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Feb 28

Chapter 34: Lessons In Futility

Chapter 34: Lessons In Futility

In Which Bad First Impressions Are Made.

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Arrin Woodgreen:  Soquan, having been waiting in front of the bathhouses for a while, knocks softly on the female’s door. “Jozra? Are you in there?”

Yazeth: Jozra sits on the bed, reassessing the situation. After a moment, she glances out the door and into the hallway. Dawn has gone and the crowd of her would be ‘rescuers’ has broken up, but the hallway is still crowded. Fortunately the door has remained open and unlocked. She may just simply postpone her escape until later, but that still leaves Soquan without a clue as to what happened to her. Dammit.

Arrin Woodgreen:  He shoulders the bathhouse door open a little bit and calls inside. “Anybeast in there?”

Yazeth: With a shock, Jozra thinks to check for her concealed blades. Breathing a sigh of relief she finds them there, distinctly remembering now that she had distributed them between her two sets of clothing when she and Soquan had returned to their hotel room.  The question is now, what to do when they find the other blades in her discarded and nearly forgotten other set of clothes? The ferret hopes that it at least helps her statement that she can take care of herself.

Arrin Woodgreen: He pushes the door completely open and steps inside. “Hello?”

Yazeth: Jozra remains seated on the bed, surreptitiously checking the hallway, keeping tabs on the traffic out there. She can’t, however, keep track of where everybody else goes.  One of the rattesses in the group, a rather small thing called Dysa, has decided to head back to the bathhouses to retrieve whatever was left behind.

Arrin Woodgreen: He walks around and becomes alert as he catches a slight whiff of her sent. After a moment, he finds her spare clothes. He stoops to pick them up. “Jozra?”

Yazeth:  Fortunately for Soquan, at this time of evening most beasts are busy at home, perhaps even preparing dinner. Dysa is pulled aside by Dawn as she is about to exit the building.

“Make sure you question anybody you see. I want to know who did this to the ferret.” Dysa nods, and steps out into the street, heading for the bath house.

Arrin Woodgreen: He proceeds to check the pool he found the clothes beside. Did she fall asleep in the pool?

Yazeth:  Presently, Dysa walks up to the bath house and enters the female side. She’s shocked for a moment at seeing a male in there. “Hey! What do you think you’re doing?!”

Arrin Woodgreen: He jumps slightly, gathering up the ferret’s things. “I’m looking for a friend of mine, she was supposed to meet me outside five minutes ago.”

Yazeth: The rattess narrows her eyes, noticing the ferret’s things in the otter’s paws. “Can you describe your friend?”

Arrin Woodgreen: He brings his hand up to his shoulder height. “About this tall, she’s a ferret. Uh, that’s all I can really describe.”

Yazeth:  The rattess sneers. This is all she needs to know but she takes a verbal jab at the otter anyway. “Honestly, you can’t have been a very good friend if that’s all the description you can give.”

Arrin Woodgreen: He snarls and grabs the rattess by the tunic, bringing her up to eye level so she can see his sightless gaze. “Maybe that’s all I can notice about her!”

Yazeth: Absolutely certain now that this is the beast that inflicted those welts on the ferret’s back, Dysa scrabbles in fear. She bites the otter hard on the paw and scampers towards the door before he can do anything about that. Forget the clothes, she needs reinforcements!

Arrin Woodgreen: He snarls again and drops the maid, clutching at his paw. “Wait!  Stop!”

Yazeth: Dysa, of course, pays no heed and darts out into the street, running top speed back to the safe house.

Arrin Woodgreen: He sighs and rubs his paw for a moment before picking up the missing ferret’s things as well as his staff.

Yazeth: The rattess stumbles a few times, her imagination making the situation larger than it is. She is, in fact, convinced that the otter is perusing her and she is rather surprised when she finally reaches the safe house to find that he is nowhere to be seen.  “Dawn!”

Arrin Woodgreen: He curses as he drops a few of the blades and stoops to pick them up.

