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  • Yeah, I'll amend my vote to clarify I don't want to involve Aunt Dwi at all if it can be helped.

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    • No strong opinion here, just glad to see it still going! Keep at it, Guru!

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      • Originally posted by LadyLens View Post
        Agreed, go talk to Golden Smoke. Aunt Dwi,'s not going to be offended by our buying the opium elsewhere. But she's our best option for selling the cat, so tell her some of the truth. We don't want her mad at us.
        It doesn'r have to be opium, just something that will make the damn Cat tired/sleepy.

        I also think we need a sturdy cage to put the darn animal in after it's knocked out.


        Thoughts ripple out, birthing others

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        • Originally posted by semicasual View Post
          Something Else - go ask Golden Smoke / Blue Root.

          Why involve Dwi at all? Poppy juice isn't just a narcotic - it's a common medicinal painkiller. Any alchemist or druggist should have some or know where to buy some. So, why don't we go to an alchemist we already (kind of) know?

          What's more, we already told Golden Smoke about the Raptor Cat last time we visited. If she's learned anything about them since then, now is a convenient time to ask. And she may be able to give us an informed opinion about how much of the drug we'll need to make the cat sleep soundly without killing it. A street dealer probably would not be so helpful.
          I agree with this. The cage idea is a good one, too.


          Hi, I'm Smiles With Fangs. I backed Exalted 3rd edition, but I can't make the image I have smaller so here's a kitten

          I made some Liminal Charms here I made some Evocations for Wood Dragon's Claws here I'm working on a splat for the Moonsilver Warriors here

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          • Ask Golden Smoke/Blue Root: The Obvious Winner

            You consider bringing Aunt Dwi in on your scheme…but decide against it. You can’t help feeling a little bit guilty, Dwi took care of you when nobody else cared if you lived or died…but you know she tends to take over things she gets involved with, and there’s a good possibility she might get really worried by the prospect of you talking to magic birds and hunting dangerous wild animals. After some thought, you decide to get in touch with Golden Smoke. Blue Root obviously has money, and she said she’d look into the Raptor Cat thing. Maybe she can give you more ideas about what to do with it once you’ve caught it.

            It’s a long walk over to Blue Root’s alchemical shop near the Tailor’s district most of the year...but during the late Season of Water with the streets flooded, you have to take roofways and catwalks and scaffolds well out of your way to avoid having to hire a canal boat, and so it’s an even longer trip. By the time you arrive (clambering down a gutter in the alley behind the shop), it’s mid-afternoon.

            You peep through the windows instinctively, and see that the shop isn’t empty: two unreasonably large men are looming inside. One of them is idly looking over the shelves full of herbs and ingredients in bottles while the other is leaning an elbow on the counter and sitting with his head in his hand chatting with Golden Smoke. Even bent over as he is, he’s as tall as she is. You immediately notice the strangers have shaved heads and are carrying machetes at their waists, and that the one eyeing up the shelves has a black tattoo of a meditating monkey on his shoulder. These guys are with the Obsidian Monkey Gang. They’re way outside their home turf over on the east side of town between Firewander and Sentinel’s Hill…

            The guy looking over the supplies glances out the window and your eyes meet briefly. Slowly, deliberately, he grins, and then winks.

            You make yourself scarce, wait until after the two strangers leave with a paper bag, and descend once again from the rooftops to visit the now-empty shop. The Obsidian Monkey Gang is bad news. They’re rather famously brutal, even as Nexus gangs go. You’ve heard that killing a blood relative just to join is a condition of membership.

            “We’re cl-…oh, hello, Tavi,” Golden Smoke says as you come in the front door. “I’m just closing up shop for the day. What can I help you with?” You’d expect someone who was just chatting with the Obsidian Monkeys to be shaken up, but she’s actually grinning a little. The strange blue writing tattooed on the side of her face is interrupted by a dimple.

