Tom D01s03

TheTale: Day One - Dawn(…ish?)
TheTale: Of all the days, there eventually comes a day that's a little different from the others.
TheTale: And I mean, what makes it different? Is there something in the sunlight? Is it the anniversary of some strange festival day…?
TheTale: Or is it just the sunlight coming in through the window and striking you in your eyes just so?
TheTale: It does that, you know. The sunlight.
Zaqana inelegantly unfurls herself from her enormous hammock, slowly sliding to the cushions placed beneath, before looking down at herself. "Nope. Not yet."
TheTale: No. Not yet. But, I mean, it's a nice day. There's the gentle burble of the aqueducts outside, the chatter of passersby - students on their way to work, merchants hauling waresinto the marketplaces.
Zaqana sighs and stands (slinks) up, tiredly searching around for something other than nightclothes.
Zaqana: "Just as well. There's a party tonight, and parties mean people to feed and entertain."
Zaqana: "…although a new set of wings would be pretty entertaining…"
TheTale: Everything's nightclothes if you fall asleep in them! Rifle, ruffle, rifle. (You kind of need to do laundry.)
TheTale: …Anyway, you can probably put together a reasonable facsimile of an outfit…
Zaqana digs around through piles of her regular/occaissional nighttime clothes for something that is relatively un-wrinkled. Relatively speaking, she finds something.
TheTale: Yeah! That'll do. Fashion is of utmost importance.
Zaqana: "I hate dealing with crowds, but that one spot really does have the best smoked frilledebeast. And heaven forbid I host an event without frilledebeast-wrapped something or another."
Zaqana: "Isn't that right, chocho?"
Zaqana 's pet fish looks utterly unimpressed.
TheTale: Its blue scales glitter in the sunlight. It mouths a quiet 'o' out into its spacious fishbowl.
Zaqana: "Who's the cutest?!"
Zaqana 's pet fish looks utterly unimpressed.
TheTale: (If he has any insight as to who is the cutest, he's not letting on.)
Zaqana: "hmph. Fine then. Just don't come swimming to me complaining when someone tries to wrap you in frilledbeast tonight."
Zaqana 's pet fish looks a tiny, tiny bit less unimpressed.
Zaqana grabs her bags, baskets, chronically-under-filled purse and recipe book and heads out into the bustling street toward the market.
TheTale: The streets of the Waterways run in galleries stacked three-high along the ancient aqueducts, with thin stairs crisscrossing up and down between them. The bridges across them are more makeshift - rope and cargo-netting, swaying things.
TheTale: When it comes time to transport cargo across, they haul it over on little pulley lines.
TheTale: The waters below are murky and filled with the detritus of day-to-day - chip packets, shopping bags, and soaked, crumpled fliers.
TheTale: And then, to the markets on Gong Street - it seems like there's the remains of a nationalist rally here (You know, big posters, huge speakers, and burly folk young and old in red bandannas, shouting about the duty to one's country and the cowardice of humanity), but their stage has been covered with polite little noise citations and fire hazard warnings, which seems to have effectively
TheTale: dampered the whole thing.
TheTale: But I mean, the first stop is the butcher, right?
Zaqana: "The butcher, the baker…maybe the candlestick maker. Can't hurt to drop in and say hi."
TheTale: The butcher - a towering minotaur by the name of Dorn - smiles at Zaqana when she comes near. "Mornin Zaq. Something fancy for you again today?"
TheTale: …There's usually more of a line when you get here. And he's just a little bit too eager to greet you. Business has been bad, sounds like.
Zaqana: "Only the fanciest! That's why I always come to you first…"
Zaqana bats her bright green eyelashes.
TheTale: "Ah, yeah, yeah. I'm happy for the business, honestly." He starts to assemble a little package of meat for her, slicing off cuts here and there from his wares, wrapping them in butcher-paper.
Zaqana: "I'm happy to help give you business, friend. Has it been as slow for you as everyone else?"
TheTale: "…It's rubbish, but there's a scare on meat today."
TheTale: "I mean…" he casts a shifty eye left and right, wrinkling his snout.
Zaqana raises an eyebrow and slinks a bit closer.
TheTale: "Some kids in the Yhe Holmat got real sick yesterday, and… well, you know the rabble-" He punctuates with a slice from his cleaver, setting a little bit of frilledebeast flopping onto his cutting board.
TheTale: "-They're blaming anything they can."
TheTale: His lips flap up and he looks up at the ceiling, putting on his best air of heaven-hard-done-by. "So I guess it's a boycott."
