By now the fish was clearly exhausted, and she had brought it closer with the intention of picking it up and storing it away with her other prizes. It barely even reacted as the houluh jumped on top of it, biting down onto thick scales in an attempt to protect Haix.
She tried to shoo the houluh off of the massive fish, its lack of reaction a testament to both how tired it was and were Tin's bite was. She ended up picking up the houluh and dropping her a few feet away, warning the creature to stay out of her way while she pulled in the fish. Once it was dragged back and put into something that would not see it suffocate in a few minutes, she managed to rip the hook free without damaging the metal, the fish thrashing around a bit after she left it. Then she called the houluh over for a quick pat, wanting to reward her for at least trying to be useful now that the fish was put away. ((Tin-26.0 End of Trip))
Pale as the bones picked clean under the sun, eyes as blue and merciless as a sky in drought. A tail like the horns of a young murp, stubby and split far closer to its ribbon, said piece of not-fabric glittering with iridescent colors. Ears drooping to rest on the sides of its face, a sign of some unknown disease or an omen of the gods.
Alma had stood there, hand resting on the side of her cart-pulling sarane as the undulate continued to bleat at her. As he told her about the next unholy feature, the snake-like way the beast in the bag could seemingly unhinge its jaws, “as though it was trying to swallow the whole world,” Alma stole a look at the nearly overflowing river behind him. It was a beautiful sight, one that she was sure she could spend a few hours enjoying as she went through the motions of casting and reeling, if not for her forgetfulness. 1
The ungulate caught her looking to the raging waters behind him, and shook his head as if to deny her wish to ever reach the river. “No, this one would taint the life-giving waters!” he snarled, slapping at the bag with an open palm, Alma noting with some amusement how his hand slid away to the side to avoid touching it. Of the hand that held the sack, hoof-tipped fingers wrapped tightly around the mouth despite the drawstring there, he showed no such fear. “It may come back to haunt, to harm a family and draw them into the depths should this one drown it.” The man smiled with massive teeth at her as he leaned closer, ignoring the growl of the sarane as he winked.
She of course had left the badge on. She might be doing slightly less direct sentinel work now that she had permission to pursue certain breaches on her own, but the damned badge had always set people to raging at her before moving away. 2
The one time she had worn it in hopes of taking advantage of that, of guaranteeing she could have a quiet, secluded place to waste a few hours, the angry goatman had rushed at her with a brown canvas sack and dire descriptions of the thing trapped within it. Being that it was the city, she had at first tried to find out what the beast was, then tried to interject that she was off duty as he had something relating to the moon and some religion thing, then she had taken to tuning him out. He would stop at some point, though she felt bad for whatever he had in the sack. Drowning was not a pleasant way to go, and she only wished to be out of the area when he tossed it in the water.
“But you, a lawkeeper. A lawkeeper is protected, for the laws of life and death will then be followed!” 3
He had jabbed his finger at her as he called her a lawkeeper, jolting Alma’s attention back to him. He was standing all now, his horns towering over her though he had to look up to meet her eyes. Alma rested a hand on the sarane to keep it from pulling the cart forward and running her over, eyes darting between the sack the man carried and his wide eyes as he waited. Fearing the moment of silence to be brief, Alma asked him, “Wh-”
There was to be more to the question, like what did he want, or why could he not move aside to let her and her grumbling sarane move down the narrow beach to find a better spot, but the ungulate just smiled wider. “Even the moon must set, for that is the order of things!” The words boomed from him as he threw the sack at her. 4
Alma squeaked as she threw up her arms and tried to dodge to the side of the projectile. The sarane roared, dragging the cart forward as it lunged at the ungulate, who in turn screamed and dodged to the side opposite of Alma, breaking into a sprint that she could not have hoped to have matched even if she wasn’t lying in squishy mud up to her nose.
