The Beasts of Civilization

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Boss Frost

Original poster
The Beasts of Civilization
Rinaldia After Dark

The castle bell shook the tower it was in nine times. The sun had set an hour ago, and darkness blanketed the kingdom. The merchants, the farmers, and the other men and women who worked every day were in bed, or getting ready for bed.

The shadows moved below - it was now time for the nocturnal men and women to make their business. Weasels and rats, mice and bats, raccoons and cats... all came out of their nooks and crannies, ready to make light of the darkness.

Even the children knew - the real fun started after the sun went down.

The castle's black material loomed like some silent monstrosity ready to pounce on the small white houses of the village below. Carved from an inert volcano, the obsidian walls and oddly warm interior gave many a spooky feeling, which was it's intention. The spires of the caste twisted in obscene ways and otherworldly angles... a multitude of claws from the beast.

The air was thick and warm - a summer night. It had rained the previous night, and it had caused a muggy atmosphere to fall over the kingdom. The moon shone in it's full intensity, the wisps of gray clouds occasionally swept across it... that, or those that hunted in the night sky.


One such individual had been awake for a while, hiding from the sun until it was fully safe to come down. Raised below ground, in the company of sun-fearing undead, had made him very nervous about the sunlight... enough that he figured that it would, indeed, kill him if he was caught directly in it.

Touching the warm stone by his window, he poked his head out... smiling and unlatching the hinge, allowing him to walk out onto the deck, arms positioned behind him as he looked up at the night sky... comforted, eyelids drooping serenely.

Shirtless to provide comfort in the castle's sweltering daylight heat, his ribcage and concave belly visible under tightly-stretched flesh - though he had attempted to bulk up or at least gain some weight, it was incredibly hard for a Repense to do. He took some solace in having broad shoulders and moderate arms - but that was merely an effect of his flight.

He places on hand in the pocket of his black pants, sighing softly. He doesn't bother glancing over his shoulder, stating aloud, "Azhka... vill oo be so kind as to breeng me my telescope... an' a glass ov zat grape juice ve 'ave bought... 'elp oo'self to a glass as vell, oui?" His Repense accent clear in the night sky. "An' my night vest, if oo would." He nods - somewhat conscious of having to stay shirtless for long in front of his most favored servant.

He wanted to plot the stars again - a ritual he had started since his visits to the above-ground areas. What happened below the skyline, in the village below, tended to have a lasting effect on his heart. He had to force himself, whatever the cost, not to look down at the city below...


Below, the scurrying of many feet, likely many break-ins, and a few murders, can easily be seen from the castle. Many nobles considered it a great fun show, and a few watchers in the castle would take bets on how many or what disasters would be done in a single night. Of course, the caught perpetrators would be punished, but it was all in good fun for them. A soft-hearted individual could pity these people... a valiant heart might even be down there aiding the guard in quelling these dastardly acts. Without a unifying King - it was a bad time to be powerless.
Samantha sat at a table, watching the nightly thieveries from the castle. Others were standing closer to the railing, chatting amicably. It was a fine night...someone was serving wine, she had her cigarette, and the entire country was heading towards a rather bloody period. A good shove in the right place should make for a great time. So for now, she was watching the nobles and listening to their conversations. Cat was there, standing just behind her, the young puma cutting a far less intimidating figure than the other various bodyguards and servants. He wasn't the most impressive at first glance, but eh, it's what's inside that counts.

Hopefully someone interesting would sit down, it was annoying having three seats free in front of her. Might as well try for some conversation..She turned her head over her shoulder to look back at her servant.
"..Cat, didn't you grow up down there?" She took a drag on her cigarette and looked out over the city.
"What's it feel like to be looking down on it now?"

((Wir DAR'ZUUL can sit down outside once he finishes playing with his stars. Or, alternatively, some new person could sit down.))

Something moved in the shadows behind Dar when he spoke. Azhka had had a series of cat naps while the Repense slept. She rarely ever slept for more than an hour or two at a time. That was something they had in common, they were more night creatures than day, although he was more interested in the stars than she was. She'd admit they were pretty though.

The young puma disappeared for a few minutes and returned with the telescope tucked under one arm, the lord's favorite vest folded over the one holding the telescope, and his grape juice in the other hand. Despite her excellent balance, she didn't want to risk the grape juice staining the vest. She'd never forgive herself. She glanced from side to side and up at the sky as she walked out and joined him.

