The sun shines bright and strong, a trail of dust and ash follows your car as you head towards a known destination: The Black Stingers' current settlement, set beside a lava flow that is on the process of cooling down
The gift you've recieved from the Postal Service, a transportable high power radio that's been installed on your car, has perhaps been fascinating you with it's sounds. For a while now it's been playing a variety of music, most of them traditional Rissan music, with rapid notes and strong tones, but a couple of classics from Masharas also played. Right now, however, it has moved into something you perhaps weren't expecting, the news. They've told a (abridged, ignoring the sabotage attempt) version of your group assisting in the finishing of the Continental Radio "And that's why we owe our friends from Masharas our thanks, so if you see them passing by your caravan, be sure to give them a hug!" the newscaster says, before moving on to share news of the weather- Quite detailed, and perhaps confusing. Feels a tiny bit grim to the untrained ear
Serenity: "They better not."
Harriet: "Okay, like, let's just establish right now that Anton has to handle the hugging, because I don't want random strangers in my personal space." Harriet is scribbling down plans for something or another in the back, and she barely even looks up.
As you move along, however, you see in the distance what seems like… Banners. Set on stall standards they are red-and-green banners with the siginal of the Black Stingers. As you move close you notice they're been scattered around a wide area, in places they seem to form some sort of zones, like delimiting space for something, and right now they seem to indicate a path for anyone coming.
Amal: "Hey, they rolled out the red carpet!"
Serenity: "Mm."
Harriet: "Oh, is that what that means? Cool."
Harriet: "It's nice to be appreciated!"
As you follow the colorful pathway you see in the distance the settlement- You've seen a couple of settlements before but this one is quite different, unlike the others you've seen wherein t hey have two or three caravan transports they have five, which are serving double duty as guard posts around the perimeter of the settlement, and double duty they are built to serve as though you can recognize them as caravan vehicles they are much more armored and all five of them are armed with high bore cannons and a machinegun on each side, being able to double up as tanks. Their armament, however, is trained on the ground in a sign of peace, and none of them face towards the road of banners
The settlement itself is surrounded by walls of what looks like tarnished and rusted metal plates, but as you come closer you can appreciate the color of desert camouflage on them. Not a single building is taller than the walls, but the front gates are spread wide open, not a guard in sight
Serenity: "Huh."
Harriet: "Wow, those things are badass," Harriet remarks at the caravans. "Looks like everyone's pretty welcoming right now, though..?"
Hughbert: "Make sure you stop just before… That point there, those two banners. Wave to the guards there before going any further."
Serenity: "Alright." And she does. No point in needlessly aggrivating anyone yet.
JayM: There's no guards? At least no visible ones…
Anton scratches his head before trailing along behind the group.
Serenity‘ just waves towards the wall then, obviously. Where they’d usually have sentrys,
Amal gives Hughbert a little thumbs up
The settlement itself looks… It looks a lot more organized and considerably larger than previous ones you've visited, there a few roads of stone brick (they're aligned a little too perfectly to be hand-laid, did they automate the process?). The buildings are short but wide- In fact you notice the handful of houses on the way in are incredibly large. Easily capable of holding four or five large families
Anton: "Well, you're right that some guards are over there, Hughbert. Dunno why they're all hiding under holes with covers though."
Hughbert calls out just in case. "Travellers passing through here! We're here for the festival!"
But of course, the most important part of the settlement at this moment cannot be understated: The streets, at the sides of the streets and in fact half of the paved streets are full of stalls, theres food, there's games (albeit some strange ones? there's game wherein one must apparently throw a ball on a hoop one-handed, another where they use a blowdart to pop baloons? One stall with a lot of people has three boxes, you see people putting their hands inside them pulling out various prizes)
JayM: But also importantly quite a few of those stalls seem to have… They appear to be storytellers?!
JayM: Of course, they seem to have obviously been expecting outsiders, you're waved at as you pass, there are souvenirs for sale- A festival not just for locals, but also for outsiders
[OOC] JayM:
Something, however, you see that is perhaps the most interesting part? You see a lot of those savannah cats, just roaming around like the people- Wait is there one that seems to be running that entire stall on it's own?!
Hughbert looks about while he waits for a response and makes a mental note of the attractions. He mumbles, "I was getting hungry anyway. What good timing." He climbs back down and lets Serenity move ahead now they they've gotten the signal.
Anton: "So! Where to first, everyone? We're ready to have fun, I hope?"
Serenity‘ finds somewhere that looks like a parking area to pull over.
Serenity: "…Why is there a large cat sitting behind one of those booths…?" Serenity frowns.
Harriet: "Is that cat…" Harriet shakes her head. "… no, that’s stupid. Let's get something to eat!"
Anton: "I feel compelled to check it out now, though…"
Serenity finds a parking spot near the center of the settlement, wherein two structures have been set up- One appears to be a large stage, but there's nothing going on at the moment. There's light equipment avaible, however, is it for tonight? Another is, nearby, an enclosed space wherein they've set up what seems like a small portable infirmary as well- An arena of some sort
There is a single house larger than the rest, or not actually larger but decorated in a much more imposing fashion
Hughbert: "Amal, I'd like to hear your opinion on the reliability of that cat merchant."
JayM: Anton if you really must know, the stall the cat's handling appears to be selling clothing
JayM: The food avaiable is varied as it gets, though, but there's a lot of meat-
JayM: Although a couple of stalls seem to be selling… What is that- Fried scorpions?!
Serenity: "…I vote we just find whoever we were supposed to meet here."
JayM: Indeed, who might be the person you're wanting to find? It's not like you were given a direct contact- Just told that the Stingers would be receptive to outsiders this time of the year
Harriet: "I guess we've gotta make friends and figure that out," Harriet says, looking right at Hughbert.
Serenity: "That's what we pay Amal for isn't it."
Harriet: "So long as one of them does it, it's fine, right?"
Amal: "Are you suggesting cats are disreputable, Hughbert!?"
Anton: "Now, now. The only way to settle this is to go to the cat stall itself. Take the future into your own hands, my friends!"
Hughbert: "I am suggesting that their lack of linguistic capabilities could impede traditional negotiations. Lorelei can at least carry around a notebook, cats cannot do that, to the best of my knowledge. Please correct me if I'm incorrect."
Harriet: "Cats can't sell clothes. It's probably just been trained to act like it's manning the stall as, like, some kind of weird marketing thing."
Amal: "It's working, isn't it~?"
Amal looks a -little- smug.
Serenity: "Definitely not giving some fucking cat any money."
Harriet leans over to Amal, whispers: "(Cats aren't sentient in Rissan, are they?)"
Amal whispers back: "(It is a mystery.)"