Yazeth: Dysa charges up the stairs, nearly colliding with Dawn and a few of the other women in the safe house. Jozra perks her ears as she hears the commotion in the corridor.

Arrin Woodgreen: He rises and slowly goes to leave the bathhouse.

Yazeth: The ferret pretends to sleep as she listens to the conversation taking place not too far from her door. Dysa describes Soquan as huge. ‘And violent! He threatened me when I only asked him if he knew any ferret-maids! He grabbed me and I had to bite him five times before he would let me go!” Jozra smirks at the phrase “ferret-maid” but frowns at the rest of the story. This doesn’t sound like Soquan at all.

Arrin Woodgreen: He sighs and pauses a moment to gather his thoughts. Should he wait here for the ferret? What about the inn? Did she go back there?

Yazeth: Dawn and the others are finally able to calm Dysa down enough to gather that the beast they’re looking for is, or at least was, in the bath houses and is definitely a dangerous one. The rattess frowns and rattles of instructions. “Sola, go find Deke and Nolan. I think we’re going to need them. Dysa, stay here and make sure the ferret doesn’t go anywhere. I’m going to rouse Kirrian. This is a bit more urgent than I thought and we’ll need her guidance.”

Arrin Woodgreen: He sighs and decides to search around the immediate area. He shifts the bundle in his arms and continues along the street a bit, his staff tapping along the sidewalk as he moves slowly, occasionally calling the ferret’s name.

Yazeth: Not quite five minutes later – what seemed like an eternity to Jozra as she felt Dysa’s eyes boring holes into the back of her skull as if the rattess was trying to read her mind – Sola returns with a simple looking but quite burly stoat and a weasel that looked as though he could have carried the stoat with ease.

Jozra had found one use for the window, now that the sun had sunk, and was able to watch everything happening in the hall without looking through the door. Mere moments later, Dawn returns with a surprisingly slight vixen; definitely Kirrian with the way all the others acted around her.

Arrin Woodgreen: Reaching the end of the street, he turns around and goes back the way he came. He walks past the bathhouses again and goes down the street on the other side of it.

Yazeth: Quickly, Dysa relates her story, though this time she had to bite the otter on the nose before he would let go and he chased her halfway down the street. The original group backs up the rattess, describing the welts on Jozra’s back. Surprisingly, Kirrian doesn’t seem to buy the whole story but nevertheless she authorizes the ‘capture’ of this otter.

With Dysa and Sola at their backs, Deke, who proved to be the weasel, and Nolan lead the way out of the ‘safehouse.’ Jozra scowls, an expression hidden in a pillow, as Kirrian and Dawn remain behind. Curiously, they make no move to confront her.

Arrin Woodgreen: He reaches the end of the road again and turns to the bathhouse again.  He sighs again and once he reaches the bathhouses again, he leans back against the wall, waiting with his ears perked and his nose searching for her scent.

Yazeth: This, of course, makes the otter far easier to find than any of the searchers expected. As they finally get in view of Soquan, Dysa squeaks in fear, pointing him out and identifying the otter for the others. “That’s him!  That’s the one!” She falls back, nearly cowering. Sola comforts her as Deke and Nolan march forward. “Oy!  Yewh!”

Arrin Woodgreen: He turns his attention to the approaching beasts, unleaning from the wall. “Yes? Can I help you?”

Yazeth: Deke jerks his thumb over his shoulder. “Yewh de one dat ‘ttacked dis poor gurl? An beat de f’rret?”

Arrin Woodgreen: He crosses his arms. “I didn’t attack anyone, and I’ve never beaten any beast in my life.” He absently rubs his sore, bitten paw.

Yazeth: Nolan mirror’s Soquan’s crossed arms as Deke continues. “Dat’s not wut we herd.  We herd yewh grabbed dis one and was lookink fur de f’rret dat dey found dat was all beat up.”

Arrin Woodgreen: His ears swivel and he finally catches the rattess’ sent. “Sure, I grabbed her, but I did not attack her. And yes, I’m looking for a ferret. Do you know where she is?”

