[Vfw-times] MK - Winter assault part 6a

COkane8116 at aol.com COkane8116 at aol.com
Thu Aug 9 21:07:48 CDT 2001

Rickkter nodded as he looked over the crowd. The sight of a particular 
someone caused him to stop his scanning and grin with a most malicious 
intent. He turned back to the Long and clasped Kershaw on the shoulder. 
"Well, my friend, I must be off now. I just saw someone I must say hello to. 
Wish your lovely companion well for me, and thanks again for the ale." 

"Don't mention it." 

The two clasped paws, nodding and smiling to each other before heading off 
into the crowd. 

"Arag Shuawen!" 

Charles cringed at the voice that called his name out across the large hall. 
The greeting was followed up with a traditional southern blessing of holiday 
well being. He turned to see Rickkter swaggering over towards him, noting 
that the Kankoran already had a half-finished drink in hand. 

"Arag Shuawen, sir Charles" reiterated Rickkter as he reached the rat. 

"Ah, Rick. I suppose 'tis no real surprise to see you here." 

"Nor I you. You are a Long after all, so it's to be expected. But enough idle 
banter," said Rickkter as he clasped his mazer, his bushy, striped tail 
wagging behind him. "I have something to offer you. A gift." 

"And what would that be?" said Charles. The rat was glaring up at the 
raccoon, his feelings of hate for Rickkter as strong as ever. 

"A simple pledge, nothing more. I simply promise that I won't kill you for 
the duration of this party. It would put an awful damper on the festivities." 

Charles just glared up at the raccoon, his own contempt clearly written on 
his features. "Gee. I'm so... flattered by your generosity." 

The raccoon's cackling laughter caused the rat's ears to go flat. "Glad you 
are. And if you're looking to return the favor, I have just the thing." He 
held up his paws, still maintaining a hold on his drink, positioning them so 
the index fingers were about six inches apart. "It's a metal tube yea long, 
and when you press the correct spot, it expands to about six feet. I think 
you know what I'm talking about. You don't even have to decorate it, I'll 
take it as is. Yes? No?" 

Charles had his arms crossed before his chest and was giving Rick a look that 
could almost kill a man. 

"No? Okay, have it your way. I tried to be amiable, don't forget. Enjoy the 
holidays then." With a quick, casual salute of greeting, Rickkter melted back 
into the crowd, but kept close enough to observe the rat's behavior. 

He had the pleasure of seeing Charles stand there for a few moments fuming, 
almost shaking in anger, before turning and stalking off. It was most likely 
to find his betrothed, which was all well and good; she would probably be 
able to calm him. But to the raccoon, the whole incident was just another 
small, yet immeasurably pleasurable event in a day that had been going 
perfect almost from the moment he arrived back. With a satisfied "ah," he 
went off to meet more of the other guests attending. 

Watching Rickkter from across the hall, Kayla smiled and sipped at a 
diminutive crystal glass of some fine liquor, the sweet, almost syrupy drink 
had a distinctive bite that warmed her throat and belly without the burn of 
more highly distilled liquors.  She never realized until that point how much 
she missed the luxuries she had been accustomed to when she was moneyed.  The 
fine drink, for example, was a treat she had not indulged upon in almost six 

Lost in her ruminations she did not sense the quiet form standing at her 
side, likewise watching the crowd.  Slightly shorter and more animalistic in 
his appearance, the young mage Murikeer said nothing for several minutes as 
he stood nearby, his hands clasped at the small of his back, thick tail 
swaying lazily behind him.  A smile pulled at one corner of his angular 
muzzle, long white whiskers twitching as he nodded to a passer by. 

The equine's return nod caught her attention as it was directed close by and 
she turned her head to see whom had captured the reveler's attention. 

"Muri!." She gasped in sudden recognition, mildly startled at his proximity. 
That her own swaying tail had not touched him was only due to his avoiding 
it.  He chuckled softly and smiled to her, inclining his head slightly in 

"I'm jealous." He commented as he bowed deeply, flourishing his well groomed 
tail and one hand before her. 

"Jealous, Murikeer?" She asked, her voice light as she offered a curtsy in 
return.  "That's not something I would have expected you to say.  Of whom?" 

Muri stood, a smile revealing the white of his teeth as he raised an arm and 
pointed, "Of him." He said, his finger picking out Rickkter across the hall 
as he shared a few comments with Charles.  "You look absolutely radiant." 