Anton sighs before just going to the cat stall himself.
Harriet: "Okay we have to go and buy cat clothes right now," Harriet says, marching over to the stall.
Hughbert: "Well, if the stall is along our path to whomever Amal thinks is best to contact first, I believe we have nothing to lose by at least resolving this mysery."
Serenity‘ on the other hand heads for a stall selling cold drinks first and foremost, and then whatever food is nearby it.
Hughbert watches Harriet walk off. "Okay. We’re going to the cat stall now then. This is our plan now." He turns and gives an exaderrated shrug before following.
Amal waves good-naturedly to the cat, makes an amiable sort of cat noise.
There's a variety of clothing avaiable! It's definitely aimed at tourists, the clothing are traditional rissan style but look slightly exxagerated. They're nontheless good-looking and every single one has at least minimal combat padding, they'd all serve as good underarmor
The cat meows at Amal, looking at his eyes expectantly
Amal: "Hey, Anton."
Anton scratches his cheek seeming to be under quite the conundrum. "There's just too much food here to buy and too little stomach space. Not to mention money! But to prophesize what every delicacy tastes like would likely take the entire day. Never before have I been so conflicted on such an important choice."
Harriet: "Hey cat, are you a person?"
The cat tilts their head at HArriet
Amal points to something. "Think Serenity would like that?"
Harriet: "Are… you… a… person?" Harriet asks, again, enunciating each word like she's talking to a five-year-old.
Serenity, on the other hand, finds a stall with both drinks AND food. The one working the stand pulls out a cold juice from a portable fridge, it's a citric mix juice, pretty good. There's food to be had- Thankfully everything can easily be eaten on your feet
Anton: "Amal my dear, it'd be easier for me to tell you what Serenity DOESN'T like, here. There's only a few futures where she isn't content with her choices."
The man manning the stall right besides, however, looks at Serenity "You, ma'am! You look like a brave woman!" she says, his stall has three boxes with an opening on the top "Wanna try your courage for a prize?"
The cat tilts their head at Harriet to the other side. Since it can't seem to get the answer it wants out of her, it just meows once
Amal: "We should TOTALLY buy her something from the cat merchant, yes/yes?"
Serenity: "I duno what's the deal?"
Anton: "I agree, if only because I wish to see how the cat handles currency."
Harriet throws up her hands. "Okay, Amal, I give, good job, you tricked me."
Hughbert clears his throat. "How much for this…" Hughbert picks up something that looks like… a scarf? or a frilly belt? He gives Amal a confused look. "This. How much for this?"
Amal: "It's a scarf~!"
Man: "Well, inside those boxes there's small balls, if you pick one up you can choose from a selection of prizes, outfits, tickets for tonight's show, even a discount ticket for the armory stores if you prefer taking your prizes to the field! But therein likes the need for courage, for one of those boxes is full of insects, black scorpions"
The cat looks at the scarf Hughbert is holding, points with their nose a small sign to the left- It shows the price of each item, including that of the scarf
The cat puts a pawn on the tabletop for a moment
Hughbert looks at the sign, then looks at Amal. "(Am I supposed to haggle?)"
Harriet: "Okay, ha ha, who taught the cat to put down chess pieces like it's playing chess?"
Serenity: "Uh."
Serenity: "Sure, okay."
Anton makes his way over to Serenity, his attention caught. "No worries, Serenity. This is the part where your dashing friend comes in and wins you the top prize of the festival~."
[OOC] JayM: There's an extra N in there
[OOC] JayM: It's mean to be paw, not pawn
[OOC] Hughbert: oops!
[OOC] Harriet: oop scratch that last line then
[OOC] Hughbert: see I thought that was supposed to be the marker for the Haggle With Cats minigame
Serenity: "Also fine, knock yourself out Anton." Serenity returns most of her attention to the cup in her hand, only slightly pay attention to Anton and the boxes.
[OOC] Amal: oh my god I'm going to die, you're all precious
Anton glances at the man. "You don't mind, of course?"
Harriet: "I'm sure whoever trained that cat is real proud of themselves. But they've gotta be around here somewhere, there's no way they'd just leave the money for someone to grab."
Amal: "I mean… it's traditional."
Harriet: "So where are they?"
The man shrugs "Of course"
Anton scratches his head before writing a note on a piece of paper and passing it to Serenity.
Amal: "Do you have dried fish?"
Once Hughbert puts down the money the cat pulls it from the counter into a box behind it and meows happily
Serenity‘ gives it a glance between bites of meat off a skewer.
Amal giggles. "See? Cats can be shopkeepers. Savannah cats are actually -really- smart."
Serenity` snorts, barely managing to keep her drink from spilling.
Serenity: "Are you serious?"
Anton: "Dead serious!"
Harriet: "Come on, Amal, the gig’s up, you can't trick me into thinking these are supercats twice."
A moment later a teenager comes up running "Oi, oi! Nino!" he goes up to the cat "Thanks for holding the fort, bro" the cat meows at him "Is fine, mom was just being a pain. You can go have fun with your friends now!" t he cat yowls happy and runs off, quickly scaling up a wall and going to join a small group of cats sunning in a roof
Hughbert puts on the scarf once he purchases it, then just sighs and finishes the transaction normally. "Thank you."
Serenity: "Can we just report him instead? 8% is really fucking high for something that's supposed to be a festival game."
Amal: "You just saw the cat go through an entire business transcation! With your own eyes!"
Anton shakes his head. "I'm more concerned about the fact that you can't win!"
The teenager looks at Hughbert "Hey, thanks for buying from him, this is his first time manning the shop"
Harriet: "Operant conditioning can do a lot to an animal!"
Amal: "Hehe, he did a good job~!"
Harriet: "Or maybe it's pavlovian…? I don't know, I never paid attention to the biology kids."
Anton: "What kind of festival carnie has rigged games? I feel like my entire childhood is shattering before my eyes."
Hughbert: "He did a fine job. Your cat is very well behaved."
Amal: "You learn to work together with pretty much anyone or anything you can, out here." They smile.
Serenity: "Right, hence."
Serenity: "The reporting, my melodramatic companion."
The teen smiles, blinks and tilts his head in a very cat-like manner "Oh, hey. You're travellers aren't you?" he almost jumps on top of the counter to look at Harriet closer "Wow, you're cool!"
Serenity: "I imagine that's probably frowned upon to some degree."
Anton: "I can't say I know WHO to report him to."
Amal: "Heard anything about the radio yet?"
Serenity: "Man that's not even hard, you just cup your hands around your mouth and shout, " hey, there's scorpians with lethal venom in all three boxes, what the fuck?! " as loud as you can."
