan looks down at the steaming cup for a bit, then finally. "Could maybe just talk for while? Would like to ask you few things… if you no mind… "

Jezebel purrs and signs, "Whatever you wish … " Somehow, the way she does that, the sign for "Master" is too conspicuously absent. She winks.

"What it like… I means." The Vartan fidgets, obviously nervous. "Being slave. What it likes? Vartan tell stories about how long ago we all slaves and pets to first-ones… and we fight for freedom. But is all just tales. Even what happened in Himar was only small taste… "

Jezebel slumps back and signs, "Degrading. But then, as you know, I have more experience sending my fellows off to slavery than being one myself. But I have been a slave before."

Zoltan signs, "Can understand degrading. Don't think I could do what you do without molting every feather in anger. You were slave to Titus, yes?"

Jezebel nods. "Before that, I was briefly enslaved by an airship captain. That is how I first learned the language of the 'Sky Gods'." She looks down. "And that is how I first learned how some men are so easily melded like putty in my hands." There is a flash of anger in her eyes.

Zoltan arches an eyebrow quizically, "You not have to answer this if you no feel like it… and I not judge you on answer. But… there more to what happened in village, whole thing about you selling family and such… is more than what I been told, isn't there?" He pauses for a moment and then hastily adds, "I done things in my past I no proud of either… takes strong person to not hide from past or deny its. I no see you do either"

Jezebel looks to Zoltan. "More? What more should I sign to you about that? Yes, I did it. Yes, I struck a bargain with the captain of the Rotten Eye – to go back. Do you know … they never knew I had been captured? They thought I simply ran away after Grandmother died. Only Storm-Hand knew better, and she never made a sign."

The cheetah folds her arms across her chest, pulling up her knees, staring angrily at some empty spot on the table.

Zoltan nods, "Like when she no made sign when they were going to throw you in fire for something you innocent of." He looks up, "I sorry if I upset you… Is probably something you have to carry on wings for rest of you life. I not bring up again."

Jezebel looks to Zoltan. "Why? Why are you – " Her hands fumble, and she just flings them to her sides, looking more frustrated. "I WANT TO HATE YOU!" she signs after a bit. "I learned of the old Empire, and – I want to CRUSH them for … " Her signs quickly dissolve into a meaningless jumble of signs that only rarely form phrases.

Zoltan signs, "You were hurt very badly, weren't you? By the ship captain, and then by your family… " He just shakes his head.

Jezebel looks to Zoltan. "Don't pity me so much. I GOT EVEN!" her hands shake furiously, making it a bit of a challenge for the Vartan to keep up … but thankfully, the outburst is a short one.

Zoltan signs, "Sorry. Is can't help but feel sorry for pretty Savanite that had to go through all thats. Especially so young. Would not wish on worst enemy." He pauses, then with a wry grin, "Except maybe Titus."

Jezebel's eyes narrow. She signs, "When I am Empress, Titus will wish he were dead."

Zoltan sits back a bit. "Did Titus know you a mage?"

Jezebel looks to Zoltan, then nods. "Yes. And he knows much more about me than he has a right to. He will die by my hand. I would kill the captain of the Rotten Eye, except that Speaker has already done that for me."

Zoltan picks up his mug of tea, now cold, and drinks the last of its bitter contents. "I worry, Third-Eye… I worry you seek throne only for revenge. Tell me, what you goings to do when all enemies are dead?"

Jezebel leans back gain, looking rather droll, as she signs, "Oh, don't worry. I'm sure I'll make new ones."

"But… is revenge all there is?" The Vartan signs.

Jezebel shakes her head, and signs, "No. But it burns like a fire. Anger gives me strength."

Zoltan signs, "It does indeed… that I have learned the hard way. Vartans tend to be stronger than most, when I was younger, is used to get angry and lash out at people. Hurt quite a few… although now that I look back at it is think it all meaningless. Someone pull Zoltan's tail, shouldn't break his arm. Bah… I was terror when I was chick. Is miracle I survive." He smiles a bit as he muses.

Jezebel watches Zoltan's signs, but there's some look in her eye that might make him wonder if she's "listening". She signs, "You love this ship, don't you? Would you like it for your own?"

Zoltan looks up, broken from his thoughts. "Strange question… but yes. Ship is piece of Vartan history, and has some personal meaning to me as well." He gestures to the portrait on the wall of Captain Shokar.

There's a twinkle in Jezebel's eye, and she signs, "Then it will be yours." With that, she smiles and leans back again, purring as her tail tip waves back and forth.

Zoltan just stares… rather dumbfounded. "I don't understand… " He finally manages to sign.

Jezebel smiles. "I mean what I sign." She moves a little closer to Zoltan, purring. "It will be yours."

"And Paradys as well," Jezebel adds. "Isn't that as it should be?"

"You promise me dreams… why?" Zoltan signs. "I am taking you to Paradys in return for your help, a favor for a favor. Why promise me more than I have earned? And more than you can give?"

Jezebel looks at Zoltan a while, and then reaches over, idly (?) tracing the patterns on his forearm with a blunt claw-tip.

Zoltan just sits, his mind reeling.

Jezebel scoots over a bit more, and then leans against Zoltan, purring. She signs, "I am tired. There will be time to sign more tomorrow. We will be together a long time." She closes her eyes, her tail gently swaying back and forth.

Zoltan sighs. ( Have I let an angel or a demon into my midst? Perhaps a bit of both… Oh Dagh, help me. )

*purrrrrrrrrrrrrrr… *


GMed by Greywolf

Previous Log: Hide and SeekNext Log: Temple Tantrum
Thread Links
(Paradys Lost)

Back to list of Logs 176-200

Log listings page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96
Recent Logs - Thread Listing

Home Page
Player Guide
Log Library
Recent Logs
Dramatis Personae
Art Gallery
Moz Ezley Asylum

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