Jan. 26. WolfSinger is sent on a quest with Tarin as unwilling companion.
(New Character Arrival) (Himar) (Tarin) (WolfSinger)

Morning brings the Jupani lowlands slowly to light, sunrays filtering through strips of ice-sharp clouds. The earliest risers are the warriors and young Jupani rising to go to the nearby creek to bath in what must be freezing water – the elder Jupanis are entitled to their rest, of course.

A splash of cold water brings WolfSinger awake abruptly, followed by Kahanoohr's giggles. "Wake up! You have time for a quick *untranslatable but hope it's 'breakfast'*, and then the Shamaness says she will pronounce your *untranslatable, sounds ominous*."

There's little trace of the night's visions except a long red feather hanging like a dagger from his chest… and bird footprints around his feet.

WolfSinger acks!!!! "Hey! that was cold!"

Kahanoohr looks with concern at the feather. "An omen?" she wonders, reaching to pluck it from WolfSinger's breast.

WolfSinger shakes himself out.

A chorus of birdcalls, raucuous and demanding, erupts from the trees as Wolfsinger moves away from the tree.

WolfSinger looks at the feather. "I dreamed a bird questioned me last night.

Kahanoohr takes one of the leather strands that forms her tribal dress and ties it around the shaft of the feather, and then hangs it around WolfSinger's neck. "It is your *untranslatable, perhaps 'questing'* gift from the *untranslatable-divinities*. That was a *divinity?*, WolfSinger. Did he say if you were *untranslatable* of good or evil?"

Something long and dark-red in color, the color of old blood, swoops past the couple. A bird, perhaps, for there is a whistling SQUAK! as it darts past.

WolfSinger says, "He just asked me several questions. He didn't really say if I was good or evil, though."

WolfSinger smiles at Kahanoohr as she places the feather around his neck.

Kahanoohr nods, then brightens up as she leads WolfSinger down to the tribe campsite. "Thank the *untranslatable-divinities* to be home! The 'Kavi' rations… " She wrinkles her nose.

Breakfast is private, but the aftermath is very public. The chief leads WolfSinger back to the tree and after a long session of howling and chanting, the Shamaness appears, dressed in a feathered cape and trailed by her two apprentices, who are wearing carved masks.

Kahanoohr swishes her tail and looks just a bit concerned.

WolfSinger nervously watches, not quite knowing what to expect.

The two masked assistants begin shaking rattles and dancing around the tree. An offering of some sort is made and the group begins howling the name of the One they sang to last night; the nameless one, whose title is a string of long vowels.

The Chief, looking concerned and worried, joins with the calling of the Name.

The Shamaness, looking dignified, walks up to WolfSinger and hangs a very very smelly amulet bag around his neck. She gives him a grin that he can barely see through the eye-watering fumes and steps back as the assistants step up to paint designs in his face fur with a paint that seems to be clay-based… and to reek of the same substance as the bag.

The chief holds his daughter close to him as the design is revealed.

WolfSinger glances at the Chief and Kahanoohr, wondering what is wrong.

Kahanoohr whispers something to the chief, looking more worried now.

A cloak is draped about his shoulders – a rather heavily perfumed item that the assistants seem to be glad to get out of the vicinity of their noses and into the reach of WolfSinger's nose. The Shamaness smiles again, but somehow the warmth doesn't show in her eyes. "You have*met?* the *possibly test* of the *CouldBeSomethingObsceneForAllWeKnow* and the *deity name* has spoken to me about you, Being-from-above-and-beyond," she intones. She sketches a sign above his head and a white powder, like an unsuccessful dandruff, sprinkles his shoulders.

The Chief, not as impassive as he should be, looks very concerned. He rumbles something to his daughter; only the sounds, not the words, reach WolfSinger.

WolfSinger's ears droop slightly. He tilts his head to the side hoping she'll explain more.

The Shamaness waves her hand downhill. "You must take *sounds like a cockroach gargling* to the place called Hill Of *Something Ominous*. Many *timeframes, obviously, but could be anything from a week to years* march to *another gutteral, but she waves her hand west*.

WolfSinger says, "I'm sorry. I don't quite understand. I must take what to where?"

The Shamaness points to a hut. "Many *another timeframe* ago, one came among us bearing a curse and a blessing. He has been *something rather odd… you'd swear it was 'used as a table'* but must leave. Your *fate?* it is to take him to the *another gargle*. Send blessing with you to *long-howl-vowel-name*. Purge the *goodness-knows-what* from the *WolfSinger's getting a headache from all the odd language references and this one is enough to bring on a migraine.*" The Shamaness points again and steps back, looking satisfied.

Everybody looks at WolfSinger. They've got that dazed sort of 'No… really!?? He's going to DO it!!??? Amazing! Would you believe we finally found someone dumb – err – valiant young to do this' look on their faces.

WolfSinger looks to Kahanoohr. "Do you know what she speaks of?"

Kahanoohr goes 'eep' as her tail foofs out.

