Chapter 82: House Arrest
In WhichÂ Soquan Is Just Evil.
Yazeth: ‘Sore’ was a mild way of putting it. The next morning Jozra feels incredibly stiff and sore to the point where most movement is painful. Provisions are suddenly an issue with only Zander on the lookout for food. Soquan is not to be seen outside the hovel and Jozra’s many heavy bruises keep her from skulking about at night.
Only a day’s worth of lying low is plenty for the ferret and otter, however. The next few days find Soquan nearly obsessively tidying the place just to have something to do and Jozra stretching and massaging what muscles she can reach to try to work the stiffness and soreness out.
Zander isn’t seen much as he spends most of the day searching for food to feed the three of them. And every day the three expect a knock – or a kick – on the door alerting them to the presence of the commander but it never comes. By the end of the fourth day, the three are almost convinced that it never will.
Arrin Woodgreen: The dawn of the fifth day, finds the otter pacing restlessly in the small house, grumbling irritably to himself while moving this way and that in preparation of their small morning meal.
Yazeth: Jozra joins Zander on the roof once again, finally feeling fit enough to perform the entire series of morning stretches unlike the abbreviated and easier version she had been doing for the past two days.
The few days before that she was too beat up to even make it out the window. She’s pleased with her recovery time, though, compared with the last time she was incapacitated.
Arrin Woodgreen: It’s not long until Soquan does as usual and pokes his head out the window, calling the two down for breakfast before setting their small table.
Yazeth: The woodrat and ferret hold their handstands a moment longer and then roll out, Zander leading the way back down to the window. Not once since their previous conversation has Zander brought up the topic of assassination but he doesn’t really need to.
The sad stories he brings home at night of other creatures living in the slums are more than enough. And Jozra has the words of the hare guards to add to it. She didn’t let it show at the time but the behavior of the jeering guards was nearly all of the convincing the ferret needed. Particularly their sly hint of what went on in the camps.
Arrin Woodgreen:Â While the ferret and woodrat both make their way into the hovel, Soquan brings in the last of their breakfast dishes, placing them on the table along side the crude cutlery. On his way to his plate, the otter’s vision decides to go haywire. The suddenness and severity of the blurring and unfocusing is enough to unbalance the otter and he stumbles a bit.
Yazeth: Jozra notices Soquan’s stumble as she enters through the window and it’s enough for her to be concerned. The otter is usually quite steady on his feet, likely due to a necessary confidence in where he steps due to his experience with blindness, and the sudden stumble seems wildly out of place. She rushes to his side to help steady him. â€œAre you alright, Soq?â€
Arrin Woodgreen: The otter stiffens slightly. He hadn’t told Jozra of his lapses in sight, not wanting to place more worry with the ferret on top of living in this hellhole. He phrases his response carefully, knowing either way, Jozra would be upset with him. â€œI’m fine, my vision just blurred for a second there …again.â€
Yazeth: The ferret’s brow wrinkles in concern as Zander frowns to himself in worry. â€œ…again?â€
Arrin Woodgreen: Soquan nods hesitantly. â€œIt’s been happening for a while…â€ He pauses. â€œI didn’t want to worry you.â€
Yazeth: Jozra can barely think of a response to this. Finally she does the only thing that seems to be right to her and she hugs the otter tightly.
Arrin Woodgreen: The ferret’s sudden motion of affection startles the otter, and it takes a moment for him to respond, wrapping his arms around her to return the hug. â€œIt’s okay Joz, I’ll be okay.â€
Yazeth: The ferret nods and then sighs, almost inaudibly. Itâ€™s difficult having your friend lose something again that means so much.
Arrin Woodgreen: The otter rests his head on top of the ferret’s with a sigh. What he says next is quiet, and almost frightened. â€œI don’t want to be blind again.â€
Yazeth: Jozra nods slightly. She can’t even think of what to say except… â€œI’m here for you, Soquan.â€
Arrin Woodgreen: â€œThanks.â€ Soquan releases the ferret and after a gentile squeeze and quickly wipes his eyes with a free paw, he ties to grin slightly. â€œI suppose we should eat before breakfast gets cold eh?â€
Yazeth: Jozra grins sadly. â€œYeah, I suppose we should.â€
Arrin Woodgreen: The otter finishes the few steps to his seat and eases himself to the ground. He looks up at the somber faces of the woodrat and ferret and grins a bit brighter than before. â€œC’mon, you two look like I’m gonna die or something. Dig in already!â€
Yazeth: Zander chuckles a little and Jozra blushes slightly as she takes her seat. The woodrat throws Soquan a cocky salute. â€œYessir!â€
Arrin Woodgreen: Soquan merely rolls his eyes at the woodrat and settles into the meal happily, the somber mood forgotten.