Zaqana: "hrm…I hope that doesn't spoil the mood for my little get-together tonight…"
Zaqana: "…On a serious note though, wouldn't more of us be sick if it was something as simple as meat? Why not our bread or water? What were these kids sick with?
TheTale: "That's what I said. Their bodies… went wrong, or something. Snarled up."
TheTale: "Ugly business." He ties the package up with string.
Zaqana: "s…snarled?! How awful…"
TheTale: "Young, too."
TheTale: "Few bronze talents should do it for payment, by the way."
TheTale: (If you're paying in bronze, don't worry about it. You have enough.)
Zaqana: "Thank you friend. Come by tomorrow and there may be a bit of whatever I create with these left for you to try. Maybe."
TheTale: "Well, here's hoping your guests don't scare."
Zaqana: "Once I get going, I bet they won't care. Although I may try and think of a few more vegetarian dishes just in case…"
TheTale: Dorn smiles gamely like a man on death row.
Zaqana: "It'll get better. This will blow over and we'll stop all being scared of a new shadow every week. You'll see!"
TheTale: He smiles a little bit more bravely, takes his payment, and hands over Zaq's purchase.
Zaqana places the goods in her basket and slinks her way back out onto the street.
Shiba slinks by the marketplace a second time today, now that Mavrel's task is done. It's that sort of day, one full of portent and meaning. Maybe the demonstration from earlier today hasn't dispersed yet?
TheTale: It is, in fact, mostly dispersed! I mean, the stage seems to have been thoroughly blanketed in polite little noise complaints and fire hazard citations, and their speakers have been unplugged.
TheTale: I mean, it's still sort of going on, but the deer-antlered monster is engaged in an argument over minutiae with an old man that's nominally on his side, so like - defused.
TheTale: (…There'll be another one tomorrow, though.)
Shiba frowns. Well, no, that's not it. But one can't spend their time just … idling. It's about as useless as talking to a frog for hours on end.
TheTale: It's absolutely useless.
TheTale: But I mean, out of idling, there can be a moment -
TheTale: with Shiba heading down the stairs, and Zaqana heading up the stairs -
TheTale: Where two people meet!
Shiba: "Oh. Um. Hello."
Shiba: "… I think it's customary, on this day, to say … 'Did you know Pure Hearts can go to a whole new world?'"
Zaqana glides her way up the stairs on several, tiny caterpillar-like feet, now carrying a basket full of groceries. Something about "Oh. Um. Hello." stops her glide.
Zaqana: "Did I know what, what?"
Zaqana: "You're not with that rally, are you?"
Shiba: "What, that shameful display?"
Zaqana: "I'll take that as a no then. Good."
Shiba: "Really, I've got bigger things than just the war to worry about. Like infestations of scorpions and dragons and - parasites."
Zaqana: "Those all sound terrible…I could probably cook up something to help you with your parasites, though I'd recommend you first chat with one of our healers first."
Zaqana: "Scorpions are kind of nice once you get used to them. Spicy."
Zaqana: "Dragons…well, I've never cooked for a dragon before, I can't help you there."
Shiba: "I suppose they are. Or at least the one I know."
Zaqana: "Wait, what kind of scorpion are you talking about?"
Shiba: "Aheh. Not one I'd consider eating."
Shiba: "One about as big as us, an acquaintance of mine. I'm still loathe to use the word 'friend.'"
Shiba: " - Anyway. Feel free to call me Shiba. I'm not busy at the moment, so if you need help with anything, I'm around."
Zaqana: "Well…I don't need help with much today, but I would like to ask…why do you look so different. I mean you don't LOOK different, but you look different?"
Shiba: "That's the power of a Pure Heart. Do I look different in a way that … do I have a certain quality that you think we share?"
Zaqana looks at herself then back at Shiba
Shiba: "Other than the fact that we both slither." She's a snake-person, you see. She waggles her tail to emphasize.
Zaqana: "Well…uh…m-my slithering is only temporary, you know."
Shiba: "Ahaaa."
Zaqana: "But you weren't talking about tails, were you?"
Shiba: "Quite so, quite so."
Shiba: "You know, I think there's a biker gang bar nearby that relates to what we're getting at."
Zaqana: "w-what? What would a place like that have to do with me?"
Zaqana: "…that's not where you picked up your parasites, is it?"
Shiba: "Goodness, no. And they're not my parasites, per se, they're just … present in the world."
Shiba: "And I might be wrong! Who knows. But would you like to find out?"
Zaqana: "But wait, what are WE getting at? I just want to know what you're talking about and make some frilldebeast wrapped scrallops for tonight."
Zaqana: "preferably in that order."