Serenity‘ gestures vaguely towards the stall operator, then anton, then around them at the crowd with her skewer.
Harriet: "Wh- hey!" Harriet leans back, giving her fellow teenager a weird look as she regains her composure. "I mean, yeah! Of course I’m cool! I'm Harriet Babbage!"
The boy perks up "Oh! Yeah! We've gathered to listen to the radio earlier today! Chief Kestrel is going to be give out radios to every house after the festival!"
Anton: "Hold up. I'm gonna see if this guy was calling out to anyone else. He might be an assassin targetting us specifically."
Anton closes his eyes.
Teenager: "Woow! You're the one the radio spoke about earlier today, aren't you?"
Serenity: "Alrighty."
Harriet: "You know, I'm- we're the ones who fixed that."
Harriet: "Yup, that's us."
Amal: "We totally couldn't have done any of it without Harriet, hehe. But yeah, that was us!"
The boy, in his excited state, raises up his hand "Oh man let me-" he was going to try to shake Harriet's hand, but he clumsily half-climbs over the counter and slips on his chair- and comes tumbling over to the front
Hughbert nods. "If you want to take the directions on the radio literally, Amal here," he gestures to Amal, "has offically been promoted to our First Officer of Shipping and Receiving Hugs just now."
Anton chews at his lip. "This guy has conned dozens of people already today with his unwinnable scorpion game and they all clearly get bitten. But nobody gets sick from the bites except for us. Take that as you will."
As he does so- You do notice something, he's quite young to have a tattoo covering his right arm- But then again, now that you pay attention, everyone seems to have those
Serenity: "Natural tolerances to it from growning up in the area, maybe?"
Harriet: "Uh… are you okay?" Harriet gives the teenager a weird look, because he is acting positively bizarrely.
He stands up quickly "Y-yes!"
Teenager: "I just never met anyone from outside!"
Anton: "I couldn't find any signs of Oracle tampering, so that seems like a logical conclusion."
Amal yelps and helps him from completely going ass over tip, or at least tries to. "Hehe, easy now. Nice to meet you. I hope there'll be more visitors in the future."
Serenity: "Even then, you should still devenom those things before you put 'em in the box." Serenity gestures back towards the man with her skewer.
Teenager: "And all the adults bring all of those stories when they come back from their missions!"
The man blinks, looking at Serneity, he's just been listening for a while "Why, though? I mean, I don't know how you realized all three had the scorpions but the poison's part of it"
Harriet: "Don't worry, eventually everyone will react that way when they meet me. You're ahead of the curve!"
Man: "C'mon, you sound like a kid who never did her ceremonies. It isn't even bad"
Serenity‘ pauses.
Anton: "I can’t say I'm familiar with the customs of this area. Amal!"
Hughbert: "Are you thinking of traveling outside the village someday, yourself?"
Serenity: "What in the world is making you assume we're from Rissan? Do either of us even *sort of* look like locals? Did the pasty ass coloration of the skin and accents not give it away?"
Man: "Not really, but don't you do something like that on your ceremonies outside?"
Man: "I mean it's just, y'know, normal"
Serenity: "Holy shit read some books, man, before you kill some outsiders on accident."
Teenager: "Of course! I'm training every day so I can deploy with the sylpheeds someday!"
Teenager: "I hope I get to travel all over, I plan to keep a journal when I do!"
Serenity: "No one does anything like that outside of Rissan."
The man tilts his head to the side "Really?" '
Serenity: "Really."
Man: "Wow you're… Kind of weird, you know that?"
Serenity: "I'm really weird actually."
Anton: "Well, to be fair we aren't exactly NORMAL."
Harriet: "Yeah, okay. So, hey, how'd you train your cat, anyway? Back home cats don't listen to anyone."
Anton: "So I suppose he has a point!"
Teenager: "Train?" he scratches the back of his head "I didn't really. He just did what mom's sister did and hangs around" "
Teenager: "Just like I did!"
Anton: "Regardless I don't feel that meeting the clan leader through intentionally falling ill to scorpion venom is a future any of us want to take. Let us dismiss this as a weird custom and find a better stall to attend!"
Harriet: "Come on, there's gotta be something you do to get it to do complex tasks. I mean, I never got into animal husbandry beyond Matheus making me get a toad, but I know animals don't just learn the behaviours to man a stall by hanging around."
The teenager tilts his head to the side again, as confused as a cat staring at the wall "They don't?"
Teenager: "Isn't that how you learn things, though?"
Serenity: "Orsis guys are too busy dying in mines or playing politicals for any kind of weird poison rituals, Marshanians are too busy with science and figuring out antidotes to that stuff to bother with building up resistance, Terchuan is too busy dying from poison you can't build resistance to in their water. … I guess Akavir might have something like that but I imagine they're a lot more focused
Serenity: on practical combat test so they can kill everyone else. "
Harriet: "Nope. I mean, maybe in folklore, sure… but not in real life. Like, humans are way more advanced than animals. That's why dogs don't make games!"
Harriet: "And Amal already tried to sell me on these cats being people but your cat super did not talk to me so that avenue's way closed off."
Harriet: "I've just gotta figure out what the trick is, that's all."
From behind Harriet comes a considerably tall and broad man appears, he seems to have arrived without a single bit of noise. His body shows the signs of someone who's been a little too deep in combat for a little too long, he's flanked by two cats, both of which also seem like they've seen their fair share of scrapes, one seemingly missing an eye "It's called Habitual Mimesis, if the The Enlightened Beasts book is to be believed"
Amal just chuckles. "I -told- you, the cats are clever!"
Teenager: "Mister Kestrel! Hi! Uhn-" he man laughs "It's okay Ronnie, I saw how you got excited, it's good to treat our guests well. Are you taking good care of your stall?" he boy nods "Yessir!"
Hughbert turns around. "Oh? Any place at this festival I could pick up a copy? It sounds like a most fascinating topic."
Serenity: "In any case I feel like pointing out that the game is rigged and there was bugs in every box counts as winning so I want my tickets, and then we can leave."
Serenity: "Not like anyone else was gunna win them anyway."
Harriet: "Uh… you mean that book on animal psychology? Never picked it up, honestly."
Kestrel: "It is certainly avaiable, we do have a book store in which you can procure it"
Harriet: "Also, are you the guy we're supposed to make friends with? You look like the sort of important guy we're supposed to meet up with."
Kestrel: "But I would imagine you're more likely to find it at your hometown, as it was written by a couple from there, decades ago"
Kestrel: "Ahahaha, I see you are not too used to this function are you, Harriet?"
Anton glances at Serenity and then the man. "She has a point you know."