Azhka placed the glass of juice on the railing first so she could help him with the vest if needed. She already knew he'd want to get the vest on first. She couldn't tell if he was self-conscious about his body or about being bare around her but he always asked for the vest first. Next came the telescope and the grape juice. She hadn't made herself a glass yet because she felt he needed to be looked after first.
Dar smiled, unfurling his arms - black-velvet wings spreading out and allowing the rather unique shoulder-over vest to be placed on, buttons snapping to keep it in place, material stretching to place a loop around his thumb in order to cover his arms rather than his wings. "Thank oo', Azhka." He nodded to her graciously. He had no idea how he'd be able to do anything without her, now that he had her for so long.

Extending his slender fingers towards the outstretched telescope, he twists it open and points it towards the stars. After a few moments looking up at the starry sky, he frowns. "Ze King's Court an' ze Hun-tair are bright tonight... an' once again, ze Paladin ez dim." The Repense man sighs, looking forlornly at the starry sky. "More pow-air-hun-gree bahavior... more kill-eeng, more viciousness before zis eez all ov-air. Before a true rul-air appears."

Putting the telescope down, he extend a hand to his glass of juice - it was a quirk of the Repense. None of them drank alcohol. It made them ill. In truth, the fermented fruit messed with their magic. Dar had no such magic, so he didn't have to worry about it... pity he never knew that, from it not being tested. Safe than sorry.

He sips the grape juice, turning back to look at Azhka. "'Ave a good sleep? Zat horreeb'le court hear-eeng eez tonight... I'm go-eeng to need oo' alert." He smiles at her, eyes soft. "No' tha' oo' really need to. Oo'r size alone intimidates ze others." He nods graciously, "Eet really ez a boon, whether oo theenk eet eez or not."

Azhka tilted her head as he pointed out the stars, the King's Court, the Hunter, the Paladin. These were just names to her. He always pointed them out to her whenever she asked but she could never tell them apart and finally, she'd had to admit she didn't have a knack for being anything more than a casual stargazer. 'Course, there was nothing wrong with that. They were pretty to look at, that was enough for her.

When Dar predicted more corruption and evil, she could only nod solemnly. It just confirmed what she had feared. The throne would not see an easy victor. What the others in the castle--being the true monsters they were--sat back and enjoyed came at the cost of other Calabrians' lives. She could have easily been down there, quite possibly caught by the law or killed in some petty squabble. Thank the stars for Dar.

Azhka absently scratched an ear but then paused and gave a cat-grin. She showed her retractable claws to him, glittering in the moonlight. "I will always be alert for you," she said, meaning every word. Words meant something to her so what she said, she often chose carefully. It was one of the reasons she didn't like the other nobles--Dar being an exception, of course. They chose their words without thought or care, beyond it getting them what they wanted.

"I don't like those court hearings. And I like the people who we have to see and bear even less. I think they know I'd gladly trap 'em in a net and hurl 'em into a nice, icy bath." To emphasis her point, she pulled what looked to be simply a ball of thick braided rope clasped with an old silver belt buckle almost too big to carry in one paw.
"I am not fond of ze hear-eengs, eizzier... an' I 'ave been see-eeng very leettle compromise on either end. I am start-eeng to theenk that even my own major 'ouse, Bisclavret, are..." He shakes his head, doubting himself for a moment. His ears fall with a sigh. "I appreciate oo'r presence, Azhka. I would 'ave gone mad wizzout oo."

"Eet eez also comfort-eeng to 'ave zose traps of oo'rs on my side." He smiles at her. "Oo 'ave gotten quite good at zem. I 'ope oo are proud." He nods, meaning it with all his heart... maybe fluffing it up a bit on account of personal feelings, but full honesty was hard to find, even from a 'good' noble like himself.

He turns, leading the way back inside. "Come, zen... I do bel-eeve zat ze more... rowdy efforts... well 'ave died down by now." He grabs the thick wool cloak, wrapping it around himself. "I feel I do not need to tell oo - fear eez key around zeez... horrible fursons."