Shiba holds up a hand to try and explain, puts it on her mouth, puts the hand up again when she thinks she's found a suitable way of phrasing it, then falters again. "Ah - hm."
Shiba: "In some way, it's all related to the war between monsters and humans, and I'm trying to watch out for the Mana Tree in the meantime."
Zaqana blinks a few times.
Zaqana: "O….k, how about this: I'll tag along for a bit, and then scurry home in time to make dinner. Dinner is very important."
Shiba: "Yes. Yes, it is."
Shiba: "You should meet Marzel if you haven't, I think you'll get along fine."
Zaqana: "I don't believe I have…"
Shiba slithers in … whichever way the Spark-Kickers hangout is, upstairs or downstairs. The intent is more important than the actual geographical location. "Anyway! Come on."
TheTale: It's south, up top, on the north edge of the waterways, right as the aqueducts start giving way to the highway and the rolling wasteland of the Denmarche.
TheTale: A tiny little, flat-roofed bar, with rows of motorcycles parked outside. The neon sign is buzzing: "SPARK KICKERS" .
Zaqana adjusts her basket and slithers along. "I just hope I'm not late to feed chocho. Chocho gets terribly unimpressed with me when I'm not back in time to feed him."
Shiba: "What time would that be?"
Zaqana: "Well, he's not a clock-but he likes some scraps in the late evening."
Shiba: "Dinner is important."
Zaqana: "It's still late morning. We should have time…right?"
Shiba: "Yup!"
Shiba: "Anyway."
Shiba busts the door open unceremoniously.
TheTale: Spark Kickers: A smoky little bar teeming with cigar-chomping, leather-jackted, amorphous phantoms, crowded over games of cards and pinball machines and kicked back wth their feet (if they had feet, which they do not) flung up nto the tables.
TheTale: Bottle-shaped ghost lights appear here and there in various places. And then they disappear, from time to time, just as strangely as they first came.
TheTale: The ghosts here generally pay the two of you no mind.
TheTale: Who does? Well…
TheTale: From a back room, bowing his head to pass the threshhold, stalks Yesker Sen, nine feet of stony-skinned, lithe monster, dressed in a leather jacket with heart pins. His smooth, shining black hair is swept back in two tufts, hard as horns.
TheTale: "Little bit early for you two ladies to start your drinking, isn't it?" he asks.
[OOC] Zaqana: ha! I started drinking a few hours ago!
Shiba: "This? This is the 'dragon' I was talking about earlier. Or at least he used to be, um, somewhat associated with dragons."
Shiba: "And it's the first day of a new era, it's cause for celebration."
TheTale: He holds up his right hand - entangled with a dragon tattoo - and flashes a smile. "You got it, lemme pour you something."
TheTale: Gets bottles. Gets glasses. Pours the two of you something. He has a seat at the bar.
Shiba tilts it up at him. "Cheers." Then has a sip.
TheTale: "Can't match ya, sadly. I've got a hell of a drive coming up for me."
Zaqana cautiously sips at the glass of….something. Spicy!
TheTale: It sure kicks!
TheTale: And he leans over the bar for a moment, and…
Shiba: "Yeah, you make some pretty impossible road trips these days, I'd imagine."
TheTale: "You know…" He turns to her, lifts an eyebrow.
TheTale: "You didn't exactly strike me the type to mutter vaguely and ominously, but I mean…"
TheTale: "There ya go."
Shiba: "What, me? I'm pretty sure that's all I do."
Zaqana: "Does anyone here just speak plainly?"
Shiba: "I think I confused my friend here with vague and ominous muttering this morning."
Shiba gestures, as if to illustrate.
TheTale: Yesker snorts.
Zaqana pouts and finishes her drink
TheTale: "So, you come calling just for this? How's the tree?"
Shiba: "Anyway. This is Yesker, the Chrome Knight. Always shows up at the nick of time whenever a monster's in trouble. Like a superhero."
Shiba: "Same as it's ever been."
TheTale: "Like a fuckin' superhero, yeah." He flashes a winning smile.
TheTale: "Though, like, is it just me, or is there way more trouble around lately…?"
TheTale: "One of the two of us probably slackin' off, Shiba."
Shiba: "Hey! You three always get a couple of weeks before us to get started."
TheTale: "Been here all my life, doll." He washes a mostly-clean glass, just for something to do with his hands.
Zaqana: "Either of you have much experience helping sudden outbreaks of weird illnesses? That and rallies occasionally getting noise violations are the biggest troubles i've heard of….but I'm getting the impression there are a lot of things I haven't been hearing…"
TheTale: "So I guess the big news in town is… hell, what do you even call it?" He sits up straight and nods once, twice at Zaq.
