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Apr 23

Chapter 57: Preistess

Chapter 57: Priestess

In Which The Dispute Is Settled.

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Arrin Woodgreen: During the short trek to the Temple, or rather to Alvasia’s office, Soquan lags behind with Jozra. He supports her as she plods along slowly and catches her as she stumbles or trips.

Although Fiarah and her party stop and wait at these intervals, Kirrian’s group continues to get farther and farther ahead with no interest to them whatsoever.

Yazeth: Normally, Jozra would at least glare at Kirrian. Normally. As it is, Jozra is quite relieved once they finally reach the door. Fiarah glances at the ferret worryingly. This is far and away from anything she would have recommended for her patient to do.

Arrin Woodgreen: To one who has seeing eyes, Alvasia’s waiting room is full of grandeur. Tapestries adorn the walls, depicting scenes and stories of two rival siblings on their path to godhood. Statuettes and relics are placed around the room and the furniture itself is lightly polished and the light reflects off it brightly.

There seems to be enough comfortable seating for their troupe but Kirrian it seems, has sprawled herself out on the only couch within the room. A satisfied smirk appears on her face as she watches Fiarah’s half of their party enter.

Yazeth: It is perhaps a testament that Jozra is getting better that somewhere in the back of the ferret’s mind without her conscious knowledge, the Scorpion stirs and records everything important about the room. Soquan tries to lead her to a seat but she shakes her head slightly. “I’m up now, let’s stay standing.”

Arrin Woodgreen: He frowns at her. “Are you sure? I don’t want you using up your energy.”

Yazeth: Jozra shakes her head again and leans heavily on Soquan. “More energy to stand again.” Fiarah scowls at her sister and then knocks gently on the door leading to Alvisa’s sanctuary, hoping the owl can settle this dispute quickly.

Arrin Woodgreen: Kirrian shoots a dirty look at the back of Fiarah’s head as she knocks, confident that she’ll win this debate and these two troublemakers would be thrown out of the city. It would show Fiarah to think first before going behind her back and disrespecting her authority.

Yazeth: It’s only a moment before the door opens smoothly on well oiled hinges. A snow-white hare dressed in a deep purple robe stands in the threshold, bows slightly, and then stands aside, beckoning all creatures in the waiting room to enter. “Please come in. Alvisa has been expecting you.”

Arrin Woodgreen: Soquan quirks an eyebrow at this but follows anyway, lagging behind the group while supporting Jozra. He matches her slow, plodding pace, ignoring the tisks from Kirrian’s group and ignoring their dirty looks as well, but it’s not like he can see them anyway right?

Yazeth:  The hare gently shuts the door behind the last to enter — this being Sola as she tries to avoid the blind otter — bows into the dimmed recesses of the main chamber and retires to a side room. Those that can see stand about vaguely bewildered as their eyes adjust to the dim lighting.

Arrin Woodgreen: Soquan’s ears perk up as he tries to listen to what’s going on in the room. Sadly, all he can hear at the moment is everyone breathing and the rustle of clothes as they all settle in place. He leans close to Jozra and whispers softly in her ear. “What’s going on? What do you see?”

Yazeth: Gradually Jozra is able to make out several large shapes in the center of the room. Statues? Another image soon resolves as the snowy owl steps closer. Jozra is about to describe it for the otter when Alvisa speaks. “Welcome, my darlings. I apologize for the dimness but more than moonlight damages my eyes. Come in, come in.”

A broad wing gestures them further into the room where a number of soft cushions and pillows are scattered about the floor for visitors and worshipers to sit.

Arrin Woodgreen: Soquan nods briefly towards the owl and allows himself to be lead by Jozra towards one of the cushions while still supporting the ferret. He eases her down to a cushion first before plunking down on one beside her.

Again he tries to scan the room, only able to hear the same as before except now there’s the added sounds of the town coming awake for the day.

Yazeth: The owl allows everyone to settle themselves on the cushions before addressing the assembled beasts. “Now, I would have you tell me what has brought us all here this morning.”

Arrin Woodgreen: Chaos erupts in the owl’s inner sanctum as nearly everyone in the room tries to speak at once. Soquan’s startled at the sudden blast of audio stimulation and almost makes a grab for Jozra and his staff before realizing what’s happening. With a grimace he lays his ears back, he has had a headache all day so far and this was NOT helping.

Yazeth: The owl is also rather adverse to the noise. She spreads her wings wide and with a low ‘shhhh’ somehow manages to bring everyone’s yammering to a halt. “One at a time, please.”

Her voice never raises beyond a calm, conversational tone, but everyone present can tell she means business. The owl focuses her all-encompassing gaze on Jinx. “Young ferret, if you would please describe the problem to me?”