They walk outside and down into the meeting room - Dar was half-right, as a fist fight between nobles finally died down, a bawdy fox flung against a wall, unmoving on account of unconsciousness, while the great, fat boar that flung him roared with laughter, as did most of the spectator-nobles.

Dar scowled at the lot of them as he passed - they gave him no mind. Catching eyes with a smoking fox at one of the few peaceful tables, he made his approach. Dark eyes met her's, a coldness linking between the two of them. Ever gracious, Dar smiles. "Oo are... Samantha, eef I am to remember right... ve vill join oo." He states, settling himself down in a chair rather than asking permission to.

Cat was silent as he stood there, his eyes dull and distant. He looked so small and out of place, his hooded cloak covering up his entire body. He had the hood down and he appeared lost in his own world. Here he was again, escorting Mother, always at her beck and call should she desire his services, any of them. She merely had to say the word and he would kill at her command or fetch her something to snack on while she reclined. He always tried to make Mother happy.

Cat lifted his head slightly when Samantha spoke to him. "I only remember my time with you, Mother. Nothing else matters." His voice was soft, monotone. For without Mother, there was no time, no past. She was his present and his future.

"Oo are... Samantha, eef I am to remember right... ve vill join oo."

Cat looked up in time to see the Repense sit himself down next to Mother.


Azhka slipped the net back into the back pouch she wore around her waist, secured by a lock she'd designed herself with the help of an old locksmith she knew down in the city. You could never be too careful and she didn't want anyone getting into her stuff. Her things were private and she was, indeed, proud of them.

Azhka nodded firmly when he mentioned fear and the people they'd be around. She'd been intimidated by them a long time ago, when Dar had first taken her in. She hadn't known what to expect and money and power had a way of stunning someone from the streets. That had cost her a lot in terms of pride and she'd received quite a share of bullying and abuse from them, physical and verbal, whenever she'd left Dar's side.

Azhka had gotten them back, though, by showing them what a puma with time on her hands and a talent for tinkering could do.

The puma wore a short jacket, black, so she could keep warm and reach her pouch easily. Under it was a short-sleeved white shirt and a dark red vest. Her pants were black and she didn't need boots or footwear. Years of running through Rinaldia had made her paws tough and she liked feeling the ground.

When they joined the others, she stayed close behind Dar and her ears twitched. She'd eventually learned the "nobles" were no better than the people on the streets. They did the same things, they just thought they were better than everyone else. Except Dar, of course.

Azhka showed a hint of her teeth and her ears flattened just slightly at a panther who moved too close to Dar. He was bigger than Azhka, just slightly, but everyone knew physical strength mattered little when you were tied up at your enemy's feet. He suddenly found interest in something going on in a far-off corner.

Hmph. Good boy, she thought, turning her attention to other potential dangers which, when you thought about it, meant everyone in the room.
"I only remember my time with you, Mother. Nothing else matters."

Samantha looked over her shoulder at Cat. He was quiet and obedient, faithfully carrying out not just her words but also the intent behind them. Five years ago he had been taken away from what little he had and gradually made into her willing slave, naught more than a shell of a person who only wanted to please her however he could. She smiled, then turned back to the view.

"...Aw, that's sweet of you."
Now, if she could speed up the process..

"Oo are... Samantha, eef I am to remember right... ve vill join oo."
"Hm? Oh, certainly. I've really just been waiting for someone to come by and sit down...I'm sorry, but I don't think I've ever met you before."
"I should 'ope not. Eet eez not my intention to be as een ze spotlight as ze... ozzers." He looks pointedly at Samantha, smiling as he indicates the humor of it. "I vould shake oo'r hand, but eet eez waste of time. I am Dar'zuul... ze Repense rep-ree-sent-a-teev."

He nods his head, dark eyes scanning the room. "Eet eez no contest, of course... ze ozzers, zey know not of... 'ow oo say... subtlety. Makes my 'eart sadden to see such stupidity een ze 'ouse of nobles. Eet vould 'ave been more effective on ze battelfield. Bah." He gestures his hand theatrically.

It not to say Dar himself wasn't making an effort - the normal Repense tactic is to loom menacingly in a corner. He gestures over his shoulder. "Zis eez my beloved servant. Pay her little mind. She eez busy."
"Ah, nice to meet you, Dar'zuul. I suppose I can be considered a representative for house Triskellian...but eh, we're more of a trust group than a house. None of us have a claim to the throne, so I'm just here to watch the fireworks. Though I suppose the funds could be useful." She breathed out a stream of smoke off the side of the table.

