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

COkane8116 at aol.com COkane8116 at aol.com
Thu Aug 9 21:08:51 CDT 2001

12/24 - 3pm 

Rickkter managed to catch the fox as he was going between groups of friends 
and pull him over to a quiet corner. Considering the jovial mood that Misha 
was in with the party, that took some doing, but Rickkter eventually managed 
to do it. Of course Misha was adamant at finding out WHY Rick had done it. 

"Well, I just wanted to thank you for inviting Kayla and myself here. I can 
tell you it's been a very long time since either of us were invited 

Someone had gotten the fox's attention and he had not been looking directly 
at Rickkter, but the raccoon's statement made his head snap around. "Rick, I 
can't believe you said that. Hell, after the Longs themselves, and Andre and 
Jenn, you two were the next logical choices! George was more of an after 
thought, actually, and I'm surprised he showed, though I think he just came 
for the free booze. He's not usually one for parties." 

"So you thought of the mercenaries after your own men, eh? Just like a 
typical commander," Rickkter snorted. For a moment Misha appeared wounded by 
the comment and was going to respond, but then he noticed Rick's smile. 

The scout laughed along with the mage before clasping his friend around the 
shoulders. "After all we've been though, all we've done for each other, how 
could you not be here? You are my friend and I wouldn't have it any other 
way." Rickkter smiled and thanked him. "And now that this silly serious 
business is over," continued Misha, "let us find our ladies and a table. They 
should be bringing out the main course any time now." 

"Ah, most excellent. What will be the main course?" 

"For my friends and comrades? Everything." 

The raccoon only smiled, his long tail sweeping out behind him as the two of 
them went in search of an otter, a skunk, and then a table of fine seats. 

Their ladies were part of a whole gaggle of women and Rickkter led Misha 
venture in to retrieve the two they were seeking. They silently coordinated 
their attack so that they snuck up on their ladies from the rear, taking them 
into their arms at the same instant. Both female mustelids squealed and 
cringed at the same instant, laughing and wriggling in the arms of their 
respective lovers. Kayla turned her head around, leaning up to give Rick lick 
on his chin as she smiled. 

"And what is it that you two want, sneaking up on a pair of ladies like that, 
hmm?" Caroline murred as she and Misha rubbed noses. 

"Only that we miss you and want to spend a meal in their company. So what do 
you say? Will you have us?" 

"What do you think, Kayla?" asked the otter, inclining her head to where the 
skunk was captured in Rick's embrace.  She had turned around and was nuzzling 
her raccoon. "Do we really want to spend anymore time with these two?" 

Kayla ran the side of her muzzle along the thick fur of Rickkter's right 
cheek ruff. "Well, they did say there would be free food involved. I think we 
could tolerate them for a hour or so for that." 

Giggling, Caroline turned back and kissed her fox. "Alright you rogues, lead 

Wrapping one arm around the shoulders of the otter, Misha called out to the 
rest of the Hall, "Attention everyone! Dinner will be served shortly, so find 
yourselves some chairs and tables or you'll be eating off the floor!" 

The crowd of the Long Hall broke into cheers and applause as all present 
headed for the tables. In spite of Misha's threats there was more than enough 
to go around. When everyone was settled groups of servers came out to take 
the specific orders and dispense wines or other beverages to whomever wanted 
them. Rickkter chose a fine red wine for his table, settling back to enjoy it 
as the rest requested certain dishes to suit their specific palettes. He 
gazed over the rest of the people in the hall, reveling in the whole 
atmosphere of the room. 

"They were right, Misha. This is a wonderful party." 

"Yes, Rick, it certainly is. But there is one thing I have to do." 

Misha stood up at his table raising his glass and knife with him. He waited a 
few moments to see if anyone would notice, then wrapped the glass with the 
knife, the peals rigging throughout the Long Hall. Everyone quickly dropped 
into silence. 

Misha let it hang a few moments. "I want to take this occasion now to depart 
from the usual festive nature of these gatherings and say a few serious words 
to all of you. 

"As you all know, the Long Scouts have existed now for four years under my 
command. In that time everyone here has run countless missions against the 
enemy to the north. We've killed his forces, ruined his supply lines, 
devastated his outposts, and did everything in our power to make the lives of 
our enemies as miserable as we possibly could. 

"It's a hard job we do, and often a thankless one. Most people at Metamor 
don't know the specifics of our jobs; only that we are elite warriors who run 
missions more difficult than anyone else." He paused and swirled the wine in 
his glass. "We've done a hell of a job, haven't we? I don't think there isn't 
one of you here that doesn't have a price on their head for their efforts. 