The chief nods. "He must complete the quest of *untranslatable, but you've heard the name before.*"

The black wolf steps forward and says hesitantly, "He will n – need a guide to the *city on the hill?*. I will go with him."

The chief stands forward. "Kahanoohr-daughter, no. It is too *bad juju?* I cannot allow it."

The Shamaness' eyes gleam and she steps forward, stabbing the chief's chest with her finger. She presents a dizzying set of arguments to the chief, who does attempt a good defense, but she's got right… or at least magic on her side. Then she starts in on Kahnoor, waving her arms at the distant hut.

Kahanoohr eeps.

The chief's ears droop. Then he tries to stand valiantly. "Shamaness says that Kahanoohr and you together would be *wait – did he really say 'fissionable material?*. Very *bad juju*. She select true warrior."

Kahanoohr droops her tail. "By your will, Shamaness." She trots down to the hut, then scratches her claws against the tight-stretched door-hide to ask for admission.

WolfSinger growls slightly to himself, wishing he could understand better.

THIS time the Shamaness' grin is genuine. It's also irritatingly smug, but she quickly hides that behind a grinning wooden mask.

The chief stands forward, holding out a spear decorated with red dye. "Take. Is *untranslatable, sounds like shield* for me. You may need more."

After a moment, Kahanoohr lifts the doorhide off of its pegs and slips into the hut, where several growls and yips and words are exchanged.

The bead-and-rattle contingent begins a 'chuffing' sort of chant.

WolfSinger takes the spear, bowing slightly. "I thank you."

The chief nods once, then stands back.

WolfSinger says, "I shall try to return it to you, unscratched.""

The crowd moves slightly away from WolfSinger and his rather odorous garment and talisman.

The chief chuckles softly, showing no teeth. "I have *number – possibly just 'many'.*"

A fox tail flops just out of the hut… Followed by more of a somewhat bedraggled looking fox, wearing outlandish clothes and with his wrists tied with a black cord that must have been smeared with some odorous unguent. Kahanoohr grunts as she drags the fox out.

WolfSinger blinks?!? A fox?!?

The crowd doesn't seem to be eager to get any closer to this source of malodor than they had to get warm and friendly with WolfSinger in his new apparel.

Kahanoohr barks a command to some of the wolves, who come by to offer a hand (the other firmly planted over their noses) in carrying the fox to WolfSinger.

The chief stands impassively, looking at the fox.

Nothing can be seen of the Shamaness' face… but her tail twitches in what might be a wag. Maybe.

Tarin blinks his eyes adjust to the light. He looks around, a pained expression on his face as he looks at the malodorous rope.

The wolves look down at the fox for a few moment and mutter between themselves. "This is a *untrans. champion/hero/divine spirit*?" They bend down to pick up Tarin's feet.

The chief raises an eyebrow. "Shamaness, THIS is your *intensifier* *??cannon??*"

The wooden mask somehow looks a bit smug. "Is not *intensifier* *cannon*. Is *food for gods*"

The chief ahs, satisfied. "*affirmative*."

Kahanoohr mutters, "The *pungent stench of a thousand mushrooms* will drive away any *malefactors and possessors of overdue library books*… "

The meaning sounds ceremonial, but there are overtones of a ritual. The Shamaness tosses a handful of leaves into the air, and the people fall back a bit further.

WolfSinger says, "you want me to sacrifice a fox???"

The chief looks startled. "*Goddess of the vowels* demands blood. He is no *cousin?*"

Kahanoohr gives WolfSinger a 'What's the problem?' look. She grunts some more as she and her friends drop the fox near WolfSinger and the Shaman.

The Shamaness' eyes grow thoughtful. Apparently the notion of a sacrifice hadn't occurred to her before. "Take… this one. Go… There. Is… hut. Kill *mangledsnarl*. Pray. Heal *cockroachcoughing*"

WolfSinger just stands there, speechless for a few moments.

The crowd gasps. The assistants murmur something in the Shamaness' ear. "Must… blood… sacrifice… *deathrattle* *fang-gnash* *vegetable*.

The Shamaness points again inthe general direction of Rephidim – if WolfSinger knew where it was, that is.

Kahanoohr looks doubtful, then turns to the chief. "Father, will you not send a *untrans. holder of little cubs' hands* with WolfSinger? He knows little about these lands."

WolfSinger says, "killing in battle is one thing, but… but… "

The chief nods to his daughter. "Yes; he needs a *holder-of-hands*. Fetch *Winnowei?*. He will accompany."

One of the females back in the pack begins to wag her tail enthusiastically.

The chief then turns to WolfSinger. "*?take care?* of your *infant*, until you present him to the *utterly untranslatable*. They will rid you of the *?machine breakdown?*."

Tarin's Just… hanging out. Happy to be out of the smelly hut at least. What in the world are these silly wufs up to now…

WolfSinger looks between the Chielf, the Shamaness, and the fox, mouth open wide in disbelief.