TheTale: "It's weird as hell that's what it is. People are gonna start calling it human poison faster and faster."
TheTale: Yesker broods on it a little.
TheTale: "Bu-u-ut, I'm about to be six kinds of out of town, so Miss Papill, consider this delegated to your elongated ass."
Shiba: "Sort of. Not this plague, that's a new one to me. In places other than Sycorax and Prospero, there's been … always something. But I usually lose interest and find a problem where violence works."
Zaqana: "Wait…how did you know my name?"
TheTale: Yesker rolls his shoulders. "You've lived here for a while, haven't you?"
Zaqana: "AND THE ASS IS ONLY TEMPORARILY ELONGATED, I'LL HAVE YOU KNOW."
TheTale: "I mean, I don't exactly-" But I mean, he's totally cut off.
TheTale: "So I guess what I'd do is…"
TheTale: "Actually find a case of it, examine, trace it, whatever."
TheTale: "Epidemiwhatever at it."
Shiba: "It's hitting hard in the Denmarche, yeah?"
Zaqana: "But…I'm a cook. What ARE you guys? What does any of all of this have to do with me?"
TheTale: "Didn't you hear?"
TheTale: He smiles.
TheTale: "LIke a fuckin' superhero or some shit."
TheTale: "What Shiba is is up to her. Ancient tree guardian, I guess."
TheTale: "And what you are is up to you."
TheTale: "That's the privilege ofa pure heart, baby."
Zaqana: "Why do you all keep saying that?"
Zaqana gestures toward her basket. "I don't even HAVE any hearts in here today!
TheTale: "It's like…"
TheTale: Yesker leans over, brow-to-brow ith Zaqana.
TheTale: "You ever read like, the Morte D'Arthur?"
Shiba: "Hey, ease up on the newbie, they're still pretty Wispy."
TheTale: "Gonna tell you the same thing, Shibes."
Zaqana: "uh…n-no."
TheTale: "So, you know, in the morte d'arthur, a knight can just be plonking along when suddenly…"
TheTale: "Magic boat, stampede of holy stags, dogs come along and steal all your dinner, whatever."
TheTale: "Time of omens. Everything's just dripping portent all damn over."
Zaqana: "Stealing dinner would be awful."
TheTale: "Strange adventure."
TheTale: "And when a strange adventure happens, all you can really do is hold on, point yourself in the right direction, and make things come out okay."
TheTale: "So what I have in common with Shiba… and what she has in common with me, is that we're both seeing signs that this, baby, is an ominous time."
TheTale: "And, well, if you're seeing these signs too, you're probably in it with us."
Zaqana: "I guess, but it doesn't take a genius to see that slow business and sick children are bad things."
Shiba: "Save the world, get back in time for dinner. The usual."
Zaqana: "…you're about to tell me it's more than that, aren't you?"
Shiba smiles sheepishly. "Aheh. Bingo."
TheTale: "Pssht."
TheTale: Yesker runs his fingers through his hair, kicks back.
TheTale: "You were telling yourself that already."
Zaqana: "I think I need more to drink…"
TheTale: Yesker solves the not enough to drink problem pretty handily, topping Zaq right up.
Dicebot: Yes Aleith|Phone, you are still connected.
Shiba waves off a ghost motorcyclist that gets a little too close.
Zaqana: "…so you're saying I'm a superhero?"
TheTale: "Sure."
Shiba: "Whatever word fits the trope, I guess."
Zaqana blinks a few times
Shiba: "'Yer a wizard, Crimson!'"
Zaqana: "I barely manage to keep me and my pet fish alive, how am I a super hero. I certainly don't fly like one…."
Zaqana: "BUT, I MEAN, THAT'S TEMPORARY."
Shiba: "Yeah, I guess what we're saying is you might not feel like one now, but you'll fit the bill. We can tell."
TheTale: Yesker rolls his shoulders and gets up. "Anyway. I need to get my shocks all tuned up. Big ride ahead of me."
Zaqana: "Well…"
TheTale: "Yeah, I'll see you around, doll."
TheTale: "Fate, right?"
TheTale: "Strange adventures."
Shiba: "Tell 'Stings and Kills' I said 'hi'."
TheTale: "What, do I look like some kinda priest to you?"
TheTale: He picks up the remnants of Shiba's drink, pours it over her head, and heads back into the back room.
Shiba: "Uh."
Shiba looks over at Zaqana. "I'm not sure how to interpret that one." Then she looks around for a towel to dry herself off with.
TheTale: Yeah, there's a little towel.
TheTale: So, hey.
TheTale: Welcome to your strange adventure.

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