Crazy Like a Fox - by Drac

Crazy Like a Fox - by Drac

Postby Drac » Fri Apr 19, 2013 7:54 pm

Arissi poked her pointed nose through the doorway, as her friend Jiub mentioned that the guard was approaching. Being only a bit over half the height of most of the people aboard this vessel, she looked up just in time to see a smirking human sneer at her. "This is where you get off. Follow me." She turned and nodded to her dark-elf friend.. "Arissi hopes to see Jiub again, Jiub is good friend. Much lucks to you!" She scampered after the guard, not wanting to give the oversized lummox a reason to give her more trouble; he'd given her more annoyance than he was worth the entire trip. Keynari weren't terribly popular outside of their island home of Crystamere... then again, it seemed like elves and humans alike tended to look down on those smaller than themselves. She nodded to the Imperial guard... for once, someone actually trying to be pleasant.. and followed him to the Customs office.

An hour or so later, she had a few coins in her pouch, her freedom, and a suggestion to find a "Caius Cosades"... well, perhaps she would... eventually. For now, she was going to make her own life, and futz to any that wanted to keep her from it.

"Arissi thinks that these elves and humans are very silly" she thought; only five days and she'd made several hundred drakes, by prying into nooks and crannies, old stumps and digging under a tree after spotting someone poking around them secretively. Between visiting these places later, and clawing up a silly sod that had murdered the local taxman for flashing around the ring his girlfriend had given him (did that stupid dunmer really think a small-town taxman would be foolish enough to skim and then flaunt it?!?), she'd managed to get a stake together and had learned a healing spell from the local trader. She'd heard of a small town called Pelagiad that sounded worthwhile, so she determined to give it a try... it had to be better than the shacks around Seyda Neen. She padded off just outside of town to where the local caravaner kept his silt strider ready.

"Well, hello there, little one. Looking to go somewhere?" The dunmer woman smiled down at the small vixen.

"Arissi wishes to go... away from here. Anywhere, yesyes, most definitely. Someplace clean! Does nice lady go to place called Pelagiad?" Arissi knew already that she did at times, but... well, the humans and elves seemed to like her better when she played up to their perceptions of the small and fuzzy as being "cute", however foolish it seemed. She'd nipped a chunk or two from hands that seemed intent on rubbing her ears, however; that hurt. Her pointed ears were very sensitive.

"Why, yes, I can take you there, and quickly, as well. You're not a very heavy load, so... ten drakes, and we're off." Arissi didn't even bother to haggle; she just shouldered her bundle (at least that elf trader had had some light armor and a Keynari-sized weapon.. even if it was only a dagger).

"Yesyes, please to let us go, and go now. Arissi has much need to be someplace nicer. Not so swampy-smelly." She clambered into the shell of the enormous beast.. the driver had laid some skins about so that passengers didn't end up half-covered in secretions, but... she wrinkled her nose. Still, it was bound to be faster than trotting along stony trails.

--------------------------***-------------------------

Arissi woke, surprised that she'd been able to nap in the middle of an enormous bug. She licked her lips.. "Is getting there yet, please?" she asked the mahout.

"We've been on our way for only an hour, sera, but you've managed to sleep through most of it already" said the Dunmer. "But we'll be seeing Pelagiad as soon as we cross the ridge ahead." The giant insect's rolling gait seemed almost like the hammock in which Arissi's mother had rocked her, so long ago, though the continual crunching of the thing's pointed leg-spikes into the underbrush and ground always seemed to the young vixen as though she was listening to something grinding its teeth.

She poked her muzzle up over the edge of the chitinous carapace... just as the mahout had indicated, there was one of the towers of the fort showing above the ridgeline. She could get out of this odiferous thing soon. She did NOT like the way that body-juices kept seeping into her fur through her blanket. And, with that thought, the strider's long legs had brought them to the outskirts of the town, next to a small cliffside. Arissi hopped out and *shook* herself, then waved to the mahout and padded downhill toward the town. Here, she could make an actual start; that shantytown fishing village had been helpful, but she'd pretty much mined out the prospects for income there.. at least, without working too hard.

She looked about as one of the guards from the fort passed by.. he sniffed the air, and made a face toward her. "Move along, you" he grunted.

Arissi grinned inwardly. "Please, nice guardsman, Arissi needs most badly to find bath and place to rest, can tell where?" She swished her tail from side to side, a gesture she'd learned that men and elves alike tended to associate with a dog's friendliness. The guard's features softened a bit (though he did move to stand upwind of her), and muttered, "You want the Halfway House, over there. And ask for the bath before you mention a room, the owner'll charge extra for spare sheets if you don't first." He turned and trudged up the hill toward the fort.

Arissi snickered quietly to herself.. somehow, swishing her tail like that always seemed to get her further than if she'd just asked. She turned and padded off toward the tradehouse; hmm, it was getting dark. She looked about, and seeing no one near, prodded open a barrel and box that were standing in the entryway. She nodded, scooping up the few coins scattered around the bottom of the box... and the packet of jerked scrib lying unopened there. Most useful, she'd be hungry tonight, and many inns on the mainland served nothing but stew that was tough and stringy. She had better luck with the barrel, inside there was a pair of finger-sized translucent green stones... she'd heard of these. Soul-gems, if very minor ones. She perked her ears.. someone was approaching! The small fox slipped the lids back approximately in place and leaned against the barrel, trying to look as if she was just lounging lazily... the guard, or another like him, wandered past, giving her a nod. "Fewmets!" she thought, quickly scraping the stones into her bundle, "Arissi must not dawdle so when findings are nice." She ducked into the door.
Last edited by Drac on Fri Apr 19, 2013 8:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Crazy Like a Fox - by Drac

Postby Drac » Fri Apr 19, 2013 7:55 pm

The small vixen peered about in the relatively dim light inside the inn. Some tables, yes, some people.. she padded next to a Dunmer male. "Excusing please, are owner? Arissi needs place to sleep."

The Dunmer looked about as if wondering where the question had come from, then slowly looked down toward the fox and grinned. "Ya we to nabi, mi Dovanni. Sorry I, Ashlandi am." He pointed toward the far corner of the room; "Bar."

Arissi couldn't help herself, she giggled aloud like a kit. "Arissi sorries, but is nice man." She swished her tail a bit for him, which brought out another smile. It always worked... she turned and trotted in the indicated direction, and suddenly was able to make out several standing forms in the murkiness. One looked like an Imperial woman, given the look of her clothing, another Dunmer male, and.. hmmm, what was this? A Khajiit? She'd only seen another a long time ago, one of the big Suthay-Cath, but this one looked slender even under his.. no, wait, HER robe. She decided she'd like to speak with that one later, but for now, her eyes were as heavy as if someone had clipped a stone to her lids. She tugged at the Dunmer's sleeve when he came near; "Please to speak with Arissi? Has travelled long, needs sleep."

"Ha, well, aren't you something new! Well, I think you'll like our beds like everyone else... I'm Diviliem Vheksa, and I run this barn. Ten drakes will get you a warm bed for the entire rest of the day, if you still want it, little pretty." He was plump, the first Dunmer Arissi'd seen that wasn't almost thin, though something seemed odd about his smile; perhaps a little forced, that. She decided to be a bit more careful before sleeping. "Well, now? If you want the room, you'd better speak up; I have customers waiting."