Yazeth:  The distinction is lost on the stoat and Nolan begins to growl softly. Dysa jumps in surprise and cowers further, inching her way back up the street; that one’s definitely got an imagination on her. Deke is obviously the big talker of the two and continues. “We knowh, but yewh not find ‘er!” At this, the weasel and stoat advance on the otter.

Arrin Woodgreen: The sudden burst of noise and action startles the otter and he doesn’t get at his staff in time. He fights the beasts the best he can but is eventually overpowered. “Why are you doing this?”

Yazeth: Dysa scurries her way back towards the ‘safe house’ as Deke and Nolan carry the otter bodily up the street. Sola, a bit braver and more sensible than her friend, tags behind to gather what was dropped: Jozra’s spare set of clothing, Soquan’s staff, etcetera.  Deke grunts, “Yewh ‘buser. Can’t let dat ‘appen. Yewh don ‘urt dat f’rret no more.”

Arrin Woodgreen: He snarls suddenly, his fur going on end. “So you all think I beat my best friend? Is that it? You think I’m some egotistical male that finds pleasure in beating females to feel good about myself?”

Yazeth: Nolan tightens his hold as Deke grunts. “Yah. Dat’s about it.” Though an otter and thus rather heavy, the other two burly mustelids make good time and soon leave the bath house behind. Sola keeps pace, though she remains quite out of the reach of any of the males.

Arrin Woodgreen:  His harrumphs angrily and falls silent, allowing himself to be carried in frosty silence. His ears swivel as he listens to beasts as they pass. He takes in as much of the scents as he can, trying to put together a map of where they’re going.

Yazeth: Soon Dysa has lead the rest to the rear of the building. Back here it looks quite unsavory indeed. As Deke and Nolan get Soquan into the badly lit stockroom, now that it is quite obviously night outside, Dysa scuttles up into the main part of the building to alert Dawn and Kirrian.

Arrin Woodgreen: By now the otter’s stomach begins to rumble and he sighs, wandering around the stockroom, getting familiar with his surroundings.

Yazeth: Deke and Nolan are content to merely stand in the corners and keep an eye on the otter until the vixen arrives. Sola, on the other hand, moves directly into the kitchen, after firmly shutting the door and leaving the various items in the stoat’s care, and begins to help a few others in the preparation of an evening meal for everybody.

Upstairs, Jozra perks her ears as she sees the reflection of the rattess enter the corridor. She speaks in hushed tones with the others – the ferret can only pick up the gist of the conversation – and they quickly leave. Before she has a chance to do anything, though, Dysa is back guarding the ferret’s door. Jozra grits her teeth in frustration and thinks dark thoughts.

Arrin Woodgreen: He grumbles darkly to himself and continues to stumble around the room awkwardly, he is nothing without his staff. The odd curse slips out as he bangs various parts of his anatomy on boxes and other whatnot in the room. Getting crankier and short tempered by the minute, his fur remains raised and his teeth gritted.

Yazeth: Nolan notices the otter’s fumbling and cocks an eyebrow at Deke. The expression, or at least whatever it was pointing out, is lost on the weasel. Fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately, Dawn and Kirrian arrive.

Arrin Woodgreen: His ears perk up as the door opens and he turns towards the origin of the noise. Realizing it’s just more beasts coming in he crosses his arms, growling a soft, warning growl. This is not a happy otter.

Yazeth: Deke and Nolan stiffen at the otter’s response and stand ready but make no move to intercept him. Yet. Dawn enters the room somewhat cautiously, but still with the manner of a quite unhappy mother. Kirrian possesses the grace and mystery of the seer vixens and she does not hesitate to enter the room, or even stand within two steps of Soquan.*

“You are the companion of the ferret,” she glances at Dawn, “Jozra.” She poses it as a statement. Not a question.

Arrin Woodgreen: He nods, his stance not changing. “Yes, I know Jozra, she’s a very good friend of mine.”

