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Things to do in Marn when you're Wanted

Things to do in Marn when you're Wanted

Post by Dorcas Tansy on

"You got the barley kind, didn't you, Flosmarra?" an utterance in the stairwell was amplified by the acoustic properties of the roughly built, narrow walls. Udorl's otherwise soft voice bounced up the stairs and echoed in the upper corridor of the home. "Oh good," she said airily after a reply from the front room came. "The wheat kind don't agree with me, in my condition. Get some cream and jam before you do anything else."

The sun was just risen on the horizon such that the light of morning dominated the sky. Its direct rays would not land on the windows of the building for some time, with its position tucked in a narrow alley on the edge of the industrial district.

Several slow creaks of the stairs signaled Udorl's ascent. At the landing, she surveyed the now-vacant parlor. A quicker series of groans from the stairs heralded the arrival of a tiny waif of a girl with a nest of nearly white hair and a pinched face with pallor to match. She passed Udorl a stack of folded clothing: white cotton and gray wool. "Good, go help Flosmarra," said Udorl as she took the neat pile of laundry in both hands. She smiled down on the girl who stared back with huge, gray eyes and didn't move. "Let Dorcas sleep, I want it that way," Udorl added; her clear enunciation of each syllable gave a tone of insistence to her gentle voice.

The small girl turned and hopped almost weightlessly down the stairs. Udorl proceeded into the hallway and stopped at the first door. She shifted her bundle to her left hand and raised the back of her right hand to the door to rap lightly with her knuckles. She paused only a moment before turning the knob and edging the door open with a bump from her hip.

Dorcas had been sleeping on her stomach and raised her head to blink blearily at the apparition in the doorway. Realization dawned on her sleep-softened face, and she scowled. "Oargh," was her greeting. She quickly stuffed her hands under her pillow, hiding the orange scarf she was clinging to. The girl dropped her chin on top of her pillow and continued to scowl at the hated Udorl. "Yes?"

Realization dawned on Udorl's face just a moment after Dorcas's, and her eyes widened with delight at the unexpected turn of events. Even in daylight, the woman seemed incapable of any expression not suggestive. Her mirth looked rather like a mix of intrigue and satisfaction: an ephemeral upturning of the lips and an arch of the brow, a few quick bats of her wide eyes. Without an answer to Dorcas's begrudged words, Udorl padded lightly past the guest room and stopped outside Mydjeken's room. She did not knock this time, and simply opened the door of her own invitation.

Udorl sighed with enchantment at what she found: Chrishton in bed, naked, with no covering to speak of. She cleared her throat. She spoke loudly enough that her intent was to wake him. "I should hate to disturb your rest, but I should love to see what happens when you wake." Her gaze was fixed squarely on his groin.

Dorcas had risen from her bed and walked to the door of the guest room to see what Udorl was so excited about. She pulled back her chin and wrinkled her nose with confusion as she saw Udorl down the hall gazing into Mydjeken's room where Chris had spent the night. She slowly ventured out of her room and came up on Udorl's right side, confusion and concern on her face. The girl caught merely a glimpse of the inside of Chrishton's room, enough to see his unshaven face and an expanse of flesh beneath that could only indicate he had chosen to sleep without robes. "Oh, for--" she choked out in a mix of surprise and exasperation. Dorcas averted her gaze from the scene, but her reddening cheeks could be seen over Udorl's shoulder. She had her arms folded over the bodice of her shift self-consciously.

Udorl pressed her bundle up against her bodice, but this was not so much an action of self-consciousness as enhancement. Her bodice was stiff and tighter than the prevailing fashion dictated. She had left the front of her gauzy white undershirt indecently unfastened, such that the cleft of her breasts showed rosily above the edge of the coral colored bodice. The dress was high-waisted, and many yards of voluminous brown cotton created a skirt that obscured the small lump in her midsection.
Last edited by Dorcas Tansy on Wed Mar 19, 2008 4:39 am, edited 1 time in total.

Chrishton's dreams were uneventful the whole night. He drifted through the astral plane thinking about what was said and trying to understand why, after all this time, Shakko would appear to him again. He was very low on their strange hierarchical system, so for her to meet with him, regardless of his past relationship with her, was a significant event.

He spent his time asleep holed up in an imaginary den deep in the astral plane away from other creatures and away from his own imagination.

"...I should love to see what happens when you wake."

Words filtered through to his sleeping mind and brought him back to the waking world. The first thing Chrishton noticed was how soft his bed was, how warm and comfortable the room was, and how well he'd been able to sleep. It didn't take weeks of sleeping in the dirt to make him appreciate human comforts.