            “Hi, Smoke.” You nod and close the door behind you. “I’m going Raptor Cat hunting and I was hoping I could buy something from you to put on meat. I figure it’s safest to drug the bastard to sleep AND give it a full belly before I try anything.”

            “Hm. You saw it before. Would you say it’s about the size of a tiger?”

            “I’ve never seen a tiger.”

            “Alright. Bigger or smaller than a horse?”

            “Smaller. Bigger than a goat or a pig, though.”

            “I have just the thing. It’s a bit stronger than poppy juice, so it won’t take a lot of it. Blue Root has a couple of clients who, um. Insist that they are actually farmers who need to put bulls to sleep for purposes of artificial insemination? Pretty sure they’re slavers, though…anyway, a little bit goes a long way, and you can mix it with food. Should be okay for a Raptor Cat, I guess…”

            “Thank you.” You watch as she rummages about and comes back with a small glass phial full of something that flows slowly, like syrup or molasses, as she turns it in front of a candle.
            “This should do the trick. That’ll be…twenty two Dinar.”

            You frown. “What do you say fifteen Dinar and I agree to sell the Raptor Cat musk to you instead of Red Clover?”

            “…sure, why not.” She shrugs. “You’ve been good luck for me so far, and it’s not like it’s my money.”

            “Did you have a chance to look into uses for Raptor Cats other than the musk?” You get out your cheques and write one out for her, stamping it with your personal seal.

            “I checked into it a little. Apparently you can use their eyes to make a potion that lets you see spirits for three days and three nights, which is a really good duration, but there’s cheaper ways to pull that off. And their spit is one of several ingredients you can use in a glue to trap someone’s shadow, but I’d also need sap from the Linowan forest, and it’s expensive getting ingredients shipped in from that far East…”

            “Speaking of exotic eastern stuff…what’re the Obsidian Monkeys doing all the way over here? They’re not looking to expand their territory, are they?”

            “No. Couple of buyers, that’s all. Gladiators aren’t the only ones who want skins like River Dragon scales.”

            “I see.” You shrug. “Well, I hope they enjoy their bile.”

            “I doubt they will. Nasty side effects. But their coin is good.” Smoke smirks as she bags your phial of sleep drugs. “Listen, if you’re serious about this Raptor Cat thing…it’s probably worth more to just sell the whole animal, but the best way to monetize it for alchemy would be to lock it up someplace, feed it, and keep harvesting the musk for aphrodisiacs. There’s cheaper aphrodisiacs, but there’s always a market for weird exotic stuff. People think it’s stronger because we charge more for it.”

            “Hm.” You heft your bag. “I’ll keep that in mind.”
            *****
            It’s a simple matter to buy a bunch of organ meat at one of the many butcher shops on the way to Nighthammer. You build a sturdy cage on the roof with hefty wooden bars reinforced with woven wire. You buy some sturdy ropes, and a leather collar, and a muzzle. Between that and the drugs, you’ve burned through all your ready money-the rest is locked up in a Time Deposit account with the Chrysanthemum Abacus Merchants for another eight months. You’d worry about being penniless again if you fail to capture the Raptor Cat…but Chupong and his raiton bodyguards have gotten pretty good about bringing you small shiny objects, and a lot of those small shiny objects are coins.

            But it does mean that you’re a bit light on cash for actual transportation of the Raptor Cat itself…and so you pay a visit to Grinning Eel. You find him a couple days later in the afternoon down by the Nighthammer Docks, sitting in his boat just offshore with a fishing line.

            “Eel!” You shout to him.

            “Hey, kid! Been a while.” He nods, tipping his conical hat in your direction and releasing a small cloud of smoke out the back. Looks like he’s been burning some of his newfound coin in his hashish pipe. Slowly, Eel poles his boat back over to the dock. “What have you been up to?”

            “Selling monster parts. Making money.” You shrug. “Learning to read.”