"Anyways, do you want to talk business or just fun?"
She looked Azhka up and down.
"Nice servant. She must be handy in dark alleyways."
Rinaldia at night! They have arrived in the city none-too-soon for Wren's taste. After discovering that Calabrian forests weren't filled with cute fluffy harmless animals but rather very intimidating looking lizard type creatures - it made her dislike for being out after dark all the stronger.

Now here she was, strolling down a city street looking at the marvelous architecture and the different Calabrian peoples. How did they stay cool with all of that fur? The night was muggy, sticky and so uncomfortable. Made worse by the cloak Kharg insisted she wear today. The previous day's incidents hadn't gone so smoothly, despite her wearing her nice clothes and cleaning up pretty. Wren was really starting to hate that fleshy term. When it came with startled screams and someone hitting you with a broom, it wasn't so funny anymore.

"Kharg, it's dark. Can't I just take off this cl- Kharg?" Wren turned around, expecting to see the large half-wolf guide carrying her Trunk a pace or two behind her. Yet, he was no where to be seen. Turning once or twice, she wasn't catching a glimpse of him anywhere! Wren rolled her eyes and rest her hands on her hips. It figured! That long discussion about him telling her not to run off and get in trouble and here HE was vanishing on her.

Deciding to make the best of it (What was she gonna do? He had her trunk! She'd have to wait until he found her!), Wren pulled off that cloak and draped it over her arm. It was just too HOT to wear it! The entire reason for coming to the city was because she wanted to meet people as a human. And she sure didn't want to introduce herself to someone while being all hot and sweaty.

Taking a nice stroll and looking in shop windows, Wren made a misstep and nearly ran in to some woman charging out of a shop. She was a very plump woman, with a lovely natural mask. A raccoon for sure! Wren was just about to mutter her apologies when-


Wren turned around to see where this monster was, until she realized she was what the woman was pointing at. "I beg your pardon! I am not a monster! Can you please calm do-"


"I couldn't even fit you in my mouth!" Wren shouted back!


Wren sighed. At least this one didn't have a broom. But the thought came too soon, cause a purse started swinging and Wren was having to jump away to dodge! Now SHE was yelping for help as the Raccoon lady chased her down the street!

Kharg adjusted the trunk on his back. It was a large trunk and heavy but the way he held it, it looked light as a feather. It was ... odd being back in Rinaldia after so long. Many of the buildings looked familiar and, indeed, it seemed that a fair amount of the streets still went in the same directions, led to the same shops. He had expected to be struck with nostalgia but was proving to not be the case. Oh well. That was life.

"Lass, do no'--" Kharg turned. She wasn't there! He'd thought it was too quiet.

The first night in such a large city and she was already lost. His ears twitched as he looked around slowly, sniffing the air. The soap she used shouldn't be too hard to find. He could only hope she didn't--


Kharg put the trunk down--gently, he'd gotten an earful the last time about mishandling it--and ran on all fours toward the source of the noises! The next shop he walked into he would see about acquiring some thick rope!
Wren dashed around a corner huffing for breath. Who knew a roly-poly Raccoon lady could run so damned fast! What was she chasing her down swinging that purse for anyway?! Obviously she wasn't trying to eat the woman! Wren nearly groaned as she spotted a dead end down the alley, but it seemed to be a fence rather than a wall. Luck! Taking a quick leap she scrambled up the fence and dropped with a satisfied HA on the other side.

To find that she was now standing behind a group of startled looking gentleman with wide eyes looking as if something... not so good... was being interrupted. Was that a groaning guy on the ground?

"Uh... don't mind me..." Turning on a heel, Wren scrambled right back up the fence. But there was that Raccoon shaking a fist and yelling at her.


"I didn't DO anything, lady!!" Perched precariously on the fence between the lunatic and the group of potentially dangerous do-badders, Wren glanced around for a better escape. Balancing carefully, she scooted her way over to the building wall and hopped on. Sticking her feet in between grooves of stone to help her climb upwards towards a balcony!