"Looking out over the faces I see present here tonight, I can't help but 
remember some of the adventures we've had, all of the good times and some of 
the bad as well. I see some of the original members of the Longs; Meredith, 
Laura, Lisa and Georgette. And I see those who have been recruited into our 
ranks only recently, namely Matt, Finbar, and my own Caroline." The fox 
looked down at the otter in the blue dress to his side as he rubbed the bulb 
of his glass with one finger. His eyes picked out the subtle hints of 
residual damage left from her horrific ordeal from a few months ago. He 
blinked away the forming tears and turned to the audience once more. "And I 
see those who have fought alongside us to keep all of Metamor valley and the 
Midlands safe from the terror to the north." He gestured to Rickkter and 
George, each of whom acknowledged in turn with a nod. 

"But what I don't see are, what I would give almost anything to see, are the 
faces of those who we've lost over the years." His gaze lowered to the 
tabletop. His tongue darted out to lick his nose as he tried to quell his 
roiling emotions. Misha knew this was going to be hard to say but he vowed to 
honor his friends this night. "We all remember Craig Latoner, his laughter, 
his smiles, how we could call on him for any quick favor. Craig was a great 
warrior, a true Long, and I am honored to have served beside him. His 
presence is sorely missed around the Long House, although his family is here 
with us tonight. May the prayers of all of us go with them tonight to see 
them safely through the coming year." 

The room was dead silent as all the keepers waited for him to continue. "This 
has been our worst year so far, with the death of Craig as a result of the 
specific targeting of Long Scouts by Nasoj's forces. But having a price on 
our heads is the greatest compliment Nasoj could pay us! It means we're doing 
our job!" By that point Misha was almost shouting. Pausing a moment to 
collect himself, he continued in his normal voice. "But it could easily have 
been far worse than that. Were it not for the efforts of newcomers Murikeer 
and Rickkter we would be without the company of Joy Wanderer and my own love, 
Caroline Hardy. They have my eternal gratitude for those actions," he said 
inclining his glass in Rickkter's direction and toward the skunk seated some 
distance away. Rick returned the subdued gesture as Muri inclined his head 
slightly and smiled. 

Misha surveyed the room once more, his tongue darting out to lick his nose. 
"Thank you all for listening to me ramble on here." He raised his glass up 
high to the room. "This has been the greatest pride of my life, commanding 
the finest group of warriors I've ever seen anywhere. A toast, then; to our 
fallen comrades. May their memories never be forgotten." Bowing his head, he 
toasted the ensemble of keepers. 

"May they never be forgotten," was the resounding chorus that rose from the 
throats of all assembled in the hall that day before drinks were downed. 

"Thank you," whispered the fox before taking his seat. 

12/24 - 5pm 

The dinner in the Long Hall had been a long, loud, and leisurely affair. The 
wines, ales and spirits had been flowing freely the whole time and there had 
been several toasts drunk throughout to various causes, most of them 
revolving around the idea of Nasoj's head on a pike. The food, which had been 
prepared in a top fashion by the kitchens at the Keep was enjoyed by all and 
reflected the diversity of Metamor's inhabitants. First had been a course of 
salads and greenery for the herbivores in attendance and any omnivores who 
wished to indulge. Rickkter, Kayla, and Carol had all taken part, though 
Misha declined in favor of what was to come. This was followed by a course of 
meats, something that the majority in attendance took part in. Kayla tended 
to fancy the fowl and selected a dish of thrushes in wine sauce. Rickkter 
tried loin of boar smothered in plum sauce while Misha helped himself to 
roast pork with a stuffing of bread, honey, red wine and bay. Caroline dined 
on breaded veal cutlet in a rich cream sauce with broccoli on the side, 
something the raccoon learned Misha despised. Rickkter and Carol also split a 
dish of broiled salmon steaks in a light coating of lemon juice and spices. 
Both thought that was a most divine course, though neither Kayla or Misha 
would go that far. After they had all eaten their fill, along with the rest 
of the Hall, the desserts were wheeled out. These were all succulent treats, 
many consisting of ingredients preserved in the Keep's cellars for just such 
an occasion. After much debate, the table settled on pears cooked in 
cinnamon, honey and wine in a light sauce thickened with a few egg yokes. 
Unlike the fish, no one at the table could argue with the excellence of them. 
All four of the animal morphs feasted upon the sweet, almost melting fruits 
with their thick, dripping sauce. Both couples also enjoyed the pleasure of 
feeding it to their partners and were all left sucking the sweetness out of 
the fur on their paws and off their muzzles long after the plates had been 

While the food had been served and consumed the minstrels had continued to 
play in the background, adding a pleasant atmosphere to the Hall for the 
diners. However, playing is hard work and so the musicians took the time 
after dinner, when conversation was at its height and the people would be too 
stuffed to return to the dance floor, to get something to eat for themselves. 
What they did not expect, however, was the loud disappointment of the Scouts 
at the loss of their music. Misha solved that with a suggestion from 
Rickkter, namely that any of those present with musical talent should go up 
on stage and replace the performers. There were several in the audience who 
had done so, and now a band consisting of Carol on flute, Rickkter with 
violin, and the girlfriends of Ralls and Jotham on pan pipes and mandolin now 
playing for the once more dancing audience of Keepers. The pipes and flute 
lent the pieces a very light, almost mystic air to them with Rick's violin 
tending to dominate. The players also favored their audience with several 
shorter pieces not intended for dance. One was a rather intricate duet 
between Rickkter on one end of the stage and Carol on the other. The piece 
was one they had practiced together before, the most striking parts occurring 
when the two instruments came into a eerie, haunting harmony. Caroline then 
showed off how far she had become by engaging Jotham's girlfriend Paula in a 
much faster, livelier piece with the mandolin. The crowd wildly applauded 
both pieces upon completion, their admiration gaining a reluctant bow from a 
very shy otter. The musicians then returned to the usual pieces. 