            “Reading eh?” Eel snorts, squinting at you. “Can’t say as I ever had much use for it…new knife. Looks like nice work. You made off good with all that lizard meat, huh.”

            “I hear you did pretty well on that River Dragon heart yourself, old man.” You smile. “Listen. I need a favor.”

            “…”

            “I just need a late-night ride. I’m not sure where from yet, but I’ll need to get back to Blackwall as quick as you can go.”

            “Hrm. You paying?”

            “…There’s money in this, but I get it after. I can pay you then.”

            “Gods, you sound just like your old man, kid…but you’ve been good luck so far. I’m in.”

            “Thanks, Eel.” You give him a little bow. Old folks love getting bowed at. “I promise you won’t regret this.”

            “Hey. How am I going to know where to pick you up if you don’t know yet yourself?”

            “…do you have one of the red paper lanterns the canal men all use for the Fire Festival?”

            “Sure.”

            “Light it. This is gonna sound a little crazy, but, um. I’m going to send a bird to find you. He’ll tell you where to pick me up.”

            Grinning Eel leans back, raising the brim of his hat with one hand so he can look you in the eye, concerned. “You got a fever, kid?”

            “Trust me, old man.”

            “…you promised I wasn’t gonna regret this. I already regret this. But it sounds like you’re stickin’ your nose in trouble, and I’m not gonna let my prospective apprentice get in hot water by himself. I’ll pick you up.”

            “As fast as you can.”

            “As fast as I can.”

            “Great. It’s really very important that we hurry because therewillbeahugedruggedcatmonsterintheboatwithusan difitwakesupbeforewegetithomeitmightkillusbothOkay ThanksForYourHelpBye!”

            You dash up the dock and you’re around the corner by the time his explosive, “WHAT?!” reaches you.
            ******
            That evening after some consultation with your birds, you’re walking in the rain. It’s drizzling lightly, and Gerel and Tetseg have been taking turns spying on the Raptor Cat and reporting back to Chupong, who reports back to you in croaking human speech.

            “Monster cat. Hiding under roof bucket. Wet, angry.” Chupong informs you. The roof bucket, you’re fairly certain, is a large wooden rain-collector on a rooftop near the Blackhand Company. They pipe the water in for…something in the foundry, you’re not entirely sure, you’ve never worked in the foundry.

            You have ropes and muzzle and a bag you wove yourself (that’s not your nice bag!) full of organ meats you’ve dosed with the sleeping poison. Soon, you have set up the organ meat in an alley near the Blackhand Company building with the rain collector. You chose this alley because it runs right up to a ledge overlooking the canal-you should be able to drag the raptor cat down onto a boat with minimal difficulty. Once the bait is in place, you head up on the roof to keep an eye out from across the street. You can see Tetseg flying big circles around the rain collector, and you imagine you see something moving in the shadows under it…

            “Ready?” Chupong squawks in a stage-whisper, landing on your shoulder. He smells like wet bird and bad fish.

            “Ready.” You turn to Chupong. “Tell your raitons to circle over the meat, but don’t eat it! It is poison. Bait for cat-monster.”

            “Good.”

            “Then, go find red light on water. Tell man with circle hat…Alley Ledge by Blackhand Foundry. Alley Ledge by Blackhand Foundry Bring man here.”

            Chupong cocks his head at you. “Circle…hat?”

            “Circle hat man in boat. Alley Ledge. Blackhand Foundry.”

            “Hat man.”

            The raiton flies off. You…really hope he understood you.

            Soon, the raitons are circling over the alley and squawking up a storm. You briefly worry they’ll draw actual human attention…but the sun is setting and it’s raining, and all the folk on the street are hurrying home from a long day in the foundry. Soon, as the shadows lengthen and the streets clear, you see a pair of gleaming golden circles peering out from under the huge wooden rain collector across the street.