The Shamaness chants something in a rather gleeful-sounding tone and drapes another scented amulet, this one over the fox. She seems to threaten the Chief with one, running it over his head and howling a chant. Then she ties the bag on Tarin's tail, near the base.

The chief tilts his head. "Have you *run*, WolfSinger? You look like about to pant."

WolfSinger says, "I am not a killer… "

Kahanoohr looks toward Winnowei, then nods apparent approval. She trots back to WolfSinger, then reels back as she realizes just how horrible he smells. Approaching him carefully, she says, "*Winnowei* will take you to *City in middle of nowhere?*. You must take *sacred forest spirit/strange thing we don't really know what it is* and bring it to the *Place of the Gods*. This will lift the *untranslatable-sounds ominous* from your shoulders, the Shamaness says."

Everyone nods brightly at WolfSinger.

Tarin's nose twists as if trying to escape the fumes. He looks distastefully at the Shamaness as she dances around him and then squirms at the bag tying. This done he just sits there, trying to look dignified on a hunting pole with a bag of old college socks? on his tail?

Winnowei, a very large, very black wolf wench, carries a sword that appears to be made of… plastic? It couldn't be. The edge seems sharp and strong. She wears a heavy leather shirt and heavy leather pants, and two spears in her belt.

Kahanoohr says to Winnowei teasingly. "Bring him back in one *untranslatable, harmony or unity?* or I'll have to show you who's *untrans. chief arranger of flowers?* And don't get an urge to see if he's a *swishytail?*"

The Shamaness sends her minions to hop around Winnowei, howling with a great deal of enthusiasm.

With a very careful but single swipe of the sword, Winnowei cuts what's holding Tarin's arms together. With another cut, she loosens him from the pole. Indeed, that sword is sharp.

The crowd roars its approval: "*SWISHYTAIL!* *SWISHYTAIL!" Hopefully this isn't his new nickname.

Tarin thumps to the ground, rising on unsteady legs as he rubs his wrists…

Kahanoohr grrrs! at the crowd. "My *swishytail!*" Then blushes a little in her ears.

The chief nods. "WolfSinger, go, release your *static?*, and return to us." He turns around, and walks off. Obviously, his audience is ended.

WolfSinger's ears start to flush, too, at Kahanoohr's last comment.

Tarin watches the goings on, thoroughly confused, but happy to be off the darned post… He streeeeeetches out and pops his back loudly

Kahanoohr turns about and rubs noses with the confused and flushing wuf. "Return safely, WolfSinger… "

Tarin scans around the crowd

WolfSinger caresses her cheek with a hand. "I will.

Winnowei nods, sees that the fox is standing, and gently but insistantly prods him forward with her sword. "Come, *swishytail*."

The Shamess presents WolfSinger with a tube of wood. Prying it apart, she shows him that there's a very old map inside. She points to one location and says *Loud Flushing Noise*. She points to the other and says, "Temple. *Bat*Shattering*Rippington*."

Tarin looks down at the sword as he moves forward, ears flattened in a scowl.

The Shamaness backs off, pleased.

Winnowei looks strong, heavy, and a touch mean. She has not threatened Tarin, nor has she hurt him, but she has prodded him. She growls a command at the fox, which he doesn't understand.

Kahanoohr achoos a bit, then rubs some dust off of her nose as she looks after WolfSinger and the others departing.

Tarin shakes his head. "Na'Ghrain."

With only some very slight directing, Winnowei moves the group forward, onto a track that she can seem to follow easily.

Tarin looks up at the large she wolf. "Na Kree?"

One of the Shamaness' assistants howls from the distance, "Don't forget your *doorknocker* *houseplant*."

Tarin waves his paw forward and perks up his ears questioningly?"

A few minutes down the trail, a small growth of red-blue flowers sprout like miniature horns from a thicket, where the trees begin to thicken into a forest. A tiny insectoid with too many wings flitters near one, then off again.

Before he heads off. He quickly picks a wildflower, and hands it to Kahanoohr. "Smile for me before I leave, please?"

The she wolf grunts. "Rurrruff'rum."

Kahanoohr smiles at the wuf who ran back, despite the yelling Winnowei. "Thank you. Go, Winnowei will make you *shed fur* if you don't go with her quickly."

WolfSinger quickly runs back, chuckling.

From a distance comes an echoing voice. Deep, but feminine. **SWISHYTAIL!**

One of Tarin's ears drops to the side in confusion. Then he looks back at the couple and can't help but grin a bit before his hand fingers the cream and white furred amulet around his neck.

WolfSinger looks at the fox sadly as he catches up to him and Winnowei.

WolfSinger nods to Winnowei. "Lead on!"

Tarin looks at Wolfsinger and smirks amusedly hoping he didn't have to go through wht he did for that smelly bag around his neck.

Winnowei does, following the rising sun toward… who knows where.


GMed by Tarin

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Today is 9 days before New Year's Day, Year 26 of the Reign of Archelaus the First (6125)