Kayla beamed brightly, her ears backing as her whiskers flattened against her 
muzzle with the sudden heat that raced across her face.  She felt her tail 
fluff as it pressed against the back of her dress and she consciously forced 
it to relax as she looked away for a moment, her eyes settling on Rickkter 
almost by instinct.  She noted that the rat, she knew that they did not get 
along but not why to any great degree, seemed positively livid.  Thinking of 
angry people she blinked and looked around hastily. 

"Where's Llyn?" she asked quietly, then quaffed the last of her liqure in one 
swift swallow, gagging momentarily at the sharp, sweet burn that surged down 
her throat. 

Muri's arm swung lazily around to wave an open hand toward a small cluster of 
Keepers at the beverage table.  She spotted the mink, in rather simple 
appearing attire, speaking with a tall, Amazonian redhead.  "I feel as if I 
came underdressed." He chuckled, "She told me that Misha's parties sometimes 
got, well, boisterous." 

Kayla tilted her head as she looked back at him, eyebrows arching at his 
wardrobe.  Far from underdressed, his clothing appeared to have cost nearly 
as much as Misha's by cut alone, despite being entirely black.  He bowed 
slightly and smiled, the expensive silk shimmering as he held his arms out to 
either side slightly, "I fear you see an illusion, beautiful.  Hidden is far 
more mundane garb."  The skunk explained as he stood from his bow.  As if to 
illustrate his artifice the black suddenly faded into white, swirling away 
like a single drop of ink in a bucket of whitewash.  Kayla blinked at the 
sudden change as a cloak fluttered from his shoulders and pooled around his 
bare feet. 

"Very nice, but what if someone touches it?" 

"They'll feel simple cotton, unfortunately.  I've been working on the touch, 
but that's not important here, now." He smiled, tail waving lazily, causing 
the illusory cloak to shift and sway as it split over the root of his tail.   
"I would like to see you later this evening, after the meal.  Llyn and I are 
going to be attending Father Hough's ceremonies, so she will be changing into 
her gown once the actual party here has begun."  His gaze wandered over to 
the small group of scouts conversing with Llyn.  She was not dressed out of 
keeping with the festivities, wearing a long burgundy dress that complimented 
her soft mahogany fur, but she informed him it was a dress several years old, 
worn for the first time in almost as much time.  It was striking, he had to 
admit, though appeared rather plain compared to the vibrant wardrobe sported 
by a gray feline in their midst.  The cat was definitely a noble, to be sure, 
as was the red raccoon that stood at her side. 

"Where?" Kayla asked, interrupting his momentarily wandering thoughts. 

"In the library.  Fox Cutter is hosting a somewhat more subdued celebration 
for the children, so the library will be open." 

Kayla tittered and nodded, "The library, of course.  Would you be anywhere 
else, hmmm?" 

Muri grinned, "Well, there, or in Rickkter's lab, and I think he might not 
understand why I've hidden things on his shelves." 

Kayla's eyebrows climbed upon her brow as she cocked her head, "Oh?" 

"Most certainly, which is why I'd like to see you there."  He looked up 
suddenly and smiled, his eyes drawn once again toward Llyn, who was looking 
about the hall.  He stepped back and swirled away rather abruptly, the white 
of his cloak fanning out behind him and becoming suddenly a rich, shimmering 
blue, like a fanciful waterfall from one of the tapestries hanging about the 
walls.  He cast a bright smile over his shoulder as he melted into a nearby 
knot of dancers with a flick of his lushly groomed tail tip. 

Kayla shook her head slowly as she saw him emerge from the other side of the 
dancers and smoothly intercepted Llyn as she stopped to converse with a 
slender, thickly furred canine of some sort.  "Okay," She mouthed as she 
turned her attention back toward Rick, only to find Caroline moving toward 
her with a group of other Keepers, intending to make introductions. 


Excerpted from the journal entries of Jacob T Fox 
January 27th, 708CR. 

It was cold, glorious winter. All around was a thick covering of snow and 
ice, the wind howled like a dire wolf in the noon time, and above the storm 
clouds were gathering for an another blasting. I was in bliss. Most would 
consider me insane and I most likely am, but my thick fur and my spirit of 
adventure were called for days like these. A mist of heavy white rushed out 
from every breath, but I felt as if I was born for this storm, as if a hidden 
destiny was waiting for me. When I changed to my present form no one knew 
what I was. 