Harriet: "Well, yeah, but aren't they kind of nuts? I mean, all I heard about them was 'you can't use a sample size of one!' and 'you can't use your family to prove a thesis!' and, I mean, on the one hand I gotta admire the dedication, but on the other hand you know what they say about small sample sizes…"
Kestrel: "Either way, yes, I am Kestrel the Savage, leader of Black Stingers. For now at least" he looks at Anton, and looks at the man in the stall- The man takes a step back, and then two "A-ahh-" he stutters "What have I told you about your game, and about strangers?"
Kestrel: "Pants can you please take him to Melissa? She'll know what happened"
Man: "Oh, c'mon boss-"
At his complaint one of the cats walks up to the man and growls, he man looks dejected and sighs- He closes up his boxes, his stall, and follows as the cat leads him elsewhere
Serenity‘ opens her mouth, closes her mouth.
Harriet: "Kestrel the Savage…? … Hey, Amal, I’m Harriet the Genius now."
Amal finally, /finally/ looks over to Serenity and Anton and then their eyes bug out a little bit and they almost start laughing.
Serenity: "Pants, really?"
Amal: "Harriet, so help me, I'm gonna start introducing you that way."
Harriet: "Good!"
Kestrel: "I would say something, Harriet, but I hear you earned the title"
Anton starts to laugh.
Serenity: "Whatever, don't explain it's probably dumb. I just want my tickets."
Harriet: "Of course I did, I'm amazing."
Kestrel: "And Pants has more than earned her name. It's very dumb, and so is she"
Kestrel: "Good fighter, though"
Harriet: "Oh, don't worry!" Harriet calls out to Serenity. "Apparently these are some weird highly-trainable supercats!"
Harriet: "Who… learn by hanging around instead of being trained…? Don't ask me it's probably super dumb."
Kestrel chuckles "Not so trainable, Harriet, as they are part of our family. This clan has always been theirs to begin with"
Hughbert: Hughbert's face scrunches up in confusion for a moment before it relaxes in a minor epiphany. "…Oh, the cat is named Pants. Right. Not the stall owner."
Serenity: "I mean, it didn't try and rip you off at least like the asshole we were talking to so I'll buy it!"
Harriet: "I heard about people who were owned by their cats, but… man, hey, if it works for you it works."
Amal: "Serenity we bought you a scarf from the cat merchant!"
Harriet: "The cats are pretty cool, I guess." Not that she'll ever forgive them for making her look like an idiot who talks to cats.
Serenity: "All I want are these damn tickets to this mysterous show I was promised but prpbably don't even care about!"
Serenity: "…And some more of this juice, this stuff is pretty good."
Serenity‘ buys another one.
Kestrel chuckles "I can get you front row seats if you want, it is a theatrical retelling of the founding of the Black Stingers"
Harriet: "Do they explain the cats? I really want an explanation for these damn cats."
Kestrel: "It happens right after me and Selena have our bout for the leadership of the clan"
Anton: "One on one combat?"
Hughbert hands Serenity a scarf. He was wearing the one he bought- still is, actually. A teenager manning a stall behind him will notice he’s down one more scarf and ahead a few coins in just a moment.
The remaining cat mrowls proudly, and Kestrel nods "Yes. It's not like much changes, mind, Selena's my wife- Something related to our past traditions- so there isn't much shift in leadership, it's mostly ritualistic"
Kestrel: "And it does explains the cats, Harriet. They have always been important to us"
Serenity: "…Harriet!"
Serenity: "Harriet!"
Anton nods to himself before glancing at Serenity. "Just to save myself from searching… how were you going to handle the box game?"
Kestrel: "Say, is there anywhere you'd like to see in particular? Few know this place as well as me"
Harriet: "Serenity! Serenity!" Harriet ambles over. "Why are we yelling?"
Serenity‘ scrunches up her face at Hughbert and the scarf before rolling her eyes, "Harriet they decide leadership by physical combat what the fu - uh. Oh."
Serenity: "I was going to heat up the boxes and then not put my hand into anything that made bug noises."
Anton: "His moniker IS ’The Savage'."
Anton: "What did you expect, exactly?"
Kestrel chuckles "We are a clan of warriors, Serenity, what did you expect?"
Harriet: "Why don't you just, you know, listen to the boxes?"
Serenity: "Boxes don't typically have ragnite flowing through them, Harriet."
Kestrel chuckles, he kneels down and pets the remaining cat "This, by the by, is Selena" the cat stares intently at Serenity
Harriet: "Oh, come on, that's quitter's talk."
Serenity: "…Anyway I'm not really sure what I was expecting honestly it just seems super goofy to still be doing that in this day in age."
Harriet: "All we have to do is inject the boxes with ragnite!"
Anton stares down at the cat for a moment. "… y'know, animals really do have simplistic auras."
Kestrel: "As I said, it's mostly ritualistic. Both me and Selena actually lead together, there is no actual change in the chain of command for this fight's outcome"
Hughbert: "Hmm… Well, we will get a history lesson at the show, but… For a supplementary lesson, which of the storytellers do you think I should listen to?"
Kestrel: "Cats get real inssuferable when they win, though"
Serenity: "…"
Harriet: "Cats… win?"
Selena mrows indignantly
Harriet: "…" Harriet gives Serenity a weird look.
Kestrel: "It's been known to happen, the leader three generations ago lost to her husband"
Anton pauses before raising a hand and stage whispering to the group. "… was I not paying attention fully here? The cat is his wife?"
Serenity: "Amal."
Serenity: "Are you sure this is the clan we needed…?"
Harriet: "You can't marry a cat."
Harriet: "Cats aren't people."
Harriet: "I, like, empirically proved this way back when we first came to the stall."
Kestrel: "Indeed, Harriet, you can't. Except in my particular case, as the clan leader. As I said, it's mostly a tradition and I always love to see outsiders' reactions to that"
Harriet: "But you can't marry a cat!"
Kestrel: "Technically, Selena's the leader of the cats, and I am the leader of the humans. We are the only ones together like this, who bring together the two separate clans"
Amal is making the most heroic effort in the entire world not to laugh at Harriet and Serenity. It's… mostly… working.
Harriet: "Oh. My god. You guys are so weird."
Hughbert puts a hand on Harriet's shoulder. He solemnly shakes his head.
Kestrel: "It's an ancient tradition that hails back to the time when our clan of exiles was saved by a family of savannah cats"
[OOC] Harriet: my GODDESS even
Amal: "Harriet you wanted the explanation about the cats and now you're gonna get it!" They grin.
Harriet whispers to Hughbert: "(But his wife is a cat!)"
Serenity: "So."
Anton leans up to Serenity before muttering under her breath. "(That cat has been staring at you for a while by the way. It's exhibiting a strong aura of defiance towards you.)"