Arissi glanced around the room, and mentally growled a little. Three others besides her, and he acted like this was a busy night. Right... she fished the coins from her bundle and counted them into those pudgy fingers, then followed his directions to the door to her room. At least it looked like a good, solid... wait. She lolled her tongue in a foxish grin. Sure, the door looked solid, for it was. However... the latch and lock looked to her as if a tug just *so* might.. }snap!{ And yes, just like that, the door would have opened even if she'd "locked" it. Some people thought that everyone were fools. She entered, looking around, and then pulled the door closed, set the lock... and then wedged an iron spike into the keyhole on her side, set just *so*. She gape-grinned, then blinked and quickly poked her nose under the bed.. no, empty. She looked in the cheap trunk at the foot of the bed.. also empty, and that crate holding the candle rattled when she nudged it, so nobody could hide in there. Maybe things were all right... she still tossed a few small metal trinkets about the floor, a trick she'd learned long ago watching some Imperial children play a game called "jacks"; several sharp bits of metal arrayed so that each always had one or two sharp points poking upward. Nobody'd be able to sneak up on her tonight, not without puncturing themselves. She made her way to set the wooden mug against the door as well, so it'd make a noise if it opened despite her precautions, then leapt onto the bed and stomped around a bit.. no surprises.

Arissi grinned, lolling her tongue, then yawned *hard*; she really *was* becoming sleepy after all that. She shimmied out of her clothing and slithered under the blanket. Between the blanket and her fur, she was toasty-warm in moments, and turned to blow out the candle.

========**************==========

Something wasn't right.

Arissi stirred slightly, feeling... wrong. She perked her triangular ears; someone was at the door. The faint clicking of someone tugging oddly at the handle had woken her. She felt for her bundle, set on the bed between her and the wall. The wooden mug slide along the floor; the door was opening, very slowly. She slipped her paw inside the bundle, then eased her pillow under the blanket beside her, and swung silently over the edge of the bed... and underneath. After a moment or two, she could make out a slowly-moving shape, a patch of darkness against the lesser darkness, moving toward the bed.

The shape seemed to almost glide floatingly toward the bed; the fox watched from her hidden place, until the shape stopped, as if listening. Perhaps her pillow was too quiet, too motionless. She nudged upward against the straw-filled mattress, between the boards, and muttered.. "Hmmmrrmrrmrmrmlll.." as if stirring in her sleep. The shape became at once tense, and completely still; a faint gleam showed in one hand, a blade... a darkened blade. A moment passed... two... then the vixen felt a sharp *thump* above her as something struck the pillow and mattress. She slashed at the ankles of whoever that was, and was rewarded with a stifled grunt as she felt her own dagger strike *something*. A heavier thump above and a groan emerged as a heavy body struck the bed; she skittered down to curl up in a small space down by the foot of the bed, with the trunk covering her from one side.

"N'wah... you little slinker, you're dead!" The figure's grating voice growled, groanings of the boards giving away the assassin's place on the mattress, then feet struck the floor.. and a gasp sounded, just before a heavy body struck the floor. "What did you do to my legs! I'll take my time with you, for this!" Then, almost as an afterthought, "Ahhh! What.. ouch! What are these.. you fuzzy rat!"

Arissi snickered aloud, skittering out from under the bed by pushing the trunk away. She scrambled to her paws, balanced and curling her lips to show small fangs, with her dagger slowly weaving from side to side in front of her. "Why wishes stupid Dunmer to slay Arissi, what has Arissi done to be worth killing!"

The Dunmer looked up at her, uncomprehending for a moment; a jack in the side of his cheek trickled blood, as did both ankles; she'd scored with that first strike. The fool had fallen on several of her jacks, as well. She wished now that she'd been able to coat them with some sort of paralyzing venom.

"H-h-how..." stammered the dark-clad Dunmer... she could see now that the skin about his ankles, where the windings of dark material had bbeen slashed away, was grey-blue... "you're just an animal..."

Arissi *snarled* loudly, half-hissing. "Animal! Arissi did not slink into female's bedroom, did not hide in darkness, did not try to slay one whom had done her no harm! Arissi is Keynari.. remember in next life!" With that, she was in the air, leaping... and landed on the Dunmer's chest, her weight driving the dagger through what felt like layers of leather. The results were, of course, predictable.

What followed was predictable as well.. Arissi reeled, she'd just killed someone. She flopped to one side and was quite thoroughly sick for several long moments. Eeeewww... she'd have to have another bath, and soon. She lay on her side and panted for a minute, until feet came pounding up the stairs and slid to a halt just outside her door.

"Vhek! What IS all this!" shouted the innkeeper. He looked angry, as if Arissi had deliberately made the mess and noise.. but when he looked at the large corpse, he seemed to turn several shades lighter. "Lady preserve me!" He turned and clumsily ran back the way he'd came, two left feet thumping down the stairs.

Arissi finally lit the candle, and turned to get a look at her assailant, expecting some stupid thief. What was this?!? Someone wrapped head to feet in windings of thin leather, and with some kind of lenses for eyes? She blinked and felt a surge in her stomach again... but no. She calmed a bit... this was no monster, but someone dressed as one. She didn't like the look of that blade jammed into her blanket and pillow, either... it looked very strange. She sniffed toward it.. wait a minute, that's.. she licked tentatively at the crosspiece. Yes... rat-grease. She wrapped a cloth around the pommel and slid it free, to gleam greenly in the air. The vixen blinked several times, and scrubbed it with the towel... yes, it was.. a glass crysdagger. Then this was no thief, or even thug sent to kill her, this was a professional assassin, surely. The bath could wait! She gathered up her bundle, slipping the first things that came to paw over her fur, and dashed out the door, though she had the presence of mind to keep the crysdagger. Down the stairs, through the common room past the shouts of the innkeeper, outside and down the street!

Arissi didn't stop for what felt like miles, until she couldn't run another step, and collapsed against a tree, panting. She was glad she hadn't run into a guar or something, she was in no frame of mind to do anything but run. Her ears flicked this way and that, but no sounds of pursuit came... she slumped a bit more, and then wriggled her way into a hollow beneath some of the larger roots; a big tree, indeed. "Arissi, you silly thing, are luckyluckylucky! Should have died!" Even with all of this upon her mind, she was asleep almost instantly.
Last edited by Drac on Fri Apr 19, 2013 9:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Crazy Like a Fox - by Drac

Postby Drac » Fri Apr 19, 2013 7:56 pm

She woke slowly, curled tightly in her blanket against the chill air. "Is cold for inn, silly innkeeper cheats to save money, no wood for fire." Suddenly her almond-shaped eyes blinked open. She wasn't at the inn, she was under a large tree-root.. no wonder it was chilly. Was the inn a dream? No.. no, there was that green dagger's carved pommel poking from her bundle. It was real, an assassin had tried to.. to..

"Yiyiyipe!" She jumped, forgetting where she was, and with a *bonk!* she thumped her head on the root overhead. "Owwwwww!" She blinked back tears.. "Not fair, dumb tree hits Arissi when Arissi is not looking!" She scrambled to her feet and gathered her bundle, wrapping it in the blanket; she had to do something, but what? She was surely still a target; nobody hires an assassin and then forgets the matter! She looked about wildly... no, nobody around, even though she was right next to the sign just outside Pelagiad. What a place to hide, she might as well have been in the middle of the path. "Crazy vixen! Will end up as rug or something even sillier!" she thought to herself.