Arrin Woodgreen:  Jinx shrinks a bit under Alvisa’s gaze. Her explanation splutters to a start and she has trouble keeping her explanation from speeding up. “Y-y’see… From what I heard, Dawn and her friends brought Jozra here…” she motions briefly to the ferret, “…to the safe house all beat up like, with bruises and welts on her back and shoulders. They were convinced that Soquan…” she gestures at the otter, “…that he was doing that harm. They… err… captured them pretty quick like, cause he was still around the bathhouse and they shut him up in some storage closet. During the night sometime Jozra woke up screaming I think, and Dawn went in to comfort her, but then somehow Soquan was up there too… and then Jozra attacked Dawn and they were sent out of the safe house.”

She pauses and gasps in a breath. Soquan stares at her, amazes that she was actually talking that fast at the tail end of that last bit. “I answered the door when Soq and Joz reappeared not the next night, but the night after and called Dawn. Jozra was obviously unwell, since she was being carried by the otter, and Soquan didn’t look to be in much better shape either. Dawn wanted to leave them out there but I took them to Fiarah instead and she helped the both of them the best she could before Kirrian kicked them out just before dawn.”

“After they were kicked out, I took them to Joseph so Jozra could continue to get treatment for her hypothermia. Kirrian found out we were helping them and tried to order them out of Joseph’s house but we won the consensus that we’d come here and have you deal with the issue once and for all.”

Yazeth: It may have been fast but it was also incredibly concise for such a convoluted story and wonderfully unbiased, which might have been surprising as Jinx is obviously on Soquan and Jozra’s side, but in the presence of the Preistess, well, Jinx wouldn’t have dared to try and spin the story. Alvisa nods her head at Jinx as the young ferret sits down again with wobbly knees. “Thank you, dear.”

She fluffs her feathers briefly and then swivels her head in Kirrian’s direction. “Did you not tell me when you began your commendable project that the House would exist in order to care for those that needed it?”

Arrin Woodgreen: The corners of the otter’s mouth twitch in amusement as they vixen is put on the spot. Kirrian swallows and tries to puff herself up a bit. “But they both attacked members of my staff, what was I supposed to say? ‘Oh well’ and let it go and possibly happen again?”

Yazeth: Alvisa looks at Soquan and, though he may be blind, it’s like he can feel her looking at him. “And why did you attack Sola, dear one?” A warning light goes off in Jozra’s head. Jinx never mentioned that Soquan had attacked Sola… What was going on here?

Arrin Woodgreen: Soquan closes his eyes for a moment and takes a breath before re-opening them, he ties to make eye contact with the owl as he begins. “I did not attack Sola, nor did I have any intention of going so.”

He pauses. “After Dawn and her friends took Jozra to the safe house, I was left at the bathhouses without any clue as to what in the gods name was going on. I waited for a bit before scoping out the females section. It was empty but I found Jozra’s clothes. That’s when Sola came in. I told her I was looking for a ferret and described Jozra to the best of my abilities. I guess she didn’t realize my lack of vision because she said something about me not being a very good friend if that’s all I can describe.”

He sighs, “I was a bit on edge and I admit, after that I grabbed her. Grabbed her mind you, not attacked. I thought I could maybe make her see why I’m “Obviously not a very good friend then.” After that she bit my paw for me to let go and she ran away before I could say much else… I know it was probably very stupid of me to grab her, I didn’t mean to hurt her if I did, and I’m sorry.”

Yazeth: From where she’s sitting — as far away from Soquan as she can get — Sola sniffs and starts to make a snide comment before she is brought to a grinding halt by Alvisa’s gaze. “Is what Soquan said true? Is it possible you misconstrued his intentions, dear?”

The rattess withers under the owl’s gaze and stutters out a pathetic, “…yes…”

Alvisa returns her attention to Kirrian. “Then they did not both attack members of your staff, correct?”

Arrin Woodgreen: Kirrian stands pointing to Jozra while looking at Alvsia. “Okay, so the otter may not’ve attacked Sola but she still attacked Dawn! She is a danger to everyone in the city and we will not be safe until she and the otter are out of our city limits!”

Soquan gives the lowest of growls and springs to his paws. “Now you wait just a second! Jozra is NOT a threat! She…she…” His blind world actually manages to tilt and the otter sways. “She’s not…” It happens again, except this time the otter crumples to the ground.

Yazeth: Jozra’s brain fires impulses to her limbs but they only respond marginally and she ends up sort of slouching towards Soquan instead of lunging to catch him like her brain obviously intended.

Fiarah, however, is quicker and though she’s not close enough to catch him, per se, she does manage to slip on a pillow and accidentally-on-purpose kick it under Soquan’s head before it hits the hard stone floor.