Serenity: "I'm banned from talking for the rest of the night."
Serenity‘ shoves the rest of the meat on the skewer into her mouth.
Kestrel laughs "If you truly do wish to learn, I could tell you our story"
[OOC] Anton: *his breath
Kestrel: "How about we head to my house, I treat you to our story… And perhaps we can discuss the reason you are here to begin with"
Hughbert: "(Think about it. If you got married to a cat, and your cat learned to be your assistant from watching you, wouldn’t that have a low chance of being less of a boon than getting married to a person?)"
Harriet: "(………… listen Hughbert in a civilised country we just call those people 'lab assistants' and we definitely don't marry them.)"
Hughbert: "(Sometimes, people are overrated. Not everyone in my squad is the brightest, though I do treasure them all dearly.)"
Anton: "(… I thought that a lot of scientists did end up becoming couples though since they worked together so much?)"
Harriet: "(Well, yeah, but people scientists. Not lab animals.)"
Serenity‘ shakes her head at Anton.
Harriet: "(But okay fine I’ll try not to insult their stupid cat marriage, but for the record it's super dumb.)"
Kestrel just looks infinitely amused at you all
Harriet: "Okay sure give us your great cultural history which I'm sure is totally reasonable and not weird at all." Harriet doesn't realise that trained warriors can probably hear grumbled whispering. "But can we grab some food, too? Great, I knew you'd agree."
Hughbert takes a deep breath. He gives a weary smile to Kestrel. "Don't mind me, I'm going to have myself a meal along the way. I might have to have a drink or two, I truly did not expect to be playing devil's advocate for cat marriage when I woke up today."
Kestrel: "Of course, feel free to browse the stalls and please avoid the fried scorpions, we're immune to their poison but it's quite deadly otherwise. Also do try the juice of all fruits, perhaps the most unique we have here"
Amal finally loses it and it's all Hughbert's fault, giggles frantically into a sleeve.
Kestrel: "Maybe I might even take you to the tree that gives the fruits of that juice tomorrow… The Tree Of All Fruits is a most beautiful sight" he looks at Amal and smiles "Either way, my house is that one" he points the most impressive one, in the center of the settlement "Do show up as you desire"
Amal gives him a nod! "Hehe, I'll make sure they all stay outta too much trouble until then."
Kestrel: "I'll hold you to it"
Harriet: "You can't have all fruits on a - wait, can you have all fruits on a tree? No, hang on, that might be… like, my mother totally did graft branches so… but different fruits have different… but if you had the same type of fruit, maybe…" Harriet wanders off to a food stall muttering about fruit trees.
Hughbert gets a sandwich and a cup of something greasy along with a responsible serving of some Rissani liquor once he commits the house to memory. "Our thanks for the hospitality. Apologies if anything we've said was offensive, we meant no harm."
Serenity: "I've actually heard of a tree with like, I think it was sixty four different kinds of fruits growing on it for what it's worth Harriet."
Harriet: "Damn. Okay, yeah, presuming the fruits aren't like wildly different species I guess it's totally possible to have all types of fruits on one tree."
Anton: "I admit that ban lasted longer than I thought it would."
Harriet: "Oh, come on, you can't ask Serenity to keep quiet the entire time!"
Serenity: "It's only in effect with weird ass cat marriers are in the area."
Harriet: "Us scientists have vital thoughts, you know."
Hughbert: "What if it's one fruit, but the result of a series of cross-pollenations giving it an ancestry of all known fruits combined?"
Harriet: "I guess that could work, too. Honestly, trees aren't my wheelhouse."
Serenity: "It helps when it's planted inside a sacred grove, too."
Harriet: "Huh… yeah, that'd help."
[OOC] JayM: Just warn me when you're ready to change scenes, btw
Serenity: "Also why is all the meat here always so damn spicey? Is being out in the desert not already hot enough for them?"
Amal: "'It reminds you to stay hydrated', is what they always told me."
Serenity: "But."
Serenity: "Drinking water doesn't really help with the heat???"
Amal: "That's what I said!"
Harriet: "Maybe it's meant to promote sweating, so that you'll cool down faster…?"
Serenity: "What you guys need to do is like, find some flatbread to stuff all this crap into to make it a little more bearable."
Serenity: "Hmm maybe."
Amal: "That's totally a thing. It's not this clan's style but it's totally a thing."
Serenity: "Good."
Harriet grabs something to eat, probably some method of dried meat, and some juice to make it less unbearably dry in the heat.
Harriet: "Huh. He was right, though. This juice is really good."
The central house- It's not actually larger than the others (which are already super damn large to begin with), but it has decorations the others don't. It doesn't looks aggressive per se, but it's decorated with shields and palisades which certainly look more imposing than practical. There's the actually practical ones too, and you can see the difference in make between those- You see, however, a large antenna sitting atop the house- It has a wave bombardier, it's definitely the continental radio antenna. There's a cleverly hidden antena built around the rim of the ceiling, presumably the local repeater for the main tenna
Amal eventually leads everyone to the house after making sure everyone tries ALL of the most delicious kinds of fruit juice. ALL of them!!
Serenity‘ is Okay With That. Especially since even the vegetables seem to be spicey, not just the meat.
The door is, surprisingly, unlocked. And you can help yourselves in. The central room is quite spacious, there’s various pillows for one to sit around, and the way they're arranged you have the feeling this is a meeting space for a large family, in fact there's also smaller pillows for cats, around eight of them. The room leads out to other rooms as well, a peek reveals only two of them lead to what seem to be bedrooms- The kitchen seems well-stocked, something you see through the doorway as a young woman comes out with a tray bearing coffee, hot, and water, pretty cold. She smiles for you as she puts the tray on a very short table, short enough it's just off the ground (it's also foldable) "Dad will be along in a second" she says, heading back inside to another room
Harriet: "Wait."
Harriet: "You don't think he… and that…"
Harriet: "That's not possible, right?"
Amal: "(There's different pillows for the cats Harriet!!!)"
Serenity‘ glances at Harriet with a very tired look and very pointedly does not say anything.
Amal: "(Also this is a living room!!)"
A peek through said doorway seems to lead to a sort of study, there’s books, a large desk, there's maps on the walls. The woman comes out of the room accompanied by Selena heading into the stairs leading to the second floor, Kestrel comes right after "Lucia" he says, taking a seat on a pillow "Lucia is my other wife, and yes she's human" he chuckles
Harriet: "(But she said her dad will be out in a moment and he's married to a cat.)"
Harriet: "… oh. Oh, good."
Kestrel: "The world is not yet crumbling to pieces, Harriet. My clan may be quite… Unusual in relation to the outside world, for it's own reasons, but we still follows the laws of logic"
Kestrel: "Well, I promised you a story, right?"