            The Raptor Cat watches the raitons for a while and then emerges into the drizzling dusk. It looks…a lot less intimidating from across the street. It has scales instead of fur, but it still manages to look exactly as grumpy as any other cat caught out in the rain. You notice that even several weeks later, it’s still limping on its back left leg. It also seems skinnier than when last you met. Perhaps the injury from when it fell off the roof has interfered with hunting. You feel a pang of sympathy-you know what it’s like to be a starving street animal. But hopefully this will make it more eager to take your bait.

            Slowly, your sympathy fades. It turns out sitting patiently watching wild animals is infuriating. Do Raptor Cats always move this slowly? It feels like ten minutes before the damn thing makes its way down to the street, carefully analyzing each hop down to the next ledge or awning. Finally, it slides into the alley and out of sight.

            You wait patiently. The alley only has two exits-the canal and the street, and the street exit is visible from here. Or…well, you suppose it’s possible the cat could climb a trash bin to the bamboo fire escape scaffoldings and make it up to the roof where you are.

            You get out your knife, just in case.

            …after a few minutes of standing in the rain, you creep to the edge of the roof and look down. The Raptor Cat is down there, and it’s definitely eating the meat you left out.
            It looks up at you, and the dull shine of its eyes meeting yours in the dark sends a wave of cold up your spine. This was all…a terrible idea. What if it doesn’t eat all the bait? What if the drug takes too long to take effect? What if the rain has washed the drug away and it doesn’t take effect at all? What if Eel doesn’t show up? What if-

            The Raptor Cat hisses at you, and you back away from the edge of the roof. Below, you can hear gulping and slurping as it continues to devour your bait. Then, after several minutes…the gulping and slurping stops, and there’s a gentle slap.

            You peek over the edge of the roof again. The cat has slumped into the puddle against the wall by the big trash bin, and is breathing slowly. The drugs seem to be taking effect. You wait a few minutes to be sure…then climb down to the alley. Slowly, cautiously, you approach the prone feline. Its eyes are open but unfocused, and its tongue is hanging out of its mouth.
            …what now?

            -Wait a few minutes to make sure the drugs have taken effect before doing anything-you don’t know how long these drugs will take to fully kick in! The last thing you need is to wake it up and get mauled. Once you’re sure it’s really out, truss it up in ropes and the muzzle and start dragging it towards the canal so Eel can pick you up.

            -Don’t waste any time-you don’t know how long these drugs will keep the cat sedated! Get in there right away and truss it up and drag it over to the canal immediately. It’s a long ride to the Blackwall Neighborhood, even in a hurry, so you should use any extra time before Eel gets here to make sure it’s tied up really well in case it wakes up in the boat.

            -There’s a broom right here on the other side of the trash bin. Gingerly poke it with the broom to make sure it’s actually out cold, THEN move fast.

            -You…actually feel bad for this thing. Sure, it’s a monster that tried to eat you, and probably has eaten lots of street kids like you…but it’s far from its home and it’s injured. And you know what it’s like to desperately scarf down food you found in a back alley and wind up slumped against a dumpster feeling sick. You decide to Malfeas with the money. You walk away, and let it go.

            -Okay, this plan where you get in a boat with a drugged-out man eating predator is actually insane, now that you’re looking at said man-eating predator up close. Take advantage of the cat’s weakened state to get in and slit its throat as quick as you can, taking care not to damage the hide too much. It might not be worth as much in parts as it is alive, but it’ll be a hell of a lot easier to convince Eel to help you move a dead Raptor Cat than a sleeping one.

            -You’ve been reading up on training animals, and while cats are famously hard to train, you’ve learned a bit about how to soothe them and make them feel comfortable. Instead of getting in its space, you squat across the alley from the Raptor Cat and extend one arm. If it doesn’t respond, you’ll slowly creep closer and see if you can splint its leg before you tie it up and drag it. The last thing you want to do is make its injury even worse.






            So I'm making God-Kicking Boot, an Exalted webcomic, now. Updates on Sundays. Full-color, mediocre but slowly improving art. It's a thing.