Alvisa takes a moment to sum up the situation and then gives a low hoot, a summons to the hare.

Arrin Woodgreen: Fiarah scrambles to her paws and to the otter’s side. She checks his vitals quickly before looking up at Alvisa. “With everything that’s been going on for the two, Soquan hasn’t slept much, and I’m guessing he hasn’t eaten much either. There’s nothing really wrong with him, it’s just all caught up with him is all.”

Yazeth: The owl smiles gently at the vixen before turning and addressing the hare that quickly returned from wherever he had been keeping himself. “Trendorn, the blue tea, if you please.” The hare bows and goes to fetch whatever it was his mistress requested.  Alvisa turns her head back to Fiarah, “Make him comfortable as you see fit, dear healer. He may rest for now as I do not believe we need his testimony currently.”

Arrin Woodgreen: With a nod, Fiarah gathers a few of the extra pillows from around the room. She makes them out into a bed-ish type thing and looks towards Deke and Nolan. “Hey! Muscle One and Two, get over here and help me move him will you?”

Yazeth: Deke and Nolan glance at each other, shrug, and move to help Fiarah. Gently they lift the sleeping otter and place him on the makeshift bed and then they return to where they had been sitting. Jozra feels woefully incompetent as she can do very little to help out other than twitch a couple of pillows into position.

Alvisa looks towards Kirrian once again. “As you were saying?”

Arrin Woodgreen: Her gaze drifts from Alvisa and she glares at the otter and the ferret for a moment before replying, an undoubtedly spiteful tone in her voice. “They’re both dangerous and should be run out of town.”

Yazeth: If Alvisa is irritated by Kirrian’s purely judgmental statement, she doesn’t let it show. Instead she looks to Jozra. “Would you be so kind as to explain your actions, my dear?”

Jozra, looking more like some sort of ruffian than ever with sunken eyes and matted fur, gives a very slight, mirthless grin and begins to speak but is interrupted before she can go anywhere by yet another fit of coughing.

After a moment, she is able to speak.  “Quite simply, I was being held against my will. I had tried reasoning with Kirrian and Dawn, explaining that they had gotten my situation all wrong. When they continued to hassle me about it, I lost my temper. I assure you, my intent was only to scare Dawn a little, not harm her, and knock enough sense into these… biddies so that Soquan and I could leave.”

The ferret casts a dark look in Kirrian’s direction. “And it’s not like she is completely innocent either… Any particular reason why you had us followed?” The last is directed at Kirrian, who suddenly can’t seem to keep her ears from turning pink.

Arrin Woodgreen: Kirrian regains her composure quickly and continues to glare at Jozra. “I sent those beasts to follow you to make sure what I thought about the otter was wrong.” She pauses. “Now that we’re being open with each other, I have a few questions.”

“It’s common for a traveler to carry a few knives is it not? Well while your things were being washed, our laundry assistant found at least ten knives hidden in each of your shirts. Care to explain? Or would you rather explain why a black-footed ferret is doing this far from the desert? Or possibly this?” She pulls something out of her belt pouch and slides it across the floor to Jozra, a smug look on her face.

Yazeth: If Kirrian was hoping to get some sort of visible reaction from Jozra, she failed. Actually, the ferret did pale slightly but it was unnoticeable to all but the most well trained observers as not only is the room still quite dim but the ferret is already pale as it is.

Not a flinch, though. They train those Scorpions well. Jozra gazes at Kirrian levelly and responds to each question in reverse order. “This…” She picks up the pendant and slips it around her neck “…was a gift from Soquan this past SpringFest. I’m not sure why he chose a scorpion but I’m afraid asking him would hurt his feelings.”

“My family emigrated from the desert before I was born, they tell me about sand storms and dunes but I’ve never seen them. The only reason I conceal my black feet is because other beasts tend to jump to conclusions, like you just did. And I find it best to travel prepared. There’s a lot of bandits here up North and before I met Soquan, I traveled alone.”

Jozra continues to hold Kirrian’s gaze as the vixen grows more flustered, the ferret’s eyes betraying none of her thoughts, which went along the lines of, “She knows, or thinks she knows too much. We may just have to have a Talk before I leave town…”  The stare down is interrupted as Trendorn returns with the ‘blue tea’ that Alvisa had requested.

“Set it near the otter so he may breathe the steam. Thank you, Trendorn, that will be all.”  Having regained every beast’s attention, Alvisa quietly gazes at Jozra for a while, long enough for the ferret to grow uncomfortable for many reasons, but it’s a perfectly acceptable response. Alvisa shifts her gaze to Kirrian. “The ferret’s actions may have been a little extreme but have you any reason to doubt what she said then and what she says now?”