Kestrel: "Well, take a seat as I start, then"
Hughbert carefully selects a non-cat pillow, sits down, and helps himself to a drink. "Nice to meet you. Please, begin whenever."
Kestral: "Our clan is quite historied. Once upon a time, centuries ago, there was an incredibly powerful clan, a clan so powerful their main settlement didn't need to move, the many clans that served them paid them tribute in food and water" he begins his story, practiced "This clan, however, was plagued by a corrupt leader- A corrupt king, as it called itself not a clan, but an empire"
Harriet sits herself down on a human-sized pillow and listens.
Serenity‘ sets up a clear and distinst Not For Cats zone around her not-a-pillow-fort as she sits down.
Kestrel: "Within this empire was a family, a family from wherein their most powerful warriors came. They were deadly warriors that upon entering the field of battle were able to perform feats of superhuman strength, each one with the strength of twenty men-" he stops for a moment "Every child of ours easily makes the link, but it bears explaining to you, but the source of that strength was the toxin of the black scorpion, in sufficiently small dose and well treated it was an incredibly powerful combat drug capable of greatly strengthening you, at hte price of shortening your lifespan"
[OOC] Hughbert: Hughbert took one for the team and seated himself next to the cat-only section, for the record.
Kestrel: "Hence why to this day we are immune to the toxin of the scorpion, and why feeling the sting of said scorpion is a rite of passage for us. We no longer use that, obviously, too dangerous and not worth it, not with modern armaments"
Amal is sitting like, at a pillow directly between two cat pillows. (There’s probably no cats there anyway but it's the thought that counts.)
Kestrel: "Continuining-" he clear his throat to punctuate "Said family earned the kingdom many lands, they'd give their life for their king, as he had told them that they were family to him as well" he nods "But as I said, the king was corrupt, and cared only for his own gain. And once the kingdom grew enormous and had armies at his side, he saw the family as nothing but a liability. They were powerful, sure, but their sense of morals did not match his. And when the youngest child of the family asked of him 'My liege, why do we not hear of the priests anymore', the question angered the king, who finally declared the family traitors, and had them banished"
Kestrel: "Another clarification, this is a bit of a point of contention. The child's question is invariably this no matter how the story is told or who tells, but why of that question our historians are yet to ascertain"
Kestrel: "So, the family thus banished to the harsh lands outside, and you have seen them, had to find a means to survive. But they were scavengers, they were warriors… And all they knew of was the fight"
Kestrel: "So for days, and weeks, they travelled, trying to find somewhere, anywhere, anyone that would take them. But they did not, as the not a single clan would take them in, afraid of the king'd wrath"
Kestrel: "Thus one day, famished and desperate, they lie at the shade of a tree in despair- For one who had been born but weeks before the exile now lay at the edge of death- For days without eating their mother could no longer the child her milk"
Kestrel: "But as if a feral angel, a cat jumped down the tree, startling them. A mother herself this cat came closer to the baby's mother, nuzzling her- The mother understood what the other meant- For wherever and whoever you may be, mothers will always be the same. The cat had offered for the baby to nurse on her, and thus the child was saved"
Kestrel: "For days the family camped under that tree- Though the child had survived one more day, they would not survive much longer, they did not have the spirit to travel anymore- But the mother cat was not the only one to grow pity on them\"
Kestrel: "The rest of the cat family, they had seen the famished wanderers, and offered them scraps of their food"
Kestrel: "For months the cats cared for the family, as if of their own. And once the family was again strong enough to travel… They elicited not to"
Harriet looks like she wants to interrupt, but for the good of international diplomacy, she keeps her mouth shut for once.
Anton scratches his head. "Well, I GUESS a cat based economy is a step up from people who drink tainted water."
Kestrel: "For one of their numbers had grown accustomed to hunting alongside the cat's hunters, and their had grown close to their caregivers"
Kestrel: "And at this time, it was time for them to give back, they'd help those cats as they've been helped."
Kestrel: "Though the ashes of time have devoured the ancient kingdom… We survived"
Kestrel: "For we had always known the true meaning of family, the ones who you care for, and those who care for you"
Kestrel: "That is the story of how we came to be, and why we say this clan has always been the cats' clan first"
Harriet raises her hand.
Kestrel: "Certainly, Harriet, ask ahead"
Harriet: "Okay, but how did that even work?! Cats and humans have entirely different dietary needs! You can't just feed a human cat's milk and have everything be fine!"
Kestrel: "Do mind this is a bit more of a myth than history, a lot of it has been proven real, such as the ancient king and our link to our cats, but a lot of details were lost to time"
Harriet: "Oh, well, yeah, okay, I guess. So the milk's a metaphor."
Harriet: "… you guys don't drink cat milk, do you."
Kestrel: "It is true that feline milk isn't suitable for human infants, I myself think that part of a bit more metaphorical- But there was definitely something happening as our cats are just as adept at caring for our young as we are caring for theirs"
Kestrel: "Certainly not, Harriet, don't worry"
Amal: "I mean, it could still be enough to stop someone from starving to death… maybe?" They lean back on their heels a bit, confident that all of their opinions about savannah cats have been proven correct.
Kestrel: "It's more likely that the cat mother fed the human mother, such that she could produce milk again, or at least had the strength to make a type of milk-substitute concoction- We do have such a thing for emergencies"
Harriet: "Oh good." Harriet is very relieved. "But I guess that's cool. So you've sort of had this uh, cat hus- cat partn- you're friends with cats because you've been working with them for ages??"
Kestrel: "And, as that book I mentioned said, our cats perform something called Habitual Mimesis- They have lived with us for so long that they have acquired a lot of human traits of their own, they certainly understand our language, and can learn things which humans do. In turn, we too have earned a lot of feline habits, too"
Kestrel: "But we've been with them for so long and so close, we are certainly like family."
Kestrel's smiling at Harriet, to which point he starts humming very softly
Harriet: "I guess that explains why that one guy almost jumped up on the counter in excitement…"
Serenity‘ tilts her head, glances at Anton with a questioning look.
Kestrel: "Indeed, our children are not unlike kittens at times"
Anton glances at Serenity before shrugging. "I can read the emotions of any animal, it didn’t seem any different. Any living thing has an aura they just have a lot less threads since they can't impact the worldline as much."
Kestrel tilts his head to the side
Serenity: "Oh right you aren't actually anywhere near as familiar with the song as I am since you only heard it the one time the other day."
Serenity: "Uh ban over I guess???"
Kestrel: "Song?"
Harriet: "You held out pretty long, at least."
Serenity‘ makes a vague hand motion, then picks the song back up from where Kestrel left off without dropping a measure.