Yazeth: Presently the three finish their meal and push their plates away. Zander looks towards the door and then shrugs. â€œI’m starting to wonder if that hare even told his superior what he told you.â€
Arrin Woodgreen: The otter gives a short, humorless laugh. â€œI’m starting to doubt it, probably just wanted to scare us.â€
Yazeth: The ferret nods. â€œI wouldn’t be surprised. And if he did, I bet the commander thought it wasn’t anything worth dealing with.â€ She shrugs a little. â€œHe seemed to be very busy.â€
Arrin Woodgreen: Soquan snorts, â€œProbably capturing more â€˜vermin.â€™â€
Yazeth: Zander rolls his eyes, â€œOr tormenting anyone that even looks at a member of the guard the wrong way.â€
Arrin Woodgreen: He growls impatiently and thumps a fist against the table. â€œGods damn him, forget about getting out of this hell hole, I just want out of this damn hovel.â€ He sighs, â€œI’m starting to get an idea of how you felt back in Kodan, Joz.â€
Yazeth: Jozra smirks a little. â€œI’d make fun of you but I’m stuck here with you.â€
Zander looks back and forth between the ferret and the otter. â€œSo you never did tell me what happened in this Kodan place.â€ He grins slyly, â€œOr is that classified information?â€
Arrin Woodgreen: Soquan grins a bit and motions towards Jozra, â€œLittle miss Southie over there decided she’d throw herself into the Steamspring river.â€
Yazeth: Zander cocks an incredulous eyebrow at Jozra, shaken for a second but his fears turn to curiosity as she makes a face at Soquan and shakes her head. â€œI slipped. It was muddy and I was trying to bushwhack back to the road.â€
Arrin Woodgreen: The otter raises an eyebrow at Jozra then turns to Zander, motioning back to the ferret. â€œSee what I deal with?â€ His attention returns to the ferret. â€œDon’t forget who hauled you out of there.â€
Yazeth: The ferret laughs and pats Soquan’s arm. â€œWell you, of course. But I thought that went without saying, water-dog.â€
Zander chuckles at the exchange.
Arrin Woodgreen: He leans back slightly, arms crossed. â€œTrue.â€ He cocks his head to one side. â€œDo you remember much about what happened after I doubled back for the supplies?â€
Yazeth: The ferret furrows her brows a moment, trying to think back to that rainy day. After a moment she shakes her head. â€œNo, not much at all.â€
Arrin Woodgreen: A slow, mischievous grin spreads across the otter’s face, which he turns towards the ferret. â€œSo you don’t recall how you made it though the night?â€
Yazeth: Jozra looks puzzled, and a little suspicious of Soquan’s grin. â€œ…no?â€
Arrin Woodgreen:Â Soquan looks down to inspect his claws. â€œTell me then, m’dear. Without proper medical treatment, what’s the best way to help treat hypothermia?â€
Yazeth: The ferret looks perturbed, and even more so when Zander throws his head back and laughs heartily.
Arrin Woodgreen: Soquan claps the woodrat heartily on the shoulder. â€œYou’re familiar with the technique then? Wonderful.â€ He turns back to the ferret. â€œLet me tell you how it’s done then. First step is you need to get all wet articles of clothing off, second step is to make up someplace that will be warm. Third…â€ His previous grin returns, â€œShare body heat.â€
Yazeth: Jozra puts her face in her hands and shakes her head. â€œYou’re just evil, Soquan.â€Â Zander chuckles, â€œOh sounds like you had it coming if you weren’t watching where you were going.â€
Arrin Woodgreen: He shakes his head, â€œThat’s not the last of it, I had to haul her back to the town, which was a day’s walk away.â€ He motions to Jozra. â€œSleeping Beauty there was too lazy to wake up.â€
Yazeth: The ferret merely grunts and rolls her eyes in response.
Arrin Woodgreen: The otter rises, only to plunk back down beside the ferret, draping an arm around her shoulders. â€œAw c’mon Joz, you know you love me.â€
Yazeth: Jozra looks at the otter and then back over at the woodrat, jerking a thumb in Soquan’s direction. â€œYou see what I have to put up with?â€
Arrin Woodgreen: Soquan merely rolls his eyes and gives her shoulders a slight squeeze before rising and picking up the plates.