Arrin Woodgreen: Kirrian lowers her gaze to the floor. “I’m sorry Priestess, I had no reason to treat either of them that way.” From beside Jozra, the tea seems to have worked, Soquan now groans and tries to sit himself up.

Yazeth: Jozra turns towards Soquan at the same moment their concerned doctor moves to help the otter. Alvisa waves the vixen away, however. “Give him a moment, dear. Take all of the time that you need, Soquan. There is no hurry. In a moment you might try drinking the tea, it should clear your thoughts and get you where you need to be safely.”

Alvisa returns her attention to the group at large. “Now, it appears that the issue has been settled. I have one remaining query: where shall these two travelers stay while they recuperate?”

Arrin Woodgreen: Joseph pipes up from an obscure corner of the room as Soquan manages to heave himself into a sitting position. “I-I don’t mind having the two at, at my place. I r-rather enjoy the, the company.” Soquan grins at Joseph from overtop his cup as he takes a sip.

Yazeth: Alvisa smiles benevolently at the mouse. “Then this dispute has been resolved successfully. Now, if you please, my dears, I would have a word alone with the two travelers. The rest of you may wait in the antechamber is you wish. Deke, Nolan, perhaps you should wait so that you may help Jozra and Soquan back to Joseph’s in a moment.”

Arrin Woodgreen: The muscle nods and steps out of the room with almost everyone else. Soquan listens to the shuffling and movement of everyone as he drains the rest of his tea. He looks towards Alvaisa. “Sorry I blacked out, I hope I didn’t disturb things too much.”

Yazeth: The snowy owl smiles at the otter. “Do not worry, my dear. It seems you have had a trying few days. Once you return to Joseph’s, however, I strongly suggest that you take the time to get the rest that you need.”

“Now, once you feel strong enough, I would like you to join me across the room. I would like to speak to each of you individually.” At that, the owl turns and moves away from the two, making just enough noise that the blind otter would be able to follow her path.

Arrin Woodgreen: After a few moments the otter finds his strength and he stands. He stays still for a few minutes, finding his balance before walking across the room to the priestess. “That tea works wonders.”

Yazeth: The owl nods pleasantly at the otter. “Too much of it too often can be harmful, but it will help where it is needed. Now, I have some words for you before you leave.”

Alvisa pauses a moment to make sure she has the otter’s full attention. What light there is in the room reflects strangely off of the owl’s large eyes and she begins to speak firmly but quietly, so as not to be overheard. “You have more family than you realize, my dear.  You are doing so much for your friend but soon you will have to choose.

If you choose her you must be patient and forgiving, she has need of you now and she will have need of you in the future. But take heart, my dear, you are not as alone as you may believe that you are.”

The priestess exhales softly but continues before Soquan can string any words together to question the owl. “I would like for you to remain here for a moment to think upon what I have said while I speak to your fellow traveler.”

Arrin Woodgreen: The otter nods somewhat dumbly at the owl’s words and his brow furrows slightly as he rattles all that through his brain again.

Yazeth: Jozra’s attempts to listen in on the conversation at first, but quickly finds it to be futile, as well as exhausting. She considers the possible problem with Kirrian until the owl leaves Soquan and comes to speak with the ferret. Jozra soon finds herself under Alvisa’s piercing gaze again. She squirms uncomfortably for a moment and then the priestess begins to speak.

“Your companion is more loyal than anyone you have met. Do not underestimate the lengths he is willing to go for you, not believing in something does not mean that it is not so. There will come a time where you can no longer walk alone but first, there is a chance at northern redemption.”

The ferret’s mind clamors, particularly at the last. She attempts to get information from the owl that is less vague but the best she can manage is a hoarse “Wha…” before the owl speaks again.

“Think hard upon what I have said here today. Now, if you are feeling well enough to journey back to the house of Joseph, you may do so, and remember, in times of great need, this temple is open to you.” The last is spoken loud enough for both the ferret and otter to hear, and then the owl retires into the darkened room before either of them can interject a word.

Arrin Woodgreen: He remains in thought for just a few moments more, murmuring bits and pieces of what the owl said quietly to himself. After a bit longer, he rises and looks towards the ferret. “Ready to go Joz?”

Yazeth: Jozra’s brow is furrowed ferociously as she tries to decipher Alvisa’s message, particularly the last part. She starts at Soquan’s voice and then nods. She gestures him over and then catches herself in the process. “Over this way, Soq.”

Arrin Woodgreen: He makes his way towards the ferret’s voice, shuffling around pillows and whatnot. He picks up his staff and braces himself before helping her onto her feet.

Yazeth: The ferret carefully gets to her feet and holds on to the otter for support as she  waits for her head to adjust to the altitude again. She takes a couple of short steps towards the exit. “Straight ahead, Soq.”

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