            The absence of a monument can, in its own way, be something of a monument also.
            -Roger Zelazny

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            • -You’ve been reading up on training animals, and while cats are famously hard to train, you’ve learned a bit about how to soothe them and make them feel comfortable. Instead of getting in its space, you squat across the alley from the Raptor Cat and extend one arm. If it doesn’t respond, you’ll slowly creep closer and see if you can splint its leg before you tie it up and drag it. The last thing you want to do is make its injury even worse.

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              • Originally posted by prototype00 View Post
                -You’ve been reading up on training animals, and while cats are famously hard to train, you’ve learned a bit about how to soothe them and make them feel comfortable. Instead of getting in its space, you squat across the alley from the Raptor Cat and extend one arm. If it doesn’t respond, you’ll slowly creep closer and see if you can splint its leg before you tie it up and drag it. The last thing you want to do is make its injury even worse.
                So much this. Keep the monster calm and look after it. I'm a tad leery of the drug we gave it now (if the cat has a bad reaction, it might mess with the musk) but taking care of it's wounds can only help us.


                Thoughts ripple out, birthing others

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                • Originally posted by FallenEco View Post

                  So much this. Keep the monster calm and look after it. I'm a tad leery of the drug we gave it now (if the cat has a bad reaction, it might mess with the musk) but taking care of it's wounds can only help us.
                  If you can harvest the musk, why not keep the apex predator around? After all, our protagonist is becoming a regular Mother of monsters and oddities.

                  Good to see you back, by the way, Guru.
                  Last edited by prototype00; 07-07-2018, 07:34 AM.

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                  • Originally posted by prototype00 View Post
                    If you can harvest the musk, why not keep the apex predator around? After all, our protagonist is becoming a regular Mother of monsters and oddities.
                    Good to see you back, by the way, Guru.
                    I want to keep it around, I was more worried that we may have 'broken' the poor creature.


                    Thoughts ripple out, birthing others

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                    • Originally posted by prototype00 View Post
                      -You’ve been reading up on training animals, and while cats are famously hard to train, you’ve learned a bit about how to soothe them and make them feel comfortable. Instead of getting in its space, you squat across the alley from the Raptor Cat and extend one arm. If it doesn’t respond, you’ll slowly creep closer and see if you can splint its leg before you tie it up and drag it. The last thing you want to do is make its injury even worse.
                      Thiiiiiiiiis.
                      Also I'm so happy this quest isn't dead. Go Guru.

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                      • You’ve been reading up on training animals, and while cats are famously hard to train, you’ve learned a bit about how to soothe them and make them feel comfortable. Instead of getting in its space, you squat across the alley from the Raptor Cat and extend one arm. If it doesn’t respond, you’ll slowly creep closer and see if you can splint its leg before you tie it up and drag it. The last thing you want to do is make its injury even worse.

                        If we wind up selling it, we'll want it as healthy as possible. And if we wind up keeping it as a pet (as opposed to a musk-generator), we'd better start building a good relationship with it.

                        And while we're here, might as well figure out if it's male or female. The whole "musk-generator" thing becomes moot if it's female.


                        On the frontier of the Wild South, there's only one woman with the grit to take on its most dangerous outlaws and bring them Back Alive, or Maybe Dead.

                        Avatar by K.S. Brenowitz

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                        • Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! You're back, you're back! So glad to see it, Guru!

                          I agree with everyone else; splint the leg, then transport. Keep our options open. Also, note that pet and musk generator aren't mutually exclusive!

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                          • So glad you’re back!!!!!!!!

                            Oh man you guys are thinking great. Let’s name him Daimyo Mittens! My vote is splint and transport. That being said his claws are more dangerous than his teeth so we could fashion some cute little booties for him. That may be a future goal.