What to do, what to do? Wait, she saw an Imperial guard at the edge of the town. She turned and dashed directly for the armored figure, her voice barely more than a yelp; "Hi! Hi! Please wait for Arissi, must talk with brave guardsman!"

The guard, a grizzled veteran from the pacification campaigns in the Black Marshes, saw only an orange-furred creature dashing toward him, shouting something that sounded like excited barking. He took a step back, and half-drew his broadsword. "Hold up, you!" It took him a moment to realize that this must be one of those strange fox-like beast races from the southern islands.

Arissi immediately skidded to a stop.. were all in on this plan to slay her? Her eyes went wide, and she dropped to the grass, shivering... if the Imperials wanted her dead, she'd end up running for her whole life.. no, wait, the guardsman was sheathing his sword again.She shivered again, but looked up, trying to swish her tail. "P-please, not to kill poor Arissi? Is in so much trouble already..."

The soldier couldn't help but grin at himself... this tiny creature looked more like a pet dog wearing clothes than a citizen, and that brushlike tail was.. well. He squared his shoulders. "I'm sorry, sera, but you startled me, rushing me like that." He offered a mailed hand, "Stand up, please. Now, what's the trouble?"

Arissi felt almost faint at the sudden rush of relief. She accepted the (large and almost crushing) hand, getting to her feet; she clutched her bundle, her tail unconsciously slipping down between her legs. She felt her ears laying flat to the back of her head, but couldn't help it; she was as frightened as she'd ever been. "Arissi sorries, would never try to hurt nice guard, but is so afraid! Last night Arissi sleeps at inn, but a big assassin comes into Arissi's room and tries to kill poor Arissi! What to do, Arissi does not know, what is to be done, please?" She quickly described the attack.

He stood there blinking for a moment. This tiny thing had killed a Dark Brotherhood assassin? The leather armor and eye-coverings of Dwemer lenses made that much a certainty; who would ever believe this? "My apologies, sera, but are you sure that you were attacked? Maybe he was after someone nearby?"

Arissi shook her head violently, pointed muzzle whipping from side to side. "Nonono, Arissi saw, came so carefully into Arissi's room. Arissi was only lucky to be awake and slip under bed so pillow was stabbed and not Arissi. Only way to live was to slay wicked slayer!" She clutched her bundle and half-heartedly tried to bury her muzzle in the blanket wrapping it.

The guard scratched under the edge of his chain-coiff; this was a new one. If this.. Keynari, that was the name, he thought.. if a simple forest rat stared at her too hard, she looked as though she'd be knocked flying. "My name is Belarius, sera. Did you really kill the assassin yourself? I saw the slashes around his ankles, but it never occured to me that someone had been UNDER the bed. If he really was after you, well, they're very bad people. I'll make a report, but your best bet's to get yourself to Ebonheart and see the new commander from the mainland. He knows a lot more about these sorts of situations... oh, his name's Apelles Matius, or something like that. You'll know him when you see him, he's wearing some exceptional armor. It's like steel, but it doesn't rust, and it always has a kind of dull shine to it."

The small vixen blinked; that was a lot to absorb all at once. If possible, her ears would have flattened even more. The Dark Brotherhood.. whenever she heard someone mention them, it was never anything good, or even honorable, just some sort of murder. She bobbed her muzzle rapidly. "Arissi will do so, yes, very much so. Arissi thanks the nice guardsman Belarius, veryveryvery much, will go to Ebonhart. Arissi does not have much, but..." She held up a small purse, though it seemed heavy with coins. "Arissi is grateful."

Belarius put up a hand... "Thank you, Arissi, but I can't accept a reward, I'm just doing my duty. You'd better get to Ebonheart as fast as you can, there might very well be another of those scum in the area. They don't usually miss their target, probably have a backup man around here somewhere."

Arissi blinked.. another assassin? She hadn't thought of that.. she blinked again, she'd never heard of an Imperial who didn't want a reward for doing his job. She did the next thing that came into her head that she'd seen humans do.. she threw her arms around the man's hips and hugged, remembering to swish her tail. "Arissi thanks so much.. will remember good Belarius. Must run now, are so very right!" She turned and dashed down the path toward the southeast; the Imperial fortress at Ebonheart was somewhere off in that direction, she knew. She'd find it... she only had to follow the scent of oils and metals... civilization. Mrf. She backed away from the guardsman, turned and trotted off, her bundle a half-forgotten lump in her arms.

"That poor thing's no bigger than my own daughter" thought Belarius. "Poor creature, she'll probably never make it. Still you never know." He thought about what he'd seen on the dead assassin's chest; a cheap Ashland dagger buried to the hilt through thick windings of leather... say, she'd been barefoot. Of course, that would explain the eight small scrapes in the leather around the crosspiece of the.. dagger. He looked after the fleeing fox. "She had to have *landed* on the dagger as it struck... maybe she's tougher than I thought, and maybe tougher than she thinks, too." He shrugged... he had a report to make, the captain would be waiting. He turned toward the fort, leaving the Keynari to her flight.
Last edited by Drac on Fri Apr 19, 2013 11:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Crazy Like a Fox - by Drac

Postby Drac » Fri Apr 19, 2013 7:57 pm

Arissi kept up a measured trot, though she wanted rather badly to just.. run, all-out. Another assassin.. she'd barely survived the first, by trickery. Every tree, every bush seemed likely to hide a black-clad hunter, thirsting for her blood; every bend in the path made her fur crawl. She clutched her bundle, though the assassin's dagger was now tucked inside her blouse, pommel easily reached. In the open, she was sure she'd be no match for even some sort of apprentice, let alone a real assassin. Why would someone want her dead so very much, whywhy?

----------*********----------

The Dunmer waited alongside the road, idly picking at his nails with a daggerpoint... that merchant had been easy to intimidate, and now his own purse was fat. He'd even felt generous enough to let the old sot waddle off with all of his wares, and even a little gold still in his purse; "Nelos, you must be getting old and mellow!" he grinned to himself. "You'd have picked him clean and kept his guar to carry everything when you were younger. Ahh, but he had a heavy purse, and life's been good to you lately, why not leave the old sheep some means to grow more wool... so he could be sheared again?" He chuckled and looked down the path in the direction of the netch-herders' plantations.. no, nobody in sight. He shrugged and turned to look back toward Pel... wait, what's this? He stepped back behind the boulder, and peered out between the branches of a comberry bush. Not an Elf of any sort, nor nor one of the humans, not with those legs. Nor an Argonian, they had much wider faces... a Khajiit? No, not unless it was a child. A pity, he rather liked Khajiit voices and mannerisms. What was this creature? It was female, at least, and whipping her head about as if she was afraid. He stepped out as she came near.

"Well, hello there!" The (rather pretty, he thought) woman skidded to a halt.. no, definitely not Khajiit, this one's muzzle was narrow and kind of pointed. Not unattractive in that, either. "Don't be afraid, it's just old Nelos, out for a spring's walk... and to stop passers-by for a purse inspection." He grinned.. an old and hoary joke, but he still liked it.

Arissi clutched her bundle tightly, blinking at this apparition that had almost magically appeared in front of her. Not her assassin, she thought, one of those would have waylaid her without warning, surely. But who?!? "Please, am just Arissi, must get to Ebonheart for important errand. Who is Nelos, why stops poor Arissi?" She tried to keep her tail from between her legs.