He didn't want to acknowledge that someone was speaking to him at first, but the cool air against his body pointed out to him that he was naked. Not at all bothered by being naked in front of a woman, he opened his eyes and shifted his head to look at whoever was speaking to him. At first all he saw was Udorl, and she was still quite pleasing to the eye. His tiff with her the other night already forgotten, Chrishton was ready to indulge her and started to sit up with a grin forming on his face. He was also fortunate enough to be quite well endowed.

"We-eehey!" His voice snapped from playful and quiet to alarmed and twice the volume.

Dorcas' face appeared in the doorway, prompting Chrishton to grab a handfull of the bed sheets and place them over his crotch.

"What're ya doin!? I'm tryin' ta sleep 'ere!"
You are confusing bets and marriages, Madam. One must always honour a bet.
- Valmont

Dorcas choked out a nervous laugh that was supposed to sound derisive, and an even deeper blush began to bloom onto her cheeks from the neck upward. "What am I doing?!" This was not quite directed at Chrishton, because she refused to face him. Her jaw was set in a combination of embarrassment and the anger at being embarrassed. Without letting her periphery stray beyond the very entrance of Chrishton's room, the girl eyed Udorl from head to toe. Dorcas bore an expression at once wide-eyed and darkly scowling.

Udorl poked her lower lip forward slightly and gave Dorcas a very small smile and a roll of her eyes. She wrapped her palm around the long, loose braid of hair that fell over her right shoulder and lowered her eyes in an act of bashfulness. "You're startling our guest, Dorcas," she supplemented. When uttering her "u"s and "o"s, Udorl rounded her lips fully into a pout. "He needs relaxation."

The older woman lingered on the last "n" she spoke and broke it by extending her tongue just slightly to wet her upper lip. She craned her neck slightly as if she might make out what she had been able to see before Chrishton covered himself.

Dorcas turned to face Udorl full on. The red of her face dissipated and her gaze was stormy. She dropped her hands into balled fists at her hips. "Oh yeah, sorry, Udorl. I'm pretty fucking hopeless there," she hissed. "What was I thinking, interrupting this, what he obviously so sorely needs."

Dorcas glared into the room at Chrishton, and the sight of the bedsheets balled up over his personal region inspired a sudden new wave of self consciousness. She pulled her arms in to cover her bosom, heavy and unsupported under her rough shift. She paused, embarrassed, before she would address him. "And--god--enjoy yourself after all," Dorcas spit with disdain.

She turned and made as if to storm off down the hall, but went slowly instead. Dragging her hand along the wall. "Can't believe you came looking for it," she muttered, apparently at Udorl. "Sniffing out dick like a fucking dog."

Udorl raised her eyebrows when Dorcas spoke, but didn't otherwise respond to her anger. She didn't respond at all even as Dorcas left. She invited herself two steps into Chris's room and put a hand on the door with a pointed look at him, indicating she would close it at his wish. Presently, the big cat revealed himself from behind a small hill of blankets at the foot of the bed and dispatched himself quickly from the room.

Udorl glanced at the blur of dark fur as he ran off. "I must apologize personally for the meager comforts of my modest home, and for the coarse manners sometimes practiced." While Udorl appeared to be someone who put on many acts, she didn't even attempt to put in the effort to sound sincere. Her gaze was focused intently on Chris's bundle of bedsheets.

"Please--" she looked at Chrishton's face and batted her eyes once-- "do let me know how I can help you to feel more at ease. Or, if you are the type of person who prefers to wake unto vigor, how I may help you feel the . . . opposite . . . of 'at ease.'"

A creak in the floorboards from the hall gave sign that Dorcas had just stepped near the parlor as she exclaimed softly over the reappearance of her pet cat.

While the two women spoke, Chrishton used his feet to shuffle the bundle of clothes on the floor around and get his pants on top of the pile. He was doing his best to ignore what was an awkward situation he would rather not acknowledge as happening, but when he looked back they were still there, and Dorcas was looking at him again.

"And--god--enjoy yourself after all"

He threw one of his hands out at her, palm up in imploration, and pushed the center of his brow up in a look of innocence. "I was sleepin'!"

She stormed off anyway, and he rolled his eyes. He was not entirely out of the wrong and he knew it. Had Dorcas not showed up, he would probably have invited Udorl in for a quick roll without telling anyone about it. Even though who he slept with was none of Dorcas' business, it was her place, she was his friend, and she didn't like Udorl.

Once Dorcas was gone and Udorl had the nerve to take another couple of steps into his room, he gave her an entirely artificial smile and listened to her somewhat lengthy enticement. She said something about feeling at ease, but he wasn't really listening. When she finished, he held onto his fake smille, grabbed the pillow off of his bed with his left hand and threw it at her face.