Kharg quickly followed the noise, claws clicking against stone. He stopped every so often to lift his head and turn it in the hopes of catching a new sound, something that would tell him if he was getting closer or farther.

"I didn't DO anything, lady!!"

ran into an alley where a raccoon stood, shaking her fist at someone above her. He had to get Wren down and stop her from causing an even bigger commotion. He stood and approached the raccoon, drawing himself to his full height.

"GET DOWN HERE, YOU MONSTER!" she was shrieking.

"Madam, I heard your cries. Allow me to take care o' this monster for ye."

The raccoon stopped long enough to turn and look Kharg up and down.

Kharg nodded sympathetically. "Aye. A fair woman o' such character as ye should no' have to worry about such trouble. Allow me to free ye from such a problem. No doubt ye have enough to worry yer beauty ov'r."

The raccoon blinked, startled by the flattery.
"Why yes. Yes, I do." She straightened her skirt. "When you get to that monster, be sure to give a firm beating before you drown it. The world these days, what is it coming to ..."

Kharg watched as she disappeared out of the alley and turned a corner. He moved to the building he'd seen Wren climbing and looked for her.
Wren had jumped on to a balcony over looking the alley and was crouched down out of sight. Below that raccoon woman shouted a bit until her voice dropped lower to a more reasonable level. She seemed to be speaking to someone. Wren was just about to peek over the balcony wall to see if the coast was clear when something snagged her by the collar of her shirt and sent her rolling backwards in to the building!

It was dark in here! There was a little light cast from the street outside, but all it gave her was a vague outline of furniture. Wren shifted to get on her feet when CLONK, "OW!", she thwacked her head on the underside of a table. Scooting out from under it to rub her head, she tried glancing around again. "Is anybody in here?"

There was a giggle. To her hears, it sounded like a little boy. ...if a little boy was REALLY big. She just couldn't see where it was coming from!

"It's really not that funny." she whispered loudly. Wren inched across the floor on her hands and knees to head back for the window. But something caught her by the foot, and no matter of shaking it off was getting it loose! Another giggle graced the room. Wren couldn't decide if it was cute or creepy! Either way, she didn't want to be in the dark with a giggling phantom.

"You better let go of me before I bite you. I mean it. I've got big giant chomping teeth."
"Lass! Lass! ... Wren!" he said as loud as he dared without waking anyone or attracting attention. A few minutes passed and there was still no reply.

Kharg sniffed the air. There were still wisps of her soap present. She couldn't have gotten far. He spotted the balcony. There were no other open windows and he doubted she'd have gone straight to the roof. He'd have to try the balcony first and then the roof if that proved a dead end. He didn't have time to look for the door to the building and find a way to the room the balcony led to.

The wolf-fox found a claw hold and began to climb up, thick tail swishing beneath him. Scratch getting a thick rope. He would purchase a leash and use that on the wayward human instead!
Dar'zuul smiled with a nod. "Oo' catch on queek. I am not to be 'ere for simple pleasure, eenless oo' intend it zat vay." He offers his best 'seductive' smile. He was not an attractive creature - but she was, and that was something he rather enjoyed. It was a strange thing being the only one of his siblings that wasn't attracted to the same gender. It worked in his advantage, he figured.

However, the clamor of the nobles had started up again, cheering and jeering to some event going on in the streets. Seemed some ugly hairless monkey was being chased by one of their favorite old ladies - one that regularly beat the snot out of roaming thieves. Dar sighed, "Vat eez zis racket?" He shot a glare at the nobles, to no avail.

Turning and giving a short, courteous bow of the head to Sam, he rose from his chair, walking over and glaring a few nobles out of the way, looking down at the street - his eyes catching the events that were playing out...

"Zat creature... eet eez not of Calabria... Hmmm..." He stood there, thinking... eyes narrowing as he watched. His good servant would know his true thoughts - his logical mind fighting for dominance over his caring heart... until, as she backed into Mad Alley, his heart won out.

Raising up onto the bar, diving out the balcony - head-first towards the pavement (much to the screams of the nobles, from shock to distaste)... at the last moment, he spread his wings, shooting like a rocket - vest tearing from a jutting rock before he gained altitude...

It didn't take him long to reach the alley... as the lone resident of Mad Alley, an insane, murderous weasel raised his blade for the kill...