Nelos smiled disarmingly and spread his open hands a bit, stepping toward the shivering girl. "Why, nobody at all, really. I'm just here to see that your purse is not too heavy for such a small and delicate creature. Would you tell me your race? I've not seen one of your kind before."

Arissi swallowed... then blinked. "Is only to rob poor Arissi? Arissi is very poor, yes. Must big Nelos take what little Arissi has?" She tried to swish her tail a little, though it stubbornly kept itself thrust between her calves.

Nelos leaned back and laughed aloud. "Haha, surely I am not so wicked as all that. From such a pretty little one, I would steal only... a single kiss, to brighten the day. Would you be willing to part with such a treasure, little Arissi?"

The vixen blinked again.. a kiss? That was what the elves and humans did when they touched muzzles.. um, lips, she thought. She looked down, her ears flattened a little. "All right, Arissi will let herself be robbed. Are nice enough for wicked bandit, Arissi surrenders this treasure and knowledge. Arissi is Keynari, from Southern Isles region, south of Elseweyr." She looked up, leaning upward upon her toes nervously.

Nelos leaned down and touched lips with the furred girl, then gently wrapped her in his arms and pressed his kiss just a trifle more firmly, feeling the delicious sensation of a fearful girl's trembling slowly ceasing. Yes, she was realizing that he genuinely meant her no harm and was but teasing... though he would prefer to 'steal' his kisses from a willing and lovely Elf, of course. He dropped his arms and stepped back.. "And now I will take my leave of you, good lady. If you are ever in Pelagiad, I might well be in a dark corner of the tradehouse there... you never know when old Nelos might prove to be someone worth knowing. You need never fear me." He looked upward suddenly, over the fox's shoulder, and she startled, whipping her head about.. but there was nothing. When she looked back, Nelos was gone.

Arissi flicked her ears this way and that, and sniffed the air, the Elf's scent still in her mind. How could he be away so quickly? Was he wizard? She snorted, a short sharp *snurf*. "Arissi, silly vixen, will imagine Daedric Princes leaping out of flowers next!" She looked around once more.. he hadn't been mean at all, in fact quite gentle... but he was still a robber, of course, and had made her very fearful for a few moments. Satisfied that he was in neither eyesight nor hearing, nor scenting, she checked her bundle and tightened one of the cords, then trotted down the trail again. She hoped it would be a while before he noticed that his own load was a little lighter; his purse (a heavy one!) was nestled in the cloth of her bundle, where it wouldn't jingle. Males were so easy...
Last edited by Drac on Fri Apr 19, 2013 11:42 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Crazy Like a Fox - by Drac

Postby Drac » Fri Apr 19, 2013 7:58 pm

It was a lot further than she'd thought to Ebonheart... she'd slept twice on the way already, though she'd woken from the second just a short while ago. She'd been following this same path for such a long time, at least a day and a half. Before she'd slept the night before, she'd counted her funds... nineteen little piles of dime-sized coins, each a hundred Imperials. She almost felt wealthy, it was easily the most money she'd ever seen, let alone had. She knew that she was sure to need every single coin once she'd managed to get to the capitol, however. "Arissi, are silly fox. Things sure to be expensive, and silly vixen has such need, money to buy advice, money to buy place to sleep, money to pay for not-empty belly... g'nah!" She checked the several pouches tucked ito her bundle carefully, then resumed trotting along the path. The road had turned southward earlier in the morning, and she was hoping that she was getting near her goal.

"Whumpf!" growled the kagouti... it'd been a lousy morning so far, no tasty grubs or small animals, only grass and a few stoneflowers. Not good forage... what was that? It tensed, holding very still, save for a swaying of its leathery tail. Something was different...

Arissi paused, raising her nose into the air, nostrils twitching as she sniffed. She'd caught something... something to be avoided, or so the hackles at the nape of her neck were telling her. She looked around.. "YEEEP!" A kagouti, charging straight for her! She turned and ran, knowing full well that it was faster.. "Run! Run.. run.. run run runrunrun!" All she could do for the first dozen steps was mouth the word, ears flattened and her eyes wide.
She funbled with her bundle, all the while hearing the creature's grunts grow louder behind her. She felt the hilt of the glass dagger, and yanked it free, scrambling over a large log and ducking behind it. The kagouti planted one of its clawed feet on the log, leaping over... now! Arissi thrust upward as hard as she could, praying that she was strong enough.. Keynari weren't known for power of limb.

The crystalline glass blade was as sharp as its reputation, slicing scales as if they were thin cloth. The kagouti coughed a loud "KWUH!" and landed just the other side of the fuzzy creature. It'd been hurt, somehow, but it didn't feel bad... it tried to struggle to its two feet, shaking its tusks... then felt the strength drain from its body and flopped into the steaming pile of entrails beneath it and gasped before slumping, lifeless.

Arissi looked at the great hulking beast, then at her wet arm and hand, both slick from the kagouti. She looked at the creature again, and blinked, then prodded it with one footpaw. It moved a bit, but then just laid there. "Are dead?" She asked. "Not going to gore Arissi and make into meal?" She suddenly sat down on the grass, hard enough to make her "Uff!", and curled up nealy into a ball for a long moment. Afterward, she cleaned herself up in a nearby stream, bething as long as she could in the chilly water, splashing and panting. After shaking off, she quickly dressed and sat for a bit to rest, looking the dagger over.. it was the sharpest thing she'd ever seen, though now one edge had some tiny nicks and scrapes from the kagouti's rough hide. The kagouti... she hopped up and studied the carcass. Later, as she was trotting along the trail again, she had a roll of the finer-scaled belly-hide of the thing strapped to the underside of her bundle.. maybe she could sell it or something.
Last edited by Drac on Fri Apr 19, 2013 11:40 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Crazy Like a Fox - by Drac

Postby Drac » Fri Apr 19, 2013 7:59 pm

The young vixen padded steadily along the path. She was growing weary, but at least she knew that she was headed in the right direction; that signpost an hour back had definitely said that Ebonheart was in this direction. Perhaps that was one of the towers, looming up out of the evening fog, past the tree ahead? No... it was just some sort of bridge. Arissi kept trotting along, clutching her bundle; she reminded herself again (for perhaps the twentieth time) that she needed some sort of pack, or perhaps an animal to carry her things; her arms felt ready to leap off of her shoulders and wander off on their own.

Idelien sat underneath the tree by the Vivec bridge to the Hlaalu canton, enjoying the shade and breeze. He'd spent several days trading his wares in Vivec, and now was feeling ready to head home to Ald'Rhun... he'd done tolerably well, all things considered. His bale of kresh fiber hadn't brought as much as he'd hoped, but more than he'd actually expected, and the half-dozen shards of glass crystal he'd picked up here and there had brought a very nice (and welcome) windfall. He patted his bundle.. some new clothing for himself and his wife, a heavier purse, and a letter of credit from House Redoran would make for light travel. He squinted northward along the road... someone was coming. One of the Beast races... ah, well. Their gold was as good as anyone else's, though those sotty Argonians always gave him an odd feeling, as if they were sizing him up for a roast. This one didn't look scaled, at least from the distance.. Khajiit were much more pleasant, for his taste, they had nice manners... even if you had to watch where their paws went; things tended to stick to them. No, this one was either a child, or... oh! He smiled... that must be one of those Southern races, what were they called? The doglike ones, from... Keynar, that was it, the southernmost chain of islands. He rubbed his hands... he hadn't met one of them before, and new experiences were rare.