"Blasted woman."

With some presumably bought time, he stood up and tossed away the sheets to start putting on his pants. He didn't care if Udorl saw him naked.
You are confusing bets and marriages, Madam. One must always honour a bet.
- Valmont

Udorl dropped her stack of clean clothes as Chrishton's pillow flew at her face. She caught the fluffy sack and squeezed it in her fists against her bosom. Her cheeks flushed and she smiled, apparently more engaged by this game than the insipid chatter about hospitality.

Her eyes clung to the waistline of his trousers to catch a last look at the goods before he closed up shop, and then she traipsed over to him and offered the pillow with arms outstretched. His barb didn't seem to deter her any more than the pile of clothes at the door she'd almost tripped over.

"So you want to play?" She hadn't closed the door. Udorl had dropped her sultry manner--it didn't become her in the ambient morning anyway--and adopted a vivacious spin to her obsessively erotic personality. Quick-eyed and seeming to wriggle eagerly beneath her bodice, this after all might have been a more dangerous Udorl. Standing before Chris, as if preparing her stance for a pillow fight, she slowly swung her hips in a tight arc parallel to the floor as if to frame the exact item of her desire.

Down the hallway a thin voice whined. "Quins or durpicot, Dar? Laik whichun shudd I get laik?" The unseen figure spoke with a very coarse urchin's brogue.

"Haven' we got inny cherry left?" There was a sigh in Dorcas's voice.

"Churby? Ooohhh . . ." The smaller voice was fretful. A pattering series of footsteps approached the door to Chrishton's room as the soft, reedy voice called out, "Udaaarr! Laik the fruit, quins or durpicot, or laik do we hiv churb--Oooohh!" The slight, pale girl with almost-white hair stopped short in the doorway, limbs braced as if against a strong wind. She appeared genuinely shocked at the sight of Chrishton, and seemed temporarily petrified.

Chrishton buttoned up his pants with a firm gesture, staring at her while he fixed the last button. Unlike last night, or even a few moments ago, he did not let his eyes wander and did not appear the least bit impressed by her wiles. Those pants were not coming off for her any time soon.

"Give it up already, woman. I ain't playin with ya now. Oh it'd 'a been loads a' fun last night, but ya've gone an' got all this fuckin' craaazy goin' on 'ere," he replied while waving one of his hands in the air to emphasize crazy, "an' yer some kinda nymph."

He pulled the shirt on over his head and rolled his eyes at the pain such a maneuver caused him. It touched several unhealed cuts as well as the fingernail Moryldar spent some time prying off.

"If ya really wanna get on m'good side..."

Once his head poked through the top of the shirt he could see the doorway once more, but at this point there was another person there. Some little girl with an accent heavier than his or Dorcas'. He caught her reaction, and straightened up the shirt, pulling it the rest of the way on, and then furrowed his brow in a mock stern expression.

"Excuse me but we're 'avin a discussion 'ere."
You are confusing bets and marriages, Madam. One must always honour a bet.
- Valmont

While Chrishton was lost in his shirt, Udorl took the opportunity to lean sharply to her right and peer at his backside. "Oh, I thought I was already looking at your good side."

She turned her back to him when the reedy little voice called for her from the doorway. Her dark hair, deeply pigmented with chestnut, cherry, and copper tones, bore a glittering something anchored at the apex of her braid. It was a gold comb, set with wide pearls of coral and detailed with a gold filigree rat, which stared up at Chrishton with one unblinking emerald eye.

First Chris voiced his irritation with the young woman for her interruption, and then Udorl spoke. "Please, Otter, have some concern for our guests. And yes, for the cherry, check my--"

The little ghost of a girl gave a start--a balling of her fists and a single bob of her head. She blinked as if taking a second assessment of what her eyes met, and promptly turned on her bare heels and tore down the hall. "Laik Kenny's not hum! He's not hum this marna!" she squealed as she pattered back in the direction she came.

A muffled shout of incredulous shock and a feline yowl of annoyance floated back in echo to the girl's raving.

Udorl poked her lips forward in a pout and furrowed her brow prettily to gaze upward at Chrishton. "I'm not a nymph, I'm a human," she said, strangely insincerely, as if she wasn't all that sold on the fact herself.

"He left last night," she added very quickly as she headed for the door, palm outstretched to close it.

The little girl was gone as quickly as she came, and Chrishton shrugged while tucking his shirt into his pants. They were not his usual clothes, which were likely long gone, and they barely fit him. Halfway through the attempt to tuck his shirt in he gave up, and left the left side of it dangling out. It was because of his belly that the pants were so tight. He was still in good shape, but his washboard abs said goodbye years ago.