My muzzle was shaped like a fox's, but the coloration of my fur was unlike 
anything seen. I was neither red nor gray. Most at first glance would see me 
as black, but upon closer inspection, my fur is a deep royal blue. It would 
lighten in the summer, unfortunately not enough to make the summers bearable, 
but I am a bit of an unknown. Not even the great wisdom of the Keep, at least 
their books, knew what I had become. Sad, but most don't notice. Most are too 
busy surviving in our little town. 

I hadn't been this happy in a while, but I see the misery of those who aren't 
built for the cold. They bundle into a coat of fur and hide in their homes, 
hoping for a quick snow with a very warm spring. Last winter was a warm 
adventure for me in which I nearly drowned in a pool of mud that seeped into 
my father's home. I doubt that will happen again. Around the base of my home 
now is a lining of stones stacked tightly so nothing can get in. That was far 
from my mind, for this is a time of celebration. It's wintertime. 

Walking down from my home and around the bakery, which was closed, and an 
inn, which was shut tighter than the purse of the local noble, was The 
Tavern's Hearth. I saw a light and knew someone had to be emptying the 
shelves of Myra Tavernsmith's pub. Quickly, my hand reached for the door and 
to my surprise only Myra was in. It was not even time to eat dinner and the 
room was empty. Looking up from her counter, Myra was shocked to see me. 

"Jacob, only a fool would be out in this weather." She said with no offer of 
an apology. 

I placed my satchel of badger hide down next to the closest table and raised 
my hands to the air. "I am a fool, I do not doubt that but where is everyone? 
I would expect at least Terrance Waters here, that swine's life blood is 

"It is the Yule time, Jacob. Everyone is either in the Keep with Father 
Hough, the Lightbringers, or home with their family." 

I nodded, understanding that this was a time for both faiths to be 
celebrating, but my heart lost faith a long time ago, and those who I would 
celebrate with are gone to those gods I no longer believe in. Dropping down 
my snow covered hood, I sat at the counter and looked straight at the woman 
who once was a womanizer who spend more time looking after his many loves 
than on his family bar. 

"Why aren't you with the others in the Keep?" 

"I could ask the same of you." I said, with a raised eyebrow. 

"My family is in the back room, enjoying a turkey dinner I personally hunted 
with my son." 

I smiled at the sight of Myra, a seductive brown haired woman who once was a 
man, hunting with her equine son. 

"How is Alan today?" 

She placed her hands on her hips and Myra's slight smirk turned into a frown. 
"Don't avoid my question, Jacob. Why are you here?" 

"What family do I have? I was a son, Now I am nothing. My father lays in a 
mass grave for the martyrs of the Three Gates War, my mother is dead along 
side him. The religion I humbly served from back stabbed my mother and I, 
leaving us for dead. I am alone. My friends are my family now, but they 
celebrate with those I hold a great deal of discontent." 

Myra turned her eyes to a far distant place in the air. "You could join my 

"No. I was just going to play outside, but now my memories are calling for 

"Then let me give you a gift." 

She gingerly pushed off the counter and grasped at an old jug. Myra's small 
hands removed the cork and she took a whiff of the concoction. 

"Jacob, this is an old wine. I am somewhat afraid what it may taste like, but 
it is very special, and it should ease any pain your heart may have." 

I laughed and the permeating scent that came from her bottle was that of 
lilacs and myrrh. If the smell was any hint of the taste, then I was in for a 

"Thank you Myra." I smiled but I knew it was a snarl and looked down to hide 
it. "You may have given me what I needed this holiday." 

I wiped the decades of dust off the brim, and I still could almost feel the 
scent that's how strong it was. In the background was the chatter of Myra's 
family. Alan talked about tracking the trails, looking for a meal this night, 
being lucky to find the large tom in a cruel winter. Myra's wife, Troy, 
laughing with him in his goose like laugh. I watched the joy from the crack 
opening of the back room door. I didn't know if I had sighed or not, but Myra 
saw me watching. 

"Please Jacob, join us." 

Without looking, I nodded and walked around the counter and entered, shutting 
the door behind me. At least I wasn't alone today. 

End part 6a 

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