Kestrel blinks "Oh dammit i’m sorry sorry" he puts his hands on his face "Oh, that's embarassing"
Harriet: "Uh…" Harriet looks from Serenity to Kestrel.
Kestrel: "Oh, dang- Right- You're supposed to kick off this damn habit when you're a kid"
Serenity: "Hm?"
He sighs, his face is red, he's definitely embarassed "It's… A habit you pick young it's a lot like, uhn… Purring, but for people, I guess"
Kestrel: "Not the most dignified thing for an adult to do but I just… It happens"
Harriet snickers into a hand.
Serenity: "Okay but why that melody… specifically?"
Kestrel: "It's… It just naturally comes to you"
Hughbert: "Try asking a cat, Serenity? Perhaps it's a feline tune."
Serenity: "Imperical you or you specifically?"
Kestrel: "Hrm… It's… The same way the rythm of a cat's purring is related to, well, the beat of their mother's heart"
Serenity‘ rolls her eyes in Hughbert’s direction. "It's not."
Serenity: "Wait heart?" Serenity pauses for a second.
Kestrel: "The particular tune just sort of… Comes to you, like the rythm of your own heart"
Harriet: "(Heh heh, Serenity's been purring.)"
Serenity: "No that song absolutely sounds nothing at all like a heartbeat, doesn't check out."
Kestrel: "It's an innate song to your very life it's just… Your natural rhythm"
Hughbert: "I merely followed a logical conclusion. If it's like purring, a very cat-like act, then the song may be more cat-related than you think."
Kestrel: "Or so is the theory anyway"
Amal: "What no it totally does. Just, like… in a metaphorical sense."
Serenity: "Heartbeats are erratic, not in 4/4."
Amal: "Like the milk!"
Serenity: "Amal I will do something vaguely mean and threatening to you so help me."
Kestrel: "If this is really habitual mimesis on our part and as far as we know it is, it stands to reason it follows the same patterns of the habits of origin"
Kestrel: "There's no… Direct proof, actually, just conjecture"
Amal: "Oh noooooo."
Serenity: "Probably just a strong medium in the present that influence the other kids and they picked up on it I guess."
[OOC] Serenity: in the past
Harriet: "But wouldn't it be cool if all these guys were mediums?"
Serenity: "Okay carry on to other topics this isn't actually interesting if you don't know what the actual song is."
Kestrel nods
Kestrel: "Hrm… Now that you mention your mediums in this conversation"
Kestrel: "I am reminded that the ancient kingdom of our story does appear to be the same one from the Silvarant Knights' own stories"
Serenity: "What's that got to do with mediums?"
Kestrel: "Their ultimate fate matches, some of the more esoteric details of other tales about them match, it does appear we share a common ancestry in the end. I always found that interesting given our rivalry"
Kestrel: "Well, we already share history with someone. And there's exactly one place with priests in the entire world"
Kestrel: "So I was wondering if Masharas doesn't have any old stories that might match to this ancient kingdom as well?"
Kestrel: "Perhaps we, too, are linked in such a manner"
Serenity: "Oh."
Serenity: "I duno probably, the whole world took a pretty scorched earth policy with regards to the old religion though."
Kestrel: "Hrm… That is true"
Serenity: "So like, we still have the chapel and churches and a Pope but like. No one ever talks about it and there's nothing written down,"
Serenity: "And whenever you ask one of the three beingings that might know they get all whiney about it."
Anton: "Three?"
At this point a cat comes in through the front door, you recognize this as Pants from before. There is definitely something that gives her that name, you imagine, that being the pattern on her back legs. She just walks right up to Kestrel and shoves her face on his hands, purring
Serenity: "Her, Pope and like, I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt that you probably COULD do it if you really TRIED but that just be me overselling your abilities based on your position."
Serenity: "Alcor too probably but ha ha Alcor giving anyone a straight answer."
Harriet: "Alcor's kind of a dick, yeah."
Serenity: "Hehehehe."
Kestrel: "Wha- Pants, really…" he looks out the window "… She isn't here, right?" Pants swishes her tail around "Alright, good…"
Anton: "I'd probably need to be in the quicksilver chamber and have a lot of time to fish up something like that."
Kestrel: "You will want to know that your Alcor friend visited Rissan recently, by the by. And by recently I mean a few days ago"
Anton: "I'm near-sighted though, looking that far back isn't exactly easy for me."
Hughbert raises an eyebrow. "Does your wife not like it when you snuggle up with other cats?"
Serenity: "Yeah you mentioned something about a point it's too hard to see past and then starting complaining about being short sighted anyway."
Kestrel: "Oh, no, Pants is Selena's twin sister"
Serenity: "Alcor was HERE?"
Kestrel: "It's not right to separate twins, so I have both. Which is a damn shame, this one's an idiot"
Kestrel: "As soon as you help me resolve my issue here you should depart to the Dustfire settlement on top of Mount Hope, that's where he went"
Hughbert: "Don't worry, I will not tell her you said that. I couldn't even if I wanted to."
Anton: "I'm not sure why you're surprised. Alcor has been around a week ahead of us for the last three countries. If anything, I'd say that a few days ago means we're slowly catching up to him!"
Serenity: "It's been nice and quiet, I was hoping maybe he skipped one fucking town."
Kestrel: "He bought vast amounts of metals and other rare materials refined from he lava flows. In fact he bought enough and paid so far above the actual proce for the materials they finally have enough money to pay the termination fees on the contracts with Akavir"
Hughbert nods, getting back on track. "…Wait, he did what?"
Serenity: "But no. Ooh look at me I'm a stupid evil orcle hell bent on world domination, better dance to my stupid tune."
Kestrel: "I know he's bad news, he's helped them immensely and I don't know what the actual price might be. Either way you'll need to intervene with the akavir presence there either way"
Amal snorts under their breath. "Alcor what are you even doing?"
Anton: "Well, I mean money probably doesn't matter to him nearly as much as rebuilding that machine for round two."
Kestrel: "He basically showered them with money in exchange for materials for something. Enough money to solve a fair bit of their akavir problem"
Anton: "I dunno why he'd go out of his way to give any extra though."
Kestrel: "Neither do I"
Kestrel: "But before I go chasing after him I would like to have your assistance"
Kestrel: "You are probably aware we are hiring a good deal of our warriors to Akavir, correct?"
Harriet: "That's kinda what we do. What do you need?"
Kestrel: "You are probably aware of the most recently… Reoccurance of the Shattering, that worldwide disaster?"
Anton: "The fact that we were able to stop him the first time and only have ravines open up across the world though was a miracle. Not so sure we're gonna be peachy when he finishes his Mk II with all this metal he's buying."