I'm not a nymph, I'm a human

"I was bein' sarcastic, ya..." his voice trailed off when Udorl left after the younger girl. "What a fuckin' nut-house..."

Chrishton yanked the shirt back out of his pants and quickly searched the room for a pair of socks to wear. The fox spirits were no longer very abundant - Chris theorized that they did in fact need to sleep at night - but one of them helped him by flying circles around a cabinet and insisting that he search it for socks.

He did, and within it he did indeed find clean socks balled up in a corner. It was a start, but shoes were more important.

"Wow, socks. Thanks a million. Dunno what I'd do without ya. I dun suppose there's shoes too?"

The spirit responded by disappearing into the orange sunlight that filtered through the window without a word. Weird... But not unusual. He shook his head.

Once in socks, he walked out into the hallway to search for food, and hopefully a goddamn bath. Hands in his pockets, he followed the same way the others had gone to look for Dorcas.
You are confusing bets and marriages, Madam. One must always honour a bet.
- Valmont

The view in the hallway was of Udorl's backside as she sauntered toward the stairs, and a final swish of her voluminous brown skirt as she made the corner tightly and followed after the frenzied servant girl called Otter.

Dorcas's head poked out of her room, first twisted in the direction of the stairs to catch sight of Udorl's exit, then turning to see Chrishton come out of his room. She was holding on to the door frame as she leaned out, the balls of her feet planted firmly inside her room. The frame creaked against her weight, though she was probably at least 15 pounds lighter than when she'd first arrived in the city. Her puzzled face was not pretty, as Udorl's was. She bore a slight sneer of confusion, and her eyes looked angry at her own uncertainty.

"Kenny's gone?" she asked Chris finally. She raised her eyebrows, recognizing too late this was a silly thing to ask someone who she knew had only just left his room for the first time.

Dorcas lowered her eyes from Chris and furrowed her brow into a scowl before she stepped out of her room. Her expression served to emphasize her distaste for how he found her. Her fingertips were tucked into the top edge of the orange linen scarf that was now wrapped over her knee-length shift, at her bosom; her palms covered the swell of her thus constricted breasts. It seemed the only option she had for a support garment, as fancy stays were not available to all economic classes. The underarms of her shift were yellowed.

"'M not dressed yet . . ." she muttered the obvious, refusing to make eye contact. Her errant gaze lingered on Chrishton's stocking feet, and she curled her own bare toes under self-consciously.

"Kenny's gone?"

All Chrishton could do was shrug. He didn't know and didn't really care. Everyone was so concerned about this Kenny, Chris was going to have to thank him for getting lost in time to give up his room.

He smiled warmly at her bashfulness and acted completely nonchalant about her situation. It was easy for him to act that way, because he genuinely didn't care. Despite his somewhat rude awakening, sleeping inside a nice warm place on a soft bed and being woken up by a beautiful woman, rather than an alley in Marn or worse, had Chrishton in high spirits.

"Well take yer time. I dun think our friend Dennison is comin' back any time soon. Took a flight last night... But more importantly: I need a bath girly. Surely ya've got somethin' in this fine place o' yers, cause if I gotta go in that bloody river again I'm 'a kill someone."
You are confusing bets and marriages, Madam. One must always honour a bet.
- Valmont

As Chrishton began to speak, Dorcas's hands turned in at the wrists, the heels pressing against her wrapped bosom as if to further minimize its appearance. Her avoidance of eye contact snapped abruptly when he mentioned a bath. Something about that apparently upset her greatly. She barely gave him a moment to inhale after he finished cursing the river before she set in.

"God! D'you got fucking wax in yer ears?" Dorcas had discretion; she kept her shouting to a loud whisper. "I thought I told you, do not call me 'girly.' Are ye fucking deaf or just senile?" Dorcas was certainly not in the mood to honor his request for a bath at the moment. Her cheeks were flushed hotly with the indignity of being caught in her undergarments and then patronized.

"Withered old--stump!" she hissed as she ducked back into her room and slammed the door.

Domestic commands in Udorl's voice floated up from below above the muffled buzz of other voices in which Mydjeken's name was repeated many times. The reedy whine of the girl called Otter rose louder from what must have been the foot of the stairs. Her footsteps began to patter up the creaky staircase.

"Mistarr," she called up the stairs. She sounded as if she'd stopped halfway, out of breath. "Mistaaarr, laik it's time for berffurs." Her voice trailed off at the end of the sentence and her footsteps resumed up the stairs, very slowly.