Yazeth: The vixen quirks an eyebrow and says wryly. “So it seems.” She gestures and the muscle power drag a pair of chairs to the center of the room. Kirrian sits primly in the padded one, carefully watching the otter. Upstairs, tense with suspense, Jozra quits her pretence and begins pacing the room, despite Dysa’s weak objections. If something goes down, she wants to be ready for it, and the nearly imperceptible bulges dispersed across her frame that contain her many small knives are a comfort.

Arrin Woodgreen: He hears the chairs being put down and he feels his way towards the one he didn’t hear her sit in.

Yazeth: While Soquan’s blindness may have been lost on Nolan and Deke, and even Dysa, Kirrian notices it almost as soon as Soquan begins to move. Seems he made a lucky guess at looking her directly in the eye when she entered the room. This information doesn’t jibe with what the vixen knows, but she doesn’t presume to know more than she does and it is because of that ‘wisdom’ that Kirrian doesn’t pass the incident off as a simple misunderstanding. “I have reports that you roughed up one of my girls. A rattess.”

Arrin Woodgreen: He sighs, rubbing his temples tiredly. “She insulted me and I admit, I grabbed her, and I apologize if I hurt her, I was a little tense. She ran off before I could say anything more to her than what I already had.”

Yazeth: Kirrian once again quirks an eyebrow, rather surprised, honestly, at the otter’s candor. Unless he’s lying, of course, but generally liars deny everything. Anyway, Dysa’s been known to exaggerate. On to more pressing questions. “Then would you care to explain the welts on Jozra’s back?”

Arrin Woodgreen: He nods. “I’d be more than happy to. It’s quite simple really. We sparred last night before we got here. We weren’t exactly gentle with our blows.” He rolls up a sleeve to expose his arm which is bruised with a few welts.

Yazeth: The vixen expected as much. She sighs heavily. “So it seems that you were at least able to get her to agree to a story. From where I’m sitting, that bruise could just as easily have come from Jozra attempting to defend herself against your attack.” Which is almost exactly what actually happened, only not in the way Kirrian or any of the others are seeing it.

Arrin Woodgreen: He sighs and stands, pulling his shirt off over his head. He spreads his arms and rotates slowly, allowing the vixen to see the many, many bruises from the spar, of course as well as other old scars. “What do you say now?”

Yazeth: Kirrian leans back in her chair, scrutinizing the otter’s body. Not all vixens are healers and Kirrian tends to leave the tending of wounds to those with more knowledge of the subject and thus does not have the experience to determine how old these bruises and welts may be. “I say that this only proves your tendency for violence. For all I know you could be a notorious brawler – picking fights when you can.”

Arrin Woodgreen: He can’t help but bark a laugh. “I tend to avoid those as much as I can, once it gets to more than two beasts against me it gets kinda confusing when all you have to go by is sound and smell.”

Yazeth: The vixen narrows her eyes, not at all enamored with the otter. “If I may level with you, I have seen this Jozra and she hardly seems the type to hurt a fly, much less give you this drubbing that you credit her with.” She stands, a paw to her temple. Addressing the room now, rather than the otter directly she states, “I am far too tired to deal with this now and we must all be hungry.”

Kirrian glances at the otter before moving towards the door. “You shall stay here for tonight, at least until we can figure out what to do with you and this situation. I believe Sola and the cooks have a meal prepared for you, Nolan, and Deke, who shall keep you company.”

Arrin Woodgreen: He harrumphs and slumps back into his chair, his tone turning sarcastic. “Oh yay.”

Yazeth: Kirrian frowns rather severely at Soquan’s sarcasm and exits the room without another word. Meanwhile, upstairs Dysa is very quickly forming an opinion of Jozra that is quite the opposite of Kirrian’s. The rattess can almost taste the anger and frustration radiating from the ferret, though so far the Scorpion has had the sense to remain in her room, though as the minutes slide by without any word on the situation Jozra grows more agitated, seriously questioning the ‘sense’ in her present course of non-existent action.

Arrin Woodgreen: He grumbles darkly and crosses his arms, slinking further into the chair.

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