Dar swooped past, wrapping his arms around her quicker than the weasel could swipe, flipping her onto his chest - flying upside down to curve up in an aerobatic display, before righting himself and gently tapping down on a rooftop, much to a very angry weasel!

The nobles were not amused by this - they wanted blood, not an aerial show!

The bat's form was thin and bony, and he let the human go, stepping bat and looking at her. His dark face traveled along her form, ears twitching. "Vat een s'allumer's name are oo? Ze mon-keys do not go down from ze mountains, and surely oo' are no shaved holy-voman... no street smarts... are oo' a Repense experiment? Ve should get oo back un-dair-ground...." He sighs, shaking his head as his ears droop. "Gett-eeng ahead of myself... I appy-olly-guise." He butchers the word 'apologize'. "I am Dar'zuul. May I 'ave oo'r name... and race?"
Wren couldn't tell what was going in in the dark, but with that giggling getting closer and sounding more weird, she was pretty sure she needed to make good on that biting threat.

Then she was GRABBED! To her credit, Wren didn't scream, but she did find herself clinging to someone that had them flying up on to the roof top. As he set her loose and stepped back (Wren had to force herself to let go), he was eying her carefully and she was doing much the same. The moonlight gave much better lighting than down below. He was... a bat! The way he carried himself, he couldn't be some bum or thief off the street. But still, after being snatched and now on a rooftop (Wow, this was a little high!) she was a little wary of intentions.

His accent took her off guard, and Wren was squinting her eyes in thought trying to decipher it. "Hey..! I have plenty of street smarts. Just not these streets." It would figure that was the first thing she heard correctly! Wren leaned a bit to look down at the street below. Where was that Kharg with her trunk!

"Darzoo, is that it? I'm no monkey nor a ... Reepensie? experiment. I'm a human and my name is Wren." Wren was still a little wary, but he wasn't trying to hit her with anything or screaming monster at her... so she deemed it safe to smile and offer her hand for a handshake! "I'm a professional adventurer and I've traveled across the ocean to tour a new continent! I have a guide around here somewhere."
"...Hoomahn? But... oo' are jus' a meeth! Oo' do not ex-eest..." He leans in a bit, tilting his head. "...I guess oo' do, zoh. Strange." He looks down at her hand, ears twitching - he backs away from the hand, offering a kind bow. "Dar. Jus' call me Dar, oui?"

He looks about, scanning the paths below. "Eez not a very good guide to send oo' eento ze Mad Alley. Zere eez on-lee zat insane weasel een zere. Keels a few people every night."

Said weasel snarls up and Dar, chucking the knife at him - it is calmly swatted away, and twirls back down. The weasel picks it up, mumbling something about not having any cherry pie tonight, and sulks back into the shadow. He looks back over at her, eyes narrowing. "Oo know... eet vould 'ave been bet-tair eef oo' 'ad stayed ze night in a..." He trails off... no one would let something that looked like her stay at one of their inns - and no one would let someone who didn't show their face in, either.

He sighs, turning to look at her with a glare.

His gaze softened, shoulders slumping. "...I am sor-ree. Eef oo' need somevhere to stay, I vill accommodate oo' and oo'r guide. I do not 'ave a lot of room, but eet eez safer zan be-eeng out 'ere..." He folds his arms over his chest, looking away. "...An' I like company."

Didn't seem like it.
Weasel! So that's what that was. A crazy giggling weasel. Wren made a mental note about the Mad Alley. It was a dangerous place with a crazy weasel. She'll put that in her travel logs. Dar didn't take her hand for the handshake, choosing to bow instead, so she mimicked the motion herself. No touching Dar the Bat, then. He seemed a bit exasperated about her, much like Kharg did when she first met him. Of course, basing her impression about Kharg on meeting people in Calabrian didn't quite work out the last few times she tried it!

Still, she wasn't one to be suspicious of everyone. Wren smiled again. "I would really appreciate it. If I get hit in the head again today, I am liable to pass out with brain damage." She probably had several bumps and bruises to prove. "I just need to find Kharg. Not fifteen minutes in the city and I lose him. He's probably going to be furious." Wren knew he was close though, she was certain she heard him talking to that raccoon woman before the weird weasel snagged her!

"Uh, where do you live, anyway, Dar? Will it be far from here?"