Chrishton stared blankly at Dorcas while she reamed him for calling her girly. She might as well have been speaking Xianian to the man, because he certainly didn't appear to understand a thing she was saying. He did jerk his head back when she slammed the door on him though, and then proceeded to let out a hefty sigh. The gods were conspiring to have him smell like last week's laundry for the rest of time it would seem. If he could not find warm bath here, it was back to the cold, unpleasant river for a dip.

Maybe the local temple would be willing to put him up for a night. The place looked pleasant enough, and most places of worship were willing to cut a criminal some slack if he was willing to jump through a few hoops. Turning to them was a last resort, but then so was relying on Dorcas.

The youthful voice of the girl from earlier came calling up the stairs inviting him for breakfast. Well, at least he could get something to eat. Hopefully something warm.

"Yeah, I'm comin..."

Hands still in his pockets, he strode over to the stairs and started to make his way down. He offered a smile at the girl when he saw her apparently creeping up.

"Somethin' wrong?"
You are confusing bets and marriages, Madam. One must always honour a bet.
- Valmont

This girl seemed impossibly thin and pale, her complexion hardly a shade darker than her white sack dress. The loose fabric quivered in response to the rapid expansion and contraction of her ribcage. She stared at Chrishton wide-eyed, breathing like a frightened rabbit. The tip of her peaked nose and her lips were pale pink, almost lavender.

"Em, well it's berffurs an' Ai guess it's barley cakes an' cream an' jams an' Ai guess Ai shudd ask whichun you wann, laik churby jams ur what, em, an' also do you wann bailed eggs--" the girl spoke very quickly as if she were either reciting a script from memory or simply spitting out every word that came to mind without any sort of filtering; her voice dropped to a squeaking whisper suddenly, though she made no pause-- "an' laik didjer mank Darcas or Udarr, ooohhh Kenny's gann kill semwen!"

The girl called Otter's pointed tongue darted out of her mouth to moisten her lips after she spoke. She had used the vulgar term 'mank' to describe the presumed actions of the night before, which Chrishton might recognize, depending on his familiarity with the baser vocabulary in the Shaddinian vernacular, as relating to infidelity and the actions implied therein. Her flared pinkish nostrils twitched eagerly as she quieted her quick breathing in anticipation of his response.

The most random things had a habit of amusing Chrishton, and the girl's way of speaking was one of those things. Seemingly oblivious to his own speech impediment, which possessed a vulgarity of its own while being slightly less pervasive, he couldn't help but smirk after she started talking. The girl didn't pause between sentences, or break her thoughts up into sentences for that matter. It wasn't entirely unusual for a girl her age, but it made what she was saying that much harder to understand. He had to actually think about it to decipher her stream of consciousness.

Some people told him his speech was hard to understand, but he knew he had nothing on this girl. Mank was not in his vocabulary, but it was easy enough to discern what it meant by the sound of the word and how she was using it. He listened with a smirk on his face and his eyebrows bunched up until she was done. The subject matter didn't bother him and he didn't feel like he should be playing the father figure even though he could see that the household desperately needed one.

"Whate'er jam's fine, yes I'll take eggs'n whate'er else ya got, an' dun' go pryin' inta that other stuff cause it ain't nice...

"But I tell ya what, girly," he was happy to have found a new subject for the moniker Dorcas abandoned, "if ya kin somehow fix me up a bath with hot water, I'll tell ya anythin' ya wanna know an' then some."
You are confusing bets and marriages, Madam. One must always honour a bet.
- Valmont

The girl poked her tongue in and out of her mouth slowly, her eyes rolling about as Chrishton spoke. She didn't seem to have much dedication to the art of conversation.

"Oh-oh-ooohh," she whispered, cutting off the end of his last sentence. "Well then Ai guess Ai shudd ask laik what ek-sackly you wann then laik because, you knaw, Ai'm nat turly a gur, Ai'm a wuman . . ." Here, Otter paused, not to let this information sink in exactly, but to stare at the fingers of her left hand as if processing some information herself. She certainly didn't look older than eleven or twelve, but also appeared anemic. A more advanced age was not out of the question, as she may have been grossly underdeveloped.

Otter blinked once more at her fingers and then turned her head ninety degrees to shriek down the stairs, "FAIV EGGS!" She looked up to Chris and nodded before she continued. "Laik see Ai'm little an' yeah, bet Ai'm alder'n Kenny, laik because his dab wass kezins with me so we knaw Ai'm alder'n him maybe an ear bet if you wann have a bath laik an' preten Ai'm a gur, Ai can do it, bet Ai guess maybe as' Dar because she's yenges' an' didjer mank her already?"

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