Arissi saw the fellow before he rose from where he'd been sitting... she'd smelled someone on the breeze, and wondered if it would be friend, foe, annoyance or just someone to pass and nod. "This one wishes *something*" she thought. "Maybe just to say hello, or maybe trade. No robber is silly enough to do nasty things while bridge-guard can see." She turned slightly and padded toward him, gaping her jaws a little in what she'd come to think of as being like the mers and humans' smiles. "Hello, nice man. Arissi is Arissi, wishes the nice man to speak?" She tried the usual trick of swishing her tail a bit...

Idelien smiled. This little creature couldn't possibly do any harm, he.. no, definitely she... didn't quite reach the height of his own chest. The Altmer nodded, "Welcome, then, Arissi. You are surely a long way from home, how may I help you? Idelien I am, and a chat might do well on a fair eve such as this. You're headed for Vivec, or perhaps Ebonheart?"

Arissi nodded rapidly. "Ebonheart, yes, please! Can tell Arissi if bridge goes there? Arissi is pleased happily to meet Idle-e-en." She set her bundle down on the grass and stretched her arms, blinking as one of her elbows *popped* loudly. "Ow." She rubbed her arm, and flicked her ears, trying to keep them from dropping at the embarrassing sound.
Idelien laughed, "Long trips holding weight will do that, I'm afraid. I'm beginning the long trip home, myself, soon. I'd been in Vivec on a trading trip; yes, that bridge leads to Vivec, I'm afraid, Ebonheart is a good half-day further south down that path. But it's a pleasant walk, and after an hour there's a large field filled with flowers and shade-trees, if you like."

Arissi's ears perked.. a half-day? Well, that was much better than hearing it was a week further, she thought. "Are trader? What trades Idle-e-en, maybe has something for Arissi?" Her tail flicked from side to side, this time of its own volition. "Silly vixen, now shows true self.. never could resist shopping for trades."

Idelien chuckled.. "I've done most of my trading, but..." He looked the fox over... "If you're going to Ebonheart, you might want some better clothing. Shall I show you what I have? Most would be much too large, but some items I'd bought for my daughter might fit you. I can afford to go back into Vivec and see about others." At the little vixen's nod, he unrolled the packet he'd carried there earlier that morning. "This and these are for someone my size, but Silelian is only ten.. she'd be about your size. You're from Keynar, I take it?"

Arissi nodded, bobbing her muzzle. "Keynari is Arissi, yesyes, all Keynari are not so very big as golden Elf. But are quick, many acrobats and jugglers, make music and tumble to make nice people smile. Also helps to let see world, because mer like to see." She looked down at the shirts, skirts, pants and gloves the Altmer was laying out. "Mmmmrrrmm, Arissi likes, but please to not bother with gloves.. would ruin to wear." She flexed her hands, letting the trader see them more clearly. "Claws, yes? But are very pretty gloves." Yes, there were a couple of nice shirts, and some pants that she thought would go nicely with them. "How much asks Idle-e-en for this, this and these two, please?"

Idelien thought... he'd intended those for his daughter's en'elienne, but... it wouldn't take long to get the same thing again, an hour or so, perhaps. "I don't know, those are expensive, Arissi." He looked her over again, appraisingly. Simple country-ish shirt and pants, and the bundle she had beside her paws looked similar. "How would you want to pay for these?"

Arissi's ears dropped slightly. They must cost a very great deal, then. "Arissi has some money... perhaps would trade? Arissi sees nice trader has knives and daggers, perhaps could trade some?" She dug in her bundle and slid out the crystal dagger. It looked very nice and gleamed brightly, once she'd cleaned the rat-grease from it, and she'd heard some time ago that glass items were worth a great deal. She hated to part with it, but... she held it up to catch the morning sun.

Idelien blinked.. and stared, hard. "That's... quite acceptable, Arissi. It's very, um, pretty." He swallowed.. that would be worth his entire trip, if he could get her to part with it for what he could afford. "In fact, in trade for that, you may have both the shirts, both the pants and what blades you can see here, for that trinket."

Arissi's eyes narrowed, and she had to actively try not to lick her lips.. so it was true, she *did* have a small fortune in her paws. And this mer wanted it badly, she could see and even smell it. "Arissi is not sure, is very valuable. Would like nice clothes and things, but is afraid that perhaps nice Idle-e-en could not afford green knife?"

Idelien sighed inwardly. The fox was more observant than he'd guessed.. she must have noticed his surprise, and guessed that the dagger was rare. "All right, Arissi, let me make you an offer. I'd guess that that knife is worth a good deal, and I'll not try to cheat you. If you'll give me that blade, I'll give you a thousand Imperials, the clothing, the daggers and the throwing knives... and just to show that I like you... you may have this, as well." He slid an ornate bauble from underneath his shirt, an amulet that gleamed slightly, in shifting glints. "It is valuable, itself."

Arissi's nose twitched, and her eyes widened a bit. "Is very pretty," she breathed. "Arissi smells magicka, too, what does this thing?"

The trader suppressed a start. Keynari can smell magicka? "It's a token of healing, if you scrape yourself, or fall or something, just hold it in your hand and will for it to heal you, and it will. It takes some concentration, but it's been a help to me a number of times. It becomes tired then, I suppose you might say, but it will regain its strength again shortly, and you can use it again and again." He crouched a bit, and held it up to give the Keynari a better view. "It's been quite literally a lifesaver for me."

Arissi swallowed.. an enchanted amulet. Her instincts were telling her to get it at any price, but she fought them down. "Nice new clothes, both daggers, all throwing knives, money and pretty amulet, then, yes? Is what offers Idle-e-en?"

Idelien nodded slowly.. it was a fairly heavy offer, for him, but... that dagger was worth at least a couple of thousand drakes, and it'd mean a considerably larger profit for him if she'd give in. Besides, he thought, if she was happy with the bargain, and he was as well, then both could profit... a fair trade in anyone's book. "Just like that, Arissi. I'll even go one step more... you may have the pack that I carried all of this in, I can get another. I can't afford to offer more." He waited, shifting slightly. He'd have to remember this encounter if he ran into another Keynari, if a young one could barter like this.. what might a seasoned trader do? Probably trade him out of his pants...

Arissi whuffed quietly, then nodded quickly, trying not to bounce on her paws. Lucky fox, lucky fox! She'd have funds for whatever she needed, at least for a while.. "Arissi agrees, will trade just like Idle-e-en says." She patted the flat of the short blade with her hand. "Please to be very careful, Arissi has no sheath, and green knife cuts kagouti hide as if was softest cloth. Arissi wishes no harm to nice trader who treats Arissi so fairly." She carefully turned the blade in her hands, pommel toward the trader, watching as he separated out the garments that were too large for the fox. She smiled when he wrapped her bundle in with her new acquisitions and buckled the straps.. that looked much more comfortable. She carefully handled the big mer the blade, and tucked the two steel daggers from the trade into her belt.

Idelien made a show of pretending to wipe his brow of imaginary sweat. "You drive a hard bargain, little fox-lady" he smiled. "I'm glad to have met you. If we meet again, I'll try to have more that you'd like."

Arissi hefted the pack and gape-smiled in return. "Arissi is happy.. her purse is heavier, and does not have to weary her poor arms. Arissi thanks the nice Idle-e-en, would like to trade again someday." She flicked her tail once, and held up a hand to wiggle her fingers, then turned to pad southward, toward where Idelien had indicated Ebonheart. She looked back over her shoulder and waved.. she was quite happy with her trade.