The sarane was game to try, and threw itself against the harness and wooden bars that held it in front of the cart, the wood creaking as the beast strained to break free or turn the cart. Alma sputtered, spitting mud from her mouth as the back of the cart began to swing towards her and the sack resting in the mud next to her, and yelled at the sarane to stop. She might have been okay with the beast’s initiative on another day, but her fishing supplies were still attached to it. 5
The cart stopped, the sarane making a loud huff, and Alma pushed herself free of the sucking mud, placing one muddy glove on the cart to pull herself up the rest of the way. She stood there for half a minute, simply breathing with her eyes closed as the mud began to dry and crust. When she remembered the sack and that the crazed citizen might return, she forced her eyes back open to look around. There was no sign of the ungulate, a blessing she would take gladly, and the sack lay as inanimate as it had appeared to be when he had been swinging it around. Then her gaze drifted to her own boots and up her side, Alma letting loose an explosive sigh as she noticed the mud now plastering the clothing she would be wearing for hours yet. One glove reached up to her open mouth, stopping just short of smearing more mud onto her face as she saw the muck coating it. 6
“Damn that ungulate,” she spat, scraping at the mud with her gloves and letting it fall to the ground. “Ijit messed up my clothes, my off day clothes, and if we head back now, all the good spots will be gone. Ain’t messing up my day!” Alma punctuated the last word by scraping off a new handful of mud, wincing as it slapped down onto the tied mouth of the sack. She halted her miserable attempt at cleaning, taking a step back from the bag. Alma glanced up at the cart puller. “He ain’t read the guides. Likely a faeron or sumthin’.” The sarane yawned, clearly more convinced than her as she looked back down at the sack.
Gently, like someone trying to scoot a dog to one side, she nudged the bag with her foot. Even through her thick boots, she felt the smallest bit of resistance, yanking her foot back as the thing in the sack moved. 7
“Alrighty, so ya super deadly thing’s still alive? What are yew?” The creature did not respond.
Which was normal for most creatures. Her own could no more tell her what they were than they could tell her how much was three, and she likely would have seen how much slower she was than the ungulate if a voice had called out from the sack. But there was no response at all, and Alma hopped back another step, boots making a plop sound as they slipped free of the mud. Most things that small were noisy, especially when they had been swung and thrown and yelled about. If it had giggled, she’d know it was a faeron, a whimper enough to suggest something like a houluh, or even a hiss of an angry salaves would have been welcome. Any normal critter would make some sort of sound, and then she would know how bad of an idea it would be to open the bag. 8
But there was only silence, the thing in the bag moving as mud slowly covered the edges without a cry. “Light banish it,” she muttered, watching the thing squirm in the sack. If it was some mage’s toy, it would be better to let it sink into the mud or kick it into the water raging a few yards away. And the ungulate had seemed to be asking her to drown whatever it was, his fear of it reminding her of that one lady in the newspaper funnies with the web weaver. “Yer not gonna try to kill me, right? Not a fungal leech or brain eater? Yah know a citizen wants me to kill yah, right? You dangerous?” The thing in the bag did not respond, and Alma shut her eyes as she took a deep breath. There were plenty of things the labs had made that could punish her for doing so, but she needed a moment free of the world. 9
When the bag was still there upon opening her eyes, she unhooked the badge from her chest, shoving it into a pocket. She fed enough creatures to other ones back at the kennel, and she refused to let the ungulate’s squirming sack ruin her day. Alma stepped over to the bag and crouched next to it, staring at it for a few more seconds before grabbing the mouth. “Swear to Order, if you ruin mah fishing-” Alma continued to mutter to herself as she carried the sack over to the drier path the sarane and cart rested on. A half a minute was spent trying to clear the mud off of the bottom of the sack, the thing inside squirming like mad as she said, “C’mon now. Not tryin’ to hurt you, just gotta get a bit off so you don’t suffocate or dirty anything up more. Now now, it’ll be fine, just keep calm and we’ll get away, just in case that loon comes back.” 10
Alma had kept her voice calm throughout, though it became strained as she thought of the ungulate. He might return at any moment, to yell more about laws and the moon, and she did not want to find out how sharp his horns were. With an apology to the little sack creature, Alma deposited it in an empty bucket and jogged over to the sarane. A short while later, they were both on the way again, their new companion hopefully comfortable and unable to escape the sack and metal bucket.