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                            • Originally posted by prototype00 View Post
                              -You’ve been reading up on training animals, and while cats are famously hard to train, you’ve learned a bit about how to soothe them and make them feel comfortable. Instead of getting in its space, you squat across the alley from the Raptor Cat and extend one arm. If it doesn’t respond, you’ll slowly creep closer and see if you can splint its leg before you tie it up and drag it. The last thing you want to do is make its injury even worse.

                              Thiiiiiiiiiiis (also super glad this is still going as I just read through the whole thing)


                              3e Scavenger Lands map
                              3e Combat tracker card
                              2e Nexus map

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                              • Again, we have a clear winner. Veterinary care it is.

                                Gingerly, you creep across the alley towards the raptor cat. Its eyes are still wide open, and its pupils huge and glinting yellow in the gloom…but its tongue is hanging out, it’s lying on its side, and is breathing is slow…

                                You briefly debate which limb you’re least attached to before poking it with your left foot. No reaction. Gingerly, you poke it again, this time moving its wounded leg slightly. The huge cat twitches, and you leap back-but no other reaction.

                                Good.

                                First things first. You tie the leather muzzle you wove onto the cat’s head. It’s completely limp, and its head is much heavier than you expected it to be. The scales feel hard and smooth…and warm. The dull thudding of its heartbeat, slower than yours, is audible this close. You can feel it in your fingers as you you get the muzzle on. This cat is big. You’re thinking you might actually need Eel’s help to drag it down the alley and into the boat…

                                You’ve set a broken bone before, once-when Rat fell off a roof and broke his arm, he told you how to do it and then held a rag in his mouth. Your patient here is bigger, but frankly a lot more cooperative-setting the leg is relatively simple, the hard part is the cat’s limbs are slippery from the rain so it takes a bit of effort to get the right grip. There’s an old wooden pallet leaning on the dumpster in the alley. You pry it apart, and use a couple of planks along with some of your rope to splint the cat’s injured leg, which should keep the bones where you put them. You’ve seen it’s trying to keep its weight off the leg, so hopefully between that and the splint it’ll help it heal up.

                                It’s at about this time that you hear the splash of a pole over the sound of rain, and a familiar croaking voice crying, “Hat man! Blackhand Alley! Come!”

                                You head down to the end of the alley, where it becomes a ledge overhanging the canal.

                                “Hey, Eel,” you call as the boat gets closer. “Good timing!”

                                “Kid, you have got a lot of nerve,” Eel barks, “But this damned scavenger of yours is even worse. Bastard keeps trying to steal my hat!”

                                “Chupong. Come.” The raiton soars to land on your shoulder and turns to look at Eel reproachfully.

                                “Not gonna lie to you, kiddo. That is really creepy.”

                                “Good,” you chuckle. “Less chance I get mugged. Listen, I’ve got a big unconscious raptor cat drugged asleep up this alley.”

                                “…you don’t say.”

                                “I’ve built a cage for it at my place in the Blackwall neighborhood. But it’s a bit heavy for me to move by myself. You mind tying up here and helping me get it in the boat?”

                                Eel looks at you, and his rain-lashed face experiences a dramatic conflict between horror and pride. It settles eventually on a compromise, and gets very concerned. “A…raptor cat, you say.”

                                “Big cat. Will kill us both if it wakes up.”

                                “…then why are we letting it wake up, kid?”

                                “Because it needs to be alive to make musk, and the alchemist I sold the dragon bits to said that musk is an ingredient we can sell to make a super expensive aphrodisiac, and I don’t wanna kill the goose that lays the jade eggs, Eel.” You sigh, exasperated. “Now come on up here and help?”

                                Eel grumbles and ties up and clambers out of the boat. Chupong, always dramatic, chooses this moment to launch into a frightening high-pitched laughter, and Eel startles so bad he almost ends up in the canal.

                                “Stop that,” you grunt, bopping the raiton on the beak. He nips your hand, but he does shut up.

                                “Gods,” Eel mutters. “Damned thing sounds just like you.”