Idelien waved in return, watching the (rather pretty, now that he thought about it) Keynari trot off. He looked at the dagger in his hands... this was a lucky week for nim, it seemed. Good trades earlier, and now he had yet another trade to make. He turned toward the bridge, and laid a drake on the post near the guardsman. It never hurt to have the good will of the local militia, he thought as he walked back over the bridge toward the trading centers of Vvardenfell's largest city.
Last edited by Drac on Fri Apr 19, 2013 11:38 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Crazy Like a Fox - by Drac

Postby Drac » Fri Apr 19, 2013 7:59 pm

He was sitting in a dark corner at the Halfway inn in Pelagiad when this.. creature.. came in. He'd taken her for a smallish Khajiit when he first saw her, but no Khajiit he'd ever seen had a long and pointed nose like hers, and that tail... much too thick. He leaned back and sipped his ale... this was a new one. She spoke with the barkeep, and talked for a moment with the female Khajiit in the back, before heading up the stairs... he smiled. She surely belonged to one if the islander beast races, most of whom were very naive regarding northern ways. He loosened his belt a notch.. he'd need to feel agile and easy soon, when he 'shared the wealth' a bit later.

After three hours of playing bones with some of the locals, and keeping his drinking to the single ale, he finally rose from his seat and nodded to the barkeep. He'd have to remember to give him his share, of course; it's a good business arrangement to have a key readily available. He'd never killed a "customer" yet, and Diviliem appreciated that... no messes, and no suspicions on the innkeeper, who was always entirely too willing to extend credit for someone who's had such bad luck as to be robbed. He collected the spare key and slowly climbed the stairs... the first room on the left, that's the one. Wait, it was open.. no light was showing, was the creature so stupid as to sleep with the door actually open? He crept near, and froze; someone was moving inside, a darker shadow inside, someone moving very slowly. Gods, he'd stumbled into an assassination! Could that little female be important, somehow? That looked like strips of leather... the figure stopped moving and he could see a faint green gleam, and a raised fist.. he'd seen him. He nodded and backed away, slowly. You don't ignore a threat from one of the Dark Brotherhood, not if you liked this business of being allowed to keep breathing. He slowly backed away from the open door, before he heard a short grunt and the sound of a heavy body striking the floor. That couldn't be that little...

"Ahh! What are these... you fuzzy rat! You're dead!" Dven couldn't understand for a moment, he wouldn't have thought that an assassin would warn a victim! Wait, that sounded like a bark of some sort.. some scuffling, and a short, sharp series of loud yaps, followed by the sounds of tussling. He couldn't resist poking his nose around the corner, just in time to see the bare-furred female leap toward the (downed? Hard to believe!) assassin holding a whitish dagger, planting her small feet (paws?) on the crosspieces of the blade, and.. landing on the assassin's chest, between his grasping arms. The dark-armored figure stiffened and slumped, and the female sagged to her side on the floor, retching. She hadn't seen him; he ducked back and slipped back downstairs, muttering. That thing was vicious, he'd been lucky; if she could kill an assassin from her nightbed, she'd surely have made short work of him! Still, he had to admire her... what were those foxlike creatures called, anyway?

"Keynari, she said she was" said Diveliem, "and I don't believe a word of it. That little thing couldn't have hurt a rat, much less a grown man, and an assassin at that!"

"You didn't see what I saw, you old toad. I tell you, she was naked as if she'd been asleep, the bed was rumpled, and yet she killed him as neat as neat. Here's your key back, as if I'd have needed it with your special locks. If I were you, I'd go find out for myself... but I'd make some noise before entering, so she didn't mistake me for another assassin and knock me on the head just for fun."

Diveliem shook his head.. he'd seen everything, now. Dven, frightened of a little.. um, Keynari frail, a Dark Brotherhood assassin in his own inn (not likely, that; Dven's up to something, surely) and now.. wait, here comes the Keynari, we'll see now. "Back to your table, Dven, I see the Keynari coming downstairs." He blinked when Dven not only moved away, but popped out the front door as if a guard were after him. He listend wide-eyed as the obviously-frightened girl told him that there was a dead assassin upstairs, and "would he please see was removed so Arissi could sleep?" She must have gotten lucky and the assassin was some apprentice that tripped over his own feet...

Dven leaned against the wall for a moment, catching his breath. He hoped he never misjudged anyone so badly again, he'd lose his skin for certain. The Bosmer shrugged when a guard looked him over in the light of his torch and said "Keep moving, you." Idiot. He turned and headed down the path out of town. He'd had it.. there were certain to be better pickings around Ebonheart and the road leading to it, and less likely to have killer Keyna-whatevers leaping out at you. Dangerous things.

--------------***--------------

After three days, he'd had no luck; not even a lousy rat to gut and roast. He chewed on one of his dwindling supply of scrib jerky sticks, and muttered. His luck had been all bad since he'd left Pelagiad. Wait, it looked like.. yes, someone was coming down the road. Finally! He ducked behind a comberry bush, and waited, fingering his knife. Beast race, it was, they were usually easy enough to intimida.. oh, no... it couldn't be... the Keynari-creature. He decided to just stay right where he was, she was more than welcome to pass right on by. Better a couple of days' hunger than to be... right. She'd seen him, she'd stopped and was waving. "Arissi sees you, hider! Please come out and speak with Arissi, Arissi promises not to bite unless must!" Was that a Keynari giggle, that lolling of the tongue? He shrugged.. might as well put on a brave face. He stood up and brushed off his pants; "I can see that you've a sharp eye, miss. I just didn't want to disturb your day, you were trotting along so gaily."

Arissi studied this one, this hider-behind-bushes. She thought he was probably a robber, but she was hoping very hard that he was just shy, or wanted to be alone. She wasn't about to chance him slipping up behind her later, though. "Arissi is glad for company, has been frightened by wicked kagouti. Four eyes much better than two, yes?"

Dven chuckled nervously. "As long as they're on two heads, and not just one, eh?" Well, that got a smile from her, anyway. "If you're afraid, I suppose I could walk along with you for a time. My name is Dven, Dven... Sevim, at your service." He tried to bow a bit, and added a comical flourish. That brought a wider smile, so he decided that playing the clown might keep him on her better side, and thus unskewered. Teller of unlikely tales, spreader of secrets, and protector of small ladies needing escort."

Arissi smiled and curtsied. "Arissi am I, and much pleased to meet the funny and nice man Dven. Are going to Ebonheart, perhaps?"