Harriet: "We're amazing, we'll figure it out."
Kestrel: "Well, I need a resolution for both. The second Shattering… It nearly completely destroyed Hidden Valley. It's where all of our emergency fallback is, where we go for food in times of need, where we go for shelter when on the run"
Kestrel: "I'll take you visit Hidden Valey tomorrow if you wish, even… It used to be beautiful… But the valley was torn apart by the disaster"
Amal looks like they want to tear something limb from limb. "…we'll find a way to make things right. Even if it takes generations."
Kestrel: "With the hills that protected it from our terrible weather gone, it is no longer a good place to grow food… Unless we fix that. Hence if you want my assistance in your peace endeavours I will ask your help here. I know the land of Terchuan is poisoned, but there is still a good deal of it which is fertile. I need it, I land- dirt. Around a ton of it, enough to rebuild the soil of Hidden Valley"
Kestrel: "And I will need people, knowledgeable people. People a meteorologist, an engineer, we will rebuild the mountain, or at least something that causes the same weather protection"
Serenity: "…So you just need a wall and some filters? Easy."
Amal: "A ton of dirt from Terchuan… heck, the hard part of that'll be finding a big enough wheelbarrow."
Kestrel: "Plus… Perhaps the least… Savory part"
Kestrel: "We have hired a lot, a lot of our people to Akavir. Because we needed, it was a terrible contract, but it was that or starve"
Harriet: "So you want us to fix your hills and food, and also get back your guys?"
Kestrel: "So we want them back. And whereas I can deal with most of that on my own I need you to do one part for me"
Kestrel: "Akavir has a liaison here, Lady Altamira they call her, and a few assitants"
Kestrel: "She needs to disappear. She needs to not be here"
Kestrel: "And we need to not be involved in that"
Anton: "(That got dark quickly.)"
Harriet: "Wait, like killing her?"
Serenity: "I duno how I feel about assassinating people."
Serenity‘ glances over at Amal.
Kestrel: "She is the contact with Akavir, if our people do not have the bi-weekly briefings from us, their contracts say they are free to return"
Kestrel: "But I also cannot chase her off on my own"
Amal looks back at Serenity with stone dead eyes. …and then smiles. "We can probably just, like… stuff her into a chest with air holes poked in for a few weeks. Cheer up!"
Hughbert: "So… she needs to be gone at the next briefing? Would it matter if she returned afterwards?"
Kestrel: "If you have to kill her, do so, but she and her team must be unable to contact home until the next meeting point two weeks from now"
Serenity: "Nice save, moral center of the group."
Amal: "It’s not murder, it's abusing a technicality in the contract!"
Harriet: "Oh, so we just have to make it so she can't talk to people? I can do that."
Kestrel: "If it does not implicates any of the Black Stingers, Hughbert, yes"
Kestrel: "It would be fine if she returned"
Kestrel: "They still have the possibility of holding our people hostage if they realize we are doing this on purpose, mind, hence why I don't want them to notice that"
Kestrel: "I'd rather they don't have to fight their way out of Akavir"
Serenity: "Well I mean."
Serenity: "You've met us."
Amal: "I'd rather not kill her. I don't love the Akaviri very much but she hasn't done anything to deserve it. We'll figure something out!"
Harriet: "It's okay, we'll make sure…" Pause. "The cat's got her tongue!!!"
Serenity: "It's not really a stretch of the imagination to supposed that we might accidently provoke them into a controntation."
Harriet cackles at her own joke, which is extremely funny.
Kestrel just much chuckle at Harriet
Hughbert: "Leave coming up with a strategy for that operation to me." He cracks a small grin. "Good delivery. I respect that one."
At this point Pants has let go of Kestrel and has walked over to Harriet. She had started grooming herself- And proceeded tos tart grooming Harriet- And ended up just chewing on her hair instead
Harriet: "Wh- hey! What! I'm not edible!"
Kestrel facepalms "Pants what are you doing?!"
Kestrel: "You idiot"
He walks over and picks the cat up, and just uncerimoniously tosses her with both hands at the bedroom "Out"
Kestrel: "Goddess why is she like that"
Amal giggles.
Kestrel: "Either way, I don't think there's much you can do today, Altamira and her group are pretty reclusive, they don't show up often just enough to make us remember we're stuck together. I did make a point of making them come to at least watch the fight- If you're going to be such a gigantic problem to me and my people might as well observe our customs"
Harriet: "Egh…" Harriet smooths back her hair. (It immediately springs back into its frizzy, untameable mess.) "I really hope that wasn't some weird ritualistic thing. Girls are okay, boys are cool, but cats are right out."
Kestrel: "They have been given a house at the far western edge of the settlement, the only one with red walls, easy to find"
Kestrel: "No don't worry Pants is just… Listen we have a saying here, that there's people that are so stupid they wear they pants on their head"
Kestrel: "Guess where she got her name? I twasn't her markings"
Harriet: "Oh, so that's the village idiot? Yeah, we have one of those in the university, too, Mallad's never published a paper worth more than the tree it killed."
Kestrel: "Yeah… Don't get me wrong, Pants is a monster in combat… She's just… Very slow out of it. I feel like she does that just to annoy me"
Amal chuckles. "Cats are silly."
Kestrel: "Spend your entire life with them and you realize that they are, in fact, very silly"
At this point the young woman from later shows up again "Dad, i've prepared your gear for tonight, do you want to give it a look over please?"
Kestrel looks up "Oh, sure Mila, I better be ready" he looks at the party "There's that, I need to get ready for tonight. I'll be avaiable if you need anything" he looks at his daughther "Please help our guests, and remember your lessons on opsec, okay?" she nods "Nothing leaves the house, dad"
With that Kestrel stands up, and starts heading up to the second floor "Feel free to use the house, you're welcome here. When you have a plan ready, do tell me… Or don't, if you feel that'll be better. You have my faith and hope now"
Harriet: "We'll take care of it!"
Anton: "Well. I guess I'll leave the planning to the man in the suit. I'm gonna enjoy the rest of the festival until we get this sorted out~."
Anton hops to his feet before giving a dorky grin.
Serenity: "Probably don't, yeah."
JayM: I think that's a good ending point
JayM: Y'all met silly cats
JayM: And heart the tale of the Black Stingers
JayM: I'm happy with this
Harriet: thank you for running, julian!!!!
Harriet: this was rad
Julian: :D
Harriet: i needed cat marriage in my life
Hughbert: "That's a good plan, Anton. Our next move is decided as it is, I believe- chasing Alcor- and we have plenty of time to prepare for meeting our future friend miss Altamira. I believe our schedule has nothing but festival for the rest of the evening."

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