                                “Wait, really? He’s copying me? Is that what my laugh sounds like?”

                                “Well, yeah.”

                                “…oh.” You shrug. “I didn’t realize my voice was so…high pitched.”

                                “Eh, don’t worry about it. Your dad had a real deep bass, we could hear him all the way up and down the canal when he was singin’ while he worked. Made him real popular with the ladies. I expect once your balls drop, you’ll probably inherit some of the magic. You’ve got his eyes, after all.” Eel shrugs. “And hey, if you don’t, there’s other ways to impress girls. Like catching raptor cats, I guess…oh shit. That is a, uh, big cat there kid.”

                                You smile. “Yeah. That’s why I need your help.”

                                “Not sure it’s gonna fit in the boat with both of us.”

                                “We’ll make it work. Hell, I’ll hang on the side and swim next to you if I need to. Let’s move fast, I don’t know how long those drugs’ll keep it under.”

                                Between the two of you, you drag the cat down to the end of the alley and drop it down onto the boat. The sound of the rain covers the splash, and the cat twitches again in the bottom of the boat before going still.

                                Carefully, you and Eel climb into the boat. He stands at the front with his pole, and you squat at the back over the slumbering predator, doing your best not to put any of your weight on the actual cat. Eel unties the boat, and poles you out into the canal. “Kid?”

                                “Yeah?”

                                “Get out your knife and have it right by that thing’s throat. If it looks like it’s about to wake up, cut it right away. Got it?”

                                “…got it.” You get out the knife, and lean in real close.

                                “So. This cage you built. How far from the canal is it?”

                                “It’s right by the canal. It’s the same building as my apartment, up on the roof.”

                                “…on the roof.”

                                “…okay, yeah. Hadn’t considered that.” You groan. “It’s only…three flights of stairs?”

                                Eel stares off into the evening rain, expressionless.

                                “I mean, if we get a couple of poles and rig up a stretcher, we could-“

                                “Kid. Are you, in fact, insane? Are you possessed or some shit?”

                                “…no.”

                                “Because you’re sitting here with a talking raiton on your shoulder like it’s the most natural thing in the world, and a sleeping snake-leopard-thing, and you’re telling me you are taking this thing home without a plan to actually get it into a cage? What in the name of the gods is going on with you?!”

                                “Just…grabbing an opportunity to make a quick Dinar where I can, Eel.”

                                “Yeah, but…this?” Eel gestures at Chupong. Chupong squawks at him.

                                “Hey, he gives me coins. More than most people I usually run into have usually felt like doing, Eel.”

                                “…okay. Alright. That's fair. I’ve got a spare pole strapped to the side of the boat in case I lose my grip. You have a sheet where we’re going to make up a stretcher?”

                                “Yeah.”

                                “…alright. Let’s…let’s do this, then, kid. But I want fifty percent.”

                                “Ten.”

                                “Twenty.”

                                “I still gotta get my landlord on board with a man-eating monster on the roof. I expect he’ll want a piece too. Fifteen.”

                                “…Fine.” Eel spits in his hand, you do the same, and the two of you shake on it.

                                *****
                                The two of you arrive at the Blackwall dock by your new home as quickly as Eel can pole you there. The water is high from the frequent rains, and it’s actually starting to seep out into the streets of your new neighborhood, which is convenient today-your destination is even closer to the canal than usual. You were hoping the street would be completely empty because of the pouring rain, and your prayers have mostly been answered-there are two or three people out on the street, but they’re not paying any attention to you, they’re setting up small walls of sandbags around their doorways. You dash upstairs get into your room, and grab the blankets off of Moth’s bedroll, shaking several books off as you go.

                                “Hey, what are you-“ Moth, who is currently sitting at the stove stirring something in a pot, starts as you storm into the place.

                                “No time! Sleeping cat!” You dash back out again with the blanket.

                                “-Hey! That’s mine!”