Dven groaned inwardly... he should have known. "Why, yes... we can walk together if you like, for as you say, four eyes are better than two. Also, a pleasant companion makes the miles fade more quickly." He stepped down to the path and offered his arm. Maybe she wasn't a vicious killer after all.. he hoped. This promised to be an unusual afternoon.
Last edited by Drac on Fri Apr 19, 2013 11:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Crazy Like a Fox - by Drac

Postby Drac » Fri Apr 19, 2013 8:01 pm

They'd been walking together since the day before, when Dven suddenly looked up and around.. "Arissi, you'd better hide; I just heard something." The vixen nodded and ducked underneath a small overhang of rock, though she kept her eyes scanning the surroundings from within the shadow. "She's very quick", thought Dven. He'd almost forgotten his fear of the Keynari girl from the day before; but for now, there was that hunting cry he'd heard. He stepped into the shadow of a mushroom "tree" and shaded his eyes, looking rapidly in a circle.. yes, there it was, drat the luck. A cliff-racer... sotted things, they were a dangerous nuisance. It hadn't spotted them yet, just hovering in place, flapping against the breeze. Probably looking for a rat or something.. well, it wasn't going to feast on elf and fox today, not if he could help it. He'd gotten to like the slim Keynari, she kept up a pleasant chat much of the way so far, without sliding into the babble that some people used in place of actual conversation. He didn't have his old bow, drat the luck; how to get rid of the thing? He was watching the predator and trying to think of a solution, when the racer wavered and dropped a good fifty feet suddenly, before it seemed to recover and turn in circles, shrieking. Dven blinked, and then caught a flash of something silvery moving toward the creature from the corner of his eye. What in the Void...?

Arissi scrambled up next to him, holding a blade in each dark-furred hand by its point. She whipped one arm back and then extended it toward the flyer, and Dven watched, open-mouthed, as that silvery blade, too, spun through the air.. arching to meet the oncoming racer, which suddenly curled up about itself and plummeted into the water below.

"Arissi sorries, but saw nice Dven and knew did not have magicka or bow, so Arissi settled things for Dven. Nasty racers very numerous in Arissi's island home, too. Wicked, nasty creatures!" She grinned toothily at him, lolling that pink tongue, doglike. The elf couldn't help but laugh quietly.

"You're full of surprises, little fox. I'm beginning to wonder if one of these times you'll sprout wings and start flying loops in the air." The elf laughed and grinned outwardly, but inside, he was already mentally slapping himself for forgetting... this little female was not a comical talking dog, nor was she some frail creature of the courts; she was obviously just as capable as he'd thought at first, though perhaps not the bloodthirsty monster he'd believed. He'd have to be careful... she'd make a good friend, but she'd make a very bad enemy, especially as she did seem honestly naive about some facets of Vvardenfell life; a mass of contradictions, wrapped in white, orange and black fur. "And speaking of surprises, we've come further than I'd thought; look, you can see some of the upper towers of Ebonheart from here!"

Arissi turned and yelped quietly in delight. "That is so good!" she barked, bouncing slightly on her paws. "Arissi has such need to be there!" She scrambled back down to the path, and wriggled into her pack's harness. "Please to come down, must get to fortress!"

Dven laughed aloud, and slid down to the path next to the small fox. "Lots of things to do in Ebonheart, you're right! I've business there as well, so let's be on our way!" He started down the path, but the vixen was already trotting gaily along ahead, practically bounding along with that brush of a tail flicking this way and that. Dven smiled... contradictions or not, it was nice to see someone feeling a little carefree. He hated cliches, but.. well, he was glad that she was on his side, for now.

-------------***------------

It hadn't been hard to find the Imperial that Arissi wanted to meet; almost everyone they spoke to seemed to know approximately where he was, and that he wore unusual-looking armor. There he was now, in fact, strutting along the fortress curtain-wall like some sort of cock-of-the-walk. Dven had said that he'd wait for Arissi in the inn, and the vixen started climbing the stone stairway so reach the officer. Whew... the elf-races and humans had such long legs, the Imperials made their steps much too large for smaller races, thought the fox. She stopped for breath, and noticed the large guardsman looking oddly in her direction. Well, that happened a lot, she wasn't the usual sort to be seen around the island, she knew. Wait, he was coming her way...

"You're not a Khajiit, and you're certainly not a lizard... but you're not Elven, nor human either. What are your people, girl?" The man's manner, though gruff, wasn't unkindly.

"Arissi sorries for intruding" she began, and shifted when he held up a gauntletted hand. "Was told by guardsman to come to Ebonheart, speak to someone named Apelles Matius, Are him, perhaps?"

The Imperial looked down at this diminutive creature. "Well, now, perhaps I am, and perhaps I am not. What is your business with Apelles, girl? Speak quickly, I am a busy man."

Arissi tried to keep her ears from flattening.. this human was large, two feet taller than she and probably covered in muscles under the dully-shining armor. "Arissi was attacked at night, an assassin. Guardsman said Dark Brotherhood, Arissi is very frightened and must find out why!" The insides of her ears flushed a deep pink; she was embarrassed at her outburst.

Apelles clamped down on himself; he was sure he'd been about to say something intelligent, such as "B'duh?" He coughed into his gauntlet.. "Now, that's hard to believe. You are standing here and speaking to me, and those scum practically never fail. Are you telling me that he slipped and you ran away?"

"Nonono, Arissi is not sure what happened, but assassin was dead when Arissi left. Please, can tell how to find out who wishes Arissi to... to die?"
Last edited by Drac on Fri Apr 19, 2013 11:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Crazy Like a Fox - by Drac

Postby Drac » Fri Apr 19, 2013 8:01 pm

He groaned quietly to himself... he really didn't need this. First, to find that his friend had failed his kill, and now, the dratted Keynari trollop had picked up a travelling companion. Just what he needed... now he'd have to either separate them or kill them both. The dark-clad figure remained far behind the two, barely keeping them in sight.. and settled to watch them enter the fortress. They'd be back, and he'd be waiting. He could see the path, the fields, and even the boat docks. He was patient.

---------------***--------------

Arissi flicked her ears, looking around her while she waited for Dven to finish his business in the shop; she'd never seen a place so busy, people bustling here and there, workers loading and unloading vessels down at the docks, and everywhere there was the sound of people talking. "Aiya, how can understand each other," thought the small vixen, "Gabblegabblegabble, neighbor planted flowers while silly husband made eyes at wife, doings in Cyrodiil, Emperor says this, Emperor says that, Emperor is sick, Emperor is fine, yeesh! How can think?!?" She turned toward the window, where she could see her companion speaking with someone, both hunched over a small table off to one side of the common room. "Silly Dven should finish, Arissi wishes to be doing!" She snorted and wiggled her nose and whiskers... men. "Always making plots and plans, always plans fall apart and must improvise. Silly! Improvise from start, save time!" She nodded to a Guardsman as he passed and flicked her tail about, shifting her weight on her footpaws. Waiting was such a bother.

"I'm tellin' you, boy, it's under Mournhold, not in it! You know the stories about the city bein' built on top of an older ruin? They're true, I tells ya, I seen it meself. And no, I weren't drunk, neither." Dven was beginning to wonder; this fat old Breton's story just wouldn't fall down, it held up even when he rephrased an earlier question to trip up the aging smith.

"But how did you get down to see what you describe, old man? Riddle me that, I'm sure you didn't tap guardsman on the shoulder and politely ask where the treasure ruins were." He smiled at the mental picture, but his smile was short-lived.

"I tells yer, first off, don't never call one'a them ordinators a guard, they get downright nasty about it. Next thing y'know, one of 'em'll grab ya fer breakin' a twig off a flower or somethin' and ya'll get a day in the hole. Anyways, what I means ter say is ya can get down there through th' sewers, there's places where ya can get into 'em easy as pie. Just regular hatches, they is, right on the walkways. Ordinator sees ya goin' down, he'll either nip yer off to the hole, or maybe he'll figger yer just some treasure-hunter and let ya pick yer own tomb. Lotsa ways down there ta get yer gizzard split, the assassins' club, the black darters, I even heard there's a few goblins down there. An' before yer asks, I ain't goin' with yer, I likes me head on me shoulders. Now, I answered yer flippin' questions, where's me ale?" The seedy-looking blob of a man settled back in his chair, which creaked alarmingly.