She was sure she could hear the passenger over the creak of the wood and the noises of the sarane, little muffled taps of something against the metal of the bucket. She paused their progress several times to check that the sack had not split open and there was nothing freely moving around in the large metal bucket, but whatever it was did not seem strong enough to force its way out. 11
But other than those little taps, the thing never made any other noises. More than once she had taken the squeak of a wheel for a squeal from the hidden thing, or a rattle of her tackle for a hiss of some kind, able to replicate the sound of the second perfectly by shaking the tacklebox. So she had decided to fill the silence, as much as one could call it silence with a huffing sarane and creaky cart. “Doing great there, Cork, just keep on pullin’. This spot ain’t good, just as muddy as the last. Need to find a good patch of sand or stones, something that won’t crumble or flood after an hour of standing on it.” Alma called out for the sarane to stop by a sandy patch, only to shake her head a moment later and flick the reins. It had been promising, and she did want to stop to check on the sack, but she could see that the sand was sodden. 12
“Nah, this one’s no good. Can see the little bubbles, the way the sand is moving a little with the water. Probably drag us under the sand, and there ain’t no fish there. Keep us going a bit further, should find a good spot soon, or we’ll stop and take a rest.” The sarane kept plodding forwards on the sandy path, and Alma looked back at the sack. “So, feelin’ a little chatty yet?” she asked the sack, the critter inside drumming its legs against the sack and bucket for a few seconds. “Well, guess that’s all you do. Maybe a magic beat-keeper. Not sure why the lad wanted to throw you away, magic’s worth a bit here.” Alma paused, then launched into a whole-hearted rendition of a favored drinking song, one sung with less talent than enthusiasm. She listened for the beats of the critter, and shook her head at the end of the song. 13
Zenjesi: Hey Silv - how do you pronounce Kodakai?
Nov 17, 2023 18:23:56 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: Not to mention the baby mosca with wolf skin from Elvye and the sparkling owl of Xentus. <3
Nov 14, 2023 10:27:52 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: I like the Donnor one not just with looks FF, but the description, funny as heck.
Nov 14, 2023 10:26:27 GMT -6
Zenjesi: yours both made me laugh, FF! They're very expressive
Nov 13, 2023 21:57:46 GMT -6
Fiera Ferella: Woooow Twilight, I love that witch drawing!!! :0 It's so pretty! And Zenjesi I think Spectral is my favorite out of yours lol. Just looks happy to be included. and silver now i wanna know which pets youd pick for the other legendary beasts. XD
Nov 13, 2023 21:37:45 GMT -6
Silver: Ah I'm so glad you guys enjoyed it! I love everyone's drawings they're all so cute. ;o;
Nov 13, 2023 17:31:37 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: I like that one as well yeah, loved the old nootnoot image from quest prizes, so that one went perfectly with that particular costume being based around it. X3
Nov 13, 2023 15:23:13 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: The jewelry on tail or at the head definitely tends to be their most recognizable feature for a Mosca, and sadly their pharaoh chin piece as well. XD
Nov 13, 2023 15:21:07 GMT -6
Zenjesi: Your peanut costume is hilarious and adorable too!
Nov 13, 2023 15:14:29 GMT -6
Zenjesi: Yes you're correct! I guess I did a decent enough job with the drawing!
Nov 13, 2023 15:05:27 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: It still looks good on Synkka. She is a shaman Mosca I'm guessing? Its mostly the tail that makes me think of it.
Nov 13, 2023 15:00:42 GMT -6
Zenjesi: I definitely like Spectral's the most too! I sort of cheated by drawing Synkka with a cloak because I do not know how to draw feathered wings, haha ^^'
Nov 13, 2023 13:45:15 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: Which one do you like the most out of the three you made?
Nov 13, 2023 12:09:48 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: Thanks for that compliment! Though I know with the water it doesn't look entirely great, I love the latter one I made the most.
Nov 13, 2023 12:09:30 GMT -6
Zenjesi: Silv - both of yours are cute and would make fun stickers!
Nov 13, 2023 9:18:10 GMT -6
Zenjesi: Aw, thanks, Twilight! I really love the way you drew the water/swimming motion in yours. Wand in the mouth is also a cool pose!
Nov 13, 2023 9:13:03 GMT -6