                                At the bottom of the stairs, you find Eel has already dragged the cat to your building. He’s got two poles, and you quickly roll them up on the ends of the blanket and tie some rope. You hope it’ll hold, you wish you’d thought to sew a proper stretcher earlier…The two of you manhandle the raptor cat onto the sheet, and you groan with the weight as you and Eel pick the beast up.

                                “Get the poles on your shoulders, kid.” Eel grunts. “Hold ‘em in place, and lift with your legs. Keep your back straight.”

                                Slowly, you stump your way up the stairs. As you pass the second floor, Moth is coming out onto the landing, waving a wooden spoon.“Tavi, what are you doing with my blanket?”.

                                “Busy, Moth!” you grunt.

                                “Is that…is that the raptor cat that mauled you?”

                                “Wait, it mauled you?” Eel barks.

                                “Shut up,” you grumble. “Moth, this thing is heavy, and might wake up soon, and you’re in the way. Either help me or MOVE.”

                                “Oh. Sorry.” Unexpectedly, she steps in next to you and grabs a pole, helping with some of the weight.

                                “…thanks. Could you get the door on the roof for us?”

                                “Okay.” She dashes up the last flight of stairs ahead of you.

                                “So, uh…who is she?” Eel asks, and even though you can’t turn around and he’s below you and behind you, you can hear the leer in his voice.

                                “My roommate.” Eel can't see your face, but you hope he can hear your scowl.

                                “Bit old for you, isn’t she?”

                                “It’s not like that.” You groan, stumping up stair after stair.

                                “So she’s single, then?”

                                “Eel, even if you weren’t a hideous lecherous and thoroughly unlovable bastard, you’re old enough to be her grandfather.”

                                “Ha ha! Who knows, kiddo.” Eel bounces the pallet slightly. “I might be!”

                                It is at this point that the raptor cat makes a noise, and you both shut up and get up the stairs far quicker than you thought possible.

                                Moth dashes out onto the roof ahead of the two of you, and under your instruction opens the door of the big wooden cage you built on the roof. You and Eel put down the raptor cat inside its cage, get out, and shut the door, which you latch. And then tie closed with rope, just to be safe.

                                You’ve captured a raptor cat!

                                The three of you stand in the rain for a little bit, peering in through the spaces between the thick wood bars. The cat, for its part, continues to sleep peacefully.

                                “Well, uh. Now what?” Eel asks.
                                Now what indeed?

                                Invite Eel In For Dinner: He’s been a big help today, everybody is cold and wet, and Moth was making something hot on the stove. He already knows what building you live in, and you figure at this point you can probably trust him with knowing which room. If the two of you are going to be musk-harvesting business partners, it makes sense to spend some time getting a bit closer with him.

                                Have Eel For Dinner: Fifteen percent?! And now this old bastard knows where you live? This guy sure looks like cat food to me...

                                Call It A Night: You’re physically exhausted. Tell Eel you’re going to bed, encourage him to go home and do the same, and tomorrow morning he can come by and the two of you will figure out what to do with the raptor cat. How to extract its musk, or go about finding a good buyer, or whatever.

                                Get It Off My Roof: Ask Eel to start discreetly looking for posh nobles or Dynasts or merchant princes who might like a pet raptor cat for their menagerie. The logistics of a caged raptor cat are rapidly increasing in complexity in your head now that you have one up here.

                                And I’ll Have Fries With That: Ask Eel to go buy up a bunch of cheap meat so you have something to feed this thing in the morning.

                                The Lion’s Den: Let Moth and Eel go back to their regular evenings, you’ll stay up here all night in the rain keeping a vigil over the cat to make sure it doesn’t hurt itself-or worse, break out of its cage-when it wakes up.


                                So I'm making God-Kicking Boot, an Exalted webcomic, now. Updates on Sundays. Full-color, mediocre but slowly improving art. It's a thing.

                                The absence of a monument can, in its own way, be something of a monument also.
                                -Roger Zelazny

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