The last dance came to an end with the slow hum of the violin bow drawing 
across the string. The multitude of keepers stopped their dancing to turn and 
applaud the impromptu band that had replaced the main help on stage. All the 
musicians rose and bowed several times to the roaring applause of the crowd 
before relinquishing their instruments to the actual band members once more. 

Caroline linked her arm through Rickkter's as they headed off to rejoin their 
respective loves. Kayla had spent most of the personal dances with Misha, 
though Kershaw did manage to entice her for a few of them. Now the female 
skunk and the fox were calmly standing to the side of the dance floor 
awaiting the return of their musicians to their sides. 

"That was truly, truly wonderful," said Misha as Carol came up to him. He 
took her head in his paws, cradling her cheeks in his palms and began to 
bestow loving licks on either side of her muzzle before pulling her into a 
tight hug. "You were really great love! I told you that you'd do fine up 
there and you really did. Such applause doesn't lie!" 

Caroline had a wide, open muzzled smile on her face where she leaned over 
Misha's shoulder and hugged him back. "Thank you, love. I was so nervous at 
first, but you were right, I managed to settle into it soon enough." 

"See, I told you all that practice would pay off," said Rick from where he 
and Kayla embraced. 

"You were good too, love," Kayla told Rick. 

He turned and rubbed his nose against hers, resting it there and looking into 
her eyes. "You really think so?" 

"No doubt in my mind." His long whiskers were tickling her own and making her 
smile. "Though personally, I think that the only reason you were up there was 
to be with all those lovely young females." She winked at him. 

That made everyone in the group laugh and earned her a lick on the nose from 
Rick. "Now why would I want that when I have the most beautiful one in the 
whole valley right here in my arms?" 

Kayla folded her ears down, tucked her lush tail between her legs and blushed 

"Oh, come on," Rickkter admonished, hugging her close. "You know you are, at 
least to me. And I think this dance is coming to an end, so how about we all 
go and join the rest of the crowd?" 

Misha and Carol were both in favor of that as well. 

Then the music changed to a slower dance by the time the two couples had 
reached the floor.  Rickkter and Kayla embraced each other as Misha and his 
love did the same. The skunk wrapped her arms around the raccoon's waist and 
laid her head on his shoulder. He did likewise, with one arm around her waist 
to lead, the other up between her shoulders to stroke the fur there. Kayla 
knew that Rickkter favored dresses with low backs like she had for that very 
reason, and it was a good thing that such were quite the fashion amongst 
animal morphs. Kayla snuggled against his chest, as the music played, 
enjoying how he lovingly caressed her fur, and purring quite happily. She lay 
against him, eyes closed, trusting him to guide her. 

"You know, I think that holding a purring skunk against ones chest has to be 
one of the most pleasant sensations in the world," Rickkter observed after 
several minutes. 

Kayla smiled, not wanting to give Rick reason to stop stroking her scruff. 
"Only one?" she burred deeply. "What would some of the others be?" 

Rickkter placed his muzzle next to her ear and whispered a few of them. 

Kayla barked a few sharp laughs and pulled back a little, grinning widely. 
She moved one paw out from behind and tapped it on his nose. "You are 
utterly, utterly, incorrigible," she pronounced to his broadly smiling face. 
But all the same, she knew her own eyes were shining as much as his at the 

"That I am," he said and licked her finger. 

"Whatever am I going to do with you," she wondered as they spun around, her 
muzzle hanging open in a smirk. 

"Well, I don't know about you intend for me, but I was thinking of doing this 
with you," the raccoon said as he reached up and began to scritch the skunk 
behind her black ears. 

Kayla responded immediately, leaning her head back against his paw and 
trilling loudly. When she spoke it was in a husky burr. "Um, yes that would 
be good for starters." 

Rickkter just chucked and hugged her close again, feeling her deeply 
satisfied rumbling in his chest. "Well, it's the least I can do for the lady 
I love." He kissed the top of her head and gave them another spin, causing 
their tails to fly up a moment. "And you make such wonderful sounds, too." 

All Kayla could do was continue to purr as he resumed caressing the striped 
fur of her back. " I love you so much, too, Rick," she burred. "You're the 
best thing that's ever happened to me." 

He gave her another kiss and whispered, "You too, love." 

And the band played on. 

  End part 6b 

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