Dven spoke up, "All right, all right, you earned your drink." He looked up and slapped his palm to the tabletop. "'Keep! Another ale for me, and one for my friend as well. And when he finishes that one, bring him one more." The harried-looking Dunmer nodded, stifling a curse under his breath, still thumping mugs in front of a group of guardsmen. Dven pondered; how the devil had he gotten to be the Keynari's private information service, he'd probably never know... he remembered their chatting all the way into Ebonheart, remembered watching her practically paw at that Imperial's armor while she asked him questions, and somehow he'd come to regard her as a friend that needed help. Funny how that worked, one minute you're afraid someone's going to tear you into bits and then eat the bits... and the next you're convinced she's the proverbial damsel in distress. Then she kills a racer right in front of you and retrieves her knives as if she did so three times a day, four when the tips were good. He lifted his tankard when it arrived and took a long pull... life was getting interesting. Any more interesting and he'd find himself in the middle of a wizard-war or something.
Last edited by Drac on Sat Apr 20, 2013 12:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Crazy Like a Fox - by Drac

Postby Drac » Fri Apr 19, 2013 8:04 pm

Dven had to wonder... the Keynari vixen seemed either too naive to be as competent as he'd seen, or she was playing him. Or.. Keynari were just different. He decided to hope for the latter, and assume the former. He returned his attention to the tipsy Nord... "Yuh, I tell ya it's deep underground. They took thuh whole longboat apart and built it in thuh toom.. uh? Tomb. Tomb, tomb, tomb. Sounds like uh drum, don't it... what was yer question again?" The Nord dropped his head to his arms, and after a moment, snored loudly. Dven smirked; Nords always claimed to be serious drinkers and serious brawlers. Well, maybe they could fight, but their honey-brew just didn't have the punch of a few good mugs of shein. He pushed his chair back and stood, then dropped a few drakes on the table, before walking out the front door. Sure enough the little Keynari was there, fidgetting in the sunlight.

"Dven finds out what wishes to know? Arissi hopes so, is too warm outside. What takes so very long, was lots of talk-talk, but Arissi could not hear." The vixen stood there with her hands on her hips, looking up at the tall Dunmer. It would have been comical, though Dven, if he hadn't known that she could probably take him apart without mussing her fur. "Well? Why takes Dven so long to ask silly question?"

"Well, for one thing, Nords don't get drunk quickly, little pretty. And I needed him drunk so he'd talk about things he wouldn't talk about if he were sober. Then, when he's drunk, you have to get them to talk, and that's not easy.. and once they talk, they talk about everything, whether it's what you want to hear or not.. so you have to get them to repeat it from different angles, so you can tell what's a lie, what's real, and what's just the shein talking. It's kind of a game, he doesn't want to give away secrets, and I want him to... this time, I won." He smiled when her ears perked up at the thought of making such things a game. He was beginning to understand a bit about her, finally. She still had the sense of fun that children have, but lose toward adulthood, though she'd shown several times that her idea of "games" could be... well, a little rough for his taste. She never seemed to intentionally harm anyone, unless defending herself.. and she certainly could do that, without batting an eye, but some of her "jokes" seemed a bit hard on the one bearing the brunt. The guard whose keys ended up on the guard-captain's windowsill, the merchant whose pack-guar she'd jumped upon from bushes and let run off, bellowing. He sighed inwardly.. "Well, anyway, I think I have some idea where the tomb is. Are you all right in caves and so forth? Some people have a problem with dark, closed places."

Arissi shook her head vigorously, almost flapping her ears. "Nono, Arissi likes nice cozy spots, can defend easier. Ancestors used tiny dens for safety, Arissi does not mind at all." She flicked her tail a bit, something Dven had noticed she did more and more when dealing with people she didn't know.

He chuckled.. "All right. One more thing, we might have to deal with things that aren't hurt much by simple iron or steel. Do you have anything for that?" He'd seen she had a pair of scrollworked daggers in the sash about her waist, and what looked like a *lot* of small throwing-knives inside her vest. Steel wasnt much good against magickal creatures, though.

Arissi blinked. "Is nasty? Arissi must find something, then. Wait for Arissi!" With that, she turned and trotted off.

Dven stared after the retreating girl, and scratched his head. "Where does she think she's going to get enchanted weapons around here? This is the Imperial fort, after all, and they believe in earthly opponents. Sure, their priests handled magickal attacks, supposedly, but he'd never seen it happen...

Arissi grinned to herself.. she knew where to get what she wanted, she'd been at the armory to ask questions before. The grizzled smith there seemed to like her; he'd smiled, even though it looked like it'd crack his craggy features, and told her quite a lot about the weapons and armors he'd seen and made. She flicked her tail and trotted off in his direction, through the Great Arch, and into the garrison-area. She looked about, this way and that.. no guardsmen close, so she trotted across the courtyard as if she had every right to be there, and half-skipped into the smith's area... she'd overheard someone asking if she was a child, so why not act the part? besides, it was fun to fool the humans. The smith looked up, his face smeared with soot from where he'd wiped sweat away with great dirty hands.

"Arissi! Come in, girl, come in! Have you come to listen to old Hagred talk again?" The heaviset Nord wiped his hands on a torn rag and sat himself on his anvil.

Arissi grinned, lolling her tongue for a moment. "Nono, Arissi takes some of Uncle Hagred's advice this time. Has something Arissi could use when bad things go bump in night, then show really are there? Arissi has some money..."

Hagred laughed.. "So, it's ghosties you'll be wanting to fight next, is it? maybe you'll be fighting Daedric Princes next." He turned and pointed toward a blanket covering a rack on the wall. "Pull that away and take your pick, girl. Some of those are expensive, though."

Arissi padded to the blanket and tugged a corner, then gasped. Silvered spears, some short swords that looked almost golden, even a long, black blade that somehow felt vicious, amongst many others, hung on pegs. The long black blade seemed to stare at her.. that red spot seemed almost to blink in the wicked face shaped on the hilt.. she shivered, and shied away from that one. Wait, what was that... she plucked an odd-looking dagger from its peg. It looked shiny and gnarled, like.. "Is chitin?" She touched the flat of the blade to her nose, and it tingled.

"Aye, that's chitin, little pretty. It's not just chitin, though, it has someone's favor on it, though I don't know what sort of favor it is. I took it in trade a couple of months ago. You can have it for just fifty drakes, if y'like; I can't seem to get rid of it." The vixen countered with an offer of half, and they tossed offers back and fort, the large Nord grinning and the little Keynari practically bouncing on her footpaws. They settled on a price, and Hagred gave her a simple leather sheath for the thing. She tucked it into her vest and smiled, fussed with her pouch and counted coins into a sooty palm, before bobbing her head.

"Arissi thanks nicely! Now can sleep better!" She smiled, gaping her jaws slightly, and turned to half-skip across the compound. She knew what this was, she'd smelt that enchantment before. It turned into a much nastier dagger for a short while after it was used, a jagged black blade with red spots that seemed to thirst after being used. She didn't like it, but it was just what she needed, she though. She went tripping along to meed Dven... they had a journey to plan.
Last edited by Drac on Sat Apr 20, 2013 12:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
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